Chapter Two – Santa Baby.
Hardly daring to breathe, Blair watched as Chuck lowered his head. She wanted to touch him, to ラップ her arms around him, to make sure he stayed with her for as long as she needed. But her arms were filled with her boring plain pumps, and her Responsible lawyer suite jacket, and her adorable little clutch, and so she settled for watching. And waiting. And needing.
This was crazy; she knew it. They’d agreed thins could never work between them, had mutually and amicably parted. But now … now all Blair wanted was Chuck. At least for as long as a mistletoe free キッス would last.
Was that really so wrong?
If it was, she didn’t care. Not while the promise of a moment’s reconnection lingered within reach. Not while Chuck brought his mouth nearer and nearer to hers, his arrestingly angled face and wicked dark eyes coming ever closer. In a perfect world, he was the クリスマス gift Blair would have chosen. But since this world was flawed an early evening キッス would have to do.
At that moment, it would do quite nicely, too.
The warmth of his mouth reached her, preceding the touch of his lips によって a heartbeat. Wanting, needing, Blair rose on her tiptoes. He motion carried her the last half inch between them. Their mouths met, just barely. Chuck drew in a breath – a gesture she recognized with giddy eagerness, since experience had taught her his hoarse inhalation meant their キッス was about to deepen – and Blair tightened her grasp on her things.
Yes, yes, yes –
A loud knocking came from the reception area.
No, no –
Chuck blinked like a man awakening from a long winter’s nap, and raised his head.
The mood was broken. Unreasonably disappointed Blair lowered until her heels touched the carpet.
The knocking continued.
‘The door to the reception area is locked after five o’clock.’ Chuck’s voice was husky. He cleared it. ‘I’d better go see who that is.’
She nodded. He cast her a reluctant look and run a hand through his hair, calling her attention to the blunt, nimble shape of his fingers – and to the fact that those fingers wouldn’t be tracing any of the familiar, fondly remembered paths her body seemed insistent on hoping for. Frowning, Blair tried to take comfort in the stick-your-head-out-the-window-of-a-moving-cab hairstyle his gesture had caused. It didn’t work. Even rumpled and frustrated, Chuck looked incredible.
‘I’ll just slip out while the door is open, then.’ Which will be a lot safer for the both of us. She strode ahead of him toward the reception area as though the devil himself were at her heels.
In as sense, he was, dressed in shades of uncertainty and packing the ability to make her lose her head over a simple kiss. Really, falling for Chuck all over again would only lead to disaster, Blair reminded herself. Already, she’d nearly forgotten the party tonight. Her フレンズ would be waiting at Butter, drinks in hand and grins in place. They’d be the perfect remedy… for her stupidly susceptible heart.
‘Uh-oh,’ Chuck 発言しました from behind her.
In the tastefully decorated reception area now, Blair looked past the front 机, デスク and upholstered client seating. Past the company’s decorated artificial クリスマス tree. She glimpsed a women standing in the elevator lobby beyond the glass ウォール and door.
Of average hight and slender build, the women was wearing a black and white maids uniform. As Blair watched the women raised and aimed another sensible-shoed kick at the front door.
She had to. She didn’t have a hand free to knock in the traditional way. Her arms were filled with a molded plastic baby carrier – and it, Blair could see, was filled with a wriggling, kicking baby, judging によって the pudgy fists and tiny booted feet visable above the padded rim.
‘That’s not ‘Uh-oh’.’ Wrinkling her brow, Blair glanced at Chuck, who’d caught up with her. ‘That’s a nanny.’
‘And that’s my baby cousin with her. What are they doing here at this hour?’
He punched the security code into the panel beside the door, then opened it with a greeting for the woman. Ten 分 later, Chuck was still carrying in assorted pastel baby paraphernalia: bags, blankets, a folded mesh thing Blair recognized as the same portable ベビーベッド she had gotten for Jenny and Nate’s baby girl. He stacked everything against the reception 机, デスク while the nanny, Milly, rushed inside.
In a practiced gesture, she balanced the baby carrier against one hip, hurrying past Blair. The two women passed in opposite directions: Milly intent on whatever had brought her to the office, Blair eager to leave ベース Industries behind.
A babyish babble came from the carrier. Blair hesitated. She dropped her clutch and things onto a nearby chair. Intrigued despite the peppermint マティーニ that she was probably missing at that very minute, she peeked inside.
