Sequel to Feels Like Rain and When It Rains, It Pours.
Raindrops Falling On My Head
Lionel Luthor glanced at his watch and paced. He stopped when he reached the end of the plant, looked up to the men trying to seal the tank, shook his head, glanced at his watch and paced.
"Gentlemen, one thousand dollars added to today's paycheck if we wrap this up in the next ten minutes," he offered.
The quality management specialists considered the possibility, then admitted inability.
"Let me see my phone," came his abrupt command. His assistant hurriedly handed over the equipment to Lionel. After checking his phone and seeing the missed call registry, Lionel growled at his assistant. "My daughter-in-law called, you incompetent fool!" he admonished. The assistant cringed at the whipcrack words.
Lionel read the message, then turned to the rattled boy. "Pack up your things, Frederick. You're fired."
Lionel's shoulders were even tenser than before. He looked around in search of Gabe. When he couldnot find the plant manager, Lionel growled low in his throat. All of a sudden, all the small inaccuracies and little slips committed by his employees were lit by the factory lights.
"You're moving too slow, Jensen," he called out. "Are you on zero gravity?"
Lionel saw one middle-aged employee transferring labels from one machine to another. The top label slipped and floated to the ground. "A waste!" Lionel exclaimed. "Such a waste. Ray, you're--"
"Woah." Gabe jogged towards Lionel and stopped in front of the company president, his hands waving in front of him in an attempt to calm him down. Poor old Ray stood waiting for Lionel to say the world, shaking in his boots. The pile of labels leaned to the left. Gabe hurriedly straightened it. "Go, Ray. Save yourself!"
"You're a noble man, Sullivan," Ray murmured. He hurriedly toddled towards one of the machines.
Gabe faced Lionel again. There was a faint hint of disappointment in his eyes. "What's wrong?" he inquired.
"Slowpokes, the lot of them!" Lionel exclaimed. "I cannot get a proper status report."
"The night is long, Mr Luthor," Gabe told him. In the office, proper forms of address must be followed. He insisted upon it. "We have several more hours before the deadline."
"I needed the report yesterday," Lionel insisted.
"The men cannot move faster than they're doing now. This is dangerous material we're talking about," Gabe tried again in his effort to pacify the boss.
Lionel flipped open his phone and handed it to Gabe. Gabe took the offering and glanced at Lionel, who raised his eyebrows at him. Lionel then turned back to the workers and yelled, "Hurry up!"
Gabe read the message on the screen. Then, he handed the phone back. He clapped his hands sharply. "Everybody!" he called. The employees all stopped and turned to their plant manager.
"Good, Sullivan. I rush them; you make them stop."
Gabe raised his hand at the people. "Mr and Luthor and I are leaving," he began. "Our children are in the hospital and we're going there." The employees cheered. It brought a grin to Gabe's face, and a lopsided twist to Lionel's lips. Thunder rumbled outside, and silenced the workers. "Babies having babies, eh?" Again, the employees cheered. "So we have a lot to celebrate when we get back," Gabe continued. "We'll have a profitable contract after we deliver our product on time, and we will have twins joining our family. Now if we return and you didn't complete production on time, you people won't be part of the celebration."
Lionel smirked. He waited for the rumble. However, he was pleasantly surprised when everyone started going back to work.
"You'll have the crap on time," one of the group captains assured Gabe with good cheer. "You can count on us."
"We can produce lot of crap in a very short time," another supplied.
Jensen stepped up and added good-naturedly, "We all learned from the CEO!"
Gabe chuckled at that and waved. "We'll see you!"
Gabe turned to Lionel and asked, "Your car or mine?"
Lionel arched an eyebrow at his companion. "Do you mean my limo or your... volks?"
"Good point," Gabe allowed. "Your ride it is."
The two strode to the exit and watched the pouring rain. In no time, Lionel's limo stopped in front of them.
"That's another advantage," Gabe commented again.
"Just get in, Gabe," Lionel commanded, slipping back to the first name basis whenever he regarded him as his daughter-in-law's father. "You're too talkative sometimes," he complained when they were both inside the vehicle. "Now I know where Chloe gets the nonstop babbling."
Lionel noticed the limo driver chuckling in front.
"Horace, I know you heard me," Lionel drawled. "If that comments reaches Chloe, I'll know you told on me."
"I wouldn't dare, Mr Luthor," the driver said somberly.
