Wow, um hi guys. Yeah, I know how late I am in updating this. I'm really truly sorry. My master plan was to have this done by winter break. Well, now it's almost summer break for me lol. I just didn't want to have this hanging over my head anymore. Yesterday me and my roommate watched the first National Treasure movie again and it gave me enough motivation for the extra push to finish this off. Today is my birthday actually, lol! I decided this would be a birthday gift for myself.
On I side note, I went back over the story and noticed that the breaks I had put in were gone, making me looking like an idiot and messing with the flow of my story. So a big SCREW YOU to this site for doing that to my story :D
So this is the very last chapter of this story. I apologize for any grammatical and spelling errors or things I might have missed. Word was beginning annoying while I was finishing. A lot of fluff in the chapter after all the heavy handed-angst. Here you go!
"Guys, come on! You ready to go?" Riley called up the stairs. Sighing he checked his glow in the dark Transformers watch. "TEN MINUTES YOU GUYS! YOU GUUUUYS!"
"Riley, shut up!" Ben called from up the stairs. Riley sighed and plopped down on the table. He didn't care for these fancy-schmancy parties, but he didn't like being late either. Soon enough, Ben and Abigail came down the stairs; Ben dressed in a tux and Abigail in a maternity dress she bought just for this occasion.
"Took you guys long enough… we're gonna be late!" Riley griped rubbing his hands together nervously.
"Think of it this way," Abigail smirked and straightened his tie. "We'll be fashionably late, and maybe a certain someone will see you there…."
"What? Who? Ohhhh…. You mean Anna." Riley said as if it were no big deal. Ben and Abigail exchanged a look, knowing their friend had taken interest in this woman. "Do you know if she's gonna be there tonight?" Riley asked hopefully.
"Riley, if you like her so much, why don't you just ask her out?" Ben rolled his eyes and helped Abigail into her coat.
"Hey, hey, I take my own time with these things," Riley said smoothly. "I have to work my magic…"
"Course you do, sweetie," Abigail cooed and pinched his cheek.
"Ow! That does not help my image!"
"All right, Romeo, let's go." Ben chuckled and opened the front door.
They started toward Ben's car, and Riley continued griping about his annoyances with black tie events. Abigail suddenly stopped walking, and winced. Her hand went to her pregnant belly.
"You okay, honey?" Ben asked in concern and Riley looked at her worriedly.
"Uh, yeah. Yeah." Abigail smiled at him. "She kicked pretty hard just then."
"You sure you don't want to…"
"Ben, you know I've been looking forward to this for weeks! That archeologist I like is speaking…."
Ben frowned and crossed his arms. "He's not Indiana Jones."
Riley grinned. "And he's no Benjamin Franklin Gates either!"
"Oh I know that," Abigail said airily, lifting herself into the passenger's seat.
Riley smirked and got into the back seat. "Better watch out, man," he whispered to Ben who rolled his eyes.
Riley glanced around the partygoers, actually standing on his tiptoes to see over everyone. Ben grinned at him "Looking for someone?"
Riley rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. "You know who I'm looking for. I don't see her in here yet."
"Well maybe stand a little more on your tiptoes."
"Shut up. Where's Abigail? I'm surprised she's not here making fun of me too."
"She went to the bathroom. Riley, you know, Anna likes you too. Just ask her out."
Riley sighed and rocked back on his heels. "Yeah. Too bad she didn't come."
"She might be late."
"Later than us? Come on Ben."
At that moment Abigail came up to them, barely constrained panic on her face. "My water just broke."
"What?" Ben and Riley said blankly.
"My. Water. Just. Broke. Do I have to rephrase it any other way?" Abigail hissed.
Ben gaped at her, for once unable to react. "B-But the baby isn't scheduled for another week…"
"Well apparently, this baby has other plans," Abigail said through gritted teeth. "We need to get to a hospital."
"Okay…okay." Ben took a deep breath. "Riley, take the keys to get my car, you're driving to the hospital."
"Ah, Ben, I really don't think that's a good idea, I have really bad luck with cars and-"
"Just do it!" Ben said slapping the keys into his head. Riley looked pale nodded and ran off through the crowd as fast as he could.
"'Scuse me! Pardon me! Pregnant lady coming through!" Ben called steering Abigail though the crowd.
"BEN, you don't have to announce it to the world!" Abigail snapped.
"Abigail, it's not like they can't tell already."
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
"Come on, Riley's pulling up the car!"
As if on cue, Ben's car screeched to a halt in front of them. They clambered in and were barely in their seats when Riley floored it, and peeled out of the parking lot.
"Riley, we'd like to get there alive!" Abigail shouted.
"Sorry, I'm kinda on edge because, you know-"
He was interrupted when Abigail let out shout, doubling over in pain. "Okay, that's definitely a contraction!"
