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Endings and Beginnings
<sequel to More Trouble, Pint Sized>
By Mary Ellen
Jim Ellison was working peacefully at his desk, enjoying the relative quiet. Sandburg was testifying in a robbery case, H and Rafe were out on stakeout, Simon was in a meeting with the police commissioner <Jim noted that he *really* needed to be out of the bullpen before Simon got back>, and Dills was doing paperwork too. Then his phone rang and everything changed.
“Ellison.” He answered shortly.
“Jim, have you or anyone up there seen Molly?” Brent’s voice was strained and breathless.
“Collins, have you misplaced a family member again?” Jim did not want to lose his good mood. “What did you do?”
“Forget it. I’ll take care of this on my own.” With that Brent hung up.
Brent looked at his two too quiet kids. “I’m sorry guys. I really messed up this time,” he apologized.
“Daddy, is mo…I mean Molly coming back?” Kyle asked. Kara didn’t say anything; she just looked sad.
“Kids, Molly wouldn’t leave either of you. I need to find her and apologize. I was wrong to yell at her. I know she’s upset about Mr. Baker.”
“Daddy,” Kara ventured then stopped.
“What sweetie?” he asked.
“Are you upset about Uncle Phil?”
Brent looked at his oldest and wondered exactly how to answer. He sure wished Molly was here. She’d know how…
He knelt down so he could look both his son and daughter in the eyes. “Yes, I’m upset that Uncle Phil died. That’s because I miss him so much. But I also know that he’s in heaven and doesn’t have any more pain.” With that he stopped, too overcome to go on.
Both kids hugged their daddy for all they were worth.
Brent gathered them up saying, “Come on. Let’s go find your moms.” He knew that was what the kids were calling Molly and he wanted them to know that it was okay with him.
Molly sighed. She was so tired. The babies were really restless and that was making it hard to drive. “Hey, you two! Mommy’s kidneys are not kick balls.” That got her another resounding kick. She wasn’t really sure where she was going. She just needed to get to a place where she could have a good cry. She knew that Brent was grieving too. He just didn’t seem to need to express it like she did. Maybe it was just hormones…
“Ouch!” That had hurt! This elderly pregnancy thing was not for the faint of heart. She pulled into a rest area and stopped the car. She always had to go to the bathroom these days. As she got up, she felt wet, really wet, from the hips down. Okay, that meant her water had broken and she needed to get to a hospital, like right away. So, where in heck was she? No clue…she hadn’t been paying attention when she drove off in a huff. How long had it been? Looking at her watch, she realized she’d been driving for more than two hours. A sudden rush of pain brought her to her knees. Damn, that hurt. Okay. Now, think. She needed to:
1. Turn on her cell phone.
2. Call 911.
3. Call Brent.
4. Get to a hospital.
5. Have these darn babies.
Okay, she had a plan. She picked up the phone and turned it on. No freaking signal. Great. Now she needed a plan B. She spotted a pay phone between the restroom facilities. Laboriously <pun intended!> she made her way over to it, picked it up, and dialed the emergency number.
Blessedly, there was an answer.
“Cascade 911. What is your emergency?”
Simon left the commissioner’s meeting in a good mood. His year end budget had balanced and there were no new cuts planned for the upcoming year. And it looked like everyone would get a raise in the New Year. He liked having good news to give to his men. They deserved it. Even the ones that kept putting gray hairs on his head. Like…
Entering the bullpen, the first thing he noticed was Ellison bellowing into the phone. It was kind of hard to miss.
“What to you mean, Collins? What kind of an insensitive clod are you?”
Okay, that meant that something was up with Ellison’s sister and her husband. Noticing that Sandburg was just letting Ellison bellow, he motioned the younger man over.
“Sandburg, do you know what’s going on?” he queried.
“Somewhat, Simon. It seems that a colleague of Brent’s and Molly’s died this week. They apparently handle grief differently. There was a verbal altercation. Molly showed the Ellison in her by taking off for parts unknown. This is particularly worrisome because…”
Simon finished for Sandburg, “…she’s eight months pregnant with twins, has hypoglycemia, and is kinda old for the giving birth thing.”
“Yeah, you got it. Could you put out an unofficial APB on her? Don’t know what she’s driving. I figured from the comments Jim’s made that she didn’t take her car and I *really* hope she’s not walking.”
“Consider it done. What are you going to do about your partner?”
