Savannah walked through the doors of the gymnasium of Lancer University. She held one of the doors open and bent down, picking up an infant carrier, before looking out to the hall. "Come on, baby. Aunt Alice is here."
A blonde, pigtailed little girl wearing a pink zebra striped shirt, a black tutu skirt and black leggings toddled into the gym, thumb in mouth. She was the spitting image of her mother, but had her fathers blonde hair and blue eyes. She had Savannah's personality as well. She was hyper and strangely optimistic for a two-year-old.
"There's my girl!" Alice said, walking towards them. "Come here, kiddo," she said, holding her arms out.
Savannah watched as her toddler daughter ran towards Alice, and she let the gym door shut as she walked towards a bench, putting the infant carrier on it.
"I thought you weren't gonna bring Chloe anymore after you had Seth?" Alice said.
"Yeah, well, my plan backfired. For some reason, I completely blocked out that Dan would be working and they wouldn't be able to stay home with Daddy."
"So, get a baby sitter."
"I don't trust strangers."
"She's a lawyer, do you really think she's got time and patience to baby sit a two-year-old and a one-month-old?"
"She has to have patience to deal with her clients."
"Her clients aren't little kids."
"They sure as hell act like them. Look, Emily's here. She and Deidre almost got into it, and I don't know how to handle Deidre's attitude, so I figured you'd be able to kept them away from each others throats…"
"What? What the hell is she doing here? She has no business being in my gym."
"Tell her that."
"Watch the kids."
Savannah walked towards the practice mat, and she saw Deidre and Emily staring at each other, while the Hellcats stood a ways behind Deidre. She let out an annoyed breath and pushed herself between the two of them, before turning to Emily.
"Why are you in my gym?" she asked.
"I was coming to see how you were doing after having your baby, but apparently, that's against the rules," Emily said.
"Well, thank you, Emily, I'm fine. But, you really need to go now. I can tell you're stirring up trouble with my cheerleaders and I don't like it."
"Damn right she's stirring up trouble, she came in here acting like the queen of the world and then tried to tell me I wasn't cheerleader material," Deidre said.
"Okay, look, Emily; these cheerleaders are no longer associated with Vanessa Lodge. If you're here to sabotage her even more, then you're in the wrong place. You have no business being in my gym."
"Your gym? It's Lancer's gym," Emily said. "I'm part of Lancer. Therefore, this is my gym."
"I'm the Hellcats coach, Emily, you know that. I have every right to claim this gym as mine. You've never been in here before. I find it hard to believe you came here to see how I was doing. I think you were here to try to get dirt on Vanessa and Red, and that's the one thing you're not going to get here. What you are going to get is a very brutal beating from Deidre if you don't back off my cheerleaders."
"Is that a threat?"
"From Savannah it's a threat, but from me it's a promise, now step the hell off or I'll make you," Deidre said.
"The superintendent will be hearing about this."
"It's your word against ours," Savannah said. "Where's the proof that it happened? Get out. Now."
Savannah watched Emily walked out of the gym, and she sighed, looking at Deidre. "Look, thanks for the defense, but I'd rather my cheerleaders didn't get any further into drama than necessary, okay? Just stay quiet next time."
"She was closer to kicking your ass than I was to kicking hers, you needed back up," Deidre said.
"And I thank you for that, Deidre, but I can't risk you being suspended over something as stupid as this. I know she's annoying, but she's deliberately trying to piss us off. Don't give her the satisfaction, okay?"
"Fine. Next time, you have fun getting your face fucked up," she said, walking past Savannah.
"Hey. Get your ass back here, and finish your practice run. I know you aren't done."
"Who are you, my mother?"
"Worse. I'm your coach."
Savannah stopped walking, and she turned around, towards the voice she heard. She smiled, seeing one of her favorite students. Hannah Lensor was an exceptional student and always had her head on her shoulders. "Hi, Hannah."
"Hi. Look, I know you've got your kids with you, but I really need to talk to you. It's important," Hannah said.
Savannah saw the fear and worry in Hannah's eyes. She wouldn't turn her down just because Chloe and Seth were with her. "Okay. Come to my office with me," she said, turning around and heading towards the gym.
When Savannah graduated from Lancer, she studied to become a teacher. Since they didn't have a coach when Vanessa got fired, the cheer leading team was out of the question, so Savannah asked the superintendent if she could start the Hellcats back up again, if she promised to keep the funding up. So far, she was doing a pretty good job. Hannah was one of her cheerleaders, and one of her students in her English class, and one of the best.
Savannah led Hannah into her office and she closed the door behind them, before setting Seth's carrier on the couch and lifting Chloe onto it next to him. "Please don't take Seth's binky from him. He's happy and I want him to stay that way. Be good. Mommy will only be a few minutes."