Riley jumped,nearly swerving the car out of the lane. "The things I do..."
As Riley sped down the highway, they all simultaneously let out a groan of despair. Bumper to bumper traffic.
"Riley, get off at the next exit," Ben snapped.
As the car inched along, Abigail reverted between shouting at her husband who was trying to calm her down and shouting in pain from the contractions. Riley sent out a prayer of thanks when he finally saw the alternate route and took the car into the lane. Then he blanched.
"UH OH?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN UH-OH!?" Abigail bellowed from the back seat.
"More traffic…" Riley whined apologetically.
"Are you kidding me?!" Ben groaned. "Okay… okay let me think."
"WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THINKING!" Abigail screeched.
"Okay," Riley, turn left," Ben called, as Abigail practically crushed his hand.
"No, LEFT!" Ben shouted. Riley yelped and swerved the car left, onto a rather desolate road.
Suddenly there was a tremendous BANG. The car swerved even harder and Riley frantically turned the wheel, until they skidded onto the side of the road. When the car came to a complete stop there was a moment of deafening silence.
"Riley, what the hell was that?" Ben asked slowly.
"Hang…on…" Riley said very carefully. "Let… me…check."
Riley went outside the car for a moment then poked his head back in a swallowed.
"Do you want the good news or bad-"
"JUST TELL US WHAT HAPPENED, RILEY!" Abigail shrieked.
Riley gulped. "The tire completely blew out."
"WELL THEN FIX IT!"
"Ah well, ya see, the funny story with that is, well…"
"Riley, tell me you can change a tire," Ben moaned.
"Well, I can. I just need some assistance."
Ben let out a deep breath. The faster this was done the better. He began to get out of the car when Abigail caught him by the arm.
"Benjamin Franklin Gates don't you dare leave me alone while I'm in labor!"
Ben winced and tried to calm his wife down who was now drenched in sweat and doubled over in pain. "S-Sweetie, we need fix the car and get you-"
"AHH! Ben, the baby is coming now!"
"Now?" Ben asked frantically.
"Now?" squeaked Riley from the front seat.
"Are you sure?"
"The contractions are less than three minutes apart!"
"What does that mean?"
"IT MEANS THE BABY IS COMING NOW, BEN!!"
"Oh hell no," Riley groaned.
"Riley, call 911!" Ben shouted at him.
"Oh no oh no oh no," Riley muttered to himself, then he whipped out a cell phone to call 911. He waited anxiously and then someone picked up.
"911 what's your emergency?" said a woman's voice.
"Hi, my friend is about to have a baby and our car broke down and we don't really know what to do so can you help us please?" Riley asked breathlessly.
"Sir, calm down. I need you to talk a few deep breaths and follow my instructions."
"Got it," Riley breathed as he watched Abigail nearly throttle her husband.
Riley proceeded to tell the operator their location and he hoped that an ambulance would bless them with its presence soon.
"Okay, I'm sending an ambulance over to meet you."
"Awesome!" Riley squeaked
The ambulance came thankfully, without any hindrance. They put Abigail on a stretcher and Ben and Riley both got in. Riley had to make a call for a tow truck to come and get the car, trying to speak over Ben, Abigail and the paramedics.
"Okay, Ms. Chase, just take a few deep breaths, we're just going to check-"
"RILEY, YOU'D BETTER NOT BE LOOKING!" Abigail shrieked.
"I'm not!" wailed the techie. "I'm not looking at anything!"
"KEEP IT THAT WAY!"
At the hospital…
Riley sat on one of the hard plastic hospital chairs, tapping his foot anxiously. As soon as they got to the hospital Ben had Abigail were whisked away and Riley had been asked to go to the waiting area. After calling Emily and Patrick, he leaned back in his chair and tried not to look like a total mental case.
He stood up and walked over to a receptionist sitting at the desk. "Excuse me can you tell me what room Abigail Gates is in?"
The receptionist looked up. "Are you family?"
"Yes, I'm just wondering because-"
"What's your name?"
"Um, Riley Poole."
The receptionist looked at him suspiciously, "How are you related?"
Riley grew irritated. What is this, twenty questions? I just want to know where my friends are. "Well, technically, I'm not but-"
"I'm sorry Mr. Poole, only real family members are allowed in there right now. Friends will be able to visit a little later."
Riley glared for a moment but turned and went back to his seat. He sank back down with a sigh. Why didn't I just tell her I was, like, a cousin or something. I just wanted to know the room number.
He couldn't really let it get him too down though, because he was still overflowing with excitement about the new baby. Riley glanced around, trying to distract his mind. The nervous-excitement fluttering around in his stomach was accompanied by dark anxiety in his chest.
