Afterthoughts: Love and War

Written by Isa

Set after "Love and War"

At five am, the baby started crying. Again.
"Oh, God, Charlie, I can't take her, you take her." Daphne's face was buried in her pillow.
"Come on. I got up the last time."
"No, you didn't, 'cause the last time was at two and it's now five and there is no way she slept through the night."
Charlie sat up in bed. "It's five am?"
"So she slept for three hours without waking up?"
"I don't....I don't know."
The baby continued to cry, but no one moved.
"Griffin's not going to come in from the shed to pick her up." Daphne muttered. Charlie got up and went into the baby's room. He picked her up and cradled her in his arms, singing Rock-a-Bye Baby. When she was finally asleep again, he peeked in on Owen before returning to bed. The little boy had kicked all his covers off and was holding a giant stuffed ant Charlie had bought him at the Exploratorium as tightly as he could. Charlie took his bedspread off of the floor and put it over him.

Griffin switched the phone to his other ear. He was sure he was getting cauliflower ear in each of them, but didn't have the heart to tell Claudia. She seemed to really need him. "So what's this about that Ross guy?"
"Oh not much. He says he heard somewhere that I was the one who put the smoke bomb in their dorm--"
"Weren't you?"
"Yeah, but that's beside the point. So I ask him where he heard it and he says around and then he asks me to come watch TV with him in their dorm's rec room."
"Did you say yes?"
"No, 'cause I don't like him."
"But isn't it against the rules to be in their rec room?"
"Duh." she rolled her eyes.
"So then wouldn't it be worth it to get kicked out?"
"Griffin, whose side are you on?"
"Really. I thought you'd side with Charlie. And Bailey."
"Not Julia?"
"Julia's off in her own little Stanford world."
"Tell me about it."

"Oh God, Almighty......" Daphne rolled her head around in her chair. Her neck was stiff from sleeping in Diana's rocking chair. She'd woken up around six and Charlie had told her she had to take a shift on her own because he had to go to work. "That baby never sleeps!" She bounced her up in down in her little chair on the table. Diana wasn't crying, but she was wide awake, just looking her mother in the eye.
"I'm gonna go catch the bus," Owen announced as he came into the kitchen, dressed all in orange.
"Owe, are you aware that you look like a giant piece of fruit?"
"We're having colour war at school today. I'm on the orange team."
"Aren't you just supposed to tie a band around your arm or something?"
"Don't be such a pain." he poured himself some orange juice, drank it, then left.

"Charlie, we have GOT to work out a new system here." She was walking and rocking the baby while Charlie searched out some new projects he could suggest for extra credit on the Internet.
"A new system for what?"
"For taking the baby. Neither one of us sleep, or eat for that matter. I haven't had a shower in three days."
"I thought your hair looked really matted."
"And that's not the only thing! I haven't been out of the house since she was born!"
"So we'll get Bailey and Sarah to come over and watch her, and we'll go to the movies or somethin'."
"One of these days."
"No, I need a date Charlie. And a time! This is crazed. We need to hire some help."
"I don't want some stranger looking after my daughter."
"Well, what about Kirsten? She doesn't work."
"I can't ask her to do that."
"Why not?"
"I just can't."
"Well, maybe you can't, but I can." She started to hand him the baby so she could use the phone but he shook his head. "No, it's okay, I'll ask her. But just one day a week ok?"
"For now," she agreed.

Kirsten returned to the dinner table and sipped her hot tea. "Sorry about that honey."
"Was that Charlie? I thought I heard you say his name."
"Uh, yeah, it was him." she put her napkin back on her lap and took a bite of chicken.
"What did he want?"
"Nothing much."
"It had to be something to interrupt our dinner for twenty minutes."
"It's really nothing. He just wants me to look after Diana every now and then so he and Daphne can get out of the house."
"I don't think that's such a good idea."
"Excuse me?"
"I don't want you doing it."
"So, you're telling me what to do. Like you're my father?"
"I just think--"
"What? Say it."
"Kirsten, he--"
"You know what, forget it. Whatever you've got to say, I don't wanna hear it." She stood up, threw her napkin on the table and stormed into their bedroom.

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