WHEN IT RAINS
Illiandyanndra

Stephanie Plum

Pairings: Stephanie/Ranger & Merry Men(Core Team)

Spoilers: Anything & everything up through Sizzling Sixteen is fair game…I can never remember what book what stuff happens in.

^^Thoughts^^

^Spoken Aloud Thoughts^

"Speech"

AN: Yes Spanish is still English in Italics. I cannot speak it, nor write it, so I won't torture you with any attempts.
Please take a moment and Check out My new Yahoo Group: Illy & Anni the link is available on my profile.

AN2: Thank you to all my reviewers. Make me smile; tell me your favorite funny line from this story. Or tell me your favorite moment from it


Lester PoV

Well it has been confirmed, and it was officially official. We're gonna have a little Bombshell, or a mini Rangeman in eight or nine months. Beautiful called us all together at the house as soon as they left the doctor's office. Considering that she'd had to go without for a little over a day and that when she'd tried to eat her favorite breakfast her stomach had rebelled spectacularly, I offered to meet her in the parking lot of her doctor's office to give Bobby a hand in getting her started on the road to satisfaction. She turned me down flat. "Nympho I may well be, but I'm sticky and yucky from the stuff they use on their gloves in there. I'm not having sex until I've had a shower, that's just gross." She chided me.

To which I replied, "You know I'm damn good in the shower." Of course then she made me prove it. You know that big ass shower really will fit all eight of us, even if someone is on their hands and knees. Fuck, Beautiful looks hot as hell when she's on her hands and knees, her sexy little ass in the air. Yup, I'm damn good in the shower and if her screams of pleasure were any indication, so were Tank, Carlos, Bobby, and Hal. Hector and Cal both waited until we were out of the shower, Cal dried her off and sat her to the teacher desk in the school play area. He made love to her with his hands and mouth as her head lolled over the edge of the desk. If we could film Stephanie Michelle Plum's reactions as her body is being thoroughly loved, we could make a fortune. The sounds of her pleasure were so beautiful and so intense, that it didn't take any time at all before we were all piled in the big bed making love to our girl over and over again.

Despite what most people think, our relationship is very much domesticated. It's not what most people would think of as normal, but it works for us. We don't have the regular nine to five lifestyle. Yet we manage to eat dinner together all eight of us at least three or four nights a week. We date our girl, separately, all together and in twos and threes. We make love to her, and increasingly to each other. At least me, Cal and Hector, anyway, I think Bobby might be swaying our way too…maybe. He's starting to give us looks that makes me wonder if he isn't considering it. We run our business. Since Stephanie took over background checking our clients and doing client development, we've increased our client base by twenty-five percent, and they are all big money patrôns. And they aren't anyone we have to worry about them trying to ruin us, or use us to further their own bottom lines. In the last few weeks, before she knew for sure, she has also run twelve successful distractions that have net the company over five million dollars.

We've actually been thinking of expanding the distraction unit; building it to become a real arm of the Apprehension department. Perhaps it's time we start expanding it to the Boston and Miami offices as well. Distractions are a hell of a lot safer than fighting big, dumb mutherfuckers with more balls than brains. Perhaps now is the right time to look into that, Beautiful is not going to be doing those for a while and we'll need to find someone to take those on for her…might as well populate a new department at the same time. If we could find four to five women who cover the spectrum of types and maybe a bisexual male or two…I forced that thought to the side, with a mental note to bring it up at a core team meeting soon, and I went back to my original stream of thought. We were having a baby.

Which meant that we now had to wonderful, sure to be pleasure filled, experience of telling our families. Oh the joy, oh the rapture…not! We finally decided that we would simply get this whole announcing everything to the world at one time. So we rented out the big room at Rossini's for a celebratory dinner. A dinner that somehow ended up including the invitation of ALL of our families, so the company jet had had quite the workout over the last few days. We flew in Bobby's mom, Both of Hal's mothers and his older sister, Tank's mother, Ms. Lavonia, Cal's mom and brother; we'd had to fly up Julie's whole family to be able to have her here. Thankfully Rachel, Ron and their kids were being kept busy having dinner at Pino's, Kloughn had been kind enough to take them and his three girls out to eat while Julie attended the 'massive family meet and greet'. Beautiful had taken care to ensure that he understood that he was to bring them here for dessert since they were all part of the family. She told him that she just didn't want the smaller children around if anything went south. Kloughn isn't a bad guy, I've gotta get him in the damn gym though…he has too many daughters to be all doughy and shit. How the hell is he supposed to scare the shit out of whatever knuckleheads they try to bring home. And Angela and Mary Alice have my Beautiful's eyes, they're gonna have dudes on their tails like gangbusters.

