Ambrose sat there drinking some water, sweat running down his face as he took a break and watched Demeter practicing. There was something wrong, he could tell, and there had been for a few days. She slashed and blocked, spun and ducked, but she seemed exhausted, her form off and it worried him. He could even hear that her breathing was off, like she was struggling. It was when the other soldier knocked her sword out of her hand, shocking the both of them, that he stood and went over to her. Demeter was gripping her wrist and the young man was apologizing.
“Are you alright?” Ambrose asked as he took her hand.
“I’m fine,” she turned to the soldier, “it’s fine, really, I was careless. Why don’t you go and practice with one of the others for a bit.”
“Yes ma’am.” He hurried off and Demeter retrieved her sword, slipping it into its sheath.
“Demeter, love, what’s wrong? You haven’t been acting like yourself lately.”
“I don’t know, I’ve just been so tired and…and I can’t focus.”
“Maybe you’ve been overworking yourself?”
“I’ve worked a lot harder than this.”
He smiled, pressing their foreheads together. “Just because you’re a mighty warrior woman, doesn’t mean you can’t push yourself too hard.”
“How about we ask for some time off, I’m sure my cousin would let us.”
She sighed, “It does seem like I need it.”
“Then let’s see if she has time to talk to us.” As always Cantaly was more than happy to talk to them and didn’t mind them leaving for a bit in the slightest.
“Thankfully I don’t think anything or anybody is foolish enough to mess with our kingdom at this point so always feel free to take breaks. I never want you pushing yourself too hard Demeter.”
“I really enjoy what I do.”
“I know, but taking care of yourself is important. Besides, who else could put up with my cousin Ambrose if you pushed yourself too far?” She said with a grin.
“Hey.” Ambrose said with mock annoyance.
Cantaly laughed, causing her husband whom was standing beside her to smile. “Go on you two, take as long of a vacation as you need. We can handle things around here.” With her blessing they left hand in hand.
“First off let’s just finish our day at home. I could cook for you and maybe give you a massage.”
Demeter kissed his cheek. “Thank you.”
Demeter was relieved to get home and remove what armor she was wearing. She dropped down on the couch and Ambrose sat down next to her, lifting her feet into his lap and removing her boots. “You don’t have to do that.”
“Sure I do.” He rubbed her feet and she let out a little sigh as she moved to lay back on the arm of the couch. “You okay?”
“Yeah, just exhausted.”
“Want me to get my uncle to come check you? You know he will if I ask.”
“No, Irim’s probably busy or spending time with his family.”
“As long as you’re sure.”
“I am, thank you.”
He leaned over her, giving her a kiss then got up to make her something to eat. He was worried about her, but didn’t want to be too pushy and upset her. He hoped it was just fatigue from overworking and that once she had time to recharge, she would be back to herself. He peeked in at her, seeing she had fallen asleep. He decided to just let her nap until he finished cooking.
“My dad told me there’s a special word for lighting the interior.” Ambrose said as they stepped inside.
“How did he figure that out?”
“Irim, there’s nothing he doesn’t know.”
Demeter heard him say a short phrase in a language she didn’t understand and she let out a little gasp at the little dots of light that came to life, looking almost like shimmering stars as they hovered near the ceiling. “Oh wow.” She said softly then her eyes swept down and around the room. Everything had been carefully crafted from the forest surrounding the area and she stared in awe as she turned, trying to take everything in. “Oh Ambrose, it’s so beautiful.”
He pulled her into his arms and brushed a kiss to her forehead. “I’m glad you like it.” She teared up and he leaned back to look at her. “Are you alright, my love?”
“Yeah, sorry, I love it, I promise.” She wondered if it was the baby making her emotional.
“Maybe you just need to rest.”
“I’m fine, really, let’s look around first then we can eat.”
“Alright, but you have to promise to relax while I cook for you.”
He couldn’t resist kissing her again before they both started looking around this amazing tree house. Demeter was surprised it was left vacant for people to visit. Surely someone would want to claim this for their own. Then again, there were risks involved with claiming a vacant home another creature built. They could come back eventually and they may or may not be sane. One morning you could wake up with some lunatic standing over you, angry and wanting answers about why you took up residence.
As promised, when they were done Demeter relaxed in an armchair while Ambrose prepared something for them to eat. She didn’t even realize she had fallen asleep until he was waking her to eat. She wondered if it was normal to be this tired right off the bat. She’d have to ask Belle when they returned home. “Sorry.”
“I was happy to find you getting more rest my love.”
He took her hand and pulled her gently to her feet and to the kitchen table. “How are you feeling?” He asked as they ate.
“Just a little tired, but other than that I’m fine.” She wondered when would be a good time to tell him. She hated that he looked so worried. “It’s okay, I promise, I’m alright.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too, Ambrose. You really are the sweetest, most adorable man I’ve ever seen.” She had to tease him a little, wanting to get his mind off his concern over her sudden exhaustion.
“Be good, you know I’ll pay you back.” He replied with a grin.
“My big, sweet, strong, cute husband wouldn’t.”
