The Baby Game: Section Fifteen
When her eyes fell to stare
at his feet he moved around the couch to sit next to her, but found that
his closeness was only a discomfort to her. He wanted to reach out
and have him save her, have him old her and tell her things would get better,
but there was no way that was going to happen. They were stuck in
this yo-yo game that pulled them apart and forced them apart. They
couldn't be normal or safe or even sane. It would be too strange to
She pushed up and started to pace before she moved to lean against
the kitchen counter. He had turned towards the television, but he
could see her reflection in the screen. Her face was turned towards
him and she stared at the back of his head for a long time before her head
dipped and he saw her lean even more. Part of him said to leave her
alone and deal with whatever had just been thrown at her, but another protective
part of him made him turn his head to look at her.
It was just at this point when her knees seemed to buckle and she
fell into a pile next to the breakfast bar. He heard the thump and
was over the back of the couch before the sound left the room. He
didn't know that his reflexes were so quick, but he found himself, almost
a blink of the eyes next to her on the floor pulling her into his lap to
hold her there. "Serena? Serena open your eyes and look at
Her eyelids flew back and her mouth moved like a fish's when it was
struggling to breathe. Her arms started to move to push him away.
He'd been through this a few months before, when he'd fainted in front
of her, but it had been fake. He'd done it to get her back. He
hadn't understood how scary it had all been until he was looking down at
her praying that she didn't die on the linoleum.
His arms seemed to reach to greater length grabbing up the phone
to dial 911. He spoke to the person on the other end of the phone
and ten minutes later they were on their way to the emergency room. The
paramedics had taken over and he was riding along only holding onto her
free hand as they worked on her.
The hospital was a maze of hallways and as they pushed her into the
ER to get checked over Lance pulled his phone out and dialed. "I
need--" He took a deep breath. He didn't even know who he'd dialed.
He hadn't been paying attention. "I need someone to come to
Twenty minutes later Justin showed up in the doorway with Joey in
his wake. The three men took seats in the waiting room and spent
the next few hours waiting for word. The nurses had told him that
she'd got into premature labor and they were trying to control it and that
they didn't want him in the room while they were working because it was
such a delicate situation, but assured him that he would know news about
It took all his strength not to dial the phone and cry to his mother.
It was horrible to have the two women in his life so out of sorts.
Serena was fighting for her life and he was fighting for the strength
not to fall apart and cry to his mother. He needed her at that moment,
but he figured out that Serena must have been on the phone with her before
her attack of whatever and he couldn't speak to the woman if she was the
reason for all the drama that was happening a few doors away from where he
"You ok?" Justin asked.
The voice was soft and caring and Lance wished that he could tell
him good news, but he couldn't. He just stared at him unable to
even form the words in his mind to tell him what was going on. "I'm
fine," he lied. He took a deep breath. "We should call someone
or something and tell them that we're here. I'm sure the press is
going to get wind of this and--"
"Sit down," Joey said, "We'll call Johnny and tell him. You
look like you could use some rest."
"This is all my fault." He started to pace. "I was the
one who talked her into this. She was going to go off and--" He
held his hands above his head when he felt his throat close up. "She
should have turned and run away when I told her what I was thinking. She
should have. I should have pissed her off or kicked her or something...anything
to keep her away. I was the one--"
Justin somehow took the lead and he and Joey forcefully made Lance
take a seat. They hooked him under the shoulders and basically dragged
him across to plop down into a chair. "Calm the hell down."
Joey took a deep breath and put an arm over his chest when he tried
to get up. "Let Justin go make the calls and see if the doctors have
any more news."
Lance instantly covered his face. He was ashamed of what he'd
done. He'd been trying to keep things in check, in control and he'd
done a good job of it, but somehow they'd gotten passed him with this insane
problem that now had four lives in the balance instead of just one or
two. "I did this to her. I made her do this. I made
her get involved with me and with my parents and I'm sure my mother didn't
help the situation. She should have been with Billy."
