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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Jay's Loelife: A GA Exclusive Epic-logue - 2. Beanie Babies

Part Two
Beanie Babies


I climb out of the tricked-out minivan Seamus hooked us up with and pan the camera around the most adorable brick subdivision I’ve ever seen. “McMinnville. Population: thirty-four-thousand and our home for the foreseeable future.”

The back of the van lifts open, unveiling the essence of American culture and its love of convenience and excess. There isn’t an inch to spare. Every nook and cranny is jammed with stuff that claims to make this transition to parenthood as seamless as possible.

We’re going to get all this stuff set up in the house, then we’re going to visit K and see how the baby beans are doing. The gender challenge poll will open when K goes into labor. You’ll have twenty-four hours to guess if we’re bringing home boy beans or girl beans. Guess correctly and you could win one of the two hundred cash prizes worth five-hundred dollars each. And remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re livin’ the low life or the high life, just make sure you’re livin’ your best life! Loe out!”

Jay moves behind me and slides his hands around my body, resting his chin on my shoulder. I can feel his grin against my face. “It won’t be long until the little beans are here with us.”

I cover his arms with mine and lean my head against his. Even though we’re here and ready, we don’t know when they’re arriving. Statistically, they say twins arrive around thirty-six weeks, but it could be earlier, or it could be later. They’re thirty-four weeks now. When Katje’s husband called and said ‘yo, K is getting nervous’, that was enough for us to drop what we were doing and get our asses to her hometown in McMinnville, Oregon.

I grab his hand. “We better get this stuff put away.”


We came early knowing we’d likely sit around for a while. It’s perfect if you think about it. The house is an oasis of privacy and it’s the perfect opportunity to get work done before the twins arrive. There is one little hiccup. One thing that’s causing Jay to mope around the rental house as the week creeps closer and closer to one particularly important Sunday.

“Why don’t you fly a couple of the guys over?” I offer. “We can have a little party here. Or we could hit a bar and freak some locals out.”

Jay shrugs nonchalantly. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

It’s kind of a big deal, though. Jay has never not been a part of Super Bowl. If he wasn’t in the games, he was at a gathering. It’s obvious he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Our only saving grace is that neither of his brothers is playing and the Seahawks had a terrible year.

During breakfast on Friday, Katje takes one look at him and forces us to commit to dinner with her entire family Sunday night. It’s a weekly tradition, and she promises to make it Super Bowl-themed. It’s not much, but it does the trick. Just not for the reasons we expect.

Jay barely peeks at the game during dinner. He’s too busy watching Katje like a hawk.

She looks more than a little uncomfortable during dinner, constantly shifting positions. “Braxton Hicks,” she says as she rubs her belly. But then her water breaks and we’re scrambling out the door before the half-time show starts.

Katje’s husband drives her to the hospital while Jay and I drive ourselves.

Holy shit. We’re about to be dads.

We’ve kind of been dads for the last thirty-five weeks, but the backseat kind. Just like a backseat driver, you don’t have control, only the illusion of it.

Jay slows over the speed bumps in the hospital parking lot and rolls into a spot near the entrance. He’s out before the car settles into park.

“What are you doing?” I ask as he opens my door and crowds me with his giant, super-sized body.

He cups my face and kisses me. When he pulls back, his eyes are wild, almost feral with excitement. “I just love you so much.” He kisses me hard. “And I want to thank you for the life you’ve given me. With you, I want for nothing. Now—” he yanks me out of the car, “let's go meet our baby beans.”

On the way in, I start laughing. “You just might have yourself a Super Bowl celebration after all.”


Twin pregnancies are inherently high risk. Since the beginning, they warned us about potential complications such as premature birth, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and, of course, cesarean delivery. In fact, the last one was a guarantee. Our plan has always been a scheduled C-section. If things happened naturally, they pressed us to get to the hospital at the first signs of labor, so we had time to get to the operating room.

But like most birth plans, this one doesn’t go as planned.

We arrive in the lobby seconds behind Katje. She’s breathing hard, her face twisted in pain. When the contractions come, her husband strains to hold her up as she bears down.

I look at Jay, with his tall stature and big, retired football muscles, and push him towards her. “Use him.”

