Harry steps away looking at the finishing touches of the box of not so simple cupcakes that he’s made. Gemma’s wedding is still months away, she wanted to take her time planning it, but since Harry was doing all the baking for her wedding they were going to go ahead and get the flavors selected and out the way. She was coming in tomorrow afternoon with Michal, but today he was taking home the sample box to Niall because well, Niall always tasted everything new first and there are a couple new ones mixed in with his favorites. Though he is pretty excited for her to come in tomorrow; he has a little bit of everything for her to try. He has cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and he has different desserts for a dessert bar. She is going to walk out this door gaining an extra stone just by taste testing- but tonight he has a very different goal in mind with Niall.
He pulls the box from his pocket and flips it open taking another look at the ring inside. The ring itself is beautiful. Platinum in color it’s mostly plain, nothing sparkly for Niall- but it’s perfect for him- the design has a very light engraving on it- taking a hard look to see it- a Beibhinn Celtic Knot - which Niall had told him a while back that it had a bunch of different meanings, but he was raised thinking it stood for ‘endless love’. It had been a battle finding a ring that both he and Olivia agreed on, but once they found this one they knew it was the one. He can’t stop looking at it, knowing that very soon, it will be on Niall’s hand. He doesn’t really see him saying no- well…he hopes not anyway.
He closes up the lid of the box of cupcakes, it’s a special box ordered specially for his cupcake bouquets that the bakery added to their menu about 6 months ago- they are a huge seller, but the reason Harry’s using it is because one cupcake sits up a little higher than the rest, right in the center of the display. He takes the ring out of the box and puts it in the frosting of his ‘Wedding Cake’ cupcake. He always said that he hates fake decorations on cakes but he doesn’t have to worry about that with this ring.
This isn’t just a tacky decoration- this one is the real deal.
One year ago today he wasn’t sure about what he was doing; where his life and career would be going. Whether or not he could be a boyfriend, dad, and entrepreneur all at the same time- but now he sees it as inevitable. Niall is it for him.
It’s been a year to the day since that crazy night where the market thankfully got flooded out and he’d made his way to the flat below to set things to right. His life hasn’t been the same since; it’s been infinitely better.
But now he wants more, now instead of a boyfriend- he would much prefer Niall to be his husband.
His mom was right- after you accept the truth- the rest comes naturally. Not everything has been easy- they’ve had fights, they’ve had miscommunications, they’ve made each other cry but in the end- they’re still a unit.
So many things have changed in such a short period of time.
He has two full time and one part time employee at the bakery now, and they are staying open later into the afternoon and evening, selling a wide array of cupcakes, cake pops, and desserts. He’s broken into the wedding market amazingly well and bakes for two a week, almost every week, but that’s only because he cuts himself off. He’s not ready to trust another baker in his kitchen yet. Bringing someone else’s on board was enough of a shock and he fought Niall on it at first.
It had only been four months into their relationship when Niall had brought it up, and it ended up turning into a huge fight; all because of a miscommunication-
Niall had said, “Maybe you should look at hiring someone so you can be home more.”
But Harry had heard, “I’m watching your daughter too much.”
It was their first big fight and it was all done in angry whispers because Olivia was sleeping down the hall. Niall had ended up almost in tears because – no that ‘wasn’t what he’d meant at all’, and Harry broke down too when he realized that Niall had been a business major in college and just wanted to help, because apparently it really sucked seeing your boyfriend so tired all the time.
Niall had ended up helping him find an accountant to figure out payroll taxes, labor percentages, and all the other complex details; and once Harry realized all that he could get done without having to work it all by himself he saw his profit margins go up. In a way his narrow minded views had actually been holding him back.
He won’t lie; he gets to spend a lot more time with Olivia and Niall now, and he loves it.
Niall’s eighth book is in publication, nine is finished and he’s currently working on ten. It was a huge eye opener for him, watching the way that Niall works- how he wrote until all hours of the night typing endlessly. The bursts of inspiration that would drive him to sit at his computer until Harry, Stevie, or Olivia would demand his attention. But they each have their own ways of get his attention- Stevie will beg to go outside, Olivia climbs in his lap, and Harry generally just has to whisper something suggestive in his ear- which was easy because watching Niall work is incredibly erotic for him.
