The man drove hard into the mountains, knuckles, white due to his tight grip on the steering wheel. It was obvious by the glare in his eyes and the tightness of his mouth, that he was not a happy person.
“Ah, c’mon, Guy! So I know where we’re going!”
“’Tis supposed to have been a surprise.”
“That almost didn’t fly with Fulton County’s Finest!”
Genevieve groaned and rolled over, only to feel a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “I have her. You go back to sleep. Rest.”
Ghislaine was teething and was running a low grade fever, in addition to having a snotty nose. She was allergic to most children’s pain relievers and had been fussy all day.
Genevieve had bronchitis; Roger had it as well and probably gave it to his mother. Guy was determined he was too stubborn to become sick! Someone had to be in charge of this sniffling, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, unable to rest cold family.
Guy woke up further with each step from his and Genevieve’s bedroom suite to Ghislaine’s bedroom. He opened the door to see her standing in her crib, chubby toes stomping on the soft bumper and trying to climb out.
“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadaaaaaaaaaaaa….” The moment she recognized the tall shadow, she put her arms out, fingers reaching.
Guy knew what that meant. She wanted in his and Genevieve’s bed.
Nope. Not happening.
This child reminded him of Sibilla, his and Vivienne’s first born. She lived in their bed, it was a wonder their second child was conceived.
Truth be told, their second born was probably conceived in the tub. Or the greenhouse. Greenhouse. Definitely the greenhouse!
Guy reached out to the child, putting his arms around her to hold her close. Ghislaine began to march, trying to climb out of the crib. “Non, non, ma chérie. L’heure de dormir.” He picked her up, just enough to raise her feet from the mattress and laid her down.
He patted her behind. “Nuit nuit.”
Ghislaine was back up before he could step back from the crib, again both arms reaching out, chubby fingers stretched. “Daaaaaaaaaaaadaaaaaaaaaaa!” She was crying in earnest now. In the moonlit room, he could see tears and true anguish. She sensed his hesitation and inhaled. “MAAAAAAAAAAAAAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!”
Guy’s heart seized. “NO!” It was more a forced breath than anything else. He stepped back to the crib and picked her up. “Mama’s sick. You can’t sleep with us tonight.”
Ghislaine had him in a death grip. She snuggled up to him, black curls tickling his nose. Slowly, he began to sway back and forth. He began to back up towards the rocker, As he was lowering himself, the man realized just in time the rocking chair was not in its normal spot. Rather it was in Roger’s room, where Genevieve dragged it while Roger was sick.
Why don’t we have another rocking chair? By God, we should have one in every room! Did I not work my arse off for centuries in order to have enough rocking chairs for my children!
And at that moment, despite the agony of his lower back as he slowly raised back up to his full height, he decided tomorrow, he was going to any furniture store that delivered, and buy no less than a dozen rocking chairs! One for every room in the house, as well as his office and Genevieve’s!
Ghislaine was asleep on his shoulder, so he crept back to the crib and gently laid her back down on her stomach. He took the blanket and covered her up.
The child went from dead sleep to wide awake, faster than Louis Hamilton could accelerate his racing car on the Grand Prix Circuit!
She continued to fuss and fidget, Guy raking his brain on what to do.
Finally, he began to croon…
“Baby mine, don’t you cry. Baby mine, dry your eyes. Uhm… do do do dodododoooo dodododooooo baby of mine…”
Back to sleep.
For many minutes, Guy just stood there, swaying back and forth. No way he could do this all night.
Many memories of many nights trying to get Sibilla to sleep in her own bed…
The Wolf of Nottingham sighed. There was no other choice. This was going to hurt.
He placed Ghislaine back in her crib. She immediately set to screaming again. Tonight was not the night for tough love. Shushing her, he threw a long leg over the railing and heaved himself into the crib with her. With his head pressed against the frilly bumper pad, his legs spread like a frog’s, and his knees reaching almost to the top of the rail, he settled down in the crib, praying the springs held. Sibilla…. no….. Ghislaine immediately crawled on top of his chest and went to sleep.
And there was blessed silence.
After 20 minutes or so, he heard the door creaking open. Genevieve’s shadow filled the door. “Is she down?”
“Yes,” he sighed. “And I’m not moving her.”
Gen nodded to herself and backed out of the doorway.
She returned a minute later carrying his pillow and a lightweight blanket. “Lift up.” She tucked the pillow under his head and spread the blanket over him and their sleeping child.
“Dear God, I don’t know what I did to deserve you,” he whispered. “I love you. Please don’t ever leave me.”
His wife bent over the railing and kissed him. “Why would I do that? You chased me over the ages and saved my life many times.”
With that, she tiptoed from the room and returned to their bed.
“No,” the word escaped on his breath. “You saved mine.”
Non, non, ma chérie. L’heure de dormir – No no darling. Time for sleep