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Failing Means You're Playing

Chapter Text

February 18, 1923.  


   "Jesus suffering fuck!"

   Nora cried, squeezing the young nurse's hand once more, causing the silver band around her finger to begin digging into some skin, pushing against her bone. The nineteen-year-old had been placed in a rather familiar ward, a ward that typically she would be frantically running round, looking for everything and anything to soothe the birthing mother who she considered to be slightly hyperbolic in their screaming rage fits and the number of co-workers who left a shift with a larger bruise or broken hand. Now, it was her turn and lord, she was slowly regretting those callous assumptions. Was the room always this bleak? Were the lights always this blinding? Was the nurse always this, unhelpful?

   The sweat from her palms was sliding against Ethel's, the hand would fall eventually but focusing her pain into something else right now made the knife-like sensation in her lower-body slightly bearable, since the supposed soft mattress felt more like lying on a bed of stone, scrapping her spine.

   Her thighs felt completely numb, simply dead weight, as did her arms since she'd tried propping herself onto them. Accompanying the physical pain was the nauseating feeling in her head, like a buzz from a cigarette, but worse; like after each drag someone was slamming a brick to your skull every few minutes. The teen hadn't eaten all day either, she knew what was in that hospital food and it'd just make her sick, actually sick.  

   But, it was for the baby, right? Her little one, her little nuisance, the wee bairn and at one point, her little problem. Nora didn't want to be a mother, well, she wasn't keen on it. Motherhood was such a foreign concept to her and not because she didn't have any children to know; she'd just never experienced having one, having a mother. Could she be destined to fall in her parent's footsteps? 

   "How's it feel to be in the big-girl's bed Nora?"

   She turned to glare at her teasing co-worker

   "Oh, it's lovely. Want a go?"

   Nora knew there was no ill-intent in Ethel's words and that she was only trying to lighten the mood and keep her distracted but just like all the other times she'd humorously comment; it couldn't have been any less agitating.

   "Just a few more pushes love, doing much better than I did with my first." Polly eased, petting her daughter-in-law's damp forehead then removing some stands of hair from her face. 

   The redhead tries to respond but what releases is a straggled groan as the same sharp pain hits once again.

   "Where's Esme?" Push! breath, "-she said she'd be here!"

   "Esme's making sure the lads aren't getting too bloody shit-faced down The Garrison."

   Nora didn't know whether to be relieved or infuriated. As much as she loved Polly, and the fact she was having her grandchild, she wanted Esme. It was only fair, they'd be even. Nora couldn't have her husband, so she wanted her best-friend, her sister.

   "Ah, ah feel lit ma fanny's oan fire." 

   Slipping into her mother-tongue was strangely cathartic.

   Ugh, fuck.

   She was never sleeping with Michael again, ever. Not in the bed, car, dining table, The Garrison and certainly not, Michael's fucking desk. That one was too close, Isaiah wouldn't have let them hear the end of that. It didn't matter how close he got, how much he touched her or how high they got. She trusted Michael about as far as she could throw him. And yet, there's nobody she didn't want more right now. This was his baby but, whilst he downed multiple pints with his cousins, Nora was on the verge of ripping out Ethel's eyes just because her golden crucifix chain hanged far too close to her face reflecting the sun behind.

   "We have a head!"

   In that moment, the world seemed to move at a rapid pace, a collection of pushes, screeches, words of motivation from Polly and her mate on either side, gripping at her and finally the striking cry of a baby, her baby.

   She breathed a sigh of relief letting her body finally relax.

   A little boy with beautiful blue eyes and blond hair; he was perfect.

   Nora couldn't believe it, he was really her's.

   George Colin Gray.