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The days past and Anastasia’s strength returned. She was able to move more freely around now and it was a relief to her that she wasn’t cooped up in the room. The twins were doing fine, unsettled at night but nothing out of the ordinary.
Anastasia sat in the conservatory that afternoon with both twins in their cots. She stood and lifted the fussing Fletcher up and smiled,
“You love a fuss, little man.” She giggled a bit and looked out at the snow, keeping Fletcher wrapped up and warm.
“Look at this, eh?” She smiled to him as he set his eyes around from his mothers arms.
“There, now.” She cooed softly and watched him, kissing his forehead.
“It’s not that bad.”
Justin has been keeping a close eye on Willow, fetching food and drink and helping her with whatever she needed. She was healing from the miscarriage and physically, she was alright but he knew that her emotions and mental state would suffer more than her body. And he couldn’t help. He didn’t know how to. They’d barely been out of their room in the past, was it nearly a week?
He sighed as he opened a window to let some fresh air in and took a drink of water as he watched outside. It was still snowy and if things had been different they would all be celebrating the birth of Jobe and Anastasia’s children and looking forwards the meeting their own. Alas, it wasn’t to be this time. And all he could do was be patient and wait for Willow to be ready.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] When he returned to the room he noticed that the staff had got back to their work and that the second cot had arrived. It would make things a lot easier having two separate beds for them. He glanced down at both his children, happily sleeping. [b “They certainly are. So peaceful too although they can be loud when they need something. I just hope they do not keep the whole house awake.”] He imagined it must have been painful for Justin and Willow to hear them but he didn’t bring that up.
He smiled and sat next to her. [b “That is strange but I hear that it is common. The love you feel for them outweighs everything else. Although I will not put you through that again...at least not yet.”] He said with a laugh, hinting and more future children although he was more than happy with the ones they already had.
The two ate their breakfast together in peace while their children lay sleeping and they talking about all the things they would do together when they were older. They were conversation they had before but they had not been expecting twins initially and that seemed to change some of their plans.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] [b “I love you too.”] Even though she had thought it impossible, she managed to smile towards him as he voiced his words. She reached out and ran her fingers down his face lovingly but with a hint of sadness.
[b “I don’t know what to do Justin. I feel awful that I’ve not seen her yet. What kind of person does that make me?”] She asked as she looked from his eyes to scan the room simply for the distraction. [b “She is like my sister and I’ve not gone to see her children...and...”] She shook her head. [b “I just don’t think I can yet. Do you think they understand?”] The last thing Willow wanted was to upset them and she was concerned that their absence would be noticed for the wrong reasons.
Anastasia watched Jobe and smiled. He was right. Their children would be loved and turn into wonderful people. Eventually the staff let them get back to privacy but not before a butler brought in an extra cot.
[i “Mrs Hughes, for the extra blessing.”] He smiles as he set it down for her and she placed the sleeping Juliet in there, thanking the man as he took his leave.
She looked to Jobe when he returned and smiled a little.
“They’re like angels.” She murmured softly as she watched Fletcher and Juliet in their cots. She gratefully took some tea and sat back down, taking a long drink.
“I cannot remember any of the pain.” She said to Jobe, thoughtfully.
“I just remember the lady putting them in my arms. Before that, everything is a blur.” She laughed a little, it was funny how Mother Nature worked.
Justin shook his head.
“I love you, and I would do anything for you. I want you to recover your strength and then we can figure everything out, Willow” he said as she played with his hands.
“Whatever you want to do, I’ll support you.” He promised her.
“I’ll update Anastasia and Jobe later today, let them know you are healing.” He said and kissed her fingers softly as he sighed. It was nice they hadn’t been disturbed.
It was probably too soon for Willow to see Anastasia and Jobe and he didn’t blame her. She needed to recover her strength and such. And emotionally, he wasn’t sure how she would respond to seeing two little babies. He would never bear any ill will to children but it would be hard and it would either go two ways; They would either fall in love with them or resent them.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe laughed. [b “We are blessed and so are Juliet and Fletcher. They are going to have so many people to love them as they are growing up. I do believe that they will be just as kind-natured as their parents.”] He smiled and looked around the room and sighed happily.
