'Maddie is Human, David Divine' PART 2 (An unashamed celebration of Maddie and David's togetherness)
The final episode of 'The Annie Arc' - an alternative ending to Season 5
1: There's Something About Maddie
2: The Clash of the Titanium Blondes
3: Maddie Get Your Gun
4: I am...Furious David'
5: Maddie is Human, David Divine' parts 1 and 2
'Life is not a highway strewn with flowers,
Still it shares a goodly share of bliss,
When the sun gives way to April showers,
Here' s a thought we should never miss:
Though April showers
May come your way,
They bring the flowers
That bloom in May;
And if it's raining,
Have no regrets;
Because, it isn't raining, you know,
It's raining violets...'
The jets of steamy hot water cascaded downwards, pummelling, and then flowing fast over their human target. Maddie's face was turned towards this heavy downpour of hot rain. It felt like heaven - wonderful to replace those grey leaden thoughts with happiness, elation and well-being. The hot water released liberation- it had been too long since she had felt this unfettered joy.
Her hand reached up for the shower oil and she squeezed out a generous amount of the sweet scent, luxuriating in the combination of moisture and fragrance. This new feeling of hope was a stranger to Maddie; it was over-whelming and caused her to pause, mid-shower. Frowning for a moment, she considered this new presence in her life and then, deciding to fully embrace it, she banished all doubts down the drain where they belonged. Why shouldn't you feel this happy, Madolyn Hayes?
Humming to herself, she reached a hand out for the shampoo bottle but it was not where it was supposed to be. Eyes still shut tightly against the water, she felt along the shelf, only to discover that it was devoid of the essential bottles. What? She was about to call out to David when her mouth was gently hushed with the lightest of sensual kisses.
'David?' She sounded a little surprised and, with effort, managed to open her eyes.
'Were you looking for this?' David enquired with a hint of cheekiness to his voice. He held out the missing shampoo bottle. 'Here, let me.'
'How did you get in here?' Maddie asked, sounding a little coy.
'Same way I always do, slid the door open...only this time I must be in one of those dream sequences, as there seems to be a beautiful blonde in my shower in need of help...thank God I happened to be in town!'
'Thank God,' Maddie smiled, feeling a little vulnerable but wore the new emotion comfortably.
'Soooo,' David sighed and opened the bottle. 'I've always wanted to do this.'
'You have?' Maddie sounded girlish again.
'Are you kidding me? Wash the Blue Moon Shampoo girl's hair? This is another dream come true for me.'
'You're easily pleased,' Maddie quipped.
'What can I say? I'm a cheap date,' David smiled that lopsided grin. 'Now turn around and I promise I won't get any in your eyes. Cross my heart...'
Maddie did as he asked; she wasn't sure if it was the steam or that side-ways smirk that was raising the temperature in this shower cubicle. David's hands were gentle, lathering the shampoo into her hair, careful not to let any drip down into her eyes. There was something strangely comforting and deeply relaxing about feeling his hands in her hair and she sighed. Now this is definitely something I could get used to. Who'd have thought...
'Consider this a personal service,' David smiled as he massaged her scalp. 'It's part of my deluxe package.'
'I'm impressed; you always deliver straight to the shower?'Maddie was clearly allowing herself to enjoy the personal attention.
'Only to you doll face – have you seen some of my other customers?' He shook his head in mock horror.
'Oh David,' Maddie sighed. 'That feels good.' She was lost in the tingling sensation of his strong hands massaging her head; she leaned back against him.
'Pleasure is my middle name this morning, Miss Hayes... now tilt your head back slightly - I'm gonna rinse it off,' David commanded in a soft tone. She did. 'God, do you always look this gorgeous in the morning?' The soapy streams ran down her curvaceous body.
'I don't usually share my morning shower,' she laughed shyly. 'Well not with just anybody.'
'What a waste – thank God I'm here now to rectify that situation,' he voiced as he used the water jets to rinse off the lather. 'There she is, my beautiful, sexy, gorgeous woman.'
Maddie's cheeks flushed red and she looked down at her feet, teenager again. She smiled coquettishly, the look that killed him.
'Hey.' He tilted her head up towards him and kissed her so softly so that she felt as if she was floating away.
'David, we'll both be late for work!' Maddie protested but the delight lurking behind her voice gave her away. She bit her lip and looked anxious, yet alluring.
'Now, obviously, as you know, this is not a problem for me,' David professed, 'however, I can understand that it would be a bit of a culture shock for you honey.' He invited her with his eyes to play truant with him.
Maddie struggled with her conscience for a moment, then held out a hand and traced a water droplet down David's chest, slowly, lingering. 'Now, you know I'm all for culture.'
'That's my girl.' David caught her hand and kissed the fingertips, bringing them to his face – eyes shutting for a moment. 'Maddie?'
'David?' her tone was yielding.
'Speaking of culture...' he breathed out, stroking her hand against his cheek.
'Yes?' Maddie's yes meant so much more than mere agreement.
'...Well, I belieeeve,' he drew out the vowel sound at the end of the word; holding her hand, he used it to trace a path down his neck, 'that there are some displays at this particular exhibition that, I believe, you are not yet familiar with...'
'Do you think I need a tour?' Maddie looked him straight in the eyes, fluttering eye lashes suggestively.
'Oh yeah, you definitely need a tour... if you'd just follow me.' He gently swept her hand over his chest and down onto his stomach. 'You're in good hands. The best.'
The hot rain continued to fall, thoughts of the office evaporated and the steam rose up and around them so it was almost impossible to see...
The door of Maddie's office was thrown open and, unceremoniously, David burst in. Maddie sat, leaning back in her chair, her head resting against the back. She just about managed to keep her eyes open and stifled a yawned.
'About the case,' announced David brightly. She couldn't help but admire how fresh he looked; he was shaved and a light trace of cologne breezed its way over to her. His movements were lively, and his eyes sparkled. In short – he looked terrific. This fact annoyed her. Freezing in mid-movement, he looked at her, frowning. 'Hey, Blondie, what's the matter with you?' He waved a hand at her. 'Earth to Maddie! Earth to Maddie? Houston, do we have a problem?'
'We do, well I do anyway... I would kill for a stiff cappuccino,' Maddie declared slowly, and the same moment the words were out, she regretted them.
Too late! David was already smirking. 'Well...' he began.
'No!' Maddie interrupted, raising her hands hastily. 'Forget what I said! Cancel the adjective! I would kill for a cappuccino, period.' She let out a deep sigh and massaged her temples for a moment. 'God, I really need a shot of caffeine.'
'Oh my, Miss Hayezz,' he stretched her name like a soft low tune played on a bass, 'again?' He shook his head, his fake reproach illustrating just how pleased he was.
'Oh, stop it, Addison!' she snapped angrily. 'I'm talking about real coffee! The hot black stuff you pour into a mug? The stuff that makes you at least feel as if you're awake?' She tried to blink away her sleepiness with heavy eyelids. That expression, combined with her slightly drawn-out way of speaking (which made her voice sound very sensual), made David feel an almost irrepressible urge to lock the door behind him; go over to her; pull her out of her chair and into his arms; and help her to wake up all right. Except that she did indeed look tired. Give the girl a break. He couldn't quite suppress his half-smile.
Instead, he flung himself into a chair. 'Oh, that coffee,' he purred in a low voice. 'Been losing sleep lately, huh?' He teased and winked at her.
That made her furious. 'Wipe that smug smirk off your face!' she snorted. 'You know I hate it!'
He chuckled. 'Au contraire!' he objected. 'I know you love it, and you know it too.'
Maddie had to suppress another yawn. 'Why doesn't the lack of sleep affect you at all?' she complained in an envious tone.
David shrugged casually. 'It does, but only to the portrait that I keep up in my attic.' He provided her with an evil grin. 'You better get used to it She-ra.'
She sighed, suddenly too tired for a snappy remark. 'I guess I'm just getting old He-man.'
'Sure you are,' he confirmed heartily, and she rolled her eyes in despair.
'You are so kind today,' she replied sourly and shot him a fiery glance.
'Oh, that's nothing,' he swerved her off track with his comment, 'wait till we get home, you'll see just how kind I can really be.' He rose from the chair again and came up to her desk, propping his hands on the top and looking down at her with a hard-to-read expression. 'Do you know what the best thing about you getting older is?'
She pressed her lips together and folded her arms. 'I'm on the edge of my seat.'
'Better not fall off it - you might break a hip,' David warned dryly and went on: 'The best is that when you get old, I'll be around every single day to remind you of it!' He touched two fingers to his lips and turned around, heading for the door.
Maddie was taken aback for a moment as the full intention of what he had just said sunk in. 'Hey!' she called. 'Where are you going? Didn't you come here to talk about the case?'
He had reached the door and turned around, his hand already on the doorknob. He smiled at her openly. 'Did you believe that even for one minute?' He winked again, noticing that her reaction to this was to visibly melt before his eyes. 'There's a brand new coffee shop just around the corner. I hear they shake up a fabulous cappuccino. What do you say if I get us two of those mamas: extra large and then we can have, what is commonly referred to as, a real coffee break?' He didn't wait for her answer; just left her waiting in her office.
Maddie leaned back in her seat again and stared at the closed door for a full minute, smiling foolishly.
Idiot, she thought fondly. I heard what you really said and I understood exactly what it meant, partner.
Strolling along the sidewalk, David held a huge Styrofoam cup in each hand. The cups were capped, but all the same he could smell the delicious, strong aromatic scent of the coffee. Back at the office, Agnes was the chief coffee connoisseur, but this stuff definitely gave Mr. Coffee a run for his money. And, despite Maddie's healthier preferences, he had not allowed low-fat milk or an absence of sugar to taint this perfect experience. Only 'cause you haven't tasted how God intended it yet, Blondie. This is the real deal. He smiled to himself and started to hum:
'Oowee baby, you set my soul on fire
That's why I know you're my heart's only desire
Here I am baby
Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours...'
David was forced to halt his stride for just a moment, taking a short sidestep, to allow a woman with a baby-packed double stroller to pass. For a fraction of a second his smile faded, and when she was right beside him, he averted his eyes to the side.
His gaze fell on the window of a flower shop, and a bunch of creamy colored roses immediately caught his eye; their petals were tipped with a bright flush of deepest pink. He puckered his brow and shook his head as, out of nowhere, long forgotten words were dredged up from his memory. It took him a few moments to pull them all together, but when the mist cleared up, a smile crept slowly over his face. He entered the flower shop.
'Here we go,' David announced brightly as he entered Maddie's office with the Styrofoam cups in his hand, 'the king of cappuccinos!' He handed her one of the cups, and, eagerly, she took it; uncapping it at once. He watched her for a reaction.
'Mmmmmm,' she sighed, as she inhaled the scent. 'You just saved my life!'
He flung himself into the same chair as he had earlier and smiled mischievously. 'I know,' he replied smoothly and, as she shot him a blistering glance, added: 'just like you saved mine.'
She didn't answer him; instead she looked down at her steaming cup with a satisfied smile; carefully taking a sip and closing her eyes. Savoring its strong taste, both hot and sweet, and its creamy smoothness, she slowly licked the trace of milk foam from her upper lip. A slow, greedy expression crept over David's face – and it was certainly not greedy for the cappuccino.
Maddie opened her eyes again, looking at him over the rim of the cup, and asked suspiciously: 'This isn't low-cal milk, is it?'
He shook his head slowly, preparing to defend his case. 'No low-cal when I'm in charge, Blondie.'
She smiled. 'Much better this way.'
David opened his mouth in preparation for a witticism to slip out but it was blocked by a short knock at the door, the door was opened and Agnes, unaware of her effect on the proceedings, entered the office. She was carrying both a white cardboard box, with a transparent cover, and a worried expression on her face. Not a good combination.
'Miss Hayes,' she announced reluctantly, ' I'm afraid that there's been a delivery for you.'
'You're right, Agnes, that is just awful... a delivery? That's worse than a bonus, or a half day, or a...' David reeled off.
Maddie put down the coffee and smiled eagerly at Agnes. 'What is it?'
Possessively, Agnes kept the box in her hands and threw a frantic look at David. Obviously, she was upset. 'Um... I could deliver it directly to the waste bin?' she suggested hopefully.
Maddie frowned. 'Why?'
Agnes continued to stare at David as if she was waiting for a reprise from the Governor but he shook his head. Her eyes widened. Alarmed, she raised her eyebrows. However, he pursed his lips into a secret smile and gave Agnes a barely perceptible nod. This exchange went unnoticed by Maddie, who was trying desperately to catch a glimpse of the box. Agnes was still holding it firmly in her grip without showing any intention of giving it to her employer.
