Bosco put the bags from their Christmas shopping trip in the closet then moved back over to the dining room table where Angel sat in her baby carrier. Her arms and legs were flailing as she stared wide-eyed at the twinkling Christmas lights that Bosco and Charlie had hung in the doorway between the family room and dining room. He smiled at his daughter as he unstrapped her from the carrier and carefully picked her up. "Hey, Baby," he whispered before placing a kiss on her little cheek. He carried her into the family room and sat down in his recliner.
Faith smiled as she watched them from the doorway of the living room, leaning against the wall. Her eyes were full of warmth, her heart content. The last year had been good to them and Faith was grateful for that.
Very carefully he eased back in the chair and rested Angel on his chest, a protective hand on her back. He glanced over to where Faith was standing and smiled softly. "Shopping wears us out."
"It does me too. But I still gotta fix dinner." Her voice was light.
"If you're tired..." He shifted slightly and reached for his wallet. "We can just order take-out. I'm sure Em would go pick it up for us."
"No, it's okay. I'll just pop a couple frozen pizzas in the oven if that's all right with you."
"Of course it is," he told her softly, as he gently rubbed Angel's back.
Faith nodded, still smiling faintly as she gazed at them. "Okay. I'll be back." She disappeared into the kitchen.
"We'll be right here. Won't we, Sweetie?" He kissed the top of the baby's head.
Angel cooed, smacking his shoulder lightly with one hand.
Bosco grinned, pressing his lips to her head once more. "I love you," he told her softly, closing his eyes for a moment.
"That's me," he whispered. He was so happy and proud to be a husband and a father, and it was times like this when he had time to sit and reflect upon it that he couldn't believe all the wonderful things that had come his way in the last year.
Faith yawned, rubbing the back of her neck as she moved into the living room after putting the pizzas in the oven. She laid down on the sofa, stretching out.
"How you doin'?" He asked her softly. "Do you need me to get you anything?"
"No, I'm good. Just tired." She smiled faintly, closing her eyes.
"I never realized Christmas shopping could be so tiring. Last year I think I was just so excited with it being our first Christmas. Not that I'm not excited for this year."
Yawning again, she nodded slightly. "I forgot how tired this kind of shopping makes me. There's so much to do, so many people to buy for...all I wanna do is sleep."
"Why don't you take a nap, and I'll make sure to check on dinner."
Faith smiled. "That'd be great." She turned over on the couch so she was lying facing the back of the sofa.
He looked over at Faith. "I'm gonna go upstairs and check on the kids," he told her as he cradled Angel in his arms and stood up slowly.
"Okay. Night," she murmured.
"Good night." Moving over to the sofa he leaned down and kissed her cheek. When he stood up he used one hand to pull the blanket off the back of the sofa and cover his wife with it.
She smiled softly, relaxing into the sofa cushions.
"Let's go check on the teenagers," Bosco whispered to Angel. "Make sure they're behavin'." He climbed the stairs and knocked on Charlie's door.
"Oops. Come in."
Shaking his head Bosco turned the knob and stepped inside. "So who did you think I was?"
"Emily." Charlie didn't look up from his computer.
"And why exactly would you be tellin' her to go away," he asked patiently as he moved over to sit at the foot of Charlie's bed.
"Because she's a pain in the butt?"
"Don't make me shut that thing off."
He groaned. "Why are you bein' such a putz?"
"Me?" He chuckled. "I think Chuck's got that backwards don't you Angel?"
"Listen to your baby sister, Chuck. She knows the truth."
He rolled his eyes and reluctantly turned around.
"That's better. For a second I thought maybe you were trying to ignore your step dad."
Charlie folded his arms across his chest.
"I just stopped in to see how you were doing and to check and see if you had enough money to get your mom and sisters something for Christmas," he told him softly.
He made a face. "Why do I have to get Emily something?"
"Because she's your sister and whether she's a pain in your butt or your a pain in hers you love her and she loves you."
"So why can't I just give her a lump of coal?"
Bosco sighed. "Do you have enough money or not?"
He sighed, as well. "Yeah, I guess."
"What about for your dad?" He asked quietly. "You're gonna be seein' him on the 23rd."
Charlie turned around to face the computer, not answering.
"Charlie what's wrong?"
"Why do I have to tell you -everything-?" he demanded, shaking his head. "Maybe I just want some damn privacy."
"First off you better watch your mouth, Charlie. I won't stand for you swearing especially around Angel. And secondly I only ask because I care about you."
"Like she understands what I'm saying," he mumbled.
"Doesn't mean she won't try repeating it," he said sternly.
He rolled his eyes. "Fine."
"Look, I don't know why you're so mad at me and why you feel the need to get an attitude like this. I'm just trying to make sure we have a good Christmas. I just want you guys to enjoy being together. Is that too much to ask?"
Charlie didn't answer for a minute. "I don't wanna see Dad."
Bosco's eyes widened slightly. "You...don't?"
