Author's Notes: SYuuri, Mollylyn, Tirsh and I agreed to do a Christmas fanfic story exchange this year. We got a neutral party to assign us each a person to write for and we submitted our "wish list" of story items for our writer to choose from. Overachiever me liked something from everyone's list so I went overboard and did a story for each person. Yes, I'm that person. So, Mollylyn, this story is for you as a bonus. I hope you like it.

This takes place in what could be the timeline of the show, just before Christmas while Jules is pregnant.

Disclaimer: The show Flashpoint and its characters were created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern and belong to them and its respective networks. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.

The Gift

The rain that had steadily fallen all day long had changed to ice once the sun had set. Added to the freezing rain that was pelting the ground and coating power lines and tree limbs, an almost blinding snow was adding insult to injury. It was the worst that winter had thrown at the city all season and was proving to be more than an already overloaded power grid could handle. Starting just after midnight, almost one by one, street after street had gone dark as lines snapped under the weight of the ice building up on them. Now that the hands of battery powered clocks were creeping towards two am, most of Toronto was bathed in darkness.

Jules Braddock stood at an upstairs window staring out at the snow that was swirling past the glass. Though the street lights had gone dark with the power outage, Jules's eyes had adjusted to the lack of light so that she could see the storm in all its glory. Not that she was really seeing any of it as her thoughts kept her eyes from focusing on anything that was presently taking place. She was shivering but the truth be told it wasn't only because the power outage had stopped the heat from warming the house. She was too lost in memories to be aware of anything going on in the present.

A strong familiar arm encircled her swollen, life-filled stomach while another hand went immediately to the spot on her back that had decided to become an almost permanent cramp in the last couple of months. She hissed as his expert fingers dug into her muscles working to try to alleviate the discomfort. A skill only he seemed to know. His lips brushed against her slender neck in a feather light kiss before moving up to her ear.

"You okay?" Sam Braddock's words broke the silence, his breath warm and ticklish in her ear. He'd woken up to a too silent house to find he was alone in their king sized bed. He'd only been partially concerned as he slipped out of bed and donned a thick sweatshirt in order to look for his wife. His first stop had been the nursery, knowing she liked to slip into the room at any given opportunity just to look around and perhaps dream about the day they were able to bring their son or daughter home to this very room. But something seemed different about her this time; something that set off tiny warning bells in his head.

Normally, and especially in these later months of her pregnancy, being in her husband's arms would almost instantly release whatever tension had gathered in her muscles. But not tonight. She sighed and her lip quivered slightly with unreleased tears. "I just didn't expect it to hurt this much."

The warning bells suddenly became full out claxons, Sam carefully turned her in his arms so he could look into her dark eyes. His hands lovingly cupped the sides of her face. "Didn't expect what to hurt so much? Jules, are you having contractions? Are you in labor? Sweetheart, why didn't you wake me?"

She shook her head. "No, it's not the baby. Not that way."

Sam nodded, relieved but also a little disappointed. Jules's due date was still at least a week away and as the time came closer and closer, Sam's fears about being ready to be a father warred with his excitement about holding his child for the first time. Despite some concerns in the first months of her pregnancy, Jules had been a picture of calm, especially the closer it came to her giving birth. To see her on the verge of falling apart was almost too much for him to bear.

He led her over to the extra large glider rocker that had been an early baby present from her brothers. The blue cloth covering was probably their way of saying they hoped the baby was a boy but it fit with the theme of the rest of the nursery and Jules was adamant about no pink even if it was a girl, so they had decided it was perfect. He settled into the comfortable seat and pulled Jules into his lap, wrapping his arms around her protectively.

Jules's head sought out the spot against his chest where she could hear his heart beating beneath her ear. Lately she'd been having trouble falling asleep because position she'd been forced to assume in bed due to the baby was different from how she normally slept. Though Sam had offered to switch sides so she could lie on her doctor recommended left side and still be spooned against his back, she'd been stubborn about making such a big change. Instead, she'd found herself seeking this exact same spot each night so that the slow rhythmic beat of Sam's heart could lull her to sleep. It was now so familiar and comforting, she wasn't sure she'd be able to go back to her original position after the baby was born.

