It was amazing how much could change in a month and a half. For one thing, Kim was now permanently in Angel Grove. After Tommy had come to New York, it had only taken her three days to pack all of her things, hire a moving company, and find a new apartment. She already had a new house being built, but it wouldn't be livable for several months. Trini had offered up her apartment during construction since she now lived with Jason, but Kim felt it was best to find someplace without so many memories, good and bad. That's when her decision to build her own house came about. She wanted a fresh start. Tommy had known better than to suggest that Kim live with him, but he had still been tempted. Logic ruled over emotions however, and he knew he'd still be seeing Kim as often as possible.
Kim jumped full steam ahead with the plans for her new house, including a basement recording studio and small private gymnastics center of sorts. Adam willingly agreed to help Kim design the recording studio and find all the equiptment she would need. Billy also offered to lend a hand for any technical set-ups. Once plans were set in stone, Kim seemed more relaxed and willing to let her contracter take over.
When Kim asked Tommy to help her plan Trini's baby shower he was surprised, but jumped at the chance to spend more time with Kim. That quickly grew into Tommy running errands while Kim planned the shower since Tommy was deemed, "Too much of a guy to help with the girlie things." Sylvia and June jumped at the chance to step in and take Tommy's place. The three women insisted on making it a true surprise shower, and started early on not only inviting men but insisting they be there.
When Tommy inquired as to why, Kim just held her head high and replied "Why men think that baby showers are only for women is beyond me. Men are the fathers, why wouldn't they be there while everyone celebrates?" Tommy had to smile as a tiny bit of the old Kim came out for a moment. Then she looked to the floor and smiled shyly, "And the more people that come, the more gifts the parent-to-be get." Tommy rolled his eyes and silently welcomed "his Kim" back.
It was unanimously decided to hold the shower at Ernie's. "In so many ways, that's where it all began," Kim admitted when she asked Ernie for permission to hold the shower there. He not only agreed, but he insisted on provided the food and drinks. Kim took him up on his offer, but she had one condition. "I'll pay so you can hire extra staff that day, because you're going to be at the shower as a guest." Ernie smiled down at Kim and wrapped her in a hug. "Done deal, Kimmy-cub. Done deal."
All the hard work payed off the day of the shower. Trini was genuinely surprised and had to resist the urge to chase down Kim and Sylvia. Once she got over the shock, Trini was more than happy to let herself be surrounded by family and friends. Sylvia and June had outdone themselves with the invites and invited as many people to the baby shower as had been invited to the wedding. Kim was happy to leave that detail to them, while she took care of the Ranger side of the family. After spending over an hour opening presents, Trini still had at least half of the pile to go. Her guests insisted they didn't mind if she took the rest home and opened them there. In fact, both Trini and most of the guests were relieved.
Kim and Tommy helped Jason and Trini bring the gifts home, although Kim had an ulterior motive. Kim suggested Trini ride with her so more gifts could be packed into Tommy's Jeep. As they pulled up Trini commented on the Porche Cayenne in her driveway. "Who parks in other people's driveways? Seriously! Now we have to find out who's it is and get them to move it."
"Well, we could always move it ourselves," Kim replied in a sing song voice.
Trini looked at Kim like she had finally lost what was left of her mind before Kim held up a set of keys. "You DIDN'T!"
"Kim, no! Please tell me you did not get me a Porche! Cars are not normal baby shower gifts! Are you demented?!" Trini leapt out of the car as fast as she could.
"If you don't want it, I could always take it back..."
"Don't you dare," Trini exclaimed as her mouth hung open.
"Or keep it for myself. It drives like a dream."
Trini closed her mouth and walked closer to the car. She ran her hand along the handle. Just as she was peering inside the car Jason and Tommy pulled up. "What the hell is this?" Jason asked as he got out of the Jeep.
"My new car," Trini answered in awe.
"Your new... KIM! Again?!"
Kim just shrugged and tossed Trini the keys. "Shotgun!"
Tommy looked and Jason and shrugged in Kim-like fashion. "I'm in."
Jason stood speechless until Trini revved the engine. ""That," he finally admitted is a beautiful sound."
Trini was now over seven months pregnant, and her stomach had gone from a baby bump to its own planet. Kim was over everyday keeping her company, cooking while Jason was at work, and reminding her that she only had two months left before she got to push a human out of her body. Trini's cravings hadn't let up or gotten more normal. In fact, they had gone running in the other direction. Fried banana splits had only been the tip of the amazingly weird iceberg, and now Trini was craving anything from pickles dipped in marinara sauce, which Tommy had been called upon to make, to Tabasco flavored brownies. Despite having her friends and husband by her side at every moment, Trini's pregnancy wasn't easy. Her morning sickness continued well into her second trimester and it caused her to lose a lot of strength. The worst had been right after her amniocentesis when she was five months along. She went home that day after the procedure and had known that something wasn't right. Early that morning Jason ignored her protests and took her to the emergency room. A sonogram revealed that the amniotic sack hadn't sealed completely and she had lost five ounces of amniotic fluid.
Now after over two months of bed rest, Trini was at the end of her rope. And Jason seemed well past his. Worrying endlessly about his wife and their unborn child had taken its toll on the normally composed man. His nerves were shot, but he was usually able to keep it together in front of Trini. As soon as he was out of her earshot however, he took it out on the nearest person. He sparred with Tommy to get out his frustrations, but there were still times when he felt like yelling at top of his lungs at the first person he saw. And it was usually Kim.
"I swear, she has got to be the most stubborn person I've ever met! Does she think I like seeing her lie there day in and day out?"
Kim wrapped an arm around her surrogate brother's shoulder, "She's just anxious. She's been cooped up for months now. You know she doesn't feel right unless she's doing something important."
"Keeping our child safe isn't important?! Making sure that she carries this baby to term isn't enough to make her feel like she's contributing?" He threw her arm off his shoulder.
"Stop snapping at me, Jase! It's getting old," Kim growled at him. "I know you're both under an enormous amount of stress right now, but yelling at the person who lovingly makes your wife her insane cravings while you're at work isn't gonna make your life any easier."
"You're not the one who has to put up with her freezing you out of the room all night! And god forbid I should try to hold her while we're sleeping. She kicked me off the bed last night!"
"She probably just didn't want you pawing her all night! It's not like you have to listen to her complain about-"
Jason and Kim jumped simultaneously when they heard Trini roar her command. "Now listen up, both of you. I'm under enough stress here without having to worry about refereeing you two," Trini glared at Kim, then Jason.
"Sorry, honey," Jason mumbled sheepishly.
"Sorry, Trin," Kim's voiced mimed Jason's
"I don't want to hear you get into one more pissing contest about who has it worse taking care of me because… I'm not…" Trini's voice started shaking and her bottom lip quivered a sure sign that the pregnancy hormones had gotten the best of her.
