Some Good Reasons 1

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Shifting the car into park Joey sighed and looked up at the lights that were on in the house.  Normally he wouldn't have paid attention to the lights in the windows or lack of lights for that matter, but when he came home after midnight he knew he needed to be at least a little respectful of the family inside and that three fifths of them had gone to bed LONG before he'd crossed the city limit line.  He knew from experience that his coming home this late would cause more harm than good at the moment.  They all had missed him of course, but sometimes waiting until the morning to talk to his kids was better than waking them from a dead sleep to say hello.

As he pushed the car door open he noticed that the two side windows didn’t have lights and the front window was lit dimly.  He smiled and hoped that Kelly might still be up in bed reading or something.  At least if she was up then he'd could get some kind of a welcome home.  He’d wished that he’d been able to get home a little sooner, but his flight had been delayed.  He’d wanted to ask Brianna and Colton what they thought they might get from Santa.  He guessed that it would have to wait until next year to start that tradition of being with them on Christmas Eve since he'd clearly missed out on that chance this year.

It had been a week since he’d been home, but not by his choice.  The West Coast promotions for Luis Fonzi had been long and boring despite his excitement for his friend’s career.  He’d never been on the production side of things like this and standing through interviews and not saying much wasn’t something he liked.  He’d spent two days in San Diego and three days in Los Angeles before flying back to Miami for a party that Luis was hosting and was making it home on Christmas Eve so that he could spend the next day with his family.

Joey grabbed his bag out of the back seat then locked the car and headed towards the house.  He shivered in the cooler air of the evening and told himself to pack a jacket the next time he went traveling.  He got the key ready and held the others in his hand so that they were quiet.  If the devil dog  Nikita hadn’t already started to bark at him when he’d pulled up at the drive, he didn’t want him to bark him all the way through the house.

Inside he could feel the air on in the house.  Despite it being fairly cool in the evenings, Kelly always liked to have the air circulating in the house if nothing else.  He sighed, locked himself inside then moved across to the stairs that would take him up to their bedroom.

Sliding past Colton’s room and Brianna’s room, he looked into Trey’s room and saw that he wasn’t in his crib.  Joey smiled and wondered if he hadn’t been able to sleep again.  Kelly had kept him up to date that week with the kids and Trey was teething and of course being a terror at night when Kelly would put him down to bed.

Turning the corner into the master bedroom Joey was about to say hello to Kelly and Trey, but saw that the pile of bodies on their bed also included his other two children.

“Hi,” Kelly said with a sleepy yawn from where she was holding a teething ring to Trey’s mouth.  “We were waiting up for you.”

Joey took a deep breath and set down his bag before kicking off his shoes.  “Sorry about that.  The flight up from Miami got delayed.”

“It’s ok,” she said and bounced Trey.

“You want me to take the kids back to bed?” Joey asked as he undid the belt that was holding up his jeans.  He flipped off his baseball hat and threw it onto the dresser, wincing when he realized that he might make too much noise doing that.

“Not unless you want to,” she said.

Pulling off his socks Joey slid out of his shirt and pants and pulled on a pair of shorts and a different t-shirt to sleep in before he came over to the side of the bed.  He leaned over Colton, who had taken up the edge of the bed to Kelly’s right side and kissed his wife.  “I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” she said.

Brianna took that moment to snort in her sleep.  Joey laughed a little and moved around the far side of the bed.  He pulled the covers back and slid under the covers, moving Brianna like a rag doll so that he was going to be sandwiched in between Kelly and her.  “She’s out like a light.”

“She had a long day,” Kelly said with a laugh, “She ran around the house asking me what time it was.  First she wanted to know when Santa was coming, then when I told her that Santa wasn’t coming home until after you came home she decided to ask me when you were coming home.”

“She’s a persistent little one,” Joey said and cuddled his daughter into his arms.  He moved her so she was hugged up against his side then put his free arm around Kelly.  She snuggled against him and Joey wasn’t sure when he’d ever been happier.  “I missed you guys.”

“You said that already Joe,” Kelly said.

“Yeah,” Joey leaned and kissed the top of Trey’s head, “How’s the little man?”

“Better,” Kelly’s eyes looked tired, something that seemed to be happening more and more lately.  It made Joey feel insanely guilty for being gone for the last week or so.  He was about to mention it, apologize and maybe beg for forgiveness until he saw the way she let her eyes smile at Trey.  She was happy there with them.  It might be hard work for her, but he knew from that look in her eyes that she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else except there.  “He’s getting his bottom teeth in and I think his tops are coming in too so he’s not a happy camper.”

“I’m sorry buddy,” Joey said to Trey and kissed his head again.

“You should get some sleep,” Kelly said, “I’m thinking that between last night’s party and today’s last few interviews that you probably need a nap.”

“I’m good for a while,” Joey said with a yawn, “I’m just glad that I can spend time with you tonight before Santa comes.”

“Did you get your shopping done?” Kelly asked.

