One week later…
“Sweet pea, you look so beautiful,” Danae told Elyse as she fixed her hair. She never wore her hair down, not since she was little, but since Danae had changed her hairstyle Elyse had been more willing to change.
“Thank you, Mama,” she replied. “Why are we going out again?”
“Your daddy and I have something we want to talk to you and Eamon about, and it’s pretty big. We want to make this special for you two.” Danae kissed her daughter’s cheek. “Are you almost ready, honey?”
Elyse nodded her head. “Can I bring Poppy with me?” Poppy was the doll they brought back from Sunlit Tides for her, and she loved it. Especially since Emmitt’s death, she was attached to the doll. Poppy went everywhere with Lysie.
“This is a really fancy restaurant, sweet pea.” She saw the look of disappointment on her daughter’s face. “But if you keep Poppy off the table, I guess so.”
Elyse smiled brightly. “Thank you, Mama!”
“You’re welcome, sweetheart.” Danae smiled at her. She knew she needed to pick her battles with the kids, and a doll wasn’t a dealbreaker for her. “Let’s see if the guys are ready yet, okay?” Elyse smiled and nodded, Poppy grasped in her fingers.
In the next room, Andy was finishing tying Eamon’s shoes and straightening his jacket.
“You clean up good, sport,” Andy told him. “You’re a handsome little dude.” Eamon giggled madly and Andy hugged him. “You know, you have to be on your best behavior tonight, son. We’re going to a fancy place. Your mama and I have something important to tell you.”
The giggles stopped quickly. “Something important?” Eamon suddenly wore a concerned look on his face. “What is it?”
Andy laughed. “It’s a surprise, sport. Don’t worry, Eamon, it’s a good thing!” Danae’s head peeked into the bedroom door. “Are you ready, my sweet?” he asked her.
“We are. How’s it going in here?”
“You ready, son?” Andy asked him.
“I guess we’re good!” Andy took his hand, and Elyse had Danae’s hand. Together, the family walked to Andy’s car.
They arrived at the restaurant and Andy opened the door for Danae and the kids. Elyse took Andy’s hand and Eamon sidled up to Danae as they walked toward the door. “Remember kids, you need to behave. Make your mama and me proud of you tonight, okay?”
Elyse and Eamon both nodded. The looks on their faces told Andy they were a bit overwhelmed by the atmosphere. The host showed the family to the back room by the kitchen, the one called the Chef’s Table. Andy held the chair for Danae as she sat, and then Elyse beside her. Eamon took his seat beside Andy.
Kirby noticed the family had arrived, and he wiped his hands on his apron, walking toward the table. “Well, look who is here!” he chirped at the children. “Welcome, kids!”
“Hi, Uncle Kirby!” Elyse greeted him. “What are you doing here?”
Kirby chuckled. “This is where I work when I’m not working with your dad. I own this restaurant.” He smiled, observing the kids’ faces as they looked at him in wonder.
“Wow!” Eamon exclaimed. “This is awesome! We have this room all to ourselves?”
Kirby nodded. “Yes, you do! Make yourselves at home. You all are my guests this evening.” He nodded at Andy and brought the usual bottle of wine to the table, with milk in fancy glasses for the children.
Andy ordered dinner for him and Danae, and two orders of macaroni and cheese for the kids. She looked at him and smiled, reached for his hand and squeezed it. “Kids,” he began, “your mama and I have some news for you, and a gift for each of you.”
Danae watched as their eyes widened in excitement. Each of them had a basic, simplistic knowledge of where babies came from. It was a conversation Danae had with them when Trixie was expecting her baby. She never foresaw the need to discuss it with them about their own siblings.
“Remember when we had the talk about babies when Trixie was having her baby?” Both of them nodded their heads. “Well, your daddy and I… We are going to have a baby. Well, we’re having two babies. But they are not coming the usual way.”
Elyse shook her head. “I don’t understand.”
Danae took Elyse’s hands and looked into her eyes. “Sweet pea, when your brother Emmitt was born, something happened to me that made me not be able to have any more babies.” Danae waited for the inevitable questions.
“Now I really don’t understand, Mama. How are you having a baby then?” Eamon looked at her with the cutest expression. He was trying so hard to understand.
“Sweetheart, I’m not going to have them. Aunt Darcey is going to carry them for me and give birth.”
