Chapter 3- The Way to a Geek's Heart
Rodney did not stop jogging until he reached the door of his room. His reason for being upset all day vanished the moment the scientist received the email and he knew the day was not going to be as bad as he thought it was going to be when he woke up. It was going to be a very good evening. Near perfection. The first thing the scientist noticed as he entered the room was the set of blue eyes that lit up as soon as she saw him and a smile that made Rodney melt every time he saw it.
"I see you want to be my Valentine, Ali. I don't think I'd have it any other way. How can I resist the most beautiful girl on the base? I'll be your Valentine under one condition: you have to share with me with Mommy," Rodney picked his eight-month-old daughter out of her playpen. He did not expect his wife back until sometime tomorrow so he was shocked when the email from Jennifer showed up in his inbox. The creative woman had sent a picture of Alison dressed in a pink leotard with a red tutu, holding a sign that said: Daddy, Will you be my Valentine? Love, Ali. To make the picture perfect, the infant was trying to eat the paper as the picture was taken. "Are you willing to share?" the father lifted the child over his head, knowing it would make her laugh. "Not that you have much of a choice. That can't be very comfortable, but you look very cute in it," he spoke of the outfit the girl wore. "With Mommy coming home early you know this changes our plans, we are going to have to include her in movie night," Rodney looked toward the closed bathroom door, "Do you know what's going on in there?" he had seen the door quickly close when he came in.
"Don't know, do you?" the father did not expect an answer. Being a parent was the best job he could ever have and he would never give it up for anything. He thought he knew what true love was when he married Jennifer, but the first time he held their daughter, it blew those feelings out of the water. "We've got to entertain ourselves while she is in there because it could a while," Rodney reached for the stereo remote and turned on. "Since you are dressed for the occasion, how would my little Chunky Monkey like to dance?" he said in a goofy tone that made Ali laugh and smile. The man scanned several songs until he found the perfect song. The physicist went with sentimentality with the song choice even when he mocked the holiday earlier. His anger earlier came from not being able to celebrate the holiday of love as a family. The father starter to sing to his little miracle.
In my daughter's eyes
I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
"This is the song Grandpa danced to with your mum at our wedding. Maybe one day we will dance to this at your wedding, but that won't be for another thirty years at least because I'm not going to let you date until you are thirty and that will only be if he is good enough for you." Rodney went into overprotective Daddy mode. He spun around a few times before settling into a slight bounce and sway routine and began to sing some of the lyrics again.
And when she wraps her hand her hand around my finger
Oh, it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
It's hanging in when your heart has had enough
It's giving when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes
Jennifer had planned on rushing in bathroom as not to leave her daughter alone for too long, but when she heard Rodney come in there was no need to rush. Someone did not read the whole email. She had told her husband to wait fifteen minutes before coming home, but he obviously did not read or he did and chose to ignore it. Knowing Rodney, the way she did she was going to go with the first. The physician took her time and washed up before changing to the special matching pajamas she had bought for her and Alison.
The smiling woman watched the touching father-daughter moment from the bathroom doorway and quickly wiped the stray tear that fell. Jennifer had all she could want out of life with her husband and daughter and she counted her blessings everyday they both were in her life. She let the song finish before joining them. "Someone did not read the message I sent," she teased Rodney. As soon as Alison saw her mother, the child reached for her mother and the infant did not stop squirming until she was in Jennifer's arms.
"There was a message besides the picture?" Rodney asked with a smile. He bit his lip to keep from laughing at the pajamas the woman was wearing; a pair of white plush footed pajamas with pastel hearts.
"Ali has a matching pair. Don't even start," Jennifer tapped his nose with a free finger. She knew exactly what was going on in his head.
"I wasn't going to say anything. It...well...ummm...looks cute," he leaned in for a quick kiss. "You're home early," the grin showed just how happy Rodney was about that. "Happy Valentine's Day, my very beautiful wife."
"Same to you, my sexy husband," she returned the sentiments with a powerful that showed how much Jennifer missed him the two days she was gone. Their lips almost fused together because of the heat generated by kiss and the couple got lost in the moment until their daughter bought them out of it, wanting to be held by her father.
"I usually hate surprises, but you are a good one. Did you finish the research early?"
Jennifer smirked, "Did I ruin your plans for a date?"
"Just a movie date," Rodney said nonchalantly.
"Really? What were you going to watch?" she continued to play along.
"Seriously?" Jennifer wondered why he chose one of the saddest movies of all time.
Rodney nodded, "It's that or The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Sheppard borrowed the rest of our movie collection." Both had seen the movie so much that they could recite every line.
"Bambi it is," the mother did not want to see anymore of the annoying red puppet. "How about I get Ali changed for bed and you put on what I bought you?"
"You didn't get those in threes did you?" A look mixed with amusement and horror crossed his face.
Jennifer rolled her eyes, "No. I left them in the bathroom. Go. Now." She took Ali so the infant could be changed.
"Yes, ma'am," Rodney gave a half salute before heading to the bathroom. He returned five minutes later pleased with the black silk pajamas that Jennifer bought him. "Nice choice."
"Thought you'd like them," Jennifer quipped and quickly looked him over with a satisfied smirk. "Very nice."
The rest of the evening the family of three curled up on the bed watching sappy movies with a generous helping of popcorn. Ali tried to reach for some of the salty treat a few times, but her hand was quickly pushed away.
"In a few years," Rodney told his daughter.
The child made it through a movie and a half before falling asleep and put in her crib shortly after.
The parents resumed the movie, closely snuggled against one another and as the credits rolled on the third movie, Rodney whispered, "Best Valentines ever." He finished with a soft feathery kiss, "I love you."
"And to many more just like this," she responded with a kiss of her own. "I love you too."
The way to a geek's heart was simple; time with the ones you love most. It did not need to be overly romantic. It was a simple night that could happen any time of year.
A/N: Thank you for all those who read and followed this short tale. In My Daughter's Eyes is written by James T. Slater and sung by Martina McBride