"She can't have the baby here." Rushing into the room with Nisey at his heels, Gabriel stumbled over the inert body of Nisey's best friend. "What the hell..." He barely kept from falling over Kalinda as Nisey plowed into his back.
"Watch out for-"
"Kalinda." He sighed before crouching down to move the slender brunette from the entryway to the private room. "It would've been good if you'd had mentioned that she was on the floor...." With ease he carried the stirring women over to one of the empty chairs. Her dazed eyes opened as he set her down.
"Zhenya is having...she can't...Sir said the roads are blocked because of the ice...she has to wait...” she began to panic again.
Knowing he didn't need a hysterical woman on his hands, Gabriel infused steel into his voice, letting his Dom persona slip to the forefront. "Stop it."
As he anticipated, Kalinda froze at the tone. "Gabe?"
He focused a level stare on her. "I realize what is going on outside, and just like we can't control what Mother Nature decides to throw at us, we cannot control when Zhenya's baby decides to make an appearance, and your theatrics won't make it better." He narrowed his gaze when she opened her mouth to protest. "And just because her water has broken does not mean that she is going to have the baby here, right now." He tipped her chin up. "Now, instead of freaking out on me, why don't you go over and sit with Nisey and Zhenya? I'm sure that Zhenya would appreciate it."
"Of course...." Kalinda seemed to gather herself up. "I...I don't know why I freaked out. Not all women have kids as fast as I had Rosie and Will."
Gabriel smiled, relieved that his normal spunky friend was back. "It's understandable."
She gave him a smile. "Don't tell Sir that I flipped out. He'll flip out. I don't know what's wrong with me as of late. Maybe it has to do with having two toddlers running around."
He nodded. "It might be. I'm sure the kiddos are keeping you hopping." He let her stand up, watching closely to make sure she was steady on her feet and wouldn't take another header onto the floor. "Why don't you go keep Zhenya and Nisey company?"
As he guided her to the chair next to Zhenya, he spared a quick glance at Zhenya. As Nisey had said, the beautiful olive woman had a serene look on her face as she rubbed her stomach in a soothing manner, despite the bead of sweat running down the side of her face. For some reason even as he wanted to run from the room screaming, he also wanted to gather her close and protect her. But the most he could do is reassure her.
"You'll be fine, Zhenya. The ambulance will either come soon, or we'll be able to get you some medical attention. You just have to hang in there..."
"Tell that to little Sophie..." Zhenya gasped lurching forward, her hands grasping the wooden armrests in a death grip. It was quite obvious that a contraction was twisting her insides.
Supporting her with one hand against the middle of her back and another on top of her swollen stomach, he could feel the rhynmic tightening as she rode out the pain. It amazed him that she did nothing more than breathe through it. Staring down, he noticed she was focusing on the ornate belt buckle he wore at his waist. Designed by one of his favorite artists, it was an abstract design made out of beaten silver. It had been a surprise gift from Sara and one of his favorites.
Murmuring soothing words, he waited until she relaxed back against his palms. She gritted out between her teeth as a contraction washed through her. "Do you think the ambulance will be able to get through? I've already called my doctor. If I can get to either Northwestern or Prentice Women’s Hospital he'll be waiting for me."
"I don't think so, louloúdi mou." My flower. As what he’d just said washed over him, he raked a hand through his hair. He couldn’t believe he’d just used the same endearment on Zhenya that he had for Sara. It should’ve been a betrayal, but it almost felt right. Ignoring his unexpectedly mixed feelings, he rose from his crouch.
©Dakota Trace All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.