The next day they set off early in the morning.
Traveling in the blink of an eye to Zhongtian, Ling Xiao sent them directly to the center of the city to bypass the transportation circles and gates, conveniently shaving two days off their travel time.
With the tournament starting tomorrow, the city was extra lively and loud. They walked into the very packed and bustling districts, and it was so energetic that people were practically touching shoulder to shoulder.
You XiaoMo hid underneath his extra-large white overcoat to protect his stomach from view, tightly tucked into Ling Xiao’s side as they passed the massive crowds. He happily buried his nose into the other’s clothing, taking deep breaths of Ling Xiao’s scent to mask the unpleasant smell of others and the city.
“Ughhh….. My feet hurt. Can we stop and find a restaurant?” You XiaoMo finally couldn’t hold the whine he had been suppressing any longer, rubbing one of his achy feet in a sad-like manner.
Ling Xiao looked around them before glancing down at him, “We can. Any preference?”
“Anywhere to get off my feet. I don’t care.” You XiaoMo grumpily replied while pouting, wiggling his toes inside his shoes to relieve the tension.
Ling Xiao chuckled lightly, eyes sparkling, “Then, let’s go over here.” As he said the words, he then leads them towards a brightly lit pub with many wide windows showing happy patrons inside.
In his seat, You XiaoMo noticed a problem that was getting blatantly obvious, complaining, “I keep having to scoot farther and farther from the tables.”
Ling Xiao smiled, watching his pregnant wife rub his belly, saying mirthfully, “The distance will only get bigger and bigger.”
You XiaoMo’s wide-eyed gaze snapped to him, giving a startled expression, “You don’t have to rub it in.” He thought to himself that the Lord of the household sure could be mean sometimes.
After a while of discomfort, You XiaoMo decided to not care about acting appropriately in public any longer and boldly propped up his feet on top of the adjacent chair beside him, audibly sighing with relief when doing so. With a content expression on his relaxed features, he asked, “Did they reserve us a hotel or do we have to find our own? I don’t remember.”
“They got us one. Coincidentally, it’s the closest one to the venue.” Ling Xiao answered smoothly, pouring a second cup of water from the pitcher on the table.
“I hope it's a nice room; I can’t handle a hard bed anymore. Speaking of, you have to stop leaving me alone in the morning. I can’t get comfortable without you.” You XiaoMo straightforwardly said before thinking of this matter that’s been nagging him upon waking up every day.
Ling Xiao lifted an eyebrow, “You can’t? Aw, this husband is touched, I didn’t know my would wife miss me so badly.”
“Har, har.” You XiaoMo resisted the urge to roll his eyes and gave him a flat stare.
Ling Xiao smiled, eyes curving, holding his smooth chin while saying, “Lady, I think it’s time you got a pregnancy pillow.”
You XiaoMo’s eyebrows went up as his eyes slightly widened. Pregnancy pillow? Ah, he faintly remembers this word….
Seeing his wife didn’t understand, Ling Xiao put his teacup to the table and explained, “If you remember when we went shopping before, you had passed them. I’ll explain to my wife’s pregnancy-brain, that they hold your back and belly in place for support. It makes sense for when I leave the bed that you would notice this, as that’s what I do for you naturally.”
You XiaoMo gave him a flare stare at the start of his husband’s words, feeling the patronizing tone but his resentment quickly turned into excitement with a long drawn out ‘oh’ sound when he heard the last part, “I guess, let’s go pick one up then. Back to the Luxe store?” He assumed that’s where Ling Xiao saw it since he didn’t remember it.
“Yes, it was there.” Ling Xiao lazily responded, eyes scanning the area around them before the waitress came with their order.
Wanting to avoid the glances, You XiaoMo promptly turned around and took his feet off the chair to face forward and eat.
However, he was only a few bites into his food when he no longer could resist looking back at Ling Xiao’s meal….
Putting down his chopsticks, You XiaoMo stalled to take a sip of water, covertly glancing at him.
“What you looking at?” Ling Xiao slowly asked, eyes lifting to his wife’s face, mirroring him and also putting his chopsticks down.