'Um... never mind, Miss Hayes,' Agnes said quickly and stepped up to Maddie's desk. 'Just a joke, coz that's where they usually end up.'
Maddie rose from her chair, looking expectantly at the package. 'Well... can I see it then, Miss DiPesto?' she asked with a tinge of impatience in her voice. She stretched out her right hand to take it from Agnes.
Agnes looked down at the box that she held in her hand, smiling broadly now, she handed it to Maddie. 'Oh... sure, Miss Hayes.' She threw one last conspiratorial glance at David and disappeared as quickly as she had appeared.
Absently, Maddie shook her head, stumped for a moment over Agnes' behavior, however she was far too drawn by the mysterious parcel to dwell on it. She just had to peep inside. 'Oh...' she remarked, taken by surprise. 'A rose?' She flashed the box at David.
'Must be a secret admirer,' David commented, offhandedly.
Maddie was clueless. 'But who would...' she let her voice trail off.
'That's why they call it secret, Blondie.'
Something behind David's amused manner caused her to lift her head and regard him. She frowned. He had a slight, barely perceptible smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, yet otherwise, a hard-to-read expression on his face. He was searching her face closely, but in silence. Suddenly, the notion hit her. 'David!' she exclaimed. 'You didn't...!'
His smile began to dawn. 'Didn't what?' he asked, never taking his eyes off hers.
Eagerly, Maddie opened the box. Inside, covered in white wrapping tissue, there lay a single, long-stemmed rose with a dense flower head. The petals looked smooth and silky and were of an almost pearly, creamy white. Their tips were tinted with a shade of delicate red blurring into a light pink where it met the white. 'This is beautiful!' Maddie said, deeply impressed. Then she saw the small, folded white card lying inside the box and took it in her hand. That crooked handwriting? She'd have recognized it anywhere; amongst a million cards. Amazed, she lifted her head and looked at David's face. He was still silently watching her. The thinking behind his green eyes almost blinded her.
She looked down at the card again and started to read aloud:
'The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
Oh, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove...'
Maddie swallowed hard before she continued, and when she spoke, David's lips moved silently to form the words she was uttering together with her:
'But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.'
The last lines were uttered in a small, hoarse voice. She let her hand, which held the card, slowly sink and looked at David full on. Her eyes glittered with tears.
'John Boyle O'Reilly,' she added in a bewildered tone. 'How d...'
David nodded slowly, the smile remaining on his face; you could tell that he was moved by Maddie's reaction. 'A catholic Irishman,' he said and shrugged casually. 'I knew some day it would turn out there was some benefit in going to a Catholic school besides leering at Catholic schoolgirls in short skirts.'
Smiling weakly, she said, in a very croaky voice, 'you never forget a single word I say, whether it's kind, or down-right mean, right?'
David shrugged again, being deliberately laid-back. 'Well, it's not like my life didn't depend on it.'
Maddie felt a shock to her emotional centre, a good one. Like earlier, when he had made that remark about being around every single day when she grew old, or when he had so casually said that she had saved his life. It struck her again, in this moment, how he always managed to get to her with such remarks, so casually delivered, that from deep down told her that he was open again - to lay his heart and soul at her feet. And please, don't stomp on them again. Just pick them up for good. They're yours.
She swallowed hard and asked: 'What did I do to earn this?'
He shrugged for the third time and simply said: 'You're here.'
Maddie's face betrayed that it was getting too much, almost unbearable.
David discerned, in a flash, that her eyes had that tell-tale dewy appearance. He also knew she was still not completely at ease with experiencing and showing emotional vulnerability, even to him. He decided to play it light. 'Well,' he said in a playful tone, 'if it makes you feel better, consider it as credit you're gonna have to pay back one day,' he smiled his half-smile, 'with interest, of course.' Slowly, he walked over to her and looked her deep in her beautiful, tear-brimmed eyes. 'Vigorish,' he purred and winked at her.
Maddie stared at him; she was unable to speak. He gently took the box from her hands. 'Here, let me give this to Agnes, she can put it in a vase. In the meantime, you can regain your composure, and then we can finally talk about the case.' He smiled reassuringly, winked again at her and turned to the door.
She looked down at the card in her hands, and then looked up again at his back. He had almost reached the door but she managed to utter his name. 'David...'
His hand had already reached the doorknob, ready to turn it, when she called him. 'Maddie,' he replied softly in his typical manner and turned to look in her eyes, waiting for what she had to say.
She drew a deep breath, opened her mouth and tried to speak, but she simply couldn't. She desperately wanted to say it, was ready to say it, but her voice didn't obey her will any more. She swallowed and felt her emotions heavy on her heart. The weight felt good, it felt like an anchor that kept her safely in place.
David could see how she was struggling in vain to form the words that weren't really necessary any more. He smiled lovingly and nodded. 'I know,' he whispered, touching two fingers to his lips. He left her office, gently closing the door behind him.
'Oh no, Mr. Addison,' cried Agnes when she saw him leave Maddie's office with the rose in the white box. 'Miss Hayes didn't like it? It's not even lying in her waste bin?'
'Don't worry, Curlyhead,' he answered lightly and put the cardboard box on the reception desk. 'Let me put it this way: I think she found it,' he paused, 'not too shabby.' He nodded and repeated, with a satisfied smile (more to himself): 'Not too shabby at all.'
Later that day and still smiling about the rose, Maddie buzzed David's office – she wanted to exchange findings on yesterday's separate investigations for the Abercrombie's case file. They had to get a little work completed around here.
'Massage parlor,' he stated as he answered his intercom.
'I thought you were running a nefarious business over there,' Maddie replied, as she leafed through the Abercrombie file. 'You've just confirmed my suspicions.'
'And you're not mad?' retaliated David.
'Well,' she sighed, 'I'll only be mad if you don't give me a loyalty card.'
'You got it, Blondie – and we just happen to have a special offer on all-over body massages today – all you gotta do is come by my office, slip onto my couch and sample my wares...'
'I'll let you know,' Maddie replied, in good spirits. 'Meanwhile, can you come by my office and swap notes?'
'Hmm,' David paused, 'I like the sound of that.'
'No, really David, we need to swap our findings on yesterday's investigations. Can you come to my office please?' She suddenly sounded firm and no nonsense.
'Maddie, it's okay – no need to beg!' With that he had obviously switched the intercom off as it went dead just as Maddie was about to fume out of old habits...
Almost instantaneously, her door was knocked and pushed open. David brusquely barged into the office, without waiting for a reply, and sat down on the front of her desk.
'So what exactly are we exchanging?' he demanded as he crossed his legs and folded his arms – a mock serious look adorning his face. '...and do we need to use precautions?'
Maddie banged the case file down on the desk and looked David in the eye with a dangerous glint in her own.
'Uh-oh,' he uttered. 'I know that look. It's dang-er-ous.'
'David,' Maddie began.
'I'm glad we're still on a first name basis, it bodes well for our future relationship!' David jibed.
'David,' Maddie repeated, 'don't get me wrong, I love all this romance, passion, and excitement but... there has to be a line.'
'A but and a line? Which line?' David came back. 'It better be a good line! And a good but! What on Earth am I saying? Your butt is more than good, why it's divine, the perfect line... '
'A line! A professional line David.'
'Oh that sure doesn't sound quite as much fun but I'm sure you'll extrapolate, exonerate and probably exasperate!' David rolled the sounds around, enjoying the making of his point.
'David, there has to be a time for business and a time for...'
'...pleasure and you can sure leave that one to me!' David leaned in close to her.
'Knock it off!' Maddie reprimanded as she pushed him away.
'...But I thought that was something that I could stop doing by myself now that I'm in a relationship!' He smiled and batted his eye-lashes. He put out a hand and attempted to trace a finger down her cheek...
'No, David!' She pushed his hand away.
'Don't you mean yes David? I think you read the script the wrong way round!' David demanded. 'Boy... remind me to buy you flowers more often!'
'David, there has to be a time and a place when we talk business!' Maddie demanded.
'Maddie – I love it when we talk business.'
'Hurray – we're on the same page!' He stroked her cheek again.
'No! No, that's not what I meant. I mean,' she sighed. 'Oh you know what I mean...'
'I do? Well, I usually know what you mean but I'm struggling here – can you help me out just this one time – you mean?'
'David if this is gonna work...'
'What do you mean if – you mean us? Please don't tell me you're having second...'
'...Thoughts? No!' Maddie finished his sentence.
'Phew,' David breathed. 'I don't think this old heart of mine could cope with a second bout of rejection...'
Maddie gave him a reassuring look but it soon turned to one of business again. 'David, what I mean is that, occasionally, it would benefit our business if we talked business in a business context!'
'Okay,' David replied, backing down, slipping off the desk and sitting in the client chair.
'Okay?' Maddie sounded surprised.
'Okay. Don't milk it; I get it,' David said in a serious voice. 'Shoot. How did it go with you yesterday at Mason and Mason?'
'Well...' Maddie was thrown by his quick turn-around of attitude. She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt - this time. 'He's definitely got a bad case of someone and it certainly wasn't me.'
'He didn't bite?'
'No,' she sighed, folding her arms in an over-sensitive manner.
'No interest at all?'
'No,' she admitted. 'Not at all.'
'Impossible,' David smiled.
'What about you?' Maddie changed the subject. 'Any luck?'
'I always have luck, luck follows me around, and luck tucks itself into my briefcase every morning; it...'
'...let me guess, luck is how you get ahead.'
'Miss Hayes! Shame on you... this is a business conversation and you're the one responsible for lowering it into the gutter.'
'That must be a familiar view for you,' Maddie replied, 'looking up from the gutter?'
'It's the best view,' he commented. 'All the better for looking up...'
'Well I was thinking more along the lines of your...'
'Did you find out anything useful?' Maddie inquired.
'That you always wear black lace on a Friday,' he smirked and was rewarded with a look of distain. 'Oh, I miss those looks!'
'David – what did you find out from your meeting with Lila?'
'Liiiila?' David drew the sound out just to provoke Maddie. 'Now where do I start? Unlike your Mr. Mason, I think our Lila actually liked...' David began, a sparkle flashing across his eyes, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth.
'You? She liked you?' Maddie finished, her eyes glinting with a subtle shade of pale green around the edges.
'Well, let's just say that the conversation didn't run dry,' he chuckled.
'Really?' Maddie asked incredulously. 'So what did you...'
'Talk about?' David added. 'Well, you know... this and that, mostly that.'
'So?' David played. 'She was quite flirtatious to start off with, I mean she...'
'She what?' Maddie demanded.
'Well, you know...'
'No, I don't know,' Maddie glared at him, she moved out of her seat and paced the room. 'Fill me in; it's what you're supposed to be doing after all.'
David followed suit, slipping out of his chair and meeting her just in front of the door. 'Well, she thought I was far too attractive to be a stuffy lawyer...'
'She did, huh?' Maddie simmered as she looked him right in the eyes.
'She did...' David repeated, almost nose to nose with her. 'However, the conversation took a turn... because... it became evident that she was in love with a certain someone...'
'I bet you were devastated,' Maddie seethed, holding his stare.
'Crushed,' David toyed as he felt the heat beneath her intensity.
'She sussed me,' David did not move a muscle in his face; it was frozen, unreadable – infuriating.
'Did it hurt?' Maddie urged.
'What can I say? A suss is a suss.'
'Sussed you? Just-like-that?' Maddie exhaled.
'Just like that,' David replied, a twinkle appearing in his eyes again.
'...Just like that,' Maddie complained. 'I'm not sure I like the idea of another woman sussing you.'
'...You don't know what she sussed,' David said in a quiet and soft tone, his face only an inch from hers. 'Or where she sussed it.'
'...You're right, I don't,' Maddie replied, feeling his proximity. 'Care to elaborate?'
'...She said that, I was easy to suss... that she could effortlessly see, that I was very much in love with a certain someone,' he whispered. 'I looked like a man in love.'
Her jealous eyes lost their hard edge. 'You too, huh?' Maddie smiled at him. 'We're losing our touch, partner.'
'Oh, I think losing and touch could be regarded, unequivocally, as an oxymoron,' David stated.
Bert was hugging a pair of binoculars close to his body as if they were his favourite Christmas present - and he was unwilling to share. He was positioned close to a hotel window, one eye on his target, one eye on his boss.
'I cannot describe how honored I feel, Sir, to not only be allowed to accompany you on such a stake-out, but to also be the master of ceremonies.' He beamed without a trace of modesty.
'And what a ceremony it is destined to be...' David replied - mind not entirely fixed on the prize.
'Boy I can't wait for the curtain to be raised!' Bert beamed at his boss before staring, avidly, through his precious state of the art binoculars. 'I have a front row ticket and a desire to wring out every cent's worth.'
