Title: The Start of the Rest of Our Lives
Description: Tag: Mr. Shane J. Moran
Devin Moran - March 2, 2012 03:30 AM (GMT)
Thursday, March 1st, 2012 @ 1:00 PM
This was not how things were supposed to go. It was all scheduled. Being so over due the doctor's had determined that today was the day Caitlyn M. Moran would be born. That was the plan anyway. In the evening Devin would check in to be induced and sometime that evening she'd be holding her little daughter in her arms.
There was a plan in all of this. Things weren't completely fixed with Shane but at least they were talking again. They even slept in the same bed once or twice. So as to not interfere with the comfort of normality, Autumn and Devin were going out to brunch for Devin's last meal in the next twenty-four hours. From there her best friend would drop her off at the hospital where Shane would come after work (hopefully). Autumn would then take Connor back to her home to spend the next few nights with Skylar and the Wolfsteades.
Things were going great until about halfway through their meal. Devin had stood to go to the bathroom (something she felt like she did every five minutes this over due) when it happened. The wetness at first concerned her remembering the day of the tornado and her hand coming back stained red. It wasn't until the waiter told her to sit that Devin could see the clear fluid and realized her water had just broken. An ambulance was called and she was ushered in with Autumn taking Connor. The first call was to Shane saying she had gone into labor. No matter what was going on between them he deserved to be there, she expected him to be there.
Next were the calls to the other two men that were going to be in Caitie's life; Preston and Matt. Hopefully Matt would tell Evan and well Preston had been there for Devin. Even with all the awkwardness he was still the other godfather.
It didn't take long for her to be whisked down halls and put into a gown. People came and went but none of them were her husband. Devin was beginning to worry, more so when the doctor said their baby girl would probably be there in an hour.
"Hi... it's me again... hooo... um... the doctor said it should be soon... and... hurry? Please?"
The nurse stood by the bed with her hand out as she confiscated Devin's cell phone from her. At least this time there were drugs. It still hurt and she still felt the pressure and they had slowed down the labor a bit.
Still her eyes were on the door waiting for a six and a half foot Texan to fill it. "He'll be here,"
she told herself. Licking her lips as her hand gripped the bed sheet through another contraction, Devin wished for a distraction, anything to get her through the next hour or so before her daughter was in her arms.
Shane Moran - March 21, 2012 04:56 AM (GMT)
Things had not gone according to plan. Of course as Shane stood leaning over the exposed engine bay of a family wagon he had to remind himself that nothing as of late seemed to make a great deal of sense. Though he had been home for a few weeks there was no sense of comfort or even relief to be had from that. For the most part he didn’t even feel like he was home anymore and that whatever had transpired in the previous months must have done permanent damage to his brain because he hadn’t felt the same since. All those lonely nights, those haunting visions, the desire to return to Evergreen and Devin and Connor had all been diluted by the feeling that he had not only done wrong but would forever be paying for it. Though he was glad to be back he missed the way things used to be and missed his former life, and his former wife, with all the grief associated with a literal loss in the family.
It was never supposed to be this hard, damn it.
The atmosphere in the garage was not much better, not that Shane expected to be welcomed back as some conquering hero either. Talk on his return had been cheap, small and for the most part irrelevant. He had deserted them too, in their eyes, just as he had left Devin and his infant son, and it apparently seemed to have missed the lot of them that for such a dick move Shane had retained the decency to return. He wore the professional silences, interspersed by the clang of tools and the drone of the odd engine part, with a tight lackadaisical smile. He glimpsed at his wristwatch too much, eternally torn nowadays to throw in the proverbial towel and go home and make things better the only way that he knew how; all that without being judged by the men he’d once considered his nearest and dearest judging him a second time as a deadbeat father and an even less dependable boss in their eyes. It almost seemed like a no-win situation.
Resuming work, and the frayed rubber of a fan belt that had seen better days, Shane did his best to at least pretend that it was just the same as any other day, full well knowing in the back of his mind that it wasn’t. He, like Devin, was walking a tight-rope that didn’t begin or end with the distance between them on the mattress they too infrequently shared now. She was well overdue and the more time that went on the more the unspoken fears laden upon him that something was wrong with this baby and the guilt for that would be laid squarely at his feet. He wasn’t sure anymore if he would be able to handle it, much less what would happen to what he had left of his so-called family. So caught up in these deep moments of introspection was he that initially Shane wasn’t even aware of the phone ringing.
Tess, busily shuffling invoices and with her usual professional aplomb, appeared seemingly out of nowhere to tell him that he was wanted. Shane’s brows rose in brief mock sarcasm; at least someone did. Having left his cell in the office (so as to not get damaged or even serve as a distraction to a boss trying to appear all focused again) Shane hadn’t received any warning calls much less any indication that the moment he and Devin had spent so long planning on and now all but squandered had finally arrived. The sound of her voice in his message bank caused a cold fist of fear to grip his heart. All that previous bravado, that need to prove himself to the others, crumbled under that one little squeaked word; please. Shane dashed off without explanation leaving Tess and the others watching after him with no doubt confusion if not all-out derision in his wake. In truth, for the first time in what felt like forever, Shane could no longer care. The baby was coming.
How the truck managed to make it in one piece must have astounded him later, considering he was running on such a high upon arrival that he couldn’t even remember driving the short trip from the shop. Dashing across the wet ground he burst through the doors to blurt to the first receptionist to make eye contact, “My wife... baby...” Someone must have been briefed on his apparent arrival. Though he had been here before Shane was as lost as a tourist now, and needed a friendly hand to literally show him the way to the birthing suites. His long legs had already started quaking before he’d so much as strode into the car much less arrived here on time or even after the fact. His mouth was dry and he was no longer capable of thinking just reacting as he strode the corridors like a man on a mission. Outside the wing he drew to an alarming stop. What if she didn’t want him in there now and what if it was too late? What if...? Shane shook his head, willing away a ball of grief suddenly snagged tight at the back of his throat. Bowing his head and with chest full he pushed the door inward and made the first brave step inside.
