This is the last chapter and I really hope it doesn't disappoint. The ending of this one took an incredibly long time because I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted it to end, but I'm finally satisfied with it, and I hope you are, too. Thank you to everyone who faithfully followed this story. I've really appreciated all of your feedback and comments. Hopefully I'll be able to start working on some more stories soon. Thanks again!
"I think I'll go take a shower," Neela said quietly as she entered the apartment building and turned on the lights. She dropped her soot covered coat on the ground, not caring what happened to it. She tiredly trudged through the apartment, her shoes leaving black footprints on the carpet as she walked. As Ray closed the door behind him, he heard her stifling a cough.
"You sure you feel okay?"
"I'm just tired," she replied. "Do you want me to help you clean up?"
Ray looked around. The remnants of their romantic evening still remained.
"I got it."
Neela nodded and headed off to the bathroom. Ray listened as she closed the door and turned the water on. He shook his head, trying to get the thought of her in the shower out of his mind. Instead, he headed to the kitchen to begin doing the dishes.
When Ray stepped out of the shower forty minutes later, he quickly dried himself off and threw on a T-shirt and sweat pants. He picked up both his and Neela's dirty clothes off the bathroom floor and threw them into a nearby laundry basket, reminding himself that he had to do laundry soon or he would run out of clothes.
Ray opened the bathroom door and walked into the living room. He looked at the clock on the wall. It was just past three.
"Neela," he began, wanting to finish the conversation that they had started earlier. He was determined to get the words out.
Ray made his way to the couch, and was about to say her name again, but then he stopped. He couldn't help but smile. Neela was lying on the couch, curled up in a tight ball, wearing his sweatshirt. She had fallen asleep. He wanted to wake her but he couldn't. She looked too peaceful and amazingly beautiful. Instead, Ray took the blanket off the back of the couch and draped it over her. He leaned over and kissed her gently on the cheek. He flicked the lights off and then turned to head towards his bedroom.
"We never finished our dance," Neela whispered.
Again, Ray smiled and he turned back towards the couch. She sat up, the sweatshirt draping over her small frame. She looked tired but her eyes still sparkled. He held out his hand to her.
"May I have this dance?" He asked.
"There's no music."
"We don't need it."
She took his hand and he helped her to her feet. He led her to the middle of the room and pulled her close to him. They wrapped their arms around each other and began to sway to the rhythm of their hearts beating.
"Ray," she said at the same time.
They both laughed and looked deep into each other's eyes. Neither of them said anything, for fear of interrupting each other. Finally, Ray couldn't take it anymore.
"I love you," he said.
Tears sprang to her eyes. "I love you, too."
He bent his head down towards hers and their lips connected. The kiss was soft at first but, as the seconds passed, it grew in intensity. Neela felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her. Her legs gave way to the pleasure of the kiss and she fully leaned on Ray to keep from falling down. Ray held her tightly, never wanting to let her go. He suddenly knew that he would never have the same feelings for anyone again the way he felt about Neela during that first kiss.
Eventually, their kiss broke off. They stood together, their foreheads pressed against each other and their eyes closed.
"We should get some sleep," Ray suggested.
Neela smiled, her eyes sparkling. "I had something else in mind."
Their lips met again, this time with more passion and fervor. Ray scooped her up in his arms, never breaking their kiss. He carried her to his bedroom and laid her gently on his bed.
As the sun made its first appearance over the buildings that surrounded them, neither Neela nor Ray noticed. They were both staring into each other's eyes, oblivious as to what was going on around them. Ray stroked her hair and pulled her closer.
They were both tangled in the sheet and tangled in each other. Rays arms were wrapped around her small body, and she was curled up against his body with both her hands against his chest. Neela shivered slightly, and Ray pulled the blanket that had been kicked to the end of the bed over them both. Neither of them had slept and, although they were tired, neither of them had felt more awake before.
"This feels so right," she whispered, placing her head on his chest.
He kissed the top of her head. "I love you," he said against her hair.
She smiled, knowing that she would never be tired of hearing those three words from him.
"How did it take us so long to get here?"
"All that matters is that we got here," he replied.
"I should have told you," she began. "I should have told you that I heard you say you loved me when I was unconscious. I should have told you then that I loved you, too."
"And I should have told you I loved you from the minute I met you."
"Everyone else could see it but us. Abby, Kovac…even Marx." Neela sat up slightly, resting on her elbows. "Would this have even happened if it wasn't for Marx? Would we be here now? Would we even be considering this?"
Ray rubbed her cheek with his hand and smiled. Neela could always overanalyze any situation and yet, that was one of the many reasons he loved her.
"You're so beautiful."
She smiled and rested her head against his chest once more.
"You can't just sweet talk me any time you want to change the conversation," she said jokingly.
"Oh, and why's that?"
"Because eventually it won't work."
"But it's working now," he said, placing small kisses up and down her arm.
She let him seduce her. His touch electrified her. His smell made her dizzy. And his lips against her own was the most amazing feeling she'd ever known.
"We do have to get up eventually, you know," she informed him.
"Why?" He moaned, beginning to kiss her other arm.
"Because my shift starts in less than two hours," she answered, laughing as his beard tickled her.
"We still have two hours," he pointed out, kissing up her shoulder and neck.
"Less than two hours," she corrected.
"I think we can be a little late today, don't you?"
"You're a bad influence."
He found her mouth and kissed her deeply.
"But I'm your bad influence," he said, throwing the blanket over both of their heads.
Just short of two hours later, the train doors opened and Neela and Ray stepped outside. They walked down the stairs and down the street towards the hospital. They walked through the ambulance bay and through the automatic doors.
"We've got a trauma ten minutes out," Pratt yelled, briskly walking by them.
Abby looked up at them from behind the desk.
"Well, I'd say you two had a good night after that accident," she said, smiling.
Neela nodded. "It was a very good night," she commented.
"Very good," Ray repeated, smirking.
Neela playfully hit him on the arm and they walked together towards the lounge, holding hands. Abby leaned against the counter, folded her arms, and smiled. She watched as they disappeared into the lounge.
"Why are you smiling?" Kovac asked as he walked up behind her.
"Our two resident love birds finally fell in love," Abby replied.
"Ray and Neela? Finally?"
"Well, it was about time," Kova stated.
"It certainly was," Abby agreed, smiling.
Inside the lounge, Neela took off the sweatshirt that she had stolen from Ray the night before. She brought it to her nose and sniffed it. His smell still lingered, reminding her of the incredible night they had spent together and the nights that were yet to come.
She put the sweatshirt in her locker.
"I'm going to want that back," he commented, staring at her with admiration.
"Well, that's too bad," Neela replied, grinning.
She closed her locker and leaned her back against it. Ray approached her and placed his arms against the locker on both sides of her, trapping her. He leaned in and began kissing her neck.
"I told you, you can't seduce me whenever you want something," she stated as her knees became weak from his touch.
"And yet, it's working again," he replied between kisses.
"You're still not getting it back," she whispered.
"Tell you what…" He stopped kissing her. "I'll let you keep it if you promise to be mine forever."
"A sweatshirt isn't much of a prize if I have to be yours forever."
"Then how about this?"
He brought his lips to hers and kissed her more deeply than he had ever kissed anyone before. They both felt the electricity that flowed between them.
"I guess that'll have to do," she said softly, with eyes still closed, when their kiss ended.
"I love you," he said. He kissed her again, but this time more softly.
"I love you, too," she replied quietly. "But we should probably get to work."
Ray nodded and took a step backward. She opened her locker once more and took out her lab coat. He helped her into it and they walked out together, smiling.