We said Always

Disclaimer: Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot. Everything is fiction! Anything regarding medicine, medical schools, the law, lawyers and New York is fictional. I have no idea how accurate I am, so take it as fiction.

AN: So, first I want to thank everyone who has stuck with me through this story. I really don't know what happen. I love this story, but somehow it got put on the back burner to Thursday Prestige, then Engaged Desire and now G-Force. I'm so sorry for doing that. I can't express how much I appreciate everyone who has read this story and will read this story. I'm also so grateful for everyone who has reviewed.

This is the final chapter and I hope it lives up to what yall were hoping for. I hope it gives this story the justice and attention that I seem to lack in giving it.

Thank you soo much again for reading this story…thanks for reading all my stories.

Enjoy and please leave me your thoughts.

Chapter 22

Thank God for her thick clothing and long dark hair because the cold sweat that had erupted all over her body surely would have been visible to watching eyes. Her heart was racing and her mind whirling. She currently sat in the waiting area that held the office of the hospital administrator. The office that at the moment occupied none other than said life determining administrator and the dean of her program. Apparently a few things needed to be ironed out before she would be allowed to enter the meeting. While the receptionist made everything seem calm and routine Gabriella couldn't help the sickening nerves that spun around in her stomach and the cloud of concern that rested over her head.

Gabriella continued to take long deep breaths and replayed the words of assurance that had been spoken to her in the past twenty four hours. She kept telling herself that no matter what the outcome she had done everything by the book and had little to no regret.

Honestly though, at the present time it wasn't her fate that had been plaguing her. Initially yes, worry for her fortune had been first thought, but right now she was more concerned for Troy. He stated numerous times that he wouldn't change anything. He knew he was the best man for the job and he did the case with prestige and excellence. However, she was fairly certain the men of his practice most likely didn't see it that way and that scared her. Troy was so utterly fantastic at his job and she hated to think that something of this stature could follow him through his career. She knew how much he loved his job and there were probably other firms that were better suited for him, but this case with Burke/Strain had been so publicized that any reputable firm had been informed of the workings and misworkings. She could only hope that Troy's smooth words and talk would be able to ease his future employment.

"Dr. Montez, they will see you now" the receptionist kindly called to her.

Gabriella gave her a soft smile and got up from her seat and followed the young woman to the desired office.

She took a deep breath and walked through the threshold. She mustered every bit of confidence that rested in her gut, "Hello" she greeted.

Martin Masters and Dr. Jacob Lester gave her a welcome smile and ushered for her enter and shut the door.

"How are you Gabriella?" Dr. Lester asked kindly.

Gabriella smiled, "I'm doing alright, thank you"

Dr. Lester nodded, "right, well I'm not going to prolong this process. I'll let Mr. Masters say what he needs to and then I will conclude" he said taking a seat next to her.

Gabriella clenched her jaw and let out a silent sigh as she nodded, "okay"

"Gabriella, I won't deny that what we just experienced with the law suit was serious, but it was no fault of your own that you were involved with the attorney assigned to the case."

Gabriella just nodded.

"What had taken place was out of your control and you being called to testify would have happen whether or not Mr. Bolton had been the defending council. You were a primary caregiver for Mr. Stewart. Yes, your involvement appeared on the outside as being complicated but we at this hospital have no control over who our employees are involved with personally. The only moment a reprimand would ever be given out would be if your work was being hindered and you Dr. Montez have had nothing of the sort effect you and for that I'm rather impressed by you…I can appreciate that you are concerned for you stability at this hospital and from where I see things I can assure you to rest easy…okay?"

Gabriella nodded.

"This is purely protocol and the situation needed to be addressed for legality sake and for the peace of mind of our employees, that being you at the moment. The only request I have of you is to continue the superb work you have been distributing and continue to not let your personal relationship be a hindrance to your work."

Gabriella finally allowed her lungs to expand and a wave of air to fill them, "yes sir…thank you"

Mr. Masters nodded.

"Gabriella, there really isn't more that I can say that Mr. Masters didn't say. I appreciate your professionalism with the patients and if staying in the program is something that you are still interested in we would be more than lucky to continue to have you, but I understand that after going through something of this magnitude priorities and wants can change."

Gabriella let out a sigh of relief. After hearing the words of these two men she knew part of it was sincere but another part was to assure that were covering their asses and making sure that they weren't making her feels ostracized because of her involvement. Gabriella understood and respected that.

