Lyle’s impassioned group text contained lots of exclamation marks and two demands: “Come to the maternity ward!!! And pray!!!”
“Mom’s in labor!” Sam jumped from his chair and called across the common area between his and Liam’s offices. Every secretary and receptionist and designer and salesperson between here and there glanced up with expectant smiles.
“Could be Mirium,” Liam said with less urgency than Sam felt. Liam was still staring at his phone as he moseyed out of his office, where he’d been holding down his chair and sipping the flask in his top drawer. “Why else would Lyle be the one sending the text?”
“No, it’s way too soon for Mirium to be in labor,” Sam said. “That’s why she’s been on bed rest for weeks.” He grabbed the file folder on his desk and handed it to his secretary without any instructions. She was competent enough to know what to do without any direction.
“That would explain why he said to pray,” Liam reasoned. “I mean, yeah, we want Mom to have comfort while in labor, but that doesn’t require prayer. Heck, what do I know? If there is a god, I doubt he’d listen to a sinner like me.”
“Hey everybody,” Sam called out. “Get some blue balloons and cigars. We’re either having a baby brother or a nephew this afternoon!”
There was a general cheer in the office along with well-wishes and congratulations.
“Oh, and apparently pray,” Liam added. “If you believe in that crap.”
“I’ll pray enough for both of us,” Liam’s secretary said in a flirty voice.
“You do that, babe.” Liam winked at her then cleared his throat. “I mean, Mrs. Shaw.”
“Seriously?” Sam rolled his eyes at his brother and strode over to the elevator, pushing the button to call the lift to their floor. He turned back to his own secretary. “Can you have the doorman get us a limo out front by the time we get down there?”
“Yes, Sir, Mr. Cohen.” She picked up the phone.
“Come on, Liam,” Sam grumbled as Liam whispered something close to his secretary’s ear, causing her to giggle. When he and Liam were finally in the elevator and the door closed, Sam chastised his brother. “That’s a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen.”
“Eh, we’re fine.” Liam leaned against the side of the elevator wall and folded his arms across his chest. He smirked and raised his eyebrows, challenging Sam to argue.
Sam wasn’t giving Liam the satisfaction of a response. He just glared at him for the duration of the sixty second ride in the high-speed elevator from the top of the high rise to the ground level.
Their limo was waiting at the front door, as requested. At least one of their secretaries was competent at her job. They were both surprisingly calm on the ride to the hospital, considering they’d been asked to pray.
Sam wasn’t sure what he believed about prayer and a higher power. Their father had never insisted his sons participate in any religion, although they were surrounded on all sides with a variety of choices. He’d always encouraged them to have good moral values, which apparently wasn’t working on several of his sons. Sam committed to living a righteous life and making his father proud and had thus far succeeded.
His older brothers, not so much, Liam especially. Nicholas and Jacob on the other hand were perfect saints to the point of extreme. Sam marveled how five brothers could be raised the same but grow to have such a dichotomy of values.
Before he could ponder further, the limo pulled up to the hospital and Sam stepped from the car before the driver could park, not waiting for Liam but knowing he’d follow. After another—slower—elevator ride they emerged into a waiting area on the maternity floor.
The first family member Sam noticed was his mother, still very pregnant and sitting awkwardly in a waiting room chair. That meant Mirium was in labor. Crap. It was too soon. No wonder Lyle asked them to pray. Sam tried to count weeks and months and couldn’t remember either of their due dates.
“Mom, we came as soon as we could. No don’t get up. I’ll come to you.” Sam leaned over to give his mom a hug. He looked around the waiting room. His father, Levi, stood and patted Sam on the shoulder and his younger brother Jacob wrapped his arms around Sam’s waist.
Liam followed Sam into the waiting room but kept his hands in his pockets mumbling something about hating the smell of hospitals.
“How is Mirium?” Sam sat beside his mom and took her hand in his.
“They’re probably going to do a cesarean delivery this afternoon. The medicines aren’t working. They can’t get the contractions to stop. They’re afraid Baby Ishy’s in distress.” Her throat caught and she lifted a tissue to her face, not far from tears. Her first grandbaby was in that hospital room and she was probably having a hard time holding herself together.
“I’m sure the nurses and doctors are doing all they can, and Baby Ishy will be just fine,” Sam reassured his mom, patting the top of her hand.
The elevator door binged and opened and out stepped Mirium’s oldest sister, Ruth Ashish followed by her sister Rachel, and finally, their sister Leanne. Just the woman Sam wanted to see.
Leanne’s jaw dropped when she noticed Sam sitting there and looked back into the elevator as if considering reentering and making a break for the lobby of the hospital. The elevator door closed, leaving Leanne standing there staring at him.
Sam rose from where he was sitting beside his mother and a tunnel formed between him and Leanne. She was here.
He forgot the reasons he was in the hospital as his feet carried him forward and he stood before the woman he loved. He could breathe again.
She was here.