Michael Williams hadn’t expected to hear his name on that particular beach, on that particular day. He had just gotten settled on his towel with a book, while it was also clear he was watching everything that was happening on the beach. He turned to look at whomever it was coming up behind him. A young woman carrying a large bag, and wearing a small backpack, while holding the hand of a young girl, was standing right beside him.

“Sarah, what a surprise! How are you?”

“I’m doing really well. Summer vacation means just as much to the school nurse as it does to you teachers.”

“Yeah, I bet that’s true.”

“Can we join you?” The little girl holding her hand tried to hide behind Sarah, but kept peeking at Michael. He smiled, trying to make her more comfortable.

“Absolutely. Please, join us.” Sarah then noticed that other towels were laid out on the other side of Michael.

She set her bags down, pulled out a blanket, and spread it out near Michael’s towel. She pulled out bottles of water and sunscreen. She squirted some of the sunscreen in her hand, and casually grabbed the little girl and started applying it to her exposed arms and legs. The little girl didn’t say anything, but continued to keep a wary eye on an amused Michael.

Sarah spoke, “So, you can probably guess why I’m here, but I never quite pictured you as a beachgoer. What brings you out this fine day?”

He chuckled a little. “Oh, you know, pretty much the same thing. When your daughters say we’re all heading to the beach, and they’ve got you outnumbered, it’s kinda hard to argue.”

“Daughters?” She sounded surprised. “I’m sorry, that sounded wrong. I mean, I see you around school, but I guess I really don’t know much about you. I didn’t know you had kids.”

“That’s okay. I’m not offended or anything. We’ve never really had a chance to talk, and I’m a little sorry about that. But then again, it’s not like I have a need to head to the school nurse’s office all that often.”

He sat up a little and looked toward the water’s edge. “Hey, girls, can you come here for a few minutes?”

Sarah was surprised again when three girls came running up to Michael. She guessed that two of them were a couple years older than her six-year old daughter, and the third might be the same age as her daughter.

“Girls, this is Sarah Wilson, and her daughter.” He paused, “I’m sorry young lady, I don’t know your name.”

The girl smiled, but didn’t say anything. Sarah, looking embarrassed, said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t introduce her. This is Izabella.”

“Izabella. A very pretty name for a pretty young lady.”

She smiled more brightly.

“Sarah and Izabella, these are my daughters, Katherine, Samantha, and Eleanor. Girls, Ms. Wilson is the nurse at my school.”

“Oh, please, at school, I’m Ms. Wilson. My friends call me Sarah, and I think it’d be okay if my new friends called me that. But I’m guessing that your father didn’t really introduce you correctly. Looking at you girls, I’d bet you’re only Katherine, Samantha, and Eleanor when you’re in trouble, and I’m pretty sure that’s a very rare thing. You’re really Katie, Sam, and Ella, right?”

All three girls broke into huge smiles, and nodded their heads.

Michael spoke up. “Hey, wait a minute, you’re accusing me of not introducing my daughters correctly, but you did the same thing.”

“What do you mean? I didn’t do anything.”

“You tried to tell us that your daughter is Izabella, but anybody looking at her can see that’s not true.” He took a hard look at the little girl, but he did it with a smile so she knew he was kidding. “I bet a lot of people try calling you Bella, but that’s not right either. I’m guessing you’re really…” He paused like he was thinking, “Izzy, right?”

Izzy broke out in a huge smile and spoke for the first time, “He got it right, mommy!”

“Izzy, would you like to play with my girls? That is, if it’s alright with your mom.”

“Please, mommy, please!”

“Of course, you can go play with them. But don’t go too far.”

Katie and Sam called out together, “C’mon Izzy!” Ella reached out her hand and Izzy grabbed it and the four of them took off for the water.

Sarah watched them carefully as she spoke, “Okay, so tell me about your girls.”

“Well, they’re 8 years old, they just finished the 2nd grade at Jefferson Elementary, and they’re my entire life.”



“Okay, you can’t tell a story that quickly. You’re skipping way too many details.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Well, for one thing, tell me about Ella.”

He looked serious for a few seconds. “I don’t know, the whole story is a little heavy for a day at the beach.”

“You don’t necessarily have to tell the whole story. Just say what you’re comfortable with. It’s probably the nurse in me that’s curious, but I’d really like to know more about them.”

