X. Mad About You

I'm mad about you
You're mad about me babe
Couple of fools run wild aren't we
Pushing the day into the nighttime
Somewhere between the two
We start to see

Mad about you (Mad about you)
Lost in your eyes (Reason aside)
Mad about love (Mad about you)
You and I

Something 'bout you
Right here beside me
Touches the touched part of me like I can't believe
Pushing the night into the daytime
Watching the sky's first light
While the city sleeps

Mad about you (Mad about you)
Lost in your eyes (Reason aside)
Mad about love (Mad about you)
You and I

Mad about you (Mad about you)
Lost in your eyes (Reason aside)
Mad about love (Mad about you)
You and I
I'm mad about you
You're mad about me babe
Couple of fools run wild aren't we

Mad about you (Mad about you)
Lost in your eyes (Reason aside)
Mad about love (Mad about you)
You and I

Mad About You is the property of Belinda Carlisle.

Rio is the property of Duran Duran.

There's no remedy for a delayed flight, especially when you're battling a bad memory. Brandon checks the arrivals and departures for a fourth time. Still, no luck. Kelly has yet to leave her seat by the payphones and he can't stay in his. He has to get her out of here, somehow, some way.

Jim and Cindy weren't expecting him until tomorrow. They, of course, didn't know about his guest but they did encourage him on the day before his trip to spend an extra day there and soak up the historic city for all it was worth. If he were a betting man, which got him into trouble in the past, he'd say that his parents already have him pegged for a future Washington D.C. resident. The idea crossed his mind off and on. He could certainly be a senator or a journalist or an activist or whatever else in this particular place, but he would miss a lot about L.A. Plus, what if Brenda went to London? Wouldn't they want one Walsh kid nearby? Then, what if this relationship with Kelly got stronger and stronger? Wouldn't she want him nearby?

She's clearly on another planet now, as Nat would say, continually blinking at a display window full of metropolitan souvenirs. He wonders if she regrets coming here...to see him, after going through all of this. She could've stuck around Los Angeles and found another guy that didn't bring her heartache, not that he meant to, not that it was his fault. But he does wonder. He's dated some drama-filled girls in the past, namely Emily and Lucinda. They sure took him for a ride. The last thing he'd like is to put Kelly through any dramatic scenes that leave her sad or worse, broken. She went through the ringer with Dylan and she just can't go through that twice. He won't let it be like that.

That doesn't mean he couldn't use some advice on the subject. Brandon digs three quarters out of his pockets, holds them as he heads towards Kelly.

"Why don't you get something to eat?" says Brandon. "I doubt we're moving anytime soon."

"I overheard that there's a security breach at LAX," shares Kelly. "So you're probably right. I guess I'll get a sandwich."

"Make sure to ask for American cheese, so they know you're patriotic," suggests Brandon. "They might waive the sales tax. Don't we already pay them enough taxes?"

Kelly releases a reluctant smile. "I'll be back."

"I'll be waiting," says Brandon with a soft kiss to her forehead.

As soon as Kelly's at the sandwich stand, Brandon puts in the quarters and lets the phone ring. Andrea answers on the second ring. Her chipper "hello" relaxes him instantly.

"May I speak to the smartest mother in the NICU please?" asks Brandon.

"This is she," humors Andrea. "But not for long. They're letting us bring Hannah home soon!"

That's amazing, especially after what those two had to endure for the past couple of months. He couldn't think of two more deserving parents.

"Best news you ever gave me, Chief," says Brandon.

"Well, I liked my piece on faculty parking spaces, but I agree," kids Andrea. "We saw you on TV. You and a blonde we both know well."

"Steve?" says Brandon.

"Don't play innocent," laughs Andrea. "Should I expect a package deal the next time I see the two of you?"

Brandon sighs. "If only it were that simple."

"Spill," insists Andrea. "I kept Kelly's secret so I consider myself a worthy accomplice. Plus Jesse's occupado polishing off about a pound of gelatin."

"Hey!" exclaims Jesse from afar. "It's green...it's the good kind!"

Blowing out a long breath, Brandon does in fact spill, about everything. From Clare's first advances to Kelly's last concerns. Andrea doesn't speak during the duration. She wouldn't which is why they've remained so close despite some awkward interactions during high school. However, she isn't afraid to let him have it, deliver the truth point blank.

