Mathew was a crier; the kind of kid who could carry on for hours with no apparent reason. She'd been less then sympathetic when Maya had complained of the same problems with her own son and now Riley was paying for it, with interest.

"Should we pick him up?" Lucas questioned from where he was sitting in the hallway. He had his laptop open on his lap and was catching up on his charting for the vet clinic that he ran. Riley was pacing the hallway and trying to ignore the way that her heart was breaking with her son's crying.

"No, this has to stop, Lucas. We have to break the cycle," Riley insisted, rubbing her temples as she fought off a headache.

The twins had only lasted in the same room together for three weeks before Riley and Lucas had been forced to separate them. They were constantly waking each other up and two sleep deprived kids, plus two sleep deprived parents, didn't add up to a happy or functioning family.

"Riles," Lucas grabbed her arm as she paced passed him in the hallway.

"What?" Riley questioned, looking at him helplessly. She was exhausted and Lucas did try to help, but she was breastfeeding both babies and one of them needed to be a competent, medical professional who could keep supporting them if Riley lost her job. So, a lot of the parenting responsibilities seemed to fall on her.

"We're going to get through this," he promised her, rubbing his thumb along her hand.

"You know it doesn't end here, right? Soon they'll be crawling around and into everything and then they'll be going to school and dealing with emotional trauma. It's never going to stop," Riley groaned.

Lucas set his laptop aside and pulled her into his lap, wrapping his arms tightly around her. She buried her face into his shoulder and let him distract her from the millions of worries that were running through her head.

"We've got each other. We can do this," Lucas promised her.

Riley thought back to the engagement ring that was sitting in a box on the top of their dresser. It stared at her accusingly every time she was in their bedroom and she couldn't help thinking that Lucas had left it out to deliberately to make her regret turning him down. It was working, she should have just said yes.

"I love you," Riley sighed, shifting so that her back was against his chest and their feet stretched out to the other end of the hallway.

"I love you, too," Lucas assured her, resting his chin on the top of her head and wrapping his arms around her torso. It took Riley a minute to realize that Mathew had stopped crying, but neither of them made any movement to pull away.

Riley couldn't remember the last time she had slept for more than three hours at a time and as she glances at herself in the bathroom mirror, she can tell that it's beginning to show. Her hair is a tangled mess and she can't remember the last time she showered, let alone changed the set of pajamas she'd been wearing.

She turned to look at herself from a side profile and let out a sigh as she looked at the baby weight that she yet to lose. She still had to eat a certain amount of calories while she was breastfeeding and the move into their new house was ongoing. Consequently, she hadn't found the time to try and work off the weight that she had put on during her pregnancy.

She had turned into a frumpy housewife, who wasn't even a wife.

"Riles, I think Summer is ready to eat," Lucas called, as he knocked on the door to their master bathroom.

"Okay," Riley replied, setting down her toothbrush and her dreams of a shower.

Lucas had set Summer on the bed and secured her with pillows so that she wouldn't shift anywhere. Riley may have been biased, but Summer was a beautiful baby. Her eyes were still changing, but Riley had a feeling that they were going to be the same color as Lucas's. She, also, had already developed a head of wavy, light brown hair.

"I'll be back in time for the nanny interview, tonight," Lucas informed her, as he shrugged a lab coat on over his dress shirt.

"And you'll bring me news of the outside world?" Riley joked, settling on the bed and grabbing the floral breastfeeding pillow, as she prepared to feed her daughter.

"Everything that I care about is happening right here," Lucas informed her, kissing her before he grabbed his bag and headed towards the door.

"I think you're going to be just as charming as your daddy," Riley informed Summer, as she adjusted the baby in her arms.

Riley had been set to go back to work when Lydia had left at the end of August, but when it came down to it, she just couldn't do it. She wasn't ready to leave the twins with strangers and she didn't want to miss anything as they reached all of their developmental milestones. It was times like these when she envied Maya, who was able to do most of her work from home.

As though the thought conjured up her best friend, her phone began to ring and Riley leaned over to the bedside table to answer it, "Hello?"

"Hey, Riles. What are you up to?" Maya questioned, her voice cheerful and bright.

"I'm feeding Summer at the moment, Mathew likes to sleep late like his father," Riley said, shifting the phone on her ear as she multi-tasked.

