Well, the first month after my girls came home from the hospital was pretty much chaos. Four babies made a mortal mess of our routines, no mistaking that. But they were so sweet natured that we coped with smiles that just didn't quit. Nancy's babes were tow-headed and they both had blue eyes but I thought that Amanda's were going to change to green.
Carson's babies had George's hair and blue eyes but they were already beginning to turn dark except for Elijah's left eye which seemed to be staying blue. That would be interesting if it stayed that way. They were normal babies - they ate, pooped, slept and cried. But I will admit that the four of them were on the exact same schedule and that made for organized chaos about every two hours.
The hospital had tried to tell them that formula was better for the babies but the girls rejected that out of hand. Luckily, they both had enough milk for all four of the children. The new pumps were electric and that helped immensely when they expressed enough milk to cover the early morning feedings, the ones at four a.m. The fathers took that one and I watched them a time or two to make sure they didn't have any trouble.
Carson had done it before but the intervening 22 years might have left him a bit rusty. Ned took to it like he'd been doing it all his life. Odd that, but he said that he'd been reading up on the subject while Carson chuckled quietly. Robert and Gloria had gotten a second rocker for the nursery when they learned there were going to be twins. So there they sat, early each morning with baby bottles warming and one child at a time to clean, powder, diaper and feed.
I'd taken pictures with the new camera that Carson had bought on their England trip. When the children were older, they would enjoy seeing how tiny they'd been and how much their fathers loved taking care of them. Spring was wet so we stayed inside mostly until the babies were six weeks old and we took them down to Ned's office first. The secretarial staff ooh-ed and ahh-ed over them while Ned beamed.
Then we took them to Carson's law office and got to show them off to his staff and two judges who had come to talk about the upcoming dinner at the country club to honor the retirement of Judge Nelson. I thought Judge Cooper looked rather taken aback when Carson stopped talking to them and kissed George thoroughly. But when he picked up Victoria who was fussing a bit, Judge Hackett nodded judiciously.
I suddenly had the feeling that Judge Nelson's seat on the state Appeals Court just might have Carson's name on it. That would be interesting if I was right since I knew how much he wanted to cut back on his caseload. If not this seat but soon, I thought to myself, he'd enjoy the bench and he'd be a real shot in the arm for the judicial system.
********* Carson *********
Holding the babies was like a trip back through time for me, I patted Victoria's back and continued my conversation with Fred Hackett. He was a family man himself so he understood that family would always come first with me. Hank Cooper was such an ingrained politician that he looked faintly disgruntled at the interruption. He wanted me to put my name in for Nelson's position on appeals but now wasn't the time for that.
I wanted another five years to broaden my practice and bring up a couple more lawyers to take care of my clients. I was looking for good young men to train in the ethical legal case work that I believed in. Justice was not an abstract concept for me but one that I'd believed in for years. A seat on the Appeals Court was tempting but not now. If it was right for me then it would still be right a few years down the road.
"Sweetheart, we're going to finish up our outing at the nursery. They called and said that their lilac order is in so we're going to pick out the varieties for the north-west corner of the formal garden." George took Victoria back and tenderly slid her back into the double baby carriage where Elijah slept. Then she kissed me again with a wicked gleam in her eye that told me to come home early.
Fred and Hank said goodbye shortly thereafter and Jimmy came in with the brief of a new case about land fraud. If there's one crime I abhor, it's land companies that come in and cheat some poor soul out of their family property so they can put up substandard houses in an ill-designed subdivision. All I had to do was think about the Wilmer's and the way that Smart Construction had tried to browbeat them and my temper rose.
By five, we'd come to an agreement on how to proceed and I'd also gone through another six resumes of young men who would be graduating in May. One of them was a real possibility and I took his folder home to show the others. I valued their input more and more as our marriages settled into the fabric of our lives.
Dinner discussion was lively while we chatted about our day and what we'd be doing this weekend. With the house done, I'd wondered if things would slow down. But spring was bringing with it all the other tasks that a new home brought. With so much land, we'd decided that everyone could have their own style of garden. All four of us would be laying flagstones to enlarge the patio this weekend.
Nancy and George were working hard to loose the extra weight left behind by their pregnancies so they made sure that they shoveled, planted, carved and carefully placed flagstones. We all wanted our landscaping to be more than just a contracted out job. We'd done the same things outside that we'd done inside; symbols carved where they would do the most good, protection of the plants and people that would be walking on and through them.
