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 18

     “They slept like newborns and we slept like…the parents of newborns.” Jamie answered Anne’s question with a yawn.

     “Ahh, awake every two hours.”

     In fact, the twins were in perfect sync, hunger wise. So every time Erin fed one baby, Jamie would sit beside them and rock the other, cooing and humming, doing her best to pacify. Then they would make the exchange and Jamie would coax a burp.

     Erin remembered the night before when she had just finished feeding Jordan for the first time and their son was ravenously devouring his initial meal. “Honey, could you try and burp her so she doesn’t get a tummy ache?”

     “Me? Umm…I’ll try.”  Jamie lifted the baby girl as if she were made of the finest porcelain. At a snail’s pace, afraid of jerking the tiny infant, she raised Jordan to her shoulder, gently guiding the delicate head with her hand. Once the baby was settled with her face nestled in Jamie’s neck, the rancher tapped her back...with two fingers.

     “You’re going to have to do it a little harder than that,” Erin said, holding in her amusement at Jamie’s excessive cautiousness. 

     “But I don’t want to hurt her.”

     “You’re not going to pound on her, but pat just a little firmer…with all four fingers.”

     Once, twice and a third time expelled the necessary air…rather noisily. Jamie made a startled face that Erin had to laugh at. “Was that normal? Is there something wrong with her?” the nervous mother asked. “I mean it was so loud to come from something so tiny.”

     “I’m sure it was normal,” Erin said. “ Sometimes it might be loud, others more subtle. And sometimes they might not burp at all.” Jamie shook her slightly befuddled head. “Don’t worry,” Erin assured her, “you’ll get used to it all.”

     After many minutes and another burp, the four would slumber once again. And it had continued all night long, until Anne greeted them good morning at seven thirty AM…with much needed coffee. They chatted for about fifteen minutes, until Jordan and her brother demanded breakfast.

     “Well, Leah and our daughter will be here shortly,” Anne said, “and I’d better open for business. I’m sure Sarah will want to meet her new ‘cousins’…if that’s all right with you.”

     Erin grinned. “Do you even have to ask, Anne? Of course we want her to meet the twins. She was almost their big sister.”

    

     Anne winked and grabbed the door handle. “Later.”

     “Oh, when can I take my family home?” Jamie asked.

     “Well, since it won’t be twenty four hours until late tonight, let’s just plan on tomorrow morning.”

     Jamie nodded her agreement and Anne left as Erin settled the little boy against her chest. After both babies were fed and back to sleep, Jamie went back to the house for clothes and then returned to the hospital with bagels and orange juice.

     The family, all nine of them arrived about nine thirty. Only Grandma Kathleen knew there were two babies to welcome into the family; Jamie hadn’t said anything on the phone to the others.

     A knock on the door. “Are you ready for visitors?” Danielle asked.

     “Come on in Mom.”

     “I want to see my….” Danielle stopped and the line of eight behind her collided, like a sight gag from some old comedy movie. She walked on into the room slack jawed and everyone piled in behind her, carrying presents, flowers and balloons. Several sets of bugged eyes joined the bevy of shocked expressions when they saw Jamie and Erin each holding a wrapped bundle.

     “Surprise!” Jamie yelled, happily.

     There was a rush of simultaneous replies of amazement as the bodies surrounded the big bed, all vying for a peek at the infants.

     “Two?”

     “Twins?”

     “You kept a secret?”

     “Wow!”

     “I don’t believe it.”

     Erin laughed. “Everyone, we’d like you to meet your grandson and granddaughter…niece and nephew…and cousins.” The family greeted the babies and then spruced up the room with the colorful flowers and tied the helium filled balloons to table legs and chairs. Since her arms were full, Erin asked her niece and nephew to help open the presents… a couple of outfits, suitable for boy or girl and a new musical toy. Grandpa Tim had been flashing pictures and Uncle Brad was taking video of the joyous event while holding his own young son in the carrier strapped to his chest.

     “What do you think of your cousins?” Erin asked Caitlin and her brother.

     “They’re cute, but how come they’re so small?” Caitlin had remembered her baby brother being born much chubbier. “They’re the same size as my baby, Stephie.” The six year old had started playing mommy and carrying her doll around everywhere since her little brother had arrived.

     “That’s because there were two of them growing inside me,” Erin explained simply. “They had to be small to both fit in there.”

     “What do you think big guy?”

     Conner had been playing peek-a-boo with his baby brother, but he turned to answer the question. “My brother is cuter. They’re all wrinkly and they sleep too much.”

     “Conner Thomas Nelson!” Bridget used that certain motherly tone. “My son has been forgetting to sensor himself, lately. Is that anyway to talk about your new cousins?” she redirected to the young man. “Apologize please.”

     “I’m sorry. I guess they’re cool, but Matt’s the best.” He went back to hiding behind his hands and making Matthew laugh.