She let out a little laugh. “Then I guess I’ll have to eat slow.”
Demeter did eat slow, smiling here and there. Ambrose finally seemed amused rather than worried which was perfect. Demeter decided she would tell him tomorrow. He was fussing over her anyway so he may as well know the real reason she was tired. As Demeter ate she thought about different ways to tell him, settling on right when he woke up. She imagined he’d wake hilariously fast but most of all she hoped he’d be just as happy and excited as she was.
After dinner Ambrose carried Demeter to the bedroom and began kissing her as he laid her down. It was slow and passionate, the entire evening was and she woke eager for him to get up as well. He slept hard, she guessed it was because of the travel here and all the worrying but Demeter enjoyed admiring him as he slept. She gently ran a hand through his hair, sometimes trailing his skin. When he woke she smiled, almost deciding not to tease him by telling Ambrose first thing in the morning.
Ambrose turned into her, his arms wrapping around her as he snuggled close. He pressed his forehead against her chest and let out a contented sigh. “What are you doing awake my love, it’s far too early?” He asked drowsily.
“It’s actually late for us.”
“How are you feeling then?”
“Happy, a little tired, pregnant.”
“Mmm, that’s good.” She waited a moment and nearly laughed when he pulled back to look at her slightly confused. “Wait, say that again.”
“I’m happy and tired.”
“Pregnant, I’m pregnant.” She said with a laugh.
He took her face in his hands. “You’re sure, really sure? I’m not just dreaming?”
“I took a test at your parents.”
He smiled then and crushed her to him, his lips excitedly meeting hers. She started laughing and he pulled back to look at her. “I can’t believe it.” His eyes suddenly flashed with concern. “You’ve been practicing with swords with a baby and then you let me fly you all the way here. Are you okay? Is the baby okay? Maybe we should…”
She kissed him, cutting him off before he got himself too worked up. “Ambrose I’m fine, we’re both fine. I’m not even that far along.”
“Still, if I had known I wouldn’t have flown so fast.” He brushed his nose against hers. “I can’t believe I’m going to be a father.”
“I take it you’re happy?”
“And nervous and terrified, but yes, incredibly happy.
“This is going to be an amazing thing in our lives, I know it. You’re going to be such a good dad and your family is amazing. Your mom is so happy.” Demeter giggled at the memory.
“I bet, I’m surprised she could keep from telling me. I know she told dad the second we left.”
“Yeah, probably, but she promised not to tell anybody else. She wanted to let me be the first to let you know.”
“I promise to be a good dad.”
“You’re a good man, I know you’ll be. Just behave if it’s a girl. I don’t put it past you to strangle some young man.”
“Now that I can’t make promises on.” They both laughed and kissed again, completely wrapped in bliss about their situation.
Just as Demeter knew he would, Ambrose fussed over her even more, often talking to the baby and making sure she was getting enough to eat. He stayed close as they explored the forest and made sure she didn’t push herself to hard. “We’re going to have to ask my mom and aunts how to get your energy back up.” Ambrose said as he carried her back after a hike through the woods. “I don’t like you being so tired all the time, it’s concerning.”
“I’m sure it just depends on the baby.”
“Sorry if I’m being ridiculous.”
“You’re not.” She pressed a kiss to his cheek.
“And what about work, would you take time off? I know you love what you do, you’re amazing at it, but I don’t want either of you getting hurt while you’re pregnant. I know you like being active, but…”
She pressed a finger against his lips. “I will.”
“Thank you. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“I just know stress can cause all kinds of problem in pregnancy. I want you both to come out of this healthy.”
“You’re so sweet.” Their vacation was a peaceful one, filled with nothing but talk of the baby, wonder and laughter. They made sure they left the tree house clean, possibly cleaner than before they arrived. When they arrived home Zane and Belle arranged for a big family get together so they could easily share the news and Demeter would have a house full of experienced women to ask questions so she’d feel confident over the course of her pregnancy. Right away everyone started making their guesses about the gender of their first child. It was fun to think about not only that but what kind of personality their little one would have.
They walked home together that night, Ambrose seeming more at ease after having talked to everyone, having received a list from Irim of foods he had made for Ariel to help keep her healthy, and had been told if there were any complications to come to them right away. They didn’t want them going through anything like what Gabriel and Tawny had gone through. “So, boy or a girl?” Demeter asked and Ambrose pulled her closer.
“Healthy and ready to use a sword.” He answered, making her laugh. “I’ll have my dad teach them how to be terrifying.”
“Ambrose, be good.”
“I am, I’m going to create little warriors. They’ll be beautiful and strong like you and have my charm.” She laughed again and he picked her up and pressed a kiss to her lips. “I love you Demeter.”
“I love you too, you silly man.”
He pressed his forehead against hers. “Thank you for everything, for being my mate and for giving me the gift of a child.”
“Ambrose.” Her voice was soft and she felt herself tear up.
“I can’t wait to meet our little one.” He carried her the rest of the way home and they fell asleep that night wrapped in each others arms, both of them looking forward to this new stage of their lives.