The talking was nice and calm around the dining table. Josh was rather quiet, though. I was sure he tried to stay out of the spotlight so his dad wouldn’t criticize him. I understood and just showed him my attention instead, squeezing his hand and smiling at him. I might only have one hand to eat, but I didn’t mind. My mate needed me, and I would be there for him.
“Should we tell them yet?” I leaned closer and whispered.
I wanted my mate to feel the joy of finally getting his father’s approval, and I believed this would get him that. I didn’t like how he was almost sinking into his seat, trying to appear smaller, while his siblings happily chatted with his father. I knew why his father acted differently with Josh. He was the future king. The future leader. He had other responsibilities to live up to, but it was extreme sometimes what small things his father could point out he did wrong. I would never let him stand alone, though. I was always there to make him feel better when he needed me to.
“Do you think now would be good?” he asked.
He smiled a little.
“You do it. He will want you to,” I reminded him.
Josh seemed to gain some confidence, and then called out to his father, who turned and it brought the others’ attention to us as well.
“We have something to tell you,” Josh said, but focused on his dad, though the news was for all of them.
Josh turned a little and grabbed my hand before he suddenly pulled me to my feet, standing up as well. I felt quite nervous. I had not expected us to stand, but here we were.
“We have great news to share,” he said.
His dad seemed to slowly catch on and turned softer, his posture changing.
“You will finally have that heir,” Josh told him. “The one I needed, I mean.”
“Pregnant,” Josh finished for him.
It took a second or two, then his father completely changed, clasping his hands and laughing happily. The rest of the table had waited for his reaction, and the tense energy seemed to have disappeared, now that they knew he was happy about the news.
“Oh, but this is wonderful!” he said. “Finally!”
Yes, I thought inside myself, finally. It meant hopefully the pressure would be taken off of me.
“Some champagne,” he said to the surrounding servants, who all came to serve us some. “Not for the pregnant one, though.”
We all chuckled a little, and I stuck to the water. We all raised our glasses, and this time the king looked truly proud at his son, and, of course, at me.
“To the future heir.”
“To the future heir,” we all repeated.
The conversations continued afterwards, but the king was focused on me.
“How are you feeling?” he asked, and I felt warmed by his words.
“A bit nauseous, to be honest,” I chuckled, but while it was the truth, his father twisted it around, turning to his son.
“Are you making sure she is feeling good?” he asked.
“Father…” he sighed.
“Oh, Josh has been very attentive. Do not worry. It’s just the baby,” I said, and ran a hand over my stomach, and it brought a smile to the old king’s lips.
“I can’t wait to meet him,” he said.
“It could be a girl,” I reminded the king.
“Yes, but it won’t be your only one, then.”
It was important that it was a boy. Old laws dictated that a son inherited, not a daughter. I didn’t care about the gender. I loved that I was going to have a child. I wanted to love them no matter what, but I understood things were different for us. There were a lot of expectations, and a son was one of them.
“Make sure to keep an eye on her,” his father told Josh.
“I am, Father.”
“Don’t leave her alone for too long.”
“I bring her around with me.”
I looked at Josh, frowning a bit. No, he did not. Josh worked a lot and often had important meetings I did not attend. I tried being an active crown princess, but Josh had been very clear about taking care of the more difficult matters and such. But he did not bring me around with him, even if he just wanted me to sit quietly at his side. I said nothing, though. I wouldn’t ruin it more between him and his dad.
“To the meetings too, yes?” his dad asked.
“They are alpha meetings,” Josh said.
“She is pregnant.”
“I’m aware. I’m the one who got her pregnant,” he snapped, and I almost choked on my water that I had just taken a sip of.
That was a bit too much for me, but I remained quiet, yet as I looked at his dad, he looked so unpleased.
“What?” Josh asked. “Have I now gotten her pregnant wrong?”
“Stop that,” his father said lowly, but the others had already stopped talking.
“No, get it out,” Josh said, and I sighed.
We had reached the point of no return, as I called it, much sooner than I expected, but Josh had less and less patience when it came to his father, and he had snapped earlier than I thought he would. He let go of my hand and lifted them a little in a ‘I can’t take anymore’ way, before letting them drop and fall to the armrests.
“I have not said anything,” his dad said.
“Yes, you have. I somehow am treating my pregnant mate wrong,” Josh retorted. “Yet you have not seen how I have been there since she got pregnant. You don’t know what happens.”
“I always keep an eye on my children.”
The entire room turned quiet and all the kids were watching his father. That was creepy, I agreed, but no one said anything.
“So, tell me, how can I do better than I already do?” Josh asked.
“With you, Josh, there is always room for improvement.”
Ouch! My wolf whimpered inside my head, and I nodded a little. She hated it too when our mate was being treated like that, and it wasn’t always I could save the situation.
What? I asked her.
Anything! He is drowning.
I nodded again and then turned to the two alphas who were staring each other down.
“I assure you, Your Majesty, he is treating me right, as he always has,” I said and reached out, running my hand down Josh’s arm. “He loves me.”
His dad seemed to soften, as he always did when I interfered.
“Good. All I need to know.”
The atmosphere changed so quickly when the king’s mood changed, but he was king, after all. He was supposed to be able to change the energy with the snap of his fingers.
“How about dessert?” he asked.
“Yes, please,” I said, and we all went back to the food, yet I sensed the gloomy mood of my mate.