Worthy, Part 43

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The venue for the band Neil found is called T.J. Bailey’s and it’s a few blocks off the square in Decatur. It’s patterned after a cozy neighborhood bar, but seems way too polished for the traditional, lived in feel they’re aiming to achieve. Leah and the Caines are there, along with a moderate crowd of mostly people in their twenties. Alyssa states upon arriving that she’s not feeling well, but wanted to get out before the child is due in a few weeks.

The band opens with several covers, then breaks into their original stuff. In addition to songs Abigail wrote are a couple of Sarah’s and several by Neil. At their first break, Sarah handles merchandise, while Freddy takes a smoke break. Neil, Abigail, and Genevieve sit with Leah, Alyssa, and Tim.

“Feeling any better, Alyssa?” Genevieve asks.

“No. Still out of sorts. I think it’s gotten worse.”

“What’s wrong?” Neil asks.

“I haven’t felt right most of the day,” Alyssa says. “My back has been killing me and my stomach’s acting up. I’ve been having these weird spasms all afternoon.”

“Weird spasms?” Neil asks. “How far apart would you say these are happening?”

Alyssa shrugs. “Right now? Maybe three or four minutes.”

“So they’ve increased?”

She nods.

Neil considers this, then signals to the server. “Could I talk to a manager please?”

“Is there a problem?”

“Yeah,” he says, indicating Alyssa. “She’s about to give birth.”

The server hurries off.

Tim leans toward Neil. “Hang on. The baby’s not due for two weeks.”

“Babies tend to operate on their own schedules,” Neil says. “She’s in labor.”

“Shouldn’t I be in more pain?” Alyssa asks.

“Not necessarily,” Neil says.

“He’s right,” Abigail says. “It’s different for every woman.”

A bearded man approaches Neil. “Hi, I’m Ted. I hear we have a medical emergency.”

“I’m not sure I’d go that far,” Neil says. “But we could use an ambulance. In the meantime, is there a private room we could use?”

“Sure, the office. It has a couch.”

Ted signals for them to follow.

“Abby, you come with me,” Neil says. “Sarah and Genevieve, you and Freddy are now a trio.”

Genevieve looks at Sarah and says, “We probably play enough instruments between us to handle things nicely.”

“Absolutely,” Sarah says. “Good luck!”

Tim helps Alyssa to her feet.

“But my water didn’t break,” she says.

“That doesn’t always happen,” Abigail tells her.

Leah stands. “There’s no way I’m not going to be in there.”

“There may not be room,” Neil says.

“We’ll make room,” Leah replies.

“Leah, could you just hang out and get the check?” Alyssa says. “We probably aren’t coming back.”

“Sure. Give me your keys. I’ll have Genni bring your car.”

Tim, Alyssa, Abigail, and Neil follow Ted to the office. Neil gets on his phone and calls 911. He identifies himself as a paramedic, gives them his information and informs them he’s with a woman giving birth at T.J. Bailey’s in Decatur.

In the office, Neil has Alyssa lie on the couch. He goes to examine her.

“What are you doing?” Tim says.

“Hello, experienced paramedic here. I need to see how far along she is.”

“Oh. Yeah. What should I do?”

“You’ve been taking lamaze classes, haven’t you?” Abigail says.

“Yes,” Tim says. “Ah! Right.” He gets in position and starts Alyssa on her breathing exercises.

“Okay, the bad news is there’s a major pileup on the connector which has a lot of ambulances tied up,” Neil says. “The good news is I’ve done this before.”

Abigail leans in. “Should I get Winn on the phone?”

Neil looks at her. “I repeat, I’ve done this before.”

Alyssa moans. “I felt that.”

“This child will not be denied,” Neil says. “You’re doing great.” To Abigail, “Could you round up as many clean linens as possible, preferably white.”

“Like the napkins?”

“Yeah, those will be perfect.”

Alyssa moans again.

Neil checks. “The baby’s crowning. Man this kid is anxious to get out here.”

Abigail confers with Ted and he takes her to the kitchen where they gather a stack of napkins.

“This is exciting,” Ted tells her. “I’ve never had a baby born at an establishment where I worked.”

“It’s kind of a first for me, too.”

They arrive back in the office just in time to hear Neil say, “Okay, one more. Big push.”

Alyssa moans again. Just then, a siren is heard outside. Ted steps to the door to direct the paramedics. Neil holds up the baby to show Alyssa and Tim.

“It’s a girl,” he says. He hands the baby to Alyssa and says to Abigail, “Time?”

She looks at her phone and says, “9:45.”

A paramedic steps through the door. “Hawkins what are you doing? Not even out of orientation and you’re already delivering babies?”

“What took you guys so long?” Neil says with a chuckle. “Good thing I was on the ball.”

The paramedics examine Alyssa and the baby, then prepare them for transport to DeKalb Medical.

Abigail steps out and goes back to the music room. She sits with Leah.

“Congratulations, Aunt Leah. You have a niece.”

They hug.

Genevieve catches Abigail’s eye from the stage and shrugs. Abigail calls out, “Girl.”

Genevieve leans into the mic and says, “Hey everyone, it’s a girl!”

The audience reacts with applause. Leah signals the server and orders champagne all around, then steps out to catch Alyssa before she leaves.

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