FF The A-team: A Christmas miracle
It was the 24th of December. It had become a tradition for the members of the A-team to spend the Holidays together and things didn't even change when a couple of loves ones were added to the team. This time, Face had scammed them a luxurious ski lodge at some fancy ski resort claiming someone he knew owed him a favor. Every couple had a certain task to accomplish. Hannibal and Maggie had done the groceries, Murdock and Kelly were in charge of the decorations and B.A. and his mom would be in charge of the cooking. Face had already done his part by scamming the place and since his girlfriend Zowie was about to have their first baby they didn't have to do a thing.
Now they were all following Face who was driving his beloved 'Vette. Hannibal, Maggie, B.A. and his mom were all seated in the van. Murdock drove up to the cabin in Kelly's van which was loaded with food, drinks and decorations.
"Are you doing okay, honey?" He asked Zowie.
"I'm fine, Temp. I told you I'm fine like five minutes ago. Quit worrying. We're having the time of our life. The baby isn't due for a couple more weeks. Relax, okay."
Face's car phone started to ring and he picked it up.
"Hey, kid. Do you have any idea how much further we need to go to get to this fancy cabin of yours?"
"It's not that much further, Hannibal. But you've got to understand, it's an exclusive ski resort. People from the upper crust are not used to mingle, you know. The location is carefully chosen to be as exclusive as the resort itself."
"Yeah sure, Face. I just hope it's still located in the civilized world."
"Off course it is, Hannibal. Don't worry! Dashiel did say it had everything from shops to restaurants to clubs."
"Face, you do remember what he pulled on you last time? Right?"
"Oh come on, Hannibal, … That was years ago."
"Just tell me you checked this place out before you drove us all up here."
"Well … I was planning to …"
"He ain't checked nothin', Hannibal. You better hope this cabin of yours exists, sucka. Or you better come up with a good alternative. I ain't drivin' up here with my momma and all of them girls to have no place to stay."
"B.A., trust me. Everything will be fine. Dash wouldn't pull a stunt like that with me. Not a second time and not when he knows about the baby."
Hannibal hung up and Face sighed as he put down the receiver.
"What was that all about?"
"That … Oh nothing."
"They are just worried that Dash lied to me again."
"What do you mean lied to you … again?"
"Oh … it's no big deal. It's something that happened a long time ago and he knows I didn't appreciate the stunt he pulled at that time."
"What did he do, Temp? What happened? Enlighten me."
"A couple of years ago I worked with Dash at Peach Pear Management. I booked Cowboy George for this big gig at some local joint that was supposed to make the A-team some big bucks, but he pulled a fast one on me and sent me Boy George instead."
"Boy George? You mean Culture Club's Boy George?"
"Yes, that's the one. Now Dash told him he would earn about 1.2 million dollars doing this gig."
"Temp, how did you manage to come up with that amount of money?"
"Well … I had no idea at first and Hannibal and B.A were furious with me."
"I can imagine."
"Then George came up with this great idea about promoting the concert on the radio and performing multiple times and he also agreed to split his fee in half."
"I see. So you got lucky, again."
"What can I say? Luck is my middle name."
"Let's just hope Dash hasn't pulled another fast one on you this time. I can understand B.A.'s concern."
"Don't worry! Dash wouldn't do that to me now. Not after all I've done for him."
They were entering a cosy looking village by now.
"Ah, I guess we're here. Sweetie, can you look at the address for me once more. The cabin should be up here somewhere."
Zowie read out the address aloud. Face drove his 'Vette through the cosy looking town without any success of locating their cabin. He pulled over and asked one of the local friendly looking people how to get to the address he had. When he got the info he needed, he thanked the person and followed the directions indicated. B.A. and Murdock followed close by. Pretty soon they left the cosy looking village and still Face kept driving. B.A. and Hannibal exchanged worried glances. Finally after driving for what seemed to be an eternity on dimly lit and small roads, they arrived at the cabin. There wasn't a single cabin in the neighborhood. In fact there was nothing remotely nearby.
"Temp," came Zowie's soft voice. "Are you sure that Dash hasn't pulled another fast one on you?"
"Off course not," he answered her trying to look confident.
He parked the 'Vette and helped Zowie get out. Meanwhile B.A. and Murdock had parked both vans as well and everyone was piling out.
