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112 (Part 1) | Won’t Ever Leave You
Pang Pang, if we have a boy, I want to name him Gu Haichuan.
Pang Qian cried for a long while before finally stopping, but her lips were still pursed and she ignored Gu Mingxi. Whenever Gu Mingxi walked over to try to talk to her, she wouldn’t bother to answer.
Pang Qian had to put away all the things she’d packed up. She had to return things to their original spots and put away their suitcases in the small storage room. How could Gu Mingxi let Pang Qian clean things up? Seeing her bend over to take the clothes out from the suitcase, he tried to convince her to stop. Of course, she didn’t listen, so Gu Mingxi’s tone grew serious.
“Pang Pang, did you forget what the doctor said? She said that since you were spotting a bit, you should lie down and rest more. Don’t you know that crouching down like that is really dangerous? What if something happened and you hurt your body? A miscarriage takes a major toll on a woman’s body. When my mom had a miscarriage, she bled a lot, and then she got a gynecological illness and couldn’t get pregnant again. You saw it all, so why are you still throwing a tantrum with me right now?!”
When he saw Pang Qian’s lip tremble as if she were about to start crying again, Gu Mingxi quickly went to coax her. “It’s okay, I know that it’s not because you don’t want a kid. You’re just unhappy that we weren’t able to go on our honeymoon. But Wife, we’ll still have the chance to go later. We can bring our baby along. Fiji, Greece, Maldives, Egypt, Brazil… Wherever you want to go, I’ll go with you.”
Pang Qian wasn’t happy. “But I’m still young right now! I have a good figure and I’ll look good in dresses. After I have a baby, I’ll be fat! I might not be able to wear any of the dresses I bought this time!”
“Then you can buy new ones. I already said that I like when you’re a little more plump.” Gu Mingxi knew that she’d prepared a lot for their honeymoon. Having to cancel suddenly would naturally leave her unhappy. He could only tenderly say, “Listen to me. Go and lie down and rest. Don’t move around too much. Is there something you want to eat? Do you want me to make some desserts?”
Pang Qian pointed at the suitcases. “I’m not done with all the stuff. Looking at it is such an eyesore!”
Gu Mingxi immediately declared, “You go and rest. I’ll put it all away.”
“What about the suitcases?”
“I can take care of it.” He lowered his body and pushed the suitcase with his shoulder. “Go lie down on the bed. Be good.”
Pang Qian finally climbed into bed, albeit somewhat unwillingly.
Gu Mingxi really started to put away the things they’d packed up. For convenience, he pushed the suitcase into the master bedroom with his legs. He sat down on the floor and pulled out the things in the suitcase. After taking out the clothes and swimming suits, he sat down on the bed and put them into the dresser.
He was very meticulous with it all, but it was different from other people. It was troublesome to put the clothes away. Sometimes he would bite onto them, and sometimes he would hold the clothes between his cheek and shoulder. He was only able to carry one or two pieces of clothing at a time, so he had to make several trips back and forth. Finally, he emptied out the suitcase and pulled the zipper closed. He looked around and then got up and lifted the case up with his foot. He moved the suitcase over to the corner by the dresser.
Gu Mingxi’s forehead was covered in a sheen of sweat. He turned around and saw Pang Qian lying on the bed, looking at him. When he was tidying up earlier, her eyes hadn’t left him for a moment. Gu Mingxi smiled at her and asked, “Are you hungry? Want to eat something?”
She shook her head, and suddenly reached her arm out to him. She said, “Gu Mingxi, come here.”
Gu Mingxi walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge. Pang Qian said, “Bring your foot up.”
“Mm?” He quickly sat onto the bed and lifted up his foot. He asked, “For what?”
She stroked the back of his foot and then beckoned him to touch her stomach. “Touch the baby.”
Gu Mingxi was taken aback and immediately started shaking his head. “My foot is really strong. I’m worried I’ll hurt you.”
“You won’t.” She grabbed his foot. Gu Mingxi hesitated for a moment before lightly touching Pang Qian’s still-flat abdomen. He held back his strength and only used his toes to touch her.
“Gu Mingxi, you’re going to be a dad.” Pang Qian’s hand was still on his foot. Her fingers stroked some of his old scars and said quietly, “It’s really amazing.”
Gu Mingxi was worried about something else though. “Pang Pang, can you go to school if you’re pregnant?”
“Sure,” Pang Qian said. “The doctor said the due date is sometime in October. I’ll finish my first year in June and then I can rest during summer break. I won’t go back to school in September. After the baby’s born, I’ll stay home for a year and then the next September, I can go back for my second year. Then we’ll be able to graduate together.”
While she was resting, she’d thought about a lot of things. But Gu Mingxi was still uneasy. “But we live really far from your school. I’m worried about you driving to school by yourself. And you have to wake up so early. You won’t sleep enough.”
This really was a problem. Pang Qian thought it over, but she didn’t have any ideas either. She said, “We’ll talk about it when we’re back in Shanghai. Let’s try it out. I had an English client before who was pregnant, but she still spent the entire day in Shanghai for a business trip. She looked entirely fine.”