She shakes her head, and for one whole second, I think she’s going to turn the offer down, but then the next contraction hits and suddenly her arms are around Jay’s neck and she’s clinging for dear life.

When the contraction releases, she stays latched on. “You smell good.”

We all laugh.

“He better. The man spends a small fortune on special laundry soap.”

And it’s worth every penny.

While Jay lets Katje hang on him through her contractions, Dan rubs her back and whispers in her ear.

Me? I walk to the counter, about to ask why we’re still in the lobby, when a nurse pushes a wheelchair through the swinging doors and beelines to our little private jungle gym where Katje is hanging on Jay.

Then we’re off.

She’s barely changed into the gown and on the bed when the doctor comes in. Everything happens fast. The nurses rush around while the doctor checks her. There is very little small talk. He says something to the nurses, who rush out of the room, then pulls off his gloves with a snap.

“Katje, you are fully dilated and effaced. These kids aren’t waiting to be cut out.”

The room fills with the delivery team, warming trays for the babies, gowns for us, and a bunch of other stuff I can only assume is back up in case things go south.

Jay and I take our gowns to the corner of the room and put them on, helping each other tie them shut in the back. Jay’s barely makes it over his muscles.

“Are you okay?” he asks. “It’s happening pretty fast.”

“I’m freaking the fuck out,” I whisper. “It’s a little out-of-control right now. Is it safe to deliver regularly?”

“You mean vaginally?”

I pause with one foot in the air, half covered with a paper bootie, and glare at him. “You feel good about that?”

He laughs, then leans forward and kisses me.

I sigh into the affection. A flash of Carson’s traumatic birth with MJ sends my blood pressure skyrocketing. “I just want everyone to be safe.”

Jay turns me around and double-checks the back of my gown, then puts a rather pathetic scrub cap on my head. “It’s going to be okay.”

We hustle back to Katje. There’s no time for pain meds. The babies are coming. Dan stands on one side of her. Jay and I are on the other and watch as she begins to push.

Dan hooks his arm behind her knee and motions for us to do the same. I hesitate, feeling out of my element, but Jay swoops in, hiking her leg up and giving her the leverage she needs to push our babies out.

A nurse grabs me and gloves me up. Before I can ask what I’m supposed to be doing, the doctor moves out of the way and suddenly I’m standing face to face with Katje’s lady bits.

The blood drains from my face. “Oh my god.” The baby is crowning. The top of its head is showing, dark, goopy hair and all.

“Are you ready to catch it?” The doctor asks.

“Catch it?” What the hell? That was never part of the birth plan. “That’s Jay’s thing.”

The doctor looks up and smiles. “They’re coming in hot. It’s now or never.”

Katje bears down. With a grunt the head pops out. It’s a Jell-O-covered alien. I reach out, not sure how I’m supposed to do this.

The doctor moves my hands so I’m holding the neck of my child, who's fucking gross and absolutely beautiful. “You better get in there. It’s not going to break, but in a few seconds, it’s going to come out quick.”

He’s not lying. As soon as the shoulders are out, it kind of slides out of Katje’s body. I saw a dog give birth once, it’s not much different. Just more chaotic.

A couple of nurses surround me, checking vitals and sucking out the nose and throat. Then it happens. It takes a breath and cries. I look at Jay, he’s gloved up and waiting for Little Bean #2. He glances my way and smiles, bigger than I’ve ever seen. “Well?”

My brows furrow. Sure, I delivered one baby, but I’m not in any position to give advice on how to do it. “I don’t know? Hold it like a football?”

“No.” Jay laughs, then looks at me with rapt affection. “Is it a boy or girl?”

I look down and suddenly it’s hard to see. I blink back the tears and smile like I’ve never smiled before. “We’re girl dads.”

The nurses take her for a minute so they can make sure all is well. Once she’s been given the clear, they wrap her up and give her back to me.

There’s a gasp behind me, followed by, “Oh my god.”

There are moments in life when you know, in the marrow of your bones, that you did something right. I can’t pinpoint exactly what decision changed the trajectory of my life. Giving Jay the time of day seems like a start. Letting myself fall for him? A definite possibility.

Letting go of my past and saying yes to this future? Absolutely.

