The baby may be hardly a few days old when Kongpob found it at the dumpster. Honestly, on a Monday morning finding a baby on the cemented pavement, just beside a huge dustbin, was the last thing on Kongpob's plans as he was rushing to reach his office in time. Well, it is obviously not something on anyone’s plans no matter which day of the week it is. But destiny played its game and Kongpob heard the soft cries of the baby, cries for a kind soul to come and save it.
Seeing all the red bumps and rashes on the infant's face, Kongpob's heart sank. All the thoughts of reaching the company or meeting the foreign investors were thrown in that same dumpster as he picked the baby up in his arms, lovingly cradling it. He decided to call Arthit. After two or three rings, a sleepy voice answered.
"Hello, phi? Phi, can you please come here with your car? I'm in front of the dumpster near our lane."
The panic in Kongpob's voice made Arthit's sleep completely disappear. "Why do you sound so panicked? Is everything okay?"
"I...uh… I found this baby thrown in the garbage. It's really small, we'll need to take it to the hospital as soon as possible. I tried to search for a taxi or a car nearby but you know how this road is almost always empty in the morning. Plus, my car is gone for servicing." Kongpob had started rambling, a habit that always surfaced whenever he was nervous.
Arthit hurriedly got up from the bed and started wearing the first pair of clothes he found in the cupboard. Brushing his teeth while simultaneously gathering his wallet and car keys, Arthit was ready to head out. " Okay, okay. I'm on my way. Don’t worry," He said wearing his seatbelt. On his way, he called his uncle, Dr. Chairat, to inform him about the situation, at least the basic things he knows. It hardly took 2 minutes for Arthit to reach the place by car.
Recognizing his husband's car, Kongpob immediately made his way towards it with the baby securely held in his arms. He settled in the passenger seat as they rushed to the nearest hospital.
Once they reached, Dr. Chairat met them. He took the baby to the NCU telling Arthit and kongpob to wait outside. Kongpob explained everything to Arthit about how he found the baby while anxiously waiting in front of the NCU, waiting for someone to come and tell them about the baby's condition, for someone to assure them that the baby wouldn't leave the world just a few days after entering it.
Almost an hour later, the door opened and Dr. Chairat stood in front of them. "He is two days old baby boy. His breathing rate and and pulse are a little slow but his APGAR score is still fine. And aside from the visible marks due to insect and probably a mouse, there is no severe injury. The baby will survive but we still need to keep him on the ventilator for a few days. Also, Arthit we need to inform the police about this."
Nodding his head, Arthit thanked his uncle. He already knew that the police will have to be involved in this but a part of him felt reluctant. Dr. Chairat patted Arthit's shoulder and left the couple alone.
Arthit had to consciously remind himself that the scene in front of him wasn't some kind of a jpeg image and kongpob had actually been sitting in front of the ventilator for the past two hours, wordlessly staring at the newborn. Slowly massaging Kongpob's surely sore neck, Arthit's eyes, too, skimmed through the various marks on the infant. And despite everything, the innocent boy was peacefully sleeping in the box made of glass, an oxygen mask attached to his little face.
Finally, two police officers came and took Kongpob’s statement about when and where he found the baby. A copy of the baby’s medical report was submitted while the inspector gave a copy of the fir to Arthit.
“Uh… Officer, can we still stay with him till you find his parents?”
“As long as you don’t try to butcher our investigation, I don’t see a reason as to why you can’t stay with him,” Officer Nat said with a smile.
Weirdly relaxed, Arthit and Kongpob sat in front of the NCU, lost in their thoughts. “P’Arthit what are you doing?” Kong asked as Arthit seemed to be too engrossed on his phone.
“I’m looking for some baby names.” Seeing Kongpob's amused face, Arthit asked, “What? You want to keep calling him baby?”
With a loving smile on his face, Kongpob shook his head and leaned closer to Arthit. “Let’s look for it together.”
A few hours and dozens of weird names later, they finally found a good name. Dae. The name not only had a nice ring to it but also had a beautiful meaning behind it, destined for greatness.
A week passed by and there was no news about Dae’s biological parents. A cruel wish of never finding the true parents crossed both Arthit and Kongpob’s hearts a few times already but they quickly brushed it off, trying to hold onto their morals and each other.
Carefully they opened the topic of adoption in front of inspector Nat. The inspector explained to them the legal procedure and how the biological parents might get the child if they were found before the completion of the adoption process. Nonetheless, Kongpob contacted the adoption center that was in-charge of Dae and started the adoption process.
