"Monroe, do I really have to wear the tie?" Nick whined.
"Yes! This is Roddy's graduation. You have to look nice!"
"Fine." He fiddled with it.
"You don't know how to tie it, do you?"
Nick shook his head.
"Guys!" Roddy popped his head in the room. "We're going to be late!"
"Relax, man. You don't have to be there for half an hour." Nick started fidgeting, but I pulled him back with the tie.
Roddy lingered in the door way.
"Let me guess, you can't tie yours either?"
"We're really proud of you."
"You have fun with your friends tonight?"
"Yeah. It was great!"
"You off to bed?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty exhausted."
"Alright, see you in the morning."
"Goodnight." Nick added.
I watched Roddy walk down the hall and then turned my attention to Nick. "Bed?"
"Sure." He got up. "Come on, Lily."
I laid in bed with Nick, Lily curled up at our feet. I listened to her snore – still as cute as the night Nick brought her home. She was bigger now, of course. I thought about Roddy, asleep in his room down the hall. A year ago that was my guest room. I thought about Nick – the person I love more than anything in this world – lying next to me. I had everything I could have ever wanted. I was happy. I was actually happy. Just two years ago I was living all alone, isolated from the world, fiddling with my clocks…trying my damnedest just to stay good. Now here I am in bed with my soul mate and our pooch, down the hall from a kid I loved as if he were my own pup. I keep asking myself how it was possible I ever lived like that, when I love all of this so much. But then it hits me – it's all brought me here.
Nick wiggled closer, resting a hand on my shoulder. He looked up at me with those big grey eyes – it was enough to melt your heart. He smiled. I traced the scar on his shoulder with a light finger. There were people in the world that were determined to get a ring – or give it – to symbolize their love and devotion. Nick got a scar. Eventually, too many of those rings ended up in pawn shops. Nick would always have that little love-bite scar.
"I love you, Monroe."
"I love you, too."
"I can't believe Roddy graduated today."
"We're old now aren't we?" I teased.
"Well, maybe you are…"
Nick smiled and planted a kiss on my jaw.
"You know, there a million reasons why this wouldn't work – why is shouldn't work. A grimm and a blutbad? We have trouble written all over us, Monroe. Yet, here we are. I couldn't be happier. I'm snuggled up with the love of my life and our adorable dog. Down the hall we have Roddy. I never thought I wanted kids. Now I can't imagine him not being here – I love him like a son. I'm so lucky to have you and him…and Lily, too. I don't know what I did to deserve all this but I wish I'd done it sooner. I guess we only really needed one reason to work. I love you."
It was nice to have the house to myself for a while. Nick was at work and Roddy took Lily to the dog park with his girlfriend. There was a knock on the door; it was the UPS man. I carefully opened the box. All the parts I needed to finish fixing Nick's clock were here. Talk about a drawn out process. Never have I had a clock that's taken a year to fix. Between a puppy, a kid, about 50 wesen-related, and just everyday life, somehow it'd slipped under the radar. I pulled all the parts out of the box and laid them out across my desk. This was going to be a long day.
It'd taken about three hours to finish the clock. It looked good as new. It was just after five-thirty when Nick came home. I was in the kitchen fixing dinner when he walked in and wrapped his arms around my waist, resting his head between my shoulder blades. I turned around and pulled Nick into a hug; something told me he really needed it.
"Hey, come here for a minute." I pulled him towards the living room. "Guess what I finally finished."
"My clock! You put it on the mantel?"
"Yep. It makes a nice center piece."
"I feel like it's been forever."
I laughed. "Yeah, well, when you're taking care of three kids…"
Nick elbowed me.
"You picked a great place for it, Monroe."
The clock sat on the mantel underneath our family photo – which was more of just an impromptu photo Roddy's girlfriend took at the park. Nick and I had been laying on a blanket under a huge oak tree. Roddy had been playing tug of war with Lily. He tripped over Nick and came tumbling down on us. Lily followed, thinking it was part of the game. Then Jen snapped the photo. It was a unanimous vote; the perfect family photo. The perfect family.
"I got something for you today." Nick pulled a box out of his coat pocket and handed it to me.
I opened the box.
Don't cry! Don't you dare cry!
"Nick, this is…holy shit!"
Generally, I loved a good antique watch, but on occasion I stumbled upon a new watch that really caught my eye. This was one of them. It was a Victorinox Swiss Army watch. Brown leather strap. Brushed grey-plated face with sapphire crystals. Luminous hands. Water-resistant up to 100 meters. It was amazing…and expensive.
"Nick, I can't…"
"Yes you can! Come on. I know that's the one you've been eyeing-up. I saw it dog-eared in the Nordstrom catalogue. It's bookmarked on the computer. You deserve it. You're the perfect boyfriend and an amazing dad. Not to mention, the love of my life. I would've gotten you a ring…but I didn't think you'd wear it."
"Monroe, will you marry me? Well, you know…when we can."
I didn't even care about crying anymore. I felt tears of joy roll down my cheeks as I pulled Nick into the biggest hug that I could. I could've thrown Nick down on the couch and really showed him how much I loved him, but I just couldn't move – couldn't pull myself away from him for even a second.
"Yes, of course!" I finally managed. "I wish I had something to give you."
"Monroe, you've already given me the some of the best gifts I could have ever asked for: you're friendship, your love, you opened up your home to me, we have two great kids…you gave me a family. I didn't know if I'd ever have that again."
"Hey, guys, what's going on?"
"I asked Monroe to marry me."
Roddy's eyes lit up. He ran across the room towards us, practically jumping right over the sofa. "Finally!"
"He helped me pick it out," Nick said.
I looked down at Lily. "Oh, and I suppose you knew, too."
She barked at me.
"I love you guys, I really do."