Under My Skin by Mellz Bellz
Chapter Sixty by Mellz Bellz
Author's Notes:
Well, here it is... The last chapter of UMS *sniff sniff* Well, it isn't totally the end since there is still the Epilogue. I hope that you've enjoyed reading this story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. This last chapter is pretty much all about Alyssa, but I promise the Epilogue will cover Nick's side of things. I'm going to try to get the Epilogue out within the next few days as well as my Thank You note. Right now I'm going to post the link to A Little Taste of Sin which is the sequel to UMS on AC to give you a preview of what's to come and so that you can start adding it to your favorites early, so please look out for it and stop by. Thanks!
Chapter 60

It didn’t take very long for Alyssa to realize that taking care of her pregnant best friend was not as fun or easy as she had imagined it to be. As Izzy’s due date neared closer, she became more uncomfortable and irritable with each passing day. She wasn’t sleeping well during the night and was exhausted during the day. Since it was difficult for her to get up and do much around the house, Alyssa became responsible for the cooking and cleaning of the apartment, and anytime Izzy needed anything from the stores, it was her job to go out and get it. Of course her discomfort combined with out of control hormones, made Izzy even more unpleasant to be around. Alyssa never knew if to expect her friend excited, bawling, or bitching.

It was the second week in March and roughly two weeks before Izzy’s due date when Alyssa awoke to someone roughly shaking her shoulder. She sprang right into a sitting position on the couch and looked around the room, realizing that it was still dark out. Her eyes focused on the glowing numbers from time display on the DVD player across the room and saw that it was only about two in the morning. By her side was Izzy, her hands gripping her large stomach and breathing heavily. “Izzy?” she mumbled. “Are you all right?”

For the first time she noticed how panic stricken her best friend looked as her expression changed into what appeared to be some kind of grimace of pain. “No! I think the baby’s coming.”

This woke Alyssa right up. “Now?”

“No, in another five years,” Izzy answered back sarcastically. “Of course now!”

“Are you sure? Have you been timing your contractions?”

“Sort of… They hurt too badly for me to really concentrate. I think my water just broke a few minutes ago.”

“You think?” Alyssa asked. “I’ve never been pregnant, but it’s kind of hard to miss something like that-“

Izzy finally lost her patience as another burst of pain ran through her body. “I’m going into fucking labor! Please get me to a hospital now before I have the goddamn baby right here on the living floor!”

Alyssa was definitely taken back by Izzy’s outburst. “Okay, I’ll get you to a hospital,” she promised as she leapt off the couch. “Just let me grab my shoes and a jacket.” She ushered Izzy to sit in her place on the couch. “You just sit here.”

Izzy sat down as she watched Alyssa stick her feet into some sneakers without even bothering to put socks on and grab the nearest hoodie she could find to go over her tank top and sweatpants. “Could you do me a favor? In my room in the closet I have a little blue duffel bag. I packed it with things I’d need for the hospital just in case. Can you grab it for me?”

“Sure thing,” Alyssa answered as she ran into her friend’s bedroom to retrieve the duffel bag. Over her shoulder, she could still hear Izzy’s voice rattle on from the living room.

“I need you to get Tristan on the phone right away and tell him to get his ass on the next flight back to New York. And while you’re at it, you should probably call Kevin and let him know what’s going on. And my parents…”

At this point Alyssa had arrived back into the living room with the duffel bag in hand. “Don’t worry Izzy. I got it covered. Let’s get you on your way to the hospital first and then I’ll call Tristan on the way, okay?”

Izzy just nodded as she gripped her stomach. For a moment Alyssa’s eyes darted unsurely around the room, not sure of what the best and quickest method of getting her friend to the hospital would be. She could call an ambulance, but sometimes in New York City it was even hard for ambulances to navigate the congested traffic. It was the middle of the night though, so traffic shouldn’t be too bad, but it might just be quicker to grab a cab. Deciding on the latter option, she helped Izzy to her feet and they left the apartment, heading towards the elevator. Alyssa imagined they must’ve been quite the sight, stumbling out of Izzy’s apartment building, Izzy trying her hardest to concentrate on her breathing techniques and herself trying to juggle Izzy, the duffle bag, and her own purse. Once they reached the street she released her grip on her friend. “Wait here,” she instructed, as she stepped off the sidewalk only inches away from the oncoming lane of traffic. She waved her hands wildly trying to grab the attention of an upcoming cab. She could see one on the yellow vehicles approaching, so she stuck her hand out further causing the driver to screech on his brakes to avoid hitting her.

