Danny heard the rumble of the engine not half an hour after he got home. He wasn’t surprised; in fact, he expected Steve to come after him sooner. Steve had pissed Danny off with his rules once again, and Danny had thrown some clothes in a bag and stormed out, shouting “if you want me to live with you, you could at least act like it instead of ordering me around like one of your army unit!” He’d slammed the door before Steve could say anything, but he could hear Steve’s “Navy, dammit! It’s the Navy!” in his head.
Danny could admit he overreacted. He just didn’t like being told what to do, especially by someone who was supposed to be his partner in work and life. Steve acted like he had a right to boss Danny around sometimes, and there was just so much Danny could take. Walking out was just childish, though. Danny should have stayed, explained his feelings, and worked it out like mature adults. Hell, he should go over there right now and apologize to Steve. Danny always accused Steve of being a Neanderthal, but Danny was the one who was acting like one.
So, when Danny heard Steve pull up, he swallowed his pride, ordered his thoughts, and prepared to humble himself before the man he loved, even if he hadn’t been acting like it. Danny was surprised, therefore, when, instead of Steve, Grace came storming through the door.
She stopped when she was toe to toe with Danny. “What have you done?” she demanded.
Danny was taken aback by her accusation. He immediately went on the defensive. “What makes you think I did anything?”
“Because I went over to Uncle Steve’s and found him crying. Crying, Danno. He said you left him.” Grace said.
Danny was stunned. How could Steve think that? He had to know Danny wouldn’t actually leave him. “I did not leave him!” Danny protested.
“So, why does he think that?” Grace asked.
“I don’t know!” Danny said.
“You have to have some idea,” Grace insisted. “No one makes someone that upset for no reason.”
Danny deflated. He let out a heavy sigh. “We may have gotten into a small fight.”
“What about?” Grace asked.
Danny ran a hand through his hair, messing up the carefully styled strands. “I may have gotten a little upset about all his rules and overreacted.”
“So, what, you threw some clothes in a bag and stormed out like a six-year-old?” Grace said. “No, wait, even Charlie behaves better than that.”
“I needed some time to cool down, okay?” Danny defended himself.
“No, not okay.” Grace said. “What, were you just going to wait here until he came after you like a lovesick puppy and begged you to come back?” Danny looked guilty. “Oh, my god, Danno! How could you be so stupid!”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Danny said, weakly.
“It wasn’t!” Grace’s hands were waving, and she looked so much like Danny he would have laughed if the situation weren’t so serious. “Danno, Uncle Steve thinks you don’t love him any more, and it’s destroying him. How could you do that to him? You’re the most important person in the world to him. Uncle Steve wants to marry you, for Christ’s sake, and now he thinks you don’t want anything to do with him.”
That hit Danny like a ton of bricks. Marry him? Steve wanted to marry him? Danny knew Steve loved him—he’d asked Danny to move in, for heaven’s sake—but he didn’t know Steve was thinking that far ahead. Dear god , what had Danny done? Had Danny just thrown away the best thing that ever happened to him?
Grace wasn’t done with him. “You fucked up,” she said, jabbing him in the chest with a finger so hard he stepped back. Yep, definitely Danny’s daughter. “Fix this!”
Grace was right; Danny couldn’t even chide her for her language; there was just no other way to put it—he had fucked up. “I’ll go apologize right now.”
“That’s not enough,” Grace said. “You walked out on Uncle Steve, on a man that’s had everyone else he’s ever cared about leave him. You can’t just fix that with an apology.”
Grace was right. Danny had some huge groveling to do. “Maybe I should ask him to marry me,” Danny suggested.
Clearly, that was the wrong thing to say. “You don’t ask someone to marry you right after walking out on them. Uncle Steve’s going to think you’re asking just to humor him,” Grace said.
Damn, Grace was right again. How’d she get so wise in the way of relationships when she wasn’t even out of high school yet? “What should I do?” Danny asked.
“You could start by moving the rest of your stuff in,” Grace said. “It’s been a month, and you don’t even have all of your clothes over there. Charlie and I only have what we bring with us—you haven’t even let us fix up our rooms yet. Uncle Steve has no reason to believe your heart’s really in this.”
God, how could Danny be so stupid? He was so busy guarding his own heart, trying not to make another mistake like Rachel, that he’d made Steve think hthat Danny didn’t really want to live with him. “I’ll call everybody right now. I’m sure Kamekona knows someone with a moving van,” he said.
“No, right now you go find your biggest suitcase, throw as much as you can into it, and march right over to Uncle Steve’s,” Grace ordered. “Don’t just apologize, show him you want this as much as he does.”
“Okay,” Danny said meekly. He really did want to move in with Steve. Hell, Danny wouldn’t even have been pretending if he’d asked Steve to marry him now. Now that Danny was on the brink of losing everything, he could admit just how much he wanted this to work. Now, he had to do what Grace said and prove it to Steve.
Grace fixed him with a steely gaze. “Good. And so help me Danno, if you fuck this up again, I’m moving in with Uncle Steve myself and never speaking to you again.”
Danny believed it.