Anniversary (The Last Zoe Carter Story)
By Andie O'Neill
Rating: K+/ PG
Pairing: Nathan/Jack, Lucas/Zoe, (slight) Fargo/Lexi
Spoilers: Season Three
Summary: It's hard to believe it's been one year and my parents have yet to kill each other.
A/N: This is the final sequel to "Family (A Zoe Carter Story)," "Parents (Another Zoe Carter Story)," and "Trouble (Yet Another Zoe Carter Story)," so before you read you might wanna check the others out. I thought this was a good way to end the series, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it! :D Thanks to everyone that read and reviewed. I really appreciate it!
Disclaimer: I may own it in another universe… but not this one. It belongs to somebody else.
"It's hard to believe it's been one year and my parents have yet to kill each other," Zoe Carter said as she finished taping up the streamers, while balancing on the ladder Henry had let her borrow. Her boyfriend, Lucas, stood holding the ladder steady, laughing at her remark.
"I'm just glad they've resisted killing me…" Lucas muttered.
Zoe grinned. She knew Lucas still felt a bit nervous around her parents. Although both men had promised to behave, she knew as long as they held the positions they did that Lucas would forever fear their disapproval. Nathan was one of the most powerful men in Eureka… and her father owned a gun. Zoe was pretty sure if Lucas were ever to be anything more than a gentleman he'd be dead before she could say a word… and Nathan would have already called some friends to hide the body. God… she was going to be a virgin for the rest of her life…. Zoe finished up the decorations and stepped down the ladder, giving Lucas a quick kiss. "Come on, chia pet, they like you. Nathan doesn't even glare at you anymore."
Lucas rolled his eyes. "Thanks… now I feel so much better," he muttered sarcastically.
Zoe folded her arms. "Hey, it's not them you have to worry about! As long as their only daughter is happy, their happy… it's what's keeping you alive."
Lucas smiled at that, taking a step toward her. "Oh really now… and exactly how am I doing?" he asked, wrapping his arms around her waste.
Zoe grinned, wrapping her own arms around his neck as she kissed him. "Perfect… you have nothing to worry about. I'm sure you'll live to a ripe old age," she assured him, with another quick kiss. "Now, back to work! We have an anniversary party to decorate for!"
Lucas smiled, letting her go as she walked over to Pilar to see how she was doing with painting the banner.
"You know… you really need to find yourself a boyfriend," Zoe muttered, rolling her eyes as Pilar sighed, staring at photo of Nathan Stark. He was standing in the sand, wearing his swim shorts and nothing else.
"Think he has a brother we don't know about… a twin brother perhaps?" Pilar asked, not even bothering to hide the fact that she was ogling Zoe's step-father.
Zoe wrinkled her nose in disgust, snatching the photo from her best friend's hands. "Get help!" They'd been going through a box of photos, trying to find good ones of her father and Nathan for the party. Henry had rigged up a projector to show each picture as a slide show… an idea her wonderful, romantic boyfriend had thought up.
Pilar was about to speak when the two girls heard a giggle from the other side of the room and turned around to see Zoe's aunt speaking with Fargo instead of hanging up more streamers for decoration. Zoe shook her head. "Your aunt is a very strange woman," Pilar noted, picking up another photo from the box.
Zoe couldn't help but agree. Of all the men her aunt Lexi could have chosen, flirting with Fargo just seemed wrong on so many levels. "I'm hoping it's just a phase."
"What if it's not… what if they get married… you'd have to call him Uncle Fargo," Pilar teased, laughing at the very idea.
Zoe resisted the urge of throttling her best friend, instead focusing on the task at hand. "I'm not even going to dignify that with a response…."
They had five hours… five more hours to get ready for the party. Allison and Henry were busy distracting her father and Nathan while Zoe, Pilar, Lucas, Lexi, and Fargo finished setting up. Vincent was working hard decorating the cake, and Jo was with Zane picking up the flowers and picking up Spencer so he could set up to DJ. Everything was going as planned… and in Eureka that was bad sign. Anytime things were quiet and going well, that's when Eureka decided to have it's next catastrophe… which would obviously ruin Zoe's party and her parent's anniversary. Lucas was doing his best to calm her down, but she couldn't help feeling nervous. She was just waiting for something to go wrong, and the pressure was seriously stressing her out. Zoe dialed Allison's number for the hundredth time that day.
