Olivia walked in, sat down in the floor, and leaned her back against the wall. “She started throwing up at about ten. She went every half hour. She’s never been this sick,” she explained.
“It’s probably just a virus. She’ll feel like a million bucks tomorrow. She’s just caught something,” he said serenely as Amelia finally took the sippy cup.
Her breaths evened out as her tiny hands gripped the cup. “That’s my girl,” he whispered.
“You are so good with her. Thank you so much for doing this,” Olivia said quietly.
“No problem. Happy to do it.” His eyes drifted over to her. “You look like hell. I got this. Go to sleep.”
“She called you ‘Daddy,’” she said as their eyes met.
“First time she’s done that.”
“You’re the only man who’s been a consistent part of her life besides my dad and my brother.”
“Does it bother you that she called me ‘daddy’?”
Olivia smiled. “No.”
Smiling back at her, he wondered if the tide was turning. “You can’t go to work tomorrow. I’ll call Wallace tomorrow. Seriously, go get some rest.”
“Thank you Danny,” she said as she stood and walked to him. Leaning down, she kissed his forehead. “You can lay down with me when you’re done.”
“You sure?” he asked, still being careful to stay quiet.
“I’m sure,” she said.
After getting the liquid down Amelia and staying awake for an extra hour to make sure she kept it down, he gently placed her in her crib. Feeling her forehead, he could tell her fever broke.
Soundlessly, he made his way into Olivia’s bedroom. He didn’t want to wake her. She slept so peacefully. He decided not to share her bed. Not only did he want to avoid disturbing her, but he didn’t want to tempt himself. The rejection following would be too painful to endure. So, he walked out of the room and headed for the sofa.
The next morning, Danny woke up at eight and called Wallace. He explained what happened with Amelia. Wallace was understanding, as always, and wished Olivia and Amelia wellness. Tired himself, Danny walked back to the couch and fell asleep.
When he woke, he heard the two sweetest things in the world: the sound of Amelia’s laughter and Olivia’s voice. Then he heard Olivia’s cell phone ring. Listening to her end of the conversation, he could tell she was talking about the case.
“Amy, what do you mean? Okay. So you have surveillance tapes? I can get a warrant. I will. Thank you so much.”
He threw the comforter off and sat up, running his fingers through his hair. Drowsiness didn’t shake off easily as he stood to his feet. Walking into Amelia’s room, he saw Olivia in the floor playing with her. When Amelia saw Danny standing in the doorway, she smiled. “Daddy play?” she asked.
“Whatcha playin’, Monkey Girl?”
“Puzzles,” she answered.
He walked in and sat down on the floor. “You feel better this morning, Angel?” he asked as he put his hand to her forehead.
“I better,” she answered focusing on the puzzle.
“What about you, Mommy? You get some rest?” Danny asked looking at Olivia’s beautiful face.
“Yes. A hot shower did wonders, too. Thank you again for coming over.”
“Was that Amy from the archive?” Danny asked.
“Yes. I’ll tell you about it later,” Olivia answered.
“You girls had breakfast?” he asked.
“I eat,” Amelia answered.
“We both ate. She was able to keep things down. I made her some toast. I didn’t want to overload her stomach.”
“Well, I am starving. Do you mind if I make myself something?”
“I can make something for you. It’s the least I can do,” Olivia said as she stood to her feet. “You can stay in here and play with her.”
The smell of sausage drifted through the air as Danny played with Amelia. However, his hunger got the best of him and he picked her up and carried her into the kitchen. The sizzling sound was music to his ears.
“I eat,” Amelia said.
“She’s hungry. That’s a good sign,” Danny said.
“You want some more toast, baby?” Olivia asked.
“Eat,” she answered.
Olivia walked over and grabbed bread to make some more toast.