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Love is What Happens When You're Busy Not Looking
Chapter Sixty – Nine
Smiling bemusedly down at the solid platinum ring on her left hand, Jennifer Rossi leaned her head against her husband's shoulder. "I can't believe it's actually over and done!"
Pressing a kiss to her radiant blonde hair, Dave grinned as he covered her hand with his. "The wedding's done, babe. The marriage is just getting started."
And it was. Both of them would have never imagined that what had started out as friends with benefits, as banal as that term was, had grown into happily ever after. But when Dave had been shot, all those many months ago, their lives had taken a topsy turvy route that had forced them both to realize what was right in front of them…they had fallen in love. And now here they were…married.
A booming voice interrupted the marital couple's introspection just then. "And it's gonna last 'til Gabriel blows that trumpet, right, son?"
Rolling his eyes as his father crossed the living room, two champagne glasses held out toward them. "Yeah, Pop, I think we got that part loud and clear. How much did you have to pay Monsignor Clariso to repeat the forever part twenty times?"
Pressing the glass into his now daughter in law's waiting hand, Gio Rossi winked at JJ. "My son, he seems to forget that one does not pay the priest. One merely reminds the man of God of the many things the family's already done for the parish. One hand washes another, you know."
"Blackmailing God?" JJ returned, her lips twitching as she took a sip of the champagne. "I see the family resemblance more and more every day," she added as she grinned at her new husband.
Grinning good-naturedly, Gio shrugged. "I just wanted to make it clear to one and all that this would be my son's last time before God taking vows of ever after, Bellisima. Now," he said with a mock glare at his son, "Scram. I want to dance with my new daughter."
Chuckling, Dave raised his eyebrows. "I do believe that's the first time you've referred to one of my wives as a daughter, Pop," he teased, squeezing JJ's waist as he dropped a kiss to her blonde hair.
"This is the first time you've ever brought me someone worthy…more worthy than you deserve. Protect that love, my son. It happens only once in a lifetime," he advised, taking JJ's arm and leading her to the cleared dining room where music played softly and the guests danced.
Taking Gio's hand, JJ smiled. "So, I'm your daughter now, am I?"
Tucking JJ's body against his, Gio nodded. "Of course you are," he agreed affably, his feet easily moving in rhythm to the music.
"Good, then that entitles me to an opinion, doesn't it?" JJ returned easily, letting herself follow his perfect lead in the dance. "You," she said, staring up into the older man's face, "need to take care of yourself. Your need to take care of yourself," she chided.
"Oh, not you, too," Gio groaned, grimacing as he shook his head.
"Yes, me too. You want to be around to meet your grandchildren, don't you?" JJ asked gently, her eyes soft as she stared up into familiar eyes. "You've got to stop being so surly. Let the girls step in and help you."
"I'll admit that this whole Ethyl situation threw me for a loop, but I'll be as good as new in a few weeks," Gio grumbled, easily turning JJ to the beat of the music.
"Luce wants to stay with you," JJ said, squeezing Gio's shoulder as they danced. "You told her that you could take care of yourself."
"I can," Gio stated, lifting his chin defiantly, his stubborn Italian pride shining in his eyes.
"Probably," JJ agreed. "But maybe she needs to be here with you. Mari has her husband and children. But Luce's kids are grown. She's alone. And she very nearly lost her father. Maybe she needs to be close to you now."
Flushing, Gio swallowed as he dropped his eyes. "I'm ashamed, Jennifer. I put a cold blooded murderer above my own children."
"You didn't know, Gio. You wanted to believe the best in her. We all know that. Every one of us. But maybe in order to heal those wounds in your heart, you need to keep Lucia close," JJ murmured, her eyes straying to the older woman sitting at a nearby table, the lines around her eyes more pronounced today. The tension of the last month had finally caught up with her…the worry and fear still lingering in her eyes. "She needs you as much as you need her. Consider it an offer you can't refuse. You can either let her move back in here or you can come home with Dave and me."
"It didn't take you long to pick up on the Rossi pushiness. You may have some Italian in you yet," he said, a soft undercurrent of pride in his voice. "Davey chose well. You are exactly what my son needs."
"That works both ways," JJ said with a loving look across the room at Dave.
"You've managed to capture my wily son's heart. I don't think I have ever seen him look as serene as when he looks at you. He's besotted."
"It's mutual," JJ laughed, watching as her new husband approached them, his eyes meeting hers. "Speaking of my husband," she murmured as she nodded over Gio's shoulder.
Glancing behind his shoulder, Gio's grin widened. "Possessive…even with his own father. Definitely my son," he praised. Looking back at JJ, Gio whispered, "His mother would have been proud today. I wish she could have seen it."
"Maybe she has been," JJ replied softly as Dave drew to their side.
"Alright, Pop, you're officially hogging my wife now," Dave grumbled, wrapping an arm around JJ's waist as his father released her.
"You always were selfish with your toys," Gio sighed, taking a step back and tilting his head to the side. "Go on, you two. I have to go tell Lucia that my house rules still include no booze after ten."
Watching as his father walked toward his sister, Dave whispered as he took JJ back into his arms "You did it? You got him to agree?"
"You aren't the only one with powers of persuasion. I just reasonably pointed out that Luce needed him as much as he needed her. After all, look how well it worked out when I did it for Hotch and Emily," she chuckled, inclining her head toward the smiling couple in the corner, Emily leaning heavily against Hotch as they danced.
"You were lucky," Dave snorted, his hand stroking JJ's lower back as they swayed to the music.
"I was right. Maybe we'll be having another wedding soon," she murmured, looking up at him, her eyes staring into his dark gaze as she tried to convince herself that this was indeed real and that he was indeed her husband.
"The only wedding I care about right now is the one I just had," Dave returned, stealing a kiss from her parted lips as he drew her closer, the music fading into the background as he focused on her.
"Very smooth," JJ giggled, her own arms encircling his waist as she leaned her head against his neck. "We really did it, didn't we?"
"From friends with benefits to this…I'm still not sure how it happened, but I'm damned glad it did, Bella," Dave replied gratefully as her body settled against his.
Lifting her head, JJ beamed up at him. "Haven't you, heard? Love is what happens when you're busy not looking."
And in that moment, Dave knew he could go blind today because he would need to look no more. He had his love. And he was never letting her go.
And there it is, ladies and gentleman…the last chapter. We hope you enjoyed the ride!