Her baby was three today. And a three year old who prefered to be as active as possible, Vala was having mixed feelings on how fast her babies were growing up.
"Mummy!" Lukas clamored with excitement as he climbed into bed with his parents.
"Good morning," Vala smiled at the small boy and accepted the hug he placed on her. "Happy Birthday my love," she whispered.
"Happy Birthday Buddy," Daniel leaned over and placed a kiss on his son's cheek. Lukas grinned and laid his head on Vala's chest. The more he grew, the more he was developing into the two of them-Vala's smile, Daniel's eyes and hair, and a love of books. "Are you excited for your party today?"
"Yeah!" he cheered. Three years old meant that Lukas got to choose his birthday party, and this year was Jake and the Neverland Pirates-his utmost favourite show. And at three years old meant that Lukas was starting Preschool, to which it would just be Vala and Alexandra during the day.
Grinning from ear to ear, Vala wrapped her arms around their son, and hugged him tight to her.
"Daddy!" a voice called from across the hall. "Daddy!"
"You're being called Daddy," Vala teased, as Daniel chuckled, and crawled out of bed, to get the little girl responsible for the yelling of 'Daddy'. If it was one thing the kids had in common, their language acquisition came early. Holding onto her son, Vala kissed his head, and took the moments before Daniel and their daughter came back to bed, to just be with her son. No matter how much Lukas loved being with Daniel, and the boys, Vala swore he loved her the best. Whenever he was tired, or hurt, cranky, or excited, Vala was the first one he ran to for whatever he needed.
Coming back into the bedroom, with Alexandra on his hip, and her holding her book, in her footie pajamas, Vala smiled. Since Christmas, Alexandra had not let her new book, "Loveaby Dragon" out of her hands. Day and night she would carry it, and not go to sleep without it. Neither Daniel or Vala could count how many times they had each read the book to the little girl, but they wouldn't discourage her from her love of books.
Crawling back into bed, Daniel settled Alexandra in the centre of the bed, and took the book that was offered to him. "Once there was a girl, an all alone girl, in her own little bed, in her own little room, in her own little castle, who didn't have a dragon for a friend." In that moment, Daniel knew this was his life, and what it should be.
Daniel had planned this day for weeks, making sure every single detail was perfect. Planning the perfect day that was just like any other day was a lot harder than he first anticipated. Sam of course was as much help as possible, which meant that he was keeping the ring with her, on base.
He had made reservations at a restaurant, arranged for Sam, Jack and Grace to babysit and bring the kids to the restaurant. He made signs for their kids to hold, asking her to marry their daddy. He'd bought new outfits for the kids and gave them to Sam to make sure both were dressed.
Now all he had to do was wait until after work. Vala was going to drop the two off at Jack's before he he got home, and he was going to pick her up. He told her they needed a night out.
"Hey," Sam entered his office with a smile that was more than telling of her excitement.
"Hi Sam," he dropped his pencil and looked at her.
"I'm so excited!" She plopped the box containing the ring on his desk. "Jack texted me that Vala just dropped the kids off."
"That's my cue," Daniel took a breath, as he took the ring and slid the box into his pocket. "I'll see you soon?"
"Yes!" Leaning over she kissed her friends cheek. "Congratulations Daniel."
"Thanks Sam," he smiled squeezing her hand. The plan was now in action; he dressed and triple checked the ring box in his pocket. He was nervous, and didn't know why. He knew Vala wouldn't say no, they had pretty much decided this was it. They were together for the long haul.
He picked up flowers on the way to the house, her favourite, and moved towards the house to pick her up. "Vala?" he called softly entering the house, as she walked into sight, putting her earing on.
"Daniel," she greeted warmly. Daniel stared at her. She was in a sleek royal blue dress, with slit cut outs at the waist. Her hair was down and pulled slightly to one side.
"These are for you," he handed her the flowers, as Vala walked towards him.
"Thank you, they're gorgeous," kissing him softly she moved to the kitchen to put the flowers away. "The kids were quite excited to have a sleepover with Gracie."
"I'm sure Lexie loved the idea of spending more time with her best friend," Daniel chuckled. "You look gorgeous tonight."
"Thank you Daniel," she smiled back at him. "You look very handsome tonight yourself."
"I figure we don't get to dress up often and go out, might as well make it extra special," he shrugged.
"Well darling, it's a welcome treat. I've been looking forward to this date all week."
"Me too," he held out his hand, and Vala took it. "Shall we go?"
He was now on his own, hoping that Sam and Jack were on time with their part. He thought about it just being the two of them, but he knew that Vala would want their children a part of this.
Arriving at the restaurant Daniel scanned the parking lot for Jack's truck. He spotted it as he reached for Vala's arm, guiding her across the parking lot. It wasn't a new place, in fact, it was his go to for the two. His heart was racing, and he knew what was going to happen. He'd say it was reservation for Jackson, table for two (actually table for four), but Vala didn't know that.
"Welcome to Carlos'," the young hostess smiled. "Reservation?"
"Jackson, for two?" Daniel replied, he felt his heart give a flutter, hoping that this young girl would not thwart this very carefully carved out plan. He watched her look at reservation book, smile and tick off.
"Wonderful, right this way," she grabbed the menus and gestured to the dining room. Vala let go of Daniel's arm, as she followed the woman. Daniel took a step back, reached into his pocket, and remove the box containing her ring.
It took a moment for Vala to see what was before her. Lukas and Alexandra standing at the table, holding signs that together read "Mummy! Say Yes!". Vala stopped and stared at her children, her heart fluttering.
"What are you two doing here?" she asked as Alexandra dropped her sign and beamed at her mother.
"Daddy!" Alexandra chimed and pointed, as Vala moved around. Daniel was down on one knee, ring box open, and was smiling.
"Say yes?" he asked. He knew the entire restaurant was watching, staring, waiting for her response. Vala stood there in shock, staring at Daniel. She could feel eyes on her, and in that moment, the only ones that mattered was Daniel's.
"Yes," she nodded, as Daniel smiled, and took the ring out of the box, sliding it on her finger. Standing up, he captured her lips in a kiss as the entire restaurant applauded. She felt in that instant very familiar little arms wrap around her legs, as she let go of Daniel, and twisted to see Alexandra. "Did you know about this my love?"
"Yes," the little girl grinned shaking her head. Vala reached down and picked up the little girl, kissing her.
"I love you." Looking around she noticed Lukas was still bouncing in his chair, and Jack and Sam were standing behind him, Grace on her hip. "You all knew?"
Sam nodded, as Jack shrugged: "Yep."
"Come here Luke," Vala said passing their daughter to Daniel, as she took the jumping boy into her arms. "You're so handsome." Kissing him, she looked at her friends. "I'm so glad you're all here."
"Did you want us to take the kids?" Jack asked. Daniel looked at Vala, who shook her head.
"Nah, we'll take them home. Thank you for everything." He knew this was right, this was his life, a future wife and their two children.