This is the end of this particular story - but I have a few other drafts and ideas rattling around for this universe. Let me know if you're interested. This story gives you a glimpse into the Bechloe home life. Enjoy!
Chapter 3 – I'll be there
"It's a long long way to go now/ I'll be there if you call"
~Lions & Tigers by Sleater-Kinney
Beca called Stacie as she drove home from work. She hadn't seen her friend in over a week. Between Beca's ridiculous schedule while finishing an album and Stacie's patient load, they had been unable to get together. "How's it going?" Beca asked, utilizing the hands-free feature in her car.
"I'm exhausted," Stacie said with a tired sigh. "I delivered four babies yesterday. Four! Do you know how much work that is?"
"I'm thinking it was more work for the four mothers," Beca said dryly.
"Sometimes I wonder," Stacie told her. "This is crazy. I need to get away before I start throwing things at pregnant ladies."
Beca chuckled. "Can you take a few days off?"
Stacie sighed again. "I'm going to. I have scheduled off at the end of next week and the beginning of the following."
"You deserve it. Any plans?"
"I was hoping for somewhere tropical – but I'm heading to Georgia for a few days. I might pop over to the beach for a few days after - before I come back here."
"What's going on? Why Georgia? Is something wrong?"
"Why do you assume something is wrong?"
"You don't go back to Barden more than alumni weekend – and whenever Emily invites you. What's going on?"
"Em did invite me out," Stacie responded. "Has she called you this week?"
"No," Beca responded. "But she's been weird – returning texts half a day later and not picking up when I call. Is she avoiding me?"
"Possibly. She's pregnant. She's really nervous about it. I told her you would be happy for her. But as we've discussed in the past, she doesn't listen to me. I'm glad I wasn't responsible for keeping her alive when she was a Freshman. She probably would have died just to spite me." Beca smiled and shook her head.
"What are you going out for? You're not taking your practice on the road, are you?"
"No," Stacie laughed. "No. Cross continental flights for all prenatal appointments? Not going to happen. Not even for Emily. But I did tell her I would go with her to meet with a few different doctors. She doesn't know what to ask and she's nervous about it."
"That was nice of you," Beca told her.
"She's worried – especially without her mom." They spoke for another few minutes and made plans to get together when Stacie returned from her trip.
Beca smiled as she walked in the kitchen door of her home and set her bag on the small side table against the wall. She toed off her boots and closed the door behind her. The sound was enough to initiate the scampering of small feet from two directions. Poppy reached her first from the back stairs. "Hi, Mama!" She cried, throwing herself at Beca. The small brunette knelt down to her level and hugged her close.
"Hey, Poppy." She looked at Vera, who was attempting to sneak in through the dining room to jump out and scare them. When she saw Beca watching her and realized that she was completely caught, she giggled and ran to hug her mama. "Vera," she said, hugging her back and dropping a kiss on her loose red curls. "How are you girls today?" She saw Bella from the corner of her eye, leaning around the back stairwell landing and watching. Beca winked at her over Vera's head.
"Good!" Poppy told her. "Mommy said we can go to the zoo on Saturday because we got good report cards."
"Really?" Beca asked, as though this was news Chloe hadn't texted her already. "Awesome. Good job, loves. Can I see them?" Poppy ran away to find her report card and Vera was close behind. Beca walked over to the stairs and climbed to the landing, sitting on it, back against the wall. Bella sat next to her and snuggled into her side. "Hi, Bells," she said as she gently stroked her dark curls.
"How was your day?" Bella shrugged. "That's not much of an answer," Beca objected.
"It was fine," the nine-year-old said with all the sullenness of a teenager. Beca rubbed her back and continued snuggling with her until the door swung back open and Poppy appeared with her report card. Bella disappeared back up the stairs before Beca could stop her.
