A baby's cry erupted suddenly through the monitor, alerting her parents that she was awake, yet again.
Zack was up in an instant. He sat straight up, rubbing his glossy eyes.
Beside him, Maya was stirring and mumbled incoherently. "Zack?" She yawned.
"Shh," Zack kissed his wife's temple. "Go back to sleep, babe. I got this."
"Mmkay," it didn't take much convincing. She was back out like a light. He smiled softly before another piercing cry caught his attention.
I'm coming. I'm coming.
He slipped out of the bedroom and down the hallway toward the end where their daughter's room was. He recalled the months before she was born-London was bent on helping them decorate and even offered to pay for the entire thing. Maya refused initially but eventually gave in after Zack persuaded her that London wasn't doing it because she thought they were some kind of charity. It was one of her rare nice moments.
But, after they got past that obstacle, they crossed another. Maya and London clashed over how they were going to decorate. In her typical London way, she insulted Maya's choice (which was not all pink and sparkly like London was hoping for) of yellow paint for the wall and green stuffed animals. Zack had wanted to stay out of the whole thing, even though Cody lectured him about the importance of being involved in every aspect of a child's life, even before they were born.
But what did he know? He wasn't a father yet, yet because he and Bailey were waiting on hearing back about whether or not they were eligible to adopt the kid-whatever his name was-from some country Zack hadn't heard of.
But he digressed.
Maya had been furious with the way London was behaving and demanded that Zack do something about it or she would. He quickly intervened, knowing that his wife's temper was not to be messed with.
He should know.
He'd been at the end of it many, many times.
It took some doing, particularly to London, who kept trying to bribe him, to get her to understand that while they were accepting her help, it didn't mean she was the one making the decisions. Zack had all but pleaded with her to leave it all to Maya or things would get ugly. Fast.
He cut her off before she could make a remark about that ugly being Maya.
In the end, she begrudgingly cooperated. The room was finished and no one was hurt in the process, though Zack had come close to it for some reason. He blamed it on her pregnancy hormones.
"Hey, there," Zack approached Danielle's crib, reaching down to pick her up and let her rest her head on his chest. "What's got you up at this hour? Hmm?"
He sat down in the rocking chair that Bailey and Cody gave to them. His brother had been as excited as Maya was and offered to assist with the birthing after spending months studying about it.
He still sometimes questioned whether they were really twins or not.
"You know," Zack always thought that people who talked to their babies were weird and vowed to never do that himself. Lots of things, he learned, changed when you became a parent. "Your mom and I will have to get you back when you're a teenager for keeping us so late. now you're too young to understand this but your mom's been so tired she's been holding out on me. You'll understand what that means when you're older, but hopefully not until you're very old, mmkay? Like thirty."
Danielle made a noise that he took as an agreement. Zack adjusted his arm, grinning slightly. If Maya heard him, he'd be on the couch for corrupting their child. She'd already scolded him for nearly slipping in a few words here and there.
"She can hear you!" Maya had shrieked, which somehow, hadn't woken up Danielle from her nap.
"She's two weeks old," Zack deadpanned.
"So?" Maya said stubbornly. "What if she repeats them when she's older?"
"Then I'll finally have something over Cody. My kid's smarter than his."
Danielle became entranced by his finger and latched onto it with her tiny fist. Zack's heart swelled with happiness. God, he never imagined himself here: a wife that he adored (and sometimes didn't understand) and the most beautiful daughter. He'd always loved girls, now he had two. Two most precious girls he could've ever hoped for.
"I love you," he kissed the top of her head, rocking her gently back and forth. "I love you so much, Dani and I love being your daddy."
Heh, Zack Martin, the former player, now doting dad. Cody still teased about it, how Maya had him whipped while he denied it every time.
Danielle quieted down after Zack rubbed her back once she let go of his finger. "Is that all you wanted baby girl, some attention? Are you better now?" He assumed so, she was falling asleep. He waited until he was sure she was out and put her back into her crib, looking over her with a loving look.
He felt a pair of arms wrap around his waist.
"I thought you were sleeping?" Zack whispered, turning around to face her.
"I was," she shrugged. "I thought maybe you fell asleep." She looked a little guilty. "I'm sorry, baby. I should've gotten up, you've been working so hard and I-"
Zack shushed her. "Hey, it's alright. I don't mind. Besides, the little munchkin and I need some time together. And what better then three in the morning?" He cracked a joke to lighten the mood.
Maya smiled, placing her hands on his cheeks. She kissed his lips. "You," she murmured, "are a wonderful father."
He deepened the kiss, biting on her bottom lip. "Mmm. You think so?"
"Of course," she pulled back to stare at him incredulously. "Remember when I accidentally burned Dani's tongue? She was in your arms all morning and you sang to her. I'm jealous. You never did that for me." She grinned mischievously.
"I wasn't singing," Zack defended himself weakly. "I was...uh, humming. I was humming to her."
Maya was doubtful. "Mhm."
"Shut up," he grumbled.
She laughed. "She's definitely a daddy's girl ready.: she glanced at Dani. "Poor baby will be scared to bring any boys home."
"Good," Zack said immediately. "She doesn't need any boys."
"Until she's thirty, right?" Maya raised her eyebrows. Zack looked surprised.
"Oh. You heard?"
"I did," she rested her head on his chest, just like Dani had. "And I meant what I said, you are a great father. Dani is so lucky to have you-we're lucky to have you."
Zack's chin was on top of her head, inhaling the scent of her shampoo. "I love you."
"I love you too," she squeezed him.
They stayed there in silence, except for the sound of their breathing.
"We should get back to bed," Maya reluctantly let go.
"Yeah," Zack agreed as he shut the door behind them. Once they were back in their room, he wiggled his eyebrows, "What do you say we have a little one on one?"
Maya crossed her arms, lips pursed. Zack deflated, resisting the urge to groan. "Speaking of that," she didn't sound happy.
He fell back on the pillow, rolling his eyes.
"What were you thinking talking to our daughter about sex, Zackary Martin? Have you lost your mind?"
Zack discreetly grabbed the pair of earplugs that were on his nightstand. He put them in while Maya was oblivious. He made sure to nod every once and a while so she wouldn't get suspicious.