A/N: Thank you to everyone who has left reviews on here and on twitter. Thank you to everyone who has PM'd me and for all of the favourite story and author adds. I have appreciated every single one of your comments on this and all of my other stories.
Thank you also to my wonderful friends Purdy's Pal, DaisyDay and JediSkysinger for being such great friends and for reading through parts of this final chapter for me.
Here's the final chapter. Thank you for staying with me throughout Caitlin and Meaghan's stories.
Madeline couldn't keep her eyes off of her youngest son, her smile slowly fading into one of annoyance. Shaking her head she sighed dramatically and shot him a hurt look, causing him to launch into a wave of apologies that so far were unable to placate her.
"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked huffily. "You—"
"Mom, I'm sorry there just wasn't any time…Mike called me and I came right away." Removing Fiona's arm from his he stepped closer to offer his mother one of the smiles that always seemed to disarm her and watched triumphantly as her eyes softened.
"Okay," she sighed, her voice lowering when Meaghan squealed in her arms.
"Hey," Nate grinned, his eyes watering with pride when he bent to place a kiss onto the top of his baby niece's head. "And how'd you get to be so big huh?"
"She's goin' ta eat real food soon Uncle Nate," Caitlin announced when she leant into her mother's side. Looking up at Fiona she smiled brightly. "It is soon isn' it mammy?"
"Yep," Fiona grinned. "Another few weeks and we'll try her on some baby rice."
Caitlin's smile melted away and she pulled a face that indicated her distaste. She didn't like to eat rice and to think that her baby sister had to eat it caused her to shake her head in disbelief.
"Bu' mammy, is she doesn' like it she'll never eat anythin'."
Her words brought a smile to Fiona's lips and she bent to place a kiss onto her hair before she stood back up and laid her hand on top of her head.
"It's not like the rice you don't like baby," she assured the little girl who wasn't so convinced. "And you can help convince her to try it because she does everything you want her to."
The little girl pondered on her words and slowly broke out into a smile. Nodding her head enthusiastically she sighed happily when her Uncle Nate turned his attention onto her. She watched him curiously when he stepped closer and reached down to grasp one of her hands in his before he lifted it to his lips to place a kiss onto her fingers.
"You get more beautiful every time I see you," he told her with an affectionate smile. "You look just like your mom."
Caitlin gasped and beamed him a bright smile as she grasped onto his hand. She looked up and glanced between her mother and Nate before she moved closer to wrap her arms around her uncle's waist.
"Are ya goin' ta stay fer longer this time?" she asked him with bright adoring eyes. "Daddy go' me some new books ta read."
Nate couldn't help but return her smile with a bright one of his own. He'd never really been a man who got on that well with children but the second he'd met this little girl she had shown him a side of himself that he'd never known existed. He'd been so shocked at first; his initial thought being one of disbelief until he'd seen his brother's interactions with his daughter. That disbelief had quickly turned into envy when he realised that his eldest brother had a family life that they had never had…
He stared down the phone in disbelief and for a few moments his mother's words wouldn't register. Michael and Fiona had a kid? When the heck had that happened? Why hadn't they told him sooner? Shaking his head he placed the phone back against his ear and tried to listen to what his mother was telling him but his mouth got ahead of his brain and stopped her mid sentence.
"So, you're telling me that Mike has a kid and no one thought to tell me?"
"That's what I'm trying to tell you honey, no one knew, not even Michael—"
"What?" he asked, his voice loaded with disbelief. "How could he not know? Fiona's tiny but even I would notice she was pregnant!"
"Listen, stop asking questions and just come home. I promise we'll explain everything when you get here, okay."
Shaking his head in disbelief he sighed heavily and found himself agreeing even though he had no idea what to expect. He was still in shock when he closed the phone and slumped down into a chair. His brother was a dad? Wow…
He was still trying to think of some kind of explanation when he got off the plane the next day, but when he found Michael waiting for him he wasn't prepared to see a little girl clinging onto his hand either.
His mouth dropped open and he stared at his brother who was already walking towards him with a look in his eyes that he'd never seen before. Nate could already see a change in his older brother; there was something about him that made him seem more mature…more…human…
"Nate," Michael grinned when he led the little girl towards him only to stop when they were face to face. Glancing down to the child at his side, he indicated his brother to follow his eyes. "Nate this is Caitlin, my daughter."
