"Double Trouble...Times Two"
by Denise drkenned@yahoo.com

"I'll be back from Oklahoma in a couple of days...I promise", Cordell Walker was saying to his wife, Alex.

"I just don't understand why it has to be YOU!", Alex complained, as they stood outside their ranch house.

"Come on, we both know it's because I was the arresting officer the FIRST time Stevens was caught, so I have to be the extraditing officer, too", Cordell reminded her.

"Yeah, I know...I'm sorry I snapped", Alex relented. "Just hold me a minute first." Cordell's only answer was to envelop her in his arms--as much as he could, anyway, given her advanced state of pregnancy. Their second set of twins was due any day now, and this extradition couldn't have come at a worse time. Stevens had bed captured along the historic Chisholm Trail, while robbing yet another bank.

After their embrace and kiss had ended, Cordell pulled away. "I'll call you from Ryan", he promised, getting into his Dodge RAM. Alex watched him drive away, feeling a twinge of sadness...and something else.

**********

Alex went inside to check on their first set of twins, four-year olds Jessie and J. C. They'd been sad about their Daddy leaving--they always were--but they'd been placated by the promise of a "surprise" when he returned. Alex found the children in the nursery, playing with their black Labrador Retriever, "Ranger".

"OK, Kids...Lunch Time!", Alex declared.

"Can we have a picnic?", asked J. C.

"Well, it IS hot in the house...Sure!" Alex agreed, which resulted in whoops of joy from both youngsters, as they raced to the kitchen.

"I'll get the blankets and picnic basket, Mommy", volunteered Jessie.

"OK, I'll get the drinks, silverware, and the leftover fried chicken", Alex said. J. C. was already getting napkins and paper plates and cups. Soon they were packed, and heading for a very special place on the ranch.

"Tell us again about Lucas", Jessie asked, after they'd eaten. They'd come to a spot near where he was buried. Jessie had spoken with the same reverent tone she'd heard her parents--especially her Daddy--use whenever the boy was mentioned. As she related the story yet again, it touched Alex to know that her children held a place in their hearts for the little boy they'd never known.

**********

"...and that's why he's buried here", Alex concluded her story. She was sitting against a tree, with a twin on either side of her, each one hoping to feel the kick of their soon-to-be-born siblings. Alex was wondering--belatedly--how she was going to be able to arise from this position, when the twins got up, and tried to pull her to a standing position, just as they'd watched Cordell do more than once lately.

Just as Alex got to her feet, an all-too-familiar sensation gripped her; she cried out in surprise and pain, and fell back to the ground. Mommy!! What's wrong?!", cried the twins in unison. They were close to panicking.

Alex finally managed to gasp, "Mommy's going to have the babies."

"Here? Now?" the twins asked, incredulously.

"Well, not right THIS minute", Alex said, with a tension-easing laugh, "...but it won't be long. OK, kids, Mommy needs a BIG favor. Go back to the house, and bring Mommy's purse. My cell phone is in it. HURRY!", she said, as another contraction hit her.

As she spoke, J. C. had tossed everything back into the picnic basket, and was about to stuff the blanket in, too, when Jessie stopped him. "Mommy might get cold", she said, with the innocence of her youth. She didn't understand that the blanket could be needed for the sake of privacy very soon, as well.

"Oh, yeah", her brother replied. "OK, Mommy, we'll hurry. We promise", he said as he and Jessie grabbed the basket, and between them, raced toward the house.

**********

At the house, the twins had a problem...

"Where IS Mommy's purse?", J. C. asked, panicking again. They were in their parents' bedroom, trying not to ransack the room, but having no luck in finding the object of their search.

"Wait! I just remembered something!" Jessie exclaimed. She dashed into the hall...and found the cell phone recharging on a small table. Simultaneously, the twins realized they had another problem: They weren't supposed to meddle with anything electric!! "Now, what, J. C.?"

"This...", he replied, and picked up the regular phone, and hit the speed-dial code for Company B. The twins had been taught how to reach either parent quickly, in addition to learning "911" and "0".

"Trivette", came the reply on the other end.

"Uncle Jimmy, we've got a problem...Mommy's going to have the babies TODAY, and Daddy's already gone."

<<That figures!!>>, thought Jimmy. <<"Murphy's Law" strikes again!!>> He took a deep breath. "OK, where's your mother?"

"She's out where Lucas is buried; we were having a picnic", J. C. said. "What do we do now?"

"You guys go back out there and sit with your Mom. I'm going to call the Med-Evac Helicopter to get your mother, and I'll have your Aunt Josie out there to take care of you real soon. OK, now listen up: When your Mom has a pain, wait 'til it's over then start counting. Can you count to 60?"

"We can count to 100!" Jessie said proudly, taking the phone from her brother.

"Good! But 60's better for now. Now listen, every time you get to 60, pull up a blade of grass, and then start over. When your Mom has another pain, wait, then start another pile of grass like that. Got it?"

"OK...", the twins said doubtfully. "Please hurry, Uncle Jimmy", they implored.

"OK, I will. Bye." They hung up, and the twins rushed back to Alex, this time with Ranger on their heels.

**********

"You did fine, kids", Alex assured them, after they'd related their adventures. She was proud they'd remembered about the electricity, and knew their Daddy would be, too. "J. C., would you go listen for the Med-Evac, please. It should be here soon." Another contraction hit, and Jessie pulled up some grass, ready to count as soon as Alex relaxed....

Soon, Ranger started barking. "They're here, Mommy!" J. C. cried triumphantly, as Josie, Jimmy, and the paramedics all converged on them.

"OK, where's that grass?" Jimmy asked.

"Right here; the first pile has nine pieces, and the second pile has eight", Jessie said proudly, "...and I stopped counting at 60, like you said!"

"Good girl!", Trivette assured her. <<Eight minutes apart>>, Jimmy motioned to the paramedics, as they prepped Alex for the journey, He hid the concern in his eyes from the children; it wasn't going to be long...

"AHH...!! Jimmy...could you reach Walker?", Alex gasped from the gurney. She'd just had a strong contraction.

"Yeah. He'll meet us at the hospital as soon as he can. Stevens will just have to sit another night or two in Oklahoma." The relief on her face--however slight, under the circumstances--was good to see.

"Ready, Ranger", said the paramedics.

"OK, kids, let's go", Josie said, herding the kids toward her car, as Jimmy likewise headed for his, after giving Alex a "thumbs-up". She knew he'd stay long enough to secure the ranch.

**********

Walker made it to the hospital just in time for the arrival of his newest family members. Afterwards, Alex relaxed in her room, a "family setting" room, that allowed her husband and children to share the joyous experience of childbirth. Jimmy and Josie had been there, too, but were now waiting in the hall.

"Well, it's time we decided on some names", Cordell stated firmly. He and Alex had bounced names off each other for months now, with no success in agreeing on anything.

"We have some names", J. C. piped up.

"Yeah! We want the girl to be 'Amanda Elizabeth', for Grandma Amanda, and Grandma Elizabeth", Jessie stated.

"...and the boy should be 'Gordon John', for Grandpa Gordon, and Grandpa John", finished J. C.

Alex and Cordell nearly started a flood in the hospital room, as tears flowed freely.

"Group hug!!", declared Cordell.

"But not a HARD one, please!" said Alex, as the four of them collapsed in laughter.

THE END