Bert gave a soft sigh as he remained sat in his armchair in the early hours of the morning as he held a small glass of whisky in his hand, the only sound that could be heard being the agonisingly slow ticking of the wall clock. Along with Mary's cries. His beautiful wife had been in slow labour for the past four hours with no results, and he hadn't been informed of hers or their baby's welfare for the past hour and a half. The only way he knew that she hadn't passed out from pain or exhaustion was the agonised, long cries that filtered through the ceiling and met his ears. 'Daddy?' A timid voice forced him to turn his attention towards the sitting room doorway and he gave a light sigh as his little girl was stood there, her rabbit teddy's paw grasped tightly in her small hand as she looked over at him. 'Mummy won't stop screaming and I think she is having a nightmare,' Bert couldn't help but chuckle softly as he set his whisky down and opened his arms for her, allowing her to hurry over to him and climb into his lap for a cuddle before his arms folded around her and he pressed a lingering kiss to the crown of her tiny head. 'Can we go and give her a cuddle, Daddy? That helps me when I'm scared.'
'Oh my Princess,' He slowly brought her away from his chest and she looked up at him with inquisitiveness sparkling in her innocent blue eyes, his fingertips brushing some errant strands of brown hair back behind her ear as he planted a soft kiss upon her temple. 'Mummy ain't making all of that noise because she's having a nightmare. It was going to be a surprise for when you woke up in the morning, but you're awake now so I suppose I should tell you,' She cocked her head slightly to one side as she brought her hand up to rest upon his chest, the confusion clear in her gaze as she waited patiently for him to continue. 'Not long after you went to bed tonight, Mummy came down and told me she thought the baby was coming. Well, Daddy called the doctor and he told 'er that your baby brother or sister was going to be coming very soon.' He saw the excitement in Martha's eyes as she gave a soft gasp and a gentle squeal escaped her, her tiny arms wrapping around his neck as she giggled softly into his shoulder.
'Is Mummy scared, Daddy?' She asked when she pulled away from his warmth and lay her head down upon his chest, his arm wrapping around her waist to hold her closer.
'Probably,' He nodded as he pressed a slow kiss to her temple and revelled in his little girl's warmth. 'But she were scared when you were being born too, sweetheart. When a baby's coming it isn't easy for the Mummy because she's in pain, and it isn't easy for the Daddy because he can't do anything to take the pain away for her. That's why I always tell you that Mummy's braver and stronger than Daddy is. She's beautiful and I love her just as much as I love you, but she has more strength in her than I have. You'll understand more when you're older, I promise.' There was then a gentle knock upon the door and the doctor was stood there looking quite dishevelled, Bert setting his daughter gently down on the sofa before making his way over to him.
'She's asking for you and she's made it quite clear that she won't do a single push without you being at her side from this moment onward. Usually I'd try and persuade her into a few more tries, but she's adamant. Refusal to push can have consequences for both the mother and the baby, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to insist you come back upstairs with me and sit with her. She won't do this without you, Mr. Alfred.'
'Can you tell her that I'm just putting Martha back into her own bed and then I'll be with her? I won't have my daughter seeing her mother in a state like this. It wouldn't do either of them any good, doctor,' Doctor Browne nodded before making his way back up to Mary as Bert went back to his little girl. 'Listen sweetheart, Mummy needs Daddy's help with the baby now. I need you to be a big girl and go and get back into bed for me. If you can't fall back to sleep then that's fine, but you need to stay in your bedroom until Daddy comes to get you. You can't come out until I do, alright?' She nodded slowly before taking his hand and allowing him to lead her from the sitting room.
'Daddy?' She whispered softly at the top of the stairs. 'I need to use the bathroom.'
Once Martha had used the bathroom and was tucked up in bed with her storybook, Bert left her room and made his way to his own where Mary was laying with her back propped up against the pillows whilst sweat ran down her face and her fringe stuck to her forehead. He could tell that she was exhausted and couldn't take much more of the pain she was experiencing, so he made his way over to her and sat in the chair at her side. 'Darling?' He whispered as he stroked the back of his fingers down the side of her face, her eyes fluttering open slowly as he took her hand in his and stroked his thumb across her knuckles to comfort her. 'I know you're tired and I know it 'urts, but you need to push for me, love.'
'I can't,' She murmured as her eyes were half-lidded and she gave a gentle whimper. 'I haven't got any energy left, Bert. I can't do this.' A light scoff escaped him as he cupped her tear stained cheek in his palm and edged his face closer to hers, his eyes flicking from her lips, back to hers.
