A/N: I'm so so sorry for the delay. Work has been a bitch. Here's a tip, never work two jobs unless you're prepared to legitimately have no time off.


Christian's POV

I glanced down to the plain manila folder in my hand once more. It weighed next to nothing yet it felt heavy in my palm, the burning pressure of it between my fingers a constant reminder that this could mean the end.

I ran my hand through my hair once more, my jaw clenching before relaxing. I knew why it felt so ominous for me; I knew why it was causing me to stress out over it. The simple answer to that was because I didn't know. I didn't know how Serena would react and in a way that scared me.

I know her, I know everything about her. I know that her favourite movie is The Lion King though she liked to say otherwise because it made her sound childish. I know people saw her as this tough independent career woman who no one could break, yet she cried like a baby at the end of The Notebook every single time. I know she preferred to dress down in an old pair of my track pants and lounge around rather than dressing up in some fancy designer dress to attend yet another event. I know she preferred black pens over blue, lemonade over cola, chocolate over candy and by God I know what she preferred in bed. That brought a smile to my face for a short moment remembering all the fun I had over the last several months.

But I didn't know this.

My eyes were drawn to the folder once more as the elevator doors opened. I walked out, pulled my keys out from my pocket and unlocked the door. I hesitated for a moment – something that very rarely happened – before actually stepping into my apartment.

"Hey you." I heard her voice call out as I pushed the door closed behind me. "I was wondering when you were going to get home."

I looked at the clock on the microwave; I was almost an hour later than usual. Wow, I hadn't realised I had spent so long brooding over this. My eyes once again flashed over the folder as I put in down on the kitchen counter.

"Yeah sorry, I got caught up." Technically it wasn't a lie.

I came around the counter to where she was standing in front of the stove stirring whatever concoction she was making for us tonight. I couldn't help but wrap my arms around her waist and pull her back into me.

"Aww, I missed you too Honey." She said in that sweet sarcastic tone I had strangely grown fond of. I could hear the smile in her voice though and rolled my eyes as she continued to stir the sauce she was making.

I buried my face into the nape of her neck, placing soft kisses across her skin. I could still smell the lingering scent of the perfume I had brought for her birthday a couple of months ago, the proud feeling of buying one she actually likes surged through me though I would never tell her that. If I did, I'm sure she would stop wearing it just so I could take a 'hit to my ego' as she would put it.

I was hesitant to let her go. What if this was the last time I would get to hold her like this? The last time she would accept me as her husband? My arms tightened around her, as I pressed one last kiss to the sensitive spot behind her ear.

"I love you." I whispered just before I stepped back.

I saw her tense up before she turned to look at me with a concerned expression on her face. "Are you okay?"

I was slightly affronted that she didn't say it back, but it was a valid question. In the last near seven months since the night we had first confessed our feelings for one another, we hadn't very often felt the need to say it again. I was just that type of person I guess, I've told you I love you and if there ever comes a time when I don't then I'll let you know. There was no need to say it every day and at the end of every conversation you have, to me that just takes the importance out of the words, makes them meaningless.

I wasn't sure if Serena shared the same views as me at the beginning because she used to throw it around every second day or so and then of course had bouts of insecurity when I wouldn't reciprocate, but she had come around and understood where I was coming from. So now, for me to suddenly say it without any context or romantic situation or anything really, I could see why she would be slightly suspicious.

I nodded. "Yeah, just had a long day." Again, not technically a lie.

She watched me for a moment before a small smile appeared tugging at her lips. "Well, I love you too." She turned back to the stove. "Dinner's going to be ready soon so can you grab the plates and stuff for me?"

I replied in the affirmative before going about the chore. After, I escaped upstairs to throw off my jacket and tie, unbuttoning the top few buttons on my shirt which suddenly felt restricting. I could hear Serena humming a tune downstairs as she began serving up making me pause once more. I didn't want to go back down the stairs. I didn't want to face her and tell her. I didn't want this to end, but I wasn't entirely sure it would because I don't know what her reaction will be.

A brief spark of hope ignited in my chest before I repressed it once more. I was not going to let that happen. I was not going to start fantasising about the best case scenario and imagine the lovey-dovey shit that chicks do. It's best to be realistic and keep things straight in my head. The only problem with that was nothing was currently straight in my head.

