"Where is Kurt? He's going to miss it!" Rachel Hudson glances around the crowded theater with worry evident on her face.
The calming voice of her husband comes only moments later. "Babe, sit down and relax. He'll be here."
"He'd better be! It's Ava's opening night- she'd never forgive him if he missed it!"
"He won't miss it. You know this is important to him." Finn assures her. "Now please just calm down."
Rachel sighs and sits back down in her chair, her eyes lighting up only moments later.
"I know I'm cutting it close, but traffic was awful." Kurt grins and presses a kiss to Rachel's cheek. "You look stunning Rachel. That dress looks simply marvelous on you both."
The brunette glances down at the black sequin shift dress covering her large protruding belly and smiles. "Thank you. You look pretty fabulous yourself."
Kurt laughs. "Always! And Finn, I trust you've been keeping my sister-in-law to the very highest of standards during the impending arrival of our newest starlet?"
"I'm doing my best bro." Finn nods and gives Kurt a quick hug before sitting back down in his seat between the two of them.
"Oh, the show's starting!" Rachel squeals as the lights began to flicker. "Finn, do you have the camera ready?"
"Yeah babe, it's right here just like the last time you asked."
His wife is about to reply when the lights begin to dim and a young redhead makes her way to the center of the stage with a huge smile.
"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to PS164's fall production. For those of you who don't know, my name is Elaina Harp and I am the music director here at PS164. These very talented kids have been working for quite a long time to provide you with the best performance they can give, and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. Ladies and gentlemen it is my pleasure to present to you the kids of PS164's Cinderella."
The curtain opens to reveal one Ava Hudson standing with a battered broom wearing rags. It's quite evident that even at seven years old, the young girl has found her place on the stage. She delivers her lines with both confidence and vigor. Rachel finds herself tearing up due to sheer believability alone. Her hand finds Finn's in the darkness and nearing the thirty minute mark he can't help but lean over and whisper into her ear.
"Are you okay babe?"
Rachel nods, her eyes never leaving the stage. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure? Because you keep squeezing my hand really hard every few minutes and gritting your teeth."
Rachel refuses to meet his eye. "Yeah, it's just normal pregnancy stuff. Now hush!"
Finn glances at her suspiciously as he returns his gaze to the performance, his wife's words echoing in his mind.
Normal pregnancy stuff…. Normal pregnancy stuff….. Pregnancy stuff…. Pregnancy…
"Rachel, you're not in labor, are you?"
"No." comes the immediate response.
Finn frowns. "Rach, I need you to be honest with me here. Are you in labor?"
"No." she says again, still not meeting his eyes. Another hand squeeze is quick to follow.
Finn's mouth drops open in shock.
"You are not putting off going to the hospital just to see Ava's performance!" he mumbles urgently.
"You're right, because I am not in labor!" she whispers back frantically, her usual confidence waning slightly.
Is she insane? "We have to go to the hospital!"
"We can when the performance is over!"
"We're not waiting!"
"Fine, go ahead! I'll meet you there in an hour." She reasons.
"Finn," Kurt leans over to speak quietly with his step-brother. "What the hell is going on? People are starting to stare."
"Rachel's in labor and refuses to go to the hospital!" Finn tells him exasperatedly.
Kurt's jaw drops. He can't say he's surprised with Rachel's decision, but the situation itself is pretty weird.
"She has to go to the hospital." Kurt tells his brother obviously, who nods in obvious agreement.
"I know! But she doesn't want to leave."
Kurt pauses and thinks for a moment before nodding.
"Okay, I have an idea. You stay here with her. I'll be right back."
Finn watches him hop up from his seat and scurry off towards the direction of the lobby. With a sigh he turns back to his wife.
"Rach, they have all those drugs at the hospital, remember? And Dr. Lennox is there, you like her right?"
"I can deal with the pain until the show is over." Rachel says stubbornly. "And Dr. Lennox will still be there in a few hours."
Finn sighs, wondering where the hell Kurt has gone. Clearly he's not going to be able to convince her on his own, so maybe when his step-brother gets back they can double team her… He's shaken from his thoughts when the house lights suddenly go up, causing the room to fill with bright light and the kids on stage to pause.
"I'm so sorry for the disturbance." Kurt says politely to the confused crowd from where he's standing by the entrance. "But it appears that Rachel Hudson's escort has arrived." He steps out of the way for two paramedics pushing a large stretcher to make their way down the aisle, stopping when they reach Rachel and Finn's seats.
