Election Day

Authors Note: Thank you again to everyone who read and commented on my fic. I really appreciate it. I am so sorry that it has taken me forever to update this. I hope you hadn't given up hope. Life got crazy, then I got distracted by other writing projects. Maybe I will be forgiven if I give a hint of my next fanfic: It will be titled "A Year to Remember" and will be my version of how Jack and Doug got together.

Disclaimer: Don't own them, don't sue.

Chapter 3: And the winner is...

It was 8:55 PM. Doug was driving back toward the station house when he got a call on his radio for the first time that day, "Sheriff, there's been a noise complaint down at the Icehouse. I thought that you might want to be the one to handle it."

"Don't worry Holly, I'll check it out" he replied. The restaurant owned by his brother was only a few blocks west of his current location, and he decided that it was probably not necessary to turn on the lights of his patrol vehicle, as thin as the traffic was that time of night.

When he pulled up at the Icehouse, he saw a hand lettered sign taped to the front door, stating that the Icehouse was closed for a private party, which was an unusual occurrence for a Tuesday night in November. Music was coming from inside the restaurant. When he entered, the first thing he saw was a huge banner hung over the bar area that read "We love you Doug!" As he looked around the room, he realized that it contained all of the people who were dearest to him. Jack, who was holding Amy, was almost dead center under the banner. Pacey and his wife Joey were standing next to them. As he looked around the room, he spied his Mom and his sister Gretchen in the corner. At the opposite end of the room, he saw all of his deputies, as well as Holly, who was still holding the portable radio she had used to report the "incident" at the Icehouse. Gale was talking with Bessie and Bodie, and he finally spotted Alexander and Lilly under a table nearby.

As he continued to stand there in shock, Pacey came forward. "It is now 9 PM and you are officially off the clock," he said as he handed over a beer to his stunned brother.

"Did you organize this?" Doug asked throwing an arm around his brother's shoulders.

"Yeah," he admitted. "Jack had mentioned that you were pretty stressed about the election, so I thought that it was important to remind you how many people really care about you."

He tightened his arm to give Pacey a one armed hug, unable to find the words to express his gratitude to his brother, who was also his best friend. As he tried to make his way across the room to where Jack and Amy were, he found his way blocked by many of the townspeople who had come to the party. As he accepted a hug from Evie Wilkins, he looked over to where Jack was standing and mouthed, "I love you." When he saw Jack's reply, it was if they were the only ones in the room.

Eventually he made his way over to where Jack was standing, and after pulling him into a fierce embrace, pounded upon the bar with an empty bottle to get everyone's attention. "I wanted to thank all of you for coming tonight. Your support really means a lot to me. Many of you have taken time out of your busy lives to donate your time these past months to pass out fliers and go door to door talking with people. You have all been amazing. A few years ago, I never would have thought that all of you would be here supporting me."

He reached out to take Jack's hand in his. "Jack, you have given me the courage to be myself, and I have never regretted that decision. Our life together, with Amy, has been better than I could have ever imagined." He looked out across the room, still holding Jack's hand. "Seeing everybody here, I realize how lucky I am. No matter what the outcome of the election, this has been one of the happiest nights of my life." He smiled out at the room full of people, hoping that his words would convey the gratitude he was feeling.

His gaze fell upon the table where all of his deputies gathered, and his smile turned into a grin. "Of course, some of you had better hope that I win the election, because if Roy Carter finds out that none of Capeside's finest appear to be on duty tonight, some of you may be out of jobs tomorrow morning," he said with mock seriousness. All of his officers laughed after failing to look contrite for neglecting their duty.

He turned to find Pacey standing next to him with the cordless phone in his hand. "It's the Mayor," he said, handing over the phone. Suddenly the room became very quiet, as everyone strained to hear the voice on the other end of the line.

Doug listened, intently, his face expressionless. "Thank you for letting me know, Mr. Mayor." He disconnected the call, and looked around the room at all of the people waiting with anticipation for the news. "All of the votes have been counted, and I have been re-elected with over 80 of the vote." After a moment of stunned silence due to the overwhelming victory margin, everyone broke into cheers. The cheering became even louder when everyone saw the normally reserved sheriff sweep Jack into a passionate embrace.

After that, it seemed as if everyone in the room wanted to congratulate him, pulling him into a hug or shaking his hand. About an hour later, the party was finally starting to break up, and Doug found himself next to Pacey for the first time since the Mayor's call. For a minute they stood watching the remaining partygoers. After a minute, Pacey remarked, "I wish Dad could have been here tonight."

Their father had often been demanding and somewhat abrasive most of the time, but Doug found that he often missed his father, who had died almost four years ago, shortly after Doug had been elected Sheriff for the first time. He often wondered what his father would have thought about his life with Jack and Amy, and his leadership of the Capeside Sheriff's department.

As if he could read Doug's thoughts, Pacey continued, "He would have been proud of you."

Doug looked across the room, where Jack had gathered up a sleeping Amy and was preparing to head home. He smiled as he watched the two of them. "I think so, too", he said, and for maybe the first time, really believed that it might be true. He reached over to give Pacey a hug. "Thank you again for having the party" before he walked over to Jack and Amy. "Let's go home."