'Don't you dare say that to me,' He growled lovingly as a gentle tear trickled over her porcelain cheek and he wiped it away delicately. 'You know just as well as I do that you have the strength to get through this. We're talking about the woman who's got the ability to clean a nursery with a snap of her fingers, Mary. We're talking about the woman who made it look so easy to jump into that chalk picture in the park nearly four years ago. I know you can do this, and you know you can too. Now give me your 'and,' She hesitantly slipped her soft hand into his and he pressed his lips to the back of her palm, lacing their fingers before she readjusted herself against the headboard and met his gaze. 'Give me a kiss,' She met his lips in a soft and sweet kiss as he cupped her jaw in his palm, his thumb trailing over the sharpness of it as she hummed softly against him. 'And give me the strongest pushes you can now, 'cause I know how strong you can be when you put that mind of yours to it.' She nodded slowly before squeezing his hand tightly when another contraction came and she pushed strongly, a loud groan of pain escaping her as her fingernails bit into the back of her husband's palm.
'Well done, Mrs. Alfred, baby's head's beginning to crown.' Doctor Browne encouraged, Mary falling limp against the pillows with a whimper after a few moments whilst Bert stroked her hair gently.
'We're gettin' there, darling.' He reassured her with a kiss to her sweaty hairline, a small smile forming upon her lips as she giggled breathlessly.
'There's another one,' She announced softly as she gripped his hand again and braced herself, a cry leaving her lips whilst her body trembled in pain and she arched her back amidst her pushing. 'Flaming hell, Bert!' He shushed her gently as he brought her close and she sobbed into him. 'Please make it stop,' She choked out as she held tightly onto him and he stroked his fingers through her hair. 'Make it stop!' He kissed the side of her head delicately as he felt his own emotions trying to force their way out, forcing himself to remain strong as he held his wife in his arms.
'Mrs. Alfred, baby's head's out now,' The doctor announced gently when her gaze met his, a kind smile upon his face as he remained at the foot of the bed. 'If you can give me one more strong push then I think you might just have your baby in your arms in the next five minutes.' She met her husband's gaze and he couldn't resist kissing her lips sweetly, her hand upon the side of his neck as she giggled tearfully into his mouth. 'I need you to focus now and push as hard as you can for me, and then you'll be holding your baby, alright?' She nodded obediently as she took her husband's hand and prepared herself, clutching the bed sheets below her as she cried out sharply in pain as she pushed and her head fell back. The next time she fell limp against the pillows there was a piercing cry sounding around the room, Mary's eyes widening as her mouth gaped when the doctor held her baby up for her to see. 'It's a little girl, Mrs. Alfred. You did splendidly.'
'Bert,' She breathed as she placed her hand upon his chest and looked into his eyes. 'We've got another little girl!' He kissed her lips lingeringly as her hand slid round to allow her fingers to tangle in her husband's hair, tears of happiness now beginning to roll down her cheeks. After their little girl had been cleaned up somewhat and Bert had cut the cord, she was swaddled in a blanket and placed into her mother's arms so that the two of them could share their first cuddle whilst they waited for the placenta to follow. 'Hey, hey, hey,' She soothed as her newborn continued to scream blue murder against her chest, Mary stroking her hair slowly as she left delicate kisses upon her daughter's cheek. 'It's okay, Mummy's got you,' The little girl began to quieten somewhat at her mother's voice and she gripped her nightgown in her tiny hand as she met her gaze for the very first time. 'That's better.' She giggled as she gazed down at her baby and rocked her slowly in her arms. She ran her index finger slowly against her daughter's soft palm before her tiny fingers closed around it and she inspected it curiously, soft whimpers escaping the infant.
Their baby girl had gained Bert's soft black hair and Mary's gentle blue eyes along with her mother's soft lips, her nose pointed like her father's. 'Cor, ain't she just one of the most beautiful little things you ever saw?' He breathed as he stroked his fingertips against the top of his little girl's head as he and Mary gazed down at her, his arm wrapping around his wife's shoulders to bring her slightly closer. 'She's so small, love.' A gentle giggle escaped her as she kissed his cheek followed by their daughter's forehead before she went back to cooing at her newborn.
'Everything seems to be in order,' Doctor Browne smiled as he covered the bowl with the placenta in it and put it under his arm. 'I'll visit you all tomorrow afternoon to make sure things are progressing as they should, and I'll send the bill in about a fortnight. Enjoy your baby, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred. I can show myself out.' Once the door had been closed behind the doctor, Bert pressed a tender kiss to his wife's sweaty brow.
'I promised Martha I'd go and get her once the baby arrived,' He admitted. 'You don't mind if she comes and has a cuddle with you, do you? She was quite upset earlier when she woke up to your cries, me love.' Mary kissed his lips lingeringly, allowing her tongue to gently enter his mouth.
'Of course I don't mind,' She breathed as their foreheads kissed delicately. 'She's my baby too and I want her to come and have a cuddle, Bert.' He nodded lovingly before caressing her cheek and standing to make his way to his daughter's room.
