Title: Puzzle Pieces
Challenge: Big Moxie 2022: Shifter
Fandom: NCIS, James Bond
Relationship: Tony DiNozzo/Alec Trevelyan
Word Count: 5530
Summary: A semi-immortal being and a werewolf start dating.
Author’s Note: This goes with a RT story that I wrote a few years ago. I’m trying to finish it, but here’s a bit in that universe.
Jamie hummed softly. “I have someone I want you to meet.”
“You’ve had me meet several someone’s and yet, you haven’t warned me about any of them, Jamie. What’s the difference with this one?” Alec asked.
From the considering look his friend was giving him, there was something special about the person he wanted him to meet. Most of the people Jamie had introduced him to had been related to their jobs. And none of them had caused Jamie to hesitate at all.
“Those were for work. This one is… Someone I think you will like on a personal level,” James said. He glanced at Alec from the corner of his eye and smirked. “While he’s in Intelligence, he’s not directly involved with what we do.”
“So, not a spy?” Alec asked.
“Nope,” Jamie said with a shrug. “But he is at least half elf, and has been around for more than a hundred years, so I can’t say that’s he’s never been one.”
“Interesting,” Alec acknowledged. “So, you don’t want me to meet him for work purposes, but personal. Did you lose a bet?” Alec took a deep breath and tried to parse the emotional markers that Jamie was leaking. Anticipation, impatience and a bit of trepidation all flowed off his friend. He was grateful that Jamie relaxed his emotional control to allow him that much of a clue into his feelings. When they were working, the other man was locked down tight and the only thing he ever let free was sexual attraction.
“No,” Jamie said with a pout. He turned to look at Alec directly. “I did not. I do I think you would like him for himself and honestly, I think you need someone besides myself who could be a friend. And maybe more.”
“I could always use another friend. Why this guy?”
“Anthony is…,” Jamie frowned as he rocked his head back and forth. “Anthony is a complex person who is a lot deeper than he ever let’s anyone see. There are people where he works who think that he’s a twit and yet…”
“You don’t make friends with twits,” Alec reminded him. “You either use them or you ignore them.”
“I do,” Jamie confirmed. He smiled softly. “I like Anthony. I’ll go drinking with him and actually get drunk in his presence. He’s a good man, fun, entertaining, an interesting conversationalist, and much, much more. I think you two will have a lot in common and he’s actually physically to your taste. At least that I’ve seen.”
“Hmm,” Alec hummed softly as he thought that over. “Okay, so, set me up. Since you mentioned he’s physically to my taste, he’s not against dating a male?”
“No,” Jamie said. Alec could smell satisfaction oozing off his friend. “We went there once and he’s a fantastic shag, but he’s not for me.”
Alec snorted once. “I take it he didn’t taste good?”
Jamie gave him a very peeved look. “He tasted fine, but he’s not for me.”
“And you think he’ll be for me?” Alec asked, incredulous. “I don’t want any of your castoffs!”
“He’s not a castoff, you furry bastard,” Jamie snapped. “I don’t talk to my castoffs after I’m done with them if I can help it.”
He didn’t smell irritated, Alec decided, more frustrated. Huh. “Fine. I’ll meet this guy. When?”
Jamie grinned, pleased with his decision. “We have a meeting tonight so you can’t wriggle out of this.”
“I hate you so damn much,” Alec groused. Damn the man for knowing him so well.
“You know, James, when you said you had someone for me to meet, I thought I’d be meeting them when they were on two legs,” Anthony said as he stared down at Alec.
“Not my idea, I assure you,” Jamie protested. He waved a hand at Alec. “He’s much more comfortable in his fur and basically said that if you could handle him this way, you would be able to deal with him when he’s not on four legs. And since I know you like puzzles, I figured this would be fine. Also, amusing.”
“There are days I don’t know why I like you, James,” Anthony said mildly. “You’re a menace of titanic proportions when you’re bored and you’re obviously using us to alleviate that boredom. At any rate, if he wants to get to know me like this, I’ll deal. But I want it known that I think his wolf is beautiful and I may reach out to pet if he stays this way for too long.”
