Title: Because It's Tradition

Author: Dana

Rating: T It's probably not, but just to be safe...

Disclaimers: I don't own anything. I'm just borrowing the characters for a bit.

Summary: Gil and Catherine continue with tradition.

Spoilers: None

A/N: I have no beta, so any mistakes are mine. You should probably read "Someone Forgot," since this is its sequel. I didn't plan on there being a sequel, but I was recently bit by the writing bug, and this is the result. Posted for Gil's 50th birthday: August 17, 2006. Enjoy!

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Catherine was true to her word. We met in Harrison's parking lot that night at seven o'clock on the dot. We drove separate vehicles--because it's tradition. I held the door open for her and followed her inside. As we approached the host stand, she linked her arm through mine, inevitably stepping closer to me.

"How many?" the host asked.

"Two," I replied.

"Oh, back again tonight, sir?" the host questioned.

I felt the heat slide up my neck and into my cheeks. The same guy was there the night before and had obviously remembered me. "Yes."

I felt, rather than saw, Catherine smile.

The host spoke again. "If you don't mind my saying so, sir, you look much happier tonight than you did last night. I would too, if I had a woman as beautiful as your wife on my arm."

I glanced at Catherine, only to find her already looking at me. We smiled at each other and I held her gaze even as I said, "I am so much happier tonight. And, yes, she's very beautiful."

"Oh, Gil," she whispered.

And for a moment, we were the only two people in existence.

Then a man behind us loudly cleared his throat, instantly reminding us where we were.

The host led us to a quiet booth near the back of the restaurant. I waited as Catherine slid into the booth, then I sat down next to her--because it's tradition.

A couple in the booth across the aisle from us watched as we settled into our seat. The woman smiled at us before turning her attention back to her husband. "Honey, isn't that so romantic? You can just see the love they have for each other." If she was trying to be discrete, she failed; I heard every word she said.

Catherine apparently heard the woman, too. She patted my knee three times, her hand finally coming to rest on my thigh, just above my knee.

When the waiter arrived to take our order a minute later, our menus were in the same place the host had laid them. We ordered the same thing we've had every year--steaks, baked potatoes, salads, and wine--because it's tradition.

We ate dinner slowly, savoring the time we had together. The waiter came back to our table, and I ordered a piece of strawberry shortcake for Catherine and I to split--because it's tradition.

Minutes later, I dipped a whole strawberry into the whipped cream and offered it to Catherine. She quirked her eyebrow at me--because it wasn't tradition. She took a bite of the strawberry but some of the whipped cream was left on her lower lip.

My eyes were drawn to her lips. "Catherine, you've...got..." I couldn't finish my sentence because my lips were otherwise engaged--with hers. I was utterly surprised--because it definitely wasn't tradition.

When she pulled away, her eyes were sparkling. "That was new," she said. "Why..."

"I felt like it. And I wanted to start a new tradition," I told her. "After all, it is my fiftieth birthday."

"Well, you know it's not officially a tradition until it's done twice," she whispered.

"Is that your way of saying you want to kiss me again?"

"Technically, you kissed me."

"You do have a point."

"Gil, just kiss me."

And I did--because now it's tradition. Hopefully that one will be repeated before my next birthday.

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Finis