Chapter Sixteen

Hunter's birthday was a week away. His actual birthday was on a Saturday this year making it easier for guests to attend. Deanna and James Grimes would be in town by tomorrow. The family was looking forward to the visit. Unfortunately on the crime front there was another murder linked to the suspected serial killer. This time in Sarasota. The case was now a joint investigation. There was nothing Horatio's team could do about this one except wait for the updates.

The birthday boy was back to his chatty self, excited about his birthday once again. Very excited. He was marking off the days on the calendar and could count to seven on his fingers now.

"I'm really sorry about Ava's meddling, H," Eric said. "She's never cared about what she says to anyone or what happens after." The Cuban finally got a moment to speak with Horatio two days after the 'incident.'

"What did you do? Your sister is the one with the big mouth. And you made your point with Ava and I'm hearing so did Calleigh." Horatio said with a smile.

"Yeah, " Eric laughed. "I wasn't about to interrupt her. Even mami and papi sided with Calleigh. There's a first time for everything, huh? But is Hunter really okay?"

"He's fine, Eric. No permanent damage. There's not many things I can't fix for Hunter at this age."

"I know that feeling," Eric replied. "These are the easy years for that part anyway."


While the kids stayed home and enjoyed pizza with Kyle and Parker. Horatio and Aimee went to dinner with Deanna and James Grimes. A steakhouse wasn't child-friendly. The Grimes were looking forward to Hunter's party. They were one family now. Returning from the evening out it took a long time to get everyone, especially Hunter in bed. He would be two years old tomorrow. He was so excited.

"You remember this night two years ago?" Aimee asked her husband when they managed to get to bed themselves.

Oh yes. He remembered. "I went to sleep with my hands on your belly, wondering if I could convince you to do this again after this one and if we gonna have this baby before your next appointment. Then I woke up to your elbow in my ribs," he teased his wife.

"Hey, that didn't hurt as bad as those contractions, buster! I can assure you."

Aimee wouldn't say her husband had a "fetish" for her being pregnant. It was just a very special time in their lives both would miss now. Horatio was the kind of husband and father who realized how much attention children required on an individual basis. The more children, the less each child got. They were at their limit for babies unless fate disagreed.

Horatio laughed. "I believe you."


Horatio woke up to a small set of hands shaking him as hard as the owner of those hands could.

"Daddy, daddy, wake up!" Hunter said. "It's my birfday!"

"It is?" Horatio said, lifting the boy into the middle of the bed. It was almost 8:00 in the morning, longer than Hunter usually slept. With everyone in for a busy day maybe laying between mommy and daddy the toddler might go back to sleep for a bit longer.

No such luck. Time to get up and start the day. The party started at noon and the birthday boy wanted chocolate chip waffles for breakfast.