Baby Protection Plan
The day wasn't starting out very well for Fiona. Her alarm didn't go off, she stubbed her toe on a corner rushing to the bathroom to get ready, and she broke the handle off her hairbrush. Good thing she had a backup. The handle on her favorite coffee cup broke after filling it with coffee and putting it up to her lips, sending it crashing down to the marble countertop to completely shatter and spray a fountain of hot brew all over her white top and the kitchen. On top of it all, she was PMS'ing. God help anyone who crosses me today!
After a quick change and a soak of her shirt in detergent in the bathroom sink, and a good wiping down of the kitchen, she was even later getting out the door, but she was in a slightly better mood because she avoided any more disasters. Her phone rang.
"Hello, Michael. I'm on my way. I just had a few...mishaps...while I was getting ready."
"Okay. Sam and I are here, but our client hasn't shown yet, so I guess just get here as soon as you can. But there's no need to break any traffic laws. Got it?"
"Oh Michael, you're no fun!" She teased as she picked up her keys and purse from the dining room table and headed for the door. "I'm leaving now, I'll see you in..." She stepped outside and nearly stumbled over a baby carrier sitting right in front of her door. Tires squealed, and she saw an older vehicle's back end disappear down the alley.
"Fi. Is everything okay?" Over the phone line, he heard the noise. Then he heard crying, a high pitched wailing. "Fi! Is everything okay?"
Inside, her emotions were a jumble, but she coolly said, "Michael, someone just left a baby on my doorstep."
"Fi, just stay there with the kid. We'll be over after this meeting."
"It's probably just as well. He...or she...won't stop crying! I'll talk to you later." She closed the connection, put away her phone, and looked around for anyone who may have left the child. She didn't see anyone. With a heavy sigh, and not sure what else to do, she picked up the carrier. Whoever did this, the least they could have done was leave some diapers, bottles, and such! Before going inside she glanced down in hopes of finding a diaper bag full of supplies, but there was nothing other than the baby and the carrier. She shook her head. The people who did this don't deserve this wee little one! As God is my witness, when I find them, they're going to wish they'd never gotten pregnant to begin with!
Fiona always wished for a child of her own, and it broke her heart that someone could be so blessed and just throw a helpless little child away so brazenly. She and Michael had been on again, off again for so many years. They were currently on again, and she'd been hoping that some day he would propose, they'd get married, and have kids. The time to do it was now. But he dug in his heels and never made any overtures. She didn't know how long she would have custody of the baby, but maybe it would be long enough for her to show Michael what a good mother she would make. She looked down at the face scrunched up and wet with tears and smiled reassuringly.
"I've got my work cut out for me, don't I? Don't you worry, little one, you're in good hands." Fiona set the carrier on the table and figured out how to unclip the seatbelt. Then she reached in, cradled her hands under the baby's arms, and picked her up. She'd been covered by a blanket, and once it was removed, Fiona saw she wore a cute pink ensemble with shorts and a t-shirt that said 'Mommy Loves Me'. Fiona snorted. "If she did, she certainly wouldn't have laid you at my door. She would have kept you."
The baby continued to cry. She tried rocking and bouncing her. Then her shorts were soaked through, and the wetness transferred to Fiona's shirt. She glanced down, then into the little girl's blue eyes. "Oh, you're a naughty one! Now what are we going to do?" Her eyes widened. "I have an idea." She smiled at her and carried the baby into the bathroom.
Working quickly, Fiona removed the old diaper that was completely soaked. With a warm washcloth, she cleaned her up, powdered her with some talc she happened to have in her closet, and used a small towel doubled up and folded around her to create a new diaper. She didn't have any safety pins, so she improvised with a couple of cheap brooches from her jewelry box. Once the makeshift diaper was affixed, she said, "Look at you, sweetie! You'll be the best dressed lass on the block!" She couldn't help but laugh at her handiwork. "Now, how to make you waterproof?" She bit her bottom lip as she looked around. "Aha! I've got it!"
Fiona didn't realize how much time she spent outfitting the baby with a new diaper. At least she stopped crying, and she seemed to be quite content to snuggle with Fiona on the couch. Michael and Sam knocked on her door, and with the baby in her arms, Fiona hurried to unlock it and let them inside.
Michael entered, his eyes on the sandy blonde haired baby girl clinging to Fiona's shirt. "Someone really did leave a baby on your doorstep."
She looked at him as if he were crazy. "Well of course, Michael! Did you think I'd make up something like that?"
"Hey, she's cute," Sam said as he reached around Michael and tickled her under the chin. The baby giggled and ducked her head into Fiona's shoulder. Then she squealed happily, turned and looked at him, and she repeated the action when he did it again. Sam laughed with her. "She's a little heartbreaker with those big eyes and that adorable smile."
"I could have used you as a distraction earlier," Fiona said to Sam as she repositioned the baby on her hip. "She was wet and crying, and whoever left her abandoned her with nothing."
It was then that the two men looked down at the olive green towel covering the baby's bottom. "Fi, what is that?"
Sam elbowed him. "It's a jury-rigged diaper, Mike."
"I see that, but...plastic wrap and duct tape? What's that for?"
"I didn't want her peeing through the towel on me. She did that once already with the diaper!"
Sam gave her a thumbs up. "I think it's pretty clever. Good job, Fi."
"Thank you, Sam! At least someone appreciates my ingenuity, besides the baby!"
"Well, what are we going to do about this," Michael asked no one in particular. "Fi, was there anything in the carrier that might indicate who she belongs to?"
"No, there was nothing but the baby." She moved to the dining room with them and showed them the carrier.
Michael and Sam pored over it, finding nothing under the fabric cover or on the carrier itself. "Well, I guess we better call Social Services to pick her up. Mike?"
"Huh? Yeah, that's probably the best thing to do." He answered as his eyes fixated on Fiona and the baby. The child seemed at ease with her, babbling and pressing her hand to Fiona's lips as she acted silly to entertain the baby. It was cute, and it gave him a glimpse of something he could have if only...
Sam studied his friend and the distracted look on his face. "I tried getting through to them but I'm on hold. We should probably try later."
"Yeah, that's a good idea. Keep trying, Sam."
"And in the meantime, what do we do with this kid?" Sam gestured toward the little girl.
"She can stay here with me," Fiona answered passionately. "But we need to get her the basics, at the very least." She picked up her purse and gestured at the car seat with her chin. "Michael, could you please get that for me?"
"Uh, Fi, I may not know a lot about babies, but that car seat isn't going to work in your car," Michael warned her and she turned to him.
"Why not?" Between the emotions she held for this unfortunate child and dealing with the PMS, she didn't mean to snap at him, but she did.
Sam replied, helping out his friend. "It's missing the base. You can't just belt the kid into the car without it."
"He's right, Fi. Just stay here with the baby, and we'll go shopping for what she needs." He had no clue what to buy, and when he looked at Sam, Michael knew he was at a loss as well. But somehow, they would do this. They'd had far more complex missions before. How hard could it be, really?