     Bridget hid behind her own hands in chagrin.

     Tim couldn’t wait to light up a cigar to celebrate, but he would wait until he was far away from the babies. “So, do my grandchildren have names?” he asked. “Or should we just call them himself and lassie.”

     “Not even if we were livin’ in the heart of Dublin,” Erin spoke in her best Irish brogue. Everyone laughed. Erin smiled down at the little one in her arms. “This beautiful young lady is Jordan Kathleen Sheridan-Casey.” One and all approved. “Honey,” she said, turning to her spouse, “have you chosen our son’s name?”

     “Yes I have. We gave our little girl two names that have great significance to us and our little boy deserves the same.” She glanced lovingly at Erin. “I chose a name that signifies our very first connection, which happened long before we ever met, but as I’ve told you before, changed my life. So this handsome little guy is…Noah.” Jamie kissed his forehead and then her wife’s smiling lips.

     Erin cried. “That’s perfect,” she choked out. “Because I’ve always known the middle name I wanted. What do you think, Noah James,” she asked the boy, who chose that moment to open his blue eyes, “do you like your name?”

     Of course he had no further reaction, but his mother did. “Is that…?”

     Erin cupped Jamie’s cheek, looking at her through a hazy curtain of tears. “After you…yes? Our very special twins are named for another set of very special twins.” She leaned in and gave her another tender kiss.

     A chorus of awws and sniffles followed the precious declaration.

     With the naming ceremony over, the great grandmother, grandparents and aunt each took their turn holding and cuddling a very cooperative Jordan and Noah.

     And the rest of the morning passed in fine fashion.

*    *    *

     Later in the afternoon, little Sarah came to visit with the popular twins. Anne had helped the five year old up into the bed where she snuggled tight against her aunt Erin. Very carefully, a baby was placed partially into the blind girl’s lap. Sarah had giggled when tiny fingers gripped hers and when Noah wiggled, signifying his impending hunger. Even more pictures and video were captured for posterity, before the dark haired girl began to yawn, prompting her parents to bring an end to the visit, but not before she kissed each baby and both aunts.

     After nursing each infant, Erin succumbed to the exhaustion that had been slowly seeping into every pore of her body and she fell right to sleep as soon as her eyes closed. Jamie was just as tired, but for some reason sleep evaded her. She sat in a nearby chair just watching the three great loves of her life as they slept on. How did I end up with all of this? She seriously asked herself. Just a few years ago I was alone in my small apartment, full of guilt and self pity. And I was willing to stay right where I was for the rest of my life. And if Erin hadn’t broken down those walls with her courage and love, I’d be sitting right there this night. But now I can finally say that all of that guilt is gone; she has helped heal my soul and she ended the loneliness. I still regret some of the things I have done, but that heavy burden has vanished.  I love life again.  And I know now just how much she loves me, unselfishly and unconditionally.  She made my first dream come true, even thought she thought I was dead. She has given me the best companion anyone could ever hope for. And now I have, in my opinion, two of the most beautiful babies that God ever put on this earth. She paused her internal dialogue, relaxed her soul and let a new belief sweep over her heart and mind. She then gave a staunch nod of her dark head. And damn it, I deserve it!  I deserve to be happy!  Jamie smiled and turned her gaze to the starry night, expecting sleep to overtake her at any moment.

    

     Before that could happen though, there was a quiet knock on the door. It opened slowly just as Jamie got there. She put a finger to her lips. “I don’t want to wake Erin,” she whispered to her brother, as they stepped into the hall.

     “Oh sorry; I’ll come back later.”

     “No, no!” Jamie grabbed his retreating form. “Wait here just a minute.”

     Jeremy felt like he was intruding. But he had a special delivery of his own to present to his sister; something that shouldn’t wait any longer. The door opened again and his brows rose in question at the sight of his sister backing out of the room. But the answer was soon clear as the white bassinet came into view.

     “Oh Jamie, I don’t want to disturb them.”

     “Nah, they can sleep through anything. Let’s go in here,” she said, indicating the next room.

     Jeremy nodded and followed them inside. He was the only other person, except Erin’s doctors, who had known about the twins. But even that had only been a recent development when Erin and Jamie had encouraged him to tell Katie the truth that he was the biological father. He still hadn’t done that because the timing had never been right. But the time was going to have to be right and soon. He was falling in love with Katie and this kind of secret wouldn’t help to build a strong foundation for a lasting relationship.

     He peered intently at the small duo. “Jamie, they…they’re so cute. Perfect.” The last word was choked out around the lump in his throat.

     There was a very long pause as brother and sister watched brother and sister.

     “Thank you.” They both knew Jamie’s reply was for the compliment and so much more.

