It felt good to know where everyone was. No one was missing. No one was in danger. But, no one was a hundred percent either. He only had to remember Callen hobbling around Disneyland with Sam hovering over him like the mother hen he turned into whenever one of them was hurting, or make a fist and flex his arm to remind himself of what they had been dealing with a few short days ago. Callen had spent two full days in the hospital after being transfer up from Coronado. He had checked himself out late on Friday, and insisted he would be fine for the bachelor party on Saturday. None of them wanted to be in Disneyland on New Year's Eve.
Callen and Sam had mostly been observers during the bachelor party, but they had come dressed as pirates as originally planned. They'd resisted at first, making valid excuses for one another, but the disappointment on Eric's face finally convinced them to give in. They had laughed a lot while selecting their outfits and getting dressed. It took their minds off their injuries and the harsh memories of the torture they'd endured. Eric had called in a couple of friends he knew from the Renaissance Fairs he attended, and between them there had been plenty of clothes to dress their small party of revelers. One friend was a makeup artist who was able to mask their faces enough to maintain their anonymity if they were to appear on any social media sites. Even George got into it, taking on the roll of a crusty old captain with a black, tricornered hat and an eye patch. Jim Littleshield was made up to look like a Maori tribesman with fake tattoos of dark swirls on his cheeks. He loved them, even joking about making them permanent, which Soldier enthusiastically supported.
Raffy had laughed the loudest and had fun preening in front of Eric's full length mirror in the bright red Royal Marines greatcoat he'd found in one of the wardrobe cabinets. Since he was a cop, he insisted on becoming the nemesis of their little band of pirates, and had periodically made a great show of capturing one or more of them as they made their way through Disneyland. All the kids booed him when he did, but he took it in stride. He was quite a hit with all the older tourists though, especially the ladies, posing for selfies with anyone who asked. Deeks had never seen him laugh so much.
Elan and Soldier decided that they would both go as Jack Sparrow and looked like twins when they stood side by side. They made a handsome pair, and when they'd approached the actual Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Soldier had suddenly been surrounded by a group of teenage Japanese tourists whose high pitch squeals had unnerved the usually self-possessed boy. Pete Archuleta had come to his rescue, seeing the panic in his eyes. He'd waded through the gaggle of girls and ushered him back to Elan and the rest of them who hurried him inside the Blue Bayou Restaurant. The place had brought back unwanted memories for Joe and Callen, and the smell of cornbread had made Deeks nauseous, so he'd quickly followed them outside. The others joined them, and when George had commented on how tired Callen looked, Eric quickly found them a semi-quiet place for them to have dinner together. The night ended early, which was fine with Deeks. It had been a fun evening, and no one had played any embarrassing pranks on him, but Sam warned him not to let his guard down just yet. When he got home, Kensi capped off the whole evening, meeting him at the door in her own pirate's garb, and stripping him of his after pulling him down on the couch by his sash. After their sexy romp, they decided to ask Eric if they could keep the outfits.
As he stood in the dawn light, he felt lighter, calmly watching the ocean send benign waves one after another onto the beach where he would be married later in the day. They had survived so much and he had needed to come here, to reconcile it all in his mind. He and Kensi had both gone through a full debrief by Nina Stiles of Homeland and Nelson Kaplan of the FBI the day after getting home. It was one of the easier ones he'd been through, the success of the operation making both of them quite grateful, at least as grateful as career intelligence officers allow themselves to be. Braxton's handler, Harry Knox, was a different story. Hetty had insisted on sitting in on that one, and she wasn't adverse to reining him in if she thought his questions had gone too far, or that his assertions were demeaning and out of line. Deeks had asked about Braxton, but Knox told him the information was classified. It was only after he'd left that Hetty told him Braxton had disappeared, and that Knox had no idea where he was. It made Deeks smile.
"You're not having second thoughts are you?" Callen called out as he limped up behind him.
Deeks hadn't heard him coming, and turned to watch his slow approach. "I'm not that crazy, brother."
"You okay?" Callen asked, stopping beside him and staring out at the ocean.
Deeks said nothing, just turned to resume his former position. "Shouldn't I be asking you that?"
"I'm doing better, but you've been kind of quiet…didn't say much whenever you came to the hospital," he replied. "And we didn't have many chances to talk during your very weird bachelor party."