"Shut up," Joey said, "She's in love with you. No one made
you or her do anything. She would have walked out long ago if she
didn't love you. She always has been and you never even noticed.
Even way back when before you and she got together--"
"You don't understand Joey. I tricked her into this. I
told her--I begged her--freaking trapped her--to be with me and it was
the one selfish thing in the world that might now kill her."
"You're about to be a dad," Joey said, "You need to think about that
and about being a dad to two little kids. You have twice the joy
that other people have."
"Well that might not happen either. James, the little boy is
sick. He's got DownSyndrome--"
"What?" Joey's face paled.
"He's sick and he might be totally--totally not a son that I--"
"Shut up Lance," Joey said, "That little boy is your son no matter
how many fingers or toes he has. You shouldn't even think about
Her eyes opened and she found herself staring up at a blank ceiling.
She felt like someone had punched her in the gut and felt things
poking her all over as if she'd been in a car accident and she was still
sitting in the mangled car with the parking brake sticking in her kidneys
and the million pound car sitting on the top of her chest.
She blinked her eyes and started to cough. She found something
was keeping her mouth and throat open which just made her panic even more.
She moved her hands to pull whatever it was off of her, but she
found that she couldn't move.
"Serena baby don't move ok?" The voice was there again, but she
couldn't see who was talking. "I'm gonna go get a doctor. Just
stay still sweetie and it won't hurt ok?"
She reached out to grab the person so that she could move them over
to where she could see them, but they left the room before she could get
a hold on them. Her stomach hurt and her mind couldn't grasp the idea
that she was in the hospital. She felt groggy and she wanted to cough
again, but she basically was holding her breath until someone came back
to take whatever was in her mouth out.
Finally a friendly unfamiliar face moved above her and a few moments
later she was breathing a little easier. They moved her so that
she could sit up and she was handed water. It was then that she
realized that things weren't as they were that morning when she'd woken
up. Lance was there and with her, but the hollow look in her eyes
made him look older and depressed. "What happened?"
"Miss Radcliffe," the doctor interupted. "You collapsed this
morning and your fiance called 911. You were having a hemorage in
your abdomen and we had to do surgery."
"Lance?" she asked looking at him. He looked down at his shoes
and she saw him start to cry.
"Please tell me nothing happened to the kids," she said, "I know they're
early, but please--?"
"James, the smaller one is in critical care and your baby girl Roselyn
is with him. She's a little stronger, but I think both of them have
a fight ahead of them."
He stood up from the seat he'd taken, glanced at her for only a moment
then left the room. "Excuse me."
The doctor seemed to be as dazed as she was to his reaction to the
situation. They both watched him leave and the doctor came to her
side. "I want you to rest and when you get a little bit stronger
we'll take you over to see the babies."
"Is anyone else here?" she asked.
"There were a few men with your fiance and they've told me about the
press possibly getting news of this. I want to assure you that your
children will be fine in NICU and that we'll make sure that your fiance
and you aren't bothered by the press."
"Thank you," she said and leaned back. "If you see him in the
hallway can you ask him to come back in here."
"I think he needed some air. He's been through a lot this morning."
"Tell him to come and sit in here even if I'm asleep."
The doctor looked nervous about the whole situation, but nodded to
her wishes and left her alone in the room for only a few moments before
another one came rushing in to start some tests on her.
The room was dim, the only light coming from the pen light that the
doctor was using to examine her with. When the lights had been on
she'd had no urge to look around the room, scared to find out that she
might be hooked up to more machines than she thought she needed.
Now that the lights were out and there wasn't much to look at she was finding
it hard to keep her concentration.
She could hear voices in the hallway and tried to turn her head, but
the doctor got on her case about moving from where he was trying to
look into her eyes. She held back the urge to cry and tried to pay
attention to the people who were examining her.
"How's she doing?" She recognized Joey's voice in the hallway.
