Okay guys its the end of the road for this fic, thanks once again for your wonderful reviews, you guys are the greatest and I appreciate your reviews. Hope you enjoyed the story.


Mark was sitting in his recliner gazing at presumably the TV, but his gaze kept being pulled over to Mayah, she was reading, her forehead was scrunched in concentration, and he was momentarily distracted by the way her tongue ran over her bottom lip. He smiled, she just looked so damn cute sitting on the floor reading, wearing nothing but his deadman Inc, shirt.

They had just got back from a visit with Jeff and Kimi and the kids, Mayah was getting to know them, the kids loved her, they already called her Auntie.

Mark was slowly letting go of his hang ups, it was a process that was for sure, Mayah made sure to give him space, she never just crashed his house, she always waited for him to invite her, she never just showed up, Mark figured she must be the most patient woman alive.

Mayah suddenly looked up and caught him staring. She smiled and put her book mark in the book and got up stretching. "You hungry?" She asked sitting down on his lap.

"No cooking, I'll go grab us some take out in a while." He said snuggling her closer in his arms.

Mayah nodded and laid her head on his shoulder. The last few months had been wonderful, she was more in love with Mark than ever.

Mark patted her thigh. "I got something in my pocket, can you get it for me?" he asked.

Mayah grinned. "You dirty old man." She teased. Mark chuckled. "Just look brat."

Mayah stuck her hand in his pants front pocket, managing to cop a feel, Mark just laughed as she pulled out the small box. Mayah smiled, Mark was always giving her presents, she had a jewelry box full of necklaces and bracelets Mark had showered on her. Mayah opened the box and pulled out the key, she looked at Mark confused. "The key to your heart?" She teased.

Mark grinned but shook his head. "No, to my house, I want ya to move in with me."

Mayah looked at him shocked. "Umm are you sure?"

Mark took her hand and kissed it. "Yeah I'm sure ,I know you have your own place, but I want ya with me all the time"

Mayah squeezed his hand. "I want to, but I don't want to invade your space, what if you get tired of having me around?"

Mark cupped her face in his hands and kissed her gently. "Not going to happen." Mayah wished she could be sure of that, the last thing she wanted to do was push him for something he wasn't ready for.

Mark saw the unsure look on her face. "Stop worrying , I want this, you're not pushing me, okay?"

Mayah nodded and hugged the big man, she loved him so much. Mark rubbed her back, he loved touching her more than anything. " You're really good with the kids, they already love you." He said.

Mayah smiled. "They're so sweet, they are great kids, I admire Jeff and Kimi so much for adopting four kids, they're special people."

Mark nodded. "Do you ever think about having kids?"

Mayah just looked at him, Mark was really acting weird. "I don't think so, I mean look at the crappy parents I had, I would probably just mess them up, what do I know about being a good mother, I never had one."

Mark looked surprised at her attitude, she was a sweet loving woman, she would make a great mother. "Thats nonsense, you are nothing like your mother, you're great with kids, you cant live you life based on what your parents did." He said

Mayah just looked at him, Mark had changed so much over the last few months, just talk of kids awhile back was enough to cause him to break out in hives. "I'm going to grab some dinner, what do ya want?"

Mayah smiled. "Surprise me." She said kissing him and getting up. Mark grabbed his keys. "I'll be back in a while." He said and left.

Mayah sat back on the couch, she couldn't believe Mark asked her to move in, true he had changed a lot, but she assumed he still wasn't looking for marriage, he seemed happy with them just being together, and so was she, Mark was wonderful to her, treated her like a queen and he didn't hide the fact that were a couple anymore, what more could she want, marriage was just a piece of paper anyway, as long as she had Mark, she was happy.


Mark grabbed some Japanese food and headed back home, he knew Mayah thought he was acting weird and maybe he was, but he kept thinking about the advice he had given Mayah, you cant live your life based on what your parents did, had that been what he was doing, afraid to love someone, have kids, because it would turn out like his parents marriage. Mark blew out a breath, how could he give her advice when he had been doing the same thing his whole life, he let a bad childhood and one bad experience with a woman color his whole life.


Mark smiled as they lay in his big bed, eating their dinner, Mark held out his fork for Mayah and she took another bite of chicken. They laughed and talked as they ate, Mark had a week off, so they were just taking the time to relax and hang out together. When they got done, Mark took the trash downstairs and Mayah sat up, she had to talk to Mark now, she couldn't wait, things were going so well between them, she just hoped he wasn't upset with her.

