Seriously, I have had so much fun writing this. I'm actually sorry to see it end.
This one is dedicated to Mari. I hope you like your birthday fic even though it turned out to be nothing at all like what it started out as. You're the best writing partner a person could ask for and I can't wait to get started on our next one!
To everyone who reviewed this-THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Your thoughts and words are very much appreciated.
To all the Twitter folks who have passed messages through Mari-you guys are the best!
Academy of the Sacred Heart
The most immediate effect, and also the most welcome one, of the ear splitting sound that flooded the auditorium as Fernandez said 'down' for the third time was that it momentarily stunned and immobilized the hostage takers. The 10 seconds it took for them to realize what was happening was all the time Steve and the team needed to get in position to take them down.
The man who had remained in the rear of the auditorium during the entire ordeal was the first to die. He was standing with his back to the doors, watching Barnes and Tomas on the stage attempt to connect what they believed was going to be a call from Leon Kimble, when four members of Grover's SWAT team burst in. He managed to turn and raise his gun to waist level before one of the men took him out with a single shot to the head.
Those four men then continued down the center aisle, prepared to offer cover fire for the hostages, who were all laying face down on the floor, if necessary.
Grover and Chin came through the door on the right hand side of the stage. Wilson, disoriented by the sound, stumbled towards them. His lurching movement made it impossible to set up a single shot but the fact that he was on the raised stage allowed them to take multiple shots without endangering the hostages. After a short volley he fell off the edge of the platform at their feet. Dead.
Steve and Danny came in through the door on the left. They predicted that both Barnes and Tomas would be on the apron of the stage, waiting for the phone call from Kimble to be connected, and they were right. The two remaining hostage takers instinctively began moving towards the only door in the room that led to the outside. When they spotted Steve and Danny they raised their guns but were taken out by two short bursts of gunfire before they could get off a shot of their own.
In less than 30 seconds all four hostage takers were dead on the floor.
The team members checked the downed men for any sign of a pulse and found none. They kicked away the men's weapons and gave the all clear signal.
Immediately they began lifting the hostages up and carrying them to safety out the door on the left. The high decibel sound in the room rendered anyone without ear protection dizzy, disoriented and struggling to get their bearings.
The objective was to get everyone out as quickly as possible so the bomb squad could do their work. The eight team members began lifting the hostages one at a time, carrying them to the grounds outside and passing them off to waiting HPD officers who then transported them to the far end of parking lot that took up much of the area on that side of the school.
Catherine and Samantha, because of their close proximity to the bomb, were among the last people cleared from the room. Catherine felt a pair of strong arms grab her from behind and lift her effortlessly into the air. Instinctively she reached for Samantha but felt her being pulled away by another set of arms.
Seconds later, although she still had her eyes closed against the nausea and headache that were threatening to overwhelm her; she could smell the fresh air and knew that she was outside. She found herself being effortlessly passed off to another set of arms. She attempted to open her eyes but the sensation that the entire world was spinning like a top forced her to close them again to avoid throwing up.
The ear splitting sound began to fade as her rescuer carried her farther away from the building and next thing she knew she was being placed gently on the blacktop. She immediately attempted to stand but couldn't get her balance and slid back to the ground.
She laid flat but the spinning got worse so she sat up. She took a few deep breaths and attempted to stand, once again with no luck.
She finally came to rest on all fours, eyes closed, breathing deeply and waiting for her equilibrium to return. She could hear people moving around her, and assorted voices telling her to just stay on the ground.
But she couldn't wait. She was desperate to get her eyes open and count.
There were 33 hostages left in the room when the rescue attempt got underway.
She couldn't relax until she knew all 33 were safe.
She struggled once again to get to her feet but this time as she stumbled backward she felt strong, steady hands on her elbows, helping her up and providing the balance assistance she needed.
"Catherine. Catherine." A voice was making its way past the ringing in her ears.
"Danny?" She grabbed his forearms.
"Yeah, it's me. Listen, you need to just stay still….the sound is messing with your balance….."
She interrupted him. "Is everyone ok? Did all the hostages get out?"
"Yes, Cath. Everybody got out," he assured her.
"Is Grace ok?" She stumbled a little to the left but Danny held on and kept her upright.
"She's fine. She's safe. She's with Kamekona."
"Thank God. Are you sure all the hostages got out? There were 33. Did 33 people get out?"
"Did you count?"
"I just finished counting," a different voice said. "There are 33. Everyone made it out."
