“That sounds nice. You don’t want to have the girls and me come over to your place, though? Might be a little more room.”
“No.” The word came out with a sharp tone that I hadn’t expected, as if the idea were totally off the table. Realizing he’d spoken a little gruffly, Alex softened his expression. “There’s something wrong with my water heater, it needs to be replaced.”
“Are you serious?” I asked.
He nodded. “Yeah. Tomorrow’s going to be a nightmare, workers in and out of the house all day.”
I got the sense that there was more to his story. Was he lying? Or did he feel self-conscious about wanting to stay with me and felt the need to come up with an excuse?”
Either way, I was happy to have him.
“Well, you’re more than welcome to stay as long as you want. It’d be great having another pair of hands here to help with the girls.”
He smiled. “Wonderful. How are they?”
“Napping. Want to check in on them?”
“There’s nothing I’d love more.”
I took him by the hand and led him down the hall toward the nursery. The door was closed, and the moment we approached one of the girls started crying.
“That’s Danae,” I said.
He raised his eyebrows, impressed. “You can tell?”
“Believe it or not, yeah. Daphne’s cry is more of a whimper.”
“Someone’s on top of this whole mom thing.”
“You spend a little more time with them, you’ll be the same. Now, get your cute butt in there before she wakes up Daphne.”
He nodded, and I opened the door to let him in. Alex hurried over to Danae’s crib, carefully and gently picking her up and holding her close.
“Let me get you some milk,” I said quietly.
I hurried to the kitchen, grabbing one of the bottles of breastmilk I’d stored. That in hand, I returned to the nursery and, before stepping inside, simply watched Alex with Danae. He held her so carefully, as if she were the most precious little thing in the world. As he did, he spoke to her quietly in Greek. I couldn’t make out exactly what he was saying, but heard the word for “love,” and “beautiful.”
Realizing I had returned, he said, “She’s a little fidgety. Might need that.” He nodded to the milk.
“Oh, of course.” I stepped over and slipped the bottle into his hand. Alex placed the nipple to her mouth, Danae wrapping her tiny little hands around the bottle as she drank.
“You’re a natural,” I said.
He glanced up at me. “You need to take care of anything in town? I can look after the girls while you do.”
My eyes flashed. “Yes!” I said the word with such excitement that for a moment I worried I’d wake up Daphne. “I mean,yes. I’ve been needing to run to the store. If you want to watch them while they nap, I can run out and do that.”
I leaned in and planted a kiss on his cheek. As I hurried out of the room, I closed my eyes and thanked my good fortune that the man who happened to get me pregnant was also shaping up to be one hell of a dad.
I snapped a photo of my grocery list on the refrigerator markerboard, grabbed my coat, and headed out. On the elevator down, I took a moment to realize that this little errand was the first trip I’d been on by myself in almost a week. Mom and Dad had spent plenty of time in town helping me, but even they needed breaks.
It was a chilly day in late February, the sky a solid blanket of gray and a light dusting of snow still on the ground from a snowfall earlier in the week. After a quick drive down the main drag of town, I was soon in the big, main supermarket of Evergreen.
I loved the twins like mad. All the same, it was nice to have a little time to myself, to be alone with my thoughts. To that end, I didn’t rush as I went up and down the clean, well-organized aisles. I smiled as I walked, checking out different items, comparing prices, selecting what sounded tasty rather than what I could shove down the quickest while the girls were screaming their heads off.
Was this what life with another parent was like? A tingle ran up my spine as I realized that, if Alex was staying over, I could ask him to watch the girls while I went to the gym, or even to grab a cup of coffee. The possibilities seemed endless.