Friday, November 7, 2008


Three and half Months Later

Jon was sitting in the rooftop room of their apartment building that he used as a studio, guitar in his lap, notebook on the table in front of him when his phone rang. Irritated at the interruption he glanced at the window.

“Hi honey, what’s up?”

“Jon, I need you to come down here.” Lindsay informed him.

“Yeah, I’m just about finished here, just a few more minutes, and I’ll…..”

“No Jon, I need you to come home NOW!” She interrupted him.

He could hear the note of panic in her voice now. Irritation gone, he put down the guitar. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“My water just broke.”

Jumping up he was all but running for the door. “Hang on honey, I’m on my way.”

He didn’t bother waiting for the elevator, just ran down the stairs. Arriving at the loft, he found the door open and Lindsay struggling with her suitcase. Taking it from her, he hefted it with one hand, wrapped his other arm around her and urged her out the door, stopping only to pull it closed behind them.

In the elevator he finally spoke. “How are you doing honey?”

“Jon, I’m scared!” She admitted.

He ran a hand up and down her back trying to soothe her. “I know honey, but I’m right here, I’m not going to leave you.”

When they reached the lobby, the doorman took in the situation with a single glance and rushed forward. “Town car or cab?” He asked.

“Whatever’s closest.” Jon replied.

Outside, he helped her into the cab that the doorman had flagged down, and throwing her suitcase into the front seat and climbing in after her, gave the driver the address of the hospital where her doctor was going to meet them.

She gripped his hand as another contraction hit. “Easy honey, breathe.” Everything he’d been told in the birthing classes Lindsay had dragged him to went right out of his head. He had to rely on his own experience. “Look at me. That’s it, focus on me, not the pain. And breathe. That’s it. Good girl.” He felt her grip ease as the contraction faded.

When they arrived at the hospital, a nurse was waiting at the door with a wheelchair and assured them that the doctor was waiting for them in the maternity ward. Settling Lindsay into the chair he turned back, threw money at the driver, grabbed her suitcase and hurried after her.

“Jon!” All pretense of confident independence was gone in the face of what was happening. She was about to give birth, scared, and she wanted her husband at her side.

“I’m right here honey. It’s okay.” He reassured her catching up and gripping her hand.

Reaching her room, the nurse put the suitcase in a closet, helped Jon get Lindsay undressed and into a hospital gown and settled into the bed. A few minutes later, the doctor walked in. After greeting them and shaking hands with Jon she turned to Lindsay.

“Well, Lindsay, are you ready to meet your twins?”

“What if I said no?”

“Then I’d say you’d better get ready real quick.” The doctor smiled sympathetically. “I know this is a little scary, but women have done this for thousands of years. It’ll be fine.” Lindsay nodded. “Okay, so let’s have a look and see how things are progressing. Alright?”

Lindsay reached for Jon’s hand and nodded at the doctor. “Alright.”

Several hours later, Jon wasn’t sure which of them was sweating more. He also didn’t know how much longer he could stand to see her in this kind of pain. Even though he’d been through this before, he didn’t remember it being this bad.

As yet another contraction hit he once again urged his wife to push. “Come on honey, push. One, two, three, four. You can do it. Five Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. That’s my girl. Now rest.”

He glanced at the doctor, who smiled and nodded. “Everything’s looking good. Shouldn’t be much longer. Lindsay, next one I want a really big push ok?”

Lindsay just glared at her. Jon wiped her brow and murmured encouragement in her ear. As pain ripped through her body again, she groaned and bore down.

“That’s it honey. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Push honey. Six. Seven. I can see a head! Eight. Nine. Ten. Good girl. Now breathe.”

“Next one should do it Lindsay.” The doctor told her.

“Sure, for round one.” Lindsay panted.

The doctor laughed. “Yes, but the next one won’t seem so bad.”

Jon raised a brow at her wondering if she was telling the truth or just trying to bolster Lindsay’s flagging energy. The doctor met his eye and gave an almost imperceptible shrug. She’d never had twins, she really had no idea, but it sounded like the right thing to say at this point.

The next contraction brought one squalling baby sliding into the doctor’s hands. “It’s a boy! And a good set of lungs on him too!”

Lindsay smiled weakly. “Another one. Stephanie will be disappointed.”

Jon kissed her and laughed. “Yes she will. But I’m not.” Taking the scissors a nurse held out to him he cut the cord, getting only a brief look at his newest son before they whisked him away to check him over and clean him up.

Lindsay only had a few brief minutes of rest before her body was once more in the grip of a powerful contraction.

Jon was kept busy trying to keep one eye on his son, the other on his coaching duties. Seeing the nurses cooing at the little boy assured him that everything was fine there and he could concentrate on helping his wife. Wiping her brow at a pause between contractions, he kissed her. “I love you.”

“I love you too. Although right now I can’t say I especially like you.” She panted. “How can something that was so much fun and pleasure to put in cause so much pain to get out?”

Snickers echoed around the delivery room. “That’s a new one for me.” The doctor commented. “Normally by now the women are cursing their husbands, or screaming and in general not in a very spunky mood.”

“Don’t kid yourself. She really wants to scream at me, but she doesn’t want me to know how much she’s hurting. She knows how upset I get when she’s in pain.” Jon explained. Lindsay stared at him in surprise. “What, do you think that after all this time I don’t know you? You’re not fooling me Linds. I know you’re in pain. If it will help to scream, then scream.”

She opened her mouth to say something, but groaned instead as she was forced to focus on the matter at hand.

“That’s it honey. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. You’re doing great. Six Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. And breathe.”

Once again wiping her brow, he kept a running patter of encouraging words until finally Lindsay raised a hand to stroke his cheek. “Jon?”

