The Love We Choose

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Chapter 20

Lynne didn’t just head into the kitchen to clean the dishes, she couldn’t bear to show Huan the tears streaking down the sides of her face. Now that her emotions were always lurking beneath the surface and she was yet to get a firm handle on them, she never knew what would set her off. Turning on the faucet, she let the running water drown out the muted sobs that were racking her body.

It wasn’t until she had begun her diatribe on Rose’s affection for Huan that she realized what effect her pregnancy and the subsequent baby would have on the girl’s relationship with Huan. Lynne’s heart was aching as she thought about Rose’s feelings. “Great, in my selfishness, I’m going to be taking Huan away from Rose. I love that young lady too. She’s like the little sister I never got to have. Now I’m going to be monopolizing the time of the one person who she clings to. I am a horrible human.” Resting against the sink, she let the tears flow silently down her face. “way to wreck a family relationship with your carelessness, Lynne. Just great. This is precisely why we plan things out before we act.” She never intended to come between Huan and a family member, but with their current situation, it would be inevitable.

Turning off the faucet, she focused her attention on making sure Huan took a shower. “I don’t hear the shower running! You’ll feel better when you shower!” She hollered in his direction. A groan filled the air before the distinct sound of heavy footsteps could be heard in the direction of Huan’s bedroom.

Standing up straight, wiping the tears from her eyes, Lynne strengthened her resolve and started washing the dishes. “OK, time to make a new game plan,” she said to herself. “I have to make sure that Huan’s family relationships are not overly affected by this new situation. Especially with Rose.” As she thought of ways to prevent this from happening, she finished washing, drying, and putting away the dishes, as well as packing the leftover food away. Tomorrow, she would feed Huan the leftovers for lunch. She hoped that he would be better enough to actually taste the food this time.

Walking out of the kitchen in the direction of Huan’s room, Lynne paused outside of his door to listen. Hearing the shower still running, she walked over to his chest of drawers and rummaged around until she found the red and blue plaid pajama set she had gotten him for Christmas eons ago. Leaving it on his bed, she turned around and walked into the living room instead. Grabbing the waste-paper basket and a fresh pair of rubber gloves, she started cleaning up the evidence of Huan’s sickness. There were a host of crusty tissues, several empty water bottles, and a few odds and ends that looked like they had been strewn across the floor for a few days. “Sure looks like you’ve been sick for more than a day, Huan,” she grumbled, upset with his lack of care for himself. This was way out of league for him. Lynne’s mind may be the one that calls for organization and pre-planning for every movement, but Huan was the neat-freak. If he had been feeling alright at all, his front room would not look anything like this.

Shaking her head in frustration, Lynne went about deep cleaning this area. Separating recyclables and trash, then pulling out the surface cleaner and wiping down the table. She grabbed the aerosol can of disinfectant to spray the couch. She knew she made a mistake once the scent hit the air. Recognizing the churning feeling starting in her stomach, she quickly dropped the can onto the couch. In a flash of speed, she located the wastepaper basket and vomited into it. When her stomach finally calmed down, she walked over to the windows and opened them, aerating the room. “Note to self, open windows when disinfecting.”

Taking in the fresh air, she pulled her sweater closer around her body. Stopping to think, she absently placed a hand on her stomach. “I’m sorry little one. I know you didn’t like all those smells mixing together. I was just trying to help your daddy out a bit. I may have overdone it. Forgive me please.”

Once she felt calm again, she resumed her cleaning up of the apartment, first removing the evidence of her sickness and placing a new bag in the wastepaper basket. Eventually, she restored Huan’s front room to its type A personality level of cleanliness. After taking the garbage and recycling down to the cans outside, Lynne returned to the apartment and walked into Huan’s room.

“Why are you dressing me up like a Ken doll in this outfit?” He asked her, pointing at the pajama top in his hand. The bottoms were already slung low over his hips. His hair was still a little wet and loose around his shoulders. She could hear that the shower had alleviated some of his congestion, not a lot. He started unbuttoning the pajama top and slid it over his arms.

