I would like to thank everyone for all the reviews and alerts throughout the journey of this story. I'm sad to say, that although I will miss these people ...a lot, Princess McGee has wound itself down to it's natural end. I hope you all have enjoyed the journey as much as I have and I hope you enjoy this last chapter.
Thankyou to Maudlin Muse who has worked with me on this for a long while now. I appreciate her help and advice more than she will ever know.
Lastly, prayers and positive thoughts would mean a lot to me for my son who flew out to Afghanistan yesterday.
Jess and Maddie...and Abby, Ziva and Kim if the truth be known...were beside themselves with excitement. Amber and Jimmy were finally back from their trip down south with Amber's family. Tomorrow it would be the first Sunday lunch that they had all been able to have with the baby.
Abby looked intently into the full length mirror at her naked form. Her hand smoothed gently over her slight bump. She turned sideways and then the other way while she examined her once flat tummy. Her forehead crinkled into a frown as she caught sight of her slightly larger bottom. To a less critical eye, there would have been barely a difference but to Abby the difference in her once lithe form was considerable. She smiled as Tim came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.
"Still gonna love me when I'm the side of a barn?" she asked. "Ouch!" Her barn like very fair backside was now sporting a distinct red hand print.
"You are NOT any bigger and even if you were...well like the side of a barn, there'd just be more of you to love." Tim said trailing kisses down the side of her neck.
He in fact loved Abs new curves. His hands slid silkily over her now larger breasts, his fingers teasing the nipples that had hardened into taut peaks as he nibbled on his favourite spot...her spider web. Their spider web. She was such a part of him now, he didn't know what he would ever do without her. His hands joined hers to settle on the place where their new baby was growing...but not for long. Abby turned in his arms, all thoughts of her critical appraisal forgotten, replaced with more carnal desires.
Jess held one of her babies as she rocked in her chair. Finally tomorrow she and Maddie would get a proper turn of Jack. She'd never held a real baby until Jack. He was so cute and small and soft. Jess loved how he smelled. Soon her own Momma was gonna have a baby that baby would live in her house all the time. She couldn't wait for that or for tomorrow. She hoped Amber would let her hold him...Jess gently put her baby into it's cradle and sat on the floor while she settled it off to sleep, just as Amber had done when they visited her.
Maddie looked longingly at her baby doll as well. Her Mommy had bought both her and Jess one after Jack was born. She knew her Mommy was trying to make up for the fact she didn't have a baby in her tummy but well it was nice...but it wasn't a real baby. She couldn't wait for tomorrow to have a turn of a real one. She'd been practising with this one and she knew now how to take care of a baby. She was REAL careful with this baby, even if it was plastic... and she didn't draw make up on it's face or nuffin. Her Daddy had smacked her bottom for drawing on her dolls faces but she was just playin pageants...they had to have makeup didn't they? She sighed. She used to like being in pageants...She hugged her baby doll tightly to her breast...well not really...she didn't have any like Amber but it was a plastic baby so it didn't need real ones anyway.
The next morning Jess dressed for church and went to find her Mommy brush in hand.
"Mommmy?" she called. "Mommy I need you."
Abby was filled with unexpected emotion at the simple question. It took a lot for her to keep the tears at bay, such was the love she felt for this little girl. She had come so far since she had entered this house attached to Timmy's side. Not much smiling then and even less trust. In fact she hadn't taken to Abby at all at first, but all that had changed now.
Jess's face lit up when she found her Mommy already dressed for church.
"Need me to do your hair?" Abs asked.
"Uhhuh. " Jess said excitedly. "I wanna get to church so's we can get home and see the baby."
"Me too." Abby said as she turned her daughter and started running the brush down her long blonde hair, gently easing out the knots. "He is just sooo cute."
"I love his red hair." Jess said bouncing around. "And his teeny tiny fingers." Abby chased Jess's moving head...she understood the whole not being able to keep still while excited thing.
"Just one thing hon, you do know that you can't really play with Jack don't you...Amber will let you hold him I'm sure, but you won't pick him up without an adult or anything will you?" Jess's face suddenly fell.
"Mommy I would never do that." She was hurt that her Mommy would even think anything like that. Abby gave Jess a reassuring hug.
"I knew you wouldn't but I just had to make sure." she said. "Sometimes Maddie gets..."
"I'm not Maddie Mommy." Jess said quietly. Jess loved Maddie but she wasn't a baby...she knew what was dangerous. "Anyway Maddie wouldn't do that either." Jess wasn't entirely certain of that but she wouldn't anyway.
"I know you're not." Abby said. "Have I told you today how much I love you Jess?"
"Not yet." Jess said with a toothless grin.
"Well I do. I love you very much."
"I love you more."
"Impossible." Abby said as she bent down and gave Jess an enormous hug.
It was lunch time and most of the family had conglomerated in the backyard. The smell of onions sizzling on the grill wafted into the house and even towards the front door.
"Smells good." Jimmy said with a smile.
"Sure does." Amber said mirroring her husband's grin. They had been away and showed off little Jack to the relatives. They had explained...and explained again and again why they had chosen to be married without their families. In the end they had agreed to a reception of sorts to appease the hurt they had inflicted unknowingly on their families. It had been hard to explain how it had just 'happened'. Anyway, the arrival of the new redheaded charmer had gone a long way to restoring the status quo and by the time they had left all was well. But now...now...they were home.
At the sound of the doorbell the girls tore out of Jess's room screeching all the way to the front door. "They're here...they're here...they're here..." The boys ambled out into the hallway and nearly got knocked to the ground in the rush.
"Girls girls..." Tim said as he opened the door. "Give them some room... can I take him?" he asked the amused young couple. "Who's a big boy then..." Tim said into the sleeping babies face.
"Daddy sharrrrreeee." Jess pleaded while Maddie folded her arms in disgust.
"We been waiting forever!" she said.
"You'll have to wait a little long Mads." Jimmy said. "Jack is sleeping...hey boys." He said to the three that just arrived downstairs to greet them.
"I won't wake him." Maddie pleaded.
"No honey." Amber said. He needs to sleep without being held. Amber had read all the baby books and was determined to start off the right way. This was also a hint to Tim that she wanted her baby put down. Jimmy pushed the stroller into the family room and put on the brake.
"Please Amber?" Jess begged. "Just a little hold?" Amber shook her head.
"That's no fair! You let Uncle Timmy!" Maddie whined.
"I was just carrying him in girls. I'm going to put him down and you two need to go play." Tim lowered the baby into his stroller. "We'll come get you as soon as he's awake." Tim said.
"Promise Uncle Timmy?" Maddie asked.
"Promise." The two girls ran up the stairs to continue their game. The boys had already gone. A sleeping baby was even more dull than an awake one as far as they were concerned.
"They're here...they're here..." Abby squealed from the doorway. All three women rushed into the room. "Gimme gimme gimme."
"The baby's asleep Abs. He has to stay in the stroller." Tim said pointedly. Abby stopped in her tracks...oh well she could wait. She bounded over and hugged the pair tightly.
"You look GREAT!" Abby said.
"How did you lose all the baby weight so quickly?" Ziva asked. Amber shrugged.
"Breast feeding maybe? Dunno... I've been eating like a horse." Kim sighed. It had taken her months to lose all the baby weight.
Jimmy smiled proudly at his sleeping son. Gibbs clapped him on the back. "You did good Jimmy. He's beautiful."
"Thank you." Jimmy said with an ever widening smile.
"Ok everyone. Let's let the new prince have his nap." Amber said. We'll hear him from just out there." she said. "And all the kids are upstairs."
Jimmy reluctantly followed the others outside. It was true while they were in vacation they had left the baby not in the same room, but...well there were no kids there. Still, he didn't want a spoiled baby and Amber said, well that it was the way to do things.
"Jimmy? Basketball?" Tony called. After a brief look to the doorway he looked at Amber.
"Go Jimmy. Play...I'll hear him." she said.
"Ok. If you're sure."
"I'm sure." She said.
Jess rocked her baby doll gently for a little while and then put it back down again. It just wasn't the same as a real baby.
"They don't understand Jess." Maddie said. "I KNOW how to take care of a baby. So do you..."
Jess nodded. "She would NEVER hurt Jack. She knew how to be gentle."
"I know. I just wanted to hold him. They just wanna keep him all to themselves." Jess agreed." Maddie suddenly dropped her attitude and grinned.
"We should SHOW em Jess...we should show em we can take care of a baby." Maddie said enthusiastically. Jess went very quiet. She could feel one of Maddie's good ideas coming on. One of those ones that always got them in trouble.
"Um...I don't know Maddie..."
"WHY Jess? You know we could do it... he's just stuck in that pram. They wouldn't even know until we bring him back all happy...then they'd say how clever we were and how we'd be the best babysitters ever." Jess sighed. Jess closed her eyes and imagined what would happen when they got back and it wasn't everyone being happy. Not at all... And what if something happened to baby Jack...
"No Maddie...it's NOT a good idea." Jess said quietly.
"Awww come onnn Jess. Please? I promise...it'll be fun ...and we'll have him all to ourselves...no mean adults to tell us what to do and all." Jess shook her head.
"Naha Maddie. That'd be real bad and …...I don't wanna."
"Don't be a baby Jess."
"I'm not...you are." Jess was getting mad now. She hated when Maddie called her a baby. She knew she was just tryin to make her do what she wanted..
"Alright then. You stay here and play with your baby doll and I'm gonna take a REAL baby for a walk in the stroller."
"You can't Maddie." Jess said. "Something might happen to Jack." Maddie rolled her eyes as she walked out the door.
"Nothin's gonna happen cept I'm taking Jack for a walk to the park."
"Jimmy and Amber'll be real mad at you...and so will your Mommy and Daddy ….and my Mommy and Daddy and ….well and EVERYBODY."
Maddie didn't say another word, she just walked quietly down to the family room. She peaked into the kitchen first to see that no one was coming and then she took off the brake and wheeled the stroller quietly out the front door.
Jess sat in her room for about ten minutes waiting for Maddie to come back. She was sure she wouldn't do it. Or someone would catch her. She was probably standing in the corner with a sore bottom right now. Jess decided to have a look, she was worried about her friend even of she had been mean to her.
Outside, Gibbs and Ducky manned the BBQ and the boys all played basketball, just like old times. The girls all sat and chatted.
"Jimmy is such a worrier." Amber said. "He hovers something awful. I can't seem to make him see that babies are not made of glass."
"He's such a good little thing." Kim said. "Does he always sleep as well as that?"
"Yeah, he's a great sleeper. Sometimes we even get six hours at night." Abby and Ziva looked at each other.
"Six hours is good?" Abby asked.
"Six hours for a newborn is great." Kim said. Ziva went white...that was one baby. She was expecting two...would she ever get any sleep?" she thought. Even Abby was feeling a little worried. She supposed there'd be no caf pow still while you were breastfeeding as well.
Maddie reached the park and walked towards a pavilion. See... she knewd that babies had to be outta the sun. Once she settled the stroller she undid Zac's wrap and lifted him out of the pram...
Jess crept down the stairs and her eyes went immediately to the place where the stroller had been left with the baby sleeping inside. It was gone. Maybe it was outside with the grown ups, she thought. She walked through the kitchen with her heart in her mouth. If the stroller wasn't there she would have to tell...It wasn't. Jess burst into tears. She hated that she had to tattle on her friend. She hated even worse what Maddie had done.
Abby looked up to find Jess standing next to her...her face awash with silent tears.
"Jess? What's wrong honey?" Abby asked as she gathered her daughter on to her lap.
"It's...um..." Jess continued to cry quietly into her Mommy's neck.
"Jess tell me." Abby said.
"Did you and Maddie have a fight?" Kim asked. Jess nodded. Kim stood to go and see her daughter.
"But...um...she tooked the baby to the park." Jess howled into Abby's neck and clung on for grim death.
