A week later, Brian woke to the sound of pounding on the door. He grabbed his robe and headed to the door. He opened it to find his brother Kent and Bizzet standing there.
“Come in. Jenny is by the fire and Natalie is asleep. You okay?” he asked looking at the two of them. Bizzet was nude and Kent was a little worse for wear.
“Aye. Just cold,” said Kent.
“Hungry?” Brian asked.
“Non. Bizzet killed a moose and we ate good,” said Kent.
“Bizzet, you gonna talk?” asked Brian. While in the trenches, Bizzet would have days when he wouldn’t or couldn’t talk.
“Haar tu tak,” said Bizzet.
Brian nodded in understanding. Bizzet was still partially shifted. The vocal cords hadn’t come all the way back. “Let’s get you dressed. You want your uniform?” he asked Bizzet.
Bizzet nodded and looked to Kent. Kent handed over a pack. Inside were boots and a uniform. Bizzet had more decorations on his uniform than Brian or Kent. He was also more damaged than any man who’d left the village. Besides a missing chunk out of his ear, his body was criss-crossed with scars. Barbed wire, shrapnel, and various wounds from bullets and knives. Bizzet had actually given up trying to stay alive and survived in spite of it. At least his body had.
The two brothers helped their friend dress. They had just sat down when Natalie appeared in the door. She walked over to the two men and hugged first Kent and then Bizzet. Bizzet was happy to see her and shaking so hard at the same time that Natalie was afraid he’d fall.
“Is okay Bizzet. You are home. We take care of you,” she said.
Bizzet nodded. He still couldn’t speak. He sat back in the chair and held Natalie’s hand.
“You want me to go get Grandma Davy?” Natalie asked.
“It is up to Bizzet,” said Brian. He’d have gone right away, but realized that Bizzet and Kent both needed a few minutes to collect themselves.
“Ppppreeze,” Bizzet finally managed to stutter.
Natalie nodded and went to get dressed.
She was back with Grandma Davy in thirty minutes. Grandma Davy had grabbed a basket she’d made up when Brian first told her about Bizzet coming home. She hugged each man in turn and then took Bizzet off to Brian and Natalie’s bedroom.
“You think she can fix him?” asked Kent.
“If anyone can, it will be Grandma Davy,” said Natalie. She could smell the tincture that Grandma Davy was giving Bizzet. Mint, poppy and lavender. Low voices could be heard, but not what was being said.
Grandma Davy came out about twenty minutes later. “He sleeps. Tomorrow, I bring his maman to him. You okay with him here?” she asked Brian.
“Aye. He be safe. Kent, he can sleep at your house?” Brian asked.
“Yes. Natalie, he wake, you give him five drops of this,” Grandma Davy said handing her the bottle of tincture.
“Maman, there is a man in the bed, but he look like a wolf,” said Jenny.
Natalie blinked. She had fallen asleep in the rocking chair next to the fire. Brian was still asleep on the floor. “That is Bizzet and he had a very bad night. You let him sleep,” she said to her daughter.
“Okay. I want my breakfast,” Jenny said.
“I cook breakfast in a minute,” said Natalie trying to wake up. It had been a long night. She stretched and folded up the blanket. Looking into the room, she saw that Jenny was right. Bizzet was more than half shifted and snoring away with funny growling snores. She turned back to the kitchen and began to make breakfast. Bacon, eggs, potatoes and coffee.
Jenny was finished with her breakfast and Natalie had just sat down with her’s when Brian woke up.
“Any coffee for a poor man?” he said with a smile.
“Poor? You have a family that loves you. That is more riches than you know,” teased Natalie. She got up and poured him a cup of coffee. She put a dollop of molasses in it and handed it to Brian who’d managed to sit at the table. She got him a plate of food as well. Natalie got halfway through her breakfast when Bizzet appeared in the doorway.
“You hungry?” she asked.
“Aye,” he said softly. He smiled at Jenny as she stood next to her Papa watching the man walk over to the table.
“You okay?” Brian asked.
“Aye. Little sleepy, but good. Good to be home,” said Bizzet.
“Aye. Grandma Davy bring your Maman over in a bit,” said Natalie.
Bizzet nodded as he ate. By the time he’d finished, Jenny had bounded outside to watch for the visitors. It wasn’t too long before Grandma Davy and Juliet, Bizzet’s mother walked up the path.
Juliet wrapped her son in her arms and the two of them cried. Brian and Natalie went outside with Grandma Davy and Jenny.
“He be okay?” asked Natalie.
“We see,” said Grandma Davy. They sat down on the porch and waited. Men had been coming home in ones and twos for a week. There had been telegrams as well, which meant the quiet of the village was broken by howls and cries of the bereaved. A few of the widows had handed children over to grandparents and run off into the woods to grieve. Others had turned in on themselves and walked like ghosts. Some of the families didn’t know how to cope with the men who’d come home and weren’t the same person who’d gone off to war. Grandma Davy had been busy and almost every household had a small jar of tincture to calm as well as willow bark and a cough tincture for those who’d been gassed and survived.
An hour later, Bizzet and his mother walked out of the house. They thanked Brian, Natalie and Grandma Davy. Then they walked back to their house on the other side of the village.
“They gonna be okay? She forgot the bottle of tincture,” said Brian.
“Maybe. That tincture, you keep. You need it, you take it. I see the ghosts in your eyes. Not as bad as Big Joe’s, but they are there,” said Grandma Davy. She hugged them and headed off.
By summer, all the men who were coming home had done so. Brian was back to working in the saw mill with Kent. Jenny had a new bedroom and Natalie’s belly swelled with the baby to be born in the late autumn. Life was slowly returning to normal. Widows remarried, and people moved in or out of the village. Bizzet had settled down with a girl wilder than he was. Both of them spent more time in wolf form than human form.
