A loud scream ripped the air into shreds as another painful wave racked Rosalie's body. Why didn't anybody tell her childbirth was THIS painful? Of course her mother and Mammy did tell her it would be but that was beside the point!
"That's it Rosalie," Doc Fontaine coaxed her kindly, "You're doing a good jo-"
"OH FOR LORD'S MERCY GET THIS DAMN BABY OUT OF ME!"
"Miz Rozalee!" She heard Mammy chastise. "Such foul language! Now I ain't raise ya to swear like sum no good white trash Cracker-"
Rosalie could only roar in response as the contractions came shorter. "SHUT UP MAMMY! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! OH MOTHER! MOTHER IT HURTS!"
Through her blurry tears she could see her mother's impassive face float over hers, any concern she felt hidden safely behind her blank dark eyes.
"I know dear," Ellen answered soothingly, gently rubbing Rosalie's hand with her own. "I know it does but just keep pushing through the pain, sweetheart. And take deep breaths with me. Breathe in."
Rosalie could only whimper as more tears spilled down her face. She felt as though she was going to die; like her body was being torn apart. This was it. This is how she was going to die! It wasn't uncommon for mother's to die during childbirth. Now only if that Emmy Slattery could die during her labor-
"JESUS GET THIS BABY OUTTA ME!"
"Hush up Mammy," she managed to snap between her pains. "You're in no position to tell me what to do!"
Mammy's dark face contorted with rage but it quickly fell as she busied herself with the oncoming labor. Rosalie gave out a strangled yell of pain as another contraction hit her like a million bricks.
Hearing the loud gag from the corner, her eyes narrowed down in an accusing manner at her cowering twin who looked sick to her stomach.
Damn Scarlett. Damn that wench to hell! There she stood, all cowardly in the corner, not even lifting to finger a help when her whole body felt like it was on fire! And what damn right did she have to stand there all disgusted? For God's sake, she herself was 9 months pregnant yet there she stood gawking and gagging at her as if it were the most disgusting thing in the world.
Anger surged through her as her sister's green eyes widened in horror and she snapped, "For Pa's sake stop gawking there like a lunatic and help me!"
Scarlett's eyebrows rose frantically. "But what do I know about babies?"
"YOU ARE A MOTHER YOURSELF YOU WENCH!" Rosalie yelled across the room. "DO SOMETHING!"
Scarlett paled drastically and she felt like she needed smelling salts to wake herself up from this nightmare where her sister was scaring her so much. Her golden locks were in disarray, her nightgown was wrinkled up, and her face was damp with either sweat or tears.
Although what scared Scarlett the most was her sister's furious expression. She had seen her annoyed, irritated, frustrated and at the rarest times angry. But all those times put together paled in comparasion to the look Rosalie was casting her now.
Sobs started to wrack Rosalie's entire body as she wept from pain and exhaustion.
"Mother," she spluttered through her crocodile tears. "Mother where's Joe? I want Joe. I need Joe to be here right now. Mother I want Joe!"
Ellen sighed sympathetically, "I know darling. I know."
Never letting go of her daughter's hand, Ellen turned towards her other daughter who was so normally vivacious standing still as the night and sickeningly pale with fear. With a small smile she dismissed Scarlett.
"It's alright dear," she told her reassuringly as Rosalie screamed more obscenities. "You go along and rest. We wouldn't want you to be in labor from all the excitement now would we?"
Without another word Scarlett quickly made for the door, her sister's painstaken screams still ringing in her ears even after she slammed the door shut, made her way down the corridor, into her bedroom and locked her own door. With a shaky breath, she slumped against her door, sliding to the floor, praying that her own delivery wouldn't be as torturous as her sister's.
"Oh sweet suga, if these ain't the finest babes I've evah seen den I don' know what is!" Mammy hooted proudly.
"Oh let me see them!" Rosalie cried, forgetting about her exhaustion and soreness. She leant forward and outstretched her arms to take the two screeching bundles Mammy was strategically holding in her big soft arms.
Mammy carefully handed her one of the babies, and quickly looking down the body Rosalie smiled at her newborn son.
A son. Her son. Lincoln's Beard she couldn't believe it.
"What are you going to name them my dear?"
Rosalie looked up into her mother's face which to her surprise was soft with an expression akin to maternal love. All previous distaste towards her mother vanished for Rosalie as she gazed back into her mother's dark eyes with a smile.
She looked down back at her babies and thought deeply for a moment.
"I have a name for my son but my daughter! Oh what should I name such a beauty like her?"
