A/N: PCGirl's B-Day Gift - 2 mo. late. (It's got edits - so read it again!)
Life goes on, no matter how hard you try and stop it.
Having Rachel home was more than they ever dreamed of. Colin had smiled widely as he hugged her goodbye. As hard, as difficult, as frightening as the ordeal had been it seemed to go a long way towards repairing the damage his family had suffered.
Ironic, wasn't it - that they should have Annette to thank for that?
Now happily settled back at home, he pressed a kiss to Alex's forehead as he called out for Katrina. She scurried into the room, her skirt fluttering about her legs, her eyes bright and her cheeks flushed.
She paused to tilt her face up to his and his lips brushed hers. This is what made it all worth it, he thought with a sigh.
Alison stood at the mirror, fastening her earring.
She turned and caught a glimpse of Rafe, fiddling with his watch. She smiled softly as she crossed the room to lend a hand.
He pressed a kiss to her forehead as she fastened the watch to his wrist in record time. As he pulled away one thought filled her mind.
Even with the cloud hanging over her, days like today always made her giddy, because she knew from experience what was in store. Years that were an intoxicating mixture of happiness and heartache. And she knew, without question, that no matter how bad the heartache was, the happiness always made up for it.
Lynnie sighed as she ran a hand over her stomach, knowing that she looked incredibly enormous. And she still had months to go.
Ethan watched her from the doorway and simply smiled.
"You're gorgeous." He whispered.
"I'm huge." She muttered as she moved to put on her glasses.
As she turned and gazed at him, her face softened, her cranky mood suddenly lifting. "They're so lucky." She sighed. "I know how happy she must be. I remember what it was like for me."
"It was the single best day of my life." He said softly as his hand linked with hers and led her out of the room.
Kyle lost his breath as he caught sight of her, his palms sweaty and his stomach in knots.
Go slow. He kept repeating to himself. You're going slow.
There was no one more beautiful than her. No one in this world.
As Becky giggled and threw her arms around his neck he also knew for sure that there was no one luckier than him.
No one in this world.
Lia could wrestle two muggers to the ground single handedly, but she could not seem to be able to take on two teetering toddlers.
Thankfully, Danny caught Sean right before he took a header into the coffee table. She blew her hair out of her eyes as she wrestled with a wiggly Liam.
"There's a special place in heaven for people like us." Danny laughed at her when he caught her eye.
She laughed as she crossed the room and gave him a smacking kiss on the lips. "Oh God. There'd better be."
Cam watched Abby pinning her hair up and fell a little more in love.
"He chose well, didn't he?" He whispered softly.
She turned and gave him a dazzling smile. "Very. I couldn't be happier."
He walked to her and curled his arms around her waist as he whispered in her ear. "Neither can I."
"Clo. C'mon now. Don't start crying already." Grant laughed as he ran a hand over Melissa's back. His daughter was sound asleep on his shoulder, not to mention happily drooling all over his dress shirt.
"It's beautiful. Just...beautiful, what she's doing for him." She sniffled, reaching for another tissue.
"Not nearly as beautiful as you." He said softly as his eyes met hers.
And instead of getting her to stop crying, he just made her cry harder.
Quinn watched as Ty bolted from the car and scrambled up to the front door. He walked behind him slowly, his pride still stinging a bit.
Billie could have come. He thought to himself, hanging his head and dragging his feet. Whatever she had to do today couldn't have been that important. As a matter of fact, it looked like she hadn't even left. Her car was still here.
As he opened the door he looked at the plaque he held in his hand and sighed. It wasn't every day you were named Coach of the Year.
Quinn didn't notice much when he came inside, he was too preoccupied with his thoughts. He could smell fresh flowers and figured Billie must have picked some from the garden.
It was eerily quiet. His impulse was to call out and tell her he was home but he wasn't quite sure he wanted to at the moment. What he wanted to do was get out of this suit. It had been a mild summer but today threatened to be pretty steamy.
He patted and over excited Slider on the head and was heading up the stairs to his bedroom when he heard Ty's voice. "Hey Dad? Can you come outside for a minute?"
"Sure." He called back. "Just let me change first, OK buddy?"
"NO!" Ty yelled. He paused and then continued. "I'm sorry. I mean…it'll just take a second. Can you please come now?"
Irritated, Quinn turned and headed back through the kitchen. His voice was clipped as he made his way towards the back door. "Watch how you speak to me, Tyler James. I don't know what could possibly be so important that you need me to…"
His words stopped as he caught a glimpse of the backyard. There were flowers everywhere, spilling over in large stoneware pots that he could tell Billie made herself. Smaller ones flanked the slate path that cut across the yard towards Billie's garden. And his entire family stood beaming at him from the lawn.
He shook his head, not understanding why everyone looked so formal. Still, he was incredibly touched that Billie would go to all this trouble. "She didn't need to do this." He whispered so that only Ty could hear him. "She should have just come to the ceremony with us."
"She couldn't. She had to get ready." Ty replied. "She had to get her hair done and do her makeup."
Quinn laughed. "She doesn't need much. It shouldn't take her that long at all." He walked out onto the patio and smiled over at his parents. "Don't you all look fancy?" He said with a smirk.
Cam shook his head and grinned. "You have no idea what's going on do you?"
"What?" Quinn grinned back at him. "I know. Billie's throwing me a party…"
Lia shifted Liam in her arms and bit back a laugh. "That's one way to put it."
"What?" He gave her a blank look.
"Do yourself a favor. Go stand over there, Superstar." Lia replied, still chuckling. He continued to stare at her so she added. "Come on. Move it. Go stand with Aidan at the end of the path."
"Huh?" He looked at her like she was crazy but did what she asked. He glanced over and saw his friends fighting laughter. "What the hell is so funny?"
