Time passed slowly for Abe, as the only man in a house overflowing with pregnant women. He did his best to accommodate them all – he did the cleaning and the seemingly endless string of repairs. He tended the garden, prepared the meals, and catered to the whims and cravings of his wife, sister-in-law, and… well, whatever Addie was to him. He didn’t like helping Addie, not after she’d tried to drive a wedge between him and Sylvie. But he was kind to her regardless, as a favor to Aurora, who’d opened her home to him and his growing family.
Day after day, it was the same. Hormones abounded, bellies grew rounder, and feet swelled to epic proportions. But excitement filled the air as the due dates drew near, and finally, Aurora was the first to feel the indisputable pangs of labor. As she walked out the door and headed for the hospital, Grainna popped by to wish her luck with the delivery.
“Another girl in there,” she grinned. “I’m sure of it!”
By the time Aurora arrived at the hospital, she could feel that her baby was more than ready to enter the world. The doctor hurried her into the delivery room, but no sooner was Aurora on the table than she was welcoming her new baby into the world.
Happy Birthday, Sebastian Hasslich!
Aurora was thrilled to hold her very first little boy. Unlike the heirs of the past, she was genuinely happy to have a son. She had no underlying concerns for the legacy – there would be other girls in time, she knew – and she wanted a true family, filled with real children, who would grow into real people, with lives and families of their own. Aurora wanted more for her sons and daughters – she willed them to be more than just legacy pawns – more than heirs and spares.
Of course Addie had no concerns over heirs and spares, but she was far more invested in the sex of her baby. It had to be a girl, she thought, a beautiful girl to show everyone what a better heir she would have been, how much more she had to offer the legacy than Aurora. But when her time came just the day after Sebastian was born, Addie found herself the mother of a strapping baby….. boy.
“You were supposed to be a girl!” she wailed, holding her son up in front of her. “I don’t even know what to call you – it never even occurred to me you might be a boy…. You are rather handsome, though….so much cuter than that repulsive little Sebastian!”
She stopped and thought for a minute, studying the boy’s face, considering what to name him.
“Beau,” she announced, finally. “We’ll call you Beau. And you’ll grow up to be smarter and handsomer than your ugly cousin, and the whole world will know what a mistake it was to leave the legacy on Aurora’s hideous shoulders!”
Aurora’s face fell. She had heard every word.
Sylvie was the last to deliver, and to say she was ready would be a vast understatement. Her due date came and went, but the baby was yet to make an appearance. Spicy spaghetti made no difference, and though Sylvie ran miles and miles on the treadmill, the baby refused to budge.
They had waited so long for their baby’s arrival that when the time came at last, the reality struck Abe with unprecedented force.
He was going to be a father! He was going to be a FATHER!
As his paternal panic set in, Sylvie was escorted to the delivery room.
She pushed and she pushed, and finally, her baby made its grand entrance into the world! Sylvie heard Isla’s voice saying something to her, something that sounded vaguely like, KEEP PUSHING! THERE’S ANOTHER ONE!
Minutes later, Sylvie and Abe greeted their second child. They now had a pair of beautiful twin boys – Abe’s panic mounted, but Milo, who had turned up in a show of support, managed to quell his fears.
Happy Birthday, Auggie Hasslich-Lothario…
….and Isaac Hasslich-Lothario!
After the delivery, as Sylvie and Abe returned home, Abe said something that made Sylvie stop in her tracks.
Abe: I can’t believe that just days ago, I was the only man in this house! Now there are FOUR of us! You girls are outnumbered now!
He said it with a laugh, punctuated with his ever-magnetic smile. But Sylvie didn’t smile in return. Instead she froze, stunned into fear.
Sylvie: All boys. No girls. Abe…. do you think….? Could I have been wrong? Was Emmeline right? Is the legacy cursed?