Three packs of Oreo Double Stuff and another large teddy bear with the words “HUG ME” splayed across its chest welcomed me as I entered our room, Miguel closely behind me. On the bed, around the surprises, were white and red rose petals scattered around, and when I inspected them, they’re still fresh, meaning Miguel didn’t do this for we were at the company’s Christmas party (my last *sigh*) for the past five hours.
I wondered who he conspired with for this surprise.
“Wow,” I said, and I turned to him. He smiled and hugged me from behind, and kissed me on the edge of my lips. “What did I do to merit this kind of a surprise?” I asked in a whisper, leaning towards him to feel his warmth.
“Well, you have been a very good wife-to-be,” he whispered, his voice huskier than ever, “and it’s our first Christmas together.”
I turned, our lips locking. He held me tighter to him, twisting me so that I would be facing him, and I placed both my hands on his chest for support. When he released me, he sighed. “Merry Christmas,” he said, and I grinned. “Merry Christmas,” I greeted back.
I looked at the teddy bear—this one’s my second from Miguel, and I placed it on my side of the bed—and suddenly felt sad. “I don’t have a gift for you,” I told him, and he shook his head, his hand patting my tummy lightly. “These are the two best gifts I could ever have,” he whispered, and I tiptoed to kiss him again. I fell silent, Miguel just holding me, before I felt three or four kicks in succession.
Miguel and I looked at each other and laughed. “They want to celebrate, huh,” I said, and he nodded. “Merry Christmas, babies,” he said, and I repeated it in a whisper. I removed Miguel’s arms around me and sat on the edge of the bed, grabbing the teddy bear.
Hug me were the words on its chest, and I did just the same. And then Miguel’s voice—from inside the teddy bear—said, “I love you, Jennifer Jayden. Always and forever.”
I froze, my eyes glistening with tears. Miguel knelt in front of me and held both my hands. “Oh Miguel,” I whispered, and he gave me my favorite smile of his. “I love you, too, forever and always,” I said, and he leaned over, kissing me full on the lips. The Hug Me teddy bear rolled off my hands and onto the floor as he pressed me onto the bed.
I heard a crunch before I felt it. “Aw,” I said through Miguel’s lips and he momentarily let me go. “What’s wrong?” he asked, and I pulled myself up with his help. Turns out that I landed on the Oreos that were still on the bed. Miguel laughed, took the packs of Oreos and the teddy bear and placed them next to the bedside drawer.
“Now, where were we before we got so rudely interrupted by Oreos?” he asked, his eyes glinting in mischief and something else. I pulled him to me by his collar and he avoided landing on me—and my huge tummy—by crashing on the bed, moving me so that he’d hold me by my side. He kissed me hungrily, as if the eight to nine months of not being real intimate has taken its toll on him.
I made myself useful by untying his black cape—he was dressed as a sexy Dracula for we had a Twilight-slash-vampire-and-werewolf-themed Christmas party for this year, and I was dressed as a pregnant Bella—and throwing it onto the floor. His hands already found their way inside my dress, searching for something to tug, found it, and pulled it hurriedly, causing it to tear into two pieces.
I pulled myself from his kiss. “Hey, that’s my favorite undies!” I complained, and he laughed. “I’d buy you new ones, I promise,” he said, claiming my lips again. I had gotten to unclasping his belt, and Miguel had stopped to relieve me of my dress. “We have a problem,” he said as he took my naked body in, for he had removed my bra as well.
I raised my eyebrow in a question, tugging his slacks and underpants so that he’d be equally naked.
“Well, we can’t do this with me on top—”
I winked at him, giving him a tug before placing my leg over his hip and rolling over him, so that it was me on top of him and his very ready whoohoo. “Well, we’ll see if you still love me if I’m heavy,” I said, and he shook his head, a wide smile of his face, lust, love and passion in his eyes, and he moved beneath me to enter me.
“I’ll love you…” he began to say as I moved and grinded against his hips, taking him deeper, “even if you’re thin or heavy, pregnant or not… Oh… geez.” Whatever Miguel had intended to say was buried in moans and grunts, and I couldn’t think coherently for a moment before we both exploded.
Miguel pulled me to him, and I rolled off him, making a pillow out of his arm. He inhaled my scent again, now mixed with his, and whispered, “This is a nice way to celebrate Christmas.”
I laughed, and Miguel’s chest rumbled as his laugh escaped his lips. “Did you know that making love also induces labor?” I told him, looking up to see his eyes. He was running his fingers through my hair, and I was hovering over the edge of sleepiness. That, plus the fact that he and I had made love, and people, especially men, usually fall asleep after doing such activity (because our bodies are wired that way, so don’t panic once your boytoy slept on you after a fantastic session of lovemaking), and I am definitely spent.
“It does?” he asked, and he kissed me on the forehead. “Well, I should better be careful, because our two blessings shouldn’t come out yet.”
I held my head up and he kissed me on the lips. “Miguel, what do you want to do in life?” I asked quietly, running my finger up and down his chest.
“What do you mean?” he asked, and I didn’t reply, looking away. I listened to the thump thump of his heart against my ear, and his voice reverberating through his chest when he speaks. “I am planning to have my own business someday. I just don’t know what it is,” he said, and that made me remember something.
“How come you said you have saved a lot already?”
