Chapter 1: The Baby On The Doorstep
It was Wednesday. Wednesday usually meant dinner with his family that evening and it was normally an event Alec sort of looked forward to most of the time. But since he didn't know how to cover the bruise on his cheek, he half thought about not going to dinner that evening.
"I mean I can cover it up for you with makeup. It's easy. Mom and dad won't even notice it," Isabelle had suggested over the phone. "Need me to come over?"
"No, I'm fine. The place is a mess anyway. Never had a chance to clean it yet." Alec kicked a pair of jeans across his bedroom. They landed on his bedside table, knocking his lamp over. "I'll just say it was a work accident. That's plausible, right?"
"I guess? But then if they ask you to go into details, just remember that-"
"The less I say, the more believable it is. I know, Iz. I've been lying to our parents for years in case you don't remember."
It was true. Alec had been lying to their family for years and not in the work sense. For the longest time, his parents had thought that he was seeing a girl. But seeing how they were growing curious about meeting her, Alec pretended to break it off.
There was never any girl in the first place. Alec made her up to get his parents off his back about settling down and finding a nice girl and getting married. What they didn't know is that Alec had no interest in girls whatsoever. He almost made a huge mistake with one two years ago and almost had sex with her when he realized that he no interest in them.
He was gay. As simple as that.
"You better show up tonight. Otherwise Jace and I will be forced to be the brunt of mom's interrogation," Isabelle had said. "I will strangle you if your ass doesn't show up."
"I'll be there. Relax. There will be no strangling or interrogations. I'll keep mom off you guys the entire time I'm there. She likes picking on me anyway."
Isabelle sounded sad as she spoke. "I wish she wouldn't, Alec. You're trying your best. She doesn't understand that. Maybe if you just told her and dad-"
"No. You know what would happen if I did, Izzy. You'd never see me again. I'd be disowned." Alec sighed heavily as he sat on the edge of his bed. "I'll see you in a bit, okay? Keep my seat warm."
"Will do, big bro. See you in a bit."
Their conversation was hours ago. Alec now found himself sitting at a table inside their family's favorite restaurant, The Jade Wolf, laughing at something Max had said. The restaurant had recently went under some renovations and looked extremely fancy and expensive looking. The food still smelled and tasted the same but the new interior gave it a whole new experience.
"So Max....still chasing that girl around?" Jace wiggled his eyebrows at his younger brother.
Max flushed. He had just turned 13 two weeks ago and puberty was already well underway. "No. She kicked me in gym class and said she wasn't interested. Plus she didn't like my hair."
Maryse, their mother, chuckled and ruffled her youngest child's hair. "Your hair is fine, Max. Some girls are just mean. You'll find a nice one someday."
Alec tried to avoid his mother's gaze at the mention of girls. He knew was coming next. She's going to be onto him in three....two....
"How about you, Alexander? Any possible prospects? Anyone who caught your eye?" She asked, her full attention now focused on Alec and Alec only.
There was actually someone he had his eye on for quite some time. One of the new guys at work, Magnus, had grabbed his attention the moment his boss hired him on. He was ridiculously handsome; dark hair and dark eyes that if you were standing close enough, you could see flecks of gold around the pupils. Magnus was the best part of his work day. Seeing him everyday made Alec's life a bit more bearable.
"Uh, no. Not yet. Still looking," he managed to say with a smile. "I'm just waiting for the right one to come along."
Robert, their father, chuckled. "That's my boy. Let the ladies come to you. The Lightwood way. I mean how can they not swarm up to you? You're tall. Handsome. Got a stable job. You're every woman's dream-"
"Okay, daddy. Let the poor guy eat in peace. He had a long day at work today," Isabelle cut her father off, smiling softly at Alec before changing the subject to something else. "I got the promotion at work today. My boss just gave me the news this morning."
All the Lightwoods except for Alec talked at once, cheering for Isabelle and offering their congratulations. Even Max chimed in, giving his sister a high five. Robert and Maryse looked so proud of her and Alec wondered what it was like to have parents who are proud of you.
Despite the fact that he was the oldest of the Lightwood siblings, not one thing he did ever pleased his parents. He graduated high school with top marks and even enrolled in the business course that his father took when he was in college, but it still wasn't good enough. When Alec dropped out, his parents never spoke to him for weeks. Isabelle had been the one to gather them together and force them to talk to him again. After a while, they gradually came around and included him in their lives once more.
"Honey, why do you have a bruise on your face?" Maryse asked Alec.
The family had stopped talking and looked at Alec. Isabelle raised an eyebrow in reminder to him that the less he said, the more believable the story. He couldn't really move his head at the moment, his chin being held in place by his mother's firm grip, turning his head from side to side when examining him.
"Um....it was an accident. I walked into a door today. Didn't see it there." He pulled away from his mother's grip, rubbing his face. "I wasn't watching where I was going and I walked right into it."
Maryse stared at him. For a moment Alec thought he was busted, judging by the look on her face. "Alec, you have to be more careful. You work in construction. That's a dangerous work environment."
Oh boy. Here we go, Alec thought. "I know. I had something on my mind and I wasn't watching where I was going. It won't happen again."
After a moment or two, the table erupted into conversation again, the attention temporarily diverted off of Alec. He breathed a sigh of relief and just continued to eat his dinner in silence.
After they were finished, Robert and Maryse said goodbye to their oldest children and left with Max to head back home. Jace went his separate way to go catch up with his girlfriend Maia at The Howler's Moon, a bar where she worked at night. As Alec turned to head back to his apartment, Isabelle looped her arm through his and walked along side of him.
"Oh god. What do you want?" Alec groaned. "If you're walking with me in hopes of lecturing me, I'll shove you into traffic and I won't even blink twice."
She punched his arm. "You wouldn't. Who else is going to cover you like I do? Do you see Jace jumping in to take a bullet? No." She sighed and squeezed his arm affectionately. "Are you ever going to tell mom and dad the truth?"
"If they found out I got into a fight at work, they'll give me the silent treatment. Again."
"Not that truth. The other truth."
Alec sighed. "Oh. That one. Probably not. I told you what would happen if they knew, Iz."
"Bullshit!" She yelled. A man and woman who were walking past jumped in surprise at Isabelle's yell, giving her a dirty look. "You're their son. They can't just up and disown you just because you like guys. That's the biggest load of fuckery I've ever heard!"
Alec laughed. When Isabelle got mad, she tended to spew and curse and rant about the world's injustices all while proving Alec's point of not telling his parents the truth. "Isabelle. Please. I'm not ready to tell them yet so please stop nagging me about it. I'll tell them when I'm ready."
She finally sighed and nodded. "Okay. I know I can't force you to come out Alec but please, for the love of God, don't suppress who you are. It's not healthy. For you or anyone else for that matter. Got it?"
He nodded and closed his eyes as she kissed his sore cheek. "Ouch. That hurt."
"Which is why I kissed you there. To let you know you're still alive." She pat his hand and turned, her heels clicking on the cement sidewalk as she walked away. Her black hair whipped behind her in the wind like a cape and Alec half expected her to sprout wings and fly off into the night sky like a bat.
Alec's apartment was small but it suited him. He didn't have many possessions (nor did he want any) and it was a quiet building. The only bit of noise he ever heard was when the floors were being waxed and that was only on days when he was off work. Other than that, he loved living here and the people that were on the same floor as him.
He tossed his keys onto the counter before collapsing onto the couch. He didn't have cable (what's the point when you could literally watch everything on your computer) so he opened his laptop and brought up Netflix. Before he picked a movie, he slipped out of his clothes. Now just in his boxers, he sprawled out on the couch and began watching Daredevil. He even made himself some cereal and munched on it while watching his show.
