Meredith set her tray down beside Derek's, joining her boyfriend, Izzy and Cristina at the cafeteria table. She had been in surgery since early that morning, and it was only now, well into the afternoon, that she was able to spare a few moments for some much needed refuelling. It no longer surprised her to catch Derek and her friends eating at the same table, but it still made her heart jump every time. She really didn't want to keep the two most important parts of her life separate, but it was evident she wasn't going to have to. Even Cristina was warming up to him again, regardless of the fact she had lectured him for 'destroying her person' after she had come back 'soft' from their Thanksgiving weekend trip a few weeks prior.
"Hey," Derek greeted warmly, leaning in for a quick kiss.
"Hey," she responded when she pulled away, extending her greeting to the rest of the table.
"I shouldn't be talking to you," Cristina stated.
"Cause you were in surgery all morning, while I was stuck in the pit stitching up psychotic middle aged men who seriously need a new hobby in life. Seriously, you think you'd be embarrassed to be in public looking like that."
"Come on, they were in costume. I think it was cute," Izzy countered.
"Yeah, you would."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Stop!" Meredith commanded, effectively cutting into the argument. "Can you fill me in before you continue this?"
Cristina rolled her eyes and motioned for Izzy to explain.
"A group of skaters who put on a children's Christmas play every year got into a bit of a fight during practice," Izzy said with a shrug. "And apparently a group pile up isn't such a good idea when you're wearing skates... Lots of wounds, lots of blood and lots of stitches."
"And they all showed up in creepy elf costumes," Cristina added.
"They weren't creepy," Izzy countered.
Meredith laughed as they began arguing again. Ever since Izzy had taken such a firm interest in Cardio, the two squared off about all sorts of topics. But they didn't seem to actually hate each other, just determined to beat the other at something, regardless of the subject matter. "Yeah, they're gone again," she said lightly, turning to Derek. "You do anything interesting today?" Christmas was less than two weeks away, so there had already been a multitude of unusual holiday related maladies and patients.
Derek smirked. "Well, I scrubbed in with a sexy resident on a tumour resection this morning..."
Meredith laughed and playfully bumped his shoulder. "Really?"
He nodded, successfully keeping a straight face. "She kept making eyes at me across the table."
"I did not!" She scoffed.
Derek's expression broke. "Okay, maybe I was the one making eyes," he admitted. "But I can't help it if I find my favourite resident irresistible."
She felt a familiar fluttering in her chest at his words and leaned into his shoulder, smiling when his arm found her waist. His head came to rest over hers and she sighed happily as she let his sturdy frame keep her upright for several moments. It had been a long couple weeks, filled to the brim with double shifts, and instead of relaxing in her spare time, Meredith found herself being dragged Christmas shopping. She had relented to accompanying Derek to shop for his mother and his sisters and brothers-in-law. And he had guilted her into joining him on several toy store runs.
If you're going to be Aunt Meredith, you have to pull your own weight.
But really, she was happy to go with him. He seemed so free and happy lately, and there was nothing she wanted more than to spend time with him, regardless of the task or environment. She sighed happily.
"Tired?" He asked gently, lifting his head off of hers.
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to this weekend." After barely any time off for several weeks, and very little in the coming weeks, they were both scheduled off work for Saturday and Sunday. Their bags were already packed and loaded into the trunk of Derek's car, and they planned to drive out to the trailer that evening after work and spend the weekend doing nothing but resting and spending time together. And she was looking forward to it. Not only had they very little time to spend together lately, but they hadn't been out to the trailer in over a month, and she missed the intimate solitude.
"Me too," he responded, but his tone portrayed more than just agreement and anticipation of a relaxing weekend. There was something else...
She lifted her head off his shoulder and met his eyes. They were sparkling, and his lips were curled up in the corners. "What are you up to?"
"What do you mean?" He asked in mock surprise and innocence, his smile widening.
Meredith narrowed her eyes. He was playing with her, baiting her. And he was enjoying it. "You know exactly what I mean. What are you planning?"
He raised an eyebrow. "I may have a surprise for you."
He scoffed. "If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise."
"What if I don't like surprises?"