"Steve?" She turned towards his voice, swaying immediately from the movement. As she struggled to keep her footing she felt his strong arms slide around her. Those arms that she would know anywhere. She grabbed two fistfuls of his shirt and buried her face in his chest. Immediately she felt anchored.
"You're ok. I got ya. Just keep your eyes closed and wait for the dizziness to pass," he said soothingly in her ear, providing exactly the steadiness she needed.
She leaned her head against his shoulder and allowed him hold her up. "I knew you'd get everybody out."
"I knew you'd give me everything I needed to make it happen," he said as he kissed her on the side of the head.
Suddenly the noise from the auditorium stopped.
"Did I go deaf or did the jamming stop?" Catherine asked.
"It stopped," Steve laughed. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I just spent an hour on one those..." Catherine made a circle in the air with her hand, "….spinny things….you know what I mean…."
"Ferris wheel?" Steve asked.
"No, the other one."
"Merry Go Round," Danny offered helpfully.
"Right. That's it. Merry Go Round. Except one that was running at about 100 times the normal speed."
Steve put his hand on the back of her head. "Just ride it out."
"The bomb is disarmed Commander McGarrett," one of the bomb techs said as he approached Steve and Catherine. "We're gonna wait till the area is completely cleared before we take it out, just because of the cyanide gas canisters, but it's stable for now."
"Thanks," Steve said without releasing his grip on Catherine. "Talk to Sergeant Lukela about clearing the area so you can finish up."
"I'll do that, Sir. Thank you."
"Hey," the young bomb tech turned back around at the sound of Steve's voice. Steve glanced as his name badge "Barnhart is it?"
"You did a great job in there today. Thanks."
The young bomb tech beamed. "Thank you, Sir," he said before he turned and walked away.
"Feeling any better," Steve asked as he looked around and saw the other former hostages, now reunited with their very thankful family members, going through the same process Catherine was.
"I don't feel like I want to vomit as much anymore," Catherine said.
"Well that's a step in the right direction," he said, then kissed the top of her head.
Academy of the Sacred Heart
"It's ok. Everything's gonna be ok. You're gonna be ok," Grover repeated as he continued to hold Samantha in a bear hug. They'd been standing in that exact position for at least 15 minutes while the relieved father repeated the same words over and over, as much to comfort himself as to comfort Samantha. "It'll just take a few more minutes for the dizziness to wear off."
"Daddy," Samantha mumbled against his chest.
"Yes, baby, what is it?"
"You're smushing me."
"Oh sorry." He loosened his hold on her but still didn't let her out of the circle of his arms.
"It's ok, I just couldn't really breathe."
"Are you sure you're ok? You're not hurt?" He looked her over for the 10th time since they were reunited in the parking lot.
"I'm fine, Daddy. I promise. Is everyone else ok?"
"I'm pretty sure," he said as he looked around the area. "As soon as we got everyone out all I could think of was finding you though."
"Is Ms. Rollins ok?"
Grover looked across the parking lot and saw Steve and Catherine wrapped up in each other. "She's fine, Baby."
"I need to thank her. She was super nice to me. I was scared but she told me she was sure that you and Commander McGarrett and the rest of the police would save us."
Grover's next words caught in his throat. Knowing Catherine had had such faith in the people on the outside all along, and that she'd used that faith to help Samantha feel better, made him feel worse about the way he'd lashed out and questioned her abilities. "We both need to thank her then."
"She's pretty cool, Dad. Did you know she was in the Navy?"
"I think I might want to be a cop just like her. I hope we get to see her give the assembly later on…you know…..after everything gets straightened out."
Grover smiled at the innate resiliency of children. He knew there'd be issues to deal with going forward, and they'd handle those together when the time came, but for right now, in this moment, he reveled in the fact that she was safe and happy.
"I wouldn't blame her if she didn't want to come back and do the assembly, but if she doesn't maybe I can go and hang out with her at Five-0 the next time we don't have school."
Captain Grover dropped his head. He had no idea how he felt about his impressionable teenage daughter being influenced by the exploits of the Five-0 team. "I'll talk to her about it. Maybe the two of you can just go out and spend a day together."
"Thanks, Daddy," she smiled and wrapped her arms around him.
"You're welcome. Now if you feel like the dizziness has passed enough we have to go call your Mother before she comes out of her skin and flies back here from Chicago without a plane."
Academy of the Sacred Heart
Captain Grover approached Catherine as she finished talking to Principal Fiske, who was having her nose looked at by a paramedic.
