Sunrise! It was her favorite time of day, mostly because it reminded her of her first date with Howie. She had fallen asleep on his couch and a nightmare had woken her. Howie had been there to hold her and when she had calmed down, they had gone out to watch the sunrise. On that day, sunrises took on a completely new meaning for her. Sunrises no longer meant another day for Russell to torture her. Sunrises now brought a new day for Howie to show her what love was all about.
Looking up at her husband, she watched him sleeping peacefully and decided to let him sleep. She carefully eased out of his arms and got up to go stand by the window. After pulling the blinds up, Sarah stood watching as the dark sky slowly gave way to purple, orange, and pink before finally giving way to a bright sunny day. Casting her gaze down, Sarah caught sight of a small group of die-hard fans waiting to see them. There were signs scattered around the grounds with wishes of congratulations on them and she’d received a ton of cards, stuffed animals, and flowers as well. There were still times when she had to pinch herself to make sure this wasn’t all a dream. Her life was blissfully happy and a warm feeling filled her soul.
Howie woke to see Sarah at the window and he smiled. Quietly, he got up and moved to stand behind her wrapping his arms around her. Placing a soft kiss on her shoulder, he asked, “How long have you been up?”
“Long enough to watch the sunrise,” answered Sarah as she leaned against him running her hands over his arms.
“Why didn’t you wake me?” Howie brushed his morning stubble against her bare shoulder as he caressed her stomach. “I could have held you.”
“Mmmm, I thought about it but you were so sweet sleeping, so peaceful. We could climb back in bed now and snuggle.” Looking over her shoulder, she smiled seductively as she added, “Or make out.”
Giving her a kiss on the neck, Howie said, “Not this time, ‘Angel’. I have a sneakin’ suspicion we’re gonna have company very soon.”
Sarah glanced at his watch. “I guess the doctors will be making their rounds soon and it’s almost time to feed the twins again.”
“No, ‘Angel’, that’s not who I had in mind.”
“Certainly none of our family would….” Started Sarah before looking back at him. “Jesse?”
“She’s up every morning at six, no matter what. Why should this morning be any different?”
“She may be up at six but she’ll never get Alex up.”
“Don’t be so sure. She’ll give him her extra special kisses and he’ll be at her feet…as usual.”
“And if she can’t wake her daddy with her extra special kisses, she’s gonna be disappointed. I guess we should at least be in bed, shouldn’t we?”
Howie helped Sarah back into bed where they lay together making sure Jesse would have room to join them and spent the time talking quietly.
It wasn’t long before Howie’s suspicion was proven correct. The couple, who had their backs to the door, heard the door being pushed opened carefully, like the person was making sure they didn’t wake the couple. Howie put his finger on Sarah’s lips as she started to say something and she nodded her head to acknowledge him as they closed their eyes to pretend to be asleep.
“Uncle AJ, you were wrong. They ARE still asleep!” whispered the little girl.
“Shh, you’re gonna wake them with your talking if you’re not careful,” smiled AJ knowing he wasn’t wrong. He had seen Howie put his finger on Sarah’s lips and knew too by the fact that the blinds were open. The couple had obviously been awake for a little while and were anticipating Jesse’s visit. Picking her up, AJ whispered, “I’m gonna set you on the bed with them. Be careful not to hit your mom’s tummy, okay?”
Settled on the bed, Jesse leaned to Howie giving him butterfly kisses along his cheek and then moved to give Sarah a kiss too. That’s when the couple took her in their arms and hugged her tight.
“Good morning, Princess,” beamed Howie leaning across Sarah to kiss her.
“You WERE awake,” pouted Jesse.
“Yes, but we were really looking forward to your kisses,” reassured Sarah as she gave her daughter a kiss.
“Morning, ‘J’,” greeted Howie as he sat up.
“Morning,” greeted AJ as he gave Sarah a kiss. “You feeling better, ‘Tigger’?”
“MUCH!” Looking at Jesse, she asked, “Did you have fun with your uncles yesterday?”
“Yes ma’am! They took me to Cinderella’s castle and we rode ALL the rides and had lots of cotton candy and I got to stay up REALLY late,” bubbled Jesse. “Then, when we got to Uncle AJ’s, we had banana splits but you wanna know what the BEST part was?”
Howie and Sarah were all smiles watching their daughter. Her eyes were as wide as saucers and danced with glee as she waited for them as ask.
