A Place to Dance
Please See Chapter 1 for Disclaimers
"Are you comfortable?" Jolly put one more pillow behind Mimis back before moving down to rub her feet.
"Im as good as Im going to get for the night I guess. Can we talk about something while you carry out your nightly pampering?"
"Is something wrong?"
The blonde held out her hand suddenly wanting Jolly close to her. "Nothings wrong, honey. I was just thinking about what comes next."
"Hell of a time to think about it now, isnt it?" Jolly moved so she was pressed up against Mimis back with her hand on her partners large midsection. "Thats an easy one though. We bring these little guys home, love them, then set them loose on the world some day."
"Its that simple, huh?" Her voice was light, but her grip on Jollys hand was too tight. There was something else on Mimis mind.
"Whats wrong, love?"
"I want you to promise me youll be ok if something happens to me."
Jolly sat up a little so she could see Mimis face. "What do you mean, if something happens to you? Whats going to happen to you?"
"Honey, I just want to talk about this so it wont be on my mind later. During child birth theres a million things that could go wrong, and if they do, I want to know youll be all right. Were going to have three children and theyre going to need you."
"Mimi, I really dont think I want to have this conversation with you now. Youre young and healthy, nothings going to happen to you."
With a grunt Mimi rolled onto her back and lifted a hand to rest on Jollys cheek. The same wave of depression that rolled over her every time she looked at her ring finger minus the diamond Jolly had given her swamped her again. After her fingers started their imitations of sausages shed had to remove it or face pliers to pry it off. The ring now rested at the end of the platinum chain Jolly had gotten and Mimi was counting the days when she could wear it again.
"Promise me youll be ok and Ill drop it."
"I promise, but trust me, it wont be necessary." Jolly kissed Mimis palm and smiled. "Now promise me you wont waste anymore time on this."
"I cant help it. Theres nothing to do all day but lie here and imitate a slug, so the weirdest things just pop into my head. I have some more to do in the babies room, but after I mix the paint I need, Im too tired to use any of it." The tears the little tirade caused didnt bother Jolly as much as they did at first. Having a pregnant partner had been a lesson in emotional trauma of every proportion.
"You know what I wish?"
Mimi wiped her face with the edge of the sheet and shook her head, "What?"
"I wish I could make love to you." What Jolly thought was a compliment only made Mimi cry harder. "Baby, I only said that to make you feel better. I miss you is all. Why are you crying?"
"I was just thinking what my bodys going to look like after this. You may never want to touch me again Ill be so hideous." The word hideous was dragged out so long in Mimis whine, Jolly thought she would pass out from a lack of oxygen.
"So the truth comes out does it?" Jolly tried to sound stern as she moved behind her partner again to hold her.
"What?" Mimi asked through a hiccup.
"You must think Im some sort of old leach who married you just for your body. A hot blonde who fulfills my every desire and sexual fantasy."
"You mean I dont?" The teasing tone Jolly was using got Mimi to stop crying.
"And then some, sweetheart. Only youre so much more to me."
Mimi leaned further into Jolly loving the way the warm body behind her made her feel wanted. "Ive loved you for so long, Jolly. More than anything I want to be whatever will make you happy."
"Love, you dont have to do anything special to do that. The day we met I was busy being angry at what I felt was one more imposition on my fathers part. I had met your mother a couple of times before that so I wasnt holding out too much hope her spawn would be much better. How surprised do you think I was when I laid eyes on you?"
An embarrassed giggle escaped Mimi as she remembered that luncheon. Jolly had made her so nervous she couldnt stop talking the most important thing she remembered was Jolly didnt laugh when she confessed to the young architect she was going to be a great artist.
"I was some stupid kid huh?"
The valet looked at the old truck with a mixture of disdain and disbelief. One of the perks of the job was driving the kind of cars he could only afford with a winning lottery ticket in his hand. He already drove a piece of crap; he didnt want to have to park one.
"Should I just pull it around myself, or are you taking a break?" The tall woman standing next to the open cab door pulled him out of his revelry.
Maybe her other car is broken, thought the restaurant employee when he got a good look at the expensive suit she was wearing. "No, maam, let me just grab a ticket." He ripped one off the booklet he carried around in his back pocket. "Name?"
"Youre certainly tall enough to be a giant," the young mean joked.
"How original." With a frustrated hand running through her hair, Jolly dropped the trucks keys into the kids hand and started for the door. Stopping and turning around when her hand was on the knob. "Try to not put any dents in it."
He put his hands on his hips and tried to figure out if she was joking. There was sawdust falling from the cab floor from the open door, and it was hard to find a place on the vehicle that wasnt dented. "Youre kidding right?"
"Dont let my name fool you, kid. Im not at all happy to be here, so no, Im not kidding."
Great another one of those places where people like to be seen and serves tiny food. I see a trip to a good burger place after this. The thought occurred to Jolly as she waited for the hostess with a foreign accent to help the couple in front of her. Her father loved frequenting restaurants like this especially now that he had the attractive Kelly hanging on his arm. "It could be worse I guess. She could be nineteen."
