By: Rosa Swann
When your birthday holds more surprises than you’re expecting, and some bittersweet…
With summer coming to an end, Aiden’s birthday is just around the corner. But before that, there are a couple of things we need to take care of for the twins, like having the twenty week sonogram and setting up their room…
My belly keeps growing, having two little ones inside makes everything grow a little more than I expected, and the summer heat, which just won’t go down, doesn’t make me feel any better.
But none of that compares to the surprise I get on my birthday…
Living with so many people in a single house, especially my own house, is very special and amazing.
When we were spending a lot of time in the smaller apartment, it often felt way too full. But here, in this house? It feels right. It feels so good to be with everyone. To have Aiden by my side, in my arms, to have Wes here, with his kids. To have everyone living here, happily.
I know it’s just my wishful thinking and I know that it’s not perfect. It won’t be, it won’t ever be perfect. But it’s still good, and makes me happy.
Summer went by pretty fast, and things have been changing at high speed for everyone. Aiden’s belly has grown a lot and he’s really starting to show by now and Wes has, at least visibly, recovered from what his Alpha did to him. His ex-Alpha in not too long, if everything goes well.
And for me, the fifth cafe is also coming along nicely, we’re hoping to open it before the new semester starts in September so we’ll have extra places for students and other people going back to work to work at.
Today we’re all, yes, all, going to the stores to look at and pick up a few things for the nursery and the kids’ rooms.
We’ve all been living together for a couple of weeks now and have figured out which items we still need to get for the rooms. We originally only bought things that were high on the priority list, like beds and closets for the kids, but now we’ve been living like this for a while, it’s obvious that those things aren’t enough.
We’re going to need a desk for Oliver, and probably something similar for Josie too, and we’ll be needing more high chairs for the table since Seb will need one to sit at the table soon and Wilder and Sterling drop by with Des often enough that it’s always good to have a spare one, that, and we’ll be needing two next year anyway…
It’s still a little hard to believe, though the initial surprise and shock are over now. Aiden has been to see the doctor a couple of times since we found out and his pregnancy seems to be going well, which is good.
Hearing about the potential complications was scary. But, right now, we’re mostly just talking about what we’ll be with the rooms and which things we’ll be needing for our little ones.
I guess that having both Seb and Mia in the house right now will mean that we’ll have at least a couple of items for really young babies, but the age difference between them and the twins won’t be that much, so many of the things, like the beds, Seb and Mia will still need themselves when the babies are born.
Which is another reason we’re going shopping today, to pick out things for the twins.
Wes’ van is just big enough to seat all eight of us in it, though it requires for one of the adults to sit in the back with the kids. Today, apparently, that’s me.
I’m not sure how I ended up like this, but it’s fine, Seb is sitting next to me and Mia is strapped in on my other side, they’re both highly entertained when I tickle them or play little games with them. It’s fun to watch and I enjoy doing it.
Behind me, Oliver and Josie are talking about something they saw on TV and it occurs to me how much Josie’s speech has improved since they moved here, and Oliver seems like a great big brother to her. And also to Evan, who is apparently not agreeing with not being included in the conversation. He keeps making sounds at them and Oliver keeps shushing back at him.
They’re fun to watch, though I’m keeping an ear out for clues that I’ll have to jump in to make sure no feelings are getting hurt.
Luckily, we arrive at the store without any issues. Which, with this many kids, is quite the feat.
As we’re all getting out of the van, we get a lot of looks from people around us. One Alpha, two Omegas and a lot of children, all coming out of a single van… I get the way that that can look to people on the outside.
It’s not the truth, but I get how it could look, especially when none of the kids really care who they swarm around in their excitement. Aiden and I have on occasion caught Josie or Evan call out to us with ‘Dad’ or ‘Daddy’, even though they’re well aware that we’re not. They don’t seem to care much.
Oliver, though, makes sure he calls us either ‘uncle’ or just Clay and Aiden. But he’s much older than the rest, so I guess that’s part of it.
