"We have gathered here today to celebrate love, to witness in the coming together of these two people, whose hearts and spirits shall be intertwined forever hereafter..."
Claire didn't know why weddings were such a glorified event.
Yeah sure, you get married to your soul mate and all that, but really, is something like that really all that great?
She certainly didn't think so.
Maybe it was because she actually wasn't marrying her soul mate, but that was besides the fact. Getting dressed up in a frilly white gown, having people blatantly stare as you walked down a freakishly happily decorated aisle, it just wasn't her cup of tea.
She tugged at the lacy sleeve of her dress, Goddess, she'd get married in her dirty sweaty overalls any day.
Suppressing a yawn she glanced around the church. At least the town had put an effort into decorating the place, she was glad to see the rest of the church had been adorned with a more simple style than the petal strewn aisle she had walked down earlier.
Pastor Carter stood before her, droning on about matrimony and such, she'd tuned him out long ago, she was just waiting for the 'I do' part so she could finally take a seat and rip off her constricting gown. Instead she listened in on the quiet sounds behind her, she could make out the hushed whispers of Manna to her gossip buddies, Stu's whining, Popuri's excited murmuring.
She guessed she was happy that the town had turned out for her wedding, it sort of made up for how her parents couldn't make it.
And all too suddenly her attention was ensnared by Carter's words, "Do you, Claire, take Gray to be your lawful wedded husband?"
She gulped and closed her eyes, "I do." That was for you, little growing baby. She thought to her stomach as the words rolled off her tongue.
"Do you promise to love and cherish him, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, and forsaking all others, keep yourself unto him, for as long as you live?"
"And do you, Gray, take Claire to be you're lawful wedded wife?"
There was a pause, and Claire held her breath. She didn't know if she was hoping for him to say I do or I don't.
"Yeah, I do."
"Do you promise to love and cherish her, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, and forsaking all others, keep yourself unto her, for as long as you live?"
Polite clapping was scattered throughout the church and Carter smiled happily.
"To be loved is to know joy and happiness, to give love is to know the joy of sharing oneself, for it is through the miracle of love that we discover the fullness of life. May the Goddess always be with, protect, and guide both of you, now and forever," He nodded towards Gray, "You may kiss the bride."
Claire's faced scrunched up slightly as she turned to face the man that, in about five seconds would be her husband. He didn't exactly have the happiest look on his face either but nonetheless he leaned forward and she upward and their lips touched perhaps for a fraction of a second. The church exploded in cheers and excessive clapping, and maybe it was everyone else's happiness that sort of made Claire feel happy too.
Some months later...
It had been quite a while since that day, almost nine months since her diagnosis. Her stomach wasn't as big as she'd thought it was going to get, but yeah, it still made her look really pregnant. And the whole married life thing? It wasn't so bad, she'd actually grown quite fond of Gray since he'd moved in. Of course they'd argued like there was no tomorrow but those arguments had become less and less frequent as time went on, she'd simply figured they'd just run out of things to disagree on.
What had really surprised her was that Gray was actually...excited for a baby. It had honestly caught her off guard, his enthusiasm for a little bundle of joy, because he'd seemed so morose and unhappy about it before. Well, he was always sort of morose and unhappy, but talking about having a baby sort of made his face light up. It was kind of sweet, and reassuring. He would be a loving father, she was sure of it.
And things between the two of them, besides the loss of their headstrong arguments, had in fact become simple daily routine for her. And it was a good daily routine, something she worked herself into easily. It had been a little awkward at first, a kiss on the cheek, holding hands, just being in such close proximity really, they'd played it out as an act for the town to see, but she found soon that she'd stopped acting and that it was for real. When she had realized it, she had surprised even herself and when she'd told Gray, well it had certainly surprised him too.
Yeah, things were really (she couldn't believe she was saying this) good.
"Hey, you sure you don't need any help?" Gray questioned before he walked out the door.
