Chapter 4

It was the day before the wedding. He'd managed to avoid all unwelcome questions and looks for an entire day. He only spoke to his sisters and parents, ignoring the other two that were there. Her parents made it down tonight for the rehearsal. He had already suffered through the groom's dinner and now he was waiting at the end of the alter in a spot one away of where he should be standing. Part of him was surprised that Sebastian had asked him to be his best man. Then again, it was probably another way to dig it in, that he got to marry Serenity and Endymion didn't. A way to get back at him for having Serenity first.

Sebastian stood in his spot. Endymion was glowering at the back of his head and then the women were starting to come in. Since Sebastian only had Endymion and two of his other male friends as groomsmen, there were only Sebastian's sisters as bridesmaids. Raye was asked to be maid of honor. Since Endymion knew Serenity had more friends that this, ones she would have asked to be in her wedding, he couldn't help but wonder why she didn't invite them as well, they could have easily doubled up on the groomsmen's arms. Then again, maybe they couldn't make it on such short notice. Endymion was beginning to wish he hadn't found a flight back.

All of his sisters were where they belonged, and then the doors opened again for Serenity and her father. Even though she was wearing a simple frock, she looked gorgeous and it felt like someone was squeezing his heart as he watched her come closer to him with the fake flowers in hand. He tried to take a step forward, having forgotten he helped Raye down the rest of the aisle, but Sebastian went forward faster than him, taking Serenity's hand in his own and hooking it over his arm to return with her to the front. It felt like someone hit Endymion in the solar plexus, he couldn't breathe, he couldn't think, all he felt was excruciating pain.

He took a step forward, intending on ruining this practice session but Serenity made a face and then she turned on her heel and rushed out of the room. He was intending on grabbing her up and carrying her out, but she'd done most of the hard work for him. He ran after her, despite the fact that Sebastian was going for her as well. Endymion reached the bathroom that she was retching into over the bowl before his brother and slammed the door shut, locking it behind him, keeping the other man firmly out of this. Sebastian pounded on it but Endymion ignored it and Serenity didn't seem to hear.

Endymion knelt down beside Serenity and felt her clammy skin. "What's wrong?" He murmured, moving her hair back from her hot face. He'd seen her run off during breakfast several times but he didn't know where to. He wasn't very good at knowing what happened during pregnancy, though he'd seen his mother pregnant three other times after he was born, but he was still young when most of those happened. The one thing he did know though, was morning sickness didn't happen until well into the first trimester and he was good with math. Trimesters lasted a lot longer than two weeks!

"I'm pregnant, that's what's wrong!" She wailed. "If it wasn't for that, this whole sorry mess wouldn't be happening!" She was crying in earnest now and he helped her stand, brush her teeth and rinsed off her face. He even patted it dry for her.

"But-"

"Though I am glad for it too, it allowed me to see your true colors!" Her tears still kept squirting out and she kept trying to fob them off. "What are you doing in here, Endymion?"

"Fighting for you." He responded gently. "I love you and I never want to let you go. I don't care you're pregnant with my brother's baby. I don't care you cheated on me with him. I just want you."

"Oh yeah, and what do you intend we should do about this then?" She grouched at him. "Give the baby over to him so then you can continue on with your carefree bachelor life?"

"I don't want the bachelor life. I told you, I want you. I want you when I wake up in the morning, when I go to bed at night and every other minute of the day."

"So you want me, but you don't want children." She turned towards the door, twisting the knob but finding it locked. She worked on unlocking it, but her fingers were shaking so badly that she couldn't.

"Of course I do." Endymion brought her back into his arms. "I don't know why you would even think that!" He chided softly. "I love you and anything that is any part of you, I would love as well. Sebastian can have visiting rights, or split custody, I don't care, but I'll keep that baby too, if that's what you want. I'll raise it as my own." His mouth came down and started kissing her face, with soft butterfly kisses. "Please give me another shot. I'm not sure what I did wrong to make you leave me like this, but I promise if you remain faithful to me, I'll never give you cause to stray again."

