"So where's Harvard?" Danny asked as he spotted Eddie in the kitchen alone with Erin as she was preparing a vegetable dish for dinner. "He wasn't in church this morning either. What? Did he tie one on last night using my hard-earned public servant's dollars?" he sniffed. "Took me nearly a week of overtime to make good on that bet you know, Janko. I'm not gonna forget that."
"Nope, he was up early this morning and couldn't get back to sleep so he went to the seven o'clock mass," Eddie revealed with a carefully concealed smile as her poker face was definitely proving to be a harder read for the rest of the family and she desperately wanted to preserve the surprise until Jamie arrived. "I was a little out of it that early and afterwards he decided to run over to the storage place by himself to close out the unit and turn in the keys while they still had office hours this morning. Should be back any minute," she added as she turned to the sink to wash the greens for the parmesan celery salad recipe on tap for a debut today.
"Uh huh," Danny eyed back suspiciously as he had come to know her well in the short time they had been forced to shelter together and there was something deceptive in her tone that he was picking up on. "You buying this, sis?" he looked towards Erin and tried to draw her into the conversation.
"What... that Jamie went to church early or that he's cleaning out his storage unit?" she questioned with a frown. "Slow week at work?" she countered. "Nicki went to the library yesterday to study, gonna find something divisive about that?"
"Sure, if I was expecting she'd be here early with bells on just to rub it in… especially on her birthday."
"You, my older brother have too much time on your hands and an ever-present guilty conscience that you project onto everyone else," Erin sighed as she pulled the packages of rolls out of the refrigerator and began to put them on a cookie sheet to bake.
"Somebody in this family has too much time on their hands?" Frank asked as he wandered into the room and conversation. "Because I have gutters that could be cleaned."
"No one in this family has time for the gutters, Dad," his son replied with a roll of the eyes.
"Well, I know that you're not talking about Jamie anyway, what with all those commitments he has with the EDP Commission," his father countered. "He's going to DC with Rick in December to attend a roundtable panel discussion with the House Armed Services Committee regarding the joint NYPD/FDNY guidelines being developed for officers and emergency personnel when they encounter members of the military in distress. They've been working on that presentation for months now."
"Plus he's in charge of Kaylin's new Police Athletic League Blue Shieldz soccer team," Eddie added proudly as if it deserved equal billing in the national spotlight which of course it did in her eyes since the little girl was her pride and joy and it sparked her own competitive nature. "They play twice a week… she loves it and there are nine other three- and four-year-olds that hang on him at every practice. It's so cool to watch… he's the only coach that can hold their attention in that age group. You ought to see the chaos all over the rest of the field with the other teams. We have our first game this week on Wednesday at six over at Sunset Park if anyone wants to come watch."
"I'll be there!" Nicki enthused. "I can't wait to see my little cutie-pie Kaylin Reagan… superstar number 22 kicking some butt! Remember, I'm the one that bought her those sparkly pink cleats for her birthday! Go girl power!"
"Terrific, he's a world-class soccer mom and GI Joe's best friend now too," Danny grumbled. As much as he admired the progress the EDP Commission was having, military insights were kinda his thing as far a he was concerned and he was a little irked that his ivy-league college attending little brother was getting plaudits for his work from the top brass in Washington when he had never worn a uniform and fought for his country's flag on foreign soil in the first place… not to mention the fact that Jamie hadn't so much as asked for his help in the matter, relying completely on his former Marine buddy Rick Fellows for advice and collaboration on that front.
"Didn't his rookie partner talk him into running in some kind of marathon next year too?" Linda asked as made her way in the kitchen to see what everyone was up to. "She was chattering away about it for hours when they were babysitting a perp in the ER a few weeks ago. Looked like she had finally worn him down by the time they left. What's her name again? God, that girl can talk the paint right off the wall. I don't know how he puts up with it in a car all day long."
"Annabel Anderson," Eddie smirked as she considered the fact that Jamie had years of experience dealing with a talkative sidekick on tour. "And yes, she's very passionate. She's recruiting runners for the St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon for the first of May. Her little cousin was treated there, so she's trying to get a bunch of NYPD officers involved to raise money through sponsorships… they even call them heroes and a lot of first responders go dressed in costume for the kids," she laughed. "Jamie figures that gives him enough time to work up to that distance, and we'll just take a vacation to Nashville with Kaylin at the end of… April..." she trailed off in a nearly silent "Oopsie," as she did some mental math and a glimpse at what she might resemble by that date and the fact that there would probably be no long-distance traveling at that point flashed through her brain.
"Pardon?" Frank asked with narrowed eyes he caught a hint of a tone that immediately captured his interest.
"Oh, nothing," Eddie covered as she cleared her throat and hurried back over to her salad before blowing out a small breath while trying to hide from her father-in-law's direct gaze as she sensed it was still on her even with her back turned.
