All It Took Was You

by

Ali Vali

 

 

Part 4

"Hi, welcome to the Basantes residence," said Mona when she opened the door. Their visitor was again dressed in a striking outfit that complimented her still slim figure and blonde hair. Mona couldn’t help but think this would be what Desi would look like as she approached middle age. They’ll still be the best looking couple on the block once they hit the peak of the hill if this one and Dr. Raul are any indication, thought Mona.

"Thank you, my name is June."

"I’m Mona, I work for the girls." From the look on the woman’s face, Mona could tell she had seen Harry carrying Desi down the stairs to the sunroom. Just like when Desi had come to them with a broken leg, the elevator attached to the staircase was not necessary when Harry was home. For all of Desi’s protests, the old woman knew that in Harry’s arms was her preferred method of transportation.

"Nonsense, Mona is our in-house grandmother and tamer of tall good looking surgeons," said Desi. It was the one time that Harry had picked her up to carry her downstairs that Desi had been grateful her partner loved holding her like this. Desi would need Harry to get through this meeting without losing her composure. She looked at the woman who proclaimed to be her mother and smiled. "Welcome to our home. This is Harry Basantes, my spouse."

"Thank you for having me," said June as she followed Mona to the back of the house. Mona continued with their friendly talk as her way of putting them all at ease, especially Desi, whom she feared did not need this stress now.

"Anybody could do that Desiree, all you need is a wooden spoon with the bonehead’s name on it. Please June come this way, I have y’all set up in the back room. Rachel and Serena are already back there. Harry, Sherry is coming over with my grandbabies to help me get dinner together. What you feel like eating?" Mona led June to the back room that attached to the kitchen. Sherry was Mona’s youngest daughter and the mother of three of her own children. The ten, eight and three year olds loved coming to Dr. Harry and Desi’s home to visit their grandmother since Harry indulged their every whim.

"I feel like…," started Harry as she looked down to Desi’s beautiful face before completing her request. "Fried chicken," whispered Desi with a smile that was soon answered by one of Harry’s. "Fried chicken Mona," finished Harry. Harry was glad that the woman in her arms was relaxed enough to kid around, it would make the upcoming talk that much easier.

They sat on the sofa near the bank of windows and sat pressed up against one another. Rachel and Serena were seated on the loveseat in the room and were sipping the ice tea Mona had brought in earlier. June had taken a seat on the chair Mona had pointed out to her and looked nervous about what was to come. "Would you like something to drink?" asked Harry.

"No thank you, maybe later," answered June as she wrung her hands in her lap. The problem with wanting something for as long as she had was now that she had it in front of her, June didn’t know where to begin.

"Sometimes I have found that just jumping into the deep end of the pool lets you get over the shock of the cold water. You said your name was June Fontaine and you are our mother," said Desi from the circle of Harry’s arms.

"As hard as that is to comprehend, it’s the truth. I am your mother, and you have to believe above all else that I love you both. I can’t begin to ask you both for your forgiveness for what I did, but I can ask you for your understanding as to why I did it. I married Clyde when I was a young woman because I didn’t have much say in the matter. My father wanted me out of the house and somewhere he didn’t have to take care of me. Clyde was the best choice at the time so I took it, and hoped for the best. Almost nine months to the day of our short and plain ceremony, you came along Desi and it was as if someone had given my life meaning when they put you in my arms. Your father worked and I stayed home and took care of you," started June. She paused as she looked at the beautiful blonde plastered to the tall woman’s side. Harry was someone who loved her daughter, June could tell from the way they were sitting. June remembered that Desi was just learning to walk and say mama when she left.

"I loved you so much and about four months later I found out I was expecting again. Your father wasn’t thrilled but got another job to make ends meet. That took him out of the house for most of the day and that was all right with me. It wasn’t that Clyde was a cruel hearted man; he just wasn’t someone who showed much emotion or affection. Before I really started to show with Rachel, we got a new neighbor a few doors down. I saw her unloading the back of a van as I was sitting outside feeding you Desi. She waved to us when she heard you cooing from your highchair and the smile she gave us made me want to go over and introduce myself. A few weeks later I did finally get to meet her when I saw her walking up the street from the bus stop.

Bobbie was a New Yorker down here for a year to work at the hospital for her residency. She came from a long line of doctors and for a change of pace she had come down south to practice before heading home. It didn’t matter to her that I was uneducated and just a mother, Bobbie stopped by every day after that when she came home in the early afternoon. Unlike your father she played with you and showed an interest in my wants and me. For the first time in my life I looked forward to seeing someone, finding myself putting on lipstick to make myself look better. To make a long story short, I fell in love with her. Your father found out just after your birth Rachel when he walked into the hospital room and found us kissing." June stopped for a moment and dabbed away the tears that were streaming down her face from the painful memories. Her children had obviously thrived without her, seeing them there with the people that cared most about them.

"It’s ok, I think I know the end of your story and believe me it doesn’t vary too much from my own. Daddy forced your hand didn’t he?" asked Desi. The woman looked so distraught that Rachel had moved to comfort her. Desi would have gone if getting up from her seat hadn’t been such an ordeal.

