Some suggestive situations and a wee bit o' language, but nothing too bad, I think. I hope you all enjoy it. I think this is the most overtly romantic thing I've ever written for Mentalist so far. sigh. I'm honestly jealous of Lisbon in this part. lol. Thanks for reading and reviewing the story, everyone! I may some day do a sequel.
Chapter 7: Epilogue
It was Bronwyn's second birthday party. The last six months had seen big changes. Jane didn't want to waste any time with Lisbon, but he also didn't want to push her, to rush her. She wasn't used to giving herself over to someone. In all of her previous relationships (and she wouldn't talk to him about them very often or very much), she had called the shots. She had set the tone.
That had never worked with Jane. Often, it was he who initiated the changes in their relationship, something which surprised both of them. After his wife died, he'd have thought that he would be very reticent getting involved with another. Actually, he hadn't thought that he'd be able to do so at all.
He had been wrong, though. Lisbon, having never imagined that Jane would be able to move on let alone with her, didn't feel any great need to rush their relationship. She savored each moment as it came, not feeling like she had to push them forward.
Four months after the day they had dropped the kids off, he practically lived at her apartment. He was seriously considering selling his house. He wasn't sure how he felt about that. Though he would never let his family go, having the house made him feel as if they were closer. Was that so wrong? Was he wronging Lisbon? Should they start fresh somewhere else or could they build their family there, over the sadness? He wondered if the great many good memories he had of that house could outweigh the one horrible memory. It was something he had to talk to Lisbon about. For now, he enjoyed the fact that he had his own section in her closet, his own drawers in her dresser, and his toothbrush right next to hers. It was nice to go home at the end of the day. He'd slept better in the last two months than he had in the last five years.
Today was the next step. He was finally going to meet her family. Yes, he had met her sister-in-law. They had spent the odd day here or there with Alex and Bronwyn. But her brothers were still non-entities to him. He wondered if she ever even talked about him to them. He knew she was serious about them—Lisbon rarely made frivolous choices—but he sometimes wondered if she were as serious as he. He wasn't a casual relationship kind of guy. Never had been. He was definitely a family man. And he had decided that Lisbon was his family.
Now he only had to convince Lisbon that he was her family. Today's party was something like a chaser. Soon, he would take the next step.
"Mr. Patrick!" There was a blur, but Jane was ready. He caught Alex and flung him into the air before catching the child. Lisbon leaned in close and kissed the top of Alex's head.
"Where's your mom, kiddo?"
Lisbon headed in the direction Alex pointed. While she was gone, Jane performed one of his easy magic tricks using a coin—Alex's favorite. Someone cleared their throat. Jane turned. In front of him was a sturdy, dark-haired man. It was the eyes that tipped Jane off. Same as Alex. Same as Lisbon. This must be one of her brothers.
He smiled calmly and stuck a hand out. "Patrick Jane."
The man observed Jane for another moment and, just when it would have become definitely awkward to leave Jane's offered hand hanging in the air between them, Lisbon's brother reached out to grasp it. A firm handshake and the beginning of a smile.
"We've heard a lot about you. Alex loves spending time with you and Teresa," the man said. "I'm her brother, James."
"Pleasure. You have wonderful children," Jane said, meaning every word. James grinned. Nothing like complimenting a man's kids to get on his good side.
"Thanks. Come on, I'll introduce you to my brother."
The day flew by quickly. Jane met the other brother and charmed him over. Lisbon, though surprised that her brothers had taken to Jane so quickly, was happy that it was a relatively painless transition. Jane knew she hadn't thought that her brothers would accept him, but he rather thought she underestimated them a bit. They knew their sister well and could tell that she was happier than she had been in a long time. Years. Maybe ever.
And Jane had toned down his obnoxiously observant part of his personality, allowing himself to just enjoy the bustling of a family celebrating a little girl's birthday.
Both he and his wife had been only children. Family gatherings were quiet affairs. Though mischievous, his daughter hadn't been exactly rambunctious. Alex and Bronwyn, however, certainly added spice to the party. Jane grinned as Bronwyn came barreling toward him. He picked her up and smothered her face with sloppy kisses, making her giggle hysterically. Lisbon appeared at his side, joining in the fun by tickling her niece's side. There was hardly anything better than a child's laughter. Jane looked down at Bronwyn in his arms. Lisbon's head was close to hers and, not for the first time, Jane imagined a full family with Lisbon. He put his arm around her and she glanced up at his face.
"Time for us to go," she said and he nodded, regretful that they couldn't stay longer. It was almost bedtime for the kids, anyway. They said their goodbyes and headed back to Lisbon's—their—apartment.
"My brothers liked you," she said as she parked the car, still sounding a bit shell-shocked at the truth of the statement. He laughed.
