The next morning she woke up to find her husband absent from their bed, but she smelled bacon and fried potatoes wafting into the cabin. Snuggling back down against the pillow, she relaxed with a smile. Maybe she’d be treated to breakfast in bed.
Her feet slide across the soft satin sheets as she climbed out of bed. One thing she noticed was she didn’t feel sick to her stomach that morning. Glancing at the small wooden clock on the night stand by the bed, she saw it was already 10 o’clock. Most of the sickness she felt had been early in the morning.
Besides she thought her sickness in the morning was a fluke.
Spying her husband’s laptop inside his open backpack, she didn’t think he’d mind if she used it to check her email. She wanted to see if Dr. Goodman had sent them an email with their test results yet.
She slipped on a white nightie and with a whirring buzz was connected to the Internet with a matter of minutes. There was an email from their physician that had been sent a few days ago.
Hello Lathal and Malan,
Hope you both having a wonderful honeymoon in Germany. I know I told you I’d have the results of those tests you asked me to do for you both in a couple of weeks, but I put a rush on it for you. So with great pleasure I share the news: Both of you are perfectly capable and able to have children. Congratulations!
And by the way Lathal if you think you won’t get pregnant while using birth control pills or menstruating you’re mistaken. If either of you want to prevent pregnancy, you might consider the only option to achieve that end, abstinence.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me.
Staring at it, she wondered if Malan knew they were capable of having children. Based on his behavior the last few days, it seemed to her he didn’t know. If he’d read the email, he’d certainly would have told her about it.
Given that they’d been making love with reckless abandon the last few days she wondered if she wasn’t expecting. Except she didn’t feel different.
The light rattling of dishes on a tray, she turned her attention to him. His warm smile greeted her.
“Hey!” she returned, closing the laptop and returning it to her husband’s back pack. “I used your laptop. Hope you don’t mind.”
“No,” he handed her a medium sized plastic glass of orange juice.
Rejecting the beverage, she used her fork to cut the pancake drenched syrup into pieces. She sampled a few pieces with her eyes closed. That’s how good it tasted. He had some of the scrambled eggs he made with cheese, ham and onions as she sipped her orange juice.
“Dr. Goodman emailed us,” she told him nibbling on the bacon. “He says we can have children.”
Her face darkened with anger. “What do you mean you know?”
He swallowed some coffee but didn’t answer. She had every right to be angry with him. He should have told her about the email right away; his excuse for not telling her was not a good one. The only reason he’d not said anything about the email was he was afraid and experiencing denial because he felt it was too late.
With an apologetic look in his eyes, he sighed. “I know what I did was wrong. I shouldn’t have kept this from you, but I was scared.”
“Of what?” She saw the worry filling his eyes.
“I think you’re already pregnant, Lathal,” he said quietly. “It happened while we were in Munich.”
She shook her head. “I don’t think so.”
“You haven’t felt sick in the morning?”
She was astounded by how observant he was. He must have seen her rubbing her stomach in the morning and drawn the conclusion that she was having morning sickness, a symptom of pregnancy. She wondered if he also knew about her sleeping in the bathroom because of the early morning nausea she’d had the last few days.
“I do that to ease the pains from cramps.”
He shot her a dubious look. The excuse was valid but a lame explanation in his opinion.
“Look, Lathal, I know you’re scared,” he caressed her arms. “I am too, but I really think you should take a pregnancy test or I can take you to a hospital on a military base and you can be tested.”
“No!” she said both forcefully and firmly. “I’m not pregnant.”
Fighting to keep his calm, he stepped back for a moment. Taking a deep breath, he needed to collect his thoughts. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get into a fight with her over this. Still, part of him didn’t want to back down.
“What about last night?” He demanded, crossing his arms over his chest.
It was entirely possible that she could have gotten pregnant last night but it was in the realm of possibility that she’d gotten pregnant in the last few days. But then again she might not be pregnant at all. She wasn’t for sure that they’d were able to find out if she was pregnant in one try.