"He demanded a divorce right on the spot and said if I came home to see you he would have me shot on sight. He was so angry that I believed him. Before our court date, Clyde threatened to turn me into child welfare and tell them that I had been doing nasty sexual things to you Desi, which would have resulted in jail time for me if I didn’t go along with what he said. I gave up my parental rights to the two of you and promised to never see you again. Clyde told me he was just going to say that I had died so that you two would never ask about me. With nowhere else to turn Bobbie took me in. Despite the pain of losing you two, she loved me and gave me a life in New York.

There hasn’t been a day that has passed by though that I haven’t thought about you, and I get the papers sent to me up there so that I could check the obituary page. I found Clyde’s name finally and set out to find you both to see if there was a chance to rebuild a relationship. Only by that time, the house had been sold and there was no trace of the two of you. For years it seemed like you both had dropped off the face of the city. It wasn’t until we hired a private investigator that we finally found someone in the neighborhood that remembered you Desi and told him your married name. From there we found about your accident and that you had moved in with your doctor."

No one spoke for the longest time, the only noise in the house coming from the kitchen as Mona and her daughter caught up on their week and prepared dinner. It was in that precise moment that the sisters figured out how much Clyde had stolen from them, and where his hatred had been born from when it came to their chosen lifestyle.

"I think that I can speak for Rachel when I say that I’m glad you came here and talked to us. It’s kind of a shock to find you have a mother after dreaming about one since I was a little girl, but it’s a good shock. Harry baby help me up," requested Desi. When she was on her feet she walked to June and gave her as good a hug as her girth would allow. It was a nice feeling to have family more than Rachel and Harry.

"Thank you," was all that June whispered as she opened her arms to Rachel as well. The three shared tears of happiness and sadness at the hand life had dealt them.

"Where is Bobbie now?" asked Rachel wanting to know more about this woman.

"She’s at the hotel waiting for my call actually. I know that there is a part of her heart that bleeds with the blame of what happened. We never had children after the two of you, but we always felt that the both of you were ours. Maybe now we can enjoy our grandchildren." June placed her hands on Desi’s midsection and felt the life within moving around. June choked out tears when she thought that her presence the night before might have put their little one in danger.

"June she’s all right believe me," said Harry guessing what the problem might be. June’s slight shoulders shook as she cried out the tears of pain for the separation and pain that Clyde had caused them. She was sorry for the man’s death but not for the second chance she and her children would get because of it.

"I’m so sorry for all that I’ve done to you, but mostly for leaving you with Clyde. I just know that there was more that I could have done to save us all from this," said June. Harry moved out of the way so that Rachel could join her sister and mother on the sofa. Desi gave her a look that told Harry she was all right so Harry stepped into the kitchen to join Mona and her daughter. The small blonde smiled through her tears when she heard the squeals of the children when they spotted Harry. From her peripheral vision, Desi saw that Serena got up and joined Harry in the kitchen.

For the next forty minutes the small family got to know each other again as the laughter continued to filter out of the kitchen. It came as a surprise to all three women when the doorbell rang; there was only Raul and Maria missing and they wouldn’t be using the bell. A few moments later Harry walked in followed by a tall slender woman with salt and pepper hair. The newcomer stood and looked at the two young women sitting with June and instantly her eyes filled with tears.

"Thank God that you didn’t turn her away," was all that Bobbie said before she stepped into the room. She had experienced her own shock when the phone to their hotel room had rung and it wasn’t June but Harry. Bobbie had heard of Harry from some of her colleges who had referred some difficult cases to the brilliant surgeon. To know that one of June’s daughters had ended up living with her was such a coincidence.

"I hope that you all worked up an appetite in here because Mona and Sherri cooked up quite the feast in there. Dr. Margolis what would you like to drink?" asked Harry. Desi had held up her hand to get Harry moving back to where she was sitting. Leave it to her partner to invite the only person missing from their little reunion. With Harry’s hand firmly ensconced in hers, Desi looked over her mother’s companion. While they waited for Bobbie’s response, three-year-old Benjamin ran in and threw himself at Harry’s legs.

"Please call me Bobbie, Dr. Basantes, and since I’m on vacation I’ll have a beer. Who’s this little guy?"

"Don’t call her Dr. Basantes, it might swell her head, and this little guy is Benjamin. I’m Desi and this is my sister Rachel. It’s a pleasure to meet you; June has told us so much about you since she got here. Have a seat." Harry let her hand go for a minute to pick up the little boy. The thought of what a wonderful parent Harry was going to make went through Desi’s head again.

"Believe me when I tell you that June and I have had many conversations about you two for over the past thirty years, so I feel like you are my own. We weren’t physically here for all the things parents should be here for but we were in spirit. Thank you for inviting us into your home." Bobbie relaxed a bit as she sat next to June. In all of their scenarios it was much more difficult to get the two sisters to understand what happened. For Desi it was her own history with Harry that had allowed her to forgive so easily. They had been apart so long already, she had no intention adding to that with regret.

Mona came in and announced dinner and was properly introduced to June and Bobbie. Both women took an instant liking to the woman who had in many ways become Desi’s mother since her time in the house with Harry. Mona, with the help of her daughter and Harry brought in plates of food for everyone so that Desi could stay seated comfortably on the couch. As they ate and talked about how they had all come to this place Bobbie mentioned Harry’s medical nickname and wanted to know if she was indeed the ‘goddess of the bones’ she had heard so much about.

