This story is set in the year after the adventures in ‘Booyong Mountain’ and is part of the Sam and Jody series.
It was dark. The air seemed to crackle with electricity and in the distance thunder rumbled. She couldn’t see more than outlines of trees and shadowy figures. Cold air brushed her skin and she immediately stood still. Her breath caught in her throat and her head whipped around when a whispered voice broke the silence that enveloped her. She couldn’t make out the words, no matter how hard she strained to listen. Her heart pounded in her chest and she knew one thing and one thing only; she had to leave. In the distance the darkness seemed to lose some of its intensity. It was not easy to see, but at some point, the pitch dark held a gray hue.
Despite the heaviness of her body she managed to move her feet. It was hard. It felt like they were held by an invisible force. Pulling them free was exhausting, but she pressed on. She had to. She was on a mission. At least, it felt like she was.
For a moment, she stood still to catch her breath. Immediately, the heaviness of her body increased and it was as if she was slowly sinking into the ground.
Without thinking twice, she kicked off her shoes and took a few steps forward. She felt lighter and started running toward the gray area. It grew by the second, until, suddenly, a blinding light made her hide her face in her hands. She knew she couldn’t stop. Something pressed her forward. It was like she had no control over her body anymore. She felt hands on her back, gently, but urgently pushing her forward.
“Go.” The words were whispered. She tried to cast a look over her shoulder to identify the speaker, but it was impossible to move her head. The only thing she could do was go forward, urged on by the hands on her back. She stumbled into a tree and held on for dear life, until she could catch her breath.
Suddenly, her surroundings changed. The darkness fell away and she was standing in a lush, green forest. The sun was barely able to pierce the dense canopy and where it did, bright beams of light illuminated vine covered trees. Birds were hopping from branch to branch. Her eyes scanned the area that was displayed in front of her and its beauty filled her senses. She felt safe and was finally able to take a deep, cleansing breath.
The pressure on her back increased and tentatively she took a few steps forward. She halted when her eyes caught sight of a hanging bridge. It was narrow, barely wide enough for one person to cross. She looked down at her body and let out a strangled sob. She wouldn’t fit. She cast a look over her shoulder and panicked when the darkness slowly but surely rolled in. It was only a matter of second before she would have been engulfed. The bridge was her only way out.
“No!” she cried.
A persistent push in her back almost made her lose her balance. It made her furious. “Stop it! I can’t. Don’t you see I don’t fit? I’ll never be able to cross that bridge.” She knew she was screaming, but her words came out as whispers only.
The darkness was creeping closer. She could feel the cold touch the back of her legs already. The hands on her back became more persistent and she tried to push back.
“Go,” the voice said, this time more urgently.
“I can’t,” she sobbed. “Can’t you see?”
“You have no choice. You have to do it. Do it. Now!”
The unseen force pushed hard and suddenly she was stumbling toward the bridge. It was her only option. She grabbed the vines the bridge was made from and felt the roughness underneath her hands. The bridge started shaking and her first reaction was to pull away her hands. But she couldn’t. She was stuck. The vibration increased and within seconds her whole body was shaking. The ground underneath her feet started crumbling and with sheer terror she realized she would be pulled down with the bridge as soon as it collapsed.
She shouted for help, but there was no sound. One last look over her shoulder showed her the darkness was about to engulf her. So, she did the only thing she could think of. She jumped. Suddenly, her hands were free and she was standing in the middle of the swaying bridge. She looked up and squinted. A figure was standing at the end of the bridge, waving at her and gesturing her to come closer. She couldn’t identify the person, but felt like she should know them. She took a step forward. Her eyes never left the figure, even though each step she took seemed to take her further away. Her feet moved faster. Maybe if she’d run she’d make it. Again, her body was weighed down and when she looked down she noticed a hand around her ankle. She kicked, but the hand didn’t let go. Frantically, she tried to pull away and kicked harder and harder. But she was stuck. When she looked up the figure at the end of the bridge was fading, as was her sense of security.
“No! Don’t leave. Please, don’t leave!”
“You’re on your own, Lucy.” The words were whispered and it was the same voice she heard before. “There’s only one person who can do this. You. Now, do it!”
