Author's Note: Well, this is it for this one! Only five more to go before I finish up my 'in progress' list. And I'll be posting this on every one of apologies for taking so long to finish. Thank you so much for sticking around until the end. I'm glad that you liked it enough to keep reading despite my erratic updating. =(

I'm going to try really hard not to post any more new ones until these ones are done. With any luck, I'll be able to finish an entire story before I even begin posting it. Cross your fingers!

Anyway...I have something I'm working on now, and after Christmas, I'll be working on finishing Upping the Ante. I need to read it over to get the 'flow' of the story back!

Thanks, again, and I hope you enjoy! - Angie

Six weeks ago…

"Derek," Penelope said breathlessly, trying to push him away. The man wouldn't budge. "Derek, Derek, Derek," she said again.

"What?" he asked, pulling his lips from her shoulder just long enough to ask the question.

"What if we…what if we…waited?" she asked cautiously.

He froze, his lips still on her shoulder. It was a minute before he straightened. "What?" he asked in confusion.

"To have sex," she clarified.

He frowned. "Why?"

"It's just…it's been months. And…do you feel the anticipation?"

Derek winced in pain—he felt the anticipation all right. He was so fuckin' hard it hurt. She'd just been taken off bed rest and the doctor had told her she could resume 'intimate activities.' "Penelope, if you're saying what I think you're saying…"

She sat up, forcing him to move off of her. He fell back against the mattress. "Derek, we're getting married in six weeks," she reminded him as she pulled her shirt back up over her shoulders. There went his handiwork. "Six weeks. We've already made it way past six weeks! Why not wait?"

Derek groaned. "Because I'm throbbing for you now," he said through gritted teeth.

She lifted an eyebrow at him. "I'll take care of that throbbing for you," she said in a low voice.

Derek moaned. "I want to be inside of you," he said.

She tilted her head to the side, and smiled softly at him.

He sighed. "Fine. We'll wait." God, he was surrounded by females who knew exactly how to get what they wanted from him.

Penelope tongue darted out of her mouth to lick her lower lip. "In the meantime…"

Derek closed his eyes as she unzipped his jeans.

The doctors had said it would be OK for her to fly, so they'd decided to get married in Chicago. It was a small wedding at Derek's mother's house with only his family in attendance.

Penelope and Derek had wanted to wait until her body had healed itself to tell anyone else they were expecting, and they'd been able to do a little 'creative parenting' in order to keep Ava quiet. As soon as the minister pronounced them man and wife, Ava tugged on Derek's pant leg and he leaned down. "Daddy, can I tell her now?" she asked in a soft voice.

Derek kissed her on the tip of her nose and nodded, a grin spreading across his face. Ava ran over to his mother and Fran picked her up. The little girl leaned forward and whispered something in her grandmother's ear.

Fran nodded knowingly. "Yes, I suspect they'll have lots of babies. When do you think you first brother or sister will be born?"

Derek cleared his throat. "In about three months," he answered.

"Three mon…" His mother's eyes widened and she gasped. "Another grandbaby?" she asked.

Derek grinned as Penelope nodded, and that was when the screeching began. Derek's family started crowding around her and he slapped them away. "Hey, hey, hey!" he said reprimanding them. "My bride just got off bed rest!"

"You were on bed rest?" Fran asked panicked. She reached up and slapped Derek on the side of the head. "Why didn't you tell me she was on bed rest?"

Derek's eyes widened. "That's the first time you've ever hit me!" he exclaimed.

"It's OK," Ava said reassuringly. "Daddy kept her company and painted her toe nails! He even made her breakfast in bed!"

Desiree grinned. "Derek Morgan painting toe nails," she remarked, the amusement evident in her voice.

Penelope giggled. "In his defense, he would only use black and brown because apparently they're 'masculine' colors."

Fran looked at Ava. "You're going to be a big sister," she said.

Ava nodded enthusiastically. "But I don't have to share my room, right Mommy?"

"Right," Penelope agreed.

"It warms my heart to hear her call you Daddy," Fran said a little while later. They were standing in the living room, away from everyone else and Fran's eyes were glued to Ava, who was sitting on the couch holding her nephew. Desiree's baby was three month's old now, and Ava had thrown herself wholeheartedly into the role of mother hen, running to his side every time he fussed.

"Yeah, well, it still warms mine whenever she says it," he told her. "When does it go away, Momma?"

"What?" she asked.

Derek chuckled. "How long before I'm immune to those batting eyelashes and pouting?"

Fran grinned as she patted her son on the cheek. "Oh, Honey," she said with a laugh. "It's cute that you think you ever will be."

