Alrighty here it is, the last chapter! Many many thanks to all who reviews...also with Red's line about the Canadians, i'm a canadian so i figure i could get away with a little Red-like line there...so for the last time on this story...R&R&Enjoy!
The following couple of days were especially hectic with visitors and doctors hovering over Jackie and Marley. Jackie was being given supplements to make sure that once she began breast feeding she wouldn't be still losing weight, as was Marley, to make sure that she stayed at the weight she was. Visitors were constant, with lots of plants being brought, and there was even a little stuffed gosling wearing a Rastafarian-style hat that Hyde jokingly named Ziggy. Jackie knew that Hyde had to keep working at the record store during the day, every night he came down to Chicago and stayed in her room with her, then drove back to Point Place every morning.
Finally after a week of being kept under careful medical scrutiny, the doctors decided that Jackie was well enough to go home with Marley. She'd been shown by the nurse how to breast feed the baby and once she'd gotten the hang of it, Jackie felt herself become giddy with the sentiment of new motherhood as she watched her little girl have breakfast. Hyde had also brought the car seat as well as the cute little onesies Jackie had picked out just days before Marley was born.
Now, she watched Hyde as they pulled into their parking space behind the record store and went upstairs to the apartment, carrying Marley in her car seat, and couldn't help but notice he had a very smug, almost giddy expression on his face.
"Alright, here we are."
"Steven, what did you do?"
"Nothing. I'm just happy to have my favourite two women in the world home."
"Aw." Jackie leaned over and kissed him. "I think you're full of crap."
"Yeah, I am. I have a surprise for you."
Hyde tugged on Jackie's free hand as he deftly picked up the carrier in the other. He didn't say another word until they were inside and standing in front of the baby's room.
"Oh my God, Steven, it's beautiful."
The room, which had once just had the functional white plastic furniture in it, was finally completed. In the corner by the crib was a wicker rocking chair with pale green cushions and a matching receiving blanket draped over the arm. At the foot of the crib was a wooden armoire that had been lacquered to a glossy finish. Three of the soft yellow walls were stencilled with palm trees, seashells and sailboats, and on the fourth was a mural of a sunset that Jackie recognized immediately.
"That's the beach we saw from our hotel on our honeymoon."
"Yeah, I gave the guy a picture and said I thought you'd like to look at it when we're up at all hours with our little wailer. Oh and check this out," Hyde said, opening the wooden armoire to reveal a small stereo. He pushed a button and instantly the room was filled with soft strains of Bob Marley. "You can operate it by remote from anywhere in the room."
"That's amazing. But reggae music, Steven?"
"She likes it." As if on cue, Marley began to cry and Hyde just grinned. "Watch this."
He took the small remote and pushed a few buttons. When Three Little Birds came on over the speakers, Marley quietened down into pleased gurgles. He smiled as he picked her up out of her seat, and cuddled her against his shoulder.
"See? She likes it."
The next morning, after a surprisingly quiet night – Jackie and Hyde were only up twice with Marley – they went to the Foremans'. After all it was Super Bowl Sunday and though Green Bay wasn't in the running, Red was still having the family over to watch the game. When they arrived, Roberta and Pat were playing a game of pick-up in the driveway with Betsey and a nice-looking boy while Eric and Red appeared to be manning the barbecue.
"Hey, Uncle Hyde! Come play with us!"
Hyde grinned at his goddaughter and hung back as Jackie took Marley into the house where he knew she'd get a hero's welcome. He caught the basketball she threw at him, eyed up the young man who slung his arm across her shoulders.
"And who is this chap?"
The boy, a lanky sort with chocolate brown eyes, straightened up when he saw Hyde and said in a slightly Italian voice, "Michael, sir, uh, Michael Vitale. But my, uh, friends, they, uh call me Vito."
"Of course they do." Hyde shook his head. "And how old are you?"
"Hmm, well, if I find out you're not being a perfect gentleman with my goddaughter, I will put my foot in your ass."
Vito nodded his head vigorously. "Yes sir. C'mon Betsey, lets, uh, go find a drink."
Hyde watched them go then wandered over to Red, who was grinning broadly as he passed Steven a beer. Hyde looked at the bottle, labelled Labatt Blue. "Canadian beer, Red?"
"Yeah, I mean, they may be a bunch of peace-keeping pansies, but they make a hell of a brew. And on Super Bowl Sunday, you want the best, my boy. How's the baby?"
"Good, she's crying all the time, and if she's not crying she's sleeping or eating. Kinda like Foreman."
Red laughed heartily, clapped his son on the back. "Tell your mother we're ready to come inside for the pre-game pre-show, so we need those fixings ready for burgers and brats."
The group went inside, followed shortly by the youngsters, into the living room. Jackie was sitting on the couch with Marley in her arms, Donna and Kitty cooing at her. By the bar, Bob was explaining the various rules of football to her so she would be able to understand the basics of the game. When Eric set down the platter of barbecued meats, everyone dove in, while Kitty hopped up to pass around her Super Bowl cocktails.
"Something wrong, Steven?"
Hyde turned around to see Red smiling smugly, his hands stuffed in his pockets. "No, just wondering how long it'll take Jackie to realize that all the men in here are hoping she'll whip out one of her massive jugs to feed the baby."
Red smiled again – this time it was genuine – and clinked his beer with Hyde's. "You've got a good little family, there son."
Hyde looked at Jackie, who'd looked up and, for an instant, locked her eyes with him before turning to speak to Donna. For a moment, Hyde thought he heard a chiming sound, like a cymbal being softly struck. "Yeah, I do."