"What's with this cabin, sucka. It ain't like nothin' you told us. If we ain't got no electricity my fists are gonna mess up that $ 50 haircut of yours"
"Scooter! Stop threatening the poor kid. He did his best. If his contact lied to him, it's not poor Temp's fault. Give him a break and behave now. He's about to become a father for the first time."
Face flashed his radiant smile at Mrs. B. She was such a sweet and caring person.
"His lyin' always gets us in trouble."
"I'm not too keen on trusting this Dash either, B.A."
"What are you all complainin' about, muchachos. The cabin is here, ain't it. It has a door, some windows and a roof. We won't have to camp out in the snow. What more can you ask for?"
"Murdock has a point there. Why don't we just go in and have a look. Maybe it's not that bad," Maggie said smiling softly at Face.
"Please tell me at least Dash gave you the keys?" Hannibal said.
Face merely rolled his eyes and fished the keys out of the pocket of his slacks and opened the door. The cabin was pretty small but cosy on the inside. Face held his breathe as he turned on the light switch, but it did work. The cabin had a small living room with a nice fire place and a small kitchen. It even had 3 bedrooms and a guest room so everyone had a place to stay.
"It's wonderful in here. I love it," Zowie exclaimed. "Thanks, Temp."
"I agree with your little lady, kid. It looks great."
Mrs. Baracus, Kelly and Maggie sat down on the couch with Zowie while the guys unloaded the cars. Hannibal brought all the groceries to the kitchen with the help of B.A. and the both of them unloaded their luggage as well. Murdock brought in all the decorations and his luggage and immediately started to decorate the place. Face had also unloaded the 'Vette. Murdock had done a great job decorating the cabin. While the men were slaving with the luggage, Mrs. Baracus went into the kitchen to prepare them all some coffee and hot chocolate to warm them up. B.A. got the fire started and the group assembled around the cozy fire place with their hot drinks. They all toasted to a wonderful time …
A few hours later ….
Mrs.B, B.A., Hannibal and Maggie all went into the kitchen to get dinner started. Murdock and Kelly were decorating the outside of the cabin and would be setting the table as well. Zowie and Face decided to go for a romantic walk out in the snow. When Murdock and Kelly finished decorating the outside of the cabin, they got back inside to get the others from the kitchen. Face and Zowie hadn't returned just yet. The soup was simmering on the stove and it smelled delicious. Meanwhile, the kitchen team was busy preparing the vegetables, potatoes and the main course. But they all paused their work to come and watch Murdock light the outside lights.
But the lights didn't work ….
"Whatcha been doin', fool? It ain't workin'."
B.A. grabbed the switch from Murdock's hand and tried to light the lights himself, but still nothing worked.
"Let's go back inside to try and sort this out," Kelly suggested. "It's getting kind of cold to just stand outside and wait until you get things fixed."
They all agreed and everyone went back inside to an equally dark house.
"Ah … so that's what happened," Murdock exclaimed.
"Shut up, fool. Come on out to the van to grab the flashlight so we can fix this."
B.A. and Murdock went to the van, grabbed the flashlights and made their way back inside the house to check what was going on with the electricity. They were determined to get things fixed, but that turned out to be a difficult task. If they couldn't get it back to work, they wouldn't be able to cook their dinner or even heat up the place with something else besides the fireplace. It was already starting to get cold inside and everyone had put on their thick winter coats.
Face and Zowie picked precisely that time to enter the cabin. They were hit by the cold and the dark surroundings immediately. The only light in the cabin came from the cozy lit fireplace and some candles on the table.
"What is going on here?"
"Well, kid. There seems to be something wrong with the electricity. B.A. and Murdock are working on it."
"Zowie? Are you alright?" Maggie asked worriedly. She noticed how Zowie seemed to be in a lot of pain.
"I'm fine. It's nothing really. My back just started to hurt, so I told Temp we'd better head back."
They both exchanged one look and Maggie immediately understood what was going on.
"Yes, dear. Come sit down. Hannibal has got the fire started again, so you'll be nice and warm up here. You should sit down for a while too, Templeton."
"Oh no. I'd better go and see what I can do."
"Face. You don't know a thing about electricity. Sit down, kid, and take care of your little lady."
Face sat down and wrapped his arm around Zowie as he pulled her closer to him.
"Are you okay, darling?"
"Well. Let's see," she started thinking how in the hell she would be able to break the news to him gently. "I'm cold and I'm pretty tired, but that's okay because I can get some rest and heat up in front of the fireplace. My back pain on the other hand is a sign that … well … how should I put this … I'm in labor, baby. We're going to have the baby."
