The venue Neil found for the band’s warmup 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 quite right 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 Zoë’s and several of Neil’s. At their first break, Neil and Zoë handle merchandise, while Freddy takes a smoke break. 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?” Abigail 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?” Abigail asks. “How far apart would you say these are happening?”
Alyssa shrugs. “Right now? Maybe three or four minutes.”
“So, they’ve increased?”
Abigail considers this, then signals to the server. “Could I talk to the manager please?”
“Is there a problem?”
“Yeah,” she says, indicating Alyssa. “She’s about to have a baby.”
The server hurries into the back.
Tim leans toward Abigail and says in a low voice, “Hang on. The baby’s not due for two weeks.”
“Babies tend to operate on their own schedules,” Abigail says. “I’m not a pediatrician, but I’m pretty sure she’s in labor.”
“Shouldn’t I be in more pain?” Alyssa asks.
“Not necessarily,” Abigail says. “It’s different for every woman. Hang on.” She rises and approaches Neil. “You’ve delivered a baby before, haven’t you?”
“Yeah. Once. Why?”
“I think you’re about to get more practice.” She motions to the table. “Follow me and I’ll explain.”
A bearded man is talking to Tim as Abigail and Neil return. “Hi, I’m Glen. I hear we have a medical emergency.”
“I’m not sure I’d go that far,” Neil says. “But is there a private room we could use?”
“Sure, the office. It has a couch.”
Glen signals for them to follow.
“Abby, you come with me,” Neil says.
“Me? I don’t know nothing about birthing no baby.”
“You’re the only other person here’s who’s pre-med,” he says. “Genevieve, you Zoë and Freddy are now a trio.”
Genevieve gives him a thumbs up and says, “Count on it.”
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 Genevieve bring your car.”
Tim, Alyssa, Abigail, and Neil follow Glen 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 follows Glen to the kitchen where they gather a stack of napkins.
“This is exciting,” Glen 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. Glen steps to the door to direct the paramedics. Neil holds up the baby to show Alyssa and Tim.
“It’s a girl — congratulations,” he says. Abigail brings a couple of the napkins and Neil uses one to swaddle the baby before he hands her to Alyssa. He says to Abigail, “Time?”
She looks at her phone and says, “9:45.”
A paramedic steps through the door. “Hawkins what are you doing? You’ve been here a week 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. It’s a girl.”
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.
Several interesting consequences result from Alyssa’s giving birth in the office of T. J. Bailey’s restaurant in Decatur and the first is that the owner awards the Caines and Neil free dinners for life, and since the restaurant is owned by a conglomerate, this offer extends to all their Atlanta area holdings. Neil and Zoë take full advantage and realize significant savings on food costs by eating out all the time. Another is that the permutation of the band consisting of Genevieve, Zoë, and Freddy prove to be very popular with the patrons, garnering them an offer to become the occasional “house” band, and earning them a reasonable stipend each time they perform.
After extensive negotiations, the restaurant agrees to accept Neil and, occasionally, Abigail as part of the bargain, so long as either Zoë or Genevieve is present and that they perform together at least once a week. The happiest consequence is that Alyssa and Tim have a healthy six pound, eleven-ounce baby girl they name Sarah Naomi, after both their mothers.