A few weeks after the phone call, and when I had finally gotten back on my feet, my mother flew into Heathrow and stayed for a while in the Malik home. She had lost her teary eyed demeanor and just ran into my arms and gave Zayn a big, tight hug and welcomed my new in laws.
When she laid eyes on her grandchild, she couldn’t control herself.
Family from all over the world called inquiring about baby Jawadd and how my married life was coming along. Telling that it was fun and enjoyable wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg.
Zayn and I had decided that it would be best for us and baby Jawadd that we move out of the Malik home into our own abode, especially after subsequent celebratory parent sex had impregnated me with twins. Twin boys.
“There’s no way we can have all the kids in here together, Zayn,” I said, plopped down on the ground, leaning against the wooden barriers of Jawadd’s baby crib. One hand was pushing Jawadd’s baby swing, while the other was lying limp on the dome protruding from my center.
Zayn groaned from where he was standing, near the window. “We’ll find a flat somewhere, babe, I know…” The last word lingered, a quiet moan against the cold November glass. A soft mist coated the frost decorated window.
“I’m 4 months pregnant, Zayn, and I can barely see the tips of my shoes,” I whimpered, sadly, heaving off of the floor with both hands on the wooden bars of the crib. My back ached, my head hurt. I wanted out and I wanted it soon. It wasn’t me being stubborn; it was me being worried that it would be too late.
Zayn hesitated at the window, his eyes drifting off into space.
I understood why Zayn was worried about leaving. It would mean actually putting his well earned money into an actual home, when in fact, he was ready to use it to splurge on his wife and his, now three, sons. I was okay with refusing another diamond ring; I wanted my kids to have a home where they were comfortable and could do what they wanted, especially without the prying eyes of the public. I knew that oh too well.
Zayn had just gotten a statement released to British paparazzi trying to get them off my back. I knew that being married to someone high profile as Zayn would be hard, but I thought a woman could at least buy some milk without being hounded by black clad photographers. I didn’t want this high profile life, nor did I want it for my kids. Moving out of London, or to a lower, lesser populated area of London, could solve this and still let Zayn be the dad he wanted to be.
I stood there, leaning backward, both my hands on my stomach and looked at Zayn. I was tired and wanted something better, and now, in the dead of November, Zayn had to do something. I wasn’t bringing these two kids back to the Malik home, and it was clear that I wouldn’t be returning to the US anytime soon. I wobbled up to him and gave him a pat on the shoulder, kissed his cheek and went to bed, hoping that he’d be able to make the right decision when the time came.
It was a rough pregnancy. Round 2 seemed to suck just as much as round 1 did.
The morning sickness was gone, but I still struggled to get out of bed like I did before. Considering the fact that I had been pregnant for most of the time after our wedding, it was inconceivable for me to go to work and try to keep myself occupied. I was restricted to the home and local library… just as soon as I successfully rolled my huge, rotund body out of bed and regained consciousness from my frequent fainting spells.
Zayn was out of the house most of the time, for what I thought were production sessions followed by house hunting adventures. My eyes burned from staring at Tumblr-esque homes and dream places complete with swimming pools and mini playgrounds. I kept in contact with my brother and cousins and Molly as I spent the long weeks between American Thanksgiving and the days preceding Christmas in front of the computer and at the doctor’s office.
Then it was Christmas.
To call me a miserable fool would not have been sufficient, considering the amount of bitchiness I was producing during my 4th and 5th months of pregnancy. Christmas, the smells, sounds and complete aura, made me smile and want to enjoy the gloomy snow drifts and frozen mistletoe hanging outside of stores.
The Malik home was decorated from top to bottom with Christmas lights, wreaths and scented holly leaves. The Christmas tree was completely decorated and there was a faint red glow to the room, beautiful complimented by the Christmas carols being sung out of our family radio.
