Always One More 7

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"Oh my God," Chris said reaching into the cabinet.

"What?" Dani asked shuffling across the carpet towards him.

It was another rainy stormy day and both of them were dressed for the occasion.  Comfortable clothes were recommended for their task of the day.

"Porn tapes or something?"  Her nose scrunched up in the cutest way as the thought of Meredith and Justin having porn in their house crossed her mind.

"No," Chris said pulling out a copy of Ever After.  His eyes scanned the cabinet for a long time before he looked up.  "It's the most dreaded thing in the world--"  He switched to that cheesy Australian Crocodile Hunter voice and smiled.  "It's the highly deadly, highly contagious--"  He paused.  "Don't try this at home folks."  He paused then pulled out three more videos.  "Never Been Kissed, Pretty Woman, and Beaches!"  He shrieked.  "Chick Flicks."

"What's wrong with that?" Dani asked grabbing at the case to look at it.  He watched her eyes for a moment.  They'd been avoiding him all day since they'd arrived at Justin and Mere's to sit for Tegan, but now glared at him in the eyes in an authoritative way.  "They're probably Mere's."

"Ummm," he grabbed the case back from her, flipped it over and read the sticker on the bottom, pointing out the words to her as he went.  "Property.  Of.  Justin.  Timberlake."

Dani grabbed it back and finished reading what she'd been looking at before.  She tapped him on the top of the head with it when she was done and laughed.  "Maybe he put that on there so while you're on tour you know that the movie belongs to them instead of someone else's."

Chris shook his head.  "We all know which ones are Justin's and Mere's.  They have a fucking baby blue sticker on it and basically have signs on them that say "It's MI-INE don't TOU-CH IT!"  He whined out playfully.

"Chris," she said, "You're gonna wake up Tegan."

Dani moved away from him to sit on the floor next to where Tegan's little carrier had been set down before Mere and Justin left.  It was strange to have the baby stay in the carrier, but Mere had made some mention that their daughter liked the car seat carrier better than any place in the world and that leaving her to sleep in it would probably cut down on a lot of the crying and irritability that she was suffering from.  It didn't take a genius to figure out that leaving her there was the thing to do so when Mere and Justin finally left neither she nor Chris moved the little girl.

"See...this one has property of Meredith Willis."  He waved the tape at her.  "So I doubt that's their filing system."

"Filing system?" she asked.  "You're worse than Monica on Friends."

Chris made a face and pointed at the sticker.  "Label makers are the best things since sliced bread."

She blew him a kiss.  "Well honey pick something out to watch," she said and moved back a bit so that she could lean back against the couch.  She reached down and touched the baby's cheek before she sat up again to look at him.

"Is she still asleep?" he asked as he packed up the videos he'd taken out before pulling out Pretty Woman.  "If we're going to watch something with Tegan we should at least watch a CLASSIC chick flick."

"Yeah," she said and watched Tegan.  "She's such a sweetie."

"She takes after her mother," Chris said.  He put the DVD into the machine then flopped down onto the couch so that he was lying with his head slightly behind where Dani was sitting leaned up against the couch.  "Justin's the crabby one."

"Hmm," Dani sighed.

"Do you want anything to eat?" he asked, "I'm sure J has all kinds of crap shoved around in those cupboards."

Taking a deep breath she pushed herself up from where she was sitting.  "Keep an eye on her.  I'll go find something at least SLIGHTLY healthy."

He nodded and pulled her little carrier over towards the couch so he could tuck her little blanket around her.  "You definitely are a sweetheart and I'm sure that you'd indulge your funnest Uncle with some really bad junk food if it was up to you."

Chris watched Tegan and got paranoid when he heard her wheeze a bit just as the Pretty Woman movie was coming on and that street guy was yelling, "WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD!"

"Dani?" he called out.

"What hon?"

Chris sat up and pulled the carrier up so that he could set it on the coffee table.  "Did Mere say that Tegan had a cold?"

"No," she said from the other room.  "Did she sneeze?"

"No," Chris said, "She sounds like she's got a cold though.  She sounds like she can't breathe very good."  He removed the little straps that kept the baby in the carrier and picked her up, leaning her against his shoulder he patted her back thinking that maybe she just had a little something stuck in her lungs that would clear easily.

Dani came back in the room, "She does?"

"Yeah," he said, "Listen to her."

Dani turned off the television and came to stand near them.  "She does kind of sound like she's got a cold."

"I'm gonna go put her in a steamy room," Chris said, "Mom always used to do that with me and it seemed to cure everything, even if it was that I stubbed my toe or something."

Dani nodded, "I'll go get her a bottle."

Chris half danced his way across the room towards the downstairs bathroom.  "We're gonna go get a steam bath girlie," he sang to her as she started to move a bit as she was waking up.

