CHAPTER XV

Valentine
By: Jim Brickman & Martina McBride

If there were no words
No way to speak
I would still hear you
If there were no tears
No way to feel inside
I'd still feel for you
And even if the sun refused to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart until the end of time
You're all I need, my love, my Valentine
All of my life
I have been waiting for
All you give to me
You've opened my eyes
And shown me how to love unselfishly
I've dreamed of this a thousand times before
But in my dreams I couldn't love you more
I will give you my heart
Until the end of time
You're all I need, my love, my Valentine

(Solo)

And even if the sun refused to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart until the end of time
'Cause all I need is you, my Valentine
You're all I need, my love, my Valentine

Out by the deck, just as the sun was rising, splashes of yellow and gold, breaking out of the darkness and bringing forth a new promise of an even brighter day to come.

They talked some more about everything that has happened over the past 5 years to the CIA, to Stiles, to Terri's family, and to Terri.

"How are you feeling?" Stiles asked Terri. He knows that all the information he has told her must be hard to take-in all at once.

"I'm okay. Just a little overwhelmed that's all."

Facing him and looking deeply into his blue eyes she asked him the question that has been nagging her for sometime now. "Stiles why haven't you married?"

"How could I? You ruined me for any other woman. If I couldn't have you then I don't want anyone else", kissing her passionately once again. "A very wise man once said to me 'the heart that loves stands the test of time. It has the strength to wait because it has no fear of time. It knows only what it loves and it will do so forever.' So you see Terri, no matter how long it took; I would have waited for you. I love you so much and I thank the Lord for giving me another chance to be with you. Marry me Terri! I need you more than I need my next breath. Don't ever leave me again. Whatever hurdles we may face, we can overcome them if we deal with them together."

"I love you too Stiles, very much. I died that night I left you. I was never whole again. When you showed up on the island, in the blink of an eye the darkness in my life slipped out and your love has lighted my world again. You complete me; you gave me a reason to continue on living. Do you know why I sign my artworks TLS?"

"I thought it meant Terri Loves Stiles."

"Well yeah that too. But it means Terri Lowell-Stiles! I always dreamt that one day we would be together and be husband & wife. I love you very much and I would love to marry you!"

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EPILOGUE

"So what are you going to do with yourself now that you're no longer an operative?, Terri asked playfully.

Stiles rolled over in the bed. He studied Terri for a second, then, as if forcing himself to behave, he pulled the sheet over her bare breasts and planted a kiss on her waiting mouth.

"Now that I'm semi-retired from covert ops, I think I'll have a lot of time to play husband and daddy." He kissed her flat tummy, which in a few months will be bulging to show that a new member of the Stiles family will soon be making an appearance. "I love you so much Terri. I love everything about you. The way your eyes light up when you smile, the sound of your laugh, your enthusiasm for life, the thoughtful ways your take care of your family."

Terri looked around the Boracay hotel suite. The past 5 years have been so great for both Stiles and Terri. They got married in a simple ceremony on the island after which Lyn insisted they take part in a traditional Bahamas wedding reception. After several meetings with Carl Reese, Terri went back to OTS to resume her old position. She and Stiles still went on several missions together. Three years later, Carl promoted Terri as head of OTS, making her work less risky and giving her the chance to devote more time to Stiles and their growing family. Stiles on the other hand continued with covert operations for another year and later on asked Carl Reese if he could be appointed as a lead trainer in The Farm. Although he knows he will be losing his best operative on the field, Carl nevertheless agreed to the new assignment. He still sends Stiles out on missions but most of his time is now spent on training future CIA operatives on The Farm.

Stiles and Terri were about to make love again when they heard the door creak open and they smiled when they saw who it was. "Daddy, mommy, hurry up! You'll be late for the wedding." It was their almost 3-year-old daughter, Hannah Theresa, telling them to hurry up for their 5th wedding anniversary celebration. To mark such a joyous occasion they decided to go back to Andros Island and get married again, this time, with Hannah as their flower girl and their families & friends as witnesses to a love that truly has lasted through the test of time.

THE END