"Gee, will he have enough time to get his cape fitted before then?" Danny asked with dripping sarcasm.
"I always thought patrol officers deserve capes with our uniforms," Eddie quipped as she stirred her salad and peeked out the window nervously, hoping to spot Jamie arriving. She had told him not to worry, that she could handle an hour or so with his family without blowing their little bitty secret, but things were starting to fall apart and she knew they would be on her like a pack of hungry Irish wolfhounds soon.
"You have a problem with your brother now?" Frank frowned as he turned his attention to his oldest son while still keeping an interested eyebrow on his new daughter-in-law who was definitely raising suspicion with her actions.
"Danny thinks that Jamie is hiding something because he went to church early and he's knocking things off his to-do list on his birthday," Erin reported to her father as she pulled out the big crock of bubbling hot macaroni and cheese from the oven along with a spiral-cut ham, two of her little brother's favorites. "He better show up here soon though or he's gonna miss out on this if Pop and the kids get to it first," she smiled as she took the oven mitts off.
"Is that mac and cheese I smell?" Henry called out on cue from the dining room before making his way into the kitchen to join the rest of the Reagans. "It's Jamie's birthday… that means it's a special occasion so I get to eat what I want. Please tell me it's not Danny's version with that canned spray imitation crap," he demanded as the rest of the room chuckled.
"No, Pop, it's the good stuff," the oldest sibling sighed as he walked to the sink to wash up, knowing for as long as he lived he would never be allowed to forget that major culinary faux pas, not in this family anyway. "Only the best for our Jamison," he muttered as he watched his brother pull up along side of the house in Eddie's new crossover, a sad concession to family life as her fancy shmancy silver sports car had been traded in for something more practical and car seat friendly months ago. "Well, here comes the birthday boy now, right on time. Wonder if he's expecting a surprise?" Danny offered as he was drying his hands.
Boy, he got one of those already today, Eddie snickered to herself and did her best to bite back a smile as she waited expectantly for Jamie to burst through the backdoor with that trademark goofy grin on his face which would take the pressure off her and leave the whole family guessing as to the reason behind it until the news was spilled. Instead her face fell as he walked in looking somewhat pale and a little shaky, and nothing like the ecstatic happy husband that had been bouncing up and down on the edge of the bed a few hours earlier.
"Well, speak of the devil, we were just talking about you…" Erin started until she took a good look at him. "Jamie, what's the matter?" she asked with concern as she watched him walk in. "I was gonna say happy birthday, but you look like you've seen a ghost."
"Oh," he stuttered at her choice of words. "Ah… it's nothing," he managed to brush off with a warmer smile although his sister would have no idea of how accurate her observation had been that day as he tried to bluff his way out of it. "I guess old age is just catching up with me like Eddie said… I swore I saw something impossible when I was driving back here, but it was just my head playing tricks on me after a long week I guess," he shrugged. "You know how it is when you have your mind on other things," he joked as he nudged Eddie and that pure impish grin and the light in his eyes returned as he managed to talk his brain into believing what he said was true… that there was no possible way that blue 71 Chevelle SS he had passed on the road coming out of the storage facility could have been the same one he had inherited from his brother Joe so many years ago and then sold for parts after he'd smashed it into that concrete barrier by the river the night Sonny Malevsky had the brake lines cut in an effort to kill him. Still, he swore that car almost had a soul of its own that he was intimately connected to, and if he hadn't been running late to get back here with such big news and known better, he might have turned around to check…
Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, depending on how one looked at it in the months ahead, Jamie's momentary diversion over the old classic's sighting was soon trumped and pushed aside by a distinctive rise in the surrounding temperature as he was immediately put on the hot seat… a moment in time that would serve to change the course of their lives and come back to haunt them all.
"So what's on your mind that's so distracting?" Frank asked with intent and a hint of a smile in the present as he pursed his lips and the rest of the Reagan ears in the room popped up in interest.
"With me? Nothing!" Jamie smirked with a nervous laugh that was akin to leaving chum in the water off the coast of Seal Island in South Africa and his focus was drawn to the inevitable great white feeding frenzy headed his way now. "Um, where's Kaylin, dear?" he begged off on Eddie as he swallowed hard and cleared his throat while pulling her around to face him for a sitrep and an obligatory kiss. "Haven't seen sweetness since yesterday."
"Playing match cards with Jack and Sean in the sunroom," Eddie reported as she stood on her tiptoes with her hands around his waist and gave him a peck. "Save yourself," she mouthed silently with a gleam in her eye.
"Oh, well, is that mac and cheese, Erin?" he tried anyway as he looked back up over his wife's shoulder, knowing their fate was sealed and they weren't getting out of the kitchen alive with their secret intact, but determined to make it past the two minute mark for pride's sake. "Sure, um, smells good."
