"I'm not ready, I'm not ready." The words echoed in her mind over and over again as Marshall attempted to console the sobbing, hysterical Mary.
"I've already told you Mare, women deliver healthy babies at 32 weeks every day!"
She remembered the day she realized she was pregnant, her gigantic boobs barely fit into her usually very roomy button up, and her usually settling minty toothpaste set off a gagging charade that didn't subside until she finally gave into praying to the porcelain God; and even then, the urge to vomit everywhere didn't seem to subside. Mary guessed Marshall was the one who finally made her come to, after nearly a day of suffering some serious denial he had finally convinced her that the stick she peed on was telling the truth. Although it was the last thing she wanted.
Mary had never entertained the idea of children, maybe it had something to do with the fact that the longest relationship she had ever had was with Raph, which wasn't necessarily a happy ending and her only marriage was with- well Mark, and quite frankly those were the worst thirty-six hours of her life. Not to mention, it had never seemed appropriate to force a child into the Shannon family, after all, she was not one to even make lunch for herself yet alone pack one every day, or school shop every Summer, and she definitely didn't like the idea of waking up in the middle of the night to a wailing, puking, poop covered infant… It just wasn't what Mary wanted, that's why adoption was her first instinct, a baby wasn't anything she could handle, it was something a nice family with the last name "Smith" would be happy to take from her, with a mother who could cook and a father that wasn't, well, Mark!
She clutched at the various areas where the pain was the strongest, earlier today she had felt a little bit of a dull ache, which didn't worry her until now. It must have been the adrenaline from shooting her gun again, for being in the action that she was restricted from being and now, after that long talk with Marshall, Mary finally began to see the bigger picture.
Mary looked around her eyes darting back and forth to each one of her family members and finally they looked upward at Marshall, his eyes twinkled the Marshal Marshall Mann sparkle, although his face was contorted into a severe look of worry. This was never how she planned, she thought she'd be calm, she thought it would be easier, she thought it would be two months later rather than earlier, and finally she thought the idea of handing her baby off to the childless couple with the last name "Smith" wouldn't be ripping her apart like it was.
The ambulance tearing through the shrubs and the overwhelming screaming siren was what finally made this real. She looked at herself, in no way did Mary ever like to show her pain, but now, as she rocked back and forth in her partners arms moaning like a dying cat, she couldn't help the fact that every one, at this moment could easily read how she really felt about this situation.
As the EMT's nudged Marshall away and forced everyone to stand back, Mary suddenly didn't like the fact that two absolute strangers were touching her, and Marshall had known her for so long and so well that he could see it in her eyes the way she saw the sparkle, it was that obvious…
"STOP TOUCHING HER!" he ordered as they were grabbing Mary, ever not so gently to help her up. The look of discomfort on her face was enough to cause his heart to ache. He shoved past the two men. Marshall bent his knees, bracing himself, he was practically kneeling down, and so he had absolutely no clue how he was going to pull off what he wanted to do.
"Put your arm around my neck."
Mary began to shake her head, but when she thought about getting up the pain increased so much it sent more tears slipping from the corners of her eyes, she couldn't believe herself when she did what she was told , and let Marshall do what she knew he was going to do.
"Marshall your back?" she gasped as he rose up from the ground, with her securely in his arms. He gently placed her on the gurney and let the men strap her in, Marshall was all for safety.
As they were going to ask who was going with her, the day came flooding back to her again. Marshall was the first one to say "We're having a baby." Not Mark, she didn't care what Mark had to say. She would have preferred him not being there, not yearning to be a father, and not wanting so much to jump up into that ambulance with her,
"Marshall, I want Marshall…" She breathed, Abigail gasped and Mark stopped wiggling, disappointment washing over his face.
"Well then, I- I guess we'll meet you over there…Shall we Mark?" Abigail stuttered.
She nodded, understanding that she had just crushed Mark, and maybe went as far spitting on the pieces when she grasped Marshall's hand the way Mary had never grasped Mark's, in trust, in love.
"Please don't leave me Marshall…" she pleaded. He never heard Mary beg, so it was scary to him, this wasn't Mary.
"I won't Mare, I'd never leave you, you're my best friend…"
"Wow that's pretty sad.."
