Well, this is it - the last chapter, but it's extra long just for all my awesome reviewers ;). I tried to keep the story short, but seeing how much everyone loved it, I may write a few short follow-ups here or there. Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed this story and let me know how much you guys love it. And special thanks to Wirenfeldt Jr for calling me a legend ;) Now on with the story...
"Hey, is someone in there?"
Lilly's head whipped around to the console and, though she didn't wanna leave Miley's side, she slid over to it and pushed the 'talk' button on the phone.
"Help us! You've got to get us out of here!" Her voice sounded a lot more panicked than it would have under any other circumstances.
"You're stuck? How long have you been in there?" Lilly didn't feel like having a conversation. She turned to look at Miley, who looked utterly exhausted and scared.
"Friday. Please just get us out."
"Whoa, okay…yeah. It looks like a belt broke, it could take a little while."
"No, you don't have a little while! You need to get us out of here now! My friend is having a baby."
"A baby?" The man on the other end sounded confused. Lilly wanted to scream.
"She's giving birth right fucking now, so call an ambulance and get us out of this goddamn elevator!"
Lilly didn't bother sticking around, hoping she had shocked the man into action. She moved back over to Miley, who was in the middle of a contraction. Lilly gasped at what she saw. "I can see the head, Miles, you're almost there. You need to push at the end of the contraction, okay?"
Lilly grabbed the small bottle of hand sanitizer she had set out earlier and coated her entire hands and arms in the substance. Her hand shook as she reached out, but as soon as her fingers touched the top of the baby's head, she felt rock steady. It only took a few more pushes before the head was out and relief washed over Lilly. She could do this.
"The head's out, Miley. I told you, he looks like a star. Come on, one more push and you can see for yourself."
With the next push came first one shoulder, followed by the other and then the baby slid into Lilly's waiting arms. He was gooey and slippery and Lilly held him as carefully as possibly while she wiped the goo from his face with her discarded shirt. Her heart thundered as she looked down at his little face.
"He's not crying, Lilly. Why isn't he crying?"
Lilly didn't look at Miley, though she could tell the girl was crying and starting to panic. Lilly forced herself to remain calm as she cleared the mucus from the baby's nose and mouth. "He's fine, Miley. He's fine."
Miley clearly didn't believe her and her sob tore at Lilly's heart. The baby hadn't cried yet and his lips were a little blue, but Lilly wasn't worried. She knew they hadn't come this far to have something go wrong. She moved next to Miley, holding the baby as carefully as possible.
"Unzip your sweater." Miley didn't question her and did as Lilly asked with shaky hands. She was still crying, but Lilly couldn't focus on that now. She carefully laid the still slippery baby on its belly across Miley's chest and abdomen. Her extra sweater sat off to the side and she grabbed it, spreading it across the baby and Miley. Lilly rubbed her hand gently across the baby's tiny body.
The wail he suddenly let out sent waves of relief through Lilly. She sat back in exhaustion, drained from all the adrenaline and panic. The baby cried and cried, loud and wholly obnoxious, but for once Lilly found the sound beautiful. She smiled and looked down at Miley, who once again had tears in her eyes, but this time they were happy.
"Thank you, Lilly…thank you…" Miley managed to get out between her tears, her hands already stroking the crying baby's back.
Lilly moved over and leaned back against the wall by Miley's side with a sigh. "You're welcome, but I think you did all the hard work. I just caught him when he came out."
"No, you kept me calm and from panicking and you helped me through. I don't know how I'll ever repay you," said Miley, her teary eyes earnest and grateful.
Lilly smiled and shrugged, uncomfortable with the praise. "Just get me some World Cup tickets when he's playing for the national team and we'll call it even."
Miley was too tired to even roll her eyes, but she smiled weakly. "So, I was right? It's a boy?"
Lilly stopped and chuckled. "You know, I didn't even check."
She received a weak laugh from Miley and leaned forward. "You want me to?"
Miley gave her an incredulous look and Lilly reached for the sweatshirt with a grin. She lifted it just enough to get a peek, though she had to move the baby slightly and he did not take kindly to the intrusion, increasing the volume of his wails to that of an alarm siren. Lilly grimaced and leaned back. "It's definitely a boy."
