Epilogue: Six Weeks Later

"Push, Maddie!"

"No, wait—don't let her push yet!" instructed the nurse, who went running for Dr. Weed.

"Don't push, Maddie! C'mon, short panting breaths, he he he he…" David demonstrated.

Maddie grabbed his shirt and pulled his face very close to hers. "David Addison, if you EVER do this to me again, I will KILL you!" she screamed.

"You're killin' me now," he muttered, loosening his tie so he could breathe again. Then he kissed her damp hair. "You're doing great, Maddie…we're almost there."

His voice faded from her consciousness as another pain gripped her, and with it an inexorable urge to get this baby OUT. Fortunately, Dr. Weed ran in at that moment; she took one look at Maddie and said—

"She's ready. Go ahead, Maddie—push!"

David watched in awe as she brought all her considerable strength to bear. It seemed like everything they had ever done or been to each other had led up to this moment: all the banter, all the flirting, the fights, the fear and insecurity and anger…and the answering passion and love that were at the root of it all. All of it had somehow gotten them here, now, exactly where they needed to be.

Then he heard his son cry for the first time, and the world shrunk to the sound of that tiny voice.

"He's perfect," the doctor said, laying the baby on Maddie's chest. She took her first look at the red, scrunched-up face, the legs kicking, the tiny hands balled into fists, and thought her heart might explode.

They whisked him away to weigh him and clean him up. She looked at David. Two tears ran silently down his face. Their eyes met, and her heart turned over again. This man—this man who drove her crazy, who never let her get away with anything—had helped her make a miracle, had not only been at the right place, at the right time, but had shared every step of this journey with her...even when they were apart.

She took a deep breath. "David…will you—"

Just then, they brought the baby back and settled him in her arms. His little face peeked out between a swaddling blanket and a blue knit cap. He opened his eyes and blinked up at them.

"It's unbelievable," David breathed. "He looks exactly like—"

"Richie," they both said. They looked at each other again and burst out laughing, with relief and pride and a shared sense of history.

"Does he have a name yet?" the nurse asked.

"Charles," announced Maddie definitely.
"Sandy," said David, with confidence.

"What?" they both cried.

Maddie exclaimed, "Sandy…what kind of a name is Sandy? Sandy Hayes? He sounds like an umbrella cocktail—I don't know why I should be surprised…Charles is a good, practical name—it was my grandfather's!"

Meanwhile, David argued, "Charles? Great, Maddie—how many times a week do you want the kid getting beat up? Now, Sandy—there's a great name, an inspirational name! One of the best pitchers of all time—and a lefty, too!"

The child in question watched them for a moment, then closed his eyes and nestled into his mother, understanding somehow that this was the way things were meant to be.

All was right in his little world.

THE END
(for now)


Whew...writing this story was quite a journey for me: it started out as a little idea, and just kept growing. At the end of Season 4, I felt that there were so many unanswered questions and unexplored motivations, and I couldn't seem to stop until I had examined every one. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

This story could not have existed in its current incarnation without the support and encouragement of the following folks. To all of them, I say a very heartfelt THANK YOU!!

To my Moonlighting friends over on the message board, for welcoming me into the fold and giving great feedback: you guys rock!

To Julia, for thoughtful responses and sharing the "essedness" (and, mmm, I can smell the butter tarts from here!);

To Chiara, for constant cheerleading, instant medical consulting, and unstinting generosity with the smileys;

To Connie, for critical beta-reading, super suggestions, and a huge heart :);

To Laura, for being a terrific long-distance writing friend, idea-bouncer-offer, and beta;

To HB, for taking the journey with me; and finally,

To my boys, for teaching me what it means to be a mom.