"Brandon, why do you think I hired you?" questions Andrea, frankly the last question Brandon was expecting.

"My cheekbones?" offers Brandon.

"No," says Andrea. "Because you don't give up. If anything goes wrong, you won't stop until you make it right. Kelly will come around because...she can count on you."

His former newspaper boss pretty much nailed his personality. He wouldn't be happy until Kelly was happy. It's how his mind worked and that's not a bad quality. He only hopes Kelly's "coming around" was a surety.

"Andrea...," starts Brandon.

"Go for the brass ring, Brandon," interrupts Andrea. "Feelings brought her there, and hopefully feelings will bring you guys home together. After what I went through this week, I have faith in most things, especially you two."

"You really are a smart mom," says Brandon.

"Presumably," says Andrea. "Tell Kel I said hello."

"Bye, Chief," says Brandon, grinning and hanging up.

Unlike their flight, Kelly arrives right on time, with two wrapped sandwiches in her possession. Kelly's in better spirits. Perhaps walking to and fro or the promise of food inspired the change. Whatever it was, he plans on keeping it going. Brandon lifts their suitcases without so much as a word.

"Aren't we going to eat these?" asks Kelly. "I even got American cheese."

"We'll eat them...at the hotel," replies Brandon.

"What?" says a slack-jawed Kelly. "We planned to spend the night at my apartment..."

"We're not leaving this city on that note,"says Brandon clearly. "Can't. Not when you came out here for me."

"Brandon, have you lost your senses?" cries Kelly.

"Think so," answers Brandon. "Wanna join me?"

"I..I guess," says a startled Kelly. "I mean, yes."

Kelly's more loquacious once they're settled inside a taxi. Switching flights was no trouble at all what with several other annoyed passengers willing to do the same. And while he couldn't treat her to an amazing night on the town, or a four-star dinner, Brandon had enough funds to secure a room for tonight. Their old friend Jacques was expecting them anyway.

"I take it you remembered I put you on our reservations list," says Jacques, beaming. "I had a good feeling about the two of you."

"So do we," says Brandon. "But we're going to need another room..."

Brandon is interrupted by a strong pat on the back, the brim of clean-cut white hair appearing in his side vision. Chancellor Arnold stands near him. He's signing the guest book with a pained smile that suggests he has something else on his mind.

"Why not take my room, Brandon?" says Chancellor Arnold. "I meant to stay here another night with some colleagues, but that's no longer the case. Thanks to my deviant daughter."

"What happened, sir?" asks Brandon.

"Underage drinking in a New York Club is what happened," replies Chancellor Arnold.

Wow. Brandon supposes Clare "procured Merlot from some upperclassmen" a little too well. He recalls baby-sitting her during her wild child ways; he can't imagine doing that for seventeen long years.

"I think a few hours in jail will sober her up," says Chancellor Arnold with a terse expression. "She can't pull this kind of stunt if she's living at home. Be sure of that."

"So she's going to school in California?" broaches Brandon weakly.

Brandon's stomach grows tight while Kelly appears downright sickened.

"CU," answers Chancellor Arnold. "She just can't stay away from me. Anyhoo, I think you guys will like the executive suite. It's top-notch. Fantastic city views, a fully stocked kitchen, and best of all, there's two beds."

Doing his best to return the Chancellor's now jovial smile, he exchanges a short glance with Kelly who raises her eyebrows and smiles at the administrator. Two beds...super.

"Thank you very much, sir," says Brandon. "This makes the end of an amazing trip that much more amazing."

"What he said," adds Kelly.

"Jacques, please take care of them," says Chancellor Arnold. "See ya on the West Coast."

Chancellor Arnold walks to the hotel entrance and disappears before Jacques can retrieve the hotel key.

"I almost feel bad for Clare," remarks Kelly. "Key word: almost."

"I don't," says Brandon, enjoying Kelly's laugh afterwards. "But you gotta love her dad. Come on."

II.

"There's like five different kinds of pepper in here," mutters Dylan.

Scanning his spice rack that his mom arranged, which he made a habit of not using, Dylan takes out the middle container and throws the spice into the bowl liberally. He can add one more egg on top of it just so it'll cover the taste if it's the wrong pepper. Right. Now he knows why he's eaten at the Pit or gotten take-out for the past several years. Then, there were the hotel meals his dad always missed.

