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11 April 2008 @ 09:42 pm
Friday Fic Post  
First things first, I looooooooovvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee how I hear a song that I have heard a billion times and you hear it that one time and it has a completely new meaning tor you.  Tonight the song was Nightswimming by REM.  I love it because it is so stripped and the most significant thing on the track is  Michael's voice, and he talks about leaving his shirt on the water's edge.....oh it just does good things in my stomach.  But tonight I was awakened to how perfect that song is for my Sam and Josh.  A story must be written about them skinny dipping, it is too good an idea not to do.  Anyhoo, a fic for you.  I hope you all enjoy it and share the love with me.

Title: Labrador Retrievers and Reruns of Falcon Crest
Author: Montiese
Category: Humor/Friendship/Family/Children/Romance
Characters: Toby, Ellie, Huck, OFC, OMC
Pairing: Toby/Ellie
Rating: TEEN
Summary: “I worry about not making her happy; I worry about losing her.”
Author’s Note: This is #18 in the Splendor series.

“Dad, I've been thinking about something for a while and I want to run it by you.”
“OK, shoot.”
“Can we get Oreos?” Huck asked.
“That’s what you’ve been thinking about?”
“No.” he made a funny face and elbowed his father’s side.
“Alright. You know Ellie does not like it when you guys have too much sugar. If you get the Oreos, the Rice Krispy Treats have to go back.”
“Why? Marshmallows and cookies don’t even fall into the same snack category.”
“They don’t?”
“OK, we’ll get both. If Ellie asks though, the cookies are for Annie. She will have our backs. So, what have you been thinking about?”
“Oh right. I need to come up for a mom-like name for Ellie. Tori calls you daddy and you are now since you adopted her but I just call Ellie by her name. It doesn’t feel right.”
“Well, what do you call Roger?” Toby asked, grabbing a box of Wheat Thins.
“Roger. I mean it’s not as if I don’t like him or anything, it’s just that I only see him once a month. I don't know.” Huck shrugged. “I love Ellie a lot.”
“The feeling is quite mutual.”
“So I should call her something mom-like I think. Right?”
“That decision is entirely up to you, Huck. It would make Ellie happy but I don’t want to pressure you into anything.”
“No pressure. There are about 10 variations for the word father. I can't really think of one for mother. Do you have any ideas?”
At the lunchmeat counter, Toby picked up honey turkey, chicken, roast beef and American cheese. Then he and his son walked to the register. It was not too crowded tonight; that’s why Toby liked Whole Foods on Tuesday evenings.
“What do you call your mother?”
“Mom, mostly. How does Ma sound?”
“Alright. That might be nice.”
“Its not too 19th century farmhand?” Huck asked, putting items on the conveyor.
“I don't know.”
“Dad!” he drew the word out and Toby immediately thought of his twin sister.
“What did I say?”
“You're supposed to be helpful; you're not very helpful. My friend Jordan has a mom and a stepmom. He calls his stepmom Mom Peggy. Mom Ellie sounds goofy.”
“It is a bit strange.” The former Communications Director conceded.
“I think I will just call her mom. I am comfortable doing that. I mean, it’s not as if she and mom spend that much together. I don't know, what do you think?”
Toby looked at his son. Andi probably wasn’t going to be fond of the idea but neither he nor Huck could live for Andi. If he was happy with that decision then that was the end of the story.
“I think its fine.”
“Then I'm fine.”
Huck smiled. Toby paid the bill with his debit card and they left the grocery store together.
“Ellie will be happy.” Huck said.
“Definitely. I'm glad everyone gets along as well as they do. It’s usually not that easy with blended families.”
“I just think about how you don’t have to be lonely anymore, dad. That’s the best part of all.”
Toby tousled his thick hair and they walked the few blocks back to their brownstone.
“I think something might be wrong with Ellie.”
“Like what?”
Jason looked up from his chicken Caesar salad. He and Toby were having lunch on the Upper West Side of Manhattan a week into the New Year. Toby picked over his rosemary chicken but enjoyed his bourbon and water.
