He saw her lying on her side of their bed and his smile was instant. She was curled up, the sheets kicked away from her body with one hand resting against her swollen abdomen. He tried to be as quiet as possible when he undressed, crawling into the bed next to her.
He pressed a light kiss to her forehead before scooting down so he could do the same to her abdomen. His hand covered hers.
"Hi baby girl." He felt Snow stir under his hand and suddenly grew silent. He waited for her to fall back asleep before continuing. "We got you a name today, sweetheart. Do you want to know what it is? Your new name is Emma. Our little Emma. That doesn't mean I'm going to always call you Emma, honey."
He smiled when he felt the baby kick his hand.
"That's right. You are one quirky little girl, you know that?" he whispered, looking up at his wife to confirm her slumber before continuing. "You've got your mommy craving cinnamon."
He pressed another light kiss to Snow's abdomen.
"See, mommy really likes hot chocolate, but every since you've been around she's asked for cinnamon on everything. You must really like cinnamon, huh? Well guess what, you're a little genius. Yesterday mommy put cinnamon in her hot chocolate and it tasted amazing."
He felt Snow's abdomen shaking under his hand and looked up, only to find his wife looking at him with a face of adoration. She silently giggled again.
"I told you it tasted good," she said smugly, moving an arm under her head so she could look at him properly. He lightly stroked her abdomen while he moved upwards so he was face-to-face with her.
James smiled at her before giving her a kiss. She broke away and giggled when the baby kicked against their joined hands.
"Baby Emma," she said softly, looking down at where their hands lay over their daughter.
"As precious as her mother," he said softly, removing his hand from hers to gently stroke her cheek.
She got an impish grin on her face. "Charming," she sassed.
The little girl ran over to his horse, stopping just inches away form the tall animal. The horse lowered its head and the girl gently petted it, giving James enough time to slide off the horse. The girl giggled when the horse licked her hand and quickly wiped away the slobber on her dress.
She then noticed her father was on solid ground. "Daddy!" she yelled again, and flung her little body at him.
He gathered her up in his arms and spun her around. The girl wrapped her little arms around his neck and giggled.
"Hi baby girl," he said, carrying her on his hip.
"Not baby!" she said adamantly, kissing his cheek.
"Always my baby!" he replied, kissing her cheek back.
"No! I Emma!"
"You're my baby!" He started tickling her, and with the girl squirming he almost dropped her.
"Charming!" the little girl yelled, making James stop with his attack.
"What did you say?" he asked surprised. The girl wiggled her little body until he set her down on her two feet.
"Charming!" she yelled and stuck out her tongue, running away giggling.
"Who told you that?" he asked, running behind her, already knowing the answer. Emma knew her weakness and avoided the stairs, letting her father chase her through 8 different corridors before getting into a cranny in a wall underneath the emergency staircase. The space was just big enough for her to fit into. She saw her daddy stopping near the stairs and look around for her.
"Mommy," she said quietly. He frantically looked around for his daughter, not seeing her anywhere.
"Little mouse, little mouse, come out wherever you are..." he taunted.
She giggled, but didn't answer him.
"Keep giggling, Emma."
She didn't say anything but kept giggling. He rounded the staircase and she could see his boots approaching her hiding spot.
She jumped out. "Boo!"
"Found you!" he roared, grabbing her and throwing her over his shoulder. She was giggling non-stop and her little fists pounded his back.
"Daddy let me down."
She huffed in annoyance, but then decided on a plan of action. As he started walking, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pushed a sock-clad foot into his face and kicked off, moving her body over his shoulder so he was giving her a piggy-back ride.
"Clever girl," he said softly.
"Reward?" she asked.
"What do you want, munchkin?"
"Cinnamon!" she yelled and he cringed, as she screamed right into his ear.
"Well then off to the kitchen we are!"
Once there, he found Snow sitting on a kitchen stool sipping her own hot chocolate. She looked up at the sound of his boots and let out a happy sigh.
With their daughter still on his back he walked over to his wife and kissed her deeply.
"I'm home," he sighed when they broke apart. A smile spread over his face, and it was contagious as Snow also started smiling. Their moment was interrupted when Emma tugged at his ear.
"Cocoa with cinnamon, daddy," she whispered in his ear.
James moved his daughter onto his hip and pressed a kiss to her dark-blonde hair.
"Go sit with mommy and I'll make you some, okay?" he offered and the girl nodded.
The kitchen chef and some of the staff offered to make the cocoa but he refused, choosing to make it himself. He watched his daughter interact with her mother and couldn't help but smile.
"Shh..." James said, sneaking into the room with Emma on his hip.
He made sure Snow was asleep before closing the door and quickly striding over to their bed. He gently set Emma down on the bed and crawled in himself.
He flashed back to when Snow was in the same position four years prior, with Emma still in her womb.
Emma crawled closer to her mother and curled around Snow's swollen abdomen. The little girl pressed a quick kiss to her mom's belly.
"Hi baby," she whispered. James crawled closer so he was right next to Emma and he could also talk to the new baby.
He held Emma's hand under his own and softly moved it over Snow's abdomen, until he found the right spot. Emma gasped when the baby kicked at their hands.
"Daddy, did you feel that? What was that, daddy?"
"I felt that, honey. That's your little sister. She recognized your voice, sweetie. Go on, talk to her," he gently urged.
"Hi baby! I'm Emma, your big sister. When you get here we're going to have so much fun! I wanna play with you and we can trick daddy and have cocoa with cinnamon with mommy..." she trailed off, deep in thought.
"What's wrong, Em?"
"Daddy, what if the baby doesn't like cocoa with cinnamon?" Emma asked, her eyes full of concern.
"Oh, of course she'll like cocoa with cinnamon. She's your little sister after all."
Emma seemed wary. "Okay." She turned back to her sister and started mumbling to her.
James felt Snow stir and moved up so he was eye level with her.
"I love you," she said, slowly waking up.
"I love you too."
Her eyes were sparkling with love and joy as she looked down at their daughter talking to their unborn child.
"Forever," he whispered softly, and then kissed her.