The time had arrived. It all started with a well lit corridor that felt endless to get down through. And then it was as if time stood still. Jared had to let Maxxie go.
Of course, he remembered how Sketch had talked to him months ago about where the birth would happen. They'd had weekly lunches together. Usually at the park or the nearby diner. It was always something simple. He could imagine it that way, still. Meeting her for lunch after the baby was born. Something simple. Just a part-time dad. Well, he knew there would be more to it, than that. Surly, she would want to bond with the child. And then go on her big adventure to New York City. Well, it was planned. He'd have full custody of their child. Just not right away.
But now it was the waiting to endure. It felt so somber and just odd to Maxxie. But Sketch seemed to be OK. Possibly having fun. All right, child birth was not fun. Really. Nothing funny about it. But to mark the occasion that life wasn't just with a push and shove, but a lingering pain of agony that might take most of the day and then the night.
Why hadn't he eaten before? Well, he would have surely thrown up. And then he thought Sketch would squeeze the life out of him. So much heaving and fretting. Jesus, she was a piglet. A sweaty one at that. It clearly disgusted Maxxie. But he couldn't leave her. Her Mum had died and she never really had a Dad. It was clear to him that he was all the family she had.
Yet, even now it was clear she wanted to alienate everyone. She wasn't exactly satisfied with anything.
He went out to the corridor in hopes to find Jared, but he wasn't there. Just his Dad.
"Dad, what are you doing here?" Maxxie grinned from ear to ear. He was the last thing he expected. Wasn't his dad off at dog show these days? "Where's Mum?" Maxxie looked at him blankly.
"Don't you recall how she went off with that Frenchie from Brussels?" His Dad was quick to point out.
"What?" He must be dreaming. Had to be.
"You know, this family, you do as you please." He shrugged. But he gave Maxxie a hug told him he was proud of him. How he was so much more of a son than he'd ever imagined and hoped his daughter would be as much a gift to him as he was to his Dad. "I love ya, son."
Maxxie bit his bottom lip. He might have been sleep walking. The whole thing might not be real. But in a few moments they were reeling him in. It was happening. Really happening this time. Not just endless contractions.
Thats when the bloody mess started. It was an awful mess. But Sketch was so happy that it was over. A child was born, and it was their's. A beautiful blue-eye baby. Immediately, he got to hold the baby. The cord was clipped and he went to help clean up the child.
Maxxie was a little squeamish of the process. So much blood. That's when he noticed the nurses and the doctors coming over Sketch. So many shouts. Beeps from machines. The curtains drawn.
It made his heart ache, a little. But so did the beauty who was in his arms. She looked up at him all serious. Where did that come from? He wondered. From Sketch or himself? He went on to help with the baby. A series of tests she went through just to confirm she was normal. It was quiet now. Maxxie wasn't sure what was happening with Sketch. He wasn't sure he wanted to know.
"Does she have a name yet?" The nurse asked.
"Yes." Maxxie thought so. No going back on this one. "Zoey." He peeked around the corner then. Sketch was gone. A cold breath sprung though him. He knew this was bad. Really, bad, but Zoey was with him. It was Maxxie and Zoey now.