A/N: And New Year's once again. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed writing this story, even with writer's block and procrastination. I can hardly believe we're at the end. I'm still amazed at how people have taken to this and I'm so, so grateful that you all did. It's been a ride. I hope you enjoy this short epilogue!
It was New Year's Eve. The loft was quiet for the most part, with Kate curled up in the window seat, Eric sleeping on her thighs, watching the festivities outside.
Alexis had a party, and Martha had said she might or might not pop in closer to midnight – but for now, anyway, it was just the three of them.
"What's your dad up to tonight?"
Kate looked up from the window as Rick walked from the kitchen and handed her a champagne flute.
"He usually goes to his work get together for a little while, then home to watch the ball drop. He's not that big on non-family parties."
"I'm beginning to feel that way myself. Gina wanted me to make an appearance at a couple of celebrations tonight, but I told her we couldn't find a babysitter."
Kate laughed aloud, making Eric twitch on her legs.
"I take it you didn't mention that you didn't try?"
"Now why would I do that?" he grinned as he leaned over to kiss her and Eric.
Kate took a sip from her glass, almost choking in surprise at the taste.
"A little nostalgia for last year," Rick shrugged. "I also didn't want to get too loopy while Eric's up."
Eric let out a snore and Kate laughed.
"You know what I mean," Rick went on with a false glare, "I've got the real stuff chilling for midnight."
Kate smiled as Eric began waking up, wiggling his arms and kicking his legs.
"Hey, baby," she cooed softly as the little boy scrunched up his face to cry.
She unbuttoned her shirt and put Eric to her breast. The crying cut off before it really began, replaced by the snorting and snuffling of nursing.
Rick watched her with awe.
"What?" she asked when she looked up. "You've seen me nurse before."
"I know. I just can't help it. You're a natural."
"Not quite," Kate laughed. "Remember how terrified I was when Eric was born? He was a little vacuum cleaner!"
Rick laughed at that.
"You both got the hang of it pretty quickly as I recall."
"Yeah," Kate looked down at her son. "And I wouldn't change a second of it…except maybe the heat this summer."
Eric finished eating and yawned.
"Looks like someone wants to go back to sleep," Rick mentioned. "Here, I'll go change his diaper. Should we put him down now or do you want him still?"
"Let's put him down." She stood and took Rick's hand. "I'll grab his pajamas while you change him."
As they walked back down the stairs, Kate could hear the revelers outside ramping up the celebration. She looked at her watch.
"Wow, it's later than I thought," she glanced up at Rick.
"Time flies when you're having fun," he grinned back at her.
Kate laughed, they hadn't actually done much in celebration, just a quiet night at home.
When they reached the bottom of the steps, they separated, Kate to the stereo, and Rick to the kitchen.
Feeling a little deja-vu, Kate pulled up the playlist of slow songs. She smiled at the memory of this time last year.
Rick came over with the flutes – filled this time with champagne.
"It's been a big year," he mentioned as he handed her the glass.
"It's been an incredible year," she replied.
Rick lifted his glass.
"May this New Year be at least as incredible as the last," he toasted.
"Always," she lifted her glass to his.
They began to dance – keeping it as slow as they had last New Year's Eve.
Kate smirked up at Rick.
"You know, we can speed it up if you want. I'm not sick this time."
Rick just pulled her closer to him, still keeping the swaying to a minimum.
"I actually kinda like keeping it slow."
Kate put her arms around Rick's waist, snuggling closer into his chest.
The alarm on Rick's watch chimed and shouts were heard from outside.
"Happy New Year, Rick."
He kissed her lightly.
"Happy New Year, Kate. It's gonna be a great one."
A/N 2: And finish! Once again, I thank everyone for reading. It's been fun! K