theatregirl7299 (theatregirl7299) wrote,

It Was A Very Good Year

Title:> It Was A Very Good Year
Author: theatregirl7299
Fandom: White Collar
Characters/Pairings: Neal/OCs, Neal/Elizabeth, Established P/E/N
Rating: PG-13 to NC-17
Word Count: 5,800+
Spoilers: None
Beta Credit: miri_thompson
Warnings: Underage sex, (Neal is 17)
Summary: Sometimes the events of your life are like fine wine.

A/N – This is for my dearest elrhiarhodan on her birthday. These are the words that you demanded but I couldn’t share without ruining the surprise. I hope you like it.

The concept comes from the song ‘It Was A Very Good Year’ sung by the quintessential Frank Sinatra. kanarek13 created the most amazing art for this based on the lyrics of the song. Thank you so much.

The golden moon cast hazy beams over the Mississippi as it flowed slowly past the shore. Bullfrogs croaked in deep counterpoint to the chirping of crickets and the humming of cicadas.

The summer symphony stilled slightly – interrupted by the sound of a truck creeping over grass and stones – before resuming its eternal melody.

Danny put the truck in ‘Park’ and glanced over at the girl in the passenger seat. Brittany Nichole Miller smiled at him, popping her bubblegum in tune to the beat on the radio.

He couldn’t believe she was on the seat next to him and they were going to do what they were about to do. He took a deep breath and checked the pockets of his windbreaker for the packet of condoms and small bottle of lube he’d lifted from Johnson’s Pharmacy the night before.

“So.” Danny hoped his voice sounded steady because his nerves weren’t. This was number one on his teenage bucket list.

Lose his virginity to Brittany Nichole.

He’d had a hopeless crush on her ever since she teased him about the gap in his teeth in second grade.

By freshman year he’d given up ever thinking that she’d be interested in him and he went on to date a few of the other girls in his class – if you could call groups hanging out at the movies ‘dating’.

Braces, a growth spurt and helping landscape the neighbors’ lawns this summer changed all that.

Suddenly, Brittany and her group of friends would walk past him while he was trimming the Pederson’s box hedge or when he watered the Bellanger’s hydrangeas. They would stop, giggle and call “Hi Danny” before running off, only to come back fifteen minutes later and do the same thing.

He took a chance and asked her out. He thought she said yes, but he couldn’t tell over the squealing of her friends.

Movie dates and pool parties, stolen kisses and heavy petting had led up to this.

“So.” She replied back.

Danny had no idea what to do next. Did he kiss her? Undress? This was so different than making out in her parents’ basement. He remembered that he’d brought a blanket and a cooler of beer.

“Wanna look at the stars?” It was lame but it was the only thing he could think of to get them out of the truck.

Turning off the engine, he grabbed the blanket from behind the seat and opened the door. Moments later he had the blanket spread out in the back of the truck bed. Tossing his jacket to the side, he pulled the cooler closer to the edge, just in case he needed some liquid courage.

Brittany was right next to him. He picked her up and sat her on the tailgate. Giggling, she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him to her.

“Not here to stargaze, Danny.” Taking the gum out of her mouth, she kissed him, her pink tongue darting in and out with a skill he loved. He knew she wasn’t a virgin. In fact, she had a reputation for being a bit of a wild child. Danny didn’t care. He wanted her.

“Mmmm…” Brittany ran her hand down his chest and stopped at his belt. “Take off your shirt.”

Danny quickly pulled his t-shirt over his head and tossed it in the bed of the truck. A breeze came in off the river and he shivered.

“Love your chest.” She kissed his jaw, sucking hickeys into his neck before moving lower to lick a nipple.

Danny groaned, his cock tightening in his pants. They’d done this before, but knowing where it was going to lead to this evening made it all the more more intense.

“Yeah…” His hands cupped her head, twisting tendrils of her hair around his fingers. “Do that again.”

This time she nipped and Danny gasped, feeling his dick jump at the pleasure/pain. He felt her smile against his chest before she pulled away to scoot further back into the bed of the truck.

Danny watched, his mouth watering as she removed her top and unhooked her bra. Baring herself to him, she rested on her elbows, head tilted back to the sky.

She looked like the paintings he loved to study. Alabaster skin, her firm breasts with rose nipples tightening in the summer air, long brown hair curled on one shoulder.

