Milo resumed taking up overtime and extra shifts at work: this time, not to avoid socialising, but to build a safe, solid pot of funds for his children's futures. Zara, meanwhile, encouraged Neon Dreams - as Miranda had christened their three-person band - to play gigs and concerts as often as they could. Not only would this help with her finances, but she adored performing, and wanted to seize every opportunity she had to do so before she became a mother. Thankfully, both Miranda and Marnix - who had recently begun a relationship themselves - were very understanding.
However, work was far from the be-all and end-all for the expectant parents. They also made time for each other. As the months passed, Milo and Zara made sure that they had a date night at least once a week. They did all manner of things together: seeing films, long walks on the beach, and dinners for two.
One evening, as Zara was on the brink of her third trimester, the pair were checking out a visiting exhibit at the local art gallery. Truth be told, it wasn't quite Milo's thing - but he knew Zara would enjoy it, and that mattered more.
Slowly, however, they cooled off, and the pair perched themselves down on a bench for a rest.
As they sat together, side by side, examining a post-modern portrait, Zara slowly turned towards Milo, tapping his shoulder.
"Honey, I've been thinking."
"Well, once our babies are here... where are they going to live?"
Milo sat bolt upright. That was a good point.
Traditionally, a Miskin heir lived in the family home his entire life - a course Milo had always believed he would take. On top of that, if any of the triplets were boys, then at least one of them would expected to follow that same path. However, both of Milo's parents and sisters still lived there. Zara and babies would bring the total number of residents to nine. It would be one heck of a squeeze.
Alternatively, the Van Halen home - where Zara lived with her brother and own parents - would be a bit roomier, but the downside there was that the potential Miskin heirs may not see their birthright for many years to come.
There was no easy solution. Even with their savings, it would be hard to buy a home of their own that was large enough to comfortably fit a family of five. Splitting the babies up was unthinkable, and Milo hated the idea of either him or Zara not being able to see their children everyday - a consequence that would come of them living apart. Clearly, a united family, with everyone in one spot, was what everyone wanted - but the practicalities were a different matter.
"Well?" Zara prompted, worried by his silence.
Milo sighed. Honesty was the best policy.
"I... I don't know, darling," he admitted. "I need time... to think things through, to sort things out."
"Time is something we're running out of, and fast," Zara answered, patting her swollen belly. "These babies will be here soon, and they need a home. I know about your family traditions and legacy, and the inheritance laws, and all that stuff - but right now, we need to do what's best for our children..."
She took hold of his hand.
"... even if that means leaving your family behind for a little while."
A harsh statement, maybe - but a true one, and Milo knew it. As he nodded remorsefully, Zara shuffled closer to him, and held him gently, comforting him.
"Come on," Milo said. "Let's head home. Stay with me tonight, and we'll sleep on it."
As Milo and Zara entered the lounge of the Miskin home, they could both smell a very distinct aroma in their air. A sharp, strong scent that burned at the nose.
No-one was around in the lounge or the kitchen. The only light either of them could see came from a crack in the closed door of Myron's former bedroom.
What was going on? Where was everyone?
"Hello?" Milo called out. "Is anyone home?"
Quick as a flash, Mordecai emerged from Myron's bedroom, swiftly pulling the door closed behind him and throwing himself against it. His hair, whilst generally untamed, seemed to be especially flyaway. And it wasn't only his hair that was flustered... he himself seemed panicky and nervous, as if he hadn't expected to see his son again so soon.
"Oh!" Mordecai finally said, after a few moments. "Hello, you two! You're back early! Was your date OK? How was the exhibit?"
"It was all fine, Dad," Milo answered. "What's going on?"
Zara, suspicious, looked Mordecai up and down - and her eyes was immediately drawn to a strange splodge on his clothes.
"What's that green stuff on your shirt?" she asked him.
"What, this?" Mordecai answered innocently. "Nothing, nothing. I guess I must have just spilled some food, that's all."
Milo looked his father in the eye.
"Are you hiding something?"
"What? Don't be silly! Of course not!"
"Come away from the door, then."
Milo, now very concerned, lurched forward, put his hand on his father's shoulder, and pushed him aside. Zara swiftly followed. Mordecai immediately panicked - trying to pull them back and babbling madly.
"Son, wait, no... it's nothing bad... we - we just wanted to surprise you - "
As they entered, the couple looked around - and gasped.
What had once been a dark, dreary, black-walled bedroom was now a beautiful, grass-green nursery. Three little cradles were lined up against one wall. Unicorns, cute monsters and all manner of animals had been painted around the place. Toys and books were in every corner. Rosie, Miranda and Lily - who, like Mordecai, were also "guilty culprits" - stood there with paintbrushes in their hands, admiring their handiwork.
Mordecai put his arms around Zara and Milo's shoulders.
"Sorry for not telling you before," he said. "Miranda's idea. She thought it would be a nice present. We know you two must have been worried about space for the little ones, and Grandad Myron's room was just here, not doing anything. So, she thought it could be the triplets' room for a couple of years - until she and Rosie move on."
"I... I don't know what to say..." Milo stammered, stunned.
Zara couldn't find words either. She just burst into floods of joyful tears, overwhelmed by this amazing gesture.
"Speaking of moving on," Miranda piped up, suddenly, "there's something I need to tell you all."
"And what's that?" asked Mordecai.
"It's Marnix," Miranda explained. "He's asked me to move in with him. And,well... Zara, since I figured you and Milo might want to live together here, I thought we could... switch houses, as it were."
Zara grinned from ear to ear. Laughing, she threw her arms around Miranda, and hugged her as tightly as she could.
A few weeks later, with Zara's due date drawing ever nearer, Miranda had packed up her things, and was waiting for Marnix to come and take her to her new home. Zara waited with her, eager to wish her friend well.
"I hope you'll be very happy with my brother," Zara told her.
"Likewise!" Miranda replied, laughing.
"I can never thank you enough for everything you've done," Zara added. "You really are my best friend."
"It's nothing - honestly," Miranda said. "I just want you and Milo to be happy..."
She reached out to feel Zara's baby bump.
"... as well as my future nieces and/or nephews."
A car pulled up to the sidewalk, followed by the sound of a honking horn.
"That'll be Marnix," Miranda said. "I'd best be off. Be sure to let me know when your babies are here!"
Smiling, she headed towards the car.