Timefame: Post fourth season
Archive: Sure, anywhere just let me know.
Feedback: Please...positive and negative feedback welcome.
Rating: G, Really sort of in between G and PG.
Disclaimer:I don’t own the characters in the story they are the property of Warner Brothers Television, and Shoot The Moon Productions.I am not earning profit from this story,just enjoyment.
Lee Stetson was awakened in the middle of the night, by the slight jostling, and rustling of the bed. Turning over he glanced sleepily at the figure of his wife as she pulled on her robe, and tried her best to be as quiet as she could. The past few months had been a very hectic. It was like their life had been turned upside down, and their time together was almost nonexistent. They relished the few moments they could spend together.
“Hey, where are you going?” he asked quietly, propping himself up on one elbow, and blinking through the darkness of the bedroom. Even in the darkness he could make out her beautiful form, and the thought occurred to him that he hoped she hurried back to bed.
Amanda turned her head quickly to look at him. She secured the tie of her robe, and gave him an apologetic shrug of her shoulders. She knew that neither of them had been getting much sleep lately, and she had hoped that tonight she wouldn’t wake him by leaving their bed, as she had done on many nights previous.
“The baby’s awake,” she whispered to him, as she pointed to the baby monitor that had rested atop the nightstand on her side of the bed for the past six months.
“Oh, I see.” Lee listened very intently to the soundless monitor. After a few seconds he spoke again. “Uh, Amanda, I don’t hear anything,” he teased.
“Well, not now,” Amanda replied. “You were asleep when she cried a few minutes ago, but trust me she’s awake. And don’t you even tell me that I’m just being a worried mother, Lee Stetson.”
Lee sat up in bed with an amused grin on his face. “Amanda, I think your mind is playing tricks on you. She sounds fine to me. And, yes, I do think your just being a worried mother,” he said as he grabbed her hand and pulled her back down on the bed. “But, that’s another thing I love about you,” he said pulling her closer for a kiss.
The irony of his comment had not been lost on Amanda, and she lightly laughed through the kiss. “We’ll add that to the list,” she softly whispered as she pulled away smiling. “I’ll just go check on her, and be right back.”
“Don’t take too long. I’m wide-awake now,” Lee said, smiling back at her.
“Is that the only thing about?” Amanda teased back as she rushed out of the room.
Lee glanced at the clock as he watched his wife leave the room. It was 1:37. He counted to ten and right on cue he heard Amanda’s voice coming through the baby monitor. He had never told her that he could hear her conversations with their little girl through the monitor. That was his own little secret. Amanda of course knew that he could, but that was her little secret.
“Hello there my little sleepy head,” Amanda whispered in the soothing voice only a mother has. “Why are you wide awake, it’s time for all beautiful little girls to be in bed.”
Lee then heard several seconds of silence then Amanda’s voice, and the creaking of the floor came through the darkness again, and he knew that she had picked up their baby and was now rocking her back to sleep. “Awww, this is Mommy’s precious girl. I told your Daddy you were awake.” Lee laughed softly to himself, as he listened to the most important people in his life.
Lee lay in bed listening to what was happening just down the hall, and the smile never left his face. How could one woman make him so complete? He didn’t know, but he knew that she did. He barely remembered his life before he met Amanda King, and now he couldn’t imagine his life without her. He thought to himself he had everything a man could want. Amanda was his heart, his soul, his life, and after they finally made their marriage public, the boys, after some adjustments, accepted him as their stepfather.
He thought back to that night they had all sat down in the family room to celebrate his birthday. Phillip and Jamie had been very stoic the whole evening. Lee and Amanda had only told them of their marriage a few days before, and he knew the silence could only mean one thing...trouble.
Phillip had taken the news well enough. The initial shock wore off soon for Phillip, he gave Lee a firm handshake, and with a big smile, he pronounced that it was “cool” with him. Lee later overheard him bragging to his friends that he’d be driving the cool car in the driveway soon. He decided to let him live that fantasy for a while, instead of risking his newfound status as Phillip’s cool step dad.
Lee had been very concerned about Jamie’s reaction to the news. He had simply asked to be excused and slowly walked up the stairs. Amanda reassured Lee that he was just in shock, it would take him some time. “He feels things more deeply than Phillip, just give him time, he’ll come around,” she told him, but Lee hadn’t been convinced, and although he had known for over a week, Jamie still had not spoken a word to Lee.
