A/N: Again, thank you to everyone who took time to review. It's the only thing that gave me the courage to continue this story.
A special thank you to the incredibly talented Kate Manoso for her help, encouragement and most of all her talent and wicked sense of humor.
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine. I borrowed them from the amazing J.E. to have a little fun.
Warnings: Sexual content, Language, Angst and Spoilers for all 13.
A/N: As we come to the end of my story, I want to again thank those of you who took the time to read my story and review it. Part of me is relieved to be done with it, and part of me is sad, but I enjoyed the ride, and I hope you did too.
Learning about love - Epilogue
"What's wrong with us?" I wasn't able to keep the worry completely out of my voice.
"Nothing's wrong with us."
"Ranger, we flew all the way to Las Vegas to get married, and neither one of us could go through with it. Everyone I know gets married. Why can't we just do this?" My voice had risen an octave higher.
Taking me in his arms, Ranger looked at my face closely. "There's them and then there's us, Babe, and we're just not ready to be them yet. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with us."
"What if I'm never ready?"
"You will be."
"But what if I'm not?" Ranger let out a little sigh. I was being a pain in his ass again.
"Then we won't ever get married."
"So you'd just let me go whenever I wanted," I asked perversely. Here I am, one part of me unwilling to get married and the other part wanting assurance that Ranger and I have a commitment.
"No. Never." I felt a little thrill at his forceful denial. I started thinking maybe I needed psychological help. Seeing the frown on my face, Ranger misunderstood.
"It's a piece of paper, Babe. I have multiple other identities when I need them, and all the i.d. and documentation I need to back them up. In under 30 minutes I could have delivered to this suite 15 pieces of paper identifying us as Mr. and Mrs. Ricardo Carlos Manoso, and no one would ever question the authenticity of them." I looked at him wondering if that would work and then gave myself a mental slap to the forehead.
"Tank and Lula are a 'them' now," I said.
Ranger gave me his best 200-watt smile. "We'll have to pick out something special for a wedding present."
I smiled back at Ranger and then turned serious. "Do you think you'll ever be ready to be a 'them'?
Equally serious, Ranger answered. "I think so. I hope so. Some day I'd love to have a little blue-eyed girl who jumps off roofs trying to fly."
"You would?" I was surprised. I'd never seriously thought of Ranger wanting another little girl.
"Sure. It could be fun." Not for the first time I thought Ranger had an odd idea of fun.
"But not today." It wasn't a question, and I said the words with a trace of relief in my voice. I really wasn't ready to be a Valerie and do what was expected of me. One of the reasons I'd fallen in love with Ranger was his ability to always be himself and make no apologies for it. The fact that he expected no less than the same from me just made me love him even more.
"Not today," Ranger agreed, pulling me tightly against his body. The relief was just as clearly obvious in his voice. Ranger hadn't had enough time to get his life and his business in the place he wanted them to be before taking on a wife and a family.
"What about you, Babe? Honestly. You think you'll ever be ready to be a 'them'?
"Maybe. After all, I've gotten you to talk about your feelings, I've met your family, and I've even got you whistling show tunes. Anything's possible." At the look on Ranger's face, I started laughing and then I let out a shriek as he bent down, threw me over his shoulder and started toward the bedroom.
I was still laughing as Ranger tossed me on the bed and started stripping off his clothes.
"We're going to have to tell everyone we didn't get married, Ranger."
"We'll get married tomorrow, maybe," Ranger said with a laugh, joining me on the bed. I knew he wasn't serious, and that was just fine with me. Right now I was just going to enjoy being Ranger's woman and all the wonderful perks that came along with it.
A/N: And I hope you all enjoyed my story. My best to all of you and those you love. Please, please, please take time to review the story and let me know what you thought of it.