I sit rubbing the balls of my feet, back up against the porch swing. A little girl is dashing around the garden, giggling wildly, my little girl, Cyanea. Cloud is inside with Denzel.
I glance up, waving at Cyanea to show she has my attention. She is pointing at a butterfly, lilac blue in colour now flapping around her head. Little fingers extend, reaching up, grabbing at the delicate, elusive insect. I tuck my knees under my body and lean back with another sigh. The only sounds are that of a young girls' laughter, and the occasional clang from the garage where Cloud and Denzel are.
Suddenly there's a noise, a sharp cry. Cyanea is lying face down in the dirt. Her body shaking with sobs.
I leap from the porch and dash towards her quickly. She gets to her feet, palms cut and muddy. Her knee is bruised and hot tears roll down her cheeks.
"Mommy, it hurts."
"Ssshhh. It's okay sweetie - I'm here." I scoop her up and carry her over the swing. "Let Mommy kiss it better for you." I say, taking her hands in mine and planting gentle kisses.
Cloud appears in the doorway with a frown.
"What happened?" But the moment he set eyes on her he understands and compassion replaces confusion in his eyes,
"Had another fall, Princess?" He disappears and re-appears moments later with a first aid kit. He gently dabs at her injuries telling her stories of when he used to clean up my battle scars. Then he tells her how brave she is. Its not long before she's stopped crying completely.
"Can I go play again?" She says eagerly. I laugh.
"Okay. Just be careful."
Cloud joins me on the porch and we sit in comfortable silence watching Cyanea run around the garden until were interuppted by yet another sound. There's a roaring engine and a motorbike pulls up outside the house. Marlene hops of the back, planting a kiss on the drivers cheek, before strutting up the driveway. I watch Cloud's eyes narrow.
"Who was that?" Cloud asks when she reaches the porch. Marlene shrugs.
"You mean he's a stranger."
"Cloud relax. He's just a friend giving me a lift home." She waves her hand casually at him as though swatting away a fly.
"Marlene...?" Cloud says in a warning tone. She rolls her eyes, tossing her long hair back and struts into the house. Clouds glances at my bemused expression.
"And you're okay with this?"
"Its not my place not to be."
"Well Barret certainly won't be okay with it."
"You're not going to tell him are you?"
"If I recall Cloud, you took me for rides on your motorbike when we were that age."
"Thats different." He retorts. I smirk at him, stubborn as ever. He sighs.
"Fine I won't tell Barret... but when Cyanea's Marlene's age, she sure as hell ain't riding on the back of any bike. And as for boys. She'll have to wait to she's at least gone to college before she even thinks about making friends with them!"
I roll my eyes at him with a soft laugh. Denzel emerges in the doorway, covered in grease and oil, his long hair tied back in a ponytail.
"Dad! Are you going to help me fix my bike or what?!" Cloud kisses me on the cheek, the slides smoothly off the bench to go join Denzel.
"Oh, and I think you should take a nap before dinner time." he adds, popping his head around the doorframe.
"Cloud... I'm fine!"
"The Doctor said you need to rest! I'm serious Teef." Then he vanishes around the doorway once more. I sigh. Don't worry, I'm not sick again... just pregnant.
Eight years. Ninety six months. Two thousand, eight hundred and eighty days. Sixty nine thousand, one hundred and twenty hours.
That's how longs its been since I thought I was ready to die. But now I'm realising, I was no where near ready. I'm still not. And it'll be a long time before I am.
As long as I have a loving husband by my side. Amazing children to raise watch grow. Friends to support me through the thick and thin. Then I think that maybe I can live forever. Just maybe.
But who knows. Right now, I've got all the time in the world.
A/N: Well thats it! Hope you all enjoyed it. Thanks to all the readers. Especially thanks to: Sael, SparrowStrife, space-halo, typical, lockheart1, Niquie, LovingCloudStrife777, ChaosNightbringer and cLoTiHeArT for the great reviews.
The name Cyanea is a little odd, but I found out it means 'blue sky' which I thought seemed fitting. And I just couldn't resist having Marlene as the rebel teen.