Mai thinks to herself that she should have seen this coming, it is not like her and Naru have been all that careful, especially recently. They had taken things slow when they first got together almost four years ago, but when she had moved in with him six months ago, well, slow went out the window very quickly. Along with it, precautions had also gone out the window. So here she stood, at home alone after visiting the doctor to confirm her suspicions. She was eight weeks pregnant, yet she was only twenty years old. Not like there were not girls even younger than her that had babies, and some were not lucky enough to be in a stable relationship with a man more mature than his twenty-one years. If her parents were still alive, she wonders if they would be disappointed.
Then she thought about Naru's parents, while Martin would be subtly happy about being a grandfather, Mai knew Luella would be jumping through the roof with elation. The woman had been hinting at them getting married and giving her grandbabies ever since Naru had returned to Japan from burying Gene's body in England. So really, the only parents left between the two of them would be fine with it, despite their age. The problem here was how she was going to tell her boyfriend. It is not like he can escape any blame, it takes two to make a baby and be irresponsible about protection, but how he will take the idea of being a father, well, she had no idea.
There was also the matter of work, most of the time was spent in the office filing, taking calls, meeting clients for appointments, but going on cases can end up dangerous, most especially for her. While she did not want to risk anything happening to the baby, she knew that staying at home or only ever being in the office while they were off on cases would make her go insane.
Just the thoughts rolling around in her head caused her to sigh, and she took a peak at the clock, only to jump in surprise. It was later than she though it would be and she had promised to meet with Ayako and Masako for a late lunch. Double checking her hair was still okay, she grabs her purse and makes her way out of their apartment. Another thing to think about, their apartment was definitely not big enough for a baby.
When she finally reached the cafe that the three women often frequented, Ayako and Masako were already there. As usual, Masako was wearing one of her elaborate kimonos, this one a rich burgundy with various coloured butterflies. Ayako, as always, dressed like she belonged in high society, her black pencil skirt accompanied by a silk, navy blouse that flattered what mattered and a stunning pair of black heels. Mai looked down at her mint sun dress and resigned to feeling under dressed as she always did with these two. While her dress sense had gotten more feminine, and mature, since she was sixteen, her tastes remained a lot more understated than the other two women's were.
She made her way through the cafe, passed other patrons at their tables, and took her seat in the chair waiting for her. "Hello ladies, sorry I'm a little late."
"It's not a problem, Mai," Masako replies, a kimono sleeve over her mouth demurely, "we have not been waiting long."
"That's good," Mai sighs in relief before taking a sip of the latte the other two had ordered in advance for her.
"So, what's new?" Ayako asks, getting straight into the gossip, as usual, "It's been a few weeks since you called us all in for a case, are you guys not getting many or they're easy enough to handle with just the three of you?"
This causes Mai to sigh again, but she had anticipated this question coming up, "Well, Naru has been turning down cases, he's been unusually on edge the last couple of weeks, though I'm not entirely sure why."
"Well, what usually puts him on edge?" Masako asks, then seems to think about it, "Though thinking on it, the things that usually set him on edge are you getting hurt on a case or his parents coming to Japan for a visit."
"While you're not wrong," Mai answers, a small chuckle at those very true reasons, "you'll recall I was unharmed on out last case and as for his parents, they were only here last month, so no impending visits yet."
"Hmm," Ayako hums, bringing a hand to her chin, "well, I suppose other things can set him off, though I can't imagine what."
Mai was ready to give a reply when a smell wafted up to her, a waiter was walking passed with a tray of food, and something on there was making her oh so very nauseous.
Her face must have given her away because she had hands of both her companions on her shoulders, concerned looks on their faces. Containing the urge to bring up her breakfast, she finds the energy to speak, "I'm okay, just something on that tray that came passed had a smell that caused my stomach to roll, that's all."
The other two shared a look before turning back to her, Ayako speaking, "That's a bit strange, you've smelled worse things on cases and there aren't many foods that you don't like or even hate the smell of."
Mai looked away, but knew her friends would keep asking until she coughed something up, well, at least Ayako would. She had wanted to tell Naru first, but maybe her female friends could help her with her anxiety. She turns back to face them, watching their expectant looks, "Okay, I've had suspicions for a few days, but only got confirmation this morning."
"About what?" Ayako asks, "Just cut to the chase already."
"Alright, alright, geez," she mutters to herself, before taking a deep breath, "so I went to the doctors this morning, and found out that I am two months pregnant."
Her reveal was followed by blank stares as they processed the information before cheers and congratulations spouted from their lips, though Masako was a lot quieter than Ayako. Mai felt her cheeks flush in embarrassment as almost everyone else in the cafe looked their way, wide eyes in shock from the loud noises coming from the red-haired woman. Mai turned her embarrassment into a strong glare that she sent the older woman's way. Ayako, noticing the glare, finally says something other than cheers, "What's with the glare Mai? This is cause for celebration, pregnancy is something to be happy about. Unless you're trying to tell me Naru isn't the father?"
