An hour later, the preliminaries were finished and Connor had incorporated Antonís techniques, easing her pain, and they were both much calmer. During the long hours that lay ahead, he either sat or walked beside her, his hand never leaving hers.
"You are my lifeline," she whispered at one point. "I love you."
He had smiled, and leaned over to kiss her. "And you are my life," he whispered.
A few minutes later, they moved her to the delivery room.
"A beautiful, healthy boy!" the doctor announced, as the baby took itís first breath. "Time of birth, 12:25 p.m. First Apgar, 10. Thatís as good as it gets, Mrs. Doyle."
Her eyes flashed to Connorís face. "I told you! I told you it was a boy!"
Connor laughed and kissed her, and a few minutes later, they placed the baby in her arms. "He weighs 6 lbs., 11 ozs.," the nurse told them.
At first she couldnít see him for her tears, then her eyes cleared and she looked into a set of bright grey ones, identical to Connorís, and, although it was too early to tell, the promise of his nose and mouth. "Heís beautiful," she whispered. "Hold him, Connor. Hold your son."
Wordlessly, he took him, his eyes alternating between his baby and his wife, his smile lighting his face, unaware that he, too, was crying.
Finally the nurse cleared her throat. "We have things to do now," she told Connor. "Give us an hour, and then you can find them in her room."
He looked at Lindsay, who nodded tiredly. "Weíll be all right. I think you have some phone calls to make?" she added, raising her eyebrows.
His first call was to the house, and Mrs. Shultz answered.
"Oh, whatís happened? I came this morning and no one was here! The cat he be crying, andĖoh! Where are you?"
Connorís laughter rang. "At the hospital. Iím sorry I didnít call sooner."
"Oh! The young Mrs! Is she all right?"
"Sheís fine; theyíre both fine! Itís a boy!"
The phone crackled as she lapsed into her native tongue, then back to English. He gave her the time and weight, then promised to call later.
His second was to the college, and was relieved to hear they had gotten a last-minute substitute that morning. They, too, got the news.
His last call, to the O.S.I.R., netted the news that Alpha Team was on their way back, and would probably be in tonight.
He bought a sandwich and some juice from a vending machine, then went back to join his family.
She gently kissed the babyís silky black head. "David," she said quietly. "Do you like David?" She looked up and smiled at her husband.
"Yes! I do! Very much! David Doyle," he said slowly. "Hmm. He needs another one. A middle name."
"Something with a ĎD."
"Mm. A bit long," she answered slowly. "It has to be likeĖa stone skipping across water!"
He laughed a little at the description. "How aboutĖĎDuncaní? Itís British, if not Irish."
"David-Duncan-Doyle! Oh, yes! It fits beautifully! David Duncan Doyle it is!" She looked down at him. "Do you like that?"
David stirred in her arms, and she laughingly looked at her husband. "Was that a yes or a no?"
"Definitely a Ďyes.í"
She changed the subject. "The doctor says I can go home tomorrow, but he wants to keep us overnight."
He nodded. "Iíll tell Mrs. Shultz. You agree that weíll need her full time now, at least for a while?"
Lindsay nodded. "I have a lot to learn. Did you reach Peter and Megan?"
"Theyíre due back tonight. Iíll try to call them again later."
"Really? I wonder how the case came out?"
"So do I."
Peter unlocked the door, carried in their luggage, and picked up the mail.
"Didnít we just do this a few days ago?" Megan said.
Peter laughed, and tossed himself tiredly onto the couch, while Megan sprawled in the chair.
"I hate jet lag," she moaned, then looked at her husband. "You were awfully quiet on the plane, honey. Are you all right?"
"Yeah; Iíve just been thinking about someĖdifferent aspects of the case."
"Are you worried about the scarab?"
"No. Itís in good hands with Anton. And I still have the key."
She laughed a little, but decided not to press him. "Do you want anything?"
He sat up and pulled her over beside him. "Not really. The food was good on the plane, and right now, Iím just too tired to appreciate anything. Letís just go to bed."
She nodded and they stood up just as the phone rang.
Peter sighed tiredly. "Letís just let the machine get it. If itís a telemarketerĖ" the sentence was left unfinished, however. When he heard Connorís voice come on, he snatched up the receiver.
Megan watched his face, and when that broad smile hit, she didnít have to guess at the contents of the call. He finished talking without giving her a clue, and she anxiously waited.
"Well?" she asked eagerly when he finally hung up.
He laughed and hugged her. "A boy! David Duncan Doyle, 6 lbs., 11."
Megan squealed in joy. "Lindsay?"
"Fine. Doctor says she can go home tomorrow."
"Oh, this is wonderful!"
He pressed a code on the speed dial. "I promised Iíd call Anton."
She waited as he conveyed the news, then was startled to hear:
"I wonít be in till Monday, Anton. I have some personal business to attend to."
He concluded the call, and answered Meganís look. "Howíd you like to see the baby?"
"Iíd love it, butĖ"
"Honey, weíre driving up there in the morning. I have to see Connor."
He held up a hand. "Megan, Iím sorry to be unilateral, but this is urgent."
She studied him silently, then answered. "I know," she said softly, and took his hand. "Come on; weíll have to get up early."
The next morning on the way to the hospital, Connor stopped in a jewelry store.
"Iíd like something for my wife," he explained to the clerk. "We just had our first baby yesterday."
The clerk gave him an odd look. "Oh! Youíre that dreamy new professor," she blurted, and then clapped her hand over her mouth as her face turned bright red.
