Jack lifted one dark brow. "You do know me, right? When have I ever let that sassy cowgirl dictate what I can and can't do?"
They took seats opposite each other. "Since germs are an issue, I'll throw it out that Piper and Katie are as robustly healthy as their twin brothers."
"Happy to hear that. I know it was a rough winter."
"I had no idea kids got sick that much. I considered buying stock in the pharmaceutical company that manufactures amoxicillin. Summer weather seems to cure the nasty bugs, thank God."
"What is the wild bunch up to?"
"Piper has been holding princess school for Katie because she's been spending too much time playing with JJ and Liam."
Carson smiled. "What fun things are the Donohue twins doin' that's pullin' Katie away from her big sister?"
"That's the thing. Nothing. It's just Piper is so damn bossy. Katie gets sick of it."
"Cord and Colby had those same issues, as did Cam and Carter. Poor Colt got caught in the middle."
"Weird question, since you're a twin. Did you and Cal have your own…language?"
That was a weird question. "Not really. We've got nonverbal communication, which most folks find odd. But I'm not sure it's a twin thing as much as we've worked together since we were boys and we knew what needed done without havin' to say it out loud. Why? Are your twins speakin' in tongues or something?"
Jack shook his head. "Keely would swear they're speaking demon. They have that nonverbal thing too. We purposely don't dress them the same. At first when they were babies it was to tell them apart. We kept that ankle band on JJ for a year until the boys developed their own personalities."
"Kimi and Cal had to do the same thing with Kade and Kane. By the time they were three none of us had issues tellin' them apart. At least when they came over to our place."
"Because Kane immediately went lookin' for Colt. Them two were rough-housin' as soon as they could walk. Whereas Kade helped Caro with whatever kid of ours was a baby. Lots of experts about twins in this family." Carson swigged from his bottle of Dr. Pepper. "Are you here on Keely's behalf?"
"I told her I planned to stop by. She also knows I agreed with your decision to limit all access to your wife."
"Did that cause problems?"
"I wouldn't let it. Keely is acting like a spoiled brat and I told her so." Jack's eyes softened. "How are things with Carolyn?"
"No change. The docs are giving her another day. Then they'll bring her out of it."
"How are you holding up?"
"Been the worst six days of my life. Every goddamned minute feels like an hour." Or a lifetime.
"I can't imagine. You saw how much of a mess I was when Keely collapsed during her last pregnancy. And that was only a few hours I didn't know what was going on with her. I wouldn't have any hair left if it'd been longer."
"Your kids will turn it gray soon enough. What's new in the business world? Buy up any towns lately?"
"Working on it. I need some place to lock my daughters away when they turn fifteen."
Carson snorted. "If they take after Keely it'll start when they turn thirteen."
"You're kidding, right?"
"Nope. Carter caught Keely kissin' a friend of his behind the rodeo stands when she was only thirteen. I guess the poor kid about crapped his pants when Carter rounded up a bunch of McKays and warned him off his baby sister. Course, Keely took offense to bein' called a baby and punched Carter in the gut. When Colt stepped in, she kneed him in the nuts."
Jack mock shuddered. "She is one scary-ass woman when she's mad."
"She had to be or her brothers or cousins wouldn't take her seriously. At first they called her cute when she got mad. Then they realized she'd take an inch of skin offa them with that razor sharp tongue of hers. Then they also realized maybe they shouldn't have taught her how to punch so hard."
"Lettie at the Golden Boot told me that Keely gets a lot of her scrappiness from Carolyn. Is that true?"
"Let's just say Keely wasn't the first woman in our family to get a lifetime ban from a local bar."
Jack laughed. "I knew it."
"So with her Gran-gran's and her mom's DNA, I'm thinkin' Piper will be hell on wheels when she hits twenty-one." Or seventeen-not that he wanted to worry Jack ahead of time.
"Then I'll be pounding on your door, asking for advice. Or bail money."
Carson raised both eyebrows. "You're assuming I'll be around? I'll be damn near ninety-two."
"You'll be around," Jack assured him. "Medical technology already replaced one of your worn out body parts. You might end up being the first bionic McKay."
"Right. With just one part replaced there's still a bunch of stuff I can't do."
"Not back on a horse yet?"
"I'm wondering if I'll ever ride again." His eyes narrowed. "Don't you say nothin' to Keely. She'll get it in her head that I just need more damn therapy."