When 2 am struck, he closed his laptop and shuffled into his room. His room, much like the rest of his apartment, was small but comfortable. His bed stood in one corner of the room, a queen size mattress and headboard he brought from home. A dresser stood across from his bed along with a built in closet to the wall that housed his pants and dress shirts (though most of his clothes were on the floor). A small table was next to his bed and this was where he plugged his phone in and let it rest overnight. This might've been a small place but it was his home.
He shifted in bed so that he was laying on his stomach, arms above his head and tucked under his pillow. The sheets were cold from being without a warm body underneath them but they warmed up in no time and Alec soon found himself dozing off into a deep sleep.
Not much can wake him up. Unless it was his alarm going off in the morning or the fire alarm beeping from somewhere in the building, Alec was a heavy sleeper. But there was something that was slowly rousing him from his sleep. Groaning, he sat up in total darkness and listened carefully. Somewhere off in the distance he could hear something. It sounded muffled but at the same time it also sounded close.
He flicked on his bedside lamp. The noise was still going on even as he draped his legs over the edge of the bed and strained his ears. The sound was coming from out in the hallway. It couldn't have been the floor waxer. It was too late at night for that to be going. The other tenants would've complained long ago if someone was out waxing the floors at two in the morning.
Alec padded out into the kitchen. The sound was louder now. Closer. He checked his laptop to make sure that wasn't where the noise was coming from and it wasn't. It had been shut off for hours now, the screen completely black.
Deciding to check outside his apartment, Alec unlocked the padlock to his home and swung open the door. There was nothing in the hall when he peered out.
Until a noise made him look down.
There, in a clothes hamper bundled up in blankets, was a small baby. It was wailing and flapping its small arms around as it cried. When it saw that Alec was standing there, it sniffled and stared, small pink lips trembling.
Alec couldn't help but stare back at the baby. Where did it even come from? Who dropped it off? This had to be a mistake. Someone must've brought it to the wrong apartment. That was the only explanation he could think of. Although he couldn't deny the fact that the baby looked so much like him.
It had raven black hair and big, wide hazel eyes as it stared up at him. Its cheeks were red from crying but it was now gurgling and sucking its tiny hand. It wasn't until it squirmed when Alec saw the envelope attached to the side of the basket. Reaching down, he picked it up and opened it. Inside was a letter, written in elegant handwriting, was one sentence, and it sent a chill down Alec's spine.
Her name is Abby. She's yours
Alec looked back down at the baby, at the letter, then back at the baby again. She was cooing up at him, arms outstretched as if she wanted to be picked up. Instead, Alec slid the basket inside his apartment, shut the door with his foot, and took a spot on his couch. The baby was still watching him, her arms and legs moving under her blankets.
All Alec could do was stare. How was she his? He didn't even have sex for this to happen. This was impossible. This was more than likely a dream. He shook out his head to try to get himself to wake up up but when he opened his eyes again, the baby was still there. She was now smiling broadly up at him, her mouth completely toothless as she giggled.
"Who are you?" Alec cocked his head as he read the note again. "So your name is Abby. Where did you even come from?"
He reached down and stroked her black hair with a hand. Abby grabbed his long fingers and held them tight, making gurgly noises with her lips.
Alec felt his heart warm as she tugged at his finger. "Where are your parents? I'm sure there's a number here for me to call. In case of emergency or something...."
The note had no number written on it for Alec to call. It just had the one sentence that claimed the baby was his and nothing more. No other hints as to who dropped her off or who the parents were. At this point, there was only one number he could call and one person he could trust.
Isabelle answered with a yawn. "This better be important, Alec."
"It is," he answered, looking down at Abby. She was still squirming around in her basket except she was getting fussy. "I need you to come over. Something happened and I'm not sure what to do now."
He could hear his sister sit up in bed. "Is everything okay? What's wrong?"
"I'm fine. It's just....just come over. I'll explain when you get here and see for yourself."
That's exactly what Isabelle did. She knocked on his door when she arrived and stepped into his apartment. Her hair was pinned back in a messy bun and she was dressed in a hoodie and sweatpants.
"Alright. Where's the situation?" She asked. She didn't see the basket on the floor and nearly tripped over it. "Jesus do you always leave your laun-oh sweet holy hell."
Alec saw her expression change when she saw the baby. "This is the situation I was talking about. Izzy....this is Abby. She's my daughter apparently."
Isabelle picked the baby up in her arms, her mouth gaping open in shock. "Shut the front door. She's not really yours. Is she?"
Alec shrugged. "This note was attached to her when I opened my door and saw her in the hallway. Whoever wrote it clearly knew who I was and knew that this baby was mine."
Isabelle held Abby gently in her arms and made cooing noises. "Who looks just like her daddy? Abby does. Yes she does, little beautiful baby girl-"
"Sorry," Isabelle cleared her throat. "Got a little carried away there. What are you going to do now?"
Alec ran a hand through his messy hair. "I don't know. Maybe get a DNA test to see if she really is mine? I don't know, Izzy."
"Who'd you even do the nasty with? That's what I'd like to know."
"That's the thing. I didn't do it. I've never had sex with a woman. I didn't do-" He paused for a moment, realization hitting him. "Oh. That must be the only answer then."
Isabelle raised an eyebrow. "What's the only answer?"
Alec sighed. "Back when I was in college doing the business course, a bunch of the guys made this pact. The person who got the worst exam marks had to donate some of their.....sperm."
Isabelle blinked. Then she barked out a laugh which caused Abby to jump in fright and begin crying again. Isabelle rocked her gently to try and calm her down. "Seriously? You donated your sperm? Most frats just go to a bar and have drinking contests or something. That's a weird bet you guys made there."
"It was a mistake-"
"This gift of life begs to differ."
Alec looked down at Abby. She was now cuddled up in his sister's arms, sound asleep. She licked her lips as she slept, prompting Alec to smile at how chubby her cheeks were.
"She's not a mistake, Alec. She's someone's child. If anything, she's yours. Someone wanted you to have her so here she is."
Isabelle had handed off Abby to Alec before he could protest. Unsure of what to do next, Alec just looked down at the small pink bundle in his arms, stifling a laugh when the baby made a pucker with her lips, her chubby cheeks blowing out like a puffer fish.
"You've known her for five minutes and you're already in love with her," Isabelle whispered. "I can see it in your eyes."
Alec sighed, holding the baby closer to his body. "She has no one else, Izzy. I wouldn't even know who to contact to get all of her information. She doesn't even have a last name."
Isabelle reached over and rubbed his back. "Of course she does. She's a Lightwood now....if you decide to keep her, that is."
Alec looked back down at the baby. Did he want to keep her? He could barely take care of himself let alone an infant. But she depended on him now, whether she knew it or not. He had to give her the basic needs of any human being. Food. Water. Shelter. Love. She needed him.
"Whoever dropped her off clearly couldn't give her what she needed. Right?" Alec stroked Abby's cheek with his thumb. His hand was so much bigger than her head. She was so tiny.
"We don't know why she was dropped off. Maybe her mother couldn't care for her? Maybe her mom decided she didn't want her anymore? There's a number of reasons. We just don't know which one is the right one. Now give her to me. It's my turn."
Alec passed Abby over to his sister, who looked absolutely delighted to have Abby back in her arms again. "I don't have any food for her. No milk. No anything. She doesn't even have a crib to sleep in."
Isabelle made a concentrated face. "I'll take care of everything. Let her sleep in the basket for now and I'll get everything you need later in the morning. For now we all need to sleep. I'll be back later with the supplies."
Alec nodded as Isabelle placed Abby back in her basket again. "How am I supposed to explain this to mom and dad? This isn't something I can easily lie about."
Isabelle shrugged. "You're on your own with that one, big brother. Maybe avoid our parents for 18 years until Abby moves out?"
Alec glared at her. "Very funny. You're not helping. Now get out."
Isabelle snickered as Alec ushered her out the door. "Well excuse me, Mr. New Dad. I'm bringing you baby stuff later today. You can at least act a little more grateful."
