No matter how many times she moved it only seemed to make her more uncomfortable. She let out a sigh as her shoulders dropped in defeat.
"Are you alright?" Philip asked glancing up from his book.
"I can't feel my ass," Angie grumbled.
"Ah," Philip said knowingly, "I don't think I can help with that."
"Probably not," Angie admitted.
"Just try to think of something else," offered Philip.
"It's not that easy," Angie shifted again, in truth part of the problem was she hated sitting still. The only people who'd been successful in getting her to do so was her mother and her piano teacher.
"I know," Philip said softly, "I think I've been reading the same three sentences for the past twenty minutes."
Angie chuckled and leaned into her brother's shoulder. Philip took the cue and shifted his arm so that he could wrap it around Angie's shoulders and pull her into his side. Angie tucked her legs up underneath herself.
"Is that better?" Philip asked.
Angie nodded in contentment, "Much better."
Time seemed to be crawling. Minutes felt like hours when you were waiting, particularly if you were waiting in a hospital. Angie was glad that their younger siblings were at home, they wouldn't be able to tolerate this interminable waiting and the tortuous quiet of a hospital waiting room when the sky outside was slowly darkening.
"You go," AJ had said when the call came, "I'll watch the others. It'll be easier for everyone this way."
In any case, Philip wasn't technically allowed to drive with more than one passenger yet, so it worked out. Angie wondered where their father was. He had stepped out to get some terrible vending machine coffee what felt like nearly an hour ago, but had probably only been a few minutes. Actually knowing him, he was probably pacing the hallway while drinking two cups of coffee at once.
Angie sighed, "This waiting is enough to make anyone go crazy."
"I know," Philip replied.
"You think Dad got lost in the hallway?" Angie asked with a laugh.
"I wouldn't be surprised," Philip grinned.
The door behind the nurses' desk opened and both siblings' eyes snapped to it. The doctor who emerged wasn't familiar and the name that he called wasn't theirs.
"The more we wait, the more worried I get," mumbled Angie n
Not that she hasn't been worried when she had first received the phone call. Hearing her father talk that fast was not something to which Angie was unaccustomed, but it had been even harder than usual to understand him.
This was different than any other time, apparently their mother was supposed to have a C-section but both the doctors and their father had not said why.
The word "emergency" had been enough to spur Angie into action. It said something for how stressed her father was that he hasn't even tried to protest when Angie had said that she would be there shortly. It hasn't taken long to convince Philip to drive to the hospital.
Alex then returned with a cup of coffee in hand, the styrofoam rim had been practically demolished by his nervous picking.
"Dad," Angie called and he flinched out of his thoughts before turning his gaze on his daughter.
She didn't need to speak and simply made a small gesture, but Alex understood and sank down into the chair beside her. Angie reached out a hand and Alex grasped it, running her thumb over his knuckles.
"What's going on?" Angie asked, "Is mom okay?"
"Every time I ask, I get the same answer," Alex said, "We'll let you know when there's news. Please take a seat in the waiting room, sir."
Angie shook her head, sure she had initially been thrilled about the prospect of getting a little sister, but now she was concerned about her mother. "Well at least Jefferson can't get on your case about leaving a cabinet meeting this time," she offered with a smile.
Alex barked out a laugh, "True. I live for the weekends that he's away."
"Did Grandpa George really say that you and Secretary Jefferson never agree on anything?" Angie asked.
"That would be an understatement," Alex replied.
"How can 'never' be an understatement?" Philip scoffed, "you can't do something any less often than never."
"You can, however, be too smart for your own good," teased Alex.
"You can also," Philip shot back in the same tone, "abuse the English language too much."
"Didn't you know that's Dad's favorite pastime?" Angie grinned at her brother.
"I do not abuse the English language," Alex ruffled Angie's hair, "that was always Uncle Lafayette's job."
"He has an excuse," Philip closed his book, "English is not his first language."
"He's been using that as an excuse since college, you cannot tell me that man does not know English by now."
"I've read some of your works, Pops," Philip pointed out, "Sometimes, I think that you don't understand what a period is used for. Your sentences run on forever."
"That's before I edit," grumbled Alex.
"No," said Philip, "No it isn't."
"No it isn't," agreed Alex.
Angie laughed, "There is a reason I let Philip edit my school papers."
"As you should," Philip smirked.
"I can't believe that you were ever on the fence about being an English major," Alex said fondly.
Philip smiled, "Ange have you thought about what you want to major in?"
"I still have time to figure it out," Angie brushed his question off.
"Only a year," Philip pointed out.
"Ehh," Angie shrugged, but the truth was she was pretty certain she wanted to go for piano performance she just had yet to tell anyone about her decision.
The door behind the nurses' desk opened again and the easy calm that had settled between the three of them snapped.
Angie watched her father stiffen as he sat up straight, she but at her lower lip wondering what was to happen next.
"Hamilton?" the doctor called out.
Alex was by his side in the heartbeat, Philip and Angie close behind.
"Yes?" Alex asked.
Angie gave her brother a nervous look, what was he going to say?
"Eliza is in recovery right now, you should be able to see her as soon as she comes out from the anesthesia," the doctor told them.
"What about the baby?" asked Alex insistently.
"She's fine," soothed the doctor, "She was full term, but the baby was in breach position. Turned around the wrong way," he explained.
"I see," Alex nodded and began to smile, "at least they are alright," tears pricked at his eyes and he turned to his children, "well you have a little sister."
