Phew this is the end here, wow it's been so long...anywas I hope this live up to everyones expectations and that you've enjoyed the series. I love all of your comments and I hope you all the best in the future, writers, lovers of the word, all friends to literature. Love you all and miss you already!
"Two whole weeks," Serena muttered.
"What did you say dear?" Serena looked up at Helen who was elbow deep in soapy dish water.
"Oh nothing sorry," Serena smiled at her and then shifted Derek in her arms. She had been thinking aloud as her son enjoyed his lunch. Serena smiled down at the baby then looked back outside across the snowy yard and lost herself in thought.
It had been two weeks since Darien had entered the coma, and two weeks since any significant change had been noted. The doctors had told her that he was healing well, the swelling was down and most of his other injuries were doing fine, there were no infections or nerve damage, as far as they could tell. But Serena knew the truth, a coma was a coma and despite their positive attitudes she could sense their apprehension, she knew that they were slowly losing their positivity. Serena had been up to see him several times, the last time she had taken the twins with her and introduced them, she wanted to imprint him in their memories somehow, especially if this was the only way they would know him.
Serena felt Derek squirm in her arms, he was finished with his lunch, she fixed her shirt and brought him up to her shoulder. She gently started rubbing and patting his back. "Momma!" Serena turned around in her seat and looked as Jonathan came running into the kitchen.
He was about to open his mouth when Helen intervened. "Jonathan your mother is busy right now can I help you?"
Jonathan looked at his mother curiously for a moment then looked at his grandmother, "Yes….I need a new book."
"Well then we shall have to get you another one now," Helen said. She dried her hands on the towel next to the sink. "Now where are your books?"
"They're in mommas office but I don't know which one to pick, I need help."
"Oh okay, well I can help you…." Jonathan smiled and then ran from the room ahead of her. Helen looked at Serena.
"He likes adventure stories the most, I have them on the bottom shelf," Serena told her.
"Will you be okay?"
"Yeah Rei's upstairs with Senna, I'll take him up there once he's ready," Serena said.
"Alright I'll just be down the hall call if you need me." Helen left Serena to join Jonathan and Serena refocused on Derek. After a few more silent minutes the baby burped and Serena was satisfied. She set upon her knees and looked down at him. "You and your brother are almost identical, he looked just like you when he was a baby. But that's probably because you both look just like your daddy."
The baby stared up at her with his large dark eyes, "I'm so sorry, I'm sorry about how all this happened. You've been robbed of so much already and you don't even understand anything."
She kissed his forehead, "But I promise I will do everything in my power to make sure you, your sister, and your brother grow up happy, and grow up knowing your daddy." Serena blinked away tears and smiled at her youngest son, "I love you so much you know."
She nestled him in the crook of her arm and stood, it was right about time for his nap. She was just at the stairs when she heard the front door bang open, "Serena! Serena!"
Serena turned and saw her father out of breath and frantic. "Dad?"
"Serena you have to come with me to the hospital with me now!"
"Why what's happened?"
"What's going on?" Helen appeared from the hallway with Jonathan behind her, his arms wrapped around a new book.
"It's Darien they're rushing him back into surgery, he started hemorrhaging this morning," Ken said.
Helen gasped and her hand flew to her mouth, "Helen can you take him please?" She recovered almost instantly and took Derek from Serena. Serena ran up the stairs and into her room, she dressed quickly and then was back downstairs in only a few minutes.
She was pulling on her coat and boots when Jonathan ran into the room with his coat in his arms, Serena paused then kneeled down to his level, "Sweetie I have to go alone you need to stay here with your grandma and Aunt Rei."
"No! I want to see daddy!"
Serena cut Ken off, "I know love but I have to see him first, I have to make sure he's strong enough then you and your brother and sister can come and see him okay." Jonathna's bottom lip trembled at being denied by his mother, "I'll be back as soon as I can."
