SUBMIT (BOOK 2, DSD SERIES)

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Chapter 40

“We’re here Christi,” Johnattan says gently shaking my shoulders and I peek from behind my eyelids to see him turn left through the grand, black gates.

I yawn rubbing the sleep from my eyes, only to be greeted by trees covered by thick layers of snow.

We’re coming from my dad’s where we’d spent Christmas – per my father’s request and it’s been a tiring couple of days. My aunts and cousins from Venice came to visit dad and when they saw me pregnant and engaged, Johnattan and I became the centre of attention.

These people may have hated my mom but they adored me, after all, I was Matti’s girl, the son who went to the Americas and became a rich, business man.

It was a bit tense whenever my mother’s name came up, when they gave fake sympathy about her not being here today but surprisingly I managed to withhold my spiteful tongue and look at the good side of things.

Mom would have wanted us to get along no matter if they liked her or not so I’d do such.

Apart from that, the holiday wasn’t that bad. Aunt Cara made her famous, Ciceri e tria which was made with chickpeas with both fresh and fried tagliatelle. Aunty Maria contributed her mouth-watering Lasagne and in memory of Mom – who’s latina –, dad and I made her favourite guacamole dip and tortillas. We also had La Vigilia, a traditional Christmas Eve dish, which doesn’t have any meat in it, it’s all fish and vegetables.

We had a grand mix-culture celebration this Christmas. Our cousins danced traditional Italian dances and dad and Rudana did the salsa since I was too bloated to move. We sang traditional Christmas carols, sat around the fireplace telling stories and decorated the tree with tinsel and ornaments.

Rachel was not happy with our presence – that is Johnattan and I – but she kept her mouth shut and played the part of the perfect wife to the rest of family. There were times when we got along but it didn’t last, other times we were too engrossed with my two aunts, their husbands and four children to speak to each other.

When they heard we were leaving for Johnattan’s family house they were upset – well, except for Rachel – but nevertheless they embraced us, wishing us farewell and safe travels.

Dad even walked me to the jeep, telling Johnattan to take care of his Chris and grandbabies or else... Of course, our safety is his main priority so they ended up agreeing and embracing in a bro hug.

It was nice seeing my dad and fiancé getting along and everyday I’m happy that I made up with my dad.

Family is always stronger together.

After saying farewell to dad, we take off and as expected I start falling asleep as the car starts driving, only to awaken by my charming fiancé.

Stretching, I grit my teeth as my stomach clenches drawing a hiss from my lips. Johnattan looks over at me with worried eyes and I give him a forced smile.

“I’m fine,” I say before he can ask the question painted on his face.

“Are you sure?” he asks resting his hand on my stomach. “We can always go back home... you’re drawing nearer to your due date. We shouldn’t be so far away from the hospital especially since it’s snowing.”

“It’ll be fine Johnattan and plus, you promised Momma Jo you’d be home for New Year’s.”

“You and our babies come first, you know that,” he says sternly caressing my stomach.

“And we’re fine,” I say placing my hand on his.

“Fine,” he says after a pregnant pause bringing my hand to his lips planting a kiss on it.

He then releases my hand reaching around the back seats and pulls out a white coat. “Put this on. We’ll be at the house soon. Can’t have you catching chills.”

I oblige and soon we pull up to the familiar modern, Georgian home. I smile as I notice the small crowd waiting to greet us.

“And there’s our welcome party,” Johnattan muses as he pulls to a stop in front of the structure.

The house looks festive with the New Year’s decorations at strategic parts of the design and the chunky coating of snow covering it. The bright red, blue and white lights illuminate the yard casting their beautiful light on the two couples making their way to our vehicle.

Momma Jo outdid herself... The house looks magnificent.

Josephine is the first to reach my door followed by Jessie. They are both wrapped in a thick, black coats with a hood that shields them from the snow falling outside.

They open the door helping me out of Johnattan’s new Ford Explorer – which takes a while since I’m at that stage in my pregnancy where my entire body’s swollen and aches when I move. Eventually, Johnattan has to help me out of the vehicle and soon the girls excitedly walk me up the stairs and into the warm house.

We strip off the heavy coats, Jessie taking them and hanging them on the racks. Momma Jo embraces me with a bright smile after I give Jessie my coat.

“Christina, it’s been too long,” she says pulling away only to kiss my cheeks.

“Nice to see you too Momma Jo,” I say and she grins at the nickname. “I know it’s been a while but they’ve been so much drama in our lives the past few months.”

