A/N: Posted 9/15/11
Thanks for your reviews and PMs everyone. A special thanks to Laurie, supesfan18 and quistie64 for all the help they've given me throughout the writing of this story.
Be sure to read my notes at the end of the chapter.
With a huge smile, he asked her, "Sarah Walker, before something else happens, would you make me the happiest man on earth and be my wife?"
Sarah couldn't answer; she was crying too hard. She nodded her head and started shaking.
Chuck stood back up and placed his mother's ring on his fiancé's finger and pulled her in for a kiss. He didn't mind the salt, oil or butter.
Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen
Sarah had slid her arms under Chuck's and snaked them up his back, resting her hands on his shoulders. She buried her face in his chest and fought to bring her crying back under control.
Chuck tried, unsuccessfully, not to laugh and finally just bit his lip.
She pulled her head back and tried to look into Chuck's eyes. She couldn't face him and had to look away. She was happy to be engaged, but still felt ashamed of ruining Chuck's moment. "I'm so sorry, Chuck. I wasn't snooping, really. I was picking up our clothes… ugh…I screwed it all up for you."
Chuck laughingly responded, "Screwed it all up? Are you kidding? You have no idea how nervous I was with that thing burning a hole in my pocket. Besides, think of the story we have to tell."
There was a look of horror on her face, "Oh, no, Chuck! You're not going to tell anyone, are you?" Her eyes grew at the thought of others hearing what had just happened. She sighed and hung her head in defeat. Who was she kidding? This will be re-told at every family get together until she dies. And then some. Right now, she wanted to crawl into a hole and die.
With a huge grin, he reassured her with a gentle rub of her back, "Hey, I'm a spy! I can keep a secret."
Sarah's eyes rolled as she ran her hand up her forehead, pulling her hair up and away from her face.
"Fine, I know a spy that could hurt me!"
She laughed and nodded her head in agreement.
He cupped her face and told her, "I won't tell a soul, I promise." With an evil grin he asked her, "Does Casey have a soul?" That earned him a smack on the back of his head.
"Ow!" He rubbed the back of his head. "But you will have to come up with a good cover for my sister. She'll want details."
He'd just saved her for a second time in as many minutes. She thought a moment and said, "I'll tell her…" Stop! No. She wouldn't. She couldn't lie to Ellie. Not anymore. They'd had to do that too often in the past and she knew how it affected Chuck. "I'll tell her…," she started and then with a final sense of resignation, "I'll tell her the truth."
Chuck smiled at her, "I love you, Sarah. More than anything." He pulled her face in closer and gently kissed her. "I think you need to go take a shower. And I should go get dressed."
Sarah looked at the mess she'd made in the kitchen and hesitated.
"I'll take care of it," he assured her and shooed her away. "Go. Gogogo." He had already bent down to clean up the spilt oil with his bath towel.
Sarah leaned over and kissed the top of his head. "Thank you." She headed off to the bathroom and stopped to look back at Chuck. He's freaking incredible. How the heck did I get so lucky? With a grin on her face, she held up her slightly heavier left hand and admired it as she walked off to the bathroom. Thank you, Bryce.
Chuck finished cleaning the last of the mess and put the butter and oil back where they belonged. She said yes! She actually said yes! How the heck did I get so lucky? The very thing that had turned his life inside out and upside down had also brought him his Sarah. Thank you, Bryce.
There were literally dozens of dresses laid out on Chuck's bed. Each one had, in turn, been dismissed by Sarah as she tried to pick out the perfect dress for their first, no, second, no, third first date. All of the dresses were nice, but none were quite right. She looked back into her cardboard closet and found one last dress. I really do need to unpack that 'suitcase' she thought. A smile grew on her face as she remembered what Chuck had told her about the red dress. Salmon? Is he color-blind?
Sarah shoved several of the dresses away from the corner of the bed and sat down on the edge. She let out a huff at the hair that had fallen across her eyes. I agreed to marry him. What did I just do? She looked down at the ring on her hand as it rested on her leg. This is crazy. She could feel the knots in her stomach get tighter. I can't do this. I can't do this to him. I'm just being selfish. Sarah ran her hands through her hair. He'll find out what I really am and hate me. This is a nightmare!
She twisted at the ring, trying to get it off, and as she expected it wouldn't budge. She stuck her finger in her mouth and worked the ring loose. She held the ring up and stared at it. Then palming the ring and closing her eyes she thought, I'm a coward. That's the problem. I can't hide behind a gun for this. She took a deep breath. You're going to be a mother, for God's sake. She put her hand on her stomach and absent-mindedly rubbed. Grow a spine! Prove to him that he wasn't wrong.
Sarah nodded and opened her eyes, looked at the ring and smiled as she put the ring back on her finger and stood.
Chuck was sitting on the couch in the living room, leaning forward, his full attention on the TV screen. He was totally engrossed with what he was watching when Sarah came out of the bedroom.
