Take It SlowStep by Step
With Jinsol sleeping peacefully on her hospital bed, Haseul gently pries her wife's hand off her own. She stands, dusting off her clothes before quietly going out of the room. Haseul scrunches her nose at the distinct smell of being in a hospital. She didn't take notice of it before, but dang does it sting.
Haseul stares at her reddened hand for a moment, watching it lightly tremble as she remembers with a wince at how Jinsol held onto it with a death grip. She's sure she cracked a bone or two due to her wife's new found superhuman strength during the birthing process.
She shakes her hand then blows air on the pad of her thumb as she makes a beeline towards the lady at the desk, mentally repeating the question she wanted to ask in her head. Haseul sees a nurse conversing with the lady at the desk. She frowns, ready to turn her heel to leave them alone when—
"Ah.. Hey, wait, Cho Haseul!"
A hand lands on her shoulder. Haseul glances at whoever it is. "Oh, it's just you." She turns her body to fully face Jungeun.
"What do you mean just me?" Jungeun removes her hand off Haseul to place it over her chest, feigning offence at the older's tone at her. "I'm your best friend! What's with that tone now?"
Haseul cracks a smile smile at Jungeun's acting. Scoffing, she decides to play along with the younger's act. "Best friend?" She squints her eyes at the nurse's nametag. "Kim Jungeun? I'm sorry I don't know a Kim Jungeun."
Jungeun pouts, making Haseul cheekily smirk at her. She scowls. Jungeun's seen that specific expression before, and it never ends well for her pride. "Okay, no, that hurt my feelings."
"You're such a baby." Haseul gives her a light shove with a hearty chuckle.
"Whatever, but speaking of— Congratulations, Seul!" Jungeun pats the newly dubbed parent on her back, making Haseul's cheek dust with pink.
She rubs her nape at the sudden greet. "Aw, c'mon. It's no big deal, Jung.." Haseul whispers, somewhat embarrassed at the uncharacteristic excitement Jungeun has for her.
"No big deal? You have a baby..! A family, Haseul!" Jungeun's eyebrows knit together, jabbing a finger on her chest to emphasize the severity of the new responsibilities on her belt. "It is a big deal, Cho!"
Haseul seems to shrink the more she gets jabbed with Jungeun's pointy nails. They kinda hurt. "Okay, okay." She throws her hands up in defeat. "It is a big deal." She has a big smile on her face now. "How's having twins treating you two?"
"Oh, you have no idea!"
The duo then gush over babies up until someone hands Jungeun a clipboard and her expression drops, reminding why Haseul came out of the hospital room in the first place.
After making sure they were properly sanitized, slipped into a special outfit, Jungeun opens the door, ushering Haseul inside.
And there she is.
Haseul stares at her and Jinsol's baby confined in a glass box with a few holes on its side for her to slip her hands inside to hold her tiny hands, or just any form of touch (that's best for her) to bond with.
She blatantly ignores the other equipment around her baby, undeniably scared out of her mind she might break something that might harm her little buddle of joy. Haseul hadn't allowed herself to rest properly when she overheard they had to take their baby somewhere else after letting Jinsol cradle her for a moment.
Jeong-Cho Hyeju, as Jinsol breathed out before passing out, was unfortunately admitted into NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). She was born a bit early than scheduled and had a low birth weight, much to Haseul's stress and dismay.
And Jinsol's too whenever the woman decides wakes up.
Despite the overwhelming guilt consuming her after seeing Hyeju, the urge to reach out is stronger. "Can I?" Haseul has her hand hovering over one of the holes. She has her eyebrows curved up with her bottom lip slightly jutted out in a pout.
Jungeun glances at her, momentarily thinking about how Haseul looks similar to Jinsol with the expression she's sporting. She supposes it's the result of loving someone for more than a decade already. Jungeun would know. Her and Jiwoo get told they look alike sometimes. She hums, "Yeah. They say you can if you want to.." Haseul lets her fingers carefully graze over Hyejoo's tiny hands. "Just be careful," Jungeun reminds once more before busying herself with checking up on each baby in the room.
