Four months later…
“Do you need help with that?” Aaron yelled up the stairs of the Murphy home.
“No, I think I have it,” Trixie yelled back. “This is the last box anyway.” She carried it to the top step, placed it on the stairway and let gravity take care of the moving.
Andy chuckled. “I hope there were no family heirlooms in that box, or they are toast.”
Aaron shrugged. “She said it was clothes and a blanket her mother crocheted. I’m assuming it’s pretty impossible to break that.”
Danae was happy for her friend, but she would miss Trixie’s company every morning. Since their engagement three months prior, Danae had unsuccessfully been looking for a new nanny. And now that Aaron and Trixie were expecting their first baby, she was moving to his house. The baby would arrive shortly before Aaron’s 42nd birthday, and three months after Trixie’s 30th.
“Uh oh,” came a distress call followed by quick footsteps and retching. Aaron took the steps two at a time, rushing to her aid.
“Are you alright, Beanie?” he asked.
She looked at him, feeling nauseated. “Not really. But it will pass in a couple of months.” She was barely six weeks pregnant.
“I guess we need to plan the wedding we’ve been putting off. And I suppose I should call my mother. Dad would have loved a grandchild.” Aaron’s father died shortly before they found out about the baby. His mother was no younger and in poor health. It was likely she wouldn’t see the baby born.
“It doesn’t have to be a big wedding. In fact, we can get married at Town Hall if you want. I don’t care, Coach, as long as we are together.”
Andy carried the last of Trixie’s belongings to Aaron’s car while she and Danae tidied up the suite. Wyatt and Raisa’s baby was due in just a month, and now Aaron and Trixie were starting a family.
The four of them stood in the yard. Danae got emotional, even though Trixie was only moving down the street. “I’m going to miss you!” she wept.
“I’ll miss you and the kids,” Trixie cried.
“You’re welcome to come by any time, you know. Don’t be a stranger.”
“Of course, Nae. You’re my best friend.” Aaron looked at her funny. “Besides you, Coach.”
Andy hugged Aaron. “Treat her well, or I will hurt you,” he joked.
“Try it,” Aaron laughed. “I might be older, but I’m in better shape and I’m faster!”
Andy belly laughed. “I believe you!”
Danae and Andy watched as their friends got into Aaron’s car. They both waved as he drove away, and Danae began to cry.
“Oh honey, she isn’t that far away,” Andy said softly.
“I know,” she sniffled. “Everything is changing. Wyatt and Raisa are expecting. Aaron and Trixie are expecting…” her voice trailed off. He knew she was thinking of Emmitt.
“Baby, shh, it’s okay.” Andy held her tightly. “What we have is awesome. Don’t worry, honey. We are alright.”
Danae sighed. “Change is good, right?”
“It can be, yes.”
“I love you, Andy. Thank you for being my constant.”
“Always my pleasure, my sweet.”
Two months later…
Trixie tried to hide the growing bump that was their baby under a simple dress. The wedding took no time to plan and would be held in the little chapel that overlooked the ocean, the only one on the island. It was more for Aaron than it was for her, though it was the first marriage for both of them.
The party only included their closest friends: Wyatt, Danae and Andy, Darcey and Clint, and Kirby and Rae. Wyatt’s wife Raisa, who was caring for their newborn daughter Keely Maria, could not attend the wedding. Andy’s two children would be ring bearer and flower girl, Andy would act as Aaron’s best man, and Danae the matron of honor.
“How is this?” Trixie asked. Her hair was adorable, and she wore a simple veil in it.
“Trixie, you’re beautiful,” Danae assured her. “Aaron is going to love it.”
“He’s been so excited about this, Nae. I have been, too. I’m glad we’re doing this before I get much bigger. Pretty dresses are hard to find when you’re sporting a big baby belly.”
Danae hugged her best friend. “Andy and I are so happy for you two. I don’t know why I never thought to introduce you guys sooner.”
Trixie smiled. “The timing was never right. We met exactly when we were supposed to. I was single and ready. I needed to date Steve to realize I was ready for a man like Aaron.” Steve was the man she was dating when Danae and Andy left on their anniversary trip. “He was the biggest jerk of them all, and he made me realize I was ready for someone different. In some ways, I’m thankful for him. I might have never given Aaron a second look if not for that wake-up call.”
Andy knocked on the door of the bride’s room. “Baby, Aaron’s ready. It’s go time.”
“This is it!” Trixie said. “I’m glad we planned a little wedding instead of going to the courthouse. Thank you for all your help.”
“Anything for you, Trix. I love both of you like family.” Danae gave her one last hug before she joined Andy in the vestibule.
The kids were dressed in the same outfits they wore to the vow renewal, Eamon walked down first carrying the pillow with rings tied to it. Elyse followed him carrying a small basket of flowers. Danae and Andy watched their children walking down the aisle and he squeezed her hand. “Are you ready, sweetie?”
“You bet,” she replied, and together they walked behind Elyse.
When they were at the front, the music changed, and Trixie appeared at the back of the chapel.
