Terrible screams, echoing around me, making my barely functioning ears throb painfully.
Then, something pulls me, out.
But I don’t want to go out.
I fight, but the thing is stronger. It pulls me, stronger than I am, and then I am out, the cold air slamming against me.
A light blinds my newborn eyes, and I begin to cry. Why did they take me out of my luxury?
Gloved hands pick me up and exclaim,
“It’s a girl!”
Soft cheers fill the room, filling my ears. All the feelings, the sounds, the cold, are so new to me. Of course, I have only been alive for a few seconds.
The gloved hands put me into softer hands, and tears splash across my head.
“What do you want to name her Mam?” a voice asks.
The thing holding me shakes.
“Rela. Rela Ross.”
The thing that speaks has a soft voice, kind and gentle. The hands hold me and I feel safe, so I stop crying.
Then, I hear more screams, this time coming from the thing that is holding me.
Suddenly, the hands go limp, and shouts and yells fill my ears like poison.
I sip my coffee, looking outside at the bright blue sky. The bitterness fills my mouth, and I wince, the hot drink burning my tongue. I see the skyscrapers, the clouds, all a part of a beautiful world. Snow gently covers the landscape like a soft blanket. The branches of the trees dripping water, some freezing as it fell. The world is gorgeous, and sometimes, I wonder if I belong in it.
I hear the door open, and Liam stands in the frame, smiling at me with his twinkling blue eyes, the exact shade of the sky. My heart skips a beat as I look at him.
Jeez, get it together girl. You’re married to this guy, stop acting like a child, my mind chides me.
“So!” he exclaims, rubbing his hands together like a mad scientist, “are we gonna do this or what?
“Do we have to?” I whine quietly.
He walks over to me, putting a finger under my chin, and titling it up so I stare into his eyes.
“Yes,” he says seriously, yet I can hear the humor in his words, “this is a way for you to get out and show the world what you got,” he said.
“But- what if he says no?,” I whisper.
He looks at me putting his hand on my shoulder softly, “Well, let’s just say he doesn’t have a choice. Come on, Shy Girl.”
Shy Girl. The nickname he had for me ever since we became friends. For some people, it might be considered rude to call your significant other that, but for me, it is just a symbol that he knows who I am, what I am, and is okay with it.
And that is the greatest gift in the world.
We walk down the street, our fingers entwined. We pass so many places, all filled with memories. The cafe where Liam asked me to be his girlfriend. The pool where I would splash my brother and sister until they ran out, laughing. The ice cream place where Liam, Cassie, Brody, and I would get huge strawberry ice creams. The ice skating rink where Brody, Cassie, and I skated when we were kids, my sister and me taunting Brody teasily when he couldn’t even get on the ice without falling. All such strong places that make up who I am.
“Okay, give me the papers.”
I hand him a folder, sweating slightly. Liam squeezes my hand reassuringly, and I give him a smile. He really is there for me whenever I need him.
“Okay, we’ll tell you what we think by next week.”
I nod and walk out of the building with Liam, too dazed for words.
I’m lounging on the couch, eating strawberry ice cream, when Liam bursts through the door, holding a ripped paper in his hand. I notice the seal and jump up.
“Did they-?” I begin, but Liam holds up his hand, smirking at me. He hands me the paper and I read it feverishly.
Dear Rela Finn,
We are pleased to inform you that your book, “Nobody”, has been approved and will be printed. Please fill out the form and come back to the building as soon as possible.
I read through the paper a few more times before it sinks in. I collapse onto the couch, breathing hard. My book is getting published.
Liam sits next to me, beaming.
“Isn’t this great?” he asks, grinning his trademark grin, the thing he was famous for in high school.
I don’t answer, but launch myself at him, hugging him tightly. If it wasn’t for him, I would never have had the confidence to do this.
Liam and I sit in the plastic chairs, waiting. He looks at me, his head tilted, his sky blue eyes sparkling. We both want the same answer.
The doctor walks in and stares at me with a smile.
“Congratulations, you’re pregnant!”
Brody is looking at me like a told him the moon fell out of the sky, my dad is staring at me, wide-eyed, and Cassie is gawking at me in pure shock.
“So,” Brody says, trying to be serious but failing, “I’m gonna be an uncle?”
“Yup, but try not to be a bad influence on my kid. I don’t what them to be a git like you, “ I say, slapping him playfully. He rolls his eyes.
“Being an aunt makes me sound old,” Cassie whines.
“Come on, Cass,” I tease, poking her. She grins. “But, I guess I’ll have to live with it,” she says dramatically. I laugh.
“I can’t believe it…” my dad whispers, “I’m going to be a grandpa!” he cries, flinging his hands around me, sobbing into my shoulder. I look over and see Brody, Cassie, and Liam grinning at me. I couldn’t be happier.
The TV lights up the entire room. Cass is sleeping on the couch, her head on the armrest, Brody is staring at the screen like it’s the only thing in the world, and Liam’s eyes are droopy.
I can’t relax.
My stomach hurts so bad, it felt like knives are stabbing the inside. I gasp in pain, and Liam looks at me, instantly alert. Brody manages to tear his eyes off the screen and stare at me, his eyes uneasy.
“What’s up?” Brody asks, worried.
“Nothing…” I manage, but the agony rolls over me, and I squeeze my eyes shut, tears of pain rolling down my cheek.
Liam’s hand brushes away the tears.
“Rela?” Liam asks, his voice cracking with concern. “Is everything okay?”
“Ye-” I croak, but another wave of pain smashes against me, and I lean into Liam, begging for the pain to end, my fingers digging into his leg.
