AN: Hi all! Welcome to my epilogue. I've gotten so many questions about the non-existent title of the story and I feel the need to answer it once and for all- it's going to stay untitled. I couldn't think of a good title (give me a break, I was new at this) and when I finally found a one, I realized that I couldn't change the name on some of the sites where I posted. If the non-existing title really bothers you, make one up. And no, there will probably not be a sequel. I've squeezed every drop of plot out of this story. But don't you worry- I've got plenty of ideas in my twisted little mind. I've got a vampire fic, a medieval-ish one, and an AR fic in the works. If you'd like to see a certain one first, e-mail me and let me know. Wow, I'm off-track; back to the original story! Let me assure you that pure fluffiness ensues. Warm and fuzzy feelings may also occur. This is probably ridiculously predictable but it's fun and I wanted to write it. So there! On this happy little note, here's the epilogue to Untitled As of Yet. Read, review, enjoy!
Standard Disclaimers Apply.
Serena sighed as she sat in the leather chair on the plane back from her honeymoon. She and Darien spent two weeks in the Austrian Alps in a lavish snow cottage... a cottage that looked more like a mansion.
She blushed as she thought about it. They were supposed to go skiing and sightseeing but somehow, they never made it out of their cabin half the time.
All in all, the scenery had been beautiful, Darien was great, and the food... oh the food! Suddenly, her stomach lurched. Those expensive meals were currently making a one-way trip up her esophagus as she stood up in panic and ran to the bathroom.
After getting violently ill, Serena heard a knock on the door. She groaned. "I'll be out in a minute," she ground out miserably, cleaning up.
When she felt slightly better, she exited the tiny room, pushing past a rather annoyed looking passenger that looked like he really needed to go. Rolling her eyes, she made her way back to her seat to come face to face with her very concerned husband.
His blue eyes held a look of worry as he watched her fall into the seat. "Baby, what's wrong?"
She groaned, "I just lost my lunch."
"Oh no, did you eat peanuts again?"
She glared at him. "No."
"Then are you sick?"
Shrugging, she leaned back in the plush leather seat, resting her heated face against the cool material. Yes, first class was much nicer than coach. Much better.
"Do you need something? Ginger ale? Crackers?" Darien asked worriedly, placing a hand on her forehead.
He smiled slightly. "Do you think it was something you ate?"
Lazily rolling her head toward him, she shrugged. "I dunno... maybe I shouldn't have had that weinerschnitzel for breakfast."
Smirking, he put his extra blanket around her. "You think? Maybe it was that extra side of strudel that did you in."
She groaned, "Uhhh... don't mention food..."
He sighed. "You never learn, do you?" When he received no response, his brow furrowed. "Oh, you're really sick, aren't you?"
Looking positively pitiful, she barely managed a nod. "I haven't felt this bad since..." Suddenly, she perked up as a flight attendant brought an ice cream sundae over to another passenger. "Hey... wait a minute... I think I'm hungry now!"
Staring at her as though she was slightly mad, he placed a hand on either side of her face and turned it towards him. "Just one minute ago you were going to die... now you want a sundae?" he asked incredulously.
"Yup!" she said brightly, grinning.
"If I didn't know better, I'd say you were pregnant."
She glared at him. "Well, luckily you do know better. We just got married... there's no way!"
He coughed. "Uh... there's a way."
Turning away from him, she pouted. "Well... you're just wrong! End of conversation!"
Two weeks later...
"Baby..." she moaned, sitting pathetically against the glass shower.
"You're sick again, aren't you?" he sighed, bringing her a cool washcloth for her forehead.
"I'm not sick," she said stubbornly, taking the washcloth from him. "So I've been throwing up every morning. Big deal."
He kneeled down to her level and pushed away the golden strands of hair matted to her forehead. "Now, don't smack me, but I got you something," he offered nervously, holding out a white box.
Weakly grasping it, she smirked. "I wouldn't have the energy." With all of her strength, she opened the box and stared at its contents. A pregnancy test. "Gee, thanks," she deadpanned, taking out the tester.
Moving to sit on the floor, he stared at her nervously. "You don't have to take it... but I thought since you've been sick..."
She sighed, "Okay. I'll do it."
Ten Minutes Later...
"Is it ready?" Darien asked, pacing back and forth.
She rolled her eyes. He'd asked that question eight times already. "I don't know... does it look ready?" she asked exasperatedly. She held it up for him to see.
His eyes widened. "Uh... yeah..." He looked like he was going to pass out.
"Darien, what's wrong?" she asked confusedly.
"It's... it's... it's... uh..." he stammered, dumbstruck, "positive..."
"WHAT?!?" she shrieked, bringing the test up to her face. He was right. A giant blue plus sign stared back at her. "It's positive..."