"What? Now? Are you sure? You can't be having her here."
"Off course I'm sure. I'm a doctor. Remember? Now just relax. It'll be okay."
"Oh boy. Now? Really? It can't be. Not right now. She's not supposed to be born just yet."
"Baby, don't worry. Babies have a tendency to come whenever it suits them not us. And Leslie must be dying to meet her dad."
"Don't say that, Zowie. She might die when she's born in this freezing cold. You can't have that baby now."
"Temp, there's no way to stop this. Stop stressing already. I'll be fine. Besides, I have a doctor and a veterinarian to assist me with the birth."
"Cut it out, Zowie. It's not funny."
"I'm not trying to be funny, baby. I'm in labor. There's nothing I can do to stop this. We're having our baby right here and right now whether you like it or not."
"No. No. Not here. You can't have her here. I'm getting you out of here. I'll go and get the 'Vette ready."
He got up and nearly ran out of the cabin while the girls called after him. They all looked at one another.
"What can I say," Zowie started. "He is nervous wreck. He has been ever since he found out he was going to be a dad. Can you get the guys up here? I'll try and get through to that stubborn skull of his and get him back inside before he freezes."
Maggie, Mrs. B and Kelly ran downstairs to the basement to get the guys who were still trying to repair the electricity. The guys had no idea what was going on and needed to be informed. Mrs.B. told them Zowie was out to get Face as he wanted to get her out in his 'Vette.
"Stupid fool, he ain't gonna get away in that fancy car of his in this weather. He ain't thinkin' right."
"You're right, B.A. The kid must be a nervous wreck. Think you can handle things down here? I'll need to borrow Murdock for a while to get to Face."
Hannibal and Murdock ran upstairs and found Zowie standing in the door holding her aching back and yelling on top of her lungs for Face to get back inside. He was frantically trying to free his sports car from the snow that was piled on top of it.
"Temp, it's no use. Stop trying already and get back inside before you'll freeze."
"I just about got it ready, Zowie. Hang on."
She was happy to see both his commanding officer and best friend standing next to her. Hannibal watched his second-in-command frantically wiping the snow from his car while shaking his head and smiling.
"When are you gonna start working on the road, Facey?" came Murdock's voice as he rolled his eyes at his best friend.
"There's no way the 'Vette is gonna be able to drive on that road safely. Did you check them? Face it! The roads are all snow and ice and you're nowhere near able to drive on them. We're all snowed in and Leslie will be born in the cabin whether you like that or not."
"She can't be born here, Murdock."
"B.A. is working on fixing the electricity and until he does we have romantic candlelight or flashlights and we even have a nice fire to keep us all warm and especially Zowie and Leslie. You of all people should know that Baby Jesus was born in a simple stable and he didn't even have what we have in that cabin right now. Your daughter will be born in Club Med compared to what he went through."
"No, it just can't happen. I need to get Zowie to a hospital."
Face was still cleaning the snow from his car as he spoke, but he was starting to shiver by now due to the cold.
"Colonel, I don't seem to be getting through to him," Murdock said disappointment obvious in his voice.
"Don't worry about it, Captain. You've tried your best. The kid is just really stressed out right now. Let me handle this."
Hannibal walked out the door and up to Face who was still wrestling with the snow on top of his beloved car. He grabbed Face's shivering form firmly by the shoulders and roughly turned him around.
"Lieutenant. Would you just stop and listen for a minute. I know it's a hard thing for you to do, but you need to listen to what I have to say. You can't get them out of here, kid. It's just not gonna happen. We're snowed in. Your daughter will be born in this cabin. Now Zowie has Maggie and Kelly to help her, but she's gonna need your support too kid. You're the father of this baby. Pull yourself together, get in there and support your lady. She needs you! Stop acting like an idiot and get back inside before you become an ice sculpture. That's an order, Lieutenant."
Face shivered some more, but obeyed his commanding officer nevertheless. Zowie was happy Hannibal got through to him. She went back inside, took of her coat and sat down on the couch in front of the fire as she too had started to shiver. Face was still shivering like crazy as his coat had gotten soaking wet from the snow.
"Take of your coat, Face. Murdock, go and get some warm blankets from the room to warm them up."
Face took of his coat with numb fingers and decided to sit down on the couch next to Zowie.
