Author's Notes – Nope...not mine.
So here it is. The final chapter. I have to say this one proved to be difficult. After all the build-up, I was second-guessing myself at almost every turn. Just goes to show I should have written it months ago when it first popped into my head. I have found when I think about the story too much, it just doesn't seem to turn out the way I imagine it. I really do better just writing off the cuff.
Hopefully it doesn't disappoint. Please be sure to read and review. Let me know what you all think. Also, there is an additional note at the end. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know!
Callen watches out the window as she gets in her car and pulls away from his house. He just hopes he isn't wrong. Hopes her feelings for him are just as strong as his are for her. He quickly shuts down the part of his brain that is screaming for him to stop the madness. Those are the parts that were hurt by the other women he allowed to get close to him. He knows that. But, Nell can't even compare to them. Things are so different with her. Of that he is certain. He has to be.
Arriving at her apartment, Nell quickly unlocks the door and sets her keys on the table before settling on the couch to open the envelope. It took every fiber of her being not to open it before she pulled out of Callen's driveway, but she wanted to make sure she followed his instructions. If for no other reason than the fact that he had shown her so much trust over the last several hours. There was no way she would break that trust, even if it meant her curiosity would be satisfied.
Inside the envelope was a slip of paper with an address. Admittedly she wasn't sure what was going to be in the envelope, but she had anticipated something more than what she found. Sitting there slightly confused, she grabs her laptop and types the address into the search bar. Nell smiles when she sees the name of the restaurant. It was one of the two she had settled on after narrowing the list of five Callen had given her. She read through the description and immediately saw where all the clues fit into place. All, but one.
Rising to her feet, Nell moves to her room hoping to find a dress for tonight amongst her belongings. One that would be perfect. After combing through her closet, she is disappointed to find nothing is jumping out as the one. She moves quickly to the living room, grabs her keys, and heads out the door intent on finding a dress.
She arrives back at her apartment several hours later having been to more stores than she cares to remember. Carefully hanging the dress on the door to her bedroom, Nell is happy she finally found something that is just right. The search had been wearing on her and she was quickly coming to the conclusion that she was over-thinking the whole process. Then she spotted the dress in the window of a store she had never ventured in before. Apparently that is the advantage to these malls with multiple stores, she had never quite understood the point until right then. Looking at the clock, Nell decides she better get in the shower sooner rather than later. The last thing she needs is for something to happen that would make her late.
Callen has spent the last several hours making sure all the preparations are complete. He wants to make sure everything is perfect. At least as perfect as he can get everything. He pulls out his phone for what has to be the hundredth time and checks the clock. Resisting the urge to send Nell a text, he slips the device back into his pocket. He wants to make sure she has time to decide. Time without any interference from him. Callen takes one last look around the patio of the restaurant before heading home to get ready.
Nell, having just completed the process of getting ready, is looking at herself in the full-length mirror in the corner of her bedroom as she thinks about what tonight is going to mean. For herself and Callen. It occurs to her that she should probably be nervous, but she isn't. Not even a little. As she shifts her body slightly to the side to catch another angle of the dress, Nell decides everything is in place.
Callen arrives at the restaurant once again, but this time he is wearing a simple tuxedo. He realizes the gesture might be considered overkill to some, but he is determined to make this night one Nell will never forget. One that they will talk about for years to come. After checking to ensure the chef has the dinner preparations correct, Callen moves out onto the patio to wait for Nell's arrival.
She takes on final look at her hair and make-up before exiting the car. Walking up to the restaurant, Nell smiles as she enters the establishment. It's like nothing she has ever seen. The ambiance has an old world feel that seems to transport her to a time that most have forgotten. She immediately notices the white napkins folded as if they are small tents along each empty table and the exactness at which each table is set. The lighting seems to be perfect enough to allow for both intimate as well as family settings.
The wait staff is clad in black pants, red jackets with black along the collar and front as well as a plain, black bow tie. The number of waiters showing their age confirms what the website had stated, they have been with the restaurant for many years. No wonder Callen picked this place. They are well-established and the loyalty is evident by just looking around.
She gives the reservation name to the person who greeted her upon arrival and follows as she is led through the dining area. Slightly confused at first, Nell scans the area for Callen. She focuses on where she is going and realizes there must be a patio. The man holds the door open for Nell and gestures for her to step outside. Thanking him, Nell walks through the door and gets her first look at her new surroundings.
Her breath immediately catches as she takes in the sight before her. The patio is decorated like something out of a magazine. There are candles everywhere with delicate glass covers to keep them from being extinguished by any breeze that may come along. The overhead canopy is strung with lights that give off enough of a glow drawing your eyes to the vast number of flowers intricately woven through the fabric.
