It wasn't until their wives were long gone (Astoria's ladies only garden party. Pfft.) that Michael and Stephen realized they'd been duped.
"Well." Stephen surveyed the scene before them.
"Yes." Michael agreed, rubbing his chin. The few days growth prickling his fingers was a reminder he hadn't slept through the night in months. (And that he'd rather sleep when the opportunity presented itself than keep up extraneous grooming habits. Like shaving. It was an overrated custom.)
"Ideas?" Stephen glanced at the man next to him.
"Hmm," Michael hummed noncommittally.
"Same." Stephen glanced back to the topic of their conversation.
The twins were less than a year old. Both sets. And all four were bawling at the top of their lungs. Stephen had been a father of twins long enough to know that if one started crying and the other could hear, it wouldn't be long until they were both crying. It wasn't a huge leap of logic that the same would happen if there were four.
They hadn't been quick enough to isolate the instigator before the lot of them had sounded off. Stephen eyed his youngest daughter.
"No use separating them," Michael said at length.
"They'll all just get louder," he agreed. Experience had taught both young fathers much.
"Well." Michael said, echoing his long-time friend's earlier statement.
Stephen sighed. "Yeah."
They disabled the silencing charm and finally walked into the nursery.
"Aww!" Emma kept her voice quiet despite the desire to squeak a bit. They were just so cute.
Cassie's lips curled up slightly. It really was a picture perfect moment. Her husband and his friend were sprawled on the sofas in the family room, a twin cradled against each shoulder and sprawled their chests. The whole group was fast asleep.
She met her companion's gaze and hoisted her sleepy toddler higher on her hip. "I'll put Maddy down for a nap. Then shall we adjourn to the garden and not talk for awhile?" Her lips twitched.
"Sounds perfect." Emma liked Cassie. She understood.
One could not say the two young mothers had not learned the value of a few minutes peace.