The brunette mother turned to face the kitchen again and smiled as the two redheads approached her with the pieces of heavy cardstock. She looked over Poppy's and smiled – the only negative the teacher had indicated was Poppy's continued chattiness. They would talk to her about it later – after she was rewarded for the excellent grants – straight As and Os. Beca praised Poppy and gave her another hug and kiss. Vera plopped into Beca's lap as she handed hers over. Another set of straight As and Os – but this one with a check mark indicating that the teacher wanted to talk to them. Beca knew that already – she and Chloe had received an email earlier that morning.
"Fantastic job, Vera. I am so proud of all of you."
"Bella got a B," Poppy said, her tone indicating that she knew damn well she was tattling.
Beca looked at her coolly. "Is it your place to tell me that?"
"No," Poppy said glumly.
"There's nothing wrong with a B, either," Beca told her. "And I hope you didn't tell Bella there was." Poppy scrunched her nose in a way that her mother knew well. She had very much indicated to her sister that her performance was lacking. Beca kissed her. "We'll talk about this later," she promised. "You did a great job, Poppy."
"She did," a cheerful voice said from behind her. Beca looked up to see Chloe coming down the stairs. "They all did." She leaned down and the two women kissed before Chloe continued walking down into the kitchen. "I promised we would have pizza to celebrate."
"Sounds great," Beca said with a smile. "I'm never against pizza."
"It's on the way," Chloe promised her. "Girls, can you set the table?"
"Bella doesn't have to," Poppy pouted.
"I didn't ask Bella," Chloe told her firmly, raising an eyebrow. "I asked you." Poppy sulked but moved to do as she was asked; Vera was already pulling plates from the correct cabinet with the aid of a step stool. She handed them down to Poppy.
Chloe sat on the stairs next to Beca. "You saw Bells?"
Beca nodded. "She seems upset. You think it's just the report card thing?"
"Not sure," Chloe responded. "She won't talk to me."
"I'll try after dinner," Beca promised. "What did she get a B in?"
"It's a D," Chloe corrected her. "In reading comprehension."
"What?" Beca almost spat. "She's been reading fluently since she was three."
"Yeah," Chloe said with a soft sigh. "I called Angela," she said, referring to the twins' teacher. "She can meet with us at 3:30 tomorrow. Can you make it?"
"I'll move things around so I can," Beca assured her. She pulled out her phone and texted her assistant and waited for the desired response before shoving it back into her pocket. "What about Vera? Do you know what Genevieve wants?"
"To skip her a year," Chloe said. "She's already bored. She's getting restless."
"She's so little – even for her own age."
"We can talk about it tomorrow. 4:15 – the headmistress and school psychologist will be there."
"Why do I feel like we're in trouble?" Beca asked, making a pained expression. "I didn't get called to the principal's office this much when I was in school. And I had a bad attitude." Chloe smiled and patted her knee.
"It'll be fine. No one can give you detention anymore, I promise." She stood and smiled at her wife. "I'm going to make a salad."
Beca made a face, shook her head, and threw up a hand. "There you go, ruining pizza night with something healthy." Chloe laughed and Beca kissed her once more before pulling away and heading up the stairs to their bedroom. She washed her hands and face and changed into a soft pair of old jeans, t-shirt, and one of her favorite red and black flannels.
Dinner was a lively affair with Vera and Poppy chatting excitedly about what their days had been. Bella picked at her food and said almost nothing, adding in words only when prompted by one of her mothers. Once they were finished, Chloe asked Poppy and Vera to help her with the dishes and Beca motioned for Bella to follow her.
"We're going for a walk."
"I don't want to," Bella said stubbornly.
"I didn't ask," Beca responded. She opened the front closet in the foyer and slipped into a pair of flats. Bella sighed as her mother kicked a pair of tennis shoes her way. She put them on and followed Beca out the front door.
They walked toward the neighborhood park in relative silence. After a few moments, Beca realized that her daughter was crying. She moved closer and put an arm around the little girl. They walked the rest of the way to the park and Beca found a bench and guided Bella to it. She knelt in front of the little girl and grasped her hands. "Love, what's going on?"
Bella shook her head as she wiped away tears. "Nothing."
"Those are big tears for nothing," Beca said softly. "Are you upset about your report card?"
