This road of life took us here today, the last chapter. I'm grateful to you all that have been reading. I'm honored with your reviews, and that you considered my work good enough to put it into your favorites. This was a long, long story, I certainly have to especially thank Kat for her incredible help.
Disclaimer.- I don't own Crossing Jordan, however I feel like the characters belonged to me, I borrowed them and they stayed in my heart for this long trip. I enjoyed doing this story too much…
One last disclaimer.- I don't own any of the titles of each chapter, they belong to 'The Cure', and they intended to be my playlist . So, I toyed with the title and with the story plot, and fused them into one. It was fun, I can tell you.
See you around…
Chapter 20. Just Like Heaven.
"Oh my God! You're huge!"
Jordan was busy reviewing some notes as she was making her way to her office. The one who had received her with such a greeting had a thick accent, and it was extremely familiar. She had recognized him immediately because he was engraved in her heart as it was in stone. It made her heart stop beating. She lifted her eyes from the file that she was reading to look at the owner of that voice.
"Dad?" She was stunned. There, seated at her desk in her office was her father. The one she hadn't seen for about four years. "Max, what are you doing here?"
Jordan was wearing scrubs, and her eight months pregnant figure didn't quite fit in that costume. Her fully grown abdomen was revealed in its entire splendor. Max, on the other hand, had lost weight. He seemed older and more tired than his real age should exhibit.
"Woody called me… six months ago. He told me you two got married, and… that you were pregnant. I meant to come earlier, but I had a lot of issues to sort out…" He had gotten up from the chair, and that simple movement had cost him too much effort. He had developed a hunchback – that, along with his thin figure and his pale skin, made him seem shorter and sick.
Max was admiring his daughter, his delight for what he was seeing clearly made known in a full grin. "Jordan, you are really pregnant."
Jordan's first sensation of anger was hastily replaced with a worried one. She had played this scene in her mind many times, but she wasn't expecting, not in a million years, to find the big, strong, healthy man she remembered as her father in this condition.
"Why are you still working, Jordan? Shouldn't you be at home by now?" He had taken her hands in his own hands, and Jordan felt a tiny trembling in his hold, almost imperceptible, but she was sure it was there. That left her speechless.
It took her a few instants to recover. "I've had plenty of time at home, dad; two months of confinement was more than enough. I'm here just until midday… and mostly to help with the interns. I just have to supervise one of them..." She was struggling to come to terms with her emotions. She needed an explanation, she needed to know where he had been all these years. What he had been doing? Why is that it had taken him that long to visit her since Woody had called him? They haven't shared anything more than a few phone calls in four years.
However, none of her qualms seemed to be important anymore to her as she observed him. It would be surely something she wouldn't want to hear right now. The answer was in front of her eyes. It was obvious to her that her father was terribly sick.
So, she asked nothing.
"Have you just arrived here?" She tried to act as if it was nothing but normal that her dad was there, as if nothing would have happened. It was as if they would have seen each other the night before at 'The Pogue', his old and beloved bar. Nonetheless, she was having a hard time with her act.
"More or less… I called Woody from the airport an hour ago. He told me you were busy, but that I should wait for you, so he drove me here…"
"It's alright dad, I'm free for lunch. Just let me finish two things on this report, and we can leave. Is that alright with you?" She sat on the chair and left the report on the desk. She was waiting for her father to respond to her.
"It's fine. Do you mind if I wait for you here?" Max was already sitting on the couch. It was too painful for her to watch him, he couldn't support his own weight standing still, and he couldn't have been weighing too much.
"Be my guest." She waved her hand at him, offering the seat. However, it had sounded awkward. That politeness wasn't how they used to act towards each other; somehow it was fitting fairly well – the strange atmosphere of this reunion.
They were silent for some minutes. Jordan was buying time. She glanced with the corner of her eyes toward her father once in a while, inspecting him. She wanted to figure out a plan before they would leave the security of the morgue. Her father was calmed, too serene for her liking.
"So, Jordan…" Max waited for his daughter to look at him, "do you know what you're having? Is it a boy or a girl?" He asked gently. It seemed that he had made peace with life, and that was exactly what was bothering Jordan about his attitude.
She was also surprised by the question itself, it was something they would be talking about later, it was evident. However, she expected this inquiring to happen a lot long after this first meeting. Did it mean that her father didn't have much time to be with her?