Currently, however, the beat beneath her ear was much faster than normal. She wasn't sure if the difference was because he was awake or because he was worried; she had a feeling it was more the latter than the former. No matter how sure he was that she was more than capable of taking care of herself, he couldn't suppress his instinctive need to protect. It had sometimes driven her to distraction early in her pregnancy and sparked more than a few disagreements. Her stubborn streak of independence had crashed headlong into his protective nature on numerous occasions. Slowly she'd come to realize she couldn't ask him to change who he was any more than she could change herself. The truth was, she loved him too much to even want him to. If that meant she had to be understanding when his need to worry stepped in where she and the baby were concerned, then she would try her hardest.

"What if I stink at being a mom?"

During the infant stages of their relationship, he would have laughed out loud at such a ridiculous statement. But over time he'd learned that such remarks from her were far from ridiculous in her own mind. "Sweetheart, it's not even a possibility as far as I'm concerned. This nursery is visual proof about what a great mom you're going to be."

They had decided on an ocean theme for the nursery after batting around and rejecting many other possibilities. Every aspect of the design had been the result of Jules's planning. Though she couldn't actively paint because of the fumes, she'd carefully taped off the room and supervised the layer of the colors so that the walls blended from a light and bright blue at the top all the way down to a dark blackish blue at the bottom. The shading was a perfect match to the actual ocean. But she hadn't stopped there. When she'd first talked of using bubble wrap on one wall, he'd thought she was doing it as an acknowledgment that they'd both realized that the introduction of a baby in their lives had changed things at work whether they want it to or not. Though she'd grinned at his suggestion that it was because of the inside joke from the earliest days of the pregnancy, she'd explained that not only would it give the appearance of underwater bubbles, the texture would be developmentally appropriate as the baby got old enough to discover tactile differences. The bubble wrap extended from a small geyser-like protuberance from her ocean floor. Besides, the bubbles, the room was full of different textures for the baby to one day explore. Sam thought she was a genius to think of such things, but apparently he'd failed to convince her.

She shrugged. "Just ideas I read about online. I'm talking about really being a mom. The things that matter like what if I can't figure out breastfeeding or diaper changes or even why the baby is crying? Who is going to show me how to mother my own child?"

Sam looked down at her even though her head was turned so he couldn't see her face. He had a feeling there was more she wasn't saying but he didn't know what. "You'll figure it out. I know you too well to think you could ever be bad at anything."

"I can't knit." Jules admitted brokenly, sound for all the world like this was the worst possible thing she could admit to.

Sam frowned. "Okay, so maybe that's one thing but if it's that important to you, I know you could learn. If you want, I'll find a class for you after the baby is born."

Jules stood and crossed back to the window, folding her arms across her chest to ward off the chill the absence of Sam's body heat had caused her. "You don't understand. You can't fix this."

Sam joined her at the window. He turned her so that she faced him and then cupped her face in his hands before resting his forehead against hers. "You're right. I'm sorry but I don't understand. But I want to. Can you explain it to me? You tell me you are hurting, and naturally I want to fix it. Maybe I can't but at least I can try to do a better job at listening."

"Today marks the day that my mom died."

In the time Sam had known Jules, he could count on one hand the number of times he'd heard her talk about her mom. He'd probably learned more about the woman who had given birth to Jules from her dad and brothers when they'd come for the wedding. He'd known without her saying anything that the death had been hard on her, so he hadn't pressed her to talk about it. It was hard enough for him to talk about his sister's death so he could totally relate to her reluctance. Whereas his sister's death had been quick and unexpected, Jules's mother's death had been slow and agonizing for everyone who had to watch her slowly succumb to her illness.

"Oh, Baby, I'm so sorry." He drew her even closer into his embrace. If possible, he would completely wrap her up inside him if it would ease her pain. He led her back to the rocker and cradled her in his lap like he would soon hold their baby. Jules broke down completely. She'd never been a big crier, perhaps a little more so from the hormones caused by the pregnancy but even then it wasn't anything like the gut-wrenching sobs she was now reduced to. This cry of utter anguish he'd only witnessed in her in the aftermath of the bombings that had turned their perfect wedding day into an utter nightmare all those months ago.

He set the rocker into gentle motion and simply held her as he rubbed her back soothingly. It killed him to see her hurting like this and be powerless to do anything but be there. Almost as quickly as they started, the deluge of sobs ended. Jules hiccupped softly. "I thought I was past this pain. There've been so many anniversaries where I barely even noticed the date. I must have looked at the calendar a dozen times today without even thinking about it." She hiccupped again and swiped impatiently at her wet face with the back of her hands.

