Chapter 16

Dr. Madden came out of the operating room and pulled down his mask. Erica and Jackson came over and regarded him apprehensively. "Well?" He smiled reassuringly. "They made it through surgery just fine." Erica smiled. "Oh, I'm so glad!" Greenlee and Ryan burst into the waiting room and rushed over to Dr. Madden. Ryan spoke in a rush of words. "There was a huge pileup on the interstate. Our car was damaged, so it took a long time to sort things out with the cops and everything, it was a huge mess." Greenlee grimaced. "We about went out of our minds. Is there any news? How are they?" Ryan cut in. "Why did she need an emergency c-section?" Dr. Madden held up his hands. "Not long after she went into labor, it became apparent that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck. We needed to get him out immediately." Greenlee gasped. "Is the baby okay?" Dr. Madden smiled. "He's fine. They're both fine – no complications. A bit groggy from the anesthesia, but they are both strong and healthy." Ryan stared at him. "You said 'he.' Does that mean…?" Dr. Madden nodded. "It's a boy." Erica looked over at Jackson. "Did you hear that? A grandson!" She whipped out her cell phone and dialed a number.

Zach answered the telephone on the first ring. "Erica? What's the news?" She related everything she just heard. He exhaled in relief. "That's wonderful. I'll pass the news along. Thanks for calling. Oh, and congratulations on being a grandmother again." He hung up, chuckling to himself. He couldn't resist needling her a bit. He walked back to the nursery, where Kendall was burping Sarah. "Erin had the baby. They are both fine and healthy. It's a boy." Kendall gasped. "Oh! Greenlee and Ryan must be so thrilled! Oh, I wish I could have been there." Zach sat next to her. "I know, but you couldn't tear yourself away from your daughter." Kendall finished patting her on the back, and rubbed noses with her. "They weren't going to let you in the waiting room, were they? No, too many germs. Well, guess what? You have a new cousin. A boy! And since he is younger than you by a few months, you get to boss him around." Sarah burbled at her. Zach shook his head. "She's a Kane woman. It doesn't matter whether the man is younger or older – she'll be bossing him around."

Zach plucked Sarah out of Kendall's arms. "Go. Your friend needs you and your months of expertise to help her through this." Kendall straightened a tiny sock that was threatening to fall off her foot. "Are you sure? She's been pretty fussy today. I just fed her, but there's no guarantee she'll go to sleep." Zach fixed her with an exasperated look. "Kendall, if it weren't for Greenlee, you and I would both still be in our respective prison cells – assuming we were even still alive. She's your friend. She needs you. Now go." Kendall rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue at Zach. She gave Sarah a smooch and then Zach a lingering kiss. After looking back a few times, she eventually made it out the door of the nursery. Zach looked down at Sarah. "We finally got rid of her. Now, how about a few rounds of Pat the Bunny?" Sarah squealed. "That's what I thought." He picked up the book and began to read to her. Unbeknownst to him, Kendall came back and stood in the doorway for a few minutes. With a tender smile, she finally left to go lend support to her friend.

The End.

Author's note: The first chapter started out with a big twist, and so it is only fitting that the last chapter has one, too. I hope you enjoyed it. I made a second slideshow to accompany the story as a whole. In order to see the slideshow, click on my name, and the link will be in my profile. It is set to the song Ordinary World, by Duran Duran. The words of the song, especially the chorus, hauntingly reflect the one main desire of all the characters. Here are the lyrics to the song:

Came in from a rainy Thursday, on the avenue. Thought I heard you talking softly.

I turned on the lights, the TV, and the radio, but still I can't escape the ghost of you.

What is happening to me, crazy some would say.

Where is the life that I recognize - gone away.

And I won't cry for yesterday. There's an ordinary world, somehow I have to find.

And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive

Passion or coincidence once prompted you to say, "Pride will tear us both apart."

Well now pride's gone out the window, across the rooftops, run away.

Left me in the vacuum of my heart.

What is happening to me - crazy some will say.

Where is my friend when I need you most - gone away.

But I won't cry for yesterday. There's an ordinary world, somehow I have to find.

And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive.

Papers in the roadside tell of suffering and grief.

Fear today, forgot tomorrow. Beside the news of holy war and holy need,

Ours is just a little sorrowed talk.

And I won't cry for yesterday. There's an ordinary world, somehow I have to find.

And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive.

Every world is my world (I will learn to survive)

Any world is my world (I will learn to survive)

Any world is my world, every world is our world, every world