You XiaoMo withdrew his gaze, and in a shy manner, rubbed at his nose, “Do you perhaps, want to trade?”
A smile seeped into Ling Xiao’s eyes as he looked at him and elegantly spat out one word, “No.”
You XiaoMo snapped back abruptly at the unexpected answer, “What? Why not?”
“Order a new one if you want to mine.” Ling Xiao mercilessly responded as he picked up his chopsticks again and put a new bite into his mouth, ignoring his wife’s jealous gaze.
You XiaoMo frowned. That’s a shame. Here he was, his pregnant spouse, and he couldn't even switch meals.
After watching Ling Xiao for a while and seeing that he looked unapologetic and unwavering in his resolve, he gave in. He leaned over to attempt to wave the waitress over. However, just as she was turning away from a table a few feet away and about to see his arm raised, You XiaoMo saw a slight movement in his peripheral.
Feeling a soft heat under his chin and the smell of a different aroma hitting his nostrils, he looked down, and a faint smile formed on his lips. He glanced up at Ling Xiao, who was nonchalantly and elegantly eating his dish.
After eating and enjoying their meal together, You XiaoMo ordered a small cake for dessert while Ling Xiao had a newly commissioned tea brewed. They left shortly after, heading towards the direction of the shopping district and in the course of the baby store.
This time around, as they walked into the store, the employees not only recognized them as previous patrons who had bought a lot of material but had finally figured out their identities. Not only did the atmosphere of the place change from a relaxed calm to intense buzz, but everyone's eyes were also unabashfully trailed on them.
Feeling self-conscious, You XiaoMo covered his stomach as he followed Ling Xiao’s lead and walked past the employees, and the shelves lined with countless merchandise. Since he didn’t remember where the pillows were, he silently walked behind him until they were at the back left of the store.
Seeing the location, You XiaoMo now understood why he had not noticed this section before. They were near the abundance of nursing pillows and such. Back then, he was too bashful and embarrassed to even glance at such items, and they had only bought such items previously because Ling Xiao went ahead and grabbed them.
Well… he technically still was embarrassed, but at least now he was accepting of the way things were. The way he saw it, he could deny the changes in his body and suffer later, or he could either make himself more comfortable with the whole breastfeeding situation and get items to help him in the long run.
As a practical person, You XiaoMo choose the obvious answer.
While he was thinking along the lines of comfortability, You XiaoMo went to the corner and pulled out a cart they had passed by and grabbed three more nursing pillows. One for each of their dimensions and one for a spare. Since they have the money to make himself more at ease with convenience, why not?
However, when he had stuffed two of them in, he could suddenly recall Lin Ming’s earlier words. Looking down, he could somewhat agree that maybe they were excessively spending, but seeing as he is the one who has been currently making the majority of the baby-fund money, he decided to brush it off. And so You XiaoMo threw his items wordlessly into the cart without further apprehension.
Ling Xiao also didn’t comment on it, already knowing the way his wife was and where his mind was most likely going to. He didn’t mind it; after all, he had always been told by his wife that he had no sense of value to money and would spend it too fast.
After picking up some odds and ends, they approached a wall with different sections with large sets of pillows. You XiaoMo reached out to one of the longer shaped ones, “There seem to be different types.” His eyes were moving along the shelf and to their place cards underneath them, starting to read the prices.
Ling Xiao walked a few steps away from him, reaching up high to pull one down, “We’ll just get you more than one. How about this one?” You XiaoMo looked at the pillow and noticed it was a C-shaped pillow, much like a regular modern body pillow.
At this moment, one of the women sales associates must’ve noticed they were confused and happily approached them, “My two patrons, do you need any help? I can recommend the best designer pillows for you.”
You XiaoMo, who was now holding the pillow, looked up to her, “Oh, um, yes. What are the best ones here, and why are their so different types?” Usually, he’d just say ‘a pillow is a pillow’, but he was always willing to learn something new.