"I have some bad news and some good news," Maya informed her and Riley could see Maya in her mind. She was probably biting her lip in worry at the same time as she was bouncing around in excitement.

"Good first," Riley decided.

"I've been commissioned to paint a mural at Abigail Adams High," Maya informed her.

"That's great," Riley smiled, knowing that Maya had been trying to find a way to pay the bills without going back to waiting tables.

"It is and I'm really excited about the exposure, but they want the mural painted over Thanksgiving break when the kids won't be in the school," Maya admitted and Riley's mood instantly deflated.

She'd been planning out Thanksgiving since Maya had left at the end of August. Farkle, Zay, and Lucas had all agreed that it would be the best time to tell Maya about her half-sisters and so Riley had planned on doing everything possible to make the weekend flow smoothly.

Zay and Riley had planned out the menu and experimented with half a dozen recipes to decide which ones were going to make the final cut. Riley had invited all of their friends and family and was hoping that the good spirit of the holidays would ease the shock of Riley's news.

"Are you mad?" Maya questioned and Riley let out a sigh.

"Of course I'm not mad, just a little disappointed," Riley admitted, trying to keep her voice up-beat.

"I know, but you're still flying out for New Years, right?" Maya reminded her.

"That's the plan," Riley agreed.

"So, we'll see each other, then, and it will be nice," Maya said enthusiastically, "And I bet there's even a ring on your finger."

Riley hadn't told Maya that she had turned down Lucas's proposal. She hadn't told anyone, although she was pretty sure that Lucas had confided in Zay. Things had been tense between Farkle and Lucas and Riley was feeling incredibly guilty over everything.

"Maybe," Riley offered flatly, running out of fake enthusiasm.

"I can hear Noah crying, I need to run, but I'll call you later?" Maya asked.

"Sure," Riley agreed, setting the phone back on her nightstand as the call ended.

Summer had fallen asleep and Riley moved the baby into one of the two bassinets that she kept on the side of the bed. Summer, usually, slept better in the room with Riley and Lucas at night and Riley would have liked to keep Mathew in the room with her, but it seemed to be better for everyone involved if she let him sleep in his crib.

Riley moved across the hall to check on the oldest of her two children and was relieved to find that Mathew was still asleep. She grabbed her baby monitor and darted towards the shower, hoping that she could get ten minutes to get the grime of motherhood off of her skin.

She started the water and picked out a set of the maternity clothes. She missed her old wardrobe, which she couldn't fit into and she hated the idea of buying clothes in a size bigger then what she had been wearing pre-pregnancy.

She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of hot water on her skin, as she stepped into the walk-in shower. The house was older, but had been remodeled by the previous owners to include a number of newer amenities.

Almost exactly ten minutes into her shower, she heard Mathew start fussing and she reluctantly turned off the water and got out. Wrapping her hair in a towel, she pulled on her clothes and made her way back to the nursery. Despite being in the house for almost three months, there were still unopened boxes everywhere and a dozen projects that they needed to get to. It didn't help that Riley was still recovering from her emergency C-section and Lucas was trying to run the animal clinic by himself.

"Hey, Baby, it's okay," Riley assured him, scooping him up from inside the crib.

If Summer looked like Lucas, Mathew had gotten all of the opposite genes. He had Riley's dark hair and weeks after he was born, his eyes had gone from light blue to brown. Riley rocked him in her arms as she returned to her bedroom to feed her second baby. She felt like she spent most of her time feeding them and she wasn't sure how they were going to do with the separation.

"Riles?" Farkle's voice called through the house and Riley snapped awake. Mathew was still nestled in her arms and Summer was staring at the ceiling and stretching her arms in the bassinet next to her.

"I'm up here," Riley called, as she moved Mathew to the bed next to her and adjusted her clothes.

"You look sleep-deprived," Farkle said, cheerfully as he entered the room with a book full of paint samples.

"I feel sleep-deprived," Riley laughed, as he sat down on the edge of the bed, "To what do I owe this visit?"

"We're trying to decide on what color to paint the yogurt shop," Farkle said, as he flipped through the box, "I like Rose Quartz, but Zay wants to go with Cabana Green."

"The red is warm and inviting, but the green seems fresh and exciting," Riley offered, "You should call Maya, she's better with stuff like this."