Bella nodded as she sobbed. "I'm sorry." Beca moved up to the bench and hugged her tightly.
"Oh, love, it's okay. We'll fix it. What happened? Do you know? Were you having trouble with something?"
Bella's voice stuttered several times and she had a few false starts before she calmed down enough to talk. "I keep getting things marked wrong on my reading quizzes. But they're not wrong. But Mrs. Weston won't listen."
Beca rubbed soft circles against her back. "It's okay, love. We're figure out what's happening. She and Chloe spent extra time with Bella that night before bed, making sure she understood that – while grades were important – they weren't everything.
Despite her exhaustion, once all three girls were in bed, Beca went to her studio, sat down at her desk, and opened her MacBook. She texted Emily. I'm sending you a FaceTime invite. Answer. Benji already told me you were home. She then opened the program and dialed. After a moment, she was presented with a live feed of Emily, gazing down into her phone. From the background details, Beca could tell that Emily was in the kitchen and the phone was propped up against something on the counter while she cooked.
"Hey," Emily said nonchalantly.
Beca raised an eyebrow and smiled. "Hi, Emily. You haven't been returning my phone calls."
"I'm so sorry," she said. "I've been so busy at school – and I just keep getting distracted. I can't wait until I make tenure next month." She hadn't yet looked into the camera. Instead, her eyes were focused on whatever she was cutting. Beca could hear the knife against the glass cutting board.
"I'm sure that will be a relief," Beca responded. She paused and frowned.
"Em, what are you making at 11 at night?"
"Dinner for tomorrow," Emily answered. "I have a faculty meeting and I'm not going to get home until like 7. And we'll both be starving if I wait until tomorrow to put this together."
"You highly underestimate the power of ordering in," Beca told her.
Emily shrugged. "I don't mind doing it." Her eyes were still locked on what she was doing. She had barely glanced at the screen once.
"Emily, look at me, please." The younger woman froze at the request, a hand coming up to tug at the hair flowing over her shoulder. "Em," she said softly. "Please."
Emily looked at the camera and Beca could see the absolute panic in her eyes. Beca smiled gently at Emily, who immediately folded. "Stacie told you."
She nodded. "Stacie did. I'm so happy for you, Em. Congratulations." Beca smiled and spoke softly. "My question is – why didn't you tell me?"
Emily looked guiltily away from the screen. "Hey," Beca said, snapping her fingers. Emily looked back quickly, eyes wide. "This needs to stop," Beca told her firmly. "Honey, it was six years ago. I am not fragile – and I won't be treated like I am. What happened was awful – but I'm moving on. I've moved on. And I don't want to be cut out of your life – or a very important event in your life – because you think it will make me sad."
And then Emily started crying. "Oh shit," Beca muttered. "Em, don't cry. Please."
I'm so sorry," she said, sobbing. "I wanted to tell you. But I was worried it would make you feel bad – or be sad. And then after I didn't tell you, I was worried about you finding out that I didn't tell you."
"Emily, honey, slow down," Beca said softly. "Get a glass of water and sit down for a minute." Emily did, taking the phone with her to the breakfast nook in the corner of her kitchen. She wiped at her eyes as she fought against more tears.
"I'm so scared," she sobbed, covering her eyes.
Beca's heart broke – and she regretted not jumping on a plane. It wasn't responsible and would have thrown off the rest of the family for at least a few days, but she would give just about anything to not be having this conversation over electronic devices. "I know, honey. But it's going to be good. It's going to be great. You're going to be an amazing mom."
"You have to say that," she cried.
"No, I don't," Beca assured her. "I personally worry about Amy's and Bumper's children. I can't imagine what that household looks like on a daily basis. And I kind of think Donald can be a jackass – Katie is lucky she has Jessica to buffer that. I'm willing to admit when my friends are a little worrisome in the parenting department. You are not," she assured her. "You're going to be the best mom."
Emily's crying slowed down and eventually stopped. Once she was able, she picked up the conversation. "I'm so sorry I didn't tell you."
"You don't need to apologize," Beca said. "How far along are you? How are you feeling?"
