Disclaimer: I do not own this! If you're still thinking I do…well, stop! It's the Christmas season though…and I love gifts, so if you own it…
A/N: And now, about a million months later, we have the epilogue. I have to thank Jessica237 hugely…because she was the one who made this whole story possible! It would not have been posted or any good if she had not meticulously read each word and corrected anything and everything that needed it! So, I give her so much thanks! I also have to thank my reviewers! They were the ones who encouraged me to continue and who stayed by my side throughout these looooooooong periods of hiatus. I give great thanks to you all! And, to my silent readers out there…if you were reading it and enjoyed it…that's all I wanted (Although a review would have been wonderful…but I was a silent reader once!). I hope each and every one of you enjoyed this, whether you told me or not. And now, there's one more chapter for you to enjoy!
Calleigh sighed as she unlocked the door to her house and walked in. She hated cases like this. As soon as she took a breath though, the smell of lasagna assaulted her senses. She couldn't help but smile. She loved lasagna, and Eric's was always amazing!
He had been home for a while now, slowly getting better and better and she was getting antsy waiting for his proposal! She knew that ring was still hidden in his sock drawer. She hadn't checked because he had always seemed to be right at her shoulder, which was suspicious in itself. Her trust wasn't totally restored in him just yet, but she knew he was really trying to work on not protecting her, and he was doing a pretty good job of it too. She knew she would be able to trust him in a few short months, and their wedding wouldn't even be planned by then. They wouldn't have even had a shower by then. Now, if he would just ask her!
As she walked into the kitchen, she noticed he seemed a little different tonight. Happy and excited. Was he finally going to ask her?
"Hey you!" Eric said as soon as he saw her walk into the kitchen.
She smiled. "Hey. Any special reason you're cooking tonight?"
"I cook every night," Eric reminded her. "Especially since you've been at work all day."
"I know," Calleigh assured him. "But you don't always make lasagna."
"I know that's your favorite meal," Eric told her. "So I thought I'd make it for you tonight! We should celebrate!" As soon as Eric said that his eyes got wide and he promptly shut his mouth.
Calleigh tilted her head. "Celebrate? What are we celebrating?" She was getting a little nervous. Was he actually going to ask her tonight? He sure seemed to be showing some classic symptoms. He was happy and excited, he was cooking her favorite meal for her, and he had just said they were going to celebrate. He wasn't exactly the best secret keeper in the business. At least not when it came to her.
Eric sighed and looked at her. "I was going to wait and do this after dinner, but I know you won't want to wait now so…"
Calleigh took a deep breath, but what came out of his mouth was not what she was expecting to hear.
"I got cleared to work in the field today!" Eric exclaimed.
"You…what?" Calleigh asked, shocked at the shocking turn this conversation had taken.
Eric wrinkled his forehead. "I got cleared to work in the field today. I got signed off by the physical therapist and the psychiatrist."
Calleigh smiled. "Well, that's great!" She really was being serious. She missed him working at the lab and definitely missed him going out to the field with her to investigate. She wasn't expecting him to say that from this exact conversation, but she was excited about it.
"I'm so excited!" Eric told her. "I hate working simple little desk duty. Interrogating people without finding the evidence myself, not finding any evidence at the scene…it's been driving me crazy!"
Calleigh laughed. "I know it has." Calleigh understood his frustration. She hated being stuck on desk. She had never been stuck in the office with restrictions for too long, but she knew she would hate it if it ever happened to her as long as it had to Eric. She suddenly got a picture in her head of her pregnant. If she ever got pregnant, she would be stuck in the lab for very long. That would be worse, because she wouldn't get to shoot her guns, work with any chemicals or anything. She would then have to even go on maternity leave and stay home! She knew she would hate not working, but somehow she didn't think she would hate it as much, because she would be carrying Eric's baby. Calleigh then frowned. That is, if he would ever ask her to marry her! They hadn't really talked about children yet and she was still on the pill. She wasn't going to go off it without telling him, and if she told him, he would start assuming things, and while she did want him to propose, she wasn't trying to rush him into it if he wasn't ready. If he would just hurry up and do it, that is.
