I... I'm kind of speechless. Maybe I'll start with the easy, mechanical sort of stuff. Your writing was terrific. Everything flowed beautifully and the mix of dialog and narrative was perfect. Nothing sounded sing-songy or repetitive and I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem. OK, easy part over.
As a parent of two boys who happen to be twins, I found this story eerily familiar. To the point where it started to creep me out a little. Granted, we don't chop vegetables with magic at our house and the clean clothes don't fold themselves, but this story hit more chords than I can easily count. The fighting, boys eating you out of house and home, and especially -- extra, extra especially -- that moment where you look at your significant other and you both say, "I'm done." Granted, my wife and I had that moment after the first two, but I still think it's a pretty common thing.
They both looked disgruntled, which Teddy always interpreted these days to mean he was parenting correctly. When no one was happy, it meant he'd done it right. If one child had a smug smile, he'd usually missed something. -- There are no words to do this paragraph justice. It is deep and profound and a universal truth.
"Huge, hot, and uncomfortable," Victoire answered, finally managing to get both legs up on the table. -- I highlighted this paragraph when I was reading because this was the exact moment when I started to suspect the truth. Something about being that huge and uncomfortable at seven months... Yep, I felt pretty sure about what was coming.
"Girl. Two girls, in fact," she told them, plucking the silver thing off Victoire's belly. "Fraternal twins. You saw the two circles. Identical twins show as a single circle that splits." -- I remember this moment as clearly as if it was yesterday. We were going for our first ultrasound and the ultrasound tech didn't know that we didn't know that we were having twins. She said something like, "This shape is Baby A." And I'm thinking, "Wait, Baby A???" Then she says, "And this one is Baby B." Blank expressions all around. On the way back to the car, my wife observed, "If she'd gone on to Baby C, I was going to cry." Good times, good times.
I'm not sure what else to say. Once I got over all the weird feelings of familiarity and the sense of deja vu, this was one of the most poignant stories I've read in the archives. I think I really may need to check out Midnight Run.
Author's Response: Thank you for the compliments on mechanical stuff! I wrote this in like an hour and posted it quickly, which I normally never do - usually I obsess over rewrites for a few days at a minimum - so I was sure I'd missed something going without edits. I'm glad it reads all right.
Ah, the fighting and the endless "I'm hungry, what can I eat?", yes, it's definitely parenting boys whether magical or Muggle. My boys eat almost nonstop and they're not even teenagers yet. Contemplating future grocery bills boggles the mind. My husband and I were also so very done after twins. I think they sometimes have that effect ;)
It is true, I agree. If nobody's happy, it's a compromise.
Victoire would be closer to 7.5-8 months there really, since she'd tested positive 7 months earlier. And bearing in mind that it is her 7th pregnancy. But your point remains! She was definitely too big cause of twins. It's a whole different level of "big", really. I still have a hard time estimating singleton preggo bellies - they all look so small. I'll guess 6 months and they're like "I'm almost to term!" Whoops. My perception is skewed by having twins.
I remember our "it's twins" quite well too - we were supposed to be finding out the gender and instead the OB said "Oh look there's two heartbeats" and I didn't even realize what he meant for a moment. Then he put them up on screen and was like "Look, you can see both heads!" Then one of them flipped around and was kicking the other in the head. *sigh* Boys.
Thank you so much for reviewing! I'm really glad you liked it. And a sense of deja vu means it rang true for parents so that's good ;) I hope you do get a chance to read the Midnight Run stories. If you do, let me know what you think!