Chapter 12- The Big Finale

-The beach house-

Penny is mingling with her various guests, serving drinks and talking. She is on her way over to the bar to get herself a beer when Mike stops her.

M- " Hey there, Penny."

P-" Hey, Mike. Enjoying the party?"

M-" Yeah, it's a lot of fun. I invited a few friends to come. Is that alright?"

P-" Of course. The more the merrier. Who'd you invite?"

M-" Geoff Fuentes, Vicki Portenza and Jake Silver."

Penny looks very shocked as she smiles and says, "Oh, that's . . . great! I have to go do . . . something."

She pushes her way through the crowd and heads upstairs to her bedroom. She sits on her bed and pushes her hand through her hair.

What am I supposed to do if I see him? I just broke his heart and now he's here. Okay Penelope, just breathe. If I see him and he notices me I'll say something if not, then obviously nothing was meant to be between us. Look for the signs, right? If we don't talk, I'll just leave it all be.

She stands up, checks her make-up in the mirror and heads back down to the party. As she reaches the first landing she looks into the crowd and sees Jake about to turn in her direction. Just as he almost sees her, Mike calls his name and he turns back around.

Penny breathes a sigh. Not really a sigh of relief but not a sigh of sadness either. She walks into the crowd and sees him leaning on a wall near the bar, talking to Mike, Geoff and Cara. She needs to get something from the bar and there's no way to get there without him noticing her. She takes a deep breath and plunges through the crowd. Just as she almost reaches the bar she feels something cold and wet rush down the back of her black dress. She lets out a small yelp, practically inaudible over the party noise and turns to see what was spilled on her. There is a younger man standing behind her.

P-" Tommy?"

T-" Yeah, sorry I spilled my beer on you Penny. It was a complete accident."

She forces a smile and says, " No big deal. I'll go change and I'll take this to the dry cleaners later." With that she begins forcing her way through the crowd until she reaches the stairway and rushes up the stairs to her room. She rifles through her closet and pulls out a little blue dress that's just low cut and short enough to draw peoples' eyes.

Well if he sees me I might as well look sexy.

She pulls off her old dress and quickly changes into the little blue one. She changes her shoes to match and heads downstairs once again. She reaches the bottom of the stairwell, where she sees Jake digging through his pockets and pulling out his car keys. He heads out of the sliding glass doors again and walks to his car.

Penny leans back against the wall and sighs.

Well, he left so that has to mean that we aren't meant to be. All I wanted was one sign that I made the wrong choice. Oh well. Que sera sera. I'll probably never see him again but it's all for the best. Right?

(One Week Later)

Jake is walking on the beach early in the morning. It's one of those mornings that are warm enough that long shirtsleeves will be enough, but it is definitely not warm enough to be in the frigid ocean water. Jake doesn't care as he walks barefoot in the water. He's hoping that the cold water will shock him out of the nightmarish daze he's been feeling since he got back from seeing Penny.

He glances into the horizon and sees that he is walking towards a familiar looking beach house. He keeps walking towards it and as he gets closer her sees that there is a woman sitting on the porch.

I really am obsessed with Penny because I could swear that woman is her. Oh my God, it is her.

He begins running quickly toward that house, finally realizing that it was the same house he had been in a week before. He stumbles as he calls out, "Penny!!!"

She doesn't even turn to look at him as he climbs the stairs on to the porch. She just continues gazing out into the ocean. She lifts her mug of tea to her lips and takes a sip before sighing quietly and motioning for him to take a seat next to her.

As he sits down she begins talking.

P-" Have you ever seen the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's?"

She glances over at him out of the corner of her eye before continuing without waiting for a response.

P-" Well, everyone is supposed to have one place or thing that makes them whole; makes them feel completely at home. Like how Holly Golightly had Tiffany's. Well going back to New York made me realize that Miami is my place. But I have yet to find that special thing. I thought that maybe it might be you, and for some reason that petrified me. But I came back to Miami, hoping for a sign that you and I could make it. Any sort of sign or connection between us that could have told me that I had made the wrong decision. Then I found out that Mike had invited you and I decided that if we saw each other then maybe we were fated to be together, but even though I saw you a few times one of us always got distracted. So, I chalked that up to fate saying that we shouldn't be together. I was waiting for a sign that just never came."

She sighs and takes a sip of her tea. Leaning back, she finally looks directly at Jake. He looks like he's hidden deep in his thoughts.

And now he's either confused or hates me. Great. I always get bitten in the ass for telling people the truth.

He leans forward and turns his head to look at her.

J-"'You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-You- Are? You're chicken; you've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, ' Okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness.' You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's going to stick you in a cage. Well, baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself.'"

He puts his hand on her leg and says, " 'Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of my favorite movies. I thought that quote worked pretty well."

He looks up at her face and sees all these tears running down her face. He takes her face in his hands and wipes her tears away with his thumbs.

She draws in a deep ragged breath and says, " I think that's the kind of sign I was looking for."

She leans forward and catches his lips in a passionate, sensual kiss. As their lips meld together, it feels as if their hearts are melding together, too. Into one beautiful connection, flying past the stars and moons together, in one earth shattering kiss.

A/N- Well, this is it. The ending. I've really loved doing this whole story and I give thanks to just about everyone. It's about time to do the disclaimer- I own absolutely nothing. You can bet your sweet asses the show would still be on if I owned it. If I get 10 reviews I will write a follow up.

P.S.- Did any Constance Zimmer fans catch the Vicki Portenza reference?