He watched her sleeping in his arms. She's so beautiful, he thought, with a soft smile crossing his lips. Malan didn't know what he'd done, but he wasn't sure he deserved to be this happy. He was very lucky to have her in his life, to be married to her and to be this happy.
As he lightly kissed her hair, she snuggled next to him. Holding her close, he softly kissed her forehead.
She stirred, slowly opening her eyes. She affectionately gazed up at him. "Have you been watching me sleep?"
He shyly adverted your eyes. "Don't tease me. I know you've watched me sleep."
"Yeah," she smiled wryly. "How long have you been up?"
Malan teased, "That's a loaded question."
Lathal laughed, "What am I going to do with you?"
"Keep me, I hope," he joked, kissing her. "Otherwise I'm in big trouble."
"Why's that?" She looked amused.
"My friends think I'm crazy for getting married," he grinned sloppily.
Playfully poking him, she reminded him, "Billy is the only one who thinks that."
He nodded, "But he's also one of the few friends I have."
She wore an amused look. "And?"
"I know," he laughed. "And he can sue me, right?"
"Right," She agreed, rewarding him with a kiss and
she felt a warmth trickling between her legs. The sensation was very familiar to her -- she knew what it meant, and she knew she'd have to take care of it.
She quickly climbed out of bed.
Concern filled his chocolate eyes. “Are you okay, Lathal?”
“Yeah, I just need to take care of something,” She said quickly riffling through her suitcase finding her maxi pads, underwear and negligee he'd given her and then slipped into the bathroom.
After closing the door behind her, she flipped on the light. She hurried over to the toilet, taking care of her business, feeling disgusted about having her period. She gritted her teeth as painful cramps hit her stomach and lower back. She'd expected her period to come but now she'd wished Malan had gotten her pregnant so she wouldn't have to deal with this.
She’d been in there a long time, and in the back of his mind swirled the pesky, unnerving feeling that something wasn’t right. What if she’d gotten sick? He lightly knocked on the door. "Lathal, are you alright?”
"Yes," her disembodied voice replied. "I'll be there in just a minute."
"Alright," he said backing away from the door and returning to the bed.
Great, she gritted her teeth, she'd have to have her period now ... on a Monday. What a wonderful way to start the week, she thought sarcastically to herself.
At least she wasn’t pregnant, not that was any consolation right now, but it was appropriate that her monthly bill would start on the day they were going to find out if they were capable of having children.
She was bitchy already; on top of that she felt dirty and gross. She grimaced because she hurt everywhere.
She sighed and flushed the toilet as she left the bathroom. She slowly made her way back to bed where she, dressed in the midnight blue lingerie he’d given her, sat beside him.
His hands were interlocked behind his head as he regarded her while relaxing on the bed. He was dressed in his navy blue shorts and gray tank top, so obviously he figured something was wrong. He asked softly, "What’s wrong?"
“I have my period.”
For a few moments he was quiet. Thoughtfully he stroked his chin – he needed to shave! He didn’t know quite how to respond to her announcement. Part of him was relieved and the other dejected.
“I feel like I’m disappointing you,” she said, adverting her eyes like she was embarrassed by her situation.
His fingers stroked her chin and she couldn’t resist the urge to look at her husband. Wrapping his arms around her, he kissed her tenderly. "You never disappoint me."
Tears silently streamed down her cheeks. He was so good to her.
His thumbs gently wiped away the tears that had moistened her eyelashes."I know I've been acting like a sex fiend lately, but I'm really not like that."
"I know," she said softly, her fingertips stroking his face.
Taking her hands in his, he tenderly kissed her fingertips. "I'm glad I made love to you last night. Lathal, I don't mind having to spend a few days without physical contact. While I'd like to make love to you, I'm content just holding you, caressing you, kissing you and having you sleep next beside me in bed -- that to me is just as intimate as our lovemaking." His voice shook at his intimate confession and he hoped Lathal felt the same way.
"You're truly amazing, Malan," she said lovingly nibbling on his ear.
"No, you're amazing, Lathal," he said convinced as he kissed her.
She whimpered as sharp painful cramps hit her both in the stomach and the lower back. He knew she was hurting, and he felt sorry for her. He whispered, "Is there something I can do for you, Lathal?"
"Yeah, get me pregnant," she said wistfully.
His eyes danced with amused pleasure. “I may have struck out this time, but I just started trying.”
Softly laughing, she grimaced as cramps repetitively besieged her. It felt like tiny pin pricks stabbing her stomach and lower back. It was cruel torture -- and it felt like it was being administered by an unseen voodoo witch doctor. Clutching her stomach and doubling over, she curled herself into a fetal position to lessen the painful onslaught. "This sucks, Malan."