     Jamie scooped up a bundle, now a little more assured in handling the babies and handed it to Jeremy, who took it carefully and cradled it securely against his body. “This little sleeping beauty is your niece Jordan.” He was just a touch surprised at the name, but his smile belayed his overwhelming endorsement. “And the little prince is Noah.” Jamie just couldn’t help herself and picked up her little man, shushing gently when he whined just a bit. She held him close so Jeremy could clearly see his face, the only thing visible within the protective, wool wrap. “I know they’re both going to count on their uncle J to be around a lot as they grow up…teaching them all about nature and respect of the land.”

     He rocked the girl in his arms. “I’ll be here,” he stated proudly. “Uncle Jeremy has a big family now and I don’t ever plan on being that far from them.” He met his sister’s eyes. “Jamie, I do have one favor to ask.”

     “Sure Jeremy; anything.”

     “I’m bringing my mother out here to live.”

     “That’s nice; I can’t wait to meet her.”

     “Would you and Erin allow her to have a relationship with them?  I know she can’t be their grandmother, that would be confusing for them, but maybe she could be a special friend.”

     “I think that is a fine idea,” Jamie said. “Children can never have too many people to love them.”

     Jeremy placed Jordan back in the bed and Jamie followed with Noah. She adjusted the blankets as Jeremy reached for something in his back pocket. He handed Jamie a folded piece of paper.

     She took it, not exactly registering what it was until she opened it. The legal document, relinquishing Jeremy McIntyre’s parental rights was now signed and delivered. It was a necessary and expected, but oddly somber moment.

     Jeremy was certain he would have more children in the future, children that he would be a father to all the time. But he could never forget the fact he had biologically fathered these two precious babies. He would set that fact aside and be just their uncle. But in a secret place in his heart, they would be his first son and his first daughter and he would love them as such. And somehow he knew Jamie and Erin would never deny him those feelings.

     Jamie acknowledged the certificate with a nod, but no words. None were needed.

     It was over.

     And it was just beginning.

*    *    *

     With the day’s visitations over and the sun long gone, Erin stepped under the pounding stream of water. The heat loosened the few muscles that were still a bit stiff and she gave her short tresses a thorough cleaning, using the fragrant shampoo Jamie had given her for Christmas. Although it hadn’t been just shampoo; Jamie had put together an entire kit of self pampering products, including an entire day at a rejuvenation spa. And not just one day either, but twelve of them; with twins she had figured Erin deserved one day a month just for herself.

     The babies were with Dr. Carson, getting their final physical and tests. Jamie had taken the opportunity to run out and get them some dinner, while Erin showered. Enjoying the fact that a few pounds were now gone from her body, and that she could move around a little easier, the blonde spent an extra few minutes under the soothing spray. Pulling a towel from the suitcase Jamie had retrieved from the house earlier in the day, she gently rubbed her clean, glowing skin and then pulled on a pair of dark green sweats, choosing comfort over fashion. She looked at her fleece covered self in the mirror and smiled when she remembered that Jamie had told her over and over again that she would look sexy wearing a trash bag. Erin had tested that theory one night, when she had created herself a two piece, green, plastic ensemble…accented with a string of pearls. Jamie had come home and laughed herself silly at first and giggled the rest of the evening as Erin went about serving and eating dinner in the trashy fashion. But when bedtime arrived, Jamie had proved her earlier declarations by slowly striping the plastic from Erin’s body and loving her a total of four times. Erin fanned herself at the memory. “Let’s hope this little number doesn’t earn the same reaction. I’m afraid I’m not quite up to that kind of exercise…yet.” Her reflection giggled back and Erin gathered up her things and returned to the room.

     Jamie walked in carrying a cardboard box and inside was half a dozen or more smaller, white boxes with foreign writing across the sides. Erin took a huge whiff. “Mmm, Chinese! You went all the way to Livingston?”

     Jamie shrugged. “It’s only seventeen miles; the traffic wasn’t that bad. Thought I’d risk it,” she said, before kissing Erin. “You’re worth it.”

     Erin pinched her wife in a delicate place. “That’s so nice to know. I thought you said you would go to the ends of the earth and all eight planets for me.”

     Jamie began unpacking the rice, ribs and egg rolls. “Oh, I still would,” she said, “but I’d have to take you and the kids with me; I’d miss you too much.”

     “Ooo, good answer. Did you get me Hot and Sour Soup and Almond, Cashew Chicken?”

     “Don’t I always get all of your favorites?”

     “You do,” Erin said. “Leave that a minute and come here.” She threw her arms around Jamie and hugged her, melding herself all along the length of the tall, slim body. “I’m so glad I can do this again. It really bothered me when I couldn’t be this close to you.” Erin uttered more words of affection and peppered kisses across Jamie’s jaw line.

     They proceeded to hug and kiss languidly for a few more minutes, taking pleasure in each other in an old familiar way. “Not that I’m not enjoying this,” Jamie said as she pulled back, “but I have something to tell you. Jeremy came by, when you were napping earlier.”

     “Oh, I’m sorry I missed him.”

