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“It’s just the flu, Jordan. I’ll be okay in a few days,” I lied.

“I don’t think so, Nina. Your husband may not know what to do about how you feel about visiting the kids, but I do. You’re suffering from post-partum depression, sweetie. My brother’s wife had it after Caleb was born.”

“I’m not depressed, Jordan. I have everything any woman could want—a wonderful husband, a beautiful house, this penthouse, three beautiful children.”

“Who you don’t want to go see.”

Her words hit me like a fist to my face, and I tried to avoid her stare, but she wasn’t letting me go on this. “Look at me, Nina. Don’t look away, honey.”

Tears streamed out of my eyes and over my cheeks as I turned back to face her. I couldn’t deny the truth anymore. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I sobbed. “I love them, Jordan. I do. I love them more than I ever thought I could. I was so worried when Tristan first told me about them, but there’s something wrong with me. I thought by now I’d feel better about visiting them, but I don’t. I’m terrified of going to that hospital, and I don’t know why.”

Once I began crying, I couldn’t stop. Jordan took me in her arms and held me as my sobs wracked my body. For the first time since waking up after my children were born, I didn’t feel like I had a hundred pounds of worry on my back. I’d kept this secret inside me for so long, and now as I cried my eyes out on her shoulder, the heaviness that had weighed me down faded away.

“Honey, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re going to be okay. Sandy felt a lot like this too, but she’s fine now and she and Caleb are closer than she ever imagined they could be.”

I leaned back against the pillows and hung my head. “I worry all the time that I’ve ruined this for Tristan. You should see him with them, Jordan. He’s so loving and caring. I don’t know what to do.”

“You haven’t ruined anything for him, Nina. He’s worried sick about you. He doesn’t know what to do, so I told him I’d talk to you. Tristan wants you to be as happy as he is.”

“I want to be that happy. I see him touching them and talking to them and I think to myself how much I wish I felt like that. What if I never feel that way toward my own children, Jordan? What kind of mother feels like this? I messed up their birth, almost killed them, and now I can’t even be there for them.”

“You didn’t mess up anything. Is that what you think? That you did something wrong?”

“I must have. Why would I have started bleeding if I didn’t?”

My body heaved from crying, and Jordan took me in her arms to hold me. “Oh, Nina, you didn’t do anything wrong. You were carrying three babies. That was hard on your body. And it’s no wonder they wanted to come out early. They knew how wonderful you were on the inside, so they wanted to meet their mom on this side.”

I held onto Jordan as all the insecurities I’d lived with for weeks flowed out of me. It felt so good to believe that someday soon I’d be the mother I wanted to be. “I don’t know what to do now, Jordan.”

“You need to talk to Tristan, Nina. He doesn’t know what’s wrong, but if you tell him, he’ll be there for you.”

She released me, and I dried my eyes. “What if he can’t forgive me for feeling like this? What if he thinks I’m a monster?”

Jordan pushed my hair off my face and gave me one of her terrific smiles that never failed to make me feel better. “He would never think that. He just wants you to be happy, Nina. That man of yours is a good guy. Tell him what you told me.”

“Okay,” I said through my sniffles. “I will.”

“Good. Now I’m going to jump in the car with Jensen and head back to Brooklyn, and you’re going to tell Tristan everything. Don’t worry. It will be okay. I promise. Remember what I always say. Good things happen to good people, and you Stones are the best kind of people.”

“Thank you, Jordan.”

She rose from the bed and smoothed the covers over my legs. “He loves you, honey. Let him know what’s going on and he’ll be there for you.” Leaning in, she kissed my cheek. “My work is done here. I’m off to Brooklyn. I’ll see you later this week.”

As she left me there alone with my thoughts, I worked to tamp down my fear of telling Tristan everything I’d told Jordan. I wanted to believe he wouldn’t hate me for feeling like this, but what if he did? What if he couldn’t understand what I was going through since I couldn’t even understand it?

I saw him appear in the doorway and pushed down the overwhelming urge to burst into tears again. He slowly walked toward the bed and sat down next to me, those beautiful brown eyes searching mine to figure out how to act so he didn’t upset me. He deserved better than to live like this, like every day was walking on eggshells.

Looking down at my hands in my lap, I began quietly. “Hey, I need to tell you some things, and I don’t know how you’re going to take it.”

Tristan lifted my chin with his fingertip and shook his head. “You don’t have to worry about how I feel about anything. This is about you. Whatever’s going on, Nina, you never have to feel like you can’t tell me.”

“I don’t know why I feel like I do, but I want you to know I didn’t mean for this happen. I mean, I have been depressed before, but not like this. I promised my mother I’d live with no regrets, but that’s all I have. I have everything to be happy about, but I’m not.”

I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing again. They drenched my face and ran into my mouth, and before long I was sobbing even as I tried to get the words out. Tristan pulled me close and held me as my crying continued. He said little, but every so often whispered, “Let it out, baby. Let it out.”

Once it started, I wasn’t sure I could stop letting it out, but I didn’t try. I just let my emotions take over as Tristan rocked us slowly back and forth, easing my heart in the process. When I finally felt like I had no more tears inside me, I kissed his cheek and said quietly, “I love you, Tristan, and I love our kids. I promise from this point on I won’t be sad.”

He stroked my back and was silent for a long time. Finally, he said, “No one expects you to never be sad, Nina. I want you to be happy, but if you need help, we’ll get you help.”

I leaned back and took a deep breath. “I don’t know if talking to a stranger would help, and I don’t want to take any drugs. Just sit and talk to me. That’s better than any doctor or medicine there is.”

Tucking a lock of hair behind my ear, he smiled and nodded. “I want to tell you something I’ve been keeping to myself for a long time. When you first told me you were pregnant, I began having nightmares again. In every one, you were hurt and needed me, but I couldn’t get to you. I’d wake up in a cold sweat terrified that the nightmares would come true. It’s the reason I hired more bodyguards out at the house. When you left the hotel in London, I had another one. Same thing as always. You needed me, and I wasn’t able to save you, but that time you had already had the babies and I couldn’t save them either. And then I got the call that you’d blacked out at the house, and it seemed like every one of those nightmares was coming true and I was thousands of miles away.”

“Oh, Tristan. Why didn’t you ever tell me you were having nightmares again?”

“I didn’t want to give you something to worry about. You already were dealing with having twins. You didn’t need your husband telling you about his silly nightmares.”

“They weren’t silly to you.”

“No, but I think they were my brain’s way of telling me I wasn’t sure I could handle fatherhood.”

I brought his hand to my lips and kissed it. “You are so good with them, Tristan. It’s like you were meant to be a dad. You never had anything to worry about.”

“Maybe, but I don’t think either one of us knew what this would be like. My mind dealt with it by creating nightmares based on my biggest fears. Your mind is dealing with it in your way.”

I sighed heavily, wishing my mind wasn’t like it was. “Why is my way like this?”

“Nina, I don’t know. What I do know is that there’s not a sweeter, more caring person in the world. Before you were a mother or my wife, you were Nina—sweet, gentle, kindhearted Nina. You’re still that person. Don’t forget that. I think if we just take this one day at a time, we’re going to be okay. Don’t worry about the kids. They’re thriving, and soon they’ll be home with us out at the house. For now, I want you to focus on getting better.”

“I’m sorry you have to deal with this, Tristan. You deserve to be happy at this time, not dealing with a basket case like me.”

Without saying a thing, he stood and walked around the bed, climbing in to lie next to me. He gently pulled me to him, wrapping his arms around me. “You don’t have to apologize. I love you. When you feel bad, I feel bad. That’s what being in love is about.”