"Hi, Hyeju.." Haseul whispers, watching the little baby shift around in the limited space with a warm gaze.
She's so scared of touching Hyeju, deathly afraid she'd somehow manage to hurt her in some way if she let her nerves get the best of her. Instead of focusing on her mixture of negative emotions swirling within, her eyes lock on the faint cheek moles on the baby's cheek.
Haseul whisper shouts, "Jungie!" as she beckons the said woman over. "Look, Hyeju's got Jinsol's moles!"
"Do you suddenly have crazy eyesight or what?" Jungeun chuckles. "It's so faint, Seul. I barely see it. And I'm supposed to be the one with good eyesight between us two."
"But you can see it, right?"
She scans over every little facial feature the tiny infant inherited, taking note of each one and excitedly pointing it out to Jungeun. The latter supposes she should listen to Haseul ramble on and on about Hyeju. After all, it wasn't like she was any different from when Yerim and Hyunjin were born.
"Her little babie hands! Are you kidding me, Jungeun? She—!!"
Haseul purses her lips before lightly knocking on the doorframe to catch her wife's attention. "Hey," She greets once Jinsol locks eyes with her. The woman's eyes switch from being alerted towards warmth.
"Hey," Jinsol mimics, carefully removing the pump off her. Haseul swoops in to set off the bottle and pump on top a nearby cabinet. Jinsol has a fond smile on her face as she watches her wife waddle around the baby room.
Haseul catches her gaze. "Like what you see, Soulie?" She teases with a wink and little bum shake. Jinsol laughs. Haseul's chest fill with a sense of pride at making her wife laugh ever since she was discharged from the hospital.
Jinsol handled the news about Hyeju's NICU admission well. Although it was quite worrying to see Jinsol being solemn, Haseul supposes she trusted the hospital well enough, more so because it's the one Jungeun's working at.
It was going to be okay.
Hyeju wasn't eligible to be discharged just yet. She had to stay for another day or so before she could go home. They visit her every day to check up on their little baby.
"Very much so." Jinsol flirts back, to which Haseul reacts well to. She smirks when she sees the latter's flushed features as she waddles towards her. Haseul sits down before her with puppy eyes looking up at her.
"So, how are you?" She asks, taking in Jinsol's hands to rub her thumb over her wife's knuckles. Jinsol heaves a sigh of relief. A smile tugs on the corner of her lips seeing the gold band around her ring finger.
Haseul plants feather-light kisses on Jinsol's hand, on her arm, on her face, and lastly, on her lips.
Jinsol hums against her lover's lips, kissing back in a slow and tender manner. "I'm good, Seul." She mumbles in between kisses. Haseul's content with her answer, humming back before pulling away only to bombard her face with kisses.
Jinsol bubbles up giggles as Haseul peppers her neck with kisses. She gently pushes her wife's lips off her, even if she wanted more, it was too ticklish for her to fully enjoy.
Haseul heavily pouts, but quickly beams when Jinsol stands to cup her face as she gets pulled her into a searing kiss.
Jinsol heaves a content sigh, feeling Haseul melt further under her touch. She secures her arm around the love of her life, looking away from the movie to press a kiss on Haseul's forehead.
Haseul tightens her grip around Jinsol's waist, feeling warmth spread in her chest. Will she ever stop swooning for Jinsol? No. Haseul buries her face on Jinsol's side, lightly nudging her wife with her nose to show her gratitude.
And of course, Jinsol understood.
It was kind of funny. They had their own language even, it was mostly gibberish that faintly sounded like a normal sentence. They've gotten better as the years fleet by. Their friends had odd reactions to it at first, but eventually brushed it off.
Jinsol's the one who started doing all sorts of small gestures that had a second meaning to it. Haseul had mentally taken note of each one and understood.
Whenever Jinsol wanted to say thank you, she would cup Haseul's face and lightly bump their forehead and nose together. On some instances, where she would be too happy, Jinsol would sneak in a few kisses.
If Jinsol was upset, she would simply turn her back on Haseul. And that would mean she didn't want anything to do with the latter, but if she shifts from time to time, that'd be her itching to be loved by her.