     “He said he’d come by the house sometime next week.”

     “Good,” Erin said as she returned to the food. “What did he think of our children?”

     “I think his exact words were, so cute and perfect.”

     The author pointed a crispy egg roll in Jamie’s direction. “I knew the man was intelligent,” she said, before biting into the fried concoction.

     Jamie’s grin fell a bit. “He brought us the signed paper.”

     “What paper?” Erin asked. “Oh,” she realized, “he gave up his parental rights. Sometimes I had almost forgotten that he…  To me, it’s always been you.”

     Jamie’s smile popped back, bright as a summer sun. “Now I can adopt Jordan and Noah, and they’ll really be mine.”

     “Honey, they’re already yours. This just means that nobody in the world will ever be able to tell you they’re not.”

*    *    *

     By the time they had finished eating, the babies had returned after earning glowing reports from both of their doctors. The parents were elated.

     A while later, Erin had finished with Jordan and was well into Noah’s feeding. The baby girl had been burped and was awake and resting between her mothers. Jamie was watching Erin nurse, with a soft, contented smile gracing the corners of her mouth. The newborns had come back unclothed, but clean from their examinations and would soon be falling back to sleep, since that’s just about all they did. Erin had handled all of the diaper and clothing changes up until now, but Jamie had watched intently each time and Erin could see her taking mental notes. She knew Jamie was afraid of disappointing her and she wanted Jamie to get used to the idea of physically caring for the babies before actually doing it. But she had to start sometime. “Honey, please change Jordan’s diaper and put her in the yellow sleeper.”

     Jamie panicked for only about half a second. She took a deep breath to calm herself. She’d been doing that a lot lately. I can do this, she thought. Jamie lifted the baby carefully then parted her long legs and put the girl back on the bed between them. Unfolding the securely bound blanket, Jamie took a moment…a few of them actually, to study more of her daughter. She patted the bare belly, careful of the navel area, eliciting a tiny shiver. Jamie grinned. I wonder if she’ll be ticklish like her mother.

     Erin copied her wife’s posture and proceeded to change baby number two. She did her share of touching along the way…his teeny fingers, which curled around her pinky, his dimpled elbows…the shell of an ear. My beautiful baby, she thought. My handsome son. She glanced over at his sister. My beautiful daughter.

     With both babies unclothed, she began to notice the physical differences between them. While both had the same shade of dark blonde hair, which she was sure would grow even deeper as they grew older, Jordan’s was a bit thicker, but she was far from having a head full. Noah seemed slightly longer and so were his toes and fingers. She had a cleft in her diminutive chin, which he lacked. Aside from those variations, they looked very much alike…like Jamie and herself…and a little bit of Jeremy.

     Jamie kissed a right foot then started to do the same to the left, but was startled by a discovery. “Why is there a band-aid on this fragile foot?” she demanded.

     “That’s probably where Anne drew blood.” Erin lifted their son’s foot. “He has one too.”

     Jamie was only slightly outraged. “She stuck a needle in them!”

     “Calm down honey, it’s done on every newborn; it’s necessary for their health.”

     Jamie released a heavy sigh as the flash of anger dulled to a new pain, heavy on her heart. “I know, but that had to hurt,” Jamie mumbled around the tender heel she was kissing. Maybe this is a maternal feeling, she thought.

     Erin leaned over and kissed Jamie’s cheek. “I know how you feel. Everything that ever hurts them will hurt me too. And unfortunately this is only the first of a lifetime of pains. God willing, most of those pains will be temporary and superficial…but some won’t be.”

     Jamie let a tear slip. “I can’t even think about that right now.”

     “Let’s don’t then,” Erin said, more cheerfully. “Let’s just enjoy this moment with our happy and healthy children. We’ll worry about the rest later.” 

     Jamie proceeded to pull away the tape and easily discarded the slightly damp diaper. Drying the bare bottom, she put on a new one and secured it. Erin watched as she double checked the fit. Thank goodness she’s going to get a lot of practice before she tries changing babies that can actually move and want to flip over and squirm away, Erin thought with a mental chuckle. Jamie laid out the one piece sleeper and put the baby on top of it. Erin reached under the bassinet and tossed something white, Jamie’s way. “Put those on her too,” she instructed, “under the sleeper,” she added for good measure.

     Jamie picked up the items. The tiny things barely had a shape, but she did recognize them. “Socks?”

     “Uh huh.”

     “Her feet will already be covered by the clothes and the blanket; isn’t that enough?”

     “No,” Erin said as she continued to dress Noah. “Babies, especially one’s this small, can get very cold. You have to trust me on this one.”

     “Okay. Mother knows best.” Jamie put the tiny socks on the tiny feet, then carefully tucked the legs and arms into the proper holes and snapped everything closed. She then put her on a clean blanket and wrapped it over and under, just the way she had seen Erin do it. “There you go,” she said, nuzzling Jordan’s cheek, “snug as a…  Ewww. Where did that saying come from anyway?”

