Chapter 7: Deliverance – part 1
“How. Much. Longer,” Addison growled through gritted teeth. She tried and failed to toss a sweat-soaked lock of hair off her face, then glared at the poncy-arsed male nurse standing against the wall of the private delivery room. He hurried up to Addison, brushed the drenched hair back with a cool cloth, then scurried back to his post. Frasier needed to find tougher nurses. She couldn’t be blamed for telekinetically hitting the nurse in the throes of a contraction. Surely other Homo superiors had given birth in the lauded Triptych alpha facility.
“You’re at eight centimeters,” Dr. Frasier replied in her usual efficient cadence from her position at the foot of the birthing table. Since Frasier had been present for Ashlynn’s birth, Addison didn’t mind lying there sweaty, trembling, and needy. But Shane having a front-row seat for her helplessness? Despite their new relationship, Addison almost regretted allowing him to be here. “It could be a few minutes or a few hours,” Frasier added.
Addison shook her head frantically. “Hours? HOURS?!” When had everything gone pear-shaped? The first fourteen hours had been so manageable that she’d declined medication. Now it was too late. “You said the bloody second birth would be easier! THIS ISN’T–”
Her spasming uterus cut off the rest of her rant. She cried out, body tensing against the powerful contractions. Addison rode the wave as best she could, vaguely aware of Frasier and Shane urging her to relax and breathe. When it was over, she collapsed against the hospital bed, thirsty, sweatier, and more tired.
Shane took her hand in his. “There’s no point fighting it,” he said, his voice nearly inflectionless. The prat had been all cool and collected, hiding in his alien side since Addison had dilated to three centimeters. “You’re just making it hurt more. You need to relax.”
Addison yanked her hand back. “Why don’t you climb up here and relax, then? Your bloody sperm is putting me through this!”
Her lover gave her a plastic smile. “You’re almost there, Addison. You’re doing well.”
“Fuck. You.” Addison ground out. Then another contraction crescendoed. Addison deliberately lowered her mental shields, hoping that her pain would reach Shane.
When the contraction receded, Addison found Shane dabbing the washcloth down her neck. “Gonzales went to alert the obstetrician. Another hour at the most.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Addison panted. “Ice,” she snapped. After a momentary frown, Shane handed her a plastic cup of ice chips. She popped a few bits of ice in her mouth, savoring the blissfully cool condensation dripping from the cup. “I can’t do this alone. I can’t.”
“You’re not alone,” Frasier said.
Addison glared at Shane. “I am.”
Addison was making less sense by the minute. Yes, he was in the emotionless void of his alien side. It was that or throw up from the pain. Whether or not Addison realized it, her shields dropped during contractions. Frasier and Gonzales, having no psionic ability, were unaffected, but Addison’s discomfort punched though his shields. She’d refused drugs and Shane’s offer to ease the pain. Wasn’t it better that he was there and calm?
The next contraction had Addison writhing and groaning. Shane wasn’t worried. He’d studied medical books on childbirth, so he knew that Addison’s body was behaving normally. Jacob would be born soon.
After the contraction passed, Shane reached forward with the washcloth again. It flew out of his hand, landing on the floor with a splat. Shane frowned at his lover, puzzled. Her voice was hard and flat. “If you’re not going to be here, then get out.”
Shane looked at the door, then back to Addison. Although she’d reclaimed her Queen Bitch title and he’d probably make a fool out of himself and vomit all over the floor, he wouldn’t abandon his lover and his son.
After locking his epiglottis in place, Shane reluctantly released the void. Addison’s pain and exhaustion rushed in. Stars swam across Shane’s vision, the blood drained from his face, and he broke out in a cold sweat. Every instinct said to go back, but he resisted. Addison’s gratitude helped considerably. “I’m here,” he gasped.
Shane felt Frasier’s eyes on him. He looked up to find her studying him. Shane caught the doctor’s gaze, daring her to say something. She didn’t.
The next contraction swelled, engulfing Addison and Shane. His world was reduced to Addison and a sea of pain and nausea. He absently noticed that the obstetrician and the nurse had returned. Shane shrugged off their concerted attempts to escort him to the waiting room, and the agony continued. If not for the tiny ball of life and consciousness that was Jacob, Shane would have run screaming.