Haseul found these little moments quite endearing. It always put a proud smile on her face knowing that only she knew this side of Jinsol.
Jinsol was normally loud and obnoxious whenever she's outside, more so with friends and family, but at home she was quiet and reserved. A vast difference to who she normally was to the public eye.
Haseul was the same, loud on the outside, quiet on the inside. She wouldn't complain, or point it out to the older woman. She liked the quiet atmosphere and occasional Jinsol noises her wife would make.
Towards the end of the film, Jinsol feels Haseul's hold loosen. She carefully looks to see her wife had fallen asleep on her. She quietly chuckles, threading her fingers through her wife's dark locks, untangling any knots that have formed.
Haseul shifts in her sleep, pressing her body closer to Jinsol's. The latter softly smiles. She carefully covers their bodies with soft, fluffy blankets, letting herself succumb to her own sleepiness. Jinsol situates herself in a comfortable for the both of them before fluttering her eyes closed.
Haseul locks the door as she clumsily takes off her shoes. "I'm home~" She announces, waiting for Jinsol to come waddling over to give her a welcome back kiss. But much to her confusion, she doesn't hear her wife's usual pitter-patter.
She looks up, seeing that most of the lights are shut off. It gives their little home an unsettling atmosphere as Haseul was used to the lively scene of Jinsol excitedly waddling her way towards her to give her the usual welcome back home kiss.
Swiftly taking off her coat and hanging it up on the nearby coat rack, Haseul makes her way towards their bedroom. Maybe Jinsol was just taking her well-deserved naps. With that in mind, Haseul enters their room quietly.
Alas, it was dark and quiet too.
Haseul frowns. Maybe her wife's in the baby room again. She switches the light on, opting to change out of her work clothes into more comfy clothing. Haseul huffs as she looks at herself in the mirror.
She wore a fluffy green sweater. Haseul even took a moment to mindlessly feel the fluff in complete silence until she snapped back into reality. She also stole Jinsol's infamous lemon shorts. Haseul cracks a smile at
Jinsol's her little shorts.
Haseul makes her way towards the nursery room that was next to their own room. Like before, she quietly opens the door to find—
Hyeju snug against Jinsol's chest.
Haseul's eyes cartoonishly widen at the heart-warming sight. Hyeju's home! And she wasn't informed..? Haseul pouts that she wasn't there to pick up their bundle of joy with her wife.
Jinsol stirs awake from her power nap. She spots Haseul by the door in her peripherals. She gestures with her pointer finger for her wife to keep quiet as Hyeju was still knocked out in her arms.
Haseul tiptoes her way to her wife on her little rocking chair, biting her lips in order not to squeal in excitement at the sight of Hyeju's chubby face. She's pleasantly plump now and Haseul's chest fills with warmth and love.
Chuckling softly at her wife's heart eyes to their little baby, Jinsol whispers, "Do you want to hold her?" And Haseul vibrates as all sorts of emotions go through her head.
"Really!?" She exclaims out loud, earning a flick on the forehead by Jinsol. Haseul rubs the reddening spot on her forehead, looking like a kicked puppy at her mistake. "Sorry.. I got too excited," She whispers.
Jinsol smiles fondly. "I know, I know." She gestures for Haseul to come near. The latter, of course, waddles right on over. With her free hand, and her other secured around Hyeju, Jinsol grazes her thumb over Haseul's forehead.
Haseul's nose scrunches up adorably as she feels Jinsol's lips softly kiss her forehead. Being cheeky, Haseul sneaks her own kiss on her wife's lips when she pulled away, Jinsol was pleasantly surprised by the action.
Hyeju eventually shifts in her sleep, slowly waking up as if she sensed she wasn't the center of attention. Her eyes lazily flutter open, pupils confusedly looking around. Hyeju yawns and stretches her little limbs like a kitten.
Jinsol and Haseul gush at the sight. Haseul makes her own happy noises as she carefully rubs Hyeju's little head, toying with the faint tuff of hair. "She's so, so, so..." She spews out gibberish and incoherent blabber as she switches between looking at Jinsol and Hyeju.