"I'm quite happy here and I rather enjoy my work, so I would love to continue on." She said with a soft smile.

The men stood from their chair and mirrored her smile.

"That's great to hear" Mr. Masters stated.

"Thank you" she said as she stuck out her hand to bid farewell to the two gentlemen, "I'm back on shift in Friday, I shall see you two then" she said kindly and excused herself from the office.

The moment she was in the safe confinement of the elevator she closed her eyes and rested her still frazzled body against the solid surface. She let out a long sigh of relief. That had gone well and she hoped that Troy was meeting the same fate.

Troy wasn't nervous. It may be seen as cocky, but he wasn't. The arrogant persona was never one that would have been used to describe him, but when it came to his work her had a self assurance that was understood. He knew he was talented and that was something that he held dear. He worked hard and studied hard to be able to classify himself as that, which was the number one reason that if Mr. Burke wanted to terminate the contract then so be it. He had no doubt that he would able to find employment. Employment that would allow him to help those who originally got into law to help in the first place.

Troy sat in his office fidgeting with the basketball paper weight on his desk. He hadn't been assigned another case as of yet. All his pending cases had been pushed off on other associates when he taken the Morgan Stanley case. He had been aiding help of his knowledge of the cases to the new attorney's on the cases, but other than that he was a sitting duck. A sitting duck waiting to find out his fate, to find out if he was going to sink or swim in this pond and as the days went on he wasn't sure if he wanted to swim.

His phone buzzed and Mr. Burke's voice sounded over the intercom, "Troy, would you be able to come into my office at the moment?"

Troy rolled his eyes, "absolutely Sir"

"Okay, thank you" he responded.

Troy buttoned his suit coat and walked out of the office and made his way to the large office down the hall. He took a deep breath for good measure and knocked strong and hard.

"Come on in" was heard through the thick wood.

Troy turned the brass knob and entered.

"How are you today Troy?" he asked as he stood from his desk and ushered for Troy to take a seat in front of the pristine desk.

Troy gave him a smirk, "I'm doing alright Sir. Waiting for my next case to be handed down, but trying to keep busy as best I can"

Mr. Burke nodded, "I see"

Troy did his best to contain the boiling of his blood. Mr. Burke's ability to beat around the bush was beyond perturbing to his already growlingly shot nerves.

"Well, Troy I'm sure you can guess the reason that I wanted to see you" he began.

Troy grinned, "Yes Sir…I can"

He let out long sigh, "Troy, I will not lie and say that I was not disappointed. You were well aware of my view point as far as involvement with clients goes. The case ended well, but I can't ignore what played out before hand"

Troy nodded, "I can understand and respect that sir. However, when I was assigned to the case I had no idea that Dr. Montez would be involved in the suit. Yes, when I discovered her involvement I should have said something, but Sir, I know I was the right attorney for this case. And forgive me, but you obviously thought the same, having given it to me. I wanted to see the case through and I didn't let my relationship with Dr. Montez hinder my performance, had it not been for MacCartney this would have never been an issue."

" I see what you are saying Troy, but what MacCartney pulled is the primary reason I do my best to instill in my employees how client relationships can cause an unwanted curve ball that can end badly at times. It's just easier and as far as I see business is the right way to work"

"Okay" Troy said flatly.

William Burke leaned back in his chair and let out a long sigh, "Troy…I see more potential in you than I have seen in a long time. It's unfortunate that we as a firm and you as a person had to go through what you did. I did not call you in here to ask for your resignation or to fire you. I called you in here to make sure we have an understanding on how I want to run business from this day forward. This case ended well, but next time you may not be so lucky, so from this moment onward I would like for you to uphold the rules to best of your knowledge…okay?"

Troy wet his bottom lip as he sat in silence for a moment. He had been playing out what he figured Mr. Burke would say to him over the past couple days and how he would respond. The moment the case was called in their favor he had a strong feeling as to what he wanted to do, but this very moment cemented that decision.

Troy cleared his throat, "Mr. Burke, I appreciate your faith in me and I appreciate the opportunities you have given me. I appreciate you wanting to keep me on in this firm after things transpired as they did, but as happy as I have been here I believe that I can be of better service elsewhere. I want you to know that his has nothing to do with this past case. It has to do with the reason I chose this course of life. So, if you will, I would like to give you my notice."