Aaron’s eyes got wide when he saw her, and he lost it. Andy squeezed his shoulder and whispered into his ear. “Your bride is beautiful, my friend.”
He shook his head. “How do I deserve her?” Andy smiled at the groom, his best friend.
“You just do, buddy. Congratulations, man.”
Trixie reached the altar, and Aaron took her hands. “Wow, Beanie, you look gorgeous.”
She smiled bashfully. “You look amazing, Coach.”
Aaron took her hands in his, looked into her hazel eyes and smiled. “Trixie, when we met, I wasn’t looking for you, and I certainly wasn’t thinking I could ever love you. But you made it easy to fall for you, easy to love you. And I couldn’t imagine loving you more than I do right now.” He placed his hand on her belly and smiled. “Both of you.” He took her hand and slipped a simple gold band onto her finger. “Trixie, I love you.”
Trixie reached to touch his cheek and smiled. “Aaron, I didn’t know when we met how much I could love you. But I knew there was something special about you from the first moment we touched, and my love for you has only grown.” She placed her hand on the growing baby, and tears pooled in her eyes. “Our love has created this little one, half me, half you, completely loved.” She slipped a diamond and gold band onto his finger. “Aaron, I love you.”
After the pastor pronounced them man and wife Aaron kissed her tenderly. “We did it!”
“Yes we did, Coach!” He wrapped his arm around her waist and they turned to the small group of friends that witnessed the ceremony. The reception followed immediately after in the adjoining social hall. It wasn’t a big deal, just dancing with music, some nectar for her and champagne for the guests to do a toast, and hors d’oeuvres.
A few hours later, the party had wound down and friends wished the bride and groom well before they left. When it was just the four of them, Andy, Danae, Trixie, and Aaron, the bride and groom hugged their friends and thanked them. Aaron and Trixie took a limousine to the Grand Tower resort for their wedding night, and Danae and Andy took the kids and went home.
Later that year…
Snowflake Day… a time for families and friends all over Simville. This particular holiday was no different, though it was the Murphy family’s first holiday without Emmitt. Wyatt and Raisa would be rejoining them, along with Darcey and her family, and Aaron and Trixie, to celebrate together.
Keely, Wyatt’s daughter, sat in Raisa’s lap and cooed happily. She was born about five months before the holidays, and the new parents wore the telltale signs of a baby. Aaron and Trixie were eight months pregnant.
Danae looked around at her extended family. Noel was a bit over ten, Shan and Elyse would be nine in the spring, and Eamon just a bit over seven years old. The children were all growing so fast, she had to pinch herself to know it was real. And it wouldn’t be long before Elyse was grown and going to college. Just yesterday, it seemed, she was a toddler learning to say ‘Daddy’.
The guys all congregated outside where there was room to talk and do so loudly. Darcey’s kids were in the pool, so Andy was on lifeguard duty. Wyatt gushed about fatherhood, and how much he loved it.
“When’s the next one due, Searce?” Andy teased.
“Well,” he drawled, “we are havin’ all the fun tryin’ for another young’un.” Wyatt was the second oldest in the bunch of friends, five years older than Andy. “I’m not gettin’ any younger.”
“When we got pregnant with Eamon, we weren’t planning on him being so close to Elyse. But, I have to admit it has worked out pretty good. They’re very close, especially now.” Andy sipped on a glass of wine. “And our two with Clint’s two, they’re all right around the same age. They know their cousins very well.”
Aaron was now the only one among them who did not have a child, at least not yet. His baby would arrive within the next month. So he listened intently, gleaning advice and wisdom from his two best friends.
Inside, the women sat around and chatted, listening half-heartedly to entertainment news out of Starlight Shores and Bridgeport. And it was all going unnoticed until Darcey heard Devin’s name.
“Nae, did you hear that? Someone mentioned Devin.”
She shook her head and took the remote from the coffee table. “I’ll rewind it.” She went backward on the broadcast about a minute, and when the story was rebroadcast, the sisters looked at one another in shock.
“Maribeth Woods, former longtime sweetheart of soccer superstar Devin Jones, filed suit yesterday in Starlight Shores for child support. Miss Woods alleges Jones is the biological father of her unborn child. Their relationship ended abruptly seven months ago amid speculation that he was with Shores socialite and heiress Margo Oberly. Could this new revelation be the real reason behind the star couple’s split? Story at eleven.”
Danae chuckled. “Speculation? There’s not a doubt in my mind he had other women on the side. Poor Maribeth. Daddy always liked her.”
“Don’t feel too sorry for her, Nae,” Darcey rebutted. “She put up with it willingly. She knew what Devin was.”
“True.” She thought for a moment and realized something. “Darce, this means we are going to be aunts again. But this time, the kids won’t know their cousin.”
Keely cried in Raisa’s arms as they spoke. “I’m sorry,” she blushed. “The baby, she is hungry.”
“Make yourself comfortable, Raisa,” Danae said. “Our home is your home. If you’d rather nurse her privately, you can use our bedroom and close the door.”
