Toda raba. Muchas gracias. Merci bien. Muito obrigado. Thank you all very, very much. xoxoxo
Warning: falling fluff.
. . . .
To wild homes we go.
To wild homes we return.
To wild homes we go.
-New Pornographers, "To Wild Homes."
. . . .
It was the quiet that woke him. There were no pre-rush-hour cars, no slamming front doors, no thump and hum of the furnace. The bedside clock said oh-five-fifty. If he sneaked out now, he could get in an hour of fishing before the sunrise pulled Sara out bed.
Gibbs eased up, careful not to squeak the mattress. Sara slept open-mouthed on her side, blankets twisted, rabbit tucked under her arm. The feeding pump still had over an hour on the cycle.
He recalled his sniper training and dressed silently, steadily, grabbed his tackle box, swished the door open. There was sand on the mat. A sea breeze blew in. The surf lapped fifty yards from where he stood. He could probably fish right from the tiny cottage porch.
"Thought I could raise a few fish before you woke up."
She snuggled down in the blankets. "I'm awake now."
She closed her eyes. "Are you still going to get fish?"
He left everything on the porch and the door open. The sea breeze was cool and fresh. "They'll be there later."
He made a pot of coffee. The newspaper deliveryman pulled up in his golf cart and delivered The Island Sun—a single-sheet fishing and shelling report. Tarpon running in Pine Island Sound! the headline declared. The Silver King has returned!
He poured his first cup. "Yeah?"
"What would happen if you didn't get me?"
The cottage had old-style Jalousie windows. He cranked open the one over the bed. Sara watched him, covers tucked under her chin. "What d'ya mean?"
"If you didn't come and get me—where would I go?"
He would always have a hard time with that day. "You were in pretty rough shape, Sar."
She was quiet for a long time. The sky turned pink, then orange. "Would I be dead?"
She'd see right through it if he lied. "ER doc said you might not have made it."
She closed her eyes. "Would you be sad?"
"Are you glad I came to you?"
"Every damn day."
She clucked. "Don't swear."
"It's true, babe."
More quiet. She was lulled by the sound of the surf. He drank his coffee and watched a few egrets pick their way across the sand. Bait-thieves.
"I'm glad you adopted me, Daddy."
Damn, kid. "Me, too."
She beckoned with one thin finger. The extra calories were a boost, but she hadn't gained much. "Can you come here?" He sat on the edge of the bed. She linked her arm with his. She had a bit of a tan, and her skin fairly glowed in the early sun. "I love you forever," she announced.
He took her hand. "Me, too."
Sara looked at the pump. "Am I done yet?"
She shrugged. "It's not so bad having two bellybuttons."
The g-tube button looked like the valve on an inflatable beach ball and was small enough to hide under her ruffly bathing suit. Sara hardly complained about it—not even when he'd made her come off the beach for an afternoon feed. "Nope. Wanna go to Sylvie's?" when it beeped and turned off. He flushed the tube and unhooked her.
"Yes!" she hissed, pumping her fist in the air. "Let me get dressed."
She did everything herself while he drained his second cup of coffee—sundress, sunblock, socks, AFOs, and sneakers. Purple everything.
But clothes were where the independence ended; her wheelchair wasn't cut out for rough terrain. Gibbs rinsed his mug while she climbed into the jogging stroller and snapped the harness. "Go fast!" she ordered.
"Not in this heat."
"Then just quick, maybe?"
He walked a steady pace, crossed the main drag to the bay side of the island. Turtles lazed on the diner's dock. A pelican swooped by. It smelled like low tide when the breeze died.
Sara didn't care; she hopped right out of the stroller and into a booth with a water view. His coffee and her chocolate milk waited on the table. Sylvie waved. "The same as yesterday, Princess?"
She smiled at Gibbs. "You too?"
The coffee was Marine-Corps strong. "Yep, thanks."
Sara unrolled her napkin and folded it in her lap. She arranged her silverware, took a fresh crayon out of the box, and drew a single blue line on her paper placemat. "I never went to the beach until yesterday."
Yesterday. Sequencing was good. "Did you like it?"
"Yes, except for the sand in my bathing suit. I used to live in a house by where the boats go in and out."
Alexandria? Baltimore? Wilmington? "Were they nice to you?"
She shrugged and drew a fish below her blue line. "I don't know."
"You can tell me, Sar."