Brian finished work and headed home. There was still plenty of light and Natalie met him on the road. She had a picnic basket in her hand.
“Where you going?” Brian asked.
“I’m going up to my meadow. We have dinner up there, just you and me. Jenny is with Maman for the night,” she said with a smile.
Brian smiled and took the basket from her hand as they walked up the hill and into the forest. It didn’t take them too long to reach the meadow where they’d met years ago. A few trees had fallen. The meadow was in full bloom. Brian spread out the blanket and Natalie got the food out. Bread, cheese, ham and a bottle of beer. They ate and then relaxed on the blanket. Brian told Natalie about her day and Natalie rubbed his shoulders. The massage turned into foreplay and clothes dropped to the blanket.
“You comfortable?” he asked her. Her belly was round and her nipples high on her full breasts.
“Aye. I want to make love. Jus be slow and gentle,” she said.
Brian kissed her nipples and then down the line of dark hair that ran from her belly button to her pubic bone. His tongue laved her clit and lips as she moaned and arched upwards. As he tongued her, his fingers traced her lips and slid into her pussy. Natalie wiggled under his touch.
“Ah, I miss this while you were gone,” she said.
“I miss this,” he said as he slid his cock slowly into her. He was still afraid he’d hurt the baby, but Natalie said he was fine. They figured this one had been conceived the night he came home. Brian had been happy and Jenny was ecstatic to learn that she’d have a baby brother or sister by the end of the year.
Brian kept his strokes slow and a bit shallow. Natalie grabbed his arms and pushed hard against him as she began to come. Brian couldn’t hold back and drove in with rapid strokes that brought both of them in less than a minute. They collapsed to the blanket and lay there panting.
“Okay?” he asked her. This was all new to him and he still worried.
“Aye. Feel so good,” Natalie said.
Brian smiled and curling up with her in his arms, his fingers trailed along her hip until they reached her sopping pussy. He found her clit and stroked it until she came again and again. Then they napped in the warm evening air. As night fell, Brian shifted and wrapped himself around his mate.
Wolf sniffed the air. No predators. Mate safe. Pup safe. He rested his nose on his mate’s limbs as she slept.
Brian had taken to running late at night as had many of the men who’d gone off to war. He shifted and headed for the woods.
Wolf followed the scent trail of a deer. It was near and didn’t notice him. Wolf crouched waiting to pounce when it startled and ran. Wolf chased it and with a lunge, caught it on the neck right behind the ears. Wolf swung his body to the side and as he went down, the snap of the deer’s neck could be heard. The deer died almost instantly. Wolf stepped away from his kill to see what had startled the deer. He smelled another wolf, but didn’t see it. He waited, but no wolf or man stepped out of the undergrowth. He shuddered and shifted.
Brian stooped to shoulder the deer and headed back to his cabin. Thirty minutes later the deer was hung, gutted and ready to skin out in the morning. The cold night would keep the meat. He walked in the door to find Natalie standing by the fire.
“Natalie, why aren’t you in bed?” he asked.
“My waters broke. Baby is coming. Sent Jenny for Grandma Davy,” she said gasping as a contraction hit.
“What do I do?” he asked.
“Hold me until she comes. Then you take Jenny to Maman’s and then you come back. This one I think will be quick,” she said.
Brian nodded and held Natalie. When Jenny came back with Grandma Davy, he took his daughter to Celia’s. He took a few minutes to calm down and then headed to the cabin. He sat in the kitchen while Natalie worked to birth their baby. He’d almost fallen asleep when he heard a cry. He rushed to the bedroom to see Grandma Davy wrapping up the child in a blanket.
“You have a son,” Grandma Davy said as she handed him the child and then turned back to tend to Natalie.
Brian stood there with a silly grin on his face as he looked from his son to his wife. Natalie smiled weakly. Brian then tilted his head back and howled a joyful call welcoming his son to the world.
Henry was followed by Alice in 1921, Marie in 1923 and George in 1925. The cabin grew room by added room. Grandma Davy came by one afternoon when George was about two with a small baby in her arms.
“Who is this Grandma Davy?” asked Brian.
“A baby. Smells like Bizzet and Wildgirl,” she said. “Left on my door. Natalie is the only one I know of that has milk at the moment. You think she feed this one?” asked Grandma Davy.
“Aye,” said Brian. He took the tiny baby in his arms and headed back into the house. Grandma Davy waved and headed home. This wasn’t the first baby Wildgirl had abandoned. He counted four before he found Natalie. He handed her the baby and Natalie nodded. She started nursing the baby who’d begun to fuss.
“This number four or five for Wildgirl?” asked Natalie.
“I think this is five. We raise it?” asked Brian.
“Aye,” said Natalie. She looked under the swaddling cloth. “It’s a boy.”
“Quintus,” said Brian and went to go talk to Kent about expanding the house.
Wolf crept around the house. He smelled another wolf, but didn’t see it. Sniffing the ground, he could tell it had been under the children’s windows. Quietly, he moved around the corner. It wasn’t the first time another wolf had been near the cabin and his mate wasn’t happy.
There in the moonlight was a thin wolf. Wolf growled. The other wolf turned, and he could see that there was only half an ear on the one side. Wolf buffed and then walked away. His mate wouldn’t be happy, but he couldn’t hurt that packmate.
The other wolf had dropped to the ground and rolled over showing his throat. When Wolf walked away, he stayed that way until he was gone. Then the lope eared wolf crept closer to the window and peered in. He looked at the small pups in the room. Smelling that all was okay with the smallest pup, he disappeared back into the woods.