Still shy and reserved around the other ladies, Raisa excused herself to the master suite to nurse Keely in seclusion.
“She’s a sweet girl,” Darcey commented. “She’s been very good for Wyatt.” Raisa’s family disapproved of him, saying he was much too old for her. She was in her late 20s, and Wyatt was 40. But he was devoted to her and they loved each other tremendously. The fact that Wyatt was rich didn’t hurt, either. He was able to give her everything she needed and wanted. But she loved him long before she knew about the money. The financial security was a bonus for her and Keely.
“She truly is a sweet girl. What do you think of her, Trix?” Danae asked.
She blushed. “I know the guys are all best friends, but that hasn’t translated to me and Raisa yet. I don’t know her that well.”
“None of us do. I’m glad they’re spending the holiday with us this year, so we can get to know her better.” Danae’s attention went back to the television as she heard Maribeth’s familiar voice.
“Daddy told him not to make a child he wasn’t going to love and raise,” Darcey said, returning to their previous topic. “I don’t miss the drama he brought around in the Shores.”
“Amen to that, sissy,” Danae laughed. “He’s been a thorn in Andy’s side for years. Someday, I’m afraid he will really hurt Andy, left to his own devices. Who is to say he wouldn’t?”
Darcey shook her head. “I don’t know, Nae. Valid question and Andy has reason to fear him.”
“Oh,” Danae shrugged, “Andy isn’t afraid of him. He is afraid of nothing, and he would do absolutely anything to protect the three of us, even to the point of forfeiting his own life. I would do the same, too.”
“Dinner smells good, ladies,” Andy quipped as he came inside for another round of beer for the guys. Danae gave him the stink eye as she eyed the bottles in his hand, but he kissed her cheek. “I’m not having one, baby. No worries, okay?”
Danae nodded. “I have some news for you later. You won’t believe it.” His eyebrow raised as he looked at her. She laughed. “Later. When we’re all inside.”
“Oh,” he looked disappointed. “So it’s nothing saucy?” She laughed and swatted him as he walked toward the backyard.
Trixie snickered. “It’s good to see some things don’t change. Andy is still fresh.”
Danae blushed deep red. “Yes, and oh my gosh, Trixie, I’m sorry that you even know that!”
Trixie laughed harder. “I lived here for two years, Nae. I’d have to be living under a rock not to notice it.”
Darcey rolled her eyes. “She got that from Daddy.”
“Hush, you!” Danae teased her sister.
After dinner, they all gathered around the tree and exchanged gifts. Though Andy and Danae stopped exchanging gifts years ago, he had something special for her. When she opened it, she had a confused look on her face. Andy chuckled.
“You don’t know what that is, do you baby?”
She shook her head. “Well, it’s a necklace, but… no, I don’t. A… I give up, Andy. What is it?”
“It’s a phoenix. Baby, you’ve had the worst year of your life, but you’ve managed to make the best of it. Like a phoenix, you’ve risen from the ashes of tragedy and you’ve been strong and steadfast, taking care of our family.” As he explained it, tears filled her eyes. “That’s not all, baby. Look on the back.”
She turned the pendant over and wept openly as she read aloud the inscription etched on the back:
In loving memory of our son, Emmitt Theodore Murphy.
“Do you like it, honey?” he asked, smiling.
“Oh babe, it’s… I’m speechless.” She set the box on the sofa where she sat and stood up. Andy met her and embraced her, allowing her to cry in his arms. “I love you so much, Andy,” she whispered into his ear.
“I crazy love you, Danae. You are a fantastic mama, honey.” He kissed her tenderly. When they looked at the faces of their friends and family, there was not a dry eye around the tree.
“Clint, can I talk to you a moment?” Darcey sat on the bench at the end of their bed while Clint finished in the bathroom.
“Of course, kitten. What’s on your mind?”
“I want to do something special for Nae and Andy, and I’ve been considering this for a while now. But we need to be on the same page for this to happen. And I just don’t know how you’re going to feel about it, Boo.”
“Well, tell me what you want to do, and I’ll tell you how I feel about it. Easy, right?” He turned out the light in the bathroom and walked to her.
She shook her head. “This isn’t really that easy. First, I want to say that this is my idea and mine alone. No one asked me to consider it. In fact, she doesn’t know I want to do this for her.”
“It must be big, Darce.” Clint sat down beside her. “What is it?”
“I want to help them have another baby. Danae has been wanting one since they came back from Dragon Valley a couple of years ago. Emmitt has been gone almost a year, and now would be a good time to do this.”
Clint leaned back on his hands and looked at her like she was on drugs. “How exactly are you going to help them?”
“Well, Andy would donate sperm, and I’d donate a couple of my eggs. We are identical genetically, so there wouldn’t be much difference between mine and hers, if she had them to donate, that is.”
“So… in vitro? Or are you wanting a night of passion with her husband?” He was half-joking with her.
