“Erica, I need that file. Where is it?” Peter punched the intercom again.
“For the thousandth time, Peter, it’s in your tray, beneath the Hopewell documents. I put it there last evening,” Erica said, just as strongly.
Peter’d been in an irascible mood for the last week and increasingly the last two days. She didn’t know how much of it was Stiles being out of the country for a while, and how much was due to the fact that this current case was one they were all navigating carefully around. She was silently counting the days until Stiles returned from this first set of promotional gigs for his movie. Peter needed a release before she bit his damn head off, or before Laura committed a familial murder in the office.
“If it was here, I wouldn’t be asking where it was,” he returned.
And was that the sound of him grinding his teeth at her? Surely not! Erica flounced up from her desk, where she’d been completing a letter that needed to be signed and dispatched within the hour, and marched into Peter’s office, face set. When he was in mega-work mode, it was the most frustrating thing in the world. He was like a bull in a china shop and everything was potentially breakable – humans especially.
She grabbed a stack of files by his right elbow and started flipping through them. Four files down she found the one she was looking for, handing it over with a narrow-eyed glare.
“Like I said, under the Hopewell files,” she accused.
“That’s not ‘in my tray’. My tray is over there,” Peter pointed his pen at the far end of his desk.
Erica pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed. “Fine, Peter. It was two centimetres away from your tray. I apologise,” she said heavy on the sarcasm. “Anything else I can get for you today? A lobotomy perhaps?” With the parting shot she turned hastily and hurried back to her desk.
Her butt had just touched the chair when her phone rang. She grit her teeth this time as she snatched up the receiver, ready to paint Peter with a few choice words about how he was running her ragged the last two days. “What?!”
“I’m sorry,” came the contrite and quiet response that almost stalled her brain. “I don’t mean to be a pain in the ass,” her boss apologised.
Now this was more the Peter she’d come to expect. Erica exhaled.
“Me too, but I need to finish the Clements’ letter for your’s and Laura’s signatures and it’s almost 11; and you still have the meeting at noon you want me to sit in on,” she forced her voice to calm.
“Ok . . . Ok, make the letter priority, but before you do, I need David’s number. Something in this statement isn’t adding up and it’s making me antsy. Once I have him, you can return letter, and after that’s signed off and the courier has it, come let’s talk strategy for the meeting.”
“All right,” Erica was already hunting for David Ericson’s contact info on her computer while nodding along with Peter’s orders.
“Thank you. I do appreciate the extra work you’ve been doing the last two weeks. Once this meeting is over, I think we need to look at getting you an assistant, even if temporarily until things slow down a bit.” Peter hung up before she could even respond.
Erica sat there with the phone in her hand, dumbfounded. While she was Peter’s personal assistant, she occasionally also handled some of Laura’s work, as was currently the case. Laura’s own assistant was out on paternal leave, with a temp filling in. It had meant a tripling of her already sizeable workload, and while she didn’t think Peter was ignorant to how much more she had to do, it was still exhausting work.
But now to hear him say he wanted to get her some additional help . . . Erica swallowed and scolded herself not to get overly emotional about it. An assistant. She could actually have an assistant – wow!
Realising she was still holding the receiver in her hand, Erica quickly pressed the plunger and began to dial David Ericson. She’d always found that man shifty, and had said as much to Peter. She wasn’t surprised elements of his and his son’s statements weren’t adding up. She’d bet anything at least one of them, or both, was lying his ass off, or at the very least leaving significant portions out.
Her lips curled up a bit as Ericson’s secretary put her on hold. She wondered if she could finish this letter quickly enough to slip into Peter’s office while he ripped Ericson a new hole. She grinned then, as Lisa's voice came on the line and she asked her about the possibility of a call with Peter Hale.
“Peter, I have Lisa on the line. She says he’s wrapping up a meeting and will call you back in less than 10.”
“Fine,” Peter said.
Erica told the woman to ring them back once Mr. Ericson was free, hung up and proceeded to let her fingers fly across the computer keys. She needed to finish this letter. If she was lucky she just might make that reaming Ericson was about to earn from Peter.
Peter exhaled roughly.
David Ericson was amending his statement, to include the “information he’d inadvertently forgotten”. Yeah right! But he was going to give Hale & Hale what he should have passed on a week ago when they had asked for a second statement from his son to back up what was on the police file.