Elyse’s eyes filled with tears. “Why, Mama? What about Emmitt?”
Andy saw Danae’s eyes well up with tears, and he reached for his daughter. “Sweet pea, Emmitt will always be in our hearts, and we will never stop loving him or missing him.” Andy wiped the tears from her face. “We always wanted more than three children, Lysie. You know, your aunt Darcey is a very special lady. She wanted to do this for your mama and me because we love both of you so much. Wouldn’t you like a baby sister, Lysie? Or another baby brother? Maybe even one of each!”
She nodded and sniffled. “I would like a sister. I’ve had brothers my whole life,” she said, a serious expression on her face. Andy could not suppress the laugh. “What’s so funny?” She asked.
“Oh Lysie, this is such a good and happy thing! Your mama and I are very excited about this.” Andy squeezed his daughter’s hand. “We want you and Eamon to be happy about it, too.”
Eamon smiled. “Another brother?”
“There aren’t any guarantees, sport, but there’s a chance you’ll get another brother.” Andy patted his son on the back. “Mama and I have a special gift for both of you.” Andy got Kirby’s attention so he could bring the gifts Andy had left after work.
Elyse smiled when Kirby approached the table, two gifts in his hands. “Your mom and dad wanted me to bring these to you.” He handed the gift with the pink bow to Elyse, and the box with the blue bow to Eamon. “Are you two happy about the babies?”
They both nodded, and Elyse spoke. “I want a sister!” she chirped. Kirby chuckled and patted her head.
“What do you say, kids?” Danae prodded them.
“Thank you, Uncle Kirby!” they said in unison.
“You’re welcome, but your mom and dad are giving you these, not me. I’m just the messenger.” He smiled and went back to the kitchen.
“Can we open them, Mama?” Eamon asked, excited to open the gift.
Danae nodded, and she reached for Andy’s hand. The kids tore into the paper and Elyse had hers open first. It was a shirt that said, I’m Elyse, and I’m the big sister! She squealed with delight when she saw it and giggled. “I love it, Mama!”
Eamon opened his gift, and his shirt said something similar: I’m going to be a big brother! His smile warmed Danae’s heart, and he jumped up, excited. “I love my new shirt, Mama! Thank you!”
“You guys… you’re very welcome.” She hugged each of them. “So, are you okay with all of this? I know we put a lot of information on you.” She looked into Eamon’s eyes. “What do you think, sweetheart? Are you excited about us having twins?”
He nodded his head. “I miss Emmitt. It will be nice to have a little brother again.”
Danae laughed. “We’ll have to talk to Aunt Darcey about the little brother thing.”
Eamon smiled ear to ear. “Well, Aunt Darcey likes me, so I think she’ll do it.” Andy and Danae looked at each other and belly laughed.
Time flew by as Darcey’s pregnancy progressed. Before they realized it, she was twenty weeks, and her ultrasound to determine the sex of the babies was upon them. Andy, Danae, Clint, and Darcey sat in the obstetrician’s waiting room together.
“Darce, you’re huge already,” Danae remarked. “Are you sure it’s only 20 weeks?”
Darcey laughed. “Yep! This is what happens when there are two in there. They’re very active, too. I feel flutters all the time.” She put her hand on her belly. “Come here, Andy. Feel your babies moving around!”
Andy smiled and put his hand on the babies and felt one of them. “Oh, honey, this is incredible! You have to feel this!” He motioned for Danae to join them, and she gently laid her hand on Darcey’s belly. “See? Isn’t this awesome?”
“Darcey, I’m in awe of you,” Danae said and smiled at her sister.
“Darcey?” the assistant called her. “The doctor is ready for you.” The four of them stood and went back into the exam room. Darcey took her place on the table, Clint seated next to her, Andy and Danae nearby.
The sonographer entered the room, somewhat surprised to see four of them. Darcey smiled. “This is my husband,” she said and pointed to Clint. “My sister Danae and her husband, Andy. They will be the babies’ parents after they are born.”
“Oh, so you’re the ones! How exciting for you!” She shook Danae’s and Andy’s hand and sat by Darcey. “So, today we’re going to see if the babies are positioned so that we can tell their sex. What are you hoping for?”
Andy smiled. “It doesn’t matter as long as they are healthy.”