His wide azure eyes gazed at her and he nodded. "It's positive."
A hand flew to her stomach and she looked down, trying to imagine a tiny life inside. "I'm pregnant..."
Suddenly, a grin spread across her husband's handsome face. "We're going to have a baby..." As she stood in stunned silence, he walked up from behind and put his arms around her, his hands resting on hers.
She leaned back, trying to process all of the information. "A baby... but we've been married for a month!"
He smirked. "But my little army was efficient."
Smacking his hand, she turned in his arms, "This is all your fault, you know," she whispered playfully.
"Well if you weren't so damned irresistible, we would have left our cottage for more than five minutes," he shot back.
She giggled into his chest. "A baby..." she whispered giddily, "This is going to be fun."
One Month Later...
She was wrong. It was not fun. The night sweats, the mood swings, the nausea, the cravings for steamed broccoli with chocolate sauce... She couldn't take much more- and she was still in the first trimester!
Sitting in the doctor's office, she shifted uncomfortably. Having to pee every five minutes was becoming a serious inconvenience. She'd been sitting in the uncomfortable little chair for over an hour, waiting for a nurse to call her back. Her patience was already wearing thin- and being that she couldn't even keep down a decent meal, she was close to exploding.
A nurse emerged from the hallway. "Mrs. Shields?"
Finally! Serena smiled at new last name. It still made her giggle childishly when anyone called her by that. Oh, how mad her friends and family were when she called them from Austria and left a message as Mrs. Shields! She thought that they were going to kill her when she returned. And they nearly did. Her father actually threatened to go to Austria and drag her back home. However, when she and Darien finally did return, they screamed, they cried, and eventually, they began hugging the living daylights out of them. Even her father welcomed him into the family, which had meant a lot to Darien.
Looking down at her still-flat belly, she reasoned that they would have to welcome another member into the family pretty soon. She hadn't told them yet for fear of jinxing the pregnancy. Even though it was dumb and superstitious, she wanted to follow the first trimester rule. But when they did find out... her dad would probably show up at their door with a rifle and threaten to delete a member of the family- namely Darien for impregnating his little angel. Her mother would cry hysterically, just like when she found out that they were married. It was also pretty safe to assume that Mina, Lita, and Raye would jump down her throat for not telling them. Amy would probably be the only one not screaming at her- she understood the risk in early pregnancy.
The nurse looking at her expectantly shook her out of her trance and she followed the older woman down the long hallway to her room. After checking her blood pressure and asking all of the boring, standard questions, the woman left the room and Serena sat all by herself.
Darien couldn't come with her that day because he had to deal with a messy domestic case in the city. Now she really wished he'd come because she was bored out of her mind. Looking around for any form of entertainment, she caught sight of an ultrasound in color on the wall. Reeling back, she cringed. She did not find that clear, tadpole-ish looking thing adorable! She was going to be a terrible mother! Tears welled up in her eyes and she was almost to a full-on sob when the door opened.
"Serena?" a familiar voice asked as Serena's head shot up.
"Amy?" Of course. She had a rotation in obstetrics for her residency.
Her friend nodded, barely masking her surprise. "Dr. Greene was ill and couldn't risk getting any of the patients sick, so I'm filling in."
Serena smiled weakly. She'd wanted to keep it a secret until at least three months. "So... guess what? I'm pregnant," Serena offered, smiling sheepishly.
"Apparently," Amy deadpanned, looking over her file.
Sighing, Serena toyed with the hem of her skirt. "I wanted to tell you... but I didn't want to jinx it, you know?"
Amy nodded. "I understand. Don't worry, I won't tell the others... but you should. You've kept a lot of secrets from us in the past year, Serena."
"The others will kill me if I don't tell them, won't they?"
She smirked. "Probably. Have you told your parents?"
"You're going to have a ton of fun, aren't you?"
Letting go of her skirt, she placed a hand on her stomach. "Believe me, I've already had as much fun as I can take."
Amy glanced down at her chart. "Everything looks okay... but we'll want to see you again soon for an ultrasound."
"Is it a boy or a girl?" Serena asked anxiously.
She smiled. "We don't know yet, but we'll know soon. Let's just be happy that it's a normal, healthy baby right now."
Serena nodded. "Yeah... you're right. Maybe I don't even want to know... one less thing to worry about. Now I just have to figure out how to tell everyone..."
Serena and Darien stood outside of her parents' house nervously. They were having dinner with them and were planning on telling them about the baby.
"They're going to kill me," Darien deadpanned, shrinking away from the door.
Serena rolled her eyes and pulled him back to her. "No they're not. Besides, if my dad does crack out the rifle, just shove me in front of you. He won't shoot his little angel."