With a sigh, Alec hung his head. She had a point. "You're right. I'm sorry. I'm just tired and this has been a huge shock for me tonight. My emotions are all confused-"
"Relax, Alec. I was only teasing. Go get some sleep, okay? I'll be back later with everything you need. Just don't try and feed her milk from a carton. It's bad for babies."
She turned and headed towards the elevator just when Alec was about to retort that he didn't even have any milk, but a loud wail from Abby cut him off. He immediately closed his door and went over to where she lay in her makeshift crib, crying and squirming under her blankets.
"What's wrong? Are you hungry?" Alec picked her up and held her to his chest. "I don't have any food. I mean I do but it's for grown ups. You'll get something to eat later, okay?" He cringed as she wailed louder. "Okay. Let's go lie down in bed, okay? I'll sing you a song."
He kicked the basket into his bedroom and laid down in bed on his back, Abby laying on his chest, stomach down. He began to slowly rub her back with a hand, humming softly. Her wails eased off into contrary grumbles as he hummed a song and rubbed her back. Soon she was sound asleep, chubby cheek pressed into his chest and snoring softly.
Alec smiled. He felt so at ease with her there. He could even feel her tiny heartbeat against his chest and couldn't believe that this beautiful little creature was the result of his donation. She looked so much like him that it was unreal. It was hard to believe he could quite possibly really be his but only the DNA test could prove that now. Deep down, he secretly hoped that she was his. Isabelle was right; he'd known Abby for five minutes and he was already in love with her the way a father loves his child.
He thought back to when he donated his sperm to the clinic. All the guys thought it would've been hilarious at the time. None of them probably even thought about the results or what could possibly happen. Was he the only one with a baby? Maybe he was. He remembered talking with his group of friends afterwards and told them how hilarious it would've been if some poor woman managed to get his sperm. They laughed at the thought but had no idea how true his words were.
Alec looked down at Abby on his chest. She had just fart in her diaper and the smell almost made Alec gag. Isabelle better come through with the baby supplies in the morning. There was no doubt in his mind that Abby just pooped in her diaper and needed a fresh one. Sitting in a pile of your own poop and waiting on someone to change you must be very uncomfortable.
Closing his own eyes, Alec soon drifted off to sleep too, a protective hand on Abby's back to make sure she didn't roll off of him during the night. He gave her a gentle kiss on the top of her head and smiled, snoring softly himself after a moment of closing his eyes.
Chapter 2: It's All In The DNA
Something was squirming on top of him later that morning. Alec opened his eyes and saw something pink moving around on top of him, fussing and grabbing tiny fistfuls of his chest hair. He winced and quickly lift the little intruder into the air to stop her from giving him a smooth chest.
"What do you think you're doing, huh? Up to no good?" He tried to be serious but failed as Abby snorted as she laughed.
She started doing a little tap dance on his chest, arms and legs kicking everywhere. She even smiled when Alec sneezed and kicked him in the face with a foot. It didn't hurt but Alec still grumbled to himself.
"That's not funny. You can't just go around kicking people when you feel like it," he said, sitting up and propping Abby down so that her back was pressed against his raised legs. She gripped his fingers and babbled on about some nonsense while trying to shove his hand in her mouth. After a few unsuccessful tries, she gave up and moved on to making noises with her lips.
"You're oddly adorable. You didn't get that from me, that's for sure." Alec booped her on the nose and she squealed with laughter. "I don't even know how old you are...you look pretty tiny but you also look strong enough to support your own neck. So I'd say.....maybe six months old? Seven?"
Abby sneezed, and a bubble of snot exploded out of her nose.
"Oh. Uh....let me get that for you."
Alec reached over to his bedside table and grabbed a tissue. He started to wipe her nose when she tried to move away and began fussing once more.
"God, you're so fussy. I'm only trying to help you-" He heard her empty belly growl and laughed. "Someone has the rumblies in their tumblies. Isabelle said she'd be back soon with supplies so we have to wait for her to get back. And I have no idea why I'm talking to you like you understand me."
Abby stuck out her tongue, still gripping Alec's fingers and doing on her little dance on his lap. Her pink pajamas were the only remnants of her previous life with whoever dropped her off on his doorstep. They had little white sheep on the feet and chest, her hood in the shape of a sheep's head. Typical animals that are associated with babies.
Carrying her out with her propped on one arm, he unlocked his door for when Isabelle arrived. Alec wondered what kind of supplies Isabelle would be bringing. More than likely the essentials; clothes, diapers, formula, baby wipes, and everything else that babies needed. He'd worry about toys later once he knew he had everything else. For now he just needed the important stuff.
The envelope that contained the one lined note lay on the coffee table where Isabelle left it that night. Reading it over again, Alec sat down on his sofa, with Abby cuddled into his neck, and read it over in hopes that he'd recognize the writing. It was useless. He didn't know anyone with writing as elegant as that. Tossing the note to the side, he groaned when Abby began to fuss again.
"I know, angel. You're hungry. Isabelle will be here soon. I promise."
When Abby began to sob loudly he got to his feet and rubbed her back, humming softly in her ear. She calmed down a little but still fussed and pounded on him with tiny fists of fury. Until she had food in her, Alec knew she was going to be relentless.
Finally the door opened and Isabelle breezed in, followed by her boyfriend Simon. At the sudden change of environment, Abby perked up and watched her guests drop bags on the floor and counter.
"Thank god for that elevator. My arms feel like noodles-oh my god. Is this her?" Simon giggled. "She's soooooo cute. Can I hold her?"
"Why is he here?" Alec grumbled. He had unconsciously moved Abby out of Simon's reach. "I thought this was going to be between us for now."
"Simon's harmless. He won't tell a soul. Isn't that right, Si?" Isabelle rolled her eyes. Simon was lost to them now. He was fully engulfed with baby fever as he played a game of Peek-A-Boo with Abby. "Anyhoo, I brought you everything you need. It should last a few days at least-"
"A few days?! That's it?" Alec had finally handed Abby off to Simon, who blew on her cheek and she screamed with laughter.
"Geez, Alec. You didn't expect it to last forever, did you? She's a baby. She's going to poop and pee a lot. She's going to get hungry a lot. She may even spew up what she ate and then get hungry again. Babies are unpredictable-"
"But ridiculously cute," Simon chimed in from the sofa. He had Abby propped up on one knee while holding her arms and was making her dab. She smiled the entire time.
"Can you not do that to her? You might hurt her...." Alec scooped Abby up in his arms again and held her close.
"Whoo. Dad mode activated," Simon snickered. He raised his hands in surrender when Alec glared at him from across the room. "Show Alec the formula you bought, Iz. Distract him while I try to steal the bundle of joy in his arms."
Isabelle clapped her hands together. "Right! The formula. Now this stuff is supposedly good for the bones and muscle growth. Come here. I'll show you how to make it."
She showed him how to make baby formula step by step. By the time she was finished, Alec was sitting down on the sofa with Abby hungrily sucking on her bottle in his arms. She occasionally pulled away to lick her lips and babble at them before drinking more.
"She's so freaking adorable," Simon cooed. "She's gonna be so pretty when she's older. I mean she has your genes so...."
Alec saw the flush on Simon's face and smirked. "You think I'm pretty, Simon? Come on. Don't be shy-"
"I said what I said. All the Lightwoods are pretty. It's unfair actually. It's like you sucked up all the good looking genes and didn't leave any for the rest of us poor, un-good looking souls."
Isabelle played with his hair. "I think you're extremely good looking. Your personality makes you even sexier."
Simon beamed at this before going back to play with Abby's toes.
"It looks like she's all finished," Alec said as he shook Abby's empty bottle. She fussed and held on to his shirt with tiny fists as he tried to set her up over his shoulder to try and burp her. "Do you guys have a blanket with the supplies? I don't want her throwing up on me."