Brittany tipped her head back up and gazed at him, her brown eyes older than her seventeen years, dark with knowledge and promise.

“What are you waiting for, Danny?”

Fuck. Danny scrambled up into the truck bed and moved in between her legs. He wrapped a hand around the back of her neck and imprisoned her lips with his. Pushing her down onto the blanket, he caressed her breast, pinching her nipple.

Peppering her shoulder with kisses, he replaced his fingers with his mouth and was delighted to hear her moans as he sucked the nub into hardness.

“Yea…right there.” Her whimpers spurred him to alternate back and forth, worshiping both breasts until she was writhing underneath him.

His erection was painful against his jeans, so he reached between them and popped the button. Brittany’s hand stilled his attempt to unzip.

Raising his head, Danny heard her whisper, “Let me,” as she pushed his shoulder, rolling him.

She crawled down between his thighs, her breasts skimming against his chest. The sound of his zipper being pulled down seemed to echo in the summer air.

“Lift up.” He obeyed and she tugged his jeans and boxers down to expose him to the night. His cock bounced up against his stomach, pearls of fluid glistening in the moonlight. “Mmmmm, Danny. Been wanting to do this for a while.”

Her tongue touched the tip of his dick and he whimpered as she circled the head with kitten licks. Teasingly slow, Brittany wrapped her lips around him and sucked him into her mouth.

Danny thought he was going to die from the pleasure.

Her hands played with his balls, pinching and rolling, while her mouth did sinful things to his cock – sucking and licking and nibbling.

“God, Brittany…” She’d jacked him off before, but she’d never done this. Danny couldn’t think. His entire being was focused on what she was doing to his cock, to his balls. A distant part of him prayed to all the gods he could think of that he wouldn’t come too soon.

Danny had no idea how long she worked him. He just knew that when he thought he was done, Brittany would pull back, then start all over again. Danny begged her and cursed her, his hands fisting in the blanket as he bucked up into her mouth.

He whined when she pulled off. “No! Don’t stop, please!”

“My turn, lover boy.” She fell next to him and shimmied out of her shorts. “You’re a smooth talker, Brooks. Let’s see what else that mouth is good for.”

Danny froze. He’d never gone down on a girl before. On anyone before. What if he sucked at it? His thoughts must have shown on his face, because Brittany leaned up and whispered in his ear, “You’ll be fine.”

She lay back on the blanket and guided his head to her stomach. “Relax.” Danny felt her hands in his hair, stroking, calming him. He turned and nuzzled her skin, kissing and licking lightly at her belly button.

“Yeah, that’s good.” He felt her shift under him, cradling him with her thighs.

He could do this. He’d read parts of Ellen’s romance novels that she hid under her bed and snuck looks at porn on his friend David’s brother’s computer. He figured if he mixed up the two he should be okay.

He kissed down her belly into the trimmed hair of her pussy. Breathing deep, he inhaled her scent. It was heady and he wanted more. He used his thumbs to spread her open, exposing her clit.

Gingerly he tongued it, tasting the tang and watching her twitch beneath him.

“God, Danny…do that again…harder.”

Emboldened, Danny lapped at the hard nub, sucking and licking. He savored Brittany as she got wetter under his lips and tongue.

“Fingers…use your fingers.” Brittany’s voice was rough and Danny took satisfaction in knowing he was making her sound that way. He rubbed her clit, sliding one, then two fingers inside her.

She was molten heat. He felt her pussy walls tighten as he pushed his fingers deeper into her, stretching. Her keen told him he was hitting all the right places. Sucking harder, he flicked her clit with his tongue. She clenched around him, trying to draw his fingers even farther into her pussy.

He wanted to feel that on his cock.

“Oh God, Danny…so good.” Brittany grabbed his hair and ground herself into him, cutting off his air supply for a moment. Gasping, Danny turned his head and sucked a bruise on her thigh.

Crawling up her body, he pulled his jacket closer and fished out the condoms and lube. “Can’t wait anymore.”

Sitting back, he opened the condom wrapper. Secretly thanking the demonstration in Health class and the practice with the bananas, he was able to roll it on his erection without too much difficulty. Clicking the top of the lube, he squirted some on his fingers and slicked himself up.

“Ready?” Brittany nodded, a smile on her face.

