Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, The Sullivan Company and to A&E.
By, Ashley J.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.
"Sully, there's a leak in the roof," Michaela mumbled as the dripping continued. Sully responded with a grunt, and Michaela sighed heavily. She closed her eyes tightly, trying not to think about the irritating and continuous sound of the dripping water.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.
Thunder crashed outside, and Michaela turned in her spot on the bed. Lightning illuminated the room, and the dripping continued. She sighed loudly, and if Sully had been awake, he probably would have sensed her irritation. She was starting to believe he could sleep through anything if it was possible. Since she'd become pregnant, he spent more time helping out around the house and doing other things in preparation for the baby, and he was very tired when he went to bed. Well, it was a good thing this wasn't an emergency, because waking him probably wouldn't be as easy as it used to be! She tapped Sully on the arm gently, wanting to see if he was responsive.
"Hmm?" he asked. He yawned and was silent. Yes, he'd gone back to sleep.
"Sully, we have a leak." He moved a little, but stayed silent.
"Mmm," he responded, pulling the covers up further. Michaela groaned impatiently. There was no way she was getting up in her condition to fix a leaky roof. First of all, she didn't know how, and second of all, being nine months pregnant didn't put her in the position to become an emergency carpenter.
"Sully!" she exclaimed, shaking his arm roughly. Sully sat up in bed. "Wake up!" His eyes were wide and full of confusion.
"What! Is it time!" He jumped out of bed, put his pants on, and Michaela sat there staring at him incredulously. "Michaela?"
"I was waking you up, because we have a leak in the roof." Sully listened and could hear the constant dripping.
"I know. I put a bucket under it before I went to bed."
"Well, I can still hear it," the hormonal doctor replied, crossing her arms.
"I'll fix it in the mornin'."
"How do you expect me to sleep like this? The baby woke me up, I can't get comfortable, and the water is dripping constantly and keeping me awake! I'm exhausted, and you don't even care!" Tears sprung to her eyes, and Sully swallowed hard. He'd done it again. No matter how hard he tried not to, he always managed to trigger a mood swing that would send Michaela into a fit of tears. She buried her face in her hands, and Sully rushed back to the bed, climbed in beside her, and he pulled her into his arms.
"I'm sorry Michaela. I didn't know it was keepin' ya awake."
"Well it is!" she exclaimed, sniffling. Sully rocked her back and forth, rubbing her back sympathetically. "Sometimes I think you forget that this has been a rough pregnancy for me!"
"I'll fix it first thing in the mornin', I promise."
"You're going to let your pregnant wife just lie here awake all night feeling miserable?" Sully sighed heavily and noted the time on the small clock that rested on the mantle.
"It's just past midnight. You really want me up there fixin' the roof right now?"
"I may be irrational, but I am pregnant with your son or daughter. I think you can do me this small favor!" Michaela was due to give birth at any time, and her mood swings seemed to come day and night, and on some occasions, such as this one, they would overlap. She began to cry again, and Sully sighed heavily once again. He couldn't wait until this baby was born. Maybe he would finally have his normally happy wife back.
"Alright. Alright." He pulled his shirt and moccasins on and left the room. Michaela dried her tears and felt so foolish. She hated crying all of the time, but it would only be a matter of time before the little one was born. It was amazing. The past nine months seemed to have gone by so quickly, though at the beginning, she thought that this ninth month would never come. They may have gone by quickly for her, but for Sully, it couldn't be over quickly enough!
She settled back down into the bed and closed her eyes. She reminded herself to apologize to Sully in the morning. She hated snapping at him. Just that morning, she had yelled at him for tracking mud into the house, but she had later discovered that it had been Brian. Poor Sully was having a hard time with this pregnancy as well, but in different ways.
It wasn't long before Sully had the leak fixed, and he returned to the bedroom in his soaking wet clothes. He peeled off his clothes, and when he returned to bed, Michaela was sleeping soundly. He shook his head and climbed in beside her. He was careful and tried hard not to make too much movement as he crawled under the covers. He didn't want her to wake up and yell at him again. He loved her with all of his heart, but she was extremely irritable lately, and all he wanted to do was get a good night's sleep. Well, that had been ruined, but he wanted to enjoy the next few hours before it was time to get up.