She let her hair hang loose, down to her shoulders, with a slight curl and had her shoes dangling from her hand as she entered the living room. She walked up behind him and leaned over the couch, giving him a peck on the cheek.
Chuck jumped up from the couch as he tried to change the channel, succeeding only in turning the volume up. He fumbled with the remote as he tried to kill the TV, managing to become totally flustered and looking like a kid caught with a hand in the cookie jar. "Sarah, I didn't hear you come out." His mouth dropped open when he saw what she was wearing. His eyes smiled, "Oh, wow." The dress from the Von Hayes mission.
She loved his reaction to the dress and smirked. And damn, if he doesn't look great himself. "Nice Tux." She moved around the couch towards Chuck. She let her shoes fall to the ground and brought her hands up to his tie. "Need a little help with that?"
He grinned at her, "Never could get the hang of these things but I didn't want to wear a clip-on." He brought his hands up to rest on her waist and watched her eyes as she fixed his tie. "You look beautiful."
"Thank you." Her eyes flickered for a second on his. "Why were you watching that show?"
He couldn't think of an even remotely plausible lie, "I… I…" His face was getting redder by the second and decided to come clean, "I was trying to learn to dance. It's just that I'm such a klutz."
With a final tug at the ends of his tie, she brought her hands down to her hips, covering his hands and held them in place. "You can't learn to dance from watching TV, especially 'Dancing with the Stars'."
She slowly stepped back, gently pulling Chuck along with her. Bringing her right hand up to his shoulder and her left hand behind his neck, stroking his hair, she gently swayed her hips. "They take basic dance steps and add their own choreography." She moved her right foot back, then her left foot back and brought her right foot next to her left. Boom. Tick. Tick.
She reversed her foot movements, starting with her left foot forward, toeing his leg backwards as she went. Right foot forward, again with her toe pushing his leg back. Then shuffled her left foot next to her right foot. Boom. Tick. Tick. With a slight push on Chuck's back, she moved him closer to her. Boom. Tick. Tick.
She took his left hand in her right and pulled him slightly around to her left. "What's the most important thing for the man to remember?"
"Hmmm?" Chuck, having figured out what Sarah was doing, was looking down at her feet trying to match her steps. He could feel her tapping on his back in a subtle manner. No one would have noticed it. Boom. Tick. Tick.
"To make the woman look good." Sarah lifted Chuck's left arm up and stepped under it turning herself in a circle, softly stopping in front of him. She got up on the tips of her toes and gave him a quick kiss and pushed back taking Chuck with her. She was quite surprised at how well Chuck was picking up the steps. But then again, he'd been surprising her every day for close to two years. Boom. Tick. Tick.
He looked up into her eyes, "You don't need anyone to make you look good." Boom. Tick. Tick.
She smiled, "It wouldn't be much fun without you." They continued dancing as Chuck's eyes focused on hers. Boom. Tick. Tick. Boom. Tick. Tick.
"What about all those fancy steps?" He shook his head, "I'll never be able to do those."
"Take the lead and I'll follow you." She smiled as he pulled her slightly towards him. She continued to tap out the beat on his back and added, "You'll learn. It just takes a little practice. Still feel like a klutz?"
"No, but we aren't really dancing."
"Sure we are," she corrected him. "You've been copying my steps and this is the basic box. On the island, you learned to anticipate my moves when we were doing hand-to-hand. Dancing is no different."
"Just a lot safer!" Chuck teased.
"Ow! Still think so?" She gave him a tap with her toe.
Chuck froze, "Oh, God! Are you okay?" He pulled back and looked down at her stocking feet.
She wiggled her toes and laughed, "Gotcha!" She snickered, "You can be so easy."
He closed his eyes and shook his head, "That's mean."
She grabbed his face and pulled it closer to hers. "You may not realize it yet, but mother's changed you. Changed us. Would we have been able to dance like that five months ago?"
He furrowed his brows slightly, thinking, "I don't think so." His face brightened, "You'd be missing a few toes. Besides, that… this was all you."
Sarah smiled warmly at his response and shook her head, "You can do anything." Her eyes were getting wetter as she looked into his eyes. She brought a hand to her face as a tear fell and wiped the bottom of her eye. She lost her voice and there was so much she wanted to tell him.
Chuck leaned in closer and kissed her cheek where the tear had fallen and then kissed her on the lips. He felt her tongue on his and deepened his kiss. The phone in his pocket vibrated, but he ignored it, bringing his arms up higher on Sarah's back and pressed her in closer. He soon forgot the phone. He loved the soft inside of her mouth by her lower lip, how it felt on his tongue and the actual tingle on its tip.
Sarah placed her right foot on the top of Chuck's right and pushed up on her toes and tightened her arms around him. She brought her hand up and grabbed a fistful of his hair and sucked harder on his tongue. Her left leg wrapped itself around his.