My thoughts turned back to the bebe in Beautiful's belly and all the drama the little one was causing. Apparently before the doctor's appointment, Beautiful had barely dealt with any morning sickness at all. But the second the doctor told her for sure, her belly had started getting' unhappy at the weirdest times'. However, what our woman won't admit was that the times are really ones when she goes somewhere that she knows she can't eat. She walked into Pino's and the smell didn't agree with her. Fortunately Eddie was there when she blew chunks all over Big Dog. Funniest thing is that he just looked at her and told her that her throwing up on him should get him at least honorary Harem membership, put him on the reserve team or something. Eddie had us rolling as he told us all about it. A couple of days later, she snuck out with Lula to go to the Tasty Pastry. Thankfully that time she sent Lula in, but one bite of her favorite Boston Creme, and we had to get that car detailed. Beautiful swears that Ranger called Abuela and had her do some 'hoodoo' to make sure that she couldn't eat her favorite foods. He didn't, but it sure would have been funny if he had.

In addition to the food restrictions, and the implementation of prenatal yoga, swimming and martial arts; the baby was also wreaking havoc with Beautiful's hormones. Great news is that her boobs have gotten a full cup size bigger already and they seem to grow some more every day. Good news is that her sex drive is even bigger and she comes even easier, might have something to do with the fact that every one of her erogenous zones are super-sensitized…SUPER-sensitized. Bad news is that when I say her drive is even bigger, I mean it's at least three or four times stronger. We've had to start sleeping in shifts, because, in addition to her increased sex drive, lately her energy is ramped up too. There are eight of us, at any given time during the night we make sure that at least two of us are available to take care of our woman. I never thought I would see the day when all eight of us would have to take to napping during the day. Hell, I thought this wasn't even supposed to start happening for a few more weeks. Everything I read said that we weren't gonna have to encounter the sex fiend pregnant lady until during the second trimester.

Don't laugh, I read everything I could get. Put all those books on my kindle and locked that bitch down with a ten key encryption. But those 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' books were the bomb.

Cal PoV

We are still in the first trimester, and Angel is already killing us. I mean, don't get me wrong. It is amazingly cool to be with a woman who is always ready, willing and able, even a little demanding. But I'm pass by tired. Lester keeps grumbling that he thought we wouldn't have to deal with pregnancy hormones until the second trimester. I'm proud that he knows that, but I don't have the heart to tell him that these aren't pregnancy hormones, just what Angel calls 'lack of jelly donut' hormones. I shudder in a mixture of horror and anticipation at the wonder of what will happen when those two forces collide. I really don't know if all eight of us will survive it, but hell, what a way to go.

We managed to get everyone not only to Trenton, but all of the family members to the restaurant on time. However, once we were all settled around the table, I don't think any of us knew what to say next. Finally Frank Plum stood and took command. "Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Francis Alberto Plum, Stephanie's father. We are the family members of a very special set of people. I believe that they have gathered us together to tell us something but first I'd like to make sure that we are all on the same page." He took a deep breath and continued. "Your sons are all involved in a polygamist relationship with my daughter. They have been for the last several months. Her mother and I have known almost all along, and hopefully if anyone in the room hasn't already had this conversation with their loved one it is the only one in the room under twenty-one." He looked over at Julie, "Sweety, I'm sorry for having to blurt that out if your dad didn't tell you already, but he and the others looked like they were about to start a very mature round of 'you tell your mom first' and we'd have been here all night. There is a hockey game from the west coast starting a little after midnight that I'd like to actually be home in time to see."