“She’s been strange since we came home from Manchester. Did I tell you CJ surprised me for my birthday? It was wonderful to spend time with her…you two should really meet. You know what I love Jason, I love that I can be with CJ and Ellie doesn’t turn into a green-eyed monster about it. Andi used to get so jealous, though she wouldn’t say anything. She would just become unbearable but Ellie doesn’t do that, and I love her for that. Sometimes having a female best friend can be a strain on romantic relationships.”
“Well Ellie has known both you and CJ for a long time. She does the best she can to understand the complexities of your relationship. Anyway, she has a male best friend…she has gone through the same thing.”
“At first I worried that Dan was her lover…I could not compete with that. When she said he was with Connor, I just assumed that he was gay. That was comforting. Now I know Connor is a woman so I just…if I said I weren’t jealous sometimes I would be lying.”
“It is a normal reaction.” Jason replied.
“Yeah. Anyway,” Toby sliced his chicken. “That wasn’t the point. Ellie has not been herself since we came home. I mean, it’s nothing I can really put my finger on but it is there. She has been pushing herself at work and sometimes I catch her staring off into space. Ellie doesn’t stare off into space. I don't know. Zoey is pregnant.”
“She is Ellie’s little sister, right?”
“Yeah. She and Charlie already have a little boy, Josiah…Jed. I don’t know.”
“You're saying that a lot.”
“Its how I feel. Has Ellie said anything, maybe to Terry, about how she is feeling?”
“Terry would never break her confidence, and I would certainly never break his.”
“I know this is about a baby.” Toby said.
“OK Toby, talk to me. Tell me what you're thinking and feeling.  I might be pushy but just tell me.”
“Ellie wants a baby. She wants a baby but she is not sure she wants it for the right reasons. She will be 38 in April; her biological clock is ticking. Then she got the news that it is highly unlikely that she could carry a fetus to term. A pregnancy would put her life, as well as that of our baby, in danger. I had a vasectomy so I don’t ever have to go to Walgreen’s for another embarrassing condom run. I also did it so Ellie would not have to go through the physical and emotional trauma of a tubule ligation. Yet I think she still wants a baby.”
“There are ways. Did you have sperm saved?” Jason asked.
“No. That has led to some problems in the past that I would rather not discuss. We discussed adoption as our most viable option after she found out she couldn’t carry a baby.”
“So lets say that Ellie wants to adopt; she really wants a baby. Do you want an infant?”
“When Huck and Molly were infants I just wasn’t there. Not because I didn’t want to be of course.”
“I figured that. Go on.”
“Andi and I were not together and things were tense between us. I did not do 3am feedings, diapers genies, or lullabies. I missed so much and I am glad they were too young to know that. I've never been around a baby full time. At 58, I assume it would be a challenge. I just want Ellie to be happy, Jason. If being a mother makes her happy then I will hold her hand and we will take every step together. I don’t want her to think she has to give up anything because of me…we are in this together.”
“Have you told her that?”
“Of course I have, but there is also the Andi factor.”
“What's that?”
“If Ellie and I have a baby then Andi will not have a piece of me anymore because of the twins. Don’t you ever tell anyone that I told you that.” Toby pointed at Jason with his fork.
“Who would I tell? Anyway, it falls under doctor-patient privilege.”
“Alright.” He nodded.
“Is there any legitimacy to her fears; about Andi?”
“Absolutely not, except I can't change that Andi is the mother of my children. I love Ellie with my whole heart…not my ex-wife. OK, analysis over. Let’s just eat.”
Jason nodded. He stole glances at Toby while he picked over his meal.
“I am on your side Toby, always. I promise.”
“I know.” Toby sighed. “I should not be so defensive and I am sorry. I just worry about Ellie. I worry about not making her happy; I worry about losing her.”
“You are always going to make her happy. I am not even going to bother telling you how wonderful you are. That woman thinks you are the most brilliant, beautiful, magnificent man. You may never understand why, and maybe it’s not for you to, but she does. Her feelings are never going to change.”
“Tell that to my ex-wife and a couple of select girlfriends.” Toby smirked and ate his lunch in silence for a while.
“Daddy, can we talk?”
Toby had to grin when he heard that later in the evening. Tori came into his study, eating a large sugar cookie. He minimized Solitary Shaolin as she climbed into his lap.
