DISCLAIMER: Bad Girls and its characters are the property of Shed Productions. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Huge great thanks to Ralst for posting this. And to anybody taking the time to read it.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Admissions.
Nikki lay awake in the dark and listened to Helen as she gently snored beside her. She smiled and wiped her forehead, feeling the perspiration. It was a warm night and Helen's body was too hot to cuddle. Nikki flung the covers off to cool down and lay naked on top of the bed.
She felt deliriously happy. The feeling was indescribable. Something wonderful had happened to both of them five weeks ago. She never thought anything could make her life with Helen more complete but there was now a love that went beyond what they felt for each other. It was so strong that at times Nikki thought she would burst from it.
She looked at the bright red numbers on the clock beside her. It was 4 am and she waited for the familiar sounds to start. She heard the soft sigh first and a shifting of movement. Then right on time she heard the cry.
Nikki gently rose from the bed, trying not to wake Helen and went over to the changing dresser and switched on a lamp.
"Shush little one," Nikki said. She leant into the crib and picked up the tiny bundle, cradling the baby in her hands.
"Hey, Sophie," Nikki kissed her little cheek. "You'll wake up your sister Emily and we know you like to be first."
Sophie stopped crying. She recognised the voice and the smell of the person holding her. She knew it wasn't the same voice and smell she associated with being fed. But even as young as she was, she knew this voice and smell meant love and gentleness. And she always felt protected in these arms.
But at the moment Sophie's concern was her hunger. She instinctively became aware that she was being held against bare skin and although it wasn't the one she was used to, it felt familiar. She turned her head and squirmed at her excitement. She reached out her tiny hand and felt a breast. She pushed her face into it and found what she was looking for and clamped her mouth over a nipple.
Nikki held Sophie in the crook of her arm and gathered up a towel and some nappies. She felt a tingle in her breast and looked down and saw a tiny mouth suckling against her.
She smiled at the effort but gently eased Sophie away. The little mouth continued to suck at empty air and when she realised her prize was gone, Sophie screwed up her face and let out a wail of disapproval.
"I'm sorry darling," Nikki tried to soothe her. "I have nothing to give you."
Nikki froze at her own words. They were a comment on her inability to feed their daughter, but they hit a chord deep within her heart and their truth seemed to resonate through her whole being. She swallowed hard and fought back her tears.
Helen felt the light from the lamp fall across her closed eyelids and she slowly started to sit up. She sat and watched Nikki pick Sophie out of the crib and smiled at the sight. She gazed at Nikki's naked body in the semi darkness and thought she looked incredible. But it wasn't in a sexual context that she stared at her. Nikki's nakedness went beyond that. It was an ethereal beauty in Helen's eyes and she marvelled at it.
Helen smiled as she saw Sophie attempt to feed from Nikki, then more so as she witnessed Nikki gently ease her away.
But her smile faded when she saw Nikki's expression change to utter sadness as she said "I have nothing to give you."
Helen rose quickly from the bed and went over to her. "Sweetheart, what's wrong?" she touched Nikki's arm and was alarmed to see tears streaming down Nikki's face.
A little over nine months earlier
Nikki's breathing calmed and her heartbeat started to slow. She opened her eyes and lifted her head from Helen's shoulder and kissed her.
She felt Helen smile against her lips and her heartbeat still pounding.
"What just happened between us?" Nikki asked quietly.
Helen pulled her against her chest. "You know what happened," she brushed her fingers through Nikki's hair. "Love just happened."
Nikki looked at Helen's face. "You look incredible," she said softly. "I love you." She started to withdraw her hand but Helen held her in place.
"Don't. Stay. I want to feel you, still."
Nikki moaned at the request. There had been a determination in Helen tonight. They'd been making love every night this last week with this same intensity and she knew why. Helen wanted them to feel they were physically conceiving a child together. The clinical aspect of the procedure was of no importance to Helen. And Nikki was in no doubt that the love they'd just made was capable of producing life, if not physically, then at least spiritually.
"You amaze me," Helen said quietly. "I feel you, all of you in here." She took Nikki's other hand and placed it over her heart.
Nikki sighed happily. "Darling, I don't want to dampen your hopes, but you know it may not work the first time? It might take us a few attempts after tomorrow."