Finally, as they sat in the family room on his birthday, it came time for Lee to open his gifts. Amanda gave her new husband tickets to an opera that he had been hinting about for weeks. She gave him another gift too, but that came much later. Dotty gave him a book on classic Corvettes, which Phillip promptly took and began to read. Dotty had not been very happy with the two of them for keeping their marriage a secret, and it was still a sore spot with her that she hadn’t been able to plan her daughter’s wedding. However, she was quickly getting over it, and gave Lee a beautiful hand written card that expressed her joy and happiness, but ended with the words, “Don’t you two ever do that to me again.” After reading those words Lee slowly looked up at her with concerned eyes, only to be met by a big smile, and hug. “Welcome to the family, Lee,” she told him. He was very relieved.
When it came time for Phillip and Jamie to give Lee their gifts, Amanda was very nervous. She knew the two boys were up to something. They had been talking in whispers for more than three days, and stopped talking whenever she came into the room. She watched as her oldest son handed Lee a small box. She watched as he tore off the paper, and opened the box, and she watched as out of the box he pulled a small plastic trophy, and read aloud from the inscription. “World’s Best Step-Dad.” Then she watched as a big smile, second only to the one she had seen on their wedding day, crept over his face.
“I don’t know what to say,” Lee began in a hoarse voice. “ This is one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten. Thank you, Phillip.”
“Hey, no problem,” Phillip said with big smile. “It’s the least I could do for the man who’s going to teach me drive in that car,” he said pointing out to the driveway.
“Uh, sure,” Lee was startled and at a loss for words. He looked at Amanda for help.
“Now come on sweetheart,” she said coming over to Phillip and putting an arm around his shoulder. “That’s years away, and Lee may not even have that car when you’re old enough to learn how to drive,” she said as she steered Phillip back to his seat.
Amanda walked back over to the couch and sat down beside Lee who leaned over and whispered in her ear. “Don’t get any ideas about giving away my car.”
She looked at him and could only laugh.
“Jamie,” she changed the subject. ”Didn’t you have something you wanted to give Lee?”
“Uh, yeah, here you go,” he slowly walked over to Lee and thrust an envelope into his new stepfather’s hand.
“Thanks, Jamie,” Lee said with a smile. “Do you want me to open it now?”
“Whatever,” Jamie shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
Lee opened the envelope and read what the boy had written. He sat in stunned silence as the thought of what it had taken for Jamie to write these words sunk in. “I don’t know what to say,” he began, and Amanda could tell that what Jamie had written had struck Lee in some way, she just wasn’t sure if it was good or bad.
“Umm, Jamie, do you mind if I read this outloud, since it concerns everyone here?” Lee asked.
“Sure, that’s OK,” Jamie replied, not looking at him, but looking very intently at the seam on the arm of the overstuffed chair.
Everyone listened as Lee began to read the words written on notebook paper in a child’s handwriting...
I still don’t really understand why you and mom had to hide your being married from us. I’m still mad that you guys lied to us, but I guess you had your reasons. I won’t ask what they are because you asked us not ask, but I still wonder. Anyway, even though I’m mad, I guess I’m sort of glad that Mom found someone that makes her happy. Phillip and Grandma really like you, and I guess I sort of like you too. Maybe someday we could even be friends. What I’m trying to say is that Phillip and I have talked about it, and it’s really weird that you and mom are married, and you don’t live together. Isn’t that what married people are supposed to do? So if you want to it’s ok with us if you move in here to be close to mom, and to be our step dad.
Even now Lee remembered that his voice was shaking as he read the letter that he still kept and read almost every day.
Yes, Lee Stetson had thought he had everything a man could want until that night just over a year ago. It was a night much like tonight, and he had been awakened in much the same way. His memory wondered back in time again.
He had just gotten back from a three week assignment in Europe and he was exhausted. All he wanted to do was get home to his beautiful wife, and his wonderful family. He planned a very special “I missed you" present for Amanda that night, but those plans were put on the back burner when he walked through the door and found his wife asleep on the couch. Dotty met him at the door and shushed him before he even made a sound.
“Welcome home,” she whispered with a hug. “Now don’t make a sound, Amanda has the flu, she’s been very sick, and she’s sleeping.”
“I can see that,” Lee said in a concerned voice, glancing around the corner into the family room. “How long has she had it?”
