Content Warning: the “sh–” word x 1. 🙂
“Babies? As in more than one?” Xalen exclaimed at my slip of the tongue.
Dear Diary, yes, I was still in a locked vault with Xalen and having contractions about every eight minutes.
“Yes, twins,” I gasped as another pain had me in its grip.
“We need to talk about this.”
Through gritted teeth, I said, “I can’t say that I really feel like talking right now!”
As if the gravity of the situation hit him full force, he said, “Oh, no, of course not,” and he pulled me into his arms. “It’s going to be all right.”
For a blessed moment, I rested my head on his shoulder and was able to somewhat relax. As he tenderly took my hand, I breathed in the familiar scent of leather and mint. What I would have given to stay like that forever! But, the twins had other plans.
Pushing him away, I bent forward slightly, barely able to breathe as my abdomen tightened like a vise and pain thundered through my back and stomach.
“We’ve got to get out of here!”
“No shit!” My sudden obscene outburst seemed to make him come unglued completely.
Putting his hands to his head, he shouted, “What do I do?”
“You’re a doctor, figure it out!”
“I’m not that kind of doctor!”
“Are you trying to help right now? Because you seriously aren’t helping!”
Turning my back to him, I leaned on the nearest case and closed my eyes. The contractions were closer together now, possibly only two or three minutes apart. This was all moving along much faster than I’d anticipated as I’d always heard that the first baby was usually slow to arrive. I never expected to labor so quickly once it began.
“Xalen, I’m in trouble,” I gasped, “this is happening really fast and I’m not having them in here. I refuse!”
Resting his hand on the small of my back, he said, “I don’t know how long we are going to be in here so we are going to plan for the worst – or, um, I am. Do not worry, I will get us through this.”
I had no idea how he was going to manage this, I was just glad he was over his freaking out moment and that he seemed calm now.
“Hey, what is this?” I asked through heaving breaths.
“Really? This is what you are concerned with right now?”
“The material is so strange and – hey, what are these markings?”
Before he could answer me, I doubled over again, finding it hard to stay on my feet.
Xalen tried to support me yet in my agony, I pushed him away. “Don’t touch me.”
Instead of taking offense, he checked his phone for the millionth time then grimaced. As calmly as he could manage, he began searching drawers and the displays, grabbing the blanket like wraps from underneath the artifacts.
“What are you doing?”
“We have to wrap the babies in something when they arrive.”
OMG, was I really going to have them in here? I couldn’t bear the thought.
The contractions were no longer coming every couple minutes. Now, it felt like one long, continuous pain that literally dropped me to my hands and knees on the floor. Xalen uncertainly stepped closer to me, but he didn’t touch me.
A strange pressure was building up, making me grunt. It was a few minutes of this before I realized I was pushing.
There was no stopping this now and the sooner I got it in my head that I wasn’t getting to a hospital anytime soon, the sooner I could deal with what I had to do now…
Diary, just to clarify, the bank was evacuated for 40 minutes while the fire dept. figured out there wasn’t a fire. Xalen and I were actually in the vault for much longer because apparently, they couldn’t just open it. There were safeties in place which prevented our freedom for several hours. If I wasn’t claustrophobic before, I definitely am now.
So, that is the story of how Holden and Rosetta came into the world. (A story that, although fascinating, makes me cringe every time I think about it.) And, if I have to admit it, Xalen really came through when things got tough, which is more, I suppose than he could say about me.
We were all home, now, safe and sound. Susan was really wonderful about chipping in and making sure we ate. I was so sore… no one really tells you what happens after you give birth. To your body, I mean.
Every morning, I wake up to some new horror show going on. Like, my boobs suddenly being hard as rocks and red hot to the touch or needing sitz baths every couple hours because… well, stitches down there don’t feel too great. Why does no one talk about this or warn a person?
In other news, Xalen is totally starry-eyed every time I look at him. To my relief, he loves these little guys and can’t get enough of them. We haven’t really talked about anything important yet but I know I can’t avoid the subject for much longer.
At the moment, we’re just kind of basking in the wonder of these two little things. I don’t have to remind you that the idea of having children was something I abhorred.
Now that they’re in my arms, my heart feels like it can’t get any fuller with the unexpected love I have for them. Holden and Rosetta are so tiny and fragile. They depend on me completely for their needs and I’m determined not to let them down.
Sometimes, while they’re sleeping, they reach for each other.
And we find ourselves staring at how perfect they are.
What will they grow up to be?
I wanted to be a great explorer but thoughts of that have drifted out of my mind until all I care about is making sure these two kids, who didn’t ask to be here, have everything I can give them.
It was late and the babies were sleeping, so I decided to try to sleep, too. I couldn’t, though. There were too many things swimming around in my head. Too many questions left unanswered.
I heard a knock at the door and Xalen quietly stepped inside.
“May I?” he asked, gesturing at the bed.
