„Yes, I think it’s a brilliant idea! Best birthday surprise ever!“ I whipser back into Andy’s ear. We stand in front of Mart’s house and already can hear the voices, laughter and music from somewhere behind it in the huge garden. It’s a pretty warm day for May, the 9th – even here in California.
I’m wearing a wide, kiwi green summer dress – hopefully not revealing the secret at once. After ringing for the third time Curly finally opens the main door.
„Oh sweet Lord, you both?! Andy told me you were busy with the Morrissey shoot! Get inside – Dave already cut his cake!“
Before he can go on we compliment him into the deserted kitchen, closing the door.
„Martin, we need your help now.“
I smoothe my hands over my more and more growing tummy. It takes a shock second for the blonde man to realize – and then he’s at me!
„Let her breathe, Mart!“
„Fuck, how could you let me walk in the dark for so long?! This is so, so...argh, I have no words!“
„We had to be sure it’s safe this time. Siv nearly killed my last nerves, being on bed rest mostly all the time till last week.“
„Alright, alright – but Dave – he will flip!“
„And Jennifer for sure.“
I can’t hide my sarcasm for a moment.
„That’s why we need to lure David inside. I don’t want to risk the big boom in front of his family. She will get it soon enough.“
Curly jumps up and down like a flummy – a maddening smile glowing on his face.
„OK – quickly into my bedroom upstairs!“
He opens the door a crack and then gives us a sign.
„Dave, there’s someone on the phone for you!“
„Bring it over then, Mart!“
„No, you better come inside – the batteries are very low. I forgot to put the bleeding thing into the charger last night.“
David leaves the group of people he was chatting with and follows Martin into the living room. The next he realizes is a scarf darkening his eyes.
„Surprise, surprise! Follow me.“
Both men giggle when they climb up the steps of the wooden staircase.
„What are you after, Curly? Some kinky stuff? It didn’t escape you the whole family is aboard?“
Next sound is a hiss as Dave’s right foot nearly missed a step, tripping over. Mart just can hold him steady. A door opens and then David’s senses switch to overload. That scent! It can’t be! He’s gently pushed forward and then he feels hands taking his. Next he senses is something round and soft under his palms – naked skin! He immediately freezes and has to swallow hard. Slowly he lets his fingers wander around – taking in every inch of that prominent area.
„Would someone please take off that fucking blindfold now?“
His voice is shaky, full of emotions.
Martin removes the scarf and Dave’s eyes have to adjust for a second. His lean hands rest on Siv’s belly – obviously having gained some extra weight. He slowly sinks down onto his knees and presses his face against the velvet skin.
First I just feel his lips kissing me, then some hot tears meet my tummy. He’s shaking all over, clinging his strong arms around my back. I stroke over his smooth hair and it’s like the ground opening up beneath my feet.
„Gosh, hold her!“ I hear Martin’s voice and then Andy stabilizes me against his broad chest.
Dave gets up in a split second and both men help me over to Mart’s huge bed.
„It’s nothing! Maybe the heat – I perhaps didn’t drink enough.“
I drag Dave down to me onto the bed. He still has glistening, wet eyes – an unearthy smile on his face.
„I knew there is a god above. You make me so, so happy right now! I’m still scared like hell this was just a dream – too good to be true!“
He kisses my tummy again, wandering over the curves.
„Dave, you need to go back to our guests now.“
Martin is right – there’s some murmur down in the hallway and some voice calls his name.
„Oh my!“ He musters me and then takes my hand.
„Come on – you will be at my side.“
„Dave, no way! Your family! I will follow a little later – with Andy. No hints to the others – please!“
„But...? Yes, you’re right – as usual.“ His cheeks now have a slight red tinge.
„Ready to rumble?“
Andy takes my hand more firmly into his and we follow Martin outside onto the patio. Next I hear is Stella squeeling and running towards me – with open arms. When she embraces me, she detects the bump in my dress.
„Shush, no word yet, sweetie!“
Rosie blinks at me and I see her lips twitching. When I bend up my eyes meet Jennifer’s cold stare. Then her plate with the remains of Dave’s birthday cake hits the terracotta tiles.
„You fucking, dirty slut!“
With that furious yell she paces towards me – faster than Dave or Martin could hold her back. Next I realize is a slap in my face and then she spits at me. I just stand still – watching the scene kinda. Her chest is heaving in anger and frustration. She resembles a greek goddess – Hera for sure – pestered about her husband Zeus again – who was a womanizer by all means.
„Are you ready, Jennifer?“
My coolness seems to be more food for her rage. Andrew must have seen it coming cause he swiftly steps between us now, blocking Jen’s knee shooting up.