"I think – like thirteen weeks," Emily said, "And I don't know how you did this three times. I can't eat anything. We had to stop eating meat because I can't even stand to smell it being cooked."
"Yeah, that part can suck," Beca agreed. "I was pretty lucky. I just got nauseous. I didn't actually throw up very often. And it was over by the middle of my second trimester."
Emily sniffled. "I called my mom's best friend. She told me a little bit about when my mom was pregnant with me. She had really bad morning sickness."
"It's good to have something to compare it to, sometimes," Beca told her. "But you might be different. When Stacie comes, ask her about it. And whichever doctor you end up picking."
"I don't like the way they do it. You have to see every doctor in the practice. Because you're not guaranteed your own doctor will be on call when you go into labor. I don't want a strange doctor looking down there."
"You won't care once you get to the day of," Beca promised. "But there are options. Talk to Stacie."
"I wish I lived out there," Emily said wistfully.
"You can always come out here," Beca reminded her. "But don't do it just for Stacie as your doctor. She's a pain in the ass sometimes." Emily giggled. "When is spring break?" Before they ended the conversation, Beca had planned to visit on Emily's spring break and Emily had promised she would stop trying to keep things from Beca.
Seven months later, the heels of Beca's boots clicked in a steady rhythm as she walked down a polished hallway, toward the maternity ward at Emory. Her flight had landed less than an hour before and she had made excellent time arriving at the hospital – but she was still later than she wanted to be. Benji hadn't called until Emily had been in labor for several hours, delaying Beca's departure from California. As she opened the doors to the ward, she saw Benji sitting in a chair in the hallway, looking absolutely distraught and lost.
"Hey, Benji," she said calmly, slowing to a stop in front of him. "You okay? What are you doing out here?"
"She asked me to leave," he told her, looking to the door behind him.
Beca smiled sympathetically. "It happens," she assured him. "It's just the hormones and the pain – don't worry – it won't last." She patted him on the shoulder. "I'm going to go in – I'll see what I can do about getting you back in there." He nodded gratefully and she entered the room, knocking on the open doorway. Emily was in bed, her face flushed with heat, her hair slick with sweat. A nurse was standing next to her, trying to offer words of comfort – but she was clearly in distress.
"Hey, Em," She said, walking into the room. "Sorry it took so long – I got the first flight out that I could – "
"It's okay," Emily said dryly. "Apparently the baby is planning to stay in there forever," she spat. Beca looked at the nurse for clarification and the woman smiled sympathetically.
"Emily was almost dilated to the point of pushing – but she's contracted again, so she's only at four centimeters. She's feeling a little impatient."
"I am not impatient! I am tired and in pain and I've been here for way too long!" Beca was sympathetic – she knew the younger woman had been in labor for at least 12 hours. She herself had never gone through that – all three of her children had been delivered by caesarian section – the twins by emergency, Vera planned.
"Shhh," Beca said calmly. "It's going to be fine. I need you to take a deep breath – and just try to relax."
"How in the hell – "
"Emily," Beca cut in calmly, but forcefully. "Stop. Take a deep breath." The nurse left them alone and Beca led the younger woman through several breathing exercises they had perfected over years of acapella practices. She was calmer – until another contraction hit. Beca grasped both of her hands and spoke softly but firmly. She saw what Emily was doing. "Do not push. Emily, no pushing. Try to keep breathing." She talked her through the contraction and when it was over, Emily collapsed exhaustedly against the bed.
"I'm so tired," she said in a small voice.
"I know, sweetie. I know," Beca said softly. She pushed a piece of sweat-soaked hair from Emily's brow. "Just try to stay calm for me – it's going to be fine. In a few hours, you're going to have a beautiful baby boy – and it will all be worth it."
"I wish my mom was here," she said, her eyes glistening with tears.