How I longed to have him next to me there for the rest of my life!
“Sure, you must be exhausted.”
“No more than you are,” he said as he stretched out near me. “We should talk.”
“About what?” I asked. Playing dumb was something I was a champion at.
“I know we won’t have the paternity test back for a month or two, but I want you to know that I am not going anywhere. Whatever the truth is, I am determined to look after these babies as if they are my own.”
My heart fluttered as I thought about how noble he was. “I can’t ask you to do that. If they aren’t yours, then they aren’t your responsibility.”
Sighing deeply, he said, “Are we back to that again? Understand this, Marty, you are not asking, I am telling you. Either way, these children are my flesh and blood and I will not be cut out of their lives.”
“I didn’t mean I would cut you out,” I quickly said.
“Quit trying to push me away.”
As I thought about what he said, I came to realize that pushing him away was exactly what I was doing. Why would I do that? I kept saying it was because I loved him yet I wasn’t acting as if I did.
“I’m sorry,” I finally said. “I never meant for any of this mess to happen the way it has. You have every right to be involved in their lives if that’s what you want. And to be honest, I’m grateful you’re here and that you care so much about them.”
After a moment, he said, “I care about you, too. I am not good with emotions and words but I want you to know how I feel. Perhaps because I never told you is the reason you could not be honest with me.”
It would have been so easy to end things there and let him take the blame but I couldn’t do that. This wasn’t his fault. No, he never flat out said he loved me, still, I knew he did just the same.
“You’re right. Something I thought horrible happened and instead of telling you about it, I did push you away. But it wasn’t your fault – not even a little. I was scared and I ran away. The reason, I told myself, was for you. I didn’t think you should have to deal with this. Until now, that’s what I maintained. That’s only partly true, though. I think part of it was that I didn’t want to deal with it. I wanted to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t happening.”
“That is not rational.”
“You’re telling me!” I laughed, despite the turmoil of it all. “When I decide to mess something up, I do the best job I can.”
He laughed a little and looked into my eyes. “Whatever happens, Marty, please, do not keep me at arm’s length. If we cannot have a relationship, I am heartbroken, but I will not push you. But let me be a part of the little ones’ lives.”
“I’m sorry I broke your heart. I wish more than anything I could take it all back and do it differently.”
With gentle hands, he pulled me into his arms, rubbing my shoulder and putting his face near mine.
“We are here now and that is the important thing.”
“Yes, very trying,” he chuckled.
Sighing with contentment, I felt his lips at my ear and the warmth of his breath as he whispered, “I love you and I always will.”
I tried to gulp away the lump that was forming in my throat. It was the first time in my life any man had ever said that to me and meant it. The old me wouldn’t have taken this very well and might even have been skeptical. Past heartbreaks had left me feeling as if no one could ever truly love me.
Yet, I knew this was real. And it was being expressed to me by the only person I wanted to hear it from.
As if on cue, the babies began to cry.
Xalen joined me with a big grin on his face. “Time for diaper changings and feedings!”
He was really too zealous about this whole thing but I grinned back at him despite myself. “We just did this less than three hours ago!”
“Isn’t it great?”
I laughed now. “Yeah, it kind of is, especially with you here doing all of this with me.”
I didn’t wait for him to respond. Instead, I pulled him toward me and kissed him with all the passion someone in my condition could muster.
As the kiss lingered, it seemed like the pieces were falling together for once. Now, if I could just stay out of my own way!
Three in the morning and a baby in my arms. Who would have thought?
Holden’s warm little body pressed against my shoulder surprisingly felt like the most natural thing in the world. He was a good baby and after his feeding, he fell asleep easily.
Rosetta, on the other hand, was always wide awake but it seemed to me Xalen didn’t mind one bit.
“She has the cutest little nose,” he smiled.
I didn’t know exactly how Xalen and I would work out or what the future held. What I did know was that we were a strange family, dysfunctional at best, but we were a family. And it was mine.
Author’s Note: Rosetta is, of course, named after the Rosetta Stone. LOL
I wanted to point out something about the newspaper clipping…. please ignore the date. I forgot to fill it in and so it displayed the default. Grrr….
And now we are halfway through Marty’s story! Now that the twins are here, Marty can get back to working on her Lifetime Wish of physical perfection. She is closer to achieving this than I thought! Woot!
So, what’s next for our heir? The Neptune Foundation! Double woot! lol This is actually the part of the story I’ve been looking forward to the most. You are going to find out a lot about Xalen and how Marty fits in, too. 😀 I hope you like it.
On a side note: You may have noticed that I have moved things around a little. This is because while Noble Doubt is the main story and has a long way to go before it’s finished, I’m thinking ahead to when that time comes. So, I changed the name of the site to match my url and added other stories I’m working on. Take a look under the “About” tab! There is a new blogroll where I’ve added site badges/buttons. If you would like your badge to appear there, send me the url or leave me a comment where I can find it. 🙂