"May I help you?"
"Yes, you can pour me a very large drink with vodka and whatever you want to mix in with it then give me directions to the Holland party."
The hostess put her hand up and motioned for Jolly to follow her. From the sound of the table they were headed to, her father was holding court as his new subjects were informed of the laws of the land Holland built. Two of the three blondes she didnt recognize were shaking their heads hanging on Anthonys every word.
"Jolly, how nice of you to join us. Only thirty minutes late. Its a new record for you, isnt it? I thought I told you this was important?" Anthony spoke in a low chilling voice, one he used as a means to intimidate.
"Im here, arent I? That should supercede when I arrived."
"Jolly, I want you to meet your new family." Kelly stood and went to stand behind her eldest son before the situation got too explosive. "This is Richard," pointing to her the next child, "Thats Henry, and on the end there is Madeline."
Each of the boys stood and shook her hand to be polite. Their mother had told them enough about Jolly to know that to align with her was the quickest way for Anthony to write you off. There were two empty chairs and the Mulle boys were happy when Jolly chose to sit next to their sister.
"Hi there. Having fun?" Jolly asked the young blonde.
"It beats having to do this at some sporting event or something else just as hideous. Is your name really Jolly?" Mimi put her elbows on the tabletop and smiled at the new arrival.
"Its really Jolly, and if you dont like sports it may hinder your chance at becoming a full fledged Holland."
"Im a full fledged Mulle, so thats not a problem."
The rich laugh spilling out of the tall, good looking newcomer made Mimi happy for some reason. It was when Jolly wiped away a tear that she noticed how blue her eyes were. "Thats a good thing, Madeline. You should always try to stand up for the things you believe and you love."
"Please call me Mimi."
With no menu ever looked at by anyone at the table the appetizers arrived and Anthonys order of "Eat," set everyones fork in motion except for Mimis. "I dont like caviar so youre welcomed to mine if you like." She pushed the plate toward Jolly. For her part Jolly ignored her plate as well and took a sip of the drink the waiter had delivered. With a snap of her fingers the brunette got the man in charge of their table to come back.
"Could you bring the young woman and I a menu and take this back from whatever fish lost it?"
"Whats wrong with it?" Anthony asked with food still in his mouth.
"We didnt order it, so were sending it back."
"I already ordered for everyone to save time." Richard Mulle plucked a piece of lettuce off his shirt when Anthony spit in his direction.
"That was sweet when we were two, but were all big now and just like in houses, people have their own tastes in food."
The man at the head of the table looked like Jolly had just hit his last nerve, but in the interest of getting through the lunch he let it go. Quiet conversations followed after more food was brought out, but Mimi could have cared less. She answered all of Jollys questions and tried to mix in a little humor with her answers so she would get one more smile out of the newly minted architect.
"What do you want to do when you get out of school, Mimi?"
"Im going to be an artist. I love painting and I want to see if I can make a living at it."
"Shes going to be a decorator, thats something more practical," Anthony boomed from his end.
"Thats right, Mimi. Your fathers an architect so youll have a good built in clientele." Kelly looked at Anthony as she answered getting him to curl his lips up in a smile.
"My fathers a construction worker and he said hed help."
"The guys a deadbeat, so I wouldnt count on it, girlie. Ill pay for school, but not for no artist. Thats nothing but a waste."
"If thats what youre interested in, Mimi, Ill help you."
Jolly had seen the fire in Mimi from that first day. Her father had thought her offer of help was a boast to get under his skin, but nothing could have been further from the truth. She had wanted to give Mimi the world to see her happy. It had never been a sacrifice to provide the means to making her dreams come true. "More like a warm, funny, bright kid who stole my heart in one afternoon. Ive loved you for a long time and it was never the way a sister loves a sibling. For a long time I was afraid to admit even to myself how I felt about you."
Mimi turned her head wanting to see Jollys face. "Why? You had to know how I felt."
"No, I didnt know. For years I cooked every Monday, escorted you to art openings and cuddled with you on the sofa when we watched movies. I thought thats all I could hope for, and it wouldve been enough if you were happy with your life. To be totally honest though, the thought of you with someone else wouldve killed me." A warm set of lips pressed to hers stopped Jollys confession for a long sweet moment. "You know what made me realize I had to take a chance?"
"Its more like who. Christina."
Mimi pinched Jollys arm for mentioning the womans name in their bed. "Just for future reference, honey, when youre trying to make me feel better its not a good idea to bring up old flames."
The tall body behind Mimi shook the mattress with laughter. "Im mentioning her name because shes the one who made me face just how often youre on my mind. The thing that makes me the happiest now is I can finally admit to myself that I plan my life around you. Ive done it for years but it makes me happy for you to know youre the center of my world."
"You know something, Jolly?"
Mimi kissed her before answering. "I wish we could make love too."
"Soon, baby. I promise."