But when you have a father like Jim Walsh, you're pretty fortunate no matter how you slice it. Brenda probably isn't counting her blessings this morning...not after last night. Still, Dylan bets this riff with her father will blow over in no time flat. The Walshes, if nothing else, were pretty predictable. The parents came through for the kids even if the dad was temporarily a hothead and the kids tried his last nerve. Jim didn't mean what he said. It's in his character to support her dreams. Maybe not her relationships, but definitely her dreams.

He hopes Brenda is dreaming, her body laying on his couch as the sun hits her light brown hair in flattering spots. She cried herself to sleep. Dylan tried to convince her that Jim was bluffing, tried whole-heartedly. But she wouldn't believe him. Jim put up a good front. That was true. However, Brenda insisted that she'd never seen her father that angry before. Dylan pondered why she was so sure. Maybe their fights had escalated too much, the last fight here being the breaking point. If so, then he was the cause and he didn't enjoy it. Brenda deserves a good relationship because she actually had a good father. If Jim got that stick out of his butt, they could all be happy, but if it comes down to him and Jim, he'd hate to be the one to tear up a father-daughter bond. Especially post-Erica. Losing family, despite the drama that comes with them, sucks.

Something else sucks too - accidentally dropping halves of an eggshell into a bowl.

"Aww, man!" cries Dylan, then silencing himself.

"Dylan?" says Brenda.

Her eyes remain closed, fluttering open when Dylan doesn't reply. Ugh. His bad cooking woke her up.

Brenda rises to look at him. "Are you actually...using an oven?"

"Yeah, I figured I'd serve you breakfast in bed," says Dylan. "Or breakfast on couch. Wait a minute...that couch can fold out into a bed. Probably should've rolled it out."

"No," says Brenda. "I was too upset to care much."

Excellent, and here he is prompting her to remember all the conflict.

"The bed's uncomfortable anyways," says Dylan. "Do you want some microwave pancakes?"

"Nah, I see you're making eggs," says Brenda. "I'll try those."

"Uhhh, okay," says Dylan.

He stares skeptically into the bowl and does his best to hide it when Brenda walks into the kitchen. She's wearing a sweatshirt he retrieved for her last night. The lumpy grey material brought out the smoothness of her complexion. Brenda is beautiful without all the make-up, has been since they met.

"This isn't all I'm making," shares Dylan. "I made plans for the whole day. You're going to be full of so much fun stuff, you're going to puke."

"Oooh, do tell," encourages Brenda.

"It wouldn't be a surprise if I did," says Dylan. "Just be patient, Bren. Real patient."

"You're one cruel event planner," sighs Brenda.

"I put the T in event," kids Dylan. "The T stands for totally cool by the way."

"Of course," says Brenda with a chuckle.

"Now let me just heat up the oven so we can get crackin'," says Dylan.

"Speaking of crackin'," says Brenda, moving to find the bowl. "Am I just supposed to eat around the shells or is this a new type of cuisine?"

"Man!" cries Dylan.

Both of them break into laughter, a welcome change given the things that have occurred in his house the past two days. It's even more welcome to hear her specific laughter which doesn't stop for a good minute. Their chuckling ends as the phone rings. That's the signal for part two. David's getting him some crucial information. Dylan raises Brenda momentarily, resulting in a small shriek, and carries her across the living room until they're by the phone. She pokes his shoulder as he lets her down. Dylan chuckles while picking up the phone.

"Hello?" says Dylan.

His features harden when nobody replies. Strange. Yet he can hear breathing, very loud breathing. The breaths are followed by a deep cough. That's followed by someone slamming the phone down on the other end. The only sure thing is that that wasn't David.

"Wrong number?" says Brenda.

"Must've been," says Dylan, doing his utmost to keep his composure light.

"Well, I'm going to check the newspaper for a hint," announces Brenda, turning her heel and walking out in her socked feet. "Read about what's going on today."

"You're not going to find it in there!" shouts Dylan after her.

Who would call and not say anything to him? Kevin? Please don't let it be that jerk. This can't be another problem mucking up things. If it were Jonesy, or a police officer, they would've talked. Wouldn't they?

Brenda returns, but Dylan notices that she's casting glances over her shoulder. It doesn't take long for Dylan to see why.

"Dylan, that green car across the street," says Brenda. "Didn't that family move out in January?"

