Who doesn't want a happy ending?

Chapter 25

Two Days Later

A coastal magnet for beautiful people, Miami offers endless sunshine, spectacular beaches and unrivaled nightlife.

Within this perfect oasis, the renovated patio of The Cantina encouraged tourists and locals alike to grab a cold beer while enjoying the balmy beach breeze.

That is exactly what Sam Axe was doing as he shared drinks and conversation with Madeline and Fiona as they waited for Michael's arrival.

It had been a grand adventure as they celebrated the end of the case.

"I don't understand why Michael is late," Madeline mentioned as she looked at her watch, "it's so not like him."

"Ah, nothing to worry about, Maddie, I'm sure he'll be here any second and then we can have another round of brewskis," Sam assured her.

"It's good that the two of you are here, because I wanted to thank both of you for helping me out," said Maddie.

"No need, Madeline," responded Fi, "we were glad to help. And you should feel proud of your contribution."

"Thank you, Fiona," said Madeline. She then turned to Sam. "And Sam, I must say, I did not realize how really good you were in fighting the bad guys. But, I'm sure you're sick of hearing that."

"Well, I don't know if sick is the right word..."

"Oh, Sam, " said Fi drolly, "Don't try and bowl us over with your quick wit. Oh, wait, I see that you didn't."

Sam opened his mouth to counter reply but quickly closed it as the waitress approached, carrying a beautifully gold- wrapped present with a bright red bow on top. Sam winked at the waitress who smiled in return. She placed the gift directly in front of Madeline who squealed in delight.

"Madeline, it seems we have a secret admirer here," teased Fiona.

Madeline could not help but grin as she curiously began unwrapping the gift.

With the last of the gold paper unwrapped, she lifted the lid of the box. All three leaned in to peer inside the box.

"Well, would you look at that!" Madeline said, placing her palm over the front of her throat in awe.

Cradled in a heap of tissue paper laid a beautiful honey-colored leather purse.

Madeline gently lifted the purse from the box and caressed the buttery-soft leather.

"It's exquisite, Madeline!" Fi exclaimed, "Now, read the card!"

Madeline tore open the envelope:

Mom,

You're the best, so you deserve the best.

Love,

Michael

p.s. This purse is not splattered with any gunshot residue.

As Madeline lovingly touched the purse, she felt a bump from inside the purse. Sam and Fi watched as Madeline delved inside the purse and pulled out a can of cream soup. A strip of paper had been taped to it. She read the numbers on the strip, a pleased look on her face.

"What is that paper, Maddie?" asked Sam, trying to look over.

"It's a receipt." Maddie announced, her voice cracking a bit.

A small sniffle could be heard from her.

"A receipt... for the purse?" asked a baffled Fi.

Maddie shook her head.

"It's proof that Michael bought the can of cream soup on sale," proclaimed Maddie, tears surfacing as she showed them the discounted papered evidence, "I love my son so much!"

Fi looked touched. Sam looked befuddled. Huh? Love? Tears? Over soup? He leaned over to Fi.

"Uh, Fi, what's up with the watery eyes from Maddie?"

"Sam, you're not the only reason why women cry, you know."

"Ha ha. Fi. No really, why?"

Fi looked at him exasperated, "Why do you think, Sam?"

Sam looked at Maddie, puzzled.

"Uh...cans of soup usually aren't on sale until Tuesday?"

Fi folded her arms and rolled her eyes. Frustratingly, she was not going to tell him.

"Insensitive boozer," Fiona whispered underneath her breath.

"Unstable bomber," Sam huffed back to her.

"Geez!" Madeline stepped in, "Ever wonder why you two don't have friends outside of each other?"

"Never!" they both answered at once.

Just then, Sam felt his cell phone vibrate. This was immediately followed by Fiona's phone also vibrating.

Sam was first to read his text from Michael:

Sorry, Sam, something came up. Will not make it to Cantina. Apologies to everyone. M.

Fiona also scanned her text quickly:

Fi, meet me at loft ASAP. P.S Don't show Sam this. Show him instead the next text I will send you. M

"Well," said Sam, putting away his cell phone, "I don't think Mikey will be able to make it today. Fi, is that what he also said in your text too?"

Fi had just finished reading her text.

"W-What? Oh, yes…the same thing, of course," agreed Fi, as she started to fold up her cell phone, trying to hide her smile.

Sam had a doubtful look. "Really?" he questionably asked, "let me see."

Fi held her cell phone protectively next to her body, playing her part to the hilt.

"Maybe I don't want to show it to you, Sam," she said.

"So it did state something different," challenged Sam.

"I did not say that!" Fiona insisted.

"Oh, go on, Fiona, show it to him!" said Madeline, still holding on tightly to her new purse.

Fiona brought up the last text sent to her and showed it to Sam:

Sorry, Fi, something came up. Will not make it to Cantina. Apologies to everyone. M.

"See?" said Fi, "Satisfied?"

"Okay," said a convinced Sam, "but I want it noted somewhere that he texted me that message first."

