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January 2009 – What’s A Word Means Glowing?
Oh, what a year this promises to be. Buffy personifies that bugaboo word of Spike’s… effulgent. She positively glows at three months pregnant. Whatever magic Molly and Willa worked that allowed this second miracle must have had an added little kick, because the Bennetts aren’t the only family expecting. Molly is due a month after Buffy.
Xander and Spike walk around like a pair of preening peacocks, both thrilled at the prospect of becoming new parents. Spike revels in every minute change in his wife’s body while Xander looks forward to the birth of his first child.
More children rock!
February 2009 – Cookie Dough
Willa and Mama have a new favorite activity… baking cookies! They enjoy the time together, mother and daughter, and Buffy has a maddening yen for the raw dough. Doesn’t matter what kind: sugar cookies, chocolate chip, or oatmeal raisin – it’s the unbaked dough she craves. She doesn’t touch the finished product. That she leaves for Papa and Willa. Spike never objects.
There’s nothing quite like a house that smells of home-baked cookies. They now have a steady stream of after school play-dates from Willa’s pre-school friends. It’s milk and cookies taken to a whole new level.
Domestic Buffy. Who knew?
March 2009 – A Walk In The Park
Molly and Buffy have a designated girls’ day out once a week. When the girls are in school and the husbands are otherwise occupied, they wile away their days taking long walks at the zoo and the botanical gardens. Something about being pregnant makes them want to seek out life in nature.
The zoos are fecund with life as Spring gets underway. New babies are being born daily and Buffy brings her camera to capture the moments. She thinks it will make a lovely children’s book.
It’s a lovely way to spend the day. Both women are healthy and active.
April 2009 – What’s Up With That?
Buffy has a rare day home alone. Spike is at pre-school with Willa, spending the day reading the children’s favorite books. Father Goose is always a big hit.
When Spike brings their daughter home, Willa runs straight to her room after kissing her Mama hello. Looking to her husband for an explanation, she can see he’s worried.
“I was readin’ to some of the tots when the window broke across the room. One of the little kids was under it an’ I couldn’t get there in time because of the sunlight.”
“Was the child hurt badly?”
“Willa pulled him away.”
“She did a good thing, Spike. Why are you so upset?”
“Mite was in my lap when the glass shattered. She made it to the other side of the room before the glass fell.”
“It could be a fluke. A one off adrenaline burst kind of thingy,” offered Buffy. “Were the other kids upset? Or the parents?”
“Only one upset was the mite. Said her tummy hurt from runnin’ so fast an’ it made her feel funny. Now she won’t talk.” He shook his head. “Gonna have to keep a close eye on the girl… see if anythin’ else happens.”
May 2009 – To Bitch, Or Not To Bitch
It’s back to yelling and screaming but this time Willa isn’t worried. Mama explains about mood swings and Papa assures her that it will pass. Mama still loves them both, even when she’s furious.
Grandpa Angel is over for a visit; something he’s taken to doing once a week. The room goes silent when he makes mention of how cute Buffy looks with her rounded little belly. Spike actually quails and Willa almost pulls him over in her attempts to get him out of the room.
Angel swears he won’t step foot in that house again until Buffy has delivered.
Papa spoils his wife until she’s ready to scream, but her eyes say she understands. He’s trying to make up for not being there when she was carrying Willa.
Spike joins Buffy on the bed after some whispered words in the mite’s ear. She runs into her room and comes back bearing a badly wrapped gift. “Made it and wrapped it all by myself,” she states proudly.
Carefully removing the hand-colored paper, Buffy holds the oddly shaped piece of clay in her hands. “What’s this, my sweet girl?” she asks.
“It’s my heart, Mama. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.”
Seven months pregnant and Buffy’s beginning to resemble a weeble. She’s packed on weight around her hips and belly and swears she’ll bounce back up if she falls on her ass. Spike just looks at her with adoration in his eyes.
Just before Willa’s due home from school, Spike runs to the bathroom at the sound of his wife’s hysterical screaming. “What’s the matter, luv? Is it the baby?”
She can’t speak, just points to the bloody crotch of her panties and sobs brokenheartedly.
A quick call to Molly to make arrangements for Willa and they’re off to the hospital.
A sonogram shows a normally developing fetus. The reason for the bleeding is placenta abruptio, a slight detachment of part of the placenta from the uterine wall. Buffy’s obstetrician, Dr. Lecher, isn’t worried.
“Even though it’s scary, the actual amount of bleeding is slight. Bed rest until the bleeding stops is my recommendation.”