"What's changed your mind?" She wailed, throwing herself into his arms, shaking all over.

Endymion moved back and sat on the settee near the door, built so his sisters could all get ready inside at the same time and help one another with their hair and makeup. He gathered her onto his lap and rocked her, trying to soothe her. "Nothing's changed my mind. I have always loved you, you know that, I never stopped telling you. I'm just going to fight for you and not accept no as an answer. You belong with me. You and half a dozen children."

His shirt was getting wet as she cried into his chest. She had been an only child and had always been envious of his large family, though they had accepted her as one of them, she still wanted to physically belong as well. He'd known that, he always intended to start a family with her. Why was her reaction so severe then. "Is this because your pregnant with my brother's child?" He asked, pushing her back a little so he could rub his thumbs against her bruised flesh under her eyes.

She shook her head. "Why have you been torturing me these last few weeks? Why now do you accept this?" She waved at herself. He really didn't know and that slowly dawned on her. "But- I- you told me to get lost, that you weren't going to accept responsibility, that you had gotten bored with me and this was an unforeseen complication. That just because I got myself pregnant you weren't going to keep me around, children weren't going to be what tied us together, keeping us unhappily hitched."

"What are you talking about?" He put his hands on her face and held her there. "I don't care if your pregnant with Seb's child. We'll figure it out somehow, make it work. The child won't know any difference."

"But it's not his." Serenity shook her head. "You know that." She squeaked a bit when his fingers put a little more pressure on her delicate cheekbones and he instantly released her not intending to hurt her and not wanting to. He put his hands on her hips though to make sure she stayed put.

"Whose child is it?" He rasped, not sure he could take two betrayals. "You've got morning sickness, was the man the one before me?"

"Endymion!" She hissed. "You know there wasn't a man before you!"

He did know that, he had felt honored with a very precious gift and he had been gentle. "But then, sometime when we were dating- you got pregnant-" Serenity nodded as if he were lame in the head. "Who is the man?"

Serenity rolled her eyes and she pushed herself off of him. "Can't accept that it's yours still? I thought you changed your mind, but you've just been changing your tune!"

"Serenity!" He growled and brought her right back to his lap. "Why the hell didn't you just tell me then, instead of concocting this entire, insane thing?"

"But I didn't!" Serenity gasped. "I thought you hated me, you told me as much. You didn't want me any longer, especially now as I soiled myself with being pregnant, I'd never be the same again."

"Who'd tell you such horrible untruths?" Endymion demanded. "Never would those thoughts cross my mind. I love the thought of you swollen with my baby in here." His hand covered her stomach and he could feel the small bump that on any other woman would be a fat pocket but it was only more pronounced with her weight loss.

"Well, Sebastian did, but he said it was what you said when he spoke to you-"

Endymion stilled her rambling lips with a kiss she sagged into, responding instantly with, how they had both missed this! Then he held her back a bit. "If you'd tell me from the beginning. If you'd had gotten in touch with me, I would have come back right away. You are pregnant, aren't you?"

"Doctor's confirmed it, I'm three months along."

"Hence the rush marriage?" He groaned and rested his forehead against hers. "Why not tell me before I left?"

"I didn't know. I've always been off cycle anyway but then when you'd left, I had a chance to think about things and realized I hadn't taken any pills since we met up in London, I was several months behind on them. I called up the doctor right away. At first it was because I had lapsed and that had thrown off my period but then he confirmed it. I tried calling you, but I couldn't reach you or get a hold of anyone in your office. Sebastian was in town and so I swung round to see if he could contact you. He said he would handle it, but wanted to know what it was about. I didn't want to tell him, but he kept inquiring. Saying it was hard to reach you without a specific emergency or reason. Finally I broke down and admitted it. It was early evening when I saw him, and he told me that in Japan you'd be dead to the world in a deep sleep. He told me to go home, get something to eat and he'd come by later with a way to reach you myself."

"You never called me." Endymion inserted.

