Part 3 of 3

Six months later...

Somehow despite my tendency to talk too much - or flap my jaws, as my secret husband would have put it - and the way we rocked the apartment walls almost nightly, no one seemed the wiser about the two of us. If we ran into each other on the street, we simply smiled in that secret way of ours and walked in the opposite direction. He had taught me a special code for texting and we also had our own chat speak when people came around when we happened to be conversing on the phone. Sure we could have dated as Maxie and "Dominic" openly but it was just more fun and sexy to keep our love to ourselves for now.

And I was sure that I was in love. I think maybe I was the first moment those dark eyes of his flashed on me across that crowded casino. I had loved lots of guys, especially Jesse Beaudry, but somehow those loves had not been meant to last. I felt somehow Dante and I would make it through. We had that super couple, Bo and Hope, kind of love that takes over and fights off every adversity. We were going to make it. I was sure of it this time. That I had found my soul mate. Somehow you just know.

But of course, I'm still Maxie Jones. Even Maxie Jones-Falconeri has doubts. Of course I was worried what would happen after he turned over the evidence on Sonny Corinthos. Yes, that's who he was working for - or against, if you will. I worried he would get shot or worse but I had faith. I tried to anyway. Loving Dante came so easily that I could never learn how to stop. I knew people would hate us for keeping the truth about Dante's identity a secret, would feel that I had betrayed Sonny and his friends and family, but I would have walked through fire at this point to be with Dante. The question of course when he was shot, was could I live a life like this where danger was always just a step away and death was a continuous possibility for us. That would have to be decided soon.

I got the call tonight. Dante said he was going to arrest Sonny within mere days and naturally, I was a bit nervous but he had always sworn he would come home to me and I wanted to believe him. I did believe it against all rational thought.

Still I was scared when Lulu called me from Crimson (for once, I had the night off) and told me Ethan's best friend, Dominic Pirelli, had been shot.

"Ohmigod, Lulu, you're - you're serious?" I asked, tears already rolling down my face.

"Yeah, I am. Ethan's so upset and -"

"That makes two of us," I said.

"Huh?" Lulu asked.

"Never mind. Just tell me where he is."

"He's at GH right now, undergoing major surgery."

"Oh shit. I'll be right there."

"Maxie, it's a madhouse over there, I think they only will let in close family."

"Then I'm in."

"Why is that?"

"Because, LULU, because I am married to him!"

"What the hell? Maxie, are you kidding me?"

"No, it's a long story. I just have to - I have to go see him."

"I'll come and get you. You shouldn't be driving when you're this upset."

"I can't wait that long," I said. "He wouldn't have waited around if I was in this situation either."

"Maxie -"

"I'm not lying, Lulu!"

"Okay, I believe you. It's just you should know, Dominic's real name is Dante."

"I know."

"Do you also know that you have just inherited a very pissed off father-in-law by the name of Sonny Corinthos?"

"What?" I screeched. "Sonny is - Sonny is Dante's father?"

"I know. Craziness, huh? I will meet you at the hospital. You're going to need someone."

"I just need Dante," I cried. "I just need my husband."

XoXoXo

As I drove nearly blinded by tears through the Port Charles streets, I tried to think when I had changed. If Dante had changed me, or if something else had changed me. The old Maxie was fragile and weak though she hid it behind a larger-than-life personality and a big Prada purse. But she was scared inside. Scared to love because it would only end in hurt and pain. I had lost so many people in my lifetime and I was afraid that I would lose Dante too but he had promised me he would always come home to me and I was going to hold him to that promise too. He was the best thing that ever happened to me and I wasn't letting him get away so easily.

Still my nerves felt frayed and weak when they needed to be strong as steel. I climbed out my car and hurried inside the hospital. Lulu had been right. It was a madhouse. People were milling around in the waiting room, Jason was fuming in a corner with Sam, Sonny was shouting death threats to everyone, and my mother-in-law was crying rather violently in the middle of the room.

I squared my tiny shoulders and pushed my way through the throng. "Where's Dante?" I asked, my voice raw and hoarse with crying. "Where's my husband?"

That stopped traffic in the room. Everyone turned to look at me and I realized I had the attention of practically the whole hospital.

"Your husband?" Olivia echoed. "Are you trying to say my son Dante is -"

I nodded. "Yeah, my husband. It's a long story but I want to see him. I want to see him right now and I'm not leaving until I make sure he's okay."

"You're mistaken, Maxie," Olivia said. "Either that or you'll playing some really cruel joke because -"

"Why would I lie?" I demanded. "I am not making this up. I have nothing to gain." I pulled my necklace out from my shirt and there dangled the only evidence I had that Dante was the world to me and I was the world to him too.

"You're kiddin' me right?" Sonny said. "You married Dante? Did you know all along who he really was?"

"Yeah, I did," I said, meeting Sonny's cold eyes. "Now you can bitch me out for that later but I am going to see Dante if I have to search every room for him."