"Oh, sweetie, don't cry," Kim cooed as she pushed Jason out of the way to get to Trini first.
"Now look what you did!" Kim mouthed to Jason.
"ME?!" he mouthed back. "I'm not the one who called her insane!"
Kim snorted slightly. "I'M not the one who called her the most stubborn-" "Stop mouthing things to each other! I never should have taught you guys to read lips!"
"We didn't mean to upset you. We're just worried about you that's all," Kim rubbed Trini's back. "I promise we won't fight anymore, will we?" Kim directed a commanding look at Jason.
He glared at Kim quickly before turning his gaze to Trini. "Of course not. Go back to bed, sweetheart. We'll take care of dinner. Kim," he addressed Kim in a sickly sweet tone. "Will you go to the store for more ice cream while I start cooking?"
Before Kim could answer what was sure to be a very colorful response, Trini whimpered, "Jase, can you go to the store while Kim cooks? I'm really craving her grilled chicken pasta."
"Of course," Jason responded through gritted teeth. He noted Kim's triumphant grin with a small growl and grabbed his keys up in one swift motion from the kitchen table. Not trusting himself to say anything else he stormed out of the apartment where he all but crashed into Tommy. The paleontologist jumped back when he heard Jason muttering something about "Christmas Tree Ranger" and "Doesn't have to put up with nine months of two girls teaming up to drive him insane day in and day out."
"Hey man. Where you going?"
"Store," Jason muttered tightly brushing past Tommy. Half-way to his car he turned around to face his confused friend. "Do me a favor," Jason said.
"When you and Kim are pregnant- STOP FLINCHING WHENEVER I SAY THAT! When you and Kim are pregnant, promise me you'll let Trini come over to undermine you're authority as a husband and expectant father."
"You know she doesn't mean it when she gets like this," Tommy tried to console him. Jason usually refrained from lashing out verbally on Tommy, perhaps feeling that the fact that his best friend allowed him to try to beat him like a Putty almost everyday was enough support.
"Right," Jason snorted. With that, he threw open his car door and turned the key in the ignition so hard it was a miracle it didn't break. He threw the car into reverse, backed out and sped away to the store, still muttering to himself.
Tommy walked toward the door, shaking his head and remembering exactly why Kim didn't want to surprise Jason with the new car until after the baby was born. He plan was to show up at the hospital with it, so "the baby will never have to be in an unsafe car."
Opening the door he was greeted with the sound of Trini's sobbing. "Crap," Tommy whispered to himself. "Jason could have warned me she was crying," he mumbled to himself. Not quite sure of his next move, he did what any man would do in his situation. He called for his girlfriend. "Kim?"
"Kitchen," came Kim's frazzled response. Tommy took his time walking to the kitchen, not wanting to become a target if Trini was on an "I hate men" rampage. "Everything ok?"
"Yeah, come on in," Kim called back. Bracing himself, Tommy stepped into the kitchen. After a quick look around, Tommy sighed internally. All he found was Trini quietly crying into Kim's shoulder as Kim rubbed her back and whispered soothing phrases. No thrown food, no broken plates, no knives out of the block on the counter. He knew Trini would never resort to that, but he did have his nagging suspicions about Jason and Kim when they got going. "Hey," he said softly.
Kim looked up at him and her lips curled into the smile that was reserved for only him. "Hey. You're early," she noted with surprise.
"Light traffic," he replied, giving her a look that meant he would explain later. "How is she?" Tommy asked, indicating Trini, whose sobs had started to wane.
"She's fine. Just a hard day that's all," Kim kept rubbing Trini's back until the pregnant woman picked her head up.
"They were going at it like crazy," Trini informed Tommy with a dramatic sigh. He tried to hide a laugh at the look on both Kim and Trini's face. "Yeah, they tend to do that," Tommy agreed as he leaned against the refrigerator.
"But we promised to stop," Kim reminded Trini.
She nodded and stood up, "You better." Rubbing her swollen belly she turned to Tommy, "Did you see Jason before he left?"
"Uh, yeah. He was just leaving."
"How pissed was he?" Trini asked, lowering herself back down into a chair with a groan. "I'm Shamu." Tommy and Kim both wisely ignored her remark. Sometimes comforting her backfired.
"You know him," Tommy answered vaguely. "He'll be over it before he gets to the store."
Trini nodded. "Kim? Could you get me some juice? If we have any orange that'd be great, I think I OD'd on apple."
Kim walked over to the fridge where Tommy was still leaning. "Hey, you," she greeted Tommy.
"Hi," Tommy leaned down to kiss Kim. She obliged and wrapped her arms around his neck as he wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her closer. When the kiss ended they stayed locked in each others arms. "You won't get juice like that," Trini commented dryly.
"Lovely," Kim whispered. Flashing Tommy another grin, Kim leaned up to give him another quick peck before detangling herself and opening the fridge.
"How are you feeling today, Trini?" Tommy asked politely.
"Like my body is preparing for the screaming, horrible pain of pushing a human out of my body. You?"
"Wow," Tommy whispered under his breath.
"She's a little edgy today," Kim whispered to him low enough so Trini wouldn't hear. "I think she got a fresh batch of pregnancy hormones this morning."
"Kim, sweetie? Are you being nice enough to fresh squeeze the orange juice? Because I'm sitting here looking at an empty glass and that's the only logical explanation I've been able to come up with."
"I can think of another one," Kim muttered under her breath. Taking a deep breath, Kim plastered a fake smile on her face and poured Trini her orange juice. "If you're ok for now, I'm gonna step outside with Tommy for a minute. I need his opinion on how to set up my kitchen."
Trini shrugged. "Sure. Just remember to come up for air on occasion."
"Noted," Kim answered with gritted teeth. With great effort, Kim managed not to stomp out of the room, Tommy walking quickly to keep pace behind her until they were outside. After Tommy closed the door, Kim buried her face in her hands and let out a frustrated groan.
"She's, ah… a little difficult today, huh?" Tommy asked as he rubbed Kim's shoulders.
"I wish for difficult. Difficult would be a pleasure compared to today," Kim moaned as Tommy began to massage her neck, easing some of the tension that had building. "It's just… that thing in there isn't Trini. It's some mutant, demanding, emotional version of her." Kim let out a huge sigh, "And I feel like a horrible friend for having just said that."
Tommy stopped massaging Kim's neck and turned her around to face him. Kim's lips were pouty and while that gave Tommy an overwhelming urge to kiss her senseless, he simply wrapped his arms around her.
Kim kept her arms at her side for half a second, her old stubbornness fighting with her desire to just let it go before she wrapped her arms around Tommy's torso and buried her head in his chest. All things aside, this really was her favorite place to be and she was reminded of how grateful she was to feel his arms around her again. They stayed quiet for a few moments before Kim whispered into his chest, "It's just frustrating to see her like that. And heart breaking."