"A boy, dad." She dropped the pen on the desk and rested her chin on her hands. "I had this strong feeling that it was going to be a girl…" She relished on the memory and a small smile started to form on her features. "I even dreamed of her, just for the ultrasound to show me how different what we dream is from what it is real…" She shrugged. Her smile had grown wider and was contagious. "Anyhow, I think it's better this way, I wouldn't be a good female role model if it had turned out to be a 'she'" She let some small laughs escape from her. Her anxiety had faded at last.
"A boy." Max repeated as he left out a sigh. "And do you have a name for him already?"
She looked at him with a wicked grin. "Not yet. Woody and I have been fighting quite a lot about it. He wants to continue his odd family tradition by choosing a president name, but I can tell you, dad… he's- go-nna- lose!"
This last remark came in a sing-song tone, and she jabbed her index finger at him as she nodded, keeping the rhythm. She was making her point perfectly clear. Her father found it extremely amusing and laughed. Jordan frowned, laughing as well. She realized that the ice had been disrupted. "C'mon dad, let's get out of here, I know this little place around the corner where you can eat like a king."
"So, tell me, did you know he was ill?" Jordan asked Woody as he was opening the door of the car for her.
He sighed, waited for her to climb into the car and bowed over the open door, resting his hands on the top of the car. He looked intently at her. "I didn't, I swear, but… I had my suspicions… He didn't tell me anything when I called him six months ago, but I found it very strange that he said that he couldn't come to see you. I didn't realize until a month ago what he was really telling me… So, I did a little research… Mmmh, you know he's the Cavanaugh father, isn't he? … I couldn't find anything. Believe me, I wasn't expecting him now. He came here out of the blue… He is obviously sick, so, when I met him at the airport this morning, I asked him…" He made a pause.
Jordan observed him from the seat of the car. She was expectant.
They had just driven her father back to the airport. He said he couldn't be with them more than a day, and it had left her very anxious. He hadn't wanted any help of any kind. Jordan hadn't found the courage to ask him anything either, and Max had been too peaceful and pleasant the whole day. It had been a strange visit, something like a farewell.
Woody was struggling with what he was telling her. Jordan couldn't stand the silence anymore, so she demanded him. "And?"
"Do you really want to know?" He said as if he was pleading her not to continue.
"I don't, but I think I'm gonna explode if I don't hear it… so, please tell me."
"Alright… He has cancer… terminal… he didn't want to be a burden for you. He made me swear that… that I wouldn't make him stay…" His voice faltered. He couldn't hold anymore the tears that were crowding in his eyes. He was terribly sad for both, his own pain and Jordan's as well. "That's why he couldn't come when you were framed for JD's murder, or when he learned about your meningioma; or when we came back from the crash. It is also why he couldn't come when I told him about our marriage and the baby, not until now." He shook his head as he was pulling himself together. He swallowed hard and made another long pause. "I'm sorry honey…"
He knelt down by her side, the open door of the car hid them from outsiders' eyes. The airport parking lot was almost dark, the artificial lights were not enough to illuminate their shapes. He laid his arms around her trembling body. Both were crying, and both were seeking each other's warmth.
They were disturbed by the phone ringing in the middle of the night. Jordan stared at the clock immediately, it was five fifteen. She hadn't been able to sleep. Her father's illness had been a painful realization. Woody, on the other hand, had been tussling under the covers until exhaustion took over him about an hour earlier. The ringing phone at such an early hour wasn't anything unforeseen at the Hoyt's, given their jobs. However, she was expecting something huge to happen, like a premonition.
As she wasn't on duty (she hadn't been on night shifts because of her pregnancy), the only one to whom that call could be meant was Woody.
He stumbled with the phone until he managed to answer. "Hoyt." His mind was a little cloudy and that caught him with his guard down.
"Yes, he's my father…what about him?" He was still trying to focus.
Jordan's heart was racing; she knew that the call had to be something to do with Max. The only one Woody could be calling 'his father' was him.
"What did you say?" He was now very awake.
She started to feel panic. "What? What is it?!" She demanded him.
At this moment, both had been yanked from the bed. He was sitting on his side of the bed and Jordan was standing in front of him.
"Yes… I'll be there. Thanks." He hung up and glanced worriedly at Jordan.
She was losing her mind, for she was sure that she knew what the call had been about. Woody didn't reply as fast as she needed him to answer, so she yelled at him. "What was it?!"
"Max just died." He replied, distressed. He was shocked at the news and jolted at her anxious urge.
Suddenly, every muscle in her body tensed up. Her mind went empty. She didn't even notice she wasn't breathing anymore. She stared blindly at Woody, she couldn't understand his troubled features. He wrestled desperately striving to make her react. However, she couldn't hear him or think of something in response. She didn't know how long it lasted until a big hurt in her abdomen stroke her. It was unbearable, it made her bend forward and screamed in pain. Woody held her strongly, keeping her from falling to the ground. After that, everything was a blur.
