Chapter 14 - First Homecoming Part 1
Tarzan and Jane were bathing privately in a creek near the family nest nearly eight months after their marriage reception in the jungle, and she washed happily him with soapberry pods, after him having done the same for her. They loved the natural looks of their bodies, so perfectly matched for each other. The intimacy of bathing together always had its effect on him, which they took advantage of almost every time joining together afterwards, which was at least in part their intent. The gorillas left them alone at these times, knowing that as humans, they accepted all the communal activities of the family, but they needed some private time. Occasional visits to the treehouse were important to them to 'stay connected' with their humanity, as well as secluded moments alone like this.
They were about to make love to each other, but as Tarzan helped Jane cleanse her private areas, a normally cream colored sponge fruit came up bright red. It happened again. Her period started. Jane burst into tears and sobbed into Tarzan's comforting shoulders. Another month had passed and she was not pregnant.
"What are we going to do Tarzan?" she cried.
"What couples are supposed to do, dearest Jane. Keep trying," Tarzan tried to reassure her.
"What if I am not able to have a child? What then?" she asked, nearly frantic.
"I will love you no less," he said in a soothing tone.
"But women are supposed to be mothers. I want to have your children so much!" she lamented.
"Remember it takes both of us to make this happen. Perhaps there is something wrong with me."
Her sobbing stopped and he wiped away the tears.
"Maybe so. I just can't imagine a life without children in our arms."
"Not every animal in the forest can be a mother, so they are mothers to others. Just like you have been to my family," Tarzan said confidently.
"Sure it's wonderful to take care of the gorilla babies, but it's not like one of our own."
"I know Jane. Patience, my dear wife. Many of the women in your Bible book waited to have a baby for years."
"That's right, Tarzan. You're so right! There's still hope," she offered optimistically.
Tarzan had said just the right thing to her. They kissed and just hugged a long time.
This had been a difficult journey for them. They thought getting pregnant would be easy, especially when she knew when she peaked each month. Missing the chance to get pregnant the first month after that very happy night after the reception run in the maze had only been a casual concern. At their three month anniversary and not being pregnant, it was a worry. At six months after the reception and not being pregnant, it was truly a cause for alarm. Now at eight months, they were panicked. Try as they might, Tarzan and Jane were not able to conceive the child they so fervently wanted.
Arm and arm they returned to the family. Archimedes saw that she had been crying.
"Children. What's wrong?" the Professor asked anxiously.
"Um… nothing… Daddy," she lied.
"I know my normally happy girl. We need to talk," he lifted her chin with his fingers.
She looked away, "Oh Daddy, we've been through this before. I know you mean well."
"But I haven't told you everything, dear."
"Daddy?" she asked with concern.
Archimedes sighed, "I didn't want to hurt either of you or make you worry more than you already are. I've told you many times your mother and I waited two years before we 'decided' to have you. Well, that isn't the entire story. My dear children, you are going through what your mother and I did."
"Please tell us more, Professor," invited Tarzan.
"It took us two years to conceive Jane, actively trying from the very beginning. Jane's mother had trouble conceiving and… um… oh my… she lost two before having you."
She immediately reached and hugged her father, "Oh dear, Daddy. I never knew. It's all right."
Archimedes accepted the hug and went on through tearful eyes, choking out the words, "Even then, it was touch and go with you, Jane. She spent most of those nine months in bed. That's why we doted on you so much, and why we loved you so much. You were our miracle baby. We never had another, and we did try…"
She hugged her father closer, and Tarzan put his arm around the old professor in comfort.
"So Jane, dear. You may come by this naturally. Be patient. And be prepared."
They both understood the implications of his gentle warning.
"How did it finally happen, Professor? How did you have a child, so that we may hopefully have our own?" asked Tarzan gently.
"We finally stopped worrying and fretting, started praying more, and just enjoyed each other like newlyweds, and then one night, free from guilt and pressure, it just happened. Our gift happened. If you two just enjoy each other as joyfully as you have from the beginning, and I think you will be blessed. I can tell, as can everyone else, it hasn't been fun for you lately. It's been more like a chore."
Jane looked at Tarzan with considerable guilt, "You're right Daddy. Tarzan, I'm sorry."
"It's all right, Jane. I want this as much as you do."
They kissed and smiled. Archimedes was pleased for both of them, seeing his children relax a bit.
"Please, both of you. Don't worry any more. All couples get to this point. It's just taking you longer, like your mother and I."
The pair looked to each other with hope.
They had about finished the conversation, when Terk waddled out. She was enormously pregnant, with her baby bump extending far forward from her body.