"Don't worry Mr. Plum, Ranger and Stephanie told me that Stephanie's capacity to love is so big that it takes and Uncle Tank and Primo Bobby and Primo Lester and Hal and Cal and Mr. Hector to love her equal cause they are a little damaged. But Steph is helping heal them." Julie said with a small innocent smile. "I don't know why he seemed like he expected me not to understand that. Stephanie loved me enough to risk her life for me even though she had never met me just because of how much she loves Ranger. Not quite sure how the whole sex thing works for that many people…but I'm thinking that is one of those 'you'll understand when you're older' things."

"Young lady, you can understand when you're thirty just like your stepmother and not one day sooner." Helen Plum said fiercely.

"Wow, Mrs. Plum, if you'd said that in Spanish, I'd have thought you were my Abuela." Julie joked.

Helen blushed. But it was Isabella who answered. "Well she was correct when she called Estefania your stepmother. She is for all intents and purposes. Therefore Helena would be another grandmother in a way."

"Poor kid, two mothers, two fathers…four sets of grandparents…three great-grandmothers…and a boat load of over protective uncles and cousins." My biological brother Simpson said with a laugh. "You will never understand. Something tells me that you're never going to get to date."

"She will to." Our angel defended Julie's right to grow up.

"There will however be rules. Rules that Ron and I agreed on long ago." Ranger said sternly.

"Oh I can't wait to hear these." Stephanie muttered.

Ranger smirked. "He or she can be no more than eighteen months older than Julie until she reaches twenty –five. Then he or she can be no more than thirty-six months older. They must have a Rangeman background check come back completely clean, nothing blacked out or redacted. They must also meet with, and be approved by, Ron and myself or a member of the Rangeman Miami leadership team before they may take her out. In addition she will have pepper spray, a tracker and a panic button on her at all times during any of the aforementioned dates. And she must black belt in the martial art of her choice before she may begin dating at all. Oh and she will be monitored by a Rangeman on any said dates."

Steph rolled her eyes, "Why don't you just save time and energy and chuck the poor girl into a convent now? While I do applaud your political correctness of including the possibility that Jules could be gay, who in their right mind is going to jump through all those hoops to date somebody?"

"Someone who is truly serious about her." Lester jumped in. "I wanted to be able to question them under Sodium Pentothal or waterboarding…but that got vetoed as being technically illegal and/or dangerous."

"Ok, I'm putting my foot down now. You will not be putting this baby through all of that. I will allow the age limits and the trackers and panic buttons as reasonable, but the rest of that is just complete over kill." She argued.

Of course we all started arguing with her. The seven of us men were just fine with the security measures Ranger had in place for Julie. However Steph was determined to rewrite them and not just for the baby, she thought Julie should have more freedom too. Suddenly the room was pierced by a loud, shrill whistle. "Did you just say baby?" Lester's father said with a huge smile.

"Of course she said baby. The Putana knows that she cannot keep both Lester and Carlito and their money without fully trapping them in her web." Jacinta Santos sneered. Her husband threw her a look that would have shut up Chris Tucker, but she didn't look apologetic in the least

"Madre, that is the last time you will call Stephanie anything even close to that nasty." Lester's voice was ice cold and steel hard. "That is, in fact, the last time you will call her anything other than her name."

Helen Plum gave Lester's mother a harsh glare. "What, exactly, did you call my daughter?"

"Mom, it's okay." Steph actually seemed almost unperturbed. "It is officially official. I am cosmically incapable of having a mother in law like me."

"That is not true, Sweety," one of Hal's mothers, Mona, spoke up. "You've got our son stepping outside of his safe, stodgy little box. So Cheryl and I will always be on your side. We were so very worried that he'd end up being as much of a judgmental old codger as his grandfathers were. Our Dads kicked us both out of their 'good Christian homes' when we told them we were in love."

"Wow, guess the misses the whole 'judge not' and 'God is love' portions of Christ's message." Edna Mazur muttered loudly.

Cheryl Richards cackled. "You know what makes it even funnier; they could argue for hours over which of them knew the bible better, but in the end…they both missed the most important message."

