"Into all Sadness a little Happiness Must Fall"

by Olivia Sutton

10 February 2005

Into All Sadness a Little Happiness Must Fall

by Olivia Sutton

Archive: Randall and Hopkirk in TV category, fanfic net; also posted to RnHd fic list

Rating: R-discussion of adult topics, adult themes, adult language

Category: Angst

Quote: Even in times of greatest joy, there is sorrow. -Jewish Proverb

Disclaimer: Randall and Hopkirk, Deceased is copyright BBC, 2000-2001. Original version copyright 1969 by ITC. This is written for fun and not for profit. Based on the BBC (2000) version starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Comments are always welcome.

Author note: Based on the new version of Randall and Hopkirk, Deceased, which aired in the US on BBCAmerica. This story is set before the series begins, but includes brief references to the episode "A Blast from the Past". I've added a new opening scene, and edited this quite a lot, enjoy! This is a new version, with new opening and edits. Again, thank you to Jackie Cox for helping me to improve this story. This is also a prequel to a much longer epic story which should be posted soon.

Summary: "A Blast from the Past" hints at a dark childhood for Marty Hopkirk, and I couldn't let those hints lie without playing with them. New version! Rated "R" for a reason guys, so don't read if under-aged. Adult themes and language.

Into All Sadness A Little Happiness Must Fall

by Olivia Sutton

Jeff Randall and his partner in their detective business, Marty Hopkirk, sat in a small café retaurant, eating lunch. Suddenly, Marty stopped eating and looked at Jeff, before asking, "So, what do you think of Jeannie, then, Jeff?"

Jeff stopped eating as well, and answered, "She's a nice girl, Marty.

Marty nodded, then said, "But what do you really think of her, Jeff?"

"What do you mean, Marty? Why'd you ask me that?"

"I...um, things are getting a bit serious between us, Jeannie and me, and I..." Marty hesitated, then said, "I'm thinking of proposing to her."

Jeff grinned widely, "That's great, Marty. I've been telling you, you don't want to let her get away. I'm happy for you."

Marty looked serious, then said, "I haven't asked her, yet."

"Well, you should," Jeff looked perplexed, then looked at Marty's serious face and said, "Okay, what is it?"

Marty looked uncomfortable, "I... I haven't told her, you know."

"Told her what?"

"About... about what happened when I was fourteen."

Jeff nodded, "Do you think she needs to know?"

"If we're to be married, she does. I can't take a secret like that into a marriage, Jeff. I mean, I feel guilty as it is, we've been together a long time, and she still doesn't know anything, anything at all about my past."

Jeff nodded again, sympathically, "Then tell her, Marty."

Again, Marty looked uncomfortable.

"What?" asked Jeff.

"I'm... I'm afraid, Jeff. What if she thinks it was my fault? What if she doesn't want me after she knows?"

"Marty! She's not going to think it was your fault. It wasn't your fault, Marty. You had..."

"... no control over it, I know," Marty answered, "I still can't help but think..." He took a deep breath, then looked at Jeff for support and understanding, "I'm afraid she won't want me, Jeff, not after I tell her, not after she knows everything. And I have to tell her everything, Jeff, absolutely everything."

"If she 'doesn't want you', Marty, she doesn't deserve you. You wouldn't reject her for something like that, would you?"

"Well, no, but... It's different, I'm..." Marty left off.

Jeff looked at Marty, "You and Jeannie are meant for each other, Marty. It wouldn't be like with me and Freya... Jeannie isn't jealous of me, she likes me. And she understands us, Marty, even without knowing anything about what happened to you, what we went through, she seems to understand, instinctively, about us."

Marty looked up at Jeff, "You think so? You really think it won't matter to her? That it won't scare her off?"

Jeff nodded, "I'll expect you to tell me when the wedding is, very soon."

Marty smiled, "Thanks, Jeff."

Jeff smiled back, then returned to eating his lunch.


