A.N.: Holy hell in all that is hellishly holy! I know, it's been forever and a year since I've uploaded ANYTHING on here, but work, writer's block and a terrible case of procrastination will do that to you. Just to prove that I haven't been doing nothing this entire time since my last update, I've been hard at work writing this little baby that you will read below. Yes, it is rather long, but it's also rather dear to me. It's taken months to write this, and I'm very proud of the end results.
Anyways, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest belongs to the amazing Ken Kesey, while the majority of the other characters belong to me. You'll know which ones because you won't recognize the names from the book :)
Please R&R, as it makes my day wonderful!
Randle was crazy. Not just crazy, flat fucking out-of-his-mind crazy. But, there was something in his eyes... Something hidden deep down that only I could see.
For freedom? Obviously, but there was also a longing for something else.
He longed for companionship. For someone to stand by him when nobody else would. For someone to just love him completely. I guess he believed that I fit the bill because he continuously tried to rebel against me and throw me off as head nurse. Yes, I am the head nurse at the Salem, Oregon State Hospital. My name is Mildred Ratched.
It all started when Randle first arrived at the hospital. He appeared scared, but he covered his fear with his brawler build and outgoing attitude. He convinced them to follow him, convinced me to love him. You would think that with all of my years working as a nurse, I would have seen this coming. I should have seen through his games, through his tough exterior at what was hidden beneath.
I should have seen what was coming straight towards me like a long black train speeding right through me.
But I didn't.
I didn't see the looks that he gave me. I didn't notice the looks that I returned. Looks filled with passion, filled with need and sorrow. Looks that landed me in bed with him.
I never realized how much I missed the feeling of his warm body next to mine. How much I missed the feeling of skin-on-skin. How much I needed him, especially when I found out that I was pregnant. After the stint with him trying to choke me to death after Billy killed himself, I had him lobotomized to prevent further instances. Then, I found out that he had been killed in the middle of the night; smothered to death with a pillow as a mercy killing.
Not long after that, I began having the early symptoms of pregnancy, so to try and calm my fears, I took a home pregnancy test. It came back positive. Not wanting to jump to conclusions just yet (because all home pregnancy tests are never 100% accurate anyways), I went to the clinic to have a urinary analysis to prove if I was pregnant or not. That test also came back positive.
I blanked out. My mind was a complete haze and my body moved on its own. I don't even remember getting home that afternoon, but I do remember finding myself in my bedroom. That's when everything sunk in.
I panicked. I completely flipped out and buried my tears into my pillow. The soft fabric of the pillow and pillowcase drowned out the sound of my sobs and occasional screams of anguish. How could I even let this happen? I slept with a lunatic for Christ's sake! I was now carrying his, basically, bastard child!
… How would I explain this to the other nurses?
… How could I explain this to myself?
I feel trapped, betrayed, cornered, caged. I can't kill this child; it's against me to kill an innocent, unborn child. But I practically killed this child's father in a spur of rage after he attacked me... I placed my hand onto my abdomen and stared at it through my blurry vision.
Anger started to boil up in me. My hand clenched my dress and my fingernails dug into the flesh of my stomach, instilling pain and forcing me to release my hold. Fresh tears pooled in my eyes and I buried my face into my hands.
This was going to be a long seven more months.
Looking back on the past six months that have passed, I guess it was no surprise that I would have ups and downs with this pregnancy. It was difficult, of course, to explain my unplanned pregnancy to my coworkers, and harder to keep myself protected from the rowdy patients if they got out of hand during group sessions. If it wasn't for those Black Boys, I may have lost this child on more than one occasion. But, those three boys sure love to fight and it keeps these patients in line.
Thank goodness that no one even bothered to ask me who the father was. It's one thing to explain the pregnancy itself, and another to explain how this child came to be and who the father is. Was. Past tense because he's not alive anymore. The more that I think about it, the more that I find myself longing for him... Longing for his touch; for the caress of his calloused hands over every inch of my bare body and beyond. These thoughts have kept me up more than once these past few months, and the sight of my fatigued form has been noticed at the hospital each time it's happened. I have been asked to go back home at least five times in the past month alone, now multiply that by six and you'll see that I've been sent home at least thirty times, if not more.