„You leave your paws off my wife and child, do you hear me?!“
Hysteric laughter from her.
„My wife – and my baby.“
Now David makes a move towards his spouse but she shakes him furiously off. It’s Rosie’s heavy sobbing that interrupts the travesty. All friends and family members keep staring at us while Jack now runs over to his little sister, closes his arms around her and whispers softly into her ear – comforting her.
„What are you talking about, Andy?“ Martin cuts in now.
„As simple as that – we got married last week – in private.“
Shocked silence. Finally Jonathan starts to applaud and the other guests follow one after the other. David manages to drag Jennifer finally out off the focus – guiding her inside the house.
„Andrew Fletcher – you really surprise me!“
Martin shakes his curls and then takes a paper tissue from one of the tables and moves close to my face – wiping off the saliva. Slowly I awake from my agony and my lids start burning. It’s now that I realize that Jen wanted to really harm me – kicking me into the tummy.
„Shush, everything’s fine now – no need for tears, Angel!“
He pecks my cheek and then searches for my hand.
Andy grins now and nestles in his pocket.
„Sorry, we didn’t want to bomb Dave’s birthday...OK, so once again...this is Mrs. Andrew Fletcher, papers and all.“
He gently slips the wedding band over my finger again – like he already did then – and I follow his example.
„You didn’t bomb my birthday – I did.“
David returns just in time to see us exchanging the rings.
„Well, congrats! You already have my present as it looks.“
I roll my eyes. No more, Dave – no more innuendos!
Apparently he cried. His eyes are red and puffy. No sight of Jenny.
He stops me with a kiss.
„You allow me to kiss the bride?“
Then he holds my view for a moment and I could drown in his dark, sad eyes again.
„Don’t be sorry. I’m glad it’s on the table – and time will heel wounds – as usual.“
His hand trembles slightly when he smoothes down my face.
„It’s time – we should go downstairs, sweatheart!“
Andy cautiously tips against my shoulder. Then he kisses me tenderly. I open my eyes and am puzzled. What the heck?!
„You zonked out again, baby. I let you rest for the last 30 minutes. Want to have some more to drink?“
He fetches the mineral bottle and I thankfully take a deep gulp.
„Andy, I think it’s not a good idea to show myself.“
„Martin and Dave already told the others that we’re around.“
My mind is still foggy and the impressions of my ‚vision’ let my sweat break out. Andrew smiles at me encouragingly and then I slip off the bed.
The party seems to be in full action meanwhile when we step outside onto the patio. Without the air condition the heat hits me like a hammer. Like attracted from a magnet my eyes find Jen who’s standing next to Dave – chatting with people I have never met before. Unknown faces. Then Rosie has detected me and comes running – squeeling with joy. I go down to my haunches and she embraces me happily.
„Siv – it’s so cool you’re here! Uncle Mart already told me!“
Oh my god!
„He said you needed a nap due to the jet lag.“
„You have to taste daddy’s cake – it’s so yummy!“
I move up and she wants to drag me with her. David grins from one ear to the other and joins us. Jenny shoots daggers at me, yet staying where she is.
„Hey, hey – let Siv say hello to all the other ones first. It’s not polite to hog all her time at once.“
Andy laughs behind me and the whif of his cologne let’s me relax a bit.
„I’m so glad you two could make it! Look, everyone else is here.“
He’s right. Christian chats with Peter and his partner. The way she cuddles against him makes me think so. Jack, Phil and definitely another Gahan gather around the bbq grill, checking for the meat and veggie stuff. I recognize corncobs, eggplants and jacket potatoes. Our eyes meet and Dave’s offspring makes it over to us, friendly hugging me welcome. When he quickly kisses me left and right a slight shiver creeps down my spine. I tried to erase him from my mind yet my body easily remembers his touch and scent.
We take a seat in a nice corner – between some oleander planters. Rosie already comes running with two plates of cake. Doesn’t take long and I’m in the midst of a nice chat with Jonathan, his wife and Joanne. Geez, Dave has got nerves! His ex and his lover at the same happening! OK, she’s Jack’s mom and I honestly have no real idea how she gets along with Jennifer. I look up from my glass of cranberry soda and see her smoothing back a strand of her hazel brown hair, sipping at her iced orange juice and listening to another woman and her partner. Remembering the feverish scene in my head I don’t trust the peace. Well, as long Andy is at my side I should be safe.
My bladder reminds me to get up a little while later and I sneak into the living room to go for the guest WC. When I unlock the door again I nearly bump into Jennifer who seems to be waiting there.
With a mumbled ‚sorry’ I want to go back outside when I hear her cold, angry voice in my back.
„So you finally got what you wanted you fucking, dirty slut!“
I turn around and face her straight.
