"Torrey," Taylor shouted with her hand over the receiver of the phone. "It's Joanna. She wants to know how you're feeling."
Dr. Weller called once a day to check on Torrey's condition since she'd hit the ninth month. It wasn't usual for women having their first baby to be overdue, but it wasn't rare either. The doctor tried to explain to Torrey that the young woman's calculations as to the date of conception may have been off a little. The small blonde had to indignantly explain to the good doctor that she'd only had sex with a man once in her entire life to get this way, and that date was not one she would easily forget.
"Tor, are you awake?" Taylor called again. She lifted her hand off the receiver and began talking to Joanna.
Torrey's head popped out of her bedroom door.
"Tell her it's been nine months, I want it out!" Torrey shouted back.
"Did you hear that?" Taylor asked the doctor. "Oh no, she's in a lovely mood." The dark-haired woman answered sarcastically. Taylor laughed at something else the doctor said, then looked up as Torrey came into the room.
"Don't hang up," Torrey said in a serious voice.
"My water just broke," Torrey said in response to Taylor's questioning look.
"Hey, doc," Taylor grinned into the phone, "I think it's show time!"
"There are none so blind, as those who would not see..."
"You're up to six," the older nurse said a little too cheerily for the two women.
"Six...that's good, right?" Torrey said between pants as her contraction ended.
"Well, it's better than three and that's what you were at a this morning when you came in. Torrey, what I'm putting on now is the fetal heart monitor." The nurse said.
"Is that necessary?" Taylor asked with a worried expression.
"It's okay," the nurse patted the dark-haired woman's shoulder as she worked around her. "We always put it on for women opting for natural child birth. It will let the doctor know if the baby is in any distress. It's allright, see, your baby's got a nice strong heartbeat." She pointed to the small monitor by the bed.
Another contraction hit Torrey and she squeezed Taylor's hand, a grimace of pain crossing her face until the muscle action subsided.
The nurse gently pushed Torrey's damp bangs from her forehead and gave her a few ice chips. She smiled down at the young woman before she turned to leave.
"You know, if you two wanted a baby, you should have let her have it," the nurse jerked a thumb at Taylor. "With her hips she would have had an easier time." She winked at Torrey and walked from the room.
Torrey laughed at the expression on her friend's normally reserved face.
"Oh, don't look that way," Torrey chuckled.
"For God's sake, Tor, that woman just said I had big hips!"
Torrey winced as another contraction tightened her abdomen.
Taylor was looking down into her own lap.
"Do you think I have big hips?" She asked looking down.
"Taylor! Do you think we could focus on why we're here." Torrey hissed.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Taylor apologized, moving over to help her friend with the breathing techniques they'd learned in Lamaze class.
For the next hours Taylor knew how fathers felt in the delivery room. She felt utterly useless and entirely helpless to take away any of her friend's pain. All she could do was fetch, carry, coach, massage, anything to try and ease the young woman's suffering. Although, throughout the entire ordeal, Torrey caught occasional glimpses of her tall friend looking down at her hips and frowning. To Torrey, that made it worth it all.
Taylor shifted her feet nervously as she stood at the arrival gate at John Wayne Airport. She milled about with a number of people who also appeared to be waiting for incoming flights. Finally, she leaned her tall frame against the back wall. The flight was supposed to be on time. Five more minutes until she made a total ass out of herself in front of a seventeen year old girl.
The dark-haired woman drew a few double takes from passersby, but in Southern California that was to be expected. They probably thought the tall beauty was an actress, knowing they'd seen her face, but not remembering from where. She stood, clothed in her best black leather blazer, white starched shirt, and frayed denim jeans. Her leather boots were worn and comfortable. If one could remember back to last month's issue of Architectural Digest, they would have recognized her from the cover. She wore the same outfit, except the leather blazer was a leather vest, and she stood posed in front of her latest sculptures, inside of her home studio.
Taylor's cellular phone trilled and she reached into her jacket pocket to answer the call.
"Yea," she growled impatiently.
"Geez, you must not have had your coffee yet this morning." The voice said to her.
Taylor's frown turned into a smile and anyone watching would have been amazed at the transformation.
"Honey, her plane hasn't even landed yet." Taylor chuckled. She was still surprised that the old term of endearment rolled off her tongue so easily.
"I guess I'm nervous..." Torrey trailed off.
"You're nervous!" Taylor responded.
"Are you sure about this, Stretch?" Torrey asked.
"I find this an extremely interesting time to ask me that."
The writer laughed and Taylor imagined she was running her fingers through her blonde hair, which in truth, she was.
"Torrey..." The artist slowly drawled.
Torrey felt a distinct shiver run up her spine when Taylor purred her name that way. She swallowed hard, wondering what the woman was up to.
"Yes?" She asked.
"Are you going to call me everyday for the next six months? Not that I'm complaining considering this is the most we've talked in fourteen years, but I just wondered if I should call and up my allotment of minutes on the cell phone or not." Taylor teased.
"Oh, very funny, Stretch," Torrey shot back. She could hear Taylor's lilting laughter and it pulled at her heart.
Taylor knew this would happen. All the years apart melted away into nothing as soon as she'd heard Torrey's voice last week, this was why she distanced the two of them, physically. She teased the younger woman, but they had spoken for at least a few minutes everyday since Torrey's first call. Of course, it was about Jessica and the arrangements to be made, but Taylor craved the sound of her friend's voice. The dark-haired woman understood plenty about addictions and she just fell into the classic trap; once you go back, it's harder to give it up than it was the first time.
"Will I be able to talk to you at all?" Taylor heard Torrey's voice ask.
The artist tried to focus on the reason she and her friend were even talking in the first place. She always tried to be honest with Torrey, about everything, aside from her own heart, and she wasn't going to stop now.
"You know I have to admit, Little Bit, that hearing your voice has got me feeling better than I have in a long time. I enjoy it and I don't think I'm going to like giving it up again, but I want Jess to feel like she can trust me. I don't want her to think I'm reporting back to her mother everyday. This whole thing is going to be rough enough on her without that added pressure. Even if things go great and she gets her act together, she'll have setbacks and bad days. I want her to feel like she's living in the kind of environment where it's okay for that to happen." Taylor finished.
"You're right, I agree. So, six months then." Torrey said softly.
"Six months." Taylor repeated. "I'll still e-mail and let you know how I'm doing, just like before, and you know I'll call right away if anything goes wrong...which it won't," she quickly interjected.
"I know you're right, Stretch. I can do this, can't I?" Torrey asked.
"Yea, honey, I know you can. Hey, plane's in, guess I better go meet the kid."
"Good luck, Stretch," Torrey said not wanting to hang up the phone. "You'll make a great mom." She finished as the line went dead in Taylor's hand.