Author's Notes: I just realized that I never explained the title of this fic. The subtitle "A Child's Song" was inspired by Elton John's song, "You'll Be Blessed." Thanks to Clare for finding the song for me.
Chapter XV: Epilogue: An Inadvertent Prophecy Fulfilled
"C'mere, baby, and show Momma what you've got," Cheryl called to her son just feet away. She would get up and go to him but it was almost impossible to heft herself up off the sand at eight and a half months pregnant. She could barely believe that she was already about to have another baby in two weeks, a girl this time. The redhead was giddy with excitement despite the thought of the chaos that had surrounded the birth of her first child.
Cheryl gripped the purse that she had laid on the bench on her other side where Dave wasn't seated. She kept telling herself to breathe evenly and this false contraction would just pass. She had been having contractions on and off all morning but they were short and not as painful as she expected labor to be. It had to be just Braxton-Hicks contractions. She hadn't told Dave about the pains because he would have already had her at the hospital and they would be completely missing Allison's and Mike's wedding. Just as soon as they announced the newly married couple, she'd tell him she was ready to leave for their return trip back to the island from Lexington, North Carolina, which was Mike and Sam's hometown.
Sam hadn't noticed anything when the blonde had seen her and Dave settling on the closest empty pew in the church, which was only a few rows back from her and John. If she looked now, she might have noticed. The contraction passed and just in time as the wedding march began. Dave had to put an arm around her back and a hand under her elbow to help her stand as Allison started down the center aisle. When they were finally able to sit down, the pew made a creaking noise as the redhead accidentally plopped back down. She tried to casually fan her flushed face with the wedding program through the priest's opening remarks and the first hymn.
She was tired of feeling and looking like a beached whale. Her body was no longer her own and she couldn't see her feet…period. Dave assured her that they were still there and her mother had treated her to a pedicure just yesterday to pamper her. She could only trust them that her newly painted blue toenails matched her satin dress. Daphne, Dave's cousin who had designed Cheryl's wedding dress, had spent most of the redhead's pregnancy coercing her into being a model for her new maternity clothing line. She was supposed to be waddling down the runway tomorrow in the ocean blue dress.
That was suddenly out of the question. She heard the priest state, "If anyone knows of any lawful impediment why this couple may not be joined in matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace." But the words were distant and far away, like in a haze. There was a scream somewhere down the pew beside her and later she would remember that it was some blonde bimbo that Carlito had brought as his guest. But she didn't need the woman's disgusted scream to draw her attention to the fact that her false labor was not false.
Her husband was staring at her like she had grown horns and then she clearly said, unaware at how loud her voice was, "Dave, I, uh…I think my water just broke."
The entire church was already trying to determine the reason for the scream and now they zeroed in on Cheryl. She could have died in embarrassment but the fact that her first born was coming obliterated that concern.
"What? Now? We can't be having our baby now. He isn't due for another week and, we just scheduled a Caesarean for Wednesday," Dave protested, his eyes wide.
She wanted to retort that she did indeed know that. Afterall, she was the one whose feet were in stirrups just yesterday morning before they discussed with their doctor that it might be less traumatic for her and the baby because of his size if they went the route of having a Caesarean. "Well, he's coming now, and if we don't hurry up, our son will be born in a church," she panted, clutching her purse in pain until her knuckles turned white.
The people on their pew were finally getting the hint and began vacating it, spilling out into the aisle. Dave slid an arm around her and again lifted her up, hauling her up by the elbow. With a grunt, she was finally on her feet. "What do I do?" he asked, focused solely on her and oblivious to the full church. "You haven't got a bag ready and we're nowhere near our hospital. And what about our parents?"
Cheryl's breathing began to return to normal and instinct kicked in. "It's okay, baby. I've had my bag ready and packed in the trunk of car for weeks now just in case. The number for our obstetrician is on speeddial. We'll find the hospital, we'll call him, and he'll call the hospital. Our parents will just have to haul ass on their own," she said, waddling up the aisle with Dave at her side. "Honey, all you have to do is drive us safely to the closest hospital."
Taking a deep breath, he nodded. "Okay, pum'kin, that I can do," Dave said and planted a kiss on her cheek. Realizing everyone was staring at them, he turned to the congregation. "Uh, sorry to have disturbed the ceremony. I guess we'll, uh, call you from the hospital when we have any news." He paused and then added with a grin, "I'm gonna be a father."
"Not if you don't get your ass in gear. You won't live to see your child born if you don't get in that car now," Cheryl warned from the other side of the double doors on her way to the parking lot.