"She's watching," Beca promised. "I know that she is so proud of you, Em." Katherine Junk had died, young, during Emily's senior year of college- just six weeks after she'd returned from Europe. It had been a devastating blow for the excitable young woman – and she had lost a bit of her sparkle, even after recovering. Beca thought that was probably one of the reasons why they had waited as long as they had to start a family – Emily was terrified to do it without her own mom to support her. Another contraction hit and Beca held her hands and spoke to her softly, reminding her to breath. Once it was over, Emily collapsed again and the older brunette helped her roll to her side and began rubbing her lower back, using her knuckles on key pressure points.
"Is that where it hurts?" Emily nodded, tears spilling from her eyes. Beca kept kneading the aching muscles. "I'm not as good at this as Chloe."
"It helps," Emily whispered. Beca continued over the next few contractions and the nurse returned, smiling positively at Emily. Once the contraction was over, she asked Emily if she could check her dilation. Emily agreed with extreme reluctance, biting her lip and blinking back tears as the woman worked. The nurse cheerfully lifted the blankets and did what she needed to do, removing her gloves and throwing them away before going on to check Emily's vitals and the baby monitor affixed to her stomach.
Once the nurse announced that she was dilated six centimeters, she again left Emily alone with Beca. It didn't help that Emily practically growled at her. They had a few more minutes until the next contraction and Beca was trying to figure out how to make her friend more comfortable.
"Why don't I braid your hair out of the way?" She offered, after slipping a sweat-soaked lock of Emily's hair behind her ear for the third time.
"It's sweaty and gross," Emily whined.
"Which is a great reason not to have it in your face," Beca said with a soft smile. She found a brush, comb, and several bobby pins in her bag. After cajoling Emily to sit up, she slid in behind her and began working. She had just pinned the end of the braid inside a wreath of loose braids when another contraction hit. She held Emily, calmly reminding her to slow her breathing.
After it was over, Beca slid out from behind Emily and helped her lie back against the bed. "Em, can Benji come back in?" She asked.
"He's still here?"
"Of course he's still here," she said, frowning. "Where would he go?"
"I yelled at him. I was really mean."
"He understands you didn't mean it," Beca assured her. "I'll go get him for you, okay?" Emily nodded and Beca stood, leaning forward to kiss her forehead.
"I'm coming right back," Beca promised. She had been in the room for over an hour and when she returned to the hall – Jesse was with Benji, trying to distract his old friend.
Beca smiled lightly. "Benji, why don't you go back in? She's not only forgiven you – she's apologetic. You might want to capitalize on that while you can." Benji thanked her, smiled awkwardly, and walked back into the room. Beca dropped into the chair next to Jesse. She sighed, exhausted.
"Ok, I know the whole thing with the twins was kind of scary. Detached placenta and all. But I'm kind of glad I didn't have to go through all this labor crap."
"You got to be unconscious for most of the scary parts of the twins' birth," Jesse reminded her. "Best friend bleeding on a church altar? Stacie was kneeling in your blood. Your silver shoes - No. No. That was not an okay day."
"I turned out to be a pretty amazing day," Beca reminded him.
"I could have done without the worrying for your life part," he informed her.
"You're kind of a wimp," she teased. He laughed and looked back at the door.
"Benji is so excited. He's beside himself."
"Benji is just about always beside himself," Beca joked. "But yeah, he's going to be a good dad. I'm glad Emily has him. She's doing this without her mom – I know she's worried about that."
"You did it without your mom," Jesse reminded her.
Beca shrugged. "I was never close to my mom. Emily adored Katherine. There's a big difference there. And besides, I had Chloe's mom telling me what to do every day. It was wonderful," she said in mock cheer.
Jesse chuckled. "You don't hear from them much anymore, do you?"
Beca shrugged. "She wasn't too thrilled with me after I told her to fuck off at Christmas time when she and Ben came to visit. But she still talks to the girls every week – and Chloe a few times a week. And it's not like she blatantly ignores me, she just doesn't call me directly. Ben does, occasionally. I think he was amused when I told her to fuck off. I can just see that he's wanted to say it for years. It's in his eyes."
Jesse laughed. "You are a lucky woman, that Chloe didn't hold that against you."