Although he was here for a celebratory reason, he still couldn't help but feel trapped. Hospitals held too many bad memories for him. He shook his head and let out a breath. Don't think about those things now. It's in the past. It's all over. And now you're going to be an Uncle!
The very thought made his chest ease up. He smiled a little and looked around. He the other people sitting around the waiting room were looking at him strangely. Riley was confused until he realized he was still were his tuxedo from the party. Oh yeah.
Sighing, he stood up, and rubbed his hands together. A thought suddenly occurred to him. If I'm going to be an uncle I should get something for my new niece. That's what uncles do right? He suddenly felt panicked again. He never had a niece before, not even a younger sibling, no blood family to call his own. What if I screw this up?
He wandered over to the gift shop, and began browsing through the overpriced "Get well soon" balloons and bouquets of flowers. I'm technically not really family… I mean, the receptionist wouldn't even give me the information.
He sighed and glanced out the door down the hallway. He wanted to be a good uncle. He wanted to be the best uncle in the world.
"Okay Abigail, remember… try to push between contractions," the doctor told her. He stood next to the couple, as the baby was ready to be delivered. Abigail was practically cutting off the circulation in Ben's hand, as he tried to encourage her along. It had been eight hours since they arrived at the hospital and it was now finally it was time for Abigail to push. According the doctor 'the baby wants to be born in a hurry'.
"Come on, sweetheart, you can do it! Just keep breathing!" Ben egged on his wife.
"What does it look like I'm doing?!" Abigail shrieked, her face drenched in sweat
After a few long agonizing minutes, Abigail gave a scream before Ben knew what was happening a small wailing infant was delivered into the arms of the doctor.
The doctor cut free the umbilical cord and cleared away the afterbirth from the infant.
"My baby," Abigail sobbed, reaching her arms out. "My little girl." The doctor gently passed the infant to her mother. Ben lay down next to her as the both smiled tearfully. Abigail cradled the crying infant, gently shushing her.
Abigail looked up at Ben, her beautiful exhausted face glowing with joy. "Here you go, brand new daddy," she whispered. Before Ben could say anything he was holding little daughter.
Ben stared in awe at the small crying baby in his arms. He had seen many amazing things in his life, but this wailing little infant he cradled in his arms was more beautiful the Templar Treasure and Cibola combined. Everything, everything he had gone through, it was all worth it for this moment. She was his and Abigail's to love and cherish forever.
"Hey, baby…" Ben soothed, rocking the screaming infant in his arms. "Don't cry…"
"Little Charlotte Elanor," Abigail whispered with a smile.
"Riley, Riley, wake up!"
Riley awoke to Emily and Patrick standing over him, huge grins on their faces.
"Hey guys!" Riley sprang up from the chair. Emily gave him a a big hug. "This is so wonderful! Just think Patrick, we're grandparents!"
"Finally," Patrick chuckled. "I was worried Ben would never settle down."
Riley smiled at them and Emily noticed something in his hand. It was a small pink stuffed animal of a bunny.
"Is that for the baby?" Emily asked with a smile.
"Oh," Riley glanced at it. "Yeah. Just a little something a picked up to welcome little Miss Gates into the world. It's not much, I'll get something better for her later."
"I'm sure she'll love it."
Patrick patted Riley on the back. "All right Uncle Riley, shall we go visit your new niece?"
"Um," Riley's eyes darted down the hallway. "You guys go ahead. I can't exactly go in yet. The receptionist said I wasn't real family."
Emily's eyebrows shot up. "Is that so?" she said, a dangerous lilt to her voice. Her eyes narrowed toward the receptionist. "Wait right here, both of you."
Before Riley could say anything Emily had walked over to the reception desk.
"Uh oh," Riley muttered.
Patrick patted Riley on the shoulder. "We're lucky she's on our side. She's quite terrifying when you're on the receiving end."
Riley couldn't hear what Emily was saying to the poor receptionist but by the way the lady paled, Riley almost felt sorry for her. The receptionist finally nodded and stammered out an apology. Emily walked back over to them a content smile on her face. "Shall we?" Riley and Patrick glanced at each other and Patrick winked. "Come on kiddo."
As they headed down the hallway, Emily turned to Riley taking him by the shoulders.
"Riley, I don't want you to listen to anyone who tells you that you are not part of this family. You're a wonderful young man, who is part of this family."
Patrick nodded in agreement. "You're always there for Ben, sticking by him no matter what. And that's more than most other people can say about their own brothers. I'm proud to call you a son."
Riley's eyes welled up with tears. "Thank guys," he said softly. "You don't know what that means to me."
Emily gently brushed his cheek. "I believe we have some idea."
They entered the hospital room to see Ben and Abigail resting on the bed, a little swaddle cradled between them.