Devin Moran - March 21, 2012 05:52 AM (GMT)
The drugs were a lie. Devin had thought they would take away most of the pain. Some of it was gone and it was more bearable than when she had Connor. Still there was pressure and the feeling of being uncomfortable. Maybe it had to do with her being so overdue but the only things the drugs seemed to be doing was slowing down her labor. Another contraction had her sitting up, fingers gripping the side rail until knuckles were white. This hadn’t been the plan. But when had her plans ever really gone the way they were supposed to? And yet, in the mix of the chaos and loneliness Devin could only think of one thing; there was no second crib.
In her depression, in her vigil, in her wait for her husband to come back to her Devin had put off creating a nursery for their daughter. Of course she wouldn’t let anyone else do it, and there was no way for her to do it herself. By the time she finally made up her mind to do it without Shane, Devin could barely move let alone put together baby furniture. Besides the fact that she’d have to go buy it and Devin was as useful with a screw driver as Shane was with a stove. Now their Caitie would be taken home to a house that didn’t have a place for her and that just made Devin all the more miserable. She didn’t even have the carrier to bring her home in! All this time and she felt unprepared and scared and so very unworthy. Soon… that’s what the doctor said and while she wanted soon to come as quickly as possible, Devin wouldn’t mind if it took a little longer as well.
She needed a distraction… she needed something to keep her mind off of other things… she needed to focus. Legs dropped over the edge of the bed to plant feet on the floor. One hand gripped the bed railing and the other the iv stand. No one told her she wasn’t allowed to walk. The door creaked open and Devin knew she was going to get an earful from the doctor or nurse that caught her out of bed. No she wanted to walk and find distraction until it was time for that final push. Instead it wasn’t a man or woman dressed in scrubs scolding her for not taking it easy. At first her mind was telling her that she was seeing things.
How many times had she called him before he came home only to not see him? Sadly she believed he’d be a no show. Even if they were working on things, even if he slept some nights in their bed, the closeness that they once had all but vanished. And it was that which had her convinced that even if he wanted to be there, he wouldn’t show up. Somehow he’d guilt himself out of it or think Devin wanted to do this alone which was the last thing she had ever wanted to do, it was the thing that kept her awake at night wondering if she’d have to be in the hospital on her own only to be surrounded by familiar faces later on with the one she most wanted to see still missing.
Swallowing as her eyes stared right at him, Devin felt like it was the day he showed up on the door step all over again. “Hey…” she said looking at him and trying to give him a smile. It was selfish but she wanted him to worry about her. Devin wanted him to walk over and force her back in the bed, hold her hand and never let go. She wanted him to promise her that everything was going to be okay, he was there, and she could do this again for the second time. It would be a walk in the park. “You made it,” she continued taking a few steps forward. The effort to even move was written all over her face. “I thought… I didn’t…” she stammered trying to find the right words, babbling through measured breaths her hand gripped the metal rod holding her iv bag a bit tighter. “I’m glad you’re here… I want you here… need you here.”
She was babbling that much she knew but Devin figured in some way both Shane and she needed to hear that. Maybe that’s what this day was for them; a new start and a way to get past the pain and hurt and barriers to be them again. That’s all she wanted really… to have the life she used to have… to be with the man she loved raising their little family. “I didn’t know if you could make it… with the garage and everything.”
Shane Moran - March 24, 2012 04:03 AM (GMT)
The first thought of course was the fact that someone ought to have been shot for making scrubs so god damned tiny; as much as the Texan filled the plastic cover there was obvious discomfort crumpling his face. No one had to know that his thoughts were driving the point home. Through the open door with a creak and he was thrust into a whole new world. Sights, smells, a sense of déją vu returned. And seeing Devin there, standing, waiting... to Shane it literally felt like someone had taken an eraser to the last 18 or so months of his life and gave him a chance to start again.
Her voice was weak, pinched, and to Shane’s ears, wary. His chest swelled and deflated on that one sound, knowing somewhere, somehow, beneath it all, Devin had to be disappointed. He really didn’t know at this point how out of step he had become with his wife’s energy. Where once he could have read her like an open book he seemed unable now, distanced; rather than believe her he looked for verification, needed constant reinforcement, tried to understand what she meant what she said where once he would have merely used his heart. The last few months had almost literally killed them, and yet... here they were.
The fact Devin approached, shuffled more like, and the speed of her words soothed him beyond his usual self-procrastination. He moved toward her with arms automatically out only to falter within arm’s reach. Did she really want him or was she talking out of desperation? Searching her face, those tired wet eyes Shane breathed heavy and swallowed hard. He nodded his head dismissively. Work didn’t matter, not really, not now at least, even if he couldn’t vocalize it. How he managed to switch himself off from one to cope with the other was a new sensation he could neither explain nor cared to explore. It was just one more facet of himself that had changed since Texas and one more sign that Devin’s fears of them growing apart were founded. Trying to smile, to push all such thoughts aside, Shane resumed contact and took his wife by the arms. His hold was gentle, too gentle, with a tentative squeeze meant to come off as reassuring.
“Hey, babe... I’m sorry... I just got...” Though he started to explain Shane abruptly fell silent. He paused to look down over his wife looking so helpless and feeling her bulging belly pressing against him. Leaning down he placed his lips against the top of her brow. That said what words at that moment could not. Parting, his stomach flitting with steel-winged butterflies, Shane cleared his throat and moved to stand beside her. An arm supported her back; the other gently lay atop her hospital gown. Coaxing her back towards the bed Shane helped her to sit and relax, if such thing was possible at this point of course. “How are you? Are you okay? The baby okay? Where is the doctor?” Turning his attention towards the door Shane only then realized that he was cupping Devin’s head and stroking her hair the way he used to and hadn’t done in what seemed like a very long time.