"Lathal, I wish I could do something for you," he whispered sympathetically, providing as much comfort as he could in his touch while kissing the long tendrils of her blonde hair.
She took his hands in hers. She carefully placed one of his hands on her stomach and the other on her back. He got the message. He lightly massaged his fingertips along her lower spine and rubbed her belly with his hand. She moved his hand on her stomach downward inside her panties, guiding it to stroke both sides of her hips where her ovaries were located, and then the lower part of her stomach where the lower part of her uterus was located.
Although she hadn't intended it to, the sensual and erotic nature of their caressing aroused him. He desperately wanted to make love to her, but he knew he could not. She'd refuse to let him touch her intimately, especially since she felt filthy and disgusting. Thinking about making love to her in her current state was extremely unpleasant and unappealing to him as well.
His lips hovered within mere centimeters above hers. Her petals quaked with longing. She moistened her lips and his mouth covered hers. He drank from her lips, tasting them as if they were a fine wine. Her soft, firm and wet caresses were like an addictive drug. He couldn't get enough. He mumbled; his voice quivered with passionate love. "Lathal."
"I feel so much better, Malan," she murmured caressing his body, sliding her hands into his shorts and lovingly stroking his aroused essence. “But now I want to do something for you.”
His heart soared. Their breath, mouths and essence mingled with hers as they kissed again and again. She felt the heat of his body against hers. His tongue teased her supple, luscious lips, igniting the passion between them. Her lips slightly parted, her tongue slithered out. It touched his, tantalizing his taste buds. He flicked her tongue inside his mouth fueling his charged emotions. His naked throbbing member brushed her leg reminding her of his wants and needs. She loved him so much; she wanted to give him her love even though he couldn't have her.
She mauled his lips with hers before dragging them away. The tip of her tongue grazed his chin, and then traced a line down his neck to his chest. The hot moisture sizzled making his muscles tighten in excitement and the light colored hair on his chest stand tall like blades of grass.
Her tongue drew circles around his nipples. He murmured in pleasure, fondling her breasts rigid and firm from his touch. His teeth grinded across his bottom lip. His anticipation and arousal grew. He wouldn't be denied. He felt like an animal on the prowl. His senses attuned to his hands, lips and body seeking to quench the fire burning inside him. Her hands and tongue explored every inch of his body. His breath caught in his throat when she stopped. "Lathal?" He said with gentle curiosity.
"Just a minute," she said gracefully rising from the bed. She knew exactly where to find her tote bag beside the bed. She had the bottle of lotion in her hand in a blink of an eye.
She peeled away her lingerie and then tenderly she kissed his lips. “Trust me.”
The passion and devotion in his eyes confirmed that he did implicitly.
He exhaled a deep cleansing breath and felt the warmth of her hands layered with lotion caress his throbbing hardness in a warm, wet bath. Her tongue licked his neck and ears as her fingers zigzagged their way down his chest to his navel.
His hands gripped her shoulders, he whispered passionately. "Lathal, I love you."
She gently continued to massage on his sensitive skin. Her fingertips traced her name in lotion down his well-built inner thighs.
"Uhh," he groaned softly and squirmed. His eyes rolled back and then lightly closed. The way she was loving him was so intense, so exquisite, and so erotic, his eyes rolled rapidly, dancing with passion and desire.
He ached. His rod stood at complete attention. His hands caressed her soft, smooth skin glistening with perspiration.
"Are you close, Malan?” She whispered how much she wanted to give him pleasure and complete him evident in her voice.
Her hands moving up and down his straight, tall tree again and again like a potter shaping a creation.
His heart soared pounding like a hammer in his chest as her gentle hands moved constricting hard yet fast around his erection. His face contoured with pleasure. A long passionate moan escaped his lips. He was so hot and wet. He felt like he was going to explode. He closed his eyes. His bliss twitched on his lips parted from his hard panting. "Yeeess," he hissed, barely able to form the words.
She smiled. Her hands wrapped around his tip, fondling it lovingly. It didn't seem possible but it felt like the warmth and moisture coating his sex was what he would have felt if he was inside her. Urgently trembling from the release boiling within him, he rasped,” Oh my God, Lathal!”
She brought her lips to meet his hungry mouth. He parted her lips with his tongue, touching it to hers, as she pressed her stomach against him. She felt his life-giving lava erupt into her navel as he kissed her hard.
He breathed a soft content, satisfied sigh. She tenderly kissed him as he wrapped his arms around her neck. His lips lovingly groped hers. He murmured, "That was incredible, Lathal."
"I love you, Malan."
"I know," he said kissing and snuggling next to her. "I love you, Lathal."
He didn't remember dozing off, but he must have. Stirring, he stretched. Knowing she had fallen asleep next to him, his hand reached out to touched her -- but again he found only a cold, empty spot beside him.
