8th chapter

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Nora woke up at 4 AM, that being the sixth time that night. Freaking peeing. She had to go to the toilet every half an hour. She was afraid to even think about what would happen further along in pregnancy. Her belly was barely visible, yet her bladder was on the verge of exploding. Viktor was sleeping like a log next to her. She wanted to shake him just so he could see what it was like not to be able to sleep.

Viktor woke up around 9 AM, just in time to discover Nora sitting and crying in front of the TV.

- What happened?

He jumped in panic in front of her, while she sobbed so hard that she could not put together a coherent sentence.

- Nora! What's wrong? – he shook her arms.

- This is so sad! Mom...does...not...let...him...marry...who...he wants... – she stuttered word by word between blowing her nose. It took Viktor a moment to realize she was talking about the movie she was watching. He had heard that pregnant women tend to have mood swings, but now that he had experienced it first hand, he did not know how to act. Women... Truly peculiar creatures.

- Honey, don't upset yourself, it's just a movie.

- But he's a prince. He should be with whoever his heart desires. And she loves him too. But now she left him after all.

He did not have a clue what she was talking about, nothing made sense. He opted for a different tactic.

- I'll make us breakfast, love. You take a shower and calm down, and then we'll go to the doctor.

Fortunately for him, the food did the trick every time. Weird combination, nonetheless, but who was he to judge a woman carrying another human being inside of her.

- You were right, I needed that.

When she returned from the bathroom fifteen minutes later, she was a different person. She was laughing and joking as if she had not just blown half a pack of tissues from crying.

- Just for you, boiled eggs and ajvar (A condiment made from roasted or cooked red bell peppers and oil, used in the Balkans cuisine) – he presented a nicely prepared plate in front of her. She ate ajvar with a spoon. On its own.

They did not spend a lot of time wedding planning. His parents, or rather his mom, insisted it was as soon as possible, while Nora's belly was still unnoticeable. Nora was not worried about that; they had decided to invite only their parents, a best man, and a maid of honor anyway, so she did not care if her belly was visible or not. All the closest people to her knew she was pregnant. Mom Vesna got very involved in the organization; she arranged a priest and a restaurant. Nora only managed to intervene in the food choices, at least somewhat, while Vesna took charge of everything else. Both her mom and Monika asked Nora if she had not wanted a bigger wedding, with a real wedding dress and lots of people. Maybe she did a long time ago, but it was not so important anymore. At least that was what she told herself; this was the best way.

*

- I would never have guessed you would be the first one to marry – Sofija had just finished her drink and was already signaling the waiter to bring her another one.

- Yeah, I agree. I never thought any of us would get married without the rest of us present – Nora sadly shook her head.

- It's interesting how life takes us its own course, whether we like it or not.

*

Viktor organized a honeymoon as a surprise. He booked them a trip to Istria (The largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea shared by Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy, but mostly encapsulated by Croatia). A few days after the wedding, for that matter, but who's counting. He was so romantic and endearing it melted Nora's heart. They had three overnights in Rovinj, as well as the organized excursions to Pula and the surrounding towns. It was February and quite cold, but it was an enjoyable experience. She had never visited seaside cities in the winter; everything looked like a scene from a fairytale. Every day they went out to restaurants for lunch, and for walks or in bars in the afternoon. Viktor did his homework so he could take her to the best-rated restaurants in Istria. She enjoyed tastings and trying out new flavor combinations; she concluded that she definitely fell in love with truffles.

She could not wait for the fruit season. She longed for cherries and strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, watermelon and melon so much throughout her pregnancy that there was a good chance of her daughter turning out to be some kind of a vegan. When the cherry season started, she was seven months pregnant, and her belly was getting huge. Once, she overate so much that she could barely breathe and was sure she had crushed the baby. For the next hour, she lay on the couch, trying to persuade her daughter to kick or move, purely to make sure she was okay.

Sometimes, her panic about childbirth or all that awaited them after the baby was born was getting intense. But the hours spent sitting and talking and singing to her belly made it all more bearable. She was simply fascinated by the miracle that was about to happen to her. 

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