Ben glanced up. "Mom, dad, Riley," he smiled, his eyes shining. "We'd like you to meet Charlotte Elanor Gates."
"Ah, so you went with that name," Patrick smiled, barely containing his excitement. Abigail passed the sleeping Charlotte to her grandfather who gently bounced her in his arms. "I cannot wait to spoil you rotten," he chuckled.
Emily placed a hand on her husband's shoulder. "Plenty of time for that."
Riley peered over Patrick's shoulder at little Charlotte. "Wow," he grinned.
"Riley why don't you hold her?" Abigail suggested.
"Yeah, Dad, let Riley hold Charlotte," Ben said.
"Er, I don't know-" Before Riley could say anything else, he had an armful of a sleeping baby Gates.
"H-Hey little lady," Riley said quietly. "Welcome to the Gates family."
Charlotte stirred, her eyes opening a fraction. "Oh no," he whispered, looking frantically at Abigail. "I woke her up!"
"Well she's not crying," Abigail said with an encouraging smile.
Riley turned back to the baby who was now staring at him with her huge glossy blue eyes. He stared back, and he wasn't sure what he saw reflected in her eyes. Maybe a little bit of eternity.
"I hope you grow up to be just like your mom and dad. They're great people," Riley said quietly, and gently stroked her palm. She grasped onto his finger and blinked up at him.
"She likes you," Ben told his best friend. Riley looked up at Ben, his eyes shining. "Really?" Ben nodded. Riley looked back down at Charlotte. "Maybe I can teach her to be hacker."
"I don't think so, Riley."
A year later…
"Whatcha looking at silly?" Ben cooed to his daughter. Charlotte blinked cartoonishly up at him. Ben laughed scooped her out of her crib. She made a happy chirp, her tiny hand flailing out and touching his cheek. Ben kissed her on her fluffy head. He placed her into the crip and turned to Riley. "We'll be back around ten-ish. You know the deal."
"No problem, Ben. You two have fun on that "romantic" date of yours. Where are you going a museum?"
Ben rolled his eyes. "No, we're going to see a movie."
"Is it a documentary about the American Revolution?"
"All right, wise guy. We'll see you later."
Ben headed downstairs fixing his tie. "Ready to go?" Ben asked Abigail who looked beautiful in her simple black dress and coat.
"Yes. My, don't you look handsome," Abigail commented. "Haven't seen you dress up for anything in a while."
"Only for you, my dear," Ben smirked. "Shall we?"
They were about to leave when they heard Riley shout something from Charlotte's room.
"Guys! Get up here right away!"
Ben and Abigail immediately dropped their coats and sprang up the stairs, fearing something had happened to their daughter.
When they flung open the door, Riley was standing next to Charlotte's bed, a goofy smile on his face.
"Char said her first word!"
"Ohmigosh, really?" Abigail squealed. Both proud parents began to talk at the same time.
"Was it 'mama'? I bet it was 'mama.'"
"It was 'dada', wasn't it?" Ben asked excitedly.
"Nope," Riley grinned, holding up a finger. "You're both wrong. It was 'ri-ri! Well it sounded more like 'wi-wi' but she was definitely saying my name!"
"Seriously?" Abigail asked, staring at Riley incredulously.
"Come on Riley, that doesn't count," Ben pouted. They both left the room, leaving a very bewildered Riley.
"What? Whaaat! It's what she said, I swear!"
Riley sighed and looked down at the one year old in her crib who was babbling quietly to herself.
"Well, at least we know it's true, huh Char?"
The Gates daughter blinked her blue eyes up at Riley.
"De," Charlotte babbled.
"What is it, Char?" Riley asked, tickling her toe. "You want to say 'dada' now?"
Riley's brow furrowed. "What did you say? I sounded kind of like Declaration of…."
Riley's mouth fell open and he glanced down the hall, then back at Charlotte who giggled happily.
Riley smiled and picked her out of her crib, and her little hand latched onto his nose. "You know what? This'll be our little secret."
And that's it guys! I hope it was satisfying for you guys. Wow... I can't believe it's over. I started this in (checks) June 2008. Almost two years. A lot has changed since then. This story is very close to me emotionally, and I'm proud of myself for finishing even though it took longer than it should have. I had most of it planned out since the very beginning, and it's finally all done. Sigh.
I would like to thank all the wonderful people who reviewed my story. The reviews helped inspire me and helped me keep going. Honestly, there is such a great community around this little fandom and I'm so grateful to be part of it with you guys. And of course, I would like to thank my wonderful friend and beta, Jaeh for helping along the way! Thanks girlie :D
I have a lot of other stories planned and now that it's almost summer, I'll hopefully have time to write all of them. Hopefully I'll see you guys there too :)
It's been a wonderful experience!
Much love, Lori