And I Think To Myself... by Nicole Anell

Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don't own "Roswell". Clearly.
Disclaimer #2: I also don't own "I Wanna Be Sedated", nor that Joey Ramone cover of "What a Wonderful World" that inspired the title of this fic.
Author's Notes: Based on a challenge from *ADARA*
Rules:
-Tess finding out that Alex is the baby's father as well as Alex finding out and his reaction.
-The rest of the group finding out and their reaction
-Include at least a few paragraphs per trimester but you can write about the entire pregnancy.
-Must include birth and at least first week of baby's life
-Baby's sex and name are needed.
-No little grey, green, or any other abnormal colored babies.
-Tess and Alex cannot break up in your story.
-Miscarriages are a no-no. Same thing with character death and angst.
-This can be Alternate Universe or our Roswell at any time during the series
-Other UC couples are allowed but not necessary
Another Author's Note: Everybody's nice and college-aged in this fic. Just to avoid the happy teen pregnancy thing.
Email me! Faith84@aol.com

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First trimester. UFO Center. Official meeting of the I Know An Alien club.

"You all might need to sit down," Tess announced.

"Yes. Everybody should do that. Take some deep breaths, have a glass of water, make sure you've all been to the bathroom-"

"Alex," she hissed, nudging him.

"I'm serious," he hissed back, then turned to address the group again. "I'm glad that everyone's here, because we have a very important announcement. A monumental announcement." His courage began to fail him as he looked at the expectant faces of his friends and continued, "An announcement we'll be making tonight. Right here. Tess?"

She rescued him and began, "Some of you know, some of you don't know, that Alex and I have been sort of involved for a little while."

"Involved?" Liz spoke up.

Tess clarified, "Involved, talking, dating, kissing, exploring each other's most sacred southern regions-" she winced and shot an apologetic look at Valenti. "Um, the point is... there's something that... Alex?"

"Hmm? Oh, um, okay. There's been this... sort of...... We're pregnant," he blurted.

Silence.

"I mean, she is." he added, cocking his head toward Tess. She smiled nervously and raised her hand.

Isabel laughed, then slowly stopped. "You're serious."

"Huh," declared Kyle.

"So what the hell does this mean?" asked Michael accusingly. "Alien baby, front page of the National Inquirer?"

Tess pouted. "Well I hope not the front page."

"Are you... trying to make me jealous?" asked Max.

"What?" said about three people in unison. The loudest was Tess.

"Yeah," she scoffed. "You got me. This whole conceiving another man's child thing? I'm just playing hard to get." Max looked at the ground embarrassed, and she said more seriously, "We all made our choices, okay?"

"Hello?" said Michael. "Do you two need to take a moment or can we get back to the actual problem? Is this kid gonna have fins or something?"

"Could you get hurt from it?" Valenti said softly, the first words he'd spoken since the announcement.

"I- I don't know," admitted Tess.

"We don't even know if it could be born here," said Max. "We don't know if it should be."

"Right," said Michael. "So how do we get rid of-"

"Hey," Alex interrupted. "Hey hey! Who said we were getting rid of anything? I mean, it... y-you can't... why do we..." He looked at Tess desperately.

She placed her hand on his arm but kept watching at the others. "I thought about it and... I figured I can't exactly go to a hospital for that kind of thing. Because, you know, space blood. And if we could find some alien way-" she looked specifically at Michael - "there's not really a guarantee you won't screw it up."

"Give us a little credit," said Isabel. "If you don't want this, we could figure something out-"

"Well, then I thought..." Tess continued, touching her stomach, "I started thinking there could be this... I was thinking about actually having him or her. And I thought maybe... it wouldn't be so bad. Like maybe I wouldn't mind a him or her, you know? I might really want him or her." She looked up at Alex again with a little smile.

"I'd like a him or her," he said immediately. "Like, woohoo for that. I would - I would love him or her."

There was another long pause. "Well then," said Kyle. "Congratulations."

One day later. Back room of the Crashdown.

"Were you on drugs?!"

"Keep your voice down. And no! How could you ask me that?"

"Because this isn't like you! You were thinking the exact opposite of clearly!"

"We just got carried away."

"See, no. No no, I don't accept that. You don't just get carried away. Kyle maybe, I could see him getting carried away. Michael and I are pretty well known for getting carried away. Liz, you wouldn't know it looking at her, but there is a rare occasion where she and Max-"

Alex laughed. "Maria - oxygen."