Holding the base of his cock, he guided himself into her. Brittany’s tightness, her heat, surrounded him, swelling his dick even more. Danny fell forward, balancing himself on his hands as he thrust, slowly at first, then faster as she urged him on.

It was glorious.

“Yeah…harder…please…” Her legs wrapped around him as she arched up, begging him this time. Brittany’s hands dug into his shoulders, her nails scoring his back.

He pinched her nipple, making her squeal as he varied his speed, teasing her.

“God, Danny…wanna come. Need you to help me come.” At her words, he felt his orgasm begin to build at the base of his spine. Slipping a hand down to her clit, he began stroking her as he drove his cock harder and harder into her pussy.

She screamed, shaking apart as she came, Danny right behind her, his orgasm ripped out of him.

He collapsed on top of her, sweaty and fucked out. He could feel his cock begin to soften, so he slowly withdrew and disposed of the condom over the side of the truck.

He lay down on his back as Brittany curled up next to him.

“Was it how you thought it would be?” Her voice was drowsy as she traced circles on his chest.


“Good.” She slid a leg over his. “I’m glad.”

They lay silent as the bullfrogs continued their chorus.

“So…” Danny looked down at her. “Wanna look at the stars?”

Autumn in New York
Why does it seem so inviting
Autumn in New York
It spells the thrill of first-nighting

Neal sang the words softly under his breath as he fumbled for the keys to the security door of his apartment. He had just put the key in the lock when the door was wrenched open, almost making him spill his groceries on the stoop.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!” The voice belonged to a tall, dark haired woman. “I didn’t realize you were there.”

“It’s okay.” Neal repositioned the bags in his hands and made sure the wine bottle he was carrying was secure. It was his one splurge from the meager paycheck from Costello’s that supplemented the less than legal activities that helped him survive in the Big Apple. “Nothing fell.”

“Can I help you carry anything?” She was holding the door open for him, a worried look on her face. Neal decided to take pity on her.

“No, but would you mind opening my apartment door for me? I live on three.” He smiled disarmingly.

“Sure. Here, let me grab your key.” She removed the keys from the front door lock. “Three?”

“Yeah.” Neal followed her up the stairs, admiring the curve of her hips as they swayed with each step.

“I’m on five.”

“I know. I remembered you moving in last week.” He caught a whiff of her perfume – classic Chanel, he thought. “You had some big guys helping you carry furniture.”

“Those were Saul and David, my cousins.” She smiled over her shoulder at him. “I’m Leah, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Leah. I’m Da - Neal.” Even though it it had been three years since he’d left St. Louis and reinvented himself, sometimes he forgot and started to share his old name.

“Nice to meet you, Neal.” They were on the third floor. “What’s the apartment number?”

“3-B.” Leah unlocked the door and opened it so he could pass. “Thanks.”

Neal put his groceries on the kitchen table.

“Here you go.” Leah held out his keys to him.

Taking them, Neal smiled at her. “Would you be interested in having dinner with me?” He gestured to the bags. “I got some really nice salmon and Brussels sprouts at the market today. Sort of a belated ‘welcome to the building’ dinner?”

“I’d love to, but I’m heading to Shul. Maybe tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow would be great. Seven?” Neal began unpacking the bags.

“I’ll be here. Anything I can bring?” Leah headed to the door.

“Just a good appetite.”

“I can do that. See you tomorrow.” With that she left, leaving Neal with a smile and a plan for dinner the next night.


The dinner was a success. Leah complimented Neal on the salmon and Brussels sprouts and declared that she couldn’t move after the chocolate mousse he’d made for dessert.

They took their wine and sat out on the fire escape. The sun’s lengthening rays etched everything in sharp relief as she told him about growing up in the City, going to college and losing her fiancé in a military excursion in Iraq, and he colored the truth by creating fabrications of track scholarships, a knee injury that sidelined him and a small inheritance from an aunt that allowed him to move to New York.

He found out that she was turning thirty in a few weeks and grinned when she demanded to see his driver’s license because she didn’t believe he was ‘only twenty-one.’

They talked about art, music, history, and politics until it was after midnight.

He walked her upstairs to her door and was rewarded with a deep kiss, their bodies pressed against each other, before she slipped inside with a soft, “Goodnight, Neal.”


It was three weeks of coffees, dinners and stolen kisses before Neal saw the inside of Leah’s apartment.

Mother Nature had unleashed a deluge of lightning and thunder that had only the bravest of New York’s denizens attempting the outdoors.