“He really wants a baby girl,” Danae piped up. “If we have a girl, she will be Theresa or Tessa for short.”
“What an adorable name!”
“It was my mother’s name,” Andy beamed. “Our son was named for my dad, but we lost him last year.”
“Andy… Murphy?” she asked.
“That’s where I know your name from then! My husband and I are huge football fans.”
Andy smiled. That wasn’t unusual on the island.
She turned her attention back to the task at hand. “Let’s see what’s going on in here!” She squeezed some gel onto Darcey’s belly and placed the wand on her skin. “Here’s twin A,” she pointed out on the screen. “And here is twin B.” She pointed out each of them. “It looks like twin A is a boy!” She moved the wand toward the other baby. Danae took Andy’s hand, praying the other baby was a girl. “Twin B is a girl. Congratulations, Mom and Dad!”
Danae’s eyes filled with tears. It was exactly what they had hoped for. “How about that?” Andy beamed. “One of each!” He kissed Danae tenderly and wiped her tears away. “Are you happy, honey?”
“So happy! Are they healthy?” Danae asked.
The tech continued the exam, taking measurements and making notes. “They look very healthy. The girl looks a bit small, but they are on target for development. You’re feeling well, Darcey?”
“Yes, very much so. They’ve been much easier than either of my two boys.”
“Well, I have what I need here. The doctor will be in shortly.” She turned to Danae and Andy. “Congratulations again!” With that, she turned and left the room.
Clint and Darcey kissed, and he whispered into her ear, “I’m proud of you, kitten, and I love you.” She only smiled.
The room was quiet, only the occasional sniffle was heard from Danae. As happy as she was, the thought of two babies was still a bit overwhelming for her. But her own preparations were going well and would be moving forward within the next month. The results of the ultrasound and the doctor’s impressions would dictate what Danae’s doctor would do next.
Ten minutes later, Darcey’s doctor entered the exam room and shook hands with all of them. He set the chart on the counter and gently examined Darcey’s belly. “Well, I have some great news for all of you. The babies are on target as far as development, and we see two very healthy babies. The girl is just a tad smaller than her brother, but that’s normal. Do you have any questions for me?”
“I need to talk to my own doctor about my nursing prep schedule. Are you thinking she will go to term or deliver early?” Danae asked.
“There’s a possibility she will deliver early. We won’t induce her unless a problem arises, but I don’t foresee that happening. So you can tell your doctor she’s on target for at term. I am not a lactation specialist, but I think that means you’ll be pumping soon?”
Danae nodded. “At about 3 months until birth, yes.”
“Well, you can tell her we’re shooting for a 40-week birth. But I can send that report to her if you’d like.”
“Sounds good.” Andy put his arms around her and hugged her to him.
“I’ll see you in two weeks, Darcey.
The four of them walked to the parking lot. The sisters hugged and the brothers-in-law shook hands. “Come on, kitten. Let’s go home,” Clint said. “We’ll see you guys later!”
Danae was quiet on the way home. “What’s cooking in that pretty little head of yours, Nae?” Andy asked.
“Just thinking about Emmitt. I miss him, Andy. I ache for him. No baby is ever going to take his place.”
“And they shouldn’t. I miss him every day. It’s not getting easier, the pain is not getting better. But honey, we have four good reasons to be happy, to continue on. Danae, I love you. I promise it will get better, though I can’t promise you a timeframe. Just trust me. We will find a way to get through it.” He took her hand and kissed it.
“Just be here with me and our children. That is all I will ever need.”
“Forever and always, my love.”
Andy and Danae were both waiting for the kids to get home from school. They were excited to tell them the news and they hoped the kids would share their enthusiasm. It meant a brother and sister for each of them.
At 3:30, they waited out by the gate for the bus, and when it arrived and the kids saw them, they ran to them with hugs and kisses. “Hey sport,” Andy greeted Eamon. “How was school?”
“Okay I guess,” he replied.
“We have some news for both of you,” Danae said. “Come inside and let’s sit and talk.” She took Eamon’s hand, and Elyse grabbed Andy’s hand. All four of them walked into the house together.
The kids joined them as they sat on the sofa. “So, we went to Aunt Darcey’s doctor appointment this morning. Do you want to know if you’re going to have brothers or sisters?” Danae’s eyes sparkled with excitement.