Sometimes I still see the darkness in his eyes, his fear, and I have to remind myself that he’ll probably forever remember what has happened. He’ll forever carry those scars with him. It makes me sad sometimes, and angry at others, but the only thing I can do is give him a better example than he had before.
“Daddy!” Oliver pulls on Wes’ arm. “Look there!” He points at a huge play area in the store. “I want to play there.”
Wes smiles. “No, we’re first going to look at a couple of things for your room. You’re going to need a desk, remember? And maybe even a couple of other items.” He eyes me for a moment.
I told him that I’d pay for everything, that I didn’t care how much it would cost but that I’d pay for everything they’d need for their rooms. And the same for clothes and all those other things they need while living under my roof.
I don’t want Wes to have to worry about anything, least of all finances, not now and hopefully never again in the future. He’s gone through enough, he deserve better, so much better.
“Oh! Desk!” Oliver gets excited. “Yes. I want one with drawers and wheels and it has to be big. I want a big boy desk.”
He looks around him, suddenly more interested in what is going on and where he may find this magical desk he’s thinking about.
Wes looks our way. “You coming too?”
“No, you go look there, we’re just going to check the baby area.” I grin and then wink and Wes rolls his eyes at me.
“Okay, see you in a bit.” He walks off with Oliver and Josie as he carries Mia in the baby carrier.
Aiden pushes the stroller with Seb and Evan towards the baby corner of the store. Immediately, we’re surrounded by pastel colours and all sorts of styles of beds and dressing tables and playpens and anything you can imagine.
Aiden looks around and then eyes me. “I probably won’t be able to get away with saying we’ll just use Seb’s bed, right?”
I smile, putting my arm around his waist. “Nope, because he’ll still be needing it by then. We’re going to have to decide what the room will look like soon enough, better try to get a feel for it now.”
He leans against me for a moment. “Am I bad for saying that I don’t want anything fancy? I like the bed that Seb sleeps in, it’s simple but it looks sturdy and it’s easy to use.”
“That’s fine.” I give him a quick kiss. “But we’ll still walk around here for a while, take a look at what is available, see what we can choose from. Maybe something catches your eye, it’s worth a shot.”
“Sure, not that it did much when we went looking for Seb and Mia’s things.” He smiles a little. “There is so much choice. Too much, really.”
“And you have the choice of all of them,” I murmur and I see the way that he swallows hard.
“I guess.” He looks at me for a moment, giving me a quick kiss, and then he starts walking again. “I was thinking, though, can we get a chair for the baby room? Even with Seb, sometimes I like to just sit there and look at him, be with him, stuff like that. I just think that a comfortable chair would be a good idea.”
“Yes, of course, that sounds like a plan.” I follow him as we walk around. “Did you have anything in mind?”
Aiden shakes his head, smiling. “But you did say to look around as much as possible. I’m keeping you to that.” He looks at me, winking and then keeps walking.
This is going to be an interesting day…
“Clay?” Aiden’s voice is slow. It’s the end of the day, we’re sitting on the rooftop and most of the kids have gone to bed by now. It’s just us three and Seb and Mia, though the last one has already fallen asleep too.
“Yes?” I turn to him a little, too comfortable in my chair to do much else.
“I have an idea for what I want to do for work. I want to go back to working for Sterling.”
“Sterling? Why?” I sit up a little, getting a better look at him.
“I liked the work. I like working in the garden and the field, I like working at the stall at the market and I even really like the preparing of the food for the winter months.” He keeps his eyes closed, relaxed in this chair.
“I can’t go work for my parents. More like, I really don’t want to. And starting something like that on my own while we’re living in the middle of the city is a little insane. But working for Sterling is a good middle-ground. Right?” He opens an eye, looking at me.
I shrug. “I guess so. But are you sure?”
He nods. “Yeah. I can work for a few weeks over the summer and autumn and then over the winter, when I’ll have grown too big to do much work anyway, I can help make preserves. There isn’t as much physical work in the winter anyway. And then, after the twins are born, I can get back to work in the spring or early summer. Even with the timing, it would fit perfectly.”