Taking a few steps forward, she sees the table for the first time. Walking towards it, Nell is amazed once again. Who knew G. Callen was a romantic? At least this much of a romantic. She has no doubt he is capable of showing just how much he cares about a woman, but this is beyond anything she could have ever conjured in her mind.
In the center of the table was a glass container that held several candles floating on liquid of some sort along with flower petals of various colors. A glass vase was placed in the middle of the container and held several roses. Reaching out Nell runs her hand along the petals and smiles to herself. The table is adorned with a silk tablecloth and a simple table setting. At least simple in comparison to the rest of the patio.
Before she has a chance to take in any more of her surrounding, she feels his presence behind her. "You look amazing." He watches as she turns around to face him. Once the motion is complete, he extends a glass to her. He watches as she takes a sip of the wine and waits for her a sign of recognition. Once he sees the smile start creeping across her features, he confirms her suspicions. "Apricot."
He spends the next few moments taking in her appearance. While he isn't one to base his impressions solely on appearance, Callen finds himself taking mental notes of this side of Nell he has never really gotten to see. She is wearing a form-fitting dress which seems to have been custom-made for her body. The design is simple without a lot of flair to draw one's eyes on any specific location, but damn if that doesn't make it all the more sexy.
Nell, having noticed Callen's eyes taking in her dress, smiles at him before reaching out and lightly running her hand along his cheek. "See something you like?" The smirk that graces his features gives her the answer she had already knew.
Callen reaches out to pull her flush with his body intent on showing her the answer, but his actions are stilled as she maneuvers away from him throwing a teasing smile over her shoulder as she walks towards the table. Setting her glass down, she turns around in time to see him close the distance she has just created.
Just as he snakes his arm around her waist and pulls her close setting the scene for a kiss, the waiter appears with their dinner. Nell laughs in response to the audible groan from Callen. Leaning in so his forehead is touching hers, he addresses the man in question. "Thank you, Jacob." As soon as the waiter disappears through the doorway, Callen moves away from Nell and takes his place behind her chair. After she sits down, he gently pushes her chair towards the table. Once he is confident she is comfortable, he walks to the other side and takes his own seat.
They eat in comfortable silence for a few minutes before Nell decides to inquire as to why he picked this particular location. "So, The Musso and Frank Grill? How did you find this place?" He smiles at her curiosity and isn't at all surprised to hear her ask.
Finishing the bite in his mouth first, "I found this place a few years ago." He wipes his mouth with his napkin before returning it to his lap, "The feel of it is something I'd never experienced anywhere else." She listens intently as he talks about the history as well as the people he has befriended during his trips to the restaurant.
The rest of meal is spent talking about anything and everything. She marvels at the fact that they still have so many things to talk about, especially after the amount they had talked just hours before. She is happy to see there is nothing remotely awkward with their interactions.
Having finished dinner and polished off a couple glasses of the apricot wine, Callen decides a change of pace is in order. Excusing himself from the table, he walks over by the doorway and, with the push of a button, music appears out of nowhere. He walks over to Nell's side and offers his hand for her to take.
Pulling the small woman to her feet, Callen leads Nell to the dance floor where he offers a small bow before taking her in his arms. As they sway in perfect sync to the music, Callen is struck by just how right she feels in his arms. It's like she was made just for him to hold. He had given up on the idea of love and never imagined finding himself in a moment such as this one.
As they move in slow circles, Nell feels Callen's breath hitch as his arms tighten their grip around her waist. Momentarily confused by the shift in his demeanor, she pulls back slightly so she can see his face. Seeing the tears welling up in his eyes, she speaks softly in a questioning tone. "Hey." She feels his hand slide up her back and tangle in her hair before he places her head against his chest.
He struggles to find words that would explain what is going on. Knowing only one way to clearly express what he is feeling, Callen pulls her away from his chest and locks eyes with her. Blue eyes get lost in hazel as he leans in and kisses Nell. He attempts to pour everything into that kiss. All his feelings. Everything he can't say.
Nell is struck by the rawness of the moment. The kiss is indescribable. And she knows it's his way of speaking to her heart. From his. Everything that is G. Callen poured into this one moment. All his hopes and dreams. His feelings. His fears. Everything he holds close to the vest has been released to her safe-keeping over the last twelve hours. And she knows this is his way of making sure all of this is real. That she is real. "I'm right here, G. I'm not going anywhere."
~ End ~
Additional Author's Note – I picked this restaurant based on hearing Callen mention it on an episode. At this point though, I have been unable to recall which one or find the episode again. If anyone out there knows, please feel free to PM me or leave it in the comments. It's been driving me slightly crazy! If I recall correctly, he and Sam were walking into OSP (thinking it was at the start of the day) and he mentioned it to Sam. I don't really remember much past that, so all the gushing Callen does in this story is purely based on me remembering he seemed to like the restaurant.