Paradise Threatened Ch. 09bylostangelkira©
"I should've been in there," Uncle Nick grumbled as they left the courthouse, his mother and father following alongside his Aunt Zoe, Dana by his side, a good eight months pregnant.
"You know that it would be a conflict of interest," Malcolm replied. "But we do appreciate the support you've given us by being with us in the audience."
"It's over now," Jason sighed, "They've been convicted. We can live in peace again."
"Yeah," Dana sighed, tears welling up in her eyes.
He stopped in front of her and held her gently.
"I'm so sorry about your family," he whispered in her ear. "But they have to pay for their crimes."
"I know." She kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you for caring. I love you."
"I love you too," he purred, gently rubbing her belly. "Let's get home and I'll give you a foot massage."
"You're too good to me," she sighed, holding his hand as they got into their car.
After her parents had been convicted, life went back to normal. Jason's parents and siblings were able to process their grief over Tiffany's death, the conviction of her parents giving them closure. Because of the news coverage of the trial, her grandparents from both her mother and her father's side of the family and her aunts and uncles got in touch with her. They were the polar opposite of her parents, accepting and unbelievably supportive. She got so big that she couldn't get out of bed and Jason had to take time off work to help her, but he didn't mind. He loved seeing her heavy with his child. Dana, however, while flattered, couldn't wait for her due date to arrive.
A week before her due date, after a delicious meal and a long bath together, her and Jason cuddled on the couch, Jason's arm around her and absently stroking her stomach. But their peace was ruined as the show they were watching was interrupted with a special news report.
"At about five p.m. this afternoon," the anchor began, "convicted felons Frederick Bridges and his wife, Marsha Bridges, have escaped their respective prisons. Marsha was aided by members of a human supremists group housed in the women's prison. The details of her husband's escape are unclear. The Bridges were convicted last month and each were sentenced with two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for destruction of private property, conspiracy to commit murder, assault, attempted murder and the murder of young Tiffany Donniko, daughter of the mayor of Tranquility Valley, Malcolm Donniko. If anyone has seen either of them, please call the tip line you see along the bottom of your screen. In other news..."
"Oh god, they're going to come after us," Dana gasped, trembling. "I just know it."
"I won't let them hurt you," he told her, nuzzling the top of her head. "They'll never make it past the extra security around the valley."
"I hope you're right," she sighed, cuddling up against him tightly.
Thunder rumbled in the distance, a few streaks of lightning following along with more booming thunder.
"I'll be right back," Jason said as he stood up, helping her to her feet. "I need to shut up the windows and get out the candles and flashlights. Why don't you go lay in bed and I'll give you a massage, huh?"
Nodding, she did as he asked. Right after she got comfortable, she felt a very sharp kick from the baby and felt her water break, soaking the bedclothes.
"Jason," she groaned loudly, beginning her breathing exercises.
"What is it, baby?" he asked as he entered the room.
"Honey...it's time. The baby's coming now," she gasped, gripping the covers tightly as another contraction tore through her.
"It'll be ok, Dana. Just breathe," he assured her, sitting next to her as he picked up the phone and started dialing the number for the hospital. He called his parents next. He grabbed the bag they'd prepared a couple of weeks ago and helped her onto her feet and out the door. His parents were there, the van running and waiting. With their help, they got Dana into the back, Jason beside her. Once she was settled and his mom and dad were in, they gunned it for the hospital in spite of the storm overhead. As the gates to the valley appeared in their sights, the guards ran out and opened it wide, waving as they zipped past. When they hit the highway, a waiting police cruiser pulled onto the road ahead of them, lights flashing. Another cruiser fell into place behind them, giving them an escort. As they entered the city, they could see the traffic lights were disabled and officers were holding back traffic, allowing them to speed through without worry about getting hit. It took no time to reach the hospital after leaving the city limits, pulling straight up to the door, where her doctor was waiting with a wheelchair. A combination of police and National Guard patrolled the grounds and stood watch at both the hospital gates and the entrances to the hospital itself.
"You didn't waste any time, did you?" the doctor asked, chuckling a little as Jason hopped out of the van, helping Dana out.
"We weren't about to take any chances of her parents getting the drop on us trying to get her here," Malcolm replied, helping Jason get her settled into the wheelchair.