"Yeah," says Dylan. "They must've sold the place."

He tenderly sweeps Brenda inside, takes stock of the guy staring ahead at the car's windshield and then the fallen For Sale sign in the front lawn. Yesterday, that For Sale sign was straight as a pole. The man beeps his horn and rides hard down the road without a first glance.

III.

This day already started off better than planned. After abandoning the eggs they couldn't save, Brenda ate Dylan's successful attempts at toast and waffles (also courtesy of the toaster). She didn't care about him because of his culinary skills, but she really loved the rest of him. She was very, very much tempted to drop the "L" bomb at breakfast. For whatever reason, they've been skittering around that declaration lately. She is afraid to get hurt but she's more afraid that Dylan thinks she's holding out on that due to Daddy Dearest.

Her thoughts go in between mocking her father and being torn to pieces over him. She figured Dylan had a better chance of breaking her heart than her own dad. Brenda frowns into the rear view mirror of Dylan's car. Dylan is tapping his fingers to a song on the radio, his eyes on the road. She's glad. She doesn't like the idea of him catching her flashes of exterior heartache. Inside, she's messed up to the nines.

Last night, she had a single, hours-long nightmare. The scene chilled her to the bone. The Walshes were at a funeral, unfortunately Dylan's. Brenda was crying so much she thought her face would fall off. The reason for his death remained secret. That was perhaps the worst part of it, until she turned to her father for solace. Cindy kept hugging her repeatedly and Brandon held up pretty well. Her brother was sitting next to Kelly and that's how Brenda knew the timeline was fairly current. Jim Walsh, on the other hand, would not reach out to her or offer her any kind remark. He turned from her and walked down the aisle toward the exit without breaking a sweat. That's when Brenda awoke to the smell of eggs. If he can't be there in the most horrible of circumstances, how can she rely on him otherwise?

Brenda exhales, instinctively looking to check if Dylan was alive in the flesh. What was that part of the nightmare telling her? No, she's overreacting. The image of her smoothing his hair, with his body surrounded by white rose floral displays and wearing a tailored black suit, is just a bad, false blur. You can't touch or kiss a blur. She quickly kisses Dylan on his cheek.

"What was that for?" asks Dylan.

She's not discussing the dream when he's got this wonderful day mapped out. In fact, she's hesitant to ever tell him about it. She stays quiet.

"Why am I asking?" continues Dylan. "It's obvious you dig me."

"Shut up," laughs Brenda. "Of course I'd dig you more if you spilled the beans."

"If you wait three right turns, the beans will be spilled," offers Dylan.

"I'm intrigued," says Brenda.

The car veers right and heads off the highway. Two more swift turns reveal a large building the size of a clothing factory. Though, it's not a factory. Brenda gasps and grabs Dylan's free hand. The Hollywood Wax Museum announces its presence loud and clear. This attraction was on Brenda's personal to-do list since she moved to Los Angeles and she must've told Dylan that a thousand times. They didn't get the chance to go, however, mainly because they were either broken up or dealing with crises that came their way. But the fact that he brought her here to the longest-running wax museum in the U.S. spoke volumes. Sorry, Brandon, this kind of beats the White House.

"You thought I forgot?" says Dylan teasingly.

"You just went way up the list," praises Brenda. "Is that what you were talking with David about?"

"Yep, he phoned me with the times," explains Dylan. "I think Mel Silver has a season pass. I wonder if he checks Charlie Chaplin's teeth."

"Dylan, for you to remember this is...," begins Brenda.

"What I do," finishes Dylan.

"The cost, though," says Brenda softly.

"So what?" says Dylan. "I should've taken you in high school. We might've not missed the Ghostbusters."

"Still," sighs Brenda.

"Money's not a big deal to me," reassures Dylan. "Besides, I checked my account when we were at the gas station, cause I knew you would be antsy about it. It's all there. One day of good fun isn't going to destroy me."

Would now be a good opportunity to say those three words? Before she can, Dylan's out of the car and heading to her side. He opens the door.

"This way to the stars, sweetheart," says Dylan in a Marx brothers accent, locking the car and then holding her hand.

They tread across the parking lot, colorful banners with the museum's name covering different surfaces. The ticket booth resembles a ticket station from old movie houses. A chirpy cashier greets them with a can-do attitude.