"That's because Sebastian came around and he looked grim. He said that you answered and he tried telling you to contact me straight away but demanded to know why, what had had happened. He told you and that your response was anything but pleasant. All those awful things he'd led me believe you'd said. I was devastated. I wanted to reach you myself right away, not believing it for a second. He told me that you refused to speak with me, that you had already changed numbers to be reached at and you wouldn't give him the new ones.

For a few days he let me sit on that, hoping you'd changed your mind once you cooled down ant thought rationally but you never called and then one day he popped over with the solution to everything. I was against it at first. But he had all sorts of arguments for why it was the best solution. He promised me that this child he would raise as his own, it would never get any bad press, even with an earlier than expected birth as it would be his in name already. He used every trick and ploy and played on my guilt over our families and the baby's future. He peppered me on it for almost a week, asking, and telling me that he would be a great husband as well, that he wouldn't ask more of me than I was willing to give, but to give it a try. To let him take care of everything. I thought he was being so noble. So responsible where you weren't. It was at such dire odds from your personalities, but I found myself believing all of it. I knew he'd want us to be fully man and wife, but if I pushed him off, he wouldn't push it too strongly. I don't know how long that would last." Serenity wrapped herself around his torso. "Eventually he might call for a divorce or something else. I was fraught with worry and sick with grief the entire time you've been gone these last two weeks. I didn't want to hurt him, but I had to do what was best for the baby! You weren't offering me a shoulder to lean on. You had betrayed me so fiercely that it rocked my foundation."

He pulled her tighter into his arms, and then was kissing her powerfully. "I love you Serenity, I thought you knew better than to ever doubt that. I love that you're pregnant with my child. I wish it had been under better circumstances but I would never walk away from this. I will never walk away from you or anything else. It won't color my feelings about either of you, ever. I would have preferred to do it the right way and be married to you for a while first before getting you pregnant the first time. As for my conniving little brother-"

Serenity buried her face in his shoulder. "Don't be too angry with him, he did try to do something right."

"By taking you away from me!" God, his brother almost ruined their lives!

Serenity didn't have a good argument for that, and so she didn't. Instead she allowed herself to be cuddled and kissed like none other before. A desperation was in this kiss, the fear of being lost and losing was paramount in both of them. He almost laid her down and took her on the floor of the bathroom but held back when there was a tentative knock on the door.

Sebastian must have left to go inform the other where they went, clearly not liking that he was pushed out so abruptly. He would have to tell them something that would excuse her absence during her rehearsal. "Oh god." Endymion muttered as he straightened out first her appearance and then his, lifting her to her feet. "Your wedding."

Serenity didn't want to think of that herself, it had almost been a colossal mistake. "We'll have to tell them. Possibly everything."

"We'll start with the fact that you're going to marry me and not my brother." His hold on her left her in no doubts what he thought about the alternative. "We will also need to talk. How far along you are and everything." Suddenly it dawned on him. "These dresses- I never saw you wear this type too often before, no wonder." His hands sought out her stomach again. And he frowned when he came across the bones of her ribs. "You've been underfeeding yourself. I should be able to see it by now, shouldn't I?"

"I can't help the eating, I was never hungry and the thought of it was enough to make me sick. I'm small anyway so the baby might not be too noticeable even with the other dresses." Serenity shrugged and said exactly what he was thinking. "Our child."

He pulled her to him and kissed her deeply one more time but another knock sounded. "C'mon." He pulled her from the bathroom to Raye's surprised face.

"Endymion! Serenity." She nodded to the girl who's hand was firmly connected with her brother's. "Glad to see the two of you are finally putting right this disaster. Just finally sharing your feelings for one another?"

Endymion frowned. "You too?"

"We're not all as dim as you'd like us to be. The only one who probably doesn't know about this is Honoria and that's just because she's fifteen." Then she frowned as she surveyed both of them. "Tian's going to be devastated."

"Again." Endymion nodded. "He shouldn't have tried to steal my woman. Of all the low-class, under-handed things he could have done-"

"He said something to me once, as a joke." Raye cut him off. "That perhaps he could set it up as his wedding but then you'd come to your senses in time to take it as it was supposed to be, yours. Don't be too hard on him. He's been feeling horrible at the pain he's been causing Serenity these last few weeks."