Martha's eyes were drooping as she was sat in bed when Bert entered her bedroom, a soft gasp escaping her when he sat down on her bed and caressed her cheek slowly. 'Sorry to startle you, my angel,' He whispered when she crawled into his lap and settled against his chest. 'But there is somebody who wants to meet their big sister.' She pulled away sharply and her eyes sparkled with joy as a smile spread upon her lips.
'Mummy had the baby?' She squealed. 'The baby's here?!'
'She is, sweetheart.' He chuckled, kissing the tip of her nose.
'I have a sister!' She wrapped her arms around his neck, cuddling close as she giggled infectiously against him.
Bert stroked her hair gently as he shifted her to rest upon his hip and she lay her head down upon her shoulder, her small hand resting upon his chest as he carried her out of her bedroom and across the landing toward the bedroom that he and Mary shared. 'Now, Mummy and your little sister are very tired, darling. You need to be quiet and gentle with them, aight?' Martha nodded with a loving smile as she met her father's gaze and she left a gentle kiss to his cheek before he carefully pushed open the door and Mary looked toward them from where she was now sat up properly against the pillows, a small smile upon her lips as she cradled her baby close and stroked her hair lightly. 'This little one's been rather patient,' He chuckled. 'She's been trying to keep herself awake so that she can see you and the baby.' Mary couldn't help but giggle lovingly at him.
'Martha, come here darling,' She spoke softly as she moved her daughter carefully into one arm, beckoning for her eldest to come and sit with her upon the bed. Bert set Martha down gently on the mattress and slowly she crawled to her mother's side, settling down next to her when Mary wrapped her arm around her shoulders. 'This is your new baby sister,' She allowed her daughter to take a look at the newborn who was now happy to just lay in her mother's arms, her soft blue eyes looking around inquisitively. 'She's going to look up to you now, which means you need to show her the proper way to behave. She'll copy everything you do.' Martha giggled softly as she stroked her younger sibling's hair with her fingertips.
'Can I hold her Mummy?' She asked gently when Bert sat on the edge of the bed, Mary looking to him for conformation. He thought it over for a moment before nodding with a gentle smile.
'If you're very very careful, yes,' Mary kissed her temple lingeringly. 'She's extremely fragile and she's only tiny, darling,' Martha nodded obediently before her younger sister was placed in her arms and she smiled down at her proudly, the newborn looking up at her with a sparkle in her soft blue eyes when Martha slipped her little finger into her grasp. 'I told you she'd be a natural big sister.' Mary giggled to her husband before he took her hand in his and kissed the back of her palm lingeringly, Mary lacing their fingers together a few moments later and revelling in the way that the cool metal of his wedding ring pressed against her skin.
'I don't know what to say,' Bert sighed later that morning after Martha had headed back to bed and he was cradling his youngest daughter in his arms as he slowly paced the bedroom, her tiny hand resting lightly upon his chest as she slept contentedly in his arms and he patted her tiny back soothingly as her eyelashes fluttered. 'She's so much smaller than Martha was but just as beautiful, darling. I'm so proud of you, Mary.' A gentle giggle escaped her as she was curled up in bed with a cup of tea, taking a slow sip of it as she watched her husband bonding with their little girl.
'She'll need a name, sweetheart,' She added when he joined her on the bed and settled down next to his wife, her head falling to his shoulder as she gave a loving sigh. 'She can't stay baby Alfred forever.'
'I 'ad an Aunt called Elizabeth Marie once, my love,' He admitted when he wrapped an arm slowly around her waist and held her close in order to kiss the side of her head delicately. 'We all called her Lizzie until she died and she were one of the most loveliest ladies I ever met in me life.' Mary pondered over the name for a short time before she stroked her little finger against the warm skin of her daughter's tiny hand, smiling lovingly when her little girl closed her tiny fist around it and held it tightly whilst she remained asleep in her father's embrace.
'That's a perfect name for our perfect little girl, Bert. Elizabeth Marie Alfred.' He kissed the tip of his daughter's tiny nose lightly before turning to face his wife.
'I'm so in love with you, y'know,' He breathed when they nuzzled their noses gently. 'You make me so proud of you every day, Mrs. Alfred.' Mary giggled lovingly before pressing her lips to his in a tender kiss.
'I'm so in love with you too,' She reassured him when they parted and he brought her close to his chest. 'And I'll never stop being in love with you until the day I die.'
Which only they two knew that it meant indefinitely.
A/N: Thank you for reading Pt.7 of 'The Alfred Family Chronicles'! This chapter took so long to write and I'm glad it's finally finished! Hopefully I'll be uploading a little more now, and I hope you enjoyed! Please Review! X~X~X~X