Chapter 18: Visits

The next morning, Natasha hardly emerged after a night of about six hours. Rose had had some difficulty falling asleep, but she had barely woken up in the middle of the night and Edgar had taken over when she had. After all, yesterday had been very trying on her body and the young man easily considered it his role to help her recover. When she opened her eyes that morning, the young mother was already feeling better, the rest had done her the greatest good even if it would undoubtedly take a while before regaining all her strength. Turning her head she could observe her boyfriend, his back turned, leaning over the crib talking to their daughter.

"Hi my princess! You had a good night. I cannot believe I can finally talk to you and hold you in your arms. We have been waiting for this moment for a long time with your mom and even when we were not together, yet I often imagined our family. I know that in a few years you will learn the whole truth about what happened between us, but you can be sure of one thing is that there has not been a single day since the day I met him where I did not like your mother, even when I was too foolish to realize it. One thing is certain is that for nothing in the world I would not trade my place today and even if I might make mistakes I would do everything in my power to be the person you both deserve," the young father confessed, taking Rose in his arms. Zapata was very moved to hear his words. Her life had changed so much in nine months that she was crazy about it and despite all the feelings that animated her (fatigue, uncertainty, lack of self-confidence) the youngster was deeply happy. For the first time in ages, she did not fear the future and above all, she no longer felt alone. When her boyfriend turned around he could notice that she was awake and smiled.

"Hello," the policewoman whispered, smiling as he approached her, the baby still in his arms.

"Hello groundhog, have you been awake for a long time?" the deputy headmaster asked, placing a tender kiss on her lips.

"No, but I wanted to admire the view a little. You know, I feel bad that you do have not awakened that night when the baby crying. Especially, that you spent the night on this uncomfortable chair," the brunette confessed as he sat on the edge of her bed, putting the baby in her arms.

"Sweetheart, you just gave birth. You may be tough; you also need rest. There is no reason to feel guilty. After all, you were the one who did all the work yesterday."

"I admit that sleeping is good. And you, my darling, I hope you slept well and that you did not bother your dad too much," the young woman conceded, caressing her daughter's face with love. They stayed in this position for a few minutes before the little one started to cry. Realizing that she must be hungry, Zapata decided as planned to try to breastfeed her. The maneuver took a few minutes, time for mother and child to adjust, then everything went perfectly. It was a moment as strange as it was intense for the young mother who had to adapt to this new role.

About ten minutes later, the little girl had finished eating. The couple chatted for a while before hearing a knock on the door around ten in the morning.

"Come in," the deputy director cried, turning his head. He could watch his in-laws walk into the room.

"Hi, I'll start my shift in an hour and we wanted to see how you went. Are we disturbing?" Tasha's father questioned whispering, not wishing to disturb the baby.

"No, it is nice to see you," his daughter smiles. The two newcomers greeted the parents then sat down and began to chat quietly.

"She is sublime, I must say that you have done a hell of a job," her stepmother said ecstatically in adoration in front of the baby.

"Tash' deserved all the honor on this shot ... Do you want to hold her ?" Edgar asked. The blonde nodded and awarded the little girl in her arms under the tender gaze of her husband. The policeman returned to sit next to his partner and put an arm around her shoulders.

"To be honest I still have a hard time realizing everything that happened. A year ago, I did not know I had a child, and today not only do I have a daughter, but I am also a grandfather. It is surreal."

"I think there are two of us in this situation. It must be said that our lives have all changed a lot in a noticeably short time, but as far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't want things to be different," the young woman admitted, snuggling a little more into the arms of her boyfriend. Everyone smiled at this remark.

"I was thinking if you want I can ask the nurses to set up a cot for tonight. It will be more comfortable than that old chair," the doctor suggested, after a while, when he learned that his stepson had been here all night.

"Thank you, that would be great… Honey, I'm starting to get hungry and since you haven't eaten either I was thinking of going to the coffee shop downstairs to get us something for breakfast."

"Great idea, I'm starving," Zapata agreed, hungry and unconvinced of the hospital food. The three adults continued discussing everything and nothing for about fifteen minutes until the policeman returned with the food. They ate and then shortly after Mickael and Elizabeth left to let the young parents rest, without failing to kiss the baby.

In the course of the afternoon, after warning by a phone call, Jane, Kurt Avery, Allie, Connor, and Bethany came to visit the new little family.

"Knock, knock," the two adults heard before seeing a little blond head of about four years old pass through the opening of the door.

"Enter, miss," Natasha smiled before seeing the whole tribe following the child. Everyone greeted each other in a friendly way before sitting down in the chairs available to converse.

"She is superb. When I think you have a baby. If I had been told that ten years ago when we met I would not have believed it," Kurt smirked as he gazed tenderly at the infant coiled in his friend's arms.