Opening his eyes, he said groggily, "Lathal?"
She was already dressed in loose fitting, light weight black slacks and a blue, white and black striped short sleeved polo shirt that was cut in a small V from the neck to her chest, which accentuated her full breasts. She looked very stylish and sexy that morning. To him she was always beautiful, but she never seemed to notice, or even know, how good she looked, which amazed him.
She smiled at him warmly. "Morning, Husband."
As she leaned over and kissed him, he grinned, "How long have you been up?"
She quickly walked around to his side of the bed. "Not long," she said, leaning over and giving him an affectionate kiss. "Did you want to take a shower?"
He supposed she'd already taken a shower -- without him. Given she was menstruating; he didn't blame her for disclosing him. She probably didn't want to gross him out.
"Yeah, but I'll take one really quick," he said rising from the bed, knowing they had to go to the passport office and then visit with the doctor before they made their trek to Dallas where they’d catch their flight to Germany.
After he’d dressed in khaki pants and a red tank top, he checked out the hotel and packed their luggage in his convertible. Upon their arrival at the passport office, he pulled his cell phone from his pants pocket. “You go on inside,” he instructed her. “I’ll make an appointment with Dr. Goodman and then I’ll join you.”
The physician had taken care of each of their medical needs and problems for the last four years. He was their primary care doctor because he didn’t nag his patients, he went to their church and he had worked with her father when he’d served in the military. His children had been in Lathal’s Sunday school class. Today would be the first time he’d seen them as a couple.
When she entered, the passport office was busy and there were quite a number of people. As she took a number, a man in his early 30s approached her. He seemed to recognize her. “Ms. Harvey?”
“It’s actually Mrs. Hamel now,” she smiled, holding her documents in her hand.
“Congratulations.” He said; everything about him was friendly. “I knew your father.” “I met him at a seminar he gave on spirituality. It was because of him that I went through the RCIA program and became a Catholic.” Her bluish green pools twinkled as she fondly remembered her deceased father. “You made an appointment didn’t you?”
“Yes, but I slept in late so I missed it.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He smiled, “I’ll take care of you.”
By the time Malan joined her, she already had her new passport. It’d taken her 20 minutes.
“That was fast,” he smiled as she hurried over and affectionately embraced him.
Waving at the passport office employee who’d helped her, she told him what had happened as they drove to St. Francis Hospital.
The hospital waiting room was packed with patients. The shrill cries of a baby ripped through the quiet waiting room. Even though the infant's mother tried to placate him with a pacifier or toys or by rocking and singing to him softly, the baby just wouldn't stop crying.
He sensed the frustration and embarrassment the mother felt by trying to keep her baby quiet. Realization crept up within him -- having a child was both a trial and tribulation -- and a lot work.
Wearing a thoughtful expression on his face, his knuckles rested on his lips while his thumb turned his wedding band on his right ring finger. Maybe having a child wasn't such a good idea. If he'd had a child, then he'd be responsible for keeping him or her quiet in public places like this. If the mother in the waiting room was having a hard time, he wouldn't have an easier time.
He admired this mother's love, dedication and composure, especially under pressure. But he wasn't sure he would be able to handle this same situation as well as she had if their roles had been reversed.
Finally quieting her child with tiny cookie crackers shaped like animals, the woman's gaze slowly lifted until it met his. The young mother smiled softly at him, and he quickly adverted his eyes.
He slumped back into the plastic waiting room chair. A mixture of shock, guilt and self-chiding filled him. He couldn't imagine Lathal like this. Not that Lathal wasn't good with children, and it wasn't because Lathal wouldn't be a good mother -- it was just that he saw Lathal as his wife, as a journalist, as a writer, as a strong, independent, goal-oriented woman, and then as a mother somewhere in the distant future.
And what about him as a father? He cringed with a mixture of fear, selfishness and doubt. He was an actor and he could play any role; being a father, there was a role he had to be, not play.
Both of them had rather demanding and stressful jobs. She covered dangerous assignments, had constant deadlines and worked late nights putting the paper to bed. He had lines and blocking to memorize, regular rehearsals, productions and post production, which meant he got home late -- well after midnight -- too. Was he really willing to adjust his schedule or sacrifice accomplishing all he could in his career because of a child? If he wasn't willing to make sacrifices, then he shouldn't make her sacrifice her dreams and goals for a child. Maybe it was okay like he had told her to be selfish.
Maybe she was right. Neither of them was ready for a child. They didn't know how much responsibility and work a child was -- and maybe they couldn't handle it. Maybe he be better not rush them into having a child. Maybe he'd better give this matter some more thought...
"Malan?" She quietly called to him.
"Hmm?" He murmured distractedly, shaking himself from his reverie.
"Are you okay?" She asked concerned.
"Yeah," he said managing a weak smile.