“You need to stop grinning like that. He’s our client,” Peter said, not even lifting his head from his cell as he found the number he needed.
“I think a quiet grin is better than a cackle and an ‘I told you so’, don’t you?” Erica said a little too cheerfully.
The courier had left 20 minutes ago with the letter to opposing counsel and the requisite papers for the court as stipulated by the court’s deadlines. At least they were ahead of schedule now.
Peter growled at her, finally lifting his head to meet her smiling eyes, as a quiet voice answered the other end of his call.
“Hi, I have a job for you. This one is time sensitive.”
“How ‘time sensitive’?” the female voice on the other end asked warily.
“As in I need the information yesterday.” Peter responded dryly.
“Shit, I’m not even in the country.” She paused. “Can I farm this out or is this ‘me-specific’.”
“You and only you.”
Peter waited while his contact considered what he was asking. She was probably shifting things around in her head, trying to see where and if she could fit him in. He really didn’t want anyone else to do this.
He wouldn’t say it aloud, but Erica already knew after Ericson had lied to them once, there was no way Peter was trusting his word alone again. There were any number of investigators at Hale & Hale’s disposal, but for the kind of digging Peter needed done and given Ericson’s considerable influence in high circles, there was only one person he trusted to do this job and she was on the other end of the line.
“Give me a day to wrap up here. I’ll call you when I land for a meet. This is going to cost you.”
She would never say his name on the line, nor Peter hers, even though he knew they both always took precautions regarding interception and traceability of these types of calls, and others in which she frequently partook.
“I wouldn’t expect differently. I’ll listen out for your call tomorrow.”
She hung up before he did.
The call had wiped the smile of victory from Erica’s face. During the call, even though she’d only been privy to Peter’s end, she knew whom he’d called and what would follow.
Peter met her gaze now and she silently nodded, picked up the notepad she’d been scribbling Ericson’s replies to Peter’s questions on, as well as the tape recorder that had captured the responses that had transpired before she’d joined Peter in his office. She quickly walked back to her desk. She would type up everything that was said and add it to the growing file.
All these details and more would be ready by the end of the day for Peter to take home for whenever Braeden called to meet. Then the investigator would dig into every aspect of Ericson’s life, his family and the empire he had built. If there were secrets – and Erica would bet a year worth of wages that there were quite a dirty few – by the end of Braeden’s investigation Peter would know all.
If there’s one thing it was never smart to do, it was lie to Peter Hale when he was your lawyer. If there was one more thing you should never do, it was endanger the reputation of Hale & Hale with such lies. That, was unforgiveable in Peter’s books and Erica had no doubt Ericson would learn just how much.
Stiles smiled as Erica’s head snapped up from whatever she was furiously typing into the computer. He then watched in even greater amusement as her eyes darted behind him and her fingers stumbled across a few keys. He had no doubt that it would end in some kind of gibberish on her screen.
She swallowed and deliberately focussed her gaze on him instead of on Boyd, his bodyguard.
And so the saga between the two continued.
Stiles leaned forward and planted a large gift-wrapped box on her desk with a kiss to her cheek as he smiled at Peter’s assistant. She blushed as she reached for the gift that was suspiciously shoe-box shaped. Her fingers positively itched as thoughts of Louboutins danced through her brain.
“Just a little something from my trip. Is he available? I would have called ahead, but I was in the area and he wasn’t answering his phone.”
“We were both finishing up a few calls.” Her eyes were still on the box, fingers running across the black paper covering. “He’s in there. Want me to give him a heads up?”
“Nah, I’ll take care of it.” His eyes shifted humorously to Boyd. “Give me 30?” They had another meeting downtown in an hour.
The bodyguard/ chauffer nodded imperceptibly and took the nearby sofa, picking up a magazine and already shifting through. Stiles watched as Erica’s eyes darted from the box to the black man and back.
He chuckled to himself as he knocked and then pushed open the door to Peter’s office, as Erica whispered to Boyd furiously behind Stiles’ disappearing back, “So what did you bring me from Europe?”
Stiles closed the door on the end of that. Like Peter suggested, they were both staying out of the mad cycle that was Erica and Boyd.
Peter looked up and his frown quickly transformed into an easy, delighted smile.