Her eyes moved to look towards the door again when she heard a sobbing
noise and then she heard Lance reply. "She's awake. I
haven't--They haven't told her everything yet. I just don't--"
"Take a deep breath Lance," Justin's voice said. She couldn't
see where they were now, but she imagined the three of them in a little
huddle outside the door waiting to be let in. It was amazing how
impatient those guys could be when they wanted something to happen and
it wasn't happening when they wanted it to.
Her eyes snapped forward. "Sorry."
"I need you to count forwards and backwards up to ten and back down
The sound of someone else coming in the room startled her. She
was trying to remember which number came next, but she didn't get to six
before the doctor in front of her disappeared into the hallway.
"Where are they going?" Joey asked, "Lance. What did that guy
say? Where did they say they were heading."
"Nick something," Justin sounded confused.
"NICU--N-I-C-U," Lance said.
Sounds of footsteps filled the hallway and Serena lay her head back
on her pillow as she heard people rushing around. She didn't
know what was going on, but she was too tired now to find out. It
was funny how things could tire a person out so quickly. She hadn't
moved, had barely breathed in the last half hour, but she felt like she'd
been running a marathon.
The hallway became eerily quiet and she sat back up again. She
tried to move from the bed, but found herself in too much pain to do so.
Trying to stay calm she lay back again and stared out the window. She
couldn't see much of where she was or what was going on below her window,
but she stared out at the sky until she heard footsteps in the hallway.
It seemed like hours before she heard someone in the hallway.
A door slammed shut and she heard footsteps for a moment, then the rubber
sole of a running shoe caught on the tiles and made a screeching sound that
made her jump.
Moments later Lance appeared in the doorway. With the light the
way that it was she couldn't see much of his face, but the slant of his
shoulders and the way he scuffed his feet against the floor told her that
there wasn't good news coming her way.
"Lance?" she said finally turning her whole upper body to face him.
"Lance, what's wrong?"
Justin and Joey appeared in the doorway and stood watching the two of
them in silence.
"Catch him," Justin said as he moved forwards towards Lance.
Serena's eyes flew back to Lance and found that he was starting fall
over. Joey and Justin each grabbed a shoulder, forcing him to keep his feet
even though his knees were wobbling. His head dipped and his
hands moved to push them away, but he didn't seem to have the strength
to push them away from him.
"I can't--" He gasped for air and looked at Justin. "Tell
her." He glared at him then turned to Joey. "Tell her."
Serena was completely confused by the situation and watched the three
men standing there watching her.
"Serena," Justin started to speak.
Joey pushed all of Lance's weight on Justin and moved to find a seat
next to Serena on the bed. "Serena, little James didn't make it."
Her eyes opened when she heard voices in her room. It was discharge
day for Serena while Roselyn would be staying in the NICU for another week.
The two girls had fought their battles and it seemed strangely ironic
that her daughter was stronger in her battles than she was. Serena
had been the one to set up her life and watch it play out, but now it was
the little girl down the hall that would control how their lives went.
"I don't know if she'll want to see her," Lance whispered harshly. "She
hasn't said a word about it. Do you think that's strange that she
wouldn't want to see Roselyn? Everyone else in the whole world wants
to see her. Did you see people this morning. It's only been three
days and there is already a spread on it in the magazine. Maybe it's
the press. You don't think that she got a copy of that somehow. I
don't know if it's because of what happened to--" He paused for a moment
and his voice came out thicker when he spoke again. "She's still messed
up over James and I don't know if seeing Roselyn is going to hurt that
or help that."
"She has to see her," a female voice said, "You have to make her look
at that little girl and realise that there are other people here waiting
"Kelly. I can't force her to do anything. You know that.
I can't be the one to make her--" He coughed and Serena moved
her eyes to look at where her two visitor's were standing in the doorway.
Lance had his hand on his forehead, eyes bent to look down at the
ground and Kelly had her arm around him. "--I just want them both
home and out of here. If she's not ready to see Roselyn then I'll
let her rest until we bring Roselyn home. There really isn't much anyone
can do anyway since Roselyn has restricted visitation anyway."
"If you want Lance I'll stay here with Roselyn while you take her home.
