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The Eden of You

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Yifan watched Yixing in the garden, tending to flowers and watering plants as the sun shone through the trees that lined the back edges of their fence. The younger was in denim dungarees that had been Yifan’s a few years before, the cuffs were rolled up around his ankles, the colour had worn to a powder blue and mud splattered up the legs of them. They were an item for comfort and functionality, they allowed for tools to be tucked into the large pockets and the younger’s phone was perched in one of the side pockets, the earphones feeding into his ears as he pulled weeds and clipped branches. Those things, however, were not what Yifan was looking at. His eyes were drawn to where the dungarees split in half and revealed a large stomach, one that was carrying the child they’d tried for years to have.

Yixing’s pregnancy had been a relief, a time where they both cried over the results and spent hours picking out newborn clothes almost instantly, especially since they had begun to look into different IVF treatments that would have depleted their life savings completely. Desperation was never a word used but they both felt it, so much so that sex had become almost like a chore. They’d have a calendar, time slots in the day and barely any foreplay. It created arguments, frustrations and moments of quiet concern over their compatibility. Nevertheless, it also created life.

But watching Yixing like he was that lazy afternoon, he couldn’t imagine anybody else having his child. Yixing’s back arched, his stomach proudly protruding from his body and his muddy hands were rested around the bump as he sung softly to whatever he had listened to. Yifan adored watching the younger from the kitchen window as he cleaned the plates and dishes they’d used through the day. It was a sight of wonder that stood before him; black hair, brown eyes and smooth skin. Yixing was the kind of beautiful that would have enraptured anybody and, with the pregnancy, he was even more striking.

Yifan didn’t mind Yixing doing tasks in the garden, as long as he wasn’t using chemicals or the larger tools that could be dropped and cause damage. Plus, while their garden was their own domain, they often had somebody around once every other week to preen the bulk of the plant life. Yixing still chose the flowers, vegetables and fruits that would be planted in their many raised beds and Yifan found enjoyment in the input his husband had in the seasonal changes their environment would get. It had started out as a hobby in their first house, something for Yixing to do while Yifan worked weekends during the summer and soon a decent garden was on the requirements for their new houses. Their current home, the one to raise their children in, was their third and Yixing’s fingers were tipped in a solid, vibrant green and the words of ‘The baby can pick the strawberries when they ripen, they can help dig up the sweet potatoes and they can climb the lemon tree that was already there when they are big enough,' had slipped out of his mouth as soon as he saw the outdoor space.

They’d spent a decent amount of money getting a landscaper in to sort everything exactly how Yixing wanted it but they were almost completely self-sufficient in their fresh foods and Yixing had even mentioned talking to their neighbours about whether or not they would be adverse to them having a few chickens. In all honestly, Yifan had never seen himself be the kind of person to live in the far part of suburbia that backed onto vast countryside, concerning himself over whether or not to get the pet-friendly slug killer because their neighbour had recently bought a kitten. And yet, he was.

Yifan could never dispute how wonderful their garden appeared with his pregnant husband in the frame, the colours enveloped him and the grass brushed against his bare ankles that were swelling under the new pressure of bearing a child. The elder dried his hands, wrapping the tea towel around the handle of a cupboard before going out to the garden to place a surprise kiss on the shorter male’s neck. Yifan’s hands were poised in different places, one on Yixing’s stomach and the other on the tool his husband had used before his sneaky kiss.

“Do you need a drink or anything?” Yifan asked, not removing his mouth from the younger’s hairline as he spoke and he felt the younger press some of his weight back to be supported by Yifan to ease some of the strain on his back.

“No, I’ve got my bottle here,” Yixing sighed, letting Yifan take the pruner out of his hand and toss it away from them both. “I was thinking that we should get some wildflowers to grow in the grass and let it become like a little meadow, instead of a lawn.”

“Whatever you want, we’ll do it,” Yifan nuzzled into his husband’s neck, kissing it while he took in the slightly sweaty scent of the younger as the sun turned their skin more golden. “Make a list, we’ll get it done before the baby comes.”

“She wants to come soon.”

“Does she?” Yifan’s other hand circled the younger’s body and pressed slightly. “We will get it done soon then.”

“You’ll wake her and you’re not the one who has to deal with her stomping tantrums,” Yixing warned but Yifan still pressed down, only letting up when he felt a small limb hit his palm from beneath the taut flesh. “She’s not happy, you woke her up.”

“I’m sorry baby, daddy really wanted to say hello,” he cooed, soothing over where he knew Yixing’s skin had stretched a little more tightly and the kicks lessened in their intensity as if she had heard her father’s words. “You’re going to be a daddy’s girl, aren’t you?”

“Well, it would be impossible for her to be anything else, seeing as she will have two daddies.”

“Exactly,” Yifan smiled and looked around at Yixing, who had his eyes closed and one of his smaller hands layered over Yifan’s.

“What time is it anyway?” Yixing asked, tilting his face up to the warm sun above.

“Just coming to three, so it should cool off soon.”

Yifan kissed along Yixing’s jaw, down his neck then back up to circle over his cheeks, the younger dimpled at the gentle gestures Yifan gave him. Their hands were joined up, both of them swaying as breezes rustled the leaves around them and Yifan could imagine them standing like that in a few years as they watched their daughter play in the summer warmth in clothes they picked out for her. Maybe another child joining her as they chased each other around garden furniture and different plants Yixing had added to their collection.

He moved around to face his husband, blocking the sunlight and making him open his eyes. Yixing moved first as he rose up to his toes and pressed a gentle kiss to Yifan’s lips and the elder used his height to bend down to help Yixing keep both his feet solidly on the ground. They were still swaying to the music Yixing’s phone was playing and Yifan held his jaw gently, guiding the other through their shallow but languid kiss.

“Maybe some poppies for the autumn and British Bluebells for the spring,” Yixing whispered as he pulled away, continuing their previous conversation as Yifan pulled one of their garden chairs out from the patio. Yixing sat himself down and Yifan lifted up the ice-filled water bottle to give to his husband whose hands were readily waiting for the plastic before sitting down on the floor in front of the younger.

Yifan lifted one of his husband's swollen ankles and massaged his fingers over the tender skin, adoring how happily Yixing hummed at the sensation and it wasn't long before the younger was muttering about how wonderful it felt. Yifan switched feet, the other's hand bringing his head closer to his stomach until it was resting on it and the elder could hear the muted sounds of their daughter moving around inside his husband's stomach. They stayed like that, their bodies wrapped around each other until Yixing had finished his drink.

"She wants to meet you," Yixing mumbled, shifting as Yifan placed both his feet on the ground and Yifan put his large hands on his stomach again. He could feel and hear everything their baby was doing, it gave him the image of an active child that they would constantly be chasing after and showering with love in their home.

"I want to meet her too," Yifan smiled, kissing the denim that came between their bodies.

Yifan rose up to be on his knees until he was in line with Yixing's face and the shorter smiled as he felt Yifan's flat stomach begin to layer over his round one and then they were kissing, lips moulding and fitting perfectly together as Yifan rubbed over where the baby was kicking up a riot within Yixing. They were sighing softly as birds sang in the trees and the sun surrounded them. Even the way Yifan kissed Yixing had changed from when they were younger, it was slower and more affectionate. There was less need for physical affirmation and touching, even though he still indulged himself in feeling the other's body heat passing through his clothing often because they could do everything with looks and slight movements.

Yixing pulled back, eyes open and Yifan watched him in awe. There was mud on his cheek, soil flecked in his hair, his lips pink from kissing and Yifan adored him.

"Anything you want, with the baby, with the garden, we'll do it."