Disclaimer: I don't own Psych, or any characters, places, things, or ideas therein. Those belong to the USA network and Universal Studios. I am writing this fic for entertainment purposes only, not monetary gain of any kind.
Summary: It was the happiest day of my life, and the beginning of so many new things. So it was a bit of a relief, really, to see something so familiar in the midst of it all. Sequel to "Apple Jack Tears" and "Chocolate Chip Smiles," last in the trilogy. Shules fluff abounds.
Warnings: Fluff and general happiness
Sequel to: Apple Jack Tears and Chocolate Chip Smiles
Special Thanks: Once more goes out to the wonderful jewel of athos for her suggestions, beta job, and for being such an awesome twin sister. Thanks, my twin sis!
Author's Note: Thank you so much to the people who read/reviewed/favorited Apple Jack Tears and Chocolate Chip Smiles. I am so sorry it's taken me a while to get this one out, but I've been sick recently, and haven't really felt like writing. I apologize again for the long wait, but I really hope it was worth it and that you enjoy this final installment in the trilogy! ~fyd
I once said that I didn't want to get married. At the time that was completely true, because I believed all the reasons I'd cited to Shawn. However, as he had done with so many other aspects of my life, he gently took my point of view and tweaked it.
As Shawn and I moved to the center of the floor for our first dance as a married couple, I had to reflect on the fact that my life had changed so much over the time I'd known him. But all of it was for the better, because I had known what I thought I'd wanted all along, but I hadn't realized what I'd needed. Until now.
As the music drifted across the crowd to our ears and we started to dance, I felt my face warm at the applause that was swelling through those we'd invited to share our special day with. We'd agreed for family and close friends, a fairly private affair, but a tiny part of me still wanted wished I'd gone for that original knee-jerk reaction I'd had to just grab Shawn's hand and run for it so we could elope.
My husband (would I ever get tired of thinking, hearing, saying those two words?) was singing softly, warm breath stirring the loose curls I'd left hanging around my face. The whole day had thus far been wrapped in a kind of surreal haze, guiding me along a path that usually only appeared in my dreams. But everything was real today, and I hoped the bewitching beauty of it all would never fade.
Our first dance floated past in a blur, and soon other couples were joining us on the dance floor. The music picked up tempo for the next couple of dances, kicking up the fun factor as Shawn and I were whirled from dance partner to dance partner. As I danced with first my father, then Henry Spencer, then Gus, receiving congratulations and a kiss on the cheek from each, I felt the bubbling happiness inside me go up yet another notch. The day couldn't possibly get any better -- Shawn's and my wedding was the quintessence of perfection.
Eventually I gracefully bowed out of dancing, hurrying to the punch bowl for a refreshing drink. Laughing to myself, I shifted subtly from foot to foot to ease their aching because of the dress shoes I'd chosen. The heels were admittedly higher than I was accustomed to wearing on a daily basis.
As I sipped at my cool drink, my father-in-law approached me with a familiar gleam in his eyes. Shawn got that look when he was on the track of something and wasn't going to let it go… To be entirely honest, I wasn't sure if I should make a run for it or face whatever was coming with a brave smile on my face. Typically it should be my father who was giving Shawn the "if you hurt her I will kill you" speech, but Henry struck me as the type of person who would say "if you hurt my son I will kill you" to me. Despite the disagreements he and Shawn had, Henry did love his son.
"Juliet." He smiled vaguely in my direction as he got himself a glass of punch, and I felt the sudden tenseness in my shoulders ease. It had been silly of me to automatically assume Henry wanted to talk to me. After all, I was standing right next to the punch bowl…
And, as if waiting for that exact thought to strike me, Henry turned and spoke. "I wanted to thank you."
I paused with my glass halfway to my mouth, which I knew was hanging open in surprise. It took me a moment to gather my wits and reply. "For what?"
Henry's eyes slid sideways toward the dance floor, and I followed his gaze to where Shawn was standing across the room, laughing about something with Gus. "Do you know that I've never seen my son this genuinely happy?" he asked, his tone distant. "At least, not in a very long time."
I blinked. "Shawn is a very happy person," I said softly. His enthusiasm and near-perpetual cheerfulness was one of the many things that had attracted me to him in the first place.
"Yes," that man's father agreed. "He is. But -- sometimes I know he's just putting it on, making it an act. He is good at that."
"That he is," I agreed. Shawn did have a knack for the dramatic. Sometimes I teased him and said he should have gone into acting instead of becoming a consultant for the SBPD. He would always grin, shrug, and tell me that there would always be a certain amount of acting he'd do no matter what career path he chose. It was no trouble for me to believe it.
Turning completely to face me, Henry lowered his punch glass and looked at me with the direct seriousness I witnessed Shawn use when facing down a particularly evil criminal. Only Henry's gaze now was somehow softer, without the edge of steel that would make any bad guy cower in fear. "Shawn has been in a lot of -- relationships," he said carefully. When I didn't react negatively to the word, he continued. "But I have never seen him act the way he does with you. He -- well, I think you are the first woman he has ever genuinely been in love with."
Though flattered by Henry's words, I still felt the need to say, "Thank you, sir. Not that I'm not -- flattered, but…" I trailed off, unsure how to phrase my question.