Amber went white with fear and dread but she was on her feet in a second. She had to get to her baby. Kim shouted to both Gibbs and Jimmy and within a few moments all the adults except Abby were tearing towards the park. It was a very mismatched bunch that hurried down the street. Jimmy lead the pack at a pace none of the others thought possible. Tony, Tim, Gibbs and Ziva were not far behind with a distraught Amber running after them carrying her heels. Kim couldn't keep up and she was walking last with Ducky, although it was more of a power walk than a dawdle.
Baby Jack started to cry as he he was lifted from the safety and warmth of his stroller. He could feel the difference between the firm hold and gentle crooning of his parents and the rather brash shushing and nervous jiggling of this smaller person. Maddie had bitten off more than she could chew and she wanted this baby to stop crying...now. It was makin her feel bad. She was takin care of him wasn't she? In desperation she put him back in the stroller. Maybe he liked it in there. Nope.
Jack just screamed louder and his tiny limbs flailed about, desperately seeking the loving arms that would make him feel safe, the sweet warm nectar from his Mommy's breast.
"Shh Jess." Abby crooned gently. "It's ok. Maddie won't be mad at you."
"Don't care if she is...I don't want nuffin to happen to Jack." Jess cried. "She shouldn't have tooked him."
"No she shouldn't. But he'll be fine." Abby sure hoped that was true.
Suddenly three boys appeared in the doorway. "Where is everyone?" Kyle asked.
"We're starving." Dyl said.
"They went after Maddie." Abby said.
"What she do this time?" Mike asked.
"She tooked Jack to the park." Three mouths dropped open. That was over the top even for Maddie.
"What she do that for Jess?" Dyl asked.
"Cos she wanted to show everyone that she could look after a baby."
"You knew she was gonna do this Jess?" Abby asked. Jess nodded.
"She said it but I didn't think she would do it. I thought she was just sayin it." She started to sob all over again.
"It's ok Jess." Abby said. "You came and told us as soon as you knew she was gone. That's what counts. You really are growing up. I'm proud of you."
"Wow...she really is a dumb ass." Kyle said. Abby frowned at him but didn't really have the heart to scold. He'd hit the nail on the head.
Maddie pushed the stroller backwards and forwards as she tried to calm the squalling baby. A teensy part of her kind of hoped that Jess had told. The rest of her was determined to see this through. She stopped rocking and started to sing, finally adding a dance when that didn't help. Little Jack though seemed oblivious to her talents and just cried harder.
"Come onnnn you dumb baby." she said finally allowing the frustration to find a voice.
Unfortunately for her it was the exact moment that Jimmy arrived. He leapt into the pavilion and scooped up his hysterical son cradling him to his shoulder while he patted and soothed. The baby was beyond Daddy comfort though and continued to wail loudly. The others were not far behind and as they piled into the small enclosure all eyes were on Jack ensuring that he had escaped unscathed. His eyes filled with tears, Jimmy passed Jack over to his Mommy who acted on instinct. She immediately sat and bared her breast and latched the baby on while she rocked and shushed him gently. Kim gathered his blanket and tucked it around him. Ducky stood nearby eager to help if needed but Jack finally started to suck, every now and again stopping to offer a sob of protest at his ordeal.
"Eww...Isn't it a bit nasty to do that in the park?" Maddie asked innocently. All eyes turned to the instigator of THIS afternoon's trouble. Tony whispered to Tim...
"Oh this should be good."
"Uhhuh." Tim nodded. "For once it wasn't his McBrats." Jimmy's jaw dropped and he took a step towards Maddie but then stopped and looked towards her parents, asking the silent question. Both nodded.
"Maddie took your baby Jimmy, I think she should answer to you." Kim said. She had never been more angry with Maddie.
"And that'll only be the start of your punishment young lady. It'll be a VERY long time before you touch ANY kind of baby real kind or the doll variety." With that Gibbs turned Maddie sideways and smacked her bottom hard half a dozen times before giving her a gentle push towards Jimmy.
Jimmy carried Maddie back to the house, as much to give himself time to calm down as anything else. Abby and the kids were waiting out front of the house.