David was lying on the hotel bed, head cushioned by the pillows, staring up at the ceiling. 'Be sure to give me a blow by blow account Mr Viola – I've paid an honest dime for this cheap seat at the back!'
Bert chuckled, 'for sure Sir...' He suddenly looked lost. 'Sir?'
'Excuse the sheer puzzlement Sir, but this case is perplexing to say the least – I just need to get this straight...'
'Shoot,' David interrupted.
'So - I'm looking for Mrs. Abercrombie's attorney to have a tango in the night with the soon to be ex Mr. Abercrombie?'
'Right on the molar, Bert! We should allow you out with a provisional permit more often!' David muttered. 'Just keep your eye on the ball game, Bert, and holler when someone scores a goal! I'm just gonna shut my eyes for a... haven't had a lot of sleep recently.'
Bert moved the binoculars away from his eyes momentarily, a grin spreading across his face.
'What?' David demanded.
'Just an observation, Sir,' Bert chuckled.
'Out with it!'
'It's nothing, Sir,' Bert smiled shyly. 'It's just that we appear to have something in common.'
'That's not possible, Bert.'
'We're both losing sleep over the same thing.' Bert smirked and winked in one unsmooth move.
'Bert, you're seriously disillusioned, you're not Maddie's type!'
Bert immediately reddened, 'that's not entirely what meant, Sir.'
'Well, keep your observations firmly fixed on the case in hand Mr. Viola – remember your station.' David lay back and smiled to himself, Bert was always easy to hook and wind in.
'Noted, Sir,' Bert blustered, fighting with his dictaphone, camera and binocular combination. 'Talking of which, our first actor has entered stage left... and she is a picture!'
'Quite a package?' David inquired. Not a patch on Maddie of course, but then nobody came close to that... that hair, those eyes, those lips...
'To fully embrace a cliché: hubba hubba. We're talking ticked boxes in all of the correct regions of a man's idea of a fantasy... if I was Mr. Abercrombie I would want a slice of this cherry pie! ' Bert sounded in awe.
...I beg to differ, Maddie ticks outside the boxes!
'To distort a cliché: sometimes love can make you blind,' Bert sighed – holding his binoculars as close to the window as possible without cracking the pane. 'Thank the Lord I am not... subject is changing into a slinky night gown - what a body!'
...I wonder what Maddie's wearing right now - maybe that short silky black number she knows I love... No, what am I saying? I'm not there; I'm here - that would just be a waste! No she'll be in her peach silk pyjamas that make the apples of her cheeks look radiant - wonder if she's thinking about me. Bet she's asleep by now... hair fanned out on the pillow, looking serene, serious - alone but knowing that I'll be there tomorrow night. I'll be there tomorrow night Maddie. 'Black; lacy?'
'Red,' Bert answered. 'Long, strappy, hugs the curves... she's pouring out two glasses of Champagne - wait.' He adjusted his spying apparatus to zoom. 'It's a Dom Perignon – impressive. Impressive beverage, impressive gal...'
That's what I need to do: get us a bottle of Dom, cook up a storm in her kitchen, and impress her with something a la Dave... cosy on up to the fire sipping champagne, a little chat, a little kiss, a little music... one thing leads to another and before you know it you're having dessert right there on the rug... 'Expensive tastes – well she is a divorce attorney in LA, she must have clients knocking her door down with broken pre-nups!'
'Second actor enters stage right... they don't hang about for the next train! And it's lippus lockus on entry to said hotel room. Alert: Subject two cannot get enough of subject one - both orally exploring numerous mutual places about the face...'
...I could never tire of that face. Kissing those soft lips, looking down into those blue eyes, kissing her hair line, moving my lips over her cheek bones, kissing the tip of her nose, moving slowly downwards... brushing my lips across that area just below her earlobe, warm skin, making my way over her clavicle... 'Very professional description Bert, you're a good student, I taught you well!'
'I don't mind telling you, Sir, that these photos are going to start a few fires tomorrow!' Bert sounded terribly proud of himself as he clicked away, gathering evidence in support of the case. 'Subject two has slipped down the straps of subject one's red slinky night garment.'
...slipping down the straps on that sexy black number, letting it drop to the floor, the sight of her unadorned, elegant body is almost too much... she's too much... taking her in my arms, telling her how much I love her, oh and I do love her... showing her just how much... David sighed aloud.
'I know what you mean Sir,' Bert encouraged. 'Subject one, helping subject two out of his clothing - a pair that define scorching hot, I mean this is the kind of thing that movies are made of, and not the family kind. Warning sirens! Warning sirens! Subject one is using teeth to... um... how do I articulate this for the record?'
'Oh come on Bert, subject one aiding subject two with removal of restrictive clothing through use of oral apparatus.' I love it when she does that to me... a side of her that the whole world is not privy to, just me, only me... being away from her hurts... I need to be with her... when's this damned stake-out going to be in the can so I can get back to her? Love is terribly, terribly distracting! He laughed quietly to himself, shaking his head in despair. I got it bad.
'Subject one drawing her hands through subject two's blonde hair, the hands now exploring chest region, tugging playfully on blonde chest hair...'
Blonde, blondie blonde, blonde, blonde...'Hey wait, what did you just say Bert?'
'The chest hair part - sorry, I must admit I'm a little less descriptive when it comes to subject two.'
'Back up Bert,' David was off the bed and grabbing the binoculars out of Bert's hands. 'Blonde! Mr. Abercrombie is not a blonde!'
'He's not?' Bert sounded shocked.
'Here, let me take a look!' David demanded – Bert reluctantly handed over his precious binoculars. 'It's no good – she's constantly blocking my view of him... still that's got to be good news for Mrs. Abercrombie! Oh hang on, May Day, May Day... she didn't strike me as the lights off kinda girl but the show's most definitely over Bert, for us anyway.'
Bert looked hugely disappointed.
'Don't look so glum chum... I'm sure if you tune in same time next week...'
Sighing, Maddie closed her front door behind her; immediately stepping out of her pumps. She felt an enormous physical tiredness, due to the lack of sleep and the energy-consuming activities of the last few days. Emotionally, on the other hand, she felt like she could face the whole world and blast it off if necessary. She felt safe, strong and free, at rest with herself, completely in balance. If she was tired, then it was for all the right reasons.
She just about crawled upstairs in order to prepare herself a bath. She was not hungry at all- too tired; she just wanted to relax and then go straight to bed and just... sleep. She smiled to herself. Sleeping had been something she hadn't done very much of lately. She giggled and blushed at the thought, but it was a pleasurable feeling not an uncomfortable one.
Five minutes later, she was enjoying the warm water and the scent of her essential lavender bath oil, head rested back, mind wandering. This was the first evening, since that day when David had come to her house, that she had been home alone. It was also the first time she had really got an opportunity to run through everything that had happened since then, to bring something that resembled a neat system to her thoughts and feelings. During the last few days, there had been no such opportunity; her head had been constantly spinning, resulting in a constant state of utter dizziness; all her thoughts circling, floating, scattered beyond recognition: David, David, David.
David, who had burst into her house like he had once burst into her life and wouldn't let her take the easy way out again.
David, who had seen something mirrored in her eyes that had been buried away, so neatly, for years - which no one, not even her, could ever bring back to the surface.
David , who had given her the courage and feeling of safety to finally let it out, the feeling that it was okay to let herself fall because he would be there to catch her.
David, whose physical effect on her was still the same as it had been two years earlier, if not stronger. Every single one of their encounters had felt like a traffic accident; a thunderstorm; hell, an earthquake but the difference was that this time she wasn't afraid of it anymore. Maddie was ready to give herself completely, whether it happened in that wild and frenzied way; or even when it happened in that unspeakably slow and tender way, stares locked, palms pressed together, fingers entangled – it felt like an earthquake all the same.
David, who only had to look at her, and she would forget everything.
David, whom she just couldn't keep her thoughts, her hands and her lips away from – now that the dam had finally burst.
David, the man without poetry, too often underestimated by her, who had not only remembered but had written down a love poem from school for her – and then had simply shrugged it off in order not to make her cry because he knew she hated getting too emotional.
David, who had slept with her darn cousin!
She opened her eyes and frowned. Yes, that had hurt her. To pretend it hadn't would have been a lie. And she wouldn't be lying about her feelings anymore, not to herself, not to David or anybody else. Although it caused her physical pain just thinking about it, she understood why and how it could have happened. She also knew it had hurt him too, he had felt miserable and devastated about it. But she also knew that it wasn't important. This had been one of the things they had been crying about on that memorable night- then they had comforted, consoled, and soothed each other.
Maddie realized the water in her bathtub was growing cooler. Her tiredness was also threatening to get the better of her, so she heaved herself up and out of the tub, hastily dried herself and slipped into cool silken PJs. Her eyelids were so heavy now she almost couldn't keep them open, and by the time she got into her bed and shut off the lights, they were almost closed.
As her head nestled into the soft pillow, she pulled the sheets up over her shoulders. Strangely, she still felt the physical tiredness, but the sleepiness she had been experiencing had somehow vanished. She closed her eyes, but it refused to return. She tossed and turned, growing more and more frustrated; she could not relax enough to fall asleep. What was the matter with her?
She sat up once again, turned on the bed-side lamp, and, looking around the room, scowled. Never had it seemed so intimidating to her, so empty, so full of shadows. She felt trapped, like her legs were entangled in the sheets. She found them crumpled, although she hadn't been in bed for more than half an hour. Angrily, she threw them back and got out of the bed. She glanced at the clock: it was now late – so much for catching up on sleep.
She went to the bathroom for a moment and on her return, looked at the bed with its strewn sheets and crumpled pillows: huge and uninviting. And that was when the insight hit her right where it hurts.
She missed David. It had only been four days since they had gotten back together, but they had spent all their time together: day and night. Every night they had fallen asleep (sometimes, from sheer exhaustion, and only when the first birds had already started to sing outside) tightly embraced, wrapped up in each other's arms, emotions and secret happiness. Could it be that already, and after such a short time, she was so hooked that she was unable to sleep if he wasn't right beside her? She frowned. Then she smiled. Yes, she did miss him, and absurdly, she delighted in that feeling. It felt good to miss him, because she knew that tomorrow he would be there.
Maddie sighed, and then a sudden thought sent her searching for something in between the cushions of the armchair that stood beside her window: the chair David had slept in when he had taken her home from the hospital. She found exactly what she was looking for: David's shirt - it had been discarded there during one of their evenings of passion. For a moment she held it in both hands, and looked down at it, memorizing the way it had come off, savouring that memory. Then, hastily, she threw it down on the bed, slipping out of her PJs and then into David's shirt.
The cotton felt warm on her skin, a contrast to the sensation of the cool silk of her PJs. Immediately, she found herself immersed in the well-known, delicate smell of his, and the thought of the fabric having lain directly on his skin and now touching her own, soothed her. Wearing David's shirt directly on her bare skin felt almost like he was embracing her.
She sighed in relief, slipped between the sheets, and let her head sink onto the pillow, finally relaxing. She was fast asleep within minutes.
David slowly and eagerly climbed the spiral staircase with light steps, a paper bag in his left hand and a smile of pleasant anticipation on his face - a soulful tune on his lips.
'When the river was deep, I didn't falter
When the mountain was high, I still believed
When the valley was low, it didn't stop me
I knew you were waiting, I knew you were waiting for me.'
Carefully, silently, he opened the door to Maddie's bedroom. Surely she would still be asleep and he certainly didn't wish to wake her. It was early in the morning but after having dropped Bert at his place and been to his own apartment to shower, shave and change he just wasn't feeling tired. He saw no point in lying alone in his bed, staring at the ceiling, when instead; he could be the first thing Maddie saw when she woke up. They could spend the morning together; he could fix breakfast for them (she had never really let him during their first time together). This had, over the last few days, already become a cherished habit to them. So, he had left his apartment, looked for a bakery that was still open, and hurried to Maddie's house.
Now, he found himself standing in the middle of her bedroom, grasping his paper bag in his left hand, breath held, and closely scrutinizing the setting. He took in every single little detail: the golden fan of her hair spread over her pillow; the slight flush on her cheeks; the way her lips were slightly parted in her sleep (showing a secret little smile around their corners). He loved the way she had embraced and snuggled up to the other pillow, like she was looking for something, someone else to snuggle up to – this touched a string inside him which played the softest, sweetest tune. And then – he took a step nearer because, at first, he thought his eyes had deceived him – no, there was definitely no doubt about it: she wasn't wearing her silken PJs; she was wearing his shirt!
