A/N- Welcome to final chapter. Thank you all for your amazing reviews and thanx especially to kiwilu and truelover for gently harassing me to post this last chpt. I hope I don't disappoint, but enjoy anyways...
Excited, Viola races up the tree-lined path toward the island's center. She does not stop until she sees an old cottage hidden amongst the trees. For a few moments she stands alone and wonders how long the building has been standing.
"Admiring the architecture?"
"Something like that, just how old is this place, anyway?"
"Well, uh. I never was good at remembering family history. Tony could tell you everything. He likes to brag about how he knows the exact date that the first shovel hit the dirt."
"Do you even have a clue?"
"Of course." He mutters indignantly. "Sometime before I was born," he jokes.
"Right." Viola laughs and rolls her eyes.
"About 1820. That's as close as I know though."
"Yea. The Orsinos have been around here for a long time."
A sudden idea lights up Viola's eyes, "Since I doubt this old place has plumbing, let's go swimming before the sun completely sets."
"You're right. I'll just drop the stuff off inside and grab some towels."
"You expected this didn't you? That's why you told me not to bother changing."
"That and you look really hot in your bikini." He gives her an appreciative look she immediately responds to with a kiss.
"Hurry up, I wanna see you take your shirt off."
Duke returns quickly and throws a towel at his girlfriend. He grabs her hand and takes off running. They break out from the trees several minutes later. Ten feet away the island gives way to thin air. Viola looks down the path that veers to her left.
"Why did we stop here?"
Her boyfriend merely smiles. After quickly pulling his shirt off, the well-muscled teen throws it and his shoes off to the side. Without a backward glance he suddenly sprints to the edge, and disappears over the side. His loud cry of delight is followed by a loud splash.
"What the hell!" Viola cries out. She hurries to the edge to look down the thirty-foot drop just as Duke emerges from the water.
He wipes water from his eyes and yells. "Hurry up, Vi."
"You're crazy. I'm not gonna throw myself off this cliff like a madwoman and kill myself." She calls back.
"It's perfectly safe. I've been jumping this cliff since I was six."
"You're insane. I'm not doing it."
Duke huffs, realizing his fearless girlfriend needs a little push. He grins mischievously, thinking that the push may need to be physical. Quickly he swims to the hidden ladder and climbs up.
"Come on, Vi. You'll love it. I promise."
He sighs. "Just one jump, I won't make you do another if you can honestly tell me you didn't enjoy it."
Appearing to think on it, Viola rubs her chin. "Just one?"
"OK." She kicks off her shoes and sprints the edge. As she goes over, she screams at the top of her lungs. "GERONIMOOOoooo!"
Eagerly, the soccer captain rushes to look into the water below. Viola resurfaces, wiping saltwater from her eyes. Even from the distance Duke can see she enjoyed it.
"Okay, so that was freaking awesome! I'm doing it again." She calls up.
"W-what? You are?" He shakes his head, unable to fathom his girlfriend's mind. Instead, he waits for her to reach him before he suggests they jump at the same time. After she nods excitedly, they race and hurtle off the cliff together. Both of their screams echo across the water. Several jumps later, and the sun a bare smudge along the horizon, the couple finally admits exhaustion.
They return to the little cottage where Duke lights a fire in the ancient fireplace. Both teens change from their wet swim-wear into comfy lounge pants and T-shirts. The cooler gives up a humble dinner of a zesty pasta salad with chicken, watermelon, and a white wine to wash it down. Little talk is made, both happy to just enjoy each other's presence as they eat. Finally sated, Viola moves from the table to snuggle on the overstuffed sofa. When her boyfriend doesn't immediately join her, she looks back mildly concerned.
"Just a sec." He rummages in a bag, then makes his way to her. Sitting down, he pulls her into his arms.
Viola kisses him lovingly before speaking. "Today was the best day I've had in a long time. You worked so hard to make today perfect, and you totally succeeded. Thank you." She pecks his lips again. "I love you, Duke Orsino." This time, Duke captures her lips with his own, not releasing her for several minutes.
"You're welcome. You are more than worth the little trouble I went through for this. I would do anything for you. You know that, right?"
"Yea, but I love hearing it." Another kiss.
"You are the light of my world. Even when you pull crazy stunts, say the strangest things, and take me to the most insane parties, I can't help but love you. I know I always want to be with you. I promise to always be here for you, no matter what."
"The silver tongue has returned. I could learn to live with this. Do I get to have it every day?" She pulls him into another passionate kiss.
He chuckles. "I'll try my best, especially if this is what I get as a reward." Viola leans in for another embrace, but Duke puts his finger on her nose to stop her. "Wait."
Her eyes fill with question as she pouts slightly. "What for?"
His other hand pulls something small from his pocket. Before she has a chance to ask, he changes his finger's position to Viola's lips. "Viola Hastings, this is my promise that I will always be here for you. No matter what happens, I want to be your rock to lean on. I want to support you in the hard times and laugh with you in the good times. I promise to be the best me I can, because you do make me want to be a better person. I don't know what I did to deserve you, but I would do anything to keep you."
As the twin stares at him in shock, he slips a small gold ring on the third finger of her left hand. Viola barely glances at the glimmering object. She throws her arms around the man in front of her, capturing his lips once again.
Around their kisses, Viola murmurs against Duke's lips. "I accept your promise, now make love to me."
He whispers his assent and allows his body to confirm the truth of his words.
"I love you."
I know it's the last chap but please REVIEW!! That way any future attempts are either killed at birth or brought up with good experience lol. Oh, and don't forget to check out my other work-in-progress For the Love of Soccer.