"Hey, do you have minute?" he asked tentatively.
"Sure, what's up?"
"I just wanted to make sure….are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm good," Catherine assured him. "How's Samantha?"
Grover pointed to the edge of the parking lot where Samantha stood talking on the phone.
"She's filling her mother in on all the details."
"Yeah she told me your wife was in Chicago visiting family."
"Heck of a thing to have to call your wife and tell her your teenage daughter is being held hostage by armed gunmen."
"I'm sorry. I know that had to have been tough." Catherine laid her hand on his forearm.
"Hey…no….listen. It was tough but it was nothing compared to what you were going through. Speaking of which, you definitely have a new #1 fan in Samantha. She hasn't talked about much other than how cool you are since she got out. Unless it was how awesome you are."
Catherine smiled. "It's just a reaction to the fact that I was there when she needed someone to talk to. I'm sure it'll pass."
"I hope not," Grover said honestly. "There are a lot worse people my daughter could idolize."
Catherine blushed. "Thank you."
"Listen, I have to tell you something and I want you to hear it from me before anybody else."
"Ok." Catherine looked at him guardedly.
"At one point…and I don't even really know why…..I was scared…and I felt helpless…and I ….lashed out I guess is the best description."
"I questioned your abilities, and your credentials," Grover said awkwardly, "and I may have insinuated that the only thing you had going for you was that you're McGarrett's girlfriend."
"Like I said. I was lashing out."
"Well you're certainly not the first person who ever thought…"
"No. Stop. Let me be very clear about one thing. Crystal clear. I said those things….yes….but I never really thought it. Deep down I didn't believe it. It was my fear talking. I needed to lash out at someone and unfortunately you were it."
"I can understand that. The wait had to be excruciating for you."
"That's no excuse," Grover said apologetically.
"Let's just forget about it."
"Before we do please let me apologize. From the bottom of my heart. It's the least I can do. I am so very sorry."
"I accept your apology. "
"Steve….well….let's just say I'm not so sure he's gonna be so forgiving. He nearly took my head off."
Catherine smiled at the thought of Steve defending her professional credentials.
"He set me straight in a big way. If Danny hadn't stepped in between us…."
"He was under pressure too," Catherine pointed out. "He may have…"
"No, no, no I deserved it. I was way out of line and he let me know. He had faith in you the whole time. He knew you'd find a way to get information out. He knew you'd find a way to keep everything under control in the room. And when you sent out the frequency number—he was 100% sure it was right."
"Well that goes both ways," Catherine said definitely. "I never had a doubt he'd figure out a way to get everyone out of there."
"The two of you make a heck of a team."
"We do if I do say so myself," Catherine agreed with a smile.
"Listen, Catherine, what you did in that room, for all the hostages but especially for Samantha, I just want you to know, there will never be a day I draw breath on this earth I won't be grateful."
"It was my pleasure. Samantha is a wonderful girl."
"Oh before I forget, my wife wanted me to give you a hug from her."
With no further warning Grover wrapped Catherine in a bear hug and lifted her into the air.
"Oh…my…well…." She mumbled into his chest.
"Put Catherine down," Steve joked as he walked up to the pair. "She made it through the whole ordeal relatively unscathed. I don't need her getting smashed by you."
Grover lowered Catherine to the ground. "I was just apologizing to her for the things I said."
"You told her about that?" Steve raised his eyebrows.
"How are your collarbones?"
"Intact," Grover laughed. "which I take as a good sign."
"Lieutenant Commander Fernandez wanted us to stop by the command center so he could meet you," Steve said to Catherine. "After that I'm taking the amazing Ms. Rollins home and unplugging the phone."
"Who uses a plug in phone anymore," Grover snarked.
"It's a gesture," Steve said as he put his arm around Catherine's shoulders.
"I thought it was a very sweet thing to say," she smiled as she kissed him on the cheek.
"That's all that matters," he grinned at her.
Academy of the Sacred Heart
Danny and Chin were finishing up with Lieutenant Commander Fernandez when Steve and Catherine entered the command center.
"There she is," Chin smiled. "He hadn't had a chance to do more than give Catherine a quick hug since the whole ordeal ended. "How you doing? You ok?"
He opened his arms and she stepped gratefully into his hug. "I was a little worried about you," he said softly in her ear.
"If you need anything you let me know."
When she finished talking to Chin, Steve redirected her attention to Lieutenant Commander Fernandez.
"Catherine this is Lieutenant Commander Fernandez."
