Disclaimer: I do not own Suite Life of Zack and Cody, or any of its characters.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Zack sat on the same bench that he had sat on many years ago when he was confessing his feelings to Maddie. While sitting on this bench, he was still thinking about those feelings. Maddie had confessed her love for him, and he had turned her down because he thought he had something great with Margaret. Margaret had seen right through everything though and had dumped him, and now he was wondering how he was ever going to approach Maddie about this. But, before he could figure out the right time, Maddie slowly approached him like she had done so many years ago.

"Where's Margaret?" she asked shyly as she sat down by him on the bench.

"She left," he said shortly, "She told me that I was just trying to fool myself and be honorable."

Maddie could not think of anything to say at the moment, but then Zack turned to her and opened his mouth.

"I quit my job," she offered. He shut his mouth again.

"I heard," he softly said.

"You were right," she shrugged, "I should have been pursuing what I really wanted with my life. Thank you very much."

"Maddie, I think she was right," Zack admitted, suddenly interrupting her. Before he could continue, Maddie silenced him with a shake of the head.

"Zack, there is something I have to tell you," Maddie gave him a sad smile, "All those years ago? I really did like you."

"But ….," Zack started, then stopped, opened his mouth again, stopped himself again and then finally blurted out, "What?"

"I really did like you," Maddie repeated.

"You said, and I quote 'I just can't return the feelings you have for me'," Zack reminded her, "I remember quite well. I was there."

"I know I said that," Maddie protested, "I never said I didn't. I just did not mean that."

"Then why would you say that?" Zack demanded to know. He was feeling hurt that she had not told him all those years ago. Then ten years of his life would not have been wasted not talking to her. He would have never met Margaret because he would have been happy with Maddie. And this could be his wedding instead of his brother's. He was feeling a little excited that she was saying that she had always returned these feelings, but he was pushing that feeling down a little deeper.

"Because, you were three years younger than me," Maddie sighed, "And because you were not mature enough to handle a real relationship."

"I told you I loved you!" Zack angrily exclaimed, "How is that immature?"

"Come on Zack," Maddie explained to him, "You were graduating from high school, you never did any work in high school. You always pretended you were too cool for it. And you were going to a community college with no future in mind."

"My future was going to be with you," Zack softly said.

"I know," she responded kindly, "And that is why I could not be with you. You would base your whole life around our relationship. You would move with me wherever, not once thinking about your own career. I needed you to strong, independent guy who could do something with himself."

"So I would not have been myself if I would have been with you?" Zack bitingly asked her.

"Zack," Maddie tried to calm him down, knowing that her explanation was not going well, "Look how ell you have done for yourself without me. Can you really tell me that you would have done so well if I had been in your life?"

"You could have given me the chance," Zack reminded her, "You were trying to decide what was best for my life and not let me decide. Yes, I probably would not have been as successful while I was with you, but only in monetary gains only. The reason I studied so much was because I just wanted to get you off of my mind. I was never really happy though, I dated many girls, the only one of which I really cared about was Margaret. That wasn't happy. Is that the kind of guy you want? Someone who is afraid to be in a relationship?"

"This is all messed up," Maddie buried her head in her hands. She did not want to go down this path anymore. Zack let out a sigh, feeling exasperated as well, but also hopeful.

"I think it is good for us to get this out," he gently told her, removing her hands and lacing his fingers through one of them. She looked up at him with a smile on her face.

"Why?" she asked, curious.

"Because if anything is ever going to happen about us, it is good for us to get it out in the open now and not harbor it all inside," Zack told her solemnly, "If this happens between us, I really want it to happen between us. I want us to be the next Cody and London."

"Just without as big of a wedding," Maddie agreed, smiling up at him. She knew that Zack did not really need a big wedding, and neither did she.

"Agreed," Zack said, leaning in closer to Maddie and giving her a small kiss.

"Is that all you got Martin?" Maddie joked around. Zack laughed before pulling her into his arms.

"No, it is definitely not," he shook his head at her, "But, we have the rest of our lives for the rest of it."

"That we do," she responded, smiling up at him.


"What are you doing?" a gruff voice spoke up, waking Maddie and Zack up. They quickly jumped up, realizing that they had fallen asleep while sitting on the park bench. The source of the voice came from the police officer who was now demanding that they answer the question.

"I'm sorry sir," Maddie truthfully said, looking very embarrassed. Zack and Maddie did not look at each other as they tried to also avoid looking at the police officer.

"You cannot sleep on the park bench," he forcefully told them.

"No, see, we actually have rooms in that nice hotel over there," Zack tried to explain, pointing at the Tipton, "We were just talking and accidentally fell asleep."

The officer still looked as if he did not believe that they actually had comfortable rooms somewhere and choosing to sleep on a park bench.

"No sir, it is true," Maddie said, hopefully. The man looked at them suspiciously.

"Why don't we go and see if these people know you?" the police officer said to them. Maddie and Zack looked at each other, and both knew what the other was thinking. What a great way to start their new relationship, by showing everybody that they had almost got arrested.

"Okay," Zack reluctantly said. The two followed the police officer across the street and into the hotel. As soon as they walked into the ballroom, everybody turned and looked at them.

"What are you doing?" Cody asked in amusement as him and London walked over to the group.

"Do these people belong with you?" the officer asked them gruffly. Cody looked at Maddie with surprise because even though Zack often got in trouble that nobody else could imagine, Maddie was usually not one to embark on such journeys with police officers involved.

"That is my maid of honor, and he is the best man," London assured the police officer. He gave another questioning look at the pair before walking out the door, shaking his head.

"What were you two thinking?" Cody asked, even though a smile was playing on his face.

"We were tired," Zack shrugged.

"And you were taking a nap together?" London wiggled her eyes suggestively. That was the first time that Zack and Maddie realized that it was not just Cody and London looking at them, but the entire ballroom full of people.

"So, this is awkward," Zack whispered to Maddie as they looked around at all the people.

"I think I'm going to go …," Maddie suddenly brightened up, "I mean, I know I am really tired, so I think I should definitely go get some sleep."

"Me too," Zack jumped in, wanting to leave the wedding so he would not have to deal with the questioning alone, "Thanks for all the fun times at the wedding. "

"What is going on between you two?" Cody hissed at him as he and his bride followed the pair out into the hallway, looking very curious. Zack turned around and gave his brother an infuriating smile.

"You know what?" Zack said calmly, "It is your wedding, we don't want to take your spotlight. We'll tell you after you get back from your honeymoon."

Cody and London didn't say anything more as they watched their friends, who they had hoped would get together for many years, walk towards the elevator, hand in hand.