"Why am I saying all this?" Henry chuckled and shook his head. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to tell you that I'm so glad that you and Shawn found each other." Leaning forward, he gave me a somewhat awkward hug before leaning back and smiling, an echo of the fatherly affection I saw in my own dad's eyes in his own. "Thanks, Juliet. And I hope you and Shawn are eternally happy together, and that no matter what happens, your love remains as strong as I saw it today."
I blinked rapidly, feeling tears prickling at the back of my eyes. Henry Spencer, I realized, was just as much of an enigma as his son. "Thank you, sir," I whispered.
And suddenly Shawn was there, his arm around my shoulders as he pressed a careful kiss against the side of my head. "Putting her through the Spanish Inquisition again, Dad?" he said, his tone humorous. But I saw the grateful shine in his eyes, and I was pretty sure Henry did, too. I wondered just how much of his father's and my conversation he'd heard.
Henry was suddenly back to his usual self, a hint of a smile lurking under his casual scowl. "I was just warning Juliet about you," he said. "Though I suppose it is a little late now."
Shawn eyed us both speculatively, then grinned and reached for his father's hand just as Henry held it out for a shake. "Thanks, Dad," he said. Again, beneath the levity always lingering in his voice, I heard the deeper tones of gratitude and affection for his father.
I turned away, giving father and son a moment. Though I had come to love Henry almost as much as my own father, and was now officially a part of the Spencer family, I still felt like I was intruding. Perhaps I would never truly understand Shawn, or Henry. But that was alright, because I had the rest of my life, and Shawn's, to try.
When Shawn's arms wound around me again and I turned, Henry had gone to talk to Carlton. Though my gruff partner had scowled at the wedding invitation I'd sent him, and I had heard him at least four times threatening Shawn with bodily harm if he even thought about hurting me, I knew he was genuinely happy for me. I just hoped that he could find someone to make him happy, too. Though I had been his partner for a long time, I didn't know that much about his personal life as far as relationships. But I did know that there had to be someone out there who could make him happy, and I internally wished him all the luck in the world.
"I love you, Jules. Have I told you that recently?" Shawn spoke the words against my lips as he kissed me. We both ignored the cheers and whistles that broke out when people spotted us.
"Once or twice," I replied smartly. "But I'm glad you thought to tell me again. If you don't say it enough, a girl might start to think you didn't care." Almost the moment the last word left my lips, I saw the discreet shift in his expression. I didn't have words for what I saw on his face at that moment. I did know with absolute certainty, however, that even as it stole my breath right from my lungs, it promised me the eternity of fierce love and devotion we had promised each other at the alter only a few hours beforehand.
"Always, Jules," he said. "I will always love you." Pulling me into his arms again, he tucked my head under his chin and whispered, his voice thick, "And though I know I can never say it enough, or well enough to truly express it, know that I love you from the very deepest parts of me and beyond, and always will."
Swallowing down the sudden thickness in my own throat, I tried to find the words that would tell him that I felt the same way, but everything that came to mind seemed far too inadequate. Instead I reached up to take his face in my hands so I could kiss him, hoping it could even begin to assure him of the enormity of my own feelings for him.
The ring of a piece of cutlery against a glass shattered the moment between us, but even as we jumped guiltily at being caught in such an intimate embrace, Shawn left another kiss on my forehead as Gus's voice filled the reception tent. "All right, everyone, attention! It's time for our newlyweds to cut the cake. Get over here, you two."
Shawn wound his fingers through mine as we made our way over to the cake. With a grin, Gus handed me the knife, a huge affair with a wickedly long and sharp blade. "…criminal-enabling," I heard Carlton mumble from a few feet away, his eyes on the knife. But I saw the grin on his face, and smiled back at him.
"Ready?" I asked Shawn. But when I saw the look of shock on his face, I couldn't help but laugh. I had begged Shawn to let me get the cake, and he had agreed. The whole time I'd been desperately trying to keep the secret, though it hadn't been easy. The look on his face now, however, was well worth the bite marks on my tongue from where I'd repeatedly had to keep from blurting out the surprise.
The entire setup of the triple-tiered cake had been done to resemble a pineapple. The cake was done in a gentle shade of off-white, but the bride-and-groom topper added just enough color to really make it stand out, as if the shape of the cake itself weren't enough. I had had the topper custom-made just for Shawn, and from the expression on his face, he loved it.
Reaching behind me, I felt Gus put something in my hand, exactly as we had prearranged. Laughing softly, I pressed the real pineapple into Shawn's hands as he continued to stare at the one the miniature bride and groom were holding between them. "Do you like it?" I whispered.
For a long time Shawn didn't say anything. His gaze went from the topper, down to the cake, then to the pineapple in his hands, and finally back up to me. Very slowly, a grin brightened his face, and then he leaned forward to plant a long, satisfied kiss on my lips. "It's perfect!" he all but shouted. "Jules!" He threw his arms around me, then immediately apologized as the top of the pineapple got tangled in my hair.
"That's why I wanted to plan the cake myself," I said, smiling up at him, happy because he was. "I wanted to surprise you with this."
Shawn didn't say anything, but I could see on his face what the cake, topper, and pineapple meant to him. And as we finally cut the cake, with him standing behind me, arms wrapped securely around me and his hands surrounding mine on the knife, our closest friends and family around us, and our intensely bright, happy future together ahead of us, I knew that (pineapple, as Shawn would insist) dreams really did come true.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed!