I do not own these characters. They belong to Janet Evanovich. Well this is the last chapter. I hope that you all enjoyed the story and weren't too upset by how dark it got. I will be finishing the other two stories I am working on and then have a few more ideas for our favorite residents of Trenton. Thank you all again for all you reviews.
Almost four months had passed since we came back from Mexico. We were in the new Rangeman building and our new home. When we got back, I was taken immediately to the hospital in Trenton and ordered on conditional bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. I could only be out of bed for a total of two hours a day. I was going nuts.
The mothers came over often, and they had become great friends. This made my life much more difficult that you would think. Now there was a tag team going after me with every step I took. They were constantly trying to get Ranger and me to commit to a date for our wedding. I was perfectly content with waiting, Ranger was, believe it or not, more anxious about it. But I would always tell everyone to back off and not piss off the extremely fragile pregnant lady. I have to admit, I will miss having that excuse when the baby gets here.
So here I was, once again in bed, over eight months pregnant and alone. Ranger had gotten called away to repay a favor to his friend the General. The doctor had assured him that I was not even close to delivering yet, so his weeklong trip would be no problem. Always the man with the plan, Lester had been assigned as my back up birthing coach. He attended Lamaze classes with us and you should have seen the looks we would get. One person even asked if I was Ranger and Lester's surrogate. I laughed so hard that I nearly peed my pants.
Ranger had been gone for three days and I missed him like crazy. He hadn't been away from me for more than twelve hours since we'd been back. This was a necessary trip and I decided to put on my big girl pants and suck it up.
Ella brought me breakfast and after stuffing myself to the gills I lay back to close my eyes for a minute. This was my usual morning routine, but for some reason this morning I was wide awake. I felt like I could run a few miles with the guys. I flipped through the channels, leafed through a magazine. I was bored. I got up to use the bathroom and as I did, a stabbing pain ran through my stomach into my back. I took a few deep breaths and chocked it up to the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been feeling for about two weeks now. All normal and preparing me for the big day my doctor said. The pain passed and I went in, did my business and came back to bed. I sat on the side of the bed and another pain hit me, stronger than the first. I did my hee hee's and my ha ha's, but I suddenly realized that they worked for shit. I felt the need to stand and when I did I was suddenly staring at the floor. My socks were wet and it took a minute for me to realize that my water had just broke.
I very calmly went to the closet, got dressed and went to the bathroom. As I was brushing my hair, another contraction hit and I decided to time them. One more hit while I was putting on my second coat of mascara. Ten minutes apart. Plenty of time according to the books. But with each contraction I was getting more and more anxious to get to the hospital for drugs.
I grabbed my already packed suitcase, which Ella had packed for me about a month ago. I stopped for a second and followed Valerie's advice. She had told me at my shower that before I left for the hospital to take a second to look around my home. Never again would it look or feel as it did then. Now it wasn't that I upset about my son entering the world, but I took a second to mourn the loss of the life that was just Ranger and I. I say second because another contraction hit and it just about knocked me to my knees.
I went to the elevator and pressed the button for five. The control room was still on five. The doors open and Bobby, Tank and Lester were all standing around the monitor bay. Tank saw me first and got a stern look on his face. They were under strict orders to return me to bed if they saw me roaming around.
"Bomber." He was trying to sound tough, but none of them ever achieved the same degree with me that they did with others.
"Guys. I need you to get a hold of Ranger for me and see if he can come back early and then I need a ride to the hospital." I smiled at them weekly as I saw panic creep into their eyes. Just then another contraction hit me and I doubled over. "Shit, shit, shit." I decided that word was going to replace the hee hee's and ha ha's.
Lester ran to me, scooping me up in his arms and Bobby and Tank met us at the elevator. Tank had his phone and was dialing as we got on.
"How far apart are you contractions?" Bobby, always the medic.
"Well they were about ten minutes, but that one seemed quicker." I looked up at Lester, "You can put me down fella. I can walk ya know."
"You're fine right where you are."
Tank sighed, talking into his phone, "Yes I need to speak to Ricardo Manoso. He is with General Franks. It is an emergency." The elevator door signaled our arrival at the garage and I was quickly put into the back seat of one of the SUVs. Bobby drove, Tank in the passenger seat and Lester next to me. Another contraction hit and I squeezed Lester's hand.
"Fuck Steph. Breathe through it." I let go as it subsided and Bobby looked in the mirror.
"Ric. We are on our way to the hospital. Steph is in labor." I looked to Tank and held my hand out for the phone. He just shook his head at me. "Alright. I understand." Then he hung up. I went into full on rhino mode in two seconds. Here I was, having his baby, he didn't even have the decency to marry me and now he won't talk to me on the phone.
"Well." I barked, giving Tank my best Burg glare.
"He will be here as soon as he can." Tank cringed slightly as I am sure he saw my eyes turn red and it had nothing to do with the fact that in a few hours I would be pushing a watermelon out of my vagina.
"Well the next time he calls, you tell him he better show up with a preacher and a license because if he thinks he is going to make me a single mother he has another thing coming." The word came out of my mouth and I realized that I had been burying that fear for a long time.
