Upon his return to the bungalow the previous night, Gannon finds Jes sitting in stoic silence, taking solace from her faithful companion, Hershey, with Giselle in watchful attendance.
"So. How'd it go?"
"As well as can be expected, I suppose. I'm so glad that's over, Gannon! I only wish . . . well, there is no point in 'crying over spilt milk', if you can equate this" -- she gestures at her swollen belly -- " . . . with milk!" She attempts a wan smile, which falls somewhat short of its intended. She sighs.
"Thane was pretty well floored by the news that he is about to become a father. I suppose I should have told him months ago, but what would have been the point? I don't know what to expect from him now. I don't even know what I want from him."
Giselle speaks up. "This baby certainly won't lack for love, and we don't need Thane's financial support. I'm not sure why you told him at all."
Jes looks at her best friend in the entire world and wonders how they could have grown up in the same environment and ended up so different.
"I tried to convince myself not to. But in the end I just couldn't keep him in the dark. If I'd known my father when I was young, maybe I'd have turned out differently. Maybe everything would have turned out differently. I didn't want Thane to have to go through -- years from now -- what Connor went through to find me. And I wanted this child to know its father. You, of all people, should understand that, Zellie."
Giselle sighs. "We can 'what if this' and 'what if that' all we want, but we are who we are and nothing can change that now. I just think you're inviting more pain into your life by telling him. You'll never be completely free of him now, Jes. He will always be in your life. Knowing that you still have feelings for him, I'm just surprised that you would open yourself up to all that again."
It's Jessy's turn to sigh. "I'm not thrilled about it, Zellie. But it was the right thing to do, for the child . . . and for Thane. I'll find a way to deal with having him in my life. I just . . . I know it's petty of me, but I just don't want her in it."
Gannon touches her hand and she turns to face him. "Jes, I think I know Thane well enough to know that he will be respectful of your feelings in that regard. He still cares for you, too, you know. Once he gets past the effect all of this is going to have on his life, he'll realize how difficult things are going to be for you. He'll do whatever he can to make it as easy as possible. I'm sure of it."
"I hope you're . . . OH!!" Jessy's eyes go wide and her hands instinctively go to her belly. "Oh no. NOW? Seriously?"
Both Gannon and Giselle leap to her support, but she waves them away. "If this is the start of labor, it's going to be a while, you guys. You can back off and let me breathe!"
She smiles and they relax perceptibly. Fortunately for Jes (and for her frantic friends), things proceed more quickly than she expects. Gannon times the contractions while Giselle does everything she can to make Jes more comfortable.
After only a couple of hours, Jessy's eyes meet Gannon's. "Gannon . . . . it's time. Call a cab."
A few hours and several phone calls later, Coco and Colleen and most of the rest of the St. Clair girls converge on Jessy's hospital room to make the acquaintance of her newborn daughter.
As they gather around, cooing and making over the new baby, Coco asks,"Any idea what you're going to name her, Jes?"
Jes hesitates briefly. "I think . . . I think she will be Campbell St. Clair. I will call her Cami."
"Campbell?" But isn't that . . . .?"
"Yes, it is. She needs a connection to her father even if she won't bear his surname."
The girls react with stunned silence. No one but Gannon, Giselle and Thane -- and of course Vasquez himself -- know that the child Jes has been carrying isn't his.
Finally Colleen snaps out of her shock. "Thane is the father?? But . . ."
Jes sighs. "It's a long story, Colleen. Suffice it to say that it was a moment of weakness on both our parts -- a huge mistake. But I can't regret it too deeply because it did result in . . . . this." She smiles down at the very alert child in her arms.
Keira speaks up. "But . . . Thane . . . .?" She is reluctant to voice her concern.
The corner of Jessy's mouth quirks. "Spit it out, Keira. You want to ask if I'll be marrying Thane, right? No, I will not. Thane is still with Morgan."
The words are spoken calmly and matter-of-factly. Only Gannon and Giselle would have known, had they been in attendance, the price Jes pays for keeping her true emotions under such rigid control.
Colette seeks to diffuse the tension. "'Campbell' is a pretty unusual first name, Jes, but I like Cami! It suits her."
"It also honors an old friend who is no longer with us. And it does suit her."
She smiles down at her newborn child with a heart overflowing with love -- for the moment, all of the awkwardness of her situation completely forgotten.
That night at the NY, Thane paces backstage while Van and Leah watch him wear a groove in the concrete floor.
Finally Darius slips through the backstage door. Before he can open his mouth, Thane pounces.
"Darius, where the hell is Colleen? We canna go onstage wi'out her!"
"Chill, man. She'll be here. She and Coco are at the hospital."
"Hospital? Is she hurt? What's going on, Darius?"
Darius puts his hand on Thane's shoulder in an effort to calm him and smiles. "No, she's not hurt. Jes had her baby late this afternoon. The girls have gone to meet their new cousin. It's not a problem if the band starts their first set a little late just this once."
Thane is thunderstruck. "Baby?"
"Sure. You knew she was expecting, right?"
"Ummmm . . . aye. Sure. I juice talked to her . . . " Thane trails off, suddenly looking glazed and unfocused.
"You all right, man?"
"Thane? Hey! Earth to Thane!" Darius punches him lightly and Thane jolts back to reality. "Uhhhh . . . aye. I'm . . . fine. Juice a little . . . dizzy."
Darius looks at him curiously. "Do I need to call a 'bambulance'?" he jokes.
"Nay. No, I'll be . . . I juice need to sit down." Thane has turned decidedly pale. Darius grabs his arm as Leah slides from her chair to make room for him.
They get him situated and Van hands him a bottle of water. Gradually, his color begins to retrun.
Still curious, but satisfied that Thane isn't going to pass out, Darius returns to the bar.
Leah and Van continue to keep an eye on Thane, who seems oblivious to their concern. He is obviously preoccupied with something.
Just as his focus seems to return to the world around him, Colleen bursts through the back door.
"So sorry i'm late, guys! I had something . . ." her eyes dart to Thane, and just as quickly, away again. " . . . something I had to do. Let's rock this place!"
She tosses her coat onto a chair, fluffs her hair, and assumes her on-stage persona as she turns and opens the backstage door.
The rest of the band trails after her, Thane still looking distracted.
The patrons of the New York Bar are not treated to Shepherds Pie's best performance this night. Colleen, although not as distracted as Thane, forgets the words to familiar songs on more than one occasion, and Thane . . . well, let's just say that he is not at his best and leave it at that. It has not been a good night for Shepherds Pie.
To be continued . . .