Chapter 21 – Farewell South Island, For Now.

Molly woke early. She pulled back the curtains in the motel room in Picton, looked out across the water to watch the colours of the predawn sky, and took a moment to prepare herself for the day ahead. Then climbing back into bed she snuggled up with Will, as he stirred slowly from a deep sleep. He rolled towards her burying his face into her belly, and blew a huge raspberry, making her giggle. Molly loved this time of day, of the ‘changing of the guards’ as she liked to call it, of when the night sky with its rich, dark blanket and twinkling stars gave way to the colourful splashes of light as the sun announced a new day. She felt content, but her body was heavy and tired. Yesterday was a mixture of emotions – an end of a chapter for them, of visiting The Attic and sharing the stories with Will. She wrapped her arms around him and pulled his body tightly into hers, wanting to hold the moment, feeling the change that was awaiting them today – returning to the North Island. It felt like such a long time ago when they were last in Wellington – so much had happened in-between. And then the excitement kicked in as she remembered that they were going to visit Tom and Kelly. It was now the 28th April, and Kelly’s dream had told her the twins would arrive on the 30th. Ready to leap into the day, Molly kicked off the covers, revealing Will’s naked body next to hers. Oh god, how she loved him!And how he always took her breath away. Seductively he laid on the bed naked, looking at her knowing so well what was going through her mind. She almost gave in, but having to keep to a time frame today, with the ferry to catch. Dramatically, she dejectedly slid off the bed and crawled on her hands and knees like a slinking cat towards the bathroom,  her white bikini line glowing against the tanned skin of her naked body in the half light, creating an irresistible target. Looking over her shoulder with a sad face that Will could not ignore, he chased her across the floor to the bathroom to turn the shower on, smacking her arse along the way. “Ouch!” Molly shrieked, “Must you!” She rubbed her backside as it smarted. “Oh you love it!” replied Will from in the bathroom “Do you want some of this? I know you do….” He teased her, wiggling his bum through the open sliding door of the shower. Now it was Molly’s opportunity to return the favour, and the sharp slap on wet skin resounded against the tiled walls of the bathroom. “Oh yeah, baby, do I have a surprise for you!” He said playfully, as he pulled her under the hot running water with him…. 

Molly hated rushing, but the delay had been worth it, every sweet moment of it… Together they packed the last of their belongings into the car and drove down to the waterfront for breakfast before catching the ferry. It was their favourite place to begin the journey at the cafe facing the waterfront across from where the ferry’s dock. The sun was warm already and it was such a nice way to start the day. The ferry trip was smooth with only a gentle rocking as they crossed the Cook Strait. Settled in upstairs at a table where they could do a little work, together they went over the final draft of the stories for The Adorable Chocolate Company. Will’s phone rang, it was Tom. They both held their breath and looked at the phone – was it time, where the babies coming? “Answer it Will!” Molly demanded impatiently. 

Will chatted with Tom for awhile. Not wanting to have the phone on speaker in a public place, Molly had to wait patiently until the call had finished. Will’s conversation was filled with lots of, ‘ah ha’s, yep’s and nods of his head, which began to frustrate her. Finally he hung up and looked at her. “Well?” She coaxed him.

“Well, umm, he said to call in for lunch when we arrive in Wellington,” Will replied aloofly.

“Is that it?” Molly squawked at him.

“Yep, pretty much!” Will said. Molly looked disappointed, and added, “No the babies are not coming yet. We shall get to see them in…..less than a couple of hours and rub that big belly of Kelly’s,” he winked at Molly and returned to their work sitting on the table between them. “Do you think it is ready for Tom?” he asked her.

Molly focussed her attention back to the job at hand, “Yeah, pretty much!” She replied despondently. Will laughed at her, “Oh Molly, the babies will be here soon enough, and hopefully whilst we are in Wellington before we head home and catch up with Anna.” Molly pouted playfully and said, “yeah, it would be cool to be around when they arrive.”

“One more thing Tom did say….” Will teased her, and she took the bait, looking at him eagerly, “There is someone else staying in the house.” 

