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A few months passed by and our home was starting to feel more like heaven.
Craig visited off and on and I wasn t surprised that he kept true to his promise.
Alex was also very busy; when he wasn t sleeping he was working out in the yard
or taking some night courses that Craig had suggested. Since, Malakaih worked at
home, we had more time for each other.
I hadn t been sleeping for a few nights and Malakaih decided that I should
spend my sleepless nights doing something I would enjoy, like a past time. When
he stepped out to run errands he bought me a gift . It was wrapped in silver lining
and tied with a purple ribbon.
Kaih, you shouldn t have! I said when he held out the box for me. He
smiled with enthusiasm. I took the gift from his hands it was a bit heavy.
I hope you like it. He said as I opened the packaging carefully. I looked at
it puzzled it was another box and inside, it had two very thick books. I examined it
carefully. The cover said My Perfect Stranger by Lunna S. I read the prelude and
was suddenly thrilled. I couldn t wait to start.
Malakaih loved how I received the gift.
So is that the way you are always going to receive gifts? he asked as I
What do you mean? I was confused.
Well, he laughed. You opened the gift carefully and folded the wrapper
neatly and put it to one side. Then you examined the gift with cautious and
perplexed eyes. I could have sworn your eyes changed colors. You eyed it and
studied it over and over and out of the blue your excitement burst. It was like a
finale with fireworks. He explained moving his hands like bursting fireworks. I had
to set the casserole dish down before I laughed hysterically.
I guess that s how I react to books, especially this one. I had read about it
on the internet and its super popular I giggled.
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We enjoyed our little candlelight dinner since Alex was having a school
night. We talked about the books we had read in high school, like Shakespeare s
Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and a few others. Malakaih especially liked the Count of
Monte Cristo, but he preferred mystery and scientific books. He loved math and
science and I was all about the arts, and just like my mother I enjoyed cooking.
We cuddled on the living room floor listening to a few CD s that Malakaih
had bought when he was out searching for my gift, when a thought occurred to
Kaih ? I asked softly
Yeah, babe He was reading the lyrics to a song he liked.
Will I ever be able to be out and about on my own someday? You know
like running errands or doing last minute groceries or something like that? I
realized I was never alone. Is there a reason why you and Alex coordinate so that
I m never left alone?
Jules, isn t it kind of obvious, why we don t leave you alone? It s still not
entirely safe for you. What if you were to run into Jerrod, for example? What
would you do? he tried reasoning with me.
I m not that worried about Jerrod. I rolled my eyes remembering our last
You are too trusting. Remember that he can be cruel if he has too. Alex s
scars are proof of that. I shuddered remembering Alex s bloodied body hanging
from his arms in the torture room. Malakaih was right and I couldn t argue with
him, but there was something else I had in mind.
I understand but sooner or later I m going to have to go the gynecologist
and I don t think either of you want to be there with me. This was just a hunch. I
didn t ever think about going to a doctor s but television was having its effect on
He was totally silent for two whole songs. When they finished he lifted my
head from his chest and sat crossed legged to face me. I mimicked him.
You know something, I ve been observing you since I was eleven and I
thought I had everything covered, but can you believe me when I say that I never
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thought of that? he gave me one of his spellbinding half smiles. I wanted to
forget the conversation and head to a more biological topic.
I threw my arms around his neck and kissed the tip of his nose So does
that mean that you will go with me to see a gynecologist?
Yep, your health is important to me. I m there to support you
Wow I was impressed. He lifted both eyebrows at my expression.
You are a perfectionist when it comes to your husbandly duties. I
Oh, yes I am. But there are some things that need constant practice.
Oh, really, and what are those things ? I was serious. If there was
something I could help him with I would.
He put his hand on my neck and pulled me closer to him. His lips were only
a hairline distance from mine. I was mush when he did that.
Let me show you he whispered. I blushed at my innocence.
Malakaih leaned over the kitchen counter watching as I ate my breakfast.
He was wearing a permanent smile for the past few days. He just stood there
watching me. When he was working in his office over the sketches and I would
take him coffee or juice he would do the exact same thing. I felt like he wanted to
tell me something but he didn t. It was driving me insane.
I felt moody and after eating my cereal I ranted about my jeans not fitting.
Kaih, I m starting my diet today! I confessed.
He put down his coffee cup and standing behind me, he wrapped his arms
around my waist. He leaned his chin on my shoulder. Why? You look wonderfully
and deliciously healthy it s almost a crime he whispered into my ear.
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I don t know. I think I ve better get a docs opinion and maybe a
nutritionist too. I don t want to get chubby I worked hard to get the body I had.
My jeans are a bit too tight. I argued.
He swayed me from side to side. Oh, Jules, you sure are silly. But I m a
step ahead of you today. I remembered what you said about the doc and I already
made an appointment. he kissed my jaw and nipped at my ear lobe sending hot
flashes through my body. It took me a second to compose myself.
For today at three o clock. He turned me around pressing me against
him. But there is one thing and I know you re probably going to get annoyed
about it. His eyebrows furrowed.
What? I asked curious.
I can t go with you today. he pressed his lips.
Why? I inhaled holding back my annoyance. I had to be patient.
Craig wants me to stop by at his office. Alex is going with you and he s
excited about it too. It s like you re his mother and your taking him out for ice
cream. He chuckled.
Okay I sighed.
Alex its cold in here I complained. He threw his arm around me. We arrived an
hour early since it was my first time here. I filled out the paperwork and handed to
the receptionist. The doctor s office was cozy but cold. There was no one left
except Alex and me waiting to see the doc.