"I don't believe this. You knew and didn't say a damn word!" Sonny thundered.

"It wasn't my place."

"Well neither is this, dammit," Sonny spat.

Olivia finally stepped forward and touched my shoulder. "Crazy as this sounds, I believe Maxie. I actually believe she knows Dante and wants what's best for him. I think she should be allowed to see him and Sonny, you have no say in the matter, considering you were the one who shot my boy!"

"That was you?" I demanded of Sonny and without giving it too much thought, swung out my hand and connected it as hard as I could with his cheek. Normally a person didn't do something like that if they wanted to live but Sonny just glared at me.

"That was dumb of you, Maxie!" he snapped. "However, it's obvious that you care about Dante so -"

"So I'm going to see him and no one's going to stop me. So what's his room number?"

"Its 245, Maxie," Dr. Matt Hunter spoke up, forcing his way through the crowd. "But it doesn't look good. He hasn't woken up yet according to my brother."

I held back a fresh wave of tears. "I will make him," I said and hurried down the hall.

XoXoXo

I somewhat sensed rather than felt, a comforting, familiar presence approach me. I sensed my hand was lifted and squeezed and I knew it was her. My Mad Max. My wife. My everything now.

I could have opened my eyes right then but it was hard and a part of me just wanted to hear what she had to say so I stayed still, prostrate and unmoving, even as I felt life beginning to stir inside of me again. I remembered fighting with Sonny Corinthos and that was it. I figured he had plugged me but I didn't care because if I was dead, then having my wife, my girl, here was everything to me. It was my own version of heaven, a place I had never expected to go.

"Hey, Dante -" sniffle, sniffle - "it's me, your wife, your crazy Mad Max. I just told everyone we are married and I am not sure they even believe me so I would appreciate it if you woke up and told them the truth so they don't put me in a straight jacket and haul me off before I can see you open your eyes. And I know you're going to open your eyes because you swore so many times that you would never leave me and I believed you, damn you. I believed everything you said. I fell for every word hook, line and sinker and now you'd better wake up and make all those promises you made come true. I won't ever forgive you if you go and die on me and leave me alone again. You made me feel so strong and you made me angry but you also made me so happy. Maybe us getting married was a mistake but it was my favorite one ever -" laughs - "Now look, you have me stealing from Sheryl Crow too! So come on and wake up and be my favorite mistake and be my husband for the world to see. Most of all, be mine forever ... Please!"

She crumbled into sobs and this time I forced myself to peel open my eyes and look over at her. "Wow," I said in a soft but admiring voice, "how the hell am I supposed to say no to that?"

Maxie looked up, her big, beautiful blue eyes crystallized with tears. "Ohmigod!" She mouthed. Then she shouted, "Ohmigod! OHMIGOD! You're awake and you heard all that stuff I said!"

"Yeah, I did," I said. "But don't be mad for me not waking up right away, I loved hearing your bedside declaration."

Maxie fumed openly. "I should put you back into a coma for that!"

"But you won't cause I'm your husband and you love me," I said, reaching out for her warm hand and closing my larger one around hers.

"Sure use my words against me," she said but she was trying to hide a smile.

I picked up the sheets covering my body and pulled her closer to me. "Get in," I said.

"Demanding much?" She sniffed but finally climbed in beside me. I slid my aching body around hers, spooning her with my own body, mine molded to her much smaller, and more delicate one. But I realized that she was the one of the two of us that was the least delicate inside, the one who was the strongest. She was easily the most infuriating and yet impossibly amazing woman I had ever met and I knew I would spend the rest of my life with my favorite mistake of all time.

I kissed her forehead. "I love you, Mad Max."

"I love you too," she said without hesitation and I knew that that was probably hard for her. She had lost so much more in her life than anybody had a right to and she was still going to love me two-hundred percent. I would have to make sure to always do the same, not that it would be hard. She may be a bit crazy and irrational and wild at times, but that was all that made her what I wanted. The cliché of her being everything I never knew I wanted; it was true here. She could have been scared and ran for the hills but she stayed and faced my crazy friends and family and that made all the difference.

"Should I call the doctors for you?" She asked, twisting in my arms to get a better look at me.

"Nah. Let it wait a moment. I just want to look at you, Maxie, and tell you how lucky I am to have you in my life."

"Ditto," she said. Then she kissed me in such a way that the heart monitors literally skipped a beat as she completely stole my breath away.

We both laughed when we had pulled apart. "You are going to stop my heart," I said.

"You already have mine," Maxie said and then leaned into me. I lifted the necklace from around her head and then slid her wedding ring onto her finger.

"Its real now, huh?" She said.

I nodded. "It always has been."

And then I held her for the longest time, knowing that this time I was never going to be stupid enough to let her get away.

FIN!

Thanks for reading, everyone. Hope the ending wasn't too cheesy!