"Hey, its Zoe… just checking up. How are my dad's doing?" she asked, trying to sound nonchalant despite feeling anything but.
"Relax Zoe, everything's going without a hitch. I'm out with Nathan now helping him find an anniversary present for your father, and Henry's with Carter helping him buy Nathan a present. Everything's under control. You just worry about decorating Café Diem for the party."
Zoe smiled, feeling a little better. "Thanks Allison, I owe you big time… call me if anything goes wrong."
"I will… see you in a few hours."
"Right…." Zoe hung up the phone and took in a breath. She really needed to calm down. Zoe looked heaven-ward. "All I'm asking for is one night without a GD catastrophe… just one…."
"Zoe! We need more tape!" Aunt Lexi shouted from the other side of the room.
Zoe took in another breath and grabbed the tape, rushing to help her aunt.
"SURPRISE!!!!!" everyone shouted as Jack and Nathan were escorted into Café Diem by Allison and Henry.
Zoe grinned at the stunned looks on parent's faces. "Holy… cow… what's all this?" her father asked, walking fully into the room.
Zoe stood in the front of the crowd with Pilar, Lexi, and Lucas. "You're surprise anniversary party," she explained, as her father and Nathan walked over to her.
"You guys did all this for us?" he asked in surprise, looking around the room. "You planned all this?"
Allison nodded. "It was all your daughter's idea in fact… she planned every last detail. Happy anniversary, Jack," she spoke, giving him and Nathan a quick hug before she was pulled away by Kevin.
Nathan grinned. "Wow… I can't believe you did this."
"I helped!" Pilar added, raising a hand, reverting to a juvenile school girl in zero to two seconds flat. Zoe rolled her eyes as her step-father looked at Pilar, giving her his best smile.
"Why thank you, Pilar," he spoke. Zoe resisted the urge to gag. Ever since Nathan had learned of Pilar's crush, he'd been paying special attention, turning up the charm whenever her best friend was around. Zoe suspected Pilar's crush gave Nathan quite the ego stroking considering he was months away from forty.
"Hey, what are we standing all around for? This is a party! Spencer! We need music!" shouted Henry, and just like that the party began as everyone spread out… some dancing, others getting food, while still others enjoyed pleasant conversation. Zoe laughed, watching Lucas pull Pilar to the dance floor, then turned back to her parents.
"Happy anniversary, guys," she said, hugging and kissing them both.
"Thanks Zo… this is… absolutely perfect," her father assured her before he noticed something over her shoulder. "Is that cake?" he asked, walking away.
Nathan rolled his eyes. "I better go with him or he's liable to take a slice bigger than his head. He never could resist Vincent's cakes."
Zoe laughed, watching her step-father disappear into the crowd. So it begins….
She'd been watching them dance for almost a half an hour, unable to look away as she sat on a stool by the counter. The party was in full swing and she could tell everyone was having a good time. Fargo was busy trying to dance with Lexi… and yes, she did mean 'trying.' Zane was dancing with Jo. Lucas was talking to Spencer. Henry was dancing with Allison. Pilar was dancing with a guy from school… a rather cute guy that looked suspiciously like a younger version of Nathan… Zoe shook her head, turning back to look at her parents. They were looking into each other's eyes, arms wrapped around each other as they spoke quietly with matching smiles. It was good to see her father happy… to see them both happy.
She knew their first year hadn't exactly gone as planned, but that didn't matter. It'd been a good year. A great year. They'd fought and bickered like most married couples did… though that had really begun before they'd even started dating. She supposed they'd been meant for each other from the start. She couldn't help but laugh at all the many times she'd caught them making out… they were worse than her and Lucas… worse than Zane and Jo, and that was saying a lot! Zoe couldn't have been happier with the way things had turned out. She had the best family a teenage girl could hope for; even if they did drive her crazy sometimes, but in the end they were her family and she wouldn't trade that for the world. Nathan had captured her heart the moment she'd seen just how happy he made her father, and Zoe wasn't sure what she'd do without the scientist anymore. He was her Dad in every way that mattered. He completed their family when before it had been incomplete after her parent's divorce… the missing piece of the puzzle.
