Padding quietly through the apartment, Sarah reached the nursery and flipped on the small light by the crib. Carefully, she scooped up the crying bundle.
“Hey, hey! What is all this fuss about?” cooed Sarah as she rocked him gently. “You’re gonna wake everyone up and we can’t have that.”
From the door, “Mrs. Dorough, you didn’t have to get up.”
“No, it’s okay, Ilse…and please, call me Sarah. Go on back to bed and be ready for tomorrow.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive.” Seeing the young woman’s reluctance, Sarah said, “Shoo!”
Ilse laughed but headed back to her room.
Alone again with Dwaine in her arms, Sarah looked down at the little bundle. “What is wrong, little man?”
The tiny bundle recognized her voice and quieted immediately, gazing in her direction.
“Let’s change your diaper.” Sarah placed the infant on the changing table and with one hand on him, she reached for all the things she needed. With a fresh diaper ready, she worked quickly talking softly, “Don’t need you peeing on me…do we…no we don’t. You can save that for your daddy or one of your uncles.”
Diaper changed and Dwaine bundled snugly in his blanket, Sarah took him to the rocking chair where she settled in to nurse him. Sarah stared into the trusting eyes that gazed up at her and a soft smile crossed her lips. All the months of morning sickness, the uncertainty at the beginning not knowing exactly who the father was, everything that had happened over the nine months had been minor inconveniences. This was worth it all; the smell of a newborn, the look of trust, the feel of the tiny bundle cradled next to her.
With her free hand, she wiped her tears. “Geez, all I’ve done lately is cry. I will be so glad when my hormones settle down.”
A gentle touch pulled her hair back and soft lips touched her neck. “All in good time, ‘Angel’,” he whispered against her skin.
“Mmm, what are you doing up?”
“I rolled over to snuggle with my beautiful wife and all I got was an empty bed. Then I heard you on the monitor,” answered Howie as he caressed Dwaine’s cheek with his finger. “Want me to get Caroline?”
“She wasn’t awake when I got Dwaine.”
Howie moved to the crib and Sarah had to catch her breath. He was wearing only a pair of boxers and his hair was a mass of unruly curls. She’d seen him like this countless times but right now, at this moment, he was absolutely to die for; his lean body, moving so easily. And his voice!
“Hey there, little princess,” cooed Howie picking up Caroline. “Did your brother wake you?”
Sarah watched as Howie changed Caroline’s diaper and listened to his voice as he sang softly a lullaby. As gentle as he was with her, he was twice as gentle with the children and she found herself slipping into a daydream about being with him touching her all over.
“You’re supposed to be feeding our son, not having fantasies,” teased Howie. Seeing her blush, he chuckled, “Caught you, didn’t I?”
“Sorta. I was just watching you with Caroline…watching how wonderful you are with her…with all our children. You’re such a good dad…and husband.”
Handing Caroline to Sarah and taking Dwaine, he said, “It’s easy having such a good mom to help me.”
“Mmm, flattery will get you everywhere, Mr. Dorough,” smiled Sarah as she gave him a kiss. “Why don’t you go on back to bed, ‘D’? No sense both of us being up.”
“It took both of us to create these beautiful babies and it’s gonna take both of us to take care of them. Besides, I couldn’t sleep without you.”
“What are you gonna do when you’re in LA and I’m here?”
“Same thing I use to do on tour.” Howie stopped and watched her, his eyes twinkling with mischief.
“And that was?” she asked falling for the bait without even looking up at him.
“Simple…I just found a sweet thing to share my bed and keep me company.”
“Do it, Dorough, and I…..” Sarah stopped short seeing the grin on his face. “Ohhhh….you!”
“Come on, ‘Angel’…you REALLY didn’t fall for it, did you?” laughed Howie tweaking her nose.
Sarah laughed too. “Weeeeell, just a little!”
“There’s no one to take your place, sweet ‘Angel,” purred Howie cupping her cheek.
Sarah turned to place a kiss in the palm of his hand. “I love you, ‘D’.”
“I love you too, Sarah.”
Dwaine began to whimper so Howie shifted the infant to his shoulder and began to pat firmly but not once did he take his eyes off his wife. As he watched her nursing Caroline, her hair falling in her face, the poem he’d written for her for their wedding came rushing back. It was called ‘The Perfect Love’ and with each passing day, he knew without a doubt that they truly had the perfect love. Oh, they had their disagreements and Sarah drove him nuts sometimes, but they always worked through it and it never lasted long. He hated the conflict and Sarah always tried to see his side of the issue…once she calmed down. Of course, she always got madder when she knew he was right which usually led to a faster resolution. There were so many things about her that he adored. The last lines of the poem….”Our love will never die, I know that this is true, ‘Cause every time I see you, I fall in love anew”….were definitely true.
Having heard several burps, Sarah looked up to find Howie still watching her with Dwaine asleep on his shoulder. “’D’, you can put Dwaine back in the bassinet,” she smiled knowing he was lost in his thoughts about her.
As he lay his son down, Howie asked, “Almost done with Caroline?”
“Just need to burp her.”
“Let me have her and you go on back to bed.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah…you’re exhausted and I won’t be long,” he answered taking their daughter.
Sarah didn’t argue with him and headed back to their room grateful that Howie had joined her. Snuggled into the covers, she listened to Howie on the monitor as he sang to the babies and she had to fight to stay awake until he came back. His voice was so soothing.
Returning to their bed, Howie slipped in and gathered Sarah in his arms. “You were tired,” he whispered thinking she was asleep.
“Umm,” mumbled Sarah moving closer to him.
“I thought you were asleep.”
“Feel like talking?”
“About,” yawn, “what?” she asked running her hand along his arm and nestling against his chest.
Howie could hear the sleep in her voice and he smiled in the dark. “Never mind, ‘Angel’…go to sleep.”
“Yeah,” and he began to sing to her. In not time at all, he recognized the signs of sleep. Placing a kiss on her forehead, he said, “God, I made you a promise to love her with all I had last September if you brought her back to me. Thank you so much for your precious gift…Sarah, my children…Jesse, Caroline, and Dwaine. I promise to love them with everything I am.”
Chapter 77 Index