“I know you think you’re a super stud,” her tone was dry and sarcastic, “but I’m not a fertile Myrtle.”
The insult stung and he adverted his eyes that were layered with his anger. “Are you sure?”
His question angered her more. Her fists clenched at her hips, her eyes blazed. She would certainly know whether she was pregnant or not. All she knew was that she didn’t feel pregnant.
“And how can you be so sure I am pregnant?” She fired back defensively.
“I’m not,” he said evenly. “I won’t know for sure unless you get tested or until your next period.”
Her next period would come in early June, which was at least four weeks away.
Leaning forward, her furious face was inches from his. “I’m not getting tested and I’m not pregnant.”
“Fine,” he said coolly.
She stormed past him and went onto the desk where she ranted quietly to herself while looking out into the endless ocean.
He paced back and forth, his hot breath huffing from his mouth. His fingers tightened on his jeans belt loops and his knuckles were white. He couldn’t believe she was stubbornly refusing to take a pregnancy test. She was as bad as he was.
When they went into town to rent a car, she tossed him ugly looks and she wouldn’t speak to him. As soon as they were on the autobahn, he deliberately pressed the gas to the floor sending the rented BMW plunging down the freeway at 200 mph. She sat passively but then he started to feel worried about her since he suspected she was pregnant, so he eased up on the gas.
They arrived in Berlin at the Weiss Pferd where they’d be staying. She struggled to get her big black suitcase out of the trunk, so he went to help her. Pulling her shoulder back, she tossed off his hand. “I’m not an invalid,” she said testily, still fighting to pull the suitcase out of the trunk.
He stepped away and just let her become more and more frustrated because she couldn’t get the suitcase out. Tears began streaming down her cheeks; she finally just rushed away, but he didn’t go after her. They needed their time alone.
Shoving his hands in his pockets, he let his feet take him in whatever direction they wanted to go. Streetcars clacked as they ran down the tracks and he walked past churches, banks, businesses and former governmental offices in what had been East Germany.
His thoughts turned inward and he didn’t see the well-manicured parks and stores along the Kurfuerstendamm. He supposed he deserved his wife’s ire. After all, he hadn’t been forthcoming about the email from Dr. Goodman.
Sighing he walked into a church that had been bombed during World War II but not been restored. He stood in front of a sign detailing the history of the church but he wasn’t reading it. His shoulders were tense from his anger. A dark cloud hung over him as he realized she had just as bad temper as he did.
They’d had their share of tiffs before; they tended to exchange hostile words and had periods of extended silence. The last fight they’d had, they hadn’t talked to each other for three days.
It was different now. They were married and he didn’t think he could go without talking to her for more than a day.
Glancing around him, he saw couples holding hands and kissing; it made him feel lonely and silly for being angry at his wife. He didn’t want to be angry at her anymore. This whole mess was his fault so he was more than willing to apologize.
And he wanted to make love to her as he made up with her.
About 20 minutes later, he returned to the Weiss Pferd. The door softly clicked as he opened the door to their room. It was deathly quiet; he thought she might not be there and then he heard soft sniffling as he came around the corner into the room that was thrust in the dark with the curtain closed.
His heart broke. She’d been crying. Quietly he stripped off his clothing and slide into bed beside her. Her back was toward him and he touched her shoulder but she didn’t brush him off. With gentle caresses he moved his hand around her. His fingers stroked the golden tendrils of her hair and lightly kissed her earlobe. “I’m sorry, Lathal.”
Shifting to her side, she turned toward him. Her bluish green eyes were still misty. “No, I’m sorry, Malan.”
He took her hands in his and his lips brushed her fingertips. “Well, it is my fault. I have no good reason for not telling you about Dr. Goodman’s email right away.”
“You really think I’m pregnant?” Her eyes searched his face.
His hand stroked her cheek. “You know how I have this sixth sense.” She nodded. “Well, it’s telling me you’re pregnant, but it could be wrong.”