It took a bit of juggling, but he managed to turn on the shower full blast with hot water.  He closed the bathroom door part of the way before sitting down on the toilet to hold her.  The glass door was open so as the steam came out from the shower it came right at them.  Prime healing station to make her feel better.  Steam filled the room quickly and soon he was sitting there amongst the fogged up glass shower door and foggy mirrors.

"Chris?"

"Come on in," he said and watched as Dani joined them, holding a bottle and a spit rag.  "She's fussing a bit," he said moving her so that he could get the spit rag over his shoulder as Dani placed it there.

"Try giving her a bottle then we'll change her," Dani said.

Chris took the bottle and placed it near Tegan's mouth and she latched onto it.  "We don't want to change her," Chris said with a sweet baby voice.  "Not at all."

"Change her diaper," Dani said.

"I know," he said looking at her.  "I know."

"Is she sounding any better?"

At that moment Tegan started to cough then spit up and started wheezing.

Chris patted her back to see if that would help, but it didn't.  She kept coughing and then started to cry, but it was a strange cry, not one that he'd heard from his sister or from Joey's kids.

"What's wrong?" she said, "Did you squeeze the bottle into her or something?"

"No," he said then set the bottle down and moved Tegan so that she was lying on her back along his thighs so he could look at her.

Panic filled her as the baby kept coughing and crying.  She stood there watching Chris and was surprised to see him acting so calm.  There was slight fear in his eyes like everyone else would have had in that position, but he moved smoothly and turned Tegan onto her stomach and patted her back again.

"This isn't helping," he said finally, "Actually I think she sounds worse now.  Turn off the shower so I can hear her."

Dani moved to turn off the water, soaking her arm in the process then moved back to lean against the wall across from where Chris was sitting so that she could see what he was doing.  "Can you hear her?"

"She sounds worse," he said.  He looked up and blinked twice before he took a deep breath.  "Don't panic honey."

Her chest constricted.  "I'm not panicked."

He smiled a reassuring smile at her.  "I want you to go and find the car keys and put your shoes on."

The car?  What did they need with a car?  That wasn't going to help her cough.  "What?"

"We're going to take her to the hospital," he said calmly.  "I want you to stay calm and get the keys and your shoes and I'm going to pack Tegan up in her seat and we're going to go over there."

She started to move away from him then turned around thinking of Tegan's parents.  "Should I call Mere and Justin?"

"We'll call them on the way," he said.

"Are you sure?" she asked.

She moved from the bathroom slowly then rushed around getting the keys and her shoes on.  She found Chris's shoes and undid the laces.  "Honey I've got your shoes."

He came out of the bathroom, still holding Tegan and moved to her carrier, placing her back in, putting the straps around her securely before he tucked her blanket around her.  He looked up at Dani and grabbed his shoes away from her slipping them on.

"You've got the keys?" he asked.

She nodded.

He was completely calm while her heart rate zoomed through the roof.  "You want me to drive or can you do it?"

"You better do it," she said slowly.

He nodded and took the keys from her.  "Get the carrier and make sure that you have your phone so we can call Mere and Justin."

She nodded.

A few minutes later they were in the car and on the way.  Chris had carried the carrier out to the car and strapped her in quickly.  He held the back door open for her then closed her into the car before i moved around to get into the driver's seat.

The radio stayed off as he pulled out of the driveway.  He pulled up his phone to his ear and dialed a number before she heard him talking.

Her eyes were glued to the baby.

"Yeah Mere.  It's Chris," he said, "Tegan started to cough and now is having a hard time catching her breath."  He paused for a moment.  "I've got it under control honey.  Just get Justin and come over to the hospital.  I don't think it's something too serious, but I want to take her in just to make sure."  He paused.  "I know.  I'll tell her that you love her and that you'll see her soon.  Just get J and come over.  Be careful.  It's still raining off and on so drive slow."

He hung up the phone.  "She ok?" he asked Dani.

Dani wasn't sure what she was looking for.  She had limited experience with kids.  She was a baby sitter for more than a few kids, but other than Joey and Kelly's kids, she hadn't taken care of any children in a while.

"What am I looking at?" she asked.  She wasn't this dumb, or ditzy normally, but being faced with a sick child who had breathing problems wasn't something that happened to a girl like her every day.

Eyes wide with adrenaline, Chris looked at her in the rear view mirror then turned slightly to glance back at her.  "Is she breathing ok?"

"Umm," Dani looked at the baby.  Tegan's eyes were closed and to the casual observer she looked to be peaceful.  Maybe it wasn't as serious as they thought she was.  "She looks like she's asleep."

Chris sighed out a long sigh and she saw his grip tighten on the wheel of the car.  He paused at a red light and turned around to look at her.  "Put your head down on her tummy and see if you can hear her."

Dani did as she was told and immediately reached for Chris's shoulder when he turned around to drive again.  They weren't that far away from where they needed to be, but being close wasn't good enough in this situation.  "She doesn't sound like she's breathing at all."

"What?" he asked.

"She doesn't sound like she's breathing at all," Dani repeated.

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Last updated: 07/10/04.