The high pitched, demanding wails coming from the other room abruptly snatched Christian out of his sleep, causing him to spring up in a panic. The raspy cries were coming in short outbursts almost rhythmic in nature.
He gasped, combing his fingers through his tangled hair while trying to gain some composure and catch his breath. His mind was a jumbled mess of sleepless nights and no matter how hard he tried to sort it all out the screaming in the background prevented that from happening.
“David,” he muttered through a sleepy yawn, “It’s your turn.” His exhausted head dropped down on the pillow. David didn’t move, didn’t even flinch. His head was conveniently tucked away under his pillow.
“David,” he said a little louder this time. “I know you hear her. It’s your turn,” he said again, his tone almost whiney as if he too wanted to cry. He was no match against her. She would dominate every time. He leaned back slightly raising his foot under the cover just enough to reach David’s butt giving him a little nudge. “David, the baby’s crying!”
“Huh?!” David’s head emerged from the pillow. His tired eyes darted around the room. A little disoriented, his eyes found Christian’s, who nodded toward the door and arched his brow.
“Well?” Christian sat up crossing his arms defiantly across his bare chest.
“Yeah…yeah.” David scratched at his scalp swallowing hard. “Yeah,” He grunted once more as he untangled himself from the sheets in an effort to climb of bed, but not before giving his husband a quick peck on the mouth. Some things never changed and that was one of them.
Christian smirked as he watched David stumble; his shoulder hitting the doorframe as he wandered out of their bedroom. He shook his head amusingly before lying back down. He sighed contently knowing the cries would stop as soon as his husband tended to her needs, but to his surprise that didn’t happen. Her cries seemed to get louder. He creased his brows as he listened and sure enough it wasn’t his imagination.
Not only did they get louder, they were right in his room. His eyes shot open just as David appeared through the door, their baby girl attached to his hip. Her diaper bag was draped across his shoulder.
“David,” he sighed in disbelief before taking a long deep breath. Her big brown eyes met her daddy’s pleading for a bottle and a diaper change.
He scooted back allowing room on the bed for David to lay her down. David gently placed her beside Christian and smiled through a yawn. “She wanted you,” he deadpanned as he handed Christian the diaper bag.
“Really, now?” Christian questioned incredulously even as he took the bag from his husband. He smiled down at their little girl rubbing soothing circles on her stomach, his touch calming her cries almost instantly.
“Shhh, Ava, it’s alright, Baby, shhh.”
Ava Courtier-Beck was seven months old, and like her older brothers she too was brought home from the hospital at only three days old.
David found a spot on the bed beside Ava, taking her tiny hand into his own caressing her little fingers with the pad of his thumb. He propped himself up on his elbow and rested his head in the palm of his other hand as he watched his husband pull out a diaper, wipes and ointment.
“You do that so well.” David chuckled softly. Ava quickly turned her head searching out her father’s rich, deep voice, her big, bright eyes dancing at the sight of him.
“Hey, Baby girl. Good morning,” David cooed smiling down at his little princess. “You’ve got the best daddy in the whole wide world, yes you do,” he spoke animatedly in a tone higher than normal.
Christian, however, just rolled his eyes and handed him the soiled diaper.
“Put that in the trash for me, Slick. It’s the least you could do.” Christian smirked.
“Ewww,” David gripped feigning disgust while grabbing the neatly folded diaper with his thumb and finger as he twisted his body backward and tossed it in the diaper pail by the bed.
Ava kicked her chubby little legs; her pouty bowed lips blew raspberries at Christian. Her curious eyes filled with wonder followed her father’s hands. She watched keenly as he grabbed a wipe, her eyes going wide as saucers when the cool wetness hit her bare bottom. She let out a shrill giggle and clasped her fingers together before they found her mouth.
“There. All clean,” Christian sang merrily as he lifted Ava into the air. David laughed at Christian who tried to duck but failed getting splashed in the face with baby drool that landed on his cheek. “Hey!” he objected through an amused laugh, “Save that for him, lazy daddy over there.” Christian pointed at David before wiping his cheek with the palm of his hand. Ava giggled.
“That never happens to me.” David laughed boisterously and shrugged his shoulders.
“Whatever,” Christian sighed as he hoisted him and the baby off the bed. “Come on Ava; let’s go get your bottle.” He turned up his nose and stuck his tongue out playfully at his husband before padding out.
He propped Ava on his hip, her little fingers grabbing at his skin trying to hang on as they made their way down the hall.
The television was blaring ‘Sonic X.’
“Hey!?” Christian stopped and cocked his head to the side. “Didn’t you hear your sister crying?” He asked as he shifted her to the other hip.
Ethan spoke up first, “Um-Hum.” He nodded quickly as he shoved a handful of dry cereal into his mouth.
“Liam?” Christian arched his brow.
“Morning, Daddy. Morning Ava.” He waved over his shoulder never taking his eyes off the screen. His little sister bounced excitedly in her father’s arms as if she wanted to get down and join her brothers.
“Never mind,” Christian mumbled while shaking his head before him and Ava continued their quest. “Oh and turn that television down!” He yelled over his shoulder as an afterthought.
“Okay!” the boys sang out in unison.
Liam and Ethan were just like any other eight and seven year old. They loved video games, the outdoors and wrestling. They were now old enough to get their cereal or fruit for breakfast without waking up their daddies. At least something to hold them over till Christian made a decent breakfast.
Christian smiled as he strapped Ava into her bouncer that was on the island. “Stay put,” he instructed with a soft smile as he pulled a bottle from the fridge.
“Ahh hha…” Ava cooed before clapping her chubby hands together. With a sparkle in her eyes she watched intently as her father poured baby cereal into her bottle and put it in the bottle warmer.
