As soon as she heard Nicki was in labor she felt awful about the way she behaved the night before. There was no need to instigate a personal attack on her for something she couldn't help. Yet, once again she'd lost her temper and aimed all her hurt and anger towards her friend. So far the evening had been a little uncomfortable to say the least. If it weren't for everyone else hogging Nicki's attention she feared what the atmosphere would be like. Safaree had helped her upstairs a while ago since she started snoozing on the couch.
"SB? Is it okay if I head up and see her for a bit? I'll be five minutes, promise." The desperation was written all over her face not to mention patterning her voice.
"Sure, just don't turn it into a screamin' match. She doesn't need that right now." He lowered his eyes, causing her to nod sheepishly in return before she moved up the stairway. The walk to her room was nerve-wracking. She just prayed Nicki would hear and accept her sincere apology.
On the other side of the door Nicki was sitting upright against the headboard. She knew if the person she could hear in the hallway was Safaree then she'd be in trouble. She was supposed to be resting but here she was sifting through emails on her laptop. She wanted to be on top of everything so her full concentration could be on the twins and life after they were born. Of course she knew it wasn't going to be that simple anyway. As her thoughts grew she folded her lips and continued to type up a reply at great speed before a knock on the door halted her. It obviously wasn't SB. He didn't know the meaning of knocking on doors.
"You can come in."
"Hey." The small voice became more distinct when she shut the door, letting silence fall upon them. Nothing was said for a moment or two, making Lauren feel apprehensive.
"You cooled down a little?"
"That's actually why I came up here." She played with the knitted sleeves of her jumper as she looked down. "I wanted to apologize, I never meant for things to escalate that far. I'm sorry." The tremor in her voice obviously pulled at Nicki's hormonal heart strings. She pushed her laptop to the side and stretched her arms out with a small smile.
"C'mere." Obliging without question Lauren moved over to the side of the bed and climbed on tearfully, feeling Nicki's arms wrap around her as soon as she settled on top of the sheets. "I have no idea how hard this must be for you." She sighed and rested her head sweetly on Lauren's before carrying on with her little speech. "But you should know we're all here for you. Not to be yelled at or treated badly though, Lauren." Side-eyeing her friend she released her from the loving embrace. "Why didn't you tell any of us sooner?"
"There was never a right time. I felt like I couldn't bring down everyone's excitement 'bout you and the babies and I just...I don't know." She sniffled and wiped away her tears before trying to smile. It was clear to Nicki how hard this was for her.
"You don't need to feel like that." Rubbing her hand gently she tugged the sheets up over herself a little more with her free hand. "But you're okay though, right?" The worried look on her face was endearing.
"I'm fine, really. I should be askin' you anyway!" Laughing a little she placed her hand on the large looking mound under the sheets. "It's really time huh?"
"Yeah, I can't believe they're gonna be here soon." She shook her head in disbelief. "I'm so scared, Lauren."
"Yeah, you ever seen birth videos? They're nothin' short of freaking horror movies. I swear!"
"You should document the birth, could you imagine your fans?"
"Nobody is gettin' in there with a camera, I am not havin' myself exposed like that. GMA already seen enough thank you." She smirked as Lauren shook her head.
"So you're really not havin' anyone film? Not even one of us?"
"Well I was kinda hopin' it was just gon' be me and Faree in the delivery room. It'll be less daunting."
"Yeah I guess I wouldn't like all them people up in my business like that." She grimaced at the thought of it before licking her lips. "Anyway, SB's prolly down there timing me. You're s'posed to be sleepin'." She stood up and smiled back at her. "You want anythin' bringin' up?"
"I want Safaree up here with me. Could you send him up?"
"Sure, but before I leave you should hide that laptop and lay down or else he's gon' freak." She laughed and pulled the door closed a little behind her. Nicki did as Lauren suggested and made out she'd been sleeping before she was disturbed by her friend's apologetic gesture.
On his way back up the stairs he could feel the nerves eating at him but he had no idea why though. He just had that same overwhelming feeling of inadequacy within himself. What if he wasn't going to be able to do all he could for her? It continued to plague his thoughts as he entered the dimly lit room and shut the door behind him. She looked so peaceful just sleeping on her side. How was she not freaking out like he was? Seeing her hurt was something he hated and he was about to endure hours of it, let alone feel it and he was jittering with fear.