Elyse’s face lit up. “You know already?”
“Yes, we do!” Andy put her into his lap, and Danae wrapped Eamon into her arms. “What do you want, Eamon? A brother or sister?” Andy asked his son.
“A brother,” he said without hesitation.
“How about you, Lysie?” Danae asked her.
“A sister. I already have a brother.”
Danae smiled and nodded at Andy. It was his good news to tell. “You are both getting what you want. We’re having a boy and a girl!”
Elyse squealed with delight, and Eamon wore his signature ear-to-ear grin. Their happiness was apparent. Danae and Andy were joyful to see their children so happy. They had also lived the worst year of their lives when their brother died.
“What are their names, Daddy?” Eamon asked. “Can we help pick out names?”
“Well, son, your baby sister’s name will be Tessa. Did you know that was my mama’s name?” He pointed to the portrait of his parents that hung in the stairwell. “Your Papa’s name was Emmitt, and your Grammy’s name was Tessa. That’s where your sister will get her name, and that’s where Emmitt got his name, too.”
Elyse had seen the picture as far back as she could remember, and she knew who they were, though she had no memory of her Papa. “What about the boy? What’s his name, Daddy?”
Andy looked at Danae. “I don’t think we have a name picked out for him yet, sweet pea.” He had an idea but he thought maybe Danae wanted a different name.
“Not yet,” Danae concurred. “We have some time to think about it.” If Eamon’s middle name hadn’t been Travis, it was a name she really loved for the baby. But in her opinion, it was Andy’s choice and she would be happy with whatever he wanted.
“I have an idea,” Andy said with a smile. “Why don’t we go out for dinner tonight? Nothing fancy, just to celebrate our family and the twins. What do you say, kids?”
Eamon and Elyse looked at one another and nodded. “As long as Poppy can come, too!” Elyse chirped.
Danae chuckled at them. “Of course Poppy can come, too!”
Andy slipped his hand into hers, lifted it to his face and kissed it. “Thank you, Nae,” he whispered to her.
“Everything. You, the kids, this house, my job. Baby, you’ve made every dream come true for me, and I couldn’t thank you enough.”
She kissed him tenderly. “I will love you forever. And you’re welcome.”
Darcey technically still had six weeks until her due date, but she walked around the house, miserable. Her back was aching, her feet swollen, and she was grumpy. “I feel awful, boo,” she told Clint. “If I don’t have these babies soon, I’m going to scream.”
He chuckled at her. “I was going to remind you that this was your idea, kitten. But that look on your face tells me I should keep my trap shut.”
She sighed deeply and sat on the bed. “I know. And I’ve been fine up until last week. One of them is sitting on my bladder and if he kicks me again, I will wet myself.”
“How do you know it’s the boy kicking you? It could be Tessy.”
“Well, if this is Tess kicking me, she’s going to be a football player someday, mark my words. Oof!” She got back on her feet. “It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand. But you know, the way my back aches makes me think I haven’t got much longer.”
“I hope not for your sake, kitten. Would you like a foot rub?”
“Oh, would I ever!” she exclaimed.
Darcey fell asleep on the couch, her feet in Clint’s lap when she was jolted awake. “Ouch!” She doubled over, holding her belly.
“Are you okay, Darce?”
“I think that was a contraction. Call Nae and Andy. They need to be on standby.”
“You got it, honey.” Clint walked into the bedroom to grab his cell phone, dialed Danae’s number and waited for her to answer it.
“Hello?” came the sleepy greeting.
“Nae, it’s Clint. Darce thinks she is having contractions. She wanted me to let you know.”
She sat up straight in bed and slipped her feet into her shoes. “Are you sure, Clint?”
“Well, she said to be on standby, Nae. I’ll let you know if things get real here.”
“Thanks! I’ll wake Andy.” She hung up the call and looked at her watch. It was almost two in the morning.
“Who was that, baby?”
“Clint. Darcey thinks she’s having contractions.”
“Well, that’s not good,” Andy yawned. “Should we stay up, Nae? What did her doctor say about early delivery?”
“Well, six weeks early is technically premature but our babies will be fine. Don’t worry, my love.” She snuggled up to him and kissed him. “I guess I should call Janelle?”
“It wouldn’t be a bad idea if we’re on standby.”