Neal had been caught in the downpour on his way home from work. Soaked to the skin, he fumbled in his pocket for his keys, cursing as he realized he’d left them on the hook by the door.

He’d been at his legitimate job so the lockpicks were at home as well. Shivering, he rubbed his arms and hunched in the doorframe as he determined the best course of action.

Turning to the apartment panel, he pressed the button for L. Kogan. Moments later he heard a tinny voice come over the speaker.


“Leah? It’s Neal.” A clap of thunder deafened him for a moment as the rain pelted down in sheets.

”Hey, what’s up?”

“Can you buzz me in? I left my keys in my apartment.”

“Sure.” A buzz, and the lock disengaged.

Neal entered the building and walked over to the Super’s apartment. Repeated attempts at knocking indicated that no one was home. Sighing, he leaned against the wall and wiped the wet hair out of his eyes.

“You look like a drowned rat.”

Neal looked up the stairwell to see Leah laughing at him. She was dressed in a soft cashmere sweater set and slacks, her hair in a simple French twist.

“Thanks. I feel like one.” He grinned up at her. “Mr. Johnson’s not in so I can’t get into my apartment until he gets back from wherever he is.”

“Well, you can’t stay soaked like that. You’ll get sick.” Leah reached her hand out. “Come up to my place. I’ll put your clothes in the dryer. I’m sure I’ve got something that one of my cousins left that you can wear.”

He followed her up the stairs in a repeat of the day he first met her. Her hips swaying, the scent of Chanel in the air. Except this time they were passing his place.

Leah unlocked the door and motioned for him to enter. “You can call Mr. Johnson once you get dry.” She passed him and headed into her bedroom. “I’ve got some sweats in here I think.”

Neal kicked off his shoes and leaned his hand against the wall to take off his socks. His shirt was cold and without thinking, he pulled it over his head.

A quiet gasp made him realize he was standing bare-chested in Leah’s entrance way. She was stock-still, a pair of sweats and a t-shirt in her hand. Two spots of color were high on her cheeks.

Shit. He’d embarrassed her by stripping down in her doorway. “Oh, man, sorry.” He tried to cover up with his shirt.

“Neal…” She breathed his name as the storm intensified – lightning filling the air with ozone. Slowly she approached him and lifted her hand to touch his chest.

Neal sucked in air as she ran her fingertips lightly across his pecs and brushed against his nipple. He felt a jolt of lust as the nub tightened under her fingers.

Leaning down, Leah swirled her tongue around it and that was enough. Neal dropped his shirt and wrapped his hands around her head. Cupping her face, he stole her lips, trapping her against the wall as he caged her within his legs. His hands wound themselves in her hair, scattering pins as it came undone around her shoulders. He could feel her hands fluttering before they grabbed his shoulders and she pulled him tighter against her.

The storm inside the apartment was as wild as the tempest outside. Clothes were strewn throughout the hallway. Leah’s legs were wrapped around Neal’s waist, her hands grabbing his hair as he carried her into her bedroom.

They tumbled onto the bed, Neal pressing Leah down into the sheets. They kissed frantically, moans and whimpers in between tongues and teeth. Neal’s cock was rigid, rubbing against her thigh. Leah writhed under him, warm, sensual and begging.

“Neal…God…touch me.” Her whine sent want straight to his dick.

Neal kissed and sucked and bit his way down her body like a starving man. Yanking her pants off, he took a moment to admire how beautiful she looked, ready and waiting for him.

Her breathy “Please” and the unconscious hitch of her hips had him pressing his hand to the base of his cock to keep him from coming right then. A deep breath calmed him. Quickly he stripped, his erection bouncing against his stomach, hard and swollen.

Kneeling between her legs, his hands on either side of her pussy, he spread her open and licked a hard line over her clit.

“Fuck!” She bucked up. “Oh God!”

Neal chuckled and danced the tip of his tongue over her nub. Lightly, then a hard suck, then lightly again, he took her right to the edge then brought her back. Again and again.

“Neal…” She kept moaning his name, interspersed with ‘Oh God’ and “Fuck’ and ‘Yes!’

He added his fingers, first one, then a second, plunging in and out, rubbing her G-spot until she was a sobbing wreck.

“Neal…need you…” Her hands were on his body, urging him up to cover her. “Condoms…in the drawer.”