He continued to cry and after a few minutes Lilly leaned closer again, her voice frustrated and tired. "Beckham, please stop crying. Your mommy wants to sleep."
Miley's eyes had been drifting shut, but she opened them and looked at Lilly sternly. "That's not his name."
Lilly leaned back, a smug grin on her face. "Well, he seems to like it, 'cause he stopped crying."
"If that's the only name he'll answer to now, I'm gonna be so mad at you," said Miley, already sounding like she was half asleep. Lilly wasn't far behind her, but she forced herself to stay awake.
Just a few minutes later the elevator rumbled to life and Lilly nearly shouted in joy. The baby began crying again at the unfamiliar motion, but Lilly only laughed. She leaned forward to tuck the sweatshirt around him and over his small head, just as the elevator doors opened. A cold breeze swept past them and Lilly looked up at the face of several shocked maintenance men, a few cops and two paramedics. She had never been so happy to see any of them before in her life.
Lilly felt like a zombie as she weaved through the throng of people, following the campus police officer, who had kindly offered to drive her home. She'd waited while the paramedics had checked to make sure mother and baby were fine, before taking them to the ambulance on a stretcher. Miley had been half out of it from sheer exhaustion, but she'd given Lilly a bright smile as she was wheeled away, warming the blonde's heart. She knew she had made a friend for life over the past 60 hours, and not just because she had delivered Miley's baby.
Lilly ignored the stares from passersby and other students, but she fully believed there would be a rumor circulating around campus by the end of day that one student had massacred another in a school elevator. Her hands and arms were covered in blood, as was part of her shirt and pants and though she had tried to wash some of it off in a restroom before leaving, she was too tired to really try. Her eyes were drifting shut the entire drive home, but she could not get Miley and the baby out of her mind.
There was a brief moment where she worried about getting inside the house, as she had forgotten to grab her backpack, but as soon as she stepped from the squad car, the front door was ripped open. Lilly's mother came at her, face panicked, especially once she saw the blood.
"Lilly, oh my god, what happened?"
"Mom? What are you doing home?" Lilly had the air nearly knocked out of her from her mom's forceful hug and the woman pulled back to look at her aghast.
"What do you mean? Lilly, you've been missing for days! Where have you been? What's with all the blood?"
Lilly sighed. She was tired and wanted nothing more than to shower, sleep and eat, without having to tell the whole sordid tale again. But judging by the worried look on her mother's face, she knew she'd have to explain. Lilly pulled away and moved towards the house, deciding if she couldn't shower, sleep and eat, then she'd at least do them in a different order.
"Mom, I'll explain everything, as long as I can have some food."
Her mother didn't hesitate to usher Lilly into the house and send her off to shower, while she prepared food for her daughter. Lilly was half asleep by the time she got back downstairs, though she felt a hundred times better just being clean. Her mom set a steaming plate of spaghetti in front of her and Lilly practically inhaled the food, telling her story between hastily swallowed bites.
The older woman could only watch, confused and amazed at what she heard. "You…delivered a baby?"
Lilly nodded, shoving more spaghetti into her mouth. Her mother looked at her, incredulous, but she couldn't imagine Lilly lying about something like that. She shook her head and waited until Lilly pushed her empty plate away. "Well, you've had a busy few days, honey. I bet you're exhausted; why don't you go upstairs and get some rest."
Lilly stretched and yawned, before nodding. She got up from the table, but turned to her mother before leaving. "Hey mom, can you take me to the hospital later?"
"The hospital? You said you were fine."
"I am, I wanna visit Miley and the baby," said Lilly, smiling at the thought of seeing her friend again. When her mother nodded, Lilly grinned. "I gotta make a few stops beforehand though."
Before her mother could ask, Lilly was already making her way up the stairs. She hit her bed and immediately fell into a blissful sleep.
Lilly hated hospitals with a passion, but there was a certain bounce in her step as she made her way along the corridor now. A nurse had directed her towards the right room and Lilly felt both nervous and excited as she got closer. She'd gotten a good six hours of sleep in, as well as another hastily inhaled plate of food, and felt better than she had in days. Her mom had taken her to pick up her car so she could run her own errands and Lilly carried three bags with her as she walked through the maternity ward.