Nate's lips lifted into a grin but the second he looked down at the child who was gazing up at him with Michael's eyes, he knew that everything their mother had told him was true. He opened his mouth to speak but no words would come out, so he settled for a cautious smile and held out his hand for hers.
"Are ya me Uncle Nate?" she asked, her bright eyes capturing his gaze.
Nate nodded vigorously and realised that he was being obtuse. This little girl was gazing up at him so innocently and he couldn't even string a sentence together. Realising how odd he must look to her he shook his head in amusement and broke out into a wide grin.
"Hi," he told her brightly. "I sure am."
"Yer daddy's brother?" Letting go of her father's hand she stepped forward, wrapping her fingers around his. She turned back around while she clung to his hand only to reach out to her father and grab his hand again so that she was sandwiched in between them.
Nate looked across at Michael who shrugged happily when Caitlin began to chatter non stop about her new school and their new house.
"So," Nate grinned when he looked across at his brother. "Any more surprises I should know about?"
Michael's eyes sparked with warmth when he regarded his brother affectionately as they made their way towards the Charger.
"Uncle Nate…" Caitlin asked again, her voice bringing him back to the present. "Are ya goin' ta stay fer longer?"
The love in her eyes had always been able to unhinge him and this time it was no different. Bending down he scooped her up to hold her against his hip so that he could cover her face in wet sloppy kisses, delighting in her squeals of laughter. When he pulled away he placed her back onto the floor and kept a hold of her hand.
"I'll stay for a while honey," he told her happily when he glanced back up towards his soon to be official sister-in-law. "Are you ready?"
Inside the chapel Michael waited and nervously fiddled with the edge of his jacket. Sam watched him as he rocked back and forth on his heels and placed his hand on his shoulder to keep him still. He could count on one hand the amount of times he had seen his friend like this, but he had to admit that he was a little nervous himself, even though his two friends had been unofficially devoted to each other for so many years.
"Mike," he urged. "Would you calm down, she'll be here."
Michael raised his eyes to look over at his friend and sighed apologetically, "Sorry."
"Look, go and sit down. I'll go and see what's holding them up."
"Yeah," he breathed, nodding his head as he looked towards the front of the chapel one more time before he turned away again. "Okay."
Sam chuckled to himself; he'd never seen Michael this nervous before. Shaking his head he began to walk away towards the entrance to see what was taking the wedding party so long, but he stopped in his tracks when he caught sight of the radiant bride. Letting out an appreciative whistle he grinned happily when his actions earned him a disapproving tut from Michael's mother.
"Fi, you look…" he words died away and he felt his mouth grow dry when he tried to think of a compliment that didn't make him sound like a hormonal teenager, but luckily for him his salvation came in the form a five year old who stood before him and did a full spin to show off her dress.
"Uncle Sam do ya like me dress?"
Sam's eyes slipped down to her and he immediately felt his heart melt. Nodding his head his face lit up with a wide grin when he dropped to one knee and pulled her in for a tight hug.
"You look beautiful honey," he told her as he released her to move backwards and get back to his feet. "Just like a princess."
Caitlin beamed him a smile and grabbed hold of his hand, bouncing up and down on the spot.
"Your dad's inside honey, in fact he'll feel a lot better when he sees all of you."
"Is Michael okay?" Fiona asked him worriedly when she repositioned her small bouquet. "Is—"
"Honestly Fi, you're as bad as he is!" Sam scoffed. "He's fine, he just wants to get started so…"
"Okay," nodding her head dramatically Fiona nudged Nate and offered him a smile. "Let's do this."
Sam nodded and released Caitlin's hand and tapped her on the nose affectionately before he turned away to retreat back inside the chapel.
Nate watched his retreating form and turned towards Fiona. He couldn't remember a time when he'd felt this amount of emotion all in one moment. "You make my brother happy."
"He makes me happy too," she smiled as she placed her hand into the crook of his arm.
"Okay, let's go inside," Madeline told them officiously when she reached down to usher Caitlin inside the church. "Are you ready sweetheart?"
