Doc Monroe interrupted. “What Dr. Janis here, the OB who did the surgery, is getting at, is Keely is in recovery. We had to put her under for the emergency C-section.”

“So she’s...?”

Doc Monroe put her hand on his arm. “She’s fine, Jack.”

His relief wouldn’t kick in until he saw her. “When can I see her?”

“She’ll be in recovery at least another hour. Then we’ll move her to a post-op room.” The two doctors exchanged a look. “Don’t you want to know about the babies?”

Christ. How had he forgotten? “Are they all right?”

“Baby boy one is having some breathing difficulties, but it’s to be expected given his placenta detached. Baby boy two is perfectly healthy with no trouble whatsoever showcasing his lung capacity. The birth weights were in normal range for twins born at thirty-six weeks.”

Carson clapped him on the back. “Congrats.”

Jack still couldn’t wrap his head around two babies and they’d had months to prepare.

“Would you like to meet your sons?” Doc Monroe asked.

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“I have to see Keely first.”

More exchanged looks.

“Sounds strange, I know, but I want to be with her when we see our babies for the first time.” He ran his hand through his hair. “Is there any way I can stay in recovery with her until she wakes up? I promise I won’t do anything but sit beside her.”

“Jack—”

“Joely. Please. I’m dying here.”

Her eyes softened. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Carolyn rushed in the room. “Tell me what’s going on.”

“Keely’s in recovery and the babies appear to be fine.” Carson wrapped an arm around her and pressed his lips into her hair. “We haven’t seen them yet.”

That gave Jack an idea. “Can I give them permission to go do all the baby stuff while I’m with Keely?”

Dr. Janis shrugged. “Your call, Dr. Monroe.”

“I’m fine with it.” She smirked. “Another first in the McKay family. Grandpa and Grandma get to meet the babies before the parents.”

Jack finally allowed himself to smile.

Jack held Keely’s hand. He only took his eyes off her to look at the monitor. Not that he understood what the lines meant but they hadn’t changed, which was a good thing.

The nurse came in every ten minutes and checked her.

But Keely didn’t stir.

He pressed her palm against his cheek, wishing she’d wake up and bitch at him for being too lazy to shave.

Time passed in a void, but he didn’t have a sense of helplessness because he was with her. Didn’t matter if she wasn’t aware he was by her side.

Then her fingers twitched and he was instantly alert.

Keely opened her eyes. She blinked several times and cast a panicked glance around the room before seeing him. “Jack?”

“I’m here, baby.” He shot to his feet and framed her face in his hands before he kissed her. Once. Twice. By the third time his eyes were wet. He whispered, “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Her confused eyes searched his. “Why are you cryin’? Did something happen to the babies?”

“No. They’re both fine. I just...” He pressed kisses on her beautiful face. “It’s been a rough day and I went half-crazy thinking I’d never get to say those words to you again. You scared the life out of me, Keely.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize.” He kissed her again—he couldn’t seem to stop kissing her, touching her, breathing her in. “How are you feeling?”

Tears trickled from the corners of her eyes. “I hurt everywhere.”

That was a punch to the gut. “I’ll see if I can’t get you a painkiller. But first I want to tell you...” Jack buried his face in her neck. “No more,” he said hoarsely. “I don’t care about the who-can-have-the-most-kids competition you’ve got going on with your crazy-ass baby-making brothers and cousins, but we’re done. No more pregnancies. I can’t—I won’t—put you through this again. If anything happened to you, Keely, I’d...”

“Jack. I’m—”

“Let me finish. You are my world, you are my everything, and I’d never recover from losing you. Never. I don’t think you understand—”

“I do understand; trust me, because I feel the same way.” She touched his face. “Hey. I’m right here with you. I’m not goin’ anywhere.”

He lifted his head. “I’ve already talked to Doc Monroe about scheduling a vasectomy as soon as possible.”

“You’re serious.”

“Completely. We have four kids and that’s plenty. You went under the knife today so it’s my turn to ensure that I never have to go through another day like today.”

The nurse came in, checked her over, administered the painkiller and made arrangements to move her.

“So tell me about our boys. Weight, length, hair color.”

“Ah…I haven’t seen them yet.”

Keely’s tired eyes widened. “What? Why not?”

“Because you and I have this tradition of seeing our babies for the first time together, so I waited.”

“That’s so sweet. That’s so...you.” She motioned him closer for a kiss. “Thank you.” She rested her forehead to his. “As anxious as I am to meet our sons, I’m really wrung out. Can we wait a little longer?”

“Of course.”

Her eyes drifted shut but her grip on his hand tightened. “You’ll stay with me?”

“Always.”

Three hours later the nurses wheeled two bassinets into Keely’s private room. “The baby with the blue tag around his ankle was born first.” Then they left.

Keely scooted the head of the bed upright. “Does it give the birth info on there?”

“Yeah.” Jack peered at the sticker. “This one was six pounds even. Nineteen inches long.” He leaned over to look at the other sticker. “Wow. Exactly the same for this one.”

“Okay, let’s see ’em.”

Jack gently placed the small bundles side by side on the middle of the bed and sat on the opposite end. “Unveiling on the count of three.”

“One, two, three.”

The light blue hats came off first. Jack laughed, looking back and forth between the babies. “Black hair. I’m surprised one’s isn’t black and the other’s brown. Then we’d have every color of hair represented in the Donohue household.”

“Not happening with identical twins, GQ.”

During the barrage of tests Keely had endured, they’d learned the babies were identical. “So let’s see how alike they really are.”

The boys squalled when they were stripped down to their diapers. But Jack and Keely examined every inch of them. They looked at each other with complete bewilderment.

“How on earth will we ever tell them apart? They are identical in every way.”

“Maybe we can have India give one of them a tiny tat so they can’t pull the twin-switcheroo on us when they get older,” Jack suggested.

Keely whapped Jack on the arm. “A tattoo?”

“I was joking.”

“Good. ’Cause I was thinking we should have one circumcised and one not. That way we’ll always be able to tell them apart.”

“So when one of them comes home past curfew when he’s sixteen, you’ll stand on the porch and say, drop your drawers, son, so I know which one of you to punish?”

She laughed. “I guess that is a little ridiculous.”

“How about if we just leave the blue band on Jack Jr. for a while?”

“That’ll work.” She wrapped up the baby closest to her and smooched his cheeks before snuggling him close. “JJ Donohue, you’re gonna be a handsome sucker like your daddy. I just know it.”

Jack wrapped up the other baby, the one without the blue band and tucked him into the crook of his arm. “So we’re still naming him Liam?”

“Yep. But I’d like his middle name to be Carson. After all the grandsons my dad has, not one has been named after him. It’s time.”

“Daddy’s girl to the core,” he murmured.

“Speaking of girls...”

“Your mom promised she’d bring them tomorrow.” Jack noticed Keely’s frown hadn’t gone away. “You starting to hurt again?”

“A little.”

“But that’s not it, is it?”

She shook her head. “How on earth are we gonna handle four kids? We’re outnumbered.”

“No idea.”

“That’s helpful.”

Jack shrugged. “Just being honest. But the next eighteen years ought to be interesting.”



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