A/N: While searching through my files this morning in an effort to find something that jumped out at me to write, I came across this. I know it's been many, many months since Don't Ever Forget was completed, but this was something I had intended to add on to the end ages ago, and completely forgot.
This was literally a "deleted scene" from Chapter 25, since it seemed to break up the flow of the chapter at the time, and then it never seemed to find a way to sneak back in and actually fit. But this image was so clear in my head at the time I wrote it, and I've always been a sucker for Daddywards, and Armyward was a lot of fun to write as a dad, especially at the beginning when EJ was a baby. So this isn't much, and probably completely pointless, but I wanted to post it nonetheless.
One Saturday, I was sitting on the couch reading when the most rancid scent ever to hit my nose filtered through the house. I stood to follow it and it was coming straight from our son's bedroom.
I opened the door to find him wide awake, kicking his feet and gurgling when he saw me entering the room. "Hey, buddy. Why didn't you let Daddy know you were dirty, huh?"
EJ blew a raspberry at me and I reached down to lift him out of his crib, holding him against my chest until I looked at his sheets. They were covered in a baby-shaped mass of greenish-brown and I lifted EJ, turning him enough to see the matching substance all over his back and up into his hair, and even down his legs.
Bella. I needed Bella. Shit, she was at work.
I set our child down on the changing table and grabbed a wipe, trying to begin cleaning him up and get the onesie off him without hitting his face with the messy fabric. A dozen wipes or so later, and that stuff was not coming off, so I cleaned off my hand as best I could, and grabbed my phone from my pocket to text my wife.
Bella, please call me as soon as you can.
Her ringtone sounded what seemed like ages later, even though it was, in reality, only seconds. "Edward, what's up? I'm on my break. Either way, you could have just called."
"Baby, what time do you think you'll be getting home tonight? Because I think our child just exploded."
I heard Bella literally snort with her laugh, and I could not for the life of me figure out what was so funny. "I'm sorry, what?"
"Our son is cover in sh—fecal matter. And I do mean covered almost head to toe, and it is not coming off. It's like adhesive or something. It can't be natural for this much to come out of a baby," I replied in a panic, yet Bella continued to snicker. "This isn't funny!"
"Um, honey? I don't hear him crying and he's not warm or anything, is he?" she asked and I held the phone between my shoulder and ear to use my clean hand to touch his forehead. Once I'd confirmed that he felt normal, she continued. "Then he's fine. He just started solid food this week, so his little body is adjusting. Just strip him down and put him in the tub."
My eyes widened in shock, looking down at the mess my son still was. "You want me to make him sit in this?"
"Edward, he needs to be cleaned off or he'll get a rash," she answered and I sighed heavily in response, looking back down at him. He appeared far less disturbed by the fact that he was covered in poop than I was, but I knew she was right.
However, in the months since he'd been born, I'd never given my child a bath. In truth, it scared the shit out of me. Even when Bella handed him to me after she'd given him one, there was just something about a freshly bathed baby that made them more slippery than anything I'd ever encountered. The fear of dropping him escalated, especially when he wiggled in my hold, and the idea of him slipping for my grasp in water, where his little face could go underneath for even a second, froze me in terror.
"Edward? Baby? Relax. You'll do fine," Bella said reassuringly into the phone, obviously hearing my quickening breaths. "I have complete faith in you. So, go bathe our son and I'll be home soon, okay? I love you."
"Love you, too," I mumbled back and ended the call, sliding the phone back into my pocket and glancing down at EJ. "What about you? Do you have faith in your old man?"
He smiled widely at my voice and I shook my head, lifting him from the table and debating. Sitting him in the tub sounded extremely disgusting. So I carried him to the kitchen, hoping he would stand in the sink long enough with my support for me to clean him off some. Yet, even with the sprayer hose, it just did not seem to be coming off so I could sit him down without smearing crap all over our sink, and he definitely did not want to stand anymore.
With my hands braced on either side of him, I glanced down at myself. In holding my son, I'd also managed to get myself a bit covered in the sticky mess. I sighed and grabbed the towel from the counter, wrapping him in it and carrying him over to the couch. Once I set him down, I lifted my shirt off and picked him up again.
"If this gets out, I know who to blame, munchkin," I teased, walking down the hall with him to the bathroom and turned on the shower. With one arm securely around him, I unbuttoned my jeans and stepped out of them, leaving my boxers on and slipping inside the curtain.
The mist bouncing off my shoulder caused EJ to squint so I reached up to lower the nozzle unto the water pulsed against the middle of my back. He seemed to watch me in wonder as I lathered up one of his washcloths with baby bath, and started washing him from his hair all the way down his back, while never loosening my hold on him with my other arm.
"Yeah, this isn't so bad, right?" I said, shielding his face with my hand as I turned to rinse him and myself off.
I jumped as the curtain nudged open a little behind me and looked back to meet Bella's eyes, her brow raised in surprise. "I see you figured something out."
"It just… it wasn't coming off, baby," I replied defensively, turning around again to face her and EJ shrieked at the sight of his mom.
"I told you I had faith in you. Need some help?" she asked, gesturing to our son.
"Nah, I'm good. We'll be out in a sec. But I would highly recommend sterilizing the kitchen before we do any dishes," I replied, wincing at the thought of the mess I'd left behind. "Oh, and the crib sheets? Biohazard. Should burn them."
Bella laughed, rolling her eyes before releasing the curtain and leaving the bathroom.
I stepped out of the shower a moment later, somehow managing to get a towel around both myself and my son before I heard Bella loudly exclaim, "Oh my God, Edward!"