"I tried, but she's in the middle of some kind of project. I'd like to get it painted next week," Farkle explained, flipping through the book.

"Maya told me that they're not coming for Thanksgiving," Riley informed him and Farkle let out a groan.

"We have to tell her, we can't just keep dancing around the subject," he said.

"I know, but it's not the kind of thing that you tell someone over the phone," Riley pointed out.

"I'll talk to Zay," Farkle suggested, closing the book and standing up.

"You could stay for dinner. Zay's left a week's worth of experimental meals in our fridge," Riley offered, hopefully.

"I don't think so," Farkle said, "Thanks for your input on the paint colors."

"I'll see you around?" Riley asked as he made his way to the door.

"Of course," Farkle agreed, giving her a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.

Riley let the twins play on a blanket in the middle of the living room, while she worked on unpacking boxes. Her and Lucas's things had become hopelessly mixed together and she never knew what she was going to find when she tore a box open. She hadn't realized just how many things they had accumulated over the years.

"Something smells good," Lucas greeted Riley, placing a kiss on her cheek as she looked up from the box of school essays she had hung onto.

"It's Shepherd's Pie, we still have three batches of mashed potatoes to eat," Riley laughed, as she shifted to another box that had Lucas's handwriting on the side. Zay was trying to figure out the perfect recipe for mashed potatoes and they hadn't quite managed to get it, yet. Consequently, Riley had gotten creative in how to serve them.

"You can leave the boxes for now, I'll help you with them later," Lucas suggested, gently taking the box from her and moving towards the stairs.

Riley leaned against the back of the couch and tried not to overthink things.

"Claire Hill," Riley read, speaking loud enough that Lucas could hear her from where he was washing the dinner dishes in the kitchen, "She has a bachelor's in early childhood development and four letters of recommendation from previous employers."

"Do you like her?" Lucas questioned, finishing off the dishes and joining her on the couch. Riley had the twins nestled on either side of her and was using a pillow to keep them propped up.

"On paper," Riley replied, handing over the file for him to read, "I just feel weird getting someone else to raise our children."

"She's not raising them, she's just going to be there for them when we can't," Lucas assured her, "And if you want more time, I'm sure Roy would give you another few months off."

"My patients are going to start looking for someone else and I have to work to keep my license," Riley sighed, though she wanted nothing more than to stay home with her children.

"It'll be hard at first, but we'll get into a routine and we'll make things work," Lucas said, wrapping his arm around her.

The doorbell rang and Lucas got up to get it. Riley watched as he led their potential nanny into the living room and she forced a smile onto her face. Claire was in her early thirties, according to her file, and had two school-aged children of her own.

"You must be Doctor Mathews," Claire greeted her, as Riley rose to shake her hand.

"You can call me Riley," Riley smiled, as Lucas returned to sit next to Riley.

"It's nice to meet you, my husband and I just moved here from Arizona," Claire informed them, sitting down across from them, "And there aren't a ton of people looking for nannies in Sunbreak."

"I've noticed that," Riley admitted, "How's your schedule?"

"I can work five days a week starting at eight. I do have to pick my kids up from school, but I have a van, so I could take the twins with me," Claire offered.

"How old are your children?" Lucas asked.

"My daughters are eight and ten," she replied, leaning back in her seat and smoothing her skirt.

"Having twins is kind of a handful, do you think you can handle it?" Riley questioned, though she already liked Claire. She had a good feeling about this nanny and the interview had gone a lot better than the last few.

"I've watched twins before and to be honest, my family could really use the extra money. My husband's teaching history at the high school and he loves his job, but it doesn't exactly pay back monetarily," Claire said, looking nervous.

"I think we'll talk it over tonight and let you know tomorrow," Lucas said, looking to Riley for a confirmation.

"It was very nice to meet you," Riley smiled, actually feeling like it was genuine.

Lucas led her back towards the front door and Riley turned her attention back to the babies in her arms.

"I liked her," Lucas said, returning to the room.

"Me too," Riley agreed.

Riley gave it another a week before she was ready to attempt going to the office. A part of her was ready to get back to work and be out of the house, but another part of her felt like doing so might kill her. She wrote lists of both of the twins schedules and twenty different emergency contacts, which she insisted on laminating and framing on the entryway wall.

