Kai is persuaded to play the guitar and sing, making Epiphany very happy. Paisley is astounded that he can sing so well.
“Thank you,” she said, tears in her eyes. “How did you know I absolutely love that song?”
“Didn’t have a clue. But I do, too. Any requests?”
Epiphany nodded, glancing at Toby. “Could you play Epiphany by Staind?”
The guitarist was already playing before Kai sat back down. He put his arm around Paisley and started to sing. His voice was sweeter, more mellow than the guy from Staind. By the time he got to the first chorus, all the women were in tears. The guy on rhythm harmonized with him, adding a dimension to the song that Paisley hadn’t realized was missing, until that moment. The harmonica added a haunting accompaniment. By the time they were finished, Epiphany was sobbing, clutching her stomach. Toby held her, talking quietly.
“Damn, I didn’t mean to make you cry!” Kai said, hopping from his seat. “She okay?”
He could see the young woman was in pain. His mind kicked into professional mode, and he squatted by her chair. She took a deep breath, blowing out slowly.
“You in labor?” he asked quietly.
“I don’t know. I might be. I haven’t felt good all day, but I didn’t want to disappoint Toby. He wanted to give me this party….”
“Any bleeding? Water break?”
He went through a list of symptoms while he took her pulse. It was racing. Another pain contorted her features. Less than five minutes apart.
“Party’s over, my friends. I think we’re gonna have a baby.” Kai whipped out his cellphone and walked toward the house in order to get a better signal.
The nearest hospital was 20 minutes away. The nearest fire station was five. He wasn’t sure Epiphany could wait 20 minutes, plus the ride. He didn’t really want to transport her himself, so he called the professionals. Not that he wasn’t, but he’d never delivered a baby solo, and he didn’t really want to start tonight—not when he’d been drinking. Grant you, it was only one beer, but this was his friend’s baby. God forbid anything went wrong.
The call placed, he went back to Epiphany’s side. “Can you walk, hon?”
She shook her head. Kai and Toby carried her back to the house. She had three more contractions by the time they got her there. Toby’s mother got towels and they laid her on the couch. It was a good thing they’d covered it because her water broke a few seconds later.
Fortunately, right after that, the paramedics arrived. Kai went out to greet them, giving them his report.
“You think she’s gonna have it now?” the lead paramedic, Drew said.
He heard Epiphany scream inside.
“Get these people out of here,” he told the others. “Show me,” he told Kai.
Toby’s parents had already started clearing people off the beach, ushering them around the outside of the house. They went quickly, excited at the prospect that the baby was coming as planned. They didn’t mind that the party was over, they were too happy for the new parents. Soon, they were gone.
Paisley wasn’t sure what to do. She wasn’t part of the family, nor was she a friend, but Epiphany insisted on holding her hand, whenever she had a contraction. Toby supported her back as she pushed and Kai coached her, keeping her calm. Toby’s parents stood side by side, out of the way, watching as their grandson was born.
Drew talked to Epi, telling her what to do, assuring her she was doing a great job.
“Glove up,” he told Kai.
“Hurry. You wanna catch or not?”
“Shut up, kid, and get your ass over here.” Drew laughed at Kai’s stunned expression. “Paying attention to what I’ve been doing?”
Kai washed his hands with betadine, and put on gloves quickly, taking Drew’s position. He was a little embarrassed seeing so much of Toby’s fiancée, but she was past caring. Drew took his place by Epi’s side, as Kai told her when to push.
“You’re doing great, Epi. Give me another, sweetheart.”
Screaming loudly, she pushed hard.
“He’s crowned. Give me good one.”
Roaring with effort, she pushed hard and the baby’s shoulders popped out. It was then Kai saw the cord around the baby’s neck. He slipped it over the head, moving it out of the way quickly. The little one struggled, gasping. At least his face wasn’t blue, he was a nice, healthy pink, under all the muck. Drew nodded, his expression serene.
“Give me another good push, darlin’ and we’ll have us a baby!”
Epiphany clutched Toby’s shirt, pulling his chest hairs. Her other hand crushed Paisley’s fingers. Taking a deep breath, she waited for the next contraction, bellowing as she pushed. The baby popped out, landing in Kai’s hands.
“Congratulations, it’s a boy!” He laid the baby on Epiphany’s abdomen.
Kai tied off the cord and had Toby cut it while Drew took care of the afterbirth. Paisley watched as the baby was wrapped in warm blankets, and they prepared Epiphany for transport. The ambulance backed up to the door and she was put on a gurney. The new family were loaded in the ambulance and headed to the hospital.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes