Blindsided

By Colleen

 

General Disclaimer: This is an alternate uber story. The physical descriptions of the two lead characters may remind you of two others we all know and love, but all characters in the story are from my own imagination. This story is an original work and is copyrighted by the author. It cannot be sold or used for profit in any way.  Copyright 2003-2006

Love/Sex Disclaimer: This story depicts a loving relationship between two consenting, adult women and contains scenes of intimacy, but nothing too explicit.  If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it.  If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.  

Author’s Note: This is the third story in the Jamie and Erin series. You might want to start at the beginning with At First Sight and Seeing You Again for the First Time to get the full impact of this story.   

Feedback will be welcomed at coleen30@webtv.net

I have also created a group for discussions of this, past and future stories. Sneak previews as well.  Join us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/colleens_corner

 

     Chapter 17

     “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”  Nat was croonin’ the tune, but there weren’t any chesters on the fire. There was, however, a bowl of macadamias on a tray with other finger foods sitting next to the cuddled couple. Keeping warm on Christmas Eve, Erin and Jamie had made a little nest in the corner of the sectional sofa in the great room. A nice fire added to the comfy atmosphere. They quietly fed each other the tasty treats as a host of holiday songs, accompanied by the twirls of orange, yellow and blue, entertained them. Erin had made their excuse, early that morning for not joining the family celebration; she just was not up to traveling the distance. Her father had offered to send the company helicopter for them, but she didn’t think that was such a good idea. Katie, who had been renting a small cottage in the area, no doubt to be near Jeremy, had taken Grandma Kathleen with her, down to LA to be with the family. The elder Kathleen would be staying the night so, as she put it, the youngsters could spend Christmas morning alone, their last opportunity for a long time, she added.

     Jamie reached for a piece of fruit from the bowl as she nuzzled the soft blonde hair beside her face. She remembered that just an hour before she was gently running her wet fingers through those sudsy locks, giving a massage as well as cleansing. It was not meant to be erotic or arousing, just very comforting, although Jamie did hear a low moan under the sound of the running water, which brought her a smile.  She dunked the chunk of pineapple into the creamy, white dip and held it to a pair of ruby lips. Erin snipped it in half, savoring the tart and sweet combination as she devoured it. Jamie recoated the second half and offered it; they didn’t worry about double dipping since they shared far more with every passionate kiss. Erin accepted the last of the fruit piece, licking the juice from the generous fingertips. It was as sensual an act as she could perform lately. Just as she was sadly mourning that fact, a pair of long arms gently wrapped around her and a single sentence was whispered in her ear. “I love holding you.” Erin smiled and her thoughts turned and happily settled on that truth. She soon chose a plump strawberry, glazing it with honey and feeding it to her hungry spouse. And so it went on like that until every last morsel of food had disappeared and the fire shrank to a mere glow.

     The next morning they exchanged presents on their third Christmas together. After each box was opened, Jamie had one final gift. It wasn’t something to be unwrapped or anything Jamie had purchased. The rancher took Erin by the hand and led her to the corner of the family room where she pulled aside a chair. She pointed to a spot near the floor. There she had carved, into the wood wall, their initials and enclosed them inside a heart. Jamie told Erin she had etched the same design on some hidden spot on a honey colored plank in every room of the house. Erin melted at the romantic gesture, bestowing her thanks with a few kisses. She said she wanted to discover all the others on her own. Each one would be a new gift.

*   *   *

     It was a little after two that afternoon when the doorbell rang. Erin had been near by, and not sure where Jamie was anyway, she detoured to the front door. She opened it to a very surprising visitor. “Sarah! How did you get here, sweetie?” Erin glanced around for the children’s home van. “Did Miss Gibson bring you for a visit?” Not seeing it or her, Erin took the child’s hand and led her inside, out of the chilled air.

     “Are you happy I’m here Erin?” Sarah asked with a little quiver of concern.

     “Oh honey, I’m very happy you’re here.” Erin gave her a hug and helped remove her warm, winter jacket. “I just don’t understand how you got here.”

     “It’s a surprise,” Sarah said gleefully. “I got the bestest Christmas present Erin.”

     “Well tell me.” Erin tickled the little ribs. “What present did you get?”

     After the giggles subsided, Sarah proclaimed loudly, “I got two mommies!”

     Erin was stunned and thrilled. “Two mommies!” She hugged Sarah again. “Sweetie, that’s great!” They must’ve brought her here, but where are they? What’s the big secret? “You’ve got a family, Sarah; I’m so happy for you. Where are your new parents?”

     “Mommy, Mama.”