From the amusement Jamie was leaking, he seemed like he was fine with everything Anthony had said. Alec sat down and stared at the man before him. If he had to guess, he’d say that Anthony was taller than him, but not quite as broad. He moved well, like there was actual training in something deadly in the background. Despite his words to Jamie, he’d made no move to crowd Alec or demand that he change out of his fur. Taking a series of careful sniffs, he tried to parse the emotions he was smelling. The man’s emotions were there, but very faint, almost hidden by the scents from the other patrons. Interesting.
“That’s going to be a bit rough, Alec,” Anthony advised as he looked down at him. “I take after my father’s family and from what I’ve been told, my emotions are very muted to a weres senses.”
Alec cocked his head to the side and considered that. Slipping back into his skin, he stared at Anthony. “Why tell me that?”
“Because you’re a wolf and you use your nose to give you the inside track on the emotions of everyone around you,” Anthony explained. “I’m not about to try to hobble you in that when I want you to be comfortable around me.”
“So, you’re not opposed to Jamie and his matchmaking efforts?” Alec asked. He glanced around and sighed. “Where did he go?”
Anthony nodded towards the bar. Jamie was cozied up to the front of it and ordering drinks from the look of it. “He’s flirting with anything that breathes and getting us something to fiddle with while we talk and get to know each other.”
“I know what Jamie will be drinking and he had better get me a beer,” Alec said, projecting his request just loud enough to be heard by his friend. From the way Jamie waved his hand, he had him covered. “It had better be good beer.”
“They don’t serve shite beer here,” Anthony promised. “And I’m fairly simple in my tastes. I normally like a good whisky, neat.”
“Not into the productions that are cocktails like Jamie is?” Alec asked. He liked some of the fancy drinks well enough. And a number of them were seriously loaded with alcohol, but most were just too harsh for his taste. Jamie liked the production of them and had a number that were favorites.
Anthony shook his head. “No. I have issues with mixed alcohol and sugars.”
“He gets goofy,” Jamie explained as he handed Alec his beer. “I did not get you shite beer, relax.”
Alec took a cautious sip of his beer and grunted once in satisfaction. Jamie had picked him a very nice brown ale. Simple, mild and very tasty, “It’s good.”
“Glad you think so,” Jannie said with a small grin. He handed Anthony a tumbler with two fingers of an amber liquid. “Whisky. It’s 12 years old, the bartender states you’ve never had it, and I think it’s delicious.”
“Trying to expand my palate, James?” Anthony asked before he took a sip of his drink. “Okay this is good.”
“I’m glad you like it,” James said. He seemed to be a bit smug, and Alec took a drink of his beer to hide his smile, “You two are the worst to try to shop for.”
“I am not,” Alec protested. He flashed an amused look at Anthony and suppressed his laughter at the smug look the other man wearing. “But it seems Anthony agrees with you. I guess that means he’s the difficult one.”
“I am,” Anthony say said with a smile. “I’ve lived long enough that I have most everything I could want.”
“Can I ask?” Alec asked leadingly.
Anthony gave him a considering look. “Depends on what you want to ask.”
“Fair,” Alec allowed. He stared at Anthony for several mounts as he thought over his urge to know. He was sure Anthony had been asked a great many intrusive questions before and he didn’t want to blend into the crowd. He needed to figure out some way to be different.
Different was going to be difficult because he was deeply curious about the man and his whole job was to indulge his curiosity on the regular. Letting Anthony take the lead on letting him know things about himself was likely the best bet, but Alec was self-aware enough to know he was going to be one frustrated son of a bitch before all was said and done. But the best chases took their own time and he had a feeling that this was going to be the chase of a lifetime.
Pausing slightly in his rumination over his need to pursue the man before him, Alec eyed him again. Anthony was indeed taller than him, and despite the delicate points to his ears, he looked very human. Right down to the round pupils to his eyes. Whatever glamor he was wearing was excellent because it all looked natural. Without the hint his muted scent profile had given him, Alec might have bought it.
Anthony stayed still and let him study him. Taking a deep breath, Alec focused on the faint scents of emotions he was putting off. Mild hints of satisfaction, curiosity and anticipation reached his nose and Alec realized Anthony was looking forward to whatever Alec was going to say, “Do you like actual puzzles or do you just like to collect facts to hoard?”
“I’m not a dragon to hoard things,” Anthony said with a smile. “But I do like puzzles of all types.”
Alec made a mental note to bring home any puzzle that caught his eye when he went on a mission. Because he wanted Anthony and the depth of his feeling was startling. It seemed that he was going to be courting someone and if he couldn’t bring the man a deer or two, he could at least bring him something to amuse him. “Good to know.”