They go home a few hours later, shaken and quiet; the possible loss of this child making it all the more precious. A call to the Harris household and Willa’s taken care of for the night.
They sleep spooned together, Spike’s arms protectively wrapped around her belly.
June 2009 – Life Goes On
A few weeks’ bed rest and Buffy’s a new woman. Fat and happy, she revels in every ounce and inch she gains. They finally relax and enjoy the balance of her pregnancy.
She waddles now, her walk ungainly and awkward. Spike has to help her into and out of chairs and they joke constantly about a crane to haul her out of their tub.
Willa promises next time they have a baby, Papa will carry it. Spike has nightmares for a week.
Molly promises not to throw a baby shower. There will be time once the child is born healthy.
July 23, 2009 – A Child Is Born
Three o’clock in the morning and Buffy’s dreaming of floating in a warm bath. Her serenity is shattered when she feels herself being shaken. “What, Spike? Why are you bothering me?” she mumbles, unable to shake the eerie sense of déjà vu.
The answer is much different this time. “Your water broke, pet. Guess our little mite thinks it’s time to make an appearance.” Both are glad Auntie Dawn is staying over for just such an occurrence.
Buffy nervously asks: “Spike, did I ever tell you how long Willa’s birth took?
They make it to the hospital in record time.
It’s either a by-product of being a Slayer, or just Buffy, but she’s fully effaced and ready to deliver within two hours of arriving at the hospital. From the first mild labor pain in the car to the last handrail bending pain on the delivery table, Spike helps his wife focus on her Lamaze breathing.
Buffy’s focal point is a picture of Willa taped on the wall. The contractions don’t hurt any less this time but having her husband at her side makes all the difference.
She huffs and she puffs and she finally gets to push.
It’s a girl!
No sooner is Tara Rose Alexis Bennett born than Buffy is told to push again. The entire room is in shock; from the obstetrician to the parents. More huffing and puffing and Tyler Liam James Bennett joins his sister.
The children are placed in Buffy’s arms for a moment, so Mama and Papa can bond with their new babies.
Sooner than they’re ready to give the children up, they’re taken away to be cleaned, measured and tested. Perfect in every way.
While his wife is cleaned and wheeled to her room, Spike calls home. Willa and Dawn whoop with delight.
When Spike arrives to drive Buffy and the twins home, there’s a brand new mini-van, fully equipped with the latest in car seats for the three children, courtesy of Grandpa Angel. Nothing but the best for his grandchilde’s children.
The house, trees, and hedges are festooned with pink and blue balloons; a large banner proclaiming ‘It’s Twins!’ is taped to the garage.
Family and friends cluster around the car as it pulls into the driveway, anxious for a first glimpse of the little ones. Mama and Papa beam with pride, as Willa scrambles into the van to meet her siblings.
Xander and Molly watch all the fuss and bother taking place with a happiness that matches Spike’s and Buffy’s own. They will never mention it, but each is happy for the parts they played in enabling the conception. Thanks were never a part of their motivation.
The senior Bennetts sit upon the couch like reigning monarchs as their children are passed around. Dawn takes picture after picture to record the momentous occasion.
But the one that will take centerstage on the wall is of Willa sitting on the stuffed red wingchair, one arm wrapped around Tara and one around Tyler.
August 2009 – Another Child Is Born
Two straight weeks of hundred degree plus temperatures have everyone’s tempers stretched to the breaking point. Four o’clock in the afternoon Molly’s water breaks. She calls Xander home from work and they drop Treena off at the Bennetts’ as they head to the hospital.
Ten hours later and there’s no news from the hospital. Buffy places a call to the maternity ward, but since she’s not family they won’t give her any information.
Three hours later, Xander calls with some scary news. The baby is breech and in distress and Molly is headed for an emergency c-section. He’ll call later.
William Giles Harris makes his way into the world on August 28th, 2009, just as the heatwave breaks. As he’s lifted from his mother’s body, he gives a lusty yell, relaxing both parents. The child is whisked away for testing and cleaning, and then placed in an incubator per hospital policy for all c-section babies.
Molly is stitched up with no further complications, and with a final kiss to her brow, Xander goes to make the all important phone call.
There’s dancing and celebrating galore in the Bennett household that morning. Treena wonders why she only has one new sibling.
September 2009 – About Face
It’s been a long, sleepless night. If one baby isn’t squalling, the other is. They’ve been nursed, diapered, and rocked, but nothing seems to appease the little ones. At their wits’ end, Papa places Tara and Tyler in their bassinets, hoping they’ll tire themselves out and fall asleep to the nursery tunes playing nearby.