Lemon thyme was carefully planted between the flagstones on the garden paths so their leaves would release their sweet scent when trodden upon. We got very used to giving each other back rubs to relieve the various muscle strains. But among all the work, we spent long hours with the small angels who seemed to grow so quickly. We'd gotten three cameras and put them in three spots where the babies usually were.
One went into the nursery and we filled a roll of film every two days or so. Another went into the kitchen to catch shots of the family working together. The third was kept by the backdoor so whoever was coming out could grab it and immortalize the garden and gardeners who were transforming mud and pasture into a lush paradise. Already, some of the plants had lifted their heads and spread their leaves.
The weather was balmy and the days grew longer as if by magic. Our household grew in harmony and laughter with each new addition to the family. Unbeknownst to everyone but Hannah, we all had the same urge and on May first the newest members of the family arrived. I got Ned an Abyssinian purebred kitten; Nancy gave George a black Labrador puppy; Ned got me a golden Lab; and George gave Nancy a coal black kitten that was the result of an Angora and Siamese mating.
Orderly chaos ensued. Luckily, the kittens were litter trained and the puppies knew when to let us know they had to go out. I wished out loud that the babies were that advanced and I got pillow-attacked. A rousing battle later, we all fell into our big bed and made love until the babies woke up. Ned and I went to get them and we brought them back to the messy bed.
That never fails to amaze me, the beauty of a mother with her babe suckling at her breast. But I must admit that holding my son or daughter while they nursed on a bottle was just as wonderful. These small infants were made up of a little bit me and a little bit of my beautiful George. There would always be a special place in my heart for Barbara but the raven haired beauty that was my wife now filled my heart with such joy, I felt doubly blessed.
But always there was my beloved Ned, woven around my whole body and soul. If there was such a thing as soulmates then we were an example of that lucky pairing. I was such a lucky man to have such a talented lover. Our house had been featured in the River Heights Gazette Sunday Home and Garden section. Once it was finished and the resulting picture spread was on view, Sprat and Jackson had a deluge of requests for Ned's services.
I was so proud of him. I had a premonition that once the landscaping was finished, there would be another feature spread. That would give young Mr. Shepherd's landscape business a boost and establish him as an innovative designer of outdoor-scapes. Several of the craftsmen that had worked on our house had also seen an upswing in trade and that was satisfying. I felt rather like the Duke, who still showed up with his Elizabeth in our dreams, looking over his fiefdom with a benevolent air.
Changing a messy diaper usually brought me back to the present and down to earth again. Chuckling, I safely closed the diaper pin and snapped the tiny fasteners of Elijah's sleeper. He was busy chewing on his fingers but for just a moment I could swear that he looked right at me and knew who I was. Picking him up, I kissed his soft cheek and breathed deeply of that baby powder scent while he yawned and fell asleep again.
Life was good and just kept getting better. I laid Elijah into the crib he shared with Victoria and watched them for a long moment, both sleeping so peacefully with the stuffed teddy bear between them. It had been George's bear when she was little and with a little bit of Hannah's make-over magic, it was now serving again as the twin's protector.
"Finally asleep?" Ned's voice came from over my shoulder and two strong arms slid around my waist. "The girls have decided to sleep in their room tonight. No men allowed."
I chuckled softly and turned to kiss him. He always tastes good but this time his normal taste was hidden under the sweetness of the banana crème pie that Hannah had made for dinner. When we broke apart, we both checked the babies one last time before heading to our room. We undressed each other slowly, making sure that our hands caressed every new patch of revealed skin.
In the silvery light of a gibbous moon, he shone like a young god, his hands beckoning me to worship at his altar. Following him onto our wide bed, I covered him with my body and smothered his face with kisses. He laughed and moaned, his fingers caressing my back with too light touches that hardened me to painful readiness. When he whispered that he'd gotten himself ready, I settled between his legs and bent his legs back to expose that small hole glistening with oil.
Without any other preparation, I slid deep into his heat, leaning in for another kiss. But his inner muscles were determined to send me right out of my mind so I started the in and out that brought us both the most pleasure. No matter how many times I take him, he's still the tight virgin who gave himself to me under the summer sun at the pond. Murmuring 'I love you' over and over, I came deep within him while he released between us.
His hands were gentle now, stroking down my spine with soothing sweetness and I nuzzled under his ear before rolling just enough so I wasn't crushing him beneath me. He murmured a soft protest when I slipped from him but he was asleep before I finished cleaning us up with a damp towel. Bringing him back into my arms, I settled in with a sigh of relief and a deep breath of 'Ned-scent'.