“I’m on it, babe.” She dialed Janelle’s number but got her voice mail.
Janelle, this is Danae Murphy. My sister may be in labor. If you get this message before three o’clock, call me. Thanks.
“She’s not home?”
“I guess not. I hate to call Trixie. But I suppose if we need to, we could drop them off on the way to the hospital if we have no other choice.” Danae tapped her fingers on the dresser. “I wish I knew for sure if she was in labor or not. This is killing me.”
Ten minutes later, Danae’s phone rang. “Nae?”
“It’s time. Meet us there.”
“Be safe. We’ll see you soon. Love you, Darce.”
She heard a groan of pain on the other end of the phone. “Love you… Nae…” she barely got out before she hung up the phone.
“Andy, we have a problem. Janelle hasn’t called us, and we have no one to watch the kids.”
“Let me call Aaron. I’m sure they won’t mind, baby. The kids will just sleep anyway. Go ahead and get them ready, my sweet. We’ll drop them off on the way.”
“Andy?” The call woke him from a sound sleep. “What’s up, buddy?”
“Darcey is in labor. Can we drop Elyse and Eamon off? They won’t be a problem, and I’ll get them afterward. I’m going to call them into school today.”
“Of course. Trixie is up with Stephanie. She’s colicky.”
“Thanks, Aaron. We owe you big time.”
He chuckled. “Yes, you do! Let me know how the babies are. I know they’re early.”
“Will do. Thanks again.”
Danae already had the kids up and ready, a small bag packed and their blankets and dolls. “Come on kids, we need to go.”
The family piled into the car and drove the short distance to the Hall home. Danae got out with them and walked them to the door, where Trixie greeted them. “Good luck, Nae! And don’t worry about your babies. Let us know.”
“You bet! Thanks again, Trix.”
When they arrived at the hospital, Darcey was in a room, still dressed as she was when she went in. Her water hadn’t broken, but since she was early they didn’t want to just send her home, either. So she walked around the room just as miserable as she was at home. But now she didn’t have the comforts of home.
“How are you feeling, honey?” Danae asked her. Darcey bent over the exam table as a contraction hit her.
“Peachy. Remind me again why I let your husband impregnate me?” Darcey scowled. Andy thought it was hilarious, but Danae shot him a look.
“We’ll get through this together, Darce. Breathe.” She kissed her sister’s forehead and walked to Andy. “Please, no more laughing. She’s in pain, babe.” She caressed his cheek, her eyes begged him.
“I’m sorry, Darce. I didn’t mean anything by it. You know you’re my hero.” Andy crossed the room and hugged her.
“It’s okay. Clint keeps reminding me this was my idea. When it’s over and you’re holding your baby son and daughter, all of this will be worth it.” She kissed Andy’s cheek.
Danae paced with Darcey, hanging onto her for dear life. Andy paced on the other side of the room, and Clint sat, knowing better than to engage his wife in conversation when she was this miserable. Having Danae there calmed her, and he was thankful she and Andy were there with them.
Two hours later, her water broke. Danae ran to the nurse’s station to inform them, but when she got back, Darcey was crying. “I need drugs, Nae. Please, help me.”
“I’m on it, Darce.” Danae searched for her obstetrician, who was standing at the station getting information on the case.
“Hi, Danae,” he greeted her. “How’s your —”
“She needs help, doc. She’s in a lot of pain. Please, give her something so she can be comfortable?”
The doctor whispered something to the nurse and she nodded. “We’ll get her all taken care of, you have my word.” He patted Danae on the shoulder, so she went back to the room.
Fifteen minutes later, Darcey had an epidural and was feeling better. “How are you feeling, Darcey?” the doctor asked her.
“Better now, thank you so much.”
“It won’t be much longer before they’re ready. You can start pushing as soon as you’re dilated. You’re at nine centimeters right now.”
“Thank you,” Darcey whispered.
Two hours later Theresa Elizabeth Murphy was born.
Despite being early, she was only a pound underweight. The nurses swaddled her and placed her into Andy’s arms while Danae sat with Darcey, coaching her. Minutes later, her brother Theodore Rowan Murphy entered the world almost at ideal weight. Both were healthy and perfect.
Andy wept, holding his newborn son while Danae cuddled their daughter. “Pinch me, Danae,” Andy cried, deliriously happy. “Am I really holding our brand new baby boy?”
