***Part Eleven***
Word Count: 1,042

"I thought I'd never get you alone," he said once she'd joined him on her bed.

"It was a busy day."

"I know, it's just they're two weeks old. How much Christmas do they need?"

"It's still their first Christmas. Grandparents and uncles love to spoil, you know. My brother is spending it with his girlfriend's family tomorrow so we did more of a big thing tonight than we usually do on Christmas Eve."

"I guess."

"Not in your house, I suppose?"

"Not so much."

"Well, then my gift will either be great or you'll think it's ridiculously stupid."

"I'm sure it's not stupid."

"Well, I don't know," she said, handing him the box.

He frowned a little when he opened it.

"You don't like it?" she said, watching him closely. "Too domestic?"

"No, I do, I just," he said, taking the stocking out of the box and eyeing it closely. "You know I don't have a fireplace, Princess."

"Sure you do," she said. "Ours for now."

"When did you start working on this?"

"Sometime before Halloween."


"Yes, I knew it would take me a while, but I wanted you to have one. Mom made all of ours, including Dad's."

"Hmm, now there's going to be two Dad's on the fireplace."

"Yeah, well, I'm sure Santa will know which is which for this year."

"Thank you," he said, sounding completely sincere which surprised her.

"You're welcome."

He'd given her his gift earlier when he'd gotten there. It was a gold necklace with girl and boy silhouette charms. Names and birthdate were on each charm. It was gorgeous and she'd almost accused him of spending too much on it because she knew it couldn't have been cheap. The chain was very nice and very thick. She refrained, though, instead asking him to put it on her.

She ran her fingertips along the charms now, in fact.

"Yours is nicer," she said.

"Don't be silly. They're both something for our first Christmas. There's no better or worse in that. Besides, you don't have a job."

"Yeah, well," she said with a shrug.

"Claire, you made me something. I've never had something made for me in my life that I didn't make with my own hands. Any jerk can go out and buy jewelry."

"Yeah, but you picked out the charms and everything."

"Sure, but still. I didn't expect anything from you anyway."

"Why not?"

"I don't know. You've got enough going on. It's just another day where I come from."

"Not anymore it's not."

"So how long do we have until one of them wakes up?"

"Two hours, maybe three," she said, both glancing at the baby monitor that would tell her when either one of them moved.

"And your parents are okay with my staying here tonight?"


"Only because they know we can't actually do anything."

She laughed a little. "You're probably right."

"Has a guy ever slept in the Princess' bed before?"

"No! Well, I suppose my brother maybe when we were little, but not in the way you're talking."

"I suppose Michael will one day, too."

"Not this bed! I hope I have my own bed by then."

"Were you surprised they look so much alike?"

She shrugged. "I wasn't sure what to expect."

"I'm glad we didn't go the matching name route."

"Me, too. I liked Michael, but Michelle not so much, and well, less chance of getting confused I suppose if I don't have to call out similar names."

"And I refuse to have him have my name."

"Yet, I still got it in there."

"Yeah, well, no one's going to call out Joanne and think she's named after me, so I was okay with that."

"I'm not sure why you had such a problem with it. People give kids their dad's name all the time, even if it's as a middle name."

"Because they gave me that name, Claire. Why on earth would I want my children to have any part of that?"

"I get it, I do," she said with a shrug. She settled against him once he put the stocking on the nightstand next to her bed. "You know if you don't hang it up you don't get anything in it."

"I have what I need right here."

"Me, too," she said, sounding as tired as she felt.

She was pretty pliant as he shifted her, drawing the covers out from under her and then over her. God, she was tired all of the time. She'd been incredibly lucky that Joanne had been able to be prompted to turn once Michael had been born because she had been looking at a C-section otherwise. She wasn't sure if that bothered her parents or John more, but no one had been particularly happy about that idea. Joanne had been stubborn, though, taking a couple of hours longer than her brother to arrive. An hour longer and they would have born on different days. She knew it happened, had been told there were cases of twins being born weeks apart.

John hadn't spent any time at his apartment the last couple of weeks other than to go there to sleep. Otherwise he'd been with her all of the time. She wasn't sure why her parents were letting him stay tonight. The idea, she supposed that even if they were newborns it was their first Christmas and if he went home he'd miss seeing them wake up for the first time on what had always been a special holiday in their house.

"Get some rest. I'll see if I can't get the first one up for you."

She chuckled softly at that. "If your friends could see you now; changing diapers and giving bottles, tucking me in."

"I never had any real friends anyway so they could say whatever they want. Not the way you're talking, but you know that."

"I do." She snuggled against him. She hadn't slept with him like this since their weekend away in September. "Could get used to this," she whispered.


"Falling asleep with you here."

"Well, hopefully when it's an everyday thing it'll be at our place not your parents' place."

"Sounds nice."

"Good night, Princess, and Merry Christmas."

"You, too."

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