She blushes a little and touches my cheek. “Thank you for bringing me back here, Kenton. This island is something special.”
About nine months later…
“That island is cursed!”
Madeline is screaming at me, and I’m just sitting beside the hospital bed, nodding my head and trying not to wince at the pain in my hand.
“Triplets! That island gave me triplets!”
The nurses are walking around the room trying to keep her comfortable and give her everything she needs, but Madeline wanted to do a natural birth, so drugs are out of the question.
We knew early on that this pregnancy was different than our first one. When we went for our first ultrasound, we both nearly collapsed in shock at what the doctor told us. Natural triplets. It’s almost impossible, but we’d done it. We were about to go from one child to four. Madeline blamed a week at the island, saying that’s how we only had one last time. She said that we stayed too long and babies just kept being made.
I had to admit I felt a little pride at knocking her up three times on the island, but hey, I’m a dude. Madeline went from ecstatic to hysterical at the drop of a hat. I think we were both overwhelmed, but as the pregnancy progressed we were happy that she and all three babies were healthy.
She had a scheduled C-section, but her water broke in the middle of the night last night. We came straight to the hospital. We’d discussed this with the doctor, and Madeline said if her body went into labor, she wanted to give it the opportunity to give birth naturally.
So here I am, white-knuckling the hospital bed with one hand while the other is being used as Madeline’s stress ball.
“Just breathe, sweets.”
“Don’t you ‘sweets’ me right now, Monroe,” she says. “This is all your fault. You did this to me.”
“Baby, if I remember, most of the time you were doing it to me on the island.”
The nurse beside us snorts, and Madeline gives me the death stare.
“You’re right,” I say, hoping that will fix whatever I just did wrong.
“Okay. Looks like it’s time,” the doctor says.
Suddenly Madeline looks at me with a panic on her face, and I lean in, pressing my forehead to hers. “I’ve got you, Madeline.”
“Call me by my name,” she says, sounding scared.
“I’ve got you, sweets. I’ve always got you.”
Five years later…
I’m sitting back on the lounge chair in the backyard watching our kids run around. Mark and his wife, Lori, just got here and came out back to sit down beside me. Their two boys run out to play with their cousin in the tree house and we laugh as our four girls tell them they have to say the password.
Our girls give us a run for our money, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Kenton is so patient with all of them and even braids their hair. I don’t know how he puts up with all the drama, but I suspect he likes it. He says I’m the reason they are so beautiful, and I love hearing that. Even though I think all of the girls look like him, he says they look like me.
“I still don’t know how you manage with four girls,” Lori says, sitting in the lounger next to me.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy, to be honest,” I confess. “Kenton is enough to handle.”
“Talking about how wonderful I am?” he says, bringing me a glass of lemonade.
He leans down and kisses my neck, and I get that warm feeling low in my belly. His lips always make my toes curl, even after all these years.
“So we all set for next week?” Mark asks, looking at us.
“Yes, the girls are really excited. Are you sure you can handle all four of them for a week?”
Mark waves his hand like I’ve got to be kidding him.
“Please. Two boys is the same as four girls. We got this.”
“I can’t believe you’re going back to the island,” Lori says, laughing. “I thought you swore it was cursed.”
I give Kenton a wink. “I asked my doctor if he was a boy scout.”
“Why?” Lori asks confused.
“Because I wanted to make sure the knots he put in my tubes were extra tight when I got them tied after the triplets. We’re done with the baby-making business.”
We all laugh and spend the afternoon grilling out and having a relaxing day.
But a few months later, when we’re back home from the island, two little blue lines appear on the test, and Kenton is cockier than ever.