Chapter Nine

So I would choose to be with you
That’s if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

June 27, 2006

Kelly’s: Courtyard

“So when are you going to ask her again?” Elizabeth reached across the table and stole one of Patrick’s fries. He smacked her hand.

“No stealing food,” he told her. “You should have ordered fries.”

“I wanted chili,” Elizabeth said as though it clearly explained why she had finished her chili and then proceeded to mooch at least half of Patrick’s French fries. “You’re avoiding the question.”

“And you’re nagging again. How does Lucky put up with that?” Patrick grumbled. He took a long gulp of his soda. “And how did you end up inviting yourself out on my lunch break?”

“First of all, I do not nag. I gently prod,” Elizabeth remarked, offended. “And Lucky’s blinded by love, you jackass. And I did not invite myself, you asked me for advice about Robin and I told you I was too hungry to talk and you said you’d buy me lunch.” She sat back in her chair. “Jackass.”

“Yes, I’m going to ask her again,” Patrick answered. “And before you ask, yes, I’m taking your advice.” He shifted. “I’ll make it a better proposal this time.”

“One knee would probably do the trick,” Elizabeth mused as she slid another one of Patrick’s fries away from him. “I bet Robin would never be able to resist the great Patrick Drake on one knee.”

“I am not getting down on one knee, not even for Robin,” Patrick said, indignantly. “For one thing, it’s humiliating and for another, it insinuates that this is a romantic thing and we both know that Robin doesn’t feel that way.”

We don’t know anything,” Elizabeth replied. She indicated to the waitress Penny that they would need another plate of fries. “You’re a man, so naturally, you don’t pick up on women’s signals–”

“Hey, I am the master of picking up signals,” Patrick cut in.

Elizabeth snorted. “Please. You know when a woman wants to go to bed and possibly when she wants you to pick her up. When I say signals, I mean subtle ones, you moron. Now, as I was saying, everyone in the hospital knows that you and Robin are crazy for each other. Her family knows it, your father knows it, I know it, and it’s no big secret except to the two of you.”

“Well, its clear the rest of you are all insane,” Patrick replied shortly. “Because Robin doesn’t think I’m much better than something she scraped off the ground.”

“To be fair, you haven’t exactly acted like you aren’t,” Elizabeth pointed out. “The whole debacle with Carly–”

“Do we really have to bring that up?” Patrick sighed.

“Absolutely, because I think it’s funny and because you look like the idiot in that situation and I don’t think that happens to you nearly enough. My advice to you–”

“Oh, you have advice? I’m shocked.”

“I will throw this fry at you,” Elizabeth threatened.

“Good, it’ll be back with all its buddies.”

My advice,” Elizabeth stressed through clench teeth, “is to be honest with her and don’t hold anything back. Robin will appreciate that.”

Patrick shrugged but he knew that she was right. Honesty had always been a plus with Robin and he supposed it would at least be a good place to start. He looked over at Elizabeth who was thanking Penny for the plate of fries she set in front of the nurse. “You know who you remind me of?”

“Who’s that?” Elizabeth asked, reaching for the ketchup.

“The little sister I always knew I never wanted,” Patrick admitted. “You’re a pain in the ass but I do appreciate how much you’ve done for me and for Robin. You’re probably the reason we still talk to each other at all.”

Elizabeth sighed and set the ketchup down. “Well, you’re the other older brother I always knew I never wanted,” she said with a smile. “Where are you taking Robin tonight?”

“About that…”

Vista Point

Robin wrapped her fingers around the rail that surrounded the observation deck and looked out over the blinking lights of the city below. “Why did you bring me here?”

Patrick stood a few feet behind her, his hands on in the pockets of his jeans. “Liz recommended it. I thought we should have this discussion in a place that has no real memories for either one of us and that’s hard because you grew up here but Liz said it was built after you moved away.”

Robin exhaled slowly. “And what discussion is this that we’re having?” She turned to face him. “If this is another rehash of–”

Patrick held up a hand. “Can you just hear me out before you refuse again? And I promise this will be the last you hear about it if you do refuse.” She hesitated and he took a step towards her. “Please.”

“Okay,” Robin reluctantly agreed.