"Call me if you need anything, and I mean anything. I shouldnt be long." Jolly stood in front of the closet tucking in her shirt. She had an appointment with Harry that morning to remove her stitches. She was upset with herself for not accepting the doctors offer of coming to the house to do it. After their long talk the night before Jolly wasnt anxious to leave Mimi alone.
"Im sure you wont be long, Ill be ok. Stop worrying so much."
"Just remember, Madeline, there will be no birthing of babies until I get back."
Mimi laughed and crooked her finger at Jolly to get her to get closer to the bed. "When you get back Im tempted to defy Ellie and throw caution to hell. If an orgasm lands us with some kids and the ability for me to hug you, Im all for it."
With a gentleness Jolly always used with Mimi she ran her hand over the expanding midsection. There was movement under her fingers, and like it always did, the awe of what it represented choked the architect to the point she couldnt speak. "Well be fine, love, we promise," Mimi swore. Jolly nodded, loving the adoring look Mimi was giving her.
At the doctors office Jolly didnt have to wait didnt have to wait long, and was surprised to see it was Harry who came out to escort her to an exam room. "The pain almost gone?" asked Harry as she removed the bandages on Jollys chest. The x-rays showed her ribs were setting nicely pleasing Harry with her progress.
"Ive tried to ignore it so its not too bad. Itll be nice when I can start swinging a hammer again and it not bother me."
"Wont be long now. I shouldve recognized you name as quickly as I recognized your partners. Some friends of ours got you to design their house for them and theyre always raving about it."
They continued talking about different topics as Harry probed Jollys side, finally landing on Mimi and how she was holding up in her last trimester. "You told her you wanted to make love to her?" asked Harry. She spoke slowly like Jolly was mentally challenged as she pulled the stitches out of her chest. Having been where Jolly found herself it was easy to poke fun.
"Well I thought it would be a compliment. You know, since we cant. I didnt want her to think I find her hideous as she so lovingly put it last night. Do the hormones eventually calm down?" Jolly laughed when Harry let out a laugh of her own. She had looked so down when she got to the office that Dr. Harry had been giving her some friendly advice on how to deal with pregnant partners.
"Trust me, buddy, she doesnt want you to comment on her body one way or another. If you tell her how beautiful she looks, shell think youre just being nice. On the other hand if you dont ever comment on it, shell think youre disgusted." Harry shook her head remembering Desi breaking out into tears more than a few times after a compliment on how beautiful she looked.
"So good doctor, whats your best advice?"
Harry used a small set of tweezers to gently remove the sutures on Jollys chest. The tight weave she had used would help minimize the scar. Some doctors didnt take the time anymore using the universally acceptable staples, but Harry didnt want Mimi to have a visual reminder of the traumatic accident every time she saw her partners chest.
"Theres no good advice here, Jolly. Pregnant women are like fingerprints. No two are alike, so theres no rule of thumb. With Desi the things that made her feel better were threatening me with imminent death if she gained another pound or if I got close to her if she wasnt in the mood, and chicken salad. She ate so much of it I was waiting for her to lay an egg instead of going into labor with Jack. In the end I think she loved the stuff more than me, but it made her feel better so I wasnt complaining. The one thing to remember is keep all conversations away from her body if at all possible when she brings it up. You bring it up, and be honest about what you see. Unless youre an idiot, youll agree with me and theres nothing more beautiful on this earth than the sight of your partner carrying your children."
"But I do love the way Mimi looks now." She accepted her shirt back from Harry and started to get dressed. The nurse who had assisted Harry laughed softly at her predicament before stepping out so they could finish their talk.
"I know you do, and if you tell her that often enough eventually shell believe you. Desi and I agreed to have only two kids, but youre right, if I could talk her into five, Id love it. We were separated by circumstances for a long time, so you can imagine the joy of getting her back was unbelievable. But seeing her carrying our second makes me sit and cry sometimes just like the first time around. I know physically its hard on her, but shes just beautiful right now." As Harry made the very personal admission Jolly nodded her head in agreement. In the hall, out of sight, Desi wiped a tear away. For the millionth time since finding Harry again she thanked God for the life shed been gifted with.
"Talk about me like that and Ill give you six little namesakes," Desi said softly from the doorway.
"You werent supposed to hear that, but its true nonetheless. Jolly, you remember Desi right?"
"Nice to see you again, Jolly. Hows Mimi holding up?" Desi stepped in and leaned against Harrys seated form. "I cant fathom having three in one shot. She must be miserable."
"I think we passed miserable about two months ago, but Mimis a trooper. Aside from being tired and not being able to find a comfortable spot in any position, shed doing great. Maybe I can call Mona and get her recipe for chicken salad."
Desi laughed but she understood. "Why dont you two come to dinner tonight? If Mona cant cheer her up with a good meal shes a lost cause until labor sets in."
"Thanks for the offer, but I doubt shell want to leave the house unless its on fire. Im betting though, shed love company. Why dont you all come to our place and Ill cook? Bring Mona and Jack too."
The doctor could feel her wifes excitement at being that much closer to Mimis art collection. "Are you sure?" asked Harry.