Even if I'm eight months along, I still have a ward to upkeep before I leave, so it's off to work this morning. The drive is particularly lonely with no one to talk to... But, the child that moves within my womb is all the company that I need on the way to work in the mornings. A gentle kick and slight movement garner my thoughts away from Randle, and my momentary loneliness, and down to my abdomen.
"Good morning little one." I say softly as I place my hand on my stomach, eyes never leaving the road.
Another kick is the response that I receive, and I softly caress the bulge that is my abdomen, soothing the small child within into a calm state, with slight movements every now and then. I smile sadly because the child will never know who its father is, but I vowed to pour every ounce of love in my being to this child. The sadness that I feel is washed away with a kick that causes me to jump ever so slightly as I pull into the hospital parking lot. I smile and caress my abdomen once more before I exit the car and walk into the building.
It's quiet in here. The ghosts of the past still linger within these halls, but I banish them from my thoughts as I walk into my office and sit at the desk. Pulling yesterday's paperwork from my purse, I already feel the early hints of stress nipping at the back of my neck and irritation flowing through my veins. I should have quit this job after Randle died... But I didn't. Instead, I pushed through and got the patients back under control. It was a long and arduous process, but as my vocal cords healed over the time since the attack, I've healed enough to bring the hospital back under control.
Of course, I'm not completely healed from that attack, but I've got enough back that I'm able to instill fear back into the patients to keep them in line. They know my one weakness, obviously, but I have three men that easily handle all of them without a second thought about what measures they have to take to make sure that I, nor my child, are harmed.
"Good mornin' Nurse Ratched." The drawl in his voice is unmistakeable.
"Good morning Washington. How have things been this morning?" I ask as I sift through the paperwork in my hands.
"Good. There hasn't been any trouble from the patients." He replies as he places a carton of cigarettes on the desk corner.
Marlboro Reds... It's ironic that we still supply the patients with these specific cigarettes. I look at the carton for a moment longer than I should, but I force myself to suppress the memory of these very same cigarettes ladled in the small part in Randle's lips; smoke flowing from the corner of the ever-present smirk on his face. The same smirk that he wore after our one-night stand. I can still hear his voice from that night...
"Who would have thought I would be lucky enough to land you for a night?" He laughs softly in the darkness.
"No one can know about this! It's strictly confidential!" I reply, an edge in my usually collected voice. Fear? Possibly.
"Why are you ashamed? Wasn't I good enough for you?" Sadness... Dejection resonating deeply in his baritone voice.
"I'm not... Ashamed... I just don't want this to get out to the staff. So never speak of this to anyone." Hasty reply for someone who isn't ashamed of what happened.
His arms wrap around my waist and his lips kiss my bare shoulder blade. He softly nips at the pulse point in my neck, then kisses the mark once more. I shiver slightly in the chill of the air and involuntarily cuddle closer to his body.
"What? Are you wanting another session?" He asks with a chuckle in his voice. I find it adorable.
"What are you talking about? It's just cold." My reply is soft, almost a whisper that falls to his ears.
He pulls me closer and lets his warm breath roll down my neck. The feeling is lilting, and I gently place my hands on his arms, keeping them wrapped on my waist. He smiles against my skin, while a certain member touches the small of my back. I turn my head and look at him incredulously.
"You've got to be kidding me. Again so soon?" I state as I peer at his silhouette in the darkness.
"Guess so. It's gotta be your body that's doing this to me..." He smiles broader against my skin.
"You try to flatter too hard McMurphy." I say as I turn my head away.
"You aren't going to leave it unattended, are you?" He asks as he pushes up against my back.
I sigh heavily as I roll over in his grip and then roll on top of his abdomen. He feels the warmth that radiates from my inner thighs, and it only arouses him more. His member pulses against my backside, and I have no choice but to comply with him.
"Fine. But this is the last time, then I'm going home." I say as I look down at him.