"Duly noted," Fi nodded agreeably, "and now if you excuse me, I've got other things to do."

Fi almost jumped out of her seat as she went over to hug Madeline. Then surprisingly, as she past Sam, she reached down and put her arms around Sam in a big hug, too. Sam could not have looked more surprised.

"Uh, Fi, were you trying to strangle me, but reached too low?" asked Sam, still stunned over the gesture.

"Oh, Sam, I'm just so glad you're my friend!" Fi answered good-naturedly, as she walked away to secretly meet up with Michael.

"Did you hear that, Maddie? No parting words of insult!" wondered Sam, as he observed Fi departing, " Look at her. All bouncy-cheery with her steps. She's been so damn happy ever since that text. And then that "duly noted' comment. What was that all about? Something must be up…" He rubbed his chin, suspiciously.

"Duly noted, Sam," Madeline asked, with a knowing grin on her face.

xxx

As Fiona approach the loft, her heart was beating fast with thoughts of seeing Michael. His place looked deserted from the outside, until she reached the exterior stairway.

Fi gasped when she looked down at the first step.

A perfect rose with crimson petals laid lovingly along the bottom step. She picked up the flower, the long stem carefully de-thorned. As she ascended the stairs, she found another on the third step, and another on the fifth and so on. Her gaze progressed upward, discovering a trail of red roses.

A smile filled her face. She wandered along the path of roses, in no particular hurry, as she added to her growing collection. The blossoms were exquisite and fragrant, the sweet smell teasing her senses.

The last rose had been tied to the knob of the decrepit green door of his loft. She retrieved the last one and feeling amused and curious, she opened the door and entered.

A small table laden with two silver dome-shaped covered plates and two candles in the shape of C-4 explosives had been setup in the center of his loft.

Her gaze traveled from the cozy lunch for two to the sight of Michael, looking dashing in a new suit, with a rose in his hand. She stared at him, stupefied.

"Michael…you did all this for me?" Fi asked.

Michael stepped forward and presented the last rose to her, making her bouquet an even dozen.

"You deserve true romance in your life, Fi, and I want to be the one to give it to you," he announced.

Fi slowly approached the table, softly touching the waxed faux C-4 candles, admiring the resemblance to the actual item.

"Michael, you are a true romantic," she said appreciating the specially-made candles, as she looked back at him.

Michael smiled at Fi's interpretation of 'romantic.'

"So, Fiona, the question for today is: what will you have first…lunch…or me?"

Both knew the answer to that. Fiona gave him a coy look.

"It depends…" Fi teasingly replied, "What are we having for lunch?"

Michael played along. "What else?" he said in an obvious tone, "but the divine chipped beef?"

He then leaned over and lifted the silver dome to reveal Madeline's specialty dish.

Fi smiled back.

The roses dropped to the floor in a rustling, sweetly aromatic heap as Fi wordlessly flew into Michael's embrace. They stood among the cascade of fragrant blossoms.

She tried to control the bursting excitement within her.

His body shuddered as his mouth then sought hers urgently, extracting sweet sensations. He heard her whimper as his hands began a slow, sojourn over her body, the heat of his palms leaving a trail of burning heat on her skin.

When the kiss ended, he gazed at her, suddenly filled with the feeling of completeness that he would never experience with anyone else.

"I don't want to lose you, Fi," he softly admitted to her.

"You won't, Michael," Fi promised, "and all I ask is that you don't bring the spy world into our personal lives."

Michael nodded.

"I can only tell you that I will try my best. I just know I can't live without you, Fi" he sincerely stated.

A smile appeared on Fi's face at the acknowledgement that he couldn't live without her.

"You won't ever have to," Fiona said. She reached up and kissed his cheek while her body went weak with overwhelming relief.

Michael trembled and his mouth found hers once again, almost bruising her lips in a kiss that seemed to last forever.

As the kiss continued, Michael swept her off her feet and carried her to the bed. Their anticipation heightened as their hearts beat with happiness.

...And meanwhile... outside of Michael's loft, the Cuban conga drums continued to play as the beat of Miami vibrated with energy. From all over, people come together to this sun-kissed land to celebrate in a place known for its perfect weather and tropical beaches.

For when the bright sun hits the sandy shores of Miami, everything heats up…including love.

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I'm done, I'm done! And what a joyous journey it has been for me! The best part of all was meeting all the wonderful BN readers/reviewers. Thank you for taking the time to my 'little' story.

I hope my story was able to convey all the love and respect I have for the BN characters. I've spent many, many hours trying to get it right.

A special thanks for "Team BN": Purdy's Pal, Amanda Hawthorn and i luv ewansmile. You're always there for me. Also my fanfic buds: mfnikki and gilraenstar. Thanks for making me smile. Thanks to coolaquariun, BurnedmichaelY, Vee Fall, Valeskathesilverwolf and airesrobin for your kind words. And finally, thanks for all the loyal anonymous reviewers. I'm throwing confetti at you!

BN readers are the best!

Please let me know what you think for the last time!

Also, be on the lookout for my next story, "A Twist of Nate"!