Stefan was almost done writing a letter to his older brother, who at that moment was off defending the confederacy. Stefan worried greatly about Damon. In fact, just that morning Stefan had overheard his father conversing with a man who lived on the other side of town, who had lost his son in a recent battle. Stefan couldn't imagine finding out that Damon would never be coming home.
He dipped his nib pen in the ink one last time, getting ready to sign his name at the bottom of the paper when suddenly he heard some frantic knocking at the door.
The Salvatores' home was quite large, but the knocking was loud enough to echo through the house to Stefan's bedroom. He had no clue why the person on the other side was knocking so many times – most people knock three or so times and then wait for an answer patiently. This was the most impatient visitor ever, Stefan realized. He hurried toward the door.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!" he yelled through it as he finally approached it. He grasped the knob quickly and opened the door hastily to find himself eye to eye with a very sweaty, very pregnant young woman. On a second glance he recognized her as an acquaintance from town; she was Damon's age and a daughter in one of the other founding families. She smiled at him meekly, looking a bit embarrassed.
"Hey... Bessy, right?" Stefan finally said. She nodded. "Can I, um... help you?" She nodded again.
"Someone told me your mother was a midwife?" she asked.
"Oh, yes she learned how to be a midwife a couple of months ago when the town doctor decided to go off and fight in the war," Stefan explained.
"Thank goodness," the girl replied, speaking more to herself than to Stefan. But then she regained strong eye contact with him and asked, "May I please come in? And would you mind leading me to her?" The young woman was trying so hard to be polite while pleading desperately for Stefan's help.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Stefan apologized, gesturing for her to come in and bowing his head toward the ground. "Please, follow me," he said as he started to walk towards the room where Mrs. Salvatore was sure to be sewing considering the hour of the day. He walked a bit too quickly for the girl, however, who struggled to keep up before letting out a stifled, high-pitched yelp which caused Stefan to turn back toward her. She held onto the wall for support with one hand, her other holding tightly to where her baby clearly was. She appeared to be in a great deal of pain and had her eyes squinted shut. Stefan had never seen anyone like this before, and he was unsure of what to do.
"Are you alright?" he asked nervously as he backtracked toward her and extended his hands awkwardly and relatively aimlessly, wishing he could help her somehow. She was breathing hard but after a few more seconds managed to open her eyes and respond.
"I think I am in labor," she whispered, and Stefan could practically feel the terror in her voice. He instinctively tried to reassure her.
"Do not worry," Stefan said gently. "I'll find my mother." He wanted to touch her shoulder to comfort her for a moment, but he had never touched a girl like that before, and he was afraid it would be too intimate and therefore inappropriate to do to a girl he barely knew – especially given her vulnerable state at the moment. Instead, he turned away from her quickly and started running toward the sewing room.
Seeing her son in the room's doorway, Julia Salvatore put down her needle and thread. "Stefan?" she said in surprise.
"Mother," Stefan responded as calmly as he could despite his internal panic, "there's a girl in labor in the hallway. She came here because you're trained in midwifery."
Julia's eyes widened in shock. She shook her head for a moment, then stood up and started muttering to herself, "People are supposed to let me come to them in their houses." Stefan followed her as she left to go find the girl.
Julia Salvatore expertly helped the girl to one of the many spare bedrooms while directing her to breathe. She requested that Stefan give them some privacy, so Stefan left the room. He returned to his desk and the letter he'd been writing for Damon and finally added his signature to the end. He couldn't help but hear poor Bessy scream for a while, and he wondered who her husband was. He tried to stay out of the way as his mother warmed up a bowl of water and brought some clean rags and a few other various items to the room. Eventually he heard the sound of a baby crying. Unable to contain his curiosity, Stefan went back over to the bedroom and tapped lightly on the door.
"Would you welcome a visitor?" Stefan asked, hoping to be permitted entry. He was greeted by his mother opening the door. Her sleeves were rolled up and her hands had been wiped off with a rag but still didn't look completely clean. She looked like she had done something so foreign to Stefan when she delivered that baby just a few minutes prior, something much more intense than Stefan ever had realized before that day.
"Sure, my son," she answered sweetly. "Did you want to see Bessy's beautiful daughter?" Stefan didn't have to respond, for his gaze toward the young woman cradling a tiny infant in her arms spoke volumes more than a simple 'yes' ever would have.
"A girl?" Stefan replied in wonder.
"Yes," Bessy replied, looking up toward Stefan for a moment. "She's gorgeous," she crooned, staring back down at the precious new life in her arms. Stefan slowly approached them - overly cautiously. Stefan seemed to be afraid that the mother and child were both too fragile for him to even risk taking a good look at them.
Julia smiled in amusement at her son's demeanor. "You will not break their bond if you get closer, please relax." Stefan looked back toward his mother, embarrassed. She turned to the girl in the bed. "Bessy, dear, you wouldn't mind if Stefan took a peak at the miracle of life you have there in your arms, would you? I don't think there's been a baby that small on this property since Stefan himself was born," she commented.
Bessy moved her head away a bit so that Stefan could get a better view. As he looked at the young woman and at the tiny girl in her arms, he thought about what his mother had just said. His mother had once gone through everything that Bessy just did, and had been in the same position as Bessy, holding a newborn baby in her arms. He'd never thought of his mother as having once been a perhaps frightened young woman like Bessy, and then skipping ahead to the present time, Stefan thought about the way she was able to help Bessy and successfully deliver her baby. Stefan had never appreciated his mother more.
There was a lot more to her than he'd ever given her credit for, and Stefan hoped one day to marry a woman as strong as her to bear his children. He took one last look at the baby, then looked back at Bessy.
"She's amazing," he told her. He thought for another second, smiled at Bessy, then turned back towards the woman who had given him life. "You all are."