Chapter 03

“Yes… I’m still doing the exercises. Three times a day… And yes, I promise to come in for a final exam before I leave for Hawaii…” Steve was shaking his head and rolling his eyes as he spoke to his physical therapist. “Okay… Goodbye.”

Ziva smiled up at him as she passed, running her fingers over his stomach before she proceeded into the kitchen to heat a kettle of water for tea. “So you are squared away with therapy?” She asked as she pulled down a box of oyster crackers she kept for soups to nibble on.

“Yeah. They want me to go in for a final check-up before we leave but they said I can handle the last of my treatment myself,” he replied. “The governor’s gonna call me back because she was about to head into a meeting.”

“That sounds good. I told Ducky. Invited him over for dinner. I thought it might be good to have him here also when we tell Gibbs. We can have everyone else over the weekend. Did you talk to Danny or the others?” She asked nervously.

“No… I got the machine. So I told Danny to call me back. And don’t worry… It’ll just be to tell him about the transfer. We should tell them our other news in person when we get back,” he explained.

Ziva nodded, letting him know she did hear him but it was taking a lot to settle the nervousness that filled her. “I am scared that I will screw this child up. I am not the best person to have children Steve.”

“Why? Because of your past?” Steve asked. “Because of your own upbringing? Ziva… You know how much I love my parents. But I nor my sister had the best upbringing. But I know that we’ll be good parents because we’ve gone through what we have and don’t want the same to happen to our kids.”

She still wasn’t sure about her own confidence but smiled. It might be something that she would finally understand once the time came to hold the child and care for it. It would take time. After all its hadn’t even been 24 hours that she discovered.

Taking another cracker to munch on, she found she really didn’t have an appetite for that even before dropping the bag with a sigh and grimace. “This is going to take awhile to get used to,” she grumbled.

Steve circled her, kissed her neck and began to massage her shoulders. “And we will. I’ll go to the book store tomorrow and pick up some stuff on pregnancy and parenting.”

Ziva made a face at that because it just made the situation all the more real but conceded quickly. “I suppose it would be a good idea to start reading up. I wanted to invite Ducky and Gibbs for dinner tomorrow. Get that out of the way fast. You know Gibbs would not let me live it down if I moved and didn’t share. I don’t know if we should just have everyone already…”

“You are tense up about this…” he sighed, sliding his hands up her arms to rest on her shoulders and squeezed lightly. “They love your cooking. So why don’t you invite everyone and see how you feel when they’re here. You can always pull Gibbs and Ducky aside and tell them in private.”

“Of course I am tense! I had almost never imagined myself getting married, and the few fantasies that I did indulge myself in, children was never an option. I had not expected to live long enough to even consider it. No,” Ziva sighed, calming down. “We will tell everyone at a dinner. We can shop for the food while we are out tomorrow. Now I wish I could really have a glass or four of wine.”

“The prospect of marrying me pushing you to drink huh,” he teased, a sliver of doubt clouding his features. “Look… It’s not like we have to get married tomorrow. And it will take a few weeks to push the transfer through and get you set up at the office. Not to mention packing and buying this place. Maybe you should stay on and handle everything at this end.”

Ziva shook her head defiantly. “No. Absolutely not. Marrying you does not wish for me to drink. It is the overwhelming nature of it all. And I do not want to wait here. I want to go back with you. That paperwork had already been submitted last week. Vance just been waiting for my go ahead to sign off. I had wanted it to be a surprise for you but thought I might have had another few weeks with your therapy. And I really don’t have much to pack other than my clothes and a few personal items since I assume that I will be living with you. And now that I think about it, Tony had mentioned not long ago that his lease was due soon so he could move into the second bedroom and maintain everything for us.”

“Tony as a tenant… Scary thought,” he grinned before cupping her face and leaving a long, lingering kiss on her lips. “Don’t feel overwhelmed. We’ll take things one day at a time. I know its a lot – to ask you to leave your life here behind. But it’s not like we won’t ever come back and see everyone. You’ll still work for NCIS which means you’ll have to come back for debriefs and assessments. And I’m sure that Gibbs will be Vance’s first choice when you need NCIS assistance or when he can’t come out to Hawaii to assess your operations.”

She smiled at his attempts to sooth her nerves. “Tomorrow, may we invite everyone over to break the news? I think it may be best to do that quickly otherwise it would just eat at me.”

“Sure… You don’t need my permission,” he kissed her again. “But it’s still early… We can arrange something for tonight. Maybe all go out to that steakhouse Gibbs took us to?”

Ziva had wanted to do something a little more low key and private but also wanted his own input and suggestions as it affected him just as much. “That sounds – good. Their case likely won’t keep them late I think. Would you call him and ask him to spread the invitation? I think I want to lay down for a little while now…”

“Sure,” Steve smiled. “I’ll come and lay down with you as soon as I’m done.”

She kissed him before going back into the bedroom and crawled under the covers with a sigh. Despite the support she knew she would have, she was still terrified.

Making a quick call to Gibbs and to Ducky, both of whom accepting the invitations and promising to spread the word, Steve then called the steakhouse to make a reservation before joining Ziva on the bed, spooning with her while holding her stomach protectively.

He understood her trepidation about their immediate future together. Having a child, getting married, starting a life together in Hawaii… All of it. And he also understood how difficult it would be for her to leave her friends… The people she had made her family. But even though a part of him hated himself for it, he was the happiest he’d ever been, in his whole life.