Author's Note/Disclaimer: Hey everybody! I'm back again with more Little Shop of Horrors. If you've read some of my older fanfictions, this might seem a little familiar. This is essentially a rewrite of a story I wrote three years ago called I Could Get Used to It. I've reworked a lot of my post-movie headcanon, which means that Return to Skid Row and Through Julie's Eyes are going to get some retconning if I continue to write more Little Shop, starting with this story. I make no promises to have anything new apart from some sketches I'll be uploading on my deviantart and slow rewrites of my older fics, but at the moment I'm on a real Little Shop of Horrors kick again. I wrote a paper about the movie specifically and it's really changed my appreciation of the theatrical cut and made me feel that I can like it without feeling too guilty.
I don't own Little Shop of Horrors, Seymour, Audrey, Audrey II or anything else canon that I mention. I also don't own the song Hey Baby by Bruce Chanel. But hey, there's some other stuff I came up with all on my own! By the way, the cover illustration I made is cropped. If you want to see the full version, I'll be uploading it to my deviantart. Thanks for reading!
The Big Day
Seymour Krelborn was certain that he had never wanted to be with his wife more than he did that day in the hospital waiting room. There were little moments he could think of that came close, like the times when she'd stay awake past nine-fifteen to watch TV while he waited for her from their bedroom, or how he often wanted to call home from his little gardening store across town. Those moments of loneliness were over relatively quickly compared to the hours and hours they'd been separated that day. It was nothing like how they'd planned the big day to go.
It all started in the middle of the night before, two days past Audrey's due date. Seymour woke to a loud squeak from his wife's half of their pushed-together twin beds and had turned on the light. She was clutching her baby bump and stirring up her blanket and sheets. By the time she'd said "hospital" he already had his pants on with the car keys in one pocket.
He had done everything possible to make her comfortable in the rather considerable drive from the Greenville development to the hospital in the next town. It was the closest hospital they could find without going all the way back to the city. She gripped his hand on the clutch and he sang her favorite songs from memory. He didn't even care how good or bad his singing was as she begged for distraction down the highway. When they'd finally reached their destination, he picked her up in his arms and carried her through the double hospital doors–no small feat for someone with the muscle of a twig.
"I'm right here, honey," he'd said and kissed her short blonde hair as she writhed and twitched in pain. She'd smiled at him through her aches and the nurse staff fetched a wheelchair for her. That's when Dr. Schmarm appeared.
"Remember me?" asked the tall, fake-grinned man with gray hair in a white coat and clutching a clipboard. Seymour couldn't honestly say if he remembered the man from Audrey's earlier appointments, but after their exchange, he knew he'd never forget Dr. Schmarm's name again.
"We looked through your health survey carefully. You mentioned that you get really anxious around blood," Dr. Schmarm said, reading from his clipboard. "Sorry Seymour, but we can't have a squeamish father in the delivery room."
"W-what?" Seymour asked as he watched two nurses wheel his bewildered wife away. He was tempted to run after them, but Dr. Schmarm blocked his path.
"Sorry, it's just policy. If you throw up, the janitors will have to clean more and, well, I'm not paying them extra."
Seymour really wasn't all that squeamish about blood. He'd probably only responded that he was nervous because sometimes he would think back to that monstrous plant when he saw blood, but he was far too distracted by the excitement of impending fatherhood to think about Audrey II today. "B-b-but…" he started.
"But, yes. Why don't you get your butt in one of those chairs?" Schmarm said with a somehow more manufactured smile and turned the little man around in place, gesturing to a waiting area Seymour had neglected to notice when he and Audrey had entered the building.
The chairs in the waiting room were cushioned, but still looked stiff. There was a television set in one corner of the room and magazines to read on a little table next to a pot of coffee and several paper cups. A check-in counter was off to the left side of the room but no one was behind it yet. Seymour felt he might as well have been in solitary confinement with how vacant it was.