Caitlin nodded emphatically and held her small posy in both hands before she glanced behind her to make sure her mother and Nate were following.
Inside the chapel Sam came to stand beside Michael, a huge grin on his face "Man you are gonna be blown away, Fi looks great."
Michael's head turned towards the doors and swallowed heavily when he saw first his mother holding Meaghan, and then Caitlin walk in. He felt his mouth grow dry when he saw the vision that followed behind them just a few seconds later. Michael's heart almost stopped at the sight of Fiona, she had always had the power to take his breath away and this time was no different. The white dress she wore clung to her slender waist and fell down to her feet in a pool of silk. He never thought it would have been possible for her to stop his heart, but she had.
His eyes followed her as she came to stand beside him, falling in love with her all over again in one precious moment. Taking hold of her hand he lifted it to his lips to press a kiss onto her fingers before his eyes moved to hers.
"You look beautiful," he whispered softly, lowering her hand only to keep hold of her fingers.
Meaghan's babbling took their attention away from each other and they turned towards the minister who stood in front of them, casting both of them a bright smile. He regarded the couple standing before him and he knew instantly that these two people were destined to be together for a lifetime. Nodding his head he smiled down at Fiona before he addressed the small group that were gathered behind her.
"Michael and Fiona wanted you all to be here to share their special day," he spoke, his voice echoing around the small chapel. "We are all here to witness the love of two people who have chosen to enter into a life of love and commitment, pledging themselves in mind, body and soul."
Michael glanced across to Fiona and smiled adoringly as the sounds around them faded away to leave only them. He could hear the minister speaking, his words of devotion falling around them as he found himself whispering in acknowledgement when the minister asked him if he promised to love Fiona and no other for as long as he lived.
Turning his head towards the minister he nodded and returned his eyes to Fiona, his lips merging into a smile when he whispered, "I will."
Fiona smiled up at him, the warm blush on her cheeks merging with the love in her eyes when she repeated those same words back to Michael without taking her eyes off of him. With her promise spoken aloud she squeezed his fingers in a silent acknowledgement, one that only the two of them had only ever known…she loved him so much, she always had.
When Sam stepped forward with their wedding rings she found her eyes drawn to the familiar gold bands, only this time they were for real. She watched mesmerised as Michael spoke soft words to her before he slipped the gold band onto her finger, sealing his devotion to her in one small movement. For a few moments she was transfixed with the gold band adorning her finger, it wasn't that different from the previous ring that she had worn for over a year, but this…this one was special…forever.
Lifting her gaze up to his she offered him a watery smile, one that spoke volumes. Her eyes melted into his when she took the larger gold band and spoke of her love for him and no other as she watched the golden wedding ring move over his finger and slide down into place. This felt right, so perfect…they were one, together, solidified into a commitment that bound them together forever.
Their eyes met once again, holding each other's gaze in total devotion. They had always been destined for this moment, ever since that first day back in Ireland when their eyes had met for the very first time. Fiona could feel her heart swell with love, and not just for him but for their daughters and the family she held around her. She finally had what she'd always wanted.
Squeezing her fingers, Michael grinned down at her when she seemed to be drifting off into her memories. He knew what she was feeling because he felt it too. There had been a shift in the world tonight. Michael Westen had publicly declared his love and devotion to Fiona Glenanne…and the world didn't end.
Fiona blushed beneath his scrutiny, and in that one moment she felt like she was the most important woman in the whole world. She didn't think she would ever forget the emotions of this day and when the minister's voice broke through her thoughts she tore her eyes away from Michael and tried to focus on the man who stood before them.
"You have declared your love for one another before god," he told them, his kind eyes growing so much brighter. "It gives me great pleasure to pronounce you as husband and wife…and you can now kiss your bride."
Fiona turned back to gaze up at the man she loved, the warm smile melting away when he descended closer to press his lips to hers, holding them together for what seemed like an eternity. Stepping closer she melted into him and fell into the kiss, keeping it loving and chaste until she reluctantly pulled away to smile up at him.
A sniffle behind them caused Fiona to turn her head to focus on Madeline who was dabbing her eyes with a tissue. The older woman cast her an adoring smile and didn't even try to hide the happy tears that rolled down her cheeks.