‘Oh, what an adorable little outfit!’ Fascinated, Blair leaned nearer, examining the baby girl’s clothes. Her diminutive red corduroy jumper and クリスマス green under-shirt were embroidered with gingerbread people, holiday stars, and nutcracker figurines. ‘This is so Ralph Lauren Baby. How cute!’
‘You think so?’ Milly reached into the carrier and unfastened some mysterious-looking buckles and straps. She lifted the baby – Eloise was her name, Blair remembered – and cradled her against her chest. ‘Here. Have a closer look.’
Then she bundled baby Eloise right into Blair’s arms, blankets, boots, teeny baby clothes, and all, and went to speak with Chuck.
Hands on hips, Chuck surveyed the pile of baby stuff he’d created at the base of the reception desk. Someone, somewhere, had to be experiencing a serious shortage of ピンク plastic. There couldn’t possible be any left over after the collection his Uncle Jack amassed for his one and only baby daughter.
He wondered if Amber, Jack’s wife of eleven months and Chucks new aunt, ever got tired of living in a bubblegum colored world. If she did, it hardly would have mattered. Jack was a changed man the 日 Eloise entered the picture, he doted on his only child and seemed determined she have the best of every thing.
Apparently ‘the best’ only came in shades of Bubble Yum and Pepto-Bismal, cotton キャンディー and バービー pink.
‘Mr. Chuck! Thank goodness you’re here!’ Milly tugged his shirt, her frantic energy leaping between them. He saw she no longer held the baby carrier. ‘I’ve been going out of my mind! Mr. ベース and Miss Amber’s flight has been snowed in, and mine leaves in under an hour, and あなた know how insane JFK will be at this time of year, and I don’t know how I’m ever going to make it!’
‘Okay, slow down –‘
‘You’re third on the emergency contact list, but everyone else has already left town for the holidays. You’re it!’
‘I’m it? What do あなた –‘
From the corner of his eye, he glimpsed movement. Blair walked carefully across the room, headed for the office クリスマス tree. Holding six-month-old Eloise in her arms, she smiled down at the baby, gently cooing something about … nicely coordinated booties? Baby wear trends? The wearablilty of red corduroy? Shaking his head, Chuck refocused his attention on the nanny.
‘Exactly what’s the matter? Jack’s flight got delayed?’
‘Snowed in. In Switzerland.’ Milly wrung her hands, flashing short, un-manicured nails. ‘He and Miss Amber went for a ski trip with friends. They thought they’d be back によって now, but their flights on hold until the storm lifts. And I’ve got a flight to Austin to visit my family in’ – she consulted her watch – ‘Fifty-six minutes.’
‘But what about –‘
‘Eloise? That’s where あなた come in, and not a moment too soon. I’m so glad you’re here. I should have know I’d find あなた at work.’
The wry, knowing twist of her lips niggled at him. So what if he was at the office a lot? It wasn’t a crime. But putting bells on a baby’s booties should be, Chuck thought as Blair passed によって again and the merry sound of the baby’s accessories reached him. If Milly had been listening to that all day, no wonder she was rattled.
‘Someone needs to take care of Eloise while I’m gone,’ the nanny went on doggedly, ‘and like I said, you’re on the emergence contact 一覧 and Mrs Lilly and Mr Rufus are in Hamptons and Miss Serena and Mr Dan are still upstate. So you’re it.’
‘I didn’t even know there was an emergency contact list,’ Chuck confessed. ‘Much less that I was on it.’ But he was prepared to step up to the plate manfully. ‘So how long before the my mother of sister get back? An 時 または two? I can handle that.’
Semi-doubtfully he looked at Blair and Eloise again. What he saw reassured him. Now the woman he’d almost kissed a few 分 前 was sticking her tongue out and making silly faces for the baby. She looked gorgeous, lighthearted and playful. That baby was probably もっと見る fun then he realized, if she could distract Blair from the soiree she was obviously dressed to attended.
‘Not an 時 または two,’ Milly said. ‘A 日 または two and I can’t stay.’
‘Or two. Maybe, possibly, three. At the outside. These winter storms can be pretty –‘
‘Three? He swallowed. Hard. ‘I’ve never – ‘
‘Arrgh!’ The nanny scrunched her hair in her hands looking frazzled. ‘Please, Mr Chuck, Please take care of Eloise until her mom and dad get back. She’s a breeze, I promise. You’ll hardly notice her at all.’
‘Well….’ Chuck caught sight of Blair and the baby again. He heard a murmured, ‘Very stylish holiday hair ribbion,’ and smiled in spite of everything. Visually, Chuck measured Eloise’s size. Maybe two feet tall, he estimated. Probably pretty easy to handle. Sort of like a football. He was pretty good with footballs. He’d played against Nate and his cousins growing up.