As if frequently asked about this, the associate readily started explaining. “I’ll be glad to answer. Every pillow is suited by price and comfortability for the mother-to-be. This pregnancy body pillow in your hand is among the best because it’s soft enough to fold into any position and comes in very handy during waking hours too; tuck one end behind you on the couch and use the other end as a table for your lap for instance. The c-shape cradles you from head to toe, even taking the place of your regular pillow. One end is for your head and neck; the other tucks between your legs to realign your hips as you sleep.”
After retaining all that information, You XiaoMo looked on with a new high-interest. It all sounded very pleasant and multi-purposeful. Also, it was very, very plush and squishy soft…..
The associate then continued to say while pulling down a huge body pillow, the combined size of two, “Need a pregnancy body pillow you can snuggle while lying on your side? Meet the Luxe’s favorite pregnancy pillow. It’s U-shaped pillow design is for full-body comfort, surrounding you, front and back. Use it to sleep in any position as your aches and pains shift during pregnancy.”
You XiaoMo blinked as he very much harmonized with the word ‘aches and pains’ and gazed up at the wall of many options, curiously asking while pointing, “What about that one?”
“Oh, these are the hook shape ones for supporting your back while the other end goes under your head.” The associate’s eyes lit up while she talked and showed him, already expecting them to purchase the highest costing ones that she referenced.
You XiaoMo was no fool, he saw through her intentions, but luckily he was in a good mood as he extremely wanted a good sleep, and from the sounds of her words, the U-shape would do it all but was very big and bulky. While the C-shape was very easy to use and was move friendly to have around. With the hook-shaped being the opposite side end of things and smaller.
You XiaoMo gave Ling Xiao the pillow in his hands to hold while he pulled down the ones he was directed at, saying, “We’ll take all three and two of each. Could you also ring up those pillows in our cart?”
“Yes sir, right away, sir!” The associate grabbed everything she could in hand, and put it in the cart and swiftly going to the front before they changed their minds.
Since it was so much bulk, they still had to carry a couple of pillows up to the front desk on their own. As they paid, You XiaoMo kept seeing the associate trying to send secret glances towards his coat, specifically his belly. As she was failing miserably at being discreet, he also didn’t feel the need to hide his lip twitching in annoyance at her. He had the urge to ask Ling Xiao if maybe he looked weird, but he scratched that thought immediately. Because since day one, the father-to-be has been non-stop annoyingly praising how adorable he would look with a huge belly.
Sighing, You XiaoMo decided to let it go and just hurry up and leave the building.
Walking down the streets toward their assigned and reserved hotel, he couldn’t help but ask, “I wonder if this walk counts as my exercise for the day.”
Ling Xiao side-glanced at him, “I suppose so, it has been a lot of walking for you.”
“I noticed I’ve felt better lately, but now I’m starting to get random aches. But moving at least seems to make the bloating better at times.” You XiaoMo spoke honestly to the man beside him, getting particularly closer to his side as a crowd of men passed. Even though it was all embarrassing topics that he usually didn't want to voice, he figured with their doctor visit approaching that she’d would at least say the same things out loud, so what’s the point and withholding?
You XiaoMo thought he might as well be a hundred percent transparent with the man who impregnated him; after all, it was his fault!
“Then, we’ll make sure to walk tomorrow night after the tournament.” Ling Xiao casually added, smoothly hooking his arm around You XiaoMo’s waist.
After a few more minutes, they finally made it to their location, and since the associations provided it, everything was expectantly very luxurious and ample. They currently were in one of, if not the best suite in the whole establishment. It paid to be them.
Ling Xiao was just closing the door behind the bellhop’s retreating figure when You XiaoMo unsteadily ran toward the inner-room. Seeing the coat-tails of his wife disappear quickly, Ling Xiao soon walked in after him only to spot him staring forlornly at the foot of the bed. He laughed when he saw the stumped-looking expression on his wife’s face and couldn’t resist but to inquisitively ask, “What is it?” Glancing at the bed, he saw everything seemed to be in excellent condition to him.
Turning to face him, You XiaoMo looked at him with grief laden eyes and mournfully answered, “I can’t roll on the bed anymore.”
Ling Xiao gave an infuriating smile, cooing, “Ah, my poor wife.”