David's jaw dropped, and he was staring at Maddie like a fool in wondrous disbelief. She was wearing his shirt. No big deal, but knowing her – it was. She wasn't the wearing-his-shirt kind o' girl, but all the same, here she was. She had clearly shrugged off her silken PJs like an old habit, had carelessly let them fall to the floor - where they still lay forgotten in a peachy shimmering heap - and had then pulled on his shirt, the one he had been wearing the previous day (before she had so eagerly helped him out of it). He knew it meant something, and he knew it meant something important.
As if he was drawn to her side by a magnet, he took a few steps closer until he was standing beside her bed. He stretched out his hand to stroke her hair, but she stirred in her sleep as if she had instinctively sensed his presence, and he froze in mid-movement. She opened her eyes.
'Morning, Sleeping Beauty,' he said softly.
Her eyes widened, and she sat with a bewildered look on her face, at first not comprehending. 'You scared me!' she snapped.
'I'm sorry, Blondie.' Instinctively, he took a step back so that she wouldn't feel trapped. 'I thought you'd be pleased to see me!' he teased.
She raised her hands, as if in defense. 'I am. I mean...' She frowned. 'What are you doing here?'
Embracing the theatrical, he raised his left hand to show her the paper bag. 'Bringing you breakfast?' he replied, as if he were holding a white flag.
She was feeling disarmed. 'Well... that's... nice, but...' much to her own chagrin, she started to stutter. Offense was still the best defence. She assumed an angry tone, 'hey, do you think you can just sneak into my house any time you happen to be in the mood?'
'Well...' - David shrugged the question off like an unwanted garment - 'yeah, that was kinda what I had in my mind.'
Maddie suddenly felt unarmed; all the while David remained standing in the middle of the room like he belonged there. In defense of the situation that she found herself in, she threw back the sheets and put her feet to the floor. She huffed (but the huff was already losing steam) and elegantly rose from the bed. 'For your information, Addison – I am not at your beck and call just as it pleases you, like... like...' Her argument was lacking conviction and she knew it.
'...like I've always been for you?' he finished and raised a mocking eyebrow.
That remark had stolen her thunder. 'Great!' she sounded defeated so put her hands to her hips in a last ditch attempt to look angry. 'I don't stand a chance with you, do I?'
She looked unbelievably sexy. She stood firm, barefoot, bare legged; his white shirt the only thing she wore. David started to lose all interest in making breakfast. He shook his head matter-of-factly. 'You never did.' He let his gaze wander deliberately up and down her body; which clearly, he could detect, was having a profound effect on her physically. He knew that this look would never fail to make her knees weak. 'Either you have something to confess, Miss Hayes, other than your eternal love, or this is indeed my shirt you're wearing.'
Maddie had clearly forgotten about this, and felt as embarrassed as a lovesick teenage girl in the presence of her first lover. 'Oh that... um...' she stammered and blushed, looking down at herself. 'Yes that, I... well, it was the first thing I grabbed when I was ready to sleep, and I was too tired and I...'
He nodded slowly, not taking his eyes off her. '…from the other night? Yeah. I remember that. I'm very surprised it still has its entire battalion of buttons.' His lips rounded into his half-smile.
She flared her nostrils and let out a little self-conscious steam. 'Hey, if you don't mind...'
'Not in the least!' David interjected, enjoying the situation. 'It looks so much better on you than it does on me. In fact...' He paused and tightened his lips – she was convinced that he was peering right through the fabric of the shirt. 'I suppose,' he went on, 'there's only one way my shirt would look better than when it's worn by you - and that would be my shirt on the floor beside you.'
Maddie rolled her eyes. 'Did you say something about breakfast?' she interrupted quickly, in a deliberate attempt to change the subject. 'Let me see what you've got,' she commanded, closing her eyes the same moment the words were out. Ouch, that was a huge brick you just dropped. She could feel his smirk, reopened her eyes and added quickly, irritated with herself: 'In your paper bag, Addison!'
He let out an amused chuckle. 'Rolls, croissants, bagels, donuts...' he enumerated.
She shook her head in mild disapproval. 'Are you planning a banquet?'
He shrugged. 'I just wanted to plan ahead for all contingencies.' He winked at her.
David then added: 'You are trying to change the subject, Blonde-Stuff.' He motioned at the shirt. 'You missed me!' It wasn't a question, it was a statement. And there was no place for denial.
'Yeah,' she replied with honesty, 'like a bad habit.' It was a grumble accompanied with warmth. Her anger had subsided.
David grinned broadly. 'You just can't go to sleep when I'm not around, can you?' He sounded like an eager child, and something in the undisguised joy he showed, touched Maddie deep down in her heart.
'I can't go to sleep when you're here either,' she growled.
David, enjoying the new game, challenged her, 'if you wanna complain about anything, Blondie – just fill in a form and get in line- I'm more than sure we can take care of any problem you may have.' His eyes twinkled, and she noticed for the first time there were some fine lines around them that hadn't been there a few years earlier. Lines that reminded her of the long road they had travelled. She felt the urge to touch them gently with her fingertips. They certainly didn't deflect from the effect of those green eyes and that look of his. She couldn't help but smile.
'Did you hear me complain?' she asked playfully.
'Nope, certainly not during the last few days anyway,' he replied, quite pleased with himself, and continued: '...or the last few nights.'
She was starting to enjoy this game. 'So...' she folded her arms in a provocative manner. 'What exactly are we gonna do about this shirt of yours?'
David, carefully putting down the paper bag on her vanity and took a step in her direction. 'Take it off,' he demanded in a low voice, his gaze never leaving hers.
Maddie shivered at the sound of his voice, but she wasn't ready to give in that easily. 'What?' she exclaimed. 'You don't expect me to take orders from you now?'
'May I remind you that on certain occasions' – he stretched the word in his inimitable way – 'you were pretty eager to do exactly that?' He took another step closer.
She felt a blush spread across her cheeks like hot butter but she showed no sign of hiding it. 'Well, right now I'm not,' she clarified. 'If you want this shirt off me, you're gonna have to come here and get it yourself.' Who said that? A real-life, red blooded woman trying to seduce her man, that's who. She unfolded her arms and ran the fingertips of her right hand very slowly from her throat down the button border and added in a sultry voice: 'Button by button by button.'
David licked his lips. 'Is this a challenge, Blondie?'
Her eyes tested him and she raised her chin in defiance. 'I don't know – is it?'
He took another step towards her and was now standing within reach. 'Looks, from where I'm standing, more like an invitation,' he purred.
'As if you ever needed one of those,' her voice reduced to an inviting whisper.
He raised both hands and started to unbutton the first button, and she felt her pulse at the side of her throat quicken in response.
'Without an invitation how could I enjoy a good RSVP?' His voice was also barely a whisper now, and Maddie could feel the hairs on the back of her neck bristle in response. She looked down at his hands that were adroitly moving in on the second button. The sight of his hands undoing the buttons made her stomach flip. Other memories, where she had seen and felt these hands on her body before, flooded her brain and made her dizzy. The thought, that in barely moments, she would feel them on her bare skin made her shiver. Maddie drew a deep breath, and held it, as his fingers slowly worked their way down the button border, undoing the little obstacles that lay in his way; one by one.
When he had completed his mission, David looked into her eyes and saw undisguised desire there, and he still could not believe this was actually happening to him. But it was. For a moment, neither of them spoke or moved. Without taking his eyes off hers, he raised his left hand again and laid his index finger lightly on the spot right below her throat, where her two collarbones met and forming a delicate hollow, and let it linger there for a moment. Her pulse ran madly against his fingertip, and she swallowed. She could feel her skin burn under his touch. Then he traced his finger slowly, very slowly, and very lightly down the exposed part of her body in a straight path. As he followed the line of her breast bone, she shivered and started to breathe heavily.
Maddie felt the almost irrepressible urge to close her eyes and thus be utterly swept away by this maddening sensation, but she couldn't because the hypnotizing gaze of his green eyes held hers and simply didn't allow her to avert her eyes. David's finger slowly travelled further down, his touch light like that of a butterfly's wing, moving over her stomach, over her navel, all the time mesmerizing her with that possessive look, and that was the moment when she stopped breathing, her lips slightly parted. When his finger had reached a point about a hand's breadth below her navel, he finally stopped, still looking at her.
'What are you gonna do now?' Maddie finally whispered.
'I'm gonna take what's mine,' David declared in a husky voice and took his shirt slowly off her bare shoulders. Then it fell to the floor where it lay unnoticed and forgotten while he did exactly that.
Strolling through the lobby, Maddie and David reached the elevator just as the doors were firmly closing. They turned to the other one, to see that it was already crammed full with office workers, so they backed off with a frustrated sigh.
'We'll have to wait for the next one,' Maddie grumbled and tucked her purse roughly under her left arm.
'I hate it when the elevators are so crowded,' David sighed. 'They're keeping me away from a fresh stash of chocolate milk in my office.'
'M-hm,' Maddie murmured absentmindedly, throwing a glance at her watch.
Something in the graceful way she moved her wrist to look at her watch caught his attention, so he added dreamily: 'Leaves you absolutely no privacy, does it?'
He was scrutinizing her intensely from the side, but she didn't seem to notice – she was obviously trying desperately to hypnotize the elevator to do her bidding. He took the opportunity to secretly regard her profile and, as so often before, was struck by her pure, natural beauty. No, he told himself for about the millionth time, you're not dreaming. She's yours. You better get used to it. A wide, happy grin spread across his face, and all of a sudden she sensed his gaze and turned her head to face him, frowning.
'What's up?' she asked.
'Why don't we take the stairs?' he blurted out without thinking.
Her eyed widened in disbelief. 'Take the stairs?' she gasped, looking at him as if he had gone stark raving mad.
'Take the stairs,' he repeated slowly and nodded as if to confirm it.
'Addison, may I remind you that the office is on the 20th floor?' Maddie remarked with a tinge of sarcasm.
'You may,' David replied smoothly, smiling a secret smile. 'But isn't it time to beat a new path?'
'A new path?' she asked with suspicion, searching his face to confirm that he was, in fact, joking.
'Not all twenty floors,' he quickly explained, 'but how about jumping a few flights and taking the elevator, let's say, on the third or fourth floor? It might be less crowded for obvious reasons.' He had raced through this explanation in less than ten seconds flat; his glittering eyes suggested that he was up to no good.
Nevertheless – or was it exactly because of that? – Maddie couldn't suppress a chuckle. 'And why would we do that, David?'
'Um...' – David was thinking quickly – 'because we could discuss the case without anybody listening?' he suggested hopefully.
'Discuss the case, huh?' she repeated thoughtfully and nodded slowly. 'You have a point there of course...'
David's eyes widened in disbelief, 'I have?'
Hesitating at first, as if taking in his words, she gently placed her arm in his, 'okay, let's take the stairs.'
He found himself speechless, hurrying to open the door to the staircase before she could change her mind. Maddie followed. David let the door swing closed behind them and sped after her - she was already halfway up the first floor stair-well.
'Whoa!' he called. 'Slow down Mrs. Hare.'
She stopped, abruptly, on the platform between the ground floor and the 1st floor and he almost ran straight into her. She dropped her briefcase where it was, turned around and grabbed him by the lapels. This took him off-guard - his face betrayed him. She laughed at his apparent shock.
'We've already wasted too much time,' she whispered as she pulled him close to kiss him right then and there on the steps.
'You surprising me on a daily basis, Maddie Hayes,' he murmured against her lips - amazed.
'I surprise myself,' she replied a little breathlessly, 'and I happen to enjoy it.'
'Well, go ahead and surprise away,' David purred and tightened his embrace. 'I love surprises.'
Bert came racing up the corridor like a small torpedo, beard tangled, hair trailing behind him in disarray. He had over-slept and was clutching the script, and therefore the next plot point, close to his chest. He checked his first line, took a deep breath and made his entrance. If luck was on his side for a change, he might just get away with this.
'Hold everything!' cried Bert as he burst through the Blue Moon door in an ungainly fashion.
'Is that an imperative?' inquired David, looking around for the blonde.
'I've got it!' Bert wheezed, gasping for breath – holding out some loose papers.
'I'd hate to leave you disillusioned Bert, but most of our readers would wholeheartedly agree that it's me who's got it! Just sayin'...'
'No, Sir...' Bert rasped, holding out the important papers – he made absolutely sure that they were on top of the script and they therefore obscured it from view.
'Denial isn't good for the soul, Bert!'
Agnes took the so-called important papers from Bert and read through them, her eyes opening wide, 'he's got it!'
'Not you too, Agnes,' David complained, 'I guess they say that love is blind!'
Maddie, hearing the commotion, appeared at her own office door. 'What's going on?' she demanded.
