The months of Esmée’s pregnancy just seemed to fly by and were mostly uneventful, even though exciting for the parents to be.
Instead of a baby shower, they asked for help with moving, after much discussion and with heavy hearts both came to the conclusion that Nick’s penthouse, dreamy as it was, was no place for a very pregnant woman, a stroller or later, a child. Everything about the layout was for people without kids, or seemed to be.
Aside from that Ezzy had always missed her Brindleton Bay. She had loved the idea of living in a cool downtown apartment, but when she did, especially after college and their break up then, she had been lonely and quickly grew to hate the constant lights and noise. The Bay went to sleep when the sun went down, to rise with its inhabitants at dawn.
Beautiful in any kind of weather and during any season.
She never realized how much she loved that. Or missed it.
Living in the modernized and now very scenic Forgotten Hollow in Nick’s cool and super-modern, stylish penthouse had been amazing, as was the view, but the history of the town was hard to deny, when still to this day people kept finding shallow graves and bones in random places in that town, remnants of centuries of vampires living there when they still existed.
Bad enough that the cemetery was just up the hill, towering over the entire town. The vision of their child at some point playing outside and digging up rotten corpses … YUCK!
As luck would have it, fate played an opportunity into their hands, when the Graingers found out that Heath and Sam’s youngest son Ashton, a young man now, had his hand in the cookie jar that just happened to be Cameron and Rose Ferrer’s – Cameron being one of Everleigh’s cousins – oldest daughter, Elodie, and that she was already pregnant by him before his parents even first learned they as much as knew each other.
She now had her baby some months ago and space was tight.
So Heath and Sam decided to help the couple find a place together. Nearby, to avoid Elodie wanted Ashton to move to the faraway Del Sol Valley.
While visiting her parents Ezzy had overheard Heath talk privately to her mom at some point, she knew those two were still best friends, and knew that Heath’ s old home in Newcrest had gone back on the market, one that evidently Heath used to live in with his previous girlfriend, Abby’s mom when Abby was a baby. He sounded very keen to move there, the one next door was available and a quaint larger sized one down the street.
All Ezzy heard was he was selling his home on the cliffs and she wanted it, but before Ezzy could do what she had intended, someone already bought it. Esmée was upset, but less so when she realized the buyer was a house-flipper group and soon enough it was remodeled and back on the market. She begged Nick, her parents, her uncle and Ethan, the later ones all with some influence in the real estate field due to their contacts as architects.
They ended up sealing the deal on the house on the cliffs.
A long time ago Liam and Leonie had raised her grandfather and his siblings there. The current home looked nothing like the house she had seen in the pictures. Heath and Sam’s home would have suited Ezzy just fine, with some interior remodeling to modernize it, but evidently had there been some terrible storms while she and Nick were on their honeymoon. Hurricane-strength winds caused huge waves damaging the previous structure. The new home had been built on a raised foundation to avoid this in future.
The layout of the new home was not exactly what Nick or she would have picked, but both liked it well enough.
Plus it was right at the entrance/exit out of Brindleton Bay near the highway to San Myshuno. Travel to work would be insane, so Nick was looking into other options, sore about still not having been offered to make name partner. Ezzy knew he was shopping for a new job closer to the Bay.
She would stop working once the baby was born. At least for a while.
They ended up working hard to make it their own, a nest for their little family to be.
Once the nursery was completed, Ezzy was nearly full term and about to give birth any day now.
Sitting out on the lower patio one morning, Ezzy was visibly uncomfortable when she asked
“Nick? Do you remember reading about incontinence while pregnant?” Ezzy sounded like someone trying to hide the fact that they were very concerned about something worrisome.
“Yeah, there was something about the baby pushing on the bladder or so. Why? Need a diaper change?” he teased.
“Ha ha-not funny. Seriously, for hours I have been leaking, just a little bit, but I’ve already been through several pads. Now there is some blood mixed in. Something is weird here.”
“For hours? Does sound weird. Blood? Maybe call your mom, or grandma?” Nick was hiding his worry now as well.
So Ezzy did. And when she hung up they ended up rushing to the hospital, as Evey told her that this could be something she needed to get looked at – fast.
They arrived and checked in, everything seemed normal.
But then suddenly everything happened lightning fast.
Ezzy was put in a wheelchair and whisked away, Nick was told to stay put and not allowed to follow.
Nick had been in the waiting area, joined in the meantime by Esmée’s parents Evey and KC, and they all had been waiting for hours now, all of them numb, when the doctor finally came to them.
“Mr. Gray …” he said.
Nick jumped up right away.
“We’re her parents!” KC told him with urgency.
“Uh – I’d like to speak to you in my office, if you don’t mind….” the doctor seemed taken aback about having more people than just the husband to deal with, and the news were obviously not great, as all could tell by his face.
“Wait up guys!” they heard as they trotted behind the doctor when a young man came running after them.
“I am her brother.” he told the confused doctor.
“Uh – look maybe I should just talk to the husband alone and he can …”
“We are ALL going!” Everleigh informed him with a ‘don’t-even-try’ look.
Once settled in his office, the doctor came straight to the point.
“Your wife … daughter .. sister … Mrs. Gray is in the intensive care unit at the moment.”
“WHAT?! I want to see her!” Nick blurted out.
