~~! July 4, 2016 !~~
Elizabeth and Sara had arrived at Bethesda Fountain early in order to get a good spot for the fireworks show. They camped out on a bench with their oversized totes around them to discourage others from trying to weasel into the spots reserved for Peter and Neal when they finished up the case that had taken them away from their wives on the Fourth of July.
Neal and Sara had been married in a small ceremony six months prior on the terrace at June’s. It had been freezing cold and snow had started to fall as they said their vows, but that had made it all the more gorgeous.
“I have a secret,” Sara said, leaning over so that she could speak as quietly as possible to Elizabeth, “and I have to tell someone. Neal’s been so busy with this damn case that he hasn't gotten home until after midnight lately.”
“You know, I’ve never been able to get used to Peter coming home late. I sit up and worry.”
Sara nodded. She’d tried that too but always wound up falling asleep in an overstuffed armchair near the door. Neal had carried her to bed the last couple of nights when he’d finally gotten home to the house on Riverside Drive that June had given to them when she finally moved to Paris with her granddaughters in April.
“A secret?” Elizabeth prompted.
Sara took a deep breath. “I’m pregnant.”
Elizabeth’s eyes lit up and she slid across the bench to throw her arms around her friend. “Congratulations!”
Sara returned the hug but with less enthusiasm.
Elizabeth slid back but still maintained contact with her hands on Sara’s shoulders. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know what Neal’s going to say. We didn’t plan this, and we’ve talked about it but always as a distant idea in the future.”
“Honey, Neal loves kids. And he loves you. I think he wants to be a father. You’ve seen how he is with Clinton’s little girl.” Jones had been more surprised than anyone when his serious girlfriend announced that she was pregnant, but they both doted on their daughter, as did much of the White Collar division. Even Peter, in his own way.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Sara felt better when she thought of Neal with little Andrea, and she smiled.
Elizabeth suddenly released her and waved at someone behind Sara. “The guys are coming. Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” Sara rubbed her hands over her face and turned to wave too.
Peter greeted his wife with a kiss while Neal moved Sara’s tote and sat down beside her. He put his arm around her and kissed the tip of her nose. “Hey.”
“Hey yourself,” she replied. “Everything okay with the case?”
“Yes, Arnold Smithfield has been arrested, and the take-down was pretty standard, so all-in-all, it’s been a good day. How was yours?”
“Not so bad. Elizabeth and I were just chatting.”
Neal nodded and held up a paper bag. “We brought food. Sandwiches and chips.”
They all settled in, eating and talking like the good friends that they were. By the time night had fallen and the fireworks were about to begin, Neal had pulled Sara up onto his lap and she had an arm around his shoulders so that he could rest his head against her chest.
“Neal,” she whispered as the first bursts of color lit up the sky. “I’m pregnant. We’re going to have a baby.”
The booms reached them just as Neal turned his head and looked at her with wide surprised eyes. She could see the colors reflected there as well as the emotions evoked by her words. After a beat, he grinned and pulled her into a passionate kiss.
Everything would be okay.
Thank you for reading!