Isabelle rooted through the bags before pulling out a pastel yellow blanket. "The joys of fatherhood. Baby barf. Nothing says 'I love you daddy' more than a back full of vomit."
Simon snickered at this. "Five bucks says she's a projectile vomiter."
Isabelle fist bumped him. "Double that says she does it quietly without anyone knowing."
"Are you guys seriously placing bets on how a baby might vomit?" Alec shook his head. He started to pat Abby on the back to help her burp. "You should be ashamed of yourselves. Leave this child out of your petty gambling."
"But it's fun," Simon complained. "Not the gambling part. The part where she spews all over you in every color of the rainbow."
Alec rolled his eyes as his sister cackled with laughter. "She's going to be fine. She didn't even have that much to eat anyway-"
From over his shoulder, Abby let out a burp, followed by a giggle. Alec, Isabelle and Simon waited for what felt like forever for her to throw up but she didn't. Abby just continued to squirm on Alec's shoulder and talk baby talk.
"I think she's all good. Should I keep trying to burp her?" Alec held Abby out in front of him and looked her over. "She seems full now. All that milk inside her. Plus that wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was easy, actually."
"I'd say. Poor girl was starved to death last night but you didn't have anything to give her," Isabelle said. She rooted through the bags again and pulled out a box of diapers. "You thought burping her was easy? Now you have to change her diaper."
Alec looked down at Abby the exact same time she looked up at him. She gazed at him with big hazel eyes as if to say "Did you think you were done for the day?"
"Dude. Didn't you change Max's diaper as a baby? Or Izzy's?" Simon asked as he helped Isabelle open the box of diapers.
"I was only 4 was Izzy was born. So no. I didn't change hers. Max? I don't even remember. I was 11 when he was born but I don't remember ever changing his." Alec pulled out a diaper from the box. It had little zoo animals on them. "I think I should give her a bath. She'll feel better after a nice warm wash."
Isabelle quickly pulled out a bath kit for babies. "Got you covered, brother. Baby wash, shampoo, bubbles for the tub and a moisturizing soap to make the skin feel extra smooth. You're gonna smell so good!"
Abby smiled broadly as Isabelle poked her belly.
"Don't forget her rubber duck! The best part of a bath session if you ask me," Simon grinned as he picked up a small rubber duck and tapped Abby on the nose with it. She squealed and started to bounce in Alec's arms.
"Whoa okay. Calm down. Bath time it is I guess." Alec propped Abby up against his chest with one hand and collected the bath supplies with the other. "Thanks so much for this, Izzy. I'll pay you back once my pay check comes in-"
"Don't you dare. I did this for you. Consider it something like baby shower gifts. This will help you get started." Isabelle rubbed her brother's arm and smiled. "If you ever need help, don't hesitate to call me. Or Simon for that matter. He's itching to come back visit again ASAP."
Simon nodded enthusiastically. "Call me first before you call her. I'm more likely to show up ten seconds later."
Isabelle shoved him out the door. "Come on, Barry Allen. You have a city to save. Call me later, brother. Let me know how everything is."
Alec waved and shut his apartment door. All the bags had been left on the floor, carelessly, Alec noticed, so he sorted through them before he put Abby in the tub.
"So I assume your full name is Abigail? Abby is short for Abigail. Or is it something else?" He asked as he put away the formula in his cupboard. Abby lay on the coach, kicking away and sucking on her rubber duck. "I really need to stop talking to you like you're going to answer me back. It's starting to get a little weird."
He scooped her up into his arms and carried her to the bathroom. Isabelle had already set up the little chair that sits inside the tub and allows a baby to sit safely inside without falling and hurting themselves. The knob to the tub squeaked as he turned it and this grabbed Abby's attention. She watched the water flow from the faucet and into the tub with such concentration that Alec found himself smirking at her.
"What is it? Is Abby going to have a nice bath? With lots of bubbles?" He laughed as she looked at him for a moment before returning her attention to the water. Once the tub was filled with an inch or so of water, Alec stripped off her pink pajamas in his room and removed her dirty diaper, cleaning her bottom with a baby wipe.
"Ugh. Oh god. I forgot how awful baby poop smelled. You don't exactly smell like vanilla, huh?" He plugged his nose as he tossed the diaper into a garbage bag. "Alright. Let's go have a bath."
Turns out that Abby loved the water. She kicked and splashed and laughed as Alec filled the tub with some bubbles and made her rubber duck float around her in the water. While she was distracted, Alec gently washed her body with the baby body wash and shampoo.
"You know....let's say for a second that you are mine. Hypothetically. I know I don't look like much or have much experience with babies but....I'd try my best to raise you right. If I decided to keep you, that is-wait. That sounded a bit harsh. Forget I said that." Alec shook his head. "Regardless of the fact that I wasn't actually interested in having kids. You snuck up on me."
Abby made a face that looked like she was straining, her cheeks puffing out and her chin becoming a double chin. Bubbles spurted out from where her butt was in the seat and she gave him a toothless smile.
"Real classy. You're lucky you're so cute." With the shampoo that was in her hair, he spiked it up on top of her head so that she had a little mohawk. "After the DNA test, I have to make an important decision. Legally speaking, I do have custody rights seeing how....your mother isn't here to make a decision. But that's only if we have a DNA match."
Abby grabbed her rubber duck as it floated by and shoved it in her mouth like a wild predator.
Alec smiled crookedly. He placed his arms on the side of the tub and rest his cheek on his arm. "I'm so sorry that whoever dropped you off made you feel unwanted. No child should ever feel that way. If it was your mom who did this....pardon my language but she's a real bitch."
Abby didn't seem phased by his swearing. She continued to play with her duck and she was now wiggling her toes across some bubbles that found its way to her feet.
"I know this place isn't much either. I mean you've seen the state of my room. It's a mess. But it's four walls and a roof, isn't it? At least we have that." Alec blew at a bubble that flew into the air. It popped immediately. "I'm going to try and be a good father to you, Abigail. I may not be perfect and I am going to fuck up - again, I'm sorry about the language - but I'll try my hardest to make sure you're happy and healthy. Deal?"
Abby grabbed his hand as he pretended to outstretch it for her to shake and smushed her face into it, babbling unintelligibly.
Alec laughed. "You're weird. But it's a cute kind of weird. You're going to be a heartbreaker when you're older, angel. I can already tell."
After her bath, Alec brought her into his room and placed her on his bed where he gently dried her off with a soft towel. She cooed up at him, smiling as he tickled her tiny feet. She nearly kicked him in the face again but Alec was quick to move out of her reach.
"Thought you could get me again, didn't you? Ha ha!" Alec blew on her belly, making a farting noise and she squealed with laughter. Her laughs were boisterous, like they came right from her feet and bubbled up inside her. He chuckled at her snorts of laughter and placed a kiss on the bottom of her foot.
Just as he finished putting a fresh diaper on her, Alec's phone dinged. It was a text from Isabelle. He checked it once Abby was dressed in a cute little outfit; a Wonder Woman shirt with a pair of jeans.
Izzy: Any plans on bringing Button to the doctor's today?
Alec text her back.
Alec: Button? Is that what we're nicknaming her?
Isabelle: Simon's idea. Not mine. Are you bringing her or not?
Alec glanced up at Abby. She was happily ripping at the box of diapers on the living room floor, grumbling her frustration when the box wouldn't cooperate with her.
Alec: I guess I don't have any other choice. I have to make sure she's healthy. Maybe see if they have her birth record on file
Isabelle: That's if she was even born in New York. Looking for her birth mother won't be easy
Alec sighed. He knew it wasn't going to be easy but he had to find out who dropped Abby off at his door. If he had a name, maybe he could make contact with the mother and ask why she did what she did.
Alec: I know. But I have to try Iz. For Abby
Isabelle didn't answer back right away so he took this opportunity to get dressed. Abby crawled along behind him as he went into his room to slip on jeans and a fresh shirt. He smirked when he tossed a t-shirt over her head and she was swallowed up underneath it. She squealed and pulled the shirt away from her face, revealing a huge smile and staticky black hair.
