Bitty is lounging on the couch in Jack’s apartment when his phone buzzes and Chowder’s sweet face appears. Jack’s asleep already. The life of a professional athlete such as he is. He’s intense about his schedule and maintaining it. Bitty however, is a bit more lax about it all, so he’s downstairs, flipping through channels since he’s not tired yet. He can guess why Chowder is calling. The Sharks are tied in the series for the Stanley Cup Final. Chowder has called him after every game to either cheer or weep.
Bitty swipes the screen and answers. “Good game tonight, eh?” Bitty’s picked up a few of Jack’s sayings. Shitty absolutely loves it. He sometimes calls Bitty and demands “Say eh! Please! I need a pick me up. Fucking law school.” Bitty always obliges. Jack says Shitty calls him and demands to hear some of Bitty’s Southern phrases in what Shitty calls “Jack’s dulcet Canadian tones”.
Chowder is out of breath. Probably from running around the block in celebration. “I’m gonna propose to her. When they win,” he exclaims. His voice is excited and kind of hoarse.
Bitty sits straight. “Pardon?”
“Farmer. Caitlin. I’m gonna propose when the Sharks win.” The absolute joy in Chowder’s voice is just adorable. But Bitty is too shocked by this news to really appreciate it.
“WHAT?!” he finally shrieks.
Chowder laughs, assuming that Bitty is as excited by this plan as he is.
Jack appears, blinking against the light, wearing nothing but a pair of baggy shorts and a confused frown. “Bitty. What the hell?” he whispers.
Bitty just holds up a finger and shoots him a look that screams, “Do not question me right now, Mr. Zimmermann.”
Jack holds up his hands and slides into the chair opposite. He kind of wants to see this play out. Also, he’s still confused as hell as to what’s even going on.
“It’ll be great, Bitty,” Chowder begins his explanation. “Farmer will be here tomorrow and Game 7 is the day after that. We’re going to have a big party to watch and it’ll be great.”
Bitty is just shaking his head now. “Oh, no. Oh no, no, no, no, no. You listen to me right now, Christopher Chow. If you propose to Caitlin Farmer at a party full of rowdy Sharks fans during the Stanley Cup Final, you will never get another pie from me again.”
Jack’s eyebrows shoot up and he blinks a few times before a slight smile appears.
“But, Bitty,” Chowder begins to argue.
“No, you listen to me. Caitlin Farmer is a wonderful, beautiful, amazing woman. And she deserves better than a proposal surrounded by drunken sports fans. This is like a jumbotron proposal. Don’t you do it, Chris. Don’t do the most cliché thing imaginable.”
Jack’s laughing now. Well, not so much laughing as shaking a bit silently while trying not to giggle.
“I love her, Bitty. I want to do this,” Chowder finally says after a long silence. His voice isn’t overly happy now. Now it’s nervous and soft.
“Chowder. Don’t put her on the spot in front of a bunch of strangers.”
“My family will be there,” he attempts to argue.
Bitty sighs. “That’s intimidating. Imagine being proposed to in front of a bunch of people who absolutely adore the proposer. Caitlin is a very laid back girl. She can handle a lot. But you can’t do it like that.”
There is an exhaled breath of defeat from Chowder. “I just want to marry her, Bitty. Isn’t that good enough?”
Jack makes a gesture to put the call on speaker and Bitty eyes him, wondering what’s going on in his gorgeous head. But he does it all the same because he trusts this beautifully awkward man.
“Hey, Chowder,” Jack says.
“Jack! Hey! Bitty said he was gonna visit you for a few days. I’m kind of jealous. You guys get to do so much cool stuff together,” Chowder starts rambling like he always does when talking to Jack.
Jack smiles. “So what’s going on? Proposing to Farmer?”
Chowder sighs again. “Bitty thinks it’s a bad idea.” The pain is clear. He just wants Bitty to approve of his plan.
“Well, what’s your idea?”
“I wanted to propose to her after the Sharks win the Stanley Cup.”
Jack’s face relaxes into that smirk of his that Bitty both loves and hates. “Ah. Well, I have to agree with Bitty on this one, Chowder. It’d be like proposing to her at an Epikegster. Everyone will be drunk and keyed up and she’ll feel obligated to say yes. Do you want her to say yes because she feels she has to? Wouldn’t you rather she says yes because she really wants to?”
