Meant to Be
Parents loved Jamie Brewer, a fact he had used in his favor more than once over the course of his life. It was because he knew exactly how to talk to them; how to be honest and genuine without seeming arrogant and how to be sweet and charming without coming off as fake. Despite the fact that many people assumed it was all natural, he had actually spent many years perfecting the art of winning over people who intimidated him.
Yet, he never thought he’d end up needing to use any of those tactics on his Uncle Ethan. Mostly because he knew Ethan’s love for him was unconditional; it had been since the day Jamie was born twenty-five years ago. As the oldest of the Vertical Limit children, he held a special place in the hearts of all the band boys because it was his birth that made them realize it was time to grow up.
Still, despite the fact that Ethan had never been anything but loving towards Jamie, Jack’s son couldn’t help but wonder if that opinion would change after today’s interaction.
None of the kids ever felt the need to call ahead when visiting one of their uncles’ houses because they knew they were always welcome, but Jamie wanted to make sure everything when smoothly, so he texted Ethan and told him he was going to stop by in the afternoon. Ethan figured it was perfect because he was going to be home alone anyway and he’d always thought of Jamie as a son.
Following the instructions he’d received in the text message, Jamie pushed open the Saxtons’ unlocked front door without knocking. Kira had left their shared apartment that morning to spend the day with her mother and Lucy, which meant Ethan was most likely spending the day in his basement studio, either working on new music or playing video games.
Taking the complete silence on the main floor as indication that his assumption was correct, Jamie closed the front door behind him as he entered and made his way to the staircase which led to the basement, entering the bunker to find Ethan stretched out on the couch, his tongue poking out in focus as he played a video game.
Knowing better than to interrupt at what could be a critical moment, Jamie waited until the action died down to make his presence known. “Hey, Uncle Ethan.”
Ethan glanced up, his expression immediately lighting with a wide grin as he paused his game and set his controller aside, pushing himself into a standing position. “Jamie! I’m glad you stopped by.”
Stepping forward, Ethan pulled Jack’s son into a tight embrace, gesturing towards the couch when they pulled apart. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Jamie was meticulous and organized, which meant that he had approached this conversation exactly how he had approached all things which made him nervous over the course of his life: by being well prepared. He had typed out a speech on his laptop and practiced it as he paced the kitchen while Kira was asleep or in the bathroom during his lunch break at work.
But it wasn’t until he parked his car outside of the Saxton house five minutes ago that he realized it was unnecessary. Because this was Ethan, a man who loved all his band mate’s kids unconditionally, and felt no differently about Jamie, even if the Brewer boy was dating his oldest daughter.
“I know the girls are out for the day,” Jamie shrugged, wondering how he was managing to sound so casual as he settled into the worn leather couch beside his uncle. “So I figured I’d drop by. There’s actually something I want to ask you.”
Ethan’s eyebrows lifted briefly in surprise as he stretched out his legs and crossed his ankles atop the table to his front, folding his arms behind his head and leaning back into the couch. “Shoot.”
The original plan had been to begin a speech on how much he loved Kira, but Ethan already knew that; because for the past five years, Ethan had watched Jamie make Kira unbelievably happy.
Knowing that there was no need for a back story, Jamie pushed aside his days of preparation, took a deep breath, and just said what he had come to say. “I want to ask Kira to marry me and I want your blessing.”
If Ethan was being honest, he had expected this for a while, because anyone who ever saw Jamie and Kira together or heard Jamie talk about his girlfriend could tell that he would never love anyone else the same way. So it was only a matter of time before Jamie proposed.
No, the reason Ethan was surprised was because he hadn’t expected to be approached for his blessing. Although Kira loved both her parents dearly and wanted nothing more than to make them proud, she had stopped asking for their permission to do things about two minutes after she became a teenager and both Ethan and his wife had gotten used to not asking questions. Ethan had long since accepted that he had very little authority over his older daughter and even Lucy, who was no longer a teenager either, was slowly but surely starting to break away.
“Wow,” Ethan blinked, sitting up a little straighter and clearing his throat. “You know, Kira’s not really the ‘ask my dad for my hand in marriage’ type.”