“What's on your mind, kiddo?”
“You have to come to school with me next week…Tuesday.”
“I do? Why?”
“Because I told everybody you would. It’s Daddy Day. Two days ago Lisa’s daddy came. He works in a bank and talks loud. I told them that my daddy was better.  I told them that you can do all the voices when you read me stories and your beard is really soft, not rough.”
“So next Tuesday is Daddy day?”
“Mmm hmm. You bring stuff and have fun with us. You can read a story daddy, just like at bedtime. Will you come?”
“Of course. Can I have some of that cookie?”
Tori broke him off a piece. She rested the back of her head on his chest and for a while, they munched in silence. Toby stroked her curly brown hair.
“I'm going to let mommy read to me tonight. She promised Barbie and I won't make you do the girl voices.”
“Alright. Looks like it’s almost time for bed.”
“I want to stay up later.” She said.
“We will discuss that in a few years.”
“That’s a long time.”
“It will go by quicker than you think.”
Tori looked up at him as if what he was saying was unbelievable.
“I'm serious. Soon you will be Huck’s age.”
“Wow, he’s old.”
“If he’s old then what am I?”
“Really, really old.” She replied giggling.
Toby laughed.
“Some days I probably am. I still know how to have fun though.”
“You'll show my class on Tuesday.”
“You bet I will. We can't have them thinking that your daddy is a bore. Definitely not, oh no, I have a reputation to uphold. My street cred must remain intact.”
“Nothing baby.” Toby kissed the top of her head. “You better get ready for bath and bedtime.”
“OK.” Tori hopped down and ran from the room, the echo of her goodnight following behind her.
Smiling, Toby went back to his game. Another hour or so to come down from his long day and he would definitely want to cuddle with his wife. For now though, Toby would conquer smaller men. That was always an adventure.
Ellie was in the shower when Toby came up to bed. He undressed, put on pajamas, and turned on the TV. C-Span was on low volume; ah yes Book TV. That was the perfect precursor to sleep. He left the lamp burning on the nightstand, cutting the overhead light, and sliding under the comforter.
“Did Tori tell you about…what are you watching?”
Ellie came out of the bathroom in a pair of Toby’s boxer shorts and a Northwestern University tee shirt. Her midriff peeked out and her husband took a few moments to admire her skin.

“I was just flipping around when I found out. Did you know that soap opera channel plays reruns of Falcon Crest?” he asked. “I almost didn’t stop but something told me to wait out the commercial. I can't believe it.”
“I can't believe you know what Falcon Crest is.” she pulled her hair back into a ponytail.
“I used to visit my mother on Friday evenings and I would always end up being there late because she could not miss Dallas and Falcon Crest. On and on she would go about Chase Gioberti. The addiction snuck up on me. They are playing season 2, which is better because that’s when they introduced the character of Richard Channing.”
Ellie laughed. She got in on her side of the bed, Toby repositioning himself on his back and pulling her close.
“Mom used to love this show too. Liz and I would stay up late to watch but we never quite got it. Still, we felt sophisticated doing it. Did Tori tell you about Daddy Day?”
“Uh huh. She wants me to go and read a story.”
“You have to take lunch and a snack.” Ellie replied.
“She neglected to mention that part.”
“Nothing too extravagant. Just something a group of five year olds would want to eat.”
“How does chicken pie sound?” Toby asked.
Ellie thought it would be perfect. Toby used crescent rolls for the crust with sliced baked chicken breasts and mashed potatoes inside. Their kids loved it; Ellie could even make it herself. Hers never tasted as good as his though.
“Huck called me mom tonight.”
“How did that make you feel?”
“My heart leapt into my throat and I cried. We hugged for a long time. He is amazing.”
“He is a pretty wonderful kid. I wish I could spend more time with his sister though. I miss her.”
“I know honey. Are you alright with Huck calling me mom?”
“We discussed it recently. All that matters to me is that Huck is comfortable with us. He’s a smart kid; he made that decision on his own.”
Ellie kissed his lips softly. They watched Falcon Crest in content silence. Toby’s hand rested on her bare stomach and Ellie was elated. She took a deep breath.