"Not to worry," the doctor told them as they pushed her inside, "We doubled security at the hospital when we heard they'd escaped. They have a snowball's chance in hell of getting in here."
"I hope so," she replied, rubbing her belly.
They got her up to a private room in the maternity ward on the sixth floor. As Dana got settled into the bed, she had another contraction. Afterwards, her doctor examined her.
"You're about three centimeters dilated," she reported. "You got a ways to go. I'll go finish your admittance papers and I'll be back in a little while."
Jason and his parents grabbed a few chairs and sat around her bed, talking, watching a little TV and helping coach Dana through contractions. About four hours after her admittance, the doctor came back to check on her, finding her dilated five centimeters. Hours and hours went by and still no delivery. Dana was getting increasingly agitated, the tiniest little thing would either have her yelling at you or caused her to burst into tears. The sun had started to come up when she had another contraction, bringing her number up to eight centimeters. She was exhausted, having been unable to sleep. Every one watched their step when they entered the room or talked to her.
"Do something!" she snapped at a nurse when she woke her up from a very short nap, "Get this kid out of me!"
"Calm down, sweetheart," Jason said softly, standing beside her bed and taking hold of her hand. Dana glared at him.
"I want to strangle you," she growled, the hormones talking. "How could you do this to me?!"
When he set a fluffy white teddy bear on her lap and a small box of candy fruit slices, her eyes glittered with tears.
"For me?" she asked, looking up at him.
"Of course for you," he told her, kissing the top of her head. "It won't be much longer, love."
"I love you so much, Jason," she sobbed, "I'm sorry that I've been such a bitch."
"You can't help it, baby," he said, sitting on the edge of her bed, "I forgave you before you even started getting short with everybody. I love you too."
Dana leaned against him and ended up dozing off for about an hour or so. A really big contraction woke her up, making her scream, nearly breaking Jason's hand with the hold she had on him. He hit the nurse call button and a nurse came running. She examined Dana briefly.
"Yep, you're fully dilated," she said, flipping the wheel locks to the bed. "We better get you to delivery."
He walked beside the bed, holding her hand and coaching her through her breathing exercises. The doctor was already in the delivery room and ready to begin. Dana was sat up, her knees bent and legs spread.
"Alright Dana," the doctor said, rolling into position. "Time to push, hon."
She took a deep breath and pushed hard, gripping his hand roughly. The doctor told her she could relax.
"Dana, you need to push even harder. The baby isn't coming down the canal yet."
She cried out as she started to push, her back arching. When she finally settled back down to catch her breath, he looked to the doctor. She grabbed a scope and gently inserted it into Dana's dilated vagina, watching the monitor as she pushed it forward. Her face was grim as she studied the image before she grabbed a syringe and a small glass vial, leaving the scope in place.
"What's wrong?" Jason asked, his voice rising slightly with panic, "Is the baby going to be alright?"
"Her cervix is dilated, but it must've cramped," the doctor explained, preparing the syringe quick as lightning, fastening a very long needle onto the end, "The tissue is rigid and when Dana tries to push, it can't give way for the baby to move down the birth canal."
While watching the monitor, she guided the needle into Dana. When the tip of the needle was visible on the screen, she stuck it deep into the vaginal wall where the cervix was attached, depressing the plunger. Dana cried out in pain, squeezing his hand tighter. Pulling the needle back out, she tossed it into a large biohazard container and pulled the scope back. Jason watched with her as Dana pushed and her cervix relaxed and stretched, giving way to the head of the child. Removing the scope the rest of the way, the doctor got into position, telling Dana to push.
"You're doing well, hon," the doctor told her, moving a little closer, pulling her tray of tools a little closer to her, "The baby's crowning, just keep on pushing!"
She let out a pained moan as their child emerged.
"It's a boy!" the doctor announced as the newborn boy started to wail. Once the cord was cut, she held him up for them to see. Jason felt his chest swell with pride as they both stared at their son as he was handed off to a nurse to be cleaned and weighed. Dana started to breathe heavily again, clutching her belly.
"Looks like we aren't done yet," the doc said, getting back into position. "Come on, Dana; you did it once, you can do it again."