Sam leaned down and kissed a few stubborn tears the rest of the way gone. "What changed?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. You went to sleep and I was trying to. But my leg started cramping and it really hurt. I decided to go downstairs and get some mustard 'cause I read that sometimes eating mustard helps. Then I decided to watch a little TV before I tried to go back to sleep. Harry Potter was on; I don't even know which one. It was Christmas and Ron and Harry had just gotten the sweaters from Ron's mom. Suddenly the date just hit me."

While Sam could understand every word she was saying, the meaning and importance of them escaped him. "I'm sorry, Sweetheart; I want to but I just don't see the connection."

Again she hiccupped. "Every year Mom would knit the boys and me a Christmas sweater. Not an ugly one like in the movie but an amazingly beautiful sweater we were proud to wear. We hated to outgrow one; but I think when we did Mom put it away somewhere for safe keeping."

Sam couldn't remember his mom even so much as hemming his pants, so forget about a tradition of making sweaters. Suddenly her earlier statement about not being able to knit made sense. He tipped her head up so he could look into her watery brown eyes. "Jules, do you think because you can't knit our child Christmas sweaters every year that you won't be a good mother?"

"No," she admitted. "But I was a pretty bad daughter. After she got sick, knitting was about the only thing she had the strength to do, so it seemed like that's all she did. She tried to teach me. Said it would be something of her that I'd be able to keep with me after she was gone. But I was too stubborn and headstrong to be interested. I was too busy trying to be one of the guys to do girly things. Plus I was mad; mad at Mom for getting sick and mad at the world for letting it happen."

"And it was easier to stay mad than face losing your mom." Sam supplied, understanding the anger reaction to grief all too well.

Jules nodded. "I was so stupid. Part of me rationalized that if I didn't let her teach me then maybe she wouldn't die. I'd rather have her than some stupid hobby anyway. I was the one that stupid though, not the hobby. I could have spent all that extra time with my mom. Time I can't get back now that I really need her in my life. How could she abandon me like that?" Her voice cracked as it rose with her last words.

Now his own tears were making silent tracks down Sam's cheeks. "Aw, Jules, you know she wouldn't have wanted to leave you."

Her lower lip still quivered. "I wouldn't have blamed her if she did. I was a real brat there toward the end. I don't know; I guess I thought if I pushed her away, it wouldn't hurt as bad when she died. But it did."

Even in the darkened room, Sam could make out the tiny, extra bulge on the side of her stomach that they were sure was either a hand or foot poking out as its free space got smaller and smaller begin to move. Apparently the baby didn't like the idea of Mommy being upset. Jules winced, a sure indicator that the baby was active. Sam gave the little budge a light pinch as if to shake the protruding appendage. Almost immediately, Jules's features relaxed, indicating the baby had settled. She loved that he or she already knew and reacted to Daddy's touch.

She breathed in and out. "I just wish I could have one more moment with her."

Suddenly Sam remembered the rather big wrapped box he'd hidden behind the tree. It had come from Jules's father but had been sent separately from the other Christmas gifts he'd sent. The note that had accompanied the box had asked Sam to not let Jules know about it before it was time to open it as it was a gift he'd been holding on to her from her mother. Even though it was still a couple of weeks before Christmas, Sam thought, given Jules's distress, this was the right time.

He stood, setting her gently on her feet. He kissed the tip of her nose, which was red from crying. "Come downstairs for a moment. There's something you need to see."

He would have been content to carry her but he knew she'd balk at that. Instead, he kept one arm around her waist and tried not the act like he noticed that she waddled when she walked. He loved watching her as her expanding middle made simple movements difficult but he also knew she was sometimes frustrated about her lack of easy mobility. So, he compromised and watched without appearing too obvious about it.

Once they'd made their way down the stairs, Sam led her to the couch and encouraged her to sit. They'd shifted its normal position ever so slightly to include not only the television as a focal point but also the tree that prominently stood in the corner of the living room. Jules had insisted on a real tree this year despite the perfectly good pre-lit artificial tree in the attic that had served as the centerpiece for the interior Christmas decorations for the past few years. The memory of the day they'd picked out the tree was vividly fresh in Sam's mind.