"No." He tapped his keyboard keys a little harder as he played his game.
"Well, then you don't have to."
"Really?" Charlie turned to look at him, surprised.
"Of course." He nodded his head. "Charlie you're old enough to decide for yourself now. Your mom and I would never make you go see him if you didn't want."
"Good. Cause I don't."
"Okay." He smiled. "Maybe you and me could go to a movie or something that night instead," he suggested. "You know...if you want."
He stood up. "Only if you want. You just let me know."
"All right. Thanks Bosco."
"You're welcome, Sport. There's pizza in the oven. I'll call you when it's done."
"Okay." Charlie smiled and went back to playing his game.
Bosco let out a breath and headed out of the room, closing the door behind him. "And he used to be the easy one," he told Angel as they made their way to Emily's room.
Loud music blared from the speakers in Emily's room.
Groaning Bosco knocked loudly on the door.
She appeared at the door a moment later. "Oh...hey, Bosco. What's up?"
"Just wanted to talk, and uh...I kinda need a favor."
Her eyebrows furrowed. "Okay."
"Can I come in?"
"Yeah, sure." She moved aside to let him in, then walked over and turned her radio down.
He walked over to Emily's bed and carefully laid Angel down, sitting right beside her he kept a watchful eye on her. "You done your Christmas shopping yet?"
She nodded. "Finished last week."
"Good, then you don't need any extra money."
"Well, I could always use extra money." She grinned.
"Couldn't we all," he chuckled.
She nodded and sat down on the other side of her baby sister, smiling as she touched the baby's head gently. "So what's the favor?"
He glanced over at the computer in the corner of his stepdaughter's room. "You think you could fire that thing up?"
Her eyebrows furrowed. "My computer? Yeah..."
"There's this...well this bedspread thing with matching pillows and drapes and stuff that your mom was wanting, and uh...the lady at the store she wasn't much help, but they have a website. I'm not real good at pickin' out this kinda stuff."
A smile tugged at her lips. "I'll log you onto the Internet."
"And you'll help me right?"
"Yeah, of course."
He let out a breath. "Good. Cause when it comes to feminine things...I don't stand a chance."
Emily chuckled. "Tell me something I didn't know." She moved over to her computer, flipping it on.
"Hey, so..Charlie doesn't want to go to your dad's," he said quietly a moment later. "Any idea why?"
She fell silent. "No."
She bit her lower lip. "Bosco?"
"What is it, Em?"
"I wanna spend Christmas with Dad."
His heart sank, and he ran a hand through his hair. "Did you talk to your mom about this?"
"No," she said softly.
"You want me to talk to her?" He asked in a whisper.
"No, I'll...I'll do it, I just..." She sighed softly. "I guess I've been putting it off."
"Can I ask you something?"
She nodded wordlessly.
"Did uh..." He looked down at Angel then shifted his gaze back to Emily. "Did I do somethin' wrong or..."
"What? No." She quickly turned to look at him. "It's just...you and Mom and...Charlie and Angel...you all have each other...and...Dad. Well, he doesn't have anyone."
He let out a breath and nodded his head, relieved. "That's real sweet of you, Em."
She smiled faintly. "Charlie's mad at me."
"I sensed that when I talked to him. Is this why he's mad?"
She nodded. "He says I'm ruining Christmas." She turned to face her computer once more.
"Is that why he doesn't want to go to your dad's?"
"Yeah." Her voice was soft.
Bosco nodded his head and was quiet for a few moments as he looked down at Angel who was smiling, oblivious to everything that was going on. He stuck his finger out, letting the baby girl grab hold. "What if I came up with a solution?" He asked in a whisper.
"What kind of solution?"
"What if we invited your dad over here?"
Her eyes widened a little and she turned to look at him. "What?"
"That way you and Charlie would get to spend Christmas with your dad and with your mom. Nobody'd have to be apart," he said softly.
"Yeah, but...you and Dad hate each other." She shook her head.
He shrugged. "He's not my best friend, that's for sure."
"I don't know that this is such a good idea."
"Causa me and your dad?"
"And Mom...I don't think she'd like having Dad around either."
"I think what she would like, what both of us would like, is having all three of our kids here on Christmas. And if adding your dad to the mix is a way to do that then I say that's what we do."
She stared at him for a moment. "I think maybe you should talk to Mom about that first."
"Yeah, that's probably a good idea," he told her with a soft smile.
"Here's your website."
"Thanks." He scooped up Angel and moved over to stand behind Emily. "The one she liked had like...it was like this floral pattern with like...pinks and stuff."
After a few moments, she pointed to one. "This one?"
"Yeah." He nodded. "Yeah, that's it. Does it have all that other stuff with it? The drapes and pillows and stuff?"
"Yeah, but...it's way more expensive to get all of it."
"But that's what she wants," he said softly.
"You're sweet, Bosco." Her eyes were full of warmth.
He shrugged. "I try."
"No, I mean...most guys aren't like you."