I watch as the second baby flops into Jay’s giant hands, her arms outstretched as she embraces her new freedom. He stares at her in complete awe and wonder. How could anything be so amazingly perfect? He doesn’t take his eyes off her, even as the nurses clamp her cord and suck the goop from her airways.

When her first cry erupts, Jay looks at me with tears in his eyes.

Every moment I said yes to Jay — everything we did that led us to this moment — that is the marrow in my bones.


I didn’t know babies could weigh less than four pounds and I never expected in a million years that a hospital would let you go home with them at that size. They’re so fragile, yet they’re not that fragile at all. Bundled in their blankets, they look like burritos, not the massive things you get at Chipotle, more like something off the dollar menu at Taco Bell. Wrapped up so tight, you could toss them around.

Or, you can set them side by side on the bed and hover over them and kiss their cute little button noses. They’re so perfect. Like, legitimately beautiful as they sleep soundly.

The bed dips and Jay covers my body with his, not quite pressing me into them. He looks over my shoulder and gazes down at our girls, both cocooned in striped blankets with too-big-bows on their head. It’s too much, really, but it’s cute. Makes them look even smaller than they are.

Jay’s voice is soft against my ear, almost whimsical. “You have to share.”

I smile. “Which lil’ bean do you want to borrow?”

He laughs softly and kisses the top of my ear. “You have to share with more than me. We have some arrivals tonight, and then Mom and Dad are flying in on Friday.”

My happy bubble pops and I tilt my head and glare at him the best I can from my inferior position. “Your mom is coming?”

“Yes. My mom is coming.”

“Surprising, since these aren’t ‘your’ babies.”

“They are my babies.”

“I know that,” I bite out. “I’m quoting your mother.” I look down at the sleeping baby burritos and a wave of protectiveness washes over me. “I’ve been pretty quiet where your parents are concerned. I never say anything to them, never call them out. I sit back and let you deal with them, but I swear to God, Jay, I won’t let them make these girls feel like crap. Ever. I won’t let our girls be around that.”

Jay rolls onto his side. He leans over and kisses both of his girls, kisses me, then levels me with cool blue eyes that mean business. “In the last few years, have I given my parents an inch? No. No matter how they’ve lashed out. I won’t close my eyes to that behavior anymore, and I don’t expect you too either. In fact, I trust you to protect these girls from the things I’m blind to. Including my parents. I’m not making excuses for them, or the stupid things they said when we told them we were pursuing surrogacy, but they have a hard time with things they don’t understand. I really think it will click when they see the girls. They’ll understand.”

“And if they don’t?” Because there’s a real chance his parents may never wrap their simple minds around the girls not being biologically Jay’s.

“It will hurt, but I will always stand with you and the girls. If they can’t accept it, or if they have negative things to say, it will be their loss.”

“Okay.” There is not much I can say. I have to trust what he says is true, and I do. It’s been hard the last few years, holding his parents accountable, but he’s never wavered.

I sit up, then pick up Maci and hand her to her dad. “You can borrow this one.”

Jay’s brow arches. “I can, eh?”

“Yeah, she was thinking pretty hard before you came in.”

“And smellin’ pretty bad?”

I grin. “A lil’ bit.”

He leans over to the nightstand and grabs a diaper and wipes, then gets to work. “You know you have to change diapers at some point.”

“I have changed diapers.”

“Not the poopy ones you haven’t.”

“Their anatomy freaks me out. Like, what if I wipe the wrong way and kill them?” I pick Maeve up and press her tiny little nose to mine. “Besides, my skills are best used elsewhere. Huh, little one? Tell Dad all the other things I’m great at.”


“Knock, knock,” Matt announces in a soft voice. He peeks around the room and smiles when his gaze lands on the twins. Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod he mouths as he ditches his family and races across the living room. He’s been team girl since day one.

Seamus grins and helps Aidan and Carson bring in the bags. When their stuff is settled, they join Matt on the sofa. Seamus picks up one of the girls, assess her carefully, then nods his approval. “For a pair of preemies, they’re pretty damn cute.”

Matt looks between the two girls, then at Aidan. “Who do you think they look like?”

Aidan shrugs, unimpressed. “Ugh, like each other?”

