The suddenness of our marriage raised eyebrows with some people and the fact I married again only two years after my loss raised even more. I heard snide remarks at the spa and more than once when I walked into a room whispers turned into silence. There were also a few people who gave me congratulations and ‘way to go tiger’ type of things that made me more than a little uncomfortable. But I did my best not to care, and just focused happily on my upcoming August wedding.
We had no idea what to do for the wedding so we left it up to a wedding planner while we focused on other things–namely, choosing where to live, finding a house, and once we did all that… Noah finding a new job. We decided to stay in Midnight Hollow because Noah said I needed the family network with Reeny. He also said because he felt like it’d be better for me to remain near Goose’s… well, remains.
“You think that’s–that’s all right?” I asked when we were discussing it.
“Yeah, I think it’d be better for you instead of living an hour away,” he said, stroking my chin with his thumb in a reassuring manner. “You still visit him…” He said it in a nonchalant way, not at all accusing. I nodded and he leaned in to give me a kiss. “So, this will be best for you and Reeny.”
“I don’t want you to make all the sacrifices!” I protested.
Noah shrugged. “Fine. The ping pong table comes too.”
“The–N-Noah!” I shrieked as he grinned, waggling his eyebrows. “That infamous table, eh? Maybe we should include it in our wedding.”
“Haha! That’ll be part of my speech. ‘And I’d like to thank the table tennis set I own for getting Zaid naked and in my arms’–“
I smacked him as he dissolved into laughter. “Oh yeah, that’ll be a great memory to watch ten years down the line. Talking about the night we first got it on. ‘Hey kids let’s watch the wedding video’ oh yeah, brilliant.”
Noah paused, a smile frozen on his face. “You–you’d really like more kids?”
Now I froze, realizing my words. And his. “Uh, if we–if you want them too. I mean… do you want them…?”
“I, uh, hoped we would one day,” he said gently. “I just wasn’t sure if you’d want to because of Eirene. I don’t want to give her any… trouble or issues. I know sometimes kids feel jealous over half-siblings born to a new couple.”
I looked over at Reeny’s door and wondered if she’d be okay with having half-siblings. I wondered how she’d feel about all this down the line. Of course I had been worried about her and all the changes going on but she really liked Noah and accepted him as a constant presence. But when she grew older and understood more, would she hate me for–for getting married so soon after Goose’s death? Sometimes I hated myself but I did love Noah. I had an occasional inner struggle about it but my fears were always smoothed over by a phone call to him or–better yet–a visit. He made me feel like the world moved, there was good and happiness, and all that sappy jazz. I loved him for him but also for how I was because of him.
“I’d like more kids, yes,” I said. “But uh… there is one issue with that we’ll have to figure out whenever we get there.”
“Mm? What issue?”
I gave him a poignant look. “I don’t think I want to be pregnant and unless you are willing to go through it…” My eyes traveled down to his stomach and I yanked his shirt up. “Big ol’ baby belly there, a-kicking and demanding food and jumping up and down on your bladder and spine and–” He grabbed my hand and wrestled me down on the couch, pinning me easily. Well not so easily. I could very easily flip him onto the ground if I wanted to but I didn’t want to, so I let him do this. I grinned up at him. “No?”
He kissed me. “No. Though you would cute pregnant.” He pushed my shirt up and kissed my stomach. I closed my eyes, tingling with pleasure as his lips trailed around. “A little sim fu expert kicking at your bladder.”
“Sto-o-o-op!” I laughed, squirming a bit. My laughs turned to moans as he kissed lower and lower.
Just as his lips touched below my belly button and his fingers began unbuttoning my jeans the door swung open. We jerked apart like kids caught by our parents though it was Max and Royce, not parents. Royce began snickering at the sight of us both going red and Max scowled a bit. He still had jealousy issues, though he had told me he felt the same sort of annoyance towards Malik so it wasn’t any sort of romance jealousy. “Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Danevbie,” Royce said,hesitating a bit. “Should we, uh, leave? We can–“
“Nah, it’s fine,” I said, getting to my feet, still beet red. Noah was very interested in the papers we had been looking over for our new house. “So, um–I think we need to have a discussion about things actually. With both of you. It’s a bit important.”
“It was my fault don’t blame Max!” Royce shrieked.
Max snapped his head around, eyes glowering. “Royce, buddy, word of advice. When someone says something like that, it doesn’t mean they found something out.” He bent in close, eyes narrowed. “You spill secrets too easily. Yap-yap-yap like a dog.”