“Yes sugar?”

“Shut up!”

The nurses snickered, the doctor laughed out loud. “That’s more like it.”

Two more contractions and the second twin made its appearance. “It’s a girl!” The doctor announced.

“At last! I was beginning to wonder if you had another girl in you.” She grinned tiredly at him.

“One of each.” Jon smiled and kissed her softly. “Thank you honey.” Once more he cut the cord and watched the nurses take his little girl off to check her out.

“Do we have names for these precious little tykes?” A nurse asked.

Lindsay and Jon looked at each other for a long moment.

“Luke Robert.” She answered.

“Kristen Grace.” Jon added.

While they cleaned Lindsay up and got her settled back in her room, Jon went out to call their respective families to share the news. Walking back into the room, he found Lindsay with a baby in each arm, tears running down her face as she gazed at her children.

“Honey?” He was concerned that something was wrong.

“Aren’t they beautiful?” She whispered.

“Yes, they are.” He agreed. “And so are you. I can never thank you enough for these two little angels.”

“No Jon, it’s me that should be thanking you. You’ve made all of my dreams come true. Thank you for making me give you a chance, when I tried to push you away. Thank you for loving me, and marrying me when you could have had any woman in the world. And most of all, thank you for giving me these two beautiful children, even though you already had four. I love you more than I have words to describe.”

He was blinking back his own tears. “I love you too honey. And the pleasure was - and is all mine.”

The End.

Chapter 4

Lindsay woke up the next morning to bright sunshine coming through the window. Reaching out she realized that Jon was already up. Remembering their discussion from last night, and the way he had serenaded them to sleep she smiled, and realized that she felt better than she had in weeks. Her marriage was back on track, they were having twins, and the entire family was coming to share Thanksgiving today. TODAY! Her eyes flew open and she lifted her head to see the clock. TEN THIRTY?!! I can’t believe I slept this late! I’m never going to have dinner ready on time now! Throwing back the covers she jumped out of bed – and grabbed the bedpost to keep from falling as a wave of dizziness hit her. Whoa…moved too fast there Linds...can’t do that anymore!

She had a quick shower, got dressed and rushed downstairs – taking the stairs slowly. Entering the kitchen, she found Carol preparing the yams, Desiree making the cranberry sauce, Joyce chopping up cabbage for coleslaw….and Jon, wearing an apron, peeling potatoes and basting the turkey under his mother’s watchful eye.

“Good morning.” She greeted them.

“Hi sweetie, how are you feeling?” Her mother-in-law asked.

“Fine thanks. In fact I feel better than I have in weeks.”

Jon walked over to kiss her. “Did you sleep well honey?” He stroked her belly and smiled knowingly.

Carol and Joyce exchanged a look.

“Yes, I did thanks to you. By the way, did you turn off the alarm this morning by any chance?” She crooked a brow at him.

“Yes I did. You said yourself the doctor said you need to get plenty of rest, so I decided to let you sleep.” He replied.

“And you stuffed the turkey and put it in the oven by yourself?”

“Well, not exactly. I called Mom and she walked me through it.” He admitted.

“You called your mother at that hour?!”

“It’s okay. I had to go to the bathroom anyway.” Carol assured her. They all laughed.

“Hmmpf, well, thank you honey. I appreciate it.” Lindsay kissed him and smirked. “And I really love the apron.”

He shrugged and blushed. Clearing his throat, he pulled a stool up to one side of the island and urged her onto it. “Sit and I’ll make you some breakfast.”

All four women stared at him. “What? I’m perfectly capable of scrambling a couple eggs and putting bread in the toaster.” He grumbled. “Besides, I’m supposed to be more involved and take better care of my pregnant wife aren’t I? Or did I misunderstand the lecture?” He looked at his mother.

Lindsay hid a smile and picked up the paring knife and a potato from the counter in front of her and started to peel it. Apparently she’d missed more this morning than just Jon learning new domestic skills. Half standing, she reached to pick up the pot holding the peeled potatoes in order to move it closer to her.

“Drop it!” Jon barked.

Startled, she did, the pan clanging on the counter as she pressed one hand over her heart. “Jesus Jon, you scared the hell out of me!”

“That makes us even then. That pot is too heavy. You shouldn’t be lifting anything heavy.” Placing her breakfast in front of her, he moved the pot closer for her.

“Are you going to mother hen me for the next four months?”

“Cluck, cluck. Now eat.” He ordered.

Glancing down at her plate her eyes widened. There was enough food on it for three people. “Good lord Jon, I can’t eat all that!”

“You’re eating for three now. Try.” He caught her eye and winked.

“But the other two are only this big.” She reminded him measuring with her fingers. Locking eyes they waited for the reaction.

“Three? THREE?” Carol exclaimed. Joyce and Desiree just stared, stunned.

Coming around the island Jon stood behind Lindsay and wrapped his arms around her. They both smiled at Carol. “Yes Mom, we’re having twins.”

“Oh my! Do you feel okay? What did the doctor say? Oh this is wonderful!” A teary Carol hugged them both.

His ears were still ringing with feminine squeals of delight when the security system signaled that the gate was opening. Hoping for masculine company, he left the women animatedly discussing how to set up the nursery and what extra items needed to be purchased, and went to answer the door.

“Happy Thanksgiving!” He greeted his father, uncle and brothers. He was about to close the door when he saw Dorothea’s car coming up the drive. Asking the men to wait in the foyer, he ran outside.

“Hi Daddy! Happy Tanksgibing!” Romeo greeted him.

“Hi buddy. Happy ‘Tanksgibing’ to you too.” Jon chuckled, reaching in the car to undo his son’s car seat. “Dot can you come in for a few minutes?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“Lindsay wants to talk to you.”