Devin Moran - March 24, 2012 04:37 AM (GMT)
Most of her hoped he’d be there. When she made the phone call in the ambulance after being ushered out of the café, Devin hoped that Shane would drop everything and be there. But then time passed and he wasn’t. The little tiny part of her saying he wasn’t going to show, that he had gotten the phone call and ran for the hills won out. But then the door opened and he was there. Her heart skipped a beat as if reliving the moment they met for the first time in n millisecond. Shane still gave her those butterflies. This didn’t fix everything, it didn’t erase the months of pain and sadness and hurt; but it was a healing salve that was the first step to making things whole again; making them whole again.
She waited almost holding her breath to feel his arms around her. An exhalation followed his falter knowing that she was asking too much. Devin was tired. Too tired to fight, to cry, to do anything but look at him with wet eyes that practically begged for his attention. As if on cue another contraction went through her. Going through it once without drugs did not make it any better a second time around. Her knuckles turned white as her hands curled tighter around the IV stand and bed rail. She could feel her knees and legs shake from the force. Everything hurt; eyes burned, muscles were sore, and her heart ached for something she didn’t know she’d ever get again.
“It’s okay… babe… it’s okay. You’re here now.”
He didn’t need to explain. The fact was his appearance there with scrubs and hands holding onto her arms was answer enough. If he didn’t show then she’d know all that she’d ever need to. But there he was and hope, a flame that had been slowly dying was rekindle inside of her. Brown eyes fluttered shut at his lips on her brow as Devin soaked in the gesture. God she had missed that. She missed the way he could make her feel cherished, important, and beautiful all in one single gesture. He loved her… she was becoming more sure of it. Herded back to the bed that was her prison, Devin didn’t mind that he was fussing over her. Rough fingers played with her hair, touching her in a way that she couldn’t forget. For so many nights she had dreamt of just that; kisses to her brow, caresses of her hair… the little things more than anything and now she was finally receiving them. If it wasn’t for the contractions, Devin would have pinched herself to make sure she is awake.
“I’m fiiiiine,” she assured him on an exhalation through another contraction. “The baby is fine too… just decided she wanted to come on her own terms I guess,” Devin tried to joke and smile before more spasms had that fading away. “You just missed the doctor… he thinks she’ll be here in an hour.” It was funny how lately so much of their life together was practically schedule since Shane’s return. His time with Connor and hers. His turn in the bathroom and hers. Scheduled good morning kisses and dinners. Even Caitie had been scheduled for later that evening but may their little girl was in on a bigger plan that neither of her parents knew. Maybe Caitie was trying to break the routine to show them what they were missing and what they could get back. Slender fingers squeezed larger ones as Devin looked at Shane… really looked at him.
“We’re going to be okay,” she assured him and herself licking her lips that were dry. It was said about her and the baby… it was about their marriage.
Shane Moran - March 26, 2012 02:17 AM (GMT)
An hour... Shane’s stomach leaped at that and sunk in the same successive gesture. All the talk of time, of plans, of what needed to be done, of what was coming rushed upon him anew with sickening finality. Panic held him in a silent sway for several minutes. Despite Devin’s reassurances Shane could only manage a weak smile, one he was sure screamed more nervousness than anything else. It may have seemed odd he wasn’t even thinking about the fact that their daughter had no crib to sleep in at this point or anything else compared to how her big brother was greeted, and wouldn’t think of it til later, but the fact was he was too caught up in fear to really immerse himself in the moment. This baby, the child he had so long wanted, was really real, she was coming, and he still had yet to get his life back in order. Tensions at home weren’t settled, problems remained unresolved. A baby now, as overdue as she was, almost seemed in some small selfish way to be another problem heaped onto a pre-existing stack that seemed ill-timed and unnecessary, and yet...
Devin’s groan, the white glow of her knuckles, the contortion of minute facial muscles heralded another contraction, and one that immediately stopped Shane in his tracks. He was wrenched out of his thoughts, of his own head, somewhere he had existed and felt safe for longer than he dared admit lately, thrust out of his comfort zone in a blind sympathetic panic for her. “You okay?” It was a ridiculous question of course, and he smiled awkwardly as he heard himself ask it, swallowing another boulder that made his chest collapse in embarrassment. Of course she wasn’t okay, and he felt so helpless. Here he was in a situation where his height and his brawn and his short fuse couldn’t benefit her at all, much less make him feel like a man when he so desperately needed to. It was in part the reason why he winced as she huffed her way through it to answer him again.
“Stubborn, like her mother,” he uttered. He wrapped his hand around her fingers and gave a reassuring squeeze. His cheeks pinched pink as he laughed again albeit breathlessly to himself. His hand relented and withdrew again; an awkward situation made worse by the fact he had long since lost the familiarity he had once shared with her and was still no closer to getting that back. Discreetly Shane cleared his throat. Devin stared back, really stared, and to Shane’s mind she saw straight through him. He nodded instinctively and again once the words settled across his heart. How badly he wanted to believe that. How badly he wanted everything to be exactly the way it had been before, if only he knew the magic solution to rewind time he thought with a sad twist to his lips.
The silence of course was isolating and everything seemed to echo in the sterile confines to the point Shane felt dissociated. Hand hovered tentatively at the small of her back before gently sweeping in a gesture of comfort. Sure he had gotten her into this mess and she probably blamed him for more than words would ever say; why he was lingering now on old guilt was a mystery even to him at that moment in time. The wait was excruciating as seconds passed like hours followed by more fruitful waiting and impatient glances towards the door. “Is there something I can do? Something you need? Maybe you should lay back and relax a bit.” Hand on Devin’s belly Shane faltered, his brow pinched with a worrisome frown. Beneath his palm his daughter lay, the literal seed planted what felt like a lifetime ago when everything had been different. To Devin Shane gave a small yet resolute nod. “She’s impatient too, wonder where she gets that from?” But the look in his eyes was less humorous and more desperate; believe me, I’m going to make things right again, he swore in silence. I promise you.
