Author's note: Here's another chapter! I hope you like it and sorry for the indefinite delays. Please read and review!
Disclaimer: I owe nothing that I haven't created myself.
Mr. Bahmra hesitantly opened the door of his daughter's room with a tentative knock. His face contorted into an expression of mild surprise when he took in her appearance. Jess was sitting on the edge of her bed, wearing her practice clothes and lacing up her cleats.
"You're going to practice?" he asked.
"Oh, yeah. I've already missed two days. I'm healed enough to go. I'll take it easy," Jess said, brushing off the worry she heard in his voice.
"Are you sure that's wise?" he said, skeptical.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Jess said before grabbing her bag, standing, and heading to the door.
"What about your ankle?" her father asked, following her down the stairs.
"I just twisted it. It'll be fine."
"Will you be able to drive?"
Jess grabbed an apple and turned to face her father.
"Dad. I'll be fine. Trust me. I know what my body can take," she said before kissing him on the cheek and heading out the door.
Joe sat on a stool in his bar, chin in hand, contemplating his decision. The bar's phone lay in front of him, face down. He tapped his fingers against the glossy surface of the counter, his gaze fixated on the black object laying quietly next to them. He sighed before snatching up the phone and proceeding to dial a familiar number. I promised Jess that I would handle this, he thought as the phone rang.
"Hello?" A male voice answered.
"Hey, Dad. How's it goin'?" Joe asked.
"Oh hey, Joe. Everything's going great! How're things with you?" he said, generally happy to hear from his son.
"Uh, things are good. Really good, actually," he said as an after thought.
"Well, that's great. I'm glad."
"Thanks, Dad." He sighed. "Are ya busy this afternoon?"
"Nope. I don't think so. Why?" his Dad asked.
"I wondering if you wanted to meet me for lunch around one?" Joe said, only hesitating slightly.
"That sounds great! I would love to." Joe smiled at the tone of his voice; it amazed him how quickly their relationship had changed in the past couple of years.
"Will Jess be joining us?" his father asked, the first signs of hesitance present within his tone.
"Ya know, I really don't know. I'll ask her after practice," Joe said.
"I haven't seen her in awhile. How has she been?"
"She's…good. She's good," Joe said.
"Well, tell her that I would like to see her if she doesn't come today."
"Sure, Dad. I'll tell her."
"All right. I'll see you at one. At the bar?" his father asked.
"Yeah, Dad, at the bar. See ya at one," he said before hanging up.
He sighed and set the phone down, wondering what his Dad's reaction will be when he tells him that Jess is pregnant. He sighed again.
"I suppose you're wishing you hadn't come after me the day I went to California now, aren't you?" Jess appeared in the doorway, leaning against it with her arms crossed beneath her breasts.
Joe looked up and met her gaze. He shook his head slowly, smiling as her presence washed over him.
"You're not even close, Love." He chuckled.
She raised one eyebrow and walked over to him, sitting on the stool next to his.
"Really? So those sighs had nothing to do with me?" she whispered.
"Of course they had to do with you. But not in the way you're thinking," he said before wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "I'm going to tell me Dad about the baby today."
"What?" Jess said, moving quickly out of his embrace to look into his face.
"I'm meeting my Dad for lunch and I'm gonna tell him," he said calmly.
"But-" she broke off, incredulous. "Why?"
He scoffed and looked at her questioningly.
"Because he needs to know. He's gonna find out eventually. I figured one way to start cleaning this up and making it out to be a joy rather than a nightmare would be to tell him," Joe said.
"Are you sure? I mean, I haven't even known that long and you've known for an even shorter time than that. Do you really think it's time to tell your Dad?"
"Yes. I've thought a lot about this; it's the right thing to do, Jess. I'm not afraid anymore. I love you and you're the only woman I want to have a baby with," he said, smiling.
"Really? You're really okay with this?" she asked.
"Yeah. I'm very okay with this," Joe said.
Jess' face broke into a delighted grin before she wrapped her arms around Joe and kissed him. She hugged him tight and sighed.
"We're having a baby," she whispered into his ear.
"I know. Crazy, isn't it?" Joe laughed.
Jess laughed as well before breaking the embrace. Her smile faltered slightly as she thought of her parents.