"I be dood," Chloe said.
"Thank you," Savannah said, sitting at her desk. "What is it, Hannah?"
"I'm pregnant," Hannah said.
"I know, I know. I know we're already down two cheerleaders, but it's not my fault."
"It's not your fault that you had unprotected sex and got pregnant?"
"I was raped."
Savannah stared at Hannah for a few seconds. She knew exactly what she was going through. Well, not exactly, but she was close to it. When she was twenty-one, she got drunk with an emcee from The Rat and went to his truck with him. She was fine with making out with him. She was fine with him getting handsy. When he tried to force her shorts and underwear off of her, she went into complete hysterics and she could have been in the same predicament Hannah was in, if Marti hadn't interrupted them.
"Oh, Hannah… I… I'm so sorry," Savannah said.
Hannah stayed quiet as her eyes filled with tears. "Look, Mrs. Patch, I'm sorry that I'm screwing up qualifiers…"
"Hannah, this is in absolutely no way your fault. Rape is never your fault. If you ever need to talk to somebody about it, don't hesitate to call me or come to my office."
"I'm just… I'm scared that… I'm scared that he's gonna do it again. I'm terrified."
"I know how you feel."
"Yeah. I mean, to a certain extent."
"Well, I was a student here. I went through a break up with my husband."
"You were married?"
"No, not at the time. I was upset about it and I wanted to forget about him, so I went to a hoedown with my Hellcats team, and I got wasted with the emcee. I was stupid enough to go to his car with him, and we got all hot and heavy, and he wasn't satisfied with just making out and grinding. He wanted the whole thing, and he tried. Just when I thought my whole life was going to be changed, my best friend saved my life."
Hannah listened and shook her head lightly. "Men are pigs…"
"Not all of them. Some of them are pretty nice. My husband is one of the best guys out there."
"What's he like?"
"He's great. He's a director. He's one of the nicest, most caring and gentle men in the world. He gave me two beautiful kids that I'd never trade for the world. He supports me with whatever I do, even if he doesn't agree with it."
"Well, my little sister's been having problems lately. Relationship issues. Her son is being caught in the middle of it, and she wants me to take him in until she can get out of that relationship and get her life on track. My husband doesn't like the idea of taking on another child, especially when we have two of our own."
"But, it's family. You can't turn down family."
"He knows that. That's why he's letting me bring him home, but that doesn't mean he has to like the idea. I don't like it either, but I'd do anything for that little boy. He's been through so much in his life, and I don't want him going through anymore than he has to."
"What's he been through?"
"He was a month premature. He's been fine, it's just that he's still suffering from that one month of oxygen loss. He has to take breathing treatments daily."
"How old is he?"
"And he has to take breathing treatments every day? That's harsh for a little kid."
"He's strong. He pretends he's filling up on his super powers. He's in a Superman phase."
Hannah smiled. "That's cute… Look, thanks for talking to me, Mrs. Patch. I know you're busy with classes and your kids, I appreciate it," she said, standing up.
"Anytime, Hannah. Just call me the problem solver."
"You're already known as the do-gooder."
Savannah walked into hers and Dan's apartment and she closed the door after Chloe ran in. She walked to the couch, setting Seth's carrier down before taking him out of it, and heading towards the kitchen. "Hey," she said, sitting at a stool.
"Hey," Dan said, kissing her lips lightly. "How'd school with the brats go today?"
"They stayed at the daycare when I was teaching, they came with me when I went to check on the Hellcats. Emily was in there."
"Emily? As in, Red Raymond's Emily?"
"Red Raymond's ex Emily."
"What was she doing there?"
"She says she was coming to ask how I was doing after having Seth, but what really happened was her insulting Deidre, and Deidre almost giving her a new face."
"Speaking of Deidre, still not on speaking terms with Marti yet?"
Savannah sighed and shrugged. "They're talking, Marti's just still pissed off that Deidre kept their father a secret. I mean, I don't blame Marti for being mad, but Deidre needs her sister. She has no other family, and Wanda is absolutely no help at all, and even you know that."
"The world knows Wanda is no help. Where's Chloe?"
"Somewhere around here. She came in before me. Chloe, where'd you go?" she called out.
"I in potty woom!" Chloe shouted.
"I take it potty training is going better than before?" Dan asked.
"Yes. She's been doing a lot better. She hates wearing the pull ups, though."
"Why is she still wearing diapers if she's potty trained?"
"Well, for one thing, she's not potty trained. She's in training. Second, she's only two years old, she can't hold it yet. I make her wear the pull ups so she doesn't have an accident when we're out somewhere, and if she does have an accident, she doesn't get her clothes wet."
"Why do you women have to have an explanation for everything?"
"Because we're gifted. What are we having tonight?"
"Yummy," she said before looking down at Seth. "You're missing out on the good stuff, buddy."