"Good." Lionel pressed the button to raise the partition between the driver and passenger seats. "Or we're both done for," he mumbled under his breath.
Gabe shook his head. He couldn't imagine his tame little Chloe striking fear into the hearts of the like of Lionel Luthor.
The drive to the hospital was as fast as a car could drive, even if it was illegal. About halfway to their destination, Gabe wondered aloud, "Would the kids look like a Raphael and a Michael? Then we'd be the three archangels."
"Stop talking out of your all American ass," Lionel said.
"I have Canadian blood," Gabe parried.
Lionel's screwed his lips again. "Good thing my Scottish heritage will even out your thin blood." Gabed rolled his eyes. It was a common argument. He never thought his boss would argue about this with him. Until four months ago, that was, when his phone rang and picked up when he saw Lionel's number on his screen.
'What's your bloodline, Sullivan?' Lionel had demanded.
And then with a raised voice, Lionel had repeated his answer, 'You've got Canadian blood?'
Lionel had then proceeded to congratulate him because, 'Your daughter snatched a good old Scottish boy.'
Gabe liked that memory, despite the would have been offensive comments Lionel had dropped. The pleasure came from hearing Chloe gasp, 'You're putting down my heritage?' And Lionel's voice lowering and becoming softer as he sought to calm her down. 'Of course not. Celine Dion...' Lionel had rushed. 'Fantastic!' The old man had paused. Knowing his daughter well, Gabe could tell she was satisfied. Lionel buried himself by offering then, 'I heard she's got a concert in Vegas. I'm taking you!'
Gabe smirked. He learned it from Lionel. "And what fine names do you have to suggest?"
"Colin, Kieran, Duncan, Lyle, Malcolm," Lionel suggested.
"We're not in a Highlander episode," Gabe reminded his companion wryly.
The limousine stopped in front of the hospital. "We'll make the decision later." Lionel stepped out when the driver opened the door.
Gabe nodded, and climbed out after Lionel. It occurred to him that perhaps they should allow Chloe and Lex to decide. He was about to suggest it when an idea hit him. "They're having twins!" Gabe said.
"I am very aware of that," Lionel replied. Chloe was huge when he saw her that morning, when she was sitting in the garden with her feet up on another chair, alternately telling Lex to fan harder (and an electric fan won't do because the wind from it did not speak of Lex's love for her babies) and complaining to Lionel that the twins were being as stubborn as he was in not arriving when her due date was one week past.
"You name one and I name one," Gabe supplied.
This brought another happy twist of Lionel's lips. "Brilliant," he approved.
When the two of them walked to the wing where Chloe was in labor, they stopped at their tracks. Chloe's shrill scream pierced the stagnant air. They both paled, and Horace had to help them both into individual chairs. Gabe and Lionel next noticed two nurses taking their blood pressure.
"First grandchild?" Gabe's nurse asked.
"Fancy," the other nurse said as she took Lionel's blood. She was a mature woman who headed the nursing crew. "I think it's sweet for you to reserve such a large area so your daughter-in-law can have a private birth."
"Lucky for us no one else seems to be giving birth tonight," Gabe's nurse added. "But it is a small town."
"We're fine," Lionel told the two, smiling back at the woman. He placed his hands on his armrest and pulled himself up.
Lionel collapsed back down into his chair. "Your daughter is going to kill me," Lionel muttered.
"I warned you," mumbled Gabe. "At the wedding. You said you could take her."
Lionel frowned at that scream. That was not Chloe. He turned towards the doors of the labor room. Just as he had suspected, a red-faced Lex rushed out, holding what seemed to be an injury. "Can I have some ice?" Lex called out. When he saw his father and Gabe, he tried to wave, then winced.
Gabe's nurse brought him a cup of crushed ice. Lex took it and threw it back in his mouth. "I actually need a basin of it."
When a nurse arrived with a basin of ice, Lex dipped his hand into it gratefully. The nurse glared at him, and so did Lionel and Gabe. "She crushed my hand!" Lex explained.
"Ninny," Lionel exclaimed. "Now get back in there and let her break your jaw!"
Lex sighed. When Chloe screamed again, he went rushing back in.
Lionel and Gabe sat up when they heard the soft cry of an infant.
"Morgan is a good Scottish name," Lionel thought aloud. "It's unisex too."
The door opened, and the grandfathers sat up, expecting to see the nurse carrying the baby to show them. Instead, it was Lex, drenched with water.