The door to Room 313 was partially open when she reached it and Lilly hesitated, suddenly nervous. She could see inside the room and immediately noticed the broad-shouldered, long-haired man, holding a tiny blue bundle with an absolutely adoring look on his face. Lilly also noticed her friend propped up in the bed and took a deep breath to steal her nerves. She knocked almost hesitantly, but apparently loud enough to be heard as she was invited to enter.
Lilly wasn't sure how Miley would feel about seeing her again, without the crazy emotions and hormones, but when she saw the bright smile erupt on the other girl's face, her relief was palpable.
"Lilly! I can't believe you came!" Miley sounded genuinely happy to see her and Lilly returned her smile enthusiastically. Though it looked like Miley, too, had managed to get some sleep in, she still looked incredibly tired.
"I had to come see how my little soccer protégé is doing," said Lilly with a smile. She set her bags down by the bedside table and watched as the man walked over with the baby. He handed the bundle to Miley and kissed her forehead.
"I'll go give you two some privacy. I'll be in the cafeteria, alright, bud?"
Miley nodded almost absentmindedly, as if she couldn't tear her eyes away from her son, but then looked up and motioned at Lilly. "Daddy, this is Lilly."
The man looked at Lilly intensely and she felt strangely scrutinized. Miley's father looked a lot like his daughter, tall, with kind eyes, though his hair was blonde and shoulder length. He walked around the bed and up to Lilly, who offered her hand in a greeting, but he ignored it and wrapped her in a tight hug, even lifting her off her feet.
"Thank you, Lilly, for taking care of my little girl and my grandson. Whatever you need, you got it. You're family now."
Lilly didn't know what to say or do, taken aback by the intensity of his emotions. He finally set her back down and she offered him a tentative smile. Miley's father smiled back and nodded, before leaving the room. As soon as the door shut behind him, Miley laughed at the almost terrified look on Lilly's face.
"He means it, you know, you're family now."
Lilly shook her head, but then shrugged and got right up to Miley's bed. She looked down at the baby in Miley's arms and smiled. "As long as I get to spend time with this super adorable little guy. He looks a lot different without all that goo on him."
Miley grinned, brushing the back of her hand across his cheek while he slept. Just holding her son, looking at his tiny face, it made all the pain and fear of the past 24 hours completely worth it. She noticed the bags Lilly had brought and motioned at them. "Are you bringing supplies now just in case you get stuck somewhere?"
"It's not a bad idea, you know," said Lilly wryly, having thought about keeping certain survival items in her backpack from now on. She lifted the first bag, Miley's backpack that she had gotten from the school. "I didn't know if anything important was in here, but I got it back for you."
"And this," she said, grabbing the second bag and setting it on the bed, "is a little something for Landon."
Miley only gave her a brief glare for the name infraction, before she shook her head. "You didn't have to get him anything, Lilly. You've already done so much."
"Oh no, I had to get this," said Lilly, grinning as she pulled the blue onesie from the bag. It had a soccer ball embroidered on the front, along with the words 'Future Soccer Player'. A little beanie shaped and colored like a soccer ball was also attached. "I had to be the first one to get him some properly gendered clothing and get him a soccer outfit."
Miley laughed and shook her head. "It's gonna be his favorite, I'm sure. Thank you, Lilly."
Lilly grabbed the last bag, a much smaller paper bag, which she set on the bedside table. "I also got this, for you. I don't want you sharing with anyone."
Miley looked at the bag confused, before it dawned on her. "Amelie's? You got me cheesecake?"
Lilly knew as soon as she nodded she was in trouble. Miley's eyes welled up with tears and she couldn't figure out what she had done wrong, only that she needed to rectify it. "I'm sorry, Miles…should I not have?"
"No, no…Lilly, you're so sweet and I don't know what I did to deserve it."
"Well, maybe I have an ulterior motive?" said Lilly, earning her a skeptical look.
Lilly nodded, but then motioned at the baby. "But first you have to stop crying, 'cause as cute as he is, I don't want him crying again."