“....” You XiaoMo decided to ignore his mocking laughter and kicked off his boots, taking his coat off and throwing it across the room haphazardly before crawling slowly in the bed. He laid on his back while wiggling his feet around the mattress, massaging his feet against the blankets.
When he had felt he had done enough to relieve it, You XiaoMo laid flat on his back before watching Ling Xiao move around the room. The man had bent over to pick up his discarded coat and casually put it away for him, already calling with the crystal com-system for their dinner orders to be sent directly to them.
While You XiaoMo was watching, he felt a bubbling sensation in his stomach. Figuring it was gas or just a random pain, he started to rub the lower part of his belly bump. Trying to soothe the pressure, even though he knew it probably wouldn't help anything.
Yawning, he blinked and asked, “What time are we leaving in the morning?”
“The competition starts at nine, you’ll be expected to show early, of course.” Ling Xiao replied as he sat down at the tea-table that was near the bed.
“You mean us. You’re also sitting with me.” You XiaoMo toothly smiled while still massaging his lower abdomen. The pressure had subsided earlier after a few seconds but started up again.
Ling Xiao faintly smiled and teasingly quipped, “Even so, we’ll have to go to bed early. Especially so if you want your ten hours plus of sleep.”
You XiaoMo squinted his eyes and grinned at him while shaking his head. Very funny.
Their food arrived no longer than ten minutes later, steaming and smelling delicious, definitely looking like the cooking of a top rate chef in a well-known establishment. After they ate, both of them took a hot bath together and went to bed. Although it was very early in the evening, You XiaoMo didn’t have a problem falling asleep quickly. Ling Xiao mostly just rested his eyes for a while before falling into a light sleep with him tucked into his arms.
The next morning, as the sun was barely creeping around the corner of the horizons, the blankets on You XiaoMo’s body were abruptly ripped from him and resting in Ling Xiao’s hands. It was a wake-up call time!
“Ughhhhh, no!” You XiaoMo whined as he blindly stretched to find the edge of the plush fabric, absolutely refusing to open his eyes and get up.
Watching his pitiful behavior, Ling Xiao raised his brows and shook his head before a devilish smirk curled at the corner of his lips, and he opened the curtains, bathing the white sheets and the stubborn figure on top of it in a flood of blinding light.
Unflustered by the change and still refusing to give up, You XiaoMo suddenly felt the bed dip in from behind him, along with a warm hand caressing his bottom and a warm, sturdy chest closely pressed against his back. He felt as much as he heard the laughter in his Ling Xiao’s deep voice that was still thick with sleep, drawling out slowly, “Wife, it is time to wake up.”
Ignoring the hand that was cupping his ass, You XiaoMo groaned and turned around to bury his face into Ling Xiao’s chest, using his hand to cover his eyes from the daylight, “How about you get us breakfast first? Then I’ll think about it.”
The new position didn’t faze Ling Xiao at all, as his hands immediately went to where they were residing before. His right hand promptly squeezed his wife’s butt before darkly warning, “Fine, if we're late, it's of no consequence to me.”
You XiaoMo frowned and knew his man meant it too. Having yet to reply, he felt Ling Xiao’s body untangle from, leaving him limply falling into the sheets, nose crashing into the mattress. Rubbing his sore nose, he remembered their purchases from yesterday, and muffledly asked, “Will you get my new pillow?”
Ling Xiao lazily spared him a glance as he went to retrieve his wife’s magic bag on the stand. After a few moments, You XiaoMo felt the pillow he requested to fall beside his head and grabbed the plush object, and readily snuggled up to it, wrapping his legs around it tightly. Immediately he felt more at ease with it when compared with nothing to hold. Not as comfortable as when with Ling Xiao, but it would do. He pulled the blankets back up over himself in an attempt to hurry and try to catch more sleep.
Seeing as his wife was going to be difficult today, Ling Xiao ignored him and soon ordered their food and informed the wrapped-up-ball underneath the quilts that it would be delivered within twenty minutes.
