I hope you have enjoyed this story. I have been multi-tasking with this and another fan-fiction for The Young Riders. Hope you read that one too. Thanks for all the reviews. And thank you moviemom44.
Sydney couldn't eat. She was angry at the world and angry with herself for yelling at Gage. All he did was bring her dinner and she yelled at him. She remembered the way she felt when he had yelled at her when he was deaf and she was just trying to help. She wheeled herself to her room, slid herself into bed and cried herself to sleep.
Gage got back into his car, slamming the door in frustration. He swore as he pounded his fist on the steering wheel.
He started the car and drove off. Small droplets of rain began to fall on the windshield, matching the drops of tears rolling down his cheek. "Get a grip, man." He wiped a hand across his eyes and took a deep breath. He drove aimlessly and found himself at Walker's ranch. He sat in the car and listened to the sound of the rain falling on the roof. He leaned his head back against the seat and closed his eyes. Reliving the last few days in his head gave him a headache. The sudden tap on the window made him jump. He used his sleeve to clear the condensation off the window enough to see Walker standing beside his car holding an umbrella.
Gage opened the door and stepped out.
"You weren't planning on sleeping out here were you?" Walker asked as the younger ranger ducked under the umbrella. Together they jogged up the front steps.
Gage shook his head. "No, I just started driving and ended up here. I won't bother you guys. I'll just sit out here for a while." He sat heavily in a chair by the front door. Walker sat in the chair beside him.
"So why are you out on a rainy night?" he asked as he refolded the umbrella.
Before Gage could answer, Alex came out onto the porch. "I thought I heard voices out here. Gage, how nice to see you! Can I get you something to drink?"
Gage shook his head, looking like a lost puppy. Alex felt sorry for her friend. She was about to ask what was wrong, but when she saw Walker shake his head at her, she figured it was 'a guy thing' and went back inside.
"Walker, what do I do?"
"I'm guessing this is about your partner, right?"
Gage nodded. "I want to help her, but she thinks it's out of pity not out of lo..." He couldn't finish the word. Not to his boss.
Walker knew where Gage was coming from. He smiled and laid an understanding hand on Gage's knee. "All you can do is be there. She will need you and she will ask for your help. Give her time."
Easy for you to say, Gage wanted to argue, but didn't. How was he supposed to stand the wait?
As ordered, Sydney continued with her physical therapy, progressing a little further each day. She was regaining some feeling in her legs and she could stand for several minutes without help. Within a week, she was walking with a cane. She hadn't seen Gage much. He stopped by a few times to check on her, but they hadn't really talked since the night she sent him home.
But today she really wanted to tell him about her progress, and to apologize. She decided to invite him for dinner. Hobbling over to the phone, she dialed his number.
Gage smiled when he saw Sydney's number pop up on his caller ID. "Hey, Syd," he said, trying to sound nonchalant "Dinner. Tonight. Sure. You want me to pick anything up? OK, I can pick us up a movie. Alright then, I will see you at six. Bye." He jumped up off the couch and practically ran for the shower.
The aroma that filled the apartment was tantalizing. The homemade lasagna was cooling, while the garlic bread finished baking. Sydney added the finishing touches to the salad as the doorbell rang. Grabbing her cane, she walked to the door. She opened it and smiled at the mixture of disbelief and – was that pride? – on Gage's face as she stood before him. She motioned for him to enter.
Shocked, Gage was speechless. He had seen her three days ago and she was still in the wheelchair then. He sat the movies on the coffee table and smiled. Finding the words at last, he said, "You look like you're feeling better."
She nodded and walked back into the kitchen. Gage watched as she managed fairly nicely opening the oven and removing the garlic bread. "Syd, it smells good in here."
"Thank you." She placed the bread on the table.
Not sure if he should help, not wanting to ruin the evening, Gage innocently asked, "Is there anything I can do?"
To his great surprise, she answered, "Yeah, if you don't mind, can you grab the salad and take it to the table?"
Gage obliged and before long they were enjoying the remarkable dinner. When they were finished, Gage cleared the table.
"Thank you, Gage, although you don't have to." Gage wasn't sure if she was going to snap at him again. She saw the emotions on his face and walked toward him at the sink.
"Gage, I'm sorry I yelled at you the other day. I had just watched the news and they were talking about the earthquake. I just... " Her eyes grew moist. Gage stopped her by placing a finger on her lips.
"I didn't come here tonight for an apology." He wiped a tear from her cheek with his thumb. "Or to make you cry. I came here to spend the evening with you like we used to." His thumb made a little circle on her cheek and it sent a spark through Sydney. She closed her eyes. Gage couldn't resist the moment and tenderly leaned in to capture her lips in a kiss. Surprisingly, she didn't pull away. So he deepened the kiss, running his fingers through her hair. Finally, Sydney pulled back and looked into the bluest eyes.
She felt the comfort of his hands on her cheek. "Gage, what was that for?"
Trying to relish the moment, he replied, "Do I need a reason?"
Sydney looked away from him. "I just didn't think you would want to be with me now, after what happened."
He ran his thumb over her lips. "I have wanted to kiss you for years, Sydney. I mean a real kiss like that. Not one to keep our cover. But a real kiss."
The truth was out and he wasn't stopping now. "When I saw you holding Angela at the park, I knew you would make a wonderful mother. Something inside me clicked just then, like the final piece of a puzzle snapping into place, and I could see my whole future with in it. Then the landslide happened and I panicked. I didn't want to lose you. The look in your eyes when you told me you couldn't feel your legs broke my heart, but I never doubted for a second that I would be there for you, to help you in any way you needed. Because I love you. There I said it, Syd. I am in love with you." He held his breath as he watched her expression.
Sydney swallowed hard. He said that he loved her. She'd wanted to hear that for a long time. And heaven knew she loved him, too, more than anything. But she wanted to make one thing clear.
"Even if I'm never 100 percent?" She needed to know.
Without a moment's hesitation, he kissed her tenderly and whispered, "Always, Shorty."
She punched him in the shoulder. "In that case, I love you, too."
Gage smiled at the change in his partner's attitude. Sydney was back.