She looked up. Sea-glass eyes. "I can't remember and I don't want to." Their food arrived—cinnamon toast for her, bacon and eggs for him. She put her drawing aside. "Sometimes I remember," she admitted. "But I don't like it. It makes me feel confused."
"It makes me feel mad, too."
Well no shit, kiddo. "Yep."
"Do you get mad when I get mad?"
She was a pro at setting traps like this. "I get mad at the people who hurt you. I get mad at your bad feelings—not at you."
Sara looked relieved and a little smug. "That's because we are family and family is no-matter-what. That's what Brave says."
Gibbs almost snorted; a fifteen-dollar DVD probably saved him thousands in therapy. "That's the truth, kiddo."
"Truth," she echoed. She made a heart out of her toast crusts. "That means I love you."
Rip my heart out. "Back atcha. Ready?"
Sylvie took their dishes. He dropped a few bills on the table and scooped Sara up, blew a raspberry on her neck. She giggled. "Daddy!"
He put her in the stroller and nudged her hands away when she tried to buckle herself. "Lemme, Sar."
They made their way back across the tip of the island, crunched down the shell road. She pointed when the beach came into view. The water was clear aquamarine, the sand sugar-white. "Daddy, let's be vild."
Vild. Who did he have to thank for that one—Ziva or Ayelet? "How vild we talkin', Sar?"
She wrung her hands, eyes alight. "Let's go jump in the ocean with our clothes on!"
The hell did he have to lose? "Ok."
Gibbs kicked off his deck shoes. Sara peeled off her sneakers and AFOs. He picked her up, and together they ran down the beach and into the waves. Water came over their heads.
Sara surfaced first, giggling. "This is the best, Dad!" She took his face in her salty hands, turned it to look at her. Her eyes were as deep turquoise as the sea around them. "You are the best, Dad."
He twirled her at arm's length and pulled her into a hug. Their wet clothes were heavy. "Back atcha, sweet pea. Back atcha."
. . . .
Tony woke slowly, palatial room coming slowly into focus—the soft white sheets first, then the window, the vineyards, then Mount Hermonit beyond. The sun was bright and hot, Ziva's hand warm on his side. She nipped his ear. "Good morning."
He rolled, groggy, and she straddled his legs, smiling wickedly. "Your pa-"
She clamped her hand over his stupid, sleepy mouth and left it there. "I said sh."
He grazed her palm with his teeth. She brought him to a climax so fast his eardrums bulged and collapsed next to him, panting. Her mouth were red. "Thank you."
"Welcome, Sweet Cheeks. What was that all about?"
Her gaze was sharp, but a little...something. Sad? Nervous? "I had to...blow off some steam, as you might say."
He couldn't bring himself to tease her, and cupped her cheek instead. "Doin' ok?"
She shrugged and drew the sheet up over both of them. It was almost too warm for covers. "I visited once after Ari died," she said quietly. "And I never thought I would come back."
"That's a non-answer."
She looked fondly at him. "Yes, I am fine. Perhaps a little...culture-shocked, but I will adjust."
"This is your homeland, Zi."
She shrugged again. "But there are things that I have embraced about American life."
Tony rested his hand on her belly. Little Almond kicked. Easy, he chided. "Like what?"
She chuckled. "Eating dinner before ten o'clock in the evening. Eating non-kosher food. Driving at a relatively safe speed. Civil police armed with only a pistol."
He grimaced. They'd seen no fewer than fifty AK47s between the airport and the Golan, most carried by soldiers that hardly looked old enough to drive. "You were one of those kids once."
"And I was so proud."
He brushed a curl away from her face. "And now?"
"And now I am a fat American who sleeps until nine a.m. and has a quickie before getting out of bed. I eat meat every night. And I drive a mile to the market rather than walk."
"It's a hundred degrees in the shade," he groused, rubbing his grizzled face. "Who the hell's walking anywhere?"
"I used to walk with Ayelet to the market in Katzrin. That is a kilometer each way. We would go in the morning, before it got hot. Sometimes I would ride in the basket."
Tony pictured pulling his own dark-haired daughter in a grandma-grocery cart. He'd tug her down to the Red Apple Market and buy her candies. "You were cute."
"Yes, I was."
Ziva sat up, not bothering to pull the sheet over her. She had a beautiful body and knew it. "I am going to have some tea with Doda. Get up when you are ready." She kissed him, slid into a simple cotton shift, and left.
