Disclaimer: I don't own Moonlighting or these characters.

Author's Note: The fourth-season episode "Take a Left at the Altar" ends with David writing a letter to Maddie. How might she have answered him?

Thanks go to Connie for her time, thoughts, and titles. :)

Lovers and Letters

One more thing—this is all a bunch of crap. I'm miserable and I want you to come home.

Maddie read David's words again. And again. It was so typical of him that she smiled, though her eyes were stinging: all that bluster about the value of vintage biplanes a mere cover for his aching heart.

In that moment, she felt every one of the two thousand miles between them. She picked up the phone—the least she could do was check in, let him hear her voice. It's not fair, she thought suddenly. Why couldn't it just be easy? Why can't I just be happy?

His voice, accusing, sounded in her head: "You won't let yourself be happy!"

She put the phone down. No sense in calling when she didn't really know what to say—it was far too likely to provoke a fight, to tear them further apart instead of reconcile them.

Pulling open the nightstand drawer, she saw it was still there: a pad of notepaper her mother had given her when she graduated from college, "From the Desk of Madolyn Hayes" engraved in dark pink across the top. Somewhat incongruously, a kitten frolicked in the lower right-hand corner.

David would appreciate the irony.

Dear David,

Thanks for your letter. It's good to know that Blue Moon is—relatively—business as usual.

Things here in Chicago are fine. My parents were so glad to see me…surprised, but happy. It's been too long since I've visited. I guess I've been so focused on the agency that I haven't even thought about what I owe them. So it's good that I came.

They haven't changed. Dad still works a lot, Mom plays bridge, they go to the club and golf on the weekends. The house hasn't changed much either: all the same books, same photos (though they've added that one of us—you remember, the one from the newspaper? From our first case?). Even my room looks like it did when I left for college.

It's nice, actually. Being in a place where time stands still.

That's partly why I had to get out of L.A. In the last month, we've been running on fast-forward. Sam showing up, his proposal, you and me—it all happened so quickly I never had a chance to decide anything, to choose…what's best for my life, for the business, for our friendship.

Because you are my friend—maybe the best one I've ever had. These last three years you've been there for me more times than I can count. You were right, that last night: you do understand me, even with, as you so poetically put it, "all my garbage." That's why I have to try to sort things out. I'd never forgive myself if this—whatever it is—ruined everything between us.

I love you, David. That's the plain truth. But I don't know if I can be with you. When we're together, I'm not me—at least not the "me" I've always known. I've always been a thinker…but with us, there's no room for thinking. It's a tornado of feelings, all the time—amazement and frustration and joy and anger and a wanting so deep I don't even know what to call it. It's exhausting…and it scares the hell out of me.

I feel sometimes like I'm being swallowed whole. But I can't seem to stop it, either.

So here I am. Room to breathe. Room to think. Maybe I can get some perspective, see this relationship from a different angle, figure out if there's a chance we can make this work. Or whether we're better off ending it now.

I know this is hard on you, and I'm sorry. I'm sorry for taking off without saying goodbye, for leaving you to carry on the business alone. And sorry that I can't just jump in with both feet and be happy.

I miss you, David.

Love,
Maddie

Folding the letter carefully, she slid it into the open drawer. She could send it tomorrow…or the day after...or...

She wiped away a few tears, blew her nose, pointed the remote at the TV. And settled in for another long, lonely night.