“Let him and Collins keep yelling. I don’t like the fact that Kara and Kyle are listening but at least we know where all of them are at the moment.” Blair sighed.
“Good point, Sandburg. Try to keep them contained and let the rest of us find her. Since Cascade is home, this is probably where she’ll head.” With that Simon headed to his office, stopping only to give Rhonda a heads up on the situation.
Jim hung up the phone, grabbed his jacket, and left too fast for Blair to stop him. Rafe and H, however, were prepared for such an action and headed out after Jim. Blair just sighed and shook his head. Right now, his only option was prayer.
Brent took another deep breath. He actually hadn’t yelled at Ellison much. He didn’t want to upset the kids any more than they already were and, besides, Ellison was right. He was an idiot. He should have been a lot more supportive. Molly and Phil Baker had been close friends. They’d taught the same subject and Phil had been the first friend Molly had made when she was a new teacher. His death from cancer at age 52 had hit her hard. She’d told Brent that she had wanted to ask him to be a godfather to one of the babies. It wasn’t that he didn’t grieve for Phil, he did. He just didn’t show it like his wife did.
He needed to keep going. He was pretty sure she’d head toward Cascade, just because it was home. Funny, he’d never lived there but it was feeling a little like home to him to. He liked and trusted the cops that Molly had brought into his life and his children’s lives. Kara talked with Uncle H regularly. Kyle adored Uncle Jim. Maybe those guys would once more come to the rescue. He hoped…
Jim couldn’t believe what he’d just heard the dispatcher say.
“All units. Emergency at the rest stop on Highway 75 just south of mile marker 80. Women in labor with twins.”
Damn it, that had to be Molly. As he reached for the mic, he was shocked to hear H and Rafe reply that they were responding and that he was too. It was only then that he noticed the car following his truck. He was glad it was a department issue because it would have the supplies they’d need to deliver the twins, if that became necessary.
With that thought, he picked up his cell and hit redial. Thankfully, Brent answered immediately. Jim was glad that Brent was just as close to the rest stop as they were. He was concerned that the kids were with Brent, though. There were some things, childbirth among them, that they were just too young to see.
Brent’s truck, Jim’s truck, and H and Rafe’s unit were the first to arrive at the rest stop. Molly was sitting in the car, with the door open, practicing the breathing she’d been taught in Lamaze class. Brent sternly told Kara and Kyle to stay in the car. Jim was talking softly to Molly as he approached.
“Welcome to the party,” Jim said with a reassuring smile. Brent knew that Ellison cared enough for his wife that he wouldn’t upset her, especially now. Brent nodded as he knelt down by Molly.
“Hey, sweetheart. I’m sorry…”
Molly interrupted him. “It’s okay. You’re here now. I need you.” With that, another contraction hit and she bit back a scream.
Brent, with Jim’s help, supported her during the contraction. As it eased, H hurried over and spoke.
“Hey, Brent… Jim, there’s a situation. Big wreck on I-95. Multiple fatalities. Can we transport her? We’ve got the lights and sirens and I’m *really* hoping you’re up on emergency childbirth…”
Brent interrupted, “Molly needs a cesarean. With her blood pressure…” Brent couldn’t continue. He’d lost one wife. He didn’t think he could bear to lose Molly or the twins.
H, Rafe, and Jim all looked at him and nodded. “Let’s get her into the car and get going. Where’s the nearest hospital that can handle this?” Jim asked and he and Brent gathered Molly up.
Rafe answered, “Washington University Hospital has an excellent neonatal unit. I’ll let them know we’re coming and what the situation is. Collins, who’s her OB/GYN?
Brent answered while worriedly glancing at his children. As they laid Molly down in the car with Jim kneeling beside her, H tapped his shoulder. “Gimme your keys. I’ll get the kids to the hospital, okay?” Brent just nodded gratefully and he handed over his keys.
Once in the truck with the Collins kids, H took a moment to reassure them as best he could. Then, he called Rhonda in the bullpen and told her what was going down. Rhonda said that she’d make sure everyone who needed to know would get the message. H smiled, knowing she would do exactly that. Then he had a thought.
“Hey, kids. Who at home needs to know your moms is in labor?
He was surprised to learn that both children not only knew who needed to be told but also had the phone numbers memorized. He let them place the call, ready to take the phone if they got upset or someone yelled at them.