Mark came back in and sat down on the bed pulling Mayah in his arms. " Do you wanna take a nap, kinda sleepy myself." He said yawning.

"Can we talk?" Mayah asked.

Mark sensed distress behind the words, he wondered if was pushing her to soon too fast as far as their relationship was concerned, she had never asked for more than what they had, maybe she was happy with the way things were. "Sure Baby." He said and sat up and pulled her on his lap.

"Mark I really like working with you, I love the traveling, but I want more, when you asked me to move in with you, I realized I want to be here for you all the time, making a home for us, I put in some applications last time I was home, one was for a children's educational center, I got the job if I want it, and I'm going back to school to , I want to get my degree in early childhood education, I want to do something more."

Mark was very surprised but he wasn't upset, he wanted Mayah to be happy and he knew she was smart, she should do something with it. "You're not mad are you?" She asked looking nervous.

Mark pushed up her glasses that had slid down and smiled. "No baby, I'm not mad, I think its a good idea, you're wasting yourself, you're a smart girl, I want you to be happy and I know anything you do, you'll be great at it, not to say I wont miss you, I will, I love having you with me all the time, but I'll manage..besides I'm retiring next year, we'll have plenty of time together."

Mayah looked up at him. "Really you're not mad, I mean I'll miss being with you everyday, but I really want to do this."

Mark pulled her close and kissed her. "Whatever makes you happy, okay?" Maya smiled and leaned her forehead against his. "You make me happy."

Mark's heart melted as he looked at her. "You make me happy to baby." He said cupping the back of her head, his fingers running through her wild curls, he pulled her forward in a deep kiss, his tongue plundering the warm cavern of her mouth. Mayah leaned against him her arms lifting to encircle his neck, her finger playing the sensitive skin of his neck. "That makes me crazy."

Mayah pulled back and grinned. "I know."

Mayah closed her eyes and leaned against Mark, she didn't know she could ever be this happy, everything she had been to seemed worth it, just to get to this point in her life.

Mark too was reflecting on this new and at first unwelcome intrusion on his life, he couldn't imagine not being with Mayah or wanting her, marriage, no, but he wanted her in every way, he could do this, build a life with her, hopefully be happy, but his heart held back just a bit, marriage forever scared him, marriage meant real commitment, kids, everything, he may have come a long way, but he was still scared to just hand his heart to anyone on a platter, even Mayah.


Four months later...Christmas time...

Mayah smiled as she baked cookies, Mark should be home anytime, he had told her he passed on going to Iraq this year and she was glad, they got to spend a whole two weeks together, she missed him like crazy, even though she missed him and her friends, Randy, John and Mickie, she was truly happy, she loved her job at the center and loved school, she loved it when Mark was home.

She glanced at the clock, he had said his flight was coming in at four, it was four-thirty now, he should be in anytime, she had offered to come get him, but there was a bad snow storm, Mark had told her to stay put, if the roads were bad, he might be even later.

"ill be home for Christmas..."

She sang as she decorated the cookies, smiling as she sang the old classic, hopefully he would be in soon.


Mark cursed, it was like a blizzard out here, and he couldn't see shit, all he wanted to do was get home to Mayah, he had off two weeks and he wanted to spend every minute he could with her, he smiled, he missed her so bad now, but when he did come home, she was there waiting, she took care of him, she was surely an angel.

Mark's eyes widened when he seen the headlights of another car heading right for him.

Mark swerved sharply on the wheel and jerked to the right, the only thing he could think of was he would never see Mayah again, and how devastated she would be, the other car only clipped his left side sending him spinning sharply in a circle in the snow, his truck skidded off the side of the road, he pumped the brakes and finally came to a stop right before he ran off the edge of a embankment. Mark was shaking so badly, he couldn't move, he opened the door and walked to the embankment looking down, if his car would have went over , he would be dead.

Mark stumbled back and walked across the street to a coffee shop on the corner, he ordered a black coffee and sat in the back booth as the waitress poured him a cup, he thanked her and picked it up, he was shaking so bad he spilled it.