“Mr. Gray, I am afraid that is not possible, as she is not conscious at the moment. More specifically, she is in a coma. There have been complications …”
“WHAT KIND OF COMPLICATIONS?! IS EZZY OKAY?! Did you say COMA?!” Ethan lost it.
“Uh – Mr. umm….”
“Cameron… I am Ethan. Her twin brother. So what is with Ezzy?!”
The doctor glanced at a very stiff and pale KC, whose eyes were wide with fear and an equally stiff and scared looking Evey.
“The leaking she complained of was actually her water breaking. Unlike commonly believed it does not always mean gushing floods creating puddles. And that is where the problem lies. She may have had the water break hours ago, which went unaddressed, exposing mother and child to an infection, now endangering both lives. Both are under intensive care, albeit separately. We are doing everything we can for your wife and your child, Mr. Gray.”
“Child? My daughter was born? But – I was supposed to be there for that!” Nick was shocked. Nobody told them that yet.
“We had to deliver her by emergency C-section, which complicates matters further. Your wife not being able to assist the birth, we had no other choice in hopes to save her and the child’s lives. A major surgery on top of having to fight the infection was not something your wife needed now. But it was the only choice we had… We can only hope ….”
“Hope… what does that mean? They are both okay, right?” KC pressed.
“They are … still with us. Truth is, we do not know if they will be all right. Optimistically there is maybe a 50:50 chance at this moment, if I am honest with you, probably even less, but I prefer to remain optimistic.”
“I want to see Ezzy. And my daughter.” Nick demanded.
“Me too!” Ethan chimed in.
“Us too!” Evey added.
“I am sorry that is currently not possible. I supposed I could let you, Mr. Gray, take a peek at your baby, through glass but no direct contact just yet. She is in the NICU, but we cannot allow you near her at this moment.”
“My baby girl … my beautiful baby…” Everleigh now cried.
“I am very sorry, I wished I had better news. I suggest all of you go home now to get some rest, you will need your strength. We will contact you as soon as anything changes.”
“Oh God ….” Evey fell apart.
Evey being administered sedatives near a breakdown, then KC was sent home with her to rest and care for her. Ethan had called Amy, who couldn’t stop crying about the shocking news, so he reluctantly went home too to comfort her.
Nick refused to leave.
He stubbornly sat in the waiting area, after being allowed a few seconds glance at his baby from the distance through various windows.
Seeing what looked like an oddly colored blob from far away, he shook his head. That ugly thing was his child? It was why Ezzy was fighting for her life now? Not worth it, he thought. He felt no emotion for that creature in the glass box with all the hoses and cables coming from it. At least no good emotions. He caught himself feeling disdain and downright hatred for “it”. He could not get himself to think of “it” as “her”. Their daughter.
After days they finally allowed him to see Ezzy.
Sitting by her side, holding her cold, thin hand, looking at her thin, pale face he regretted everything. If only they hadn’t chanced it. If only he had put a freaking condom on, she would be in his arms now, being her crazy, perky self, with all those convictions she she vehemently enforced.
How he loved her spunk.
He had meant it when he once told her he had fallen in love with her at 13. The moment she interfered when he was beating up Benny, even after she shoved him and punched him to help a boy she didn’t even know then, he had nothing but respect and admiration for her.
When puberty really hit, it changed to a crush, which turned into love. Or more a love-hate relationship. She was nasty to him, obviously didn’t like him much, which only made him try harder. And now, here she was, limp without any emotions, in a coma, because of him.
He should have known.
The miscarriages, the stress while she was already pregnant, even though neither of them realized she was until she was already well into her second trimester. Her being so skinny and their efforts to have her gain weight made them think her bigger belly was just a little belly from the food, her missing periods wasn’t that unheard of with her being underweight … and when she finally worked up the courage to take a pregnancy test, and it came back positive, they went to the gyn who calculated her pregnancy so far advanced that they could already do an ultrasound.
Everything after that had been a blur and a whirlwind. And then this.
He didn’t care about the unmanly tears streaming down his face. Silent tears, overshadowed by deep numbness and waves of unbearable pain.
Soon he was pulled away by the nurse. Unwilling to let go of Ezzy’s hand, then breaking away to plant a big kiss on her.
“I love you so much, baby!” he told her when he was pulled away by two nurses.
When he got back to the waiting area, Ethan was there. A bro-hug that went on longer than normal.
“How does she look?”
“Pale .. so weak … but still beautiful.”
“Think they would let me see her?”
“Doubt it, they barely let me see her. How are your parents?”
“Mom’s in bad shape, so dad is staying with her. My uncle wanted to come, but his PTSD went off the charts, so they are at the doctor’s too.”
“Mr. Gray? A word?” a doctor came over.
“Sure. Is there a way Ethan could see his sister?”
“We’ll talk about that. Have a seat … ummm … Ethan Sir. And, Mr. Gray, would you come with me, please. Alone, this time.”
“He can come too, I don’t mind.” Nick pointed at Ethan.
“I would rather just speak to just you for now, Mr. Gray. Please.”
Nick’s insides were turning. This sounded serious, his look at Ethan confirmed he felt the same way.
He was lead to an office, asked to sit. Tissues were placed in front of him and Nick already knew whatever they would tell him would not be good news ….