Feeling her shifting, he brought his right hand down, feeling the soft material of her dress. He'd never actually seen stars when kissing someone, but Sarah had just put them there. Chuck moved his hand further down and held her rear in his hand pulling her in.
She was moaning in his mouth when he broke. This felt very different. "Sarah, are you okay?"
Sarah had pulled her head back with her eyes closed and her mouth open. Her eyes shot wide with a curse as she held him tighter. She closed her eyes again and leaned her head on his chest with a shutter. She shifted her weight as she slowly stepped back down off of his foot.
Chuck stared at her. The only time he'd seen that face was in bed... "What was that?"
Sarah caught her breath, "Nothing, Chuck." She pulled away from him with a sly grin on her face. Yeah, what the heck was that? Holy crap! Then she remembered something, "Oh! I have present for you. I kinda forgot about it when you showed up on the firing range." Shaking the lingering effects of… she didn't really want to name it… whatever off, she walked over to the front door to retrieve her mission bag and headed back to the dining room table.
Curious, Chuck followed her.
Sarah pulled out a roll of material from the bag and laid it on the table. "Go ahead, open it."
Chuck undid the tie and unrolled the material along the table top. Once open and flat, he saw that it was folded. He lifted an edge and pulled it up revealing three steel, throwing knives. "Oh, wow. They're just like yours."
"They are mine." She then corrected herself, "Were mine. These are yours now."
He picked one up and felt it in his hand. Twirling it in hands, as he had seen Sarah do so many times, he exclaimed, "Wow. Not like the one we had on the island."
"Quite right," she agreed, "They're balanced to my liking, but you should be able to use these. When we go to Castle tomorrow, you can practice with them on the range."
He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you. And I have something for you." Then he added with a smirk, "Just not as deadly." There was a box, sitting on the other side of the table. Chuck moved along the side of the table, retrieved it and brought it back over to Sarah.
Sarah looked at the top of the box and saw it was addressed to Ellie. "You sure this is for me?"
Chuck laughed, "Yeah, I had it sent to my sister in case one Miss Snoopy-snoop found it."
She semi-fake pouted and smacked him, "I really wasn't 'looking' through your pockets."
"I know. Just teasing." He prodded her with a nod, "Go ahead and look inside."
She opened the box and took out the first piece covered in bubble wrap. "Oh, I love this stuff!" She started popping a few bubbles.
"No, Sarah! Not the wrapper." He looked up at her grin and realized she was pulling his leg, "Ah! I see. It's gonna be a life of teasing, huh?"
She nodded as she started unrolling the wrap.
"Ha!" He teased her right back, "Then maybe I should call it quits and get the ring back."
He never saw her knife come out and was startled to see her waving it back and forth as she warned him, "I'll be crying at your funeral if you make any funny moves."
He held his hands up, as if to surrender, "Yikes! Scary and sexy, in a very disturbing way. The perils of loving a kick-ass ninja spy girl."
The knife disappeared and the last of the wrap fell away. "Oh, Chuck! You've got to be kidding! You remembered about this?"
He nodded. "Of course. Filed away as item number 32768."
She stared at him, "32… that many? And you have numbers?"
"No, I just thought it sounded good," he shrugged.
"What a nerd!" she laughed and put a hand on Chuck's shoulder. "Well, I love it."
He pointed to the box, "There's more in there."
She looked in the box and found two more items. She unwrapped the first. Barbie in a bikini. She bit her lip and took the bikini off and placed Barbie in the driver's seat of the jeep.
"You don't like the bikini?"
She dead-panned, "Clothing optional."
"Of course," he snorted.
Sarah reached in and pulled the last item out and unwrapped it. Ken in surfer shorts. She left his shorts on and placed him in the passenger seat. She looked up at Chuck and saw his quizzical look. She told him with a wink, "He's shy. And he'll need a dye job."
He gave her his wounded puppy dog eyes to no avail. "I'm not that shy and I did strip down."
"No, I stripped you down…" She stuffed the bubble wrap back into the box and turned to Chuck, "That was very sweet. Thank you." She adjusted his collar and ran her fingers down the lapel of his jacket.
Chuck brought his hands up and around her waist pulling her in, "Thank you for agreeing to become my wife." He was about to kiss her, when his phone vibrated again. "Uh, oh."
"What's the matter?"
He pulled out his phone. "I hired a limo for us and asked them to text me thirty minutes before they got here." He looked down at his phone. "That was the last one… thirty minutes ago. They're here now." He looked up at her, "Ready?"
She stared at Chuck a moment, "A limo? Where are we going?"
"It's a surprise." He crossed his arms across his chest. He was resolved to keep his secret.
Sarah grimaced, "You know I hate surprises." She then gave him her best pout.
Chuck broke and sighed, "It's nothing to worry about. It's just an old-fashioned night out. Dinner at Patina. And if you'll risk your toes for me one more time, we could try dancing at El Bucho."
"Patina's? Really? That's awfully expensive."
He refused to acknowledge her comment; instead he walked towards the couch and picked up her shoes, smiled and held out his hand for her to take.
