Chapter XVII: Billy

Dilly was due any day now. She was getting more nervous and restless by the day and Harwood really didn’t know how to help her. His own nerves often left him awake till the wee hours of the morning, thinking about how his life was going to be from now on, will the baby be healthy, how he and Dilly would manage as parents, worrying if he was to old for all this…

So in order to cheer both of them up Harwood suggested they head out to the park. There was that smell of rain in the air but it wasn’t anything new for Twinbrook, Harwood was already well used to it. By his estimate they had at least a few good hours before the showers hit. So he left the house and little Rookie alone, hoping he wouldn’t mind, or lash out on any of his art around the house.

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Dilly showed up almost at the same time he had arrived. She had her hair tied in a braid and covered by the same red bandanna she wore the night she told him she was pregnant and a loose light green shirt that didn’t quite hide her rather large baby bump. To Harwood she was still beautiful, even if she was large and rarely smiled. She was the mother of his child, his son.

He didn’t really have time to reflect on his feelings for Dilly, everything between them happened so fast, faster than he would have liked but there they were, bound together forever by the little person growing inside her belly. He didn’t mind it one bit. He had always enjoyed Dilly’s company, she made him happy. It wasn’t a great young love like he had his first wife Macy, it wasn’t even the strong blinding passion he and Pattina had shared, or at least he felt towards her. It really wasn’t stuff that inspired books or made it into movies but he was okay with that. Not all loves were.

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It was nice at the park, for both of them. Dilly seemed to relax a bit, and even chat about the mundane things like the weather when someone interrupted. “Harwood, you old sack of bones.” Juan spoke somewhere behind them and Harwood smile before turning to his best friend.

“Juan how have you been?”

“Fine, fine. Stretching my legs a bit, enjoying the fresh air.”

“It is quite beautiful today.” Harwood replied and pretty soon the two were lost in conversation and Harwood didn’t even notice that Dilly did not join in. When he turned around he realized he wasn’t even standing there any more, panicked he looked around and saw her a few feet away. He let out a tired sigh and apologizing to Juan he went to her.

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DeAndre Wolfe, the semi-famous musician Harwood sometimes hung out at the Red during his drinking days was playing a guitar and as usual gathering a steady crowd, of mostly female, admirers. Dilly was among them, her arms crossed and her eyes focused on the guitarist’s bare tattooed arms.

“There you are!” Harwood said coming slowly behind her. “Why did you wonder off like that, you scared me a bit.” Dilly turned to him and the iciness in her eyes completely shocked Harwood melting the warm smile from his face.

“Well you couldn’t notice me leaving when you were hardly paying attention to me.” Harwood stiffed.

“What the hell are you on about? I just said hello to Juan.”

“Just said hello? You completely ignored me out there. I thought you wanted to spend time with me but I guess I am so boring you had to bring your pal along as well.” It was hard for Harwood to make sense of any of this and he badly wanted to chuck it all out to pregnancy hormones so he tried to smile and relax instead of getting mad.

“Dilly darling, you know I didn’t bring Juan here, we just ran into each other. I am sorry, I didn’t mean to make you mad, or feel displaced. ” Dilly didn’t relax a bit.

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“Whatever. I would head home if it wasn’t for the interesting music or the nice view.” She said turning back to the musician. “You go ahead, catch up with your friend.” She put as much poison as she could in her words but Harwood wasn’t about to leave it at this, he wanted to make things better he just didn’t know how.

“Tell me how to fix it.” He said softly into Dilly’s ear. She still wouldn’t look at him and she placed her hands over her stomach. Harwood interpreted it as a protective gesture but a mere moment later Dilly let out a moan loud enough to make DeAndre stop playing and a few people turn their heads her way.

“Is everything okay?” Harwood asked concerned.

“It is fine.” Dilly said trough her teeth without turning to him. It wasn’t hard for Harwood to pick up the strain in her voice.

“Is it the baby?” He asked again. DeAndre started playing again and people focused on the music again but Dilly seemed to have lost interest. She pushed trough the crowd away from Harwood not even bothering to answer his question. He moved towards her eager to catch up. It proved he didn’t have to walk for long, just a few steps later Dilly stopped clutching her stomach and bending over in pain.

Harwood came closer and placed his hand over her back. Dilly lifted her head towards him, every trace of her previous anger gone from her dark blue eyes, replaced by pain and fear. “It is time?” Harwood asked and Dilly only nodded. He tried to be calm as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket but he found his hand shaking as he pushed in the number of the taxi service.

“Harwood! I think she is going into labour!” Juan yelled panting behind them. Harwood nodded.

“We are going to the hospital.” He replied without turning away from Dilly who was now breathing heavily, her eyes closed, as if nothing existed but her own pain. It hurt him to see her like this and he hoped it wouldn’t be long until their little dragon came and joined them in this crazy world.

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Everything from that moment was a little more than a blur for Harwood. He remembered the taxi taking them away to the hospital, he remembered Juan tagging along and running towards the building without even wearing shoes, he seemed to have removed them at the park and forgotten to put them on when the car came, he remembered the sterile white and blue walls of the Twinbrook Memorial Hospital and Dilly being taken away from him, still in considerable pain, he remembered hours that could have been days pacing around the waiting room before he got called away to meet his little boy.

He  was already washed and wrapped in a soft blue blanket so nothing but his little face was visible. Dilly held him in her arms and a rare smile lit up her pale and warm face. “Come closer.” She said. “Meet our little dragon. His name is Billy, I think.”

“Yes.” Harwood said picking up the small and soft little thing. “Hello Billy.” Something shifted inside him as those little eyes, his green eyes, opened and his son looked at him for the very first time. For a moment the world disappeared, the hospital room, the mother of his child, his best friend waiting outside, everything was blown away by a strong force of love Harwood felt for this tiny little human whose life had just began. He didn’t even feel the warm tears spilling down his face, washing away his mascara, there was nothing in his heart and mind but love for this boy. His son. Billy.

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