Danae sniffled. “You are, my Andy.”
The twins were scheduled for discharge a few days out. One of them was a little jaundiced so the doctor kept them an additional day for observation. Danae and Andy were camped out in a hospital room with them. Her hormone therapy had paid off and her milk supply was abundant. The time in the hospital afforded them quality bonding time, and they were thankful for it.
Darcey was discharged from the hospital two days after giving birth, one day before the twins were scheduled to go home. And though she was happy for Danae and Andy, she felt empty inside. Clint never once left her side, and when it was time to go home he tended to her lovingly.
“Did you even get to hold them, Darce?” he asked softly, helping her with her shoes.
“The doctor said it would be better if I didn’t, at least not yet. Nae and Andy need some bonding time with them. And her milk is ready for them…” Her voice trailed off. “Boo, this is harder than I anticipated. I mean, I carried them for nine months. I love those babies.”
“I knew it would be hard for you regardless of who got them, sweetheart. But know I’m always here for you when you need me. And Noel and Shan, too. Honey, we all love you, and I’m so proud of you. You gave your sister and Andy the greatest gift.”
“I’m happy I could do it. But I might need some help with postpartum depression this time around.” Darcey sighed. She longed to hold the babies just once, but she knew she couldn’t. Not yet.
“There’s no shame in admitting you need help, Darce. Never forget you have a family at home who can’t wait for their mama to come home.” Clint kissed her forehead tenderly. “I couldn’t love you more than I do right this minute.”
“I love you so much, Boo. Thank you for letting me do this for them. They deserved this chance to be happy and whole again.”
Clint smiled. “Yes, they did.”
“Then why do I hurt so much?” Darcey wept in his arms.
“Shh, kitten, you’re okay.” He kissed her tenderly and held her. “You are amazing. And time will heal your heart. Besides, honey, they’re not gone for good. You know Danae is a wonderful mother. You done good, Darcey.”
She snuggled in closer in his embrace. “Thank you for loving me, Clint.”
“Oh Kitten, you’re so welcome.”
Her homecoming was met with balloons and streamers and two happy little boys, though she supposed Noel wasn’t a little boy anymore. And that realization depressed her more. But she kneeled down and opened her arms for them, and they both ran to her and embraced her. Both of them understood the sacrifice she had made for their Aunt Danae.
“Welcome home, Mama,” Noel greeted her with a kiss and a bouquet of flowers. “We missed you.”
“Oh sweetie pie, I missed you both so much!” She snuggled both boys into her arms and covered them in kisses.
Shan put his hand on her belly. “Aunt Danae and Uncle Andy have them now?” he asked, smiling.
Darcey kissed his forehead and smiled. “Yes, honey, they do. You’ll get to meet your cousins very soon, I promise.”
“Awesome!” he replied and snuggled closer to his mother. Shan was a mama’s boy, and he was quite happy no little brother and sister were taking his place.
“Let your mama rest, boys,” Clint said to them. “Remember, she is just coming home from the hospital.”
“Anything you need, Mama, just ask,” Noel said. “I’ll get it right away.”
“Thank you, baby boy,” she replied. Normally, being called ‘baby boy’ would have made Noel cringe, but today he didn’t mind it so much. He was just happy she was home.
Clint helped her upstairs to their bedroom. “I should call Nae,” she said quietly. “To see how they are.”
“Why don’t you do that tomorrow, when they go home?” Clint suggested. “Get some rest, love.” He helped her into her pajamas and tucked her into bed. “If you need me, I’m downstairs with the boys. I’m proud of you, Darce, and I love you.”
Sleep was coming quickly, and she laid her head on her pillow. “I love you…”
The next morning, the twins were approved to go home with their new parents. So far, Danae was bonding with them well. Andy had the next eight weeks off for paternity leave while she settled into a new routine with the twins. Kirby sent the limousine to pick up the family from the hospital, and waiting at home for them were Lysie and Eamon, with Aaron, Trixie, and Stephanie.
“Welcome home!” Trixie cheered as they walked through the front gate. Elyse ran out first and wrapped herself around Andy, and he chuckled. Eamon sprinted for Danae, chattering about the babies.
“Thanks, Trix!” Danae chirped. “I know these two munchkins want to meet their new brother and sister. Let’s all go inside. I need to nurse one of them.”