When they were all gathered in the foyer Jon called out to the kitchen. “Lindsay! Could you come here for a minute please?”

“What’s going on Jon? The game’s about to start.” Matt grumbled.

“Just hold on a minute…and it’s just the pre-game, you as….jerk” He finished glancing at the kids.

“Uh oh, Daddy was going to call Uncle Matt a bad word!” Jake announced.

“Yes he was….and he deserved it.” Desiree commented from the doorway.

Jon grinned. Matt looked chagrined.

“Okay Jon, we’re all here, now what’s going on?” His father asked.

Holding his hand out to Lindsay, he waited for her to take it, then pulled her close to his side. Smiling gently into her eyes, he raised his head and looked around at his assembled family. “Well, you know that Lindsay had an ultra-sound yesterday.”

“What’s that?” Jake asked.

“It’s a machine that lets the doctor see the baby inside its mommy’s tummy.” His mother explained. Jake nodded his understanding.

“And that machine showed the doctor a little surprise.” Jon glanced at Lindsay again. “There’s two babies in Lindsay’s tummy.”

“Twins! Way to go big brother!” Tony commented. Lindsay rolled her eyes.

John Sr. gave Lindsay a gentle hug. “Congratulations sweetie!”

“Everything’s okay?” Dorothea asked, giving Lindsay a hug.

Lindsay nodded. “We’re all fine. At least now we know why I’m so big…and so tired.”

“Just make sure you take care of yourself.” Dorothea admonished her shooting a glance at Jon.

“I know, I know, I know!” He put one hand over his heart and raised the other as though he was swearing an oath. “I promise to go with her to all of her appointments, make sure she eats properly, gets plenty of rest and generally see to all of her needs.” His glance traveled back and forth between his ex-wife and his mother. “Satisfied?”

“Not lately.” Lindsay muttered under her breath, but Jon heard her. The heat in his eyes when he looked at her caused her blood to warm in response.

Kissing her temple he murmured. “I’ll take care of that too. Later.”

“Just keep Lindsay and my grandbabies healthy and happy and I’ll be satisfied.” Carol stated.

“Can we go watch the game now?” Jesse asked. Matt immediately looked at them, a similar hopeful expression on his face.

Lindsay laughed. “Yes, go! We’ll bring in the snacks in a bit.”

There was a mass exodus of the males, except Jon….and Romeo who stood frowning at Lindsay’s stomach. The adults held their breath wondering what was going on in his mind – and what question would come out of his mouth!

Jon crouched down and bit the bullet. “Hey buddy, what’s wrong?”

“There’s two babies in there?”

“Remember, we talked about how the baby got in Lindsay’s tummy?” Dorothea tried to head off a potentially embarrassing line of questions.

He nodded solemnly.

“Then what are you frowning about?” Jon asked.

“I feel bad for them.”


“They have to share a room. I don’t like to share a room. Jake’s tansfomers keep shooting my dinosaurs!”

Chapter 5

The rest of the day was all about family – and football. The cousins arrived just before kick off and Lindsay was kept busy running snacks into the large den – when she was allowed to. By mid-afternoon she was about ready to scream at everyone’s good intentions.

Giving up, she walked into the den to check the score. Jon was sprawled in a chair, his feet propped on a large footstool in front of him. Glancing up as she approached him, he sat up, dropped his feet to the floor on either side of the footstool, and tugged her down to sit on it. Wrapping his arms around her he pulled her back against him and kissed her neck. “What’s wrong?” He murmured in her ear.

“They won’t let me do anything!” She huffed. “They’ve even got Stephanie in on it! I went to check on the boys and she was in the theatre with them watching movies, when I know that she’d rather be in here watching football with you. When I suggested I could watch the boys, she told me not to worry about it, she’d keep an eye on them and I should just go relax! I’m pregnant, I’m not an invalid!” She sighed. “You know that I love your mother, but she’s driving me crazy today!”

He chuckled and gave her a squeeze. “Tell me about it. She’s in full on Italian grandmother mode today. You can’t win, so just let them do it. Sit here with me for awhile and relax.”

“Hmmpf. I’m beginning to hate that word.” She grumbled, but did as he suggested.

It wasn’t long before he felt her leaning more heavily against him. Glancing down he saw that she was asleep. Smiling gently, he settled himself and her more comfortably, making sure that the footstool was anchored and wouldn’t move. A few minutes later, Carol came in and looked around the room. Seeing Lindsay asleep in Jon’s arms she met Jon’s gaze. He crooked a brow at her. She just smiled and nodded.

Dinner was a noisy affair, with several conversations going on at once. Lindsay loved these large family gatherings. Seated at the opposite end of the long table from his wife, Jon watched her. He’d always thought that it was just a myth or an old wives tale, but she really did glow. He’d never noticed it with Dorothea. Maybe it was the difference in their skin tone, maybe it was the twins, maybe he just never looked, whatever, Lindsay appeared lit from within.

He thought back to his ‘discussion’ with his mother that morning when she accused him of not paying enough attention to Lindsay and her needs. While he didn’t appreciate being scolded like a child, he knew she had a point. He knew that Lindsay would never admit that she needed help – at least not to him. She was convinced that any sign of dependency on her part would push him away. In the past he would have agreed with her. But now, with her, he found himself wishing she would she would lean on him a little more. He needed to feel needed. So he’d have to watch closely for the little signs she couldn’t conceal.

As he watched he became aware of two things. First, he could tell when one or both of the twins moved by the soft, dreamy expression that came over her face. Second, her glow dimmed and her face tightened slightly whenever the subject of the move to the city came up. He frowned.