He groaned. "Why don't we just send them a letter or something? Or... um... hey, aren't you hungry? I could go and pick up some broccoli and chocolate sauce! Of course that'll take a trip or two and I'll have to cook the broccoli, so I may not be back for a while."
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Nice try. Bribing me with food isn't going to work this time. You're half-responsible for the baby, so you're half responsible for the tongue-lashing we're about to receive."
Before he could protest anymore, she knocked on the door.
A few seconds later, the door opened and her mother flew out to them. "Serena! Darien! Come in!" she greeted warmly, hugging them both. Turning to Darien, she grinned widely. "You're such a good influence on her! Right on time!"
He smiled back weakly. "Thanks Irene."
Sensing his extreme uneasiness, Serena grabbed his hand and dragged him into the house. After a few steps they were greeted by Serena's father. She felt the grip on her hand getting tighter and tighter. "Princess!" her father greeted affectionately, ignoring Darien for the moment.
Letting go of her terrified husband's hand, she gave her father a hug. "Daddy!" she squealed, glancing back at Darien who was getting paler by the minute.
"Ken," Darien greeted respectfully, holding out his hand.
Ken merely smiled and shook his hand. "Darien."
Serena's mother came in and shook her head. "What are you doing standing out here? You have guests inside."
Her blue eyes widened. "Guests?"
Grinning, her mother led her into the family room where Lita, Mina, Raye, and Chad were sitting. They all yelled "SURPRISE!" and Serena and Darien clung to each other for dear life.
"For what?" Darien asked anxiously, not daring to let go of his shocked wife.
Mina grinned. "We're celebrating your wedding, silly!"
Serena was stunned. "Uh... thanks." She turned to Darien and whispered quietly enough so that only he could hear. "They are going to kill us!"
Raye rolled her eyes. "Come on, Serena. Be a little more animated! We got you presents!"
"Uh... we really appreciate it. We're just... surprised." And terrified, she added silently.
"Well sit down and open your presents, dear!" Irene coaxed, pushing Serena and Darien to the loveseat and handing them a present. "This one's from Amy. She couldn't be here because she's working but sends her love."
"How kind," Serena ground out, barely suppressing her rage. Amy could have warned her! She looked to her left to find a very uncomfortable Darien looking everywhere but at her parents.
Giving a slight smile, Darien took the small package and began unwrapping it. As soon as he cleared away enough of the shiny blue paper to see what the gift was, he dropped the box to the floor.
Serena's brow furrowed. "What the... are you okay?" Darien looked sick and she was almost afraid to see what caused it. Picking up the box, she froze. Baby monitors.
Her mother looked at the terrified couple confusedly. "Honey, what did she get you? Are you okay?"
She plastered a wide smile on her face and grabbed Darien's hand. "Fine. Fine... um... what a thoughtful gift..." She searched for a believable excuse. "Walkie-talkies. It must be because the house is so big and we can never hear each other. Funny," she laughed, trying to downplay her increasing fear. 'Good cover up, genius,' she thought wryly.
Raye stood up and walked over to the nervous couple, grabbing the box. She examined the box for a moment before opening it and holding up a baby monitor up for them to see. "This isn't a walkie-talkie. Care to explain?"
Their eyes were wide as they stared at the high-tech monitor. Neither of them could speak.
Lita came to join her. "Well?"
Darien struggled to speak. When he found his voice, he pasted a weak smile on his face. "Uh... I think you'd have to ask Amy about that one. I'm guessing it's a gag gift... you know, since we were married so quickly?"
He received a sharp jab in his side as his enraged wife stared at him incredulously, as if to say, 'What were you thinking?' She smiled at the disbelieving group. "Could you excuse us for a moment?"
Everyone in the room gazed at them strangely. "Okay..."
Darien nearly flew out of the room, Serena right behind him. As soon as they were far enough away, Darien whirled around, frantic. "What the hell are we going to tell them?" he whispered harshly. "What the hell was she thinking?"
Her hand came up to rub her pounding forehead. "I don't know! I can't believe she'd put us in this position! They are barely buying our excuses! I didn't even buy our excuses!"
He sighed in defeat. "I guess we'll have to tell them all now. But when?"
Pausing for a moment, she thought of the safest possible way. "We'll tell them after dinner. They'll run slower with a full meal in them."
Smiling, he kissed her lightly on the lips. "I love the way you think."
She kissed him back. "I love the way you don't."
Rolling his eyes, Darien's expression shifted to a concerned one. "So we're okay? How are you feeling?"
She frowned. "Nauseated and fearful. You?"
A slight smile graced his somber face. "Same."
Slowly making their way back to the family room hand-in-hand, they froze when they saw everyone in the room staring at them expectantly. "Princess, are you sure you're okay? You look a little sick," her father commented, concerned.
