December 3, 2010

"So, you said we're looking for how many outfits?" Garcia asked as they walked through the baby department at Macys.

Emily had Addy in an infant carrier on her chest, facing her the baby looking around with big eyes as she sucked on her pacifier.

"Uh, one for dinner with my mother, one for the team party, one for meeting Morgan's mother, and one for church on Christmas Eve." One hand rested on the back of the carrier, an unconscious protective instinct.

Garcia smiled. "That's right, Derek mentioned you guys were taking Addy to meet his family. He was all excited."

"I know, that's why you and JJ will have to pick that dress, I'll never be able to make a decision."

"Wait, you're not actually worried about it, are you?" Garcia stared at her incredulously.

"Of course, I'm worried. You know how attached Derek is, if his mother doesn't accept Addy, it will break his heart."

It was less Fran Morgan not accepting Addy that she was nervous about, but not accepting the adoption. A judge had signed the papers four days ago, and they hadn't told anyone, not yet. They wanted to wait until after Christmas at least. They needed time to get used to it, to be more secure about it, because it would involve another round of rumors and questions.

"What makes you think she might not? Addy's beautiful and a very happy baby, it's impossible not to adore her." To emphasize her point, Garcia smiled at the baby and wiggled one of her tiny little hands. "Besides, Derek's mother has been asking him for grandbabies for over a decade, she'll be thrilled."

"Addy isn't biologically his, and I don't know what her feeling is on that. Some people are funny about that, you know, family is blood and nothing else." She didn't think Fran would agree with that sentiment, but her son adopting an infant was a big deal.

"I doubt Fran Morgan is going to feel that way, besides I bet you she went through hell marrying a black man in the sixties and having his children. She's bound to be incredibly accepting after that."

Emily nodded. "You're right, but you and Jayje still have to pick that dress for me."

Garcia grinned. "Love to...alright, what kind of dinner are you doing with your mother?"

"Mother is always into formal dining, so she needs to look polished."

The tech raised an eyebrow at the adjective, but didn't ask. She went to a rack and started flipping. "What about you, what are you wearing to these occasions?"

"I don't know, I'll go through my closet." She shrugged.

Garcia turned to her. "You're not at all worried about you looking good?"

"My mother doesn't approve of me and likely never will, and Fran Morgan doesn't have to like me, she just has to like Addy." Emily flipped through a rack of dresses, not really looking at any of them.

"But, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to make you look like a million bucks."

"I'm not that worried..." Emily finally focused on the baby dresses flying past her, and then turned to Garcia. "What are we looking at here? This is like infant prom clothes."

There was just way, way too much taffeta for her liking.

"What? Too fancy?"

"I'd like to avoid the ball gown look until she can actually walk."

Garcia rolled her eyes. "Cranky much?"

"These dresses would only be appropriate at the Kennedy's Christmas party."

She studied the very ornate dresses. "Alright, you may have a point there, let's move toward that rack."

"While we're discussing what I won't put her in, add blindingly bright colors, a lot of black, and tartan patterns," Emily said.

"Not a fan of the Scots, Em?"

"Their alcohol, but not their clothing choices."

"Oh, I hear that." Garcia picked up a dress then. "What about this one?"

It was dark blue on top, and on the bottom trim, light blue in the center with a subtle floral pattern. Emily took it and studied it. "I like it. This could be good for dinner with my mother. What do you think, white tights, and white shoes?"

"Or black. I doubt you'll find cute blue shoes."

"What did I miss?" They turned to see JJ approaching, pushing a stroller, where Henry was munching happily on a chicken nugget.

They both greeted her and cooed at Henry, who was too busy with his dinner to be bothered. Then Garcia took great pleasure filling her in on what they'd been discussing.

"You're really nervous?" JJ asked.

Emily answered with an uncomfortable wince. "I don't know how she'll take it, and I don't want to see him hurt."

She watched her friends share a look, they almost looked like little girls sharing a secret. Emily sighed. "What?"

JJ raised her eyebrows. "Nothing, it's just sweet that you're so stressed out on his behalf."

The profiler glanced between them, realization slowly dawning. "Oh, oh no, no, don't you guys go there, that's not what this is about. Nothing is going on between us beyond taking care of Addy."

"Alright…" Garcia conceded. "But you know, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if it you guys did hook up."

Emily stared at her incredulously, and then turned to JJ. The blond shrugged. "I could think of plenty of work-related reasons making it a bad idea, but I think you've dated guys far worse for you."

Emily's mouth fell open as she stared at her two friends like she'd never seen them before. Then she shook her head violently. "Okay, we're done talking about me for the night. Garcia, Christmas plans?"

The tech immediately looked nervous. "Actually, I'm meeting Kevin's parents...and totally freaked."

"Hi there, I'd thought you lost my number." She smiled like a cat, and allowed him to lead her to a table.

Morgan hadn't been on more than ten dates since Addy was born, and Emily had told him earlier that Addy would be shopping with her, so he better take the opportunity to get his flirt on. So, he'd called Josie, who was attractive and charming, and who he'd promised to call months ago after meeting her at a bar. He didn't take her home, not that night at least. He was kind of hoping to tonight, but at the same time had a nagging feeling in his head telling him that he shouldn't. It wasn't a feeling he was accustomed to. It almost felt like guilt.