From the smirk Anthony gave him, Alec was sure he had a clue on what was going to be heading his way.
“That went well,” Jamie observed as they left the pub. The man was sober despite the amount of alcohol he’d had over the course of the night.
Alec was feeling very relaxed as he slanted his friend a look and shook his head. “It went quite well. And your part as matchmaker is now officially done. We’ll figure out what we want without you sticking your overactive curiosity in.”
“Fine. Take away all my fun,” Jamie groused. He walked silently beside Alec for several blocks. “What do you need from me?”
“Honestly, at this point, I just want someplace to sleep,” Alec said, deliberately misunderstanding his friend. From the exasperated look he got, Jamie wasn’t amused. Huffing out a laugh, Alec grinned. “Let us figure ourselves out and maybe be someone to bitch to when things get rough?”
“I can do that,” Jamie confirmed.
Humming softly to himself, Alec smiled.
“Not that I’m complaining, but what are we doing here?” Tony asked as they walked into the V&A.
“I actually do like museums,” Alec said softly. He pulled off his coat as they moved through the lobby and he turned left. Folding it over one arm, he waved his hand at the start of the galleries. “I like history and this place is chock full of it. And they label everything so I can read up on it. Also, you never know when something will be useful for work.”
“Okay, I get why the museum now,” Tony said with a smile. He looked around the gallery they were in and hummed. “I remember when some of this was new. It’s interesting that it’s aged enough to be considered museum worthy.”
“The V&A has apparently been acquiring art in various styles and types since Victoria and Albert founded it and they put as much as is possible on display. Not all of it is ancient,” Alec explained. “I’ve not asked because I figure it’s rude…”
“And you have lovely manners when you’re not working,” Tony said, complimenting his boyfriend. He walked over to stand in front of one of the Old Master paintings and cocked his head as he studied it. “I think I saw this not long after it was painted. I was very young and honestly, the whole trip out of our enclaves was a big blur. But I do remember being impressed with the art I saw.”
“Right. I’m going to blow up the don’t ask thing,” Alec said. He walked up behind Tony and hooked one arm around his waist. “How old are you?”
“Old,” Tony admitted. He leaned into the were for several seconds before he straightened slightly. He had no idea if one of docents would get perturbed if they acted like cooing lovers, but honestly, they were in public and he didn’t have it in him to be too soppy in front of everyone. “The first queen I met when I came to live in England was Old Queen Bess. She was… impressive and very pragmatic. I learned a great deal from her and her court.”
“That’s…” Alec paused and walked beside him to the next display.
Tony was content to let him. They’d been on several dates and the wolf was becoming very dear to him. Both of their jobs had made the forward momentum of their relationship a slow process, but Tony wasn’t in any hurry. He’d done the fast and hot thing before and while that type of relationship could be fun, he didn’t want it with Alec. Slow, steady and solid was working much better for him.
“You met Elizabeth the First?” Alec asked after they’d wandered through several galleries.
“I did. She was very interesting,” Tony said absently. He was inspecting a statue and trying to remember where he’d last seen it. He had a feeling it had been in the drawing room of one of his father’s mistresses. He moved around to read the plaque. Huh. “I need to get with my barrister,” Tony said.
“Why?” Alec asked.
Tony pointed at the plaque and smirked when Alec’s head shot up to stare at him in shock after he read it. “I told you, I’m old. Apparently, I loaned out some stuff. I thought I’d remembered this as being as belonging to someone connected to my father. Instead, it’s mine.”
“Holy shite,” Alec muttered. He eyed Tony for a moment before looking at the statue again. “You had good taste then. It’s not too tacky at all.”
“It’s a bit overdone for where I’m currently living, but it fits right in with Paddington Castle,” Tony admitted. He sighed once and reached into the breast pocket of his suit to pull out a notebook and pen. Jotting down a quick note to himself, he glanced around the rest of the room. Way too much of the contents seemed familiar, so he really needed to talk to his barrister. He had no memory of agreeing to put his belongings out on loan and that meant that there was something deeply wrong going on.
“Right,” Alec said with a nod. “You know, I had an interview with MI5 and they were very interested in why a were out of Russia, even if I have British roots was dating one of their assets. The whole conversation took several hours.”
