I'm so sorry guys! I hope you didn't think I fell off the face of the Earth b/c I didn't. I've just been busy and have really been lacking the drive to write, but I knew you guys were probably waiting for this so I forced myself to finish this chapter. Hopefully I'll have some more time to write and will get some great inspiration.
Anywho, thank you so much for all the wonderful reviews. They still make me immensely happy and I'm so thankful that you all love my story so much. Hope you find this chapter as enjoyable as all the previous ones!
"I'm gonna what?" Roger stammered, turning a pasty shade of green.
"Wait!" said Joanne, darting for the baby still in Roger's arms. "Let me grab the baby before he drops her from shock!"
"I…uh…believe the word you're searching for, Rog, is "pregnant," chimed Collins from across the room.
Roger stared at his knees as he ran his fingers through his hair trying desperately to keep his heart from pounding out of his chest.
"How……how did this happen?" he asked Mimi after a long moment.
"I've got a pretty good guess," said Maureen, still in shock herself over Mimi's news.
Roger ignored Maureen's dig. "Meems, we….we were always so careful."
"Yeah…well…oops," she shrugged.
"Oops," Roger sighed heavily, resting his forehead in his hands.
"Baby, are you okay?" Mimi asked, crouching down in front of him. "I mean, you're not mad are you?"
"No, babe. I'm uh…I'm not mad. This is just a lot to take in. I mean….you're…I'm...I mean…..wow….."
"Yeah, I know, but it's all going to be alright," said Mimi putting her hands on each of his shoulders.
"But we're not ready to be parents. We're barely keeping our heads above water. We live in a crappy, drafty, dirty loft that we can barely make the rent on as it is. You'll have to quit your job at the Cat Scratch because I have a feeling pregnant S&M dancers aren't really in high demand."
"Actually," Maureen interrupted as Joanne handed her the baby, "You'd be surprised what some people are into these days." Joanne glared at Maureen in an attempt to shut her up.
Roger simply rolled his eyes and continued. "Plus, I'm hardly going to be home these next couple of months with the band being in the studio and still playing gigs and all. And we'll hopefully be going on tour when the album is finished. Not to mention the fact that we're both HIV positive and-"
"Baby, stop!" Mimi said strongly, placing her hands on Roger's cheeks. "It's okay. It's going to be okay. I know you're scared. Hell, I'm scared to death, but everything's going to be fine. I don't think this would have happened if it wasn't supposed to. Like you said, we've always been so careful, yet here we are so I figure this happened for a reason. Maybe this is the universe's way of telling us that we are ready," she continued, brushing his hair out of his face. "We'll figure this out. I'll find a job….I dunno…somewhere and you'll do great with the band and the album and everything will work out."
Roger sat for a long moment looking into Mimi's intense brown eyes before looking down at the floor then back up at Mimi. "So you're sure?"
Mimi grinned widely. "Tried every test in the store and got a blood test at the health department just to be sure."
With a deep breath Roger smiled and pulled Mimi into his lap and embraced her tightly.
The tension in the room diminished as Roger and Mimi embraced and the friends smiled at one another.
"So, I'm going to be a daddy," Roger said, sniffling slightly as he pulled away from the embrace and looked around at his friends.
"Congratulations!" said Collins getting up from his chair and wrapping his arms around both Roger and Mimi. Angel, Mark, and Joanne followed suit, joining the hug.
"Okay, I'm insanely happy for you guys, but I just gave birth so you're coming to me!" Maureen said from the bed as she held out her arms to hug Roger and Mimi with Averie resting beside her on the bed.
Mimi and Roger made their way to the bed to hug Maureen. "I never thought I'd see the day when Roger would be forced to grow up," she said, hugging Roger and pecking him on the cheek.
"Well, I thought the same thing about you and look at you now," he smiled.
Maureen then turned to Mimi smiling and took her in her arms. "So our babies are going to grow up together. And if you have a girl you can have all of Averie's hand-me-downs."
"Oh, you know we won't get off that easy. It'll be a boy for sure," laughed Mimi.
"'Aww, but then they can date. That is, assuming they're both straight."
"Oh no. No no no no no," said Joanne lifting Averie off the bed. "She's never dating. Anyone! Gay, straight, or otherwise. Ever! Period. End of story." Everyone laughed.
"Alright guys, I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted. I've had a hard day," sighed Maureen, sliding down against her pillow.
"That's an understatement, chica," chuckled Angel. "You definitely need your rest. I don't even know how you're still awake."
"I'm definitely hanging by a thread," she giggled sleepily.
"C'mon, guys," said Joanne kissing Averie and laying her in the bassinet beside Maureen. "I'll get you some pillows and blankets and you can crash in the guest room or the living room."
"Well then, I guess we'll see you two beautiful girls in the morning," said Collins kissing Maureen's forehead and stroking Averie's dark, downy hair. The rest of the crew blew kisses to Maureen as Joanne retrieved some bed clothes from the hall closet.
After a few minutes of getting everyone settled in, Joanne returned to the bedroom to find Maureen snuggled under the covers almost asleep. She walked around to Maureen's side of the bed and perched herself on the edge as she stared down into the bassinet at her sleeping baby girl.
Sensing Joanne's presence, Maureen sleepily opened her eyes. "What are you doing, Pook?"
"Looking at the two most beautiful girls in the world. Thinking about how lucky I am. Trying to take everything in. I mean, she's here. We've been waiting for her for so long and now she's finally here."
Maureen propped herself up on her elbow and looked into the bassinet as well. "Yeah. I think we did pretty good. What do you think?"
"I think we'll definitely hang onto her for a little while," Joanne smiled, kissing Averie's forehead. "I love you, Sweet Girl." She then climbed over Maureen onto her side of the bed and snuggled in close.
"So……Roger and Mimi are going to have a baby," Maureen said as she felt herself start to drift off to sleep in Joanne's arms. "Who would have ever thunk it?"
"I certainly never would have, but it appears that way. You know, I think I'm going to see if I can get Mimi on at the office as a secretary. I think I could get them to pay for her to take some classes so she could learn the basics. It would be good, steady money for her and Roger and she could get maternity leave when the baby is born. You think she'd be up for it?"
"Yeah. I really think so. You really think you could pull it off?"
"Well, we've lost a few girls over the past few weeks and if I give her a recommendation I think they'd definitely be willing to see what she could do and with Mimi's work ethic I think she'd really do well."
"Baby, that would be amazing! I've wanted her out of that damn strip joint for a long time now. This is the perfect opportunity to get out."
"Yeah, I thought so too."
Both girls lay still for a few minutes with only the sound of their slowing breathing breaking the stillness.
"Honey?" Joanne whispered into Maureen's ear.
"I love you."
"I luh…you….too," Maureen slurred sleepily. Within moments, both girls had drifted off to sleep.
Suddenly the calm silence of the room was broken by Averie's gurgling, newborn fussing that quickly turned to a full blown cry.
"Oh you have got to be kidding me," Maureen groaned.
Joanne groggily sat back up and rubbed her eyes. "Welcome to parenthood, Honey Bear."