An. This chapter isn't late… cough Not by, like, 6 'r 7 months, either!! cough Okay, so maybe it is!! This one is for Chrissy, and all of my other faithful readers. Sorry for the lateness!! -Riss

Chapter 7

Two Months Later

I was fitted for my wedding dress today.

Now it's getting late and I'm sitting in Gracia's living room with Elysia in my lap, looking at dress designs with the two of them. Gracia, of course, has her eye on this horrible frilly thing that might very well suit her but would be an absolute felony on me. I'll have to derail her on that note, but at the moment she's just so excited and I'm exhausted…

Elysia is asleep and getting heavy now but Gracia doesn't seem to notice me shifting under the constant weight of her daughter- she is too busy dog-earing a page in a bridal magazine with a feature on some pink floral dress, which, yet again, I loathe enormously. I honestly think that I'd be better off choosing a dress with Roy- even if it did turn out to be some slinky black number plus a veil…

"Gracie honey, can you not see the look of utter agony on poor Riza-chan's face? It doesn't suit at all," said Maes as he walked into the room, just home from the office, and bent down to pick up his beloved daughter.

"Oh, Riza don't you like any of these? Why didn't you say?" Gracia sighed and the look on my face morphed from apparent agony to guilt.

"I honestly liked that simple one in the first magazine, Gracia," I sighed.

"What, with the roses?" asked Gracia and I nodded as she flipped back to it and showed it to Maes.

"It'd look lovely on Riza," he agreed with a grin. "Roy's sure to love the low back."

I blushed a little, grabbed the magazine and chucked it at him for good measure but he only caught it and tossed it back, still holding Elysia in the other arm. He then sat with us a while before excusing himself to take little Elysia to bed, just as I stood in preparation to leave.

"See you, Riza," he said. "Tell Roy I said 'hi'."

It was somewhat common knowledge that Roy often stayed the night with me but I didn't like the suggestive lilt to his voice- especially as we had not yet actually done anything to warrant it.

"I will," I replied, deciding to ignore Maes' suggestiveness, and turned to Gracia. "Thank you for your help, Gracie. I really appreciate it."

Gracia waved me off wordlessly and as she turned around it became apparent that she was already on the phone listening to Florence from the bridal shop, who was most likely chiding her for calling her home so late, before describing at length the dress that I had picked out.

Chuckling softly, I said my last goodbyes and headed for the door.

-

"Have fun with Gracia?" called Roy from the kitchen as I walked in the door. I frowned. It was already past ten- he hadn't actually started dinner when I called to tell him I was on my way, had he?

He had.

"Roy, what's this?" I sighed, not answering his question. "You could have eaten hours ago- I wouldn't have minded getting myself something. Besides, you have to be at work early tomorrow for your meeting with the General."

"Stop fussing and go sit down in the dining room, dear," Roy replied with a grin. "Dinner'll be really in a couple of minutes."

I smiled reproachfully and went to place a light kiss on his cheek before going on to do as he said and, as promised, a few minutes later he was joining me with our meal.

"How are wedding preparations coming on with Grandfather?" I asked, because that was what he'd been roped in to doing all day under the guise of discussing top secret military 'stuff'.

"Fair," said Roy, shrugging. "Dresses with Gracia?"

"Agony," I sighed. "But I have found one that I like- one of the first we looked at this evening, actually. The rest were quite painful to look at."

"I can imagine," said Roy, grinning. "Poor thing must be frantic though- there are only two weeks until the wedding and you've only just chosen a dress."

"They were all hideous, Roy," I whined, but I was smiling.

"I'm sure," he said. Then… "It won't be long now."

"Two weeks," I agreed and I wondered if he could hear the anticipation in my voice.

"You sound excited," he noted and I found myself blushing. 'Darn…'

"Maybe," I said. "Every woman wants to be a bride, doesn't she?"

Roy smiled and nodded. "I'm really glad that you're mine, though. I don't want anyone else."

I smiled at his cuteness. "Thank you, Roy," I said and I let him kiss me lightly before continuing eating.

After dinner we curled up on the couch and I snuggled into Roy's chest happily, drunk on warmth and weariness. His fingers in my hair were soft and soothing and I found myself praying for the moment to never end. Soon though, it became late and I decided to get up, however reluctantly. Roy pulled me back down gently.

"You don't really want to do that," he whispered against my hair.

"I have to," I said. "It's getting late."

Roy let me go, equally reluctantly, but as I prepared to leave the room to get blankets for him on the couch, I suddenly decided against it. "Roy, would you like to sleep with me tonight?" I blushed as he glanced up excitedly. "If you'd like I… I wouldn't object."