“I know,” Jamie stretched his lips into a small smile, lacing his fingers together atop his khaki covered knee. If Kira wanted to run away and elope tomorrow, she would do it without telling her parents. Her strong will to do what she wanted was one of the many things he loved about her. “But she does love you and she respects your opinion, which means that it would be a lot to her if you approved.”
Ethan’s reply was almost immediate as he leaned forward to pull his nephew into a sitting hug. “Well, of course I approve. I’m actually surprised you haven’t done it already.”
Letting out a sigh of relief that the tension seemed to have disappeared from the room, Jamie grinned, squeezing Ethan close and relaxing against the couch when he pulled away. It wasn’t as though he thought his uncle would be adamantly against him and Kira getting married, but it was always nice to confirm support.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Jamie admitted, resting his hands atop his stomach. “Actually, the day after we got back together, I considered going out and buying a ring, but we were still getting used to each other again, plus I knew my parents would kill me if I wanted to get married before I graduated. And then after graduation, our lives just sort of became crazy. Kira was taking on more responsibility at the youth center and I was transitioning from being an intern to having a full time job and we were stressed out and it just wasn’t the right time.”
“Then why now?” Ethan asked, tilting his head to the side and feeling the stubble on his chin.
Jamie shrugged. “We just finally seem to be exactly where we want to be.”
As individuals, they had found what they wanted, so it was the perfect time to find that bliss as a couple as well.
“So wise,” Ethan smirked, earning him an eye roll. “Are you sure you’re Jack’s son?”
Laughing, Jamie parted his lips to respond, but Ethan asked another question. “Speaking of which, how do your parents feel about all this?”
“I haven’t told them yet,” Jamie replied softly. “I wanted to make sure there was something to tell. I’m probably gonna head over there now.”
Ethan nodded as they both pushed themselves into standing positions, speaking again before Jamie could say goodbye. “I know I probably don’t need to say this, but once you tell your parents, it’s only a matter of time before everyone in the family except for Kira knows. So proposing sooner rather than later is probably the way to go.”
“I know,” Jamie chuckled. He loved every single member of his extended family to bits, but they couldn’t keep a secret to save their lives. If the rate at which they had all discovered his feelings for Kira in the first place was any indication, his father would probably call Nathan and Justin about thirty seconds after Jamie left the house. Once Caroline knew, it wouldn’t be long until Brody found out and then Piper, who would tell Jessamine, who would tell Tyler, who would tell Lucy and Evie. Jamie was well aware that his window for popping the question would rapidly start closing as soon as he informed his parents and sister about his decision because at some point, Kira was going to start to realize that everyone was hiding something from her. “Thanks, Uncle Ethan.”
“For what?” Ethan replied, pulling Jamie into a goodbye hug. “We’ve always been family.”
It was strange walking through the front door of his house, he thought, as he turned his key in the lock and pushed it open, finding it eerily silent. Caroline was in her last year at college, so he didn’t expect her to be home, and usually there would be some indication that his mother was around – music playing or the stove crackling or the television running – but the utter quiet meant that if anyone was home, it was just his father, more than likely buried in writing in his basement studio.
Deciding he might as well check, he followed the same path he had in the Saxton house, opening the door at the bottom of the stairs to find his suspicions were right. Jack sat with his acoustic guitar on his lap, leaning over the coffee table, writing in the battered notebook he’d been using to write songs since he was a teenager. He looked up as the door opened, his expression immediately lighting at the sight of his son.
“Hey, J!” Jack grinned, setting his guitar to the side and pushing himself to his feet. “I didn’t know you were coming by today.”
Raising his arms to wrap them around his father’s shoulders, Jamie grinned as he replied. “It was kind of last minute, but I got some pretty big news I wanna tell you.”
“Oh yeah?” Jack lifted one eyebrow, plopping back down on the couch and waiting for his son to do the same. “What’s up? Everything alright?”
Jamie couldn’t keep the grin from his lips as he spoke. “I’m gonna ask Kira to marry me.”
“Wow,” Jack whispered, his eyes becoming watery. He had always known this day would come eventually. Although he had never told Ethan, in the back of his mind, Jack had predicted Jamie and Kira would end up married from the day Jamie had returned from one of their early study dates with sand in his hair and stars in his eyes.
