AN: This chapter takes place about a couple of days after Violet and Pete's conversation.
Sorry it took so long to give you guys another one, but exams came up. What do you guys think of the season finale? Me? I loved it, and I'm really looking forward to the next season.
There is more left, can't tell how many chapters.
Violet feels awkward as she stands outside of Pete's house, but it has nothing to do with the fact that she's currently holding an overnight bag, not directly anyway. They have been talking about this all week long, Violet's first overnight stay. Even Dr. Watson has been on her case about taking a more active role in Lucas' life, like spending time alone with him. Violet knows her therapist means taking Lucas for the night at her own house, but personally she feels this arrangement is better for all parties involved. The minute Violet steps into the house she will have the sole responsibility for Lucas' care: feeding him, changing him, washing him, putting him to bed, as well as getting up with him at the crack of dawn. It will be a simulation of what Dr. Watson suggested, with Pete merely acting as moral support.
She hopes she doesn't look too nervous when the door swings open and she sees Pete standing in front of her, gently bouncing Lucas up and down. Her smile turns into a concerned frown when she notices that neither father nor son look too good.
"Lucas has a cold," Pete explains, sounding a little stuffy, himself. "Maybe we should postpone this until next weekend... the nanny went home early, and I'm already not feeling too good, if you stick around you'll catch it, too."
Violet would lie if she said there isn't a part of her that's ready to turn on her heel and go home, but an even bigger part of her simply tells her to shut up and grow the hell up. So, it isn't the scenario she expected, but it's the hand she was dealt. It's in this moment that Violet finally realizes that she can't keep pre-planning every activity she does with Lucas, especially not if she wants to be his mom. Kids don't come with pre-written schedules or instruction manuals. Part of being a parent is handling whatever is thrown at you. Right now that is her child being sick.
So, she shakes her head and takes a step forward. She lowers her overnight bag to the floor right inside the door and stretches out both her arms. "Hand him over," she tells him.
Pete cocks his brows at this, but does as told. Violet steadies Lucas in her arms and in a motherly gesture, gently applies the back of her hand to his warm and clammy forehead. The boy stares up at her with glassy eyes as she removes her hand and she looks back at him sympathetically. Holding him close, she kisses the top of his head and sways gently from side to side. Looking up at Pete she tells him, "I'm staying."
He closes the door behind her and takes her bag to the guest bedroom, which, given their history, does feel a bit weird. Choosing not to think about it too much, Violet instead devotes her full attention to Lucas, who definitely isn't his usual energetic self. It takes some searching, but eventually Violet spots her son's current favorite toy lying far in under Pete's coffee table, almost by the couch. She has to shift Lucas over to her hip before she is able to bend down and retrieve the brightly colored wooden rattle. Giving it to her son, the boy grips one of the bars and halfway lifts it to his face, but he makes no effort to shake it.
Violet can hear Pete moving around the kitchen and goes to investigate. The first thing she notices is the open, yet nearly full jar of baby food sitting on the counter. Whatever little made it out of the jar seems to be on the bib lying next to it, so there's no surprise that Lucas is listless. Pete turns around and follows her gaze, "I tried, but he didn't want any of it, I think his throat might be a little sore. Here." He hands her a warm bottle of formula. "I was just about to heat it up when you knocked," he explains and she nods.
Taking the boy with her to the couch, Violet carefully removes the rattle from her son's limp hand and gives him the bottle. To begin with Lucas holds it up all by himself, but it doesn't take more than a minute or two before Violet notices the bottle slowly sinking. When she grabs it, Lucas' arms sink all the way down and stays there. His eyes are droopy, but even though he's not far from falling asleep, he continues to drink from the bottle that Violet is now holding up for him. Pete takes a seat right next to them. Stroking their son's head he turns his gaze to Violet.
"We don't have to do exactly as we planned," he tells her. "This could just be a regular weekend and we could work together."
Violet raises her brows as she takes in Pete's equally droopy eyes. "You're sick," she points out. "Go upstairs and get some sleep. I'll be fine."
She tries to say that last part with conviction, but even minutes away from nodding off, Pete picks up on her uncertainty and shakes his head. "No-no, I'm good here."
He reaches over her, and for the few seconds it takes him to grab a hold of the two throw pillows on her side of the couch, their faces are barely inches apart. Violet feels his warm breath on her face and swallows hard, closing her eyes as she waits for him to complete his mission. Too sick to notice Pete uses the extra pillows to prop up his elbow in order to support his head. Slowly, but surely his eyes close and his breathing evens. By the time Violet moves to get Lucas ready for bed, Pete is sound asleep.
