"I'm gonna kill Maxine," Calleigh said and dumped her purse on the table next to the door.
"I know, you said that two minutes ago," Eric said and smirked. She glared at him. He sat on the couch and she just stared at him with a slight pout.
"It won't be that bad," he said, "I like it when you pout. It's cute."
"I don't pout," she said and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Oh, now you're just taunting me." He pulled her towards him and she fell on his lap.
"Eric," she squeaked.
"It will be fun," he said and kissed her temple. "I'll be there." He gave her a long, passionate kiss. Flustered she said,
"It won't be that bad." He smiled at her. She snuggled into his embrace.
"I hate formal things," she said.
"I know, babe, me too," he said.
"The wedding is not gonna be like this."
"Maybe, we'll see." She smiled and shook her head.
"You need to start getting ready," Eric pointed out.
"Me? What about you?" Calleigh asked.
"Well, let's see, it takes me about an hour to get ready. It takes you about two hours to get ready."
"I don't take that long to get ready," she said in shock.
"No you don't. It's just you have more things to worry about," he said waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"Please, don't let me stop you." She smiled.
"See, I have to worry about a shower, my shoes, and my clothes. You, on the other hand, need to take a shower, lotion-."
"You like that part, huh?"
"I thoroughly enjoy watching you put lotion on your recently showered, naked body. But aside from that, you need to shower, lotion, makeup, hair, clothes, shoes and jewelry."
"No, it's: shower, lotion, shower again, makeup, hair, clothes, shoes and jewelry," Calleigh corrected.
"Why shower twice?" he asked confused.
"Because, while I'm putting lotion, you're going to 'accidentally' walk into the bathroom and get turned on, and you know I can't say no to you." Calleigh palmed his cheek.
"Well, let me save you some time then," he suggested and got off the couch and carried her to the bedroom…
"I'm gonna kill Maxine," Calleigh said and Eric simply chuckled.
"You can't kill her," he said.
"I can and will."
"At least let her witness 2009. Besides, she's your friend."
"Not since she suggested we spend New Years Eve on a huge yacht."
"Ah, but it was just a suggestion. Stetler made it mandatory. Come on, it'll be fun, don't be a spoilsport, Duquesne," he said and kissed the nape of her neck. She rolled her eyes.
"Need help with your tie?" she asked.
"Yes please." She turned around and the tie fell from his hand.
"Wow, you look you look... Wow. I mean, I've seen it through the mirror, but... wow. Beautiful," he said. She blushed a bit and said,
"Thank you. You look handsome." She took the tie from him and tied it perfectly.
"I hate bow ties."
"I know you do. It's just a couple of hours. And, at the strike of twelve, you get a kiss," she hinted and winked.
"You sure you want to, you know, tonight?" he asked with a smile.
"Positive," she said and smiled back.
"You ready to go?" he asked. She picked up her purse and said,
"Yeah, let's go." She slipped her free hand into his and they left.
Valera, Ryan, Natalia and Cooper were sitting at a table.
"Nat, speaking of, where is your significant other?" Valera asked.
"He's on call tonight and if something happens, he can't be on a boat out on sea," she said bitterly and took a sip of her champagne. "Has anyone seen Calleigh or Eric?"
"No, did they say they were coming together?" Valera asked.
"They didn't say anything. I know Calleigh is out to kill you, Max," Ryan said.
"Why?" Cooper asked.
"Because, dearest Dan, Max suggested we all spend New Years' on a boat," Natalia said with a smile.
"It's not my fault Stetler made it mandatory with the whole 'lab unity'- excuse," Valera defended herself.
"She's not gonna kill you for that," Ryan said.
"It doesn't look like she has her gun with her, that's a good sign," Cooper said casually.
"What?" Ryan asked and they turned their head to where Cooper was staring. Calleigh and Eric were descending the stairs that led to the ballroom. He said something and she laughed, flashing him a smile. Eric looked around the room and spotted their friends and whispered something in her ear. They walked over to where Valera, Ryan, Natalia and Cooper were sitting and took a seat.
"Good evening, everybody," she said with a smile.
"Hi guys," Eric greeted everyone, after a chorus of 'hello's'. Natalia noticed that Eric pulled out the chair for Calleigh, and then sat down next to her.
"Did Alexx say she was coming?" Eric asked as the ladies started chatting.
"Yes, she said her kids were more than happy to stay with friends," Ryan said. "I think they're just gonna party all night."
"Calleigh, your dress is beautiful, where'd you get it?" Natalia asked.
"You remember that crime scene last week, the one with the dead manager? A few blocks away from there..."
By 11.30, the party was in full swing. Somebody had accidentally spilled champagne down Stetler's front, making the man mutter obscenities and nobody had seen him since. Alexx had appeared with her husband, Andrew, and Horatio was there also. Surprisingly, they were all having a great time and Calleigh wasn't out to kill Maxine anymore, much to the DNA analyst's relief.
"Hey, mi amor, where are you?" Eric softly whispered in her ear when they were on the dance floor, snapping her out of her reverie.
"Right here," she said and smiled. He wanted to give her a kiss, but she shook her head and wriggled her finger at him.
"Not yet, Delko, mid-night." He mock-sighed and rolled his eyes, making her smile even wider.
