Author Topic: Twins ... Again!  (Read 27 times)

George Bradford

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Twins ... Again!
« on: November 24, 2019, 01:06:05 PM »
Gabi sighed as she sat down in the waiting room, a faint smile on her face as she looked up at her husband fondly.

"I am so glad we decided to do this while the boys are at school," she admitted. "I'm not sure I could cope with those two in an ultrasound suite."

She giggled softly, one hand resting on her bump. It was a familiar size to her, but George kept expressing disbelief at the sheer speed of growth there. He didn't seem ready to believe they were expecting twins until there was some evidence for that, either. Hence the visit to the hospital today.

For all his medical experience, he'd never had a child of his own. He loved the twins like they were his own, but he hadn't been there when Gabi had gone through pregnancy or when they'd been born. This was all new territory for him, and as excited as he was to be a father, it was nerve-wracking, too.

"They aren't patient enough to sit still this long," he remarked in agreement.

It was called a "waiting room" for a reason, after all, and the boys weren't very good at waiting. He had his fingers linked through hers, and though he appeared to be the epitome of calm, the fact that he kept rubbing his thumb against her hand told her different.

"There will be plenty of other scans they can come to, anyway," Gabi murmured, gently squeezing his hand. "You okay, sweetheart?"

It felt odd, to be the one with the experience and knowledge in a situation for once, but in a way, she was glad of it. It would be awful if both of them were nervous about this.

"Yes, of course," George insisted, with a slightly strained smile. "A little nervous, I suppose," he admitted, brows furrowing at the admission. He was a quiet man who rarely, if ever, got upset, but as the old saying goes, still waters run deep. "I just want this baby - or babies - to be healthy. That's all."  And he wanted the same for Gabi.

"They will be," she assured him, drawing his hand to the bump gently. There wasn't anything to feel yet, but he was a product of his time - he needed a little encouragement to feel as though he was allowed to touch her like this whenever he wanted to. "And it will be easier for me this time around," she added. "Because I have you."

George couldn't help but chuckle a little at her statement. He let her guide his hand to settle gently against her bump, though he didn't expect to feel any movement there just yet. "I'm not sure how much help I'll be," he admitted, a bit ruefully. Though he was a doctor, he was not the kind of doctor that was in the business of delivering babies.

She smiled, tilting her head until her cheek touched his shoulder. "Trust me," she assured him. "Just being around will be enough."

George frowned at what she was implying by that remark - or what he assumed she was implying. He might not be the twins' real father, but at least he was there when they needed him. "I'm not going anywhere, Gabrielle. You know that."

"I know." She touched a soft kiss to his jaw. "There's no comparison, sweetheart. But I hope one of these is a boy. I know you love the boys, and they love you, but I would like to give you a son by blood as well."

"One of them?" George echoed, chuckling a little. "Still convinced there are two of them in there?" he asked, though he knew without asking that she did. "And what makes you think I would not welcome a daughter?"

"I am absolutely convinced," she promised with a low laugh of her own. "And I know you'd love a daughter as well. I just don't want you to ever feel as though you need to choose between the boys and these two."

George arched a brow her way, looking puzzled by her statement. "Why would I do that?" he asked. "I love the boys, Gabi. It doesn't matter to me if they are not really mine." Even if she had never given him a child of his own, it wouldn't have changed the way he felt about her or her sons.

"They are yours," she told him, shaking her head with a smile. "You know what I'm like, I worry about everything. I know we're a good, strong family."

"I can't argue with that," he said, the faintest hint of a smirk on his face, teasing her a little about the fact that she worried too much. "Then stop worrying, Gabi. I'm not going anywhere and neither are the boys."

"Now you sound like Miranda," she teased, but there was a subtle relaxing in her posture. She really was a worrier. As she touched her brow to his fondly, a door opened, and a warm male voice called out.

"Mrs. Bradford?"

He laughed. "I'm not quite that effervescent," he said, with regard to Miranda, who was the eternal optimist of the family. Before he could say anything more, the door opened and her name was being called. It never ceased to fill him with pride and joy to hear someone call her by his name. He offered her his arm as he moved to his feet. "That's you, darling."

"That's us, darling," she countered, grateful for his arm as she rose to her feet. At least this time she wasn't going to be heavily pregnant in the heat of summer.

Arm in arm, they walked to the suite where the cheerful technician was waiting for them. He gestured to the bed.

"If you'd like to hop up on there, Mrs. Bradford, and expose your belly for me."

Any other man might question a male technician asking his wife to bare her belly, but George was a doctor himself - a surgeon, to be exact - and he knew the man was only interested in Gabi on a professional level. He didn't go so far as to lift his wife onto the table, but he did pull a stool over and offer her a hand in getting up there.

"Up you go," he told her.

"Thank you." It was not the most dignified of maneuvers for a pregnant woman, but Gabi managed to get up onto the exam table with George's help, lying back as she unbuttoned her pants and lifted her top.

George Bradford

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Re: Twins ... Again!
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2019, 01:09:04 PM »
"All right, so this is your dating scan, yes?" the technician asked. "I'm Liam, by the way."

George extended a hand to the technician in greeting, "George, and this is Gabrielle," he told the man. Whether the technician knew who they were already or not, it was just good manners. "She thinks it's twins," he added with a grin.

"He doesn't believe me," Gabi added in amusement.

Liam chuckled. pulling on his gloves before readying the gel. "Well, if there aren't multiples in there at twelve weeks, then that is one big baby," he said with a grin of his own. "Or you're further along than you think."

"We have a set of twins at home," George said, though those twins were not of his own bloodline. If twins ran in the family, Gabi's DNA was clearly to blame for it.

"And you're over thirty, Mrs. Bradford?"

Gabi bit her lip. "Just about," she said with a rueful smile, bracing herself as the cold gel was applied to her skin.

Liam smiled, nodding. "Chances are we're going to find a pair in there, then."