A few days later, the police arrested an underage girl. Her DNA was taken and it was proved that she was Dae’s biological mother. The girl’s parents were called and were informed about everything. This was a huge shock to them as they had trusted their daughter and let her come all the way to Bangkok from Chiangmai for her studies. But they had no idea that their daughter had been pregnant while she stopped visiting them in the name of some important exam.
Arthit didn’t know all the details but inspector Nat assured them that the girl and her parents had agreed to give Dae for adoption but because of their irresponsible action, the decision of who will be the child’s guardian will solely lay in the adoption center’s hands.
Three months passed but the adoption process was still ongoing. Dae was shifted from the hospital to the adoption center and luckily Arthit and Kongpob were allowed to visit him every day during visiting hours. In the expanse of these months, Arthit and Kongpob had to go through numerous interviews but the authorities seemed reluctant to come to any decision.
A heterosexual couple had also started competing with them for adopting Dae. And even though Arthit and Kongpob clearly won in the financial department, it wasn’t a huge secret that the society favors the heterosexual couple in the adoption process.
Irked by the blatant favoritism, Kongpob called his dad. They decided to pull every string they could and to use every contact that could help them win this.
“P’Arthit Khrap….” Kongpob entered the almost empty house only to see his husband sitting on the sofa with his face buried in his hands. “P’Arthit Khrap.” He lovingly caresses Arthit’s hair, trying to coax him into talking. “What happened, P’?”
When Arthit looked up, the site broke Kongpob’s heart into million pieces. The pain in Arthit’s bloodshot eyes rendered Kongpob speechless.
“Kong, you saved him. When he was at the hospital, we were the ones who spent days and nights with him, taking care of each and every need of his. I would’ve understood if it was his biological parents but how can some random strangers just come and take him away from us? I’m sorry, Kong, because of me you—”
“P’!!!” Kongpob wiped away all of Arthit’s tears and hugged him, Arthit’s face pressed against Kongpob’s stomach. “Don’t ever think that any of this is your fault.”
“Shhh…” Kongpob kneeled and delicately held Arthit’s face. “I’ll do my best to bring him home but even if we lose, for me, you are my everything.”
That night when they laid in bed, Arthit stared at Kongpob’s sleeping face.
”You should sleep rather than staring at my face, baby,” Kong said with his eyes still closed but a small smile playing on his lips.
“You knew I was staring at you and you didn’t give me your patented creepy smile?”
Kongpob opened his eyes and looked at Arthit with a huge smile, his “patented” smile. “Why, P’? Do you miss my smile?”
The smile on Arthit’s face slowly wavered as he whispered, “I do.” Ever since the whole fiasco started, Kongpob’s smile seemed to have lost somewhere and Arthit sometimes blamed himself for that. He felt helpless. “Has it lost somewhere with Dae?” Arthit questioned. His voice still barely above a whisper but the pain, the guilt, the insecurities, everything was evident.
“As long as I have you by my side, my smile wouldn’t dare wander off to somewhere else. Yes, I’m stressed with everything going on but you truly are my happiness, P’Ai’Oon.”
Almost a week later, Arthit was busy cooking breakfast when someone hugged him from behind. Two arms wrapped around his waist and a nose nuzzled his neck while a soft pair of lips placed feathery kisses on his neck, making him shiver in his lover’s arms.
"I have something to show you," Kongpob whispered in Arthit's ears, holding his phone in a way so that Arthit could read the newly arrived message.
“REALLY?!?!?!” Arthit turned around and pulled Kongpob in a bone-crushing hug. “How… how did you do it?”
“I didn’t, por did this. He has a friend who is a prominent figure in the business world and turns out he is the biggest donor of this adoption center. One recommendation letter from him and they accepted us.”
Arthit moved away from the hug, a small frown marring his features. “But isn’t that unfair to them?”
“They are financially fine, they can easily adopt another child. Unlike us, they hardly knew Dae and wanted him just because he is the youngest there. Plus, using one's connections isn’t an uncommon practice nor is it illegal.” Kongpob’s voice lowered and he bowed his head as he said in a low voice, ”And I don’t know how valid these reasons are. All I know is, this time, I wanted to be selfish and keep our happiness first.”
Later that day, Dae was brought to his new home. And the heart of his new parents was filled with all the different types of emotions but one thing stood tall and proud, their love for the little bundle of joy in their arms.