"Promise," he held out his small pinky finger. Serena wrapped hers around his and nodded, "Promise 100 percent."
Jonathan nodded, "Okay."
The doors swished open as Serena and Ken ran into the hospital room, the warm air hit them blowing their hair and clothes back. Serena's eyes immedietly found Ami, Kevin, and Joshua, Darien's lawyer, sitting together in the waiting room. All three stood when they saw her.
"Serena they've taken him in he's been under for about forty minutes," Ami said.
"This morning Darien started crashing, they figured out that it was because there was bleeding in his brain, they're trying to stop it now but…" Ami hesitated.
"Serena Joshua is here because there's something's that you need to decide. The bleeding was going on for so long, Serena there may be some permanent damage, which could render him…..Serena he may not ever wake up from this."
Serena sat down and took it all in, "your saying he could be brain dead."
"Yes," Ami sat down next to her, "You have to face the possibility that he may not come back to us now. And I know it's hard but you need to decide what to do, Joshua said that Darien left everything to you, all decisions, do you know if Darien ever wanted to be kept on life support or not?"
"It's not in his will?"
Joshua shook his head, "No there was nothing about it, only that everything was to be left up to you."
"I see….I need some time," Serena said standing.
"Yes of course, there's another waiting room on the third floor across from the elevator, we'll come find you when we hear something," Amis said.
Serena nodded and went to the elevators, she had a lot of thinking to do.
Rei sat on the guest bed and rested her hand on her stomach, 'it's in there.'
'My baby, Jadeite and mine, our baby is in there,' she looked down at her hand resting on her stomach and suddenly felt a wave of nausea envelop her. She stumbled from the bed into the bathroom and made it just in time to empty her stomach. She held her hair to the side and emptied the contents of her stomach.
When she was finished she leaned her head against the cool porcelain sink and rested her eyes. "This sucks," she said aloud.
She heard someone chuckle from the doorway, Jadeite leaned against the wall holding Senna in his arms. "When did you get here?"
"A little while ago, I caught the end of your little 'expereince' there," he shifted the baby in his arms. "She woke up while you were occupied," Rei hated that he was meticulously put together while she was sitting on the bathroom floor her hair tangled, her eyes watery and red, and smelling of vomit.
As if he understood her concerns he carefully lowered himself to the floor, making sure not to jostle the little girl in his arms. The three of them sat in silence for several minutes, "You know babe I'm here to hold your hair whenever you need me to." He looked up at her and smiled, his face fell instantly however when he saw that she was crying. "Rei? Are you okay?"
Rei sniffled, "It's these damn hormones!"
Jadeite smiled and then looked down at the little girl staring up at him while his fiancé hid her face and preserved her female pride. "I really hope you're not as difficult little one."
Serena stared out of the large tinted window across the vast parking lot. Multicolor cars were covered in snow, all of them looked extremely small from where she was standing. She had sat in the waiting room that Ami had suggested for a while, but she soon found herself restless and had begun to wander the hospital. No one had said anything to her, she had a feeling that the hospital staff could recognize someone who was grieving and someone who was waiting on news, she had a feeling that people like her were given a little leeway.
Serena sighed and ran her hands over her face, she had been thinking non stop, and even after so long she still didn't know what to do. She and Darien had spoken about this issue when they were younger, they had talked about everything then, he had told her his feelings about the issue. But it had been so long ago, they hadn't spoken about it lately and she knew that they had both changed in the more recent years, she wondered how different their opinions were now. She for sure that she didn't hold the same novel opinions that she had held at the ripe age of 22, she wondered how much Darien's had changed since back then.
Serena sat down finally realizing something that she had failed to realize. She had grown so far away from her husband that she no longer knew his personal opinions on such crucial issues. She let out a small laugh, she didn't know her husband anymore then he knew her, it was tragic. She began to cry understanding that she may never know, she may never again see his eyes, or his smile, she may never again speak to him, about anything. As she sat there in the sunny waiting room, which seemed to mock her, she found she couldn't stop the tears anymore then she could stop breathing. She took several deep breaths trying to calm herself down, trying to stop her tears, but she found it only made it worse.