My mom just gave my Angel a little smile. "I don't know you well enough not to like you. You seem like a truly kind person, and from the stories my son has told me, you are definitely a force to be reckoned with." She took a deep breath before she continued. "I know why my sons haven't wanted to have children, their Daddy was a bastard and I'm a weakling. But everything I know about you tells me that you, you're strong. I'd be pretty honored if, no matter who the baby's actual father is, if you'll, and your mom, of course, will let me play grandmother."

Stephanie had started to cry just enough that she couldn't get the words out. I was almost surprised that it was Bobby's mother who spoke up. When Frank had made sure that we'd all told our families about our 'novel' relationship, the look on her face had expressed more than mild distaste. "We'll just all be grandmas…but I claim the nickname 'Glamma' here and now."

That brought several chuckles from around the table. The tension broke, finally. Well except that between Ranger & Lester's mothers and their grandmother and fathers. Finally Isabella Ramos-Medeiros and Grandma Mazur had had more than enough. The two older women spoke to each other for a long moment before Abuela Isabella stood and said, "Jacinta, Lucia, Edna and I would like to speak with the two of you outside." Her tone brooked no argument. I'm a grown man, I make a damn good living protecting people and apprehending criminals and I've been in twenty three different war zones, literal war zones…and if Abuela Isabella had given me that cold a look and spoke to me in that cold a tone to me, I'd have wet myself. It was that harsh. And her daughters actually looked for a second like they were going to object.

But then Grandma Edna chimed in. "Unless you'd prefer that we say what we want to say right here and now, in front of all of everyone."

Lucia Medeiros Manoso looked at the small, little old white woman. Unlike those of us who knew better, there was no fear in her eyes. "You know nothing of me…there is nothing you can say that would cause me any harm."

"Perhaps, Edna doesn't know you, but I do my darling daughter. Perhaps it is time that Carlito and Lester learn the true stories of how their mothers met and married their fathers?" Isabella said threateningly.

I have never seen two grown women hop to their mother's command that fast in all my life, and I have seen Steph and Val when Helen called them to the table for dessert. The four women exited the small room we were dining in. As soon as they left, their husbands tried to apologize to the rest of us for their behavior. "It is hard for them to understand the closeness between Lester and Carlos…it has always been this way." Canto Manoso said with a long suffering sigh.

"Jacinta hates that Lester is closer to Carlito than he is to his own brother or sister. Or to his mother." Cayo Santos told us honestly.

"Remember when Lester came home from kindergarten proudly displaying the first list of words he has spelled completely correctly all by himself." Canto began only to dissolve into laughter.

"His name was first, followed by Carlito, Abuela and only then did he have Mami. Jacinta was so angry she tried to throw it into the trash. Lester wouldn't allow it. He gave it to his Abuela for her scrapbook." Cayo finished for his brother in law. "Now, Estefania, Canto and I are fully behind you. You have our full support. Since you have come into their lives, we have seen our sons more often than we did in the entire decade before. Never doubt that for that alone we love you." He said sincerely.

Again I found myself surprised by the fact that Bobby's mom cosigned the statement. "I've gotta admit, when Robert first told me about this arrangement, I was…I felt a lot like those poor women out there. But the truth is that the time is long since passed since I can tell my son how to live his life. So I went online and I looked you up, Stephanie. First I found out about your first husband and I wondered how any woman could bring herself to marry a grown ass man who called himself 'Dickie'. Then I read about how quickly the two of you divorced. Then I had to dig and dig and dig to find out the reason for the quick turnaround. There is a blog of women, all anonymous, who hail you as a heroine of the 'Burg…whatever that means. But they told the background of why you divorced so soon after getting married. I have to tell you, my opinion of you went up. If that had been me, I'd still be sitting in somebody's jail cell."

"Preach, woman." Mona Richards laughed. "Double homicide with a smile on my face."