"I know sweetheart but I just know it's going to," She pushed Nikki onto her back and straddled her. "And besides, if it doesn't, we just get to keep doing this."
"Are you absolutely sure about this?" Nikki asked one more time, holding Helen's hand as they entered the clinic.
"Totally. I've never been so sure of anything in my life." Helen smiled back at her.
And Helen's conviction turned out to be correct. The first attempt was a success.
Approx six months ago
Nikki stood at the bathroom sink brushing her teeth when Helen rushed in and heaved over the toilet.
Nikki quickly rinsed her mouth and sat beside Helen on the floor. "Darling, can I get you anything?" she asked and rubbed Helen's back.
Helen just shook her head and heaved again. After a third time, she sat back and rested against Nikki's chest.
Nikki circled her arms around her and kissed the top of her head. "There's no way you can go to work. Why don't you ring in?" she suggested. "I'll tell Trish to do the interviews for the new club by herself and stay home with you."
"No I'll be ok. It'll wear off. It always does after I first throw up," Helen reached up and stroked Nikki's cheek, seeing her worried frown.
"I hate seeing you like this. I wish I could do something. I feel so helpless."
"It's all part of it sweetheart. And it's a small price to pay compared to what's going on in here," She pulled Nikki's hands down to her stomach.
"I know, but still. I wish it could be me saving you from this."
Helen felt her heart twist. If it were possible for them to change places, she would gladly have done it for Nikki's sake. To let her experience the incredible feeling of what was happening to her body. But she knew it was something Nikki would never know.
It was two months after Nikki's release that an ongoing medical problem that she had, took a severe course. The gynaecologist's recommendation was a partial hysterectomy. Remove the uterus; leave the ovaries.
Nikki had been devastated and Helen couldn't understand why at first, until Nikki explained that it would mean she couldn't have children. It never occurred to Helen that Nikki might want to have children herself. She'd automatically assumed that when they decided to have any, which she knew they would at some point, she would be the one to get pregnant. Nikki admitted that she'd never really considered it before, but now she'd got Helen, the idea had crossed her mind. Helen had been able to appease her by saying that it would be possibly in future, for her to have Nikki's children if they chose that option.
The option they chose was to get Helen pregnant. Nikki was ecstatic at the idea of raising Helen's baby first.
Nikki helped Helen get up from the bathroom floor and escorted her to the bedroom.
"Promise me you'll take it easy. If you don't feel right you'll come home?" Nikki urged Helen.
"I promise. But in any case, I'll meet you at the hospital for the scan. Remember, it's at 4 o'clock."
Nikki smiled and kissed her. "I'll be there. See you later." she said and headed out of the room.
Nikki stared at the monitor and couldn't distinguish anything in the black image she saw as the radiographer scanned across Helen's stomach.
"Ah, there we go. Can you see that?" She pointed at the image but Nikki still couldn't make it out.
"Yes!" Helen said excitedly, "Look sweetheart."
Nikki squinted. "I can't see a bloody thing," she said in frustration.
"Here." The radiographer, Carole, took off her glasses and handed them to her and they laughed.
"Oh, that's odd," They both looked at Carole as she frowned.
"What's wrong?' Nikki asked anxiously.
"Hmmm," she murmured but didn't answer, then frowned even more in concentration.
"What?" Nikki's voice rose.
Helen squeezed her hand. "It's okay sweetheart."
"Helen, were you taking a fertility drug?" Carole asked.
Nikki looked at Helen who smiled at her. Then she saw Helen's smile fade, as though she suddenly had an epiphany.
"Any history of multiples in your family?" Carole smiled at her.
"Yes," Helen said feebly. "Are you saying "
"Yep. Congratulations both of you. You're expecting twins."
Helen nervously laughed and squeezed Nikki's hand harder. "Nikki, can you believe this?"
Nikki stared at the monitor, open mouthed, unable to move as she tried to comprehend what she'd just heard.
"Nikki?" Helen shook her hand. Nikki still didn't respond.
"Sweetheart?" Helen tried to break her out of her shock.
Nikki slowly turned her head and looked at Helen. "Twins?" she mumbled. "I know I'm good, but I didn't realise I was that good."
"Nikki, are you feeling okay?" Carole looked at her and saw the pale look of shock on her face.
