Lindsey lay on the bed in the single-patient room at the maternity ward. The walls were a cheerful yellow color, and clearly the hospital had tried it’s best to make giving birth a nice, happy experience.
Lindsey of course couldn’t appreciate any of this, because she knew that in a few hours, she would have to squeeze out a kid the size of a basketball out through her –
Well, let’s leave that detail out.
All in all, Lindsey was so ready to kill anyone who dared to speak to her.
“You,” she said to her husband when he walked into the room, her voice dripping with venom. “You did this to me.”
Gerard knew that she probably loathed him right now. He would hate himself, too. “I got you ice chips.”
The woman looked at him like he has just told her the worst insult imaginable.
“I’m just gonna put them here,” he said, and set the cup down on the table by her bed. He still avoided going near her in fear that she would do what she threatened when she had a really big and painful contraction (tear out his balls with her bare hands and shove them up his ass if he keeps annoying her).
“Gosh, I’m so uncomfortable,” she complained, wiggling herself on the bed, trying to find a position that wouldn’t hurt her back so much.
“Is there anything I can do?” Gerard asked.
“Yes. Cut my stomach open and get this kid out of me.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”
“I want a divorce,” she said with a frown, grabbed her ice chips and chugged them down quickly.
Gerard tried his best to make her feel better, and that included fluffing the pillows, staying quiet, bringing more ice chips, and trying to keep her mind off of the task that she’d have to do in a few hours.
Every few minutes he checked his phone to check for incoming calls and texts, expecting to get a reply from his daughter about her whereabouts. She hadn’t contacted him at all. If Gerard didn’t feel so obligated to be with Lindsey, he would’ve been running around town looking for her.
When Mikey and Alicia burst through the door with a huge flower bouquet, Gerard and Lindsey were both pretty agitated. Well, Lindsey had crossed agitated ages ago, and had moved on to despair and agony.
“Are we late? Is it here yet?!” Mikey asked. They had clearly run from the parking lot.
“Are you making fun of me?” Lindsey asked, about to cry.
“Now look what you did!” Gerard said, smacking his brother. Lindsey had been crying for the past fifteen minutes and he had just managed to get her to stop.
Alicia seemed to be the only sane one in the room. “How are you feeling?” she asked Lindsey, setting the flowers down on the table.
“I’ve never felt worse. I’m dying,” she sobbed.
“You’re not dying,” Gerard rolled his eyes and then explained to his brother and Alicia: “It might still take hours before she’s ready to give birth.”
“Oh shut up! I hate you all! Just go away, leave me here to die!”
The three of them glanced at each other, and Gerard got up to leave the room, the two following him.
“And now you’re just gonna leave me here?! Abandon me in time of distress?! And you, Gerard! When I get out of this bed, I am gonna kill you so bad you wish you were never born!”
Gerard wasn’t sure what to do. Run? Stay? He couldn’t leave her alone, but if he was in the same room with her, she’d end up killing him.
“You two go get coffee or something, I’ll stay here with her,” Alicia said. “Bring her ice chips.”
Gerard and Mikey quickly agreed, and left to room to go chug down cups of coffee.
When they headed for the cafeteria, they passed the elevators, and saw something very disturbing.
Frank was just coming out of the elevator, his arms full of various toys, such as a huge elephant, an easy-bake oven, a Barbie doll, a fire truck, and at least ten other items. The toys kept falling out from his arms, and he had to stop every two steps to collect them from the floor.
When he noticed them, his face spread in a huge, gleeful smile. “Oh hey guys! I’m here! Where’s the baby?”
“Still unborn,” Gerard said.
“Hey Mikes, take these,” Frank said and shoved the pile of toys to Mikey. “And Gee, I’ve given some thought to the name of the baby… Now, I know that you don’t know the gender yet, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s a boy, I’m thinking Frank Jr. or Francis, I really like Franz and Franklin as well. As for a girl, Francesca, Francine, Franny, Fraya… All of those are really good choices. But no pressure, feel free to choose any of those.”
Between Lindsey wanting to kill him, and Frank shoving his name down everyone’s throats, Gerard really needed his coffee.
Gia’s blurry eyes watched as Lucas raised the can to his lips and took a large gulp. She was sprawled across the couch, her other leg on the back and other taking the rest of the space on the couch. Her other arm was hanging from the edge of the couch, lazily holding a half-empty bottle.
Lucas stood near the stereo, and turned the volume up even more. Smashing Pumpkins blasted from the speakers, and Gia thought that her dad would be proud because she actually recognized the band.
