This is it...

EPILOGUE

Emily shakes me awake anxiously. "Time to get up, time to get up!"

"Jesus," I groan, glancing at the clock and reading 4:39 AM, "It's not Christmas, Ems. I've got work in the morning. Much as I'd like to fu-"

"Shut up," she tells me, covering up my mouth. "I didn't wake you up for that. Kieran just called—your mum's water broke."

"Lovely," I mutter sleepily, curling around my pillow, "She's really clumsy, Ems. You know that. She couldn't stop knocking things over when I was a kid. Vases, picture frames, coffee mugs. Who cares if she broke her water..."

"No!" Emily says insistently, poking me uncomfortably. "Her water broke! As in, she's going into labor!"

This has a much more rousing effect than the previous few sentences. "Her water broke! Oh god, oh god. We need to get to the hospital right now."

"Clearly!"

We arrive to find Mum, smiling as always, in a room with a very nervous looking Kieran. She doesn't seem to be that far into the ordeal.

"Christ, mum. You seem to be in good spirits."

"Thank god you're here," Kieran says, grabbing us both into a hug. "She's been-"

"You better get over here, you Irish bastard! I want to squeeze your hand again!" Okay, so maybe not as cool and collected. I guess she's having a contraction..

Kieran swivels around with a look of pure terror on his face. "You've gotta help me! She's trying to break my fingers!"

"It's your fault I'm in this state! Be a man and come here!"

"Yes, you're right. Squeeze as hard as you'd like, love," he says, apprehensively giving her his hand.

"And you c'mere too!" Like a deer in the headlights, I stumble forwards, joining my extremely anxious stepfather.

Emily tries to smile calmingly at both of us as we're clearly shitting bricks. "What can Naomi and I do to make you more comfortable, Gina?"

I've got a brother. A beautiful, healthy little brother. They haven't chosen a name yet. Mum wants something simple, doesn't want to fuck this one over with a name. Ha! Fat chance, that. Kieran wants some horribly long and confusing Irish name. My interests lie with holding him and making sure that he's comfortable in his little booties and hat and blanket. Soft. I'm becoming way too soft. Emily is sitting in a chair, passively watching the proceedings. Mum tried to get her to weigh in on the naming debate. She had quietly declined, mumbling about it being a 'family matter'.

Naturally, with my mother being the person she is, she just looked at her and shook her head, begging Emily to take her side, since I was too busy to deal with this serious matter. Geez, mum, I didn't realize actually paying attention to the baby was less important than arguing over his name.

'God, one of my daughters needs to help me' was mum's exact statement, if I'm not mistaken. I have to remember to thank mum for that one. Even though Emily's relationship with her parents has improved, she's still got major trust issues and a justifiable anger towards them. She practically melted into the floor with happiness when mum (in her decidely casual manner) included her in our family. Not that I wouldn't do the same.

"I told Katie I would babysit for her tonight, so I've got to go," Emily says apologetically, standing up and getting her things. "She can't get off work, it's a big wedding today."

"That's fine, love. Take Naomi with you."

"Mum," I protest, "I want to be here with you and the baby."

"Yes," she says sternly, "But you can't exactly take maternity leave to help your married mother, so you're going to have to leave some time anyway. You've been up since 4:30 AM, and it's 7:30 now. Get some rest. And maybe once you leave, Kieran and I will have the chance to hold our child! You've been a baby hoarder, hon."

"Okay," I say, biting my lip. "You're sure you'll be fine, Mum?"

"Very sure. Kieran's here, his sisters are coming down tomorrow, and some of my friends from the commune will be visiting. Go, get some rest. Or whatever you two kids do."

Em's lucky that she's in the hallway already, else she's be bright as a beet. Still hasn't gotten used to my mum joking about our sex life. Actually, I have the same problem.

"Night, mum, Kieran, little brother. I'm coming tomorrow on my lunch break, so don't try and keep me away!"

"Stop being a bother and just go with that fit girlfriend of yours!"

The drive to Katie's is pretty silent, though I'm not sure why. Hmm.

Katie had her baby a little prematurely, but Emily and I were both there for the birth. Well, I was trying not to puke in the corner while Emily held her hand for the entirety of the process. For some reason, I was tasked with trying to locate Danny. After several calls, a throaty female voice had answered his phone and told me that 'Danno is a bit busy now'. Fine, I already knew he was a cheating scumbag. Of course it was more unpleasant when she accidentally called me back and I got to hear 10 seconds of Danny having sex with some chick. Believe me when I say that it was the most horrifying moment of my life.

Katie had got over his shit after coming home from the coast and finding him with a girl. He claimed that he was shit-faced and thought the girl was her. Yeah..coz a blonde American bimbo without a brain in her, let alone a fetus, certainly seems like Katie. They had broken up after that, but Katie still wanted him there for the birth of their child.