     Erin’s brows drew together in wonder. How did they get in the house? She didn’t have very long to ponder as her jaw soon dropped with absolute astonishment. Erin was, momentarily, too stunned to move at the sight of the two very familiar faces as they stepped into the room.

     “Did somebody call for a couple of proud mothers?”

     “Anne, Leah…you…Sarah…”

     Dr. Carson walked over and lifted her small daughter into her arms and they both hugged the speech deprived author. Over her friend’s shoulder, Erin caught the wink from her spouse right before Jamie embraced the other new parent. After a phone call, Jamie had agreed to be a co-conspirator to this surprise, letting the pair in the back door. Soon, there were happy tears all around and they moved to make themselves comfortable. Erin couldn’t wait to hear all about this wondrous event.

     Anne and Leah began their tale as the little girl sat between them. She had one hand on each of them, as she quietly listened. “After we first met Sarah that day,” Anne explained, “we couldn’t get her out of our thoughts and our hearts.”

     “I know the feeling,” Erin said. She sat beside Jamie, across from the new family and heard all of the love being spoken.

     “It was a couple of days before we realized that we both were thinking the same thing,” Leah said. “We had talked about having a family after we got married. We both wanted one, but agreed that we didn’t necessarily need to have a baby. We knew that when the time was right, a child would come to us.” Leah ruffled the dark curls on her daughter’s head. Sarah looked up at her and smiled. “And she did,” Leah said, tweaking a nose. “And we agree; it is the bestest Christmas present ever.”

      “We’ve been visiting her a few times a week and we finally brought Sarah home with us three days ago,” Anne said. She locked gazes with Erin. “I can’t tell you how hard it was keeping this a secret from you, when you were lobbying so hard to find her a family. But I also knew how disappointed you would have been if we had been turned down.”

         Erin’s heart was so full now that this bright, beautiful girl had the family she wanted and deserved. And Erin knew that would never be taken for granted by child or parents. She had heard the unbridled joy in Sarah’s voice when spoke of her new mommies. And the same emotions clearly showed on the faces of Erin’s compassionate friends as they had entered the room….and still remained. Everyone was happy. And just as important, Erin would get be an integral part of Sarah’s life, for every birthday, every holiday and each milestone, great and small that would happen to this child.

     Anne stood and lifted the girl to the floor. “I think Sarah has something to ask you,” she said and helped her over to stand in front of the author and the rancher. She whispered something in the girl’s ear. The little head nodded in response.

     “Erin, will you and Jamie be my aunts?”

     They each took a small hand. “We would be very happy to be your aunts,” Erin said. “We love you sweetie.”

     Sarah held her arms out to her sides. “Wow! I got a big family now!”

*    *    *

     Erin struck a long match and lit a fire in the corner fireplace. She then ignited the tips of two tall, burgundy colored candles in the middle of the small table sitting in their bedroom. It was New Years Eve. Jamie had been gone all day on business, but she had promised to be home by eight o’clock.

     Erin was so grateful to have such an adoring and attentive partner. Jamie had done so many romantic things for her lately and she really wanted to do something in return. In her current condition she couldn’t do much, but she could pick up a phone. The Eagle’s Nest Lodge, just a few miles away, did great catering and they had just delivered a beautiful meal for two, including a warming buffet so the couple could eat at their leisure.

     Jamie came through the back door five minutes later and Erin met her there with a kiss. She quickly sent her to the downstairs shower, so the surprise in their bedroom wouldn’t be revealed until they were both ready to eat. Erin was wearing the peach colored, silk robe Jamie had gotten her for Christmas. While Erin thought it was very pretty, she had wondered how practical it was since she would only be able to wear it for a few more weeks. But her clever spouse explained that she would have the maternity robe altered after Erin gave birth. The blonde had added a hint of makeup and a touch of perfume, something she hadn’t bothered with in a while. But she felt like adding the extra touch on this special night.

     Jamie emerged from the bathroom in a pair of deep red, silk pajamas. It had a matching, Asian inspired jacket, but even in winter Jamie never chose to don it. Much to Erin’s pleasure, the sleeveless top allowed the hard working rancher’s defined muscles to be on delightful display.

     “You look very nice in that.”

     Jamie smiled. “Thank you Ms. Casey. So do you.” She hugged her gingerly. “Smell nice too. Now what’s the surprise?”

     Slowly, they climbed the curving staircase. Hand in hand they moved down the hall, tiptoeing past grandma’s room and stopping at the double doors to their bedroom. Erin turned to Jamie. “I wanted to give us a special night. I love you very much and I wanted to show you.” She opened the doors, revealing the cozy setting. The fire, two candles and very dim lamp light provided the only illumination, creating a lovely, intimate mood. Jamie approached the table for two, romantically set with their best china and silver. A pair of crystal flutes completed the setting.