     “I don’t know, but our children will not be referred to as bugs. Been there, done that,” Erin mumbled with a touch of mock crankiness, about her own childhood nickname.

     Jamie leaned over and whispered into her ear. “I love this little E-bug.”

     Erin giggled.

*    *    *

     Both babies were sound asleep…of course, snuggled together in the small bed. Both mommies were wide awake, snuggled together in the big bed. But they knew it wouldn’t be that way for long, for both duos. Erin was on her side, facing the infants and Jamie was spooned up behind her with her arm wrapped around Erin’s middle. There had been some lazy conversation and a yawn or two before Jamie reached into her pocket and pulled out a small black box. She handed it to her spouse. “Happy Birthday.”

     Erin looked over her shoulder as she took the gift. “What? You know my birthday is in October.”

     “That’s when you were born; this is for giving birth to our children. I know technically it was yesterday, but things were a little hectic last night.”

     The case gave a little squeak as Erin pried open the tight lid. The twin pieces inside twinkled at her, as Erin studied the garnet studs. “Oh honey, they’re beautiful; Noah and Jordan’s birthstone.” She turned over, face to face with Jamie. “Thank you. I’ll wear them with pride.” Their lips met and danced to a private melody composed by their hearts. “I am so proud of you,” Erin announced with quiet fervor, “but not for the things you can buy me. I am proud of the wonderful person you are in here.” She laid her palm on Jamie’s chest. “And for the fantastic parent you’ll be everyday for the rest of your life.”

     “I wouldn’t be good at either of those things without you. I love you.”

     “I love you.”

*    *    *

     The babies had been home for a few weeks and everyone was falling into a good routine. Jamie was staying home, equally sharing in the parenting duties and loving every minute of it. Grandma Kathleen was lending her well practiced hands for a diaper change or a bath here and there when one or both tired parents needed some rest. The family had been back for more baby time, including Jeremy who smiled the whole time he held his nephew. Jordan had decided to show her diva side during that visit and wasn’t happy with anyone else’s attention, but her mommy Erin’s.

     It was decided at their first trip to the pediatrician that the babies would benefit from part time bottle feeding, since they may have to switch to formula at some point in the near future. Jamie had fed her daughter for the first time on a Friday afternoon. The insecurities had returned and she was a little apprehensive, but mama and baby survived the event unscathed. Jamie was quite proud of herself.

      They found that all four of them thoroughly enjoyed bath time. Jamie was already imparting the importance of a properly buoyant rubber ducky to play with, but right now the kids were in their sit and soak mode. Bedtime consisted of a story, either original or from the dozens of children’s books Erin had been compiling. Jamie had done a fair share of shopping for the babies too and had purchased a few CD’s of music for tots. She had even started humming along with the tunes during which, Jordan would kick her tiny legs or swing her arms, her closed fists sometimes tapping together. Jamie encouraged the applause…dancing…whatever her daughter was doing and devised more forms of musical entertainment.

     Both parents were learning, early on, that even though Jordan and Noah were twins, they were developing distinct personalities, likes and dislikes.

     There were exciting discoveries being made by all four of them.

*    *    *

     It was the middle of a bright and cheery afternoon, but the shades in the nursery were drawn, dousing the room in a gray, peaceful hue. Jamie had just given Noah his bottle and having cleaned up his milky mouth, she was rocking him back to sleep. She mumbled, fleetingly, that she couldn’t wait for the time when they would be awake more during the day so she could play with them. But then she had a sudden, frightening second thought. “No, little buckaroo,” she said and kissed his forehead, “you just take your time growing up. You know, I was so excited waiting for you and your sister to arrive; now nearly a month has gone by…wow. Before long, you’ll be walking and talking, going to school…leaving home.”  Noah’s little body wiggled, drawing her attention from those impending events.  His face snuggled deeper into Jamie’s chest and thinking he was still hungry, she said, “Sorry buddy, the bottle’s empty…and so are those,” she chuckled. He cuddled some more and then gave a little sigh, finally settling into the sweet spot. His tiny fingers loosely clutched her shirt, finding security in her arms.

     Elation. Divine and absolute elation. That’s what Jamie had been feeling since becoming a parent to ten pounds of adorable perfection. Only her love for Erin had ever created a stronger sensation. Oh, Jamie knew there would be parenting trials in the future. She could just picture, even if she didn’t exactly remember, the kinds of issues her own parents must have faced…including the worst thing imaginable…losing a child. I don’t know how they did it, she thought as she looked down at her son. I know I would never survive. Determined not to go down that morose thought path, Jamie concentrated on the years with her sister. One particularly funny memory…at least it seemed funny to a pair of six year olds, came to mind. She and Jordan had tried to trick their mother one summer afternoon, each pretending to be the other one, including switching clothes and favorite toys. They had gotten the idea from some TV comedy show and had actually pulled it off for quite awhile. Hmm, I wonder if Mom really knew and was just playing along.  Jamie grinned slyly. I bet she did.  She was really a great Mom.   