“Dad. Dad! You’re not listening!” Jesse complained.

“Sorry Jess, what were you saying?”

Much later, after everyone had left and Jon had delivered the kids back to Dorothea’s, he walked through the house, making sure the lights were all off and everything was buttoned up for the night before heading upstairs.

Lindsay was in their bedroom waiting for him. She stood by the balcony door staring out over the grounds and up at the stars. I won’t be able to see the stars in the city. But there’ll be lots of lights to look at. I like to look at the city lights too. Shivering slightly she pulled her robe – one of Jon’s, it’s all that would fit – closer around her. The robe was warm and cozy, but all it covered was a thin t-shirt – also Jon’s – that was all she ever wore for a nightgown when Jon was home, even in the dead of a New Jersey winter. Sharing a bed with him was like sleeping next to a furnace. If she wore anything warmer, she woke up in the middle of the night sweating.

She was still standing there when Jon entered the room. Quietly stripping off his clothes he watched her and remembered what he’d noticed at dinner. Walking up behind her he slid his arms around her and hugged her close. “What are you looking at?”

She shrugged. “The grounds, the stars, the moon.”

He rested his chin on her shoulder. “You really love this house don’t you?”

She nodded.

“You don’t want to move, do you?” It wasn’t really a question.

“I’ll go wherever you need to go.” She answered quickly.

“That doesn’t answer my question.”

“Yes it does. Do I want to leave this house? No.” She replied honestly. “But as much as I love this house, I love you more, and if New York is where you need to be, then that’s where I’ll go. I’ll miss all this…” She waved at the window. “..but I can live without it. I can’t live without you.”

He was silent for a long moment. “Tell you what. We won’t sell this place right away. We’ll give New York a year. If we don’t like it – both of us – we’ll come back. Deal?”

“Jon, you don’t have to do that. I know that you’ve been restless and need something new, a change of scenery to feed your creativity. I get that. I can appreciate that. And I know I’ll love whatever that creativity produces. I always have. And I won’t stand in the way of it. I couldn’t live with myself if I did.”


She turned to face him, placing her fingers over his lips to stop him. “But nothing. You are my husband. I love you and I would follow you to the ends of the earth if that’s where you needed to go.”

“Oh, honey! I love you!” Burying his face in her hair, he held her tight. “I don’t know what I did to deserve such devotion.” His answer was a kick in the belly. He chuckled. “Ok, that might have something to do with it.” Leaning back he tilted her face up to his and dropped a kiss on her lips. “And we’re keeping the house.”

Reaching up she threaded her fingers in his hair, preventing him from moving away. Running her tongue along his upper lip she pressed her mouth briefly to his. “I believe there was something mentioned about you taking care of my needs.” Her voice was a low purr in her throat.

His body reacted immediately and forcefully. “Anytime sweetheart. I’m at your disposal.” His voice had dropped an octave and his eyes had become glowing sapphires. Bending, he scooped her up in his arms, ignoring her protests and carried her to the bed. “Hush. You still don’t weigh much more than that turkey I manhandled this morning – although you’re much more tender and juicy.”

“I thought you did very well with your first foray into the culinary arts.” She chuckled. “I wish I’d taken a picture of you in your apron. I bet the fans would love to see that!”

He snorted. “Not to mention the guys! I’d never hear the end of it!” He laid her gently on the bed. “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll leave the cooking to you – at least in the kitchen.”

“And how about here in the bedroom?”

He grinned. “Here, I’m the master chef. Wanna see what I can cook up?”

“Mmmm, I can hardly wait.”

Laying down beside her he gathered her in his arms, kissing her teasingly, rubbing his hands over her body until he was sure she was warm enough to bare her. His hand reached for the tie of her robe, working the knot loose, spreading the halves wide and easing it off her shoulders and down her arms. Lifting her, he pulled the robe out from under her and dropped it over the side of the bed onto the floor.

Noticing her t-shirt he smirked as he reached for the hem. “Been raiding my closet again I see.”

“Don’t you remember our marriage vows? All your worldly goods you me endowed. Besides pretty soon even your clothes won’t fit me anymore.” She admitted ruefully, obediently raising her shoulders and arms so that he could remove the shirt.

“Mmmm….” Propping his head on one hand, with the other he caressed her, pausing for a moment on her swollen abdomen, enjoying the feel of the firm, warm flesh that was currently nurturing his children. Moving on he stroked and weighed her breasts that seemed to be growing on an almost daily basis, smiling when they firmed beneath his hand, the nipples hardening to taut peaks.

Moaning softly, back arching, she closed her eyes at the sensations coursing through her in the wake of his calloused hands. Since she’d become pregnant, her senses seemed to have become much more acute – especially her sense of touch. At the moment her skin was on fire, and she needed him to put out the flames. “Please.” She whispered.

At her plea he bent to replace his hand with his mouth, laving her nipples with his tongue, then blowing lightly to dry the wetness, before finally taking one between his lips to suckle – lightly in deference to her increased sensitivity.

Crying out at the feel of his mouth tugging on her, she fisted her hands in his hair and pulled him closer, her lower body melting at the bolts of electricity shooting through her with every pull of his lips.

Feeling her hips lifting against him, he slid a hand back over her belly to bury between her thighs. Threading his fingers through her curls he found what he was searching for, stroking her nub with a fingertip.

She screamed. Her body was so primed and aroused even a light touch was almost too much for her to bear. “Jon, now! PLEASE!”

He slid one finger deep inside her to check her readiness to take him. Lifting his head he watched her undulate beneath him. When her nails dug into his shoulders and she growled in frustration, he chuckled. He started to spread her thighs, then stopped. She tried to tug him over her, but he shook his head. “I don’t want to hurt the babies.”