"Going to go for a ride in the car? Yeah? Gonna go see the doctor with dad-" Alec paused. He shouldn't use that term as of right now. For all he knew, he might not be Abby's real father. So he wanted to avoid that word until the results of the DNA test came back. "Let's go for a ride in the car, okay? I'm sure Isabelle has a car seat here somewhere in this vast jungle of baby supplies."
It took ten minutes to find the car seat and another twenty to figure out how to set it up in the backseat of his car. Once it was all settled away, that's when he plopped Abby down inside it and buckled her in. She looked quite confused at this strange contraption that was forbidding her to move and she looked like she was on the verge of tears.
"Oh no. Don't cry! You're okay. This is just to make sure you're safe in the car. We won't be long. Just don't cry - here!" Alec handed her the rubber duck she had with her in the bathtub. "See? Mr. Duck will be with you for the entire ride."
Abby grabbed Mr. Duck and shoved him in her mouth. She seemed to quiet down now that she had her toy with her so Alec climbed into the driver's seat and started the car to begin their journey to the hospital.
Every now and then he'd look back in the rearview at Abby to make sure she was okay. Never had he seen a child so fascinated by the world around them before. Abby stared up at the buildings around her in awe, Mr. Duck falling from her mouth in surprise. She even waved her small hand to a car that had stopped beside them in another lane. Alec laughed as the driver waved back with a smile. Overall, the first car ride was a success.
He registered with the nurse at the front desk and took a seat in the waiting room. There was a crowd of people already there, and it was still fairly early in the morning. Ranging from young to old, coughing to actually bleeding, it was just another busy day in New York.
A woman beside him chuckled as she saw Abby on his lap. "What a beautiful little girl. Is she yours?"
Alec shrugged. "That's what I'm here to find out, actually. Her name is Abby."
The woman smiled. "Hi, Abby. What a pretty girl you are!"
Abby squirmed in Alec's lap, frustrated that she couldn't move freely.
"She's a bit fussy today," said Alec. "Had a rough morning. She almost cried during the ride here."
"She'll grow out of it. My son was the exact same way at her age. I just can't get over how much she looks like you. Same hair, same eyes. I'd be surprised if you weren't her father." The woman pat him on the knee and smiled warmly. "Best of luck to you, young man. Children can either be a curse or a blessing. This little one is clearly a blessing."
Alec thanked her quietly and kissed Abby on the back of her head. He knew he shouldn't be so attached already, seeing how he only met her last night, but he couldn't help it. He attached to things really quickly. Whether it be people or animals, he bonded quickly and found it difficult to let them go when it was time to let them go.
"Alexander Lightwood?" A nurse called out. "The doctor will see you now."
Alec fixed Abby in his arms and carried her towards where the nurse was waiting for them. "That's us, Button. If you behave with the doctor I'll buy you a treat. How does that sound?"
This completely went over Abby's head as they followed behind the nurse. Her eyes were fixed on the posters on the walls as they walked past them, grunting when she didn't get to look at them long enough.
Once in the examination room, the nurse set down a clipboard on the counter with a smile. "Doctor Garroway will be right with you. Just have a seat."
"Thanks," Alec said. He took a chair beside the examination table with Abby on his knee. She burped when he gave her a reassuring pat on the back, snorting at her own noises.
Doctor Garroway came in a few minutes later. He paused in the doorway when he saw Alec. "Alec. Hey! Didn't expect to see you here. Certainly didn't expect to see you here with a baby either."
Luke Garroway was a tall man with a friendly, warm smile and a deep voice. His chocolate eyes matched his skin, which Alec found oddly attractive (the man was good looking. There was no denying it) and his shirt was stretched over large muscles. He was also Clary's stepfather.
"Trust me. I didn't expect to be here either," Alec rubbed Abby's hand and half smiled. "So yeah....this is Abigail. I think she's my daughter."
Luke raised an eyebrow. "You think she's your daughter?"
"That's why I'm here. To see if she is."
Luke took a seat in front of Abby to examine here. "Hello, beautiful girl. You're as cute as a button."
Abby kicked her foot out with a huff. She didn't seem too pleased to be trapped in a small room like this with no toys or anything to entertain her.
"Careful. She's a kicker," Alec warned. "Already got me once in the face this morning and almost got me again when she got out of the bath."
"Thanks for letting me know," Luke chuckled. He had taken out his stethoscope and slipped it up Abby's shirt to check her heartbeat. "Heart sounds good. Let's get her up on the table so I can get a good look at her."
Alec set her down on top of the examination table where Abby seemed fascinated with the scratchy white paper on top of it. She pat it with a hand and cringed at the feel of it. "I only met her last night. Long story short. Kind of took me by surprise."
"I'd say. Anyone would be surprised if they just came across a baby like this. Mobility seems to be all good. She's a strong one." Luke tapped her on the nose with a smile. "Eyes and ears look fine. As far as I can tell, she's a happy and healthy baby girl."
Alec sighed in relief. "Can you tell how old she is?"
"Just by looking at her? I'm going to guess maybe 5 1/2 to 6 months old. She doesn't look it because she's so small but that's my professional opinion. And you said you think she might be yours?"
Alec nodded. "Can we do a blood test to determine that?"
"Absolutely. But it won't be pleasant for a certain someone here."
They both looked down at Abby, who was crumpling the examination table paper in her hands and shaking it up and down in the air.
"Let's do it. If she cries, just let her cry it out. I have Mr. Duck here-"
"Mr. Duck?" Luke asked.
Alec raised the rubber duck to show him. "Her bath toy. She seems to calm down when she has it in her hands."
Luke nodded. "Whatever works. Let's get this done fast so missy here doesn't kick up a fuss."
Kick up a fuss she did. Luke rolled up her sleeve and wet her arm with rubbing alcohol before gently putting the needle into her skin. She screamed and cried, her body shaking with hard sobs. Alec tried his best to keep her calm but this was just one of those situations where nothing he did kept her calm.
"And there we go! All done. That wasn't so bad, was it princess?" Luke chuckled as Abby shot him a dirty look. "Wow. If looks could kill....now I just need a blood sample from you."
"Absolutely. Whatever you need. Am I allowed to hold onto her while you get a sample? I don't want her to fall off the exam table."
Luke allowed him to hold Abby, seating her on his lap while he got some blood drawn. She had stopped crying entirely and watched as Alec got the same thing done to him as she did. When he was done, she pointed at the bandaid on his arm and hummed.
"She's clever for her age. She recognizes the bandaid and knows it's the same thing she has," Luke pointed out. "Not many infants her age can distinguish that. She's going to be very intelligent."
Alec tapped her nose. "You really think so? I mean I'm not denying that she's not smart. I know she is. There's no doubt."
Luke smiled and placed a hand on Alec's shoulder. "Hey. I'll call you once I get the results back, okay? Good or bad. So try and hang in there, big guy."
Thanking Luke, Alec gathered Abby in his arms and made the trip back out to the car. Once she was settled into her car seat, his phone began to ring. It was his boss, Val.
"Dammit. Please don't ask me to come in today," Alec grumbled. With a deep breath he answered. "Hey Val. What's up?"
"Alec my boy! Listen I hate to be calling you especially on your day off but we're a man short today and we need some extra muscle. Think you can come in?"
Alec bumped his forehead on the steering wheel. "Actually, I can't. Something's come up and it's really important. An emergency, almost."
There was a pause. "Pop by my office within the hour. We can talk then."
Alec glanced back at Abby. She was happily seated in her new car seat sucking on her hand and watching him. "Uh, sure. Yeah. Within the hour."
"Great! See you then."