"Fair enough, but I get first go." He says as he sits up and lowers me onto his lap, kissing me full on with his gently parted lips.
The bliss flows through my body and sends a shiver of pleasure down my spine. I kiss him back and we both find ourselves lost in waves of pleasure and sheets that tangle around our bodies...
The memory brings tears to my eyes and it takes a large amount of willpower not to release the sob that's found its way to my throat. I cover my mouth and place my other hand on my abdomen, holding it tightly in the crook of my arm. The nurse next to me looks at me as if I've seen a ghost.
"Nurse Ratched? Are you alright?" The concern for me is evident in her voice. She places her hand on my arm.
I shake my head and move to stand, but my legs are weak and I fall back into the chair before I really move. The other nurse is worried and quickly exits the office to call for help from one of the aids. She comes back in and kneels down next to me, her hand placed over mine in a form of support for me.
"Is there anything I can get for you Miss Ratched?" She asks and I squeeze my eyes shut.
"Water..." I choke out as I lower my head towards the desk. I suddenly feel nauseous.
She gently squeezes my arm and exits the office, letting Washington in to stand by my side.
"It's alright Nurse Ratched. We'll get you in a different room soon." The worry he feels is evident in the slight quiver of his voice as he speaks.
The young nurse returns with a glass of water and, gently, pulls my hand away from my abdomen, holding the glass up to my trembling fingers. I grasp it and hold it to my chest, trying to force myself to stop shaking. I sip at the water and feel it pour down my throat, cooling the dryness that came from my rapid breathing. A hand gently falls to my shoulder.
"Let's move you to another room for a while Nurse Ratched. It'll make you feel better." It's Washington again.
"That sounds... Good..." I breathe out as I take another sip from the glass of water in my hands.
"Would you like some help?" He asks as he holds his hand out to me.
I nod my head slowly and take his hand in mine. It's rough and calloused, just like Randle's hands were, and I fight back the urge to cry once more as he leads me down to a spare sleeping quarters outside of the main ward. He leads me over to a chair next to the bed and helps me down, keeping a firm hold of my hand so that I don't collapse. I shift to make myself comfortable, and then I dismiss Washington from my side. He leaves and I am once again alone. I listen to his footsteps as they fade away down the hall, followed by the slam of the heavy gate door closing at the entrance of the main ward.
I finally let the tears fall and sobbed openly as I clutched my stomach in my arms. The baby kicked against the pressure of my arms, causing me to only cry harder for the love that I lost, as well as the father of my child. Our child...
I moved over to the bed and laid down, burying my head into the pillows that sat upright against the headboard. I turned over onto my side and curled into a ball, still holding my abdomen in my arms. The baby kicked a few more times and then stopped, easing the pressure off of my stomach muscles. The tears fell silently now, no longer irritating the child in my womb with the sobs that had just ripped through my throat. I wiped the tears from my eyes and looked down to my abdomen, a wry laugh escaping from my lips.
"I wonder what your father would say... Seeing me like this." A single kick in response. "Yea... He'd probably just smirk at me before he laughed his ass off..." A small smile finally graced my lips then.
A gentle knock on the door brought me out of my thoughts.
"Come in." I call, covering my body with the quilt just as the door opens.
"Mildred, I thought I told you to go on maternity leave." Came the voice of Dr. McCullough.
"I was planning on finishing this week before I left..." A lie, but I couldn't let him know.
"Mildred, I can tell you're lying to me. It's in your eyes." His expression is soft; caring.
"I can't leave this place... It's like I'm being drawn back here, no matter how much I wish I could leave it behind. It's like a curse, Harris... I can't let this place go..." Tears sting in my eyes.
"Because you conceived your child here? Or because you feel responsible for the father's death?" His words sting, piercing my heart like a hot stake.
"I guess it's because I miss him. Long for him..." The tears fall down my cheeks.
"You have to let him go... You know that he can never come back. You even saw his body with your own eyes." The truth stings worse than if he had just lied. I tighten my fingers on the fabric over my stomach.