Connor laughed in delight. "Thank you. I donít know how dreamy, butĖ"
"Oh, but you are!" and her flush deepened. "I meanĖyour daughter was one of my students! I meanĖ"
"Come on, relax," Connor laughed. "Take a deep breath."
The painful flush slowly receded, and she began again, slowly. "My daughter, Lily, was one of your students this past semester."
"Oh, of course. A very nice girl and an excellent student."
"Thank you. She thought a lot of you."
Connor smiled, then asked, "So do you have any recommendations?"
He arrived at the hospital with a live red rose, and clothes for her and the baby, to find her nursing. He gave her a prolonged kiss, and placed the vase on her table. "From Abra," he said, then settled in the chair beside her bed to wait.
"Howíd everything go last night?"
"Fine," she smiled. "I fed him twice, but the nurse mostly took care of him. What about you?"
He shook his head a little. "That house was so empty. I had a hard time sleeping, then Sooty got up beside me."
She smiled at that, and he continued: "But I did find that rose when I went up last night."
"I kind of half-suspected you might."
He nodded. "So did I. Mrs. Shultz will be there waiting when I get you homeĖ"
"Home," she repeated dreamily. "The doctor hasnít come yet," she added wistfully.
David had finished and fallen asleep, and she indicated for Connor to take him. When he had lain him in his crib, he sat down on the edge of her bed and took a small package from his jacket pocket, then kissed her gently.
"Iíve bought you something," he said, and handed it to her.
Her face lit and she opened it, gasping when she saw what lay inside.
"Oh, Connor! Itís beautiful!" It was a silver medallion with a blue stone etched with the image of a mother and child.
"Do you like it?"
"Of course I like it! I love it! Thank you, darling," and kissed him back, while he fastened it on her.
They had a few quiet minutes together before the doctor came in and pronounced them both fit to leave.
Mrs. Shultz greeted them as if they had been away for a year, instead of a night. She and Connor ensconced her in one of the comfortable chairs, and Connor brought the old-fashioned cradle downstairs from the nursery.
Sooty took up his position on Lindsayís lap, examining the baby in her arms with curiosity. He looked at her, head tilted, and then, as Lindsay kept talking to him in low tones, reached out his paw and very gently touched Davidís cheek. Again he looked at her and, seeing her smiling, peeped and curled up into a ball on her stomach.
The two watching the scene let out a collective breath, and Connor put the baby in the cradle so she could hold the cat.
"And how do you be feeling?" Mrs. Shultz asked.
"Fine; just tired. Oh, itís so good to be home!" and her eyes swept the room.
"Lunch is ready; Iíll bring it in here."
They tried to protest it wasnít necessary, but Mrs. Shultz possessed selective deafness.
Around the middle of the afternoon, there was a knock on the door.
"I wonder who that is?" Connor speculated as he went to answer it, and was surprised and delighted to see Peter and Megan.
There was subdued pandemonium for a while, as everyone tried to vent their delight without waking the baby.
"We just had to drive up here when we heard the news," Peter began. "I hope we havenít intruded."
"What are you talking about?" Lindsay answered for both of them. "Weíre so glad to see you! Tell us more about your honeymoon!"
They talked until David started making small noises, and her attention went to him. She picked him up, then looked at Connor.
"Darling, why donít you and Peter take Sooty for a walk?" she suggested, and he got the message.
"Walk a cat?" Peter asked incredulously.
Connor laughed. "Crazy, isnít it? But he never leaves the back yard, and heís never needed a litter box. Iíll prove it," and they went outdoors.
Lindsay waited until they had gone, then began to feed the baby while she talked with Megan.TTT
Connor and Peter wandered around the back yard, talking aimlessly and watching the cat frolicking. Finally Connor looked at Peter.
"So tell me about this latest case," he began.
Peter sketched out the details, then said:
"They sent a government representative to keep an eye on the case."
"Typical," Connor grinned, his eyes on the cat.
"His name was Mustafa."
Connorís head swung around, and his expression told Peter what he wanted to know.
"I thought as much. What happened, Connor? I always did have a little trouble with your explanation and the way the first case ended."
Connor sighed, and told him the details about their being trapped in the tomb, and about Mustafaís sudden arrival.
"Iím sorry, Peter, but I couldnít, in all conscience, tell you or anyone else that itís still in the tomb. He was right about one thing, you know: it is dangerous."
"I know. Apparently, so is the other one," and he told him about the experiment with Mia, then concluded with the bargain Anton had struck with Mustafa.
"Interesting. So am I forgiven?"
Peter grinned. "Sure. I understand. I even agree. Actually, I began to suspect the first one was in the tomb; there was an explosion that collapsed it shortly after we left, and it was never reopened."
Peter nodded. "No doubt."
Connor shook his head, and called to the cat. "Come on, Peter; I think we can go back in, now."
When Peter told them that they had made reservations at the inn, both Connor and Lindsay insisted that they cancel them.
"The love seat makes into a bed," Lindsay said, and promptly developed Mrs. Shultzís selective deafness.
She had fixed dinner before she had left for the day, and the four of them had a wonderful evening together.
When they had finally gotten to bed, Connor told Lindsay what had passed between him and Peter outside, and of his relief to be rid of the secret.
"Iím glad it turned out the way it did," Lindsay said. "And now Peter can research it all he wants."
"Yeah. Iím glad, too." He rolled over and kissed her, and she slipped into his arms, as always.
Downstairs, Megan and Peter had been idly chatting, and Peter was just drifting off to sleep, when Megan said:
"Peter, I think itís time you learned how to diaper a baby."
"You are my lifeline . . ."
"And you are my life!"