So Jack wasn’t particularly surprised, but that didn’t mean the revelation of this information made him any less emotional. Jamie was his first child, the one who had turned him from a boy to a man, the one who made him realize there was an entire world of possibilities out there that he hadn’t even thought about. Jamie, who had frustrated Jack to no end by pulling pranks on the crew on tour and to this day still had no idea how to tie his shoelaces, couldn’t possibly be on the verge of getting engaged.
“Dad?” Jamie’s eyebrows pulled into a deep furrow at the sight of his father’s watery eyes. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” Jack sniffled, the corners of his lips lifting into a small smile as he reached out to tousle Jamie’s hair, which was much easier now that he no longer wore any product. “I’m just really proud of the man you’ve become and I can’t believe you’re getting married.”
A small stream of air escaped Jamie’s lips as he sighed in relief, his lips stretching into a wide grin as he laughed and shook his head. “She has to say yes first.”
“She’ll say yes,” Jack assured him, tugging on his son’s hair lightly before dropping his hands to his lap and blinking back tears, wondering where all the time had gone.
She was already home when he got back from his parents’ house, perched on the edge of their bed as she unlaced her combat boots and kicked them off, a grin automatically stretching her lips when he entered the room.
“Hey, gorgeous,” she practically sang, because she’d had an amazing day with her mother and baby sister and she was in an incredible mood.
His eyebrows lifted briefly in surprise, not because she wasn’t a generally cheery person, but because she seemed extra happy this evening. Leaning down, he kissed her quickly on the lips before plopping down on the bed beside her to step out of his bright white Converse. “Hey, beautiful. Good day?”
“Yeah,” she sighed, reaching down to pick up her shoes and throw them on her side of the closet. “It was great. We haven’t spent time, just us girls, together in forever. And plus, I’ve missed Lucy like crazy since she’s been away at college.”
“I bet,” Jamie said softly, watching her toss her boots on top of the pile of other shoes she rarely ever war. He understood the feeling, because despite the fact that he and Caroline had never been as incredibly close as Kira and Lucy, he had missed her while he was away and found it strange to be living in the city where he grew up while she wasn’t there. “You know, if Lucy ever comes home for the weekend and wants to stay with us, she’s more than welcome.”
Logistically, it made sense for Lucy to stay with her parents when she came home because she already had her own room, but staying with Jamie and Kira meant the Saxton sisters got more quality time together, which he knew Kira would appreciate.
“Really?” she said, stepping forward and allowing him to part his knees automatically so she could stand between his legs and reach out and tangle her fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck. “You’d be cool with that?”
He lifted his shoulders in a shrug, his hands settling at her waist and squeezing gently. “Yeah. I mean, I’m sure you’d like to spend more time with Lucy when she’s in town.”
Her eyes flooded with adoration as her lips slowly lifted into a smile and she leaned into him, the volume of her voice lowering, but the twinkle in her eyes getting more sparkly with each passing second. “Have I told you lately that you’re the best boyfriend ever?”
Grinning, he leaned in to kiss her firmly on the lips, still smiling when they pulled apart. “It’s always nice to hear.”
She laughed as she leaned in to kiss him again, the pressure this time pushing him onto his back and allowing her to crawl on top of him, her knees straddling either side of his hips.
“Wow,” he chuckled between kisses, his hands roaming up and down her sides. “Remind me to invite your family members over more often.”
Giggling, she leaned in and pecked his lips one more time before rolling to the side and off the bed, dropping her right eye in a wink when he jutted his lower lip out in a pout. “Don’t worry, I got big plans for you later.”
Despite the fact that they’d been together for years, his cheeks heated slightly at the implication and he changed the subject as he watched her dig through the dresser for her favorite pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt, indicating she had no desire to leave the apartment anymore. He didn’t mind, though, because quiet nights in with Kira were always his favorite.
“So what do you think?” she asked, tossing her discovered clothes on the bed to his right and popping open the button on her black skinny jeans, pushing them over her hips and down to her ankles before stepping out of them one leg at a time and kicking them to the side. “Order in Chinese and catch up on season 2 of Game of Thrones?”