"Welcome to the Hollywood Wax Museum!" says the cashier. "Be certain to see our newest figures, Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow, and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself, Will Smith, complete with light-up microphone."

"We'll take two," says Dylan.

"Thirty dollars," informs the cashier.

Dylan takes out a fifty and plops it down. The cashier presents each of them with a purple ticket, a Museum map, and gives Dylan his change. Brenda grins at the small piece of paper.

"You're like Charlie Bucket getting the golden ticket," remarks Dylan.

"It'd be fun to be big enough to be immortalized in wax," says Brenda as she reads the map. "And look, they put little blue dots on the actors' faces so the fake features will be similar."

"That's a lot of time doing nothing," shrugs Dylan. "But yeah, it'd be pretty cool."

After showing their tickets, they walk smack into a room full of legends new and old, movie characters beloved and feared. Classic rock plays as mirrors with strobe lights surround the wax figures, highlighting their curves, their crafted similarities to the real muses.

Moving on the floor now babe, you're a bird of paradise
Cherry ice cream smile, I suppose it's very nice
With a step to your left and a flick to the right
You catch the mirror way out west
You know you're something special, and you look like you're the best.

Brenda claps her hands ecstatically. Madonna, in her cone bra, stands frozen to her left. James Dean pops the collar of his jacket in her direction. Elvis' solid hips stretch out as he silently sings in his sequined jumpsuit. Best of all, there's only two other people, probably tourists, circling the room. They can go as slowly as they'd like.

"I wish I had...," starts Brenda.

"Pocket camera," says Dylan, fetching a camera from his pants pocket.

"You're going to be in some of these pictures," insists Brenda.

"What are you going to do?" says Dylan. "Have me stick my tongue in Marilyn Monroe's ear?"

Marilyn, wearing her signature red dress, seductively leans over next to a beaming Shirley Temple with reddish brown ringlets.

"Let's do you and Rhett!" suggests Brenda.

She turns him towards a Gone With the Wind scene featuring figures of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O' Hara, or Clark and Vivien to name their portrayers. Brenda's watched the film at least once a year since she was ten. There was something so romantic about the relationship even if she had some issues with the era's social institutions. Plus, the beautiful costumes contributed to her love affair with it. Vivien is in a billowy green and light grey Civil War-gown and Rhett's in his trademark black suit.

"Don't people call this the greatest movie ever made?" says Dylan.

"That's up for debate," replies Brenda. "Though their love-hate relationship is one for the books."

"I prefer When Harry Met Sally," says Dylan. "Now that was funny."

"Stop playing critic so I can take your photo," scolds Brenda playfully.

Dylan makes his finger into a moustache like Clark Gable's when the flash goes off. Brenda beams. That had to be a good shot. An employee wanders behind them as she heads to the wall.

"Pictures are okay, right?" asks Brenda.

"They're fine," says the employee. "Just don't get too close."

"How's this for close?" whispers Dylan, wrapping an arm around Brenda's waist.

While she would like to stay in Dylan's grip longer, she spots Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra garb and can't say no. Brenda positions herself in the same sleeky position as Dylan snaps away.

Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
Just like that river twisting through a dustly land

And when she shines she really shows you all she can
Oh Rio Rio dancer across the rio grande

Brenda causes Dylan to pause at a beach setting where the Beach Boys have been immortalized, a happy-go-lucky Don Ho looking on. Dylan gives his shoulders a shimmy in the makeshift luau setting.

I've seen you on the beach and Ive seen you on tv
Two of a billion stars, it means so much to me -
Like a birthday or a pretty view
But then I'm sure that you know it's just for you.

"How low can you go?" asks Brenda, pressing the camera button.

"And when she shines, she really shows you all she can," sings along Dylan, managing to lean to his knees. "You make me feel alive, you make me feel alive..."

Chuckling, Brenda forces him to stand straight. They stroll past a series of villians: a nightmarish Freddy Krueger with bad skin; a demonic, diminuitive Chucky; Linda Blair as an exorcist's worst nightmare, congealed green vomit on her chin. Brenda's more interested in more realistic characters. Then, she stumbles upon a very important figure, a museum necessity as far as she's concerned.

"Judy Garland!" cries out Brenda.

True to form, Judy's decked out in her Wizard of Oz wardrobe, complete with ruby slippers. Her trio of travelling associates are accounted for. The Tin Man stands between the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. Toto is off to the side, bearing his small teeth.