Trishia Waters gently shook the twitching body of Lucy McDonnell. She was lying on her side, with her arms protectively wrapped around her swollen belly.
“Lucy, honey, please, wake up. You’re having a bad dream.” Trishia’s voice became more urgent.
Dark eyelashes fluttered and with a sense of relief Trishia saw a pair of confused, sleepy dark-green eyes look up at her. “Shit,” Lucy said. She pushed herself upright and raked her fingers through her long, dark hair. “That must have been the craziest dream I’ve ever had.”
Trishia rearranged the pillows on the bed, stuffing them behind Lucy’s back so she could lean back and relax. “Do you want to tell me about it?”
Lucy settled into the pillows and nodded. “I need something to drink, though. My throat is parched.”
“Water or juice?” Trishia was already standing next to the bed.
With a laugh Trishia nodded and left the bedroom. She made quick work of filling a tall glass with cold water and another one with juice she had made the evening before. It was a mixture of orange, grapefruit and kiwi and she knew it was Lucy’s favorite. She put the glasses on a small tray and added a small cup with almonds, walnuts and raisins.
“You’re the best,” Lucy said when Trishia put the small tray on the bedside table, before taking a seat on the edge of the bed. She handed Lucy the glass of water and received a warm smile in return. After Lucy emptied half of the glass she beckoned Trishia closer and pressed a soft kiss against her lips. “Thank you.”
“Anytime,” Trishia said. She reached out and tucked a strand of dark hair behind Lucy’s ear. “Now, are you ready to tell me about that dream?”
Lucy nodded and told Trishia as much as she could remember. When she related the part about getting stuck on the bridge she shivered. “It felt so real,” she said. She took another sip of water and when she looked up at Trishia her eyes held a pensive expression. “What do you think all that means?”
“I’m not sure, honey. I do know that, the closer we’re getting to the delivery date, the wilder your dreams are.” Trishia grabbed the small dish with nuts and handed it to Lucy. “Here, eat something.” She watched as Lucy popped an almond in her mouth and contentedly chewed it. “If you really want to know what your dream means, we could ask George Kirby.”
Lucy smiled. “Yarra’s dad most likely has better things to do than explaining the workings of my hormone scrambled brain.”
“Now you sound like Fiona.”
They both laughed.
“Well, Fi and I are identical twins, separated by twelve years,” Lucy said. Her eyes were twinkling. “I’m pretty sure she’d have an interesting take on what I just dreamt.”
“Maybe we should call her.”
Lucy cast a glance at the alarm clock at Trishia side of the bed. “At five-thirty in the morning? I’ve got no problem waking up my little sister, but I don’t want to do that to poor Robin.”
“Who says she’s with Robin?” Trishia laughed when Lucy raised an eyebrow, but remained silent. “Alright, I’ll take your word for it.” She took the glass of water out of Lucy’s hand and replaced it with the juice. “Still, I…are you feeling alright? Are you worried about the baby?”
Lucy rubbed her free hand across her belly and shook her head. “No, the baby is doing fine. Everything is right where it needs to be. Maybe…maybe I’m just a little anxious about becoming a mom.” Lucy bit her bottom lip. “Our life will never be the same.”
Trishia put her hand over Lucy’s that was still resting on her belly. She smiled. “No, it won’t. But it will change in a wonderful way.”
“It already has, thirty-nine weeks ago.”
“Just saying the number thirty-nine gives me an anxiety attack,” Trishia mumbled. “It’s still hard to comprehend you can go into labor any moment.”
“I’m ready.” Lucy tried to change position and grimaced when it proved harder than she thought it would.
Trishia chuckled. “Here, let me help.”
Lucy sent Trishia a grateful look. “You know, I am so glad I’m not an elephant. I don’t think I could be pregnant for twenty-two months. I can’t wait to see my toes again.” She shook her head. “I don’t know how Jody did it, carrying twins. This is just one baby and look at me! I‘m so huge I can barely move.”
“Exaggeration is a family trait,” Trishia said with a sigh. “Do you look pregnant? Yes, you do. In a beautiful, radiant way. Are you huge? Hardly.”
Lucy leaned back into the pillows and closed her eyes. There was a smile on her face. “I’ve got to give it to you, honey. You managed to keep all your brownie points during this whole pregnancy.” She tightened her hold on Trishia’s hand and pulled her closer. “If you kiss me, your total points may even increase.”
