“Don’t put your fingers in the batter, Avery, it isn’t like cookie dough,” Summer gently chided as she lifted the toddler away from the bowl. The three year old pouted from beneath a wild mess of brown curls. “Besides, if you eat it then there will be nothing left for anyone else.”
That deep pout didn’t disappear until she put banana slices and a glass of juice in front of Avery. Once her little one was happy, she was able to turn back to making breakfast. Werewolves were a ravenous bunch, even as young as Avery was. Moreover, her little pup wasn’t a patient one in the least.
The early morning crew had already inhaled one batch and now she was trying to get the last batch ready for the rest of the pack. As it was, Avery was up earlier than normal and would be cranky well before naptime. Naptimes were easier when all the little ones napped at the same time.
With her little one happily munching away, she turned back to the pancakes she was trying to finish up. There was a lot of work that needed to be done for the day and already she was just looking forward to when things slowed down in the afternoon.
Her free hand fell to the rounding of her stomach and she smiled softly. Maybe she tired more than usual but she was happy for it regardless. However, the changes were making her other little ones antsy. They weren’t old enough to fully understand but their wolfish instincts still knew that there were changes coming to the pack.
Glancing over her shoulder, she smiled at Avery. Her little girl somehow managed to get banana all over her face. It wasn’t really that surprising. Avery’s brothers were just as bad.
“Summer?” Another small voice pulled her from her thoughts about her own kids and she turned to the towheaded boy in the door of the kitchen. She knew that he was up earlier than normal as well. “Are you making chocolate chip pancakes?”
“Well no,” she admitted, looking down at the mix. There wasn’t anything special about this morning’s breakfast. However, in looking at the downcast face, she knew she wasn’t any good at saying no to small, sad faces. “Well, Evan, if you will get Avery all cleaned up then I will make the two of you a special batch.”
“Okay!” Evan reached for the napkins while she pulled down the chocolate chips. There wasn’t enough for the whole pack to have chocolate chips but she could spoil a couple of kids. It didn’t take but a few minutes for the toddler to be cleaned and the both of them to have a plate of warm pancakes in front of him.
There was no surprise when the other kids started wandering in. Summer knew there was no hiding those smells from a pack of werewolves, let alone werewolf children. Thankfully, there weren’t many kids in the pack and most of them were all stuffing their face full of pancakes.
She set a pair of plates off to the side to wait for the last two boys before leaning against the counter. Pancakes weren’t hard to make but when there was about 40 people in the pack, she was exhausted. This made her thankful when the two Omegas came in to keep the kids from getting too rowdy. Most days she was happy to watch the whole group but she was just happy for the break.
Summer was even happier when her mate made his appearance with the two missing boys. They were still half-asleep but the scent of pancakes and pack were waking them up fast enough.
“Did you really have to break out the chocolate chips?” Derrick set the boys down in free spaces while she grabbed the extra plates. She had to gently move scoot Avery’s chair away from her brothers so that they had a chance to eat without their sister trying to steal it.
“You know I couldn’t say no,” she turned just in time to smack Derrick’s hand away from the bag of chocolate chips. His pout was easier to resist, especially when he tried to reach for the bag again.
“Oh come on.”
“Summer,” he whined, reaching out to rub her belly.
“You would deprive your kids of cookies later?” Though it was difficult, especially with his doting, she held her ground. She may have the soft spot for the kids, especially while she was pregnant, but Derrick’s pout wasn’t nearly as convincing.
“Fine, Janet and Lauren can help them make cookies later.” At that, the omegas nodded but otherwise didn’t move from their spots at the ends of the table.
Before she could argue, she was herded out of the kitchen and towards the back of the house. Derrick was gentle but unyielding as he pushed her into a chair and pushed the novel she’d been reading for the past week into her hands.
“I was perfectly fine, Derrick, I don’t need—“
“You’re tired, I can tell,” Derrick interrupted, sinking into the couch next to her and propping his feet up onto the coffee table. “And you need to relax. The omegas will watch the kids, including the triplets, and you will sit here and relax.”
“But what about the rest of the pack?”
“Logan offered to play Alpha for the day, neither one of us have any responsibility. So read your book and do your talking thing and I’ll listen.”
“Summer, you know full well it is Valentine’s day. Which means you need to stop being difficult and let me do this for you, even if I have no idea what scenarios that you’re talking about.”
“I’m pregnant,” she reminded him, poking him the book but settling into his side regardless. “I’m allowed to be difficult.” Even as she said it, she opened up the book and picked up her spot.
He always listened to her rambling while she read, regardless of what day it was but she knew better. Whatever real surprise he had cooked up, he was keeping her to keep from ruining it. She had her own hidden in the nursery for later.