Always One More -- 1


Having the phone ring in the middle of the night wasn't at all an uncommon thing, being in your thirties allows you to still do some of the things that you do in your twenties--like drunk dial people in the middle of the night--or get phone calls FROM drunk dialers, but it hadn't happened in a while so when the shrill ring filled the room at exactly three thirty six in the morning Chris jumped in his sleep, kicking his foot a little in the process producing a low moan from his companion.

"Honey," the person next to him groaned out and the shape of a leg moving under the covers met up with the shape of an arm.

Even in the dark he could see her moving to rub where his foot had kicked her.  He wanted to apologize, but the phone call was his bigger concern at the moment.

"This is Chris," he said into the phone reaching to turn on the light which caused another moan to come from the far side of the bed.  He coughed a bit and roll a little to his side to sit up more.

The dogs went crazy barking for a moment, but he shushed them with a quick yell before turning back to the phone.  "Hello?"

"Hey man," JC's voice filled the line.

Chris sighed knowing that it probably wasn't an emergency if JC was calling in the middle of the night.  He'd been working in the studio and had probably gotten bored.  "What's up?"

"Justin and Mere just called."  He sounded strangely like he was walking outside.  Chris could hear cars going by then the sound of him opening up the car door the familiar sounds of keys being put into the ignition and soon the sounds of the radio and car dinging to announce that the door was open.  "The baby is on it's way and they wanted you guys to know."

His heart leapt into his throat.  Everyone had been waiting for this for months now, but now that it was here he wasn't sure if he was ready to see his youngest "brother" be a father.  He'd always thought that he'd be one of the first of them to get married and have children.  Joey and Kelly were basically a given since they'd been together since the beginning of time, but the fact that he and Dani had taken a break for a while really had set him back on his plan to start a family.  It hadn't really been that important to him until he realized that he was about to be left behind if he didn't hurry up and get married.

He stretched.  He wasn't getting any younger.  "Really?"

"Yeah," he said calmly.  He sounded still half asleep, but at least could think well enough to explain everything to him, "Lance and Colleen are on there way down there and I'm heading out with Farzana.  Joey and Kelly are coming by in a day or two.  He's still in New York doing the play and his first day off is--"

"I get the idea," Chris grumbled.  "I'll wake up Dani and tell her what's going on.  I'll give you a call if we decide to come down there."

"Sounds like a plan," JC said, "I gotta run, but I'll see ya."

"If anyone needs anything just call me and I'll do whatever--" Chris said moving his arm out of the way as Dani scooted closer to him, curling her arms up around him to hug him.  The movement brought them closer, but also reminded him of his fatigue.  His shoulder started to hurt and his knee felt sluggish when he moved it.    He shouldn't have run so much the day before.  The treadmill in the workout room really was killing him.  He'd throw on Cartoon Network and watch for a few hours, not realizing that running in place was taking him miles farther than if he'd run on the street around the neighborhood.

"Thanks man," JC said.

"See ya," Chris said and put the phone down before he lay back down onto his back in bed staring up at the ceiling.  Not being able to see what killing him so he grabbed up his glasses before his arms curled around hers and he moved his leg a little so hers could curl over his.

"Chris?"

His head tipped to look at where her head was still burried under the covers.  He smiled at her unique way of waking up, hiding from the sun until the last moment.  Even though it was the middle of the night, she still was up to her old tricks. 

"Justin and Mere are having the baby," he said moving the side of his pillow a little so he could see her across the bed.  "Do you want to go down there and wait with everyone?"

"Baby?" Dani's head came out from under the covers, her eyes wide.  "Now?"

"Yeah," he said, "I'm not sure that Mere and Justin realized that babies have no sense of time."

"Honey we should go down there," she said.

"Why?" he groaned out pulling her against him.  "I've got my own baby to be worry about right now."

"Honey, that's sweet and all--" Her hands pushed him away from her and she scooted across the mattress to sit up.  "But Mere is going to have this baby a few weeks premature."

He took a deep breath.  "And?"

"And that means that there might be complications and that we should be down there to help out."

*****

After wrestling the dogs into the garage for safe keeping, they jumped in the car and drove over to the hospital.  Dani argued that Chris was going to get there when the baby turned eighteen, but he kept his pace steady and slow.  He knew that they could be sitting there waiting for a long time and he'd rather sit with Dani in the car alone then have to be around everyone else.

He'd missed them since they'd all started to go their separate ways, but being around them almost made it hurt more rather than comforting him.

"Timberlake?" Dani asked the nurse at the desk when they walked onto the maternity ward floor.

"I hate hospitals," Chris groaned out looking around.  He truly had spent more time in clinics and doctor's offices in the last few months than any one person should have to.

"I know honey," she said and grabbed onto his hand and gave it a squeeze.

Chris looked down the hallway then back towards Dani.  He was too familiar with this place.  He knew exactly where he could score a drink from a vending machine, knew where the restrooms were.  All the floors were the same so he could guess that it was fifteen and a half steps from the counter to the stairs that would lead to other floors of the hospital.

"Waiting room seven," the woman said, "Down and to the left."

"Thanks," Chris managed to get out as Dani pulled him down the hallway.  "Honey, that was rude."

"I don't care," she said with a worried look on her face.  "I just want to know if Mere is ok or not."

"I'm sure she's fine honey," he explained, "Jace would have called us back if something had gone wrong."

Gritty, Meredith's bodyguard was pacing the hallway when they got to the waiting room door.  He looked up and smiled at them and must have seen the worried look on Dani's face immediately.

"No news yet."