George might be a doctor, but babies weren't his specialty. "What does her age have to do with it?" he asked curiously, taking Gabi's hand once she was settled and trying to stay out of the technician's way.

"From the age of thirty onward, the probably of conceiving multiples grows higher," Liam explained. "There's no real explanation why." He gripped the wand, placing it gently on the gel smear, and began to search for the contents of Gabi's womb.

George knew the risk of complications for both the baby - or babies - and mother also increased with age, but he thought Gabi was still young enough that the risk was small.

"It doesn't matter how many are in there, so long as they're healthy," he murmured.

Gabi squeezed his hand. "Now who's worrying?" she murmured back with a smile. "Watch the screen, love. It's fascinating."

Her head turned to watch for herself as the technician carefully manipulated the wand. The black and white images seemed a confused mess for a long moment, and then clarified, showing two darker areas separated by a single white line, and two easily recognisable shapes within.

He smiled a little as she turned the tables on him, not bothering to deny he was worried. The images were fascinating, though, especially for a man who had known nothing of modern technology until a few years ago. Back in his own time, childbirth had still been a dangerous undertaking, even under the best of circumstances.

"Can you tell us what we're seeing here?" he asked, though as a doctor, he could figure most of it out for himself.

"Of course." Liam pointed to the screen as he went on. "What we have here are two amniotic sacs, so these twins are fraternal rather than identical," he explained. "The placentas look as though they've anchored on either side of the uterus, which is almost ideal. And these little munchkins here ..." He pointed to each small baby shape. "Are your children."

"So, there is more than one in there," George murmured, stating the obvious, as if he needed to say it out loud in order for it to sink in. Fraternal twins though, not identical. "Can you tell whether they are male or female?" he asked, unsure if it was too soon for that yet.

"With twins, it takes a little longer to discern those details," Liam said regretfully. "But since you are having twins, you'll be having a scan once every four weeks until your last trimester, and then your doctor or midwife will decide whether or not they want weekly scans to keep on top of how it's all going in there. I can give you a rough estimate of how far along you are, but you need to bear in mind that twins always come early."

"Right," George replied, filing all that away in his brain for now. "But they look healthy, as far as you can tell?" he asked further, not wanting to make any assumptions. He knew any number of things could go wrong between now and their due date, and he wanted to take no chances.

"It all looks very good from here," the technician assured them. "Looks like this one is asleep right now, and this one ..." He tilted the wand, and let out a chuckle. "You've got a thumb sucker."

"Oh, horrors!" George said, with a mock gasp and a sarcastic chuckle. If that was the worst the technician could find, he thought they could live with that.

Gabi laughed, and they watched as the apparent thumb sucker reacted, wriggling those tiny limbs for a moment before turning about. As this happened, Liam flipped a switch, and the pitter-patter of two small heartbeats was suddenly audible.

"And there they are," he said warmly. "Sounds healthy to me."

George smiled, actually struggling to blink back happy tears. "That is the most beautiful sound in the world," he murmured, mostly to himself. Of course, there were a lot of other sounds associated with having children, but for a man who had dedicated most of his life to saving lives, a heartbeat was a very welcome sound.

Gabi turned her head back toward George, her smile bright with absolute delight, enjoying watching his reaction to this first real connection to the babes in her womb. "Told you," she murmured teasingly, squeezing his hand once again.

"I shall never doubt you again," he promised, a warm smile on his face. "We are going to have to do some remodeling," he said. At the very least, they were going to have to convert one of the extra rooms into a nursery. "Can you tell when they're due?" he asked, turning back to the technician.

"Mmm, just a little," she agreed, looking back to Liam at George's question.

The technician considered things for a moment. "I'd say you're about twelve weeks along," he mused. "So full term would be around the end of May. I'd expect them around the beginning of May, though - like I said, twins rarely go to full term."


George Bradford

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Re: Twins ... Again!
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2019, 01:09:45 PM »
"Six months, more or less," George murmured. Enough time to grow a pair of babies, but not a lot of time to prepare for them. Thankfully, they'd already moved the boys to a bigger rooms a few years ago.

"We've got plenty of help," Gabi reminded him gently. "Dad will want to help redecorate one of the rooms into a nursery. Hell, he might even choose his old room for that."

"Maybe," George mused aloud.

He knew Beecham House meant a lot to Gabi's family. It was where Gabi's father, Gordon, had grown up with Miranda, and where Gabi's parents had raised her and her brothers. He knew she had mixed feelings about that house, but she and George were doing their best to fill the house with happiness again.

The crackle of the printer filled the brief silence as Liam set to printing out their pictures and other pertinent information.

"We can talk about it," Gabi told George gently. "And the boys are old enough to understand what's going on. They're very excited about being big brothers."

"I wonder how excited they'll be if one of their new siblings is a sister," George remarked, obviously amused by that thought. "Do you want to stop by and show the photos to your father?" he asked, assuming she'd want her father to see them before anyone else.

Taking the roll of tissue paper from Liam, Gabi set about wiping her skin clean and dry as she thought about this. "You know ... I think I want to keep this between us for today," she said quietly. "It isn't as though the news won't keep. And the boys deserve to be the first ones to see them, anyway."

He took the tissue paper from her to gently wipe the gel from her belly, though it was hard to get it all. "You're right; they do, but once we tell the boys, it's only a matter of time before everyone else finds out," he reminded her, thinking her father, at least, should hear the news from her, rather than from the grapevine. It was already pretty obvious that Gabi was pregnant, and there had been some speculation among family members that it might be twins, but no one knew for sure yet.

"We'll tell him tomorrow," she assured her husband fondly. "Today, let's keep the news just for us and the boys." As clean as she was going to get, she buttoned her pants, taking his hand to sit up and let her top fall back into place.

"All right," he agreed with a smile as he helped her up from and off of the table. "What shall we do to celebrate?" he asked, thinking news of twins called for some kind of celebration.