The first day they both had off shift in December Jules had insisted they go Christmas tree shopping. Sam had suggested that they just go to Ikea and buy one there but Jules wouldn't hear of it. She insisted that their first tree as husband and wife needed to be one they cut down themselves so off they went to traipse through the bitter cold at a tree farm looking for what she would claim as the perfect tree. After hours of searching without success, they both had cold noses and Sam was sure that Jules's feet were swollen within her boots from being on them for so long. He'd been ready to put an end to the search and force her to pick one within the count of ten when her whole face had lit up at the sight of her perfect tree. The Douglas Fir had been almost six feet tall and almost as big around as it was tall. There was no way he could question the price as she handed him the axe with a wide grin so he could chop it down.

The next day he'd come home from his shift to discover the front yard had been transformed into a veritable winter wonderland and knew Jules had been busy while he'd been at work. Inside her perfect tree had been transformed from beautiful to breathtaking completely with lights and ornaments. Every instinct in him had screamed at him to fuss that she should have waited for him instead of taking on so much by herself. The words had died unspoken in his throat when, after greeting him with a kiss, she'd promised she'd taken it easy, doing a couple of tasks and then taking a break and getting off her feet. Any lingering concerns had vanished completely when she'd pointed to several boxes by the door and asked if he would mind putting up the exterior lights and roof decorations since the ladder was a no-no for her. In the couple of weeks after that, there'd been some nights they'd forgotten the TV was even on and they just stared at the blinking lights on the tree and enjoyed being in each other's arms.

Now, the power outage had ensured there were no blinking lights to watch as Sam made sure she was comfortable on the couch, warmly cocooned in a thick quilt that usually rested on the back of the sofa. She gave him a quizzical look as he kissed her and moved to the tree, rooting behind it. He pulled the brightly wrapped package from its hiding spot and returned to the couch. He set the package on the coffee table and pulled open the drawer underneath it to retrieve a heavy flashlight. Its steady beam provided enough light to dimly light the room.

He settled behind her on the couch so that her body snuggly rested against him. She leaned her head back so that she was getting a good - albeit upside down - look at his face. "Sam? What is this? It's not Christmas yet. We agreed we'd only get each other one gift and no far giving me something to open now so you have an excuse for buying something else."

Sam leaned down and kissed her protests away. "It's not from me. Your dad sent it but something tells me it's not really from him either. It's that same something that tells me tonight is the perfect time for you to open it."

Jules leaned forward and fingered the card attached to the package. Her name was scrawled on the envelope. Her breath caught in her throat and fresh tears stung her eyes. When she could finally speak around the lump that had formed, her voice had that stuffed up, nasal sound to it. "Sam, that's my mom's writing. It's been so long since I've seen it but I'd know it anywhere. I always thought she had the most beautiful handwriting. Even her grocery lists looked like works of art."

"Sounds like someone else I know." Sam murmured, his hand seeking out the spot on her back to massage. "Open it, Sweetheart. You need your mom tonight and here's your chance to have a part of her with you."

Jules leaned toward the coffee table to carefully extract the contents of the envelope. It wasn't a card but rather a letter. Her hands were shaking as she settled back against Sam and unfolded the slips of paper. She closed her eyes as she read the date at the top of the first page and choked back a sob. "She wrote this on the day she died. I don't know if I can read this, Sam. I was so mean that day. I must have snapped at least a thousand times just that morning and by nightfall she was gone."

Sam wrapped his arms around her expanded belly and nestled her more securely and comfortably in his embrace. "Want me to read it?"

He was prepared for her to turn him down just because she didn't want to appear weak even in front of him, but, to his surprise, she nodded. Sam tilted the paper to take better advantage of the flashlight. He cleared his throat.

"My dearest Julianna,

From the day you were born you have been my headstrong child, more so than your brothers combined, rowdy loveable lot they are. You've always had to do things your way and you wouldn't listen to anyone, even if we could make things easier for you.

I know my illness is hardest on you and I wish I could do something- anything- to make this pain go away. But I can't. I'm going to die very soon and there's nothing I can do to change it. If I could fight a little harder, pray a little harder, or hope a little harder I would, but I've tried all three without success. My time is short and I can only trust that you will- as you always have no matter how difficult the task you face - find your way through this."

Jules twisted in his arms so that she could bury her head in his chest as best as she could with her protruding stomach getting in the way. She wasn't openly sobbing but Sam could feel in her body that signaled that internally she was a mess. Sam set the letter aside so that he could rub her back. Maybe it was too much given that she was already upset.

"I'm so sorry, Sweetheart."