Trishia leaned in and pressed her lips against Lucy’s. She kissed her slow and unhurried, deepening the kiss when Lucy softly moaned. She enjoyed the way Lucy’s lips moved underneath hers. When they finally broke apart Lucy’s eyes had become a few shades darker. Trishia pressed her hand against Lucy’s chest, feeling the increased heart rate.
“Are you aware that, during the home-stretch, increased oxytocin levels may induce labor?” Lucy whispered.
Trishia swallowed and pulled back a little. Kissing Lucy never failed to kick her libido in high gear and it took her a moment to process what just had been said. “Does it?” She took a deep breath. “I’ve heard about it, but never met someone who experienced it.”
Lucy winced and rubbed her belly. “There’s a first for everything.” Her gaze caught Trishia’s and she smiled. “My water just broke.”
Jody McDonnell Stevens tip-toed out of her childrens’ bedroom. She left the door ajar and headed to the kitchen. It was still very early and Taryn, who had been fussy all night, had finally gone back to sleep. Timothy, her twin brother, usually slept through the night, but normally woke early.
“Now, if all of you will stick to your daily routine, I may have time for a cup of coffee,” Jody mumbled. She pushed her hair back from her forehead and filled the kettle with water. She planned to relish the peace and quiet for as long as she could, enjoying some much-needed caffeine.
“Is that for one or two?” a sleepy voice behind her almost made her drop the kettle. “Sam! You just scared the heck out of me. I thought you were still asleep.” Her eyes softened when she took in the tall, sleep-tousled form of her partner. She reminded her of Timothy, with his bright blue eyes and unruly, blond hair.
“I was asleep.” Sam yawned and stepped closer, pulling Jody into her arms, kettle and all. After giving her a gentle squeeze she let go and took the kettle out of Jody’s hands and put it on the stove. “I’ll make you a coffee to go.”
Jody frowned. “To go? To go where?”
Sam grinned and showed her cell phone. She tapped the screen and held the device up so Jody could read the message on the display. It was from Lucy.
“One baby, coming up! See you soon. Drive safely. No rush. I’m fine. Tell Sam not to give Trish any caffeine.”
Jody burst out laughing and wrapped her arms around Sam. “My sister sure is one of a kind.”
“Not really,” Sam said. “She’s two of a kind. You forget her twin-not-twin. Fiona could have said the same thing. Literally.”
“That’s true.” Jody pressed her face against Sam’s shoulder and let out a happy sigh. “Finally. I can’t wait to meet this baby.”
“Let’s hope it’s not going to be a triplet-not-triplet,” Sam joked.
Jody grinned and pulled Sam’s head down to give her a kiss. “I secretly hope this kid will be exactly like Lucy. Paybacks and all that.”
“You think Trish doesn’t have her hands full already?”
“She can handle it. Besides, she has easy access to handcuffs and a holding cell.”
Sam laughed. She put her hands on Jody’s shoulders, turned her around and gently pushed her in the direction of the bedroom. “Go get dressed. I’ll have your coffee ready when you’re done.”
“Thanks, honey.” Before leaving the kitchen, she stopped and turned to look at Sam. “Have I told you lately how much I love you?”
“Umm, maybe a time or two, three, one hundred,” Sam said. She winked and blew Jody a kiss. “You can tell me again tonight, after the baby is born, the twins are asleep and it’s just you, me, a jacuzzi and a bottle of chilled, white wine.” Even with the distance between them Sam could see Jody’s eyes darken at the prospect. She chuckled. “You’re so easy.”
Jody’s eyes twinkled and she smiled. “Indeed, I am. And you love it.”
Sam grinned. “Indeed, I do. Now, go get dressed. Your sister needs your support, because it’s entirely possible Trish has passed out already.”
Fiona McDonnell was so relaxed. She was snuggled up against a warm body and was in that state between sleeping and being awake. The only thing that interrupted her state of bliss was the sound of a mosquito buzzing around her head. She impatiently swatted at it, not willing to open her eyes to determine its location.
An amused voice pulled her a little further out of her sleepy haze. “What are you doing?”