Beca shrugged again. "She was given fair warning – Chloe even asked her to back off. Bella was having a panic attack and Lydia wouldn't leave her be. She kept ordering her to settle down – while I was trying to get Bella out of the room and somewhere private so she could have the time and space to calm down. Lydia was yelling at my child and refused to move – she was standing in between us – so, hence the order to "fuck off."
Jesse nodded. "I can see that being a justified pissing off of the mother-in-law."
Beca sighed. "I might have to eat crow and apologize eventually. If she tries to skip out on coming out this year, I'll suck it up and pretend to be sorry. But seriously? Who tries to rationalize with a ten-year-old having a panic attack?"
"Someone who has never seen a ten-year-old have a panic attack."
Their conversation ended when Benji yelled from the room. "Guys!" Benji called. "Beca!" Beca stood quickly and went back into the room, Jesse following hesitantly. Emily was sobbing.
"I don't want to do this anymore."
"Well, Legacy," Beca said calmly. "This is not something you can quit. The baby has to come out."
Emily shook her head. "No. I don't want to do this anymore."
"Yeah," Beca said shortly. "Still not how this works. Where are your drugs? Shouldn't they have given those to you?"
"I didn't want a needle in my spine," Emily explained.
"Okay," Beca said. "But I know there are other options. Nitrous Oxide." She pressed the nurse's call button and the woman appeared a moment later, smiling. "What are the pain relief options?" Beca asked.
"An epidural is still an option."
"No," Emily said, tears beginning.
"Other options?" Beca asked.
"Nitrous oxide can take off the edge," the nurse offered.
"Let's try that," Beca suggested. "Any side effects?"
"Sometimes nausea," the nurse said. "But no effect on the baby."
"I've been nauseous for the past nine months," Emily told her. "What's a few more minutes?"
"I'll bring it in," the woman said. "I'll be right back. The doctor should be by to check on you in the next twenty minutes." Before long, Emily was set up with a mask that allowed her to have the nitrous oxide when she wanted it. She liked that she had the ability to control it – and only used it as she felt contractions starting. It did take off the edge and she calmed down considerably.
Within five hours of Beca's arrival, Emily was ready to push. Beca ordered Jesse out of the room. He walked over and carefully pressed a kiss to Emily's temple.
"You're almost there, Mama," he said. "See you soon."
Once he was gone, the nurse checked Emily. The younger woman seethed while the nurse was working. Her eyes were squeezed shut and she let out a small whimper. "Don't hold your breath, Emily," the nurse told her. "Almost done." She scooted back and replaced the blanket. "You're ready to go. I will tell the doctor – she should be here any minute."
Emily wiped away tears as she sat up against the pillows. Beca handed her a tissue. "I don't remember that hurting," she said. She had been checked for dilatation several times at the end of her first two pregnancies.
"Apparently I have a high cervix or some other crap like that. It hurts. It hurt so bad the first time, I almost jumped off the table. I bled for like three days – and it hurt to walk for the rest of that day. It sucked. Why do people do this?"
"You'll understand soon," Beca promised. "You're going to be fine."
The delivery, once the doctor arrived, moved quickly. Benji couldn't stop grinning, despite the fact that Emily threatened him quite thoroughly over that grin.
Her tune changed once her baby was laid on her chest. She sighed with relief and tears welled in her eyes.
"He certainly is," Beca told her.
After a few moments, Emily felt another contraction. The nurse gently took the baby, promising to bring him right back, and the doctor helped her deliver the afterbirth.
Once she and the baby were both cleaned up a bit, she held him again. Emily's smile was impossibly large as she beamed down at her baby boy, bundled into a soft blue blanket. Benji stood beside her, his expression one of complete awe and his eyes wet with tears. "He's beautiful," Beca told them. She had motioned for Jesse to come back in and meet the newest member of the family.
"He's perfect," Emily whispered.
"That's a fine looking lad," Jesse said, gazing at him from over Beca's shoulder.
Beca leaned down to gently stroke the baby's cheek, then pressed a kiss to Emily's temple. "Excellent job," she told her. "We're going to give you some time," she said as she was pulling away. Emily's eyes widened.
