“Mother? Are you all right?”
“No. I’m in labor.”
Just as Callie was about to begin to panic, Viviana interrupted her.
“Shhh! Don’t do that! Keep calm, and don’t say anything. I don’t want your dad to go crazy.”
“But, we need to get you to the hospital, mother! We can cancel the party.”
“I’m a doctor! I know what I’m doing! We are having this party,” Viviana said and went outside to finish getting the food and drink ready.
It’s not every day a girl turns 18, Viviana thought. This is going to be the best party EVER! Even if the baby comes right in the middle of it.
A small contraction came on, and she tried not to let it bother her, but there’s only so much she could do.
“Aunt Viv? Is my lil cuz coming,” Devan asked.
“I’m all right! Everything is fine!”
But it was too late. Brady just happened to be coming out to see her and saw her try to hide the contraction.
“Hmph…you sure about that?”
Viviana had to move fast if she wanted to get everything done before the baby came. She went into the kitchen to start the cake and alerted everyone to the food and drink outside. Everyone was like ants being drawn to a piece of discarded candy. Callie stood among everyone and reflected on her childhood and thought that it was good. She didn’t exactly know what she was going to do with her life, but she knew that she definitely wanted to start looking for a husband.
Brady followed Viviana into the kitchen and tried to reason with her.
“Viv! You’re in labor! We have to get you to the hospital! Everyone will understand!”
“Brady, please! I’ve had babies at home before! I’ll be fine. I’m not going to ruin our daughter’s party!”
“Brady! I’m fine! I don’t have much time left, so please! Let me finish what I need to do!”
He got out of her way and watched her run around the kitchen like a wet hen. When the cake was done, she quickly slapped some icing and candles on it, and Brady went to go find Callie and call everyone inside. As soon as he disappeared, a strong contraction came, and she couldn’t hide it or smile through that one.
“Mommy? Should you still be here,” Sasha asked.
“I’m fine, baby. I know what I’m doing.”
But the contractions kept coming on faster and faster and stronger. She knew she couldn’t hold off. The baby was definitely coming! She left the kitchen as quietly as she could just as everyone was entering the kitchen. She was hoping that no one would see her, but Callie did.
The night was still young, and Callie so appreciated everything Viviana had done. She didn’t feel right celebrating a birthday without her, so she discreetly kept the party going and delayed blowing out the candles until she knew everything was ok with her mother.
“Anyone want to play Charades?”
She caught Brady’s eye and nodded toward the nursery, and he dashed away as Callie took control. He made it just before little Emerson J. Pruett made his debut.
“Look who it is, Brady! It’s Emerson!”
“Wow. Another son.”
“And our last?”
“If you want it to be.”
“Hi Emerson,” Viviana cooed. “Guess what? Today is your biggest sister’s birthday! And she named you, so when you’re bigger, be extra nice to her, ok? I’m gonna put you down for a sec and go sing and eat cake. I love you, Em.”
“Viv, are you sure? Shouldn’t you go lay down or something?”
“I’m going to sing and eat cake!”
He stepped out of her way as she made her way back to the kitchen.
“Mother,” Callie said with a large smile. “You don’t have to be here.”
“But I want to. I love you, sweet princess.”
“Ok,” Callie yelled. “Let’s get this show on the road!”
Everyone hooted and hollered and cheered for Callie as she made a wish.
Julian looked on at his little sister, proud of the woman she had become…and prepared to beat down any knuckleheads who would try to play games with her.