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Dr Archeville

[New Year's Vignette] New Year, New Life

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Stesha slipped into the cloudy, scented bathwater with a sigh of pleasure, sinking down into the deep tub that was definitely the best part of the hotel room she'd splurged on. She could easily have stayed at home in Freedom City in the last days before the wedding, teleporting to Chicago as necessary to help finalize the million details required by the last-minute nuptials. But there wasn't going to be time for much of a honeymoon, with as much as Derrick was still working, so she'd decided to go all out and rent a beautiful hotel room for a few days, an oasis of peace in the chaos. It had been an excellent decision.

Even tonight, though it was New Year's Eve, Derrick was out working, saving the world from danger and injustice. Stesha admired that, she really did. She would never have his work ethic, that was already more than clear. If she'd really insisted, he would've stayed back with her, but it had seemed churlish to ask. Given how sleepy she got these days, she'd probably be in bed by midnight anyway. Skipping the parties and staying in had seemed like a very attractive option anyway. And now, submerged in a warm milk bath with essence of lavender oil perfuming the air, she thought this too was a most excellent decision. Her skin was acting up a little bit lately, and with her unique physiology, using medication or even too much lotion was a chancy sort of thing. The last thing she needed was a green rash on her wedding day!

Her wedding day. Two days away! It was enough to make her heart go pitty-pat, even though the wedding had been her sole focus for the past week, and a huge chunk of her life for a month before that. She'd thought it wasn't going to happen at all for awhile, and now here it was, along with the most amazing surprise she'd ever had! Under the water, her hand moved to cover her stomach, which was now prominent enough that her dressmaker had added a ruffle to the waist of her dress to keep everything looking nice. It was hard to tell, but she was sure that not all of the flutters she felt in there tonight were simply anxious butterflies! Someone else wanted her to get this show on the road! "It's going to be wonderful," Stesha said aloud. "You'll see pictures of it someday, and be amazed at how beautiful it was, and I'll point you out, hiding behind all those yards of satin. At least, hopefully I'll have to point you out," she added with a rueful chuckle.

Stesha lingered in the bath, ignoring the many little things that still needed to be done, the favors that needed to be tied into bags, the place cards that needed printed and folded. That could all wait until tomorrow, when her army of relatives would all be on call to help with the last big wedding push. Tonight was her night, and even if Derrick wasn't going to be able to ring in the new year with her, she certainly wasn't alone. Eventually she got out and dried off, wrapping herself in a thick terry bathrobe and padding barefoot into the main room of the suite. She flipped the television on to the Rockin' New Year's Eve celebration and poured herself a flute of sparkling white grape juice.

While the music played and the commentators nattered on about how cold it was, she walked to the window and looked out over the lights of Chicago, her own hometown. It was a very different skyline from Freedom City, one that was familiar and strange all at once. Chicago was her hometown, but it wasn't her home anymore, she realized. Freedom City was her home, and Sanctuary her home away from home, and wherever she went with Derrick, she could learn to make a home there. She pressed her fingers to the glass and wondered where he was, then blew a kiss into the darkness, trusting it would find him.

Despite her very best intentions, by the time the ball dropped in New York City, a full hour before New Year's in Central Time, Stesha was curled up sound asleep in her bed, the lamp beside her still turned on.

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