Disclaimer: We mean no disrespect, Mrs. Meyer. We're just having a little fun with your characters. Hope you don't mind.
I feel myself being propelled out of my seat even before Cherry hits the ground. My arms are stretched out in front of me, as if I'm going to catch her or break her fall.
"Cherry!" I scream out, loudly, trying to get her to hear me over the eruption from the crowd.
People are yelling not only at the players, but also at Emmett, wanting him to call the foul. The coaches are shouting at each other and their players. In the midst of all the chaos, all I can think of is Cherry. I fight my way around people, trying not to take my eyes off her. Pushing and shoving, I finally make my way up to the railing that divides the track from the bleachers.
I stand there waiting for some sign that she's okay. I just need her to lift her head up or move her body. Finally, I break my eyes away from her and look at Barbie. Her look of sheer panic and fear is all I can see, and it's enough to make me leap over the railing.
I hear Emmett yelling at me to get back to my seat, but I don't pay attention. Just let him try to stop me.
When I get to her, I push Barbie and Punky out of the way. I bend down next to her and gently hold her beautiful face in my hands. Leaning down, I put my face close to hers and I feel her breath brush my cheek. Thankful for that, I start whispering her name into her ear, begging her to open her eyes.
"Cherry, wake up, please!" I whisper, but get no response.
Her coach comes up behind me and forces me to my feet, pulling me away from Cherry.
"Step back, so we can take a look at her," she tells me calmly, holding onto my shoulders.
Of course, I want them to take a look at her. I want her to be okay. She has to be okay. Panic starts to set in and I frantically look around the rink for Emmett.
When I find him, I yell for him to call an ambulance.
It seems like it takes forever for the paramedics to get there, but in reality, it was probably just a matter of minutes. I spend those minutes pacing back and forth at Bella's feet while her coach and a doctor who was in the audience look her over.
She still hasn't regained consciousness and it's really starting to freak me out. I wish I would have told her how I felt. I wish I hadn't waited or taken things so slowly. I should have made a move...I should have kissed her again! What the fuck is wrong with me? I pull on my hair out of frustration.
Finally, they have Cherry stabilized and on a stretcher. Barbie looks over at me as they're wheeling her away and tells me that she and Punky will ride with her and for me to follow them to the hospital. I want to be there with her, but the shitty thing is that I don't have any ties to her - not real ones, anyway. There's not one damned thing that says I'm hers or she's mine. I plan on changing that as soon as fucking possible.
Without hesitation, I race toward the doors, and quickly jump into my car. Before I can get the car started and in reverse, Jasper has hopped in the front seat and Emmett in the back.
I turn to look at them both, and see they are looking back at me with concerned expressions.
"What are you waiting for?" Emmett yells. "Just drive!"
I floor it, backing out of the parking lot and flying down the side street to catch up to the ambulance.
When we make it to the hospital, the ambulance has already pulled up to the emergency room entrance, so we park close and hurry into the waiting room.
Pacing back and forth, I think about busting through the doors and demanding to see Cherry. I doubt that would go over very well, so I continue pacing and working my hair over.
A portly nurse in pink scrubs finally comes out to the waiting room and asks for the family of "Isabella Swan". The guys and I just look around the room and then at each other, until we realize that she's talking to us.
"We're here for Ch...Isabella Swan," I say, nervously. "Is she okay? Can we see her?" The questions begin to rapidly fire from my mouth.
"Are you family?" she asks.
"No, but..." frustration begins to set in. I'm going to be pissed off if she won't give me any information. Then, I'll really be knocking the door down to get back there to see her.
"Listen, ma'am," Jasper pipes up. "We're her friends. We were all at the bout tonight when she was injured and we're really concerned about her. Can you at least tell us if she's awake?"
"She seems to be coming to, but we won't know the extent of her injuries until the doctor is able to run some tests," she pauses for a second. "We'll be taking her back for a CAT scan in just a few minutes. That's all I can tell you for now." She turns around and walks back through the doors of the ER.
