I'm not sure I had felt quite so welcomed as I had on Beylix. I'm not sure it had showed beyond my incredible amount of nervousness concerning meeting Kaylee's parents, but I was glad to be planet side for even a day. It was rare sometimes that we were off Serenity at all. It was nice to look at a blue sky and breath in air that wasn't confined within the walls of a space ship.
Being in the home that she had grown up in brought up memories. Memories of my own home (obviously, not the current one) in Osiris. There was a certain amount of ironic nostalgia in Kaylee going home, but the fact that it will never be safe enough for River and I to go home. I never realized, when I left to rescue River from that academy, that I would never be able to come home again, that some of my father's last words to me would be "Now, are you coming home?" - and that I would defy those very words and make the necessary connections to help River. All events led me to here and I couldn't claim any want to erase my actions. I only regretted not taking the scenery in for a little longer. I regretted not telling my parents that I actually cared for them.
I had spent the last year angry at my father for something that so many chose not to see. River felt no anger. She knew my thoughts like they were hers and she just understood and let it go. I think, I wish I could have had the patience to make him see exactly what I had when I read over River's letters. Maybe, then, I wouldn't feel the sensation of some wedge being driven in between myself and my parents.
Kaylee's parents, Arabella and Ben, they were something different that I hadn't seen. Despite their clear attachment to their daughter, they had no need to over protect her. They knew that her choices were the right choices no matter what.
Her mother had pulled me aside after dinner and pressed a beautiful ring into my hand. Something that was her mother's and something that would be perfect for Kaylee. Touched would be an understatement. I didn't know what to do with myself or how to thank her. Not all things required words. I believe the only thing she insisted was that we must be back for Christmas. I had no doubt that any of the crew would protest us being back.
I've got a family myself. Something different and something that isn't as new as it feels. I've had this crew as a family for over a year and I didn't pay attention to that much either. I always thought of the lot of us as dysfunctional and, well, quite literally insane at times. I look back on the clues: the fact that I hadn't ever and neither had my sister been completely dismissed by the Captain - we were taken into account. The birthday cake that Kaylee baked me also comes to mind. Something that the all of them had kept as a surprise and a secret. I knew this feeling. It came from the most unlikely place, but I knew what it was. I belonged.
Speaking of family, after checking up on Zoe this morning, it seemed like ours was only going to extend.
I didn't quite believe her idea that River and I weren't causing more trouble than Mal, Zoe or Jayne in the work that they did. I didn't believe that the Alliance would actually forget which ship that River and were on either. They had been searching for River for a long while and I didn't think they were going to stop any time soon. I appreciated Kaylee's optimism, really, but I was still in disbelief about the whole situation.
"River and I... we cause a different kind of trouble. The Alliance wants her for something and they haven't given up." They were just getting closer. Early, what happened on Ariel, and particularly what happened when River decided that she was too much to have around was coming to mind.
I refused to think of my sister being wanted for being both psychic and having efficient abilities in using a firearm. I couldn't help but think that she was stronger than anyone on this ship though.
It was upsetting to think of. I shook my head and tried to smile to Kaylee again. "I'm so glad that Jayne enjoys me for pure entertainment value. Now, I see, I'm such a valuable asset to this ship," I said with a hint of teasing sarcasm in my voice.
I leaned in to kiss her softly. We'd talk more about what we wanted from each other later. It seemed like an idea to get 'telling the Captain we're engaged' out of the way.
"Should we go tell Mal now?" I asked.
The more the day wore on, the gladder I was that I was generally considered annoyin'ly cheerful by certain members of this crew most of the time. Stopped them from questionin' why it was I kept grinnin' from ear to ear, or hummin' or just generally lookin' beyond ecstatic.
Not that I didn't want to share my news. I just didn't want to blurt it out or anythin'. I wanted to figure out some way to tell the Captain that wouldn't result in him bein' upset. Or at glarin' at Simon for having the nerve to purpose. I knew I was askin' for a lot, but I didn't want anythin' to suck away the happy right now. Which is of course why I told Zoe by herself. 'Cause I knew she'd be supportive, and happy for us, and helpful when it came to calmin' Mal down.
Truthfully I was less worried about Mal's reaction than I was how things were goin' with River. How she'd taken the news. Especially considerin' how she'd been since we brought her back here. Like she didn't want to be around us, around Simon. Feelin' like she was in the way, keepin' us from bein' happy. So far from reality, but how to you convince a super genius of that?
I was in the kitchen cleanin' up a bit, killin' some time 'cause it was too early to prepare for dinner, tryin' to keep my mind off Simon and River. He'd come find me when he was ready. I just hoped River was okay with everything. I didn't want her to feel pushed out of her own brother's life because of me.
