Co-written with Special Guest Author Becca O.

Chapter 52

With the guys gone, Becca took Howie’s spot on the bed and held Sarah’s hand in hers as they got comfortable.  The other three girls gathered around, somewhat bewildered by what they were witnessing tonight.  It was the first time they’d really been allowed into the inner circle and they weren’t sure what to make of it all. 

"I hope you all don't take this the wrong way. I mean, the guys. They're worried, there's been a lot of tension with Nick's album and just a lot of stuff since the tour ended. But," Becca stopped to think. How could she explain it? "Well, they're like real brothers," she said with a shrug. "They bicker, they fight like cats and dogs, but in the end, they really DO love each other." 

"Why the tension over Nick's album?  I'd have thought they'd all be supportive of one another no matter what?" questioned Ali.  “I’d have thought Nick’s arrest would have been more of a problem.” 

Becca winced and Sarah squeezed her hand. "It was," Becca admitted, "but the album is more 'out there' right now, so hopefully the arrest will fade as time goes on." 

Sarah continued, "Besides, Nick's doing his community service to satisfy the courts, and trying to make the best of it. I think it's just the let down of coming off tour. The guys have been doing this non-stop for ten years..." 

Lynne was eyeing Sarah closely and the dramatic change from earlier was raising even more questions in the long list she was forming mentally.  “So, Sarah, how is your labor progressing?” 

Somewhat relieved to get off the topic of the guys and their squabbling, Sarah said, “I’m eight centimeters and my doctor is in the hospital.  It could still be a long night.” 

Becca was grateful for the change of subject, and she sighed. A quick glance at Ali told her that it wasn't over yet, but at least for the time being things were focused back on Sarah and the babies. "It'll be over before you know it, sis." She smiled and winked at Sarah, laughing when Sarah shot her a venomous look. 

“Uh huh,” sighed Sarah dreamily trying to forgot what Becca had said.  “And take a wild guess what I have to look forward to?” 

Becca was thoroughly confused. "What?" 

Piping up, Lynne said, “Dirty diapers, two AM feedings, and exhaustion.” 

“Ha ha,” sneered Sarah.  “No.” 

Becca laughed. "Okay, umm ... Nick babysitting?"  

Even Ali laughed at that one. 

“Geez…you know, not ALL the guys are as pathetic as your husband,” shot Sarah with a smirk. 

"Bitch," Becca retorted, then burst out laughing at the look on Ali's face. "I'm kidding, guys, it's a joke. We do this all the time. But seriously Sarah, what's on your mind sis?" 

Sarah hoped that Becca would catch on to what she meant as she said, “Howie has arranged for Sheena to be my private nurse until I’m back on my feet.  She’s gonna get me through everything.”   

“Why do you need a private nurse?” questioned Lynne, her suspicions tweaked again. 

‘Shit…none of them know about the drug addiction.  I do NOT want to explain this right now,’  thought Sarah but she was saved by a contraction and she took a cleansing breath. 

Becca jumped right in. "Sarah, come on, sis. Eyes on your focal point. Breathe." She began to count, breathing right along with Sarah as she worked her way through the contraction.  As it came to an end, she saw that this one had taken just a little more out of her. Sarah collapsed back against the pillows with a cleansing breath and Becca asked softly, "You okay?"

A tear escaped as Sarah said, “I will be….” Dropping her voice to a mere whisper for just Becca to hear, “As soon as Howie gets back.” 

"Want me to go find him? I can, if you want ... Lynne can stay." 

Like a trigger to her panic switch, Sarah quickly said, “NO.  They’re taking care of the crowd.  Besides, I have you here.” 

"Okay, okay," Becca was quick to soothe her, realizing where her fear was coming from. "I'm not going, okay? Just thought ... No. I'm staying right here. Look at me ... okay? I'm here." 

Sarah let out a sigh of relief and relaxed.  Closing her eyes, she gave her sister’s hand a squeeze. 

Sonja had moved to the window which had a view of the front of the hospital.  “Looks like they were successful.  The guys are signing autographs for a few remaining fans but I don’t see any more reporters.” 

“They really are good with the fans,” commented Ali as she looked over Sonja’s shoulder.  “What is Nick’s community service?” 

God, wasn’t this night over with yet?  Sarah didn’t want to answer Lynne’s questions and Becca didn’t want to answer Ali’s.  Wasn’t there a safe topic of conversation they could all agree on? 

Sarah squeezed Becca’s hand as she took a cleansing breath.  The two worked through the contraction and when it was over, Sarah didn’t let go of Becca’s hand and her tears were steady. 

“That was closer,” pointed out Lynne.  “Is the pain worse?” 

“About the same,” whispered Sarah as Becca brushed her hair back. 

“Why don’t you ask Sheena for something for the pain?” suggested Lynne. 

“Sarah has other ways of dealing with the pain,” said Becca.  Turning to Sarah, she said, “Pick a place.” 

“I can’t….do it,” whimpered Sarah. 

“Sure you can.  You never did tell me about the house in Virginia.  How was it decorated for Christmas?” 

“It was….so perfect…everything I ever….dreamed of…a live tree, running cedar on the mantel and along the banisters and the porch.” 

She stopped and Becca handed her the cup with chipped ice.  Sweat was dripping down her face mixing with the tears prompting Ali to grab a cool, damp cloth and wipe her face. 

“Have you made Howie a stocking?” asked Ali. 

“Yeah, I have.” 

“What’s on it?” asked Becca. 

“Like mine….a Santa with ‘Believe’.” 

“And she even taught me how to cross-stitch,” beamed Howie as he made his way back into the room followed by the other four guys. 

Sarah’s eyes flew open and lit up as if she hadn’t seen him in a very long time.   “D!” 

“Hey!  What’s with the tears?” soothed Howie as he wiped her cheeks.  “When I left here, you were ready to take on Kevin, Brian, and Nick.” 

“The pain is getting worse,” whispered Becca.  “I was getting her to tell me about the house in Virginia and how it was decorated for Christmas.” 

Taking Sarah’s hand, Howie placed a kiss on the back as he stared into her eyes.  “It was absolutely perfect; including the snow and my beautiful wife out-did herself with the dinner for her family.” 

Sheena came in to check on Sarah and Lynne immediately confronted her.  “Sarah’s in a great deal of pain.  Why aren’t you doing something for her?” 

Sheena looked to Sarah and Becca inconspicuously shook her head.  “Miss….” 

“Call me Lynne.” 

“Lynne….I appreciate your concern but I assure you, Sarah is being monitored very closely for the pain.  When she’s ready, she’ll let me know but she and Howie both wanted to do this as naturally as possible.” 

Softly, Becca said, “Howie, I’m going to talk to Lynne…explain what’s going on.” 

“Thank you, Bec,” answered Howie as she gave Sarah a kiss on the cheek and left.  Howie took the cool rag Ali offered him and wiped his wife’s forehead.  “The press and the fans sent their best wishes to you.” 

As Howie talked softly to Sarah, the group began to thin.  Brian and Sonja were the first to say their good-byes and made Howie promise to call no matter what time it was when the twins were born.  Next to leave was Ali.  She promised to bring Sarah real food in the morning which got a laugh from Howie and Sarah.  Becca was already out of the room with Lynne so it was now Howie and Sarah with Kevin, Nick, and AJ and the much smaller group settled in for the long night.

Chapter 53                Index