Michaela woke about an hour later, and she was feeling guilty about having Sully go fix the roof so late at night. She needed to apologize. She slowly sat up and smiled at him. No, she couldn't wake him just yet. He looked so sweet as he slept, and she wanted him to rest up. When the baby came, sleep would be a rare activity at night.
She realized that nature was calling, so she slowly moved to the edge of the bed and stood up. Her movements had not gone un-noticed to Sully, however, and he sat up quickly.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you. I just need to . . ."
"Oh," Sully replied. This had been happening a lot lately. He had completely forgotten about Abagail's frequent need to relieve herself at night during the last couple of months. "Need help down the stairs?"
"No. You go back to sleep." Sully nodded, and his head hit the pillow again. "Sully?"
"Hmm?" he asked, his eyes still closed.
"I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier."
"Well, if I upset you, I'm sorry."
"Ya didn't. Don't worry. The baby will be here soon, and all of this will be over."
"All of what will be over?" she asked curiously, feeling a little irritated again. Did he actually have the right to say that when she was the one doing all of the suffering?
"The mood swings."
"Mood swings? Sully, if you're complaining about my mood swings, then I don't want to hear it!" She pulled on her robe and started to storm out of the room.
"Michaela!" Sully exclaimed with exasperation.
"What? Why don't you try it, Sully? Huh? Why don't you try being fat and tired all of the time. You try putting your shoes on in the morning when you can't even see your feet! You try tossing and turning until you find a comfortable position to sleep in! I can't believe you are being so insensitive!" She began to cry again, and Sully got up to go to the door and hug her.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I know you're a little sensitive right now. I just love you so much, and I hate seein' ya suffer like this." Michaela looked up at him with big, bright eyes.
"That's so sweet," she whispered, sniffling. "Oh, Sully! I'm sorry! I know I've been terrible to you. I'm just so anxious about this baby coming." Tears slipped out again, but for a different reason now.
"Hey, hey," he whispered, kissing her softly. "It's all gonna be worth it when our baby comes, alright?"
"You're right." She took a deep breath and relaxed in her husband's arms. "You're right."
The next afternoon was a rainy one, and Sully was working in the barn with Brian. Michaela was napping inside, and Colleen was in town checking with Horace to see if she'd gotten any responses from the colleges she was interested in.
"Sully?" Brian asked.
"Ya look tired."
"Yeah," Sully replied with a slight chuckle.
"Why don't ya go upstairs and take a nap with ma?" Taking a nap sounded good, but Sully was keeping his distance from Michaela. In the course of ten minutes that morning, she'd gone from angry to happy to sad all because he'd missed breakfast to get some early fishing in so lunch would be ready to cook for supper.
"Nah, I think I'll take my chances with the dirty stalls," Sully replied. Brian looked toward the house.
"Ma was real upset this mornin'."
"Yeah," Sully replied. "But she's got a right to be. She's havin' a baby."
"But why's she bein' so mean to ya? One minute she's yellin', and the next she's cryin' or smilin'."
"I wish I could answer that, Brian, believe me I do, but I can't. We just gotta wait this out 'til the baby comes."
"Ya think ma will feel better once the baby's here?"
"Yeah, I got a feelin' she will," Sully replied with a tired smile. No more swollen ankles or backaches. That would be two positives. Michaela would be able to see her feet again too!
"I hope when I'm a pa one day that my wife won't yell at me like that."
"It happens to all pregnant ladies at one time or another, or so your ma says."
"Why's that?" Brian wondered. Sully shrugged. "Maybe it's God's way of makin' the man suffer too." Sully had to admit that the boy had a point. He patted him on the back.
"Just remember one thing."
"When you're married one day, never say that to your pregnant wife." Brian grinned.
"I won't." Brian thought for a moment. "Maybe Ma would feel better if ya brought her some flowers. She might cheer up."
"I thought about that. But then I thought she might find some way to yell at me for it."
"Nah. Ma wouldn't do that, would she?"
"I don't know. Pregnant women are unpredictable."
"Sully!" Michaela called from the house. Sully and Brian looked at one another.
"Want me to tell her you're at the reservation?" Brian asked, wanting to help his father avoid Michaela's newest mood swing at all costs.