Bosco shifted Angel in his arms when she started to fuss a little. "How do you mean?"
"Well...it's like...you're always doing nice things for Mom and buying her stuff just because and..." She shrugged. "Dad never did that kind of stuff, you know?"
He nodded. "Well, your mom gave me a life I wasn't sure I'd ever have," he told her softly before kissing Angel's head. "Here I am with a wife and three kids. Who saw that one coming?"
Emily smiled, then reached out and took Angel from him, bouncing her lightly on her knees.
For a moment he just stood there, watching the girls together, a smile on his face. "I just like doing things for you guys so you know I care."
"We know," she said softly. "Don't we, Angel?"
Angel cooed, grinning at Emily and sticking a finger in her mouth.
"It really means a lot to me that you and Charlie treat Angel so well," he told Emily quietly.
Emily looked up at him, a little surprised at his words. "Why wouldn't we? She's our baby sister. We love her."
"I know, but...I'm not your dad and I've seen a lot of cases where that can really cause some problems and resentment and stuff." He shrugged. "Sometimes I think I've been a cop too long. Seen too much bad stuff."
She was quiet for a moment, a thoughtful expression on her face. "You know...a few years ago...you woulda been right. I would have resented it. But...I look at my mom and...she's so much happier with you than she ever was with my dad. And that's what matters."
"Thanks, Em." He went over and stood behind the chair she was sitting in. Resting a hand on her shoulder he leaned down and kissed the top of her head. "So...I guess we should get this thing ordered if it's gonna get here in time for Christmas, huh?"
"Probably a good idea." She smiled and held onto her baby sister as she turned to face the computer once more.
He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and found the credit card he needed, reaching around Emily he placed it on the desk. "Okay, work your magic."
She raised her eyebrows. "Wow. You really do trust me, handing me your Visa Card." She looked up at him and grinned.
"Oh I've got no reason to worry...it's almost maxed out with all the shopping we've been doing," he told her lightly.
She sighed dramatically. "That figures. Easy come, easy go." Smiling, she quickly typed in the needed information and within moments, the set had been ordered. "All done."
Bosco stared at the computer screen. "That's it?"
"That's it." She chuckled.
"Why the hell did your mother and I drag Angel around that damn mall for the better part of a day then? We coulda done it all here." He pointed at the computer.
"Because neither one of you knows how to operate a computer?"
"We use computers all the time...at work...though they're not near as nice as this one."
"I mean the Internet."
"You're gonna have to teach me how to do all this stuff someday. Cause when you and Charlie are off at college somebody's gonna have to be able to help Angel with stuff."
"She'll learn it at school," Emily told him. "Probably by fifth grade, if not sooner."
"So she's not gonna need my help?" He asked softly.
"Well, probably not with the Internet. But lots of other stuff."
"Yeah, I just wanna be able to help her with everything, ya know?"
She looked up at him, her eyes soft. "I know."
He crouched down beside Emily's chair, and ran a gentle hand over the baby's cheek.
"You're a good father."
"You think so?"
"I know so." Emily kissed the top of Angel's head. "And so does Angel."
Bosco smiled softly. "Well, I should go check on dinner and talk to your mom about Christmas."
"Do you want me to watch her?"
"Oh, you don't have to. You can go back to whatever you were doing."
"You're just hogging her," she said in a teasing voice, a grin on her face.
"Can you blame me?"
"No, but you're not the only one who needs cuddle time, you know."
A soft chuckle escaped him. "You really wanna watch her?"
"Yeah. I feel like I never see her," she teased.
"Fine. Fine. You win," he said lightly. He kissed Angel's cheek. "Try not to torment your sister, Sweetie."
Angel cooed, flailing her arms.
"I think that's her way of saying she'll try but she can't guarantee anything," he joked.
Emily smiled back. "I think I can handle it."
"I'm sure you can. Now, I don't wanna hear you two talkin' about boys. They're nothin' but trouble. You hear me?"
"Don't I know it."
"Well you'll have plenty of time for that stuff well after your in your forties anyway, so no need fretting over it now," he told her lightly.
She smirked. "Forties? Oh, you mean when I'm -your- age."
"Hey! Watch it young lady."
Shaking his head he grabbed his credit card then made his way to the door. "I'll call you when dinner is ready."
"You could leave that here," she joked.
"Only if I never wanna see it again," he said lightly.
She grinned. "Go make dinner."
"Yes ma'am. Thanks for watchin' your sister."
There was a smile on his face as he closed the door to Emily's room and made his way back downstairs. He'd really lucked out with Emily and Charlie, and how receptive they'd been to the idea of him marrying their mom and having a baby.
The kids had gone to bed and Bosco sat beside Faith on the sofa, his feet propped up on the coffee table next to the baby monitor. He had his arm around Faith as they watched a late night movie.
Her head was resting against his, her fingers laced through his.
When he'd come downstairs before dinner Faith had already fallen asleep so he hadn't gotten a chance to talk to her about Christmas yet. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Faith," he whispered.
