Couple of Mirrors – Chapter 48: Premature Labour
Yan Wei pats Xu Youyi on the back as the latter vomits noisily into a toilet.
Xu Youyi takes the glass of water offered by Yan Wei. ‘Weiwei,’ she says, ‘I’ve realised—’
She pauses long enough to gargle, then spits the mouthful of water into the toilet. ‘Marriage and childbirth are the two biggest frauds society has perpetuated on women,’ she declares.
Yan Wei helps her up. ‘The floor is cold,’ she reminds Xu Youyi.
Xu Youyi yelps. ‘Ah! My feet have gone numb!’
Before Xu Youyi can lose her footing, Yan Wei has already scooped her up. ‘Don’t move,’ she says. ‘Allow me.’
‘You’re quite strong,’ says Xu Youyi with a smile. ‘You seem to be carrying me even more easily than a man would.’
‘Of course,’ says Yan Wei smugly.
Then Yan Wei adds, ‘Although you do weigh much more than you did the day you fell into the lake.’
This leaves Xu Youyi absolutely fuming. ‘Say that one more time, Yan Weiwei,’ she says menacingly.
‘I’m not saying it twice!’ yelps Yan Wei, as she carries Xu Youyi towards the bedroom.
‘Yan Weiwei, what are you on about?’ Xu Youyi demands. ‘Put me down!’
Yan Wei puts Xu Youyi down on the bed. ‘All right, all right,’ she concedes. ‘You’re very light, and so is the baby. Will that do?’
‘Hmph,’ says Xu Youyi, grudgingly satisfied. ‘That will do for now?’
‘What are you doing?’ asks Xu Youyi, as Yan Wei reaches for her feet.
‘Didn’t you say your feet were numb?’ asks Yan Wei.
Xu Youyi chuckles. ‘They’ve stopped being numb, silly!’
‘Oh,’ says Yan Wei. ‘Then I’ll go bring you something to eat.’
As she gets up to leave, Xu Youyi gazes affectionately at her.
Some time later, Good Luck seems startled by the sudden appearance of food.
‘I’ve made you your favourites: red braised pork and chestnut porridge,’ Yan Wei tells Xu Youyi. ‘Have some.’ She holds out the bowl of porridge.
Xu Youyi is looking distinctly unwell. ‘I’m feeling a bit nauseated, and I don’t have any appetite.’
Yan Wei leans down and puts an ear to Xu Youyi’s belly. ‘But… she says she’s hungry.’
‘Mm,’ says Xu Youyi.
Yan Wei blows carefully on a spoonful of porridge and holds it out to Xu Youyi. ‘Here.’
Xu Youyi gazes up at her, and after a moment, she allows herself to be fed.
It’s four months later. As the two of them lie in bed one night, Yan Wei asks, ‘By the way, would you like to have your photograph taken?’
‘What photograph?’ asks Xu Youyi.
‘President Wang told me pregnancy photographs are very popular now,’ says Yan Wei.
Xu Youyi rejects the idea immediately. ‘No!’
‘Do it!’ Yan Wei urges.
Xu Youyi rolls over huffily. ‘I won’t!’ she says. ‘I’m too fat!’
Yan Wei rolls over with her. ‘I’ll take the photographs,’ she says.
Xu Youyi covers her ears. ‘Don’t you understand what I’m saying? I’m not doing it!’
‘We’ll do it tomorrow,’ says Yan Wei cheerfully. ‘Let’s go to sleep.’ She give Xu Youyi a pat on the shoulder.
The next morning, Yan Wei directs Xu Youyi through a series of poses. ‘One, two, three!’ she calls, as the camera clicks. ‘Life your chin,’ she instructs Xu Youyi.
‘Move to the left,’ she tells Xu Youyi. ‘No, no. The other left.’ The camera clicks, capturing Xu Youyi in a variety of poses.
Just then, President Wang walks into the studio. ‘Youyi!’ he calls, then spots Yan Wei. ‘Ah, Yan Wei, you’re here too.’
Xu Youyi greets him. ‘President Wang!’
‘Taking photographs, are you?’ he asks, looking around. He hands Xu Youyi a book with Japanese lettering on the cover. ‘I have a surprise for you!’
‘The Japanese edition has already been published?’ asks Xu Youyi in delight.
‘Mr Nobunaga was a great help,’ President Wang tells her.
‘We really need to thank him,’ says Xu Youyi. Then she adds, ‘By the way, President Wang, could you do me a favour?’
‘Of course!’ says President Wang.
Xu Youyi grabs hold of Yan Wei’s hand.
‘What are you doing?’ Yan Wei demands.
‘Let’s take a photograph!’ says Xu Youyi.
‘No,’ says Yan Wei flatly…
…but she’s completely overridden by the combined efforts of Xu Youyi and President Wang.
‘Go, go,’ urges President Wang, as he pushes her in front of the camera.
‘Hurry, come on,’ says Xu Youyi, pulling her by the hand.
As the two of them stand in front of the camera, Xu Youyi tidies Yan Wei’s hair. ‘Look at you,’ she chides. ‘You’re so young, but you dress like an old lady.’
They both look up suddenly as the camera clicks.
‘Is this the right button?’ asks President Wang, fumbling with the camera. Then he realises he already has the answer. ‘It is, it is, heh.’
Xu Youyi thrusts the book at Yan Wei. ‘Hold this!’ Then she adds, ‘We’re ready!’
The two of them take their positions. Yan Wei’s face is completely impassive. President Wang asks, ‘Yan Wei, can you smile?’
Xu Youyi takes Yan Wei’s hand. ‘Smile!’ she says.
And Yan Wei does.
‘Good!’ says President Wang approvingly. ‘Keep smiling! Yes, just like that. Keeping smiling! One, two, three!’
The camera clicks, immortalising the moment.
And then Xu Youyi clutches her belly. ‘Ah!’
‘What’s the matter?’ asks Yan Wei anxiously.
Fluid is dripping down Xu Youyi’s legs. ‘I think I’m going into labour…’ she says.
Please view the original manhua here.