"Nah," Sully replied with a chuckle. "Why don't ya take a break? I'll be back in a few minutes." He made his way out of the barn to find Michaela standing on the porch with her hands on her belly. "Everything alright?"
"The roof is leaking again."
"I was taking a nap, and I woke up to that dripping sound. I thought you fixed it."
"Well, it was after midnight and pouring down the rain, Michaela. I wasn't exactly in the right state of mind to be up on the roof fixin' a leak," Sully replied with a hint of irritation in his voice.
"Well, are you now?"
"Sure, but," he began.
"Well, I'm workin' in the barn right now."
"Can't that wait?" He decided not to argue with her this time.
"Yeah. It can." He started back toward the barn to get his tools.
"Sully, wait," Michaela called. He turned back to her, expecting her to ask him to do something else. He would gladly help his wife out right now, but with his own lack of sleep and her constant mood swings, he felt as if he was suffering from his own mood swings as well.
"You understand I don't mean to act this way, don't you?" He smiled a little and came back up to her.
"'Course I do." He took her hands in his. "Don't fret about it, Michaela. I'm gonna try my best to not irritate ya."
"You don't irritate me," she replied. "It's the hormones, and I feel foolish for acting this way. Sometimes I say things I don't mean to say. I cry when there really is no reason."
"Ya don't gotta explain." He kissed her cheek. "I love ya, and nothin' ya say or do is gonna change that, especially when you're pregnant."
They walked into the house hand-in-hand, and Michaela sat down in a chair at the table. Sully poured her a glass of water and handed it to her.
"Can I get ya anything? Is there anything I can do?" Michaela shook her head as her finger traced the rim of the cup over and over again.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.
"Alright, you can do something for me."
"You can fix the roof." She grinned at him, and Sully chuckled.
"Okay." He leaned in to press a kiss to her lips. "You just take it easy, and I'll take care of everything." Sully left the house to go get his tools from the barn, and when he left, Michaela smiled and wondered how she had gotten so lucky.
"Ma, he'll be here soon," Colleen insisted as Michaela looked out the window after sunset. Dinner was almost finished, and Sully had promised to be home an hour before. Where was he? He had to have known she'd be worried! Sometimes she didn't think he knew her at all, but she also knew that was absurd. He knew her better than anyone did!
"What if he's hurt?" she thought, instinctively picking up her medical bag. Brian walked up to her, took the bag from her hands, and put it aside.
"Don't worry, Ma. I'm sure he'll be here anytime now." Michaela sighed heavily and walked over to busy herself in the kitchen.
"Ma? Why don't ya take it easy? You gotta rest before the baby comes," Colleen reminded her. Michaela began to think back over the events of the day. Sully had fixed the roof before lunch, and after lunch, he'd gone out to the reservation. That had been hours ago, and he still wasn't home.
She began to feel irritated again. She could have been going into labor for all he knew, and he was an hour late getting home. An hour could make quite a difference in that case. What if she needed him for something? Why wasn't he home yet!
She sighed with frustration and rushed toward the window when she heard a horse nearing the homestead. Sure enough, Sully was home. That was it! She wasn't going to tolerate him coming home so late with their baby due so soon. She had to let him know how frightened she'd been.
"Stay here," Michaela told the children. The children looked at one another nervously as she rushed out onto the porch. Just as Sully was walking up, she noticed something that kept her from yelling. He had a bouquet of flowers in his hand. "Sully?"
"Sorry I'm late," he said softly, holding the flowers out to her. "If I upset ya, I'm sorry. I just wanted to find the ones you like best." Tears came once again, but this time they were happy tears. Sully let out a sigh of relief. He met Michaela on the porch, and she took the flowers into her hands.
"They're beautiful," she whispered. All of her anger had disappeared, and all she could think of now was how sweet her husband was. As they hugged, Sully made a note to thank his youngest son later. The flower idea had been great. Sully hadn't really had time to think of any good ideas to cheer his wife up with all of the constant changes in her moods, but he was glad that this attempt had been a success!
She sniffled, and for a moment, he thought he'd dome something wrong.
"Michaela? Everything alright?"
"Yes," she whispered. "Thank you, Sully." She thanked him again with a kiss, and as they retreated into the homestead, both silently thanked the powers above that they had gotten so lucky as to have found one another. Mood swings and all, they were meant to be together.