I know it's always nice to have someone familiar around when babies
"You should go home and be with Joey. I don't want to take you
away from your vacation with him."
"Really Lance, personally I'd feel better if someone was here with her.
I mean if anything were to happen I'd be able to get a hold of you
right away and--"
Lance sighed and turned towards her so she shut her eyes a drew in a
deep breath. Her face was relaxed so they probably thought she was
still asleep. She moved her head back to face the window and tried
not to let her tears fall. She felt horrible, not only mentally, but
physically. She'd been having stomach cramps since the birth of the
twins and since she'd found out James's fate she'd felt like her head and
her heart were going to explode.
"You should wake her up and take her home. Spend a few hours away
from here and I'll keep an eye out for the baby."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," Kelly said, "I'll let you talk to her and whatever. I'll
go sit with Roselyn."
"Thanks Kel," Lance said.
"What about your parents? Do they know what--"
Lance coughed again. "They aren't--" He coughed again.
Kelly sounded panicked, but Serena didn't turn to look at them. "What's
Serena moved her head to look now and found that Lance was standing
there with his arms over his head. His eyes were wide and he looked
like he was about to hyperventilate. "I can't breathe--" He
"Lance calm down," Kelly said, "Just look at me and calm down. Take
some deep breaths and concentrate."
Kelly felt like throwing up. It was the worst feeling in the world
to be watching the aftermath of decisions that she's made. She'd wanted
the simple things in life, family, a nice place to live, nothing too extreme,
but it seemed even that the simpliest things were making her life more
complicated than she could have ever imagined.
When he'd parked the car in front of the house he'd almost forgotten
that she'd been sitting next to him. They'd been escorted by security
to the car and things had seemed ok until the guards let them be. She'd
gotten in the car, buckled her seatbelt and he hadn't heard a bit out sound
from her since. He'd asked her if she needed more air conditioning,
asked her if she wanted to listen to a different song on the radio, but
all he'd gotten back was her moving her shoulder a little more so that she
was almost fully turned towards the window.
"Babe," he said, "We're home."
He watched her reach for the door and she stepped out of the car without
waiting for another word from him. He watched her walk in front of
the car and head into the house from the garage door. He finally let
himself out of the car and moved into the house, hoping that he was going
to have enough patience to deal with all of this without losing his mind.
A sigh escaped his lips and he decided he might as well go into the
house. It wasn't going to get any better if he stayed in the car longer
so he willed his hands to move the door knob and moments later he was in
"Are you hungry?" he asked nervousely, "I'm not sure what they've been
feeding you over there, but I think there is some left overs from the other
night that we can heat--"
She glared at him for only a moment before he looked up to see that
more than a few people were standing in their living room. They had
welcome home and baby things with them and he could see immediately that
this wasn't the welcome home that the group should be giving at the moment.
They all had their thoughts in the right place, but reality had come
in to reschedule the things that they should have been doing at the moment.
"I think I'm gonna throw up," Serena said looking back at the living
room. She turned and disappeared up the stairs and Lance found a seat
at the breakfast bar and sunk into it.
Lance looked up to see his mother staring down at him.
"What are you doing here?" Anger surged through his veins and
he pushed himself up from the chair, knocking the chair back so that it
slammed to the floor. "What are you doing here?"
Her voice softened and she cocked her head to the side like she used to
do when he'd been sick as a child, as if looking at him from that angle
would help her see what was really upsetting him. "We thought that
you all could use a little--"
"Get the fuck out of my house." He wasn't sure that he should
be talking to his mother that way, but the anger in him blocked out all
the thoughts in his mind that didn't involve keeping Serena safe. He
could only think of the image of her back disappearing up the stairs. "I
can't you even thought for a minute that this was something that we should
be doing?" His eyes searched her face for only a second before glancing
up at the other people in the room. He caught the shocked looks on their
faces, but ignored them. "What were you thinking?" He looked up
at the other people again. "WHAT THE HELL ARE ANYT OF YOU THINKING?"