"Oh, definitely something foody," was Gabi's response - her appetite was certainly healthy, that was for sure. She smiled at George, curling her hand into his with easy trust as Liam closed the envelope containing their pictures and handouts, offering it to them.

"Such as?" George asked, needing more to go on than just that. He paused a moment to thank the technician for his help as he took the envelope from him before leading Gabi from the room.

Liam waved them off with a smile, turning his attention to setting the room to rights again before calling his next patient in. Hand in hand, Gabi walked alongside George, feeling an unfamiliar thrill of vague smugness at having been absolutely right about the pregnancy. "I don't know," she admitted. "I should imagine you and the boys are pretty sick of anything involving pickles at the moment!"

George laughed. "That doesn't mean you can't have pickles," he pointed out. He was pretty sure the boys were as sick of them as he was. "Pickles aren't exactly a meal, darling," he reminded her.

She rolled her eyes, laughing at his response. "I know," she conceded. "What would you like? Just because I'm pregnant, it doesn't mean every meal should revolve around me."

"Oh, I'm pretty easy to please. What do you think the boys would like?" he asked, assuming the boys were going to be part of this celebration, as they were going to be big brothers.

"I think we can both predict what the boys are going to ask for," Gabi said in amusement, glancing down at her watch. "It's actually not that long until school's out for the day - shall we have some tea somewhere, rather than go home and have to come back out again?"

"That sounds lovely," he agreed. "Do you have any place in mind? We're not too far from Incredible Edibles," he suggested, though he didn't really mind where they went. They had a little time to kill before the Terrible Twosome was released from school.

"Mmm, oh yes," she agreed, only too happy to go and indulge in some of Elena Donnelly's treats. "They do that lovely orange tea there." She grinned up at him, wrapping her arms about his elbow affectionately.

"Mmhm," he murmured with a smile. "Not to mention the brownies someone seems to have such a weakness for," he added, with a teasing smirk, as they made their way from the clinic.

"Well, I wasn't going to mention those," she said, giggling through the words. "But since you mentioned them, yes, I would also like a brownie."

"Just don't tell the boys," he warned, still smirking. It was likely the boys would enjoy a treat of their own later on anyway. If he had to guess, he'd guess ice cream.

"What do you take me for?" she asked innocently, breaking into laughter in the next moment. So long as she didn't end up wearing her brownie, Jake and Theo would never know.

"Do you really want me to answer that?" he asked, a mischievous gleam in his eyes, as he led her out onto the street, hand in hand. There was a chill in the air that hinted at the coming winter - a perfect day for a cup of hot tea and something sweet.

Predictably, she blushed, though she still giggled even as she shook her head. "You are quite the tease, George Bradford," she informed him warmly.

He shrugged a shoulder at her remark and reached over to tweak her nose, careful not to drop the envelope with the scans of their yet-to-be-born twins. "Only with you, Mrs. Bradford."

She smiled, catching his hand to kiss his fingertip before releasing him. "Miranda is going to have a field day when she finds out we're going to have two sets of twins."

George Bradford

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Re: Twins ... Again!
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2019, 01:12:55 PM »

"She'll probably want to take you shopping and help decorate the nursery," he guessed. It was likely she'd share the news with half of Rhy'Din, too - or at least, with those she knew who didn't know already.

"At least she is justified in being one of the first to know this time," Gabi said with a low chuckle, tucking herself close against his side as they walked. "Usually she has to finagle her way into that inner circle to get that honor, but she's actually the aunt this time."

"Somehow I don't think Miranda has much trouble finagling her way into anything," George remarked, letting go of her hand so that he could wrap his arm around her shoulders as they walked.

"True, I have never known her to be rejected in her quest for all the knowledge," Gabi conceded cheerfully, smiling as she looked up at the Incredible Edibles sign. "Mmm, this place always smells so good."

"It smells incredible," George said, with a teasing grin. He was in a good mood, and why shouldn't he be? They were having twins! "So, it looks like you won the bet. Maybe you should be the one who wears the stethoscope in the family."

She laughed, hugging her arm about his back for a moment before reaching for the door to usher them both inside. "Now we know there really are two in there, we can find both heartbeats with that Doppler Vicki keeps trying to offer us."

"How do you think the boys will react to the news?" he asked. Not the fact that their mother was expecting another child, but that she was expecting two of them. He pulled open the door of the cafe, moving aside to let her enter first.

"Honestly? I think they'll be happier with the idea of having two babies than with having one," Gabi predicted thoughtfully. "One each, rather than one to share, you know?"

"That's true," he admitted, not having thought about it that way. He stepped in after her and glanced around for an empty table. "How's this?" he asked, gesturing to a table for two that was out of the way and off to the side.

Not that Jake and Theo were bad at sharing these days, but a new baby meant sharing responsibilities for looking after it. Strangely, Gabi had a feeling it would actually be easier to have twins again. The boys would definitely want to pick one each so they could help look after them.

"You always know where my favorite places to sit are," she praised her husband, easing down into a luxuriously cushioned chair with a happy sigh.

He pulled out the chair for her before she sat down, always a perfect gentleman no matter how long they'd been together. "It's out of the way," he said with a shrug, regarding the choice of seats. He only folded his tall self into a chair once she was settled in. "I'm thinking tea and scones ... or is that too English of me?" he asked, smirking again.

"Do they do English scones here?" Gabi asked in amusement, dropping her bag to the floor as she shrugged out of her jacket. "I mean, the teas are gorgeous, but I'm not sure you can get clotted cream and jam on a real scone here."


"They do," he replied. "And they do them right, with jam and clotted cream," he added, spoken like a true Englishman, which was what he was, after all.

"Oooh, cream tea," she murmured, her eyes lighting up. "Forget the brownie, that sounds heavenly."