"Im positive. Mimis not finished with the babies room but shes dying to show it off. Its not canvases but I keep thinking about three small blondes looking at those walls as they drift off to sleep. Ill bet they set off on some great nighttime adventures with the inspirations their mamas provided them."
"Id love to see it, Jolly. What time do you want us?" asked Desi.
"Come whenever you like this afternoon. Im working from the house now so if after Harrys appointments are done is good for the two of you, come on over, well be waiting. Mimi will be thrilled shell have someone to talk to besides me."
"The way that girl looks at you makes me think you could be reading stock quotes and shed love you anyway." Harry stood up and shook hands with Jolly before she left. "What brings you down here, beautiful?" she asked Desi, as she leaned her against the exam table.
"Our boy had a play date with Mona and his little buddies at the park so I thought Id take my brilliant spouse out to lunch if shes available. Though, after hearing all that nice stuff you said about me, could I interest you in a hotel room instead?"
The lab coat Harry was wearing opened slightly as her partner ran her hands up hers sides. The move made Harry step closer until she felt the swell of their growing baby between them. "For once in my life I wish I dug ditches for a living."
Desi pulled away from the line of kisses she was placing up Harrys neck and looked at her in total confusion. "This ought to be good, please go on."
"Its raining outside today so Id have the day off, but since I chose a profession that works inside, I have a huge patient load this afternoon. Considering what Ive got in mind for you its going to take me longer than lunch to get done." The kiss that followed the declaration made Desi moan into Harrys mouth.
"We could go sit and make out on the sofa in your office."
"Feeling frisky today, are we?" Harry took her hand and pulled Desi toward her office.
"I was just thinking we only had a couple of weeks on that old swing when we were kids. Its nice sometimes to just pretend life after that wouldve followed the course we were both hoping for."
There was a wistfulness in Desis voice that was an echo of the young woman whod dreamed of being courted and romanced, only to be thrown into a miserable situation. "Miss Thompson, would you like to have lunch with me?"
The use of her maiden name was odd, but Desi was willing to play along. "I dont know, dont you have to study or something?"
"If you say yes I dont think anything else is important enough to keep me from going. I promise to walk you home after were done." Their joined hands sawing between them, both of them enjoying the reminiscing and pretending.
"Are you going to try and kiss me? I have a curfew after all."
Harry stopped in the hall close to where her staff kept the charts theyd need for the day. "I promise to get you home on time, but I cant promise I wont try to kiss you."
"Margaret, could you please reschedule everyone until after two? Please apologize for me, but it cant be helped." Harry couldnt help but notice the womans large smile as she asked. It was a verification shed been listening to their conversation.
"Honey, I cant let you do that. Im just being hormonal." That Harry would even consider going through the trouble of rearranging her day was enough for Desi. "We can just eat in the cafeteria. I now youre busy."
Before Harry could respond to Desis bout of guilt, Margaret did it for her. "Mrs. Basantes, can I say something?" Desi nodded her head. "Offers like this dont come around very often, so take an old womans advice and just go. Dont worry about anything else, because in the end youll both remember a day of fun more than Harry will remember seeing patients she has scheduled today when youre both old and gray."
"Thanks, Margaret," said Desi gripping the womans hands.
"One more thing," Margarets voice stopped both of them on the way to Harrys office. "If she tries to kiss you, Miss Thompson, Id say shes a safe bet. One of those you dont want to let get away."
"Oh letting her get away is my last intention."
Margaret watched them step into her bosss office as she leaned against the counter with a happy look on her face. Another one of Harrys nurses stepped out of an exam room after finishing with a patient finding Margarets expression interesting. "Whats the smile for?"
"I was just thinking about how Dr. Basantes was before Desi came along. Remember the girls?"
The younger woman nodded. "I wasnt around here for very long before that, but yeah, I remember. They didnt stay around long, did they? It made me think for the longest that Dr. Harry was a bit of a player."
"The thing is none of them stayed around, but not for their lack of trying. She was waiting and Im glad she didnt have too long a stretch before she got back what she lost. Desiree Basantes is a very lucky young woman, but Im betting its Harry who pinches herself every morning. Im just happy for both of them."
The couple at the center of their conversation stepped out of the office holding hands and laughing. They were a long way from the teenagers who had started their relationship on a porch swing years before, but the feelings they had back then had only grown and strengthened through the years.
The younger nurse standing with Margaret waved at the departing pair. "Id say theyre both pretty lucky."
"Honey, shouldnt you be cooking something if you invited them over?" Mimi yelled her question down the hall as she contemplated if she could get away with not wearing a bra.
"Everythings marinating and waiting for the grill so dont worry about it. Do you need any help?"
Struggling into underwear that looked like something her grandmother would have love, Mimi wondered again why Jolly hadnt moved out after watching her body expand to scary portions. "Could you " Soft lips pressed to her shoulder as Jollys hands came around as far as they could on her naked middle.
