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Chapter One

Long legs moved swiftly as he rushed down the hall.

He was late. Well more than late, but he knew his brother would understand. There was no sneaking in, he knew this, and he cursed the biological parents he had never met for giving him such a staggering height. At 6′8, with a large dirty blonde man bun, and muscle lining every inch of his frame, the man had to duck to walk into most doors, which made it impossible to sneak around.

Stopping at the pale gold double doors, Octavius exhaled and slowly pulled one open. He could hear the reception music blaring through the speakers as he walked in. A couple of weddinggoers glanced over at him, but all he could focus on was the angry look his mother was giving him from across the banquet hall. Mustering up the best grin he could, Octavius walked over to the table filled with his siblings and parents.

“So nice of you to join us, Octavius.” His mother spat at him. Her arms crossed in front of her chest; her pale pink lips turned up in distaste. Octavius bent down despite her nasty attitude and kissed her forehead. She was a little evil to him, but despite that, she was still his mother, and he’d respect her as best he could.

“Hello to you, mother,” Octavius said as he took the available seat that was reserved for him. His father gave him a firm pat on the back and smiled at him. “Better late than never.” The old man said, making Octavius feel ten times better. Turning his attention to the rest of the table, he greeted his other brother, Nathaniel, who preferred to be called Nino, and his sister Carissa. They both seemed to be okay with his tardiness, and Octavius was grateful for that. Looking around the vast area in front of him, he looked for the groom, who he soon spotted dancing with a little girl in the middle of the dance floor. He didn’t see them when he walked in due to all the bodies dancing around him. Standing and adjusting his suit, Octavius walked over to his brother and tapped him on the shoulder. Kingston turned around and looked up with a smile.

“I’m so sorry I missed the wedding. One of my patients-”

“Stop it, bro; I get it. You’re a doctor and can’t just take off work. All that matters is that you made it and for that I am grateful.” Octavius smiled at his brother before hugging him and then asking where his bride was. Kingston walked him over to the mother of his children. She was sitting down at a table surrounded by women. Her large belly graced in an off-white dress that showed how close she was to popping. Octavius didn’t understand why the woman would want to get married so late in her pregnancy. The only answer he got was eight months ago when he told his brother that they were expecting, and Nessa, his now-wife, cried because the date was set, the venue was rented, and there was no going back. He had told them to reschedule but Nessa refused and what Nessa wanted, Nessa got.

Octavius couldn’t understand how his brother became so whipped by one woman. He could never go down that road again. With all the women pouring themselves at Octavius’s feet, the thirty-nine-year-old ​swore what every rich, cliché bachelor swore, and that was to be single until death.

“Oh goodness, Octavius, you made it!” Nessa all but screamed as she shot up, the best she could, and wrapped her tiny arms around her brother-in-law’s torso.

“I told you I would, didn’t I?” Octavius said with a genuine smile. “So, how are you and the littles?” He asked as he placed a firm hand on her belly.

“They are active, and I am exhausted,” Nessa responded as she slowly sat back down with his help. He sat down in front of her and continued to ask her a series of medical questions, forgetting that it was indeed her wedding day, but he couldn’t help it. She looked tired, frail, and it was in his nature to figure out why, no matter the setting. After five minutes of him questioning her, Nessa held up her hand silencing the man.

“Alright, Octavius, I know you are concerned, but today is my wedding day, and I would like-” Suddenly, she stopped speaking, and her eyes widened. “L-like t-to... Uhm.” That all the bride was able to say before she hunched over and let out a groan so loud that it stopped everyone. Kingston was by her side in an instant. Kneeling before her with his face twisted with worry and concern.

“Hey Nessa, can you tell me what you are feeling?” Octavius asked as his brother held his wife’s hand and stared at her with joy in his eyes. Kingston was about to be a father, something he had always wanted, and Octavius was happy he would play a large role in it. Nessa shook her head left to right, rapidly panting like she was out of breath.

“Pain!” She shouted as she threw her head back and groaned loudly again. Without thinking, Octavius stood and scooped the woman up into his arms. He knew he was the only one capable of carrying her, no offense to his brother. Rushing out of the dining hall away from the gasping guest and with his brother hot on his heels, Octavius took Nessa out to his SUV and placed her into the back seat. Kingston ran around the vehicle to jump into the passenger side. In what appeared to be lightning speed, Octavius pulled out of the large parking lot and onto the main highway. Picking up his phone, the doctor called up the hospital, informed them that he was on his way. Kingston turned around in the front seat staring back at his wife, who was lying across the backseat, her face in agony.

“Alright baby, do your breathing techin-”

“BABY, I LOVE YOU, BUT PLEASE, SHUT UP!” Nessa screamed at the man as another contraction hit. Kingston smiled a wide grin, not taking offense at all. He just reached back and offered his hand, which his wife immediately took. Ten minutes later, they were outside of the hospital, a wheelchair already waiting for them.

“Alright, I have to go prep for delivery,” Octavius said as he smiled at his brother and his wife. “The nurses will take care of you until it is time for her to push. I will be in periodically to make sure everything is running smoothly.” Nessa didn’t respond. She gave him a curt nod as she was put into the wheelchair and rushed away. Kingston mouthed a thank you over his shoulder before they both were out of sight. After parking his SUV, Octavius walked into the building and straight to his office. He stripped from his suit and changed into his scrubs. Once done, he walked through the maternity ward to check on some of his other patients in labor or had their babies before he left for the wedding.

Forty-five minutes had passed when Octavius heard “CODE OB,” which meant somebody needed a multidisciplinary team. Something life-threatening was happening in the maternity ward, and Octavius just knew it was Nessa. Dropping his pen and his clipboard on his desk, he rushed out of the room and almost sprinted to the nurse’s station.

“What’s going on?” A young nurse came rushing over to him. She grabbed his hand and began pulling him quickly.

“It Vanessa Moore, sir.” Octavius’s blood ran cold as he followed the woman to his sister-in-law’s room. When he heard her screams, he knew something was wrong? Rushing into the room, he almost fell to his knees at sight in front of him. The lower half of her sheets were covered in blood, which was not good. Kingston ran over to him with tears in his eyes. He gripped his brother’s shoulders and begged him to help.

“Don’t worry, brother. I promise you; you will get to hold your children.” Octavius vowed as he got his team together and prepared his sister-n-law for an emergency C-section. The only thing he couldn’t promise his brother was he’d be able to hold his wife again.

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