Shy stared at Aries, dumbfounded, before dropping her eyes slowly to her jeans, staring at the blood that darkened the denim. “Oh my God! You think that Leto…” She threw herself back in her seat and covered her face with both hands in mortification.
“What?” Aries demanded. “You don’t have to cover for him Shy. You’ll be protected.”
Shy kept her head tilted back against the seat as her hands slid free of her face. Her pallor was ashen, and she was shaking her head as tears slipped down her cheeks. “The man in the forest that let us go,” she turned to stare at Aries, “he thought that too?” She didn’t need confirmation. She knew he’d misunderstood.
Aries’ knuckles whitened as she gripped the steering wheel harder. “While it’s unacceptable in normal society, in Skin Walker society it’s a crime that’s punishable by death.”
Shy gripped her stomach. “My God, Aries! Leto didn’t rape me!”
Aries turned to frown at her. “But you said…”
“I didn’t say anything like that! You assumed. Fuck! This is bad!”
Aries frown slid from her face. “But what about the blood?”
“Between your legs,” Aries practically growled.
Shy looked down, spreading her legs apart and fingering the tear in her jeans. “I must have cut myself climbing out of the window.”
Aries’ frown returned with a vengeance as she accused, “I heard you screaming Shy. You reek of his scent, and your own fear.”
“He was angry. He was…,” her last word was barely audible, “rough.”
“Fuck Shy, I’m risking the wrath of not only Leto, but the wrath of Conn…pun intended. Did Leto hurt you or not?”
Shy grabbed Aries’ arm. “He hurt me, but it wasn’t like that! He was just so…so furious. He choked me, threw me around the room. He wants me dead! Please, don’t take me to StoneCrow, Aries. You said he has no right to keep me. I-I haven’t done anything wrong. I can’t go there. Not like this, not now. He’ll kill me. He already tried, and if he finds out about the ba…” Shy gasped, realizing her mistake and dropped her hands, pulling back into her seat and dropping her eyes to the floor.
“If he finds out about what, Shy?” Aries tone was firm.
“Aries, I can’t.”
“They’re approximately half a mile behind us.” Aries slowed the vehicle as Shy’s eyes snapped to hers in silent plea. “Leto’s with them.”
Shy turned in her seat. “Please, Aries! Please!”
“Talk,” Aries demanded. “Leto will kill you if he finds out about what?”
Shy looked down at the speedometer. The vehicle slowed rapidly. “Please, just drive, and I’ll tell you.”
“Jesus, Aries! Please! I’ll tell you, just go!”
Aries pulled her foot completely off the gas pedal and the motor whined as it slowed.
“BABY!” Shy shrieked. “He’ll kill me if he finds out about the baby. I’m pregnant.”
Aries' mouth dropped open as she turned to stare at Shy in shock before clamping her mouth shut and slamming her foot back on the gas pedal, pressing it flat to the floor.
Shy watched as Aries focused straight ahead, her pupils expanding until her eyes were nearly black as she slowly inhaled. “I scent no second life, Shy.”
Shy lifted a trembling hand to gently place it on her stomach. “You’re not supposed to. But it’s there.”
Aries’ tone softened. “How far along are you?”
“I don’t know. Five, six weeks maybe.”
Aries’ eyes crinkled at the corners. “Why would Leto want to kill you simply because you’re pregnant? If anything, that would keep him away from you. We should tell him.”
Shy smiled weakly, the action not reaching her eyes. “I believe it’s his child.”
Aries’ brows hiked. “Again I reiterate, we need to tell him Shy.”
Shy shook her head and began sobbing. “You don’t understand.”
“Well help me understand then, damn it!”
Shy turned to Aries, her eyes pleading. “Leto thinks I worked with the Megalya. He thinks I’m one of them.”
“So, tell him the truth. Shy, if he’s trusted you enough to sleep with you, then he’ll listen.”
Shy threw up her hands in defeat. “He hasn’t!”
“Hasn’t what? Listened?” Aries was completely lost.
“He hasn’t slept with me, Aries!” Shy’s lower lip trembled with the revelation as tears streamed freely and sobs wracked her slender shoulders. “The Megalya did this to me. They used his semen to impregnate me. He doesn’t know I’m carrying his child. No one does.” She dropped her head to stare at her belly before caressing it gently. “I carry his scent, because I carry his child. He’s never touched me until he tried to kill me back in that hotel room.”