I own no part of SON
Peace and love to all!
I slowly open my eyes and regret it instantly when a harsh light blinds me. There's also an incessant beeping sound combined with mumbled voices. What in the hell is going on? When I try to move any part of my body I find that nothing is working.
I see an arm reach across me and I try to voice my concerns about not being able to move. All of a sudden the arm is holding a chainsaw and is coming at my head. I hear a grinding sound, see blood shoot from my head, and then…
My whole body convulses and then two arms are trying to hold me still.
"Spencer, baby, calm down it's a bad dream. Shh sweetie. It's ok, I'm right here."
A wave of nausea hits me and I cling to my wife tighter. Ashley whispers against my head and rubs a comforting hand on my back.
It has been almost three months since my surgery and every night is the same. I have horrible dreams of surgery going wrong.
"A-Ashley, so sorry. I'm so sorry."
And here comes the same act we go through every night. I apologize for things I cannot control while she tells me everything will be ok and cries on me. After Ashley cries herself to sleep (still very swollen from pregnancy) I tip toe to the kitchen to try and regain some sort of perspective.
Nothing major went wrong with my surgery but there are gaps in my brain. Sometimes I get somewhere and forget why I'm there to begin with. Now I know everyone experiences these but my incidents occur daily and I can't ever jog my memory. I forget where the keys I'm holding in my hand are and my hands shake.
I get these are mild side effects so I tolerate them without complaint. It's the nightmares that cause the most strain. My pregnant wife gets barely enough sleep and I get no where near the sleep I need.
The digital numbers on the microwave blink 4 am at me and I groan in frustration. I've tried everything to sleep through a night. I've taken countless medicines, seen therapists, and several different alternatives that are uncomfortably bizarre.
I sit and watch the sun come up, a steaming cup of coffee in my hands. My fingers habitually trace the scar the runs from the top of my head to the back of my ear. My hair is shaggy and well on its way to growing all the way back. Ash thinks the shorter hair is sexy, I'm not so sure. And with one thought about Ashley I then start to worry about her.
God knows how much stress this whole thing has put her and the baby under.
As if on cue I feel two arms wrap around me from behind. The task is difficult for her with the swollen belly in-between our bodies.
"I love you so much Spencer."
She kisses my neck and then rests her forehead against my back.
"Ash, I'm trying so hard to get better." I turn to face her, "I want to be better for you."
"No," she cups my face, "you are perfect. We'll get past this. Now I have to pee and you're going to make me breakfast."
She gives me a wink before waddling to the bathroom. With the first crack of an egg I hear the pattering of tiny feet upstairs. Before I can even brace myself the love of my life is wrapped around my legs.
"Mommy! Gooooood morning!"
Ripley's enthusiasm makes me laugh and I scoop her up to place her on the counter.
"Baby girl," I kiss her forehead, "you hungry?"
Right as Ripley opens her mouth to reply I hear her.
"Hell yeah she's hungry and so are we!"
Becky strides into my kitchen with her son strapped to her with one of those baby pouches.
"Seriously you wear one of those?" Ashley asks as she lowers herself into a chair.
My best friend laughs, "Yes, yes I do and soon you'll be begging to borrow mine. Ashley you seriously look like you're going to explode."
Ashley rolls her eyes and I glare at Becky.
"Gee thanks Becky." The annoyance in Ashley's voice is clear.
"Anytime," Becky's attention turns to Ripley, "Rip, babe you're getting so big!"
The tiny brunette beams in appreciation before giving baby Christopher a gentle kiss. Ashley and I share a smile at Ripley's cuteness before I turn my attention back to the food I'm cooking.
"So uh Spencer, how are you doing?"
I know what Becky is really asking. She wants to know how the nightmares are going.
"Well," I give my worried looking daughter a smile, "I'm doing fine."
The look that Becky gives me shows that she knows better but she leaves the issue alone.
I'm flipping the bacon when I see the wince of pain flash across Ashley's face. My heart stops in my chest and I'm kneeling by her instantly.
"Baby, you ok?"
"Spence," she bites her lip and grips my shoulder; "the baby's coming."
My jaw hits the floor and I just stare into Ashley's eyes. Holy crap.
"What did you just say?"
My question is a whisper against the background noise of Becky and Ripley.
"Baby. Now." Her voice is rougher and laced with discomfort.
"Shit!" I yelp as I jump to my feet.
"Shit!" Mimics my daughter.
"Rip, no cussing. Becky pack it up we gotta get to the hospital!"
I grab Ashley's wrist and pull her to the car while Becky yells after me.
"You guys go ahead, no worries! I'll take care of Rip and meet you there!"
The drive to the hospital, a route I have memorized by now, takes only minutes but consists of a lot of groaning and yells. I can tell my wife is already in a lot of pain.