"Yes Daddy, we're fine," she managed a thin smile, leading Darien back to the loveseat. "So... when's dinner?"
Her mother smiled proudly. "Soon, sweetie. I made your favorite! Pulled pork barbeque!"
All of the color drained from her face and a grayish-green color replaced it. She could not get through a barbeque without getting sick! Looking at Darien desperately, he nodded back at her in defeat. Biting her lip, she stood up with Darien and took his hand. "That's great, Mom, but I need to tell you something."
Irene stared at her ill daughter worriedly. "What is it?"
Serena gripped Darien's hand tighter. "We're... um... DarienandIaregoingtohaveababy," she blurted out, barely distinguishable.
Her father shot up out of his seat. "You're WHAT?"
Darien put his arm around his shaking wife. "We're going to have a baby."
Ken stared at Darien in contempt, stalking toward him. "You'd better run, boy."
Serena's eyes widened and she moved in front of Darien. "No, Daddy! It's okay! Everyone... we wanted to tell you sooner, but we didn't want to jinx it."
Chad stared at the couple in shock. "Well I wasn't expecting this."
Darien smiled slightly from behind his indignant wife. "Neither were we."
Ken glared at Darien. "You have some nerve! You come in here, take away our little girl without even letting us know and now you're going to have a child? Do you even know what that means? You're both too young and inexperienced to be parents!"
"Ken!" Irene admonished, putting a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to calm him.
"It's true! They have no idea what the hell they're getting themselves into! It's all his fault!"
Serena shook her head as her eyes began to fill with tears. "No it's not," she said shakily. "We may not know what we're doing but we're going to do our best. I was hoping for a little support from you guys," she finished off, blinded by her unshed tears.
Irene began to tear up as well. "Serena... of course we'll help you... your father doesn't mean it. We love you." She turned to Darien. "Both of you."
He smiled slightly, "Thanks."
Ken crossed his arms and glared at them stubbornly. "This will take some getting used to," he glared.
Serena nodded. "I know."
A few months later...
"DIE!!!!" Serena screamed demonically as she ran down the hallway with a rolled up newspaper in hand.
Darien looked up from the kitchen table in horror. "Oh no... Sweetie... it's clean enough." Putting down his coffee cup, he followed after her worriedly.
Her blue eyes narrowed as she honed in on the culprit messing up her clean house- a spider. A teensy weensy spider. A spider that seemed to be laughing at her as it scurried up the wall. "No... I hate spiders! I hate them!" she muttered, rolling the newspaper a little tighter and taking aim. "The nerve of them... leaving cobwebs in my perfectly clean house!" She swatted at the spider and missed. "Dammit!"
Darien came up behind her and gently took the paper out of her hand. She'd been going through a cleaning phase and although he enjoyed having his boxers sorted by color, brand, and frequency of use, she was beginning to get a little scary. "It's just a spider," he offered hesitantly. "Why don't we go in the kitchen and make you some pancakes instead of chasing it?"
"It's making a mess!" she shrieked exasperatedly, snatching the newspaper back.
He smirked. "I never thought I'd see the day where you'd be a neat freak."
Ignoring the comment, she inched closer to the spider. "I want to see the fear in all eight little beady eyes when I squish you into bug splat! Now come down here!"
It merely scooted up a little higher.
Serena began hopping up and down futilely, trying to reach the annoying little bug. "Darien, I can't reach it! Get it for me!"
Darien was beginning to feel sorry for the spider. He looked from the terrified bug to his suffering wife who was looking at him with the most pathetic, pleading expression. Sighing, he took the paper from her and smack! It fell to the ground.
Smiling widely, Serena pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Thank you, sweetie!" She skipped off to get dressed for work.
A slight smile appeared on his face as he looked down at the squished little bug. "Sorry, but you try dealing with a pregnant wife!"
A little while later...
"We need to think about names, Darien." Serena looked at her husband who was currently participating in her yoga for pregnant women workout. She was beginning to show and couldn't stand the tiny bulge, so she started exercising to cancel out the new cravings for deep-fried Twinkies. When Darien didn't respond, she turned around. "Darien?"
Darien was in an inverted position on their gym floor. After a moment of her waiting, he blew out a breath. "You ruined my downward dog."
She rolled her eyes and lay on her back, doing scissor kicks. "Sorry to interrupt such an important moment, but I'm six months pregnant and we have no names for the baby."
He sat down and followed her movements. "I know... I haven't given it too much thought. We don't even know if it's a boy or a girl."
"If it's a boy..." she smiled wickedly, "Shane?"
Darien nearly shrieked. "Good God no!"
She giggled. "I was just kidding."
He pouted. "Well, I think we should name it after me."
"You want to name him after YOU? Darien Jr.? We can buy a locker for the kid's first birthday because that's where he's going to spend all of junior high and high school."
