More seriously fluffy goop ahead, just a warning (or a promise, if you like that stuff!). I figure D and C have earned it after what I've put them through in this fic!
Thanks again to all of my reviewers! It's always a pleasure to "talk" to you. Enjoy!
One year later, the McDonald-Venturi family gathered at the Great Blue Heron Lodge to visit Gran for a week. Their newest member Simon was only eight months old, but he was already spoiled beyond belief.
They passed him around their lineup as the photographer readied the shot. It was their first official family portrait since Simon was born, and there had been plenty of discussion about who should stand where. Lizzie and Edwin were determined to stand next to each other, and of course Derek wanted to stand next to Casey with his arm around her, but she thought that would ruin the "family" vibe of the picture. So Gran had the idea to stand between them. As the photographer snapped shot after shot, Derek's hand found Casey's behind Gran's back. For the last shot, Gran stepped to her right and Derek got his arm around Casey just in time for the flash to go off.
"Der-ek!" Casey pushed him, but didn't remove his arm from around her. He still annoyed her to no end, but their teasing had become more playful than ever before. "Gran, I can't believe he convinced you to do that."
"What Derek wants, Derek gets," Gran winked as she handed Simon to Nora.
Everyone groaned good-naturedly.
"I want a copy of the last one," Casey whispered to Derek as the others headed towards the cars.
"Ha! I knew it," Derek said, pulling her closer and pressing a kiss to the side of her head. "And we thought sharing a sibling would be weird."
"We finally are one big family because of Simon," she agreed. "I can't believe I almost gave up this feeling. I would have missed everyone so much." She wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head on his chest. "Jesse's done his run on the show this week, and I would have been, too."
"Any regrets?" Derek asked, playing with her hair. She knocked his hand away but that didn't deter him.
"Of course not. I can honestly say I had a great freshman year."
"In no small part thanks to me," Derek said, nudging her with his nose.
She rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say, D." But she couldn't keep a straight face and they ended up laughing in between kisses.
"Let's go, you lovebirds," George said, tapping Derek on the back. He motioned to the cars, which were waiting, luggage already loaded into the trunks.
They reluctantly pulled apart and headed away from the lodge. Gran was kissing each of the kids in turn, and when they reached her, she enveloped them both in bear hug. "Thank you for being so well-behaved this year, Sweetie," she teased Derek.
"Anything for you, Gran," Derek said, ducking his head.
"Ooh, you're blushing," Casey taunted, poking at his cheeks.
"I am not!" Derek grabbed her fingers and kissed them.
"I don't think you've gone more than a few seconds without touching this week," Gran remarked.
Edwin snorted. "This week? Try this year! They don't even realize they're doing it!"
"Doing what?" Derek asked innocently, smooshing himself against Casey, who made a face.
"Sorry, Gran." Casey un-smooshed herself…slightly.
Gran smiled. "Don't be sorry. I think it's romantic."
"Gag me." Edwin mimed throwing up at Lizzie, who giggled.
George honked the horn of the other car, where he and the others were already in their seats, ready to leave.
"We'd better get going," Casey agreed, and she kissed Gran goodbye…while holding Derek's hand. "Thanks for another wonderful vacation!"
"My pleasure," Gran replied, and waved as Derek and Casey followed Edwin and Lizzie into The Prince.
And then the McDonald-Venturi family drove off towards home.