"You two look so cute!" Diana gushed, and Natalie bit her lip, trying not to roll her eyes as Diana snapped another picture.
"What's the point in that, mom, you can't even see their faces," Zac commented, biting into an apple, leaning up against the porch railing.
"Oh, hush," she said, and Taylor stepped forward. "Mom," he said gently, resting his hand on her arm, "we're going to be late to the party if we don't go."
"Okay, okay," Diana responded, nodding. "Oh, but what about your camera? That polaroid one I see you carrying around sometimes?"
"You mean this one?" Zac tossed the camera to Diana, "I thought you'd want it," he added, seeing Taylor's open mouth.
"Okay, smile!" Diana instructed, and Zac laughed, strolling off towards the driveway. Taylor did as told for one picture, then grabbed Natalie's hand.
"Mom, we really have to go," he insisted, and Diana sighed.
"All right, have fun, be careful, you know the drill," she held out the camera and Taylor took it in his other hand. "We will," Natalie handed Taylor the car keys and he jangled them in his hand.
"You're not really going to drive with that thing on, are you?" Natalie warily eyed the paper mache pumpkin on Taylor's head.
"Why not?" he asked, opening her car door for her, "I can see just fine out of it, and it's really hard to get out of."
"That's why you ran into that table in the hallway twice?" she said, struggling to get the seatbelt around her very pregnant belly.
"That's because I was too transfixed by your beauty," he replied, squeezing her hand, and turning the key in the ignition. Natalie grinned, amused.
"I didn't know enlarged produce was your thing, Taylor," she commented, and Taylor rolled his eyes, backing out of the driveway.
* * *
Natalie stood awkwardly against the wall as she watched the group standing around Taylor burst into laughter. She usually would be found amongst her husband and their friends, but she had a weird feeling she couldn't shake and instead retreated to the back of the room. Taylor must have noticed her staring and his eye caught hers and she saw him disappear behind a few people before appearing towards her, holding two red plastic cups.
"Hey love," he held his hand out with the plastic cup towards her, Natalie looked apprehensively at it. "It isn't spiked, it's just water," she nodded and took the cup from him, taking a sip.
"Listen, it's getting late, want to head home?"
"You're having fun."
She let him reach his arm around her shoulder and hug her as close as he could. Neither were wearing the large pumpkin heads, and she was grateful for Taylor's decison to leave them by the front door. "I'm sorry, Taylor, it's not you or anything, I just haven't been feeling too well suddenly. I think it's all the excitement and everything."
"We'll go home then, the party isn't that much fun anyways."
She smiled and leaned up to give him a kiss. Making their way through the party, they began saying their goodbyes and gathering their jackets and extra large pumpkin heads. They got into the car and Taylor put his pumpkinhead back on before starting the car and waiting for Natalie's seat belt to finally pull across her belly.
"Do you have to wear that?" She giggled and then suddenly gasped. "Oh," she put her hand to her stomach. "Taylor."
"Hey, I drove here like this didn't I?" he said with a laugh, and put the car into drive.
"No, Taylor. I think...." she took a deep breath. "I think my water just broke."
"Your ... what?" Taylor sat up straight, eyes widening. "Oh, god. Hospital, overnight bag, where's my phone I have to call mom you're not due yet, lamaze breathing! Breathe with me Natalie, breathe!" Taylor demanded, pressing down on the accelerator...and slamming into the car in front of them.
"Oh, god," he said, face paling, as Natalie rolled her eyes and slouched down in her seat. "Um, be right back," Taylor unbuckled his seat belt and threw the car door open. "Don't go anywhere," he stuck his head back in the car and shook his finger at her.
"Where would I go?" Natalie said to herself, watching Taylor wave his arms around, talking to the driver of the car in front of them. Natalie saw Taylor gesture at her and weakly smiled at the woman in flannel. Taylor nodded eagerly as Flannel turned her attention back to him, and Natalie sighed again as she saw Taylor open his wallet. She reached back into the back seat and took a picture of the car's back bumper. A moment later he flung himself into the driver's seat again and hurredly buckled up.
"How much did you give her?" Natalie asked, "oh, and I took a picture in case State Farm wants it."
Taylor shrugged, "just a few $50s," he replied, throwing the car into reverse, and then slamming it forward. The tires screeched as Taylor edged the needle of the spedometer up to 50. "We'll be there in a second," he said, quickly patting her hand.
"Both hands on the wheel, or we won't," Natalie replied, grabbing onto the door handle, her knuckles whitening. A moment later they skidded into the emergency entrance of Tulsa Memorial. Natalie pried her hand loose from the door handle, and gingerly stepped out of the car.
"Here, I'll help!" Taylor said, dashing up, and threw her, fireman style, over his shoulder.
"Taylor!" Natalie exclaimed, the blood rushing to her head, "Taylor, is this really....?"
Breathing hard, Taylor walked to the entrance; resigned, Natalie folded her arms and gave an upside down glare to anyone who looked in her direction.
"Hi my wife's pregnant," Taylor said to the receptionist, and she nodded, picking up the phone. A few seconds later an orderly in a blue uniform came walking up to the desk, rolling a wheelchair.
"Here, careful, here," Taylor held Natalie's arm as she sat down in the chair, then turned to the nurse, tripping over the wheel. Natalie snorted with amusement, then clutched her stomach, wincing.
"Sir, we need you to fill out these forms, and then we can take you to her," the receptionist said, and Taylor nodded, his eyes on Natalie's back, disappearing down the hallway. "And we'll need you to remove your head."
"My head?" Taylor said confused, "is that what they do now?"
"Your Pumpkin head, sir."
"Oh." Taylor removed the head and tossed it to one of the empty seats and then took off down the hallway, leaving the forms sitting on the counter, the receptionist calling after him.
* * *
"Alright, push! Just one more time, Natalie, and then you can take a break!" the doctor instructed, and Taylor yelped as Natalie's fingers tightened around his hand.
"This sucks, I hate you, I hate you, get it out of me!" she cried, face red with exertion.
"Okay, Natalie, lay back and rest for a second!" the doctor said, standing up and turning to talk to the nurse.
"Ice chip?" Taylor said meekly, holding out the container to his wife. She glared at him, and he hastily stepped back. "Maybe not?"
"Okay, Natalie, just a few more pushes and you'll be done!" the doctor said, kneeling back down in front of her. "Ready, come on!"
Taylor bit his lip as Natalie squeezed his hand again, he wouldn't notice until much later that he'd bitten clean through.
"I see the head, just a few more seconds and we'll have the shoulders!" the doctor called. Taylor's bones crushed in his hand, and a moment later, crying filled the room. "You have yourself a beautiful little boy," the doctor said, cutting the umbilical cord, and wrapping the baby in a white blanket. "Would you like to hold him for a few moments before we clean him up?"
Natalie nodded hesitantly, and the doctor set the small bundle in her arms.
"Hello, sweetie," she said quietly, and the crying immediately stopped. Taylor let go of Natalie's hand, and gently brushed it against the little boy's head.
"He looks just like you," Natalie stroked his hand, and the tiny fingers grabbed on to her thumb.
Taylor smiled down at the baby. "Jordan," he said, looking at Natalie.
"Jordan Ezra Hanson works with me."
He leaned down and kissed the top of Ezra's head and smiled. "Welcome to the world Ezra, we've been waiting for you."
* * *
* * *