Leda was going to kill her brother. Adam Pascal was dead. So, so very dead. Mr. I'll-only-be-gone-an-hour-tops-I-swear.
She had been in a bit of pain for several hours before he left, but Leda ignored it. She wasn't due until the fifteenth, so she still had a good five days. There was no way the baby was coming this early.
So around nine AM on the tenth, she was spending her time the way she usually did; watching various shows on Netflix between sleeping, waddling to the bathroom.
"I'll be gone an hour, tops, I swear," Adam informed her, fixing his tie. "These interns can never get anything right so, of course, they call the boss to bail them out."
"Mhm," Leda said faintly, eyes fixed on The Walking Dead. "Go... do your thing, boss man, I'm not going anywhere."
"Do you have your phone on you?"
"Yeah." She waved her hand. "Go. Trying to watch."
Leda watched about another half hour of The Walking Dead, only to be distracted by a rush of fluid between her legs. A quick check proved that she hadn't peed her pants.
"Son of a bitch," she hissed, sitting up. "Not now!"
Leda threw the blankets off her legs and fumbled around for her phone. She pressed the home button, but the screen remained black. It was then that she remembered her late night game of Candy Crush.
So she either had to find her charger or drive herself to the hospital. Because of course stupid Adam and Audrey had no house phones.
"Move, dog!" she snapped to Carrie, nudging her away as she snatched her purse up from the table in the hallway and upturning it, digging through spare tampons, make-up, wallet, extra condoms, and a shitload of change at the bottom. No keys. "Okay, looks like plan B is the way to go."
Leda went back into the living room to retrieve her phone when the most horrible wave of pain hit her. She dropped with a scream, luckily having the wall beside her to grab onto and safely lower herself to the ground
She was panting heavily by the end of it, near tears. Fuck, that hurt! Leda had broken her arm twice as a kid, and her leg once in college, and that pain was almost nothing compared to what had just happened.
Remembering the few things she had paid attention to in birthing class, she took the deepest breath she could, completely filling her lungs, and then slowly released it for several long seconds.
Leda didn't know how long it took, but eventually the pain passed and she was able to think clearly again. She was stuck on the floor with no way to reach anyone, with no keys, in horrible pain, and incredibly pregnant.
She only had one option; wait for Adam to come home.
Yeah, that had been roughly three and a half hours ago. And since then, things had escalated. Leda could have sworn that there was supposed to be more time between contractions. They never stopped, hitting her over and over, each more painful than the last.
She hadn't made a move to get her phone charger from the kitchen, being too afraid to walk again. Her legs felt like jello. The baby moved around in her belly between contractions, and she rubbed it from time to time. It helped keep her grounded, reminded her why this was happening.
She'd managed to flip the TV back on, for another distraction between agonizing spurts of pain. Somewhere around almost one in the afternoon did a horrifying thought strike her.
I could die from this.
She may have slept and doodled and played on her phone during birthing class and disregarded all the books and websites Audrey had referred her to in regards to giving birth, but she knew that people could die from this. She was alone, had no access to medical treatment, and most of all she was terrified and had no idea what to do.
Leda stroked her stomach with both hands.
"It's okay, baby," she whispered. "It'll -Ah!- all be okay."
"God," she begged within her mind. "If something goes wrong, let me be the one to die. Please, please let my baby be okay."
"No," Matt said flatly.
"It'll only take you a minute, Matt."
"Not even if you paid me." Matt glanced over his shoulder and slowly pulled his car from his parking space, cheek pressed to his phone. "She's just gonna bitch at me again, why should I have to check on her?"
"Because I'm stuck at the office and she's not picking up her phone." Adam sighed on the other end. "Just do this, please."
"You owe me food money for the rest of the week."
Matt threw the car in park and got out, tugging his hood over his head and heading up the front porch. He paused before opening the door, frowning.
Leda's key lanyard hung from the doorknob, the key still in the lock. He rolled his eyes and pulled it out, idly wondering if this was a common occurrence, and how his aunt had never been robbed.
He opened the door. "Aunt Leda? Your keys are in the-"
A scream cut him off.
"Aunt Leda!" He followed the scream to his aunt sitting on the floor, hands braced on her belly, soaked in sweat, teeth gritted. He dropped down beside her. "What happened?"
She couldn't answer him; her breathing was shallow and rapid.
"Okay, we need to get you to the hospital!" Matt took one of her arms and began to wrap it around his shoulders when she screamed again.
"No!" She shrieked. "It's... He's coming now!"
Matt helped her back to the floor. "What?"
"I won't make it," she panted. "He's coming now, I can't move. I-I need your help."
"Okay," Matt whispered. "Okay, okay. Just...sit tight!" He scrambled to his feet and raced to the kitchen, dialing 911 and rattling off his address.
He returned a minute later with an armload of towels, a large bowl full of water, a cup of ice, scissors, a juice box, and eyes fixed on his phone screen.
