Chapter 28 - Day 2555
Lucy listened through the open window to the sounds of Tim encouraging Cassie to keep her eye on the ball while Lucy wriggled the newest addition to their family, Nathan, into a new outfit after he had quite the diaper explosion.
"Is that better, sweetheart?" Lucy cooed at the baby. He giggled happily in response, which was much better than the screaming that had just occurred.
Snapping the last closure of his onesie over his fresh diaper, Lucy scooped Nathan up from his changing table. She cuddled him close to her chest and carried him through the house out into the backyard. Tim was now behind Cassie, using his arms to show her how to swing the small plastic bat she was holding.
"Watch me, mommy!" Cassie exclaimed. Just a few months shy of four years old, Cassie reminded Lucy of herself. The little girl was a free spirit, but was also tough and didn't give up. She could be a little headstrong like her father and had his lighter hair, but she had Lucy's eyes and the shape of her face. It had been amazing watching her grow.
After Cassie had turned two, Tim and Lucy began discussing growing their family. Their son, Nathan was born less than a year later. It hadn't been such a struggle to get pregnant a second time. Now at almost ten months old, Nathan had a head of dark hair, was crawling, babbling up a storm, and was obsessed with his older sister. His personality was just beginning to show. He was a little more hesitant than Cassie. A little more thoughtful before doing something. Lucy and Tim guessed that he would turn out to be a lot more like Tim.
"I'm watching," Lucy responded enthusiastically to her daughter as she took a seat on an outdoor wicker chair. She bounced the baby on her lap while keeping an eye on her daughter. Tim walked a few feet away from Cassie and tossed the ball gently to her. Miraculously the ball made contact with the bat. It only traveled a few inches before falling to the ground, but the way Cassie's eyes lit up, it was as if she hit a homerun at the world series. With pride in his eyes, Tim raced to his daughter, scooped her up and began to run around some invisible bases. Lucy clapped, which in turn, made the baby mimic her and clap too.
"I did it!" Cassie yelled.
"You sure did," Tim replied. "I knew you could do it."
"Good job, sweetheart!" Lucy called.
"I think we might have the first female MLB player on our hands," Tim stated.
"Daddy, what's MLB mean?"
Lucy laughed. Her daughter was always full of questions.
"It's baseball," Tim explained. "You know when you and daddy sit down and watch baseball on the TV together? That's MLB."
"Go Dodgers!" Cassie exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air.
"You taught her well," Lucy observed.
"Hey, at least one of the women in my life needs to like baseball," Tim stated.
"Can Nathan play MLB?" Cassie asked.
"Maybe someday," Tim answered.
"But right now he's a little too little," Lucy told Cassie.
As she spoke Nathan began to squirm. Lucy stood up and put him gently in the grass. He immediately got on all fours and began crawling for the ball Cassie had hit.
"Maybe he's not too little," Tim remarked. "We'll get him playing baseball in no time."
Cassie plopped her bottom in the grass and Nathan crawled right towards her. Cassie handed him the ball. She began talking to him about the rules of baseball. She included how there are three bases and how stealing one is ok, but stealing in real life isn't. Smiling, Tim walked over to the deck where Lucy sat. He sat beside her.
"So, are you excited for our date night?" He asked.
"I am. Hopefully no one gets stabbed this time."
"I don't know. Could be exciting."
"We have enough excitement in our lives," Lucy replied.
"I'm just hoping it won't be as awkward as it was seven years ago."
Lucy smiled. "I think the awkwardness has passed by now. Although if you're still embarrassed to be seen with me…"
"I was not embarrassed to be seen with you!" Tim exclaimed.
"You just didn't want anyone we worked with seeing us," she teased.
"Which, at the time, was the right move."
She laughed. "It was. What time is your sister getting here?"
Tim looked at his watch. "In about an hour. We have to leave here by six if we want to make our reservation."
"Ok. How about you stay out here with them and I'll start getting their dinner ready so all Genny has to do is heat it up for them and then I can hop in the shower and get ready on time?"
Tim nodded and Lucy disappeared into the house. His attention turned to his two children. Never in his life had he thought he could be as happy as he was watching his daughter and son playing in the grass.
An hour later, Tim greeted Genny and her husband Elliot at the door. After hugs and kisses were exchanged amongst the kids and their aunt and uncle, Ellliot settled on the couch with Nathan in his lap. The baby happily played peek-a-boo with his uncle.
"Where's Lucy?" Genny asked.
"In the bedroom getting ready," Tim answered. "Although she's been in there for quite a while. I'll go see…"
"No," Genny interrupted, sensing something that only a woman could. "Let me."
Tim and Elliot gave each other a glance that meant something along the lines of women are strange while Genny went up the stairs to Tim and Lucy's bedroom. She knocked on the door.
"I'm almost ready," Lucy's voice called out through the door.
"Lucy, it's Genny."
"Oh. Come in."