It’s all fair and good because Niall loves to watch him bake just as much.
Now it’s time for him to head home- time for him to claim his man. He can’t help but snort in laughter at his own joke.
He's been thinking about this a lot, trying not to let the nerves get to him, but its hard not to. He's not scared that Niall will say no, he's not even scared of Niall saying yes- but he just wants this moment to be perfect. He wants Niall to know exactly how much he means to him, but there really is no way to put into words how important Niall is to him, to them.
He’s so ready for this; knows he is; but his palms are damp with sweat and his hands; hell his whole body is shaking.
“Hey Joy, I’m leaving.” He shouts out and it only takes a second before she’s standing in the doorway, her purple streaked hair pulled up into a ponytail. “You need anything before I go?” He asks.
“Nope- all good.” She was the first one to apply to his ‘help wanted’ ad and she’s been nothing but a pleasure to work with ever since. “You got this boss-man!” She tells him- and of course they all know. He can’t keep a secret very well but the important thing is Olivia knew and she didn’t tell Niall that this was coming- didn’t tell him about the ring or the very important conversation she and Harry had just a couple weeks ago about how this can- may - will change their lives.
“Thanks.” He’s grateful for the support but doesn’t pay too much attention as she walks away, instead he looks at the box he designed for Niall. He’s got this.
He’s leaving work early, going back to his flat and ringing Niall up later. Gemma is picking Olivia up from daycare and today when he had dropped her off he had reminded her that today was the day. She is staying over at Gemma’s tonight. He can’t help but recall the conversation with her before he dropped her off at daycare.
“Auntie Gems will pick you up so make sure you’re a good girl for her, okay?”
“Because today’s the day you ask Ni to be your husband?” Olivia had asked. They had talked this over a lot over the last couple weeks. She still uses Disney references to make things make sense and for now that works, right now for her husband equals official Prince Charming.
“Yeah, tonight I give him the ring we picked out.” Harry had told her, making her smile bright.
“Do I have to a have a ring to give him too?” He had looked over to her and her eyes were very serious for so early in the morning. Usually she’s still very tired and groggy this time of the day. Clearly she’s just as excited for tonight.
“For when I ask him to officially be my papa?” She smiled at Harry bright as the sun, the idea obviously made her overflow with joy.
“When you get married I get two daddies, I want to ask him proper, like you are.” She nods sagely looking much older than 6 years old.
“I’m sure we can figure something out, it doesn’t have to be a ring it can be anything you want.” But he’s more shocked than anything and has to fight to keep the tears out of his voice.
“Can I ask him tomorrow when Auntie Gems drops me off?” He’d started taking Saturdays off, only working them once in a while, so now they had most weekends to spend together.
“Yeah, of course you can.”
Harry still gets tears in his eyes just thinking about it now even though it happened much earlier this morning.
Niall doesn’t know that Gemma is picking Olivia up, Harry usually picks her up on his way home. They generally spend their evening together eating dinner and helping Olivia with her homework and getting ready for the next day. Most of the time Niall really only uses his flat as an office, some of his items and furniture have made their way into Harry’s flat. They don’t live together- not really- but Niall usually bounces between the flats half the time. It did take almost five months before their first sleepover happened- both of them not ready to have to explain to Olivia why Niall was sleeping in Daddy’s bed, and even when it did happen it was accidental. Olivia however didn’t miss a beat or think there was anything weird when she saw Niall come out of Harry’s bedroom. So thankfully he didn’t have to answer any potentially awkward questions.
It’s a careful walk home; he’s doing everything in his power to make sure that not a single cupcake gets damaged. He’s almost home when he gets a text from Gemma. He waits until he’s in the doors so that he can set the box of cupcakes down to take a look. He’s not taking any chances with these cupcakes, they’re far too important.