"Unsurprising. I'm a very likable person," he answered with no small amount of ego. She rolled her eyes and he continued, somewhat more seriously. "Well, you helped raise them and you like me. I'm not surprised that they trust your judgment."
She looked at him, considering, before reaching out and giving his hand a quick squeeze. She was out the door before he could even miss the warmth of her hand. He loved when she initiated touch. Though they were dating (he always thought that was such a sophomoric term), he found that he was usually the one to make the small physical displays of affection. As he felt warmth spread inside from her simple gesture of pressing his hand within hers for a few seconds, he thought that maybe there was something to the saying that you appreciate things more when you receive them in moderation.
Even so, he hoped that she would come out of her shell more, feel more comfortable touching him, less embarrassed. He came up behind her as she was unlocking the apartment and grabbed her free hand, twining their fingers together. She smiled softly at him—that special smile that she gave him now that they were sleeping together. Intimate, warm, sensuous, and caring. A perfect mix.
The door opened and they entered with her leading the way. He nudged the door shut behind them. The apartment was silent and they remained so, wanting to keep the quiet mood. Somehow, it just felt right. He wrapped his arms around her from behind, nuzzling his head into her neck and pressing a kiss against her skin.
No words were spoken as she turned in his arms and skimmed her hands over his jaw, her touch gentle. She leaned up and he met her halfway, capturing her lips in a tender kiss that turned hotly passionate in a matter of minutes. Her hands trailed down his chest and his sought the small of her back, holding her in place against him as he slowly walked her towards their bedroom. He trailed kisses down the side of her neck and her hands retraced their path to twine about his neck. He smiled against the soft skin where her neck met her shoulder and slid his hands down to lift her up against him.
He could never get enough of her.
Finally making it into the room and collapsing on the bed, he proceeded to show her just that.
Lisbon stirred as the warmth of the morning sun fell across her face. Determinedly, she turned away from the intrusive light and snuggled deeper into the covers. A hand lazily smoothed down her side, stopping to rest on her hip. She opened one eye to see Jane in front of her, leaning up on his elbow to watch her. Eyes firmly closed again, she spoke.
"I don't like it when you watch me while I'm sleeping."
"How do you know I'm watching you if you're sleeping?"
A smile tugged at the edges of her mouth. "Smartass."
He laughed and she felt his lips brush against her forehead. "You wouldn't have it any other way."
She moved forward, into his chest, and his arms came around her. Grudgingly, she opened her eyes and looked up into his face. The love and contentment she found in his eyes still surprised her. She didn't know what she did to deserve this man, but she was definitely grateful. His gaze softened.
"I'm the lucky one," he argued. She didn't even bother to ask how he knew what she was thinking. She maintained that it was dumb luck.
A dark blond curl fell into his eyes and she reached up to push it back. Seeing something on her finger catch the light, she pulled her left hand down closer to her face.
There was a ring on her finger.
She looked back up at him to find his gaze intent, waiting. "Um, is this what I think it is?"
He nodded, not sure he trusted himself to speak just yet. She twisted the beautiful white-gold ring around her finger a bit nervously. "Patrick, you don't have to do this. It's fine. We're fine. I can wait."
He took her hand in his and kissed each finger separately, delicately. "But I can't."
Holding her hand against his bare chest, he leaned his forehead to hers. "Teresa, will you become my family in every sense of the word?"
She closed her eyes, feeling their breath intermingle in the space between them. She felt cool air for a moment as he pulled back before his lips were pressed gently to hers in an almost chaste kiss. Pulling back only minutely this time, he spoke the words against her lips.
His words were so sincere, so heartfelt, that she couldn't speak for a moment. His hold tightened imperceptibly around her hand before his arms once more slid around her, anchoring her to him.
"I'm holding you hostage until you say yes, by the way."
His words startled a laugh out of her—one that she was a little embarrassed to say was a bit watery. She nodded against his chest. His hands smoothed up and down her bare back. "I can't hear you."
She shoved at him playfully, causing him to roll onto his back and drag her on top of him. Sprawled across his chest, she lifted her head to look him in the eyes. "Yes."
His eyes darkened at her answer. One hand holding her hip to keep her still against him, he moved his other hand to the nape of her neck in order draw her down to him for another kiss, short and sweet and loving. After, she tucked her head back against his chest right underneath his chin and contemplated getting up for breakfast.
Five more minutes.
Three minutes later, she felt Jane's chest vibrate as he began to hum. It took her a moment, but as soon as she recognized the tune she began to laugh.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage...
She pushed the covers back and hopped up out of bed. As she headed to the closet for some clothes, she tossed a comment over her shoulder. "How elementary of you, Patrick."
He grinned unabashedly at her pale, naked back. "Mmm, does that mean I can pull your pigtails?"