"Just a bit light headed," Nikki managed to say.
Carole got up quickly and sat Nikki back in the chair. "Just take some nice deep breaths." she encouraged.
A glass of water later and the colour came back to Nikki's face.
"Would you like to know what you're going to have?" Carole asked.
"Actually no," Nikki replied. "We know our donor but we've left everything else to chance. We just wanted Mother Nature to take her course. Looks like she has!"
3 months ago
Nikki placed the tray across Helen's lap as she sat on the couch.
Helen stared at the bowl of ice cream and the marmite on toast. And the little flower in a vase. "What's this?" she asked.
"You said you fancied ice cream and marmite."
Helen smiled as she looked up at Nikki. "The flower's a lovely touch sweetheart. But I meant I wanted ice cream and marmite. Together," she bit her lip.
Nikki pulled a face and gagged. "Eeoww! Darling, that's gross," she gagged again at the thought. "What the hell are those babies doing to you? That's got to be the most awful combination of craving you've had so far!" She covered her mouth with her hand and swallowed hard and left to get the jar of marmite.
Helen mixed it with the ice cream while Nikki sat in the armchair and lifted the cushion to her head so she didn't have to witness Helen eating it.
"What's wrong?" Helen laughed, her mouth half full. "Try it, it's lovely."
Nikki groaned and peered around the cushion.
"I can't believe you're actually eating that. What's the appeal?"
"Sweet and sour. I guess one baby wants the sweetness and one wants the savoury," Helen shoved another spoonful into her mouth. She licked the spoon provocatively.
Helen laughed. "Look, I'm finished," she tipped the bowl so Nikki could see it. All that remained were marbled streaks of marmite and strawberry ice cream. "Now get your arse over here, you big baby." She placed the bowl on the coffee table.
Nikki rose from her chair and sat next to Helen on the sofa.
"Give us a kiss," Helen grinned.
"Rather not," Nikki grimaced. "I like marmite and I like ice cream, but not mixed and especially not in a kiss.
"Rub my feet then?"
Nikki pulled Helen's feet into her lap and massaged them, working around the swollen ankles as Helen reclined back onto the sofa.
"That feels good."
"They're bad today," Nikki said a she looked at them. "You been on your feet all day again?" she leant down and kissed her toes.
"Oh, quick," Helen said. She grabbed Nikki's hand and placed it on her belly.
"Bloody hell, feels like a rugby scrum in there!"
"They're just getting comfortable."
"Or protesting at the combination you've just fed them," Nikki gently laid her head on Helen's stomach. She closed her eyes and listened to the sounds within. She soothingly stroked her hand under the shirt and found herself relaxing deeply.
"Sweetheart?" Helen said.
"Do we have any pickled onions?" Helen asked and heard Nikki groan.
6 weeks ago
"Darling, are you sure?" Nikki exclaimed.
"Yes. I want these babies out. Now!" Helen paced back and forth in the lounge. "I've tried a hot bath. A vindaloo curry last night. Now I want you to take me to bed and do whatever you have to, to encourage them to come out!" she wiped the hair back from her forehead.
"But darling, I don't think we should be too vigorous, what if we cause some damage?"
Helen stopped abruptly and stood rubbing her back. "Damage? Damage?" Her voice rose.
"Look at me! I'm the size of a whale. I haven't seen my feet in months. They probably look like tree stumps! God knows what else I can't see that's swollen, apart from these!' She grabbed her breasts. "My back aches. I can't get in to or out of a chair without a winch. I have to roll around in the bed in the morning just to find a way to get out of it! I'm tired, hot and fucking miserable and you're worried that a bit of the other might do some damage?" Helen rubbed her forehead.
"Oh darling," Nikki smiled and put her arms around her. "I just don't want us to get carried away. What if I hurt you, or the babies?"
"Trust me, you won't. I've read all about it. Sometimes it helps." Helen fell into Nikki's embrace. "Don't you want to make love to me any more? Am I unattractive like this?"
"Oh God, darling, no. That's not the reason. You look gorgeous. Let's face it, that side of things hasn't really been an issue has it. Your hormones have been rampant for the last few months. I've lost count of the times I've barely walked through the front door and you've ravished me senseless. It's been wonderful." Nikki smiled and wiped a few emotional tears from Helen's face.
