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Trio of Blessings
Christmas day dawned bright and sunny and warm, as were most days on Gamma. Casey wouldn’t complain, the cold of Colorado was one of the things she didn’t miss about living on Earth. She was sitting on the couch, wearing a pair of sweats and one of his tee shirts, her knees drawn up, her cheek resting against them, watching the lights on the Christmas tree blinking merrily.
Daniel came out of the bedroom, his sweats covering his lean hips and legs, watched her for just a few seconds, then sat down beside her. "Ready to get the turkey in the oven?"
She nodded, but made no move to get up.
He frowned. Yesterday she had been near hysteria when he arrived home, trying to prepare for today. He was sure that the raging hormones due to her pregnancy had a lot to do with her mood. "Babe?"
She turned her face to look at him, her green eyes shimmered with tears. "I was such a bitch yesterday! It seemed like the harder I tried to calm down, the more out-of-control I felt! I…oh Daniel, I’m so sorry!
He smiled, put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. "Shh…it’s all right, babe, let it go."
She put her head on his shoulder. "Love you."
"Love you, too, babe."
"Guess we should get that turkey taken care of, huh?"
"Yep. Stuffing ready?"
"Yeah, I did that when I got up earlier."
He started. "What do you mean, when you got up earlier?" It was barely seven now! He had awakened because he missed the warmth of her body against his.
She shook her head. "I couldn’t sleep. So I got up for awhile."
"Casey, tell me what’s wrong."
"I’m a bitch, that’s what’s wrong!"
He smiled. "No, you’re not a bitch. You get intense sometimes, but you’re not a bitch." He felt the wetness of tears against his skin. "Aw, babe…" his hand moved up and down her back. "Angel, let it go."
"How much sleep did you get?"
"Three, maybe four hours," she admitted.
"Casey! Angel, that’s not good! Okay, we’ll get that turkey in the oven. Then you’re going back to bed."
"Will be fine. I can take care of my daughter, you know. Everything else can wait. You have to rest, babe. Especially now." The hand on her back continued to move gently, the other began to caress her belly. "You have to take care of yourself, Case. You’ve got my baby in there, and I don’t want anything to happen to either of you."
She smiled against him. "I know. Okay. Turkey first, then sleep. Do I still get your…attention…when I take my shower later?"
He smiled, pressed his lips to the side of her head. Every holiday he made love to her in the shower to help calm her, relax her from the stress of all the preparations. "Absolutely."
She nodded, then pulled herself to her feet. She turned suddenly pale. "I’ll be right back." She ran toward the bathroom.
He sighed, grabbed a glass from the cupboard, and followed her. She had already purchased a bag of mints, it was sitting on the dresser. He held her hair out of the way, rubbed her back as she heaved, then filled the glass with water. This was one aspect of pregnancy that he didn’t like. He hated seeing her ill. It made him feel so…helpless. Hopefully it would pass more quickly than it had when she carried Emily.
She put her arms around his waist, rested her head on his shoulder. "I hate this part!"
"Me too, babe. We’ll see if Doctor. Montigue can give you something for it."
A A A A A A
An hour later the turkey was stuffed, trussed and in the oven, Emily was eating her breakfast, and he was on his third cup of coffee. He went into the bedroom to check on her, smiled to see her laying on his side of the bed, her head on his pillow, her hand on her tummy.
"Mommee sweeping?" Emily asked, when he walked back into the kitchen.
"Yes, Princess, Mommy is sleeping. She’s very tired," he replied. He ran his hand over her blonde hair. So much like her mother’s.
"Mommee ti-wed," the little girl nodded.