"Must you be so blunt? Please... Don't speak of him anymore..." My voice cracks as I speak, and the tears continue to trail down my cheeks.
"Mildred..." He sighs and moves to sit next to me in the chair by the bed.
I turn away towards the wall and lay back on my side, arms around my abdomen. Harris puts one hand on my shoulder and gives it a gentle squeeze of reassurance and kindness. A choked sob hitches in my throat and I squeeze my eyes shut as the hot tears fall faster. Harris moves to the bed and gathers me into his arms. I bury my tear-stained face into his chest and cry tears of guilt, regret and sorrow. The baby kicks and I hold my stomach in my arms as I continue to cry.
I'm soon exhausted and start to drift to sleep in Harris' arms. He gently lowers me to the pillows and moves the quilt up to my shoulders before standing back up and walking out, shutting the door softly behind him.
Dreams always show what you want to forget... At least, that's how I feel when I dream these days. My dreams are full of memories. Not good memories either. These are memories of Randle's time here after our one-night stand. After he got me pregnant without either of us realizing it. Everything that I've wanted to forget about comes back to haunt me when I sleep...
That first therapy session when Randle smashed out the sliding glass door of the nurse's station to get the carton of Marlboro's for Cheswick... The blood from his knuckles and from his arm being cut by the falling glass shards... It startled me, I suppose, because I'd only seen the strong, iron-like Randle. He wasn't bothered by the cuts, or the blood, but he was bothered by Cheswick's constant complaining for cigarettes.
The morning after the party that he threw, where Billy slept with a prostitute and I threatened to tell his mother about it. He slit his own throat and Randle was furious with me. He broke the sliding glass door a second time and ripped the front of my uniform open, revealing the body that he's already seen before he tries to strangle me to death. The aides pulled him off and I later had him lobotomized for his actions.
The morning that the night nurse found him dead in his cot, I got a phone call from her. I remember feeling utterly guilty and responsible for his death. That's when I realized that I really did love him and his outrageous personality. He was what I wasn't, and that's why I fell in love with him. I cried the entire day after that phone call... I haven't cried that much since then.
The day that I found out I was pregnant... That was possibly the most shocking day of my life because there was just no joy in that revelation. It's not like I could exactly tell everyone that I was going to mother the child of a ward patient. It's not like I could tell the child's father that he was going to be a father. He was already dead and had been for two months by then. I was almost at the end of my second month of pregnancy when I found out, but by then it was too late to be happy about it... I would have been happier if Randle was alive to have heard the news...
The dream shifts to a beautiful hillside above a lake, the moon and the stars shining down and reflecting off of the water's calm surface. A gentle breeze coming from the north. There's someone sitting on a bench on the hilltop, so I walk towards whoever it is.
"I thought you'd all but forgotten about me Nurse Ratched." His voice is unmistakeable. I can't stop the tears from forming.
"Randle? But how? You're dead..."
"True, but I've been waiting for you ever since then... It's rude to make people wait you know." He laughs warmly and I walk to him.
"Waiting for me? What do you mean?" I'm curious to know as I sit next to him on the bench.
"Just because I died physically, doesn't mean that I'm not still here. I'm always in your heart, and apparently always on your mind." He laughs again as he looks to the moon.
"So you've basically always been there?" I ask as I look at him. He locks his eyes with mine.
"Pretty much. There are some things that I wasn't around for, but feel free to fill me in." He smiles and I know it's going to be alright.
"I'm pregnant Randle... It's your child..." I say softly as I look away from him and down to my abdomen.
"What? Since when?" He asks as he, too, looks to my stomach.
"Our one-night stand eight months ago." I reply as a few tears roll down my cheeks.
"Hey... Don't cry about it..." His voice is gentle as he reaches over and wipes a tear from my cheek.
"I don't know what to do... How will I raise it without you?" He looks at my stomach.
"You're smart Mildred. I think you'll figure it out." He gently places his hand on the bulge and caresses it. I hold his hand in place as I feel the child move within my womb.
"Will I see you again?" My voice quivers as I ask, the onset of new tears forming in my eyes.