"You are so beautiful." The kisses moved further up Mimis neck. "You get more beautiful everyday." A snort escaped the woman being complimented but it didnt discourage Jolly. "Im sorry if I havent been convincing before now, but you are." Slowly she moved Mimi to one of the comfortable chairs theyd gotten for the master suite.
"Youre incredibly sweet, and incredibly prejudiced. I feel far from beautiful."
Jolly knelt in front of Mimi and kissed the surface of the warm haven that held her children. "For a long time Ive enjoyed building things. Places where people enjoy the holidays and their families. Places where they make love and dream of starting a family, but its never mattered how well I drew the plans or mitered the wood around the doors, what mattered was what those places became once I handed over the keys."
For the first time in months Mimi forgot all the discomfort and focused on Jollys voice. "What did they become, love?"
"Homes. I can only provide a pleasing space, honey. The people who move in are what make it a home. I never truly had a place I felt that way about until I woke up next to you." Jolly kissed one of the pudgy hands resting on the arm of the chair before going on. "Youre beautiful to me because youre giving me all the things I thought were out of my reach. You, beautiful, are my home and if you finish with the granny panties I have a surprise for you."
"You shit. You had me tearing up until the last part." Mimi threw the bra shed picked out at Jollys head as something occurred to her. "Would you hate me if I dont breast feed?"
A person could get whiplash having a conversation with my girl, thought Jolly. "I could never hate you, honey. Besides youve go plenty of time to decide, and since I dont come with a tap itll be up to you to make that decision."
Tears welled up in the pretty green eyes, but unlike in the beginning, Jolly held Mimis hand and waited. Their cause would come spilling out shortly if she gave her a chance. "Its just that putting on a bra is an exercise in pain. If someone, I dont care how small, bit down on my nipples it might drive me over the deep end."
It was hard not to smile, but Jolly had a mental image of getting strangled with the underwear on her head so her face stayed neutral. "I think after a few times those little suckers toughen up, sweetie. Thats what it said in the book anyway. Either way, theyll be fine. I was bottle fed and Im no a serial killer."
"Toughen up? What exactly does that mean?" A look of horror swept over Mimis face.
"Im thinking thats a Desi question when she gets here. Come on, dont you want to see your surprise before you have to share it with the world?"
"Help me?" Mimi plucked the beige instrument of torture off her partners head.
"Surely, and later if you want Ill volunteer for sucking duty to get these babies ready."
Mimi looked own to what seemed like some other womans breasts Jolly was cupping and laughed. "Youre a person in need of help, Jolly, but I love you because you are."
Walking slowly and leaning heavily on Jolly, Mimi followed her to the babies room. The walls were almost finished and after she got rid of the extra weight Mimi was planning on completing her first gift to their children, but that didnt matter now. What did were the three new additions not in the room when shed walked by that afternoon.
With the same attention to detail her grandfather had taken great pride in, Jolly had finished the baby beds. They were far apart enough to ensure the others could maybe sleep through a siblings crying, but close enough so Mimi could appreciate what Jolly had accomplished. The multitude of characters flowed from one bed to the other making them all inter connected. Famous cartoon rivals chased each other from one foot board to the next, but evenly divided so no bed was more important than the other.
"Oh my God, baby, they look great." Mimi had seen them slowly come to life in Jollys workshop, but they looked totally different with stain and varnish.
"Your dad helped me with the ten coats of finish he insisted on, so remember to thank him. Do you really like them? Its not too late to order something else. Weve got at least two months."
The blonde turned in Jollys arms and rested her hands on the strong chest. "I love them and so will our brood. You know what I spend my days thinking about besides my next trip to the bathroom?"
"I picture three little brunettes with big blue eyes trailing after you with tiny hammers in their hands. I bet our yard has the only tree house in town with a functional elevator if I know you."
Jolly laughed as she led Mimi to one of the rockers in the room. "I dont think so. I told Desi and Harry this afternoon that theyd be little blondes. All of them with paint brushes and palettes telling some hyper dog to sit still. Their mothers a creative genius so I want them to be just like you." If there was going to be any rebuttal from Mimi it was cut off by the doorbell. "Sit and Ill be right back."
Mimi waited until she heard the sounds of Jolly greeting their guests before letting the grimace of pain mare her face. It was the second jolt of extreme discomfort to rip across the bottom of her abdomen in as many hours. Mimi thought of telling Jolly but her tall overprotective spouse was on edge enough, and they were both looking forward to spending the evening with the Basantes couple.
"What a great house, Jolly," said Harry as Jolly led them back to the babies room.
"Its getting there." Jolly laughed watching Desi look at the large canvases they had hanging throughout the house, including the one Mimi had given her the night of her opening. Hanging in their home was a history of Mimis progression as an artist. "This through is my favorite room," said Jolly walking into the nursery.
"Wow," said Harry and Desi together. The room was filled with color with only one small patch left undone.
"Jack would love this." Harry walked to a wall of sea life and ran her finger along the back of a dolphin.
"We were looking forward to some seeing him Mona again. Did they get a better offer?" teased Mimi.