"Well what if it's a girl? We can't depend on Matthew now can we?"
"Um... how 'bout... Lorelei?"
"Are you kidding me?"
"Hey, I found it in a book..."
"What about... Giselle?"
"Sounds too much like an animal."
"Thank you Miss Science."
"Well it still might be a boy! And I'm not naming it Darien!"
"What about Bradley?"
"Cute... maybe too cute. Derek?"
"Nah... I like D names... maybe it's because of you."
"Yet you still won't let me name him after myself."
"We might as well name him Frodo if we're going with Darien. I want this kid to be somewhat normal."
"By naming him Lorelei?"
"Lay off! I'm pregnant and you're making my job a whole lot harder!"
He rolled his eyes. "And what is your job? Carrying around a five pound baby while everyone fawns over you for nine months?"
At his words, her eyes narrowed accusingly. "Oh you did not just say that. You carry around a kicking ball of fury that's feeding off of you and causing you back pain and mood swings and vomiting and is going to force its way out of a teeny orifice in nine months when you'll be too fat to even see your feet and then talk to me. Until then, get comfortable on the couch."
"Baby, I didn't mean it like that," he whined.
Her eyes started to tear. "Well it sounded that way. I'm fat and you're not making me feel any better."
"Fat? What are you talking about? You're only a few months pregnant! Even so... you're not fat at all!"
She sniffled. "I gained... three pounds!" Her sniffles progressed into sobs as she stared at the slightly protruding bump on her belly.
"Oh Serena... you look beautiful. And I couldn't even tell. Honest. Besides, you're carrying our baby. It won't be healthy if you don't gain enough weight."
"Are you sure?"
She brightened abruptly. "Good, 'cause I'm hungry."
He sighed, getting up and following her out of the gym to the kitchen. Three more months...
"DARIEN!" Serena screamed, sitting on the floor of their bedroom.
The man in question ran up the stairs in fear. Serena had to stop working in the eighth month after her blood pressure rose too high. Now she was on bed rest. He was terrified that she was having a complication and sprinted into the room, barely able to catch his breath. "What's..." he took a breath, "wrong?" he wheezed.
His wife smiled impishly. "This game's a two-player. Can you help?"
Serena had recently discovered video games in her free time and now spent most of the day sitting on a pillow in their bedroom playing his array of Nintendo games. She sat against the bed, staring up at him innocently with a controller in her hand.
He glared at her. "You made me run all the way up here for a video game?" he asked incredulously.
She smiled up at him. "Well, you didn't have to run, sweetie. I just thought you might feel better if you played a little. You seem so tense lately."
Taking a breath in an attempt to cool down and not scream at her, Darien gripped the bedpost for dear life. He was tense because she did this every five minutes and when he wanted to... let off steam at night, she'd already be fast asleep. "Sorry," he blew out, taking a seat next to her.
Wrapping her arms around him with great difficulty (her rounded belly now got in the way of everything), she kissed him softly, trying to get him to at least smile. "Nothing to be sorry about. I just want you to feel better."
"I'm fine," he said tightly, disentangling himself from his wife. Her innocent affection was making it worse. He shifted uncomfortably.
Suddenly, she began to cry. "No you're not!" she wailed, "Stop lying to me! Is it because I'm too fat? Is it because I snore? Is it because we have to keep it at forty degrees in here?"
His eyes widened and he immediately took her in his arms. "Of course not! Serena, you're perfect and I love you. I don't care about any of that! It's just..."
Her tears abated slightly. "What?" she asked, looking up at him sadly from her position in his lap.
He smiled ruefully. "It's just that... uh... we haven't uh... you know... in a long time."
Serena gasped. "Oh! You're upset because you haven't gotten any! I'm sorry, baby!"
His face reddened at her blunt comment. "It's not your fault."
"Yes it is! I've been so selfish." Suddenly, she smiled wickedly. "Look, the maid isn't coming for another three hours and I could use a little exercise. How about I make the dry spell up to you?"
Grinning, Darien moved to shut the door. He loved his wife.
A few hours later...
Serena smiled at Darien sleepily. "Feel better?"
He kissed the tip of her nose. "Much."
She nodded, resting her head on his chest. "Good. My... new figure didn't gross you out too much?"
Grinning mischievously, he pulled her closer. "I liked it."
Giggling, she grabbed a pillow and swatted him with it. "You are a ridiculous flatterer."
"You're a ridiculous seductress."
"Are too," he shot back.
She rolled her eyes, ready to end the childish game when she heard a noise. "Did you hear something?"
His brow furrowed as he sat up. "Yeah, sounds like someone's knocking..."
Her eyes widened as she gasped. "Oh no! We were supposed to have dinner with Raye and Chad!"
He cringed. "Oops... I guess we took a little longer than we thought."
