Hello all, I can't believe we're here at the end of the BOGO baby story, but as you know, I never end one without starting another and by popular request, it's a timeline-companion piece to BOGO Baby of Beckett and Castle and their first year as parents together! As always, spread the word and review like it's going to be banned!
'Bags are in the car, purse is with me, so are the babies and Tessi is at home with Honey-Milk, Dell and Mallory.'
Meredeth ran through her checklist as she tugged on the outerwear for the twins, made sure their caps were on their heads nice and snug. It was October twentieth and it was time to head home with the babies. Her husband had gone downstairs to get the car and she was putting the babies in their pram for transport from the maternity suite down to the hospital entrance. She was so excited and so nervous to take them home at the same time. It had been easy with just Tessi, in retrospect, because she'd been a singleton. Now she had her toddler-Tessi and two newborns, and it was a little daunting.
But Esposito was taking three months this time instead of just one to help make the adjustment to three little ones at home, and they'd also have help from Beckett and Honey-Milk until December. There was nothing like friends who treated you like family, she mused, as she buttoned Leo's hand-knit sweater up for him.
'There we are, you've got your 'buela's handiwork keeping you warm, my little prince, as do you my little duchess,' Meredeth cooed to her babies who were both awake and tracking her voice with their eyes. 'Okay, are we ready to go? Yes we are.'
She loaded them both into their pram and thought briefly about a pre-emptive pee but it was negated when Daniel appeared in the door of her maternity suite in his street clothes.
'Hey, Daniel what's crackin'?'
'Nothing much. Andrea's doing rounds and I'm on my way home after a double so I'm walking you and the babies out.'
Meredeth shouldered her purse, unlocked the wheels of the pram. 'Okay, babies, let's go home to the puppy and the big sister who just can't wait to see you!'
'They're so sweet,' Daniel commented as they stepped onto the elevator. 'I hope Andrea and I have a pair just like them.'
'You will, when the universe decides you should.'
'What do you think of seafood buffet for a wedding dinner?'
'I think that's delicious, but if you invite Lanie and Dave since we've decided to adopt you guys, you should know she's deathly allergic to shellfish.'
Daniel nodded; as Dave hadn't been there during the poker game this detail hadn't come up so he made a mental note of it. 'But she's cool with regular fish?'
'Oh yeah, just no crustaceans.'
When they got off the elevator, Meredeth saw Esposito waiting for her in the lobby, talking on his cellphone; from the pitch of his voice, it was Tessi on the other line and as she approached with Daniel and the stroller, he grinned at her.
'I have to go, princess, Mami and Leo and Trini are here. Yes, I'll make sure I do. Love you too, see you soon. Hey you,' he greeted his wife with a sweet kiss. 'How did they like their first elevator ride?'
'I think they liked it.'
'Thanks for everything, Dan, really,' Esposito held out his hand to the nurse, which Daniel shook heartily, 'and next poker night, brace for impact. My brother-in-law Cam is a retired Marine, he's got a hell of a game face.'
'I look forward to it.'
'We'll see you soon, hopefully outside the hospital.' Meredeth shook his hand as well, then turned to walk out with her husband. 'Let's go home, Daddy.'
When they arrived home, Meredeth wasn't at all surprised to find Lili and Cam with Rosie and Duncan. The moment they opened their front door, Rosie raced over to inspect her new cousins.
'Ola, babies,' she said sweetly, standing on tiptoe to see in the car-carriers. 'I am pima Rosie. You are so little.'
'They are,' Lili agreed, bounding over to inspect her new niece and nephew before giving her brother and sister-in-law her trademark hugs. 'Oh congrats you guys, you are so blessed! They're just beautiful!'
'Where's beauty and the beast?' Esposito asked as they went upstairs to the nursery.
'Asleep in beauty's chamber, poor little girl's just so overwhelmed with all this excitement.'
Lili watched Esposito and Meredeth take the babies out of their carriers, change them together out of their travel clothes into comfy onsies for napping. Hard to believe that it was only seven years before when her brother had seriously contemplated the possibility that he would never have the kind of relationship he'd secretly envied in Lili and Cam. Then he'd started talking about this woman named Meredeth in the subtle way that guys did, dropping her name into every conversation, until enough was enough and he finally brought her around to meet the family.
Now he was the family man, married to a wonderful woman and father of three. God wasn't that a head trip, she mused, as Esposito sat in the wide armchair and cuddled one of the twins against his chest; Lili was too far away to tell which one she was. She glanced over her shoulder when she heard Arturo sigh in Tessi's room, and she peaked in the room, saw the little girl was waking up from her nap, Crush clutched tight in her hot little fist.
'Hi tia Lili, my babies home?'
'Yes they are honey. Mami and Daddy are getting ready for them to have a nap, you want to come and say hello?'
Lili held out her hand and took her niece into the nursery, where she gasped softly. 'My babies dute, tia Lili.'
'They are very cute.'
Tessi walked over to her father, put her hand on his knee. 'Wish one?' she asked in a small voice; Tessi was a good big sister and knew her babies needed quiet to sleep.
'It's Trini, princess, Mami's putting Leo in their crib.'
'He seepin' now?'
'Almost,' Meredeth told her daughter. 'He's a lot like you, he can sleep through almost anything.'
