Bearly Healed:Pacific Northwest Bears(3)

By: Moxie North

“I don’t know. Being at home wasn’t working. She’s stressed, which makes you stressed, which she feels is her fault. It’s a vicious cycle for both of you, and it’s not healthy,” Dax said. He took his hand and covered hers over her belly.

His mate and his child were everything to him. Cougar and man would do whatever it took to keep them safe. That meant physically and mentally. Right now his mate was suffering mentally, and both man and animal were unhappy.

“You sure this was her idea?” Effie asked quietly, looking over her shoulder down the jet to Cass lying on the couch.

Dax’s gaze followed hers. “Yes, she heard me talking about being pampered by Connie Rochon and thought it sounded like a spa. She wanted to give us some non –medical time to get set up for the baby. I think she needs some time to get her head back on straight. I love you babe, but you are worse than a mother hen,” Dax said, chucking his finger under her chin.

“I know. I do, I just can’t help it. I was so scared when she was in that coma, and I assumed she’d wake up her old self. Funny and sarcastic. Flipping everyone shit. She’s barely snarky right now,” Effie said sadly.

Most people would think this was a weird comment, but you had to know Cassie. She was his mate’s first true love. He’d come to terms with that. Cass was the one that kept Effie’s head above water no matter how bad things got in her life. They were each other’s support system. And Cassie was the wild carefree support that Effie needed.

Even when Cassie tried to fake her sarcasm for Effie, it fell short. She was broken. Dax’s cougar could sense it. It wasn’t just the injuries; those could heal. It was something deeper that not even Effie had tapped yet.

Clearly her being at the vineyard wasn’t working. She was in the guest house that Effie had made them build when their own house was under construction. It wasn’t really a guest house; it was Cassie’s house.

Cassie spent her days watching TV, eating cheese puffs and playing solitaire on the tablet he’d bought her. That was it; she’d stopped going to therapy. Which worried Effie even more.

“This will be a change. Maybe being away from where she was in so much pain will give her a different perspective,” Dax offered.

“Cassie, a new perspective? I would have thought only a full frontal lobotomy would have changed her personality. Apparently, it took a lot less to lose her,” Effie said sadly.

For a shifter and a shifter mate, you’d think that they’d be a little more aware that their whispering; even inside a noisy jet, wasn’t that quiet.

Cassie heard them. She knew she was a big pain in their asses right now. She looked down at her knee brace and the walking cast on her other foot. She felt like her legs belonged to someone else. She could sort of walk now on crutches. She was so sore after being in bed so long that Dax had swapped out her hospital issued crutches for a pair that wrapped around her forearms.

Effie had her friends at the tattoo shop paint them black and pink and cover them in custom artwork. As far as crutches went, they were pretty bitchin’.

Normally she’d be thrilled to show them off. Like if she broke her ankle skateboarding. That would be something to brag about. Breaking your ankle and totally fucking up your knee because you were blacked out drunk and your buddy drove you home was less than brag-able.

She didn’t blame her friend. She was a sad sack. She felt stupid. She felt alone. Besides Effie and Dax, she didn’t have anyone else to rely on. If they decided to up and move to Japan, she’d be back living in a shitty apartment above a greasy spoon.

Cassie didn’t have any huge life goals. Her expectations for a good life involved a roof that didn’t leak, food in her belly, and money for tats.

She was sure all the kids she went to school with wanted to be doctors or lawyers. Cassie thought that a steady retail job so you could pay rent on a single wide was living pretty large. She and Effie had lived in some shitty places. Effie spent some time living in her car. Cass thought she was lucky to have the car. She’d been back at one of her cousin’s houses sleeping on a couch.

That didn’t last long mostly because Cassie didn’t want to be roped into a drug raid in the middle of the night. Those kinds of sweeps usually didn’t take into account your pleas of “I don’t really know them. I was just crashing.”

Knowing she needed to at least step up and better her life as much as she could, she convinced Effie that they needed to move out together and be more independent. So they pooled their money and found a crap shack of their own. Those weren’t horrible times; they were bad sure. But they were together.

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