“Damn, mozzies,” Fiona mumbled into her pillow. She lifted her arm again and swung it around in the air, hoping she would hit the offending insect and at least render it unconscious.
“Fiona.” The warm body next to her shifted and Fiona groaned.
“Don’t move. Please? I’m so comfy,” she said. “It’s just that—.”
“Damn, mozzie. Yes, I know. Fiona, honey, it’s your phone.”
Fiona frowned, still reluctant to open her eyes. “What’s with my phone?”
A pair of lips landed on her cheek to give her a quick kiss. “You’re adorable when you’re incoherent.”
Robin Adams chuckled. “Yes, you are. Now, open those gorgeous eyes and look at me for a moment.”
Fiona let out a defeated sigh and slowly opened her eyes, blinking against the daylight that fell through the blinds. “You know, one of these days we should close those blinds. I mean, they’re there for a reason. Right?” Her gaze fell on Robin and the slight annoyance on her face was replaced with a happy grin. “You’re naked.”
“And she has amazing observation skills.”
“Well, I am a photographer. It would be sad if I’d miss details like that.”
Robin laughed. She leaned over Fiona and grabbed the cellphone that had started buzzing again. She held it up so Fiona could have a look at it. “Here’s your mozzie.”
“No wonder it didn’t die. I never hit it.” She yawned and took the phone out of Robin’s hand. She put it next to her on the bed, grabbed Robin’s hand and pulled her on top of her. “Now, where were we?”
“Don’t you want to know who is texting you at six in the morning?”
“Only if it’s you, but you’re right here.” Fiona grinned and pulled Robin down for a kiss.
After a few moments, Robin pulled back. There was a twinkle in her brown eyes when she looked at the expression on Fiona’s face. “Check your phone.”
“Why? The only thing I want to check is you and —.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, shit. Lucy. Where’s my phone?”
Robin picked up the phone and handed it to Fiona. This time she tapped the display. “Crap. It is from Luce.” He eyes scanned the message and a big grin appeared. “Launch day has arrived. See you in the hospital. That is, if you’re able to pull yourself away from your girlfriend. Don’t forget your camera,” she read aloud. Fiona laughed and pulled Robin into her arms. She kissed her soundly. “Baby girl is coming.”
Robin smiled at Fiona’s excitement. “You know, it’s absolutely possible it’s a boy. There is this fifty percent chance thing.”
Fiona shook her head. “Nope, it’s a girl. I just know it. She’ll be just like Luce and I can train her to be the best brat ever.”
Robin shook her head and chuckled. “That, I can see. Now, get moving. I’ll make you coffee.”
Fiona threw back the blanket that was covering her and practically jumped out of bed. “You’ll be coming, too, right?”
“As soon as I can, yes,” Robin said. “There’s a field trip for a third-grade class planned for this morning. I need to be there to show them around. I’ll leave as soon as they do.”
“Tell Sam to call the school and tell them Booyong Mountain Resort is closed for the day.”
Robin picked up a shirt that had landed on the floor the previous evening and slipped it on. “And disappoint twenty-one little kids? You know they’re dying to see the baby wombats.”
Fiona made a sad face. “Okay. I guess that’s a good enough excuse.” She stepped toward Robin and wrapped her arms around her, pulling her against her in a tight hug. “You will come after that, right?” She leaned back a little so she could gaze into Robin’s eyes. “I know we haven’t even been together for a year yet, but you are part of the family.” She gave her a gentle shake. “You know that, right?”
Robin’s brown eyes shone with affection and she nodded. “I know. Thank you.”
“Good.” Fiona leaned in and captured Robin’s lips in a long, slow kiss. Immediately, her body responded and her hands slid underneath Robin’s shirt.
“If you don’t end this, you’ll miss everything and never live it down,” Robin said when they had to come up for air. She sounded like she was out of breath. “Especially, since Lucy already figured out you’re here with me.”
Fiona nodded and pressed her forehead against Robin’s. “She has super powers.”
Robin chuckled. “I think she just knows you really well, since you two are the twin-not-twin.”
Fiona laughed and slowly stepped away from Robin. “That we are. That’s why this kid needs to be a girl and a replica of her mother.”
Lucy pressed her hands against her lower back and slowly walked through the hospital room. She was concentrating on her breathing. Her contractions had become more intense and the time in between was shorter in duration.
