A/N: This is the last chapter of this particular story. Thank you for all the reviews for it, I really, really enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed writing it so much that there's a sequel on the way, although, it's not going to solely focus on Stephanie and Chris, which you'll learn after reading this chapter. So I hope that you enjoyed the story as well, so leave a review and tell me what you thought of it as a whole. :)
"Oh, come on in."
Shane could hear the television on in the background and what appeared to be music playing from upstairs. Stephanie, herself, looked harried, her hair pulled back messily and wearing a casual pair of jeans and a t-shirt with a cardigan over it. He stepped inside the house as she closed the door behind her.
"So you came over early?" Stephanie said. "Usually I would clean up the mad-house since you're not used to all of this, you're just used to your pristine house."
Shane laughed, "I was bored, thought I'd come over a little early and hang out with my nephew."
"Yeah, if you can find him, or catch him, if you do manage that, tell me how," Stephanie laughed. "I'm going to kill Mom and Dad for that wedding present for him."
"They were just being nice."
"Too nice," Stephanie said. "But they said that they didn't want Finny to get absolutely nothing at the wedding so they got him something that was alive so we couldn't possibly donate it."
Shane laughed at his sister's complaining. For their wedding, they had asked all the guests to buy presents that would be appropriate for Finnegan, and to get nothing for Chris and Stephanie. Finnegan got to keep one toy of his choosing, and the rest was donated to charity. Stephanie and Chris had far too many belongings to possibly expect people to get them gifts, and they thought being charitable was a good idea. They weren't a couple just starting out in life; they had already established a life a long time ago.
"Mom and Dad just want Finn to have something that he can enjoy…how is he enjoying it?"
Just as he was speaking, a puppy ran into Shane's line of vision and Finnegan was only a few steps behind it. Stephanie looked behind her as she heard Finnegan laughing and jerked her thumb at them. "That's how he's enjoying it, by running around everywhere with that dog. And when you have four acres of land, well, let's just say if I had any leftover baby weight from Finny, then it's sure as hell gone now."
Shane laughed. "So what's his name?"
"Funny story, you want to know what Finny's first suggestion was?"
"Vince, he wanted to name it after his grandpa, but I told him that his grandpa probably wouldn't like it. I suggested Simba, since his favorite movie is The Lion King, but he didn't want that, so he wanted to name him Crayon, so Chris shortened it to Cray, the dog's name is Cray."
"Cray, at least that's interesting," Shane said as he walked into the house.
"Yes Mommy!" Finnegan's voice came from somewhere in the house.
"Uncle Shane is here!"
A few minutes later, Finnegan came running into the living room, Cray at his heels. He ran up to Shane, who kneeled down to receive his hug. Finnegan hugged him tightly. He hadn't seen his uncle Shane in over a week since they had just gotten back from Hawaii the previous week. Shane had missed the little kid while he had been way. Finnegan was pretty much the only kid that Shane liked, since he didn't have any of his own.
"Hey there, Finn, I like your dog."
"Mommy and Daddy said I could keep him," Finnegan said. "And he can travel with us, Mommy said, but that we have to be careful with him because he's little. He likes to eat a lot, and Daddy said that's because he's growing like me."
"Where is your daddy?"
"He's upstairs working on some music," Stephanie explained. "In case you couldn't hear, he's not recording or anything, just messing around and annoying me, like usual, I shouldn't be surprised."
"You've only been married for three weeks," Shane chuckled.
"Is that it? Feels like it's been years," Stephanie joked as Finnegan came over and hugged her leg. "What's wrong, Finny?"
"Can I watch a movie?"
"What movie?" she asked.
"Um…" he tapped his chin. "Curious George! I want to watch with Daddy."
"Well go upstairs and ask him," Stephanie said. She watched as Finnegan ran towards the stairs and started to climb them under Stephanie's watchful eye.
"So how's married life treating you, little sis?" Shane said as he went to sit down.
Stephanie picked up some random toys on the ground as she navigated her way to the couch. She dumped them into a toy box and came to sit with her brother. "Well, it's…no different than me and Chris before we were married."
"You're not wearing your rings," Shane noticed as he looked at her hand.
"No, it just feels weird, Chris hasn't really taken to wearing his either, it's just a personal choice. We didn't really need them anyways," she shrugged. "I don't know, it's different now, but it's the same, a whole lot of the same. I knew that I wanted to be with Chris since our first date. I don't know how the hell I knew, I just did. I didn't know our lives would be a comedy of errors, but, I knew."
"You know I'm happy for you."
"Of course I know," Stephanie told him. "You only tried to involve my son in your insane plots to get me back together with Chris. I mean, I know the whole date thing was your idea in the first place."
"Well, I wanted you to see what you were missing, not with the date, but with being with Chris, you know," Shane said. "And it worked because you didn't have a good time."
"Honestly, I did have a good time," she said, "but it's not the same as when I'm with Chris. I don't know, he just makes me feel really good, and now he's my husband, something he probably should've been a while ago."
"You actually had fun?" Shane asked incredulously.
"It was different," she answered. "I mean, I've been with Chris for six years, seven years is coming fast upon us, and I've been with him since I was like twenty-five years old, sometimes you do wonder what else is out there, but…now I don't wonder anymore."