"Push, baby, push," Jason urged her, holding her hand, his other arm across the back of her shoulders to give her support, "Just one more big push."
Dana let her head fall to the side, looking into his eyes as she pushed with everything she had. The baby was born with that one push, wailing at the top of its lungs.
"It's a baby girl," she told them once the cord was cut, showing her to them.
As their new daughter was taken to be cleaned up, Jason looked down at his lovely wife. She was soaked through with sweat, her fur and hair plastered to her body. Her eyes drooped from exhaustion and she could barely move, not so much as twitching as the afterbirth was expelled. Dana leaned against his arm, her grip on his hand loosening. He pulled it out of her hand and flexed it, wincing as the bones cracked audibly, but he didn't care. The smile on her face was priceless, so full of love and joy that it was contagious, making him grin from ear to ear. He leaned forward and kissed her briefly, rubbing his cheek against hers. He remained by her side while the nurses cleaned and redressed her. When she was clean and the doctor had stitched a couple of tears closed, he walked beside the gurney as they took her into a recovery room. Not long after she was settled, his parents came in the room.
"How you doing, dear?" his mother asked, gripping her hand briefly.
"Sore, tired," Dana replied tiredly, smiling a little. "Happy."
His dad was just about to say something when there was a quick knock on the door before it opened.
"Knock, knock," the nurse on the other side sang out, "We've got some more visitors for you."
She pushed the door wide open, another nurse following her. She was carrying two bundles; one blue, one pink. His mom and dad stepped back. The nurse carefully handed Dana the pink bundle, then turned to Jason. He carefully took his son into his arms, making sure to support his head. His son's soft, downy fur was the color of fresh snow, his small pink nose and large ears constantly twitching. When he opened his eyes and looked up at him, he saw they were the same honey gold as his dad's. His daughter was a beautiful and vibrant rust orange, her eyes were the same emerald green as his. Her features were delicate and identical to her mother. The little boy yawned, lifting his tiny arm up and reaching out. When he pulled the blanket off him a little, his son grabbed hold of his thumb. He went totally still as his son waved his thumb back and forth a little, his grip strong. Jason let out a soft purr, leaning down and nuzzling the newborn. His parents moved closer as both infants cooed softly.
"Any ideas for names?" Malcolm asked, brushing a finger across his grandson's chubby little cheek.
"We have," Dana replied, adjusting her daughter slightly. "For our little girl, we decided on the name, Saria."
"And our son's name is Gabriel," Jason said with a smile.
"Perfect," Tanya said, tickling the baby girl under her chin.
Just moments after they got handed to their grandparents, they started fidgeting in their arms. Dana opened her gown and Jason helped her settle both little ones against her breasts. They nuzzled against her swollen breasts for a few minutes before finding her nipples and latching on, suckling feverishly. Jason and Dana were left alone with the twins while they were fed. When they got their fill, they fell asleep. Jason took them one at a time to the bassinets the nurses brought in, being careful so as not to disturb their peaceful sleep. He stood over them for several minutes, unable to stop staring at them.
"Jason?" Dana called out in a soft voice. "Could you help me to the bathroom?"
"Sure," he replied as he turned and walked back to her. He helped her up and let her lean on him as they walked to the bathroom. Once she was done relieving herself and settled back into bed, she sank into the mattress, her eyes fluttering shut. He leaned over her and kissed her forehead as her breathing slowed and evened out, indicating she'd fallen asleep. "Sweet dreams, my angel." Quietly moving across the room, he eased down into the plush armchair in the far corner, where he could see the entire room easily. He leaned back into the seat a little and eventually fell asleep himself.
Smoothing a wrinkle out of the front of his scrubs, he approached St. Josephine's gates, bag slung on his shoulder, two police officers and four members of the National Guard patrolling outside. He held his hands up over his head when all six of them pulled their guns on him. One of the officers walked up to him, holstering his weapon.
"I'm terribly sorry to frighten you," he said as the officer frisked him, "I transferred here from County General and today's my first day."
"Where's your I.D. badge?" one of the soldiers asked, lowering his weapon.
"The girl in human resources told me it could take three or four days to have it made and the code put into the system," he replied coolly.
"He's clean," the officer that patted him down reported. "And look at him...there's no way he's one of the fugitives."