“Yeah? Well, you just get all uptight and gripe-y about things. Complaining about every little thing. Cat.”
“GUYS!” I snapped and they stopped bickering. “First off, Max is right. It’s a thing I learned as a kid. When Pa or Dad told me ‘we know about what happened’ half the time they didn’t know they were just psyching us out and Lumie would spill the beans–“
>LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE YOU TWAT!< she yelled at me.
“–second,” I continued with a grin, “this is about the house. And third, what were you talking about exactly?”
“Nothing,” they both said quickly, both of them looking guilty. I focused my gaze on Max, knowing how to work him. I stared and he blinked at me.
“Maxie-boy?” I asked, folding my arms. “You going to lie to me?”
“Noooo,” he whimpered. “Aw, c’mon! It’s nothing really. It’s nothing to do with you, it’s just last week Royce–“
“Wait, I thought this was about the broken gutter?” Royce asked quickly.
“Playing with a frisbee,” Royce mumbled, refusing to look at Max.
Max got a fake smile. “Playing with a frisbee. I fixed it though. With duct tape.”
I looked between them and knew something else was going on. Max looked even more guilty than before while Royce’s cheeks were tinting. “Riiiight. Well. As you guys know Noah and I are gonna be moving,” I said as I took Noah’s hand in mine. “We found a house here in Midnight Hollow but…”
“Well, we want it to be… well,” Noah said, looking at me.
“Just for you guys and Reens?” Royce asked, lifting his eyebrows.
“What we were thinking is–“
“Yeah,” I said, knowing how hard this would be. “So we were thinking that instead of selling this house to someone we could come to an agreement with you guys and Malik, and have you two have this place if you want it. I don’t want you to be out on the streets,” I said to Royce. “And I don’t know if Max wants to move back in with Grams and Malik–” Max turned and left the house, slamming the door shut. All three of us flinched. “…and uh, so yeahhhh…”
“M-Max and me living here? Just the two of us?” Royce asked, wide-eyed.
“Would that be an issue, if he agreed?” I asked, having my suspicions.
Royce blushed and looked down, shaking his head. “It’s a bit big for two people though. Max doesn’t have a job though. Ugh, I wish I’d look like an adult already! It makes everything so much weirder.”
“What, uh, does it make weird?” I asked, already knowing the answer or at least assuming the answer. Royce kept silent. “Well, it’s really up to you guys. I want to help you out as much as I can, Royce. I just think… that…”
“Oh! NO! No, yeah, yeah it’s fine, I totally get why you guys wanna be just the family,” Royce said cheerfully. “I really do appreciate you trying to help me but–I guess maybe I should be on my own, I shouldn’t just… mooch around.”
“You’re not a mooch, you help out a lot,” I promised him. “I really do appreciate all you’ve done around the house and, er, helping out,” I finished a bit awkwardly.
“You took me in, Mr. Danevbie. You did so much for me,” Royce said with a big smile. “I owe you so much. You and Max both. I mean, I got my GED and all. I hope to look my age soon though so I can get a job.”
It took a while for Max to come around to the idea of not living with me. I hated hurting him but I wanted it to be me, Noah, and Reeny. I thought it would be the best thing for us and I didn’t want to put anymore possible problems on our marriage (yeah, my life with Davy still haunted me). Max finally–reluctantly–agreed… with terms. He’d live elsewhere if I continued my archery and fighting practices.
Noah and I continued planning for our wedding and making house plans. Together we had enough to make almost the entire payment on the house we bought and would have only a small amount to pay off. That left us with enough to buy furniture and things. We took Reeny to the furniture store and let her pick our her own stuff for her new room, including a big girl bed. Her crib had been one that adjusted for growth but she was getting too big for it. She was gonna be a tall girl like me and her grandaddy Specter.
“Us gonna be moving to big house,” she said when we got back.
“That’s right, a bigger house–and you’ll have a nice room on the second floor and a big yard to play in and a treehouse,” I said.
Her face lit up. “Treehouse? I wanna go now!”
Noah laughed and picked her up. “Soon. After your daddy and I get married.”
“As nice as that would be, we have to stick to the schedule,” I said, kissing her cheek. She pouted and I felt that stab of complete pain from memories. “Next month we’ll be in the new house. You’ll have a swing, and a sandbox, and teeter-totter.”
“Yep.” We hadn’t wanted any big production, and no walking down the aisle… but Reeny had asked to be the flower girl and neither me or Noah had the heart to say no to her. Besides, we wanted her as involved with the decision making as possible to help her accept the changes.