"I was under the impression there would be a movie showing in here," Chris's voice piped in from the doorway, Finnegan riding piggyback. "Did we make it in time for the show?"
"Finny wants to watch Curious George," Stephanie said.
"Cool, I'm always up for a crazy little monkey and a man in a yellow hat," Chris said, dumping Finnegan on the couch. "Finn, you want popcorn?"
"Yes, please," Finnegan said politely.
"Okay," Chris said, grabbing the DVD from the shelf next to the television and sticking it in the DVD player. "I'll be right back."
"I better get started on dinner," Stephanie said, standing up as well. She followed Chris into the kitchen where he went into the pantry to get some popcorn while she started getting things from the fridge. A few minutes later, she felt Chris's arms wrap around her waist and she leaned back against his warm body. "Shouldn't you be making popcorn?"
"I am making popcorn," he said, kissing her neck.
"Stop, if you don't we're going to be eating dinner at 10 o'clock tonight," she said, trying to push him away with her butt as she tried to continue chopping things for dinner. Chris didn't let up though, only pulling himself tighter to her and she frowned. "Chris come on, my brother's in the next room. Our son is in the next room."
"So what? You're my wife, and we're newlyweds, I'm allowed to act loopy around you."
"We're newlyweds?" she asked, twisting her head to look at him.
"Technically," he told her. "In the truth of the matter, I'd say we're way, way past the newlywed stage and right into old, married couple stage."
"If we're in old, married couple stage, can I tell you something, as your wife, who loves you and married you?"
"What's that?" he asked, kissing her jaw.
"Grow your hair out," she told him.
"Please," she pouted as she begged. "I miss your long hair, I don't like this short hair and I know you resolved not to grow it out because you're getting older and it looks you know, too young for you or something, but can I let you in on a little secret…the hair was what drew me in, you were so sexy, and I wouldn't want to divorce you."
"Only for you would I grow my hair back," he said, turning her around so she was facing him. He kissed her as she dropped her knife down on the counter so she could hold onto Chris.
Shane was about to go into the kitchen when he saw his little sister making out with her husband. Now, he was really happy that his sister was happy, but he certainly didn't need to see how happy. His little sister was actually married now, it was strange, he had just gotten so used to Chris and Stephanie not being married and now they were, and it was like everything was different. His family was different, Stephanie was an Irvine, and Chris was legally part of his family, everything was changing so quickly, and sometimes he felt like he was left in the dust.
It was nothing more than a fleeting feeling really, and it never came often enough for him to really think about it. But ever since Stephanie's wedding, he couldn't help but think about how she had moved forward in her relationship, to the very pinnacle, and he was going nowhere because he had nobody. And he was satisfied with that, he was happy having his career and the success that came with that. He was definitely happy with what he had.
Shane sat down on the couch next to Finnegan who was watching intently the menu screen that was on the television, his new dog laying in the corner. Stephanie and Chris's house was a mess, but it was definitely lived in. Well, it was a mess to him at least. Finnegan looked to his Uncle Shane and gave a big sigh to get his attention, but it didn't work.
"Are you sad, Uncle Shane?" Finnegan asked.
"What? No, what made you think that?"
"I don't know, but if you want…Mommy can say the poem to you and that will make you feel better because when Mommy tells me the poem, it makes me feel better," he told him.
"The poem," Finnegan said, like Shane should know. Chris came in with the popcorn and threw a piece at Finny, whose eyes narrowed as he looked at Chris. "Daddy, don't do that!"
"What? I didn't do anything," Chris said, trying to act innocent, which only infuriated Finnegan even more. Chris sat down next to him though and even though he had been mad not a moment before, like any little kid, what was in the past, stayed there as he cuddled up to Chris's side and grabbed a handful of popcorn.
"Chris, what poem is Finn talking about?"
"Oh, I wrote him a poem, he likes it," Chris said dismissively as he grabbed the remote and turned on the movie.
"Daddy, daddy, are you watching?" Finnegan asked when he looked at Chris who, at the moment, wasn't watching the screen.
"I'm watching, I am," Chris said, turning his eyes back to the television in front of him as Finnegan kept glancing at him to make sure he was watching. Finnegan let his head fall against Chris's chest after a while though, and he quieted down as he became engrossed in the movie.
Shane watched the interaction between father and son and as much as Chris joked that Finnegan was Stephanie junior, Shane saw similarities between Chris and Finnegan. Sometimes he wondered what it was like to have kids. Finnegan was the only kid that he really interacted with, and if he had kids that turned out anything like his nephew, then he wouldn't mind having more than one of them. But still, he just didn't have the time for it.
What Shane didn't realize was that Chris and Stephanie didn't have the time for kids either. They were both super-busy and had a myriad of responsibilities. The thing that made the difference was they made the time for Finnegan. They made sure that he was the number one thing in their lives. If they didn't have him, they'd probably be on a plane to Milan or something, but no, Chris was sitting here watching Curious George and Stephanie was in the kitchen making dinner since it was her night to cook (Chris had made a great chicken cacciatore the night before). They were happy with that too, they had no problems being there for their son, it was all about priorities. Shane just didn't know what he wanted yet.
But it's often the things we don't know we want…that we need the most.