"Shit." It's the only thing I can think of to say. I just want to see her and hold her; I want to know that everything's going to be fine.
A strong hand grips my shoulder. "I'm sure she's going to be okay," Emmett says. "I know she took a really bad hit, but she's strong. She'll be fine." His words soften toward the end, like he's trying to convince himself just as much as he's trying to convince me.
The three of us decide to sit down on the most uncomfortable chairs on God's green earth and wait it out. After about five minutes, Emmett can't take it any longer, so he goes on a snack machine run.
Jasper picks up a magazine from the side table and starts thumbing through it. The front cover jars my memory and it's all I can do to keep from flipping out on him. It's one of those glossy gossip magazines and it has a picture of some celebrity with their baby...a baby. Punky is pregnant. Jasper is going to be a dad.
"Holy shit!" I say, looking at him with wide eyes, finding it hard to believe that what Cherry told me is true. Why hasn't he told me? My mind goes back to the night at Willie's. I remember him saying that he didn't want to jinx anything. That's why he didn't tell me about him and Punky in the first place. Is that what he's doing now? Does he not want to jinx it? This is pretty important shit for him to keep to himself.
"What's wrong with you? Why are you looking at me like that?" Jasper asks, backing away from me a little. "Did you hit your head, too?"
"You...you're pregnant. I mean, Punky is pregnant. You got Punky pregnant!" I blurt out, pointing a finger at him accusingly.
I hear a bunch of stuff fall to the floor and look over to see Emmett standing there, mouth open, and empty-handed. Pretzels, chips, soda, candy bars - you name it - are rolling around on the floor by his feet. "You knocked up Punky?" he yells. "Shut the fuck up!"
A squeak comes from the Emergency Room doors and there stands a wide-eyed Punky. She has a hand over her mouth and she's looking around the room. First, she looks at Emmett, because he's the one announcing it to the whole hospital, and then she looks at me, until finally her eyes fall on Jasper, who's still sitting in the very uncomfortable chairs.
He appears to be frozen in the same spot he was in when I started talking. He's still holding the magazine up, half way blocking his body, his eyes glued to a particular place on the floor.
"You're pregnant!" I yell out again, just because I can't fucking believe it.
"Yes! I'm pregnant, OK!" she yells back, her eyes filling with tears. "Can everybody just give me a fucking break already? You all act like I killed somebody or something...I'm growing a baby inside here," she says, pointing to her flat stomach. I assume that in time, you'll be able to see said baby, but you'd never know that Punky is pregnant now...except for the big fat tears rolling down her cheeks, because Punky doesn't cry.
And, with that, the Emergency Room turns into a sequel of the rink from earlier. Everyone is yelling at everyone, people are accusing people, fingers are being pointed in every direction, including up. It's mass chaos.
"Why didn't you tell me you were pregnant?" Jasper.
"I was getting ready to! Cherry opened her big mouth!" Alice.
"Leave Cherry out of this!" Me.
"When did you two do it? Why didn't I know you were doing it?" Emmett.
"You're on a nine month injury? What the fuck are we supposed to do now?" Barbie.
"Can anyone think of anything except the fact that I won't be able to play roller derby? Damn!" Alice.
"I'm going to be a dad?" Jasper.
"Don't you have to know shit before you can be a dad?" Jasper.
"I can't believe you knocked her up! I should beat your ass!" Barbie, now towering over Jasper.
"Don't hit my baby's daddy!" Alice, standing in between Barbie and Jasper.
"You all better hold it down out here or I'll have to have you escorted out!" Portly nurse in pink scrubs.
"Guys!" Me, with nobody listening.
Finally, Emmett puts the whistle that's still hanging around his neck to good use and blows it loudly, causing our entire group to shut up and stare at him.