     “Honey, this is wonderful. Catered?”

     “Of course.” Erin giggled lovingly at Jamie’s continued protectiveness. She did, after a small disagreement, convince her spouse to let her serve them. Jamie pulled a bottle from the ice bucket and filled the flutes with a golden, bubbly liquid of the non-alcoholic variety.

     They sat down an enjoyed a meal of parmesan encrusted chicken atop a grilled portabella cap, artichokes and lightly spiced pasta with a variety of roasted vegetables on the side. A double chocolate cheesecake waited in the refrigerator for later. They toasted the New Year that was just hours away. Between bites of the delicious food, they reminisced about the past twelve months. They were having their dreams come true. Now they would have to think of some new ones and most of those would be for their children. Erin was truly hoping for at least four or five offspring, although she hadn’t shocked Jamie with that news yet. But she would be deliriously happy with however many children that would come into their lives.

     Jamie cleaned up after they finished eating. Then they climbed into bed and Jamie read aloud from the novel Erin had started reading a few weeks earlier. Erin drifted off to sleep about 11:45. As soon as Jamie noticed, she set the book aside and just watched her beautiful wife until the stroke of midnight. It was three years to the moment when Jamie had first asked Erin to marry her. And it was the absolute best thing she had ever done. “Happy New Year, sweetheart.”

*   *   *

     The January wind storm was full blown. There was no rain, no thunder or lightning, just wind…colossal gusts of wind. Erin watched out the large windows as the bare trees bent against nature’s fierce force. Bits of twigs, pinecones and evergreen branches battered the glass and the sides of the house, leaving green and brown scuff marks behind. The howling noise was, at times, terrifying as it roared through the forest and across the grassy pastures. The water in the small pond, below their new house, undulated erratically, splashing heavily against its small shore. The area hadn’t seen a storm like this in twenty years.

     The dogs were safe inside and lounging by the fire in the family room. They tended to be near Erin when they were in the house. Earlier, Jamie had secured everything in the yard that might have been carried away…probably into the next county.  

     So, only two things worried Erin. Jamie was out in the storm. And she was in labor.

     The rancher had been out for hours, searching for three horses that had bolted in fear when a corral gate had torn from its hinges. Jamie didn’t own those animals, they were just boarded there, but she felt a personal responsibility to see that the horses were safely returned.

     Erin had been hurting for most of the day, not even realizing what it was for the first few hours. But she had kept quiet all along, hoping Jamie would walk in any minute.

     Grandma Kathleen, however, was much too wise to be fooled for long. She didn’t need a leprechaun to whisper in her ear to recognize the signs of a woman in labor. Her thirty plus years of experience as a midwife was more than enough. “How are ya feelin’ dear?” she asked.

     Erin grabbed for her back and her belly as the next contraction hit. “Well Grandma, I think the saying, no pain, no gain is most appropriate in this situation. And I think I’m about to gain something wonderful. I’m going to try Jamie’s cell again.” But of course the weather conditions were still interfering with the signal. She had gotten through on the land line to the clinic, but was told that Anne, Leah and the medivan were on the site of a major accident with about forty-five minutes traveling time between them. But the receptionist assured that she would send them to the ranch as soon as possible. “I’m sorry to put you in this situation Grandma.”

     “Tis not yer fault, Erin. Tis nobodies fault. Not ta worry darlin’; ya know that I have delivered hundreds of babies through the years. Today I’ll just add one more name ta that list…and a very special one.”

     Erin smiled as best she could against the weariness and pain, having every faith in her grandmother. “I know. And I really am glad you’re here. But…umm…have you ever…umm…delivered twins?”

     The ivory haired head shook with conviction. “No. I always recommended a doc…” The two locked eyes through their respective spectacles. “Erin love, are ya sayin’ that ya are havin’ two little babes?”

     “Umm, surprise?” Erin and Jamie had agreed, the day they learned of the twins, to keep it a secret and surprise the family. It worked.

     “Praise the good mother,” Kathleen said, crossing herself in prayer. She then smiled and took her granddaughter’s hand. “Then we’ll all be twice blessed.”

     Erin assured her that the doctor expected no complications; everything had gone smoothly…until now. Another contraction tore across her midsection; each one coming a little closer together.

     “Ya know I’ll do my best ta bring these children safely into the world.” Kathleen’s grin glowed with joyfulness. “My great-grandchildren.”

