Saturday, April 2, 2011

Studio Time: Nine

Millwood: Monday, 6:11AM

The first rays of dawn crept into Gemma’s room as she lay awake and exhausted. Sleep had eluded her for the last couple of nights. It hadn’t been but a few days earlier when she had enjoyed a burst of energy and had finally setup the spare room for the baby. More than once the idea of returning to California had crossed her mind; after all, there wasn’t much to keep her in Millwood. Things had definitely not played out the way she had hoped.

Pulling back the sheets Gemma stretched out on the bed and tried to see her toes as she wiggled them but the mountain that her belly had become prevented her from actually seeing them. With a wistful smile she realized she had been softly caressing her belly. No, things had definitely not gone as planned at all.

A dull ache in her back forced her to shift her weight but it wouldn’t ease the pain. Maybe she should get up and move around a little, she thought. Sighing, Gemma hefted her body up and out of the bed and padded toward the mirror in the corner. Critically examining her face she realized that it hadn’t changed much throughout the pregnancy with the exception of the shadows under her eyes. The pregnancy itself hadn’t been particularly difficult other than the recent back aches and she even felt pretty good through most of it.

But as Gemma’s due date got closer the fear and doubt about her ability to be a good parent began to set in along with the fear of giving birth. She and Julia were built with the same lithe body; if Julia managed to deliver Wyatt under the circumstances she had been in at the time, then Gemma could certainly survive it. Still, there had been times where she was frantic, desperate enough to even consider calling her step-mother and asking for help. She had no one here; even Wyatt had distanced himself from her, not that she could blame him.

She was afraid, plain and simple, and turning back the clock, taking a different path or making a different choice was no longer an option on the table. Gemma took a few steps away from the mirror and re-focused on her reflection and the vast changes in her body. She looked like she had swallowed a giant pear. Oh God, a fat, juicy pear she realized as a warm trickle ran down her leg.

Mercy Hospital: Tuesday, 9:42AM

“Coop, it’s me.” Slim tried to keep his gruff voice as quiet as possible while stepping outside the main entrance of Mercy Hospital. It was too early for Cooper, he knew that, but the call had to be made. “Gemma had the baby last night…yeah…I got the call from her this morning. They’re both fine although she was still feeling pretty rough around the edges.”

Moving the phone away from his ear, Slim drew a deep breath. Even after all this time, knowing that Coop was never at his best in the morning, he could still manage to chew Slim’s ear off with amazing clarity. He gritted his teeth and tried to answer calmly, “I know you don’t give a damn how she feels...right...I don’t know man, it’s hard to know babies; they’re all bald and blue-eyed.”

Slim tried to fill in the blanks in between each of Cooper’s questions and he was hitting him fast with them, raw tension in his voice. “Coop, slow down...yeah I get it but I don’t know shit yet...You wanted me to move fast with the paternity test. I’ve got a guy I trust who can give us results in a couple of days. He’s discreet and reliable - I’ll pick you up later this afternoon.”

He hesitated for a split second, released the breath he didn’t realize he was holding and blurted out, “It’s a girl.”

Downtown Metro Area - Sutter Building: Friday, 2:38PM

The Sutter Building was two blocks away but for Cooper it wasn’t nearly close enough. Getting this out of the way and getting Gemma out of his life was the primary concern for him. He drilled Slim the entire way from the parking lot, needing constant reassurance that, regardless of the outcome, Gemma’s silence was guaranteed. Slim had replied in monosyllables ‘yeah right maybe fuck it Coop sure’, tipped his sunglasses down over his eyes and avoided the afternoon pedestrian traffic by walking through an empty construction zone.  There were no guarantees.  He didn’t need Slim to tell him that, he knew it.

Cooper hadn’t wanted to learn the results face to face. Over the phone would have been fine as far as he was concerned but Slim didn’t trust getting information this important by phone. If there had been the slightest whiff that Coop might have fathered the child, and there had been many veiled remarks in the past few months, then Slim wanted it in person and behind closed doors. He wanted the proof in his hands for safe keeping.

As they exited the elevator Slim stopped to face Cooper. “I know you don’t trust her but in this case I believe what she says. Gemma won’t be a threat.”

Cooper folded his arms and glared skeptically at Slim. “Well I don’t trust her and I never will. Let’s just get this done.”

