Lexie - 0 /Bear - 10
Women seem to scream a lot in hospitals.
I’m not sure why but no one seems very concerned by the noise Lavender is making at the moment. Though dad is almost asleep again from the whiskey so I’m not surprised that he’s not worried but Slasher and Mac seem fine too. Gears is very stressed, he’s been pale and sweaty for the last six hours and Lavender has been screaming for that long too.
I think it’s a good thing. Mac said she’s having a baby, one of those little squishy things that scream more often than Lavender does, and that she’s very happy to be doing it. It doesn’t sound very fun to do though so I’m happy I never have to. I am bored though, we’ve been here for hours and Skeeler keeps feeding me vending machine snacks while he smokes a cigar for Gears.
Gears smokes so many cigars but Lavender says he’s not allowed to in the hospital and Skeeler promised to smoke one for him. Gears wasn’t happy when it was suggested and I can tell it’s because he wants one for himself. Lavender is a nice woman, she makes my lunch for school sometimes and she buys me presents for my birthday, she also cleans up after my drunk dad who can’t do anything by himself.
She’s been doing it ever since my mom was killed years ago and I hope she can carry on now she has one of the squishy things that scream all the time. That’s how Mac explained them anyway, he acts like I’ve never seen one before despite the fact I go outside. I think he thinks I’m stupid but it’s really the other way around and I don’t want to point that out because it’s disrespectful.
“It’s a girl!” Gears shouts and I groan. Really? I’ve waited here for hours to get a girl baby when I could have a boy baby and teach him how to play football and everything. “Come on, Will, come meet her.” He puts a hand on my head and leads me into the room where Lavender has been screaming.
“You okay, Lavender?” I ask her, noticing the tiredness on her face and the sweat drowning her hair. Yeah, I don’t think this having a baby thing is easy. She smiles at me and pats my cheek like she’s been doing for years.
“This is Lexie.” I climb up on the bed and accept the squishy baby into my arms as everyone else gathers around us. My dad is still passed out in the hallway and no one cares enough to wake him up, I don’t think he cares much anyway but as President he’s expected to be at the birth of club babies.
The baby’s eyes aren’t open and her cheeks are all red and chubby. She looks kind of strange, I’ve never seen a baby this young before but I’m almost positive they’re not supposed to look like this. Still, she is pretty in a weird sort of way and I feel warm where I’m holding her. “You promise to protect her, Will?”
“I will.” I feel the promise down to my bones as the little girl reaches out and grips my finger with an odd amount of strength. Maybe I can still teach her how to play football when she’s big enough and I’m sure she’ll be able to ride a motorcycle too. I sit with the baby for at least an hour while Lavender sleeps and the men go outside to smoke a cigar in celebration.
I cuddle up in the chair in the corner of the room and keep the baby close. Baby Lexie. The nurse offers to take her from me but I tell her that I’m okay, she lingers around just in case though and I think it’s because most kids would get tired of her quickly. It takes her a little while but she finally opens her eyes after a few hours and stares up at me.
I read somewhere that babies don’t get their eye colour for awhile so hers are almost grey as she watches me in curiosity. I stroke a fingertip down her cheek as she lays silently in her blankets. I would think she’d make more noise after that loud screeching she made when she first turned up but she doesn’t make any.
“I know you can’t talk yet or understand me but I made a promise to your parents that I’d protect you... I’m Will by the way. Your best friend.”
I can almost convince myself that she understood what I said.
“Will, honey, she won’t stop crying.” Lavender looks stressed as she paces around the clubhouse with baby Lexie in her arms. I only just got back from school, sprinted from the place really, so I can play with her but Lavender says she’s too busy crying.
She’s been back from the hospital for weeks now and I thought she’d grow out of the crying thing after awhile. I mean, she doesn’t cry when she’s with me, she just stares at me with those big eyes as I talk away about my awful school and my awful dad and how much I miss my mom. I reach up to accept the baby and Lavender realises she’s fresh out of options so passes the screeching parcel to me.
Lexie recognises the movement and stops crying the minute I hold her close to me. “Hi.” I greet her as she looks at me like she normally does. Lavender looks like she’s ready to cry as she drops into one of the armchairs. I decide not to tell her that it’s Mac’s one and let her rest for a few minutes, hoping he doesn’t notice if he comes back.
Lexie wiggles slightly and I remove one of her top blankets, she does the weird wiggle thing when she’s too hot and she relaxes the minute the blanket isn’t on her anymore. “She was just too hot.” I move to hand the baby back but Lexie is having none of it. “Okay, maybe I’ll keep her for a little bit.”
“That’s a good idea. You alright if I go and shower?” I nod and settle down on the furthest chair from the door so the slamming of it doesn’t wake her up when I manage to get her back to sleep.
“You’re gonna make your mom’s hair fall out, you know?” I warn her playfully as I rock her, watching her yawn and reach for my hand. I give her my finger and she holds it in her chubby hand. “This crying thing is gonna make her cry. It’s not fun for the rest of us.” I know she doesn’t understand a word I’m saying and I’ve watched the others talk to her in a strange voice that makes no sense to me so surely it’s just harder for her to understand.
I talk to her like a normal person and everyone is incredibly amused by it. I’m often left alone with Lexie, I’m not saying her parents are bad parents but she’s just happier with me. No one knows why and I don’t mind, I like having something to do with my time instead of my homework. I’m not planning on staying in school for much longer anyway because I have to start training up to be President as dad can’t do it.
He’s useless at his job. I can hear Gears and Mac talking about how we’re losing land and money, I understand the basics of the club but they won’t tell me anymore until I’m ‘old enough’, I hate that phrase more than anything in the world. I was old enough to watch my mom die and I am old enough to know what I’m getting into.
They don’t think the same.
I’ve given up arguing with them for awhile. I’m hoping that taking some responsibility around here, e.g. taking care of Lexie, will help them realise that I’m already old enough to understand. I need to understand to ease my own inner craziness but they don’t care about that at the moment.
“I won’t keep things from you, Lexie. You’re my best friend so I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”