Marty held the door open for Jeannie, then slammed it shut with his toe, his hands on her arms, "Jeannie," he said, softly.

Jeannie nodded and walked towards the sofa, lowering herself down.

Marty checked the lock, it wouldn't do to have nosey neighbours walking in, "Jeannie, you look beautiful, tonight," he said, moving towards her.

"You're not half bad, yourself, Marty," Jeannie said, smiling at him.

Marty grinned and lowered himself on top of her, kissing her earnestly, "Jeannie, I love you."

"Hum," answered Jeannie, kissing him back.

The two made passionate love, then fell asleep on the couch.

Marty awoke to find Jeannie laying across him on the sofa, he gently touched her shoulder, "Jeannie, come on, wake up."

"Ummm," groaned Jeannie, still more than half asleep.

Marty shook her, "Come on, Jeannie, wake-up."

Jeannie groaned and stretched, then turned over like a cat, to face Marty beneath her, "Morning, luv."

"It's not morning, but if we are to get any sleep at all, we should move to the bedroom."

"You woke me up to tell me it's time to go to bed?" Jeannie asked.

"Hum-um," answered Marty, touching her face tenderly, "After all, we both have work tomorrow."

Jeannie smiled at him, then got up, "All right, Marty."

"Wake up! Wake up, Marty!" Jeannie said, shaking her boyfriend.

Marty was shaking and yelling, in his sleep, deep in a nightmare. Jeannie rolled herself on top of him and held him down, and was about to yell again, when Marty roared, "Get off of me, get off!" angrily, then pushed her aside, but just as suddenly his manner changed, "No! no please, don't... god, don't..." he cried, in a terrified voice. Meanwhile, there was a sharp crack as Jeannie collided sharply with the corner of the headboard.

Jeannie rolled back from where he had pushed her and reached him, shaking him awake, "Marty!"

Marty awoke with a start, and looked up at his girlfriend's face. She was sporting a brand-new black eye and looking at him with a terrified expression.

"No! What... what is happening? Jeannie?" He held up a hand to her eye.

She flinched. Marty saw her reaction and moved away, tumbling off his side of the bed, "I did that, didn't I?" he asked.

"You... you were having a nightmare, and I tried to wake you up. I got on top of you and you pushed me off, and I hit my eye on the headboard. I'm all right, Marty," she crawled towards him, and sat on the edge of the bed, "I'm all right, it was an accident."

Marty nodded, his entire frame was visibly shaking, and then he moved away from the bed, and sank down against the bedroom wall. He began to whimper, "I'm sorry, Jeannie, I am so sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it..."

Jeannie got up from the bed and approached him, cautiously laying a hand on his arm, "Of course you didn't, Marty, it was an accident."

Marty looked up into her eyes, "Jeannie?"

"Shush, shush, it's okay, do you want to talk about it?"

"What about?" asked Marty, quietly, then he scooted away from her.

"Your nightmare..."

Marty nodded, "Jeannie, it wasn't... It was memories, Jeannie."


Marty nodded, then he approached her, "Jeannie, there's something I've got to tell you, something from my past, from long ago. I haven't felt, able, to tell you, before now, but..."

"Shush, it's all right, Marty, come on, now..." Jeannie put a hand on Marty's arm and led him to the bed, "Let's sit down, and you can tell me all about it."

Marty looked at her, then followed her to the bed, "Jeannie... I know you don't like secrets..."

"Tell me, Marty."

"There just never seemed a good time to tell you Jeannie, but now that we've been together for five years, I... I suppose you should know..."

"Whatever it is, Marty, it won't change what I feel about you."

"It might," Marty said, then sighed, "Well, you know that my Dad died when I was young, yah? Me mum, she...she, um, well, she never let the bed get cold, if you understand me?" Marty rushed on, not allowing her to answer, "She had a succession of boyfriends, lovers, whatever, in the house, and no time for me. When I was fourteen, though, she brought home this bloke, who seemed more interested in me, than in her."

