Time had slipped by and conversation had slowly dwindled away as sleep took each person. Howie had even managed to lull Sarah to sleep with a Spanish lullaby. Now he was the only one awake in the room listening to the sounds of the hospital; the fetal monitors keeping a check of the twins, the blood pressure monitor going off at regular intervals, other women in labor, newborns crying, staff moving about their duties. There were also the soft noises his friends made in their sleep.
Looking around the room, Howie felt his tears well up and an overwhelming flood of love for each one in the room. At the foot of the bed was AJ, his hand on Sarah’s foot as he slept. On the couch in the corner was Kevin with Lynne’s head in his lap. Nick and Becca had claimed the extra cot that had been brought in and Brian, who had returned because he couldn’t sleep, was sacked out in the recliner. Their friends….they’d stuck by them though the rough times and celebrated the joyous times with them and now, they all insisted on being here for this wonderful event. It meant more to Howie than he could express.
An incoherent mumble brought his attention to the reason they were all camped out in yet another hospital…his wife. Watching her sleep, their relationship played out in Howie’s mind like a movie. As afraid of her past as Sarah was, Howie had been that terrified of making a commitment but when she’d stepped out of his dreams and into his life, he knew it was meant to be. He’d never doubted the depth of her love. She’d worked hard to face her fears and overcome all the obstacles thrown in their way to be with him. Her love was unconditional; the last nine months were proof of that and she had already told him that she wanted more children.
With his fingertips, Howie lightly traced a line down her arm as he watched her sleep. The innocence of sleep never ceased to amaze him but then again, his wife was always surprising him.
The opening of the door interrupted his thoughts and Howie looked up to see Dusty quietly making his way to the bed.
“How’s my sis doing?”
“She’s doing great. What are you doing here at this hour of the morning and how did you know we were here?”
“Alison called to tell me that Sarah had gone into labor. I called Stephanie so she could bring Daddy down and she’s gonna let the rest of the family know.”
“Thanks.” Howie watched his brother-in-law who was staring at Sarah. He knew something was wrong by the look in Dusty’s eyes. “Wanna talk?”
“You’re a lucky man, Howie, to have someone love you the way my sister loves you.”
“What happened with Kryss?”
Letting out a heavy sigh, Dusty looked at Howie. “I broke it off.”
Howie waited quietly knowing that Dusty was just like Sarah and would tell him what was going on.
“How do you do it?”
“Deal with all the fans who are obsessed with you? And how does Sarah deal with it?”
There had to be a point to all this so Howie said, “That’s what we have security for…for the overly obsessed fans. None of them want to hurt us and it’s a rush. Think about it. Thousands of women out there love us, would do anything for us. If I were the kind of guy to take advantage of that, I could have a different woman every night.”
“How does Sarah deal with it?”
“She knows that I love her and without the fans, we wouldn’t be doing what we love. What’s this got to do with you and Kryss?”
“I broke up with her because she’s obsessed with you to the point that when we were making love, she called YOUR name.”
Remembering having Sarah call AJ and Kevin’s name in her sleep, Howie said, “That’s not such a bad thing, Dusty. Having fantasies of other people can do wonders for your sex life.”
“I agree but that was just the last straw. Howie, you really should fire Kryss. I mean, I know she’s been a blessing for Sarah taking some of the stress off her but you just don’t realize how obsessed Kryss is with you. She cries for god’s sake when she doesn’t see you during the day and refuses to eat.”
Howie scoffed, “You’re blowing this out of proportion. Sure, Kryss is an eager fan but she’s not that bad.”
Becca had heard Dusty come in and the conversation. Carefully, so she didn’t wake Nick, she got up as she said, “Howie, I didn’t want to butt in but now that Dusty has brought it up….I agree with him. You don’t see how she looks at you and why Sarah tolerates it is beyond me.”
Sleepily, Sarah spoke up, “I tolerate it because I’m not threatened by her and because she’s doing a good job. If she ever crosses the line, then I’ll fire her.”
Astonished, Howie asked, “You know about this?”
Looking over her shoulder at him, “’D’, I’ve known since that day in Denver.”
“The crying and not eating part too?”
“Well, no, not that but I’ve seen the way she looks at you.”
Howie didn’t know what to say to this. He knew neither one of them would make up something like this. Kryss had been a blessing and she and Sarah got along really well. Sarah was going to need Kryss even more now with the twins here. “What am I supposed to do?”
“Fire her,” reiterated Dusty.
Becca saw the conflict in Howie’s expression. “Just keep an eye on her and try to distance yourself from her,” she suggested. Then added, “Let Sarah deal with it too.”
“You don’t think she’d try something, do you?”
“I don’t know. If it were me, I wouldn’t be alone with her,” said Dusty. “Don’t give her the chance.”
“That’s the line that if she crosses it, she’s gonna be gone. I’m not going to have her making moves on you. I have no problem with her adoring you….that’s understandable but to touch you, or come on to you, I can’t handle that.”
“No, you won’t have to, Angel,” reassured Howie.
Sarah gripped Howie’s hand. “’D’, this line of conversation is interesting but ummm, I think you need to get Dr. Johnson in here.”
“Nothing’s……wrong,” panted Sarah. “I…..just…..feel….the need….to….push.”
With that, Becca rushed to the door only to be greeted by Sheena coming in to check on Sarah. “She feels like pushing.”
“It’s about time,” smiled Sheena as she moved to the bed. “Let me examine you.”
Howie reached down and shook AJ. “J, wake up. You need to move.”
AJ jumped, “What? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Sheena needs to examine Sarah.”
The commotion in the room woke the others and Kevin asked, “What’s up?”
As Sheena quickly examined Sarah, she said, “Looks like it’s time to bring these babies into the world to meet their family. Sarah, the first one is crowning but I don’t want you to push just yet. Dr. Johnson is in the lounge and I’m going to get him here. Hang tight just a couple minutes longer.”
“We’ll clear out,” offered Nick.
Through clenched teeth, Sarah said, “No….don’t go.”
“Are you sure, baby?” asked Kevin.
They all looked at Howie who said, “Stay. You guys have been just as much a part of this. See it through.”
Chapter 55 Index