"There's something I need to talk to you about," he told her softly.
She lifted her head off his shoulder. "Sounds serious."
"Well...yeah. It is." He rubbed his thumb over the back of her hand. "It's about Christmas."
Her eyebrows furrowed. "What about it?"
"I was thinking that maybe this year...we'd do something...different."
He blew out a breath. "Here's the deal. Emily doesn't want Fred to be alone on Christmas, so she told me that she wanted to spend Christmas with him. Apparently she told Charlie this so Charlie's pissed at her and doesn't want to go to Fred's on the 23rd."
Faith fell silent, staring at him.
"So I had an idea," he whispered.
It took her a moment to take the bait. "What idea?"
"I thought that maybe we could...well, that we could invite Fred over here," he said quietly. "That way we'd get to have Christmas with all three kids."
Her eyes widened a little more, her mouth dropping open.
"Funny how your reaction is pretty close to the same as Emily's when I suggested it."
"Bosco..." She shook her head. "I don't even..."
"I want Emily here on Christmas," he told her softly. "This is a purely selfish reason."
"Yeah, but...Fred? You hate Fred."
"Does everybody know that?" He asked lightly.
"But what do you think? Would it be okay if we invited him over? I know Charlie's gonna regret it if he doesn't spend any time with his dad."
She hesitated. "I'm just tryin' to imagine...the six of us in room on Christmas morning."
"I know it doesn't sound like it'll work, Faith, but I swear...I just want everybody to be happy. That's all I want. And if this is how we can achieve that..."
"And having Fred here on Christmas is going to make -you- happy?"
"No, but having you and all three of the kids here will."
Faith was silent for a moment. "Let's...think about it for the night okay?"
He nodded his head, and gave her hand a squeeze.
"I'm beat," she murmured.
His eyebrows furrowed. "Didn't your nap help earlier?"
"Yeah, but I'm still tired. I think I may be comin' down with a bug or something."
"That's not good." He kissed her temple. "We should head up to bed."
Nodding, she slowly stood up. "Maybe I should sleep down here...I don't want you to catch it."
"You can't be serious?" He stood up as well. "There's no way you're sleepin' on the couch."
"It's a comfortable couch."
"I know it is, but if you aren't feeling well you're sleeping in a big comfortable bed, not on some tiny couch. And I'm not about to sleep alone just cause you might be coming down with something."
She sighed softly. "Don't blame me if you wind up gettin' sick."
"I'm not gonna get sick." He used the remote to turn off the television then picked up the baby monitor and took Faith's hand.
She squeezed his hand lightly, letting him lead her toward the stairs.
"Is there anything I can get you before we go to bed? Tylenol or something?"
"No. I'm just tired."
"Okay. Why don't you go get in bed and I'll check on Angel real quick?"
"All right." She moved into the bedroom and didn't hesitate before crawling under the covers.
Bosco quietly made his way into the baby's room and tiptoed over to the crib where she lay fast asleep. He smiled down at her as he covered her back up with the blanket she'd kicked off. Leaning against the railing he gently ran his fingers over her head as he gazed at her for a moment. "Sweet dreams, Angel," he whispered before heading out of the room.
Faith glanced at him as he walked into the bedroom. "How's she doin'?"
"She's our perfect little angel," he told her softly as he stripped down to his boxers before crawling into bed beside her.
A soft smile touched her lips and she closed her eyes.
He scooted over to lay next to her and slid his arm around her waist.
She shifted a little closer to him, resting her head against his shoulder.
"If you need anything just wake me up," he told her softly.
"I will. Thanks."
"Love you," he whispered.
"I love you too, Boz," she whispered back.
"Sweet dreams," he murmured as he closed his eyes.
"Sweet dreams." Letting out a breath, she felt herself starting to drift off to sleep.
Bosco sat in the recliner, cup of coffee in one hand, Angel cradled against him with the other arm. There was Christmas music playing softly on the stereo as Faith finished rearranging some of the gifts under the tree. The doorbell rang. Bosco put his coffee down and stood up with Angel. "I'll get it."
She looked up at him nervously.
"It'll be fine. I promise to be on my best behavior."
"It's not you I'm worried about," she mumbled.
"You worried about yourself," he asked lightly as he headed over to the door.
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, that's it."
"Just try and relax," he told her softly. "And you..." He looked at Angel. "Don't go spittin' up on our company or anything."
Faith couldn't help but smile. "Unless you really feel like it."
He chuckled. "Okay, now both of you...behave." Shifting Angel a little in his arms he pulled the door open.
Fred didn't smile at Bosco when he opened the door.
"Merry Christmas, Fred," Bosco greeted him, trying to be friendly. "Come on in."
"Thanks." He hesitated a moment, then stepped inside.
"Can I get you some coffee or something?" He asked as he closed the door behind the other man.
"Coffee's good. Thanks."