Good Luck and you owe me
Attached is a picture of a tan leather weave band bracelet with a small silver section, the word papa engraved on it.
Apparently Olivia is all ready to propose to Niall tomorrow.
He takes a minute to take a deep breathe and will the tears away.
Grabbing the box of cupcakes, he rushes up the stairs ready to get all set up for tonight. But when he gets to his flat he’s a bit surprised- finding his key isn’t necessary because the door isn’t locked? He opens the door and peeks in; nothing looks unusual, but it smells heavenly. Shit! Is Niall here?
“Ni?” He takes the risk and calls out his name- he’s obviously not being robbed.
“Fuck!” There is loud collection of boom, clang, clack, that come from the direction of the kitchen and Harry takes the few steps into look around. The kitchen table is set, with a tablecloth, runner, flowers and candles? What?
“H?” Niall comes skidding around the corner from the kitchen, “You’re home early?”
“What are you doing here?” Harry asks, but he can already put the pieces together- he’s making dinner- a very obvious romantic dinner.
“Um, surprising you? Or...trying to anyway.” Niall looks a bit embarrassed and Harry does feel a little bit bad for spoiling it for him. It’s obvious that Niall wasn’t ready for him yet. He’s still in trackies with a red splattered t-shirt, hair mussed, glasses on. But he had left work early for a reason too…
“Me too- I mean, I wanted to surprise you….so… surprise!” Harry tells him smiling, because of course they would both plan something for their anniversary- it was a special day after all. This pushes his timing for his plan up a bit… he thought he would have more time to prepare and ringing Niall when he was ready, but now Niall is looking at him, then the box of cupcakes, then back up to him and he’s smiling.
“Did you bring my favorites?” Niall doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth but he’s partial to certain flavored cupcakes, probably because they weren’t insanely sweet.
“Kinda, and a couple new test flavors I need your opinion on.” Harry looks down at the box and the ring is easy for him to see, sitting right there in the middle of his carefully created cupcake bouquet.
Niall takes those few steps closer and he presses up on his toes to give him a kiss, “So hi,” Niall tells him smiling before looking down at the cupcakes.
“Hi,” Harry’s struck a little dumb for anything else because this, this is happening right now. And okay he can work with this. He twists around quick and keeps the box from view and Niall looks at him questioningly.
“Are you ready to taste test? Can we do it before we do what you have planned for us to do?” Harry asks - and yeah- that might not make a lot of sense, dessert before dinner; Niall gets it. He always does. He has a knack for knowing when something’s really important to him.
“Sure let me just grab a couple plates.” Niall heads back to the kitchen and Harry rushes over to the chair sitting down and tucking the box out of the way. He takes out three of Niall’s favorites and sets them in the middle of the table, hoping to draw his eye.
Niall drops down in the other chair, “You did bring my favorites!” Niall goes to grab the lemon with raspberry frosting but Harry slaps his hands away.
“No you need to try these first.” Niall nods and hands Harry the plate. He starts with the green tea cupcake. Niall looks a bit skeptical. “So Gem’s colors are green, pink, and silver so flavor-wise I thought green tea? Or maybe pistachio?” He pulls out both flavors and sets them on the plate.
Niall takes a small bite of the first one and lets out a hum of approval. “It’s better than I thought. The raspberries in the frosting are a nice touch.” He tries the other one as well- “Okay so they both are surprising good...for being green.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Harry asks on a laugh.
“H, they’re green cupcakes- no matter how you look at it it’s a bit weird.” There is a beeping coming from the kitchen and Harry couldn’t have timed it better if he tried.
“So I’m making oven baked chicken parm tonight with kale salad.” Niall tells him a bit bashfully.
“My favorites!” Harry smiles and it’s sweet. When Niall walks back to the kitchen he moves the other two partially eaten cupcakes out of the way and places the ‘wedding cake’ cupcake front and center. There it is, now is the moment. He can feel it- he’s never been more sure of anything in his life. This right here will be one of the most important moments of his life.
