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Not Just Some Old Car

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Amy was as surprised as everyone else when she heard that Jake had sold his beloved car, and it was easy to see how upset he was about it. He didn’t complain out loud (much), but the signs of his unhappiness were there. He would sigh a little every time he got into her car – she was offended at first, but since he sighed every time he got in anyone’s car, she soon learnt not to take it personally. There were awkward moments when he seemed to forget that he didn’t have the car anymore, and would offer to drive somewhere or pick someone up before realising. And whenever he saw a car that looked like his drive by he would stare wistfully after it until it was out of sight.

The team took turns picking him up in the mornings after it became apparent that Jake and public transport didn’t mix, not if he was going to make it in on time anyway. (Amy hated the mornings that she had to give him a ride – she made overly bright conversation to compensate for the awkwardness and Jake would intentionally bring messy food to eat.)

Of course it all worked out much better once they started seeing each other. The rest of the team stood down on the car pooling thing since Amy and Jake spent pretty much every night together, so they just drove in with each other anyway. Jake still sighed a little every time he got in her car but Amy let him get away with it. She figured it had to be frustrating for him to be reliant on her to get anywhere, and she was proud of him for taking responsibility of his finances and waiting until he could afford it to get a new car.

One evening, a couple of months after they’d started dating, they were curled up together on Amy’s couch watching the new Game of Thrones. There seemed to be an unusually high concentration of car commercials on, and when the fourth one started, Jake sighed deeply.

“God I miss my car,” he said forlornly.

It was the first time Amy had really heard him say anything of the sort, and she lifted her head from his shoulder so she could look at him properly. “You’ll be able to afford a new one in a couple of months,” she said.

Jake pulled a face. “I didn’t say I miss having a car – I miss my car,” he said.

Amy smiled sympathetically, and reached up to stroke his hair (something that he really liked – he was like a damn cat… Amy thought it was adorable). “I know it was special to you,” she said softly.

Jake nodded, smiling contentedly as she kept running her fingers through his hair. Then he sighed again. “I really wanted to have sex with you in my car.”

Amy’s fingers froze. “What?!” She demanded, laughing in disbelief.

“It was my favourite fantasy – you in the backseat of my car,” Jake said seriously. He turned to face her, one elbow resting on the back of the couch to prop up his head, and his other hand resting on the curve of her hip. “It’s what I used to think about all the time, even when I thought we’d never be together. It got me through a lot of lonely nights.”

He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, making Amy roll her eyes, and then leant forward and kissed her cheek, making her smile.

He sat back again, stretching his arm across the back of the couch. “And now here we are, finally, and everything is so perfect except… I know my fantasy will never come true,” he said, pouting and blinking at her with those puppy dog eyes.

Amy gave him a soft smile and reached out to cup his cheek. “Oh Jake… it never would have,” she said.

Jake’s pout turned into a glare, but Amy just kept smiling.  “That car was disgusting,” she said, speaking softly and rubbing her thumb over Jake’s cheek. “I didn’t even like sitting in it, there’s no way I would have had sex with you in it. Never.”

She leant forward and kissed him, before sitting back and taking in the glare on his face in all its glory. “I hope that helps,” she added sweetly.

Jake huffed and turned back to the TV, pouting again, but he wrapped his arm around Amy when she snuggled up against his side again with a grin. 

Eventually Amy just put Jake onto her insurance and her car became their car. Jake stopped sighing every time he got in, and Amy kept a Dustbuster in the trunk since he was still a messy eater no matter what she said (though he did at least learn that the car was not to be used as a trash can, and that was a big step up from his old car).

Jake started saving for a new car as soon as he was on his feet financially, but the months went by and he didn’t seem to be actively looking for one. Even over a year later he still hadn’t bought a new one, though Amy knew for a fact he had more than enough to buy a decent second-hand car. When she asked him about it, he just shrugged and said he was “saving for something special, not just some old car”. Since it was working fine for them to share a car (especially since they lived together now), and since it was probably a good thing for Jake to have some savings for once, Amy didn’t push the issue.

Amy was working a case with Rosa when she found it.

They went to a car lot to interview a witness to a mugging, and there it was – Jake’s old car. She recognised it by the license plate more than anything else; there was a bad dent in the side, and one of the headlights was blown out. Worst of all, it had had a terrible paint job at some point, and was a dull gold colour. But it was definitely his car – there was the coffee stain on the passenger seat, the glove box held together with duct tape hinges, the long scratch on the back bumper, the general air of decay... Amy stretched her arms over the roof of the car and laughed with delight.

