Epilogue – I've Been Watching You
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: This story was a blast to write and it was my first chapter story. I always wanted this song to be the Epilogue. I think it's fitting for the end of this journey. There are no lyrics shown within the chapter, but parts of the chapter follow the song. If you've never heard the song, please go listen to I've Been Watching You by Rodney Atkins.
Angie, thanks for sticking by me and for being a totally awesome friend. Jenny, thanks for all the work you do to help make everything readable, and not strangling me when I change things three times or more.
It had now been almost six years since Steph and I got married and adopted Milagro. I started thinking back to a year before.
We had enjoyed the time with our son, but as we began to plan the ceremony to renew our vows on our fifth anniversary, it became obvious that we wanted to expand our family. I remembered the day Steph brought up the subject. We'd been laying in bed one Saturday morning, a habit we'd picked up when Steph's mother had insisted a few months after we brought Milagro home that he spend every other Friday night at the Plum's. When my mother found this out, she'd insisted he spend the others with her at her house.
Steph sighed against my chest.
"Babe, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," she said with a sad looking smile.
"I think I know you well enough to know it's more than that. What's on your mind, carina?"
She sighed again. "I want to have a baby." She pulled away from me and tried to walk towards the bathroom, fighting tears.
I immediately jumped from the bed, wrapping her in my arms, and pulled her back to my front. "Steph…"
She interrupted my words. "I know, maybe after the ceremony. In a year or two. Now's not the best time. I already know what you're going to say."
I felt a hot tear hit my arm as I turned her around to face me. "I was going to say, I want that to."
She gasped as I crashed my lips to hers before picking her up and placing her gently back onto the bed. I removed her nightgown and showed her just how much I wanted to make a baby.
When we left for a two week second honeymoon, Steph was beginning to think she would never get pregnant. I'd told her not to worry and that it would happen when it was time. Four weeks after we returned, she came running into the conference room and jumped into my arms.
"We're having a baby!" she'd cried.
It seemed like only yesterday she'd made that declaration, but she went into labor this morning at 4:00 AM. A little over eight hours later, we welcomed Sophia Marie Manoso at 12:02 and Aiden Carlos Manoso at 12:05.
Steph insisted that I go to pick up Milagro from school and bring him to meet his new brother and sister. She also demanded that I bring her McDonalds before they killed her with hospital food. I tried to argue that McDonalds food was more likely to kill her, but the look she gave me made the argument die on my lips.
I made my way to the parking lot, when Lester yelled after me. "Are you forgetting something?" he asked.
I felt around my pockets. Wallet … yes … cell phone … yes … car keys … "Shit!" Tank drove us to the hospital, and he'd had to leave a few hours ago to take care of a problem with one of the accounts.
Lester tossed me the keys to his truck. "Milagro's seat is already in the truck, and the passenger side airbag is off."
Sometime later …
Milagro and I had just picked up the food from McDonalds and were heading towards the hospital, when he asked, "Dad, can I open my toy?"
I chuckled. "You know the rules. Nuggets first."
I looked up and saw the green light turn straight to red as a firetruck pulled out on a call. I slammed on the brakes and mumbled under my breath.
Milagro's fries flew everywhere, and his drink spilled all over his lap. "Shit!" he said, and I gaped at him.
"Son, where did you learn that word?" I questioned.
He looked at me and said, "You, Daddy, I've been watching you." He grinned really big. "I want to be just like you when I grow up."
"Your mother's going to kill me," I muttered, as I thought about Steph's reaction to hearing her five-year-old curse. "Milagro, that's a grown up word. You shouldn't be saying words like that. Please?"
"Okay, Daddy. I'm sorry." He dropped his head and pouted.
I ruffled his hair. "Hey, buddy, it's okay. Everybody make mistakes."
We pulled up to the hospital, and Milagro was jumping in his seat with excitement about the babies. I threw him over my shoulder and ran towards the elevators. He was giggling, until we got inside, and then I felt him tense up under my arm.
"Daddy?" he quietly asked.
I stopped and placed him on the floor, squatting down so we were eye level. "What's the matter, son?"
"What if the babies don't like me?"
"Hermano, of course the babies will like you. You're their big brother. Just think of all the wonderful things that you get to teach them."
He was fighting tears as he hugged me. "But what if … what if you and mommy don't love me anymore?"
Now we were getting somewhere. I'd been worried that he might feel this way. "Milagro, of course we will always love you. Nothing in the world we change that. I promise you that."
"But … the babies came out of mommy's tummy. You brought me home from Haiti."
"We did, but your mother and I chose you. That will always make you special. We love you just as much as we do your sister and brother."
After a little more reassurance, I took him upstairs to see the new additions to our family. Steph motioned for him to climb on the bed with her, and pulled him into a tight hug, kissing his cheeks and rubbing his nose in an Eskimo kiss. Steph got Milagro situated on the bed, and I went and picked up Sophia, placing her in Steph's arms before picking up Aiden. I placed him in Milagro's arms and helped him hold his baby brother.
"It's okay, little brother. I'll take care of you," he said as he kissed his head.
A few days later …
We were getting Milagro ready for bed, and the twins were asleep in the bassinets in our bedroom. He'd just finished brushing his teeth, when he looked up at us.
"I've got to go do something," he said as he took off towards our bedroom.
We followed after him, and found him on his knees praying next to his siblings. We listened to his words. "And, help me grow big and strong." He ended his prayer with thanks to God. "Thank you for my brother and sister, and for giving us the best mommy and daddy in the whole wide world." He paused before quickly adding.
He stood up, and Steph gave him a hug before I picked him up, carrying him to bed.
"Son, I want you to remember something. You'll be big and strong soon enough, but you'll always be my little man."
"But I want to grow up and be like you," he pouted.
I smiled. "Just stay little for a little while longer. Okay? Milagro, we already are alike, you know?"
He looked at me with questions in his eyes.
"We like to fix things, and hold Mommy's hand. We play sports, and like going on hikes …"
He interrupted and said, "Yeah, but when I'm big, we'll both be strong like Superman. And I'll know what to do, cause I've been watching you.
I chuckled and pulled him into a hug before tucking him in and turning out the light. I walked out to the living room, picked Steph up, and placed her in my lap. "Thank you, Babe."
"For what?" she questioned.
"For our family."
And they lived happily ever after.
A/N: I would just like to thank all you lovely reader's one more time. I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into their future.