I could hardly breathe and I… I couldn’t even move. I just stared at Hal. He just said–did he just say? Yes. He did just say.
“I love you,” he said again, confirming the fact that YES! He just said that! “When we lived together, I thought you knew I was gay too,” he whispered. “I wanted to ask you out but was too scared… I decided to wait, to see if you gave any indication you might like me and you never did so I finally gave up. Then right after I started going out with someone you–you confessed to me!” He turned around, pacing over to the wall. I stared blankly at his back. “I wanted to tell you then. But I couldn’t. I was with someone else. I didn’t know what to do but finally I decided that I couldn’t be with him, if I loved you. So I dumped him.”
Hal spun back around to face me. “And I tried telling you, but that–that jerk kept calling you and you seemed happy with him so I gave up.”
“You… love… me?” I asked, hardly able to get the words out.
“Yes.” He knelt down on the floor in front of me, looking up earnestly. “I’ve loved you always. But you seemed happy with him, so I never told you. Then when you started having problems with him, when you told me he had hurt you that first time–I was about to tell you how I felt but I was with Derek.”
I thought back to that Christmas and let out a slight gasp. “You broke up with him that day, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” he muttered. “I couldn’t tell you how I felt when I was with someone else, it felt so wrong. So I left to go break things off with Derek. And to figure out how to tell you because I really didn’t want it to seem like I was just… taking advantage of you. I was only going to be gone less than an hour, time for you to lay down and relax. Before I could come back, you were back together with him.”
He stood up and paced off again. “And when I saw he had hit you, I wanted to wring his neck! I wanted to hurt him! But you refused to admit he had done it, and I knew if I hurt him that it would hurt you.”
I let out another gasp and I felt something very painful. “Hal…”
“Then it was just misery for me!” Hal yelled. “I wanted to tell you so many times but I also wanted you to dump him. How could I do both? If I told you I loved you then tried to break you up with him–it just seemed so wrong to me, to do both. And I was worried you’d just think I was trying to get you to dump him because I wanted you. So I never told you. I just tried to… push you to dumping him…”
The pain shot up my spine. “Hal…!”
“But then you started drifting away,” Hal whispered. “You were hurting all the time and I felt so helpless. I thought constantly about calling the police but what good would that do since I wasn’t sure if you would admit to it?”
It felt like I was being squeezed. “HAL!”
“But I’m not letting it happen again. I’ve told you. There, I’ve done it, I’ve told you. And judging by that look on your face you don’t feel the same about me so I just did something stupid… Oh, I don’t care. It needed to be said and even if you think I’m a creep now, I’ll still help you with anything you–“
“HALBERT CONNER!” I screamed, and he blinked at me. “I am making this face because I’m going into labor!”
The shock of finding out he loved me had pushed me into going into labor two weeks early, but the doctors assured me that everything was fine–that I had gotten to the hospital in plenty of time. My family soon showed up and both Hal and my mother were permitted back with me during this time.
It was a girl, a beautiful little girl. Hal took us home the next day and I didn’t want to put her down at all. She was so tiny and so perfect, just like Duncan had been as a newborn.
“This is your little sister,” I said, cradling her so Duncan could see.
“Plun,” was his reply, not looking very impressed.
Since he hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before (having been at my mom’s house, a place he had never stayed at before) he easily went down for a nap and I should have put my daughter down as well but I really couldn’t…
“What shall we name her?” I asked Hal, after Duncan had fallen asleep.
“We?” Hal asked. I blushed and looked down at the bundle in my arms. “You know, we still haven’t finished that conversation I started yesterday…”
“Careful, I might go into labor again if you tell me you love me,” I said and Hal smiled, though not completely. I knew why and knew how silly it was to pretend my feelings for him were anything other than what they were.
“I still haven’t told you that I love you too.”
“You do?” Hal asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Yes!” I laughed. “I’ve cared about you since when we became friends, but–I thought you were straight!” I looked back down at my daughter, my face brilliantly red. “When I told you I was gay, and you told me all that, I was going to tell you.”
“I was wondering if that’s what you would say,” he said quietly. “I was worried, since I liked you too–but I was with… another…” He shook his head and stepped closer. “But that’s in the past now. What’s important now is that we’re–we’re–“
“Finally telling each other the truth?” I asked, looking up.
He now nodded and leaned in. “Finally,” he said and then he kissed me.
Oh. How different it was from Doug’s kisses! Doug’s had power, fierceness, domination. Hal’s kiss was powerful in a different way, enforced with a gentleness and kindness that I immediately yearned for as soon as he pulled away.
“So,” he said, grinning. “What do you want to name her?”
It was like she was our daughter, it felt like she was ours. I wanted her to be Hal’s… and I knew I wouldn’t want it any other way. His confession of love, his kiss–it confirmed in me something I never really felt before. Like I was really someone, someone special. Something I always wanted to feel with Doug, I realized. What I tried convincing myself of with him.
But now was not the time to think of that monster. Now was the time to name my baby girl, and Hal sat down with me to discuss ideas. He really wanted me to be the one to name her but I wanted his input too so we soon decided on naming her after someone from a show or movie we both loved.
Sci-fi, of course. It had to be–with us. We quickly realized which show to name her from and began going over the girl characters, looking down at the newborn girl to see if one of the names fit. None of them did until we got to the name of the ship, but it was such a sweet name and so right that we decided that yes, that was to be her name. And we chose a middle name after a while, going through all the girl character names but none of them sounded right with the first name we chose. The name that fit well between her first and last name was the name of a male character–but that didn’t matter since it was a girl’s name.
And thus Serenity Jayne Danevbie was given her name.
It was rough, taking care of a toddler and a newborn baby at the same time. I couldn’t imagine having three of the same age at once and I felt a new appreciation for my parents, for being able to raise the three of us at once.
We made sure to give Duncan as much attention as possible. We were not going to have him lack anything just because there was a baby. And when Serenity was about a month old, we started on teaching Duncan how to talk since he had already pretty much picked up walking on his own.
We discovered his ability to walk one day when he came trooping into the kitchen where Hal was making some dinner, and went over and sat on Hal’s foot. “Nommy,” he said, his word for food. “Nommy!”
“Did he just… walk in here?” Hal asked, looking at me with amazement.
I went over and picked Duncan up. “I think he did…”
He was certainly old enough and must have just taught himself. Talking, though, still came a bit more difficult. He just preferred his babbling to real words. We hoped that potty training wouldn’t be difficult.
On the other side of living with Hal, our relationship was sort of proceeding. He insisted on taking things very slowly considering the type of relationship I had just gotten out of. I listened to him, even though a tiny little part of me–deep down–was scared that lack of physical love (like kissing) meant… well, something bad. I knew differently, and I knew how stupid it was of me to be scared of something like that. I just couldn’t help it.
We didn’t tell anyone about our relationship, not yet. There really wasn’t much of one. We hadn’t said ‘I love you’ since the day we brought Serenity home, though he did give me very loving looks and I know I looked all moony at him. If anyone figured it out, they didn’t say anything. And Vi and Zari–the ones who would be the first to notice–didn’t say anything.
Serenity was about a month old when Doug returned. I was in the kitchen getting Duncan some food when there was a knock at the door. Hal, being closer in the living room, said that he’d get it. I didn’t pay much attention until I heard raised voices, recognizing the other one as Doug’s voice.
“…know he’s here!” Doug shouted, and I looked up at the doorway, eyes huge. Fear collapsed on me like an avalanche, consuming everything that I had worked at since coming to Hal’s. I sank slowly to the floor, clutching my chest, breathing hard.
“He’s not here,” I heard Hal reply. “Now get off my property.”
“SEBASTIAN!” Doug shouted into the house. “Ow, let go of me you jerk! SEBASTIAN!”
I covered my face, stifling my crying. The sound of my name in his voice tore me into two. I felt sick, even more afraid. But I felt like I was doing something wrong, hiding out here. I wanted to get up and go to him. Those old rationalizations started swirling around in my head–He loves me, he cares about me, he needs me.
I stood up, swaying as I did, nearly falling over. Duncan was happily eating, thankfully oblivious to the storm raging around him. I could hear Hal trying to persuade Doug, and Doug yelling. He was angry. My body automatically drew away from his voice, expecting his fists.
Finally Hal yelled, “This is my property and if you don’t get off right this minute I will call the cops!”
Then the door slammed and I turned, staring at the doorway until Hal came through. As soon as he saw me he reached out, and I fell into his arms crying. “I almost–I w-wanted to… I wanted to go–t-to him!”
“I know, shhh, it’s okay, it’s okay, you didn’t go to him, see? You’re strong, you’re strong Sebastian… you’re strong…” He rubbed my back and held me protectively. I sank against him, crying until I could cry no more.
The names Serenity Jayne is from the TV show “Firefly” one of the most awesomest awesome shows in existence. All subsequent names of Sebastian’s children are also from the show. ❤