It sounded as though Elena herself was in today, from the cackling laughter coming from the kitchen, but it was the familiar shape of the hobbit, Magnolia, who bustled over to them to take their order.

"Hullo, Mags!" George greeted the diminutive woman with a smile and a wave. He was obviously something of a regular here, especially since it was in the same general area of the hospital where he was employed.

"Hallo, Georgie, how're you doing?" the little woman countered, grinning as Gabi snickered softly into her hand. It never ceased to amuse Gabi that George let the hobbit call him that. "What can I get you and your lovely lady there today?"

"How's my favorite barista today?" he asked as she greeted them both. "Please tell me you're not all out of scones," he said, with a feigned pout.

"When have you ever known us to be out of anything?" Mags replied cheerfully. "I am a happy hobbit who just finished an enormous lunch hand-made by my boss. So that's Tiny Tea for two, is it?"

"Yes, ma'am," George confirmed, chuckling a little every time he heard it described that was, as there was nothing tiny about it. "Elena's spoiling you, is she?" he asked, with a friendly smile.

"She's a peach, that girl," Mags told him, her familiar merry smile twinkling as she spoke. "Hope her husband's coping with Michela while he's writing, though. That little whirlwind is a menace in the kitchen."

"And I'm sure she's more than a little bit spoiled, too," George remarked, unable to hide the grin from his face at the thought of having a pair of children of his own soon. As much as he adored the boys, he was secretly hoping for at least one of the twins to be a girl.

"Oh, you betcha." Mags chuckled, grinning at the pair of them, and nodded to the bump she could just see. "Congrats, by the by. I'll go get your tea brewing and be back in a couple of minutes."

"Thanks!" George replied with a proud grin. He reached for Gabi's hand, that warm smile softening as he turned his gaze her way. "So, they're not identical. That means we could have any combination inside there."

"We could," she agreed as Mags bustled away to the counter to put together their order. "Two boys, two girls, or one of each. And we can find out in the next month or so, if we really want to know. Scans are very common with multiples."

"Do we want to know?" he asked curiously, reaching over to lay a light hand against the swell of her belly, as if needing to touch her, to let the children growing inside her know he was there and always would be.

George Bradford

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Re: Twins ... Again!
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2019, 01:14:18 PM »

"I'd like to," she admitted, only a little tentatively. She had grown in confidence over the years, and it showed. "I know you're supposed to say you don't care so long as they're healthy, and I do want them to be healthy. But I wouldn't mind being prepared for the baseline of who will be joining us sooner rather than later."

"So you know whether to buy pink or blue jammies?" he asked, that soft smile still on his face as he drew his hand away from her belly and leaned closer to touch her cheek. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't care, but it doesn't really matter. You've made me a very happy man, Gabrielle. You should know that." And it wasn't just because of the pregnancy.

"Essentially, yes," she agreed, though she had a feeling if there was one of each in there, Jake and Theo were due some epic arguments over who got custody of which. Her head tilted, pressing her cheek into his hand. "Sweetheart, I think we both made each other very happy, long before this happened. And we can embarrass Jake about introducing us to each other during an escape attempt in a hospital whenever he brings someone home with him."

George laughed. "He probably doesn't even remember it. He was just a little lad then." The boys had been barely toddlers then, laughing and playing as though they didn't have a care in the world. It had been a chance encounter that had changed all their lives for the better.

"Exactly," Gabi answered with a grin. "We have a golden first meeting to wave around at potential boyfriends or girlfriends when they're old enough, just to prove how romantic he is."

"Oh, yes, very romantic," George echoed with another laugh. He didn't think Jake had romance in mind when he'd bumped right into George's leg in the middle of the hospital cafeteria.

She giggled quietly, her eyes lighting up as Mags bustled up to the table with a tray loaded down with a large teapot, cups and saucers, two plates, and all the fixings for a proper cream tea.

"There you go, lovebirds," the hobbit woman announced cheerfully when she was done unloading that tray. "Enjoy!"

"Ever wonder why they call it 'Tiny Tea'?" George asked, regarding the tray Mags had just brought over to their table, which was the exact opposite of tiny.

"I honestly have no idea," Gabi admitted, already claiming a scone to slice it across and start spreading butter and jam on it. "It certainly doesn't look tiny to me!"

"So, should we tell people you're eating for three now?" he teased, as he poured them each a cup of tea, allowing her to fix it however she wanted.

"Darling, I should think once the due date gets out, they'll guess," she laughed easily, licking jam off her fingertip. "At least I know what to expect with all this - twins isn't really going to be a surprise to prepare for."

"Speak for yourself," he teased further, grinning at her as he spread clotted cream and strawberry jam across one half of a scone. After all, he didn't come into the boys' lives until they were toddlers. All of this was new to him.

"Well, we won't both be clueless, then," she conceded teasingly in return, adding a healthy dollop of cream on top of her jam before taking an enormous bite of her scone.

"I know the basics," he said. He was a doctor, after all, but he had never been a father before. "I delivered a child once. Did I ever you tell that? Only once. It was an emergency situation, and I was the only one halfway qualified to do it."

"Really?" It didn't take much to capture Gabrielle's attention, and just like that, she was fascinated. "What was that like?" she asked. "The closest I ever came to helping someone give birth was when Elle popped out Donovan at the Christmas party, and Lisbeth had full control over what was happening there."

"Well, it was back home ... in England. Things were very different then," he said, paying perhaps a little too much attention to the spreading of his cream and jam on the other half of the scone. It had been before the war; before the world had gone mad.


"I know, sweetheart." She didn't add any more, but he knew she understood. It was difficult for him to go back beyond the war in his mind, fearful of becoming trapped in violent memories that still sometimes woke him in the night. She gently tapped on his foot with her own, smiling at him until he looked up at her. "You don't need to tell me if it's difficult to get back there, you know."

