Disclaimer: It's the end of the story and I STILL don't own these guys. No suing. Suing is bad, mmkay?
Author's Note: Well, here's the last chapter. I hope you've all enjoyed this story as much as I have. It's been fun!
When Zoe graduated from grad school, she was still with Brian. And they'd managed to make a long distance relationship work, so long as they saw each other once a month. A few weeks after her graduation brought her parents' twenty fifth wedding anniversary.
Brian had agreed to help her decorate the house for the surprise party she was throwing for them. She knew that her dad hated parties, but she felt the need to celebrate her parents and their twenty five years of wedded bliss. She and Brian hung streamers and a 'Happy Anniversary' sign. Brian made a nice dinner and Zoe baked a cake. It turned out to be a really nice day, and she couldn't wait for her parents to get home and see what she'd done.
Aunt Lisa had promised to find an excuse to keep them both late as everyone sneaked into the house before they got home. James was there, as were Foreman and his son Alexander. Zoe picked up the little boy as soon as she saw him and threw him on her back for a piggy-back ride.
Chase soon arrived with his fiancé. He'd gotten engaged in the past year and Zoe still wasn't sure how she felt about the woman that he'd asked to marry him. She was younger than him by five years, which Zoe didn't have a problem with. But something about the woman just didn't sit right with her, and Zoe was always leery around her because of it. But she welcomed the two of them with a smile.
She'd kept the anniversary party limited to the people from the hospital. Grandma and Grandpa Cameron had already given Mom and Dad a gift: a two-week getaway in the Caribbean. Grandma House called Dad and wished him a happy anniversary, then called Mom separately. That was just how she worked. Grandpa House was gone; Grandma House seemed upset by it, but Zoe didn't really care. Dad didn't, either.
Aunt Lisa called out that they'd arrived and everyone hid behind furniture, in the kitchen, or in the hallway. When the door opened, everyone heard Greg's final snippet of the conversation.
"…And if I fuck you in the hallway, we're just going to run into problems."
"Is that why you insist on a bed?"
The lights went on and everyone stood in their spot, grinning, smirking, or fighting back giggles. Greg's face went slack and he looked at all of the people in his house. His gaze finally settled on Zoe and he glared.
Zoe smiled sweetly. "Happy twenty fifth?" she asked innocently.
The party actually turned out better than Zoe had expected. By ten that night, they all sat in the living room, laughing and having a pretty good time. Greg hadn't had that much alcohol; Allison had limited him to two hard drinks or five beers.
Alexander sat on Zoe's lap, head resting comfortably on her shoulder as he played a game on Gameboy. Foreman joked about how great of a mom she'd make, and she stuck her tongue out at him and reminded him that she had a job lined up in a children's theatre and wasn't going to be having of her own any time soon.
Foreman smirked and his gaze slid over to Brian. "What do you think about that?" he asked calmly.
Brian cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Uh … well, you know, it's not really my decision…"
Greg smirked and exchanged a glance with Allison, James, and Lisa. "It doesn't have to be," he commented. "Foreman just wants to know if you want kids. He likes to steal them; especially if they're white babies."
Alexander giggled from Zoe's lap. "Daddy Eric's a thief."
Zoe smirked. "He sure is." She rubbed Alexander's head affectionately and glared at Foreman. "Leave Brian alone. I already know he wants kids."
James grinned. "You've discussed it?"
She rolled her eyes. "We've been in a relationship for seven years, three of which were long distance. We've discussed these things."
Brian looked thoroughly uncomfortable, shifting on the couch and trying to look cool, but failing miserably. Zoe smiled at him and he gave her a small smile back.
Chase's fiancé checked her watch and frowned. "We should probably be going," she told Zoe politely. "I've got an early flight in the morning."
"Where are you flying to?" James asked civilly. Apparently, Zoe wasn't the only one with qualms about Chase's new flame.
"I've got a teacher's convention in LA. It's going to last all weekend." She pouted and turned to Chase. "I'm just sad Robert can't come with me."
"I bet," Greg muttered under his breath, earning a small smack from Allison.
"Thank you for coming," Allison said with a sweet smile.
The woman smiled back as she and Chase stood. Chase gave Allison a hug and ruffled Zoe's hair before bidding goodbye to everyone. Once the two of them were gone, Lisa frowned.
"Something about that woman is way off," she muttered thoughtfully.
James frowned. "She's cheating on him."
"How do you know that?" Lisa asked, rolling her eyes.
Greg smirked. "Jim's a master of cheating on people; I'll bet he knows how to tell if someone's cheating."
"Cute, House," James said with a frown. "It's horrible that you're right… I really do think she's cheating on him. She shows every sign of it, and they're all subtle." He sighed. "Someone should tell Chase that this woman isn't faithful."
"Not it!" Zoe chimed in, followed by Brian, Greg, James, Allison, and Foreman. Lisa grumbled and glared at James. "Let's just make a card," Zoe suggested, bouncing the leg that held Alexander. "Dear Chase, your fiancé has a bit on the side. Love always, your concerned friends."
