After seeing the season 3 finale, and discussing it with my buddy BuJyo and other IPS fans, I decided that this was the logical progession of events in my opinion. It starts right before the end of the finale. If you haven't seen the season 3 finale, you may want to not read further...unless you like spoilers...in which case, knock yourself out! Hope y'all like it!

Disclaimer: I, of course, do not own IPS or any of the characters. But I would like to borrow Marshall every once in a while...


The scene was breathtaking. Golden light from the sunset turned everything it touched into something mystical, romantic, and warm. The majesty of the waves crashing against the shore could be both seen and heard from her viewpoint, and the warmth of the day still lingered in the coming evening.

"May I interest you in a drink before dinner? Champagne? Or…a sex on the beach?"

Mary turned from her balcony view to the young man at the tray, smiling coyly, her long hair still damp and draped over a bare shoulder.

"You can interest me in many things, Jorge."

He chuckled. "It's Enrique."

"Uh huh. Many things. Sex on the beach being at the top of the list," she replied, walking over to the tray he'd just finished preparing, still smiling. "Get back to me when you've taken your SATs."

"When you're done, just call. I'll be glad to come back." She signed the bill and handed it to him, and he took it with a grin.

"I'll bear that in mind," she told him with a flirtatious smirk. She watched him walk away and sighed as she ate a piece of fruit. "Nicest place." She walked back to the balcony, gazing once more out on the scene.

"You know," started the half-naked man walking out from the bathroom, tucking the end of his towel in, "I-I can't decide if it's merely disconcerting or simply pathetic."

"What?" Mary asked with a shrug as she stared at Faber's bare back. "What are you talking about?"

"That routine you were doing with the cabana boy." He came over towards her with a bottle of wine and leaned on the tray.

"First of all," she began, meeting him at the tray, "there was no routine."

"Oh, please, he may as well have been delivering pizza."

"Secondly, there was no cabana boy, that was room service, and his name was Jorge."

"Enrique."

"Whatever."

"And there's no SATs in Mexico," he murmured as she leaned towards him.

"And third, had there been a cabana boy, you wouldn't be the one in front of me in a towel, he would. And minus the towel."

He started slightly, but recovered quickly. "I'm stunned, Kitten."

She smiled. "Could you kinda knock it off with the 'Kitten'?"

He picked up the wine bottle again. "I think this has had enough time to breathe, don't you?"

She snorted in derision. "I can't believe I'm in Mexico with a guy who lets his drinks breathe."

"Oh, you know what? Gimme a break."

She stopped and pointed a finger at him. "Wait. You want me to give you a break?"

"Yeah," he purred, leaning towards her. "I want you to give me a break."

She slid her arms around his neck. "God, you're an idiot."

"Oh, shut up."

"You shut up."

And then they were kissing, mouths meeting, breath tangling, her fingers in his hair, his hands running across her body. The passion, the tension between them swirling, building, the wine completely forgotten as they became lost in each other as the sun continued to set gently over the ocean.

Marshall jerked awake with a frantic cry, shooting to a sitting position, panting as he tried to regain his bearings. He could feel the sweat through his night shirt, felt the dampness on his face, in his hair. So real…it had all been so terrifyingly real. His eyes darted all across the room, trying to make sense of the darkness. Gradually, his mind caught up with him in his sleepy, sluggish state and he started to relax. He swore to himself and sat back against the headboard, rubbing his hands over his face.

Mary. Mexico. Faber. His stomach churned and his fists clenched.

She wouldn't do that…would she?

She might, he thought with dread. What had she said? "Find a bar, do some cowboy."…

He swore again as he felt a bit of panic rise again. Without stopping to think, he grabbed his phone off his nightstand and dialed the number he knew by heart, his pulse pounding madly as he waited for her to pick up.

She'd kill him. He could deal with that. He had to know.

A sound that wouldn't have passed for a greeting in any language met his ears from the other end of the line, but there was only one woman in the world who could make that sound.

"Mare!" he gasped, trying not to sound as relieved as he felt. What if Faber had answered? "Thank God, you have no idea—"

"Marshall?" the groggy, slightly hoarse voice said slowly. "What the-?"

"Is Faber there with you?" he blurted out suddenly. What if he were only sleeping on the bed next to her? What if they hadn't been sleeping? His stomach plummeted at the thought.

"….what?"

He gritted his teeth, trying to stay calm. "Tell me Faber's not there with you."

"Marshall, did you get tangled in your dino pajamas again?" she asked, her voice clearer, and very clearly very irritated. "Why the hell would Faber be in Hawaii with me?"

Hawaii. Not Mexico. No Faber. Relief washed over him so heavily that he felt almost woozy. He was tempted to laugh for the sudden joy he felt.

But then… He silently swore at himself again. He was in for it.

"And why in the hell are you calling me at—" she paused, probably to check the clock. "—one-frickin-thirty-seven in the morning?"

"I—"

"Vacation, Marshall. No working, no thinking, only sleeping and drinking. And maybe a bit of gambling with the grandpas on the beach, but only cuz they catcalled and I didn't have a gun to shoot them. If you miss me that much, call me when I'm coherent. Good night!"

"Wait, Mary—"

Click.

He looked down at his phone and sighed heavily. He was going to apologize, but there would be time for that later. If she would take it.

He put his phone back down and sat back against the wall, closing his eyes. She was alone in Hawaii. Of course, that didn't necessarily mean she wasn't "doing some cowboy", as she so tactfully put it, but at least it wasn't Faber.

He couldn't keep doing this to himself, seeing her with some other guy and panicking, feeling surges of anger and jealousy whenever the word "cowboy" came up. He'd tried to explain how he felt to her before she'd left, but either she hadn't gotten the message or she didn't want to.

"Maybe messy is what you need," he'd said. He had seen how still she'd become at those words, at the rest of what he'd said, whatever it had been. He couldn't even remember now, beyond that. All he'd known was that he was trying to point every single finger, sign, and billboard in her mind to him. The fact that he didn't know what she was thinking was driving him insane.

Groaning, he forced himself out of bed. There was no use trying to go back to sleep at 5:40 in the morning. He'd be getting up relatively soon anyway. Maybe he'd get a good workout in, vent his frustrations through cardiovascular exertion and sweat, clear his head a little.

Then, after that, maybe he'd have a better idea of what to do next...when Mary got home.


Duh duh DUHHHHHH...it was a dream! Of COURSE it was, we all knew that! Anyway, be kind. Please review. It makes me smile.