Everything Upside-Down

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I held my breath as I listened to the footsteps coming down the hall. Dr. Andrews walked back into the examining room with her clipboard.

We discovered something not-so-great last week on my ultrasound and she wanted to see if anything changed. She was here to look at my ultrasound herself.

I lifted my shirt and Brittany put the cold jelly on my massive bump. She pressed the wand right near my belly button and started moving it around. I took a deep breath. One of the boys was right on my bladder and I needed to pee ASAP.

I watched the screen. My boys looked just as handsome as last week. Then my eyes went to Dr. Andrews. The look on her face said it all.

"It looks like Baby B is still breech. We'll have to schedule you a C-section, my dear," she said.

"Honestly, I just want them to both be safe," I said.

Really, I was super relieved. I wouldn't have to deal with any of the pain that childbirth normally came with. I knew that C-sections could have a longer recovery time, but after taking a birthing class a few weeks ago, I was terrified of doing it the "natural way."

I got my belly cleaned off with the rag Brittany gave me and went back down the hallway to another room with Dr. Andrews.

"I'd like to put you in for December twenty-seventh. Think you'll make it that long?" she asked.

"What? That's three whole weeks away!" I said.

"I'm sorry, sweetie. Just hang in there and take it easy." She handed me the slip with the hospital date and this week's ultrasound pictures. "Be at the hospital and get checked in by six in the morning. I'll give you a reminder when I see you next week."

"Okay. Thanks," I said.

"Remember to rest and relax. I'll see you next week," she said as she walked out of the room.

I rushed to the bathroom and scheduled my appointment for next week at the front desk when I checked out, then walked to my car.

When I sat down, I realized that I was at the point where I could barely reach the steering wheel anymore. The front seat was as far back as it went. Any further and my feet wouldn't be able to reach the pedals.

I sighed and texted Jace about my c-section date, then started my ten-minute drive. Not home, and not to work either. Today it was somewhere much more awkward.

That's right—I was headed to the Hetcher mansion. Probably not the best way to follow the "rest and relax" orders from my doctor.

I drove up to the gate with a knot in my throat and my stomach dropping. I didn't even have to hit the button. The gate opened automatically when I pulled up with Smushy.

I parked in the driveway near the fountain. Jace was already waiting out front on the concrete steps, tossing a cigarette butt into the bushes.

I hugged myself in my coat as I walked over to him, the previous night's snow crunching under my boots. Jace looked behind him, making sure the coast was clear before running over to me.

"Careful! It's icy!" he said, trying to support me.

I laughed. "I'm pregnant, not helpless. I can walk."

"I just don't want you to fall," he said as we walked up the steps.

"What did you want to show me?" I asked.

"It's a surprise that Chase and I worked on when my parents weren't around. They'd have my head if they knew I helped him out with it," he said. "They're home now, but they're down in the theater watching a movie. Just keep it down, okay?"

"Fine. Just let me in. I'm freezing and would prefer to not give birth to two icicles," I said.

"Same here," he said, chuckling as he held the door open for me.

When I walked in, I noticed how the foyer looked a little disorganized. The table with the crystal vases was dusty, and carpet on the spiral staircase definitely needed a good vacuuming. Whoever they hired after me really needed to step it up.

Jace walked up the staircase and I followed slowly. I could hear the muffled humming of the speakers from the movie theater room in the basement.

At the top of the stairs, instead of taking a right to go to his room, Jace took a left. I waddled after him. I was about to jump out of my skin with excitement.

"This is one of the guest rooms. What did you guys do?" I asked, grinning ear to ear.

"I dunno," he said, shrugging. "Better open it and find out."

I turned the brass knob and let the door swing open. This was the first time Jace had ever surprised me in a good way. I gasped.

The room was painted a really cute green color and was a fully functioning nursery, complete with two brown cribs, a changing table, and even a rocking chair.

Everything was jungle-themed, including the crib sheets. Stuffed lions and tigers were on top of the changing table and in the cribs. Two little plush monkeys were in the rocking chair. There were even two separate toy boxes.

"Um, wow, Jace, this is—" I stopped when I saw the names above the cribs.

"What's wrong?" Jace asked.

"I just...really don't want to go with Blaze. I know we agreed on it but I just really don't like it. I'm sorry."

"Hey, two parents, two kids. We each get to name one. I don't like the name Oliver because it sounds too nerdy, but you don't hear me telling you to change it. Besides, the name Oscar sounds like it belongs to an old man. Blaze is way better."

"For your information, I'm naming him Oliver after my dead father, and Oscar was my great-grandfather who died last year!" Jace was quiet. "You just don't get it!"

"I didn't know they had that kind of meaning to you. That's on me."

I sighed. "It's okay. You didn't know."

Out of nowhere, I suddenly heard a shushing noise. I turned to see Chase in the doorway.

"Hey, what's all the fuss about? Keep it down or Mom and Dad will hear," he whispered, then gave me a big smile. "Oh, hey Chrys! What do you think of the nursery? Jace and I were up all night assembling everything."

"I'm impressed. It looks really great! But I don't know how much use you'll really get out of it, since the papers only said they can be here one weekend a month," I said.

"Wait, one weekend a month?" Chase asked.

"Chrys, drop it. Please," Jace said.

"I'm just confused," Chase said.

"If you were in my place, you wouldn't be anymore," Jace said, pushing past Chase and rushing down the stairs.

Chase sighed. "I'm sorry about him, Chrys. I don't know why he gets like this. He was acting all excited last night when we were putting the nursery stuff together, and now he's telling me he's only seeing the boys once a month? It doesn't make sense."

"Uh...yeah, I guess. I think I'm going to head out, too," I said, making my way towards the staircase.

As I slowly went down those stairs, I tried to hold back tears. I wanted to tell Chase what was going on with his parents. I truly did, but I was so emotionally exhausted.

If Jace and him fought about this so many times before, why did it even matter? I'd be wasting my breath. If he didn't believe his own brother, why would he believe me?

"Chrys, what's wrong?" Chase said from the top of the staircase.

"Everything!" I said, opening the front door. "Literally every. Single. Thing."

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