He shouted loudly, "Look out! Clear the way! Baby machine coming through. Run for your lives, an elephant is coming through the forest."
From nearby Tantor complained, "I beg your pardon, Terk, don't bring my kind into this!"
"No offense Tantor. I just feel enormous."
"You are enormous," Tantor snickered – he couldn't resist the taunt.
Terk gave her friend a dirty look struggling to move, "Remind me to waddle over to you and smack you a good one. If I can just… unhh… steer myself toward you!"
All the friends laughed, cutting the somber mood between Tarzan and Jane.
Kirok returned from gathering some fruit, and Terk's eyes narrowed, "You! Kirok! How come you left me? You abandoned me. What kind of mate are you anyway?"
"Umm. Well. .. you asked for this fruit," Kirok explained nervously. He was trying to deal with Terk always on edge late in her pregnancy.
"Never mind that! You got me into this, when are you gonna get me out?" Terk complained.
Poor Kirok was struggling to be kind and explain himself, "Uhh, we're mates. There's really only one way out. Whenever nature says our child is ready to arrive, Terk."
Terk was frantic, "I never knew I was signing on for this! Thanks to you dude, every muscle hurts. I'm one massive belly. I haven't seen my feet in weeks! I hurt in places that I didn't know I had places. And your baby is kicking me senseless from the inside. You know what it's like with a ten pound coconut rolling around in your guts? Especially in the middle of the night? I have to pee all the time. Kirok. This is all your fault!
Poor Kirok tried to comfort hormonally out of control Terk.
Tarzan and Jane watched the daily amusement of a very pregnant Terk lurching about the camp, but sometimes, like today, tempers flared, and frustrations surfaced.
"She's a handful right now," Kirok whispered to Tarzan.
Terk vented in all directions and pointed emphatically at her baby bump, "I heard that, Kirok! And what about you, Tarzan and Jane? If you love machines hadn't showed us the darn 'people way', none of this would have happened!
A chorus of six other pregnant gorilla females echoed the same sentiment.
Jane was just a little snippy right back, "Oh come now, my friend. Blame me? Well, you guys watched and copied us! And besides it's up to your mates to watch where they put that 'thing'!"
Realizing what she said, everyone finally had a good laugh with Jane's quip. The mood softened immediately.
Six gorilla dads-to-be quietly thanked Tarzan , including Kirok, and whispered, "We love the 'people way', Tarzan."
Terk whirled and snorted, "You stay out of this, Kirok. I'm the one supposed to be miserable here."
Kirok finally snapped, "You're doing just fine making me miserable too, Terk."
Terk, realizing how impossible she'd been, blushed in embarrassment, and apologized, "I guess so. I'm sorry, Kirok. It's just difficult right now. I want to be a mother so much, but it is just so hard."
Kirok embraced his lifetime mate, "We'll get through this together. All of us."
And Terk offered a tender thought to Jane, taking her hand, "I'm so sorry Jane, I know this has been all about me having a hard time being pregnant. I know you want this too. I want you two to have a baby as much as Kirok and I want one. You deserve a little girl or boy."
Jane shed a tear and blurted out a thank you at Terk's heartfelt thought.
Terk continued, "Besides it'll make it more special to all of us when you do have your child – it'll just be you and your baby. Wecan all dote on your child like we did with Tarzan when he was tiny. It's been a very long time since we've had a human child in the family."
Jane whispered a thank you over the kind sentiment.
Tarzan joked, "Watch those 'old' jokes Terk. You're not so young anymore either."
Everyone decided to have a good laugh over the whole affair. All the hard feelings dissolved. It was really a happy time for the family with so many babies close to arriving.
Jane and Tarzan quietly walked away from the others for a moment. Everyone knew they needed their moment together.
Jane tried her best to be hopeful, "When I get that big, Tarzan. Just gag me, all right?"
They laughed, and Tarzan quipped, "I can't imagine you that way."
"Some of my older cousins were just incorrigible when they got pregnant. They were so angry and demanding, I felt sorry for their husbands."
"Hmm. Maybe I need to rethink this whole thing," he smirked.
She punched him playfully, "You! You're terrible. And you can't resist me. I know that for a fact."
"Guilty as charged, especially when you taught me at least a dozen 'people ways'!"
"My secret weapon," she winked.
They were all about to continue their joking and razzing, but a long, low, tone resounded off the valley and mountaintops. It was mechanical.
"People!" Jane realized.
The family startled with the noise, then turned worried eyes toward Tarzan for comfort.
Tarzan rose in full authority and stature as the family leader, "Kirok, protect the family. Jane and I will investigate."