She shook her head. "I'm okay. Go on." Sam wasn't sure he agreed with her assessment of herself, but he picked the letter back up. He started to skim it silently trying to see if there was anything that would upset her more. She sighed. "Out loud, Sam. Please, I need to hear it."

Sam sighed and continued. "The worst part of dying is knowing I'll be missing out on so many things. Things I'll miss with your brothers as well but especially with you. I won't get to dry your eyes the first time a guy breaks your heart or tell you it's not really as end of the world as it seems. Won't be there to see you walk down the aisle toward the man who would never dream of hurting you. But worst of all, I won't be there when you bring your own baby into the world.

That's why I'll ask your father to hold on to this until then. Hold it 'til you reach that moment where you realize the awesome task ahead of you and you start to panic because you don't think you'll be perfect."

Despite everything going on, Sam smiled at that. Apparently even sixteen year old Jules needed to be the best. It made her seem all the more perfect in his mind. Before Jules could protest that he'd stopped reading, he returned his attention to the letter.

"My darling, perfectionist daughter, who demands more of herself than anyone else ever could, understand this above all else: you will not be the perfect mother. No matter how hard you try or how many books you read, it won't happen. It's not possible. You will do your best, and even when it is, sometimes it won't feel remotely close to right. Cut yourself some slack and remember you weren't raised by a perfect mother and neither was she. But we both turned out okay, didn't we? So will your baby, because you don't have to be perfect in order to love your child." Sam paused in his reading to plant a kiss on the top of her head. He'd told her much the same numerous times in the past few months. "If your father does as I ask, and I know he will, this letter is accompanied by a box I need for you and my grandchild to have. I can only hope it in some way makes up for me not being there."

Sam stopped, a lump of his own in his throat. "That's it except she signed her name with love."

Jules sniffled. "How did she know?"

"Know what? That you would marry a man who would rather cut off his left arm than hurt you? Because you deserve nothing less. That you would doubt yourself? Because she's your mom and she knows you. Just like you are going to know this little one. Now, you ready to see what she wanted you to have?" Smiling Sam set the letter aside and picked up the box from the coffee table.

Once more Jules turned so that her body was against him like the most comfortable pillow imaginable. She took the present from him; it was a large box but not unduly heavy sitting on her legs. Her father had wrapped it; she could tell by the haphazard uneven ends. As much as Jules cared about being perfect in some ways, she took after her father when it came to gift wrapping. Her mother, however, had always been exact in her wrapping; they'd often teased her that she could put the people who gift wrapped for a living to shame. Not even Sam, who faced the ardent task of wrapping presents with an almost military precision was as fastidious as her mother had been.

The care she neglected to have in wrapping came out when it came to opening them, however. She preferred to ease the tape back carefully so as not to damage the paper. It drove Sam crazy, he could have the paper off and the box open in 2.7 seconds flat. But this time he didn't complain or offer to help her as if he recognized that this was one gift she needed to linger over.

At long last, the box was unwrapped and she was lifting the lid off. She stared speechless at the contents as fresh tears slipped past her defenses. Folded neatly, almost reverently, were two stacks of knitted sweaters. She swiped uselessly at her eyes with the crook of her arm before she removed the top one from the left stack. It was impossibly small, red with a baby reindeer with a pink bow on its head sleeping beneath a Christmas tree.

She knew it had been her very first Christmas sweater only because she'd seen pictures of her wearing it as a two-month old infant. She held it out for Sam to see. "I can't believe it; it's my first sweater. I can't believe I was ever that small."

Sam kissed her cheek and gingerly touched the tiny garment. He gulped, thinking more about the baby he was so eager to welcome into the world. In just a couple of weeks that baby would be born and would be small enough to wear it. What had he been thinking? How could he be prepared to care for someone so tiny? As much as the idea of the small size terrified him, there was also something amazingly sweet about imagining a daughter wearing something Jules had once worn.

"You were right; she makes beautiful sweaters. Not too surprised though; she made a beautiful daughter after all."

Normally such a statement would have her blushing and cause a warm feeling of pleasure to rise up from the pit of her stomach. Tonight she barely registered the compliment as she lovingly removed her old sweaters one by one. They had been carefully preserved and looked as good as they had on the day they'd been given. It wasn't until about the sixth one that she was actually able to remember the sweater from actual personal memory rather than photographic evidence. She was expecting sixteen, one for every Christmas from the time she was 2 months to fifteen. Her mother had died before she could give the sweaters that last year. Therefore, Jules was surprised to find a painstakingly wrapped parcel below the sixteenth sweater. A note was taped to the outside.