"I know," was all Tommy replied gently. He smoothed her hair and kissed the top of her head. "She'll be back to her old self soon. And you guys will have another person to spoil and dress from head to toe in pink or blue."
Kim smiled at the thought. Tommy felt Kim nod her head against his chest as she held him tighter. He smiled to himself and was about to speak before he hear a distinct roar of an engine. "Jason's back."
Kim kept her head in Tommy's chest until she heard Jason's voice call out, "So you leave your pregnant friend to make out with your boyfriend? Sweet, Kim." He motioned for Tommy to help him unload the car but Tommy held up a finger indicating he'd be there in a minute.
Kim let out a low growl that was interrupted by a short beep, alerting her that she had a text message. Pulling out her phone she opened it. Her eyes grew wide when she realized the message was from Trini and contained only one word. "HELP!"
"Oh, shit!" Kim scrambled out of Tommy's arms and ran to the door, slamming her fist on it once, when she found it was locked.
"Jase, your keys!" Tommy yelled, realizing what was bound to happen if Kim didn't get an easy way in. Before Jason could frantically fish his keys out his pocket, Tommy saw Kim take a step back from the door. "Kim, wait!"
Kim ignored Tommy and a split second later a tremendous crash could be heard as Kim kicked the door in and tore through the living room to get to the kitchen with Jason right behind her. After finding Trini's chair empty Kim grabbed Jason's arm. "Where is she," Kim was barely able to get out. Her question was answered when they heard Trini gasping on the floor. Jason pushed past Kim to kneel down beside his wife. "Baby, what is it?" Trini couldn't reply, just gasp again with pain and grab her stomach. "Hospital, now!"
Kim could only nod in agreement with Jason and whirled around to yell for Tommy, only to realize he was right behind her. "I'll ride with them, you take your car and meet us there."
"No, Kim you ride with Tommy," Jason grunted as he lifted Trini up off the floor. As soon as he had her secure in his arms he stepped over the fallen door and hurried out to the car.
"Don't fight with me on this, Kim!"
Kim was about to protest again but Tommy put an arm on her shoulder to stop her. "Come on, if we leave now we'll get there at the same time as them."
Casting a look of betrayal at Tommy, Kim grabbed her bag and threw herself into Tommy's car, folding her arms across her chest and setting her mouth in a firm line. "LET'S GO!" she yelled when she felt Tommy was taking to long.
She's so cute when she's mad, Tommy thought as he fished for his keys. All similar thoughts where pushed from his mind when he heard Trini scream in pain right before Jason peeled out of the driveway. Quickly starting the engine, Tommy threw the car in reverse and followed Jason's break-neck speed.
In reality, the drive to the hospital couldn't have taken more than 10 minutes, but to the four former Rangers it seemed like hours. After squealing to a stop outside the emergency room, Jason hurried around to the passenger side of the car to retrieve Trini. Her pain had lessened slightly, but she was still obviously worried. Kim and Tommy parked right next to Jason and ran inside just in time to hear Jason yell at the receptionist and Trini in turn yell at Jason. They were immediately taken up to Labor and Delivery amidst Trini's protests. "I am not in labor! It's Braxton Hicks! I'm only 29 weeks! I don't care what you do, you keep this baby in me!"
Trini was hit with another wave of pain as the doctor walked in. "Hi everyone, I'm Dr. Morandi. We've paged your OB/GYN but I'll be filling in until she gets here." He took a quick survey of the room, "And I'm afraid hospital policy means that only one of you can stay in here," he indicated toward Tommy and Kim.
"Kim," both Jason and Trini said automatically. Kim gave Tommy an apologetic look.
"It's ok. I should move the cars out of the ambulance bay anyway. If they haven't already been towed. I'll check back soon." He gave Jason a firm hug and kissed Trini on the cheek. "You'll be ok, Trini," he said, trying to make his voice sound assuring. After giving Kim a quick kiss, he left.
"Ok, Mrs. Scott, I have to examine you. You husband and sister-in-law can stay or wait outside, which ever you want." It took Kim a minute to grasp who Dr. Morandi meant by sister-in-law before she realized he must have meant her.
"I want them to stay. And please, it's Trini. You're about to get very personal, so I think we can just toss formalities right out the window." Both Jason and Kim breathed a sigh of relief to hear Trini at least momentarily back to her old self. After examining Trini quickly, Dr. Morandi placed the sheet back over her and turned to them all with a grave face. "You're in labor, Trini. The pain you're feeling are real contractions, not Braxton Hicks. So far you're three centimeters dilated, but you're water hasn't broken yet which is good. I'm going to try to stop the labor with medication, but just in case I want to put you on something else that will help your baby's lungs mature." Dr. Morandi kept his voice calm, which Jason knew he was doing to soothe everyone but right now it was coming off to them as nonchalant. Jason wondered if maybe he should ask for someone who would be more aggressive with treatment, he wanted whatever was possible done for his wife and their child. "Let's start her on magnesium sulphate," Dr. Morandi told the nurse. "Trini, the magnesium will most likely make you nauseous, but it should help keep the muscles in your uterus from contracting."
"Whatever you have to do," Trini agreed. She gripped Jason's hand tighter. "It's too soon, Jason."
"I know sweetheart, I know. They're gonna do everything they can to stop this. It'll be ok." He brushed the hair away from her forehead and kissed it. "Kim, can you stay with her for a minute? I have to make some calls, let everyone know what's going on. I'll call your parents first, ok sweetie?" Jason kissed Trini's forehead again.
"I can make the calls, Jase. You stay with her," Kim offered.
"Thanks sis, but she probably wants a girl here to sympathize," Jason leaned down to whisper to Kim, "And I need to collect myself for a minute. I don't want to lose it in front of her."
Kim nodded and gave Jason a bear hug before going over to take Trini's hand. After mouthing love you, to Trini, Jason left the room. Once outside the hospital Jason pulled out his cell phone and opened it before snapping it shut and closing his eyes. He could feel the tears welling up behind them and, try as he might, he knew it was useless to fight them. Sinking to the ground, Jason chocked back a sob before finally giving up. Burying his face in his hands he cried for his wife, cried for his child, and cried at the thought of losing either of them. He sat like that for a while, his head buried, until he heard a somber voice declare, "You know, if you weren't going through absolute hell right now, I'd point out how you just broke about five rules in the macho man code of ethics."
Jason turned his face up to see Zach looking down at him with a kind face and a sad smile. He offered his hand to help Jason up then pulled him into a backbreaking hug. "How ya doing, man? Scratch that, I can tell just by looking at you. You look like hell, Scott."
Jason snorted a laugh, grateful for his friend that could always make him crack a smile in the worst times. "How did you know we were here?"