Zoe took a deep breath, grabbing her glass as she signaled for Spencer to turn down the music while she tapped her glass trying to get everyone's attention. Slowly everyone began to notice as she stood, and she could feel everyone's eyes move to her. Zoe swallowed hard, watching as Nathan and her father turned their gazes from each other to her, and she suddenly stood just a bit taller when she saw the pride in their eyes. "Uh hi… I um… I just want to say how happy and thankful I am to everyone that came to celebrate my parent's very first anniversary. Who would have thought? They went a whole year without slaughtering each other." Zoe paused as the crowd laughed, and her parents shook their heads. "I can honestly say no one was more surprised than me the day I learned that my father was dating of all people… Doctor Nathan Stark. I had my doubts from the very beginning, but this year has proved to me without a doubt that my Dad made the perfect choice. When my parents got divorced I never thought our family would be complete again… but Nathan… he's exactly what our family needed. Not only is he my Father, but he's also my best friend… they both are, and I consider myself the luckiest girl in Eureka for having them in my life." Zoe watched as her father mouthed 'I love you,' and she immediately mouthed it back. "Happy anniversary guys… love you."
"Hear, hear!" said Henry as he raised his own glass.
The crowd cheered and shouted their congratulations while her father and Nathan nodded, blushing just a bit at all the attention. Zoe nodded to Spencer and the music was turned back up and everyone turned back to whatever they were doing while her parents moved through the crowd to her. "Don't think that just because you threw us a nice party and said a few pretty words that that get's you off the hook the next time you get yourself into trouble," her father told her, and Zoe frowned.
"Oh believe me… I gave up on trying to bribe you a long time ago," she muttered as he pulled her into his arms.
When Zoe let go she immediately turned to Nathan, giving him his own hug. "Love you, Dad."
"Love you too, Zoe… more than you know," Nathan told her, kissing her forehead.
The thing was… she did know. She'd always known. "Okay, enough of this mushy stuff, I'm going to find my boyfriend for a dance!"
She couldn't help but laugh as her father groaned. "She just had to ruin the moment," she heard him mutter to Nathan.
The party had ended hours ago and everyone had returned home… including her parents. Zoe had made plans to stay with Pilar, so her parents could have a night to themselves… unfortunately she'd left her clothes at home. "It'll just take a sec," she assured her best friend, rushing out of the car and into the house. "S.A.R.A.H. door."
"Good evening Zoe, I thought you'd made plants to stay at your friend Pilar's house for the night?" the AI asked.
"Just grabbing my clothes," she assured S.A.R.A.H. as she walked inside, frowning when she saw no sign of her parents. The younger Carter shrugged, walking up the stairs and to her room, grabbing her backpack from off the bed, only noticing as she exited that her father's door was open. Zoe's instinct was to rush past, afraid she'd be exposed to something she really… REALLY didn't need to see, but to her surprise instead of catching her parents engaged in some very strenuous activity they were both asleep in bed, arms wrapped around each other. Zoe hesitated at the door, watching for a moment as her father snuggled into Nathan's warmth, and suddenly she decided she couldn't leave just yet as she pulled the camera from her bag and tip toed inside her parent's bedroom, holding up the camera to take one single shot. After saving the imagine she tucked her camera back in her back and moved to the side of their bed, kissing their forehead's and pulling the blanket up to tuck them in.
"Good night… Dads," she whispered with a smile, happy for once as she realized she'd gone the whole day without getting grounded or losing some privilege… although she was pretty sure that would change when her father finally received the VISA bill. Like she could pay for all those decorations by herself? Maybe she'd finally gotten away with something… now wouldn't that be a shock. Zoe took one last look at her parents and left the room, walking down the steps when she noticed a note on the door.
'YOU'RE PAYING ME EVERY LAST CENT BACK... WITH INTEREST. LOVE YOUR DADS.'
Zoe groaned. Not only were they evil, but they were psychic too. Maybe she should ask Vincent for a raise….