I made this one to fit my adult daughter since I don't think I will make it to this Christmas. I love you, my darling, so very much. Even if I'm not there physically, know I'm watching over you every day.

Jules was torn by the desire to preserve the present as her mother had wrapped it with the need to see what was inside. With even greater care than usual she eased open the wrapping. Sam was instantly reminded of the nursery upstairs even though the sweater had nothing to do with the ocean. But Jules's mother had blended the colors so that the snowy white ground blended into the different shades of a cold winter's dusky blues. A winter wonderland not much different from what was currently on his front lawn had been knitted into the design. It made him realize the importance Jules placed on the decorations she used in the front yard.

She eased the quilt off her so she could slide her arms into the sweater. Her expanded belly wouldn't let her button it up but other than that, it fit her perfectly. She hugged her arms around herself and Sam had a feeling she was imagining her mother hugging her instead. He kissed the side of her head again.

"Looks like we're all set if we have a baby girl." He whispered into her ear. They had debated whether they wanted to know the gender months ago and had been torn between wanting to be surprised and wanting to know. When the sonographer had admitted the baby wasn't in the right position to definitively tell, they had taken it as sign that they should wait.

Jules looked in the box at the second stack of sweaters that once more started with one almost too tiny to be for a real baby. Over the years she'd seen pictures of all her brothers in their sweaters too and she knew it wasn't one that had belonged to them. Suddenly all the knitting her mother was doing just before she died made perfect sense. She'd been making sweaters to take care of a potential grandson she would never be able to meet.

"I can't believe she did this. I was such a brat about not learning to knit and instead of giving up, she made a whole new set of sweaters in case I someday had a little boy."

"And every year as you pull out the appropriate sweater, you can tell him or her about the wonderful grandmother they never got to know, even when they are still too little to understand. And as you do, you'll feel a little bit like she's still here as well."

Jules looked up at Sam and reached up to lightly touch his cheek. "Thank you. I needed this more than I even realized."

Her face was turned up toward him and he cupped it gently in his hands before kissing her tenderly. "Jules, your mom called it right in her letter. The day you met me at the altar, you met a man who not only would never dream of hurting you but also one who would do anything possible to erase your hurts as well. I'm just glad what was in the box could do that."

For a few minutes, she let herself get lost in the sea of blue looking down at her with such love. The melancholy that had settled over her earlier in the night was lifting as she sat cradled in the arms of the man she loved and who loved her in return with her mother's legacy neatly piled around her. And as her mood lifted, the drowsiness that had been denied her earlier returned. Safe in Sam's arms, looking into his face, her eye lids started to droop and she fell asleep.

Sam smiled down at her and brushed a soft kiss against her lips. She looked so peaceful, especially given her earlier distress that for a moment Sam was almost loathed to move her. It wouldn't be the first time they'd slept on the couch. Still, the room was cold due to the lack of heat and he was worried that long term, the quilt wouldn't be enough to sufficiently warm them for the rest of the night. Plus, he could only imagine the crick she'd have in her neck and back if they spent the night on the couch. Better to carry her up the stairs and settle her into the warmth of their bed.

He started to put the sweaters back in the box so nothing would happen to them. Before he could do that, however, he realized there was something hard that had slid from beneath the stack of boy sweaters. Keeping one arm securely around his wife's sleeping body, he retrieved the mysterious object from the bottom of the box. It was a leather bound journal.

Almost feeling like he was intruding on what could be a personal moment, Sam flipped the cover open to read the neat, elegant scrawl; Jules was right about her mother's handwriting. He read the title the mother-in-law he'd never gotten to meet had written.

A Mom's Advice to a New Mom

How to Mother Your Child

He smiled and closed the book again. It was a surprise that Jules would need and love to see but one that could wait until morning. He set it on the coffee table where she'd see if first thing and finished moving the sweaters back in the box. Then he stood with the woman he loved and the baby he couldn't wait to greet cradled in his arms. As he carried her up the stairs and deposited her in their bed, he couldn't help but believe it was going to be the perfect Christmas.

- FP - FP -

Author's Notes 2: So the request was for Christmas sweater (do with that what you will). The idea popped into my head and I went with it. Hope it wasn't too angsty.