     “The doctor did warn us that sometimes a cesarean is needed with twins,” Erin said. “I want you to promise me that you will do whatever it takes to save my babies.” She saw the hesitation; her point had been made. “I mean it Grandma. If it comes to that, take them whatever way you have to.”

     The possibility terrified Kathleen. “But I don’t…”

     “Please Grandma; promise me!” The Irish, green eyes pleaded.

     “All right; I promise. But it won’t come ta that, I’m sure. In fact don’t even think about that right now. Yer doctor friend is gonna be here any time.”

     Ten minutes went by.

     No doctor.

     No Jamie.

     Kathleen couldn’t wait any longer, so she went through the house collecting the items she would need to deliver the infants. She was just a little concerned, but would never let it show. Kathleen had never lost a child in all her years as a midwife and she vowed, with God’s help that today would not be the first.

     With all of the horses now securely housed inside the sturdy barns, Jamie headed home. Entering the mud room, she removed her long, butter colored duster and sat down to pull off her filthy boots. It had rained all day, the day before, leaving mud everywhere. Catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror, she scowled. Her face and hair were liberally coated with dirt and her skin bore a few superficial scratches from blowing debris. “Whew, I need a shower.” Jamie moved down the back hall, stopping at the linen closet on her way to the downstairs bathroom. But the cupboard was empty. “Where are all the towels?” she mumbled.

     A scream suddenly echoed through the house. And it was a voice she knew.

     “Erin!” Jamie took off running down the hall, toward the sound. Through the kitchen she dashed, around the island, knocking over a stool. Down one more hall and around a corner she sprinted as another shriek reverberated off the walls. We just had to build such a big house, didn’t we?!  Jamie’s socked feet slid across the hardwood floor when she tried to stop at the family room.

     Erin saw her spouse for just an instant as she sailed past the doorway. “Jamie?” she called out.

     “Here.” The dusty rancher reappeared and ran to the couch where Erin was supine and panting. “I’m here. You’re in labor?”

     “What gave you a clue?” Erin asked, through clenched teeth, clearly, though unintentionally annoyed.

     “Why didn’t you call me?”

     “Tried.”

     “We couldn’t get through on yer little phone,” Kathleen explained.

     “Where is Anne?” Jamie asked.

     “Gone.”

     “She’s at the site of an accident, but she’s comin’ as soon as she can,” Kathleen clarified again.

     Jamie took Erin’s hand and kissed her clammy cheek. “I’m so sorry sweetheart. This is all my fault,” she confessed. “We should be in LA, in a hospital.”

      They had once decided to go to Los Angeles in plenty of time for the birth. But Jamie had made an important business contact about a month before and he was insisting on a meeting on the tenth, although that was still five days before the due date. Jamie was going to forgo the opportunity, no matter how important, but Erin urged her not to do that. After an involved discussion, Jamie proposed a compromise; Erin would go on to the city, settle into a hotel room near the hospital and Jamie would join her after the meeting. But Erin didn’t agree.

     “No Jamie…my decision.”

     “But I should have insisted.”

      Erin was too busy breathing to argue.

     Kathleen soaked a clean towel in the pan of warm water she had prepared and then twisted it, removing the excess. “Jamie, can I speak ta ya for a minute?” she asked.

     The rancher kissed her wife’s sweat soaked forehead. “I’ll be just a second,” she said before joining Kathleen in the corner of the room. “I guess she told you about the twins; is there a problem?” Jamie muttered, worriedly, never taking her eyes from Erin’s grimacing face.”

     “Everythin’ is progressin’ normally so far. But Jamie…” Kathleen paused when she suspected her words were falling on deaf ears. “Jamie, look at me.” The concerned orbs finally turned her way. “Here,” Kathleen handed her the towel, “clean yer face and hands. Dear, I know ya are scared; Erin is too. Right now, she does not need yer guilt. Ya need ta be strong and project a positive attitude. Now go and give her that support.”

     Jamie sucked in a deep breath, shaking off the negative anxieties, resolved to do her part in seeing her children into the world. “Right.” Erin groaned and Jamie scampered back to her side. “It’s almost time honey,” she said soothingly, as she brushed the backs of her fingers along her wife’s cheek. “We’re gonna see our little Jordan soon. And then her or his brother or sister.”

     Erin managed a weak grin and held tight to the hand wrapped around hers. “Very soon.”

     Kathleen concurred excitedly. “Oh, I can see the head!” She patted Erin’s bent knee. “That’s very good. This one’s not a breech. Be ready ta push.”

