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Chapter Eighteen

"Do you want some ice chips, princess?"

"He's my princess."

"He's not really a he right now, is he?"

"WOULD YOU TWO SHUT UP!" I bellowed.

"Okay, I have to ask. Are you single?" Lainie asked. "Because that rock on your hand says otherwise. Does your wife know you're flirting with me?"

Through yet another agonizing contraction, I looked over at Bri. His face was turning crimson.

"Don't get your hopes up," J said. "He only gets off on other chicks if they're pregnant."

"Dude, shut up!" Bri barked. "I don't like pregnant chicks. I just--"

"Could we argue about this later?" I gasped. I grabbed Becky's hand. "I--"

I couldn't get out what I needed to say next. I felt the worst pressure in my entire life.

"Oh crap."

"What?" Lainie and Bri said simultaneously .

"I gotta push," I said. I didn't know how I knew I had to push, but it was all I could think of. I sucked in a breath and tucked my head down.

"Don't push yet!" Becky said. She leaned over and jammed the nurse button.

"Yeah don't push yet, I don't have the video working yet!" J complained.

"You're not talking video of my private parts!" Lainie yelled.

"Technically, they're Nick's private parts right now," J said with a laugh.

"Let me get behind you," Bri said.

"You're not getting behind my husband!"

Two fights broke out simultaneously . I grabbed onto the railing and screamed bloody murder. That shut them all up.

"She's got some pipes, doesn't she?"

The doctor whisked in, tugging on gloves. He didn't ask permission this time. Va-jay-jay hit air and he was down there.

"Yup, we're about ready to have a baby!" he trilled.

"Can't you just cut it out?" I begged. Lainie stomped her foot. "You're not ruining my stomach!"

"It's such a nice stomach," Bri agreed.

"Just listen to me," Becky whispered. "One...two...three...push."

On push, I did what I was told. I drew in a breath.

"I respect you so much, Beckers," I gasped. "Guys have it so easy." I squeezed my eyes shut.

"This is a fast one. We've got crowning!" the doctor called. "Breathe and push!

I bore down and pushed again, but just as the doctor began to exclaim about hair, a wave of dizziness rushed over me. I felt my hand slip from Becky's...


AJ's eyes were the size of half dollars.

He had a way-too-detailed view of how children come into the world from the wheelchair he'd taken up residence in, and his eyes, glued to Nick's exposed va-jay-jay, were being treated to the scene of a lifetime. I know. I'd watched Baylee be born, while huffing and puffing loudly, clutching my wife's foot for support.

AJ had taken the chicken's way out when Dominique was born. He'd stood by Rochelle's head and held her hand.

Birds-eye views of births are quite....um... special.

"Holy fucking hell," he muttered.

Lainey was biting the fatty part of Nick's thumb standing beside the wheel chair, her eyes wide, too, as Nick screamed bloody-murder from the bed, thrashing against the stirrups and against Becky's grasp. "Guys have it soooo eeeeeaasyyyyyy y!" he shrieked, his face contorted.

Suddenly, Lainey let out a cry and buckled. Nick's tall frame fell against the wheelchair, clutching AJ's bony knee as she dropped toher knees. "Oh my God," she wailed.

I looked over at her. What the hell...?

Suddenly we had a tall blonde man and a short blonde woman both screaming. The doctor looked confusedly between the two. Becky's eyes widened. "Don't lemme go, don't lemme goooo," Nick begged from the bed.

AJ sprang up and, in the gentlemanly way that he was always surprisingly capable of, he reached for Lainey's elbows and struggled to get Nick's frame into the wheel chair. "It's okay," he muttered, glancing at me, a worried look on his face.

And then it happened.

"What the hell?" the doctor sounded completely perplexed.

It seemed like I'd blinked and missed something. Suddenly, it was Nick - actual Nick - that was clutching mine and Becky's wrists, legs up in the stirrups. I blinked in shock. The doctor had jumped up from his stool. AJ was suddenly kneeling between the legs of hospital-gowned, half-way-through-delivery Lainey, who was sprawled in the wheel chair.

Nick, who was still lamaze-breathing, looked over at her. His eyes widened. The doctor, confused but on the ball, quickly moved his operation baby-birthing to the wheelchair. Nick struggled with the blanket that lay over his chest and groin and shoved his hand down the front of him, squeezing his nether regions. His eyes widened. He looked up at Becky, then at me, and he said, in the most excited voice ever...

"BRIAN!...........I'VE GOT A PENIS!!!!!!"

AJ stumbled back against the wall beside me. He looked at me, a thoroughly traumatized expression on his face. "Holy sweet Jesus, man," he gasped, "I do not want that guy's job. It's like all the fucking worst parts of every horror movie I ever saw."

Becky was pale as Lainey's voice ripped through the delivery room.

Nick sat up and wrapped his arms around her scared frame. "You are the bravest, most incredible woman I ever saw in my whole life and I swear to God I'ma treat you better and serve you like a Queen. I'ma get you breakfast in bed with those cool trays and a lil flower. I'll put it in a vase. And orange juice! Holy shit I need to buy oranges cos I'm gonna hand squeeze you oranges and make you bacon and eggs and cheese with toast and yogurt and those little muffins you like with the cranberries and sausages. And I'm gonna do the laundry. And I'll take out the trash the first time you ask. I swear I'll never watch football again!"

Becky's eyes met Nick's.

"I'll do anything," Nick continued, his voice hallowed, "Anything you want and need and anything at all!"

"....Give birth to our kid for me," Becky gasped.

"What?" Nick looked confused.

"This..." she waved her hand at Lainey, "I can't do this. Oh my God. I - I can't do this."

"Beckers, I--"

"Crowning!" the doctor yelped. "We have a head."

And indeed, we did have a head. I stood there, staring at Lainey's delivery from the wheel chair, her legs spread out on the arms of the chair awkwardly, the doctor and nurses moving around her like a swarm of ants on a discarded french fry. I reached out and clutched AJ's hand. "Wow," I muttered.

"Holy shit," Nick gasped.

"I can't do this," Becky breathed.

"Je-sus," AJ muttered.

And before our very eyes, with pushes and heaves and wails.... a baby dropped into the doctor's hands and began to cry.

"Wow," Nick said again, as the nurses converged to begin cleaning off the infant. His eyes were full of tears. "Wow."

Becky grabbed his arm and hugged it close to her chest. "Yeah," she whispered, awed, "Wow." She looked down at her stomach, a glance which Nick mimicked.

"...I can't wait," he whispered, laying a hand on her stomach. "I can't wait for this to be our moment." He wrapped his arms around her, and she settled into his chest. "It's worth the hurt," he added quietly. "The baby's worth every moment."

Fifteen minutes later, the baby had been cleaned and wrapped in a soft blue blanket and was tucked against Lainey's chest. Nick and Becky were standing on one side of the bed, AJ and I on the other, staring down at Lainey's baby boy. "Nick," she said, with a laugh.

"Wha?" Nick asked.

"No," Lainey said, "That's his name. I'm going to name him Nick."

Nick beamed at Becky.

"He kinda has your eyes, Rok," AJ whispered.

Nick looked up at AJ. "At least he didn't get his nose."

"You guys," I said, "I am not the father, remember?"

"If it was really Nick's you would've been," AJ said quietly, with a smile.

"I wasn't gonna sleep with Nick," I snapped.

"You say that now," Nick said, "But when I had a va-jay-jay... it was a totally different story."