"Sometimes it helps just to let them out," Serena jumped and stood at the same time as she turned. A woman was standing behind the couch that she had been occupying. She wore a knee length yellow dress with a purple sweater and matching shoes. She physically looked only a few years older than Serena, but her eyes possessed an age that was well beyond that, that's what happens to those who face hardship upon hardship. Serena wondered what her eyes told people.
"I know it's not my place but I find that sometimes it feels better just to cry everything out," she said taking a few steps around the couch. She took Serena's hand in her own and the two woman sat back down on the couch.
Serena opened her mouth to say something but only a sob came out, she felt her resolve crumble and she collapsed into her hands and sobbed for a good ten minutes. The entire time the woman next to her said nothing, finally when Serena was done the woman handed her the coffee that was in her hand.
"You look like you need this more than I do," she said with a gentle smile.
"Oh I couldn't….."
"No I insist," she said. Serena took it gratefully and drank, "Now what's troubling you my friend?"
"It's my husband…he's dying….or he's going to die….and I don't know how to deal with it," Serena said.
"I see," the woman stared at her, "I'm so sorry my dear, and you're so young."
"Yeah…..it's just….I can resign myself to the fact that he's going to die."
"So then resign yourself to the fact that he's not going to die."
Serena looked up at her, "What?"
"Don't think about him dying, only think about living, think about what you're going to say to him when he wakes up, what you're going to do when he gets out of here. Think of those things, that's what I do with my Artemis, there are so many times when the doctors told me that he was going to die, he has a tumor that just doesn't want to away, there are just so many times. But almost every time I had thought that was about him dying I said, 'No Luna! No you think only about him living, think only about him coming home to you!' and though it's been a battle beyond battles he's still alive."
"Then….well excuse me….but why is he here?"
"Well….this is another of those times, that tumor thinks that it's going to keep a permanent residence in my husband's brain, it's completely wrong of course, so the doctors are taking him into surgery in about an hour to remove the pest."
"You talk so lightly about something so…..something so…..devastating."
"Our lives are defined by our perspectives," Luna said. "We have to decide how to look at things, take you for example, if you see him dying then you'll only see pain and tragedy, if you see him as living you'll see him as a fighter, you have look at it all in a certain way."
Serena looked out of the window again to reflect upon her words, they sat in silence for a few moments longer. "You're Serena Shields aren't you? The author."
Serena looked at her and smiled, then she nodded, "I've read your books, I liked them."
"Thank you," Serena said.
"I had heard that you had divorced your husband."
Serena sat in silence, "It's complicated."
"I see…I knew your mother briefly," Luna said, "I'm sorry about her passing."
"I heard that your divorce was because of infidelity," Luna said.
Serena nodded not looking at the woman, and cursing the fact that she was a local celebrity in a small town. "It was….but it's still complicated."
"I understand, you know Artemis and I almost separated once, he too was unable to keep his hands to himself if you get my meaning."
Serena gave her a small smile and nodded. "But you stayed with him?"
"Yes….no one really understood, everyone criticized me for a long time, even our daughter didn't understand what had happened. And finally she asked me why I stayed with him and when I told her I think she got it then, I think then she understood."
Serena looked at her, "What….what was the reason you stayed for?"
"Well I was sitting in my bedroom, right after I found out, I was sitting there thinking about the memories we had in that house thinking about the things we had done, how we had bought the house, it was run down hell hole when we first got it," she laughed. "We spent the first two years of our marriage fixing it together, and we spent our lives there with our daughter, our tragedies were there, our triumphs were there, our lives were there…..and I thought I can't just turn away from all of this…..so I stayed I stayed for all the good things that we had built, all the things that we had done together. I decided that I would stay for all that, instead of leave for the one thing that he had done wrong."
