This chapter was a little harder, because there really was no clean place to end it. So it's a bit of a cliff hanger... MWAHAHAHHAHA! Enjoy, and please remember to review!
For Tristatecopfan, who asked SO nicely for an update... *rolls eyes*
Disclaimer: Not ours!
When they finally got home, she didn't say a word as she took his hand and pulled him into their home.
Bobby took a shaky breath. He compliantly let her lead him into the house.
Once they were inside, she set down her purse and toed off her shoes, letting out a sigh of relief.
Bobby did the same, removing his jacket. He sighed heavily. He just wanted to crawl into a hole.
Hearing them come in, Mike was almost relieved. Whatever had happened, it was over. He looked down at the baby, who was squirming in his arms. "Alright. Alright." He put her down. "Mommy and Daddy are home."
Maddie grinned, reaching up for them as she started to toddle forward. "Da!"
Swallowing hard, Bobby watched his daughter move to them. His eyes widened. He picked her up and held her in a death grip. He kissed her temple. "Oh my God... Baby, you're walking..."
Alex grinned, her grief forgotten as she gently took the baby and held her up in the air, making her giggle wildly. "You're such a big girl, Maddie!"
Bobby smiled. He reached out and stroked Maddie's hair. He looked at Mike. "When did she start walking?"
Mike shrugged. "First time I saw her was when you two walked in just now."
Alex looked at her giggling daughter. "You were just waiting for us to come home, weren't you, you little troublemaker!"
Bobby laughed softly. He took Maddie and held her close again. "She might have been..."
Alex came nose to nose with Maddie and whispered, "You just knew that your daddy was having a bad day and needed to be cheered up."
Maddie giggled and reached out, patting her chubby hand against her mother's cheek.
Bobby smiled, watching them. Only Maddie and Alex could make him smile at this point.
Alex looked at him and grinned.
Bobby gave her another small, weak smile. He was relieved. He could get through anything as long as he had Alex and their baby.
Babbling softly, Maddie struggled to get down on the floor to try out this whole walking thing again.
With a soft sigh, Bobby kissed the top of her head again and carefully put her down. He sighed again and watched her toddle off. He smiled sadly. He was worn and desperate. He just wanted to cuddle with his family, with his life.
Seeing her favorite blue ball, she squealed in excitement and took off for it. But she got too excited, and her little feet went out from under her. With a cry, she landed on her little behind, stunned.
Bobby immediately and instinctively moved to her. He picked her up and held her close. "Shh. It's okay. It's okay." He kissed her temple.
She tucked her head under his chin, whimpering softly.
Bobby tightened his hold on her. He rubbed her little back. "It's okay, baby. It's okay..."
Alex kissed her daughter s soft head. "You're fine, sweetheart."
Bobby swallowed hard. He looked her over, making sure for himself. He didn't take chances with Maddie. She and Alex meant everything to him.
Already her shock was forgotten, and she reached toward the kitchen, babbling.
Bobby smiled. "Okay. Okay. Come on. Let me take you in there..." If there was anything or anyone who could help him deal, it was Maddie.
Bobby looked down at her and frowned. She was reaching for the fridge. "What is it, baby? Do you want some juice?"
She shook her head. "Pa!"
Bobby raised his eyebrows, trying to think. That's when it hit him. "Do you want a popsicle?"
Her big doe eyes lit up. "Pa!"
Bobby grinned. He opened the freezer and got her a popsicle. Opening it, he handed it to her. "There we go..." He kissed the side of her head.
She grinned and shoved it into her mouth, sucking on it happily.
Bobby smiled in return. He hugged her again. He finally glanced at Alex. He gave her a weak smile.
Alex returned his smile.
Sucking on her popsicle, Maddie snuggled into her daddy's arms, smiling happily.
With a soft sigh, Bobby happily moved into the den with Maddie. He ventured, "Would you like to watch some cartoons with Daddy?"
She looked up at him, not quite understanding but happy that he was smiling. She gladly returned his smile with a toothless one of her own.
Bobby kissed the top of her head. He took a shaky breath. Sitting down with her, he turned the TV on. Finding a cartoon for her, he snuggled with her and held her close. Taking deep breaths, he tried to relax.
Snuggling deep into his arms, Maddie sucked on her popsicle and stared at the TV, completely happy.
Watching her, Bobby sighed heavily. In his heart, his deepest fear had been that Nicole would come after Maddie. He was thankful that Gage didn't know about her. He was thankful that it was over, and he could feel himself start to relax. She and Alex were safe.
Walking around the couch, Alex leaned over and kissed her husband's head. "Love you, Bobby."
Bobby lifted his head and looked at her. He gave her another small smile. "I love you, too" He looked down at the couch. "Why don't you join us?"
"Okay." She looked at Mike. "Thanks for watching her for us today."
Mike gave them a smile. He decided he'd find out what was going on later. He nodded. "My pleasure. You know I'd do it anytime."
Bobby nodded. "And we appreciate that."
Mike studied his friend. "And we'll talk about whatever is going on?"
Bobby nodded. He swallowed hard. "Yeah... Yeah, later..."
Mike nodded, accepting this. "Alright. I'll get out of your hair. Night." He let himself out.
When the door closed, Alex went over and locked it, then joined Bobby and Maddie on the couch. He held out an open arm, and she cuddled into his side, sighing softly.
Taking a deep breath, Bobby was relieved. He kissed the top of her head and closed his eyes. He swallowed hard. "I love you. I love you both so much."
She snuggled closer. "I know you do. I love you, too."
Bobby buried his face in her hair and took a deep breath. He tried to relax. He tried to forget the day, forget everything that had happened.
Alex looked over at their baby girl, who was covered in bright red popsicle. She smiled and sighed at the same time.
Bobby looked down at her. He snickered. "I'll give her the bath."
"I'll help," she offered, running her hand through her sticky baby's hair.
Bobby nodded slowly. He sighed softly. He stroked Maddie's hair. "Okay..."
Soon she was finished with the popsicle and bright red. "Da!"
Bobby snickered. "I see you." He picked her up. "How about we take that bath now?" He held her close.
Alex got up and followed him, grinning to herself.
Throwing the popsicle stick away when they entered the bathroom, Bobby glanced at Alex. He gave her a small smile. They moved to the tub, and he turned the water on. Smiling at his baby girl, he pulled her shirt off.
Alex sat on the toilet, watching her little family with a warm smile.
Bobby helped Maddie out of her pants and diaper. He smiled at her. He stuck his hand in the water to test it. Deciding it was warm enough without being too hot, he picked her up and carefully put her in the tub. "Here we go..."
Seeing bubbles, she shrieked and splashed at the water. "Da!"
Bobby smiled more. He nodded. "Yeah, the bubbles..." He grabbed the washcloth and tried to clean her face when she would let him.
Alex grinned, resting her head in her hands.
Trying to avoid the cloth, she squirmed away and laughed some more. But her laughter died when she lost her balance and slid under the water.
A/N: Don't kill us!