"That sucks," Dani said and let go of Chris's hand to push open the door.

"You been here all night?" Chris asked.  He knew that Gritty technically worked for Meredith, but had come to understand, the way he understood about his own guards, that they were all family no matter who paid who and who worked for who.

"Since about eight," he said, "Justin called me after they checked in.  I get the impression that this may take a while.

She's been in labor for more than a few hours now."

"Yeah," Chris said trying to remember how long his mom had been in labor with Taylor.  "It takes a while."

"Go on and see everyone.  I'm sure they'll be glad to see you."

Chris nodded and pushed the door open.  He didn't get very far inside before Lynn and Paul rushed into the room with huge grins on their faces.

"Tegan Lynn Timberlake!"

Everyone seemed to understand that this meant that the baby had been born and got up to hug the proud grandparents.  Lance, Colleen, JC, Farzana, Dani and Trayce rushed towards them. Chris took the opposite approach, feeling suddenly old and suddenly jealous at the events of the evening.  He backed away and half fell into a chair, sighing heavily as his mind tried to pull in everything that was going on around him.  He'd always thought that he'd be the first to have a kid out of all of the guys, but this was going to make him third in line already to have them.

"Chris?"

"What honey?" he asked before his eyes found that it wasn't Dani standing over him, but Farzana watching him.  He smiled sheepishly.  "Sorry about that--"

She smiled at him and looked over her shoulder at the group.

"You ok?"

"Yeah," he said looking across the room to where Dani was standing with the others talking.  "Just a lot to take in right now...ya know?  I mean...Justin's a dad?"  He tried to imagine himself being in Justin's position and had a hard time doing it.  He wanted all of that, but he wasn't sure whether or not to pressure Dani about getting married and starting a family.  He wanted to, but he was still a little afraid about pushing her away and needed to be extra careful.

"Chris?"

He looked up again and knew that he was going to get in trouble in a minute if he didn't keep his mind on the here and now.  "I don't know if I can wrap my brain around that one."

"It's great though," she said, "Definitely great."

"Yeah," he said and pushed himself up.  "Definitely great."


The people around them were in the midst of conversations bubbling over with the joys that came along with the new addition to their extended family, but for them a comfortable silence that had fallen over them.  They'd seen Meredith after she'd gotten some rest, saw Justin for a few moments and now hey both seemed to be deep in thought and neither seemed to be upset about the silence.  "This one is special," Dani breathed out.

Chris's arm curled more around her, bringing her closer to him in the chilly hallway as they looked through the glass to where Justin was showing off his daughter, Tegan, to the rest of the family members and friends that had shown up in the middle of the night.  "What honey?"

She watched Justin cradle the little girl in his arms and she wondered what Chris would look like with a child in his arms.  His family and extended family were large enough to give him the opportunity to be around children.  His little sister was a big part of his life,  Justin's little brother's had been around, and when Brianna and Colton had been born Chris had stepped up and taken part as honorary uncle.  A a baby that belonged to them would be different.  She pictured the little girl with light brown hair and his eyes, that chubby round face that his mother always seemed to bring up when he seemed to be acting too old for his age.

"This one is special," she repeated with a sigh.  The fatigue that had come on soon after the announcement of the baby's birth was making what would have been a slightly emotional night turn into something that was making her look out of control.

"It's a baby," he said moving her sweatshirt up over her arm from where it had fallen a little.  The emotion was low on his end, not completely gone from his voice, but definitely held back for some reason, "Look at the other ones.  They all have two arms, two legs, ten fingers and ten toes."

"I don't mean that," she said leaning against him more, turning towards him to make eye contact with him.  "I mean Justin's and Mere's baby is a special one."

"Why's that?" Chris said moving a hand to push her hair out of her face, "You were around for Brianna being born and Trey being born--"

"It's all of it Chris," she said, "Mere and Justin are special.  Those two have battled a million and one things to get here and it's like--well it's like--"  She held her breath for a moment.  "It just gives me hope that one day we can have what they have."

"You know what?" he said with a laugh, "I think for the longest time everyone was looking at us for inspiration.  It's kind of ironic that now we're looking at all of them for inspiration."

She frowned at him.  "Do you think that's wrong?" she asked, "To have it flip-flopped like that?"

"Not at all," he explained licking his lips and pushing his glasses up on his nose.  "You and I aren't doing things the traditional way, but it doesn't mean that we're doing it the wrong way.  If you and I hadn't taken our break I don't think we'd have what we have now."

"Really?"  She knew exactly what he meant, but was surprised that he'd picked up on that too.  Breaking up had been horrible, but at the same time both of them had needed that separation to make themselves become more aware of why they were together.

He nodded.  "If you hadn't left I would still be running myself ragged and I wouldn't have gotten--gotten the ADD thing under control and even though I tried to cure it for you, I think that I needed it for me too."

"Are you guys being all old and sappy over here?" Colleen asked moving towards the two of them.

"Yeah," Dani said and reached out and hugged her.  "I'm glad this all turned out for the best."

"Yeah," Colleen said, "A few of my friends have had premature babies and there's always a chance that they'll have something go wrong."

"Not Justin's kid," Chris said with a laugh, "That kid does nothing wrong."

"Don't let him know that," Lance said coming up to see what they were talking about.  "We'll never hear the end of it."

Dani sighed and curled herself back around Chris.  "I won't--if you won't."

"Deal."

Chris yawned and fixed his glasses.  "How about we head home?"

Dani nodded and went over to the window, waving to Justin that they were leaving.  He beamed back at her and she waved one last time to Tegan before joining Chris and heading home.


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