His mother's jaw dropped open. "I--"
"GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE!" He screamed not caring that the rest
of the guests were staring at him. When she didn't move he grabbed
her by the shoulders and physically moved her towards the door. "Here's
the door in case you forgot where it is!"
"Lance!" Justin appeared and pushed him away from his mother.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Get out!" He screamed. "Get out now!"
They finally seemed up understand that he wanted everyone out of the
house. When they were gone he locked the door then took a deep breath
and looked around for a minute. He kicked his foot into the floor and
swore under his breath before he walked back towards the living room. There
were presents that he started to pile up then he removed the streamers and
pulled the ballons down so that he could pop them. He could have just
broken them, but instead he tried to step on them.
The popping noises and the action of stomping on them seemed to pacify
his need to destroy something for the moment, but it wasn't until he heard
her voice that he noticed the destruction he'd done.
"Yes?" He turned around and took a breath, moving his hands through
his hair a few times. He tried to calm his heart rate and moved his
shirt around a little. "Did you need something?"
Her eyes glanced around the room. "Are they gone?"
"Yeah-" He took a deep breath and watched her eyes scan the downstairs
for a moment. She looked like a scared little kid playing hide and
seek and worrying that she would be caught first. "I didn't know that--"
Before he could say anything more to her she turned her back and ran up
the stairs to the second floor. He could hear her feet make it to
their master bedroom and then he heard the door shut.
Lance let his arms and his legs go loose as he landed in a puddle on
the floor. His hands went to his head and he moved so tha his back
could rest against the wall. His eyes burned and his lungs hurt as
he tried to catch his breath. He knew that everyone had wanted to do
the normal baby things for them and there was probably nothing wrong with
them trying so hard like they had, but with everything going on it wasn't
the time or the place to be throwing parties.
The car seemed to drive itself to the hosptial on his return visit.
He remembered leaving the housing area, remembered merging into Interstate
4 traffic, but after that he didn't remember much else of his drive until
he got onto city streets and had to look for the parking entrance.
He'd been gone only about three hours, long enough to call up Chris and have
him come over and stay with Serena so that he could relieve Kelly's position
for her. He was glad that she'd stayed there with Roselyn, but at the same
time he was feeling a bit guilty that his drama was starting to effect the
rest of the group.
Chris had come over to stay with Serena voluntarily. He'd worried about
the two of them and probably had heard everything that had happened that
afternoon. Lance sighed. His relationship with Justin would
probably be on the rocks a bit after the incident with his mother.
Justin was very protective that way and would probably take his mother's
side before taking Lance's side in the argument. He didn't know the
background of situation and surely wouldn't be able to understand that Lance
half knew what he was doing and having a party at this time wasn't the right
thing to do. He'd warned his mother to be careful of things like that
and she'd ignored him and gone through with things, seeming not to care that
Lance was in fact an adult and actually might know things that would be good
and not so good for his family.
He had been there off and on for the last three days, but today, knowing
that he would only be going to see Roselyn and wouldn't be able to take her
home really had hit him hard. He'd wanted them both home, first for
the fact that he would be able to keep an eye on both of them at the same
time, but also because he had to drive through media when he left and when
he came in which was too much publicity for one day for him.
He'd left the drama of Serena's situation at home and somehow thought
that the NICU unit at Orlando General might be a less chaotic enviornment
to be in. He'd been extremely wrong. It had started off when
he'd turned into the parking lot. Vans from Entertainment Tonight
and Access Hollywood as well as MTV were lined up near the ER entrance and
the local news vans had also joined the crowd.
Taking a hint from someone in front of him he drove passed the entrance
that he'd used before and ducked last minute into the parking garage.
He could see the staff parking sticker on the back window of the car in
front of him, but he didn't care. He was going to park there even
if he had to give the man ten thousand dollars to secure a spot. The
attendant at the security booth seemed to look at him extra hard, but he
tried quickly to explain. "The press over there is looking for me and I'd
rather not have to deal with them right now."
