This week's #FicPromptFriday installment features Ghost and his grandkiddos. A short one today as I finalize details on TLC for our release this weekend. As with last time, please excuse typos - this is just for fun.
*The girls are all at a baby shower :)
5/27/16 – Adventures in Presidential Babysitting
There were four of them. Why were there four? Why had his children needed to multiply this many times?
Not grandfatherly thoughts to have, but Ghost had them all the same, as Lainie sat down on her butt and wailed up the ceiling. And of course, that woke Camille up in her swing and she wailed too, a thin, half-asleep cry that put screws through Ghost’s temples.
Shit. He’d only been with them an hour. An hour.
He checked his phone to make sure. Yep. An hour. Shit.
“Girls,” he said, getting up off Ava and Mercy’s couch, trying for a soothing tone and not quite managing. “Cam. Lainie. What’s the problem, huh?”
When he reached Lainie, her face was red, eyes screwed shut, tears pouring down her cheeks.
“Hey, hey, hey.” He scooped her up and she thrust her face into his neck, little hands latching onto his shirt. “Nothing happened. I was watching, huh? Nothing happened to make you cry like this.” He had been watching, he had, damn it. She hadn’t fallen, hadn’t had a toy taken from her…
Oh. Nap time. She should have gone down twenty minutes ago. Sam had said she needed her nap at eleven-thirty, or else she got a “little fussy.” Right. A little fussy.
Camille was still crying in her swing; she was ramping up, in fact, getting louder and shriller by the second. Shit, should he try to put them down for a nap together? Maybe they could keep each other company? But Lainie was bigger and older, and would she roll over onto Camille and crush her? Would...
“Poppy,” Remy said, tilting his head back and staring up at him. “Camille is crying.”
“Thanks, sport. I hadn’t noticed.”
“She cries a lot.”
“Yeah. I bet.” He couldn’t think with all this screaming. He’d been in the army, he’d killed men, he’d orchestrated vicious attacks on his enemies – but two babies crying was just too much. “Just watch her for a sec, okay? While I put Lainie down.”
Remy stared at him with a miniature version of his father’s face, grave and dark-eyed. “Okay.”
Doubt worried at the back of his mind as he carried Lainie down the hall. Camille was strapped into her swing, and Remy and Cal were building an ornate castle out of oversized, non-choking-hazard Legos, but was it safe to leave them unattended? Even for a few seconds?
Lainie had quieted, comforted by their closeness, and now snuffled wetly against his collarbone.
Sam had set up the Pack ‘n Play in Camille’s room and Ghost lowered her slowly, carefully down into it. Tucked the blanket around her. Put her stuffed giraffe in the crook of her chubby arm. She was almost asleep and her eyelids fluttered, cheeks still mottled pink from her outburst.
“That’s it. Don’t fight it.” Ghost patted her stomach and straightened.
Camille was still crying, and when he reached the living room, he heard a thin, pleading cry from Lainie back in the bedroom.
He pushed his hands through his hair and tried to massage the tension from the back of his neck. It just wasn’t the same as having Mags do it, though.
“What am I supposed to do?” he asked no one in particular.
His grandsons stared at him.
Remy said, “Daddy says…Daddy says she cries ‘cause she’s lonely.”
Mercy might have said it, but it was patently untrue; there was no way anyone living in this little house could be lonely, not one of the five of them.
But Ghost was beginning to see that the old phrase about pulling one’s hair out wasn’t an exaggeration. So he said, “And what does your daddy do when she gets like this?”
“How’s it going?” Mercy asked as he walked up the sidewalk to his back door.
“Good,” Ava said on the other end of the line, and he could hear female chatter in the background. “We just getting ready to open gifts.”
“What time will you be done, do you think?”
“Another hour, maybe. There’s a lot of gifts.” She paused, and her tone became worried as she said, “How’s Dad doing?”
“I’ll let you know when I get inside.”
“Okay, text me. And don’t forget the first aid kit’s in the hall bathroom.”
He rolled his eyes and unlocked the back door. “Right.”
“Have a little faith in your dad, fillette. He raised you.”
“Yeah, which is why I have very little faith, Merc. Just text me and let me know everyone’s alive.”
He chuckled as he hung up…but he might have hurried a little, as he slipped inside and headed for the living room.
The quiet hit him first. “Shit,” he whispered, lengthening his strides as he moved through the kitchen. The TV was rumbling, but there were no voices, no sounds of play, no crying. Silence was terrifying when it came to kids, something he’d learned in the past four years.
“Hey–” he started when he hit the threshold, and then closed his mouth. And then smiled.
Ghost was lying on his back on the floor, Camille and Lainie snuggled into the protective curves of his arms. Remy and Cal had tucked themselves into their grandfather’s sides, heads resting on his stomach. They were all piled together like puppies, all fast asleep.
Mercy pulled out his phone, snapped a picture, and texted it to Ava with the caption: I’m having this painted on the clubhouse wall, FYI.