Out of the corner or her eye, she saw Maxine stick out her hand to Dan, who profusely shook his head and said something, making Maxine shoot him a look. She was forced to look away when Eric's hand gently turned her head to look at him.
"Nuh-uh. I want you all to me," he said and she chuckled.
"Alright. My attention is now on you. Better?" she asked.
"Much." He gave a tight nod. They swayed to the music, not saying anything, just looking at each other.
When the song ended, somebody who neither of them recognized, went up to the microphone and said:
"We would like to invite all the guests to come outside to the deck for the last thirty minutes of 2008." People slowly walked up the stairs to the deck. Calleigh and Eric were some of the lasts to go. Nobody noticed that their hands were intertwined and that they were standing closer to each other than usual.
When the countdown to thirty seconds began, Eric slipped his hand into his pocket and found the velvet box in there. He pulled it out and gently nudged Calleigh, who turned to look at him. He subtly handed her the box, and she opened it, taking out the gorgeous ring, and closing the box, handing it back to Eric. The ring was made from white gold, with an emerald nestled in the middle, surrounded by little oval-shaped diamonds. As the crowd neared fifteen, Eric and Calleigh joined in.
Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen...
He grabbed a hold of her hand and held it in his own.
Twelve, eleven, ten...
She smiled at him, her eyes twinkling in the moonlight.
Nine, eight, seven...
All their friends and colleagues were holding champagne glasses, some even the bottle.
Six, five, four...
A waiter with a tray passed them and he could just manage to grab the last two flutes of champagne, handing one to her.
He looked at her in confirmation, just in case she decided to chicken out, but she smiled at him, so, he proceeded as planned.
One! Happy New Year!
"Happy New Year, Eric," she said to him.
"Happy New Year, Cal," he said, before pressing his lips onto hers and they shared a deep kiss. Eric grabbed her champagne flute, but only for a while, just so she could slip her ring onto her left hand ring finger. When they pulled away, she gently wiped away some lipstick that was left on his lip. They clinked glasses and took a sip, only then noticing that their friends were all looking at them.
"Fine, Valera, you'll get your money first day of work," she heard Dan say and smiled.
"Oh my God, Calleigh!" Maxine was staring at her ring and it took a while for the others to catch on.
"Congratulations you guys," Ryan said and then soon they all congratulated the pair. Eric put his arm around Calleigh as the crowd watched the spectacular firework show. She was leaning against the railing and his arms were around her, on either side of her on the railing. After ten minutes of 'ooh' and 'ahh', the firework show ended and the people slowly walked back inside. That was where Calleigh lost Eric, or vice versa.
They didn't meet up until much later, when the boat was on its way back to the docks.
He was searching for her and found himself going up a staircase he thought was the one he'd come down from. Instead, he found himself in a lounge room, with a red carpet and black-leather couches. She sat in one of them, casually sipping her champagne, her mind a thousand miles away.
"Hey," he said softly, so as to not startle her. She smiled warmly at him and patted on the couch next to her. He went and sat down next to her.
"Happy New Year, baby."
"Happy New Year Eric." He kissed the top of her head and she closed her eyes, sighing in the process.
"Love you," he whispered in her ear, making her smile wider. She wouldn't ever tire of hearing him say those words.
"Love you too." This was it. This was the moment to tell him.
With her leaning against him, he instantly felt her tense. He looked at her, and when he looked into her eyes, he saw the internal struggle he had come to familiarize.
"Calleigh... hey, sweetheart, what's wrong?" he asked, and a small smile graced her lips.
"Nothing's wrong, I just... I need to tell you something. Something pretty important," she quickly ranted, not wanting him to get worried.
"Well?" Usually, when she was nervous, no matter in what degree, she would tuck her hair behind her ear or ears. Now, there were no loose strands, her hair still perfectly held in a bun at the back of her head. So instead, he noticed her brush away something invisible from her red strapless dress.
"I'm pregnant," she blurted out, as if it was one word. His brain was franticly sending messages to his mouth 'say something, idiot!', but nothing was coming out. His jaw hung a bit, leaving him gaping slightly. He finally blinked, and did it again, letting his eyes get moist again.
She was scared to death. She knew he wanted children, but she was still insecure, her own past not really an assurance of anything. If it were any moment but this, she would think his face was a funny sight. But it wasn't.
"Really," he managed. She merely nodded.
"How long?" He could see the wheels in her head turning.
"Nine weeks. I found out two days ago. I never thought twice, because you know I sometimes skip a month in my cycle..." she trailed off. Again, his jaw was hanging, leaving his mouth open. This time Calleigh did laugh. With delicate fingers, she pushed his jaw up, effectively closing his mouth. This didn't last long as his lips were on hers in a matter of mili-seconds.
"So... you're in?" she breathed after a while.
"Completely." And then he devoured her with his mouth. She could feel him getting aroused and gasped when she nipped at a spot behind her ear. His hand slowly crept up from her knee up her dress, to a spot not seen.
He heard her breath hitch and knew he was right on track.
And then her hands went to his belt...
Everybody was sitting at some tables set out on the deck, people chatting away, until Maxine noticed an absence.
"Has anyone seen Calleigh and Eric?" Maxine asked.