********* Ned/Nephrites *********
My lord came through the door with a faint frown on his face so I knew that something had displeased him at the King's Council meeting. Rising from the floor where I'd been playing with our son, I held out my arms to him. He lifted me from my feet while taking my mouth with great need, his tongue plundering and conquering mine. I grew damp just thinking of him taking me.
"Sweet Nephrites, you make a frustrating day seem not so bad." He tucked my head under his chin while his big hands slid down to my cheeks for a fond caress. "I have something to discuss with you after evening's meal." He set me aside with a lingering caress before kneeling to pick up our son. "How is my little lamb?"
Sarpendon raised his little arms and hugged as much of his father as he could. "Papa, love you."
"I love you, too." He reached out and brought me into the hug. "We are a family that is blessed with love and happiness."
"Bright blessings, Car," I was a little worried at the note in his voice that I hadn't heard in a long time.
"You and Sar have been summoned to the court so that the king may see you." His smile was a bit forced. "In three days time, we'll present ourselves to his majesty and the others of the nobility."
I'm afraid that my first thought was 'what would I wear' only to have it replaced by a much more frightening thought. Would Lord Phaisel be there? There was no proof that he'd been behind the kidnapping attempt from before little Sar was born but my lord and I were both sure that he was the one. Car felt my shiver and he hugged me tighter.
"Do not worry, little one, I have taken steps to make sure that you and our son are safe." He dropped a kiss on my hair. "We shall all have new bodyguards to make sure that we go and come home with perfect safety. The House of Eternal Bliss has answered my request for one of its triads."
My eyes widened and I swallowed my questions with difficulty. Triads were notorious for giving fantastic pleasure to any lucky petitioner but the priests who brought me up had whispered that they were also trained in the deadly arts of assassination. Part of me was jealous of the thought that they might give Lord Carthenal greater pleasure than I could while another part relaxed a little in relief that we would be so well protected.
"You shall meet them at dinner, beloved." He divined my thoughts and kissed me hard. "Then we shall adjourn to our chambers so I can relieve that little fear I see in your beautiful eyes. They are each quite beautiful but nothing compared to your radiance, my own Nephrites."
I blushed and smiled up at him. Little Sar crowed with laughter at his silly parents and the moment passed while we handed him off to his nurse and left for Car's bedroom to freshen up for dinner. He teased me unmercifully with fond caresses to my cheeks and shaft until my second entrance was damp with need for him.
But he merely shook his head and whispered 'later' in my ear before leading me to the smaller dining room where we ate most of our meals. Three tall females stood when we entered and I looked at them with wide eyes while my lord introduced them to me. They all bowed in unison and I bowed back. I sat by my lord's platform to serve him and myself while they sat down across from us.
They had dark brown skin and short black hair but each of them had different colored eyes. The eldest, Carira, had blue eyes and the sign of the hawk god tattooed on her left cheek; the middle one, Lasira, had green eyes and the sign of the sun god on her right cheek; the youngest, Sepira, had soft brown eyes and the sign of the moon goddess in the middle of her forehead. They moved gracefully, serving each other from the each of the courses that appeared as if by magic at the long table.
I was too shy to speak much but my lord asked a series of questions that brought forth their soft voices and their history of how they had come to the House of Eternal Bliss. They'd been slaves, too so that made me feel a little better. They weren't sisters even though they looked very much alike. And there were differences, especially in what they chose from the platters of delicious food.
Lasira loved the salty dishes while Carira had a sweet tooth. Sepira tasted everything once then quit until a new course arrived. None of them drank the wine but only the clear cold water that I enjoyed. They smiled at me occasionally and I smiled back, already more comfortable with them than I'd thought to be. Once dinner was over, they bowed and retreated to their rooms on the other side of mine.
My lord informed me that one of them would always be on guard and that made me feel even better. Lifting me in his arms, he carried me back to his chamber and started undressing me with haste. I was no better, pulling apart his long robes for a glimpse of his wonderful body. His manhood was already hard and I was dripping again with need when we finally landed on his bed.
I spread my legs wide and begged him to come inside of me. His tongue laved one of the nipples before gently nipping at it, but then he stopped. "Nephrites, I want another child from you. Will you?"
The ache inside of me grew deeper. "Yes! Oh please, yes, my lord, give me your seed and make me the happiest bonded in all the world."
