Vincent, ensconced in his old leather chair in the corner of the study, an open book on his lap, was drinking in the sight of his two young sons playing with blocks on the floor. Jacob, now 9, and Charles, almost 2, were it seemed working against each other in the endeavor. Jacob would no sooner start working on a building of sorts only to have Charles knock it down and clap with glee.
"Hey little brother, youíre not supposed to knock it down, youíre supposed to help me build it first!"
Charles would only laugh and start to chew on the first block he could reach.
"Dad, I donít think he is ready to build yet."
"So it seems."
"DadÖmaybe you could read to him while I work on a new building, then he can knock it down when itís finished for a change. I donít mind him knocking them down; I just want to finish it first" he pleaded.
He checked on Catherine via their bond and found her still sleeping restlessly. He picked up Charles and decided the boy needed a diaper change before he did anything else. He walked across the hall to the nursery and completed the task, which made for a much happier Charles. He realized the time was close to his younger sonís bedtime and proceeded downstairs to get him a toddlerís cup of warm milk. While Charles drank his milk, his father read to him and as usual he fell asleep just as the last drops of milk dribbled down his chin.
Charles was a good baby, had slept through the night after about a month of his birth, much to his parents delight. He lay him in his crib, covered him with a light quilt, and then tenderly he kissed his dark brown curls.
"Sleep well, my little son."
He walked through the nursery to the master bedroom to look in on his hopefully sleeping wife. Instead he found her sitting on the side of the bed frowning.
"Vincent, I donít now how much longer I can do this, Iím tired all the time, Iím as big as a house, I guess just plain miserable and feeling a little sorry for myself. I donít understand how this happened, we were so careful; at least I thought we were" she sighed.
Catherine was almost nine months pregnantÖwith twins!
He tried his best to lighten up her mood a little, Catherineís mood swings made it difficult for anyone to be around her of late. Poor Vincent took the brunt of her moods, knowingÖor hoping they would end sooner than later. The up coming birth would truly be a blessing in more ways than one. He wanted his Catherine back.
"Well my Catherine, Father is quite sure we will have to expand the tunnels at this rate" he said cheerfully.
"Vincent this isnít funny, he probably thinks Iím all over you any chance I get! Which of course I am, well I was until lately, but thatís beside the point."
"Catherine, Iím sure he doesnít think itís you fault, he most likely thinks Iím making up for lost time" he grinned hopefully.
Softly he said "you know I was wrong?"
"WrongÖwrong about what" she asked puzzled?
"Shakespeare did not know everything," he said with his arms held out wide.
"Tonight as I watched our sons play, nothing he wrote could have prepared me for the blessing of that gift. To hear myself calledÖDad warms me deep into my soul.
I would never have dreamed this unbelievable gift could be mine. Not to mention the gift of our twins coming soon." he whispered.
He sat beside her on the bed, slowly rubbing her back to ease the tension and fatigue from carrying twins. At times he felt useless as if the entire burden was on her. He did everything he could to help and support her through the pregnancies; this one was exceptionally difficult for her. She had to deal with more bed rest than before with the boys, vegetating was not something Catherine dealt well with. Mary had taught her to quilt a little, but her patience and sitting still in one position didnít go to well with carrying twins. She couldnít get comfortable and her sleep of late was never really restful.
Vincent had taken to sitting in the corner of the couch in the study with Catherine between his legs leaning back against his chest to help her breath better. He kept his arms wrapped around her sending love and feelings of relaxation through the bond to help her get as much rest as possible. This had gone on for almost two weeks and now even he was beginning to need a little more sleep.
His classes were being shared by Father. Work projects, unless and emergency were handled by the men Below. All were glad to help Vincent and Catherine; they had always depended on him and found they could get by a lot of the time without calling him away from his family. It made them feel even more self-sufficient and pleased to be able help him for a change. They had come to realize they had always taken him for granted, and were now working on relying on themselves more.
"My love, Iíll make you some tea and after Jacob goes to bed, Iíll help you shower and perhaps the warm water raining on us will give you some relaxation."
"Vincent, my love, isnít that what got us into this situation?"
He stood up, pressed his hands to his heart and attempted to look deeply hurt, "Catherine, I had no such intentions, my thoughts were only of your well being."
She smirked, bringing from him a small chuckleÖ"good thing we have the bond or I may have believed you that time my love. Please, tea would be good and send Jacob in to say goodnight. Iím sure this isnít easy for him either; heís turning into quite a helper trying to occupy Charles. I know he gets a little frustrated too, and when the babies finally get hereÖ I donít even want to think about that."
"Donít worry my love, we have enough love for all of them and more if the need happens again" he teased."
"Vincent, youÖyou," she couldnít even think and with that she threw a pillow at him as he ducked out the door.