Neal leaned over and fished a condom out of the nightstand. Ripping it open, he rolled it on and guided himself into her.

Leah was hot and tight and he almost lost it right then. Thrusting his cock hard into her, he mimicked the movement with his tongue in her mouth.

He rolled them, bringing her up to ride him. She twisted and undulated her hips, her dark brown hair falling wantonly over her shoulders. Neal caressed her, running his hands over her body, pinching her nipples, rubbing her clit, holding her hips as he shoved up into her.

“God, Neal…close,” Leah whimpered, her eyes closing.

Neal flipped them again, needing Leah to be under him, needing to drive himself deeper into her pussy. Pistoning into her, he felt his balls tighten in imminent release.

Keening, Leah came, her pussy walls tightening, milking Neal until his orgasm spiraled up and he emptied himself into her with a shout. He braced himself, sweaty and gasping as the waves of pleasure receded. Slowly pulling out, he disposed of the condom and fell into bed next to Leah.

“Wow.” Leah’s hand carded through his hair.

“Yeah.” Neal gathered her into his arms and kissed her temple.

“Didn’t mean for that to happen.” She rested her head against his shoulder.

“Me neither.” Neal looked down at her. “You upset about it?”

“No.” She leaned up and kissed him. “Not at all.”


“You’ll stay?” Her voice was hopeful.

“Sure,” he replied and pulled her closer to him, holding her until they both fell asleep.

Towards morning, a boom of thunder woke Neal. Gently untangling himself from Leah’s arms, he heard the soft sounds of her breathing as he padded to the kitchen to get a glass of water.

On his way back, his attention was captured by a grouping of frames on a wall in the living room. In the dim light he could make out a parchment with colorful writing on it. What looked like Hebrew was highlighted by Leah’s name in large print in the center with ‘Bat Mitzvah’ and ‘September 19, 1981’ at the bottom.

The parchment was surrounded by images of weddings, birthdays, casual settings. Leah’s family. Her history.

Something Neal didn’t have.

Something he would never be able to share with Leah – or anyone.

Gathering his clothes, he dressed before making his way through the darkened apartment and slipping out the front door.

Summer breezes cooled the midnight sky as the sleek, black limo cruised down FDR Drive. Deeply tinted windows kept the car’s occupants from being observed by the average civilians riding in their Toyotas.

Which was probably for the best, considering Elizabeth’s evening gown was hiked up past her knees.

Lips kiss-swollen, her hair loose in waves around her shoulders, she was just teetering on the edge of debauched.

Neal planned on remedying that.

Kneeling between her thighs, he ran a hand up her calf and found the garter clip that would release the stocking she was still wearing. With a flick of his fingers, the silk separated from the fastener.

Caressing her leg, he slowly removed the fabric, kissing her flesh as he bared it.

A quick swipe of the tip of his tongue behind her knee had Elizabeth squirming in his grip.

“God, Neal.” Her eyes were dark with want. “Stop teasing me.”

“I thought that’s what this was about, Mrs. Burke.” He smiled, languid and dirty. “Teasing you until you just can’t take any more.”

Neal ran his hands over the inside of her thighs, purposely avoiding her pussy, before capturing her lower lip with his teeth. He licked into her mouth, tasting the champagne they had shared earlier.

Nibbling her lips, he could hear her whimper.

“Are you wet, Mrs. Burke?” he whispered, knowing full well she was by the way she twisted her hips.

“Yes…damn it, Neal. Need you to fuck me!” Elizabeth pulled away and reached for his zipper.

With one hand, Neal grabbed her wrists and pinned them above her.

“This may be your fantasy, Elizabeth.” He motioned to the Navy Commander’s uniform he was wearing. “But you are not in charge.”

Holding her helpless, he placed kisses along her jaw.

“I’m going to take my time.” He breathed against her neck.

“I’m going to taste every part of you.” Neal unzipped her dress and peeled it down to her waist.

“I’m going to make you beg.” He nuzzled her breasts, capturing a nipple and suckling.

“Then, when you’re sobbing…” He trailed his hand up her inner thigh, teasing just under the edge of her silk panties.

“…I’m going to take my cock and slowly fuck you until you come screaming my name.” Neal kissed the skin right behind her ear.

“Now, Mrs. Burke, do you think you can behave long enough for me to do that?”