He smiled as the nudge of her foot brought him back to the present, the ghosts of memories dissipating in the wake of her smile. "You'll be glad to know both mother and son were doing well, when last I saw them," he told her.

He'd never thought to look them up, to see if their lives had been happy ones. What was the point? After all, they were all dead and gone by now.

"I'm delighted to know that," she answered a little impishly, lifting her cup to her lips. "Do you want to try your hand at delivering these ones, then?"

George chuckled at her question. "No, if you don't mind, I think I'm content to watch this time around," he admitted, though he knew he could do it, if he had to. He was qualified to do it, but he was also perfectly happy to let someone who specialized in childbirth handle it.

"You'll do more than just stand and watch, love," she promised him. "We'll go to the pre-natal classes together, won't we?"

"Yes, of course," he said, as though that went without saying. This world was very different from the one he had come from, in mostly good ways. "But I would rather focus on helping you through it than on the medical aspect."

She smiled fondly. "George, it'll be fine. Better than fine," she assured him. "And the classes are pretty fun, once you get comfortable there."

"Did, uh ..." He found himself fumbling around what he wanted to ask; what he had no business asking. He shook his head, deciding not to ask, after all. "Never mind."

"No, he didn't," she answered, not needing the question to be verbalized to answer it. "I was being stubborn and trying to do it all on my own. I was the only person at the classes without a partner that time."

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Re: Twins ... Again!
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2019, 01:15:24 PM »
"I'm sorry, Gabi," he apologized, though he wasn't sure what he was apologizing for exactly. He hadn't known her then. Maybe he was just apologizing for asking. "I promise I will always be there for you. Always," he told her, his expression solemn.

She smiled again, reaching over to squeeze his hand. "I know," she assured him. "We're in this together." She sipped her tea, her eyes soft as she held his gaze across the table.

"I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be in this with," he told her, a warm smile her way. Or anyone else he'd rather share his life with.

"That's good, because you are well and truly stuck with me now," she countered, her smile brightening with warm mischief as she reached for the second half of her scone.

"Poor me," he replied, smirking at her comment. "How do you like your 'Tiny Tea'?" he asked, with a nod of his head toward her tea and scone.

"Iff de'wiffshush," was the answer, offered through another hearty mouthful of clotted cream, jam, and scone. She chewed furiously for a moment, wiping her lips clean as she swallowed. "How about you? Does it live up to the originals?"

He couldn't help but laugh at her silliness, knowing she was doing it on purpose to lighten his mood. "Mags would never forgive me if I said it didn't," he told her, before taking a bite and groaning in exaggerated pleasure at the taste of it.

"She definitely would," Gabi agreed in amusement. "They should make it more obvious that Mags is the one who makes the scones, but she's probably too humble to want that. She is the most hobbit-like hobbit I have ever met."

"She's the first hobbit I ever met," he admitted, trying hard to ignore the weirdness that was Rhy'Din and its citizens. He paused a moment to sip at his tea. "Have you ever been there?" he asked. "To England, I mean." As for him, he hadn't been back since he'd arrived here, too afraid of what he might find if he went back.

She shook her head, wiping her hands clean before lifting her teacup in both palms. "I've been to Earth once," she said. "But I think it was called Jamaica? I'm not really a traveller."

George glanced down at his tea cup, as if he might find the answers to some lingering questions he had there. "I should probably go back sometime. Say goodbye. I read there are rows upon rows of graves there now," he said with some sadness.

"In France, I think," Gabi murmured, covering his hand with her own. "It's a thought for another time. You don't have to do something just because it seems as though you should. But if you want to go, I'll go with you."

"Perhaps," he admitted, a wistful smile, grateful she was there for him, even in his grief. "But look at us, talking about things that can't be changed, when we should be celebrating." It was uncommon for George to talk about the war at all, but he couldn't ignore it completely either.

She shrugged. "Life comes in cycles," she pointed out gently. "New life follows death, or the other way around. It's a balance thing." She glanced at her watch, checking the time to make sure they weren't going to be late for the boys.


"I often wonder how I ended up here. What force brought me here and why," he said. It was something they'd spoken of before, but not something that could ever truly be answered. "Was it God? Or just some whimsy of the Nexus? Why me, Gabi?"

"You don't know how many others were saved the way you were, sweetheart," she told him, tilting her head to keep his eyes trained on hers. "You may not be as unique as you believe, and that can only be a good thing."

"Perhaps," he allowed again, though he wasn't too sure. "I am grateful, Gabi," he said, needing her to know that he didn't wish himself back there and that he wasn't consumed with guilt, but he did sometimes wonder why him.

"Good." She smiled back at him. "Because I will always be thankful that I met you, and the how or the why don't really matter to me. Just that we found each other."

"Perhaps I can do some good here, too," he told her, reaching over to link his fingers with hers, a soft smile on his face. "At least, I hope so." It was why he'd become a surgeon, after all, more interested in saving lives than taking them.

"Oh, I'd say you've done plenty of good already," she giggled, absolutely certain of that in her own mind. She raised his hand to her lips, kissing his knuckles tenderly.

"That's because you, my dearest, are biased in my favor," he told her as she kissed his hand. He was smiling now, and there was no sadness in it. "It's as if I was given a second chance at life."

"We needed you," she said simply. "I needed you." She held his gaze for a long moment, hoping he saw the sincerity in her heart for what she believed. "And I really need to use the bathroom, so I'll be right back."

"I ..." He broke off, chuckling. He'd been about to tell her that he needed her, too, when she confessed to need to use the ladies room. "It's the tea," he told her, though it was probably the fact that she was carrying twins, too.

She giggled, squeezing his hand as she rose to skip away to the bathrooms and deal with her pressing issue.

Mags grinned at George from the counter - she was used to seeing that look on his face when he was talking to his wife. It appeared that Gabi's bladder had no sense of timing, even when she wasn't pregnant.