They walked into a small office. The geneticist rose when they entered and gestured for them to sit. Cooper shifted uneasily in his seat and looked at the folder which lay in the middle of the desk. His fate, his future was contained in that folder. He was either the kid’s father or he wasn’t. And if he was...his future with Beth, which already hung by the thinnest of threads, his chance of winning her back, was nil.

Dispensing with the social niceties, Cooper locked eyes with the doctor and got into it. “So? Am I the father or not?” As he continued to stare, Cooper was sure he saw a sympathetic expression in the man’s eyes. He didn’t say anything and simply pushed the folder toward him.

Swallowing, Cooper shoved down the rush of emotions that hit him. It felt like he was in the middle of a dark comedy. It was foolish to think this wasn’t going to get out one way or another regardless of what was in that folder or who made promises to keep silent. Figuring out how to spin it right, getting in front of it was going to be difficult and ugly but Cooper knew Slim would handle it. If the child was his...what was bad now with the twins would be irreparable; it would compromise Rayne’s contract, cast doubt on everything she’d fought so hard to do; and in hell could he explain this to his little girl. Everything changed. I’ll never go home..

He glanced at Slim whose jaw was rigid as he returned the look. Finally Slim reached for the folder, hesitated, and then asked quietly, “Do you want me to look first?”

“No, I’ll do it.” Coop grabbed the folder and opened it. He remained expressionless as his eyes scanned the documents until he found what he was looking for.

Cooper didn’t say a word as he rose from his seat, tossed the folder back on the desk toward Slim, and, walking to the window, looked out at the city below. “So that’s it then.” His voice was flat and unemotional.

Slim glanced at the report, drew a deep breath and responded, “Yeah, I guess it is.”



    I'm not sure what's more likely at this point. On one hand, maybe he's waiting until he's alone to go into freak-out mode. On the other, maybe he's just not up to feeling the relief he might have been expected to feel. Uggggh, not sure :S

  2. Yup, he is either super relieved or super pissed off. We're mean like that aren't we? Cliffhangers-R-Us.

    Thanks from both of us Van...

  3. OH MY GOD NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There, I just freaked out for all of us! My heart is racing and I am DYING to know. I think I might just die! I am praying that he isn't! Praying he has another chance to repair his home, his real home! He has too much to lose and even more now I'm pissed that he even went there with Gemma! AH!!!!! I need to scream!!

  4. Sorry Coop, but you put yourself in this situation. Might as well buck up and take it like a man.

    As for me, I feel sorry for Gemma. I hate kids, so this would be my worse nightmare and more of a loss than what Cooper will suffer. He's had his prime, he's had his chances, but Gemma, Gemma's life just took a turn..probably for the worse. At least at first.

    Great shot plan with Slim in front of the hospital doors. I like that one sim is carrying a clipboard, it's little things like this that add realism to a shot!

  5. Oh, you meanies. :)

    I love seeing Slim, even under the worst circumstances.

    I think it's true that even if it isn't his child, the speculations have already done a lot of damage. As far as Beth is concerned, doesn't she already know that it could be his child? I don't see how confirming that it is or isn't will change anything, other than the other parts that Cooper is only now thinking about--the effects it will have on his children. Then again, maybe Beth wouldn't take him back at all if it will have all the fallout of really being his child--but when has Beth really put her children before her relationship with Cooper?

  6. GAHHHH no fair!!!!

    That last photo is gorgeous btw. Stunning.

    But OMG!!!!!!!!

  7. I left with this nagging feeling and bug in my ear telling me to explain it and for some stupid reason I came back just to do that.

    Cooper did mess up big time! He has made many mistakes but the ONE thing you can never forgive is when your partner actually fathered a child with someone else. The fact alone that they even went that far with another woman hurts and CAN be worked through but having to share him with a woman who just stepped onto the scene isn't so easy and is in most cases the point of no return. The baby not being his means that he MIGHT have a chance to work things out with his family without a living, breathing reminder of his mistakes. The baby being his means that there is no going back and he has a lifetime bond with a woman that only served one purpose.

    YES Cooper did make a mistake but to say that Gemma is basically the one whose suffering or going to suffer is complete bullshit! Go back and read that! I don't recall her protesting or putting up a fight. She admits that there is a chance that he may not be the father so whose to say that she wasn't putting herself in that position in the first place? Gemma was all about doing what she had to do to get where she wanted and what she wanted and let's not forget the fact that she did not hesitate to get a contract for Brew the second she had the chance! Kids are not a curse or a disease and if she really didn't want to be a mother then she could have gotten an abortion.