It's a delicate process to move a sleeping infant from one location to another without waking them, one that Violet hasn't been given the opportunity to master. But she makes it to the upstairs bathroom with Lucas still asleep in her arms, only to discover that Pete's moved the changing table, probably to the bathroom closer to the guest room, without her realizing it.
She has to shift Lucas' position in her arms, so that she has her right arm free as she makes her way downstairs. It's probably just another part of the crazy, but Violet simply doesn't feel safe carrying Lucas down a staircase without being able to hold onto the banister. She's convinced she's more likely to trip and drop him going down than up. The shift is enough to wake the boy, who immediately starts fussing. Once both her feet are firmly planted on the ground floor Violet rests her son against her shoulder, bouncing him gently up and down while whispering to him in a soothing voice.
Lucas has grown used to his mother by now, but he's groggy and miserable and his stuffy nose is making it difficult to breathe. Instead of calming down, his crying increases. Violet tries to keep calm, but it's hard to do so when her child is crying and nothing she does seems to be working. She detects the slight nasal sound of his crying and reaches for the bulb syringe and saline drops that she conveniently finds lying on the changing table, next to the pajamas, diapers, and everything else Pete has lined up for easy access.
It's a struggle to get the saline drops into Lucas' nose, and he cries bloody murder when she gently applies the bulb syringe in each nostril to remove the mucus. Making sure his supper won't be coming up again, she lifts up her baby boy and rests him against her shoulder, firmly rubbing his back. With his ability to breathe normally returning, the boy's cries lessen and Violet can resume getting him ready for bed. Like pretty much every other baby out there, Lucas loves the airy sensation of lying naked on the changing table. For a moment it's like he forgets about the way his throat aches and how his head is practically burning up. Lucas smiles and reaches for his mother's nose and mouth, but his grip is still weak. Violet lets him enjoy the freedom for another minute before putting on a dry diaper and his pyjamas. She contemplates brushing the four teeth in his mouth, but decides it will do more harm than good at this point.
Violet decides not to put him in his crib right away, but rather leans back on the pile of pillows on the guest bed, her son resting against her chest, covered by a thin baby blanket. She sings to her sleepy child. First it's the lullaby she chose for him, then it's 'Imagine', then a couple of other favorites from back in the day. That coupled with the sound of her heart beat lulls him to sleep and Violet gently moves him over to his crib, kissing the top of his head before lowering him into it and draping the baby blanket over him. Watching her son's chest rising and sinking in a steady rhythm has a serene effect on her. It's almost hypnotising. She could probably watch him for hours.
When she eventually returns to the living room, she's surprised to see Pete still in the same uncomfortable sleeping position. He doesn't respond right away when she speaks his name and gently shakes him.
"Pete?" she whispers. "Pete, wake up."
"Mh?" he responds, his eyes remaining closed.
It takes two more attempts before his eyes open and he looks at her.
"You should go to bed," Violet suggests.
Pete's eyes droop shut as he replies, "Too tired," his lips barely moving.
"You're gonna be needing a chiropractor in the morning if I let you stay like this on the couch," she lectures, pulling a couple of the pillows away from underneath him in an attempt to make him get up.
"No's comfy couch," Pete murmurs as he rests his head on top of the remaining pillows.
Violet gives up and lifts Pete's feet up on the couch as well while looking around the room for a blanket and sees one nicely folded up over the armrest of one of the armchairs.
"Lucas?" Pete asks, his eyes still closed.
"He's sleeping," Violet tells him, draping the blanket over him. "It's alright, go back to sleep."
Violet gently strokes Pete's stubbled cheek and is rewarded with a sigh. She's ready to get up when she hears him murmur, "Love you, Violet."
Although it shouldn't be that surprising, the words still carries a punch. Breathing gets heavier and butterflies starts flapping around in her stomach. It's not a bad feeling, or well, it's good and bad at the same time. Good, because his words are merely mirroring the way she feels. Bad, because it makes it that much harder keeping her word to Dr. Watson. Bad, because all she wants to do in that moment is to wake him, kiss him and tell him she loves him, too. But, maybe if she only kisses him in his sleep. If she keeps away from his lips. If it's his cheek, if he doesn't notice, maybe that will be alright.
It's not breaking the rules if he doesn't notice...