I wrote this Jade and Garret BONUS scene a while back and forgot to share it! So here it is!
SPOILER ALERT – Don’t read this if you haven’t read Always Us (Jade #8).
“I’m exhausted.” Jade plops down on the couch next to me. I’m watching TV and Abi’s on the floor next to my feet, playing with some blocks.
“Why don’t you go to bed?”
“It’s only 7:30. I can’t go to bed this early.”
“Why not?” I stretch my arm out behind her on the couch. “If you’re tired you should go to bed.”
“At 7:30?” She turns to me. “That’s earlier than Abi goes to bed. I can’t go to bed earlier than her.”
I rub her shoulder. “You have the craziest rules.”
“It’s not a rule. It’s just…” She pauses. “Okay, I guess it kind of is a rule. It just seems weird to go to bed before your baby does.”
I lean over and kiss her. “It’s not weird. You’ve been up since five this morning and you’ve going nonstop all day. I’m not surprised you’re tired.”
Jade had to do a talk for a high school in New York this morning and with the time difference, she had to be up early. Then she had to prepare for a speech she’s giving next week and had conference calls in the afternoon to talk about the workshops she’s going to be doing this summer.
Jade snuggles up to me, her arm wrapped around my chest. “Thanks for watching Abi today.”
“You don’t have to thank me. She’s just as much my responsibility as yours.” I smile as I watch Abi play. “And you know I love spending time with her.”
Jade rests her head on my shoulder. “I know. But you had to miss work.”
“My family comes before work. You know that.” I kiss her head. “And besides, I’m my own boss. I can take a day off.”
I feel tugging on the leg of my jeans and lean forward to see Abi trying to pull herself up.
“Jade, look. Abi’s trying to stand up. Maybe she’ll try to walk again.”
This past week, Abi’s been attempting to walk but she only makes it one step before falling down.
Jade sits up, holding her hands out to Abi. “You want mommy to help you?”
Abi glances at Jade but then focuses back on my jeans, grabbing them with both her hands and trying to pull herself up.
“I guess she doesn’t want my help.”
“I think she’s determined to do it herself.” I laugh. “She’s pulling so hard I think she might rip my jeans.”
Jade smiles at her. “Come on, Abi. You can do it.”
She lifts up slightly but then drops down again.
I lean over her. “Pull straight up, Abi. You almost did it. Try again for Daddy.”
She smiles at me and some drool drips down her chin. She’s so freaking cute. And she does the funniest things but doesn’t know they’re funny. She’s like Jade that way. Jade has no idea how funny she is, even when she’s trying to be serious.
“Almost,” I say to Abi as she drops to the floor again. She got halfway up that time.
She’s still holding onto my jeans, but her shoulders sag and she babbles to herself, like she’s frustrated.
“I think she’s done,” Jade says.
“She’s not done. She’s just reassessing her strategy.”
Jade laughs. “At 10 months old? I don’t think she’s strategizing.”
“She totally is. Look how serious she looks.”
Abi’s pursing her lips, her eyes focused on her hands, which are gripping my jeans even tighter. She rocks back and forth a few times, then all of sudden she yanks on my jeans as hard as she can and lifts herself up to standing.
“You did it!” Jade claps. “Good job, Abi.”
Abi’s smiling, and holding onto my knee. She starts rocking back and forth and I quickly put my arms behind her in case she falls. She lets go of me and claps like Jade just did, but her eyes are on me.
“Dada!” She claps again.
My head whips over to Jade, who looks as stunned as I am. “Did she just say–”
“Dada!” Abi says it again.
“She did!” Jade jumps up from the couch. “She just said her first word!”
Abi senses our excitement and says it again. “Dada!”
I pick her up and kiss her cheek. “That’s right. I’m Dada.”
Jade sits down again and kiddingly hits my shoulder. “Why did she say ‘dada’ first? She’s supposed to say ‘mama’ first.”
“I don’t know. I guess she’s Daddy’s little girl.” I turn her toward Jade. “Abi, can you say ‘mama’?”
“Dada.” She claps her hands.
Jade laughs. “That’s okay. She can try it later.” Jade takes her from me and sets her on her lap and talks to her. “You said your first word. Did your daddy teach you that?”
“Hey.” I laugh. “Are you trying to say I planned this? That I wanted that to be her first word?”
Jade nestles under my arm, setting Abi between us. “She said it because she loves her dad. You’re such a great dad, Garret.”
“And you’re a great mom.” I kiss her head, then Abi’s. My two favorite girls. And one of them just said her first word.