Three Bears: Three Bears and Two Babies


This bonus epilogue takes place soon after the main events of Golden Chaos, the second book of the Three Bears duet, and contains spoilers for the series.


Chapter 1


I guessed I had about a minute before all three of my mates woke up and realized what was happening, which  meant about two minutes until all three of them went into full blown panic mode. That was the downside of a mate bond, there was no hiding anything. Not that I wanted to hide this from them—hopefully today was the day we'd meet our children—but I was enjoying these last few peaceful moments to mentally prepare myself for how they were going to handle the labor.

Not that they were the ones pushing twin watermelons out of their hoo-ha, but I was guessing it would seem that way with the three of them freaking out at the pain they would feel through the bond. I’d never been so grateful that my parents had insisted on flying from New York to Alaska for the birth of their first grandchildren. My dad was mostly treating it as a hunting and fishing trip, but I'd leaned heavily on Mom these past few days for advice on getting through labor and what to do afterwards. Turns out, I knew a lot less about childbirth and newborns than I thought I did. 

She could go full Mama Fox on my dramatic bear shifter mates if they didn’t cooperate and give me all the attention I was due. 

Seth might keep his head, I mused, but Noah's protective instincts would drive him insane, and Eli was more drama llama than care bear when I was in pain. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing. Whenever I'd had even the most mild period cramps, he'd carried me around the entire house and insisted on hand feeding me. I'd been so lazy these past 39 weeks of pregnancy, I was certain that most of this “baby weight” was just biscuits-and-gravy weight that I was going to have to come to terms with for the rest of my life. 

Or at least until the babies started sleeping through the night and I could get back to regular sexercise with my three mates. 

How long did it take until babies would sleep through the whole night, anyway? A couple of months, tops, surely.

I bit down on my lower lip and breathed through the next contraction as it hit, focusing instead on the warmth of Noah spooning me, his hand resting on my hip, and my enormous belly pushing against Eli's rock solid one.

Could he feel the contractions through my skin? That’d be weird. I never really considered the weirdness factor of reproduction before I got pregnant. I almost fainted the first time I saw a foot shape pressing against my belly from inside my fucking body


“What was that?” Noah said, sitting up instantly like he'd been awake the whole time and popping the peaceful bubble. “Ria, are you in labor?”

“What?!” Eli yelled, jackknifing upright, careful not to jostle me, while Seth fumbled to turn on the lamp, knocking things off the nightstand as he flooded the room with light. 

“All three of you better chill the fuck out right now,” I gritted out as the contraction eased off. “Remember what we talked about. I am the one in labor. I am the only one who gets to be even one percent dramatic today. If you three can't keep it together, you need to go wake up my mom and hang out in the living room. You can drink scotch and smoke cigars, old school dad-style, and Mom will get you when the babies are born.”

None of us actually wanted that scenario, and they could probably tell through the bond that I’d castrate them if they attempted to take me up on it, but whatever. I was laying down the law now.

“We're cool. We can be cool,” Eli replied, his voice a touch higher than usual as he deftly tied his hair up into its usual man bun like he was preparing to go to battle.

“We are fine,” Seth said more decisively, cutting Eli a warning look that clearly said behave. “What do you need, sweetheart?”

“Someone get a watch, we need to time these,” I instructed, weirded out at how completely normal I felt as soon as the contraction passed. 

“Watch. Got it,” Eli said quickly, scrambling off the bed. 

Seth’s eyes kept darting over to the folded up tarp and towels in the corner and I almost giggled at his obvious concern for our linen. 

“Help me up and you can put the tarp down,” I laughed. Seth’s lips twitched and he didn’t object, though he looked a little sheepish. “Don’t get excited or anything though. It could be hours, remember? Days, even.”

Noah scooted out of bed before practically scooping me up in his arms like I wasn’t carrying two extra passengers at the moment. I swatted at his forearm for him to put me down as my next contraction started, vaguely remembering that walking around was supposed to help. He reluctantly lowered me to my feet, hovering an inch away from me while I paced next to the bed, rubbing my lower back as best I could.

I squeaked in surprise at the sudden gush of liquid that ran down my legs before looking up at Seth and Noah, both of whom had frozen in place, staring at the puddle on the floor. 

“Well, this is embarrassing,” I muttered, wrinkling my nose. 

“Your water broke,” Seth said numbly. “Your water broke, Ria.” 

I gave him a withering look and he shot me an apologetic one in return. 

“Daddy Bear. Shower,” I commanded, just to see if I could get away with it. Noah silently guided me out of  the mess I’d made on the floor and led me to the bathroom, so apparently I could get away with bossing him around today.

Good to know.

He turned on the shower before quickly stripping us both out of our sleep clothes, checking the temperature at least three times before guiding me under the warm spray. I dragged him close as another contraction began, leaning my forehead against his chest and gripping his biceps. His arms circled me instantly, supporting my weight while gently rubbing my back. 

