:::»^«::: :::» 7 «::: :::»^«:::
Billy burst through the doors of the Medical Center. He was so excited and couldn’t wait to see his father to tell him the good news. He didn’t have the patience to fiddle with his truck to try and start it. The old thing had always been cantankerous in frigid weather. Ignoring the lightly falling snow, he ran down the street toward the boat docks. He knew his father would be there.
Everything had been taken care of. Quil had agreed to commandeer Billy’s boat for the next few days, and his sisters were taking turns caring for his twins, Rachel and Rebecca. The girls didn’t mind at all—staying with Aunt Nora was always an adventure for them. Connie, Jennie, and Emmie always arrived with movies and cartoons to watch, songs to sing, blanket forts to build, and the little cousins kept things lively.
He smiled even more broadly as he thought back to the day when his girls had been born. Sarah had kept her promise not to give birth during Charlie and Renee’s wedding, but it had been close. They’d managed to cut the cake, toss the bouquet and the woven-hemp, beaded garter. Billy and Sarah had even gotten in a few slow dances before Sarah needed to sit down at one of the little round tables with a cup of tea and a sigh.
She’d waved cheerily at the ecstatic young couple as they said their goodbyes and climbed into Charlie’s old Toyota pickup. He was so besotted with his pretty new wife, he hadn’t even noticed that his buddies had decorated the tailgate and bumper, and filled the truck bed, with loads of empty Rainier beer cans.
Harry and Billy had thought stuffing the jump seat floor boards with boxes of Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time tea, and festooning a few bags from the rearview mirrors was a hilarious addition to their grand send off.
As the newlyweds drove away to their secluded cabin to begin their honeymoon, Sarah reached over for Billy’s hand and murmured, “Billy, I think it’s time.”
After his initial outright panic, Billy realized everyone involved in taking over his fishing boat was right there at the wedding. He wouldn’t need to waste time making phone calls and chasing people down. All his friends were present and more than happy to help out the new mother and father-to-be.
The second time around, labor had been quite a bit different. When Sarah had woken up wet in the middle of the night, complaining about the baby pressing against her bladder, and causing her to have an accident, she stopped mid-sentence, clutched at her large, round belly, and gasped, “I think my water broke.”
Again, after a moment of stunned panic, Billy’s sea captain persona took over. He quickly made the necessary phone calls. He’d been worried about waking everyone up, but they all handled it good naturedly. Sarah was two weeks past her due date, and everyone was eager for the baby to be born.
His sister Nora arrived promptly, and handing over the twins went off without a hitch. He’d helped his groaning, beautiful wife up into the cab of the truck, and miracle of miracles, as cold as it was, the old rust bucket started with hardly a complaint. After a few last-minute instructions to Quil and Harry, who weren’t far behind Nora, Billy and Sarah made their careful way through the snowy streets to the Medical Center.
And just like at Charlie’s wedding, when the twins had decided to arrive, everything went off like clockwork.
Again, Billy was so thankful he and Sarah had such good friends and family.
Pounding down the street, he rounded the corner of the harbor master’s building and bounded up the stairs three at a time. He barely slowed down to turn the knob of the crossbuck door before flinging it wide.
Winded and blowing hard, he halted just inside the door, bent over, gripped his knees, and tried to catch his breath.
Bill Senior turned slowly in his creaky office chair, set the report he had been reading on his desk, raised an eyebrow, and perused his son.
“It’s … it’s a boy!” Billy crowed as he straightened, shut the door, and flipped his long, tangled hair to his back.
An amused expression stole across Bill’s face as he gestured to the ladder-back chair in front of his desk. “Why don’t you have a seat and catch your breath? Warm up. How is Sarah?”
Billy shucked off his coat and dropped onto the worn seat. “This labor seemed harder than the last one. He just didn’t want to be born yet. He was already two weeks late. Wait … don’t you want to hear about your new grandson?”
Recalling the conversation he’d had with his own father, Ephraim, over twenty years before, the corners of Bill’s eyes crinkled with the memories and the advice from his father. “We must show gratitude and appreciation to the Great Spirit for our strong women. Without them, we wouldn’t be blessed with our children.” The chair protested with a loud squeak as Bill leaned back in it. “We men can build one house after another, but only a good woman’s love can make it a home.”
With a bit of chagrin, Billy nodded at his father’s words. “You’re absolutely right, Dad.” Billy shoved the sleeves of his sweater up his arms. “This labor seemed a lot harder than her first one, though the first time was longer. Sue Clearwater was great. She stayed with Sarah and me nearly the whole time. The other nurses were good, too.” Billy smiled and shook his head, his cheeks heating up with a blush. “Sarah only cussed me a little. Then she saw our beautiful boy and burst into tears. She was so tired and so happy.”
“You’re lucky she said yes when you asked her to marry you after only three dates.”
Billy’s blush grew brighter, and he nodded again. “I really was.”
Bill cocked his head to the side and a bright twinkle lit the dark brown of his eyes. “Now tell me about my grandson.”
“He weighed more than both of his sisters put together!” Billy’s face practically glowed with joy and pride. “But they were twins and a little early. When Nora brought them to see him, he grabbed their fingers and they squealed, ‘He’s so strong!’ Then they asked when he could go outside to build snowmen!”
Both men chuckled at Rachel and Rebecca’s eagerness to play with their new brother.
“You’ll be taking your wife and son home tomorrow?”
“Yes. Connie, Jennie, and Emmie said they straightened up the house and bought a few groceries. They don’t seem to think I can handle going to the grocery store.”
“As long as you can fix Sarah her cup of tea, I think you’ll do all right.” Bill leaned forward and rested his arms on the old wooden desk. “What have you decided to name my new grandson?”
“Sarah didn’t want to know the sex until the baby was born, but we talked about a couple different names.” Billy couldn’t keep the pleased smile from his face. “Sarah wants to name him Jacob.”
“Then Jacob Black he will be.”
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