“It’s not like I don’t want to have your baby, Malan, I do.” Her hands caressed his as they moved over on top of his.
He softly kissed her. “I know.”
“It’s just that I don’t feel any different.”
In answer, he nodded. He respected the fact that women were able to know if they were pregnant; he trusted her intuition and instincts. Still he couldn’t help but suspect that she felt the same fear and denial he had; like he had done she was denying it.
He sensed the anger she felt had lifted; his was already gone.
Her lips lightly grazing his neck; he absorbed her tokens of affection as he held her in his arms. Sliding her hands over his brief, she caressed his aroused mass.
"Lathal," he groaned, desire shook his voice as he writhed beside her. “Please forgive me.”
Love burned in her bluish green pools that were locked on his while she kissed her chest. “Make love to me, Malan.”
He removed her panties and then stripped himself of his briefs. She mounted herself on his slippery masculinity. Holding her gyrating hips, he guided her movements, not that she needed it. He closed his eyes as she gave him a wild ride. His heart thudded in his chest, he panted heavily while she led their intimate dance to new heights till they conquered the chaos with an explosion of passion.
A few hours later they woke up from their nap, they went to have a late lunch at the Hard Rock Café. He was amused by her hiding the menu so she could have a souvenir to take home. Arm in arm, they strolled to the nearest bus stop and boarded Line 18, which their waiter had told them would take them to Sanssouci in Potsdam on the outskirts of Berlin.
A slow line of tourists trekked up the steep steps led up to the yellow summer palace that had an expansive, well-manicured garden lined with trees and budding shrubbery. Flowers and ivy climbed on the trellised gazebos and the relaxing symphony from the sounds of the water from the gracefully spilling waterfalls in the fountains.
Entering the palace from the entrance hall, he positioned himself so he had good balance. He looked so serious as he pointed his camera upward at the Corinthian columns and mythological artwork on the ceiling. He carefully turned the black outer body of the lens to sharpen the focus. Then he adjusted the aperture.
She didn't even see his finger pressing the button that made the camera take the picture. Nor did she know he'd subtly shifted his angle every time he took a different shot.
She watched him with admiration. "How do you do that?"
"Huh?" He said slowly lowering his camera to regard her.
She smiled wryly, "How you got so good with that camera and photography amazes me, Malan."
He looked highly amused as they and the other tourists walked into the palace’s marble room. He said modestly, "I'm just an amateur."
"Yeah, right," she contradicted him. "An award-winning amateur."
"That was a long time ago," he said, glancing at her in surprise. "You remember that?"
"Yeah," she said softly. "I was there when you won first place in Sheridan High School's photography contest, remember?"
His brows tightly knitted together. "Vaguely." Both of them tended to block out their high school experiences since they hadn’t been particularly memorable or pleasant.
The ornate, golden and richly decorated surroundings of the palace was overwhelming to take in all at once as she headed into the king’s audience room and then dining hall.
"Lathal," he said gently from behind her. She turned, and he held out his camera toward her. "Did you want to take some pictures?"
She shook her head negatively. "You do it. Your pictures are a lot better than mine, Malan."
He shook his head. "Your pictures aren't bad at all, Lathal."
"Sometimes I get lucky," she said casually flipping her hair back.
"Luck has absolutely nothing to do with it. Photography is a skill you learn but you can hone it into a talent," he said with intelligence and conviction.
"If you say so," she said. "I still think I'm a better writer than a photographer."
"I think you're good at both," he said convinced.
"I had a good teacher," she said locking her eyes on him.
He shyly adverted his eyes. "I..."
She lightly tugged on the camera strap he held in his hands as she kissed his lips. "I thought you looked so cute when used to wear your camera around your neck in high school."
"I looked like a dork," he said softly. "How could you ever possibly be attracted to me when I looked that?"
"I'm weird, I guess," she whispered between kisses. "To tell you the truth I had a thing for dorky looking guys.
