Disclaimers: This is a short and sweet chapter. Nothing graphic. That should be a hint as to what happens in this particular chapter….

Thanks again for reading and for the great emails. The really do keep me going!

Note: I might be updating for a few days (I can hear some collective groans already…) But rest assured, it won’t be long. These characters WILL NOT stop talking to me!



Hammer and Nails

Chapter 7

The shops near the beach had a tradition of staying open a little later than usual to pass out candy to the kids on Halloween. Jump loved Halloween and enjoyed seeing the kids dressed up like princesses, football players and various creatures. She’d usually dress up as well, but this year, she didn’t want to put on any more clothes than she had too. She was nearing her due date and was constantly hot despite the mild October weather.

So, there she was, sitting in the rolling office chair from the storeroom with a bowl full of candy resting on her belly and a smile on her face.

"You sure it’s okay if we go?" Sue asked.

"Please, go have fun. Pamela." Jump chuckled as she gingerly spun around in her rolling chair to face her.

Jump had nearly given herself a contraction when she saw Sue and Matt walking up to the shop as Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson. Sue had her entire sock drawer stuffed into a white tank top and Matt had fake piercings and tattoos with drumsticks sticking out of his ripped jeans and a video camera in his hand. They were on their way to the Post for a Halloween party.

Sue continued to look at her when her friend didn’t make a move to be on her way. "Bernadette will be here in a couple of minutes. I just talked to her. I’ll be fine!" Jump said as she swatted Tommy Lee’s ass.

"Now get out of here, you are scaring the children away."

"We’ll just wait for Bernadette." Said Sue, adjusting her ‘boobs’. Just as she finished her sentence, Bernadette walked up in her tool belt, flannel shirt and white hardhat.

"Sue…have you had some work done?" Bernadette asked in mock seriousness.

"Shut up!" Sue bellowed in smiling through her angry shout.

"Who the hell are you supposed to be?" Sue said, looking Bernadette up and down.

"I figured it would be obvious. I’m one of the Village People." Bernadette said with a dead serious face.

Sue and Jump rolled their eyes and groaned.

"What?" Asked Bernadette, hands raised at her sides in confusion.


"Well, Bernsy, that was a lot of candy we handed out." Jump said as she made a motion to get out of her rolling office chair. Bernadette saw her struggling and went to help her stand up.

As Jump gave her a look of thanks and grabbed Bernadette’s hand to steady herself, Bernadette giggled and said, "Nobody calls me that but Matt and Mark…I don’t…"

"Oh Shit." Said Jump in measured panic and surprise as she froze.

"No! It’s okay that you call me that…" Bernadette’s sentence died right in her throat and was quickly replaced by something halfway between a shriek and a gasp when she saw the large puddle of liquid dripping off of the chair and onto the floor.

"Uh…Jump, is that what I think it is?" Bernadette said. She felt faint.

"It is." She said all too calmly.

"Oh Christ! We gotta get…. Shit… I didn’t drive! I have to call…! Bernadette was definitely losing it and losing it quick.

"Calm down…. Bernsy… calm down." Jump said as if trying to soothe a child. "Look at me." Finally, Bernadette stopped fumbling for her cell phone and looked at Jump. "Listen. I’m not going to have the baby right now, okay? This is just the first step, okay? It will probably be hours before I…." Jump’s words cut off abruptly as she was hit with a huge contraction that made her collapse back into the chair.

Bernadette’s eyes grew so large Jump would have laughed if she wasn’t in so much pain. Okay, that was a BIG contraction. Not good, thought Jump.

"Jump…." Bernadette cried, waiting for Jump to tell her it was still okay. When no answer was forth coming, Bernadette turned pale.

"We are gonna have that baby here, aren’t we?"

Jump felt another contraction coming before she could answer. She groped for Bernadette’s hand as she clinched her teeth in utter pain. After a few seconds, Jump focused through the pain and started her breathing techniques. Remember to thank Sue for insisting on Lamaze classes, Jump said to herself.

Feeling the muscles relax finally, Jump again focused on a distraught Bernadette whose eyes were saying, ‘what do I do?’