"What ma flower gonna name her boy?" Mammy asked encouragingly.
"Ryder," Rosalie announced proudly. "Just like his father. Gerald Ryder Fontaine. Named after the two best men in my life."
"A mighty fine name for a mighty fine boy!" Mammy exclaimed happily, wiping away the tears that had sprung into her dark eyes. "Oh Lord how blessed we is to have such mighty fine chilrun!"
Ellen nodded in approval. "Yes, Rosalie. I couldn't have agreed more. Gerald Ryder Fontaine. Welcome to our family."
Soon after the room began to be a museum for the new born babies as Fontaines and O'Haras flocked to see their newest addition to the family.
Rosalie had nearly cried out tears of joy as Gerald had whooped and hooted when he heard of his grandson's name, dancing around the room cradling his new grandson with pride and joy.
Children. Of her own! She couldn't describe the warmth and strong comfort that surged through her as she thought about her darling new babies. She smiled and laughed along with the the O'Haras and the Fontaines as he two new members were passed around.
Suellen and Carreen both excitedly looked at their new niece and nephew cooing and sweet talking to the two bundles. Rosalie was glad that they both adored her children but Scarlett was another story. She herself was pregnant at 9 months, scowling back at the back, as she covered a shawl over her blossoming stomach.
Rosalie felt triumphant as Gerald Ryder was passed by Scarlett as her twin's nose twitched with frustration.
Rosalie knew for a fact that Scarlett had also intended to name her child Gerald if it were to be a boy and having her baby first, Rosalie got the honors to name her son after her Pa.
Joining back into the family circle, Scarlett looked down at her niece and sniffed in disdain, pushing the bundle back to Carreen. "Why must babies be so ugly?"
"Why don't you try being in a woman's body for nine months before being squeezed out through a hole the size of a peach, missy," Grandma Fontaine grumbled from her chair.
"Grandma Fontaine!" Young Miss scolded, mortified by her mother-in-law's audacity.
Rosalie blushed red at Grandma Fontaine's input although she did have a fair point. Furthermore, Scarlett had no right to criticise her own children when she herself was about to deliver a newborn. Or maybe two like her.
Scarlett's cheeks coloured red as she looked down at her own baby bump and scowled. She quickly pardoned herself with the excuse of needing to rest which no one paid heed to.
Gerald Ryder opened his mouth and let out a loud wail to which Rosalie smiled at. Her Pa handed her son back to her and she cooed at the little boy in her arms. It pained her to know Joe wasn't here with her to see his own children, but Rosalie vowed she would be the best mother any boy and girl could ever wish for.
Carreen sat in the chair next to her, gently bouncing Baby Girl in her arms as she smiled radiantly at Rosalie. "Have you decided what to name your daughter, Rosie? Have you? Have you?"
Rosalie laughed at Carreen's excitement. "No, not yet Carrie. Any ideas from you?"
Carreen opened her mouth excitedly but another voice answered the question instead.
All heads turned to Grandma Fontaine as she stared at the Baby Girl imperiously from across the room. "Her name will be Clarissa."
"Clarissa?" Young Miss startled. "Now where on earth did you think of that name Grandma?"
The old woman simply raised her eyebrows in a threatening manner as her blue eyes drilled into her daughter in law's, "You have something against that Missy?"
"Now, now, dear," old Doc Fontaine reassured his wife by patting her hand. "Young Miss didn't mean any harm-"
"Of course she didn't," Grandma Fontaine snapped, "I know that."
"Well then wh-"
"Do you have something against my naming choices Mr Fontaine?" Grandma Fontaine asked curtly, eyes daring him to challenge her. With a tired sigh, Doc Fontaine patted his wife's hand again.
Grandma Fontaine gave a firm nod. "Just as I'd expected. 'Nevermind, dear.' every damn time. Next time come up with a better excuse instead of the one you've been using for the last 50 years of our marriage."
Looking at each face in the room Grandma Fontaine let out a loud huff, ungracefully using her cane to stand up on her own two feet. With her chin tilted upwards, she looked down at the occupants in the room imperiously. "Is there anybody else who'd like to disagree with my choice?"
With silence as her only answer, she nodded once before sitting back down on her chair letting everyone else go back to what they were doing.
To be fair Rosalie didn't mind the name Clarissa. Though unsual, she found something wonderful in that name. Something pretty. Just like her daughter was going to be. Looking over at her daughter's sleeping red face, a strange feeling bloomed in Rosalie's heart as her daughter's name rung in her mind.
Clarissa Rose Fontaine.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, she was the luckiest mother in the world.