"We have a boy! And she threw me out," he informed Lionel and Gabe sadly.
"What did you do?" Lionel asked.
"I was supportive." Lex looked at Gabe with his pleading eyes. "You told me to always tell her I understood. You told me to empathize."
Just as the older men suspected. "Did you tell her you understood her pain?" fished Gabe.
Lex nodded. "I said I understood perfectly. I even told her how painful it was when someone bashed my head in."
"She told you she'd bash your head in, didn't she?" Gabe provided.
Lex's eyes widened. These two were on a roll. "She even tried with her glass of water!"
"Get back in there," Lionel advised.
Lex shook his head. "She doesn't want me there anymore."
The door opened, and the three looked up at the nurse waving Lex in. "Sir, your wife is calling for you."
Lex grinned and excused himself from Gabe and Lionel. He entered the labor room and saw Chloe crying. He ran to her side and picked up her hand. She squeezed, and he tried very hard to hide his wince.
"How could you leave me like that?" she demanded, sniffling.
"I just went to get some more water for you. You don't have anything to throw anymore," he said gently.
Chloe smiled. Lex brushed the hair off her forehead and dabbed on her skin with some tissue.
"You're doing so great," he told her.
"I'm sorry I threw you out," she said. "And that I threw water at you."
"I deserved it," he told her. He noticed the way her shoulders tensed and kissed the hand gripping his. Lex's eyes flickered to the side where his first son lay on a small bed.
Chloe screamed again, but Lex held on to her. He helped with the pressure and held his breath with her until she pushed enough, and the next baby was out.
The baby cried when the doctor held it up.
"It's a girl," Lex murmured, looking at it. "Or is he going to get bullied?" He squinted but saw nothing. "Doctor Charles said two boys."
Chloe lay back on the pillows, catching her breath.
The doctor handed the girl to one of the nurses and laid his hand on Chloe's stomach. He moved his hand in a soothing circular motion.
Lex was about to release Chloe's hand to check on the twins when she grabbed his injured hand again and squeezed. "Chloe?"
She rose and sat up. Chloe's gaze flew to her doctors.
"Looks like you've got another surprise for us, Mrs Luthor."
"Again?" Chloe gasped. "I didn't request this surprise!" She had no time to ask questions, because she was caught by another bout of contractions. Her throat was too sore from screaming. Instead, she groaned.
Lex's eyes watered. In the stories to be told by Gabe and Lionel during family dinners years after that, they would say Lex cried because of the pain in his hand. Lex told it another way though.
"Who wouldn't tear up at the sight of that strength Chloe showed then?" he would often say.
Chloe, mother that she was since then, told it in a slightly different way. "He cried because he saw them all born. And he was overwhelmed, because his family was complete."
Lionel had one remark for any of the three stories though: "Ninny."
And so it was that Gabe and Lionel saw, about fifteen minutes later, not two new members of the family but three, being rolled out of the delivery room. Chloe was already asleep when they wheeled her to her private recovery room.
"Triplets," Lex breathed in disbelief. "Three kids."
Lionel shook his head. "Chloe's going to have to rest for a long time after that."
Gabe agreed. "One delivery's gotta be hard, let alone three," he supplied.
"Three kids," Lex repeated.
"Well," Lionel said decisively, "you're going to have to move in with us, Gabe."
Gabe's head whipped towards Lionel.
"We're gonna have to play this man-to-man while Chloe's resting. You, me, Lex. One man assigned per kid."
Obviously, Lionel could hire a dozen nurses for each baby. Gabe assessed the man in front of him and knew that Chloe had wreaked a lot of havoc in the man's life. As a result, Lionel would probably try to take care of the kids himself. Gabe would be damned if Lionel became the favorite granddad.
"Do I get to name one kid?" Gabe bargained.
Before Lex could answer, Lionel patted Gabe on the back. "It's triplets! Sure you can name the kid assigned to you."
Gabe seemed satisfied. "I'm going to go pick one."
Lionel and Gabe proceeded to the nursery where the babies would be kept for the time being. Lex never even got a word in edgewise. He shook his head and pushed open the door to Chloe's room. There, he sat beside her and watched her sleep. She looked so peaceful. He wanted to immortalize that moment when she looked like an angel.
When she wakes up and finds out their parents had plotted the babies' names and futures, they wouldn't see that peacefulness again.