“Don’t be daft, Clint. Of course in vitro. We would fertilize a couple and implant two or three, see if any of them take. I mean, nothing is a guarantee. But she wants this so badly. It breaks my heart to see her in this much emotional agony when I can help her. So, now that I’ve laid it on the table, what do you think?”
Clint shook his head. “I don’t know, Darce. This is a huge deal. Do you need a decision right this minute?”
She snickered at him. “Of course not, silly. I haven’t even told her. But I have a chance to give her this incredible gift, Boo. If the shoe was on the other foot, she wouldn’t hesitate.”
“Would you be able to give a baby away that you carried for nine months?”
“I wouldn’t be giving it to just anyone, Boo. I’d be giving it to my twin sister and her husband.”
“Let me sleep on it, Kitten. This is a big decision, and I’m not sure I want my wife to carry someone else’s baby.”
“Not just someone else, Boobear. My identical twin sister. Remember, she is the one who made us millionaires.”
“What, so you owe her now?” He started getting defensive.
“No. Of course not. Clint, please, think long and hard about it. It would mean the world to me to do this for them.”
“You’re sure she didn’t put you up to this, Darce?”
“If you asked her about it, she would have no clue what you’re talking about.”
“Is it really that important to you, Kitten?” He took her hand and looked into her violet eyes.
“It is, Clint. More than you truly realize.” She caressed his cheek. “She and Andy have given us so much. I mean, aside from the money, they’re the reason we live here, away from the city. They adore our boys. Haven’t you seen the way she looks when the discussion goes to Raisa or Trix? Or the way she hurts when Emmitt enters the conversation? Don’t forget, Clint, Emmitt is the second child they have lost. Her pain is palpable. It doesn’t have to be, Clint. I can help her. We… we can help her.”
His expression softened. “You’re right. If this is what you want to do, I’m behind you completely.”
“Thank you, honey.” She kissed him passionately. “Let me show you how thankful I really am.”
The next morning…
“Hey Darce, what’s cookin’?” Danae answered her cell, in a good mood.
“Hey sweetie,” Darcey greeted her. “Clint and I would like to take you and Andy to By The Sea tonight, our treat. We have something to tell you.”
Danae was taken aback. “It must be important if you’re doing it up big. You’re not moving away, are you?”
Darcey laughed. “Of course not. I couldn’t get Clint away from here if I tried. I’m not going to give any hints, so don’t try to pull it out of me. You’ll find out tonight.”
“I’ll call him and tell him. Maybe Trixie and Aaron will watch our kids tonight.” Danae was excited. Darcey and Clint almost never invited them to go anywhere, so whatever she had in mind had to be significant.
After they hung up, Danae called Andy’s cell.
“This is Murphy.”
“Babe? Are you busy?”
“No, but you caught me on my way to Kirby’s office. What’s up, my sweet?”
“Darcey and Clint want to bring us to Kirby’s place tonight, their treat. She said they have news. I’m almost worried.”
“What time, baby? I’ll make sure I’m out of here in time.”
“Six. I need to call Trix and see if they’ll take our kids tonight.”
“Did she give any clue what it’s about?”
“No, she just told me not to try and pull it out of her. I know it’s big, I just hope it’s nothing serious, Andy. They can’t leave here.”
“I’m sure they aren’t going anywhere. Relax, baby. I’ll make this happen. I can’t wait now, sweetie. I love you!”
“I love you, Andy. I’ll see you soon.”
Danae had one more call to make. “Trix?”
“Hi Nae!” she chirped. “You sound happy.”
“Kinda. My sister wants to take Andy and me to By The Sea tonight. Would you and Aaron take the kids for a while? I’d call my other sitter, but I still don’t have one.”
“Of course we will. I think Aaron has to work late anyway. I’ll even feed them if you want.”
“You’re a lifesaver, Trix. I’ll get a new sitter soon, I promise. It’s been tough trying to find one we trust.”
“I’ll watch them whenever I can. I have to give you my key anyway. I forgot it was on my keyring.”
“Keep it, Trix. Until you have your baby, anyway. I’m not worried about it.”
“I’ll see you tonight, then! I can’t wait to see the kids. I miss them.”
“They miss you, too. Thanks again, Trixie. I owe you one.” Danae hung up the phone.
“Would you zip this, babe?” Danae asked Andy as she wiggled into her dress. “How do I look?”
“Baby, you look incredible.” He kissed her neck as he zipped the dress. “How about your new necklace? Do you want help with it?”
“If you’re offering, sure!” she said. Carefully, he fastened the delicate gold chain around her neck.
“Let me look at you,” he said and spun her around. “My beautiful princess,” he cooed at her. “Are you ready, my sweet?”
“I am,” she nodded.
Trixie was in their living room playing a game with both kids. “Thanks again for watching them tonight,” Andy said. “We shouldn’t be late.”
“Take your time and enjoy your family.”
Andy drove them to the restaurant and valet parked his car. Together they walked inside, Darcey and Clint awaited them. They both stood as Danae and Andy approached them. “Hi, sweetie!” Darcey chirped and hugged her sister. “Andy,” she kissed his cheek and hugged him. Clint shook Andy’s hand and hugged Danae.