"Please," Seymour said, "I promised Audrey I'd be there when she has the baby. I want to be there."
Dr. Schmarm punched Seymour's shoulder playfully. "Don't worry. We'll tell… what's your wife's name again?"
"Right. We'll tell Audrey about the change of plans and come get you as soon as she's done." Seymour was about to say something, but Schmarm cut him off. "–Frankly I prefer my dads-to-be to wait out here. It saves us space in the room and it saves you the mess. Now have a seat and make yourself at home."
And that was that. Dr. Schmarm sped-walked down the hall after his nurse staff while Seymour slowly sunk into one of the chairs, utterly defeated by a stupid little form he'd likely filled out months before without thinking twice.
The waiting room proved to be even worse than he originally thought it would be. A mean-looking receptionist had finally come in to sit behind that counter, but Seymour could tell she wasn't in the mood to talk, not that he could bring himself to anyway. The few other people who came to the waiting area were in and out of the room within a matter of minutes, not the hours that he had to spare. He had no interest in the old magazines, not even the gardening ones. The television barely worked, even after several fervent attempts to adjust the rabbit ears. He was sure the coffee had gone cold, and the last thing he wanted to do was be more aware and anxious as the hours slowly ticked by.
Time and isolation made him more nervous about what was going on in the delivery room. His imagination painted horror scenarios: Audrey not making it, their baby not making it, something wrong with the baby–all ideas that made him shudder. He wouldn't even know if something went wrong until after it happened.
But the thoughts that stung the most weren't all the things that could be going wrong but rather all the things that could be going right. Every moment he'd miss… He wouldn't be with Audrey when she made that final push. He wouldn't be there when a nurse would say "It's a–" and he'd know whether they'd be wallpapering their little house's spare room with pink or blue. He wouldn't be there when a healthy baby was placed in Audrey's arms.
As much as time brought Seymour torture, it also brought him exhaustion, especially after waking up in the middle of the night. He nodded off into a fitful sleep, plagued by fears and regrets. He didn't keep track of the passing time as he fell asleep and woke up over and over again. Then a man calling his name woke him with a big jump.
"Wh-what?" Seymour grumbled and re-adjusted his glasses, which had slid down his nose as he slept. Dr. Schmarm materialized from the blur he'd been pre-glasses and Seymour internally panicked when he saw the doctor's fake smile was now a sincere frown. The man looked exasperated, gripping his precious clipboard like a lifeline.
"Seymour, I know I'm breaking the policy, but we could really use your help for a minute. Your wife's hysterical."
Seymour was confused. "She can be pretty funny, but–"
"No, no," Schmarm interrupted bluntly. "I mean she's in hysterics. She's not cooperating with us and we're getting concerned."
Seymour practically jumped out of the chair as he stood up to join Dr. Schmarm. His usually quiet demeanor broke as they walked down the hospital halls and he let his questions flow. "What's wrong? Is she all right? Is the baby all right? What can I do? What's wrong–"
"-Stop!" Dr. Schmarm barked, shutting Seymour up as they stopped outside a closed door. "Audrey's fine. We'll have to wait until the baby's out to know for sure if it's healthy. It doesn't seem to be under any stress yet, but Audrey's not progressing like she should."
Seymour was almost relieved that he still had a chance to be there when his child was born, but he didn't quite understand what he was needed for.
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that your wife should be closer to delivering than she is. We want to proceed with a Caesarian."
"Like the salad?" Seymour said, still confused.
Dr. Schmarm took his thumb and index finger and pinched them against his forehead in frustration. "No. I mean a C-Section. Please tell me you know that that is, Mr. Krelborn."
Seymour legitimately had to think about that word for a minute or two… he knew that he had heard of it from somewhere. Audrey's baby books and pamphlets didn't mention medical procedures beyond a standard delivery, and even then, the illustrations were all cleaned up and pretty looking, nothing like how birth really was; Audrey's housewife friends had been kind enough to provide them with those details. But where had he heard of a C-Section?
