1:31: You Were Right

 

 

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Shane propped himself up on his elbow and regarded his wife as she slept beside him. He was unable to sleep, but she had dropped almost immediately into an exhausted slumber. Lilith had been flying around all day long, tidying the camp, washing laundry, and folding blankets. Her belly had grown heavier now, and it worried him that she was pushing herself. Try as he might, he hadn’t been able to get her to sit still for more than a few minutes at a time.

Truth be told, he was a little nervous about the impending delivery of their child. What if something went wrong? Daniela had experience with births, and Kaila often played the role of island midwife, but there were no doctors. Shane didn’t share his concern with her though, choosing instead to be strong for her. She seemed happy and healthy, and this was not the time to possibly upset her.

 

 

 

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Despite tossing and turning most of the night, he was still out of bed before she awoke. He stoked the fire in the fireplace so that Lilith wouldn’t be cold when she woke up, then scurried around the camp. He cleaned the toilet and the shower, picked up the clothes off the floor and deposited the garments into the hamper. Next he relit the campfires and spitted food for their breakfast, then hurried to cut more firewood. After stacking the cut wood neatly by the door, he looked in on Lilith. She was still slumbering, and he gave her a lingering look before going quietly to tend his plants.

 

 

 

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Thanks to his early morning efforts, there hadn’t been much for Lilith to do that day. Shane brought out the guitars and they’d spent most of the day making music. Lilith practiced some new songs, trying out different melodies. “Because I do want to be able to give some performances here and there after the baby comes. I do miss singing,” she told him.

“Carrick and I will be there for every show,” Shane promised.

“You’re still so certain it’s a boy.” Her lips curved into a smile against his chest. She felt the low rumble of his laughter. As twilight deepened into night, they lay cuddled on the rug inside before the fire. He reached out a hand again to cup her stomach; Lilith was quite used to everyone’s fascination with it by now. As if answering the statement, the baby kicked against his hand. “What a little kicker!”

“Does it hurt?” He continued rubbing her stomach.

“Not really, but it’s startling sometimes. It’s pretty amazing, actually.”

It’s pretty amazing, knowing this woman is carrying my child, he mused. It was a very powerful feeling, difficult to verbalize even to himself.

 

 

 

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Lilith struggled to get up off the ground, giggling at her clumsiness as he stood to pull her up.

 

 

 

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When she stretched out across the bed, he joined her. Again it washed over him, the knowledge that this moment might never have come about. What if he hadn’t gone to France just after she did? What if they hadn’t bumped into each other at the nectary? They might otherwise have spent their lives on the island as distant acquaintances, as they had been before. She might still be with Maru. That’s the only good thing that came of Maru’s infidelity. It still made him boil to think of Maru’s gall, sleeping with Kaila behind Lilith’s back and not manning up about it. But Lilith was here with him, for nearly a year now, and soon to bear his child.

“You’re brooding,” she broke into his reverie. “What’s eating you?”

“What? Nothing, I was just thinking how amazingly lucky I am that you’re my wife.” He dropped a kiss to her hair.

She sat up and eyed him. “Don’t think I didn’t notice you did your level best to keep me off my feet today,” she accused.

“Guilty as charged,” he admitted with a smile.

 

 

 

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The next day, Lilith found a few things to busy herself with, despite a growing backache. Shane had carried the cradle into the shelter, and after rearranging the blankets for the umpteenth time, she started on some laundry. It was then that the first pain gripped her, and she froze, holding the clothes over the laundry hamper. Taking a deep breath, she looked over her shoulder. Shane had been hovering over her for days, but she’d finally convinced him to finish work on his latest batch of nectars.

She finished the laundry, and a few other sundry chores as morning wore into afternoon. When they ate lunch, she only nibbled, claiming she was still full from breakfast. In truth, eating was the farthest thing from her mind when the iron bands came around her stomach. They were getting stronger, and more frequent as the hours ticked by. She’d have to tell Shane soon, and send him for Daniela.

 

 

 

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“Shane?” He’d walked into the shelter, where she was tidying up things she’d already tidied up a dozen times.

“Mmhmm?” he responded absently as he lit the candle sconce on the wall. The dark of evening was gathering now outside.

“Shane I need you to go get Daniela and bring her back here.”

At that he turned to look at her. “What? Why, are you–” His eyes suddenly went wide. “The baby?” She nodded, and he found himself fighting off panic. “Are you ok? What can I do?”

