Epilogue

Home of David and Fran Rossi – Five Months Later -

Fran had out done herself. The house was beautifully decorated in an assortment of floral arrangements, balloons and everything imaginable that made it obvious that soon the home would be filled with ladies celebrating the upcoming birth of her grandchild. She'd sent Dave and Derek on last minute errands for things she didn't really need to get the two men out of her way. She'd been planning for weeks to give her daughter-in-love the most spectacular shower ever and even with her critical eye she had to admit that she was pleased. Stepping out onto the back deck where most of the festivities would take place, Fran smiled at how wonderful things had come together. She watched as the caterers set up their stations and she remembered with a chuckle the many times she had nagged her son for grandbabies. Finally, her first would soon be making his or her arrival. It had driven her crazy that Derek and Penelope had decided not to find out the gender so she'd been forced to find gender-neutral colors for the nursery she and Dave had furnished upstairs as well as the colors for today's shower. Taking one last look, Fran smiled, shook her head and walked back inside to make one last check on things before she headed upstairs to shower and change for her guests.

Home of Derek and Penelope Morgan – Afternoon –

Derek had run around to at least five different stores with Dave getting last minute things for his mother. He never imagined what all went into pulling off the perfect baby shower but nothing, absolutely nothing was too good for his wife and child. So after unloading everything into Dave's garage, he waved goodbye to his stepfather and headed home.

The house was quiet as he stepped through the door. No doubt Penelope was sleeping; she was doing that a lot lately. He found her curled up on their bed lightly snoring with her back to the door. He hated to wake her but they were due back at the Rossi's in an hour. She looked so beautiful lying peacefully in the center of the bed and the sight of her reminded him of how happy he was. Never in his wildest dreams had he imagined being here. But he was and everyday was like heaven on earth.

Then something shiny caught his eye. It was her wedding band lying on the nightstand. She'd taken to wearing it on a chain around her neck because pregnancy had caused her hands to swell and she couldn't wear her rings. He remembered an earlier conversation with his aunt and until now it had been impossible to test out her theory.

Derek and Penelope had gone around and around about whether or not they should find out the gender of their baby. He wanted to know, certain according to Aunt Yvonne that because Garcia was carrying low she was having a boy, he desperately wanted to know if he needed to stock up on mini footballs and catcher's mitts. His beautiful wife however, wanted to be surprised and insisted they wait until the baby arrived. So like most arguments, she won this one too. Still what harm would it cause to run a little experiment, he thought. Besides he was good at keeping secrets and she was sound asleep. What could it hurt?

Penelope had become a lighter sleeper since the nightmare with Savannah and Sam. Before she'd been able to sleep through a tornado but not now. Suddenly she felt a large presence looming over her. She wasn't sure if it was a dream or her imagination. Then she slowly opened her eyes. She saw the fuzzy outline of what looked like her husband and something on a string dangling over her. She was certain that he had lost his mind.

"De-Derek?"

She fumbled for her glasses on the nightstand.

"Oh, hi Baby Girl. Did I wake you?"

"What in the world…"

"I tried to be quiet…"

She pulled herself up to a sitting position. It was then that she saw the silly grin on his face.

"Is that my wedding ring?"

"Shh…"

"…On the end of a piece of…string?"

She began to move but was quickly stopped by the man standing over her.

"Don't move! Don't move!"

"Have you lost your mind?"

Fully engaged in whatever he was doing, she saw a puzzled frown cross his face.

"Baby?"

"Yes…?"

"Does the ring look like it's swinging in a circle or back and forth?"

"I think you've lost your marbles, that's what I think!"

"No, no wait…I know you don't want to know if it's a boy or girl but I just thought if I found out I'd keep it to myself."

"My husband has lost his mind. Now that…that, I'm going to definitely keep to myself."

She'd had enough. She swung her legs over the side of the bed placed her glasses on her face and stood up much to his chagrin. He watched her as she headed toward the bathroom.

"Wait, I wasn't finished! Come on Baby Girl…"

Then she turned to face him just before stepping into the bathroom.

"Let me guess…Auntie Vonne?"

"Yeah!" He said excitedly. "She says if the ring swings in a circle then you're…"

Penelope raised her hand to silence him. He stood mouth open in mid-sentence.

"Not another word or I swear you will be living with your dear Aunt Yvonne until this baby is born!"

"But Baby Girl!"

"Not. Another. Word, Derek!"

Home of Dave and Fran Rossi – One Hour Later –

"No Garcia! Not the wedding ring on the end of a string trick?" JJ screamed.

Penelope was surrounded by several of her friends. A few of the women were already mothers and had stories of their own; none as colorful and hysterical as hers however. JJ's face was beet red as she imagined the horror of waking from a deep sleep to find Derek Morgan standing over you.

