THIS YEARS LOVE (LONG SHORT STORY)

Disclaimer: I do not own or have any rights to One Life to Live or it's characters (specifically Marcie Walsh or Al Holden). If I did, Al would still be alive.

A/N: In chat on New Year's Eve several members of The Corner Booth talked about the New Year's Eve proposal Al mentioned in that day's episode. They also stated they thought one of the fan fic writers should take a stab at it. Someone mentioned that I should write it (Who and why did you do that?). After thinking about the scenario, I did come up with something. This version is if Al had never died in 2003 and he and Marcie had continued their blossoming relationship. I'm sure this is not how Al would do it, but I still find it sweet. I hope you enjoy.


Marcie spied Al talking with Gordo from across the room. They had arrived at Ultra Violet only a few moments ago when Gordo came frantically searching for him. Rex had requested Al as a DJ for New Year's Eve but Al had turned him down even after Rex had offered to throw more money his way. After everything that had happened this past year but mostly in the fall, Al was taking a break until the spring semester. Even then, he decided to take only a few courses over the Internet. He had too much thrown on top of him since the summer. After his surgery back in September he had slipped into a coma. The doctor's continuously told Marcie that the longer he was in the coma, the less likely he would awaken from it. Unable to bear seeing his oldest child in such a condition any longer, Max had left for North Carolina to be with his other children. The hardest blow came when they all learned that Gabrielle had died from complications during surgery. Marcie tried to help Max but he was so distraught that he ran away from Llanview.

The day before Thanksgiving Marcie was sitting in Al's hospital room and talking to him, encouraging him to wake up. She was droning on and on about something when she felt something in her hand. Looking down, she realized he had squeezed it. Marcie could still remember the joy that leapt into her heart that day. Grabbing for the call button, she pushed it frantically until a nurse ran into the room. Explaining what had happened, the nurse didn't look half as happy as Marcie was. Dr. Wolek came in and explained to Marcie that it could just be a bodily response and might not mean anything at all. She called Joe who came right over with Reverend Carpenter and the three prayed together over Al. She could not let go of Al – her love, her life -- like the doctors so obviously did.

Later that night when they had left, Marcie snuck back into the room. She was sure by this time the nurses knew she couldn't bear to leave his side. They didn't bother her about returning to his room after hours even though she wasn't a relative. Thinking back, she remembered she had to plead with Nurse Ratchet one time and explain to her that she was the only person Al had anymore. Singing in a low voice, she once again held his hand and felt his move. Staring at his face, she swore that his eyelashes fluttered. Not bothering to call the nurses yet, Marcie continued to sing to Al as he slowly woke up. By the time he was fully out of his coma, it was Thanksgiving Day. For the first time in her life, Marcie truly felt as if she had something to be thankful for.

Al had surprised Marcie when he suggested they go to Ultra Violet. She didn't think he'd be up to going out but he was eager to get some normalcy back into his life. Jen came over to check on Marcie after Al left her alone at the bar. The gold sequined dress Jen wore made Marcie cringe. She could never see herself in such an outfit. While it was more her friends style, she thought the cut of the gown made it look as if she was about to pop out of it.

Marcie was stunned as a pair of arms embraced her from behind. "Look's like your backpack is back, Marce." Jen picked up her drink and scooted off the barstool. "I hope you two have fun and Happy New Year's!"

"Sorry about that sweetie, Gordo needed some of my technical expertise." Al joked and walked around to occupy Jen's vacated seat.

Gordo got on the mic and announced that Midnight Logic was taking a break. He was taking requests for songs and dedications. Marcie noticed a smirk on Al's face as Gordo started to announce the first dedication.

"Our first dedication is a very special one, folks. This one comes from a close and personal friend of mine who's been through a lot this year." Marcie turned to Al who just shrugged his shoulders at her. He took another swig of his soda. "From Al to Marcie and the song is 'This Years Love'."