Marty closed his eyes, then continued, quietly, "He... he'd brush against me for no reason, or touch me, for no reason... after a month or so, he... he'd come into my room at night and he'd... Oh god, Jeannie..." Marty's eyes flooded with tears.

Jeannie moved closer, and stroked her boyfriend's arm.

Marty opened his eyes and looked at her, "He'd touch me, Jeannie, he'd come into my room, hold me down and touch me privates. Then he'd tell me it was my fault and threaten me with worse if I told anyone. That went on like that for a few months."

Jeannie looked at Marty, shocked, "No... Oh, Marty, no!"

Marty nodded, once, then continued, "It... it got worse. One night, he, oh, god," Marty cried, then whispered, "He raped me."

"He what?" asked Jeannie, quietly.

"He raped me! The bastard raped me, Jeannie!" shouted Marty.

"No... no, Marty... God, Marty, I'm sorry."

Marty nodded, then began to cry.

"Did you tell your mum, Marty?"

Marty hesitated then said, "No..."

"Have you told anyone?"

"You," Marty whispered.

"Anyone else?" Jeannie asked, cautiously.

"Jeff... Jeff knows. He found me, after it happened, when I..."

"What? Marty, what did you do?"

Marty sighed, well, in for a penny, in for a pound, he got up off the bed and walked to the window. "When he left me that night, I... I got myself dressed, then I found me father's old police revolver and bullets and I went to the schoolyard. I sat there, Jeannie, turning the gun over and over in my hands, considering..."

Jeannie paled, "Oh, god, Marty, you didn't..."

Marty nodded, "But then Jeff showed up. Out of nowhere he showed up and..."


Fifteen-year-old, Jeff Randall woke up with a start, he listened intently but there was nothing to indicate what was wrong, then he felt a very strong feeling, a feeling that something was, in fact, very wrong. He turned on the bedside lamp and moved quietly to his dresser. As quickly and carefully as he could, he changed into a casual pair of trousers and a rugby shirt and then slipped out of his bedroom in his mother's house. He unpadlocked his bike from the garden post and rode towards his school, his heart beating a staccato rhythm of fear as he pedaled as fast as he could.

Jeff entered the schoolyard, looking around in the semi-darkness for he knew not what, but he knew every instinct he had was urging him on, urging him that something was terribly wrong. White-yellow floodlights lit the sports-grounds of the schoolyard and the nearby jungle gym and swings used by the younger children. But then he spotted what he had subconsciously known he was looking for- Marty.

Marty Hopkirk leaned against a low brick wall on the edge of the school play area. As he got closer, Jeff saw that Marty had something metal in his hand that gleamed in the floodlights. Jeff hurried closer to his friend. As he got even closer, he recognised what Marty was holding and he got off his bike, dropping it to the ground, he ran towards Marty, shouting, "No, Marty, don't!"

Marty looked up, completely astonished to see his best mate appear from nowhere.

Jeff had reached Marty by this point and he doubled-over, catching his breath, "Drop it, Marty, and talk to me. It can't be that bad."

Marty looked at the police revolver in his hand, then looked up at Jeff's panicked face.

Jeff stepped closer, "Give it here, Marty, for god's sake!"

Marty began to shake, then he dropped the gun to the ground. Jeff kicked the weapon away. "Now talk to me," said Jeff, his voice shaking with anger and fear.

Marty looked away, as his eyes filled with tears.

"Come on, Marty, come on, talk. It's me, Jeff," Jeff cautiously put a hand on his best mate's arm.

Marty pulled away from the touch, then recognised his mate, "Jeff?" Marty whispered, his voice cracking with pain. "Jeff? Jeff, what are you doing here? It's the middle of the night."