Now that was Mary.
"Haha." He replied trying to mimic the amount of sarcasm Mary had had in her voice.
"What Mare?" he looked at her face, expecting another snappy comment, "Another contraction?" he asked worriedly.
"No, no- I think my water just broke doofus!"
"But- Shit, It did!" He looked down at her damp leggings, wiping his hands on his pants.
"Maybe I just peed or something? Right Marshall it could be just piss?"
"No, it's definitely not pee…" he looked down disgustedly at his hand he had obliviously placed on her thigh, still horrified that it was covered in Mary's bodily fluid.
She grasped his hand harder than before.
"I-I'm scared, it's too early, God this can't be happening…" she whined.
"It'll be fine, Mare look at me!" he urged.
"Marshall, I don't- my baby!" she cried.
"LOOK AT ME! You are going to be fine! The baby will be fine! Everything will be okay, I swear!"
"You can't promise me that!"
The ambulance stopped and the doors opened to reveal the day again, they rolled her into the E.R. People scrambled out of their way as Marshall argued with the disgruntled Mary even more.
The nurses had Mary in a room in minutes and Marshall walked in just in time to catch the end of an argument with one of the doctors,
-No, I'm not putting on that gown, because- because I'm not having my baby today!" she argued. Marshall shook his head, chuckling to himself.
"Mary?" he asked as if just walking into the conversation.
"Marshall, I'm not getting into a gown, he's not ready! I'm holding him in!"
"Just a few minutes ago you were telling me you wanted nothing more than to not be pregnant!"
"I've changed my mind!" she argued unconvincingly.
"Shut up, and sit down."
He leaned over and unzipped her boots, peeling them from her legs and gingerly from her swollen ankles,
"Mary, the wonder of the miracle of life is enough to cause even the most calm and stubborn person to be filled with fear.."
"Stop talking- I should have known, even in times of crisis you'd still be Marshall-pedia!"
"Give me your jacket." He ordered, remaining oblivious to her antics.
She rolled her eyes,
"I hate you." Mary stated as she pulled the jacket off, her protruding abdomen no more obvious to the world around them. From behind the nurse handed Marshall the gown and he handed it to Mary,
"Put it on, while you have the ability to remain vertical."
"You are acting like a child, if you don't put it on yourself, I will get Stan, Mark and your mother to hold you down, and I will put it on myself! GOT IT! Now put the damn gown on, screw chivalry, you are not being very mature about all of this!"
Mary ripped the pathetic excuse for a clothing garment from his hand, cringing in pain from the tense movement. Marshall turned around, hiding his triumphant grin,
"Happy?" She replied as he turned back around to face his partner, in the all too revealing gown, Mary could have made anyone blush. He observed as the nurse hooked her up to a monitor to track her own heart rate and one to track the baby's. It was perfect, there was no interruption to the perfect rhythmic beat of the baby's little heart.
The doctor came in to examine Mary, sending Marshall out of the room for "Coffee" although Mary noticed when he returned, must have drank the coffee during the excruciatingly long two minute walk from the cafeteria to the maternity ward. Typical doofus. Like Mary didn't see him strategically peek into the window to make sure the examination was over before he came back in.
"So what's going on in there?" Mary asked with little sensitivity.
"You are one centimeter dilated, but even so your labor is progressing much too fast for someone only thirty two weeks along. Your contractions are extremely irregular which is a bit unsettling and you mustn't deliver the baby anytime soon, because the child's lungs are a bit under developed. Our main concern would be the baby's lungs, not that we aren't fully prepared if you deliver today, it's just we don't want you to; we will do everything in our power to prevent it. We do have a drug that is proven to stop the progression of labor, but it's not guaranteed and puts the mother at some risks and its list of side effects is quite- overwhelming." She added reluctantly.
"I don't care! Just give me the God Damn drug! Why haven't you left yet? GAH! Go get it! " Mary yelled in pain.
The doctor smiled at her patient's brash reaction, but was pleased with the fact she agreed that that would be the best course of action, made this obvious and left after making the mistake of telling Mary to "Relax".
"RELAX?" Mary screamed pushing on her sides, trying to find any way to relieve the pain.
