Nodame hurried out of the Metro, she was going to be late and it was all Shin’s fault. He was the one who insisted that she just five more minutes in bed. Her face heated as she remember how five more minutes had drifted into more than an hour more in bed.
Not that she really minded spending more time in bed with Shin. There was a time she thought she would never get to this point and be comfortable calling him by his first name rather than Sempai... although sometime he begged her to call him that.
Nodame was surprised to find that the school gates were locked. She pulled out her phone – yes it was Wednesday – she taught her “little petit” music class on Wednesdays. She double checked her phone again Wednesday 24th. She frowned at the locked gate, it should be open.
“It’s closed,” came a gruff voice behind her.
“Closed?” Nodame turned to find a small white-haired man, stooped with age.
“Yes, for Noel.”
“Oui, what do you English call it?” the man paused. “Christ – mas” he said slowly.
Christ-mas? Where have I heard that before? “Christ-mas” she repeated. Then “Christmas!” Oh no, Christmas! December 25 and I haven’t even got Shinichi a gift. Baka! How do you forget Christmas? Nodame just knew that her ever organised husband would have bought her gift She turned a rushed back the way she had come, there wasn’t a moment to lose. She was half way down the street when she remembered the man. “Merci Beaucoup!” she yelled before running back to the Metro.
“Enfants,” he shook his head.
Nodame wasn’t sure what to get Shinichi, the man literally had everything. The few times she’d got him a gift – clothing when they were dating he’d worn it once – to be nice and then never worn it again. She didn’t think he wanted another PuriGorota t-shirt. Maybe a scarf – he couldn’t find a reason not to wear that in winter and if she stayed away from bright colours... yes, a scarf. Nodame strode purposefully into the first men’s clothing store she could find, then came to an abrupt halt.
To say there were a lot of people trying to get a last minute gift was something of an understatement. She could barely see any clothes for the heaving mass of people in front of her. She wanted to turn away but she couldn’t go home empty-handed. She had to get Shin a present in return for the gift she was sure he had bought her.
Nodame squared her shoulders summoning up some of the determination she’d used to catch up with Chiaki Sempai. She could do this, buying him a scarf was nothing compared to that.
Thirty minutes later Nodame was beginning to revise that opinion. Every time she thought she saw something Shin would like, someone else got there first before she could even pick it up. She seethed as she recalled being this close to the perfect blue scarf before it was swiped out right from under her nose. She was determined the next one was hers, no matter what!
She’d been in the clothing store for just over an hour, been elbowed and crushed more times than she cared to mentioned, her clothes had been sticking to her for the last half hour but none of that matter now because she had seen the perfect scarf and more importantly she was the only one who’d seen it – almost hidden by the most hideous florescent orange and pink coat.
Nodame pulled the pale blue scarf from its hiding place triumphant – it was hers, all hers, this time nobody had stolen it from beneath her nose! She turned to go to the till, suddenly everything around her started to move – it was spinning. Her last thought as she slid to the ground was that she would not be able to give Shinichi his gift.
It was the incessant beeping that pulled Nodame into wakefulness. Her eyes opened and were almost blinded by a bright white light, as she got used to the brightness she realised she was lying in bed in a white room.
“Madame Chiaki?” a soft voice asked. Nodame turned to find a smiling woman, with a cascade of red hair in a white coat. “I’m Doctor Bruhn. Do you know what happened?”
“I – “ Nodame had to force her brain to work in French. “I was shopping and I... I’m sorry that’s all I remember.”
“Don’t worry Madame Chiaki. You fainted in the store. You were brought here about an hour ago, we’ve contacted your husband.”
“Yes, you were unconscious when they brought you into the hospital. Can you tell me a bit about how you were feeling before you fainted?”
“It was really hot, there were so many people.”
“Yes, just so we can rule out there being any other causes - I’m going to ask you a few questions – ok?”
“Ok,” Nodame agreed not sure what the other causes could be.
“Have you been eating ok?”
“Have you been eating normally,” the doctor clarified.
“Usually I can eat anything – especially if Shin cooks but just lately food has been making me sick.”
“Sick? Is this at a specific time of day? Say morning?” the doctor pressed.
“No, anytime – some days it will be chocolate other days it will be the smell of ramen that makes me sick.”
“Ok,” the doctor looked up from her notes. “How about any cravings?”
“Fresh fruit,” Nodame answered immediately, she had been driving Shinichi crazy with requests for fresh fruit even in the middle of the night, so he’d have to drive to the hypermarket to get it.
“Any tenderness in your breasts?”
Nodame blushed at that question, “No.”
“Are you going to the toilet more often?”
“Yes.” Nodame remembered all the times she’d had to rush out of rehearsals or class to go to the bathroom.
“Ok,” the doctor stood. “I’m going to ask the nurse to take some blood and urine. We’ve got a lab on site so we should get the results back in the next couple of hours.
“What’s wrong?” Nodame asked nervously.
“Nothing to worry about, I just need to take some tests to be sure. I will be back to share the results with you.”
Before Nodame could ask another question the doctor was out of the room. About five minutes later a nurse came and took a blood sample before helping Nodame to the bathroom. She’d been sitting back in the bed for almost an hour when a harried looking Shinichi strode into the room.
“Nodame!” he hurried over to the bed and pulled her into his arms. “I was so worried, they wouldn’t tell me anything over the phone. “What happened?”
“I fainted buying your Christmas present. I didn’t get you a present I’m sorry.” She added
“Baka! I don’t care about a stupid present. Have they said when you can leave?”
“No, they wanted to wait until the results of the tests to rule out any other causes to the faint.”
“Other causes?” Shinichi asked. “What other causes could there be?”
Before she could answer the door opened and Dr Bruhn stepped inside. Smiling as she looked up from her charts, “Ah Monsieur Chiaki, please take a seat.”
“What’s wrong with Noda?” he asked.
“Nothing, Madame Chiaki is in perfect health.”
“Why the tests, Noda said that you ran some tests.”
“Yes, I wanted to rule out any other causes for her faint.”
“And did you,” Chiaki felt himself starting to get annoyed.
“Yes, as I said Mrs Chiaki is in perfect health. She will of course need to take extra vitamins and supplements but that is quite natural in this situation.”
“Sorry, I should explain shouldn’t I?”
“It would help,” Chiaki agreed.
“From the symptoms your wife displayed I decided to run a blood and urine test. Both of those tests came back positive. Congratulations. You are going to be parents.”
“Sorry can you repeat that?” Chiaki asked.
“What?” Nodame exclaimed at the same time.
“Madame Chiaki is pregnant. “
“I thought that was what you said,” Chiaki said.
“Well, I’ll leave you two alone to discuss this. I will be back shortly with the discharge papers.”
When she had gone, Chiaki turned to Nodame. “You were wrong you know,” he said conversationally. “You did get me a present.”
“I...” Nodame trailed off lost.
“Before you said you didn’t get me a present but you have – we’ve got the best present – a little daughter or son.” He pulled her into his arms. “I’m so glad I met you.”