"When you go to bed, just think of me and I'll be there." He nuzzles my cheek and then pulls away.
I look towards him, but my vision is blurring. He's smiling though... And as the vision continues to blur, I can feel his love for the child and I practically radiate off of him in waves. The feeling brings a smile to my face...
When I wake from the dream, I can still feel the pressure of his calloused hand on my abdomen, and I smile, knowing that he will always be a part of our child's life; regardless of him being alive or not. I look around and realize that I'm still at the hospital. I dig into my purse and pull my watch from one of the pouches.
"8:30 pm? Damn it... I've been here far too long." I yawn and then swing my legs over the side of the bed.
"It's past our time to be home little one..." I say as I stand from the bed and collect my things.
Exiting the hospital, I make my way to my car and then off to home for the rest of the night. I find it hard to believe that I'd slept for such a period of time, but then again, I am eight months pregnant and time seems like it has sped up since I first found out about this baby. It seemed like everything was passing me by, or maybe I was passing everyone else by... I don't care though. All I care about now is this child in my womb and whether it's a boy or a girl, if I'm carrying one child or twins, what they will look like when they're born, and if they'll have more of me or their father in their physical appearance. As I park my car in the driveway, I caress the bulge as I look at it; tears pricking the corners of my eyes. I exit the car, walk into the house and make something to eat before going to my room to sleep.
As I lay in bed, I wrap my arms around my stomach once more and curl myself around it as best as I can.
"My little one... I can't wait to see you. And I know your daddy can't wait either." I smile sadly as I say this, my thoughts drifting from the child to Randle.
I fall into a deep sleep, dreaming back to the moonlit hill where I first encountered Randle since his death.
"Randle? Are you here?" I call out as I look around on the hilltop.
"Mildred! Where are you?" His voice is frantic and it's then that I notice that everything is disappearing into darkness.
"Randle! What's happening?" I collapse onto the bench and cradle my stomach as I look for Randle.
"I don't know, but don't move! I'm coming towards you!" He calls to me, but my eyes can't see him.
"Where are you?" I call, searching the air frantically for any sign of him.
"Behind you..." He gently wraps his arms around me and I fall back into his chest, tears streaming down my face.
I move forward and he sits behind me on the bench, holding me protectively in his strong arms. I feel safe knowing that he's here again.
"What was that?" I ask as the scene returns back to the moonlit hilltop.
"This type of dream that you're having is a lucid dream. If you start to awaken, your sight in the dream is usually the first to go. When I came to you, you were able to stabilize the dream so you wouldn't wake up. It takes a lot of practice, but you didn't do too shabby." He's smiling at me as I look at him.
He brings his arms down so that his hands are laced over my stomach, and I hold them in place as the baby moves within, kicking at the pressure that Randle's hands have applied to my abdomen. He laughs gently and the sound fills me with warmth, makes my heart skip and beat, and makes the baby move around before it settles down into a perfect position.
"Do you know if it's a boy or girl?" He asks, his head leaning on my shoulder.
"No... If you know, don't tell me." I reply with a chuckle as I lean my head back onto his shoulder.
"Well then... Do you have names for both genders?" He parts his fingers so that mine fall in between his.
"For a girl, I've decided on Kimberly Marie, and for a boy, I've decided on Michael Randle. What do you think?" I ask as I tilt my head to look at him.
"I love both names. They're perfect for our child." He says with a smile as he kisses my shoulder.
"I'm glad you like them." I say as I shift, turning sideways and leaning back onto his shoulder.
"Why'd you move? I was comfortable." He says as he wraps one arm around me and keeps the other on my stomach.
"I wanted to be in a better position to kiss you..." I softly reply, placing my lips on his in a gentle kiss.
He smiles into the kiss, and laces both of his arms around me, holding me close to his chest. I pull back and lay against his chest, his arms still wrapped protectively around me. He shifts his head, the tip of his nose now touching the top of my head.
"You know... It's going to be morning soon." He says slowly as he runs his fingers through my hair.
