Elizabeth picked up the last box to move to her new apartment only to have Jason yank it from her hands. “No heavy lifting,” he chastised.
She rolled her eyes. “It weights like three pounds. I promise you the baby weighs more right now.”
“You’re like five minutes from labor,” Jason said, shaking his head. “Come on, the car’s waiting.”
“I just can’t believe Mrs. Barrington paid that much for the painting,” Elizabeth sighed following Jason slowly down the stair well. He kept turning around to check on her.
“It was a good painting.”
“But a hundred thousand dollars?” Elizabeth just shook her head in amazement. “And a show in September? Where she’s already offered to buy another painting at that price? Jason…I’m just an amateur artist. My stuff doesn’t rate a hundred dollars much less–”
“You once told me to stop underestimating how much I mean to people,” Jason stopped at a landing and turned to look at her. “I want you stop underestimating just how talented you are.”
“Ugh, I hate when you use my words against me–Ooh…” Elizabeth paused, pressing a hand to her abdomen. Jason immediately abandoned the box and crossed to her, taking her hand. “That felt weird,” she murmured.
“Do you need to sit down?” he asked. He braced the other hand on her back.
“I don’t…” Elizabeth closed her eyes and grimaced. “What are labor pains supposed to feel like anyway?”
“Okay, I’m taking you to the hospital.”
“Jason, what if the baby’s just kicking really strongly?” Elizabeth stepped forward and then bent over. “Ow!”
“Okay, seriously, we’re going to the hospital,” Jason decided. He moved his hand from her back to wrap it around her waist and they started slowly towards the next flight of stairs.
She cried out in pain again and her knees nearly buckled but he kept her standing. “Oh, God, Jason, it hurts so badly,” she panted. “What if something’s wrong?”
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” he assured her. “Everything’s fine.” Not wanting to waste anymore time, he bent and hooked his arm underneath her knees to hoist her in his arms.
“I’m too heavy,” Elizabeth protested.
“I just want to get you to the hospital.” He hurried down the remaining two flights of stairs to where a car was waiting. “We need to go to the hospital,” he snapped at the guard who immediately opened the back door. He slid Elizabeth in and hurried around to get the other side. “Go, go!”
She cried out again, her hands clutching her abdomen. Beads of sweat had broken out on her forehead and her breathing was shallow and coming fast. She gripped his arm tightly. Slowly her breathing to started to even out and she closed her eyes. “Okay, I think it was just a contraction.”
“Okay, well that’s a good thing.” Jason took a deep breath and took her hand in his, squeezing it tightly. “When we get to the hospital, I’ll call Emily.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “No…she’s in Europe with Nikolas until Saturday right?”
“Oh…right, right. Lucky?”
“Visiting his mother. And my grandmother’s at a conference.” She looked at him, a little worried. “You’ll come in the delivery room right? I don’t want to be alone.”
“You won’t,” Jason promised. “I won’t leave you alone in there.”
Stephanie Alexandra Webber came into the world thirteen hours later. The labor was difficult since Elizabeth was so tiny and Stephanie was ten pounds; Jason could tell there were a few times Dr. Meadows was seriously worried.
But now Elizabeth was in her private room, cradling her newborn daughter. She had counted her toes and fingers about a dozen times and kept asking Jason “Isn’t she the most beautiful baby ever?”
“Do you want to hold her?” Elizabeth asked.
“I…” Jason hesitated. Despite being ten pounds and bigger than both Michael and Morgan when they were newborns, Stephanie still looked so tiny to him. “She’s so small…”
“You’re not going to break her,” Elizabeth said amused. “Come on…you helped bring her into the world.”
“Okay.” She started to hold her out to him and he was careful to cradle Stephanie’s head as he settled her into his arms.
He backed up and sat down to keep her stable. “I can’t believe she’s finally here,” he told Elizabeth.
“Oh, God, I know.” Elizabeth sighed. “I wish Zander could have been here. Just to see her once.” She rested her head against the pillow and closed her eyes. “I filled out the information for her birth certificate and put his name down, you know? And I can’t wait to tell her about him.”
“It’s too bad he didn’t get his life straightened out,” Jason said. “He wasn’t bad–he just made a lot bad choices.”
“Yeah…but he was a good friend.”
After a few moments of silence, he realized that her breathing had evened out and she’d fallen asleep. Jason sighed and peered down at Stephanie who had her own eyes shut but she was waving her tiny arms around.
“Hey,” he said softly. “You know…you really lucked out getting Elizabeth as your mother. She loves you so much. She’ll listen even if what you have to say might not seem important, she’ll encourage you and make you feel good about yourself–a-and I’ll always look out for you. I mean…if that’s what she wants.”
Stephanie latched onto one of his fingers with her miniscule hand and made a little gurgling sound. He took that as a sign of approval and smiled before standing up and putting her back into the little bassinet-like thing.
He crossed to the bed and kissed Elizabeth gently on the forehead, causing her to open her sleepy eyes. “Didn’t mean to wake you up,” he apologized.
“S’okay…you leaving?” she asked.
“I’m gonna go home and get changed. I gotta meet with Sonny. I’ll be back though.”
“Okay.” Elizabeth looked over at Stephanie, a soft smile crossing her face. “Isn’t she the most beautiful baby you’ve ever seen?” she asked yet again.
“Yeah,” Jason repeated. “She’s beautiful. You want me to swing by your place and get the bag you packed?”
“Get some sleep. I’ll be back before you can miss me,” Jason told her.
“I always miss you when you leave,” Elizabeth told him with a simplistic honesty that had been missing from their relationship for so long.
“Then I’ll hurry back,” Jason promised. He smiled at her again before exiting the hospital room.
Elizabeth leaned back against the bed with a smile and closed her eyes.