"WOW Lisa, you're going to knock his socks off."
"You think so Cass.'
"I hope he likes it?"
"Girl, he will love it. So where you to heading for the honeymoon?"
"I'm not sure, Nick won't tell me. All he says it's very secluded and we won't be disturbed?"
"I know." I giggled.
"WHERE?" she turned around towards me.
"I'm not saying, don't wanna ruin the surprise." I got up to put my shoes on when a sudden pain hit.
"UUGGH" I bent over.
"Cass" you ok.
"Yeah, just think this little one is going to kill me before he/she comes out" I tried to make Lisa think that it was just a pain from the baby's movement, but deep down I was scared.
The wedding was beautiful. When Nick saw Lisa coming towards him he just broke down crying. He was so good to her, always aware of where she was. He hardly ever left her side during the reception, keeping a protective arm around her waist at all times, stealing a kiss every chance he could. Kevin and I knew that Nick was taking Lisa to the Turtle Island's in Fiji where he had a secluded bungalow reserved for the next week.
"Well Mrs. Carter, are you all set?" I giggled as we gathered Lisa's bags from my room.
"Oh Cass, I can't believe it, I'm Mrs. Nickolas Gene Carter. I couldn't be happier."
"I know girl and your wedding was beautiful." I felt another pain coming.
"I know I can't thank you and Kevin enough for everything." I was trying to keep from crying. We got up and walked out to the willow tree where Kevin, Nick and the boys were all standing.
"You guys have a great time and don't think about anything going on here. There will still be plenty of work to be done when you get back." Everyone exchanged hugs and walked with Nick and Lisa to the limo. I stayed behind starring at the stream. I was resting my hand on my belly when I was struck with the worst pain. I felt like I was being ripped apart. I don't remember anything but hearing someone saying I got you and hearing them yell for Kevin.
"Hey darlin" I heard that voice. I was trying to open my eyes.
"Hey boo," I said sounding very sleepy.
"How ya feeling?" I began to open my eyes. I could see his face. He had been crying.
"Kevin, what's the matter?" I tried to sit up. "OOWW" I yelled as I realized that something was wrong.
"Please baby, just lay still." I could hear the tremble of his voice. I reached down. My stomach was flat, fear filled my body and I began to shake. The pain, oh god, what happened. AJ caught me when I fainted.
"Kevin, where's the baby, where's our baby." I began to panic.
"He's in the nursery, we have a baby boy." tears falling from his eyes.
"Is he ok, what happened?" I began to cry. Kevin climbed beside me and pulled me in tight.
"You had what's called a placental abruption baby, it's where the sac separates from the wall of the uterus and is very dangerous. We almost lost you. Thank God AJ was standing there. We got you here and they did and emergency C-section. The doctors say that you're going to be ok. It will just take sometime to recover. But don't worry I'm going to take good care of you"
"But the baby, Kevin how's the baby." I felt him tighten. "Oh God, he didn't make it." I began to cry.
"NO," he pulled my face up to look at him. "No, he's in the nursery, he's very tiny and they are watching him closely. Babe, I've got to be honest with you. The doctors don't know if he will survive or not, but right now he's fighting." I broke down crying and Kevin held me tight.
"I wanna see him." I looked into Kevin's eyes.
"I'll go get the nurse" he left out the room. There was a knock on the door.
"Come in." AJ came to stand beside the bed.
"Hey Cass" I could see the tears in his eyes.
"AJ, thank you."
"Oh Cass, you scared me. The little guy is so cute though" his voice cracked.
"AJ, I'm scared. Is Kevin ok? Really?"
"Well, it's been a hard couple of hours. He thought he had lost you and we thought he was going to kill someone waiting for the doctor to come out. He's holding up pretty good. The rest of the guys and all the family are in the waiting room."
"AJ, tell me the truth. What did the doctor say?"
"Well," Kevin and the nurse came in the door.
"Hey bone" Kevin looked at him as if to tell him not to say anymore.
"Well Cass, I just wanted to see ya for myself. I'll be out in the waiting room" He kissed me on the cheek and turned to leave. He didn't look Kevin in the eyes; the fear began to grip hold. What weren't they telling me?