He hesitated. He reached over to grab his water bottle, and took a couple of sips. illegal bahis He looked like he was struggling for a minute, and then took a couple more sips of water.

Sarah suddenly felt guilty for asking. “It’s okay, Michael. I can tell this is bothering you. You don’t have to say anything.”

Michael shook his head, and said, “No, really, it’s not that. It happened such a long time ago, the pain has pretty much healed, but it’s such a complicated story, I’m afraid I’m going to have to tell you most of it for you to really understand why I’m sitting here on this beach with three sweet daughters.”

“Okay…” Now she was the one with the hesitation in her voice.

“You have to understand, I’m not the person I was 20 years ago. I was not someone you would respect. In fact, what scares me the most these days is that people will lose respect for me now, based on who I was then. I was the stereotypical ‘bad boy’ in high school. I wasn’t serious about any relationship. I’d date girls, try my hardest to get them into bed, and any time it would start to get serious, I’d dump them faster than anyone thought possible.”

He watched Sarah noticeably stiffen at his words. He could see a little bit of fear in her eyes.

“Please understand, that all changed about eighteen years ago when I met Claire. We met accidentally in the library during our sophomore year. And, I’ll admit, at first, I tried to play games with her, just like every other girl I’d ever dated. But she was different. She saw right through my BS, and she called me out on it. She told me she was done with her teenage years, and if a relationship had no chance of becoming long term, she didn’t want to waste time on it. She told me to think about it. She was really interested in me, but she’d only go out with me if I was truly interested in her.”

“I thought long and hard about what she said, and I decided she was right. I would begin to take life more seriously, and considered what it meant for the long term.”

“I gave her a call the next day to ask her out on a ‘real date.’ That was eighteen years ago, and I’ve not been out with another woman since that time.”

Michael watched Sarah’s face and body relax slightly. It made him wonder a little about what was going on in her mind. It also made him a little afraid.

“Claire and I began seeing each other a lot. We quickly fell deeply in love. I proposed at Christmas during our junior year, and we got married that next June. Luckily, we had both turned 21, so we could legally drink champagne on our honeymoon.” He smiled at a memory.

“We were smart enough to know we should wait until we had jobs before we started trying for kids, but we were really hoping for that to happen soon. Just after we both turned 25, she found out she was pregnant. We were so happy, but unfortunately, Claire lost the baby.”

He paused and took another drink of water. “As you can imagine, we were devastated. We went to the doctor, but she said that as far as she could tell, this was a one-time event, and that Claire should have no problem carrying to term. The doctor tried to reassure us that a lot of pregnancies end up as miscarriages.”

“Eighteen months later, it happened again. And again, the doctor reassured us that we could still expect a normal birth. But we decided to give it a couple more years before we tried again. Just after I turned 29, Claire said it was time.”

“I don’t know what it was, but she seemed to be right. Two months later, she showed me the pregnancy test, and it was positive. A couple months later, we were doing an ultrasound, when the doctor looked a little puzzled, and kept moving the wand around Claire’s already showing baby bump.”

“She settled in on the heartbeat, and said ‘one.’ Then she moved the wand a little, and said ‘two.’ She moved the wand some more, and then looked at my wife, and said, ‘I hope you’re driving a decent sized minivan, because you can’t fit three car seats in a small car.”

“I nearly tripped when I said, ‘What was that? What about three car seats?”

“The doctor very quickly sensed our fear, and told us that we would be taking a lot of precautions, but there was absolutely no reason for us to think we would lose these babies like the others.”

“And we did. We took all the precautions we needed to take. Claire went on complete bedrest at 5 and a half months. I did everything around the house. I figured that with triplets on the way, it was good practice to start living my life in a whirlwind. That part has never changed.”

That made Sarah smile.

“About three weeks early, Claire was as big as a house, and went into labor. The doctor prepared us for that. She told us that going early is pretty normal for triplets, so we weren’t too afraid. We got to the hospital fine, and they got Claire settled, and then it happened, the happiest and saddest day of our lives.”

He paused and sighed.

“Katie was born first, followed a minute later by Sam. Both of them were delivered fairly easily illegal bahis siteleri considering. Then, all hell broke loose. I should have realized something was not quite right, when I noticed how many people were in the delivery room. Of course, there’s always extras during multiple births, but this seemed like more.”