"You'll like this one."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because, I know you. And trust me, you'll like this."
"Meredith..." He countered with fake exasperation, causing her to giggle.
"Seriously, you can't just tell me there's a surprise and not tell me what it is."
"Really? Because I think I just did."
She scoffed. "Come on, at least give me a hint?" She cocked her head to the side and stuck her bottom lip out just a bit.
He narrowed his eyes and pretended to contemplate her request. "I'm not sure. I think I need to be convinced if I'm going to give you a hint..."
"What kind of hint?" She asked quietly, her tone showing she knew exactly what type of hint he meant, as she leaned in closer to him.
"Surprise me," he breathed.
She pressed her lips up against his, engaging him in a deep kiss for several moments before pulling away. "So?"
He opened his mouth, only to be cut of by his pager. His fingers expertly found the device on his waistband and tilted it up so he could read it. "My OR's free. I have to go." He stood to leave, but she snaked her hand out to grab his sleeve and pulled him back down to her level.
"I get my hint first," she demanded.
He laughed. "You'll like it."
"That doesn't count," she complained as he dislodged the fabric of his lab coat from her fingers. "You already said that."
"You never stipulated I couldn't reuse it."
"Well, it's stupid anyway. It's too subjective, not a real hint."
Derek laughed. "Well, it's all you're going to get for now." He kissed the top of her head and strode away through the throngs of tables, hospital staff and patient's family members.
Meredith huffed and turned her attention back to her friends.
"You two are seriously nauseating; you do know that, right?" Her best friend stated.
"That's not true," Izzy countered. "I think it's sweet. What do you think the surprise is?"
Meredith shook her head. "I have no idea, though he has been acting odd the last couple weeks, ever since we got back from New York. He's definitely been planning something." Her mind spun in reverse as she narrowed in on examples of his odd behaviour as of late. There were at least two instances where he let his phone go to voicemail in her presence, he'd shut his laptop and refused to let her see what had been on the screen one day, and he'd been out 'Christmas shopping' for hours once, and had returned without anything to show for it, other than an excited smile.
Izzy's smile lit up and her body tensed, and Meredith knew exactly what she was thinking.
"And it's obviously something to do with his land," she said quickly, preventing Izzy from voicing her thoughts. It was all Meredith needed for any of the nurses to hear and the rumour would circle the hospital before the day was over. "I suggested heading out to the trailer two weeks ago when we had a day off together, but he came up with a hundred excuses not to." She shrugged. "And really dumb excuses. You'd think a brain surgeon would be better at lying."
Cristina snorted. "Maybe he bought you your very own fishing pole."
Meredith laughed as Izzy rolled her eyes. "Maybe," she humoured her best friend's sarcasm. "But do you fish this late in the year?"
"I don't fish ever."
"Ah, right, of course."
"Maybe he built you a house?" Izzy said excitedly, ignoring Cristina's contribution to the conversation.
Meredith rolled her eyes. "First of all, I was out there in September, and no house. I sincerely doubt you can build one that fast. Second, we just started talking about building a house. He wouldn't do it without me..." She trailed off at the realization that she hadn't mentioned that particular tidbit of information to her friends yet.
Izzy looked ready to explode, and even Cristina looked surprised.
"You're going to build a house? Seriously?! Meredith, that's awesome. What kind of house? How big? When?"
Meredith exchanged a look with Cristina. "I don't really know how to classify 'kinds' of houses, but a nice one; fair size, but not huge, with a view. And we're meeting contractors in the New Year."
"This is so exciting! How soon will you be able to move in?"
"Uh, they said that if we get the plans drawn pretty quickly and everything goes well that it could be finished by this time next year."
"A whole year? That sucks."
Meredith shrugged. "Well, the point was to get started now, so that when we're ready, it's there."
"Your point or his point?" Cristina asked. As much as she was accepting Derek's position in Meredith's life, she was still uncertain of his intentions at times. Although, Meredith was pretty sure that had more to do with her own experiences, rather than anything specific to Derek.
"Our point," Meredith clarified. "It was actually my idea."