"Tommy called in the troops. Something about needing to make himself useful. Good thing I was right in Stone Canyon visiting, ah a friend. I think I set some sort of record for getting here. Billy's on his way from San Diego, he was visiting Scott. Adam's canceling his gig for tonight, then he'll be on his way, too. Aisha and Rocky are getting the first flight out of Chicago, Kat's visiting relatives in New Zealand but she's flying out tonight. Sylvia's dropping Erin off at her mom's, she'll be here soon. I think he even tried to get Tanya in Mozambique, no clue if he had any luck. No one's really heard from her since she called to say she couldn't make it for the wedding, maybe Kat knows. And… yeah, I think that's it. Oh! Trini's parents are on their way… and your parents are coming up fast behind you. Hey, Mama Scott!"
Karen wasn't able to answer Zach in words, but she did throw herself at him in a hug. "How is she? Is the baby ok? She can't really be in labor, can she? Is Jason a mess?"
"Um, you might want to ask him, he's right behind you."
"Wha- oh! Sweetheart, I didn't see you standing there!" She launched herself at Jason.
"You didn't see your 6' 2" son wearing a bright red shirt? Dear, while we're here you might want to get your eyes checked," Jason's father Matt joked quietly.
"His back was to me and I saw Zach first, don't you dare start, Matthew this is not the time!"
"Mom, after you spit out Dad's head, go in and see Trini and Kim. But please, for the love of all that's good and holy calm down first. I'm out here because I don't want Trini to freak out seeing me like this but I need to get back to her. Plus, Kim probably needs to trade places with me because her color looked about as good as yours does right now."
Karen's eyes teared up and she squeezed Jason's hand. "My little boy really is all grown up, now," she sniffled.
"Thought the wedding would have tipped you off to that Mama Scott, but hey… to each her own. How've you been, Pop?" Zach turned to Matt who looked relieved to be included in a conversation that didn't result in his being scolded.
"Not bad, not bad. Got a great new camera, just in time I guess. How's the bachelor life?" Matt gave Zach a punch on the shoulder.
"Eh, I think I might start thinking about settling down, maybe," Zach paused and replayed his response in his head. "You understood that, right?" Matt nodded and held back a laugh. "Yeah, between seeing these guys getting married and about to pop out a kid and Kim and Tommy finally getting their heads out of their asses it made me wonder if maybe I don't want more."
"Eloquently put, son," Matt complimented as he held back another laugh. "So, should we go see our lovely daughter-in-law now?"
"You'll have to sneak in. The doctor said only two people can be in there at a time and I want either Kim or I to be with her at all times, in case the doctors has any questions and Trini gets overwhelmed. Between Kim and I, we've been with her through every minute of the pregnancy," Jason gave his parents an apologetic look.
"Have you and Kim finally stopped fighting like children?" Karen asked pointedly.
Jason shrugged, "This is more important. Plus, whatever Kim and I have been fighting about has led up to this. I'm more grateful to her than ever before for helping Trini through this, and I intend to tell her as soon as I get back up there."
"If I know Kimmy, she's already formed an apology in her head and is just waiting until you get there," Matt said with confidence. Having no daughters of his own, Kimberly had always been like his own little girl. She had thought of him as a second father, and she once confessed more of a father than her own. He had been her escort to two father/daughter dances much to her delight and his pleasure.
"I'm gonna sneak up there with you guys," Zach put an arm around each of Jason's parents and started to lead them inside. "I wanna give my girls some love, too. Jase, you coming?" Zach turned back to look at Jason.
Jason shook his head. "I want to find Tommy first. As long as we're breaking the rules, he should be there. Considering he called everyone and their mother and saved me some cell phone minutes."
Once his parents and Zach were inside Jason breathed another huge sigh and sunk back down. He was in the same position as when Zach came before he heard footsteps coming toward him. Jason looked up to see Tommy standing over him. "I owe you more than big for making those calls."
Tommy waved his hand in a gesture for Jason to forget about it. "You look like-"
"Hell, right? Zach already pointed that out. He just went inside with my parents. We're just going to sneak people in." After a long silence, Jason looked up at Tommy. "I can't lose them," he choked back a sob. "Her or the baby. I can't."
"You won't," Tommy assured him as he sunk down next to Jason. "Trini's a fighter, literally. She'll get through this and everything will be fine. She's fought hard already to bring this baby this far and from the look in her eye, she's still got some more fight left in her."
Jason simply nodded. Both men let the silence wash over them. After a few more minutes, Jason stood up. "I really need to get in there. Kim must need a break right now and I can't stand to be away from Trini any longer."
"You know Kim won't leave," Tommy gently cautioned.
"You need to get her out of that room, even if it's for a few minutes."
Tommy gave his friend a questioning look before Jason explained. "She'll need a break, Tommy. It's not because I don't want her there. She needs a minute away from seeing Trini like that. We both know that Kim's a creature of emotion. And while I love that about her, it's bound to be making her crazy right now."
Tommy nodding in understanding, a little upset at himself that he didn't think of it first. "I'll just pull her out for a few minutes. But I don't think I can keep her away longer than that… her instincts have kicked in full gear and right now. Between her and Trini's maternal instincts we're not going to have much luck keeping them apart. Plus, you know you need her too, man," Tommy pointed out gently
"I do need her. She knows it too. We've been each others' rock for 26 years… god that's makes me feel old to say that," Jason chuckled mirthlessly.
Tommy clapped Jason on the back. "Let's go."
They were still down the hall from Trini's hospital room when they heard Kim's distinct voice yell, "They ARE family!" Tommy and Jason exchanged a look before quickening their pace. They got to the door just in time to see Zach and Billy stomping out of the room. "You know that rule is completely asinine!" Zach called over his shoulder.
They stop just short of crashing into Jason and Tommy. "What the hell just happened?" Jason asked.
"We were asked to vacate the room based on an extremely, well Zach put it best, asinine restriction of permitted visitors."
Jason shook his head. "I'll take care of it." Jason stepped into the room the find a flustered OB/GYN, a pissed off former gymnast, his parents, and his wife whose face was a dead give away that she was in pain.
"He kicked them out," Kim pointed towards Dr. Morandi who sighed. He opened his mouth to explain, but Jason cut him off. "Doctor, I know this hospital has visitation rules, and while I respect that, my wife and I are fortunate enough to have a large family that loves us very much. I would seriously recommend that unless we're putting Trini or the baby in danger by being here, you bend the rules. We're not exactly a happy group when one of us is in trouble." Jason had to hide a smile as he remembered exactly how much trouble they had all landed themselves in one time or another as Rangers.