She hurried to get dressed. "This is all your fault."
"It was worth it."
Serena sat in Mina's living room, filling up on cake at her baby shower. Raye and Mina told her that they were taking her for ice cream... trust her to say yes to anything involving food. She'd met the girls at Mina's house and they'd surprised her with a shower complete with games, balloons, and plenty of ice cream. Rita had even shown up for the occasion.
"So have you picked out names yet?" Lita asked, digging into an iced cookie shaped like a rattle.
She sighed. "We want the gender to be a surprise, so we don't have definite names yet."
Mina smiled. "Well, if you really can't think of one, Mina is a simple yet elegant name..."
Serena grinned. "Darien actually wanted me to name the baby after him! Could you imagine?"
Amy shook her head. "You better pick out a name soon, Serena. You're two weeks past due!"
She groaned. "Fully aware, Amy. I'm ready to yank this thing out with my bare hands. I don't think Darien can take much more either."
Mina looked up from her plate, amused. "How is Darien, anyway? Excited about becoming a father?"
Smirking, Serena took another slice of cake. "Please, he's throwing up more than me. He's so afraid that he'll drop the baby on its head or scar it for life. You should see him at the classes we're taking. After everything we learn, he has to ask at least three or four questions. The poor teacher was ready to kill him last week after he asked if there were other alternatives to special breathing during labor because he wasn't sure if he would remember to do it with me."
Rita laughed hysterically. "Don't worry. Andrew was the same way with the first one. It's normal. Besides, we had the boys distract Darien today while we had the shower for you."
Serena looked at her confusedly. "What did you do?"
Raye smiled conspiratorially. "Chad and Andrew took him skydiving."
Her eyes widened. "Why did you do that?"
Mina put a hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry, Serena! He'll have a parachute and everything. Well... there's always a chance that it won't open, but..."
Raye smacked Mina in the head, "They'll be fine." She turned to Serena, "What's wrong?"
Serena smiled weakly. "Darien is afraid of heights..."
In an airport hangar thirty miles away...
Darien clutched the seat, terrified. Sure it was nice of Andrew and Chad to give him a last fling before the baby came, but this wasn't his idea of adventure. He hated heights to begin with and jumping out of a plane? He despised the very idea. "Guys, I appreciate this, but I don't think it's a good idea. We could get seriously hurt," he said cautiously.
Chad rolled his eyes. "Quit being a baby. The rate of fatality on one of these things is so low. Where's your sense of adventure?"
Frowning, Darien strapped himself in. "You don't understand. I really don't like heights."
Andrew shook his head. "Once you're up there, you'll be fine. You fly all the time. What's the difference?"
"I'm inside the plane! That's the difference!" Darien hissed, looking at the stack of parachutes anxiously.
"You'll be fine! Don't worry," Andrew said reassuringly, taking a seat near the window.
Darien was definitely worried.
A few minutes later...
A cold wind rushed through the plane as the pilot signaled that it was safe for them to jump. Darien peeked out the open door and quickly reeled back. "I can't do this. You guys go. I'll just ride back down."
Both Chad and Andrew dragged him up. "You want to do this. You just don't know it yet." The skydiving instructor strapped the parachute to his back and Darien began to hyperventilate.
"No, I don't think I do," Darien said, inching back toward a seat.
Chad glared at him. "Once you have the baby, you'll have no time for anything. Come on, it'll be fun."
"I want my baby to have a father. A living one!" Darien cried, shaking his head as the instructor motioned for him to approach the open door.
This time, a fed-up Andrew pushed him forward and Darien held onto the safety rope for dear life. He looked down to find wispy clouds beneath him, which made him dizzier than before. Taking a few staggering steps backward, Darien swayed back and forth for a moment before completely blacking out and falling to the floor of the plane.
His two friends began to freak out as they found him passed out on the floor. "Darien? Are you okay, man?" Chad asked, nervously looking to the instructor who tried to wake him up.
"We better take him to the hospital. He's out cold," the instructor said, closing the hatch.
Andrew stared at his best friend anxiously. Serena was going to kill him.
"He did WHAT?" Serena screeched through the phone. That idiot made Darien go up in the plane even though he knew Darien didn't want to! Her face burned with anger. "I'll meet you there. No, I'll deal with you later," she ground out menacingly, hanging up the phone.
Rita approached the furious pregnant woman cautiously. "What happened?"
"My husband is unconscious and being rushed to the hospital with a possible concussion because your husband and" she pointed to Raye, "your husband made him go up in that God forsaken plane!"
"I'll kill him!" Raye spat, grabbing her purse. "We're taking you to the hospital and we're going to rip Chad a new one!"
Rita glowered, helping Serena out the door. "Andrew will be sleeping on the couch for the next year!"