"I just want to touch you and be close to you. Just for a little while. Just to have some distraction from the way I feel right now."
"Darling, I'll do anything for you. You know that. Let's go and lie down and relax and see what happens. I'll make you feel better."
Helen sniffed and Nikki held her as they walked slowly to the bedroom.
"I promise not to squash you this time," Helen said softly.
Nikki tried not to laugh. "Thank you, darling."
5 weeks ago
As soon as Nikki walked into their home she sensed something. It smelled fresh in the hallway and she recognised the scent of the air freshener. She looked into the lounge and it was spotless. The cushions on the couch were deliberately placed in position. The coffee table had been divested of the usual magazines scattered across it. Everything had been polished and hoovered and the same air freshener had been squirted.
She made her way into the kitchen and stood startled. For the first time in ages, she could actually see the counter tops. All the jars and small appliances that covered their surface were gone. Even the jar holding all the cooking utensils was no where to be seen. There was a strong smell of Jif and she peered into the sink. It had been cleaned so thoroughly, it looked like a new sink had been installed.
Tentatively, Nikki opened a cupboard and gasped. Every single item, whether a tin or packet, was neatly lined up and faced forward so its label could be clearly seen. Upon opening one of the lower cupboards, Nikki found all the appliances, neatly in place.
'I'm in the wrong house," Nikki thought then smiled. 'She's nesting! I'll find her in the airing cupboard giving birth like a cat' she laughed out loud to herself. She thought of making herself a cup of tea, but didn't want to make a mess in the kitchen.
As it was quiet, she assumed Helen was taking a nap. Nikki had left the club earlier than usual. She'd finished up some paperwork for Trish and had felt the urge to leave.
She started to make her way to the bedroom.
"Sweetheart, is that you?" She heard Helen call from the bathroom.
"Yes, darling. Home early."
"Good, I was just going to call you. Can you come here a minute?"
Nikki pushed open the bathroom door and saw Helen standing in the middle of the room.
"Sweetheart, I want you to stay calm," Helen smiled at her.
"Holy shit! Holy fucking shit!"
"Sweetheart, I need you to be calm."
"Calm? Your waters have broken!" Nikki stared at the bathroom floor, frantically running her fingers through her hair. "They're not supposed to be coming yet!"
"I know. But we need to get my bag and head to the hospital."
Nikki nodded. "Okay, okay," She took a deep breath as she felt her knees buckle, then bent over at the waist.
"Nikki? Are you alright?" Helen moved towards her and rubbed her back.
"Yeah, just a bit light headed. Shock."
"Just take a few deep breaths," Helen encouraged.
Nikki breathed deeply. "Just give me a moment," She took another deep breath. "Darling are you okay?"
"I'm fine sweetheart. Do you want me to drive?"
"What? Of course not! You're in labour, about to give birth. You're in no fit state to drive!"
"I think I'm in a better state than you right now," Helen smiled.
"Seriously, are you having contractions?"
"Not at the moment."
"Okay, I'll get the bag. You need to change?"
"Yes, I'll slip on another dress." Helen waddled out of the bathroom.
Nikki stood for a moment and the sudden rush of adrenaline was euphoric. She felt herself start to smile and her excitement rise. 'This is really happening. We're having babies!'
She turned quickly and went to join Helen.
"Okay, Helen, I need you to stop pushing for a moment." The female doctor requested. A mask covered her mouth but she smiled at them both with her eyes.
Helen sat back, puffing heavily.
"Darling, you're doing great. Not long now," Nikki squeezed her hand.
Helen looked at her wearily. Her hair was plastered to her forehead with sweat. Nikki wiped it away and kissed her.
"How long has it been?" Helen asked.
"Not long darling " Nikki saw the pleading look on Helen's face. "About eight hours."
"Okay, Helen, can you push for me?" The doctor asked.
Helen heaved herself up slightly and pushed. She let out a long, pain filled cry. And then another. She reached for Nikki's hand.
"I'm right here darling. That's it. Big push. Good girl. " Nikki encouraged. She looked at Helen and felt guilt ridden at her partner's pain. Helen began to squeeze her hand tighter, until she was crushing her fingers.
"Sorry, does that hurt?" Helen looked at her.
Nikki winced. "Just a little bit, darling." She smiled through the pain.
