“Sweetie? Where’s my tie–the one you really like? The green one?”
I looked up at the sound of Kellen’s voice and rolled my eyes. “On the dresser!” I shouted back. “Where you left it!”
There was a moment of quietness then, “Oh. Thanks!”
I chuckled to myself then turned back to the counter, pulling the foil over the pie I had just finished making. I needed to find a cooler to store it, since the trip was so long. I couldn’t believe it was Christmas already–my first as a wife. I also couldn’t believe I had agreed to drive all the way from Riverview to Sunset Valley on Christmas Eve. But we had celebrated with Kellen’s family in the morning, and we really needed to be with mine on Christmas–what with everything that had happened the past sixteen months.
“You know,” I called at Kellen who was in our bedroom, finishing packing. “My dad loves blue. Not green.”
“Oh yeah…” I heard him rummaging a moment then almost said the words with him. “Hun, where’s my blue tie?”
“In the closet, where you left it,” I replied as I began digging an ice pack out of the freezer. It was hard to believe how much had changed in just that amount of time. Sixteen months! It seemed like a lot longer and yet… a lot shorter. All that emotion, all that change.
Wow, I thought, realizing everything. Many moves, a wedding, a funeral, a birth, and now the possibility of more additions to the family.
The first big change was my family moving. They had given Kyle and Ken the old house, and then Mom, Dad, and Temp had moved to a new house. It surprised us all when Dad mentioned it but he seemed fine with it. A nice, two-story house. Three bedrooms, plenty of room to add on. Which they eventually did.
That was also when Kellen came home with me to announce our engagement. Everyone was so happy and excited.
Mom got very emotional and wished she had saved her wedding dress. I assured her it was fine and pointed out we had different body shapes and looks. I also took Temp aside and asked her to be my maid of honor. It was strange… I had never thought I’d be asking her that. Of course, it was strange to think I was engaged. Married! Me? Oh boy.
For the next few months after that, things were hectic. Kellen and I both got swamped at work and were having to deal with that while planning the wedding and finding a house. I didn’t see Jay at all, and Kay very little. He told me that Jay was constantly out of town for ‘business’ so I didn’t get a chance to ask her about Tempest.
Finally after what felt like ages, our wedding day came upon us. It was held in Riverview since most the people attending were from there. My parents and siblings came in and were staying at a hotel for a few nights.
On the morning of my wedding, I was very jittery and nervous. I kept giggling for no reason while I paced around, clutching my bouquet. Tempest and Milla were also giggling and kept trying to fix my dress, telling me to hold still.
“You look beautiful,” Milla sighed, carefully examining the back of my dress for loose threads.
“I’m so happy for you,” Temp added, putting a hand on my arm.
I smiled at her, feeling pleased that things were going so well between us. “I’m happy, too,” I whispered, clutching my flowers and trying desperately not to get choked up with emotion. I thought I’d be able to do well but it was a lot harder than I expected.
We left the back room and met up with the best man and the only groomsman. The best man was one of Kellen’s cousins, one of the few people he knew that he would consider friend. The groomsman was Orion. I was glad they got along so well that Kellen asked him to be part of the wedding. He had asked Kyle, too, but Kyle turned him down. Which was fine with me since I didn’t want to try to find a third bridesmaid.
Orion took Milla’s arm and after a quick glance between them, they headed down the aisle. I held back a smile, wondering if they’d be going down the aisle again in the future–only for a very different reason. Then Temp and Kellen’s cousin went down and then… my turn.
Dad slid his arm in me and gave my arm a slight squeeze. “I couldn’t imagine giving you away to anyone else,” he whispered, leaning over to kiss the side of my head. “Kellen’s a good kid.”
“Thank you, Dad,” I whispered, feeling very emotional again. I knew it was hard for him, giving away his baby girl. He said as much to me after the announcement of our engagement. But I promised him I’d always be his baby.
We went down the aisle and my eyes met with Kellen’s and I just smiled, unable to believe this was happening. Me. Luna Danevbie. A bride! I had figured for a long time that I wouldn’t marry and if I did, I’d be a lot older. Love and family life was at the back of my head. But here I was, the second of the four of us to get married.