“Hey,” the attorney got up from his desk and the myriad of documents there to walk over and engulf him in a tight hug, burying his face in Stiles’ neck and inhaling deeply.
Stiles’ arms wrapped around Peter’s back. He grinned. “That bad?”
Peter rumbled an exhale. “Just happy to see you. I missed you. Thirteen days is way too long.”
Stiles’ stomach went mushy and warm. “Then kiss me,” he said.
Peter did just that.
They were still snogging three minutes later when Peter’s intercom went off. He groaned and broke the kiss. He could make-out with his lover all day, but right now he had a million things on his plate.
“What?” he said, hitting the intercom button, annoyed at the intrusion.
“I have an urgent call, Peter. It’s Isaac.”
The words “urgent” and “Isaac” sent an immediate chill through Peter, and his stomach coiled into knots.
He snatched up the phone. “Isaac?”
His frantic query was met with harsh breathing on the line. “Peter? You need to come to Boston General, immediately. Derek’s been shot.”
All the air whooshed out of Peter’s lungs.
No. No no no no no . . .
He was vaguely aware of Stiles startled shout, and felt hands grasped him from behind, as black spots danced before his vision.
Was this Fate’s idea of a joke?
“How bad?” he croaked.
And even before the reply came, he already knew he didn’t want to hear the response. He couldn’t survive losing anyone else.
“He’s in surgery. They haven’t told us anything else yet,” Isaac replied.
Peter swallowed and tried to breathe feeling back into his bloodless fingers clutching the telephone. His heart felt like it was ready to beat out of his body and there was a pain in the middle of his chest that his mind could not fathom.
God, please, you can’t take Derek from me, was all his weak faculties could assimilate.
He felt Stiles pry the phone from his hand and in the back of his awareness he heard a hushed and hurried conversation but the words made no sense. Hands, not Stiles’, but hands nevertheless, were guiding him to his couch.
Boyd situated him as a wide-eyed Erica pressed a glass of something into his hand and guided it to his lips. He took a sip and seconds later – familiar fingers this time – gripped his face. Worried brown eyes looked deep into him, but failed to warm him. He felt so cold inside.
He remembered exactly the last time he’d felt his cold, but Christmas had been months ago and so was the anniversary of Talia’s death; followed shortly thereafter by Cora’s anniversary – near five weeks past now. Surely life could not be this cruel?
Whatever it was, Stiles knew it was bad even before Peter rushed to pick up the telephone. He knew Peter barely tolerated Isaac at times, and for the cop to be calling Peter out of the blue, only one thing stuck out in Stiles’ mind – Derek. Something had to have happened to Derek. Derek, the police officer.
When Peter went pale and whispered, ‘How bad?’ into the line, Stiles was already moving towards his partner, catching him as he stumbled and calling out to Boyd for help. Both Boyd and Erica rushed into the room while Stiles took over the call, getting as much of the details as he could from Isaac.
By the time he hung up, he was fighting back the tears. Tears would not help Peter now. His partner was too close to hyperventilating as it was.
“Peter? Honey, you need to calm down,” Stiles said gently and pulled him into a rough hug, wanting to pull his partner into himself to protect him from whatever misfortune this day had decided to gift them. “Breathe and talk to me, babe, please.”
Peter blinked blankly at him. “Stiles . . .?”
Stiles felt a momentary surge of relief. “I think you might have had a panic attack. I used to get them with my mom.”
Peter closed his eyes. “Is he alive?” he wheezed.
“Yes, but we need to get you and Laura to the hospital and she can’t see you like this.”
He felt Peter nod against his chest – once, and then again more firmly.
“Ok,” he said and Stiles held him tighter, while Erica clung to Boyd, tear tracks of mascara running down her cheeks.
Laura was on a call when Peter knocked and walked into her office 10 minutes later. It had taken that long to bring himself under enough control. Laura frowned as she looked up, surely ready to scold for interrupting her important call.
One look at Peter’s face though had her rising to her feet and quickly ending the call.
“What?” she glanced at Peter and then Stiles, who was standing closer to the door.
“I need you to sit.”
“Peter just tell me!”
Both Peter and Stiles could hear the panic in her voice as it shook.
“Sit first, Laura,” Peter ordered pointing to her chair and she dropped absently back into it, eyes wide, staring. A tear rolled down her cheek. She didn’t know what it was, but Peter’s face said it was bad enough and there was only one thing that had ever made him look like this.