     “Two boys, two girls or one of each,” Jamie continued her distracting chatter, “they’re gonna be beautiful because they’re gonna look just like you.”

     Erin shook her head adamantly. “Like both of us. You and your brother…share some great traits. He’s as handsome as you are beaut... ahhhh!” Another pain.

     “Push now Erin!” Kathleen instructed. “Good…good!”

     And she did, every time she was told over the next few minutes.

     “You’re doing great Rin,” Jamie praised. “I love you so very much.”

     “One more and yer first little one will be here,” Kathleen urged. Erin let out a mighty scream, which was soon echoed just few decibels lower as a tiny life slipped into the world. Kathleen turned the squirming infant in her hands and suctioned the small mouth and nose. “I know little love,” she crooned, softly, “This part isn’t too pleasant…but there now, it’s all over.”

     Erin and Jamie were clinging to one another and shedding happy tears, waiting to be introduced to their first child...to their Jordan.

     Kathleen held up a pair of scissors. “I think you’ll be wantin’ ta do this part.”

     Jamie took them in a trembling hand and after taking a quick glance at the baby, she snipped the cord, setting the infant off on its own separate life.

     Grandma’s sure hands cleaned off the tiny babe and wrapped it in a clean towel. “Well lass, tis time ta meet yer mommies.” She placed the bundle on Erin’s chest and set about finishing her professional tasks, leaving the three a small amount of privacy. 

     “A girl,” Erin sobbed, as she cupped the baby’s delicate head. “My God Jamie, just look at her. Look what we did.”

     Jamie was looking. She couldn’t pry her eyes off the rosy, little face if she tried. Anything Jamie wanted to say momentarily caught in her throat. She could only place her hand on the little belly and smile at the now silent infant. God, she’s so perfect, Jamie thought. I love her. But she wondered if what she was feeling was maternal. She loved this baby and the one yet to come with all her heart and soul and she would die to keep them safe. But she felt that way for Erin too, so that wasn’t maternal. Would these children ever completely bond with her? These concerns had gone unspoken, but worried her soul over the past few weeks. She knew Erin would have the automatic attachment, having given birth to them and nursing them. I want that kind of connection too, she bemoaned silently. Wow. I wonder if fathers or adoptive parents worry about this…or is it just my insecurities.  Though quiet, the baby’s little legs lashed out, hitting Jamie in the arm. The watery, unfocused eyes swept over the strange faces as the baby pondered her sudden change of residence. “She’s so tiny,” Jamie finally said, her voice soft as a whisper. “But strong. And I was right; you’ve given us a beautiful daughter.”

     “I bet you were this tiny,” Erin said. Jamie grunted her skepticism. Suddenly, Erin realized there should be another baby. “What’s wrong Grandma?” she asked, panicky. “Where’s the other one?”

     “Nothin’s wrong dear. It happens sometimes with twins. There can be a little time in between.” She grabbed a paper and pen. “Now let me record the information for the official certificate. Date of birth: January 9, 2003. Time of birth: 6:46 PM. The doctor can add the weight and length,” she figured. “Did I hear that yer namin’ her Jordan?”

     “Yes,” Erin answered, her attention returning to the little one resting on her chest.

     “After yer sister?”

     Jamie nodded; her expression was full of mixed emotions.

     With a compassionate smile and a comforting touch, Kathleen told her, “Nice choice. Have ya picked a middle name?”

     Erin deferred to Jamie, per their previous agreement. The rancher had made two choices, one for each gender, but she didn’t expect the child to be born under these circumstances. This called for something very special. She whispered her final decision in Erin’s ear and an immediate grin brightened the blonde’s fatigued features.

     Jamie proudly proclaimed, “Her full name is Jordan Kathleen.”

     Taken by surprise, Grandma Kathleen was deeply touched. “Oh my!” A tear ran down her cheek. “I do have several namesakes back home,” she said, “other bairn I’ve delivered. It’s always an honor, but none as great as this, none so very special. Thank you.” She kissed all three females on the cheek.

     The touching moment was interrupted by a ringing phone.

     Jamie answered it, wiping her own tears from her face. “Hello… Anne, where are you? …Okay, I’m on my way. I can’t wait for you to meet my daughter.” Replacing the phone, she looked to find Erin giving her a strange glare. “Sorry,” Jamie said sheepishly, “our daughter. The medivan is out by the main road. There’s a tree down, blocking their way. I’ve got to take a chainsaw and clear the path.” She kissed Erin. “I love you.” She gently kissed the baby’s head. “I love you.” One more kiss for Erin’s, still swollen belly. “I love you too, but stay put until the doctor gets here. No offense Kathleen.”