He sat up and leaned against the headboard. “Come here.”

She sat up and eyed him speculatively for a moment, then grinned and moved to straddle him, impaling herself on his hard shaft with a sigh.

Hearing her, he chuckled. “Feel better?”

“I’m working on it.” Panting, she rocked her hips against him. She placed her hands on his shoulders, then spreading them wide, slid them down his chest, pausing over his pecs to dig her fingers into the wide muscles and tease the nailheads of his nipples, before continuing down over his abs to his waist – well as much as she could with her belly in the way. Hearing his groan, she smiled and raised her lips to his, moaning as he took her up on her invitation, thrusting deeply with his tongue.

He ran his hands up and down her back, gripping her hips occasionally to guide her movements. Breaking the kiss, he leaned back to watch. To watch her body move. To watch their bodies move together. Reaching out he cupped her breasts, kneading them in time with their movements. Seeing her flushed face and fevered eyes, her body accepting his, deeply, rhythmically, feeling her intimate grip on him tighten, his breath shortened, his pulse raced, and he grasped her hips and flexed beneath her driving more forcefully into her. “Oh God Lindsay!”

“Yes, Jon, Yes!”

On the verge of losing control, determined that she lose it first, he slid his hands up to her shoulders and tipped her back. He alternated licking and kissing down her neck and over her upper chest.

Her arms came up to cradle his head as his mouth cruised over her breast and swallowed her nipple. Her hips moved faster, augmenting his thrusts, taking him deeper.

Knowing she was on the edge he lowered one hand to her hip, holding her still while he thrust harder and deeper into her. Swirling his tongue around her hard peak, he suckled hard, grinning inwardly in satisfaction as her orgasmic scream reverberated around the room. As her walls squeezed him tightly he let out his own throttled cry as he let go and followed her into ecstasy, cradling her as she collapsed on top of him.

It was long minutes before Lindsay had the strength to move, and even then she needed Jon’s help to lift off of him and settle on the bed at his side.

Sliding down in the bed, still panting, he shoved a pillow under his head and with a gentle kiss, gathered her into his arms, stroking her hip absently.

Catching her breath she idly toyed with the hair on his chest. “We really do have a lot to be thankful for don’t we.”

Hugging her tighter he agreed. “That we do sweetheart, that we do.”

Chapter 1

She sat in the school auditorium going over lists in her head for the Thanksgiving family get together they were hosting in a couple days, while she waited for her stepsons’ play to start. Her husband liked to tease her about her lists and her perfectionist tendencies, at which times she invariably reminded him that it takes one to know one. Besides, with their hectic life, she needed to be organized.

“Is Dad going to make it?” Her stepdaughter asked.

“I hope so.” She replied glancing at her watch. “He promised the boys he’d be here.”

“Then he’ll be here.” Her oldest stepson assured her. “If he promised, he’ll be here.”

“Where was the interview?” The kids’mother asked.

“It’s a phoner from the house.” Some people thought it was strange that the two women got along. In fact, she counted her husband’s ex-wife as a close friend. It certainly made dealing with the children easier, and Dorothea was a great source of information and advice when it came to their father’s crazy life.

“Is Jon going to be home for Thanksgiving?” Dorothea asked.

“He better be.” His wife replied. “He’s mumbling something about Soul meetings, and I know he’s itching to get into the studio, but I’m putting my foot down on this one.” It would be their last Thanksgiving in the house. They were moving to the city – Jon’s choice, not hers. She was trying to be understanding and supportive of his needs, but she really loved that house. The new loft was nice – very bright, and ‘urban sophisticated’, but she was going to miss the grounds and river, and the….space. The city was exciting, and busy and….crowded and loud. But if that where Jon needed to be, she would just have to suck it up and deal. She also had to decide what to do about her job, whether to stay in Jersey and commute, or transfer to the city. She loved the people she worked with, but she wasn’t sure the distance would work for her. She sighed. She’d have to make a decision soon.

He slid into the seat beside her just as the lights were dimming.

“Nice timing.” She said dryly.

He grinned and leaned across her to greet his older kids and their mother. In doing so his arm pressed against her growing belly. The baby kicked back. Startled, he looked at her belly then up at her. They exchanged a soft look and a smile. He stroked her with his hand. “Sorry sweetie.”

“Did the baby kick?” Stephanie asked, excited. Her stepmother nodded. “Can I feel?”

Taking her hand, she placed it where the little foot – or arm was currently beating a light tattoo against her belly.”

“How are you feeling? Dorothea asked.

“Fine. The doctor’s watching everything very closely because of my age, but so far everything’s fine. She says the baby’s growing really fast.”

“Yeah?” Dorothea’s brows rose in speculation.

She nodded. “I have an appointment for an ultra sound tomorrow.”

“Yeah, honey, about that…” Jon began.

She stared at him. “Don’t tell me you’re not going to be able to go with me?!”

“I’m sorry honey. I’ve got to go to Philly in the morning. I hope I’ll be back in time, but I’m not sure.”

She sighed and looked towards the stage. This wasn’t the time or place to get into this. Dorothea caught his eye and shook her head in disgust.

As the curtain rose, they turned their attention to the stage where the story of the first Thanksgiving was unfolding – told as only six year olds can. Seeing Jake strutting around in his pilgrim costume made her smile – he walked just like his father.

When it was announced that Jake’s class would be doing the pageant this year, Romeo caused such a fuss that Jake’s teacher agreed that he could be in it as well. Ever since he’d been running around the house in his Indian costume and the only vegetable he would eat was corn. Now he was wandering around the front of the stage looking at the audience. Suddenly his little face lit up. “Hi Daddy!” The crowd laughed. Jon chuckled and waved at his youngest son.