It was with no small sense of satisfaction that Neal watched Elizabeth nod rapidly, eyes wide.

“Good decision.” Neal brought her hands to his mouth and kissed her wrists before releasing them and sinking to the floor of the limo.

He grabbed Elizabeth’s hips and pulled her down farther on the leather seat. Lowering his head he sucked bruises into her skin that he knew would be there for days.

His fingers caressed her thighs, pushing aside the scrap of silk so he could see her - wet and swollen, just for him.

He heard Elizabeth moan when he lightly rubbed her clit. “Oh yeah…again…right there.”

He traded fingers for tongue so he could taste her, feeling her clit throbbing as he laid the flat of his tongue against her. He pressed harder against it, slipping two fingers in her pussy and curling them to reach the spot deep inside.

Elizabeth mewled and wrapped her legs around his shoulders, trying to pull him tighter. Her hands found his head, twisting her fingers into his hair.

“Oh god, oh god…” She bucked up when he added a third finger, thrusting them in and out, tantalizingly slow.

He used his fingers, his lips, his tongue, to tease her until she was sobbing, just like he’d promised.

“Please, Neal…” She whimpered when he grazed his teeth against her clit.

He raised his head. “Please what, Mrs. Burke.”

“Please…need you…can’t wait.” He voice was tight with want. “Need to feel you inside me.”

Hearing her beg, smelling her, tasting her, had him on edge just as she was. His cock was hard, pressing against his pants. He rocked his hips, the friction delicious.

Neal reached down and unzipped himself. He pulled his cock out and stroked it, once, twice, before grabbing a condom from his pocket, ripping open the wrapper and rolling it on.

Raising up, he teased the lips of Elizabeth’s pussy with the head of his dick. Slowly he pushed in, her muscles giving way until he was buried completely.

“Oh god…feels so good.” Elizabeth gasped as he jerked his hips and thrust in again.

Neal began to move. Slow and tortuous, pulling out until just the head of his cock was inside her. Easing back in until she whimpered. Stretching out over her, pinning her arms above her head again. Knowing the fabric of his uniform was rubbing her nipples, that they would be tender in the morning.

Neal knew Elizabeth was getting close by the way her hands fluttered in his grip. He sped up, plunging in faster, harder, the way she liked him to finish.

“Oh god…fuck…Oh…Neal!” Elizabeth screamed and arched as she came, triggering Neal’s orgasm. He spilled, hot and fast, waves of pleasure electrifying his entire body. Gasping, he collapsed half on, half off her for a moment before slowly pulling out and taking care of the condom.

They sprawled on the seat, neither one moving as limo pulled off the road and the privacy partition dropped smoothly down. Peter’s face appeared, a chauffeur’s cap tilted dashingly on his head.

“So, Mrs. Burke. Did that adequately fulfill your ‘No Way Out’ fantasy?” Peter’s smile was just this side of carnal.

“And then some.” Elizabeth adjusted her dress with a happy sigh.

Neal straightened his clothes, tucking himself back into his pants. “So I guess we need to return the limo now?”

Elizabeth leaned forward and grabbed the chauffeur’s cap off of Peter’s head. Placing it jauntily on top of her own, she grinned mischievously at Neal.

“Oh no, we’re not done with you yet. Once you recover, it’s Peter’s turn. I want to hear him fuck you while I drive.”

The party was winding down. Most of the guests had left, repeating their congratulations as they put on their coats. Those that were still there were the inner circle – the ones who had been there from the beginning in the journey to get to this place.

Jones and his wife Cynthia, showing off pictures of their new grandbaby to Sara and her husband Philip.

Blake and his partner Jackson talking to Alex, whose arrival was a definite surprise.

Diana, Theo and Mozzie discussing grad schools for engineering with Hughes who was older than dirt but still as swift as ever.

Neal watched them, amazed at the patchwork of friends they had collected over the years.

He felt arms surround him and instinctively leaned back into the broad surface of Peter’s chest. Even at seventy, Peter still was in fantastic shape and stirred Neal’s blood whenever he took his shirt off.

“You okay?” Peter nuzzled Neal’s neck and kissed his ear.

“Yeah, just watching everyone.” He took Peter’s hands and pulled him tighter around him.

Peter’s chuckle sent skitters of pleasure down his spine. “Incredible group of folks, isn’t it?”

“It is.” They were silent for a moment.