“Well, we kinda know that!” Molly looked at him as if that was no surprise.

“He was not referring to Grace Simpson. He meant in the physical.” Will continued.

“Oh!” Molly looked a little disappointed that they would not have the house to themselves.

“It is someone we know….” He continued to tease her.

“Anna?” Molly asked excitedly. Will shook his head.

“Mum and Dad?” Will shook his head again.

“Oh come on Will, tell me!” She pleaded. He looked at her without saying a word to see if she would work it out. He could almost hear her mind ticking over and then it matched the blank look on her face. He turned back to the work on the table, collecting up his artwork, which annoyed Molly no end!

“Wi-i-i-i-llll” she whined. “Tell me!” Molly she demanded.

“Your the clairvoyant!” He teased her some more.

“Ooooooo!” She growled at him. “My radar is broken, tell me!” She pouted a little more.

“Moana,” he said under his breath.

“Moana? Really?” Will nodded in agreement. “Oh how wonderful! That will be awesome to catch up with her!” Then her face dropped with the thought that maybe she was staying in the room at the back of the house, where Molly used to meet with Grace. Will picked up on this straight away. “Oh Molly you are so transparent! There are how many other bedrooms in the house? Do you really think Moana would choose the smallest room?” Will smirked fondly at her protectiveness of the house.

“Yeah, you are right, that other front room is much nicer,” she consoled herself a little.

The ferry journey had passed quickly and the announcement came that it was time to the passengers to return to their cars and prepare to disembark. Quickly they gathered up their belongings and joined the queue already waiting to go below deck to where the vehicles were parked.

Driving through the city during the middle of the day was easy and they quickly arrived at Tom and Kelly’s. Will had barely parked and Molly was out of the car  and up the stairs to the front door of their house, keen to see everyone, furry ones and all. The barking doorbell met her rapid knocks on the door. Tom answered the door and was met with a huge hug from Molly. Will was right behind her and just as keen to get in the door. The dogs danced around their feet, and Coffee sat on the shelf at the top of the coat stand just inside the door, all very keen to see their visitors. Molly  took a moment to say hello to all of them. But where was Kelly? She looked at Tom concerned. “It’s ok Molly, Kelly is just in the sunroom with her feet up resting. Lunch is ready, if you are hungry?” Tom offered. Will and Molly walked quietly down the hall to the kitchen. Despite the noise of their arrival, Kelly was sound asleep on the cane sofa, the sunlight shining through the window illuminating her face with an otherworldly glow, like a halo around her head. Molly paused, relishing the moment – she looked so peaceful and content. Will could not resist capturing it with the camera on his phone. At the sound of Tom’s voice, Kelly stirred sleepily. “Oh hello you two! When did you arrive? I didn’t hear a thing, must have nodded off.” She struggled to sit up, shifting her weight, and looking very uncomfortable. Molly went to help her, but Kelly was used to this by now. “I will be soooo grateful when these little darlings are safely out in the big world and I can have my body back!” She exclaimed. Even though her body was huge, her ankles swollen and her face puffy like she had the mumps, Molly thought she looked beautiful. “It wont be long before you are chasing them down the hall,” she said reassuringly, “and your body will be slim and svelte again, from chasing them around the house every day.”

“Yeah, you are probably right, but looking at my body now, I do wonder if it will ever be the same again without corrective surgery,” she sighed as she patted her big belly. “Of course it will,” said Molly, “Look how fit you were before you became pregnant! The skinny you is still inside there somewhere!” She jested as she tickled Kelly’s full belly. “Wow! Did you feel that?” Kelly asked, “You know they are here, don’t you!” she smiled at her abdomen and then at Molly, grabbed her hand to feel the movement beneath the tight skin of her belly. Molly looked startled, “Oh my god, Kelly, how have you put up with all that movement? Do they have a football inside of there?” 

“I doubt there is room for one!” exclaimed Kelly, “it is exhausting. I haven’t been getting much sleep, so please excuse me if I nod off mid sentence,” she apologised in advance. 