I have to think it over for a moment.
It will mean that Aiden gets to do something that he really likes, and he won’t be working too hard, I hope. Though I don’t think Sterling would ever let him overwork himself.
“Oh, and it would potentially make it easier to get local produce to use at the cafes.” He raises an eyebrow at me, and I can see the smile play around his lips. He kept this one for last because he knew it would interest me.
“That would definitely be interesting.” I shake my head as I lean back in the chair again. “You really thought this through, didn’t you?”
“Hmm. It’s just that I know that I like a lot of things I could do, but I always really liked working at my parents’ stall and then when I came back from college, I liked working at Sterling’s. I can use all my skills when I work for him, and maybe even help him grow his company even bigger.”
I hear Wes move. “Sounds like a nice idea.”
“True. I guess we should talk to Sterling about this, then?” I lean back.
“Probably. I did mention this to him last time they dropped by.” Of course he did, because Aiden’s not someone to sit still, never.
“He even said that we could potentially think about making like special baby food and such next year. He said that he probably didn’t have enough produce yet to start a large-scale production this year, but we could always try a few recipes.”
“Okay. Sounds good.” Aiden’s nothing if not proactive when he really wants something. “But, something other than work—”
“Clay.” Aiden’s voice pitches and I’m up immediately.
I turn to Aiden, look at him as he wraps his hands around his belly. But the look on his face is not one of fear, instead, it’s one of surprise, surprise, wonder and joy. I’m next to him, on my knees, in moments.
Aiden takes my hand, putting it on his belly. “Feel this.” His voice is all teary, but he doesn’t look distressed.
Then I feel it, a flutter under his skin, almost like a muscle that’s tensing, but the shape of it is totally different.
I let out a surprised laugh, moving my hand a little. And I feel it again, a little pop moving right under my hand.
“They’re getting stronger.” Aiden smiles broadly, moving his hand to the other side. “Here too, they’re both kicking.”
I put my hand where he just had it and I feel it too, small movements, but definitely something you can feel now. “Wow.” I’m in awe, just feeling this, feeling our twins move.
“I’ve been feeling them from the inside for a while now, but I hadn’t actually felt them on the outside yet. This is the first time you can actually feel them on the outside too.” He laughs.
“Well, I guess this is worth the heartburn and not being able to eat in the morning.” He moves a little, putting his hands over mine.
“They’re there, moving, kicking, punching. I don’t know what they’re doing exactly, but they’re doing something, they’re getting stronger.”
I lean in, kissing Aiden’s belly, kissing the space between my hands. “Become big and strong, little ones. Practice all that you need. I’ll take care of your daddy for you, don’t worry. I’ll give him all the belly rubs that he needs.”
“Clay…” Wes’ voice from the other side of the roof doesn’t sound as amused, though there is laughter in his voice too.
“Just remember that you said that when Aiden wakes you up in the middle of the night with hard bellies. Cause I’ll remember it, and I’ll tell you that you promised him.”
I can’t help but laugh, so much joy inside. “I’ll be good to him. I’ll do everything that he needs me to do.”
“Good. Now…” Wes stands up, picking up Mia, but when he turns to us, he’s smiling. “I’m off to bed. I don’t really want to be reminded of being pregnant right now, the memories of giving birth haven’t faded enough just yet.”
He nods to us. “Good night. I’ll see you two in the morning. And, do remember, Aiden needs his sleep.” He winks our way and I only need to hear Aiden’s gasp to know that he’s blushing a very dark shade of red right now.
My brother is evil, in all the good ways, and the amount of times that he’s been able to make Aiden look like that… It doesn’t get old.
His advantage is that he doesn’t get Aiden’s death glare afterwards, but instead, I get it, since he’s my brother.
Wes goes down the stairs, leaving us alone, okay, alone with Seb, and I pull my chair closer to Aiden’s.
Nights like this are the best. Some evening sun, nice warm weather, and my family all together.
This is what the best lives are made of.