George smiled back at Mags. "It's the pregnancy," he told her. "We just found out that it's twins," he said, with an almost shy, but proud smile.

"Oh, aye? Then you're not so soon to be a father again as I thought." Mags chuckled, absentmindedly packing up a selection of the cakes and pastries into a box. "Bump that size - if it had been just the one, you'd be a father by the New Year."

"Yes, let's hope she goes longer than that," he said, chuckling at the hobbit's comment. "Perhaps if one of them is a girl, we'll name her after you," he said, offering her a teasing grin.



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Re: Twins ... Again!
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2019, 01:16:18 PM »
The hobbit laughed. "Now that would be adorable, poppet, but you sure you want a daughter called Magnolia?" she asked in amusement, well aware that hobbit names were not generally considered appropriate among humans.

"Why not? It's a perfectly lovely name for a daughter," he told her, though he wasn't sure Gabi would agree. "Or perhaps Margaret or Magdalene," he suggested, chuckling at another thought. "Then again, they might be boys."

"Aye, they might," Mags agreed. "Not sure any lad would be happy to be named Margery." She snickered cheekily, coming out from behind the counter to set the box of treats down on his table. "From me to you and yours," she told him. "No arguments."

He arched a blond brow at her, as she set the box down. "What for?" he asked, though he assumed it was a congratulatory gift, from one friend to another.

"Congratulations," she told him, patting his cheek. "And I know your wife and lads share that wild sweet tooth."

"If the boys get a hold of these, there won't be much left for us," he admitted, with a chuckle, which meant they would have to be kept under lock and key. Well, almost anyway.

"Today's a day for celebrating, right?" Mags pointed out. "Every child should eat themselves sick every once in a while. It's character-building."

George laughed again. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that," he said. Thankfully, Gabi was past the morning sickness stage, but he still didn't relish the thought of two sick little boys.

"Dare I ask what's being wished on us?" Gabi asked, coming back to the table with a smile.

Mags offered up an almost innocent grin before winking and skipping off.

George tapped a finger against the top of the ribbon-wrapped box. "Sweets for the sweet," he explained. "But we don't want any sick tummies," he added, assuming she'd know he was referring to the boys.

"Oh, I see." Gabi's smile turned sage as she nodded. "We should probably put that away as soon as we get home, then. I'm worse than they are."

"And we've had plenty for now," he pointed out, with a grin. There was nothing very nutritious about cream tea, but that didn't stop them from enjoying it. "It must be nearly time to pick up the boys," he said, draining the last of his tea.

"Mmhmm." Gabi looked at her watch once more. "Just enough time to walk to the school in time to meet them coming out, I think. Thank goodness we parked between the clinic and the school."

"We should probably be going then," he said, moving to his feet. "I'll just take care of the bill," he told her, pulling a wallet from inside his jacket.

"No, you won't, already paid for," Mags called from the counter, waving a hand at him as Gabi rose to tuck her jacket about her shoulders once again. "You've never won an argument with me yet, Georgie, don't even think about starting this one."

George chuckled again, tucking his wallet back into his jacket. "I don't know how Elena manages to stay in business with you around, Mags," he teased her. From the easy camaraderie between them, it was obvious they were fairly well acquainted.

"She pays for what she doesn't let you pay for," Elena called from the kitchen, where she was setting an order on the hatch to be delivered. She waved at the pair before ducking back to return to her cooking.

Mags shrugged. "I like doing nice things for my friends."

"I won't argue with you this time," George said, knowing better than to do so, where Mags was concerned. "But you're going to get an extra large tip next time!" he warned her.

"You and your manners," she grumbled, but smiled as she waved them off. "Say hello to those boys for me!"

"We will," Gabi called back, claiming George's hand in her own as they slipped out through the door and into the chilly afternoon.

He helped Gabi to her feet and into her coat, before she took his hand and the pair started toward the door, with their so-called treat. "We should tell the boys first," he said, regarding who they shared the news with first.

"Of course we will," she agreed assertively. "We can tell my dad, and Cian, and Miranda tomorrow. Tonight it's about our family, and our celebration."

"Agreed," he said, smirking at another thought, something they'd touched on earlier. "I see a pizza in our near future," he told her. Though he wasn't psychic, he did know the boys.

"Mmm, that does seem likely, doesn't it?" Gabi laughed softly, rolling her eyes. Whenever the boys were given a choice, pizza was the only thing they could agree on. "I can smell brownies in this box, you know," she added.

"If you can smell them, the boys will have no trouble sniffing them out," he said. "Do we chance it or stow them in the car?" he asked, meaning the brownies, not the boys.

"We should probably stow them in the car," she said reluctantly. "At least it's on the way to the school." She chuckled faintly at her own reaction to leaving the lovely smell somewhere else.

"The photos, too," George said, regarding the images the technician had given them. "I must say, medicine has come a long way since 1917." Then again, he wasn't on Earth anymore.

"Apparently there are places in Stars End where you can get a hologram of your unborn baby, together with an accurate prediction as to what they will look like," she mused as they walked along. "I think that is a little too far, personally."

"I suppose it is a good thing, but unless there's a problem, it does seem a bit unnecessary," he agreed, as they walked along, hand in hand. "Do we want to know what we're having?" he asked, curiously. The technician hadn't been able to tell them that yet, but they could determine that in the near future if they wanted. It was something they'd already touched on briefly, but he was a George chuckled again, tucking his wallet back into his jacket. "I don't know how Elena manages to stay in business with you around, Mags," he teased her. From the easy camaraderie between them, it was obvious they were fairly well acquainted.

"She pays for what she doesn't let you pay for," Elena called from the kitchen, where she was setting an order on the hatch to be delivered. She waved at the pair before ducking back to return to her cooking.

Mags shrugged. "I like doing nice things for my friends."

"I won't argue with you this time," George said, knowing better than to do so, where Mags was concerned. "But you're going to get an extra large tip next time!" he warned her.