"Not you! There's no carried away for you! You're the smart one!" She took a deep, cleansing breath and tried to start over. "Look. Do you even know you're the father of this baby?"

"Who else would it be?"

"I don't know. Random Manwhore #7? I didn't check the cast list posted on Tess's door."

Alex stopped laughing. "Don't say things like that. That's... that's not even a little true. That's just mean and wrong and- please don't ever say that."

"Alex, you need to listen to me. I can't just sit here and let you get yourself hurt. It's not like you're dealing with the chastity queen."

"You don't know her."

"She's Tess. Hello? Have you met her?"

"I love her," he said with quiet sincerity. "We're in love. And you don't know her. If you even tried, you'd know... we wouldn't even be having this conversation."

"You didn't let me try," she sighed. "You didn't even tell me you guys were-"

"I know. I'm sorry. I didn't want you to freak out."

"Until I had something worth freaking out over? Alex, you're having a kid."

"Yeah," he said, looking up at her.

"What are you gonna do about school? Did you even think about that? What happened to your whole becoming a rich computer scientist thing? You know, a baby is a lot of work and responsibility, and now you're gonna need money and food and those pacifier things and little clothes and blankets and..." her voice started to waver.

Alex put his hand on her shoulder. "We'll be okay. We're gonna get an apartment... a- a really cheap one. Right near Michael's." Maria managed a little smile. "And we have my parents and the sheriff helping us out for a while. And if we ever have problems or anything, we can mindwarp ourselves some extra cash - I'm kidding. And I am going to keep going to school and try really hard to hold onto my scholarship, and in a couple of years, I'll find a nice job that lets me work at home a lot, and I will be a rich computer scientist person. And I'll buy lots of nice toys for little Silvio Radcliffe III."

Maria sniffled. "Who?"

"It's the baby's working-title name," Alex explained. "We don't have any real names yet."

The same day. Tess/Valenti house.

"I think we should talk."

"About the Alex thing."

"Right. I think we need a dialogue. Everything sort of happened at once and maybe we didn't get a chance-"

"That's cool," Tess said, opening the door wider so Liz could step inside.

"It's not really my business or anything."

"Do you want something to drink?"

"No, I'm fine. Um, it's just that I was thinking. I mean, I was just, you know, having these thoughts about you and Alex. It occurred to me that, like, this past year's been a little weird and there's been a lot of changes in various lives and - you know what? I know, okay, I understand how hard it is to be the odd person out, when it seems like everybody else is off with their own little romances and dramas and you're just at a standstill. And I just wanted to make sure that..." She trailed off and tried to remember the words she'd practiced it in her head, "Alex, he has this thing. He's... he's a very protective person, and he's very kind, and I know that sometimes... I know people who are lonely can find themselves drawn to that. So it feels like it's the right thing for a while, but then for whatever reason, you decide it's not or- whatever. The point is, some people tend to... use people like Alex because they want to feel better. And there's nothing really wrong with that. I mean, there is, but it's usually unconscious - like, you - or whoever - might not even realize they're doing it at first."

"I don't understand," Tess cut in. "You're saying I'm using him?"

"No," Liz said quickly. "No! Not like that at all. In fact, I'm- I'm not saying anything about you. I think it's really really great with you guys. I just - sometimes - it happens. Nobody means to hurt anybody, but if that is true, it's best if you just, you know... say it."

Tess nodded obliviously. "Say what?"

"What I said."

Tess made a face. "I'm lost."

"Yes," Liz said. "Well, no. Lost how?"

"Your mouth is moving and I don't have any idea what you're saying. So I'm lost."

Liz hesitantly dropped her talkative act and looked into her eyes. "How well do you know him, Tess?"

Tess narrowed her eyes defensively. "More than you think I do."

"You're both taking this huge step and I don't want it to be a mistake."

"I don't think it is."

Liz paused. "Well what... what do you love the most about him?"

Tess thought about it. "He's nice," she began. "He's funny. He looks good in a suit. He's not an emotional freak in any major way. He can make a really great time out of something really dumb and boring. He... cares about people." She spoke slower. "For real, always, not just to make himself look good. He has all these insanely deep ideas that you wouldn't know from looking at him. It makes me happy to hear his voice. I feel sometimes like we're connected in this way, like... I wouldn't have even looked twice at him but somehow we were pushed together, and I'm kinda lucky because of that. And this part of me thinks that if he was lost or hurting, I could always find him somehow. Just me. And it's the same the other way." She came out of her world and saw Liz, who was gazing at her intently. "What?"