“I’m going to roast Patrick over a very small flame,” Tony muttered before he pushed his irritation aside. “I hope he didn’t overstep himself. I’m sorry.”
“I’m not,” Alec said. He shrugged when Tony glanced at him sharply. “Jamie said that you were in Intelligence and I’m honestly surprised that they let us get this far into a relationship without poking their noses in. Looking at things from the outside, I can see why there could be issues.”
“Still going to make my displeasure known to Patrick,” Tony said. He drew in a deep breath and then leaned into Alec. “Did you just want to wander through the displays? Or did you have a plan in mind?”
“Just wander,” Alec said. He tucked his arm through Tony’s started moving further into the museum. “How long do you think it will take the docents to come tell us to behave?”
“Likely far sooner than we want. But I’m not in the habit of snogging in public, so they won’t have much to get pissy over,” Tony said with a shrug. He reached up and traced the curve of one of his ears. “And it’s well known that my kind don’t actually give a damn about the sex of our partners. Humanity has adapted to that fact. Even the religious set learned that lesson. Often at the point of a sword, but they did learn.”
“That sounds like the voice of experience talking,” Alec said. He sounded fascinated and Tony smiled grimly.
“Oh, it is and we’ll leave it at that, shall we?” Tony suggested. He was not a fan of parts of the Catholic Church and the 17th century popes had pissed him off on the regular. “I’ll tell you one day. Anyway. Once we finish here, what are our plans?”
“I was thinking dinner and then perhaps a bit of light snogging,” Alec offered. “Jamie told me about a restaurant that you might like and I wanted to give it a try.”
Alec shrugged once. “Italian, and from what I smelled when I went by to check it out, authentic. A quick peek in did show some very nice private booths as well.”
“I’m willing to give it a try if you are,” Tony confirmed. He stopped at the entrance to a new gallery and shuddered at the sight. “What in the hells?”
“I’m going to guess Modern Art?” Alec suggested. He leaned forward to look at the plaque. “Yup. Experimental Art Done in the Post-Modern Style.”
“Nope. I have taste and this is not it,” Tony said. He turned them around and went back the way they came. “Let’s go somewhere else. Because damn.”
“Somebody liked that, you know,” Alec teased. “And likely bought it for their home.”
Tony shuddered as the thought of seeing some of that art before his had his morning tea. “Oh, for the love of all the gods. No.”
From the way Alec laughed at his reaction, he didn’t sound sufficiently appalled for to were to offer any sympathy. He’d have to work on that.
Alec wandered through the small puzzle shop he’d found in the suq and tried to figure out which of the intricate items he wanted to bring home. Each and every one was a work of art, and all of them would be an interesting gift to give Anthony. He just had to figure out which one he was going to splurge on. As he moved another box, he paused. Sitting below the box in his hands was one showing a library. It looked like something out of a fantasy and he smiled. Perfect.
“Can you wrap this?” he asked in careful Arabic. It wasn’t his greatest language to speak, but he was posing as a businessman and his very lack was a good part of his cover. He did, however, have a very good understanding of the written language and that was something that he showed no one. “It’s a gift.”
From the smile the shopkeeper gave him, he was amused at Alec’s efforts. “Of course. I will include a bill of sale for Customs as well.”
“Thank you,” Alec murmured.
Gift acquired, Alec moved out of the shop and started wandering. As he walked around, he saw several other men dressed much the same as himself and all of them seemed to be businessmen. The economy of the Middle East was booming after WWII and MI6 was taking full advantage. He was acting as typically British as possible and checking out anything that caught his eye. His job wasn’t to be unseen, more it was to just be. From his mission briefing, he was going to be met somewhere in the suq and there was going to be a handoff of information from someone.
It was all very vague and clandestine and he was deeply enjoying himself. Nothing he was doing was out of character for his cover so… His eye caught on another store and he wandered in. Greeting the proprietor, he took the time to look over each of the displays. He had some money burning a hole in his pocket and Anthony had a bare wrist that would look good in a platinum bracelet.
Pointing out his choice, he measured out a length and then spent some time picking out a clasp. While he was doing that, several other people wandered in and out of the shop. Alec marked them only as more looky-loos and kept a careful hand on his first gift. His wallet was in his breast pocket, safe from pickpockets.