On a rather hot day in August I walked down the aisle made of grass and flower petals. I held onto the hand of my daughter as she scattered the petals excitedly. Once at the end of the aisle I picked her up, hugging her tightly. Then I let her go so she could run back and hold onto Noah’s hand as she dragged him down the aisle, scattering more petals.
Our wedding wasn’t fancy. Neither of us wanted a fancy wedding. We chose an outdoor venue (although Noah complained about it a lot he wouldn’t let me change it) and wore simple, loose clothing. No suits. Bare feet too, which Pa embraced quite well–not that he’d have worn shoes anyway. We also just had family and close friends, a very small ceremony with a small reception planned. Nothing too expensive. All our money went into the house.
We said our vows and when it got to the ‘death do you part’ thing I trembled a bit, doing my best to remain calm. Noah squeezed my hands and I smiled. We gave our own little speeches and I talked about meeting in college, about him being my best friend and being there through every up and down in my life, and reminding him of how he constantly referred to me as a loser and ugly beast. “And now you’re saddled with this ugly loser for the rest of your life,” I said and Noah laughed.
He said similar things, about how I was always an amazing friend, I could always make him laugh, made him feel like the world was a better place, and he knew that anything he needed he could come to me. “I just never realized until last year that ‘anything I need’ included being the love of my life.” And because of he couldn’t resist giving a little bit of a poke even in his wedding vows (okay so I couldn’t either) he added, “Who knew when two losers united sparks would fly?”
We kissed and then Noah swung me around, dipping me low. Once we came up for air we were introduced as Misters Zaid and Noah Danevbie. We held hands and I picked Reeny up, balancing her on my free side. Because the whole thing was just informal, everyone came up to us to congratulate us. Reeny complained a bit when I handed her over to my dad but settled down soon enough.
“I’m so happy for you two,” my new mother-in-law said, giving me a big hug. I had met Noah’s parents multiple times but despite his assurance they loved me I always felt a bit… nervous around them. At least the families got along and the Singers were pro-supernatural so that was a plus.
Eventually we all made our way to the reception area for barbeque. Dad and Vilkas started up the food while music started—from CDs we had made—and we got out the paper plates and bottles of pop. We had a keg too, which not everyone really approved of (mostly Lumie) but hey, we wanted one for our reception soooo… yep. Soon the food was ready to eat and we sat at the picnic tables, enjoying the day completely. Noah shoved a bite of hamburger in my mouth so I jammed some potato chips into his, both of us laughing, hardly aware of everyone else there.
After the food Noah and I had our first dance and our giggles died away as we held onto one another. “You’ve made me so happy,” he said, tipping his head close to mine.
“You’re a strong guy, Zaid, you would have been fine.”
“Not as fine as I am now,” I said with a shrug.
Noah’s eyes crinkled up. “You’re always ‘fine’ buuut…” I swatted him as he laughed. “I admire you though, you’ve… you’re strong. Even with everyone thrown at you, you keep going. Hell, you could easily take me down before I had a chance to even react and I always thought I was strong.”
“I could,” I admitted. “And I will be taking you down soon enough. In bed.”
“I can be as perverted as I want to my bro-sband.”
We both laughed and then kissed again as the music ended. Then he danced with his mum, I danced with my Pa, and then I had a dance with Reeny. She stood on my feet, beaming up at me. “You happy, daddy?” she asked and I promised her I was. “Goodie. I don’t like you crying. Uncle Noah my daddy now too?”
“We are married,” I explained, “so he is my husband. Remember I told you what a stepdad is?” She nodded, looking intent. “He’s your stepdad now. So you can call him ‘dad’ if you want but only if you want. You can keep calling him uncle if you want to do that instead, all right sweetie?”
“Okay, daddy. You go away tonight?”
“Yeah, but we’ll be back soon and we’ll move to our new home.”
“With the treehouse?”
After that the music went into the regular dancing songs and then we decided to do a special song. We made an announcement about how this song meant a lot to us, looking at each other and trying to look very intense and serious while trying not to laugh as we said how it was very special. When began half the guests burst into laughter, shaking their heads or rolling their eyes; the other half seemed a bit confused at the reaction of the first half. Still, as the song played we danced around like idiots, tried to out-dance the other, and wound up collapsing onto a bench after laughing and holding hands, watching the people we cared about most dance and have fun. Noah kissed my cheek and I scooted close, leaning back in his arms happily.
The rest of the reception went by really well, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, and finally it was time to say goodbye. Reeny cried a bit when I kissed her goodbye and it broke my heart. I almost wanted to tell Noah to forget the honeymoon, but then Pa got Reeny calmed down enough to calm me down. Once they were gone Lumie shooed me and Noah off, promising that all three of my sisters would take care of cleanup. >Have fun tonight, Zaid—and don’t forget to keep the barriers up!<
Max gave me a hug as well, looking a bit sad. “Be careful,” he said, and I knew he wasn’t talking about condoms. He referred to the fact he still believed in the threat that didn’t exist anymore. He had made me agree to take a few potions with me on our trip as well as my daggers. How romantic. But he hadn’t stopped bugging me till I promised.
All right, so in the back of my mind I did worry that whoever had caused everything still remained out there, that they hadn’t died in the big fight like Uncle Kay theorized they did. But I had to hold onto hope that… that it was over, that everyone had been killed–that I could live in safety. That Reeny and Noah could live in safety…
STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS TODAY! I told myself as Noah drove us to where we’d be staying for three nights. I pushed the thoughts from my mind as best I could and turned on the radio, trying to keep relaxed and calm but by the time we arrived at the hotel I had gotten all keyed up from a million different things.
Noah noticed as we went into our hotel room and gave me a raised eyebrow look. “Everything all right, Zaid?”
“Yeah,” I lied and he narrowed his eyes. “Mostly. Just… a lot of… emotions.”
He slipped his arms around my waist. “It can’t be easy for you. I’m sorry,” he said, pressing his forehead against mine.
“You don’t have anything to apologize for!” I protested. “It’s just me being stupid. Just ignore me…”
“Pfft, like I could even if I wanted to.” He bustled about, getting a wine bottle out from who-knows-where and filling up two glasses. “If you need to talk we can talk.”
“On our honeymoon?” I teased as he pressed one of the glasses into my hands.
Noah looked into my eyes. “At any point. Dude, I don’t want any of this to be a closed-up-can’t-talk type of deal. And if you have stuff on your mind, it will mean you’re not going to enjoy the next part as much as you should be able to. So…” He clinked his glass against mine. “Let’s talk.”
I didn’t want to and didn’t mean to but after he pulled some I began talking and couldn’t stop. I talked about my fears of the enemy not being gone, of losing Reeny, of losing Noah, and how I still felt a bit guilty sometimes over me moving on ‘so soon’ after Goose but then that I also felt guilty for feeling guilty. I told Noah how much I loved him and didn’t want anything to ruin us and I feared that the wedding, that marriage would.
During all this Noah sipped his wine and nodded or shook his head depending on what was needed. When I finished he had emptied his glass and poured a second. “Zaid, you’ve been through a lot in the past ten years and maybe we did get to a wedding quicker than we should have, but… we love each other. We lived together for a few years before, we know that’s not an issue. And the past nine months have been so incredible that I know that as long as we both work for it, everything will be all right.
“As for the enemy thing, that’s something none of us can tell for sure. I don’t know which side I agree on personally. But I know that… no matter what happens…” He reached down, taking my hand. “No matter what happens it’s better to face it with someone and not alone. Right?” He kissed my hand and I smiled, shrugging. “You and–and Max spent so many years focused on getting rid of the threat and maybe things happened so quickly it feels like the threat isn’t gone.”
“You think it’s not?”
Another kiss, this one on my wrist. “Told you, bro, I don’t know which side I agree with. I think we should keep on our toes, on the look out. But also not let this drive you into a depressed state of utter paranoia.” I flinched at those words and he kissed a bit higher on my inner arm. “I think part of the problem is now you don’t have a goal.”
Noah blew a raspberry. “Potato, po-tah-to. My point is, husband, is I think you really should continue training with Max to give you something to work towards and focus on.”
His hand slid up my shirt and I grinned, knowing soon I’d have to give into the temptation. “You think that’d be a good idea?”
“I think it’d help you out a lot.”
“I already agreed to continue my training, part of the agreement with the moving thing.” I tugged off his shirt and ran my fingers over his muscled chest. “I think you’re, ah, you’re right though. That might… uhhh hehe… uh Noah…”
Author’s note: I am SO sorry I didn’t have any pics of the rest of the family or Noah’s family. My game was acting up and I just kinda wanted to get the pictures done, you know? I hope you enjoyed them anyway and here’s some other pictures! 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9