After the play while they waited for the boys Jon caught up with Steph and Jesse while his wife chatted with his ex-wife.

“So you’re having the whole family on Thursday?” Dorothea asked.

“Yeah. Uncle Joe and Aunt Joyce and their crew and even Tony’s coming home. Jon says I’ve got enough turkey and stuffing to feed the entire state of New Jersey. I keep telling him he’s exaggerating.”

“Only half!” The two women said in unison and laughed.

Just then the boys came running up to join their family. “Did you see? Did you see?”

“Yes, we saw! You were great!” She said, dropping down on one knee to give them each a hug. While she was rehashing every moment with Jake and Romeo, Dorothea pulled Jon aside.

“You haven’t learned a damn thing have you?” She accused.

“What are you talking about?”

“After everything you and I went through, after everything we talked about in regards to what went wrong in our marriage, here you are making the same mistakes all over again.”

He frowned. “What mistakes?”

She sighed. “At some point Jon, you’re going to have to put your family first, or you’re going to end up a lonely old man.” She could see that he wasn’t clueing in to what she was referring to. “You have another child on the way, and from what I can tell you aren’t going to be anymore involved with this one than you were the other four.”

“Hey, I’m involved in all of my children’s lives!” He protested.

“Sure, after they’re born. But how many doctor’s appointments did you go to with me? I can count them on one hand – and they were all with Stephanie. Look, you have a wife who is having her first child – something she’s been waiting for, for a very long time. This pregnancy has a bit of a higher risk to begin with because of her age. She’s got to be nervous and thrilled,…. and at least a little scared. And you’re going to make her go through this alone? Why? Because you’ve been through it before, so it’s no big deal to you? Or is your work really more important to you than your family? Keep it up Jon, and you’ll find yourself making another divorce lawyer rich.” Leaving him to think about what she said she turned to congratulate her two youngest sons.

After a few more minutes they said their goodbyes and Jon watched his wife head out the door ahead of him without so much as a glance in his direction. Sighing he followed her. They had driven separately so any discussion would have to wait until they got home.

He caught up with her in the foyer where she was hanging up her coat. He handed her his. “Honey, I’m really sorry.”

She held up her hand to stop him. “You do whatever you feel is best for you Jon, you usually do.”

“You know I’d be with you of I could!” He insisted.

“Do I? You’re the boss Jon. You set the schedule.” She closed her eyes and sighed heavily. “I don’t want to fight with you. I’m tired, and I have a busy couple of days coming up. I’m going to bed.” She started up the stairs.

“Dammit Lindsay!”

She stopped and looked down at him. “No Jon. Damn you!” Fighting back tears she continued up the stairs.

Chapter 2

Lindsay gripped the edge of the table and stared at her doctor, stunned. “Are you sure?” The doctor smiled and nodded. “And everything’s okay?”

Again, the doctor nodded. “Yes, everything looks fine, but I’d like you to come back more frequently than we’d discussed. I’m not anticipating any problems, but this, combined with your age increases the risks. I just want to keep a close eye on you.”

Lindsay nodded her agreement. “Is there anything special I should be doing or watching for?”

“No, not really. Just make sure you eat properly and get plenty of rest. If you feel any pain or have any spotting, call me immediately. Have you felt much movement?”

“Quite a bit actually, which I guess is understandable now. Jon’s arm pushed against my belly last night, and got kicked.”

The doctor smiled. “That’s good. Pretty soon you may actually be able to see the movement.”

“Cool!” Lindsay borrowed one of Jesse’s favorite phrases.

Laughing, the doctor wiped the gel off her stomach and helped her up. “Do you need a ride home? I see that Jon didn’t come with you.”

Lindsay sobered. “No, he had to go to Philly this morning, and didn’t make it back in time. I drove myself.”

Sitting in the car she placed her hands on her belly in wonder, smiling when she felt a kick. “I wish your daddy was here to share this.” She murmured aloud. “But don’t worry, you will never lack for love or attention, I promise. Your sister and brothers are going to flip, not to mention your grandparents!” At the thought she longed to call Carol and give her the news, but decided she’d better talk to Jon first. If he makes it home tonight. They hadn’t spoken since returning home from the play the night before. She’d been asleep when he’d come to bed, and he was gone when she’d awakened this morning. She knew they needed to talk about this, but she wasn’t sure what to say. She didn’t want to come across as needy or clingy, but she wanted him to be apart of this wonderful, amazing experience. She needed him with her. Thinking about everyone coming for dinner tomorrow, she sighed. Maybe she should wait until after Thanksgiving to talk to him. She had enough to deal with at the moment.

Starting the car, she headed for home. Driving through the gates, she looked for Jon’s car. Not seeing it, she sighed yet again. Parking in the garage she walked slowly towards the house, breathing in the crisp fall air, scuffing her feet through the last of the fallen leaves that the gardener couldn’t keep up with no matter how many hours he worked.

Entering the house, she hung up her coat and headed for the kitchen to continue her preparations for the next day’s feast. She’d just put the last pumpkin pie in the oven when the phone rang.


“Hi Lindsay, how are you?”

“I’m fine Carol, how are you?”

“Fine. How did the ultra sound go?”

Lindsay hesitated. “The doctor says everything looks good.”

“And the baby’s growing and developing well?”

“Yes.” And then some.

“Good. What did she say about you being so tired?”

“Just that part of it is my age, and I need to take it a little easy. The pregnancy is draining my energy and I need to eat properly and get lots of rest.”

“Good advice. What did Jon say?”

Lindsay closed her eyes. “Jon wasn’t there.” She hoped she didn’t sound as bitter as she felt.