"Thought you had fun."
"Doesn't mean it wasn't a strange experience. Eric shot video of the whole thing, in case you care to see the evidence," Callen laughed. "Now tell me what's bothering you. I know there's something going on under that mess of shaggy hair, and you need to deal with it."
"I shouldn't have taken that sabbatical," Deeks said softly. "If Kensi and I had been backing you up, you never would have been taken."
"Maybe, maybe not," Callen responded thoughtfully. "But, I'm glad you and Kensi weren't there, Deeks. We were seriously outnumbered and outgunned. It was a week before your wedding…"
"What does that have to do with it?" Deeks asked, anger pricking at him.
"I might have done something stupid to protect you, and got myself killed," he replied with a smirk.
"Seriously?" Deeks said.
"Come on, admit it…you would have missed me at the wedding," Callen said with a disarming laugh. "I might not have been your first choice for Best Man, but I had to have been your second. Right?"
"Maybe, maybe not," Deeks replied, trying to look serious, but unable to hold back a smile.
"You know you have a tell when you lie, right?" Callen said, grinning cockily.
"Only when I lie to you, brother," he replied.
"Deeks…I don't blame you for what happened," Callen said, all joking gone. "And I don't want you to blame yourself either. Not today. Let it go, kid."
"What was it like when you came here for my memorial service?" Deeks asked.
Callen seemed stunned by the question, and looked back out to sea, shoving his hands deep into the pockets of the light windbreaker he was wearing. He didn't speak right away, and Deeks waited, watching him struggle to come up with the right words. None of them had ever gone into great detail about that day, but he knew it had affected each of them deeply and still did, even after all this time.
"You had a lot of friends here that day," Callen began. "Probably more than you even knew you had. And, I met Elan for the first time. He was impressive."
"Still is," Deeks said.
"No argument there," Callen said, relaxing a bit. "I was with him when he spotted the photographer Granger sent to take photos. If he hadn't done that, and if Elan hadn't spotted a reflection off of the guy's lens, we never would have believed you were still alive and gone looking for you."
"So it's a lucky place then," Deeks said softly.
"Never thought of it that way," Callen said, reaching over to squeeze his shoulder. "Guess you're right. You are lucky. Then and now. You're marrying Kensi."
"And I'm glad you'll be beside me when I do. Sam too," Deeks said, pulling Callen in for a gentle hug.
"Come on Mr. Bleeks. I'll buy you breakfast."
The Christmas storm had passed, cleansing the air and leaving a brilliant blue winter sky and a touch of warmth. Kensi didn't have to get dressed for a couple of hours yet, and while the guys had gone off to be pirates, the girls had gotten mani-pedis, so that was one thing off her checklist. She was feeling antsy and decided to go down to the beach to see how the set up was going. The plans had been in place for a while, and Nell had given her an update yesterday, but she wanted to see it, to know it was really happening.
Deeks had left before dawn, but had propped a sweet note on his pillow saying he would see her later at some beach event he'd heard about. It had made her laugh. He always knew how to do that. They'd shared a glass of champagne at midnight, and he'd made slow love to her, ending it by teasing her with the name he'd coined for them. She'd tried to act mad about it, but she felt so content, she couldn't sustain anything other than a smile. They'd held each other, and falling asleep in his arms symbolized the future for her. It was such a comfort to feel his body next to hers, his arms embracing her, leaving her contented, and giving her a sense of protection. She had always been able to take care of herself, but now, with him, she had grown used to that feeling because he had become a part of her.
When she pulled into the parking lot at the beach, she saw a large white truck, and a woman directing the men unloading it. Then she saw Nell, her tablet in hand striding out across the sand to where a large white tent was being erected next to the bluff, and it gave her chills.
"This is really happening. I'm getting married," she said softly to herself.
She walked slowly down to the beach, taking in the smell of the sea and the rolling waves crashing crisply onto the wet sand. It looked so different from the day she'd come to mourn and to say goodbye to the man she loved, but had lost. That day had been moody and grey, the ocean flat as if it had no energy. Today the beach felt vibrant, and the air was fresh from the soft breeze blowing in off the sea. She couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to marry the man she had mourned so long ago, the one she had helped to rescue and bring home, the one person she loved above all others and who loved her deeply in return.
"You look happy," Nell said, suddenly standing beside her.