"He's fine." Jimmy said. "No thanks to Little Miss Disobedient here." Maddie covered her face. She didn't want to look at Jess right now. Or the boys...or Aunt Abby. Everybody was always pickin on her. If they just letted her have one hold of the baby she wouldna had to take him away. She didn't hurt him. He'd just been cryin for nothin.
Jimmy sat on Jess bed and sat Maddie on his knee. Angry as he was he loved this child as much as he loved his own nieces and nephews. More really. He was closer to these kids.
"Maddie, what you did..." Jimmy struggled to find the right words. "Jack is the world to Amber and I."
"I just wanted a turn." Maddie said quietly. Jimmy was really serious and mean and she didn't like it.
"Maddie life is not and will not ever be totally about what you want. You were told to go and play and we'd call you when the baby was awake."
"It wasn't fair."
"I really don't care whether you think it's fair or not. Jack is our baby mine and Amber's and WE decide who touches him and when." Maddie said nothing. Her eyes filled with tears.
"You have to think more about your actions. I love you Maddie and Amber loves you, but if you had hurt our baby..."
"I wouldna hurt him..."
"Not on purpose, but you're a little kid."
"Not." Maddie said with arms folded.
"Undo those arms and lose the attitude right now." Jimmy said in a voice that Maddie hadn't heard from him before. She did. What was it about Daddies that always got that voice. "You will NEVER touch my son again unless an adult is right next to you. Do you hear me?"
"Good." Jimmy said before turning her over his knee. He lifted her denim skirt and brought his hand down hard on her panty clad bottom. Maddie squealed.
"No Uncle Jimmy it hurts!" she wailed. Jimmy ignored her pleas and started spanking in earnest, he covered every inch of her wriggling and squirming backside several times over.
"Ow Ouch ow!" Jimmy kept spanking.
"Are you going to listen to the adults Maddie?" he asked.
"Yes...stopp...you're killing me!" she wailed dramatically. Jimmy spanked her sit spots several times each before standing her in front of him. He pushed his glasses back onto his nose purposely before finding his best Daddy voice.
"Now it's over and I forgive you." he said before pulling her into a hug. She sobbed into his shirt sadly.
"Will Amber forgive me too?" she asked. Jimmy would have loved to have said yes but he couldn't.
"I think you owe her an apology." Maddie nodded.
"Don't wanna go down there. Everyone is mad at me."
"Hmmm. Well the only way to fix that is to say sorry...Come on." Jimmy said holding out a hand. Maddie took it reluctantly and followed him down the stairs.
The others were in the back yard by the time they came down all looked up at the new arrivals. Jimmy nodded to Maddie and gave her a gentle shove.
"I'm sorry Amber." she said quietly. Amber looked up at her while clutching the stroller which was now firmly beside her. Jack slept on peacefully, his ordeal now forgotten.
"I hope so." Amber said without smiling.
"I am." Maddie said. "I shouldda waited."
"Yes you should." Maddie went to walk away sadly but Amber grabbed her hand. "You better give me a hug then." Maddie gave her a watery smile before falling into her arms. "But Maddie? You ever touch Jack without permission again and I will whip your naked bottom with a switch. You hear?" Maddie nodded furiously.
Maddie then wandered over to Jess. "You told on me." she said.
"Yep cos you shouldna taked Jack." she said bravely.
"I know." Maddie said. "Wanna play upstairs?"
"Not so fast." Kim said as she grabbed her daughter by the arm and lead her to the corner of the patio. "No playing for you Miss. Not for today. You can stay in the corner until the burgers are ready. Maddie opened her mouth to protest but then closed it again when she saw her Daddy's look.
"Maybe later." Jess said with an embarrassed grin.
Tim grabbed up Jess from behind and hoisted her onto his shoulders. "Have I told you how proud I am of you Jess?" he asked.
"Well I am...you're my Princess."
"Princess McGee." Jess said with a grin.
Another typical family Sunday ended with the newest addition safe and sound. The boys played basketball and Sarah and Zac payed Frisbee with the dogs. Ducky set the burgers on the table while Gibbs got his daughter out of the corner. Jess sat at the table with her hand on the chair next to her. She was saving it for her best friend.