The next day….
“Veronica, you’re going to be late for work,” called out Tyler as he knocked on the bathroom door.
Finally, the toilet flushed. “Just a minute,” came the voice from the other side of the door. “Oh god …” she groaned, then he heard the sound of her gagging.
“Ronnie, are you okay?” yelled Tyler, suddenly very worried. When no reply came, he banged on the bathroom door again. “Let me in!”
The sound of the lock turning eased his panic until he saw his fiancée’s face. “Oh my God Ronnie, I’m calling BCL and telling them you’re sick and won’t be coming in.”
“No, don’t you dare. I’ll be okay … it’s no big deal, I just ate something that didn’t agree with me. I don’t have a fever and I feel better now.”
“You never get sick. You’re the healthiest person I know. Something’s wrong. Besides, we both ate the same thing.”
“It probably just didn’t agree with me.”
“I’m calling the doctor; I heard you in there, you were dry heaving.”
“Just give me a few minutes and if I’m not better in a couple of hours, then I’ll let yo … ohhh -“ She quickly turned and went back into the bathroom and dry-heaved into the toilet again.
She washed her face when she was finished, and Tyler took her to bed. “I’m calling the doctor now,” he said, “this isn’t normal.”
“Fine,” she finally agreed.
Tyler left a message and a few minutes later, the phone rang. “She’s been throwing up, non-stop all morning …. no, she doesn’t have a fever … we ate the same thing … no … oh … okay bye. Veronica are you feeling any better?” he asked after he hung up.
“Not really, what did he say?”
“Just a minute, I need to get you hydrated.” Truly, he did, but he also needed a minute to think. What if? Will she be okay? Will I be okay? Those thoughts kept running through his head unanswered while he made her a tray. Yes, he decided as he walked back to the bedroom, we’ll be okay, we have to be.
He sat the tray on the bed. “Thank you,” said Veronica, ”so was that all? Just that I needed fluids?”
“Not exactly. The Doc did say to try to get crackers and electrolytes down you, but we didn’t have any crackers, just muffins, anyway, he said if you aren’t better tomorrow and still aren’t running a fever to do … to do a pregnancy test … and if it was negative to take you to the ER so they can do some more tests and rehydrate you, but if it’s positive to make an appointment with an OB-GYN.”
“Pregnancy test?” she said and quickly sat up, “Fishsticks Tyler, I can’t possibly be pregnant. I got my period last month, it was really light, but that happens if I work out a lot, so I’m sure I just have a stomach flu.”
“Ronnie, the most strenuous workouts you’ve been doing lately are in the bedroom.”
“That definitely counts,” she said attempting a smirk.
“But you take that shot right? So, it’s probably just the flu.”
“I do, I’d never remember a pill every day, I’d for sure screw that up. I don’t go back until … hmmm … I don’t remember, but it’s coming up pretty soon … I think. Hand me my phone and I’ll check.”
“Here,” he said and held his breath as she scrolled through her calendar. She seemed to suddenly go even paler, if that were possible. “Are you going to be sick again?” he asked.
“Fishsticks and crabcakes Tyler, please don’t hate me, I was supposed to go like a couple of months ago. I didn’t get a call from the doctor, they always call. Oh no….” Tears rained down her cheeks.
“Don’t cry,” said Tyler, as he pulled her to him and smoothed her hair back, “I could never hate you.” His heart was pounding as the ‘what ifs’ running through his started to get real. He needed to know; they both did. “Why don’t I go pick up a test now?” he suggested, “no use worrying all day and night over nothing, will you be okay while I’m gone?”
“I’ll eat the muffin in a minute,” she said weakly, “so yes, I think so, although I might be hugging the toilet when you get back.”
He laid her back down and bent down and kissed her pretty forehead. “I’ll hurry, and Veronica, I love you, it’s going to be okay no matter what.” He wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince her or himself.
“What are we going to do Tyler?” asked Veronica as she pounded on his chest, “we don’t even have a date set for a wedding, we were going to wait a few years for that and now I’m going to be a cow in a wedding dress – that’s if we get married early. Oh, bull hockey, Tyler, I just got my promotion too.”