“How you’re doing, Luce?” Jody was leaning against the bed. Her eyes were following Lucy’s movements and she was silently keeping track of the contractions.
Lucy looked up and sent Jody a tight smile. “So far, so good. I’m pleased with how things are going now.”
Jody nodded with a smile. “You’re doing great. Just think of all those poor women before us who were forced to lay on their backs with their feet in the stirrups for the duration of their labor.”
Lucy chuckled. “It’s so unnatural. I like the help from gravity, thank you very much. I don’t know how mom did it. Six times, to boot.” She looked at Jody and shook her head. “And then, of course, there’s you. Birthing twins, at home, in the middle of a bloody cyclone.”*
“Have I ever told you I had nightmares for a while after that?”
Lucy shook her head and she looked genuinely surprised. “You did?”
“I did. At the time, everything went so fast, I really didn’t have a lot of time to think about it. All I knew that there were two babies who were ready to meet their parents. The fact that their timing was lousy wasn’t something I could dwell on.” Jody paused for a moment. “I was very fortunate to have mom and Susan Kirby with me.”
Lucy let out a soft moan when another contraction hit, but calmly breathed through it. “Don’t forget a house full of guests for Christmas dinner.”
Jody laughed. “We never do anything the normal way, do we? Anyway, afterward, when Tim and Taryn were sleeping in their crib that first night, I was hit with everything that could have gone wrong and I almost had a panic attack.”
“How did you deal with that?”
“Sam,” Jody said. “She’s always been an expert at chasing away my demons and she did that night, and quite a few nights afterward. No matter the experience I already had with babies, toddlers and sibling-teenagers, suddenly I was responsible for those two tiny human beings, who were totally depending on me to do a good job.”
“Which you and Sam did, and are doing,” Lucy said. She patted her belly. “I can’t wait for this little one to meet the cousins.” She looked up at the clock and frowned. “Does it take Trish really fifteen minutes to grab something to drink?”
“I doubt it. I bet she’s just outside the door here, in the waiting area, talking to Sam, who, no doubt is giving her another quick run-down on how to be a good birth companion.”
Lucy chuckled and continued her slow walk through the room.
“I can go get her for you,” Jody offered.
“No, it’s alright, I’m sure she’ll be back in a minute. I know she’s nervous, but she’s not a chicken. She’ll be in soon.” Another contraction hit. This time a stronger and longer one. “She’d better,” Lucy said through gritted teeth.
Jody suppressed a laugh, pulled out her cellphone and quickly tapped a message.
The answer was almost immediate. Slow breathing here next to me.
Too late for that. Send her butt in here. I think baby is not waiting much longer.
Within a minute, the door opened and Trish stepped inside the room.
“Sorry about the delay, honey.” Trish walked over to Lucy and reached out a hand to massage her lower back. “How are you doing?”
“Getting ready to bring this baby into the world.” The look she gave Trish was a mixture of excitement, pain and annoyance. “The next one is yours.”
Jody grinned at the shocked look on Trish’ face.
“You’re the one who says she wants a big family.” Lucy gasped and grabbed Trish’ hand in a vice-like grip. “I love you more than anything, but the next pregnancy is yours.”
It was obvious Trish was struggling to come up with an appropriate answer. “Um…whatever you want, honey,” she finally said. “But let’s get this one going first, alright?”
Fiona was pacing up and down the hospital hallway. It wasn’t a typical hospital setting, which she was grateful for, because she hated hospitals. The walls were painted in warm colors and adorned with pictures of babies. The chairs in the many sitting areas were comfortable and the coffee was not bad. Still, Lucy had been in labor for hours and with every passing minute she was getting more anxious.
“Red, if you don’t sit down, I’ll tie you to a chair,” Sam said, looking up from scrolling through her phone.
Fiona muttered something unintelligible and plopped in a vacant chair next to Sam. “How can you be so calm?”
“Who says I am?”
“You look calm.”
“Only because I know what’s going on inside.” She held up her phone. “My wife is keeping me updated.”
Fiona frowned and leaned over to look at the display that showed a picture of Jody and the twins. She smiled. “Hey, I took that one.”
Sam looked up and smiled. “I know. It’s one of my favorites.”