Arturo wandered in behind Tessi and immediately zeroed in on Trini, snuffling at her feet which made Trini fuss only momentarily before settling against Esposito's shoulder. Satisfied that this new little mistress wasn't an alien invader, he moved on to Meredeth at the crib, and gave Leo a lick through the slats of the crib. Unlike his sister, Leo flinched a little at the sensation on his leg and screwed his face up into a sneeze so big for such a little guy that Arturo scrambled out of the room in terror and took refuge beside Tessi's bed.
'Our brace guard-dog, we're so proud,' Meredeth laughed, adjusting Leo's blankets. 'Okay, my little prince, time for a snooze.'
'And you too,' Esposito added to Trini. 'You are little miss party-goer all year round, but even you need your rest.'
With the twins tucked into their bed and the window letting in soft natural light, the new parents gave their babies a kiss and took the baby monitor in the room. 'You want to stay for dinner, sis?' Esposito asked as they all went downstairs, and was a little relieved when Lili shook her head.
'No, hermano, we're letting you guys have a breather, it was like twenty-four-hour party-people in your maternity ward from what I hear, Mere.'
'And besides that, we've got plans for tomorrow, don't we Rosie?' Cam added with a litle wink at his daughter. 'Tell tio Javi and tia Meredeth what's happening tomorrow.'
'I gettin' earrings,' Rosie said proudly. 'I am a big girl now and get to have earrings.'
'Well, aren't you the lucky little duck. Let me give you a good-luck hug.' Meredeth crouched down, embraced her niece tightly. She was four already; where had the time gone?
'I'll call you soon, okay Mere?' Lili kissed her sister-in-law's cheeks and squeezed once more. 'Go, enjoy being a new mom at home again.'
Meredeth nodded, and when the George-Esposito clan was gone, she sighed as she sat down on the couch and felt the avalanche of emotions tumble through her. She sensed her husband beside her and in seconds, he had his arms around her, holding her as she let it all out.
'I'm so proud of you Mere,' he murmured, kissing the top of her head. 'You are the sexiest superhero I know and I love you so much.'
'I love you too. I could say it a million times and it wouldn't be enough to tell how much I...oh, god, pregnancy hormones are making me all corny and melodramatic.'
Esposito laughed. 'You just had two babies, I think you can take a pass on this one.'
'Jesus.' Meredeth took a deep breath, swiped at her eyes. 'I'm going to be so thankful for that breast pump for feeding those . In fact, I think I'm going to use it now.'
'Mami, no tears, no be sad. Babies here, be happy.'
'Oh, Tessi, princess, I didn't think you'd come downstairs with us.' Meredeth held out her arms and pulled her daughter into her lap. 'It's okay, my baby, you'll understand a little better when you're older but sometimes people who are so happy and so overwhelmed with what they feel inside the only reaction they have is to cry.'
'Daddy too,' Esposito told his little girl. 'I cried when you were born because I was so happy, and when I asked Mami to marry me, and when Leo and Trini were born too.'
'Hmm. That funny. I know, I tell shoke.'
'You'll tell us a joke?'
'Who's there?' Meredeth asked, intrigued that her little two year old was telling jokes at her age.
'Bess you!' Tessi giggled, and her parents genuinely cracked up. 'Dell teash me.'
'I bet he did. Hey, I have an idea, Tessi-boo.' Esposito felt the grind in his stomach of hunger. 'Why don't you and me take a little walk with Arturo down to the market to get something for dinner and we can let Mami have a rest and a shower?'
'O-day.' Tessi gave her mother a hug, then went to sit on the bottom stair and tug on her boots.
The sight of her daughter being such a big girl with her daddy had Meredeth sighing contentedly, and the moment they'd left she headed upstairs to fetch her breast pump; once she had a couple of bottles filled for the twins, she hopped in the shower and felt a little more human. She closed her eyes as the water flowed over her head. She'd never have believed in her wildest dreams she'd have become a mother to twins, yet here she was, a mother to the three most beautiful babies in the universe.
'How about that, Momo, I did it,' she murmured as she rinsed shampoo from her hair. 'Thank you, and thank you too Mom.'
Feeling freshly invigorated after her shower, Meredeth pulled on clean clothes and braided her hair off of her face. A quick check on her babies told her they were sound asleep, so she went into the kitchen and brewed herself a pot of tea as she kept a weather ear on the baby monitor clipped to her belt. The water finished boiling as the front door opened and she heard the twins stirring in the nursery. Rather than making tea, she floated two bottles in a bowl, set the kitchen timer.
'Mami, we have food 'pises!' Tessi exclaimed, and held out the little bouquet of flowers she'd insisted to her daddy her mother needed. 'I poud of you.'
'Aw thanks princess.' Meredeth picked her girl up, set her on her hip. 'How would you like to feed one of the twins?'
Tessi's eyes went round. 'Really?'
'Yes. I'll help you give Trini a bottle.'
'Yea! I big sisser, I always gonna help.'
Tessi waited patiently for her parents, then went upstairs to help with their little trio's newest additions. In the nursery, she settled into the comfortable armchair and held out her arms as her mother placed Trini in her big sister's arms while Esposito cuddled Leo against his heart, one happy little trilogy of five in downtown New York City.