“First of all, I don’t think pregnancy precludes you being good at your job and second, you know you won’t look like a cow. Now Ronnie, what’s really bothering you?”
Quiet tears rolled down her cheeks and he felt his heart squeeze in his chest. “I’m terrified Tyler,” she whispered, “I don’t know jack squat about babies.”
Oh, thank God, thought Tyler relieved, she’s just afraid, not ready to get rid of it. “Don’t be afraid Ronnie,” he said softly, “not knowing something’s never stopped you before. We’ll just learn together, and besides I know a little, I mean, I was 14 when Paige was born. They cry and poop a lot when they’re babies, but they are kinda cute and funny when they start talking and walking.”
“You’re awfully calm,” she observed with a frown, ”but then again, you’re not the one that will have to push a watermelon out of their vajayjay.”
Tyler smiled to calm then both. ”That’s what drugs are for Ronnie, and if you’re still worried, when it gets close to time, maybe we can move in with Taysia and Dad for a while, a couple of months maybe, until we feel like we can both handle it.”
Veronica looked horrified. “No … I couldn’t, we’ll just have to make do here. But maybe, if Taysia wants to stay here a week or two, that might work.”
“Okay, or maybe you’d prefer your own mother, we don’t need to decide this now, but just know, you have options, plus I have lots of family that will want to help, we can do this, and you’ll be an amazing mother, I know it.”
“Will I Tyler? Will we make good parents?” she asked, and the tears began to flow again.
He couldn’t bear to see her cry again and wrapped her in his arms. “Shhh Ronnie, whatever happens, happens and I know we’ll do our best, that’s all we can do, right?”
“How are you so calm?” she asked, clearly on the verge of a major freak out.
Because you’re not, he thought, and one of us has to be. “You’re always there for me Ronnie, it’s time for me to be there for you, for us, for our new family in the making.”
“Our family,” she said wistfully, “Holy cow, we’re going to be a real family aren’t we? But we’re not married, we should probably talk about getting married, I want to be married before it happens.”
He pushed her hair from her pale face. “Look at me Ronnie,” he said gently, “it’s okay to say ‘before our baby is born’, kinda makes it real, you know.”
“Me puking up my guts makes it real.”
Tyler bit back a smile. “Then I’ll hold your hair back and bring you crackers until it passes.”
Veronica finally smiled for the first time since this morning. “And you will, won’t you?”
“Absofuckinglutely Ronnie, we’re in this together, I’ll do whatever I can to make it easier for you.”
“What about getting married? I’m not sure I’m up to a big family affair knowing I might have to run out to puke.”
“Why don’t we grab Cassie and Cris and ask them to be witnesses?”
“What about Sam and Walker? I wish they weren’t so far away.”
“I wish we could ask them too, but it’s too short of notice if you want to do it quickly.”
“I’m so sorry Tyler, this isn’t what I ever envisioned for us. I wanted to have a house and go on a honeymoon, enjoy each other. Now that we have it …” she paused and smiled, “a baby on the way, we need to start thinking realistically about buying a house. We need a place for it … our child … to call home with a back yard and a dog to play with, a swing set and lots of friends.”
“Why don’t we take things one step at a time. We should have at least 6 months to make all of that happen. So first, do you agree we should go to the doctor, make sure everything is okay, then set a date, then call Cris and Cassie?”
Veronica laughed and Tyler’s heart soared. “This is so much like you, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, not jumping in headfirst but having a plan and taking it slow, while I try to barrel on through. You know, I’m glad for Kiera, if not for her I would never have found you again.”
Tyler shuddered. Thank God Keira didn’t get pregnant while we were together, he thought, she was so manipulative, if it would’ve served her purpose she might have. “I dodged a bullet for sure. I love you Veronica, maybe you should call in sick and we can get in to see the doctor today.”
Veronica leaned into him and sighed. “Yeah, sounds good, I need processing time anyway,” she agreed, “I’ll get cleaned up and dressed while you make the phone calls.”
“Go ahead and sit down and I’ll check us in,” said Veronica when she and Tyler arrived at the OB-GYN clinic for her appointment that same morning.