"That is the rumor that goes around, but the name was not my idea. I do my job and I enjoy it that’s all." The mischievous look in Desi’s eyes told Harry she was in for it.

"Harry is definitely the ‘goddess of the bones’ as well as many more things as far as I’m concerned. And she got the nickname because she is that good," complemented Desi. The squeeze to her fingers told her that Harry had appreciated the kind words in her behalf. Desi was proud of the accomplishments Harry had achieved and loved to brag when the opportunity presented itself.

"I don’t doubt it Desi, I have heard nothing but praise from my associates who refer patients down here. Had I known you two were together, June and I would have made it to some of the symposiums that the hospital here hosts with Harry as the main speaker.

"Are you a surgeon?" asked Rachel.

"No I’m a pediatrician actually. One surgeon in the family is enough I think. Mona that was wonderful," said Bobbie. They finished dinner and Mona and her daughter had coffee and desert waiting for them.

June looked around at the room they were sitting in now that the hard part of their visit was over and things were going so well. The house Desi and Harry shared was so different than the penthouse apartment she and Bobbie shared in New York. Not having known her girls except for the very first moments of their lives June wondered whose taste the house represented. Desi watched her from Harry’s side and tried to guess what her mother was thinking about. That’s one word I never imagined myself using in this lifetime — mother, thought Desi.

"Would you like a tour?" asked Desi.

"Goodness no, I know you must be tired dear. I was just admiring your beautiful home," answered June.

"I bought it for her," said Harry without any prompting. The desire to buy the house had been more of a whim than any real wanting of it. It had only taken one walk through the gardens and then through the house to convince her that Desi would have been happy there. It had been only a fleeting wish, but Harry still thanked God for every day for making it come true. Harry still remembered Desi’s first months in the house changing it only subtly to make it more of a home for them.

"My little girl is a lucky woman then," said June. Bobbie brought June’s hand to her lips at her partner’s sentiment. The fact that the two young women had retained some of the love they had taught them at such an early age was heartwarming.

"No ma’am, I am the lucky one here. I met Desi when she was in the second grade and I have been in love with her ever since. No material possession I could give her could ever repay her the happiness she has given me." Desi’s eyes filled with tears at Harry’s declaration and she pulled her surgeon down for a kiss.

"And you Serena, do you enjoy your job?" asked Bobbie. Up to that point the blonde sitting next to Rachel holding her hand had been somewhat silent.

"Yes Dr. Margolis, I do. It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to put away the assholes who like to beat up on their wives. I can’t ever imagine professing to love someone then beating them," said Serena tightening her hold on Rachel’s hand.

"And may you never know that Serena," said June. Serena just stayed quiet on that, not wanting to drag the evening down with stories of her marriage and the hell it had been on her body whenever her husband had had a bad day at work.

"I hate to cut this short but I know that Desi needs her rest and we don’t want to impose any more tonight," said Bobbie. Desi had turned her face into Harry’s chest whenever she had to yawn trying to hide but obviously the two older women had noticed it. The expectant mother had wanted this day for so long that she didn’t want it to end, but she was tired. Above her Harry could feel the disappointment in her wife’s body when June and Bobbie got up to leave.

"Why don’t the two of you let me and Serena go back to the hotel, check you out, and collect your things and you stay here with us? We have the room and I’m sure that Desi and Rachel would like having you so close by to catch up on old times. After all you haven’t heard about the disastrous perms they gave each other in my senior year. If you are here in the morning, you’ll even get to meet your first grandchild Butch. He is out on the town with my parents tonight, but I know he would love to meet the two of you," offered Harry.

"A grandchild?" asked June.

"Yes ma’am, he’s a wonderful little boy," said Rachel smiling at Serena.

"We would love to have you both," added Desi.

"Are you sure?" June asked tentatively.

"Positive. You can hear all about their formative years and Mona can tell you about mine and what a bonehead I am," said Harry.

"Well all right, but I’ll come with you Harry," said Bobbie.

"Come on folks I’ll show you to your rooms," said Mona after hearing Harry’s invitation. Harry got up off the sofa first and pulled Desi to her feet.

"Let’s go baby, I’ll get you upstairs before I go." Before Desi could protest, Harry had swept her back into her arms and headed toward the stairs followed by two smiling parents. After she had deposited Desi on their bed, Harry turned to June and asked her, "Keep an eye on her for me until I get back?"

"You bet Dr. Basantes. I’ll take good care of her from here on out."

Just like everyone that stepped into the master suite, June noticed the picture on the mantel and the happiness and love it depicted. "Have you always loved her like this?"

"No, I broke her heart and mine in the process to make daddy happy and keep Rachel safe," said Desi looking at her sister when she said it. As always the pain was just as intense for Rachel knowing what her sister had sacrificed for her.

"I’m sorry," said June without turning around from the picture she was looking at.

"I’m not. The pain and agony of losing Harry is what has made the getting her back so sweet. I found in her my champion and my safe haven. I would endure the pain a thousand times again if it always brings me back here," said Desi. Rachel let the tears flow down her face and mouthed the words, "Thank you."

"Could you do the same for me?" June asked of both of them. She finally turned around and faced her judgment for the sins she had inflicted on the two people that had mattered the most to her.