Patrick moved past her and gripped the rail, not meeting her eyes. “I’m not going to insult your intelligence by pretending that I wanted to have a family. You know better and I know better. I didn’t want it but I’m beginning to realize now why that is.”

“And why is that?” Robin asked, prepared to hear speech about commitments and how they really weren’t his thing.

“Because I saw what having a family, having people that you love so much…what that can do to you,” Patrick said and she frowned in confusion. “My mother loved my father more than herself and I know that he felt the same way about her. That kind of love…when it’s taken from you the way my mother was taken…it destroyed my father and it destroyed my family. I never wanted to have that happen to me so I decided I wasn’t interested. Marriage, kids, the little picket fence in the suburbs, not in the cards.”

“Patrick–” Robin began.

“You promised to hear me out,” he reminded her and she closed her mouth. “Now that you’re pregnant and being a father isn’t some distant non-possibility but a very real reality, I’m actually…” he met her eyes. “I’m looking forward to it, if you can believe that. Because no matter how badly my father took my mother’s death, I know that she loved him and I know that she loved me. And anything that creates that kind of love can’t be bad.”

Robin bit her lip and looked down, hoping that he was finished. She could feel herself beginning to weak, begin to reconsider that maybe…

“I told you that so that when I ask you to marry me, you’ll know I’m not doing it out of obligation or because it’s the way my parents raised me. I’m doing it because I already love this baby,” Patrick said in a quiet voice. He was now unable to meet her eyes and was back to looking out over the city. “And I want the best for my child–our child. And the best I can give him is a family. A home where his parents live together and raise him together, where he’s not shuffled back and forth between homes and his parents fight all the time. I want to give our child the best of what I grew up with.”

He cleared his throat. “I know all the reasons why we shouldn’t get married, Robin and I’m not saying we should forget them or pretend they never existed but the problems between us shouldn’t stop us from giving our best to our baby. The rest of it, we can work on it. I can try not to be such a jackass and maybe you could try trusting me a little but–”

“I grew up with two parents who weren’t together for the majority of my life,” Robin cut in softly. “And for the first seven years, I didn’t even know they were my parents. They did the best they could and I was happy most of the time but a part of me did wish that we could be a family. They were taken from me not long after they did get remarried but that short time was so wonderful and I wish things had been different.” She exhaled slowly. “I always promised myself that I wouldn’t be like that–that I wouldn’t have children until I was married to the person I would spend the rest of my life with.”

Sensing the tide had turned in his favor, Patrick took a small velvet box from his back pocket and cleared his throat again–trying to speak over the lump that had formed. “This was my, ah, mother’s. She left it to me in her will.” He closed the distance between them. “And until I met you, I never thought I’d have any use for it.”

Robin looked up at him, startled by the choice of wording but she was quite simply at a loss for words when Patrick did the unthinkable–and bent down on one knee to open the box, revealing a delicate band of gold encrusted with diamonds and a sapphire.

“I should take a picture of this,” Robin said thickly, her eyes lush with tears. “No one will ever believe it happened.”

“They will when I tell them you kept talking through the big moment,” Patrick said with a smirk. “Now let me finish this so I can stop feeling like an ass.” He took a deep breath. “Robin Scorpio, will you marry me and ruin the dreams of women across the country?”

“I–” Robin thought of all the objections she had and all the reasons why she should say no but she remembered her promise to her self once upon time and looked down at Patrick’s expectant face. All the reasons in the world to say no didn’t have a chance against the one reason she should say yes.

She loved Patrick Drake.

“Yes,” Robin agreed, softly. “I will marry you.” Some of the tension bled from his shoulders and he took the ring from the box and slid it onto her finger. He kept her hand in his as he stood.

“I knew it’d be a perfect fit,” he said. “My mother wasn’t much bigger than you either.” He paused for a moment. “I’m going to screw up a lot, Robin. It’s not realistic to think that I’m never going to make a mistake or hurt you, but I’ll never do it on purpose.”

“Well, I’m probably going to screw up a lot, too,” Robin admitted. “Nobody’s perfect.”

“Well, no,” Patrick grinned, “but I come close.”

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