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Her mom waved her hand dismissively. “Oh, you’ll get it all figured out, don’t worry about it. The important thing is that he’s here now.”

Just then, Georgia’s father stepped out from the kitchen.

“We meet again, doc,” he said, coming over to me.

Her father looked me up and down one more time, sizing me up on the spot. I could sense that he wasn’t someone to be screwed around with—I knew the type well.

“Name’s Jerry,” he said, offering me his hand. I took it, and he gave me a firm shake. “I know we’ve met before, but in a much different situation. Now feels more like the real deal, doesn’t it?”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jerry.”

He nodded, the serious look on his face suggesting that he wasn’t even close to being done with me.

“Now, I know you and my daughter have quite a few things to discuss. But I’ve got some questions of my own, and my wife does too.”

“I’m sure you both do. And I’d be happy to answer them.” I was staying cool, but I knew that the conversation ahead was going to involve more than a little bit of lying. I wasn’t looking forward to that aspect of it.

“Good. I’m making some chicken and rice right now, should be ready in twenty or so.”

“Sounds delicious. In the meantime,” I said, “I’d love to see the girls.”

Michelle’s eyes flashed. “God, look at us jumping down your throat when you’ve got your daughters in the other room. They’re both napping, but you both go on and check in on them while we get dinner ready.”

With that, the pair left the room, her father taking one last look at me before leaving.

“Nice place,” I said, looking around. I wasn’t just saying that to be polite, the place was big and spacious, with a separate living room and dining area, the kitchen down one hall and what appeared to be multiple bedrooms down another.

“Thanks. I kind of bought it as a little treat to myself for graduating and gaining some success with my books.”

“Congratulations on both of those fronts,” I said.

“Thank you.”

Silence fell over us, and I found myself wondering if she was thinking about me in the same way that I was thinking about her.

“Let’s go see the girls, yeah?” she asked.

“I’d love to.”

She smiled, and together we headed down the hall.

We reached a closed door, my heart beating faster with excitement as I realized the girls were on the other side. I’d only known them for a few short days, but they’d already managed to have an effect on me that I could hardly wrap my head around.

Before I had a chance to say anything, one of the girls started to cry on the other side of the door. Georgia raised her eyebrows, then opened the door. We hurried inside, and Georgia turned on the soft, orange light of an owl-shaped lamp on the far side of the room.

I hurried over to Danae, scooping her tiny, wailing form out of her crib. Daphne didn’t wait long to join in, quickly waking up and turning on the waterworks as well.

“That’s the thing about twins,” Georgia said. “Once one starts crying, it’s only a matter of time before the other chimes in.”

I chuckled, craning my head to get a look at Danae’s diaper. The line was solid blue, so I wasted no time stepping over to the changing pad and setting my little girl down, going to work opening her tiny onesie and changing her diaper.

As I did, I was struck by just how small, how beautiful she was. I changed her, Danae opening her little eyes and looking up at me. My heart tightened. Behind me, Georgia softly sang to Daphne, lulling her back to sleep.

There was something about that moment, something about Danae right before me and Daphne in Georgia’s arms, Georgia’s soft, sweet voice filling the air, that felt different.

It feltreal.

“You alright over there?” she asked, her voice a whisper. “Got another one here that needs a change.”

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