Author's Note: Slightly longer chapter than usual. As always, let me know what you think and thanks for the support!
X X X
'We should not have done that.'
They were a tangle of limbs and sheets, fuelled by festive spirits and hormones and sparked by a few words on a piece of paper. Kate had heard all about the side-effects of pregnancy, this included, but never imagined how intense it would be - the next six months could be equally interesting and exhausting for that reason alone.
'I wholeheartedly disagree,' her husband panted as he gently stroked her arm.
'We didn't have the time for that.'
'Hey. You wanted round two. I was just more than happy to oblige,' he smirked.
'Your mother and daughter will be arriving soon. My dad will too. In like,' she craned to see the alarm clock on the bedside table, 'less than an hour. And we are by no means presentable after that.'
'Then we can save time and water…by showering together.'
'You really think that is a good idea?' They definitely didn't have time for a round three. 'For the record, I'm fully blaming you and your stupidly perfect dedication for this. I can't control my urges right now, Rick. Frankly, I need you to be an asshole and not a wonderful husband.'
Indeed it was. She melted into his warm side, drunk as hell on his being. It had been almost five years since they had become more than partners and the simple pleasure of just laying together in bed had never grown old. After everything that they had been through, she cherished these moments more than ever. 'We do need to make a move though,' she said, begrudgingly. 'Your mom's caught us in bed before, I'd rather my dad didn't.'
'Oh c'mon. You mean you haven't been through that awkward rite of passage before?' Her silence that followed was telling. 'Ooh. When? Who? How old?'
She answered without hesitation. Like she could ever forget. 'Lennie Quinn, when my dad decided to come home early from holiday and twenty-one.'
'You or him?'
'I was twenty-one…he was in his thirties.'
Rick sat up a little. 'Ooh.'
Kate continued. 'And in a biker gang.'
The writer sat up a little more, his 'Ooh' a little more surprised.
Indulging him was strangely fun. 'Supposedly. I don't know but he did have a bike. And tattoos,' she made sure to add, wondering if that particular detail would click in Rick's mind. She gave him a few seconds to see if it would…it didn't. 'And, after a few weeks of dating, I had a tattoo too.'
Rick squealed. 'That's why? Because of him? Because of Lennie Quinn?'
'Don't give him all the credit. Alcohol, poor judgement and a very naïve idea of love also all played a part. But yeah…partly because of him.' Thankfully, she had grown to love the small four leaf clover on her hip and, sometimes, she couldn't help but wonder if it was the reason why she'd go on to be as lucky as she was in later life. 'Anyway. Lennie was staying at mine, my dad came home early and completely freaked. Not about the older guy, not about what he had walked in on…but about the tattoo.'
'Exactly and I'm pretty sure that my dad has pushed that memory as far back in his mind as he possibly could so please, for his sake, let's not risk that and let's get a move on. We have less than an hour.'
It took a few moments before Rick blinked and picked his jaw up. 'So, save time and save water?'
X X X
'I knew it.'
Her husband's wet feet slapped against the floorboards as he hurriedly followed her. 'A little, Kate. You'd have to know to see it.'
Sharing a shower had saved water but not the tears from her eyes. It was crazy, she should be happy, overjoyed, euphoric to see, with her own eyes, the first signs of her child, like most normal people. But she wasn't normal. Little about her life was, and had been, normal. 'Everyone will know and we won't get to tell them ourselves.'
Rick was insistent. 'Nobody will know. We've only just noticed.'
'And if they do notice, then see me not drinking? There's gonna be two detectives and a medical examiner under the same roof, one of them will notice and start putting things together and we won't get to tell them, Rick,' she said, her lip trembling. 'This past year. The past few years. The past twenty years of my life…most of the 'good news' I've had to break has come out of something terrible. Especially to my dad.' Such as the phone call to him after being discharged after the shooting, or the call to tell him that they had finally found Rick. Or the call, that call, to tell him that it was over, that she had finally got Bracken. 'This baby is good news. In so many ways, this baby is pure, good news. We don't get enough of that.'
As crazy and as hormonal as she must have sounded, her husband smiled. 'I understand, fully. And we will figure out something.'
'Thank you,' she said. 'I mean, I wish I could tell my dad first but I want to tell everyone together. And that man, bless him, cannot keep a secret for the life of him.'