Serena felt tears run down her face again, she wiped them away and smiled, "Yeah I do understand that."
The two woman turned to look behind them, a young woman of about 18 stood staring at her mother, "they're taking dad in soon, he's asking for you."
Luna nodded, "I'm coming darling." She looked at Serena once more and squeezed her shoulder, "Resign yourself." Then she smiled and departed hand in hand with her daughter.
Serena watched them disappear down the hallway then turned back around. She had only been sitting for a few minutes when she heard hurried footsteps coming her way. "Serena!"
Serena turned and saw Kevin panting in the doorway, "You have to come quickly!"
Night had fallen a few hours ago, Darien's room was lit by a dim light from the bedside table. Serena sat in the large chair next to his chair. She hadn't moved since Ami and Kevin had left to get a few hours of sleep. She ran her hands through her hair and sighed, she was exhausted but she didn't want to sleep.
The surgery had gone well, they were able to stop the bleeding and close the surgery without any other issues. Now all Serena was doing was waiting, to see if the swelling would go down and wake Darien, to see if he would not wake up…..no she refused to think in such a way, Luna had been right, the only thing she needed to think about was what she and Darien were going to talk about when he came. What she, him, and their children would do together.
Serena closed her eyes just to rest for a few minutes. She could do that if anything changed the alarms would wake her.
The alarms didn't wake her, instead she was woken by a soft grunt and the sound of her name. She opened her eyes and refused to look afraid that it was a part of her dream. She waited frozen, wishing only for another sound.
Serena turned and blue met dark midnight, "Darien." She flew from her chair and was at his side in an instant, "Darien…..oh god….thank you." She took his hand in her own and pressed it to her forehead. "Thank you….thank you.."
"Serena…..what happened?" his voice was hoarse and he still looked tired but he was awake, he was speaking to her, he was alive and speaking to her!
"Shush, don't worry about that now…..all that matters is that you're back." Serena climbed into the bed with him despite knowing that she should go get a doctor, first she had some things to say to him.
Darien moved his hand to her now flat stomach, "Serena….the…."
She saw the worry in his eyes, "No, no its all okay they're fine they're with your mother and Rei at the house. Darien they're perfect so beautiful I can't wait for you to see them."
He exhaled a sigh of relief, "I'm sorry Serena I missed it all…."
"Hey it's okay, all that matters is that you don't have to miss everything." She smiled through the tears and kissed his hand again. "Darien there's so much that's happened but this…..this whole thing, these last few months, God they've been terrible. Living without you, realizing that I had lost you so long before that, I've hated it."
"I want to fix things, I want to start over….I want to stay for all the good things that we had together, I want to keep going."
"Serena….are you….what are you….."
"Shush…" she pressed a finger to his lips and silenced him, "We can work out the details later, but know this Darien Shields we now have a great responsibility upon us. Not only do you have to make up these last, very important, two weeks of your children's lives, but we also have to spend the rest of our lives together making each other completely, unprecedentedly, and immeasurably happy."
Darien smiled, "Can I start right now?"
Serena smiled through her tears, "Yes." He took her face in his hands and kissed her gently.
"I love you Serena Shields, I love you so much."
"Mommy I can't find my socks!"
Serena looked up and saw her son's reflection in her vanity mirror, he was standing in the doorway of her bedroom his pants rolled up to his ankles and sockless. "They're on your bed sweetie."
"I don't think they are….I looked there already," Jonathan ran from the room and Serena smiled. She went back to applying her make-up. Every few seconds she would look over to the large bed where her youngest son was sleeping peacefully. She had just finished curling her hair when Darien walked in holding Senna.
"Jonathan found his socks," he said walking over to the bed and depositing the baby girl on the bed near her brother. Serena watched as Senna pushed herself up onto her hands and began crawling towards her brother to rouse him from his sleep. Serena smiled and turned around to face Darien, "How do I look?"
