The young couple decided to wait until after Christmas to move in together, the holiday was quickly approaching and they thought it would just be easier. They had talked about it and came to the decision to move into Ryder's apartment. It was a little bigger than Spencer's and it had her studio she sometimes used for work. It just made more sense.
Spencer already had a lot of his clothes at Ryder's as he spent most nights there anyway, but over the few days leading up to Christmas, he had moved most of them, along with other daily objects, over slowly.
The couple had put up decorations about a week into December, taking advantage of the first opportunity they got for fear Spencer would be called away on cases and not get the chance until late.
Christmas shopping wasn't as fun though, Ryder as always had no idea what to get anyone but in the end, she found things she felt confident in before wrapping them a placing them under the tree.
It was a fun time of the year, Ryder had grown to love it after Eleanor adopted her, the older women having a big love for the holiday. But it was also a little crazy, with shopping, parties, and work. You'd be surprised how many people want pictures taken for the holidays. But in the end Ryder didn't mind, it was her life and she loved it.
This would be Ryder and Spencer's first Christmas together and they were excited. Spencer never had much family to spend the holiday with, his father leaving him at a young age and at eighteen his mother was sent away to the hospital and even though he knew that was best for her, he still felt guilty about it. After growing close with his team members, they became his closest family and he did things with them but now he had Ryder, she was apart of his family now.
Ryder never really celebrated the holidays much either, some homes she was put in did things but she along with the other children often got pushed to the back of everything and never got to truly enjoy it, until she was adopted. Tommy, much like his mother, loved the holiday as well.
Everyone decided to get together a few days before Christmas Eve to have dinner as some of the team members were traveling to see family. It was an amazing time, everyone sharing stories, playing games, and exchanging gifts until late into the night and everyone returned to their homes.
Spencer had found out about Ryder's love for the holiday early on and had planned a date for the two of them on Christmas Eve night. They went out after dark to see the lights, one of Ryder's favorite things, they walked through a park, holding hands and standing as close as they could to try and ward off the cold weather before going back to the apartment where he had a romantic dinner set up, candles and everything. Which wasn't there when they left leading Ryder to assume he had help from someone. It was one of the greatest Christmas Eve she could remember having.
One of Ryder's favorite traditions was baking cookies on Christmas Eve. It brought back good memories of her mother and she had yet to skip a Christmas doing it since she was sixteen. This year she and Spencer did it together, making a bigger mess than necessary and possibly eating more cookie doe than the actual cookies.
Her father had called to wish her a merry Christmas. It had made Ryder happy, the young woman surprised with herself when she only felt the tiniest bit of anger towards the man and had wished him Merry Christmas back.
Now Christmas morning. As a little kid, it was like all other mornings for the most part but over the last few years, Ryder had come to love it because the whole family, no matter how small, would gather in one room and spend time together, talking, laughing, and eating a very unhealthy breakfast. A lot of people's favorite part about Christmas morning was the presents but Ryder's was spending time with her family. When she was a teenager it was her mother and Tommy, but this year it was Spencer and Tommy. It was sad not having her mother there but she knew Eleanor would want her to be happy so she focused on the family she still had.
Since Spencer went all out the night before, Ryder wanted to do something nice for him and woke up early the next morning to make breakfast, spending a minute smiling at Spencer's peaceful face as he slept, his messy hair covering parts of his eyes.
Sneaking from the room, she quietly made pancakes, cinnamon rolls, and eggs before putting on a pot of coffee. It was a lot of food but Tommy would be by later and Ryder knew he'd want some as well.
It took about an hour to finish everything, including setting up the table with the food, fresh fruit, and drinks, before she snuck back into the room, crawling onto the bed to sit next to Spencer.
"Hey, sleepyhead." She mumbled when he slowly opened his eyes, lightly sweeping the hair out of his face.
"Morning," Spencer mumbled, his voice groggy from sleep as he rubbed his eyes. "What time is it?"
"Time for breakfast." Ryder whispered, placing a kiss on his forehead before jumping out of the bed.
Stretching his arms above his head, Spencer sits up and looks over at Ryder, a smile coming to his face as he looked at her, her small figure dressed in fluffy pajama pants and one of his T-shirts, a smile on her face as she waited for him. At that moment Spencer wondered how he got so lucky.
"What are you staring at? Do I have something on my face?" Ryder asked, worried as she lifted her hands to her face, trying to wipe away what might be there.
"No, I'm just admiring the view."
"Oh-kay, mister, get up, let's go, your food is getting cold." Ryder chuckled before turning towards the kitchen, sitting at the table as she waited for Spencer, the older man following soon after her. "Merry Christmas, babe." She said as he joined her, standing to her feet to give him a quick kiss.
"Thank you," Spencer mumbled, kissing Ryder once more before the coupled pulled apart and took their seats at the table. "You didn't have to do this."
"I wanted to," Ryder assured him before turning to her food. "I was thinking after we finish eating we opened presents, maybe watch a movie. Tommy will be here later on and we can all eat lunch together."
After eating, the couple opened their gifts to each other then moved to cuddle on the couch and watch tv until Tommy arrived and they opened the rest of their gifts together until it was time for lunch and Ryder started cooking with their help.
It was a simple day but it was one of the best Christmases the couple had ever had. Getting to spend time with the one they loved, not worrying about anything, only each other was perfect and just that either of them needed.
Much to both their disapointment, Spencer was called away on a case soon after Christmas. As always, Ryder didn't blame him but she did wish he could stay, her - soon to be their - apartment seemed so empty a lonely as soon as he walked out.
She busied herself with cleaning for a while until it stopped working and she thought about going into her studio to maybe paint but she really wasn't feeling up to it ad decided to call up Steve to see if he was busy, she felt like she hadn't seen him in forever.
Furrowing her brows, Ryder looked around her apartment as she tried to remember where she set her phone, a distant ringing sound soon alerting her to its presence on the kitchen table.
Walking over, Ryder lifted her phone to see who was called her, her father's name lighting up the screen. She had no idea why he was calling and if she was being honest, she didn't really feel like talking to him but decided she had nothing else to do and accepted the call.
"Hey," She greeted in a monotone voice, turning to lean back against the table.
"Hey, it's uh, it's Roy. But you probably knew that." The older man started, shaking his head at himself. "I wasn't sure if I should call but Lyla insisted. Um, we always have dinner, us three, on New Year's Eve, and um, we were thinking maybe you wanted to join us. If it's too much just let me know and I'll back off." He quickly added, not wanting to overwhelm her.
Ryder wasn't sure what to think of the request or what to do about it. New Year's Eve was just in a few days. She hadn't made any plans with Spencer or anything, not knowing if he'd even be there or not so she was free unless he finished with his most recent case and got home in time to be there. But she knew that wasn't the only reason she was apprehensive about the whole thing. Despite wanting to have him in her life, she still held a lot of anger towards him and wasn't sure if she was ready to meet him and his family at his home.
"Can I think about it?" She decided to ask rather than shooting him down.
"O-of course, just let me know what you decide," Roy said, happy she hadn't immediately said no. "Lyla and Bella really want to meet you."
"Bella knows about me?" Ryder questioned. She had thought maybe they didn't tell the young girl at the risk of confusing her over having an older sister she'd never met or if Ryder decided she didn't want to be in their life.
"Of course she does and she's excited to meet her big sister."
"Oh," Ryder mumbled. She wanted to meet the young girl as well. She might hate her father but her little sister played no hand in what had happened, she was just a little girl. Ryder would feel bad for getting her hopes up and then not coming, she understood all too much what that felt like. "I'll think about it, but I got to go."
"Okay, yeah, just let me know."
"I will. Bye." Ryder said before hanging up the phone and letting out a sigh.
Twriling the phone in her hands, Ryder shakes her head and goes back to her previous mision of calling Steve. She felt worse than she did before and wanted to do something to distract herself for a while but she knew she would have to make a decision soon.
"It shouldn't be this hard." Ryder grumbled, leaning her head back against the couch.
"I actually think you're handling quite well," Tommy told his sister, shrugging when she turned her head to look at him, raising a brow at him. "I probably would've punched him in the face."
"Believe me, I thought about it." Ryder huffed, turning her hand back to look up at the ceiling.
"I know you could." Tommy chuckled, knowing his sister could throw a punch if she needed, having taught her himself.
"If I ever decide to, I'll let you know," Ryder said as she shared a laugh with her brother before the mood quickly sobered. "I feel bad for hating him but no matter how much I try I can't stop."
"Because you have a good heart, Ry. And don't get me wrong, I don't like the guy either but if he hadn't done what he did then I wouldn't have the greatest little sister anyone could ask for."
"I am pretty great, huh?" Ryder smiled, once again turning her head to look at her brother in time to see him roll his eyes. "If I go will you go with me?"
"Of course," Tommy nodded. "But I can't promise I won't punch him." He joked, smiling when Ryder hit him on the shoulder with a laugh.
"If anyone gets to it's me."
It was only the day after she had received the call from her father. Ryder had called Spencer and talked to him about it and he sadly told her he didn't think he would be home in time for New Years.
"Yeah, you're right." Tommy nodded. "Food?"
After Tommy left, Ryder tried to relax by taking a hot shower, not being one for baths before she crawled into her bed and called Spencer to talk to him before she tried to go to sleep. Tried being the key word.
She couldn't stop thinking about whether or not she was going to go up to New York in a few days or not. She thought about not going but it brought an odd feeling to her chest and when she thought about going she felt unsure, maybe even a little scared.
Sighing, Ryder sat up and reached over to turn on the lamp sitting on her bedside table, her eyes catching the framed photo of her and Spencer. It was one of her favorites, it featured most of Spencer's face, his smile bright enough to light up a room as Ryder placed a kiss on his cheek from her seat next to him.
It made her smile just looking at it, her mind taking her back to when it was taken. It was a good memory, one of her favorites. It also made her sad as she looked to the empty spot on the bed next to her, her heart hurting as she wished Spencer could be there with her.
No matter how many times she told him that she understood, and she did, it didn't make her feel better when he wasn't there. She felt selfish but she couldn't help it. He was saving lives, after all, making the world a safer place one bad guy at a time even if new ones were created every day.
She'd never told him about her thoughts, though she suspected he knew to a limit, but he never said anything either. Even when they had fights. Ryder truly believed they were meant to be but they weren't perfect, they had fought a couple of times. Never anything big and they always resolved it before going to bed.
Shaking away those thoughts, Ryder rubs her face with her hands before reaching for her phone and staring at the screen as she held it in her hands, unsure of what she had planned to do with it.
It was late, everyone she could call would be asleep and she didn't want to wake them. It was this stupid decision keeping her awake. It shouldn't be so hard to decide, she thought with a frustrated sigh.
"Screw it," Ryder mumbled to herself before selecting her contacts and sending a quick text before all but throwing her phone back onto her nightstand and flicking the light off, finally able to fall asleep.