"True," the soldier replied. "Let him through then."
He walked quickly through the opened gate and up the drive. Entering the hospital through a side entrance, he walked down a hallway, grabbing a random chart off an empty bed. After slipping a few random flyers underneath an empty patient information form, he continued through the hospital, moving briskly. No one stopped him or so much as took a second glance at him. Arriving at the nurse's station beside a bank of elevators, he leaned over the desk, getting the attention of the lioness nurse typing on the computer.
"Excuse me, but what room is..." He looked at his fake chart. "Dana Donniko in? I'm new here and the shift supervisor wants me doing rounds in pediatrics and maternity, starting with her."
"Let's see," the nurse said, turning back to the computer screen in front of her. "She's in Recovery Room 7. Take the elevator up to six and make a left. Go through two intersections and make another left. Her room will be the second on the left."
"Thank you," he murmured, nodding briefly before going over to the bank of elevators as the doors were closing on a car going up. The one person inside put his arm out, the doors opening again.
"Thanks a lot," Frederick told him as the doors shut again.
"No problem," the guy said with a shrug. "What floor?"
"How long have you been working here?" the guy asked.
"Today's my first day," he lied, "I'd heard my dau...friend came in last night in labor. Last I heard, she gave birth early this morning. My shift doesn't start for another hour, so I thought I'd stop in and see them."
"I imagine they'll be surprised," the stranger said.
"Yeah. We...we had a falling out about a year ago, a real nasty one at that. I'd made things worse when she reached out and tried to re-connect with me. There was a huge fight, things got out of hand, and...someone died because of something me and my wi...another buddy started. I want to set things right."
"Good luck," the guy told him as the car stopped, the doors opening. He stepped out and turned back to look at him, holding the door. "Everyone deserves a second chance. Just make sure you don't throw it away this time, Mr. Bridges."
He tensed and was about to say something when the guy let the doors close, giving him a smile and a wave. The rest of his ride he paced. Would the guy report him? He couldn't possibly know...could he? When the elevator dinged and the doors opened once more, he quickly regained his composure, stepping off the elevator and following the nurse's directions to the letter. Frederick peeked into the room through the slightly cracked door. Dana was asleep in the bed, directly across from the door. On his left and in the corner, was her husband, Jason. His head was propped up by his hand, his elbow resting on the arm of the chair he was seated in. He was fast asleep. Hearing a hiccup, his eyes moved to the right from Jason's chair to find two bassinets in front of the windows. Frederick moved silently into the room, shutting the door completely. He was whisper quiet as he snuck over to the bassinets, peering inside.
A newborn boy and girl were inside. They were bat morphs just like their parents. The girl's fur was a rust orange. The boy's fur was the white of freshly fallen snow. He couldn't stop staring at them. These...these were his grandchildren. They looked so peaceful, so innocent...so cute. The little boy started to fidget and fuss, kicking the blanket around him loose, his tiny wings unfolding as he stretched his fat little arms. Frederick reached into the bassinet and very carefully picked him up, holding him against his chest. He positively melted when his grandson cuddled against his chest, right next against his heart. The newborn cooed softly as he rocked him back and forth slowly.
As he held his adorable grandson, he thought about the day Dana came home, Changed. He denied she was his daughter, unable to accept that she'd become one of them. When he looked out to see the younger members of his group, many of them Dana's friends, surround her and beat her...he'd felt a moment of panic. That was his little girl out there being beaten to death, the fact she'd Changed forgotten and replaced with the need to save her. But he didn't. He told himself it was the shock, justifying his doing nothing by telling himself the person she'd been was dead. But even then, part of him knew it wasn't true, that he was a fool and an idiot. They forgot about it and life went on.
Then his wife had a plan. They would get close to Dana, get her to trust them again, then strike at her and the denizens of Tranquility Valley, ending the plague of the morphs once and for all. He didn't want to and he tried to stop her, but she wouldn't listen and he went along with it. Seeing his daughter again, healthy and happy in the arms of one of the valley's mayor's sons, he wanted to apologize and tell her he was happy for her. But his wife found out how he felt and smacked him around, telling him if he didn't get with the program, he wouldn't live for very long. It tore him apart inside to say what he did at the spa, but he was afraid for his life.