Give him credit, he's taking charge. "Let me grab my purse."
Patina, French Restaurant
The hostess looked down at the seating sheet she held in her hand, "Oh, Pardonez-moi. Monsieur Bartosski. If you would follow with me, your table is ready."
Chuck shook his head and muttered to Sarah, "I should have used Carmichael. He gets respect." He placed his hand at the small of Sarah's back and nodded to the brunette hostess.
She held her tongue; how many times had she and Bryce gone to dinner and the restaurant screwed up with 'Laiken' or better, 'Lackin'. He'd said the same thing about 'Anderson'. She couldn't suppress her broad grin.
Upon approaching the table, Sarah stood slightly to the side, giving Chuck time to get her chair.
As he pushed her chair in, he looked around the room and noticed that almost every man was staring at Sarah. And that included the wait staff … and even some of the women! He smiled with pride and gave her a soft kiss on the cheek before he moved to take his seat across from her.
Sarah watched the eyes of the female patrons follow Chuck as he took his seat. She pushed down a low growl forming in her throat.
The hostess placed their menus on the table and informed them, "Your waiter will be with you shortly." She trailed her hand across Chuck's shoulder as she pretended to squeeze between his chair and the chair at the table behind him.
Chuck scooched his chair in a bit and leaned forward, "Oops, sorry."
"No problem, Monsieur."
He watched her as she left, straightened back up and faced Sarah with a smile. He was greeted with her warm smile but had missed her slight snarl at the hostess. He looked down at his menu and placed his hands over it, "Sarah, I have a quick confession to make."
"What's that, Chuck?"
Chuck sighed. "I had no idea what to order, so I cheated a little. I used the Internet."
She breathed a sigh of relief. Italian was her thing. French. That was Bryce. "What did you come up with?"
"Your choice, Sarah. Which would you prefer; halibut or lamb? Those seem to be the reviewer favorites."
"Actually, I like both. Do you have a preference?"
He smiled, "Either. Your choice."
"I'll go with the fish."
Laughing, he admitted, "Like always, you make these things so easy."
As if on cue, their waiter appeared at their table, "Mademoiselle, Monsieur. Good evening and welcome to Patina. Would you care for something to drink?"
Chuck took a quick glance at Sarah, "Do you have something without alcohol?"
Sarah objected. "Don't deny yourself on the baby's account. I'll be fine."
The waiter looked at Sarah with a genuine smile, "Congratulations, Madame. We have a sparkling cider."
Sarah smiled and thought Madame. He thinks we're already married. "Thank you! That'll be wonderful."
Chuck added, "And I think we're ready to order as well."
"Tres bon," the waiter stood attentive, looking at Chuck.
Chuck ordered for the both of them, "We'd like to start with the Duck Foie Gras. For dinner, the lady will have the halibut and the lamb for myself."
"Very good, Monsieur." He smiled at Sarah and with a nod to Chuck, left.
"Chuck, that was impressive. If we'd been on a mission, you'd have had everyone in here convinced of your cover." She winked at him, "Keep doing that internet thing."
Chuck beamed, "The internet can be a real life saver." He added, with a touch of sarcasm, "I can't stand nouveaux cuisine with their teeny, tiny, oh so pretty portions. I'd like to see a little food on the plate."
Sarah smirked as she had to agree. No one could ever accuse her of being a dainty eater. She scanned the main dining area of the restaurant, the decor and place settings, "How did you pick this place?"
"Roan," he admitted.
"You're joking!" Sarah was shocked.
Another waiter had arrived, rearranged a few items and placed their appetizer on the table and centered a small plate in front of Sarah and then Chuck. "Is there anything else I can get for you?"
Chuck gave Sarah a quick look and smiled back at the waiter, "No, I think we have everything."
With a smile, the waiter was gone.
Chuck continued their conversation with a shrug. "What do I know about these places? Gino's is the fanciest place that Ellie or I have ever been." He grinned, "I had a few places picked out and then I ran it by Roan. I told him I wanted something old school. He said he'd been here." He waggled his brows and added, "With Diane."
Sarah snorted, loudly, and slapped her hand over her mouth.
"Oh, that is good!" Chuck had tasted the Foie Gras. He pulled a bit more with a cracker and cupped his other hand under it as he fed it to Sarah.
"Mmmm" Sarah nodded in agreement. "You told him about us?"
He nodded. "Guess what he said."
She rolled her eyes, a million things going through her head, "Um… Hic?"
He stared at her a moment and started laughing. "Sorry, you caught me by surprise, you made an actual joke."
Sarah smacked his arm with the back of her hand, "Well? What did he really say?"
"'Bloody well about time! I thought you two were going to explode.'"
Explode is right she thought as she remembered that kiss they'd shared in Castle in front of Roan. And tonight he had even surpassed the kiss, their bomb kiss. She gulped as she felt her heat rise.