"Here's the deal, there will be no ass kicking and no more yelling. Got it? We're here for Cherry right now. We still don't even know if she's okay or what, so we need to cool it and wait to hear from the doctor. As for this whole baby thing, since when is a baby a bad thing? Last time I checked, a baby was still a miracle. Let's all treat it that way. Jasper, get your shit together. Alice, calm down, it's not good for Peanut. Rose, let go of Jasper's shirt. You're so hot when you're pissed off, but you're going to get us kicked out of here!" Emmett says, dropping the whistle, as everyone relaxes a little.
I look over at Alice, who still has tears running down her face. I kick Jasper, snapping him out of the haze he's been in. He'd do the same for me.
Immediately, he goes to Alice and pulls her into him, soothing her and whispering into her ear. Something down deep tells me that everything will work out for them.
"Who's Peanut?" Alice sniffles, raising her head off Jasper's chest.
"That's the baby," Emmett says, nonchalantly.
"You named my baby 'Peanut'?" Alice asks.
"Yeah, until we know the sex. Then, of course, if it's a boy, it'll be 'EJ' and if it's a girl, it'll be 'Emmy', he says, shrugging his shoulders as if everything he said is common knowledge.
"It's not your fucking baby!" Jasper says.
"Duh! It's your fucking baby! I'm just going to be the really cool uncle it's named after."
I just laugh and shake my head, knowing that it's no use to argue with Emmett. He wins every time.
The craziness of the last ten minutes relieved some of the tension we were all feeling, but it doesn't erase my worry and concern for Cherry.
I resume my pensive stance, keeping my eyes focused on the door, waiting for someone to come out and give us word on her condition.
Finally the doors open again, and Cherry's coach walks out. Barbie and Punky rush up to her, each asking questions about Cherry: whether or not she's awake, is it a concussion, can they see her, etc.
"She's fine," the tall brunette finally answers. I can see the concern in her expression, and her voice is no longer loud and demanding, it's soft and soothing - a complete role reversal from the hard-ass coach we always see on the rink. "She's got a nasty concussion, but she's going to be fine. And, she's asking to see you guys," she says, with a soft smile.
We all start walking toward the door, but she stops us.
"Only two at a time."
"You two go ahead and go back," I say, looking at Barbie and Punky. I can tell they're about to take me out for a spot. Besides, I know they're just as worried as I am and a few more minutes of waiting won't kill me. It will actually give me more time to think about what I'm going to say...how I'm going to make things right.
"You sure?" Barbie asks.
"Yeah, go on," I answer. "But be sure to tell her I'm here, okay?"
They both give me a small knowing smile and nod. "We won't take long."
I begin to pace again. Waiting sucks.
Why was I even waiting? And, I don't mean right now. I mean, why was I waiting in the first place? I should have told Cherry how I felt about her from day one. I should have taken the risk...she's worth the risk.
All the events from the past couple of hours have me thinking a lot deeper than I normally would, but seeing Cherry lying on the ground, motionless - it did something to me. I realized in that moment that I love her. I want to take care of her and be there for her. I want to be the person she calls when she needs something. I want to cushion her falls.
And, fucking Jasper is going to be a dad! That, in itself, puts shit into perspective.
Life is too short and too fragile to sit back and wait. No more waiting.
With that thought in mind, I stand up and walk toward the doors. I'm not sure how long it's been since the girls went back there, but it feels like it's been a while.
I'm about to walk through the doors when Punky peeks her head out.
"It'll just be a few more minutes. They want to move her to her own room and keep her overnight for observation. Once they get her into a room on the floor, everyone can go see her."
Fuck, me! I feel like the universe is paying me back with all of this.
Only two at a time.
A few more minutes.
Shouldn't be long now.
"Hey, dude," Emmett says, coming up beside me. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I just really need to see her," I admit.
"Well, the good news is that she's fine. That was scary, man. I've seen some bad accidents over the last few years, but this was probably the worst, mainly because it was Cherry. The only thing that would have made it worse was if it were Rose." Emmett gives me an apologetic smile, but I understand what he's saying.
"I'm not sure I've ever been that scared. All I could think about was getting to her and making sure she was okay. I just need to see her."
