Baby Blues

Part 3

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
4/10/02
Chapter Two
Lestrade fidgeted as she debated whether to knock on the door or not. She could turn around and go back to her apartment, and call from there. Just for once, it wouldn't kill her to take the cowardly way out. However, she would have to deal with her mother eventually, and it would be worse if she did that. Better to get it all over with at once.
She raised her hand and gave the door a good pounding. It relieved some of the tension she was feeling. An annoyed voice from within called out that they were coming, and then the door opened. A petite woman with greying hair stood blinking in confusion.
"Hi, Mom," Lestrade said. The woman continued to stand there looking as though she had no clue as to what was going on. "Uh, isn't the part where you say, 'Why, hello, Beth, this is a marvelous surprise'?"
Her mother simply shook her head in disbelief. "I'm trying to figure out who you are and what you've done with my daughter -- she usually avoids this place like the plague except at mandatory gatherings."
Lestrade gave a nervous laugh. "Yes, well...I just thought that I hadn't been by here in a long while...and you signed off so quickly when I told you about Kevin...I was worried and...."
Martha Lestrade gave her daughter an appraising glance. "Yes, well, you'll tell me what's really the matter in your own good time. For now, come on in. Your Uncle Frank and his wife are here." She turned and walked inside, taking for granted that her daughter would follow.
Lestrade closed her eyes and groaned inwardly before following. Well, at least she wouldn't have to repeat what she was going to say. Besides, she could always hope that her aunt and mother would get into one of their arguments about it and that would be the end of it. Of course, she knew that hope was useless...Martha and Janine Lestrade agreed on nothing, unless it had something to do with her. Then they were adamant in their agreement to disagree with whatever decision she'd made.
Inside the living room, her father and uncle were sitting on the sofa, talking animatedly about their jobs. Edward Lestrade was a retired army colonel, and his identical twin brother Frank was still doing odd jobs for the government. He had worked his way up the political ladder as a constable, then sergeant, inspector and so on. Now, he lived in semi-retirement. They both stopped what they were doing and grinned at her.
"Why, hello, Beth, this is a wonderful surprise," her father said, getting up and walking over to give her a brief but fierce hug. "My goodness, you don't stop by often enough. Not that I blame you of course." He gave her a wink and sat back down as his wife walked out of the kitchen with her younger sister in tow.
"I don't care if the recipe did say to cook it for thirty minutes. I've been doing this same dish for thirty-five years, and I've always baked it for at least forty, if not longer," Janine insisted as she took her customary seat in a wicker rocking chair by the door into the front hall. She was taller than her sister, and her hair was lighter, with not so much grey.
"Oh, is that why it always tastes rubbery and overdone," Martha rejoined, "I never could figure it out. Beth don't hover, sit somewhere. You know that makes me nervous." She settled herself in a large armchair on the opposite side of the room from her sister. Beth shrugged and sat between her uncle and father.
Uncle Frank patted her on the shoulder. "Nice to see you here, love. It takes my attention off the two biddies for a bit." He gave the same affable wink as his brother.
"Oh, Beth, I didn't even notice you!" Janine exclaimed, "What's happened? Are you getting married? No, that would be too much to hope for. You've been fired, haven't you? Yes, that has to be it. Well, don't worry a thing about it. You didn't need to be doing all that awful policework anyway...."
"Janine," Frank interceded, "why don't you be quiet a moment and let the girl speak for herself. We all know she won't come ten feet near here without being forced to (thanks to some nosy busybodies who shall not be named), so she obviously has something to say. Let her do it in her own way."
Janine opened her mouth and shut it again at the warning look her husband shot her. Then, everyone turned their attention on Lestrade and all was silent. She could swear she heard crickets chirping in the background.
"I wasn't fired." She began playing with her badge as she spoke. "Actually, it....sort of involves Kevin and Crissy. You know she wasn't able to have children...."
"Oh, yes," Martha interrupted, "And then they both died...now I'll never have any grandchildren....." Subsided at a sharp look from her husband.
"Well, actually...." Lestrade began again, still fiddling with her badge and not looking at anyone. "Actually, um...when I was there, they said that there was another alternative. They could have a surrogate mother. People did it all the time back in the twentieth century, and they still do. They chose that option; and so you do have, or will have in less than nine months, a grandchild."
"So what you're telling me," Janine said, "is that some stranger is carrying my grand-niece or nephew? Who is she and where is she? We have rights, too, you know. At least visitation rights. She had to have signed a contract or something...just because the original parents are dead...I know, we'll hire a private detective and..."
"Yes," Martha agreed, "And we'll get to the bottom of this straight-away. What was her name, dear? Wait, let me get a pen and some paper."
Lestrade looked at her father and then at her uncle. Well, at least they had caught on, though neither seemed inclined to help her out in the slightest, judging by the identical grins on their faces.
"Now," her mother said, "what's the woman's name?"
"Elizabeth Marie Lestrade."
"'Elizabeth'. How do you spell 'Marie'?"
"The same way you spell my middle name." Lestrade understood now why her father and uncle were so amused. And if it weren't such a serious matter she'd probably be laughing hysterically right now. Actually, that didn't seem to be such a bad idea...
"Martha, are you dense or something!" Janine yelled suddenly, "Beth just told you who the woman is."
"I know that, Janine, but....oh." She looked up from where she was writing, blinking owlishly. Then, setting the pad and pen aside, she stood up, walked over and gave her daughter a crushing hug. "Oh, this is wonderful news!"
"It certainly is," Janine agreed, still sitting regally in her wicker chair. And then the two women began arguing over whose house she was going to stay at during and after, since they both had lovely guest rooms that could be converted into a fine nursery. And of course, she needed the best place to live, since she wouldn't be working any longer.
Lestrade winced and then sighed. She should have known this was where the real battle lay. "Actually, Mom, Aunt Janine....I'm going to continue working."
"Well, Beth, dear," Martha said, after a long silence, "If, after the baby is born, that's what you really want to do...then I suppose it wouldn't hurt anything....There are lots of single working women, and you won't have to worry about baby sitters...."
"No, Mom...I'm staying on the entire nine months, unless there's undue problems."
"Absolutely not! That's dangerous work!" Janine cried, "Think about your baby!"
"Believe me, I have, and.."
"Ted, tell your daughter that she simply cannot do this."
"As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, love," Edward said, "our daughter is a big girl now and capable of making her own decisions. She has for quite some time, actually. Now, I'm sure she won't mind letting you two meddlers convert that extra bedroom in her apartment into a nursery." He gave her another wink.
Instantly the two sisters were mollified and began arguing over the decor they would be using. Beth grinned her thanks at her father, gave her uncle a hug, then stood up and left, saying she still had a few things left to do before she settled in for the night.

On to part 4!
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