The damn elevator wasn't moving quickly enough. They'd left Ava with his mother, and he and Penelope had rented a hotel room for the night. He planned on doing things to her that would result in a lot of noise making; he didn't think his mother's house was appropriate for that. He grinned at the thought. Not while anyone was home, anyway. His old bed was there, and he couldn't help but think of how much fun it would be to 'score' with his wife in his old room.

Penelope looked at her husband, but he was staring straight ahead. She was chewing on the inside of her cheek, her eagerness driving her crazy. She couldn't stand it anymore. She hurled herself at him, catching him by surprise. He caught her clumsily, his lips capturing hers as his arms wrapped around her waist pulling her flush against him. Their tongues met frantically, as if they hadn't been able to even kiss for the last few months. Her hands dug into the fabric at his waist, rumpling the maroon dress shirt he'd married her in. The bell chimed to indicate they'd reached their floor, and by the time Derek got her off of him, the doors had already opened. Like the night they'd first met, they'd gone at it in the elevator. But unlike that night, there was someone standing there when the doors slid open.

Derek grinned sheepishly as they walked off the elevator. "Newlyweds," he explained.

When they reached the door to their room, Penelope slid the keycard into the lock and pushed the door open. "Look at that," she said, taking in the lavender colored rose petals that were sprinkled on the bed.

"Yeah, aren't those nice?" he asked distractedly, grabbing her elbow as she started to walk towards the bed. "Not so fast, Darlin'," he said, pulling her back towards him. He swept her up into his arms and she giggled.

"Derek," she said as she nibbled on his earlobe.

"Yeah, Baby Girl?"

"Aren't you glad we waited?" she asked.

"No," he answered without missing a beat.

"You…you're not?" she asked.

"Penelope, I've been walking around with a hard on for months, and you closed the gates. I am not glad we waited," he said firmly.

"Oh," she said in a small voice.

His lips began to twitch and he leaned down to give her a quick kiss. "But ask me again when I'm inside of you like it's the first time all over again."

"Derek," Penelope said breathlessly. One thing she knew for sure: Payback was a bitch.


"You have to let me…"

Derek lifted his head from between her thighs. "I don't have to let you anything," he argued. He returned to her core, circling it with his tongue before surrounding it with his lips and sucking softly. Again. Her hips bucked up off the mattress and he pulled away. Again. "Do you know what this is?" he asked.

"Torture!" she answered.

He chuckled. "That's right. This is what I've felt like since the last time we were together," he informed her. "Always on the verge, but never quite getting there."

"I'm sorry!" she said breathlessly.

"Not yet," Derek said. "But you will be." He went back to work, and just as her thighs began to tremble, he pulled away.

"Derek…" she begged.

He moved so that his body was covering hers. "Yeah, Baby Girl?" he asked.

"I don't think I can take it anymore," she admitted.

"You can," he told her, as he situated himself between her thighs. He stroked her core with the tip of his length, and her body rippled in anticipation.

"Derek," she shrieked.

His lips lifted in a wicked grin. "Had enough?" he taunted.

"The problem is that I haven't had anything," she informed him.

His lips claimed hers in a heated kiss as he filled her with a single thrust. She groaned as he started moving in and out of her, lifting her lower body frantically to meet his. His hands clamped onto her hips, and he held her still against the mattress, slamming into her with a grunt. "Derek," she whimpered, lifting her hands to clutch his shoulders. She felt his body shudder and cried out as she found her own climax.

His body sagged down onto hers and he sighed in contentment, then rolled off her and onto his side. He slid a leg between her thighs as he pulled her close, giving her a soft kiss on the lips. "OK," he said, his breathing ragged. "I'm willing to concede that it was worth the wait."

Penelope grinned. "I'm glad you think so," she said, wiggling her body closer to his.

They lay there in silence for a few minutes before his hand fell to her belly. He'd always loved her body, but now that she was pregnant, her curves were even lusher. When she was dressed, you couldn't yet tell she was pregnant, but when she was naked, he could see exactly what his body had done to hers…and he loved it. "How's baby?" he asked softly.

"Content," she answered quickly.

"Still don't want to find out what it is?" he asked.

She shook her head firmly. "I want it to be a surprise. You?"

"You're the boss," he answered.

"I'm so glad you said that," she told him as she moved up onto her knees.

"What are you doing?" he asked curiously.

She pushed him onto his back and was pleased to find he was already hard again. "Showing you how much I love you," she said huskily as she lowered herself down onto him.

He gripped her hips, his hands bringing her to a halt as his eyes filled with concern. He didn't want to hurt her or the baby. "Is this too much?" he asked worriedly.

She laughed. "Derek…it's never enough."

He grinned up at her, loosening his grip on her as she slid down his length. "I love you, too," he said, his eyes dancing with amusement despite the sincerity in his tone. "And with any luck, I'll be able to last this time."

He'd never go that long without his wife again.

*****THE END*****