Over lunch they shared  the events that had unfolded for all of them in what seemed like such a short period of time. Six weeks had gone so fast! And of course for Kelly, six weeks meant a lot of change for her. Tom had rearranged their bedroom to accommodate a cot next to the bed. He and Kelly had agreed that the babies will sleep with them. If not in the big bed, the twins would be together in the cot. The spare room was ready for either of them should they need an additional sleeping space for when the babies may be unsettled. Tom had a month at home and was ready to do everything he could to help Kelly. After the meal, Kelly returned to the sofa and invited Molly to join her. She said in a lowered voice, “Remember our dream?” Molly grabbed her hand and squeezed it. “Do I!” Molly exclaimed and Kelly continued “Well, as you know, today is the 28th, do you think you guys can stay around for a couple of days?”

“There is no way I want to miss this!” Molly said. “Kelly is there anything we can do to help?”

“Just be here, be here for Tom,” she patted Molly’s hand and smiled. “I’ll be fine. I know I have no idea what I am in for, I just want these babies out of me safely, don’t care how they do it now. I was so determined to have a natural delivery but now, I just don’t care. Open me up with a can opener if you must! I am so over it,” Kelly burst into tears and Molly held her hand, and just let her cry. Tom watched them, feeling helpless. Will looked at Tom and said, “Is she ok?”

Yeah, nah…kinda. This has been happening a lot this past week. The midwife said that the babies will come soon, she is about to burst, as you can see. They are lying neatly in her belly, but there may be a race for them to get out. She warned us that labour may come quickly and we need to be ready to get to the hospital any day now.”

“Wow!” Will did not know what to say. He had never see a pregnant woman so up close and personal before. He sat next to Molly on the floor and gently placed his hand on Kelly’s tight belly, felt the movement and a pronounced outline of a little fist. He jumped, pulling his hand back, “holy shit! Oh sorry Kelly, sorry babies,” he whispered at her belly. Kelly laughed, “It is so good to have you guys here. Perfect timing, I can’t hold out much longer! Do you hear that babes! Any day now would be good. Owwwwww!” gasped Kelly, squeezing Molly’s hand until it went numb. Molly looked to Tom with concern. Kelly puffed a few breath’s, and rested. “Braxton Hicks contractions, so the midwife says, just having a warm up,” she said. “If you will excuse me, I think I might go to bed for a bit. Tom can you please give me a hand?” she asked as she struggled to sit up.

Will stopped Tom as he walked past, “Go to bed with her man, we’ll feed ourselves and tidy the kitchen up for you. Thanks for an awesome lunch. I’ll catch up with Delilah tomorrow at the office and take our work in for you. I think it is ready.” Tom paused, and just for a moment was torn between wanting to help his wife and wanting to see what Will and Molly had created. “You will just have to wait for that one, Kelly needs you, right now!” Will could see she had broken out in a sweat across her forehead. He and Molly helped themselves to the food Tom had already prepared. Feeling a little overwhelmed they shared the meal in silence. Whilst he cleaned up after lunch, Molly went out to the car to find some essential oils she had in her bathroom bag. She knew what would help Kelly to feel a little better – lavender and peppermint oil in a little cold water as a compress. She took the bowl of fragrant oils and a face cloth into their bedroom, and showed Tom what he needed to do. She left with him the two bottles of oils, instructing him on how much to use and how to make the cooling compress. “The lavender oil will help her to relax and the peppermint will revive her energy. Good for you too,” she patted him on the shoulder. “We are just around the corner, remember. If you need a lift to the hospital during the night, or whenever,” Molly tried to reassure them. “Ooh, and one more thing,” Molly dashed out to the living room and rummaged in her hand bag. Finding the Rescue Remedy, she smiled, gave herself a dose and took it into the bedroom for Tom and Kelly.

Returning to the kitchen where Will who was washing the dishes, she said, “I am no midwife, but I think those babies are coming soon!” Kitchen clean and tidy, they left quietly without saying a word and drove to the Grace Simpson’s house, keen to see Moana. 