"Call an ambulance, Bernadette. There are some beach towels over by the counter. Put them on the floor and help me lie down."

Bernadette was torn. She didn’t want to leave Jump’s side for a millisecond. Jump saw it. "Go quick, I’ll be fine." Bernadette ran to the towels and haphazardly arranged them on the floor. She paused to watch Jump begin breathing rhythmically and then dialed 911.

The ambulance was there within 6 minutes. In that time, Bernadette had Jump lying down on the small mountain of towels and was holding her hand tightly as she kneeled by her left hip. Both women were sweating but for entirely different reasons.

As the paramedics rolled up with their gurney another large contraction hit Jump. They quickly kneeled next to Jump as Bernadette scrambled out of the way. They immediately began to take her vitals and radio in to dispatch on her condition.

"This one wants out in a hurry!" The handsome paramedic smiled as his hands worked in a blur, trying to determine how much time they had. He looked at his colleague; a well-built Asian guy and he seemed to understand what he was thinking. Bernadette had taken those forty-five seconds between their arrival and now to gather herself together. She heard Jump’s scared voice calling out her name.

"I’m here, Jump, I’m here." She said as she put both hands on Jump’s forehead, smoothing her damp hair back. Jump’s frightened eyes finally found Bernadette’s and she was instantly calmer.

Bernadette reluctantly broke eye contact to look at the paramedics who were taking out some instruments that looked like surgery scissors, syringes, forceps, paper blankets…

"Jump.." The Asian paramedic said as he looked at Bernadette to verify he was saying the correct name. She nodded and he brought his eyes back to Jump’s. "We are gonna deliver your baby here, okay? We won’t have enough time to get back to the hospital. We’ve got the baby’s heartbeat. It’s nice and strong. Now when I say ready, you are going to push one time, okay?"

Panting, Jump, nodded. She searched for Bernadette who had scooted closer to Jump’s head. Jump raised her arm above her head weakly and Bernadette grabbed her hand and gave Jump a reassuring smile.

"You’ll be fine, Jump. They do this all the time…right?" She said as she looked up at the paramedics.

"All the time." Smiled the handsome one as he positioned Jump’s legs for delivery. "Now relax as much as you can Jump. I’m gonna see how this little…." "boy." Jump offered, smiling through tears of pain and excertion. "Little guy is positioned." He finished.

Bernadette watched the paramedic probe Jump and saw Jump’s quick intake of breath. "Easy, Jump." Bernadette said calmly, smiling through some tears of her own as she responded to Jump’s tightening of her grip on her hand.

"He’s almost ready, Jump. Are you ready to push for me?" Jump breathed out a strangled yes as she continued her breathing. Bernadette watched as the other paramedic injected something in Jump under the curtain of paper sheet. He then picked up the scissors. I’m so glad I’m at this angle and not the other, mused Bernadette. She knew enough from Jump’s often too detailed descriptions from her book what was going on.

The paramedic positioned right between Jump’s legs was concentrating intently and without looking up at Jump said, "Okay…. Go ahead and push now Jump, just once." Jump’s upper body rose from the ground with the effort of pushing and Bernadette slipped her arm beneath her for support. Jump still had a death grip on her left hand so Bernadette scooted closer behind Jump until she was resting partially in her lap.

"That’s good Jump! Now relax for a moment." More cutting to make way for the tiny baby. Ouch, thought Bernadette. "Okay, Jump, he’s almost out. I’m getting his shoulders now… go ahead and push again…that’s it…. Good… one more time, Jump! Your doing great!" Jump was screaming and grunting now. To her credit, she was not cursing Mark or threatening bodily harm. There were just a lot of four letter words.

Bernadette was awestruck. She craned her neck a bit to see what was happening. She could see a slimy, round, purplish mass with black as a moonless night hair slowly appearing from under the paper blanket. "What is it!?" Jump cried as she saw Bernadette’s face. Without taking her eyes off of the miracle in front of her she smiled. She could feel tears running down her face as the paramedic rotated the tiny baby and she got a glimpse of his face.