'I can relate.'
'For once, you're actually doing a good job of keeping your mouth shut.'
'I know. And it's been killing me inside. But,' he took a step forward, his hand reaching for the tie on her bath robe. 'When it's important.' He tugged the tie loose, the robe opening and exposing her naked stomach. He rested his hand on the very slight, but present, curve of her growing bump. 'And this is important.'
X X X
They figured out something – sweaters. Matching Christmas sweaters because, of course Rick would have an identical pair of hideous knitwear hidden at the back of a closet. Both in his size, they hung loosely enough for Kate's worries to ease.
'You didn't tell me there was an ugly sweater theme,' Javi remarked as he arrived with Lanie, nodding at Kate and Rick and then at Ryan, who had made an unfortunate wardrobe choice.
'Funny,' Ryan scoffed. 'This was a present from my aunt.'
'The one that's colour blind?'
God, she missed their banter and was thankful for this day for bringing everyone together. She was also not stupid and knew that everyone, really, had united for her. Every other Christmas, Ryan and Jenny would alternate between their parents, Lanie would always spend the holidays with her sisters and Javi would almost always volunteer to cover the Christmas shifts. Not today, not this Christmas; they were all rallying around her after everything that had happened, because that's what family did.
'Told you, nobody is suspecting anything,' Rick whispered as they broke away from the group to tend to the food in the kitchen.
'We're not in the clear yet. A few more hours and the whole wine situation to get through.'
He bit down on his bottom lip as he pondered. 'You could always say you're feeling sick.'
'Really, sudden onset nausea? That won't look suspicious.'
Rick screwed up his face. 'Yeah, good point. I'll keep think-.'
'Kate Beckett, is there something you're not telling me?'
The knife cutting the carrots veered to the left, only just missing an index finger, at the shrill call. Kate looked up, saw Lanie approaching and stuttered for words. 'W-what?'
'Girl, how long have you been holding back on me? You think that I wouldn't find out?'
Kate turned quickly to her husband, who looked as panicked as she felt, then turned back to her friend. 'I…what?'
The medical examiner crossed her arms. 'How far are you?'
Again to Rick and, again, nothing. 'I…don't know…?'
'You must know, roughly.'
Of course she found out. It was Lanie. 'I-.'
Season? 'Summer?' Shit, shit, shit. She didn't mean to say that.
'Summer? Girl, stop pretending and just tell me already.'
Kate sighed. 'I'm sorry, Lanie. I was gonna tell you. Today, actually.'
'Mm-hm, bet you were. So how far are you? What season are you on? I need to know so I don't spoil it for you. After all, the whole point of Grey's is that your heart is ripped out and stamped on when you least expect it. If I had to go through all that pain, then you do too.'
Oh. Oh. 'Grey's Anatomy?'
'Yes. I spotted the boxset and noticed it was open. What did you think I was talking about?'
The baby you're going to be Godmother to? 'I…I honestly didn't know,' Kate said, grateful for the return of words and being able to breathe again. 'And, I haven't started it yet. But I will, I promise. It's just that someone likes to touch and open things.' She turned to Rick, who was in the process of sneaking a baby carrot into his mouth – impeccable timing, as always.
X X X
They sat together at the table, their wine glasses sat almost touching each other so that Rick could drink for two whilst Kate ate for two. Their trick seemed to have been almost perfectly pulled off until after the main course.
'Richard!' Martha shrieked, cutting off Jim Beckett, who had been in the midst of talking about baseball. 'What on earth do you think you're doing?'
Glass of wine in hand, Rick was a deer in his mother's headlights. 'I…sorry?'
'Darling, all night you have been sneaking sips from Katherine's glass. You do not need me to tell you how important a girl's wine is, do you?'
Kate spoke up and took control. Now. 'As much as it comes naturally to you, don't play dumb,' she said to her husband before turning to the rest of the room. 'He's not a thief – he's nowhere near sneaky or subtle enough to be one.'
Rick shrugged. 'It's true.'
Kate continued. 'And we were going to tell you a little later but I guess it's time. And thank God, it's time because I hate keeping this news to myself. But we're,' she glanced at Rick then back to everyone, 'Having a baby. We're finally having a baby.'
She couldn't contain the smile on her face. Those words sounded so damn good.