"Jack has a case of the sniffles, so Mona forbid us to take him out in the night air. I think shes still skeptical about my having actually attended medical school. Whatever the reason, it was easier to give in than to argue about it with her." Desi stepped closer to Harry and patted her on the chest. The day Mona stopped giving Harry a hard time would be the day she stopped drawing breath.
"Let me go light my coals. Why dont you keep Mimi company for a bit, Desi?"
With Jollys back to her, Mimi took the opportunity to breathe deeply. You three calm down in there and I wont have to get rough with you and lay off the chocolate tonight, she mentally chastised the three active little bodies under her hands.
"Since Im our resident grill master let me help," offered Harry.
"Then your resident art masters probably interested in seeing some of my wifes work." Jolly looked back at Mimi with a smile.
"Mimi, this is beautiful." Desi stood in the middle of the room and spun slowly in a circle. The young artist had created a wonderland that would be just as pleasing when the triplets turned twenty. "Im sorry, weve been here admiring your work and I havent asked you how are you doing?" Desi remembered her manners and turned her attention back to Mimi.
"Someone seems to be sitting on all of my vital organs, but aside from that Im great, and thank you for your compliment. I wish it was done, but I cant stand being on my feet for more than ten minutes at a time anymore. Hell sitting up is taking its toll." She moved around in the chair trying to find a more comfortable spot then just gave up. "Look at what my sweetie finished today."
Desi looked a the beds and figured if the children Mimi was caring tapped into just half the talent their parents had combined, theyd be prodigies. "What a wonderful place to raise children." Her fingers ran over the wood finding it smooth and warm.
"Want to go and make sure our other halves havent set the yard on fire?" Not that Mimi didnt enjoy Desis company, but she had the sudden desire to be near Jolly. It felt like something just popped and gave way when Mimi stood. Her next statement was to thank Desi again for her kind words on the room, but the warm gush of fluid down her legs gripped her with fear. "Desi, could you run and get Jolly for me?" Mimis question finished in a whisper as her world turned black.
Desi turned around in time to see Mimi crumple to the floor. The comfortable shoes Jolly had placed on her feet just moments before were covered in blood. It seemed surreal since the request the blonde had just uttered had been said so calmly. Not familiar with the layout of the house, Desi stepped into the hallway and screamed, "Harry! Jolly!" The sound of running feet let her go back and kneel at Mimis head.
When the architect who reminded Desi so much of her beloved Harry turned the corner the sound she made reminded her of a wounded animal. The sight of Mimi lying in her own blood was enough to make even Harry blanch a little.
"Mimi, whats wrong?" Jolly looked at Desi with tears streaming down her face. "What happened?"
"It doesnt matter now, Jolly." Harry placed the unconscious woman on her back and lifted her knees. One quick look under the hem of the dress Mimi had on confirmed she was still hemorrhaging. "I need you to keep it together and help me. Do you understand?" Jolly nodded but she looked lost. "Desi, get Ellie and Sam on the phone. Tell them Ill meet them in the hospital in the first OR I can book, so tell them not to dawdle."
"Its too soon," said Jolly softly.
"Buddy, I dont want to scare you but we need to get Mimi to the hospital now. Come on, Jolly, grab her feet. We dont have time to wait on an ambulance."
"I cant lose her."
"Dont talk like that, Jolly. Just do what Harry says, shell be fine." The ringing in her ear stopped and Ellies voice filled Mimis ear.
"Lift her legs, Jolly. Come on dammit, dont make me slap you." Harry didnt mean to sound harsh but there was so little time before Jollys world came crashing in around her. Losing a child was hard for any couple but there was a real possibility the architect would lose everything she loved that night.
"Ellie, its Desi. Listen very carefully you have to meet Harry at the hospital now. Were at the Andolinis and somethings gone wrong with Mimi." She tried to keep up as the two tall women carried the blonde down the hall. Mimi had yet to regain consciousness and it was starting to worry her.
"Desi, talk to me and tell me exactly whats going on." Ellie slipped her shoes back on and searched for her sweat pants. They had just gotten back from the hospital and she was getting ready to jump in the shower.
"Ellie, its Harry. She collapsed and shes bleeding. Im not familiar enough with these things but from what I remember of my rotation in med school, Id have to say her water broke. There was a clear fluid mixed in with the blood. How far along is she?"
"Just barely seven months. I dont know until I see her but we might not be able to stop the labor if thats true."
"I think you have to worry about her first, and the kids will work themselves out. Get going and Ill try to have everything ready for when you two get there." Harry drove like she was trying to outrun death down the quiet streets. Behind her and Desi, Jolly held her partner begging her to wake up.
"Please, Mimi, you cant do this to me. You cant leave me all alone." She could feel the seat of Harrys SUV getting soaked beneath her and with the puddle slowly went Mimis life force.
It was a nightmare when they reached the Emergency Room and they wheeled Mimi away from Jolly into a trauma room. Desi took her by the hand and led her to the waiting area wishing they were at Charity rather than the posh interior of Mercy. If they were at the state hospital there might be a chance of getting comfort from the charge nurse Sally.