Tony dozed for a while, but it was too warm to lie-in for too long. He showered, shaved, and put on the light cotton shirt and trousers Ziva bought for him before shuffling down the hall to Romi and Ayelet's living quarters. She and Ziva sat in the living area, sipping peppermint tea from small glass cups.
"Boker tov, dear Tony," Ayelet fussed. "Let me make you some coffee."
She was up and in the kitchen before he could formulate a response. Ziva patted the cushion on her other side. "Let her, please."
He eased down, feeling a little sore even though they'd flown first-class. "I didn't come here to be waited on."
"Let her," she said again, a little sharply.
He dropped his head to her shoulder. She'd showered and smelled sugar-sweet. "Mmm."
A cup of coffee entered his line of sight. "Here you are, Romeo."
He jumped and took it without sloshing. "Thanks," he fumbled, red in the face. "I was just...making sure her eczema cleared up."
Ayelet guffawed. "You are so transparent. But it is fine—I am going to help Naïma with the seder meal. Why don't you take Tony on a tour, Zivaleh?"
There was a flash of uncertainty in her eyes. "Ok," she agreed, hesitating. "After you finish your coffee."
"He is an American federal agent—I am sure he can walk and drink. Shoo—off the sofa."
Ziva shot him a glance and levered herself up. It took a minute to find her center of gravity. He held out a hand, but she shook her head. "I am fine. She wants one of the maids to clean this room before the holiday starts." They push through the French doors to a wide veranda tiled in terra-cotta. She stepped down to the smooth walkway that leads to the barn and bottling rooms. "Come, Tony."
"Show me your favorite places."
She turned and pulled him back inside, through the living room, and into a bedroom. The bedroom—this was Romi and Ayelet's. He felt like a creep. "Cozy."
She pushed aside a curtain. There was a tiny trundle bed in an alcove. "This was mine. I slept many good nights here."
The only good nights of your life, he thought angrily. "Until you were how old?"
She smoothed the quilt. "Until I was too tall to fit. I did not want to sleep alone."
"You only showed up here after your dad beat the piss out of you."
She nodded. "He came after me with a police baton once and I remember thinking, this will not be so bad, because I will go to Katzrin after. And I was right."
Tony's tongue shriveled. "Did he ever not bring you here after...?"
"Yes, many times. I wrote a letter to Doda Ayla once, asking her to come and live here, and he found it. I did not return for several months. But one day he got very angry at me because I yelled at Tali and he drove me as far as Zikhron Ya'akov before forcing me out of the car. He said if I wanted to go to Doda, then I had to figure out how to get there myself."
Rage. Murderous, murderous rage. "How the hell old were you?"
She was still smoothing the quilt in long strokes. "I cannot remember. No older than eight."
"And what did you do?"
She looked up at him. "Panhandled for the money to make the call from a payphone. I had their address and phone number memorized. Had begging not worked then I would have pickpocketed someone. After that, I was always careful to carry a few shekels in my pocket." She gave a wry smile. "He taught me well."
He's going to puke coffee on the Persian rug. "He was a rotten fuck."
She tisked at his language. "He was my father and I loved him."
Ziva tugged him out and closed the heavy door. "I never thought of him as anything other than a fun uncle." She opened another door. There was a picture window and an iron-framed bed. There were board games on a shelf and stuffed animals in a child-sized rocking chair. "This was mine."
He felt like a giant in the tiny room. "I never thought of you as a kid, Zi."
She swayed, thinking. "Well I was."
There were clothes folded on the dresser. He held up a dress—a pink dress. It was Sara-sized. "You were this little?"
She whacked his arm. "I have not been pregnant forever, though it is beginning to feel that way."
He draped it over her belly. "Think Little Almond can wear this?"
"I wore that to kindergarten."
"You were tiny."
She snatched it away. "I was average."
"No you weren't!" Ayelet called from the hallway. She passed with a stack of folded laundry in her arms.
Tony smirked. "Someone agrees with me."
Ziva raised one warning eyebrow. "Do not get used to it."
Ayelet poked her head in. "You were a little below-average until you were ten. Then you sprouted. All your pants were too short. Romi and I sent you back with a suitcase full of new clothes." She wagged a finger. "And I told that Eli that you were to wear them or I would break his damned arm."