She reached for his hand, holding it in hers. She said softly, "What is it, Malan?"
She knew him too well, but some of his perceptive intuition was rubbing off on her too. He sighed, "Lathal, I..."
"Malan and Lathal Hamel?" A familiar gentle voice requested.
The kindly doctor’s eye color matched his wavy dark brown hair. His stethoscope casually wrapped around his neck. He was wearing blue jeans beneath his white medical jacket. A glittery sticker decorated his name tag that was clipped onto his medical jacket lapel.
The doctor gestured for them to follow him down the corridors to his office. There was a metal exam table covered with a white piece of paper, a white curtain hanging on a mobile frame and an extensive counter filled with medications, hospital gowns, towels, syringes and other medical supplies in the medium-sized office.
Sitting in his cushioned chair, Goodman gestured to the empty chairs in front of his oak desk. "Have a seat."
They complied. Their tense posture and serious expressions indicated how awkward and nervous they felt about being there.
Goodman understood this and got right down to business. He folded his hands over the papers on his desk. "How can I help you today?"
They exchanged looks. His wife nodded; Malan took that as his cue to speak up. He cleared his throat. “We were wondering if we were able to have children.”
Setting his clipboard down on the counter, he regarded the newlyweds. “To determine that, there are a few standard questions I’d like to ask both of you.”
"Fine," she said as he silently nodded in agreement.
“Have you been trying to have a baby and not gotten pregnant?”
Her fingers nervously twirled the curled end of her hair. "I don’t know. We just got married.” He nodded in understanding. Her voice shook. She sounded edgy and raw. “I started menstruating today, so I’m probably not pregnant.”
Goodman had observed Lathal's shaky behavior. The joke she'd made earlier came off badly. Earlier she'd been wringing her hands nervously, but now she'd steadied her shaking knees by sticking her hands between them. Her eyes darted like a frightened animal around the room.
She's scared, Goodman knew, and whatever she's scared of has nothing to do with child bearing. The doctor was aware people typically felt nervous at the doctor, so he felt the best approach would be to gently reassure her there was nothing to fear.
His tone was gentle, supportive and understanding. “Well, I can tell you that it just takes one time, and you can get pregnant between your menstruations.” The side of his lip curved into an awkward smile. “I think, for both our peace of minds, that you should let me do a pregnancy test. It's quick and simple and I'll have the results in five minutes." Opening one of his drawers, he claimed two sealed syringes. “As far as the other question you asked, all I need is run a simple blood test on both to determine if there are any fertility issues.”
“That’s fine,” Malan consented.
"I’d like a prescription for birth control pills," Lathal requested.
Goodman was surprised when her husband didn't even flinch when she made the suggestion. If he had been her husband, he might have been slightly upset or hurt by such a request. But Malan had just sat there. He taken it so coolly and collectively, so obviously they'd had this discussion.
"That can be arranged,” Goodman said, knowing that Lathal had just had her annual gynecological exam last month. “But you both realize that birth control pills won't prevent pregnancy. The only way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence," Goodman said, earning disgusted looks from both of them. "I know that isn't what either of you wanted to hear right now, but it's true ."
The doctor rose, opened one of the syringe packets and approached her. She tensed. She despised needles. She grimaced as she extended her arm toward him, and then turned her head. Goodman was extremely gentle with her. The prick only stung for a moment.
Malan watched Goodman draw his blood. She thought her husband had to be incredibly brave or crazy to watch. Needles and blood made her sick to her stomach.
"Okay, just wait here for a few minutes," Goodman said disappearing from the exam room for a few minutes.
Those few minutes seemed endless. There was a tightness in her chest and she couldn’t sit still. Rising to her feet, she paced nervously.
When the physician returned to the exam room, she looked at him nervously. He came right to the point. "You're not pregnant."
The young journalist lifted her arms and high up to the sky, thinking silently: Yes! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! She felt a great weight lift from her. She covered the smile spreading across her lips with her hand. She wanted to celebrate. She wanted to dance in the streets.
Malan sighed. It was easy to tell that he was a little depressed and dejected by the news. Recalling when he was a new groom about a dozen years ago, he’d felt the same way when his wife didn’t get pregnant right away.
"You can pick up your birth control pills at the pharmacy. If you have problems, let me know," he instructed, making notes in both of their medical records. "I’ll call you in a week or two with the results of your fertility tests.”
The young actor explained to their doctor that they’d be in Europe for a few weeks for their honeymoon; Goodman told them he shouldn’t have any problem getting in touch with them. Just in case he got their email addresses to send their results as they said they could go to an Internet café while they were abroad.
After they picked up Lathal’s birth control pills from the pharmacy, it was around 11 in the morning and now that they had all their business taken care of they were on the road to Dallas.