The room fell into a tranquil quiet. Not even the hustle and bustle of the city outside their windows could penetrate it, probably the benefit of a barrier at work. After a few minutes of this intense quiet, You XiaoMo found sleep eluding him, and when the restlessness inside him no longer could be subsided, he opened his eyes and figured he’d watch his man for a bit.
Staring forward, he saw LingXiao sitting down by the table, sipping his water and acting all cool and aloof. He was secretly admiring how the sun shined soft golden rays against Ling Xiao’s black hair when he felt his lips upturned into a frown. Having been entirely still before, he moved his hand under the blanket to cover his lower abdomen. Once again, it was like that upside-down, inside-out sensation that you can get by being on a roller coaster. But he hasn’t eaten anything yet, so why were the gas pains starting already?
Wanting to fix it, You XiaoMo removed his gaze and rolled over to rest flat on his back and bent his knees, testing to see if adjusting his resting position would help. It turned out it did, as, within those first few moments, the sensation abruptly went away. His face gave way to a small smile as he exhaled in relief and silent victory, thinking that he's getting better at this whole pregnancy thing.
However, his victory was not long as he was only given a ten-second reprieve before the feeling returned to his stomach. His eyelids fluttered back open in confusion, and he once again adjusted his position, moving his legs around with both of his hands cradling under his baby bump.
Noticing his odd behavior, Ling Xiao rested his arm against the back of his chair and curiously commented, “Are there bugs biting you? What are you doing?”
“It’s nothing.” You XiaoMo softly answered while he wiggled, “Just trying to get comfortable.” As he said the last word, the sensation was magically gone yet again. Maybe it wasn’t gas, after all, just muscle spasming? It was kind of like hunger pains, so perhaps he was hungry instead?
Ten seconds later, You XiaoMo felt it again, he frustratedly opened his eyes and said, “How much longer? I think I’m hungry.”
LingXiao put down his teacup he’d been sipping, looked at him and smirked, “You think you’re hungry?”
“Think is think.” You XiaoMo said, then bit his lip, and looked away shyly. “So, how long?”
“Ten minutes.” Ling Xiao looked suspiciously at him. Feeling like teasing him some more, he questioned, “More gas?”
You XiaoMo whipped his head to look at him in shock, “We said you can’t make fun of me for being pregnant!”
“I did not make fun of you, did I? I simply asked a question.” Ling Xiao smiled so brightly that his eyes were slits, crossing his legs elegantly.
You XiaoMo took a deep breath before slowly exhaling to calm himself, once again cradling his belly, before indignantly saying, “I’ll have you know it doesn’t feel like.. that, I think it’s just my stomach growling. So I need to eat.”
Sitting up straight, Ling Xiao suddenly narrowed his eyes, “What do you mean? What does it feel like?”
You XiaoMo blinked innocently at him, his big and wide eyes caught off guard by the change in Ling Xiao’s demeanor. At such a serious expression, he felt compelled to answer.
Licking his lips slowly, You XiaoMo recalled the feeling with thoughtful words, “At first it felt like bubbles bursting, so I thought it was gas... But then it was like a queasiness that turned to slight hunger pangs.” At the end of his words, he shrugged dismissively. He’s used his pregnant body doing weird pains and things now. Part of the deal. And besides, he’ll be fine, as he’s felt the low pressure for a couple of days now.
Ling Xiao’s eyebrows slowly rose before lowering with an unfathomable expression, he spoke carefully with a deep and calm voice, “How often does it happen?”
“That feeling?” You XiaoMo turned his head up to stare at the ceiling and straightened his legs out, languidly rotating his ankles around in circles, “I guess since I woke up a few times today…. But it’s been happening before that. It was very strong last night, but all the feelings mesh together, so it was hard to tell what is what anymore. I’m fine though.” Nervous that the other was worried about him and the baby.
“Is it a rhythmic feeling at all? Does it hurt?” Ling Xiao’s lips slowly crept up with a blindingly bright smile, his body leaning forward.
You XiaoMo glanced at him, feeling caught off guard and confused by his smile, “Why are you asking so many questions?”
Ling Xiao rose from the chair and moved the pillows out of the way before sitting down beside him, he inclined his head to one side as he eloquently spoke, “Just a husband who wants to take care of his wife. Now, answer me.”