"Saving your life, by the looks of things...", Jeff answered automatically, then he closed his eyes a moment and concentrated on pushing down the mind-numbing fear in the pit of his stomach, "Now...talk to me, please, Marty."

Marty nodded, then he collapsed onto Jeff's shoulder, crying. Jeff struggled a minute to hold his bigger, heavier, mate, then sank to the ground and held him close, petting his hair with one hand. "What happened? What the hell, happened?" He muttered.

"It...it was mum's new boyfriend... he, oh, god, Jeff... he..." Marty's voice shook.

Jeff mumbled soothing sounds, and held Marty close.

Marty shivered and pushed back, "Jeff... remember me telling you how Ed kept, well, touching me, getting too close? And... Jeff..." Marty's voice shook, "He..." Marty's voice broke and he cried, soaking Jeff's shirt with tears.

Jeff held Marty close, running his hands up and down his friend's back, "What did he do to you, Marty?"

Marty swallowed his tears, then began to speak in a calm, and oddly detached voice. "Ed would... the last few months, a couple of times a week, he'd come into my bedroom at night, Jeff, and..." Marty swallowed, hard, then continued, "He would touch me privates- I tried to push him away, but... I wasn't strong enough, he'd come back. He'd always come back. Tonight, though, tonight, he, oh, god... he pushed me down on the bed, on my stomach, held me down, crawled on top of me and he..."

"Tell me, Marty, please."

"He forced himself into me, Jeff," Marty said, quietly.

Jeff froze, terrified, "He what?"

"He..." Marty mumbled, sobbing and shaking.

Jeff held Marty close until he stopped shaking so hard, "It will be okay, it'll be okay," he mumbled softly.

Marty nodded, tears running down his face.

"You'll be all right, I'll get you through this, Marty."

"I can't go back home, not with him there, I can't. Jeff, I can't..."

"Shush, no, no you won't. Tonight, you come home with me, and then we'll suss something out. You'll never have to go back to your mother's house again. Not with that monster there, I swear it."

Marty nodded, again, then he said softly, "This doesn't change things, does it?"

"Change what?" Jeff mumbled, his own eyes filling with tears.

"Between us? We're still mates, even if... well, this makes me a poof now, doesn't it?"

Jeff grabbed Marty's shoulders and held him so that Marty could see his face, "NO! This doesn't change things between us, and it doesn't make you a poof. You had no control over this, Marty. It wasn't your fault."

"He said, he said, I asked for it, that I was always tempting him, flirting with him."

"Well, you weren't," Jeff said strongly.

"Damn straight, I wasn't."

"Marty, it was not your fault. This man, hurt you, and he had power over you. You were helpless against him," Jeff looked into Marty's tear-filled eyes, "It was NOT your fault, Marty."

Marty nodded again, "Thank you, Jeff, thank you for being here. Why are you here, then?"

Jeff looked startled at that, "I... I woke up and I had a bad feeling... and I knew you were in some sort of trouble, Marty, I can't explain it, I just knew... I knew to come here."

Marty nodded, accepting that easily.

"Come on, let's get you home, and cleaned up."

Marty nodded, reluctant to leave his friend's arms. Jeff held him close, then stood, patting Marty on the back.


"He was just there, he appeared from nowhere and I told him everything, Jeannie," said Marty, "Jeff saved my life that night," Marty looked over at her next to him in the bed.

"Marty... Marty, what happened then?" said Jeannie.

"We told his mother that Ed, was abusing me. She brought us both to a counselor straightaway the next morning. My mother's custody rights were suspended and I lived with Jeff and his family after that."

"So Jeff is the only other person that knows?" probed Jeannie.

"No, no, Jeannie," said Marty quietly, "There was the counselor, and...and a few others," Marty laid a hand on her upper arm, looking deeply in her eyes, "I wasn't alone, Jeannie, I couldn't have coped on me own, and I wasn't alone. There was Jeff, and I know there were others, only I don't remember much, really."