"Good. Now you have some fucking idea, how much this hurts. Whose fucking idea was this?" Helen yelled, then flung her head back and let out another cry as she pushed again.
The doctor winked at Nikki in sympathy. "Helen, you're doing really well. I can see the baby's head."
"What?" Nikki said softly.
"The first baby's coming," The doctor advised.
"Darling, did you hear that?" Nikki said excitedly. "Our babies are almost here." Her eyes filled with tears.
Helen just nodded and pushed again.
"Nikki, would you like to see?" The doctor asked.
Nikki gently let go of Helen's hand and moved position.
"Oh my God," Nikki mumbled. "Helen, I can see I can see the baby."
Suddenly, Helen sat almost upright and reached for Nikki's hand, and with one more push, the baby appeared to erupt from Helen.
Nikki couldn't move as she stared at the tiny being. Helen flopped back onto the bed.
"It's a girl," Nikki said softly. "Oh my God, it's a little girl," Her emotion broke free and she started to cry uncontrollably. "We have a daughter, darling." She said between her sobs.
Helen laughed and cried at the same time with relief. "Then we have another one to come."
A nurse proceeded to clear the baby's airway and she cried at the discomfort. The doctor lifted the baby up and laid her on Helen's chest for a moment. She was covered in birth matter, but her eyes appeared to be open and she stared at them both.
"Oh, she's beautiful. She's just perfect," Nikki said in awe.
"We'll bring her right back." The nurse said and she whipped the baby away. When she brought her back, wrapped up, she went to hand her to Helen.
"Sweetheart, you hold her. I need to get her sister out." Helen smiled and nodded her encouragement.
Nikki tentatively took the baby and immediately began to sob again. The baby just lay in her arms, seemingly un-fazed by her arrival, or the blubbering parent currently holding her.
"You are just so beautiful, do you know that?" Nikki said gazing at her. She softly touched the baby's cheek with her fingertip. "Sophie. What do you think of your name? Do you like it?"
"Okay, just a slight problem with baby two," The doctor announced matter of factually. "Nothing to worry about, but she's turned herself around. She's decided she's coming out feet first."
"Is that normal? Will everything be alright?" Nikki asked anxiously.
"Oh yes. It's not unusual at all. In fact, sometimes both twins are breech. Right, Helen. Give it all you've got for this one. I want a big push, then relax."
Ten minutes later, Emily joined her family, loudly announcing her arrival, until she was placed next to her sister. Both of them lay contentedly between their parents who cried, laughed and stared at them in amazement and wonder.
"Nikki? What's wrong sweetheart?' Helen asked again.
Nikki looked at her and quickly handed Sophie to Helen. She stepped back from them both then turned and closed her eyes.
Helen felt for the rocking chair behind her and eased herself into it. Her gaze stayed locked on Nikki but Sophie's insistence on being fed couldn't be stayed. Helen opened the front buttons of her night-shirt and placed Sophie at her breast to feed.
Nikki started to shake.
"Nikki, turn around," Helen said softly, keeping her voice low so she didn't upset the baby. "What's the matter?"
"What do I have to give them, Helen? Honestly, what do I have to offer our children?"
Helen saw the terrified look in her eyes. "What do you mean?" she shifted uneasily in the chair, wanting to reach out to her.
"When you look at me, what do you see?" Nikki saw Helen didn't understand. "Do you see a normal person?"
"Nikki, talk to me," Helen urged.
"I'm an ex con. I killed someone. I killed someone with these hands," Nikki held them out in front of her. "I hold our children in these same hands," She started to choke, "I hold our children in these hands," she mumbled again and looked at them, disgusted at what she saw. Her hands suddenly looked alien, inhuman. She closed her eyes so she didn't have to look at them anymore and let the despair swarm over her and shroud around her like a cloak. "What if I hurt them?"
Helen stayed calm as she watched Nikki begin to crumble under the weight of her own accusation. She saw the transformation in her body, watched the panic and despair start to seep inwards.
"Come here," Helen said forcibly but quietly. Nikki's eyes opened immediately.
Nikki moved towards her, like iron filings drawn to a magnet. She knelt down and Helen pulled her head onto her lap and stroked her dark hair.
