We're at the end of the road here, folks! But I will be working on a sequel where someone from Kim's past comes back to torment her and those who love her. And yes, John and Ellen's biological daughter, Brooke, will be a bigger part of that story. Enjoy this last chapter!
"Emma took me to the hospital," Kim told Haley. "And when Chris got there, Tam just came right out." She laughed. "Yeah, he was giving me pains off and on for over two hours. And then when his dad got there, he decided it was time to make his big entrance. It's kind of funny looking back on it now…"
"That's it Kim," the doctor said. "Just one more push and your baby will be here."
Kim let out a soft cry as she pushed one more time, and then relaxed as she felt something warm and wet slide from her body. A second later, a piercing cry filled the air, but to Kim and Chris it was the most beautiful sound they'd ever heard.
"It's a boy!" the doctor said jubilantly.
"A son," Chris breathed as the baby was wrapped and placed in Kim's arms. "Our son." He gently tilted Kim's face up to his and kissed her tenderly.
"Yes," she whispered, cuddling the baby close and looking down at him. "Hi baby…"
The infant boy quieted when he heard his mother's voice. Kim kissed his small forehead, and then tensed when she felt the nurse ease him from her arms.
"It's all right, Kim. We just need to get him cleaned up and examined, just to make sure everything's okay. But he looks like a healthy little boy." She smiled. "Plus, we need to get you cleaned up. You just relax and it won't be long before you're in your room with your baby."
Kim relaxed at the reassurances and it wasn't long before she was delivering the placenta and everything was put in order for her. In fact, she felt herself drifting off to sleep as she was placed on a gurney to be taken to her room, her husband by her side.
"What made you guys decide on naming him Tam?" Haley asked, bringing Kim back into the present. "It's just that I know I had a Vietnamese name when I was born, but Mom and Dad decided to give me an American name and use my original name as my middle name."
Kim smiled. "I remember that. I think it was because Chris wanted a name that was unique, like our son. And Tam was my brother's name." Her smile became sad. "He was killed when my village was burned."
"I'm so sorry." Haley shook her head. "They didn't mention all that when we studied the war in my history class last year."
"There are no words," Kim agreed. Then she brightened, not wanting that sad part of the past to mar this visit. "I remember when John and Ellen had made the decision to adopt you…"
Kim was in the hotel room, nursing four-month-old Tam. She chuckled at the suckling sounds the baby was making as he ate. "You're hungry, aren't you," she quipped. The baby ignored her and continued to nurse.
She and Chris were in Atlanta, Georgia, attending a conference at John's request. She instinctively knew it had to do with the work he was doing for the Bui-Doi children left behind because of the Vietnam War. While Chris had decided to go to the presentation John was giving at the convention center across town, Kim opted to stay at the hotel. A meeting like the one John was having was no place for a baby, even one as good tempered as Tam.
When Tam was finished eating, Kim gently hefted her son on her shoulder, burp rag in place, and began to rub his little back. It wasn't long before he emitted a mildly loud burp. Kim giggled at her son. "Excuse you, little man," she quipped. Tam cooed at her just as she heard the key turn in the lock. She looked up to see Chris, John, and Ellen, with Ellen holding a tiny bundle in her arms. Kim was surprised. She and Chris had only learned about Ellen's pregnancy when Tam was two months old, and she was just starting to show.
At her questioning look, Ellen began to explain, "John got a report from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. This is Lien." She pulled back the pink blanket to reveal a sleeping baby who looked to be no more than a month old. "She was fathered by a guy in John and Chris's unit in Saigon, and he was killed after coming back from Vietnam. This little girl's mother was killed by the North Vietnamese Army and she was taken to Bangkok by the mother's friend in a brothel in Saigon. With some help from the Ambassador, John and I were granted custody of her and we want to adopt her."
"It's better than leaving her in a Bui-Doi camp," Kim said in agreement. She'd been to one of John's presentations while she was pregnant with Tam and it had been an eye opener. She hadn't realized how many of the children who were left behind in Vietnam suffered because of the circumstances they'd been born into. She shuddered to think of what would've become of her and her baby had Chris not insisted on bringing her with him when he returned to the embassy in Saigon.
"After permanent custody was granted, your mom and dad named you Haley Lien," Kim told Haley as she reminisced. "I remember how happy it made them that they were allowed to give you a good life here in America."
Haley smiled. She knew that a few months after her adoptive parents had started the process for her adoption, they had Brooke. But they had in no way treated the girls any differently. Haley was as much a part of the Wilson family as Brooke and even though the two girls didn't share the same blood, they were as close as two blood sisters could be.
"So why didn't Brooke come with you and your dad this time?" Kim asked.
"She had a track meet this weekend, and she wanted to stay close to Mom," Haley said. "But she asked me to tell you hi and that she misses you."
"I miss her too." Kim laughed. "Chris, Tam, and I are hoping to come down for a visit before the end of the school year. Maybe we'll be able to see Brooke in action."
Before Haley could reply, both women heard a key turning in the lock and then the door opened. They looked up to see Chris and John walking in and heading to the kitchen.
"Seems every time my work brings me to New York, I can always find my daughter here when I'm done," John chuckled as Haley got up and hugged him while Chris went over and kissed his wife.
"Anything good happen today?" she asked.
"A couple possible leads, but you know how delicate these situations can be," John replied. "All we can do is take a wait and see attitude."
Soon after John and Haley left, Kim and Chris settled back in their living room. "You know," she whispered coyly. "Haley's gone; Tam's on that overnight track meet. We have the place all to ourselves."
He smiled as he gathered Kim in his arms. "I like how you think," he whispered as he kissed her hungrily. He then stood up, lifted her into his arms, and carried her to their bedroom, kicking the door shut.
Hours later, Kim snuggled in her husband's embrace, feeling him tighten his arms around her in sleep. She was well on her way to sleep herself, but she found herself thinking about Haley and how the both of them had been lucky to be here and have good lives in America. Kim had been little more than a prostitute for one day when she met Chris, and Haley had been born to a Vietnamese prostitute who'd been with a G.I. in John and Chris's unit. She would've ended up in a Bui-Doi camp had it not been for John and Ellen's desire to adopt her and give her a good life, and Kim would've ended up killed by the Viet Cong had Chris not insisted on taking her with him to the embassy late in the night.
Yes, she decided as she finally drifted off to sleep in her husband's arms. We are very blessed.
THE END--sequel coming soon. )