"What, forgive you?" asked Desi. Rachel nodded her head in agreement from beside her sister.

"Yes."

"Mother, you never have to ask that of me. I can’t speak for Rachel, but I will not condemn you for the choices you have made." Desi held her sister’s hand wanting Rachel to answer for herself.

"And neither can I. I think it is time that we bury Clyde once and for all, and the pain the bastard brought to all of us along with him," said Rachel. Both the sisters held up their hands to the woman across the room smiling when June ran to them and their offer of forgiveness.

"That doctor of yours is a smart cookie," said June. The three of them were sitting on the bed waiting for all their mates to get back from the hotel where June and Bobbie had been staying. None of them were fooled as to why Harry had left them alone.

"Not to mention tall, good looking and devastatingly sexy," added Desi. They all laughed together as they shared girl talk about the three women they lived with.

"Is she looking forward to becoming a parent so soon after getting you back honey?" asked June.

"Let’s hope so mom." June smiled at the title both the girls had started using about forty minutes into their talks.

"Aren’t you sure?" asked June again.

"I’m not talking in generalities here, I’m talking about right now because my water just broke," said Desi holding her midsection. The small contractions she had been having since waking up from her nap that afternoon had gotten worse throughout the evening but she didn’t want to ruin her little family reunion. With a little more force in her voice Desi told them, "Let’s go, it’s time."

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"I said it’s time to go."

The four men on the riverbank slid into the water and tried to stay as close to the shore as possible, not wanting to get carried away by the strong current. Tyrell figured if they stayed in the water until the skies started to lighten with dawn it would bring them past the area that the authorities had set as their exiting point. With any luck he would be able to lose the Simoneauxs in the night and go the next leg into the city alone.

Unlike the swamp they had just traveled through the river was muddy and cold, but surprisingly free of wildlife. As they traveled along with the current downstream the four men watched the traffic over the bridges they floated under and wondered what part of the state they were traveling through. The water was cold enough for the three Simoneauxs to forget their rashes for a while and just concentrate on getting back to the city where their problems began.

Only one of the three was considering the consequences of their actions so far and how much more time would be taken from his life once they were caught. Mike wanted nothing more than to just swim to the shore, sit and wait for the guards to find him in the light of morning. The only thing that was holding him back was the knowledge that either Tyrell or his brother Byron would kill him before letting him give their location away.

Without question the three family members followed Tyrell out of the water when he made his way into the trees lining the shore. The sky was still dark and like he had a sixth sense, Tyrell moved through the forest in search of only one thing. Two miles inland he found what he was looking for. The deserted gas station along the country road looked like it would be a while before the owners came to open the doors to any business that would happen to drive by, but off to one corner was what Tyrell was looking for, a payphone in perfectly working order.

The people of the inner city in a place like New Orleans had to plan for any contingency because of the shit that life handed them at times, and Tyrell was a master of the circuit. In every letter his sister sent him every week, scattered throughout the nuances of her life in the housing project were numbers instead of punctuation. The seemingly odd placed digits in her last letter were his ticket out of here. From his memory he dialed a number and followed it, when prompted. The stolen calling card number hopefully hadn’t been discovered yet and would put him through to his friend Dexter for a ride the rest of the way into the city.

"Somebody better be dead," said Dexter into the receiver in his bedroom in New Orleans.

"No brother not dead, but I do consider myself reborn," answered Tyrell. From the tree line his partners in crime watched and waited for him to finish his call, each formulating his argument for Tyrell to take them along. Once his plans were fixed, Tyrell had no intention of leaving them behind.

"Ty is that you?" Dexter sat up in bed and waited for the man to answer him. The two men had known each other for years and Tyrell had gotten him out of more trouble than Dexter could ever repay him for. The way that he tried was to take care of his sister while Tyrell waited either to escape Angola’s fences, or die within them.

"Yeah it’s me. Listen to me Dexter, I need a ride back into the city for me and three other guys I want to come along if only so they aren’t found anywhere around here and give my plans away. We’ll take them as far as maybe the downtown area then cut them loose." Tyrell finished his phone call by giving his friend as much information of their location as possible. Now all they had to do was wait where the Simoneauxs where hidden now and look for Dexter to make his appearance. If by ten the next night he could not find them he would call the phone Tyrell had used to try and locate them.

"Sit tight brother and I’ll be there by tonight. I’ll try and find some delivery truck that won’t spook anybody around there and we’ll use that."

"I’ll be waiting."

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"Where is he?"

"Desi honey, try taking some deep breaths. The orderly said he would be right back with the ice chips and I’m thinking he wasn’t lying to you," said Maria trying her best to sound soothing. Harry’s parents had helped get Desi downstairs after returning from a dinner date with Butch, calling Harry from the car on the way to the hospital. The contractions were still about fifteen minutes apart so Ellie had gone to take a nap in the doctor’s lounge until it was closer to show time for the Basantes baby.

If Desi had been thinking of giving some smart reply to Maria’s comment it was bitten off by the next contraction that was two minutes sooner than it had been on their previous schedule. As the pain was at its peak Desi felt the warm solid body slide in behind her making it almost bearable. Harry rubbed her hands along Desi’s midsection and whispered encouraging words into her ear.