[b “I’m going to fetch us some breakfast.”] He said softly and kissed her forehead as he left the children with Anastasia and their staff. He put together a tray of food, something easy for him to carry but something that would provide them both with enough sustenance to get them through the rest of the morning. He had considered checking in with Willow and Justin but he decided not to disturb them yet. Justin had looked so wounded when he delivered the news and he wanted to respect them. He would check in with him later.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow [I was] blaming herself. If she had been more mindful of what was going on around her she would have noticed the fire sooner and got herself and the horses out of there. If she had not been so wrapped up in the idea of her telling Justin he was going to be a father…
She felt him take her hands as he moved in front of her so that he could look her in the eye. She knew that he was right but the irrational part of her brain would not let her believe it. She sighed and shook her head. [b “You shouldn’t have to look after me. This did not just happen to me Justin…”] She absently played with his hand in hers and she looked him in the eye. [b “I should be taking care of you too.”]
Anastasia knew that all of Jobe’s fair treatment of his staff meant they were genuinely happy for them and would also look out for their children. She smiled as she saw them off and looked to Jobe.
“We are truly blessed to have so much love in this world.” She said to him.
“Our children will always be loved.” She murmured and looked to little Juliet in her arms.
“They will both be strong and we will teach them compassion and patience and how to be understanding.” Anastasia said as she stood with Juliet and looked out the window, glancing down to her daughter who’s bright eyes were taking in the world around her.
Justin looked to Willow as she spoke and he stood, taking her hands in his as he knelt in front of her. He watched and sighed,
“Willow. This was just bad luck. No one is too blame, and I am so glad you didn’t perish in that dude.” He said to her and squeezed her hands gently.
“You just have to rest. We will do everything at your pace, I promise you. We can stay up here in this room for however long you like and I’ll look after you as long as you want me to.” He said to her. He didn’t know how to cope. He didn’t know whether encouraging her to perhaps go for a walk or visit Anastasia or stay in bed was right. He didn’t know what to do but he knew he would support her.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe laughed. [b “They are [I both] going to be strong like their parents.”] He said, almost correcting what she had said. Anastasia was one of the strongest women he knew and to be able to go through childbirth was just a testament to this strength. He smiled at both of his children, imagining what they would be like when they grew up.
[b “You’re right as always.”] He said with a smile and placed a kiss on her cheek. [b “I love you too.”] He said and just as he was about to press a kiss to her lips this time, the door was pushed open and there were several servants and staff filtering into the room to see the children. It was a lovely sight and he was more than happy to have people showing their love to their children. They were going to be the luckiest children alive, that much he knew.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow would never be able to express how grateful she was for all his love and support while they went through this but she also understood that her gratitude did not need to be expressed with words. The bath helped sooth her aching bones and washed away the final evidence of what had happened. [b “Don’t leave me.”] She said as she reached out for him. The last thing she wanted was to be left alone.
After the bath, Justin helped her get dressed and the two of them went to sit next to the window and she couldn’t help but allow her eyes to fall upon the rubble of the stables. She swallowed hard and pulled her gaze away when Justin put some tea in her hands and she sipped at it, making sure that she ate enough to stop her from getting sick. [b “I never thought we would have to go through something like this. I was so happy about telling you…I...”] Willow shook her head. There were no tears left to cry and she wasn’t going to allow herself to fall apart around him again.
Anastasia watched her beloved husband with Fletcher and giggled.
“He’s going to be strong like his father.” She murmured and looked to Juliet,
“And you are going to have a cue of boys at our door.” She remarked and looked to Jobe at his words. He was right, now wasn’t the time.
“I think we will know when they are ready for such a thing.” She said quietly. It could be weeks or months. It would all depend on when they were ready. And Anastasia and Jobe were patient people, they wouldn’t push them to recover quickly.
“I love you.” She said to Jobe quietly and looked up at the door as a few staff care in.
[i “I’m sorry Master Hughes. We wanted to see the little ones!”] The eldest smiled and Anastasia smiled a little and nodded. She’d grown up with most of the other staff.
Justin looked to Willow as he helped her into a bath.
“Alright.” He said quietly as he let some staff remove the towels and change everything. Another brought some hot tea and bread and jam up for them. Jam would keep their sugars up.
“Just take it easy today, okay? There’s no rush.” He said to her quietly and let her bathe.
After a while he helped her dry and helped her to sit by the window so she could get some sunlight on her skin. He poured her tea and put some food in front of her as he drank some of his own tea. He sank down into a chair and rubbed his eyes.
“We just need time.” He murmured, mostly to himself.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe took hold of Fletcher quickly and was completely taken with him. He was full of so much love. He knew that he had love for them before they were even born but this was a different feeling entirely. He would protect his children no matter the cost but for now he would just love them completely. He held up his hand his son tried to grip at it…it would be some time yet before he could grip anything but the attempts were cute enough.
