15

Classical music with a decidedly modern edge greeted Emily as she stepped through her front door. She smiled at the sight of JJ standing at the stove in a pair of jeans and her favorite Yale hoodie that the blonde had commandeered not long after she had moved in. Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun, there was a glass of wine sitting on the counter beside her, and she was waving a hand in the air as if she were conducting the orchestra. Garcia had introduced JJ to Bear McCreary's music a few weeks prior, and Emily found it utterly adorable that JJ was so obsessed with his music. The pounding of timpani drums covered Emily's footsteps as she slunk quietly into the kitchen, and a devilish smile lifted her lips as she leaned into drop a soft kiss to the side of JJ's neck.

JJ jumped at the soft press of lips against her skin, her heart leaping into her throat as her right hand automatically dropped to her hip for the weapon that was tucked safely away in the gun safe upstairs.

"It's just me, sweetie," Emily murmured, wrapping her arms around JJ's waist and pulling her in close. She closed her eyes and smiled, breathing in the familiar scent of JJ's shampoo and conditioner as she pressed another lingering kiss to the sensitive hollow beneath the blonde's ear. "I'm sorry I scared you."

"No you're not," JJ muttered, rolling her eyes at herself because, really, she should have known it was Emily. She always made sure to leave the office early on the days the brunette had therapy so that she would be waiting when Emily got home in case she needed to talk about what had been covered in the session. But, she had been so wrapped up in the music, her thoughts bouncing from one case she was monitoring to the next in time with the shifting elements of the arrangement, that her first reaction to Emily's surprising touch had been instinctual, rather than rational. She sighed as she relaxed back into Emily, enjoying the feeling of being held. "I take it your session went well?"

Emily bit her lip and nodded, her arms tightening around JJ's waist. "Dr. Calder said she thinks I don't need to see her anymore."

"Really?" JJ turned in Emily's arms so she could look her in the eye. "She said that?"

"She did," Emily said, smiling as she leaned forward to claim JJ's lips in a slow, sweet kiss. The echo of Dr. Calder's parting statement echoed quietly inside her mind as JJ's arms slipped around her neck, lips parting beneath her own as the kiss deepened.

Live. Be happy.

Emily hummed softly and dropped her hands to JJ's ass, palming the firm globes and giving them a light squeeze. She smiled at the low moan the touch elicited, and did it again, squeezing harder this time and pulling JJ's hips firmly against her own. "I love you."

Live. Be happy.

"I love you," JJ breathed, smiling as she trailed a gentle hand over Emily's jaw. For so long after the kidnapping, Emily's eyes had been dull and flat, even when the brunette insisted that everything was fine. Now, however, they sparkled with warmth, love, and affection, and JJ knew that she really did have her Emily back. The ghosts of what had happened to her in Oregon would always haunt her, and the scars–while not visible–would always remain, but Emily really was healed.

Live. Be happy.

"I love you," Emily swore, her voice soft and strong and saturated with emotion. Her hands drifted back up to the small of JJ's back and she sighed. "I love you so very, very much Jennifer, and I can't thank you enough for being so patient with me. For staying with me through all of this."

Live. Be happy.

Emily cleared her throat softly, the left side of her mouth quirking up into a small, shy smile, and added, "I can't wait to marry you."

"Oh, Em," JJ sighed, her stomach fluttering pleasantly. "I can't wait either."

"Do you think our mothers would be okay with us just eloping?" Emily asked, only half-jokingly. She was ready to live her life the way she wanted. She was ready to be happy. And all she needed and wanted to make both those things happen was to make JJ her wife. Nothing else mattered.

"I wish," JJ hummed, shaking her head and smiling as she pressed a gentle kiss to Emily's lips. "They would probably kill us if we tried, though."

Emily nodded and rolled her eyes. The Ambassador had been surprisingly excited about the news of their engagement and had immediately offered to finance the entire event, and not once was anything said about making it some kind of political party. She seemed perfectly amenable to Emily and JJ's wish to keep the wedding and receptions small, simple, and intimate, and though there would undoubtedly be a handful of political figureheads at the event, Elizabeth Prentiss seemed genuinely willing to not use the wedding as political currency. JJ's parents had been equally thrilled at the news, and Emily knew that JJ's mother sent the blonde weekly emails asking about the planning that had yet to take place because they had been too focused on her recovery.

"It was worth a shot," Emily murmured, grinning.

Live. Be happy.