Sensing he was fighting a losing battle, Dr. Morandi sighed again, "Just as long as you keep things quiet and don't disturb the other patients. And if I tell everyone to get out for an exam or emergency, I mean it. That being said, Trini I have to check your cervix, so unless you want your in-laws seeing a part of you that…"
"We're leaving!" Matt announced as he ushered his wife outside. "I'm with them," Tommy agreed. He hesitated looking at Kim.
"She can stay," Trini told Dr. Morandi. Tommy cleared his throat. "Kim, do you want to get a cup of coffee with me?"
Kim hesitated. She looked at Trini, then at Jason who put an arm around her. "Go ahead, Pinky. I'll take good care of her." Trini gave Kim a look signaling it was ok.
"I have my cell," was all Kim said as she followed Tommy out the door. They started walking towards the coffee shop in the lobby when Kim abruptly stopped. She gave a shaky sigh and brought her hand up to her forehead. Tommy wasted no time in wrapping his arms around her. She leaned into his embrace and wrapped her arms around his torso. "This sucks."
"I'm really worried about them."
"Me, too." Tommy kissed the top of her head and rested his chin there.
"Can we just adopt?" Kim moaned into his chest.
Tommy gave a low chuckle before kissing her hair. "Not really into the whole painful, messy childbirth thing firsthand at the moment, huh?"
Kim shook her head, "Not in the slightest."
"I think we have time to worry about that, babe. Although… if you wanted to practice we are in a building with plenty of beds," Tommy joked lightly.
Kim turned her head up to glare at him," "Don't even think about it." She gave Tommy an uneasy look that he couldn't quite decifer.
Tommy gave another chuckle as he felt a vibration against his leg. "That's you."
Before Kim could take out her phone to check who was calling, Billy and Zach ran around the corner and skidded to a stop in front of them. "We were anticipating the pair of you being in the coffee shop, so in our haste we-"
"Trini's water broke!" Zach cut off Billy.
The words where barely out of Zach's mouth before Kim broke into a run for Trini's room, the others closely behind her. A nurse was standing outside of the door, blocking Kim from entering. "Miss, you can't-"
"MOVE!" Kim growled.
The nurse gave a small squeak of fear and stepped aside as Kim pushed open the door. "Trini!"
Jason was standing next to the hospital bed holding Trini's hand and stroking her forehead while she cried quietly. "Is she…?" Kim's voice caught in her throat.
"She's in active labor. There's nothing they can do now to stop it. She's five centimeters dilated and ninety percent effaced."
Kim choked back a sob. "But the baby…?"
Jason clenched his jaw. "They're still giving her medicine to help the baby's lungs. But… they're not sure if it's enough."
"Jason, can you and Kim go meet my parents downstairs? I'm sure they're here by now," Trini grimaced as another contraction hit her.
"Both of us? Honey, I don't want you to be alone right now," Jason argued.
"Send one of the 5 people out in the hall in. Hell, send them all in. Just… you two need to get out of this room for a minute. For me, please?"
Neither Jason nor Kim understood why Trini was making her request, but they both agreed. After sending Zach, Billy, Tommy, Karen, and Matt in Jason and Kim made their way downstairs in search of the Kwans.
Jason leaned against the wall and exhaled hugely. "Is this really happening?"
Kim nodded numbly then reached her arms up to wrap Jason in a hug. "What if she's not strong enough for this?" Jason whispered as he rested his head on top of hers.
"She is. And the baby is, too. Good genes, ya know."
Jason shook his head. "What if I'm not strong enough for this?"
Kim took a step back and looked him straight in the eye. "You definitely are. You are, and if you repeat this conversation to Tommy I will cheerfully beat you to death, the strongest man I've ever known. You've saved all of our lives many times over before Tommy even came into the picture. And even after that you never stop protecting any of us. You pulled me out of that mess I was in New York and made me realize what I needed to do. You've made Trini the happiest woman I've ever seen. And you've given both of you the life you deserve. Jason Scott, I'm more proud of you than my own brother. I love Evan dearly, but you're the one who never let me down. And I know that it would be impossible for you to let your wife and child down."
Tears had formed in Jason's eyes and he coughed loudly trying to hide the fact that his voice would break. "Jesus, Kim. Make me cry even more, why don't you?"
"Part of my services," Kim shrugged and gave Jason a small smile. He bent over and kissed her cheek. "You're too good to me, Kimmy-bear."
"Nah. Don't say that yet. Wait until after the baby's born and I give you guys your presents." Jason gave Kim a questioning look, then rolled his eyes. "C'mon Peanuts, let's go find my in-laws."
Kim rolled her eyes in return. Jason had been calling her "Peanuts" for years, since the first day she got her license. After she made a left on a road clearly marked "no left turn" Jason screamed at her "Are you nuts?!" to which Kim replied "Peanuts!" Jason hadn't let her forget it in the following weeks. " 'How did you break your leg, Jason,' " he mumbled to himself. " 'Oh, Peanuts decided to drive into a tree.' "
Jason and Kim were heading toward the entrance in search of Trini's parents when they heard a voice call over the intercom, "Will Jason Scott please come to fourth floor Labor and Delivery immediately. Jason Scott to fourth floor Labor and Delivery."
Grabbing Kim's arm Jason tore through the lobby toward the elevators. He frantically punched the buttons and huffed, "Come ON!" before Kim grabbed his arm in turn and pulled him toward the stairs. The reached the fourth floor slightly out of breath and raced through the hallway to Trini's room. They arrived out of breath and didn't stop running until they were at Trini's side. "We're here, my love," Jason panted.
Trini's face was glistening with sweat as she looked at her husband and best friend, "What-?"
"The elevator was taking too long," Kim explained as she too tried to catch her breath.
Trini tried to smile, but her face contorted in pain as another contraction hit. When the wave of pain hit, Trini took a deep breath and grimaced. "You two are getting sadly out of shape. When this is all over you need to start hitting the gym more."
Jason let out a relieved chuckled, "First thing's first, love. Let's get you through this, then we'll talk about gym schedules."
Trini nodded then gave Jason a serious look. "It's too soon."
"Everything will be fine," Jason soothed. He turned to Dr. Morandi. "Doc?"
Dr. Morandi nodded grimly. "We'll do our best. But now everyone has to clear out. Trini, you're going to have to start pushing."
"Wait, pushing?" Kim questioned.
The nurse chimed in before Dr. Morandi. "She 10 cm dilated and 100% effected. She needs to push now, to get the baby out."
Kim gritted her teeth. "I know why she has to push, I just didn't know she was already fully dilated."
"Yes, well," the nurse began to look wary of Kim. "Like the doctor said, everyone needs to clear out."
Everyone took turns waving to Trini, kissing cheek, and wishing her luck until only Jason and Kim remained. "Fathers only," the nurse declared.
"No!" Trini gasped out as another contraction hit. "She stays! Kim, don't leave!"