“So, what do you think we should make for breakfast…huh?” He asked the little girl. Ava blew spit bubbles at her dad before grabbing at her little toes.
Christian and David had been married for over ten years; six the first time they said ‘I do’ and another four after the second. A year after they renewed their vows they decided they wanted another child. Neither David nor Christian had siblings so it was their desire to have a big family…A house full of noise.
Through they decided to have another child early on, they thought it best to wait until David could spend more time at home. He received a promotion with Dean Witter and was now Regional manager over his division, which called for several hours spent away from his family. He and Christian put adoption on hold until roughly a year ago. They used the same Adoption agency they used when they adopted Ethan and Liam so the paperwork went smoothly and in less than a year Ava was theirs.
“How about pancakes?” Christian asked Ava as he handed her the warm bottle. She kicked her legs bouncing up and down in her seat as if she knew what Christian asked her eagerly putting it into her mouth. “Yeah, I think so too.” He giggled. “Your brothers are going to need a good breakfast for their hiking trip with your daddy and Uncle Jimmy,” he said as he peeled a banana breaking it in half. He took a bite, handing the rest to Ava.
She squealed in delight and she focused on getting the banana from her daddy’s hand into her mouth. She kicked her little legs victoriously when she accomplished her task while at the same time managing not to drop her bottle.
Christian glanced up at the clock as he reached into the cabinet for a large mixing bowl. “Boys, you need to start getting ready!” He alerted his sons. “David, Baby, get your lazy bones out of bed, Jimmy should be ringing-“ The doorbell rang before the words left his lips.
“Uncle Jimmy! Uncle Jimmy!”
A huge smile creased his lips as he heard his sons scurry about laughing with glee as Jimmy entered the house. There was a huge commotion in the other room and Christian was sure it was pure horseplay.
“I’ll be ready in a few shakes!” David yelled from the bathroom.
“Cool!” Jimmy’s voice could be heard as he neared the kitchen.
“Chris.” He smiled upon entering the kitchen.
“Hey Jimmy,” Christian returned the greeting. Christian stepped back resting his back against the counter as he watched Jimmy playing with Ava.
“Hey Sunshine.” Jimmy grinned tickling his niece on the stomach. Ava made a babbling noise while gnawing on the smashed banana between her fingers.
Christian laughed as Ava held out her hand offering Jimmy some.
“So, where’s Tag?”
“Sleeping beauty is nursing a hangover,” Jimmy replied over his shoulder as he continued to be amused by the baby.
“A hangover?” Christian asked crossing his arms over his chest.
“Strip poker,” Jimmy whispered as if the baby could understand. Chris tightened his arms across his chest and arched his brow questioningly.
“The loser had to strip off a piece of clothing and take a shot,” he explained with a confident nod. “I won.” He grinned proudly.
“I see.” Christian pushed himself off the counter. “Have you eaten?”
“Waiting on you, Chris. Waiting on you.” He chuckled as he sat down at the table and began playing with Ava’s feet.
“Okay.” Christian laughed as he cracked the eggs on the rim of the bowl This was a stark contrast to when Christian came home after the accident. He had gone from burning water to making full course meals for his family “Dav-“ he started, just as David walked into the kitchen.
“What up, Man?” David gave Jimmy a high-five.
“You ready to hit it?”
“As ready as you are,” David laughed as he leaned over giving his husband a quick kiss on the mouth. “Hey Babe.”
Christian winked sending David a sweet smile while he continued to whisk the pancake batter.
“The boys ready?”
“They will be after they eat. Sit. I’ll have breakfast on the table in a jiffy.”
Ethan stumbled into the kitchen with a large pair of binoculars pressed against his eyes. “Ooo everything’s so…so big,” he said in amazement.
“Here, let me see,” David laughed taking the binoculars from his son and placing them to his own eyes.
“We got everything ready.” Liam ran into the kitchen waving the supply list for the hiking trip in the air.
“Good, now sit down so you can eat.” Christian laughed at his son’s enthusiasm.
“Can I have the first pancake,” Liam asked as he sat down beside his little sister’s bouncer.
“Yes…yes.” Christian continued to laugh and shake his head.
“Make enough for Baby. He just texted me." Jimmy said holding up his phone. "He dragged himself out of bed and he’s on his way over.”
“Cool. Got it.” Christian said as he pulled another plate from the cabinet. "I'll make him some strong coffee too."
Christian Beck couldn’t be happier and his life couldn’t be better. He was devoted to his husband, children and his best friends. For him it was as if his life started just four years ago; and he was actually okay with that.
He followed his mother’s wishes and sold the house, dividing the profits between the children, reallocating the funds when Ava was born. His family was his entire world and all that mattered. Being the nurturer of the two, he chose to be stay home with the kids, taking an assignment every now and then. His latest project was a shopping strip on the north side of town.
Taggart was still pretty adamant about not having kids, but that didn’t stop Jimmy from being the best Uncle ever. He and Tag weren’t prejudiced either; they spent as much time with Ava as they did with the boys. Jimmy had always wanted a little girl.
Christian continued his sessions with Dr. Reeder and had his last CT scan and MRI of the brain a few weeks ago. It was determined after reviewing the findings there was no medical reasoning for the memory loss.
Dr. Reeder noted in his files, it was his professional opinion that Christian, when he was ready would be the only one that could unlock those memories, that is if he ever decided to.
Super sized thank you going out to Jammi and intune for all their time and hard work. You guys Rock!
This story was so much fun to write, but I couldn't have done it without the motivation, kind and funny reviews from all of you. A super duper sized thank you to everyone.
I have to honestly say you make this writing thing so much damn fun, and as I always say, "Comments fuel the writer's soul."
See ya on the battlefield,