June - First trimester
The first trimester can be the hardest. Kim experienced only moderate morning sickness -- she almost always kept her breakfast down. She didn't suffer too much in terms of food cravings either. The one night when she wanted sushi and chocolate ice cream together was the only time when she felt the need for something unusual. More often the food cravings were for familiar foods -- such as the nights she only ate asparagus for supper or the days at Bueno Nacho for lunch.
Fatigue hit her harder than many women. She was so used to an active lifestyle that inaction and feeling tired took their own toll. In some ways fatigue was her friend. While she was asleep most of her worries disappeared.
Mood swings held the title for the greatest problem Kim faced. She could never be certain it the mood swings could be blamed on hormones or circumstances. It was agony not knowing what was inside her. She told herself that DNAmy had done what she said she was going to do, but Kim had no way to verify that. The potential risks of genetic testing usually kept the tests from being administered in the first trimester, but Kim looked forward to the earliest possible date.
The mild sedatives her mother prescribed helped. Kim checked the drug information carefully before she started taking them, to make sure they wouldn't harm the baby.
Kim spent most of the month as home, sleeping and watching too much television. She wondered if she should try talking with Shego. Kim had acted out of love, and Shego had been so angry Kim feared it would break them apart. Some nights that scared her worse than the pregnancy.
She couldn't take the inactivity any longer; Kim had to get back into life.
Felix was back in Middleton for the summer, but his night job limited the time Kim could spend at his house. In their conversations he used the word Justine often enough to raise Kim's curiosity, but never went into enough detail to satisfy the curiosity.
Bonnie proved to be surprisingly supportive of Kim. They went out more than Kim would have once dreamed of. Kim suspected Bonnie had other motives for getting out the house, but Kim was willing to take advantage of any willing ear.
Monique was in Middleton for the summer also, but usually working a forty plus hour week at Club Banana. An assistant manager never receives as good a schedule as a real manager, but she usually had either Friday or Saturday night off. Unfortunately those nights out weren't all earmarked for Kim time. For two people who claimed not to be serious about each other Monique and Will went out a surprising amount.
They did invite Kim along for a couple dates. They watched a wonderful production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Kim felt terribly underdressed -- apparently Monique had expanded the formal part of her wardrobe. A couple weeks later Kim went with them to a club. Will offered her a couple dances, but Kim declined, preferring to let them get out on the floor together. And Will seemed to have expanded his casual wardrobe, he did nothing to embarrass Monique with his clothes -- he waited to get out on the dance floor to do that. Monique had warned Kim ahead of time, “He still dances like a white guy,” and Kim had to agree.
The small circle of friends who knew what was going on with Kim did not include Will, or anyone else at Global Justice. Betty Director had assumed it was the fact Shego was in Global Justice custody which caused Kim to decline another summer internship.
Kim took Monique and Will out to C2K before she left for Canada. She wondered if this was what she and Shego had looked like last summer, both scared and nervous about what they felt and what the other felt towards her. Kim hadn't known her own feeling for certain until the first time she kissed Shego for real.
Will requested that Mustapha dismember him on the chessboard, in order to give Monique and Kim a little time together.
“So, what's up with you and Will?”
“You sound just like my mother.”
“Seriously, Monique, have you two even kissed?”
“Kim, that's sort of personal.”
“Look, the two of you have something going on. What? Have you kissed him?”
“Well, the two of you need to kiss and decide whether you want each other or not -- I'm getting uncomfortable watching you.”
“And a kiss will tell us that?”
“It worked for me and Shego.”
Monique appeared skeptical.
“Come on, you said you wanted a Boy Scout. Will is a Boy Scout. How many men do you think would keep going out with you and not even get a goodnight kiss? People think Shego and I are sick and twisted. I think you two have us beat.”
“I don't know Kim. I mean, we share values and we have some fun. But we told ourselves in February nothing serious was ever going to happen between us. What if he thinks I'm just a friend? I like getting out with him. Will I scare him off?”
Kim rolled her eyes, “A simple little goodnight kiss. See how he responds. You want me to show you how it's done?”
“One kiss, see what happens.”
“Kissing is how it starts Kim, that's not where it ends. I almost went too far with Jamal.”
“Will isn't Jamal. You already know he has the patience of Job. I'm starting to wonder if he's gay.”
“That's just crazy.”
“Really, Monique, you need to get psychic.”
“I am not going to--”
“Not sex, just a kiss. It's time Monique. A simple goodnight kiss. See how he responds.”
“I'll think about it.”
Will came around and opened the car door to let Kim out. As he walked back to get in Kim crossed two fingers and waved to Monique. Monique waved back, two fingers also crossed.
First the good news on the baby, then back with Global Justice if only for a month, and finally almost three weeks spent constantly with Shego -- if August hadn't ended with the trial and conviction it might have been the happiest month of her life.
September - Second Trimester
Kim had wondered why she had started showing a little ahead of when the baby books predicted. She decided twins answered the question. The first few weeks of class she wore over-size, baggy shirts -- trying to hide her condition. She finally decided she simply appeared to be a slob. And she couldn't hide forever.
The gossip started when Kim stopped trying to dress to disguise. Ron entered into most of the gossip. He was the only man she had ever really been seen with. Some students claimed to have seen her making out with a woman on the Green last year, but that didn't seem likely.
Kim bore it as well as she could, it hurt like hell. She began to understand Shego's fears, and could appreciate what her lover had wanted to spare her from. At least she knew who her real friends were.