They were about half through their entrees when Chuck got up, cleared the table space to Sarah's side and sat down, bringing his plate over with him. Sarah watched him with a smile and a slightly confused gaze.
He gave her a wink, "May I feed you, M'Lady?"
Sarah giggled. "Seriously? We could've switched plates."
"Not as fun. Besides, this will reinforce our cover as the loving couple."
Sarah shot him a quizzical look. "Cover?"
He looked down at his plate as his cheeks reddened slightly.
"Chuck?" She reached out and touched his arm. Then the truth hit her. "You're jealous!"
He grimaced. Playing 'spy' didn't work. But considering who he'd tried it on…
She covered her mouth in time to stop a laugh. "Oh, sweetie! If you haven't noticed, you have quite a few admirers yourself." Too many.
His brows furrowed. "If that were true, then how come it doesn't bother you?"
"Oh, but it is… and it does. I just hide it better." She leaned closer to Chuck, "Come here…"
He looked at her and stopped caring about the eyes he felt on them. He moved in closer and accepted her kiss.
When they broke, Sarah asked him, "How's the lamb?"
"Very good, actually." He cut a small piece and speared it with his fork. As he fed it to her he said, "Sorry, I just felt the eyes."
"Oh, the lamb is good." She had a piece of fish ready for him. "Here, try this." She then responded to his last comment, "When you feel the eyes, they're on you. Not to sound conceited, but I've gotten used to it and ignore it."
With his eyes, he followed her fork to his waiting mouth. As he tasted the fish, a smile grew on his lips, "I love that. I would have a tough time deciding if I were to order now." He looked back at Sarah, his demeanor shifting, "The hostess. She did that on purpose, didn't she?"
"Yeah." She opened her mouth for Chuck's fork. "People think they're subtle. But when you learn what to look for, you realize how blatant they are."
"Green dress at your three." He accepted another piece of Sarah's fish.
"She is. How is the potato confit?"
"Very Good." He prepared a forkful of the potato and brought it over to her. "And her 'date' keeps looking at you. I don't get it; they're both very attractive. Why the interest in us and not each other? It's kind of depressing."
"When you look at another woman, does that mean you want to cheat on me?" She had to suppress a smirk as she lifted her fork with more fish for him.
He was a little shocked at the suggestion, "What? No. I would never!" He opened his mouth for her fish.
Using her thumb, she wiped a bit of fish that hung on his lip. "Look or cheat?"
He blushed then laughed. "Yeah, I look." He fed her more of the lamb and got lost in a thought.
Sarah waited for his focus to return. After a moment, she decided to bring him back, "Chuck. Talk to me. Something is bothering you."
He looked down at his plate and realized they'd finished both meals and lay his cutlery down. "I always thought that I was quite observant about the things around me. But lately, I see things I know I would not have noticed before. And I don't mean just the eyes." He looked up at Sarah, "In the limo, I was able to keep track of the cars around us without really looking."
Chuck caught Sarah's eyes flicker quickly over his shoulder. He leaned back in his chair and waited.
The bus boy came from behind him and took both Chuck and Sarah's plates away and gave Sarah a look for a little longer than he should.
Chuck held back a scowl and simply sat normally again when he left and continued, "The couple in the corner booth; they're having an affair. The woman, two tables down, dropped her knife. On the plane, I freaked out because of all the people. There were so many of them and I couldn't keep track of things. Sensory overload, I think." He leaned towards Sarah and whispered, "And it isn't an Intersect thing."
Sarah was smiling throughout his whole description, "No, it wouldn't be the Intersect. I feel that same heightened sense of awareness. But I think it didn't affect me as strongly as you because of my training."
Chuck smiled just as the waiter appeared and asked, "Would you like to see the dessert menu?"
"Actually, I hear the Hazelnut Cake is the dessert." He looked over to Sarah. She nodded. "Coffee?" Another nod.
He looked up at their waiter, "The Hazelnut Cake and two coffees, please."
The waiter seemed happy with the choice, "That is my favorite, Monsieur. I'll bring it right away."
Chuck's smile disappeared with the waiter.
Sarah could see that he was lost in another thought and waited.
He took her hand and looked into her eyes. "Do you believe in fate?"
Sarah's eyes went wide, "Wow. That's not what I was expecting. But I'd say no. Otherwise, wouldn't that mean there's no free will?" She stopped a moment; a playful curl came to her lips. "Aren't we getting a little deep for a first date?"
Chuck half smiled at 'first date'. But he couldn't shake his question. "Maybe our choices determine if we have an easy or a hard time getting there. You know, where we're supposed to be."
She listened to him think aloud.
Chuck looked away. "Look at what we went through since we've met." He looked back at Sarah and gulped. "It took almost losing you for us to get together. I should have figured out a way to make this happen." He laughed sadly, "Instead I moped. I guess your father's right, I am a schnook."
Sarah laughed, "Then I'm an even bigger one."
That surprised him. "How so?"
