"Hannah," Charlie called out, "Have you finished cleaning up your toys?" She applied some lip gloss then checked her reflection in the mirror. The New Years' celebration was a couple hours away. This was the first time Charlie had left Hannah with a babysitter for anything other than work. She wore a two piece black cocktail number and felt really good in it. After one last check and no reply from Hannah Charlie exited her room and crossed the hall. She entered a sun yellow painted room directly across from hers. In there, Hannah sat on the floor absentmindedly playing with the new toys she had received less than a week before for Christmas. Between all her new uncles, aunts and "Grandpa" Brennan she had made out like a bandit. Uncle Johnny seemed especially into treating the little girl, saying it was his duty. If this was any indication of what future celebrations held Hannah was going to be one spoiled child.
Charlie drank the moment in. Hannah had come a long way since she had been brought to the hospital, when she first saw her. Her casts were off and physical therapy was going swimmingly. Judge Martinez had approved Charlie's request to begin the adoption the day before. Six more months and legally Hannah would be her daughter. Charlie couldn't wait for that day. All and all, life was turning out even better than she had dreamed. Who would have known that this is what Charlie needed seven months ago? "Hey, Sweetie," Charlie greeted.
The girl noticed Charlie was all dressed up. "You look pretty, Mommy," Hannah said. Charlie had to catch her breath. Did Hannah just say Mommy? Charlie couldn't quite believe her ears. Happy tears began to fall from her eyes. Hannah looked up at Charlie rather alarmed. "Did I do something wrong?" she asked.
Charlie smiled and wiped the wetness off of her face, "No, you just made me really happy, Sweetheart." She sat down beside Hannah..
Hannah smiled, "Can I call you Mommy then?"
"If that's what you want to call me," Charlie dropped a kiss on the crown of Hannah's head.
"Do you have to go to the party?" Hannah asked.
"My friend Angel will be with you all night," Charlie answered, "I will be back before you wake up tomorrow, I promise."
"Ok," Hannah said before turning back to her toys. The doorbell rang. "That must be Angel," Charlie pushed herself up to answer, "I'll be right back."
Abby laughed as Mike twirled her around the dance floor. She ended the song in her boyfriend's arms. They exited the dance floor and went to their table. Mike's phone beeped. He took it up and checked the message.
"Who's that?" Abby questioned.
"Grant- Piper had the baby," Mike answered.
"Isn't it a little soon?" she asked.
He shrugged his shoulders. "It sounds like the baby is doing fine," Mike turned the phone so Abby could see the message with the pic of the parents and new child. "Grant finally got Piper to agree to marriage counselling," Mike said, "From the looks of this, it's working."
"Another girl," Abby saw a pink blanket wrapped around the little bundle. He nodded. She read the caption, Jade Sarah Frisco. "Cute baby," Abby remarked.
"Ours will be cuter," Mike said. He clinked the phone down and slipped it back into his pocket signaling the end of that line of conversation. Mike didn't want to think about Grant or Piper tonight of all nights. He had plans. His mother and her husband flew over to spend the holidays for more than one reason. The second of which was burning a hole in Mike's pocket. "It's just about time for the countdown," Mike checked his watch.
"And fireworks," Abby grinned and raised a playful eyebrow.
"Sounds like someone would like to see those," he teased.
"Shall we?" Mike offered her his arm. She linked her arm in his. They stopped to get their coats. He helped Abby on with hers before heading to a balcony. Other people had gone outside in hopes of ringing in the New Year with a view of the fireworks. The couple was in their own little world as the crisp December air danced around them. They came up to the railing.
"It's a beautiful night," Abby remarked.
"I doesn't get much better than this," Mike agreed, "Being here with you."
"I'm just glad you made it back for Christmas," she said. He had worked two jobs since coming back from their vacation together.
"I couldn't miss your birthday, could I?" he leaned on the railing.
"I definitely would have missed you," Abby mirrored his body language.
"You know I love you, right?" Mike queried.
She nodded. "I love you too," Abby pronounced, "I can't imagine my life without you."
That was all the encouragement Mike needed. He brought a ring box out of his pocket and got down one knee. Mike opened the box and held it out to Abby. She took a step back and placed her hand on her chest. His ocean eyes grew big as saucers. He could feel his heart just about beat out of his chest. Mike had a whole speech planned, but in that moment there were only three words that he could make come out of his mouth, "Marry me, Abby."
"Yes! Yes!" Abby beamed, "A thousand times yes!" She held out her hand to Mike. He took the ring out of its box.
He slid the ring on her finger as the countdown began. The dainty pewter ring fit Abby's finger like it was made for her. "10… 9… 8… 7… 6…" Mike stood. Wrapping his arms around Abby he lifted Abby off of her feet. Abby threw her arms around Mike's neck in return. "5… 4… 3… 2… 1…" They kissed as a chorus of "Happy New Year!" rang out.
They went back into the ballroom and were greeted by four anxious sets of eyes. Brennan, Lauren, Rachel and Emmet stood huddled over by a table. Mike led Abby over to them. "She said yes!" he beamed.
Rachel stepped forward and hugged Abby, "Congratulations." She moved on and hugged her son too.
"I am so happy for you," Lauren took a turn hugging the newly engaged couple before stepping back beside Brennan. They looked sharp together all dressed up. The two had been dating rather quietly since Lauren's resignation went into effect. The official Christmas celebration marked their coming out to the public as a couple.
Not to be out done Brennan gave his daughter a kiss on the cheek, "My little girl is growing up."
Lucia and Charlie saw the commotion and rushed over with Johnny in tow. "What's going on?" Lucia asked.
"Mike asked me to marry him," Abby glowed.
"Congrats," Johnny gave Mike a one arm hugged.
"Let's see the ring," Charlie demanded.
"That's my line!" Lucia huffed. Abby lifted her hand to show off the new piece. A circular diamond with a flat circle of inlaid sapphires surrounding it.
"Wow," Lucia said.
"It's a family heirloom," Rachel said, "It's been in the family for almost 100 years."
"Really?" Abby had been so happy she hadn't paid much attention to the ring. Mike wanted to marry her- that was all that mattered. The fact that he trusted her with something so important to his family made it that much sweeter.
"Maybe you'll get to pass it down to your grandson someday," Rachel nudged.
"You're starting on that too?" Abby chuckled.
"Nothing is wrong with wanting your kids to have kids," Brennan crossed his arms over his chest.
"I already told her I'm aiming for six," Mike smirked.
Brennan's smile reached from ear to ear. He wrapped an arm around Mike's shoulders, "I knew I liked you." Mike laughed.
"It's been a wild ride," Lauren said.
"Indeed, I was so afraid I was going to lose my daughter, but she's still here and in the process I gained a second son- thank you for sharing Mike with us, Rachel," Brennan raised his glass to the woman he mentioned.
"Thank you for sharing Abby with my son and me," Rachel replied.
Mike and Abby locked eyes. True they may not have started under the best of circumstances, but the struggles made them strong. They knew they could handle anything life threw their way as long as they had each other.
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