"Uh, no, Daddy is missing out on the good stuff. He gets the boobs, I don't."
"Well, that just proves that he is definitely his daddy's boy. He doesn't even like bottles."
"Mommy, I pway wif brudder?" Chloe asked, walking into the kitchen.
"Did you flush the toilet and wash your hands?" Savannah asked.
"Um, go do it. Now."
"I need hewp."
"No you don't. You've never needed help before. Did you wipe?"
"You better have. You'll get a rash if you don't. You don't want a rash, do you?"
"Go flush the toilet and wash your hands."
Savannah looked at Dan when Chloe ran out of the room. "You better have washed your hands before you started making that food."
"I did, Mom," Dan said.
"I'm thinking of inviting Deidre over for dinner. It seemed like something was bothering her earlier."
"More than that."
"She's probably upset that Marti won't talk to her."
"Dan, I'm upset that Marti won't talk to her. It's not fair that she shut her out. It's been four years."
"She lied to Marti."
"Marti promised that she'd never abandon her. Deidre had a damn good reason for keeping Rex a secret, Dan. Marti just won't listen to her."
"What's that reason?"
"Deidre told me that in confidence."
"I'm your husband."
"She's my cheerleader, and cheerleaders and coaches have a cheerleader to coach confidentiality contract."
"They do not."
"Well, I'm gonna make one."
Savannah invited Deidre over for dinner, and after they ate, they talked for a few hours. Savannah knew that it was late, so she had Deidre spend the night, and she'd take her to school with her in the morning. Right now, Savannah was waking up from a deep sleep. She didn't know what was waking her up, but she knew it was the middle of the night, because Dan was sitting up in bed on his laptop.
Savannah let out a deep breath and she looked over to the screen, widening her eyes when she saw a not very decent picture of her. "Who the hell took that?"
Dan flinched a little, not expecting her to be awake, but he laughed a little. "Lewis. It was at a party from junior year," he said.
"Well, delete it."
"No, it's sexy."
"You're sexy when you're naked."
"Daniel Garrett Patch, if that picture gets sent to anybody, I will find out about it, and I will kill you."
"You'd never kill me. I'd never send this picture out."
"Why are you looking at it?"
"I was just looking through pictures and found it. Look, here's one you'll like," he said, clicking on a picture to bring it up.
Savannah smiled, seeing herself, Marti, Charlotte, Layne and Dan. She was sitting propped up in a hospital bed, with Dan next to her, and everyone else around her, while she held a baby wrapped in a pink blanket. It was the day she'd given birth to Chloe. That was always one of the most special pictures she'd had. It was hanging up in Chloe's room right above her bed.
"God, I look terrible," Savannah said.
"You look beautiful, especially after just giving birth not ten minutes before."
Savannah stared at the picture for a few more seconds, before looking towards the doorway, hearing retching sounds.
"Jeez, what's up with that?" Dan asked.
"I don't know. I'll check on her," she said, getting out of bed. She picked her underwear up from the floor that had been discarded during their activities from earlier and slid them on, not bothering with shorts, since she was wearing one of Dan's shirts that practically swallowed her.
Savannah walked out of the room and she walked down the hall to the bathroom, only to find Deidre knelt by the toilet, vomiting. She walked over to her and knelt next to her, pulling her hair back, and she ran her hand over her back to soothe her.
Once the vomiting stopped, Deidre stayed quiet, and Savannah looked at her for a few seconds.
"You okay?" Savannah asked.
Deidre nodded, staying silent.
"Okay. You need anything?"
Deidre shook her head.
"Kay. Was it Dan's cooking? Sometimes he's just not as good as he thinks he is."
Savannah smiled when Deidre let out a soft chuckle. "Are you gonna stay in here for a little bit? Wait for the feeling to pass?"
Deidre nodded again.
"Alright. I'll be in my room. Just come get me if you need anything," Savannah said, standing up.
"I better not be walking in on a sex show," Deidre said.
"Oh, you won't. That was hours ago."
"I can tell."
"Kay, well… I'll be in my room. Like I said, just come get me."
Savannah walked back to hers and Dan's room and she sat on the bed next to him, laying her head down on his shoulder. "You gave her food poisoning."
"What?" Dan asked.
"I'm kidding. She probably just has the flu. She'll be fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. She was talking and breathing. She's not dying. Or dead."
"What if she's pregnant?"
"Well, then, that's not my problem. It would suck for the Hellcats, though."
"Joseph broke his arm, Tracy fractured her ankle, and Hannah's pregnant. If Deidre's pregnant, or if anything else is wrong with her to prevent her from being able to compete, then we're screwed for Qualifiers."
"Well, you should pray for her, then."
"Trust me, I've been praying for her since I met her. No amount of praying will help her."