Seymour felt his body grow cold as he suddenly remembered what it meant. Once he made a very special baby arrangement at Mushnik's flower shop on Skid Row. The mother had gone through a C-Section and the father wanted anything to make her happy with all her recovery pain and the ugly scar. Pain and scars were nothing new to Audrey thanks to her life before their marriage. It was the surgery part that she wouldn't accept. Blades were no-go after Orin Scrivello D.D.S.
"I-I know what that is," Seymour said, looking to the floor. "Do you really have to? She's scared of surgery."
"The longer she doesn't progress, the more risk she's taking for the little one's safety."
Seymour nodded slowly. "Alright, I'll talk to her."
Dr. Schmarm reached for the door handle and began to turn it.
"-One thing first," Seymour said. The handle was released as Schmarm gave Seymour a questioning look. "-I'm not going back in that waiting room."
The doctor shook his head. "A Caesarian will be bloody."
"I don't care," Seymour said firmly. "Audrey needs me and I need her."
Dr. Schmarm hesitated before finally opening the door. "You can pay the janitors for any extra mess you make then."
Seymour practically raced through the door. He almost didn't recognize his wife as she lay there in front of him on a hospital bed. She was wriggling in pain with her eyes pinched tightly shut. Her blonde bob was now a disheveled mass of golden curls. The color had faded considerably from her face. A blue hospital gown was thrown over her upper body, though it hugged her form in parts, likely from her twisting. Her legs were held up and apart in stirrups, and Seymour thought he saw a flash of red nearby them–definitely blood. A nurse with short black hair quickly moved in front of the red spot to hide it from Seymour's view as he walked to Audrey's side and took her right hand in his. Audrey opened her green eyes to look at him and he was saddened by how glossed-over they appeared.
Her voice was hoarse. "Seymour…" she mouthed and gripped his hand back.
"I'm so sorry, honey!" he said and leaned in closer to her face. He was almost afraid to touch her from how exhausted and pain-struck she looked. "I guess there was some kind a' form I filled out and they thought I wouldn't be able to handle the blood and I wanted to–"
"Seymour!" Audrey squeaked, which stopped his rambling. "I'm just glad you're here now."
Seymour tried his best to smile for her. "–And I'm not goin' anywhere."
Audrey took a deep breath and winced from her pain. Seymour felt his hand getting squished in hers. "Seymour, they wanna cut me open," she choked out as tears filled her eyes. "I don't want to do it! I can't do it…"
"Shh…" Seymour said and reached out his free hand to pat her shoulder. "I know. I know. I don't want them to either, but… the baby."
Audrey looked to Seymour for a moment, sniffling. She slowly shut her eyes and he could tell that she still had to think it over as her brow creased. Then she exhaled slowly and squeaked, "One more try… th–then they can do it."
Seymour nodded and gave her another smile before turning back to Dr. Schmarm. "She wants to try one more time."
"It won't do any good," Schmarm said, shaking his head.
Seymour was determined. "It will."
Dr. Schmarm gave a deep sigh before walking back to the end of the bed, between Audrey's stirrups. He strapped on a facial mask and said, "Try to concentrate on something and push when I give you a thumbs up."
Audrey nodded while her grip on Seymour's hand intensified. "Seymour, darling?" she said.
She spoke in strange, stressed intervals as her breathing changed. "Sing somethin'–so–I can–con–centrate…"
He gasped his response as she somehow gripped his hand even tighter. "I-I… what do you want?"
He was lost for tunes for a few moments. Where was that doo-wop Greek Chorus when he needed them? Then a song he'd heard on the radio popped in his head and he sang,
"Hey, hey, hey baby.