"It's a perfect day," she replied, her eyes blurring with tears.
Nell gave her a hug, her own eyes filling briefly. "Come to check up on us did you?"
"Not really. Just wanted to see it," she replied. "To make sure it wasn't some fantasy I dreamed."
"Oh, it's real all right," Nell said with a laugh. "It's been a whirlwind around here, thanks to Juliana and the rest of the staff at L'ezu. You have to see the wedding canopy. She found a driftwood artist to design and build it."
Nell led the way toward the water, passing the men setting up rows of white chairs. She stopped when she saw a young man with dreadlocks manhandling a long, pale piece of driftwood into a hole dug in the sand. His helpers quickly filled in the sand around it as a teenager dug another hole. Long twisted pieces of the gnarled wood were scattered across the sand, while shorter, gently curving ones had been stuck in the sand, ready to be assembled.
Nell looked for her approval and then quickly said, "When it's covered with all the white netting, it's going to be a fantasy come true."
"Driftwood? Deeks will love it," she gushed.
"The flowers won't be put in place until a half hour before the wedding," Nell continued. "Juliana wanted to wait until later. She was afraid someone might make off with them. But, I told her I had a tactical squad assigned to guard the site. I think that surprised her, and maybe scared her just a little."
Kensi laughed and hugged her. "Thank you for everything, Nell. I couldn't have done this without you."
"You were a little busy," Nell said. "Now you need to get over to Hetty's beach house. Diane is already there, and the hair dresser will arrive in twenty minutes."
"You really are starting to sound like Hetty," Kensi laughed.
"She was here earlier with Wes Hallock," Nell said. "She put him in charge of security."
"They aren't going to be in tactical gear are they?" Kensi asked.
"No they will not be. She's having them dress in matching blue Hawaiian shirts and white pants," Nell assured her. "They'll still be tough looking, and with the sunglasses they'll be wearing, people will think twice about invading the festivities. And I wouldn't be surprised if they were packing a hidden weapon or two."
"Oh, my God. This is crazy," Kensi laughed.
"You don't know the half of it," Nell said. "Wait till you see Eric's surprise. Don't ask. It's top secret, plus he'll kill me if I tell. Now go, girl. This is taken care of."
"Nell…you're the best."
Her heart was racing wildly with excitement as she drove down the Pacific Coast Highway to Hetty's beach house. She had been there before with Deeks. It wasn't very big, more of a cottage, but it was charming, and looked out over the ocean. You only had to walk through the tiny walled garden behind it to reach the beach. It was where they would spend their first night as husband and wife.
She called out to Di as she entered, making her way past the kitchen to the living room, its large windows looking out over the water. She stopped when she saw her wedding gown draped across the small sofa. She'd forgotten how beautiful it was, and she couldn't stop her sudden tears.
"It is so lovely, Kensi," Isabel Rafferty said as she came in from the deck with Diane.
"It's perfect," Di said. "Now…how about a glass of champagne to get this party started?"
"Just a small one. I don't want to be drunk at my own wedding," Kensi replied, wiping at her tears as she laughed.
They were on the deck sharing stories about the men in their lives when Hetty called out to them, leading two other women into the house, and followed by a third.
"Lily? Oh my God. I'm so glad you could come," Kensi said, rushing to embrace her. "When did you get in? Have you seen Elan?"
"Slow down, mon bon ami. I am a romantic in disguise. I could not miss your wedding," Lily said before kissing her on both cheeks. "But, today is about you. Now let me see this dress that has so enraptured Hetty."
Kensi turned once again to her wedding gown, sitting down beside it and gently fingering the appliqué flowers that were scattered across the sheer fabric.
"Oh, Kensi. C'est magnifique," Lily said softly, her voice touched by a hint of sadness.
Kensi stood to embrace her, remembering what Deeks had told her about her breakup with Elan. Lily was a tough woman. Although she was a French Intelligence operative, she was also a woman in love with a man who was anchored to this country as much as she was inextricably bound to hers. It made Kensi realize just how lucky she was. Hetty seemed to understand the moment and stepped in.
"Kensi…this is Charlotte Gianino. She's done hair in Hollywood for over two decade," Hetty said. "And this is Leta Phan. She's a fixture in town as well. She'll be doing your makeup."