"No problem." He motioned toward the couch. "Make yourself comfortable. The kids'll be down in a minute."
He nodded and moved over to the sofa, sitting down and glancing around.
Bosco walked over to Faith, and touched her shoulder. "Did you need more coffee, hon?"
She shook her head. "No, I'm good. Thanks, Boz."
"Can you take the munchkin for a minute while I get Fred some coffee?"
"Yeah." She reached out and took Angel from him, smiling softly at her baby daughter.
"Be right back," he told her softly.
"Okay." Faith nodded and drew in a breath as she watched him leave the room.
Fred let out a breath. "So..."
"Merry Christmas," she said, forcing herself to smile though she felt uncomfortable.
"Yeah." He nodded. "Merry Christmas."
Angel cooed, smiling broadly.
He watched the baby for a moment. "She a happy baby?"
"Yeah, very." Faith couldn't help but smile for real as Angel smiled at her.
"She looks a little like Emily did as a baby," he said softly.
"Yeah, a little," she agreed softly, glancing at him.
Letting out a breath Fred tried to relax a little. "Emily's always talkin' about her."
"She is?" There was a hint of surprise to her voice.
"Mmhmm. She's pretty proud of havin' a little sister."
"That's good to hear," she murmured.
They fell silent, and Bosco returned a moment later with a try loaded with sugar, cream and the coffee pot. "Wasn't sure how you took your coffee, so I just brought it all."
Faith looked up at him. "Boz?"
He looked over at her. "Yeah?"
"Take Angel," she said softly, standing up.
His eyebrows furrowed as he took the baby. "What's goin' on?"
"I'm not feelin' so good," she murmured, moving past him and heading for the bathroom.
There was a look of concern on his face as he watched her hurry out of the room. Wanting to go check on her he glanced at Angel then looked at Fred.
Fred hesitated a moment. "I can hold her."
"That'd be good. Thanks." He moved over to where the other man was sitting, biting his lip he carefully shifted Angel into Fred's arms. Stepping back for a moment he waited to make sure Angel didn't start to cry.
She looked at Fred, her blue eyes wide, but didn't cry.
"If she uh...if she starts to fuss...just holler."
"I raised two kids, Bosco. I think I can handle it." He looked up at Bosco, a faint smile on his face.
"Yeah." He chuckled. "I guess you can. Sorry."
"Go check on Faith."
"Thanks." He hurried out of the room. "Faith?" He called her name as he approached the bathroom.
Her back was resting against the bathtub and she pressed a hand to her head after flushing the toilet.
"Faith?" He slowly pushed the bathroom door open. "Are you okay?"
It took her a moment to respond. When she looked up at him, her face was pale, her eyes a little glassy.
"Oh, Faith," he whispered. He quickly grabbed a washcloth off the towel rack and got it damp. Kneeling down beside her he gently wiped her face and kissed her forehead.
"Maybe we should get you back in bed," he said softly.
"I don't know, Faith."
"Bosco, I'm pretty sure that...I mean, I'm not totally sure, but I think I'm sure..."
He touched her cheek. "What is it?"
"I think I'm pregnant," she whispered.
His eyes widened. "You...really?"
"I'm three weeks late and...I've been really tired lately...and feeling nauseous a lot..."
A smile spread across his face. "You're pregnant?"
"I think so...I haven't taken a test."
"Well there's...there's gotta be a drugstore open somewhere, right?"
A smile tugged at her lips. "Let's...wait until the kids open their presents, okay?"
He nodded his head, and quickly pressed a kiss to her forehead. "This is so great."
"You're happy?" she asked softly.
"Happy? I'm more than happy. Faith, this is...this is..." He gazed at her, his eyes bright and he ran a hand through his hair as he tried to come up with the words to say. "I love you so much," he whispered.
Her eyes were soft. "I know. And I love you too. I guess I was just...a little worried that..."
"Worried about what?" He questioned quietly.
"That since Angel is still so little...that you might not be happy," she admitted softly.
Bosco touched her cheek. "I could never be unhappy about having a baby with you."
Faith smiled. "That's good to hear."
"So you're happy? You're okay with maybe having another baby?"
"How could I not be?"
"God, Faith, this is so amazing." He slid his arms around her.
She rested her head against his, closing her eyes as she hugged him back.
He kissed her cheek. "I've been kinda hoping we could have another baby," he whispered.
"Really? You never said anything."
"Guess I didn't want to bring it up too soon, or anything. Plus I wanted to make sure that I really had a grasp on this whole family thing." He paused. "And I know with havin' a baby it means that you're gonna have to take a lot more time off of work and I wasn't sure if I should bring it up and..." He shrugged.
She smiled. "You're babbling, Boz," she said good-naturedly.
He started to say something else then closed his mouth and just smiled at her.
Faith kissed his cheek, then slowly stood up. "Come on. We better get out there. I think I'm okay for now."
Standing up beside her he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "We'll go find an open drugstore as soon as all the gifts are opened. I can't wait to find out for sure."
