Four months after Hollis was born, we’d brought home Hadley. Miracles happened, and Hadley was ours.
“There she is!” Kirby said, grinning and wrinkling her nose at the infant in Chuck’s arms. Then she came over to rub Hollis’s back in small circles. “His hair grew in dark, huh?”
I kissed the back of his head. “He’s all Maddox.”
The door chimed again, and Gunnar breezed in, a big grin on his face.
“Hey,” he said, leaning down to take a peek at Hollis. He looked at Taylor. “He’s gettin’ big! How old is he now?”
“Six months,” Taylor said. Like any proud father, he puffed out his chest. “He’s going to be a beast.”
“Yeah, he is,” Gunnar said, walking over to stand next to Chuck. “Aw. She’s adorable! Cute headband!”
“See?” I said to Taylor before sticking out my tongue.
I reached over for my fork and cut a piece of pie. “Oh my God, do I miss your food, Phaedra.”
“It’s here for you anytime,” Phaedra said.
Hadley began to wail, and Chuck bounced her up and down before holding her out for Taylor. Hadley squinted her eyes, her whole body shaking while she cried.
“Goodness,” Taylor said, leaning down to fetch her pacifier.
Hadley sucked on it for a few seconds and then began to cry again.
I took Hadley in one arm and let Taylor take Hollis from the other. Hollis was already asleep. Taylor handed me a cover-up, and I pulled it over my head with my free hand.
Chuck and Gunnar were instantly trying to find somewhere else to look.
Hadley settled down, and Taylor swayed from side to side as he held Hollis.
Phaedra shook her head. “Good grief. It’s like having twins.”
He winked at me, and I grinned.
We had matching pairs of dark circles under our eyes, and when Taylor was at the station and both babies woke up during the night, it would be challenging, but we had become pros.
Taylor had been a great boyfriend, but he was the perfect father.
“So, when is the wedding?” Kirby asked.
“As soon as I can fit into the size-six dress that I bought,” I said.
“You know,” he said, “I thought you couldn’t be more beautiful than you were when you were pregnant, but I was wrong. I fall in love with you every time I see you holding our kids.”
“Easy,” Chuck said. “You’ll have another one on the way.”
“I know. We got lucky,” I said.
“We’ve been lucky a lot,” Taylor said before kissing me on the forehead. He looked to the others. “We’re getting married in Eakins in October. We have a few people from there besides family we’d like to invite.”
“Shane and Liza … and Olive,” I said.
Phaedra and Chuck traded glances. “So, you’re going to contact them?”
“I’m going to write them a letter,” I said. “I have to explain a few things first.”
Phaedra seemed concerned. “If you think that’s best.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine, honey,” Chuck said with a smile.
Kirby left to check on the remaining tables, and I finished my slice of pie with one hand, something I’d grown accustomed to. Once I burped Hadley, Phaedra buckled her into her seat.
“Do you have to go so soon?” Phaedra said, forlorn.
“We’ll be back,” I said, hugging her.
I took a sleeping Hollis from Taylor, and Phaedra kissed the baby’s hand.
Taylor picked up the carrier and leaned in to hug Chuck.
We waved good-bye, and after securing the children into their seats, we climbed into ours.
Taylor started the truck and reached for my hand. “So much has changed since I first walked into that café.”
He held my hand to his lips, and then he lowered it back to the console. “One choice led to all of this. If I hadn’t met you, I wouldn’t have either of my children. I owe everything that’s important to me to you.”
With his left hand, he reached across to put the gear in drive. We drove away from the place where we’d met to the place where we were raising our family, holding hands the whole way.