"Yep, Mommy’s tired." Daniel watched his daughter for a moment. He could hardly believe that in four months she would be two years old. It didn’t seem possible that she could be almost two! He could close his eyes, remember vividly the moment she had slid from Casey’s body into his waiting hands. At that moment time had stood still. He had held his precious daughter in his hands. His daughter, his child, carried by the most beautiful woman he had ever met, a woman who, for reasons beyond his fathoming, loved him. Loved him enough to bear a child for him, loved him enough to endure the rigors of childbirth. He shook his head. Casey was willingly, happily, going to go through the entire process again. To give him another child. There was no greater love than that. For a moment he couldn’t catch his breath, his mind began to spin. How had he become so lucky? What had he done to deserve such happiness? No, better not go there, he had done nothing to deserve this happiness. He should just be grateful for it, for each blessing that filled his life.
The phone rang, breaking into his reverie; he jumped to answer it before it could wake his sleeping wife. "Hello?"
"Daniel? It’s Tessa. Could I speak to Casey please?"
"Hi, Tess. Actually, Case is asleep right now. I made her go back to bed, she was up in the middle of the night."
"Is she all right? Emily isn’t sick is she?"
He smiled at the immediate, worried questions, and the loving concern they conveyed. "She’s fine, Emily is fine. She was just a little stressed out."
"Well, I really just wanted to let her know that I’ll be bringing two salads instead of one. You can tell her when she wakes up."
"Okay, Tessa, I will."
They said their good-byes, then he cleaned his daughter up and let her down to play. He found the bag of white potatoes, and decided to get them ready. He could peel and dice potatoes. He checked on the turkey neck that simmered, it was almost done. She always used the stock to make the gravy.
Casey’s holiday dinners were always amazing, and Christmas was even more impressive. He looked around the house. She decorated with such care, everything was perfect. The boughs of green on the mantel, with the red and gold glass balls peeking through, the white candles standing proudly. The tree was covered with red and gold and white decorations, the intricately wrapped gifts below it a testimony to her artistic talents. She had set the table already, he noted; again it was done to perfection. The china gleamed, the crystal sparkled, and the centerpiece of pine boughs and red, white and gold candles was lovely.
He was filling the pan full of cut up potatoes with water when two arms wrapped around him from behind. He smiled. "You should still be sleeping."
She pressed her cheek against his bare back. "I got cold."
His smile widened. "Missed me, huh?"
"Yep. That bed is too big and empty without you." She took note of what he was doing. "Oh, Daniel, you didn’t have to do that! Thank you!" She hugged him tighter.
"Tess called. She said she’s bringing two salads."
"Did she say what kind?"
"Nope. Does it matter?"
"Not really." She cocked her head. "Where’s Emily?"
He glanced around the living room. Oh, hell. Where had she gone? "She was right here a minute ago."
Casey couldn’t help but giggle. "We’d better see if she flushed anything." The tot hadn’t flushed anything into the toilet since the almonds at Thanksgiving, but there was no way that either of her parents were convinced that she had passed the ‘flushing’ stage.
They found their daughter, sitting on the floor in her bedroom, struggling to put on her shoes. The drawer to her dresser was open, and she sat there, her arm in one sleeve of her shirt, the other poking out of the bottom, apparently the child had not been able to figure out how to get both arms in the garment, her pants were on - backwards, but on; and she was attempting to pull her black patent Mary Janes onto her bare feet.
Emily looked up at the amused faces of her parents and beamed proudly. "I dwess me, Daddee!"
It was a struggle to hide his grin. "I can see that, Princess. You did a good job."
Casey tried not to laugh. "Emmie, can Mommy help you with your shirt?"
The little blonde head bobbed up and down. "Shirt bwoke. It won’t go on wight."
Daniel had to bite his lip to keep from laughing out loud.
Casey smiled. "Well, let’s see if we can fix it, shall we?" She helped her daughter get her arm through the sleeve. "There, all better."
"All bettew," Emily echoed, nodding happily. She returned to the task of trying to get the shoes on.
"How about we wait to put our shoes on later," Casey suggested.
Emily looked at Daniel’s bare feet, and Casey’s bare feet, then nodded. "‘Kay. Shoes way-der."