We get shipped to a private birthing room and the doctor is in and out before I can think straight. The nurse shoos me away to change into "proper birth gear"…honestly no such thing exists. They just wanted to get rid of the panicking person that is me.
Now I'm standing dressed head to toe in that ridiculous hospital gown crap and I'm holding the hand of my screaming wife.
"AHHHH! DAMN YOU SPENCER!"
I'm sorry I did not do this, in fact that would be a medical miracle if I did. Now doesn't seem like the time to correct her…
"Come on baby you are doing so good!"
My wide smile and encouraging words just seem to anger her more.
"Screw you Spencer! Owww!"
Thirty more minutes of screaming, sweating, and pain before I hear it. One sound snaps everything into perspective. It is a lone wail from the tiny bundle of a person wrapped in a blue blanket.
Our son's small cry makes my heart soar and my eyes water with happy tears. I kiss Ashley's sweat soaked forehead and do my best to wipe away her tears.
"Oh my God Ash, you did it."
My wonderful wife gives a burst of laughter and we both grin in anticipation of our son being brought to us.
The nurse hands him to my exhausted wife.
"Just so you two know, he is 7lbs 2oz and perfectly healthy. Congratulations."
The two of us beam at our little boy.
"So Spencer did you decide on a name?"
"I get to pick?" I look at her with disbelieving eyes, she just nods and smiles.
I cradle the small child and I can already feel so much love for the boy.
Ashley grins before releasing a deep sigh. I watch as her eyes close and she drifts into a much deserved sleep. After putting Lucas back to bed I jog to the waiting room where the crew sits.
Everyone is here: Glen, Kyla and their children, Becky, Christian, Christopher, Madison, Carmen, Rip, and Ashley's parents. I look around at the people I love and start smiling uncontrollably.
"His name is Lucas," I pause and watch everyone start smiling, "and he's perfectly healthy!"
After the year we've all had this news makes everyone start cheering. Hugs, kisses, and tears are shared by all. In this moment I know everything will be ok, I know that no matter what I will always have these people.
X X X X X X X X X X
"LUCAS! RIPLEY! DOWN HERE NOW!"
I rub my forehead as I wait for my kids to come downstairs. Ashley's birthday dinner is in ten minutes and my dang children aren't even ready. Long gone are the days of cute pattering feet and now I hear the thundering of my teenage children.
An eighteen year old Ripley reaches me first, followed closely by the now fifteen year old Lucas.
"Absolutely not Rip. Go change."
Her shirt is way too low and the skirt is basically none existent.
"Mom! No way, what's wrong with this?"
Her eye roll and attitude are familiar. Not only because I get this from her every day but because she's just like Ashley was.
I arch an eyebrow and take my "mom stance" to show how serious I'm being.
"Ha! I told you she'd make you change!"
My brunette daughter slaps Lucas upside the head, making his shaggy blonde hair shake.
"That's it! You two knock it off. Tonight is about your mother. Ripley you have five minutes to change, now. Lucas, go get your mother."
The children disperse and I steady myself against the wall. Two teenage children can be so infuriating. But then there are moments when it's the best. Ripley just won homecoming queen at her school, Lucas made the basketball team, and both are on the honor roll at school; these moments make everything else worth while.
"What are you thinking about so hard?"
Her husky voice brings a smile to my face before I open my eyes to find Ashley standing in front of me. She looks the same but with more wear and tear. The lines on her face are testament to laughter and tears; Lord knows we've had our share of both.
"I'm thinking about how at 45 you've never looked better."
Her laugh is one of disbelief but truer words have never come out of my mouth. I kiss her and a sudden memory flashes into my mind…
"Ok fine Spencer Carlin don't tell me but you and me," she points from her to me, "we are going to end up being really good friends. I can just feel it."
I must look absolutely shocked because she laughs openly at me, throwing her head back. I recover and find my voice.
"Can I be completely honest with you?"
She seems pleased with me finally really speaking to her.
"Sure I'm pretty confident I can handle it."
And for some reason I don't doubt that she can handle just about anything.
"I don't really do friends or relationships. Becky only sticks around because I've known her so long and she's been through all my shit with me. Also you are without a doubt the strangest person I've ever met."
With my last comment a full blown grin finds its way on her face and her eyes seem to sparkle.
"I think you'll end up finding me irresistible Ms. Carlin."
I laugh into the kiss and she pulls away smiling.
"You were right you know?"
She gives me this questioning smile.
"Right about what Spence?"
"I do find you irresistible and I always will."
We share a smile in remembrance and I feel nineteen all over again.
Thank you thank you thank you. This has been an amazing ride and I hope you are all satisfied with how it ended. I've loved writing this series and I hope you've enjoyed reading it.