“Okay,” he said and turned around. His heart stopped when he saw Cassie and Cris in the waiting room. What the fuck? he thought, what are they doing here? Shit, Veronica didn’t say not to tell anyone, but how can I explain us being here? He started looking for a place to sit where they wouldn’t see them, but it was too late.
“Tyler,” said Cassie, getting up from her seat, “what a strange place to run into you and Veronica. Is everything okay with her?”
“Um, yeah … she’s just in here for … um … a checkup, but what about you, are you okay?”
“Yes,” whispered Cassie as Cris stood and put his arm around her.
“Oh my God,” said Veronica when she walked over. “Cassie? Cris? Is there something we should know?”
Cassie smiled and looked affectionately at Cris. “I guess so, we just found out we’re pregnant, Tyler said you’re here for a checkup, but why is he with you for that?”
“You didn’t tell them?” asked Veronica and looked at Tyler.
“I didn’t want to say anything unless you said it was okay,” he said.
“Well so are we,” said Veronica, “pregnant that is,” she clarified with a sheepish smile.
Just then, the nurse walked out. “Cassandra Connor and Cris Braga for Dr. Montgomery.”
Cassie gave Veronica a tight hug. “This is so cool,” she said, “let’s talk later, after our appointments, meet us at the coffee shop on the corner, we’ll wait for you, come on Cris, let’s go meet our baby.”
After Cris and Cassie walked away, Tyler took Veronica’s hand and led her to the seats that Cris and Cassie had just vacated. “It’s good news, right?” he asked, “you’ll have someone to go through this with.”
“It’ll be nice to have Cassie to compare notes with, but Tyler I don’t need someone else, not as long as I have you.”
A little later at the coffee shop…..
“Here they come Cris,” said Cassie, “I can’t wait to share the news with them.”
Cris was all smiles. “Me either.”
Tyler and Veronica walked towards their table but suddenly, the couple walked right past them and made a beeline for the bathroom.
“Oh no, poor thing,” lamented Cassie, “I’m super lucky I don’t have morning sickness – times two.”
“Yeah, Dr. Montgomery was shocked, she thought you’d have it extra bad.”
“Lucky for us since we’re going to have our hands full with the bar and beyond.”
“It’ll be all good,” said Cris, “look, here they come again, I bet the strong coffee smell is probably getting to her.”
Tyler walked to their table while Veronica bypassed them again and headed outside. “Sorry, all of the smells are making her nauseous,” said Tyler, “she had to get out of here.”
“Thought so,” said Cris, nodding as if he were the expert on morning sickness, “why don’t we talk outside, it’s a nice day.”
Cassie stood up and grabbed Tyler’s arm. “Tyler, did you go into the women’s restroom with her?” she asked grinning.
Tyler’s face turned bright red. “Um, yeah, I promised to hold her hair back and help her out however I could, at least no one came in.”
“You’re such a sweetheart,” said Cassie with adoration dancing on her face, “I see why she loves you.”
Outside, they sat down with Veronica, who was sipping on ginger ale and nibbling a croissant. “Sorry about that,” she said and ducked her head embarrassed.
“Don’t feel bad, those are strong odors,” said Cassie, “it’s a shock I’m not getting sick, in fact Dr. Montgomery was also surprised.”
“Why so? Not everyone gets morning sickness, I just happen to be one of the lucky ones – and I love coffee.” Veronica moaned before continuing, “Now I don’t think I’ll ever be able to drink it again.”
“That sucks, I’m so sorry, but I’m thrilled I wasn’t cursed with it. Usually, when you are growing two babies, the negative side effects are sometimes amplified because the pregnancy hormones are going super crazy.”
“What?” said Veronica and Tyler at the same time. “Holy fishsticks and crabcakes, you guys are having twins?” Veronica asked for both of them.
Cris puffed out his chest. “Yep, my swimmers are super strong.”
Veronica laughed. “Dude, no offense, but I don’t think it’s your swimmers, Cassie had to either release two eggs or one of them split. She’s the one that should be gloating. Do you know if they’re identical or fraternal?”