"Dont worry, Jolly, Harrys not going to let anything happen to her if its in her power, and Ellie and Sam should be here any minute. Do you want me to call anyone and tell them what happened?"
"I should call her father and my cousin Tim and his wife."
Desi put her hand on a broad shoulder and rubbed comforting circles along the cotton fabric. "Just give me the number and Ill call for you." The group she called almost beat Desis doctors to the door and looked just as sick as Jolly.
"Mona, listen we might be gone for awhile, theres been an emergency." Desi explained what had happened and smiled when Mona offered to pray for Mimi and Jolly for the rest of the night.
"Jolly," Harrys voice broke through the tension in the waiting room just long enough to ratchet it up another couple of notches when they saw the grim look on her face. "Ellie and Sam wanted me to come out and tell you theyre taking her into surgery. Ill let them explain exactly what happened, but she was bleeding pretty severely and they have no choice but to go in and fix the problem." The nurse behind Harry handed Jolly a clip board and pointed to the places she had to sign.
"But shes going to be all right, isnt she?"
"Its too soon to tell, buddy. We just have to wait." Harrys eyes filled along with Jollys at the thought of this happening to her. "Shes young and Im sure shell pull through. Mimi has a lot to live for."
They all sat and waited for news, Pam sat between Jolly and Tim holding both their hands. Doing so made her realize how similar they were to each other. Each had long elegant fingers; the only difference was the calluses on Jollys. It made her wonder if Jolly and Mimis children would inherit Francois Andolinis hands as well. Would they even live out the night for any of them to find out?
"Jolly," Sams presence in the doorway was like a cold hand ripping Jollys chest open. She wasnt a fearful person by nature but all this was scaring the shit out of her. It had been over three hours since Mimi had disappeared behind the steel doors of the Emergency Room.
"How is she? Can I see her?"
Sam moved and sat on the other side of Jolly and put her hand on her shoulder when Tim moved to another seat. "Something caused the wall of Mimis uterus to rip, which sometimes happens in cases of multiples. What doesnt usually happen though is the rip to be sever enough to bleed like an artery wound, but thats what happened and thats why all the blood."
"Why wouldnt she wake up?"
"It might have been her bodys way of dealing with the pain, but its a good thing it happened since it slowed the blood loss some. The thing about what happened, Jolly, is we had to go ahead and deliver the babies so we could get to where we could repair the damage. Congratulations, its a girl three times over." There wasnt a dry eye in the room as Jolly just bent over and buried her face in her hands. She had always imagined finding this out to be a time of happiness not because it served the purpose of saving their mothers life.
"How are they?"
"Theyre small, really small so dont get too alarmed when you see them. I wish I could give you better news but well have to wait at least forty-eight hours until I can give you more definitive answers. All four of your girls are in critical condition, but theyre fighters so dont give up hope."
"Can I see Mimi?"
"Ellies finishing up now, but I promise as soon as she gets into recovery youll be her first visitor. If you want though, there are three other ladies who cant wait to meet you." Sam didnt want to force her but more than anything she wanted Jolly to agree since, like Mimi, the babies might not live out the night. The suffering woman deserved to see them while they were still breathing. In the end it might be the only happy memory she would have.
The staff lent Jolly a pair of scrubs so she could strip off the blood stained clothes she was wearing. In the neonatal unit three incubators sat side-by-side holding the only patients they had in the ward for the moment. The staff had washed her hands until they stung but it was so Jolly could touch the paper-thin looking skin.
She moved closer and looked at the first baby wearing a pink sock looking thing on her head and socks on her feet. The tiny waif was lying on her stomach looking like she was panting for breath. Jolly stuck her hands in the holes along the side and put her finger on the babys foot noticing the small appendage was almost three times smaller than her digit. She pulled the cap off and laughed through her tears when she saw the little wisps of blonde almost white hair. It was the same color of the baby pictures Mimi had at home of herself.
"Hey, little one, you have to hang in there and get bigger so your mama wont be worried. She painted a room for you at home that I cant wait for you to see. Shed be here but shes busy getting better herself, so dont be mad at her. Mama loves you very much."
Jolly moved to the next child and repeated the talk. The tears fell harder when she found the same hair and looks of the first baby. The first two she thought had to be the identical twins. The last child had slightly darker hair, but still the blonde locks of her mother. Their eyes had been taped shut so Jolly would have to wait to see if her dream of what they would look like had come to pass.
"Come on, Jolly, Mimis done and we want you to go in and talk to her. I believe shell hear you, and we need to get her back from the place shes gone off to, understand?" Ellie held her hand and walked the gentle giant to recovery. Her partner looked small lying on the stretcher with a multitude of tubes sticking out of various parts of her body. The problem they would be fighting in the next couple of days was the tremendous amount of blood Mimi had lost, and making sure there was no other bleeding to complicate things further.
Jolly sat next to the bed and waited until she was sure words would come out of her mouth before she moved closer. Mimi looked so fragile just laying there her chest barely moving. When she picked up her hand it felt cold and lifeless so Jolly pulled it under the blanket.