“I knew there was something I was forgetting.”

Kelly tensed up.  “What?”

“I didn’t forget.”  He put his hands up in a surrendering motion.  “How about I put the bigger Fatones to bed and I’ll give you your Christmas present.”

“I’m more worried about the kids not having something on Christmas.  I’m not greedy about my Christmas stuff.  I can wait until tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” Joey said and moved Brianna so that he could get out of bed and carry her back to her room.  “You can wait, but I can’t.”

Joey held his daughter close as he carried her back to her bed.  He covered her up with her Barbie comforter and watched her for a moment to make sure she was back to sleep before he went back for Colton and carried him back to his room.

When it was just Trey and Kelly and him left in the bedroom he went into his closet and found Kelly’s present.  He’d gotten it a few weeks before on a trip to New York to meet with Jive and had kept the secret until a few moments before that he’d even gotten her something.

“Trade you the baby for the box,” he said holding out the long jewelry box to Kelly.

“Jewelry?” she asked.

Joey shrugged, “It’s probably not that original, but I saw it and thought you’d like it.”

He slid Trey from her arms after setting the box in her lap and held the baby and the teething ring and swayed a little while Kelly opened the box.

“It’s cheesy,” he warned.

Kelly’s eyes met his for a moment and she smirked.  “You’ve always been cheesy.  That’s why I love you.”

Joey nodded at his wife then looked at his son.  He smiled and cooed at him and made sure the cool teething ring was on his tiny nubs of teeth on the bottom of his mouth.  “You’re gonna grow up to be just like me,” he said, “Cheesy junior.”

When his eyes moved to Kelly again he saw tears in her eyes.  “I didn’t mean it,” Joey said suddenly, “Trey doesn’t have to be cheesy.”

“I love it Joe,” she said and held up the necklace.

“Do you remember--?” he started to ask.

“Our first date,” she said holding up the charm to look at it.  The small platinum starfish sparkled with at a glance fifteen or so diamonds.  She smiled.  “You took me to SeaWorld, got me wet at that stupid shamu show and then you kissed me near the starfish tank.”

Joey nodded.  “At least we aren’t getting too forgetful in our old age.”

“Whatever honey,” she said with a smile.

Joey bounced Trey a little more.  “How about I put him down for the night and we’ll get some sleep,” Joey suggested.

Kelly nodded and smiled at him as she put the necklace on the bedside table.

He stood admiring her for a while before he took Trey in, changed his diaper and put him into bed.  He made sure that the baby monitor was working then brought the walkie-talkie part of it back to the bedroom so they could hear Trey in the middle of the night.

“Kelly?” he asked as he came into their bedroom.  He saw the slack look on her face and the way her head had tipped to the side as if she’d been watching her new necklace on the nightstand next to her and fallen asleep.  “Never mind,” he whispered and crawled into bed next to her, pulling her to lay next to him before he shut his eyes for the night knowing that the next morning was going to be filled with family and the next evening filled with NSYNC commitments.

Christmas morning started out as most of her mornings had that week.  Having a three year old and a four year old and an infant didn't leave much time for sleeping in.  Christmas morning in itself was even more reason for the kids to be up early so when she heard them coming barreling down the hallway she pushed herself out of bed to try and stop them from jumping up on Joey who was clearly in a coma state of sleep next to her.

"Diddy!" Brianna screamed before Kelly could stop her.

Joey's body jumped next to her and he snorted once before rubbing his face and letting his eyes open.  "What?"

"Diddy!" Brianna found her way to the side of the bed to where Joey was lying.  "Is Kissmiss!"

Her husband had never really been a morning person so it was shocking to see Joey's eyes widen.  He put on an overly excited voice and pulled her up into his arms.  "I know Jelly Bean!"

Colton crawled up into her arms and she hugged him.  "Morning kiddo.  Did you sleep good?"

"Morning Mommy," Colton nodded to answer her question then leaned against her and snuggled in the blankets.  Kelly had to wonder if Brianna had been the mastermind of this little adventure.  From the looks of it Colton still seemed to be asleep.

Brianna hugged him for a moment then pushed him again, "Tan we do peasants?"

Joey turned his head.  Kelly knew that he wanted to say yes right away, but after the discussion they'd had a few weeks before on how they should handle Brianna's slightly spoiled personality she saw Joey take a breath and slow things down before she knew that he would rip into presents with them later.  "Say good morning to Mommy first and we'll go check on Trey and then see what Santa brought."

"Mo-ning Mom-my," Brianna said leaned across the bed towards where Kelly was.

"Good morning Jelly Bean," Kelly said with a sweet smile to her daughter before kissing her forehead.

As soon as that had been done Brianna was wriggling to get down off the bed.  She pulled on Joey's arm and got him out of bed.  "Twey need a wake up."

"We don't have to wake him up Brianna," Kelly said quickly, "We'll just go check on him and whisper to him that it's Christmas then he can open up his presents later."