"Ah, I'm so proud of you," Izzy gushed. "Look how much you've grown. A year ago you were avoidant, dark and twisty. And now you're actually implementing steps. Seriously, Meredith, the fact that you can do this gives us all hope."
"Thanks for that."
Izzy laughed. "But seriously, you brought up building a house?"
Meredith nodded. "Yeah, I mean we'd talked about doing it one day, but I was the one to start the ball rolling on the whole building it now thing."
Izzy smiled. "And you asked him to move in with you, right?"
Meredith nodded. "Yeah...so?"
"It means McDreamy is a pansy," Cristina cut in with a smirk. "Too afraid to make any moves on his own."
Meredith laughed. "No, it means McDreamy is dreamy, and waits for his avoidant, dark and twisty girlfriend to be ready for the next step." She put extra emphasis on the description Izzy had given her.
Izzy rolled her eyes as Meredith's tone. "I so didn't mean it that way."
"Yes, because that can be taken so many ways."
"Whatever," she waved her hand. "Back to my original point. You've instigated a few big steps lately."
Meredith shrugged. "This isn't really a step...more of a sub-step. Moving in together was the big step, building a house is like...an upgrade."
"Are there going to be any more big steps soon?"
Even Cristina seemed interested in Meredith's answer.
Meredith rolled her eyes. "Other than building a house?"
Izzy scoffed. "Yes."
Meredith shrugged. "I instigated the house building. The next step is up to Derek."
"Have you talked about it?"
"What is this? Twenty questions?"
Izzy sighed. "Come on, we're your friends. We want info."
"We're building a house, that's all the info I have at the moment. But I'll make sure you're the first to know," Meredith added with a sarcastic smirk.
Meredith jolted awake as she was shaken gently. But when she opened her eyes, she didn't see anything. Her hands flew up and locked around the barrier between her eyes and her surroundings.
"Close your eyes," Derek's familiar voice commanded.
"What?" Meredith managed to ask, as she realized her fingers were wrapped around his right wrist and hand. But why he was intentionally blocking her view was beyond her. "Where are we?" She was sitting upright, with Derek to her right. A breeze was coming from his direction and she shivered involuntarily.
He leaned in close and she could feel his warm breath by her ear before he kissed the side of her head. "You fell asleep on the drive here. Now close your eyes so I can remove my hand." He had obviously taken a chance that she would stay asleep while he exited the car and made his way around to her door, where he now crouched.
"Derek..." She protested. She had been on her feet all day, and barely remembered getting in the car after she found him waiting for her in the lobby after her shift.
"Are they closed?"
She sighed and squeezed her eyes shut. "Yes."
His hand didn't move. "Do you promise to keep them shut until I say to open them?"
She laughed. "Yes." If he wanted to truly surprise her with whatever he had planned, he was going to do it. She may as well play along.
He kissed the side of her head again. "Good." His hand left her face and reached across her lap to unlatch her seatbelt, before gently guiding her out of the car to her feet.
"Derek..." she said unsurely as he pulled her forward and she staggered, unsure of her footing.
His arms wrapped around her waist from behind and his chin appeared on her shoulder. "Trust me," he whispered as he slowly pushed her forward.
After a few unsure steps, Meredith began trusting his guidance and began stepping more surely. "How far do we have to walk like this?"
"Not much further." And true to his word, he pulled her to a stop a few steps later. His arms seemed to reach further around her middle as his chest pushed up snugly with her back. "Okay, open your eyes."
Meredith slowly opened her lids, blinking twice to focus in the dim light of the setting sun. But there was no mistaking the object he had taken so much care to hide from her knowledge over the past weeks. Her hand flew unbidden to her lips and she choked back a laugh. "Seriously?" She finally verbalized. "You..." she trailed off as her body shuddered. "You seriously bought..." She laughed freely as the tears streamed down her cheeks. "Wow, Derek, wait until I tell your sisters. You're going to take so much heat for this."
He nodded, his chin still resting on her shoulder. "Like I told you before, I'm okay with it."
She turned in his grasp, her hands hooking around the back of his neck. His eyes were sparkling and she couldn't help but smile back. "Why?"
He smiled down at her. "Because I promised you that you'd never have to share a bed with me that I've shared with anyone else. And I'm keeping my promises now."