“Lay down.” Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a jar and placed it on his bedside table. “And don’t close that top.”

Following her instructions, he got under the covers on the bed, resting against his pillow.

“Is this the way you want me? Are you trying to have your way with me in my weakened state?” He accused her with a smirk on his face and a suggestive wiggle of his eyebrows. “Is that why you didn’t give me underwear? You harlot!”

“Shut up, Huan. That’s the fever and NyQuil talking. You could have arranged your own underwear yourself. Just lay still for a second,” she calmly instructed as she pulled the covers down from his chest and soothingly rubbed mentholated cream on his chest and neck. Closing the tube, she walked into the bathroom and ran some hot water over a washcloth. Wringing it out, she went back into Huan’s room and placed it over his chest. “There we go, it should help you breathe through the night.”

“Mmmmm. I can actually smell it!” He joyfully exclaimed. “Aww..you’re gonna make a great mommy, Lyndy. Our kid is so lucky. You take care of people sooooooooo well. I looovve that about you,” he slurred with a lax grin on his face, reaching out and caressing her stomach. “Goodnight baby! Goodnight Lyndy!” Snuggling further under the sheets, his breathing began to even out as he drifted off to sleep.

Lynne couldn’t help but chuckle under her mask at his Nyquil-induced nonsensical rambling and ruffled the top of his hair before checking his forehead again. He was still very warm. She would have to keep an eye on him throughout the night. No bother, she had her emergency overnight bag in the car. Checking to make sure he had water and a box of tissues next to his bed, she went into the living room to set up her sleeping quarters for the night.

XXX

Around two in the morning, Lynne was woken up to a loud persistent low rumble. Throwing the blanket off of her body, she sat up and got her bearings. Groggily adjusting her eyes to the darkness in the living room, she tried to locate the origin of the sound. Following the noise in the direction of Huan’s room, she realized that he was snoring at an alarming decibel. Pushing the door to the room open, Lynne caught sight of Huan’s sleeping form sprawled across the bed. His head was turned to his right side, falling onto his chest. Mouth wide-open, the snores resonated through his body and around the room. The congestion was back and he looked uncomfortable as a result. At some point in the night he had thrown the covers off the top half of his body. Upon closer inspection, she could see the hint of a sheen of sweat on his body in the moonlight that spilled through his window.

Padding back into the living room, she grabbed her bookbag and returned to his room. Working as quietly as she could, she set up the humidifier on the table next to his bed. Once that was done, she grabbed her non-contact thermometer and took his temp again. “He’s still too warm,” she muttered to herself as she read the 102.3F on the device. Peeling the now dry washcloth off of his chest, she walked into his bathroom, grabbed another washcloth and ran some cool water over both of them. Returning to his bedside, she gingerly applied one to his forehead and wiped down his chest and arms with the other. He leaned into her touch in his sleep. After a few moments he sighed in contentment. Applying more of the mentholated cream to his chest was the last thing she did before heading back out to the living room.

Before she was able to get comfortable on the couch, she was interrupted by the grumbling of her own stomach. “Really, kid? It’s a bit late for a midnight snack,” she muttered, amusedly, to her belly. However, the fact that she had thrown up her own dinner when she was cleaning earlier returned to the forefront of her mind. Realizing that feeding herself was important, she headed into the kitchen to heat up a bit of the soup she had fed Huan earlier. As she ate in the darkened, silent atmosphere of the apartment, she let her mind wander back to her thoughts earlier. “Ok, so we are going to make sure that Daddy has equal time with you and his family when you come, alright nugget? We can’t usurp all of his attention when you get here. He needs to maintain some sort of normalcy” she whispered to her stomach as she finished her bowl. “That hit the spot didn’t it? Let’s get some sleep.” She told herself as she washed the bowl and headed back to her makeshift bed.


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