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By:L. A. Casey

Damien beamed and nodded. “I’m here.”

Kane shook his head in disbelief. “How are you here? I mean, I’m not complaining, I just don’t understand what is going on right now.”

“Dominic called me last night and told me what happened. I got on the first flight out. I landed about an hour ago and came straight here.”

Kane rubbed his face with his hands. “The others don’t know you’re here?”

Damien shook his head. “No, I didn’t tell Dominic in case I couldn’t get a flight.”

Kane exhaled a big breath. “Shit. He’ll kill you for not telling him.”

Damien guffawed. “I know.”

Without warning, Kane hugged Damien again. “I just can’t believe you’re really here. I’m tripping hard on this.”

Damien patted Kane’s back, but said nothing as they shared a special moment. When they pulled apart, Kane turned and with a bright smile on his face, he gestured to me.

“This is Aideen, my lady,” he moved closer to me and rubbed my stomach, “and this is baby Slater, your niece or nephew.”

Damien stared at my stomach. “I still can’t believe that. It’s insane to think you’re going to be a daddy.”

“Tell me about it.”

Damien flicked his big grey eyes up from my belly and his gaze focused on my face. He stepped up beside Kane and looked down at me and purred. “Hello, gorgeous. It’s a privilege to finally meet your fine self in person.”

Oh, the kid oozed charm.

God help the girl he set his sights on, the lass didn’t have a chance.

Kane side-eyed his brother then, out of nowhere, he lifted his hand and whacked him across the back of the head.

“Damn it,” Damien rumbled with laughter and rubbed the back of his head. “My reflexes aren’t what they used to be. I knew that was coming, but I still couldn’t move to stop it.”

Kane smiled with glee. “You’ll learn.”

Damien shook his head, smiling, then he looked back at me. I was staring at him with non-blinking eyes and he found it amusing.

“I know, you’re wondering why you’re with this doofus,” he jabbed his thumb at Kane, “when you could have had all of this.” He gestured to his body and did a little hip wiggle.

I wanted to laugh, but the best I could do was make a gurgle sound that still hurt and caused me to wince in pain.

“Dame,” Kane chastised with a concerned frown. “Don’t make her laugh; her throat is pretty torn up. She inhaled a lot of smoke and choked on it so much that she has gashes and cuts from all the coughing.”

Damien’s face fell. “I’m so sorry, Aideen. I didn’t know.”

I waved Kane off and gave Damien a tight-lipped smile. I proceeded to silently study him. I hoped he couldn’t tell, but I was so freaked out. I had never met identical twins in real life, and the likeness between Damien and Nico was uncanny.

“If your hair was brown,” I whispered and withheld a wince. “I’d think you were Nico.”

“Good thing my hair is blond then,” Damien winked.

He even sounded like Nico, which made the entire experience stranger for me.

Kane snickered at me. “Why are you looking at him like that?”

Like what?

I shrugged my shoulders without looking away from Damien. “I’m tryin’ to find somethin’ else to separate him from Nico... I’m freaked out here. There are two of them.” My voice was so low; I saw the brothers strain to hear what I said.

I always knew they were twins, but seeing Damien in person really messed with my mind because he looked so much like Nico that it was scary. I’ve heard the girls list the differences between them, but for the life of me I couldn’t spot one besides hair colour.

Damien laughed at my bugged out expression. “This is cool. I haven’t been around someone being weirded out by me and Dominic in a long time.”

Kane patted his brother’s back. “You’re home now, you have plenty of time for all that again.”

Damien nodded. “It feels good to be back.”

“It feels even better to have you back,” Kane said cheerfully. “You’ll be here for my baby being born, bro. You’ve no idea how happy that makes me.”

Damien’s teeth gleamed like pearls when he smiled. “I’m still tripping that you’re going to be a dad, and that I’m going to be an uncle.”

Kane looked at my bump. “I think I’ll be tripping on it until he is grown.”

“She,” I whispered absentmindedly.

Damien looked between both Kane and myself. “Do either of you know the gender?”