"Derek..." She was overcome when the emotions she was feeling shifted suddenly at his honest words.
"Hey," he said gently, leaning down to press his lips against hers.
"I didn't think you were serious," Meredith said. "I thought you were joking when you said you were going to get another trailer."
He shrugged. "Maybe I was, but I thought about it, and it seemed like a good idea. This way we can have our untainted memories again."
Meredith closed her eyes as she leaned her forehead into his chin and breathed in his comforting scent. "Thank-you, Derek," she whispered when she lifted her head away from his support. "You don't know what this means."
He smiled reassuringly. "I think I do."
"I love you."
"I love you, too."
Meredith sniffed, and smiled when he reached his hand to catch the single tear falling from her eyes. "Well, are you going to show me the inside?"
He kissed her one last time and disentangled their limbs before stepping several feet towards the trailer and turning to hold out a hand to her, much like she had done for him so long ago.
Meredith laughed and took his hand, allowing herself to be led towards the new trailer sitting in the spot of the old one, lined up with the same deck. The trailer itself seemed about the same size as the old one, but a little darker, and less shiny. And she couldn't help but smile at the bow he had taped to the wall by the door. He opened the door and motioned for her to step in first.
To the right of the door, was a seating area, much like the old trailer, but this one seemed wider, with an extra section of couch. And the kitchen table was larger and hosted chairs instead of permanent benches. And the kitchen set up seemed much the same, though she had never paid too much attention, so there may be differences her un-practiced eye didn't pick up. Derek guided her through the kitchen and in between the shower and the bathroom.
At first glance the bedroom seemed smaller, but at second glance she realized the bed was larger. New, crisp, blue linens covered the queen size bed, and a manila envelope sat by the pillow on her side. She glanced at Derek, who only smiled and motioned for her to open it.
Meredith smiled back and dropped his hand to crawl across the bed. She picked up the envelope and turned to face him, sitting cross-legged, motioning for him to join her. He sprawled himself out in front of her, his legs bent and his elbow resting on the soft mattress to support his head.
"What's this?" She asked as she pulled the papers out of the envelope.
Her eyes narrowed as she skimmed the legal document. "I don't under... What is this?"
He met her eyes and smiled. "The deed to the land. I had it redrafted; figured it was important if we were building a house together."
Meredith swallowed as the text next to LAND OWNER(S) now made sense. Derek Shepherd and Meredith Grey. "Derek...you..." Tears sprung to her eyes. "I can't believe you..." She couldn't even finish her sentence. Her hand flew to her mouth as the tears overflowed her eyes and the sobs shuddered through her body.
Derek was upright in a flash, his arms finding her body and pulling her to him. "Hey, don't cry..."
Meredith sniffed and shuddered and tried to control her sobs in order to speak, but the onslaught of emotion was too much. She grasped the collar of his sweater with one hand, and the other arm wrapped securely around her neck and she let him hold her until her crying had diminished. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry," she repeated several times.
"No, it's not, cause you go and do this wonderful thing and I can't even thank you before I'm sobbing like some hysterical person who...sobs."
He smiled and tenderly wiped his thumbs under her eyes, catching the stray tears.
"Derek, thank you, but you don't have to...it's your land, I don't need..."
He shook his head. "It's not my land. It's our land. To tell you the truth, Meredith, in my mind, it's been our land since the first time I brought you out here. I just wanted to make it official."
He smiled. "Our land," he said with a smile. "With our trailer, and soon, our house."
"Our house," Meredith couldn't help but repeat quietly. "I like the sound of that."
Derek smiled broadly. "Me too."
She sighed and looked down at the papers beside her. "Are you sure about this?"
He smiled that perfect McDreamy smile and nodded. "Meredith, I've never been surer of anything else in my entire life." There was no wavering in his gaze, and she knew he wasn't talking about just the land anymore.
She smiled back at him and nodded. "Me neither."
He kissed her. And she let him guide her back onto the mattress, pulling him down on top of her.
"I love you," she whispered when his lips left hers to travel down her neck.
"I love you more," he stated between kisses.
"'s not true," she countered as he pulled her top off, and his lips found new territory.