Mark finally got a few sips down and stared out the window, just like that he could have been dead, his life cut short, and the last picture that run through his mind was Mayah, Mark called himself all kinds of fools, he had been wasting months of precious time with her, all of a sudden things were crystal clear, he could have died out there tonight and Mayah would never have known how he felt, he finished the coffee, left the waitress a huge tip and left.


Mayah looked at the time, it was close to six and she was starting to worry, she had called his phone a few minutes ago and it had went straight to voice mail, but Mark was forever forgetting to charge his phone, so that may be the problem.

She took the last batch of cookies out of the oven and walked over to the window, it was really coming down at there, she hoped he was alright.


Mark finally pulled up his long driveway close to seven o'clock, the roads were treacherous and he forgot to charge his phone, and he had to make a stop before he got home.

He got out of the truck and grabbed his bag and walked up the front steps of the porch, Mark pulled out his key and opened the door and smiled, the house was warm, a big Christmas tree was in the foyer and he just knew she probably had another one in the den. The house smelled of cookies and he heard her singing Christmas carols from the kitchen. Mark closed the door and threw his bag down, he walked through the house smiling at all the decorations, he stopped and leaned in the kitchen doorway, just watching her. She was singing and decorating cookies, she had on one of his shirts and her back was to him. "Hey beautiful."

Mayah squealed and wheeled around and was on him so fast she about knocked him over, Mark caught her smiling and lifted her in her arms crushing her in a big hug. "I was so worried." She said in between kisses. "And you didn't charge your phone again." She scolded.

"I know, and I'm sorry, I didn't mean to worry ya." He kept her in his arms and walked over grabbing two of the cookies and wolfed them down. "I'm starving." He said between bites.

"I have dinner warming in the oven, don't spoil your dinner." Mayah said.

Mark set her down and plopped down in a chair and pulled her on his lap. "Believe me two cookies, is not going to keep me from eating."

Mayah wrapped him in a hug. "The roads bad?"

He nodded. "Terrible, let me go shower, then we'll eat." Mayah kissed him once more and then let her up.

Mark watched her as she got plates out of the cabinet, he was so glad to see her, he just wanted to pull her in his arms and keep her there forever.


Mark and Mayah had dinner in the kitchen at the small table sitting close together, she told Mark how school was going and about her job at the learning center and the different kids she was getting to know.

Mark smiled, he heard the enthusiasm in her voice, she seemed so happy. "I invited Mickie, John and Randy here when they get back from Iraq, I know you miss them."

Mayah leaned over and hugged him. "Thanks Mark, yeah I do."

"I know, we all miss you on the road too, but it wont be long before I'm home for good anyway, then I'll be driving you crazy." he teased.

Mayah just grinned. "You could never drive me crazy, well except in the bedroom." She said winking at him.

Mark just smiled, she had changed so much since he met her, she was so confident now, sassy even, he was glad she had seemed to put her rotten childhood and her past behind her, he could do the same now and things were only going to get better.


"Mark."

"Hmmm." He asked, he turned his head, they were laying in the bed, both just relaxing after two hours of mind blowing sex, he smiled at the picture she made, naked her hair all tousled about, she looked hot was hell.

Mayah rolled over and propped her self up on his chest. "I love you." She knew it might make him mad, but she couldn't just not say it anymore, she loved this big man so much she felt like it would overtake her if she didn't let him know.

Mark cupped her cheek and kissed her, he saw the trepidation in her eyes and he wanted to ease it. "I love ya too, I know I have some commitment issues and you've been far more patient than I deserve, but girl ya got to know I love ya more than anything in this life."

Tears formed in the corners of her eyes and made tracks down her cheeks, Mark leaned forward to kiss them away. "Before you start all out bawling, I gotta do something." He sat up and opened the bedside drawer and turned back around to face her. "Mayah this belonged to my grandmother, I want you to have it." He took her hand and slid the beautiful ring on her finger. "I love you ,will you marry me?"

Mayah heart stopped and she looked at him in shock. "Mark are you sure?"

Mark pulled her in his arms and kissed her. "More sure of this than I ever been of anything, I want ya to be my wife, forever, I want us to have babies, I want us to be a family, I know I'm a dumb ass most of the the time, but you seem to love me anyway and I sure as hell love you, whadda ya say?"

Mayah wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. "Yes."

Mark felt his heart open, and he knew this was forever , no more doubts, about him, about her, about the future, about having kids, because he knew he had found his perfect match.