Author's Note: Thanks to Andrea (iloveromance) for her advice on this chapter!
The day of the party was unusually sunny for Seattle. It made Niles and Daphne think maybe it was a good sign. They were still worried about how Martin would feel about having to stay away from his grandson.
When they arrived at Martin and Ronee's, it was clear they were ready for the party. Ronee had even made a sign saying, Happy Birthday, David! Daphne thought about thanking her, but she decided not to. She knew from experience that Ronee would only shrug and say it was no big deal.
The moment David saw his grandfather standing across the yard, he wanted to run toward him for a hug. "No, David," Daphne whispered. The disappointment on her son's face was heartbreaking. She glanced over at Niles, and he seemed to be feeling the same. But it was clear he wasn't going to give in.
To distract everyone, Daphne took out the cake she'd brought. It was small, much smaller than what she would buy for David's friends. Alongside that, she had a half-dozen cupcakes. It was probably still more than was necessary, and Daphne knew most of this would be polished off by Martin in the coming days.
It was hard to maintain the distance once the food was out. David and his parents took their share, then went to the picnic table on the porch to eat it. Martin and Ronee got their cake after. They sat at a smaller table on one side of the porch.
At first, no one knew what to say. They weren't used to being together, yet so far apart. Finally, Martin broke the silence. "Great cake, Daph."
Daphne blushed. "I got it at the store. You'd be surprised how crowded the bakery was. I guess people are still celebrating birthdays."
Niles put an arm around his wife. "David is so lucky to have a mother who wanted his birthday to be special, no matter what."
Suddenly, the sound of police sirens broke the festive mood. "What's going on, Grandpa?" David asked, worriedly.
"I don't know, kiddo. But it sounds like they're on our street!"
David's eyes widened even more, if that were possible. Before he could say anything, two men in blue uniforms entered the yard. It was impossible not to notice that their hands were placed on their holsters, ready to draw fire at any second. "Is there a David Martin Crane here?" one officer asked.
Daphne knew this must be Martin's surprise, but she chose to play along. "Yes, Officer, he's my son." Daphne put an arm around David. "He hasn't done anything wrong."
"I'm sorry, Ma'am, but we received a tip, and, you know, we have to follow every lead."
Niles decided to get in on the act. "I assure you, our son is a very good boy."
One of the officers turned to Martin. "Is this true, Marty?"
"Of course," Martin said, looking as if he were offended by the very question.
"That's what we thought," said one of the cops, now breaking into a smile. He turned to David. "Your grandfather loves you an awful lot. And since none of your friends could be here today, he called in some of his friends instead."
It took a moment for the words to register in David's brain. As he slowly realized he wasn't in trouble, his face went from fear to wonder.
"Come on," one of the cops said, putting an arm around him. "We've got balloons in the squad car, and we'll even let you play with the siren."
David glanced at his parents, wanting to ask if it was OK to go. They could only nod. Even they were in disbelief at what Martin had done.
The siren sounded several times while David was gone. He returned a few minutes later, three balloons in hand. He grinned from ear to ear. "Mom, they want to take me for ice cream. Can I go?!" His face was similar to Eddie's, whenever a walk was mentioned.
"I don't see why not," Daphne said, glancing at Niles. He could only shrug.
"Come on, kid. You can ride up front," said one of the cops.
The moment their son was gone, Niles and Daphne turned to Martin. "I'm sorry, but I can't stand it any longer," Daphne said. She walked over to where Martin sat, bending to hug him. She even kissed his cheek. "I don't know how to thank you," she said, feeling her eyes begin to water. "That's the happiest I've seen him in weeks. He's going to be on the phone half the night, telling his friends about this."
Martin gave a dismissive shrug. "He's my grandson. It was the least I could do."
Niles stayed where he was. His fear of germs gave him no choice. "Well, thank you, Dad. You made a little boy very happy."
Even Ronee couldn't help being emotional. "You really outdid yourself, Marty. If he were my grandson, I'd probably be tearing up just like Daphne. But we all know he's not," she laughed, although she did seem to need a napkin at that very moment. "Sorry," she said. "It's my allergies, really."
Everyone laughed at Ronee's comment. She couldn't quite admit that she liked Niles and Daphne's son, so she always found a way to cover. But none of them believed it for a second.
Suddenly, a flood of memories hit Daphne at once. The day she'd taken the job seemed a lifetime ago now. She could never have imagined it would lead to this. Not only had she found the love of her life, but it led her to the best family she could've asked for.