"We'll be in the waiting room," she said, holding up her phone. "Text me if you need anything and I'll come right back. But you guys should take some time to yourselves." Jesse gave Benji the thumbs up and followed Beca from the room and across the hall to the waiting area.
Beca sat in one of the chairs and reclined it, rolling to her side. "I'm so tired," she told him. Jesse had already been in Georgia for the movie he was scoring – so he hadn't had to travel far to join Emily and Benji when labor started. Beca had gotten on a plane after working a ten-hour day and then having dinner with her family, playing with the girls, and putting them to bed. She hadn't made up for it on the flight – and now she was starting to pay for it.
"What do you need? Food? Coffee?" Jesse asked.
"Sleep," Beca told him. She almost purred when he found a blanket and put it over her.
"Then sleep. Give me your phone – I'll wake you up if Emily needs something." She handed over the device and was out in minutes.
Two days later, on Saturday morning, Beca and Jesse helped the new little family pack up and head home. Warren and Sheila stopped by with lunch – and several casserole dishes for the freezer that would make quick meals in the coming days and weeks.
It was mid-afternoon when Chloe and Stacie arrived with the three Beale-Mitchell girls. The three little girls were thrilled to see Beca standing in the doorway. They all launched themselves at her. She laughed as she hugged them.
"Mommy said Aunt Emily had a baby," Poppy told her.
"She did," Beca assured her. "And if you're very careful, you can probably even hold him."
"Why is it a boy?" Bella asked, wrinkling her nose.
"Because about roughly half of the world is boys – someone has to have them," Beca responded, rolling her eyes at Chloe over her daughters' heads. Chloe was laughing.
"How come Aunt Emily's baby is a boy?" Poppy asked.
"You mean, why is Aunt Emily's baby a boy?" Beca asked, correcting her.
Poppy rolled her eyes then. "Why is Aunt Emily's baby a boy?"
"It has something to do with chromosomes in your genes," Beca said. "Ask Aunt Stacie."
"It has to do with your jeans?" Bella asked. "Mama, that doesn't sound right."
"Not those kinds of jeans, you weirdo," Beca replied. "Seriously, both of you, go find Aunt Stacie. Ask her. She's upstairs." The twins ran for the stairs. It must have been quite the conversation, because they were gone for fifteen minutes. When they returned, Stacie was with them – and the other adults could tell that she was still delighted at whatever conversation had conspired.
"You didn't say genes was a homophone," Bella told Beca.
"Well, I'll have to be clearer next time. Are you ready to go investigate the mysteries of DNA now?"
"No," Bella told her. "It sounds boring. But Aunt Stacie was really excited. So, she was funny."
"She's a funny lady," Beca agreed, smiling at her old friend. Bella was leaning over into Beca's lap now, getting closer to the baby in Chloe's arms. Beca stroked her hair. "Would you like to sit here so you can see Jake better?" Bella nodded and Beca got up, allowing her daughter to sit in her seat.
They allowed the twins to each hold him for a few minutes – until their tiny arms got tired or – in Vera's case – sitting still was just too hard.
Beca sat next to Emily on the sofa, watching Stacie hold the baby while the twins studied him from either side. They were intensely curious.
"How do you do it?" Emily asked.
"How do you raise human beings. He's a human."
"He is," Beca said with an amused smile. "Figured that out, did you? It gets weirder, trust me. Bella was about three the first time I realized looking at her expressions were like looking in a mirror. They're real people, these kids."
"How do you not mess it up?"
"Oh, you will," Beca assured her. "No one is perfect, Legacy. But the important thing is to show up and try your best. To make sure the non-screw up moments outweigh the questionable ones."
"That's all?" Emily asked, watching her in amusement.
"It is as simple and convoluted as that, mama. You'll do just fine."
Thank you so much for reading! Please do leave a comment or review. It is much appreciated. I'm thinking about maybe posting another story in this universe – this one revolving around Beca and Chloe's beginnings as a couple. Let me know your thoughts on this story – and what you might like to see in the next. Thanks again for reading!