I was helped into a wheelchair. Kevin pushed me down to the nursery. We were asked to wash our hands and put on a sterile gown. Kevin pushed me into this room that had only one isolate in it. The nurse came in.
"Hi, I'm Lynn. I'm the baby's nurse. It's nice to meet you Mr. And Mrs. Richardson. I just want you both to be aware that this little guy is small but he's a fighter. I have been assigned to him and I will be with him all day so if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me." She turned and lifted the blanket off the isolate.
I sucked in my breath. He was so tiny, but he was beautiful. He had a head full of black hair just like Kevin. His fingers were so long they would be perfect for playing the piano, and his little body was perfect. Ten fingers and ten toes, he looked like an angel
"Would you like to hold him?" Lynn asked me. I just shook my head. I watched as she gently lifted our son from the little bed. He was so tiny. When she placed him in my arms I began to cry. He looked like Kevin. I had dreamed of his face before.
"Lynn?" I looked up at her. Kevin was sitting in the rocking chair beside me.
"Yes Mrs. Richardson?" She turned back towards me.
"You can call me Cass and this is Kevin. Do you know who he is?" I wanted to make sure she wasn't some crazed fan that would use this to gain publicity.
"Yes Cass, I know who you two are. Kevin and I went to school together and I have known his family for years. I promise you that you two will be left alone in private here. I asked to be assigned to this case so that I could help you two until this little guy goes home. I promise Cass no one will hear anything from me."
"I'm sorry, I'm just" I began to cry as my son began to cry.
"OH shh." I placed his tiny body on my shoulder and began to rub his back. I felt Kevin lean closer to me.
He quietly began to sing to the baby, he quieted down.
"No Cass, I understand. Just trust me that I am here for the two of you as well as this little boy. By the way do we have a name for this fellow?" I looked at Kevin.
"Jerald Scott Richardson, Scottie for short" He looked back at me.
"Ok Scottie, why don't you see if mama here wants to feed you? Are you going to try and nurse Cass or do you want me to get you a bottle."
"No, I'd like to try and nurse" We tried several times, but Scottie just couldn't do it. He was so small. Kevin and I sat there for hours just watching our son. We eventually went back to my room. I was exhausted.
Around 11am the next morning the doctors came in. Kevin stood up and came to stand beside my bed, he grabbed my hand.
I didn't like the look on the doctor's face and I began to get scared.
"Kevin, Cass. I'm so sorry, but it doesn't look like Scottie is going to make it."
"NNOOOO" I began to scream. Kevin gathered me into his arms. I could feel his body shaking.
We have done all we can but it just doesn't seem like his lungs are stong enough. We need to know if you want to be with him." We both shook our heads yes. "We will have Lynn bring him to you here so that you can have privacy. I'm so sorry, I wish there was something else. He's just to small, otherwise he's perfect." With that he turned and left our room. Kevin and I held each other sobbing.
"Oh God Kevin, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I should've known, I did this, it's my fault."
"OH baby, it's not your fault the doctor said there was nothing that could've been done to stop this." We just sat there crying.
Kevin stood up. "I've got to go tell everyone. I want them all to have a chance to meet Scottie and I want my mom and your dad to have a chance to see him before." His voice stopped. He turned and left the room. After Kevin left Lynn came in with Scottie.
"Cass, I'm so sorry. He's such a fighter, but I just don't think he's strong enough." She placed Scottie in my arms. I brought his little body close to my face. I inhaled his scent. I held him tight; I began to kiss his head and his face. I took each one of his hands and kissed them and then did the same with his feet. He lay there so peaceful, just sleeping. I examined and memorized every inch of him. He was perfect, the spitting image of Kevin. Everyone came in. They all took turns holding him and loving him. Finally Kevin and I were left alone with our little boy. I sat next to Kevin on the sofa in my room Lynn stayed in the corner; she would occasionally check Scotties vital signs.
"Lynn, Can I have some scissors. I would like a lock of his hair." Lynn gave me her scissors and I snipped a lock of his hair and placed it in my locket.
"It won't be much longer she said as she listened to his tiny heartbeat." She left the room I guess she knew that we needed to spend those last minuets with just the three of us. I was holding Scottie and Kevin lifted me into his lap. He encircled us with his arms. We sat there in the silence just watching our baby. He was so beautiful and so perfect. How were we going to get through this? Kevin began to sing to Scottie.
Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again
Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet
Until we meet
Fly, fly do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget
Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light
Fly by Celine Dion
We watched as Scottie took his last breath lying in my arms, Kevin's hand resting on his tiny back and him snuggled next to Kevin's chest. It could not have been a more bittersweet moment. We were there when he came into this world and we were there when he left it. If anything he knew the love of his mother and father and his family and brought joy to our lives that we never knew existed, but also brought sadness we didn't know that we could bear. Lynn came in a couple of hours later when we were finally ready to say goodbye to our little one. Kevin and I fell asleep wrapped in each other on the couch. We knew that we needed to let everyone know that he was gone, but right then we needed each other more. Kevin left in the early hours of the morning to go tell everyone that our angel was gone.
Scottie was so precious and so loved, but I guess that God needed him back. I didn't understand why this had happened. I felt like I had let Kevin down. I began to pace the room. I began to carry on a conversation in my own mind. "Did I eat something wrong, did I lift to much. What did I do to make this happen? Why was God punishing me? I should have known I had been given to much." I continued over and over in my head, I knew in the back of my mind this was just something that happened, something freak and unexpected, but how did I go on without my baby. How did I go back to that house where all of his things were waiting for him? How do I face Kevin, he wanted that baby so much? Oh, I had to get out of there and quick. I reached for the door and walked straight into AJ.
"Oh Cass, hon. I'm so sorry" I saw the look on his face and the tear's in his eyes. I couldn't take it. I took off running down the hall. I reached the stairs and began to run down. I could hear my name being called behind me. I couldn't stop running the tears were falling faster and faster. I had to get out of this hospital. I needed to breathe. I reached the bottom and burst outside into the back garden. It was a beautiful maze that was created with bushes and roses. I stopped and took in some breaths, then fell to my knees and began to sob. "OH GOD WHY? WHY DID YOU TAKE OUR BABY?" I Looked up at the beautiful sunrise appearing. "Why, why, why, why, why?" I felt two hands grab my shoulders. I smelled him. Then that voice.
"Darlin" I began to tremble.
"Please Cass, look at me" I turned, his eyes were red. I looked away. I couldn't stand the hurt in his eyes.
"Please baby, please. I need you. You didn't do anything wrong. Scottie just wasn't strong enough. Baby I need you to help me through this and I need you to let me help you through this. I could have lost you both and I still have you. Baby please." I felt him fall to his knees behind me. His arms wrapped around me tight. I just fell into him.
"Kevin, I'm so sorry, I wanted to give you this baby so bad. I loved him so much, I wanted him so much. I.."
"Cass, you didn't do anything. Baby, I don't blame you. I know you loved him and I know you wanted him and Scottie knew that to. Baby please let me take you back in side."
"Please just hold me"
"Anything you want." We sat there and watched the sun finish rising.
"Cass. I want to bury Scottie at the stream. Is that ok with you."
"Yeah, that would be perfect."
"Cass, it's going to be ok." He kissed me lightly. Just then a small bird landed beside us. He nodded and then flew away. It was as if God had sent him to say it would be ok. A light rain began to fall as we stood, almost to show that God was crying with us. Kevin and I walked back together to the room.
Everyone was there. We all cried together.
Kevin made all the arrangements with the county and Scottie was buried on July 9, 2002 under the willow next to the stream. Nick and Lisa came back for the funeral. I was so saddened to have to call them and ruin their honeymoon, but I knew that Kevin needed Nick and I needed Lisa. The next few months were hard, Kevin and I walked around in a daze. The album helped keep Kevin ‘s mind pre-occupied, but at night I would find him in the nursery sitting in the rocking chair holding the blue elephant he had bought during the tour for the baby. We were scheduled to fly back to Orlando on September 1st so that the boys could shoot the video for the new single. Kevin and I were struggling with leaving Scottie in Kentucky for so long, but we knew that we would be back in October for Kevin's birthday.
We called Sarah and asked her to break the news. We gave her a statement to read and asked her to make sure that know one asked for an interview. We would do that in time, but right now was to soon. She handled it perfectly. The fans were so great.