"But you did see a counselor, then?"

"Yah, I had to... Jeff insisted. So did his mother... Jeff let her think it was physical abuse, not...Well, at first that's what we said. But she soon found out the whole truth."

Jeannie cautiously approached him, and then hugged him, "Thank you for trusting me enough to tell me all this. Marty..." she looked at him.

"Don't pity me, Jeannie, I couldn't take that."

"No, I..."

"Tell me it doesn't matter, tell me you still love me," Marty said.

"It doesn't matter, Marty, and I do still love you, more than anything."

Marty looked at her, as if to judge whether she meant it, but he saw only open love in her eyes, "Then marry me, Jeannie," he said, at last, leaning on his elbow and facing her. Then quickly added, "Oh... this is all wrong, I wanted to have champagne, and roses, and a nice dinner for you. I wanted it to be like a dream... But... Jeannie, I've kept this bottled-up so long, but now that it's out... I swear I have no more secrets. If it doesn't matter... if it doesn't change how you feel. Marry me, Jeannie, please."

Jeannie looked at him, "Boy, you don't do things by half, do you, Martin Hopkirk?"

Marty batted his eyes at her, pleading.

"Yes, I'll marry you, Marty."

Marty grinned from ear to ear, then he kissed her, passionately. "I love you, Jeannie Hurst, and I'm going to enjoy growing old with you."

Jeannie smiled at him, then kissed him.


Marty rolled over, half-awake, stretching his arm out on the bed, finding the bed empty, he awoke completely and sat up with a groan, opening his eyes, "Jeannie?" But his girlfriend, no, fiancée, he thought, with a smile, wasn't in the bed with him. Marty got up out of the bed, and grabbed his dressing gown from the foot of the bed. He checked the master bath, but it was empty, then he walked through the flat to the kitchen. Jeannie was stood at the cooker, frying some eggs and sausage.

"Morning, Jeannie," Marty said, approaching her.

Jeannie turned to face him, "Morning, Marty,"

Marty looked in shock at the dark purple bruise under her eye, "Jeannie, I am so sorry."

"For what? Oh," she said, touching the bruise, "Marty, it was an accident; and anyway, it got you to open up to me last night."

Marty nodded, and moved to her side, he grabbed her waist, and she melted into his arms, Marty began nibbling her earlobe.

"Hey, stop it, I need to finish breakfast," she protested lightly, swatting him with her hand.

"All right, Jeannie, all right," said Marty, "I'll just take my shower, then, shall I?"

"Um," answered Jeannie, turning to kiss him.

"Oh, now, this sounds even better than a shower, you sure you don't want to go back to bed?' He wiggled his eyebrows at her, suggestively.

Jeannie kissed him again, then pulled away, "No, we both have to work today."

Marty sighed, "All work and no play makes Jeannie a very dull girl."

She swatted him again, then yelped, "Oh, the eggs!" and returned to the cooker to turn the gas off, "Go take your shower, Marty, and be quick."

Marty kissed her neck and then left the kitchen.

Marty returned from his shower, dressed in a black suit and black shirt, in record time. The kitchenette table was set, with two plates, brimming with scrambled eggs and sausage. A filled toast rack, and pots of marmalade and jam sat in the middle of the table. Marty walked over to the table, and sat down, "So, what are your plans, today, Jeannie?"

"Hum? Oh, I have the lunch shift at the restaurant, then I thought I'd meet Wendy to tell her about our engagement."

Marty nodded, "Jeannie, I... let me be the one to tell Jeff, though, yah? "

"Sure, Marty."

"I was thinking in the shower, and- you don't work tonight, do you, if you're on lunch?"

"No, I'll be off around three."

"How about if we go to a late dinner, then. You, me, and Jeff- I can tell him about our engagement, and maybe we can even start making plans..."

"Marty, you seem awfully rushed about this all of a sudden."

