AUTHOR'S NOTE: I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on this little story. I want to keep going for all of you, but I'm afraid the characters have reached their "destination" and I have no further plans for them beyond this. I hope you have enjoyed the story, slightly flawed though I know it is. Enjoy this last "chapter", and thank you again!
One Year Later-August 2018
"Happy Anniversary," Alex grinned as he pulled the blindfold off Serenity. Before them, laid out on the lawn of the campus (having been guarded by a few of Jerry's jock friends) was a romantic picnic feast. Rose petals strewn around the blanket that had a spread of strawberries and cream, cheese and crackers, assorted fruit and a bottle of champagne illegally obtained by one of Jerry's ever resourceful friends. Students passed by them, smiling and staring, but neither Alex nor Serenity seemed to notice or care.
"Oh my God!" Serenity exclaimed as she turned and threw her arms around Alex's neck.
"Do you remember?" Alex asked as he led her to the blanket.
"Sure," Serenity accusingly frowned at Alex, "this was where we first met, unofficially. I was photographing the library."
Alex nodded, and produced a large flat box from under the corner of the blanket. Serenity grinned and grabbed at the gift, tearing the paper off. She stared at it for a long time, not saying anything. When she finally did talk, Alex saw tears in her eyes and heard them in her voice.
"It's beautiful," she smiled as she held the framed print up to the sun.
"I did it myself," Alex said, his turn to grin with pride. "I invaded your photo lab and after a few quick lessons-and after Jackie stealthily borrowed your negatives from that day-I produced this enlargement. All by myself."
Serenity stared at him with a smile.
"This is probably one of the best, most heartfelt gifts I have ever received," she set the print down and tackled him to the blanket as she kissed his face and neck, "thank you so much!"
"But I love you," Alex smiled, "so it was my pleasure."
Two Years Later-February2019
"When we found out we were going to have a baby, mom and I decided that if we were to have a boy, we would name him Alexander, after our friend. We were blessed with two beautiful little girls so we never did get to use that name. Now that my Alex has come into our lives, we had to choose another name for this new little guy," Max smiled widely from Liz's bedside.
"Meet James Phillip Evans," Max and Liz both beamed as Alex gently guided Claudia and Kyla a bit closer to the hospital bed where their mother was propped up, holding the newborn.
"We've lost many loved ones over the years, but have been able to keep them alive in our memory by naming our children after them," Max reached out and ruffled Kyla's hair.
"Who was James?" Claudia, who had been named after Liz's grandmother, asked as she stroked the new baby's rosy cheeks and cooed at him.
"James was our very good friend and he lived in Roswell and knew Gram and Pops. He was a police officer and helped all the people in town," Liz said softly as Claudia and Kyla nodded wide eyed.
"He was also Kyle's father," Max added, winking at Kyla.
"Kyle who I was named after?" She said with wonder and Max nodded. Kyla smiled proudly and lifted herself on her toes to get a better view of her baby brother James.
"Do you want to hold him?" Liz looked up to Alex.
"I might break him," he laughed as he reached out and took the sleeping baby from Liz's arms.
"Hey there little brother," he said softly, as James stirred momentarily then closed his eyes again. A part of Alex wished that he was sharing this moment with Serenity; they had decided to take a break from each other after the New Year. Serenity was spending some time back in New York-having decided to drop out of Northeastern University. Alex was sure Michael blamed him, even though it had been a mutual decision to be apart for awhile. Alex cringed at the thought of what Michael and Maria, or Max and Liz, would do or say if they knew there had been a pregnancy scare…
Alex smiled down at his new baby brother, pushing those bad memories out of his mind. He wanted to focus on the new addition to his family, the tiny little baby with a thick shock of black hair that was sleeping soundly in his arms, his tiny hand holding on tightly to Alex's finger.
"He looks kind of like me," Alex grinned as Max and Liz laughed in agreement.
Three Years Later-July 2020
"Your dad is going to come over here and kill me. Really," Alex growled as he lifted the last box from the moving truck. "I'm sure this will be the last straw."
