James manages to calm Cadie down eventually, and they come up with a new plan.
Blow it up with science.
It takes Melody almost an hour to decide what to wear for the trial. She needs to be ladylike and proper, but she also wants to look good. She’s only been able to see Naveen once since his arrest, and she doesn’t want to disappoint him now that she’s older.
Alexandra doesn’t care about looking attractive. She just needs to look believable.
“I’ve never been so terrified in my life.” Alex answers when Melody asks. “But I can do this, I know it.”
“You’ll do fine.” Melody promises. “And I’ll be there too. Just talk to me, not the judge and you’ll be fine. Harris wouldn’t have asked you to speak if he didn’t think you could handle it.”
The judge is a vampire from the mainland, and so the case goes on late into the night. Liam’s left in charge and sends all the kids (Serena included) to bed early. Close to midnight all the kids (excluding Serena) are fast asleep, and Liam doesn’t even pretend to hide his surprise when she walks past him, muttering a desire for some fresh air.
He stares at his blank homework page for a few long minutes, wondering if he should go out and talk to her, or if he should head to bed and pretend to sleep. Serena’s always been his little sister and he knows what she’s feeling right now. She needs a shoulder to cry on and he isn’t sure if he can provide that for her with the feelings he’s getting from seeing her in her skimpy nightgown.
Eventually he decides to suck it up and be a man. “Hey. Mind if I join you? I can’t sleep either.”
He doesn’t notice her smile as she shrugs and moves to make room for him.
“Stressed about your dad?”
Serena sighs and shrugs again, holding back her tears. “I’m scared. I mean, I want him to come home, but what if he’s different? What if he doesn’t love me anymore? I used to be his little princess but what if he thinks I’m too grown up now? And what if he doesn’t come home at all?”
“Your dad will come home.” Liam promises. “And if he’s changed than so what? You’re still my little princess, you always will be.”
When she smiles its like someone’s letting off sparklers in his blood stream, his entire body feels weird.
He thinks he knows what this is. “I can’t call you little sister anymore.”
She doesn’t even register that his hand is on hers now, instead there’s just the shock from his words. “What? Why? What did I do?”
“You grew up.” He explains, repeating the same fear she’d just told him. “But in a good way. When I look at you I don’t just see my best friend anymore. I see a girl I’d really like to know a lot better. Someone I wouldn’t mind calling my girlfriend if she’d let me.”
Serena can’t hide her smile. “That’s stupid. You already have a girlfriend.”
“And I’ll dump her in a second if it means I get to be with you. I only started dating Catrina because I didn’t realize that you were actually a girl yet.”
She laughs, but she knows what he means by that.
She moves closer to him, and he fights the urge to pull her to him. “Liam, you’re going to grow up really soon, and it’s illegal for teens and adults to be together. I can’t ask you to wait for me to grow up.”
“You don’t have to ask. I’ll do it anyway.” He leans back, pulling her down onto him slowly. She doesn’t pull away, just leaning into him until their lips touch for her first kiss. She isn’t quite sure if this is what she wants, but she trusts Liam with her life, so why not her heart as well?
They don’t notice their respective mothers getting home.
Serena doesn’t even register Alexandra pulling Liam to his bedroom by his ear. Her eyes are focused on the familiar face that enters right after her mom. She hasn’t seen him since she was just a little girl, and her few memories of him were shaky at best. But here he is, exactly as she remembers him.
“You’ve grown up so much!” He states, voice shaking. “I mean, Harris would bring me photos but... wow. You look so much like your mother. I can’t believe it.”
It isn’t until her tears have started that he brings her in for a hug. “It’s okay princess, it’s okay. I’m not going anywhere ever again. I promise.”
HAH! A happy chapter. There. And it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would to write. Now if you'll pardon me I need to go break something.
In the picture of Liam walking outside to join Serena under the stars I am CONVINCED that he's looking up her skirt. Just saying.