“What do you mean he wasn’t there?”

“He left this morning for meetings in Philly, and didn’t make it back in time.”

Carol sighed. Sometimes her oldest son still needed a kick in the ass! “I’m sorry sweetie. Next time, call me and I’ll go with you. You don’t have to do this alone.”

“Thanks Carol, I will.” The tears were threatening again. Damn hormones! Even his mother knew that he would miss more appointments, and that she was basically in this alone.

“What can I do to help you for tomorrow? You should have let me have it. You’ve got enough on your plate without planning and preparing a lavish meal for all of us!”

“Really Carol, it’s fine. I wanted to have it. Besides, Mrs. Henderson’s been a wonderful help.”

“Uh huh, and where is she today?”

“I gave her the day off. She’s having her family for dinner tomorrow too.” Lindsay replied defensively.

“And what are you doing today – when you aren’t at the doctor’s?”

“Breaking up bread for stuffing and baking pies.” Lindsay admitted. She didn’t bother to mention the other preparations she’d been busy with, knowing her mother-in-law would only scold her more.

“Uh huh, and a lot more besides, I’m sure. Well, I’m coming over early tomorrow to help, and I’ll bring Desiree and Joy with me. I don’t want you to do anything tomorrow but enjoy the day.”

“Yes ma’am.” Lindsay laughed. There was no point in arguing with Carol – she would always win. “I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

Hanging up, she turned back to the kitchen and started cleaning up her mess. Finished, she took the pie out of the oven and set it on the counter to cool. She glanced at the clock as she stretched her back. Not knowing when Jon was going to be home, she decided to have a rest before starting dinner.

It was a cool, damp day, so she started a fire in the den, grabbed a book and settled on a couch. But try as she might, she couldn’t concentrate on the words on the page in front of her. She stared into the fire and tried to figure out how things had gotten to this point. First she had to sort out hormones from true feeling. They had been so happy until a few months ago. Was it just her hormones? Was she being too hard on Jon? But shouldn’t he want to be involved in this pregnancy? Was it just a case of the novelty wearing off for him or was it something more serious? Despite everything he’d said, did he really not want another child? Did he just agree because it’s what she wanted? Was the fulfillment of her dream of having a child going to be at the expense of her dream of a happy marriage? Closing her eyes against the tears threatening she drifted off into a fitful sleep, not even aware of those tears escaping and leaving tracks down her cheeks.

Chapter 3

Walking up to the front door, Jon paused with his hand on the knob and sighed. He was not looking forward to what was waiting for him inside. He knew he should have been there for her today and he really didn’t have a good excuse. She was right, he did set the schedule. The only thing he could say in his own defence was that Dorothea never seemed to care if he went with her to doctor’s appointments or not – although after her comments last night he had to wonder if he was wrong about that too. He was so used to doing pretty much whatever he wanted, he’d forgotten that this was Lindsay’s first pregnancy and she might be nervous. She always seemed so strong and independent, it never crossed his mind that she might need him. But dammit, he wasn’t a mind reader! She should have said something. Well, tonight she was going to talk!

The house was quiet when he entered and he wondered if she’d already gone to bed. It was early yet, but he knew she’d been really tired lately and she’d been working too hard – both at the lab and here, getting ready for tomorrow. Passing the doorway to the den on his way to the kitchen he heard the crackling of the fire and felt its warmth emanating from the room. Stopping, he went to investigate. He heard her before he saw her on the couch, her breath hiccupping in her throat. The sight of tear tracks on her face broke his heart and he castigated himself for letting things get to this point. He was her husband. He was supposed to take care of her, but he’d been too wrapped up in his work to notice that she needed help. She’d tried to let on that she was coping just fine, but if he’d taken the time to look, he would have seen the little signs that she was flagging.

Toeing off his boots, he stoked the fire, and grabbed a pillow and a blanket. Spreading the blanket over her, he carefully lifted her head and torso until he could slide in underneath. Placing the pillow behind him, he settled her comfortably against his chest, wrapped his arms around her and with his hand resting on her belly, held her close.

Lindsay woke feeling the warmth of his hard chest at her back and the strong bands of his arms holding her securely. Not opening her eyes, she savoured the moment. She always felt so safe when she was wrapped in his arms. An especially strong kick made her jerk in surprise. His hand immediately stroked the spot, trying to soothe the baby. She placed her hand over his and felt him press a kiss to her hair. They sat in silence for a few minutes, staring at the fire, both knowing they needed to talk, but neither one knowing where to start.

Finally Lindsay broke the silence. “Have you eaten?” She asked quietly.

“No. Have you?” He answered just as quietly.

“No.” She started to get up, but he held her still.

“Can we talk first? Or do you need to eat?”

“I can wait.” She settled back against him, took a deep breath and asked the question that she’d fallen asleep thinking about. “Jon, are you really okay with having another child?”

He froze as he realized what she really meant by the question. Sitting her up, he moved so that he could see her eyes – and she could see his. “Lindsay, look at me honey.” He waited until she did. “Of course I want this baby! My God, don’t ever think that I don’t!”

“Then why didn’t you come with me today?”

He didn’t pretend it wasn’t his choice. “I don’t really have an excuse.” He answered her honestly. “I guess I was so used to Dorothea not caring – or at least seeming to not care – if I went or not, it never occurred to me that you might. Why didn’t you tell me you really wanted me there?”

“I know that you need a wife that is strong and independent. I didn’t want to seem needy or clingy – I know how much you hate that. Besides, I figured if you wanted to be there, you would be. I didn’t want to pressure you to be involved if you really didn’t want to be.” Tears filled her eyes. “But Jon, I can’t do this by myself! Especially now. I really thought I could, but it’s too much. It’s too overwhelming. I’m sorry Jon, I’m sorry I’m not as strong as you need me to be.” Unable to hold it back, she started to sob.