"You and your manners," she grumbled, but smiled as she waved them off. "Say hello to those boys for me!"

"We will," Gabi called back, claiming George's hand in her own as they slipped out through the door and into the chilly afternoon.

He helped Gabi to her feet and into her coat, before she took his hand and the pair started toward the door, with their so-called treat. "We should tell the boys first," he said, regarding who they shared the news with first.

"Of course we will," she agreed assertively. "We can tell my dad, and Cian, and Miranda tomorrow. Tonight it's about our family, and our celebration."

"Agreed," he said, smirking at another thought, something they'd touched on earlier. "I see a pizza in our near future," he told her. Though he wasn't psychic, he did know the boys.

"Mmm, that does seem likely, doesn't it?" Gabi laughed softly, rolling her eyes. Whenever the boys were given a choice, pizza was the only thing they could agree on. "I can smell brownies in this box, you know," she added.

"If you can smell them, the boys will have no trouble sniffing them out," he said. "Do we chance it or stow them in the car?" he asked, meaning the brownies, not the boys.

"We should probably stow them in the car," she said reluctantly. "At least it's on the way to the school." She chuckled faintly at her own reaction to leaving the lovely smell somewhere else.

"The photos, too," George said, regarding the images the technician had given them. "I must say, medicine has come a long way since 1917." Then again, he wasn't on Earth anymore.

"Apparently there are places in Stars End where you can get a hologram of your unborn baby, together with an accurate prediction as to what they will look like," she mused as they walked along. "I think that is a little too far, personally."

"I suppose it is a good thing, but unless there's a problem, it does seem a bit unnecessary," he agreed, as they walked along, hand in hand. "Do we want to know what we're having?" he asked, curiously. The technician hadn't been able to tell them that yet, but they could determine that in the near future if they wanted. It was something they'd already touched on briefly, but he was a George chuckled again, tucking his wallet back into his jacket. "I don't know how Elena manages to stay in business with you around, Mags," he teased her. From the easy camaraderie between them, it was obvious they were fairly well acquainted.

"She pays for what she doesn't let you pay for," Elena called from the kitchen, where she was setting an order on the hatch to be delivered. She waved at the pair before ducking back to return to her cooking.

Mags shrugged. "I like doing nice things for my friends."

"I won't argue with you this time," George said, knowing better than to do so, where Mags was concerned. "But you're going to get an extra large tip next time!" he warned her.

"You and your manners," she grumbled, but smiled as she waved them off. "Say hello to those boys for me!"

"We will," Gabi called back, claiming George's hand in her own as they slipped out through the door and into the chilly afternoon.

He helped Gabi to her feet and into her coat, before she took his hand and the pair started toward the door, with their so-called treat. "We should tell the boys first," he said, regarding who they shared the news with first.

"Of course we will," she agreed assertively. "We can tell my dad, and Cian, and Miranda tomorrow. Tonight it's about our family, and our celebration."

"Agreed," he said, smirking at another thought, something they'd touched on earlier. "I see a pizza in our near future," he told her. Though he wasn't psychic, he did know the boys.

"Mmm, that does seem likely, doesn't it?" Gabi laughed softly, rolling her eyes. Whenever the boys were given a choice, pizza was the only thing they could agree on. "I can smell brownies in this box, you know," she added.

"If you can smell them, the boys will have no trouble sniffing them out," he said. "Do we chance it or stow them in the car?" he asked, meaning the brownies, not the boys.

"We should probably stow them in the car," she said reluctantly. "At least it's on the way to the school." She chuckled faintly at her own reaction to leaving the lovely smell somewhere else.

"The photos, too," George said, regarding the images the technician had given them. "I must say, medicine has come a long way since 1917." Then again, he wasn't on Earth anymore.

"Apparently there are places in Stars End where you can get a hologram of your unborn baby, together with an accurate prediction as to what they will look like," she mused as they walked along. "I think that is a little too far, personally."

"I suppose it is a good thing, but unless there's a problem, it does seem a bit unnecessary," he agreed, as they walked along, hand in hand. "Do we want to know what we're having?" he asked, curiously. The technician hadn't been able to tell them that yet, but they could determine that in the near future if they wanted. It was something they'd already touched on briefly, but he was a little torn.

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Re: Twins ... Again!
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2019, 01:18:18 PM »
"I think ... I think I would be happy knowing or not knowing," Gabi said thoughtfully, "But I also think that the boys will cope better knowing in advance. If there is one of each in there, it would be nice to get the arguments over who gets the boy and who gets the girl over and done with before the birth."

"Very well," he said, agreeably. "Then we'll know whether to paint the nursery pink or blue," he added, that easy-going smile of his back in place. Or maybe a more neutral color if there was one of each.

"Well, I was thinking more along the lines of sunshine yellow, or a dusky purple, but we can discuss that later," Gabi chuckled, pausing beside their parked car to unlock it so they could stow their treats and the photographs.

"Sorry, I'm a little old-fashioned, I guess," he said, chuckling at his own expense, as he dug the keys out of his jacket to unlock the car. In another moment, he had the car open and was stowing the treats and the photographs safely inside.

"Well, neither of us are all that fond of powder pink and baby blue, and we are going to be in that room a lot," Gabi pointed out. "We should decorate it so it isn't going to annoy us."

"I suppose not," George admitted, closing and locking the car before turning toward his wife. The very thought that she was his wife still made his heart flutter a little, almost as unbelievable as it was to find himself in Rhy'Din. He drew his arms around her to pull her close. "I do love you, Mrs. Bradford," he told her quietly.

She curled happily close into his arms, nose to nose and smile to smile. "I love you back, Doctor Bradford," she answered tenderly, tilting her chin to catch his lips in a soft kiss.

George smiled as he touched his lips to hers in a tender kiss. Theirs hadn't been a very romantic meeting or courtship, but it had worked out perfectly for them. Though he might not tell her often, she had been the best thing that had ever happened to him.