"Yes... But I'll see you again tonight, won't I?" I ask as I look up to him. His smile doesn't reach his eyes.
"Of course. You'll always be able to see me." He says, the tiniest hint of sorrow in his voice.
"Don't lie to me Randle... I can tell you are..." I say sadly as I look to him, tears in the corners of my eyes.
"Okay... You won't see me for a while." He replies, looking up to avoid my eyes.
"How long is a 'while'?" I ask as I clutch the front of his shirt in my hand.
"Until after the child is born. I'll be there to support you... I promise." He says and kisses me fully.
"Why did I fall for you?" I ask with a small chuckle when we pull apart.
"Because I'm me." He laughs as he speaks, and I'm finding myself to be happier now that he's laughing.
"So I'll see you again when the baby is born?" I ask as I play with the hem of my nightgown.
"Of course. And I'm not lying. I have to make sure the kid looks like me." He smiles playfully as he speaks.
"Oh? So that really means that it has to look like me then." I state with a grin as I look at his false sadness.
He smiles and kisses me again, wrapping me within his broad arms as if I were a child. I look into his eyes once again and see the same man that I fell for the night that we spent together, folded between sheets and the promise of love.
The sun shines through the window and arouses me from the deep sleep that I was in. I smile at the memory of the kiss and involuntarily touch my finger to my lips, as if his were still there. I look down to my abdomen and caress it, rousing the baby from its slumber. It moves in response, giving one kick before settling into a new position.
"How I wish you could meet your father..." The words are painful to utter, but it's the truth. I do wish that this child could have met its father.
The past month has been pretty slow I guess. I'm tired, annoyed, nine months pregnant and three days overdue. I guess you could say that I've been more pleased before. But I'm not complaining. I love this child and if it wants to be late, then I'll let it be late. It should come on its own time in my opinion, and even though I'm an ex-Army nurse, I'm not going to make my child uphold a brutal schedule like I did. Like I still do while working on the ward. Everything here has been a well oiled machine since I was able to get it back under control.
"Nurse Ratched... You really should be home." It's the voice of the newest employee, Nurse Erica Brown
"I'm fine Nurse Brown..." I reply as I look over a stack of paperwork that Mr. Turkle filled out last night.
"If you say so..." She says quietly as she walks out onto the ward to give medication to the Chronics.
I'm tempted to throw something at her, but there's nothing heavy enough, and I'd rather not risk going into labor on the ward. There's a sudden sharp pain in my lower back, and I bring my hand back to the area to apply pressure to it.
"Of course... Little one, why do you prove me right?" I ask as I look down to the bulge with a half-smile on my face.
A kick and another twinge are my responses as I slowly lift myself from the chair that I'm sitting in. Nurse Brown has just come back in with the empty tray when she notices me standing there, curiosity written clearly on her facial expression.
"Are you alright Nurse Ratched?" She asks as she places the tray down and puts her hand on my arm.
"Actually... I need assistance." I reply, squeezing my eyes shut for a moment.
My legs start to give out from beneath me, but I force myself to stay on my feet, regardless of the pain that shoots through my body as the muscle in my abdomen tightens with the contraction. I grip the edge of the desk, my nails digging in the underside of the wood while the contraction subsides. I release the desk and open my eyes once more, looking over to Nurse Brown.
"Help me get to the Salem Hospital. My car keys are in my purse." I say as I lean on the desk.
Nurse Brown quickly grabbed my purse, pulled my keys from inside, and led me down to my car. After helping me into the car, she got into the driver's seat and quickly peeled out of the parking lot, quickly turning onto Center Street and heading towards the hospital.
"How far apart are your contractions Nurse Ratched?" She asks as she stops at a stoplight, trying to keep my attention.
"About seven minutes apart. We've got time... But not much." I reply as I grip the fabric of my jacket in my hand.
She must think that I'm going to deliver the child in the car because her facial features have taken on a look of panic. I turn my head back to the window, looking up at the passing clouds to calm myself as the baby continues to kick violently, causing the muscle to tighten and the contractions to intensify. As we pull into the parking lot of the Salem Hospital, I feel a slightly sticky substance on my inner thigh.