Dave barely heard the laughter as he hurried out, letting the doors fall shut. "I'm coming," he said, placing a hand under her elbow as she turned sideways to see the first step of the stairs. "What about the car seat? We may have your bag but we don't have a car seat."
"Mom will just have to bring it," she answered without missing a beat. For a woman in labor, she was quick in getting to the car. Dave opened the door for her but paused. "What?" she asked.
"Should we put something on the seats?" he asked.
"Sure, there's newspaper in the backseat," she sarcastically answered and then glared at him. "I'm not a cat."
"Not a smart comment, Dave," they heard from behind them. Both turned to see Shawn Michaels standing on the other side of the door. "Does your car a navigation system?" The couple shook their head. "So how did you think you were getting to the hospital? Never mind," Shawn quickly added, understanding of the panic the two were in. "I've got one. Follow me," he said, jerking his head towards his rental car.
Cheryl shook her head at Dave, wondering how they were indeed gong to find directions to the hospital. "Not our finest moment," she said, lowering herself into the seat.
By the time Dave was in the driver seat, the redhead was already on the phone calling her mother. Roslyn excitedly flitted about while they were talking, attempting to get ready before she even knew where she was going. She agreed to pick up the newborn's car seat that was currently in the beach house's foyer.
By the time Cheryl was off the phone, Dave had finally gotten through to her obstetrician. "I don't care how long it takes for you to get here, get in your car and come now," the wrestler bellowed. "You have to perform the Caesarean…I don't care, I don't know those doctors and I won't have anybody cut—" Dave drew in a sharp breath and then let it slowly out. "I will pay you anything you want. I'm talking high numbers…What do you mean I can't buy you off…Yeah, I know it's a-whole-nother state away…This is my wife we're talking about!"
Cheryl tried to jerk the phone away from her husband but he held tight, still yelling at the doctor. Finally, she pried it from his fingers and began apologizing profusely despite the contraction that had her gritting her teeth. "Yes, please," she said sweetly when the obstetrician explained that he would call ahead to the hospital and have all of her records faxed there in minutes.
"Why'd you do that?" Dave demanded.
"Because I would still like to see him if we have another baby," she said through an exhalation of breath. She found that if she breathed out and concentrated on every word she said, she could handle the pain a little bit better.
"If it starts hurting worse than this, there won't be another one," she moaned. Breathing and concentrating weren't helping any more. "He wouldn't be so big if it wasn't for you," she snapped.
"Me? You're the one who's put on thirty pounds," he retorted as they pulled up to a redlight.
"Son of a bitch, you just didn't," she shouted, drawing her left arm across her chest and then lashing out. Dave grunted because the smack on his chest actually hurt. It was worst than a chest slap from Ric Flair. "And that's with my weak arm," she growled.
Dave's phone rang within seconds and Cheryl grabbed it, still glaring at him. He managed to pluck it from her fingers before she could answer it. "Yeah," he answered, knowing it was Shawn from the ID.
"Please don't provoke her," the other wrestler stated. "Just drive."
"Shawn," Cheryl yelled where he could hear her on the phone. "Tell him to stop being a dumbass."
"It's not like that," Dave replied to HBK. "I tried to take her mind off of labor and thought it would help if she was hitting something."
"He called me a fatass," the redhead added.
"I did not," Batista immediately countered.
"Okay, fine, but be careful," the other man warned, rolling his eyes at the couple. There was a reason he was coming along and that display was exactly it. He could only thank God that they were two blocks from the hospital.
That wasn't the last time Cheryl hit Dave and he was grateful that he had recently cut his hair so she couldn't get a handful. Her records had arrived shortly before she had and she only had to hang on long enough to be admitted and examined by a stand-in obstetrician before she received the epidural, just enough time to make Dave appreciate her strength as a female wrestler.
After that, it was a whirlwind delivery by Caesarean and she was suddenly holding her first born, weighing in at ten pounds and six ounces, swaddled in a blanket and sleeping peacefully in her arms. Her emotions were so high she couldn't quit crying at the miracle of this baby.
Shawn was finally let in and she hastily wiped away the tears. The blonde couldn't help but smile broadly at the new family. Dave was perched on the side of her bed, gently stroking a small hand that had found its way out of the blanket. His other arm was around the redhead who couldn't take her eyes off the baby. Shawn hoped that the couple would have found their way back to themselves even if Cheryl hadn't come to him crying after they had broken up five years ago. He would like to think, though, that he had a hand in making this happen today.
