-Chapter 8-

The next several months were relatively uneventful for Bryce and Paula. Since their pay did not come from Network 23, Cheviot could not stop them from helping Edison when help was needed.

"Bryce!" Paula cried out in the middle of an August afternoon, "the baby's coming."

"It can't be!" Bryce cried out. "The baby isn't due for another two and a half months."

"I know," Paula said, "but my water just broke and the contractions are too fast to stop. I've got to get to the hospital now."

Bryce called an ambulance for Paula, then called Blank Reg for a ride.

At the hospital, Bryce paced, fidgeted, wept, and paced again. He was working on his eighteenth fidget when Edison and Theora rushed in.

"You should've called us." Edison told him.

"We'll always be here for you when you need a shoulder, Bryce." Theora added.

"All I can think of right now are Paula and the baby," Bryce explained. "Too early, Edison."

A woman in her late fifties approached them. "Bryce, I'm Dr. Howell," she said, to the frantic teenager, "Your wife is resting comfortably. She had twins a few minutes ago. A boy and a girl."

"How are they?" Bryce asked.

The doctor's face darkened. It was a look that Bryce did not like.

"Your son was stillborn, I'm sorry. Your daughter is holding on. We have her intubated and on an IV. It'll be some time before we know if she'll survive or not."

"May I see them?"

Dr. Howell nodded and led Bryce into the room where his babies were.

"Do you and your wife have any preferences for the burial of your son?" Dr. Howell asked, as gently as she could. "I know it's not something parents consider when a child is supposed to be starting life and not ending it. But we need to know how to deal with..."

"We'll bury him at Gladhand Meadows," Bryce said, quietly. He reached down and stroked the small cold forehead of his tiny son. "Good night, my son." he said, giving the boy a single kiss before straightening up.

"Your wife thought you should be the one to name him," Dr. Howell told him.

"Daniel," Bryce said. "After my grandfather." The tears that he'd been trying to hold back finally came pouring out. Edison and Theora held him for several long moments, until he finally straightened up. "What name did Paula give our little girl?"

Dr. Howell smiled slightly.

"She named her Jareth."

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