She disappeared like a genie in a puff of smoke. Tony stared after her, head heavy. It was all so much. "Shit," he mused.
Ziva took his hand again. "I am so sorry, Tony. It is not fair to force you to bear witness like this."
He sat on the bed, knees coming up nearly to his chin. "This was your life."
She nodded, studying her fingernails.
He leaned back on his hands. "How did you make it?"
"I do not know," she said honestly. "But I believe I owe at least part of it to Dod and Doda." She winced and put a hand on her hip. "We should keep walking."
He got up. "Sciatic again?"
She smiled. "It was a very long flight. Come—let's go outside. Doda has a beautiful garden."
The inn was labyrinthine, with long terra-cotta hallways and dark doors. The walls were clean white, though, and everything smelled like lavender and clean laundry. She took him into the bright reception area, where a giant cedar desk dominated the space. She ran her free hand over it. "I love this thing. It's ridiculous, but I do." She pointed behind it. "I used to steal cookies and eat them under there."
Ayelet's voice boomed from nowhere. Tony ducked, startled. "Why you were stealing cookies is beyond me," she thundered. "You could have just asked."
Ziva reached over the high ledge and pressed a button on an intercom. "The thrill of it. And stop stalking us—you sound like a crazy old woman."
"Your crazy old woman, Zivi. Take a bottle of water if you're going out."
There was a mini-fridge built into the monster desk. Ziva pulled out two bottles of water and handed one to him. She rolled her eyes. "Here."
He gave her a gentle chuck under the chin. "She wants to take care of you."
"I owe her too much already. Let's go."
Outside was bright and burning and airless. Tony gasped. "Hot damn. Literally."
She stepped off the wide porch into the sun and lowered her sunglasses. He hadn't even noticed them perched atop her wet curls. "You will get used to it."
"The hell I will," he complained, and took a long pull from the water bottle. "Where's this garden? All I see is gravel."
She crunched over a path cut in the stones. "This way."
He fell into step beside her. They traveled over a low ridge to a field of lavender that grew in the shadow of Mount Harmonit. It smelled heavenly. He took a deep breath. "You weren't kidding."
"Of course not. Be careful of the pipes—this is irrigated. And the bees." She walked slowly down a row. "This is my other favorite place." She brushed her hand over the tall blooming stalks.
He tiptoed behind her. "You said there were bees. Don't do that."
"I am not allergic."
She picked one and tickled his throat with it. Her face was smooth and relaxed. "Doda puts sachets in all the dressers. I would like to bring some home."
He put his hand on her hip. "You are finally peaceful."
She smiled and linked their hands. "I...yes. I love this place. I needed to be here."
"We'll bring Little Almond when she's old enough."
Her eyes were golden and dancing in the high sun. "Yes, we will. She will love it."
It got hotter and hotter. Tony held back his complaints, content to walk the rows hand-in-hand with her until she drew the back of her wrist over her forehead. "Too hot," he said quietly. "I think you're done, Sweet Cheeks."
She gave him a tiny smile and pointed at a white barn in the distance. "Dod Romi is there."
Inside was cool and dim and stacked with barrels and barrels of wine. Floor to ceiling, wall-to wall-wine. It smelled boozy inside, but clean. A fly buzzed near the open door. Ziva swatted it down. "Dod Romi?"
A man in a dark suit pointed at the back of the building. Ziva nodded and turned down the first aisle.
"Mashgiach. He is here to ensure the wine is kosher."
"Why's he dressed like a penguin?"
He nodded like that was the answer he wanted. "Sounds good to me."
There was an office at the back of the building, with an ancient metal desk and papers everywhere. Romi sat behind it, talking on a telephone. He slammed down the receiver as soon as he saw them and stood up so fast his chair toppled over. He held his arms out. "My children are here! What a beautiful day! Would you like some wine, Tony?"
Wine at noon? Eh, he wasn't driving. "Sure."
He poured a tiny stemless cup for each of them and some cold grape juice for Ziva. "Here. To family. L'chaim."
The wine was a sweet, easy red with no afterburn. He downed it in one swallow. "Smooth. I could drink that all day."
Ziva snorted. "And be in bed by four o'clock."
Romi grinned. "Another apikoros like me." He swept Ziva into an embrace. "I am happy to see you, my dear. I know the holiday is coming, so we should do this now. Do you mind terribly?"