"Christian, dinner." Her voice floated up to me.

No time left to procrastinate anymore.

I felt my eyes flicker once more towards the folder peacefully sitting on the bench. So innocent looking yet so fucking important. Fuck I hated this.

Just as I was reaching out to grab my plate – the smell of the cheese sauce causing my stomach to rumble – Serena's voice froze me to the very core.

"What's in the folder?" Her voice was curious yet I imagined there might have been a mild accusatory tone in it as well.

I looked over to her. Her eyebrows furrowed and her eyes alight with interest. For a split second, I thought about playing dumb the line 'what folder?' ringing through my head, but I knew better than that. She would never buy it and that would only make her suspicious. So I shrugged instead.

"Nothing important." Lie.

She saw it right away even though I tried to keep my straightest face, the one that always wins in the boardroom, but I guess my wife knows me far better than some old men. I saw her eyes narrowing at the corners as she turned her head and surveyed the folder before turning back to me.

"So why do you keep looking at it?" She asked I could hear the suspicion creeping in which is exactly what I didn't want. "You seem tense."

"Oh it's just some work stuff, boring you know, but I have to read it before tomorrow." Lie. I look back down to my plate trying to brush the conversation off, show the folder doesn't mean anything.

"Christian." Damn that's her warning tone; she's starting to get annoyed.

I force myself not to hesitate as I look back at her, but the expression on her face has me worried. She's trying to be stern, she knows I'm lying and she wants me to tell her the truth. But underneath that I can see her worrying, I've always thought that her eyes were far too expressive, for me they are an open book though I'm not sure how many other people can claim to read them. It's there that I see the anxiety seeping through and I know I can't lie anymore.

I place my plate back down on the bench before running my hand through my hair, clenching and unclenching my jaw as I close my eyes to try and figure out how to say this.

"Christian?" I've waited too long and now she's pleading.

I opened my eyes and take her in because I'm a sucker for punishment that way. Her blonde hair which was groomed to perfection in a hair tie this morning is now thrown up in a messy bun with tendrils escaping it in all different directions. She's cleared her face of the makeup she was meticulously putting on while I was shaving this morning so now the faint smattering of freckles across her nose are visible to anyone who looks close enough. She's dressed casually in a tank top and jeans yet she's never looked more beautiful to me and I would without a doubt pick her over any pinup girl in the world without a second's hesitation.

Before I had even realised I had moved, I had walked over to her standing on the other side of the bench and pulled her into me pressing my lips soundly against hers. I couldn't go into this conversation without at least one last kiss.

I step away from her and over to the folder flipping open the cover. I opened my mouth to begin in some way, even though I still had absolutely no idea what I was going to say. She beat me to it though as I hadn't realised she was peering over my shoulder.

"Why do you have our marriage contract?" She's worried and her voice sounds almost panicked. "Why are you carrying it around?"

"Serena I need-"

"Don't call me that." She's really starting to get panicky now. "You never call me that. Christian, what's going on?"

I could see the tears pricking at her eyes and I fucking hated myself for it. I remembered back a year ago when Serena would never have ever shown such a weakness in front of me and I still can't get over how things have changed so drastically in such a short amount of time.

"The contract only lasted a year Na-na." She nods. "It's been a year, the contracts expired."

She freezes and I watch her closely. I watch as I see her processing what I've just said and I wait to see how she will react, I wait to see what the outcome will be.

She stares right back at me, emotions flicking across her eyes but none that stay long enough for me to pinpoint. "That's it?" She says in a whisper.

I nod.

Her eyes flick back toward the folder as a flash of anger crosses her face. Okay, that I was not expecting, why would she be-

"So now that the year is up, we're over? This is all it was to you?" Her voice is loud and heated; she's put a wall up behind her anger so I can't see what else is going on. I always hated when this happened, it's the only time I'm not able to read her eyes properly.

I can't help but show my confusion, I still have no idea where her anger has come from or what she means.

"What?" I so eloquently replied.

Her anger flared once more. "You are the biggest arsehole I know." Her voice was strong and steady, not raised and agitated like it usually would be during one of our arguments. "I can't believe you would make some sort of game out of this. I can't believe that this whole thing was just…just-argh!"

