Chapter 4-New Arrival
December 1988-January 1989
On New Year's Eve, Riot and Jem were hosting a party at their house. Jem was about three weeks away from giving birth to their daughter, and she found herself having to sit and rest a little more than usual. Riot wasn't overly concerned, as the doctor had told him that this far along, a woman could really get winded.
Riot looked around at the guests and reflected a little bit. In two days was the anniversary of him and Jem getting engaged. It had been a little over a year since the deaths of the Holograms and the Starlight Girls. It was amazing how much could happen in the space of a year. "How are you feeling?" he asked Jem, who was sitting on the couch in the recreation room.
"Just a bit tired out," she admitted. "I'm fine, Riot." She smiled and placed her hand over their baby. "Robyn seems to be a bit excited, though."
Riot went over and placed his hands on his wife's belly and felt his daughter's kicks and punches. Suddenly he heard someone saying, "Smile you two!"
Looking over, Riot and Jem saw Video, camera in hand. The couple smiled, and Video snapped their picture. On Video's left ring finger was a diamond engagement ring.
"Have you and Craig set a date yet?" Jem asked her friend.
"We're thinking March 25, the first Saturday of spring," Video replied. "We want you two to be in our wedding party, as a bridesmaid and a groomsman, and of course we want to wait until after your baby is born."
"That'll give me plenty of time to get into shape," Jem smiled.
Riot looked at the clock. "We have five minutes," he said as he took Jem's hands and gently pulled her to her feet. Even though she was thirty-seven weeks pregnant, she didn't really look all that big, most likely because she had a slight build to begin with. "Let's have our final dance of 1988, shall we?"
A few minutes later, after the dance was over, people started counting down. "Ten…nine…eight…seven…six…five…four…three…two…one…Happy New Year!" the partygoers shouted.
Riot kissed his wife. As he did so, he could feel their baby kicking, as if wanting to make her presence known. Nearby, Video was sharing a kiss with Craig. Amazing. A year ago he'd been mourning the death of his girlfriend Aja. Time truly did heal wounds, even though scars might remain.
As the baby's due date approached, Riot eased back on concerts, recording, and the like. He wanted to be there when Jem finally gave birth to their child. The nursery had been decorated and a crib awaited its occupant. Jem had been cleaning house non-stop, even though it didn't really need it, preparing for the arrival of the baby.
January 16, the baby's due date, came and Jem had not gone into labor yet. "Perhaps she's going to be fashionably late," Riot suggested as he and Jem drove home from the doctor's office that day.
"Not too late, I hope…I just want this over with. I want to hold our baby," Jem said.
"Dr. Burton said any time from two weeks before to two weeks after is normal," Riot reminded her. "By February we should be holding our child."
Jem didn't have that long to wait, as on the evening of January 19 she started having contractions. She and Riot were watching television together when she started feeling something that felt like cramps-but much more intense. "I think this is it," she told him.
"All right, let's get you to the birthing center," Riot said as he went up to their room to get the suitcase she'd packed a few weeks ago. They'd agreed on a birthing center instead of a hospital because it seemed it would be a bit more private, and they could have friends visiting.
Jem waited, and soon her husband was downstairs and escorting her to his car. He put her suitcase into the trunk, then helped her into the car. She put on her seat belt as he got in behind the wheel. The look on his handsome face was a mixture of excitement and anticipation, with a bit of nervousness thrown in.
"Riot, the birthing center is a few minutes away, you don't have to go fast," Jem chided gently as he sped along the freeway.
"You know I don't poke along when I drive," he chuckled. "Whether or not my wife is in labor." Even so, he let up on the gas a little.
Flashing lights caught Jem's eye. She looked over her shoulder. "Riot…there's a police car behind us."
Riot heaved a sigh as he looked in the rear-view mirror, then pulled over. "I hope he's qualified to deliver babies," he commented as he set the parking brake and rolled down the window, then put his hands on the steering wheel.
The Los Angeles cop came up to the window. "Evening. Going a bit fast, weren't you…ninety miles an hour?"
"My wife's in labor," Riot explained.
The cop peered into the window. "Well I'll be, if it isn't Jem and Riot," he said. "I know you're about due-my daughters read all those celebrity rags-so I'll escort you to the hospital."
Jem grinned, ignoring a contraction, while Riot told the cop where the birthing center was. The cop went back to his car while Riot rolled up his window and put the car into first gear. "That worked out well," Jem told her husband.