Devin Moran - March 26, 2012 03:09 AM (GMT)
For weeks she had wondered if this day would ever come. She wondered what it would be like, how she would feel, what would happen. Her imaginings were of the mundane to the outlandish and everything in between barring Alien abductions. But in those last few days she didn’t see this; them here together. It was a far cry from when Connor was born. Devin couldn’t tell if his nervous smile, the darting of his eyes was because of them or the labor itself. With Connor she could feel his panic, sense his worry, but at the same time that warmth that he was there with her through all of this. What came next with their son did not scare her as much as it did now. Their daughter would be here and Devin didn’t know if in the morning Shane would be or not. That worry, that nightmare kept her awake more nights than she cared to imagine and dared to share with Shane. He had left her once without warning, and every day brought a possibility that he’d do it again.
A nod of her head was her reply to his question of how she was even if she wasn’t. The physical pressure on her body was bad enough but the emotional tormented her even more. But the last thing she wanted to do was bring that up. Neither of them needed it. Fingers curled around her hand and Devin’s eyes darted to the contact. It used to be second nature; his touches, his caresses, the way he looked at her. Now she noticed them again not as something new but almost like a phantom limb. As quickly as he touched her he had withdrawn and Devin looked between him and where he had been before. There was no rewinding time. Hadn’t Preston told her that? That past was the past and there was no way to fix it but what there was now, was a blank future. That more than anything gave Devin hope. Her fingers relinquished their hold on the bedrail to seek his hand. It was awkward and fumbling but in the end familiar how hers slid so perfectly between his.
Devin wanted to answer him. Tell him that she needed him, needed them, needed him to tell him he loved her and would never leave her… not now… not again. But all that she could produce was a shake of her head to his questions. He was trying to be comforting, be supportive and she did smile at him for that, for caring, for being there. It was almost like an electric shock when he touched her belly and looked at her. “She definitely gets it from you… and your taste in music… I tried to get her to like Mozart but the only thing that would keep her from kicking all night was heavy metal.” Maybe it would guilt him maybe it wouldn’t, but Devin looked at him sure that he knew even in his absence that she still thought of him, that she still brought his presence to their children in the few ways she could.
Swallowing, Devin reached out her hand to brush the bangs away from his eyes. Her hand shook as much from nerves as the discomfort she was in. Fingers lingered over his ear as she waited for him to push the gesture away, flinch, do anything. Hand settled on his scruffy cheek, thumb tracing the scratchy jaw line as she gazed into desperate and pleading green eyes. “I love you,” she told him needing to say it even if he didn’t need to hear it. Through all the pain and hurt, the depression, the tears and realizations, that one fact had never changed. Until death did they part and even after she’d love the man that came back to her, that hurt her, that hopefully still loved her in the ways he had spoken and promised before.
Another contraction had her drawing back and scrunching her face up in determination. “I think it’s time,” she said on an exhalation. Though it was time for their daughter to meet her family, Devin also meant it was time for them to heal… to be them again, to be a family.
Shane Moran - May 1, 2012 04:35 AM (GMT)
Time was his enemy; there was simply no other way to put it. Guilt was always there, but it was so familiar now it was as second nature as was breathing, though arguably much more labored. Surrounded by the stench of disinfectant, smothered by something that was probably supposed to mask that, and wafting of the fuel and the grease of his environs, Shane was alienated in more ways than one.
Voices, impulses in his brain, from some place deep down, nagged at him, urging him back out the way he had come towards the door. Though there was nothing out there waiting for him still something beckoned and with restless wandering eyes he kept looking, the glances fleeting, embarrassed, but there none the less. He didn't want Devin to think that it was because of her but knew as a female that was exactly the way she would think; there was no avoiding that. It was for that reason then that he flinched as she touched him and nothing more. It was reactive and wary.
Dry-mouthed and anxious he smiled and swallowed so loud it almost blocked his throat. Heat infused his face anew. The touch was needed, oh god how he had missed it, needed it more than air or life itself, but now it was there he couldn't appreciate it. It was impulsive but a knee-jerk reaction, the same tightness in his chest that reminded him of the one too many times he had screwed up to the point he was one snatch-hair away from losing it all.
And to think not that long ago he'd been almost willing to throw it all away.
Still the corners of his lips lifted in some small semblance of a smile, some weak gesture that he didn't even have to think about, and that, in some small way was just like how it used to be. That tiny flicker of familiarity indeed made him smile as much as the touch itself. She still loved him, she still cared, but he didn't know why or how. It was the one great elephant in the room, besides himself, that he couldn't avoid as much as he wanted to. Still, it was met with silence and not what she wanted to hear. The seconds passed awkwardly, fast yes, but far too empty. It wasn't until Devin was buckled up and grimacing again that Shane realized he had missed his verbal queue to admit his feelings back to her and again the wrong message had no doubt been sent.
A guttural wince emanated from the big man's chest as he weathered the steely grip of her fingers squeezing his in pain.
Double entendre missed, Shane gave an agreeable nod, his insides swelling with nervous anticipation at the prospect of impending fatherhood very soon. His smile grew, again though it continued to waver, he stepped back just enough to allow the midwife through who seemed intent to check Devin's vitals. Memories flickered and were relied upon, reminding him now without Devin's once soothing voice telling him that everything was normal and that everything was going to be okay, that every sound and movement and every minute development was normal and all part of God's great mysterious plan for their family. Shane's brow pinched as he watched his wife going through the motions, the waves of pain. He gave her hand, of which he had never let go, intermittent squeezes, as much a show of support as it was a chance to get some blessed circulation back.
When things started to happen they happened too damn fast.
Prepped and positioned in stirrups Devin held the room captive; all focus was on her, as much as Shane tried to pretend otherwise. The doctor whisked in; a flick of white coat tails and the mood succinctly changed. At least Shane thought it was a doctor. Standing beside his wife, the very picture of unnerved support, he couldn't see much over Devin's raised knees or the material draped across. Like he hadn't seen the horror story down there before, he thought with a slight and then sickened grimace.
