Chapter 15. Jessica : Third (Winter Is Coming)
“Too much?” He asked while spooning me from behind, wrapping our bodies with the blanket. Under the cool fabric his hand s around my waist, lean fingers splayed across my lower belly.
“Nah.” I closed my eyes, falling deeper into the blissful after glow of sweet love-making. “You're perfect, Yul. Always.”
I could feel him smiling behind me as his thumb moved to caress my bump. Eight weeks. Only about eight weeks left until my estimated due date. Everything had went smoothly so far. Of course there were glitches here and there like how heavy and tired I felt recently or that annoying soreness nagging at my lower back, but our baby was healthy and that was all that matter.
As if sensing my thought, our baby kicked. A strong jab a little below to the left of my distended belly just right where Yuri's hand was resting.
“Someone is waking up.” He pressed gently with his thumb and the baby kicked again. It was a game they played often lately. Our baby's slow kick against Yuri's soft kiss or gentle touch on my belly. It was both amazing and a little silly to feel my husband and my child interacting with my skin between them. These days, even the mere whisper coming from Yuri could make our baby move.
“Sleep, baby. We'll play tomorrow.” Yuri tugged down the blanket, sitting up to kiss the side of my exposing belly. “Mommy is tired already.”
As I had predicted, our baby kicked again.
“Daddy has a day off tomorrow.” He continued caressing my belly. “We'll spend all day together. Promise.”
Another gentle move could be felt from inside. I moved my hand too, resting it above Yuri's hand. Our baby stopped moving and I sighed as I closed my eyes again.
“Not even out of mommy's belly but already listen to Daddy only.” I pursed my lips, turning to face Yuri who already lay back on the bed.
“What can I say, I'm an awesome father.” He covered us back with the blanket, caressing my head.
“Yeah? Try to tell our baby to be less shy at tomorrow ultrasound, will you?”
We had been trying to find out the gender of our baby since I had entered the end of second trimester. Three times ultrasounds all had resulted in YoonA's amused grin as she told us how our baby practically covered the private part with its crossed legs.
“It's not my fault if my baby is such a modest person.” Yuri laughed again. “Sleep, Jess. If the ultrasound still fail us tomorrow. Let's just take it as a surprise for the day of birth.”
“I want to know for sure, Yul.” I whined as I shifted my body closer to my lover. “I need to decorate the baby room with the perfect theme. There are clothes, blankets, toys, and million other things to buy that needs to fit our baby's gender.”
“Alright. Alright.” He stopped laughing but I could still sense the lack of seriousness in his voice. Man could be so ignorant sometime. “Sleep. Let's worry about it tomorrow.”
I sighed, letting sleep claiming my tired body.
“Oh finally, something to see.” YoonA moved the ultrasound probe around a little. I looked up at my Ob-gyn anxiously while Yuri just grinned from his spot beside the examination table.
“Congratulation, guys. It's a girl.”
Yuri's grin turned wider and wider while I still needed a little reassurance. I craned my neck a little, trying to see the ultrasound screen better. “Are you sure, Yoong?”
YoonA just giggled as she wiped the gel off my belly with tissue. “99% sure, Unnie. The ultrasound showed no scrotum.”
YoonA's grin nearly split her face. “Unnie. You know them. The dangling ones.”
Yuri laughed so hard he had to bend over the table while YoonA maintained her giggle. I frowned at them.
“I'm sorry, babe. It's just too funny.” Yuri, probably caught my displeased expression, kissed the back of my hand. “We're having a girl. A little princess you can play dress up with.”
“Are you okay with it?”
“I'm more than okay, baby.” He helped me getting up from the table. “I'm elated. Everything else is fine right, doctor YoonA?”
“Yes. Baby is weighed approximately 1.3 Kilograms and 38 centimeters long now, just perfect measurements for Jessica's unnie 30 weeks pregnancy. On our next appointment we can do some blood tests in preparations for the birth.”
“Birth? I'm not giving birth anytime soon right?” To be honest, the idea of pushing a baby out of my body still frightened me a little. I wasn't sure of how ready I was.
“Well. Birth normally occurs at the 38 to 40 weeks mark but we need to prepare everything. You haven't gave me back the birth plan form I handed you on the last appointment.”
“Yeah.” Stealing a glance at my husband, I fidgeted on my chair. “We're still discussing on the best plan to follow right now.”
Yuri just snorted. He was steadfast on wanting me to get through a cesarean, arguing that it was the easiest way and would safe me from pain.
While the pain of giving birth seemed to be so terrifying, half of me still wanted to have a normal birth. There were so many benefits of delivering a baby naturally and I just wanted the best for our baby.
“It's okay. Give it a thought. Ask me if you need more information.” YoonA smiled. “How about braxton hicks? Do you feel it already, unnie?”