They were all seated and there was an awkward silence. “What is everyone drinking?” Clint asked.
“Danae and I will have white wine, semi-sweet, thank you.” She looked at him funny and he chuckled.
The waiter appeared and Clint ordered from the bar for the table. The suspense was killing Danae and she shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Darcey smiled at her sister.
“The reason we wanted you here tonight—” Darcey was interrupted by the waiter, who returned very quickly with their order. Clint made their dinner order, doing as Andy had done numerous times when they had dined together, and the waiter left them alone.
“As I was saying,” Darcey continued, “the reason we wanted you here with us tonight, Clint and I have a proposition for you. And before your knee-jerk reaction says no, please give this some thought.” She took a deep breath and Clint took her hand. “Danae, Andy… we want to help you to expand your family.”
Danae was stunned. “What do you mean, Darce?”
“Well, I want to carry another child for you. We want this for you.”
Andy shook his head, confused. “How exactly would this happen?”
“Well, most of the preparation would be mine. I’d have a few eggs harvested, and together with Andy’s sperm, we’d make a baby via in vitro, and implant the embryos. Whatever implants will become a baby that I’d carry for you, and when he or she is born, it is your baby.”
Danae’s eyes welled up with tears. “Darce… I…” she couldn’t speak. “I couldn’t let you do this for me. It’s too much to ask.”
“You’re not asking me. I’m offering it. Do you think I don’t see the pain on your face when the conversation turns to Raisa and Trixie? Since you came back from Dragon Valley with Andy, I’ve known how badly you want another baby.”
Andy was speechless and blinked back tears. “Guys, this is too much.”
“Please,” Darcey pleaded with them, “please let me do this for you guys. Tell me, Danae. Tell me you wouldn’t turn yourself inside out to help me if you had the ability to.”
“You know I would, Bug,” Danae said softly.
“You have the biggest heart, the kindest soul I’ve known since Mama, and you’ve caught more than your share of rough breaks. The miscarriage. Your hysterectomy. Emmitt’s death. Nae, you guys didn’t deserve any of that heartbreak, but you accepted it graciously.”
“We didn’t have much choice, Darce. Everything happens for a reason, right?”
“Sometimes I can’t accept that as the final word, Nae. I have the opportunity to give you your most desired gift. I know you cry over it. I know how badly you want it, Danae. Please let me help you.”
Andy took a deep breath. “This is certainly a lot to consider. If we do this, Danae and I will cover all your medical expenses, and I’m not taking no for an answer on it. This is non-negotiable.”
Clint nodded. “I’ll agree to that. Darcey?”
She nodded. “I’d do it without that stipulation, but if it makes you feel better about it, we can do that.”
“Babe, you’re not really considering this, are you?” Danae asked, shocked.
“Honey, this is the answer to everything we’ve ever wanted. Possibly our second daughter, maybe a third son.” She looked at him oddly. “Just because Emmitt is gone doesn’t make him any less our child.” He squeezed her hand and caressed her cheek. “My Tessa…” His caramel-brown eyes almost begged with hers.
Hearing him say her name made Danae choke up with emotion. She knew he desired another daughter more than anything else, and for that exact reason. “Darcey, you are absolutely sure about this?”
“Nae, I’ve never been more sure of anything else in my life, except for Clint. This feels right.” Darcey reached for her sister’s hand and squeezed it. “In fact, I have an appointment next week with a fertility specialist so we can go over the particulars. I’d love it if you came with me.”
She looked at Andy with tears in her eyes, and he returned her gaze, tears pooled in his. “Do you even want to discuss this, or go for it?” She whispered into his ear as she pulled close to him.
“Let’s do it. I know there are no guarantees, but let’s try for that second baby girl. And if we have another boy, I will adore him, too.”
She looked at Darcey, then Clint, and back to Andy. “I think we’d love to do this! I can’t believe it! Thank you both so much for this. It is something I will never forget.”
Six weeks later…
Darcey had gone through treatments, medications, injections, and procedures that led up to this moment as two anxious families sat. “Mrs. Scroggins?” the orderly called her. Andy stood up and swallowed hard.
“This is it, baby,” he said nervously. His contribution would be simple. Darcey’s ordeal would be a bit more involved. He kissed Danae and joined his sister-in-law back in the procedure room.
Clint and Darcey knew the risks. She willingly took the treatments, endured the ultrasounds, until the doctors knew for certain they had what they needed. And when the time was right, this day, she would take the next crucial step toward surrogacy.
Darcey was given a light sedative for the procedure, mostly to calm her. She had a relatively high pain tolerance but the procedure itself was delicate. She wasn’t nervous at all but excited as Andy kissed her cheek before he walked to his room.
“Good luck, Darce,” he said and waved to her.
“You too, Daddy,” she smiled back.
About an hour later, both of them had accomplished their objective. Darcey was feeling a little sore, but nothing she hadn’t experienced before. She knew what to expect. Now, they waited to find out how many viable embryos they had.