“You're awfully quiet,” I panted against his chest as the pain eased off. I picked through the three bonds until I found Noah's. Huh. I guess I had to give him credit because he was hiding his impending panic attack incredibly well. 

“Breathe with me, Daddy Bear,” I instructed, inhaling deeply and holding it a beat before exhaling loudly.

“I'm pretty sure that's my line, little thief. Aren't I supposed to be coaching you?” Noah murmured, helping me heft my enormous body upright and reaching for the soap.

“Don't worry about it,” I breathed, tipping my head back against the wall and letting him lather me up. His touch was incredibly gentle, and it almost made me cry. Stupid hormones. “You're clearly not as tough as me. You shouldn't feel bad about it.”

Noah's beard twitched, hiding his smile. “Yesterday, I would have argued with you.”

“Found a watch!” Eli replied, bounding into the bathroom and skidding to a stop like an overexcited puppy. Noah growled in warning, and Eli shot me a sheepish look, holding the watch up apologetically. “Also I may have woken your parents up when I was looking for it.”

“Probably a good thing,” I grimaced as another contraction began. “They’re getting closer together. You might not have to wait days after all.” 

“Yes!” Eli whooped, earning himself another growl from Noah. “Let’s go have some babies!”

Chapter 2


I had always admired Ria's strength and courage. We'd have never met her if she hadn't strolled through the forest all alone and came across our cabin. Yes, she'd been high as a kite at the time, but still, that took guts. Seeing her today, handling excruciating pain with far more calm than I could ever hope to have in my life, my admiration for her tripled. My love for her. 

I wasn't quite sure what the three of us had done right in life for this beautiful woman to choose us.

Ria had only been in labor for an hour and half, but things were progressing much faster than any of us had anticipated. Her dad had rushed to the local wolf pack territory to let the healer know today was the day, but other than that, we hadn’t done any of the things Ria had laid out in her four-page birth plan. 

She didn’t seem to care too much about the birth plan at the moment.

Shifter babies were always delivered away from humans who would definitely notice something strange when Ria and the babies recovered in record time, but now that it was all actually happening, I suddenly wished we were at a human hospital, just for the peace of mind. 

Noah had climbed on the tarp-covered bed behind her, settling Ria on a soft towel and pulling her back against his chest where she seemed to be fairly content to stay. While I was jealous of his position, I knew it was for the best. Ria’s mom, Farrah, needed someone calm on hand to help her, and I could definitely be that person. 

Eli was practically vibrating with excitement, and Ria might have punched him if he were sitting behind her.

“I'm ready to push now,” Ria announced, shooting Noah a grateful smile as he dabbed her forehead with a damp cloth. 

“Are you sure?” Eli asked instantly from the end of the bed, his excitement morphing into alarm.

“No,” Ria deadpanned, giving him a droll look. 

“She's sure,” Farrah chuckled, lightly pushing Eli out of the way and kneeling between Ria's legs. 

“Ugh, I feel so weird about my mom looking at my bits,” Ria groaned before another contraction hit. Her upper body curled upwards, face scrunched up in pain while Noah whispered soothing words in her ear, gently reminding her to breathe. 

“I already told you I'd do it,” Eli volunteered, making Noah and I roll our eyes while Ria shot him a death glare that effectively shut him up.

The only part of Ria's birth plan she was committed to was that the three of us could only see what she could see. I guided Eli to sit at Ria's side before I moved to the other, and she immediately grabbed both of our hands, leaning her head back against Noah's shoulder before curling forward again as another contraction hit. 

“I see hair,” Farrah said excitedly, peeking below Ria's dress.

“You better mean the baby's hair,” Ria muttered, grimacing through the pain. Farrah laughed while my brothers and I did our best to suppress our own smiles. 

“Yes, Ria. The baby's hair. You're doing so good, honey. Keep breathing,” Farrah encouraged. I could hear Ria’s father, Jeremy, pacing in the hallway, and assumed he was listening to everything going on in here, though he and Ria had both been more than happy that he not witness any of this firsthand. 

Ria’s dainty hand squeezed around mine as hard as she could, and I watched her with amazement, trying not to wince against the pain we could feel through the bond. 

I hadn’t given too much thought to the idea of a push present, but having felt Ria’s pain firsthand, I was heavily regretting that decision now. I’d buy her whatever she wanted after this ordeal.

“One more,” Farrah said, her voice filled with wonder. “Just one more push, Ria.” 

With a sob, Ria’s face scrunched up in concentration, her hands gripping us tightly again for a moment, before an ear-splitting scream of a newborn baby cut through the quiet room. We all exhaled in relief, except Ria who promptly burst into happy tears. 