“About a week now. It comes and goes, but she’s really not feeling well,” she answered his question.
“Lee,” a groggy voice called to them from the family room. “Is that you?”
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re home,” Dotty began as she grabbed her coat,
and headed for the door. ”I have to go pick up the boys, you can stay with
her. I’ll be back soon. Bye,”
she gave him a kiss and a hug, and was out the door.
“Lee,” the voice said a little louder this time.
Lee dashed into the family room in time to see Amanda roll over on the couch and lean up on her elbow.
“Yep, it’s me,” he strolled over and bent down to kiss her forehead. ‘She didn’t feel very hot,’ he thought to himself, but he was so glad to see her, and so concerned that the thought left his mind, as soon as it entered. “How long have you had the flu?” he asked her, pulling the throw off the back of the couch and covering her as she laid her head back down on the pillow. He sat down on the couch next to her.
“The flu?,” she questioned, forgetting the story she told her mother.
“Your mother said you were sick with the flu,” Lee asked feeling her forehead.
“Oh..., just a few days. I think I’m better now,” she replied kissing the back of his hand. “I’m so glad you’re home, I missed you,” she said smiling up at him.
“I missed you too. I had planned to show you just how much I missed you tonight, but I guess I’ll have to wait until you’re better,” he replied as he gently rubbed his hand up and down her side.
“You know,” she started, “ I think I’m feeling a lot better. In fact I think I’ll be over it by tonight,” she finished with a smile, grabbing Lee’s tie and pulling him down so that his mouth was only inches from hers.
He gave her another kiss on the forehead. “Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait until I’m sure that you’re better,” he teased with a kiss on her cheek. “I’m going up to take a shower, do you need anything while I’m down here?” he asked her.
Amanda’s eyes twinkled mischievously and she started to open her mouth, but Lee silenced her with a finger to her lips.
“Anything but that,” he said looking deep into her eyes.
“Well, since you put it that way, no, I’m fine,” she pouted.
“And no kissing until you’re better, I don’t want to get sick with the flu,” Lee lectured as he got up to leave, and was met with the back of Amanda’s hand slapping him on the rear end.
“I think you are feeling better,” he said looking back before dashing up the stairs.
Amanda stared at the doorway for the longest time, although Lee didn’t know it. She let a sigh, and rolled her eyes toward the ceiling as she began to feel sick to her stomach once again.
Later that night Lee was sleeping like a log. Amanda’s illness and his jet lag and sent them both to bed early. Amanda had tossed and turned all night, but he fell asleep quickly only to be awakened by the jostling and rustling of the bed. Turning over he glanced sleepily at the figure of his wife as she pulled on her robe, and tried her best to be as quiet as she could.
“Are you OK?” he asked as he sat up in bed, concerned that she might be getting worse, and not better.
“Oh, yeah, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to wake you up. Go back to sleep. I’m going to go find something to settle my stomach, “ Amanda whispered.
“No, you get back in bed, I’ll get you something,” Lee whispered back, as he threw back the comforter and started to get out of bed.
“Lee, I know what I need, I'll just be a minute. I’m OK,” she snapped as she walked out the door, leaving Lee staring at her.
‘She didn’t sound OK,” he thought to himself, as he climbed back into bed.
He lay there in the darkness for what seemed like an eternity, and Amanda had still not returned. He climbed back out of bed, and crept down the stairs. He walked into the family room expecting to see Amanda asleep on the couch, but instead, through the darkness he saw his wife’s figure standing at the french doors. She had pulled the curtain aside, and the light from the moon illuminated her face. He could see that she was deep in thought. She was so beautiful. He wanted to sneak up behind her and take her in his arms, but remembering that she was sick, he settled instead for a simple, “Amanda, what’s wrong.”
Amanda had known he was there and his voice hadn’t startled her as he thought it might. Instead she just kept staring out into the darkness. She finally spoke, but continued to stare out the window.
“You’re going to be upset with me,” she said quietly and with a shaky voice.
“What..., why..., you haven’t started World War Three at work have you,” he teased as he walked over and sat down on the arm of the sofa, just feet away from her.
Amanda let a small laugh and a half hearted smile escape her lips, but Lee could see tears dancing behind her eyes as she spoke, “No, but you might wish that I had, after you hear what I’m about to tell you.”
“Amanda, just tell me, whatever it is, it can’t be that bad,” Lee consoled in a soft voice.