David looked up to see Maddie, hands on hips, leaning against her door. 'We've just discovered that Bert is suffering from a bad case of misplaced narcissism.'
'Really? Thought that was just you,' Maddie replied in cool tones. 'Mr. Viola?' She looked expectant.
'I have just, this minute, uncovered the fact that both of the Abercrombie attorneys are on their way to noteworthy, momentous, significant...' Bert embellished.
'Earth shattering?' David helped.
'... luncheon dates with their romantic others – which could be said Abercrombie subjects, or...'
'Bert – when exactly is the smoke signal for these passionate powwows? ' David demanded.
'...both dates are exploding at 12.30, Sir – they're both due to leave their offices in twenty minutes! - This may be your only chance to finally gather your evidence and put this case to bed!' The pun was fully intended.
'Twenty minutes?' Maddie cried, disappearing to grab her handbag and car keys. 'I'll take Agnes and the car... David, you can take Bert in his!'
David looked unimpressed by this but there was no time to protest 'Come on Bert, what are you waiting for? This is what you've been dreaming about your whole life - a chance to ride up front like the big boys!'
'Here,' Bert thrust the other Xerox copy of Mason's appointment book page into David's hands - attempting to simultaneously pull the script out of sight. 'Oh be careful, Sir - just take the top copy.'
David reached for the pertinent paper, wondering why there was so many of them, but it was thrust into his hands so quickly that he ended up taking the whole stack; he was not expecting this and dropped the lot – papers scattered all over the floor. He immediately started to pick them up willy-nilly. 'Bert!' he complained, looking at the clock.
'Sir!' Bert cried out. 'It has to be in order! 'He was horrified to witness the script for this episode papering the floor of the office.
'Bert what is this?' David paused, holding up a random piece of paper to read.
Bert looked ashamed, 'I'm sorry, Sir, I'm usually so professional but I have to admit that I didn't learn all of my lines for this particular scene.' He looked down at his feet. 'It's the script, Sir.'
'What!' Maddie, David and Agnes all shouted in unison.
'The script? The script for this episode? The bible for solving our case? Without which we are well and truly scuppered?' Maddie demanded.
'This is highly unprincipled, Mr. Viola- where is your sense of politesse?' David asked, hands on his hips, eyes slowly burning – grabbing for his handbag which most definitely did not match his shoes.
'Berty boy, this is another fine mess you got us into!' Maddie cried, scratching the top of her head and twisting her mouth, most uncharacteristically, into a smirk. She looked dismayed with herself.
'Let's be candid about this situation,' Agnes mused, scratching her beard. 'Who hasn't found themselves, at one unfortunate time or another, unable to meet an impossible script deadline, when you look at the length of the scripts we have to learn around here?'
'Sorry!' Bert apologised, looking small. 'I'm truly sorry everyone, it won't happen again. I can fix this!'
'There's no time to stay and straighten this ridiculous dilemma out Mr. Viola – I am so disappointed by your lack of professionalism,' David huffed. 'We have twenty crucial minutes.- we need to act immediately and God help us all!' He looked appalled at the lines that were falling out of his mouth.
'Nya!' Maddie cried as she grabbed her jacket. 'Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck! An unscripted scene – my favourite – who knows where we'll end up!'
'Come on!' David demanded. 'There's no time for jokes!' He shrugged his shoulders, shook his hair and wiggled out of the office.
'Team,' Bert implored, in an abject voice.
The employees looked at him with disdain. 'Please would you put the script back in order... or God knows what will happen next.' He left the pile of script pages and headed after Agnes, Maddie and David.
The wobblies shrugged and began to, very slowly, in a relaxed and gradual manner; re-compile the script- with every intention of misbehaving... They shared a few titters, winks and fingers over lips: nefarious intentions were, most definitely, brewing.
'Sir, why do you always get to drive my car during high speed chase scenes?' Bert complained.
David replied with impatience, 'experience, Bert! Chase scenes take years of practice!'
'How will I learn?' Bert implored.
'From observing the master of course!' David cried, as he swung Bert's car into a sharp left, - a short cut to Mason and Mason.
The first bars of Bryan Ferry's 'Let's Stick Together' could be heard...,as we; the readers are alerted to the fact that this is a chase scene.
'And now the marriage vow is very sacred
The man has put us together now. You ought to make it stick together...'
'Miss Hayes,' Agnes screeched as she clung to her seat as if she were on a rollercoaster at Disney Land. 'Are you sure you know what you're doing here?'
'Not really,' Maddie cried out, shutting her eyes as she careened out of a side road, without stopping at the line. 'David normally drives in the chase scenes!'
'That's reassuring, Miss Hayes,' Agnes whimpered, checking her seat-belt.
'Come on, come on, let's stick together
You know we made a vow not to leave one another never...'
'What time do you have Bert?' David yelled as they screeched in to the street that homed Mason and Mason.
'I'd say about time our Mr. Mason headed off for that how down, Sir,' Bert replied as he spotted their target leaving the building on foot. 'You'd better park her, Sir!'
David ground to a halt by the side of the road, leaving black tire prints.
Bert winced, in sympathy for his precious car, 'looks like we're foot soldiers from here, Sir.'
'But now you never miss your water 'til your well runs dry
Come on now baby give our love a try...'
'Miss Hayes, stop the car!' Agnes yelled as she spotted Lila Doherty leaving her building on foot.
Maddie, panicking, automatically pushed down on the brake mid-transit. They came to an abrupt stop. The car behind them missing theirs by an inch; it beeped most unceremoniously.
'I meant in a parking space,' Agnes whimpered.
'Oh, well you could have said,' Maddie stated, hands gripping the steering wheel - eyes shut.
'Let's stick together, c'mon c'mon let's stick together
You know we made a vow not to leave one another never...'
David and Bert feigned interest in a window sale as Mike Mason stopped to buy a bouquet of red roses.
'Unimaginative,' David complained.
'I thought all woman were suckers for red roses,' Bert lectured, thinking of Agnes' pleased face when he had presented her with the very same.
'Not all women,' David explained, smiling to himself.
'He's on the move again, Sir,' Bert informed his boss as they took off after him again. 'There's a definite swing in his step.'
'Well if you're stuck for a while consider our child
How can it be happy without its ma and pappy...'
Maddie slipped her heels off and held them in one hand, her handbag in the other – she was never appropriately dressed for these occasions. She silently chastised herself for not looking at the script closely enough - now it was in the less than capable hands of the office staff. Although, they must be doing something right - all seemed to make sense so far...
Agnes held her boss back momentarily as Miss Doherty stopped to give a homeless man some loose change.
'A lawyer with a heart,' Maddie mused, 'or is she atoning for her sins?'
'She looks like she's in love with life to me,' Agnes observed.
'Let's stick together, cmon cmon let's stick together
You know we made a vow not to leave one another never...'
'He's heading into 'Suzie's Sing 'n' Dine,' Bert sounded surprised.
'He doesn't strike me as the cheap diner type,' David agreed. 'Red roses and plastic table tops? Sweet. Probably even planning to go all out and foot the check.'
'It's a karaoke bar, Sir,' Bert explained.
'Really? Did you just utter the 'K' word? Polish your pipes Bert, we're going in.' David grabbed Bert and pushed him through the door. 'Now, this is my kinda joint! This guy just went up in my estimations.'
'That troubles me, Sir,' Bert stated anxiously as he allowed himself to be purloined by an over excited David Addison.
'Now if you're stuck for a while consider our child
How can it be happy without its ma and pa...'
'I'm not going in there,' Maddie complained as she looked up at the karaoke diner. 'It's one of those karaoke bars.'
'It is!' Agnes smiled.
'It's Addisonesque: Laundromats, beer, bowling, karaoke?' Maddie declared.
'Come on, Miss Hayes, we can't lose her now,' Agnes dragged her boss, against her will, through the doors of the diner.
'Why do I have a bad feeling about this?' she sighed, a frown set in place as a protest against entering such an abode.
The entire Blue Moon staff gathered around the script like a cauldron of witches. Jamie, at the centre of the fiery circle, was handing pages around the room like she was part of a production line. The precious manuscript was flying from one eager pair of hands to the next in a whirlwind of frantic planning and creativity. They held the next fifteen minutes of the show in their powerful hands and fully intended to change the ending of this scene. This was a scenario that they had wanted to see play out if, a miracle ever occurred, and the writers actually listened. As the pages rested in their final destination, Kris' typewriter, the new ending began to take shape (despite a few disagreements on which song they should include). This was better than Limbo!
'Let's stick together, c'mon c'mon let's stick together
You know we made a vow not to leave one another never...'
Dim lights hid the true nature of the dive. Mirror balls rotated, leaving their sparkly tattoos on fervent faces, as they waited patiently for their five minutes of fame. Spotlights invited the masses to the stage, the stand; and finally to the microphone. Once someone had fallen prey to the allure, they were gods – it was assumed, without doubt that their song would crowd please.
The diner was all noise and chaos. Short skirted waitresses bustled, orders were shouted and always, the brave, the fearless; the delusional sang on against the odds – punctuated, rarely, by someone who could actually hold a tune. What were noticeable were the smiles on every face- the worst voices were instantly forgiven in the name of camaraderie.
Frantically, David and Bert searched for the secret couple but to no avail. David, a good foot taller than Bert, obviously had the best vantage but this did not prevent Bert from doing what he did best: ground work. Bert snuffled around like a pig set on finding his truffle- he moved, with the invasive nature of a Jack Russell, into every seated area of the diner.
Simultaneously, Maddie and Agnes searched high and low for Ms Doherty's romantic rendezvous – Maddie gluing herself as closely to the exit as she could, back to the door, scouring the anomalous assortment of faces. Whilst Agnes, far more comfortable in her surroundings, left her boss in this safe location whilst she headed to the ladies' restroom – in order to get a closer look at the guests. She tapped her toes and clicked her fingers as she crossed the room, enjoying the rendition of 'Hotel California' blasting from the speakers.
Agnes and Bert met snout to snout, as their paths crossed, half way across the diner.
'What are you doing here?' they both cried out at once, happy and alarmed, in equal measure, to encounter one another.
'Mr. Mason,' explained Bert.
'Miss Doherty,' explained Agnes.
'Oh my God!' they both exclaimed at once.
'You don't think...' Bert began.
'...That they're both meeting the Abercrombies in here?' Agnes finished.
'What are the highly improbable chances of that occurring?' Bert's eyes widened as he looked from one end of the diner to the other.
'We'd better let the bosses know,' Agnes stated.
'Where is Miss Hayes?' Bert inquired.
'Where's Mr. Addison?' Agnes inquired back.
'I seem to have lost him in amongst the good-timers,' Bert confessed. 'I probably need to find him pronto with this new evidence that's come to light.'
'I left Miss Hayes near an exit,' Agnes smiled. 'Something tells me that your boss is a little more comfortable with this environment than mine.'
'We better find them asap!' Bert cried. 'This information is like discovering that someone is about to light up at a fuel stop!'
'Things could get out of control!' Agnes gasped. 'Explosive, heated, downright nasty...'
'Meet you back here in five Agnes, my sweet,' Bert smiled at her, turned on his heels and fled off in pursuit of Mr. Addison.
Attempting to retrace her steps, Agnes made her way to where she had left Miss Hayes cowering near the exit.
David, having lost interest in snooping, had made his way to the stage where someone was covering a Ray Charles song... the call of a good tune was too much for him. He stood there, tapping his foot, mouthing the words and grinning ear to ear. An eager promoter shoved a menu of songs into his hand, he could spot a karaoke king anywhere, and David, feigning reluctance, took it and absently leafed through the options. It was at that moment that Bert caught up to him and wished, with his whole heart that he hadn't.
'Sir, Sir,' Bert sputtered.
'...you got it too?' David agreed.
'Huh?' Bert looked baffled.
'Never could refuse the call of the karaoke mic...' David was by now utterly engrossed with the song selections.
'No Sir, it's...'
'...Impossible to shake?' David finished. 'Well that leaves us no choice but to shake it together, Bert!'
'I'm sorry, Sir?' Bert looked frustrated, like he was about to implode on the count of three.
'Don't be, learn to love yourself!' David cried. 'Come on Bert... your job is to support me in all of my wrong decisions and wrong doings... get over here, little fall guy.'
'I have to tell you, Sir, that I, just a moment ago, bumped into Agnes and Miss Hayes in here...'
'Even better!' David announced with a twinkle in his eyes. The gravitas of what he had just heard, totally missed, shadowed by far weightier plans. 'Bert! Heel!'
Bert shrugged his shoulders (there was no talking to a karaoke king under the mesmerising haze of the song list), fell into place at his boss' side and resigned himself to the fact that he was going to feel the full force of Agnes' wrath later; the punishment would probably last for weeks.