Fiona bumped shoulders with Sam. “So, what’s going on?”
“Ten centimeters, what?”
Fiona made a face. “Ouch.”
Sam grinned at the response and nodded. “Women who give birth are super-heroes.”
“No kidding. What does that mean?”
“To be a super-hero?” Sam’s blue eyes were innocent.
“No, idiot. To be…dilated ten centimeters. Doesn’t that mean she’s ready to push, pop that baby out and we’re done?”
“If only life were that simple.” Robin’s voice sounded behind them. “Hi, Sam,” she said. She leaned in and gave Fiona a quick kiss. “Are you misbehaving?”
“Never.” Fiona pulled Robin down in a chair on the other side of her. “Mom and Jody are in there, with Luce and Trish.” She pointed at the room across the hallway. “And Sam and I just decided that women who give birth are super-heroes.”
Robin nodded. She grabbed Fiona’s hand and intertwined their fingers. “Relax,” she said. “A ten centimeter dilation doesn’t mean the baby is immediately born. It can still be a while. I know Lucy has chosen to do this as natural as possible, so when her body is ready, the baby will be ready.”
“When did you become an expert on child birth?” Fiona asked, but there was a teasing undertone in her voice.
“Well, Miss Photographer slash software engineer, I am a biologist.”
Inwardly, Sam laughed. Robin had Fiona’s number down pat. If, a year ago, anyone had told her Fiona would fall in love with someone who could break down her walls, reign in her sarcasm and actually mellow her out she would not have believed it. But it had happened and as far as Sam was able to tell, Fiona and Robin had only grown closer. Sam’s phone buzzed and she quickly looked at the display.
Getting there. Might not be able to type anymore. Ever. Luce is crushing my hand. Trish is awesome.
“It won’t be long now, honey, hang in there.” Trishia Waters was sitting behind Lucy, who was perched on a birthing stool. Lucy was leaning back against her chest. Trish’ left arm was wrapped around Lucy, her hand resting on her abdomen, while her right hand was holding Lucy’s.
“You’re doing great, sis.” Jody’s right hand was firmly held by Lucy’s left hand. Every now and then Lucy’s grip became almost painful, but Jody knew the real discomfort and pain was carried by her sister.
“The baby is crowning,” the midwife said. Her voice was calm as she gently led Lucy through this critical stage of giving birth. “Look in the mirror,” she encouraged.
Lucy looked at the mirror on the floor and she gasped when the top of a very dark-haired little head became visible.
“Breathe through it, honey. You can do this,” Trish said, not able to tear her gaze away from the mirror on the floor.
Lucy’s breathing became rapid and she let out a pained groan.
“Here’s the head, Lucy. Almost there,” the midwife said, not able to hide the excitement in her voice. “Get ready for the shoulders.”
Lucy panted and just as she thought she couldn’t take any more pressure it let up and the baby was out. Trish and Jody assisted Lucy to a more comfortable sitting position when the cry of a newborn baby filled the air.
“Congratulations, moms, you have a healthy baby girl.” The midwife lifted the baby up and put her on Lucy’s chest.
“A girl.” Lucy’s voice was filled with wonder. She looked up at Trishia who was entranced by the little human in Lucy’s arms. She pressed her cheek against Trishia’s, who seemed not aware that tears were rolling down her cheeks.
“You did it,” Trishia said in awe. “You are amazing.”
She wrapped both arms around Lucy and the baby and pulled them close. “My girls,” she whispered, before leaning in and kissing Lucy softly.
Jody had stepped away to give Lucy and Trishia some privacy and watched the endearing scene from the other side of the room. She sniffed and wiped away the tears that had started as soon as the baby’s healthy cry had shattered the silence. Even from where she stood, Jody could tell the baby was the spitting image of Lucy. Joan McDonnell who had been present in the room as well, wrapped an arm around Jody to give her a one-armed hug. “It’s like I’m back in time and looking at a newborn Lucy and a newborn Fiona,” she said.
“DNA is a wonderful thing.” Jody sniffed. “And if you are right, we’re all in for a lot of trouble.”
“Did you hear that?” Fiona shot up in her chair. Her eyes were wide and she radiated excitement.
“Hear what?” Sam asked.
“I heard a baby cry.”