“Why are you hugging a car?”

Amy laughed again as she spun round to face Rosa. “It’s Jake old car!”

Rosa gave it a look and then nodded slowly. “Oh yeah,” she said. “I didn’t think it could look worse than it did, but it does.”

Amy shook her head, unable to believe her good luck. “This is perfect – it’s his birthday next month,” she said.

Rosa looked confused. “You’re going to buy it? Why? You hate this thing.”

“Yeah, but Jake loves it.”

Rosa rolled her eyes. “You’re such a sap.”

“Was there something else you ladies needed?” Asked the man they’d just been interviewing, coming over to join them. His smile faltered at the sight of Rosa’s glare, and he cleared his throat. “I mean, um, detectives.”

“Yes – is this car for sale?” Amy asked him.

“It will be,” he answered. “Once I get the dings out and clean it up a bit. It only came in yesterday. But if you’re looking for something similar, I have a –”

“I want to buy this car,” Amy said. “This exact one.”

The man smiled. “Of course, little l- er, detective,” – he cleared his throat nervously – “I’m sure we can work out a special deal for one of New York’s finest.”

In the end, it was a good thing Rosa was there – her constant glare was enough to get the guy to lower his asking price and throw in the paint job and body work needed. Amy left the lot a very happy woman – yes, it was a bit more expensive than your average birthday present, but the thought of Jake’s reaction was enough to silence any nagging worry about money. She had plenty of savings, and this was going to be well worth it.

Rosa agreed not to say anything about the car to anyone, and Amy knew she could trust her. The difficulty was going to be keeping the secret herself – she almost gave herself away the second she got back to the precinct.

“Woah, what’s happened?” Jake asked when he saw her massive grin.

“What? Nothing! I’m just happy to be working, you know me… how are you?” Amy blustered.

Jake gave her a puzzled look but luckily the Captain called her and Rosa into his office for an update on the mugging case, and Jake was out on a case of his when she got back to her desk. By the time he picked her up to go home she was able to deliver her cover story about Holt complimenting her and Rosa over the phone with perfect credibility.

The car was ready in a little over a week. She took it to her mechanic to get it checked over and for a deep clean (because obviously - god knows where it’s been in the last sixteen months), and got insurance sorted out, but even after all of that it was ready three weeks before Jake’s birthday. There was no way she would be able to keep the secret until then, so Amy got Rosa to drop her at the garage one lunchtime and drove it back to the precinct (well, okay, Rosa drove it back and Amy followed in Rosa’s car… she still couldn’t drive a stick). They parked it in the very back of the precinct’s underground parking lot, the bit around the corner with only two working lights and no working security cameras, and went back up to work as if nothing was going on.

Amy was a mess all afternoon. Luckily for her, Jake and Charles were working a case together and had just made an arrest, so the two of them were in interrogation for a few hours… otherwise there was no way Amy would have been able to keep the secret. She was practically bursting with excitement - she couldn’t wait to see his face. Rosa clearly thought she was mad, if the eye rolls she kept sending her way were any indication, but Amy didn’t care what Rosa thought about it - she didn’t understand. The car was more than a car to Jake - it was tied to his identity as a cop, and whether she liked it or not it was also tied to their relationship in a weird way… and anyway, now that the car was clean and smelled of an Ocean Breeze air freshener instead of its old odour of dirty clothes, fast food and (inexplicably) wet dog, she liked it a lot more. It was like being reunited with an old friend.

Anyway, Jake and Charles’ interrogation lasted quite a while, and most of the team were gone by the time they emerged. Jake didn’t apologise for keeping her waiting, since he knew that ordinarily she loved the chance to stay late and he had to drag her away from her desk, but this time she was beyond ready to leave. So it was typical that Jake and Charles sat talking about their damn case for like twenty minutes before Jake finally turned to her and asked her if she was ready to go.

She had her jacket on and her purse in hand in about five seconds flat.

Charles’ car was parked a few spaces away from theirs, so he walked with them that far, still talking to Jake about their case. Amy would usually join in the conversation, but she was too worried that Charles wouldn’t get in his car right away or would wait for them to leave first or something… she had already decided that she wanted to give Jake the car without the team there, and it would be really awkward if it ended up being just them and Charles…

She needn’t have worried though, because Charles bade them good night and got into his car as soon as they reached it, and was driving away by the time Jake and Amy had reached their car.

“You want me to drive?”