Turning to Marcie, Al could only smile back at her. There was a look of shock and surprise on her face at Gordo's words. The slow cords of the piano music began to play and fill the club. "So what do you say? Would you dance with me?"

This years love had better last
Heaven knows it's high time

Marcie got off the stool and held out her hand to him. "Yes, but only because you asked so nicely." He took her hand and she led them out to a small dance floor.

And I've been waiting on my own too long
But when you hold me like you do
It feels so right
I start to forget
How my heart gets torn
When that hurt gets thrown
Feeling like you can't go on

Al wrapped his arms around Marcie tightly while her hands went around his neck. Under normal circumstances she'd be nervous and giggly because all eyes in the club were on them. Instead, she just focused her attention on Al and blocked out everyone else.

Turning circles when time again
It cuts like a knife oh yeah
If you love me got to know for sure
Cos it takes something more this time
Than sweet sweet lies
Before I open up my arms and fall
Losing all control
Every dream inside my soul
And when you kiss me
On that midnight street
Sweep me off my feet
Singing ain't this life so sweet

This years love had better last
This years love had better last

So whose to worry
If our hearts get torn
When that hurt gets thrown
Don't you know this life goes on
And won't you kiss me
On that midnight street
Sweep me off my feet

Singing ain't this life so sweet

This years love had better last
This years love had better last
This years love had better last
This years love had better last

The song stopped but the two of them still remained on the dance floor. Their friends in the crowd cheered as Al bent down and kissed Marcie. When they broke apart the spell was broken and Marcie was flustered at the attention.

"Oh, I have a surprise for you." Al informed her. "But it involves leaving here. Are you okay with that?"

"Another surprise?" Marcie whined. "You know I hate surprises but you keep on springing them on me!"

"Babe, you know you love them though! Come on, let's get out of here." Pushing his way through the crowd, he led them outside and to his car.

"Where are we going to spend New Year's Eve?" Checking the time on the dashboard clock, Marcie noted the time. "It's after eleven o'clock already."

Leaning into her side of the seat, he planted a quick kiss on her cheek. "A surprise means I'm not telling you where we're going." He started the car and back out of the parking spot, humming to himself.

"Oh, you're such a pain!" Marcie huffed, annoyed that she didn't know what was going on.

"Yes, but you love me anyway."

She turned and looked him while he drove. "God help me, I do love you." Folding her arms across her chest, Marcie sighed and looked out the window, hoping to see clues as to where they were going. "I love you even though you can be a pain."

Wringing her hands, Marcie sat at the table by herself. Al had left only minutes ago with some lame excuse after his cell phone rang. It was New Year's Eve and it seemed as if her boyfriend had abandoned her. She had expected to spend the night at Ultra Violet with the young crowd. Al surprised her when at after eleven o'clock he announced that they were leaving. Although Marcie had begged him to tell her where they were going, he refused to give any details to her because it was a surprise. When they pulled into the parking lot of the Palace Hotel she still remained puzzled. Renee escorted them to a table and then Al's cell phone rang a few minutes after that. As he excused himself, an annoyed expression covered his face as he got up from the table. They never even ordered but Marcie was beginning to wonder if they were going to and what was the point of them being at the Palace.

Gazing up from the table, she spotted Al walking back in her direction. His face was once again happy and no longer fraught with worry. Marcie smiled at him from across the room. He had dressed up very nice tonight, in fact, too nice for Ultra Violet. The dark slacks hugged his frame as did the button up shirt that clung across his broad chest. His long, rushed strides quickly closed the distance between them.

"Sorry about that." Grinning, he apologized to her and held out his hand to her. "Come on."

Marcie's brow was furrowed in question. "Where to now?"

"I just got word of a private party in one of the suites. It's being held by a very close friend of mine." Al winked at her and jerked his hand in the air, reminding her it was still being held out. Taking his hand in hers, Marcie left her chair as Al led her towards the elevator.

