My cell bleeped continually in the glove compartment as we drove down the free-way. Bob sat beside me reading through the lyrics Ray and I had been writing. Ray sat behind us looking through the wad of music and lyric sheets that Bob had handed him almost as instantly as he'd left the arrivals tunnel and met us in the airports huge arrivals lounge. “Bob these are incredible, really deep.” A few sheets fell from Bobs hands and landed heavily on the floor of the van. In-front of me a large blue lorry pulled out and overtook the car before us. “Yeh, these aren't that bad either, you too really got at it. But I don't get it, why haven't the others been helping?” I leant in-front of him and pulled open the glove compartment. I tried to keep focus on the road while searching blindly through the draw for the tiny cell. My fingers felt the tiresome vibrations and I grasped my cell in my palm.
8 missed calls
All from Mom, Ellie and William. I called my voice-mail quickly and waited for the first and only message that had been left.
“Gerard, its Mom, Kat's waters broke, she's going to hospital, meet us there.”
My foot pressed harder against the accelerator and Bob jolted forwards, the rest of the sheets now joining the others at his feet. “What is it? What's happened?” Ray called from the back, scrabbling to collect Bob's sheets together. “Kat's water's have broken.” I murmured my response hastily as I continued to speed up the free-way, one hand tight on the wheel the other frantically punching Will's number into the cells keypad. “Your joking me? Where are they? Is she okay? What are we going to do?” Bob's eyes were wide with confusion and fear. He pulled his seatbelt tighter over him as I pulled back off the free-way and into New Jersey's centre. “Hospital. Going.” I waited for the dial tone but got nothing. No response. But then if they were in hospital they wouldn't be allowed phones on right? I threw the phone back to Ray who slid across the back-seat as I turned a corner sharply. He caught it just as it began to bleep again. Ray answered it and passed me the phone. I wedged it between my ear and shoulder and used both hands to steer. “Oh my god, this is really happening, I'm going to be an uncle, Kat's going to be a Mom.” Bob murmured to himself, rocking backwards and forwards in his seat. “Hello? Hello? Gee, its Mikey.”
“Hey what's happening?” I could see the hospital signs coming closer and Mikey's words were hurried in his excitement. “We're at the hospital, she's really having it Gerard! Kat's having a baby!”
“I know, I know. But is she okay? Are there any problems?” My voice was broken and I pulled into the hospitals parking lot. I drove as close as I could to the hospital and drew the van to a halt. “I CAN SEE YOU! I CAN SEE YOU!” Mikey screamed down the phone at me, and there he was, running towards the van as fast as his gangly legs could carry him. He grabbed me as I threw myself out of the van. Ray and Bob escaped from their own seatbelts and joined us out on the tarmac. “Right, where is she?”
“She's in maternity. But she doesn't want you in there. Trace is with her and so is Ellie. She said she doesn't want anyone else. “ My younger brother dragged me by the wrist through the door of the hospital and up to an unknown ward, our friends following closely behind. We ran through the maternity wards but stopped quickly when we saw the gathering of our friends and family.
Mom was being held by Alicia but jumped up at grabbed me when she saw us running through. “She's really having it Gerard. This is it.” Frank and Ray were sat with Jamia who was rocking backwards with shock at the sound of Kat's scream from the room next-door and William was the scene of serenity, stood, coffee mug in hand, against the door-frame. Bob had collapsed in a pile on a nearby chair and I went to sit beside him. His hoodie was slipping around his shoulders and I pulled it over him. “She's going to be okay Bob. I promise.” And as I said these words, Ellie and Trace were pushed violently from Kat's room, Kat's screams echoing behind them.
“She doesn't want us in there. She's stressing out big time. She wants the doctors out now as-well but they're putting up a better fight than we did.” They were both covered in green scrubs and Trace's voice trailed off as he noticed I was sat before him. My eye had swollen and was purpling from where he'd earlier punched me. “I'm sorry Gerard.” I nodded at him and continued to comfort Bob who had shrunk down on his seat as the others had come out the room and who I believed was about to have a nervous breakdown while we watched. “I cant do this. I cant. I cant manage to look after Kat let alone her baby as-well. Mom would kill me.” I rubbed his back but my hands were shaking so let Ellie take over on the whole reassuring thing.
Kat screamed again and I sat up sharply. “They're looking after her Gerard, there's no need to worry.” William was so calm even though it sounded like somebody was hacking at Kat with a chainsaw and my brain was flooded of images of the chainsaw massacre and the incessant screams of the victims. I shook my head trying to clear the image and it disappeared quickly. Mom sat beside me and held my hand in hers. “She's strong enough Gerard, but are you?” Nobody but me heard my mother's question and the others continued to talk amongst themselves only stopping briefly when Kat screamed. “I am, I know I am. I want her and the baby more than anything. I want this Mom.” She squeezed my hand tightly and kissed my cheek with her ageing lips.
We all turned to the door as a nurse ran quickly from Kat's room, blood covering her scrubs. Bob and I rose from our seats and stood against the door beside Will but could see nor here nothing. Ellie was being comforted by Trace and Jamia now and Mikey and Alicia sat beside each other, hands clasped tightly, both looking distant but with smiles on their faces. Ray had disappeared but returned carrying trays adorned with coffee cups. Ellie sat and slurped at it but her face showed she wasn't really enjoying it and was worrying about her friend.
The clock hands ticked past, and with each minute that passed the ticking seemed to become louder. The nurse returned now in clean scrubs but passed us quickly so we couldn't ask her any questions. Kat's screams had subsided until now but as the nurse re-entered the room they seemed to begin again, this time louder and more piercing. As I went to take my seat next to Mom again, Ellie enveloped me in a hug, “Oh Gerard, She loves you so much.” I felt here tears through my shirt before I heard her sobs and I held her close to me. William put down his coffee mug and come to take Ellie from me.
“GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Kat's scream echoed down the corridor as we stood and sat, all frozen with shock. The door was opened and a nurse stood beside it, ushering me inside. Mom grabbed my fingers as I walked past and I squeezed them tightly.
The room was pale pink. The color Kat despised the most. The blankets that lay on the floor were musky green and the sheets paper white. The blinds had been pulled harshly across the windows, blocking out some of the blinding sunlight and machines bleeped continually in the background.
In the middle of the room, Kat lay on the bed, her legs splayed wide. The bed was covered in a deep, sticky red substance that could only be her blood and the equipment led on the side was also bloody. Kat's head had fallen back on the pile of pillows behind her,her skin pale and clammy and her face covered in dried tears. As the door swung heavily closed behind me, Kat's head snapped up and her screams worsened, my ears feeling as though they were being ripped from the side of my head. I walked to her side and took her hand in my own, her fingers wrapped around my own, her palms sweaty and warm. She screamed again, pulling tighter on my hand this time and I heard a heart stopping tearing noise. Kat began to sob and I took her face in my hands. She looked up into my eyes and her crying stopped. She took my hand in hers again and tightened her grip as she pushed for the last time....