"Oh yes, and what did you not expect: our child, the fact that you have one with Allie to end with Jane, the amnesia side, the tattoos or the many conspiracies and terrorist attacks in all like," Reade scoffed gently at the irony of the situation.

"We must not forget the surprised teenage daughter. You know, say it like that, it feels like an '80s series of the kind of lovebirds mixed with the all-risk agency," Avery pointed out, which immediately made everyone laugh.

"Mom, can I give my gift now?" the little girl asked impatiently with a wrapped gift wrap package in her hands.

"Of course, my heart."

"It is a gift for Rose but also for you, a bit for everyone. Avery helped me a little bit too," the blonde explained, holding out the present. Edgar took it to open it under the gaze of Tasha who had their daughter in her arms.

"I just helped out with the logistics. It was entirely her idea."

After a few seconds, they could all observe a pretty notebook expertly decorated with small flowers and hearts "Rose" was written right in the middle. While leafing through it, the young parents were able to observe a whole bunch of photos of their families with texts as illustrations.

"It's an album with lots of history like how you met and lots of others. I asked everyone to tell me anecdotes and so when she is older Rose can read it and she will learn a lot about her family and the team," Bethany explained shyly. All the adults in the room looked at each other in emotion.

"You know what, we got a bunch of really great gifts but this one is my favorite," Zapata admitted fondly. This remark delighted the girl instantly. They observed the gift for several minutes while chatting.

"As long as we are at the announcements. Tash 'and I discussed it a lot and… Kurt, if you don't mind we would like you to be Rose's godfather," Reade announces, observing his friend.

"I would be sincerely honored," the father of the family accepted. He hugged the baby and smiled; his daughter right next to him. After permission, she leaned down to kiss the infant's head. They all continued to chat for a long time before letting the little family rest.

The next morning around ten o'clock, after a short night, the young parents received a visit from Rich, Patterson, Conrad, Boston as well as Bill Nye, the father of the computer scientist who was in town. The fine team arrived with a smile and their arms full of gifts. They chatted happily for a long time, the pretty blonde with Rose in her arms.

"Damn, I can't believe you made that little angel. You took a long time to make up your mind, but we can say that you do not do things by halves," she remarked, making the assembly laugh.

"It's certain. It is crazy all the memories that it brings back to me. You and your brothers were just as cute when you were babies but a lot less calm I must say," her father announced tenderly.

"I'm not even surprised. Knowing yourself you had to do scientific equations and experiments before you even learned to walk," Edgar joked. At this second burst of laughter, the little girl began to squirm.

"Oh here is one who is awake. Maybe you want to get it back?"

"I find that she seems comfortably installed in the arms of her godmother… But then it is you who decides," Tasha declared impatient to observe the reaction of her best friend. The computer scientist immediately raised her head with a slight smile on her lips.

"My god, obviously I accept. It will even be with joy," Patterson announced without hesitation. She and Zapata had had some complicated times but in the end, she had been and always will be her best friend. They were all a family, a growing family, and that is the only thing that mattered. The small group stayed for another hour to discuss happily before having to go to their respective jobs.

In the middle of the afternoon, a little while before mother and daughter left the hospital, it was the turn of Reade's parents and Zapata's brothers to disembark. They had come to take the little family home and the many gifts they had received.

"My God, I don't even know how we're going to get everything into the apartment. Finally, I am starting to believe Allie was not kidding when she talked about all the things it takes to take care of a baby," the young father wondered.

"Your friend did not lie, but if that can reassure you, it decreases over time. I have prepared a few dishes that you can put in your freezer. That way you won't have to waste time cooking or shopping for the next few days," Edgar's mom announced as she finished putting baby bodysuits in a bag.

"You should not have. That is sweet but," Natasha began, who was sitting in the chair with her daughter in her arms. Her boyfriend and mother-in-law were packing the things and her brothers were carrying them in the car.

"Please, no but. I have been there, and I can guarantee you are going to be busy for the next few weeks, enough to get a little help without feeling guilty," the elder retorted automatically. She took her grandchild in her arms while the policewoman took the opportunity to change. About fifteen minutes later everyone was ready to go.

"Sister, the car is full. We are going to go there to let you go in peace and I will call you within a day or two," her younger brother announced, going up to his room.

"No worries and thank you for helping out."

"It was with pleasure and for nothing in the world, we would have waited longer to see your little shrimp. Grandmother would be proud," the second breathed, leaning on the cradle. After a few short minutes of discussion, everyone goes to their car. Putting Rose in the car seat, Edgar struck a pose and smiled.

"My heart, is everything okay?"

"Yes, very well, it's just… You can believe it… We are going back to our house with our baby," the deputy director asked moved.

"It's indeed crazy when you think about how far we've come, but I certainly wouldn't want anything to change."

"Me neither, come on, let's go home," the brown-haired man concluded, placing a tender kiss on her lips just before starting the car in the direction of a new life that was just beginning.