Amy had been watching Charles drive away, but she started and turned back to Jake, who was looking confused at her reaction. Okay, show time.

She grinned. “No,” she said. “No, I need to show you something first.”

Jake raised his eyebrows, but started to smile as Amy grabbed his hand and pulled him past their car, towards the back of the parking lot.

“Amy, what’s going on?” He asked her.

“I have something to show you,” she said. She stopped and turned to him. “Close your eyes.”

“Amy-”

“Jake, please. Close your eyes.”

Jake looked completely bemused by this point, but he rolled his eyes in a fond way and shut them tight.

Amy squeezed his hand and started walking again, a bit slower now, guiding him towards the car.

“Come on, this way,” she told Jake. “And keep your eyes closed.”

“Are you going to murder me?” he asked conversationally.

Amy laughed excitedly. “Just keep your eyes shut.”

“I will, but I’m just saying – not only is a parking lot a totally cliché place to commit murder, but we’re underneath a police precinct, so maybe at least pick a different one,” said Jake, following her lead as she guided him round the corner into the shadowy back part of the lot. “At least give yourself a chance to cover it up.”

Amy grinned again. “So you’d want me to get away with your murder?”

Jake grinned as well. “Well usually I tend to be against murderers going free, but I love you so I’ll make an exception,” he said. Then he shrugged. “Plus I probably did something to deserve it.”

“How sweet,” said Amy. They were about six feet from the car now. “Okay, stop there.”

Jake stopped, his eyes still closed. Amy grabbed his shoulders and turned him on the spot so he was facing the car at what she’d calculated was the best angle (yes she’d put a lot of thought into this, it was an important moment!).

Jake was clearly struggling to keep his eyes closed. “Amy what are you-”

Amy stepped to the side. “Open your eyes!”

Amy bit her lip, practically vibrating with excitement, as Jake blinked his eyes open. Her grin got wider and wider as she watched the way his eyes went from narrowed in confusion to wide with shock. His jaw dropped. He turned to look at her, then back at the car, then at her again. 

“I – th –” he stammered, pointing at it. 

“I know!” Amy exclaimed happily, bouncing on her toes. “I found it last week!”

Jake staggered forward and placed both hands on the roof the car, a little like she had done when she found it. He rest his forehead against the driver’s window and stared inside. Amy followed him over, babbling happily.

“It had a dent in the side and it had been painted gold, can you imagine, but apart from that it was actually okay… so I just got it fixed up and cleaned and now it’s as good as new.”

Jake straightened up and turned to stare at her - he was still speechless, and Amy was bouncing on the spot again as she pulled the car key out of her jacket pocket.

She held it out to him and grinned widely. “Happy almost birthday,” she said. “Sorry, I couldn’t wait another month.”

Jake reached out slowly and took the key. He stared at it in his hand, then at the car again, and then back to her. He still wasn’t talking, and honestly it was getting a little unnerving.

“Well, what do you think?” Amy said, still grinning, before shoving him lightly on the shoulder. “Say something!”

Jake swallowed. “Marry me,” he said hoarsely.

Amy laughed again, loudly. “So you like it then?” She teased him. “Come on, let’s-”

She started to walk round to the passenger side of the car, but Jake caught her by the hand and stopped her before she’d taken a step. She turned back, expecting him to kiss her or hug her or something, but he was just looking at her with the most intense expression she’d ever seen on his face. Amy’s smile faded.

“I’m not joking – Amy, marry me,” he said.

Amy had to fight the urge to roll her eyes, even as her heart started thumping double speed in her chest.

“Jake… you can’t propose on a whim just because of a car,” she said. She smiled again and nodded towards said car. “Come on.”

Jake squeezed her hand. “It’s not on a whim,” he said. Amy raised a disbelieving eyebrow at him, and he shook her hand slightly. “It’s not!” He exclaimed, starting to sound frustrated.

He dropped her hand and Amy started to open her mouth to tell him that it was okay - that she was glad he liked the surprise so much and she’d just forget this happened - but as soon as he dropped her hand he unceremoniously shoved the key she’d just given him into his jacket pocket and then reached into his inner pocket to pull out something.

It was a small, black, velvet box.

Amy gaped at him. “What the –”

Jake dropped down on one knee, and fixed her with that intense look again. Amy swayed on the spot and put out a hand to steady herself on the side of the car.