I felt him smile. “Oh. That,” he said, and I nodded. “I have invested in the stock market, and it has given back generously,” he replied, and I didn’t want to probe for the risk of him speaking in an alien language that will lull me to sleep.
“What business do you want to establish?” I pressed lightly.
“Hmm,” he said thoughtfully. “A restaurant, maybe.”
I breathed deeply. “Am I holding you back? From your plans? Your dreams?”
Miguel placed a finger under my chin to lift my head. “What are you saying?” he asked, puzzled. I told him about my conversation with Angela—he sincerely believed that I paid Angela a visit, and not the version that I saw her at the mall—and he was shaking his head at the end of it. “How can you hold me back when ever since you came into my life, I’ve had more sense of purpose and responsibility? This is what I dreamed of, JJ: a loving wife, kids, and everything’s relatively stable—I have a job, and I earn from stock market investments. You can’t and never will hold me back just because you chose to love me and be married to me, and I chose to do the same,” he reasoned, holding my hand that had the engagement ring.
“Am I holding you back?” he returned when I didn’t say anything for a long time.
I stopped to think, staring at the ceiling, avoiding his eyes. “I don’t think so,” I said, and at the corner of my eye I saw him wince at the hesitation in my voice. I regrouped and finally looked at him. “Miguel, I love you, and I have never been more sure in my life of what I wanted to do, okay? Right now, I’d like to think that we’re not holding each other back. Instead, we’re holding onto each other and hoping for a nicer future. Together.”
“A Ms. Universe answer.”
I hit him across the chest and he held me tighter to him. “JJ?” he said after a long spell of silence.
“I won’t ever marry again, okay? This is the first and last, for you’re the only person I will and would love until the end of me.”
He glared at me. Here he is, trying to be Mr. Romantic, and I ruin his moment.
“Tell me: you think I’ll die, don’t you?” I said, and he shouted angrily, “No!” I raised an eyebrow and he said, in a calmer voice, “No. I told Damon that you’ll live. And I promised you, remember? I’ll be strong. And right now, being strong means thinking that you and my two babies will get out of the delivery room alive and well.”
I kissed him lightly on the lips and didn’t say anything more.
I surely hope so, Miguel. I really do.
I love cookbooks that give the instructions that you can actually follow and those that do not use complicated words. I found one and was planning to make carbonara for Miguel and I for it’s our first Christmas Eve together, and it dawned unto me that we haven’t planned on anything about our Noche Buena. As I wrote down the ingredients on a separate piece of paper which represents our grocery list, I was waited for the coffee to brew and the champorado that I was cooking—if you can call it that—to finish. I was scanning the other pages for other dishes to cook when Miguel came out of the room in his boxer shorts, looking very sexy and manly, scratching his head like a lost kid.
“You’re up early,” was his greeting, walking over to me and kissing me on the lips. He checked out what I was reading and frowned. “It’s eleven already, so it’s not that early,” I told him. “And I’m thinking of what to cook for Noche Buena. What do you like?”
That made his face crack into a smile.
“You seriously have become a self-made cook, huh? Ma still hasn’t taught you anything yet, right?” he said, and I nodded. “My baked mac, beef casserole, sinigang, and adobo were all palatable, weren’t they?” I asked, looking for some sort of confirmation, and he nodded. “I’m not saying that they weren’t, JJ. They’re actually amazingly good, especially if it was cooked by someone who claims she cannot even boil water. I’m just happy you discovered some other talent,” he said patiently, pointing to the one on the page of the cookbook.
“Paella?” I asked, and he nodded. “I’m already going to cook carbonara,” I told him, and he flipped the pages of the cookbook again. “Chicken fillet in lemon butter sauce, then?” he said, and I shrugged. “Why not?” I said, and I listed the ingredients again. While I was doing that, Miguel was doing a survey of our cupboards and went back to me, saying, “I’ll make the fruit salad for later. I’d help you with the carbonara. We only have to cook for two,” he said, and I frowned.
“How about your parents and your brothers? Aren’t we supposed to head over there for the Noche Buena?” I asked, and he smiled. My parents told me and Miguel that we don’t have to head over to Baguio for Christmas since we’d all be seeing each other come wedding time, which is (remind me again), one week from today.
“What if I told them that I want my beautiful soon-to-be wife for myself this Christmas?”
I rolled my eyes, returning to my list. “We can always go to the Christmas breakfast, JJ,” he whispered, and I nodded. He went over to the stove and looked at my champorado, and I didn’t speak as he prepared our breakfast, pouring all my attention over my dear grocery list. When I looked up, Miguel was staring at me.
“What?” I asked, and he shrugged.
“I could get used to this more often.”
“Get used to what?”
“To you. The sight of you leaning against the kitchen counter, biting the tip of your pen, pouring over your grocery list.”
I blushed, and I held out my hand. “We’re gonna get married, Miguel, in a week’s time,” I said, and he reached out and intertwined his fingers with mine. “And I am yours, forever and always,” I said, and he nodded. “Why in the world are you getting so damn melodramatic a few days before our wedding?” I asked as I let his hand go. He ladled some champorado into a bowl and placed it on the placemat that I had fixed earlier.
“Getting cold feet,” he said, and I rolled my eyes.
“Damn right you do.”
Miguel laughed. He placed his own bowl on his placemat which was across me, got up to get a cup of coffee for him and a glass of warm milk for me, and then sat across me. We ate in silence, appreciating our champorado as brunch in our first Christmas Eve morning together.