“Tell . . . me?” she gasped the words.
“I need you not to panic . . .”
“Dammit, just tell me!”
“Derek’s been shot . . .”
Before he could even finish, she darted to her feet, one hand reaching out to grab hold of her desk, the other reaching out to Peter as she stumbled and lilted to one side. Peter dashed around the desk barely managing to catch her before her head connected with the desk in front of her.
“No!” she wailed, as her uncle pulled her into him.
“He’s not dead, Laura. Hush hun, he’s in surgery. He’s alive, Laura.” The words were hard for him to utter because he knew, they both knew well how quickly such a situation could change. For all he knew it already had. Maybe they were already going there just to identify . . . Peter chopped that thought off before it could take root. He needed to be strong for Laura.
“Boyd’s brought the car around. We should go,” Stiles said quietly from the door, but loud enough to be heard over Laura’s wracking sobs.
“We can’t lose him, Peter. Haven’t we lost enough?” her voice echoed with every wail, every bargain, ever condemnation Peter wanted to utter, but he ruthlessly pulled back emotionally, reminding himself that she needed him to be the voice of reason now.
“We’re not going to lose him. We won’t lose him.” The words were for the both of them.
Stiles grabbed Laura’s coat and handbag as Peter helped hustle her into them and out of her office toward the elevator. Erica was standing just outside the door looking pale but determined.
Stiles took charge. “I’ll call you when we know something. Try to keep this contained for now. The last thing they need is a rash of calls asking for information they don’t have. If anyone absolutely needs to reach either of them, give them Allison’s number. I’ll brief her on the way to the hospital so they can begin to handle anything Peter doesn’t need to,” he told Erica in a rush.
She nodded as she walked with them to the elevator. “Thanks Stiles,” she said moments before the doors slid close.
Stiles marvelled at how well both Laura and Peter were holding up, considering how much they both loathe hospitals.
By the time they got through the doors of the Emergency Department, Jordan was pacing in front of the nurses station. He rushed forward to Laura the moment he saw them.
“Anything?” Stiles asked before Peter could.
“He’s still in surgery, but we should move. I’ve got us a private area where we can wait,” Jordan urged, ushering them in the direction of said room.
Whenever there was a crisis, Stiles was always impressed with how his law firm rallied at short notice. He’d only briefed Allison in the car on the way here, but he wasn’t surprised to find Jordan here nor the fact that they already had a room secured. For Jordan this was perhaps a little more personal than normal, with Laura involved.
When Jordan pulled open the door to the private room, Isaac and four other officers already inside sprung to their feet. Isaac was pale and it was clear the man had been crying. He had bandages across one side of his neck and around his arm. Clearly whatever had happened, he’d been in the thick of things.
Peter left Laura in Jordan’s hands and moved forward quickly. “Tell me everything,” he ordered.
Isaac swallowed, nodded and began.
It seemed they had been returning to the precinct when unidentified assailants had opened fire on the car he and Derek were travelling in. The attack was believed to be retaliation of some sort for a major drug bust two days ago that was the result of months of detective work, where Derek had played a major role in strategising how the whole thing had unfolded. The bust itself had come off without a hitch, or so they thought. But Derek had been one of several officers on the scene and clearly identifiable when the media had arrived.
That day’s attack had not been expected; least of all so head-on.
Peter clenched his jaws as Isaac continued, eyes darting from Peter to Laura and back to Stiles who had moved forward to lean against Peter.
“Derek got the worst of it since they shot from his side before he was able to swing the vehicle out of the line of fire. I was able to fire back when we crashed. One of the attackers is dead and the other fled, but Derek had already been hit. He saved my life because of his quick thinking,” Isaac finished lamely.
“We’ll catch the bastard, Mr. Hale. Him and whomever else was in on this. The whole Department is on double time and there’s security outside the operating room and at the main access points to the hospital. We’re combing the streets right now. We’ll get to the bottom of this,” one of the officers in the room said.
As detectives, they were all in plain clothes and Peter recognised the man that spoke, though his brain just refused to come up with a name.
“How bad was he hit?” Peter asked, as Stiles whispered his name urgently, cautioning against this question. “I have to know, Stiles.” He turned to Isaac again. “How bad?”