The nurse came in shortly to administer the drugs; Marshall shuddered at the list of side effects Mary ever so nonchalantly glanced at before signing her name near the "x", after about fifteen minutes of watching Mary make every sort of facial expression she could make to express pain she looked up at him,
"What Mary?" he asked, furrowing his brow once more at the copy of the forms the nurse had handed to him before setting them on the chest of drawers beside her bed.
"I'm sorry I dragged you here." She said tugging at his sleeve, slurring slightly, he looked into her glazed over eyes, fighting the urge to laugh at his seemingly high partner.
"You didn't drag me, I wanted to come, Anyway I'll leave when Mark gets here." He sighed, feeling a tinge of resentment at the sound of Mark's name escaping his lips.
"Mhmmm NO not Marrrrk, I don't want to deal with him right now- OW" she complained.
"Where was I when they checked me last, did I move from the first time?"
"Not very far, one centimeter still, no worries, it seems the drugs are working." He answered embarrassed by another bout of her inappropriate nonchalance.
"Marshall, tell me something to keep my mind off of this, do something!"
He had her by the hand, not knowing what to do he simply whispered,
"You should get some sleep."
"I can't!" She huffed like a small child who couldn't get their way.
"Yes you can.." he soothed, running his hand across her face, down her neck and across her arm and then back up through her damp blonde hair.
"Oh Mary Mary quite contrary, How does your baby grow? With tiny feet, like his mom so sweet-
"I love you Doofus." She sighed as she drifted into a light slumber, escaping from impending motherhood.
"I love you too Mare." He whispered grabbing her hand, wishing he could be closer to her. He grabbed the information on the table to read over once more, to make sure that "clouded judgment" wasn't one of the side effects. But even as he read the "clouded judgmentless" list over and over again, he couldn't believe that Mary, his Mary, had just uttered those words.
Before he had a chance to celebrate with himself, Mark ran in, slamming the door against the wall, startling Mary from her sleep.
"WAY TO GO MARK!" Marshall scolded.
Mary groaned softly through another contraction, "Damn it Mark." She muttered under her breath, through clenched teeth.
Marshall grabbed Mark by the arm, dragging him back out the door where he had come from.
"Listen Mark, don't pull this crap!"
"Let me go, that's my kid!"
"NO! Not until you calm down!"
"I'm fine!" he yelled, trying to squirm from Marshall's grip.
"NO YOU"RE NOT! Mary can't handle this right now! Its bad enough Jinx is coming and Brandi's M.I.A, you can't go in there and make Mary flip out the way you always make her do! So rather than go in there and rile her up, you're going to find some water and sit your ass on this bench and simmer the hell down! It is no secret that Mary doesn't want you here!" Marshall breathed heavily, not regretting anything but the last sentence. That wasn't his place, and he knew Mary would give him hell for it later.
"Who are you telling me what to do?" Mark asked bitterly.
"I'm her best friend! More than you'll ever be to her!"
Mark was taken aback, he sat down, shocked that of all people Marshall had just let him have it, shocked that Mary was in labor and most of all shocked, that everything the very angry Marshall had just screamed at him was true. He looked down at his feet, realizing maybe he didn't belong here, while his ex-wife's best friend made his way back into the room to tend to the person he had been trying so hard to impress. As Marshall entered, Mary looked up in a drugged up grimace.
"What's going on?"
"Nothing you should worry about." Marshall replied trying to take the edge out of his voice as not to upset Mary like he was trying to prevent Mark from doing. He sat back down in his spot.
"Just try and rest." He added.
"I'm glad you're here."
"I'm glad I'm here too Mare." He stroked her forehead,
"Marshall I'm so tired."
"I know, just sleep. Everything is still fine."
"Promise you'll be here when I wake up?"
"Of course.. Of course I'll be here." A flash of Abigail's smile passed through his mind and guilt overcame his promise, but Marshall never broke his promises, especially to Mary.
She stirred restlessly. Mark remained outside and Marshall tried everything to get her to relax again, but all failed until he decided to stand up.