"It is true," he replied as he stopped his motions to reach under her to unclasp her bra. His hands travel back up her sides and over her breasts as he disposed of the bra in one easy, practiced move.
Meredith held her hands up to his chest to prevent him from continuing his exploration of her body momentarily. "You're wearing too many clothes," she mumbled as she pulled at the hem of his shirt and he helped her by shedding the garment. "That's better," she whispered as he returned to her, and the electricity of skin against skin increased ten fold. She reached for the zipper on his pants, and before she knew it, they were both naked.
"I still love you more," Derek whispered as he returned his lips to hers.
"Nuh-uh," she uttered when his lips left hers for air.
"It's true," he told her, a certain gleam in his eyes as his hand roamed down her body.
"Not, it's not..." she said weakly. Legible words were becoming more and more difficult to string together.
"Yes, it is. I love you more," he responded, right as his fingers found her most sensitive spot.
Meredith gasped and arched under him. "That's...not...fair... Cheating..."
He leaned over her as she stared up with hooded eyes. "Rules were meant to be broken."
Wrapped in a sheet, Meredith found herself sitting comfortably at the new table, smiling across her dinner at Derek, seated across from her in only his boxers. After christening the new bed, Derek had pulled on his boxers and jacket to bring their bags in from the car. And then he had made dinner. And she couldn't help but smile at him when he was being so perfect and dreamy.
"Where did all the food come from?"
He looked up from his soup and smiled. "I may have told you I was Christmas shopping yesterday when I came out here to stock the kitchen and drop of the deed."
She shook her head. "So, you lied to me?" She smirked and raised an eyebrow.
He nodded. "It's allowed in these situations."
She clucked her tongue.
"Or, call this an early Christmas present and I didn't lie at all."
Meredith laughed. "Always thinking on your feet, aren't you?"
He nodded emphatically. "With you, I have to. You keep me on my toes."
"In a good way?"
Meredith sighed happily, revelling in what her life had become. An Amazing man, who was always doing wonderful things for her. Good friends. A career she was actually confident in. A home. The beginnings of a family. And, as she smiled at the man across from her, a future.
"What are you thinking about?" He asked gently.
She smiled warmly at him and shrugged. "Everything. All the things I have, that I didn't a year ago. Everything I have to look forward to. You."
He reached across the table for her hand. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." She squeezed his hand.
"More than I ever thought possible," she responded honestly, and she could swear his eyes misted at her words, and his smile took on a new dimension. "I just never thought I'd be capable of doing this. But you've been here the whole time, and you've been supportive and taught me how to do the relationship thing. And I was right; you are the one who is teaching me how to handle the steps past just dating."
He smirked. "You do like pointing out when you're right."
She rolled her eyes. "You just don't like being wrong. And there's nothing wrong with me pointing out when I'm right."
Derek laughed. "Well, I for one am glad you were right about that one particular point. I definitely benefited from it."
"Really? You don't think I was too much of a hassle to guide to this point?" She spoke lightly, but there was a hint of vulnerability in her tone.
"You could never be a hassle, Meredith. And really, you've done most everything on your own; I was just there to calm you down when you got overwhelmed." He squeezed her hand.
Meredith broke a smile. "Yeah, well, that happened a lot."
"Only at first. You settled in, and as you learned to trust me again, you carried on naturally."
"You think so?"
"I know so."
Meredith sighed and tilted her head as she smiled at him, revelling in the feeling of being sure. This man was her future. He loved her, and he was doing everything he could to make up for her past and give her everything she never thought she'd be capable of having. The new trailer and the land were proof of that. Even though he had technically promised her never to have to share a bed with him he had shared with anyone else, except for at his mother's, she had never stopped to realize that included the trailer. But sitting here, now, in a brand new trailer, with no negative memories, only the promise of new memories together, she realized just how much it meant to her to have this spot back in his life. She was, once again, the only person he had ever shared it with. The only memories were theirs. And that realization took a weight off her shoulder that she hadn't even known had been there.
"What are you thinking about?" His gentle prodding voice broke through her thoughts.