"It's a good thing that we've made it." I say as I cradle my abdomen.
"Why?" Nurse Brown asks as she parks the car and looks over to me.
"Because my water just broke." I reply as I suppress a scream of pain and substitute digging my nails into the palms of my hands.
Nurse Brown quickly exits the car, keys in hand, and helps me out of the passenger seat. We enter the hospital and the nurse at the front desk immediately calls for a wheelchair and a doctor. When I'm brought to the delivery room, I see that Doctor McCullough is already there in scrubs and a pair of latex gloves.
"I thought I told you to go on maternity leave." He says as he helps me up onto the hospital bed.
"You did... But I don't always follow orders." I reply with a slight chuckle.
He shakes his head and then assess how many centimeters dilated I am. A contraction tightens the muscle over my abdomen, and I'm instantly ready to push. I squeeze my eyes shut at the pain and try to hold back as the rest of my body tenses from the pain. I feel something on my shoulder and open my eyes just enough to see. Randle is standing above me behind the hospital bed, and I can't help the tears that slide down my cheeks at the sight of him. His smile could have lit the room if he were alive, but it's enough to spark the fire that I need to get through this delivery.
"You're eight centimeters dilated Mildred. It'll be about a half-hour before delivery." Dr. McCullough says as he writes the time down on a chart.
"I'd prefer if it was shorter than that..." I reply as I lean back into the pillows. "But I suppose good things come to those who wait." I finish as a contraction sets in.
He nods his head and steps out of the room, leaving me alone. Randle sits next to me on the bed, at least the apparition of him does, and places his hand on my abdomen. My fingers tighten around the rails of the hospital bed as the contraction reaches its peak before steadily decreasing in pain. I know deep down that this delivery will be difficult because of my age, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice for the chance of having a healthy child. I look back up at Randle with a small smile on my face.
"I'm glad... That you made it." I say quietly as I ease the tension in my body.
"I'm glad too. And don't look so worried, you'll be fine." He replies with a broad smile that stretches across his face.
"I can't help but be a little scared Randle. My age is a huge factor in this pregnancy." I say as I look down to my abdomen.
"But you've made it to term and you're three days overdue. I'd say that's pretty good." He says as he brings his hand up to my cheek.
The sharp pain of an intense contraction brings the happy moment to a close. The pain slightly increases to the peak of the contraction before it slowly decreases to a dull numb. I open my eyes again when the pain subsides and look back to Randle, who still bares a smile on his chiseled face. He scratches the bridge of his nose and then rests his hand on the bulge of my stomach. I smile sadly at this scene, but I still smile because of how contagious Randle's smile is at this moment.
"You should be here in the flesh... But I was stupid." I say sadly as tears gently slide down my cheeks.
"It's not your fault. I did some pretty stupid shit, so don't blame yourself. I had it coming."
Doctor McCullough comes back in with a glass of water and a bowl of ice chips. He comes to the opposite side of my bed and hands me the glass of water. I take it and sip it slowly, allowing the cool liquid to pour over every recess of my throat. I hadn't even realized how thirsty I was until that moment. He sets the bowl of ice chips down on the small desk table next to me within easy reach. I thank him softly and continue to sip on the water as he checks how far dilated I am. It's been roughly one minute since the last contraction ended.
"You're just about there Mildred. I'd give it another fifteen minutes before full dilation."
"Thank you Harris..." I reply as I lean my head back into the pillows and shut my eyes for a moment.
The door opens and closes once more, and I crack my eyes open for just a moment to see that Harris has left and Randle is sitting next to the bed in a spare chair. I'm tempted to leave, to just get out of this bed and go home. But I can't. Not now at least. I want to hold my baby in my arms, I want to be able to wrap my arms around Randle once more, I just want everything to go back to what it was before with Randle alive and this pregnancy. At least then I would have him with me in flesh instead of in memories, or how I picture he would look now.
