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It had been such a beautiful morning that Jane could not help but wish to walk to the Compound for food upon that day. She felt delightful, truly, despite the pains that were very much normal now. That day (a Saturday), she knew that she would be able to find plenty of delicious fruits and wonderful breads to bring home, which she did with a careful step. She greeted the dogs as she came back, leaning over to feed them each an equal piece of bread, brushing her hands off on her enlarged dress. "Stuart?" she called out, making her way back to the bedroom as she finished eating her apple.

Perhaps additional rest would do no harm. "Stuart, are you..."

She did mean to finish her sentence, but as she approached the room, all she could feel was a rather peculiar dampness to her. It could hardly be her monthly duress, for she had not experienced such a thing since she became pregnant. As well, she could not have sat in any pool of water. One long moment later, she realised precisely what had happened and her intake of breath was sharp and soft. "Stuart!" The cry this time was louder and slightly more panicked and would have carried out to the clearing, were he in the boarding house.

Stu came out of the nursery. Now that Mama and Darcy were settled elsewhere, he'd been fixing it up. Every day the baby didn't come, he found something new to do, whether it needed it or not.

"Yeah, darlin'?" he replied, looking at her, then looking at the floor around her feet. His heart jumped and he felt a little woozy. "Lord...it's time," he said softly and ran the few steps to her side.

Jane's eyes had widened in panic, not knowing what to do as her hand reached out to clasp Stuart's wrist, her fingertips pressing hard against his skin and there came a soft whimper of worry in her breathing. "What do I do?" she inquired, unsure now that her confinement had begun. She knew what must happen, but not what to do first.

Despite what he was feeling inside, Stu was as calm as ever. "Reckon we best get you to bed," he said with a gentle grin. "You're gonna have a baby."

He took her arm and laid his hand at the small of her back, escorting her to the bedroom. "Why don't you get the bottoms off. We're gonna need the doc here pretty quick," he said, then walked back out and opened to door. "Kojak. Treehouse," he said strongly and the old dog looked up, scented the air from inside the hut, and ran off the porch, hellbent for the Doctor and Chase's place.

Jane focused on her deep breathing as she walked alongside Stuart and closed her eyes as she tried her very best to walk along uninterrupted, her chest tight as she neglected to breathe properly. But she did precisely as he said, sliding out of her bottoms and sitting gently on the bed, her rather large stomach before her.

It was strange to think that soon, it would not be quite so large.

Once the dog was off, Stu returned and undid his buttons, stripping down to his undershirt. He hoped the doctor would be quick...he was terrified this might go fast and he'd have to catch the girl. He wasn't looking forward to that, no sir.

He took a seat and fluffed the pillows, smiling at her whenever he'd look up. "Are you having regular pains, Jane?"

"Not regular, no, no, not regular at all," Jane reported, quite calmly and with deep breaths as she reached for his hand and took it into her own, closing her eyes as she settled into the bed. "Hardly at all. I have felt but one sharp pain."

"Then we have plenty of time," Stu replied, gently stroking her hair back from her face. "You want a glass of water or something? I'm sure the Doctor and Chase will be here any minute."

"Doctor Maturin," Jane said immediately, feeling quite hot in the weather as she held onto Stuart's hand with a wary smile that hinted upon her lips. "Please do not leave me?" she requested quietly, eyes brimming with water as she stared up at him. She could not cease to be so very frightened.

"Ain't anywhere I need to be," he teased gently, getting comfortable on the edge of the bed. "I sent Kojak and the Doctor'n them know what to do, right? We have it all planned out." He was trying to be reassuring, hoping it was coming through.

She nodded as she focused on her breathing, keeping hold of his hand while her other went to rest upon her stomach and she began to wince when a fresh set of pain slowly came over her and she held her breath, teeth digging into her lower lip with aplomb. "It hurts," she admitted, voice tiny and surprised as she embraced the pain.

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Jane Bennet

February 2014

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