The silence at the other end has Bitty fidgeting nervously. This is his sweet baby Chowder. He just wants the little goalie to be happy. As happy as he is with Jack.
“Yeah. You’re right, Jack,” says Chowder, his hoarse voice quiet and less chipper now.
Jack’s still smiling however. “Hey, Bitty. Mind if I take this from here?”
Bitty eyes his boyfriend with distrust. “What are you planning?” he whispers quietly.
Jack winks. Normally this makes Bitty swoon, but right now, it just makes him more suspicious. “Fine,” he stands. “But I’ll be in the kitchen. Waiting.”
Bitty scoots out of the room as Jack takes Chowder off speaker phone. His boyfriend is speaking too quietly into the electronic for Bitty to eavesdrop so with a huff, he slumps to the kitchen and pulls out the ingredients for pie. He’s too wound up to sleep so late night baking it is. To Bitty’s immense surprise, Jack doesn’t come into the kitchen until four hours later. He’s grinning and looks happy if not a bit tired since it’s now the middle of the night and Jack Zimmermann has a schedule, y’all. One he does not deviate from.
“Good Lord, babe. What did you and Chowder talk about for four hours?”
Jack shrugs. “Just some stuff,” he answers, purposely vague. He doesn’t manage to hide the slight sparkle of mischief in his blue eyes before he pulls Bitty into his embrace.
“What did you do?” Bitty mumbles, his words muffled by Jack’s chest.
“Do you think you could make a bunch of pie before Friday? Six should be good. Think you can handle that?” his boyfriend asks. Bitty glares and scoffs. Of course he can make six pies before Friday. Who does this handsome fool think he’s dealing with? Bitty ain’t no amateur. Bitty is about to make that clear, as well as grill Jack on what he’s been doing for the past several hours with Chowder, when Jack kisses him in that way he does and Bitty sort of forgets his own name.
On Friday, Jack loads the pies into his car and Bitty eyes him but he doesn’t ask. He’s been grilling Jack for days. But Jack Zimmermann is like a vault when he wants to keep a secret. Nothing, absolutely nothing (and Lord did Bitty try everything) would get that boy to talk. Thankfully, Jack did convince Chowder not to propose after the final. The Sharks won. Farmer sent a video of Chowder sobbing with joy in front of the TV before grabbing a sparkler (from God knows where) and running through his parent’s neighborhood in full Shark regalia scream singing “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIEND!” The whole team had a good laugh. Everyone chirped Chowder but the goalie was too happy to even care. He just sent a few “thank you” response texts.
Bitty continues to say nothing as he and Jack drive down to Samwell and pull up in front of Faber. Jack is trying to look innocent which only makes him look more guilty.
“What are we doing here?” Bitty questions, eyes narrowed.
Jack just climbs out. “You’ll see.”
They grab the pies and walk into the quiet rink. A janitor winks at Jack as they pass and Bitty just frowns. What is his boyfriend planning? Bitty is even more surprised when they see who is waiting in the benches.
“Bitty and Jack!” Shitty calls from the bench. “I’ve missed this fucking place.”
“Shitty was just telling us that he thinks you guys should have a round of naked hockey,” Lardo laughs and Shitty winks at her. She rolls her eyes.
“Dude. Naked hockey sounds way too dangerous for uh, certain parts of me,” Ransom flinches.
Dex and Nursey are arguing as usual but Nursey smiles and gets Dex in a light headlock which makes Dex laugh and roll his eyes. Everyone is happy to see the pies. Shitty especially. “OH GODS OF FOOD AND LOVE! I HAVE MISSED THIS!” he crows before immediately claiming an apple pie from the stack in Jack’s arms.
Bitty eyes the group and the bags at their feet and sides. “What’s all this?”
Ransom grins. “Jack had us grab some stuff on our way in.”
Shitty steps forward, eating his previously claimed pie with his hands. “So what now, Zimmermann?”
Jack smiles and immediately starts giving orders and the gathered team sets to work. Soon the ice has flower petals making a path to the goal beneath the massive windows. There are candles along the edges. There is soft music playing through the speakers. And on the score board, the names displayed are Chow and Farmer.
“Oh my God,” Bitty exhales once he realizes what’s happening. Jack just smiles. He doesn’t say a word. Instead, he keeps checking his phone.
As the sun is about to set, Jack’s phone buzzes. “Alright! Everyone hide!”