Her anger broke and once more I was able to read her. I did not like what I saw. She was trying to regain control over herself again, but she was struggling. I couldn't help but think about how different things were now than they were this time last year. Before, she would never have lost control around me.

Her façade cracked the same time the tears leaked from her eyes. I caught the brief look of pain as she turned around and leant against the counter with her back to me. A rattling breath left her that put me into action.

I did the only thing I had ever been able to do to comfort her on the handful of occasions when I had seen her cry. Though if I'm being honest, during those occasions I hadn't been the one to make her cry in the first place. My arms wrapped around her waist and I pulled her into me, burying her face in my chest. I felt her hesitate; I felt her almost push me away until she seemed to give in and held onto my shirt tightly.

"Why are you upset?" I whispered as I pushed her hair back behind her ear so I could see her face. "Tell me what you're thinking." She inhaled deeply ready to reply before she shook her head and released another rattling breath. "Na-na, I can't fix it if I don't know what's got you upset."

"How are you going to fix it, Christian?" Her voice was whispered brokenly. "Your way of 'fixing' things is to go around punching people in the face. Even I know you're not self-deprecating enough to do that to yourself."

Fortunately, she was right though the thought had crossed my mind. "So then talk to me, help me understand what's going on with you right now."

"I just thought the contract didn't matter anymore. That our marriage was more than just a signed document." She paused, almost like she was regaining her composure. "I guess that was just naïve of me to think. I mean, it was a drunken Vegas wedding and the only reason we're still married is because of the contract. I just stopped thinking that once it expired you would be asking for a divorce and all."

She was rambling which was unusual, but I soaked up every word. "Na-na, I never asked for a divorce."

She stepped back from me, enabling her to look up at me. "But that's what you're saying right? You brought the contract home to prove to me that it had expired."

I couldn't help but smile at her confusion. "Your minds jumping ten miles ahead when you haven't even made the first step. I never asked for a divorce and I'm not going to ask for one."

Her confusion deepened. "Then why do you have the contract with you?"

"Because I didn't know if you were aware of the date. Hell, I wasn't until Dad slapped the thing in front of me. Na-na, you have the right to know the contract has ended because you have the right to ask for a divorce now as well."

I could see it all clicking together in her head now. I hadn't brought the damn contract home for my benefit, but for hers. She was no longer trapped in this marriage either.

She shook her head. "No, I don't want a divorce."

I let out the breath I hadn't realised I was holding, a smile spreading over my face. "Then we can throw it in the trash for all I care."

Her own smile mirrored mine as I lowered my lips to hers, the tension I had carried walking in completely disappearing. She pulled back after a moment, a thoughtful look on her face.

"You know what we should do? Have a wedding party type thing, since none of our family and friends were able to actually be at our wedding."

"Sounds like a great idea." Honestly, what better reason is there to go out and get drunk? "But maybe we should wait for a bit. You know until our families can be in the same room together without starting an argument and taking snide jabs at each other, then it won't be Fletcher's versus Copthorne's."

"I thought they were getting along better."

"Yeah, they are. Our Mothers are coming over for lunch tomorrow and that's a huge step but… our Fathers are a different story, and let's not forget the extended family. One step at a time Babe, we'll get there, and then we can celebrate more than just our marriage."

She nodded, a determined look shooting across her face and I knew immediately she was scheming different scenarios of reuniting our families. They really didn't stand a chance against her.

Hell, not even I had and she really hadn't even been trying.

A/N: So this story is now completed, yay! I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has reviewed, followed or favorited. This is the first story I have shared and the support and encouragement from all of you has truly been amazing, I honestly don't think I would have finished it without you - especially at the end there during the long break, again I'm sorry!

At this stage, there is no prequel or sequel planned even though I was bouncing it around in my head for a while there. Maybe in the future but not right now. If it does eventuate however I'll let you all know. I do plan on going through this story and editing it. I know there are a few spelling mistakes and confusing sentences that don't make sense which I will definitely fix up.

There are a few other stories forming in my head in the moment but due to my time restrictions and busy schedule I don't think I'll be able to post anything new for a while yet, but this is not the last you will hear of me.

Again a huge thank you to everyone, and I hope you enjoyed just a small glimpse into Christian's mind - I hope I didn't completely butcher it for you.