She jumped up, hugged Casey’s neck, then ran to wrap herself around Daniel’s leg. "Wide, Daddee! Wanna wide!" She settled her little fanny on the top of his foot, wrapped her arms and legs tightly around his leg.
"Ready?" Daniel asked.
The little blonde head bobbed in the affirmative.
With a chuckle, Daniel walked out to the living room, the weight of his child on his leg tugging at his heart. Once there, Emily crawled towards the Christmas tree, then just sat there, staring at the pile of beautifully wrapped gifts.
"Pweddy!" She said, pointing at the stack of boxes.
Daniel lowered himself to the floor beside her. "Yep, they’re very pretty. Mommy does a great job at wrapping presents."
"Mommee makes pweddy bows," Emily agreed. "I help-ded Mommee!"
He smiled. Casey had told him of Emily’s help, and how excited the child had been to play with the yards of colorful ribbons. "I know, Princess. You did a good job."
Emily crawled into his lap. "Mommee don’t know what you dot fow her."
Daniel laughed, wrapped his arms around his precious daughter. "Nope. She’ll find out when she opens them later today."
The tot nodded. "Meemaw don’t know what you dot fow Mommee. Peepaw saids no. He ‘ouldn’t let Mommee peek."
He turned around to look into the kitchen where Casey was busy getting the sweet potatoes ready for the oven. "Did Mommy try to peek?"
Emily nodded her head. "Peepaw saids no."
That little vixen! Okay, if that’s how she wanted to play…next year her presents went into the safe in the Center until Christmas Eve. "I’m glad Peepaw wouldn’t let her peek."
"Mommee shake-ded them," Emily informed him.
"Emily Rose!" Casey said, standing behind the sofa. "You weren’t supposed to tell Daddy about that!"
Daniel laughed out loud. "Busted, babe!"
Casey giggled and sat down beside him. "I can’t help it! I just have to know!"
He shook his head, and leaned over and kissed her. She made Christmas fun…exciting. Just like she made every day of the year. "Love you, Angel."
"Love you, too," she said softly. They sat and watched the lights for several peaceful minutes. "Emmie, let’s get you bathed, so you’re ready to get dressed. Then Mommy and Daddy have to take a shower. Will you be a good girl and play in your play pen while we do that?"
"‘Kay." She stood to her feet, tugged Daniel’s hand. "Bath, Daddee!"
Daniel stood to his feet, picked his daughter up and carried her into the bathroom. "Do you want Mr. Bubbles?"
"Bubbles!" she squealed enthusiastically.
He filled the tub with water, and added a generous amount of the bubble bath. He pulled her clothes off, chuckling at her backward pants, then carefully lowered her into the water. He sat on the floor beside the tub, just watching her play with the dozen or so toys that surrounded her. The joy he felt at watching his daughter playing in the bubbly water was a sweet ache in his chest. The thought that he would have two children was almost more than he could wrap his mind around.
Casey had followed her husband and daughter into the small bathroom, leaned against the counter and watched them for a few minutes, a contented smile on her face.
"Mommee! Lookee!" Emily said, holding up one of the mermaid dolls she had. "Wash hew haiw!" The child proceeded to wash the doll’s hair.
"That’s good, Baby," Casey replied. "Did you get it clean?"
"Ready for your hair to be washed?"
Again the child nodded. "Daddee do it!"
Casey smiled. Emily adored her father. Called for him as often, if not more, than she called for her. That didn’t bother her, not now. "Okay, Daddy, you get to wash her hair."
Daniel grinned, and moved up onto his knees. "Okay, Princess." He grabbed the attached hose/sprayer, lifted the lever that rerouted the water into the hose, and turned it on. He carefully washed her hair, noting that it felt the same as her mother’s silky tresses. He had already told Casey that he didn’t want Emily’s hair to be cut. Trimmed, was okay. But not cut. Once the tot’s hair was clean, he finished bathing her, then wrapped her in a towel and lifted her out of the tub, and sat her on the counter.
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