Kim hurried to the other side of Trini's bed and took her free hand, "I'm not going anywhere, Trin. I'll be right here the whole time." Kim had the urge to throw the nurse a triumphant look, but held tight to Trini's hand instead.
"Ok," Dr. Morandi said after Trini was draped with a sheet. "Time to get started. Trini, when the next contraction hits, I want you to put your head into your chest and bear down while you push. Ready?" While he chalked it up to a trick of the light, Dr. Morandi could swear that Trini was glowing yellow.
Trini nodded then clamped her eyes shut as the contraction hit. "One, two, three, push!"
Adam and Zach were taking turns pacing while Tommy and Billy kept nervously glancing at the clock in the waiting room. It seemed to everyone that they had been there for hours. Billy was taking out his cell phone to text Kat and update her when they foursome suddenly became a group of eleven. Jason's parents returned from getting coffee along with Trini's parents who had just arrived, Sylvia and Aisha in tow. Rocky had been unable to take the flirt flight out due to overbooking and would be in as soon as he could. Adam jumped in to take over explaining to the newcomers what was going on. Adam and Zach had more people to join them in the pacing Olympics.
Just when June and Karen were at the nurses station demanding an update, Jason burst through the double doors and proclaimed breathlessly, "IT'S A BOY!"
Shouts could be heard throughout the entire room as everyone rushed forward to congratulate the proud father. Matt reached his son first, but when he pulled him in for a hug, Jason broke into a sob on his father's shoulder.
"Jase?" Tommy asked in a shaky voice.
"Is it Trini?" Charles asked immediately.
Jason shook his head no then broke into another sob. "The baby?" June whispered. Jason nodded his head and choked back another sob. "He's… he's… oh god, he's so small! They're not sure…"
"No!" Karen cried out.
"He can't breathe on his own, they put him on a ventilator. They said his lungs aren't strong enough. That he may not be strong enough to… to…" Jason gave in to his sobs once more as Karen and June joined him. Everyone one else were struggling to hold back tears as Charles bowed his head and started a prayer.
"Are you sure you don't mind me stepping out?" Kim brushed a strand of hair from Trini's forehead. Jason had finally fallen asleep in a chair next to Trini's bed. It had been hours since their son had been born and neither Kim nor Jason had left Trini's side. Jason had said it was too hard to visit their son without Trini.
"Go on. I'm gonna try to sleep a little bit. If I can."
Kim nodded and kissed Trini's cheek. She was almost out the door when Trini called softly to her,
Kim turned around, "Yeah?"
"Tell him his mommy loves him."
Kim nodded and walked into the hall where she was greeted by Tommy. "Thanks for waiting."
"Of course. Are you sure you can do this?"
Kim shrugged her shoulders. "I have to try." She gave Tommy a quick kiss and headed toward the Neonatal ICU alone. Once there she scrubbed her hands and put on a sterile gown and gloves before she found the incubator labeled, "Baby Boy Scott." She sat down next to the incubator and looked at her new godson. Jason and Trini had asked her to be his godmother an hour after he was born. She tearfully accepting, knowing there was a very real chance he might not survive long enough to be christened. She reached her hand into the incubator and rubbed the baby's impossibly tiny arm with one finger. Taking a deep breath, Kim closed her eyes and began to sing.
Dragon tales and the "water is wide"
Pirate's sail and lost boys fly
Fish bite moonbeams every night
And I love you
Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Kim's tears began as soon as she started singing but she took a deep breath and started again.
The rocket racer's all tuckered out
Superman's in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, will find the mouse
And I love you
Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
God bless Mommy and match box cars
God bless Dad and thanks for the stars
God hears "Amen," wherever we are
And I love you
Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Kim had been openly crying for the last few verses, her voice shaky, and as soon as she let the last note die out she put her forehead to the incubator and sobbed. Tommy found her like that after an hour, and he softly laid a hand on her shoulder. "Kim, you've done all you can," he bent down and whispered in her ear.
"It doesn't feel like enough," Kim choked out. "He's so tiny… so fragile."
"He'll make it through this, Kim. He's his parents' son, he already has it in him to fight." Tommy squeezed her shoulder gently. "Mr. Kwan wants to come in, he said he wants to perform a prayer. A tradition with the godparents present."
Kim nodded and stood up. Tommy motioned for Charles, who was waiting just inside the room.
"Thank you, Tommy. Kimberly?"
"Hi, Ba Ba," Kim addressed him the same way she always had, the same way Trini did when things were serious. She gave him a long hug.
"Kim, Tommy if you could each hold his hand." Tommy and Charles had already taken all the precautions required by the NICU for visitors, but Tommy still looked wary and the thought of reaching into the incubator.
"It's ok, Tommy," Kim reassured him as she stroked her godson's tiny hand. Tommy copied Kim and Charles link Tommy and Kim's hands before he began to pray in Mandarin. "God, please watch over this young boy and help him to become as strong as his father, as beautiful as his mother and as kind as his loving family. Bless him with good health and fortune and give him the strength to overcome this weakness in his young, young life."
Tears rolled down both Tommy and Kim's cheeks. They may not have understood all of what Charles said, but they still found it beautiful. All three stood silent for several minutes before Charles cleared his throat softly. "I think I'll go check on my daughter now." He gave both Tommy and Kimberly a hug a headed towards Trini's room.
Kim let out a sigh and sunk back into her chair. "I can't stand this, Tommy."
"It'll be worth it, love. Soon he'll be out of here and we'll all be spoiling him rotten. I know he'll make it through this, Kim. I believe that. And I know that deep down, you believe that, too."
Kim nodded silently and gave a hint of a smile. It wasn't much, but Tommy could see something in her eyes past the tears… he saw hope.
"Corey? How about Corey?
"For the third time Jason, I am not naming my child after some washed up 80's icon! Move on and think of another name."
"I can't wait until you can drink coffee again," Jason muttered.
It was still in the pre-dawn hours of the morning, three weeks after Trini had given birth. She had been released two weeks prior, but both she and Jason had spent every moment at the hospital with their son. The hospital staff had allowed the new parents to stay in an empty room at the hospital since they refused the sleep at home without their baby. The first few days of his life had been rocky, his improvement slow. When he was five days old he started to improve. But then his condition changed drastically causing the doctors to scramble to keep him alive. They discovered he had a hernia from struggling so hard to breathe and he had his first operation when he was one week old.
Progress had been slow at first, but in past few days he had begun to improve dramatically. The day before he began triggering the vent, meaning he was starting to breathe on his own. Dr. Sacramone, the pediatrician, told Trini and Jason that as long as their son continued triggering the vent throughout the night, he would be extubated the next morning. This was a big step for the tiny infant; once off the vent he would be breathing and one step closer to going home. When the doctors removed the breathing tube, the baby coughed, but then began breathing on his own, much to his parents' joy.