 

 

 

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“I’m ok, but yes I think the baby is coming–” Another pain wrapped itself around her, and she doubled over. “Go. Get. Daniela.”

 

 

 

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Shane barreled into the Riverhaven camp, startling both Daniel and Daniela.

“Shane buddy, what on earth?” Daniel looked at him askance. Shane was barefoot and without a coat, looking like a man possessed.

 

 

 

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“It’s Lilith! She’s in labor! She wants to you to come!” Shane managed to get the words out between gulps of air.

“Ok Shane, let me get some things and I’ll go to her. Wait here.” Daniela gave Daniel a meaningful look.

 

 

 

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Daniel slung an arm over Shane’s shoulders and guided him to the fire, pushing him down onto a seat. “Sit here Shane, let me get you a coat. And maybe a drink.”

“I really should get back,” Shane protested. “Lilith–”

“Is going to be fine. Daniela knows what to do. Let the women handle this.”

 

 

 

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While Shane paced back and forth, Daniel got Jake and Alastair ready for bed, then poured a drink for the anxious soon-to-be father. Surreptitiously, he sprinkled just a pinch of a calming herb into it, then handed it to Shane. Shane needed little encouragement, and downed it in two gulps. Finally he sat by the fire and heaved a sigh.

 

 

 

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“You never know what to expect with the first one,” Daniel intoned reassuringly. “You start getting worried about all the What-Ifs. This is one of the most natural, basic processes of life. She’s going to be fine. Trust me, I’ve been through this three times already! And,” he grinned, “I got Daniela knocked up again.”

Shane finally looked up at him, seeming to relax slightly. “Again? Congrats man. You guys are gonna have a full house.”

“You’re one to talk, you two can’t keep your hands off each other for five minutes.” Daniel laughed, and Shane finally joined him sheepishly.

“Heh, she’s got that effect on me. I never knew it could be like this.” Shane paused. “It’s been hours. I’m worried…there’s no doctor here on the island if something goes wrong.”

“Bah, thousands of babies have been born on Ouroboros without doctors, and thousands more will be.” Daniel winked slyly. “Knowing you and Lilith, you’ll be going through this a few more times.”

 

 

 

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“That’s it, bear down when you feel the contraction coming.”

Daniela’s calm efficiency was greatly reassuring for Lilith. She’d swiftly built up the fire and made a tea to help with the pain. She helped Lilith get undressed, layered soft blankets under her, and put some more water on to heat. The contractions were longer and coming more quickly now.

Checking her again, Daniela could feel the strong contraction as Lilith’s stomach hardened. “Your water’s just broke, it’s going to be much quicker now. You’re almost there!” When the contraction subsided, she changed the towels under Lilith, then wetted a cloth in the warm water and bathed her sweat-streaked brow. Another contraction quickly gripped Lilith.

“Yell if you have to,” she advised. Checking her again, she pulled Lilith back up. “Push again. The baby’s coming, you’re doing great.”

 

 

 

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Alastair and Jake had been changed into their sleeping clothes and finished the bottles Daniel had given them. Shane helped put them both to bed, as Daniel watched on with an understanding grin. They returned to the fire in silence.

 

 

 

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Daniela placed the baby in Lilith’s arms. “What do you name him?”

“Carrick. I name him Carrick,” Lilith said the name slowly as she took her son into her arms. She touched his face, marveling.

“Carrick. That was–”

“Shane’s father, yes. Look, it looks like he will have Shane’s hair. Oh, he’s just perfect!”

“He is.” Daniela smiled. “And I believe he has your eyes.”

 

 

 

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Finally, the squall of a baby rang out across the clearing behind the village. Daniel clapped Shane on the shoulder. “That’s your cue, Daddy. Congrats.” Shane was off like a shot.

 

 

 

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The sound of running footsteps could be heard in the courtyard outside the shelter, then Shane’s wide eyes appeared in the doorway. “Shane.” Lilith reached out a hand to him, and he covered the distance to the bed to lean down over her. His arms went around her as he searched her face. “You’re ok?”

For a moment, Lilith got lost in his eyes, that deep violet of a summer sunset. The father of my child. She nodded. “I’m wonderful. You were right. You have a son.”

 

 

 

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He turned as Daniela finished cleaning the baby, then she placed Carrick in his arms.

“Carrick,” he whispered, looking down at his son.

 

<3