“Sounds good,” he cleared his throat, a little distracted as she crossed her arms and pulled her frayed crop top over her head and tossing it on top of her discarded jeans. He tilted his head to the side, his lips kinking into a smile at the last tattoo she’d gotten, a typewritten capital H in his honor. She had surprised him with it when he graduated from college, and although he knew he would never be able to return the favor because of his deep phobia of needles, he appreciated that he meant enough to her to have something which reminded her of him constantly permanently inked onto her skin. It meant they were in it for the long haul, a sentiment Jamie had about their relationship since the very beginning and was glad to know she shared.
She flashed him a smile and leaned forward to grab her yoga pants, tugging them on as Jamie rose from the bed and padded towards the kitchen to find the take out menus, thinking that even if Kira didn’t end up accepting his proposal, he didn’t think life could get any better than this.
If he was being honest with himself, Jamie had spent years thinking about how he would propose to Kira. It had to be at the beach, of course, because that was where they’d had all of their big moments: their first kiss, the first almost ‘I love you’, when they’d realized that the universe didn’t seem right if they weren’t together.
The original plan had involved a picnic on the sand and popping the question as the sun set, but when Kira suggested they take a drive to the ocean because she was in the mood to smell the salty air, he decided to revise that plan. Besides, ever since he had spilled the news to his Uncle Ethan and his father, it had spread like wildfire and his phone had been blowing up with text messages and phone calls for the past few days, asking if he’d done it yet.
It was only a matter of time before Kira started wondering who he was constantly texting.
He was glad there was a bit of a chill in the air because it gave him an excuse to wear a canvas jacket with pockets to hide the ring box, but he wondered if the weather was concerning Kira, because she was oddly quiet the entire drive. They had the radio on, but the fact that she said a total of three sentences the entire drive was worrying and the fact that she remained silent even as they slipped out of their shoes and walked through the sand was enough to make Jamie purse his lips in confusion.
“Are you alright?” he asked, squishing his bare toes into the sand, his Converse swinging from toe fingers by his side. “You’ve hardly said a word for the past half hour.”
“Yeah,” she breathed out, turning to face him and dropping her boots in the sand so she could use her now free hand to fiddle with one of the many string bracelets on her wrist. “I just have something I need to tell you and I don’t know how to say it.”
His mind immediately went to the worst possible scenario as he flipped the ring box nervously in his pocket: that she had found the ring buried behind the sweaters on the top shelf of his closet and was about to tell him that she never wanted to get married. Truthfully, he wouldn’t really care how they labelled their relationship, as long as they were together. And they’d never really discussed marriage specifically, but whenever they talked about their future, it was always just assumed that they were together.
“Babe, you can tell me anything,” he assured her, preparing himself to hear her say she liked things how they were.
But Kira’s mind was racing for an entirely different reason and she had no clue how to go about prefacing what she needed to say, so she just spit it out, her eyes wide with concern as she spoke. “Jamie, I’m pregnant.”
That was quite possibly the last thing he expected her to say and as she watched him blink rapidly and struggle to process her words, she wondered how it would all play out. She loved Jamie, more than she’d ever loved anybody, and although she had never been much of a romantic, she knew she would be completely content if she got to spend the rest of her life with him.
But that didn’t mean either of them knew anything about being parents. She wanted kids someday, but she’d always figured she’d have more time to mentally prepare. Still, Kira was all about living in the moment and taking things as they came, so this was what fate was throwing her way, then she would adapt and she would learn to be the best mother ever. She just hoped Jamie would want to be along for the ride.
It took him a few moments to comprehend what she had just said but when the words finally sank in, his voice came out just above a whisper. “Are you sure?”
She nodded, not entirely sure she was breathing as she responded. “I was so excited about hanging out with my mum and Lucy that it hadn’t even occurred to me that I missed my period, but then I realized the next day and I went to the doctor when I had break from work and the blood test shows I’m pregnant.” Pausing for a few seconds to watch the emotions flood his expression, she spoke again. “What do you think?”