"Guess you're going to have to share the spot of being daddy's little girl," Philip teased.
Angie playfully elbowed him.
The doctor chuckled softly, "I know you've been waiting for a while already, but I'll have to ask you to have a seat again. I'll have a nurse call you back when Eliza wakes up."
"Alright," Alex nodded and the three of them sat down once again.
Angie leaned against Philip once more.
"It only took fifteen years," Alex laughed.
"There'll finally be some estrogen around the house," Angie said gleefully.
"Says the avid softball player," Philip grinned.
"I have plenty of feminine charm," Angie batted her eyelashes.
"And you are too much like me," Alex sighed.
"Far be it from me to argue about your feminine charms, Pops," laughed Philip.
"That is not what I was getting at," Alex shook his head.
"Sure," Philip chuckled, "what do you think Ange?"
"Oh, very charming," she agreed.
"I had to win over your mother somehow," Alex leaned forward in his chair.
"You're quite adept at using you womanly wiles, then," Angie replied with a giggle.
"Still not what I meant," Alex groaned.
"Pops we're only teasing," Philip offered a smile.
"Although from the stories Aunt Angelica and Uncle Laurens have told does make me wonder how it ever happened," Angie mused.
"Don't listen to a word they say," Alex said hurriedly, "Terrible liars, the both of them."
"Even about the time you-"
"A lie," Alex cut Angie off.
"I'm not so sure," Angie smirked, "I guess we need to ask Mom."
"Lies upon lies," insisted Alex, "I was a model student. I always handed in my work on time and I never got into fist fights with other students, not once."
"Me think the lady doth protest too much," Philip hummed.
Angie was overcome with a fit of giggles that she tried to hide by burying her face in Philip's shoulder.
"I believe the part about handing in your work," Philip glanced at his sister, "the fist fights not so much."
"What kind of world is it where a father is so doubted by his children," Alex sighed.
"Because we know better," Philip replied.
"If you want belief without hesitation, I suggest you look towards James, John, and William instead," Angie suggested.
Alex sighed and shook his head, "You strike a blow to my heart."
Angie gave a look to Philip before shifting to hug her father.
Alex chuckled and pressed a kiss to her forehead, "You'll always be my favorite eldest daughter."
"And you'll always be my favorite father," Angie responded.
"Are you really just going to leave me out of this?" Philip raised his brow.
"You're too far away," Alex pointed out, "I'm giving you an imaginary hug."
Philip laughed and shifted closer placing an arm around Angie.
"I love you so much," Alex whispered.
"Love you too, Pops," Philip said just as quietly, "And you, Angie."
"Don't tell the others, but you're my favorite," Angie murmured back to him.
"I won't," Philip smiled, "but I don't think that's much of a secret."
Angie giggled, "No, I don't think it is."
Angie was relishing this moment, her family being so large it tended to be rather chaotic around the house. Even rarer were the moments she had with her father because of the way he threw himself into his work constantly. Now Philip was going to be graduating soon and things were going to start to change. Angie would now be the oldest around the house, that thought terrified her slightly.
As if he was reading her mind, Philip have her an extra squeeze and Angie felt herself relax, even if it was a minuscule amount. She would surely miss being able to see him every day.
Angie didn't even bother to think how long they stayed like that until her father pulled away. She sat up in confusion and then saw the same doctor from before coming over towards them.
"Come on back," the doctor said with a small smile, "She's starting to wake up."
The three of them followed the doctor through the door behind the nurses station and down the hall to a small room with the walls painted a soothing yellow. Eliza's eyes were fluttering open just as they entered and Alex nearly ran to her side.
Angie stayed a couple steps behind him hesitating slightly.
Just like with William, the rolling bassinet had been attached to the side of Eliza's bed and the newest addition to the family was resting there, fast asleep and swaddled in a soft blanket.
Angie slowly took a step forward, "Hi Mom," she bit at her lower lip.
"Angie, sweetheart," Eliza said softly, still groggy from the anesthesia.
Angie looked at the bassinet at her little sister, "What's her name going to be?" she asked.
"Elizabeth," Alex replied, "Just like her mother."
Angie's chest suddenly felt tight. Just like her mother. Shouldn't she, as the older daughter, have gotten that maternal right passed to her? Would they love this new child more because of the joint name? She wondered if Philip had felt this way when AJ had been named.
She tried her best not to let these feelings show, why dampen the mood? It wouldn't be fair to anyone.
"I think I'll call her Lizzie," she said instead, proud that she was able to keep her voice steady.
"Why don't you be the first to hold her?" Eliza suggested gently.
Angie's eyes widened slightly, "Um, okay."
She slowly reached into the bassinet to lift the sleeping baby.
"Support her head," Eliza instructed, "Use your whole arm if you want to, not just your hand."
Angie's heart was thumping loudly in her ears, her breath a bit too shallow, as she cradled her sister. Lizzie made a small noise, but remained deeply asleep, as if being born had been such an exhausting ordeal for her.
The tightness in Angie's chest was replaced by warmth as she felt a rush of affection course through her. A smile broke out across her face.
"You'll always be my little girl."
Angie looked over at her father, a few small tears ran down her face.
He was searching her face with such a discerning look she almost wondered if her previous thoughts had been less hidden than she had hoped.
"Don't you ever forget that," Alex added.
All Angie could do was nod, unconsciously holding baby Lizzie closer.