I wasn't sure if she would, but I also knew she'd have to chain Kellan up if she wanted him to stay put. "Okay, I'll see you then. Good luck."
"Yeah, you too." He laughed dryly.
When we pulled up to the emergency room of one the many hospitals in the city, I quickly texted Denny. We had a plethora of friends back home who would want to know Anna was having her baby tonight, so I asked him to relay the message. Griffin was helping Anna out of the car so I hopped out and ran around to help him. Between the two of us, we got her to the emergency room doors. She kept trying to squat, like she had to pee. Hoping she wasn't doing what I think she was doing, I urgently told her, "Don't push yet, Anna, we're almost there."
Her eyes flashed over to mine. "It's not exactly something I can control. You have no idea what this feels like!"
"I know, just try," I nodded.
Heads looked up when the three of us entered the peaceful room; thankfully it was a slow night. Griffin met eyes with a nurse at the desk. "We need help! My wife's about to pop."
A small bit of relief washed through me that Griffin had managed to state what he needed without cursing. The nurse hopped up and grabbed a wheelchair for Anna. She handed Griffin a clipboard of paperwork. "I'll need you to fill out these while I admit her."
Griffin looked at the stack of papers like they were written in a foreign language. "I'm not filling out f**king forms while my wife gives birth. Are you f**king crazy, lady?"
Exhaling in exasperation, I snatched the clipboard from Griffin. So much for him not swearing. "I'll fill them out. You go with Anna." To the nurse, I added, "We think her water already broke."
The nurse nodded and started wheeling Anna through the double doors. Griffin was right on her heels. Before he disappeared, he tossed over his shoulder, "Thanks, Kiera."
I sighed and sat down, knowing that my nephew was most likely going to be born while I was filling out the damn paperwork. But Anna and Griffin doing this alone seemed appropriate.
When I finished with the clipboard, I handed it to the nurse who'd admitted my sister. She told me where Anna had been taken. I passed by a gift shop on the way there and stopped to buy my sister a blue teddy bear. Feeling the silky blue ribbon wrapped around the bear's neck, I made my way up to the birthing rooms.
Walking over to the nurse's station, I started to ask for Anna's room when I spotted Griffin. He was walking down the hall in a daze. A stream of fear washed through me at the look on his face. Walking past me, he slumped into a chair in the waiting room. Torn between talking to him and rushing to my sister's side, I tentatively sat beside him. "Griffin? You . . . okay?"
His face still blank, he looked over at me. His pale eyes were wider than I'd ever seen. "That . . . was . . . the most . . . disgusting thing . . . I've ever seen."
My fear vanished. She was okay. I patted his knee and his expression changed. Peace filled his face. "And the most incredible." His eyes filled to the brim and I felt my throat tightening. "You should have seen Anna, Kiera. She was so brave." I nodded and had the oddest desire to hug him. Before I could he added, "You can see her now. She's absolutely beautiful . . . perfect, just like her mom."
It took a minute for what he'd said to register. "She? Anna had a girl?"
Griffin nodded as a tear rolled down his cheek. "Damn tech was wrong. Anna was right . . . She usually is." My hands flew to my mouth as a sob escaped me. Then I tossed my arms around Griffin and held him tight. He laughed and cried in my arms, and I felt something for Griffin that I had never felt before-a deep, familial love.
Drying my cheeks, I hopped up out of the chair. "What room?"
Standing, Griffin pointed down the hall he'd just come from. "There. I'll take you."
My sister looked drained and radiant as we walked into the room. She was holding a tiny bundle wrapped in pink blankets and wearing a pastel striped hat. I started crying again. When Anna looked up at me, her cheeks were wet. "I did it, Kiera."
I leaned down to hug her, overwhelmed. "I knew you would do great." She adjusted the tiny person resting on her chest so I could see the baby's face. She was plump, pink perfection, with pudgy cheeks that begged to be kissed. Like she knew I was watching, she opened her slate blue eyes and gazed at me. Her mouth opened, like she was already trying to smile. Griffin was right, she was absolutely breathtaking, quite possibly the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. No, she definitely was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.
One small hand was free of the blankets encasing her, and I gently reached out to touch her. Her fingers instinctively wrapped around my pinky, and I sobbed again. Lifting the blue bear in my other hand, I told Anna, "I guess I need to go exchange this for a pink one."
Anna nodded. "I told that cow I was having a girl."
As I stroked the baby's fingers, I asked them both, "So . . . Myrtle, huh?"
Anna scoffed. "No. There was no way I was naming my baby Myrtle. We picked something better."
I looked between the two of them. When had they picked out another girl name? They'd been dead set on Maximus for months. Griffin smirked, and I started to worry about just what they'd named my niece.
"Her name's Gibson." He gestured in the air like he was playing a guitar, and I understood the reference. Gibson was a brand of guitars. It was kind of a strange name for a baby, especially a baby girl, but it was the perfect name for a rock star's child. I immediately fell in love with it.
Smiling, I kissed her cheek. "Hello, Gibson, it's so nice to finally meet you."
A thought struck me, and I glanced up at my beaming sister. My mom had been calling my sister nonstop for the last two weeks, trying to fly out to Seattle so she wouldn't miss the birth. Anna had been delaying her, telling her it was too soon to fly out. Honestly, I think she just didn't want to tell her that she wasn't in Seattle like Mom and Dad thought. Mom was going to be furious that she'd missed her first grandchild being born.
"Anna," I piped up. "Mom's going to kill us."