As soon as the cab came to a stop, Alyssa had pried open the cab door. “We have a pregnant woman in labor,” she explained. “We need to get to St. Vincent’s Hospital as quickly as possible.”

“But not too quickly,” Izzy chimed in as she waddled over to the open door. “I’d like to arrive at the hospital and give birth in one piece please.”

The driver nodded and Alyssa quickly helped Izzy into the backseat before sliding in next to her. As soon as they pulled away from the curb Alyssa took out her cell phone. “I’m going to call Tristan right now.” She keyed in his number and waited while the phone rang. It was still pretty early in LA. He shouldn’t be asleep yet. Hopefully he was at a place where he could hear his phone ring though. If he missed his daughter’s birth because he was at some party or something, Alyssa didn’t even want to be around to witness Izzy’s wrath.

Finally she heard Tristan’s voice on the other end. “Hello, Alyssa? What’s up? Is something wrong with Iz?”

“I’m taking down to the hospital. She thinks she might be going into labor,” Alyssa explained. “She wants you to try to get to New York as soon as you can.”

“Maybe I should wait until we know if it’s the real deal or not,” Tristan hesitated. “I’m not going to be able to get out there for another couple of hours at least.”

“More the reason you should leave now! I think this might really be it Tristan. Her water already broke.”

“Shit,” he cursed on the other end of the line. “Okay I’m going to head right to LAX and see if I can get a seat on the next plane out to New York City, but I don’t know how soon I can be there.”
“Just do your best.”

“Is Izzy with you? Can I talk to her?”

Alyssa looked over at Izzy beside her. “He wants to talk to you. Is that okay? Are you up to it?”

Izzy nodded and grabbed the phone from Alyssa’s hand. “Hey baby, are you coming…? What…? No, there’s no ‘I’ll try to be there as soon as I can’… You get your fucking ass here in New York before this baby is born or I’ll swear to God we’re through…! No, I’m not going to calm down…! Don’t give me any of this out of control hormone bullshit…! I can’t do this without you…!” There was a long pause in which Alyssa assumed Tristan must have said something comforting to Izzy because she immediately began to calm down. “All right. I’ll try to stay calm for the baby… I hope you make it… I love you.”

Alyssa listened to Izzy’s side of the conversation feeling slightly saddened. She knew that deep down, come hell or high water, Tristan would find some way to make it to the hospital in time for the delivery. It was obvious how much in love they were and Izzy was definitely lucky to have a guy that was willing to stick by her side during an unexpected pregnancy. She’d often wondered how Nick would’ve reacted if God forbid she’d ever found herself in the same position. Sometimes a part of her honestly thought he’d be supportive. He’d make a great father. But another part told her that upon hearing the news he’d head for the hills, especially after his experience with Katie and Serena. But then again why was she thinking about him? They were over now, so what did matter? Plus she had bigger concerns at the moment. Like getting her best friend safely to the hospital.

Izzy interrupted her thoughts by handing the phone back to Alyssa. “Hey it’s me again,” she told him, raising the phone to her ear.

“Take care of her please Alyssa,” Tristan begged. “I’m going to do everything in my power to get there as quickly as I possibly can, but if I can’t please don’t leave her side.”

“I promise. She’s in good hands,” she reassured him, realizing they were just approaching the front entrance of the hospital. “I have to go now though because we just arrived at the hospital. Hopefully I’ll see you soon.”

She quickly ended the phone call and threw a random bill at the drivers face as she helped Izzy out of the taxi and into the emergency room entrance. Once they arrived at the desk, just like in a movie, a few nurses jumped out from behind the counter to grab a wheelchair for Izzy once they noticed the obvious signs that she was in labor. “She’s going into labor,” Alyssa explained, feeling like she was stating the obvious.

Immediately the nurses began to fire questions in Izzy’s direction. “How long ago did the contractions start? How long ago was your last one? How many minutes are you averaging between each one? Has your water broken yet?” Alyssa was amazed at the drama of the moment and barely noticed what was happening until they began to wheel Izzy away. She quickly began to follow, but one of the nurses stopped her.

“I have to stay with her though!” she insisted. “She’s my best friend and her boyfriend is all the way out in LA right now. She’s all alone!”

“We’re just taking her in to get her examined,” the nurse calmly explained. “We need to determine if she’s really in labor and if she is, how far dilated she is. We also need to make sure that the baby isn’t in any distress and is positioned correctly. It shouldn’t take very long. You can wait out here and as soon as we’re done, we’ll send someone out here to let you know how your friend is doing, I promise.”