Daniel Cross was not too happy that the phone rang just as he and Paula were sitting down for a quiet dinner. For heaven’s sakes, it was Christmas Break! He glanced at the caller ID and then barked, “Collins, what is it?”
“Mr. Cross? It’s Kara Collins. Do you want me to call back?” Daniel felt immediate guilt and instant worry.
“Kara, I’m *so* sorry I yelled. Is everything okay?” Daniel knew that the Collins children had memorized his home phone number is case there was an emergency.
“We’re in Cascade and moms…I mean Molly’s in labor. We’re going to…” There was a pause while the little girl checked with someone. “Washington University Hospital. We’re with Molly’s friends, the police men. But I thought you’d want to know about the labor thing.”
Daniel inwardly chuckled. Kara was so much like her daddy. “Thank you for calling. I promise that there will be lots of people there to support your family. Can I talk to whoever is driving you to the hospital?”
“Sure” came the quick reply and the phone was passed.
“Sir, this is Henri Brown. I’m a detective on the Cascade PD and a pretty good friend of Kara’s.” Daniel liked this man’s deep, calm voice.
“Is Molly okay? I know she’s scheduled to have a c-section in about two weeks.” Daniel was concerned.
“I don’t have the particulars at the moment, sir. May I call you back?” came the quiet reply. Daniel realized that Detective Brown did not want to say anything in front of the children.
“Actually, I’ll be heading down there in a bit. I will see you at the hospital. I’ll call there if anything comes up to delay me.”
“Sounds good, sir. I look forward to meeting you.”
With that Henri Brown sped up and Daniel Cross went to activate the calling tree and pack an overnight bag. He discovered that his wife had used her cell phone to start the calling tree and was in the process of packing for them both. He was truly blessed…
Simon Banks hung up with his detective and went to the bullpen. Rhonda looked up expectantly.
“Let’s go. You want to ride with me?” he asked shortly.
Rhonda knew her boss well. She gathered up her coat and followed him without comment. Simon stopped short as he remembered Detective Dills.
“S’okay, Captain. I heard from dispatch. I’ll wrap things up here and wait for the night shift guys to get in. I can brief them on what’s going on and then I’ll head for the hospital.”
“Thanks, detective. See you with the kids!” With that Simon took off.
“Breath slowly kiddo. S-L-O-W-L-Y...” Jim spoke softly.
“You breath, damn it!” Molly growled back. “Shit this hurts!”
“Calm down, hon,” Brent tried to sooth his wife.
“You calm the hell down. Next time, you’re gonna be the one giving birth!? Shit!” Molly yelled.
“How much further, Rafe?” Jim asked. He did NOT want to deliver these twins in this car. He realized that would probably kill his sister and he wasn’t sure Brent would survive her by much. He could see how much the man loved Molly and knew that only the children would keep him from following her to the grave, if it got that bad.
“About ten more minutes, Jim. I had to go the long way to avoid all the traffic from that accident on the interstate. I’m going as fast as I can.”
Jim grunted and acknowledgement and turned back to his sister. Brent was kneeling beside him and whispering into her ear. Molly’s eyes were closed and she appeared calmer than she’d been. Jim prayed they’d be at the hospital before the next contraction hit. He placed his hand on Molly’s belly and concentrated on the babies. There…he could hear the heartbeats. He glanced at his wrist and timed first one, then the other. So far, so good.
The police car pulled into the emergency bay and skidded to a stop. Nurses immediately rushed out with a stretcher and Molly was wheeled into an examination room with her husband close behind. Jim and Simon caught the children before they could go in. Fortunately, both children remembered Uncle Jim and Uncle Simon so they didn’t fuss as they were lead away from their dad and step-mom. They were soon joined by H, Rafe, Rhonda, Dills, and a whole bunch of people who had driven down from Seattle to be there for Brent and Molly. The wait continued through the night.
At dawn, an exhausted Brent came through the door with an expression on his face that Simon recognized. He’d seen it on a picture of himself that his father-in-law had taken when Darryl was born. He glanced over at his son, who had joined them around midnight and smiled. Obviously, things were good.
Brent went immediately to Kara and Kyle. He spoke to them quietly and then led them into the room where Molly was. Everyone looked at Jim expectantly. Jim smiled wearily and shook his head. They’d have to get the news the normal way. Even with Blair there, he was too tired to focus and hear what was being said. At least Molly was safe. And a mom! He grinned at the thought. He was an uncle again.