"Because I'm the trained agent and I fell in love with you. I walked a difficult line; keeping my feelings for you in check while I protected you."
"And I made your life miserable."
"Chuck. We've been through all that." She realized she sounded testy and didn't mean to. She cupped their clasped hands and with a gentler tone continued, "The situation made us miserable. Besides, I don't think either one of us was ready for a 'real' relationship. We had a lot of healing and growing up to do. We're a lot stronger for what we went through."
The waiter returned and smiled for both of them as he placed their coffees by their seating and the cake between them, "Madame, Monsieur. Dessert is on me. Enjoy."
Chuck returned his smile, "Thank you very much."
Chuck poured the milk into Sarah's coffee and then his own. He picked up the dessert fork and broke off a piece of the cake. He waggled his brows and gave her a bright smile, "Future wife, feel daring?" He was offering her the first bite.
Her eyes lit up, but not for the cake. "Sure."
He brought the cake towards her as he asked, "You never answered about dancing. Up for it?"
She laughed, "Absolutely. And that cake is good." With a more serious tone, she added, "I just hope they are playing the slow dances when we get there. My feet are a little angry with me over the heels."
"Why the heck didn't you take your shoes off while we ate? Well, I know what I'll be doing in the Limo on the way over there."
She bit her lip. "Would you?" She could almost feel his hands doing their thing on her feet.
"My pleasure." He looked back down at the table and laughed. He looked back up at Sarah. "How about that?"
She returned his smile, "How about what?"
"We actually got through dinner without having to diffuse a bomb, apprehend a crime lord, leverage an asset or fight an evil spy ring."
Sarah giggled. "We deserved this, future husband."
Ellie was exhausted. One shift too many in too few days was taking a toll on her.
Devon fared much better than his girlfriend and shook his head as he closed the door behind them, "Babe, go sit on the couch and take a load off. I'll get a bath running for you." He was half way down the hallway before Ellie could answer.
"Oh, that sounds good," she mumbled as she drudged her way to the couch. She was asleep as her rear hit the cushion and before her back had settled in.
A few moments later, Devon returned and went into the kitchen. He felt in the mood for one of his healthy shakes. He'd made extra for Chuck and Sarah, but found the container, untouched in the fridge. "They really need to eat better." He heard Ellie in the other room, murmur in response. Laughing, he poured himself a shake and headed out to the Living Room. He'd have to help her into the tub. Not for the first time.
As he passed the Dining Room table, he noticed the jeep, knives and the box. He walked over to the table, sipping his shake, and examined the knives. Surgical steel. The handles were flat, with multiple holes drilled into them. They were light but had no give. Nice, but what are they for? Devon put the knife down and read the label on the box. This stuff is for Ellie?he thought as he play-drove the jeep a few feet across the table top. He picked up the Ken doll from the jeep and smiled, "Ripped little guy, huh?" He carried it with him over to Ellie and sat next to her.
"Hey, babe, you bought some fancy knives?"
"Hmmm? No." She slowly responded.
He used the Ken doll to 'kiss' Ellie, "Your water should be ready, your majesty."
Ellie rolled her head towards Devon and opened an eye. "I may need a little…" Her eyes shot open, "Where… where did you find that?"
"It was on the dinner table."
Ellie shot up, all sign of her exhaustion gone, and looked over at the table, "Oh, my God! He did it! He did it!" She was jumping up and down like a little kid, clapping her hands.
Devon was confused, "Who did what?"
"Where's my phone?" Ellie started looking for her bag and spotted it over by the door. From Devon's perspective, she never moved so fast.
"Ellie! What happened?"
She dug into her purse looking for her phone, "Chuck proposed!" She found the phone and called Chuck.
Devon quirked his brows. "Awesome! But how'd you know?" Barbie plus knives plus spies equals proposal? New math.
"Come on, come on. Answer, Chuck!" She ended the call, "He's not answering."
"It's cool that he asked her, but how'd you know?" He was standing and facing her, tapping his leg with the Ken doll.
Ellie looked over at him, "Don't do that. Go put it back, Devon, please." She looked like a wild woman, fussing with her hair with one hand, staring back at her phone with the other, searching for Sarah's number. She stuck the phone to her ear and looked at Devon, pointing back to the table.
"Yeah, yeah, babe." Must be some story. He sat Ken in his seat in the jeep and headed back to the kitchen. That's when he found the note and started smiling as he read it. "Uh, El?"
"Ugh! She's not answering either." She tossed the phone back in her bag. Her eyes went wide, "You don't think something happened?"
"El, babe, calm down. Chuck left a note."
"Well?" She sounded amazed that she'd had to ask. "What did he say?"
"'Proposed. Danced. Went to dinner for our third first date. Backwards like always! Don't wait up.' I have no idea what it means, but it sounds like they're having fun! And how do you have a 'third' first date?"