Her eyes were full of warmth. "Me either."
He took her hand. "Let's go rescue Angel from your ex," he said lightly.
A soft chuckle escaped her. "Good idea."
Bosco led Faith back into the living room where they found Charlie sitting on the floor by the tree and Emily sitting next to her dad who was still holding Angel. "Did she fuss or anything?"
"Of course not. What, you think I'm scary or something?" Fred asked, amusement in his eyes.
He chuckled, and was a little surprised to find himself joking around with Fred. "Well I don't, but who knows what she thinks sometimes."
He smiled. "She's a pretty happy baby. Like Emily was."
"I think she's gonna grow up to be a lot like her brother and sister. They're good kids." He bit his lip for a moment, never liking his daughter to be out of his arms for too long. "Do you want me to take her off your hands?"
Fred glanced at Faith, a faint smile still on his face. "No, go ahead." He carefully handed her to Bosco.
"Thanks for watchin' her," he said softly as he cradled Angel in his arms. He kissed her forehead. "Hey, Sweetie. Daddy's back," he whispered.
Fred watched him for a moment, then shifted his gaze back to Faith, whose gaze was locked on her husband, a soft smile on her face.
Moving over to the recliner Bosco sat down and began to slowly rock the chair. Charlie glanced around the room. "Can I open something now?"
"Yep. That one right there." She pointed to a small box toward the front of the tree."
"Cool." He grabbed the gift and tore into the paper.
Bosco looked over at Faith. "You got the camera?"
"It's on the table." She winked at him, then moved over to pick it up.
He smiled at her, and after a moment had to tear his eyes away to watch as his stepson finished unwrapping the gift.
Faith watched as her son's eyes lit up when he finished unwrapping the Harry Potter legos.
"Awesome! Now I can finish building Hogwarts!"
She took his picture, then sat down on the other end of the sofa.
"Your turn, Em," Bosco told her softly.
Emily smiled and moved over to sit beside the tree as she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. She picked up the small package that was toward the front. "This one okay to open?" She asked her mother, though she knew that it was seeing as her mother organized the presents every Christmas morning, putting them in the proper order.
Faith nodded, smiling softly. "Yeah, go ahead, Em."
Unlike her little brother, Emily carefully pulled the tape off one end of the small box and pulled the small white box out of the wrapping paper. She set aside the still intact paper and opened the box. A broad smile crossed her face as she looked up at her mother. "These are the two charms I wanted for my bracelet," she commented.
Her eyes warm, she nodded. "Glad they were the ones you wanted."
"Santa always knows," she said lightly.
Faith chuckled softly. "Well, he's a smart guy." She shifted her gaze to Bosco, a grin on her face.
"At least he thinks he is," he responded. Bosco turned to Charlie. "Hand me that one right there, would ya Chuck?"
Charlie reached for the present Bosco was pointing at and looked at the tag. "It's for Angel," he told everyone as he handed Bosco the gift.
Turning his daughter so she was sitting on his lap, her back against him, he set the package on her lap so she could reach it. "You can go 'head and open something else," he told the young boy. "I'm thinkin' it's gonna take her a while to get this one unwrapped," he joked.
"Well, you can help her," she informed him, grinning.
He grinned and took hold of Angel's hands to help her open the gift. "Wonder what this could be," he said softly. "What do you think it is, Sweetie?"
Angel babbled happily, ripping at the paper.
"That's it," he whispered, a smile on his face. Not wanting to take away her fun Bosco let her tear at the paper.
She grabbed a handful in each hand, waving them in the air and squealing excitedly.
Bosco chuckled and kissed the top of her head. "I don't think we even needed to buy the Care Bear."
Faith chuckled as well, snapping a couple pictures.
When enough of the paper was pulled away Bosco picked up the soft plush bear and waved it in front of Angel. "Look what Santa brought you."
"Bear!" She grabbed it.
He kissed her head and looked at Faith. "I think she likes it."
"I think so." She smiled softly, her eyes locked on her husband and daughter.
"Is it my turn now?" Charlie questioned.
"Yeah, go ahead, Sweetheart."
Charlie grabbed the next gift and tore into it.
Emily shook her head. "You know if you keep opening your gifts so fast it's not gonna last, and Christmas is gonna be over in like..." She glanced at the clock then looked at the gifts under the tree as if calculating. "Six minutes."
"Christmas isn't about presents anyway, Emily," Fred said with a soft smile.
She turned to look at her dad and smiled, then glanced at her mom before shifting her gaze to Bosco. "Yeah." She nodded her head. "I know."
"But it's the best part," Charlie joked, as he held up a new soccer ball with a grin.
Bosco chuckled softly. "Presents can be nice, yeah."
Charlie grinned up at him. "Thanks for the ball."
He shook his head. "I didn't get you that. Santa did."
He rolled his eyes. "I'm fourteen, Bosco, not four."