Mai gave her a bland look, and she could just see at the corner of her eye as Masako gave the same one, "I can assure you, Ayako, that I have never once cheated on Naru, and I don't plan ever to do so. Parentage is not the issue here, I just haven't told him yet, he doesn't even know the reason I took the day off was to visit the doctors. I'm not entirely sure how to go about telling him either."
"You could start with 'I'm pregnant,'" Ayako responds dryly.
"Yes, thank you so very much for your input Ayako, I'll be sure to always seek your advice," Mai mumbles, her tone even drier.
"All I'm saying is, I don't understand what you're so afraid of," the other woman huffs. "This is Naru we're talking about and you two have been together for years. He loves you, not to mention the two of you are even living together now."
"It's not so much that I'm afraid," Mai admits.
"Then I don't see what the issue is," Masako adds, finally using her voice.
"I'm more worried about what that will mean for cases," Mai sighs out.
She gets another round of blank stares, this time Masako speaking first, "You're talking about him keeping you off them because you're pregnant."
"Exactly," Mai nods, her hands going up in the air, "he barely lets me on dangerous cases as it is. I have to fight him on every potentially dangerous case just to be allowed to go. What do you think he's going to be like now that I have another life inside me that is a lot more frail than I am."
"Mai, you're only, what, two months right?" Ayako asks, waiting for the agreeing nod before continuing, "Look, I'm sure the two of you can compromise, he's not unreasonable, and you're not even showing yet. I can understand if you were a lot further along, but I'm sure it would be fine for now. Though the first three months can be the most risky, the dangers of some of the cases are not for the heavily pregnant."
"I know you have a point, but there's still the part of me that is worried about how he'll react to me being pregnant in the first place."
"Oh trust me on this," Ayako scoffs, "That man will be happy, if not only for the fact that you're the mother, but because he loves you and would love any child you gave him."
"Ayako is right, Mai," Masako says softly, a smile on her face.
"I'll tell him, eventually," Mai says, "though I'm thinking not today. We have a client coming in tomorrow, which I am hoping he'll finally take, since it does sound interesting enough for him based on the email. He's already on edge on whatever, like I said, so me revealing the pregnancy might interfere with him taking the case."
"Alright, just promise you'll eventually tell him, and we'll promise not to say a word to anyone," Ayako adds, raising her brow in question.
"I promise," Mai says breathlessly.
It was not like she was planning to keep it a secret from him anyway, this baby was his as well after all.
The next day, it was back to work for Mai and she was in the car with Naru as he drove. They were used to quiet travel when on the way to work, content to just be in each other's presence, though Mai allowed herself to place a hand on his thigh, a reminder that she was there. It was a habit she had picked up a while ago, and he had never seemed bothered by it, so she never tried to kick it.
She allowed him to turn the car off before she opened her door, then followed him up the stairs to the back entrance of their office. As was routine now, she allowed him to help her with her cloak and for him to drop a small peck on her lips, before they went their separate ways quietly. Him to his office and her to the kitchen to make his tea.
Mai was waiting for the water to boil and her thoughts drifted to her current problem, how to tell her boyfriend about the baby after the case, if he took it. All kinds of ideas floated through her head, and it caused her to startle when the kettle whistled. She pours the water into the waiting tea pot, then waited a little while for it to steep to Naru's particular tastes. He was fussy when it came to his tea, something she had learned pretty quickly when she had started working for him. She then poured the perfectly steeped tea into a cup, then placed the cup on a tray before making her way to his office.
Knocking twice, the indication that it was her, she opened the door and walked to his desk. He appeared to be reading something on his computer as she placed his cup on the desk, in reach of his hands. It was completely unexpected, that as soon as the cup was out of her hands, an arm had wrapped around her waist, pulling her to be on Naru's lap. "Naru, what are you doing?" she asks in shock, her face turning at least five different shades of red.
"Don't act as if I don't do this now and then," he says, that narcissistic smirk on his face, causing her face to turn another shade of red, "besides, I have something to discuss with you."
His tone had turned serious with that last statement, causing her to gulp, "And that would be?"
"Well, I couldn't help, but notice that you have been unwell recently. Most mornings you appear to bring up dinner. So when you asked for the day off yesterday, I assumed you had finally booked a doctor's appointment," he answers, his every word causing her more dread as he talked. "So, did you find out what was wrong?"
Her throat had clogged up, she had no idea what to say, it figures that he had figured out what she had planned the day before. Sure, she had finally decided she was going to buck up the courage and tell him about the pregnancy, but not right now. Just when she was really starting to freak out, she heard the unmistakable jingle of the bells on their front office door and the anxious lilt of a prospective client's voice asking if anyone was around. Mai is quick to stand up from her place on Naru's lap, "Looks like the client is here, I'll get her comfortable and make some tea."
"This isn't over, Mai," she hears behind her as she tries hard not to run her way out of his office. That was too close.