Bobby's mom and the more vocal of Hal's mothers exchanged high fives over the table. Helen looked like she would have loved to sink under the table…we all pretty much knew that the Dickie Marriage had been her fault. "Sorry, anyway as I was saying. I read all the news articles about Bombshell the Bounty Hunter and after I cut through more BS innuendo and insinuation than Fox News…I found the story of a fierce young woman who was smart, and savvy and strong. A young lady with integrity and cunning. Do I wish that you belonged to my Bobby and him to you alone? Yeah, I kind of do…but I don't want him dying trying to keep up with a nymphomaniac or have you get sick and slowly killing yourself trying to sublimate your nature or you bringing something incurable home when it all got to be too much. I guess I said all that to let you know that you have another mother in law who is truly in your corner…unless you hurt my baby…then all bets are off." She finished with a laugh.

Stephanie had tears running down her face and couldn't seem to get her words past the lump in her throat. "Thank you." She finally got out. "It means a lot that you can see past what they write about me in the papers. Most people see those articles and think I'm just an incompetent bumbling idiot."

"No." Cheryl Richards spoke her voice quiet, and yet so intense that it carried throughout the small space. "Those people may think they know you...but I think that everyone at this table can honestly say they know you far better, even those of us who are just meeting you tonight. From my Hal I know that you are strong and caring…that you stand up for those who aren't. I know that you are willing to put yourself in harm's way to help others. So often when men do that…they are lauded as heroes, but when a woman does it, it is because she is either selfish or hates herself. But the truth is that there are just people we love more than ourselves. I love my children. I would give my life for them. I love my Mona and I will always put her life and happiness above my own. There is nothing wrong with that."

The fact that I spoke up at all in mixed company surprised everyone there…even myself. "Thank you. Stephanie is like that. She puts her family before herself, and she puts us before herself. Angel always worries about not just us, but all her 'Merry Men'. She takes care of us…some of us have never had anyone outside of our blood kin, and in a lot of cases not even them, who are willing to care about us like Steph. Long before we got together, if one of us ended up in the hospital, she would go out of her way to come and visit us…even though she hates those places with a vengeance."

"Oh darlin' then you'd better hope for a vaginal delivery…otherwise you'll be stuck in your own version of hell for four days to a whole week." Hal's sister, Myra told Stephanie with a grin. She was a labor and delivery nurse. I know that Bobby was itching to talk to her. Her teasing statement broke the lingering tension.

Unfortunately it was broken again when Mrs. Manoso and Mrs. Santos returned to the room followed by their mother and Angel's scary grandma. "Stephanie, we both owe you an apology. We are being judgmental shrews and you have every right to keep us from our grandchildren…we only ask that you please give a chance to make it up to you before this baby is born." Lucia said sincerely.

Jacinta stood there wringing her hands until Lucia poked her, hard. "Luc is right. You don't deserve our condemnation. And we definitely shouldn't be calling you names and behaving as if we were without sin ourselves."

There was still a tension in the air that was grating on the nerves of everyone there, but in the end it wasn't Angel who broke it. "Ok so now that apologies have been rendered and I believe accepted, Stephanie…what will you be doing now that you're no longer going to be bounty hunting?" Helen asked. It seemed like a good question, and to most people it was even innocent. I think that all of us who knew them though, we heard the almost sickening joy in her tone.

Stephanie exchanged looks with Ranger and again with Lester. We'd only made the determination of her new, amended job description earlier that day. "Mom, just because I'm not actively going out after the FTAs myself, I'm still the head of the Apprehension Research department and the VP of Financial affairs."

"Oh, well, I guess I just supposed that you'd…" she trailed off.

"For God's sake, Helen, she isn't going to morph into a 'Burg/Stepford wife just cause she got knocked up. Did you miss the sixties and seventies? These days 'Sisters are doing it for themselves'." Edna laughed at her daughter. "You've been doing so much better lately, but times like this; I swear your father dropped you on your head."

"Besides, if she does miraculously morph into a Stepford wife, I'll never get to take my grandson fishing." Frank groused.

"Daddy, I'm trying…but I hope that you won't be too disappointed if the baby is a girl." Angel said worrying her bottom lip.

Frank gave his baby girl a smile that immediately eased the worry in her eyes. "I might not have said it enough, but you have never, and you couldn't ever be a disappointment to me. If your baby is a girl, well, I'll bet dollars to donuts that you will let me take her fishing." The censorious glare he threw his wife allowed the whole table to know that he'd have taken Stephanie if he could have.