"Enough," Helen said softly and lifted Nikki's chin. "Listen to me. You're not capable of hurting them. And I can't think of anybody who has more to offer our children, than you. There isn't anybody better suited. From what you've gone through, how you've dealt with it. Our children will have somebody they can turn to, who will love them, protect them, be honest with them. Will teach them how to treat others with respect. You want to know what I see? I see an intelligent, smart woman. A beautiful woman. Someone who's strong and passionate. That's who I see. That's the person I love. That's the person our children will love."
Helen searched Nikki's face for a sign she'd gotten through. She recognised the dark mood, the self doubt and insecurity that overwhelmed Nikki sometimes. They had abated since her release, but this one had taken grip.
Sophie sighed that she was full and Helen held her against her shoulder and started to wind her.
"Just so you know, I have every intention of doing this again. But next time, I want it to be yours. I want to know what's it feels like to have a part of you, grow inside me." Helen stroked Nikki's cheek and slowly saw the veil start to lift. Nikki's shoulders relaxed and her face no longer showed the panic.
Nikki smiled and wiped her eyes. "It'll probably kick like hell."
"I've no doubt."
Emily woke and started to cry.
"Here," Helen held Sophie out to Nikki.
Nikki hesitated. She had the urge to scrub her hands before she contaminated the infant.
"Take her," Helen urged. "She needs changing." Nikki wiped her hands against her legs and nervously took the baby from Helen.
Sophie snuggled into Nikki and lay still against her skin at her shoulder. She moved her tiny arm and placed it around Nikki's neck and Nikki felt the reassuring hug that her daughter gave her. A tear dripped from her eyelid and she kissed Sophie's head. Sophie rewarded her with a belch.
"Charming," Nikki whispered. She laid her down on the changing table and changed her nappy.
Emily guzzled noisily as she fed and Helen rocked slowly in the chair, stroking her head.
"What does it feel like?" Nikki asked as she looked at Helen. She swayed gently as she held Sophie, feeling the baby falling asleep against her shoulder.
"Incredible. I can't describe the sensation. The feeling. I don't mean the actual sense of touch. Just the connection. It's so peaceful," Helen said softly.
Nikki smiled. "You look it. It's incredible. I could watch you like that all day. It seems to permeate. So calming."
With both babies fed, changed and asleep, they lay in bed, wrapped in each others arms.
"You really want to do this again?" Nikki asked, as her fingers stroked Helen's arm.
"Yes," Helen nuzzled into Nikki's neck. "In a couple of years. I think we'll have our hands full with the girls for a while, otherwise I'd be beating down the door of the clinic in a heartbeat."
"I'm not getting any younger darling. I'm 37. My eggs might be past their sell by date."
Helen softly laughed. "Don't be daft."
They lay quietly for a moment.
"I love you," Nikki kissed the top of Helen's head. "Thank you so much for this."
"This incredible life I have."
Helen couldn't speak. She pulled Nikki closer, feeling her heartbeat inside, beating in time with her own.
3 years later
Helen stood and smiled as she looked out of the living room window. Nikki had just driven the car into the driveway and was getting Emily out of the back of the car. Sophie stood at her side and Helen could see her busily chatting away. Emily was fast asleep and Nikki carried her against her shoulder. She held out her other hand to Sophie and led her to the front door.
Helen went to greet them and opened it.
"Why can't we fly mum?" Sophie was asking Nikki as they entered the hallway.
"Because we don't have wings or feathers."
"If we had wings and feathers, could we fly?"
"I'm not sure darling. We're a lot bigger than birds. We might not be able to take off. Birds are tiny aren't they?" Nikki explained.
"Yes, they are tiny."
Helen smiled at Nikki.
"We've went to the park mum," Sophie said to Helen.
"Yes I know sweetheart. Did you have fun?" Helen bent down.
"Yes, we went on the swings and mum went down the slide with us. We went weeeeee," Sophie held up her arms to demonstrate. "All the way to the end and when we landed on the ground mum said oh bugger, that hurt."
Helen quickly covered her mouth with her hand to stifle her laugh.
"Then we had ice cream from the ice cream man. Then we fed the ducks the sandwiches mum made."
Nikki had taken some stale slices of bread telling the girls that ducks like sandwiches.
"They came up to us and they were very hungry. They went quack, quack."