"I've literally watched this movie hundreds of times," shares Brenda. "The Tin Man was my favorite. How can you not love a guy searching for a heart he had all along?"

"There's no place like chrome, there's no place like chrome," jokes Dylan.

Brenda doubles into a laughing fit for a few seconds, accidentally dropping the camera near the exhibit. Dylan side-steps the velvet rope to retrieve it but an unfortunate mishap occurs while doing so. His mouth falls open as his foot sends something flying.

"Dylan, you kicked Toto into the Tin Man's crotch!" cries Brenda.

The employee glances over and Dylan manages to secure the dog before she notices anything is amiss.

"He's little," defends Dylan. "I didn't see him."

"I will always remember that," says Brenda warmly. 'I will always remember today. You didn't see the dog, but you did cheer me up."

Dylan brings her into a hug, Brenda letting her nose press into his chest, then slightly turning her head. A new crop of tourists enters. They're a family of four. A four year old girl grabs onto her father's hand upon spying the sinister Chucky. Her dad pats her back reassuringly.

"It's only wax, sweetie," says the father. "Nothing to be afraid of."

"He won't eat my brains?" says his daughter.

"He won't eat your brains," replies the father.

They were close, a good type of close. She can't help but imagine herself in the daughter's shoes. She would've been afraid if she came here too as a little girl. And, deep in her gut, she would have to confess that she'd probably turn to Jim instead of Cindy. He made the monsters go away at home whether they were in her closet or under the bed. It may be part of the official dad's job description. But things can't be that way anymore. She's grown and has to deal with the bad on her own.

I tell you something, I know what you're thinking
I tell you something, I know what you're thinking

"Doesn't she know only zombies eat brains?" asks a smirking Dylan, peering down at Brenda.

Brenda wipes her eyes, trying to delay any coming tears.

"You're thinking of your dad, aren't you?" says Dylan.

"I don't want to be reminded of him," admits Brenda. "Everything...just does. I can't control it."

"You aren't supposed to control it," sighs Dylan. "You two are supposed to make up."

"Dylan, it won't work," chokes out Brenda as the tears break through.

"Why wouldn't it?" says Dylan. "Look, we've all said stuff we didn't mean. Or maybe we meant it, but not the way we said it. The point is...you can stay with me if you have to. I'd like that. I'd like that a lot. But Bren, I couldn't live with myself if every night there was an unhappy one for you."

"I am happy with you," insists Brenda.

"I just want you to be happy when we're not in the same room, too," says Dylan.

Lifting her sight upwards, she shakes her head repeatedly. If only her father didn't frustrate her so much. If only Jim got that caring about Dylan didn't result in caring about her father less.

"He has today off," shares Brenda. "I could talk to him this afternoon. That kinda disrupts your fun calendar day, though."

"Luckily," says Dylan, kissing her brow. "Calendars have lots of days."

IV.

"Twelfth floor," says the bellboy. "Executive suites."

Kelly follows Brandon out of the elevator, the nicely carpeted corridor empty. Brandon tips the bellboy who seems pleased by the amount. Wow, executive suite. She's stayed at first-rate places before but not for free.

"Twelve seven five," reads Brandon, flipping the room key in his grasp. "Fancy digs, eh, Kel?"

"It's almost like the Chancellor granted a wish," says Kelly.

"Didn't I tell you I'm a genie?" says Brandon, releasing the handles of the luggage. "Open sesame."

He puts in the key and pushes the door open.

"Shazam," kids Brandon.

"I'm impressed," says Kelly.

"And you get two more wishes," adds Brandon. "Use them wisely. My power ends at midnight."

"Okay, now you're just mixing fairy tales," teases Kelly, dragging him inside.

As it turns out, there's no need. Nobody needed to be dragged into a place like this. The very large room resembles a penthouse living area with a couch, several expensive chairs, a large TV, and a writing desk. A tidy kitchen space stood between the living room and a bedroom area. Kelly can see the Washington D.C. skyline from a wide window beyond the beds. To the right of the kitchen, Brandon and Kelly find the bathroom area, including a staple that certainly wasn't in their "lowly" Task Force-related quarters.

"Hot...," begins Kelly.

"Tub," finishes Brandon. "I can never look at the Chancellor the same way again. I'll go carry in the bags."