William Burke sat silent for a moment in thought. He let out a long sigh, "well, I won't deny that I'm saddened by this, but I also won't deny that I'm surprised. I knew this day would come…I wish you luck Troy."

Troy nodded and smiled, "thank you sir…thank you for everything"

William Burke nodded.

Troy gave him one more look over and exited the office. This was the right decision he knew it. He was starting a new phase of his life. A phase of his life that had slowly began to construct the moment Gabriella came back into his life. It was time to fully embrace it. It was time for him to start answering those offers that he seemed to let go by the wayside. However, at the moment and for the next several hours it was time to lock in the one thing he couldn't live, breathe or function without. Every particle that made up his body told him that it was now and so he walked to his office grabbed his belongs. He told the secretary he was taking a personal day and he set off for the one representation that would mark what would be his forever.

Gabriella hadn't heard from Troy all day. It made her nervous. He had been so certain that today was the day that Mr. Burke was going to either tear him a new asshole or let him off the hook, so having not heard one word she was beginning to worry. She had tried to call him and tell him the good news of her job security but voicemail was all she ever heard. It was rounding 6:30 in the afternoon and Troy should have left the office at least thirty minutes ago and she had yet to hear from him.

Her body suddenly jumped as the sudden vibration jarred her coffee table. She reached down for the phone in hopes that it was Troy, but it wasn't.

"Hello" she answered in a solemn voice.

"Are you fucking kidding me…hold one, let me get the lawyers on the phone. Those fuckers aren't going to know what hit them….I'm sooo going to ruin them"

Gabriella sighed, "Shar"

"I can't believe they let you go because you were fucking Troy. I bet they are jealous because Troy is fucking fine. God, with those big muscle and probably even bigger dic…"

"Sharpay!" she screamed.

"What?" she finally said coming out of her rant.

"One, stop talking about my boyfriend's penis. I'm getting tired of having this conversation with you every day. Two, they didn't fire me. So call off the firing squad"

"Good, I guess they got my messages" she finally said.

Gabriella's eyes widen, "Sharpay…what the hell are you talking about"

"Nothing really...you know….I lead by fear, so I gave them a little"

"Oh my Sharpay…please tell me you are joking"

Sharpay laughed, "sadly I am, not because I didn't attempt it….fucking Zeke caught me"

"Oh thank Go..." she began as he phone beeped. She brought the phone from her ear and her face lit up. It was Troy.

"Shar, I have to go"


"Shar as much as I would love to hear what crazy ass thing you can muster, I really have to take this…bye" she said as she pressed the hold and answer, "Troy"

"Hey baby" he said in his husky sweet voice.

"Troy…oh thank God, I was so worried when I didn't hear and…"

Troy chuckled, "hey, I'm outside your door. Care to let me in"

Gabriella smiled, "okay…but I'm not done scolding you for failing to call me and making me get wrinkles from all the worry"

Troy laughed, "I think I'm going to limit your conversations with Sharpay…that was a little to sharpayisc from my liking"

Gabriella giggled, "shut up" she said playfully as she went to open the door. Her face twinkled with delight as she set eyes on the man who made her heart pitter patter. She brought the phone from her ear and ended the call as she bit her bottom lip, a smile naturally curling her lips, "hey"

Troy stuck his phone in his pocket, "hey" he repeated as she wrapped his strong arms around her tiny waist and kissed her soundly on the lips and then let his perfect warmth trail down her jaw to her neck, "I missed you" he growled.

Gabriella smirked in happiness, "yeah?"

Troy released his lips from her sweet skin and stared lovingly into her deep caramel pools, "yeah"

Gabriella's lips twisted into a gleeful smile, "are you coming in?"

Troy nodded, "just for a minute…I have somewhere I want to take you"

Gabriella arched an eyebrow, "you do….hmm"

Troy leaned down and kissed her quickly on the lips, "yes…so how was your day…was I right? You are the best doctor to ever walk into that hospital" he said with cocky confidence as he took a seat on the couch.

Gabriella laughed, "something like that…but yes, they told me that my job was secure and that no harm no foul so to speak…"

Troy smiled, "good…otherwise I would have had to start a law suit for their absolute stupidity"

Gabriella scoffed, "now who sounds like Sharpay? She actually said the exact same thing"

Troy's lips formed and "O", "it's scary how influential that nut job can be"

Gabriella laughed, "uh huh….so how did your day go?"