"I'm here, just give me a minute."
"Has everybody gone?"
"Yeah, 'cept your Mom, Dad and brothers." He talked quietly as he removed his clothes before brushing his teeth and climbing into the bed.
"What's up with you?" She whispered tiredly and quickly attached herself to him, laying as close to his body as her bump would allow.
"Nothin', I just been thinkin' about these next few days."
"What about them?" Her words were warped by her yawn but he caught what she said.
"Y'know? Just you and the babies, I just want everythin' to go smoothly."
"Eveythin'll be fine though."
"You think so?"
"I know so, now go to sleep." He kissed her head, not feeling her move again until he heard her light breathing as she slept.
As soon as he awoke the next morning he'd half expected it to be 3am with Nicki screaming next to him. It was, in fact, quite the opposite. Sitting up slowly he squinted as soon as the daylight blinded him.
"Damn." He shielded his eyes for a second. "Time is it, Nic?"
"Uhm, ten. Why?"
"Has anything happened?"
"Yeah. I had the babies already. You missed everything."
"Ha-ha, very funny." He smirked at her sarcasm and turned to look at her. "What you eatin'? And where's mine?"
"Waffles and you was still sleepin'. You snooze you lose, Mister." She shrugged and continued to feed herself before he snatched the breakfast food from her hand.
"Too right." Scoffing his face he could but only smile at how angry she looked. "Anyhow, where's everybody at?"
"Downstairs. Lauren brought this up for me."
"Lauren? I thought she went home?"
"She wanted to be here." She looked at him as he thought.
"Oh yeah, how'd that go last night? Y'all kiss and make up?"
"We both apologised, yes."
"Good, nobody's got time for that kind of drama right now." He wiped the syrup from her lip before moving his hand down to her bump, still under the bed sheet. "'Specially not my babies."
"They got time for anything. They're supposed to be on their way right now and they're just takin' their sweet ass time."
"Definitely somethin' they get off of you then."
"Get away from me." She chuckled and pushed the covers back. "I'mma go take a bath now, I'ont want any last minute runnin' around."
"A'ight, you need anythin'?"
"Nope, we're good thanks." She flashed him a smile before closing herself in the bathroom. Truthfully she was feeling more optimistic and positive than she had in a long time. That didn't mean she'd still feel that way when she transgressed into the next stage of labor though. She just prayed it would be a complication-free experience.
She didn't soak for long before she helped herself out and resumed her position on the bed. Dressed in only her underwear and a pair of track pants.
"That shit's not funny, Nicki." His face remained surly as she laughed loudly. Pretending to have contractions was the way in which she'd decided to relieve her boredom, although quite cruel it was pretty funny to see Safaree's face in a state of pure shock.
"I'm sorry. You shoulda seen your face though!"
"Yeah? Well, we'll see who's laughin' when it really is time and nobody believes you."
"You'd laugh?" She sat forward and frowned.
"You woulda brought it on yourself if I did." He moved over and sat down on the bed next to her. "Of course I wouldn't laugh though. This is serious stuff."
"I know." She sighed. "I can't stop thinking about how things are gonna go."
"Don't be worried, we got this." He held her hand up to his lips and kissed it delicately. "Put some clothes on, your Mom said she was on her way up." He stood up and tossed a jumper to her just as Mama Carol knocked lightly on the door. Safaree let her in once Nicki was clothed.
"Any movement, Nika?" Her face looked hopeful.
"Nope, nothing. I'm still fat and uncomfortable." Carol smiled at the pout on her daughter's face.
"It'll happen eventually. Patience is a virtue, Onika."
"I know, I just hate feeling all anxious and having to wait around like this. I can't settle." She moved her hands around frantically and looked back to Safaree's sympathetic face. He really was sticking by her side like he promised. Months ago she never would have imagined she'd be in this situation. At least not with Safaree anyway.
"You heard what the doctor said though, anywhere between twelve and twenty-four hours." She just nodded as he once again moved over to the bed. "Maybe you should get some more sleep whilst you can?"
"I'm not sleepy, Safaree."
"Always. What do we have?"
"I'll bring you something up." He leant down and kissed her forehead before leaving the room. He knew exactly how she felt. The same anxious feeling was eating at him too, he was just trying not to show it.