She was told to push... then wait... then keep waiting... and the wait was worse than anything, as far as Shane was concerned. Leaning down on his elbows he burrowed his weight against the corner of the mattress and swapped hands with his wife who by now was sweating, shaking, and hot-faced. Somehow, miraculously, she was still beautiful to him in ways that he didnā€™t need words to convey. Hovering close, able to taste her anguished breaths as she gave in to another almighty push, Shane brushed the sticky strands of hair back from Devin's face. His lips swept across her brow and lingered. "Almost there, you're doin' great. Almost there, babe," he heard himself mutter, succinctly aware of the pride trickling in as much as the lingering anxiety of imminent rejection.
Giving her hand another squeeze, Shane closed his eyes, rested his brow against the side of hers and let go a breath in time with hers. It was in some small way cathartic and much needed. He was fighting urges to rip his chest open and let his heart come pouring out right then and there at the worst possible time simply because he was exhausted and elated and terrified and could feel those same fears emanating from his wife. He wanted to tell her so much but was stopped by that sound... that hacking raspy shrill cry that suddenly rang out. And there, held aloft for the briefest of moments, covered in white and red and looking blue and fragile, lay the breath-taking vision of his new baby girl.
(sorry if format is screwy, on a different connection than usual, will edit when am back home :))
Devin Moran - May 2, 2012 12:12 AM (GMT)
Things were moving fast… too fast. There had to be a pause button. Something she could press to make time slow down and her able to take a deep long breath. She needed more time with Shane… just her and him. She needed to hear that he loved her still, that he was with her, that he was never going anywhere again. But there wasn’t time. After all these weeks everything now had sped up to be impossibly fast and there just wasn’t time any more.
The midwife came and then the nurses wheeling in all sorts of items. Her eyes looked to Shane needing him to tell her that everything was going to be okay. For days… weeks… months she had been saying it to herself but now she needed him to say it. His voice in that low rumbling way was reassuring it made her believe in what he was saying when every other voice in her head created doubts.
Hand gripped his tightly, strangling his fingers. Apologies came out but there was nothing she could do at that moment but use him every time her body felt pain. Either the medication was wearing off or they hadn’t dosed her with enough. The doctor looked like he wasn’t going to be of help either in that department. It was too much. Even a second time she didn’t feel like she could do it but it was a little late for that. The doctor gave instructions as nurses bustled around doing their tasks. At the fifth attempt at pushing she was about to give up and tell them to just cut Caitie out.
Devin was exhausted.
In every way that a human being could be she was; physically, mentally… emotionally.
But then he was there with his brow against hers, his lips pressing kisses against her glistening brow. His fingers squeezed hers back. It was the closest she had felt to him in months. He was coaching her, touching her, being there for her when she needed him without her telling him. It was that which had her sitting up a bit straighter. A deep breath and Devin shook with effort. Collapsing back against the bed she closed her eyes as his brow touched hers relishing the contact as the sound of their daughter echoed in the room. When brown eyes opened they looked at that bundle all wrinkled and pink and wrapped in a blanket cleaned up a bit.
Their daughter was handed over and as much as she tried not to cry there were tears as she held their daughter for the first time. “Hello Caitlin May, we’re your mommy and daddy,” she said softly to the still hiccupping babe. So distracted by their daughter, showing her to Shane, relishing in this new start they had that Devin missed the looks between the doctors and the nurses.
Their expressions were cold and worried as they spoke in hushed tones.
”Mr Moran, could I talk to you?,” the doctor more told than asked. ”Sir… do you know your blood type? Your wife has lost a lot of blood and it’s possible what with how late the pregnancy went there was a hemorrhage. Surgery might have to happen but we may be able to get her better with a transfusion first. Unless there’s a reason you can’t donate what I’d like to do is have you be the donor if you match… our supplies are low. I don’t want to worry you…but if we don’t start treating her now there’s a possibility she may bleed out.”
Shane Moran - May 3, 2012 03:34 AM (GMT)
There was simply no words... there was nothing like it. Suspended in that moment watching hands sweep afterbirth off new skin, Shane was grinning hard and unable to feel anything. Attentions were fixed solely on Caity, on her little fingers reaching heaven-ward, clawing absently before being tucked away beneath the pink swaddling cloth safely. There was a sense of perfection about it, that entire scene, the moment, the realization that a miracle had just taken place, to really stop and take notice of the elongated pauses and wary looks in his peripheral vision. The delay of euphoria eventually drew Shane's gaze from his wife and baby girl to a grave face and a look he wasn't prepared for. In that split second his stomach dropped.
"Mr Moran, could I talk to you...?"¯
It's not twins is it? He wanted to joke, but the words dried up on his tongue as his smile followed a cold premature death. Suddenly the room seemed fuller now, heavier, burdened with a sense of something big rushing upon them. The squeaks of the newborn and the worn sobs of her mother echoed back from some surreal distance as Shane nodded at the doctor in acknowledgement. He was running on adrenalin alone by this point, so the details were soaked in, absorbed, but not recognized fully until his tired brain had had a chance to fully process it.
Turning his head the Texan studied Devin as she lay there against the sweat-soaked sheets. Her hold seemed weak, her face still hot pink but too pale beneath that, around her mouth, beneath her eyes, and her breathing... No, shaking his head initially Shane turned back to the doctor with arms folded and refused to believe it. It wasn't so much that he couldn't, he didn't want to. Things weren't supposed to be like that, he thought soberly, hadn't they, hadn't she, already been put through enough? What kind of cruel joke was this? He wanted to laugh, but the grave stare of the physical gave him pause enough to comprehend the gravity of the situation. Taking the doctor by the arm Shane led him a few feet away from the bed and turned as though to intimidate him.