Meanwhile, Agnes had successfully caught up to Maddie, who was still leaning against the fire-door - donning over-sized sunglasses, desperate to escape with most of her dignity intact and all of her anonymity.
'Emergency!' Agnes shouted as she ran up to her boss, out of breath.
'My thoughts exactly,' Maddie sighed, sarcasm clinging to the edge of her words, 'just look at some of the fashion under-statements in here.'
'Miss Hayes,' Agnes tried again. 'I ran into Bert! Mr. Mason is in here to rendezvous with his date too!'
'Is there something about this place that I'm just not getting?' Maddie contemplated as she stared at the drab walls. 'Call me old fashioned but this place is as far from my idea of romance as burgers and fries.'
'Miss Hayes, what happens if they see each other?' Agnes cried.
'Well, I guess they won't be in need of those eight by ten glossies - there's nothing like the real thing,' Maddie stated and began searching for them around the diner again, never once relinquishing her position by the door. 'It's what divorces are made of.'
'Hadn't we better split up and find them before they find each other?' Agnes suggested.
Maddie looked reluctantly around the room, and then back to her safe spot by the fire-exit. She looked torn; and it was in this desperate moment that she was rewarded, for once, with a get out clause. A note of recognition registered in her expression.
'Not necessary, Agnes,' Maddie declared, with a dawning realisation.
'Huh?' Agnes stopped in her tracks. 'Do you know something that I don't?'
'Oh yes,' Maddie started to smile. 'Agnes, just take a look over there.' She pointed to a table about half way into the diner. It housed both Mr. Mike Mason and the lovely Miss Lila Doherty – sharing a bottle of wine, staring into each other's eyes; laughing and pointing with enthusiasm at the karaoke song list.
Agnes' shocked mouth, turned into a smile which soon sprouted into a wide grin. 'They were never seeing each other's clients, they were...'
'...seeing each other,' Maddie finished. 'How about that!'
'Wait until we tell Mr. Addison and Herbert,' Agnes sighed, feeling romance in the air.
'Oh God,' Maddie suddenly gabbed Agnes' arm. 'David's in here.'
'Yes, I told you!' Agnes explained once again. 'I bumped into Herbert on the way to...'
'Agnes! David should never be allowed to roam free in one of these kinds of places!' Maddie sounded like she was panicking – she removed her shades and shot nervous eyes around the diner. 'Where is he?'
'Why not Miss Hayes?' Agnes inquired innocently.
'Because...' began Maddie but was interrupted by the all too familiar tones of David Addison introducing himself on the microphone. '...That's why.' She suddenly took on the appearance of a fly stuck on the lip of a Venus Fly-Trap. She turned to back out of the fire-exit.
'Miss Hayes, it says 'no exit',' Agnes pulled her back; 'you'll set all the alarms off!'
'Agnes!' Maddie pleaded, 'you gotta get me out o' here!'
'Is that Mr. Addison and Herbert on the stage?' Agnes suddenly clapped her hands with enthusiasm.
'Agnes, don't encourage them, just help me get the hell out of this place!'
It was too late, the diner was by now far too crowded and Maddie was, ironically, backed into the only doorway that was out of bounds – unless there was a fire. The penalty fine was high, or she would have risked it, and her reputation, in seconds flat.
'Ladies and gentlemen, dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, I'm David Addison and I would like to borrow your ears for a few moments of your precious time!' David's voice seemed to be emanating from every speaker in the joint. She could not escape; it was like her worst nightmare. She went, all of a sudden, both hot and cold as she prepared to accept her cruel fate.
'Isn't he the best?' Agnes hollered above the noise.
'That's not the word I was looking for,' Maddie cringed.
'I just want to borrow five minutes of your time to do something that I've been aching to do for about five years now...' David continued, his voice causing the speakers to vibrate.
'Oh God,' Maddie groaned, looking at the floor. 'Please don't embarrass me, please don't embarrass me...'
'...you see, there's this lady I happen to know...' David persisted.
'...Here it comes,' Maddie whimpered and closed her eyes as if that might freeze time and she could then sneak out, around the stationary figures and make her escape unnoticed. However, this was no dream sequence. She did not even have her copy of the script; she hadn't seen it coming.
'She walked into my office five years ago today and I'm tellin' you guys, I thought destiny was giving me a massage! It was love at first sight... I'm not kiddin' ya! I never believed in all that crap until this beautiful, intelligent, witty and strong woman taught me that you can fall in love faster than the breath it takes to say those words. I remember thinking; this woman is the one I want to grow old with.' The crowd started to cheer and clap their hands enthusiastically; they all loved a good old fashioned love story.
'Miss Hayes! This is so romantic!' Agnes sighed, turning round to glance at her boss whose eyes were still firmly and awkwardly centred on the floor. Some of these places had floor-hatches that led to the cellar, right?
'Is it?' Maddie muttered - having gone the darkest shade of puce she had ever achieved in this life time.
'...Well it took a whole lot of patience and time... but love like that is worth waiting for, and boy did I wait, and wait, and wait... but - eventually? I got the girl. This song is for anyone out there who is still waiting... and it's for you, my girl.' He looked into the sea of faces, trying to find her. Spotting her at last, he waved from his place at the front of the stage.
'Miss Hayes, he's waving at you!' Agnes grabbed Maddie's arm and waved it back for her. Maddie was furious and pulled her arm back so hard that she almost yanked it out of the socket. She growled at Agnes but Agnes was too distracted by romance to notice.
'Great,' she fumed, 'now everybody knows it's me.'
The crowd all turned to stare at Maddie Hayes, their clapping getting louder and, to make matters worse still, they started to gradually, gently, usher her forwards. People made way for her so politely that she felt compelled to accept the spaces that they were making for her. She wanted to die. She was now facing the stage and could plainly see, without hindrance, the over enthusiastic smile of one David Addison.
'There she is...' David cried enthusiastically, 'that's my girl... isn't she gorgeous?'
David mistook the flush of mortification on Maddie's face for genuine pleasure to see him. The music began and David and Bert stood poised with their microphones at the ready.
Maddie shrunk a little further into herself.
May be the face I can't forget
The trace of pleasure or regret May be my treasure or the price I have to pay...'
Surprising them all with a voice that suited the song remarkably well, David looked directly at Maddie, who was doing everything in her power not to look back at him. He was at one with the microphone, a natural entertainer.
Herbert was also doing a marvellous job of backing vocals, and Agnes was particularly proud of his small but essential contribution.
May be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day... '
Maddie was counting down the verses – how many exactly were in this song? Maybe if she just counted in her head it would all just go away and she'd wake up from this horrendous nightmare. The audience had other ideas and pushed her even further forward.
May be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a heaven or a hell
may be the mirror of my dreams
The smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell...'
David was singing from the bottom of his heart and the crowd loved him. They cheered him on and, punctuating the cheers, were the odd wolf whistle from female admirers who, getting carried away with the moment, began to call themselves 'David's Girls'.
Maddie, thawing a fraction, began to think to herself that he actually sounded pretty good, not as bad as she thought he might... but she was still ready to murder him. She looked up in order to shoot the most lethal, deadly and paralysing stares at him when he sang the following words:
Who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one's allowed to see them when they cry...'
...And smiled the most amazing smile at her, which melted her on the spot. Instead of feeling full of fury she began to acknowledge the presence of another, more alien emotion, that of feeling truly appreciated by another. She even managed a tiny smile before looking terribly cross again.
May be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
That I'll remember till the day I die...'
Out of the blue, it was like he was just singing to her. It was just the two of them. Nobody had ever done anything like this for her before. Nobody.
May be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I'm alive
The one I'll care for through the rough an' ready years...'
Gingerly, her gaze dared to move from the floor to his eyes again.
I'll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I've got to be
The meaning of my life is
She, oh she.'
He finished his song, to the loudest applause anybody had ever received in the diner. As the noise of appreciation escalated in volume, he quietly slipped down from the stage. Bert was still revelling in the spotlight. What he found was that she had already met him half way. Her expression had melted and her eyes were now full of smiles for him. They were face to face. His own smile was wide open and vulnerable; she glowed in response. By now the audience were clapping rhythmically and stomping their feet in anticipation of a kiss – so, he simply took her in his arms and kissed her passionately in front of God, the world and everybody. The crowd went wild.
At Blue Moon, the staff released the final page of script from the type-writer and high fived each other with gusto! They had waited five years to see that scene. A job well done. When the cats away...
The curtains that hung in the bay-window danced lightly in the breeze, revealing, now and again, a glimpse of the full moon that dominated the sky that night. Everything was tinted with that strange blue glow and shadows were deeper than usual. All was still and silent. It was nearly 3am when David opened his eyes, not knowing what had awoken him. At first he was disorientated, but then soon realized, with pleasure, that he was in Maddie's house, in her bed, right beside her.
He carefully rolled over on to his left side and propped himself up on his elbow, his chin resting on his hand. Maddie, close beside him, was fast asleep. She was lying on her right side, her face turned towards him. The moonlight shining in through the window painted violet shadows of her lashes upon her cheeks. Her skin shimmered.
She was breathing deeply, quietly, and wore an expression of complete tranquillity. She appeared, to him, profoundly happy. Her lips were slightly parted and she breathed with an ease that was still foreign to him.
David didn't wish to wake her, but drawn by an invisible magnet, his right hand travelled through the cool night air towards her face, and with the tip of his thumb he lightly traced the curve of her lips – it was as if he had to make sure she was really there. His smile grew deeper. She really was there. He could feel her breath on his skin. Every minute of every hour, of every day or night, this awareness was a wonder to him. Self-assured as he may seem to others, he simply couldn't believe his luck with this woman. Despite her change of heart towards him, fear remained his constant companion; it lurked in a far away corner of his mind – always threatening to diminish him, once more, to a pal. He shuddered.
Brushing the back of his hand slightly along her cheek, he just wanted to be sure. No, she was there. This was not a dream.
Maddie hadn't stirred under his touch, but suddenly, without having shown sign of disturbance, she opened her eyes and focused them sleepily on his. She smiled. 'Hey.'
'Hey,' he replied softly, 'I didn't wanna wake you, did I?'
'What are you up to?' she asked without moving.
He shrugged. 'Watching you.'
She smiled. 'It feels good to be watched.'
'I always have,' David simply said.
They looked at each other in silence, immovable; their eyes saying so much, every wall torn down, no blinds, and only honest emotion. Finally, Maddie broke the silence.
She drew a deep breath and asked. 'This is not a dream, is it?'
He laughed softly, his eyes twinkling.
Maddie frowned, a little irritated. 'What's so funny?'
'I was just thinking the same thing,' David explained. 'That's why I had to touch you to see that it isn't a dream and that you are here.' He raised his free hand again and traced his fingertips along her cheek line. Maddie grasped his hand with her left and put his palm onto her cheek; it was warm.
'I sure hope I am,' she said, smiling. 'We are soul mates David, aren't we?'
'We are Maddie,' David confirmed in a somewhat thick voice, enjoying, for a moment, the warmth of her skin against his palm and the touch of her hand on his. 'Blondie...' he finally said and let his voice trail off, obviously searching for words. 'We both know,' he went on, 'that I'm a big mouth when it comes to almost everything but not so eloquent when it comes to expressing how I... feel.'
'Same here I guess,' Maddie replied but fell silent again. She could see he had not finished.
'I know,' he went on in an almost toneless voice, 'that a few things in the past would have turned out differently if only I had been a little better at that.' He sighed and averted his eyes. 'I'm sorry.'
'You're forgiven,' she said firmly, still holding his hand close to her cheek.
He looked at her again, his eyes an open book.
'And, I should have been more observant – looked at what was directly in front of me instead of waiting for it to be confirmed. I was a coward.' She squeezed his hand slightly. 'I'm sorry too.'
He nodded and smiled. 'You're forgiven too.' He looked deep into her to make sure she was listening and, more importantly, understanding. 'I love you,' he said simply.
Maddie blinked away her tears and smiled. 'I know.' She let go of his hand and wrapped her arm around his waist, moving nearer so she could snuggle up closer. David eagerly used his now free arm to pull her firmly to him, and all the time they were looking in to each other's eyes. When there was not an inch of room left between them, she whispered playfully: 'Do you think we could assume that this is definitely not a dream sequence and that we are indeed both here?'
David smiled his half-smile. 'I think we should,' he purred in a hoarse voice. 'Trust, but it may need a little verification.'
Maddie lifted her heavy eyelids, just as David was placing their breakfast tray beside her. He slipped under the sheets again. She smiled wearily, suppressing a yawn. This was getting to be a habit, David bringing breakfast for them. Definitely a good habit and one that she hoped he'd never break.