And I couldn’t have been happier.
The ceremony itself was a blur. I said my words correctly, and we exchanged the rings and a kiss. We were announced as Mr. and Mrs. Kellen Danevbie. It was odd to hear that, but he had insisted on taking my last name. He had plenty of relatives to carry on the Wright name and he said that Danevbie was so much more unusual. Up until then I had wanted to take his name, but hearing “Mrs. Danevbie” sounded very nice to me. I didn’t have to try to get used to “Mrs. Wright”. Luna Wright sounded like a different person and Kellen had been looking forward to being Kellen Danevbie. ‘What a name!’ he kept saying.
The reception went wonderfully. I was hyped up on sugar and excitement and had a hard time stopping my giggles. I also kept clapping, just so thrilled about everything that I couldn’t hold back. We shared our first dance and fed each other cake (though we didn’t push it into each others’ faces. That didn’t seem like something I particularly wanted to do). I danced with Dad, and Kellen danced with his mom, and during my dance I felt like crying for no reason. I clung to Dad and he held me tightly. I had lived on my own for so long, this wasn’t something I expected to get all weepy over. It wasn’t as if I was leaving him now, I had moved out ages ago.
While Kellen and his mom danced, I sat and dried my tears, hoping nobody would notice. Though I wasn’t sure why–I was a bride on my wedding day. It was all right to cry.
After more dancing and snacking, it was time to throw the bouquet. Temp didn’t want to even join but Milla was right at the front, looking ready to knock down anyone who got in her way. She caught it and held it tightly, looking fiercely proud. Kellen threw the garter and Orion caught it with a big grin. I thought that was gross. I certainly wouldn’t want to hold onto something that had been on one of my siblings’ thighs. When he put the garter on Milla, they were both bright red and kept giggling afterwards during their dance.
Kellen elbowed me at that. “Love is in the air,” he said then began kissing at my neck. I laughed and pushed him gently away. He crinkled his nose and then grabbed my waist, burying his entire face in my neck, more of tickling me than kissing.
After the reception we headed off for our honeymoon. Since we both had a lot of work, we had just taken a couple days off and were taking a long weekend at a cabin in the woods. I was rather nervous when we arrived. I wanted this for a long time but it was still something of a concern. I knew what went on, how it worked; but still. Knowing something and doing something were… very… very different.
Despite the fact we were both inexperienced and just putting theory into practice for the first time… Well, I rather regretted agreeing for our honeymoon to only be for a few nights.
After our wedding, we got back to work and were once again swamped. I didn’t mind too much. I liked work and dealing with typing up reports, solving problems, running around, talking to the villagers from Ancora–though I still really wanted to go see the village for myself. I voiced my curiosity to Kay one time and he stammered that he’d talk to Jay.
“B-by the way,” he said, giving me a strange look. “I… uh, c-congratulations. On y-your m-marriage.” He rubbed the back of his head and looked down at the floor.
I bit my bottom lip. Part of me felt slightly guilty for not inviting him (he was family after all, my grandfather!) but part of me was glad I didn’t. Him being there would have caused a lot of problems with Dad. Dad liked Kay to an extent but Kay always meant Jay.
“Thank you,” I said, reaching out and patting his arm. “I… I’m sorry you couldn’t have been there.”
His green eyes filled with surprise and then he gave a hesitant smile. “I c-couldn’t have g-gone anyw-way, I know th-that.”
The wedding wasn’t mentioned again, and I still didn’t see Jay anywhere. I also rarely got to see Kellen. At home, he was stressed out by all the work and kept threatening to quit. He insisted that the ‘Deargs’ just had a vendetta against him. I kept insisting it was his imagination, then he said, “And Dr. Dearg has been breathing down my neck for results of something I’m not even head of!”
I blinked and scooted a bit closer to him. “Dr. Dearg? You’ve seen Dr. Dearg?”
Kellen nodded, looking like he was ready to give her a piece of his mind. “She’s practically living in Ancora, and every single time I am sent there–which is, by the way, all the time… there she is! Pouncing at me and demanding to know things…”
I settled back on the couch, realizing I needed to get access to Ancora if I was ever going to see Jay (and confront her about Tempest) anytime soon. But before that happened–just three days after that conversation with Kellen–we received a distressing phone call from Sunset Valley. Within an hour we had both taken personal leave from work, packed up a few things, and were on our way back to the Valley.
There had been a car wreck, and Kenyatta was not expected to make it through the night.
“I guess this shows the Danevbies and the Bees connected forever…” Dad looked down at Kenya’s grave, a section of the graveyard which was between the Bees and the single Danevbie.
Kellen’s hand squeezed mine and I looked up at him, a tear sliding down my cheek. It had been rough. Not only losing Kenya, but seeing my brother so deep in grief he barely talked to anyone. Mom had taken charge of Jake since, other than the funeral and interment, Kyle had not left his bed. It was made worse for him by the fact he was four months pregnant. A baby who would never know its father.
Dad left flowers on the three graves–his father, Kenya, and Elouia Bee. We went back to the car and I helped him in, sitting in the backseat with him. He looked very weary and it struck me how old he was getting. I suddenly felt very scared, alone, and small. I reached over and took his hand. He gave me a sad smile and then looked out the window, back at the graveyard as Kellen drove us back home.
Kyle moved back home, not wanting to stay at that empty house. Plus he was pregnant, and couldn’t take care of Jake easily on his own.
Mom was ready and willing to take complete care of her grandson, who didn’t understand anything that was going on. He’d whimper for both his parents and we’d try to comfort him but often that didn’t work, and Mom would just hold Jake for a long time, rubbing his back and trying to calm him down. During this time, Kellen, Orion, Tempest and I took care of bringing all of Kyle and Jake’s things from the old house since none of us wanted Mom and Dad exerting themselves.
“It’s weird, that house being empty,” Orion said as we drove to the newer home.
“I’m thinking if Mom and Dad–and Kyle–agree, I might move there,” Tempest said lightly. “It’s about time I move out.”
Kellen, Milla and I went back to the Valley for the birth of my new niece–Elouia Kate. The birth was easy and quick, both parent and child were healthy and safe. But Kyle only managed a smile when he held his new baby in his arms for the first time, then succumbed to his grief once more. Part of me wanted to shake him, to wake him up to the fact he had two children he needed to take care of. But part of me understood a hundred percent. I didn’t think I could exist without Kellen.
While we were there, we helped Tempest move to our old house and then Milla and Orion officially became a couple. It didn’t surprise me when, a few weeks later after getting back to Riverview, she decided to move. I didn’t want her to leave–she was my best friend! But she was sick of working at the facility, and she wanted to live close to Orion.
“We’ll still talk all the time,” she promised, giving me a tight hug before she left. I watched her drive off then sighed, leaning against Kellen.
“Lune,” he whispered in my ear. “I know you don’t want to, but… would you ever consider moving back to Sunset Valley?”
“What about your family?” I asked, staring wide-eyed up at him.
He shrugged, running his fingers lightly up my arm. “I’m not exactly super close with them. I’m not suggesting we leave now. But work’s been getting really…” He trailed off and I knew what he wasn’t saying. He was being overworked and I had the feeling it had to do with the fact he married me.
“Maybe one day,” I said, kissing his chin and then pulling away to get some food. I was getting really hungry a lot lately and as Christmas came closer, I discovered I was pregnant. About six weeks in.
We were going to announce this news on Christmas morning. I had the feeling our news wasn’t going to be the only announcement. Milla had been acting strange on the phone again and kept almost saying something then squealing before she insisted she couldn’t tell me. Yet.
I smiled as I moved the cooler to the door. “Hun, I’m about ready!” I shouted.
Kellen jogged into the room, his suitcase swinging. “Me too.” He pulled me close then bent down to kiss my stomach. “How about you, little fellow? You ready?”
I laughed and shook my head. “He or she won’t be ready for a few more months, silly.”
Kellen’s eyes sparkled and he looked as happy as he did on our wedding day, not even a year ago. “And when he or she comes, we’ll be ready.”
I kissed him and then grabbed the cooler and my purse, stepping out the door. Ready to be a mother? I wondered. Hoo boy.