Well, now at least she isnít feeling down and her energy level is up, he thought as he headed down for the tea, pleased with himself and smiling all the way.
Jacob with his familiar Vincent stance, his hands on his hips, came in when he heard the pillow hit the door.
"Mom, why did you toss that pillow at Dad? You know throwing isnít allowed in the house, only outside."
He had that same little head tilt and smile as his father and knew when to use it.
Jacob you have way too many of your fatherís characteristics I swear, she thought.
"Come here my big handsome son and give your fat old Mom a hug and kiss, it will make me feel much better. As to the pillow tossing, youíre correct not in the house. See what a good big brother you are, your Dad and I are so proud of you. She hugged him a little closer, "anytime you feel you need an extra hug, you come to me," she whispered in his ear.
"When these babies get here there will be a bit of confusion for a while. Remember we love you very much and donít want you to feel left out, we need and love you too much."
"Donít worry Mom, Iím the big brother and I can help with lots of things."
She didnít know what to think, when had he gone from little boy to such a responsible young man? Yes of course, he is his fatherís son.
Vincent came up stairs with the tea and kissed his son goodnight. The boy just smiled, hugged his father and went to bed.
He helped her undress, stripped out of his clothing, and then followed her into the shower. He put his arms around her and let her lean back against his chest, letting the warm water sooth them.
"My love even your arms canít get around all three of us anymore, I canít wait for this to be over with" she sighed snuggling further into him.
"Soon Catherine, soon" he whispered with feelings of guilt for him not being able to do more for her slipping through the bond.
She turned in his arms and put her lips on his, enjoying the touch and love there within. She felt his manhood against her thigh, even as he tried to control his need.
"Vincent, let me love you."
"Catherine, there is no need, I only need you to know how much I love you and wish I could take this burden from you." My loveÖI have no words for what you are to me."
"There is no need my loveÖI felt your love just now through the bond, words are not needed" she whispered breathlessly.
They relaxed and let the warm water flow over them, wrapped in contentment and love.
Eventually they got out and started to dry each other off. Vincent went into the bedroom to get their night clothes. She sat down on the vanity stool with her bath towel still wrapped around her and started to dry her hair.
She felt a little twitch and instinctively knew her water had broken, "VincentÖ itís time!"
Seven long hours later they were blessed with a son and a daughter, they were born healthy, beautiful and loud. Their daughter had her motherís misty green eyes; their new son had his fatherís brilliant blue ones. They both had Vincentís golden hair and their Momís looks. They were a few days early and still a good weight for twins. Peter and Father pronounced that they and their mother were in good shape, though Mom was a little tired. Their Dad just sat there holding them, looking at them almost unbelieving and according to Peter "he was just beaming."
He brought them to her to nurse, still not sure if his feet felt solid earth yet.
Jacob and Charles came in to see their newest siblings, to touch them to be sure they were real and declared them "neat." The novelty for Charles dissipated after a quick kiss for his parents and the new babies. Mary took him for breakfast with the other little ones from the nursery.
Jacob stayed to hold each one after they had finished nursing; "I need to bond with them too, so I can help you guys" he confidently told his parents and everyone else in the room.
They just looked at their first born with wonderment and love for this special young man.
"I think our son is older than his years," donít you think my beautiful wife?
Three weeks later at their naming ceremony, the whole tunnel family and special invited guests heard their names for the first time.
Jennifer Catherine and Joseph Vincent were entered into Fatherís book, where all tunnel family births were recorded. Aunt Jenny and Uncle Joe were honored to have the newest members of Catherine and Vincentís family named for them. Jacob liked the fact that he and brothers all had their Dadís name, Jacob Vincent, Charles Vincent and now Joseph Vincent.
Catherine had insisted on this as Vincent didnít truly have a family name and to the world Above he didnít even exist. Vincent insisted that his infant daughter carry her motherís name, because it was the most beautiful name he knew.
At the ceremony, Jacob held his sister and Vincent held his new son, it was tradition for the eldest son to hold the baby for the naming ceremony.
Since there were two new babies, in true tunnel fashion Jacob asked his father for help, and Vincent gave it willing.
"Dad, she has green eyes just like Mom, and me and my brothers have blue eyes like you, but there are still more guys than girls in our family" he said proudly.
"My son, there may be only two of them, but if your sister is anything like your MotherÖwe will surely be out numbered Iím afraid" Vincent said sincerely.
Everyone came up to congratulate them on the new additions to their beautiful family.
Well wishers with advice, beautiful handmade gifts and most of all love, the best gift of all.
Catherine came up and leaned into him, "Vincent, your smile tells everyone how very happy and proud you are. Even if I didnít have the bond I would know."
"How would you know, my sweet love?"
"Your canines are showing my proud love."