Very few things made him nervous. Truly, butterflies in the stomach, shaking sick-feeling, nervous. In his entire life he could only think of a handful of occasions when he had actually felt scared. Maybe that's what made him such a good cop, the lack of fear that meant he could put himself in front of a gun if he had too. That happened often, and he took it in his stride now, along with the knives to his neck, the unconsciousness and concussions, and the times a bad guy had got the drop on him and he'd ended in his handcuffs, or with rope burns around his wrists.
It happened. Not often and not that he'd like to admit it, but yeah, it happened. It didn't scare him though. He'd been shot at, shit on (figuratively), stabbed in the back (both literally and figuratively)scarred for life but rarely scared. He occasionally wondered if there was something wrong with him, emotionally at least, but knew it just made him the better cop. Pushed him to chase cars a little faster, run a little further, dive in, duck on time, make that vital bust, square up to a con with an important lead.
It wasn't like he didn't feel fear. Just not often.
The last time he could really remember feeling fear was the first raid he had ever led. He had been terrified, even though he had been on raids before, he'd never led one, never been the first guy through the door. He hadn't let it show though, and had only told his dad, over a beer and some hushed words, late in the night. His little secret.
He had led the whole raid, it had been his tip-off, he'd built up the relationship with the victims, he had stood up in front of the small team and briefed everyone on the crime and the set up. His heart had been pumping hard, trying to break free of his rib cage, the moment they'd left the station, wearing their bullet proof vests, guns holstered, the buttons popped open. His partner sat shotgun, they had back-up following and as he drove to the address he'd shaken out of a guy, he felt car sick for the fist time in his life. The nausea, the headache, the weird taste in his mouth. At least he had thought so.
Except when he stepped out of the car, none of that disappeared and the fear was as strong as ever, blood pumping harder, vision blurring until he rubbed his eyes with the back of his hands. His hair was longer back then, and in that summer heat, strands of it had stuck to his neck with sweat. He counted slowly to calm his breathing, leading the team into the grotty gray apartment block, taking up his gun, searching for a guy who got his jollies from beating the hell out of women with the butt of a handgun, jerking off as they cried, believing they'd be killed, or raped, or both and leaving them for dead in parks and on sidewalks.
Dangerous guy, but Pete found he got his jollies from arresting dangerous guys.
The fear had stuck him to the wall outside apartment 109 for longer than he would've liked but he pushed past it, screaming inside his head as he crashed through the door to find their guy passed out drunk on his sofa. Hardly the criminal mastermind he had been expecting, but his first raid had been successful at least.
Not every one had but he'd never felt fear going into them.
He felt fear right now. Worse than when he had asked out Suzy Miles when he was 12, even worse than when he heard his dad had been in a car crash and couldn't find out anything about his condition until he'd gotten to the hospital to find his mother fawning over him and his sister flirting with the doctor.
He was pretty sure he was going to throw up. The ring was burning a hole in his pocket, singing his skin but he couldn't help but hold it tight in his hand, pushing it deep into his pocket and against the fabric, turning it around and around. He couldn't leave it alone, it was like; if it weren't in his sight or in his hand it meant it would be lost and so would Sam.
It was irrational. He knew all about irrational fear, dealt with crimes every day that were committed by people's irrational fears. Sometimes he thought that maybe he wasn't irrational, or paranoid, or crazy, when she was lost in another world, daydreaming about another galaxy, and he couldn't figure out where she was as she stared right past him, but he loved her too much too care about crazy he may or may not be.
Or how crazy she may be.
He'd thought about asking her to marry him after he'd met her dad for the first time. He hadn't been nervous then really, Sam had been concerned he'd be intimidated by a General with the United States Air Force but he wasn't. He hadn't had the heart to tell her how she'd arrested a few members of the Air Force (and navy and army) led away a staff sergeant in tears once. He had just gone up to the man, shook his hand, and told him it was a pleasure to meet him, at last, without even batting an eye lid.
Meeting General Jacob Carter had been something of a turning point for him, something that told him Sam was around for good, that he could hold onto to her for good. That she was holding onto him too.
He bought the ring as week later, browsing hundreds, in every jewellers and shop he passed whilst on duty, and some he didn't, some he'd had to go hunting for, from the address in the phone book. With shaking hands, he'd bought it, paid for it, terrified that maybe, just maybe she'd say no, hate the ring, decided to turf him out of the best relationship he'd ever had.
Sam was the only woman he'd ever wanted to marry. Which made him all the more nervous. He was just going to push through though. Like with Suzy Miles, the guy in apartment 109, getting to the hospital to see his dad, he was just going to push through it. Take her out today and ask her, today, he wouldn't go home with the ring in his pocket. As scared as he was, he was sure of that.
As she stepped out of her front door though, bright pink coat draped over her arm, he knew she wasn't going to make it easy for him.