Amanda took a deep breath. After a few minutes of silence, and still staring out the window, she began in a way that only she could. “Please don’t be angry with me. It’s not like I planned it. I really didn’t, and even you have to admit that we haven’t been exactly careful lately. I know it’s going to change everything. Please don’t be mad. I didn’t know how to tell you. I know you’re going to be angry.....”
“Whoa, Amanda stop, one sentence at a time. I can't understand what you’re saying. Start over,” Lee said trying to slow her down.
Amanda took another deep breath, and searched for the right words. “Lee, I don’t have the flu,” she began.
“You don’t?” he asked not following her.
“No,” she said shaking her head, never taking her eyes from the window. With another deep breath, she finally spoke the words she’d wanted to say since he walked through the door earlier that day. “I’m pregnant.”
These words were met with only silence. She continued to stare out the window, working up the courage to look at his face. Finally, she turned her head to meet his gaze. Only, instead of the anger she expected to see, she was shocked that Lee was smiling bigger and brighter than ever.
“A baby,” he questioned her, his eyes dancing.
“Yeah,” she answered nodding her head.
In one stride he was at her side. He grabbed her in his arms, and gave her the kiss he’d been waiting to give her all day.
When they pulled apart Lee could not stop smiling, but then her words came back to him. “Why did you think I would be mad?” he asked.
“Lee,” she began, “This is going to change everything. The Agency wasn’t too happy to have married agents working together, they won’t let a pregnant agent out in the field. They’ll split us up,” she started to cry.
Lee held her tightly and kissed her tears away. “Shh, it’s OK,” he comforted her, holding her close, and stroking her hair.
“No, it’s not,” she wept into his chest. “Lee, when they find out I’m pregnant...,”
“I know, they won’t be too thrilled about their best team being sidelined for nine months, but it’s not the agency that won’t let a pregnant agent out in the field,” he told her.
“What?” she didn’t understand.
“I won’t,” he replied. “At least not this pregnant agent.”
“What!” she shot back at him, and started to pull away.
“Calm down. I just mean until the baby’s born, and don’t you worry about being split up. Billy would never let that happen.”
“You don’t know that, Dr. Smyth...” she began to argue, but he again silenced her with a finger to her lips.
“You let me worry about Dr. Smyth. I think Billy knows a few things that he wouldn’t want anybody else to know,” he said smugly.
“Really,” she sounded astonished.
“Yeah,” he said pulling her closer for another kiss.
In the darkness they stood together. Amanda rested her head on his Lee’s shoulder, while he was lost in thoughts of the love that was now growing inside of his beautiful wife. He pulled away from her just enough to place his hand on her still slim stomach.
They both looked down, and Amanda put her hand over his. When she looked back up she saw a tear fall from his cheek.
“Is there really a baby in there?” he asked wide eyed, never moving his hand.
“Yeah,” she whispered, her voice filled with tears of joy.
“I love you,” he whispered, “And I love our baby.” He paused and started again, “You’ve given me everything... no... more than everything I’ve ever dreamed of. You are my life...,” he couldn’t finish as the tears overtook him.
Amanda reached up with both hands to wipe away the tears, and she claimed his mouth with hers for another longer, deeper kiss. They could never remember how long they stood in the family room together just staring out the window, Amanda’s back against Lee’s chest, his arms enveloping his wife, and both their hands resting protectively on her stomach, over their child. Lee had carried her up to bed that night, and they fell asleep in each others arms.
Even now as Lee thought back on that night, he wiped tears away from his eyes. His thoughts quickly ran ahead to a day only seven short months later. He couldn’t believe how quickly that time had passed by.
“You know...,” Amanda started as she sat leaning again Lee on the family room couch. Her feet propped up on the coffee table, relaxing in Lee’s arm, that for some time now had found a new favorite spot to rest, on top of Amanda’s ever expanding stomach. Amanda thought, as all pregnant women do, that she looked like a whale, even though Lee reassured her that the extra weight made her even more beautiful...”if that were possible”, he added.
This was their favorite time. The house was quiet, all the other residents had gone to bed hours ago, and the two expectant parents could enjoy being alone with their soon to be born child.
“We have to decide on names,” Amanda continued. “I plan to deliver this baby on time, so that only gives us a week,” she stated flatly, gently rubbing her hands over her middle.
