Note: This is the last chapter. Thanks for all the reviews. I hope everyone enjoyed this. Special thanks to Mariel who literally helped me find the right voice.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the WAT characters
Danny didn't go to work right after seeing Karen Washington. Instead he went to an AA meeting. He'd been going each day since he'd been tempted to drink in the bar. After the meeting, he finally went to the office—where he was immediately met by Vivian.
"Glad you're here. I was just about to call you," she said as she approached his desk.
"Sorry I'm late," he replied looking at his watch. "I had an errand to run before work. What do we got?"
"A missing 16-year old boy, Alan White," she responded, pointing to the picture on the white board. "NYPD found his car last night in the school parking lot, but no sign of him. Martin is at the parent's house right now. I'm on my way to meet him. Jack and Sam are headed to the boy's school. Jack wants you to—"
"—work from the office. I know, Viv," Danny answered in a frustrated tone. "I'll start background and run the financials on the family." He paused a moment then asked in a hesitant tone,"Has Jack said anything? Has he said anything to you about…about me?"
"I know that he was talking to Olczyk before I called him this morning about the case, but I didn't have time to get an update. I'm sure he'll tell you as soon as he hears something," Vivian replied gently.
Danny smirked as he nodded slightly. "Right. Okay. You better get going. I'll call if I find something on his family."
"Hang in there, Danny," Viv said as she touched his arm supportively before turning to walk away.
Danny took a deep breath as he sat down to start the process of tracking Alan White's background. He didn't get very far before the phone rang on his desk.
"Taylor," he answered in a distracted tone.
"Agent Taylor? Can you hold for SAC Olzcyk?"
Danny sighed as he rubbed his eyes. Part of him wanted to tell Olczyk's secretary that he had more important things to do, like looking for Alan White, but instead he responded, "Yes, ma'am."
He waited for a good two minutes before Olczyk came on the line. "Agent Taylor?"
"Yes sir," Danny answered.
"I got a call from Mrs. Washington's attorney this morning."
Danny's stomach tightened with nerves. He was sure that her attorney had called to complain about his visit to her office that morning. "What did she say, sir?"
"She's dropping the complaint against you. Apparently, she had some sort of a breakdown, which led her to make a false accusation against you. Agent Malone will fill you in, but I wanted to inform you that there will be no OPR investigation and you are free to resume your field duties."
Danny breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you, sir."
"In the future, I would suggest not putting yourself in a situation that could be misconstrued. I'm recommending that Agent Malone make a note of that in your next evaluation."
Danny rolled eyes and shook his head. "Yes sir. I understand."
Then Olzyck hung up without so much as a goodbye or an apology. Danny didn't think Olzcyk owed him an apology because he'd known that he screwed up, but at the very least, Danny thought, he owed Anna an apology for dragging her over the coals. For the most part, he was just thankful to be in the clear. He looked around to tell someone, but then realized that no one was there to tell. He thought about calling Anna, but then saw the picture of Alan White on the whiteboard. The picture reminded him that he had a job to do so he quickly resumed compiling the background on Alan White and his family.
Several hours later, they found Alan White alive and locked in his stepfather's trunk. Danny found out through a financial records check that Alan's stepfather was obviously having an affair. He called Martin and Vivian who then questioned the stepfather. The stepfather finally admitted to them that Alan had found out about the affair so he wanted to make Alan disappear. Luckily, he hadn't killed him yet.
Before Danny left for the evening, he stopped by Jack's office. He softly knocked on the door before opening it.
"Got a minute?" Danny asked.
"Come in, Danny. I know Olczyk spoke to you this morning. I wanted to be the one to tell you, but then we got the case--,"
"Its okay, Jack. I understand," Danny interrupted as he sat down. "Samantha just gave me the cliff notes on your excursion this morning. You two make quite a team."
"And don't forget Martin. He traced phone records for half the night."
"I owe all of you more than I can ever repay. I'm sorry that I questioned you, Jack. I know I should've said something sooner. I made a mess of things."