Alyssa couldn’t do anything else, but nod her head knowing that she was defeated. She watched as they wheeled Izzy away from her and down the hall. With nothing better to do she sunk down onto one of the waiting room chairs and began to wait… Something she had a feeling she’d be doing a lot of in the next couple of hours.

The next hour or two flew by in a blur for Alyssa. As promised, the nurse had returned a little over half an hour later to report that Izzy was indeed in labor, but was nowhere near being fully dilated yet. They were moving her up to a delivery room where Alyssa could stay with Izzy through the delivery if she wanted to. Alyssa wasn’t so sure if she wanted to be present for that event. She would be completely useless to Izzy at that point, and if she didn’t pass out it would be a wonder in itself.

Once Izzy was transported to the maternity ward, Alyssa was instructed to scrub in, so that she could be by her best friend’s side. She felt pretty weird wearing hospital scrubs, but under the circumstances she supposed that she could suck it up. Izzy looked much calmer, now that she was settled into a hospital bed and Alyssa suspected that the nurses had maybe given her some drugs to dull the pain of the contractions.

Every so often a nurse would come in to check on Izzy’s progress and jot down some notes on her chart. Finally, after what seemed like the umpteenth time, Alyssa’s curiosity got the better of her. “How much longer do you think it’ll be before she gives birth?” she asked.

The nurse looked up and shrugged. “It’s hard to say really. Especially with first time mothers since they can be so unpredictable. She’s progressing along at a steady rate, so I’d say within the next few hours or so, but I can’t say anything definite. We’ve had women come in and give birth one, two, three, but then we’ve had other women in labor for over twelve hours. It all depends when this baby is ready to make its entrance into the world.”

“Twelve hours?!” Izzy’s face paled. “I don’t think I could keep this up for another twelve hours!”

“Think of it this way though. Tristan would definitely be in New York by then, so you wouldn’t have to worry about him missing out on the birth,” Alyssa pointed out.

After the nurse left the room, Izzy turned her head towards Alyssa. “Do you really think that Tristan is going to be able to get here in time? Be honest. I want to prepare for the worst.”

Alyssa bit her lip. She didn’t want to give her best friend false hope, but she also didn’t want to upset her any more either. Besides it was still plausible that he could maybe get to New York in the nick of time, right? “I think that the baby is waiting for both its parents to be here before it’s ready to come out,” she finally answered. “You heard the nurse. Tristan still has time. You might not give birth for another couple of hours now.”

Izzy sighed. “In one way I don’t want it to happen before Tristan gets here, but in another I don’t know how I’m going to be able to wait another few hours. I never knew that labor could be so long and boring. I kind of thought it would be like in the movies where they wheel you in and you push once or twice and then bam! You have a baby! “

“I know… Me too,” Alyssa agreed. The conversation reached an awkward silence for a moment and searching for something to break it Alyssa blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. “One of the student teachers I worked with while I was subbing told me that when her best friend gave birth she pushed so hard that she popped all the blood vessels in her face.”

All the blood drained from Izzy’s cheeks as she gasped. “Is that even possible?”

Alyssa just shrugged. “I guess so.” She froze once she saw the look of horror on her best friend’s face and immediately wanted to kick herself for letting that comment slip. Obviously that wasn’t the most comforting thing she could tell a woman who was in the midst of labor and probably scared out of her mind. “I’m sorry. That probably wasn’t the most appropriate thing to say right now,” she apologized.

“That’s for sure,” Izzy grumbled. “Now that you’ve got me paranoid, I’ll probably be too scared to push.”

“Forget I said it. I promise I’ll shut up now.” There was another awkward silence and Alyssa wracked her brain, trying to come up with conversation topics that would distract Izzy from her current situation, and prevent her from staring over at the door every five minutes in hopes that Tristan would burst through. Every time she’d bring something up, the conversation would flow for about five minutes and then flop miserably. Alyssa was relieved when the nurse returned to monitor Izzy’s progress.

“Is she close yet?” Alyssa asked, sounding probably more anxious than Izzy herself.

“Closer than before, but not quite there yet. Why don’t you take a break and go down to the cafeteria and grab some breakfast?” the nurse suggested. “I’m sure that you won’t miss anything and I can imagine that you’re probably exhausted. Besides your friend could use a little rest as well. She’s got a big job ahead of her.”