"You sounded just like your future husband, dear," Hetty said, patting her on the arm. "Now, who's pouring the champagne?"
"I brought a special bottle of Veuve Clicquot," Lily said, handing the bottle to Kensi. "It is a gift from Mimi and Luc. For tonight…when you two are alone together. Mimi wanted to come, but Luc is no longer able to fly."
"They let you bring a bottle of champagne on board a flight?" Diane asked. "TSA confiscated a jar of jam from me once."
"Air France was very understanding, of course," Lily said with a proud smile. "Especially when I showed my credentials."
"No one wants to tangle with French Intelligence," Hetty said.
The rest of the hour was spent in laughter, both Di and Isabel taking to Lily, relishing in the stories she told on Kensi and Deeks. Kensi didn't mind as she stared in a mirror and watched herself transformed. Charlotte left her hair long, letting it cascade around her shoulders, but pulling the sides up, leaving soft tendrils that curled beside her cheeks. She attached a spray of gardenias and stephanotis at the top where the veil would attach, the smell of the flowers sweet and intoxicating. When she was done, everyone clapped.
"You look stunning," Isabel said. "Marty is a very lucky man."
"He knows it too," Diane added.
Leta took over, her makeup style simple and not overly done, painting her lips with a color called Energy Peach. The name and the soft color were perfect for her. She was a little doubtful about the eye makeup at first. It was certainly more than she usually wore, even on undercover assignments, but she loved the eye shadow. It was pale blue and matched the underskirt of her wedding dress.
Her friends surrounded her when she stepped into her wedding gown, and it took great effort not to let any tears fall and spoil her make up. When Charlotte attached the veil she actually held her breath. A myriad of tiny silk flowers cascaded down the frothy material, a touch of pale blue at each center. For a moment, everyone remained silent. Then it was if they all let their breath out at the same time, everyone talking at once, until Diane stepped forward and took her hand.
"Oh my God, Kensi. You look amazing," Di whispered.
Kensi had no words, she simply stared at herself in the full-length mirror, longing to see the look on Deeks' face when he saw her.
Deeks mouth dropped open when a white limo came up the driveway of the house Hetty had loaned to the family. Callen slapped him on the back as he got in, telling him this was typical of Hetty because she never did anything halfway. Soldier followed him into the car, smiling shyly, and duly impressed just as he'd been when his tuxedo was delivered earlier. Elan just shook his head in disbelief, and George simply put his arm around Deeks as he guided him to the open limo door.
"This is your day to be spoiled, son. Just enjoy it," he said, and climbed inside.
"Copy that," he replied, fussing with his bow tie again.
Joe slapped his hand away, and simply took the thing off, unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt and patted him on the chest. "This is more you, brother. It's a beach wedding, remember?"
"Yeah, no…" he murmured, please with the change. "Hey…Where's Uncle Jim? We can't get married without him."
"He left before you got here," Elan said. "Didn't want you to see him before the ceremony."
"You'll see, Cuz," Elan replied with a grin.
"Come on Marty, or you'll be late to your own wedding," Joe said as he and Elan pushed him into the limo, laughing as they tumbled in after him.
Deeks' mind was spinning as they drove down toward Malibu. He was surprised at how nervous he was, and he silently wished the driver would speed up, so he could finally see Kensi. It was a day he had looked forward to for some time, and he smiled softly to himself. As they drove along the coast highway, he slowly began to relax. A sense of calm settled over him as they pulled off into the parking lot above the beach where he could see Sam waiting. He was the first one out and was immediately pulled into a breathtaking hug by the big man. When he managed to break free he looked out at the beach and saw four white poles stuck in the sand sporting multiple pale blue ribbons fluttering in the soft wind. Two tall white wicker vases flanked the entrance, each one filled with overflowing bouquets of huge, pale blue hydrangeas. Friends and colleagues were already seated, and he was pleased to see Lieutenant Bates and his wife. The entire Rafferty family waved at him in unison, and he was suddenly struck by how much it meant to have that wild bunch here. Pete Archuleta stood and raised his hand in salute, while a smiling Celina surprised him by wiping at her eyes with a tissue. Why would she be crying? Why was he?
"Aren't you happy, Uncle Marty?" Soldier asked, looking confused by the tears in his eyes.
"More than I've ever been, kid," he replied as Nell approached.