Chuck and Sarah's limo
Sarah's legs were lying across Chuck's lap, her shoeless feet in his hands. She'd closed her eyes, loving what he was doing. Her feet had forgiven her.
She felt the phone buzzing in her purse and by the time she gotten the phone out it had stopped. She looked at the screen, "Your sister called."
Chuck pulled his phone out. "Me too. It looks like I had it completely muted." He punched a few strokes on the face of the phone.
"Scooch over here, Chuck. Let's send her a picture and then I'll call her back."
There was a beep on Ellie's phone. She dug the phone back out of her bag and saw that she had a text message with an attachment; it was a picture of Chuck kissing a smiling Sarah. Her left hand was up on his cheek; Ellie's mother's ring clearly visible. Ellie was in tears as the phone rang. It was Sarah.
Chuck and Sarah's limo
"Ellie?" Sarah looked at her phone and wasn't sure what had happened. Someone had answered the call but there was no response. Sarah pulled her legs from Chuck's lap and straightened up in her seat. She thumbed the screen and put the call on speaker as she gave Chuck a quizzical glance.
"Sarah?" It was Devon's voice. "You still there?"
Chuck leaned forward a bit, towards Sarah's phone, and cupped her hand in his. "Hey, Devon, what happened to Ellie?"
"She's crying and… well... I guess she can't speak." They could hear/see Devon smiling. They both smiled realizing that Ellie was, for the first time, speechless.
"Hey, guys, give her a second. By the way, it's awesome, Chuck, that you proposed to Sarah. Congratulations, you two!"
"About that. Sarah sort of propo… Ouuufff! Hey! That hurts!"
Sarah had jammed her elbow into Chuck's side and gave him a deep scowl. She pulled the phone back from Chuck and put it on mute. Her eyes could not have gotten any wider, "Not a word Chuck! You promised!"
"Chuck? You still there?" Devon asked.
He was rubbing his side and smacked his head with his hand. "I'm so sorry. I did, didn't I?"
She glared at him and stuck her other hand up with her index finger flashing a warning. She took the phone off mute and put it to her ear, "Sorry, Devon, Chuck is a little indisposed at the moment. And thank you." She decided to forgive him and was rubbing him where she had stabbed him with her elbow.
"Sarah!" Ellie squealed into Sarah's ear. She'd found her voice again.
Chuck heard his sister from where he was sitting and smiled through his pain.
Sarah quickly moved the phone away from her ear. She didn't need to put it on speaker. 'Big baby' Sarah mouthed at him and was grinning ear to ear now. She courageously put the phone back on speaker and leaned into Chuck.
"Okay okay, tell me everything! Every detail! No no no, wait. Where are you?" Ellie was going full bore.
"We're on our way to El Bucho. Chuck's taking me dancing," Sarah said as she made a small rocking motion from side to side with her shoulders as if she were dancing.
They heard Ellie sigh, a mix of disappointment at having to wait and excitement over the proposal. "I'll never make it. Okay. You better wake me when you get home!"
"Will do. Good night, Ellie. Big kiss to Devon." Sarah shocked herself over her level of intimacy, even if it was over the phone. She put her hand to her cheek and smiled. More of Chuck's influence on her. Maybe she was becoming more human. She felt tears on her hand and wiped them away as she leaned her head on Chuck's shoulder.
"You better! See you later! Can I talk to Chuck?"
"Right here, Ellie." Chuck's eyes shifted from Sarah to the phone.
"I am so proud of you little brother. Take care of Sarah. Oh, I know, she's supposed to protect you, but you know what I mean. Not too late with our mommy-to-be!"
He laughed, "I know. And I will. Good night, Ellie."
Sarah ended the call. She reached over to Chuck's cheek, pulled his face toward her and whispered to him, "Kiss me." She closed her eyes and waited.
Chuck smiled and gave her a quick peck on the lips.
She opened her eyes and scowled, "Seriously, is that the best you can do?"
He shifted in his seat and pulled her down into his lap. She swung her legs up onto the back seat of the limo and wrapped her arms around his neck. He brought his hand up to her face and traced her lips, "You know what I think?"
She looked at him, still waiting for the kiss, but was more curious about what was on his mind. "What's that?"
"We're going to have a lot of fun." He ran his thumb between her lips and yanked his hand back when Sarah playfully snapped at his finger.
"Yeah?" Her eyes followed his hand as she lifted her head slightly and pretended to go after his finger with another snap of her teeth.
"Yeah. I've gone back and forth between being excited and terrified about having a baby with you." He tapped at her lips, pulling his thumb back as she play bit at it.
"Terrified? I thought that was just me." She smiled up at him, "It's good to know I'm not alone." She kissed his thumb and smirked. "How about exciting me and giving me a kiss already, Daddy?"
Chuck brought his lips down to hers, "Yes, bunny."
"Bun…" was all she got out before Chuck's lips covered hers and she quickly forgot what he called her.