“Oh, honey!” Ever at a loss before a female’s tears he wrapped her in his arms and rocked her gently. “You don’t have to be strong all the time! You’re pregnant and – I’m sorry, but you’re hormonal – you’re allowed to be clingy! And you don’t have to do this by yourself. Of course I want to be involved! It’s just that I don’t know how to be at this point. I can’t carry the baby for you, there’s no diapers to change or bottles to warm….I don’t know what to do.” Then another comment she'd made sank in. He set her back a bit and tipped her face up to his. “What did you mean ‘especially now’? Is something wrong? What did the doctor say?”

Seeing the honest concern in his face, she quickly reassured him. “Everything’s fine, but the ultra sound did show something….unexpected.”

“What? Honey, you’re scaring the hell out of me here!”

“Twins.” She told him and waited for his reaction.

“TWINS?!” He exclaimed. His expression went from concern to shock to stunned awe as he stared down at her. Shifting his gaze from her face to her swelling stomach, he placed a hand carefully on her belly. “Twins!” He breathed. He met her eyes again.

She smiled gently and nodded. “That’s why I’m so big and why I’m so tired.”

“But everything’s okay? You’re okay, the..babies… are okay?” He pressed.

“Yes, we’re all okay. The doctor just said that I needed to make sure that I eat properly and get plenty of rest.”

He nodded. “That I can help with. I’ll go make you something. You should have eaten hours ago. Next time eat before you nap and don’t wait for me. And I’m canceling dinner tomorrow. Mom can have it. It’s too much work and you don’t need the stress right now.” He frowned. “And I think you really should consider quitting your job, or at least cut back. After the babies are born you can decide what you want to do.”

“Jon, stop.” She chuckled. “Wow, you just went from not being involved at all to being totally over protective in less than five minutes. That’s got to be a record!”

“Well, I may not be able to help you care for the babies directly at this point, but I can help take care of you. You said yourself that this is overwhelming. You are my life. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to you. Don’t begrudge me my concern, and let me help.”

“Ok, but you’re not canceling dinner tomorrow. Mrs. Henderson helped me get most of it ready, and your Mom, Desiree and Aunt Joyce are coming early to help set everything up.”

“Do they know?”

“No. No one else knows. I wanted to tell you first.”

“Can I tell them? Mom’s going to flip!” He looked like a little boy with a new toy. She nodded and laughed. “Okay, let’s go feed my babies.” Standing, he tugged her to her feet. Lifting her face to his, he gazed deeply into her eyes. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

He kissed her softly, flashed that million watt smile and led her to the kitchen. Rummaging through the fridge he insisted she sit while he put together a quick but nutritious meal for them out of leftovers. Leaving their dishes in the sink he guided her up the stairs.

Cuddling together in bed, watching a movie on T.V., Lindsay kept shifting position, trying to get comfortable.

“What’s wrong honey? Does your back hurt? What do you need?”

“I need them to settle down and go to sleep. It feels like they’re turning somersaults and crashing into each other.” She replied ruefully.

Pushing down the blankets, he lifted up her nightgown to bare her belly. Stroking her with his hand, he leaned down and kissed the warm skin. He could feel the rippling movement underneath. “Hey, you two. Settle down and let Mommy get some rest.” There was a pause in the movement, then an obvious kick.” The stunned look on his face made her burst out laughing.

“Oh I can see that these two are going to be handfuls! They’re already ignoring Daddy!” She chuckled.

He frowned in thought, then tried a different tack. He laid his head on her breast, resumed his stroking and started to sing softly.

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word
Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won’t sing
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring turns brass
Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass

And if that looking glass gets broke
Papa’s going to buy you a billy goat

And if that billy goat won’t pull
Papa’s gonna buy you a cart and bull

And if that cart and bull fall down
You’ll still be the sweetest little babies in town

While he sang, Lindsay ran her fingers through his hair, emotion once again bringing tears to her eyes. Damn hormones!

By the time he finished the lullaby both babies had stilled. Jon continued to hum the tune and stroke her belly for long minutes. Dropping another kiss on her womb, he raised his head and smiled smugly at her.

She chuckled. “Oh you are definitely on bedtime duty! I always found your voice soothing, and it looks like they do too.”

Moving back to lie on the pillow he pulled her into his arms and smiled at her. “Oh, I’m good at bedtime duty!” He waggled his eyebrows at her making her chuckle. “Do you need me to sing you to sleep too?”

“That would be nice.” She yawned and settled her head on his shoulder, her hand resting over his heart.

He kissed her forehead and slowly stroked the arm draped across his chest.

It’s hard for me to say the things
I want to say sometimes
There’s no one here, but you and me
And that broken old street light
Lock the door
We’ll leave the world outside
All I’ve got to give to you
Are these five words when I

Thank you for loving me
For being my eyes
When I couldn’t see
For parting my lips
When I couldn’t breathe
Thank you for loving me
Thank you for loving me

“Mmmm, my favorite.” She whispered.

I never knew I had a dream
Until that dream was you
When I look into your eyes
The sky’s a different blue
Cross my heart
I wear no disguise
If I tried you’d make believe
That you believed my lies

Thank you for loving me
For being my eyes
When I couldn’t see
For parting my lips
When I couldn’t breathe
Thank you for loving me
Thank you for loving me

Her deep, regular breathing and the total relaxation of her body against his told him she was asleep. Smiling he kissed her forehead again. “I love you.” He whispered. Settling back he watched the rest of the movie, holding tightly to so much that was precious to him.