Genny opened the door and saw Lucy, wearing a bathrobe, sitting on the end of the bed with a smattering of clothing all around her. She had a tissue in her hand and she dabbed at her eyes. She clearly was nowhere near ready.
"Hey, you ok?" Genny asked.
"Nothing fits," Lucy stated. "I mean, we've had this romantic evening planned for weeks and I kept putting off picking out an outfit. This is the first real night we've been out that wasn't work related since before Nathan was born and I don't even own a dress that fits."
"I'm sure we can find something," Genny assured her.
"It's those damn twelve pounds."
"I can't seem to lose these final twelve pounds after having Nathan. After Cassie was born, it was easy. I got back in shape pretty easily, but now…"
"First of all, you are in shape," Genny assured her. "You're gorgeous. Women would kill for your curves. And give yourself a break. You've had two kids. You're balancing two kids and a demanding job."
"It's the seventh anniversary of our first date today. Did Tim tell you that?"
"No, but I had a feeling today was special for a reason."
"We're going to the same restaurant we did for our first date."
"Didn't someone get stabbed while you were on your first date?" Ginny asked.
"Yes," Lucy answered simply as if this was a common occurrence for her and Tim, which, of course, it was. "I wanted to wear the same dress that I wore that night, but it's too tight and…"
Lucy sniffled and dabbed at her eyes again with the tissue.
"Tim is not going to care what you wear. Lucy, do you see the way he looks at you? I have never seen a man look at a woman that way. Hell, even Elliot doesn't look at me that way. You could be wearing a plastic bag and that man would still drool over you. But you know what? Forget him for a minute. Wear what makes you feel good. Wear what makes you feel sexy."
"That's the problem. I don't really feel sexy right now. And I know he's your brother so feel free to plug your ears right now, but our sexy time has seriously declined since Nathan was born. I mean, we have sex, but it just doesn't…it just feels like sex. It's not sexy. It's not like making love. And I know it's my fault."
"It takes two to tango," Genny remarked.
"But I'm the one who has changed. He's hotter than ever and…I don't know what's wrong with me. I've never been self conscious, but…"
"You had a baby less than a year ago. Your hormones are still out of whack. When I had Tyler, I could barely get out of bed and I don't think I let my ex-husband see me naked for more than a year after that. I understand you wanting to feel sexy for Tim and wanting to get back to the way things were. But I want you to think about you for a minute. Think of a time you felt beautiful and sexy just for you. Not for my brother."
Lucy nodded. "Angela's wedding."
"Ok, now we're getting somewhere. Tell me more."
"It was years ago, but at that time, it was the first time I had gotten all dolled up in a long time. Sometimes wearing that police uniform can make a woman feel less than feminine and I remember when I was getting ready for the wedding I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, damn, I look good. I did it for me, but then I saw the way Tim looked at me and…we were still just friends then, but…damn it made me feel sexy."
Genny smiled. "Good. So how do we recapture that feeling of the green dress?"
"I still have it," Lucy said.
"I don't know if it'll fit."
"There's only one way to find out."
Thirty minutes later, Lucy looked at herself in the mirror. Genny was busy behind her, hanging up some of the clothes that Lucy had left all over the bed. Lucy put a hand on her stomach. It may not have been as flat and tight as the first time she put on the dress, but she had given life to two tiny people who had become the center of her world and she wouldn't trade that for anything. The dress still fit beautifully and Lucy knew Tim would be pleased to see it. With her hair down and wavy, her makeup perfect, and that green dress on, Lucy felt like herself again.
"You look beautiful," Genny commented. "Now let's get you out of the house before Nathan spits up on you."
Lucy laughed. Grabbing a small, black clutch off her bureau, she made her way to the kitchen. Elliot was feeding Nathan in his highchair and Tim was helping Cassie cut up her nuggets. He turned to look at Lucy when he heard her approaching.
"Wow," he said, unable to take his eyes off of her. He just stared at her for a moment, taking every inch of her in. "I have been waiting more than seven years to see you in that dress again and it does not disappoint."
Lucy smiled. She had half a mind to drag him up to their bedroom in that very moment and show him just how sexy she was feeling, but she knew that wasn't exactly an option.
"I'm glad you like it," Lucy replied.
"You look pretty, mommy," Cassie exclaimed.
"Thank you, sweetheart."
"Alright, well, you two be good for your Aunt Genny and Uncle Elliot," Tim said, wanting to get their date started. He kissed Cassie on the cheek and kissed Nathan on top of his head. As he did so, Nathan grabbed the spoon of mashed potatoes he was eating and banged it against his tray in such a way that mashed potato went flying in the air, landing a good foot from his highchair.
"You better stay away if you don't want to have to change that dress," Elliot warned.
"Then I'll send my love from here," Lucy said, blowing kisses to her two children. She turned to Genny. "Thank you for doing this."
"Are you kidding? We get to spend the whole night with two children who actually want to hang out with us versus a teenager who doesn't? I'll take it!"
Lucy chuckled. She gave Genny a hug. "And thank you for everything," she whispered.
