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Felisidat ta pòr nada, basta bo habri bo bista p'e
Happiness is free as long as you open your eyes to it

The fact that she had to push back the urge to vomit after seeing the dead body was not a good thing. The fact that Kate noticed was even worse.

"Hey, Lanie, you okay?" she asked, concerned. She had pulled her friend away from the body and the uniforms to talk to her.

"I'm fine, Kate," Lanie answered, brushing it off with a small wave of her hand.

"It looked like you were gonna be sick over there. Are you feeling okay?" Kate pressed on. Something was off about her friend and she was determined to find out what it was.

"Kate. I'm fine." She turned around to go back to examining the body, but Kate didn't miss the way she hesitated, trying to compose herself and—to Kate—failing miserably. Kate let Lanie go without a comment, but every now and then she looked back to check on her friend.

It wasn't an easy feat for Lanie. The nausea was overwhelming to say the least. She managed to get through the preliminary exam and she was sure she'd be fine once the body was back at the morgue. She was pretty sure.

She was wrong.

Emptying the contents of her stomach in the nearby trash bin hadn't been in the schedule of the day but once she realized she couldn't examine the body she had reluctantly asked Perlmutter to take over. Concluding defeat, and the fact that Kate was right, she sat at her desk and worked on paperwork. Unfortunately, she had forgotten to inform the dynamic duo that Perlmutter had taken over so after a few hours Kate and Castle showed up, ready for any information she could give them.

"Dr. Parish! This might be the first time I've seen you at your desk!" Castle exclaimed.

Lanie didn't dare look over at Kate, knowing the scrutinizing and calculating look that would greet her.

"Yes, I forgot to call and tell you that Perlmutter took over this case," she commented nonchalantly. Castle shrugged and went in search of the other medical examiner, but Kate hung back. Lanie tried to continue her paperwork but could feel Kate staring at her.

"What?" she snapped.

Kate raised her arms in innocence. "I'm worried about you, Lanie. Even when you're sick you can handle the bodies, but now you're..." she trailed off and her brow furrowed. It was as if a lightbulb went on in her head because her eyes went wide and her gaze snapped back to Lanie. "You're nauseous, somewhat pale, you're tired and I'm willing to bet either you have a headache or a backache. Tell me, Lanie... are you by any chance craving salty chips?"

"How did you know?" Lanie asked, surprised. She leaned back in her chair and felt her back protesting. Shit.

"Because every time you get food cravings you want something salty," Kate said smugly.

Lanie's eyes went wide. "This is not an interrogation! I don't owe you any explanation!"

Kate smile was smug. "Mood swings? Lanie you're—."

"No!" Lanie interrupted her friend. "Don't say it!"

"Lanie..." Kate said softly. She walked over to her friend to lean against her desk.

"I can't be, Kate," Lanie said almost breathlessly. "I had my period three weeks ago."

Castle popped his head around the door. "Hey, you comin'?"

"Yeah, I'll be right there," Kate said to him, waiting for him to close the door back before turning back to Lanie. "Well then run a test. What harm can it do?" Kate said, raising an eyebrow at Lanie and then turning to leave.

When Kate left, Lanie put her arms on her desk and leaned her head on her hands.

Her best friend was way too perceptive.

Esposito had a hard time keeping his eyes off Lanie when she walked into the squadroom. He could feel Ryan's eyes on him but he just couldn't. She walked over to Kate's desk with a folder in her hand. When she stood in front of the detective's desk, Kate looked up at her and raised an eyebrow.

question, Esposito noticed. Lanie handed Kate the folder and she opened it, making sure to keep Castle's prying eyes away from it. From what Esposito could see, it was just a single sheet of paper. As Kate read what was on the page, Lanie took a deep breath. She was nervous. Kate finished reading and looked up at Lanie, who gave an almost imperceptible nod. Anybody would have missed it, but not Esposito. He knew her well enough.

And then Kate's eyes flickered over to him. And he was caught staring.

Kate closed the file and handed it back to Lanie. Kate gave her a pointed look, but Lanie seemingly brushed it off and walked away. As she did, she walked right past his desk, her eyes looking anywhere but at him.

Lanie freaked out a whole two days later.