“How odd, since this is a birthing pavilion and all that,” Sam teased.
‘No, seriously, Sam.” Fiona turned to Robin. “Did you hear it?”
Robin nodded and smiled at Fiona’s enthusiasm. “The baby is here. I just know it.” She elbowed Sam in the ribs. “You need hearing aids.”
“What?” Sam’s eyes sparkled.
“You need hea—.” Fiona paused in mid-sentence and punched Sam in the shoulder. “You’re horrible. I’m gonna tell Jody on you.”
Sam laughed and fought off a hand that was trying to poke her in the ribs. “You don’t need Jody’s help,” she said. “You’re a big girl now. Make sure your camera is ready to go, because yes, I heard a baby cry as well. I think the latest addition to our family has arrived.”
The door across from the waiting area was opened and Jody and her mother stepped out in the hallway. Both were smiling through their tears. Next to her, Sam heard the clicking of a camera and she grinned. She was going to have to be nice to Fiona to get a copy of that picture.
“Mom! Jody! Is Luce okay? Did Trish faint? Is it a boy or a girl?”
Joan McDonnell smiled and walked over to give her youngest daughter and Robin a quick hug, while Jody was enveloped in Sam’s arms.
“Come on, you guys. I am in desperate need of some information here.”
“Your sister is doing great. No, Trish did not faint. She did an excellent job and the baby is healthy.” Jody exchanged a smile with her mother. “And we’ll leave it up to Luce and Trish to introduce their baby.”
“Are you serious?” The look Fiona shot Jody was pleading.
“Yup, very serious. You’ve waited nine months, you can wait a few more minutes.”
Fiona turned to Robin but before she could say anything, Robin raised a hand to prevent her from speaking. “I’m with them,” she said. “Lucy and Trish should be the ones introducing their baby.” She grinned. “Stop pouting.”
“I don’t pout,” Fiona said. She sat back in her chair and longingly stared at the closed door.
Jody buried her face against Sam’s chest to hide her laughing. “She’s so whipped,” she said. “Who’d have thought that was even possible?”
Sam kissed Jody’s ear and grinned when the body in her arms squirmed a little. “Robin is doing a great job with her. I should give her a raise.” She sat back down in the chair and pulled Jody down with her. “Now we wait. Again.”
But they didn’t have to wait too long. Fifteen minutes after Jody and Joan McDonnell had entered the hallway the door opened and the nurse who had assisted the midwife stepped out in the hallway. “Lucy and Trish are requesting the McDonnell clan to come and meet their baby.” Her voice was cheerful and her eyes sparkled.
Fiona was the first one to get up, pulling Robin along with her. “You’re part of the clan,” she said, before Robin had a chance to protest. “Come on.” She stepped through a small entryway, through another door inside a large room. Lucy was reclining in bed, with Trish sitting on the edge. Her arm was securely wrapped around Lucy, who was holding the baby.
“Wow, look at all that hair,” was the first thing Fiona said. She snapped a few pictures and stepped closer to the bed. Her eyes never left Lucy’s and she let out a sigh of relief when her sister nodded and smiled at her, silently conveying to her that she was alright.
Sam, holding Jody’s hand, walked around the bed and looked down on the baby. “Trish, Lucy, what a beautiful little baby,” she said.
Lucy smiled up at her. “Thanks, Sam.” She grabbed Trish’ hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“Alright, everybody,” Trish said. “Lucy and I would like you to meet our daughter, Elizabeth Jody McDonnell Waters.”
Sam heard Jody gasp and with a smile she gently pulled her in front of her. “I love the name,” she said.
Jody reached out and touched a tiny little fist. “Hello, sweetheart,” she said, not aware of the tear that was sliding down her cheek. Fiona’s camera was clicking away, but Jody had only eyes for the little baby in Lucy’s arms. “I’m so proud of you, Luce. You did such a great job,” she said. “And look at her, she looks just like you and Fiona when you were newborns.”
Sam and Robin exchanged a look.
“Triplets-not-triplets,” they said simultaneously.
“Oh, boy.” Trishia squeezed Lucy’s shoulder. “Sounds like we’re in trouble.”
Fiona smiled widely and gently touched her niece’s cheek. “You have no idea.”
*Christmas Special Delivery