"No he won't," Serenity laughed, "-and even if he wanted too, Max would end him if he actually did anything to you."
In May Serenity had returned to Boston to visit Jackie. Alex had secured a part-time job at Max's hospital in the genetic research department, so he didn't return to Montana like he had the previous summer. Jackie, unbeknownst to either Alex or Serenity, arranged a meeting between the two of them. They hadn't spoken since January of the previous year when they'd parted ways, though apparently both had continued to pester Jackie about the other, wondering if they were dating anyone, how they were, and so on. So Jackie, sick of being the go-between, took it upon herself to make Alex and Serenity speak to each other once again.
It hadn't taken more then a few minutes in the company of Serenity for Alex to immediately realize his feelings for her had not faded, let alone disappeared. That first day together they spent hours talking about the past and hashing out feelings and impressions from the last few months they had been together. They talked about the pregnancy scare, and Alex expressed regret at the way he'd handled the situation. Serenity was forgiving and apologetic for shutting down and rejected Alex's attempts to comfort and help her. By the end of the conversation they were closer then ever; and back together. Serenity returned to New York just to tell her parents that she was moving back to Boston, where she stayed with Jackie in her apartment until she and Alex finally found a place of their own. Serenity also found a job at an art gallery, where she not only sold art, but was given one small corner to display her own pieces. It had all worked out so perfectly, Alex had to admit that maybe they were destined to be together; even though he adamantly rejected the ideas of fate and destiny.
Michael and Maria had not been pleased with Serenity's decision. It had caused more then one nasty argument between Max and Michael, as the latter still blamed Alex completely for Serenity dropping out of school and returning to New York so suddenly. But when Alex expressed concern over Max's conflict with Michael, Max simply told him not to worry about it; that he and Michael fought all the time, and eventually things would return to normal once again. Alex found that hard to believe, but trusted that his father knew his friend better then Alex did.
"Well he doesn't like me, even still," Alex complained as he climbed the stairs to the second floor apartment that he and Serenity had signed a lease for two weeks prior.
"He doesn't like anyone," Serenity replied as she pulled the apartment door closed behind her, "You shouldn't take it so personally."
Alex sighed loudly. He appreciated Serenity's attempts to make him feel better, but he knew Michael held a deep resentment towards him. He just hoped he could repair some of that damage, for Serenity and Max's sakes, if nothing else. He set the last box down on the floor, than looked around at the mass of boxes that surrounded them. They were stacked three and four high, and formed a kind of fortress around the perimeter of the small living room.
"I can't believe this," he said, running his hands through his hair as he stared at the mess. He was suddenly overwhelmed.
"Relax," Serenity pulled him close to her, "and let's christen this place already."
Four Years Later-December 2021
"Is my tie straight?"
Alex stood before the bathroom mirror, fiddling with the black and silver pinstriped tie that he was trying to align with his white button down shirt.
"It's fine!" Serenity poked her head into the bathroom, and looked him up and down once, quickly.
"You're fine," she added, winking as she disappeared again.
Alex laughed, and turning on his heels he chased her down the hall of their two bedroom apartment, tackling her to the couch and smothering her with kisses.
"Get off!" Serenity laughed, pushing Alex to the floor.
"Now your tie is crooked," she winked again, rising from the couch, smoothing her dress and grinning broadly.
Alex watched her and felt the love he had for her grow another tenfold. At times he wondered how people lived with so much love in their hearts. He felt sure he could die from the love that swelled within him. Alex sighed happily as he stood up, picking lint off his trousers and smoothing out the front of his shirt.
Ten minutes later they were heading out the door, running late as usual. Even with Serenity's ability to instantaneously change her appearance (a gift inherited from her dad) it still took her as long as any "human" to get ready. And when she discovered she'd lost the heart-shaped pendant that had been Alex's gift to her on her eighteenth birthday she flatly refused to leave the apartment without it around her neck. Finally finding it in the sofa cushion, they set off. Still Alex worried they would get there too late and he'd have to sit in the audience, a witness instead of a participant in his own college graduation. It wouldn't bother him so much if he was late, but knowing that his parents and Crystal had traveled all the way from Montana for this would make his absence more painful.