Apparently not having been looking forward to another night on my lumpy old couch (however much Hayate seemed to adore it), Roy leapt to his feet and followed me into my room.

We slept, that night, in a lover's embrace. Warm and happy but sad also, because I was desperately afraid that the love that I was trying so hard to express to him was just being brushed off as what was proper for a woman to do for her fiancée. By this point, I was so deep into it that I wanted him to know. There was neither shame nor embarrassment- rather, a black fear that he did not feel for me as I felt for him or, somehow even worse, that he did not know how much I felt for him. Indeed, that he would not reciprocate my feelings seemed to be the lesser of the two evils after having gone so long secretly loving him.

I curled up against his chest lazily, circling my arms around his torso and slipping one leg up over his so that I lay half on top of him. Eyes closed, he smiled at me and I smiled back, unbeknownst to him.

"Goodnight, Riza."

"Night, Roy," I replied, tightening my arms around him slightly. Then, almost as an afterthought and, though I knew that he was almost asleep- if he wasn't already- I added: "I love you."

-

Roy grinned at me as I awoke- a sort of mischievous, cattish grin that made me suspect him immediately.

"What time is it?" I asked, but he didn't reply- still grinning madly. Rolling my eyes, I glanced over at my shelf and blanched. "You've hidden my alarm clock!"

"So I have," Roy agreed. "And I'll not tell you when it went off either."

"It went off and you didn't wake me?!" I exploded and he just laughed, hugging me tighter. "You do realise that you had it set for 5:30, don't you?"

I sighed loudly. "I should have known that that was why you were so eager to sleep with me- easy access to my alarm clock!"

"Oh, that was just an added bonus," said Roy happily. "I also like cuddling you immensely." He squeezed me tighter as though to prove his point and I squirmed in his grasp.

"Roy," I reproached him.

"Yeeess," said Roy innocently.

"We have to get up."

"No we don't," Roy whined.

"We do!" I insisted but I was to be afforded no reply. "Up. Now," I commanded again, this time with more force. Knowing better than anyone when it was time to bow out with honour, he obliged.

"Will you have the first shower or shall I?" he asked. "It's only 8:20, by the way- not too late."

I let out a small sigh of annoyance but nodded. "I'll take the first shower and start on getting something for breakfast. If we're already going to be late, we might as well do it properly."

Roy grinned widely and nodded, planting a happy kiss on my forehead before going off to get his things ready. I followed suit, gathering my uniform- quickly exchanged for a tank top and pyjama pants at some point last night- giving it a last-minute iron and going off to have my shower.

…Stupid Taisa.

-

The closer the wedding draws, the more nervous I become. I have this dream that when he takes off my veil and kisses me he'll just know, all of a sudden, how much I care about him. Like magic… I know it's stupid, but maybe everything will just fall into place. Oh, I wish that I could know that for sure, it would make living this last week so much more bearable!! Every moment that I'm around him and he's treating me in that kind, gentlemanly way of his, I feel like I could just explode with the joy which, as a soldier, is not something I'm wholly accustomed to feeling at all.

Today, I glanced up at him from where I sat at my desk and found him smiling at me. Not just a little smile, a great big beautiful smile- right at me. I wondered exactly what he was thinking about, but didn't ask. I couldn't, of course.

"Stop grinning and get to work, Taisa. There will be serious repercussions if that work is not on the Fuhrer's desk in two hours time, you know?"

The smile vanished and Roy looked down at his paperwork miserably.

"It's important, sir," I added stubbornly. "And besides, if I start letting you off easily now, the Fuhrer will decide that our relationship is having too big an impact on your work and disallow it."

"You say that like it's a bad thing," said Roy, and for a few moments he looked confused as to the hurt that was apparently visible on my face. Then, all of a sudden, he jolted slightly and seemed to realize. "God, Riza, not like that! I mean- …well, I'm just surprised, I guess. You're threatening that we won't be allowed to marry and… well, it's working. Neither of us want that." He seemed in awe.

"I'm rather fond of the idea, by this stage," I told him simply, looking away to hide my embarrassment. How could he not know? "Now, please. I'm not going to cover for you again if it isn't finished."

Roy didn't even glance down at the papers, instead, he looked around the otherwise empty room miserably.

"They've all finished their work, sir. Finished it and gone home. Please do hurry now."

"Fine, fine…" Reluctantly, Roy lowered his pen to the page and began to write very slowly- testing it. Then he settled into his work and I looked down at my book again, satisfied.

I wasn't actually reading, but it was always an excuse not to meet Roy's eyes when he looked up at me and saved me from being asked what I was thinking so deeply about otherwise. After all, with Roy it's always been frightfully necessary to keep distractions to an absolute minimum during working hours.