"Nothing. That's all pretty good."

Silence.

"It was very nice talking to you, Tess... Scarily nice... I should probably just go, it really wasn't any of my..." Liz headed for the door, then paused at the last second, turned around and gave Tess a quick hug.

"Um," said Tess.

"Yeah, okay. Bye." Liz smiled and left.

Tess later told Alex, "Your friends are a little insane."

He didn't argue.

Second trimester. Alien pod chamber.

"How did the shower go?" asked Max.

"Great," Tess said, lying down on some blankets. "Isabel's cool with that stuff."

"Yeah, especially stuff you don't have to help her plan."

"She went Nazi-like over me?"

"There was a color-coded items list with diagrams," Max deadpanned. "Michael's having post-traumatic nightmares. He may never be able to look at a stork again."

"That's so sweet," she said, genuinely touched. "Alex, isn't that sweet?" He nodded and brushed some hair back from her face.

"Okay, we've got everything. Ready?" Max asked.

Tess took a deep breath and reached for Alex's hand. "Yeah. Yeah I think so." She put her head down on a pillow fixed for her and Max put his hand over her stomach.

A tiny blue glow emerged in the space under his hand, growing stronger and brighter as he concentrated. It began to shine outward, light bouncing and flickering along the walls of the cave. Max moved farther away, and the scattered light regrouped as a small concentrated ball floating above their heads. It was gone an instant later.

"Is that normal?" Alex asked, his eyes wide.

"The baby's fine," Max said. Tess sighed with relief. "Healthy, normal, happy."

"Happy?" asked Tess. "You know it's happy?"

Max smiled a little. "Yeah, definitely. Don't you feel it?" She didn't.

Alex grinned and kissed her. "Of course he's happy. He gets to be with his mommy all day."

"She," Max corrected.

The word sunk in for both parents. "Oh. So that cuts the name problem by like fifty percent, right?" Tess whispered a bit shakily.

"Tess... honey, it's a girl," said Alex. "Wow."

Tess made herself smile. "Yeah, I heard. A girl."

"That's amazing, that's- that's..."

"Wow!" Tess agreed with more forced enthusiasm.

He kissed her. "You're so beautiful."

Tess bit her lip and only said, "Okay."

Eleven days later. Local park.

"I'm not usually here in the daytime," she said, taking a seat on a bench. She looked past Alex to see a group of children playing football in the grass. The smallest one, a younger brother or cousin just tagging along, kept getting reprimanded and pushed aside until he stepped in someone's way and got accidentally knocked to the floor. He started crying and his mother was there quick as lightning, picking him up in her arms, kissing and comforting him.

Tess realized no one had ever done that for her.

Alex looked from her wounded face to the scene she was looking at. "Hey, he'll be okay," he said, breaking her out of her trance.

"Oh no, I'm not... Don't mind me, it's just rampaging hormones."

"Do they want ice cream?"

"Maybe later," she mumbled.

"Tess, what's wrong?"

She met his eyes and became animated. "You think I can do this, right? The mommy thing?"

"Of course."

"Because when Max did... whatever, the alien sonogram, it was... it was real. You know what I mean? It was a girl and it was so real and- and she's gonna be born and grow up and have problems and we are the very first people she's going to blame them on."

"So we'll just have to be the best mommies ever."

She gave him a look that wasn't at all comforting, then looked up at the sky. Daytime was too bright. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"What if something went wrong?"

"You mean with... the actual having the baby part?"

"Yes."

"Don't worry about that. It's gonna be perfect."

"But what if something happened? What if it went wrong and there wasn't a baby anymore?"

He shook his head, "It'll be fine. Come on, cheer up. I have to give you something." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small ring.

"I know it doesn't look too much like an engagement ring. 'Cause it's turquoise, for one thing. So we'll just call it a placeholder ring. It's one of my mom's that she doesn't wear anymore, so I asked her for it. And Isabel helped me get the size smaller, and uh, take care of this little scratch that used to be on it.... Really, sometime when we don't have to worry about saving money, we'll get the real one. We'll just use it for now because I... wanted to give it to you right now, because I want us to get engaged and married and this is the part where you were supposed to be smiling."

"You're not even listening to me!"