     “At least you and your sister can never play that joke on us,” she told Noah as she rocked back and forth. Jamie studied his angelic face and the serene state he had achieved. She realized now that he hadn’t been seeking nourishment. He was just totally content, basking in her warmth and comfort. He was right where he wanted to be. Jamie was suddenly blindsided when it dawned on her as bright as a dozen new day suns. Her face contorted and a line of steady tears began pouring from her eyes.

     Erin stood in the doorway of the nursery, patting Jordan’s bottom. The same tears made happy tracks down her cheeks as she had witnessed the last few tender moments and the transformation of her wife’s features. Jamie turned to her, wearing the sweetest smile she had ever seen. Erin walked into the room, her eyes never leaving Jamie’s. She stopped next to the rocking pair and caressed the wet face.

     Jamie glanced again at her snoozing son, then back to Erin. “He loves me,” she said with an emotional tremble. “My son loves me.”

     Careful of her precious cargo, Erin leaned down and kissed Jamie’s quivering lips. “Of course he loves you…so does your daughter.” Erin took a seat next to the rocker, on the window seat. “They both love you…almost as much as I do. You are their mother. And we are a family.”

     Epilogue

     Jamie awoke and a brilliant grin immediately spread across her face. She looked out the window to see a beautiful, sunny day then over at her beautiful, sleeping wife. I hate to do this, but I’m too excited to wait. Jamie nuzzled her way through the good smelling, yellow hair and rested her lips against an ear. “Erriin. Sweetheart.”  She gave the flesh a little nibble. Erin shivered and mumbled something incomprehensible. Jamie ran her hand over Erin’s hip as she tried again. “Honey, I know it’s early, but please wake up.”

     “Hmm…what is it?”

     “Do you know what today is?”

     Erin smacked her dry lips. “Well, yesterday was…umm…Tuesday…so I think today would be Wednesday.”  She had yet to open her eyes.

     “No!” Jamie said, exasperated.

     Erin turned her tousled head, pried her sleepy eyes open and blinked several times. “No? What world are we on?”

     Jamie tossed off the light covers, kicking her long, bare legs in a tiny tantrum. “Well, yes it is Wednesday, but that’s not what I meant and you know it. What special day is it?” Erin continued to stare blankly at her excited spouse. “What is the month?” Jamie tried again.

     Erin yawned around her answer. “Ju…ly.”

     Jamie dramatically flopped back onto the bed. “You’re not going to make this easy are you?” She sighed. “And what is the date?”

     “Theeee…ninth.”

     “And what happened six months ago today?”

     Erin scratched her blonde head. “Oh, that was the day of that terrible wind storm.”

     A pair of blue eyes squinted tightly in frustration…and then she pounced. “Erin, do I have to tickle you!?”

     “No! No!” Erin squealed and twisted under the teasing fingers. “I’ll wet the bed!”

     Jamie halted her torture. “It wouldn’t be the first wet bed I’ve changed in the last six months.” The tormenting digits started in again.

     Erin grabbed the flailing arms. “Okay! Okay.” She took several deep breaths. “Today our children are six months old.”

     Jamie pumped her fist in triumph. “Yes! Now I know you said I couldn’t give them a party…but I did buy them something special and you did say I could do something special with them on this day.”

     Erin remembered vividly what she said… and what Jamie wanted to do. The blonde head started shaking gently. “Jamie, I don’t know…”

     “Honey, you know how much I  love our children and that I would never do anything if there was even a chance of them getting hurt.”

     “There is a chance of them getting hurt every time we take them somewhere in the car.”

     “Exactly.” Jamie turned and put her arm around Erin’s waist. “So there is no more of a chance of them getting hurt with this.”

     Erin stared at the ceiling, knowing Jamie’s argument was logical. But she was thinking with a mother’s heart. She finally sighed. “Okay.”

     “I’ll be very careful…”

     “I said okay.”

     “I’ve already…” A hand clamped over Jamie’s mouth.

     Erin looked her right in the eye. “I said it’s okay; you can do it.” She quickly moved her hand and replaced it with her lips. “I do trust you with our children.”

     Jamie’s face softened with love. “Thank you. Thank you, honey. And I promise that you’ll love this too.”

     “I do have two conditions.”

     Jamie looked skeptical, but knew she had to consent. “Okaay, what are they?”

     “First, you have to take them one at a time.” The rancher nodded an amiable agreement. “And…” Erin whispered the final condition in Jamie’s ear, taking time after to thoroughly explore the delicate spot. The erotic investigation soon moved on to other areas and led to some heated kisses…until Jamie heard a sound on the little monitor beside the bed.