Miley laughed lightly, sniffling. She had Lilly get the bassinette from the corner so she could lay him down, but stopped. "You wanna hold him?"
"Me?" Lilly actually squeaked, terrified at the thought of holding such a tiny, fragile baby.
"You realize you held him before, right?" asked Miley with a laugh and handed Lilly the baby.
Lilly cradled him against her body, looking down at the tiny, sleeping baby mesmerized. "Wait, does he have a name, yet?"
Miley nodded, her face serious, but her eyes were intense as she looked at the blonde. "James Lilian Stewart."
Lilly's head shot up and she quickly put the baby down in his bassinette before she dropped him out of shock. "You named your son Lillian?"
"No, I named him Lilian, just one L. It's different."
"How is that different? He's gonna get beat up!"
"It's French. It's a common boy's name. He's gonna be fine, especially once he's a famous soccer player."
Lilly grinned at the soccer joke, but her face turned serious once Miley's words sank in. "You named your baby after me? Why?"
"We might have just met, Lilly, but I've never felt so close to anyone before. You were there for me, through hell, through tears and pain; you never hesitated to help me; you make me laugh. I'm so glad I met you, Lilly."
Lilly had to swallow her own tears at the heartfelt explanation and she moved forward to wrap her arms around the other girl. They hugged for several moments, before Lilly pulled away. Both were smiling shyly and Lilly suddenly felt nervous again at what she was about to propose.
"So uh…remember my ulterior motive?" asked Lilly, shifting nervously.
Miley nodded, curious at her friend's sudden change in mood. "Yeah…are you gonna tell me what it is?"
"I was hoping you'd say 'yes' to going on a date with me. That is, if you still want to…" Lilly had to keep herself from rambling on in her anxiety and instead shifted nervously again, while she waited for an answer.
When Lilly looked up to meet Miley's eyes, the other girl was grinning. "I'd love to."
Lilly exhaled in relief, glad she hadn't just imagined the connection. She returned the smile fully, suddenly feeling incredibly happy. Miley looked away and when her eyes met Lilly's again, she seemed almost shy. "Hey Lilly? Remember the favor I asked of you when we were stuck?"
Lilly didn't have to think long to remember and almost blushed again just thinking of how much she had wanted to give in. "Yeah…"
"Well, don't you think this is sufficiently special?" asked Miley innocently, but the corner of her mouth turned up slightly in a sly grin.
Lilly's eyed widened as she realized what Miley was implying and there was a sudden ball of anxiety taking up residence in her stomach. She licked her lips nervously, wondering if she should really do this. What if Miley thought she had to because of what Lilly had done, or what if she was influenced by the strong new mom hormones? But when Lilly met the other girl's eyes, all open and sincere, she couldn't have said 'no' if her life depended on it.
Lilly leaned forward slowly enough to give Miley a chance to pull away should she want to, but the brunette merely waited with bated breath. Lilly's eyes closed on their volition as soon as her lips made contact with Miley's. Tingles shot up her spine and the ball of anxiety in her stomach exploded, flooding her entire body with butterflies. No matter how amazing it felt, she didn't want to push it and pulled away just a few seconds later. Lilly was nervous again, hoping Miley had felt just a fraction of the emotions that she had felt herself.
Miley's eyes were still closed when Lilly moved back, a reverent look on her face. She blinked her eyes open and when she saw Lilly right before her, smiled happily.
"So?" asked Lilly, trying hard to keep a huge grin from erupting on her face until she heard the verdict.
"Yeah, definitely gay," said Miley seriously and then laughed, reaching for Lilly's hand.
Lilly couldn't help but laugh, too, suddenly feeling so light and happy she could have danced in joy. But instead she pulled over a chair and sat, never letting go of Miley's hand. They sat for a while just smiling at each other, like silly schoolchildren with their first crush, until one of them burst out laughing and they both dissolved into a fit of giggles. Miley and Lilly fell back into their easy banter, talking despite the days of talking they'd just put behind them and shared Miley's cheesecake. Lilly knew as she watched the girl before her that this was the start of a beautiful relationship.