"Alright, the first thing it says is to make sure you have a bag packed for the hospital." Matt looked at his aunt and asked, in all seriousness. "Aunt Leda, do you have a bag packed?"
He was barely able to duck before her fist could hit him.
"Okay, Jesus!" He stuck the straw in the juice box and held it to her mouth. "Open." he squeezed it and tropical punch coated her tongue. She smacked her lips. "The ambulance is on the way, so I think we have to wait for-"
Leda's hand shot out and gripped his as she threw her head back in a wail. Matt screamed with her, his fingers crushed in her palm. "Ssssson of a bitch I don't think I can wait. I-I need to start pushing again."
"Push the baby!"
Leda pulled on his arm. "I need you to be there to catch him or... something." Matt just stared at her blankly.
"You need me to what?"
"Can't you just... I don't know... hold it in?"
"Matt please!" Matt had never seen this side of his aunt before; desperate and hysterical. And it occurred to him that this baby was coming, whether the ambulance got here in time or not, and Leda was in horrible pain, so it was up to him to be the adult.
He lifted her ankles and slid the towel under her legs, setting the bowl of water aside. "Okay, I guess I'm gonna..." Leda arched her back and screamed again, cutting him off. Gritting his teeth, he scooted forward and brought her long skirt up.
There was a long moment of silence and Leda opened her eyes. And if she weren't in such horrible pain, she might have laughed at the look on his face. With wide, horrified eyes and tomato-red cheeks, it was definitely comical.
Matt turned away, hand clapped over his mouth as his cheeks puffed out. He gulped down his lunch for the second time that day and shuddered. "Oh, there is not enough liquor and therapy in the world to undo that image."
"Do-do you see him?" She asked shakily.
Matt nodded shakily. "It would appear that he's crowning." His voice was high pitched. "Would you mind if I grabbed a beer?" he asked shakily.
This time her hand did make contact with his face. Luckily, she was weakened and it felt more like a tap than anything.
"Okay okay! But I think it's fair to warn you I have no idea what I'm doing." He pulled a pillow from the sofa and handed it to her. "Squeeze the hell out of that." Matt scooted down and inhaled deeply. Going back to every movie, TV show, book, newspaper article, and episode of Grey's Anatomy that he had ever seen about giving birth, he flipped her skirt up and again and commanded, "Push!"
Leda clutched her nephew's hand and forced all her strength downward. She must have lost herself in the pain, because she only became aware of Matt counting to ten when he reached eight.
"Nine...ten. And breathe."
She slumped back against the wall. "Matt, I'm sorry I yelled at you. I swear, if I survive this-"
"You will!" Matt said firmly.
"Then I'm going to Nebraska and crushing Reid Oliver's testicles with a sledgehammer-"
"Push!" Matt cut her off. "Ohhh, yeah, I can see more of the head." He nodded to himself. "Okay..." He scooted closer, yanking his hand from her grip and holding the towel beneath her. "C'mon, push push push..."
Leda did. She pushed so hard she felt lightheaded, and then she pushed more, completely draining her strength.
"He's out!" Matt suddenly screamed, pulling his arms back for her to see the towel now held something. Emotions took over and she clapped both hands over her mouth and sobbed. "Oh my god..." she cried. "Oh my god..."
"I got him, Aunt Leda, I got..." their eyes met and they suddenly realized the complete silence in the room.
"Why isn't he crying?" Leda asked shakily. "Matt why isn't he crying?"
Matt looked down at the baby; his tiny face was completely still, eyes closed. "I-"
"Matt, do something!" She shrieked. "Do something!"
"I don't..." Matt wracked his brain for any knowledge of what to do. A familiar voice entered his mind.
'I had a c-section with Luke, but the nurse told me after that he didn't cry at first, so they slapped him on the butt and he just started crying'
Matt hauled the baby up to his shoulder with his left arm and gave him a swat on the backside with his cupped right hand. When nothing happened, he swatted again.
The baby squirmed against his shoulder and let out a loud shriek right in Matt's ear; healthy and alive.
"That worked!" Matt squealed. "I can't believe that worked!" He brought the baby down, watching him wriggle around and scream in amazement.
"Give him to me," Leda held her shaking hands out. "Let me see my baby."
Matt leaned over and placed the bundle in her arms, watching in awe as the new mother looked down upon her baby. It truly was an unbelievable sight.
"Hi," Leda whispered. The baby was covered in goop, but he was here and he was beautiful. "Hi baby." She glanced at her nephew, then back at the baby, overwhelmed. "I can't believe after all that..." A frantic banging at the door broke the moment. Leda and Matt's head shot up and the baby cried at the noise.
"Paramedics!" Came the voice on the other side.
"Oh good, help has arrived," Matt said weakly.
Then he passed out on the carpet with a dull thump.
Leda would have breathed a laugh if she didn't feel so exhausted. Instead she just smiled fondly at the boy.
"My hero," she whispered then yelled over her shoulder. "It's open!"