A/N: Thanks for the reviews on the last story. I think this is the end my friends (I've said it before, I know) I'm not out and out declaring, but I think it's time.
Summary: Adulthood hits, and it hits hard. Gordon and Bella begin a marriage as she starts law school and he plays in the NFL and Kevin joins them trying to navigate parenting Gabriel. Cal and Carmen consider doing a movie together. Hunter and Anne attempt a serious relationship, which does not stop them from being Hunter and Anne, and Eddie begins grad school at USC determined to get Ellie back. And that's all just the beginning
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Chapter 1: 3 Years Later: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
"Gordon!" The little boy charged at him and Gordon Conway laughed. "You're back."
"I am," Gordon nodded. "Where's Mommy?"
"Studying," he shrugged. "You got sacked a lot yesterday, she was pretty mad about it." Gordon smiled.
"Gabe, my man," he shook his head, "you will someday understand that your mommy gets mad about really stupid things sometimes."
"Hey Gordon," PJ Cameron walked over. "Gabe, dude, let your step dad get in the door before you tell him that he's too slow to let go of the ball on running plays and that's why the O Line always catches him."
"I begged her to fire you and hire some nice older eastern European woman who knows nothing about football," Gordon shook his head.
"You can't fire PJ!" Gabe said. "He's my best friend."
"I'm his best friend," PJ grinned. "Come on Gabe, Mom said you could stay up until Gordon got home, then bed."
"Night buddy," Gordon said and kissed him. "She's in the office?"
"Yeah," PJ said. "She's studying torts. So you've got a fun night ahead of you."
"She wants to fight?" He grimaced. "Doesn't she normally call Kevin when she wants to do that? Or yell at you?"
"Kevin wasn't home and I hid," PJ nodded. "Welcome back." Gordon laughed and walked through the living room to a small office where his wife Bella Riley was sitting looking through a very large book.
"Hi," he said, leaning against the door.
"You hold on to the ball too long on running plays," she said. He looked at her. "When you get sacked, Gabriel gets scared."
"Gabriel gets scared?" He said. She looked at him. "Not his mother?" She smiled. "I missed you." She stood up and kissed him.
"I missed you too," she whispered. They kissed again and she slid her hands on his chest.
"Bella," he said, and pulled her arms off, "come on, after tonight's game I'll know if we're in the playoffs and I can focus."
"Gordon, I miss my husband," she sighed. "I want you to close that door and take me on the desk." He looked at her.
"What's going on?" He asked. She shrugged. "Leigh, what's wrong? You can tell me."
"Kevin um," she sighed. "He's just being Kevin, I," he looked at her. "He's frustrated that we moved when you got traded, that's all. He misses Gabe."
"Did he threaten you?" Gordon asked. She shook her head.
"No, it wasn't like that," she said. "He wants him for Christmas." Gordon nodded.
"And you said no," he sighed.
"We spend Christmas in Minnesota," she shrugged. "We always have, and I get that Kevin hasn't seen him but neither have my parents, and," she rubbed her temples. "Why did you leave the Ravens again?"
"Because of ten million a year?" Gordon laughed. Bella smiled. "Because this way you get to go to Columbia law school, and Gabriel goes to a nice private school," she looked at him. "And you know, the Jets aren't in the division with The Vikings, so my dad's less pissed at me." She laughed and kissed him. "Give Kevin Christmas, Leigh, come on! He's been good this year. And you know being far away isn't just tough on him, it's tough on Fulton and Tanya, and you owe them."
"You know what else he asked for when I talked to him?" She said.
"For you to leave me and move back to DC and marry him?" He asked. She nodded. "Amazing, he never lets up on that one." She laughed. "Why don't you two just draw up something legal?"
"Because we're law students and the children of lawyers," she shook her head. Gordon looked at her. "Contracts scare us, because we're afraid we'll get too stuck on it, and forget about Gabe's needs."
"Your dad would do it," he said.
"God, I hate when you and my dad are on the same side of things," she shook her head. "It's unnatural, and once the clock runs out on the Monday night game you had better be naked in our bed." She kissed him.
"Yes ma'am," he winked and walked out.
"You're not going to that meeting," Anne Callins said. Her twin brother Calvin looked at her and rolled her eyes. "Cal, it's a mistake."
"You know, everyone else tells me all the time that this is going to change my career," he said. "You're the only person that thinks differently."
