Emma Hart was now six months old and every bit of her parents joy, she was alert, beautiful and seem to be on the fast track to crawling any day now, and every moment her mother spent with her was like heaven on earth, all those inadequacies she had before the baby was born completely left her and she spent every moment just appreciating the fact that this little baby was such a miracle, she wanted Emma to stay small forever.
Those first few months at home were a bit of a challenge just getting a routine established especially since Jennifer didn't want a nanny and they didn't have a live in maid now that Max was gone, it didn't seem right to have someone come in to take over what had been so important to him so they had a house keeper who came occasionally and when it came to meals, either Jonathan brought something home or Jennifer made an attempt to cook, her career having been put on hold until Emma was a year old.
Jonathan had also decided to scale way back at Hart just so he could spend more time with his daughter, he was fascinated by her every movement and didn't want to miss anything and so when he did go to work, he would often call home and ask to speak to Emma, loving her gurgle and her mother asking if this what it was like to be the other woman
Life was blissful and wonderful, nothing could rock their little boat or family.
Until late one July night
Everyone in the Hart house was asleep, Emma was finally sleeping through night and so was her mother, who for a few months was operating on little to none and more than often found herself passed out on the couch like she'd been in a fight and because of this making love was low on the list of priorities which Jonathan understood, she'd just had a baby, she wasn't feeling sexy or romantic and the time would come back when they would get back in the saddle..so to speak
And so the time had come, they had begun rekindling their passion when Emma was around four months, taking things slow and steady just enjoying each other as they had before the baby.
It was one of those nights after making love, lying in the cold air conditioning when a noise woke up Jennifer. It was a high pitched wail coming from outside their room
"Darling.." She shook Jonathan, "Darling!"
"Hmm..I love when you wake me up In the middle of the night," Jonathan rolled over to her side of the bed and reached for her,
"Not that ..something's outside," She whispered
"It's probably coyotes," Jonathan said muffled
Suddenly the wail got louder
"Are you sure it's not Emma.." Jonathan asked more alert
"From outside?" Jennifer suddenly panicked, "Oh my god!"
She quickly put on her nightgown and ran to the baby's room at the end of the hallway, throwing open the door to find her baby asleep, tiny fists clenched to her chest.
"Oh thank god.." She breathed a sigh of relief and kissed her tiny head
She walked back to the bedroom to find Jonathan asleep
"It wasn't Emma," She whispered getting under the covers
"It's probably nothing, Darling go back to sleep,"
The wailing continued for another few minutes until Jennifer's maternal instincts took over
"Jonathan, please can you go downstairs and check on whatever that noise is.."
"I can already see that neither of us is going to get any more sleep so I might as well," Jonathan got out of bed and put on his robe
"If it does turn out to be nothing, can you bring up some milk and cookies from the kitchen," Jennifer pulled up the blankets around her and snuggled into the pillows
"Sure, why not?" Jonathan rubbed his eyes and headed downstairs
The wailing seemed to be coming from the front porch, Jonathan's curiosity was becoming more and more peeked
He nervously put the gun from the front table drawer out and pulled on the door, but there was nothing outside, he started to walk back into the house but the wailing, which had stopped when he opened the door started up again
He went outside and walked down the pathway to just before the pond where the wailing was getting louder and louder
Jonathan stepped cautiously toward the pond and the cause of the wailing
To find a baby in basket
"What the hell?" Jonathan asked out loud, "Where did you come from?"
The child, obviously didn't answer him
Jonathan looked around but there was no one around, he picked up the basket noticing how light it was and how as soon as it was in his arms, the baby stopped crying
He walked softly back to the house and put the basket onto the Living Room couch
"Darling," He called up the stairs," Could you come down here?"
"What's the matter? Did you find out what the noise is?" Jennifer said not wanting to move from the bed
"Darling, I really think should come down here" Jonathan said staring at the baby
A few minutes later, Jennifer had rechecked on Emma and gotten her slippers on, she figured it was nothing and that Jonathan was of course overreacting when she came down the stairs to find Jonathan staring at an object on the couch
"Darling, what is it?"
"Just come here…"
She walked over to find a child asleep in a basket "What's that?"
"What do you think it is?"
"That's a baby!"
"Very good Darling .."
"What's a baby doing here?"
"I'd ask but it doesn't seem to be answering, "Jonathan couldn't take his eyes off the baby, who had a round face and very dark skin, almost mediterrrian looking, with very dark hair. it was also pink and looked to be about a week old
"Is it a boy or a girl?" Jennifer broke the silence
"Uh.. I don't know I'm almost afraid to look," Jonathan said cautiously
"Why? It's just a baby," Jennifer was surprised, he was so hands on with Emma but then again this baby was a total stranger
Just then to voice it's out protest at having been unattended for so long, the baby started wailing again
"Maybe we'd better pick it up before it wakes up Emma.." Jennifer said reaching for the baby
"Wait Darling, let's go into the kitchen and deal with it," Jonathan stopped her, figuring if the baby was booby trapped at least the blast wouldn't get to their own child
They each picked up a side of the basket and carried it to the kitchen table where Jennifer picked up the baby and laid it down,
"Darling, do we still have any of Emma's infant sized diapers?" Jennifer asked knowing that when they had first brought her home, she had gone through so many they had stocked up until the end of time
"Yeah, hold on," Jonathan went into the pantry and came back a few minutes later with the diapers and one of Emma's old sleepers that didn't fit her anymore, "We don't know how long this baby's been in that sleeper so I figured might as well change the whole outfit,"
"Good Idea, Are we ready?" Jennifer took a deep breath, it felt very odd to change another child that wasn't her own, almost like a betrayal to her own daughter
Jonathan shrugged as Jennifer laid the baby down on the table, in one quick motion she had gotten the diaper and it was revealed that the baby was a girl
"Well one mystery solved, let's move on to the one where we find out where this little girl came from," Jonathan watched Jennifer quickly clean up the baby and put her into the new sleeper
He went back to the basket and ran his fingers over it, looking for some indication when he found a note underneath the blanket, almost hidden by the naked eye
" A Clue Sherlock," Jennifer said holding the baby to her shoulder, the baby was content with her and seemed to not be puzzled at all with the situation, "What does it say?"
