Wrapped up in soft wool, Stella and Dana stepped through the entrance of the Christmas tree farm. With warm caramel coffees in hand both women made their way towards the tall pine trees and Dana turned to smile at her partner.
“Have you ever picked out a real tree before?” She asked.
Stella shrugged and took a small glance around her, “I don’t think so… But you’ve been asking if we could for years and it’s Christmas eve. Now feels like the right time, this is our first Christmas as a family. ”
The word hung on Stella’s tongue and Dana felt her heart flutter as she looked down at the small bump that was finally beginning to become visible.
“A family of three.” Dana whispered, taking her girlfriend's hand into her own.
Stella squeezed her hand tighter, and thought that in less than twenty four hours Dana’s small ring finger would be weighed down with a 16 karat stone wrapped in rose gold. It was beautiful and picked especially for her. Stella had searched for months- refusing to settle for anything other than the perfect fit for her beautiful redheaded soon-to-be fiancé.
The snow crunched beneath their feet as they walked and looked at the pine trees. Christmas music was blaring through a small speaker at the front of the farm, and the further they walked the softer the music became.
They passed by a tree that seemed to be the perfect size for their flat; it was healthy and smelled wonderful.
Dana grinned at Stella, “Let’s get this one!” She said cheerily.
Stella leaned down and kissed Dana softly, lingering for a while, before pulling away to nod.
“Perfect.” She agreed as she leaned to nuzzle her nose on Dana’s tiny baby bump. “Our family tree.”
The word lingered in the air again filling them each with a tingly warmth.
Two men helped get their chosen tree over to their car and tied to the top, though it barely fit. Once it was secured, and both women were buckled they headed home to decorate their new tree.
Dana had already set off a Christmas bomb in their flat the day after Thanksgiving, so all that needed to be done now was the tree.
Stella struggled to get the tree inside as Dana wasn’t much help with her pregnant belly, but she didn’t mind. She was excited and grateful that Dana was willing to do the heavy lifting to bring their child into the world.
Once the tree was in and set up in its designated corner the redhead got to work placing lights, tinsel and ornaments on the pine branches in a skillful manner.
Stella stood and admired how each thing seemed to have its own perfect place, and smiled at the ornament Dana was finding a place for.
“I bought you that for our first Christmas.” She whispered, wrapping her arms around her tightly.
“You did,” Dana replied, “And I still love it.” She turned her head to kiss Stella softly. “And I love you.”
The tree was lit and gleaming with all their ornaments as they sat on the couch admiring the extra touch of festivity it brought into their home. Dana was laying her head on Stella’s shoulder and she remembered that she had a gift for her. She was too excited to wait another day so she turned to her with a big smile.
“I have a gift for you, and I was going to wait until tomorrow but… Tomorrow’s gift should have it’s own moment to shine.” Dana thought of the small box, tucked into the back of her closet, that held a world of possibilities.
Stella smiled at her and nodded, waiting patiently for her to elaborate.
Dana got up and scurried over to the tree and picked up a small green envelope. “I had a doctor’s appointment a few days ago… I wanted you to be there but it was so close to Christmas and I decided to make you wait… I can't wait any longer though.”
She thrust the envelope towards her, and Stella took it gently. The blonde held it in her hands delicately as if it would break if she moved too quickly. She had an idea of what it might be and her heart beat faster in her chest.
“Dana… Is this… Did you find out the gender?” She asked with a smile as Dana nodded quickly.
Stella needed no other confirmation as she tore through the envelope to pull the folded sheet of paper out. She opened it and read through quickly stopping at one word that caught her attention. Girl.
“D…” Stella whispered, looking up at her girlfriend with watery eyes.
“We’re having a girl, Stel!” Dana said with a big grin, taking Stella’s hands into her own.
“Our baby girl.” The blonde said as she leaned her head down to rest her cheek on Dana’s belly. She sat there for a while and Dana combed her fingers through her golden locks softly. Stella didn’t want to ever move from that spot, plastered against her two favorite humans. Their baby girl wasn’t with them yet, but she already loved her more than she’d ever loved anyone or anything.
“I know we’ve discussed names some but now that it’s official…” Dana said after a moment.
The two women stared at each other with wet eyes for a moment, soaking up the joy that radiated between them. “I still like Elliot.” Stella suggested softly, a hint of uncertainty in her voice.
“Me too. Elliot Scully-Gibson.” Dana beamed, “Ellie for short.”
Stella nodded and closed her eyes. “Thank you for letting me have this.”
“Of course, Stel. It’s your dad’s name and I want him to be a part of her life. You loved him so much, and she’s going to know about him.”
Dana’s words hit Stella right in the heart and she couldn’t help the tears that fell from her eyes. There was so much she wanted to say but words failed her in that moment. Instead she looked deep into Dana’s icy blues and smiled, trying to tell her without words how much that meant to her.
The room grew quiet again and Dana laid her head on Stella’s shoulder as they sat in front of the crackling fireplace. Stella’s hand made its way over to Dana’s swollen belly and she drew light circles across it.
“Let’s go to bed.” She suggested and Dana nodded.
Dana woke the next morning to the smell of coffee flooding her senses. She smiled as she laid there, not yet ready to leave the warm confines of the bed. She could hear Stella’s feet shuffling across the floor and turned to look toward the doorway just as Stella entered the room.
“Merry Christmas, love!” Stella hummed, handing Dana a big cup of coffee. She leaned down and kissed her, her hand stroking her cheek softly.
“Merry Christmas, Stel.”