“I know hon,” she says giving me a small smile. “I’m sorry about your friend, darling. It must have been devastating and having to testify in court against those two vile men... I’m just happy they’re locked up and won’t be troubling anyone anytime soon.”

“Me too,” I say blinking away the tears I feel threatening to fall.

It has really been an emotional month seeing Liam, remembering what he tried to do to me and seeing that sick glint in his eyes as he looked at me. I broke down in that courtroom, it was too painful reliving the rape and remembering him almost taking my babies away from me... And James’ trial wasn’t any better. Seeing him reminded me of Lexi and the fact that I’ll never see her again.

Dylan as you’ve notice is not with us this holiday, that’s because his grandaunt had asked to have him visit her for the holidays. At first we were a little hesitant to send him away but she persuaded us, saying she’ll keep him safe and call us three times a day to verify he’s okay. She had video called us before we left my dad’s with a grinning Dylan, wishing us a happy New Year and I was so busy cooing over a cute Dylan in a Captain America suit to reply.

He made my night and I can’t wait to have him back home with us. His room has been finished for months but he’s yet to sleep in there. I’ve been too scared that Charlie would try something that I kept his cot in our room on my side.

I couldn’t lose him, Lexi entrusted me with his welfare and I’ll treat him as best as I can.

“Um, guys I’m still here you know and I haven’t hugged Chrissie yet,” Jessie says breaking me out of my thoughts and I look over at her with a grin.

“Jessie,” I say and she rolls her eyes walking up to give me a hug.

“About time,” she says as she pulls away. “You Missy, need to visit more. You are family now and you guys live a few blocks away so you have no excuses.”

“Oh yes,” Josephine says as she leads us to the living room. “How are you guys liking your new home?”

Jessie helps me to take a seat and I wince as another contraction hits. “It’s beautiful. We’ve moved most of our things in so it looks like home and the guys have been helping out with the moving and decorating the nursery.”

Shan, Chev, Dimitri and Edward have been flying over regularly to help us move into our new house and decorate the baby nursery. The house we’d bought in Cali is now our vacation house which we share with the guys.

They couldn’t make our Christmas or New Year’s invitations because they all had plans of their own.

Shan and Dimitri went to Spain to visit his grandaunt and only living family. She is ninety-two and Dimitri wanted to spend as much time as possible with her since he doesn’t know which day will be her last.

Chev and Edward went to spend Christmas with Edward’s family and the last I heard it wasn’t going well. His father really hated Chev and made no effort to hide it. For New Year’s though they are staying with Chev’s mom so I guess when we speak again I’ll hear how that went.

“That’s nice. So how’s things with Ry and Joey?” Jessie whispers taking a seat beside me. “Isn’t it tense?”

“It was for the first few weeks but after a while they became comfortable with each other. Ryan’s actually home right now, spending the holidays with his family. Lord, knows they’re happy to have him back.”

“Don’t I know it? Lauren took the first flight out the day after his arrival to see her boy...” Josephine adds and I smile remembering the tearful reunion.

“It was beautiful. She wouldn’t stop kissing and hugging her baby boy and then she hit him upside his head threatening to castrate him if he ever left like that again. Then after all that wouldn’t stop crying and hugging him,” I say as I rub my stomach comfortingly.

“I would have done the same if it was one of my boys,” Josephine states. “But they aren’t that crazy to try anything like that with me.”

“Who’s not crazy enough to try something with you dear?” Nathan asks as he walks into the room, Johnattan and another guy covered in snow behind him.

“Our children,” she states eying Johnattan who smiles before brushing off the snow and making his way to his mother.

At the same time Nathan approaches me crouching down to place a kiss on my cheek in greeting and I smile returning the gesture.

“How are you feeling, Christina?” he asks genuinely.

“Honestly? Like a whale,” I reply and he chuckles.

“I don’t doubt it. Jo was just like that with the twins. She complained about everything, and ate like it was as important as oxygen–”

“You’ve just described my fiancé down to the point,” Johnattan says walking over to me and I roll my eyes playfully.

“As I’ve said before I’m eating for three. So I’m allowed to whale out and not be judged,” I say hands folded over my chest and they all laugh.

“Whatever you say Free Willy.”

And that earned Johnattan a slap upside the head from me.

***

“That Aon guy is nice,” I say to Jessie about our mystery guest as I sit on the edge of Johnattan’s old bed.

She turns away from the intercom which she’s using to snoop on the others with, to look at me with a smile.

“He’s awesome,” she replies making her way over to me and diving onto the bed on her stomach.

Her blood red hair is splattered all over the sheets and her legs hang off the bed but she sighs like it’s the most comforting position ever.

