For the first three weeks of the twins’ lives, Orlando remained close by. Margo, Monique, Itazura, and Nick stayed in Canterbury as Della acclimated to having the twins in the flat. Orlando eventually went back to New Zealand to resume filming of the Lord of the Rings, but it wasn’t easy for him to go. He promised to call every night and check up on everyone.
The night before he left, he pulled Nick aside.
“What did you want to talk to me about?” Nick asked.
They were outside. April was moving into May, and a balmy breeze signaled the coming of warmer temperatures. Orlando raked a hand through his newly cut brown hair and sighed.
“You know you’re my best mate, right?”
Nick chuckled. “Well, that was an attack of the obvious. Of course I do.”
“And I appreciate you and Sam and Mel and Megami coming here for me and Gretchen to help us with the twins.”
Nick frowned, now sensing the seriousness in Orlando’s voice. “You’re not about to ask me something outrageous are you?”
Orlando fidgeted a little. “Maybe.”
“Am I going to have to donate blood or something? Because I don’t think the twins are O positive.”
Orlando couldn’t help but smile. “It’s worse. I want you to be the godfather to Gus and Aurora.”
Nick’s face went slack. “You want me to—?” Orlando nodded. “Wow. This is smashing. Totally smashing. So does that mean I get all kinds of cool godfather duties?”
“It wouldn’t be fun without,” Orlando agreed. But then he sobered a little. “But your most important job is to help Della while I’m gone.”
Nick nodded earnestly and promised he would. They shared a manly hug and went back inside to find that Gretchen had just named Margo and Monique the godmothers of Gus and Aurora. Itazura was dubbed an honorary auntie. Everyone was happy.
After the godparents and the honorary auntie left, Della put the twins to bed. While in the nursery, Della leaned down and kissed their foreheads. Her eyes were strained and her head heavy, but she couldn’t think of any reason to be unhappy about it. She stood upright, preparing to go to bed when she felt a presence at her back. Then a hand fell to her waist, and she was spun around. She looked up into a pair of warm brown eyes and relaxed.
“It’s time for bed, Mummy,” Orlando murmured against Della’s lips. Those lips curved.
“Don’t get any ideas,” she warned. “You know what Laine said. Six weeks.”
Orlando sighed. Dammit, it had been long enough. But he was mature enough to keep his hormones in check. “Fine. But I can still kiss you, can’t I?” To prove that he could, he lowered his lips to hers. Afterwards, he took her to bed and they slept until Orlando had to awaken for this plane to New Zealand. Della and the twins saw him off. Della was sad to see him go, but she had things to do. She had no time to be sad.