With Howie’s arms wrapped around her tightly and his soothing voice singing to her, Sarah drifted off to sleep easily but for Howie, it was a different story. He wasn’t nearly as worried about Becca and Nick now as he was about Sarah. He had seen how all this had gotten to her and was now concerned that she’d done too much going into Orlando with him.
As he lay watching her…the subtle rise and fall of her breasts, the way her hair fell across her face, the way innocence washed over her taking away all the ‘hardness’…he tried to imagine the twins. Would they look like Sarah? Him? Were they both boys or were they girls? Or one of each?
The opening of the door caught his attention and he looked over to see Jesse standing sleepily in the door waiting for him to tell her to come in. He eased away from Sarah and motioned for Jesse to stay quiet as he pulled on his jeans.
Scooping her up in his arms, Howie headed back to her room making sure to close the door so Sarah wasn’t disturbed. Jesse put her head on his shoulder, her little fingers playing with Howie’s curls.
Yawning, she asked, “Is Mommy okay?”
“She’s fine, ‘Princes’, just tired. We haven’t been home long.”
“Is Uncle Nicky okay?”
Amazing! How in the world did his daughter know that there was something wrong? “Why do you ask?”
“Isn’t that why you and Mommy went to Orlando?”
“Yeah, but…never mind. Uncle Nick will be just fine…eventually. What are you doing up so early?” asked Howie as he put the little girl down on the bed and sat beside her.
“I woked up,” she said as she played with his fingers. “Daddy, I wanna stay home with you and Mommy.”
“Princess, no…I know you want to spend time with us but you’ve got an important job to do and that’s going to school. Your mom has enough on her mind. If she wakes up and finds you here, she’s gonna be furious with me, you, and Uncle Dusty and that’s not good for her.”
“How much longer before Mommy can be my mommy again?” whimpered Jesse.
“Oh, Princess,” soothed Howie as he played with her hair. “She’s your mommy now. She just can’t do much because she has to stay in bed. I know it’s hard for you to understand but she loves you just the same, even though she can’t go and do with you. You do know that when the twins are born, you’re going to have to share her?”
“But she’ll be able to do things….like take me to the park or come eat lunch with me at school….and not cry so much.”
Howie laughed as he tousled the girl’s hair. “I’m looking forward to that too.” Getting up, he searched through Jesse’s dresser and pulled out some clothes. Handing them to her, he said, “Get dressed while I go fix your favorite breakfast.”
“Daddy, can you braid my hair….like Mommy does?”
“Tell you what. We’ll see if Kryss can do it, okay?” tried Howie.
“I guess,” sighed Jesse. Then mumbling to herself, “You could wake Mommy to do it.”
Howie chose to ignore her. “Go on and get dressed. I hear Uncle Dusty and Kryss now.”
Standing in the doorway, Howie watched his daughter scoot down from her bed and begin to get dressed. He hoped that Jesse was going to be okay when the twins were born.
Chapter 16 Index