"K," Brianna said and put her hands behind her back.  "Tome on Diddy."

"Ok," Joey replied.  He leaned across the bed and kissed Kelly once on the mouth, whispered Merry Christmas then got out of bed and pulled Brianna into his arms.

They left the room and Kelly put her head back.  "Time to go back to sleep," she said softly.

"Yep," Colton said and lay down with her.

She wondered for a moment if something was wrong with him since he'd been so quiet the last few days, but she figured that he just missed his biological mother.  She'd tried over the last few months since he'd come to live with them to be careful with Colton.  She didn't spoil him, but she gave him special consideration when it came to certain things.

"Colton?"

"Yeah Mommy?"

"Are you feeling ok?"

Colton nodded no and rubbed his ear, "Brianna screamed in my ear and waked me up."

"Oh honey," she said and went to grab her robe, "I'm sorry.  We'll remind Brianna that she needs to use her inside voice in the house. Ok?"

"Kel?" Joey said from the doorway.

He'd slipped out of the room and now was back with Trey in his arms.  His left arm is curled under their son while his right palm is splayed out against Trey's back holding him protectively against his chest.  As Joey held him his chin rubbed against he top of the whisps of dark hair on  Trey's head.  Kelly loved moments like this.  It was a side of Joey that not many people got to see.  Yes, the others in the group got to see him being a father, but for the rest of the world, they never got to see just how in love Joey was with his children.

"Trey wants to say Merry Christmas," he said with a smile carefully turning so that Trey's face is able to be seen.

She could see from the look in her husband's eyes that there was more on his mind than wanting to go down to the first floor to open presents.  She loved when he was in a snuggling mood and this morning looked to be one of those mornings.

"Colton why don't you and Brianna go downstairs and find all your presents.  Put them in piles and Daddy and I will come downstairs and see what you got."

Colton nodded and ran out of the room.

When Kelly got close enough to Joey she leaned her face against his right shoulder and watched her husband and son.  Joey smiled down at Trey for a moment then looked back at her.  He put a finger on Trey's bottom lip and moved it in time with what he said.  "Merry Christmas mommy," he spoke in a higher pitched voice then smiled at her.  "Merry Christmas from me too."

Just as Joey is about to lean to kiss her Brianna came sliding into the room with a huge grin on her face.  "Diddy!  Sana gots me a bawbie house!"

Joey touched his lips to Kelly's for a moment and smiled against her lips before turning towards their daughter.  "He did?"  He slipped out of the room leaving with a hand held back behind him to grab Kelly's so she wouldn't miss out on any of the fun that morning.

When they got down to the first floor Kelly reached for Trey.  "Go play with the kids honey while I get Trey a bottle."

"Really?" he said with eyes wide.

"Yes honey," she said, "Go and play with the kids."

"Are my parents still coming over this morning?"

"No," she said, "Your dad and mom are going over to Steve's house to be with Audrey and their kids.  They'll catch up with us tomorrow and we might catch brunch with them tomorrow."

"Ok," he said and settled himself onto the floor in between the two piles of presents that the kids had.  He leaned back and then smiled at the two kids, "On your marks--"  He looked up over into the kitchen.  "You coming honey?"

Kelly smiled at him and found a seat on the couch with Trey in her arms so that he could have his bottle while the two older kids opened their presents.  "I'm ready."

"On your marks, get set, go!"  Joey signaled the kids and they started ripping through presents.

Truthfully Kelly wasn't extremely pleased that the kids had about twenty presents each to open, but after almost everyone at WEG and the crew bought the kids presents there had been a note sent out from Johnny to the fans and other well wishers that the family wanted the gifts donated to the Ronald McDonald House that NSYNC was involved with.  It was easier to send them straight there rather than let the kids see all the presents and give them away.

"Brianna, go give Mommy this."

"Otay," she said and came over to present Kelly with an envelope.

"What's this?"

"The other half of your present," Joey said, "Lance, Colleen, you and I are going to New York for the weekend and seeing RENT.  I know you want to go see it the last time we were in the city and you couldn't because my meetings ran long, but I planned this out with Lance since Colleen wanted to see it too."

"When?" she asked.

"About a month from now," he said, "I figure we fly up on Thursday night, spend Friday hanging out, see the show Friday night then visit Randy and Michele on Saturday and maybe swing out to Brooklyn to see everyone before we come home.  No work that weekend.  I promise."

"Sounds good to me," she said, "What about the kids?"

"My mom and dad are going to take them," Joey said, "We'll only be gone for a few nights."

"That sounds great Joe," she said and sighed.  "One of the perks of having a husband that did what Joey did definitely was the luxury of being able to fly up to New York for the weekend to see a play if she wanted to.  The drawback was that most trips she'd made to New York in the last six months had been made alone or with one of the NSYNC family members to meet up with whoever was in town for an event.  Hopefully this time Joe would keep his word and have family come first for a change.

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