     “Don’t worry. I agree completely.”

     Luckily the saw was already in the back, so Jamie jumped in her truck and sped off, splattering everything in her path in a mud bath. It wasn’t until she was halfway down the drive that Jamie realized she had no shoes on. Oh well, no time for that. She finally brought the vehicle to a screeching halt, spinning it half way around, coming to a stop far off in the grass. Jumping out, she saw the red and white vehicle on the other side of the medium sized tree and she screamed, “I’ll have this out of the way in a minute!” Jamie attacked the fallen foliage like a crazed monster with serrated claws, rotating at a blurred speed. Buzz. Crack. Plop. Whoosh. Stripped branches and logs flew through the air like villainous henchmen from the caped crusader’s fists.

     When the way was finally clear, Anne got a good look at the frantic rancher. She looked like a wild woman who had just stepped from a ten year stay in the jungle, with a filthy face, tangled, wind blown, twig laden hair and ripped clothes. “What happened to you?” she asked.

     “I became a mom,” Jamie said with a moment of absurd calmness.

     Anne and Leah found that hilarious and they shook with laughter as they boarded the medivan and hurried up to the house.

     Once at the house, there was no time for greetings as Jordan’s twin was now eager to make his or her appearance. Leah took Jordan and grabbed a blanket to protect the delicate one from the cold wind and Jamie ran by her wife’s side as Erin was swiftly wheeled into the traveling clinic. Grandma stayed behind to clean up, saying she would catch up with them later.

     “Are we rolling Dr. Carson?”

     “No Derek,” Anne told the driver. “No time, we’re doing this right here.”

     Leah gave the baby a quick exam, checking her breathing and heartbeat, noting that she was alert, but calm, perhaps sensing the urgency around her. She then placed her in the infant incubator and adjusted some controls on the front panel. 

     “Okay, there’s the head!” Anne announced. “Good. Push, Erin! I know you’re tired honey, but only you can do this.”

     “I’m trying,” she huffed. With pinched eyes and puffed cheeks, Erin did her best to force the necessary muscles into duty.

     “Harder Erin! Here come the shoulders!”

     “I…I…”

     “Look in my eyes Erin,” Jamie pleaded. “I wish I could help sweetheart. All I can do is say I love you.” She brought their joined hands to her lips. “Take my strength and bring us this baby.”

     Maybe it was the words, maybe it was their love…or maybe it was something else. But Erin used it, pulling up some deep buried power and gave a final, mighty push.

     But they didn’t hear the cry that should have followed. “Anne?”

     “I’m working on it! Leah, finish up here.” Anne quickly tied off the cord and cut the motionless baby loose, then moved to a side table where her healing hands went to work.

     Erin panicked, clinging to her spouse in terror. “Jamie!”

     The rancher wrapped her arms around Erin’s heaving body. “Oh God,” she muttered. Mom, Dad, please help. The horrified new mothers could only wait. But every second was a deafening eternity as no sound came from their second child. Every painful breath they took followed the tightening grip around two desperate hearts.

     Anne vigorously rubbed the diminutive body. “Come on little man,” she implored, “let’s hear you. You’re scaring your mommies.”

     Jordan suddenly let out a wail, as if calling her brother to life.

     And he answered.

     His lungs sucked in the oxygen and his beautiful cries filled the air. Everybody grinned, ear to ear. Erin and Jamie kissed, flooding each other with tears of relief. They would never complain about him crying in the future…because now he had a future.

     After giving him an examination and determining that the incident had passed without any immediate, harmful effects, Anne bundled him up and presented him to his mothers. “As far as I can tell right now,” she said, “he’s just fine. The cord tightened around his neck at the last minute.”

     Erin and Jamie cuddled him, providing comfort with their whispers and touches. “Hello son,” the blonde mom said, before kissing his cheek.

     Jamie was careful with her touch, since she was still quite filthy from her horse wrangling and lumberjacking. “Hey little buckaroo, we’re so glad to see you. We love you.” She anointed his other cheek with a kiss.

     “Let’s get going Derek,” Dr. Carson instructed. “Let’s get this happy family back to the clinic.” She turned back to her friends. “I hate to break up a love fest, but I’d like to put him in with his sister. Jamie would you like to do the honors?”

     “I…umm…you’d better do it; I’m still a little shaky.” The rancher vividly demonstrated by raising a trembling hand. This time Erin took the hand and kissed it.

     Both babies were still awake, calm and snuggled close, glad to be back together. Erin fought to stay awake as she and Jamie watched over their children.

