Epilogue

We spent 5 beautiful days in my house. In the afternoon sun we would sit outside together on the large decks that surrounded the cabin or walk around the garden with the leaves turning red, yellow and brown, and talk. There was a lot that I wanted to tell her about me and my life. She listened intently, never questioning my decisions or actions. Always touching, always close. We made love like we had never loved before, sometimes slow and sensual, sometimes quick and fiery. Most importantly of all we made love everywhere: living room, bathroom, bedroom, outside and even on the dining room table. Steph said that her view on dining room tables and sex had improved considerably after that. After 5 days we decided to leave our little paradise and return to Rangeman. I am still the owner of a thriving business and she has a job as well.

After 2 months Steph moved in with me. She did it as a surprise for our 4 months anniversary, so I had no hand in it. No pressure, she really wanted it herself. Our stuff looked good together, just like we looked good together.

We had decided that she could bring people to the apartment, but not to the house. She loved the idea of having a little hideout, and the time that we spend there was completely private. She continued working for Vinnie, but on occasion would do jobs for Rangeman too. Her creative mind was a welcome addition to a few complicated cases. And yes, I still paid her in a monetary way for that. I'm a business man, what do you think?

We had heard the news that Morelli was having a new girlfriend, an FBI agent. Apparently they met during a big case and fell in love. I was curious to see how my Babe would react, but she just smiled and said: I hope they are as happy as we are. Couldn't agree more.

Tank and Lula are getting married in 6 weeks. Steph is maid of honor and I'm best man, so the four of us spend a lot of time planning the wedding in my apartment. Lula likes a big wedding as does Tank, so in the end I think half of Trenton will be invited. Afterwards we were laying in bed together and I had asked Stephanie if talking about a wedding made her want to get married again herself. I had always said that I wasn't marriage material, but for her I'd do it. Happily. But she said that she didn't need a piece of paper to prove the love that we had. As always, she was right.

Since it hadn't escaped my attention that she hadn't mentioned anything about not needing a ring to prove our love, I decided to splash out big time for once. She wasn't really into expensive gadgets and image, but I wanted her to have proof of my love in the shape of something beautiful. She was the first woman apart from my mother who really accepted me for who I am. I don't think she realizes how special that is. So I got her the square cut diamond jewelry set that she did a distraction job for. It was elegant and beautiful, just like Stephanie. When I came home to celebrate our 4 month anniversary and found out that she had moved herself in, I couldn't think of a better moment to give it to her. We joked that the ring would be the symbol of our unmarried status, a 'de-gagement' ring in stead of 'en-gagement' ring. Her mother's eyes got huge when she spotted it for the first time, but Steph was quick to explain that this ring was NOT an engagement ring and that there was no wedding that needed to be planned. Actually, she said, it was the sign that we WOULDN'T get married, but simply love each other for the rest of our lives. It took a while, but her mother got the message in the end. As did mine. My family loved her and was extremely happy that I had finally found the love of my life.

Did we ever fight? Sure we did, but we pretty soon got the hang of compromising and discussing it in stead of screaming or demanding. Did I ever doubt my decision to have a relationship with her? No, not even for a second. Did she give me a few heart attacks because of 'incidents' that happened during her take downs. Hell yeah, this is Stephanie we're talking about. But while I'm in our bed waiting for her to come home to find me there as a surprise because I have returned early from a business trip to New York, I'm thinking: would I want that to be different?

Hell no, because this is Stephanie Plum, Bombshell Bounty Hunter and love of my life.

The end!