Beside her Nate clutched Meaghan to his chest and looked every part the doting uncle as he gazed down at her pulling every kind of face he could think of to make her smile. The more she giggled the more he did it and for a moment Fiona was just content to bask in the love that surrounded her. Michael's soft voice brought her eyes back to him and he nodded towards the minister who indicated for them to follow him so that they could both sign the register.
Caitlin watched them walk away and leant into her grandmother's side. She lifted her eyes to look up at the older woman and instantly gasped in a worried breath until Madeline pulled her into a tight embrace.
"I'm okay sweetheart," she told her through a thick voice. "I'm just happy."
Caitlin clung on tight and slowly started to pull away when she heard her mother's voice as they came back into the chapel. Lifting her free hand to Madeline's face she wiped the wetness away from her cheeks before she kissed her.
"Daddy an' Mammy a comin' back."
"Thank you sweetheart," Madeline chuckled as she pulled the little girl against her so that she could plant a kiss on top of her head, nestling against her until Michael and Fiona came to the stand before them.
Sam surged forward and shook Michael's hand before pulling him into an awkward hug. His wide grin didn't fall away when he slapped Michael on the back joyously before he moved towards Fiona to gather her up into a tight embrace that left her gasping for breath. When he finally released her he stepped back only long enough to let her catch her breath before he surged forward again and placed a kiss onto her cheek.
"Congratulations," he beamed, unable to hide the adoration in his eyes. "It's about time!"
"Yeah bro, you finally made Fi into a Westen," Nate teased, his grin widening when he saw the look his brother gave him. "I'm just sayin'!"
Michael shook his head in amusement before he offered Fiona his arm. The moment she linked her arm with his he winked down at his eldest daughter and watched as her face blossomed into one big smile when he indicated for her to lead them out of the chapel.
Nodding her head Caitlin jumped down to place both feet on the floor and held on tight to her small posy before she pulled her grandmother to her feet.
"Come on nana," she beamed. "Ya can walk wit' me."
"Thank you sweetheart," Madeline gushed happily as she took her hand and allowed her to lead her and the others out of the small chapel and back into the warm sunshine.
The private room Sam had arranged for all of them was set out with white decorations and silver balloons. There was one big table in the middle of the room with a three tier wedding cake in the centre, the lavish decorative icing dominating the cake.
Fiona looked over the room with a wistful smile. Everything felt so surreal and she hoped that this wasn't all just a wonderful dream that she would wake up from at any moment. Moving towards the table she regarded the wedding cake with a mixture of awe and disbelief. The whole thing screamed Barry and before she could open her mouth to ask Madeline if her suspicions were correct, the man in question appeared out of nowhere.
"Fiona," he gasped when he saw her, his eyes almost popping out of his head. "You look…"
"Thanks," she nodded, blushing slightly beneath his scrutiny. She motioned towards the decorations and the large cake in the centre of the table. "This is too much…you shouldn't have."
"I should and I did," Barry grinned. "You and Mike are my friends so…"
Holding up her hand to silence him Fiona offered him another smile and let her eyes wander around the decorated room. Barry was annoying but at times he could be so incredibly sweet. Her lips lifted into a bright smile when she saw her eldest daughter come into the room and gasp when she saw all the decorations. Glancing back at Barry she nodded her thanks before she watched Caitlin's mouth drop open in awe.
Caitlin's eyes grew wide when she looked around the room in wonder. Letting go of Madeline's hand she moved towards the table and wandered around it. Gasping in a breath she looked behind her and ran towards her father who scooped her up and held her against his hip.
"Thare's balloons," she gasped. "Ca' we take some home?"
"I don't see why not," Michael told her softly as he kissed the top of her head. "Maybe we'll sneak some of them out with your grandma."
"Daaddddyyy," Caitlin shook her head and grinned up at him. "It's nana…no' grandma…nana said she doesn' sit in a rockin' chair yet!"
"Okay…okay," he chuckled. "Nana then…better?"
The smile she offered him was enough to make his breath catch in his throat. There were times when she looked so much like her mother it was scary. She had the same pout, the same smile and she knew exactly how to get just what she wanted by batting her eye lashes at him…yep, she was definitely like her mother.
