Just With You

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CHAPTER 28

“I apologize, this might be uncomfortable.” The ultrasound tech, Cathy, holds the sheet up at the end of Stella’s bed, and I focus my attention on my girl, a strange look coming over her face.

“You okay?” I whisper, squeezing her hand.

“Fine, it just feels weird.”

“Okay, now we should be able to see in just a moment.” Cathy turns the screen to face us, hitting some buttons on the computer. “Okay, so this right here is the gestational sac,” she tells us, pointing to what looks like a dark circle. “And this right here is… oh….” She turns the screen to herself, and Stella and I share a look.

“What? Is everything okay?” I ask, concerned something is wrong.

Cathy shakes her head with a smile, then turns the screen back to us.

“This white spot right here is your baby.” Moving her hand just to the left, she gives us a huge smile. “And this white spot right here is your other baby.”

“Excuse me?” Stella blurts, and my eyes feel like they’re gonna pop out of my head.

“There are two embryos with strong heartbeats. Congratulations, you’re having twins. It looks like you’re right around six weeks.”

It takes a moment to sink in, and I turn to Stella, watching a single tear fall down her cheek. She wipes it with the back of her hand, and then I’m greeted by the sight of her beautiful smile.

“Twins,” she whispers to me, and I just laugh. I’m not even sure the shock of finding out we were gonna be parents has even gone away, and now we have another surprise on our hands.

“I can’t believe this,” I say, looking back at the monitor. Cathy is taking what looks like measurements, and every time she taps a button it saves the image.

“Well, believe it, Daddy.” Those words from Stella have my eyes burning, a smirk on my face. Not caring there’s someone else in the room, I lean over to Stella and kiss her hard, cupping her cheek.

“Fuck, Stell. This is crazy.”

“Yeah. I guess when your swimmers put their mind to something, they really go all out, huh?”

“Damn right, woman.”

We laugh together, and then Stella starts crying when Cathy hands us the ultrasound photos, those grainy black-and-white photos the very first pictures of our babies.

Babies.

Holy. Shit.

STELLA

“You all set?” Drew asks, looking over at me from the driver seat.

I give him a nod, and he pulls out of the hospital parking lot. I was finally discharged a couple hours after my ultrasound, and I’m beyond ready to go home and get some rest. And eat. I’m starving.

Jace and I made the decision to not tell Drew I’m pregnant, as we want to tell our families together. Plus, I think we both need a chance to process this news. Never in a million years did I think the doctor would tell me I was pregnant. I never even skipped a period, although my last one was much lighter than normal. Still.

Drew and Jace make conversation until we pull into Jace’s driveway, the pain in my head finally slowing to a slight dull. Jace gets out from the back seat and pulls my door open for me. Unbuckling, I lean over to kiss Drew on the cheek. “Thank you for being there tonight.”

“Of course. I’m really glad you’re okay, Stella.” Drew holds his arm out and hugs me gently, kissing the top of my head. I gently climb down from the truck, and Jace slips his arm around my shoulders and guides me inside his house.

“Do you need anything, baby?” he asks, locking the door behind us.

“A shower and then food. I’m starving. Lunch is the last meal I ate, and then I’d like to sleep for at least twelve hours, if that’s okay?”

Jace chuckles. “How about you go take your shower, and I’ll make you something to eat?”

“But I don’t like charcoal,” I joke, Jace rolling his eyes in response.

“I know how to cook enough things, smarty pants.”

“Okay. I’m too tired to argue anyway,” I tease, then head back to the bathroom. Grabbing a couple towels, I quickly realize I won’t be able to wash my hair myself without getting the bandage on my head wet, so I just forgo that step and turn the water on. Facing away from the spray, I quickly wash myself and then switch off the water. Leaving my hair up in the knot I tied it in, I wrap myself in the towel and step into the bedroom.

I hear Jace tinkering around in the kitchen, so I get changed into a pair of underwear and an oversized T-shirt. Realizing I don’t have any of my things, I make my way toward the kitchen but stop in the living room when I spot the white hospital bag lying on the couch. I never even noticed Jace had brought it.

Reaching in for my purse, I find my cell phone dead, so I take it to the bedroom to charge. While I wait for it to power up, needing to call my boss, I slide under the blankets and get comfortable. My phone boots up a few minutes later, and I watch the screen light up with messages and emails, but I ignore them so I can call my boss. Apologizing for the late call, I give her the short story of what happened with my car and let her know I’ll be working on paperwork from home the next couple days.

I end the call just as Jace comes walking in the room, a plate and mug in his hands. “See, I told you I could cook. Well, make a sandwich anyway.” He sets the mug of what looks like tea on the nightstand and hands me a plate with a turkey sandwich piled with lettuce and tomato, just how I like it.

“You’re the best,” I tell him, gratefully taking a bite.

“How’s the head doing?” he asks, reaching out to rub his thumb next to my bandage.

“Okay. I might take some of the pain meds before I go to sleep, but I’m okay.”

Jace nods and leaves the room, coming back a moment later with another plate and a bag of pretzels. “Wasn’t sure if you wanted any.”

“No,” I tell him, taking another bite of food. “The sandwich is great. Is this tea?” I ask, motioning to the mug he set down.

“Yeah. I had some in the back of my cabinet, so I hope it’s okay. The expiration date was still good, but I don’t drink tea much. Just when I’m sick.”

“It’s perfect.” Blowing on the hot liquid, I take a small sip and sigh. “Yeah, perfect.”

“So, do we need to make a follow-up appointment?” he asks me, reaching for the pretzels.

“Yeah, I’m gonna call my OB in the morning and schedule something. I have no idea when I need to be seen again, but I assume somewhat soon.”

“We gotta get one of those baby books, you know.”

“Yeah, we have a lot to figure out.”

We finish our dinner in silence, and Jace takes my plate from me. I lie back down, stretching my legs out in front of me. Staring down at my bare legs, I try imagining a big ole belly sticking out of my shirt, but I can’t. Resting my hands gently over my stomach, I smile, knowing our two babies are in there. It’s just crazy.

Hearing Jace come back in the room, I look up at him leaning in the doorway, watching as I run my hands up and down my stomach.

Kicking his sneakers off, he strides over to the bed and climbs on, lying down next to me. Tears prick my eyes when he carefully pulls my shirt up to reveal my bare stomach, splaying his hands gently across my belly. Leaning over, he presses his lips to my skin, and I caress the back of his head, running my fingers through his soft hair.

“I know you two can’t hear me in there yet, but this is your daddy.”

A few tears slip out, and I wipe them as Jace continues whispering to my belly.

“Your mommy and I weren’t expecting you, but you’re the best things to ever happen to us. And I promise with everything I am to be the best dad in the entire world. I love you.”

“I love you, Jace,” I whisper to him, cupping his jaw.

Pulling my shirt down, he slides up the bed next to me and kisses me, his breath warm against my skin when he breaks away.

“I love you too. You and these babies are my life.”

Kicking off his jeans, he pulls the blankets over us, and together we fall asleep.

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