Chuck waited as the driver got out and opened the door. He smiled at the driver and thanked him as he got out. He turned back towards the door opening and held his hand out for Sarah. "Ready, Mrs. Carmichael?"
Sarah accepted his hand, climbed out of the car and stood beside him, her eyes sparkling in the flashing neon in front of the club, "We have a mission?"
"I do. To not step on my mistress's toes."
The crowd standing on line stopped their babble and watched the couple, debating which beautiful celebrities they might be.
She looped her arm through his and pulled him in close to her. "Do what you did at home, and you'll be fine." She looked down the sidewalk and noticed that there was already quite a line, waiting to get in. "Wow! Are you sure you want to wait on this line?"
"There is no line for us, tonight, Sarah." He took her hand and walked towards the bouncer and smiled.
The bouncer looked up from his clip board and gave Chuck a quick look and then a longer look at Sarah and smiled, "Carmichael?"
Chuck smiled at the bouncer, "Yes."
The bouncer opened the rope and told them, "Right this way." Another bouncer opened the door for them as Chuck led Sarah into the club.
"Chuck?" She looked back towards the door and then to Chuck.
He knew what she was asking and told her with a broad grin, "Casey knows the bouncer." He looked over at Sarah and puzzled over the look on her face.
Sarah had stopped in her tracks and was staring upwards at the ceiling, listening to the song. Chuck saw the tears forming in her eyes as she started laughing softly. She had heard the song before but never paid much attention to the lyrics. "Did you… did you have them play this song?"
Chuck listened a moment and a smile grew on his face. "No. It's pure coincidence."
"I never realized what he was saying, 'And someone saved my life tonight sugar bear'. That could be us and John." She wiped the tears from her eyes.
He laughed. "Just don't repeat that to Casey, you know that is Ilsa's pet name for him. Besides, Elton John is singing about his attempted suicide."
Her eyes went wide with astonishment, "Really? I had no idea. I'll have to pay more attention to your music."
Chuck grinned, already working on a playlist for her. He took her hand and led her out of the club foyer and into the main ballroom. He automatically did a sweep of the room and felt slightly over-whelmed. The flashing lights and loud music were distractions, but he found he could push them out of his conscious mind. The people moving on the dance floor and milling about the bar were another story. His grip on Sarah's hand tightened as he closed his eyes.
Sarah leaned in to him and yelled into his ear over the thumping of the music. "You okay?"
He nodded but kept his eyes closed. "It is a little much, but not as bad as on the plane. I was expecting this."
Sarah rubbed the top of his hand with her thumb and waited as she watched the other couples dancing.
Chuck lowered his head and opened his eyes. He took a deep, slow breath and slowly let it out as he lifted his head up towards the crowd. The music had changed to a slower, simpler tune that he couldn't quite place, but it sounded good. He could dance to this. Turning his head to Sarah, he relaxed his grip on her hand and smiled. "May I have this dance?"
John Casey was about to move out of the shadows of the corner he was standing in. He stopped when he saw his partners finally move to the dance floor. He smiled that they would not discover that he had their backs. He took a sip of his orange juice and scanned the room. Casey had insisted to himself that he was 'on duty' and would not be drinking anything harder. To the other patrons he looked like one of the bouncers.
Sarah didn't need to be coaxed as she took his hand and pulled him to the edge of the dance floor. With her left hand she took his right hand and wrapped it around her waist. She lifted his left arm up by the hand with her right hand and moved her left hand to his shoulder. She felt his weight shifting on his legs but he didn't move.
She gently toed his left foot and he moved, haltingly at first, keeping time to her shoulder taps. Boom. Tick. Tick. Boom. Tick. Tick. His steps became more self-assured and he began to move in time with the music. Sarah stopped her tapping, allowing Chuck to lead.
A/N: And so ends this little story.
What about the Intersect 2.0? What will happen with fill in the blank? What about… what about… what about…
I don't know yet. Really. I've already begun work on a sequel. It won't be a retelling of every episode, but there are a few points that might work their way into the story line. If you have any ideas, put them in a review. I should warn you, RL promises to be a bear going through October. October already? Wow.
Baby Charah. Boy or Girl? Name? Here's your chance to make your wishes known. The person with the best reason will see it used in the story. And yes, credit will be given. No, I will not name the baby any of the following; Charah, Mary, Stephanie, Charlotte, Eleanor, Susan, Joseph, Michael, Stephen or Chuck. Or Sue, if it's a boy. Sorry, that one is right out!
A quick operational question for you. How long should a chapter be? I've been running about 6K per, but I hear that 3K is more desirable for cell/mobile reading. I can do that. Let me know.
And thank your dentists for me; the kickback checks have started rolling in.
If you like ST:TOS, you might want to take a look at wildcat7898's stuff. From what I've seen, it's mostly Spock/Uhura romance material, but it is quite well written. I've gone through three of her stories, starting with the oldest; 'A Woman's Touch'. Currently, she is in the process of breaking her long stories into shorter, more reader friendly chapters.