"Just as beautiful as the first time," he said.
"Even though I've had three kids since then?"
"It's only made you more beautiful," he said sitting down on the bed next to their twins.
Serena joined him on the bed and watched as Senna placed a chubby hand on her brother's face. Derek scrunched his face opposed to his sister's presence. "Can't believe how old they are now," Serena said.
"Seven months old, time flies by so fast," Darien looked up at his wife to be.
"Too fast, soon we'll be seeing Jonathan off to college," Serena said.
"Soon we'll be watching her walk down the aisle."
Serena laughed, "I don't know that is if her older brothers, uncles, and father even allow any boys to get near her."
"What is it they say? No man is good enough for your little girl?"
"Naw," Serena reached out and brushed Senna's brown hair back, "there's someone out there for her too." Senna looked up at her mother and smiled, she giggled and then stopped pestering her twin to crawl over to her mother. Serena held out her arms and picked up her daughter. "You'll find someone."
Derek let out a grunt as he woke, Serena looked down as he rubbed his eyes and yawned. She touched his head gently, "And so will you." Serena looked up at Darien who was staring at her contently, she smiled at him. "Ready?"
"Already done it once, second shouldn't be hard at all," he said.
"Yeah but this time we have three additions to the bridal party that we didn't have before," Serena said.
"Hey you two you're holding everyone up," Ami pushed open the door with a playful smile. "Rei's already complaining about having to stand for so long while carrying all the extra weight."
All three of them laughed, Serena looked at Darien, "Well we'd better go appease the beast."
Darien nodded and picked up Derek, Serena handed Senna to Ami and stood to adjust her off white dress. "We'll be waiting downstairs," Ami said. "Yes we will, we'll wait downstairs for mommy," Serena could hear Ami talking to the baby as they went down the stairs to join the rest of the family.
Darien paused at the door and looked back at Serena who was standing in the middle of the room staring into space, "Coming?"
Serena turned and smiled at him, "Yeah I'll be down in a second."
"No second thoughts?"
"Never, just thoughts, I'll be down in a second." Darien nodded and followed Ami with Derek.
Serena inhaled a deep breath, the scent of lilacs was in the warm summer wind. She looked around their bedroom, it was a new house, a house that Darien had built for them again, but this time it hadn't been a wedding present it had been a present for their family. It was a place where they had made new memories and created a new life together. Serena reflected upon everything that had happened in the past several months. Darien had come home and Serena and he had taken things slowly for a while, he had gotten to know his children and Serena all over again. Serena too had found Darien again, and in turn they had fallen even deeper in love with each other than they had been. Age had made them wiser and more cautious and caring about love. Helen had taken Ami's house and they visited often, Rei and Jadeite were still in the city, but contemplating getting a house nearer to Helen. Ami and Kevin had decided that they would live near and commute into the city, their children loved the new house and the new seasons they were experiencing. Lita was looking at moving to New York, she said she missed everyone and there were tons of catering opportunities in Manhattan. Malachite had been able to convince Mina to take some time off to work on their family and discover each other in their marriage, no one knew how he had actually did it but everyone was glad to had Mina around more.
Serana stared around the bedroom again taking everything in, everything that had happened not only in the past several months, but everything that had happened over the past year and a half. Had someone told her that all this was going to happen back on that sunny morning long past, she never would have believed them. She would have thought it impossible that she would reconcile with her family, that she would give birth to two more children, that she would fall even more in love with her husband. She never would have believed that she would recover from such a betrayal and would be remarrying the man that had broken her heart, she never would have believed it.
Serena smiled once more and recalled Luna's words, "I stayed for everything that we had made together." The older woman had been right, the things that they had together, their children, their memories, their hopes, their dreams, and their experiences, all that together was worth much more than what had happened. Serena walked from the room and turned at the doorway, she smiled once more then closed the door and went down to her family.