August 31, 2002 we were packing the cabin to get ready to fly back to Orlando. The other boys had already flown back home. Brian and Leighanne were in Atlanta, Nick and Lisa was in Tampa, Howie and AJ were in Orlando. It was a beautiful night and the moon was shining so bright outside. I finished cleaning up the dishes and went to look for Kevin. I saw the front door open and through the screen I could see his outline. He was kneeling by the stream with Scottie. I grabbed a blanket and walked out to where he was. As I got closer I could hear his voice. It was trembling and I could tell he was crying.
"Hey bud, I want to let you know that mom and I have to fly off to Orlando tomorrow, but don't think that were leaving you. You're always in our hearts and we'll be back in October. I hope you know how much we love you and miss you. You will always be a special part of our lives and we will never forget you, Oh Scottie...."He began to sob. I dropped down beside him and gathered him in my arms. We sat crying together.
"I'm so sorry Kevin. I know it hurts. Please baby." He looked at me; I wiped the tear that was falling down his cheek.
"Kevin, make love to me." He took me in his arms and we made love under the moonlight. We needed each other so badly. We snuggled in the blanket next to the tree and listen to the wind in the willows.
"Kevin, this maybe too soon for you to hear, but I want a baby. I want us to try and have another baby."
"I've already talked to the doctor and he said it was fine. That when ever we were ready we could start trying. I don't want to replace Scottie, we could never replace him. I love him so much and I will never forget him, but Kevin we were going to be a family and we are, but I want a baby with you so badly. Please give me another baby." The tears started to fall."
"Are you sure Cass?" He looked at me. His eyes held mine. I could only nod.
"I want a baby to. When?"
"Well, I haven't gone back on the pill yet. I mean, how about tonight?"
"Anything you want Darlin, anything you want." We made love again.
"Yeah boo?" We lay there under the willow.
"This is home. This is where everything is right. Ya know. I mean. No matter what as long as I can get back here it will all be all right? Cass if anything ever happens to me, just knows that I'll always be here. You can come here to the willow and I'll find you Ok."
"Yeah, I feel the same way. This is home and Kevin. Never let anything happen to you ok."
"I'll do my best."
We fell asleep under the willow next to Scottie's grave.
The boys worked hard for the next month on the video. Things were getting easier and Kevin and I headed full force into working on a new addition for our family. Lisa called and told me she needed to come over and talk to me. We planned to have lunch that afternoon.
"Hey girl, how's it going" I let Lisa in the front door.
"Good, how are you? You look great."
"Thanks. Come on out back. I got lunch out by the pool."
"So how are things?"
"Good. Kevin and I. Well, we've decided to try and have another baby. But you're the only person I've told"
"Oh Cass that's wonderful" She came over and hugged me.
"Yeah, We are not trying to replace Scottie and we still miss him terribly, but we want a baby Lisa. You don't think it's too soon do you?"
"NO, You and Kevin are the only ones that can make that decision As long as it's what the two of you want then I say go for it. Besides everyone knows how bad you two wanted Scottie. We all miss him but we know that we can't have him back and he can't be replaced."
"Oh Lisa, thank you so much, I don't know what I'd do with out you."
"Well, I'm kinda glad you told me all of this. It makes what I have to say a lot easier."
"So what's up in Carter land?"
"I'm pregnant" she looked quickly to the ground.
"OH" I tried to hide the tears welling in my eyes.
"Cass, I'm so sorry. We didn't plan this. You know I had been on antibiotics two weeks before the wedding we had been using other protection. And well, well one night while we were in Fiji we were walking on the beach the moon was shining so bright and the breeze coming off the ocean, we had had a romantic dinner and a bottle of wine. Nick pulled me down to the sand. We made love right there on the beach and neither one of us thought about a condom. It was just so perfect.
I never thought I would actually get pregnant. Lisa it's been so hard on Nick to look at Kevin. He wants to tell him, but he doesn't' want to hurt him, just like I don't want to hurt you."
"Oh Lisa, please don't think like that. I'm happy for the two of you. I mean. Are you two ok with this?"
"Yeah, Nick's actually excited and so am I." I pulled her into a hug.
"Lisa I'm thrilled and if plans go as I hope it won't be long and I'll be pregnant too. Then we can do this together."