"What do you mean, bleed out? What the hell is this?"¯ Arms gesticulated the room; the beeping machines that were in the process of being switched off or tended by blank-faced nurses and midwives pretending not to be paying attention with fake adoration for the miracle they had just witnessed as though ignoring the presence of death in the room. Jaw clenched Shane turned his head, his arms once again folded across his chest in indignation. Beyond the doctor's back, over his shoulder, Devin lay no doubt anxious as to the sudden shift in temperature. Shane tried for what it was worth to give her a reassuring smile before returning his attentions to the other man. Fingers dropped to tug at his sleeve even as eye contact remained terse and steadfast and equally determined. "You do what you have to,"¯ he said. He wasn't about to admit needles terrified him, or did he actually consider that even as he presented his vein to be tapped. Stooped closer to the doctor, and the nurse that appeared to assist with tourniquet and a syringe and length of clear pipe, Shane kept his tone low so as to not be overheard even if he well knew by now Devin would have had to be worried. Just when he thought he was done keeping secrets from her...
"You save her,"¯ he said, and his lowered face and stern tone brimmed with more conviction than he himself thought possible in recent months. "You hear me? Take it all, I don't care. She walks out of here, even if I don't"¯ Being led backwards to a seat Shane gave Devin another comforting smile that even he felt didn't properly set convincingly upon his haggard face. Chest swollen with love and pride and overflowing with all the words he wanted to say now left too late all he could do was sit there and smile. "It's okay,"¯ he lied from across the room, "It's all gonna be okay."¯ He wasn't even sure if Devin was aware of that now, unable to see her from the human traffic fussing around the mother and child. Now, blocked out, all Shane could do was sit there and hope and pray that the simple gesture was enough to make things better again: the alternative at that point was simply too much for his mind to take.
Devin Moran - May 3, 2012 04:07 AM (GMT)
There were no words in the English dictionary that could describe her feelings. For a moment she was transported back in time to the first moment she had held Connor. But this… this was their second miracle. A baby that wasn’t supposed to ever be but was gifted to them. Even with all the recent events Devin would forever look back on this day with a fondness. From the first time she held her daughter in her arms she fell in love. That love however wasn’t enough to beat the exhaustion she felt.
It seemed to be getting worse with the adrenaline now fading from her system and the drugs wearing off. She was going to ask if Shane wanted to hold his daughter, ask him how beautiful, how perfect he thought she was. When her head lolled towards him but he was gone, talking to the doctor in hushed tones. Something wasn’t right. She could feel it niggling at the back of her head but now it was there. Babe was stripped from her arms saying that they were going to give her a PICU score and get her weighed and measured and re-examined. Devin nodded but her eyes went back to Shane.
Every moment it was harder to keep them open and so she was glad that they took their baby girl before something happened. A nurse started a new iv in her and Devin was looking to Shane for answers as he was placed in the chair next to her bed.
"It's all gonna be okay."
She believed him. After all the hurt, all the broken trust, and all the pain… she believed him in that moment as a needle pierced his skin and his blood was taken. He could have said no, he could have left, he could have done a number of things but he was staying with her even when something was wrong… he was assuring her that things were fine and she needed that… she needed him.
Her hand reached out for his, taking it as the doctor spoke. Devin didn’t hear him her focus was solely on the man who had saved her life in more than one way, the man that had also broken her heart to pieces. Squeezing his fingers, she tried to smile. The doctor said something about a match and that the blood was safe. Brown eyes watched as the bag by Shane filled with red liquid. He was giving her blood… something was wrong and they needed blood and Shane…. after everything… he might not have said he loved her in words but Devin knew there was hope for them still… they could fix it just like he was fixing her.
“I love you,” she murmured to him holding his hand a little bit tighter and blinking heavy eyes in his direction.
One moment she was talking to him and the next she came to seeing him standing there holding something in his arms, peering down at it. There were flashes in her memory of medical staff shouting of monitors going off, of hands on her. She could remember someone saying it worked that there would be nothing to worry about and they were out of the woods.
“Hey,” she said pushing herself up to sit in the bed. “Come here,” she requested of him. She wanted to curl up against his chest in a way she hadn’t for a long time. For just this moment she wanted to forget the past few months and live in the right now. “Thank you… for what you did.” It probably sounded odd but to Devin he didn’t have to. He had left… he didn’t have to save her life if he could do that.
“How is she?”
Shane Moran - May 3, 2012 05:03 AM (GMT)
Sitting there, waiting, watching the blood leave him, all Shane could think about was time squandered. Had he not been here, had he been late for the birth or just not shown up or tucked tail and run... of course he couldn't admit freely the prospect of just what might have happened had he followed instinct, the same that had led him from the family home in the first place and into the arms of another somewhere else. Of course all he could do was smile weakly and pray that not only could Devin not read his thoughts but that she would also find it in her heart to forgive him yet another of his endless trespasses.
It was with a degree of sadness Shane's smile softened thinking back briefly to the day they had met as strangers on the road outside his bachelor apartment the day before they were forcibly married. How much would her life had been different, and better off, had she not stuck around for him this long after all the shit he kept putting her through? Had he the will or the words to tell her Shane wanted to make amends of course, but comparatively felt menial. All he could do was sit there and wait those endless minutes, smiling limply, pretending that things were run of the mill, pretending too that the fussing over Caity was all normal, that no there was nothing else wrong, that all of this was just how it was supposed to be, so that he didn't have to open his mouth and lie to Devin's face one more time. He didn't think neither she nor he at that point would have been capable of handling it after everything else.
Fingers squeezed back around hers as Devin professed her feelings and opened her heart the same way she always did despite the state she lay in. Shane's eyes lazily and hesitantly at first trailed the sheets up her arm, over her breast, her collarbone, down the dip of her neck, and up to her face, but by the time his mouth was pursed ready to speak Devin was no longer conscious and so for the time being Shane remained silent. Worries held for his wife were transferred to the squeaking squirming bundle in the care of the nurse with exhaustion taking a back seat to that same old sense of pride and wonder and ownership in the babe's existence. Having been through it once before didn't rob him of the love he felt at this new little life that was part him and part Devin; the physical personification of perfection all over anew.
Weary and wan and slowly coming back down to earth Shane remained stiffened in his seat, dry-mouthed and anxious as the nurse gestured Caity towards him. A second glance aside at Devin and Shane nodded, his expression torn and sorry, wishing she could see this, wishing she were awake, almost begging permission that was given in her slumber to sit there nursing their baby daughter in his arms. Shane was shaking and grinning widely as he gently wrapped his arms around Caity and jostled her as almost seemed second nature now.