A nurse opened the door that led to a hallway; she was very pretty with
black hair and pitch black eyes like my mothers. Mrs. Lucians, the doctor is ready
to see you she called out. We stood up together. Alex winked at her and the
nurse glared at Alex... No wonder he wanted to come.
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I will only be in a moment. He said with a smile. His grey-blue eyes
glowed but the nurse ignored him. Malakaih had warned me that Alex would go in
to make sure everything was okay. So, I was expecting it.
The nurse nodded and motioned for us to follow her through the hallway.
We passed several rooms which the nurse opened for Alex to check.
When all was done, I entered alone to the doctor s office. He was an older
oriental looking gentleman, maybe in his late sixties. His hair was almost all white.
He smiled and motioned for me to sit on the bed. The paper crackled under my
Hello, Mrs. Lucians. I m Dr. Sung. I m happy to finally meet you. Your
husband has been calling me and telling me about his concerns and yours of
course. I ll get to those in a moment He said warmly.
Hello, you can call me Juliana I said. I was very nervous. Dr. Sung asked a
lot of questions that I answered yes or no to. Then he went through the physical
exam. I was pleased when he didn t go anywhere near my abdomen. He sent for
the nurse to get me so I could give him a urine and blood sample. I went through
that even without wincing.
The nurse took me back to the waiting room and Alex stood when I
entered the room. The nurse completely ignored him. I took the seat next to
where he stood.
Woo, someone s got a crush! I teased. Alex face turned a beet red.
N-no, I d-don t even k-know her n-name! he stuttered. I laughed
hysterically and the receptionist shushed me. He sat down on the chair beside me
and wrapped his arm around me.
S-so, how did it g-go? he asked.
It went well. I m still nervous. Doc said he will see me in a few. Alex s
hand rubbed my cold arm. I felt so tiny beside him. Remind me next time to bring
a sweater. He nodded and stared at the television set on the corner.
He looked a lot like his father except that his hair was a bit darker and his
eyes were grayish-blue. I remembered the story the seamstress had told me. He
was the product of something horrific, but here he was before me, a trained killing
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machine turned into a teddy bear. I was watching his expressions as the news
The camera man was focusing on a long line that waited to enter a
building. The news lady spoke about unemployment and how it was increasing
steadily. Alex s eyes squinted at the screen and then he stood and walked closer to
the television. His eyes narrowed and he clenched his fist. His jaw flexed at
whatever he saw on the flat screen.
The door to the hallway opened, just when I was about to ask him what he
saw. The nurse looked at Alex standing near the television almost scared. Alex
eased his tension and managed a smile. She didn t smile back and turned to face
Mrs. Lucians, the doctor is ready for you again. I followed her to the
doctor s office. The doctor sat at his desk and asked me to have a seat in a chair. I
Juliana, you are in perfect health. Your husband said that you were
worried that you were gaining weight. I m I correct? he asked.
Yes, that s correct. I was wondering if I should see a nutritionist, too.
Dr. Sung put down his pen and smiled at me. Juliana, a nutritionist s
expertise is essential when you will be eating for two. I guess you should expect to
gain another 25 pounds within the next seven to eight months. I will give you a
prescription for a very good prenatal vitamin.
My heart started racing. I could feel as the blood rushed through my body.
My throat was suddenly dry but my palms and forehead were wet. I could barely
swallow the lump in my throat. I felt cold and hot and everything in between. I was
happy and sad at the same time. I couldn t think and I couldn t speak.
Yes, Juliana, I guess I should say it officially. You are pregnant. By the
information you gave me I think you are about two to three months along. I m
surprised you haven t had morning sickness, but some women are lucky that way.
We have a wonderful obstetrician here and I know you will like her. Everyone
He blabbered on.
Oh, I-I d-don t k-know w-what to s-say I was stuttering worse than Alex.
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Will you be carrying the child to full-term? You do understand my
question? he asked. I was almost insulted by it.
Y-y-yes, t-that is n-never an o-option! I said a tad bit louder than I
wanted to. The doctor smiled and wrote the prescription down for the prenatal
vitamins. He was blabbering again and I could barely make out his words T-thank
you . I said softly and shook his hand.
The nurse was walking me down the hallway and I wanted to get the
information that Alex needed. E-excuse me n-nurse she stopped before opening
the door. W-what was your n-name again? I held my breath to stop the
fluttering and the stuttering. I wanted to tell my husband of how wonderful I was
Isn t that your husband outside? She looked at me confused.
No, actually, that s Alexander, my brother in-law, but we call him Alex.
We re just close like that. I guess I should say he s almost like my son. I smiled.
Her dark eyes glistened. Her pale complexion exposed her blushed cheeks.
My name is Xiondra. It s spelled X-I-O-N-D-R-A. The X sounds like Z where
I come from. But I prefer to be called Xion. I smiled at her explanation. It was
more than enough.
It s a pleasure to meet you Xion. Could I get your phone number? I would
like for you to be here on my visits to the ob.
Oh, thanks. Sure, that would be awesome. I don t think the doctor would
mind either. Here it is. She took out a small notebook and wrote down her name
and her number. I thanked her and we walked out to the waiting room and Alex
stood immediately. With the mix-up corrected, Xion blushed at Alex s stare. He
was pleased with her reaction.
Have a nice afternoon. See you again soon, Mrs. Lucians. She waved as
we walked out. I almost dragged Alex out of the waiting room and out into the
scorching hot parking lot.
We were both quiet the whole way home. Alex sighed lost in his thoughts.
I was worried about how to give Malakaih the news. But then again, by the way he
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had been staring at me the past couple of weeks, he already knew and I just
needed to confirm it.
I let my shoulders fall and my stomach growled. An extra twenty-five
pounds. I thought out loud. Alex looked at me from the corner of his eye but kept
his face towards the road...
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