“Oh, you plan to deliver on time,” Lee teased, following the patterns her hands were making with his own. “Don’t you think this one will have something to say about that?” He kissed the back of her neck, and patted her gently on the stomach.
“No, this one doesn’t have a choice in the matter,” Amanda countered laying her hands over his. “I feel like I’m about to pop.”
“I don’t know, I kind of like you this way,” he continued to tease. “I like showing the two of you off.”
“Yeah, enjoy it while you can, Scarecrow. Like I said, next week.”
“We’ll see..” he stopped kissing her neck, only to start nibbling on her ear.
“Lee, I’m serious. We have to decide on a name. I want this child to have a name when it comes into the world. Don’t you?” she turned slightly to look into his eyes.
“Well, of course I do. I’m way ahead of you,” he said, “wait here.” Lee carefully eased out from behind his wife and walked out of the room. Amanda could hear him running up the stairs, and a few minutes later she could hear his footsteps coming back down. He appeared in the doorway and returned to his original location, seated behind his wife.
“Here you are,” he stated grandly, as he produced a large piece of paper, on which was written an even larger list. Amanda took the paper from his hand.
“Uh, Lee, you know making lists always gets you into trouble,” she tried unsuccessfully to hide the grin on her lips.
“Just read it,” he replied exasperated.
Amanda took the list from him and started to read. Slowly tears began to form in her eyes as the realized that she was reading a list of baby names.
“How long have you been working this?” she asked turning to kiss the man she loved more than life itself.
“Let’s see,” he began to think outloud. “You told me you were pregnant seven months ago,” he stared at the ceiling and pretended to mentally count the amount of time he had worked on the list. “Uhmm, seven months,” he finally declared.
“I love you,” was all Amanda could say.
“I love you too, and you too,” he repeated speaking down toward Amanda’s stomach. “Now, read the list and tell me what you think.”
“OK, let’s see,” she said as she read from the paper. “Oh, I like this one,” she pointed to a name near the top. “ Anna Danielle is pretty too, “ she stared at the paper turning it over and over and finally spoke again.
“Ummm, I just have one question. Why is there a whole page of girls names and only...,” she turned the paper to the back side, and counted up the names, “seven boys names?” she smiled up at her husband.
“Uh, well, I uh,” he choked out stalling for time, “I uhhh started with girls names. I only started working on the boys names a few days ago.”
“Oh, I see,” she said shaking her head up and down slowly.
“You do?” he asked nervously.
“Yeah, you want a girl,” Amanda stated matter of factly.
Lee was quiet for a time, then turned Amanda to face him, and she could see the sincerity in his eyes. “Amanda, its just that the boys, well... I feel like they’re mine. I've watched grow up, even though they don’t know it.” He paused thinking of what to say next. “We already have two wonderful boys. I want us to have a girl. I want you to have a little girl to dress up and spoil. and...,” he was quiet for a minute before he continued. “I want a little girl because she would be just like you.”
When he finished he realized that Amanda was crying. She didn’t say a word, all she could do was stare at him, and finally she reached up for a long sensuous kiss.
“By the way,” she whispered as their kiss ended, “You aren’t the only who made a list you know.”
“I thought you’d be ahead of me on that one too,” he laughed and his warm breath tickled her cheek. “So, are going to let me see your list?”
“You’ll have to get it for me,” she said, and once again Lee eased out from behind his wife. “It’s on the window sill over the sink, in the tin box.”
“Why would you keep something that important over the sink?” he asked walking into the kitchen.
“Well, “ she replied over her shoulder, “I get my inspiration looking out that window, and besides I knew you wouldn’t look there.”
“And how did you know that?” he asked returning to the couch with the tin box in his hand.
“Lee, when was the last time you were anywhere near that sink?” she replied. “I’m the one who does the dishes remember.”
“OK, point taken,” he laughed, easing back down next to his wife.
“Well, open it,” she softly ordered.
Lee opened the tin box, and took the small piece of paper out from inside, then started to laugh. “Amanda, there are only two names on this paper,” he said giving her a sideways glance.
“I know, I only needed two. Read them.” she said pushing the paper at him so he could see the names.
“Ok, let’s see,” Lee began, clearing his throat. “For a boy...Ma...,” he fell silent. When he finally found his voice again Amanda could hear its quaking. “For a boy,” he began again, much more softly, and slowly, “Matthew Lee, and for a girl..Jennifer Lee.” All he could do was stare at her with more love in his eyes than she had ever seen.