We all burst out laughing.

“I mean, do you think they look like Uncle Lowen or Uncle Jay?”

The pre-teen studies the girls like an unwanted pop quiz. “I don’t know.”

Carson leans right in the girls’ faces, grinning widely and gingerly touching their bows.

“What do you think?” Matt asks the redhead.

“They look like me when I was a baby.”

Jay and I watch as our friends get to know the newest members of the family. Carson is constantly in their personal space, trying to hold them, hug them, and squeeze them every chance he gets. When given the opportunity to feed Maci, he scrambles into position and waits like a statue until the baby is propped in his arms. He takes this new responsibility very seriously. He’s about the same age as Aidan was when he was born, only he’s handling it better.

Aidan is more reserved. Eleven is a weird age. Too old to croon over babies, but not old enough to know why he feels weird around them. While Carson feeds Maci, Seamus has Aidan feed Maeve. By the end of the feeding, Aidan is looking at her with more affection. He even awkwardly lifts her to his shoulder and starts burping her.

“You’re a pro,” Jay compliments his nephew. “All that big brother practice is paying off, eh?”

Aidan looks at me and rolls his eyes. Jay is always so encouraging.

Ohmygod Uncle Jay, stop,” I mock. “You’re embarrassing.”

Aidan turns red but laughs anyway.


Lars and Courtney show up the next day with their twins, Maggie and Milo. I share a photo of Lars, myself, Maggie, Milo, Maeve, and Maci. “The Dynamic Duos.”

A few of the other guys show up without their families, and the girls are spoiled. I love every minute of it, but when it’s time for everyone to leave, I’m happy to hold the door open for their departure.

Cole hands me a file folder. “David and I have gotten lots of requests for interviews. It’s time we start deciding who gets to do it and what the parameters are. You guys have a few weeks left in Oregon. Once the girls are released by the doctor and you get back to Denver, we’ll chat.”

I toss it to the side. “Will do.”

He slaps my shoulder and grabs the last of the bags. When the door closes behind him, I sigh long and loud. “I love them, I really do.”

Jay grins, holding…one of the girls, swaying back and forth as she sleeps. She looks like a tiny pinto bean curled against his broad chest. His lip curls mischievously. “You don’t know which one is which, do you?”

I look at the one in my arms, then back at his, and pout. “They look the same!

He laughs and pulls the little arm away from her body, revealing a pink silicone bracelet. “Maci.”

I do the same with mine, revealing a yellow bracelet. “Maeve.”

I follow him to the sofa where we sit side-by-side, putting the girls together. They’ve been coddled by other people for three days and I’ve missed them terribly.

Maeve’s little nose is calling my name. I lean down and kiss it. “I don’t like sharing.”

Jay laughs. “Well, that’s a problem.”

Our new reality has been tingling in the back of my head for a while now, silently at first, more pronounced now that they’re here. No one knows the pressures that life in front of the camera can put on someone more than I do. The pressure can be unbearable, and the negative comments are enough to send most people into a depression-induced tailspin. It’s one thing when it’s directed at me, but I’m not sure I want to expose the girls to it. Because of that, I haven’t posted much since their birth.

“I know it’s hypocritical of me since I’ve posted everyone else's kids online for the world to see, but I’m not sure I want to do the same with the girls. They’re so perfect. I don’t know if I have it in me to subject them to that kind of ruthless culture. Plus, I don’t know if I can hear what a terrible father I am.”

“You’re not a terrible father.”

“I know, but it won’t stop the trolls. I want to protect them, and I want to protect us.”

Jay presses his body against mine and stares at the girls. He takes Maci’s hand; her little fingers wrap reflexively around his. I still can’t get over how tiny they are. Even their little preemie clothes are too big. He kisses her hand. “We can figure it out as we go. I don’t know if total radio silence where the girls are concerned is the right way to go. I’ll do it if that’s what you want, but there has to be a compromise in there. We can limit their content, not show their faces, whatever you want. They’re a big part of our life, so it will be hard to not include them.”

I lean my head against his shoulder. He has a point. I still don’t know what the right thing is. “Do you think it’s a good idea to do a big front-page article with them?”