He laughed and looked up at Anastasia and nodded. [b “I think we are going to be great parents. I know we talked about asking Willow and Justin to be God parents but I think it might be best to wait for a little while. They will love them like their own…I know it but…now is not the right time.”]
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] As expected, Justin was by her side like a shot, helping her to her feet so that she did not hurt herself or expend too much energy. She was a little stiff in comparison to the day before, her skin painting with a few bruises from where the wooden structure had fallen on her. Willow looked pale too but that was a lot to do with the miscarriage. She looked up at Justin and nodded. A bath was definitely needed.
With his help, she made her way towards the bathroom so that she could bathe and she listened to him talking about food and water. She didn’t care about any of that but she knew Justin was just taking care of her. Her appetite was nonexistent but she was not selfish enough to make herself ill and worry Justin further. [b “After I have a bath.”]
Anastasia looked to Jobe and smiled a little. She passed their son to him and nodded,
“They certainly don’t have any problems with their lungs.” She giggled a little as she sat back down with their daughter.
“Thank you.” She said to him and watched him for a while with their son.
“Fatherhood suits you, as well.” She murmured quietly. She smiled a little.
“I don’t think I could picture you without children.” She said quietly and she couldn’t wait for them to be old enough to run around in the ground with their father while she watched and stole a few moments of just watching them.
Justin looked to Willow and got up almost immediately. He put an arm around her and helped her stand.
“Just take it easy.” He said quietly and watched her. She needed to eat and drink.
“Do you want another bath?” He asked her quietly. A hot bath might release her right muscles and soothe some of the physical hurt.
“And some water and food, you need to eat and drink, Willow.” He encouraged her quietly as he supported her light frame. He was scared she would pass out or faint or breakdown and he didn’t know how to cope right then except to just be strong.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe smiled towards Anastasia as she sat in the chair cradling their son. [b “Motherhood suits you.”] He said as he neared her and placed a kiss on her lips before glancing over at Juliet. [b “They really are perfect.”] He said, wanting nothing more than to hold his daughter but he would not disturb her sleep.
[b “One of the staff have gone into town this morning to get us another crib so they can sleep separately. They grow quickly and I don’t want them to find themselves struggling for space.”] Jobe settled himself onto the bed. Whilst Willow and Justin were in their thoughts he did not wish to talk about that just yet. For now he wanted to enjoy his family, no matter how selfish that might have been.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Justin had managed to avoid waking Willow but the final sharp pain and release of blood from her miscarriage woke her with a haste. She was breathing heavy, almost as though she had woken up from a nightmare and when she looked down to see the blood she was reminded that she had not had a nightmare…everything came rushing back and she looked up towards Justin who was still next to her on the bed.
She had been expecting this but it didn’t make it any easier. She moved herself around on the bed and tried to climb up herself, knowing that Justin would likely be at her side in a second to help her stand. Willow just wanted this to be over.
Anastasia sighed softly and she nodded.
“You’re right.” She murmured and felt his kiss as she relaxed back. She was still going to worry for Justin and Willow but every part of her was a mother now and she had to prioritise her own children. She would help where she could but she had to make sure her children and husband were looked after first. Besides, falling into a depression would only draw more attention. If they kept everything normal Willow and Justin would find normality a lot easier.
Anastasia couldn’t resist the pull of sleep though. Her body was exhausted and the twins were sleeping soundly.
The twins woke her a few times but mostly they just wanted a feed. In the morning, she was sat in the arm chair by the bed, with her and Jobe’s son in her arms whilst his sister slept in the cot.
Justin watched her fall asleep and sighed out. He didn’t move all night, he just stayed with her, willing her to be alright. He held her close through the night before he eventually succumbed to sleep.
He woke with a start in the morning, sitting up a little and being careful to try and not wake Willow. He sighed and rubbed at his face. Yesterday- why them? Why did it have to be them? And there was some sort of anger at the world because they had lost a child yet Anastasia and Jobe welcomed two into the world. He wasn’t good at grief, it came out as anger towards the wrong people.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe nodded and slid into the bed next to her, pulling her close to him as if to protect her from the thoughts that she might have been thinking about now. [b “Time is exactly what they need and in time, it will get easier for them but we cannot let this plague us too much. We have two small children to look after now and we are not in a position to put everything on hold.”] He said softly, it may have been a harsh approach but they couldn’t allow themselves to fall into a depression. They would not be fit to look after their children if they allowed that to happen.