Amy pulled her keys out of her pocket and turned to Lita and Mina. "We'd better follow- this could get dangerous."
They had no idea how dangerous it would get.
Fifteen minutes later...
Serena waddled through the emergency room as fast as she could. Unfortunately, since she was over nine months pregnant, this wasn't very fast. As soon as she got clearance to visit Darien, she all but ran. When she reached the room, he was lying in a hospital bed, somewhat conscious.
"Darien?" she asked quietly, walking up to the bed.
He slowly opened his eyes at looked at her, unfocused. "Serena?"
She nodded, smoothing down his unruly black hair and taking a seat by the bed. "Poor baby... how are you feeling?"
Squinting, he struggled to focus on her. "I don't know... my head hurts."
She stared into his pitiful blue eyes and sighed. "Would a kiss make it better?"
He grinned, his eyes finally focusing. "I think so."
A wry smile played on her face. That woke him up. Placing a soft kiss on his forehead, she worked her way down to his mouth and gave him a long kiss. Suddenly, she reeled back in pain and clutched her abdomen.
Darien shot up in bed, panicking. "What's wrong?"
She began to sweat. "I think my water just broke."
"You're not serious," he deadpanned.
Falling back into the chair, she began to breathe heavily. "Oh I'm incredibly serious."
Darien's eyes were as wide as saucers. "I'll uh... call the nurse." He began to frantically press the call button beside his bed.
A few minutes later, a doctor sauntered in with a nurse behind him. "Mr. Shields, I have good news. It looks like you don't have a concussion. You've just got a nasty bump from that fall." The man looked to Serena who, at the moment, was breathing deeply and clutching her belly. "Uh... are you alright, Miss?"
Darien was now fully up and conscious. "This is my wife, Serena, and I think she's in labor." Serena merely nodded in acknowledgment of her name and kept on attempting to breathe.
"Why don't we take you up to obstetrics and have a look?" the doctor asked kindly, trying to help up the very pregnant woman.
Serena glared at the doctor and wouldn't budge from her seat. "I'm not leaving Darien."
"Mrs. Shields, I really think that you should see an obstetrician as soon as possible..."
Darien stared at his suffering wife. "Really, Serena, I'm fine. I'm just a little tired. I'll go up with you."
"We will send Mr. Shields upstairs as soon he can be released," the doctor offered to Serena, who was now fanning herself with a medical chart she found on the nightstand beside the bed.
She was about to refuse when she felt another horrible, stabbing pain. "Ow," she deadpanned.
The doctor examined her worriedly. "We need to get you upstairs now, Mrs. Shields."
Serena looked to her husband who was nodding his head in agreement. "I'll be up soon," he said encouragingly, taking her hand.
She sighed, defeated. "Okay. Let's go."
In less than a minute, a nurse arrived with a wheelchair and she wearily got in. As they wheeled her down the long hallway to the elevator, she went right past her friends.
When they caught sight of her, they practically jumped out of their seats and ran to follow, bewildered.
"What's wrong?" Lita asked, scared by the sight of her friend in a wheelchair.
Serena looked up at them tiredly, "I'm in labor."
Mina squealed. "Oh really? This is soooo exciting! Luckily, I brought a camera." Sure enough, she whipped one out for everyone to see. "Smile, Serena!"
Serena did not smile. Instead, she gave her a death glare. "You take that picture and I'll kill you," she ground out, wincing as another contraction hit.
Raye snatched the camera from her offended friend's hands. "The last thing she needs is to have her picture taken when she's in labor." She knew just how bad the horrifying pain was and how she would have reacted if someone had taken her picture during a contraction.
Serena took a breath. "Thanks."
Andrew and Chad meekly came up to the front of the group. "Uh... hi Serena," Chad said timidly. "So... you're in labor..."
Her eyes narrowed. "Damn straight. I'm guessing it's because of all the STRESS I've been put under."
Andrew ran a hand through his hair and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry about Darien... we thought it would be fun..."
She sighed. "I guess it's okay... at least it induced labor."
He grinned. "Always one to look on the bright side, Meatball Head."
Her expression automatically darkened. "Now you're pushing it."
"Sorry," he squeaked, before being pushed out of the way by his wife.
"Don't mind him, honey," Rita cooed. "We'll all wait for you upstairs."
Serena smiled weakly and waved goodbye. "Thanks."
Amy spoke to the nurse for a moment before taking the wheelchair and leading her to the private patient elevator herself. "They're letting me take you up, Serena. We'll have you up in no time," she said kindly, just like a doctor.
"Great. Will this thing come out of me anytime soon?"
She sighed, pressing an elevator button. "How close are the contractions?"
Serena grimaced as another hit. "Very. Epidural?"
"Out of the question."