"Rushed, no, Jeannie, no...Well, maybe it's because I've thought of asking you so many times, and then I bumbled it, and I thought you should at least get a nice dinner out of the deal," he looked at her, his bright blue eyes brimming with insecurity.

Jeannie took his hand over the table, "Marty, I said yes, and I meant it. We can start with plans if you want."

Marty nodded, "We'll see how it goes." He squeezed Jeannie's hand, then glanced at his watch, "I had better be going, then, Jeff and I have to plan some surveillance and things for this case we're on," He rose from the table and went to her side, kissing her head. Jeannie half rose to meet him and kissed him deeply on the lips.

"Off you go, then."

Marty smiled at her, then he left the flat, taking his leather coat with him as he walked out the door.


Jeannie stood across the street from the office block that held the offices of Randall and Hopkirk Security Services, drinking a takeaway coffee and watching the door. She'd been there for half an hour, but finally she saw her fiancé leave the building, she waited a few more minutes, then chucked the coffee in a convenient rubbish bin, crossed the street, and entered the foyer of the office block. She took the lift up to the second floor, then entered the office. Felia wasn't at her desk, so she went straight to the inner-office door and knocked.

"What'd you forget, Marty?" yelled Jeff, then he rose and opened the door. "Oh, Jeannie, I thought you were Marty, you just missed him," said Jeff as he saw her stood there.

Jeannie answered, "I know, Jeff, actually it was you I wanted to see, shall I come in?"

Still a bit startled, Jeff suddenly remembered his manners, "Oh, sure, come in Jeannie, and sit down," He held the door for her, and shut it after her, then indicated the plain chair in front of his desk. After she was sat down, he went to his own chair, behind his desk and sat, then said, "What is... Jeannie, what happened to your face?"

Jeannie put a hand to her eye, then dropped it into her lap, "Uh, um... that's why I'm here, Jeff. Marty..."

"What!" Yelled Jeff, then he lowered his voice. "Marty would never... I mean, he thinks that men that hit women are lower than pond scum, and with his..." Jeff trailed off, "No, I'm sorry, go on, Jeannie."

"No, you're right, Jeff. It was an accident. And it was my fault- I was trying to wake him up from a nightmare."

Jeff interrupted, "Is he still having nightmares, then?"

"Last night was... he..." Jeannie began to cry.

Jeff rose from his chair, and knelt at her side, patting her arm, "He's not a violent man, Jeannie, trust me, I know."

"I know, we've lived together for five years, and he's the sweetest... No, the reason I'm here is that his nightmare last night was more violent than I've seen; and I got on top of him to calm him down and he pushed me away before he realised what he was doing. Which is how the eye happened- I rolled into the headboard," Jeannie took a deep breath, "Go ahead and sit down, Jeff, I'm all right, really."

Jeff returned to his seat, "Then why are you here?"

"Marty told me some things about his past last night, Jeff," she paused, then she added, "And he told me you were privy to his secrets."

Jeff paled. "Jeannie... What did he...?" Jeff couldn't continue.

Jeannie took a deep breath, "Jeff, I... I consider you a friend, a real friend. And I know you're Marty's best mate. What Marty said last night..." She trailed off then started again, "God, it terrified me, Jeff. I suppose the reason I'm here is, I want to know he's... um, healed, I suppose. I am so frightened for him."

Jeff nodded, "Jeannie, I have to know what he said. I mean, Marty didn't have the easiest childhood, you know. But we grew-up together. We've known each other since we were kids, and..." Jeff stopped, then started again, "He's my best mate, Jeannie," he added simply.

Jeannie got up and walked to the window behind Marty's desk, then turned and faced Jeff, "He talked about being sexually abused, Jeff, and... and about... the assault."

Jeff whistled, "He told you everything, then."

"Yes, god, Jeff- he was, what, fourteen? And it sounded like it was long-term abuse."

"It was.."

"How did he... survive?"