Bosco covered Angel's ears. "But someone in this room doesn't know what you know."
His eyes widened a little. "Oh...right."
"No big deal," he told him with a chuckle.
Charlie relaxed, a smile on his face.
He pulled Angel a little closer to him as she cuddled with her bear, and watched as Emily began to open her next gift.
Faith sat down on the edge of the sofa, watching her daughter, as well and smiling when Emily pulled out the birthstone ring Fred had gotten her and she thanked him. After nearly a half-hour more, the only gifts left were for the adults.
"Em, why don't you hand your mom one of her gifts," Bosco suggested.
Bosco smiled at her. "Whichever you think is best."
Emily smiled back, and handed her a medium sized package to her mom. "This one's from me."
Faith took the present from her and unwrapped it, a grin forming on her face. She tried to suppress a chuckle but didn't quite manage it.
His eyebrows furrowed as he shifted in the recliner. "What is it?"
Clearing her throat, she picked up the large picture frame and held the picture up for him to see.
"Emily!" Bosco blushed.
"What? It's a great picture." She grinned.
"But you...that wasn't supposed to be prepared for public display."
Her eyebrows furrowed. "Why not?"
Fred's eyebrows furrowed as well. "What kinda picture is it?" He questioned, unable to see it from where he sat.
"Bosco on Santa's lap," Charlie informed him, laughing.
Fred chuckled. "What?"
"It's a long story," Faith told him, shooting her son a look.
Emily smiled. "It's really sweet actually," she told her dad.
Angel pointed at the picture. "Da-da!"
Bosco hugged Angel. "Charlie was right. It's me on Santa's lap...me and Angel. When we took her to have her picture taken at the mall, as soon as we handed her over she started to wail. Apparently jolly old Saint Nick scares the crap out of her," he said with a smile. "So...I finally got her calmed down and then 'Santa' suggests that one of us gets in the picture." He pointed at the picture. "And that's the result."
Fred looked at the picture, a grin spreading across his face. "Very cute."
"You better be talkin' about my daughter," he joked.
"Well I certainly wasn't talking about you," he replied good-naturedly.
"Hmm. Should I be offended by that?"
Fred grinned. "Absolutely."
A smile on his face he relaxed back in the recliner. Sensing that Angel was starting to get tired he carefully turned her, resting her against his chest. "Why don't you guys give your dad his gifts now?"
The kids quickly agreed and a few moments later there were only two gifts left. One from Bosco to Faith and one from her to him.
"You open yours first," she told him.
He looked over at her. "Are you sure?"
Faith nodded. "Yeah, go ahead."
Smiling softly he carefully reached for the package, doing his best not to disturb Angel as she rested. He carefully pulled off the wrapping paper. "Oh, Faith...wow," he whispered, turning the box over in his hands. "A new camcorder. This is perfect."
She smiled. "I thought you might like to record some of Angel's antics."
"Yeah." He kissed the top of the baby's head. "And that old camera just isn't cuttin' it. This is great. It's so small."
"And you can make DVDs on the computer," Charlie informed him.
"Oh, really? That's uh..." He nodded his head.
"We'll teach you," Emily told him softly.
Faith smiled, her eyes full of warmth as she gazed at him.
"Thank you," he whispered, once their eyes met.
"You're welcome," she whispered back.
He nodded toward the tree. "My gift doesn't quite measure up to this but you might as well open it."
She moved to the floor and scooped up the very large package, curiosity peeking her interest as she opened it, her eyes widening. "Oh, Bosco."
"It's the right one, isn't it?"
"Yeah, it's...Bosco, this was way too much money," she murmured.
Shaking his head he smiled softly. "I've been savin' up."
"Thank you." She looked up at him.
Fred looked at the floral patterned bedspread and pillows that Faith had pulled out of the box then glanced over at Bosco. It was more than obvious that Faith and Bosco had a much better relationship than he and Faith ever had. The things that Bosco did for Faith, and for their kids surprised him.
There was a soft smile on her face as she gazed at Bosco. "I can't believe you got the curtains and everything."
"Yeah, me either," he chuckled. "That's gonna be one feminine looking master bedroom."
Faith grinned, her eyes sparkling.
"Should we uh...go run that errand now?" He asked her softly.
She nodded, slowly standing up.
"What errand?" Charlie asked curiously.
"We just gotta go get something. We'll be back in a little while," Bosco told him.
He frowned and looked at Emily.
"I promise we'll be back as soon as possible. You'll be so busy with all your new stuff you won't even realize we're gone."
"Okay." He shrugged. "Are we watchin' Angel?"
"That would be nice." He rubbed Angel's back gently. "I'm pretty sure she's just gonna sleep so it won't be too much work."
Emily stood up and reached out to take her baby sister from him.
"Thanks, Em," he whispered.
"You're welcome." She smiled at him, cradling Angel close.
Bosco pushed himself out of the recliner and looked at Fred. "You're welcome to stay as long as you want. My mother's gonna be coming over later to help fix an early dinner. She'll be making more than enough if you'd like to join us."