He blinked as he realized his lack of response thus far was probably freaking her out, and stretched his lips into a wide smile. Of course he wanted children with Kira, but he always figured it would be a few more years until they had that conversation. Apparently life had different plans. “I think that’s amazing.”
“Yeah?” she breathed out in relief, her own smile widening to match his as she took a step forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Me too.”
Removing his hands from the pockets of his jacket, he wrapped his arms around her middle and hugged her close, turning his head to press kisses to her temple and down her cheek and jaw until he finally arrived at her lips and pouring every excited emotion into the kiss.
“I can’t wait to tell my dad he’s gonna be a grandpa,” Jamie laughed when they pulled apart, still entangled in the embrace and swaying from side to side.
Kira smirked, tugging at the hair at the nape of his neck. “I can’t wait to tell my dad that he’s gonna share a grandchild with Uncle Jack.”
They both grinned as they laughed, leaning in to press multiple more kisses to each other’s lips and Kira tried to move closer, but the shuffling of her feet in the sand was stopped when her toes hit something hard.
“What’s that?” she furrowed her brow in confusion, dropping her arms from around Jamie’s neck as she squatted down to collect the foreign object, a small velvet ring box.
Jamie’s eyes widened in horror as he realized the ring box must have fallen out of his pocket when he removed his hands and his first instinct was to grab it from her fingers before she could fully figure out what it was, but he found himself frozen as she gazed at the box curiously before flipping open the lid, her blue eyes growing big with surprise.
“Jamie…,” she whispered, her eyes glued to the piece of jewelry in the box. “Is this what I think it is?”
There was really no graceful way out of the situation, and although this wasn’t at all what he had planned, he also hadn’t exactly expected to find out that he was going to be a father either, so he figured that today could just be a day full of surprises.
Reaching out, he carefully removed the box from her hands, glancing down at it before returning her gaze to meet hers, gulping a little as he began to speak. “Yeah…I was going to ask later this week, but then, when you said you wanted to go to the beach today, I thought maybe it was a sign, but it turned out you had a surprise for me as well, and it’s amazing, but now I don’t know if I should–”
“Ask,” she interrupted firmly, her shoulders back and her gaze direct, completely hiding the fact that her heart was pounding.
Throughout the course of their relationship, Kira had always felt as though she was emotionally a step behind Jamie. He had known how he felt about her from the very beginning, but she didn’t know anything about love, so it took her longer to fall. But when she finally did, she had fallen hard and even during her two years away, she’d come to realize that a small part of her heart would always belong to Jamie. He had always believed that they were destined to be together and although she had never been a hopeless romantic, she was pretty sure that no one else would be able to make her so incredibly happy, so perhaps it was time that she started believing in destiny too.
“Ask me,” she repeated, the tone of her voice not wavering in the slightest.
Corners of his lips lifting slightly into a smile, he removed the ring from the box, tucking the velvet container back into the pocket of his jacket and holding the ring firmly between his thumb and forefinger. Sinking down into the sand on one knee, he grinned up at her, knowing she was holding her breath as he spoke.
“Kira Diana Saxton, will you marry me?”
It had been a split second after the last word was spoken that her lips were on top of his, kissing him long and hard and hoping that he could feel just how much she loved him. Her hands cupped his cheeks, pulling to his feet so she could hold him closer, her arms flinging around his neck as she hugged him tight.
“Is that a yes?” he laughed when they pulled apart a few minutes later, dizzy and so incredibly elated.
“Yes,” she breathed out, smiling so wide that she was sure her face was going to be sore the next day. “That’s a yes.”
Matching her smile, he dropped his arms from around her waist long enough to slip the ring on her finger, before hugging her to his chest and swaying her from side to side. He wasn’t sure how long they stayed in that position, but he knew that he felt like he was flying and that he was pretty sure he was the luckiest guy on the planet.
Jamie Brewer always had a plan and he always knew exactly what he wanted. But if loving Kira Saxton had taught him anything, it was that sometimes the best things in life were the things he didn’t see coming. Just like he hadn’t expected to find out he was going to be a father and end up with a fiancé in the same day. It was all a bit overwhelming and just slightly terrifying because he and Kira knew absolutely nothing about parenting, but they had each other and just as with all things, they would figure it out, together, as a family.