Of course, the tears came, happy tears. The rest of the dinner was filled with them. For the first time I really didn't mind seeing my Angel cry.

Stephanie Point of View

So I don't know how long I can stand being pregnant. I mean, okay the bigger boobs are definitely nice. The constant great skin and my hair behaving for more than two days in a row is awesome…but I don't know if anyone knows this about me, but I am so not a patient person. And pregnancy is basically just a study in patience. You have to have patience to make it through all the hormonal mood change things, and I'm not just talking about the fun ones either. I can take exhausting all seven of my lovers…it's a little embarrassing but it's even more funny. I can even take the crying at the drop of a hat, at a gather the family together and share our amazing news dinner, because my lovers' mothers gave me love and acceptance in a way I'd never felt it before. But I have to draw the line somewhere, and the line is drawn at the stupid Extra gum commercial that isn't even sad, just really, really sweet, but it makes me cry anyway. Then you have to have patience to actually get through how long you have to wait to actually have the baby. Really, I've already figured out the whole mother's love thing, I totally love the baby already and he or she is only the size of a jelly bean…unless its Tank's then it is the size of a thumb or something. So I love my jelly bean, but I can't meet my baby for another millennia of months. It is driving me crazy.

As we rode to Dr. DiBenditti's office, to find out if all the dietary restrictions had been needed, I couldn't help but think that I'd really not has as much trouble following those rules as I would have thought. I hadn't even tried to go to Tasty Pastry or Cluck-in-a-Bucket in the last month. To be honest, I hadn't even had a really bad Pino's craving…and the one little one I did have was just for the marinara sauce he puts on the meatball subs. The thought of the sub itself didn't even pique my interests. Granted, I think this was the healthiest I've ever been in my whole live, and I couldn't button my jeans. But the bean was totally worth it. I was accompanied on today's visit by both Tank and Hal…and, of course, Dr. Fate himself. Bobby and Maddie had reached an agreement last visit, if Bobby brought in his records for me during the four weeks between each appointment, she would amend my file and all I would need to do was the lab work. So my visits were super quick. I still had to strip and let Dr. Di look at my whoohah, but I was determined not to whine about it.

Tank and Hal were both there because they would be the most likely candidates for father if the baby was very large. Cal would have been in the running as well if he hadn't chosen not to have children. His mother and brother had pulled me aside and talked to me while they were in town for the dinner. I could honestly say that I could understand why he chose not to pass on his father's genes. There were times in the past when if I was just Helen, I'd have had some similar thoughts…but I've never been just Helen. I'm Frank, and Edna, and some Harry, I'm a lot Grandpa Plum, and even some Gramma Plum…but only a little bit of Helen. I'll admit though it definitely killed off some weird little bit of unrecognized, involuntary resentment…I guess for taking himself out of the running for something I didn't even know or think I wanted until long after it was gone. Hell I hadn't even known Cal when it had been a possibility. The human mind is a strange thing.

Talking with Simpson and Clarissa had also led to a late night discussion between Cal and I. His family wanted to move to Trenton to be close to the baby. Cal both loved and hated the idea. He loved his family, but he was very worried that he loved them best from a far. I reminded him that the more of my JLS that had family in the area, the less often we'd have to have dinner with my family. And while I love them, and my mother was a lot better…the simple fact was that they hadn't gotten any saner. Grandma had been arrested in the last month, both times for pinching the backsides of men she thought were Rangemen. Once of them had been a security guard at a club that doesn't utilize Rangeman and the second had been a male model who, admittedly, was almost hot enough to be a Merry Man. Thankfully the security guard had been willing to drop the charges for a shot at being a Rangeman. The Model had ultimately been worried that the AARP might get up his ass if he didn't drop his charges. Despite her promise that my men were safe from her still dexterous fingers, they still avoided her whenever possible. The thought that we'd be rotating family dinners convinced Cal to give his mom and brother the go ahead to move. I think it also has Tank working on getting his mom to move her too. To be honest, I'd love it if she did. She runs a daycare out of her home…who would be a better nanny for my jelly bean than one of his or her grandparents.