“Did you ever think we would be here?” Peter’s fingers caressed the rings on their hands. Neal’s etched gold, Peter’s brushed silver. Across the room, Neal could see the matching one in diamonds glinting on Elizabeth’s finger as she gestured with her wine glass while talking to Diana.

“Would you hate me if I said no?” Neal confessed the thought with a wry smile. “If someone had asked me when you were chasing me whether I thought I would wind up with the two of you…with all this -,” he gestured with their hands to the room. “- I would have laughed in their face.”

“Yeah, me too.” Peter rested his chin on Neal’s shoulder. “You were insufferable, cocky, and frustrated me to no end back then.”

“And now?” Neal turned in Peter’s arms and linked his hands behind Peter’s neck.

“Now? You’re still insufferable, cocky and frustrate me, but for a totally different reason.” Peter leaned in and captured Neal’s lips with his.

Slanting his mouth gently across Peter’s, Neal nibbled slightly before caressing his jaw with his thumb. “Mmmmm, you taste good.”

“Love you so much.” Peter’s whisper against his lips made Neal’s heart practically burst. How he adored this man that chased him twenty years ago and captured his heart, body and soul. Sinking into Peter’s kiss, Neal lost himself.

“Hey you two, is there room for one more?” Elizabeth’s soft, amused voice broke them apart.

Neal turned to her and smiled. Every time he looked at her, he was amazed at her beauty. The streaks of silver in her hair only made her more desirable to him. Pulling her into their embrace, he ran his hand over the curves that he knew so intimately.

“There’s always room for you, hon.” Peter kissed the top of her head, then raised her chin to kiss her nose. Laughing, Elizabeth pulled Neal’s head down and claimed his mouth.

Surrounded by his lovers, his partners, Neal let himself forget that they were in the middle of a party. That is, until Mozzie cleared his throat.

Flushing, Neal realized that all their guests were standing there watching them.

“Sorry.” He wrapped his arms around Elizabeth. “Got distracted.”

“It’s your anniversary – you’re allowed to be.” Diana spoke teasingly. “But can we get a toast from you before we have to tell you three to get a room?”

“Of course.” Peter slipped past Neal to the table to open up one of the champagne bottles that was left. “Okay. Glasses ready.”

Neal gave Elizabeth one of the champagne flutes from the counter as Peter filled everyone’s glass.

“A toast.” Peter nodded at Elizabeth. “El? Want to go first?”
Elizabeth raised her glass. “To my boys. I love you with every breath of my being. I have to admit, between the two of you, life has never been boring.”

Neal chuckled and caught Peter’s eye. His lover was grinning back.

“However, I wouldn’t want it to be any different. You challenge me, support me, make me laugh, comfort me when I’m sad. You make my life complete. Happy Anniversary.”

She blew them both kisses.

“Peter?” Neal nodded at him to go next.

He watched Peter take a deep breath and pull Elizabeth into his arms. “To my two loves. Elizabeth, you took a chance on a bumbling FBI agent that was too shy to actually ask you out. You were there through stake outs, long nights at the office…Neal…”

The group laughed at his comment.

“You have been my lodestone when I’ve lost my way and my voice of wisdom when I’ve been troubled. You gave me the courage to realize that loving two people wasn’t wrong – in fact, it was perfectly right. And for that I can’t thank you enough.”

Peter faced Neal with a look of pure love.

“Neal, from the beginning you have always been a part of me. From the moment your file hit my desk, through the chase, the anklet and after…our lives have been intertwined. I can’t imagine a single day without you. Even though we have had our differences, I have never regretted a single thing.”

Peter’s voice broke. “The two of you…you have made me who I am. Someone I can be proud of. I love you both so much.”

Now it was Neal’s turn. He raised his glass of champagne and studied the bubbles. The words came softly.

“Making champagne is a time consuming process. You need the right grapes, the correct weather, the specific blend. It needs to be fermented in a certain way, aged for just the right amount of time. Bottled in a specific manner. If any of those steps are missing or done incorrectly you lose everything and have to start over. But when you do it right, the end result is glorious.”

Neal walked over to Peter and Elizabeth and took their hands. “Our journey has been like the finest champagne. Thank you both for taking it with me. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in the next twenty years.”

He leaned in and kissed them, first Elizabeth then Peter. Gathering them into his arms he held them close as their guests slipped quietly away.


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