"Alright Mrs. Hudson," one of the two EMTs says kindly. "If you'll just sit down here we can head to the hospital and-"
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Rachel interrupts venomously. It's times like these that Finn seriously gets freaked out, because if looks could kill he's pretty sure nearly everyone in the room would be dead. That's how scary his wife can be when she's mad. And right now Rachel looks downright pissed.
"This is my daughter's performance that you are interrupting." Rachel continues, her voice dangerously quiet as she addresses the frightened EMT. "Now you listen carefully. You may either take an available seat and watch the remainder of the show, or get back in your vehicle and leave. Either way, you will be acting alone because I am not going anywhere." She glances over to the stage and grins at Ava warmly. "Go ahead, honey. The rude people are sorry for disturbing your show and are leaving right now. Keep going, mommy wants to see the rest!"
The children on stage look more than a little confused, and the two EMTs keep looking between Kurt and Rachel, terrified and unsure of which orders to follow. The rest of the audience remains silent, the newfound show taking place before them obviously holding an interest.
Finn sighs. Clearly he is going to have to be the bad guy here, even though he knows his wife is going to kill him for it. Whatever, he isn't risking Rachel or the baby's health for her pride when she clearly isn't in the right state of mind anyway. It isn't worth it.
Finn stands from his chair and turns to address his daughter on stage.
"Ave, remember a few weeks ago when we talked about the plan for when mommy was having the baby?"
Ava nods. "I'll get mommy's bag while you help her in the car and you'll take me to Uncle Puck and Aunt Quinn's house. Then when the baby is born they'll bring me to see you and my new brother or sister at the hospital." She recites dutifully.
Finn smiles. "That's right, baby. Good job. Well, it turns out mommy is having the baby now." Ava's jaw drops and Finn nods. "Yeah, but she doesn't want to miss your performance so she doesn't want to go to the hospital."
Ava frowns. "Mommy, you have to go to the hospital. The baby needs to be born!"
"Honey, I know that." Rachel smiles softly at her daughter and sends a glare to Finn for ratting her out. "And I will go to the hospital. Just as soon as the play is over, okay?"
"No! It is most certainly not okay!" Ava says adamantly. "You're going to the hospital right now, missy! I'm going to change out of my costume and Uncle Kurt and I will see you there."
"Ava, no!" Rachel cries. "You have to stay and finish the play!"
"I have an understudy!" The tiny girl replies. "Charlotte can do it. Besides, my new brother or sister is way better than some stupid play." She frowns and glances to Ms. Harp in the stage wings and fellow classmates. "No offense."
"Rachel Barbra Berry Hudson," Ava says sternly, the no-nonsense tone in her voice clearly learned from her mother. "Go with the ambulance people right this instant. No buts! I will see you in a few minutes!" With that, the little girl marches off the stage to change clothes, the rest of her classmates moving out of her way and leaving her a clear path.
Rachel wipes a tear from her eye as she sees her daughter leave before sighing and turning to the EMTs. "Well, since I clearly have no other option…" She accepts Finn's offered hand and climbs up onto the stretcher dejectedly.
As the paramedics let out a breath of relief and begin to wheel the stretcher out, the room erupts into applause, making Rachel's face go red. She nods politely to a few people as calls of luck are shouted through the room and gives a weak smile before the group disappears through the doors and Kurt takes off down the aisle, graciously following Ms. Harp backstage to collect his niece.
Four hours later, Finn Hudson enters the hospital waiting room to find all of his friends and family waiting on the edge of their seats.
"Come on," he says, gesturing them all forward and taking his daughter's hand. "There's someone you guys need to meet."
Murmurs of awe are heard amongst the group as Finn leads them into the hospital room. Propped up in bed is a tired but very happy Rachel nestling a tiny blue bundle to her chest. Her hair is damp and matted to her head and there are dried tear tracks running down her face but she's glowing.
"Hi." She says quietly as everyone crowds into the tiny hospital room. Finn lifts his daughter onto the bed next to her mother so she can inspect the new baby up close. "Ava, this is your baby brother."
The little girl stares in shock at the sleeping infant. She has a brother now. She's a big sister. "What's his name?" she asks finally.
Rachel sniffs and looks at her happily. "His name is Chris. Christopher Finn Hudson."
"Hi Chris." Ava says quietly. "I'm your big sister Ava. I'm gonna teach you all kinds of things, like how to play games and sing and trick Uncle Puck into letting you stay up late. And I'm gonna protect you from all the bad stuff too, so don't worry 'cause we're a family and now you're part of it too. I'm gonna be the best big sister ever, so everything's gonna be okay. I love you." She leans in and presses a gentle kiss to the baby's head while the rest of the room brushes away their tears.
Finn nods, his daughter is right. Everything is going to be better than okay. In fact, right now everything is just about perfect.