"Hey you have to stay warm. We have a whole bunch of girls in the next room who are going to need you and I cant have you getting sick. You did it, baby. We have three beautiful girls who look just like you. I wish I wouldve made a bet with you now since I told you if given a choice they would want to take after you."
The soft-spoken woman used her free hand to wipe her face and running nose before continuing. Jolly often spent her mornings talking to a very asleep Mimi so this was no different. "Mimi, I want you to concentrate on getting better. I maybe didnt tell you enough before now, but I love you more than anything or anyone else in my life. There are so many promises I have yet to make and keep to you, so I would hate for you to miss that. The other thing too is we have three girls to name, and I swear if you dont wake up soon Im putting Curly, Larry and Moe on the birth certificates."
No one came up to bother her as Jolly sat in the same position holding Mimis hand for over four hours. She spoke of things they needed for the house, and vacations they had gone on together before theyd become a couple. With each passing minute the dread in her heart grew. Jolly was no doctor, but four hours was more than plenty for her partner to have opened her eyes.
"Please, Mimi. I need you to open those pretty green eyes for me. I need to tell you some more stuff, or you can wake up and tell me to shut the hell up." On the other side of the bed a nurse moved the blanket down to expose Mimis arm for the blood pressure cuff. The red had seeped as high as Mimis thighs and with a quick push of an alarm button the medical team came rushing back in. The bleeding had started again.
"Whats happening?" Jollys cries were lost on the rushing professionals pushing Mimi away from her again. Harry appeared next to her again now wearing the same outfit Jolly had on, and led her back to the anxious family. "Where are they taking her?"
"The bleedings started again, so shes headed back to surgery." In all her studies and practice of medicine, Harry wished there was some magic line someone would come up with that would make situations like this more tolerable for the families left in these sterile looking rooms to wait.
"Im going to lose her, arent I? She was just saying how she couldnt wait for this day to come so I could hug her again, and she could hold those babies and rock them. Thats not going to happen is it?"
"You cant give up on her so fast, my friend. This is a time to have faith in Mimi and her will to stay with you. If she doesnt, it wont be for her lack of trying. When you came in with your accident and I got to meet her, Mimi touched me in a way people seldom do. The life she exudes explained a lot about the person who painted that canvas hanging in my house. I cant imagine someone like that just quitting so early in the game that is her life."
Desi handed both of them a cup of coffee before taking a seat next to Harry. Her feet were killing her and her back hurt, but like everyone else who had been there since the beginning, she didnt want to leave Jolly alone. Almost like her partner had felt her discomfort Harry took her hand and offered a shoulder for her to rest her head on.
"My love, youve got to be heading home." She pressed a finger to pouting lips before Desi got started and talked her into staying. "I can see those grimaces you keep making, it means your back hurts and Im not taking any chances with you. Please dont ask me that, especially not tonight." The voice was a low whisper but Desi heard the fear in them. What was happening to Mimi and Jolly could just as easily be them.
"I cant leave until I know shes ok, honey. Please dont ask that of me. I know Ive only spoken to Mimi a couple of times, but I like her and Jolly. They need as much support as they can get right now."
"We can stay, but youre lying down for a little while. Come on, Ill go with you." Harry explained to Pam and Tim where she was taking Desi not wanting to bother Jolly anymore. The architect was sitting with her eyes glued to the doorway Sam had come out of earlier. "Ill have the surgery nurse keep me informed and as soon as I hear anything, Ill come out and tell you all. Just have them come and get me if you need something before that."
"Thank you, Dr. Basantes," said Pam.
"Please call me Harry. I know this has been a hectic night, but this is my wife Desi." Introductions were made and they watched as Harry led Desi to one of the doctor on call rooms.
"Jolly?" Ricky stood up and put his arm around his daughter-in-laws shoulders. "Stop beating yourself up over this, Jolly. You dont have to answer me but I can tell you are. Sometimes stuff just happens but like that young doctor said, youve got to have faith in Mimi. She loves you and shell fight her way back."
"Thanks, Ricky, and I know." It was more to appease him than herself, but Jolly didnt feel like talking to anyone.
It took another three hours and twenty pints of blood but they stabilized Mimi as much as they could after stopping the bleeding. The staff let Jolly sit with her a little while longer before she was moved to the Intensive Care Unit where visitation was a little more strict. Jolly walked off by alone and waved her family off when they tried to follow. "I just need some time alone. Dont worry Ill be fine."
The chapel was on the second floor and because of the early hour it was empty. At any other time Jolly would have taken time to appreciate the old pine pews and woodwork someone had put into the space. Now all she could was sit and cry into her hands wishing she had the day to do over again.
Two floors above her Mimi tried to find a way out of the darkness. She kept calling to Jolly but there was no answer and she couldve have sworn she had heard her voice earlier. The only answer was to sleep until Jolly came back so she surrendered further into the darkness.
Concluded in Chapter 6Back To Main Page
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