"Nice to meet you, Sir. You did impressive work today," Catherine reached out and shook his hand.
"I could say the same thing to you, Ms. Rollins."
"Call me Catherine, please."
"Ok, Catherine," he smiled. "We couldn't have brought this situation to a successful conclusion without your help."
"Just doing what I was trained to do."
"I think it went a little farther than that. You should be proud of the work you did in there today."
Steve beamed with pride as he watched Fernandez compliment Catherine. She deserved every word.
"Thank you, Sir."
"Oh, there's one other thing."
"As soon as the command at Pearl found out you were one of the hostages they flagged your name in the system to keep watch on anyone who might try to access your information."
Steve looked at Danny and swallowed hard.
"They noticed that someone logged in under your screen name and accessed some of your old files."
Fernandez looked at Steve. Catherine followed his eyes and was happy to see that Steve at least had the decency to look sheepish.
"I was trying to find out if there was anything on Kimble in the old files. I'm not gonna apologize for doing anything I could to help get you out of there."
Catherine couldn't bring herself to be angry. In his position she would have done the same thing.
"I explained to them that I had managed to ascertain your password during one of the information exchanges and I had logged in through your account to look at your mission specific files," Fernandez told Catherine.
"Really?" Steve asked. "You covered for me?"
"I didn't do it for you," Fernandez teased. "I did it to avoid trouble for Ms. Rollins…I'm sorry….for Catherine."
"But what if…are you going to be in trouble…" Catherine asked.
"No, under the circumstances it's being put down as reasonable action."
"Thank you, Sir," Catherine smiled.
"Thank you, Lieutenant Commander" Steve echoed.
"Don't mention it," Fernandez smiled. "Now I'm afraid I have to get going. My wife and I are attending a photo exhibit tonight."
Catherine and Steve looked at each other and smiled.
"Hey, maybe there's still time for us to make it," Catherine laughed.
"No way. I've had enough excitement for today. Let's go home."
As soon as they got in the house, just the two of them, alone, Catherine felt her emotions start to move towards the surface.
"You hungry?" Steve asked. "Or did you fill up on pizza."
Catherine laughed. "Hey it worked, didn't it? Got them to release more hostages so I could get another message out."
"It did," Steve smiled then turned serious. "I mean it, Cath. That was a brilliant strategy."
"I knew you'd be right on top of things. And I knew you wouldn't buckle under the pressure, but you went far above and beyond that." He wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Thanks," she smiled as she snaked her arms around his neck. "I knew that if I could just get a couple of key pieces of info out to you you'd figure out how to free everyone."
"Every person in that room owes their life to you, Catherine." He kept one arm tightly around her waist while he raised the other hand and pushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear.
"I'll take a very small slice of the credit. The bulk goes to you."
"Thanks." She kissed him lightly on the lips.
"Are you hungry?"
"Maybe a little. I think there's some pasta in the frig. I need a shower first though."
"I'll warm up the pasta and open a bottle of wine while you shower."
"Sounds good," she leaned up to kiss him and after a few seconds he deepened the kiss. The reality of all the things that could have wrong hit him all at once and he couldn't let her go. He needed to feel her in his arms. The way she was kissing him back told him she felt exactly the same.
He walked them a few steps to the side and lowered them down onto the couch, never losing contact. He pulled her closer, touching her at every point from head to toe. He continued to kiss her for a few minutes more then buried his face in her hair and simply held her, intertwining their legs.
They laid in total silence for 15 minutes. Finally Steve spoke.
"I should let you get a shower."
"No, it's ok. Let's just stay here for a little longer."
"Sounds good to me."
Thirty minutes later Catherine finally made it to the shower. When she emerged after 15 minutes she felt refreshed. She went downstairs to find that Steve had set up dinner on the lanai.
"Feel better?" he smiled and rose to greet her as she came out the door. He kissed her gently on the lips and pulled out her chair.
"Much. Thank you."
"Ok then, dig in."
Catherine picked distractedly at the pasta for a few minutes, lost in her own thoughts, before finally pushing back from the table.
"Yeah. I guess I'm just not really as hungry as I thought."
Steve could tell she had something on her mind, which after the events of the day was more than understandable.
"Wanna go sit down on the beach?"
"Yeah," she smiled.
They settled side by side in the comfortable wooden beach chairs. He reached for her hand and squeezed it, then rested their joined hands on the arm of her chair.
"Were you thinking about Kabul today?"
"Some. I mean I tried to stay focused but…"
"You're only human, Cath."
