A/N: And this is the last part already. Thanks everyone who read and/or reviewed! Once again, sometimes you'll come across a word that's made bold - that was part of the challenge: to include certain words from a list in your story. Enjoy!
Clint closed his laptop, having just sent Doc Johanson an e-mail, and leaned back on the couch. It had turned out to be quite a Christmas. Early this morning, doctor Crane had had to perform an emergency C-section on Nellie, and Clint had assisted. Now Derek and Nellie had a sweet baby girl called Gracie, born on Christmas day.
After the small group of people who had been waiting for news on Nellie and her baby, had returned to the clinic, they had intended to eat some of the remaining food, and unwrap the remaining gifts. That was when Crane had gotten his biopsy results. Clint's lips curled slightly upwards. He was glad the results had been good, and somehow he knew that the other doctor would now be back to his normal level of arrogance and insensitiveness. Maybe he would even be more sensitive than he had been before… Well, they could always hope.
Then Junior and Jelly Bean had somehow managed to get a Master Galaxy System 3 for Raul. When he had asked them later in private, they had mumbled something about having struck a deal with an employee of a toy store, and… her nephew having two of the system… or something like that. He hadn't bothered asking for specifics, instead just thanked them, since they wouldn't accept any payment.
The picture of Raul and his mother had indeed struck the right chord, and Clint just knew it was one of those gifts that Raul would cherish for the rest of his life… just like Clint still cherished the picture of himself with his parents.
There was a knock on the door, and Clint looked up. "It's open!"
As he rose and turned around, he saw who his guest was, and smiled.
"Hey Cowboy," Nancy said as she closed the door. "Mind if I drop in?"
"Not at all, come on in. Want something to drink?"
"No, thanks. Actually, I was on my way out and I saw Nate, Beverly and Raul leaving just now, so I was wondering… did you have plans for dinner yet?" Nancy asked hesitantly.
"Nah, not really. Nate, Bev and Raul are going over to Nate's parents' place for supper since they couldn't go last night, so I was just gonna heat up some leftover chilli or something, and I'm sure I have a candy cane lying around here too."
A spark of hope came into Nancy's eyes. "Well, in that case… as you know I'm going to have dinner with my mom and Wendell… and… well, would you like to come?"
Clint blinked. "Well, I'd love to, but… don't you want to spend some time with just the three of you?"
"No, that's fine. I would feel bad sitting there, knowing you'd be here by yourself on Christmas day," Nancy argued lightly.
"But Elaine and Wendell didn't count on me." It wasn't that he didn't want to come – on the contrary – but he didn't want to intrude.
Nancy winced a little. "Yeah… well, guess you'll just have to tighten that belt a little, and instead of eating three horses, just eat one."
"Cute," Clint said upon seeing the teasing sparkle in Nancy's eyes. Then she turned a little more serious. "Come on, you really want to sit here by yourself eating leftover chilli, when you could be having a great meal, poking fun at poor me?"
Clint pursed his lips, and whistled. "Ooh, now what man in his right mind could resist an offer like that."
Nancy paused, seeming to consider the words she had just spoken. "You know, on second thought, perhaps I shouldn't have invited you…"
The chuckle reaching her ears brought a smile on her face, and she watched as Clint put his laptop away, and reached past her as he took his coat. "Too late. You're stuck with me now for the rest of the evening," he said.
Nancy grinned. "Ah well, I think I'll survive that…"
Clint stopped not too far from her, and looked at her for a moment. Nancy's eyebrow rose as she waited for him to say something.
"You know, I'm sorry you ended up with no gift last night," Clint said quietly. Nancy shrugged. "Well, in a way I guess it's fair. After all, Tippy ended up buying the gifts doctor Crane and I were supposed to buy, so she went through the effort of buying the gifts, even if we paid for it. It's only fair she got such a nice gift," Nancy said with a smile. "I couldn't have her not having a gift …although you made it incredibly difficult for me to give away my gift… those really were some awesome boots…" she added.
Clint smiled, his admiration for her growing even further. She really was one incredible woman, giving away a gift which he knew she had really appreciated. At least, if that hug he had gotten as a thank you was anything to go by. Unbeknownst to him, Nancy was thinking back to that very same moment, remembering how good it had felt to be held by this man's strong arms. But now was not the time to be thinking of those things, she told herself. After all, her mother and Wendell were waiting for them.
"In any case, we should go. If we don't leave now, we'll be late for dinner, and then I guess we would both have to eat that leftover chilli of yours along with that one candy cane."
Clint laughed. "Well, I could throw in some of Dottie's chocolate chip cookies in the deal too."
"Oh, you make it sound so tempting," Nancy said, unable to keep a straight face. "Come on now, if we take your truck we might still be there in time."
"Ah, so that's what this is all about," Clint said as they moved into the hallway and he closed the door behind him. "You just wanted to avoid public transport."
"Well of course!" Nancy said with a wide smile, and abruptly her vision was taken away as Clint's cowboy hat was pulled over her face. Giggling, she pulled it off again, and tried to return the 'favour'. Clint caught her attempt though, and plucked his hat out of her hand. He kept it out of her reach by wrapping an arm around her shoulders. Eventually, the two walked towards Clint's truck, trudging through the snow, still laughing. Clint's arm around Nancy's shoulders, and Nancy's arm around his waist, both people glad they would spend the rest of Christmas day with their best friend.