Helen undid the buttons on her coat as Sophie continued with her story. "And we got you some presents, look," She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out the items.
Helen held out her hand as Sophie placed a small greenish pebble in it. "Mum said it was the colour of your eyes, and we found a ducks feather. Feel," Sophie brushed it against Helen's cheek. "Does it tickle?"
"Yes, it does."
"I got mud on my shoes. See?" Sophie lifted her foot so Helen could see it and Helen pulled them off.
"Do you think the duck that lost that feather won't be able to fly anymore? What's for dinner mum?" Without waiting for an answer, Sophie headed into the living room.
Helen stood up and looked at Nikki.
"That child has a severe case of verbal diarrhea. She hasn't stopped talking since we left. Every thought she has, she verbalises. She's just incredible." Nikki said. "Emily here just falls asleep. I think it's because she can't get a word in edgeways."
Helen laughed and gently undid Emily's jacket as Nikki held her.
Nikki laid Emily on the sofa in the living room, while Sophie had sat herself at the table. She was colouring a book with some crayons.
Helen circled her arms around Nikki's waist.
"Did you get some rest while we were gone?" Nikki asked and kissed her.
"Yes. I took a nice nap on the sofa," Helen squeezed Nikki closer.
"Good. You shouldn't be overdoing things."
"I'm fine, sweetheart."
"I know you. You can't sit still. It was only a couple of weeks ago," Nikki closed her eyes. "The girls were a breeze compared to I've never been so terrified."
Helen touched Nikki's cheek. "Nothing bad was going to happen. He just turned at the last minute and got himself stuck. The caesarean was no problem."
"Darling, I'm not surprised. I saw him when they pulled him out. He's got such a long body. He's going to be tall."
"Wonder who he takes after?" Helen smiled.
"Not all my doing. We did have someone else's regular input."
"But he is every inch, his mother's son!"
Nikki laughed. "Explain yourself."
"Maxwell has your stubborn streak and temper already. When he's hungry he wants feeding. And he wants it now. But he's also sensitive and such a cuddly baby. He just lies there in your arms and takes it all in. He's listening to everything."
As if aware that he was being spoken about, Max let out a cry from his carry cot. Nikki went over and picked him up.
"Hey buddy," she said softly and kissed him. "Supper time."
Helen came and took him and sat in the armchair as she fed him.
"I'll be bloody fifty when he's ten," Nikki said as she sat on the arm of the chair and stroked his head. "All his mate's mums will be young and fit. I'll look like an old fart trying to play football. He'll probably be embarrassed."
Helen rolled her eyes. "Of course he won't. What he will have, will be a very fit, cool mum who will give the others a run for their money. Our three children will keep us young and on our toes sweetheart."
"Darling, I know it's your wish to keep having babies until we have enough for our own rugby squad. But .I really don't like the idea of having children capable of eating solid food, while I'm so old, I'm having to suck mine through a straw."
Helen almost choked as she laughed. "Are you saying you're done getting me pregnant?"
"Well, apart from the..," Nikki looked over at Sophie to make sure she wasn't listening. "Preparation that we engage in before the actual conception."
Helen arched her eyebrows.
"I think we have the perfect family. But darling, if you really want more kids, then you know I'm happy to oblige in certain departments. I just don't want you to feel you have to compensate, because you know I can't have any," Nikki smiled at her.
"I know sweetheart. And I think you're right. We do have the perfect family. I'm so very happy."
Nikki leant towards Helen and kissed her lips. "Me, too."
"When's dinner going to be ready mum?" Emily asked as she woke.
Nikki and Helen smiled at one another.
"What do you want for dinner?" Nikki asked as she slid off the arm of the chair and stood up.
"Spaghetti," Emily said
"Just spaghetti?" Nikki asked.
"Sophie, what do you want darling?"
"Spaghetti," Sophie replied. Nikki smiled at the twin's choice to agree on the same thing for dinner.
"Hmm. I think we can make something nicer than just spaghetti. How about some vegetables with it? Come on," Nikki held out her hands to both of them. "Let's go and make dinner together."
Both the girls took her hands. "What kind of vegetables?" Sophie asked frowning.
Helen sat and watched them head towards the kitchen and chuckled as Nikki and their daughters began to name every vegetable they could think off.
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