She was restless. I could tell. She’d been tossing and turning all night, just like she had every night since it happened. Neither of us were going to get any sleep like that, so I leaned over and shook her gently.
"Em? Darlin’, wake up. You’re havin’ another one."
"No!" she screamed in her sleep. "No! Sheila, don’t touch me!"
I put my hands on her shoulders. "Em, get up! I ain’t Sheila, thank god. You’re havin’ a nightmare."
"I..." Her stormy gray eyes finally fluttered open. "Mike?"
"Yeah, darlin’, it’s me."
"Oh...oh Baby..." Em leaned into my skinny chest. I just held her. I ain’t the touchy type, but she really needed it just then. Em likes to be held, and she’s nice to hold, soft and warm, like one of those teddy bears she collects.
"Darlin’, we’re gonna have this kid." I smiled at her as best I could at three o’clock in the morning. "You know we won’t let her take it away."
There was still fear in my wife’s eyes. It wasn’t really too surprising, after what Sheila did to her. She only locked her up in some basement room somewhere in LA and left her mute, unable to walk or see, and damaged while pregnant. The crazy chick devil was determined to make me her lover and take the child we both wanted.
Em is a strong woman, stronger than she thinks, but this was a lot, even for her. I felt the wetness on my bare chest and let the tears fall. "I’ll never be a good mother. I can’t save my child from the devil, much less take care of it. How will afford to feed her and dress her and..."
"Darlin’, it’ll be all right. We’re both workin’ now, and you know half of Malibu Beach has volunteered to help in some way. Just relax and get some sleep. The others will knock Sheila into the next county before she can touch you or me again."
"But she split you! Split you into two people!"
"Don’t you think that scares me?" I finally exclaimed. "I know she did some nasty stuff to both of us, and I know it ain’t gonna be easy to get over, but we’ve gotta do it. You have articles to write for the paper, and I have cars to fix and songs to write. Weren’t you the one who told me not to let the whole thing bother me after we came back from England a few years ago?"
Emma sighed. "I guess...now I know how you must have felt then. I hate being scared, Mike. I’ve never been a mother before. I couldn’t get my sisters and brother to listen to me most of the time, much less a child of our own."
"At least you have siblings to take care of! I’m an only child. The guys are the closest I’ve ever come to havin’ a big family."
"But you’re so good at taking care of them." She snuggled into my chest. I put my arm around her and pulled her close to me.
"Somebody’s gotta watch those guys. Peter gets into all sorts of stuff if he ain’t carefully watched, and Davy and Micky start World War III if left alone for five seconds."
She laughed a little. "And that leaves you, huh? How did you end up being the responsible Papa Nez, anyway?"
I shrugged as well as I could with Em layin’ on me. "Pete helps, sometimes, but he can be a damn flake. Davy and Mick are just kids. Yeah, I know they’ve both been on their own for a while, but for a guy who’s lived alone or in the theater since he was fourteen, there are times when Davy’s almost as gullible as Pete. If I had a dime for every time Davy chased some chick and got us into trouble, we wouldn’t be worryin’ about havin’ enough for the baby right now."
"Daphne’s crazy about him." Emma’s eyes were closing.
"Yeah, she is, and he’s nuts about her, but he ain’t gonna admit it. It kills him to limit it to one girl a day."
"Daphne’s a good girl. Nice girl. Good for Davy."
"Yeah, I think so, too, especially after Davy got pissed when Sheila turned Daphne into a kitten. She’s got spunk, that girl. She’ll make sure Davy’s roving eye stays on her. Or else." I looked down at my wife. "Darlin’..."
Em had fallen asleep on my chest. I gently shuffled her back onto her side of the mattress, then lay down myself. I was the one who had trouble going back to sleep now, though. Papa Nez had a lot to think about.