"Thank God you’re here baby, this hurts like a bitch. I’m thinking of maybe hiring Tony to do this for us the next time," said Desi as she sunk into Harry’s chest. Without having to be asked June, Rachel and Maria moved out into the waiting room with the rest of the entourage already out there. "Before this really begins I want to tell you that I love you and I think this is a really good thing we’re doing."

"That’s good to hear sweetheart, because unlike a bad puppy we can’t give this little sucker away." Harry brought her head around to face Desi wondering where the strange comment had come from.

"Oh, I don’t want to give it away, I’m just telling you that I will be cursing soon because of the pain and I didn’t want you to get the wrong impression. Now take your clothes off and get comfortable, it’s going to be a bumpy night."

Harry climbed down off the bed and changed into a set of scrubs that had been left at the end of the bed by one of the nurses. The birthing room they were in had a bank of windows that overlooked the city skyline from the Superdome side and Desi alternated her visual perusal between that and the tall familiar body in her underwear in front of her. When Harry put on the pants and pulled the drawstring closed Desi smiled at the fact that even in this situation Harry had a way of talking to her more base side. "I look at you like that and it makes me want to have more of your children Dr. Basantes."

"Let’s pop this one out Desi then we’ll talk about it. Did you have a nice talk with your mother?" The phone call from her father had centered on the fact they were in route to the hospital with Desi and not about what emotional shape they had found Desi in when they got home.

"Yeah, she seems to be a nice woman who I would like to get to know. She told me that Bobbie is thinking of retiring soon so it would make it easier for us to see each other more often. I have to tell you though, I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that she’s my mother and she’s still alive. I never even considered wishing to know her since I had come to terms that she was gone. The fact that I didn’t remember her left me without even the fantasy of what having her in my life could have meant to Rachel and me. You know what I mean?" Desi moved down a little on the bed to give Harry some room to move behind her so that she could hold her.

"Yep I can understand that. I never really asked you about her because you and Rachel seemed reluctant to talk about her. The fact you didn’t know much to even comment about never crossed my mind baby. I’m glad that she finally found the two of you before you all lost anymore time. What I’d like to know is how your father turned out such caring individuals like you and your sister when he was such a son of a bitch?" Harry massaged Desi’s shoulders in an attempt to have her as relaxed as possible before the next contraction. The fetal monitor was starting to spike signaling the next one and Harry brought Desi more fully against her chest in support.

Four hours later Ellie made the predication that it wouldn’t be too much longer before they could start pushing. As the contractions got more intense so did Desi’s grip on Harry’s legs along side her. Their doctor was sure that her friend Harry would walk out of the hospital with two perfect imprints of Desi’s hands in the form of bruises on her legs.

"You know when I let you go this morning I was figuring that you would give me at least a week’s reprieve before I saw you again Desiree," said Ellie as she pushed the sheet back into place covering Desi’s feet.

"You know Ellie, you could just kiss my ass the next time you’re down there checking things out," said Desi in a not too pleasant voice. The evil little part of her brain had been calling for drugs since the afternoon and she was about to give into it. Everything about the room including Harry was starting to get on Desi’s nerves and there seemed to be no end to the agony she was in. "Oh God not again," Desi managed between clenched teeth as another contraction ripped through her.

"Ok Desi I think we are ready to rock and roll baby," said Ellie from the foot of the bed. The nurses in the room put her legs up into the stirrups and Harry pushed Desi up a little to make it easier to push. "I want you to start taking big cleansing breaths for me Desi, Harry can help you out with that, can’t you doc?" asked Ellie. For her first pregnancy Desi was progressing nicely, but Ellie wanted to make sure everything was all right before the next step. This baby was still a few weeks early, which wasn’t unheard of, but Ellie would have preferred more time.

"Can’t I start pushing? I really think that would be a great idea don’t you?" The small blonde was ready to begin her life as a parent with the baby on the outside of her body, but knowing Harry’s streak of being a pleasure hound Desi was sure the kid was in there hanging onto her ribcage to stay in the nice warm cocoon they were swimming in.

"I think that’s a great idea honey. Ready?" Ellie looked up and locked eyes with Harry as a way of telling her everything was all right. Desi had her eyes closed tight as another contraction hit her and the urge to push became greater. "Push Desi come on."

There was no mirror to show her what was happening but Harry could see the head and shoulders out in the reflection of the windows in front of them. Desi had reclined back against her for a moment to take a slight break before the order came to push again from Ellie. Harry was amazed that once her partner had been allowed to push on a regular basis she had kept her comments to the occasional grunt and moan.

"One more Desi and that should do it. Let’s make it a big one," ordered Ellie. Holding Harry’s hands, a sweaty Desi pushed up in the stirrups and let lose a scream that was followed a moment later by the lustful cry of a baby.

"Dr. and Mrs. Basantes meet your son." Ellie held up the baby boy and placed him on Desi’s chest. The tired mother wrapped one arm around him as she brought Harry closer with the other. To Desi it was the beginning of another happy chapter in the fairytale she was living with Harry, and this big boy was a definite surprise. She had been convinced for the past four months that they were going to have a baby girl, but that didn’t mean that she nor Harry were any less pleased.