"Move over Mare." He assisted her in scooting over as far as she could, Marshall took off his jacket and laid next to her, he wrapped his long arms around her, he caressed her cheek and rubbed her swollen abdomen in a circular motion while gently kissing her forehead.
"Everything is going to be okay, you got this Mare" he whispered softly in her ear. She burrowed into his chest,
"Oh doofus." She breathed.
"I love you Mary." He whispered to himself as she fell asleep again, except this time close to him, he felt her rhythmic breathing and almost dozed off himself, but knew not to.
Jinx walked in, and Marshall realized Mark wasn't outside anymore. She took one look at Marshall and her face turned red. Before she could react, he held his finger to his lips.
"Shhh, Jinx, she just fell asleep!"
"What are you doing?" she whispered exasperated.
"She- she couldn't sleep!"
"Get outta that bed right now!"
"I-I can't, she- if I move I'll wake her up." He argued.
"Marshall you've crossed the line!"
"I can't believe this! I thought you knew better!"
"You know, Jinx, I thought you of all people would know better! Your daughter is my only friend, I love Mary! She's my best friend!" Marshall held onto Mary tighter.
She stirred a little, squirming in Marshall's arms. The baby kicked under his grasp, when Mary stopped moving and settled again, he changed the subject.
"Has Mary let you feel the baby?" he asked, trying to change the subject.
"Of course not, she stays as far away as she can from me."
"Come here." He beckoned to Jinx, when she was close enough he grabbed her hand to replace his with hers.
"Wow… I don't think Brandi or Mary moved this much.." She smiled.
"This baby's gonna be just like her, stubborn, hard headed, I feel bad for the family whose going to have to take care of him or her, they don't have the experience with Mary to prepare themselves for this kid." He laughed.
Jinx took her hand away, frowning at the thought of her short lived grandmother hood.
"Oh, look at the machine, she's having a contraction. Marshall put one hand on her lower back and the other at the base of her belly."
Marshall did as Jinx said,
"Now apply even pressure to both sides." She added.
Mary's eyes shot open,
"Oh that feels soooo good doofus!"
"Thank your mother."
"Those aren't words I'm used to hearing." She replied sarcastically.
"Haha." Mary's mother replied sarcastically.
"You should really go back to sleep Mare, alright?"
"Why do you want me to sleep so bad?" she asked snuggling back into his chest.
"Cause you might have a baby tonight." He replied softly.
"Don't remind me."
"Close your eyes." He mentioned, trying to ignore what she had just said.
"Oh, fineee" she yawned.
"If the adoption agency calls, don't let them say "I told you so" when you tell them I've changed my mind…"
"Of course not- wait, you changed your mind?" he asked in disbelief, but Mary had already dozed off for the third time, snoring softly.
"I knew you would." He smiled, kissing the top of her forehead.
Jinx gasped in surprise and happiness.
"So I'm gonna be a grandmother after all?" She ran from the room, probably to tell some poor unsuspecting bystander minding their own business the news they could care less about.
Marshall put his arms back around Mary, grinning from ear to ear. As Mary snoozed on his chest he couldn't think of anyone else he'd want to be with, and that's when Abigail walked in.
The taken aback look on her face was worthy enough to be a still shot of a bad daytime soap opera, but no hurt filled her eyes, there was no big reaction, as Marshall opened his mouth to speak she interrupted,
"Shhh Marshall, let me say this, and I don't want any apologies when I do. You love Mary, I know you love me too, but you aren't in love with me. This is where you belong, not searching animal shelters to find a cat, but laying here with her. Don't get me wrong, I've known for a while, but this and earlier today- you would take a bullet for her, not that you wouldn't for me. It's that, Mary needs a man who understands her enough to want to do something like protect her from a sniper or talk her down after someone makes her angry and quite frankly, Marshall you're one of the only men I know that can handle her. There. I've said what I've needed to say. Goodbye Marshall." She kissed him on the cheek, and before leaving added,
"Send me a picture of the new baby when the time comes I suppose." And with that she left. He lay next to his partner, unable to find the words or emotions to tie in with this situation, because it was one he never thought he would be in. This had been some day, and rather than re live any of it, he closed his eyes with every intention of falling asleep and waking up with U.S Marshal Mary Shannon in his arms.