Bottles and cans littered the couch table and the floor, as they had emptied his father’s liquor cabinet. Originally the plan was to just have a few drinks, but a few turned out to be a lot more than she originally had in mind.
They had had the same amount to drink, but somehow it had a bigger effect on Lucas. He didn’t like to drink that much, he figured that because of the hangover it wasn’t worth it, and his tolerance for alcohol was very low. Gia on the other hand… Let’s just say that she had inherited some things from her father.
While Gia felt like just laying there and occasionally taking a sip from the bottle, Lucas was a different story. As soon as he turned up the music, he started to dance.
“Hey Gia, look! I can do the robot!” he shouted over the music and did some robotic dance moves which weren’t really all that robotic at all. He stopped and started to laugh when he nearly tripped over.
Gia just laughed along with him.
“What do you wanna do next? Wanna go out? I have money, let’s go to the arcade! No, roller skating! Gia let’s go roller skating!” he gushed of excitement, and sat on the floor cross-legged right next to the couch.
“I don’t feel like roller skating. Maybe tomorrow, okay?” she said, and giggled at the overly exaggerated frown he shot at her.
“Are you feeling okay? You look so sad,” he said, getting on his knees and rested his upper body on her stomach, still keeping his legs on the floor.
“I am sad,” she answered. If anything, the alcohol had just enhanced the melancholy feeling, it hadn’t removed it.
For a while they were silent, and Gia took another large gulp from the bottle just to have something to do. It was nearly empty.
While she drank, she felt the weight disappear from her stomach, and then the bottle was removed from her hand. Before she could react, Lucas had leaned down so that he could kiss her. She could taste the alcohol on his lips and tongue, but she didn’t mind. She probably tasted the same to him.
The kiss wasn’t like any of the others that they had shared. This one was passionate, full of something, a feeling that Gia hadn’t experienced before. Without even realizing it, her arms went around his neck, fingers tangling into his hair, pulling him closer, deeper into the kiss.
It may have been because of the alcohol, somewhere in the back of her mind she knew that, but when she felt his cold hand trace its way up from her stomach, she didn’t back away like she usually did. She did nothing except feel her heart beat faster when his hand cupped her breast.
Lucas was the one to break the kiss, but instead of pulling away, he moved on to her jaw, then slowly downwards to her neck. By now he had risen up from the floor, and he was half on top of her.
If Gia had been sober, she would have been very uncomfortable and panicked. Now, all she could think of was Lucas, his hands, and his lips on her.
It worked. For a while, she didn’t think about her mother, or any of the crap that made her want to cry and drink herself into a coma. She didn’t even care about it at that moment.
The woman screamed. She screamed so loud that Gerard felt his ears would explode. The noise at their concerts when he wasn’t wearing earplugs was nothing compared to this banshee-scream. Yes, this may have been one of the greatest miracles of life, but it wasn’t a pretty one.
As soon as it started, the scream was replaced with panting as Lindsey tried to catch her breath.
“Okay, that’s great! I see the head! One more push, and that’s it,” the doctor said with a calm, encouraging voice. “Can you give one more push?”
“Why don’t you go to hell,” Lindsey grunted, but did as she was told.
Gerard felt his wife’s grip on his hand loosen as the screaming stopped.
“Congratulations, it’s a girl,” the doctor said, holding the tiny creature with a tiny pair of legs and arms, and even a tinier set of ten fingers and ten toes. Gerard couldn’t take his eye off of the little girl, but he heard the sob coming from his wife and held her hand tighter.
“Would the father like to cut the cord?”
With shaky hands, Gerard took the scissors from the nurse and cut the cord. He looked at the little girl’s face more clearly now. Her eyes were closed, and her tiny mouth was open in a toothless frown when she let out a sniveling cry.
Almost immediately the baby was given to her mother, and Lindsey held her like she was porcelain. Gerard saw that she had a little bit of dark hair on her head already.
And all too soon, this Kodak-moment was broken when the nurse took the newcomer away to clean her up a bit. They still heard the cry, but kept their eyes on her all the while she was being washed. Clearly this girl had inherited his lungs, the cry was loud and ear-breaking.
Gerard considered him lucky that he had had the opportunity to go through this twice. He had two daughters.
A few years ago he had figured he didn’t deserve even the one he already had. And now there was this other girl, innocent and unspoiled.
It was scary, but also really exciting. He just hoped that he won’t screw up so bad this time.