The group ducks behind the boards of the bench. Bitty finds himself squashed in between Holster and Shitty. Shitty takes this moment to pull Bitty into a busting hug. “Man, I’ve missed you, Bits. Say eh! Please!”
Bitty sighs. “Eh,” he says. Shitty laughs silently.
The team watches, peeking over the edge of the boards as inconspicuously as possible, as a very nervous looking Chowder leads Farmer out onto the ice. Luckily, Farmer has her back to the boards and doesn’t see the seven sets of eyes, watching silently. Farmer is laughing and making jokes. “You went to all this trouble to commemorate that time we did it on the ice? I don’t have a blanket this time. We can’t have sex on the ice without a blanket, babe.”
Holster and Ransom hear this and high five silently. “Get it, Chowder,” Holster whispers.
Shitty just smiles and wipes away fake tears. “They grow up so fast.”
Bitty just watches as Chowder mumbles and stumbles, so clearly nervous. Bitty sees Jack, hidden but still videoing the moment.
“So, I’m doing this here because this is where I realized I love you and told you and,” Chowder starts to ramble. He’s clearly terrified and Bitty just smiles. Farmer looks confused but she’s still looking at Chowder like he’s the most wonderful thing in the world. “After that game against Yale. I realized I loved you and I was so afraid because I’m well, not that cool, and you’re so amazing. And I was going to do this after the Sharks won.”
“Go Sharks!” Farmer cheers and it takes everything for the group watching not to make cute “Aw!” sounds.
Chowder beams and Bitty is just floored at how romantic this is. The first place Chowder realized he loved her. The first place he told her that he loved her. The setting sun casting a gorgeous pink and orange hue on the ice. Bitty feels a moment of jealousy. This was the proposal he thought he’d get from Jack.
“Caitlin Farmer,” Chowder takes a knee and the gasp from Farmer is loud. “Will you marry me?”
There is a long moment of silence. Chowder glances around, clearly terrified. “Um. Caitlin?” he presses.
“Yes!” Farmer shrieks finally. “Oh my God, yes!”
She tackles Chowder onto the ice and the group all stands and cheers. Lardo is wiping tears. Shitty is openly crying and shouting, “Fucking beautiful, man!”
Ransom and Holster are the first on the ice. They high five Chowder, telling him how proud they are. And impressed. Ice sex is cold and challenging. Who’d of thought that Chowder had it in him? Dex and Nursey tackle Chowder in a bear hug.
Jack turns off his camera and stands next to Bitty. They’re both watching the chaos. Farmer is asking Chowder for a long engagement. They’ll get married after they graduate, okay? Chowder agrees. Someone mentions pizza. Shitty mentions a celebratory kegster. Bitty just laughs.
“Thank you for helping Chowder,” Bitty finally says to Jack. “I love that sweet kid.”
“I know. That’s why I did it.” The admission makes Bitty melt a little. And here he thought it was impossible to fall more in love with this man. Though there is something that is still bothering him a little…
Bitty nudges Jack as they all begin the walk out. “I didn’t know you could be so romantic,” he jokes, though still sort of sad that Chowder got HIS proposal.
Jack slows his walk and the rest of the group moves on, leaving him and Bitty farther back, well out of earshot. “I learned from the best,” he kisses Bitty’s hair.
“I always thought,” Bitty begins but his voice tapers off and he can’t quite finish what he was going to say.
Bitty sighs. “I thought that you’d propose to me like that. You know? On the ice, with the sunset.”
Jack tenses. For a moment, Bitty wonders if he’s pushed Jack too far too soon. But really. They’ve been together for a while. It’s only natural that Bitty’s mind would go there. But then Jack’s eyes soften and his lips quirk up and he looks superior. He pulls Bitty into a long, drawn out kiss. The kind of kiss that makes Bitty wish they were in a much more private place. Or at least had a blanket. Good point, Farmer.
“Don’t worry, Bitty,” Jack says, his breath warm on Bitty’s mouth. “I didn’t use all my romantic cards tonight. I have something better planned for you.”
With that, Jack pulls away and begins to walk down the hallway, leaving a blushing, hot Bitty to recover. It doesn’t take long. “Jack Laurent Zimmermann,” Bitty snaps as he rushes to catch the long legged stride of his boyfriend. “You can’t just say things like that and walk away! Good Lord.”
Jack just laughs and Bitty slaps him on his glorious ass, making Jack laugh more.