'Be careful, I could get used to this,' she sighed as she stretched her slender body under the sheets like a sleepy cat.
'Oh yeah?' he purred and, moving over to her, kissed her throat. 'This, you mean?'
Maddie laughed and pushed him away, bravely resisting the shiver that the touch of his lips sent down her spine. 'I'm already used to that,' she replied in a very relaxed tone which made him happy. 'And I wouldn't want to miss that again.' She propped herself up on one elbow. 'But right now I definitely mean the breakfast. I more than like this early morning service of yours.' She reached for a piece of cantaloupe. 'This is delicious.' she commented, much to David's pleasure.
'Wait till I show you what's for dessert,' he answered nonchalantly and winked at her.
'Dessert with the breakfast?' she giggled. 'You're spoiling me.' Then she saw something on the breakfast tray and frowned. 'What's your wallet doing on the breakfast tray? Won't it be a little tough to eat?'
'Oh, my wallet, yes,' David replied and reached for it. 'This is something I always wanted to do.'
She raised her eyebrows. 'What could be more spectacular than embarrassing me, to my bones in public, in a karaoke bar?'
'As if the king of karaoke didn't completely sweep you off your feet, Blondie!' he commented smugly and started to search for something in his wallet.
'He did,' Maddie replied with good-humor, taking one of the steaming coffee-mugs.
'Got it!' David blurted out triumphantly and held up a small business card. 'Pass me the phone, please, would ya?' He held out his hand.
'What are you up to?' she asked suspiciously, but handed him the phone from her bedside table. 'Whom are you calling so early in the morning?'
David just smiled and dialled the number on the business card; when he had finished, Maddie snatched it away from his hand and frowned. 'Why would you be calling...'
'Hi, I'm David Addison,' he purred into the phone, and Maddie shook her head in a knowing way. Somehow, she just knew that as a reaction to his tones, the secretary at the other end of the line was reacting to his sultry voice with a more girlish voice than usual. 'I'd like to speak to Mr. Abercrombie. - Yes, it's a personal matter. - Thanks, honey, I'll be waiting right here and won't go away.' She rolled her eyes. He covered the receiver with his hand and said with a smirk: 'The John and Yoko thing.'
Maddie frowned, then remembered and shook her head. 'Addison, you're definitely crazy,' she murmured, but kept watching him with an amused expression. John and Yoko style: doing everything from bed. She remembered his words all too well, spoken right in this bed about two years ago, and a tinge of sadness spread across her heart, but then it vanished.
'Definitely,' David whispered back and winked at her. 'Mr. Abercrombie,' he finally said and put on his serious business face. 'Yeah, we have results. - Well, efficiency is our middle name. Well, one of the many that is. - Never mind. - So... I followed your wife's lawyer yesterday who was off to an obvious date. - Yes, date. - Oh, you shouldn't ah-hah too early. - Well, he wasn't exactly having a date with your wife, Mr. Abercrombie. - Sure I'm sure about that. - Who? Well... it was your lawyer. - Yes, the very same.'
He covered the receiver again with his hand and whispered to Maddie: 'How are we doing so far, Yoko?'
She shook her head, and her lips formed the word 'jerk' before she continued happily sipping her coffee which was delicious, as always, closing her eyes with relish as she savored it.
'Look, Mr. Abercrombie,' David continued, 'maybe you should take into consideration the fact that your wife didn't cheat on you, maybe the whole problem only existed... in your head?'
Maddie opened her eyes at those words and found his gaze on her. She smiled and nodded with approval. He took her free hand and kissed it. 'Yes, weshould talk about it,' he said to his client, not taking his eyes from hers. 'Okay, I'll see you later at the office then. Bye for now.'
He put the receiver down. Maddie, still smiling, handed him the other coffee mug. 'Playing marriage counselor, huh?' she commented.
'Well, more like your common garden match-maker' he shrugged, 'it's our job to make the clients happy, right?'
He shrugged again. 'Guess I'm feeling kinda like a missionary, spreading my own joy with the masses.'
Maddie answered his comment with a pleased smile and leaned back again. 'I could get used to that,' she repeated her first words of the day, 'definitely could get used to that.'
Both Maddie Hayes and David Addison were late in to work that morning. Maddie was contented to note that, despite the absence of their bosses, the employees seemed to be going about their day already. Jorgenson was serving coffee, Lewis was replenishing paper-clips and Herbert had his itinerary attached to a clip board and seemed to be doing a passable impression of a boss. This was more than either one of them could ask of the wobbly crew.
'Miss Hayes, Mr. Addison, your clients are here.' Agnes warned them before they could reach their offices.
Maddie frowned. 'Which clients?'
'Mr. and Mrs. Abercrombie of course.'
'Both?' Maddie made sure.
'Yes,' Agnes confirmed, 'and they both absolutely insisted on seeing the both of you... both.' She scratched her head, clueless.
Maddie closed her eyes. 'What?'
David chuckled. 'I think what Shakespeare here is trying to say is that Mr. and Mrs. Abercrombie both arrived here, at Blue Moon, together to see us both, probably to tell us they're together. Gathered?'
Agnes beamed. 'Mr. Addison, you're a genius!' she sighed admiringly.
David smirked. 'Well...'
'No, it's just two aliens speaking the same language,' Maddie interrupted dryly. 'Are they in my office?' She already turned in that direction.
'Yes, Miss Hayes,' Agnes replied, still bemused.
David winked at her before scooting off after Maddie, who had already opened the door to her office.
Inside Maddie's office, the Abercrombies waited patiently for them, they were sat on the mauve couch in close proximity to one another. Both rose to their feet, with a somewhat guilty expression on their faces - caught in the act.
'Mrs. Abercrombie,' Maddie greeted her client, 'Mr. Abercrombie – what a surprise to see you both here...'
'...and together,' David finished in an amused tone, outstretching his hand to also greet the clients.
'Miss Hayes, Mr. Addison,' said Mr. Abercrombie, 'we just wanted to thank you for your services and inform you that... well...' he smiled, embarrassed and turned to his wife.
'...they are no longer needed?' David finished again and nodded in a satisfied way.
Mr Abercrombie took his wife's hand. 'We've stopped divorce proceedings,' he announced, 'and decided that we...' – his gaze was searching for his wife's, and she responded with a fond smile – 'should maybe give it one more try.'
'That's wonderful,' Maddie exclaimed, smiling broadly, and David could see she meant it. One more try were indeed wonderful words - they both knew that.
'We also want to thank you for... finding out what was right under our noses,' Mrs. Abercrombie said, 'for making this possible. Thank you, both.'
'You're welcome,' David said. 'We're happy if our clients are happy, and you both look very happy to me.'
'We are,' Mr. Abercrombie replied and outstretched his hand again, and his wife did the same. 'Thanks for everything. Good bye, Miss Hayes, Mr. Addison.' They left a check lying on the office desk, accompanied by a thank you card.
David observed Maddie's profile when she enthusiastically shook Rosie Abercrombie's hand; then he watched their newly reconciled clients walk happily, hand in hand, through the main office towards the exit. She smiled in contentment and emanated that air of softness around her that she had kept hidden from most people (especially from him), for many years. David felt a thick lump in his throat and swallowed, suppressing the almost unbearable urge to stroke her hair, but her office door was still open, and he knew she wouldn't like the staff to see.
In spite of Maddie's radiant mood, he sensed that she desperately needed to gather new strength. The permanent lack of sleep, coupled with the consuming of physical and emotional energy was taking its toll.
He couldn't even count the occasions they had made love during the last five days and nights, this was heaven – but what was even better was when they hadn't - then they were so close, a close like never before (not even in those four weeks they had spent together two years ago after a certain spaceman had returned to his home-planet – especially not in those four weeks). Everything was different now – David was filled to bursting with bliss, happiness and the utter joy of being together, really together, and he sensed that Maddie was feeling the same. It worked. They worked. There hadn't been one single occasion where she had not seemed totally at ease with herself, with them as a couple. She didn't even display embarrassment, even though everybody in the office knew what was going on between them: they were no longer just business partners. They were friends, spirited fighters; lovers; everybody knew that their bosses, Madolyn Hayes and David Addison, were, finally and truly, an "Us" now.
Maddie had amazed and astounded David in more ways than one; not once had she shown any trace of the old fear, qualms, doubts – not once had she asked him in that small, insecure voice David, how are we gonna do this? They just did this, they just lived this. Maddie had accepted that there was nothing to be afraid of; the best life lay ahead of them, and she was ready to fully embrace it. Obviously, she felt safe with him now, and that made him feel safe with her too. It was just how it should be.
It wasn't even necessary to keep her in a permanently dizzy state of mind in order to glue her to his side; David knew that he could loosen his grip, and she would still be there when he needed to reach out for her, she was ready to grasp his hand for good.
Maddie had closed the office door on the staff now and turned around to face him again. He took in her appearance, concerned for her well-being. She was beautiful, as always, but the lack of sleep and the exhaustion were clearly visible to him through the delicate transparency of her skin and the light, barely perceptible bluish shadows beneath her eyes.
She smiled, and his heart leapt. 'That was good to see,' she said. 'The last couple we worked for sent me straight to the hospital!' She rubbed her temple. 'Was that really only a week ago?'
Briefly, a shadow crossed David's eyes when he remembered the raw, cold fear that had held him in its grip during those long minutes that followed Maddie's passing out. Quickly, he took two steps in her direction, reached out for her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist. He detected the delicate, musky scent of her perfume; he remembered having seen the small bottle, it had an unusual name, like... he tried to remember it... Venom or Toxic - something like that.
She put her palm to his cheek, and in that moment he decided to give her the space and time alone that she needed but hadn't asked for; he knew she would appreciate it.
He smiled back at her and cleared his throat. 'Listen,' he said, 'I think I'll need to pay a visit to my place today... run some errands... call the cockroaches to order...'
A hint of disappointment crossed Maddie's face, and David's heart leapt again at her reaction. 'Sure,' she said, 'you do that.' She fell silent.
'Tomorrow's Saturday,' he reminded her, 'fancy a picnic somewhere? There's a bench out there somewhere with our name on it.'
Her eyes sparkled with delight. 'Sure,' she said nonchalantly. 'Pick me up at noon.'
'Your wish is my command,' he replied with a one-sided grin and leaned in for a tender kiss. 'Miss me,' he said, 'I know I'm gonna miss you.'
Maddie just kept smiling and didn't answer; it was not necessary. David touched two fingers to his lips and turned around to leave her office. She kept staring at the closed door after he had left, harboring the absurd hope that he'd come back. Then she shook her head and looked up at the clock.
'Tomorrow,' she murmured and got ready to leave the office.
'Home, sweet home,' David murmured with little or no enthusiasm in his voice as he entered his apartment. He kicked the door carelessly closed behind him and sighed, already feeling lonely in his empty abode. This apartment had never really felt like a home to him, like a place he'd want to spend more time in than was absolutely necessary; but lately, he didn't want to be here at all.
Well, that's not entirely true, he reminded himself. A few days ago, that evening when you ended up coming here with the blonde, because the cozy little Chinese restaurant, where you had shared dinner, was only two blocks away – it felt good to come here then, like it would feel good to go any place with her. He moaned aloud.
'Buster, you have it bad,' he said aloud to himself, 'really, really bad.' Then he smiled. 'It's a good bad, though,' he murmured and shook his head. Sure. Trite, clichéd, call it what you will – yet that old saying – Home is where the heart is never rang more true. He realized that he only felt at home when and only when he was with Maddie; it felt like he, they had finally arrived where they belonged. They didn't need a welcome mat to point that out.
Sighing, David slipped his jacket off, flinging it carelessly on the bed. Then, he strolled over to his bathroom, whistling a few tunes. He smiled and shook his head again at himself when he realized that he had been whistling 'She'.
After going through his old nightly routine of showering, he was beginning to feel a certain dread at the prospect of spending the evening lying on his bed and staring at the ceiling until his eyes closed, or maybe he'd zap through the television channels until it sent him to sleep. Why on earth had he come here in the first place? Despite its rhetorical nature, David began to justify his answer to this self imposed question: to give her a break; to allow her to gather her thoughts and senses together, to give her time, space, rest and air to breathe.
The problem was that he seemed to lack air to breathe...
Maddie sank back into the arms of the warm water, piles of scented foam covering her body. Her face wore an expression of total relaxation: her eyes were closed, and not a muscle in her face was tightened except for the small ones around her lips – she'd been smiling a lot recently. She was drifting, thinking about nothing, and listening to the soft tunes playing on the radio.