"Of course," said Riot as he got the car moving once more.
Robyn Kimberly Llewellyn was born early the following morning, on January 20, 1989. The baby girl was twenty inches long and weighed seven pounds, ten ounces.
Riot sat in a rocking chair and held his newborn daughter while his wife slept. Jem had been in labor all night, and after she'd fed Robyn, she'd gone to sleep. Riot had never held a newborn baby before, but he was starting to get used to it.
Robyn was dressed in a long-sleeved top and diaper, and she was wrapped in a pink blanket. She seemed content as she lay cradled in her father's arms. Riot gently held one of the baby's tiny hands and smiled down at her. He saw that Robyn was falling asleep.
"I'm getting tired myself," he murmured to the baby. Looking at the clock, he saw that it was six in the morning; Robyn had been born a few hours ago. At this birthing center, as long as there were no complications, the mother and infant could go home after a day, as opposed to three days in a regular hospital.
Riot got up and carefully placed his daughter in the bassinet that was provided. Then he changed into pajama bottoms and got into the queen-sized bed next to his wife.
"Rory…?" Jem mumbled sleepily.
"The baby's asleep, we should be too," Riot said as he held her in his arms.
The next day, Riot and Jem brought their daughter home. A bassinet was set up in the living room, and Jem carefully placed little Robyn into it. While Jem had experience caring for children, she had never cared for any infants, so this would be something new.
Riot looked at the clock; it was ten in the morning. Friends and relatives would be dropping by starting at eleven, so he and Jem had time to relax together.
Robyn started to cry. "I think she's hungry," Jem said as she lifted the baby up into her arms and sat down on the couch with her.
"Good timing," Riot commented as he sat down on the couch next to his wife. He watched as she nursed the baby. "Are you going to do that at night, too?"
"Are you wanting to get up in the middle of the night and fix a bottle?" Jem asked with a bit of a smirk. "If she sleeps in our room in her bassinet, all I have to do is just lift her out and feed her. Besides, I have all day to sleep. I'm sure you'd like your rest."
"You're right," Riot conceded.
When Robyn was done nursing, Riot held her while Jem adjusted her top. He cuddled the baby, who was dressed in pink sleepers. He was really starting to like the idea of being a father. "I'll put her back in her bassinet," he said after a few moments as he got up.
"All right," said Jem as she turned on the television.
Riot laid Robyn down on her pink blanket in the bassinet, then joined Jem on the couch.
At about eleven, the doorbell rang, and Riot went and answered it. He let Minx and Rapture in, and they were followed by his parents. Mildred Llewellyn immediately went over to the bassinet and peered in at her granddaughter. "Oh, look at this beautiful little baby!" she said to her husband.
"I never thought you'd one day settle down and have a family," Robert Llewellyn admitted to his son. "Congratulations." He shook Riot's hand.
Mildred lifted the baby into her arms and showed the infant to her husband. Riot was pleased to see his father gently hold one of the baby's tiny hands and grin.
"Who do you think she resembles the most?" Minx asked Rapture.
"Both of them," Rapture said with a shrug.
The doorbell rang again, and this time Jem let in Craig, Video, and Stormer. "Who better to get some baby pictures?" Video laughed as she held up a camera.
"Get some family photos!" Stormer called as she went over to the senior Llewellyns and peered at her late friend's niece.
For the next hour or so, Video was busy with the entire Llewellyn family, taking pictures.
Rio sat in a bar in Tijuana, well past drunk. He was as full of regrets as he was with alcohol. He should've proposed to Jerrica after her father died. He should've been understanding when he found out that she and Jem were the same woman. Now she was married to that clown Riot and actually had a child by him. They actually seemed to be happy together.
He'd taken off for Mexico because that was where his paternal great-grandfather was from. He had some second cousins in the area and a few of them had decided to form a Tejano band; he was now the road manager and sound technician for Los Reyes. They'd introduced him to drinking, drugs, and carousing, things he'd stayed away from growing up in the Los Angeles area. Now he was a mess.
When the Holograms and the others had died in the plane crash, Rio had felt too guilty and too much of a persona non grata to return to the States and pay his respects. There was nothing he could do.
A pretty Mexican girl caught his attention. "Hola, Susana," Rio said.
She beckoned to him. He followed her into a room, at times wishing she was Jerrica and not Susana.