When Haseul softly pokes Hyeju's now fuller cheeks, a tiny hand meekly reaches out and even tinier fingers wrap around Haseul's finger. Jinsol's emits a small gasp as her heart swells at the interaction.
Haseul makes all sorts of noises once more as her eyes grow glossy with tears. She sniffles and it alarms Jinsol. "Wh—!! Haseul, why are you crying?" Jinsol hold back a laugh at the sight of her wife struggling to keep herself from sobbing on the spot.
Hyeju, still very much sleepy, slowly blinks up at Haseul. She buries her face onto mother's chest, emitting a small squeak. Hyeju hadn't let go of her other mother's finger though.
And that was the last straw for Haseul.
Haseul dramatically bawls her eyes out, mumbling something about Hyeju that even Jinsol couldn't quite understand. Jinsol giggles at her wife's tear-stained face, trying her best to wipe all the tears and snot off her with a towel (that was for Hyeju, but alright—).
"Seulie, c'mon, stop crying." Jinsol purses her lips, trying not to make fun of Haseul more. It was amusing seeing her like this, but Hyeju wanted more naps and as her mother, she would give the whole world to her little baby. "I won't let you hold Hye like this."
Haseul pouts at Jinsol's stern look, but she meekly nods. "O-okay." She snatches the towel from her wife as she hurriedly wipes her face clean. Haseul scurries to get another towel for Hyeju.
Jinsol cracks another smile at Haseul's reddened and puffy features. She points at her and airily laughs. "You look so funny."
Haseul gives a lopsided smile at her. She sticks her tongue out. "Shut it. I'm sorry I love my family." She scrunches her features and shakes her head at Jinsol.
Her wife only playfully rolls her eyes at her as she carefully stands up from her little rocking chair. Jinsol nears Haseul, maneuvering so that her wife can take Hyeju into her arms. She rubs Hyeju's back once the newborn's off her.
"I've got her.." Haseul whispers as she secures her hold on their baby. Jinsol grins, bending her knees a little to give her a quick peck on the cheek. She whispers a quick 'Thank you' into Haseul's ear, which makes her shiver as warm air hitting her sensitive ears.
Hyeju yawns as she writhes under her mother's hold. Haseul's quick to bounce her feet and rub her little back to lull her back to sleep. She looks back at Jinsol, who's giving her the biggest heart eyes. "Soulie, you should go and rest up, okay?"
On cue, Jinsol yawns and stretches her arms out. Hm, seems awfully familiar. "Yeah.. Take care of Joojoo." She makes an intimidating gesture with her hand, pointing her two fingers to her eyes and then to Haseul's. "I'm watching you."
And as much as Jinsol wanted to be scary at times, in Haseul's eyes she was always adorable. (One time, Jinsol was extremely frustrated at her, and when she turned around she found Haseul's eyes were filled with nothing but admiration.
Of course, that made Jinsol deflate and turn shy from Haseul's gaze. They made up immediately. After all, being upset over food isn't really a valid reason to lash out, is it?)
Haseul bubbles up a few giggles. She gently lowers Jinsol's hand. "I got it, okay?" Jinsol purses her lips as Haseul carefully cups her face and caresses her cheek. "Now go rest. You deserve it."
Swallowing harshly, Jinsol nods. She hums, affectionately patting Haseul's bum before she leaves the two girls alone. She heartily laughs when Haseul emits a surprised 'Hey!' at her patting seconds earlier.
It's 1:28am when Hyeju begins crying for her mothers to come get her.
Haseul wakes up first. She already about to get up when Jinsol reaches out her and croaks out, "No, I'll get her this time.. You did it last time." Haseul purses her lips, seeing that her wife's eyes are barely open behind the messy bed hair.
She gently lifts Jinsol's hands off her. It was a weak grip after all. "Soulie, it's okay—Really. I got this." She reassures her whilst yawning mid-sentence. Jinsol responds with a frown at Haseul. She couldn't even sneak another peep out as Hyeju's crying becomes too heartbreaking to Haseul's ears.