When Niall drops back down into the seat across from him he smiles, “I wanted to do something nice for our anniversary. You are always taking care of Olivia and I so I wanted to do this for you.” Harry feels his heart melt a bit in his chest. But all he can think is look at your plate… look at the damn plate.
When he finally does, Harry can see his body freeze, see his eyes widen and his hand reach for the cupcake and then drop onto the table. He looks back up at Harry those eyes so wide behind his glasses. “Are you...doing decorations now? Because you always said they were tacky and take away from the food.”
“No- uh, not a decoration…” And he’s practiced this over and over again- How he’s talked to Olivia and they want him to be part of the family. How they want to go house shopping and find a house for all of them together. They are already family it’s time to just make it official.
“It’s amazing.” Niall says awe coloring the tones of his voice and he looks like he’s scared to touch the ring- he keeps bringing his hand up only to pull it away again, like if he touches it, the ring will disappear. Harry gets up and walks to the other side of the table, kneeling on one knee. Niall turns to face him and cups his face, hands gentle. “Yes.” He says on a whisper almost so soft that Harry doesn’t hear it.
“But...I didn’t even get to ask.” But he’s smiling, he can feel it in his face- his smile so wide it hurts.
“You don’t need to. I’m already all yours.” He tells him pulling him in for a quick kiss. “Oh, Jesus, are you going to pout? Please don’t? You know I don’t like it when you pout.” Harry knows he’s doing it. He looks at Niall with his puppy eyes and lets his lower lip extend just a bit. But Niall’s smile just keeps getting bigger and bigger, “God you’re an idiot, okay, ask away.”
Harry takes the ring, cautiously and takes Niall’s left hand holding it tight. Niall rolls his eyes as he looks at him but his smile radiates love. “Niall, one year ago today, I came to your door…”
“To admit to being an idiot.” He interrupts, he’s still talking soft, like anything could ruin the moment, but there is a whisper of a laugh in his voice, and Harry knows that nothing could ruin this moment.
“Well I was going to say because I came to my senses, but sure we can go with that instead…” He doesn’t fight it because he knows it’s true… “But, to continue, I had created so many excuses for why we couldn’t be together. I had to be a dad. I had to be a business owner. I had so many things that I had to do first. I had my plan and I was going to stick to it.” He can’t stop looking at Niall’s eyes. They don’t leave his, steady and strong, giving him the strength to power through, “But I couldn’t stop flirting with you, always wanting more and I came to realize that sometimes dreams change, and I had a new dream to make come true. So I came to ask you on a date. You said yes and it made me one of the happiest people on Earth.” He laces their fingers together and for all he’s smiling and laughing at Harry his hand is shaking, “So after getting my daughter's permission I ask now, will you say yes again? This time though I’m not asking for a date, I’m asking for forever. Will you marry me?” His voice is shaking too at the end. And so is his hand but Niall’s is gripping his tight.
“Yes, of course I will.” Harry sighs and takes the ring with shaking fingers and slips it on Niall’s hand, it fits perfect, it looks perfect.
Niall’s looking at his hand, where the ring is a very obvious addition but then he’s looking at Harry with a crooked smirk. “You just had to beat me to it...didn’t you?” Niall tells him. Niall pushes him back and takes Harry’s hand to pull him up. “Wait right here,” Then he’s off heading back towards Harry’s bedroom.
Harry stands a little bit in shock because this wasn’t what he expected but he can’t help the smiling beaming from his face. He turns around when he hears Niall coming back, socked feet quiet on the hardwood. He’s got a ring box in his hand and it looks like Harry really didn’t beat Niall by much at all. He can’t stop the laugh that bubbles out of his body. He cannot even begin to describe the joy he’s feeling.
Niall walks over and takes a match lighting the candles on the table. “Take a seat.” He tells Harry waving his hand to the seat that he’d just vacated. Harry takes the couple steps over and drops in the chair watching Niall go and light the other candles around the room and then walk to the entryway and switch the light off. The room is mostly dark, bathed only in flickering candlelight.