Fred looked at him in surprise. "Yeah?"
He nodded. "Yeah. It's Christmas, and...we've managed not to tear each other's heads off so far, so..."
He grinned. "I'll be on my best behavior." He shifted his gaze to his ex-wife. "Is this okay with you?"
She smiled softly, nodding. "Yeah."
"Dad, you've gotta see this new computer game I got. Mom and Bosco gave us each one gift last night. It's the best," Charlie told him, standing up and grabbing his dad's hand.
Fred smiled. "Sure thing, Chaz. Let's go see it."
"Alright, we'll see you guys later. Em, we'll have our cell phones if you need anything, though...I'm sure you dad could help you if you need something," he said softly.
She nodded, still smiling. "And her name is Angel for a reason, you know."
His eyebrows furrowed slightly.
"Because...she's angelic," Emily said slowly, grinning.
Bosco kissed Emily's forehead. "Sometimes I wonder if we'll still be thinking that when she's older."
"Probably not." She chuckled.
"We'll be back soon." He bent down and kissed Angel softly before turning to Faith. "You ready?"
She nodded, feeling a twinge of nervousness as she kissed both of her daughters and followed him out the front door to their car.
Bosco knocked softly on the bathroom door and opened it a crack. "Can I come in?"
She looked up from where she sat on the edge of the tub, nodding slightly. "Yeah. Come on in."
He closed the door behind him and moved over to sit beside her. "How long's it been?" He asked.
"And we gotta wait how long?"
He blew out a breath and reached for her hand. "This is gonna be the longest five minutes of my life."
She smiled faintly, sliding her fingers through his. "I love you."
"I love you too," he whispered as he leaned over to kiss her cheek.
She leaned against him, closing her eyes. "Are you gonna be upset if it's negative?"
"Disappointed, but not upset," he told her softly.
She bit her lower lip.
"Faith?" He whispered.
"If you're not pregnant...do you wanna try?" He asked quietly.
A smile tugged at her lips and she lifted her head to look at him. "Yeah."
She nodded. "Yeah...I mean, I hope I already am."
He smiled. "Me too, but...it's nice to know that you're wanting to have another baby too."
Faith kissed his lips softly.
Bosco lifted a hand to her cheek as he returned the gentle kiss. "Today's goin' pretty good, huh?"
"Yeah. Yeah, it is. I still can't believe you invited Fred for dinner." She grinned.
"Me either," he said with a chuckle. "But...the kids were happy and...he was being...nice."
"Yeah, it's truly a Christmas miracle," she said lightly.
He smiled. "Yeah, kinda." Bosco paused for a moment and glanced over at the pregnancy test that sat on the bathroom counter. "You know...it's really becoming clear to me now how all I really want is my family to be happy, ya know?"
"I know. That's all I want too."
"And I -never- thought I'd say this, but...if bein' nice to Fred helps then..."
"Deep down, I think Fred wants that too, otherwise he never woulda come over today."
"Yeah, you're right." She nodded, her gaze flickering to the clock.
"Is it time yet?" He asked softly.
He squeezed her hand. "Longest minute of my life," he joked.
She nodded, swallowing hard and squeezing his hand in return. "I'm nervous."
Bosco turned to look at her. "What are you nervous about?" He asked in a whisper.
"I don't know," she admitted.
"Are you more nervous about if you are pregnant or if you aren't?"
"I'm not sure." A smile tugged at her lips.
"You must be pregnant," he said lightly. "Your emotions are all outta whack."
Faith chuckled and glanced at the clock again. "It's time."
"Okay...now I'm nervous," he joked.
"You don't wanna look together?"
"The count of three?"
Bosco nodded his head. "Come on."
He took a breath. "Two."
"Three," she murmured, looking up at the small test that lay on the bathroom sink. She sucked in her breath when she saw two pink lines.
He stared down at the test. "What does...that mean's...you're..."
"Yeah," she whispered, tears prickling at her eyes.
A wide grinned crossed his face and he turned to her, quickly wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close.
"We're gonna have another baby."
He let out a breath. "This is..." Shaking his head, unsure of what to say now that the moment was here he just held her a little tighter.
She kissed his neck softly.
"I love you," he whispered in her ear.
"I love you," she whispered back.
"Faith, this is the best Christmas gift," he said quietly.
"And it wasn't even intentional." She smiled and pulled away to look at him.
"Yeah, how great is that?"
"Pretty great." Faith gazed at him.
"My mother's gonna be thrilled."
She grinned. "Yeah, no kidding."
"When can we tell her?"
His smile widened and with his arms still wrapped around Faith he picked her up off the floor.
She chuckled as he spun her around. "Merry Christmas, baby."
Setting her back on the floor he kissed her softly. "Merry Christmas, Faith."
Her eyes sparkling as she gazed at him, she kissed him back lightly. This Christmas was indeed the best one ever.