Title : Caroline and the Sham
Author : Karen Gomes (pyrie@hotmail.com)
Rating : PG 13 (Ooh la-la) or even R?
Type : Prose
Spoilers : Probably…
Notes : Ahhh, the last installment. I really enjoyed writing this story, I *never* want it to end! Ah well, I just want to thank everyone for their kind feedback, and having kept their threats to a minimal. Heh. Thanks again!

Finally,
Gomes.


Caroline and the Sham (Part 5)

Caroline stood outside her loft, her eyes closed and her heart broken. «He's probably run away again…» She thought sadly. Just then Annie poked her head out of her apartment.

"Hey sweetie." She gently closed her door and walked over to Caroline. "How are you feeling. Both Ben & Jerry are concerned, and want to know if they can do anything." Annie smiled, motioning the ice cream in her hand.

Caroline smiled despite herself. She looked up at Annie, her best-friend. "Thanks Annie." She took out her keys, but not before giving Annie a hug. As she opened the door, she turned towards her friend, then pointed at the box of ice cream. Tell Ben and the boys I'll be over later, with my cousin "Mr. Wine" and his wife "Mrs. Beer".

Annie grinned. "We're going to have a hell of a night!" She laughed, her eyes sparkling. Her face then softened. "Get some rest - just relax for now." She headed towards her door. "I'll call you later, hon."

Caroline walked into her loft, turning on the lights and then dimming them. She closed the door and turned, facing the desks. Caroline gasped. There sat Richard, on his chair, looking out the window. His back was to her, but she sensed he knew of her presence. "Richard…" She choked out.

Richard knew Caroline was back - he had seen her and Matt outside. They had been standing there, talking outside of the apartment building ; Matt was facing the edifice, while Caroline's back was all he could see. She had said something, and they hugged. Matt had watched Caroline leave and his eyes had drifted up to her window, where he saw Richard. Matt had then glared at Richard, and held his hand up, with what Richard presumed to be giving him the finger. Richard sighed and shook his head. He turned his chair, his eyes meeting Caroline'. His eyes fell down to a small box on the desk. His pulse quickened and his breath deepened. "I…"

Caroline dropped her purse on the floor and took quick, long strides towards Richard. Suddenly, she jumped on Richard's lap, straddling him and the chair. Her lips immediately sought his, as her arms wrapped tightly around his neck, then slid down and under his shirt.

Richard arched his back inwardly, his body pressing hard against Caroline's. He moaned unconsciously as her cold hands grazed his back. He brushed his hand through her hair, and finally rested them on her sides. "I'm quitting…" He muttered through kisses, fire burning in his belly.

Caroline slid her tongue in his mouth, while roughly caressing his lips. "…you're fired." She groaned as Richard began sucking her neck. He tongue trailed down to her shoulder and back up to her jaw-line.

"I'm leaving New York…" He whispered hoarsely as his mouth found hers once again.

Caroline grabbed a tuff of Richard's hair while the other one cupped his face. "I'll help you pack." She murmured into his mouth.

Richard slid his hands under Caroline's jacket and shirt, rubbing her back. "My plane…leaves in an hour." His voice was throaty. He stood up, taking Caroline with him, his lips still clinging on to hers, his tongue still dancing with hers.

"I'll drive you to the airport." Caroline whispered against his mouth. She sucked on his lower lip, as Richard began to walk slowly, still carrying Caroline with him. Their mouths almost never lost contact, as Richard commenced walking up Caroline's stairs.

Once upstairs, they both collapsed on the bed, each trying to undress the other. Richard kissed Caroline feverishly on every bare part of her body. "Caroline…" He whispered huskily.

Caroline grabbed Richard and her nails dug into his back. Caroline was breathing rapidly and she whispered in his ear. "I need you…"

That was all Richard needed to hear and they gave into their temptations and released their passion for one another. The years of tension seemed to melt away as they became one - their bodies complementing eachother, fitting naturally together as if it was the way God had always intended.

When they could go no more, they both collapsed on the bed, totally spent. Caroline cuddled up to Richard who was lying on his back, one arm folded under the pillow, the other wrapped around Caroline. Caroline stretched her arm, and draped it over Richard's chest. She sighed contently, but then became rather worried. Not a word had been uttered since they made love. "Richard?" Caroline summoned her courage, and chose to break the silence.

"You don't know how long I have dreamt about this day…" Richard replied to Caroline's unasked question. A gently smile caressed his face as his eyes were focused on nothing in particular.