Niall sits down across from him and takes his hands.
“Harry, last year on this day you and I made a conscious decision to become more than just friends. You wanted to see if we could be partners in life. This last year, with you and your daughter have been one of the best years on my life.” Harry can hear his voice thickening with emotion and he can relate. He was right there just a few moments ago. He squeezes Niall’s hands giving him the push to just keep talking, “I cannot even say how much better my life is with you and Olivia in it. I have already asked your daughter and mother and they both gave me their blessing. But now, now I need to ask you. Will you marry me and consider becoming my husband and trying this out for the rest of our lives?”
Niall takes one hand away and opens up the black velvet box, inside is a ring, platinum as well, with an engraved word and on either side is rose.
“Of course I will.” Niall takes the ring out and slides it on his finger. “What does it mean?” He recognizes that the word engraved is Celtic.
“Same as this,” Niall holds up his hand, “Endless love.” He moves around grabbing a second box from the pocket in his trackies. When he opens it this one has a small necklace, “And this is for Olivia.” It has a very similar design to the ring, engraved with roses and shamrocks on a small silver heart.
“Ni, she’s gonna love it.” Harry doesn’t even try to hide his tears, a couple leaking down his face. How the hell did he get so lucky?
“Ya think?” And he looks hopeful, “I don’t really know what to ask her but I want to do something? Yeah?”
“You can just ask her if we can all be a family.” Harry tells him, grabbing both of Niall’s hands and squeezing them tight before bringing them both up and pressing a kiss onto the top of his hands.
“So, I was originally planning this super romantic dinner and then proposal afterwards and- well, I asked Gemma to keep Olivia tonight because I’d planned on asking you if we could go to bed and we could stay there a while? Maybe even sleep naked...for once?” Niall tells him and Harry just laughs.
“I also asked Gemma to pick up Olivia. And Olivia helped to pick out my ring for you.” Harry adds on, because he can’t be the only one that takes credit for the ring that Niall can’t seem to stop looking at.
“She helped with yours too. She’s getting a little too good at keeping secrets.” Niall tells him, whispering low.
“She is.” Harry stands and then pulls Niall up, “But right now, I think we should focus on part three of your plan… the bed part.” Harry tells him, pressing in and kissing his fiancé for the first time.
They eat much much later.
The sun is just barely peeking in the window when Harry wakes, Niall pressed up against his back left hand on his stomach. He reaches down and laces their fingers together; looking at the rings they had placed on each other’s fingers last night, promises of a future, a forever, together. They shine and sparkle in the pale light coming through the window, both rings that his daughter helped pick out, and she’ll be home soon to ask Niall a very important question of her own.
Soon, they will start planning a wedding, picking venues, flowers, colors, he can already see it, them walking down the aisle together, writing their vows to share in front of their family and friends, their first dance, the cutting of the cake. But he can see beyond that too. He can see the house that they will buy, maybe sooner than the wedding, and the adoptions that they will go through because Olivia will be an amazing big sister. He can see all the laughter and all the tears and he can’t wait.
Niall’s hand squeezes his and he presses a kiss to his neck with a little hum as he wakes. He’s not a morning person, he never will be but he tries for Harry. “Morning…” It’s mumbled into his neck and Harry can’t help but laugh.
“Good Morning,” He turns around pressing a kiss to Niall’s lips, again and again, waking him in the sweetest way possible. Niall pulls him in tight and doesn’t let go.
It’s almost three hours later when they do finally get out of bed, heading first to the loo, then to the kitchen cleaning things up. They really didn’t clean up much last night, just ate a late meal and went back to bed. But now it’s time to start getting ready for breakfast. Olivia should be back any minute.
Harry starts on the pancakes, a favorite of both Olivia and Niall and he figures it will be perfect for this morning. Harry is just finishing up the batter when Olivia walks through the door, curious eyes and wide smiles and she’s followed by his sister. Olivia rushes over to hug him and he wraps his right arm around his daughter and then he waves with his left hand and she notices immediately.