[b “There is not much we can do but wait…”] He said softly as he placed a kiss on Anastasia’s cheek, brushing a hair from her face. Even after giving birth and showing exhaustion she was still beautiful.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Regardless of Justin telling her that everything was alright, she felt far from it and she knew that she would continue to blame herself until she could start to heal properly. Willow couldn’t even imagine a time where she would want to leave this room but she knew that in time it would come. The only thing that made sense to her right then was the feel of Justin next to her and the scent of him. Nothing else in the world would have been able to calm her.
Eventually, the feel of him next to her coaxed her back to sleep and her breathing started to level out. It would take some time to heal but they had plenty of that to spare. He had saved her life which meant that they would be able to repair their broken hearts and some point and try for a family in the future.
Anastasia looked to Jobe and sighed. She knew he was right and even if she did go to Willow, she would be distraught and that would be no good for either of them.
“We’ll give them space, and time to recover.” She couldn’t imagine losing a child and right then she could only imagine the grief and the pain the two were going through. Anastasia sank into the pillows a little, her body relaxing.
Anastasia watched the twins and honestly, if anything happened to them she would be beside herself. She wasn’t sure what she would do, and for Willow to lose a child and not be able to stop it... it made her blood run cold and Willow was as a sister to her, it killed her to know she could not help. She wasn’t sure anyone could help in all honesty, nothing could bring back a lost child.
Justin hushed her gently,
“It’s alright.” He said to her softly.
“It’s alright, Willow, really.” He whispered to her softly and gave her hand a squeeze.
“Just rest.” He encouraged her gently. He let her rest her head on his chest and stroked her hair. He knew she was hurting, he knew she was in pain more severe than just physical. His mind was whirring away at a thousand miles an minute.
It wasn’t the end of the world, Willow was still alive and breathing. He could have lost her too, if he hadn’t gone out in time she would have been buried under the fiery rubble. And they had lost a child but he didn’t want Willow to follow suit.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe nodded when he saw the realisation upon her face. It was terrible news for all of them but to know that a friend had lost a child when you have just become parents was probably one of the hardest emotions Jobe had ever felt. He was happy, guilty, sad and angry all at once and it was hard to try and sort through them.
Jobe reached out and placed his hand on Anastasia’s arm and sighed softly. [b “I don’t know. Justin just came to give me an update. He looked awful and I can imagine that the two of them are dealing with a lot right now…I couldn’t imagine…”] He shook his head, not wanting to think about it. Jobe looked up at his tired wife. [b “You are not going anywhere. You need to rest and they need time. When they are ready, they will come to us.”] He said, hoping that they would sooner rather than later and that this tragedy had not put a rift between them.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow sighed and relaxed in Justin. Every part of her wanted to go to Anastasia and check that she was alright and that the babies were fine but she was not strong enough to let herself face that yet. She was also still going through the process of a miscarriage and knew she needed to stay in bed. Willow locked her tired eyes with his and saw the distress with in them. She had no doubt that he had been crying and she wished that she hadn’t been the cause of such upset.
She nodded, accepting that she should stop worrying and focus on them. She took his hand and sighed. [b “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. I wasn’t sure until a couple of days ago.”] She said as she shook her head. [b “I’m sorry for everything.”] Willow closed her eyes and allowed her head to rest on his chest.
Anastasia looked to Jobe when he came back in.
“Was pregnant? So she-“ Anastasia put her hand over her mouth. Anastasia was smarter than she looked and she felt her heart plummet.
“Oh- Willow.” She whispered and leant back. She wanted nothing more than to go to the woman but she knew she couldn’t. Willow needed time.
“Are they alright?” She asked Jobe quietly as she looked at them. She couldn’t believe it.
“I should go... see her.” She murmured and rubbed her face. She was exhausted and in no fit state to be walking anywhere right that moment and she knew her and Justin needed time. She looked to Jobe and honestly what a tragedy and it seemed too cruel to be true.
Justin looked to Willow and sighed softly.
“Hey, Shh.” He could see she had been panicked.
“I just checked. She’s fine.” He hushed her softly to stop her worrying and lay beside her.
“Her babies are fine. I think.” He hadn’t looked but Jobe would have said something if something had gone wrong.
“Willow just please, relax a moment. Don’t worry about anyone else, alright?” He said and he had cried earlier so he could be strong again until it got too much and then he would take another private moment but he had to be there for her.
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