Time and space were confused to her. Sensations, noises, people surrounding her drifted in her mind like leaves blown by the wind. Until another huge ache in her abdomen hit her.
Out of the blue, she was in the back seat of the car, Margaret was holding her firmly. Jordan was coming to her senses gradually. She started to notice Woody's voice coming from the front seat. She could hear the siren. She could distinguish car headlights mixed with the daybreak. She could feel her back hurting and her stomach stiffening until another force of pain hit her. Contractions… Braxton Hicks, she was in labor.
"It isn't time yet." Jordan said before the ache got stronger and made her scream again.
Margaret looked for a sign of consciousness in her eyes. At the same time she asked. "Are you with us, honey?"
When the pain left her, Jordan nodded to the old woman.
"What's going on?!" Woody yelled, trying to catch what was happening on the back seat from the reflection in the mirror. But he only became frustrated as both women were out of his visual area.
"The baby is coming! It isn't time yet!" Jordan yelled back.
"Jordan!" Woody shouted, happy to hear she was conscious now.
"Don't worry, honey. You're eight months pregnant, it is alright for the baby, and he can survive perfectly well." Margaret patted her hair softly in an effort to calm her.
"Yes, I know Meg, but it shouldn't be happening. It isn't his time yet, he could be under severe stress now." Jordan replied, upset.
Her medical mind had replaced her numbed one. "We need to get to the hospital, Woody!" She commanded him. She began to control her breathing, demanding to control her own body.
The car's wheel grinded as Woody hit the brakes. "We're already here!" He climbed out and rushed to take her out of the car.
As he was about to carry her in his arms, Jordan pushed him away. "No, I can walk!"
"Alright! Alright." He granted her. However, he took her arm and supported her while they were stepping into the hospital.
Margaret called them out, "I'll meet you in there." as she was moving the car to the parking lot.
Somewhere on the way to the emergency room, Woody got hold of a wheelchair for her. The nurses took control of the situation, and he was left, filling in the registration form. Two or three minutes later Dr. Seymour appeared, coming down from the corridor. At the same time, Garret arrived from the other side.
Jordan was moved into the labor room. She was lying on a stretcher, her vital signals had been taken, she was returning to normality. She had been wrapped with cord probes that were connected to equipment. Those were intended for monitoring the baby's heartbeats. She was drifting away to the rhythmic sound of them. Until another contraction attacked her. That's when Woody entered the room. She was shouting out in pain.
Every second that passed by was an eternity for him, the doctor hadn't arrived yet, so he went to the door and screamed for help. Two nurses appeared immediately, closely followed by Dr. Seymour.
"Calm down, Woody. We don't want you to faint, do we? Take a deep breath and hold Jordan's hand. Come on! We don't have time to block her." The doctor explained to him as she was inspecting Jordan's cervix. Woody did as he was requested, and rushed to take her hand.
All went into a haze after that, an infinite sequence of events frozen into a fleeting instant. How much was it? What happened? Everything was confused for Jordan and Woody, almost like when they were in the plane, and it was falling to the ground. They were holding each other's hand.
"Push! He's almost here! I can see his head crowning!"
"One, breath. Two, breath. Three, breath…"
"Ahhh! That's all I can do, I'm pushing, I'm…"
"Come on, another try, push!"
Her hand was squeezing his hand, almost smashing him.
"He is here!" Seymour announced, carrying in her hands the tiny baby. The incredible sound of his cry emerged in the room. Both parents were shedding tears as well.
"C'mon, let me see him." Jordan's exhausted voice pleaded, and a nurse brought the warm, naked, soft and fuzzy little Hoyt to her, resting him on her chest.
A mute witness observed them from the door. Garret had managed to get in there. He was thinking how proud Max would be with the life his daughter had let herself have. This little boy was a blessing, he had come into the world far beyond any expectation, to lighten up the lives of many people, including himself. Max had departed knowing his daughter was fine, and that she would be happy after his own death. She would recover, she had many reasons to do so.
Anyhow, such were the roads of life. One life had ended, and yet another one had just begun. And in the middle, many lives had been touched, they had changed.
Jordan's and Woody's bliss was beyond the sky.
"You, my little angel." Jordan whispered to her son, caressing him. "You're my angel."
Woody was kissing back and forth his own angels, both, Jordan and the baby. His heart was about to explode at the wonderful sight. It was fulfilled with pride, joy, tenderness, and love. It felt… just like heaven.