“Not yet,” replied Cassie, “I mean my mother was a fraternal twin, Ty’s father is her twin brother, but Alex and I were identical. I guess I was double doomed to have twins one way or the other. You’re not, are you!”
“As far as Dr. Montgomery could tell, we’re only having one, but why aren’t you panicking? I’m terrified of having just one.”
“We’re stoked,” said Cris, his smile lighting up the room, “I’ve always wanted children since … well, since forever and I’ll be 30 next month. I don’t want to be an old man when my kids are getting married. The way I look at it we got a two for one special.”
“Can I ask a personal question?” asked Veronica.
“I guess,” said Cassie, “we don’t have any deep dark secrets.”
Veronica grimaced slightly before asking her question. “Was your baby planned?”
“Ronnie!’ scolded Tyler.
“It’s okay Ty,” said Cassie, then smiled at Cris when he rolled his eyes and chuckled, “so, sort of planned, we wanted to begin trying as soon as we were married so I stopped my birth control.”
“Without telling me,” added Cris.
Cassie ignored his friendly jab. “Yes, that was the ‘sort of’ part. So, what about you? It seems maybe this surprise wasn’t planned.” Her words were soft and understanding.
“Unplanned,” confirmed Veronica with a soft sigh, “stupid me missed my appointment for my shot, but we’re happy about this unexpected surprise, right Tyler?”
“Yes, very,” he said, a huge smile splitting his face as he looked at Veronica, “I’ll just be glad when she starts to feel better. In fact, we want to go ahead and get married right away, I mean, we were planning to anyway, this just sort of sped up the timeline. Would you two like to stand up for us? I was going to ask Sam and Walker, but they’re too far away.”
“Wow, you guys aren’t messing around,” said Cassie, “How soon is soon?”
“Like next week soon,” said Veronica.
“Whoa, we don’t mind being second fiddle, do we Cris?” asked Cassie, and without waiting for an answer added, “wait, when are you due?”
“I’m 8 weeks,” said Veronica, “we figure the sooner we get married the sooner we can start planning.”
“Veronica, I’m 12 weeks, our babies will only be a month or so apart!”
“That’s true, second cousins, and maybe best friends, that’d be nice.” Veronica smiled affectionately at Cassie.
“We have to promise to do as much of this together as possible,” said Cassie then turned to Tyler. “Ty, why don’t you go ahead and call Sam and Walker. I know they’ll drop everything to do this for you.”
“That wouldn’t be right Cassie, we’ve already asked you two, and we want to do it fast.”
“They can afford the last-minute airfare Tyler,” said Veronica, “let’s call them anyway, we should tell them about our little surprises together.”
Tyler called, and as Veronica had suggested Sam and Walker jumped at the chance to be in Willow Creek in time for a weekend wedding.
“Tyler looks so happy,” observed Cassie after the couple left, “but I think Veronica’s still in shock.”
“Actually,” agreed Cris, “they probably both are. You know Ryan’s gonna shit a brick when he finds out they are both pregnant and married. It didn’t sound like they were going to get his blessing first.”
“Ohhh, maybe I can get Mom to tell Uncle Ryan first and prepare him, just let it slip and not tell her to keep it a secret. If anyone can talk him off a cliff, it’s her.”
“Will Tyler forgive you for that? You might be playing with fire.”
“Well,” said Cassie with a shrug, “he didn’t say not to tell them, right? At least they aren’t running off to Vegas and she didn’t trick him into an unhappy marriage like my grandmother did to Grandpa Cole. I’m glad I never knew her, although she’s probably the reason we’re having twins.”
“Let’s go ahead and tell your folks, you already know they’re going to be thrilled, they had us married and pregnant almost a year ago and were excited at the prospect then.”
“I know, all they want is for me to be happy. My parents are the best and I want things to be as easy for Ty as they are for us. You know Cris, it makes me feel blessed to be having twins. The bond that’s forged between them is like no other. I can’t wait to see our children devoted to each other in that way. Honestly, you have no idea just how happy I am right now. I never thought I wanted kids and now I can’t wait.”