Alyssa nodded her head. The offer sounded pretty good to her. Her eyes were already beginning to feel heavy and she definitely could use some time outside of Izzy’s hospital room. She was so eager to get out of there for awhile she nearly tore off her scrubs. Once she reached the cafeteria, she ordered herself a buttered roll and a coffee and sat down at a table, amusing herself with a copy of that day’s paper. She killed a little more than an hour down there, before she realized that she probably should get back to her post with Izzy. With any luck, the baby would be born sometime in the next two or three hours. Alyssa didn’t know how much more of this she could take. Maybe Tristan would even be up there by now and she’d be free to sit and wait in the waiting area for any news.

There was no such luck though. When she arrived back into the room, there was still no sign of Tristan. Izzy looked increasingly more uncomfortable since when Alyssa had left her a little while earlier. “Are you feeling okay?” Alyssa asked cautiously.

Izzy gripped her stomach. “The contractions are starting to get worse again. I think this means that the baby wants to come out now.”

Alyssa looked around the room panicked. “Should I get a nurse or something?”

She shook her head and laughed the best she could. “You don’t have to do that. By the look on your face you’d think I was already crowning. I don’t mean that the baby is going to come out right this second, but hopefully soon though.” She grimaced as another contraction washed over her and groaned. “And to think they actually are supposed to get even worse.”

Alyssa just shook her head. “Well, congratulations Iz. You’ve officially made me want to swear off sex forever… Well, at least for a very long time.”

“Then I guess it’s a good thing that you and Nick called it quits,” she smirked. Alyssa was just about to ask her what exactly that was supposed to mean, when she was cut off by Izzy having another contraction. They were starting to become a lot more frequent than what they had been. It seemed that Izzy was right and the baby would be arriving pretty soon. And there was still no sign of Tristan. Crap, what am I going to do if he doesn’t make it? Then I’ll have to stay with her during the delivery and I’ll probably pass out or something, she worried. Just the thought made her stomach turn.

She sat with Izzy for another forty-five minutes or so until the nurse arrived again. During that time the contractions gradually began to worsen, so Alyssa was not at all surprised when the nurse looked up, smiled, and announced. “I think we’re just about ready to have ourselves a baby.”

“It’s about time,” Alyssa muttered under her breath. She stood back and watched as over the next few minutes all the final preparations we’re made. It finally seemed to hit Izzy that this was really it once her doctor arrived. Alyssa could sense the worry in her friend’s eyes which were frozen like a deer in headlights.

She turned towards Alyssa. “Tristan’s not going to make it, is he?”

Alyssa looked over at her sadly as she stroked her hair. “It doesn’t look like it honey, but I’m sure he’s on a plane as we speak. He did his best to get here, but unfortunately he’s not Superman.”

“You have to stay with me, Lyss,” she weakly begged. ”Please… I’m scared to do this alone.”

She knew that she was obligated to stick by Izzy’s side, but Alyssa still felt a bit of fear and reluctance to witness such an important event in her best friend’s life. “But, I don’t know any of the breathing or anything. I’m going to make a lousy coach for you.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Izzy replied through gritted teeth. “Just wing it. You think Tristan actually paid attention in Lamaze class?”

“You have a point there. Fine,” she reluctantly agreed. “I’ll stay.” Please God let me get through this, she silently prayed to herself.

“Okay Isabelle, let’s get a start on bringing your daughter into the world. When your next contraction hits I’m going to need you to start pushing, okay?” Izzy’s obstetrician, Dr. Harris, ordered.

Izzy just nodded and gripped on tightly to Alyssa’s hand. When the contraction hit, she did exactly what she was told, but the push was weak and nowhere near as forceful as it needed to be. Clearly, Izzy hadn’t anticipated exactly how hard she was going to have to work and the look on her face, made Alyssa feel horrible for her best friend. She couldn’t imagine how hard this was for her, especially without Tristan by her side.

“I’m going to need you to push a lot harder than that if you want this baby born today,” Dr. Harris told her. “Let’s try it again, but this time I need you to concentrate one hundred percent on pushing, okay?”

Izzy just nodded and Alyssa helplessly gripped her hand. “You can do this, Iz,” were the only words of support that she could think of to say.

Alyssa could tell by the look on her friend’s face that the next contraction was beginning to start. She gave Izzy’s hand a little squeeze as Izzy’s face scrunched up in concentration as she bent forward to push before collapsing down on the pillows again breathing heavily.

