Home for the Holidays
Once they’d safely gotten home, all he’d been able to do was wrap her in his arms and hold her tight. What a terrifying feeling, not knowing when you’d be let out of the hospital…not knowing if it was going to be enough to bring her home…on top of all the feelings about being a probable new father…
This romance was still so new. The concept of anything challenging that was horrifying.
“Zen… Hyun, it’s okay.” Jaehee’s voice was soft, and she set her hands on his waist. “I’m home, and I’m okay.”
“God… Mint Eye, now this… All I wanted for us to have a calm, wonderful first Christmas together. Just you and I…finally able to spend Christmas with someone I love. My one Christmas dream.”
“And you are.” Her embrace tightened, setting her head against his shoulder. “I’m going to be right here, for the whole day tomorrow. I promise.”
And now the next morning, here was was, still asleep in his arms, as calm and peaceful as could be…and still his heart was racing. Was everything going to be alright? Were they actually going to have more than one child? Was that really the cause of all the sickness? What if something worse was wrong with her? What if something about the pregnancy had gone wrong…and it was destroying her? He wouldn’t be able to take that. This poor beautiful woman, so dedicated to his acting…to him…for so long, and now finally in a place where they could be together…and he’d gone and killed her with a pregnancy.
He was making himself self.
“Hyun.” She’d woken up, and turned to face him, eyes knowing. “You’re fretting.”
“I’m nervous.” He pulled her to him. “It still feels so unreal that any of this is happening in the first place… That you were willing to take a chance on me, to be by my side…”
She laughed softly, setting a hand on his chest. “I’m not going to fool anyone if I try to deny that I had feelings for you far before this relationship started. But…I was afraid the risk would be on you. Your career…your reputation… I didn’t want to put it in jeopardy. Didn’t want to start rumors that might hurt you in the long run.”
“If my acting career was going to be based solely on me being the lonely bachelor, I don’t want it.” Her expression startled at that. “I was miserable, Jaehee. More than anything, I wanted to feel that love that I kept portraying on the stage. Sure, girls are going to be upset that I’m not available anymore. But I wasn’t going to be anyway. I’ve spent years turning down dates for Christmases because they weren’t people I had feelings for. All I wanted was that one special person who I could curl up with, walk hand in hand down the street…sip hot cocoa with our matching scarves, I don’t know. I wanted it all. And…it wasn’t until you came to me that day, asking about the shop…that I realized that person had been standing in front of me all this time.”
She buried her face in his chest, but he could still see the blush on her cheeks. “You’re too much for me.”
“Never. I will never be enough for you. You deserve the world, and I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to give it to you.” He kissed her hair, letting his fingertips just play with the edges, which he could just barely reach. Her hair had grown so fast. She was pretty with the short hair, but stunning as it grew. He felt a surge of warmth in him just from the thought of it.
“You’ve already given me every dream I ever had,” she responded softly. “I never imagined…in all my dreams, I never thought I’d be here. With you, in a bed we share…carrying your children.” Her face was bright red again. “In love…and loved in return.”
“With all my heart, jagiya.” He hugged her close. “I only wish I’d figured it out sooner.”
She shook her head. “I don’t…think it would have worked sooner. I was so convinced…so sure that there was no way anyone, certainly let alone me, should be in a relationship with you. I didn’t…I don’t know why I didn’t think of how lonely it must be. I know you talked about it sometimes, but…”
“Shh, don’t worry about it. That’s all in the past.” It was true he’d been lonely. But he didn’t want to think of back then. What was behind him…didn’t matter any more. It had brought him here, and that was the point.
“What if I’m not a good mother?” Her voice was soft, on the edges of cracking and all he could do was pull her closer.
“You’re going to be an amazing mother. You’re dedicated and hard-working and loving… You worked for Jumin Han for 3 years and never cracked. You raised yourself up from so little to become this amazing businesswoman who captured the heart of one of the most sought after bachelors on the stage.” He heard her cough out a laugh at that, and he smiled–that was precisely why he’d said it. “If anything, I don’t know how I’ll measure up to you as a father.” He kept his tone light, but he wasn’t fooling himself. He was terrified of the concept of being a father. Being in charge of at least two other lives? Caring for them, making sure they didn’t get hurt, were raised properly…? He’d never really had the best indications of how a family should act. His own family had been…troublesome. Jaehee’s wasn’t much better.