"I want to kno-o-o-ow if you'll be my girl…"
He paused. Audrey had indeed relaxed a little–he could almost feel his hand again. And just then, Dr. Schmarm gave them a thumbs-up. Seymour winced, but didn't stop his singing, repeating the same words and tune from before as his wife opened her mouth to scream. Her voice was lost while he continued his song,
"When I saw you walking down the street
"I said that's a kind of girl I'd like to meet
"She's so pretty, lord, she's so–"
Audrey's eyes widened and it felt to Seymour as though her entire body shifted from the strong, strange vibrations he felt from her hand. Dr. Schmarm stifled a swear and the black-haired nurse beside him jumped in surprise. The sudden commotion caused Seymour to stop singing and Audrey to look up.
"What happened?" Seymour asked.
Dr. Schmarm put one hand to his head and scratched his scalp. "This is like some kind of plot contrivance, but get ready to push, Mrs. Krelborn. This is it!"
Through her breathing, pain, fatigue, and surprise, Audrey still somehow managed a smile at her husband. Seymour smiled back, and hoped she couldn't feel how his hand trembled in hers. How could he help it? He and Audrey were about to become parents! By the time he began to sing again his whole body was shaking.
"–She's so pretty, lord, she's so fine,
"I'm gonna make her mine, all mine.
"Hey, hey, hey baby.
"I want to kno-o-o-ow if you'll be my girl…"
He hoped that his singing comforted Audrey, but it was hard to tell as she tightened her hold on his hand further and lurched from the pain. The song had given him something to focus on besides his concern that at least one or two of his fingers were broken. Dr. Schmarm yelled something as he gave them both another thumbs-up and Audrey tensed in her final contractions. A couple more verses would have to be enough or otherwise Seymour would have to find another song.
"When you turned and walked away
"That's when I want to say
"C'mon baby, give me a whirl
"I want to know if you'll be my girl.
"Hey, hey, hey baby
"I want to kno-o-o-ow…"
Seymour could feel Audrey straining even stronger than before as she pushed, and he heard Dr. Schmarm yelling out something like, "Here it comes" as he finished the song.
"–if you'll be my girl."
Audrey suddenly slumped against the hospital bed, closed her eyes, and loosened her grip on Seymour's hand. She almost appeared lifeless save for the rising and falling of her chest. That's when a baby's crying filled the room. Seymour looked away from his wife to the end of the bed and could see the black-haired nurse frantically cleaning up something she was holding in her arms, her back turned to him so he couldn't see the blood… or the baby for that matter. The trembles throughout his body started again.
The nurse quickly turned her head and made eye contact with Seymour. "She looks healthy to me."
She looked healthy… they had a little girl! And she was healthy! Holding back the urge to jump for joy, Seymour shook Audrey's shoulder. "Did'ja hear that, honey? Did'ja?"
His wife's head lolled from side to side as he shook her shoulder and he internally cursed himself for not being gentler after all she'd been through. He started to panic again as Audrey lay there, motionless. Then, slowly, a smile crept up her face and she opened her eyes again. They grinned at each other for a moment and Seymour once more took her hand, the pain in his fingers of no concern to him now. A nurse helped Audrey sit up against the pillow and moved her legs out of the stirrups. Dr. Schmarm took off his bloodied gloves and lowered his facial mask. He washed his hands in the sink and dried them with paper towels, leaving rusty pink blots of bloody water clinging to the paper. Seymour remembered the times he'd cleaned his own hands in a similar fashion after a late night feeding…
He shook his head and the thought went away. Not today. Not now. He wanted to meet his daughter, and as the black-haired nurse turned around and approached Audrey's side with a fussing, pink-wrapped bundle, he finally would. He leaned in closer as his wife held out her arms, took their daughter from the nurse, and cradled her with the quietest of coos.
And that's when Seymour first saw his daughter's face.
He stared, fascinated. The baby's eyes were pinched from her crying–what a loud voice she had for such a tiny thing! Her skin was pinker than the blanket she was wrapped in. She had a patch of brown hair on her head, and it already had curls to it, rather like his own hair.