Simpson had already scheduled an appointment to interview with the Trenton PD. They were currently down a homicide detective since one was not supposed to be allowed on the force with a dishonorable discharge from the military. Then there was the fact that Uncle Mickey really had not liked the fact that Morelli had interfered were he'd been told not to. The fact that he held Daddy and the rest of us from finding MA quicker than we had that night had officially been Morelli's cause for termination. The fact that he had held Daddy and the rest of us from finding MA even more quickly that horrible night is the reason that in the last few weeks, more and more Morelli's have been selling up and moving out of the 'burg.

As Maddie came back in with Dr. DiBenditti, I was forced to pay attention. "Now, we're going to do a transvaginal ultrasound today. That means that the good Doctor," Maddie gestured ala Vanna White, "Will be using a long, thin probe to check out the baby and try to see exactly what's going on in there." She gave me a wicked grin. "My vote is that you've actually just got a regular size baby, and the rest of that pudge is the revenge of all the Tasty Pasty you've stolen from the rest of us over the years."

I just rolled my eyes. I knew she was joking, the only person who ate more Boston Cremes than me was…well, Lula, but the only person who ate more of them than Lula was Maddie. Pretty sure if you cut her she doesn't actually bleed, she just oozes cream filling. I told her so, and felt avenged. She laughed and told me with total honesty that I may have thought I had gotten the last word, but she was the one who controlled the gel warmer for the regular ultrasounds. Knowing her as I did, she was probably planning to put that stuff in the freezer at least once during the whole pregnancy journey, all things considered it would probably be twice or three times. She owes me for more than a few comments over the years…if she remembers them.

"Yes, shall we take care of this? I would really like to know if we need to be concerned about fetal size." Dr. DiBenditti said with a slightly concerned grin.

I was already half naked and in position. I may have my own sexual issues, but this situation is the least sexy thing I've ever experienced. But before I knew it, my uterus was up on the TV screen. "Is that…my baby?" I asked. It looked like a blob on the screen. It didn't look like the ultrasound picture I had seen when I googled them.

"Actually, those are your babies." Dr. D chuckled. He pointed to two different blobules on the screen.

"Fraternal twins…that means two different eggs were fertilized by two different sperm…in your case it is even possible that each baby has a different biological father. Though I know it doesn't matter, they have seven daddies." Maddie jokingly explained.

"I thought babies are like little jellybeans." I muttered.

"Yeah, they are…at first. From this ultrasound, I'm going on record as saying that right now you're officially on your thirteenth week. Notice both babies are about the size of a largish peach. One fetus is a little larger than the other, but that may well just be because they differ in gender." He explained.

Unfortunately I was still way back behind the 8 ball. "So Two?"

"Yeah Plum…two." Maddie said slowly, as if she were talking to someone with a mental deficit…to be honest right that moment, she kind of was. "Good news, you officially have an excuse to go shopping immediately. Because you are going to start showing for real very soon."

"Yes. That is true. While you're at it, go ahead and start investing in flats, from now on, no heels higher than two inches." Dr. DiBenditti warned. "You'll also want to stick to the diet I gave you before, but add enough fruits, vegetables and lean meats to increase your caloric intake by another two to three hundred calories a day."

I was totally aghast. "Wait, you were serious about that…I haven't worn flats since my first communion." I gasped. "Even my work boots have a little bit of a heel."

"Well, I suppose it is a damn good thing that ballerina flats are all the rage. Weren't you and Lula just talking about that yesterday?" Bobby interjected.

I grumbled. I hate flats…except sneakers. But I guess I can do it for my baby. Dr. DiBenditti asked me something that he had to repeat because I was mentally railing about the injustice of having to wear flats for the next five months. "I asked," he said calmly, "if you were having any trouble sticking with the healthy foods I'd prescribed last visit."

I shrugged. "It's kind of weird how easy it has been. These guys have been trying to get me to eat healthier for years, but suddenly it's no problem to not eat sweets or fatty snacks. I even was craving Tastycakes and stuff to a certain extent right up until my last visit, and then…they pretty much went poof. And when I tried to eat them just because I can be a little stubborn, I didn't even really mind that I got sick."