The guard nodded and wrote him out a temporary pass then handed it to
him and pointed the way to visitor parking spots where Lance's car would
be out of the way. He parked the car, but didn't get out right away.
His body filled with the strangest sensation of fear and dread. He
knew that he wanted to see the little girl, but at the same time she only
seemed to remind him of the fact that James had died and the fact that she
wasn't the normal littl baby that everyone else he knew seemed to have.
He'd pictured his all much differently. No hospital stay, no doctors
all over the place, and especially no separation of the people in his life.
Finally he decided that he was ready to face the NICU nurse and the rest
of the people in the hospital. He pushed the door open to the car,
collected himself a little then locked and turned the alarm on carefully before
looking around for a door that would lead inside. His steps were slow
and deliberate and as he walked he felt has if someone was pushing him down
into the ground.
Lance's heart rate tripled when he stepped off the elevator on the third
floor of the building. He'd been there a million times before, but
this time for some reason he felt more pressure on himself to do the right
thing for Roselyn. The doctors were very optimistic for her recovery,
but at the same time had told him to prepare for anything that might come
their way. Having a premature baby wasn't a walk in the park and Lance was
going to have to do a lot to keep up with the demands of it.
"Hello?" He hadn't even realized that he was standing in front of
the nurse's station until the young woman behind it stood up and kind of
waved. "Can I help you?"
"I'm here to see my daughter," he said with a choppy manner. "She
was in Room 346 the last time I checked."
"Roselyn Ann Bass," he said.
"Oh Mr. Bass!" The nurse smiled at him. "I have an envelope
for you." She rummaged through some papers for a moment then pulled
out a manila folder. "The pictures of your twins were developed and
I know that you might want a copy." Her voice lowered a notch, "We
were all really sad when we heard about your son, but I thought that you'd
want the pictures anyway. I put them in separate envelopes and labeled
them not knowing if you'd want to see both or neither of them."
He reached for the envelope. "Thank you."
The reminder of James only made his heart break more. He'd made
a few calls over the last few days to have a small private funeral for James.
The moment he'd made the call to Melinda she'd taken over things, only telling
him that he would get a call with the time and place of the ceremony.
She knew that he had other things to think about and was making sure that
he could focus on the living and not dead members of his family.
His feet moved along the tiles heavily until he found the waiting room.
No one seemed to be around so he sat down in the far corner and opened the
bigger envelope. Two business envelopes with the hospital's address
on them fell into his lap. He immediately opened the one with Roselyn's
picture in it and smiled at the little girl. She wore a tiny pink hat
and was curled up tightly in a blanket for the quick picture. He pulled
his wallet out and tucked the picture away before moving onto the next envelope.
James's envelope was harder to open. He began to slide his finger
along the seam on the back, but stopped himself when the paper started to
slice his skin. It was just a reminder of the pain that came along
with seeing the picture. Red stained the paper along the edge where
a paper cut had been opened on the side of his pointer finger. He sat
staring at it for a moment before wiping his hand on his jeans and continuing
to slice through the paper.
The tiny boy's picture fell out into his lap. He wore a blue little
hat like his sisters. His face was more peaceful, eyes closed, almost
as if he was already taking his first nap when they were snapping this shot.
Methodically his eyes traced the tiny puckered face and tears began to fall
when he realized really what was going on in the picture. He'd heard
something once from his father that about when a person becomes a parent
that they tend to sacrifice everything in the world not to see their children
hurt because it was too painful. At that moment all of his father's
words and all the stories that he'd heard in his past came back to
haunt him. Lance had always been a sympathetic man, but for him
to see the pain in his son's expression would have brought him to his knees
if he hadn't already been sitting down. James was crying, tears had
formed in his little eyes, and it wasn't a peaceful look on his face, but
almost the calm before the storm of crying that was about to break over him.
He looked up and saw Kelly in the doorway. He didn't know exactly
what to say or to do and neither did she, but she came to his side anyways
and sort of looked over his shoulder at the picture in his lap before she
carefully picked it up and looked at it. "Is this James?"