"How are you doing, baby?" He asked worriedly.
"I'm doing fine. The contractions aren't too bad, but my back is killing me. If I were in a hospital now, I'd surely go for an epidural to get rid of the pain."
"You're in pain …"
"Hey, it's nothing I can't handle! Okay! I'll be fine. Women have been having babies long before epidurals. I'm sure I can pull it off too."
Murdock came back with some blankets. Face wrapped the blanket firmly around Zowie's shoulders and one around his own body.
"As soon as you're all warmed up, we'll get you comfortable on the couch and check the progress," Maggie softly said.
Hannibal, Murdock and Face decided to push the couch closer to the fire to keep Zowie somehow. Mrs. B boiled some water in a kettle they could hang up in the fireplace and Kelly went to the rooms to get some towels, while Maggie got her doctor's case. Zowie got all comfortable on the couch with some cushions to support her head and lower back.
As soon as she was warmed up and comfortable, Maggie checked the progress of the labor. The contractions were getting stronger, but Zowie still had some time to recover from them until the next wave hit her.
"Okay," Maggie said. "Things are looking great so far. You're doing really well. You're dilated about 6 centimeters already, so you've entered the second stage."
"Second stage? What does that mean? Now what?"
"Don't worry, Temp. She is doing a wonderful job so far. Everything is going really well. The contractions will become stronger now and she'll have less time to recuperate in between, so she's gonna need your help and support. Do you remember the breathing exercises you were supposed to help her with?"
"Hmm … Breathing … exercises … Right. Well … I think I do."
"He wasn't paying attention at the time, Maggie. He won't remember a thing."
"What? I was … I did pay attention …"
"Temp, you were more interested in the teacher than the actual thing she was teaching us."
"Figures," Murdock half whispered.
"I did not. Zowie, I know what I … uhm … I mean you need to do."
"Right. Sure you do. Just try not to faint, okay?"
"Why … Why would you … say … that."
"Because you're all pale looking and you'd better use these breathing exercises yourself before you actually do faint. Calm down. I'm fine. Leslie is fine. Stop freaking out."
"Yes. I know you, Temp. You can't con me you know. You don't remember the exercises now, do you?"
"Okay. Sit down next to me and hold my hand and breathe as I do. You'll be okay. Just calm down."
"Is there anything we can do?" Hannibal asked Maggie.
"Not really, John. Not right now."
"Well, we'll give you some privacy then and try to figure out a way to get the electricity back to work. Keep up the good work, kid. You're doing great."
"I'll save you a cigar for when Leslie is born."
As they made their way back to the basement to help B.A., Zowie's contractions picked up. Maggie checked her on a regular basis and she was almost fully dilated by now.
"This is it, Zowie. You're doing a great job. You're nearly there. Leslie has descended down the birth canal. Pretty soon her head will be crowning and you'll hold her in your arms before you know it. Temp, this is where you come in. Zowie is going to need all the support she can get as she starts pushing. Got that?"
He nodded his head softly.
"Don't worry, dad. You're doing fine!" Maggie assured him.
He looked at Zowie who was still doing her best to smile in spite of the pain she was in.
"You're doing great, Temp. I love you so much," Zowie said in between contractions.
"Me … I'm not doing anything. This is the easy part! You're doing all the hard work," he said tenderly. "You're so strong. I .. I don't think I'd be able to pull this off."
"You're Special Forces. A trained and skilled officer."
"Yes, so maybe I am. But this scares the living daylights out of me. Men are not cut out to do this."
Another particularly hard contraction hit her. Zowie did her best to breathe through the indescribable pain. Face noticed how she tried to deal with the pain as to not upset him. He grabbed her hand in both of his and her blue eyes gazed into his clear blue ones.
"That's it, baby. You're doing great. It won't be much longer now."
Despite her pain Zowie had to smile. Maggie checked her once again.
"This is it, guys. The head is crowning. Are you ready to become parents?"
Zowie nodded her head a single tear escaping her eyes.
"Yup. Ready as we'll ever be," Face stated while gently wiping away the stray tear from his girlfriend's face. "I'm here for you, baby. Let's do this!"
Maggie would act as the obstetrician and Kelly assisted her with the birth. Mrs. B decided to go get the other team members.
"Okay, Zowie. Here we go. When another contraction hits you, I want you to push as hard as you can."