"Do ya like me dress?" she asked him before he could place her back onto the floor. "Mammy got one fer me and one fer Meaghan."
"You look beautiful honey," he told her, kissing her head again. He didn't know if he would ever be able to let her go…ever… "All of you do."
Michael couldn't seem to stop smiling. Looking at his daughter he felt himself melting a little when she gazed up at him with bright, doting eyes. Two years ago he had been driven by his insatiable desire to discover who had burned him. He'd wanted to make that person pay as well as get back into the CIA and he'd hurt Fiona in his quest for vengeance…but she had believed in him enough to stay by his side until that awful day when he'd lashed out and hit her to retain his cover.
That day he'd known all too well what it had been like to live his life without Fiona and he hadn't been prepared for how much it had hurt. When she'd walked out of the loft and not looked back when he'd called her name, he'd felt his heart sink inside his chest. He hadn't realised the full extent of loss until she'd come to him one morning while he was reminiscing over a pile of photographs.
He'd thought the loss would become so unbearable but thanks to Thomas O'Neil the freedom to return to Ireland had all but been taken away from her and even though he hadn't said anything to her at the time, he had been secretly glad. So much so that he'd tried harder to show her how much he loved her, even though he'd never been able to tell her the words. He'd thought he was incapable of speaking them aloud, that his childhood had stunted that part of him…but then Caitlin came into his life.
"Nana said you an' mammy are ya goin' ta stay here tonight… Are ya?" Caitlin asked him softly as she fiddled with his tie. "Do me an' Meaghan have ta stay wit' har?"
Her words caused him to gasp in a breath and despite the happiness of the day he was forced to remember that his children, especially Caitlin, hadn't recovered from Marie and her attempts to rip his family apart. Inclining his head forward he nestled his lips against her temple and moved across to the one of the chairs to pull it out so that he could sit them both down.
"We're only going to be away from you and Meaghan for one night," he told her reassuringly, peppering kisses into her hair. "Sam will be with you at our house, but me and mommy will be home really early."
Caitlin thought about his words carefully before she slowly nodded and buried her head beneath his chin.
"Do ya promise not ta stay away fer too long?"
Michael closed his eyes and tugged her tighter as he fought to decide whether spending their wedding night away from their girls was really the best idea. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn't see his brother moving closer to pull out the chair beside him to sit down.
"Hey," he grinned when Caitlin looked up at him. "Your nana's asking for ya."
The little girl regarded him for a short moment before she broke out into a smile and turned to place a kiss onto her father's cheek.
"Nana wan's me," she told him happily. "I'll ask har if we can take some balloons home."
Michael nodded, his lips merging into a smile when she climbed down from his lap and ran over towards his mother who was standing beside Fiona. He watched silently as Fiona's gaze lifted from her daughter to look over at him. He knew her well enough to know that she was having the same doubts that he was but when she smiled and reached out to take Meaghan from Sam he turned his attention back towards his brother.
"So," Nate grinned. "Look at you all married now…I've gotta hand it to you bro, you surprised me and mom today."
"Huh?" shaking his head, Michael watched him in confusion. "How?"
"Marriage? You and Fi?" shaking his head Nate chuckled behind his hand before he affectionately slapped his brother on the arm. "We're both real proud of ya."
"Hey Mikey," Sam called out before he could answer. "Get your butt over here and grab a beer…we're celebratin' here."
Nate grinned and stood up from his seat only to pull his brother up with him. His eyes lit up with pride when he saw how his older brother's gaze was fixed on his wife and little girls and for a moment that pride flashed into envy, but it was only fleeting and passed before he could even acknowledge it.
"Mom told me what happened with Fiona's family," Nate told Michael's softly as he laid a hand on his shoulder. "I just wanted you to know that I won't let anything happen to your girls Mike…you can count on me."
Michael regarded his brother fondly before he nodded his thanks. Maybe he and Fiona could have their night away after all, especially with Sam and Nate playing bodyguard.
"Thanks Nate. We both appreciate it."
"Hey, we're family," Nate grinned as he turned to leave his brother behind as he made his way back towards his mother.