“Technically no,” Kane chortled, “but I think it’s a boy and Aideen thinks it’s a girl.”

Damien raised his hand. “I’m team boy. We know how to handle Slater men. Slater women on the other hand? We have zero experience on that front.”

“Amen to that,” Kane breathed. “Can you imagine little Irish versions of Slater women? Fuck, too terrifying to even think about.”

I devilishly grinned as I whispered, “They’ll look and talk like us girls, I don’t see the problem.”

Kane deadpanned, “You wouldn’t because you’re the woman.”

I laughed a little, but quickly reached for my throat with my good hand.

Kane placed his hand on my arm. “No more talking, okay?”

I nodded to Kane and looked back to Damien and continued to stare at him.

He cracked under my gaze after a full minute.

“Stop staring at me, I feel like I’m being violated!”

Kane laughed at that then retook his seat at the head of my bed. “How did you know she was in this hospital?”

Damien sat on the end of my bed. “Dominic mentioned it during his phone call last night and I got the first flight out.”

Kane scratched the stubble on his chin. “I thought you were saving your money and staying for your Christmas bonus?”

Damien furrowed his eyebrows together. “My future sister-in-law is seriously injured and you expected me to stay put over three thousand miles away? Get the fuck outta here.”

I smiled and Kane snickered. “My bad, I should have known better.”

“Yeah,” Damien agreed. “You should have.”

I watched the pair of them talk. They teased each other, hit each other, hugged each other and just enjoyed being in each other’s company.

It was beautiful.

I closed my eyes and started to drift off, but when Kane spoke next, sleeping was out of the question.

“What are you going to do about Alannah?” Kane suddenly asked Damien.

My interest peaked.

I cracked my eyes open, but quickly closed them again when Damien glanced in my direction. “Inside voice, bro.”

“It’s fine, she’s sleeping,” Kane replied.

Damien scratched his neck and quietly he said, “I’m going to pray she doesn’t gut me when she sees me.”

Kane lightly chortled. “She’s not Bronagh, she won’t hurt you.”

“You say that now,” Damien grumbled, “but you don’t know how much she hates me.”

“No,” Kane chuckled. “I’m serious. She won’t hurt you. The girl is the polar opposite to the rest of them, she wouldn’t hurt a fly. She doesn’t even raise her voice that much... how she is Bronagh’s best friend still baffles me. They’re so different.”

Opposites attract, even in friends.

“Do you guys spend a lot of time with her?” Damien asked Kane since I was still pretending to be sleeping.

“Yeah, she’s part of the girl’s little clique. When she’s not working, or with her parents, she is hanging with us.” I could hear the smile in Kane’s voice as he spoke. “The girl is killer sweet, bro. She’s adorable.”

Damien’s swallow was audible.

“I’m nervous as hell to see her. What if she blows up at me?” he questioned.

“What if she is completely okay and greets you like a normal human being? That shit between you both happened years ago, she’s probably forgotten about it.”

Was Kane not in the room months ago when Alannah left the house when Damien was on a FaceTime call in her presence? That girl hasn’t forgotten a damn thing.

“Maybe,” Damien mumbled. “Coming back here has me all kinds of messed up. Not in a bad way, so you can stop frowning at me, I just mean it’s so surreal. It feels like I never left.”

“You’ll want to leave after a week in our house. It’s never empty, and the girls are so loud.”

Cheeky pig!

“Worse than just Bronagh and Branna?” Damien chuckled.

“Way worse. Keela and Aideen are like their hype girls, they make them even louder.”

Damien laughed. “I can’t believe the four of you are in steady relationships. I’m the only single one. How fucked up is that? You all used to be scared of the word ‘girlfriend’.”

Kane snorted. “I’m still scared of it, scared of her, but just of how much I love her. It’s terrifying to me that something could happen to her and she wouldn’t be here anymore. I almost lost her last night, bro. I’d cease to exist if I didn’t have her, and I’ve no doubt that feeling will triple when she has the baby.”