Lance tried to speak, tried to say something, but the words wouldn't come
out and he only could make a squeaking noise in return.
"He's very handsome," she said, "He's got your eyebrows."
Embarrassed at his reaction Lance coughed away the lump in his throat
and looked over to where she was looking at the picture. "He does?"
Her finger traced the young boy's almost non-existent eyebrows.
"See right here," she said, "This little crooked angle is the same one you
"Really?" His fingers rubbed at his eyebrows. He wanted to
ask her so much more about his son, but knew that if he did it would just
hurt too much. It was almost better not to see all the resemblances
rather than to get stuck on features that he'd never see again.
"Yeah," she said.
He took the picture back and held it in his gaze for a long time before
he moved to put it in his wallet. He placed it in the safest place
he could think of, behind his driver's license, then took a deep breath.
"How's my baby girl?"
Her thoughts had been haunting her all day. She'd heard Lance leave
and then had heard someone on the bottom floor of the house, but when she'd
seen Chris's motorcycle parked near the basketball net that had been put
in a few weeks ago she shuffled back over to bed praying that he would do
his duty to baby sit her, but mind her mood and stay out of her way. She
knew he would have the best of intentions, but most people she'd run into
lately seemed to be tripping over themselves to do the right thing and say
the right thing, but all of them were failing miserably, like she seemed
to be doing lately.
"I'm ruining your life," she said.
"You aren't ruining my life," he said, "You aren't. I made the decision
to be with you and if my parents aren't used to the idea of me being a father
then they'll have to deal with it. They aren't going to be upset with
you and when the baby comes they aren't going to be thinking about that.
They'll be thinking about their grandchild and about how much they love
the two of us for having such a great baby."
As she turned to face the window he put a hand on her arm to turn her around,
but she wouldn't turn. "This is so easy for you." Her tone was
accusing and he hated hearing that tone from her.
"Easy?" he said rubbing his forehead, "This is not easy for me. I
mean physically you have a lot more to battle with, but I'm stuck here wanting
to make things better for you and easier for you and you won't let me."
"Stuck?" she asked turning to glare at him. He couldn't imagine what
the hormones in her body were doing at the moment, but the reaction to his
statement was ridiculous. She fell into the seat across from him and
began to cry uncontrollably. "Great. Stuck."
"This is a no win situation with you isn't it?" He sat down and sighed
stared at her for a moment then moved across to sit next to her. "Serena,"
he pleaded, "Please don't cry...I don't know what to do for you when you
do and I'm not sure how to make you stop."
"I'm just tired and I need to sleep," she said, "And my back hurts and
I just need to get away."
Lance took a breath, pushed himself up and moved to help her stand. "I've
got some calls to make anyway before the show starts," he said, "Why don't
you go back to bed and we'll talk tonight if you're awake or tomorrow morning.
"I'm sorry Lance." She leaned towards him and hugged herself up against
"Just go back to bed sugar and rest. I bet you'll feel better when
you wake up."
Her eyes pushed themselves open. She'd taken his advice and had tried
to relax, but she woke up with the same sore feeling in her stomach, her
heart, and her head. She sighed and moved her hands to her face, pushing
away her tears. "Well that didn't work," she grumbled.
"What didn't work?"
She jumped when she heard the voice next to her. She had expected
to be along. She was too shocked to scream, but she grabbed the blankets
up to her chest and moved her legs up in case she wanted to kick at something
or someone. She slid farther towards the edge of the bed and let her
eyes focus on Chris. He was lying on Lance's side of the bed with
popcorn sitting in his lap. He'd turned on the televsion and was watching
a movie while she'd been sleeping. "What the hell are you doing up
"I thought you'd want to watch a movie--" He chewed a handful of
Her body relaxed a little. "Why the hell do you have to be here?"
He reached over and patted her leg. "Thanks."
"It's not you Chris," she said, "I'm sorry. I just don't know what
to do about all this and I haven't had a lot of time alone to even think
about it. I thought I was going to have another month to plan this
out more, but it's been dropped into my lap and now I'm just trying not to
drop any of the pieces."