"You know…the usual. Had the meeting I suspected. I still have one asshole. He wanted me to stay on….so, I quit"

Gabriella plopped down on the couch, "really?"

Troy nodded as he wrapped his arm around her and nuzzled his hair, "yep…I want to do my own work and have my own guidelines so….I've decided to meet with an advisor and some people who have been yielding offers to work with me…I'm going to start my own practice"

Gabriella smiled widely, "wow…that's great Troy. I'm so happy for you. Wow"

Troy smirked, "I'm pretty excited"

Gabriella cuddled into his embrace, "I bet"

"But…there is something I'm little more excited about at the moment, so…let's get up off this couch. I want to take you somewhere." He said as he stood from the couch and attempted to pull Gabriella up from her comfy spot.

Gabriella sighed, "this better be good, because I'm zonked and all I want to do is crawl in bed."

Troy raised his brows suggestively, "really…anything you want to do in that bed?"

Gabriella rolled her eyes and slapped his playfully on the chest, "come on Romeo…let's go"

Troy took a deep breath, "alright" he said in fake defeat.

"Troy…we are walking in circles…where are we going?"

Troy gave her hand a squeeze as he smiled down at her, "I know…I'm trying to throw you off"

Gabriella stopped walking and looked up at him with a furrowed brow, "What? Why?"

Troy smirked as he looked at their surroundings, "come on…just a few more steps"

Gabriella shook her head in confusion, "Troy…what are you…"

Troy placed his finger over her lips as he rolled his eyes and then walked away from her. Once he was stationed in the desired place he ushered for her to come join him.

"Troy….you're acting crazy"

Troy sighed, "Gabriella will you please just stop questioning and come here" he said with a light chuckle.

Gabriella groaned as she rolled her eyes and walked to stand in front of him, "okay…now what?"

Troy grinned, "Do you know where we are?"

Gabriella sighed, "Troy…what's going on"

"It's an easy question…look around…where are we?"

Gabriella sighed again and looked around, "um…we are…um…in front of my favorite sandwich shop in New York City…is that specific enough for you?" she said with a sly smirk.

Troy laughed, "almost…but I was hoping for the place where I first ran into you after six long painful years."

Gabriella grinned at his sweetness, "you're right that is a little more specific…you're so cute" she said with a giggle.

Troy took a deep breath, "I thank God everyday that I wasn't looking where I was going."

Gabriella giggled again, "me too"

Troy wrapped his hands around her shoulders and turned her so that her back was to the sandwich shop, "Gabriella…I love you so very much."

Gabriella felt her heart flutter like it always did when he said he loved her, "I love you too"

"I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you in high school and I never stopped loving you all the time we were apart. I loved you then, I love you now and I know with absolute certainty that I will love you forever"

Gabriella felt tears of happiness beginning to fill her eyes as her smile widened.

"When I said always that day at the airport I meant it. I had a lapse of judgment but you were always in my heart and I knew that I was always meant to spend the rest of my life with you." he smiled as he slowly bent to rest on one knee. His hands dropped to wrap around her waist as he looked up into the eyes he wanted to look into forever, "Gabriella…"

Gabriella's eyes doubled in size, "oh my God…Troy" she said in shock as she brought her hand cover her mouth.

Troy kissed her cotton covered stomach, "Gabriella…I want to be with you always and forever…for the rest of my life…will you marry me?"

Gabriella felt tears trailing down her face as her head slowly began to nod, "ye…ye…yes…yes"

Troy popped to his feet as perfect grin curled his lips. He pulled her into a tight embrace as he passionately pressed his lips to her mouth. He slid his tongue over her crease wanting to taste the woman he loved and would love forever. Their tongues curled around each other as their lips moved in pefect harmony. He reluctantly pulled away and wrapped her as tight as he could into his embrace and let his loved filled sapphire eyes gaze into her dark pools. He pulled the small box from his pocket, "this is for you"

Gabriella looked down at the small box and bit the inside of her cheek.

He released the 2 and half carat single solitaire from its confinement and took absolute pleasure in placing it on her slim delicate finger, "I love you"

Gabriella smiled and nodded, "I love you too"

Troy kissed her lips, "always"

Gabriella nodded, "always"