"Um that's because everyone else involved is a sycophant," she shrugged. He smiled. "This is why you made me your manager."
"True," he nodded. "Tell me again why you hate it?"
"I don't hate it," she shook her head. "I like the script but I think that character is just a grown up version of Brian. I thought you wanted to show people a different side."
"I do," he said. "But give me your real reason." She sighed. "Anne, come on."
"Fine, the real reason I think you shouldn't do it is I was talking to the director and he really wants the female lead to be this exciting up and coming New York theater actress," she said. Cal looked at her and nodded. "You might have heard of her, Carmen Mendoza?"
"They want to cast Carmen?" He asked. She nodded. "And you think this will be a problem?"
"Not for you but there are two sex scenes and I think that will be a problem for Marissa and Terry," she shrugged. Cal rolled his eyes.
"Marissa is not that insecure," he shook his head. "We've both done sex scenes with other people. It's not a big deal."
"None of those other people have been your exes before," she said. He rolled his eyes.
"If I pass on this because of Carmen, I'll look petty," he said. Anne shrugged. "Thanks for looking out though."
"Yeah," she said.
"When does Hunter get back?" He asked.
"Two more days," she said.
"Is he coming here?" He asked. She looked at him. "I really don't feel like listening to your reunion Anne, you know I love Hunter."
"He got a hotel room," she said. "But he's coming here first to say hi."
"OK," Cal nodded. "And now, we're going to the meeting." Anne groaned and they walked out the door.
Elisa was sitting in her room, painting her toe nails when one of the freshman ZBZ pledges walked in.
"Hi," the girl said. "Um, there's some guy downstairs who wants to see you."
"Guy?" Elisa frowned. "I wasn't expecting anyone, who is it?"
"I don't know," the girl shrugged, "he looks like he hasn't showered in a few days, if that helps."
"Oh my God!" Elisa squealed and ran out of her room and down the stairs of the house, where Hunter Nichols was standing. "Hunter!" She squealed jumping into his arms and wrapping her legs around his waist.
"Hey Elle," he said as she practically choked him, hugging him.
"Boyfriend?" The freshman asked another sister who was standing there.
"Not exactly," the other sister laughed. "It's complicated."
"You're not supposed to be home yet," Elisa said.
"Yeah, Angela said we got everything we needed and that I was free to go," he shrugged. "So I went." She smiled. "Wanna get off of me?" She laughed and jumped down.
"Does Anne know?" She asked.
"I wanted to surprise her but I couldn't get a flight to LAX just San Diego, so I figured, I'd surprise you and then drive up and surprise Anne," he said. She smiled. "I'm starving, can we eat?"
"Of course!" She nodded and they walked outside. "How was it?"
"Thailand is always beautiful," he shrugged, "and we stayed with this crazy shaman who thinks that Angela's a goddess, so that was really cool."
"I bet," she said. "How long are you here for this time?" He frowned. "Hunter!"
"Four days here," he shrugged, "then a few days in New York with my mom and Graham, and then I head out, we're going to Prague." She nodded. "Elle, come on, I'm sorry, I'd stay longer but I can't skip my family."
"It's fine," she said. "It's just the trips are getting longer and your visits are getting shorter and it sucks." He nodded.
"You could always come with me," he shrugged. "There's plenty to do."
"Yeah, my dad wouldn't go too ballistic," she rolled her eyes, "and Anne wouldn't kill us both before the plane took off."
"True," he nodded. "How's she doing?"
"Good," she said. "She misses you, but we all do. She's busy turning Cal into George Clooney, so she's distracted." He laughed. "When you're in New York you should call Trina and Jace, I'm sure they'd come down to see you."
"You're mad at me," he said. "I hate when you're mad."
"I'm not mad," she said and hugged him. "I'm disappointed. You should drive up to LA and surprise Anne tonight." He looked at her. "OK, no, don't do that, stay with me." He laughed.
"You're impossible Elisa," he shook his head.
"Hey baby," Bella said and crawled into bed with Gabriel. He looked at her. "I want to talk to you about something."
"You and Daddy had a fight on the phone today," Gabriel said. She sighed.
"Yeah, we did," she said, "Daddy really misses you. And I know you miss him, so we were thinking that you could go down to Washington for Christmas." Gabriel looked at her. "Now, you don't have to, me and Gordon really want to be with you on Christmas and so do Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt Eva and Uncle David, and everyone else,"
"Will you be mad if I go with Daddy?" He asked. She smiled.
