A/N Well, this is it, the last chapter. I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading my story. Thank you also to all the authors who have brought these beloved characters to life. Your stories inspire, sooth and entertain!
I know many people consider that the last scene took place on the same day as the final scene with Dr. Gyson. I, however, don't think he was wearing the same shirt. I choose to believe that she picked him up after his next session (one we were not privy too). I also choose to believe that he admitted a thing or two to Dr. Gyson in that session concerning his partner!
He hadn't expected her to pick him up from Dr. Gyson's today, but, as always, he was glad to see her. She took his breath away standing outside their SUV.
"How did it go?"
She waited for him to elaborate. When he didn't, she explained why she was there. It was obvious that he had something on his brain, something he wasn't saying. She decided to give him time. As they slowed at the first red light, he spilled. "I told her about us." He had turned to face her in the front seat and he watched her reaction very closely. She smiled as the SUV came to a stop, then she turned to look at him. His expression said, "Well?"
"Yes, I told you, you should tell her. What did she say?"
"She already knew."
"I told you that too."
Alex pulled through the intersection. "Was she supportive?"
"Yes, we talked about you the whole time. She said that the way I feel about you is quite obvious and that being with you seemed like a good thing. She wanted to know how we balance our work life and our personal life and she said that she would like to… meet you… have a… a session that included you… if you're willing."
Alex made the only face that Bobby could never read. It's the face she makes when she is contemplating something. It's half question and half answer and it is centered in that furrow between her eyebrows. She half smiles and half puckers her lips.
"Yeah, sure, I'll go. I'd like to meet Dr. Easy-on-the-Eyes myself, anyway."
Bobby took a deep breath. "Good. I told her we would be there same time next week."
Alex rolled her eyes and parked the SUV just outside the yellow tape in front of the bank.
Several weeks later:
Alex woke to an empty bed. She still felt a small surge of panic when she woke to find Bobby gone. She took a calming breath and turned to look at the alarm clock. 9:00 A.M. She couldn't remember the last time she had slept in so late. She smelled coffee coming from the kitchen. After one last big stretch, she threw the covers back and headed for the bathroom. She could smell Bobby's cologne in the air. It smelled like home. In the kitchen, she found Bobby reading the paper at the table with a not so small young tree standing next to him.
"Morning," she said from the doorway. Bobby peaked around the corner of his newspaper, "Good morning".
Alex padded over to the coffee maker. "What's with the tree?" she asked as she added her sugar and cream.
"Oh," Bobby answered as if a tree in the middle of the kitchen was perfectly normal, "I bought it this morning from the nursery in Rockaway."
Alex leaned back against the counter and took a sip of coffee, waiting for further explanation.
"I uh… It's a Gingko tree… a female, because the males produce a rank smelling fruit. The Gingko is unique in that way."
"Well… I ah… I thought we could plant it today…. Unless you have other plans."
"No, no plans."
"Good. I want to plant it in the city, in the garden that I took you to… the one with my mother's azaleas."
"Oh," she paused. This was strange even for Bobby. "Yeah, just let me shower and then we can go."
They drove the mustang into the city, top down, tree sticking up in the back seat like a flag. It was a beautiful October day and Alex felt content in just living and being.
"Do you want to get some lunch before we plant our tree?"
"Yeah, I could do with a little lunch." They pulled into a spot behind a small café near the garden. Inside, they chose a booth by the window so they could keep and eye on the tree (this was NY after all).
Bobby was unusually quiet at lunch and Alex got the feeling that something was on his mind. "Are you thinking about your Mom?"
"You're so quiet. I just thought with the tree, maybe you were thinking about your Mom."
"No, not really."
"Are you thinking about work?"
"Bobby," Alex was starting to worry. "Are you going to tell me what's on your mind?"
"Bobby, what is it? You promised to always tell me the truth. If there's something bothering you, or something go…"
"Alex!" He covered her hands with his. "There is nothing wrong, I promise. I'm not keeping anything from you."
The deep frown that stretched from her eyebrows to her chin told Bobby that she was not convinced. "Alex," he said as soothingly as he could, "I promise, there is nothing wrong".
After lunch they pulled into a spot near the garden and headed for the iron gates. Alex was remembering the first time that Bobby brought her here when they turned into the gate. The beauty of the garden took her breath away. The azaleas were in full bloom and they were gorgeous. Someone had replaced the old bench with a beautiful wrought iron and wood bench. It was simple but sturdy. Alex suspected that Bobby had been the culprit. "It's even more beautiful than I remember."
"That's because we're here under better circumstances."
She smiled and followed him over to a spot near the new bench. "That's a lovely new addition."
"It's nice isn't it?" She smiled and he quickly looked away. There was a hole already dug, perfectly sized for their tree.
"That's awfully convenient."
"It's like someone knew we were coming, huh?"
"When did you do all of this?"
"All of what?" he asked while he broke the dirt around the roots and gently lowered the tree into the hole.
"Let's see… the bench, the hole?"
Bobby fluttered his hands around his head in response. Alex dropped down on her knees next to him and helped him fill the hole with the unearthed dirt.
"The Gingko is an ancient tree, long revered in the East… It represents longevity, hope, resilience, and peace."
Alex sat back on her heels. "Sounds perfect, but that doesn't surprise me."
Bobby patted the dirt down around the base of the tree and sat back on his heels next to Alex. "The leaves are shaped like fans. Next fall, after the leaves have weathered the summer, they'll turn a brilliant gold and fall off in waves. The ground will look like the yellow brick road."
Alex stood and reached a hand out to Bobby. He took it, as he always did and stood next to her in front of the tree… their tree. "It's beautiful"
"Not yet, but it will be. It's full of hope right now. As it grows, it'll find peace in this place. And, long after we're gone, when it has weathered year after year, proving its resilience, it will stand as a testament to our resilience... Alex," he took her other hand too and dropped to one knee in front of her, "you are my hope and my peace and I want to stand united with you no matter what life throws at us. Alex, will you marry me?" He dropped her hand long enough to reach into his pocket and pull out a small green velvet box. He presented it to her there on one knee. Hands shaking, Alex peaked inside the box. "Oh, Bobby," she said as her free hand flew to her heart.
He stood and positioned himself behind her so that he could look at the ring with her. "It was my mother's stone. I had it reset. The two smaller stones on each side are new… for our past and our future."
"It's…" her voice cracked as a tear made its way down her cheek. Bobby, unable to stand still, side stepped back in front of her. She looked up at him and back down at the ring. Bobby took the ring from the box and slid it on her finger. Alex stared at the ring and saw flashes of their past, present and future as they ran across her brain like a home movie. She jumped when Bobby's face appeared in front of hers. He was bent at the waste looking up at her like he would a suspect in interrogation, waiting desperately for her response. She laughed at his Bobbyesque invasion of her space and placed the hand with her new ring on his cheek. "I can't imagine my life without you."
Bobby stood to his full height and Alex gently placed her other hand on his chest. "Yes, I'll marry you. There is nothing that I want more."
Bobby covered her hand with his and softly kissed his bride to be. "I love you Alex. I love you with every fiber of my being, and I'm gonna' take care of you, of us, because this is what matters… you and me."
"I believe you. And I promise to take care of us too. I love you Bobby. I always have and I always will."
A/N Thanks so much for reading! I hope the ending did not disappoint. I hate to let these characters go, but they deserve the happy ending! Here's to Bobby and Alex!