"Pailong!!!" Jun Tao's voice shred the usually thick silence of the Tao mansion.
I quickly jumped into action. "Mistress Jun, I'm coming!!!" I dropped the dumbbells I was exercising with awhile ago. I rushed into my mistress' scarlet-walled room and found her lying on the four-poster bed, face crunched up in pain. Panic rose within me. "Mistress Jun!"
"P-Pailong," she sobbed. "My water bag broke…"
"Oh no!" I picked her crumpled figure up in my arms and rushed her out of the room. "Master Ren! Master Ren, your sister!!!"
Ren Tao, who opened the door of his bedroom sleepily, glared at him. "This better be-" His eyes widened when he saw me carrying his sister.
Jun looked at her younger brother with agonizing pain. "R-Ren…my water bag broke…"
"Onee-san!" Now Ren looked panicked too. From the kitchen, Pirika appeared. "Hey, hey, what's all the racket-" She looked at Jun, then screamed. "Hail a cab!!! Ren, get a cab!!!"
Ren promptly went out, then came back. "Why don't I get my own car, will that be fine?"
Pirika sighed, exasperated. "JUST GO GET YOUR SISTER ANY KIND OF TRANSPORTATION!!!"
"Hai, hai!" Ren motioned for me to follow him as Pirika proceeded to gather the things Jun needs in the hospital.
Meanwhile, I gazed lovingly at the woman I was holding. "Hang on, Jun, you will be fine. Trust me, we'll get there."
"Get her in the car!" instructed Master Ren as he started the car engine. I rushed into the backseat as Pirika sat down the front seat. Soon we were heading for the highway, but I was not fully aware of that. My attention was on wiping the sweat on the face of my lovely Jun, whispering encouraging words at her.
"You can do it, Jun. We'll make it," I whispered to her ear.
"Unnnggghhh…." She was holding on to her large tummy.
Her eyes, slightly drooped, looked up at me. "The baby…we have to…"
"Ssh…" I kissed the lids of her eyes then smoothed her forehead. "The baby will come out safe. Be brave for him, please?"
Pirika and Ren went straight to the nurses in the desk as I placed Jun on the stretcher. I followed as she was brought to the emergency room, but a man in white coat stopped me. I was brought to the doctor who will be in charge of the operation.
The doctor looked at me. "Are you the father of the child to be delivered?"
And before I could even do anything, I was told to sign some pieces of paper, then was told to wait outside. And that wait was the longest eternity in my life.
Ren and Pirika soon joined me, and the three of us waited outside in quiet, fearful anticipation.
Until I didn't realize that I was falling asleep already…
I watched Jun Tao emerge from the bridal car, and I had to gulp when I saw her absolute loveliness in white lace and silk, flowers surrounding the veils of her face. Our eyes met for a moment, and she smiled at me. Everything then seemed to light up, especially when she started to walk down the aisle to the tune of an instrumental of a Chinese song. Each step brought her closer to me, and I could already feel my whole being trembling…
When she reached me, I whispered to her, "You are the most beautiful bride I've ever seen."
She blushed prettily, and my heart skipped a beat.
"We'll just take our snack in the cafeteria," said Pirika gently, breaking my trip down to memory lane. I nodded, and the two headed out of the hallway. I sighed, then got up. I had to get rid of this tense feeling. Maybe I should jog. My eyes went to the other expecting fathers lined in the hallway with me. They were either smoking, or tensely pretending to read the newspaper. Some who didn't bring props along were just walking back and forth in the aisle.
"Mr. Li?" announced the doctor. I looked up. He smiled at me warmly. "You can see your wife and child now."
My heart felt overwhelming relief, joy, and gratitude as I watched Jun wheeled out of the emergency room. She was safe, and the baby too!
I followed her to the Recovery room, where I found her being laid down her bed by the attendants.
"Jun," I said gruffly.
She looked up- her face all lit up. "Pailong."
A nurse brought the baby in and handed the child carefully to Jun. She broke into tears of pride. "M-My baby…"
"She looks like you, Jun," I said proudly. A tear dropped down my cheek. "A replica of you…but the ears…they're like her father's."
Jun bit her lips. "Pailong…"
I refused to look at her, afraid that she still would see the feelings in my eyes no longer appropriate to express. "Ryu will be so proud…"
The same pride I saw in his face on Jun's wedding day after she walked past me, the best man in the wedding. I looked away when I knew that Ryu took her hand and brought her to the altar. It would mean my death if I watch them tie their knots in sacred lifetime.
She nodded. "I'm sure he will. Thank you, Pailong…for helping me get here."
I forced a smile. "No need to thank me, Mistress Jun. I will forever be at your dispense."
"I've set you free a long time ago," she reminded me quietly.
"No, you still have my heart. I'm sorry," I said, trying to numb the pain in my heart. I stood up before she could say anything else. "I'm going to call Master Ren and Mistress Pirika now."
"Pailong, I'm sorry," she said. The nurse beside her was watching us, astounded.
I smiled at the first and last woman I would ever love. "Please don't say that. You just made it hurt even more. Hearing you regret that we met this lifetime…"
"No, I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt you."
"Then just…just smile and be happy. Your happiness is mine, Jun. Because I love you so." I opened the door and left, knowing that later, when I come back here, things would never be the same again.
Jun Tao was a wife of another man, and a mother of another boy.
But she will remain the one and only woman in my life.
Have I mentioned that this is an extra sidestory for Celebrations? Lola Apple, collect mo ito. ^^