Michael watched him leave and diverted his gaze onto the woman he loved. At some point he would have to tell her that Marie and O'Neil were gone. It was finally over and from this moment on they could live their lives without waiting for the next big disaster to strike. This was how their story was supposed to end, he knew that now. They had the house, the kids and each other, and when he glanced around to all of the people who had become his family he knew they were going to have their happy life after all…
"Michael will you please stop pacing, she'll be home any minute," Fiona sighed when she watched her husband turn away from her to look out of the window again.
"It's her first date," he grumbled when he looked down at his watch. "And her last if she's not back in exactly two minutes."
Shaking her head, Fiona got up from the couch and moved towards him and wrapped her arms around him from behind. She knew he wasn't handing Caitlin's growing up too well, and Sam wasn't coping much better either.
"She's still your little girl," she offered softly as she placed a kiss in between his shoulder blades. "You're still the most important man in her life."
Michael sighed heavily and enclosed his hands over hers, holding them against his chest. He just couldn't help it, he'd watched Caitlin grow from his little girl into a beautiful young woman and on more than one occasion he'd fended off every one of her would be suitors before they could even ask her out on a date. So when she had come home and announced that she had a date for the prom he'd been filled with dread.
"She'll be fine," Fiona reassured him. "Do you remember our first real date?"
Michael's eyes closed with the memory of how they'd escaped from Fiona's brothers when they'd both disappeared into a pub and managed to dance and drink all night without getting any bother from the Glenanne clan.
They had left the pub in the early hours only to end up in Fiona's tiny flat where there were no prying eyes…
They swayed in time with the music, their bodies moulded together as they danced. Fiona's head lifted up to come in direct contact with his eyes. They were hurtling towards a night of passion, he could already feel the stirring of passion deep within him and when her eyes met his he found himself caught in the snare of her gaze.
"Michael…" she whispered, her voice an intoxicating hum as she gazed into the depths of his eyes. "Ca' ya stay?"
His mind screamed at him to make some kind of response, but he seemed to have lost all power of speech. Swallowing hard he thought about what she had just asked him and once again found his whole body on high alert. How could he tell her that her words had caused his whole body to burn with want for her? Closing his eyes briefly, he opened them again to gaze into hers, this time offering her a tiny smile.
"Do you really wan' me ta stay?"
"Michael…" she spoke his name, her voice breaking into a trembling whisper as she closed the short distance between them to place a soft kiss on the corner of his lips.
They remained in the same position for what seemed like an eternity just drawing on the strength of their feelings for each other. Unable to take the strain on his heart any longer, Michael slid his hands over her arms to pull her tighter against him and felt her shudder against him. Inclining his head he met her lips with a soft touch of his own, igniting the simmering spark between them into a full burst of heated flame.
The invisible wall crashed down between them as their mouths collided in a kiss bordering on desperation as they both sought to leave the months of frustration behind them.
Pulling back suddenly, Fiona stared into his eyes with utter shock. He knew by the smouldering desire in her eyes that she had felt the surge of passion too, and for the first time he finally understood what it was like to feel real heat… real desire.
"Fiona," he whispered softly as he leant towards her again, collecting another kiss, this time taking his time to savour her.
He was lost, completely lost. The swell of undying passion for her washed over his body as he felt her sink into his chest, returning his kiss with the same amount of adoration that he poured into hers.
When their need for breath became all too urgent, they pulled apart slowly, their lips still joined with tiny lingering kisses. Breaking his lips from hers, Michael stepped closer to wrap his arms around her body, pulling her to him in a desperate embrace. For the first time he knew what it felt like to be wanted and he didn't think he could ever give up this feeling. For the first time in many, many years his mind was clear.
Drawing away from her, he lifted his head so that he could gaze down into the sanctuary of her eyes. Lifting a hand he traced his fingers over her face lovingly and when her eyes fluttered closed in compete abandonment, he thought his heart might just burst with all these newly discovered feelings. Smiling down at her again, he leaned forward to place a soft kiss on her forehead, his lips lingering over her skin.