"Heeeeey... Hey there..." Again Shane lifted his eyes and smile towards Devin. There was no response. His smile dampened. To Caity he said quietly, "I'm your daddy..."¯ Though he knew she didn't understand, though he knew it was all baby-talk quite literally, even nonsense was better than the never-ending silence.
Soon enough the doctors and nurses left but not without assurances that Devin was going to be fine and out of the woods 'once she was rested.' Free of the syringe, bandaged, free to walk the room slowly Shane basked in the presence of his new baby girl. It still felt so unreal that any kind of physical exertion was of a benefit; it grounded him and made things more real, more tangible. Hearing a voice though smartly snapped his attentions aside. "Hey,"¯ he replied automatically. With babe in his arms Shane froze feeling guilty as though caught out doing something wrong. Truth was he was just overwhelmingly relieved to have Devin up and speaking that his blush was in part longing too.
A grin escaped before being reeled in and hidden beneath fallen bangs. Caity blinked her weary eyes, unfocussed though as she was and unable to note her father's wordless gesture with a nod to join his wife on the bed. Quietly approaching he stood a moment before lowering to sit beside her and turn to shift babe from his arms into her mother's. "It's nothing,"¯ he said, voice low and dry and husky after the stress of the day. With Caity in Devin's arms Shane settled to curl a leg up and shifted his weight to rest upon an arm outstretched behind her back. "She's beautiful isn't she? Perfect..." Though he wanted to say more he didn't. Turning his head Shane caught Devin's eye, smiled slightly, and sighed without confession. With free hand he stroked Caity's crown a moment, so tiny beneath his calloused palm. The silence enveloped them but was for once a welcome burden smothering them with a sense of unity and togetherness. It was the first time Shane managed a yawn in what felt like forever holding inside.
"I thought I lost you," he said, as if speaking to the child. It took a moment before he had shifted his attentions upwards to make eye contact with Devin. Plucking stray matted tendrils of hair from her brow Shane smiled again and for the first time in a long time felt as though he truly meant it.
Devin Moran - May 3, 2012 05:48 AM (GMT)
Weak limbs took the babe into her hold. She was tiny… smaller than Connor and he was early. The little girl just seemed so much more delicate. There were so many things she wanted to tell Caitie, and so many things that she wanted her daughter to never know. She wanted Caitie to never know that her father had left, that he hurt her mother beyond any other pain in the world. What she did want Caitie to know that on the day she was born her father sacrificed a part of himself so she could have a mother… that he was a hero… that no matter what he’d always and forever be the man that Devin was in love with. If he hadn’t come back… Devin was sure she’d hold a torch forever waiting for him to walk back through the door.
“She is… she’s everything… she’s a miracle.” There daughter was an angel and Devin wanted to give her and Connor the world. They deserved a family… they deserved everything in the world.
Holding onto their child, looking down at the tiny face, Devin would sneak glances at Shane. It was at one of these moments that his words hit home. Looking at him, Devin leaned a bit towards him so her brow was pressed against his temple. “You didn’t… you won’t,” she assured him nuzzling her nose against his cheek. For the first time in months she felt at pace. Her heart wasn’t burdened like it had been before. It felt like she could breathe again.
“I’m here… “ Lips pressed against his stubbled jawline. She was a drug addict begging for a fix almost. His scent, his touch, the sound of his voice… it was ensnaring her. Devin could get lost in him she had and it nearly destroyed her life. Part of her told her to stop, to push him away before he hurt her again but her heart was screaming at her to stay to enjoy to love him completely because he was it. She had pledged as much to him a year before and she wasn’t going back on her word now.
Lips pulled away from his skin even though she wanted to place them against his. It had been so long and she had been so desperate. “I want to be us again,” she admitted to him. It was the elephant in the room they hadn’t talked about in weeks but now with a clean slate before them it seemed like the best time to confront it even if it was just by glazing over the issue right now. “I want to be a family… I want you.” He was her husband, her soulmate, the man that held her captive with a look and could make her heart ache with a simple word.
Eyes watered with unshed tears. Looking down at Caity who was now fast asleep, Devin smiled as tiny fingers curled around the swaddling blanket. Leaning back just a bit she settled against Shane’s chest and shoulder.
Shane Moran - May 4, 2012 01:17 AM (GMT)
Maybe it was just exhaustion but Shane could feel his eyes sting, provoked by the look his wife was giving him. Added to that was the low forlorn timbre of her voice practically begging him essentially not to leave; regardless what she meant to his ears and mind all Shane heard was desperation and despair. It was a huge burden and one that threatened to crush him, that he hadn’t properly experienced since moving to Evergreen to start down this path. He couldn’t explain it because he couldn’t fully understand and doubted that he ever would why he felt the way he did. What he’d wanted so long, what he’d fought so hard for, longed for, convinced himself that he needed in order to feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life was the very thing that threatened at times to suffocate and choke the life from him. It was ridiculous of course but he wanted his cake and to eat it too; there was no such thing as a happy medium between marriage and bachelorhood. Either way a sacrifice had to be made, and looking back with a tired heart and mind Shane full-well recognized where his previous sins had led him. It still didn’t make him want them any less.
With her kiss confirming her pledge Devin seemed at peace however, and for a moment appeared reluctant to withdraw. While he rested his head against her it was gone in a flash, any previous passion that had once bordered on ravenous had been replaced by awkward distance and longing. It was a return to the early days of their union testing the proverbial waters and getting to know where the boundaries lay all over again. A sigh escaped through his chest and nose in one heavy sound.
For a few moments at least they appeared to be the family they had once been, joined in a tangle of limbs and sharing the same wondrous weary look of adoration at the sleeping babe nestled in her mother’s arms. Outside the suite, beyond the closed doors, muffled footsteps passed and conversation droned, a reminder that life continued on out there outside the room threatening to chip away at this perfection they had temporarily built. Sweeping a hand down his face again Shane uttered another sigh. The bristles of stubble grated exaggeratedly loud. Fingers pushed back his hair. Opening his mouth he attempted to speak, then stopped, forming an apologetic smile that died prematurely with a dip of his chin. Fixing his attention on Caitie Shane stroked his daughter’s cheek with the back of a knuckle.