Bonnie was the only one from the college cheerleading squad who would even be seen with her.
Monique remained a supporter. All Kim had managed to pry from Monique about Will had been a “Thanks for the advice.” Sometimes Kim wondered if there was a vast conspiracy among her friends to keep her in the dark about their love lives.
Ron was terrific. When he left for Japan Shego had been in the hospital. He hadn't been quite certain what to expect when he got home -- but it certainly hadn't been news of Kim's pregnancy.
Because of his close friendship he received the full story. Like everyone else who heard it he couldn't believe what Kim had done. He knew that campus gossip named him the father. He decided it was better to accept the role than expose Kim to more slander and guesses about the father's identity.
At first Kim didn't even realize what Ron was doing. She was shocked as she heard students discussing her and Ron in the library.
“Ron, you know what people are saying about you?”
“I'm guessing they say I put the bun in your oven.”
“Is it all a cooking metaphor for you?”
“KP, life is just a metaphor for food. No, food is more than that. Life is a metafive for food, maybe a metasix.”
“Ron, it doesn't help your reputation on campus.”
“Au contraire, Kim, guys look at me with envy. Women look at me and ask, 'Who? Him?' Small children and puppies hide from my presence -- oh, wait, they did that anyway.”
“I think it's French for 'let them stick it up their asses,' or maybe it means, 'My father has a blue pen.' You know, I really didn't do well in French class.”
“You wrote to Yori?”
“Oh, yeah. Eight days a week. Not that there's much chance of the gossip getting that far. But I told her what people are saying. She knows I wasn't even here at the time.”
“Thanks. It makes life a lot easier for me.”
Ron knew that a lot easier still wasn't easy. “If you really want to thank me you can try my new sushi recipes.”
Shego and Kim corresponded almost as regularly as Ron and Yori's eight days a week.
Kim filled her letters more with the news of other people than stories of herself and her classes. Shego knew what was happening with Ron and Bonnie, read Kim's speculations about Monique and Will, and wondered why there was almost nothing said about Wade. Kim avoided writing about her own feelings because they moved too quickly for her to pin down. Some days she felt radiant and optimistic. Other days she felt like she had made the biggest mistake of her life and didn't want to admit it.
Shego's letters, on the other hand, were filled with tales of classes. The University of Ottawa offered classes for prisoners. The theory seemed to be that education would help in rehabilitation and job skills. Many of the women in the classes with Shego had not done well in school before entering prison. As a result Shego found herself the head of her classes. Not only was she doing well in the three classes formally available, but her enthusiasm had persuaded the Literature prof. to let her take two individual study courses, one in Jane Austen and one in Byron.
Shego's individual courses filled Shego's letters with more of Regency England than Kim would ever have imagined possible. “She's having more fun in prison than I am in college,” Kim sometimes thought as she read Shego's letters.
In one letter Shego wrote, “I'm writing a little play for my classes. It's set in 1815. Lord Byron and Jane Austen have been invited to a dinner party and are seated next to each other. Byron is all mad, bad, and dangerous to know while Jane Austen is all Sense and Sensibility. The Lit prof. said he will take it for my final paper in both my individual classes. He says I'm brilliant.”
Kim tried to respond in a teasing manner when she wrote, “You think you know a person, and they turn out to be a closet literaphile. Do you have other dark secrets and anti-social tendencies you are keeping from me?”
Shego's reply made it appear she did not see Kim's letter as gently teasing. “You may not realize this, but I once had a life, miserable and wretched as it was. It was not in high school or college -- where the cheerleaders and popular kids made fun of the little green freak. It was not as a supporting player in Team Go -- although that was better than the ridicule I endured in the school hallways. My life was on the pages of books -- the only friends I had. They didn't care what color my skin was. And they never made fun of me for reading.
“All these years, and nothing has changed. The cheerleader still makes fun of the green woman who retreats from the pain of prison into her old friends with pages.”
Their letters of apology crossed in the mail.
“I'm afraid I communicate better with the spoken word than the written,” Kim's letter said. “I will never try to hurt you in my letters and I'm sorry it seemed that way. Please give me the benefit of the doubt if I sound stupid and consider it a failed attempt at humor.”
“We spent too many years fighting,” Shego wrote, “and sometimes I get defensive when I shouldn't. Please forgive the outburst of anger. I have a little trouble curbing my enthusiasm because you and classes are the only two positive things in my life. Since you already know about you I have to write about them. I know you didn't mean to hurt me. We are both a little on cranky these days. Please don't stop writing. Your letters are the high point of my day.”
Shego's continued interest in Judaism confused and puzzled Kim. Ron's faith had never been an issue, but while Ron was her best friend she had never hoped to spend the rest of her life with him.
Middleton enjoyed especially good weather for the trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Kim wondered if it was just her imagination, but there seemed to be fewer parents bringing their children to the Possibles' door for candy.
Kim blamed her twins for the backaches that started late in the month. They weren't supposed to start until the third trimester, but she was a little ahead of schedule on changes in weight distribution. And she really hoped her breasts returned to normal after the twins were born, she'd gone up almost two cup-sizes and they were more tender.
Early in December a note from Shego puzzled Kim. At the close of the letter Shego had written, “You may not hear from me for awhile. They have me on a short leash at the moment. Metaphor? Symbol? Simile? Reality? All my love, Shego”