Title: Baby Makes Three
Author: Savvy aka Eros494
Fandom: It Started with a Kiss/They Kiss Again
Summary: This is a continuation of the series They Kiss Again.
Disclaimer: I do not own ISWAK or TKA or any of the characters involved in the telling of his wonderful story.
Author Note: I hope I can do this series justice.
Word Count: 1,412
Keeping a secret from the rest of the family was as impossible as not breathing. Xiang Qin’s eyes moved from Zhi Shu to his mother. She willed her husband with her eyes to let her tell her, everyone for that matter. It was such good news and she couldn’t wait to share, but Zhi Shu smiled and shook his head before scooping yet more rice into his mouth. Xiang Qin huffed and dropped her head to her chest. This really wasn’t fair. She knew Zhi Shu’s mother would be ecstatic about the coming baby. She’d been praying for a grandchild for the longest time yet, until this point, Xiang Qin had failed to give her one. But not anymore. She was very much pregnant, excited, and literally bursting at the seams to tell her family--especially her father.
Xiang Qin brought her bowl to her lips with trembling hands and scooped up some rice. She glanced out the corner of her eye at Zhi Shu. He smiled at her and chatted with her father. Xiang Qin averted her gaze from them and looked toward his mother. She almost choked when she saw that Mrs. Jiang's eyes were on her.
“Well?” Mama Jiang asked cheerfully. “Are you going to tell us the news?” In unison Zhi Shu and Xiang Qin gawked at each other and then quickly looked away. The table grew quiet and all eyes were on Xiang Qin and then Zhi Shu. Their gazes darted between them as if they were watching a rather thrilling ping pong match. Finally, Ah Cai coughed to break the silence. Xiang Qin looked toward him and grimaced.
“So?” He said finally, smiling at his daughter. Xiang Qin looked into his eyes before turning to stare at Zhi Shu. She sighed and dropped her head. She nodded.
Mama Jiang squealed in excitement and everyone else cheered and hollered. Yu Shu even smirked a bit too, yet his expression remained stoic nonetheless.
“That’s my boy,” Uncle said, his fat jaws aquiver with excitement. Ah Cai moved to hug his daughter and he patted Zhi Shu on the back, giving his shoulder a hearty squeeze. He leant in to whisper something in Zhi Shu’s ear, but Xiang Qin couldn’t hear what he said. She was too busy being squeezed to death by Mama Jiang who had darted off and who had come back with a huge bag of baby clothes and accessories.
“If it’s a girl she can wear this,” she exclaimed, her eyes shining with glee. Xiang Qin, though overwhelmed by this all, smiled toothily, her cheeks flushing crimson.
“Isn’t it too early for that?” She asked, holding up a pink, lacy dress with red ribbons. It was cute. She couldn’t deny that.
Mama Jiang shook her head. “It’s never too late. We only have nine months. They’ll go by quickly,” she said before diving head first into the large bag on the floor for something else to show. Xiang Qin took that moment to glance over her shoulder at Zhi Shu. The expression she saw on his face was grim, scared even, but when he saw her looking his way he smiled weakly. Soon after he stood and left the table.
She wanted to go after him, find out what was the matter, but she remained in her seat. Bombarded on the left by cute toddler clothes and hassled on the right for possible baby names, she found that she didn’t know where to start. She wanted to follow her husband, cuddle into his arms and console him because something had to be wrong. Was it something she did?
“Blue is a nice color,” Mama Jiang said holding out a blue, cotton cap and booties for the baby. Xiang Qin smiled dutifully and like a good daughter-in-law gave her full attention to the conversation at hand. She’d slip away after dinner perhaps, if Zhi Shu was still around. Until then she’d have to wait.
“Yes, I love blue,” she said taking the cap and rubbing the fabric against her cheek. She nodded and Mama Jiang grinned. Dinner passed rather slowly from that point onward.
When Xiang Qin made it to her bedroom she found that Zhi Shu was already in bed, the covers pulled high over his shoulders until only the top of his head showed. Thankfully the lights were still on, something he’d grown accustomed to dealing with because of her horrible night vision. She didn’t immediately move to his side, but grabbed a few clothes, a towel and slippers and darted into the bathroom for a quick shower.
When he heard the door close behind her and the shower begin, Zhi Shu rolled onto his back and gazed up at the ceiling.
Why did she tell them? He wondered. He had thought he’d made it clear that he wanted it to be their secret for a while, at least until he felt confident that he could stand on his own two feet. Xiang Qin didn’t seem to understand that a baby was a huge responsibility, one that would alter everything they did from this point onward. Oh, how he loved Xiang Qin, but their relationship…well it wasn’t free of its ups and down and though they managed to work out their differences, he feared bringing their child into such an unstable environment. And Ah Cai had made it clear downstairs that this child and his daughter were his responsibility. He said that if he thought about running from his duties as a father he would punch him harder than he had that day when he’d distanced himself from Xiang Qin because of Qi Tai.
Hadn’t he grown since then? He knew right from wrong now. He was slowly becoming better with communication, but there were so many things he had yet to learn about marriage, about how to make Xiang Qin happy. Would their child be happy? Would he make Xiang Qin regret having their child?
These were his thoughts as Xiang Qin crossed over to him, toweling her hair dry. She grimaced weakly as she sat on the side of the bed and as she lay her head against his chest, wrapped her arms tight around him, Zhi Shu knew that Xiang Qin would love him no matter what. His doubts were just that. His. He needn’t worry her with his problems. He’d move past them. He had to for the sake of their child, for the sake of their marriage.
“Did I do something wrong?” Xiang Qin asked as she peered up at his face. Zhi Shu glanced down at her from where he lay and shook his head. He gazed back to the ceiling.
“I’m just tired. I have an early shift at the hospital in the morning,” he said truthfully, though he knew that wasn’t the only reason he had left her side just now. Xiang Qin nodded. She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek before moving away to blow dry her hair. Zhi Shu watched her for a while, his eyes trained on the back of her head as he lay on his side. Xiang Qin felt his eyes on her and she turned to smile at him.
“Nine months is a long time,” she said rubbing her belly with one hand and brushing her hair with the other. “Do you think I’ll make a good mother?” She asked. She set the brush aside and moved to climb onto the bed. If she was being honest with herself, she didn’t want to know the answer to that question. It would just make her more nervous than she already was, but Zhi Shu’s opinion mattered to her.
“We’ll see,” he said sarcastically. Xiang Qin frowned at him and huffed, rolling to face away from him. Obviously, that hadn’t been the answer she wanted to hear. He smiled and rolled to wrap his arms around her waist.
“We’ll do this together,” he whispered, kissing her lightly on the back of the neck. He snuggled into her back and closed his eyes. Xiang Qin smiled to herself and nodded.
“Together,” she whispered stroking his arm.
She liked the sound of that.