Caroline grinned at how well Richard could read her. She lifted her head and gave him a small peck on the lips. He looked at her expectantly. "What?"

"Go on…ask it." He replied monotonously, but with a hint of humour.

"Is this how you really pictured us?" She asked, staring into his deep, brown eyes.

Richard took a breath, his eyes never leaving hers. He paused. "Actually, you were a bit more to the right, and you didn't have these ridiculous floral print covers." Richard said seriously while looking straight at her. After a long pause, he broke out into a grin.

Caroline shook her head and mock whacked him on his shoulder. After a long silence, Caroline spoke. "You know Matt paid a hooker six grand to pose as his wife?!" Caroline laughed.

"Yeah, and all it took for you to get me was overtime and Angie's lasagna." Richard smirked. "See how much I love you." He laughed, but then his expression but then he sobered up. "I love you, Caroline."

Caroline smiled and merely looked at Richard. She noticed he started to get uncomfortable due to the silence. She could of sworn she heard him curse under her breath as she laughed out loud, and then pounced on Richard. "God Richard…how could I not love you too?!"

Richard closed his eyes peacefully, as they cuddled up together.

A few hours later, Caroline awoke with a rumbling in her tummy. She glanced over at Richard sleeping peacefully. She gently caressed his chest and headed downstairs. As she walked down, she noticed Annie sitting on the couch, watching television. "Not another Spanish opera, Annie?!" Caroline smiled, placing her hand on Annie's shoulder.

Annie shook her head. "Well, it seems like you and the Lord of Darkness had your own steamy bedroom scene." Annie grinned devilishly.

Caroline's jaw dropped. "Annie!" She playfully whacked her friend. "You've been here all this time?"

"Nah…I just assumed, but seems like *you* just confirmed my suspicions." Annie smiled and got up. "Anyway, I'm off. I have two guys to keep me company tonight." Annie put her nose up in the air.

"Ben and Jerry?"

"The same." She sighed as Caroline laughed. "Congrats, Caroline." Annie said, as she exited.

Caroline turned, content and hummed a happy tune. She headed towards the refrigerator when she noticed a box on the desks. As she approached it, she saw her name written on the box. She looked at the stairs and then back at the box. Caroline bit her bottom lip as she slowly opened the case. She glanced inside and put her hands to her mouth - the cover gliding gently to the ground. She picked up the two objects in side and looked at them closely. The first was Richard's grandmother's ring, in a small blue velvet box. Inside the ring, was engraved the words "Sincere Amore". Tears began to fill her eyes as she looked at the second object. In a plain silver frame was encased a letter. She read it over and looked back at the stairs where Richard was now standing. Still holding the presents, she walked over to him and hugged him tightly. "Thank you…" She whispered through her tears. "I'm sorry I never met you at Remo's." She said with a small laugh.

"You did meet me there…only it was coincidental…" Richard trailed off. "The ring…I wanted you to keep it when I left."

"You were actually going to leave?"

Richard nodded. "I guess you *forced* me to change my mind." He said dramatically. He stopped and searched Caroline's eyes, and saw her look down at the ring. "I want to take things slow, Caroline." She looked up at him. "It doesn't mean that you are never going to wear that ring…it just means that I think we both still need some time before I put it on your finger."

Caroline smiled. "I understand." She paused. "But we *are* going steady, right?"

Richard grinned and kissed her hard on the lips. "What do you think?"

A year later, Richard and Caroline were walking down the street, holding hands tightly. They stopped at a newspaper vendor, where two other people were standing there reading. As Richard reached for the paper, Caroline listened to the two other people talking.

"Sara! Look, there's a ring on Caroline's hand!" The first one pointed to the comic strip.

"Oh my God!" Sara looked over her friend's shoulder. "Richard proposed?!"

Both girls stood there stunned. After a slight pause, they both started jumping up and down. "Caroline's getting married! Caroline's getting married!" They started chanting as they began to walk away. Richard glanced at Caroline with an amused look. In the distance, they heard one of the girls say : "Hey, remember Bula?"

Caroline let out a laugh as Richard rolled his eyes and paid for the paper. "Sorry about that…I was venting steam…"

Richard smiled, and looked at Caroline with forgiving eyes. They walked in silence the rest of the way home, and as they stepped in the elevator, Richard began to chant softly : "Caroline's getting married. Caroline's getting married…"

Caroline giggled and threw herself at Richard who embraced her in return. "Everything is right in the world."

The elevator doors began to close. "All we need to do is get rid of the cat, and we're all set." Richard grinned mischievously as the doors closed to a happy ending.

A happy, sappy ending.