Instead, she was forced to have another man be there with her, coaching along every step of the way. Who?

Tom..

Yes, Tom. My ex-fiance. I was just a little bit high that night and Emily had obviously never learned to drive. So I called the only person I knew lived close enough to get us there quick. Once we got there, I expected him to leave, but it was like love-at-first-sight. Not for Tom. That would be weird, falling in love with some girl popping out another man's baby in front of you. There was an obvious attraction, though. A week after little "Anne" was born, with Katie just coming home from the hospital, Tom had called me and asked if I would think it was too weird for him to date Katie. I put my revulsion at the thought of them having sex away, and gave him my blessing. I've screwed him around enough (and he had been dating since we broke up, and I do think he's over me).

They really work, y'know? Tom wants someone who's bossy and will order him around. He's not spineless completely, just likes the girl to wear the pants. And Katie fit with his wish to settle down and have kids. Katie, of course, loved having a guy like him. The fact that he actually had a good job, didn't cheat, liked kids, and wasn't a douchebag was a big draw for them. They've been dating for around three months now.

"Em, I just realized something."

"Yeah?" she asks, sounding distracted still.

"I've slept with Tom. And Tom has slept with Katie. So I've kind of slept with Katie by proxy!"

That earns a little snort from her, "Hun, if that were true, then Tom has had sex with half of London."

"True. Mostly I wanted to get your attention. You seem a bit distant. Are you okay?"

She nods, dragging her eyes away from the window, but not looking at me. "Sorry. I got a bit distracted, yeah?"

"Okay. But everything's alright?"

"Yeah," she says, covering my hand with her own. "It's all fine."

"You're not just telling me that so I'll shut up?"

"A bit..."

I squeeze her hand before bringing it towards my lips and giving her knuckles a kiss. "You can tell me stuff, you know that, right? I don't want you keeping silent about something if you want to talk about it. But when you're hurting and I can't help you, it hurts me too."

"Fine. I'm just wondering why my family-well my mother to be honest-can't be like yours. I know that Gina pissed you off when you were a teenager, I'm not trying to say she's perfect. But my mum is just dreadful. And I feel like shit when your parents accept me and are kind to me when my parents treat you like shit."

"Well don't feel bad on my account. I've never been too popular with the family. Besides, your parents didn't treat me like shit as much as they treated you like shit. Damn, that didn't not come out right."

I think back to the first time Jenna and Rob had visited. They had first off assumed that Emily was living with Katie. Then they thought I was running some sort of group home, despite the fact that Emily and I live alone. When they saw me kiss Emily goodbye before I left to give them some alone time, Jenna accused me of abusing my power and station..and told me she was going to call the police. I'd like to say it went better when it came out that she was my girlfriend. Not so much. They were pleased that Em had a place to live and food to eat, though I'm not sure if that was out of true gratitude or that they were happy they didn't have to financially support. Anyway, things have been getting better. Rob tries, comes down every time he has a day off. I think he feels guilty for what basically constitutes abandonment. Out of sight, out of the mind of a man with more muscle than brains. Katie also told Jenna she could fuck off and not be involved with her granddaughter's life.

"How I am supposed to know you're not gonna do a runner if Anne has problems? I would rather you not be in her life at all if you can't promise you're not going to leave when it gets hard."

Well said, Katie. Emily persuaded her otherwise, and Jenna has at least taken the effort to call sometimes. She's always 'too busy' to visit, but I think that's due to her stubbornness more than an attempt to get out of spending time with Emily.

She called me once at work, making me promise for a vow of secrecy before thanking me for taking care of her daughter. Crazy bipolar bitch.

The crazies? Well I can't say that it's been easy, but it's gotten a lot better. And four months isn't very long in terms of staying relatively sane.

Our six month anniversary is coming up alarmingly fast. Em is planning something for us to do. I am too. I've had the ring in my pocket for almost a month now. Some people might say it's too fast, but we have lived together for a long time now. We've seen each other at our worst.

I went crazy and my journey back to sanity would not have been same if I hadn't had my own personal angel who took me from Bedlam all the way back.

On that cheesy note, this story really ends.

Yeah, this chapter had a lot of recollection and pure info, but I wanted to close up the loose ends.

To anyone wondering why I didn't talk about any of the other patients, it's coz keeping in contact with people still inside is really hard. Sadly enough, most people do worm their way out of your life.

Tell me what you thought of the story! Anything you'd like to see in the future from any of my fics. What I should do better next time.

Adios...

And to all those wondering about my very paranoid post a few days ago, I am feeling somewhat better. At least to the degree where I'm not fully crazed...yay?