"You've known about that too?" Endymion's rasp was harsh. He didn't believe a word about the other thing but would make it happen.

"Of course. I see everything. Not too much gets passed me."

Endymion shook his head and hadn't meant to be rude to his sister but they had some parents to go see and to set everything right. There was a look of censure over his mother's face when they came in the way they did. "Endymion." She greeted him coolly and ignored Serenity who was greeted warmly by her parents and fawned over. They hadn't realized things had gotten so bad and deeply loved their only child. "What is the meaning of this?"

Then they set out to explain everything to their parents. When the explanation was done, his mother gave a inclination of her head. "I wish you would have told me from the beginning. I see, Serenity dear why you were hesitant to bring it up when you got here. We would have brought you into our fold anyway, always would."

"I know that. But I still didn't want to see disappointment in any of those gazes, knowing that I'd behaved irrationally and wanted to do the right thing by giving the baby a name."

"Me too." Endymion kept his position at her side. "It takes two and I was that other party member. Part of me knows we should have waited for marriage, but we'd been together for so long platonicly that it got away from us when we were finally, completely on our own in London. I do plan to marry her."

"Is this finally going to stop your weeping break outs?" His mother asked concerned. "I have never seen a woman so upset to be marrying into my family!"

"It wasn't to be marrying into it! Just, I thought- and I was-" Serenity had lost the perchance of words and hung her head. "I wasn't really thinking clearly at all."

"No, I don't suppose you would. Though remarkably you were holding yourself together rather well despite the outburst of tears." Then she smiled. "I've had Endymion's name on the invitation the entire time. I pretended that it was a mistake. He is the oldest boy and was only right to have the confused thought of him marrying first. I know it was wrong of me but I knew this was the right union. We were hoping it wouldn't result in an eleventh hour blow out between brothers. This is a nice reprieve. Sebastian won't be happy."

In fact, he wasn't at all. He refused to be in the wedding and his attendance was only observed from up above on the balcony. He caught them before they headed off to the reception. "I'm glad you're happy, Serenity. You deserve it. I really am sorry for what I did." He reached out a hand and pushed back a tendril of hair. "I'm going abroad for a few months for work, hopefully it will begin to cure me of my love for you. It will be hard, but perhaps a change of scenery and location will help with that."

"I hope you find happiness." Serenity told him honestly. "You were always a good brother to me, despite what just happened."

Sebastian nodded stiffly and gave her a quick hug before looking at his brother. "Endymion."

"Sebastian." It would be a long time before either forgave the other. "God speed."

Sebastian rotated on his heel and left to go catch a flight. Serenity sniffled and pushed away a few traitorous tears. "I hope he finds someone."

"I can't attest to that, but I do know that we can go and have a bit of fun before we leave on our honeymoon." He tugged her in towards the party and she let him. There was no reason for her to be remotely upset and with so many friends and family around, laughter soon bubbled up the entire evening.

Serenity and Endymion couldn't be any more content, now that their lives were finally irrevocably intertwined.

EAN: See, I stuck to 5 chapters like I'd planned! Actually less than 5 seeing as how this is only 4 chapters. This is the type of thing I'm trying to do from now on, no more epics. Just one idea and one major hurdle. I'm going to write short stories from now on once the epics are done. Well, at least if I start a new story. There are a few epics I haven't posted the beginnings of and I still might. These will just be little novellas if you would and they'll only get better with more practice. :) How'd you enjoy it? I wrote it the date listed at the beginning but I have no idea if it was sitting finished why I didn't post it. I just came across it again randomly on the date that I posted it after editing a few minor details. The only reason I have for maybe not posting it right away was because I intended to add a 5th chapter but then wasn't sure where to go or if you'd like how short this was. Then about a year later realizing that it was finished and I shouldn't hack at it by adding any more chapters... that's all I've got for any kind of reason. Works for me if it's true. It doesn't need to be so drawn out does it?