"Crap. This is going to hurt like hell."
Amy smiled sympathetically. "It will be over before you know it. And it'll be worth it too."
Serena looked down at her rounded belly. "It better be."
About 20 minutes later...
"AHHHHHHHHH!" Serena let out a wail that could have woken the dead. "Darien! Where is he?" Didn't he have long enough to get up here? Didn't they know that the baby wasn't going to wait much longer? She glowered at the medical personnel. They sent Amy away after a while and now she was alone with a bunch of strangers.
Just as she was about to throw the nearest surgical tool within reach at someone, her husband ran through the door dressed in scrubs. "Are you okay?" he asked worriedly, approaching the bed.
"No!" she wailed, "Do I look like I'm okay?"
"Baby, you look beautiful."
"Shut up! I look like I just ran a marathon. A fat person's marathon!" she cried, mopping her brow with a cool cloth.
He shook his head and took her hand. "No! You're..." he paused, searching for the right word, "glowing."
She rolled her eyes and pushed his hand away. "Don't touch me! This is all your fault! That's how it all started!"
Smiling, he brought her a cup of ice chips. "You're just saying that now because you're in pain."
Her glare became even icier. "You have no idea what I'm going through!" She began to sob, "It huuuurts!"
A nurse approached the sobbing woman timidly. "Mrs. Shields, we'd like for you to push now. Do you think you can?"
Slowly, her sobs became hiccups. "Okay." With all her might, she gave a push and fell back onto the bed, exhausted. "Is it out yet?" she asked tiredly.
The doctor looked at her sadly, "Not yet. We'll need a few more good pushes, Serena."
This time, Serena grabbed Darien's hand and squeezed. "Please don't leave! It hurts..." she hissed, tears slipping from her eyes.
He smiled and pushed the dark gold strands of hair from her eyes. "Don't worry. I'm right here... you're doing great."
Gathering up the remainder of her strength, she gave another push, and another. The doctor nodded, "I see the head. Keep it up."
Darien continued to get paler and paler as the labor progressed and tried to remember something from the classes they'd taken. "Remember to breathe! Hee hee hoo! Hee hee hoo!"
She stared up at him incredulously, "Shut up! I'm trying to give birth and you're panting!"
He sighed tiredly and stared down at the hand that held hers. It was now a shade of reddish-purple, on the verge of an unhealthy blue. She gave another push and the hand began to go numb. "Uh... Sweetie, my hand..."
"Hurts way less than I do right now!" she screamed demonically, her grip tightening even more.
The nurse approached the couple again. "One more good push and we're done, Serena."
Suddenly, her expression changed from demonic to pitiful as she stared up at her husband innocently through thick lashes. "I don't think I can..."
He smiled at her and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "I know you can. I love you."
She gave a weak smile. "I love you too." With that, she gripped his hand so tightly that he could have sworn that he heard a crunch and gave one mighty push.
"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" Their child came screaming into the world and had apparently inherited its mother's lung capacity.
Serena's eyes widened at the noise as she fell back onto the bed exhausted. She stared up at her equally exhausted husband. "I love you..."
He kissed her softly, "I love you too..."
A few moments later, the doctor approached Darien, handing him a small bundle. "Congratulations. It's a boy."
Darien took a seat on the bed, cradling the tiny child in his arms. "We have a son... I'm a father..." he whispered in awe. Pulling back the blue blanket ever so slightly, he smiled. Their son was a mix of his father and mother; he had his black hair and her blue eyes. "Hi there, I'm your daddy..."
Serena smiled at her husband and son. It was the picture of perfection... and to think that she almost threw away the opportunity to have it... Darien looked up from the child to his wife and handed her the bundle. "Hi..." The baby ceased its incessant crying to stare up at his mother with wide blue eyes that resembled her own so closely. She bit her lip as she stared at the tiny life. "I'm your mommy... hi there, little one..."
The nurse quietly came up to them with a clipboard, "Do you have a name for your son?"
Darien looked at Serena who nodded at him in agreement. "Hayden Reese Shields."
Serena grinned and noticed that the baby had fallen asleep. "Hayden... I love it..."
And as she handed Hayden back to Darien who lay next to her, rocking the baby gently in his arms, she finally realized the answer to something she'd been wondering about all along. Was all of the pain, the fighting, the turmoil they'd went through worth it? She nodded, curling up against her husband and son contentedly. In the end, it was worth it. He was worth it.
AN: Sigh. I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I had so much fun writing this story- I can't believe it's over! I'd like to thank all the people who helped me throughout this past year. Reviewers, you are my favorite! Giant hugs to all of you guys! All of the extra support really helped- especially since this was my first story. And since I enjoyed writing this one so much, I'll definitely be writing some new stuff in the future. So, until next time, darlings! Thanks!