"He looks like you love," said Desi looking into the blue eyes of her lover. Harry was looking at the both of them through tears she was so happy. Baby Basantes had yet to open his eyes and despite his messy appearance his head was covered with fine black fuzz. Like his mother before him, the small creature stole Harry’s heart in an instant.

"But let’s hope that he acts like you baby. God Desi he’s just perfect, thank you." Harry looked on as Desi ran her index finger over the baby’s brow in an attempt to get him to calm down, or maybe to convince herself that he was real.

"Excuse me ma’am, I just need to borrow him a second. I promise I’ll bring him right back after he’s been weighed and cleaned up a little." The nurse took the little boy and walked out with him while Ellie finished up with Desi.

"You did a fantastic job here my friend, I do believe I have to put in one stitch and that’s it," said Ellie. Their friend and doctor was cleaning Desi off after the small woman had dispelled the afterbirth.

"Honey you want to go out and tell everyone the good news?" asked Desi. The warm body behind her just wrapped her up in a large hug and didn’t feel like it was moving any time soon.

"Yeah in a minute, I just want to tell you how much I love you and that this is the best thing anyone has ever gotten me. We have a son baby, can you believe it?"

"Let’s hope you like this feeling honey, because this won’t be the last one we have."

Harry ran out to the waiting room and told everyone the good news. When she swung the door open most of the group was taking naps after watching the hours pass by waiting for the happy outcome. The surgeon ordered everyone home knowing that they would be back early the next morning to meet the new addition. Desi was holding the baby when she got back to the room, and Harry had to smile when she saw her partner had unwrapped him and was taking inventory of fingers and toes. The best part of the sight was the look of pure bliss on Desi’s face as she looked at their son.

"Have you thought of a name yet?" Desi looked up at Harry and wiped the few tears that had escaped her eyes away.

"You won’t go for Harry Jr. will you?" answered Desi with another question.

"Come on baby you don’t want to do that to our kid do you?"

"I happen to like the name Harry baby, sue me. I have to admit I thought this little guy was a girl so I’m at a loss now. Looking at him though, I see the one person in this world that I love more than anything so that’s all I was hoping for." Desi held her hand out so that Harry would finish coming into the room and join her on the bed. When Harry sat down Desi handed over the baby so she could watch Harry’s face.

"Hey there little man, welcome to our family. I want to promise you and your mother that I will always take care of you and I will always love you." Harry brought the infant to her shoulder and hugged him. His hair was sticking out in all directions but Harry had never seen a more beautiful baby in her life. When she brought him down and held him so that they could both look at him, the baby finally opened his eyes as if to look for the person with the deep voice that had been talking to him for months. Under the dark hair were two beautiful green eyes that paid tribute to his mother Desi.

"How about we compromise and use Harry as a middle name?" asked Desi. Harry tore her eyes off the baby and looked at Desi with an amused look on her face. In the end she would agree to whatever the small blonde wanted and to make it easier on Desi, Harry just nodded her head. Desi looked at Harry again and it just came to her.

"Jackson Harry Basantes." Desi knew that Harry wouldn’t mind their son sharing the name of one of her childhood heroes. Ever since their first Halloween party they had attended, Desi had become partial to the male name that had been used by the very female Jackson Lafitte.

"Welcome home Jack," was Harry’s only response. At hearing his name, Jack yawned and gave a small cry. Desi untied the top of her gown and gave him what he wanted. The door opened slightly and Rachel stuck her head in and asked to come in for a minute.

"I promise I won’t take long, but I wanted to see my nephew before I went home. Serena is waiting at home with Butch and I had to get a look so I could describe him." The room was dark and quiet, the only sounds were the small sucking noise that Jack was making as he enjoyed his first meal.

"Come here Runt and meet your nephew Jack," said Harry.

"Oh my God, he’s so cute," said Rachel. For that one moment all the adults in the room forgot about the danger that was coming their way. Byron and his family seemed a million miles from them.

Harry sat in the rocking chair next to the bed and propped her feet on the bed leaning back to get some sleep. The dawn came but went unnoticed by the small family sleeping in the room. Desi was sleeping holding on to a socked foot while Jack slept on the side of Harry in a small bassinet the nurse had brought in for him. Both women were instantly alert when they heard the loud cry a short time later.

"Thank the gods you didn’t carry this bruiser to term Desi. He was two weeks shy of full term and still managed to weigh eight pounds two ounces," said Harry leaning over to pick Jack up. "I think someone is hungry isn’t that right Jack?"

Desi held him against her and fed him as they were both cradled against Harry’s chest. When she was done Harry changed Jack’s diaper and put him back in the bassinet to help Desi into the bathroom. Even though there was no chance that the baby was going to fall out of the bed, it made Desi smile to see Harry rolling their son in after them. When they stepped back into the room Harry took the opportunity to hug Desi to her and not have the large bulge in the way of her squeezing her partner tight.

"At it again?" asked Mona from the door. Their housekeeper had come prepared with a breakfast from home knowing the Harry wasn’t a big fan of hospital food.

"I’m making up for lost time. Come here and meet my son Mona," said Harry not letting go of Desi.

"Unless you are forgetting the little woman in front of you bonehead, I’ll come in and meet y’all’s son." Mona put her package on the bed and moved to the bassinet. The old sure hands picked up the small bundle that was wearing a blue stocking cap and held him against her chest and closed her eyes. Mona sat with him in the rocking chair and unwrapped the blanket from around Jack and just looked at him. "What’s your name little boy?" asked Mona in a singsong voice.