"Well what about Roselyn?" he said, "I hear that she's the cutest baby
in the world. When do I get to see my little friend and my little
niece in the same place?"
Her lips formed into a frown. "I don't know."
"You don't know?" He sat up. It was rare that she'd ever seen Chris
go into panic mode, but this was something else. "You mean somethings
wrong and the doctor isn't going to let her come home?"
She shrugged and avoided his eyes. He would want to know why she hadn't
seen Roselyn and she couldn't think up a good enough excuse. The real
one was that she knew that her heart would break in two if she saw the baby,
but it seemed a cop-out kind of an answer. She'd never been one to
sit by and be the victim of any situation, but with this she felt like curling
up and never speaking to any one ever again. "I don't know."
"Are they taking it day by day?" he asked. She could almost seem
his heart pitter pattering in the veins on the back of his hands as he reached
across for her hands. "I remember with my little sister they never
gave an exact date because they wanted to keep the stressing down."
Her hands slid under the covers and she looked at the television for a moment
as a commercial came on. "I don't know."
Chris moved the popcorn off his lap and turned to face her. "You
don't know what?"
"I don't know anything!" She screeched at him. Her lungs hurt,
but she continued, "I don't know. All I know is that I woke up this
morning, talked to the doctors about me and then was brought home to a houseful
of people I didn't want to see just to be left with a baby sitter that I
don't need while Lance goes and disappears back to the hospital. We
haven't said more than ten words to each other in the last few days and before
all this happened we--"
"Take a breath girl," he said, "You're going to hyperventilate."
She let her shoulders slump. "It's not fun being me."
"Welcome to my world," he said, "You know it's not fun being me...it's
hard being this cute." He smiled devilishly at her.
"I'm serious," she said.
"So am I," he said, "It's hard being this cute. People don't take
me seriously because they are caught up in my looks."
A smile cracked her face. "There's always one thing I can count on
with you Chris--a sense of humor."
He made a completely serious look. "So tell me about your daughter?"
Silence filled the room for a long stretch of time before she cleared her
throat and began to speak. "I don't know anything about her. I've
only seen her for about an hour the other morning. She's--" She
took a breath. "I only saw her for a little while. I couldn't
stand to see her for longer than that. The machines and everything
"Serena take a breath," he said.
She sighed. "I can't get anything straight in my head."
Chris got up.
"Where are you going?" she asked.
"Wait a minute," he said, "I'll be right back."
She watched him leave, heard him open one of the other doors in the hallway
then a moment later returned with her traveling drawing kit and a huge pad
of drawing paper.
"What are you doing with my drawing stuff?"
"Use it," he said, dropping the box onto the bed next to her. "You
haven't drawn in weeks. I can tell."
She glared at him and wondered for a moment if someone had been keeping
tabs on her the last few weeks. She'd been over to Johnny's a few times
to visit some of the staff there since most of her friends had gone to Europe
with the boys, but she hadn't thought that anyone was reporting back on her
His head cocked to the side. "I wish that I had ESP," he said. He
kneeled on the bed and took her hands into his. "Your hands. They're
all girly now instead of stained with permanent markers."
She examined her hands and realized that she hadn't been drawing lately.
With baby things to do she'd been running around silly and hadn't thought
about new work, just had been looking over current projects. "I haven't
drawn in a few weeks."
"Then do it," he said with a smile. "That's what I do when I get
"You don't draw Chris. I mean you cartoon, but I've never known you
to sit down for more than a few minutes."
"It doesn't matter what I do." He dropped her hands back into her
lap. "It's the whole idea that you can sit somewhere and totally concentrate
on something that has nothing to do with the rest of your world. For
me it's video games or skateboarding or going out on a ride on the bike I
got, but it's something that I'm doing that gets me away from everything and
everyone." He sighed. "You need that girl. You really need
"What's going on with me won't go away."
I did a little research on premature babies and read an account of a mother
dealing with a new tiny baby -->