    My apologies Gayl and Beth.

  8. Qui.

    Yes. That is it exactly. Bringing a baby into the world with another woman completely changes everything. There's no going back. That woman and that child will be in your life forever.

    Gemma made her decision. She had a choice. Maybe not a great choice, but she had one, and she used the pregnancy to get what she was unable to get otherwise.

    If the baby is not Cooper's, he does have a better chance to put his marriage back together.

    thank you...

  9. Hey Christi!

    thank you from both of us! I like that shot, too.

  10. Rachel, thank you!

    Beth does know. Coop did tell her. She's angry with him and she may not take him back whether or not the baby is his. Having to share him the rest of her life with Gemma and a living reminder in the form of a baby probably would be a deal breaker. She's not putting her children first (you're right, she never really has); the decision wouldn't be about the children.

    Thank you from both of us!

  11. Christina, isn't that shot great with the clipboard? Gayl took all the hospital shots: that lot crashed on me constantly.

    Gemma will have the harder time of it since she'll be the custodial parent, and she's single, but having a baby with her would change Cooper's life as well. He would not be able to slam the door on either of them. Gemma would be in his life for the rest of his life.

    thank you so much for all your support!

  12. And you just had to leave it there :( That's not nice of you two!

    Interesting situation Cooper's in. Whether the baby is his or not, too much has happened between him and Beth, and Beth and Blade, so I don't see how it will make a difference to where he and Beth are at right now.

    But I'm still curious and dying to know what those results reveal.

    Loved the hospital shots. Beautiful.

  13. WHY DID YOU DO THAT!!!!??? Cliffhangers are EVIL!!!

    I'm up here holding my breathe and wondering: "IS he? IS HE??" and then boom! Fade to black! *shakes head*

    Gemma...I kinda feel sorry for her and I kinda don't but yeah, I agree with Qui! Having to share your man with another woman, knowing that you two were still married and you have kids together so you're still going to be tied to him, is just awful. I'm so undecided!!

    Loved the whole thing. Y'alls shots are amazing and everyone needs a best friend like Slim. Seriously! He puts up with so much MESS with Coop and he's just steadfast.

    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing such an amazing story with us!:D

    FYI: Coop is still hot! That last shot...yeah!

  14. Phoenix we can't just blurt it out can we? LOL! Cliffhangers are evil.

    I feel sorry for both of them, for all of them really. Whether the baby is Coop's or not, lives have been changed, there is no going back and I don't know if there is a future to move toward for them.

    Slim is steadfast and non-judgmental. He does his job, he protects his best friend. I adore him.

    And thank you from both of us for sticking to our stories for all this time. It means more than either of us can say.

  15. Valpre Heheh yes we sort of left it there...we are cruel...

    You are absolutely right, the baby doesn't make or break whether or not Coop and Beth can fix things not to mention the kids...and Beth is trying to move on which is a very big step for her.

    Thank you so much. We will reveal the paternity soon.

  16. “So that’s it then.” <-- OMG, it's *impossible* to tell anything from that line! (And believe me, I just spent 20 minutes picking apart every line of speech and mannerism in this, lol!) It could mean either he is, and his family is over, or it isn't, and the thing with Gemma is over. OMG, this is so, SO evil! :o

    More, and quickly, please!!! :D

  17. Laura we intentionally tried to keep the results ambiguous so if you couldn't pick it out then I think it was a successful effort!

    We are working on the next part already so hopefully it won't take too long before you will know who the daddy is.

    Thank you from both of us!!

  18. Wow. I maintained self restraint in not just rushing to the end like a madwoman and was met with a cliff hanger anyway!!! XD You guys definitely are mean!!! EEeeee! I admit, I love how you're holding the tension!

    Whether or not Cooper's the father of that child, he still slept with Gemma and I think that's something that he and Beth have to overcome *if* they're ever going to get back together. (If).

  19. Oooh, "BD" is me, on my seldom ever used google account. Sorry!

  20. LOL Mela, so you have a google account, like my hardly ever used LJ account!

    Yes Coop did, and if that baby is Gemma's, well if it was my husband who went out and got another woman pregnant, I would have a very hard time with that. It is a very big deal. The other woman is going to be in their lives forever.

