The press conference promised by management had caused a heated debate among the guys…well, mostly between Howie and Kevin but Kevin had tried to drag the other three into it. Howie wanted Sarah included since she was just as popular as they were but Kevin felt Howie wasn’t looking out for her health. He insisted it was too much for her after having twins. As usual, Howie won out telling Kevin that it wasn’t really his decision.
Now, with all the phone calls made and Sarah and the babies ready to go, Howie and Sarah had a few minutes to themselves. Howie put his arm around Sarah and gave her a kiss on the temple as she played with his hands.
"’D’, why are you going overboard with security and what does management have to do with us going home?"
"I was waiting to tell you this. The night you were brought in here, management promised a press conference after Caroline and Dwaine were born but we haven’t done it yet. I wanted you to be included too."
"Okay…so are we doing it when we leave?"
"If you are up to it. I don’t want to push you if you’re not ready to face the press just yet."
Sarah smiled, "You are always trying to protect me, aren’t you? If you and the guys have promised to do a press conference and you want me with you, then fine…I’ll be okay. It doesn’t have to be a long one, does it?"
"No, it doesn’t. Next question, do you want the children included?"
"What do you want?"
"Sarah, this is one time I’d rather hear your opinion first. You’re the one who the press is going to be following to get pictures of them. There’s also letting the public get a look at the children. I know the fans want to see them but….."
"But there are always those who might want to take them to get closer to us. I don’t know, ‘D’. I mean, we’ve let Jesse be photographed and she’s been onstage with us several times and nothing has happened to her."
"Yeah…but are we tempting fate? What do you want to do?"
Sarah looked at Howie trying to decide what they should do. She trusted his judgment but he was putting it on her to decide about the children. "’D’, I don’t see the harm in letting the press get pictures of the children today but I want to make it clear that our children are NOT to be sought out if they aren’t with us. You did it for me…asked the press to leave me alone when I wasn’t with you and they respected that. I think the press will be MORE than understanding and respectful if we ask them to leave them alone when they aren’t with us."
Howie looked into Sarah’s eyes. "You’re sure about this?"
"Yes. ‘D’, the fans have been waiting for this as long as we have and they’ve been wonderful."
Lifting her chin, Howie kissed her softly. "You’re amazing, ‘Angel’."
"Okay, cut the suck fest out," growled Billy trying to be big and bad as he entered the room without knocking.
Sarah giggled as Howie groaned, "I thought it was only NICK who did this to me."
Billy broke out in a silly grin. "He put me up to it. Is everyone ready to roll?"
Howie looked at his watch then said, "J isn’t back with…."
"We have everyone in the waiting room down the hall. All we need is you and your beautiful wife and babies."
Howie looked at Sarah. "You ready?"
"What did you decide about the children?"
"They stay with us for the press conference," answered Howie.
"Okay. Here’s the deal. We’ve got the sidewalk roped off and the press is behind the ropes. No one comes within five feet of any of you. If either of you are going to sign autographs, do NOT take the children with you and make sure you have Raoul and Tommy with you. I do NOT want anything happening to you, especially Sarah."
"Ah, Billy, you really DO love me," teased Sarah.
"Even though you’re a pain in the ass," replied Billy with a smirk. "Yes, I do so PLEASE do as I ask."
"Yes sir," simpered Sarah batting her eyes at the big man.
"Now, gather your babies and let’s roll."
Howie had pressed the nurse call button while Sarah and Billy were bantering back and forth and now, Sheena arrived with a wheelchair.
"I don’t need that, Sheena," frowned Sarah.
"Sorry…hospital policy. Now, I’m going to see you out and then I’ll be out to your place tomorrow to check on you."
Sarah became teary-eyed as she hugged Sheena. "Thank you so much for everything! It was like having my mom here with me."
Hugging her close, Sheena said, "It was a joy taking care of you and your mother would be so proud of you."
As Billy slipped out, Howie spoke gently, "’Angel’, we need to get going. Everyone’s waiting on us."
Stepping away, Sarah wiped her eyes. "I’m ready."
Sarah settled into the wheelchair and Howie placed Caroline in her arms. He gave her a sweet kiss and reached to wipe a stray tear.
"Hey now…no time for tears, ‘Angel’."
"I’m sorry, ‘D’."
"It’s okay." Howie cupped her cheek as he gazed into her eyes. His tender touch and gentle eyes easily settled her and as she was about to say something, he placed a finger on her lips "I’m gonna get Dwaine and we’ll get going."
She watched him scoop the tiny bundle wrapped in a blue blanket into his arms and they were on their way.
Reaching the waiting room, Sarah and Howie were greeted by the entire group, Kevin, Nick, Brian, and AJ who had Jesse with him. Sarah wasn’t surprised to see the guys but what DID surprise her was seeing Becca there, and with Garrett to boot.
"What are you doing here?"
"Hi to you too," laughed Becca as she gave Sarah a kiss on the cheek.
"I didn’t mean it the way it sounded…I’m just a little shocked you’re here given how much you hate the press stuff."
"Howie asked me to and well, you know better than anyone what his powers of persuasion are like. How was I supposed to say ‘no’?"
"But why bring Garrett too?" asked Sarah looking up at Howie.
"I thought since we haven’t officially introduced Garrett to the press yet this would be a good time and what better way than with the whole family together."
Seeing Sarah’s doubt, Becca spoke up, "Nick and I talked about it before we came and we agreed that Howie is right."
Looking around the room at the group gathered, Sarah suddenly panicked. "Howie, where’s Ilse?"
"She’s meeting us at the condo. No sense exposing her to the press right off the bat too. If they don’t know who she is, they won’t know she has the kids with her. Now, beautiful ‘Angel’, let’s go home."
Chapter 73 Index