He would have to watch this show alone in the future. Oh God, another quirky addiction in his late 50s. Maybe he would just check and see if it was on DVD.
“The kids want a dog; probably a Labrador Retriever.”
“If we change that to something smaller I think I can manage. Perhaps a beagle.”
“They are quite gregarious. You will be out of your mind in a week.”
“A bulldog then. Small, quiet, and lazy.”
“I will run that by the troops. They just want a dog I think…I doubt they will make waves. Tori wants to call him Bear. In fact, I think Tori wants the dog more than anything. Huck just did the big brother thing and backed her up.”
“Yeah, Huck would do that.”
Again, they were watching TV. Ellie turned in Toby’s arms, cuddling against his chest. He rubbed her back.
“Yes, sweetheart?”
“I want a baby. I mean, perhaps not a baby baby because I don’t know if it’s fair to you but I really want this. I want to be a mom again. I want…”
“I know.” Toby replied.
“You know?”
“I knew something was on your mind. Ever since Zoey told us she was expecting. Not that I think you are trying to compete with your sister. I know how much you really want this. What do we do now?”
“Connor knows an attorney; he specializes in private adoption. I can call her in the morning.”
“Alright.” He nodded.
“Toby, are you sure?” Ellie took his face in her hands. “I don’t want to pressure you into something you don’t want. It’s a big commitment and it’s going to change our lives.”
“Only for the better, I'm sure. Do you know what I want more than anything? I want you to be deliriously happy, especially with me. We will be terrific parents…we already are.”
“I love you.” She kissed him.
“I love you too, Ellie belly.”
“You would really tell me if you didn’t want this?”
“We've had that conversation before. I most certainly would.”
“Truthfully, honestly?”
“Always. One thing though.”
“What?” Ellie bit her lip. 
“This may sound selfish but um, let’s have a girl. Huck is my only boy…that is so unfair to Molly and Tori.”
“It’s not something we have to tell them. A little girl would be wonderful.”
“We’re going to be just fine.”
“Very fine.” She held him close. “Toby, you make me so happy. My life with you is bliss.”
He kissed her again. Toby pulled the tee shirt over his head before turning off the TV. Falcon Crest would be on again.
“There are a million words I could use to tell you what you mean to be me, Eleanor. I’ll just say one…everything.”
Chores, kids, friends, dogs, work, and reruns of old nighttime favorites was not a bad life to have. It beat anger, isolation, and loneliness by miles. Ellie was truly an adventure, a long and winding road with beautiful scenery and a few detour signs. Toby would just tighten his seatbelt…he looked forward to the next leg of their trip together.
“Lights out.” Ellie clicked the lamp off and pulled her husband on top of her.
“I also like those two words a lot.”
She laughed as he undressed her and showed her the definition of everything.
I'm In....: the lair
I Feel....: happyhappy
I Hear....: "Rush, Rush" Paula Abdul
Atticus (as if I could be anything else): -(ww) toby and huckthecolourclear on April 12th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
ah! I think I need to start at the beginning? I'm so lost. Though Huck has it right with the snack categories. :)
SSA McGeek: Toby......the candy manmcgarrygirl78 on April 12th, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, read more more more. The earlier stories, some of which are too long for posts here so you can find them on the National Library, www.westwingstories.com. This coupling gives me so much love and energy....I cant seem to stop writing about them.
~ I Bite ~maligator on April 12th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
They are so good together. I think I'll have to make some time to go catch up on the older ones.
SSA McGeek: SQUEE!!!!!!!!mcgarrygirl78 on April 12th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC)
They are adorable. When I started this series I never thought I would write about them constantly, seriously thought the ideas would dry up by now. With a new member of the family coming, there is just going to be more to write about.
Claire: TWW - Toby Smilingjustdreaming88 on April 16th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
*g* I continue to love this. I think they've made a great decision.
SSA McGeek: Toby....full blown grinmcgarrygirl78 on April 16th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC)
Me too.....I am so excited to give them a baby. And I think Toby is going to call Sam so I am happy to introduce another character into their universe.

I am so glad that you like them.