A small but slightly chubby baby crawled her way across the tan carpet of the living room. She was giggling, making the usual baby noises, until a shadow stopped her from reaching the toy in the middle of the floor. She looked up at the intruder, and smiled at her mother. Her mom kneeled down on the floor to play with her; the toddler's response was to grab her mother's nose.
The mom squealed "Ashlea!" when the toddler squeezed her nose. It was at that moment that a man walked into the scene; he was tall and wiry with black hair that was messily styled on his head. He laughed at the scene, which made little Ashlea crawl towards him in joy. She giggled as he picked her up and swung her in circles. She responded with a wet kiss that landed on his cheek; he looked towards the mother and set Ashlea down to go play with her blocks.
He walked towards Sarah with steps filled with purpose. He scooped her up towards him, with one hand cupping her cheek and the other resting on her lower back; he kissed her lingeringly before saying, "How was work today, Sarah?"
"Mmmm…." She shrugged, but a small sound came out. Sarah snuggled up next to his chest for a moment, allowing a weakness to come through temporarily. She stepped back seconds later and he sighed as he walked back towards their bedroom to change his clothes.
His tee shirt engulfed her as she stuck her head in the room. She caught a glimpse of his pale chest as he put on a worn-out shirt; she asked, "What do we want to eat tonight, Daniel?"
"Has Ashlea already eaten?" He called out from the bathroom.
"I fed her when I got home from work," she answered.
"Hm…" he murmured as he walked across the room towards her. He kissed her on the nose and said, "Pasta!"
She smiled big, because pasta was her favorite thing to eat and make; she tugged him from the room with her and she released his hand so he could go play with Ashlea. "Garlic butter or spaghetti sauce?" She asked.
"Whichever," Daniel said as he watched a movie with Ashlea—Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Ashlea stopped making noises a little while later, and Daniel picked her up gently and placed her in the crib in her nursery. He sang to her as memories of painting the little nursery flooded back to him; the nursery was decorated with blues, purples, and greens because, as Sarah put it: "Pink is a stupid color, but purple's okay." Sarah's favorite color was blue, and Daniel's was green, so they decided that until Ashlea had a favorite color, they would make it purple.
Sometimes it's funny to think of how much they rationalized their decisions.
Daniel walked back into the kitchen as Sarah put the pasta on the table. It was angel hair pasta with a garlic butter sauce, and grilled chicken was placed on top to complete the meal; he could almost feel his mouth watering in anticipation. His stomach growled and he looked at her sheepishly, "It looks good."
And they began to eat their meal while they talked about their prospective days; "This church group came into the coffee shop today to talk about their lesson for tonight. I think they were talking about sex," Sarah stated.
"Hm… well, I guess it's better for them to hear about it at church than at school."
"How was work?" Sarah asked.
"Same old, same old. Just me and a lot of numbers," Daniel said, while smirking. He was an accountant for the Postal Service. "How's the newest book coming?"
"I've got to find another illustrator, but other than that it's done." Sarah answered as they began to clear off the table. She yawned and turned the water on, with the intent of doing the dishes. Daniel stopped her by putting his hand on top of hers.
"You're tired, and you know Ashlea won't be down all night; let's go get some sleep while we still can." His smile transformed his entire face and she couldn't help herself from following him and leaving the dishes. Hopefully she would get to do them tomorrow morning before work, but that all depended on Ashlea and her mood before Sarah dropped her off at the babysitter's house.
Sarah yawned again, and Daniel responded by getting into bed himself after turning out the bedroom light. He lay down on his back, facing the ceiling, and grabbed Sarah's hand when she didn't come any closer. She squeezed his hand and rolled over on her side so that she was curled right up against him. He sighed and put an arm around her as she nuzzled her head into the soft spot between his shoulder and neck.
Sarah fell asleep almost instantly because she had been on her feet all day at the coffee shop; Daniel, however, took a bit longer to slip off into dreamland. He spent the time tracing the lines of Sarah's cheekbones and memorizing the feel of her hair on his fingertips. He fell asleep soon after Sarah and woke up only when he heard Ashlea cry out from the baby monitor on their nightstand. Daniel set the alarm for work the next day and he got up to go get the baby.
He warmed up Ashlea's bottle and gave it to her when she was ready. She fell asleep before she could suck out the last of the formula, and Daniel rocked her back and forth and sang her some fifties song that his mother used to sing him as a lullaby. Suddenly Sarah walked into the room; she walked right past him to Ashlea's room, as if she was checking on her out of instinct. He smiled at her intuition and just kept standing in the middle of the kitchen.
She walked right back out of the baby's room and smiled at him. "How long have you been up with her?"
"Not long, and she's fallen back—" but Ashlea started crying again. Sarah took her from Daniel and held Ashlea close to her. Daniel yawned and motioned to the bedroom. Ashlea fell back asleep because of the extra cushion Sarah provided and the constant swaying motion from Sarah's slow walking. The couple decided it was an easy night, and knew that Ashlea would be full of energy in the morning.
They were just weaning her off of the bottle so she was sometimes grumpy with breakfast (which was now cereal), but the couple didn't think of that as they settled back on the bed. They resumed their previous position, only they arranged themselves so that Ashlea lay between them, sleeping peacefully.
As a snapshot, it was perfect, but as their life, it was a moment of peace and love.
A/N: Just a bit of fluff in honor of Valentine's Day. Check out my website for more information on updates!