"As scary as some moments were inside that room today, I knew that everyone outside was working as hard as they could to get us out. Like there was a plan..you know…"
"I felt like if I could just do my part by getting you the information you needed from my end that everything would turn out ok."
"That's exactly what happened."
"And I'm grateful for that. I am so, so grateful for that."
He squeezed her hand and she turned her head to look at him. "Me too," he said softly, but she could clearly see the depth of his feelings in his eyes.
"I just can't help thinking that if I'd had a little more time in Kabul. If I'd have been there from the beginning, things might have turned out different. Those girls might still be alive."
"Come here," Steve held out his arms and Catherine gratefully left her chair and slid in to his lap.
"We've talked about this, Catherine. If you'd been in on that mission from the initial stages it may well have been different. You'd have had a tighter rein on things. But you were thrown in to the middle of things and you did the best you could do."
"I know that. I mean, intellectually I know that."
"There was a moment in that room today when all I could think of was how the school looked after the explosion. The blood everywhere." Catherine's eyes filled with tears. "Everyone was walking in it. It couldn't be avoided but….still…..it was all over my boots. I couldn't get it off."
"I know how hard that was, Cath."
"It's not fair. Those girls never really had a chance."
That was the thing she'd had the most trouble dealing with. The unfairness of it all. She was well aware that life isn't fair, but there was so much potential in those girls that never had a chance to come to fruition.
"But you know what?" Steve said.
"Every time you save a life, every time you help someone find their way out of a bad situation, every time you provide comfort for someone who's scared, like you did today—you honor the memories of those girls. They didn't have a chance and you're right, that's not fair. But their influence lives on in you. And that's the best way you can possibly honor their memory."
Catherine rested her forehead against his. "How is it you always know exactly the right thing to say?"
"I simply speak the truth."
She kissed him lightly and dropped her head to his shoulder.
"You ready to go inside?"
"Can we just sit here for a while?"
"Anything you want." He said as he tightened his grip and dropped a kiss on the top of her head.
Day After School Takeover
"Did he say where we're going," Catherine asked as she put on her favorite necklace and checked herself in the bedroom mirror.
"Nope," Steve said as he grabbed his suit jacket.
Danny had called an hour earlier and told them to be ready to go at 6:00 P.M. Dressy casual attire. He refused to say exactly where they were going, just to be ready.
"Aren't you the least bit curious?"
"I'm very curious."
"Did you ask?"
"Shouldn't we drive ourselves?"
"He said he'd pick us up."
"I'm a little nervous."
"Me too. But I figure you'll protect me," Steve smirked.
An insistent knocking on the front door heralded Danny's arrival.
"I guess all our questions will be answered soon."
Steve and Catherine made their way downstairs and opened the door to find Danny waiting on the other side with Grace.
"Catherine," Grace said as she threw her arms around her 'aunty'.
Catherine knelt down and wrapped Grace in a hug. "Hi, Gracie. How are you?"
"I'm fine. How are you? You're the one who had a scary day."
"I'm good, sweetheart."
"I brought you something."
"Yes," Grace handed her a small plastic baggie containing a single chocolate chip cookie. "It's the cookie I promised to get you from the cafeteria."
"I remember," Catherine smiled. "Thank you so much. This is so thoughtful."
"I was gonna leave it with Danno yesterday so he could give it to you as soon as him and Uncle Steve rescued you, but I was afraid he'd forget."
"Or he'd eat it," Steve added helpfully.
"Or he'd eat it," Grace giggled.
"Well, I won't let anyone eat it," Catherine assured Grace. "This cookie is all mine. I'm gonna leave it right here on the end table and I'll eat it as soon as I get home."
"Don't you eat it, Uncle Steve," Grace warned.
"I won't Gracie. I promise."
"OK now that that's all taken care of….let's go," Danny said, rubbing his hands together.
"Where are we going," Catherine whispered to Grace.
"I can't tell you. But you're gonna like it."
"Traitor," Steve said to Danny once he realized they were headed towards the gallery housing the elbows and knees photography exhibit.
"Show a little gratitude, Steven. I had to work very hard to get them to open this exhibit for us tonight. They were ready to uninstall it."
"It would have been a shame if that had happened," Steve grumbled.
"It was supposed to be one night only. But when I explained to them how devastated you and Catherine were to have missed it after yesterday, they agreed to open up for a private viewing."
"That was very nice of you, Danny," Catherine said.