“AND Merry Christmas to you, Ellie.” Stella whispered as she planted a gentle kiss on Dana’s belly.
Dana smiled and felt as if her heart might explode at the sight of her girlfriend caressing their unborn child.
“Breakfast is ready, let’s go eat and get into our stockings.” Stella suggested, holding her hands out the redhead.
Dana took them eagerly and got up, wrapping herself in her fluffy white robe. She smiled at the pink silk robe Stella was already wearing, thinking it wasn’t quite warm enough for such a cold morning, though she looked incredible in it.
The two of them sat in their living room and ate their scones while they picked through their stockings. There was no sense of urgency as they talked and laughed and enjoyed their calm morning together. They began to open presents, and each gift opened was more thoughtful than the last. Clothing, snow globes, jewelry, journals, all picked out with only the recipient in mind.
Both women were under the impression that their presents were all unwrapped, except for the one last surprise they each had for one another.
“I actually have one last thing for you.” Dana confessed, looking toward their bedroom and thinking of the drawer that held her secret gift.
“Me too… Let me go first, please.” Stella asked with a sense of urgency.
Dana just nodded, thinking her gift should certainly be last. Stella padded off to the bedroom for a moment and when she came back the redhead noticed her face seemed pale and she was shaking lightly.
“Dana…” Stella started, making her way back over to the couch and kneeling down in front of her girlfriend. “These past couple years with you have been the most beautiful, enjoyable, difficult, humorous, messy, emotional, exciting and fulfilling years in my whole life,” She stopped for a moment and reached for the box in her pocket though she couldn’t bring herself to take it out yet, “I can’t imagine ever wanting to wake up next to anyone else. I want to wake, eat, get ready, sleep, work, live with you by my side for the rest of my life. You and this baby,” She paused again to set her hands on Dana’s stomach, “are my everything and nothing will ever change that.”
She reached her hand back into her pocket and pulled out the box. Her shaky fingers fumbled to open it and she held it out to Dana, “Dana Katharine Scully, will you marry me?”
Dana sat with a stunned look on her face. A million emotions ran through her head at once and she was at a loss for words. She begged herself to speak, to say or do anything, but all she could muster was a few tears rolling down her face. Her mouth moved trying to form words, but she was speechless with disbelief.
“Wait… I… What? No…” Dana mumbled as her brow furrowed, immediately causing Stella’s heart to drop.
The redhead jumped up from the couch and ran into their bedroom to grab Stella’s final gift from the drawer; Meanwhile Stella stayed knelt on the living room floor, mouth agape, her heart nearly breaking.
Dana scurried back into the living room and returned to her spot on the couch so that Stella was right in front of her again.
The truth was Dana had wanted nothing more than to call Stella hers since the moment they met, and though marriage would’ve made her happy, she knew it wasn’t Stella’s style and she was okay with it. Things began to change through the years, though, and now that their baby was on the way marriage seemed to be a fitting next step. It made sense. Dana never would’ve thought Stella would be the one to take this next step, nor would she expect her to, so she had gone out and bought a ring, sitting on it for months before deciding she would ask her on Christmas day. Now here she sat with the blonde kneeling in front of her with her own ring, stealing her thunder.
Dana started to laugh, only confusing the blonde further. She couldn’t stop laughing and she threw her hand over her mouth to muffle it, though it did nothing to slow it. Her laughing turned hysterical and a few tears rolled down her cheek. She felt like crying, so she gave in to laughing instead and it was insatiable.
“What is happening?” Stella asked, her voice thick with confusion and disappointment.
Her tone was sobering to Dana and she shook her head quickly trying to quiet her laughter.
“Yes, Stella of COURSE I will marry you.” Stella relaxed a bit though she was still confused and it was clear on her face
“You ruined my gift.” Dana said with a half hearted pout, only furthering Stella’s confusion.
The redhead reached into the pocket of her robe and pulled out her own ring box, opening it slowly.
“I was going to ask you to marry me , brat.” She said with a smile leaning in to kiss her.
Stella gasped at the beautiful purple stone that sat on top of a simple golden band as it gleamed with the Christmas lights.
“Dana, love, it’s beautiful.” Tears began to brim her eyes again as she watched Dana pull the shining amethyst out of the box.
They each took turns putting their rings on each other’s left fingers and Stella joined Dana up on the couch.
“A double engagement, who woulda thought?” Dana beamed, leaning her head on Stella's shoulder.
“I’m glad I insisted on going first… I’ve been planning this for almost a year now. I may have lost my mind if you got to ask me first.” Stella said with a grin, pulling Dana’s left hand up to admire her fine ring choice.
“We are going to get married… And we are going to have a baby.” Dana said, almost as if she was reminding herself.
Stella’s smile widened and she leaned her forehead against Dana’s, “We sure are, my love.”
Both women sat admiring the rings on their fingers for a moment while tears streamed down their faces.
“I can't wait to call you my wife.” Stella whispered causing Dana’s eyes to fill with a fresh batch of tears. She knew Stella loved her but this gesture of a marriage proposal had completely taken her by surprise. It was so out of Stella’s bounds, and yet she did it anyway. She did it because she loved her, and because she loved their relationship and that meant everything to Dana.
“I can't wait to be your wife.” She said, “Stella Gibson’s wife.”
The two women spent the rest of the day in their pajamas watching Christmas movies and snacking on treats under warm blankets as the fire crackled. The flat was filled with laughter and joy, and it was as if nothing could ever touch the small family. They had a bubble of true contentment as they sat; newly engaged and expecting their first baby.
The world was theirs for the taking.