There was only one problem. For the past three weeks Jason, Trini, and family always referred to their son as "the baby" and hospital staff called him "the Scott baby" and the sign on his incubator still bared the name, "Baby Boy Scott." The new parents were slow to choose a name, afraid he might not survive. Now that he was doing so much better, along with the fact that Trini's father threatened to sneak in and fill out his grandson's birth certificate himself if they didn't pick a name, Jason and Trini were forced to decide once and for all what to name their first born son.
"Eric? That sounds like a good name?" Trini suggested.
Jason wrinkled his nose. "I don't like it. Eric Scott? He'd grow up to be a lawyer or something with a name like that."
Trini sighed with exasperation, "So what if he does? What do you want him to grow up to be, a garbage man?"
"Hey some people make a very good living like that. Besides, none of have very normal jobs. You call yourself an IT consultant, but if anyone really knew all the programs you create on the side, we'd be in big trouble. We're Rangers, honey. Normal flew out the window for us a long time ago. And considering this baby is going to raised by Rangers… it just doesn't sound right." Jason shook his head.
Trini threw head back against the pillow. After a few moments of mutual silence Trini lifted her head back up. "Ya know, maybe this is so hard because he's not here. I think if we look at him, something might come to us."
Jason eyes went wider. "That's actually a really good idea. I'll tell the nurse to bring him in."
"Don't bother, just call Kim. I'm sure she's still down there. She can bring him up now that he's off the ventilator and IVs."
Five minutes later they heard the sound of footsteps approaching and Kim's voice softly talking to the baby. "Here we are baby boy," she cooed to the infant. "You remember this room. Go to mommy, Charlie," Kim whispered as she began to cradle the baby in Trini's eager arms.
"What did you call him?" Trini asked in shock as she took her son.
Kim blushed deeply. "Sorry. I felt bad always calling him "baby." I figured I'd just call him that until you two decided on a name. You're dad did it once as a joke, and…"
Kim's voice trailed off as she saw Trini's eyes light up. "Charlie," she said thoughtfully. "Charles Matthew. It's so obvious, why didn't we think of that?" Jason came over to her side and stroked their son's tiny head. "What do you think, little guy? Are you a Charlie?" Trini cooed.
Her son let out a little gargle. Jason laughed, "I think that's a yes. Ok, son," Jason scooped up the baby. "Charlie it is." He kissed Charlie's head.
Kim hovered near the door, not wanting to intrude on such an intimate moment. Jason caught sight of her and she started inching her way out. He flashed a grin at her. "Great idea, Godmom."
Kim returned his smile, and walked towards him after he nodded her over. She stroked Charlie's head lightly. "You've got a lot to live up to, Charlie. You're named after two of greatest men I've ever known. Second only to your dad and godfather." She flashed another smile at Jason, who handed his son off to Kim. She rocked him gently as she sat down next to Trini on her bed. "God, he's so beautiful," she marveled.
"He is," Trini agreed. "Looks like his father," Trini winked at Jason who had joined them, on the other side of the bed. He leaned over and kissed her forehead.
"I think he's a good mix of both," Kim conceded. She smiled at her godson again, then at Trini. "You done good, guys."
Charlie gurgled again, and an idea came to Trini. "Do you want to hear you Aunt Kim sing again, baby?" She looked to Kim. "Rumor has it, the NICU got their own private concert. Our turn!"
Kim rolled her eyes. "It wasn't a concert. I was just singing Charlie the song I wrote for him. And I pity whoever was listening. My voice cracked at every word."
"Oh, please! I love your voice. Please, Kim? For me?" Trini gave Kim her puppy dog eyes.
Kim tried in vain to hide her smile. "That's not fair."
"But effective," Trini answered. "Sing the one you wrote for Tommy when you moved to New York. It's my favorite. And it's soothing, Charlie will like it."
"You're mommy's going to get herself into a lot of trouble one day if she keeps convincing people to do everything she wants," Kim said to Charlie as she kissed his forehead. Trini rolled her eyes before Kim cleared her throat and began to softly sing.
Something always brings me back to you
It never takes too long
No matter what I say or do I'll still feel you here 'til the moment I'm gone
You hold me without touch
You keep me without chains
I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your rain
Set me free, leave me be
I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity
Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I'm supposed to be
But you're on to me and all over me
You loved me 'cause I'm fragile
When I thought that I was strong
But you touch me for a little while and all my fragile strength is gone
Set me free, leave me be
I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity
Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I'm supposed to be
But you're on to me and all over me
I live here on my knees as I try to make you see that
You're everything I think I need here on the ground
But you're neither friend nor foe though I can't seem to let you go
The one thing that I still know is that you're keeping me down
You're keeping me down
You're on to me, on to me, and all over
Something always brings me back to you
It never takes to long
Trini sighed happily when Kim finished and wrapped her arm around her as they stared down at Charlie. Jason stood over them, admiring the scene.
"Where's Tommy?" Trini asked as she stroked Charlie's hair. For someone born so young, her son had a shocking amount of deep brown hair that looked black in most lights. Trini had studied every feature of her son thoroughly enough to know that his hair truly was brown.
"Not sure. He wandered off about an hour ago when I was in the NICU," Kim continued to gaze at her godson with a smile.
Jason snorted a laugh. "Uh-oh."
"What?" Kim and Trini asked together.
"Our little Kimmy has baby fever. And I think Tommy's getting nervous about it."
Kim whipped her head up, "Please. I do NOT have baby fever. I'm just in love with my gorgeous little godson."
"Well that's… gross, actually. Hand him over."
"Stop, you doof. You know what I mean. Besides, fear is the last thing Tommy would be feeling if I had baby fever." Kim nuzzled Charlie's cheek with her nose.
"He wants kids?" Trini asked, surprised.
"He's always wanted kids, you know that. He loves his parents, but being adopted has always made want a real family of his own. Sons with his eyes, daughters with his smile, the whole thing."
"No, I mean… does he want kids now?" Trini corrected.
"He wouldn't mind it," Kim answered as she handed Charlie to Trini. He had started fussing and Kim guessed that he was hungry.
Trini took Charlie and settled him in to nurse. "Well, what are you waiting for? Find Tommy and get to work!"
"Gross!" Jason and Kim explained together, each for different reasons.
Trini chuckled lightly. "Come on, Kim. It's not like you don't want kids. You've always wanted to be a mother. Third grade, our teacher asked us all what we wanted to be and you answered, 'An Olympic champion and a mom.' No hesitation."
"I did one, I can a while wait for the other," Kim replied as she swatted Jason for laughing.
"Really?" Trini responed in a no-nonsense manner. "Kim, I've seen the way you look at Charlie. And it's not just because he's your godson. You want this. You want to be able to hold your own baby and look into his eyes and know that not matter what happens you'll always be his mom. Admit it, you want it bad."