Danae leaned to kiss Darcey’s cheek. “You’re my hero,” she whispered into her ear. Clint stood behind the wheelchair and smiled at the sisters. He was so proud of his wife.
“You’ve always been mine,” Darcey whispered back.
Clint drove Darcey home to spoil and care for her, while Andy and Danae returned home to their children. They hadn’t said anything to the kids yet, not wanting them to have high hopes for something that wasn’t a guarantee. But at the conclusion, they were optimistic.
As they did every evening after the children were in bed, they sat out by the pool with their glass of wine and talked. “How did it really go in there today, Andy?”
“My job was easy. Almost too easy, really. All I had to do was think of you.” He blushed slightly. “Darcey seemed to be doing okay when we all left, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, she’s in good hands. Clint will spoil her, and she deserves it. My sister is my hero, sorry babe. You’ve been dethroned.”
Andy chuckled. “I completely understand, my sweet. She’s mine, too.”
“The specialist mentioned something about maybe being able to breastfeed.” Danae twirled Andy’s hair around her finger.
He sat up a bit and looked at her. “Don’t tease me, Danae.”
She belly laughed. “I’m not teasing! Apparently, I’d need to do some hormone replacement therapy to trick my body into thinking I’m pregnant. But it’s not only possible, it could be likely this could happen. There have been instances where a sibling carried a baby for her sister, and the sister ended up producing so much milk, she was able to donate.”
Andy smiled impishly. “You’d never have enough to donate, baby. I’m just saying.”
“You’re awful,” she laughed. “But I’m excited about this! I mean, Darcey could give the baby the first milk, and then maybe pump for a few weeks until I get established, but this could happen.”
“You should have let me keep your milk up, Nae.”
Danae belly laughed. “You do realize how long it’s been. Emmitt would have been five and a half. That’s a long time to lactate, babe.”
“Oh, but I would have loved it,” Andy smiled. He truly meant it, too.
“You’re incorrigible, my Andy.” She kissed him tenderly.
“You’re beautiful,” he replied. “You know, I don’t have to worry about saving myself anymore, not that I did anyway.”
“What are you saying, my love?”
He looked at her, faking exasperation. “If I have to spell it out—”
She kissed him, interrupting him. “I’m picking up what you’re putting down. Let’s go.”
“Babe, Darcey is here. I’m going with her to the doctor today. Are you okay here at home?”
“No worries, honey. Tell her I said good luck!” he called to her. He was elbow deep in homework with the kids.
“I will! I’ll be right home afterward.”
She ran to Darcey’s car and got in the passenger’s seat. “Are you excited, Nae?” Darcey greeted her.
“So excited!” she chirped back. Darcey was going to have the embryos implanted, three of them, in the hopes that one of them would implant and become a pregnancy. It was a simple procedure but she wanted Danae with her. Darcey wanted her sister with her as much as possible, to help her feel connected to the baby she hoped she would carry and birth.
At the doctor’s office, the sisters walked back to the exam room, where most everything was set up and ready to go. “Mrs. Scroggins, just undress from the waist down and put this drape over you. The doctor will be in shortly.”
“This is it, Nae,” Darcey said. “In a couple of weeks, we’ll know if we’re going to have a baby.” Danae took her sister’s hand and squeezed it.
About five minutes later, the doctor entered the room with an assistant. With them, they carried the equipment to do the procedure. Darcey smiled. “Doc, this is my twin sister, Danae. She will be the baby’s mother should this materialize.”
The doctor held his hand to shake. “Pleased to meet you, Danae,” he said respectfully. “That’s an unusual name, but I’ve heard it before.”
Danae blushed. “My husband is Andy Murphy,” she replied.
The doctor nodded in recognition. “I’m so sorry about your son. I was shocked to hear of it when it happened.” He smiled and patted her shoulder. The twins were famous, and he was honored. “Well, back to why you’re here, Darcey. We have three embryos that looked great, three that were good, and well, the rest weren’t viable. Out of the ten eggs we harvested, we have enough for another implantation if none of these take. They will be frozen for use at a later time if we need to. But you’re young and you’ve had two other successful pregnancies. I don’t see why this wouldn’t work.” The doctor was optimistic, and it gave the sisters great hope.
“What would happen if all three of them take, doc?” Danae asked. “I mean, what are the odds of that?”
“Well, we can always terminate one to make it twins, or if you want all three babies, Darcey would likely carry them to 30 weeks and have them prematurely. Triplets seldom to go term without complications.” Danae shook her head, but the doctor spoke. “We will cross that bridge if we get there. Don’t worry.”
“I would never agree to terminate one,” Darcey said. “I know the risks and I’ve agreed, but you won’t take one of these babies. Danae and Andy have already suffered enough loss.”
The doctor nodded. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? Are you ready, Darcey? This will only take a moment. We’ll do a follow up in two weeks for preliminary testing and if we get good results there, an ultrasound two weeks after that.”
