by Hayley

Chapter Two

I'm pretty sure Tyler likes to make me look like a liar. Here I told Faith he would be on his best behavior when she stayed with us and even though he's been sleeping well recently during the night that's not the case now.

No, he's been seriously testing his lungs and my patience the last two nights.

This is the fourth night Faith's been here and the first two were fine. Sure, Tyler would wake up but I'd either feed him or change him, rock him a little and he'd go back to sleep. I doubt Faith even noticed half the time. She told me the first night there wasn't much that could wake her.

I think we can safely add Tyler to the list of things that can wake her. Last night he barely slept and all she did today was scowl at me. I think she even snuck away during the day and took a nap because she wouldn't have been able to function during patrol without one.

I feel bad about the whole thing. It was my idea that she stay with us and now look at what's happened. No one's sleeping and I look every bit like a bad mother. I can't even get my little boy to stop crying long enough for all of us to get a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. That's got to be what Faith thinks anyway.

Tonight's only been different in that Tyler was sleeping for the last half hour, giving me hope that tonight we'd all be getting some sleep but he just started crying again and as much as I love my son it's taking everything I have to get up and get him. I'm just so tired right now. I wish I had taken a nap earlier, too.

My house is small in that my bedroom is right next to Tyler's so it's not like I have to walk very far to get to him. It's twenty feet at best but by the time I reach the door to my room he's already starting to quiet down. I swear I'm about to get on my knees and claim miracle because all I want is some sleep but my senses are suddenly on high alert. I know my son is not alone in his room.

Once I look into his room however, I'm no longer on high alert or ready to clobber anyone or anything in there with him. I'm confused more than anything.

Faith made it from the living room couch to Tyler before I could get to him. It's almost like she was expecting him to start crying, anticipating it even. That's the only way I can explain how she made it to him before me.

The other sight that has me torn between amazement and laughter: she's actually picked him up. Faith always seemed to almost be afraid of my son and she's never so much as offered or asked to hold him. Now she's actually holding him, awkward as all can be but still holding him. The best part is Tyler's stopped screeching. He's still crying but it's quieter.

"Damn, B," Faith says quietly as she turns to me, "he's gonna hurt himself or something. How can he scream that much without hurting himself?"

I don't say anything right away and can't help but smile a little at the sight. Tyler's crying against Faith's shoulder and she's rubbing his back lightly, trying to comfort him. She looks like she at least partially knows what she's doing and it makes me wonder if she's had more experience than she lets on. Maybe she wasn't going near my son before because he was mine.

"He seems to like you," I say just as quietly. "Did he stop crying once you picked him up?"

She nods. "A little but ya know, he's not exactly stopping. What that hell's wrong with him?"

"If I knew do you think he'd be keeping us up the last couple nights?" I walk closer to them until I'm standing next to her and look at my son. He's really starting to calm down and I still wanna claim miracle. This is the easiest it's been to get him to calm down in a couple days.

I place my hand against his back and Faith's and my hand touch. Neither of us pulls away like I half expect and when our eyes meet I see more than simply tiredness in them. I wonder what that means but I'm too tired to think about it.

"Looks like he's doing okay with you though."

Faith narrows her eyes at me but looks down at Tyler, who's almost done crying. "Do you think I can put him down now or will he start up again?"

I look at Tyler for a moment. I know he's not hungry and his diaper doesn't need changing. If I didn't know any better I'd say he was waiting for Faith to get him. That can't be true though. He's way too little to pull that one off.

"I think he'll be okay," I say as I lean in and kiss the top of his head lightly. His little, bald head . . . I can't wait until he has hair and I can stop being paranoid that he'll never grow any.

Faith gently places him back in his little crib and covers him exactly like I had previously. We walk out of the room as quietly as possible and instead of retreating back to my room, I follow Faith back out to the living room.

"Thanks," I whisper. There is no way I'm going to risk this chance at sleep by talking in a normal tone. "Whatever you did made him stop."

"I didn't do anything," Faith says, shrugging. "I just wanted him to stop so I could sleep."

I smile. "Well, I think you've gained a fan. Have you noticed he always looks for you when he hears your voice?"

"Nah," Faith said, "I don't think so. We should sleep while we can."

"Yeah," I agree and walk back to my room. There's definitely a smile on my face, too. Wait until the gang hears about this.

I don't like feeling nervous during breakfast. It's not normal.

I know each day is a day closer to when we have to go after the group trying to take over the hellmouth. We're training all the girls as fast as possible but it's hard. It's not like they don't know how to fight or use weapons but coordinating who goes where is taking some time. It means I've been spending all my time at headquarters and that's getting exhausting.