„So he told you?“
„Even if he didn’t – I have eyes in my head – bitch!“
She clenches her fists and the anger in her expression lets her look more aged than she acutally is.
„What do you want? Scratching my face? He’s yours – always was. The kids, the money, the fame.“
„Everything OK, Siv?“
Dave suddenly turns around the corner, Andy and Mart in tow.
„You shut the fuck up, Dave! It was your bloody dick and your weak restraint! I AM YOUR WIFE!!“
She raises her voice to an uncomfy yelling – to break into tears the next moment.
„I want you back – the David I once knew – all of him!“
In her desperation she unexpectedly moves towards me and before I can react she knees me into my tummy. She’s not really on spot as Andy pulls me to his side in a split second – yet it hurts like hell.
I hear the uproar of different voices hiding my face against his chest, squirming with pain - trying to calm my breath.
„That’s it Jennifer – you just did it! I’m going to call my lawyer now – filing the divorce!“
Hands on my shoulders. I do not really get what the male voice is asking me but the scent tells me it must be Martin. Then Jen’s shaky, hoarse voice again – sobbing.
„God, I really didn’t want that! Please don’t leave me now!“
„Oh, you did that deliberately! I saw the hate in your eyes! You wanted to harm my child! No more! It’s over!“
I don’t get it! I’m still fully conscious yet everything around me seems to move in slow motion – like in kinda jelly. It doesn’t surprise me when I’m suddenly lifted from the ground and two paramedics strap me to a stretcher.
Andy’s face, his startled voice – they shove me hectically to the ambulance car. Not again, please no!
When I open my lids I lie in a snow white hospital bed, attached to a drip and monitor. A nurse smiles into my face and adjusts the speed of the liquid. Then she pats me lightly onto the shoulder.
„Hear it? That’s the heart beat of your baby.“ She turns. „I will call the doctor now and let your hubby in. He waited all night – poor thing!“
When Andrew’s red hair appears in the door frame I can’t help it and start crying again. He speeds up his steps and gingerly embraces me, trying to avoid all the cables. Not much later the attending physician joins us.
„You really must have a brilliant guardian angel, Mrs. Fletcher!“ He shakes my hand and then studies my medical record. „A litte lower and I wouldn’t have guaranteed for anything. Your amniotic sac worked like an air bag – just as it should under normal conditions. Aside some nasty bruises you will go out off this unaffected.“ He makes a note. „We want to be sure though and I suggest you stay another day and night.“
Andy nods and takes my hand into his.
„Sweetheart, I know you hate hospitals but it’s for the best.“
The man in cornflower blue clinic dress gets up, shakes hands again and then leaves for his other daily chores.
„Good Lord, I can’t say how relieved I am, Siv!“ He looks tired and pale.
„It’s OK when you go and get some sleep, honey. I’m in the best hands here.“
He pulls me closer and kisses me passionately. His eyes are betraying his state – they are radiating with joy. Then he turns stern.
„David and Jen are here as well. She had a nervous breakdown and tried to hurt herself with a steak knife. She’s better now and they will leave soon – I just met them in the cafeteria, grabbing some coffee. She wanted to talk to you but I denied her any further contact. Stupid cow!“
„Oh my! Does she really think she could get Dave’s heart back that way?“
„Angel, she’s desperate. We all – me, her and Dave – had a lengthy, sad talk. He still is out off his mind that she dared to act up like that – but he’s seen so much in his own troubled life that in the end they held each other in their arms – sobbing like babies.“
„Do they know I and the little one are OK?“
„Yes – the doc told me earlier, before you were awake. I was at your side as long as possible – till that harpy of a nurse kicked me out!“
I let out a deep sigh.
„Andrew, I told you it wasn’t a bright idea. Should have followed my guts. I saw it kinda coming but strange enough I couldn’t avoid it. What a bloody birthday! Poor David!“
„Hey, poor Andy, Stella, Jack and all the others, too! I haven’t seen so many devastated people for a while.“
„Gosh, Rosie! How is she taking it?“
„Jack takes care of her – he’s so sweet. She was crying at first but then calmed down when Dave whispered something in her ear. I have no clue what that could have been, but it helped.“
A sound at the door lets us look into that direction and we see another nurse entering the room, carrying a tablet with an injection.
„Mr. Fletcher – visiting time is way over. Your wife needs some rest.“
She swiftly rams that bleeding thing into my left thigh and then leaves as fast as she came.
He coughs and takes both of my hands in his big ones, closing his fingers firmly around mine.
„I had to tell them in the anamnesis.“ He kisses my forehead. „We should also let the others finally know. I would have taken the chance yesterday but things turned out different – apparently.“