He hung up and left Alec rubbing his eyes with the backs of his hands. The stress of balancing work and home life had never been an issue. He'd always been able to go in whenever Val needed him to come in and take a shift but there was absolutely no chance of that happening today. Not with Abby being there and him waiting on their test results.
"Okay," he sighed. "Alright. Ready to go for another ride? Hopefully this one won't be long and we can get back home and watch some tv or play with your toys."
Abby snorted, more than likely telling him "What toys?"
Alec sighed. "You're right. I'll have to get you some toys ASAP. Maybe after my quick chat with my boss we can hit up Toys R Us. It'll be an adventure!"
It certainly was an adventure, weaving in and out of traffic to get to the construction site where his boss and crew were located. When they arrived it was loud and extremely noisy; jackhammers, saws, hammering, all the typical sounds of a construction site. It was much too loud for a baby to be listening to.
Alec chewed on his lower lip as he parked the car. He didn't want to get out and expose Abby to all the new sounds. It could scare her. "Alright. How are we going to do this?"
Abby strained against her car seat and began to cry.
"I know, I know. I'll figure something-"
Alec turned to look out his driver's seat window. Magnus was approaching the car, a smile on his face and carrying a clipboard in his hands. "Hey! I thought you had today off? What are you doing here?"
Magnus Bane. Tall, handsome, beautiful smile and gorgeous almond shaped brown eyes with golden flecks that made Alec swoon whenever he was around. Today he was dressed in a red flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, revealing muscular veiny forearms. He wore a white muscle shirt underneath which accentuated his strong chest. He was normally dressed in a t-shirt and jeans but it was a little windy around the site today. He looked gorgeous nonetheless.
"Uh....I....Val needed to talk to me about something," Alec croaked. He cringed, aware of his cracking voice.
"Oh. Must be important then if he called you in on your day off. Is he meeting you out here or are you going into his trailer?" Magnus' eyes roamed to the backseat where Abby had squealed loudly for some attention. "And who's this peeking out from the backseat?"
Alec felt his cheeks go red with embarrassment. "This is Abby."
Magnus snorted. "That's all you're giving me? Are you babysitting for someone?"
"Something like that."
Magnus raised his hands. "Alright. I don't pry. If you don't want to give away anything then I won't pressure you about it." Magnus gave Alec a kind smile. "Good luck with Val in there."
As Magnus started to walk away, Alec sighed heavily and gripped his knees in frustration. "Hey Magnus?"
Magnus turned. "Yeah?"
Alec pointed to the backseat. "You wouldn't mind staying with her when I go in and talk to the boss, do you? I don't want her getting overwhelmed with the noise. It might scare her."
Magnus smiled. "Sure. Anything you need."
Alec climbed out of the car. Abby began to whine and fuss when she saw him leaving. "I won't be long, Button. Ten minutes, okay? Magnus will stay with you while I'm gone."
He watched as Magnus got into the backseat beside Abby and started to talk to her. He caught words like "princess" and "chubby" while he was walking away but didn't catch any more than that.
Val was in his trailer office when Alec stepped inside. Once he saw Alec come in, he smiled warmly and waved him inside.
"Alec my boy! Come on in. Just the guy I was looking forward to talking to!"
Ale sat down in front of his boss' desk. "You wanted to see me?"
"I did, I did. I wanted to commend you on all the hard work you've been putting into the project lately."
Unsure of what to say, Alec nodded.
"....and I wanted to give you a promotion."
This made Alec nearly fall out of his chair. "A p-promotion? Seriously?"
Val laughed. "Yes, seriously! You're a hard worker, Alec. You're dedicated. A team player. A natural born leader. All examples worthy of the project supervisor title. What do you think? Maybe you can start tomorrow when you come back?"
Tomorrow? He might not even have the DNA results back by then. Plus he didn't have anyone to watch Abby while he was at work. Isabelle had a full time job. Simon was preparing for a gig with his band. He didn't know anyone else and didn't want anyone else to know about Abby.
Val was eyeing him strangely. "Are you okay? You look a little green...."
Alec took a deep breath. "As much as I'd love and appreciate a promotion, I'm afraid I'll have to decline. There's some personal issues that I'm dealing with right now and a promotion around this time just doesn't feel right."
Val leaned forward on his desk. "Is everything okay? Anything you need, I'm more than happy to try and help you out with it. Just say the word."
Alec chuckled. "I doubt you'll be able to help but thanks anyway. This is something I have to try and handle myself. It's the only way I'll learn."
Val nodded. "I respect that and I respect you. Do you need another couple of days?"
"....you mean you'll actually give me the days off?"
"As long as you work from home. Write up reports. Pay stubs. The usual paperwork."
Alec nodded vigorously. "Absolutely. That would help me so much. Thank you."
They shook hands after his boss wished him good luck and he exited the trailer. As he made his way across the work site to go back to his car, his phone rang. He waited until he was in the car to answer it to avoid the background noise.
"Alec? I have the results," Luke spoke up.
Alec took a deep breath. He was aware of Magnus still sitting in the back seat and tried to ignore him. "Okay. Hit me. Good or bad?"
A pause. "Ah. Well that depends on how you view it. You ready for it?"
Alec closed his eyes and took a slow, deep breath. "Sure. I'm ready."
Luke sighed. "I compared a sample of Abby's blood with yours. It didn't take too long to get the results and there was a 98% match in the sample taken from the both of you."
"....so that means?"
Luke chuckled. "She's yours, Alec. Abby is your daughter."
Chapter 3: A Little Help
Apologies for not updating sooner I'm just super busy with other stuff
"Alec? Alec, are you okay?"
Alec was seated in the driver's seat with the phone still up to his ear. Luke was still on the line, sounding very concerned. "Uh yeah. Yeah I'm good. I'll relay the news to Isabelle. Thanks Luke."
Luke sighed. "Are you sure you're gonna be okay? If you need anything or have any questions, feel free to drop by my office and I'll gladly help you out."
Alec nodded. "Thanks. I'll keep that in mind. Talk to you later." He hit End and let out a long, tired breath. Looking up into the rearview mirror, he almost jumped out of his skin when he saw Magnus looking back at him. "Geez. I forgot you were even back there."
"Sorry. I didn't want to make any noise to disrupt your call," he said, frowning as he looked back at Alec. "Is everything okay? You kind of drifted off for a minute. Whoever you were talking to was trying to reel you back to reality."
Alec chuckled halfheartedly. "That was my doctor giving me test results."
Magnus inhaled sharply. "Jesus, Alexander. Are you.....you know....sick?"
"What? No it's not like that. It was a different kind of test. The results weren't what I was expecting yet I knew the answer already. This just confirmed it more or less."
Magnus glanced at Abby before speaking. "She's yours. Isn't she? That's what the test results were."
Alec looked back at him. "How did you know?"
"Alec," Magnus snorted. "Come on. Anyone with a good set of eyes can see that she looks exactly like you. Who else has lovely hazel eyes like you do?"
Alec turned away so Magnus couldn't see him blushing. "I just...I'm not sure if I'm ready to take on such a huge responsibility. I'm barely making it on my own as it is. Having her is just...too much. Is that awful of me to say?"
Magnus sighed. "Not at all. Not everyone is fit to be a parent but I think you'll get the hang of it. Don't doubt yourself and remember that if you ever need help, you have friends and family always willing to lend a hand. Isn't that right, sweet pea?"
Abby giggled as Magnus tickled under her chin, her eyes crinkling around the edges just like Alec's did.
"Thanks. Everyone says that but it feels like if I asked, I'd be bothering them," Alec sighed. "It's only been 12 hours, Magnus. Twelve hours since she stepped into my life and I'm already second guessing myself-"
"Don't. Second guessing yourself won't get you anywhere. Besides, you can't hesitate anymore. You have a little human being here to watch over now. You can't let your brain run ahead of you otherwise you might let her down somehow. I'm not trying to scare you-"
"I know. I get it. If I second guess myself, something might go wrong and I'll regret it. Heard you loud and clear."
