“Twenty six week scan!” Doctor Blige exclaimed as he slipped into the room, “Your last one before you give birth.”
“I know,” Gerard said, worrying his lower lip. Doctor Blige rolled on his rubber gloves and squeezed some gel onto his palm.
“We’re just checking that the baby’s healthy today. At this point we’d be able to see any major problems your child could have. You’re looking healthy, good growth. Have you noticed any movement?” The doctor asked, switching the machine on.
“Yeah, pretty much every day,” Gerard said, “Just kicking or moving.”
“Excellent,” The doctor said distractedly, rubbing some gel onto Gerard’s protruding stomach. He placed the sonographer on and moved it around in the gel.
“Right. Can you see his head?” The doctor asked, pointing on the diagram, “Regular growth, fluid behind the neck seems normal. Can you see him move on here?”
“Oh my God, yes,” Gerard exclaimed, moving forward to look at the screen, “Look, Frank!”
“Look at him,” Frank croaked, staring at the screen.
“Everything looks good,” Doctor Blige commented, “Congratulations. Another ten or so weeks and I would expect to be finding yourself in a maternity ward. I’m sure you’re aware that the baby will be delivered by caesarean section?”
“Yes, we’ve read all the books,” Gerard said instantly. Doctor Blige smiled and wiped the gel off his stomach.
“Of course you have, Gerard,” He smiled, going over to the printer to print off their usual four prints.
Frank took them from him, analyzing the picture of their son.
“Now, I would advise that you start planning your route to the hospital as soon as possible. You need to start preparing your overnight emergency bag to take with you. I should be the one to deliver your child, but if I’m on call, it may well be another doctor on this ward. All my colleagues are very trained, I assure you.”
Gerard smiled at him, taking the scan photos from Frank.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done,” Gerard said gratefully, “I hope you deliver our baby. I really can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us.”
“My babies!” Donna cried over dramatically as she threw open the door to let Gerard and Frank in.
“Hey, Mom,” Gerard said gingerly, wincing as she clutched him to her chest. After that she went for Frank, half tackling him as she hugged him.
“Do you have my picture?” Donna asked, holding out her hand expectantly.
“Of course we do, Mom,” Gerard said warily, handing her the picture, “I’m going to sit down, Frank can explain it.”
“Wait, I’ll help you,” Frank said instantly, helping Gerard into a chair.
“So just ten weeks now,” Donna said, pinching Gerard’s cheeks.
“Mom, stop, please,” He groaned, throwing his head back against the couch and rubbing his temples. Frank sat by Donna and explained the picture quietly, his eyes flickering to Gerard every once in a while until the doorbell rang again.
“That’ll be Mikey and Alicia!” Donna crowed, shooting out of the living room.
“Are you okay, Baby?” Frank asked, slipping next to him on the couch. Gerard winced and shrugged.
“My head’s killing me. And my back’s killing me. And my feet’re killing me,” Gerard complained, “And I couldn’t sleep last night, I couldn’t get comfortable.”
Frank cooed and kissed Gerard as Mikey and Alicia came in.
“Hey, you two,” Alicia greeted them enthusiastically, squeezing Gerard’s shoulder and kissing Frank’s cheek. Mikey nodded at them and sat down in the couch opposite.
“How’s my nephew?” He asked, accepting the scan photo that Frank handed him, his eyes wandering over it. Alicia sat down next to him, pointing out little bits on the photo. Gerard groaned again and closed his eyes.
“Sometimes it’s so fucking uncomfortable,” He whined, “And I just want this to be over already.”
Frank sat on the armrest of the couch and wove his fingers through Gerard’s hair, “Just close your eyes.”
Donna wandered back in with a tray full of mugs. She leant down by Gerard, handing him his peppermint tea as he still couldn’t drink caffeine. He blew across the top of it before taking a cautious sip, immediately reveling in the calming effect of it.
“So how’s the pregnancy going?” Donna asked, sipping her own cup of coffee. Gerard was slouched in his seat rubbing his temples. While he was talking, Frank made jerking motion with his head to Mikey and Alicia.
“We just need to-” Mikey mumbled, trailing off, and grabbing Alicia’s wrist. They slipped out of the room, closing followed by Frank. Gerard and Donna didn’t really notice, as she was busy asking him whether he was taking enough iron.
“Okay,” Frank whispered as he, Mikey and Alicia stood huddled in the corner of the kitchen, “I’ve decided on holding the baby shower in two weeks on a Saturday. I’m going to start calling people to see if they can come, but could you help me set up and organize the food?”
They had decided a month ago that they were going to hold a surprise baby shower for Gerard. Frank had made a careful note of all the things that Gerard had looked at in the baby store but didn’t end up buying, and knew it would cheer him up.
Alicia nodded, “Yeah, of course we will. Two weeks on a Saturday. Great. We’re on it.”
Mikey nodded too and Frank gave them a wide smile.
The late July afternoon was light and breezy, still extremely light at five in the afternoon. It wasn’t hot enough to be uncomfortable, but hot enough to make Gerard feel contented and bright.
“That film was really good,” Gerard commented chirpily as they made their way back form the cinema, “Like, that twist at the end with the girl and her brother? Wow.”
“Thought you’d like it,” Frank replied, slightly distantly. Gerard frowned and looked at him.