"You're going through a hormone thing. You're worrying about stuff. I'm making you feel better."

"You're really not."

"Obviously." She scooted a little farther away from him on the bench and crossed her arms. "Okay, I'm sorry. What did I do?"

"You're asking me to marry you because I'm pregnant. We're going to end up all middle-aged and still together and unhappy, and it's all because we've got this... bondage between us. The only reason we're doing this is because we're stuck together now. Before all this happened..."

"I still loved you," he interrupted. Tess avoided his eyes. "And you... loved me, right? Tess?"

Her voice faltered. "Sometimes protective p-people, um... you just need them to feel safe. Because you get to this point where you feel really upset and lost and lots of bad things and... you find somebody to watch over you, and it feels like love for a while. But it's not love, not really."

He froze. "Tess..." he breathed.

"A-and sometimes... it could work the other way, you know? Like the protective person just wants to help somebody." She finally glanced up, her eyes filling with tears. "Because they're so good. And they're so loving. And so they see this total trainwreck of a person and they think they're in love because they want to help her so badly. And..."

"No."

"They realize one day when it's too late that they made a mistake."

"That's not what this is."

"I want to believe that," she said. "Because I love you so much. If something happened to the baby, that wouldn't change anything for me. But you just need to be here because..." she trailed off and he moved over to her side of the bench, leaned in and kissed her gently. "I can't lose you," she said. "If that's gonna happen, you have to say it."

"This is a placeholder ring," he said slowly, holding it up again. "It's one of my mom's that she doesn't wear anymore. I asked her for it last year because I wanted to give it to you. I always knew it was for you." Tess took it and turned it around in her hands.

"So I had it with me," Alex continued, "and I was trying to figure out when to give it to you. I didn't know if I should wait for Christmas or Valentine's Day, and then I started thinking that maybe I should just give it to you on a regular day, and it was all very confusing. I didn't know why I was putting all that thought into it, because it's just this pretty little free gift from my family, not even an heirloom or anything. And that's when I had this feeling that I wanted it to be an heirloom. I had this weird idea that... I'd give it to you... and then one day, we'd have a family with all these little guys passing it down to each other. I knew that sounded crazy, but - suddenly I had this whole vision of how everything would be, and we weren't anything even close to unhappy."

He touched her cheek. "I don't care if we end up getting that whole family right now. I also don't care if we don't get it yet. And I won't care if it turns out that maybe we can never get it. The part that made me happy was where we were together."

She put the ring on her finger, and the two of them pulled themselves up and hugged standing. "So that's a no?" she asked.

"From now on you just tell your hormones to shut up, because they have no idea what they're talking about. They're just trying to start trouble and scare me to death.... You know, I meant it when I said you were beautiful."

She giggled. "Well I meant it when I said okay."

Third trimester. Tess and Alex's new apartment.

Kyle carried a cardboard box into the living room. "Have I mentioned how nice this place is?"

"Just the first three times you came in," Tess said from her position on the couch.

"Okay. Have I mentioned what a weird look this is for you?" He gestured at her bulging figure.

"Oh, poor thing with all those boxes. You shouldn't have to bring all that stuff in. I could help."

"Well if you think you can handle the lighter stuff from the car-"

"You're right," she interrupted. "It's probably better for me to just rest."

He grinned and shook his head. "Thanks for the offer."

She smiled back and closed her eyes, but opened them a second later. "Whoa. That's weird."

"What is?"

"How are you supposed to know if the baby's coming or if it's one of those fake-pain things?"

"Uh, I know this. When the water thingy breaks. Or something? Why? What, did you feel something?" He suppressed the urge to panic.

"I think..." Her eyes widened and she started to actively sit up. "Yeah. There it is. Water thingy. We have to go. Dammit, this was a new couch."

"What?" said Kyle.

"Help me up. You have to drive."

"Wait, now? Now? We're driving now?"

She groaned and said professionally, "All the stuff we need is at your house. We're going to call your father from the car and anybody else that we need to. We'll beep Alex to meet us there."

"So you're- you're being really calm about this. No screaming and cursing or anything."

She half-smiled. "Kyle, just take me to the car. I can handle myself fine," she promised. "It's not like I'm overly sensitive to pain."

He relaxed. "Are you sure?"

"Don't worry, it'll be a piece of..."

Two hours and twenty-seven minutes later. Valenti living room.

"Oh my God! What the hell are you doing?! Where ARE you?"