“Much better Isabelle,” Dr. Harris praised her. “You’re doing great. I need you to keep pushing every time you feel a contraction. Do you think you can do that?”

“I think so,” Izzy weakly replied. Alyssa watched intently as the next few contractions hit. She was actually quite surprised with how Izzy seemed to be handling the birth so far. She could tell that her friend was in quite a great deal of pain just by how tightly she had been gripping her hand and by the redness in her face. Yet, she was surprisingly quiet about it. Alyssa really had expected Izzy to be more emotional and lash out like those pregnant women in the movies always did. Instead, Izzy was a lot calmer than Alyssa had anticipated and she began to wonder if perhaps her best friend was a lot more scared of any complications than she’d let on. She really wished that Tristan could be there. Somehow she got the feeling that if he showed up, Izzy would be able to relax a little more and hopefully make the experience a little easier on her.

Just then as if God had finally heard her prayers, the door to the room sprang open and in rushed a very disheveled looking Tristan. He made it… By some miracle he made it just in time. Alyssa instantly felt relieved. As close as she and Izzy were, she knew that Tristan would be able to help Izzy out way more than she could at the moment. Alyssa immediately smiled when she saw the look of relief flood Izzy’s face. “You made it,” she breathed out.

“I didn’t think I was going to,” he confessed as he rushed to her side. “I jumped on the first plane I could and I just rushed here as soon as I could. Looks like I cut it pretty close, huh?”

Izzy just nodded as Alyssa noticed tears starting to form in the corners of her eyes. “It doesn’t matter. You made it and that’s what’s important. I knew that she wasn’t going to come into this world without you being here.”

As Alyssa watched the scene unfold between the couple in front of her she could even feel herself tear up a little. She wasn’t sure if it was because she was genuinely touched by the obvious connection between the two of them or if it was because it was another painful reminder that she’d never really had a moment like that. Try as she might, she really could not imagine Nick doing something like that for her. All of a sudden, she felt uncomfortable being there as if she were a third wheel. “Well, I guess since Tristan’s here, I’ll wait out in the waiting room,” she announced. “You’re going to do great, Iz.”
She turned to walk away, but felt Izzy’s grip on her wrist. “Alyssa don’t go. I want you to be here too. Please…” She turned around and saw the seriousness in her friend’s eyes. “Stay here with me.”

Alyssa’s face softened. How could she possibly say no? “Alright, I’ll stay, but you seriously need to do some pushing because I’m itching to see this little princess.”

“I think we all are,” Tristan agreed.

It seemed that having Tristan finally arrive was just the motivation that Izzy needed to successfully give birth to their daughter. Alyssa could almost immediately sense the difference in Izzy’s attitude and her strength in every push. Unlike Alyssa, Tristan seemed to know exactly what to say to encourage her. It wasn’t much longer until Dr. Harris had some encouraging news of his own. “Okay Isabelle, I can see the head which means we’re just about there. I’m just going to need one more big push to welcome your daughter into the world.”

Alyssa looked down at Izzy realizing for the first time just how exhausted she looked. There were dark circles under her eyes and her skin was already damp with sweat. The poor thing looked as if she had absolutely no more energy left. “I don’t know if I can,” she muttered, her face scrunched up in pain.

“You have to Iz. It’s just one more big push and then you’re done,” Alyssa promised her.

“You can do it Iz,” Tristan’s voice echoed. “I know you can.”

Izzy bit her lip and nodded, squeezing both of their hands tightly as she bent forward to push one last time. Her eyes were squeezed tightly shut, but it seemed as if she was holding back a little bit. “You need to push a little harder than that,” Dr. Harris coached. “As hard as you possibly can.”

“I can’t!” Izzy cried, bursting into tears. “If I push any harder I’m going to burst the blood vessels in my face!”

“Burst all the blood vessels in your face? Baby, what are you talking about?” Tristan asked her, sounding very confused. “Where did you get that idea?”

Alyssa immediately felt her face turning red. She hadn’t expected Izzy to take that story so personally and in turn be afraid to actually push. Wow, you’re really the right person to have in an emergency, she criticized herself. “Look Iz, just forget anything I said earlier. I’m sure that doesn’t happen very often and even if it does, so what? Your face will go back to normal after awhile, but the important thing will be that you’ll have just brought another life in the world which is probably the most incredible thing that anyone can ever do. I think it’s a small price to pay under the circumstances. So, just go for it and don’t let anything stupid like worrying about popping a few blood vessels get in your way.” She took a deep breath hoping that her speech had been effective. She wasn’t sure if she’d helped her made matters worse.