"Thank you, Catherine. I'm glad someone appreciates all my effort."
When they pulled up to the gallery there were a number of familiar cars in the parking lot.
"Surprise," Grace yelled, unable to hold back any longer.
"Surprise?" Catherine asked. "What kind of surprise?"
"It's a Happy Ending party."
Steve smiled at Grace, remembering what Danny had told him about her comment from the previous day.
"I've never heard of a Happy Ending party," Catherine said excitedly.
"Yesterday Danno wanted to take me home after I found him at the school but I said he had to stay and help Uncle Steve and Captain Grover and everybody else's families find a happy ending. So I went home with Kamekona so Danno could stay and help."
"You're a very sweet girl," Catherine said.
"I was telling Kamekona that and he suggested we have a Happy Ending party at his shrimp truck when it was all over."
"That was a great idea."
"Danno said he liked the idea of a party but we should have it here because you and Uncle Steve were sad you didn't get to come here last night."
"Danno is a real prince," Steve said.
"Well I can't wait," Catherine said. "Let's go inside."
They walked in to find Chin & Leilani, Kono & Adam, Grover and Samantha, Duke and Kamekona waiting for them. In the corner was a table overflowing with food Kamekona had prepared and brought in for the occasion.
"Ms. Rollins," Samantha said as soon as they entered. "I'm so happy to see you."
"Samantha," Catherine said as she hugged the young girl, "Please call me Catherine."
"Ok. My dad said that it would be ok to ask you, if you're not coming back to do the assembly, that maybe I can spend a day with you sometime and see about what it's like to be a police officer. I think that's what I might want to do when I grow up."
"It's ok with me, sweetie, if it's ok with your dad."
"I told her she could spend the day with you," Grover said. "I'm not sure if I want the rest of these knuckleheads influencing her though."
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather spend the day with your dad at work?" Catherine asked.
"Well….no….I mean I could…but…you know…." Samantha fumbled for words.
"It's ok, Honey. You can say it. Daddy isn't as cool as Ms. Rollins," Grover said.
Samantha nodded, Grace giggled and Danny barked with laughter.
"Yuck it up," Grover said to Danny. "Your day is coming."
After eating, enjoying a few drinks and just relishing time with friends, Catherine found herself standing between Steve and Danny in front of a wall of pictures, head tilted, trying to take them in.
"I think she's trying to make a statement about flexibility and the importance of staying ready to move," Steve said.
"I think it's partly that, but also about learning to extend yourself in the world," Danny added.
Catherine shook her head. "I'm not sure what deep meaning there is in pictures of elbows and knees."
Steve and Danny burst out laughing.
"At least we're trying to find the meaning," Danny defended.
"You're both full of crap," Catherine smiled. "You see no meaning in these pictures."
"You're the one who wanted to come," Steve reminded her.
"I was trying to be a supportive friend. But this is…I don't get it." Catherine shook her head.
"Maybe you'll listen to me next time I say I don't want to go to something like this," Steve said as he wrapped his arm around her.
"Don't count on it."
"Thanks for inviting us," Grover said as he approached the trio, "but I need to get Samantha home."
"Thanks for coming," Catherine said. "Samantha you call me and we'll set up a time for you to come and spend the day with me."
"Thanks," Samantha said.
"Listen, if McGarrett ever gives you any trouble you call me and I'll take care of him for you," Grover said as Samantha rolled her eyes.
"I think Catherine has proved she can take care of things herself," Danny said as he nudged her shoulder.
"True. But she might need help hiding the evidence.
"Thanks for throwing a Happy Endings party, Grace, it was so much fun," Catherine said happily as Danny pulled the Camaro into the driveway beside Steve's truck.
"You're welcome," Grace beamed.
"The party was a great idea, Gracie. But next time don't let your dad pick the location," Steve teased.
Grace giggled. "We'll see, Uncle Steve."
Steve and Catherine said their goodnights and made their way into the house. Catherine slipped off her shoes immediately.
"It's still early. Wanna watch a movie?" Steve asked.
"I don't think so," Catherine said, turning and putting her arms around his shoulders. "I think I'd like to turn in early." She dropped a line of kisses along his jaw.
"Really? Tell me more," Steve said as he started backing her towards the stairs.
"I'm more of a show kind of girl than a tell kind of girl," Catherine purred. "And I'm not anywhere close to done celebrating my happy ending yet."
"I like the sound of that," Steve grinned. "And just for the record, I'll celebrate happy endings with you forever."
"I'll hold you to that."