On arriving at the house, no one was home. Slightly disappointed, they unloaded from the car what they would need for the next few days. Molly ran up the stairs, keen to see where Moana was staying. The doors to all of the bedrooms were open, and she was relieved to see that Moana had indeed chosen the front bedroom. On the bed in the room where they usually stayed was a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates. “Tom is so sweet!” acknowledged Molly. And then she heard it, a deep, mellow, husky voice. “Tom is not the only one who knew you were coming…” Molly knew it was Grace Simpson! She ran along the short hall way to the room at the back, hoping to see her sitting on the bed. But she was unable to see anyone in the room. And then she heard it again, that same familiar voice, “When you are rested and ready, we will meet then,” Grace reassured her. Looking at her watch, Molly realised that Moana would still be at work, with several hours before she would be home. Molly told Will she wanted to catch up with Grace. He was happy to chill out for a bit and let the events of the day sink in. 

Molly walked up the stairs to the office and laid down on the bed. She was tired but also excited about meeting with Grace Simpson. Closing her eyes, it did not take long for her to fall into a deep sleep. Dreams came quickly, and then a clear, vivid vision of Grace sitting on the end of the bed where she was resting. She had the most beautiful smile on her face as she looked down at Molly. But Molly felt like she was outside of her body watching on. “It is good to have you home,” she heard Grace say. But Molly saw herself lying motionless on the bed. It freaked her out a little, concerned that her body was not moving, not responding to Grace’s comment. She woke suddenly, staring up at the ceiling, her heart pounding rapidly in her chest. What had Grace meant – by her being ‘home’? This was not her home…and then she heard it again. 

“Remember! Remember who you are Molly Grace Ferguson!” Grace Simpson exclaimed. Molly felt her presence withdraw from the room and there was a knock at the front door, and a familiar voice called up the hallway – it was Moana. Molly leapt from the bed and bounded down the stairs almost bumping directly into Moana as she came through the door. Shrieks of laughter resonated through the house, and Grace Simpson stood at the top of the stairs watching on fondly. She loved having life in the house again.

Will had prepared dinner and the three of them talked until the early hours of the morning, there was so much to catch up on. Remembering that they were all required to be at the office later that morning, they prepared for bed.  Moana loaded the dishwasher whilst the others tidied the kitchen. No sooner had Molly fallen asleep, the alarm woke them both. Groaning, she rolled over and set the snooze button for the alarm to go off again in 10 minutes and snuggled under the duvet with Will, wanting that moment to last a little longer. But by the time the alarm went off again, they were both excited about the day ahead and ready to get on with it.

Will drove them all into the office of The Little Book Publishing Co. The day began with a morning tea, where everyone was able to catch up before attending to the work they had been preparing. Morning tea became lunch and it was mid afternoon when Will and Molly finally got to present their work to Delilah. After Molly had shared her experiences of collecting the stories, and just as they were about to reveal Wills artwork, Delilah’s phone rang. Looking at the screen, she caught her breath – it was Tom! Excitedly, she looked at Molly and Will. Putting the phone on speaker, they all said ‘hello’ in unison. Tom laughed and said, “can someone come and pick us up? We think it’s Time!” Great excitement rippled around the office. Will’s artwork and Molly’s notes were left on the table as they all bustled excitedly out the door and down to the carpark. Delilah quickly decided to take her own car and said it may be best for Molly and Will to drop by and pick up Tom and Kelly, that she would meet them at the hospital with Louisa. His heart racing, Will had to watch his speed as he drove impatiently to Tom and Kelly’s house. Tom was already helping Kelly into the car, and Will instructed him to get into the back seat with her, he would drive them and Molly was to take the other car and follow on behind. 

Molly parked the car in the visitors carpark whilst Will drove Tom and Kelly to Accident & Emergency, where they meet their midwife who was waiting for them with a wheelchair. Kelly’s waters had broken and they moved her swiftly through the busy hospital to the Maternity Ward and into a private delivery suite in the birthing centre. Will waited for Molly at the entrance of A&E. With nervous anticipation they wove through the crowd of people, following the signs to the Delivery Suites, and The Waiting Room.  

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