JJ laughed and nodded, her eyes cutting to the dining room table that she'd set for the evening. Though she had been wearing Emily's ring for the last eight weeks, she had only picked up the brunette's engagement ring earlier that evening. She knew that it was bad of her to have waited three months to "put a ring on it" as Morgan said, wiggling his hand in front of his face in his best Beyoncé impersonation, especially considering the fact that Emily had given her a ring two months ago. But she had been too focused on trying to help Emily in the beginning to worry about getting her a ring, and then it had taken her time to find the perfect one. "I have something for you," she said, not wanting to wait until after dinner to give Emily her ring.

"Mmm," Emily hummed, smirking as she once again let her hands drop to grab JJ's ass. "Is it you?"

"In a manner of speaking," JJ allowed with an amused chuckle. She glanced over her shoulder at the timer on the microwave, and saw that they still had a little less than an hour before the lasagna she made was ready. "Come with me," she said, pulling away from Emily and taking the brunette's hand into her own.

Emily allowed JJ to lead her out of the kitchen, and smiled when she saw the dining room table set to the nines with flowers and tapered crimson candles set in crystal candelabras. "It's beautiful, Jen."

"I'm glad you think so," JJ murmured, leaving Emily standing beside the sofa as she wandered over to the mantel. She licked her lip as she reached behind a photo of her and Emily at Charlie's vineyard on the fourth of July, two days before they had headed out to Oregon and their entire world fell apart, and swallowed thickly as her fingers closed around a small, velvet box. She knew that it was ridiculous for her to be nervous, but she was.

Emily watched JJ reach behind her favorite picture of the two of them, and her breath caught when she spied a small, unmistakable box in the blonde's hand when she turned around. In all honesty, she had not expected this. Had not, truthfully, ever even considered it. She was content to see JJ wear the ring she had given her, but never had she expected to be given one as well. Not until their wedding, anyways. She had never been a girly-girl. Had never dreamed of the perfect engagement ring. Hell, she had never thought she would ever even get married until she met JJ, and then her imagination had run wild even as she tried to resist imagining any kind of a happily ever after type future for herself and the Media Liaison. "Jennifer…"

"I…" JJ cleared her throat softly, a small smile lifting her lips as she walked back to Emily, the ring box in her hand feeling like it weighed a thousand pounds. Really, she knew that it was ridiculous, but she could not help but be nervous. "I know that this is unforgivably late and that I should have done this much, much sooner," she began, palming the box in her left hand as she reached up with her right to run a gentle finger over Emily's lips that were quirked up in the most adorable shy smile she had ever seen. "But I was more concerned about you, than making sure I got you a ring. A ring seemed unimportant with everything else that was going on, and I…I suck," she said, rolling her eyes and flashing a wry smile.

"Hardly," Emily murmured, shaking her head.

"I'm glad you don't think so," JJ said. "Anyways, even though we've done this twice already, and ignoring our conversation from earlier, I'm going to do it again. I'm going do it right." She took a deep breath and ran her thumb over the crease where the box lid hinged, wishing she could remember at least some of what she had said to Emily back in the hospital. It would be a nice bit of symmetry to phrase each proposal similarly, but she had been too exhausted when she had done this the first time to remember a word she had said. "I thought I knew what love was before I met you, but I hadn't a clue. Because what we share is something so strong and so deep, that I can feel it in my bones. You are my soul mate, Emily Elizabeth Prentiss, and I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you by my side. Please say that you'll marry me?"

"Of course, sweetheart," Emily said, smiling, touched that JJ would even think to make such a production of proposing for the second time.

"I got you a ring," JJ said, flipping the box lid open and pulling out a thin band. It was inset with diamonds and sapphires, the stones alternating in a platinum band that matched the ring on her left hand, and the minute she saw it, she knew it was the one. It was simple, understated in its elegance, and perfect for Emily, who she knew did not want a more traditional engagement solitaire like the one she was wearing.

"It's beautiful," Emily whispered, licking her lips as she looked down at the ring in JJ's hand.

Live. Be happy.

JJ smiled and took Emily's left hand into her own. "I love you," she whispered as she slid the ring onto Emily's finger, where she knew it would stay for the rest of their lives.

"I love you, Jennifer," Emily breathed. She wrapped her right hand around the back of JJ's neck and drew the blonde in for a slow, sweet kiss. A low hum rumbled in the back of her throat at the feeling of JJ's body melting into her own, and she licked her lips when they pulled apart, noses nuzzling together as they lingered in the moment.

Live. Be happy.

Emily smiled and brushed a soft kiss across JJ's lips. "I guess this means we have a wedding to plan."