Finally, Amanda spoke. “I guess it’s settled then,” she stated leaning back against her husband’s chest and placing his hands around her middle.
“What did I ever do to deserve you,” he asked placing another kiss on the back of her neck. “You are the most beautiful, most wonderful, gentle, kind woman I’ve ever known. You’ll never know how much I love you,” he whispered in her ear.
“Just remember that next week in the delivery room. I won’t seem so beautiful then.” she laughed.
“Oh, yes you will,” he assured her as they nestled down further into the couch. They sat in the loving silence for hours. Amanda finally falling asleep in his embrace. Lee once again carried her upstairs, and they fell asleep in each others arms.
Lee rolled over in bed, and laughed to himself when he remembered how Amanda had insisted that she would deliver their child on time. Then he remembered how, as her due date came and went, he had taken great delight in teasing her about it at every opportunity. That was until the morning, five days later, when he awoke and glanced over at his wife in the morning sunlight.
He knew that she had had a rough night, but she seemed to calm down and sleep early in the morning, only to start tossing and turning again several hours later. Now, as he looked over at Amanda, her eyes closed, one hand on her stomach, one hand balled up in a fist resting on her forehead, and her breathing more rapid than usual, he knew something was wrong. He rolled over to face her, and the movement of the bed made her open her eyes.
“Hey, are you OK?” he asked.
Amanda was only able to shake her head no.
“Amanda,” Lee said sitting up in bed and resting his hand on the side of her stomach, “Are you in labor?”
After a few seconds, the contraction that Amanda was having passed, and she was able to speak. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure.”
The rest of the day was a hectic blur to Lee. He had to almost fight with Amanda to get her to go to the hospital in the morning. She had told him that it would be a long wait at the hospital and she didn’t want to go that soon. That was until a long series of contractions over took her, and Lee won the battle.
He knew that he had married a strong woman, she had proven that many times, but he had no idea how strong she was. Her labor was long and painful. She sobbed into his shoulder several times begging him to take the pain away. She later confessed that this delivery was much worse then the birth of either one of the boys, and if she had known it was going to be that bad she would have used drugs.
Lee couldn’t stand to see her in so much pain, and several times he told the doctor, in not so pleasant words, that they had to do something, that she couldn’t take much more. It seemed like he sat there with her for days, just holding her, and soothing her, smoothing her hair, and trying to be positive, when all the time he was scared to death. She leaned against him the whole time as wave after wave of painful contractions washed over her, each one stronger than the last, and she gripped his hand like a lifeline the whole time. She had been his rock so many times. That day was his turn to be hers.
Just when he was sure that she couldn’t possibly take any more, the contractions got even worse. It was torture for him to have to watch her go through this, and all he could do was hold her hand and whisper meaningless words to her. His attention was so focused on Amanda that he hardly even heard the doctor tell him that it was time for her to push. When he realized what the doctor had said, he spat back, “Are you crazy, look at her, she’s exhausted, she can’t do it.” Then he felt a hand on his arm, and realized it was Amanda.
Shakingly, and in a voice so quiet he could barely hear her she whispered. “ Lee, it’s OK,” she paused and took a deep breath, “I can do it, I have to.”
He watched stunned as Amanda prepared her tired body to bring their child into the world. He helped her sit up. Never letting go of her hand, while he put his other arm around her shoulders. She leaned against him again and grabbed his hands tightly. When the doctor told her to she began to push, over and over again, crying out with each longer and more painful compression. She didn’t stop until the small cry of a new born baby filled the room, and she collapsed into her husband’s arms. He knew then that she was far stronger than he would ever be.
Lee watched as the doctor placed the small bundle of Jennifer Lee Stetson into her mother’s arms, and he watched as Amanda began to cry, finally realizing that he was crying himself. Once his baby daughter was in his wife's arms the little girl’s crying quieted and finally stopped. Little Jenny yawned sleepily and fell asleep oblivious to the two people to whom she was the world.
“It looks like she knows her Mommy’s touch,” Lee said to Amanda placing a long loving kiss on her lips, and touching his new daughter’s hand with his finger. He watched in tearful awe as the little girl’s tiny hand curled around his large finger.
“It looks like she knows her Daddy’s touch too,” Amanda replied softly. Handing the sleeping infant into the nervous arms of her father.