Like the last shop, he got the gift wrapped and the bill of sale included before he left. Slipping the pouch with his jewelry into his pants pocket, he confirmed that the informant had slipped him the information he’d come for. Satisfied with the outcome of his errand, he patted the pocket once as he let the pouch go and kept wandering. He needed to blow another two hours at the suq and then he could head back to his hotel.
After that, he had two more days in country before he could leave. If it all went smoothly, he’d leave on a normal flight and arrive in Heathrow with enough time to pick Anthony up from his office and take his elf out to dinner. And after that… Well. He had plans.
“We’ve been dancing around each other for several months,” Alec said. He settled into his chair and stared at Anthony. “You’ve made my mouth water from the start. I know what I want, but I don’t know how far you want to go with this.”
Tony lowered the menu he was studying and stared at him. “Why ask now?”
Alec waved his hand around the booth they were sitting in. “We’re about as private as we’re going to get while we’re out in public. I’m invested, Anthony. We seem to get this far and then stop and the whole push and pull is making me doubt. I want, no need to know that you are as interested in me as I am in you.”
“I am,” Tony promised. He let his hearing spiral out through the restaurant and tried to get a read on the area. No one seemed to be paying them any undue attention and he pulled his senses back in. Whispering a small cantrip, he made it so only their waiter would notice them for the next hour. Security assured, he stared at his wolf. “So, I think this is where we have a small misunderstanding due to species and culture.”
“I’ve been researching to make sure I didn’t do anything out of order,” Alec reminded him. “And I’ve been trying to make sure that nothing I offer as a courting gift could offer offense.”
“You’ve done nothing wrong on that front,” Tony reassured. He honestly had loved every gift Alec had gotten him. Each of them showed that the other man was paying close attention to his likes and dislikes. Tony was paying just as close attention to Alec and they’d managed to indulge in some of his favorite pastimes as well. They had just never moved beyond that. “I’m just…I’m going slow because this means too much for me to rush in. And honestly, by my standards, we’re moving blisteringly fast.”
“And by mine, we’re going rather slow,” Alec said slowly. He cocked his head to the side and breathed in carefully.
Tony relaxed his glamor so a bit more of his true appearance showed through. Experience had shown them that when he was fully wrapped in his glamor armor, his scent profile was minimal. The more he relaxed it, the more Alec could discern. From the nod and smile he got at his actions; his wolf appreciated the consideration.
“So where do you want to go from here?” Tony asked. “Do we move things to the next level?”
From the dilating of his pupils, Alec hadn’t been expecting the question. Tony appreciated that his wolf never controlled his reactions while they were together. Alec was painfully honest in his dealings with him and Tony was starting to heavily rely on that trait. He dealt with lies, shades of grey and dubious facts all day long. Having honesty in his private life was comforting.
“I want us to, yes,” Alec said after several seconds. His voice was slightly deeper than it normally was and Tony could hear the faint edge of his native Russian in his voice. Alec had worked hard to smooth out and bury any hint of his native accent and only speak like a native Brit. Relations between Russia and the West were not their best and Alec needed no suspicion aimed his way.
“Right.” Tony took a deep breath and made a decision. “I want you. For as long as I can have you.”
“Darling, you know that won’t be forever, right?” Alec said softly. “I’m sturdy and my lifetime will last decades as long as I don’t die from my job, but I won’t last as long as you will.”
“You had better not get killed due to your job,” Tony snapped. He held up a hand and took a deep breath. “One moment.” Alec reached out and took his hand. He didn’t say a word. Tony appreciated the courtesy. “Right. We’re going to eat dinner, and then I’m taking you to my place where we can actually talk. Because this is not the place to discuss this.”
Alec nodded once and then smirked. “Not quite how I expected to see your home, but I’ll take what I can get.”
Tony snorted once in amusement. “Not how I expected you to get the invite to my home either.” He glanced over as their waiter approached and pulled his glamor a bit tighter around him. “But I will not be upset to get you there.”
Alec prowled his way through Anthony’s home. It was neat, clean and minimalist. After their date at the V&A, Alec had been expecting a bit more clutter, but after seeing the space, he realized that this was much more Anthony. High class and flashy on the outside and understated and elegant on the inside.
Looking around, he tried to reconcile the décor he was seeing and the various items affiliated with Lord Paddington at the V&A. “Did you ever figure out why your stuff was on display in the museum?”