“What was the best part, ‘Princess’?”
“Uncle AJ fixed up a room JUST FOR ME!”
“Really?” questioned Sarah looking at AJ.
“Uh hu….” Seeing Howie’s stern look Jessed corrected herself, “Yes ma’am,” and went on to describe her room at AJ’s.
“Sounds like a room fit for a princess,” smiled Howie giving the little girl’s nose a tweak.
“That’s because it IS for a princess,” announced Jesse. “ME!”
“Alex, why did you fix up a room for her?” asked Sarah.
“I wanted to. I’m gonna take her shopping later and let her pick out some clothes to keep at my house too.”
“That’s not necessary,” protested Howie.
“Mami, when are they gonna bring Caroline and DJ?”
“It’s still early, baby. Dr. Rowe has to examine them first,” answered Sarah as someone knocked at the door.
A second later, Dr. Rowe entered pushing one bassinet followed by Sandy with the other.
“Well, what do we have here?” greeted Dr. Rowe as Dwaine began to wail.
“Good morning, Dr. Rowe,” greeted Sarah as Howie helped her to sit up. “This is Jesse, my daughter, and Alex McLean, one of Howie’s band mates.”
“Well, Jesse! I remember you when you were this size,” smiled Dr. Rowe as he helped Jesse off the bed. “You certainly have grown up into a beautiful young lady.”
“Thank you,” answered Jesse as she watched the nurse hand her baby brother to her mother.
“Are you here to help your mother take the babies home?”
That drew Jesse’s attention away. “Can we REALLY take them home today?”
As Caroline was settled to nurse, Dr. Rowe said, “I’ve already signed their release papers.”
“Is everything okay?” asked Howie as he ran a finger along Dwaine’s fuzzy head.
“X-rays were perfect this morning and they’ve gained several ounces. I want to see them in two weeks and we’ll give them their first round of immunizations. Do you have scales at home?”
“Yes sir,” answered Sarah.
“I want you to weigh them each night and if they have a significant weight lose, call me.” Dr. Rowe went on to give Howie and Sarah further instructions for their care.
“Thank you, Dr. Rowe,” said Howie as he shook hands with the doctor.
“I’m glad to be here. You have a very beautiful family, Howie, and I look forward to taking care of them. Sarah, take care of yourself. Twins can wear you out,” and Dr. Rowe gave her a kiss on the cheek.
After Dr. Rowe was gone, Sandy said, “When Caroline and Dwaine are finished nursing, give me a call so we can bathe them and get them ready to go home.”
“Thank you, Sandy,” said Sarah.
With everyone gone, Alex picked Jesse up and they sat together at the foot of Sarah’s bed watching the twins.
“All we need now is for Dr. Johnson to release me,” sighed Sarah leaning her head against Howie’s. “I can’t wait to get home to my own bed.”
Taking a tiny fist in his fingers, Howie said, “I’ve got a ton of things to get done before you can leave, ‘Angel’. I need to call Ilse and make sure she knows how to get to the house. I need to call for a car….”
“We gonna ride in a limo, Papi?” asked Jesse.
“Nothing but the best for my family today,” smiled Howie. “I also need to get Billy to make sure security is in place and Andre ready to take pictures.”
“Four phone calls, ‘D’. It won’t take too long.”
“Not really. I just want to make sure everything is set by eleven.”
“Papi, why do you have to call Billy?”
“Because, ‘Princess’, the fans and the press may get a little over-eager to see your mom, you, Caroline, and Dwaine,” answered Howie as he took Caroline to burp.
Alex moved to take Dwaine for Sarah as he said, “I’ve got a couple things to do too before Sarah leaves.”
“What do YOU need to do?”
“For ME to know and YOU to find out later,” taunted AJ sticking his tongue out at Sarah.
Sarah returned the gesture causing Jesse to roll her eyes. “Oh, Mami! Grow up!”
“Yeah, Mami…grow up,” teased AJ as he patted the tiny infant firmly on the back.
Within the hour, Dr. Johnson made his rounds, examined Sarah, and signed her release papers making it official. Sarah, Caroline, and Dwaine would be going home. Once they knew for certain, AJ gathered Jesse to go take care of his errands promising to be back by eleven and Howie started taking care of his ‘to-do’ list after helping Sarah get a shower. The plan was to have everything in place by eleven so the new family could leave by noon.
Chapter 72 Index