He seemed to know exactly where they were going as he led her through the hallways of the hotel. It was getting late, it must be at after eleven thirty by now, Marcie thought to herself, noting that the staff was getting the champagne ready downstairs for the toast. Al stopped in front of a door and retrieved a key from his pocket. Noticing that there was no noise coming from the room, it was now confirmed to Marcie that Al was up to something. When he opened the door and they walked inside she gasped. The suite was completely empty except for scattered bouquets of Gerber daisies. Lit silver and black candle sticks were strategically placed about the room, giving it a peaceful glow.

Marcie playfully punched him in the arm. "Al Holden, you're such a liar!"

Feigning pain, he rubbed his arm and closed the door behind them. "I wanted to surprise you. So, are you?"

"Very surprised." Wrapping her arms around his neck, she stood on her toes and reached up to kiss him. His lips met hers half way and soon their lips parted. As his tongue darted into her mouth, he heard her emit a low moan.

"We don't want to miss New Year's completely, do we?" Marcie watched as Al dragged her over to the couch and flipped on the television. They had an entire suite to their use and he wants to watch television? What is wrong with this picture? "What channel is Dick Clark on?" Grabbing the remote, Al searched the channels until he found the one he was looking for. "Can't ring in the New Year without good ol' Dick, now can we?"

"The phone call on your cell?" Marcie changed the subject. She wasn't interested in good ol' Dick -- at least not the one on television. "Someone helped you set this up, didn't they?"

Al sat down on the couch, his back against the side of the long plushy furniture. He patted to a space on the couch next to him and without thinking; Marcie lowered herself down onto the couch. "Let's just say Midnight Logic had an extra long break."

"Flash and Riley helped you?" She leaned against his chest and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

"Yes, they did and I am very grateful for their help." Reaching out towards her, he pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. "Did I ever tell you that you look beautiful in that dress tonight?"

"I think so, once or twice." She snuggled closer to him, slightly embarrassed from the compliment. Al looked down at Marcie whose eyes were on the television and crowd in New York. "Hey, the count down has begun, a minute left to midnight."

Al reached between the cushion and the side of the couch, and grasped the small box into his hand. Good, exactly where I told them to leave it.

"Forty five seconds." Marcie announced. Sitting up, he dislodged Marcie from her position against him. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong." Al bit his lip before continuing. "Have I ever told you how much I love you?"

35

"Of course you have." Tilting her head to him, she appeared worried. "I know you love me and I love you. Is something wrong?"

30

"I just always want you to know how much you mean to me."

25

Marcie cupped his face with her hands. "I know. We've been through some things together, huh?"

20

"Yeah, but I was wondering if you'd like to go through something else with me." He removed her hands from his face.

15

Al gripped the box in his right hand and slid off the couch in front of her.

10

"Marcie, we've been through so much together this past year and I love you like I've loved no one else."

5

Bringing up his hand, he opened the box and showed it to her. Marcie gasped when she saw the ring resting inside of it. "Marcie, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

1

Neither one of them paid attention to the celebration that was happening on the television. Marcie covered her mouth with both hands as her eyes welled up with tears. Al's words sunk in but she could only shake her head. Al gently removed her hands from her face. "Is that a yes?"

She answered with a barely audible and cracking voice. "Yes, Al, I will marry you." Removing the ring from the box, he slipped it on her finger. "You make me the happiest woman in the world, you know that?"

"You make me feel the same way, sweetie." His hand caressed her cheek. "We don't have any champagne but I'd like to make a toast anyway."

"What would that be?'

Wiping away her tears, he held her face in his hands. "To us, to this years love."

This years love had better last
Heaven knows it's high time

And I've been waiting on my own too long
But when you hold me like you do
It feels so right

And when you kiss me
Sweep me off my feet
Singing ain't this life so sweet

Marcie smiled back at him through her tears. "To this years love and every year afterward."

This years love had better last


A/N: The song was "This Years Love" by David Grey.