The men in the car look around to each other quickly as Bobby pulled out of the garage and headed towards the hospital. Not another word was spoken except the swearing from Lester and me as contractions came and went. When we go to the hospital, Lester once again picked me up and carried me through the doors. I was already pre registered, so I was taken immediately up to maternity and given a gown and settled into my room. The nurse came and propped open my door and I could hear three chicken shits arguing outside in the hall. None of them wanted to call Ranger to pass him my message. I felt bad at first and then another contraction hit.
"Get your asses in here." They all ran in the room and Tank and Bobby looked concerned, Lester was trying not to smile. "Is this funny to you Santos. Fine I'll solve your problem you were having out there in the hall. Tank dial Ranger for Lester. He gets to break the happy news to the groom." The contractions were getting stronger and closer together and was in no mood for bullshit.
Tank handed Lester the phone and there was a pause as while he waited for Ranger to answer the phone. "Ric?"
I was out the door as soon as I hung up with Tank. The General called ahead for me to have a helicopter waiting to take me back to Trenton at a moment's notice, but I still had to get to the helipad and it was twenty minutes away even without traffic. My phone rang and I answered seeing it was Tank.
"Ric?" It was Lester calling on Tank's phone. This was unusual in itself, but the fact that he sounded like he was about ten and had just broken a window playing baseball, almost made me laugh.
"Santos is everything okay?"
"Ric it's fine. I just have a message from Stephanie. She said that she refuses to be an unwed mother and that you had better hurry up and get here with a preacher and a license."
I couldn't help but laugh. For the past three months I had been trying to convince Babe to elope. She kept telling me that it wasn't important to her and she wanted to wait until after the baby was born. "Give Tank the phone back."
There was a scuffle and I heard Steph cussing in the background. "Ric?"
"Tank do whatever you have to to secure a license and get a justice of the peace into the hospital. Call the family and have them come too. I am about two hours out, do I have time?"
"Here, talk to Bomber. I'll get everything taken care of." He passed the phone to Steph.
"Carlos, I'm sorry. I know you wanted to get married awhile ago, but I realize that it really is important to me. How long until you get here?" She didn't sound anything like the angry woman I had heard in the background not two minutes ago.
"Babe, the General has a helicopter secured for me. I will be there in about two hours. Hold on."
I heard her suck in air and there was a suddenly I heard Lester. "Beautiful let go. Those don't belong to you. SON OF A BITCH." Followed by hysterical laughter from Bobby and Tank.
"You get your ass here Carlos, or so help me God I will castrate you." She then apparently threw the phone across the room and I heard it being picked up.
"Sorry Ric. Contraction. They haven't given her the drugs yet. Actually be glad you aren't here. She just had a death grip on Santos' balls and he's not looking too good." Bobby laughed the words out.
"Take care of her. Get all the arrangements made and I will be there as soon as I can." I hung up and closed my eyes, I could picture the scene there as well as if I was right there.
I arrived in Trenton exactly two hours later and we had permission to land on the hospital's helipad. I ran down the stairs and straight to Steph's room. Bobby and Lester were at the head of her bed. Our mothers were standing beside them. Lula and Tank were huddled in the corner and our fathers were watching the tv hanging from the wall. Suddenly I felt a hand on my ass and I realized that Grandma Mazur was there too. I looked at Tank before crossing to Steph. He nodded and left the room. I took the spot that Bobby was occupying and bent down and kissed her.
"How are you doing?" I was a little tentative and I was being particularly careful to make sure that my crotch was out of reach.
"Better. Drugs are a wonderful thing." She smiled up at me.
"Are you ready to get married?" She looked at me sheepishly and nodded.
Tank brought in the Justice of the Peace and our vows were quickly exchanged. Everyone clapped and as I pulled away from our kiss I smiled at her. "I love you Mrs. Manoso."
"I love you too." She grimaced and I looked at the monitor. A very strong contraction was hitting her and she squeezed my hand. "That one broke through the drugs."
The nurse came in and told everyone to leave. I held my wife's hand as the doctor looked at us and smiled. "Time to push Stephanie."
I supported her head and I watched the mirror that was positioned so we could see our son being born. I was so proud of Babe. It took about thirty minutes of pushing, but suddenly he was there. When we heard him cry, my heart seemed so full.
"Would you like to cut the cord Mr. Manoso?" I took the scissors from her and quickly performed my task. They whisked the baby off and cleaned him up. I stood over them, counting toes and fingers. He was beautiful. He was our miracle. The nurse wrapped him in a blanket and handed him to me. I stared at him for a minute and then walked him over to Babe.
"Ricardo Frank Manoso, I would like you to meet the most amazing woman in the whole world. Luckily for us she is your Mommy and my wife." I kissed his forehead and placed the baby in her arms. "He's perfect Babe."
"Hi Ricky. I love you so much." She cooed and I pulled a chair up so that I could have them both in my arms.
The family made a steady progression through and after awhile all that was left in the room with us were Lester, Bobby, Tank and Lula.
Lester laughed and Steph looked over to him. "What's so funny?" She was smiling, but that strong curiosity of hers never wavered.
"I just had a thought. With all the trouble you get into, you could change your name to Lucy. Then you would be Lucy, Ricky and Little Ricky." Steph chuckled and Lester looked around the room. "Although I must say, Tank and Lula would make one really fucked up Fred and Ethel."