“The physical condition of girls in Asia are different from those in Europe. But this is something that depends entirely on the person. Just because 100 people are fine, it doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely be fine. I don’t want there to be any chances of danger.” Gu Mingxi had this lingering fear from the time that Li Han had miscarried. He couldn’t imagine Pang Qian going through such a thing. With regards to taking care of a pregnant woman, although he had some experience, he was also physically unable to help as much as he’d like. He thought about it for a long time, and even suggested renting a place nearby to Fudan. He could take the subway to school every day. But Pang Qian immediately rejected the idea.
“You worry about me, but I worry about you too,” Pang Qian said. “Do you know how crowded the subways and busses in Shanghai are during rush hour?! Gu Mingxi, I know that you can take public transportation on your own. If it were just one bus, I’d agree to it, but you have to transfer three times! Think about how worried I’d be for you!”
Pang Shiusheng and Jin Ai’hua hurried back home from Sanya. Pang Qian’s emotions had already been settled and she was quite okay. She happily put on a loose sweater and put away her skinny jeans. She went and bought several pairs of loose sweatpants. Someone who didn’t look at all like a pregnant woman yet walked around with a sway started to actually kind of looked like a pregnant woman.
Her annoyance at being unable to go on a honeymoon soon vanished, replaced by the joy of being a parent. After several hectic days, Pang Qian and Gu Mingxi had already prepared themselves to welcome a new life into their world.
When winter break ended, Gu Mingxi’s new book hit the market. It was called ‘The Boy Named Xiaochuan.’
Gu Xiaochuan is a 7 year old boy. The story is about the boy’s search for the mother that had abandoned him, and it leads him to a mysterious village where he meets many strange people and surprising things. Xiaochuan received suspicions and unfair treatment from the townspeople, but he was also met with understanding and friendship. On his journey, he befriends two other kids, Dou Dou and Xiang Xiang. They grow together, and though he isn’t able to find his mother in the end, he was able to help the townspeople through a crisis.
At the end of the book, there was also a preview picture for ‘Xiaochuan 2.’ The publishing company posted this advertis.e.m.e.nt: A great book for parents and their children to read together, the perfect gift for a child starting school. A story that brings back the wondrous memories of travel for city folk– Two years after ‘My Miss Crab’ and ‘Lonely Whale,’ Mister Ostrich returns with a heartwarming story, and he says that inside every heart, there exists a Gu Xiaochuan.
Pang Qian and Gu Mingxi stood in front of the bestseller shelf at Xinhua Bookstore. Every once in awhile, someone would pa.s.s by and pick up a book. There were adults and children, and even elderly people. A lot of people would eventually walk to the counter with the book in hand.
Pang Qian picked up an unpacked copy of the book and flipped through a few pages. Then she asked Gu Mingxi, “Why did you name the boy Xiaochuan?”
Gu Mingxi looked at the book in her hands; the Xiaochuan in the book was running. He laughed and said, “Pang Pang, if we have a boy, I want to name him Gu Haichuan.”
Pang Qian repeated the name. “Haichuan, Gu Haichuan… Sounds pretty good. What’s this name mean?”
“One hundred rivers into the sea,” he responded. “I hope that he will grow up with an open mind. There’s also another important meaning; it originates from my mom’s name. ‘Han’ means to be inclusive, to show tolerance and forgiveness. I hope our child will be able to inherit my mother’s character and be someone who is forgiving, kind, and honest.” (Note: Read as ‘hai na bai chuan,’ the more literal translation of the name’s explanation is ‘one hundred rivers into the sea,’ or perhaps you might say, ‘all rivers run into the sea.’ As an idiom, it means you can achieve the same result via many different means. It’s also part of a longer phrase that means something like ‘the sea is great because it accepts a hundred rivers, and a person is great when they are tolerant and accepting of others.’)
Pang Qian listened to his explanation as she flipped through the pages of the book. Xiaochuan was a very lively boy. He had s.h.a.ggy hair and a pair of dark, shining eyes. It reminded her of young Gu Mingxi.
“What if it’s a girl?” Pang Qian asked. “The sea is great because it accepts a hundred rivers, and a person is great when they are tolerant and accepting of others. Gu Yourong? Or… Gu Naida?” (Note: Mentioned in the previous note– The second half of the phrase is p.r.o.nounced ‘you rong nai da,’ which is where Pang Qian’s names come from. However, ‘nai da’ is a h.o.m.ophone for ‘big b.r.e.a.s.t.s.’)
Gu Mingxi burst out laughing. Pang Qian was also very happy. Gu Mingxi said, “If it’s a girl, let’s call her Gu Lanzhi.”
“Why?” Pang Qian looked bewildered. Gu Mingxi said, “There’s a saying ‘lan zhi chang sheng,’ which means to have a beautiful character (be virtuous). Have you heard it before?”
“No.” Pang Qian asked, “But haven’t you heard that Lanzhi (Laneige) is a Korean makeup brand?”