You XiaoMo looked at him doubtingly but ultimately answered, “It doesn’t hurt, it’s just low pressure. But, I guess it does feel that way….now that you say it like that.”
Hearing this, Ling Xiao’s eyes were bright as he took a deep breath and beamed, “My dearest wife, what you are feeling is the baby! Ah!”
You XiaoMo did not move, nor did he even possibly breathe or blink for a few long moments. Then as if abruptly reanimated, he flabbergastingly shouted, “Wait, what?” Quickly sitting up and his hand going to underneath his baby-bump in as if in disbelief.
Ling Xiao acted as if he didn’t see his panic and smiled as he reached forward as well, his own hand resting on top of You XiaoMo’s now quivering one, calmly replying, “I said, you felt the baby. You’re most likely feeling his first ‘flutters’ or ‘quickenings’ as the mothering books named it.”
You XiaoMo felt blindsided.
He wasn’t mentally prepared for this, not this early!
Observing his face, Ling Xiao could guess his thoughts, “It’s perfectly normal, if anything, it makes perfect sense. He’s been fed the highest quality of spirit-water through you since conception, and he is half of me, of course.”
“Wait-wait-wait, back up, how am supposed to know? My body aches and has weird feelings all the time. So have I just been ignoring him? That I’ve missed it?” You XiaoMo almost incoherently ranted frantically, and he was now suddenly feeling guilty. Guilty, because he did not react to their child’s first ‘flutters’ because he was utterly oblivious and stupid.
The feeling-like-a-idiot You XiaoMo was suddenly stuck between both thrilled and scared.
Ling Xiao laughed at his conflicted expression, touching his cheek warmly with his other hand, “Calm down. You’re overthinking it. Most mothers can not distinguish what they are feeling until twenty weeks, so you are perfectly fine.”
You XiaoMo took a shaky breath in and realized that he did read that in the book. Ling Xiao was just thinking more clearly where he definitely wasn’t!
Ling Xiao watched his wife’s face relax some and thinking along with this topic he continued in a low voice, “My wife, be happy. You felt him! And now that you have an idea of what to look for, you can enjoy it and then tell me about all it.” At the end of his sentence, he winked charmingly at him, his tone playful.
You XiaoMo’s face that was etched in fright, slowly, with the help of his husband’s words, deluged into one of elation and exuberance. A broad and happy grin spread across his pink lips, one enough to mirror the exact one staring right back in front of him. He nodded wildly in a silent response, feeling his words choke up in his throat.
Ling Xiao’s hand on his cheek moved to hold the back of his wife’s head, holding him in place as he leaned forward to kiss his lips lovingly, sealing the unsaid feelings together with his. After a couple of minutes of tangled breaths and saliva swapping, Ling Xiao released the now-kissed-swollen red lips. When he felt You XiaoMo’s breath begin to settle, he curiously prodded, “When do you notice the feeling the most?” Being a first-time father, he found everything to be secretly exciting.
Still under his tight hold, You XiaoMo’s cheeks were glowing, feeling so dizzy from those deliciously sweet kisses that he could only blankly respond, “Um, I-I-I sometimes feel it randomly but I don’t zone in on it until... I think, when I usually sit or lay still for a bit, probably.”
Then, as if on cue, You XiaoMo felt that same rhythmic twitching pressure inside his lower abdomen. His eyes shot wide as he gasped in alert, “Like now.” He then put his hand towards the spot, applying light pressure at the exact location.
Ling Xiao’s eyebrows raised in surprise at the excellent timing, but not wanting to distract him, he removed his hand from his wife’s stomach. Resting his hand underneath his chin, he took note to watch the subtle changes in his wife’s expressions with delight.
You XiaoMo, now that he somewhat knew how to identify what that feeling most likely was. Felt overcome with an indescribable emotion, something so overpowering and encompassing, that he felt like he was going to burst.