Faith is not a morning person but since she's sleeping on the couch she wakes up early whether she likes it or not. Tyler makes it that way but it's getting to the point where I don't think she minds much. If I didn't know any better I'd say she almost likes it. It hasn't been two weeks and she's already starting to help me with him.

Another thing I've learned: Faith cooks about as well as I do. I mean, I'm a lot better than I used to be but I have a tendency to burn things if I'm not super careful. Faith only says that she prefers to order takeout and can count the number of times she'd used the stove in at her place on one hand.

Even with all that she's scrambling eggs and frying bacon while I give tend to Tyler, cursing under her breath the entire time. It'd be funny if I hadn't been the one doing that the day before.

You know what's making me really nervous, more than the upcoming battle? In the couple hours when we first wake up and get ready for the day, before we leave for headquarters, Faith and I have been having these moments. They're small and awkward but I know they're happening and I know I'm not the only one feeling them. Faith has to feel what's going on, too. If she doesn't then I'm crazy and I am not crazy.

"I think I'm getting a little better at this cooking stuff," Faith says as she sets a plate down in front of me. "Not that I'm ever gonna make a habit of it."

I laugh as I hold Tyler with one arm and pick up a strip of bacon. "You know we could always eat with the rest of them."

Faith smirks. "I'm okay with staying here."

Tyler babbles and I look down at him. He's happy this morning which I always love. Happy means we get through the morning faster because I like him to not be screaming his head off when we take him out to the car.

"He's happy this morning," Faith says, smiling as she reaches over and runs a finger along his arm which makes him smile. "And I'm happy he slept last night."

"So am I," I say. "I'm beginning to think you've had more experience with babies than you've let on."

This isn't the first time I've said that but every time Faith's kind of ignored the comment. She'll change the subject or simply say nothing. It's getting annoying.

"I guess I know a little."

We eat in silence for a minute before I need to ask. I think I waited long enough since I haven't pressed the issue since she got here. "Come on. You have to tell me what you were doing in Miami."

"It really bugs you not to know, doesn't it?" Faith comments, a little smirk on her face.

"Yes." I shake my head and sigh. "All you say is that you built a center and even though you're on the phone a few times a day whenever someone asks you about it you say it's nothing. It's gotta be something though and I know you care about it. So what's there?"

Faith eats some bacon and doesn't say anything for a minute. "A little over four years ago I decided to stay in Miami for good. I'd been living in a couple different cities before but for some reason I liked Miami so I bought a place there."

"When did you decide to open the center?"

"A couple months in," she answers. "I knew I wanted to help people in some way and when I was driving around one day I saw this property that was perfect. I had the center open in three months." She laughs. "With the right amount of money you can get anything done fast."

I smile. "So what do you do there?"

"I'm kinda the head of it or something," Faith says and it's easy to see the pride she has in it. "There are in and outdoor basketball courts, a gym, a pool, playrooms and other rooms for classes. We charge for some things but we've made it so it's also someplace people can go if they need help."

"Sounds nice."

Faith smiles. "We do pretty well. I put a lot of money into it but we get a lot of donations now, too. I'm still kinda hands on and well, everyone knows me there. People I've helped tend to shove their babies at me so I guess I know some things."

"So," I start, "why were you so reluctant with Ty? He's usually a hit with the girls at headquarters."

"Well, I'm not big on kids," Faith says, "and I didn't think you'd want me around yours."

I knew it! I thought we'd made our peace before she left but I guess I was wrong, at least in her mind. When she showed up I never thought to keep my son away from her. I don't think she'd ever harm him in any way.

"Why wouldn't I?" I ask. "We were okay when you left, right? This is a grudge-free zone."

"Okay." Faith smiles and quickly eats the last of her food before standing. "I can grab him so you can finish eating."

She reaches for Tyler and I move toward her causing us to get very close. Our eyes meet and I think time stops for a moment. I'm getting a strong feeling that if I leaned in the smallest amount more she'd kiss me and honestly, I'm starting to think I'd really like that.

Yeah, I've been having feelings for Faith that I haven't felt for anyone in a long time. From looking into Faith's eyes, I have the impression she's feeling something, too.

The moment's over too quick and she gives me a nervous smile before taking Tyler from me. "Okay, little guy. Let's get ready so we can motor once your mom gets done eating."

Faith tickles him and he laughs, hands going right to her face. She only grins at him and bounces him a couple times as she walks out of the room with him. She seems to make him so happy.

I wonder if she'll make me that happy.

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Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Epilogue

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