“Let’s do this,” Darcey said confidently. She reached for Danae’s hand and squeezed it. “Andy’s going to be a daddy again, Danae, and you’ll be a mama again. Mark my words.”
“I’ve prayed for this since you proposed it, Darce. Let it be so.” Danae closed her eyes, a smile on her face.
When the procedure was over, the sisters headed home. Darcey had two appointments scheduled, one for two weeks out, and one for four weeks out. By that time, they would know for certain if another Murphy baby was due.
Two weeks later…
Danae and Andy sat in the exam room with Darcey for the results of her blood test, done the day prior. The three of them were nervous but excited. None of them spoke while they waited, but Danae felt good about it.
The doctor walked into the room with Darcey’s chart and stopped short when he saw Andy sitting with the twins. “Mr. Murphy!” he said, starstruck. “What an honor.”
Andy blushed. “Thank you.”
“The Sharks haven’t been the same team since you took over, and I mean that in a good way. Huge fan.” He patted Darcey on the knee and smiled. “The preliminary bloodwork shows a possible pregnancy, so we’ll repeat the blood testing and the ultrasound at your follow up.” He turned to Danae and Andy and shook their hands. “The staff is hoping for this to happen for you two.” The anniversary of Emmitt’s death was upon them, and getting this good news would soften the pain.
Danae wiped tears from her eyes and smiled at Andy. “Thank you, Doctor.”
On their way home, Danae was quiet. “What are you thinking about, honey?” he asked her.
“Emmitt. He’s been on my mind as the day approaches. It’s unreal he’s been gone a year already, Andy.”
He nodded. “I think of him every day. I wonder how big he would be by now. How he would be doing in school. He was so smart, just like his mama.”
“Let’s do something special for Emm, babe. Mama and Daddy planted a tree in the yard for my older sibling. Let’s do something just as special for him and our other angel baby. What do you think?” Her eyes sparkled at the thought.
“Here’s a thought. Your folks did a memorial scholarship once. Why don’t we do something like that at the kids’ school? Once a year, we offer a tuition scholarship to one deserving family. Goodness knows there are plenty of disadvantaged kids on the island.”
Danae smiled. “I like where we are going with this. It’s a great tribute to him, and it gives us a chance to give back to the community that has given us so much.”
Andy took her hand and squeezed it. “Baby, you are your mother’s daughter. You have her sweet, giving heart.”
Now that Darcey’s pregnancy was more likely, Danae had an appointment of her own to consult about preparing for breastfeeding. If it was possible, she wanted to explore it. It was one of her favorite parts of having a baby. Nursing helped her to bond with the kids when they were little, and since she was starting at a disadvantage with this baby, Danae believed it would help considerably.
They tucked the kids into bed and they retired to the patio to watch the fireflies on the far end of the yard, to listen to the frogs that lived in the creek on the neighboring property, and to talk about their day. Andy handed her a glass of wine, and they snuggled together on the lounge chair.
“So, I guess it looks like we’re going to have another baby,” Andy said. His tone was happy and peaceful. “Your sister is something else, Nae. Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would ever propose such a thing. And yet, she did it selflessly. I wasn’t kidding when I said she is my hero.”
Danae smiled at him and took a sip of wine. “She is so much my hero, Andy. She has wanted me, wanted us, involved in every stage of the process. She wants me to be her birth coach. She wants me to be the first person to hold our baby son or daughter. Well, your son or daughter.”
Andy shook his head. “Ours, baby. Just because she is carrying it doesn’t make the baby any less yours. Besides, you two are nearly identical. Shan looks a lot like you, just like he looks like Darcey. You could easily pass for his mother, baby.”
“I know. But the baby will be biologically yours, not mine.”
“Honey, it doesn’t matter. He or she will still be our child. Your heart wants this. Your heart makes the child yours, not biology, not carrying it.” He kissed her tenderly. “Maybe this will be our Tessa.”
“I hope for your sake we have a girl, babe. I know how badly you want another daughter.” She snuggled into his arms.
“It truly doesn’t matter what we have, sweetie, as long as the baby is healthy. I will adore another Murphy munchkin just as much as I love the two we have right now. And our two angel babies. And most of all, their mama.”
Danae kissed his chin and nuzzled into his neck. “I love you, Andy. I can’t wait to find out in two weeks for certain. Are you sure this was what you wanted, babe? Another baby?”
“Aren’t you sure? Nae, honey, I know you want to have another baby. I know Stephanie has given you the baby blues, and she’s so darned cute. A little blonde baby girl who looks like Trixie. I know you want that, too.”
“You’re right. This isn’t the time to have cold feet, not when she’s pregnant. I guess I’m worried that all three embryos are implanted. Triplets, Andy. I’m not ready for triplets.”
“What’s the procedure for that, if all three took?”
“Darcey has made it clear she will not terminate any of them, so we would have triplets. And I wouldn’t want that, either. They’re your babies if there are three, and I will love them. But be prepared, I will need help with three infants, babe.”