Soon after the contraction came and Zowie pushed as if her life depended on it while Face encouraged her. The wave passed without any results. Maggie told her to do the same thing when another contraction would hit her and Zowie did as she was told. She squeezed Face's hand and he kept on encouraging her to keep on pushing for as long as she could.
"That's it, baby," he said all excited. "We're almost there. One more push and we'll be able to hold her."
Zowie tried to breathe easily before she was hit with yet another contraction. Face ran his hand through her long hair while he kept encouraging her and then it happened. Leslie slid effortlessly into the world. Face just couldn't believe what was happening when he saw his tiny bundle of joy for the very first time. She curled into herself but he could see all of her little fingers and toes and the dark curls on her tiny little baby head. Maggie picked her up and immediately put her on Zowie's belly.
"Congrats, mom and dad. You have a beautiful, healthy baby girl."
Face watched in wonder as Leslie blinked her tiny little eyes while her mom was gently stroking her cheek.
"Hi, Leslie. Hi, baby girl. It's me, mommy. And this cute and handsome guy over here is your daddy. We love you so much, little treasure."
"Is she okay?" Face said worriedly as he saw his tiny baby girl start to shiver.
"Yes, Temp. She's doing fine. We'll wrap her up in these warm towels. Don't worry! Would you do the honor, dad, and cut the umbilical cord?"
"I don't want to hurt her."
"Don't worry. You won't. It's safe. Go ahead."
Maggie handed him a pair of suitable scissors and Face cut the cord with the assistance of Maggie. As soon as he cut the umbilical cord, tiny little Leslie started to cry on top of her lungs. Face worriedly looked up at Maggie, but her smile reassured him immediately.
"She sure has a nice set of lungs," she said laughing out loud now. "Don't worry about it, Face. She is doing great and so is her mom. Congrats to the both of you."
Kelly handed Leslie all wrapped up nice and cozy in towels to Zowie and she congratulated the both of them as well. Exactly at that moment, Hannibal, B.A. and Murdock came storming up the stairs followed closely by Mrs. B.
"It's about time you guys got here," Face said smiling. He had his arm wrapped around Zowie's shoulders and she was still cuddling their baby daughter.
"We're too late," Murdock said in a sad voice with puppy dog eyes.
"You know. It's actually kind of funny," Face said while trying to keep a serious face. "You guys resemble the three Kings that came to visit the newborn Jesus."
"Oh do we now," Hannibal said smiling.
"Yes. It's kind of fitting. Don't you think?"
"Actually, yes," Murdock exclaimed happily all of a sudden. "I mean, the big guy has all the gold. What piece are you gonna give her?"
"Whatcha talkin' about, fool? I ain't gonna give Leslie none of my gold. She's to tiny. I'll get her somethin' else out of gold. Somethin' way more fittin' for her."
"Hannibal, you smoke. Well it doesn't really smell all that much like incense, but heck we can pretend it does right."
"Right. And I'll offer daddy here a cigar to congratulate him."
"So that leaves you Murdock. Where do you fit in?"
"Djeez … I dunno. I don't happen to have any myrrh on me … Wait. I've got it. Myrrh. Mur … Murdock."
"Whatcha sayin', fool?"
"That's short for my name, you ugly mudsucker. Don't you see? I'm her Uncle Mur."
Everyone was now gathered around the couch to get a better look at Leslie.
"She is real tiny, man," B.A said giggling.
"Babies usually are, Scooter. She's such a cutie pie."
"She is, isn't she?" Face beamed proudly.
"Well, I can see you did a fine job here Lieutenant."
"Can't take all the credit for that Hannibal. Zowie did all of the hard work."
"She's really pretty, Facey. She looks exactly like her mother."
"Stop teasing the poor boy already. He did a marvelous job," Maggie said.
"Well, I'm proud of ya kid. That calls for a celebration, right?"
Hannibal went into the kitchen and returned with a bottle of champagne and some glasses and a glass of milk for B.A. Murdock handed out the glasses to everyone while Hannibal popped the cork. As soon as everyone had a drink, Hannibal proposed a toast:
" Here's to the very first A-team baby who will be spoiled rotten not only by her dad, but also by her uncles. And she'll never ever have to be afraid, because she has all of us keeping an eye on her and taking care of her. Cheers to our sweet little angel: Leslie Peck."
"Thanks you guys. Now I guess this time it's my turn to say I love it when a plan comes together," Face stated proudly.