“You really like him don’t you?” I ask parting the red sea.

Her eyes appear from behind the red and they twinkle. “Is it that obvious?”

“Not really but Johnattan hasn’t shut up about him being the first guy you brought home for the holiday,” I say.

“I just thought it would be a good time for them to meet him since they’re not throwing some elaborate party this year,” she says flipping onto her side. “He’s just different. He’s not your everyday arrogant jerk with rip abs and blonde hair but he’s just as attractive with his red curls and freckles. Plus, his physique and personality are both to die for and those rare green irises are the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”

“Okay now, slow down lover girl,” I say with a chuckle. “You sound like you’re high off love but does he feel the same? I’m not trying to be a doubter but you’re both young and feelings may change. I just don’t want to see you get hurt as I did.”

She holds my hand and smiles. “I know Chrissie and I love you for that. It’s nice to have a sister to talk to about this, since Julia left I’ve been on my own.”

“Don’t worry honey, I’ll just be a few blocks away come see me anytime you want to talk,” I reassure her. “And it’s nice to have you as a little sister too.”

She reaches up to embrace me and I return the gesture, patting her hair.

“Hey, aren’t you ladies coming down? Jessie I think your boy is sweating his socks off with dad down here,” Johnattan’s voice sounds over the intercom and we pull apart.

“What? You promised you’d get dad off him, Joey,” Jessie whines speaking into the intercom. “What if he scares him away?”

"Then he wasn’t meant to stay.”

Jessie huffs folding her arms and I chuckle at her actions hissing as the pain in my stomach gets worse.

“Are you okay?” Jessie asks noticing my discomfort and I nod.

“I just need to use the bathroom,” I say as I scamper off hearing Jessie telling Johnattan we’ll soon be down.

I close the door behind me and strip down to do my business. My stomach contracts again and I release a sharp cry. Seconds later another hits and wetness slides down between my thighs... and ladies and gentlemen that wasn’t pee.

I cry out loudly as pain hits once again and this draws Jessie’s attention to me.

“Chrissie, are you okay?!” she asks distressed.

“M-My–ah,” I cry out as another contract hits.

“Your what, Chrissie?” she asks before rushing to the door pulling it open.

Her eyes widen as she looks at me and I breathe roughly before getting the words out of my mouth.

“They’re coming... Get Johnattan,” I say through clenched teeth.

Wasting no time, she runs back into the room and punches the intercom. “Joey, pick up we have a problem.”

It’s silent for a while before a buzz rings throughout the room. “What kind of problem, Jes?”

“Christina... Her water broke!” she rushes out, pulling away waiting on a reply but none comes.

“Hello?” she calls hysterically as she punches the intercom button repeatedly.

I grip my thighs, the contractions getting worse. Sweat soaks my body and my vision is blurred by the tears welling up at the pain resonating through me.

“Jessie! Where the fuck is he?!” I cry out frustrated as a few minutes pass with no reply.

“N-No one’s picking up!” Jessie says worriedly as she reappears at the bathroom door, hands clenching her hair. She runs a hand over her face in panic before darting her eyes around the room. “C-Can you move? We need to get you on the bed.”

I cry out breathing heavily, the pain increasing before shaking my head. “I-I can’t... Where the f–ah! Is Johnattan?!”

A loud slam echoes through the room as a door is flung open and Jessie looks around her face relaxing with relief.

“It’s about... time! What... so long?! ... suffering in there!” Jessie curses but I’m too busy hissing in pain for her words to fully register.

“Just move Jessie,” I hear Johnattan’s voice say and I sense the panic in his words.

“Johnattan –ah,” I call out and another contraction explodes through me.

“I’m here baby,” Johnattan soothes as he comes to kneel beside the toilet.

This is so awkward, your water breaking while you’re taking a piss but I could care less right now... I just wanted them out!

He wipes the sweat from my forehead, tucking strands behind my ear but I shake my head wanting to move from my current position.

“Bed,” I hiss gripping his shoulders.

He nods understanding my want and gets up and lifts me bridal style off the toilet. He quickly moves me into the bedroom shouting orders at Jessie but I’m too busy wallowing to hear.

After being placed on the bed so I’m slightly elevated, the rest of the family finds themselves in the room. Josephine flanks my left while Johnattan is on my right both of them caressing me and telling me to take deep breaths.

I’ve been doing it for minutes now and it’s not helping!

I squeeze Johnattan’s hand tightly as a painful sensation strikes me repeatedly. “Get them out!”

Sweat coats my body as I heave and cry those two hectic angels threatening to kick out my womb.