Brody shoots up, shaking Cass.
“Hmmm… yes…” Cass mumbles.
“Cassie!” Brody shouts in her ear. She jumps up, glaring at Brody until her eyes rest on me. In an instant, she’s by my side.
“Rela? What’s wrong?” she asks. She looks at Brody. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” Brody says kneeling by me.
It’s too much. Not just the pain, but the concern. They’re all beside me, worrying about me. I can’t handle it.
I try to get up, but my knees buckle. I collapse on the floor and hug my knees, rocking bath and forth, my head in my lap, the pain unbearable.
They’re all holding me, trying to help.
“Rela. Tell us what’s wrong,” Cass says, trying to keep her voice calm and failing.
“Pain… so much pain…” I cry, tears drenching my clothes. Fire seems to flow through my veins, burning my insides.
“Shh. It’s okay, we’re right here, it’ll go away,” Liam whispers, stroking my hair, yet I feel his tears of worry on my hair. “What hurts?”
“Everything…” I cry, feeling like I am going to die. Is this what death feels like?
“Please… make it go away,” I say, burying my face in his chest, drenching his shirt with tears of pain.
“Call 911,” I hear Brody say urgently, Liam still stroking my hair, trying to calm me down.
Someone else speaks, but I don’t hear them. The pain drowns me, and I can’t swim to the surface… I’m sinking…
Bright lights burn my eyelids. They flutter open weakly, and I see three people standing around me.
“Rela!” Cass cries, hugging me. I wince, the pain now a dull throb.
Brody looks bad, his eyes covered in concern. “You had us worried there.”
But Liam is the worse. He’s shaking visibly, tears shining on his face, his eyes bloodshot. I feel a cloud of guilt hanging over me. Why did I let him worry like that?
“Hey,” I croak to him, trying to smile. His blue eyes stare into my brown eyes, alert for what I am about to say. “I’m sorry.”
He squeezes my hand, tears still running down his face. I feel awful. I must have really scared him, passing out like that. He probably wondered if I was dead. “What for?” he whispers.
“For scaring you,” I say, the words coming a little easier.
He looks at me and whispers, “All that matters to me is that you are okay.”
“Pregnancy pain. Only logical answer. But still, you’re only a week pregnant. It shouldn’t hurt that bad,” Dr. Boone says, frowning slightly at me.
I manage a weak shrug. Liam is right beside me, holding my hand, his eyes still red.
“Call us if you have any more trouble, okay?” Dr. Boone asks.
I nod feebly. The pain is still there, like a beast lurking in the shadows, ready to strike.
Liam helps me stand, and the four of us go out of the hospital.
For the next nine months, my life is pure agony. My siblings and husband were always with me, but at night, the pain was worse. I roll around, my mind frying at the torture. Liam never let my side, but his worry was increasing. Did normal pregnancies hurt this much, and this often?
The doctors were no help. They had no idea what was wrong with me. My situation grew so worse that I lived in the hospital for one month, and the doctors still had no clue what was happening to me.
“This is interesting, we’ve never seen anything like this…” Dr. Boone mumbled one day, my mind working slow due to the pain.
Interesting? Sure, it was interesting that every day I felt like I was dying… I couldn’t wait to get this over with.
“Push! PUSH!” the doctors yelled.
I am, and if the pain I felt before was nothing compared to this. I felt like someone was stabbing every inch of my skin with a sharp knife covered in lava. Liam is right beside me, holding my hand, silent, worrying what was going to happen. Suddenly, the doctors cried,
“It’s a boy!”
My head fell back onto the pillow. I did it. It’s over.
Liam grinned at me, and I tried to smile back. He whispered in my ear,
“You are so brave.”
A doctor places the boy in my hands. I look down and feel warmth spreading across my body.
“What do you want to name him Mam?”
I don’t even hesitate.
Liam grins. I transfer the Calian to him, and he looks down at his son, happiness dancing in his eyes. I lay back, feeling excited. I have a son. The sentence alone lifts my heart to new heights.
A doctor took Calian from Liam, and he came back to my bed. Liam stared at me, his face glowing. I felt the same way.
“This feels like a dre-”
The rest of his words is drowned out by my scream. The pain came back, blinding me, choking me. I gasp, trying to breathe, but the pain held me back, refusing to let air reach me. All around me, the doctors were scrambling, trying to do something, but I knew it was too late. I screamed, and I saw Brody and Cass rush towards me, each crying uncontrollably. Liam looked scared out of his mind.
“RELA!” Liam yelled, sobs shaking his words. He collapsed, holding my hand tightly. “Please… no… you can’t…” he sobbed, waterfalls streaming down his face.
I stared at him with pure pain, a pool of tears around me.
Death is standing beside me, sucking my life, yet I beg it to show mercy for a second. I must say something...
I can’t leave Liam. Brody… Cass… Calian...
“Liam,” I whisper. His blue eyes widen. Oh, how I am going to miss those blue eyes.
“Look, whatever happens, please, promise me… take care of our son.”
He is drenched in his own tears. He nods, crying.
“Please. Don’t go,” he pleads, grasping my hand as if it will help me live.
I couldn’t answer. My words abandoned me.
Death is growing impatient. It glares at me, and I will it to take me. I just wish that I got to know my son more…
Death doesn’t wait. It pulls me. My sense comes back. No, I won’t let it. I fight, I resist, I must stay with my son, my husband, my siblings.
Liam and Brody and Cassie’s screams of anguish are suddenly gone as Death finally manages to get a grip on me, and then... darkness.