Anthony popped his head out of his kitchen and cocked his head at him. “Museum?” he asked before he shook his head. “Right. I remember. I did talk to my barrister and he stated that my father had come to visit before WWI and he stayed there through the ‘20’s. Sometime while he was there, he remodeled and requested that all the objects d’art be moved out. My barrister decided that he wasn’t going to store certain items since he couldn’t guarantee that the objects would be safe. After researching it, he stated that the Victoria and Albert Museum is very safe and they will give things back when needed. He filed a report with my father and my father declined to tell me.”
“I take it from that explanation you hadn’t been back to your castle in a while?” Alec asked.
“No. The place it pretentious and honestly far too much for just me. I have the title through my mother’s family and I’ve held it for several hundred years,” Anthony confirmed. “I did go back to check to see what the hell my father had done to the castle and left orders to correct what I hated. I also made certain that if he arrives again, I’ll be informed here, versus at the castle. Because, I’d far rather be in London doing something than at the castle holding court. I don’t have the need.”
“And your father?” Alec asked. Anthony never talked about his family at all, so this small glimpse was a fascinating distraction.
“He’s a minor lord in Mab’s kingdom. He has money, but he’d far rather deal and maneuver here, gathering wealth,” Anthony said with a shrug. “I have several half siblings, some of whom, he’s claimed. The rest, I’ve taken in and added to my household because I do like them all.”
“Good to know,” Alec said after several seconds thought.
“Right,” Anthony ducked back into the kitchen and came back out with two beers. “I know you like this brand, so I expect it will be a good accompaniment to our discussion.”
“Right. You were going to explain why you didn’t want to discuss our respective lifespans and how that will impact our relationship in public,” Alec reminded.
“Right. This should not be this hard,” Anthony muttered as he walked into his lounge. He waved Alec to a chaise across from him and sat down.
Alec took his beer and sat down on the chaise. He wasn’t interested in drinking quite yet, so he set his drink down on the side table. He had a feeling that he needed a clear head for whatever was to come. “You are starting to worry me, Anthony.”
“At this stage, please call me Tony. You’ve more than earned the that. I’m sorry for not telling you earlier,” Anthony said. He rolled his beer in his hands and nodded once. “You know that as an elf I have access to more than a minimal amount of magic.”
“Yes,” Alec confirmed. He had to wonder why Tony was mentioning his ability to use magic now. He’d noticed every single time his elf had used any magic when he was around since it did change his scent. “I noticed tonight that you used a small amount.”
“A small cantrip to get us more privacy,” Tony admitted. He took a pull off his beer and shrugged. “No one else needs to hear what we were talking about and it wasn’t expensive to do at all.”
“Good to know,” Alec agreed. “But not why you brought up magic.”
“No, it isn’t,” Tony said. He took a deep breath. “Gods. This is so wretched hard. So, part of the reason I was going so slow is because if we worked out, I would want to keep you. and that would be magically expensive.”
“That sounds very proprietary, Anthony,” Alec warned with a small growl in his voice. He was a wolf, not a dog. “Like you want…”
“I don’t want to own you, Alec, I want to marry you!” Tony interrupted. “I love you; can’t you tell?”
Alec stopped in his tracks at that. He hadn’t considered that was what this whole thing was aimed towards. “What did you say?”
Tony placed his beer on the floor beside him and dropped to one knee in front of him. He reached into one of his pockets and pulled out a bracelet. “I would spend the rest of our lives together. Would you do me the honor of being my husband?”
“I…” Alec looked at the bracelet and his elf and desperately wanted both. “Tony, I’m mortal.”
“And I’m magical and I can tie us together so you will live just as long as I will,” Tony promised. “Please, Alec. Please.”
“I will live as long as you will live? I won’t leave you alone?” Alec asked. At Tony’s frantic nod, he gulped once. “Yes! Yes, I want to marry you.”
“Thank you,” Tony said as he wrapped his arms around Alec. His gaze flicked down to Alec’s mouth and then back up to meet his eyes. “May I kiss you?”
Alec nodded once and pressed his lips against Tony’s. The first feeling of his elf’s mouth on his was amazing and he opened his lips to take in his taste. Sweet, spicy and rich with power, Tony was everything he wanted and had been looking for all his life. When they broke the kiss, he pressed a brief kiss against one side of his mouth before he leaned their foreheads together. “I love you too. And we’re never, ever telling Jamie was a mess this proposal was.”
“Oh, gods no.”