Isaac glanced at the other two officers, wondering how much more he should say. Peter looked near ready to commit murder and Laura was looking increasingly faint. Jordan led her to a seat.
“He was hit at least three times – shoulder, leg and side that we could tell before the EMTs took over,” the lone female officer said clinically. “But he’s strong. He’s a fighter.”
Peter nodded and turned away, but Stiles saw the pain in his eyes before he wiped his face blank to go tend to Laura.
“Kira. Somebody call Kira, she should be here,” Laura said hoarse, but seeming a little more resolved than earlier.
“I’ll do it,” Stiles offered. Besides, he also needed to talk to his dad. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt this powerless and useless. He needed his dad’s advice.
He hung up from Kira, knowing she was that moment jumping into a cab to the hospital. He’d been able to calm her even though his head was beginning to pound and his entire body felt shaky.
Stiles dialled again. His dad picked up on the second ring.
“Hey kid.” He could hear the smile in his father’s voice.
“Hey, dad,” he choked out before he dissolved into tears.
“Woah! Woah! Son, what’s happened?” John said alarmed. “Why are you at a the hospital?” his father asked quickly, voice sharpening after hearing the PA announcement in the background.
“Derek’s been shot. He’s in surgery; but dad, I don’t know how to help them. I don’t know what to say, what to do. Peter’s so scared he’s going to lose him and Laura’s not doing too good. Tell me what to do, dad, please,” he choked out.
“The first thing you need to do is calm down. You’re no use to either of them if you fall apart. I know this brings back too many memories, but then you need to pull it together, for both their sakes. Does Kira know?”
Stiles had told his dad all about the budding romance between his friend and Derek. Derek had probably confided more to John than Kira did to Stiles. Stiles knew Derek had maintained contact with his dad since Thanksgiving and that they spoke regularly. He wouldn’t be surprised if Derek had sought his dad’s advice as well about this drug bust. If there’s one thing his dad did well, it was strategise.
“She’s on her way.”
“Good,” John said. “Derek will want to see her once he wakes up. He’s been concerned that this job lately had become too busy to spend time with her. He’ll want to see her. And son, all you can do is be patient and make sure Peter knows you’re there for him. Make them as comfortable as you can so they don’t have to worry about anything else but waiting this out.
“Peter’s going to crash later, when Derek is out of danger and Laura is taken care of. That’s when he’s really going to need you. So if you need to cry now and get it all out, do that. But remember, this is going to be about Peter and his fear of losing someone else he loves. You can’t make this about you, at all. Not now. If you need to talk about your mom later, I’ll be waiting by the phone.”
Stiles kept nodding as his dad spoke. Intellectually he knew all this, but emotionally he was a mess. “Ok.”
“How are you holding up?”
Stiles blew out a harsh breath, pressing his anxiety away. “Better now. It was easier before I got here and heard how bad it was. We’re still waiting for an update. I’d better get back in there. I’ll call you later dad. Thanks.”
“Anytime, kid. I love you.”
“Love you too, dad.” Stiles hung up feeling a little more steady on his feet than he had before. He could do this. He could be there for Peter. He could take his own advice that he’d given to Peter and be strong for the Hale duo and Kira when she arrived. He could do this.
Peter was swimming in despair – anger, hope, fear – that and more were all curling through his mind. He couldn’t separate one from the other. Isaac’s telling of what had transpired had only served to fuel the emotions that felt too big to contain. He wanted to scream and rail at the world. Why was it his family that had such colossal bad luck?
His heart thumped, turned as Stiles pushed back into the room. For just a moment he had been expecting to see one of the doctors they were still waiting on. His lover’s eyes met his and Stiles shook his head.
“Still nothing yet, I checked.”
“This is nearly four hours now,” Laura said fearfully, but at least sounding stronger than she had all afternoon. “Is that a good sign? Shouldn’t he be out by now? They would tell us if . . .” She couldn’t finish the thought.
“He sustained several injuries, Laura. I’m sure they are doing all they can now.”
Then the door swung again and this time it was a man in a doctor’s coat. Kira burst in right behind him, Stiles having told her where to find them when she arrived.
Everyone in the room shot to their feet.
“Family of Detective Derek Hale?”
“Yes,” Peter responded moving forward.
“I’m Dr. Franklyn. I operated on your . . .”
“Nephew. I’m his uncle. This is his sister, and his girlfriend.”