"He’s beautiful Jump…he’s beautiful…." Bernadette choked out, overcome by emotion. Bernadette and Jump’s eyes met just as a tiny, angry cry pierced the brisk, late October night.


"Wow. He is pretty attractive, as far as newborn babies go." Offered Matt who grinned madly as the little guy latched onto his finger. "Cool."

"He’s got so much hair, too!" Marveled Sue as she gingerly ran her fingers over his temple. The two were standing on either side of Jump’s hospital bed. They had come over the following afternoon after mom and baby had been transported to the hospital.

"I think he looks like a Peter." Said Sue after looking intently at his tiny feet. "Nah… more like a Samuel or Nathan." Said Matt as he continued playing with his little fingers.

"You afraid I’m not gonna name him?" Piped up Jump who cradled the baby boy gingerly against her chest. She couldn’t believe this little life came out of her. He is beautiful. She had instantly fallen in love with him as soon as the paramedic put him on her deeply heaving chest. He even let a still-pale Bernadette cut the cord. It was an amazing moment during an amazing night for both women. Neither of them would ever forget it.

"Mark really wanted to be here when we name him, which will be in about half an hour. Besides, the baby hasn’t told me his name yet." Both Matt and Sue looked at Jump quizzically.

"He will tell me what he wants his name to be." Jump reasoned, but with no further elaboration. Both shrugged and continued playing with little hands and feet.

Suddenly, there was a light rap on the door and a tall dark head appeared with bright blue eyes. "Mark!" Jump exclaimed. With only a second’s hesitation he covered the five feet to the bed quickly and stood next to Jump. He bent down and gingerly kissed her forehead and stood back up with a sheepish smile on his face.

Jump looked at him and smiled. Her eyes then caught movement at the door. It was Bernadette leaning against the doorjamb, looking tired and more beautiful than Jump had ever remembered her being. She was momentarily overcome and covered it with a little smile and a wink, which Bernadette returned in kind. Jump then turned her attention to Mark and the baby as Bernadette slipped away and down the hallway.

Looking at Jump for a moment more, Mark turned his eyes to his son and closed them tightly and opened them quickly as if he didn’t believe what he was seeing. He reached into the bundle of blankets and rubbed his index finger against the tiny baby’s chest. His eyes filled with tears at the sight of this tiny life he’d helped create. He let out an almost breathless, "Ryan."

"Yeah. That’s what it is." Said Jump smiling. Both Sue and Matt gaped at each other. It seemed Mark had just noticed them at that point. "Oh, hey guys!" He said cheerfully as he got hugs from both. After exchanging happy greetings, Sue and Matt made there way out of the room to go look for Bernadette.

"Bernadette told me about last night." Mark said as he threw a glance towards the door. "I’m so glad everything was okay." He said quietly.

"Bernadette was wonderful. If she wasn’t there… I don’t even want to think about it." Jump finished, shivering at the possibility of her going through the ordeal alone.

"I don’t think she’s slept at all. She picked me up at the airport just now and I thought she was gonna nod off in the car." He said.

She was still in her jeans and flannel shirt. Suddenly, Jump was very concerned. "Mark, can you make sure Sue and Matt take her home? I don’t want her driving if she’s that tired."

Mark chuckled as he moved to the door to go get his sister. "Already being the mom." He teased. "You bet." She grinned.

After a few days, Jump and Ryan were released from the hospital. Mark and Sue were there to take them home and get them all set up in the apartment. Not sure where he fit in quite yet, Mark made sure Jump had what she needed and let her know he was only a quick phone call away. He said he’d be staying at Bernadette so he could be over within five minutes.

He didn’t ask to stay, but she could certainly tell he wanted to. She was too tired to have to make any decisions right now, but she understood Mark’s wanting to be here. She knew he didn’t want to push, but he did want to help and be involved.

Before he was about to leave Jump said, "Why don’t you stay, Mark." They decided that he would take the couch and assist in changing the little guy. Jump was breastfeeding, so Mark couldn’t really help there, she’d reasoned. They both had a laugh about that scenario.

After about an hour of talking and getting used to being around each other again they both decided to get some sleep in before little Ryan awoke to be fed or changed.

Continued in Chapter 8


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