Chapter Four: Surprise! Pt. 2

"Thanks a lot you guys, I really appreciate this," Laura sat at the left end of the two tables put together and brought into the living room, taking a second to look at each of her family members, Greta, Steve, Maxine and Waldo that were sitting at the table with her. It had been a half an hour after receiving her husband's gifts and it was her favorite moment of every birthday she had ever had: talking with her family and friends.

"Aww, no problem Laura," Carl replied, sitting next to her. He smiled and patted Laura on the back, kissing her on the cheek soon after. "We'd never forget your birthday."

"That's right!" Mother Winslow added with a small laugh.

"No problem sis," Eddie said with a smile as he took another bite of his food. "Waldo, this food is the bomb! I knew you'd come through!"

"Of course, silly," Waldo naively replied. "The front door's right over there! You can't miss it!"

"Uh huh," Eddie added sarcastically, stirring his spaghetti and meatballs with his fork. Looking at Greta who was at his side, they both tried their best not to say anything bad.

"Eddo, don't even bother," Steve frowned and shook his head, rolling his eyes at what had just happened. Looking into Laura's eyes, he noticed that she was returning his look as well and they both smiled at each other.

"But I'll admit…you guys had me for a second," Laura decided to look down at her now empty plate, trying her hardest not to smirk at how silly she was acting from being so glum before realizing that her family was waiting to surprise her. "Aunt Rachel, how are Richie and 3J doing with you and Grandma in Detroit?"

"Oh, they're fine! You know how thirteen year olds are! I remember being thirteen ten years ago…"

"Plus twenty four," Harriette butted in with her usual satirical smile. Looking out the corner of her eye, she saw Rachel's face that was playfully angry in return.

"Ha, ha, HA!" Rachel laughed sarcastically, tossing a balled up napkin at her sister's direction, which ended up hitting Harriette on the shoulder.

"Mom, can I talk to you for a minute?" Laura stood up and walked over to Harriette, who had finished taking a sip of water from her glass.

"Oh, sure Laura," Harriette replied and followed Laura down the hallway to outside her bedroom door, sure that no one would be able to hear their conversation.

"Uh…Steve?" Carl looked over across the table to his son-in-law who was eating his second helping of food that Waldo had prepared before everyone was ready to indulge in the cake waiting in the kitchen.

"Yeah, Big Guy?" Steve answered as he stopped his fork from entering his mouth and put it back down on his plate.

"I know I didn't say this during you and Laura's wedding…and I wouldn't believe nine years ago that I would be saying this, but…I feel that…you are the right husband for Laura."

"Awww! Thanks Carl!" Steve smiled brightly and put his fork up to his mouth to chew some more of the food left on his plate.

"Yeah Steve," Rachel grinned and reached over to pat Steve on his forearm. "For a minute…you WERE driving us nuts, and I lost count over how many times we asked you to 'go home'. But…you and Laura are both grown up now, and through the years you stood up for Laura and defended her no matter what."

"Steve, Rachel is right," Mother Winslow added. "That's why I thought you were such a sweet boy then, and that's why I still feel that way about you now."

"I have to admit…when we first met, I didn't even want to have ANYTHING to do with Steve," Eddie admitted, tightening his arm that was around Greta's waist a little.

"Well! Tell me how you really feel, Eddo," Steve remarked, feeling a little hurt from how his best friend felt about him.

"But as the years went on, I found Steve to be a true friend after all."

"You guys…" Steve said semi-embarrassed from the sudden pour of compliments that he received from the four people he loved the most.

"Awwwwwww gee! Awwwwwwww gee!" Waldo cried out as he almost felt a few tears gather under his eyes, not noticing that all eyes were on him.

"Waldo?" Eddie asked, surprised from Waldo's sudden outburst.

"Waldo, what's wrong?" Maxine asked as she rubbed Waldo's back. Waldo sobbed for a second before he felt that he was able to answer his girlfriend.

"That was…that was…beautiful!" Waldo answered as he blew his nose with a handkerchief that he pulled out from his shirt pocket.

"So what did you want to talk about, Laura?" Harriette questioned, habitually putting her hands on her hips and cocking her head slightly to the side. The two of them had moved into Laura and Steve's bedroom while everyone else was out in the living room chatting and eating.

"Well…" Laura started and paused for a minute, unsure about how she should phrase her question. "Let's just say a little bird told me you've been a little down lately."

"What would make you say that?" Harriette asked, moving over to the bed to sit down on the edge.

"I've noticed you haven't been as happy since the wedding and after Eddie moved out for good when he joined the force," Laura started to say, but after seeing Harriette not say anything, she decided to be truthful. "Fine, Dad told me, all right?"

"That Carl…" Harriette frowned, feeling guilty for having told him her feelings in the first place. Feeling Laura's hand resting on her right thigh, she looked up to see Laura sitting next to her on the bed.

"But if he didn't, we wouldn't know and we would have just thought things were going fine with you."

"I guess you're right…" Harriette smiled, looking her daughter up and down. "It's just…you and Eddie…you two grew up so fast! And before I knew it, Eddie's moved in to his own apartment and with Greta. You and Steve are on your own and about to move into your own house…"

"That's true Mom," Laura said, looking her mother straight in the eye. "But you know that we're only a call away and we'll come by to visit you and Dad whenever we can."

"Thank you Laura," Harriette hugged her daughter, feeling her doubts and other bad thoughts beginning to go away. "I love you Laura."

"You're welcome, Mom. And I love you too."

"Well, it was nice to see everyone here again, Laura Lee," Steve closed the front door after saying goodbye to Rachel and Mother Winslow, who were the last to leave. Noticing that Laura was sitting at the dinner table, focusing in on her thoughts in her own world with her chin resting in her hand, Steve waved a hand in front of her face to get her attention.

"Sorry Steve, I was just thinking of something."

"What was that, my sweet?"

"I was thinking of how grateful I am to have our family…"

"Oh yes, yes!" Steve added, smiling as he stood behind Laura.

"…And you," Laura turned her neck to look at Steve, who was surprised to hear Laura, the love of his life, mention him in that way. "…So I was also thinking…"

"Yes?" Steve asked, very curious as to what Laura was thinking about.

"About all the wonderful things you gave for me on my birthday," Laura stood up, grabbing Steve by the hand and slowly leading him down the hallway. "…And how I can make it up to you."

"Uh huh," Steve slightly loosened his collar, feeling that he could tell what Laura was about to do.

"And I found out what I can do for the first gift of many," Laura moved in toward Steve to give him a kiss on the lips. "But in order to give you the gift, we have to be in here." Laura opened the bedroom door, smiling as she continued to lead Steve in the room by the hand.

"Houston! We have take-off!" Steve grinned as he closed the door behind him, ready to receive his gift.

The End!