"How are things with you two?" Carol sat next to her daughter and let her eyes roam her face. She felt as though she'd lost touch with her over the last few months. Things weren't the same between them.
"Things're going slow but that's a good thing. I'ont wanna rush right into things with him this time, y'know?"
"I always knew you two would end up together. I just can't believe neither of you could see that." She laughed a little, pulling a smile out of Nicki.
"You really knew, all those years ago?"
"Of course I did." Chortling sweetly she watched as Nicki placed her hands on her bump, waiting to hear the story progress. "You two were more or less joined at the hip when you were younger.
"How did you know though?" The inquisitive tone of her voice was endearing.
"Just the way he was and still is with you. He knows you more than you know yourself, Onika. Even more than I know you, on another level of course. Don't let go of him, will you?"
"I don't plan to."
"Seriously? Still nothing?" Cai's face was scrunched up to the max as he glanced at his watch. "It's almost 4pm, how long is this s'posed to go on for?"
"I'on know, I'm gonna call her doctor now." Safaree folded his lips and rejoined everyone in the living room. Nothing was happening with Nicki at all. She'd had a mild cramping sensation when he took her food up to her but she insisted it was hunger-related and soon fell to sleep once she was done feasting.
"She's sleepin' off her lunch."
"Maybe we should just take her in and say her contractions have started?" Carol looked over at him nervously.
"I'mma take some water up in a minute, see what she wants to do."
"If she's being stubborn-"
"When isn't she?" SB laughed before returning his serious stance. "I'll talk some sense into her if she is bein' stubborn. Don't worry." Everyone nodded and let him get back to Nicki with the water.
"I wanted it in a glass. With ice." She opened her eyes after talking as he set the bottle on her night stand. The room was dimly lit, enough to see but not enough to keep her awake.
"Tough. You got a bottle, so you can just deal." Laying down behind her, he positioned his arm over her middle and gently rubbed her bump in small circles. "You okay?"
"Mmm. I'm scared."
"Don't be. I'mma be there and everythin'll be fine."
"But it might not be though. What if somethin' bad happens?"
"I'm being serious, Safaree."
"And so am I. Stop thinkin' like that."
"How can I?" She sniffled and linked her fingers with his as they still lay over her bump. "I can't do this."
"Onika." He spoke more sternly after hearing her getting worked up. "I know you can do this." She stopped talking for a few seconds as she attempted to calm herself. The doctor's words echoing through her mind whilst she breathed in and out slowly. That was one of the main things worrying Safaree. What if she had another anxiety attack? And during the delivery too. He'd read up on the subject and it didn't sound good.
"I need the bathroom." Wiping at her damp face she sat up slowly and allowed him to aid her to the door.
"Leave it open though."
She did as he asked and left it ajar in case anything happened. Honestly, he was freaking out too. He had no idea how he was going to keep calm seeing her in such a state.
"What is it?" He burst through the door in a panic, only to find her still sat on the toilet.
"Could you pass me a roll of toilet paper?"
"Oh," He smiled slightly. "Sure." He felt as though every time she called it would be a contraction but things were moving at snail speed.
After helping her back on to the bed he grabbed the TV remote and settled next to her.
"This gon' bother you?"
"No, just keep it on low." She readjusted her pillow so that she could see the screen, trying to distract her mind. The longer she lay waiting the more worked up and anxious she was becoming. Feeling Safaree's hand resting on her bump again made her relax some more as her eyes finally grew heavier.
He soon followed, preparing himself for the sleepless hours to come but he'd only just drifted into a dream when he was awoken with a start.
"You sleep like a fucking log!"
"What?" He sat up and squinted in her direction, immediately alarmed by her distressed body language and loud yell. Her face said it all.
"You mean it's time?"
"I don't know." She exhaled slowly and tried to lift herself off of the bed. "Where's the bag at?"
"It's a'ight, I'll do all that in a minute just sit still for a while."
She was about to start arguing but as soon as she felt his hand holding hers supportively she decided to ride out the pain plaguing her body. Trying only to focus on what he was saying to her through the contraction.
"Okay, it's stopped." Attempting to breathe more calmly she looked at him worriedly, only to feel a little more at ease seeing how calm he was. He was bricking it on the inside but he had to be her support through this. And he would be, every step of the way.