     “The babies are awake!” The tall woman jumped from the bed and ran down the hall.

     Erin was left mid pucker as her lover fled the room. But she couldn’t really be disappointed. She looked over at the little white box and smiled as she heard mama greeting their twins good morning and telling them about their exciting day ahead.

     “I know this is really more about me than you and I’m glad that your very generous mommy understands how important this is to me. You know how much I love her, don’t you? I want you both to always know that, and how much I love both of you too.”

     Erin heard a baby giggle. A rancher’s giggle wasn’t far behind. I love those sounds. Even though she had given Jamie a hard time about the half birthday, she loved how her wife got so excited with just about everything involving the twins.

     Parenthood was awesome. Marriage was awesome. Love was awesome.

*    *    *

     Erin was sitting on a bench near the front door. While she was waiting for Jamie’s big surprise, she was taking the opportunity to update the baby books. Noah’s album, which of course had the ark theme, lay beside her as she began with her first born. Erin opened the book with old fashioned Pooh on the cover.  From Jordan’s sonogram picture and birth information on the first page to the family tree, Jordan’s first official picture, the date of her first smile, her first laugh and more, the first six months of her life was well documented. The final two pages were for a current portrait and a letter that Erin was about to compose. Noah’s book was identical in content, but of course with his own individual statistics. There were two more blank books in the nursery, waiting to be filled with the exciting details of the next six months of the twin’s lives.

     Erin picked up a piece of light pink paper and began writing. Dear Jordan Kathleen. She stopped as the name sparked a memory. Erin looked up the staircase and her mind’s eye saw her grandmother come down those stairs for the final time on that bright May morning. She had been visiting for five months, most of that time spent at Erin and Jamie’s, but, reluctantly so, she decided that she needed to return to Ireland.

     Erin and Jamie were each holding a baby and Kathleen stood there just looking at the four of them for a long time. The four month old twins were dressed in cute summer outfits. Jordan had on tangerine colored shorts and royal blue pair for Noah. They wore t-shirts, one with butterflies and the other with a sailboat. Tiny sandals were strapped to their feet, allowing their adorable, pudgy toes to show through. Kathleen tweaked one of those toes and Jordan giggled. Both babies loved spending time with Grandma Kathleen.

     Erin had tried her hardest not to cry, but the sadness could not be kept at bay for long.

     “Erin, love,” Kathleen said, “I’m not gonna tell ya not ta cry, because sometimes that’s just something we have ta do.”

     The blonde nodded and she kissed her son’s head, hoping that her joy for him would balance out her emotions. “I know Grandma…I just…I’ll miss you.”

     Kathleen stepped forward and engulfed her grandchildren in a hug. “Oh, and I’ll miss you. But somehow I think these new little ones will keep ya quite busy; ya won’t have time ta think a lot about me.”

     “No matter what is happening in my life, I always think about you. I love you. You’re just so far away…and what if…” Erin buried her head in Kathleen’s shoulder, unable to complete her thought.

     But Kathleen knew. “Erin, don’t put me in my grave just yet,” she joked. “I may be 82 years old, but aside from a little arthritis, the doctor says I’m as healthy as a forty year old. Ya know my mother lived ta be 96. I intend ta be around for a long time ta come. And I’ll try ta come back for another visit next Christmas.”

     Erin sniffed. “Maybe on your honeymoon,” she teased, letting a smile dry her tears.

     Kathleen was far too old to blush, despite her modesty concerning romantic matters. “Perhaps,” she said, “but only if you come ta Ireland fer the wedding.” She winked and reached for her grandson. “Little Noah, my handsome great-grandson, even though I won’t be here, I’ll always be around. And just as soon as ya learn to talk, tell yer parents to call me at least once a week. I love you my little bairn.” She handed the boy back and took her great-granddaughter. Being a very tactile baby, Jordan poked Kathleen’s cheek and grabbed for her moving lips as the elderly woman said her good-byes. “I love ya wee one.” She finished and the tall mama reclaimed her girl.

     A wrinkled hand landed gently on the rancher’s face. “Jamie, you are my family too and I love ya. You are a great wife and mother and I’m proud of ya. Take care of my three lovelies.”    

     “I promise Kathleen; they are my life.”        

     “I have seven grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren,” the elderly woman said. “I love them all equally…but the ones in this house hold an extra special place in my heart.”

     The grand, Irish lady gave one more round of hugs before departing through the front door to a waiting limo, courtesy of her prosperous son. All four waved goodbye, two with a little help, all wearing identical lipstick prints on their cheeks.

     Erin left the past memory and returned to her letter. “Today you are six months old, my daughter. The joy you have brought to me since your birth is… well, indescribable and your life is just beginning. The day you laughed for the first time, my heart nearly exploded with happiness. I don’t know how old you will be when you read this, but I bet you are going to laugh…again and then wonder just how something so simple could garner such a strong reaction. Well, I can’t give you an answer for that. I can only say that when you become a parent, then you will understand completely. And that is one of my greatest wishes for you…if you choose parenthood, of course.” Erin wrote a few more paragraphs before signing her love, folding the letter and tucking it away in a matching envelope.