“A boy,” Farrah sniffed, lifting him up and immediately placing him on Ria's chest, mostly exposed by her loose dress. I grabbed the fluffy towel we'd set aside earlier and carefully draped it over him—our son—vaguely hoping Jeremy was maintaining the fire. Was it too cold here for a baby? Was there enough fresh air in the house? Was the towel too scratchy for his skin? He was so small. Small and perfect.

My chest physically ached for a moment, like my heart was swelling to accommodate all the love I had for this perfect little human, cradled in the arms of the woman I loved. My son

“Hello,” Ria whispered, before her face scrunched up again. 

“Seems only fair that Seth cut the cord,” Farrah said, handing me scissors. “He’s the closest.” 

I glanced at my mate and brothers, who all nodded encouragingly. I struggled to keep my hand steady as I did it, feeling utterly ridiculous that I could shift into a 1500-pound bear and take on any enemy that threatened me, but this was terrifying. 

Within seconds, it was over and I was rewarded with a dazzling smile from my clearly overwhelmed and very much in love mate.

“Sorry, buddy,” she cooed down at him, stroking her thumb over his forehead. “Your little brother or sister is impatient to get here. You wanna snuggle one of your papas? I promise we’ll get lots of cuddle time later.” 

“Me!” Eli volunteered instantly, calming down when Noah and I shot him matching glowers. He sat back against the headboard while Farrah quickly moved around, scooping our little boy up and placing him against Eli's bare chest, tucking the towel around him more securely. 

“If you drop him, I'll kill you,” Noah muttered, side eyeing Eli. 

“I'm not going to drop you, am I, little man?” Eli cooed, head bent over our son. “Is he meant to be making those noises?” he asked Farrah uncertainly. “He kind of sounds like a little piglet.”

“He’s only got little airways, Eli,” Farrah replied affectionately. “Okay, Ria. Ready?”

“No,” she snapped, before flopping back against Noah’s shoulder, exhausted. “I want a nap.” 

“Almost there,” I replied, pushing love at her through the bond.

“I know, I know. Just push another whole person out of my vagina and I can rest,” Ria sighed. “None of you are impregnating me again, I am serious. Why did you have to be bear shifters? These babies are huge.”

I glanced over at the tiny bundle in Eli’s arms. He didn’t look huge. I wasn’t going to voice that thought out loud though. I valued my manhood too much to risk Ria ripping it off.

Ria curled forwards again and scrunched her eyes shut, breathing heavily. Her grip on my hand tightened, and I focused on her beautiful face rather than the feeling of helplessness that I couldn't do more for her. 

“Oh, this little one is not waiting around,” Farrah said with a breathy laugh. “Here they come.”

Ria collapsed back against Noah as Farrah lifted the second baby, giving Ria a watery smile. “Two boys. Good luck, darling girl.” 

Our second son wailed as Farrah passed him over, though not quite as loudly as his brother had. He settled quickly on Ria's chest while I grabbed the second towel to cover him. 

They really did look identical. Maybe after a bath we’d be able to tell the difference more easily? I was vaguely panicked we’d get them mixed up the first day they were alive. 

Noah’s frown told me he was thinking the same thing, before his face softened and his arm came around underneath Ria’s, cradling both her and the baby. For a while, we all just admired the boys while Farrah tended to Ria. Whatever was happening in the background, it felt like the entire universe had shrunk down to just the two little boys who had upended our lives in the best possible way. 

“Can I come in yet?” Jeremy asked eventually through the door, sounding impatient. I had forgotten he was out there waiting and it looked like Ria had too, so lost in our own little world.

“Someone cover up my lady bits,” Ria replied absently, running the pad of her thumb along the baby's face. 

Farrah laughed lightly as she tugged down Ria’s dress before laying a blanket over her lap.

“Okay, come in,” Ria called quietly, still staring down at our second son’s face. She was intermittently crying, but I could feel her joy. It filled the bond between us until there was no room for anything else.

“Who have we got here then?” Jeremy asked softly as Farrah helped Ria arrange both babies on her chest. Who knew the idea of picking them up would be so terrifying? I should have read more books on how to move them. 

“Jack,” Ria announced, dropping a kiss on top of the first baby's head. “And Hudson,” she added, repeating the gesture with the younger one. 

“Jack and Hudson Bernard,” Eli said thoughtfully. “I like it.” 

“You don’t have a choice,” Ria replied cheerfully.

We'd had a shortlist of approved names we'd all decided on, but the three of us had agreed Ria should get the final say since she was doing the hard work. 

“Perfect,” Noah agreed, dropping a kiss on Ria's shoulder as he stared at the twins in wonder. 

“Seth?” Ria asked, smiling up at me. 

“I love it. I love them. I love you,” I told her, leaning across the bed to brush my lips against hers. “You are incredible.” 

“If babies make you this mushy, maybe I will have one more,” she teased, pushing love at me through the bond. “Congratulations, Noah, Seth, and Eli. You’re officially all Daddy Bears now.”