Her contractions were few and far apart, making their trip to the hospital a lot less stressful than it could have been. Thankfully SB had Nicki's family as well as their friends to rally around and help them. That wasn't the case now though as they all sat patiently in the family waiting area. Safaree's sole focus was on trying to keep Nicki as calm as he could.
"They couldn't have picked a more decent hour to arrive?" Sitting by her bedside he kept hold of her hand as he spoke.
"I guess not." She smiled weakly and ran her other hand through her hair as she lay back against the enormous pillows. The only thing giving her any sort of comfort was the sound of the doppler ultrasound allowing her to hear the babies heartbeats and Safaree's hand holding hers as securely as he could. "Do you think she's gonna be okay?" Her bottom lip quivered whilst she stared at him, waiting for his reassurance.
"She's gon' be fine, 'cause she's a fighter." He kissed her hand and placed his on the skin showing on her bump. "See, we can hear her." He pointed at the doppler. Trying to keep her positive was difficult when he was worried half to death in his mind. Their baby girl's heartbeat was getting slower and slower as the contractions progressed, even Dr Hall had come to check on her and seemed worried.
"Could you do me a favour?"
"Yeah, what is it?"
"Can you go find my Mom and tell her everythin's okay?"
He hesitated for a moment but seeing her pleading eyes he couldn't refuse. "Sure, but I'm comin' straight back though."
"Any news Safaree?" Mama Carol's voice sounded as though it was full of sleep and quite honestly he couldn't blame her. They'd been sat in the hospital for hours now and no change had occurred.
"No, nothin'. I just thought I'd come see how you were all holdin' up." He remained in the doorway of the family waiting room, he wanted to stay with Nicki but she kept asking how everyone else was.
"We're fine, it should be us asking about her." She paused and ran her palm of Caiah's head as he slept on her lap. "How is she doing?"
"You know what she's like." He smirked momentarily before his solemn stance returned. He didn't know whether to tell them or just see how things panned out first. "Uhm, yeah she's good. Tired and really, really grumpy but good." It didn't matter what he said though, everyone in the room could see right through his lies.
"Tell me the truth, Safaree." Not a question but a statement. She always got him with that tone and the face she gave him. Feeling everyone's worried eyes landing on him he rubbed the back of his head nervously.
"We don't know for sure yet but the baby girl's heartbeat is droppin' like, a lot." His folded lips emphasised how much he was trying to fight his own emotions, especially seeing Lauren and Candi tear up a little.
"So what's gonna happen?"
"I'm not sure 'cause she keeps havin' like, mini panic attacks. They're afraid that if they go ahead with the c-section she'll just get worse." There was a moment of silence before Carol spoke again.
"Has she started pushing yet?"
"No. Not even close to that yet, they tried layin' her on her side but it made her worse so they're tryin' the other side now and if that don't work she's gettin' in the pool."
"And then the c-secton if that fails?"
"Yeah." He sighed and nodded after speaking but before anyone could ask him anything else a young nurse interrupted their conversation.
"Mr Samuels we need you back in here, please?" The urgency in her tone was pretty clear and he followed without hesitation.
As soon as he re-entered the room it seemed as though the amount of people present had doubled for some reason.
"Well, nothing yet." She paused. "She's just asking for you, that's all." Smiling up at him she pulled the curtain back and let him walk ahead first, his mind was quickly put at ease hearing those words. "We're getting the birthing pool ready though but we'll let you know once it's done."
"Thanks." He nodded gratefully and resumed his position by Nicki's bedside. "You hear that?" There was no reply, her eyes roaming the room nervously. "Nicki?"
"Why is there so many people in here?"
"I don't know, it's nothin' for you to worry about though." Observing just how visibly bothered she was he leant over the bed railing. "It's fine." Once again there was no response, instead she grimaced followed by a groan.
"Mhmm." Pushing her brows together harshly she folded her lips, humming through the pain as she grasped his hand. It felt different this time, she felt like her mind was completely preoccupied. She couldn't block out the people around her as the anxiety kicked in.
*I hope this was okay :/ I know absolutely nothingggg about babies or birth or hospitals so, there will be mistakes in there. My bad. lol but thanks again to those who commented on the previous chapter. I know I said this would be the last chapter but the post after this one will be the last :)*