"I'm right here- I'm just- hang on a minute."

"I'm getting another thing! What is wrong with you?! Why aren't you helping? Get this little demon OUT OF ME!"

"I'm trying-"

"Well you're FUCKING UP!"

"Just calm down, take- take deep breaths or... try a Lamaze exercise."

"Don't you think if I knew Lamaze, I would already be DOING IT, goddammit?" She opened her mouth to say something else, but what came out instead was a cry of pain. Kyle ran into the kitchen.

"I feel so helpless right now," Liz said quietly to Max on the other side of the room. The two of them stood at a distance from Tess, while Michael and Maria sat leaning against a wall a few feet over.

"That's. because. you're not. helping," Tess groaned. She caught her breath as the contraction faded.

Valenti handed her a glass of water at her side. "Here, it's alright... I know a little Lamaze, okay? I went to two classes, I think I got the basics." He looked to the others.

"Yeah," Maria said quickly. "I mean, I don't know anything about... but - look! Look what I brought with us." She held up a cassette. "Gentle Sounds Of The Rainforest. My mom said it was playing when I was being born - or maybe conceived - but it should help."

"Oh... goody," Tess said, relaxing slightly. "Somebody should know what to do when..." she trailed off.

Liz nudged Maria and motioned toward her purse. "Oh and," she continued as she walked closer to Tess and fumbled through her bag, "I've got some... um, Advil... and... here, here it is. Eucalyptus oil. Smell this, it's very pretty... and cedar is supposed to relieve doubts and bad feelings."

She held the vials out for Tess to inhale them. "Thank you," she whimpered. "That helps... Where'd Kyle go?"

"I think he's hiding somewhere."

"Kyle," she called out. "I'm sorry I said you were fucking up... four times." Maria mouthed the word five. "And that other time," Tess added.

He entered the room reluctantly and Maria tossed him the Eucalyptus vial. Tess held her stomach and moaned again.

"Alex - I need him - here - please - I can't do this by myself, I can't-"

"Don't worry, you've got us, you've got the Gentle Sounds Of The Rainforest." Maria assured her.

"I'm sure we'll find out-" started Valenti.

The door opened and Isabel rushed in. "Here! I'm here! Do we have a baby yet?"

"Is Alex with you?"

Isabel's face fell. "Oh. No." She looked around questioningly.

"We don't know where he is," said Max. "We called... a lot."

"He got hurt," sobbed Tess. "I know it. We have this connection - Liz knows. Liz, tell them."

The phone rang. "I'll answer it!" said five people in unison. Liz was the loudest and fastest to get up.

"I can't do this by myself," Tess said again.

Liz ran back into the room. "Okay, he's fine. Alex is fine. Only there was this little teeny - he got into an accident, but he's fine."

"Accident?" said Tess. "I knew it."

"You beeped him that the baby was coming and he crashed his car?" asked Michael.

"Well, um, I think it was before that," said Liz. "But he's fine, don't worry. He just got a couple of scratches. He's on his way, he just needed to go to the hospital-"

"The hospital??" said Tess. She grabbed the cedar oil out of Maria's hand and practically snorted it.

"It'll be okay," insisted Liz. "We're all still here for you."

Another hour later.

"Listen... do we all have to stay here?" Liz whispered to Max.

"I don't know," he replied.

"I just mean because... Valenti seems to have this pretty much under control and maybe the rest of us could just as well go home."

Coming out of a contraction, Tess caught the words 'go home' and weakly called out, "You're leaving me?"

"Not leaving," yelled Liz in her direction. "Just taking a little break. And not all of us, just me." Michael cleared his throat loudly. "And just Michael." Tess looked panicked.

"We won't go until Alex gets here," Liz went on. "We'll all just stay until - " Michael coughed. "Everybody but Michael will stay until he gets here." Tess nodded and winced in pain.

"Redwings vs. Devils," said Michael. "See you guys later. Good luck with the baby."

"Michael, sit down," Isabel said between clenched teeth.

The was a bang at the locked front door, as if someone crashed into it. Then the knob jiggled and the doorbell rang psychotically. Michael, being closest to the door for the last forty minutes, opened it.

"Alex!" said Tess.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Are you okay? What's going on?" he slid onto the floor and crawled over to her side.

"I'm - you got hurt." She reached toward his head, which had a thin bandage wrapped around it.

He kissed her forehead, arm, and hands between every other word. "They wanted to keep me for observation - I told them I had to leave - I had to sign all this crap and - I'm sorry - I'm so - so - sorry... What are we doing?"

"We're concentrating on Mr. Squishells," said Maria. "When you get near the end, it's supposed to help if you can keep your eyes on something stable and comforting, so - stuffed animal."

Alex looked at her blankly. "Okay."

"We didn't have a lot of options," Maria said.

"I thought it was a good idea. He's a very stable and comforting option," offered Kyle. Everyone stared at him. "When I was five," he mumbled. Tess grabbed Alex's hand and squeezed it.

"Alex, I have to tell you something," she said.

"I'm listening."

She sniffled. "Promise me...the second this baby comes out... get a doctor... a really good one... I want her tubes tied... I never want her to go through this... she'll thank me someday..."

Liz gasped. "Oh, I can see something! Just - just a little more, the baby's almost there."

Michael moved away from the door, his interest suddenly piqued.

Maria looked and promptly covered her eyes with her hands. "Oh my God, ew! ...I mean, yay. Doing good. I need to stand over here now. Keep concentrating at the bunny."

"Concentrate on the bear," Kyle corrected.

"I love you," said Alex.

She concentrated on his face.

Six seconds later.

"Wow," said Michael.

Everyone gathered around as the crying infant was wrapped up in a blanket and placed in Tess's arms.

"She's so tiny," Alex said trembling.

Tess frowned thoughtfully. "Oh."

"What?"

"She doesn't look like a Pandora up close."

Liz's stopped smiling for an instant and asked, "You wanted to name her-?" but Kyle shot her a don't bother, just be thankful look.

"Well... there was this doctor," Alex said. "At the hospital, she- she was supposed to be leaving, because her shift was over. But she stayed and helped me get everything taken care of. She said I looked like I really needed to be somewhere. Maybe it would be nice to... her name was Joanna."

Tess gave him a mock dirty look. "Yeah, thanks. You got to be in a hospital." Alex let out a sound that was either a laugh, sob, or both. Tess looked back down at the life in her arms. "Joanna. That's pretty."

The baby was no longer crying as hard, squinting at her surroundings and taking everything in. She made a fist as Alex gently took her hand and put his other arm around her mother.

"And maybe..." Tess smiled, leaning towards Alex, "Rachel in the middle... Joanna Rachel sounds really nice, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," Alex whispered. "Really nice."

One week later. Tess and Alex's apartment.

"I like it," said Alex. " 'Cause you could call her Joey or Annie, but then when she gets old enough to do something bad, we have a long first-last-and-middle name to say in a disappointed tone."

"It's a concept," added Tess, wiping off the baby's mouth and handing Alex a bottle to be put away.

"So no problems?" asked Max.

"Well, other than not sleeping for five days straight-"

"He's lying," Tess said. "She's an angel."

"I am not lying. She's a very colicky angel."

Max moved to touch the baby. "Hi there, Jo-" She shrieked before he could finish, and Alex gave an I-told-you-so look. "She doesn't like me," said Max.

"Oh of course she does," said Tess.

"You're a very bad man," Alex joked.

"She's just tired and cranky," said Tess in a baby voice. She held her close and said, "It's okay, sweetie. Be nice to your aunts and uncles." The baby continued to fuss. "Be nice to your mommy and daddy?" The baby cried louder.

"Let me try," said Alex, taking her. He sang, "Hush little baby, don't say a word. Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird won't sing, Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring. And if that diamond ring gets... no wait... Tess, what comes after the ring?"

"How would I know?"

"The goat?" suggested Isabel.

"Why would she want a goat?" asked Tess.

"Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go-o-o, I wanna be sedated," Alex sang softly.

"Oh, it's um - looking-glass!" said Liz. "Because the ring is brass. And then the goat comes after that. I think."

"But why would you buy her-?"

"Shhh... Nothing to do, nowhere to go-o, I wanna be sedated...." He sang until the baby's cries faded and she cooed contently. "Yeah, you like the Ramones. Yes you do."

"We have to get going," said Max, and soon he and Liz headed outside.

Isabel hugged Tess. "If you need anything..."

"We'll be fine. Go. Have lives."

Alex placed Joanna back in her cradle and Tess rocked her as she drifted to sleep. She looked alternately at the baby and at him.

"What?"

"You're so beautiful," she said.

He leaned over the cradle and kissed her. "Okay."

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