Title: Goodnight Moon
Prompt: 45. Moon
Universe: Zeppelin World
I show up after work and hear voices in the kitchen. That's odd, I don't remember Elise mentioning we were going to have company. I put my bag down at the door and go investigate.
"You didn't tell me we were having..." I stop. There is a toddler sitting on the counter. She's giggling. I'm confused.
"Oh! Hi. Uh, look. Maura called, and she needed me to watch Lena for a few hours. I guess Jake's car is having brake issues, has been for a while, and she needs to go pick him up or something. Max is at my parents' place for the night, but Lena won't stay the night there, so she dropped her off here. I hope you don't mind."
"Well I really don't have much of a choice, do I?" I deadpan, faking a smile.
"Well, anyway, I was just about to put her down when you came home. She's fed, bathed, and in her jammies already," she explains, lifting Lena off the counter and onto the floor. "She's already potty trained, so there's no need to worry about diapers or anything."
"Why do I have the suspicion that I'm going to have to be responsible?" I ask.
Elise puts on her 'favor' face. Crap. "Do you think you could maybe get her to go to sleep while I'm gone?"
"How do I do that?" I ask, making a face and looking down at the toddler that's holding onto the hem of my wife's skirt. Lena just smiles back at me.
"Get her situated on the bed and read her a story. It's not that difficult. Do you think you can handle that?"
I sigh. "I guess."
"Good." She leans in, giving me a quick kiss before getting her bag and heading towards the door. Before she can leave, I manage to corner her.
"Of course," she laughs, giving me another kiss and leaving. I turn around and see Lena staring up at me.
"Hi!" she says, waving her little hand at me.
"Hi," I say back, not even bothering to raise my voice an octave. "Quick question: is a potty break necessary before we go to bed?" she shakes her head no. "Good. Okay, so what does Mommy usually do before bed. Do you watch TV?" head shake. "Um, play with toys?" another head shake. "Does she read a story?" this time her little head bounces up and down in the affirmative. She's... actually kinda cute when she does that. Except that she won't stop. "Hey, hey! Don't hurt yourself. Now Auntie Elise told me that Mommy sent you with some books. Do you want to pick one out?"
At that, she takes off running, towards the bag on the couch that I can only assume is the bag Maura brought. She pulls out a familiar book: Goodnight Moon. Awesome, something easy.
"Okay, let's go off to bed, and I can read you this," I say, starting towards the bedroom, assuming she'll follow. When she doesn't, I backtrack, taking her little hand in mine and leading her towards our bedroom. I would have put her to bed in the guest room, but there wasn't an actual bed in there at the moment. Long story.
I pick her up, lifting her up onto the bed, then climb up after her. I decide tucking her in isn't necessary, just taking one of the spare blankets from the closet and covering her with that.
I sprawl out on the bed, and she cuddles up to my side. Geez kid, stop it. This is almost too cute for me. I decide to just dive right into the book, to get my mind off of it. It's a short read, but she's nodded off by the time I finish. I wish I could fall asleep that quickly. Come to think of it, I'm actually kind of tired, maybe I can just rest my eyes for a bit before Elise gets back...
"Hey, wake up you two," Elise says, shaking my shoulder lightly. I jolt awake.
"Oh! I was just resting, no big deal!"
"Yeah, a quick two hour rest," she laughs. "Come on, up. Maura's here."
"What about my dinner? I'm still hungry!" I pout.
"It's a salad, and it's in the fridge, don't worry. We need to get this little munchkin back to her mommy first," she says, indicating the squirming child next to me.
"Mommy!" she shrieks, jumping off the bed and rushing to the front door. I hear her run into Maura's legs, eliciting an "oof." I make my way out to the living room area, tipping my hand towards Elise's sister-in-law, who looks really good for being six months pregnant.
"So Jake's car?" Elise asks.
"Needs an entire new brake system, apparently. Luckily it's covered under the warranty, but this is the second time they've gone since we bought the thing. I keep telling him that we need something safer, for the children and all, but he keeps insisting that this is the last repair it's going to need," Maura sighs.
"Well, that's our Jacob, stubborn as ever," Elise smiles, causing Maura to smile a bit. Attention shifts to Lena, who has her face buried in her mother's coat.
"Say goodbye to your aunties, Lena," Maura directs.
Elise bends over to accept an eager hug. "Bye bye Auntie Lis!" she says. Then she turns to me. I'm not bending over. No way. So she instead decides to latch onto my legs. "Bye bye Unka Beffy!" she giggles, running back over to her mother.
"I really can't thank you guys enough for watching her," Maura says, taking her hand. "She wasn't any trouble, was she?"
"No, none at all," I manage, trying my best not to scowl. I leave the two of them to talk and go turn on the TV. After Maura leaves, Elise comes and joins me on the couch.
"So, 'Uncle Bethany,' I forgot to ask. How was your nap?"