A/N: Thanks for all the adds and favorites, to Shadows-of-Realm for the beta and to Crye4Me for the brainstorming.
Chapter 7- A New Morning
Rodney did not sleep well as every hour on the hour he would be woken up by a sleeping, kicking child better known as Christina McKay and it was only fitting that when he woke up there was a small foot in his face. A painful reminder why the child always slept in her own bed. The perfect payback was literally staring him in the face: to tickle Chrissy on the bottom of her foot.
The father made a face when the sleeping terror did not move and jumped when his cell phone rang. "Hello," Rodney whispered as he picked up the phone. Chrissy was quite the master cranky pants if she woke up too early.
"Hi, Rodney. Sorry is this a bad time?" Katie asked, hearing that he was trying to whisper.
"No. It's fine. Chrissy is still sleeping." He tried to be as quiet as possible and went to the bathroom to continue the phone call. Hearing the red head's voice bought a smile to the widower's face.
"I can call back."
"No. It really is okay. I'm sorry about leaving abruptly last night. There was a bit of an emergency here last night," he said all in one breath.
"That's why I was calling. Is everything okay?" Katie knew it involved his daughter and it sounded serious from Rodney's end of the conversation.
"Everything is fine now. Chrissy and Steph decided to call the police on Steph's grandmother. The girls thought they were trying to take them away and other stuff." Stuff Rodney did not want to get into just yet. "Just an overactive imagination thrown in with the girls taking after me."
Katie laughed hesitantly, "Are you free for breakfast? I thought we could finish our conversation from last night." She felt her cheeks flush like they haven't in years. This Rodney was nothing like the one she still pined for and in a few ways he was the same man. Getting married and having a child made him a better man, but in the brief time they had talked it was still clear he had some deep scars from losing everything except his daughter.
"It's a date...umm...I. Just yeah. There is this little place a couple blocks from where we were last night and they make the best omelets." Rodney felt odd bubbles in his stomach. He had closed himself off to any possibility of giving love another chance for too long and there was no reason to live a celibate life.
"I think I know the place. When do you want to meet?" Katie blushed at his stammering. Could this really be considered a date? If both played it right, it could be their first.
"Give me about an hour and half. I need to make breakfast for the girls and Evan." Rodney did not think it would be a problem to leave the girls with the not so mobile man as long as he left them prepared for the time he would be gone.
"I'll see you then."
"I look forward to it." Rodney hung up the phone and met the icy glare of his only offspring. "What? Don't look at me like that. You are still in plenty of trouble from yesterday. Now go to your room and get dressed." When he got home Rodney would have to have a serious talk with Chrissy about boundaries.
Jennifer did not want anyone to know she was coming home, as she had to figure out how to tell her husband that she was pregnant. It was not like they were trying for a second child and things have been strained in their marriage ever since the attack and she could only hope that being away from Atlantis would help heal their damaged relationship.
Upon her arrival at the SGC, Jennifer was examined by the staff OBGYN who agreed with Marie's suggestion of staying as calm as possible for the remainder of her pregnancy, which meant not working until after she gave birth. She would not be confined to bed for the next five months, but to remain off her feet as much as possible.
Chuck was the one who offered to drive Jennifer to Rodney's house, hoping the physicist would not mind another house guest for an extended period of time. When she saw the driveway empty it bought the pregnant woman a little measure of relief that she and Evan could have a little privacy to talk. "Thank you for the ride, Chuck." Those were the one only words spoken during the ride unless you counted Chuck singing Lady Gaga songs at the top of his lungs.
"You're welcome ma'am," Chuck watched as Jennifer made the way to the door.
Jennifer knocker on the door, hoping at least someone was home. It only took a few seconds to hear two sets of feet running toward the door.
The house was a lot quieter than Jennifer expected and the only sign of other adult life she saw in the house was her very confused looking husband. She tried to move into the house but the two children attached to her legs stopped her from moving far. "Hey," her voice was soft and tired as she looked at Evan.
"Hey," Evan responded. He wanted to ask what she was doing here, but that was best left for when the girls were not around. "I'd get up, but you know..."
"I do," Jennifer responded with a sad smile as she placed a kiss a top each of the girl's heads. "Where is everyone else?" She looked around and it was obvious that they were the only ones in the house and the looks on the children's face told another story.
"Rodney is on a date." Evan said with an amused smirk. Katie was an interesting choice for a first date since losing his wife.
"A date? This early?" Jennifer never expected her friend to date as he was so focused on his daughter and with the tragic way he lost his wife that he would never date again.
Evan nodded, dismissing the shocked look on his wife's face. Even though he knew there would never be anything between the two, it did not stop him from feeling like there was something at times. "And with Katie Brown too." The original Rodney had been dating the botanist at the time of his disappearance and this one broke up with his Katie sometime after he returned from the funeral. He was also avoiding the enviable question about Reggie and Stella.
"What about my parents? What happened?"