They awaken several hours later to the sound of utter silence… and no bassinets. Panicking, Spike and Buffy run to Willa’s room. She’s standing in-between the babies, cooing and stroking their arms and legs, and singing to them… in gameface, complete with blue eyes and fangs.
Spike is stunned, and very worried about his wife’s reaction. Buffy walks over to their daughter and scoops her up into her arms, gently tracing her brow ridges and little fangs until she giggles. “Tickles, Mama.”
“This is new, sweetie. How long have you been able to copy Daddy’s gameface?”
“Since the glass broke in school,” she whispered. “Makes the babies stop crying, too.”
Spike ruffled her hair. “Did a good job, mite. They’re asleep, like you should be.”
The babies are wheeled back into the master bedroom, and Willa goes back to bed.
“We’ll talk in the mornin’, bit.”
Buffy sets the intercom for the twins, and goes downstairs with Spike. Since neither of them will be sleeping anytime soon, they head for the kitchen and the solace of hot chocolate.
“Did Willa go into gameface at school, Spike? Were you worried about how I would react?”
“Never saw her do that, but can’t say I didn’t think about it,” he admitted.
“She’s our daughter, baby. If she takes after you, I’m not going to love her any less. After all, I love you.”
Spike thought he couldn’t love her any more than he already did. He was wrong.
October 2009 – The Fall Classic
It’s finally happened. Buffy’s gotten herself hooked into Spike’s sports obsession, and they settle down to watch the World Series games. Who are they rooting for, you might ask? The Yankees, of course. Is there any other team? This year they battle the Chicago Cubs, who haven’t won a Series in so long it’s painful.
The twins babble noisily in their playpen, adding to the cacophony of sounds from the cheering, ranting and clapping fans as play keeps them engrossed. Willa claps loudest when Derek Jeter comes to the plate.
Yankees take the Series, four games to three, of course.
November 2009 – Reach Out and Touch Someone
Will Harris and Willa, Tyler, and Tara Bennett have been keeping their parents on their toes and far too busy for get-togethers. While they mourn the lack of time, the telephone has become their new best friend. Five minute chats take the place of hours long evenings but it’s enough… an oasis in the midst of turmoil.
Angel has resumed his weekly visits. The mites have worked their magic on Grandpa, and the old man has mellowed considerably. His Armani look has given way to faded old jeans and soft t-shirts, however. Even an old vampire can learn new tricks.
Angel brings a gift with him every time he visits; the gift of time off. He relishes his role in his family’s life and is happy to be left alone with the children. Knowing he is providing a respite for their parents as well as himself refreshes his spirit and determination to make the world safe for Christmas and puppies, as Spike once put it.
He tests Willa’s newfound abilities, working with her to control her gameface, which she does with ease. Her strength and speed still come and go, but he enforces her parents’ words. ‘Be proud of yourself.’
On a rare night that finds everyone gathered together, they get a surprise visitor. Willa goes running to the door, shouting “Grandpa Giles!” before the door opens. Perhaps it’s not such a surprise after all, as Mama wonders about their phone bill.
He lays his packages down, the burden of his years lifting at the delighted hugs and kisses from his makeshift family. He dutifully inspects each new child, even if he lingers just the tiniest bit longer on his namesake.
Angel and Giles have long since made their peace, and reap the benefits of letting the past fade away.
December 2009 – Ho, Ho, Ho!
Spike curses silently while pushing the double stroller through the overcrowded mall. He glances over at Willa, holding tightly to Buffy’s hand. Her little face is glowing with the excitement of seeing Santa.
Spike didn’t want to see her disappointment with a skinny, pimple-faced youngster with a pillow stuffed in his pants.
This year’s Santa is a kindly old man, rotund with a real grey beard. Balancing Willa on his knee, and a baby in each arm, he asks: “What do you want for Christmas, little girl?”
She smiles for the picture, then says: “I have everything I want already.”
Mama and Papa gather their munchkins from the sweet old man. Willa can’t help herself and gently tweaks the man’s beard before sliding off of his knee. He winks at her as they wave goodbye. With any luck, the picture will be mailed to them sometime before Christmas.
Exiting the hellish mall, each silently reflects on their daughter’s words as all the madness and commercial nonsense of the holiday fades into the background. They buckle their most precious possessions in their seats.
Truer words were never spoken. Out of the mouths of babes, indeed. I have everything I want already.