Stress sighing heavily Claire stretched out on the couch, pressing her swollen feet into Pine’s lap. Lovingly he immediately began to massage the swollen hoofs. Claire's head rested in Sebastian's lap comfortably as he rubbed her temples in a circular motion.
One month going on two Richard had come to them with the stress of war. Since that night there had been an unease building in their home and between the men. Chris was more on edge than normal and it didn't help that Autumn brought the babies over almost daily.
She was close to 3 months due now and in no mood whatsoever to give birth. No women no matter how immortal wanted to give birth in the middle of a war - if there was one.
“You're too stressed,” Pine spoke softly. “You need to relax your perfectly safe!”
“Yes, my Luna. Please.” Seb urged, “Our little man will start kicking you to heaven and back if your blood pressure increases.”
After much debate and a lot of consideration, they had decided that their first born would be named Everett Thomas Hiddleston. Claire liked the sound of his first name and admired the beauty of the city itself. It was a fitting name for the wild child growing in her stomach.
“Jesus I hope not!” Claire complained, adjusting her ever-growing breasts awkwardly. “I swear one of these days he's going to puncture my bladder!”
“He'll be a good little soccer player!” Michael commented, leaning over the back of the couch and rubbing her big belly.
“Bloody rugby player more like it!” Claire grumbled, motioning with her hand to be hoisted upright. She had to pee once more for the umpteenth time that day. Everett taking due care to rest right up against her bladder as if it were a pillow. “Autumn will be here at 3. The twins had a doctor's appointment with Tom today.” She informed them all.
Autumn, bless her heart had just given birth to Aster and Aisley at the end of last month and already looked fantastic. Claire had a feeling that she won't bounce back quite that fast seeing how she had nothing to bounce back from to begin with.
According to the blood tests the two blonde haired, blue eyed babes belonged to Richard alone. Which was a bit disappointing to be honest. She knew that her best friend was hoping for Lee to have fathered at least one of them. Luckily for her both men were in love with the children and they both took on the role of daddy duty perfectly.
Claire knew that her guys definitely liked having the babies in their home. Honestly, she thought one of the main reasons Autumn came here with them so often was so that the overly tired mum could get a break. Doting wasn't even the word you could use when describing the paternal reaction her guys had towards Aster and Aisley.
Someone was always holding a baby or trying to entertain them as best they could. Even the animals were interested in the twins. Pepper and Gus had gotten up close to them and sniffed at their little hands or feet - giving soft hedgehog kisses to the chubby extremities. Other times they had nudged them with their noses or tried to run off with one of their toys that they thought would be good for hedgehogs to play with as well.
The cats, however, were more cautious if anything. They perched close enough to keep a protective watch but far enough away not to potentially be grabbed by these strange tiny humans. Out of the two of them Midnight was more daring. Although she's spayed her motherly instinct was still there and she acknowledged that the twins were essentially human kittens. She had gotten close enough to them when they slept to sniff at them and merp her approval. Leaving before Aster or Aisley woke up.
“That's good!” She heard Sebastian call back.
The only one that didn't exactly seem pleased with the constant addition was Chris. He still held the babies and tended to them when they cried but he was firm, starch and cautious. It was a bit morbid to see him holding little Aisley, bottle feeding her as Autumn napped, pacing back and forth on guard duty. Chris was so damn serious it was hard to believe that he had any fatherly love at all. The wolf would stop his pacing, adjust the bottle and smile down at her lovingly before drawing his attention back outside with a tight jaw and eagle vision.
Chris was so 'serious’ looking that no one really wanted to ask him for the baby back. They didn't know how he'd respond to having 'his’ baby taken away.
His displeasure wasn't from the babies or Autumn herself but rather the threat of war and having infants in the home. Naturally, a protector like Chris wouldn't want the most fragile beings in the world to be anywhere near war or the threat.
With her bladder empty Claire waddled herself into the kitchen. She poured herself a glass of soda water and threw in some slices of lemon and cucumber for flavour. A refreshing combination she appreciated during the summer heat. Claire especially appreciated the air conditioning going throughout the home.
When it looks like you swallowed a watermelon grown in Chernobyl - the cool air was a godsend. Everett was heavy and he caused a lot of strain on her body. A lot more effort to move around and function than Claire was used too and because of that she sweated more and tended to overheat.
“Oh, hey,” Sebastian spoke, leaning against the wall as she drank her fizzy water. “I’ve been approved for maternity leave starting September. I'll have four months off completely paid for until I have to go back to work.”
All of her guys had paid maternity leave starting in September, Sebastian was just the last to get approved. Apparently it was common for doctors and surgeons of the male gender to go on maternity leave, so it didn't necessarily look suspicious that four of them from the same hospital left at the same time. Claire was still nervous that some of their colleagues would want to see the baby. If that were the case where they'd have to take him in on their own to show him off.
