After Huan and Lynne finished eating, packed away the meager leftovers into his fridge, cleared the dishes, and relaxed on the couch, they continued their discussion about the pregnancy.
“So we’re in agreement that we don’t tell any family members on either side about the pregnancy until I’m out of the first trimester, deal?” She asked him as she held her slender pinky out to him.
Laughing, he curled his larger digit around hers. They had been making pinky promises to each other since elementary school. “Deal. With the way things work, it can be our little secret until then. We just have to make it through all the major holiday events before we tell them. We’ll both need to work on our acting skills in order to maintain our appearance of normalcy throughout them. Easily done. There are only four holidays and they are spaced out: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Lunar New Year.” Lynne let out an extended groan as she put the pillow she had been holding over her face. “What’s wrong?”
She put the pillow back in her lap and stated flatly, “my dad’s birthday party is next week.”
“We’re having it at his favorite sports bar so he can catch the football game on the widescreens. How am I, the unofficial family lush, going to explain not drinking at a family function? We’re screwed before we even start.” She paused to think, gnawing on her thumbnail. “Maybe I can just lie,say I’m sick and not go.”
“You know that would never work. At least two of your siblings would show up at your place to pump you full of vitamins and home remedies, then haul your ass to the festivities as well. Don’t get me started on how your mother would react. It’d be like Ron Weasley getting that howler.”
“Damn. You’re right. So how am I going to do this?”
“How are you going to do this? You’re gonna show up, that’s how. Which day is it?”
“Sweet, I’m free. I’m coming with you.”
“I think that was a given since I’m pretty sure my mom sent you an email invite and you just never responded.”
“Even better. Now, when is your next OB appointment so I can make any necessary changes to my schedule now so I can join you?”
“Umm...I may or may not have decided on one yet...” She fidgeted with the fringe of the pillow, avoiding his gaze.
Huan blinked at her with a shocked look on his face. “I must not have heard you correctly. Can you say that again in English this time Lynne?”
“I--I may or may not have yet decided on an obstetrician yet, but I have compiled a list of the most recommended in the tri-state area along with those my gynecologist recommended.”
“Ok, let me look at the list and ask around. But we have to decide soon, Lynne. You need a full work-up and to establish a birth plan.”
“Wooah. Hold your horses there Huanny-boy.” She told him, holding her hands up. “I’m not even fully past my second month. Don’t be talking about birth plans, that’s months away.”
“Never thought I’d be the one forcing you to make a plan. That’s like 45% of what makes you, you. Working on a birth plan is part of the whole baby process Lynne. And the sooner you establish one, the better we will be prepared for your delivery.”
“Which we have about seven months to prep for. Let’s not rush things any more than we have to.” She told him as she yawned into her hand.
“Fine. But we will definitely sort this whole OB thing out by next week. Deal?
“Good.” He studied her face for a minute. Her skin tone was a little washed out and the exhaustion in her eyes was unmistakable. “Feeling tired?”
“All the time these days. Put something on the tv. I can take a nap on the couch before going home." Lynne assumed her usual position, stretching out on the left side of the couch, her head pointed towards the middle of it and her legs hanging over the arm of it. She grabbed a pillow and propped it underneath her head.
“Easily doable.” Huan plopped on the couch next to Lynne and turned on an old black and white horror movie. About fifteen minutes in, she fell asleep.
When the movie ended an hour and a half later, Huan looked down at Lynne and saw she was still asleep. Sighing and shaking his head, he nudged her, “Lynne. The movie’s over and you missed the whole thing. Lyndy.” No response or movement came from Lynne. She must be more than just tired. “Lynne, get up. This isn’t a sleepover night, remember?” Although he said this part louder, she still did not move. “Fine. I guess you’re spending the night.”
Turning off the television, he bounced the idea of leaving her on the couch with a blanket covering her around his head, but the cold draft that had been coming out of the window for the past few days put the kibosh on that idea. If he left her there, she could possibly end up getting sick and that would affect the baby. He wouldn’t let that happen. In the end he decided they would share his bed. It’s not like they could get in any further trouble than they already had. She was already pregnant.
Sliding his arms underneath Lynne’s neck and legs, he scooped her up into his chest. In her sleepy haze, she cuddled closer to him and mumbled something unintelligible. “I’m going to take that as a ‘thank you for picking my exhausted body up and putting me somewhere soft, Huan. You’re so strong,’” he mimicked her voice out loud to himself with a grin. Once in his room, he gently laid her down on the left side of the bed. He pulled the duvet cover up over her frame. Leaving her there he went to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, washed his face, and pulled his hair back into a low ponytail.
By the time he came back into the bedroom she had rolled over onto her back and pushed the covers down her body. Her arms were stretched up above her head and her “Green Lantern” t-shirt had risen up and exposed her still-flat stomach. Huan’s eyes fell onto that space of exposed brown-skin below her t-shirt and above the duvet cover.
Turning off the over-head light, he crawled into bed beside her and stared at her stomach in the moonlight. Leaning his head over her abdomen, he started talking “hello baby, I’m your father. I know you aren’t developed enough to hear me yet, but I want you to know I love you. I promise to take care of you and I hope to be as great a father to you as my own was to me.” A wave of emotions passed over him as he thought about his father, who had passed away from a stroke unexpectedly during his second year of medical school. “Do your best to grow big and strong ok? I cannot wait to meet you. And take it easy on your mom please. She’s trying her hardest, but you being in there is not exactly in her life-plan and taking its toll on her. She’s a bit of a panicker when things don’t follow her plans. Don’t hold it against her. Her heart is in the right place. She loves you as much as I do, I am sure of it. I’m going to let you sleep now. Goodnight.” He placed a light kiss on Lynne’s stomach, settled on his side of the bed, and fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
Lynne ended up staying over at Huan’s apartment for the majority of the day on Saturday, since she had nothing planned and he wasn’t scheduled to work until Tuesday. After that he would work straight through until the following Saturday morning. Funnily enough, they didn’t speak much about the baby during that time. Only when her morning sickness kicked in when Huan made oatmeal for breakfast on Saturday did the subject get broached and even then, only briefly. They spent their time lounging around, went out for lunch, walked aimlessly around the city, and ended their day at a comic book store where they browsed for a little over an hour before walking out with several bags of comic books, manga, and other geeky paraphernalia.
Following a goodbye hug outside of Huan’s apartment, Lynne got in her car and drove home. As he trudged up the front stairs a thought put a happy smile on his face as it passed through his mind, I’m going to be a father.
A/N: What do you think of Chapter 9? Will Lynne and Huan's plan to keep things quiet work out? How will Lynne get through a family function without spilling the beans? Stay tuned!