Now that he was solely paying attention to the butterfly-like flutters, it felt like a very light touch or like a nudge from within. Something akin to a bubble bursting sensation, maybe. He also could have sworn that he felt a light jab at one point before the flutters stopped, but perhaps that was just his imagination, or maybe not? You could never tell with this one.
Overpowered by emotion, the mother-to-be, You XiaoMo, was so focused on feeling the few seconds of flutters that he failed to notice his eyes swelling up with tears. The corners of his eyes not being able to hold the salty liquid anymore leaked out and fell onto his snowy-colored arms.
“How does it feel?” Ling Xiao used both of his thumbs to wipe either side of his face, his voice extremely gentle.
You XiaoMo laughed with a teary smile, “He’s strong, I could’ve sworn he poked my hand.”
Ling Xiao raised his chin, and with all the usual arrogance and pride, gleamed, “I called it.”
“It’s like, he’s very upfront, right here.” You XiaoMo pulled his shirt up, putting his hand around where the earlier flutters were and then put his hand to where he was second ago. “Then he slightly moved to the right side, this way. The next time it happens, you see if you can feel him too.”
It wasn’t so much as a question as a happy direct-order. You XiaoMo was all eagerness and spoke excitedly. Very much wanting Ling Xiao to enjoy it too, not wanting him to be feel left out.
Ling Xiao chuckled lightly. His own heart was pounding almost just as much as his wife’s probably was. However, he held himself back as this moment was meant to be reserved for his wife. But when he saw the sparkling big and wide gems of orbs staring expectantly at him, he then knew it was acceptable, “Okay, next time direct me and I’ll see.”
Abruptly a knock hit against their suite door, alerting them both out of their excited state. Only then remembering that their meal was supposed to arrive now.
You XiaoMo was nervous as he watched Ling Xiao leave the bed with a wink, scared that the other would miss their little gem's kicks within the time he opened the door and retrieved their food.
Ling Xiao gave the bellhop his tip and went to their table with the tray of food. He had to enact his iron-like will-power to hold back his laughter at You XiaoMo’s behavior, feeling the intense eyes tracking his every movement. He knew his wife was angsty, but honestly, there was no need to be.
When You XiaoMo let out a relieved sigh, Ling Xiao suggested, “Come, let’s eat while it’s hot.”
“Can’t. What if we miss him moving? Or what if he repositions?” You XiaoMo stubbornly refuted. He thought that if little-gem moved, it would only be harder to get Ling Xiao to feel him in time.
Ling Xiao looked at him in amusement, “Lady, we have so many more chances and time to feel him.”
“No.” You XiaoMo simply protested and averted his gaze.
“I will go over there and carry you if I have too. We have to leave soon.” Ling Xiao gently warned him as he smoothed out his robes.
You XiaoMo sucked in a deep breath through his nose and remained firm, “Not until you feel him.”
Ling Xiao shrugged helplessly, “Just remember that you said this.” He no longer wanted to keep on this useless back and forth and went to sit down beside him again, directly facing across him but only sitting an inch barely apart.
You XiaoMo gave him a half-glare before smiling victoriously and grabbing his hand, getting ready for the movement, hoping that it would happen soon.
Two minutes later and no prominent feeling, You XiaoMo was feeling embarrassed and turning light shades of pink. He was feeling pressured to show results with such an intent gaze and the pearly-white smile that was blinding him to look at. How could Ling Xiao not see what he was doing to him?
Of course, Ling Xiao knew, that was why he didn’t waver even for a second and went as far as to lean forward even closer to his wife’s reddening face with much delight. Whether he could or could not feel their little-gem yet, he was content how he was right now.
Ignoring the sudden mischievous glint in the other’s eyes, You XiaoMo decided maybe adjusting his position would get things started. So while still holding Ling Xiao’s hand, he wiggled back and forth a little bit. One second...two seconds….five seconds and yes! In the end, it seemed to work, as he felt that popcorn-like feeling arise!
“Here, here, here.” You XiaoMo gasped as he violently yanked Ling Xiao’s hand down. They were lucky that the baby ended up being in the same general location as earlier, and still very towards the front right area. Maybe he was asleep, and he had just woken him up. Just that thought alone was making him spin in the reality of it. Along with actually feeling him - their child, little Kai, was making him honestly somewhat breathless.