Kelly goes to put the sandwiches on a couple plates, running the events of the day in her mind. What stood out even more are the words Brandon attached to them. He wasn't anything less than sweet to her. Those girls didn't matter in the long run; Brandon did. He knew every part of her and who could be a better judge of character? It's certainly not Clare, who's in for a wild night in the slammer. She giggles into the sandwich bag.

"What's so funny?" says Brandon, returning to the kitchen.

"Nothing," says Kelly. "Ummm, did you pack a bathing suit?"

"For what?" answers Brandon, then after a beat, "Of course I did."

She slides a sandwich towards Brandon. Kelly picks up hers and chews thoughtfully.

"Are you going to reveal why you asked that question?" says Brandon, biting into his.

Letting a tomato slice fall to her plate, she provides no response.

"Did you bring a bathing suit?" inquires Brandon.

"For what?" says Kelly.

"Cause you're the perfect size for that hot tub," continues Brandon. "It's a crying shame you didn't."

"Especially since I have this nice shapely, white two-piece tucked away somewhere," says Kelly. "Yep, it's a shame."

"Maybe if you unpacked, it would magically be there," says Brandon, finishing his sandwich.

"I can't make any promises, genie," sighs Kelly. "But...I'll check."

Brandon offers her a grin as she walks out. Of course she packed a bathing suit. They're some of her favorite outfits in the world. Kelly lugs her suitcase to the bathroom. Tomorrow may be disappointing like today was...however, tonight is simply the two of them. A person who builds her up is with her. Being with somebody that values her is nudging her to value herself a bit more. Perhaps she can get to that point one day by herself but even if that happens, she'd still like to be by Brandon.

V.

Something's up. He closed the curtains, leaving Kelly in her robe on the balcony for a half hour. Thankfully the Washington D.C. weather is gorgeous. The car headlights resemble pearls from the twelfth floor, the red stop-lights like fuzzy rubies. Anything good could happen on a night like this. Kelly smiles in the dark. She's glad they didn't go. It's almost as if the city is saying hey, not so fast, we're better than you think. You're better than you think.

The curtains part. Brandon's head appears.

"All ashore who's going ashore," says Brandon.

Kelly comes into the bedroom, Brandon closing the balcony door. He leads her to the bathroom. She walks into a sea of white tea-light candles, the hot tub full of bubbles and warm water. Brandon's in a pair of black swim trunks, more pleased than the tipped bellhop.

"That's where you were for thirty minutes," says Kelly, kissing him gently on the lips.

"That's where," confirms Brandon. "Though I had to sneak in the candles. And use most of the hotel matches."

"This is great," praises Kelly. "And I didn't use up more of my wishes."

"Oh believe me, this was my wish," says Brandon.

"Can I get in?" says Kelly.

"Yes, ma'am," says Brandon.

He helps her into the slippery hot tub until she's firmly stationed in a barrage of bubbles. A single bubble floats to her nose and Kelly giggles. She pushes some towards Brandon.

"I like the way you're wooing me, Walsh," teases Kelly.

"Well, I like the way you let me," says Brandon.

Brandon disappears. Kelly hears soft music playing in the background, assuming he's located a stereo in her absence. She takes in the flames' reflections on the water, the soft gleaming tiles of the bathroom walls. Brandon returns. A sponge is in his hold.

"Come on in, the water's fine," says Kelly, carefully putting her hair in an updo.

"No, you are fine," says Brandon, winking at her.

"You got that line from David," recognizes Kelly.

"Yes, I did," admits Brandon. "I'll do this instead of lame come-ons."

He runs the sponge along the length of her left arm. As the water trails down her skin, Brandon lets his lips trace the wet line until he reaches her shoulder. Kelly shivers, her heart trembling.

"This is your forte," whispers Kelly.

"You ain't seen nothing yet," whispers Brandon.

Brandon moves to her back, massaging one shoulder and then the other. Kelly stares behind her and smiles. Their mouths meet for a moment but Brandon stops to wash the center of her back.

"Better be careful," says Kelly. "A girl could get used to treatment like this."

"I'm available...for whenever," says Brandon. "Including anniversary parties."

"This can be our anniversary," offers Kelly. "Like when we officially began. What do you think?"

"I think that's a brilliant idea," says Brandon, then casually kissing her neck.