Frowning, Magnus climbed out of the car and stood next to the driver's window. "Call me later. You have my number, right?"
Alec did have his number, in fact. They had exchanged numbers ages ago but he didn't have the balls to text or call Magnus. "Yeah. I'm going to Toys R Us with Abby there now, so anytime after that? When does your shift end?"
Magnus checked his watch. "I get off at 5. But if the weather keeps acting the way it is Val will more than likely let us off early for the day. I'll text you later for sure to see where you are."
Alec nodded as Magnus pat the roof of the car and and winked. Another blush passed through his face and he quickly started the car and drove away before Magnus could see his red face.
"Well that was close," he said once they were on the road again. "I can't let him see the effect he has on me, Abby. Nobody outside my siblings knows I'm gay."
Abby grumbled and shoved Mr. Duck in her mouth, babbling happily in her car seat.
"You'll understand it more when you're older. Gay can either mean two things: it can mean you're happy or you're into men. Like me..." He heaved a sigh. "I think Magnus is gorgeous, Button. But I can't find the courage to ask him out. Plus I'm trying to avoid dating coworkers. Keep things professional, you know?"
Babbling again, Abby pointed to something and fussed.
"I know, I know. If I keep things bottled up I'll eventually regret it in the future. You don't need to remind me." Alec pulled into the Toys R Us parking lot. It was crowded and finding an empty space took ten minutes. "Alright, little Button. Ready to pick out some toys?"
Abby shoved her fingers in her mouth and giggled in response. The idea of having some toys appealed to her greatly. Now Mr. Duck won't be so lonely.
Alec scooped her up out of her car seat and he found an empty cart to seat her in. She happily slapped the handlebars and swung her chubby legs as they dangled down below her seat. A loud cry of joy escaped her mouth when they stepped into the store and this caused a few people to look at them.
"I get you're excited but you have to keep your voice down, okay?" Alec leaned down and whispered to her. He had to bite his lip to keep from laughing when she shoved his nose in her mouth and sucked. "That's disgusting, Abs. Gross."
He wiped his nose in the sleeve of his sweater just as an employee approached them with a smile. She was young, about Alec's age, with long brown hair tied back into a ponytail and bright friendly brown eyes. "Hi there! Welcome to Toys R Us. Is there anything I can help you with today?"
Alec froze in place, unsure of what to say next. "I uh....I don't....I'm...."
The girl turned from focusing on Alec to look at Abby. "Awww hi beautiful! You're so cute!"
Abby smiled and waved her arms around, cooing loudly.
The female employee (whose name Alec discovered was Anna. It said so on her name tag) giggled as she watched Abby. "She's absolutely adorable. What's her name?"
"Abby-Abigail. Her name is Abigail."
Anna smiled. "She's gorgeous. She looks just like you. Can I safely assume that you're the father?"
Was it really that obvious? Alec looked down at Abby. She looked back up at him as if to say "Say yes. There definitive proof that you are" so he nodded. "Yes. She's my daughter. Almost six months old."
Anna cooed at Abby. "You're so chubby wubby! If you need anything, tell daddy okay? Then he'll ask for help. That's what we're all here for."
Everything that Alec passed by looked appealing, or along the lines of something that Abby might want to play with. Ranging from stuffed animals to building blocks, Alec had no idea what to pick up and what not to pick up. He still needed to get a crib and a high chair and even that seemed like a challenge.
"I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing here," Alec grumbled to himself as he looked a pack of bathtub toys. "Any advice? Want to give me some pointers?"
Abby's response to this was to grab the box of animals and shake it like a maraca. She laughed at this and did it again.
"Thank you. You're very helpful." Groaning, he grabbed some random stuffed animals and put them in the cart along with the bath animals. After he picked out a few animals, he then chose a box of building blocks and put that in the cart as well.
"Is this good? Will you be entertained enough?" Alec snorted as Abby banged on the box of blocks with her hands. "I should've just got you a box instead. You're like a cat."
The lineup for the checkout was crowded. Alec waited in line for ten minute approaching the cash register with his cartload. The girl that had talked to him earlier was now working at the register and smiled when he approached.
"Hello again. Did you find what you needed?" She asked.
"Uh...I think so. There's still a few things I need on my list but I'll come back again once I get a chance." He placed the couple of toys on the conveyor and she scanned them. "Just out of curiosity, do you have cribs? I don't have one and I'm looking for one. Preferably something low in the price range."
Anna nodded. "We do. The cheapest one we have is approximately $300. What was your budget?"
Alec snorted. "Certainly not $300 that's for sure. I'll just come back another time and check again."
Anna nodded and helped put his bags in the cart. "Bye cutie! Hope you enjoy all your new toys!"
Abby clapped her hands and smiled a toothless smile, making the crowd around her awe in unison as she left the store.
"You're a real crowd pleaser, aren't you?" Alec smirked. "I should take you everywhere I go. Just so you can melt the tension."
Back at the apartment, Alec opened up her building blocks and spread them on the floor for her. Within seconds Abby was on top of them, either banging them together or sucking on them as she watched him move about the kitchen while he made dinner.
"Ah!" She yelled, banging two blocks together.
Alec glanced over his shoulder. "Are you building a house? Build me a house so we can move into it together."
He picked up a block and put it on top of another one to get her interested. Once she saw what he was doing, she quickly followed suit by placing another block on his. She looked up at him as if asking if she was doing it right.
"That's a good girl. Play with your blocks while I make us some dinner, okay? You'll get some milk in a little bit once I fry up some hamburger meat-don't pick your nose, Abigail. Here."
Abby removed her finger from her nostril and screeched as Alec wiped her nose with a tissue. She glared at him once he was done and walked away from her with the dirty tissue.
"Don't give me that look. I was only trying to help you-" A knock on the door cut him off. "Don't pick your nose. That's all I'm saying."
He opened the door and saw Simon standing in the doorway. Simon smiled broadly and pat a large box behind him.
"I come bearing gifts. Heard someone needed a crib for their crib?" He laughed at his own joke.
Alec glanced at the box. "How did you know? I literally came back from Toys R Us ten minutes ago."
"Anna text me. Said you were with a baby and was looking for a crib so here I am. It belonged to my sister when she had a pregnancy scare. She went all out for nothing. Mind if I come in and set it up?"
Alec let him in. The box was heavy so it had to be slid across the floor to the living room. Abby, now distracted from her blocks, looked at the box with a confused look set on her face. She touched it with a hand and grumbled under her breath.
"Hello, pretty girl! Come see Uncle Simon," Simon cooed as he lift her into his arms. "Your uncle came with an early Christmas gift for you. You get to sleep in your own bed tonight! How does that sound?"
Alec snorted. "Sounds fantastic to me. I can finally sleep on my stomach like I usually do. Last night was hell, though I'm not complaining about the endless cuddles she gave me."
Simon pouted as he kissed Abby on the cheek. "Now I'm just jealous. I want endless cuddles too. Izzy's cuddles are nice but a baby's cuddles are even better."
Alec pretended to gag when Simon wasn't looking and set down a plate of hamburger meat on the counter. "Want a burger? You're welcome to one if you like."
"Don't mind if I do. Carrying that thing into the elevator was torture. For such a small crib it's awful heavy. Got any ketchup?"
After the two men ate and Abby was fed her milk and put down for a nap, both men returned to the living room to set up her crib. As expected, the box came with instructions and diagrams on how it should look and where the pieces inside are supposed to be put together.
"There's always an extra piece at the end. That or a screw is missing...." Simon flipped the diagram upside down, squinting at it. "Is it supposed to look wonky like that?"
Alec compared the diagram to what they managed to create in the middle of the living room. "Nope. Not even close."
"Dammit....I guess we'll have to disassemble the entire thing and try again-"
The doorbell rang at that moment. Alec carefully stepped over the crib and jogged to the door. Looking through the peephole, he saw Magnus standing in the hallway, brown bags in his arms.