No this is nuts. ‘I haven’t had much experience with babies.’ True, although he was a godfather twice over that job only really consisted of 表示中 up for the christening and remembering to buy nice gifts at holidays.
‘You’re her cousin. あなた have a natural aptitude.’ Milly insisted. ‘Plus, I brought all of her things with me. Bottles, baby food, two jumbo packs of diapers, a crib, spare clothes, everything. あなた won’t need so much as a can of Enfamil formula.’
Good thing. Because Chuck didn’t even know what the hell that was.
As though she sensed him wavering, Milly picked up speed. ‘I have all the contact information right here.’ She pushed a pile of papers into his hands and started going over them. The flight itinerary for Mr Jack, phone numbers and hotel. Here’s Eloise’s schedule – just a rough estimate, of course. 赤ちゃん don’t exactly パンチ a time clock.
She laughed, as though the very thought were uproarious. Chuck wrinkled his nose and set the papers on the 机, デスク for safekeeping. Everything was happening so fast. All he’d wanted was a few days to get some work done, away from the holiday craziness everyone succumbed to at this time of year. Now he was … a baby-sitter?
To his left Blair began 歌う ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’ to Eloise. The soft sound of her voice soothed Chuck, too. He’d had no idea Blair was so enamored with babies. または so adept with them.
‘So あなた will do it?’ Looking up at him, Milly bit her lip.
Her worried gaze penetrated the confusion surrounding him. ‘Sure, I’ll do it.’
‘You will?’ Milly whooped and hugged him. ‘Thank you, Mr. Chuck. あなた won’t regret this, I swear.’
Rapidly, the nanny reviewed a few もっと見る details with him. Then she 発言しました good-bye to Eloise, giving the baby a kiss. With accomplishment, Milly nodded toward the ピンク pileup, gave Chuck an enormous, grateful smile, and headed for the door.
There, she paused, a suddenly serious expression on her face. ‘I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t think あなた could handle it, あなた know. If あなた get stuck, just let your instincts guide you. You’ll be terrific.’
Chuck wished he were as sure as Milly. He nodded reassuringly, though, and raised his hand in farewell.
‘We’ll be fine. I’ll teach Eloise how to play tackle football または something. We’ll stay busy.’
Frowning, the nanny hesitated.
‘Kidding. Have a good trip.’
Milly scrunched her nose. She stepped onto the elevator blowing kisses to the baby.
‘Merry Christmas!’ Blair called. Smiling as she held the little girl, encouraging Eloise to uncurl her chubby baby fingers and wave bye.
秒 later the doors closed behind the nanny. Silence fell, then was broken によって the sound of Eloise babbling. Probably, ‘Oogoo ogoo’ was baby for ‘good-bye.’ または maybe it was baby for ‘Help! This guy’s an amateur!’ Chuck really didn’t know.
Determined to think positively, he turned to Blair. At the same moment, she turned to him. Wearing a carefree look that could only be enjoyed によって people whose plans went as they planned, she crossed the room. Carrying the baby, he couldn’t help but notice, didn’t strip any of the natural va-va-voom from her stride. She still managed to look like every ファンタジー he’d ever had, all rolled into one.
Before he could blink, his ファンタジー carefully slipped a cooing Eloise into his arms. His infant cousin pushed three fingers into her drooling mouth and preformed and aerial cha-cha with one foot. Jingle bells chimed. Babbling, Eloise gazed up at him.
‘Well, I guess that’s it.’ Nearby, Blair had gathered her things and was pulling a cell phone from her glittery purse. She breezed toward the door, obviously intent on getting to the party. ‘Good luck, Chuck. Byeee Eloise!’
She blew a キッス and opened the door. Panic swept over Chuck. At the same instant Eloise scrunched up her face and let loose a foghorn-size wail.
Stricken, he held the baby at arms length. For the first time in his life, he had no idea what to do. ‘Wait!’ He called to Blair just as she steeped into the elevator. ‘You can’t just leave me – leave us – like this!’
Blair shrugged. ‘I don’t see why not. I didn’t agree to baby-sit, あなた did. Good Luck, Chuck. And Merry Christmas!’
AN; Please review and let me know if あなた want me to continue. Chapter one had over 600 hits in one 日 and only 3 reviews in total, I’m taking that to mean that あなた all think this is crap. So if no one reviews I won’t bother to update this.
Thanks for reading.