The sharp pain of another contraction sets in and I squeeze my eyes shut and grip the sheets in my hands, holding fast to the fabric as I breathe through the pain that's pulsating through my abdomen. It felt like fire spreading across the muscle in my stomach. The pain ripped through my body like a serpent through grass, sending my body into convulsions of immense agony and stress. The feeling of my body being torn apart from the inside brought tears to my eyes and a strangled sob to my throat. I felt Randle's hand against the fabric of the sheets, applying a gentle pressure to my abdomen, caressing the bulge that was our child moving within. The pain subsided and finally ceased, bringing the convulsions to an end and relaxing the tension that flowed within my body.
The door opened and closed but my eyes remained shut as Harris walked into the room and stood at the end of the bed. Another sharp pain set in and my body was instantly ready to push with the contraction. I squeezed the rails of the bed as I fought against the contraction that set in.
"Don't fight it Mildred. You're fully dilated. Push with the contraction."
My body fought against me as I pushed with the contraction. Tears fell from my eyes as the pain became unbearable, my knuckles turned white as I gripped the rails once again. A sob ripped from my throat as the pain of the contraction reached its peak, causing my body to convulse slightly.
My labor lasted a long, grueling fourteen hours, but when it finally ended and the weight was released from my abdomen, I was holding my beautiful twins in my arms. A boy and a girl both resting against my chest as I looked down to the fondly with nothing but love in my eyes. Harris was looking at me as he wrote out the birth certificates for the twins.
"What are their names Mildred?" He asked with a smile in his voice as he looked at me.
"Kimberly Marie... And Michael Randle..." I said with a yawn as I continued to hold my children in my arms.
"And the name of the father?" He asked with slight questioning in his voice.
My breathed hitched slightly in my throat as I pondered his question, the words mulling over in my head as I tried to think of a way out of his question. I finally gave up and looked at him with sorrow in my eyes. He looked at me and his expression revealed that he was considering retracting his question. I stopped him with a look that seemed to pierce his very soul.
"Please... Don't tell anybody about their father..." I begged as tears started to fall from my eyes once more.
"Mildred... I would never go against your wishes." He said as he glanced to my eyes and then to the twins.
"Thank you... So much..." I said as I held the twins closer to my exhausted body.
"Who is he Mildred? Their father?"
"Randle McMurphy. Their father is Randle Patrick McMurphy."
"Wasn't he one of..."
"Yes. One of the patients on the ward. We had a one-night stand and nothing more. Until today, that is. I'm surprised that you don't remember when I told you this only three months ago."
"Well, age tends to make me forget certain details. That and a massive stack of paperwork will also contribute to my lack of memory on the subject of their father."
"At least we share something in common."
"That would be?"
"A distaste for our work." I reply with a small smile on my face. The smile changes back into a frown as I think of Randle once more. Harris picks up on my emotions and conveys his thoughts.
"I'm so sorry Mildred..."
"Please. Don't be... It may be better this way." I reply sadly as I look between my sleeping twins.
He finished writing down the information for their files and soon exited the room, leaving me alone with the twins.
"My babies... I'm so sorry that you will never know your father..." I felt the small sob escape my throat and then cradled the twins closer to me.
They were so tiny, so helpless laying in my arms. I was their shield to the world, their protector, healer, chef, guide... I was their everything. I had to take on the role of mother and father by myself, as well as run the ward during the day. I didn't know if I could even begin to do it all, but when I looked down and saw Kimberly and Michael both smiling as they slept, I knew that I could do it. If not for me, then for them.
"I want both of you to know... That your father loves you both so much... Even before he knew that you existed, he loved the idea of once having children of his own. I'm so happy that one of his wishes at least came true through the two of you. You will both make him so very proud."
Tears were slowly falling down my cheeks as I looked at the twins. So peaceful, so much a vibrant combination of their father and I. I looked up to the window and out to the sky.
"I'm so sorry Randle... But your legacy will live on through these two wonderful children. I just know it." I said as I smiled up to the vibrant blue sky. A gentle wind came through the small opening and caressed my cheek. In that very instant, I knew he was there, watching over the twins and I as we continued on in this plane of existance.