"I think I'm prune-y enough," says Kelly decisively. "And...I'm ready."

Brandon's mouth parts a bit as Kelly revolves to face him.

"Who would I be to deny...," begins Brandon.

"You won't," interrupts Kelly.

She lifts herself, maddeningly moving her lips with Brandon's until they're exchanging small kisses and chuckles on the way to the bedroom. They separate briefly so that Brandon can throw her a towel. As she dries herself, Kelly listens to the stereo, nodding her head to the tune.

I'm mad about you
You're mad about me babe
Couple of fools run wild aren't we
Pushing the day into the nighttime
Somewhere between the two
We start to see

"Call me crazy, but I'm sure this played at the Spring Dance," says Kelly.

"Yeah," recalls Brandon. "Me too."

Brandon snaps his fingers, Kelly putting her arms around her shoulders and making him sway to the easy-going groove.

Something 'bout you
Right here beside me
Touches the touched part of me like I can't believe
Pushing the night into the daytime
Watching the sky's first light
While the city sleeps

Mad about you (Mad about you)
Lost in your eyes (Reason aside)
Mad about love (Mad about you)
You and I

"You're always trying to convince me to dance," sighs Brandon.

"It'll help me dry off faster," says Kelly.

"So will a bedspread," says Brandon.

They fall onto the bed, laughing, as the song ends. A burst of gravelly sound fills the airwaves.

"We could make love to static," suggests Kelly, shrugging.

"Oh, yeah," says Brandon. "Static really turns me on."

As if on cue, the static grows silent. Brandon sweeps Kelly's hair to the sides as easily as he pulled the curtains.

"Hey, you," says Brandon softly.

"Hey," repeats Kelly with a grin.

"Thanks for tracking me down," says Brandon. "Washington has been a blast, but this right here, is meant to last."

"Awww," whispers Kelly, stroking his bare chest.

"I totally thought that up in the elevator," reveals Brandon.

Kelly giggles, becoming serious after Brandon kisses her fervently. She stops to catch her breath.

"I adore you, Brandon," says Kelly. "Coming here? For you? That was easy."

"What I said in the garden?" says Brandon. "It's true. I am falling in love with you."

"That's what's going to make this even more special," whispers Kelly.

They sit up. Kelly undoes her hair to let it fall to her waist. Brandon carefully removes a condom from his wallet, sitting on the nightstand. He rejoins Kelly on the bed, but she turns away.

"My second wish is for you to untie this," says Kelly, gesturing to her bikini top.

"I live to serve," says Brandon.

He loosens the straps until the top falls into her lap. Brandon collects her in his arms, her head pressed into the pillow.

"What's your third wish?" wonders Brandon aloud.

"You," replies Kelly without hesitance. "You're my knight in shining armour, my boyfriend, and...most importantly, my friend. So it's you."

"My list for you is pretty long, too," assures Brandon.

"Tell me later," says Kelly, winding her legs around him.

He requires no further invitation, kissing and moaning on her neck as he slides her bikini bottoms along her legs. Kelly is further pressed into the sheets and holds him tightly against her. Her hands slowly yank off his swim trunks, eliciting a groan from Brandon. Brandon secures the condom, the sheets now in disarray. He runs his fingers along her stomach as his tongue finds the inner recesses of her mouth. His touch passes freckles, her bellybutton, her thighs until both their brows are covered in sweat.

"I'm falling so much in love with you, Brandon," sighs Kelly.

With a swift motion, Brandon's on top of her, the bedspread obscuring their bodies from view. Kelly sighs into his mouth as she reacts to him, being a breath away from her, being inside of her. All she can focus on is him above her as the end nears.

"Kelly," breathes Brandon, then mouthing it silently until their eyes close from ecstasy.

Tears house themselves in the corner of her eyes but she's aware they're there because of a good reason. This is different. This is exposure that she enjoys, a consummation with a guy that cares for the complicated and not so complicated parts of her. Finally.

"Ah," sighs Brandon as he rolls to the other side.

"Ah is right," sighs Kelly.

"We should definitely do that again," says Brandon, nodding enthusiastically and gazing her. "Cause...yeah."

"Brandon?" says Kelly.

"Uh huh?" says Brandon.

"That was worth the trip," teases Kelly.

She snuggles closer to him, resulting in them breaking out into a smile at the same time.