"Follow me," Barbie says, peeking her head around the corner. Jasper, Emmett, and I do as we're told and follow behind her to Cherry's room.
When we walk in, Cherry smiles when she sees me; it's weak, but it's a smile and I take it as a good sign. Maybe she's not still pissed off at me. I know I have a lot of explaining and making up to do, and I hope she'll give me the chance to do it.
All five of us are standing around her bed, everyone telling her how happy they are that she's gonna be okay; Punky and Barbie are declaring their devotion to getting Slaybia back.
I scoot around to her side and lean down to kiss her cheek. "I was so worried," I whisper in her ear. "I'm sorry about earlier...about everything."
"It's not important," she says, leaning her head into mine.
"No, it is important and I want to talk to you about it, but later...when you're feeling better," I say quietly. I feel her smile against my cheek and gently kiss me. Just the slight touch of her lips heats up my whole body. I have to think of dead puppies and old grandmas to keep myself in check.
"So, when were you planning on telling us that the two of you've been knocking boots?" Barbie asks, looking at Punky and Jasper.
"Rose," Cherry warns.
"We haven't been knocking boots! That's the crazy part about it," Alice says, her voice getting higher with each word, the shock and panic setting back in with Rose's words.
"Whatever!" Rose shoots back. "We all know what causes nine-month injuries and it's not lack of having sex." She rolls her eyes and flips her blonde ponytail back over her shoulder.
Alice begins crying...again. "I swear! We only had sex once! I feel like I'm the spokesperson for some ABC afterschool special! Who the hell gets pregnant after one night?" She pauses momentarily, wiping her tears on the back of her hand. "Me! That's who!"
"Wait a minute!" Emmett says, holding up his hands with a look of disbelief on his face. "Are you trying to tell me that the two of you only had sex once?"
"Yes," Alice sniffles out.
The laugh that erupts from Emmett's mouth is loud and boisterous. His hand comes slamming down on Jasper's back, who's standing there speechless. "Well, well, well. Looks like you hit the bullseye!"
Slowly, Jasper's face morphs from shock to awe, and a sly smile creeps across his lips.
"Holy shit! My swimmers hit the mark on the first try! I've got, like, champion sperm! I am the man!" Jasper starts fist pumping and high-fiving Emmett, who's encouraging his behavior. The two of them are doing what appears to be some sort of end zone dance, while the rest of us are standing there looking at them like they've lost their freaking minds, because they have.
The nurse walks in and catches them in their grand finale of low-fiving and side-fiving, mixed with a bit of moon walking.
"Visiting hours are technically over," the nurse says, eyeballing Emmett and Jasper as she walks past them.
"We're not leaving Cherry in this big hospital all by herself!" Emmett exclaims.
"We promise to take good care of her. She'll be ready to be discharged first thing in the morning after the doctor makes his rounds."
Emmett, not used to being told no, is getting ready to argue his case, when Bella speaks up.
"I'll be fine! You all go home and get some rest. It's been a crazy day...and I doubt I'd get any rest if you all stay anyway. You can't keep your mouths shut for five seconds."
Everyone takes their turn saying goodnight, and I wait for them all to finish before I step back over to the bed, leaning down to kiss her on the cheek.
"You're not going anywhere," she whispers. Looking up at the nurse, she says, matter-of-factly, "He's staying."
And there will be no argument about that.
Jiff is officially packing up and moving out! We're having our last JiffyKate lunch tomorrow, *sad panda* and she'll be driving to Texas on Thursday. So, say some prayers for an easy move and safe travels for her and the kiddos.
There might be a shortage of Author's Notes and review replies over the next few weeks while Jiff gets settled (and we attend the TFMU in Chicago at the end of the month). Our biggest priority will be writing chapters...if we have time, we PROMISE we'll answer/reply to reviews! They mean so much to us and keep us going, so we'd never want you guys to think that we don't read them and/or appreciate them, because we do!
Thank you so much for reading!
A HUMONGOUS thank you to our beta, Mauigirl60! Thanks for all you do, B!