"Yeah, yeah, it's all good. Don't worry about it."
He eyed her doubtfully, "...Maybe you should take the day off."
"Maybe you should get to work, you know Saibara will chew you out for being late."
Irritated grumbling was heard but he closed the front door calling out a 'see you and be careful' behind him. She almost laughed, and placed a hand over her large abdomen, at least the man was concerned about their well being. Cramming the rest of her toast in her mouth she set about work, just because she was pregnant didn't mean she couldn't still farm! Despite the many offers from friends she'd insisted she stay an independent woman through her work.
But she had to admit, lately it was getting a lot harder to do things, even with the little assistance she had from the harvest sprites. Like actually picking her harvest, squatting she'd discovered, was just hell. She couldn't even stand back up without assistance and for some reason it always made her want to pee. Nonetheless she set out with her tools determined to get at least some work done.
Gray glanced at the clock consistently, so much so it was affecting the quality of his work. But he couldn't help it, Claire's stubborn claims of being an independent farmer were putting her at risk, her and the baby. What would he do if something happened?
He scowled at the clock on the wall, it was only 11:30 in the morning, why did time have to pass so slowly? Maybe he'd ask if he could leave early, but knowing his grandpa he'd get a hard whack in the head instead of extra time off. So all he could do was work and wait, but he found he did more waiting than working.
A soft clicking noise was heard, the door had opened to the store. Curious he glanced over to see Elli, looking quite frantic, talking rapidly to his grandfather.
"Eh? Slow yourself down girl!" Saibara said gruffly as Elli spewed out quick sentences. As Gray walked over she immediately grabbed his arm.
"Gray! Gray there you are, Goddess, you've got to hurry back to the farm! Quick, quickly!" She pulled at him incessantly and they stumbled out of the store, Saibara in tow.
"Elli, what the hell's going on?"
"It's Claire! Her water broke for Goddess's sakes! We've got to hurry, I told the doctor I'd be back in five minutes!"
"Her water broke...? Her water broke??" He practically shouted and broke out into a run, Elli clung to his sleeve as she tried to keep up. "Why the fucking hell didn't you say so sooner??
The two of them dashed down the streets leaving Saibara far behind them and as they stumbled into the house, panting, they were greeted with warm hello's from both Claire and Tim. Gray gawked at Claire who seemed to be sitting very comfortably on the bed.
"I thought you're water broke." He said plainly as he looked for signs of discomfort on her face, but she simply smiled.
"Yeah, it did, it doesn't mean I'm in labour, you know. That comes a little bit later."
Tim nodded in agreement as he took a seat at the table, "Yes, hopefully it'll be quick, Claire seems to be dilating rather nicely. The only thing you have to worry about for now are you're contractions."
"Dilating? What's that?" Gray asked as he sat down at the end of the bed but Claire only laughed lightly and told him it was nothing he needed to worry about. Gray was rather annoyed but he questioned the doctor again. "So Tim, how long will it take?"
"How long will what take, the birthing process?" Tim tapped his chin thoughtfully, "You can never tell, hopefully it'll be quick but these things are unpredictable. All you can do is wait it out."
"Don't worry about it Gray, everything will be fine" Elli said and smiled warmly at him, "Although we're going to ask you to maybe wait in the kitchen or outside when she actually does go into labour. We don't want you getting in the way or anything."
"Ohh, yeah, I guess that makes...sense." He crossed his arms and contemplated arguing that point, he wanted to be around when his kid entered the world, but Claire nudged him with her foot and nodded in agreement with Elli.
"Don't worry about it Gray, everything will be fine."
Woooooooooooooooow, I'm soooo sorry for that huge hiatus you guys. I swear to all that is holy, I really tried to update quicker, but I had school so I was sooo busy! But I've found time to write in between classes now, so hopefully I'll update quicker.
One more thing to note, the next chapter will probably be the last.
Well, even though it's been a crazy long time (has it been, like, a month already?!) R&R!