"I'll stay," he whispered as his lips dropped to her throat, kissing his way over her soft skin. "Fi…"
When she stepped away from him his eyes flared with worry that all too soon dissipated when she stood back to unclasp the buttons on her shirt one by one until she stood semi naked before him. His eyes burned with desire and his body led him forward when he took hold of her offered hand and allowed her to lead him into her bedroom…
"You're thinking of our first night together," Fiona chuckled as she tugged him back tighter against her chest. "Did you know I planned to have my way with you?"
"You did?" Turning in her arms Michael looked down at her with wide eyes and watched in awe as she transformed into the woman he had met all those years ago. "So you led us back to your flat…"
"Yep," she grinned. "I wanted you…and I know you wanted me too…"
"I did," he hummed as he slipped his arms over her lower back to hold her against him to sway in time with music only they could hear.
"I loved you even then," she smiled. "I knew from that first moment…"
Lowering his head Michael caught her lips with his own, kissing her with as much love as he had the first time they had kissed. She sighed into his mouth, the small sound igniting the fire that still burned between them and he lost himself in her.
"Not again…Will you two just get a room…"
The voice coming from one of the bedrooms pulled them apart and they both turned to see Meaghan looking at them with distaste.
"Very funny," Fiona told her with a smile as she clasped onto Michael's hand, squeezing it once before she released him and moved towards their youngest daughter. "What are you doing up?"
"I…" Meaghan opened her mouth to make up some kind of excuse but she knew that her mother could see right through her. "Is Cate home yet?"
"No baby, she'll be home soon," Fiona told her as she held out her hand. "Come on, I'll make you some cocoa."
"Mom I'm thirteen—"
"So now you're too old for hugs and cocoa?" Fiona asked, disappointment flaring in her eyes. "Meggie…"
"It's okay mom," Meaghan grinned as she stepped forward to engulf her mother into a tight embrace. "Cocoa sounds good."
Michael shook his head and wondered how Fiona could be so calm. He couldn't settle and found himself returning to the window once more as he pulled the blind open so that he could watch for any signs of his eldest daughter's return. The longer he looked the slower the time seemed to go and he found himself getting more and more agitated. Glancing down at his watch once more he debated on calling Sam to join him in going down to the school to barge inside and demand to know where his little girl was, but he abandoned that thought the second a cars headlights highlighted the room.
Breathing out a sigh of relief he stepped back from the window and shot a grin towards his wife and daughter, "She's back."
"Mom, is daddy going to be this unbearable when I go out on a date?"
Michael shot around and glared at Meaghan, his eyes narrowing as he shook his head. "Oh no, you're never going to date, ever…"
Meaghan flashed him a grin and took the mug of cocoa that her mother passed her and lifted it to her lips. She knew her father was worrying over nothing, she had no interest in boys and she wasn't ever going to go all gooey eyed like her big sister had.
"I'm never going to date daddy," she told him as she watched him pacing just behind the door. "Boys are stupid."
"You won't say that when a boy catches your eye," Fiona told her with a smile. "That's how I knew your dad was the man for me."
The front door opened and Meaghan's words dropped away as she banged her mug onto the counter before she raced around the side to slam into her sister's side. Michael hadn't even had a chance to ask her if she planned on seeing her date again before his two girls hugged each other and started talking so fast that he couldn't get a word in edge ways.
"So did you kiss him?" Meaghan gushed when she fell onto the couch beside her sister and snuggled into her side. "Did you dance all night?"
Coming into the family room Fiona shot her youngest daughter an amused smile when she kept asking so many questions. For someone who said they had no interest in boys, the thirteen year old wanted to know every detail.
Caitlin laughed and wrapped her arms around her sister and pulled her tightly against her before she loosened her hold.
"We danced," Caitlin sighed dreamily. "He stayed with me and he didn't leave me to goof around with his friends like Wendy Brand's date did."
"Oh nooo," Meaghan gasped dramatically, "did she freak?"
Caitlin turned to her baby sister and broke out into a wide grin when she nodded emphatically, causing the younger Westen to throw her arms up triumphantly.
"Good, she deserved it for being such a bi—"
"Meaghan," moving closer Michael looked down at his youngest daughter and shot her a stern gaze before she sighed heavily and shrugged her shoulders.
"Well she is," she insisted. "She's always bragging about everything."