Do what? Tony put his arm around her shoulders. "I don't do cryptic stuff."
Ziva turned her face toward him. "Take care of my father's estate. Business like this should not be conducted during Passover."
"You don't mind?" Romi asked, brown eyes pleading.
"No," she said, quietly but firmly. "I do not."
He pulled a fat file from a drawer, righted his chair, and motioned for her to sit. "Gershon flagged every place you should sign. I will give you some privacy."
She caught his arm. "Please stay."
He backed against the wall behind the desk. Tony slid toward the exit, feeling like an intruder. "Should I—"
"Absolutely not," she said, paging through financial forms. "Your name will be on the accounts, too."
Accounts. Plural. Romi pulled another chair behind the desk. Tony sat in it, feeling an odd, morbid curiosity. He gaped at the numbers on the first form. "That's—" he faltered. "That's a lot of cash."
She didn't look up. "I will need it to pay my tuition."
"You could pay several tuitions."
She signed her name with a flourish. "What if I decide to pursue a Master's degree? I will need to pay for that, too, unless I get funded by the university."
He did some quick math. "Still fifty grand left over."
She shrugged. "We will have a child, Tony, and we own nothing for her yet."
He didn't tell her about the boxes and boxes of diapers under his desk at work. Or about the hooded towels and crib sheets under McGee's. Or the bodysuits and undershirts in one of Abby's filing cabinets. Or the receiving blankets on the top shelf of Sara's closet.
Romi caught his eye and winked. "I am sure you will get plenty of gifts for her, Ziv'keh."
"That is our responsibility," she retorted absently, but scowled and held up a long letter on winery letterhead. "This gives me the rights to half."
Romi snapped his meaty fingers as though disappointed, but smiled merrily. "I was hoping you'd sign without reading so closely."
She shoved it at him. "No! You have built this business from nothing. I cannot just take half of it. That is completely unfair."
He didn't back down. "You are my daughter, Ziva. You are my responsibility."
She wavered. Tony stilled, willing her not to pick a fight. "I am perfectly capable of earning a living."
"I know that. You know that. Tony knows that. But I want to know that you are safe and sound, at least financially. And I'd like to keep the winery in the family, should something happen to me. Please sign it."
Her eyes widened. She put one hand over her belly. "You are not ill?"
"I am as healthy as an old hedonist can get. Ziva, please."
She signed slowly and looked at Tony. "I'd like to keep my name once we are married."
He released the breath he'd been holding. "Whatever you want, Zi."
"But she will have your name."
He didn't want to go there. Not now. "Ok. Whatever you want. I mean that."
"She is yours, too."
"She is, but I don't care what last name she has—I know she's mine. She knows I'm her dad."
Ziva dashed her name across the line and jogged the papers into two stacks—one for the lawyer, one for her-them. She pushed the last two pages at Tony. "This gives you access as my husband."
He didn't care enough to read it; it wasn't his money and he had no designs on spending it. "You sure?"
He scrawled Anthony D. DiNozzo, Jr. by the X and stood, wiping his palms on his rumpled chinos. "So that's it?"
Romi made a copy of a long chart and handed it to him. "These are the sums. You'll receive account balances every month."
Tony almost swooned; there were six-figure totals at the bottom of each column. The rotten bastard had been filthy rich. "Jesus," he whispered.
Ziva elbowed him. "Sha. That is inappropriate."
"Oy vey?" he offered instead.
Romi laughed. "You are a quick study, Tony." He checked his fat gold watch. "There are still several hours before the seder. Why don't the two of you have an afternoon t'numah? I know the flight is difficult, and tonight will be a late night." He patted Ziva's cheek. "I know you are tired. You are never this quiet."
She got up, sighing. "I am not used to carrying so much. My army pack was not this heavy."
Romi gave Tony another wink. He bit his tongue; he wanted to live. "C'mon, Sweet Cheeks—siesta time."
Romi kissed Ziva's cheek, shook Tony's hand. "I have a few calls to make before sundown, but I can't wait to share the seder with you. Sleep well, my Zivaleh."
The ambled back up the path to the inn, where it smelled like fire and roasting meat. His stomach grumbled. "Think she's making minute steaks?"
Ziva yawned. "Not for the seder. We will probably eat brisket and chicken."
Brisket and chicken? "How many people are coming?"