Lee Stetson stood lost in his own thoughts just looking into the faces of his wife and new born daughter as the commotion of the doctors and nurses went on unnoticed. “She’s so tiny,” he was finally able to say, as he gently settled the sleeping baby back into the awaiting and eager arms of her mother.
“No,” Amanda said shaking her head, taking the child, and placing a soft kiss on Jennifer’s forehead, “She’s perfect.”
“So are you, I love you Mrs. Stetson,” Lee told Amanda lovingly.
“I love you too, Mr. Stetson,” Amanda said with a kiss.
They sat there just watching the new life that was their daughter as she again yawned, and squirmed in their protective embrace.
Lee stretched and yawned with a large smile on his face that his wonderful memories had put there. ‘I must have dozed off,’ he thought to himself, and reached to rest his arm over Amanda’s hip. However, instead of finding his wife lying next to him as he had expected, he found only the cold mattress on her side of the bed. Lee lifted his head from the pillow, and sleepily blinked at the clock on Amanda’s nightstand. The glowing red numbers glared back at him, and he was finally able to make out the time...4:45.
‘She should be back in bed by now,’ he thought. He sat in bed quietly for a minute listening for the familiar voice to come across the baby monitor. He could make out the soft creak of the rocking chair as it slowly rolled over the old floor boards again and again. ‘Maybe Jenny didn’t want to go back to sleep,’ he reassured himself, and sure enough after a few seconds of silence he could hear the soft voice of his wife singing their daughter’s favorite lullaby. “Yep, my girl’s a night owl,” he said to himself as he lifted back the blankets and climbed out of bed to relieve Amanda in the nursery.
Lee tiptoed down the hall and into the nursery, and knelt down next to Amanda, who put her finger to her lips telling him to speak softly.
“Hey, there,” Lee softly spoke to his daughter, placing a hand lovingly on her tiny head. “What’s the bid idea of keeping your Mommy up this late,” he bent over to place a kiss on his daughter's cheek. Then he stopped suddenly and looked at Amanda with concern in his eyes. “Amanda, she’s burning up.”
“I know, she’s been hot since I got up, she was crying and fussy too,” Amanda told him in a whisper.
Lee stood up quickly and turned for the door. “Come on and get dressed. We’ll take her to the hospital,” He could feel his heart in his throat, as he thought about his little daughter being sick.”
“Lee, wait,” Amanda whispered after him. “I took her temperature. It’s not that high, and she already feels a little cooler. I already called the doctor. He said what I thought he would. He said to give her this,” she held out a bottle of liquid baby aspirin.
“When did you give it to her, does she need more, and why didn’t you get me up?” he asked returning to her side, and taking the bottle from her hand to inspect the lable.
“Lee, I really think it’s just a bad cold. She sounded a little stuffy when we put her to bed, and I didn’t wake you up because you looked so peaceful, and you need your rest. What were you thinking about anyway? “ she tried to sooth his nerves.
“Never mind that, she sounded fine to me when we put her down, Amanda,” he said putting a soothing hand on his wife’s shoulder, and one on his daughter’s back. “How does she sound now?” he asked tilting his head closer to hear Jenny’s breathing.”
“Asleep,” Amanda replied, looking down the little girl nestled against her chest.
“Amanda, how can you be so calm about your daughter being deathly ill?” he looked at her sternly.
“Lee,” she sighed, “She’s not deathly ill. I’m telling you she just picked up a cold. Remember I’ve been through this twice before. I think I can tell when a baby has a cold.”
“Oh, well then, tell me where in the world would she have picked up a cold, the only people she’s been around are us, and we're not sick.”
“Baby’s get sick from germs that don’t make us sick, because they’re so small. She could have gotten this cold anywhere. She could have gotten it from us, or Phillip and Jamie, they’re around kids all day. Who knows what diseases they bring into this house.”
“Well, we’ll just have to watch their friends more closely. I don’t want them around anyone who’s sick. They could even get sick too.”
“Oh, sweetheart.” Amanda sighed again. “Being sick is part of being a child, trust me you’ll get used to it.”
“Amanda, she didn’t get sick from us, I’m positive of that, so where could she have gotten this from?” he began pacing the room.
“Shhh, keep your voice down, don’t wake her up,” Amanda admonished him.