"Shh," Audrey breathed, gently rocking the infant from side to side. The baby's cries became small whines and coughs and her little eyes opened fully for the first time. Seymour knew all babies were born with blue eyes, but he swore he saw a hint of green in their daughter's… just like Audrey's.
His heart suddenly felt very heavy in his chest, like it was being squeezed. He didn't know quite when he'd started crying, but his glasses were already a little foggy from it. He couldn't see his wife well in the haze, but he had no doubt that she was beaming.
"Well, that's that," said Dr. Schmarm, interrupting the Krelborns' perfect moment, "-Bev here'll fill out the birth certificate. I need a smoke break."
The doctor walked out the door, already lighting up, followed by the spare nurses while the black-haired nurse took her place on a stool across from the new family. She drummed her nails along the rim of the stool, her other hand clutching her own clipboard.
"Does the kid got a name? I want a smoke break too," she said.
Seymour had barely finished wiping his eyes and glasses clean as he answered, "Julie."
He whipped his head back to Audrey to make sure he'd gotten the right name. She had long ago picked a girl's name while he'd barely decided on a boy's name in the past few weeks. With his wife's voice shot, he'd relied on his shaky memory of what she'd picked, and he could only pray it held true for once. Audrey's infectious grin and ecstatic nods confirmed that he'd remembered correctly.
"Julie," he repeated with a grin. He suddenly decided he loved that name.
"Yeah, yeah. Middle name?" Bev said, snapping Seymour out of his newfound parental joy.
"Uh…" he was lost. When had they decided on a middle name? Then Audrey motioned for him to hold Julie so that she could fill out the birth certificate herself. He hesitated; he still had a bad habit of dropping things, and he certainly didn't want to drop their baby. Still he complied, taking Julie into his shaking arms as Bev handed Audrey the birth forms. He got lost in his daughter's face again as he tried so hard not to tear up a second time. She was so tiny, soft, and warm that she almost felt foreign to him. Foreign but wonderful. Tongue-tied, all he could say was, "Hi" as he cradled her in his arms.
A harsh cough from Bev re-interrupted Seymour's bliss and she jabbed the birth form at his shoulder. He quickly read through it. Audrey had written down "Floretta" as their daughter's middle name. It wasn't even close to a real plant name, but it sounded pretty, and he nodded in approval.
"Julie Floretta Krelborn… JFK," Bev said. "Hey, those are the president's initials too… Uh, anyway, holler for me when the afterbirth starts." Then the nurse walked out and shut the door rather loudly, leaving the Krelborns alone.
Seymour wasn't able to speak until sometime after Bev left. He could hold his daughter forever without saying a word. "Audrey," he finally started as his gaze shifted from his wife to his daughter's over and over again. "We… have a baby!"
His wife was giggling silently, her chest making short huffing motions. Seymour rather reluctantly returned Julie to her mother's arms and quickly kissed Audrey on the nose. She clutched the now nodding-off infant closer to her chest.
Audrey, the always-unwanted girl, and Seymour, the meek orphan–both Skid Row brats–finally had a family. It was something they'd always wanted to be a part of, and they reveled in that fact… until Audrey's afterbirth started five minutes later and a frustrated Bev returned, still stinking of cigarettes.
Seymour had to fill out more hospital forms that day while Audrey caught up on some well-deserved rest. Julie was moved to the hospital nursery at about the same time Seymour realized that it was nighttime again. A whole day had passed somehow in that hospital, but he couldn't find a wink of sleep as he stared through the nursery's huge glass window, watching his tiny daughter sleep soundly. He was so eager to take Julie back to their little house and show her all the little things they loved about it, from Audrey's toaster to his flower bed out front where he'd been experimenting with growing some tropical plants before it got too cold again. His smile parted but didn't fade as the tune he'd sung to his wife not so long before popped in his head again.
"Hey, hey, hey, baby
"I want to kno-o-o-ow if you'll be my girl…"