Mama was in the kitchen cooking a Christmas Eve dinner that it looked like just us two would enjoy. We were both sitting quietly at the dinner table, my heart a little broken that all my decorating efforts had gone to waste, when Zayn busted through the door, a grin on his face and snow fluff in his hair.
“I have somewhere to take you all,” Zayn said, the white of his smile glistening in the dark room. He tucked his shawl into his coat and ran to the closet, yanking my coat out and pulling out my winter boots. He motioned to his mother –who was adorning a bewildered expression – to get her coat on, while he ran to me and heaved me off my chair. I was dumbstruck by how fast Zayn was moving; he was literally shoving my boots on and wrapping a warm scarf across my face. If he was in even more of a rush, I’m sure he would have carried my nearly 200 lb. body to the car.
The snow was roaring outside, a Christmas blizzard on the horizon. I trudged through the cold winter snow, Zayn’s hand protectively on my back, his other hand holding his mother, as she climbed the snow drifts to the black Jeep parked in the front.
“What… the… hell… are we doing, Zayn?” I said, reaching out to Mama, who had safely brought Jawadd with her out of the house. I was panting, my breath shallow. I could barely move in this state of pregnancy, so this was something new.
“I have something to show you,” he said, the same smile on his face, a determined hand driving us across town, through the heart of London. I had a feeling that he wouldn’t say any more, so I kept my mouth shut and saved my breath.
We whipped through the bright Christmas-lit city and stopped right outside a quiet apartment complex on the outskirts of town. My heart was beating in my chest.
“Is this…?” I ventured.
“Yes, it is,” he said, a smile on his face. “This is where we’re gonna be raising our kids.”
I stared at him, a weird tension tying us together.
I decided to break it by slapping him hard on the arm.
“Ow!” He whimpered, a dilapidated smile still on his face.
“You didn’t have to make this so damn dramatic, you idiot!” I was annoyed; Mama let out a laugh at my reaction.
“Aw come on babe,” he said, mid-laughter. “Let’s go see the flat.” He took my hand and led me all the way up to the fourth floor, where he handed me the key to open the door.
“Here, you can do the honors,” he said, sliding the cold silver key into my glove clad hand. I gave him a deep stare into his brown eyes and slid the key into the lock, unlocking the door and swinging it open into the dark blackness.
“Well this is anticlimactic,” I muttered, fumbling around with my hand against the wall, trying to find the light switch. In anger, I tossed the key on the ground and started feeling around on the wall for a light switch.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” The lights – more than I had expected – switched on in full blast, as the entire One Direction team jumped up, smiling.
My heart dropped as I looked from a beaming Zayn to Danielle, Liam, Eleanor, Louis, Molly, Niall, Harry, and all of the kids. Papa Malik was sipping some eggnog near the bar station and… well the whole place was done up in Christmas decorations like I’d never seen before.
I mean I’d seen…but never actually done.
It took me a few minutes to catch my breath.
“Breathe, Jess,” Molly said, clutching my hand and patting me on the back.
“Don’t wanna cut any of that circulation for the two buns in the oven, now do we,” Harry said cheekily.
“You guys knew about this?” I said, looking from all of the boys to Mama Malik. They all nodded yes.
“How do you think Zayn got a place like this? Obviously not his taste,” Danielle said, a smirk on her face
“Hey now,” Zayn said. He stopped swinging Jawadd in circles. “I picked out the… wood color.” I gave him a smile and he continued playing with Jawadd.
“Thanks guys,” I said, accepting my own cup of hot chocolate and sitting down with the crew.
“Anytime, big mama,” Niall said, playing with his own red-haired son Seamus. Liam and Danielle were chasing their two kids and Molly’s kids were already venturing over to the presents under the Christmas tree.
“And to a great Christmas, reunited again!” Liam said, raising his mug to the ceiling. We raised them hysterically and chugged them, remembering the nights of young love, sweaty concerts, and now, lives as parents.
Oh how time had changed.