Chapter Thirteen

21K 1.2K 43

"Hey, Liam. Do you happen to know where my brother's at?" Beckett followed the scent of meat and smoke out to the stone terrace.

"Batmobile," Archer answered for Liam.

"Gotham sent the signal?" Beckett strolled across the spread of stone, took a look at the barbeque that was unlike any he'd ever seen. It had slick stainless steel panels and a digital screen with numbers and graphics on it. The whole thing looked like a barbeque meant for space.

Archer, who was still in his cape, climbed to the top of the half-height stone wall and stood with his hands fisted at his hips, his legs spread wide. "It could be the Joker who sent the signal. He might have to fend him off. He should've let me go with him. I am the mighty Thor!"

"Just don't fall, Thor, or your mother will kill me," Liam told the boy then looked over to Beckett. "Declan was looking for an excuse to drive the Koenigsegg. I gave him one. He and Ben went to pick up some seasoning for the burgers."

Beckett eyed the abundance of seasoning containers—more than he had in his pub's kitchen—that filled a compartment in the barbeque machine, then eyed Liam. "As a man cool enough to have a Koenigsegg, and as a man kind enough to make up an excuse to let another man drive it, you must have good advice. I need some." He plopped down into a wrought iron chair, went to tug at the ends of his hair, forgetting that he'd gotten it cut.

"Car advice?"

"Women advice."

"Archer, plug your ears," Liam said, then chuckled at the sour face his son gave him. His son, he thought proudly. Officially adopting the boy was the best thing he'd ever done—aside from marrying that boy's mom. "Shoot," he told Beckett as he took a seat across from him.

"How do you know when it's time to ask a woman to marry you?"

"Whoa, man. Really?"

"Yeah, really." Beckett leaned forward, rested his head in his hands. "I don't want to do it wrong, seeing that I've done everything else wrong."

"Well first, don't worry about doing it wrong. From what I can tell, if you've got the right woman, the right or wrong way of it matters little."

"What do you mean by that?" Beckett lifted his gaze, studying Liam as he spoke. "How long after dating Emerson did you ask her to marry you? She's great by the way."

"The best. And I asked about a week after she moved in."

"A week?"

"Yep."

"But how did you know?"

"I never wanted her to leave," he said easily. "She and Archer fit into my life, and I fit into theirs. I'd been stupid and let her go once. I was young and thought a night of no-strings fun was enough. But it wasn't. I wanted to live life with her, to grow old with her. I couldn't not picture her beside me."

Beckett breathed out as he thought it through. "I'm going to lose Danielle if I don't ask her to marry me. But, the more I think about it, that's not the real reason I'd be asking. Like you just said, I can't not picture her in my life. In some ways, she's already part of the family so I guess I didn't really think about officially making her part of it until she got a job offer in California."

"My advice? Don't ask because you don't want to lose her. Ask because you want to be with her. Sounds the same to a man, but trust me, to a woman they're very different things. I learned the hard way when I tricked Emerson into flying here. She hates to fly," he added.

"It took tricks to get a woman to a castle?"

"The good women are worth the effort," Liam said, standing and striding over to the barbeque to check on the char. "And it worked, didn't it?" He tossed a grin at Beckett as he turned the meat over to sizzle.

He didn't have a castle, Beckett thought. He didn't have much to offer in the way of things like homes or helicopters or fast cars. All he had was his heart and it would have to be enough. "Hey, do you happen to have another Batmobile sitting around? I think I need to find a store to buy a ring."

"I do," Liam turned, "but no jewelry store will be open in town this evening. I could make some calls though. Money always helps inspire people to do things they don't want to do like open their store on a holiday."

"Shit, I forgot."

"Shit, I forgot too," Archer offered as he wandered over.

Liam raised an amused eyebrow at the boy, attempting to disguise it as a look of reproach.

"Sorry, kid." Beckett rose, hooked his thumbs in the pockets of the dry jeans he'd changed into.

"If I were a boy, I wouldn't be allowed to say bad words. But I'm Thor, so it's okay." Archer hooked his thumbs into his pockets, mimicking Beckett.

"So, Thor," Beckett looked at the kid whose stance mirrored his, "I bet you're a wise man, being a superhero and all. What do you think I should do?"

"She have any kids?" Archer asked, hopeful.

"Not yet," Beckett told him, surprised at his lack of panic at the thought of having kids—especially if they were as cool as Archer—running around his and Danielle's lives. "Some day."

"Bummer." Archer pulled his mouth to the side, putting on what he considered his hard-thinking face. "You need a ring?"

"Looks like it."

"I got one you could borrow." Archer slid a ring off his thumb. "It's too big for me, keeps falling off, but it glows green if you switch that little...yeah...here," he said, flicking over a tiny switch.

"You'd loan me the Green Lantern Power Ring?"

"You know what it is?" Archer climbed onto a chair to get closer in height to Beckett and Liam, who'd strolled back over. "How'd you know? Do you still want it?"

"Who wouldn't want the most powerful ring in the known universe? Invisibility? Homing beacon? Mind alteration? It does it all."

"Yeah," Archer said, amazed. "She'll definitely tell you yes with this." He ceremoniously handed the ring over. "And if she doesn't, you could put it on and use it against her. Alter her mind to say yes."

Beckett wanted to chuckle but was enjoying the earnest look on the kid's face. "I'll keep that in mind. Do me a favor?" Beckett looked to Liam then back to Archer. "Let's keep this between us men for now. When and if, I'll let you know."

"A secret!" Archer announced then zoomed off. "I'm going to tell Darwin!"

Beckett flicked a thumb toward the kid's wake. "Darwin?"

"The dog. Darwin's better at keeping secrets than Archer, though, so don't worry."

Now Beckett chuckled. "Good to know. And thanks for the advice."

"We're family now. It's what family does," Liam told him, giving him a slap on the back.

"Family," Beckett repeated, letting it all sink in. This was his family now. How the hell had he gotten so lucky? Danielle was right. He was one hell of a lucky man and he hoped to get even luckier.

One Summer NightRead this story for FREE!