“Not really. Just soreness all over. If anything, I just want something to slow down my monstrous appetite.”
“Why, Unnie?” YoonA checked my chart with creased forehead.
“I've gained ten kilograms, Yoong! Ten! And you said my baby is only responsible for 1.3 kilograms of it.”
“You're still on the safe mark here, Unnie. Most women gains more at this point of pregnancy. But if it bothers you,you can always resort on fruits and vegetables instead of meal that contains a lot of fat and carb.”
Yuri snorted again. My elbow graciously landed on his rib for his not-so-well hidden snicker. He knew well that the sight of meat and fatty meal was my current weakness. I even finished two servings of Yukgaejang at lunch a few minutes before this appointment.
“Stay active but also don't forget to stay hydrated, Unnie. Still doing Yoga, aren't you?”
I nodded. Despite Yuri's objection, I still did a limited exercise on daily basis. Be it Yoga or a few minutes walk around our backyard, I wanted to keep moving for the health of my baby and myself.
“Good. See you on the next appointment then.” YoonA beamed at us. “Happy shopping cute dresses and tiny skirts, Unnie.”
Yuri laughed again.
“So, which department store?” He asked me when we finally got into the car. “Do I need to pull my black card out?”
“Yul...” I held the hand that rested on the steering wheel, rubbing my thumb against his dark skin. “Are you really okay with this?”
“What do you mean this? No level of your shopping madness can surprise me anymore.” He grinned.
“No. I meant this.” I rubbed my belly. “Don't you want a baby boy to carry your family name?”
“It will be great if you can stop being so silly sometimes, Jess.” He leaned between the console, kissing my hand that was resting on top of my belly. “Don't listen to your Mommy, little princess. I adore you. I love you. No one can take your place in my heart.”
As if understanding her father, our baby kicked me inside.
“Not even the triplets your mom will carry after you.” Yuri looked up to me, grinning as he rested his hand on my lower belly.
“Yah!” I pinched Yuri's nose. “Triplets!”
“Even if they come out as three adorable boys. You'll always be my first born. My favorite. My mini Jessi.” Yuri kept on talking to our baby. “So grow well and born healthily.”
The baby responded again with a gentle kick right underneath Yuri's palm. He laughed, coming back to the steering wheel but not before giving my head a playful bop. “Stop worrying. Start enjoying, Jess. We should be grateful for what we have right now. Our little girl comes to us after so many struggles and you're afraid that I will love her less because she's not a boy. How silly is that?”
“I know.” I sighed, rubbing my belly again. “I'm sorry.”
He smiled at me while starting the engine. “So, which department store?”
“Hmmmm.” I tried to give it a thought but there were so many things I wanted to buy at the moment. I took my phone where I kept a long note of things to buy to welcome our first born. “Lotte or Garden 5 maybe. But can we have that awesome bingsoo on Cheongdam first?”
“Omo. Bingsoo? I thought you want to slow down on the weight gain?” His eyes twinkled with amusement as he drove the car out of the parking lot. “It's already cold outside too, I doubt the cafe is open in this kind of weather”
I pursed my lips. “But I want bingsoo. We can also check the many boutiques there. The Winter collections supposed to be out already. Imagine the cute little sweaters, coats, boots, and beanies for our little princess.”
“I see. For our little princess.” A teasing smirk adorned his face. “I can't say no then. Let's go.”
“Stop teasing me.” I looked away with my arms crossed above my bulging stomach.
His laugh was nearly drowned by the roaring car. I hit his arm and he laughed harder.
“Easy on the pouting, princess. I love you.” He confessed when we got to the busier road. “Both of you.”
Despite my initial plan to sulk a little longer, I couldn't help but smiled too. “We love you too.”
I sighed, smiling at the sight of neatly stacked folders in front of me. They were final designs for B&E next season collection. I had poured myself over them for the last few days. I wanted nothing but the best for the brand that I had built from scratch with my own hands.
My little princess moved inside. Her gentle movement sent ripples that I treasured in my heart for they were the signs of her healthy growth. I rubbed gently at where the kick could be felt and smiled wider when I felt her soft response. We were about to meet soon and I could hardly wait to see how my daughter look like.
Judging how she seemed to be so fond of her father's voice, maybe our daughter would look a lot like Yuri. A few days ago, my mother-in-law had given me a photo album filled with the pictures of Yuri's childhood. He was chubby and extra cute as a baby. Also adorable as a toddler. I could really imagine our daughter being as cute and adorable, clinging to her father like I did.
My baby moved again, I could feel my skin dipped a little under my palm.
“You want to see, daddy. Don't you?” Running a hand across my belly, I clicked the send button at the e-mail window on my laptop. It was my resignation letter as designer/creative director of Blanc & Eclare.
I would still be a shareholder. Thank to Yuri's help I now owned 25% share of the company. I surely hoped that I would still have a say to where the label was heading design-wise. But even If I had to completely let go, I'd do it with no regret. It was about time for me to prioritize my family, to give my child full attention.
“Isn't it a little too late to stay up, babe?” Yuri came from behind me, rubbing my arms.
“I have curfew now?” I threw my head back to look up at my dear husband, grinning.
“You don't.” He kissed my forehead. “Baby Candice do.”
“We're not naming our daughter after a supermodel, Yul.”
“Candice is a common name for a girl.” He shrugged. “As common as Behati, Adriana, or Miranda.”
“Yeah. Right.” I shut down the laptop then stood up, hugging my man as far as my belly would allow. “I give up trying to find a cool name for our baby.”
“Instead of cool, let's come up with a meaningful one instead. A prayer that will protect this little girl all her life.”
I rested my head on his chest, feeling grateful for my ever-rational husband.
“Like Gisele. After the great Gisele Bundchen”
The silly suggestion made me pinch at his arm. He laughed, holding me tighter.
“If it's okay with you, I want to ask my parents for suggestions on the Korean name. We can decide on the English name later when we already see how our little princess look like.”
I nodded, sighing into his chest. He swayed me gently on our spot and before I knew it, a yawn escaped me.
“Sleep time for my two in one babies.” He led me out of the study, rubbing my back as we walked side by side to our bedroom.
I sipped the mango juice from my glass. It tasted heavenly and distracted me from the noisy party for a while. I closed my eyes after another sip, leaning back against the wall.
Yuri's face was already so close to mine when I opened my eyes.
The ballroom was full of people as tonight was the annual charity night held by SK-K enterprise. Yuri's parents were talking to a group of people in one corner. Minho and Sooyoung could also be spotted immersing in a lively conversation with some foreigners on their table.
“Just a little dizzy.” I admitted, knowing that telling my husband a lie wouldn't do any good anyway. I felt that a lot lately, dizzy and tired.
“Let's go home so you can rest” His hand immediately went around my waist.
“I'm fine, Yul.” I lifted the half empty glass to his eye-level. “The waitress got me this magic mango juice made by the chef himself.”
“Chef Ahn? I'll thank him later. Come on.”
“The auction is not even started yet. People will notice.”
“People also notice how pregnant you are, Jess. Come on.” He tugged at my hand, while trying to get Minho's attention.
It was Sooyoung who saw us first. She excused herself from the table and hurriedly came to us. “Is everything okay?”
“Jessica feels a little dizzy.”
My best friend swiftly checked my wrist for pulse. “Probably your blood pressure again.” She sighed. “Maybe you should go home and get some rest. It has been a long night.”
“My thought exactly.” Yuri already rested his hand on the small of my back. “Can you tell Minho to take care of things on my behalf for the rest of the night.”
“Also bid something for us. I'd love to have any of the paintings from the orphanage.” Yuri handed his signed checkbook to Sooyoung. I laughed at the Cheshire grin on Sooyoung's face.
“Awwww, Yuri. I can buy Disney land for my children with this.”
“Make sure you buy one for our baby too. And shoes for me.” I playfully nudged my friend. “See you later, Sooyoung. Tell my in-laws I just need some rest. I don't want them to worry too much.”
“Consider it done.” She gave me a hug. “Make sure you drink a lot of water and get your feet propped up for a few minutes before sleep. Take care of my best friend, Yuri.”
“I will. Come on, baby.”
Yuri drove slowly, one hand on the steering wheel while the other rubbed my thigh. I leaned back as far as I could on the seat, starting to feel extremely sleepy.
“Yul...” Something suddenly popped up in my mind. “Can we make a quick stop at that delicious Ddeokbokki stand we visited last week?”
“I thought you're sleepy.” He smiled at me while braking at the red light. The intersection was fairly quiet tonight.
“You know how I often wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry.” I pouted. “Isn't the stand in the same direction to our home?”
“Not really. But I'm willing to drive to world end to meet your need, baby.” He grinned.
“Cheese.” I slapped his arm, pouting while actually fluttered with feelings inside.
He teased me a few more times before the light turned green. The car behind us honked and Yuri slowly pressed the gas pedal.
I was about to close my eyes again when I heard the sound of screeching tires. Bright light came from my right side and I squinted. It was a truck, speeding toward us.
“Yul!” I yelled, gripping his right hand.
There was this loud bang of metal against metal. My stomach churned as our car was rammed by the truck.
I could feel pain. I could hear Yuri call my name.
Then darkness came.
--- tbc ---
Author's note : I apology for the long delay in updating. I'm thankful for those who stay reading this update even after more than four weeks without new chapter. Let's use this opportunity to wish each other a good life and everlasting health. Thank you. ^^