Lee walked quietly over to Amanda and Jenny, bent down beside them, and once again laid a hand on Amanda’s shoulder, and one on Jenny’s back. “Sorry,” he whispered to Amanda. “Daddy’s sorry sweetheart,” he whispered to Jenny.
“Lee she could have even gotten this in the doctor’s office waiting room,” Amanda continued.
“What, I thought doctor’s were supposed to keep their offices clean, Amanda. What kind of doctor lets his patients get sick in his own waiting room?” Lee asked rubbing little Jenny’s back.
“Lee, it’s OK...,” she began, but never finished.
“No, it’s not. First thing tomorrow, we’re finding another doctor,” Lee interrupted.
Amanda was starting to loose patience, but she held her temper. This was his first child after all. She thought back to the way she had acted when Phillip got sick for the first time. “Look, like I said I’ve been through this before. The first time Phillip got sick I called my mother crying. I thought he was going to die. He was so hot, and he could barely breath, but do you know what?”
“What?” he asked.
“It was just a cold, and he’s still alive today isn’t he?” she questioned.
“Yeah, well, Jenny’s so little,” Lee kept up his argument.
“Phillip was this little, in fact, he was younger than Jenny the first time he got sick,” she said brushing Lee’s hair back from his face.
“He was?” he asked looking into her face.
“Yeah, he was two months old,” she said looking into his worried eyes.
Lee looked down at the floor and shook his head. He looked back at her and began, ”How do you do it? “ he asked looking into her eyes trying to find an answer there.
“What,” she smiled at him, placing a hand on his cheek.
“Stay so calm when the world falls apart,” now he brushed a strand of hair back from her face, grabbed her hand and held it to his lips.
“Oh, I just remember that I’ve got a wonderful husband who’s never been a father to a little baby before, and who needs me to stay calm, and teach him all that I know,” she laughed, with a twinkle in her eye.
“The teacher’s the wonderful one. It’s the student I’m worried about,” Lee said with a frown.
“Lee, you’re a wonderful father. You just have to get used to not flying off the handle at every little bump or bruise or cold. I’m telling you she’ll be sicker than this in the next eighteen years, but she’ll live through it, and she’ll be fine. And so, I might add, will you,” she leaned over and gave him a kiss.
“I just don’t know what I’d do if I lost any of you, and I can’t bare to think of Jenny suffering, she’s so tiny,” he looked down at his little girl cradled lovingly in her mother’s arms.
“Uh, Lee, look at her, she’s asleep. You’re the one who’s suffering.”
With that Lee laughed. “I guess you’re right, but...,” Amanda silenced him with a finger to his lips.
“I already made an appointment to take her to the doctor first thing tomorrow morning. That is if we’re still going to that doctor,” she questioned him with her eyes.
Lee blushed slightly at his overreaction, “Well for now, but I’m checking out his waiting room tomorrow. If I find one speck of dirt we’re outta there.”
Amanda leaned forward and gave him another kiss. “Why don’t you do back to bed, and try to get some sleep,” she said.
“No, I couldn’t sleep now anyway, besides,” Lee reached out and started to take Jenny from Amanda, “You’ve been up this whole time, it’s your turn to go back to bed. I’ll watch Jenny.”
“No, I want to stay up with her. I’m the worried mother remember?” she laughed, covering Jenny's tiny little hand with her own, and delicately rubbing her thumb over each of the little girl's fingers.
“OK, I’ll go put on a pot of coffee. We’ll stay up with our little girl together,” Lee stood and kissed first his wife, and then his daughter.
“Lee, the coffee won’t do me any good, I can’t drink any while I’m nursing her and you know it,” she teased.
“Yeah but I can,” he jumped out of the way Amanda’s playful slap. “I’ll he right back,” he laughed and walked out of the room, stopping at the door to look back at his two wonderful girls. Amanda had turned her attention back to Jenny who was squirming again in her arms. The past year had been wonderful and frightening. It had passed by slowly and too quickly at the same time. He thought back on the memories he had relived tonight, and thought ahead to the ones that would be created over the life of his daughter. And he looked again at Amanda, who was soothing their baby girl.
“Hey,” he whispered to her.
She looked up, somewhat startled that he was still there.
“I love you,” he said and disappeared down the hall.
As he passed their bedroom ten seconds later, just before heading down the stairs, he heard Amanda’s voice come over the baby monitor. “I love you too,” he heard her say through the darkness.