“I know,” was all he said to start. His throat knocked loudly. “I... want you too, I do, I just...”
Giving in to the silence Shane withdrew his arm, sat stiffer, and shifted eventually to take up the seat once again beside Devin’s hospital bed. The springs groaned as he settled forward over parted knees. “Babe I don’t... want to rush things.” Again Shane groaned as he swept back his hair. “That’s not what I meant.” He fumbled for the words to come caught up in an agitated restless silence. Shifting to the edge of his chair he slid an arm around Devin’s back atop the pillows. The contact was there but still it seemed, it felt awkward and in part forced. Trying to smile through colorless lips he said, “We’ve just... been through so much. And after what I put you through... and the kids... I don’t want to keep hurting you. Maybe it’s for the best of we don’t rush into things this time?”
Devin Moran - May 4, 2012 02:28 AM (GMT)
He slipped away from her. She wanted to grab him and pull him back, wrap his arms around her and just for a moment close her eyes and pretend. How long had she waited for just this? Now that she had it again it was slipping through her fingers and she couldn’t stop it. Instead she had to settle for the meager touch he gave as if that was the most he could offer. They were getting nowhere walking on egg shells, taking time, figuring things out. She hadn’t figured out anything and ended up just getting so much more confused than she had been at the start. “I don’t want to rush either… but… I can’t…” She couldn’t what? Devin wasn’t sure what she was trying to say except that the last two months… the last six months weren’t working for her. She couldn’t live like that not again. “I can’t keep living like strangers,” she mumbled before bowing her head to press a kiss to Caitie’s tiny brow not able to look at Shane as she took a shaky breath.
Most of all she wanted him to hold her. Pull her against his chest and press a kiss to her brow and promise he was there, that he wasn’t going anywhere, that she didn’t have to worry any more. It would take time, she knew that but she didn’t want to sleep in a bed where the other side still felt empty when it was occupied. The house felt less like a home and her husband felt more like a roommate. “Every day I wanted you to come home… I wanted our children to have their father back.”
It hurt to speak the words remembering how much those days ate at her, how far she let herself go. “And you’re home but… you’re still gone… and,” she took a breath and finally looked to him for some sort of assurance, for some sort of sign. “And I know it’s my fault too… I just, I don’t know where to start.” She had kept him at arm’s length since his return and to that she accepted blame but it was hard to let him in when her head kept reminding her that he could walk out that door again and this time never come back.
“I love you… I did every day… I do every day…” Maybe it was the blood loss from earlier or her exhaustion but she couldn’t say that enough to him. Even at his worst she loved him so completely. She was his Dev, forever and always. “I think…” she was taking a chance here knowing that he’d be adverse but hopefully the pleading look in her eyes would convince him. “I think we should go see someone… a counselor.” Devin would take very chance, every opportunity to save her marriage and she hoped Shane would too if not for them ten for their children. Caitie and Connor deserved parents who wouldn’t give up.
Shane Moran - May 4, 2012 03:14 AM (GMT)
Watching her bow to kiss their child Shane interlocked his fingers and bowed his head with an internalized sigh. Devin’s words even left unfinished had punctured his heart just as they were possibly intended. He didn’t even know where to start making her understand where he was coming from much less the will to try. Instead resigned to silence Shane sat staring off into space between the bed and the floor listening to the silence encroach on the end of unfulfilled conversation. He nodded again at her profession of love. There was no return or any need to and it had to show on a sharp unkempt face; stark contrast it was to the images he remembered with bittersweet regard on the mantelpiece back on Green Street. “I know,” was all he would admit to.
The last thing he expected to hear had him looking up suddenly with open shock dulled in dubiousness as he smiled albeit briefly at what Devin had broached. “Counselor?” he repeated as though some punch line of an unfunny joke. Though he chuckled quietly it was more raspy than humorous as he stared a moment longer before realization had him nodding his head again. Chin once more lowered to brush against the crumpled collar of his work shirt. Thumbs lifted from their steeple to press into his brow. He didn’t want her to see the look on his face and didn’t know anymore where it belonged anyway, the concept was so unbelievable.
The moments passed and the silence was broken by footsteps approaching the door. A soft knock heralded a nurse’s entrance into the room who strolled to the bed ignoring whatever moment she may have been in the process of interrupting and leaned over to take a look of mother and child. “They’re so beautiful at this age,” she said, and then proceeded to wordlessly gesture Caitlin into her arms. Questions were given, more directed at Devin’s state of health than Shane who sat back relegated to passive observer now to the scene playing before him. Had he not felt invisible before he did now, smiling with tight lips and glassy eyes, he eventually pushed his chair back and stood to Devin’s obvious distress. The nurse was busy taking Devin’s vitals so she was in no position to get up and follow. With Caitie in her hospital issue plastic crib Shane was free to leave and took the opportunity to do so. Though he felt like he was abandoning them all over again, the nod he gave and duly received from the nurse reassured him that this was for now for the best; mother and child needed their rest and there was no place for Shane there now filling up an otherwise empty room with equally empty sentiment.
Pushing the chair back to its proper place against the wall he eventually returned to the side of the bed and took Devin’s hand in his to give a weak reassuring squeeze. Bowing Shane pressed his lips to his wife’s brow. He could give her his blood but he could not give her much else much less his thoughts on seeking outside help for their relationship; to do so would be the ultimate admission of guilt and failure. Instead he uttered against her warm skin that he loved her too and to get some rest. He stood, released her hand, and after a moment’s pause rounded the bed to walk away. At the door though he felt her eyes on him Shane didn’t turn around. It wasn’t until he drew the door to a close behind him that he felt the weight physically lift from his shoulders and allowed him the chance to properly breathe.