"Jackson Harry Basantes," answered Desi. The smile on Mona’s face was almost as bright as the one on Harry’s from the warmth in Desi’s voice.

"Welcome home Jackson Basantes," said Mona. If there had been any lingering doubts about Harry’s heart and how safe it was in the hands of Desiree, the little baby Mona held against her ample chest put those to rest. Not that people who didn’t love each other didn’t bring children into the world, but the identical looks she saw in the young faces staring at her told her this little guy was not a mistake. He was an extension of the love Harry and Desi shared.

Before Mona got too comfortable the room filled up with both families wanting to get their first look at the new addition. By late that afternoon Desi was holding Jack up to her shoulder to get him to go to sleep while Harry finished up in the shower. Running her hand over the tiniest green scrub suit she had ever seen, Desi smiled remembering Raul handing her the bag in exchange for his grandson. The tears that had come all day started again as Desi thought about the proud looks on Harry’s parents’ faces when they sat and admired the baby. In a small way it was Desi’s way of making up for all the pain that she had caused their own child with the choices she had made years before. Harry had never shared what she had gone through with her parents not wanting to prejudice their feelings when it came to Desi. For the longest time Desi didn’t quite believe that until she sat and had a long talk with Tony about it as she packed for her first trip to Florida with Harry.

 

"She’s going to hate me isn’t she?" asked Desi. The bag in the corner represented Harry’s quick packing job that morning before heading to the hospital. So far hers was three times the size and still Desi was adding to it.

"No she isn’t girl, stop worrying. Maria doesn’t know what happened between the two of you. What’s got your panties all in a twist sweetie?" Tony asked as he held up a pair of Desi’s silk dark blue underwear.

"I find it hard to believe that the Maria Basantes I remember would not have asked what happened when I suddenly disappeared and Harry got depressed, Anthony." Desi snatched the pair of panties he was twirling on his finger and shoved it back in her bag. She wasn’t aggravated with Tony but she had to take her bad mood out on someone.

"Believe it baby. Not about the asking part, the mother hen does plenty of that, but Harry threatened us with bodily harm if we said anything. For a long time she tried to convince Harry about the virtues of finding someone who would appreciate her. Well tall, dark and hard headed didn’t go for it and it drove Maria into the city every so often to try and reason with her. I just think Maria didn’t want Harry to go through life alone. Then along comes Miss Serena and I thought Maria would volunteer to have children for them, but our esteemed attorney didn’t have the staying power you did Desi girl," explained Tony. The look of open jealously that crossed Desi’s face told him that this was still a sore subject with the small blonde across from him. He reached across and took one of Desi’s hands in his and pulled her to sit on the bed.

"I can’t compete with her Tony."

"You don’t have to love. Serena is beautiful, successful and she loved Harry to distraction."

"Thanks you are making me feel so much better," laughed Desi throwing her hands in the air.

"Let me finish. Serena was all those things Desi, but the one thing she wasn’t was you.

Harry’s mind was made up so long ago that if she had settled down with Serena or anyone else it would have been a case of just that, settling. I hope that makes sense to you at all? What she felt for you, and still does, is something you could write some sappy romance novel about. Instead of feeling sad about what happened, you should feel glad that Dr. Basantes didn’t give up on her dreams, because my little hayseed, her dreams were all about you."

 

"Thank you," Desi whispered over the baby’s head. Maria had welcomed her back with arms wide open once she had seen the smile on Harry’s face from the minute they stepped off the plane. Desi remembered the week as a learning experience of all things Harry, and laughing at the odd combinations the tall doctor liked to eat.

"For what?" asked Harry stepping out of the bathroom toweling off her hair. She had just gotten back from rounds in the hospital, comfortable in leaving Desi and Jack in the room with their collection of friends and family. Jack’s pediatrician, Kenneth had made a room call and declared the little guy healthy and extremely cute, so he had been allowed to stay in their room.

"For loving us so much and for giving me and Jack such a wonderful place to go home to." Harry pulled the towel down around her shoulders and watched her family lounging on the bed. She nodded her head at Desi’s pantomimed question as to if the baby was asleep, then moved to pick him up and put him into the bassinet. Once Harry had him covered and had kissed his forehead, she moved to the larger bed in the room to follow the crooked finger aimed at her.

"It is my pleasure loving the two of you baby," answered Harry. Desi pushed Harry onto her back so that she could snuggle up to her side resting her head on the broad slightly damp shoulder.

"Speaking of home, when do we get to go back there?" The staff had been more than accommodating to Desi, but she was anxious to start enjoying the baby at their own place.

"If you promise to be good and not strain yourself I’ll send you home tonight," said Ellie from the door. Her partner was trailing behind her and moved to the baby she had heard so much about from the nursing staff while Ellie finished her conversation.

"Really?" asked Desi.

"Really. I figure you have Dr. Harry, Maria and Mona. If that list of characters doesn’t keep you in line, I see a prison sentence in your future," answered Ellie. Her comment didn’t get the laugh she thought it would and Ellie wondered about the suddenly grim look on Desi’s face. It was the first time she had thought about Byron and his family since the labor pains had begun and not hearing anything new, Desi guessed that they had not been found yet.