"Oh God, Mum and Dad are gonna freak," she said.
"Yeah, I know. We can handle it though, Love," Joe said in a comforting voice.
"I hope so. They're going to hate the idea of me having a baby unmarried," she said.
"Well, that can always be fixed…" Joe trailed off.
Jess glared at him, lips pursed.
"We are not getting married just because I'm pregnant. It should not be forced."
He chuckled again, finding her expression highly amusing.
"Actually, Love, if you must know, I've already asked your parents' permission."
"You did what?" She all but screamed.
"Calm down, Jess! I asked over a week ago; before ya told me about the pregnancy," Joe said, placing his hands on her shoulders.
"You did? You wanted to marry me before all this happened?" she asked, disbelieving.
He shook his head slowly and rolled his eyes as though he were questioning her sanity.
"Jess, I've wanted to marry you for years. I just had to make sure it was the right time to ask your parents," Joe said.
"You're serious?" she whispered questioningly.
"Of course, Love," he said. "Here, I'll prove it to you."
He slipped off the stool and made his way into the back room, behind the bar. He returned in seconds with a small box clutched in his right hand.
"See?" he whispered, holding the blue, velvet box out to her.
She lifted the object out of his outstretched hand with her fingertips and placed it into her own. When she opened the lid, she gasped audibly.
"Oh God," she whispered. "Joe, it's beautiful."
"I thought you'd like it. It was my Mum's."
"Wow…how long have you had this?" she asked, finally tearing her eyes away from the beautiful golden band to look into his eyes.
"A few months. I got it from my Dad. He's been waiting for me to propose for awhile now." He scratched the back of his neck guiltily.
She laughed lightly, bringing her gaze back down to the intricate diamonds.
"Is that what you just did? Propose?" she asked, amused.
"No, but I wanted to make it clear to you that I'm asking because I love you and I want to, not because you're pregnant," he said before lifting the box from her hand and bending to stand on one knee.
She smiled shyly as he took her hand in his and gazed into her eyes.
"Jess, my life has been so much better with you in it. I find myself lost when you're not around and worried if I haven't spoken to ya. When I see you, the rest of the world goes dark because the most important thing in my life is you. Nothing else matters when I have you. You're like my colors; with you, I see the whole rainbow. Without you, everything is black and white. Before I met you, my whole world was black and white, but I didn't know any different. I know the colors now and I don't want that black and white world anymore. I want the rainbow, forever. I love you, Jess Bahmra. Will you marry me?"
Jess' eyes filled with tears and she found herself nodding, for she could not speak. Joe smiled and slipped the elegant band onto her finger. He stood and took her into his arms, kissing her with all his might.
"I love you too, Joe. You know that, right?" she whispered through her tears.
"Of course I know that," he whispered back.
He set her on her feet and kissed her forehead tenderly.
"Good, just making sure." She laughed.
He laughed with her, completely ecstatic that he was finally going to marry the woman of his dreams.
"Hey," he said as he lifted her face to his, "do you want to go with me to tell me Dad? He said he would love to see you."
He saw the momentary panic flash through her eyes.
"Whoa, don't worry, Love, you don't have to. I just thought I'd offer," he quickly interjected.
She laughed lightly at his tone.
"No, I should go. It'll make this all the more real and that's what I need right now. I need to face these fears. Whether this was planned or not, everyone needs to know."
"If you're sure…" he trailed off.
"I am. What time?" she asked.
"One," Joe said. "We better get out there."
"Oh, right, practice." She laughed.
She began to head out the door, grabbing her bag on the way.
"Jess?" Joe stopped her.
"Hmm?" she asked, turning to face him.
"Are ya planning on telling the team that you're engaged?" he asked.
Her eyes widened in shock.
"Of course not. I'm not ready for that lot to know yet," she said, flustered.
"Then you should take off the ring," Joe said, eyeing the golden band glistening on her left hand.
"Oh, yeah. You're right. Here." She slipped it off her finger and placed it into the box that Joe held out to her.
"No, it's yours now," he said, pressing the box into her palm.
She smiled and slipped it carefully into her bag before heading out the door, her fiancé following just behind.
I hope you liked it! Please please review!