"Can it, buster," his sister retorted with a fixed glare as smiles began to break out on everyone else's faces as they caught on. "Now spill."
"Okay, well…" he hemmed before spinning Eddie back around and using her and his unborn child as human shields as he backed himself up against the counter like a cornered perp with a hostage. "I mean since you asked and all… Eddie and I…" he started as his hands slipped down to cover her belly and a grin spread over his face. "Well, it sort of looks like we…"
"I KNEW IT!" Erin squealed as she jumped up and down and clapped her hands. "You're having a baby, RIGHT?! You all said I was crazy… that it was too soon when I picked Thanksgiving, but who's laughing now?" she demanded of everyone else as she looked around the room while Jamie and Eddie's big smiles confirmed the happy news. "HA! I WON! Whoever has the closest date without going over… those were the rules! Pay up, suckers! Fifty bucks a pop!"
"Is this true, Jamison Reagan?!" Henry demanded more gruffly than expected with that trademarked perp in the bullseye look locked on his grandson that instantly drew silence once more around the room.
"Well, um… yes… uh, it sure looks that way, sir," Jamie nervously replied as he once again found himself the uncomfortable recipient of that stare while he was left to wonder what was provoking this. "I mean we weren't gonna say anything until she's been to the doctor to get it confirmed, but the test this morning said so, and there's no hiding anything from this family so…" he trailed off.
"HA YOURSELF THEN, MISSY!" Henry thundered as he pulled a piece of paper down from the top of the refrigerator and slapped it on the table in front of Erin. "Read it and weep, little girl! Who's John Hancock is that next to October and Jamie's Birthday on the list? HMM? IT'S MINE!" he cackled with great glee. "And you all call yourselves Reagans!" he chastised as he scanned the room. "Any one of you with half a detective bone in your body could have put two and two together with a romantic trip, a few wooden boats, the Northern Lights and…" he questioned knowingly.
"Tequila," Jamie and Eddie admitted shamefully in unison as they bowed their heads down.
"Not even scotch!" he scoffed. "What kind of Irishman are you?" Henry tutted in surprise as he frowned and shook his head before breaking out in a big smile once more and walking over to them for a big embrace. "Congratulations, kids. You've just made an old man's heart sing. I can't wait to hold another great-grandbaby."
"So happy for you, sweetheart," Frank whispered as he followed and hugged Eddie tight before turning to Jamie with a wide grin and pulling him in by the back of the neck for a hug and kiss on top of the head. "What a nice birthday present… your mom would be so proud of you, son. I know she's smiling right now."
"Thanks, Dad," Jamie choked out as he returned the affection.
"Little brother, you're gonna drive me to the poorhouse soon if I keep losing these bets," Danny griped as he slapped his and Linda's forfeited cash down on the table with a flippant eye towards his grandfather before walking over to offer his best wishes to the happy couple. "Don't know what I was thinking picking Easter," he grumbled as he hugged Eddie. "And remember I warned you about those genes, too," he laughed. "Guess I'm gonna have to brush up on my babysitting skills."
"Danny Reagan changing a diaper, now that's something I'd like to see," Linda followed, shaking her head. "Lord knows it would be a first," she chided.
"Hey, that's not fair… I took care of Jack and Sean when they were little," he grouched back.
"You had the neighbor, old lady Barnes, come over and spot you," his wife revealed as she ruined his cover. "Don't think she didn't tell me you paid her, and your idea of doing it alone in an emergency was to take the dirty one off, toss it out the window, hose the kid off in the kitchen sink and wrap 'em up in a towel until I got home."
"Ew, how gross is that, Uncle Danny?!" Nicki grimaced at that image.
"Ugh, you are so not watching my kids alone, ever," Jamie practically gagged as he envisioned having to scrub and disinfect the entire house after that point.
"How are you doing?" Erin asked as she hugged Eddie and ignored her brothers. "What made you check?"
"I um, well obviously… didn't feel so well this morning," she shrugged. "I was a little off the past couple of days or so, but never thought anything about it. Jamie reminded me I missed something last night when we got home by saying it was our one-month anniversary, and so I decided to be sure… and then after, well we counted back to one sort of crazy night on the trip when all our plans got messed up and everything just happened so we kind forgot to do something," she smirked. "You know how it goes."
"Boy, do I ever," Frank muttered as he thought back to that Valentine's Day with Mary more than 31 years ago now when a little Jamison Reagan was conceived with the help of a bottle of his namesake Irish whiskey in much the same fashion.
"You're okay, though?"