"He did, Jeannie, Marty's a tough bloke, you know. "

"But he also told me, Jeff, he said you saved his life."

"I suppose I did, Jeannie. Look, Jeannie, this isn't something that Marty and I really talk about. I was there when it happened, and me and me mum, really, we put him back together again. But he's okay, he's been okay for some time."

"Are you sure, Jeff? Really? Because he frightened me, last night, and I'm not talking about my eye."

Jeff nodded, "He doesn't tell everyone about it, Jeannie. There are only a handful of people that know anything about it, and all of them were about at the time it happened," Jeff paused for a minute, then looked at Jeannie, "He must trust you very much to tell you about it, Jeannie, it was so painful for him, and he... he doesn't let just anybody know what happened."

Jeannie nodded, "I realise that, Jeff. I do. I think he felt, he sort of had to; I got the feeling he felt he was lying to me by not letting me know about it," Jeannie paused, introspectively, "But, Jeff, I have never seen Marty like that. He's such a light-hearted bloke, normally, that's part of why I love him."

"Marty doesn't dwell in the past. He can't, it would tear him apart."

"Jeff, I have to know... I came here, because I have to know. Would he ever..." Jeannie returned to her seat, then spit out what had bothered her so much about what Marty had said the previous night, "Dammit, Jeff, tell me, and tell me the truth, Am I going to lose Marty to his own hand? Because I don't think I could take that."

"No, Jeannie, no," Jeff answered forcefully. "Jeannie, listen, Marty... I was with Marty on the worst night of his life, and he... I don't believe he would have done anything that night, Jeannie. I mean, thank god I was there for him, but..." Jeff shook his head, "No, not now, he'd never... he loves you, and... and I believe that as much as two mates can love each other, he loves me. He wouldn't do that. No, Jeannie."

Jeannie looked up, a tear rolling down her face, "I believe you."

"Good..." Jeff started to say, when the door opened.

Marty strode into the room, "Jeff, I..." but he stopped when he saw Jeannie, sitting there, in tears, "Jeannie? Jeff, What did you do to make her cry?"

"I didn't..." said Jeff.

"Damn," muttered Jeannie, "Marty, listen, I... I came here to talk to Jeff, to talk to him about last night."

"I thought we agreed to wait to tell him about our engagement, Jeannie," said Marty.

"Engagement?" asked Jeff.

"That isn't what we were talking about, Marty. We were talking about what you told me last night, I... I had a few questions for Jeff."

Marty looked confused, glancing between her and Jeff.

"Marty, Jeannie wanted to know..." Jeff sighed then said quickly, "She asked me about your contemplating suicide, Marty. I told her you'd never do it again. I know you, Marty, and you're stronger than that. And, anyway, you have people around you who love you."

Marty looked from Jeff to Jeannie, "Thank you, Jeff," then he went to Jeannie and hugged her. "How could you have any doubts, Jeannie?"

Jeannie looked at him, "Marty... Did you think I'd just accept everything you said last night, and not wonder? And not be concerned? Marty, how could I not be?"

"Oh," said Marty.

"So what's all this about an engagement, then?" asked Jeff, lightly, breaking the mood.

Marty smiled, "Well, I wanted to tell you at dinner, but I proposed marriage to Jeannie last night, and she's accepted me."

"Congratulations!" said Jeff, "I've been wondering when you two would ever get 'round to tying the knot."

"Would you be my best man, Jeff?" Marty asked.

"Of course, I'm honored, Marty, I am. Now, we need to start planning out the details. Have you thought about the church? Flowers? Music? Tuxedos? And a dress for Jeannie, of course, and..." Jeff looked up to find that both Marty and Jeannie were laughing.

"Jeff, I proposed last night, we have plenty of time," said Marty.

"We haven't even picked a date yet, Jeff," added Jeannie.

"But there are so many details to decide..." Jeff fussed, "Well, I'll just have to sort it out.

The End