Stranded With The Boss(61)By: Elizabeth Lane
Seattle, one year later
Holding one twin by each hand, Dragan stood next to the mayor to watch his wife cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new women and children’s clinic. He couldn’t have been more proud of her. The Markovic Foundation, using invested money from the settlement, had been Tessa’s idea. The idea of building free or low-cost clinics in poor neighborhoods had been hers, too. She’d done everything from finding the site and choosing the architect to hiring the contractor. Now that the first clinic was a reality, there would be more scheduled.
He suppressed a smile as she reached around her swollen belly to manipulate the scissors. At nine months pregnant, she hadn’t been sure she would make it to the ribbon-cutting. Just to be safe, Dragan had the new family Volvo parked close by.
As the ribbon parted and the applause broke out, two-year-old Maddie tore loose from his hand and ran to her mother’s side. “Pretty!” she said, grabbing a cut end of the red satin ribbon. “Mine!”
Laughing, the mayor took the scissors and cut her a two-foot length of ribbon. But Maddie wasn’t finished. She pointed to the other half of the ribbon. “Missy!” she demanded.
“I’m sorry,” Tessa said. “She wants a piece for her sister, too.”
Still laughing, the mayor cut more ribbon. Maddie took it and scampered back to her sister. Tessa was laughing, too, but suddenly a startled look came over her face.
Dragan’s heart dropped. Scooping up the twins, he reached her side in three long strides.
“Now?” he asked, leaning close to Tessa’s ear.
She gave him a pain-laced smile. “I’m afraid so. Get me to the car.”
Still holding the twins, he bulled his way through the crowd, reached the car and helped her into the passenger seat. “Let’s go, girls,” he said, buckling them into their safety seats. “I think we’re about to meet your little brother.”
Dragan eased the car onto the street, driving fast but carefully. He had precious cargo aboard—his family.
Tessa’s hand tightened on his knee, gripping hard as a contraction passed. She’d had a worry-free pregnancy. The baby was healthy, and their doctor had assured him all would go well. Still, it would be a great relief to see the baby delivered safely and a joy to hold his son in his arms for the first time.
They hadn’t planned to have the twins along when they went to the hospital. But there was no time to drop them off at home, so Dragan would have to figure out what to do when they got there. That was typical. Things seldom went by plan in the Markovic household.
The past year had been a crazy roller-coaster ride, with the small, private wedding, the passionate honeymoon, the move to a new home, the pregnancy and the ongoing chaos of raising twin redheads. What would the coming year be like with a new baby in the house?
Never mind, bring it on, Dragan told himself. For twenty years, until Tessa and her twins had dropped into his life, he’d been emotionally frozen. He’d forgotten how to feel, how to live. Now every day was a new adventure, and he faced each morning with gratitude—so much gratitude. It was as if Tessa and her little ones had brought him back from the dead. They had saved him.
Her hand tightened on his knee again. “I love you,” she whispered.
Dragan felt the welling of tears. “I love you, too,” he said. “All four of you.”