"Pull yourself together Agent Deeks," she said firmly with a smile. "Or you'll have all of us crying."
"I don't cry," Callen said.
"Arapaho's don't either," Elan said.
"Okay, all you tough guys, follow me," she said as she turned and led them around the chairs and down toward the beach.
When they reached a large white tent, a woman came out and began pinning small sprays of white flowers with a touch of sky blue blossoms on each of their lapels.
"What kind of flowers are these?" Soldier asked.
The kind woman looked surprised at his interest, but was happy to explain. "The white ones are stephanotis, and the small blue blossoms come from a hydrangea. We used blue hydrangeas with calla lilies around the base of the driftwood wedding canopy…see?"
She pointed out toward the beach and Deeks turned and noticed the driftwood sculpture for the first time. The worn wood looked as if it had always been there, and it reminded him of his college days, when he and his buddies would make bonfires out of driftwood as often as they could, staying up too late and drinking too much beer. This structure however, was elegant, the pieces twining around each other. Pale blue ribbons had been used to tie a white gauzy looking material over the top, the long ends of both streaming from each corner.
"Awesome," he whispered.
"Time to take your places, gentlemen," the lady said.
"Come on, son," George said. "Don't keep the bride waiting."
Thinking of Kensi as a bride touched something deep inside and he found he couldn't stop smiling. It was if he was floating, finally stopping beside the overarching driftwood structure. George stood close beside him, and the rest of his family lined up behind him. Deeks thought his heart would beat out of his chest as he waited for her to appear, but the first person to catch his attention was Jim Littleshield. Everyone heard the chanting and everyone strained to see where it was coming from.
"Looks like the old war horse is pulling out all his bells and whistles," George whispered.
Littleshield walked toward them from the sea in full regalia. His buckskins were white and heavily fringed and meticulously beaded, and his braids were wrapped in pale blue cloth. Three eagle feathers fanned out behind his head and he carried a fan of feathers and buckskin in one hand, the small attached bells jingling softly as he walked. He waved a smoking bundle of sage back and forth above his head and chanted softly as he came to stand under the canopy. When his chanting stopped, Soldier came forward to take the sage. Deeks was stunned. His love for the ranch and the beach had come together at this singular moment in time, and his eyes filled with tears. All of the guests suddenly began clapping, just as thrilled as he was by the unusual beginning.
"She is here," Jim Littleshield said softly and pointed down the sandy aisle.
When he turned to look his heart raced at the sight of her, awestruck by how truly beautiful she was. Diane and Nell stood on either side of her wearing pale blue gowns, the tops all lace and the multi-layered skirts catching the soft breeze. They each held a simple bouquet of calla lilies tied with pale blue ribbons. Smiling widely, they walked up the aisle of sand, taking their places after reaching out to touch Deeks' hand. Kensi remained where she was, staring back at him. She clutched a bouquet of hydrangeas and tiny calla lilies, but his eyes didn't remain on it long, as he found her gaze once again. The side of the large tent was suddenly pulled back to reveal a small string quartet fronted by a man and a woman. When they began to sing "All I Ask of You", from Phantom of the Opera, Deeks struggled to contain his emotions. Kensi seemed to be having the same problem, as were some of his friends. Finally toward the end of the song, Hetty came around from behind her and took her hand and they started forward, Kensi's veil billowing out around her like a cloud. When she reached him, she turned to Hetty and whispered something and Deeks swore he saw tears in the tough little woman's eyes.
Kensi handed off her bouquet and reached out to clasp his hands in hers.
"Hey, Sugarplum," he said softly, her smile the only reply he needed.
Littleshield began a soft chant in Arapaho and Soldier came up behind him and handed him the sage bundle. The smell was pungent as he held it high above his head and then down between them, crossing from north to south and east and west. He moved the smoke around them with the feather fan, and then handed the sage and fan to Soldier.
"This is the blessing of the four directions," Littleshield began in his gentle lilt. "We ask the Spirits to bless this marriage and the two fine people who will walk the same path together. We ask the Spirit of the North to bless them with the strength to bear what is cold and harsh in life. We ask the Spirit of the South to bless them with a gentleness of spirit and the ability to lighten the darkest of times. We ask the Spirit of the East to bless them when the sun rises each day, and help them speak the truth of their hearts to one another. And, we ask the Spirit of the West to bless them with the willingness to be open to the changes of life, and to be blessed with the deep commitment of the lake, the swift excitement of the river, and the enduring passion of the sea."