He closed his eyes as he melted into her. His mouth flew to hers like a bee attracted to a flower. His form-fitting covering collected her sweet nectar, covering her petals like honey. His heart skipped excitedly like a child playing hopscotch inside his chest. He tenderly pressed his lips against hers again and again.
"But I didn't look like a prom queen back then," she reminded him.
"That didn't matter to me. I always thought you were beautiful," he murmured. "Lathal, I loved you then and I love you now."
"So did I, Malan, so do I." She tenderly kissed his lips. Their lips parted, their tongues played tag. He inhaled sharply. He leaned across the table, where his tingling glistening lips met hers. His hands traced the outline of her shoulders. Her hands rubbed up his arms, his hair bristled with excitement. Their mouth tangled like a bug caught in a spider's web. Her fingers walked across his broad shoulders to his neck. She ran her fingers through the hair on the nape of his neck. The light smacking of their hungry lips crackled in the silent air. Other visitors touring the palace stared at them like they'd never seen a married couple kiss before.
They parted after a long moment and then finished their tour of the palace and grounds. By the time they finished it was early evening and a cool breeze made a beautiful night as they walked arm in arm, occasionally kissing, through the city to the Kaiser Wilhelm Church, Berliner Dom, Bradenburger Tur, and Alexanderplatz.
After returning to their room at the Weiss Pferd, they changed into their sleeping attire and then they climbed into bed together. His hands were locked behind his head on the pillow. She snuggled next to him, laying her head on his chest, listening to his heart beating rhythmically. Her fingers expertly unbuttoned his pajama shirt. Kissing his neck, she whispered as she removed his shirt, "You don't need this."
He smiled at her. He slowly slid her negligee off her body. She took his hands in hers and placed them on her breasts. His fingers brushed her piqued firm nipples. She murmured with pleasure, finding his mouth with hers and tenderly kissing his lips.
She caressed his chest; he mumbled appreciatively during their exchange, which led to French kissing, and then to them passionately making out.
His arm was draped over her shoulder as he kissed her again and again. Feeling the heat of his body against her, she smiled, returning his kisses as they shared the strong, deep, true , passionate, unfailing love they felt for each other.
He held her hand against the pillow, their fingers intertwined. Her fingertips lightly moved along the small of his back. He arched his back, bringing her closer to him.
In the midst of their very tender, intimate exchange, she murmured, "Malan?"
"Hmm?" He said softly.
"Would you remarry if I died?"
He hadn't thought about the question because he couldn't imagine being without her. Gently pulling away, he looked at her concerned. "What brought this up?"
"My mother," she replied. "She fulfilled her vows but I doubt she'll ever marry again."
He thought about what she'd say, and he believed he understood. Or at least he thought he did.
"My mother loved my father very much and I'm sure my father wants her to move on with her life. And so do I. I want my mom to be happy. I hope she finds true love again," she paused. "If she remarried, I'd be happy for her but I'm not calling him dad."
He nodded. Of course not, no man could ever replace her father. No man could ever be Stephen Harvey.
Gazing into his eyes, she repeated her question, "Would you remarry if I died, Malan?"
"I..." he murmured, shyly adverting his eyes.
If he lost her, he'd be devastated. If she died before him, he'd throw himself into her grave, telling them to bury him alongside her.
"Say whatever you want, Malan, I can handle it," she assured him. "I won't be angry or upset because I know you'll be honest with me."
He lifted his gaze to met hers. "I wouldn't remarry, Lathal."
"I think you know," he said softly. "But I'd want you to remarry."
She shook her head negatively, "Oh, hell no!"
"Lathal," he said insistently.
Sternly pointing her finger at him, she said."I believe that true love comes around only once a lifetime, and if it happens twice you're damn lucky." After casually flipping back strands of hair, she added. "Besides, I have too much of my mother in me."
He laughed. Wrapping his arms tightly around her, he leaned over her, kissing her lips, "I love you, Lathal."