"Not at all," she said.
"Good," he said. "Because you know Daddy's all by himself and you have Gordon and PJ and Grandma and Grandpa and Daddy just has me."
"You are the sweetest little boy in the world," she kissed him. "I love you. Now go to sleep."
"I love you too Mommy," she stood up and then walked into the hallway leaving the door open a crack. Gabriel lay in bed thinking. He liked his nice big room, in the new big house. But everything in his life and world had changed so quickly and it was a lot for his three and a half year old brain to process. He knew when he was a baby he lived in a town house with Daddy and Mommy and his grandparents. Then he lived in an apartment with Mommy and PJ, and then they moved here, and Mommy married Gordon and Daddy was far away and they talked on the phone a lot.
"Terry!" Carmen Mendoza raced out of her bedroom. Her boyfriend was sitting on the couch. "The script is amazing!"
"I know it is," he laughed. "I found it."
"But she's so dark and funny," she said, "I've never done anything like this." He nodded. "And they want me?"
"The director saw you in that stupid Public Theatre showcase you did and liked it," he shrugged. "He wants to meet you and unless you completely blow it with some hot shot star they want in the male lead it's yours."
"Who's the young hot shot?" She asked. Terry looked at her. "Tell me, I won't blow it."
"It's um, some TV actor," he shrugged, "don't worry about it." She looked at him.
"It's Cal, isn't it?" She said. He looked at her. "Do you care about that?"
"It's a great part," he said, "it could make you a huge star and," she looked at him.
"He's engaged, Terry," she shrugged. "And not a stupid Hollywood stay engaged forever engaged, real, true blue, Irish Catholic Midwest New England get married in June engaged, so if you're worried that a few sex scenes are going to send us running away together I think you're crazy." He laughed.
"I love you," he said. "And I'm not afraid that you're going to run away with Cal," she smiled. "I'm afraid that you'll say yes even if you're not sure to help him out."
"It would be a good part for him," she admitted. "It doesn't seem like the kind of thing he'd do though."
Elisa smiled walking back to the ZBZ house and stopped seeing someone sitting on the steps of the house.
"Is this one of your many admirers?" Hunter said. "As I understand it, you've been breaking hearts all over campus."
"Anne talks too much," she mumbled, "and probably not. I bet one of the other girls is getting pinned or something and this is what his," she stopped and so did Hunter. "Eddie?" Eddie Cole smiled and waved. She walked over and hugged him.
"Hey Ellie," he said. "Um, hi Hunter."
"I'm visiting, and we got dinner," Hunter said, "I'm in a serious relationship with Anne."
"Good to know," Eddie said.
"I'll just go in the house," Hunter said, "they let me sleep on the downstairs couch because Elisa is the most popular president in ZBZ history or something." She hit him as he walked past them.
"What are you doing here?" She asked. He shrugged. "Don't do that. Don't shrug, answer me!"
"I'm starting here, next semester, for my MBA," he shrugged.
"Here?" She said. He nodded. "USC?" He nodded again. "You're getting your MBA from USC?"
"You're a smart a girl, Elle," he laughed, "she should be grasping this much faster."
"But why didn't you tell me sooner?" She said.
"I wanted to surprise you," he said, "I'm looking at apartments before Christmas." She looked at him. "So you and Hunter are not together, he made that clear." She sighed. "You got President huh? That's like Bella level awesome, way to go."
"Eddie," she said, "just because you're here doesn't mean that we can just pick up where we left off," she crossed her arms. "It's been three years a lot of things have changed. I'm not little Ellie Riley holed up in the library anymore, I have a life here." He swallowed.
"I get that," he nodded, "but is it so bad that I want to be a part of that life?" She looked at him.
"Considering you didn't even want me to have it?" She said. He sighed. "Yeah, it kind of sucks for you to show up in it now."
"It was a stupid thing to ask," he admitted, "I was really afraid of losing you Ellie. And then I did, and I realized it was a good thing, we both needed to grow up and now we have." She sighed. "When I saw you at the wedding, I couldn't believe it Elle."
"You didn't ask me to dance," she said. "You didn't even have a drink with me as a matter of fact you didn't even talk to me."
"I went alone," he said. She swallowed, "because I remembered that the last time you and I were apart you didn't like it so much that I waited with someone else." She smiled. "I want you, I want us back." She kissed him.
"You should have asked me to dance," she said and walked inside.
Please review! Thanks