It was with luck that they managed to arrive in the nick of time, and with a quick kiss Serenity left to go sit with his parents, both sets, while Alex set off to find Jackie and line up for his commencement ceremony.
The night before, Max and Liz had met Alex's adoptive parents. Alex had been worried, afraid that his adoptive parents would be threatened by Max. He needn't have worried. Everything had gone smoothly, everyone had gotten along. Tonight they would all be together again at the graduation party Max and Liz were hosting at their house. Alex tried not to worry about it, but he couldn't help but do so. He wanted everyone to be happy and have a good time. He felt responsible for making that happen.
"Cutting it a little close, aren't you?" Jackie whispered conspiratorially as Alex insinuated himself into the lineup of graduates, hurriedly adjusting his cap and gown while Jackie shook her head and fixed his Sigma Cum Laude banner; he'd had it on backwards.
"You know how Serenity is," he said as Jackie nodded and rolled her eyes.
Not even a minute later the line started to move as the graduates entered the ballroom and the ceremony began.
Five Years Later September 2022
"I now pronounce you husband and wife," the pastor smiled, "you may kiss your bride!"
Alex turned from the pastor to his new wife and pulled her tightly to him, ignoring the whistles and cheers from the guests he gave her a long deep kiss that knocked even him off his feet.
As they walked back down the aisle as husband and wife, Alex ignored what had become the permanent scowl on Michael's face (at least when it came to Alex and his relationship with Serenity) and beamed at his new bride. It had been a long, hard road to get where they were; arguments and breakups, reconciliations and passionate nights of love. But still, in the end, they had made it. Alex was giddy with excitement.
In the church vestibule, Alex turned to Serenity and pulled her too him, swinging her around as she laughed.
"We made it," he said as he lowered her back to the floor.
"Yeah we did," Serenity smiled and stared at Alex, her eyes moving fast as she seemed to take in his whole face.
As the newlyweds stood together, Jackie and Jerry, the maid of honor and best man, joined them, both grinning widely. It had been almost one year since Alex and Serenity had announced their engagement, and at the party that Max and Liz had held in their honor Jerry had finally asked Jackie out on a date; after months of telling Alex how much he liked her. Now, one year later, they too were engaged. Behind them were the three junior bridesmaids, Crystal, Claudia and Kyla; and the single other groomsman, or junior groomsman, Simon. James, the ring-bearer, brought up the rear.
"Time for pictures," Jackie ordered as the photographer joined them and ushered them outside. Alex heard the church start to empty as the guests mingled and tried to catch sight of the wedding party as they were posed and manipulated into several different groupings in the church gardens. Finally, after nearly an hour, the photographer was done. Alex would have smiled in relief, but his cheeks were too sore from all the smiling he'd been doing the last hour.
The reception was being held at an historic hotel just a few blocks from the church. Alex, who had hired two limo's for ferrying the wedding party to the reception, paid the driver who was to take him and Serenity an extra hundred dollars to delay their arrival for another half hour. The driver had been happy to oblige. The rest of the wedding party set off in the second limo, bound directly for the reception. Alex sighed with contentedness as he and Serenity climbed into their car, finally alone after several long days of wedding preparations and not a moment's peace.
"Come here, wife," Alex smirked as he pulled Serenity to him, kissing her mouth and thinking what a lucky man he was.
"Alone at last," she sighed as they pulled apart and cuddled into each other's embrace.
"Yes, and I tipped the driver a little extra so we'd have a bit more time," Alex winked and Serenity laughed.
"You are a clever one, Alex Martin," Serenity sat up and wrapped her arms around his neck, climbing onto his lap despite the full petticoat under her sparkling gown.
"I know what I want," Alex growled, burning with desire but holding back. They would have plenty of time tonight to be with each other.
"Happy, Mrs. Martin?" Alex whispered as Serenity, still on his lap, nestled closer to him, her arms still wrapped around his neck.
"I never thought I could be so happy," she answered as the limousine crawled through the neighborhood streets, giving the newlywed's comfort and quiet and time to simply be.