Chapter 24: Cuteness and Cruelty
Anna and I both decided that we'd call our parents in the morning. They'd already missed the birth, so what was a few more hours of ignorance? And besides, Anna didn't want to think about what she was going to do yet, and our parents would want an answer. Anna just wanted peace and quiet with her new baby girl.
I read my book in the corner of the room while Anna slept and Griffin held Gibson. He stared down at her like he couldn't take his eyes off of her. He couldn't stop smiling either. I'd never seen Griffin so completely happy. Every once and a while, Gibson would do something cute and Griffin would giggle. I'd never heard him laugh like that. It was adorable, and my book-reading quickly faded into Griffin-watching.
Adjusting her cap, Griffin stroked her thin, fine hair. Smiling, he looked up at me. "I think she's going to be blond, like me." He looked down at her again, adoration on his face. "I hope she has Anna's eyes, though." They were a dark blue-gray now, but the nurse had told us that most babies were born with eyes that color. They settled into the color they were going to have for life within the first year. I'd found that really interesting, but I was a little surprised that Griffin had retained that bit of information.
It was late when Kellan showed up with Evan and Matt, just on the verge of it being too late for them to visit at all. But I'd been coming back from the vending machine in the waiting room, and I'd watched Kellan smile his way through the nurse's station. Of course they'd let him visit. He probably could have gotten them to find him a cot and give him a sponge bath.
All of the boys were dressed differently than I'd last seen them. Kellan had gone on stage in a plain, short-sleeved red shirt, but his shirt under his leather jacket was now white. It made me smile that they'd freshened up for this.
Intent on finding Anna, Kellan didn't see me as he walked away with the boys. Suppressing a giggle, I strode up behind him and pinched his backside. He jumped about a foot in the air and spun around. "Hey, stranger, come here often?" I asked.
Kellan relaxed when he realized it was just me attacking him. "Not if I can help it," he answered.
Even though he'd received directions, I pointed out Anna's room. "She's in there."
I bit my lip in excitement as the boys hurried to see the newest member of their family. I'd texted them after Gibson was born, to let them know Anna and the baby were okay, but we'd all decided to not tell them the sex. Anna wanted it to be a surprise.
Matt beat everyone through the door to get a glimpse of his newest relative. Evan was a step behind him. Kellan and I trailed in last. Anna was awake now, but still resting in bed. Griffin was still holding his daughter, angling her up so Matt could see her. "She's totally got my nose, right?"
Matt was in complete shock. "You had a girl?" He looked between Anna and Griffin. "Congratulations, she's beautiful."
Griffin beamed like he'd done all the work, when really he'd had the briefest part in Gibson's creation. "Thanks."
Anna smiled at the pride on Griffin's face, then pointed to the sink along the far wall. "Wash up and you can hold her."
Watching these normally jovial and carefree rock stars juggling the tiny person between them like she was made of nuclear material made me laugh. When Gibson finally made her way to Kellan, he wiped his palms on his jeans. "I'm so nervous right now," he whispered to me. "What if I drop her?"
I rubbed his shoulder as I whispered back, "Don't worry, you're good with women."
Kellan rolled his eyes at me and gingerly took Gibson from Evan's hands. The grin that came over him as he looked down on her made my eyes mist over. Kellan holding a child . . . I'd thought he looked completely natural on stage, but that was nothing compared to this. Kellan had so much love to give; it was written all over his face.
Turning to me, he murmured, "She smells good. Why does she smell so good?" Since I often wondered why he smelled so good, I could only shrug.
He lightly swayed with her as he made silly faces, trying to get her to smile. I wiped a tear off of my cheek as I watched him. When he leaned down to rub his nose against hers, and she tried to suck on it, I had to look away before I started sobbing. I could almost feel the I-want-a-child hormones kicking in. But first things first-I had a wedding to get through next month.
My eyes found my sister's. She had tears in her own eyes as she watched her child being loved on. She pointed at Kellan and mouthed, "He needs a baby." Then she pointed at me and gestured with her hands over her much smaller stomach. I shook my head at her and reiterated my earlier thought-First things first.
Matt was taking about a hundred pictures on his phone. I already had about a bazillion on mine, but I pulled it out again to get some of Gibson and Kellan. Grinning ear to ear, Matt looked over at Griffin. "I'm gonna send some of these to Mom and Dad. You call your parents yet?"
Griffin nodded. "Yeah, they want us to fly her out to L.A. as soon as the tour's over." Griffin and Matt were both originally from Los Angeles and still had family in the area, on the other side of town from where the record label's house was. They'd both visited their parents while we'd been staying down there, but had mainly stayed at the label's place. Griffin had told me once that it was, "Hella nicer than my parents' spread."
Wondering what they were going to do in the meantime, I thought about broaching the subject with my sister. Matt beat me to it, though. Face serious, he told Griffin, "The tour is moving on tonight. What are the two of you going to do?"
Griffin looked over at Anna, his face torn. "We have to be on the bus when it leaves. I have to go with them."
Anna nodded as she swallowed. "I know."
Looking over at Kellan, I told Anna, "I'll stay here with you, Anna." When Kellan swung his eyes my way, I looked over at my sister. "I'm sure you'll be discharged tomorrow if everything looks good. Then I'll take you home . . . to Mom and Dad. You can stay there and rest up until the wedding."
Anna looked forlorn as she contemplated staying with our parents for the next month. What else could she do, though? If she flew back to Seattle, she'd have to fly twice with an infant during the busiest travel season of the year. That sounded really silly to me. Best to just plop her down in Ohio now. And besides, having Mom around to help would be good for Anna . . . even if she did drive her crazy.