“We knew Ella was underdeveloped. We could tell that from the ultrasounds that she was not hitting her targets and that she was smaller than her sisters. But now she was in major distress during the delivery. The doctor said I could stay, but I might have to leave quickly if things got worse. I’m very proud of the fact that I very firmly insisted that I was not leaving my wife’s side no matter what.”

Sarah could see a few tears appear in Michael’s eyes. She reached over to gently touch his shoulder. He nodded and reached up to touch her hand. They sat still and silent for a couple of minutes, then settled back to their previous positions.

“You’ll never know how thankful I am that I stayed there. It’s really amazing how quickly they can perform a caesarian when the baby is at risk, and it was only seconds later that they were done, and they had Ella, Sam, and Katie all on Claire’s chest. While the doctor was finishing with Claire, we had a family hug, and I told Claire I loved her, and that our daughters were all beautiful, just like their mom. She looked into my eyes, said ‘I’ll love you forever,’ and then she slipped into unconsciousness.”

“If I thought things were crazy before, this was far worse. Alarms started to go off. Nurses were grabbing babies. One was shoving me out the door. Doctors and other nurses were sprinting into the room.”

Tears were openly streaming down Michael’s face. He couldn’t speak for nearly a minute. With a touch of anger in his voice, he very quietly said, “how the fuck does anyone die in childbirth in 2006?”

Sarah gasped. “Oh, my God, what happened?”

“Claire had a massive hemorrhagic stroke. She was gone in minutes before anyone really could react to what was wrong. At least our last words to each other were about our love and our sweet daughters.”

Michael was very quiet for a few moments.

Without warning he was being hugged by four young girls, even Izzy was in on it. Katie was the first to speak, “Oh, daddy, we love you!” Each of the girls joined in the same way. Michael wasn’t surprised that Izzy didn’t say she loved him, but she was hugging him just as enthusiastically as his girls.

“Sweethearts, I love you, too! Thank you!” Michael’s mood immediately improved. “I love that you girls are doing this, but what inspired you to do it right now?”

“Well, we were playing down by the water, and Ella noticed you looked a little upset. I told everyone that we just needed to give you a big hug, and you would be fine. It’s what you always do when we’re upset, so why wouldn’t it work for you, too?”

Michael just beamed his happiness. “Thank you so much, girls.”

Ella pulled back just enough to look at her dad. “Why were you crying, daddy?”

“I just got to missing your mom, and it made me a little sad. But I’m better now, and it’s all because of my girls. Thank you.” Michael pulled them in for one more big hug. He wasn’t sure why, but he was really pleased that Izzy seemed comfortable joining in with his girls.

“Since you all are back over here, what do say we have a bite to eat? Then you can go back to playing for a while. Sarah, we brought plenty of food. You and Izzy are welcome to join us.”

“We wouldn’t want to be a bother.”

“Nonsense, it’s no bother. I always pack extra, just in case.” He turned to look at Izzy. “So, Izzy, you have a choice. Ella and I both like ham and cheese sandwiches. Katie and Sam prefer their mom’s favorite, but it’s a little weird so you might not like it.”

Izzy looked at him expectantly. “What is it?”

“Peanut butter and mustard.”

“Oooohhh, ick! I don’t want that. I want ham and cheese.”

Katie excitedly spoke up. “Oh, Izzy, you should try it. It sounds weird, but it’s really good.”

“No, it sounds yucky. I want ham and cheese.”

Sarah chided her daughter. “Izzy, is that how we ask?”

“Please. Thank you.”

Michael smiled at the cute little girl in front of him. “You’re welcome, sweetie.” He handed her one of the sandwiches he made. Then he turned to Sarah. “Okay, how about you? What would you like?”

“Well, it really does sound a little strange, but I like a little strange sometimes. Let me try the peanut butter, please.”

Sam was excited in her response. “Oh, Sarah, you’ll like it. It’s great.”

Michael finished passing out the sandwiches to lots of thanks. Sarah took a bite of her sandwich, and said, “Okay, I’m surprised, this isn’t that bad. I don’t think it’s going to become one of my favorites, but I kind of like this.”

“Surprising, isn’t it?”

“It is. This whole day has been a little surprising.”

After lunch, Michael and Sarah reapplied sunscreen canlı bahis siteleri to all the girls, and told them to go play for a while.