"It wasn't your fault, Danny. Karen Washington is a disturbed woman. The U.S. Attorney is working out a deal with her. He'll drop the obstruction charges if she agrees to psychiatric counseling."
"When I think about what I almost let happen. I almost ruined everything—my job, my relationship—everything," Danny said almost desperately.
"But you didn't. You were strong enough to walk away."
"I guess," Danny replied in a sad tone.
"Speaking of your relationship, you're very lucky."
"Sam told me what Anna did," he responded quietly.
"Don't be angry with her. She genuinely wanted to help you. Without her, I don't think this all would have worked out."
"I'm not angry. I'm just glad it's over, and she's still with me."
"I'm sorry that we had to question her. And I'm sorry that I questioned your sobriety."
Danny smiled slightly. "I should have been up front with from the beginning. You had a right to be skeptical. But I appreciate your apology and I'm sure Anna does too—that's more than we got from Olczyk."
"Well, he doesn't know you like we know you," Jack responded genuinely. "You should get going."
"Yeah. I should. I got so busy with the case today that I was only able to leave Anna a message," he replied. "See you tomorrow, Jack."
"'Night Danny and good work today."
"Yeah, you too," he replied with a smile before walking out the door.
Danny headed straight to Anna's apartment. He was so happy and relieved that he felt like he was floating. When he arrived, he walked in quietly to find her standing at the kitchen counter, cutting vegetables. She was wearing the light pink tank top that she usually wore to bed with a pair of soft knit track pants. Her hips were swaying back and forth to the music coming from the stereo. He could have watched her for hours like that if he hadn't felt such an urgency to get close to her.
Slowly creeping up behind her, he gently let his hands slide around her bare waist as he planted a soft kiss at the nape of her neck. He thought she'd be surprised, but instead she leaned back against him.
"How'd you know it was me?" he asked surprised.
"Samantha called a few minutes ago. She said you were on your way home."
"Hmmmm. What did Sam want? Did she want to thank you for all your help today?" he asked as he continued to nuzzle her neck.
"So I guess you heard?" she asked hesitantly as her breathe hitched slightly. She was still a bit afraid that Danny wouldn't have wanted her to meddle.
"Yeah, I heard all about the business you had to tend to this morning."
"You're not mad?" she asked already knowing he wasn't because of the way he was holding her and kissing her neck.
He shook his head. "Definitely not. I just feel incredibly lucky to have you in my life."
She turned around his arms to face him as his hands locked at the small of her back. "I'm so relieved its over," she said before rising up to kiss him.
They kissed passionately and intensely against the kitchen counter for several minutes before finally breaking from each other. And then they just stared into each other's eyes. Running her hand against his cheek, she raised up to kiss him once more before wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. As she felt his arms tighten around her waist as he pulled her even closer, her eyes filled with tears because at that moment they both realized the whole ordeal was finally over.
Weeks later, they found themselves settled into a comfortable routine of almost living together. Danny's unwillingness to officially move into her loft was still a point of contention for them, but she knew it wasn't because he feared commitment with her. It was more about his pride. He didn't feel right living somewhere he couldn't afford to live. They discussed this issue at length during the trip up to her family's Connecticut home when her father and Christi invited them up for a long weekend.
"I don't feel comfortable living off your father," he continued to state emphatically.
"It's like a gift, Danny. I mean, he doesn't give me Christmas or birthday gifts. He just makes sure the apartment is paid for each year. It really isn't a big deal."
"It's a big deal to me. And that's not a normal 'gift', Anna. In the real world, where I live, parents don't give their kids million dollar apartments."
Anna sighed. "Then I'll move in with you."
He laughed and shook his head. "And how long will that last? You'd hate it. You'd hate the leaky shower that only stays hot for five minutes. You'd hate the next door neighbors who have unreasonably loud arguments followed by even more unreasonably loud make-up sex. And then there's the summer—the air conditioner never works—"
"I'd survive, Danny. We could just live there until we could find something we could both afford. And until then, we could give the neighbors a run for their money—maybe they'd get the hint," she said with a giggle.