"This is my beautiful baby her name is Bailey , I find I can't take care of her anymore and Having seen Mrs. Hart with her baby, I know she is more than capable of taking care of my sweet girl, please don't try to find me. "Thank you" Jonathan finished reading the note and sat down on the kitchen chair
"What kind of person abandons their infant," Jennifer wasn't sure if she was outraged or sad for whoever this person was
"Probably some scared teenager," Jonathan said
"Is it signed?"
"Nope, Come on Darling, we'd better get dressed and get Emma up," Jonathan stood up
"Where are we going?" Jennifer asked
"To the police station,"
"Why? This baby was left for us," Jennifer said putting Bailey back into the basket
"Because if god forbid the mother comes to her senses, we don't want to be charged with kidnapping," Jonathan replied
"I don't think we should go to the police station, I think we'd better get this baby checked out we don't know what she's been through or if she's alright," Jennifer said studying the baby's face
"Your right before we jump overboard, we better get all our facts straight," Jonathan left the kitchen to get dressed
"Where did you come from, little girl and more important who left you here?" Jennifer asked the baby who was now sleeping silently
They packed up both babies in the car, with Jennifer holding Bailey because they only had one car seat, it was dangerous but ever since Emma had been born, Jonathan drove like a turtle because he was so afraid that the car seat wouldn't hold if they were ever in an accident and e of it, they were late for everything.
"Darling, what are we going to do with her?" Jennifer asked breaking the nearly 20 minute silence, she had noticed that once they gotten Emma into her car seat and Jennifer settled with Bailey in the , backseat , Jonathan hadn't said a word
"I don't know, Darling, We'll just have let the authorities figure it out," Jonathan asked his eyes focused on the road
"I don't want just anyone taking her," Jennifer was adamant, she remembered what it was like to be 16 and pregnant, and she could see why someone would leave their baby with a complete stranger, it didn't make it right but she understood
"Let's worry about that when the time comes," Jonathan wasn't committing to anything; his wife had barely gotten through her last experience with an unexpected baby.
Besides this child obviously belonged to someone and the sooner they figured it out, the faster they could return to their normal lives.
They continued onto the hospital in silence, each wondering what this baby arrival meant
When they arrived at the hospital, Jonathan took Emma while Jennifer continued holding Bailey, going through the emergency room which was very quiet for weeknight, they found a bored looking nurse
"Hello, I was wondering if I could speak to someone," Jennifer asked quietly
"Is your baby sick?" The nurse asked
"No, Well, I don't know," Jennifer was flustered, she couldn't very well say yes when she had only been is around this baby for a half hour.
"Alright, take a seat and a doctor will be out to see you in a moment," the nurse said handing Jennifer a clipboard
"What are we going to say the doctors?" Jennifer asked once they were sitting down
"We'll just explain the situation,"
Just then Emma started crying which set off Bailey
"Oh Darling, I have to feed Emma, can you take her?" Jennifer handed Jonathan the other baby and picked up Emma and began nursing.
"I think Bailey will probably need to be fed as well, let me see if I can find some formula" Jonathan put Bailey into Emma's carrier and walked over to the nurse again
"Hi I was wondering if you could help me," Jonathan flashed his thousand watt smile, "We left the baby formula at home and well, my other daughter needs to be bottle fed.. Do you have any bottles? "
The nurse suddenly perked up, "Sure, just give me a moment," and went to behind the doors to where the rooms were
"Shameless flirt," Jennifer laughed
"Oh like you never flashed those brown eyes to get attention," Jonathan laughed and sat back down
"True," She said as Emma finished and was passed to her Daddy to be burped
"Mr. Hart, I found some formula and a bottle," the nurse returned 20 minutes handing Jennifer a bottle
"Thank you," Jonathan and Jennifer said at the same time
Jennifer fed Bailey, who seemed to be starving, it must have been hours since she had eaten and after she was burped and put back into the carrier, Emma was content on her Daddy's lap and chewing madly on a pacifier
After another hour and diaper changes for both girls, they were called into the exam room where they were met with an older doctor
"Hello, my name is Dr. Thomas.. " The man said, his hair was white and he had a kind face,
Introductions were made all around and an explanation of Bailey's discovery was told, the doctor paled when being told but he listened intently and examined the baby
"She seems to be in perfect health regardless, you have to two options here," the doctor paused to look in Bailey's ears, "You can leave her here, the safe haven law or you can take her home and think about your options, I won't call the police without your say so."
"Doctor, how can you be so sure she'll be alright with us," Jonathan had to ask, a total stranger just handing them an infant to take care of without pause or even wonder who they were.
"Mr. Hart, I see how you are with your biological child, I think this child could benefit from being in your home," The doctor smiled.
"In that case," Jennifer decided without hesitation," We'll take her back to Willow Pond with us,"