"Oh Cass, thank you. I love you."
"I love you too. So when are you due?"
"That's wonderful. Look, you and Nick come over for dinner tonight and you can tell Kevin. That way I'll be there beside him, but I think it will be ok."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I mean it's not like you two will be able to hide this forever and Kevin will have to hear it sometime. You know how he feels about Nick and he would be hurt if Nick was not the one to tell him. It will be fine. Trust me."
"Ok, what time?"
"7:30 ok with you?"
"Yep, I'll run home and change and pick up Nick."
"Ok, we'll see you then" She got up and left. I went to the bedroom and fell on my bed. I pulled Kevin's pillow tight to my body and began to cry.
"Please God. Let Kevin take this well, but most of all if you can see fit. Please let me get pregnant soon." I fell asleep curled up with Kevin's pillow and a picture of Scottie in my arms.
"Hey babe" he moved the hair from my eyes.
"Yeah, just thinking a lot about Scottie today?"
"I see. He took the baby's picture from my hand and set it on the bedside table."
"Anything I can do to help?"
"Well, I invited Nick and Lisa over for dinner and I need to get dressed, but first I need a shower. Wanna scrub my back?"
"My pleasure." He lifted me off the bed and carried me to the bathroom.
After dinner Nick, Lisa, Kevin and I were sitting around the fire pit out back enjoying a glass of wine. Well, Lisa was drinking water.
"So Nick. What's your deal? You seem like your sitting in front of a firing squad?"
"Well" Nick looked at me, I just nodded. Kevin and I were snuggled up on the hammock and Nick and Lisa were sitting in the swing.
"Well, Kevin. Lisa and I have some news and well. It's not news that I'm sure you want to hear?"
"Spill it already. I'm a big boy."
"We're going to have a baby." I felt Kevin tighten up behind me. I grabbed his hand with mine and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"Well man, congratulations." I heard his voice crack.
"Kevin, please know that Lisa and I did not plan this. I mean we're excited don't get me wrong. Well, let's just say that antibiotics and birth control pills do not mix, and well we got a little drunk in Fiji and...."
"WHOA, don't need all those details man." Kevin had sat up straighter.
"Well, I'm excited for the two of you." I said smiling at Nick.
"You knew?" Kevin asked. "Yeah, Lisa came by this afternoon and told me."
"Oh." He pulled his hand from mine.
"Kevin, please don't be mad. We loved Scottie to and I swear if we could trade this baby and give Scottie back to you and Cass we would, but we can't?"
"Don't say that man. You don't know what your saying. Scottie lived his life and this little one of yours will live his or her life. Man really. I am happy for you. I can't say that my heart doesn't hurt, but that's not your fault and doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to being an uncle to this little one. Really. I'm looking forward to this, besides." Kevin stopped talking and looked at me. I just nodded.
"Besides what?" Nick asked.
"Cass and I have decided to start trying for a baby of our own."
"Oh man that's great."
"Well, no one else knows so please don't say anything, but Nick really this is great news and we're happy for you. Right Lisa." "Yep" I said. We sat around talking about all the work going into the new album and started guessing how long it would be before Bri and Leigh would make an announcement of their own.
We said goodnight and I went to clean the kitchen. I heard the back door open and close and I went to find Kevin.
He was swimming. I sat dangling my legs over the side of the pool.
"You ok boo?"
"Yeah?" He swam up and was hanging onto the side of the pool right in front of me.
"Is that why you were crying this afternoon when I found you with Scottie's picture?"
"Yeah, I'm happy for them, but it made me remember the night I told you that Scottie was coming? I'm happy for them really, I just hope that it won't take us too long and we'll be making the same announcement. Ya know?"
"Yeah, why didn't you tell me?"
"Well, Nick wanted to do it. I felt that it was something he really needed to do and if he felt that I had told you he would not be getting your honest reaction. He needed that Kev."
"Yeah, I guess your right. Yeah, I hope it won't take too long before you tell me we are pregnant again. And speaking of that, I think we need to get to work on that." He grabbed me and pulled me into the pool.
We made love. Only two more days and we were heading back to Kentucky. I was ready; I was missing Scottie and Home.