"Poor Garcie! Please tell me this wasn't another old wives tale from his Aunt Yvonne!"

"Okay, I won't! That woman has filled that man's head with so much nonsense that I'm going to have to have him de-programmed after this baby is born."

"Oh my goodness! I thought the fake coffee was bad…"

"You mean the, Poffee?"

"Yes, that! I'll never let him live this down!"

The women looked across the room where the men had gathered around an animated Derek Morgan. It was obvious that he had them all captivated with stories of wedding rings suspended in air above the swollen belly of his unsuspecting wife. JJ, Penelope and the others watched and laughed hysterically at the sight before them.

Fran couldn't have been happier as she watched from the doorway of her kitchen. Everyone who'd been invited had made it to the shower. Penelope was glowing and her son was too. She'd heard of all of the wild stories of Derek's Auntie Vonne-inspired antics and she couldn't help but remember her first pregnancy with Sarah. The same old myths had been told to Hank by his mother and he in turn accepted each and every one of them as gospel. Yvonne had taken great pride in assuming the responsibility of passing them along to her nephew.

"Are you happy, Bella?"

She hadn't heard him come into the kitchen. He snaked his arms around her waist and planted a soft kiss on her cheek joining in on watching their family and friends gathered together in celebration.

"Very."

For the next few moments they watched in silence both of them happier than they'd been in a long time.

"We can have that too…"

"What?"

"That?"

He nodded toward Penelope and the group of women around her.

Fran pulled away enough to turn and face her husband.

"Wait, you mean…a baby?"

"Sure! We can…"

"Dave…have you been drinking some of Derek's poffee? My dear virile husband, we are much too…seasoned…"

"Now wait just a minute, Fran Rossi. Are you calling us old?"

"YES! Yes I am." She chuckled.

She turned back around and leaned into his chest smiling at the large gathering.

"I was just kidding. I was just thinking back to the day you told me, we were expecting."

He felt her body shake as she giggled at the memory.

"I'm sorry for giving you such a bad time about that. No, I think we've both passed that time in our lives. Besides, being grandparents is a lot more fun!"

"You my sweet wife are absolutely correct!"

Four Months Later…

"If she cries and starts squirming she probably just needs her diaper changed…and oh, I fed her about ten minutes before we came so she…"

"Penelope…Penelope…we'll be fine!"

"I'm sorry, Fran…It's just so hard to leave her even for a few hours."

"I know I was the same way with all of mine. Trust me, Dave and I will take good care of our granddaughter."

"I know you will."

Derek rounded the corner and stepped into the nursery joining his wife, mother and newborn baby daughter. The women watched as he melted at the sight of the little bundle sleeping in the crib. Hanna Yvonne Morgan had changed his life forever and he was a better man for it. He knew he had driven his wife crazy for nine months with tales that now as he thought of it made absolutely no sense even the one that had convinced him that they were having a boy. Once he set eyes on his baby and heard her cry as she took her first breath, it didn't matter that she was a girl. All that mattered was that she was healthy. He would do whatever he had to do to keep her safe and happy. So with one more glance he blew his daughter a kiss and turned to join his wife and mother in the hallway.

"Are you ready to go, Baby Girl?"

"I don't want to leave her, Handsome." She whined.

"The first time is always the hardest. But she'll be just fine." Fran assured her.

"You can call and check on her as often as you like. But right now you have a date with your husband!"

She wrapped her arm around his waist and kissed him on the lips.

"Yes, I do."

Penelope took one last look into the nursery before heading down the hallway. Derek and Fran followed close behind. He would never admit that he hated leaving his daughter too but he and Penelope needed the alone time.

"Thanks Ma. Penelope and I can't thank you and Dave enough."

"No thanks needed. We can never spend enough time with our one and only grandchild. Besides, you made me wait long enough!"

The three headed toward the front door grabbing their coats and giving Fran a hug. Just before stepping out onto the porch Derek remembered some words of wisdom.

"Oh, I almost forgot…Auntie Vonne said…"

"DEREK!"

The two women yelled in unison. Puzzled he looked back and forth at each of them.

"What?"

"Don't even think about it young man!" His mother warned.

"Handsome? I think we've heard enough from Auntie Vonne to last a lifetime."

"Okaaay…but I was just going to tell you that she wanted to make sure I always remembered to treat the ladies in my life like queens and always tell them how much I love and appreciate them.

"Ahhh…Hot Stuff!"

"Oh, Baby Boy…"

"See?"

"I've always loved Yvonne."

"Me too! Your aunt is a very wise woman!"

"I told you so!"

Then kissing his mother on the cheek and then his wife on the lips, he gently pulled his wife toward the car and the two sped off into the night on their first of many mommy and daddy date nights.

"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be." Shel Silverstein

THE END…