Two things:

1. In this chapter, I take a little liberty with the show's cannon, hope you all don't mind. But really, this whole story is OOC, so it should come as no surprise that I would do such a thing.

2. Thanks, again, to LadyBlueDevil86. The idea she fed me is in this chapter. It's the inspiration for this whole story.

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Alex woke the next morning to an empty bed. Frowning, she sat up and looked around the room for his clothes but didn't see them.

"Shit." She shook her head and tried to think of why he would have run out. The night before was, in her opinion, incredible. Their lovemaking was intense and beyond anything she had ever experienced. She thought he felt the same way, so to find him gone was more than upsetting, it was devastating.

It wasn't until she turned to climb out of bed that she saw it sitting on her night stand.

A ring.

A ring with a card under it. Her name was on the card, written in his unmistakable chicken scratch.

She tilted her head a little and moved closer to get a better look. She studied the ring for a minute before picking it up. It was a pear shaped solitary diamond, set in white gold. She picked it up and held it between two fingers.

Alex folded her legs so she was sitting 'Indian style' and got a good look at the ring. She sucked in her breath when she realized why it looked so familiar. It was his mother's. She couldn't help but cringe at the negative feelings she had toward his mom and her wedding ring. She knew that Bobby knew how she felt, so she couldn't understand why he would have left it for her.

With her face set in confusion, she picked up the card and opened it. Then she settled back against her headboard and she read the letter.

Dear Alex,

While I know you don't have good feelings about this ring, I have to explain to you why I do. As you know, it was my mother's, and despite everything, I loved her very much. It means the world to me because it meant the world to her.

When she gave it to my brother, she told me that she had hoped he would give it to the love of his life. Since Frank's gone and unable to give it to the love is his life, I've decided to give it mine.

I didn't give it to you in person because I didn't want to pressure you. But if you feel the same way, or at least willing to try, you know where to find me.

Last night with you was everything I knew it would be.

Love always,

Bobby

She gripped the ring in one hand and his letter in another, then rolled onto her side.

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Later that day she showed up at his apartment feeling very nervous. When he opened the door, he saw the worried look on her face and noticed she was holding something behind her back. He was devastated, thinking that she was returning his ring.

Feeling dejected, he glumly said hello and let her in.

She stepped inside then looked at him, "Lead the way, Bobby."

Unsure of what she was up to, he cautiously led her to his kitchen. He made his way to the far counter, then turned around and leaned against it.

He started to become hopeful when he saw the small grin on her face.

"Eames?"

Her small grin turned into a full blown smile as she brought her hand around from her back, offering him a single red rose.

His eyes met hers, and he gave her a questioning look. He heard happiness in her voice as she spoke, "You told me once what this means…do you remember?"

He flashed back to Rachel Burnett and her parents, Maureen Curtis and Trevor Lipton. Trevor had given Maureen countless single red roses to signify his devotion to her.

"A single red rose…love and fidelity." His voice cracked as he said the last part.

She took a step toward him and handed him the rose. He took it hesitantly. With a deep, emotional voice of her own she asked him, "Do you have a vase?"

He shook his head, "No…No one has ever given me flowers before."

His words broke her heart. Raising up on her tip-toes, she gave him a lingering peck on the lips. Then she moved around him and pulled a glass out of his drying rack. He watched her as she filled it with water and then place it on the counter. After she was done, looked at him expectantly.

Slightly embarrassed, he looked down.

"You should put it in the water, Bobby."

He stood up straight, then moved over and put the rose into the glass. He stared at it for a long time, unsure of what it really meant, and what to do next because she hadn't brought up his ring yet. He was still afraid that she was trying to let him down gently.

Sensing his apprehension, she knew she had to take the next step. She took a hold of his hand and led him into his living room.

Alex could tell how nervous he was, so she decided to just get on with it. "Sit, please."

Once Bobby sat on the couch, Alex settled herself down and turned her body to face him. He watched her every move with an uneasy silence.

"Bobby…last night…"

"Hmmm?"

She could see how worried he was, and that he wasn't going to make it easy for her. She switched tactics.

"What made you leave?"

He became crestfallen, and his face showed it. "I, um…I was afraid."

"Of what?" Her eyes widened as she said her next thought, "Of me?"

He still couldn't look at her. "Of what was going to happen to us."

She climbed onto his lap and wrapped her hands around his shoulders. Gently fingering the nape of his neck, she spoke delicately, "I know what you want to happen…I read your letter…so now I guess I need to tell you what I want."

Bobby felt her gentle caress of his neck, and it caused his body to heat up quickly. Memories from the night before flooded his mind, and he fought himself from pushing her onto his couch and kissing her senselessly.

He carefully brought his eyes to hers. Nodding, he asked her, "What do you want, Alex?"

She shifted her position a little as she thought of the best way to say what was on her mind. He felt every bit of her movement and he fought hard to suppress a groan.

She moved her hands to his shoulders and looked him square in the eyes, "Bobby…for me…last night was…more than just…a deal." She made quotation marks when she said 'deal'. "Last night was… ahhh, god…last night was wonderful."

He couldn't help but lean up and kiss her.

"And?" He said hopefully once they ended their kiss.

"And…well…" She took his hand and pressed something into it.

He felt it in the palm of his hand. It was the ring he left for her. Suddenly breathing rapidly, he folded his other hand over both of theirs.

"Alex."

"Bobby?"

Completely unsure of himself, he asked her exactly what he was thinking, "Are you returning this?"

She tilted her head slightly, a move that was totally Goren, and then she shook her head.

Smiling at him, she finally replied, "I want you to put it on me."

Still afraid to assume anything, he quietly asked her, "What does this ring mean to you?"

Alex understood his nervousness and his apprehension about commitment. She knew better than anyone how deeply his past affected him.

She carefully considered her words, because she knew what her answer meant to him, "I know that for you, this ring signifies love. The kind of love that endures everything... And so for you to give it to me, you feel that we have that kind of love." She felt tears coming, so she took a deep breath to try to stop them before continuing. "And I agree." Still choking on her words, she finished her thought while her forehead rested against his, "I know this is all new to us, and I know we have a lot to learn about each other…but I also know that for almost ten years, you've been the biggest part of my life, and during that time, I've come to love you in every way there is to love a person." She gave him a quick kiss and wiped away both of their tears before finishing, "So…to answer your question…for me…this ring means forever…and I really, really want you to put it on me."

Bobby broke out a broad smile as he first hugged her and kissed her.

Once he took care of that, he extricated her off of his lap, then twisted himself into a kneeling position and took the ring from her.

"I love you, Alex."

She would never forget the look in his eyes. She smiled at him as she replied, "I love you, too, Bobby."

"This ring, this ring is for us…and it's forever." He said as he slipped it onto her finger.

"Forever." She added before she pulled him up to her and kissed him.

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The End