Jason raised his eyebrows at Kim. "She's right, Peanuts. You do get that look."
Kim try to glare at him, then sighed. "Fine, I do. But it doesn't matter. Tommy and I aren't ready for that. I mean, we're just starting to actually talk about marriage. Talk! And a baby's so much bigger than that! Marriages can end, people can divorce, but a kid… that's seriously a lifetime commitment. No matter what happens, I'll be their mom, and he'll be their dad and we'll always be in each others' lives."
"Yup," Jason agreed. "Which is exactly what you want. You know that if you and Tommy have a baby, every time you look at that kid, you'll see a little part of you and a little part of Tommy. And that secretly thrills you. You're not freaked out because he wants a kid… you're freaked out because you want a kid."
"Why would that freak me out?!"
"Because deep down, you always have an escape route planned. You hate using them, but you have them. And with a child, there's no escape route. You love Tommy enough that you don't want an escape route. Not this time."
Kim let out a slight growl, careful not to wake up Charlie, who had just fallen asleep in Trini's arms. She picked up her bag and stormed out of the room.
Kim sat out the hospital, her legs crossed. She kept playing Trini and Jason's words through her mind, along with her thoughts from the past several weeks. Baby, Tommy, baby, Tommy, baby Tommy, babyTommy, babyTommybabyTommybabyTommy… family.
Tommy found her there, after searching the hospital grounds for an hour. When he stepped into Trini's room he was surprised not to find Kim there. Jason sheepishly admitted she had stormed off five hours prior. Tommy didn't bother waiting for an explanation, he just started looking for Kim.
"Hey," Tommy addressed her softly as she stared ahead, not looking up at him. Kim just nodded.
"You ok?" Another nod. "Kim?"
Kim finally looked up at Tommy. "I want a baby," she whispered.
"I want a baby," Kim repeated, clearly.
Tommy slumped down next to Kim. "You… want a baby. Now?"
"Well, aside from stealing one from the nursery, I can't have a baby now," Kim gave Tommy a half smile.
"But… you want to start trying? With me? You want us to start trying to have a baby?"
"Yeah," Kim answered simply.
"Kim, don't… don't you want to get married first? Or engaged? Something?!"
"I want to be with you forever. I always want you in my life. Marriage can come later. Tommy, I want to make the ultimate commitment to you. I want us to have a baby, to be a family."
Tommy sat next to Kim, stunned. Whenever they talked about marriage Kim made Tommy promise to wait a while before he proposed. He suspected deep down that it was just her defense mechanisms kicking in, but he had never wanted to push it. They both knew that marriage was in their future, and Tommy had enough patience to wait until Kim was ready to let down her guard and let herself be truly happy.
"Where did this come from?" Tommy had to ask.
"It's something I've been thinking about for… a while. I just never wanted to admit it to anyone, least of all myself. I didn't know if I was ready, after everything that happened. But Jase and Trini really hit the nail on the head today and made me realize that the whole reason I didn't want to admit it was because I was scared. I've… never had many happy endings. Not really. I've had amazing experiences, but somewhere in that I've always been hurt. You and me, the way we are now… it's the only thing in my life I ever believed wouldn't end it hurt, deep down. I always had that hope that things would work out. I'm tired of hoping. I want to make this work."
"Marriage could do that, Kim," Tommy answered softly, her words sinking in.
"Marriage isn't a guarantee! I want something that no matter what, we'll always be there for each other. I want a family with you, Tommy! I want us to wake up in the morning and know that no matter what, we're always tied to each other."
The tables had turned. Now it was Kim who was fighting for them to always be together. Tommy gave a small smile when the weight of her words finally hit him. He didn't wonder anymore if she was committed. Her desire to have a baby with him chased away any doubt either of them had about their relationship.
"Tommy?" Kim whispered when he had been silent for more than two minutes. He reached over and took her hand in his. "Kim," he started gently. "I can't…"
Kim closed her eyes and tears began to form. He didn't want this, She had pushed him too much, too far.
"I can't think of anything more that I could ever want than to have a family with you," Tommy finished with a radiant smile.
Kim looked at him in shock. "You're serious?"
"Yes. Of course, I always figured we'd be married before we have our first child, but you've made a compelling argument. Screw tradition! We'll do it our way," Tommy cupped Kim's face in his hands.
Kim smiled up at him, the most beautiful smile he had ever seen. "Our way."
A/N: Aaaaand that's all, folks! I'm so sorry it took me so long to finish this story, and even more sorry if it was a disappointing ending. Okay, so songs used were "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" by Dixie Chicks (again, not a country fan but I love singing this song to my son) and "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles. I really wanted to meet my personal goal of 100,000 words for the whole story, but I knew I had to wrapped this up and I struggled for months to do so… I just didn't have another 900 words left unless I wanted to make it obviously that I was just adding junk. I had so many ideas for the next story, but absolutely no clue how to end this one to set up for it. Finally, I just made myself sit down and bang it out (I actually finished writing this the day I posted the Author's Note, go figure. After that it took me a while to sit back down and proof-read and that fun stuff) I apologize, as I know this could have been better and hopefully I'll be able to go back and elaborate further on in the next story. The ending was actually a huge surprise for me and just took over once I started writing. I hadn't ever planned on Kim and Tommy making the decision they made in this story, but in a way it felt right. Fast, but right. Yes, this will be a series (I know, I've been going back and forth with the idea for a while now, but I've made the final decision to keep going.) However, when the next part of this series will be published… I couldn't tell you. I'm determined to write the entire story first, then edit and publish chapters separately so I know there will be some consistency as to when I update. I think you guys deserve that.
To everyone that has hung in there and followed this story to it's end: THANK YOU! Your reviews meant everything and gave me the drive to keep going. As most of you know, this was my first fanfic, EVER. A lot of changes happened while I was writing it, both in the story and in my life. When I started writing this I was single with no children, just a boyfriend (albeit, my future husband) and a nephew whose adoption hadn't been finalized. Now I'm married to the love of my life with two incredible children… and it all happened in under a year! I never dreamed when I started writing this story that it would turn into more than just a few chapters, but all my readers inspired me to take it as far as I could. Hopefully, you'll all stick with me when I turn it into a series.
I also want to thank all of the writers that inspired me to start writing this story and continued to inspire me to make it into what it is: Arytra, Carebear19, Cheryl Roberts, CoolDiva, CrazyGirl47, Jade-Max, Jtravizo, logicproblem, Shawn30, and a few others I'm sure I'm leaving out. You all amaze me with your talent.
And of course my biggest thanks to my family. My husband for putting up with me (not only through the craziness of writing this but the insanity of our happy life) my son Jason for being my absolute treasure, and my daughter Bella for making the love in my heart grow by a million :)Emma