“Who would be calling this late at night?” Krystina asked, rolling over with a groan and pulling the bed sheets with her.
“I can only think of one person, and it’s rarely good news.” Alex barely opened his eyes and used muscle memory and a sense of touch to answer his phone. “What can I do for you, Your Highness?”
“Get over here immediately!” Mark’s panicked tone startled Alex awake.
“What’s wrong, man?” Alex barely registered changing to such a casual response. From years of careful practice, he rarely slipped anymore. He sat up and clicked on the bedside table lamp. The clock read 3:28 a.m.
“I need you to come babysit my boys. Hazel’s water broke.” From Mark’s breathless excitement it would seem this was their first baby rather than their third.
“Oh wow!” Alex was suddenly wide awake. He called out to Krystina as if she wasn’t two feet away on her side of the bed. “We’re going to have a baby!”
“We’re what?” Krystina sat up with a start. She moved her hand to her abdomen.
“Not you.” Alex smiled over at his wife. “I mean, yeah, someday, I hope. No, Hazel. Hazel’s gonna have her baby.”
“Oh! Baby Hayden is coming!” Krystina was out of bed even quicker than Alex.
“We’ll be there as soon as we can, Your Highness.” Alex clicked off his phone and tossed it on the nightstand, fumbling for the slacks he’d discarded beside the bed the night before.
They were like two cartoon characters scrambling around the room gathering clothes and shoes and wallets and purses and cell phones and taking turns using the bathroom and brushing their teeth and gathering anything they might want if they needed to camp out at the Sayid’s home for a couple of days.
Within twenty minutes from being awakened by the ringing of the phone, they were buckled into the Porsche and backing out of the driveway.
Alex wished he had a helicopter to shave valuable time off the drive up the Hudson River, across the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge and into the hills. This was one reason he always wanted to live close to town.
An ambulance was already in the driveway by the time Alex and Krystina reached Mark and Hazel’s tree house on the waterfall. Hazel was on a stretcher and two paramedics pushed her toward the waiting vehicle. Alex slammed on his brakes, pulling way off the side to get out of the way.
“Oh, thank goodness,” Mark called from the doorway when he saw them hurrying up the sidewalk. “The boys are still asleep. I’m riding in the ambulance.”
“What happened? Is she hemorrhaging or something? Why the ambulance?”
“Her contractions are like three minutes apart,” Mark said. “I didn’t want to take any chances of not getting there in time.”
Alex stepped closer to the open back door of the ambulance where a paramedic was preparing an IV bag. “Good luck, Princess,” Alex called. “Can’t wait to meet little Prince Hayden.”
“Take care of my boys, Alex,” Hazel called back, only grimacing a little.
“You know we will, Your Highness. Don’t worry about a thing.”
“Thanks for getting here so quickly,” Mark said from beside him, offering a half-hug half-handshake.
“Anytime, Your Highness,” Alex said, hugging him back. “Now get up in that ambulance and call me when you’ve got a baby boy in your arms.”
Mark climbed in, the ambulance doors shut, and they pulled down the long driveway toward the main road, lights spinning and flashing.
Krystina was already in the house. Alex found her standing in the boys’ bedroom gazing into the baby’s crib. “Their children are all going to be so close together.”
“I know, what the heck are they thinking?” Alex joked. Owen’s little eyes twitched in deep sleep. His arms formed a near-perfect archer’s pose and his legs flopped to the side, snuggled in footy pajamas. At just over ten months old, he was about to become a big brother.
“Can we have a baby too?” Krystina threaded her arms around Alex’s waist.
“Absolutely.” Alex wrapped his arms around his wife, pulling her close. “As soon as you’re ready.”
“I’m ready.” She gazed up at him with a soft smile.
“Hopefully our baby won’t mind growing up in the shadow of a couple of adorable princes.”
“Three adorable princes,” Krystina pointed out.
“Hopefully we don’t have a little girl, or I’ll be fighting off three adorable princes,” Alex said. He glanced over at Aaron, his blankie in one arm and his other thumb resting suspiciously close to his mouth as if he wasn’t quite old enough to give up the habit yet.
“We should probably have a boy then.” Krystina giggled. She pulled Alex out into the hallway and closed the boys’ bedroom door until just a crack showed through for a nightlight.
“A boy it is, then.” Alex gathered Krystina into his arms and sealed his mock promise with a kiss.