“... sixteen inches of snow...”

“– can’t... hospital...”

My eyes clamp tightly as I release a high pitch cry, squeezing the life out of Johnattan’s hand. The twins seem to be fighting against each other to come out first, they’re pushing and kicking gets rougher as my vagina continues to stretch, painfully.

“Christina,” I hear Josephine call while patting my forehead with a cloth and I pant out a yes.

“Baby, we can’t get you to the hospital,” Johnattan states and I nod my head faintly registering his words.

“I don’t care ... Get them out,” I cry mid contraction.

“Okay people so, a home birth it is,” I hear Josephine state as she removes herself from the bed. “Johnattan get her to calm down a bit, she needs to control her breathing. Jessie get a bath of water, Nathan towels and Aon we’re gonna need a pair of scissors. Let Jessie show you where we keep them. Let’s hop to it.”

Minutes of shuffling and controlled breathing later, I’m ready to pop. My chest heaves as I try to push on Josephine’s command.

I’ve heard women talking about how pride-ripping giving birth is and I have to agree. Having my future mother-in-law between my legs searching for my baby’s head is by far one the most embarrassing things to happen to me, but right now I’m too high on pain too care.

“Push Christina,” Josephine yells as I convulse and buckle in pain.

I push, the pain prickling through me like electricity and my vagina ripping open at the force... and yes, it fucking hurts.

“Come out! Get out!” I chant harshly as I try my hardest to fight the pain and get these babies out of me.

“Calm down Christi –” Johnattan starts to say but I cut him off.

“Don’t tell me to calm down! You’re not the one pushing a child out of your p–”

“Push!”

I obey, screeching like a banshee.

“I see the head,” Josephine says relieved. “Just one more push, Christina.”

“Come on Christi,” Johnattan encourages and I shoot him a glare.

He gulps noticing my aggravation and Josephine commands me to push. Taking a deep breath, I give it all I got and I feel my vagina rip in two... and no, I’m not over exaggerating.

A loud, raspy cry splits through the air and the room goes silent. Josephine gently pulls the baby from between my legs, grabbing the scissors from Aon and cutting the umbilical cord.

She then hands the baby to Nathan who cradles he or she in a blanket and places him or her onto Johnattan’s study table – which they made into a makeshift changing table.

“What’s the gen–ah,” I cry as another contraction hits... not as bad as before but it stung.

“The other baby’s ready,” Josephine points out, before turning to her husband. “Record the time and gender... we’ll get the weight a little later on.”

He nods and Josephine turns to me with an encouraging smile. “You did good Christina. It’ll be a little easier now so I need you to do exactly what you did the last time. Just push on my command, okay?”

I nod, grasping Johnattan’s hand and he brings it to his lips. Josephine returns to her post and after fifteen minutes of cries and pushing, another angel is popped from my womb.

“Congratulations,” Josephine says as she and Nathan both walk towards us with our babies in arms.

I look up in anticipation as she hands me the baby and I carefully cradle him or her, looking at the mop of brown curls on his or her head.

“You’ve got a beautiful, baby boy,” she grins and I gently pull away the blanket from his face to find a cute button nose and chubby cheeks. He’s beautiful.

“And gorgeous baby girl,” Nathan says as he hands Johnattan our baby girl, who looks up at her dad with beautiful hazel eyes, fist in mouth and mop of dirty blonde hair sticking to her forehead.

Johnattan and I make eye contact and the joy and pride we feel at this moment almost makes it hard to breathe. They’re ours, a boy and girl. Our unplanned but happily welcomed angels...

The room fades along with our guests and all I see is Johnattan and our babies, our lifelines, our gifts from god. We’re a family...

He leans forward with a smile on his lips and I sniffle as tears stream down my cheeks.

“They’re ours,” I whisper and he chuckles nodding his head.

“Ours.”

I breakdown in tears as he says this, looking down at my baby boy who now decides to open his baby blue eyes to stare at his weeping mother. His lips part as he yawns and I use my finger to prevent his mouth from opening too widely. He snatches my finger looking at it in fascination.

“I love you so much,” Johnattan whispers as he looks us, his eyes glazing over and I smile tilting my head back as he descends.

Our lips mend and I melt into him, our souls merging, becoming one; sharing the happiness we feel at this moment, the joy taking us over. He deepens our kiss and I moan pulling away only to press a chaste kiss on his lips. He pulls back his eyes glinting with adoration and I rub my nose against his affectionately.

“I love you too, forever and always.”




****

Epilogue and Bonus Chapter going up tomorrow.

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