“Ling Xiao?” You XiaoMo whispered breathlessly when he glanced up and saw the unreadable expression.
Staring at his wife’s exposed swollen belly, Ling Xiao was expressionless for a few heartbeats before a dazzlingly broad smile curved at the corners of his lips. His eyes lit up like the stars as he slightly adjusted his hand but remained firm under You XiaoMo’s. Speaking with a deep voice, laden with complete and utter awe, he blithely said, “That’s him. I can feel him.”
Then after a second, when You XiaoMo felt a particular type of nudge, Ling Xiao’s silent laughter shook them both as he affirmed, “I felt him hit too.”
Altogether, it was only maybe twenty or thirty seconds of movement before the fluttering once again dissipated. Something that indescribably felt both intensely long but also incredibly too short at the same time.
You XiaoMo softly said, “I think he went back to sleep.” And there was something unconsciously warm laced within his tone.
“Sleeping? Can you tell the difference already?” Ling Xiao looked at him with interest, his thumb moving in small massaging-like circles over his belly.
You XiaoMo proudly raised his chin, “It’s intuition.”
“Ah, I guess a pitiful dad like myself won’t ever know it then.” Ling Xiao gave a faux solemn tone, but his face obviously held a happy expression.
You XiaoMo half-laughed and shoved at his shoulder, “Whatever you.”
Moving with the momentum, Ling Xiao swiftly and smoothly leaped from the bed, and in one fell swoop, bent over to pick You XiaoMo up into his arms. Already expecting his routine, Ling Xiao carried You XiaoMo to the bathroom and waited at the table for him.
They were halfway through their meal when You XiaoMo honestly voiced out loud, “You know I will not be able to concentrate all day now. I will just be trying to feel his movements.”
The sensation was so odd and alien. Even though both of them were very accepting of their bundle of joy, You XiaoMo, himself, was still in that stage of having to feel his tangibleness yet. Now, with his fluttering, it went from, ‘okay, this is real’ to ‘oh shit, there is actually a person inside me!’ kind of moment.
Their child is making itself known!
It was both the weirdest and coolest thing You XiaoMo has ever experienced.
“I would expect no less.” Ling Xiao was sipping his tea, seemingly acting all cool, but pride could be shown in his eyes.
They didn’t take long to eat and finish their conversations, and they both started to get ready for the day.
You XiaoMo was currently in the dilemma of trying to decide what to wear, as it was now a complicated task. This situation wasn't like the last time when he went out into the public. He can’t merely rely on wearing layers to hide a bloated looking tummy anymore. He, for real now, had a baby-bump sticking out that he could no conceal any longer. One that got bigger as the day progressed, but it wasn’t like he could just avoid drinking and eating just to keep the size down all day.
Figuring out what to do, You XiaoMo decided to wear a form-fitted black with gold-trimmed qipao top, but also putting another layer on top of it with a flowing wide-long-sleeved shirt that fanned out naturally—finishing it off with a light fabric that was a baggy blue short sleeve outer robe. The outer robe had a built-in rope tie that hung loosely across his chest, not putting any pressure on his stomach.
You XiaoMo felt he wouldn’t stand out too badly with many such layers and a cover. But, he wasn’t deluding himself either, he knew to expect to be the center of everyone’s gossip.
Having already put his maternity pants and boots on earlier, he turned to Ling Xiao and earnestly asked, “How do I look? Super pregnant? Or just enough pregnant?” He figured it’d be useless to ask if he looked weird, so instead, he would ask this.
Ling Xiao lazily glanced at him and slowly spit out, “Super pregnant!”
You XiaoMo jolted with the unexpected answer; for some reason, he had hoped he would say the other option.
Ling Xiao laughed as he gave his glaring wife his coat and gloves before stealing a kiss and leading them out the door.
Only when the latch of the lock clicked closed on the other side of the door did You XiaoMo’s voice finally perk up with mutters under his breath.
Something along the lines of, “I do not. You look pregnant.” Could be heard along with resounding laughter to follow.