'Well, here we are again
I guess it must be fate
We've tried it on our own
But deep inside we've known
We'd be back to set things straight'
'Perfect,' she murmured dreamily.
Somehow, just lately, she seemed to be haunted by songs that perfectly mirrored her current mood. Maddie didn't believe in the supernatural - most often attributing such occurrences to simple coincidence, but it occurred to her that there were songs out there that seemed to be written only for her and David. This was no exception. She listened to Cher's dark and silky voice.
'I still remember when
Your kiss was so brand new
Every memory repeats
Every step I take retreats
Every journey always brings me back to you
After all the stops and starts
We keep coming back to these two hearts
Two angels who've been rescued from the fall'
That line almost brought tears to her eyes when she realized the utter truth lying behind it; the truth that there had never been an escape from those feelings; the truth that every move she had made had been destined to lead her back to David, no matter how hard she had fought to get away from him. And she had fought hard. She felt wistful as she remembered how she had objected to the idea of destiny or fate, but now she could not deny that everything had been determined in the stars ever since she had first set foot in the City Of Angels and into his life – and the rest, as they say, is kismet.
And the final truth was that they had both been rescued, no, that they had rescued themselves from a fall that would have been so hard and deep, that she seriously doubted that they would have made it back to the surface this life time. Thank God for second chances.
'After all that we've been through...'
'The danger of the singing siren,' said a soft voice, only inches away from her right ear.
Maddie literally jumped from the shock, spilling water all over the place. On opening her eyes, she saw David's face, soft, achingly readable. He was smiling his half-smile, and fine lines were crinkling around his adorable green eyes. He had obviously changed and was now casually dressed, wearing blue jeans and simple white t-shirt. He looked drop-dead-sexy causing a flash of lightning to immediately shoot through her, and she felt slightly annoyed at her loss of control.
'Doom of many a fine sailor,' he added mockingly.
'Are you crazy?' she snapped, wiping the water from her face. 'You scared the hell out of me! I could have drowned!' - In your eyes...
'Sorry,' he apologized in a husky voice that made her shiver, even though she was floating in warm water. He had hunkered down beside the bathtub and had rested his forearms on the edge. She glanced fleetingly, with a subtle longing, at the delicate hairs on his forearms. He was scrutinizing her closely, eyeing her with intense, undisguised fondness which made her stomach flip and every trace of annoyance crumble away. She swallowed.
Maddie, embarrassed that he had caught her off guard, tried to sink deeper into the creamy white foam. Oddly enough, despite the intimate week they had shared, she still felt exposed, mostly because he had caught her singing. 'What are you doing here anyway?' she demanded, assuming a defensive tone. 'Didn't you say you wanted to go to your place?'
David nodded. 'I did,' he confirmed. 'I went.' He smiled a broad and open smile that warmed her heart. 'But then I asked myself: what am I doing here?'
She was flattered, thrilled and totally disarmed by this remark and, yes, simply happy that he was here after all. She already missed him. However, she couldn't restrain herself from a little rearguard action: 'Just how did you get in here, bud?' she growled.
He smirked. 'First, why are do you always ask that?' he questioned back, instead of answering her. 'You're fully acquainted with Mr. Stickpin and should know better than to ask!'
Maddie couldn't help but smile. 'You're right. I should know better by now – and secondly?'
'And secondly,' – he bent forward and brought his face very close to hers – 'what kind of lukewarm reception is this, little mermaid?' he purred in a low voice that made her hold her breath.
David tilted his head, and she eagerly responded with the same gesture, leaning in to meet his lips for a slow kiss.
'Welcome,' she breathed huskily when their mouths finally parted. 'I'm really pleased to see you, stranger...'
'Much better,' he affirmed, a little breathless himself, and added teasingly: 'So – afraid of sharks, Ariel?' He was again smiling his trademark grin, and she saw the familiar naughty twinkle in his eyes that would have made her knees weak if she hadn't been sitting safely in her bathtub. It made her feel so ecstatic and free, that she was finally able to allow herself to give in to that sensation.
She surprised him by sliding her wet arms around his neck and pulling him close. 'I see only one shark around here,' she replied in a sultry voice, 'and I think I can handle him pretty well. Because' – she lowered her voice – 'I'm a shark whisperer...'
'A shark whisperer, huh?' he repeated in a playful tone, obviously pleased by her invitation to play. The green of his eyes grew a nuance darker. 'And tell me, what do you whisper about?'
Maddie brought her lips to David's left ear and breathed: 'Addison, stop spilling your wit all over the place and get in this bathtub to spill some water with me – now!'
Without a word, he rose slowly to his feet and pulled the t-shirt over his head, and without ceremony, dropped it to the floor. He smiled down at her, noticing the appreciative, craving look on her flushed face. 'I knew you'd fall into my net, little mermaid.'
They were lying snuggled up in bed, completely relaxed; half covered by the crumpled sheet. Maddie was curled up on David's left side, her head resting on his chest, listening to his slowly decelerating heartbeat, eyes closed, and serene smile. His face communicated pretty much the same expression. She had put her left leg over his; possessively wrapping him up like she was an octopus - like he would ever try to escape.
With the fingers of his left hand entangled in her hair, David was slightly massaging the back of her head, completely messing up her hair. She had no complaints. With her left hand she was unconscientiously caressing his chest. She drew in a deep breath and sighed: 'You smell good.'
He opened his eyes in disbelief. 'What?'
'I said you smell good,' she repeated in husky, appreciative tones – voice like a saxophone.
'You're scaring me,' he replied dryly. 'Usually you say I smell awful.'
She shrugged. 'Well, you just took a bath.'
'Yeahhh,' he purred in a low voice, 'amongst other things.'
'Addison!' She slapped him playfully, yet perceptibly, on the stomach. 'This is the last time you're gonna get a compliment from me!'
David was unimpressed and just replied smugly: 'I highly doubt that.'
Instead of delivering another slap, what he had half expected, Maddie surprised him with an almost girlish chuckle. 'Me too.'
He said solemnly: 'And I repeat: you're scaring me now, honey-blonde nut-case.'
She did not reply, instead she snuggled into the most comfortable and pleasurable position she could find. They were relaxing together. Both of them were simply enjoying physical and emotional closeness in silence; a comfortable silence. Each one of them was dwelling on their respective thoughts, but never stopped, for one moment, caressing each other.
David's mind was travelling back through the streets of the previous week, and he was remembering the many sweet, funny, absurd and passionate situations they'd found themselves in. They had not been able to keep their minds, let alone their mouths and hands off each other, making love (or at least attempting it) in the strangest places. He thought back to those four weeks they had spent together two years ago, before she had fled from him to Chicago; which had been completely different - she had never been at ease with him then. Had there even been a them? She had only relaxed in those moments of passion they had shared; immediately afterwards – she almost always fell back into her old armor: aloofness. He found himself tiptoeing around her with an unwelcome awkwardness whenever he was in her presence - terrified that he would lose both his footing and her. She had never understood how much this had hurt him – or maybe she had, but simply had not been able to do anything about it. God, if he'd known then what he knew now. This past week, it had been amazing just how easy and natural they were with each other, and he was still stunned about it – especially by the way Maddie had finally let her hair down. Maddie had, at last, given in to her feelings and passion for him; she had let herself fall – fall backwards without a safety net, head over heels, arms spread, eyes closed, showing a sense of utter basic trust that he would be there to catch her and hold her safe in his arms. And he had been there - this time. Yes, he thought, this is it.
Maddie's mind was floating, unable to hold on to a thought for too long. She was too busy abandoning herself to her feelings and enjoying it. God, it felt so good not to ponder over her situation like a scientist in a laboratory. It felt like a heavenly relief to be able to let down that icy guard, it felt so right, and she didn't even remember why she had tormented and hurt herself with it for so long. Where was it now? In response to this question, she snuggled up at David's side, cradled in his embrace. She felt so safe, like she had not felt since she had been a child - she realized that she didn't want to be anywhere else, with anyone else ever again. She was right where she belonged; where she had always belonged. Why on earth had she wasted all that time? Never again, she thought. Maddie smiled. Yes. This is it.
Just when David had thought Maddie had fallen asleep, she murmured his name.
'We... um... we said we should talk openly about everything that's bothering us, right?' she started to speak but let her head rest right where it was.
He sensed danger and answered carefully: 'Yes...?'
'Well what?' he tried not to sound alarmed.
She seemed to hesitate. 'Actually, there is one thing or maybe two...'
He cleared his throat. 'Well?'
After a short pause, she said: 'David, I know you don't mind shaving with my pink razor, but...' she let her voice trail off.
David started to feel nervous, he'd had a conversation about razors, towels, toothbrushes two years before. 'But?' he echoed.
'I hate finding your stubble all over it,' she finished.
OK. Nothing we can't deal with. 'Oh, I see' he said quickly, drawing a deep breath, 'I...'
'Would you mind bringing over your own?' she interrupted, and he was taken aback. Whoa! What was that?
'Um... sure. I mean, no. I mean – yes,' he stuttered, 'sure, I can bring over a razor. It would be a pleasure to bring over my razor'
'Good.' By the sound of her voice he could tell she was smiling.
'Good,' he replied thoughtfully.
'And there's another thing,' she continued.
'Pour it out,' he demanded already a little more self-assured.
'Your body hair.'
'What?' he blurted out. 'You've never complained about my body hair before!'
'Not as long as it's on your body,' Maddie replied dryly and tugged playfully at his chest hair which she indeed appreciated. 'But I really hate finding it in my bathrobe.'
'So,' she repeated, 'I guess you should bring over one of those too. That is, if you don't mind.'
Darn, this woman never fails to knock me off my feet! He sensed he was on safe ground and regained another piece of self-assurance. 'I think you're nitpicking,' he replied in a casual voice, 'but okay – your wish is, as always, butterfly, my command.'
'Oh and I don't want you to be late for a meeting again just because you have to get changed at your place first,' she said with a decisive tone.
Oh no, Blondie, you wanna kick me out of bed in the wee small hours? What will happen to our special breakfast? 'That would mean I'd have to get up really early...' he replied reluctantly.
'Either that,' Maddie jumped in, 'or – you could bring some of your clothes here. Only if you don't mind, of course,' she added quickly.
David was thunderstruck. He remembered back to that conversation again, with reversed roles, and it hadn't ended well. In fact, it had ended with their relationship going from a bad habit to nowhere land. David fully realized that Maddie was telling him, in her own special way, that she wanted to move their relationship forward this time, and he felt absolutely elated. 'If you absolutely insist...'
'I know I'm asking for a lot,' Maddie said with feigned remorse.
'You can say that,' he confirmed gleefully. 'Any other things you hate about me whilst we're on the subject? I got a few free hours.'
'Oh yes,' she replied immediately, 'I haven't even scratched the surface yet. You really wanna know what I hate most?'
'What's that?' David asked. 'Please be gentle with me.'
For the first time since they had started talking, Maddie lifted her head from his chest and kissed the spot where her cheek had just rested. The touch of her lips sent a wave of warmth through his whole body, embracing both his heart and his soul in equal measure. Then she propped herself on one elbow and looked him openly in the eyes. Hers said I love you.
When she spoke, her voice sounded sweet and promising. 'I hate it when you leave.'
God that was a huge lump he could feel in his throat. He swallowed and presented her with his broadest, most stunning Hi-I'm-David-Addison-and-you're-a-goner smile. I love you too. 'Well... I guess I'll have to stay put then.'
THE END (Rosie's happy ending to season 5)
'April Showers' (Al Jolson)
'I Knew You Were Waiting' (Aretha Franklin & George Michael)
'Let's Stick Together' (Bryan Ferry)
'She' (Elvis Costello)
'After All' (Cher & Peter Cetera)
Thanks to our faithful readers, for having been with us on this long and bumpy road until the end - we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. This storyline has been a big and important part of our lives for the last half year, and it's not easy for us to let go of it - and who knows, maybe we'll pick it up again one day; we're sure there are still many stories to be told.
A few special thank-yous must be delivered, for one's gotta give credit where credit is due. Out of the bunch of wonderful friends, who not only inspired me with their appreciation for our stories but accompanied me already through the writing process, two girls are especially oustanding:
- She-who-must-not-be-named and her endless, sometimes pretty exhausting challenge. You made me - a hardboiled David's Girl - see quite a few things and situations from a different point of view and through different eyes - through Maddie's. Thanks for that, crazy chick.
- Rose: your passion and colorful fantasy have been a never-ending source of inspiration - many of the most beautiful scenes from this epilogue are based on ideas brought up by you; I had the honor of putting them down in words. You know which scenes I'm talking about. They belong to you. Thanks for that, sis.