“Ok. I am Detective Hale’s surgeon. He lost quite a bit of blood and the bullet in his left side gave us a bit of trouble to extract and then stop the bleeding. That was what took so long, but your nephew is going to be ok. It was a little touchy there for a moment. His pressure was unstable but he’s quite a fighter. We are moving him into the ICU and you can see him there, one at a time, maybe two at most and not for too long. He’ll be unconscious for a while, but the nurse will come to get you when he’s settled.”
Peter took a couple quick breaths before Laura threw herself, sobbing once more into his arms. He held her as he met the doctor’s eyes over her shoulder and held out a hand to shake the doctor’s. “Thank you,” he said to Dr. Franklyn who nodded and left the room.
The relief was palpable. Isaac finally broke a tired and pained smile, sinking back into the chair he had sprung out of despite his aches and pains. Stiles threw his arms around Kira, who was also quietly crying. The other officers in the room kept nodding at each other, relieved.
Another knock sounded on the door and a uniformed officer popped a head into the room. After that there was barely enough room to hold the number of Derek’s colleagues that turned up.
Peter didn’t know half of them, though Laura and Kira seemed to know a few more than he did. He’d thought he was close to his nephew. He was realising there were some areas they hadn’t discussed. He’d need to remedy that, later.
Stiles rest a hand against his shoulder. “I’ll be just outside. Need to call Erica and dad to update them.”
Peter nodded but quickly pulled Stiles close for a kiss before he let the stunned man go. “Thank you,” he croaked, brushing a finger against his cheek as his heart swelled with love for the younger man.
Stiles blushed and smiled as he slipped outside.
Kira remained by Laura’s side. Peter would let them go first when Derek was able to receive visitors.
When five minutes passed and there was still no Stiles, Peter got up, whispering an excuse to his niece and went to find his partner. He walked down the corridor and saw no one Stiles-shaped.
He stopped at the desk and enquired and the nurse pointed in the direction of the doors to the outside. He found Stiles pacing in the parking lot, arms flailing as he spoke on his cell.
“I told you I had an emergency. If they can’t reschedule then cancel it altogether.” Stiles seemed to listen for a moment, shaking his head in the negative as he did. “Absolutely not. Tomorrow’s no good either, Finstock. I don’t know that I’ll be able to handle anything demanding or time sensitive tomorrow.”
He paused again to listen before jumping in with, “I know we have tour dates scheduled, but explain to them that this is a family emergency and I’m out of contact at least for the next two days. My family need me now and I’m not going anywhere. Text me when they decide what they want to do.” He stopped, hand gesticulating its finality. “This is non-negotiable. I’ll talk to you later.”
The actor hung up from his manager and pressed his back into one of the nearby trees in the parking lot, eyes closed and face turned up to the late evening sky, inhaling deeply.
Peter stood for a moment and just watched him as the entire day cycled through his mind along with a riot of emotions he couldn’t name even if he tried.
In another four weeks they would be celebrating two years together. Two years since this fire-cracker of a man managed to seduce him into his bed, and Peter had been unable to remove him ever since. Not that he’d even wanted to after that first night. He could admit this now.
His breath hitched as he settled into the depth of love he had for this man. The man who’d just postponed important meetings for Peter, Laura, Derek and Kira.
It had been six months since Peter first told him he loved him. Five-and-a-half months since Stiles said it back to him.
When Peter had fallen apart today, Stiles had been there, taking charge. Peter hadn’t even asked if he’d been free, and based on the call just now, clearly he had swept aside meetings that Peter knew had to be important for his new movie to be there for him. Stiles had cancelled business and told his manager he was unavailable to anyone but the Hales – had called them his family. His family . . .
“Hey!” A soft, fond voice pulled him back into the present. When Peter focussed, Stiles was standing in front of him with a frown, eyes worried. “Something wrong?” the younger man asked.
Peter could only shake his head and look at him, too choked up to speak.
Stiles’ frown deepened. “Is it Derek? Something’s happened?” the actor asked, concern written all over his face as he laid a hand over Peter’s tripping heart ready to soothe and calm and rescue.
And suddenly Cheryl’s words over Christmas holidays came rushing back to Peter: Hang onto that man cause he could make it better, but only if you let him.
“Marry me.” The words just slipped out.
And Stiles froze.