She beamed. "I like it here," she said lightly. "I never realized how much I missed it. It feels exciting again, like when we used to come out here, before."
He smiled. "Good."
"Thank-you, Derek, for realizing it was important. I didn't even know."
"That's what I'm here for."
"Meredith..." Derek's soft voice invaded her dream world. "Meredith, wake up..."
"Nnn," she mumbled into the pillow as she buried her face. She had ignored the fact that it was morning when he had pulled his limbs away from her body some amount of time ago. At the time, he hadn't requested that she get up with him, so she had cocooned herself with the covers to conserve the warmth that had previously been supplied by his body and went back to sleep.
Her mumbled protests were met with his gentle laughter and his hand slid under the covers to rub along her bare spine. She sighed at the contact. "Come back to bed," she muttered.
"Can't. We need to get up."
"No," she said as she finally rolled to face him. She furrowed her brow at his attire. Instead of being dressed for lounging, he was dressed for outdoors. "Why are you wearing that?"
"Cause I want to take you somewhere."
"Oh, god," she muttered, suddenly apprehensive that Cristina's sarcastic guess the previous day would come true. "We're not going fishing, are we?"
Derek snorted. "Definitely not."
"Good," she replied and hooked her fingers on the neck of his sweated and pulled him down to her. "Now, come back to bed."
He kissed her lips several times before planting a final kiss on her forehead and sitting up again. "As much as I'd love to join you back in bed, it's after eleven."
"So? Someone kept me up most of the night..."
He smirked. "I don't seem to remember any complaining at the time."
"Derek..." she whined, trying to pull him back down again, but he resisted.
"I made coffee..."
She sniffed the air. "Coffee?"
"Mhh-hmm," he nodded. "And I may have one of those chocolate croissants that you like..."
Meredith sighed and stretched her stiff limbs. "Fine. You got me with the chocolate croissant." She sat up and swung her legs out of bed, pulling the sheet with her for warm as she searched her bag for a warm outfit. "Where are we going, again?" She tried again as she pulled on her jeans and a long sleeved tee and sweater.
He smirked. "It's a surprise."
She couldn't help but laugh. "You and your surprises this weekend..."
Stomach full and decked out in her warm winter coat and new lavender coloured hat, mitts and scarf that she had purchased on Black Friday, Meredith trudged along the uphill path, her hand securely in Derek's as he led the way, smiling over at her every few steps. All attempts to ascertain a destination were shot down, but he wasn't making her close her eyes this time, so she wasn't going to push too hard. Regardless, it was a nice day for a walk. It was unusually sunny, bringing some warmth to the cool December afternoon.
"We're almost there," he said excitedly and steered her across the path to cut through a line of trees. Confident that he would lead her to something worthwhile, she followed him silently, smiling at his exuberance. In the near year and a half that she had known him, she had never seen him so excited.
Stepping out into the clearing behind Derek, she gasped at the breath-taking view of the city and the harbour. "Wow," she whispered in admiration as she moved further away from the trees and into the light. "Derek, this is...wow. Totally worth the hike. I had no idea you could see so far from here."
Strong arms wrapped around her torso from behind. "This is the place that made me fall in love with the land when I first moved out here. This is what made me buy it. And I've never brought anyone here before."
Meredith covered his hands with hers and leaned back into his warmth. "It's gorgeous."
"Yeah." He breathed, his chest expanding into her back, and she could feel his heart beating fast. "I was thinking that we could build the house here. Can you imagine waking up to this view every morning?" He held his breath.
Meredith breathed and shut her eyes for several seconds. The view was still spectacular when she re-opened them. "Wow," she repeated. "I...absolutely, this is where we should put the house. No question about it."
"Can't you just see it?" He asked excitedly as he released her and turned to motion towards the clearing around them. "Our dream house, with our porch and our windows and our master bedroom. Can't you just see it?"
Her eyes watered as she nodded. "I can." She stepped forward and took his hand.
He squeezed her hand tightly and leaned in to kiss her for several seconds. "Meredith, I've never been nearly as happy as I am with you. I love you more than anything else in this world. And there isn't a doubt in my mind that I want to spend the rest of my life with you, making you as happy as you make me."