     “Are you ready mommy?” came a voice from the top of the stairs.

     Erin chuckled and set aside the book. “Yes.”

     “Do you have the video camera on and ready to record?”

     “Yes Jamie. Come on already; I’d like to see our children again sometime before midnight.”

     “And the still camera?”

     “Jamie!”

     “All right; here we come.”

     Three bodies descended the stairs as Erin watched through the small screen on the video camera. “Oh no!” Erin exclaimed with a smile as they came into full view. Jamie carried a baby in each arm and all three of them where dressed exactly alike, from the top of their chocolate colored cowboy hats to the tips of their shiny, brown boots. In between were triple two-tone, denim shirts and stonewashed jeans. Jordan reached over and knocked off her brother’s hat. Erin laughed at the antics as she continued recording. “Where on earth did you get these outfits?” she asked.

     “I had them special made. I ah…got you one too…if you wanted…for a few pictures.”

     Erin leaned in between her children and gave Jamie a lovely kiss. She only pulled away when Jordan made a grab for her glasses. “What am I going to do with you…big goof?”

     “What you’ve done since the day we met…just love me.”

     “There’s no chance of that ever stopping.”

     After snapping more pictures, Erin took her daughter and nuzzled her neck, making her giggle. Jamie re-settled Noah in her arm and reached for his missing hat, which she promptly returned to his dark blonde head.

     “Okay,” Erin said, “let’s get this going.”

*    *    *

     The author walked along at a slow pace, holding a set of reins in her hand, leading the gentlest horse in the herd around the small corral. They were on their sixth trip and Erin turned around, walking backward, so she could see the riders. She grinned. Secretly, she was almost as thrilled as Jamie.

     “Honey, she loves this!” Jamie exclaimed. Baby Jordan sat in the saddle in front of her tall mother, with two loving hands securely clasping her chubby body. The tot was all gummy grins and giggles as she kicked her booted feet and slapped at the saddle horn, squealing her delight.

     The twins were having their very first horseback ride, the first of many, many…many, if they were to take after their equine loving parent. Noah had already had his ride. He loved it too, but was much more docile in his enjoyment. But his little smile spoke volumes to his parents. While his sister was riding, he was being held on the corral fence by his uncle Jeremy, who had dropped by with presents.

     “I knew they both would,” Jamie said.

     “Yes sweetie, you were right.” After several dozen more pictures, Jamie dismounted the horse. Erin handed off control of the animal to a ranch hand. Jamie instructed the hand to give the beast a special treat as she wrapped her free arm around her wife. They walked over to retrieve their son, who happily reached out for his mommy. Jeremy headed back to his car and down the road to the house as the family of four approached their own transportation home. The couple’s four legged children jogged along behind and Skye and Artemis jumped into the back of the SUV as soon as Jamie opened the door.

     The adult’s each secured a baby in a car seat, adjusting and double checking buckles. Jamie spoke to the babies about future rides and Erin listened with continued amusement over Jamie’s enthusiasm. Before the twins were born, there had been a secret place in Erin’s heart where she was concerned, not about Jamie parenting abilities, but her projected fears. She always knew that Jamie would love their children and that her heart would always be in the right place, but Erin wanted her wife to be completely comfortable around their children. Those fears did rear themselves…for about two minutes, but love did conquer all, as it always does.

     Jamie was living her second childhood, giving Erin very good insight to what her spouse had been like as a youngster. This had given the author a brainstorm for a new series of children’s books. The Adventures of Jamie and Jordan would be about the worldly escapades of seven year old twins. Erin also planned another series for toddlers called, of course, The Mini Adventures of Noah and Jordan.

     “We’re going home now for another surprise,” Jamie said, before kissing Jordan on the head.

     Erin clicked in the last buckle and looked at the rancher a bit sternly. “Jamie, I have to draw the line at cake…not until their first official birthday.”

     Jamie smiled charmingly, “I didn’t say the surprise was for the twins. I asked Jeremy to come over to watch the babies for a few hours so I could treat their mother to a romantic champagne and seafood dinner by the new pool and then a twilight swim.”

     Erin melted into a stunned, but happy puddle. “Really?”

     “Absolutely!” Jamie walked around the car and took her wife into her arms. “Tonight is for lovers.”

     Erin peeled the hat from Jamie’s head and planted a kiss on her lips that nearly made the babies and the dogs blush.

     “Wow!” Jamie took a moment to compose herself, taking a moment or five to remember what she was going to say. She looked in the car again and back at Erin. “I do have one question though.”

     “What is it?” Erin asked happily.

    

     “When can we have another baby?”

The End

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