Happy With Me
Chapter 10: A Christmas Happy Ending
"If you're going to be mad, be mad at me, Aaron," Dave said. "But please hear me out first."
Aaron sighed and nodded, prompting him to go on.
"You seemed a little reluctant to take the next step-"
"It was my idea," Jack threw in.
"Jack-," Dave tried to stop him, wanting to make sure Aaron's anger would be focused on him instead of the boy.
"It's okay, Pop," Jack said bravely. "You and Dad always tell me to stand up for my mistakes."
Aaron gestured his son to go on, cringing inwardly at his use of the word 'mistake'. While it was clear that Dave had overstepped a few lines which was the reason for his irritation, Jack certainly hadn't done anything wrong – well, except maybe for not talking to him first, but that was hardly a mistake. Besides, he was sure he'd get a proper explanation from his son.
"I wanted us all to live together in one place. All of my friends live in one house with their parents. When you and Mom were still married, we did, too. And then you only had two houses because you weren't together anymore. But you and Pop are together and you love each other and you talked about Pop adopting me so he can be my father for real. And I want that! But he can't adopt me if we're not even living together as a family!" Jack blurted out, leaving Aaron speechless again.
After a deep breath, the seven-year-old added sheepishly, in a low voice, "I also really like Pop's house."
Aaron needed a few moments to sort his thoughts and looked at Dave to share the details Jack had left out.
"Jack talked to me a week ago while you were at the conference with Morgan. We thought that if we went the whole hog you couldn't refuse anymore. I know and I agree we should have talked to you first, but you would have found another argument and another reason to keep things as they are, and to be honest, I didn't want to wait anymore. So we asked Garcia for a little help. She found a buyer for your house – a small family with a three-year-old daughter, by the way – and we took care of everything. All you have to do is put two signatures on these papers."
Inhaling deeply, Aaron stared at him, his face stern and unreadable. On the inside he felt his resistance crumble and his anger disappear, and the happiness that had filled him when he'd seen the lockets returned to every last part of his body.
If it had only been Dave right now, he would take great pleasure in making him sweat for a another while, but he didn't want to have Jack worried much longer.
"All right, three things," he began, waiting until Jack met his gaze.
"First, you did not make a mistake, Buddy, you understand?"
The boy nodded, though he didn't seem fully convinced. His dad hadn't looked happy with this surprise at all, and since he had come up with the idea, he felt it was all his fault.
"Your attempt at cooking breakfast this morning was a mistake, but not this. You tried to please me and surprise me with something that's important to you. That could never be a mistake, got it?"
Jack gave him a small smile.
"Good. Second, you don't like our house?"
Jack lowered his gaze.
"I do. I just like Pop's house better. There's a bigger backyard and my room is bigger and I have more space to play with Mudgie. I like it here, too, but if I have to choose, I would choose Pop's house."
"Why did you never tell me?"
"I didn't want to make you sad. And I didn't want you to be angry with me for liking Pop's house better. I mean, you asked me to help you decide when we bought this house, and I really liked this one best, but that was before Pop started living with us."
An understanding smile formed on Aaron's lips. Stroking over Jack's head, he bent down and gave him a loving kiss.
"Promise me something, Buddy," he said. "You come to me if there's anything you don't like or want changed and we'll talk about it. Think you can do that?"
"Yes," Jack replied.
"Good. Now as for the adoption-"
"I really want that, Dad! Please!" Jack interrupted him, before he could finish his sentence, pleading eagerly. "I know Pop has already been my father, but that would make it official, and no one could ever take me away from you and him. Please don't say no!"
"Well, if you're sure…"
Aaron smiled and looked at Dave, who was shining with joy again.
"You are sure, too, Dave?"
"Absolutely!" Dave said firmly, not hesitating for one millisecond.
"So you're going to sign?" Jack asked impatiently.
"Get me a pen."
Jack practically jumped from the couch to bring him one, while Dave closed the space between them. Leaning into him, he didn't wait for an invitation, and pressed his lips firmly on Aaron's.
"Thank you," he murmured against them, and deepened the kiss.
They broke apart when Jack came bolting back with the pen.
"You can kiss when you've signed, Dad," he ordered him, bringing amused grins to his fathers' faces.
"All right then, give me those papers."
Once his two signatures were correctly placed, Jack jumped into his arms and hugged him tightly.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Aaron held his son close with one arm and reached for Dave with the other, pulling him to him as well.
"I can't tell you how much this means to me, Aaron. Or how happy you just made me," Dave whispered into his ear.
And if Aaron hadn't been convinced yet, that alone would have told him he was making the right decision.
Suddenly, he realized there was one more thing for him to do, that this was exactly the right moment to do it. He released Jack from his embrace and sat him down on the couch, before he stood up.
"There's something else," he said to them. "Excuse me for a moment."
Dave and Jack exchanged a curious look.
When Aaron came back, he knelt down in front of Dave, and the expression on his and Jack's faces turned into bewilderment.
It didn't take more than two seconds for Dave to realize what was about to happen, though. His breath caught and he was sure his heart missed a beat or two.
"You know," Aaron began, "what you said earlier, that I would come with more arguments and reasons to avoid moving in with you, that wasn't true. I know I was reluctant in the past, but the truth is, I've already had this whole idea in my head that I was going to talk to you about Jack and I moving into your mansion and finally make everything official."
He smiled and the tears were starting to form in Dave's eyes. Jack watched the scene in front of himself eagerly, even though he had no clue yet as to why his dad was kneeling in front of his pop and what was in the small box he was still hiding in his palm.
"I've had this whole plan worked out, how I'd whisk you away to Long Island for a few days over Valentine's Day and then propose to you in your cousin's little Italian restaurant two streets from where you grew up. But you know what? Now is as good a moment as any, in fact, it doesn't get more perfect than this."
He flipped the small velvet box open, revealing two simple, yet tasteful white gold rings.
"Will you marry me, David Rossi?"
Jack gasped as he realized what was happening, and Dave wore the biggest and happiest grin anyone had ever seen on him.
Bending forward, he took Aaron's face in his hands and kissed him, deep, long and passionate. His tears were intermingling with Aaron's own tears of joy as they lost themselves in their kiss for a moment.
"I'm gonna take that as a yes," Aaron said as they came apart for air.
"Yes!" Dave confirmed, sounding as giddy as David Rossi could possibly sound.
"Yay!" Jack shouted out is excitement, as he fully comprehended the situation, jumping onto both his fathers, bringing the three of them down on the floor. For a while he had been really worried that his dad would shut him and Pop down, but now he'd gotten even more than he'd hoped for. Pop and Dad, too.
Rolling on the carpet, Aaron and Dave took Jack between them, both giving him a kiss on each of his cheeks. Even Mudgie barked excitedly, as if he knew exactly what was going on.
"Put your rings on," Jack urged them on, taking the jewelry box out of Aaron's hand.
"They're meant to be our wedding bands, but I guess it can't hurt if we wear them already," Aaron said.
"Definitely not," Dave grinned.
Aaron took the bigger ring out of the box Jack was holding for him and slid it carefully on Dave's left ring finger. When Dave had done the same with the other ring, they melted into another deep kiss.
For a while the three kept laying on the floor in front of the Christmas tree, Jack tucked between them, enjoying the moment together. They knew they would forever keep this day, this Christmas in their hearts as one of the happiest days in their lives.
They had been a family for a while now, but this was the start of their very own happily ever after.
Neither Dave nor Aaron had any doubts that this time it was forever.