"Derek, you do make me happy. So freaking happy, I can't always process it."
"Good, and I plan to keep you that happy forever. Here. This is it, Mer, this is where we're going to live, where we're going to spend the rest of our lives. Together." His eyes were shining.
A few tears spilled onto her cheeks at the sheer intensity of his words. "I love you so much, Derek."
"I love you too, more than I can ever express." He kissed her again. "Do you feel it?" He whispered when he pulled away, his face close to hers.
Meredith didn't have to ask what it was. She could feel the electricity in every cell of her body. "I do." She sniffed as Derek's bare thumbs dried the moisture under her eyes. "I really do. Derek, I can't wait to wake up every morning to this, and go to sleep every night. Here. With you."
"Good." He leaned his forehead against hers for several seconds. Meredith closed her eyes and shuddered, the emotion enough to make her shake. "Good," he repeated and kissed her again, quickly, like a habit.
"Yeah," she responded breathlessly.
His eyes landed over her shoulder to the view behind her and he sighed.
Meredith couldn't help but release him and spin around for another long look. But when he didn't join her and she turned back around, his eyes weren't where she expected. Instead of looking up to meet his loving gaze, she found herself looking down. And her hand flew to her mouth as she processed what was in front of her. Derek. On one knee. A small, ominous box in hand.
"Derek..." she mumbled, but any further words were lost when he reached for her free left hand, and gently pulled off her mitt.
"Meredith, when I come up here, and I look into my future, I can see myself here. I can see the house and the life. But most of all, I can see you. Every time. Every variation. It's always you. And coming up here with you, all I can see is our future. And all I want is to spend the rest of my life with you." He paused, and there was a quiet creaking sound as the box was opened. Other than a vague sparkle from the sunlight, Meredith couldn't see anything through her tears. "Meredith," he said softly. "Will you marry me?"
Her body shook and she fell to her knees with a simple, "Yes."
Derek may have tried to put the ring on her finger, but she forwent the formality and wrapped both arms tightly around his neck, shuddering into his shoulder, needing to be close to him. "I love you," she whispered, unable to control her words. "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you."
There was barely a pause before both of his arms were wrapped securely around her, holding her in the warmest hug she had ever had. "I love you, Meredith," he whispered into her hair when she was finished.
When she finally gathered the strength to pull away, she saw that he had been crying as well, and raised a hand to cup his cheek, her thumb running under his eyes for the tears. "Derek," she said, her voice hoarse with overwhelming emotion. "I didn't... I had no idea..."
He smiled and captured her hand in his. "That was kind of the point. Now," he smiled at her. "First thing's first." He pulled the ring out from the box and Meredith held her breath as he met her eyes and slid the beautifully simple platinum ring onto her left ring finger. It fit perfectly, and she had never had something so new feel so comfortable before. So perfect. So natural.
"Wow," she whispered as she closed and opened her fist, testing the feel. Still felt perfect. "Wow," she repeated.
"Wow is right," Derek whispered and pulled her into a long, deep kiss, full of the passion and emotion and love they both were feeling.
She was breathless when they finally pulled away. "Wow," she said again. "Engaged kisses are so much better."
He laughed and stood, pulling her up with him. "Let's get you off the cold ground."
"Trust me, Derek, I'm not feeling the cold."
He smiled brightly at her and ducked to pick up her free mitt. "Still, let's make sure you don't." He reached for her left hand, his fingers purposely grazing the ring, and slid the mitt back on. He brushed a lock of hair out of her face, and she leaned into his contact.
"I can't believe this is happening," she admitted quietly.
He smiled warmly at her. "I know the feeling." She shook slightly from the left over emotion. "Are you cold? Do you want to go back?" He asked in concern.
She shook her head. "Let's not go back yet. I want a few more minutes up here." She turned to face the view once again, looking forward to a time when she would wake up to it every morning in Derek's arms. As if on cue, her pulled her back to his chest once again and held her tight, sighing as his chin found the crook of her neck. This was definitely a moment she never wanted to forget.
Meredith felt a swell of emotion towards the man she loved so much more than she ever thought possible. "I'm happy, Derek. You make me happy."
"That's what I'm here for."