Jinsol watches Haseul scurry off to Hyeju's room. She releases a defeated sigh. Muffled noises from the other room are somewhat heard. Jinsol shuts her eyes tight as Hyeju's crying continues to ring out throughout their home.
As most say, after the first month, it gets difficult. Jinsol and Haseul frequently get woken up by a fussy Hyeju crying about in the middle of the night, or even just a few minutes after they manage drift off to dreamland.
They take turns in calming down Hyeju whenever it happens, but Jinsol's gotten a bit restless lately and Haseul wasn't letting her wife overwork herself when she's done all she can already.
"Hey, baby.." Haseul yawns as she carefully cradles Hyeju in her arms. She bounces on her feet as small hands instinctively clutch her shirt and tug. "You're okay.." Haseul lowly coos as Hyeju's whimpering and sniffles continue.
Holding Hyeju up, Haseul makes all sorts of faces and noises to entertain the month old baby. She giggles when Hyeju's beady eyes only stare at her with curiosity. "I look stupid, don't I?" Haseul isn't sure if she should be offended when her baby wiggles in response.
(The new mother is still yet to learn that her baby cannot see that well. She is a month old after all. Jinsol doesn't have the heart to tell her that.)
Haseul tries to put her back into her crib, but Hyeju starts to whimper and holds onto her tight. "Ah, Hye, I need to get your milk, c'mon.." Looking at the baby's eyes, Haseul frowns at the tears welling up in her eyes. "Okay, okay. I'll bring you with me."
Hyeju gurgles as she watches her mother move around the kitchen. She huffs when her lips and chin get wiped clean with the bib around her neck.
Haseul taps on Hyeju's little nose when she sees her adorably scrunch her features. "Oh, I love you so bad." She plants a big fat kiss on the baby's cheeks.
"Ah, lookie, Hyeju-yah." Haseul takes out the bottled milk out of the bottle warmer, managing to twist the on with a baby on hand. Hyeju spits out her pacifier. "Hey, why'd you do that? It's all dirty now." Sighing, Haseul grabs the pacifier and sets it off near the sink to clean later.
Haseul squirts a drop of milk on her hand, checking if its okay for Hyeju to drink. Not that hot nor that cold, just at the right temperature.
Maneuvering Hyeju in her arms, Haseul walks back in the baby room only to find Jinsol waddling around, cleaning up the room. (There wasn't anything to clean up.) "Soulie, why aren't you asleep?"
Jinsol flinches. "Ah.. I couldn't go back to sleep." She lowers her head, looking guilty as she fumbles with her thumbs nervously. "I also.. missed Joojoo and you.." She mumbles, barely audible enough but Haseul catches it.
Haseul hums, pecking Jinsol's pouty lips. "Feed Hyeju for me?" She offers the bottle out to her wife.
Jinsol eagerly nods, taking Hyeju in her arms and the bottle. "W-where are you going?" She asks, watching Haseul about to leave the room.
"I'm just going to clean Hyeju's pacifier. She spit it out on the floor earlier. We might need it to soothe her later on." Haseul yawns.
It's 3:47am when Hyeju finally gets sleepy on her mothers' bed.
"But, Seulie.." Jinsol rubs Hyeju's tummy as she lies on the bed with her baby. "It's—" A yawn. "—Fine.. Joojoo's already falling asleep."
Haseul purses her lips, hesitantly crawling up the bed next to Hyeju on the other side. "Okay, but I'll get her back in the crib later. It—"
"—isn't safe to share the bed with your baby, yada, yada, yada." Jinsol sleepily smiles at Haseul's puffed cheeks. She carefully inches close to her wife's face, giving her a soft kiss. "You're too much of a worrywart, you know?" Jinsol giggles as she pulls away.
Brushing her fingers across her freshly kissed lips, Haseul turns beet red, both in embarrassment and because.. Jinsol. Just Jinsol. She huffs, turning away from her two girls.
Jinsol smiles at the sight of a pouty Haseul. "I'll put Joojoo back in her crib later. You get your rest this time, Seulie." Haseul doesn't budge. "I love you."
Haseul turns her head a bit, glaring at Jinsol, albeit a little softer now. "I love you too."