"Rodney kicked your mother out. It's a long story. Very long story. Girls, go up to Chrissy's room and read for a while. No TV for either of you. Both of you are still punished." Evan didn't want to recount the story in front of the girls especially the DNA issue.
Jennifer groaned, knowing she was not going to like the story.
"But Daddy," Stephanie whined. It was not fair that it was months she had seen her mom and she was already being banished. "Adult time sucks," she stomped her foot.
"Stephanie!" Both parents yelled simultaneously.
"Sweetie, I have some things I need to talk to your dad about. Give us a little time and then I can be all yours. Okay?" Jennifer did not want to deal with a temper tantrum so soon.
"How long?" Steph knew she was tempting an extension of her punishment. This was one of the times being a kid was not fun. When all the interesting things not meant for little ears were talked about.
"Half an hour."
"Okay fine," Steph stomped up the stairs in dramatic fashion behind Chrissy.
"Hey," Jennifer slowly approached her husband, unsure of what to say. This was totally the wrong time for her to be pregnant, but this little boy could be just the thing to get their marriage back on track.
"Hey," Evan replied. "I didn't know you were coming. How come you didn't say anything?" It was not meant to sound accusatory, but Jen's appearance was a little unsettling.
"It was sudden and I had some things to think on the ride from the SGC. Chuck dropped me off," the nervous woman joined her husband on the couch. Jennifer reached out for his hand, hoping that she would not lose the nerve.
"What is it Jen?" Evan gave her hand a slight squeeze. "Everything okay?" he knew in the general scheme of things that life was not okay, but something serious had to be up for her to leave control of Atlantis.
It was just easier to break the news to him. "I'm pregnant, Ev. Marie said I need to take it easy for the rest of my pregnancy and there was no way I was going to get that on Atlantis."
"What?" The news floored Evan. This was not something he had expected and it had been a long time and many questions flooded his mind and most of them not all good.
Jennifer knew by the look on her husband's face that he was wondering if the baby was his. The look caused tears to pour forth like a torrential rain. Even with as bad as thing were it hurt to have him think that. "We are going to have a son. With as crazy as everything has been the last couple of months I passed all the signs off as stress. Looking back I should have known it wasn't the stress."
"I'm sorry," he did not mean to make his wife cry. Evan had no idea how they got to where he would question Jennifer's fidelity. The idea of having a son was something he had always dreamed of. Evan loved his daughter to bits and would always be one of the best things to ever happen to him, but there was something special about the bond between father and son. "Come here," he pulled Jen into his arms.
"I know things have been rough between us for a while, but I have never ever been unfaithful," Jennifer pushed herself away from her husband. "How could you even suggest that?"
Evan's mouth floundered for a response that would not cause Jennifer to get any angrier with him. "I just thought... I mean with Steph you knew almost right away and it's been about four months since we... you know." His face flushed. Even after all the years of marriage he was embarrassed to mention the word sex outside of the bedroom. It was a byproduct of his upbringing.
"With Steph life was calm even by Atlantis standards. You know we can't say that about the last four months. I just thought the stress was getting to me. It's not like we were trying for a second child so I had no reason to think I was pregnant." For the first time in many years Jennifer could not read Evan's expression. She did not know how he felt about becoming a father again. "What are you thinking?"
Evan paused and scratched the stubble on his chin. He was excited about having another child, but he was worried about what kind of parent he could be to a newborn in his condition. It was different with Steph because she understood he was sick and she tried to help, but the same could not be said for a baby. After a long minute, a smile finally cracked his stoic face, "That it's about time something good happened to this family. You know for sure it's a boy?"
Jennifer finished drying her tears and nodded, "Marie confirmed with an ultrasound yesterday."
"This could be the fresh start that we need," Evan spoke what he knew to be on both their minds. Perhaps being away from the stresses of Atlantis would give them the time and quiet they needed to repair their relationship...just as long as Stella minded her own business. One could pray for that small almost impossible miracle.
"I hope so." Some of the tension washed away at seeing the first genuine smile of Evan's face in as long as she could remember. Jennifer moved into her husband's arms and finally felt at home. After the long emotional and physical separation it felt like she never left.
"What did she do that Rodney threw her out of the house?" Jennifer spoke up after several minutes of getting reacquainted with her husband. "Does it have to do with why the girls are punished?"
Evan tried not to laugh at the situation, but it was funny and not funny at the same time. "The girls called the police and tried to have Stella arrested. They thought Stella wanted to take them away and as they said she was mean to me and Rodney who then took a big issue with Stella wanting to take Chrissy's DNA."
"Please tell me you are joking." The news greatly disturbed the woman.
"Afraid not. It was quite the scene here last night. I think Stella has met her match in Rodney. He was not taking any of her garbage. You should have seen it her face...it was priceless. I don't think anyone has talked to her that way."
"I don't want a brother!" Stephanie yelled and stomped from the top of the stairs. "I don't want to share with anyone. I hate you." The temperamental child slammed Christina's bedroom door.
To be continued…