"Yeah, sorry about that. I've been a little busy." He held her chair for her like a gentlemen, and then sat across from her.

"Oh yeah, criminals keeping you busy?"

"Nothing I can't handle," he smiled.

They ordered drinks and dinner, and made flirty small talk for a while, before she looked at him curiously. "There's something different about you."

Morgan's eyebrows went up. "Really? How do you figure that?"

"You seem...I don't know. Like you aren't working so hard to get in my pants, like you've grown up a little."

He chuckled. "And, yet you still gave me your number."

Josie smiled. "Well, I didn't say I was opposed." Then her look turned serious. "Only one thing makes a man grow out of his player ways that quick, and that's fatherhood."

He nodded. "You ought to be working in my field."

"So, what happened, you get a girl pregnant?" She shifted, less comfortable now, but not running away. That told him, either she wasn't interested in more than a night, or she wanted to settle down and soon.

"Not me. A friend of mine had a baby almost four months ago, a judge signed off on the legal adoption four days ago."

Surprise and confusion was too gentle for her expression. "Wait a minute, you adopted your friend's kid? Are you a single father then?"

Now it was his turn to be surprised. "What? No, no. It's called a second-parent adoption; her mother is still her mother, but I'm now her father."

"This must be a very close friend, for you to go through all that."

"Yeah, we're pretty close." He pulled out his cell, flicked to a picture of Addy, and handed it to Josie. "That's Addy."

"She's beautiful."

He smiled proudly. "Thanks, she looks a lot like her mama already."

A dozen stores, a coffee run, and hours of gossip later, they were all tired, Henry had been whining to go home for the last half hour, and Addy was growing increasingly fussy. They had picked out and purchased, three outfits for Addy (nothing was good enough to meet Morgan's mom, JJ and Garcia decided they'd handle that without Emily around to agonize about it), two outfits for Henry (who'd been unimpressed with both), a dress for Emily (against her protests), and a dress for Garcia, who was more excited than nervous after a long talk with her girlfriends.

"Shh, I know, I know, we missed dinner, I'll give you a snack in the car," Emily promised her red-faced, angry daughter.

"It's not going to be a little cold to feed her?"

"Won't feel any worse than it does now. She didn't eat much before we came, so they're uh, how do I put this delicately...feeling a little over-full."

Garcia looked a little startled, but JJ just chuckled. "Alright, so I'll see you tomorrow," she nodded to Garcia, and then turned to Emily "And, we're meeting for lunch this weekend, right?"

She nodded. "Yeah, call me Friday and we can finalize plans."

With that all three women looked somewhat mournfully at the cold, blustery weather, bundled themselves and their children, and dove out against the wind. JJ headed off to where she'd parked with a wave, and Garcia and Emily headed in the direction of their cars. They had agreed to meet and start without JJ, so they were parked pretty close to each other.

"You want me wait with you while you feed her?" Garcia asked, holding her hood up around her head.

Emily shook her head. "Don't worry, we'll be fine."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'll see you this weekend." Garcia nodded then, gave her a quick hug, and ran off to her car. Emily dumped the bags in the back of her Prius, and slid into the driver's seat, a tight squeeze with Addy still attached to her chest.

She started the car, and cranked on the heat. "Alright baby, let it warm up a little."

Addy was rooting and getting increasingly impatient, but 30 degree weather and bare breasts don't mix. After a few minutes, the car was warm enough for her to unbundle both of them, and coax Addy toward her dinner. Fortunately, not much coaxing was required. "Ouch," Emily hissed as the baby latched on.

It was almost nine o'clock. She wondered if Morgan was still on his date, if they'd moved things into someone's bedroom. And, she quickly pushed away the uncomfortable ping of jealousy at that thought. Emily shook the thoughts of him away, and focused on Addy instead. She was beautiful and perfect, and sometimes the sheer miracle of that still stunned her.

She had to brave the cold again to get Addy into her car seat, but that went without much incident, and Emily was happy to finally being pulling out onto the road. She was barely fifteen minutes from the mall when she hit a red light, and stopped at a deserted intersection. She glanced back to check on Addy, and surprisingly, the baby wasn't asleep, but staring at the staring at the snow that was starting to come down. Emily smiled at her wide eyes, and turned back to the road.

There was only seconds. Seconds in which the light turned green, and she started forward. Seconds in which she saw the headlights rushing toward them with no sign of stopping. And, seconds she had to make the decision to turn the wheel to the left, toward the oncoming car, so the impact would be mostly in the front of the car. Seconds to try and protect her child.

The nose of the truck impacted into the driver's side, slamming into the front door and nose of the Prius, sending it spinning across the intersection. The air bag deployed as the car slid across the pavement, the entire length of the passenger's side colliding with the trees on the side of the road. The truck, having swerved, went over the lip of a sidewalk, and came to a grinding halt in a store's manicured bushes. Then it was silent.

Except for the whimpers of a baby that soon turned to distressed cries.

Alright, it's still December, so technically, I'm not late posting this. I will admit however, I intended to post it a week ago, but life got in the way. Life will be in the way for the next several days, so don't expect another chapter until the end of the week. After that however, the updates should be more prompt. Thank you for reading, and please review!