“If we have three, then we prepare for it. And if not, we love the one she gives us.”
“Oh, speaking of which, I see a specialist in two weeks about breastfeeding. I’ll need to get started soon if I’m serious about it. And you know what I think about it.”
Andy snickered. “You know what I think about it, too.” She swatted him playfully. “Hey! You can’t fault a man for loving his wife.”
She shook her head and laughed. “So, what I heard was, you want to love your wife. When, exactly?”
Now Andy was laughing. “You talk about me!” He kissed her neck and caressed her cheek. “How about now?” he whispered.
“Sold, Mr. Murphy,” she flirted.
Two weeks later…
Danae felt queasy as she waited for Darcey’s name to be called. All four of them sat in the waiting room at her four week follow up. This was the day both families discovered how their lives would change, and to what extent. Andy held her close, and Darcey’s foot tapped nervously on the floor.
“Kitten, you’re making me anxious,” Clint stated.
“I’m wound up enough for all of us,” Andy laughed, trying to break the tension. “Are you alright, Nae?”
She nodded and reached for a peppermint candy. “I’m just a little nauseated is all. I’m fine.”
Darcey laughed. “I’m the pregnant one, and she gets morning sickness.”
“Darcey?” The nurse called, and all four of them stood. They were led to a small board room and were seated, waiting for the doctor. Much depended upon the results of her blood work. If she was definitely pregnant, she would have an ultrasound immediately following. And if not, two disappointed and two devastated people would leave the office.
Minutes later, the door opened and the doctor entered the room, Darcey’s chart in his hands and a smile on his face. He greeted all four of them and sat at the head of the table.
“I am pleased to announce that you are indeed pregnant, Darcey. The levels rose exponentially over the past two weeks. Officially, the baby is five weeks’ gestation, since it was approximately five days old at the time of implant. Today, we will find out how many embryos are implanted, and you can discuss options together as a family. Ladies, follow me, and the guys can wait in the lobby.”
Danae shook her head. “The baby is Andy’s. He should be allowed to see the ultrasound. I mean, if it’s okay with Darcey.”
Darcey nodded. “I know the test will be more invasive, but I’m okay with it. She is right. He is the father.”
Andy smiled at her. “Aren’t you going to see, honey? It’s our baby, remember?”
“If there is room, yes.”
“I won’t have it any other way,” Darcey stated. “They’re both welcome to be with me.”
“I guess I’ll show myself to the waiting room,” Clint said. He kissed Darcey and wished her luck.
During the ultrasound, the sonographer found the baby easily. And nearby, a second one had implanted. “So far, we have two!” she chirped happily. Andy’s face lit up with excitement. At the end of the exam, only the two were discovered, and it was exactly what they had hoped for, what they had dreamed about. Their family would be complete and whole with four children. Both Danae and Andy were ecstatic.
The three of them walked to the waiting room together, and Clint rose to his feet when he saw their smiles. “How did it go?”
Darcey held up two fingers. “We have twins!” He picked her up and kissed her, and she giggled like a schoolgirl. “Two miracle babies for my sister! Oh Clint, thank you for this. I’m so incredibly happy today.”
“It looks like my girl needs to be spoiled a bit,” Clint announced. “We’ll do dinner very soon,” he said. “Come on, kitten.”
Danae and Andy were flying on their own cloud, joyful. “Twins, Andy. We’re going to have two beautiful babies!”
“I guess we need to tell Lysie and Eamon about it now,” he said. “Baby, let’s do this right. Let’s do something special for them. But what?”
Surrogacy was a complicated topic for children of ten and eight to understand. But Danae had an idea. “By The Sea. Let’s take them to By The Sea, Andy. Let’s do the chef’s table with them, so we’re by ourselves, and surprise them with a special gift for each of them.”
They had never taken the kids anywhere for a meal away from home, nevermind a five-star restaurant. But they were good kids, well behaved and had good table manners. It could work.
“Let’s do it, baby! We’ll take them when I know Kirby is cooking. Oh, Nae, this is incredible, and I can’t wait to tell them. I crazy love you, Danae,” Andy said and stroked her cheek.
“I love you with all my heart, Andy,” she replied and kissed him tenderly. For the first time since Emmitt’s passing, both Andy and Danae felt complete.
Poses By Bee
- Warm Family Poses (Cover Photo)
The Sims Resource
- Garden Rose Living Chair by Severinka
- Eamon’s Ring Bearer Pillow
- Elyse’s Flower Girl Basket
- Darcey’s Rose
- Andy’s Wedding Ring
- Danae’s Matron of Honor Dress
- Erin Dining Room Bench
Mod The Sims
Sims By Severinka
Fresh Prince Creations
Lorandia Sims 3
Around The Sims 3
I know there are items I have left out, but it’s getting almost as long as my story to credit everyone! So my blanket disclaimer: I have produced none (except Murphy/Jones family portraits) of the CC used in this chapter. If someone has gone uncredited, it was not intentional, and I am truly sorry! I take no credit for any CC used, except where noted.