"Come on," she murmured as she drew back, claiming his hand once again. "Let's collect our troublemakers and go home." She smiled, drawing him in the direction of the school as they heard the bell sound, declaring the end of the school day.

He smiled at the way she claimed the boys to be "theirs" - not just hers, but his, too. After all, though he wasn't the boys' birth father, he had been there since they'd been two - which was more than could be said for the man who had helped make them. "Yes, ma'am," he said, sliding a protective arm around her as they continued onward.

It didn't take long to join the familiar crowd of parents waiting to pick up their children from the school, watching as the doors opened to release the little ones from their lessons for the day. Jake and Theo had an uncanny ability to spot George in any crowd, barreling out of the mass of bodies to pounce him together.

"Dad!"

It didn't hurt that at nearly 192 cm. tall, George stood above nearly everyone around him. He waved a hand so the boys could find them, laughing as the boys barreled right into him. At least, they hadn't tackled their mother the same way.

"Happy to be set free for the day, are you?" he asked, eyes bright with amusement.

Theo pulled away, waving a damp painting toward Gabi as he claimed his mumma hug first. "We did art and stuff and I made this for you!" he declared, cuddling in as she bent to squeeze him.

"Oh, goodness, that's so good," she exclaimed. "Did you have fun doing it?"

George tousled Theo's hair as the boy pulled away, turning his attention to Jake. "And how was your day, my boy?" he asked, sliding an arm around Jake's shoulders.

The younger twin produced his own damp painting for George. "I made mine for you, 'cos Theo's was for Mom," he said, a little quieter than his brother. And I got a goal in football!"

"Did you know? That's quite an accomplishment!" George praised the boy, stepping back to take a look at said painting. He looked over the painting, and though it was sometimes hard to tell what the boys were trying to depict in their artwork, he thought he could make a pretty good guess this time. "Is that me?" he asked.

Jake nodded happily. "In your white coat, and that's someone you helped with no feet," he said, pointing at second figure that had clearly benefited from the red paint.

Meanwhile, Theo was talking Gabi through his picture, which was of the horses in the stables on the Grove.

"I see," George said, trying to make sense of Jake's artwork. He'd told the boys a little about what he did at the hospital, and they had even met some of his patients. "It's very good, Jake. Thank you for the painting."

Beaming with pride, Jake hugged his hips once again, grinning. "Are we goin' home now?" he asked hopefully. School always tired the pair out, so home was the first stop on any given day.

"Yes, we have some news to share, too," George told him. "But let's go home first. Would you boys like some hot cocoa?" he asked, knowing their flagging energy might benefit from a little hot cocoa.

Theo looked up, eyes wide. "Before dinner?" he asked, looking at Jake, both boys amazed by this break in routine. It must be a very special day for this to happen.

"Yes, before dinner," George confirmed, chuckling at Theo's reaction. He threw an arm around both boys, gathering them close. "Let's go then, shall we?" he said, hugging each one before letting them go.

Chuckling, Gabi let George take control of the terrible twosome, falling into step with them as the boys began to natter about their day, their friends, and the triumphs and tragedies of a standard day at school.

George let the boys ramble on about their day, nodding and murmuring agreement and understanding where appropriate as they made their way home, patiently allowing the boys to share the triumphs and tragedies of their day. Where many parents might grow impatient with their children's constant chattering, George seemed to know it was necessary in order to build trust and communication between them.

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Re: Twins ... Again!
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2019, 01:18:54 PM »
The conversation filled the journey to the car, and in the car, until they all piled out into Beecham House on the Grove. "All right, out of your uniforms, get comfy," Gabi announced as the boys rushed ahead of the adults into the house. "We'll make the cocoa."

George winced a little as the boys rushed ahead of them. "Did I overstep my boundaries in suggesting hot cocoa?" he asked. Even now, he was sometimes fearful of crossing the unspoken line that separated him from being a real father.

"Of course not," Gabi assured him, toeing her shoes off as the boys clattered up the stairs. "Sweetheart, you're their father. We're in this together, right? That means we trust each other to make the right decisions for our children. Don't worry so much."

"Well, it's not like I'm feeding them a pure diet of candy and letting them stay up until midnight every night," he said. "Oh!" he exclaimed abruptly. "Let me get the stuff from the car while they change," he told her, turning to quickly duck back outside.

She opened her mouth to agree with him, only to laugh as he rushed back out of the house. Hanging up her jacket, Gabi headed for the kitchen, pulling out the fixings for cocoa, half an ear on the noise from above. The boys usually took about half an hour to change their clothes when left to their own devices, so there was no rush, really.

George had plenty of time to sneak the goodies into the house and hide them before the boys could find them, as they were a surprise for later. A few minutes later, and he had joined Gabi in the kitchen, his arms wrapped around her waist and touching a kiss to her neck, while they were still alone.

She laughed softly as she felt him wrap his arms about her, leaning back into his embrace tenderly.

"Happy, sweetheart?" she asked, tilting her head just enough to let her see his expression.

"I am always happy with you, darling," he told her, placing his hands against the bump at her waist, as he pressed another kiss to her neck. Even when nightmares woke him in the middle of the night, he couldn't stay unhappy for long. She was always there for him to help him find his way back to the present again.

Her hands covered his over the bump as she smiled. "You know, it won't be too long before you'll be able to feel them moving," she predicted. "Around Christmas, I expect."

"I can't wait," he said, his voice soft in her ear, as he nuzzled her neck. It was more about being close than about anything else. He had never felt so loved since he had met her.

She closed her eyes, her temple resting against his as she raised one hand to stroke her fingers gently through his hair, surrounded by the wonderful reality of his loving her. There was no need for words in a moment like this, wrapped up in each other with the sounds of their boys above. This was home and family. This was theirs.