When the girls were out of earshot, Michael turned to Sarah, “Your turn.”

“Oh, you don’t really want to hear my story.”

“Yes, I do. I want to know all about this wonderful little girl you have.” He paused for a second, wondering whether he should say what he was thinking. He decided to go for it. “And I want to hear about her very pretty mother.”

Sarah snapped her head up to look at him with an expression of shock. “What did you just say?”

He smiled. “You heard me.”

“Why would you say that about me? There’s nothing remarkable about me.”

“Sarah, that’s not true, and I don’t want to hear you say that again. You’re a very pretty woman. You just need to believe in yourself. Now, quit stalling and tell me your story.”

She shook her head, but she started to talk, “You said you were a ‘bad boy’ in high school. Well, I was the opposite. You can see how Izzy is shy and cautious. When I was in high school I could have made her look positively outgoing. Honestly, I was scared of my own shadow. I’m still not comfortable around most adults. That’s why I’m a school nurse, lower stress, and less scary patients.”

“Are you talking about the kids in OUR school? I know a lot of them are absolutely terrifying.”

“I know they’re like that in class, but they don’t act that way with me. Remember they want me to send them home because they’re ‘sick.'” Sarah made quote marks with her fingers. “Most of the time, they’re faking it so they can get out of a test or something. I know it, and they know I know it. But if they put on a good enough acting job, I just might send them home. So, most of the time, they don’t give me any problems.”

“I guess that makes sense.”

“So, just after Christmas, my senior year of high school, what I thought was a nice guy started paying attention to me. I sometimes wonder if I was just part of a bet or something, but I’ll never know. After a few weeks of Tim practically begging, I went out with him on a couple of dates. But I wouldn’t let him do anything. I was still so painfully shy. I wouldn’t let him kiss me, or even hold my hand.”

“I could tell Tim was getting frustrated. But I was just so terrified. Finally, on our fourth date, I let him kiss me. If nothing else, he did know how to kiss. I started to have feelings I had never had before. We spent the next few dates doing a lot of kissing. After a few of those, hands started to wander. But I was so scared, that I was able to keep things from going too far.”

“My birthday is April 2nd. I missed being an April Fools baby by a few hours. Well, I had decided a couple of weeks earlier, that I was going to give Tim my virginity when I turned 18.”

She paused and turned her body to face Michael. “Have you ever wondered how a single event can be the best decision of your life, at the same time that it’s the worst decision of your life? Having sex that night was the most horrible experience I’ve ever had. First of all, there was no way to get comfortable in the back seat of that little car he had. I had one of the seat belts poking me in the butt. There was no foreplay. I was a virgin. I had no idea what to do. And I was so scared, I wasn’t very wet. But he just shoved it in, and two or three minutes later he was done. He sat back, tugged his pants back up, told me it was great, and that we should do it again sometime. It was so bad, that I swore off sex, and believe it or not, I’ve been able to hold to it ever since then.”

“On the other hand, that night gave me my daughter, and I love her more than life itself.”

“She is one of a kind. I barely know her, and I like her a lot. You’re obviously a good mother, raising her like that.”

“Thanks.” She smiled, and then got a more serious look. “You know, after that night, Tim didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I saw him at school, but he’d always take off in another direction. Finally, I went over to his house to see him. His mom answered the door, and demanded that I stop harassing her son. I blurted out that I was pregnant, and she slammed the door in my face. The next day, word got around school that Tim had moved out to California to help take care of his sick grandmother. It didn’t really matter. It was only a week before our graduation, so nobody cared about him taking off. I’ve never seen him or his family again, but honestly, I count myself and Izzy very lucky.”

Sarah shuddered a little bit, and then continued, “It was probably a little vindictive of me, but on Izzy’s birth certificate, I put father unknown. I don’t want her to ever know who her ‘sperm donor’ was.”

Michael just nodded his head a little. “It’s sad, but it’s probably for the best.”

Sarah was starting to tear up, when Michael yelled, “KATIE!”

Down at the water’s edge, Katie’s head popped up to look toward her father. Michael just waved and then pointed both hands at Sarah.

Katie understood, and said, “C’mom girls, Sarah needs us.” The four girls sprinted to Sarah to throw their arms around her.

Michael just smiled. “Feels great, doesn’t it?”

Sarah just smiled. “Thank you, girls. I needed that.”



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