Danny laughed. "At least we'd have fun trying. We'll figure something out," he said reassuringly as he reached for hand and squeezed it.
That afternoon, Christi insisted that she and Anna go shopping in town. The last thing Anna wanted to do was spend the afternoon with Christi leaving Danny alone with her father. However, Danny assured her that he'd be fine. Several hours later, Anna finally returned from shopping completely exhausted.
"God that woman is like a machine. She found literally a thousand ways to spend my father's money today," Anna said as she entered her childhood bedroom, kicking off her shoes and flopping on the bed. "Did my father totally interrogate you today?"
Danny smiled as he sat down next to her. "Come on now. No one interrogates Danny Taylor," he said jokingly. "It was fine. He showed me around this place. Did you know there's a whole lake back there?"
Anna laughed. "Yeah, I noticed that. My mom used to take me down there every Saturday morning to feed the ducks. I used to hate the winters when they flew south for the winter."
"This place is pretty impressive," he said in a slightly overwhelmed tone.
"It's just a house, Danny. It's not who we are."
"I know," he answered quietly.
That night, they didn't plan on making love. In fact, Anna basically told Danny that the thought of being with someone in her childhood bed with her father in the house made her feel a little strange. But in the middle of the night, they found themselves kissing intensely and pulling closer to each other. He looked in her eyes searching for a sign to go further, but she still looked a bit uneasy. So Danny pulled away from her and tossed their pillows and comforter on the floor next to the bed. She laughed at his quick thinking as he guided her down to the floor.
She bit her lip so no one could hear her moans as she moved above him with her eyes closed. She literally loved the way her made her feel. When she opened her eyes, she saw that he was watching her intensely. He almost looked nervous. She leaned down to kiss him and he cradled her against his bare chest—hesitant to let her go.
When they finally finished, he hovered above her looking into her eyes as they both caught their breath. She noticed that he still had a strange look in his eyes.
"What is it? What's wrong?" Anna asked as she caressed his cheek.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Everything is so right it scares me," he answered. Then he shifted his weight so his body still lay against hers, but he wasn't on top of her. He kissed her forehead. "I don't think we should move in together."
The statement came so fast and matter-of-fact that Anna could hardly believe what she was hearing. Frowning, she looked up at him. "What? How can you—"
"Let me finish," he said as he put a finger to her lips. "I was going to do this when we got home tonight but I don't think I can wait anymore."
Her stomach turned at the thought of what he was about to say. She feared that didn't want to move so fast because he was still scared of messing up their relationship.
"Do what?" she asked with the frown still firmed etched in her brow.
"I talked to your dad today."
She shook her head completely confused. "You what? Why—"
He sighed and put his finger to her lips again. "We talked about the loft and what our options were, and we decided—"
She grabbed his finger from her lips. "Whoa, whoa. You decided? Why is it any of his business where we live or what we do?"
Danny smiled. "The whole living arrangement talk was a part of a bigger conversation that he and I had while we walked around that lake."
Anna couldn't say anything else. She wondered what her father did to her Danny on that lake today.
"You see," Danny continued, "I asked Christi to take you shopping today so I could talk to your Dad about us."
"Us?" she asked as the picture started to become clearer in her mind.
"Yeah. I thought I should ask his permission—"
Before he could finish his sentence, Anna leaned up to kiss him. "Oh my god. Oh my god," she said as her head fell back to the pillow. "Oh my god."
"Are you gonna let me ask you?" he asked in an exasperated tone.
She nodded. "Sorry, go ahead," she answered with a trembling voice.
"I don't think we should move in together because I think we should get married. Your dad gave me his blessing today. I have the ring back at my apartment, but I can't wait anymore. Will you…marry me?"
As her body literally shook with emotion beneath him, she leaned up to kiss him again. He returned the passionate kiss enthusiastically.
"Is that a yes?" he asked finally pulling away.
She nodded. "Yes, yes, of course, yes. I've been waiting for that question from you since I was eighteen years old," she exclaimed as she thought about the first time she'd seen him in that coffee house at NYU.
"Better late than never," he said as he kissed her again.