Harry felt Desi stiffen over her and jumped in before Ellie could dig herself in deeper. "Don’t worry about Desi, she’ll be fine. With everything happening in our lives I’m sure we would all feel more comfortable at home," Harry directed the comments to Ellie. With two fingers she gently moved Desi’s head up until she could see the green eyes that still held a touch of fear in them and spoke more gently. "I am not going to let anything happen to you or Jack baby, so stop worrying about that. Byron and his goony family will have an easier time getting to meet the President than they will getting close to you. I’m going to get us checked out and bring the car around, how’s that sound?"

"That sounds like the best plan I’ve ever heard. I love you honey and I believe you." Desi pulled Harry’s head down and kissed her.

"Would you girls keep my partner company for a minute while I run out to the garage and get the car?" In less than an hour Harry had taken care of their paperwork and pulled up to the front of the hospital to pick up Desi and Jack. Ellie and Sam stood behind the wheelchair the blonde was sitting in holding Jack and wheeled the two outside as soon as the Range Rover pulled up to the curb.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

"Get in and make it fast," said Dexter as the van he was driving pulled into the deserted garage. The four men dressed only in their underwear came running out of the woods and into the back as soon as Tyrell recognized his friend behind the wheel. Dexter had stolen a moving rental van as soon as the business closed down so that the police hopefully wouldn’t be looking for it until morning. By then he would have it parked back in the lot with only the mileage as a clue that it had been used.

"Hey man thanks for doing this for me," said Tyrell sitting in the back as Dexter slowly pulled back out onto the road.

"No problem. Hey I guessed at some sizes and there’s some clothes back there. The blue bag is your stuff Ty, your little bit sent it to you."

Tyrell was looking forward to seeing his sister without a bunch of guards looking on. In his time behind Angola’s walls Diana had not had much opportunity to come and see him because of the difficulty of traveling in her condition, but had written to her brother every week. It made him angry that even though she couldn’t move her legs, his sister was still in constant pain after the accident that had left her paralyzed. "Thanks."

"No need Ty, she misses you man. She didn’t want to see you get out like this and be hunted forever but she is going to take what life gives her and deal." Byron listened to the conversation trying to figure out who the two friends were talking about. Sitting in the woods all day Tyrell had never mentioned some woman waiting for him at home, nor did he tell them the name of the friend that was picking them up and bringing them back into the city. Tyrell had listened though, to both Byron and his father, talk about the women that had been to blame for them being in jail. Their escape had to do with payback, but his was to look after his sister. One person that the younger Byron talked about captured Tyrell’s attention, that person was someone named Harry. This doctor that Byron hated so much was the first person Tyrell was going to find and barter with once he was back in town.

They traveled the rest of the way in silence, the fugitives falling asleep almost immediately to the droning sound of the tires. They had been moving almost constantly from the moment they sprinted out of the bathroom and through the back gate into the swamp.

In the early morning before dawn, Dexter pulled into an empty parking lot in downtown New Orleans and pulled out a large pistol from his waistband. Tyrell nodded his head and got out of the passenger side to open the back of the panel van. As soon as the door opened, all three Simoneauxs woke up and looked out to see Tyrell standing by the back door in a dark t-shirt and jeans. The three of them were wearing differing outfits that smelled like Dexter had found them on the sale rack at some thrift store but it beat the alternative.

"Get out and forget you ever met me," ordered Tyrell. Dexter and he had decided to drop them off someplace far away from their own destination. If the three got caught, they wouldn’t have much to say about how they had gotten there and where Tyrell had disappeared.

"I ain’t getting out here big man," said the younger Byron. The middle of the city was not where he wanted to get out of the van. By sunrise the place would be crawling with workers and cops.

"I think the man asked you all polite and all to get out of the van," said Dexter cocking the nickel plated pistol in his hand and holding it out in front of him. Mike was the first one out, followed by his brother and father. Before they could lodge any more complaints the yellow Ryder van pulled away and turned at the corner.

"Let’s go home and have a talk with your mother boys." Byron Sr. turned in the direction of their old address and started walking, expecting his sons to follow him. After he administered an adequate punishment for Monique’s sins, Byron was thinking of heading toward his garage and seeing how things were running.

"I’m not going to fucking tell you again daddy, she is gone. You fucking killed her and that’s the end of the story. Now let’s find someplace to hide until I can think of what we need to do next," said Byron. The mistake of not having left his father back in Angola was coming back to bite him in the ass now. Staying in a group and not getting caught was going to be difficult enough without having to drag a crazy old shit with them.

"How about we head toward the French Quarter? It’s Friday so it should be crowded by tonight and during the day today we can hang out by the river," suggested Mike. Maybe I can grab a burger before we get sent back and put in some hole for doing this, thought Mike as he watched Byron nod his head.

"Great idea Mikey. There may be hope for you yet little brother." As the two young men walked in the opposite direction their father had been headed the one thought that ran through Byron’s head was, "Where are you Dr. Basantes, and are you ready to see me?" In the van that was miles away from them the same thought ran through Tyrell’s mind. The tall surgeon was someone he was looking forward to meeting.

 

Continued in Part 5

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