Waking up next to Kaylee in the morning was unbelievable. Well, of course, I could believe it, but the feeling itself was contentment. We had been tired enough to sleep through the night. I had to check on River, but I didn't want to disturb her. She looked so peaceful just laying there with most of the blanket curled around her - across her breasts. Some time during the night she had stolen sheets right off of me. Though, I'm pretty sure that she was used to sleeping alone. I hadn't been cold though or maybe I had been too tired to wake up.
A moment l felt her shift underneath my arm and move in a bit closer. I couldn't help but smile and press my lips gently to the crown of her head before slipping out from under her.
I slipped on the clothing I had worn last night and turned back to look to her. This was my fiancée. My wife to be. Every time I looked at her, she took my breath away. It wasn't until I watched her eyes flutter open that I spoke. I bent down by the side of her bed, my arm over her stomach.
"I didn't want to disturb you. I was going to check on River." I explained, the smile still playing at my lips. I knew that there were things to be done, but I couldn't leave Kaylee's side just yet. I wanted to have more moments with her. "Good sleep?"
"And how many people do you know that bother goin' to little backwater border moons unless they got to?" I asked with a soft smile at his comment that he'd never been to Beylix. I loved growin' up there. Can't imagine bein' from anywhere else even with all the places I'd seen since leavin', but there wasn't a single reason to go to that little moon if you ain't from there. Weren't anythin' worth seein' if you didn't have family there, just like more than a dozen other border worlds out there spinin' that were largely ignored and left to fend for them selves by the all mighty Alliance.
"Far as my parents go, I really can't see why they wouldn't, Simon." I pointed out. "You love and respect me more than anybody I've ever been with, you're always talkin' about all this stuff you want to be able to do for me - takin' me out, givin' me flowers, little things like that. I know no matter how bad our fights get or how much we might disagree about somethin', when it matters, you'll be in my corner. Never mind you bein' a big fancy surgeon." I laughed softly. "I can't believe for a second they'd think I could do better than you. 'Specially not after they see the way you are we me for like, 5 minutes, the way you look at me." I added, kissin' him softly.
Simon was worryin' over nothin' so far as I was concerned. Daddy'd say yes, without a doubt. He'd never once kept me from doin' somethin' I was dead set on doin'. Not since I was a little girl. Momma'd love him, probably keep shovin' whatever baked goods there were in the house at him, insist on givin' us one of the quilts she made as a weddin' gift or somethin'. She'd be as worried about makin' a good impression on him as he was on her. My self-appointed big brother Mal on the other hand? He's the one I had to work on convincin'.
But I knew he'd give in eventually. He only wanted me safe and happy, and I was that with Simon.
I let out a contented moan as his tongue slipped into my mouth. As much as the talkin' was nice, this better right now. We were back on track to why Zoe was makin' dinner instead of us. I wanted to feel him inside of me more than anythin' right now. And there's no reason to stop anymore. There wasn't a more perfect time for this than right now. I wrapped my arms up around his neck, pressin' my body closer to his as we continued our passionate kisses.
While Kaylee had busied herself with what ever she had needed to do, ( I assume something to do with checking the engine) I had been scrubbing at the table to wipe off the foot prints I had made by standing on it.
I had barely noticed that Jayne had come in for a moment, eating one of the leftover apples from our latest time that we'd gotten produce, or even that he had commented to me or acknowledged my presence.
"What's wrong with you, doc?" He asked.
I snapped out of the thoughts I had been in. "Um, nothing. Nothing."
It was untrue. I was thinking of Kaylee as per usual and what we had nearly done this afternoon. It wouldn't have been a disaster, but I couldn't help but think that I wanted to... take her out, woo her and all before doing that with her.
I wanted her, yes, but I wanted it to be meaningful. Not just the spur of the moment that it almost was.
Jayne gave a soft grunt as he left the room and I continued on scrubbing at the table even though I hadn't noticed that it was already clean.
I closed Simon's door behind me as I left, and then made my way through the ship smilin' happily. Sure we hadn't gotten to do what we both so clearly wanted, but part of my mind was still on the fact that the entire thing had started 'cause we'd been makin' out in the lounge. It was insane and amusin' as all get out at the same time. I knew it was entirely 'cause he knew it would make me happy, but the fact remained that he didn't feel tense or nervous about it. He was as lost in the moment as he should of been, which was real nice to see.
Headin' up the stairs I saw Jayne comin' out of his room and just smiled to him. I was sure there was a confused look on his face as soon as he was past me, wondering why I was bein' nice to him again. So long as he kept his comments to himself, I'd go back to bein' his little sister too. It was pretty simple.
I took the small staircase to the bridge a little slower, tryin' to see if the Captain was in there and lettin' out a breath of relief when I realised he wasn't. Askin' to talk to Zoe Wash around felt weird enough, but the Captain too? I just didn't want too many people hearin' this for Simon's sake. He'd be so embarrassed about just Zoe knowin'. Didn't doubt that for a second.
"Zoe, I hate to pull you away from your husband and all, but do you got a sec?" I asked curiously.