After about an hour, Brent came back out. He grinned and made his announcement.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to announce the arrival of Kelly Marie Collins and Kieran Phillip Collins. The nurses tell me that Molly and the kids can have visitors two at a time until Molly falls asleep. I leave it to you to figure out who comes in when!” With that he went back to his family, a truly happy man.
Simon, Jim and Daniel Cross formed a barrier to stop the horde from crashing into Molly’s room. Daniel and Simon grinned at each other, each noticing that the other understood what had to be done.
“Form a straight line!” barked Cross.
“NOW!” thundered Banks.
Simon motioned Jim and Blair to the front of the line before Ellison could draw his weapon and cause an incident. As the partners went in, he and Cross quelled the rebellious crowd by moving the most vocal to the end of the line. They decided on teacher, cop, teacher, cop as the order of things. Simon did wonder why Molly had no family there. He couldn’t imagine his parents or ex-in-laws missing the birth of a grandchild, much less two grandchildren. After they’d gotten things under control and had their glimpse of the two gorgeous, healthy babies, Simon quietly asked Daniel about family. Cross hesitated only a moment before answering.
“Brent’s family is out of state. I’m betting he’s called his parents and they’re calling his siblings. He’s the fourth of five kids and the youngest son. The Collins’ family will be here in force as soon as they can get on planes…”
“You let me know when they’re arriving and they’ll have police escorts to the hospital.” Simon offered.
“Thanks, I appreciate that and so will Brent. As for Molly, I know her family didn’t like Steve, her first husband because he “wasn’t from the right family”. Steve was a good man and a gifted teacher. It hit Molly hard when he died. I’ll admit I was less than happy when she and Brent *had* to get married but they’ve been good for each other. Brent’s a good man and now my faculty is seeing the man I’ve known for several years. Anyway, Molly’s family isn’t any happier with her second marriage and from the little she’s told me, they’re refusing to acknowledge these grandchildren. Idiots!” Daniel growled the last comment.
Simon looked up to see Jim greeting two newcomers. “I can tell you that those babies won’t lack for family. See those guys with Ellison?” Cross acknowledged that he did and asked about the identities of the men.
“That’s Ellison’s father and brother. I’m guessing, from the look on William’s face, that he’s in ‘grandpa’ mode. And the Ellisons are at the top of the social ladder here in Cascade.” Simon’s grin was positively evil. He couldn’t believe anyone would reject two beautiful babies.
Brent looked in wonder at his family. Christmas had come early for him. Molly was going to be fine. She just needed to recover from the c-section. Kara and Kyle had finally admitted they wanted to call her ‘moms’ and she’d cried with happiness. Kieran and Kelly were healthy. He’d suggested that Kieran’s middle name be ‘Phillip’ rather than ‘Brent’ as they’d originally intended. It just felt right and it completed healing the breach that had driven Molly out of the house. Molly also admitted she’d been hurting and hadn’t realized that she was in labor. Things were good between them again. Brent knew they’d make it. And, in spite of Molly’s family’s stupidity, they both had family. Jim had brought in his father and brother. Molly had laughed when she saw Steven and remembered that the last time they’d seen each other she’d blacked his eye. His family would be in by the evening and William Ellison had assured him they’d have a place to stay and transportation. Now, he was alone with his wife and four children. They were all asleep and he was just going to watch for a while. Life was good…
The next morning, across town from Washington University Hospital, an older woman was reading the morning paper. When she gasped her husband looked up from the financial section of the paper to question the interruption on the established morning routine.
Answering his unspoken question she said, “It appears our daughter has given birth here in Cascade. Twins. A boy and a girl. She had the gall to put an announcement in the paper!
He asked, “What name did she use? The *current* husband or the one who died? Surely she didn’t use *our* name. She has no right to it any more!”
His wife spat back, “She used *all* of her names. Everyone will know. I am so ashamed.”
“Cancel the subscription to the paper. I’ll do what I can to contain the damage to our family’s reputation.”
This story is dedicated to the memory of Phillip Gordon “Phil” Bertholf who died on November 11, 2005 at the age of 52. He was a fine colleague, good friend, wonderful and dedicated teacher, and loving father and husband. I tear up when I use his catch phrase to a child banging on a desk…
“It’s not a drum; it never will be.”
I do miss him…