Tom had done a pretty good job showing Claire and her pregnant belly off to his co-workers and jealous office staff. People would recognize her as 'Tom’s girl’ and question why she was trying passing off three other men as the father.
Their council had given Pine maternity leave even though he wasn't the father. It was because of the situation in general and their pack dynamics. He needed time to bond with his pup while becoming a proper surrogate father. Claire honestly thought they'd give him a hard time over it. But, due to Claire's great-great-grandmother and Pines hard work he was quickly moving up higher in the ranks and was soon going to be a supervisor as a posed to a mere worker - which gave him more perks and benefits.
Everything seemed to be fitting into place and the only ugliness they had was the potential threat of war. Whenever someone would ask Richard about it he would reply with stress in his voice that 'they were working on it’ which was code for 'We don't know stop asking’
“I have another three months available if I need it I just have to apply.” He added, reaching out and rubbing her tummy through the long dress she wore.
Claire's pregnant belly was a magnet for hands it seemed. Everyone in their house couldn't keep their hands off it. Everett, much to her amusement and sometimes pain, responded to people when they touched her stomach. Tom always got a kick or two when he rubbed his hand along where Everett laid on his side. The proud papa would talk softly to him, kissing her stomach and rubbing his nose against the tired skin.
In fact, everyone spoke to Everett so much through her stomach she was sure their pup would be born knowing whose voice was whose, and whose touch belonged to which dad.
“My boobs hurt.” She complained, adjusting her bra.
Recently she had to start wearing nipple pads because her breasts were starting to leak on their own accord. Tom was trying to get her used to the breast pump but she didn't like it despite the machine giving her some relief. Because Autumn had two babies that generally demanded to be fed at the same time she needed to use a breast pump. It was next to impossible to breastfeed two infants at the same time unless she had more than two nipples.
“They would. You are making a good amount of milk right now.” Sebastian sympathized. “You should really start using your breast pump. You can freeze breast milk for future use.”
“The breast pump hurts though! My left nipple hurts in particular.” Claire complained, sitting back on the couch. She used the coffee table as a footrest and the swell of her belly as a makeshift table for her glass. A neat little parlour trick she learnt from Autumn.
“Maybe you have a plugged milk duct?” Mike asked her with concern. “I know they happen with breastfeeding women - especially new mums. That might be something you'd want to ask Tom about when he gets in. He'd know how to deal with it better than us.”
Chris looked up from his phone and warily looked her over. How in the world any of these guys found her attractive still was beyond her. When seated she looked like a fat two-humped camel sitting upright on its back legs begging for camel treats. Claire could literally rest her boobs on her stomach - how attractive. She couldn't bend over anymore and her flexibility was limited. Tom had to shave her legs and trim her private area to keep up neatness.
“Is he still kicking you?” Chris asked lovingly, gazing at her belly.
“No, he's given up for now. Until he hears Tom's voice and then he'll start back up.” Claire sighed, “I’m exhausted, I need a nap. Somebody help me up please?”
“Yes of course love!” Pine volunteered as well as Michael.
There was no shortage of men willing to bend over backwards to help her or do as she said. She also had a lot of nap buddies and there was no telling who she'd wake up next too. Claire thought they worked in shifts actually. An unspoken understanding that each man would get a good amount of time with her. She'd go to sleep with Chris and Tom beside her but wake up to Sebastian and Michael or Seb and Pine. It was an endless combination and sometimes it was just the one man.
It looked like Mike and Pine would be napping with her this afternoon while Chris and Seb stayed awake to greet Autumn and her babies.
Having been walked to her bedroom, Michael behind her while Pine was in the front - she crawled into bed, laying on her side. A pillow between her knees and two at her head assured that sleeping with baby Everett in her tummy was actually possible. Claire couldn't wait till he was born and she could sleep on her stomach or back once more.
Michael and Pine laid down on either side of her, both placing a hand on her tummy. She heard the TV go on and the familiar southern drawl of Dr Phil fill the room. Just like his mother - Everett liked Dr Phil and would kick out in excitement when he came on.
“I felt that!” Michael stated in amusement - his hand is right over the spot the baby kicked.
It was so bizarre to feel and see your unborn child physically move inside you. A feeling that Claire was probably never going to get used to no matter how many babies she had.
“Cheeky little bugger!” Pine commented, “I wonder what he'd do if you drank Dr Pepper?”
“Probably a few barrel rolls.” Claire laughed sleepily. “As it is I'm convinced he's swimming laps in there.”
“An active baby is a healthy baby.” Michael told her. “He's going to be very strong and rambunctious when born.”
With the number of vitamins and 'superfoods’, Tom had her on it wouldn't surprise Claire if she gave birth to Superman. With Everett calmed down once more Claire took the opportunity to fall asleep. Sleep was a luxury when growing a strong and rambunctious little boy.