“C’mon! Just five fucking minutes! I won’t get another opportunity!”
“Darlene! No! You heard the doctor! You’re on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy! You can’t go running out to play in the snow! I don’t care if it’s the last snowfall of winter!” I sighed and rubbed a hand over my face. Sometimes she acted like a small child.
Darlene glared at me, but finally slumped down on the couch. “Fine.” She huffed again, trying to make her displeasure as obvious as possible, as if it wasn’t already.
I sighed again. “I’ll set up a movie for you, okay?” Another “harumph” was the only response.
I headed for the stairs, trying to remember where Donovan kept all those foreign adventure DVDs.
“I love you.”
I smiled at her. “And I love you.” She was a difficult person sometimes, and pregnancy hadn’t made that side of her personality any better, but she wouldn’t be Darlene without it. And I loved every facet of my girl.
“You’re humming,” Shaye drawled. It was the first sound she’d made since she came down to the basement a few minutes before.
I paused in my work. “Am I? Sorry.”
Shaye shrugged and slumped against the wall, watching as I resumed my research. “Ya know, Luce might have a point.”
“Indeed? Of what?” The structural integrity of this region should be reinforced, that should stabilize the…no. Drat.
“You and Morty,” Shaye responded matter-of-factly.
My hand supporting me slipped from the desk and my tools went flying. “What?!” I spluttered, trying to snatch parts back up while righting myself.
Shaye grinned at me. “Nothing to be ashamed of! You like him. He likes you.”
“Of course I like him! He is my very good friend! Of the kind I haven’t had since elementary school!” I could feel my face heating up. Illogical! Calm down!
Shaye shook her head slowly. “Naw, man. This is something else.” She stood up and stretched her lanky frame. “This is one of those things you gotta not think about. Leave the brain out of it, and just let nature take its course. It knows what its doing.”
I scowled at her. “Please allow me to return to my work.”
She chuckled, winked at me, then headed back upstairs. Midway up the stairs, she stuck her head back down. “Hey, Chloe?”
“What!” I snapped my pencil in frustration and sighed deeply. “What.”
“Morty’s at the gate for you.”
I scrambled together, shoving papers and pencils in drawers before dashing upstairs. “Where—?”
Medea burst out laughing. “I told you!” she crowed. “I told you that’d get her outta her hole!”
“Oh. Very funny.” God damnit. I sighed. “If my presence is required, simply state so.”
Medea grinned. “But that’s not nearly as—”
A scream of pain jolted us all. Lucky immediately started whining and crying.
“That came from—” I began, but Shaye had already taken off towards the living room, where Thomas had left Darlene bundled on the couch watching the kids channel.
Darlene was in labor, that much was obvious. But I had no idea what to do.
“Should we call an ambulance?” Donovan asked, looking about as panicked as I felt.
Shaye took over. “Get the nursery prepped!” she directed me and Donovan while grabbing Darlene’s coat and overnight bag. “I’ll take her to the hospital. And somebody call Thomas!”
Shaye got Darlene out to the car, even if Darlene insisted on driving her own police cruiser.
While Donovan and I ran about finishing setting up the cribs and unpacking baby clothes, Medea called Thomas.
I was at work when I got the call from Medea. She’d sounded panicked. She was crying. All she’d managed to say was that Darlene was at the hospital, but I’d already hung up and was on my way out.
I got to hospital just as Shaye was helping Darlene up the steps. Every few seconds Darlene would freeze, tremble and cry. My heart just about broke.
“Darlene! Honey! Are you okay? What’s wrong?!”
Shaye shoved a hand over my mouth. “Doctor first. Questions later. Move it!”
I followed my sister and wife into the hospital for the longest night of my life.
It was going on three am when I finally got any news from the doctors, and that was only to tell me that Darlene was fine and they were expecting the babies any minute.
Everything’s fine. They’ve got it. She’s got this. Darlene’s the toughest woman I know. She’s got this. But I’d read all the baby books, especially once we’d found out she was expecting twins. Everything that could go wrong was doubled for twins. Chance of infant death, chance of mother death, everything.
Then a nurse came out to tell me that there was a high chance of triplets.
“Oh, god, what’ve I done?!”
At five am, they finally let me see her. She was tired, half-asleep. But she smiled at me. I grabbed her hands and just held on. “You’re okay!”
“Congratulations, Mr. Thompson, Mrs. Thompson!” The nurse beamed at us.
Darlene struggled to sit up. “My babies?”
“All fine! Very healthy considering everything!”
“Huh? Everything what? What?”
“Oh, turns out your wife here was carrying quadruplets!”
“What?” I’m a father…to quadruplets…
Quadruplets. It’s all I could think as I filled out paperwork to discharge Darlene and the babies. I couldn’t even think of names. Darlene finally slept while I tried to keep myself together.
Shaye was a godsend. While I was freaking out and breaking down in equal parts, Sahye was just…Shaye. She kept on doing what need to be done with the laziest grace ever. She called Chloe to get two more cribs, brought in food, and helped me pull four names off that list Darlene and I had come up with. Two girls, two boys. That’ll work. Quadruplets. Oh, god.
They released Darlene and our babies later that evening. And we finally went home.
Right after bringing in the baskets, Darlene was out like a light again. She deserved the rest. Four babies.
I stood in the nursery, just looking over all of them. My children. Mine & Darlene’s.
All safe, all healthy. We were so lucky. Most multiple births don’t go nearly as well. I crawled into bed and cuddled up next to my wife. I let out a long sigh and finally smiled. I’m so lucky.
Quadruplets! It’ll be fine. IT’LL BE FINE! *hyperventilating*
The naming scheme isn’t really a secret: the quadruplets were named after both sets of grandparents. I wasn’t going to do that, but Thomas strikes me as the kind of guy who would do that. His mother did pass away when he was a teenager.
Thomas’s kids have been added to the Family Album. It’s a bit spoilery, as it shows their toddler pictures, but what the hell. Darlene also has her own family bio. Its not as extensive as that of the born family members, but I’ve only just started to get a handle on her personality.
After this chapter, I’m hoping time will start passing quicker. We’ll see birthdays and moving and, maybe, more babies!
Thanks for reading! ^_^