© Kat Morgan 1999/2000
In Name Only
Chapter 52: Beginnings
Brian chucked his jacket at Kevin and skidded to a halt in front of the bassinet. He peered curiously at the small bundle that lay within. His blue eyes locking with the baby’s brown eyes.
"Way to go B-Rok," Nick grinned as he peered into the cradle. "That ugly mug of yours scared the poor thing."
"It did not, Nick," Kat chided the tall man as Brian’s face fell. "The rugrat’s just hungry. Again."
Nick grimaced. "You never let me have any fun."
She snorted. "Last time you had ‘fun’ Kevin ended up with a black eye and bruised jaw." She glared at Nick as she stroked Kevin’s hand as he sat beside her.
Nick suddenly realized that while Kevin and the others had forgiven him, this was the first time he’d been in the same room as Kat since he’d hit Kevin.
"Brian, can you carry Chris over here so I can fed him? Then you, AJ and Nick better leave the room. Nick, I’ll call you back in when his diaper needs changing."
AJ laughed. "Ha ha, Nicky gets poopy duty."
"Shut up, Bone," Nick muttered as he loped towards the door, AJ hopping along behind him teasing him.
"Kat?" A cautious voice came from near the bassinet. "I’m scared," Brian admitted.
"It’s really easy, Brian," she assured him. "Just slip one hand under his head and another under his butt. Then lift him gently, but firmly. Howie’ll help if you need it."
She watched as Brian gingerly lifted the protesting baby. Fortunately Chris was not given to much motion at this point in his life. Eat, sleep and poop. That was it for him. "That’s it. Now cradle him close to your chest. You can even lean him against your shoulder if that feels more comfortable…" She watched as Brian followed her instructions, holding Chris close and stroking his back. Kat smiled as a look of wonder crossed Brian’s face when Chris stopped crying, quieted by the feel of Brian’s beating heart.
Brian sniffed, smiling the new baby smell, and continued to stroke Chris’ back until he reached the bed and carefully passed him to Kat.
"Wow," he whispered. Then glanced at Howie and Kevin in turn. Both had the same loopy grin on their faces – knowing exactly what he was feeling. "That was …amazing. You two are so lucky," Brian glowed.
Kat felt a surge of love for the blond man. Out of all of them he was the one who never failed to include Howie, even if his cousin was Chris’ father.
"So are you," Howie replied, feeling the same love for Brian for his remembrance. "You’ve got one coming too."
"Yeah," Brian murmured, gazing in wonder again at the babe, who was starting to fuss again as Kat adjusted her top.
"And Leighanne’s right outside. Now go see her while I see to mighty mouth here," Kat smiled and Brian stumbled toward the door in a daze. Fortunately Kevin was there to open it for him or Brian would have stumbled into the wall.
Kat winced a little as Chris latched onto her nipple, but still glowed as he started to drink. Kevin and Howie joined her in watching him. Kevin’s hand strayed, as it always seemed to, to one of Chris’ hands, holding it as it convulsed in time with Chris’ drinking. He gazed down at the tiny hand gripping him, looking at the fingernails. "So tiny," he whispered.
"You say that every time," Howie chuckled.
"It just amazes me."
"Yeah well, it amazes me how big he is considering he was born just a day ago," Kat said as she kissed the top of the baby’s head. "He’s almost half again the size he was."
Chris finished eating and Kat patted his back until he settled, finally giving a small burp that seemed loud in the silent room."
"That’s what amazes me," Howie smiled. "He’s got your deep voice, Kev."
Kat chuckled. "Ha ha Howie," she chided as she wiped Chris’ mouth. He had, of course, promptly fallen asleep as soon as he was finished eating. "You can let them back in."
AJ, Tina and Nick piled in as soon as Howie opened the door.
"Bri’ll be here in a second," Tina smiled. "He’s in deep conversation with Leighanne’s belly right now."
AJ perched on the side of the bed looking at the small baby. Gingerly he reached out and stroked the wisps of dark hair. Chris stirred and AJ pulled his hand away quickly. Then looked sheepish as Howie chuckled softly. "So. You made this, Kev?" he asked.
"Well, Kat did most of the work," Kevin drawled.
AJ nodded, smiling mischievously at Kat. "Good thing he got all Kat’s good looks."
"The eyebrows’ll grow in later," Howie quipped.
"Let’s hope not," Kat giggled.
Brian and Leighanne finally entered the room. "Umm, guys? The press is here. And…"
The door opened again and a harried nurse entered carrying an armload of flowers. An orderly followed with another armload, including several stuffed animals. "These are coming in to the front desk like crazy. Think you can do anything about it?" she grumbled.
"Man. How do they always manage to find us?" Nick asked incredulously.
"Popularity sucks, doesn’t it blondie?" Kat joked.
"I think my cross country dash may have had something to do with it," Howie grimaced.
"Yeah," Brian laughed. "MTV and MuchMusic both had a minute by minute watch on to see if you would make it in time."
"They did not!" Kat gasped.
"Well, sort of…" Nick replied.
"Rick the Temp dies. And that annoying sock too," Kat muttered.
"Hello? Flowers? Toys?" the nurse asked in an exasperated tone.
"I am so sorry, Lora," Kat said, smiling at the overworked nurse. "Could one of you…?"
Howie nodded, hopped off the bed and grabbed his cellphone. "I’ll get someone down here to manage that."
"Thanks," Lora sighed. "I didn’t mean to be short, but we are so busy…"
"Not a problem, Lora. We should have thought of it before," Kevin replied.
"How’s the little tyke doing?" The nurse came over to the bed to check quickly on the sleeping babe. "Oh good. You wore him out."
"That’s okay, isn’t it?" Kat asked worriedly, stroking Chris lightly. "There aren’t too many people here?"
Lora shook her head. "It’s fine." She looked at Kat. "As long as you’re getting enough rest. He is popular."
"Someone’s on the way," Howie said as he shut off his phone.
"Thanks Mr. Dorough."
Lora smiled. "Right. Howie. I’ll be back later to check on you, Kat." She bustled out of the room.
"Are you getting enough rest, love?" Kev asked worriedly sat next to her and started to rub her shoulders.
It felt so good. Kat groaned and leaned into his hands. "I think so. He is a demanding little guy, but at least he does sleep for a few hours straight at a time."
"Yeah, but with us here…" Nick frowned.
"If you’re bugging me I’ll tell you to get lost. Since when would that change?" Kat sniffed. "And speaking of changing…. Nick, you’re up. Diapers are over there." Kat looked at him expectantly.
The look of horror on his face was intensely satisfying.
It was another two days before Kat, Chris and the whole gang left the hospital. It had taken that long for Howie to organize some help at home. The hospital staff, as much as they had enjoyed having them there, breathed a sigh of relief when the group left. It had been too much commotion.
The woman looked up. "Yes Lora?"
"I am really sorry about this. What with all the things going on… The Doroughs…"
"The Doroughs what?"
"They never got around to finishing filling in Chris’ birth certificate," the nurse stammered.
The doctor laughed. "Is that all? I am hardly surprised with all the excitement. Just give them a call next week and get them to finish up."
"I am really sorry about this," Lora nodded.
"Don’t worry Lora. It does happen from time to time. Usually with a large family. So much hubbub. Like I said, just call them next week."
The nurse nodded and headed back to the main desk, heaving a sigh of relief as she filed the sheet away. She had only been at this hospital a few months and was sure she’d committed the hugest faux pas. It wouldn’t be too hard to remember to call next week.
"Can somebody help me?!!!" A strident voice broke into her thoughts as a very harried man wheeled a gasping, very pregnant woman into the hallway.Chapter 53