Izzy gritted her teeth and pushed again and this time Alyssa could tell that she was trying her hardest by the way her face had turned bright red. For a moment, Alyssa actually was a little scared that her friend might just pop a few blood vessels, but before that could happen the shrill sound of a baby’s cry filled the room and Izzy collapsed back down against the bed, breathing heavily.
Alyssa watched in awe as the doctor handed the baby over the nurse to be cleaned and examined. She could barely get a look at it just yet, but it blew her mind that her best friend had just given birth. She was so shocked that she completely missed out on the afterbirth because her eyes were still fixated on the baby. “Congratulations Isabelle. Looks like you have a perfectly healthy baby girl,” the doctor’s voice pierced through her thoughts. “You did an amazing job.”

Tristan had already grabbed the baby from the nurse’s arms and was gazing down at it looking just as amazed as Alyssa. “You have to see her Iz. She’s perfect,” he announced, sounding slightly choked up.

“What’s wrong with this picture?” Izzy turned her head towards Alyssa and asked weakly. “Here I spend all these hours in labor and he waltzes right in like fifteen minutes before I give birth and he’s the first one to see the baby. It figures.”

Alyssa just smiled at Izzy’s sarcasm. Even minutes after giving birth she was able to crack her usual jokes. She watched as Tristan finally placed the bundled up baby in her awaiting arms. From her spot behind Izzy’s shoulder, she could get a clear view of the baby’s pink face. She was amazed to think that Izzy and Tristan could create something so precious. She found herself overcome with emotion as she watched Izzy instantly bond with the newborn. “Hello princess… I’m your Mommy and that funny guy over there is your Daddy. And over here is your Aunt Alyssa.”

“Hiya,” Alyssa cooed as she reached over to her tiny little hand. “Have you decided on any names yet?”

Tristan and Izzy exchanged a glance and then they both nodded. “Grace,” Izzy announced. “Her name is going to be Grace. Gracie as a nickname. That sounds fitting, right?” she asked the newborn in her arms. “My little Grace.”

“I like it,” Alyssa agreed. “It definitely suits her.”

The three of them were silent for a moment as they all looked down at Grace. Finally Izzy looked up and broke the silence. “Look, I know I just gave birth and I guess it’s a little too soon to start thinking about this, but Tristan and I already started to discuss who we want as Godparents. We decided that we definitely want Kevin to be the Godfather, but we were wondering if you’d be Grace’s Godmother?”

“You want me to be the Godmother?” Alyssa asked, sounding completely floored.

Izzy nodded. “You’ve done so much for me throughout this pregnancy and if it weren’t for you this last part of my pregnancy I don’t know how I’d have gotten by. I drove you crazy and you’ve been going through a lot yourself, so I think it’s really selfless how you tossed your problems aside for me. And then sticking by me today… I couldn’t have done it without you. Even though you scared the crap out of me by your blood vessel story, I still appreciated you being here. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have as my daughter’s Godmother.”

Alyssa’s eyes filled up with tears at her friend’s admission. It was very true. She’d pretty much lost everything that she’d had out of nowhere. She’d been forced to rebuild her entire life from almost scratch, a process that was still far from being complete. But despite all her personal problems, she’d pushed them aside and put her best friend’s problems ahead of hers. Alyssa felt honored that this was the way that Izzy had chosen to repay her. “Of course I’ll be Grace’s Godmother! I’d be honored to!”

Izzy grinned. “Do you want to hold her?”

Alyssa eagerly nodded and held out her arms while Izzy transferred Grace into them. Staring down at the peaceful newborn nestled in the pink blanket filled Alyssa with a surge of emotion and out of nowhere she felt a tear slip down her face. For the first time since she’s came back from Australia they were happy tears though instead of sad, grieving ones. I’m someone’s Godmother now, she realized.

Then she was hit with a deeper revelation. Grace was a symbol of a new start in her life. She was the first of what Alyssa hoped would be many more positive changes in her life. Alyssa had leaned on Izzy a great deal this past month and a half, but now it was time for Alyssa to do the rest on her own. She knew exactly what she needed to do.

You been holding on so long
Tryin' to make believe that nothing's wrong
Not letting it show
There ain't nothin' you can do
To make me turn away from you
I need you to know

That you can let go

- You Can Let Go by Backstreet Boys

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