Epilogue

Five Years Later

Supreme Macaroni Co./Guido's Restaurant

Little Italy

Manhattan

Tony approved the daily special with the head chef and settled back into his booth to smoke in peace. His thoughts drifted, as they usually did, to where Leon and Mathilda might be.

The flurry of media and federal attention was as he expected it to be after the discovery of the bodies of Jimmy Pace and Simon Toretti. Indignation at the crime itself, condemnation of the perpetrators, vows to bring the murdering scoundrels to justice. The video of the shootings played endlessly for weeks afterward. Everyone theorized about possible motives, but of course no one was even close. No one could make the connection.

John Clark was an amnesiac who had been comatose for six years and was working as a cook.

Mathilda Lando was an 18 year-old straight-A student working as a well liked waitress.

Nope, everyone was stumped.

And then details started to emerge about certain dealings that Pace and Toretti were alleged to have been involved with. After that, the government seemed content to just let the entire fiasco die a quiet death.

Not that it would've been safe for Leon and Mathilda to return. There was no statute of limitations for murder, and the murder of a federal agent carried an automatic death sentence.

But, still . . . he wondered. He was shaken from his thoughts as the mail was set before him. He flipped through it, making separate piles for bills and junkmail. The last item in the stack caught his eye. A large padded envelope addressed to him. He narrowed his eyes at the return address and frowned. A Pack 'N' Mail in Arizona, a place specifically used to repackage and mail items when you don't want the addressee to know where the item originated. He'd used them himself a few times.

He hefted the package, but there was barely any weight to it. Couldn't be more than a couple of pieces of paper. His curiosity got the better of him and he tore it open to find a smaller flat envelope inside. He cut the end with a table knife and turned it upside down. A single 4 X 6 photograph drifted to the table. He picked it up to examine more closely. After a moment, he grinned from ear to ear, shook his head and chuckled.

The photograph contained a man and woman lounging on a red-checkered picnic cloth against a picturesque countryside with rolling hills, clear blue skies, and what looked like villa in the background. Nestled in their arms were two children of 3 or 4 years old, possibly twins. A boy and girl with their mother's eyes and their father's mouth. Tony flipped the photo over to look at the back.

'L., M., Tony and Lilliana. We're happy.'

THE END

Author's Note: Well, there you have it. Many thanks to those who have reviewed and sent e-mails, it was all for you! And me, of course. Mathilda and Leon SO deserved a happy ending!