*   *   *

     Erin had lost her battle just as they pulled up to the emergency door of the Evergreen Clinic. Leah and Derek wheeled the snoozing mother inside and Dr. Carson took the twins down the hall for a more thorough examination. Jamie stood there, looking just a little lost, not sure what to do as her energy deflated. Leah walked over and put a hand on her shoulder. “How are you doing friend?”

     Jamie couldn’t help but smile. “Well, this isn’t exactly how I had envisioned this day, but my family is safe…and that’s the best thing in the world.”

     “I’m really happy for you Jamie. You have two beautiful children.”

     “Thanks.”

     Leah’s expression turned somber. “Can I be totally honest with you?” she asked.

     “Yeah,” Jamie said, a little fearfully.

     “You’re a mess.”

     The rancher laughed. “Guess I can’t argue.”

     Leah opened a cabinet door and pulled out a new pair of large scrubs. “Go down to the end of the hall, to Anne’s office. There’s a shower in our bathroom. When you’re done go on to room four.” She nodded toward the snoozing woman. “I think Erin would appreciate a little bath too. We’ll meet you there.”

*    *    *

     Jamie couldn’t remember when she had been so pleasantly exhausted or so happy to be clean. She tugged on the navy blue pants and pulled the top on over her head, her shoulders and back protesting loudly at the movements. Out of fear, one of the runaway horses had knocked her down when she tried to grab its halter. She had noticed some bruising on her torso when she was in the shower, but she knew it was nothing serious so there was no need to mention the incident. Bundling up her dirty clothes, she trudged down to room four. It was a pleasingly decorated area in shades of blue and green with a Caribbean flare, including several sunset prints hanging on the walls. Jamie dropped down into a cushioned rocker in the corner of the room and her eyes slipped shut. She only had a sixty second nap before Erin was wheeled in and transferred to the double wide bed. She was in a clean gown and still sleeping. Jamie combed out the damp hair with her fingers and Erin mumbled something incomprehensible then smiled slightly. “That’s it sweetie, you just rest; you certainly deserve it.”

      “And you deserve this.” Leah pulled a small bottle of water from one pocket of her scrub top and two pills from the other pocket. “Take these. I know you’re hurting.”

     Jamie accepted the pain relievers without argument. “So, how are my kids?”

     “I just came from them and they’re doing fine,” Leah said as she dabbed some antiseptic cream on the scratches on Jamie’s face. “Like both of their parents, they are now freshly scrubbed...easy on the scrub, and resting. Anne’s still working on the physicals. All routine,” she clarified when Jamie’s brow wrinkled. “Why don’t you climb in there with her and get some rest.”

     “I have one phone call to make and then I’ll take your advice. Goodnight,” she said as her friend walked out the door. Jamie made that call to Grandma Kathleen, who was thrilled and relieved beyond words to hear of her great-grandson. It was a little before eight and they still had time to call the rest of the family after Erin woke up.

     Once Jamie was in the bed, Erin gravitated closer to the place she belonged…at Jamie’s side.

*    *    *

     Anne let them sleep for an hour, before gently waking them. “How are you feeling?” she asked Erin.

     “Physically tired, but not bad.”

     “Good. Well, there are two little ones here who are missing their mommies. I’m sure they’re just about ready for a meal too.” She pulled a portable crib into the room. The twins were sleeping soundly so no one disturbed them while Anne finished her report. But the happy couple didn’t take their eyes off the tiny bundles all the while Anne spoke. “I’ve been in contact with the pediatrician you chose down in LA. Doctor Fielding and I conferred and he’s pleased with the results, even after the little guy’s rough start. Their breathing and heart function seem normal. He would like to see them in about a week. But you can make that appointment tomorrow or the next day. Oh, I supposed you’d like to know that your little man here weighs five pounds even and his porky sister tips the scales at five pounds, one and a half ounces. That’s a good size for twins.” She paused and gazed at the topics of discussion. “I know you are anxious to get acquainted with them, so we can do the paperwork tomorrow.” She pointed to a shelf below the basinet. “There are some diapers and a couple of sleepers down here. You’ve had the nursing lessons, but if you have any problems send Jamie to the room next door. I’ll be bunking down there for the night.”

      “Aren’t you going home?” Erin asked.

     “Leah went home to be with Sarah. We both agreed that I should stay…just in case. But I don’t expect anything to happen, so I’m gonna get some sleep.”

     “Thank you Anne, for everything.”

     “You’re welcome my friends. Goodnight.”    