He growled a little and his thick shaft nudged between my legs to the opening meant for birthing. We didn't use it much since he'd been adamant that I needed to rest and heal before bearing another child. He felt huge and I gasped, trying to relax those muscles so he could enter, but he still took his time. I whimpered in need when he finished stretching me and I remembered how it felt to have our son pass through that same opening. My heart was beating so fast that it felt like it would beat its way out of my chest. But he kissed me again and again until it slowed to normal.
He told me how good I felt around him, how beautiful I was, how much he loved our son and how much he looked forward to our daughter growing inside of me. I ventured a flex around him and he gasped before beginning to rock a little bit. That felt good so I flexed some more and angled my hips a little so he could get deeper. He speared me again and again until I was moaning his name and begging him for more.
The bed was trembling with the force of our lovemaking and I seized all over, rippling everywhere. My own shaft burst between us and my female sheath absorbed his spurting seed. I stayed tilted to give each seed a chance to find one of my eggs while he scattered kisses all over my face. He had yet to soften and when he pulled out, I protested only to have him push my legs up and over his arms so his cock could spear me from behind.
I shouldn't have been able to get hard again so soon but when he impaled me on his long thick shaft, I shrieked and began to pant. He was a god among men and so I told him over and over while he pounded into me until I thought I would pass out. When he came this time, I spurted a tiny bit of seed. He rolled us over so that I lay atop his warm, hard body, his shaft still firmly seated within me.
His large hands smoothed down my back to where his flesh connected us. "Beautiful Nephrites, you are my greatest joy and our son, my greatest blessing. I shall make love to you morning, noon and night until you conceive then I shall make love with you even more frequently."
I chuckled and licked the salty skin between his nipples. "You just want more of that sweet milk that fed our son and you while he was still tiny."
"True, my sweet, nothing tastes better than suckling at your breast unless it is your seed. That grows more delectable each day." His fingers patted my round cheeks and I wiggled a little at the heat there. He chuckled and rolled us back into our favorite position. "I plan on being quite insatiable, little Nephrites. The next time I call you into my study, I think I shall clear my desk so that I can spread you out upon it and feast on your tempting body before turning you over and sinking into your tight hot depths."
I swear that my lord is a sorcerer and capable of bringing life to the dead. My satiated shaft twitched at that wanton picture and I thrust my hips up to see how hard he might be still. He laughed and pulled completely from me while I'm afraid I pouted at his cruelty. But he reached for the basin of water we kept by the bed and cleaned us both most thoroughly before setting it aside.
This time he slid into my female sheath easily and I crossed my legs around his waist to keep him there. We made love gently and tenderly this time, kissing for long moments and whispering sweet pictures of the future to each other. The child we were making was going to be wanted and loved even now when she was still just a dream. I could hardly wait to check myself in the morning.
Something inside of me said that we had succeeded when my lord released deep inside of me again. Whether or not it was a girl or boy, we'd know eight months from now. I fell asleep with a smile on my face and his 'I love you' following me down into the dream god's realm.
I woke up with a start and looked around our room. Carson was spooned up behind me in our normal sleep position, his cock semi-hard between my cheeks. The Nephrites' life was such an odd one that I couldn't tell if it was a fantasy or reality. So far, my lover hadn't shared them with me but I knew, without knowing how I knew, that he was Lord Carthenal.
It felt odd to have a female vagina and a penis at the same time. I'd looked up that condition and been glad that it hadn't happened to me in this life. True hermaphrodites usually had split personalities too and that sounded quite uncomfortable to me. I'd thought that once the babies were born, I'd quit dreaming of Nephrites but that hadn't happened. For almost two months now, Nar and Nephrites had taken turns in my nightly dreams.
Carson shared the Nar dreams with me but not the Nephrites' ones. It was a puzzle but I was slowly coming to the realization that the parallel universes really did exist and in one of them I was a hermaphrodite, married to a great lord in a world resembling ancient Persian culture. The body guards introduced in this dream were alien but also a little familiar.
I slowly turned in Carson's arms so I could look at him without him knowing. I did that sometimes, just taking in each beloved feature from his eyes down to the dimple in his chin. No matter what world I was in, I was loved by this wonderful man and that was all I ever wanted to be - loved and cherished by him.
"You're watching me again," his voice was sleep roughened and I got hard in an instant. "Ah, something came . . . up. You're going to wear me out, beloved."
"Never, my lord, you promised to make love to me morning, noon and night." I pushed him onto his back and straddled him, grasping his cock behind me and guiding him home. "And you always keep your promises." Tonight and all the nights to come.
The end of part 11