James snorted. "What a great way to find out."
Zoe shrugged and turned her attention to Alexander. "You gonna come to one of the children's shows, dude?" she asked with a smile.
"If Daddy Eric says it's okay," Alexander replied, eyes glued to the game console in his hands. "I wanna see the one with the mute prince."
"Once Upon a Mattress," Zoe told Foreman at the confused look she received. "It's a musical version of The Princess and the Pea with a bit of a twist to it; it's a very good show for children and adults alike."
Brian grinned. "Listen to her. She's already pimping it. It's just because she's the lead; if she were stage managing, she'd tell you never to see it."
With the chuckles 'round the room, Zoe stuck her tongue out at Brian. "Butthead. I'd use stronger language, but you know… Child present."
Foreman checked the time and sighed. "Yeah, well, the kid's gotta get home." Upon Alexander's pout, Foreman smiled. "We've got stuff to do tomorrow, Alexander."
"Oh, fine," Alexander sighed, shutting off the Gameboy and giving Zoe a hug. "Will I see you before you move back for your show?" he asked, wide-eyed.
"I'm going to be here throughout the whole thing," she replied with a smile. "Rehearsals are so close that I get to live at home."
"Awesome!" Alexander smiled brightly as he took Foreman's hand and the two of them bid goodnight to the remaining guests. That left James, Lisa, Greg, Allison, Brian, and Zoe.
James and Greg grinned at each other, drawing curious looks from the women in the room. "Share with the class," Lisa said with a quirked eyebrow.
Greg shrugged and James repeated the motion, his gaze floating over to Brian, who was looking thoroughly uncomfortable. Zoe noticed and frowned. "What the hell is going on?" she asked flatly.
"It's…" Brian sighed. "Nothing. I talked to our dads about something earlier and they've been ragging on me about it all night." He shrugged nonchalantly. "They're just being themselves."
Zoe smirked. "What did you have to talk to both of them about, hmm?" she asked innocently, moving to sit next to him on the couch so that his arm was wrapped around her shoulders.
"Nothing important," he dodged, dropping a kiss on her forehead. "We can talk about it later."
Greg smirked evilly. "I think you should talk about it now," he said with a nod of affirmation, earning himself a confused look from Allison. "After all, it's something that should be discussed in front of family."
Brian flushed and Zoe frowned. "Brian?"
He cleared his throat. "It's not… Zo, it's nothing. Don't worry about it."
"It's something if it's got you so uncomfortable." Now she was getting worried. Was something wrong with him? Did he get a job across the country? Oh, God… What if he got a job in a whole different country?
"It isn't anything to worry about," he assured her. "I promise."
"Zoe," he snapped irritably. "It's fine."
She snapped right back at him. "It's not fine if you're being such a bitch about it."
"Jesus, Zo, drop it already!" Brian exclaimed, pushing off of the couch and pacing the living room.
Allison and Lisa exchanged a wide-eyed look, both wondering just what the hell was wrong with Brian. Greg and James exchanged smirks; they already knew. After all, they'd been through the same thing at one point or another.
"I'm not going to drop it, Brian! What the hell is your problem?" She stood, prepared for a fight.
"There isn't any problem besides you pushing this," he growled. "Just let. It. Drop."
"No, damn it. Tell me what's wrong."
"Fucking stop it, Zoe!"
"No, goddamn it! I'm concerned!"
Greg, Allison, James, and Lisa watched the fight, wide-eyed. Their children were just little firecrackers, weren't they?
"There's nothing to be concerned about, Zoe. I'm serious."
"Brian, why are you acting this way? Something's got you anxious enough to scream at me in front of our parents and I want to know what it is!" She was getting genuinely worried at this point. What could Brian possibly have to say to their fathers that he didn't want to talk to her about in front of them? What the hell was going on?
Brian reached into his pocket and threw a box at Zoe, relieved when she caught it. "I was going to ask you to marry me, damn it!"
Zoe's mouth opened to retort but closed immediately. "You…" She opened the box and her eyes widened. "Oh… Oh, my God…" In the box was a diamond ring. And not just any diamond; a pink diamond.
Allison and Lisa both smiled widely, covering their mouths to stop squeals of motherly delight. Greg and James both grinned at Zoe's reaction, but Greg felt a bit uneasy. Was she going to say yes? Zoe was so single-minded, so independent…
"You want to marry me?" she whispered in disbelief.
"Yes," Brian said, watching her anxiously.
"I… Oh, God, Brian…" She took the ring out and studied it, stunned at how beautiful it was. Platinum. Pink diamond. She was so spoiled. On the band was an inscription: For my princess.
"You don't have to say yes or anything," he mumbled. "It was just-"
"Yes," she cut him off. "Don't say anything else. I want to marry you."
He grinned. "You do?" he asked softly.
"Not really," she replied with a smirk, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I just really like the ring."
Greg laughed. "That's my girl," he said, pointing to Zoe. "That's my girl."