"It's going to be fine," Lucas promised her, the night before she was set to go back.

"Then why do I feel so anxious?" Riley asked, "I've never been away from them for an entire day."

"You just throw yourself into your work and the day will be over before you know it," Lucas comforted her, as she got into the bed next to him.

The engagement ring box was glaring at her from the dresser and she winced at the intensity of the inanimate object's gaze.

"I've been thinking," Riley said, turning onto her side to face him.

"That can be dangerous," Lucas said, looking at her with concern.

"Maybe we should just go down to the courthouse and get a license. We could get a judge to marry us or I think Roy has a canoe. Does that give him the authority to marry someone?" Riley was momentarily sidetracked, "But we don't have to do the big ceremony. It can be something small and then we'll be married and we can move on."

"You want to elope without going anywhere?" Lucas clarified, looking at her as though she had lost her mind.

"I want your engagement ring to stop glaring at me," Riley announced, her eyes daring him to make fun of her.

"I want a real wedding, Riley. I want you in a white dress and me at an alter and all of our friends and family. I'm pretty sure that's what you want too," Lucas said, dismissing her suggestion.

"The same friends and family who got a wedding invite to you and Maya's wedding under a year ago?" Riley clarified, scooting away from him and pulling the covers more tightly around her, "If we do the big wedding, they'll all be comparing it to what you were planning with Maya and I'm the one who looks like she slept with her best friend's boyfriend and then stole her fiancé. What are people going to say, Lucas?"

"I don't care what they say. I'm not going to marry you at a court house so that we avoid people judging us. Don't you think that they'll do that, anyway?" Lucas pointed out.

"I could wear white at the court house," Riley suggested, "Or we could find a pastor, or a minister, or the captain of a ship. You want family, we could invite my parents and Auggie. Maya would probably kill me if she didn't get an invite."

"What about Farkle and Zay?" Lucas pressed and she could tell that he had already figured out why she wanted such a small wedding.

"I wasn't going to announce that we got married. I thought it could be a nice surprise that we spring on everyone in three, maybe five years," Riley informed him.

"You don't want to get married," Lucas sighed, turning onto his back.

"I just told you that I did," Riley argued.

"You're trying to do what you think will make me happy and Farkle, but this doesn't have anything to do with what you want," Lucas said and Riley turned to look at him again.

"I do want to marry you," Riley promised, her voice soft.

"But you're not ready yet and that's okay," Lucas assured her, reaching out and pulling her to his side.

The conversation was far from over, but Riley couldn't figure out what were the right words to say. She drifted off still trying to figure everything out.

Riley ran Claire through the schedule and where everything was three times before Lucas finally managed to drag her from the house. Riley had thought that she was ready, but she really wasn't.

"Are you going to be okay?" Lucas questioned, as she unlocked her car.

"I don't know," Riley admitted, resisting the urge to dissolve into tears, "I don't want to leave them."

"Riles, you're going back part-time. You just have to make it to lunch," Lucas reminded her, "And you keep mentioning how much you've missed your work."

"I know," Riley agreed, kissing him before he moved towards his own car.

"I'll see you tonight," Lucas said, waving to her as he got into his own car.

It took Riley twenty minutes of sobbing in the driveway before she was able to get her emotions under control. She missed her kids more then what she thought it was possible to miss someone and they were under twenty feet away from her. She had no idea how she was going to get through the day.

She, finally, pulled out of the driveway and started the familiar drive to the medical practice. She'd taken the twins with her to the practice a couple of times when she had needed to see patients and done a couple of night appointments to compensate for her need to stay home during the day, but she was still dreading the pile of work that she knew was waiting for her.

"Good morning, Doctor Mathews," Jennifer greeted Riley, enthusiastically. Despite the fact that she was several months pregnant, Jennifer was doing a remarkable job of hiding her pregnancy and as far as Riley knew, Riley was the only one aware of it.

"Morning," Riley offered, making her way into her office.

"I noticed that the frames for your medical license and diploma were shattered, so I took the liberty of having them reframed. I hope you don't mind," Jennifer said as she trailed along behind Riley.

"That was really nice," Riley admitted, looking at the frames that Jennifer had positioned on her desk.

"I just really appreciate the job and everything that you've done for me," Jennifer gushed.