"You're welcome. Have a great night. And don't worry about us. We'll be fine."
"I know you will be. But you can call us anyway if you need us."
"Shall we?" Tim said, walking towards Lucy. He was still staring at her.
Tim put out his arm in such a way that Lucy slid her arm through his. They walked out together to Tim's SUV. Once Nathan was born, Tim finally relented and traded in his pickup truck for a more family friendly car. As they drove, they chatted about the kids and how much Cassie was thriving in preschool and how they couldn't wait for Nathan to start walking. They got to the restaurant and Tim opened the door for Lucy. As she stepped out, he looked her over up and down.
"You are gorgeous," he said.
"Thank you. I needed to hear that."
Tim cocked an eyebrow at her, but they were interrupted by a valet taking Tim's key. They walked into the restaurant together, Tim gave his name, and a hostess brought them to their table. Tim ordered a bottle of wine for them to share and they ordered pretty immediately, both knowing exactly what they wanted.
"So," Lucy began. "Did you ever think during that first date seven years ago that we'd be here now? Married with two kids?"
"I didn't think about the specifics, but I knew this was real. I knew there was a future for us. I knew we wouldn't have taken the risk if there wasn't."
Lucy smiled. "Thank you for asking me out."
"You're welcome. After that time we spent undercover, I don't think there was any way I could go back to just being your friend."
Lucy grabbed her wine glass and lifted it up in a toast. "To going undercover."
Tim raised his glass. "To going undercover."
They tapped their glasses against each other and then each took a sip. As he leaned over to kiss her, the waiter appeared. They both gave their orders. Lucy, of course, ordered the sea bass.
"So, what did you mean before?" Tim asked.
""When we were getting out of the car and I told you you were gorgeous and you said you needed to hear it."
"It was nothing."
"Lucy…" Tim prompted.
"I don't want to ruin our evening with talk of my insecurities."
Tim took her hand. "Talk to me."
Lucy could feel her walls breaking down. "I was just…I…well, I'm sure you've noticed that it's been more difficult since Nathan was born for me to get back into shape and…and I know our sex life has been suffering because of it and…"
"Hey, woah, woah. I wouldn't say our sex life is suffering," Tim said with his voice low so others wouldn't overhear. "Yes, maybe we haven't been able to be as intimate since Nathan was born, but that's because we have two kids and we put in a lot of hours at work. A lot of opposite hours since having the kids. It has nothing to do with you. And let's talk about the most important thing here. You are beautiful. You are stunning. You are sexy. Lucy, you turn me on more than I should admit out loud here in the public."
"Oh really?" She asked with a sexy smile.
The waiter brought their food. They both thanked him. Lucy immediately picked up her fork, but Tim didn't. He had worry written all over his face.
"Is it me? Do I not tell you enough how absolutely gorgeous you are?"
"No, no," Lucy answered, tears suddenly springing to her eyes. She in no way wanted him to feel like her insecurities were his fault. "It's not you. It's me. It's hormones and extra baby weight and the pressures of trying to be a good mom and a good cop and a good wife."
"Well, I can tell you this, you are an amazing mom, and a damn good cop, and an incredible wife. And if there is ever anything I can do to make you feel better or to make any of your jobs easier, talk to me. I want you to always feel as beautiful as you are in my eyes."
"It's why I wore the green dress," Lucy said. "Genny told me to think of a time when I felt really good about myself and wearing this dress to Angela's wedding…you seeing me in this dress at Angela's wedding. That day I felt really good about myself."
"You were gorgeous then and you are even more gorgeous now."
Lucy put her hand on his knee under the table.
"You know all of this talk about how beautiful I am has me feeling a little…frisky."
She slowly moved his hand up his thigh. He looked straight into her eyes. She had the most benign expression on her face as if she wasn't slowly torturing him under the table. The ability to act as if everything was totally normal was a testament to her abilities as an undercover officer.
"Oh yeah?" Tim practically moaned.
"What are we going to do about that?"
"Well, there is that nice hotel across the street. We could finish our dinner, get some dessert to go, and check into the room I already booked for us tonight."
"You booked a hotel room?"
"What about the kids?" Lucy asked, stealthily moving from temptress to mom mode. Tim knew that their kids would always come first and that made her even more attractive to him.
"I may have asked Genny and Elliot to stay overnight," Tim told her. "I even washed the bedding in the guest room for them."
"Oh you did, huh? Were you planning on getting lucky tonight, Mr. Bradford?"
"I was hoping, Mrs. Chen-Bradford."
"Well, if we can get some of those chocolate covered strawberries, I would say your chances are pretty good."
Tim picked up his fork and shoveled some of his food into his mouth.
"Slow down," Lucy said.
"The sooner we eat, the sooner we can order dessert, and the sooner we can get to naked time."
"We have all night." She leaned over, giving him a lingering kiss. "We have the rest of our lives."
"Yes, we do," Tim said. "I love you."
"I love you too."