     After Anne left, Erin swung her legs over the side of the bed, giving herself just a minute to gather some strength and adjust her balance. “I have been waiting nine months for this,” she said, as she reached into the crib and lifted a baby.

     Jamie smiled brightly. “I guess after feeling them moving inside you, you can’t wait to hold your baby…babies in your arms.”

     “That’s true, but I wasn’t talking about that.” Erin held out the little girl. “I’ve been waiting to see you to hold our first child.”

     Jamie lassoed her nerves, reaching out slowly and taking her daughter into her arms for the first time. Settling the slight figure against her body, Jamie stared in awe at this brand new, little person, counting every little breath and marveling at each wispy lash above the sleeping eyes. The reddened and creased skin Jamie had seen earlier on the baby’s face was now peach toned and silky. As the blanket fell away slightly, Jamie ran a finger across an adorable wrinkle she discovered on the side of her neck. She thought she would be feeling much more stress about now, but as the second ticks away, she was so fascinated that instinct just took over. “I know you’re gonna get tired of hearing me say this, but I love you Jordan.”

     Erin snapped a sequence of mental pictures of these two great loves of her life and she would review them often, until her final breath.

     Two drowsy eyes, the color of a clear, tropical ocean and coincidently the exact same shade as the two looking down at them, blinked open. “Oh, hello little girl,” Jamie intoned in a low, melodic voice. She gently rubbed her thumb over the slight cleft in the sloped chin beneath the baby’s lips. Jamie was astonished by the sudden need to touch the newborn...experiencing the softness of her flawless skin and the warmth and weight of her tiny body. The puckered lips parted and the tip of a little pink tongue poked out. When this happened three times in succession, the new mom finally got the idea. “I think…we have a hungry little girl here.” Jamie looked up and smiled at her daughter’s other mom.

     “Oh, yeah?” Erin said. “Then I’d better take care of that.” She checked on the young man, who was still sleeping soundly inside his velvety cocoon, before climbing into bed. Pulling down the left side of her gown to expose her breast, Erin accepted the ravenous babe and soon gasped, more in surprise than pain, when she finally latched on to the nipple after several tries. Jordan enthusiastically sucked down her first meal as the parents watched, spellbound at the miracle. Not a word was spoken and no other sound, but the steady cadence of four breathers, disturbed the perfect silence. Reading each others minds, Erin and Jamie leaned in and kissed…a silent thank you and an I love you forever.

     Jamie finally broke the quiet a few minutes later. “I’m hungry.”

     “Don’t even think about it,” Erin drawled.

     The rancher laughed. “No. I mean I’m really hungry. I haven’t eaten since about eleven this morning.”

     “Oh honey, I guess you are.”

     “Think Anne has anything around here to eat?”

     “It’s possible,” Erin said, “but I doubt it. I’d rather not wake her anyway; she looked wiped out.” She gave it a quick thought. “Order a pizza.”

     “Ya think?”

     “Yeah, they deliver until midnight.” Erin checked the clock on the nightstand. “That’s still a few hours away. Do you have any money; I didn’t think to bring my purse?”

     “Gee, I wonder why.” Jamie looked to the pile of crumpled clothes in the corner. “I think there might by a twenty in my pants pocket.” She stiffly stood, heading for the cash, when a squeak quickly turned to a cry of hunger. “Guess who decided to join the party?” Jamie went to the bassinet and gingerly lifted the irate infant. He did have good timing though as his satisfied sister had just drifted back to sleep. “Come on buckaroo,” Jamie said, “one order of yummy milk coming right up.” She gave Erin a funny look as the author put her daughter on the bed beside her. “That didn’t sound right, did it?”

     Erin giggled and prepared to feed her son.

*    *    *

     Nearly an hour later, Jamie was devouring her third piece of pepperoni pizza. She had pilfered a couple of cans of soda from the small refrigerator in Anne’s office and she shared that and the pie with her wife. Her grumbling tummy was very thankful for the late night repast.

     The wind storm had finally subsided, leaving a clear, fresh smelling, but chilly night. Jamie’s favorite celestial stars were visible, high overhead, looking after the new family.

     Jamie put away the empty box and cans and rejoined her family in the bed. Erin was cuddling the little boy and Jordan was on the bed between them. Jamie had asked for one more night’s sleep before settling on a name for their son. Because Erin had pulled a joke on Jamie about the naming of Jordan, she had promised her wife the exclusive opportunity to choose Jordan’s middle name and the first name for the second baby. Erin would pick the second one’s middle name.

     They would reveal both children’s full names when the family came for their first visit. And they were both positive that visit would happen quite early the next morning.

     To be continued.

 

Continued in part 18

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