"It's okay Megs," Caitlin grinned when she urged her baby sister to leave her side. "If you want to sleep in my room tonight I'll tell you all about her."
Meaghan gasped and jumped off of the couch before she surged forward again to hug her sister. "Awesome…"
Caitlin watched Meaghan move towards their mother for a brief hug and then race towards their father, her arms enclosing around him before she pulled back to kiss his cheek.
"Night daddy," she grinned as she turned towards her sister. "I'll meet you in your room."
The second she disappeared, Caitlin sat forward and slipped the shoes from her feet and breathed a sigh of relief when she massaged her toes. As soon as the feeling started to return to her feet she smiled up at her parents.
Fiona moved towards her and sat on the arm of the couch, carefully helping Caitlin to remove all of the clips out of her hair.
"So," she asked curiously. "Did you have fun tonight?"
"I did," Caitlin told her, her eyes sparking with delight when she began recounting the events of the evening, only stopping when she watched her father growing paler by the second. Turning towards her mother, Caitlin leaned closer to kiss her cheek before she drew her into a long hug.
"I'm going to head to bed," Fiona told her softly, her lips lifting into a smile. "I'm so happy for you baby."
"Thanks mom…tell Megs I'll be in soon."
Nodding, Fiona ran her fingers across her daughter's cheek before she moved away and looked towards her husband. Making her way towards him she reached for his hand and squeezed his fingers before she turned away from the two of them and started towards her bedroom.
When she had gone Caitlin got up from the couch and walked towards her father with a determined smile. Despite his worries she knew he had her best interest at heart and when she moved her arms around him to hold him tight she heard him release the sigh he'd been holding.
"I love you daddy," she whispered softly when she pulled away to gaze up into his eyes. "Thanks for not giving David a hard time."
"So, you'll be seeing your date again?" he asked, trying to keep his voice devoid of emotion but failing miserably.
Caitlin grinned up at him and shook her head as she moved closer to him again, collecting another hug as she nestled herself against him. "I don't think so."
Michael felt his heart lurch inside his chest and he couldn't understand how he had felt so devastated when his daughter had gone out on her date, and now he was angry that the guy wasn't going to take her out again. What in the world was wrong with him, shouldn't he be elated.
"No," she told him with a warm smile. "David is a friend, that's all…"
"And you're okay with that?" he asked in confusion. When had his daughter become so wise?
"Goodnight daddy," Caitlin grinned, kissing his cheek once more before she took a step away and retreated back towards her room.
When he hadn't joined her in bed half an hour later, Fiona ventured out into the hallway and stuck her head around the door of Caitlin's room. Her heart surged inside her chest when she saw her two precious daughters snuggled together on top of Caitlin's bed. For a few moments she found herself transformed back to a few years ago when she often found the two of them asleep together.
Michael moved up behind her and laid a hand on her shoulder as he leaned closer to kiss her head. His eyes followed hers and he released a heavy sigh against her hair.
"Remember when we used to find them like this all the time?"
"I remember," Fiona sighed. "They've always been so close...even when they were babies."
Tearing his eyes away from his sleeping daughters he took a step backwards and tugged her back with him. Pulling Caitlin's door closed he took hold of Fiona's hand and led her back towards their own room, clicking lights off along the way. It had been a wild ride over these past few years and they had stayed solid and together throughout it all. Colleen Glenanne was still alive and she had rebuilt a relationship of sorts with Fiona. After Marie had died they hadn't heard from Patrick or either of the O'Neil's again so they had all settled into a peaceful life again.
Clicking off the last light Michael led the woman he loved back into their room and gazed over her soft features that were all the more beautiful in the moonlight.
"I love you," he told her softly, knowing that he didn't say those words as often as he should. "I always have."
Fiona smiled as she grasped his hand to give him a gentle tug towards the large bed in the centre of the room. For all of the years they had been together she knew she would never grow tired of him saying those words. Pushing him down onto the bed she hovered beside him before she moved closer to crawl her way up his body.
"Show me," she whispered seductively, the glint in her eyes visible in the dim light as she lowered her head to seal their lips together in a kiss to rival their first…and as their sighs mingled with the silence in the room, they declared their love for each other all over again…content on the knowledge that they were all free…
Thank you for reading