Maverick went home with more questions than answers after his conversation with the Landgraabs. He wondered if Gregory, Nancy’s husband and one of Maverick’s co-workers, knew what his wife and son were up to. There was no way he didn’t know. But that was something he would have to ask his boss.
He found Cleo near the family room when he got back. “Nice of you to wait for me,” he jokingly said as he gave her a kiss.
“You’re a regular comedian, Armstrong,” she said. “Did your meeting go well?”
“Not really,” he admitted. “Frustrating more than anything.”
“You know you can always use me as your sounding board.” A pained look came across her face suddenly.
“You all right?” Maverick asked her. Her loud gasp, followed by her grabbing her stomach was his answer. “Okay, let’s go to the hospital. It’s time!”
He drove like a maniac to the hospital. Cleo sat next to him, trying to get him to slow down. “This isn’t life or death, dear,” she reminded him. “It’s just a new life, one that we want to live to give us grandchildren. Would you please slow down?”
“Sorry, sorry, you’re right,” he said, letting up off the gas a bit. But when she groaned again and started panting through another contraction, he floored it again.
He dropped her off at the emergency room doors and went to park the car. Cleo walked inside to check in. There was a young man sitting behind the desk. “Good evening,” he said. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, I need to go to labor and delivery. I’m already pre-registered.”
“Having a baby, are we?”
“No, I thought it would be fun to see if I could pass a bowling ball through a tiny little hole. Of course I’m having a baby!”
“There’s no need to get excited, ma’am,” he said, picking up the phone. “I’ve got a snarky lady down here who is in labor. Uh-huh, uh-huh, okay, I’ll send her your way.” He hung up the phone. “They said you can go on back. Hope the bowling ball comes out all right!”
Idiot, she thought to herself as she made her way to Labor and Delivery.
Maverick stayed in the waiting room while they wheeled Cleo to the delivery room. The doctor on duty, named Navya, greeted her as she came into the room. “Hello, Mrs. Armstrong,” she said. “Are you ready to have this baby?”
“Oh, yes,” Cleo said. “More than ready.”
“Well, let’s see what we can do, shall we?”
A few minutes later, a newborn baby’s cries filled the air. Cleo watched as the nurse put the baby in the bassinet, then came over to help Cleo to her feet. “Congratulations, Mrs. Armstrong,” Navya said. “It’s a beautiful little girl. What do you plan to name her?”
Cleo picked up her daughter and held her close. “Welcome to the world, Jacqueline. You are loved, and you are so wanted.”