She shrugged and pushed open their suite. "Us, Romi and Ayelet, Shira and her husband. Six."
She curled on the bed. He sat and rubbed her belly. Little Almond kicked him in return. That's right, you little fighter. "Yes. She and her husband Tzvi are coming. Leah said she is 'high-maintenance,' but I know her to be smart and very funny."
"I bet she's a trip," he replied. Was anyone in this family not a handful?
She hummed. "What will we call our daughter, Tony?"
She clucked, eyes closed. "Fine. Then I shall call her Beau."
He rubbed slow, even circles on her back. "Whatever you want," he whispered, and lay down beside her, but jolted back up as soon as his eyes closed. He itched all over. The shades didn't block enough bright sunlight. And the food smelled entirely too good.
Tony watched, waited, but she was out. He stepped back into his loafers followed the smells to the kitchen. Ayelet worked alongside a dark-skinned woman with her hair in a tall white kerchief. Boxes of potato starch and matzo meal stood open on the enormous island. A cake cooled on the windowsill. The top was decorated with orange rind.
"Shalom, my dear," Ayelet welcomed. "I figured you would find me. Here." She pushed a plate of deviled eggs and pickles in front of him.
He ate every one. The cook popped the tab on a can of cream soda and handed it to him with a smile. He took it with both of his. "Toda."
She laughed raucously and chattered to Ayelet, who grinned and nodded. "She says you are brilliant and strong."
He felt like blushing. "I'm not the one with the Ivy League acceptance letters."
"I am so proud of Ziv'keh, but intelligence is not measured in test scores or letter grades or even college acceptance letters. Your humanity makes you so brilliant, Tony. You are so sharp and intuitive. You read my Zivi like a book."
He shrugged. The eggs were creamy and tart magnificent. "We've known each other for a long time."
She dredged chicken cutlets in seasoned matzo meal. "But she is different now."
Oh hell yeah she is. "It's weird but...it's easier now. She's more open."
"Yeah, a little. But she's happier."
"The meds are working."
"It's not just the chemicals," he defended, irritated. "She's genuinely happy. She has a family who loves and values her. That's is all she ever wanted."
Ayelet slowed her chicken prep. "Is it?"
It wasn't fair to be pissed at her. "Yeah."
The cook lowered the breaded chicken cutlets into hot oil. Tony's mouth watered. Ayelet didn't move. She gripped the counter with oily hands. "She called me ima on the telephone last week. It was purely an accident, but it meant a lot to me."
He nodded. The cook lifted one of the cutlets out of the oil, put it on a paper plate, and put it in front of him. "Toda," he said again. And to Ayelet: "What's her name?"
"Naïma. She likes you."
He grinned and took a bite. The chicken was tender and a little spicy. Little Almond would like that. "Toda, Naïma."
She grinned a perfect white-toothed grin and said, "You are welcome," in lilting English.
Ayelet laughed. She was so cheerful. "She is not some third-world indentured servant, Tony; she was educated in France and England. She's part-owner and head chef."
"Sorry," he mumbled, but didn't stop eating. The chicken was delicious.
"It is ok," Naïma laughed. "I love that you love my cooking. Help yourself to anything you want."
Anything. "You're a menace," he teased. "I'm going to gain ten pounds in ten days."
She laughed. Ayelet laughed. "You will run it all off with a new baby. Romi and I both lost ten pounds before Ziva was a month old."
He'd forgotten about that. "Never was a sleeper, huh?"
"Colic," she sighed. "But thinking back on it, I'm pretty sure she was missing her mother. Bonding begins in utero."
The last bite of chicken turned to sawdust on his tongue. He got up and shuffled backward out of the kitchen, hands up. "I'll be back," he said, mouth full. "I'll just...I'll be right back."
He sprinted to the bedroom, busted through the door like SWAT, and crawled onto the bed. Ziva woke with a sharp inhale and frowned at him. "I was asleep."
He cupped her belly with both hands. "Hey," he said, mouth against her cotton dress. "Hey in there. I am your dad and I love the hell out of you. Keep that in mind when you come out, ok? Even if you have colic."
Ziva winced. "You woke her, too, and now she's grouchy."
He kissed her belly and her mouth. "I love you and we're a family."
She kissed back and lay her head down. Her eyes were dark but joyful, her hands splayed across her middle. "Yes, Tony," she said simply. "We are."