“You’ll teach them what you didn’t have,” she said softly, almost reading his mind. “Both of us will. We know what not to do. And we can strive to be better than the ones who raised us. And we’ve got everyone else to stand with us too. We won’t be doing this alone.”
“You’re so smart,” he murmured into her hair, and she laughed softly. “I don’t know what I’d be without you.”
“Significantly less warm, at the moment.”
That got a full-fledged laugh from him. “Very true! And much less happy.” He pulled back, brushing a thumb across her cheek. “Much less.”
She leaned her head into his hand, letting her eyes close. “Did you ever imagine it like this? Your first Christmas, tending to your sick and expecting girlfriend?”
He chuckled. “Not precisely, no. But it’s not an unwelcome surprise.” He kissed her forehead. “It just means that I get to spend most of my Christmas entwined with my love here.”
“I’m sorry I’m not feeling well enough to go for a walk or anything.”
“Don’t be. I’m just happy that we can be at home, with each other, and not in the hospital today.” They were still staying at her apartment, since it didn’t have the negative memories Zen’s apartment did, and it was at least nominally bigger. Brighter, certainly.
There was a long pause, before he heard her chuckle. “What is it?”
“It’s just…for the longest time, all I did on Christmas Day was stay in my living room and watch your DVDs. It was my own little way of being with you for the holiday, since I couldn’t ask you in person. But now…” She nuzzled against his chest. “Now I don’t need the DVDs. I don’t need to imagine anything. I know exactly what it feels like to be in your arms.”
“Mmm, that you do.” He let his hands slide over her waist, inching up the oversized shirt she’d been wearing to bed so that his fingers could brush her skin–and he reveled in the sound and feeling as she gasped and arched into him. His voice was low and rough in her ear. “And I know you’ve felt more than just that as well.”
He didn’t give her time to respond before his lips descended on her throat and shoulders, feeling the shivers skate along his skin with every sound she made. They fit together so well. No amount of acting would ever be able to come close to the exquisite perfection he felt, pressing against her, inside her, hearing her voice in his ear as they embraced. He wasn’t sure how he’d lived this long without her.
A while later, they rested again, her body pressed flush against his, her back against his chest, his arm around her waist, his hand resting at her shoulder. Skin to skin it was electric, and his hair had come undone from its band so it lay in strands across their bodies. He’d gone to brush it back, but she argued it, saying she liked the feeling.
And who was he to argue?
“Hyun.” Her voice was soft.
“What do you want? For the kids.”
“A happy and loving home.” He kissed her shoulder.
She giggled. “No no, that’s not what I meant. I mean…son? Daughter?”
“Ah.” That had been bouncing around in his mind for a while now. Which would he prefer? A son would be interesting, being able to raise him the way he wished he’d been raised, teaching him to be a gentleman…maybe even following in his father’s footsteps to the stage…or perhaps his mother, and being a brilliant businessman. He had to admit, the thought of his son starting a company to rival C&R made him happier than it likely should have.
But a daughter…oh god, how he wanted it and was terrified by it. A beautiful little girl–because how could she not be, when her parents were who they were?–with all the innocence and charm of her mother, and the personality and gregariousness of her father. A little girl to spoil and dote on, his own little princess, lovely and perfect… But then she grew up in his mind, and that was when it scared her. He knew how men were, and any daughter of his was going to be incredibly desirable. He’d have to buy a shotgun.
Suddenly he knew where that turn of phrase came from.
But either way… “I’m not sure.” He shifted, hugging her closer. “What about you?”
“I think one of each could be nice.” He could hear her smile more than see it. “I’d had trouble deciding, when I still thought we only had one…but if we do get twins or something…I think one of each.”
“I think that would be perfect.” He rested his head against hers, taking a deep breath and trying yet again to memorize the perfect and unique smell that only she had. “Merry Christmas, jagiya.”
“Merry Christmas, Hyun.”