Six months later it happened.
Things had gotten back to normal after the blizzard except Mary and Marshall were even closer than before. Mary watched Marshall when she thought he wasn't looking and she thought about his words. She stood closer to him than she needed to in the office and they spent more time together out of work but things stayed platonic. Marshall had put himself out there and now it was Mary's move to make and she was still hesitant. She saw him differently now, felt an attraction to him that woke her up at night and gave thought to having him permanently in her bed but she was afraid that she would ruin it.
It was another witness transport. Adam Krandall, one of Marshall's witnesses was going to a deposition and they were on security detail. They didn't know that DeNucci had been able to put a hit out on him from prison. A nondescript dark colored sedan pulled up next to him in the left lane. Marshall backed off to let the car pass but it stayed even with them. Mary was watching Marshall out of the corner of her eye when she saw the passenger in the car pull a gun.
Everything seemed to happen simultaneously. "Gun," she screamed, turning to push Krandall to the floor, fighting against the seatbelt. Marshall stomped on the brakes and the car skidded sideways across the road. Shots rang out, pinged harmlessly off the hood. Marshall took advantage of the skid and turned the vehicle so he was traveling the opposite way.
Backup was there five minutes after Mary hung her phone up and thirty minutes after that Krandall was transferred into the custody of a heavily armed multi-car escort. He would make it to his deposition and his trial.
Mary and Marshall were pulled from service. Marshall was on the phone with Stan. A local police woman was standing beside him, waiting to take his statement. Mary was standing by the car door. She looked down and realized that her hands were shaking. Her, the normally unflappable Mary Shannon and then she realized why. Life was too short, too unpredictable. She might ruin the relationship, but someone might gun one or both of them down tomorrow. She loved Marshall. She only hoped that she hadn't waited too long.
"Marshall," her voice was sharp and he looked up, startled. "We need to go."
He looked concerned but nodded. He broke off from what he was saying and dug in his pocket to hand the police woman his card. He hurried to Mary's side. "What's wrong?" He looked at her and if he noticed her hands he didn't say anything. She grabbed him by the elbow, a habit she picked up after his hands were hurt.
"Let's get out of here."
"Okay," he watched her climb back into the truck and he walked around to the driver's side. Neither of them said anything until Mary waved him into the parking lot of a Best Western. He pulled over and shut off the engine.
He watched as she went inside and then motioned to him with a plastic card key in one hand. He followed her into the room, still confused. Mary launched herself into Marshall's arms as he pulled the door closed.
"I love you," she clung to him and her voice broke. "I don't want to lose you."
He held her and rested his cheek against her hair. "You couldn't lose me if you tried," he finally spoke. "I'm here with you Mer." He pulled away so he could look at her. "But I will never leave you. Even if I'm gone I will be with you. I don't want to prevent the hurt of loss by denying myself the joy of being in love."
Mary crushed herself against his chest. "You're right," she mumbled.
"You just have to be open to the possibility of something greater."
"I think we are that something greater." The tension that she had been carrying around for the last six months, wondering what to do about him, dissolved in an instant.
"So do I Mer, so do I."