“Jake…”

“Amy Santiago, I love you,” Jake said. He smiled ruefully. “I had planned to do this a completely different way, yes, but I did have it planned.” He opened the box to reveal a ring that managed to sparkle even in the dim light of the parking lot. He took a deep breath, and Amy swallowed down the sudden lump in her throat. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

Amy didn’t hesitate. “Yes.” 

Jake’s face split into a grin, and Amy grinned too, laughing as he jumped up and wrapped his arms around her. She threw her own arms around his neck, buried her face in his shoulder and laughed again as he literally lifted her off her feet to spin her around on the spot. As soon as her feet touched the ground again she reached up to kiss him, and it was possibly their worst kiss ever because they were both smiling and laughing too much to do any actual kissing.

“Oh my god,” Amy laughed, stepping back slightly and wiping away the couple of tears that had escaped, “we’re actually engaged.”

Jake grinned. “Damn straight,” he said, “no take-backs.”

Amy laughed yet again and tried the kissing thing one more time - it worked a lot better than before, and by the time they pulled apart Amy was crowded back against the side of the car, breathing heavily with her fingers tangled in Jake’s hair.

“Okay, I need to give you this before I drop it and lose it or something,” Jake said, taking a small step back. Amy’s hands fell to his shoulders and she blinked a couple of times, wondering what he was talking about, before focusing on the ring box he was now holding in front of her.

Now she could see the ring up close, Amy saw that it was silver (or maybe platinum… or, isn’t white gold a thing too? - whatever, she wasn’t great at jewellery, okay?) and the band didn’t meet in a perfect circle, but held the top and the bottom of a round diamond, with tiny little diamonds scattered down the band a little way on each side. It was breathtaking, really, and way more tasteful than Amy would have expected from Jake.

Charles must have helped him.

Amy shook her head in disbelief. “That… looks like it cost more than a dollar,” she said weakly.

Jake grinned. “I’ve been saving up for a while,” he said.

Amy stared at him as he took the ring out of the box, put the box in his pocket, and reached for her left hand. I’ve been saving up for a while. All this time, she’d thought he was saving for a car, when actually…

I’m saving for something special, not just some old car.

Jake slid the ring onto her finger and Amy felt herself tear up again. It looked so foreign and yet somehow so right on her finger (he’d even got the right size - he must have had Charles’ help). She caught her breath in a kind of hitching sob that should really only be allowed in sappy romantic movies, and then laughed when Jake raised her hand to his lips and kissed the ring.

“Well, what do you think?” He asked. “Say something!”

Amy rolled her eyes at Jake parroting her words back to her, though the massive smile on her face probably ruined the effect.

 “It’s perfect,” she said, blinking back tears again. She shook her head. “I can’t believe you upstaged the car. You damn show off.”

Jake cupped her face in his hands and rested his forehead against hers. “I think you’ll find that actually the car upstaged my proposal,” he said. “I had the whole thing planned out for Friday – there was going to be candles and flowers and everything… but then you had to do something so perfect that I literally couldn’t wait a second longer.”

Amy grinned. “Okay, I guess I forgive you,” she said, before wrapping her arms back round Jake and kissing him again.

Jake pulled her right up against him before gently steering them back to lean against the car once more. Amy slid an arm down and underneath Jake’s jacket, digging through layers of material until her hand was splayed across his bare back - she felt Jake’s breath hitch against her lips and grinned wickedly. Jake growled slightly in response and pushed her right up against the car, pulling her up on to her tiptoes and pushing his leg in between hers. It was Amy’s turn to lose her breath, and a moment later she wrenched her lips away from his.

“Okay, we need to get out of here,” she gasped.

Jake smirked. “Oh yeah?”

Amy just narrowed her eyes at him. “Oh yeah,” she said firmly.

Jake’s smirk turned into a grin. “You know,” he said, leaning forward and kissing her again before trailing his lips along her jawline, “we could just…” he kissed his way back to her lips before nodding towards the car.

Towards the back seat of the car.

Amy looked at the back seat of the car, and bit her lip as she looked back at Jake, who was watching her with an adorably hopeful expression. She reached up and ran her hand through his hair, smiling when he closed his eyes and leant into her touch.

“Oh Jake,” she said softly, before tugging on his hair - he yelped and his eyes shot wide open.

She patted his head and then slid her hand down to cup his cheek. “It’s never going to happen,” she said sweetly, before stepping out from between him and the car and starting to walk round to the passenger side.

She heard Jake groan behind her. “But I proposed and everything!”

Amy laughed. “That’s right, sucker,” she said, “and no take-backs!”

 

THE END