The months seemed to pass in a blur for Catherine. Building an empire in Willow Creek took time - more time than she had originally anticipated. Some nights, it seemed like it was all she could do to keep her head above water, and Warren's promises of help were sounding very, very hollow as she struggled to keep her power turned on.
Her garage was slowly becoming a beautiful collage of murals, a zone of stress relief as she painted her worries away. And in the place of honour, the garage door's city colours seemed to grow brighter and brighter every day. Even though the rest of the house seemed bare and desolate, like the orphanage she and Warren had grown up in, in here it was bright and cheerful, and filled with beautiful colours and pictures.
When Catherine's due date began approaching, she found herself growing more and more frustrated with the course of her life.
"Stupid Warren," she muttered as she yanked open the fridge door to look for something to eat. There wasn't much: a slice of moldy pizza, a loaf of bread and a dribble of milk left in the carton. "Stupid grocery stores... Guess that means I'm having cereal again. Without the milk."
Breakfast was wholly unsatisfying, and made even more bitter by the fact her electricity cut out just as she was finishing up.
"Perfect," Catherine muttered darkly, before hoisting herself off the stool and wandering back to her bedroom for a quick sleep.
That evening, instead of heading off to work as planned, Catherine found herself rushing to the Willow Creek Hospital after her water broke. The attendant at the front desk basically threw the hospital gown at her and pointed to a nearby bathroom, her eyes always focused on the tattoos running down Catherine's arms.
Taking a deep breath, she looked at herself in the mirror and said, "Well, here goes nothing." Then she rubbed her belly one more time for good luck and walked out of the bathroom, where an older man in a white lab coat was waiting.
"Hi, Catherine, I'm Doctor Di Rosa," he greeted, a genuine smile on his face. "I hear you're having a baby. Come on back to the surgical suite, I promise I've done this dozens of times before," he added with a small grin. "Everybody's nervous when it's their first. You came on your own, right?"
Catherine nodded as she laid back on the bed, trying to figure out why this particular Creekian just seemed to have no reservations about dealing with her.
"I'm here to make sure all my mothers and babies are safe. I don't particularly care what it is that brought you here, or what it is that you're headed back to so long as it's safe. While you're in my care, you're treated just the same as any other woman would be." He paused for a moment, smiling down at her. "You're going to feel a bit of a pinch and a tug here just now..."
A high-pitched wail pierced the air, and Catherine nearly jumped three feet in the air at the sudden noise.
"Ah, there he is," Doctor Di Rosa laughed as he cleaned off the infant and set him down in the crib. "A healthy baby boy, Catherine. What's his name?"
"Samuel," Catherine replied as she sat up slowly. "Samuel Little."