Later that night, sitting on the couch watching a TV show, Eric burst into laughter when the girl in the show found an engagement ring in her muffin. "Who would do that? What if she ate it!"
Calleigh smiled. "I think she would figure out that it wasn't part of the muffin, Eric."
"She might think it's just a really crunchy blueberry," Eric argued. "Then she might go and swallow it and rushing her to the hospital would definitely ruin the moment."
"Really?" Calleigh asked, trying to contain her laughter. "It's just a show! No one would ever really do that!"
Eric cocked his head. "You don't think?"
"Definitely not!" Calleigh exclaimed. "If you ever did that to me I think I'd probably kill you…so don't go getting any ideas!"
"Good think you didn't want any dessert tonight," Eric teased.
Calleigh just rolled her eyes, she knew he was kidding, and that's what was bothering her. "It's not like I would've found anything if I had," she muttered under her breath.
"What?" Eric asked. He had heard her, but was surprised that she would say that. He didn't think she was ready to be proposed to yet. Sure, he had a ring, in case the situation arose, but he definitely wasn't planning on rushing her. He didn't think her trust was that strong yet. He was trying, but he didn't think he would get it back so soon.
Calleigh let out a sigh. "Do you remember when you got shot?"
Eric looked at her with an eyebrow raised. She always got mad at him when he asked her if she remembered. He wanted to wait and see if she caught what she said, not to mention he wasn't sure what this had to do with anything.
"Sorry!" Calleigh exclaimed, quickly catching herself, Eric's raised eyebrow not really being needed. "Of course you do! Anyway, I saw the ring. I was putting the stuff from your boxes away, and I saw a pair of socks. I went to go put them in your drawer, and it was such a mess. While I was cleaning it up a little, I saw the box and opened it. I saw the ring. I know you probably think I'm not ready for such a step yet and I know I wouldn't have been then. It's just, after seeing you in the hospital, and after being in the hospital a few times myself…well, I know we don't all have forever, especially with both of us being in the field. I would just really like to be married to you. Are you ever going to ask me?"
Eric couldn't help it. He was trying really hard to hold it in, but he burst out laughing.
Calleigh narrowed her eyes at him. She wasn't sure what he was laughing at, but she had just poured out her soul to him and now he was laughing at her! "You'd better not be laughing at me!"
"I'm not!" Eric tried to assure her. He knew that his laughing would make her mad, but he couldn't help it. It was just too funny!
"Well, then, would you please share the joke with me?" Calleigh requested.
"It's just…the ring you saw, in my sock drawer? It wasn't for you," Eric told her.
Calleigh's eyes widened. "Who was it for, then?"
"My sister's fiancé…well, now husband," Eric corrected himself. "He had given it to me a few days before to hide it from her. When they came to see me in the hospital I gave him my key and he came and got it."
"Why couldn't he just hide it in his sock drawer?" Calleigh questioned. "Why did he have to invade yours?"
"If he kept it in that house for one hour my sister would've found it," Eric told Calleigh. "She is always snooping around looking for things. I swear, when we were kids, she would always find out where the Christmas presents were hidden, and find out where her birthday presents were too."
"So, instead, you hid it—wait a minute. If it wasn't for me, then why did you hide it from me?" Calleigh asked.
"For the same reason you said in your little speech," Eric said. "You would've gotten scared and thought I was moving too fast. I didn't need you running away because of something that wasn't even for you. Speaking of that speech…did you just, in some clever way, ask me to marry you?"
"No, I did not!" Calleigh claimed. "Never once in that speech did you hear the ever important question that comes with every proposal. I say it now, and you will say I asked you to marry me, so you know what question I mean. I was just wondering why you were waiting if you had the ring. The ring that obviously made me jump to some pretty crazy conclusions."
"I did warn you not to get in that drawer," Eric reminded her.
"You were out wandering in the woods! We didn't even know if you were alive!" Calleigh cried. "I had just shot you! How was I supposed to remember what you had said at least a month before?"
Eric smiled. "I'm not saying you needed to remember it. I'm just saying, I did warn you."