Kensi stepped closer to him when the blessing ended, her eyes full of tears, as she squeezed his hands. Deeks felt a warmth throughout his body that he'd never felt before as he stared into the beautiful eyes of the woman he loved beyond all reason.
"Now you can speak what is in your hearts," Littleshield said softly.
"Deeks…Marty. I don't think there are words enough in the English language to tell you all that you mean to me," Kensi said. "But, I will try."
She paused to gather herself and then began to speak.
"In the beginning, I never wanted you as my partner. Now I can't imagine my life without you beside me. In the beginning, I thought your jokes were stupid. Now I can't imagine my life without the laughter you bring to it. In the beginning, I couldn't imagine loving a surfer with shaggy hair and a wiseass attitude. Now I wouldn't want you to look or be any other way. In the beginning, I thought you talked way too much…actually you still do. But now, I can't wait to hear your voice in the morning and find I can't go to sleep until you tell me goodnight. Marty Deeks…you are the love of my life. One I never could have imagined."
"Wow," Deeks whispered as he leaned in and kissed her, hot tears briefly blinding him. "That's a tough act to follow, Kens."
"I imagine you'll find the words," she said lightly, making everyone laugh.
"Here goes," he said, leaving the note in his pocket that he'd been scribbling on for days. "Kensi…I've called you by many names over the years. The first nickname I gave you was Fern, which I'm still fond of by the way. It got me in trouble, though. You didn't like it..."
"Do now," she said.
"Good to know, baby. To continue…There's been Kensilina, Sugarbear, Hon Bun, Kiki, and your favorite…My Sweet. She crushed my toe with her heel for that one folks. There have been many others depending on the circumstances, but there are a few that describe the way I feel about you. You are my Sunshine, and the Light of my Life. And to me you will always be Wonder Woman. However, the one that I get to call you from this day forward is Wifey. And that's makes me the happiest and most blessed man on the planet."
Jim Littleshield raised his hands above their heads and briefly spoke something in Arapaho. When he finished he motioned to George, who handed him a small beaded buckskin bag that looked very old.
"This pouch has been in our family since the 1870's. It belonged to an Arapaho woman named Red Bird. She married a white man named Atwood. They loved each other despite their differences and despite the forces against them. They were strong people just like you. Today I pass this keepsake on to you. It holds two rings that represent your devotion and faith in one another."
The old man poured the contents into his hand and held the rings out to them. Kensi picked up the ring she had found for him and placed it on his finger and Deeks took the one that matched her engagement ring and slid it onto her finger.
"May the Great Spirit bless this union," Littleshield said, and the place erupted with cheering and a standing ovation.
Deeks gently took her face in his hands and kissed her as her fingers threaded through his hair, both oblivious to the well-wishers around them.
"Hello, Mrs. Bleeks," he said softly.
"Shut up, Mr. Bleeks," she replied laughing before kissing him hard.
They were immediately surrounded by family and friends, and somehow separated as they greeted the well-wishers. He accepted all of the hugs and kisses, but he finally managed to find her and take her hand in his, pulling her toward the ocean. The guys and the Hawaiian shirt clad security brigade kept the guests back as Deeks and Kensi made their way down to the wave line just as the sun slid beneath the edge of the sea, spilling a golden glow across the horizon. As her veil floated around them they kissed each other, not breaking until an explosion overhead shocked them apart.
"What the hell was that?" Deeks asked, looking for danger until Kensi laughed and he saw another glittering burst above the sea.
"Nell told me Eric had a surprise," Kensi laughed.
Deeks pulled her close, kissing her gently as multicolored sparks cascaded down from the sky. It was the perfect ending to an amazing day.
"I love you to the moon and back, Mr. Marty Deeks Blye," she whispered, making him laugh softly.
"Fireworks went off in my head the first time I kissed you. Now it's happening for real. You will always be the light of my life, Mrs. Kensi Blye Deeks."
Thanks for following this story for so long. I have appreciated everyone's comments, and a hearty shout out to the guest reviewers I had no way to respond to. I appreciated every kind word. Thank you all for caring about this story and it's characters. Until next time…Sweet Lu