Gu Mingxi said seriously, “I’ve only heard of Lankou (Lancome).”
Pang Qian said, “Then… Should we call her Gu Lankou?”
After school started back up and with some family discussion, Pang Qian and Gu Mingxi’s troubles were resolved.
Pang Shuisheng and Jin Aihua went along to Shanghai with the young couple. They rented a small place near Fudan, and from Mondays to Fridays, Jin Aihua would live with Pang Qian at the apartment by Fudan and Pang Shuisheng would live with Gu Mingxi at the Songjiang University Town. On the weekends, Pang Qian and Gu Mingxi would spend their time together and Jin Aihua and Pang Shuisheng would enjoy themselves in Shanghai.
And so, the pregnant Pang Qian was able to sleep well at night and didn’t have to rush in the mornings. With Pang Shuisheng’s a.s.sistance, Gu Mingxi was also able to live comfortably.
‘Xiaochuan’ was selling better than forecasted, and its online reputation was also pretty good. Several children’s clothing brands also contacted Gu Mingxi about using Xiaochuan’s image on their clothes. Gu Mingxi started preparing for ‘Xiaochuan 2,’ and set up a contract with Jiang Qi stating that he’d submit it by the year’s end.
When they couldn’t see each other, Pang Qian and Gu Mingxi would call and talk on the phone. Sometimes they even made video calls.
Gu Mingxi asked in detail about her daily diet. Of course he was a.s.sured with leaving Pang Qian in Jin Aihua’s care, but being unable to stay by his pregnant wife’s side really left Gu Mingxi feeling quite guilty and uneasy.
In the first three months of her pregnancy, Pang Qian’s morning sickness was rather severe and her vomiting was easily stimulated. When she video called Gu Mingxi, she would start by complaining, “Husband, I want to eat your tomato and beef soup.”
“I’ll make it for you when you come back on the weekend.” Gu Mingxi looked at Pang Qian on his screen. She actually hadn’t gotten any fatter. On the contrary, she seemed to have gotten a little thinner. It really made his heart ache. “Wife, what else do you want to eat? I’ll make it for you.”
“I want to eat stewed chicken feet.”
Gu Mingxi was developing a headache. “Wife, the bird flu is really serious right now. Let’s forget about the chicken feet for now.”
“No, no, I want to eat chicken feet!” Pang Qian was acting cute on the screen.
“Why don’t we eat salt and pepper open-back shrimp?”
Pang Qian rolled her eyes and swallowed. “I feel uneasy about you making that. The last time you were cutting open the backs of the shrimp, you cut your toes.”
“It was just once, because I was a bit careless. I won’t do it again in the future. Wife, do you want to eat it?”
“…” She was very conflicted.
Gu Mingxi said, “Then I’ll go buy shrimp on Sat.u.r.day.”
“I also want to eat crab.”
“No. The doctor said you can’t eat crab while you’re pregnant.”
With the concentrated efforts of her family, the six-month pregnant Pang Qian was able to smoothly complete her first year of graduate school. The four people packed up and headed back to E City for summer break. Pang Qian had previously set up an appointment, so she went in to the hospital for her 4D ultrasound.
Gu Mingxi had always gone along with Pang Qian for checkups and parenting cla.s.ses. As he saw the little speck grow into a baby from the ultrasound reports, as he heard the strength of the baby’s heartbeat and found out that the baby was developing well, Gu Mingxi felt an indescribable emotion.
It’s like the things you yearned for in your dreams suddenly became real. That feeling of excitement, joy, gratefulness, and even worry wasn’t something you could understand if you’d never experienced it before.
Pang Qian’s stomach was showing quite obviously by now, and she’d gotten a bit plump as well. She laid down on the exam bed and Gu Mingxi sat beside her.
When the image of the baby appeared on the screen, Pang Qian and Gu Mingxi were so excited that they nearly forgot to breathe. The baby was moving and there was a smile on his little face. Pang Qian’s hand gripped tightly onto Gu Mingxi’s shoulder. The two of them were overcome with happiness and satisfaction. The doctor said, “The baby’s very healthy. Look, he’s biting his own hand… Look at his little feet. His bones are very soft, so his foot can even bend up to his mouth…”
Pang Qian and Gu Mingxi stared foolishly at the screen. That was their child, their successor, the fruition of a labor of love. Because of his existence, their life would change a lot and they would gain a lot more responsibilities.
When they left the hospital, Gu Mingxi despaired a bit. Pang Qian’s hand was wrapped around his waist. She asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I still can’t get over it, after seeing the baby.” He smiled and then said, “I was thinking, the baby looks so cute. But after he’s born, as his father, I won’t be able to carry him. Will he blame me for it when he gets older?”
“You’re looking down on our baby a bit too much. He wouldn’t.” Pang Qian stopped in her steps and hugged Gu Mingxi. “Kids are very smart. Don’t worry. When his parents love him this much, he’ll be able to feel it. He’ll be proud of you, just like me.”
Gu Mingxi smiled. He lowered his head and kissed Pang Qian’s forehead. “Thank you, Wife.”