It's when he sees her in the motorpool, sliding out from under a now-working Dharma van, that it hits him how much he likes this woman he used to hate. Her hair is held back haphazardly by a red bandana, she's got a grease stain on her cheek and oil droplets on her uniform, and she's laughing as she tosses a wrench from one hand to the other.
All in all, she's a badass, which, granted, she's always been if he's willing to admit it (which he is now). But she's a happy badass now, for the first time since he's known her, and since he's a sullen badass himself a lot of the time, he's thinking a happy badass might be just what he needs. Especially one that looks as beautiful as she does even when covered in car parts.
That's the story he tells on their first anniversary. It's a party of course. Juliet insists on cooking, and Sawyer insists on bringing the flowers. When he returns with a handful of beautiful big yellow flowers, it's to the house smelling like five cheese macaroni and cheese with Italian breadcrumbs, Caesar salad, fruit tarts, angel food cake, and Juliet's favorite shampoo.
Her hair is still slightly wet, pulled back into a loose ponytail. Under her apron is the bathrobe Sawyer got her at the last Dharma Swap Meet, the one she knows drives him crazy because it's soft and short and just hugs the bottom of that behind he loves so much. "Mmm, Blondie, forget the party," Sawyer growls against her neck.
Juliet laughs, turning into Sawyer's arms, her hands sliding down to rest on his hips. "Seeing as Miles is bringing the dip, that might be impossible," she grins, turning off the oven with one hand while playing with the waistband of his pants with the other.
"Who needs dip, when I have you?" Sawyer smirks, until Juliet starts laughing again. "What?"
"Who needs dip when I have you?" Juliet parrots back at him, rolling her eyes good-naturedly. "Really? Did that line work on all the ladies, you suave con man you?"
"Damn it Blondie, what did I say about being so smart?" Sawyer grins at her, running a finger lightly down her face until it comes to rest on her lips. "Now I don't know if I want to give you your birthday present."
"Why whatever will I do?" Juliet pretends to swoon, hand over her forehead as she leans back against the counter, bathrobe riding up just that little bit higher, and Sawyer can't take it anymore, never could, and suddenly she's swept up in his arms, laughing and tugging at his shirt as he carries her to their bedroom.
There are yellow flower petals all over the bed, which Juliet ends up picking up out of her hair, Sawyers fingers pretending to help but really just distracting, running velvety petals over her breasts and belly, lower and lower, until it is five minutes until the party and Juliet smacks Sawyer's hands away, eyes sparkling as she teasingly insists she's just going to have to go naked to the party at this rate and won't it be great that all the men can see her naked, naked, naked, na-
Sawyer kisses her, the word catches in her throat, and he smirks as the flush spreads quickly up her body. "Go get the wine," she says as she pushes him out of bed, just hard enough that he lands on his feet. "And maybe some pants first."
"Only if you wear this." Reaching into the closet, he pulls out one of his standard Dharma jumpsuits and unzips it. Inside is a red dress, clingy and soft, falling to just above Juliet's knee when he holds it up against her body.
"James…" Juliet breathes out, running her fingertips lightly over the material.
"And before you say you don't have the right shoes…" This time, he reaches up on the top shelf, behind a stack of books, and pulls out a pair of red high heels, beaded and shining.
Juliet doesn't say a word this time, just kisses him soft and slow, then slips the dress on, slides on the shoes, and gives a small self-conscious twirl.
"Blondie, you are so damn beautiful," Sawyer breathes out, running his hands down her bare arms, pulling her in for a soft kiss that quickly turns deeper.
"Get out of the bedroom and out to your party!" Miles' voice suddenly calls from the living room, and James shakes his head, letting out a frustrated huff.
"Great timing there!" Sawyer calls back, and hears Miles' laughter, can follow his footsteps as he heads into the kitchen.
"I'll go say hi, you get some clothes on," Juliet says teasingly, running a finger lightly across his abs before walking out of the bedroom, her swaying hips capturing Sawyer's gaze long after they're out of sight.
As he puts his nicest pants and shirt on, leaving the top button open, he can hear more footsteps coming in the open front door, can hear Juliet laugh and talk excitedly, and even though he can't make out the words, he smiles at how happy she sounds.
He walks into the kitchen, pats Jin on the back, ruffles Miles' hair (earning him a patented eye roll), smiles at Horace and Amy and everyone else spreading out through their kitchen, depositing bottles of wine and plates of food, complimenting Juliet on her dress and smiling at Sawyer.
"I know the bossman didn't cook any of this, because it is too good," Miles says, winking at Juliet. There's a slap to the back of his head, followed by another affectionate hair ruffle, and then Sawyer's stealing the freshly-opened beer out of his hand and taking a long drink from it himself.
"I am the boss," Sawyer says with a shrug, as Miles opens his mouth to protest. Lightly flicking Sawyer in the shoulder, Juliet passes Miles another beer before beginning to carry dishes to the table, Sawyer right behind her with more of the food.
Sawyer looks around the table, at Miles lighting up as Amy compliments the dip he brought, at Jin, who clearly misses Sun so much in this moment, but is still smiling for his friends, and at Juliet, most importantly Juliet, always and forever now most importantly Juliet.
Her face is lit up, her blond hair glistening as it falls over her bare shoulders, over the dress he gave her because he loves her more than he ever thought he could love anyone. And he can't stop himself from rising from his seat, walking over to her and, right in front of everyone, kissing her.
He's already planning how to make her smile this hard on their fiftieth anniversary.