Two months later
The four men were locked in the small bedroom, painted in light blue, around the huge box containing the baby’s crib. Face had seen it on the net almost a month and a half before and had decided he wanted it. Hannibal had visited every shop in Chicago but it was impossible to find it and so they had ordered the item on the site directly; it had been due to arrive three weeks ago but the first delivery was wrong: they send them the pink version and they had to send it back, much to Face’s dismay.
Now they were all excited to open the box and see if it was the correct one; Hannibal, cutter in hand, approached the cube slicing the paper along the brown tape, careful not to apply too much pressure in order not to ruin the wooden material inside of it; Murdock and Bosco were at the Colonel’s side, ready to spring into action in case he needed any help; Face, sat on a wooden rocking chair with his back supported by a cushion, was holding his breath and nervously urged Hannibal to go on.
Once the cutting part was done, Hannibal then proceeded to open the two strips of the box to reveal a Styrofoam packing case; with the help of Murdock and BA, Hannibal extracted it from the external paper box and carefully placed it in the middle of the room, then they started to unwrap it under the vigilant eyes of Face; the Colonel let a sound of joy slip out of his mouth when he saw it was the correct article this time, the LT sighed in relief and the older man went to him to kiss him lightly on the forehead, caressing his hair in a caring and tender gesture. He then handed him the assembling instructions, so Face could read each part carefully to his friends, not wanting the younger man to get tired but knowing he needed something to do, also knowing Face wouldn’t forgive him for assembling the baby’s crib without him.
“It says,” he started “Step 1: unpack…”
“Done!” Bosco and Murdock uttered in unison.
“… and familiarize yourself with all parts and components by comparing them with the pictures and descriptions on pages 2, 3, 4.”
“Done!” they replied again.
“You didn’t compare them since you didn’t have a look at the pictures yet!”
Bosco glanced at the younger man to see if he was serious and sighed. “Fine, give us the instructions!” and he forced Murdock to have a look at them. He knew Face was exaggerating things right now but he didn’t want to make him any more nervous than he already was, so he agreed with his request. He then handed him back the sheets in order to let him read the next part.
“Step 2,” Face went on more confidently and relaxed, to the three men’s relief. “Note: Some Crib designs are made to be viewed in a certain way. Example: Designs, carvings, moldings, etc... The option of mounting the dropside and drawer, allows the decorative view of the crib to be seen properly and the operational portions (dropside and drawer) to be where needed. The drawer guides can be mounted two ways. You will need to determine which side the drawer will open and mount the guides accordingly. The wheel in this guide is where the drawer front will be. This option may not be necessary on all cribs.” He paused and frowned, mumbling something about how a person wasn’t supposed to be a genius to understand such things. “Mounting the drawer guides to the bottom of the headboard and footboard. Using wrench B, mount the two drawer guides to the bottom of the headboard and footboard with screws A (pg. 2) in the lowest holes on the inside of the end panels. Tighten screws.” He looked at the picture and nodded. “Ok. That part is quite easy. How is it going?” he asked to the whole group.
“Fine. Almost done. Go on to Step 3.” Murdock answered quietly.
“Alright. STEP 3 Diagram 2 STABILIZER BARS ASSEMBLY Attach stabilizer bars (pg 3) to headboard. From the outside of the headboard insert screws E with plastic washers D through holes provided and into stabilizer bar. Insert nut C into stabilizer bar and thread screws E with plastic washers D into nuts C. Tighten until snug with wrench F. Repeat for footboard.” Never looking at them, he re-read the paragraph slower with a puzzled look. “… insert screw E… what is it? Ah, that! And plastic washer D is…”
“This one!” the pilot announced, holding the small piece in his hand so to show it to his friend.
“Thanks Murdock. Did you find nut C?”
“I’ve got them!” BA answered this time and Face nodded, satisfied.
“Thanks BA. Can I go on?”
“Just wait for them to fix the other side, baby!” Hannibal interrupted sweetly and Face smiled at him. It took them less than three minutes to complete the operation and the young man resumed his lecture.
“STEP 4 Diagram 3 SPRING FRAME To attach the spring frame, carefully place spring frame in the crib so it rests on the stabilizer bars. Attach lower portions of the brackets to stabilizer bar using 4 screws H and 4 nuts G. Tighten with wrench B. Note: Nuts will be to the inside of the stabilizer bars… Do you need to see the picture, BA?”
The black guy said no with his head. “I think I’ve got them, Faceman!” he offered back with a smile.
“Alright, tell me when you’re done!” Face replied happily.
“We’re almost done. Go on reading the next part.”
“STEP 5 Diagram 4 The spring frame has three height positions. Use 4 screws H and 4 nuts G to mount upper arm of bracket to desired spring height. Note: nuts will be to the inside of the spring frame. Ok, so, Hannibal, can you help them? I think we could use the higher position for now.”
Hannibal knew Bosco and Murdock were perfectly capable of doing it alone but joined them and the three men exchanged an amused look: it was a funny situation and they were actually having fun pretending to be beginner assemblers.
“All done, baby. Please, go on.” Hannibal encouraged his lover.
“STEP 6 Diagram 5 Insert screw “X” into the upper hole in the headboard and tighten fully using wrench “B”. Proceed in the same way to insert screw “Y” into the lower hole using spanner “Y2”… I hope you understood because I don’t know what they are talking about…” Face complained but Murdock reassured him and so they went on until the crib was finished.
Once the floor was clear of all the empty bags and the Styrofoam, they asked Face where he wanted it to be placed in the room but the young man couldn’t answer them, he was too busy trying to hold back the tears and to control his emotions.
“Thanks guys, can you give us a moment?” Hannibal asked their friends then. The two men quietly left the room with a satisfied look on their faces. Once they were alone, the Colonel knelt down in front of Face and hugged him tenderly, comforting him and the LT apologized once again, as he had done a thousand times in the last two months, for being so silly.
“You’re not silly, honey. You’re pregnant and that makes you more sensitive. I love you!” the older man explained quietly, kissing his lover’s wet cheeks.
Face sniffed and smiled. “I love it, John. It’s fantastic. Where should we place it?” he asked then, his voice still a little rough but definitely sweet.
“I think here, beside the window?” When Face nodded his agreement Hannibal moved the crib and then went to stand beside his lover. “Can you imagine we will have our baby sleeping here in two months?”
“I cannot wait until that moment, John,” the younger man replied in a dreamy voice, turning to rest his head on Hannibal’s muscular chest.
“I am so proud of you, sweetheart. Right now I just want to hold you! I just want to feel you and not let go, never let you go.”
Face sighed at those words and kissed the older man’s neck. “Show me!” he simply stated.
“In our room…”
“Show me the way, Colonel!”
“My pleasure, Lt!”