“Are you okay?” He asked, frowning. Frank smiled at him.
“Yeah. Can’t wait to get back though,” Frank said as they climbed the stairs to their apartment. Gerard laughed, a hand on his stomach, which was visible even through his baggy top and his maternity jeans with the drawstring waistband.
“Okay,” Gerard agreed questioningly, but still laughing. Frank smiled at him as they reach their front door and kissed him quickly.
“I love you,” He said, opening the door. Gerard smiled at him and turned to go inside but looked puzzled as all the lights were off and the room was pitch black.
“Frank? What’s -” Gerard stared inside the apartment, before suddenly the lights were turned on.
“Surprise!” Everyone called, everyone being Mikey, Alicia, Donna, Linda, Ray, Christa and Grant. Gerard blinked.
“Oh my God!” He laughed, looking to Frank who was looking at him fondly.
“Surprised?” Frank asked, putting an arm around his waist.
“So surprised. Wow. Thank you so much,” Gerard gasped, looking at the presents in the middle of the room.
“Baby shower!” Alicia cried, throwing a child’s soft toy at Gerard. Gerard shrieked and failed to catch it, letting it bounce off him miserably. Frank snorted and guided him to the sofa, helping him sit down. As soon as he had sat down, Alicia had taken the plate of chips and had balanced them on his stomach.
“Perfect,” He said adamantly. Gerard rolled his eyes before his gaze flickered to Ray.
“Ray!” He cried, “You’re back from LA!”
“Well I couldn’t miss this,” He smiled, “I’ll have to make sure I’m back here more often when there’s a baby Way around here.”
Ray had been Gerard’s friend since childhood but had moved to LA a few years ago to become record producer, working with various famous bands and artists on their albums.
“Open some of your presents,” Linda urged as Mikey thrust one into his face. Gerard laughed and held it over to Frank as well so they could open it together.
“Oh! A blanket,” Gerard crooned, stroking it. Frank kissed his cheek and took the blanket from him, stroking it over his cheek ridiculously. Gerard laughed and tried to swat him away.
After an hour or so, after Gerard had opened endless amounts of diapers and Mikey and Frank had played with the baby food to see if they could guess which flavours were which, everyone had settled down and were talking to each other. Frank was currently talking to Ray about the music business, telling him that he needed to go out to LA at some point to check out the talent around there. Gerard was settled on the couch chatting to Grant.
“Did you fly all the way out here just for this?” Gerard asked incredulously. Grant laughed heartily.
“Well, I had a bit of business over here, but you’re the only reason I’m in New York,” Grant assured him with a small smile.
“I feel honored,” Gerard joked, “Though I think I have enough diapers to last me for two lives over.”
“They’ll probably only last you for a few weeks,” Grant observed. Gerard made a face and Grant moved his hand, as if asking non-verbally to touch Gerard’s stomach. Gerard gestured to his stomach and pulled his top up a bit.
“He’s been moving,” Gerard said, holding Grant’s hand down a bit firmer. By this point his mom and Frank’s mom had crowded round too.
“I think I can feel him kick,” Grant said, “That is amazing.”
“I know,” Gerard said, rubbing his stomach, “It feels like he likes you, from the way that he’s pressing down on my bladder.”
“Sorry,” Grant apologised, flashing him a smile, “Have you got any names for him yet?”
Gerard made another face, as if he were trying to see something unpleasant in the distance, “No. We’ve got a few ideas, like James and Oliver. We’re still deciding.”
“Bruce? Peter? Tony?” Grant suggested. Gerard burst out laughing.
“Mom will kill me if I name her grandson after a comic book character,” He laughed. Donna nodded seriously in agreement.
“We wanted him to continue with the family name,” She said gravely.
“Ferghal, apparently,” Mikey interjected from his game with Alicia and Christa whereby they were stacking cups.
“I’m not calling my firstborn Ferghal,” Gerard said vehemently.
“Your first born?” Grant raised both eyebrows, and Gerard could see Frank now watching their conversation intently.
“I don’t know. Just. Um. Keeping it open, I suppose,” Gerard said weakly, patting his stomach. He hadn’t even discussed the idea of a second child with Frank yet, and their first hadn’t even been born yet either. Gerard gives him a weak smile and sees him beam back in return.
“Well I think you should call the second one Grant, regardless of gender,” Grant said. Gerard rolled his eyes.
“Yeah, here’s our daughter, Grant. No, it’s not short for anything, we named her Grant, after my loser friend,” Gerard mimicked, causing Grant to hit his upper arm.
By the time everyone had left, Gerard was barely able to keep his eyes open for longer than a few seconds at a time.
“That was brilliant, Frankie. Thank you so much,” He mumbled, aiming for Frank’s mouth but missing due to his tiredness and kissing his cheek instead.
“Let’s get you to bed,” Frank murmured into Gerard’s hair, steering him to their room and undressing him, stripping off his jeans and t shirt and leaving him just in his boxer-briefs.
“ ‘m tired,” Gerard mumbled as he sank onto their bed, letting Frank pull the covers over him.
“I know,” Frank said, kissing his forehead. He dithered by the bed, wondering if he should go and finish some work on some insurance contracts that he needed to do before the weekend was over, but then he saw Gerard curled up in their bed and knew that he could always do it tomorrow, but Gerard was his present.