“I want to be in control of what's out there. The less we share, the more they control the narrative. Also, I had a few ideas–”


“I was thinking that one of them could be wrapped up like a football and I could hold her while doing a blocking pose.”

The image makes me smile. It’s pretty fucking adorable. I love that he’s been thinking about it.

“What about me?”

“Well, you dabble in everything, but I was thinking the other girl could be curled up in a giant coffee mug and you could wear a Loelife apron.”

“Very Ann Geddes.”

“Or something with rock climbing or sunrise breakfast or… a new children's apparel line.” Jay blushes. I don’t know why he’s embarrassed. It’s sexy as fuck when he gets all creative. “I’ve also been thinking about the exclusive. I thought Josh might be a good option.”

Well, that’s a fucking laugh. I turn my entire body to face Jay, who’s suddenly very interested in Maci’s bite-sized fingers. “Josh, as in Josh from Bleacher Report? The guy who wants to bone you?”

He rolls his eyes. “Josh doesn’t want to—” He clears his throat, something he does when he can’t bring himself to tell a lie. “Even if he did, he would never act on it. He’s a respectable guy. He wants to branch out and is looking for pieces that are bigger than games and players. I liked what I heard when I met with him. I think he would write a really great piece on us as a family, but I think he’d also be a good option to cover the things that are happening with your parents. He has an investigative background.”

I take a deep breath. Arguing about Josh isn’t something I’m interested in doing. I have bigger things to worry about. “Let’s get through your parent’s visit first.”


Navigating a boat against the waves of one’s family history is never easy. It’s harder than most realize. Several years ago, Jay got in his boat and started paddling his giant heart-of-gold out and standing up to his parents. He hasn’t stopped. If he did, all that work would be for nothing. He remains stoic about it, but I can see he’s tired.

And hurt.

It’s a new experience for him. Most of his life, Jay has been revered and placed neatly on a pedestal. He was shielded from the pain his brothers faced while growing up. In many ways, he is still hoping he’ll pull the oar and float down the river until he’s tied safely ashore at the family dock.

He would never do that, especially now that he has two daughters. It doesn’t mean it’s not hard. There were hurt feelings after they argued over who should give the sample. His parents felt it should be Jay. The reasons ‌they felt that way went unsaid, but not unknown.

Loren’s family history could repeat itself.
Jay has more blood relatives.

Jay paces the living room as we wait for Donna and Robert to arrive. Would they reject his children? They seem to think the bonding won’t be the same as it was with Derek and Taylor’s kids.

Jay freezes at the sound of tires turning against concrete. “They’re here.”

While Jay dashes outside to help his parents, I pick up both girls. Sure, I could’ve left them in the bassinet, but I’d rather Jay’s parents have to take the babies from my arms. Call me dramatic.

Jay’s still vibrating when they come in. He’s carrying all the luggage. He sets it down by the door and rushes to my side. It only takes a moment for Donna to spot the girls. She hesitates, twisting her fingers nervously.

Not what I expected. In my head, she was going to storm in and make a big deal that these aren’t her grand-kids.

Richard puts his hand on her lower back and guides her closer. He looks at me and rolls his eyes, breaking a bit of the tension. Once she’s in front of us, she gasps and her hands fly to her mouth. Donna turns to her husband and fists his shirt. “They’re so perfect,” she whispers.

It’s Richard who takes the reins. With a soft chuckle, he removes his wife's hand and looks to me for permission. Carefully, like pulling china from a pile of rubble, he takes Maeve from my arm and hands her to Donna, then comes back for Maci.

“You guys did real good,” he says as he looks at the girls with the same soft expression Jay has. “Look at these precious things. They’re stunning.”

A tear runs down Donna’s face. She cradles Maeve like she might disappear, then looks at Maci and starts to cry. “I love them so much.”

She means it. And I realize ‌her fears are the same ones many people face. If they have a second child, will they love them as much as the first? Adopting: will they feel the same as they would about a biological child?

Will she be able to bond with Maeve and Maci the way she did with her other grandbabies?

Fears I’ve harbored in my own heart, stemming from my own abandonment. But Donna’s fear comes from a place of intense love. A love she is capable of sharing.

Jay wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me in close. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

Copyright © 2022 Mrsgnomie; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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