"I honestly never thought she'd be able to pull it off." Danny replied, trying to keep Sean from drooling all over his tie.
"Seriously. You gotta hand it to her." Ethan agreed.
"Here." Lia said as she handed Liam over to him. "Practice." She called over her shoulder as she made her way back to the house with Cam in tow.
"Would someone please tell me what the hell is going on?" Quinn asked, clearly agitated again. He glanced down at his brother and was once again startled. "Aidan - what are you doing dressed like that? I feel like I'm the only one not in on the joke."
"Trust me. You won't be laughing." Grant offered.
Quinn glanced over at his mother. "MOM." He said desperately. "Tell me."
Abby smiled softly as she came over to him, rising on her toes to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Relax. Be patient. It'll be worth it I promise."
As if on cue, Quinn was startled when he saw a string quartet appear from behind the garage. They settled into folding chairs and began to play.
His eyes moved to the back of the house, spotting his sisters wearing matching dresses, something they hadn't done in years. Lynnie's swollen belly was the only visible difference in the two. They were clutching identical bouquets as well. They made their way down the path and moments later came Kate and Chloe, looking equally radiant.
As it dawned on him what was happening he couldn't breathe.
Ty and Ella came next, and Quinn could clearly see his son's face shining with joy as he made his way to the end.
That little sneak. Quinn thought with a smile. He never let on a thing.
He felt as if he was dreaming when he heard the music change and Billie finally appeared.
She stood at the end of the walkway, her arm hooked in Cam's with a huge smile on her face as she gazed at him. As the quartet played she slowly walked towards him, the skirt of her strapless gown swishing when she walked. She had a wreath of flowers threaded in her dark hair. He knew, without a doubt, she had never looked more beautiful.
The scent she wore clouded his senses as she stopped in front of him. Cam gave her a soft kiss on the cheek and eased away. She turned to Chloe, handing her bouquet to her before she faced him again and whispered. "Hi."
At a complete loss for words it took him a moment to reply. "Hi back." He ran a hand over her cheek and sighed. "Billie…"
"You were mad at me weren't you?" She said with a grin.
"No…I…" He blushed a bit and reached for her hands, barely noticing when the minister came to stand next to them.
"You weren't just mad. You were furious. I could tell. You were so annoyed when I wouldn't come with you today." She replied, still beaming up at him.
"I…" Quinn sighed again.
"I told you." She whispered as she rose on her toes and brushed her lips across his. "I was too busy…"
As she eased away, Quinn smiled down at her, finally able to find his voice. "I can see that."
The stood and gazed into each others eyes while the minister cleared his throat and began the ceremony.
"I got the rings, Quinn. Don't worry." Aidan said proudly as he tugged on his brother's sleeve.
"Good to know." Quinn laughed back at him.
"I go first." Billie demanded softly as the minister got to the part of the ceremony where they said their vows.
"Quinn…" She took a deep breath, blinking back tears as she spoke. "You are by far the most generous and patient man in the universe. I know loving me hasn't been easy. When I met you I had nothing but plenty of baggage – and a pretty spectacular kid." She shifted her gaze to Ty for a moment before her eyes met his again. "And I know that I kept pushing you away but you stayed right there and wouldn't budge. I will be forever grateful to you for thinking I was worth the trouble."
"You are…" He replied with a smile. "You're worth every minute."
"I don't know if I should be happy you're agreeing so quickly." She pouted a bit before she continued. "I never thought it would happen. I didn't think I'd ever be able to trust anyone ever again. But, even if I didn't show it - almost from the start I trusted you. I trust you with every penny I have – and not just because you have more than a few yourself."
She laughed softly as she went on. "I trust you with Tyler. If I thought for one minute you would hurt him I'd have never let you get near him, let alone become his father." She took another steadying breath as she finished. "Most importantly Quinn, I trust you with my heart." She brought their joined hands to her chest and gave his a squeeze. "I know you'll keep it safe. I know that you'll keep us all safe."
"I will." He whispered. As he spoke he could feel her heart thundering under his hand. "I promise you, I will."
He eased back and stared into her eyes. "OK." He sighed. "My turn."
Billie blinked back tears, a smile lighting up her whole face as he began to speak.
He chuckled a bit as he started. "I have trouble remembering things sometimes. Like, the day I first met you or where I put my car keys. But I'll never forget the second I fell in love with you."
He laughed loudly and then continued. "I think secretly you had it all planned out. You were so skittish you made me take things incredibly slow. But I didn't mind, because although it was a lot of work I've never had a job I enjoyed more." He leaned down and whispered in her ear. "and before you say it – that includes playing ball."
She giggled and started to protest but trailed off as she saw the look in his eyes as he pulled away. His voice got serious as he kept on. "My beautiful Belinda." He sighed and brought their joined hands to his lips, gently brushing a kiss over her knuckles. "You've given me everything I've ever dreamed of and so much more. I've got the most amazing life. I've got a son…" He smiled over at Ty before turning back to her. "I've got the home and the family I've always wanted and most of all, I've got you."
Billie dabbed at her eyes with a kleenex, his words making her weep with happiness. When she planned today she had hoped it'd turn out just like this. Finally, because of Quinn, all her dreams had come true.
It was a shame to interrupt, but there was the little detail of exchanging of rings that needed to be dealt with. With trembling hands Billie repeated the minister's words and slipped the ring on Quinn's finger.
Aidan beamed with pride as he handed Billie's ring to Quinn. When he turned back to face her, his eyes never left hers as he placed the ring on her own.
They were so wrapped up in the moment they barely heard the minister announce. "I now pronounce you man and wife."
Quinn pulled Billie a full foot off the ground and spun her around as his lips sought hers. He pulled back slightly and laughed as he said. "It's about time."