    I am so thrilled to get a comment from you!! Thank you!!

  21. Oh...hold the phone!

    I just thought of another possibility for the daddy...but is the timing right? And it would produce a very similar result to Cooper...

    Aaaugh! I need to stop speculating and just wait for you two to write the next chapter. :)

  22. Rachel...LOL ACCKKKK!!! Hmmmm...yeah. Well there's a family precedent...

  23. Hello there ladies! I'm a new follower to this story (followed S.B. over from valley sun sims) -- I've read the summaries and chapters 1-9 already & can i just say: simply amazing, beautifully done work! Very inspiring and wonderfully done!

    I love this world you both have created! All your characters seem so genuine! I would say more, but at the moment im too blown away and a little speechless! :-X

    ~Jari / L.D.

  24. Hi there, Jari! Thank you so much from both of us for taking the time and read and let us know what you think.

    We've been working with this world for a couple of years now. It's a lot of fun, and we love the characters. We try to use a lot of different and interesting sets.

    It is absolutely wonderful to hear from a new reader!! We appreciate it so much -- thank you!

  25. Pardon me while I pull my jaw up from the floor! What a hell of a cliff hanger. I honestly can't begin to predict this one. I really hope the baby is not Coop's because I don't think he and Beth would be able to come back from that at all (not that he doesn't have a hill to climb even if it's not his).

    And the timing couldn't be worse not that Beth and Blade know. I cannot wait to see what happens next!

    Wonderful update!

  26. Muzegoddess, you're right, the timing could not be worse. Coop blew Blade off as an opponent he could best anytime, professionally or personally, one hand behind his back, no problem. Arrogance is not his friend.

    If the baby is his, that hill he has to climb becomes a mountain.

    From both of us, again, thank you. We appreciate the support you have given us for so long more than we can say.

  27. ...Really? The suspense is too much! Ah, I need to know. Gayl. Beth. Good job in a wicked kind of way.

    Even if the baby isn't his, there's the whole thing of having to deal with Cooper's lack of trust on Beth's part (since that was part of the reason that drove him to sleep with Gemma) and Beth getting into a new relationship with a guy who seems to be quite honest and smitten with her right now is going to be a whole tangled web of drama.

    Great stuff ladies. I'll be anxiously waiting the next installment.

  28. Choco, thanks from both of us!

    If Coop is unable to get over the affair with Ryan, it will never work. And it's hard to regain trust once it's broken. He will probably always be looking over his shoulder.

    I don't know that Alex is all that smitten. He's enjoying himself and he's got a very large ego: he wouldn't want to lose anything to Cooper. He has definitely been honest, and that's an endearing trait.

  29. *WHAT?!!! COME ON!!*


    Hi you guys
    Up until now I was the silent reader. With this one I just had to explode.

    So not fair!! Aargh! I do not like you guys at all for doing this. Do you know how long I've waited for this chapter??? Grrr! And still it doesn't say anything!!!

    I'll go sit in my *depressed* corner!

    -Fab Pictures-
    I mean... argh!!

  30. Jean-Marie, sorry about that!! We rarely use cliffhangers because they're hard to do, but this one was irresistible.

    Thank you so much from both of us for reading our work, and for letting us know what you think. I get crazy excited when someone new leaves us a comment! We're working hard on the next update!!

  31. Oh, I've been looking forward to hearing more from Gemma! I didn't realise she was so close to giving birth.

    But damn, what a cliffhanger to end this one! If this baby is Cooper's, that is huge. I'm glad Rachel asked if Beth knew about the pregnancy because I couldn't remember. won't be a surprise, at least. I wonder if Beth is already expecting the worst news.

    Argh...I can't wait until the next update.

  32. Cliffhangers are the best! :D
    And because I'm behind, I don't have to wait! LOL!

    I love the steady rise of excitement here, the shots just compliment the writing, taking everything nice and slow until you're about to burst and then...that ending! AHHHH!

    Well done!

  33. Emily, you are way too kind! This was hard to write and hard to shoot so thank you!!

  34. to be KIDDING ME! You end it there?! Oh that just beyond cruel and torturous (glad I don't have to wait...I hope) oooo this had better be in the next update or I'm taking a trip to whereever you are oooooo cruel!

    Just plain evil!

    Nicely done :P

  35. Daijahv, LOL! Once in a while we do that! Doing the reveal in this chapter didn't seem to work.

    Thank you!