"Yes," Eddie sighed and nodded. "I mean it's a little soon, and we weren't planning it yet… Right now I'm kinda scared and overwhelmed, but yeah. I guess it'll really sink in later once I know that everything is good. I've gotta find a new doctor down here somewhere first. I don't want to drive uptown all the time."
"Dr. Geisner at St. Vic's is the very best, trust me," Linda offered with a hug. "Use my name when you call and Nancy at the desk will get you right in; she moonlights with me in the ER sometimes. Oh, I'm so thrilled for you, Eddie!"
Any further thoughts on the matter were interrupted by a happy little girl skipping into the room. "Daddy!" she shouted as she was quickly scooped up by Jamie while Eddie held a finger up to her mouth. While they knew it would be impossible to keep the news from the adults, they had both agreed not to attempt to explain the situation to Kaylin until things were a little further along and more solid. "I won every time!" she cried. "I beat Jack and Sean!"
"Twice," Danny's oldest admitted as the two brother's followed her into the room. "Is it time to eat yet? Why is everyone standing in the kitchen? I'm starving. Is that mac and cheese?"
"We were just about to put it out on the table when we got sidetracked," Erin admitted. "C'mon, let's go eat. We've got a few things to celebrate for Jamie's birthday and a Junior's chocolate dream cheesecake to put the candles on for dessert," she smiled. "Besides, you're gonna love my gift this year, little brother. Wait until you see, it's perfect… I knew you would be needing one soon, and it's especially important now if Uncle Danny comes over," she snickered as she tapped the top of the colorfully wrapped tall box sitting in the corner. "Think of it as a sausage-maker for poopy nappies," she revealed, referring of course to a diaper genie.
"A what for poopy what?! Oh, God, I don't think I'm hungry anymore," Jamie moaned.
"Ooh... c'mon, you don't even have to open it… we've got months to get used to that kind of stuff. Just think, macaroni and cheese, ham plus Junior's chocolate, Mmm hmm yummy yum!" Eddie smacked her lips and gave Kaylin and Jamie both a kiss as the room emptied out. "I think me and the munchkin here are craving some of that. Hey, wait," she pulled his arm before he could leave. "What was wrong when you first got here? I saw that look, are you worried about…"
"Nothing," Jamie smiled as he put Kaylin down and watched her run into the dining room. "It was stupid, like I said… it had absolutely nothing to do with this," he assured as he put his hand on her belly and drew her in for another kiss. "I saw an old car on the road like Joe used to have. That's all… maybe it was just a sign from him that he's thinking about me today. He would have been the very best uncle, you know," he said as he choked up a little and wrapped his arm around her. "I love you so much Edit Katalin soon-to-be-a-mommy-again Reagan! Let's go celebrate with our family now."
Well that finally wraps up this long, rambling story. Thanks for staying with it until the end! Of course all of you who've read "Resurrection" know the significance of that blue car at the storage unit. Yup, Mason Malevsky is poised to make an evil return in the next installment, and like everything else in this second series things will work out a bit differently as a split-second's worth of timing will turn it completely around almost from the beginning. Please look for "Resurgence" when it is completed. That one will pick up a few weeks after this point near Thanksgiving, and it will feature almost the entire cast of werks-world favorite OC characters as they pull together for a common cause while Jamie and Eddie prepare for their latest addition, including our rescue buddy Rick Fellows who will play a larger role in the action this time and might even get a cute redheaded love interest of his own.
Before anyone gets antsy, I will also be posting some follow up chapters from this story in the "Snapshots II" collection. First, starting Monday there will be a three-part multi-shot with the honeymoon in Iceland of course, silly! I'll go out of order just because I know you guys are all dying to know how this little oopsie really happened. Then every week or so I'll add another as I work on the next installment which is roughly outlined but far from complete. There's a multi-shot piece covering that tragic time of Mary's loss, Jamie's makeup with Renzulli, and a few others. Some possibilities include Kaylin finding out she'll be a big sister, her first soccer game and of course mommazilla Eva Janko needs to be told about her newest unoka. I may even throw Eddie's papa Armin in there for one as well, and we need to find out what Linda thinks of her scrapbook! PM or leave suggestions in the reviews and I'll try to work in as many as possible!
Also, (sorry, I'm being long-winded today) I must admit I've been a little suprised at the overwhelmingly positive response to the Linda/Danny story line in this one and the requests to carry it further baby-wise. Personally, I kinda saw them as being done in that regard and had not planned to explore that, but now I might just reconsider working with it in some fashion. See! Your reviews and comments matter! They were such a great couple in the first years of the show, but the whole post-shooting hodgepodge in season 6 had me honestly hoping she would leave one way or another, lol. Rest assured though, Danny and his family will be a big part of the next story and maybe a few snapshots.
And thanks again for all who have read, reviewed, fav'd and favorited! You guys as always are flippin' awesome!