"I was happy to help," Riley replied, picking up the frames and turning to the section of wall that they belonged on. She slowly made her way over and slipped them back into place.

"You have three patients scheduled for today, starting at ten," Jennifer informed her, when Riley turned around.

"Okay, let me know when they're here," Riley said, sitting in her chair and logging in to her computer.

"Will do," Jennifer agreed, disappearing back down the hallway.

Riley straightened the picture that she had placed on her desk, of her and Blake at a high school basketball game, that had once sat on his own desk. There was a part of her that was glad to be back, but as she pulled the picture she had stolen from home of Lucas and her with the twins, she couldn't help thinking that she would be just as happy when her work day was over.

"Riley, it's good to have you back," Roy greeted her, leaning against the doorway.

"It's good to be back," Riley replied, turning to face him.

"It'll get easier," he promised, seeming to know all the difficulties behind the smile on her face.


"I have a constitutional right to walk around naked on my own property," Zay informed the waiting room, his voice carrying all the way to Riley's office. He was still receiving disapproving stares from patients when Riley made her way down the hall.

"Where in the constitution does it say that?" Farkle pressed, sharing a look with Jennifer; who smiled shyly at him.

"Aren't you renting?" Riley added, and two heads turned in her direction.

"Twins still not sleeping?" Zay asked, looking at her sympathetically.

"Not at the same time, no," Riley replied, feeling the need to find a mirror and see what had given her away.

"You have bags under your eyes," Farkle added, helpfully, and Riley glared at him.

"What's going on with you two?" Riley demanded, desperate to get the attention away from herself.

"You want to hear a good Zay story?" Farkle asked, hysteria in his voice, "He was up at 4 AM this morning, sitting outside without any clothing on. He's going to get us evicted."

"We live in the middle of nowhere and I don't think the chickens or your goat were all that offended," Zay shrugged it off.

"I was offended," Farkle informed him.

"You weren't this up in arms when Riley used to walk around your place naked," Zay accused him and Jennifer looked at Riley with interest.

"It wasn't like that. I was wearing a bathrobe," Riley was quick to defend herself, but neither Zay nor Farkle seemed to hear her.

"And you do plenty of things that annoy me," Zay continued.

"Like what?" Farkle asked, glaring at him.

"You let your goat into the house and she eats everything. I don't think I have any shoelaces left," Zay complained.

"It wouldn't be a problem, if you ever put your shoes away," Farkle contested.

"It wouldn't be a problem if the farm animals stayed outside, where they belong," Zay countered.

"I let you in the house, don't I?" Farkle questioned.

"Boys, as interesting as this argument is. Could you please take it out of this fine establishment that I built with my own blood, sweat and tears?" Roy questioned, entering the room with a patient file in his hands.

"Of course, Doctor Harding, I would hate to disrespect your constitutional rights to carry on your business in the way that you choose to," Zay offered, nudging Farkle with his elbow.

"Where does it say that in the constitution?" Farkle repeated, following Zay out the door.

"They had to buy the building next to ours," Roy groaned, before turning to the woman who was waiting for him, "Why don't you come on back?"

By ten, all of Riley's patients for the day had cancelled and Riley was sitting on the edge of the reception desk.

"Did they give you a reason?" Riley questioned, trying to deal with the turn of events.

"No, but a new birthing center just opened up in Branson and I've heard that it's really nice," Jennifer admitted.

"You really think that they're driving all the way to Branson for medical care?" Riley asked.

"If I didn't work here, I would have considered it and you have been gone for three months," Jennifer reminded her.

"Great," Riley groaned.

"I was going to run out for lunch, do you want anything?" Roy asked, as he left his office. Riley had packed up her things for the day and was getting ready to leave herself.

"I brought my lunch," Jennifer assured him, looking up from her work.

"I'll walk out with you," Riley suggested, grabbing her purse from the floor.

"How was your first day back?" Roy questioned.

"I had three cancelations today," Riley groaned, looking at him with worry.

"It's just your first day back, I'm sure things will pick up," Roy assured her, patting her back.

But Riley wasn't entirely sure.

I was going to wait to post this, but I decided not to. Heat Stroke will have first priority as far as updates go because a lot of the stuff there is going to influence things in the plot here, but I hope to update regularly. Thanks for reading! I would love it if you would leave me a review and let me know what you think!