"Sounds like you just find it easier to eat well since the babies are relying on you for their wellbeing…I see it a lot with expectant mothers. Often they are able to carry that change over into their lives best if they breastfeed as well." He told us with a smile.

Tank, Hal and Bobby were all smiling so big, I'm sure that it hurt their faces. But it was the highest ranking officer in the room who asked. "When can we know the genders of the twins? When they are like this they can be different right?"

"Yes, they can have differing genders. I can tell you, if they are willing to cooperate, during Stephanie's next ultrasound which we'll schedule for the appointment after next."

"Is there any chance we can go ahead and make that appointment today so that we can clear all of our schedules?" Hal asked hopefully.

Maddie gave him a little grin, "that depends…are there any more like you back home?"

Hal blushed a bright red. "I only have a sister, sorry."

I thought about it for a second. "Yeah, but is Junior seeing anyone?" I asked the three of my men present. He was nicknamed Tank Junior, because he was younger and somewhat smaller…that's like comparing a big huge tank, with a medium sized huge tank. I threw a glance over at my old friend. "He's just two years younger…he's black though…"

"Oohh…I've never been with a black guy before. Is he as sweet as your guys have been?" Maddie asked with a little smirk.

"Junior's a good man." Bobby assured her. "As of his last physical, he was also single."

"Little Girl, you're turning into quite the matchmaker." Tank chuckled after the doctor and Maddie left the exam room for me to get dressed to go. "First you hook Woody up with Russell, hear they're next date is date number four…"

"He had better be good in bed. If he isn't, I will lose all kinds of street cred." I said seriously.

"Baby, you're a white girl from the 'Burg, you don't have any street cred." Bobby taunted back.

I rolled my eyes. "I managed to get the hottest seven men in existence as my lovers. I managed to hook two of my friends up with guys on the very next rung down the latter of hotness, and about to do it again with a third…trust me when I say that I have all the street cred a woman needs."

Before they could come up with a return comment, Maddie walked back in with two appointment cards. "Ok, we'll see you in four weeks for a regular checkup." She handed Bobby the first card, "and in eight for the ultrasound." She handed Hal the second small card. Then she pulled a card out of her bra…lucky bitch has been a very full C since sophomore year of high school. "And this is my number for your friend." She handed that card to me. "If he is as hot as your guys, I'll forget about that little incident in sixth grade when you let me take the heat for the tapioca pudding in Joyce Barnhart's bra."

"You brought the pudding to school." I defended.

"Yeah, but Mary Lou was the one who distracted Joyce and you were the one to actually put it in her bra." Maddie reminded me.

I rolled my eyes. "I still don't think you should have gotten into any trouble anyway. She loved all the attention she got walking around the school in her tight shirt with no bra on…dirty skank."

"Agreed." Maddie countered. "But I still had to serve detention over it."

"Fine. Junior, or someone equal level of hotness and good guy quality…any other requests?"

Maddie looked thoughtful, "Actually, think you can keep it to a black guy or maybe Latino…" she murmured. "That's not racist, is it?"

Tank laughed, "It's not racist, but it can be addictive." He teased her.

"I'm willing to take that chance. God knows that the guys I've dated in the past have all been duds. In the words of Edna Mazur…lord help me I'm quoting Steph's crazy grandmother… 'Forget wealth…it's just as easy to fall in love with a stud as it is to love a dud'." Maddie intoned.

"What, when did she say that?" I asked.

"When she was in her a few years ago trying to get the good Doctor to give her a prescription for Mr. Happy Get Happy pills for some guy she was seeing at the time. Those were her words of advice to me and Gina when we were bitching and moaning that we couldn't find anything but assholes to date." We all shared a laugh. "I not kidding. I should have tracked your ass down then and made you hook me up with one of the men in black then. Now get, I need this room for the next preggo lady to force my damn biological clock into hyperdrive."

We hit the door running, After all we had some news to share.


I hope that you enjoyed it. I had to put it out before I spent another month editing it, only to still be unhappy with it.

Thanks and have a great day,

Illiandyandra