“No way! You guys…..both? But- what?” He’s never seen his sister so speechless and he loves it. She looks over at Niall and glares. “You didn’t tell me!”
“Couldn’t jinx it.” Niall smiles at her. Gemma’s laughter is breaking up her glare- it’s obvious she’s not really upset. “But apparently we both had the same idea for last night.” Niall tells her, folding up the newspaper as Olivia moves from hugging her dad to rushing over to Niall and crawling in his lap. She looks back over to Harry and he nods.
“Ni-all,” She places her hands on either side of his face, turning it to make sure that she can look him straight in the eyes. She’s got much better at saying his name, but still only uses it in rare circumstances.
“Olivia.” Niall nods looking back at her. “I have a question for you.”
“No! Me first!” She exclaims and Niall just smiles and nods again when she drops her hands. They both watch her struggle to pull something from the back pocket of her pants, but finally she gets it out. “Since Daddy asked you to be his… husband?” She looks back at Harry who nods at her and then Niall, “you said yes right?’ Olivia asks a worried look on her face- like she didn’t even consider that to be an option until this very minute.
“’Course I said yes.” Niall tells her instantly calming her down and putting the bright smile back on her face.
“So since you said yes… then I would like to ask you o- off-officially if you would please be my new papa?” She pulls out the bracelet that Gemma had apparently helped her find yesterday and with tears in his eyes, watches his daughter ‘propose’ to the love of his life.
Gemma makes her way around the counter to give him a hug as Niall answers her solemnly, his eyes glistening wet, “Of course, poppet, I would love to be your papa.” He chokes a little on the last word, but Harry can tell it’s not fear that’s in his voice it is pure emotion. He watches the two of them struggle but finally between the two of them they finally get the bracelet on his left wrist, to ‘match the ring, of course!’
“Now my question for you… would you mind if I become a part of your family, officially?” Niall’s voice is still a little rough with tears and it makes Harry pull his sister in tight and if he cries a little bit on her shoulder she’s not judging him. She’s crying too.
Niall pulls the little box off the table, the one that holds the heart pendant he showed Harry the night before. Olivia’s face lights up; eyes wide, mouth open in surprise.
“It’s so pretty!” She looks over to Harry, “Daddy! Daddy! Look!” And she bounces where she’s still sitting in Niall’s lap, pointing to the necklace sitting in the box.
“I know, it’s beautiful, baby, now go ahead and answer his question.” Harry tells her, but they all already know they answer. They all knew it ages ago, back when she said ‘hi’ to a stranger somehow knowing he was Harry’s soul mate.
“Yes, papa, I would like us to o-officially be a family.” Niall picks up the pendant and places it around her neck and Harry can see he’s crying, just a little bit no matter how much he’s trying to fight it. “I love you Papa.”
“I love you too, poppet.” Niall pulls her in tight for a hug and Harry’s heart just feels too big for his chest.
Gemma pushes him away, towards them, dabbing at her tears, and he rushes over wrapping both of them up in his arms pulling them in tight.
He is holding his whole world in his arms. This is definitely going to be ranked as one of the best days of his life, right up there with the birth of his daughter. He squeezes them all for a moment before Olivia starts to squirm.
“Daddy!” She huffs out on a laugh.
“What do you think about pancakes, Liv?” He asks when he finally pulls away. He can’t look over to Gemma- she’s a crying mess in the kitchen and Niall’s eyes are still a little damp. Olivia is the only one who isn’t crying. She’s beaming with joy.
“Papa?” She turns to look at Niall and Harry can’t help but think that Niall’s eyes are going to well up every time she call him papa, at least until he gets used to it.
“Pancakes sound good.” He nods and the Olivia looks back at him.
“Sounds good, Daddy. It’s going to be a good day!” She smiles bright snuggling into Niall, her papa.
“Yeah, baby, it sure is.” He presses a kiss to Olivia’s cheek then to Niall’s lips, tasting his tears, and then heads back to the kitchen.
He has pancakes to make for his soon to be official family.