Aaron was waiting in the house, Stephanie in his arms. But he found a way to shake Andy’s hand. “Congratulations, man!”
Andy pulled the blanket away from the baby’s face and showed him. “Meet my son, Teddy. It’s a family name.”
“Oh Murph, he’s beautiful,” Aaron said, cooing at the baby. “He looks like you.”
“Thanks, Aaron. That means a lot coming from you.” Andy beamed at the infant in his arms.
“Hey, take the compliment when you can, Murph. I don’t hand them out that often.” Aaron laughed.
Andy laughed with him. “You got that right.”
Danae sat down in the rocking chair with Tessa to let both kids see her better. Elyse walked right up to her and stared. “Mama, she is so tiny!”
“You weren’t much bigger than Tessa when you were born, Lysie. Hard to believe you were ever this little.” Tessa was starting to fuss, so Danae prepared to nurse her.
Eamon was fascinated by the baby in Andy’s arms. He approached them slowly, creeping up to where Andy sat with Teddy. He reached to touch the baby, but just as he did, Teddy cried and Eamon backed away.
“He won’t hurt you, son,” Andy laughed. “Babies cry. It will be a familiar sound soon enough.”
Elyse curled up on the sofa with Andy and Eamon, not taking her eyes from her infant brother. “Can I touch him, Daddy?” she asked.
“Just be gentle, sweet pea.” She reached for his hand, and the baby grasped her finger. She giggled madly, in love with the baby her father held in his arms.
“They’re both so cute,” she said.
“Remember we told you, kids, that babies are a lot of work, and two of them are twice the attention,” Andy told his two oldest. “Also remember we are always here for both of you. Anything you need, don’t be afraid to ask us. We don’t mean to ignore you guys.”
“Lysie, would it be okay for me to ask you to help me once in a while?” Danae sat Tessa over her shoulder to burp her and gently patted her back. “You’re old enough to help me and Daddy. Eamon, you too!” Danae wanted the kids to feel connected to their new siblings, and having them help, she hoped, would accomplish that.
“Can I really, Mama?” Elyse’s eyes lit up. “Whatever you want, Mama, I’ll help!”
“Andy, I need Teddy. Let’s switch, babe.” He stood and reached for Tessa, and handed Teddy to her. She settled him into her arms to nurse. Oh, how she missed having babies in the house, and it felt so good to hold a newborn again. “I’ll let you know when you can help, sweet pea.”
The children were tucked into bed, though getting Elyse to settle down was difficult. The babies were fed, warm and loved, tucked into their cribs and sleeping. And as they did every evening, Danae and Andy sat by the pool cuddled together, Andy sipping a glass of wine and Danae enjoying a glass of sweet nectar. He caressed her cheek gently and she nuzzled her face into his hand.
“A penny for your thoughts, Nae?”
“I’m just thinking about Darcey. We should have them over very soon for dinner. She seemed different when I talked to her earlier today.”
“She never even held them. That surprised me.” He kissed her fingers.
“That was part of the plan to allow us to bond with the babies. But I feel bad, babe. I know that woman better than I know myself. She is hurting.”
“Well, as soon as she’s feeling better let’s have them over for dinner. Besides, the boys should meet their new cousins.”
Danae chuckled. “Technically, they are siblings, just like they are with Lysie and Eamon. Clint and I are the only ones that have no skin in this.”
“Oh honey, you have plenty of skin in the game. You have my skin. And the two shall become one. Remember? Together, we are Mama and Daddy.”
“Let’s have them over for dinner next week after we’ve gotten into a routine with the babies. I don’t want to wait longer than that. She deserves to see them.”
“We will make it happen, my sweet.” Andy was about to speak again when a cry sounded over the monitor. “I guess you have a hungry baby.”
“Just as well, I was going to wake them one at a time to eat before I went to sleep anyway.” She stood up and took his hand. “If you help me, I’ll let you snuggle with me.”
“What an offer!” he purred. “Let’s go.”
Up Next: Chapter Thirty-Four, Generation Five
If you or someone you know struggles with postpartum depression or other depression issues, please get help. Visit SAMHSA at https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline or call 800-662-HELP (4357)
The Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number is 1-800-273-8255 Don’t suffer in silence.
Poses By Bee
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 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.