Alec opened the door. "Magnus. What a surprise."
"Hey! Sorry to drop by unannounced. Are you busy?" Magnus peered over Alec's shoulder when he heard Simon swear. "I saw that your car was in the parking lot and decided to see if you were home. Sorry I didn't text you like I said I would. If you're busy I can come back another time-"
"I'm-I'm not busy. Actually....we could use an extra set of hands and eyes. We're trying to build Abby's crib and it's not going too well...." Alec chuckled awkwardly. "Think you could help us out?"
Magnus beamed. "Let me take a look at it. I'm good with my hands."
Alec didn't doubt that for a second.
Simon looked up from the screwdriver as Magnus stepped into the room. "Oh thank god. I was ready to set this on fire. Why do these things have to be so complicated?!"
"Relax. Magnus is here to help," said Alec. "We think we didn't assemble it properly or something."
"I'd say," Magnus chuckled. He paced around the crib with a smirk on his face. "You certainly know how to not read instructions. I'll give you that much."
"Thanks. We take pride in our inability to read step by step. Instructions are for the weak," Simon said, voice laced with sarcasm.
Magnus clicked his tongue. "Well. The good news is that I can easily fix this. I've assembled my fair share of cribs in my lifetime."
Alec watched as Magnus' nimble hands quickly took apart the monstrous crib they had attempted to build. "Can it be saved though? Simon and I did do a number on it..."
Magnus looked up at him and smiled. "Of course. You just made a few wrong turns and put the pieces together in the wrong spot. Abby's going to love it when it's all done. Speaking of....where is the little angel?"
Alec nodded towards his bedroom. "I just put her down for a nap a half hour ago. Want me to go get her?"
Magnus shook his head dismissively. "I don't want to bother her. I can always see her another time, right? Assuming I don't wear out my welcome here."
Simon glanced at Alec and smirked. The taller man's face had turned red in the cheeks, the blush spreading to his forehead and down his neck. "I'm sure Alec would love to have you here again. Right Alec?"
Alec sputtered when Simon nudged him. "R-right. Of course. You can come over any time you want."
"Excellent," Magnus chuckled. "If you ever need my help, don't hesitate to call. I'll drop whatever I'm doing and come over right away."
A half hour later, the crib sat fully built in the living room. Not a single piece was left over and even all the screws were accounted for. The only thing missing was some blankets for the inside. A tiny mattress had already come with the crib so that saved Alec some money.
"There we go. Now we just need the client to come and make an inspection. See if it meets her standards," Magnus pointed out. "Shall we call her out?"
Alec nodded. "I'll go get her. It sounds like she's waking up anyway."
He came back out from the bedroom a minute later carrying a very sleepy Abigail in his arms. Her head rest on his shoulder, eyes drooping as he walked out into the living room.
"Aw. She can barely keep her eyes open," Simon cooed. "Who's a sleepy girl? Abby's a sleepy girl!"
Abby rubbed her eyes and began to fuss in Alec's arms.
"Give her to me. I'll give her the rundown of her new bed," Magnus waved Alec over. Once Abby was handed to him, he cleared his throat and began to speak. "Abigail. This is your new bed. You'll sleep here during nap time and at night when your daddy goes to bed. Do you like it?"
Abby stared at Magnus as he talked to her. She looked awestruck which Alec could relate to. He was awestruck whenever he was around Magnus too. The man was just magical in every aspect of life; speaking, walking, breathing. He made everything more beautiful; even the smallest things in life were ten times more beautiful. The way his eyes sparkled when he laughed. How he talked with his hands. It was breathtaking.
"Has she eaten yet?" Magnus asked.
Alec sputtered to find his tongue. "Uh yeah. I fed her just before Simon got here."
"Hmm. Shame. I wanted to feed the little booger. You're a little booger, aren't you?" Magnus booped Abby in the nose, prompting the baby to shriek with joy.
"Well then. If you're finished with the bed I guess you don't need me anymore," Simon commented as he picked up his jacket. "If you do, you know my number. Don't be a stranger. Bye bye, pumpkin!"
Abby stared as Simon left. It was only when he closed the apartment door did she look from Alec to Magnus as if to say "Where did that guy go?"
"So. You certainly went from 0 to 60 in five seconds, didn't you?" Magnus glanced over at Alec. "The shock of knowing you have a kid when you thought your life was child free."
Alec let out a deep breath. "Yeah. I mean...does anyone ever expect a kid to be dropped off on their doorstep?"
Abby fussed into Magnus' shirt, bursting into tears when he tried to rub her back and calm her down again.
"The little one's probably hungry," he said. "Do you want me to feed her? I don't mind."
Alec warmed a bottle and handed it to Magnus, watching carefully. The other man let Abby rest her head on the crook of his arm while angling the bottle with his other hand. When the bottle touched Abby's lips, she latched on and hungrily began to suck.
"She only ate a while ago," Alec told him. "I'm surprised she's hungry again."
"She's a growing girl," Magnus cooed. "Baby girl needs all her vitamins so she can grow up but and strong like her daddy."
Alec squeezed his right thigh with his hands when Magnus mentioned him. He didn't speak; he was too engrossed with watching Magnus feed the baby in his arms, cooing and poking her nose. Abby blinked but didn't fuss as she ate her meal.
"How are you so good with babies?" Alec pointed to the bottle. "She always fusses with me. It's a battle half the time to get her to eat."
Magnus laughed. "It's always about the comfort level. If she's comfy, then she'll take to the bottle a lot quicker. It's the same with adults too. If we're comfortable, we'll take to things a lot quicker if we know we're safe. It's no different with babies."
When Abby finished and Alec put her down for a nap in her new bed, he finally took a seat beside Magnus on the couch. Every inch of him felt exhausted. From his head right down to his feet, he was too tired to even stand and get himself a drink of water.
Magnus seemed to notice. "Need me to get you anything? Snack? Drink?"
"Water would be great. I'm too tired to move...."
Magnus happily got him a glass of water and a bag of potato chips. "You shouldn't exert yourself. I know kids are a lot of work but you need to remember to make time for yourself too."
Alec laughed into his glass. "I'm trying. But it's like she need something every second and I can't even stop for a minute to screw my head on right or take a breath-"
"Hey," Magnus interrupted. "Listen. Just breathe. Try to take everything one bit at a time. You're taking it all in at once and it's confusing you."
Alec felt a hand on his thigh. Magnus had reached over and placed a delicate, long fingered hand on his leg in reassurance. "How else am I supposed to handle it? A kid was dumped on my doorstep. I'm reacting the same way anyone else would."
Magnus clicked his tongue. "True. But I know you, Alec. We've been coworkers for two years. You tend to try and handle everything by yourself and never ask anyone for help. I don't know if it's a pride thing or if it's just who you are but you can't handle everything on your own. Reach out. Don't be afraid to ask for help."
Magnus had leaned in so close that their breaths mingled together; Magnus smelled like mint whereas Alec's smelled like potato chips. Their noses were barely centimetres apart....another inch and they could kiss-
A loud cry from the bedroom made the men pull away quickly. Abby had woken up and was crying her little heart out inside Alec's room.
"I should...." Alec thumbed over his shoulder.
"Yeah. I should get going anyway. Unless you need anything?"
Alec winced as Abby let out another cry. "I should be fine. Thanks anyway. But hey...." He caught Magnus by the arm with a hand, a smile on his face. "Thank you for today. For the advice. It gave me new perspective."
Magnus tilted his chin upwards, a small smile on his lips. "Of course. Anytime." He pat Alec on the arm before he opened the apartment door. "Call me if you need anything, Alexander."
The apartment door finally closed, leaving Alec alone with Abby wailing in his bedroom.
"Alright! Alright. I'm coming," Alec called out with an exhausted sigh. "Daddy's coming."