She was with Kate at Jenny's dress fitting. She had forged a nice bond with Jenny, regardless of her and Javier's split, and the woman had even made her and Kate bridesmaids.

Her freak out wasn't even when they were offered champagne—which she respectfully declined—it came when Jenny finally revealed what the bridesmaids would be wearing.

After giving Jenny a thinly-veiled excuse, she dragged Kate into a private dressing room and exploded.

"Kate what am I going to do? The wedding is in three months and by then I'll probably—well who am I kidding, I will be—showing and how in the hell am I supposed to tell my boss that I can barely handle the smell of dead bodies in the morning and Javier, oh lord, how am I going to tell him and my mother is going to kill me and my dad might just kill Javier and—."

"HEY!" Kate said, stopping Lanie in her rant and putting both hands on her shoulders so she'd stop pacing. "Calm down. Everything will be fine."

"Fine? Everything will be FINE? Girl, who do you think you're trying to convince, a four-year-old?" Something dawned on Lanie because her eyes went wide. "Oh my god I have a one bedroom apartment so that means imma have to move and who knows how long finding another apartment is gonna take and with all the stress—."

"Lanie. STOP." Kate steered the woman over to a chair and set her down. "Are you even sure you're pregnant?"

Lanie took a deep breath. "The bloodwork doesn't lie."

"But didn't you tell me you got your period three weeks ago?"

"It's four weeks now and no. I was supposed to get it yesterday but I didn't. And I've been having morning sickness and my back aches like crazy..." she trailed off. An almost defeated expression passed over her face. "Kate, I'm pregnant and..."

"And?" Kate coaxed.

After a deep sigh Lanie said, "And Javier Esposito is the father."

Three days after what he deemed the Squadroom Incident he got a text from Lanie.

We need to talk. ASAP.

He opted to call her as opposed to texting her back.

"Lanie Parish," she answered.

"Lanie, it's me," he said.

"Oh, uhm, Javier, hi." She sounded flustered. He couldn't help but smile; he loved the way his name fell from her lips.

"You texted me?"

"Yes. We need to talk. In person."

"Do you want me to come down to the morgue?" he asked, intrigued. She seemed very tense.

"No! We can meet up after work."

"We could get dinner at that little diner you like?" he suggested.

"Sure. Meet you at seven?"

"Yeah. See you then," he replied and had to physically restrain himself from attaching any term of affection.


It sufficed to say that he was distracted all day.

Javier, I'm pregnant.

The words were still swirling around in his head. His palms felt clammy. His body was tensed up. His mind screamed at him that it wasn't a bad thing but his body just would not cooperate.

"I'm sorry, this was a mistake."

Lanie stood up and that was the trigger that made him spring into action.

"No!" He jumped up and wrapped a hand around her wrist, tugging her back to him.

"Javier..." she started, but he didn't let her finish. His mouth covered hers in one swift movement and coaxed her into a kiss. She couldn't resist—she'd missed him so muchand she tilted her body to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He moved one hand to the small of her back and the other held her hip, his thumb oh-so-gently brushing over her abdomen.

The feeling of him touching her abdomen made her gasp, and she pulled away to take a breath.

"I've missed you, querida." He put his forehead against hers and brushed away a stray lock of her hair, making her smile at him.

Both seemed to realize where they were and that people were staring, so they sat back down in their booth, this time both at the same side.

"Javi, why did we break up?" she asked him softly. Her question caught him off guard. "I mean, when marriage is brought up, couples don't usually break up. Why did we?" She had to know.

After a few moments, he answered, "I think we started out with this just for fun but Jenny's question made it serious, instantly, and we were both too afraid of what would happen."

"We were afraid to commit," she said softly.

"Yeah. Because that would make it real," he said, but then a smile spread over his face. "Then again, so does a baby." He noticed her wry smile and nudged her. "What's wrong?"

"I feel like we might get back together just because of the baby." She didn't dare look at him, because for all the bravado she had, she couldn't face him.

"So we start over. We begin all over again, but this time, the proper way."

He knew he'd hit gold when a smile spread over her face. "Okay. But if you think I'm gonna shake your hand and introduce myself to you, you are badly mistaken Javier Esposito."

"Eat, woman. The hormones have already made you loca."

"Imma smack you."