Calleigh just rolled her eyes. If she was being honest with herself, she would even admit that she was a little disappointed. She really did want to be engaged to Eric. She knew this wasn't a bit like her, but she wanted his ring on her finger, she wanted to show off at the crime lab, she even thought she might want to have a kid with him. It wasn't like she was going to tell him any of these things though, she had already shared enough. There, that was the Calleigh Duquesne she knew.
Eric squinted while looking at her. He was a bit surprised to notice that she even looked a little disappointed. He suddenly started thinking very hard. He turned back to the TV so he could think without being worried that Calleigh would see the wheels turning. He did have a ring. He could ask her now. He had been ready since he had decided that he wanted to settle down. He knew it would be only her from the beginning. He was just waiting for her. It was quite obvious she was ready. The only think that was holding him back was her little speech. What if she thought that was the only reason he was asking. She might say no then, and that would be horrible too! He supposed he could explain to her, but that was hardly conventional. Of course, proposing after she just went on a rant about it wasn't very conventional. Then again, getting shot in the shoulder by his own girlfriend wasn't very conventional either. Nothing in their relationship had ever been run by the conventional thing to do. Not to mention she had a point when she said they didn't have forever. Well, that did it. He had talked himself into it. He was going to go get the ring, explain his reasoning to her, and then ask the ever so important question. He could only hope she would say yes, and know he was asking for the right reasons.
He had the ring. On the pretense of going to the bathroom he went into their room and rummaged around in his drawer until he found it. He took it out of the little velvet box and slipped it into his pocket. Now, thirty minutes later, he was still sitting on the couch, waiting for the right moment to ask her. She was slowly falling into something that looked a little like sleep, so he decided now was a good time. After all, he was not going to make her wait another day. Not if he could help it!
"Hey, Calleigh," Eric said, trying to get her attention.
Calleigh forced her eyes to open all the way and she turned and looked at him, waiting for him to continue.
"If I were to propose to you right now, what would you say?" Eric asked, trying to see what her reaction was going to be.
Calleigh couldn't help but laugh. "I would say you're ridiculous for asking just because I made a fool of myself an hour ago. Not to mention, to propose you need a ring!"
Eric looked at her seriously. "Okay, well what would you say if I told you I had a ring in my pocket and I've been afraid to ask because I didn't think I had won your trust back yet?"
Calleigh swallowed and looked at him assessing. "Do you have a ring in your pocket right now and have you been afraid to ask me because you think you haven't won my trust back?"
"Yes," Eric simply said. He stood up off the couch and got down on one knee in front of her.
"Oh my God," Calleigh whispered. He was really going to do it. He really did have a ring and he really was going to propose, right here and now.
Eric was now down on one knee, and everything he had planned to say to Calleigh when this moment came suddenly didn't seem to be satisfactory anymore. "I could tell you why I want to marry you. I could do a rendition of 'How Do I Love Thee,' and tell you all the reasons I love you. No, actually, I couldn't do that, we would be here forever. I had something planned, I really did, but, down here now, none of it seems good enough. Nothing I can say will be able to express how I feel about you. Calleigh, I just…I love you so much. Will you marry me?"
Calleigh's lips were pulled in and she was trying very hard not to bite them off. She felt tears filling her eyes and there was nothing she could do to stop them from rolling down her cheeks. She nodded her head slowly and finally was able to release her lips. "Yes. I would be honored."
Eric smiled and slipped the ring on her finger. As Calleigh lifted her hand up to admire it (it was much prettier than the one she thought was hers) Eric sat back down by her on the couch. He sat just a little closer than he was before and whispered in her ear, "What a shock! I had no idea how you were going to answer."
Calleigh narrowed her eyes at him in faux anger. "Eric, shut up and kiss me."
Eric smiled at her. "It would be my pleasure."
Well, that's the end. I don't really have much to say here. It's over and while it was super hard for me to write, I'm kind of sad to see it go. I hope you enjoyed this last chapter/epilogue type thing. Why don't you leave me a review and tell me how you feel about the story as a whole. It would make my day. Please?