"Can I hold him?" Shawn softly asked. The redhead nodded and carefully placed the baby in his arms. "What name did you decide on?"
"Daniel Michael," she replied with a grin. "Daniel for my late grandfather and Michael for his father and for Dave's grandfather."
"That's a big name to live up to," Shawn said to the newborn, running the back of a finger down the boy's cheek. "Your daddy's a big guy and Daniel was a great man in the Bible. You don't know it yet but he spent the night with lions…"
While Shawn enumerated the great exploits of the biblical character, Cheryl began tearing up again and Dave kissed her on the forehead. "Still adamant about not having anymore?" he asked her in reference to a few vows she made before receiving the epidural.
"I don't think I meant that," she replied, cupping his cheek with her trembling hand. "I don't think I meant a lot that I said."
"You know I intentionally said some things to get you pissed off to help with the pain."
She chuckled and nodded her head. "Yes, honey. Let me get this one out of diapers before we start on another, okay?"
"I wouldn't ask for more," he said, kissing her again. "Only whenever you're ready."
Apparently she was fertile Myrtle. Assuming it would take a while, she had come off her birth control when Daniel turned two and she was pregnant within three months. Their little girl was due the week after Daniel's third birthday.
"What did you find, sweetie?" Cheryl asked as Dave squatted down beside his wife and firstborn. The former wrestler had flown home for the few days off he had from filming the small role he had landed in an upcoming movie. It was his second movie since choosing to retire less than a year after Daniel was born. With his contract set to expire shortly after his birthday, he realized that, at the age of forty-one, it was time to hang up his wrestling boots and play with his son instead.
The little boy, his copper hair spiked by the dried saltwater, carefully laid the pointed, sand-colored object in her outstretched hand. "What's it?" he asked, pointing with a tiny finger and then jerking it back to put it in his mouth.
Dave gently extracted the finger, aware that no one could know where it had been after a day on the beach. "It's a starfish," he answered when his wife didn't immediately reply. She was staring at the echinoderm as if it could break at any moment just by breathing on it.
The child sensed his mother's reverence for the object and gently lifted it from her hand to study it. After a couple of minutes, he carefully gave it back to her and then pointed at the red pail beside her. "Put it there," he said.
Cheryl laid the starfish inside the bucket along with various seashells and a sanddollar. Before she could look up, Daniel was running back to his sandcastle at the edge of the water.
"What's wrong?" Dave asked, slipping to the sand beside her.
"I…it's…" She sniffled and wiped at her eyes, only to scratch her cheeks with the dry sand on her palms. "Damn," she muttered and rubbed her hands across her shirt.
"Are you okay? The baby…"
"It's fine," she sighed. "It's…do you remember those paintings I did when I found out we were pregnant? The ones where we were so surprised that Daniel's hair was just as copper as I painted?"
"Yeah, I remember. We were so shocked when he was born with a head full of hair like that," Dave replied with a chuckle.
"I know I never hung them but do you remember the one of us on the beach?" she asked, tucking a stray hair behind her ear. "The pail, the starfish, me pregnant…"
He thought about it for a moment and then recognition dawned on him, his dark eyes widening. "The starfish…you…yeah, I remember…wow," he breathed.
"You said that the decision to have kids then was made for us. It's just confirmation…like somehow I knew that one day we'd be here." Cheryl looked up towards the horizon on the sea, leaning back to rest her hands behind her on the beach.
Dave glanced the few feet over at Daniel, plopping more wet sand atop the mounds that formed his castle and fortress. He then followed his wife's eyes out to the horizon and quietly pondered a guiding hand in their life.
"Nothing's wrong at all," Cheryl said, laying a hand on her husband's. "Everything is absolutely perfect."
Author's Notes: Again, for this chapter, credit must be given to WandaXmaximoff (ID: 747588). She created the idea for the scene during the wedding and wrote almost all of the dialogue in the chapel. But my gratitude for Wanda (aka Clare) doesn't stop there. I have to thank her again for reading this in a piecemeal state and then again when it was in its final form. My utmost respect and gratitude for not only being a great beta but for being a wonderful friend as well, Clare!
Well, we have come to an end. It's all said and done. I can't thank all my readers and reviewers enough. A special thanks to all those who reviewed: WandaXmaximoff, shannygoat, Inday, justkimmy, and AshMattXoXo.
As of this moment, I have several wrestling fics in the works but none that are close to being ready to post. I'm heavily into a LOTR fic right now that will be posted under my Daughter of Olorinaccount here on ff dot net (ID: 342090) before I finish the wrestling fics.
Again, thank you! 'Til next time!