Disclaimer: This story is entirely mine and has no relation to any person living or dead.
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Four years and six months later:
I rang the doorbell to Nate's house and waited. It was a huge ranch style place and it usually took a while for them to answer the door.
"Who is it?" a young voice called from inside.
"Josh." I answered, and the door opened to reveal a small black eyed and black haired boy of around 5 years.
"Hi Keo!" I said with a smile. Keo smiled back.
"Hello Uncle Josh! Everyone's out back." he said as he stepped aside to let me in.
I closed the door behind me. "If you came after I went to the back, you would have been ringing that bell for a long time." Keo said sagely.
"Lucky me!" I said chuckling and Keo beamed.
We both walked through the house and out the back porch onto Nate's huge garden. I grinned at the sight that greeted me. They were having a picnic.
Nate was sprawled on the grass, and the baby, Saya (1 yr old) was sleeping on his chest. She looked adorable, unlike her father, who somehow always looked lethal. Leia was sitting on a blanket, making sandwiches, while Alex (9 yr old), Tory (7 yr old) and Damon (7 yr old) were sitting around her. Keo (5 yr old) ran over to join her, and Nate sat up, while cradling Saya.
I was greeted by a chorus of young voices, as I sat down on a lawn chair near Nate.
"What sort of sandwiches do you want Josh?" Leia asked me.
"Whatever you have extras of." I answered with a smile, and Nate chuckled.
"With these devils, there won't be any extras." he told me, completely shifting his sleeping daughter to his lap. I ignored his words, and took Saya from him. Every time I saw her, she seemed like a miracle to me. This tiny child who held all our hearts in her little fist.
Nate gave me a knowing smile. He was completely besotted with his daughter.
Saya opened her eyes and blinked at me. She always woke up happy. It was unbelievable to me, considering how everyone always said that babies woke up crying, she always gave an amazing smile when she woke up.
"Saya's awake!" I called and all the boys cheered, while Leia laughed. No one watching would ever realize what the past held for all of them, or that Leia and Nate had adopted the four boys. They loved them as their own, and it was clear as day that they were the only parents these kids knew.
No one who saw them would ever believe that Leia and Nate had only been married for four years. They had adopted Damon and Tory after a year of marriage, and Alex had been adopted six months later. After that Leia had been told by the doctors that she could not have her own kids.
She had adopted Keo two months later, and another month later, she had been told that she was pregnant. This house had been a warzone for the next nine months, with Nate and the kids constantly watching over her. Then Saya had been born. A miracle child, adored, and loved by all her family.
Alex took Saya from me, and she laughed on seeing her big brother.
"So how's life?" Nate asked me, his eyes fixed on his wife.
"Good. Marian says hi. She wanted to visit too, but she was not feeling so good." I replied. My wife of one year was best friends with Leia after all.
"You should have brought her anyways." Leia told me from where she was.
"I value my life." I replied without batting an eye and she giggled. My wife was also pregnant and annoying her was not on my to-do list. Keo brought Nate and I a plate of sandwiches each, and we dug in. Leia's cooking kept getting better and better.
"The books she sent you here for, are all in a package in the living room." she told me. "Damon! Tory! Get uncle Josh that large package that I left in the living room." she ordered, and the boys raced each other to the living room. They came back with a big bag and placed it near my feet, and I thanked them. They gave me smiles before going back to their mother.
"MOM! Dad's cheating!" Alex yelled from where he was sitting on a swing, going back and forth just a little, with his baby sister sitting on his lap, laughing.
"Nate!" Leia warned and he scowled. "Just coz I can't see, don't think you can get away with stuff." she told him, making the kids snicker.
"Alex, you traitor!" Nate called, but he stopped removing cucumbers from his sandwich. Some days I really wondered who was the kid in this house.
Damon ran over to us, and ate the cucumbers on Nate's plate before bouncing off again. Nate looked smug, and that made me laugh.
I finished my food and got up to leave. Being here was like watching a sitcom, and I could stay all day, but I did have my own wife waiting for me. After saying my goodbyes, I grabbed the books and headed off.
I watched amused as the boys tried to convince Leia that she should move Saya's nursery upstairs where all their rooms were, so they could take care of her. It was no surprise that Leia did not budge. I knew she wasn't worried about Saya, but rather she knew that these four would stay up the entire night playing with Saya.
"Enough." she snapped, and they all stopped at once. I grinned. I could hardly make them bat an eye in fear, yet when she got annoyed, they listened like perfectly obedient kids. Someday I might figure out how she did that.
"Its time for bed, so off with all four of you. Saya is staying on the ground floor with me, and the next time you annoy me, I am sending you all to summer camp." she told them, and they relaxed. We all knew it was an empty threat. Leia could not bear to be parted from them at all, so there was no way she was ever sending them away like that for the entire summer.
"G'night Mom!" Keo said sweetly before kissing her cheek. Then he came over, gave me a hug and went upstairs. The rest of the boys did the same. I picked Leia up and carried her to our room. Saya was already asleep in the crib in her nursery.
Leia smiled at me as I collapsed on the bed next to her.
"You're amazing." I told her and she reached for me. I took her hand in mine. "I wonder what these kids will grow up to be." I said musingly, and Leia chuckled.
"One thing I can tell you for sure. With this many brothers, any guy Saya dates will have his work cut out for him." Leia said and even I chuckled.
"He better never make my daughter cry." I said coldly, making her laugh all the more.
"Thank you." she said softly.
"For what?" I asked surprised.
"For everything. What I wanted most was love, and a family. You gave me both those things." she said with a sweet smile.
"I lucked out chica,you gave me a family and a home as well. I have four sons I love, and a daughter who is a miracle. But most of all, I have you. I could not have asked for more." I told her, and she slipped closer to me.
"You're getting sentimental Mr. Stevens." she said grinning.
"You're worth it Mrs. Stevens." I replied before kissing her.
She had given me the world, and I will make the most of it. I loved my wife, and I knew that the future was going to be worth everything because we were going to be together for it.