Title: In an Orange Grove
Summary: An "Identity" fic I wrote awhile back to give two characters more of a happy ending. Big spoilers are present.
"Whores don't get a second chance," Timmy said. He swung the gardening tool at Paris' head. She fell down onto her side, her eyes open but unseeing, a trickle of blood running from her forehead. The boy turned away, intent on seeking more bloodshed. He disappeared from the Florida orange grove as he took over Malcolm's body, and left Paris alone.
She woke up with the sun shining in her eyes. Blinking rapidly, she propped herself up on one elbow and looked around, feeling disoriented. She was lying on green grass in the middle of some field. That wasn't right.
Paris tried to remember what had happened before. She had been in her orange grove, digging at a tree in the dirt. Then, Timmy…. Paris shut her eyes, knowing the awful truth of what had happened. "So this must be heaven," she muttered to herself, taking in the soft grass and the blue sky. She got to her feet and brushed off her clothes, tentatively touching her forehead and feeling relief that there was no trace of a wound there. "How come there's nobody here?" she wondered to herself, but as soon as the words were out of her mouth, she heard a voice.
As Paris began walking toward the sound of the voice, the words became clearer. "No, Harry, it wasn't a Ramada. It was worse than a Ramada! A hundred times worse! I'll come back to the set. Just fix the working conditions!" a woman was shouting into her cell phone.
Judging by the way she was dressed, Paris guessed she was a movie star or something. She passed by the older woman without a word, and the actress didn't even notice her, too caught up in her phone conversation. Paris had the feeling that even if she hadn't been on the phone, the actress would have hardly given her the time of day in this place.
Moving on, Paris saw a familiar couple up ahead. Lou and Ginny. Strangely enough, they weren't fighting for once, they were just talking quietly to each other with their heads close together. They looked up when they saw her. "Paris!" Ginny smiled warmly at her. "When did you get here?"
The prostitute smiled weakly. "Just arrived." She glanced back and forth between them. "You guys work things out?" she asked carefully.
"Yeah, we're trying to change," Lou answered. "Both of us," he added. Paris noticed he didn't check her out, but kept his eyes on her face, and his arm around Ginny.
Lou's young wife was smiling. It was clear that Ginny was happy now. It made Paris smile herself. "I'm glad to hear that," she said. Deciding to give the young couple some time alone, Paris excused herself and continued to explore her new surroundings.
She saw George and Alice York hugging each other further down the field. They broke apart when they noticed Paris approaching them. She nodded to them, and they smiled and waved to her in a friendly manner. Their faces looked a little sad, and Paris wondered if they were thinking of Timmy.
That thought disappeared from her mind when she saw that Rhodes and Maine were here as well. Quite a surprise to Paris, who had assumed they wouldn't have made it past the pearly gates—or whatever guarded the entrance to this place. She was glad to see the state they were in, though. Rhodes was now wearing the same yellow prison jumpsuit as Maine, and both convicts were tied up to a tree and gagged.
Larry the hotel manager was guarding them with his baseball bat and trash talking them now that they were bound and couldn't answer back. He looked up when he noticed that the convicts had their gazes fixed on Paris.
She decided to take a chance and waved to Larry.
He waved back, and even called out, "Hey, Paris. I'm on guard duty."
She smiled to hear it and told Larry she would leave him to it. As she kept going, her step quickened to match the suddenly rapid beat of her heart. Everyone was here. Ginny, Larry, Rhodes, everyone who had been at the hotel. Surely he must be here too…
Looming up ahead was a small cottage with trees behind it. In front of the cottage, a tree had fallen and was now a log half-buried in the dirt. Sitting on the log was the man Paris had been hoping to see.
"Ed," she breathed.
He stood up when he saw her, his dark eyes sparkling, but he didn't smile. He waited until she drew to a stop in front of him before speaking. "Paris, I'm sorry. I didn't know he was going to do that. I thought he'd died in the car explosion."
She realized Ed was talking about Timmy and that he felt guilty about what had happened to her. "Don't," she said. "It wasn't your fault, Ed. You thought Rhodes was the killer, and so did I. It was a pretty good guess under the circumstances," she added dryly.
"So you're not angry?" he asked.
She gave him a beautiful smile. "How could I be angry? You gave me my dream."
"To grow oranges?"
"No." She cupped his face in her hands, staring deeply into his brown eyes. "To be with you."
For the first time since he had seen her, Ed smiled.
"Come on," Ed urged, taking Paris by the hand. "I've got something to show you." He led her around the back of the cottage to the trees Paris had glimpsed before.
She gasped when she saw the fruit hanging on the branches, still discernible in the late afternoon sun. Oranges and limes. She turned to Ed. "Did you do this?" she asked, half-expecting him to say yes and knowing she would believe him if he did.
But the ex-cop shook his head. "No, it was already here with the rest of the place. I guess it was made just for you." He gave her a gentle push forward. "Go on. I want to take a picture of you." He pulled out a disposable camera from his coat pocket, one of the ones he had taken from the hotel.
Paris went to stand in front of Ed, choosing a spot next to a large orange tree. She smiled at him, and he snapped the photo.
"You were right about what you saw," Paris said, making her way back to join him.
"Yeah." Ed put his arm across her shoulders as they watched dusk settle over them. "I saw you in an orange grove," he whispered.