Ten weeks had passed since she last saw Ma Dai. Ten weeks of non-stop crying and nauseous mornings. Ten weeks of eating the strangest food anyone could imagine; not to mention, she ate in over-sized portions. Two weeks back, Xiao Qiao had a doctor check on her. She remembered holding out her wrist for the doctor to check; then she heard those two words: “You’re pregnant.”
Everyone in Wu rejoiced; when Zhou Yu heard of the news, he embraced his dear wife and told her how happy he was of the news, much to her surprise. Her young sons danced around their parents, also excited to have a new baby around— they would sing and brag to the other children in the kingdom about how they were going to have a new baby brother and teach him how to string a bow, how to hunt, and so on. Xiao Qiao laughed. She wasn’t even sure if the baby was going to be a boy or a girl. She secretly hoped for a girl who would resemble her, a girl who she could teach how to sew and cook; a girl she could play dress-up with. Of course, even if it were another son, she would still play dress-up with him, just like she did with Zhou Xun and Zhou Yin, much to Zhou Yu’s dismay.
Each time she would walk out of her chambers, she would be greeted by her servants and the neighboring soldiers; “My Lady, congratulations!” they would tell her. “We are very excited for you and Viceroy Zhou Yu!” they’d tell her again. Xiao Qiao would tell them, ‘thank you’ and nod her head with a bright smile.
Even the knuckle-heads, Gan Ning and Ling Tong were excited for her.
"What are you two knuckle-heads looking at me like that for?" Xiao Qiao asked them.
"Oh, nothing." the two said in unison.
"We were just thinking of a way to teach the kid how to pick up women and ask them out for drinks," Ling Tong snickered. "Your kid, Zhou Yin, is already a natural at that. What can I say? He learns from his Uncle Ling Tong."
"Oh, you guys are the wor—" Blargh.
"Dammit, you little runt! Not the boots!" Gan Ning cringed as his face met the palm of his hand while Ling Tong merely laughed at his misery.
Of course, she knew they were just playing around with her.
Today, the baby decided to behave itself when Xiao Qiao decided to take a walk with her boys. Exercise was good for the baby. Plus, the walking allowed her to think quietly and peacefully to herself. Her boys were surprisingly behaving during the walk; they just held their mother’s hands and walked beside her. No screaming or yelling. Xiao Qiao was contemplating on whether or not to tell Ma Dai of her pregnancy. Why wouldn’t she tell him? He was her most trusted friend, after all. If anything, he’d be excited to learn that his dear friend was with child. Nothing wrong with telling your baby daddy that you’re having his baby, right?
Zhou Xun spotted a tiger ahead of the direction they were walking to. He pointed with his finger, smiling happily.
"Mama, look, a tiger!" Zhou Xun exclaimed. Next, Zhou Yin spotted a tall figure next to the tiger with short hair, sporting a long red cape and a goatee.
"Mama, look, it’s da ge!” Zhou Yin exclaimed next. Xiao Qiao took a closer look; ah.
Her husband’s best friend, her sister’s husband, and her brother-in-law.
"Yin, that’s not your older brother. That’s your uncle Sun Ce." Xiao Qiao corrected. The boys had a knack for calling Sun Ce their older brother for some reason. Perhaps it was because of Sun Ce’s nature; he wasn’t very adult most of the time, after all.
"Mama, can we see da ge? Please? Pretty please?” her sons begged her with those pouty lips and huge, teary eyes. Drat. She sure thought them well about begging.
"Okay, let’s go see Uncle Sun Ce.” Xiao Qiao responded. Her sons let go of her hands and immediately sped up the hill to give their uncle their famous ‘tackle hugs’. Xiao Qiao laughed as she followed her sons; not running like they were, of course. She was keeping it easy for her and the baby.