Sharon opened the door to the house. "Brenda?"
"I'm here. I'm right here." Brenda walked up to Sharon and pulled her into a hug. "Oh my god, Sharon."
"Jesus Christ," Sharon let out a breath and held her tighter, "I'm so glad you're okay. I can't believe I wasn't here; I'm so sorry."
Brenda laughed a little, "that was my fault."
Sharon grinned, nuzzling her hair, "it was, it was all your fault. I was going to say it wasn't but when you slammed Stroh's face into the elevator wall you pretty much guaranteed I wouldn't be home last night."
"An unfortunate side effect, I didn't mean to screw your evening."
"My evening? You were almost killed!" Sharon squeezed her, "I never want to let you go."
"It's over, it's all over. Stroh is going to jail and I can get on with my life." Brenda pulled back and cupped Sharon's cheeks. "We can move on with our life."
"Pope accepted your resignation."
Brenda nodded, "I know. I… accepted the job in the DA's office."
Sharon dropped her arms and paced a little. "Pope and Taylor want to transfer me to Major Crimes."
"Take the transfer."
"Your squad hates me."
Brenda chuckled, "no, your squad hates you, they're yours now. Take the transfer. They need you to keep them honest. I fell down on that and I almost ruined everyone's lives."
"I just… I haven't been a regular cop in twenty years, I've been in Professional Standards for so long… I don't even know how anymore…"
Brenda took Sharon into her arms again and drew her in for a kiss. Sharon melted into the kiss; Brenda held onto her supportively. When they separated Brenda looked lovingly into her eyes, "let's get married this weekend. Let's fly out to Atlanta tonight and get married on Saturday."
Sharon nodded, "let's do it."
"Is Josh really coming?" James looked up from the magazine he was reading. His mother and his sister sat across from him having their hair styled.
"He said he was coming." Sharon shrugged.
"I don't understand the ex-etiquette." Angela admitted, "you invited Josh but not Dad. Brenda invited Fritz but not Will Pope."
"I'm still friends with Josh. Brenda did invite Will Pope but he's the Chief of Police now and it was too short notice, he couldn't take the time. And your father? Well, I just didn't want him to be here. What time is it, James?"
He looked at his watch, "it's only 9:50, we're still on schedule."
"Think the same can be said for Brenda?" Angela laughed.
"I know… I don't know why I left Charlie and Andy Flynn in charge of keeping her on schedule. She'll show up to the photo shoot half-baked and reeking of gunpowder."
"You paint a beautiful picture of your bride, ma."
Sharon smiled. "She is beautiful… she's smart and she's a person you really want to have on your side."
"Okay, okay, don't get mushy. There'll be plenty of time for that later." Angela chided, "we need to stay on task. James, give us the schedule of events again?"
He dug into his pocket and pulled out the itinerary which had been folded up and stuck unceremoniously into his pocket along with two sticks of gum, his keys and a receipt from TGI Fridays. "10:30 pick up mom and Angela's dresses and my tux, 11:00 get back to the Johnsons' and get dressed and have a snack, 11:30 meet up with Brenda and company in the park for photo sesh, free time, 12:30 fix any last minute problems and ceremony to begin promptly at 1:00. Then from 1:30 on we eat, drink and be merry."
"And until one I'm supposed keep my hair from frizzing in Atlanta heat?"
The hair dresser chuckled, "girl, you've got so much hairspray in your hair you'll need a chisel to let it down again."
Brenda took another large bite out of her hostess snack cake as Charlie continued to French Braid her hair.
"How can you do it? How can you give up the badge?" Andy asked, shaking his head. "I've been going over it in my mind… and it can't just be because of the reprimand. I've got, like, eight and I'm still a cop… I always will be."
"It's about priorities." Brenda shrugged. "I didn't have time for the people that are important to me. I'll have the time now. I can't fix the things that I did wrong but I can do it right from here on out."
"And I can come visit more often?" Charlie looked up with a sweet smile.
"Uh… we'll talk to your daddy about that, okay?"
"But you're moving to the DA's office… doesn't that make you feel dirty?"
"What's so bad about the DA's office?" Charlie looked to Andy.
"Brenda, how have you let this kid get so misguided? Charlie, the DA's office – well, all lawyers, actually – are bureaucratic assholes."
"Language, Andy." Brenda scolded.
"I'm 19, Aunt Brenda."
"You basically can't ask them any questions without having to clarify and not use vague language because, heaven forbid, everyone isn't as annoying and nitpicky as they are."
Charlie tied off Brenda's hair with a cream colored ribbon. "You know that Sharon's daughter is a lawyer, right? And almost all of Sharon's friends?"
Andy threw his hands up in defeat, "it's hopeless. You've gone to the dark side."
"There you are." Provenza groused as Flynn took the seat next to him. "I've been surrounded by lawyers for an hour and a half."
Flynn smoothed out his tie as he made himself comfortable in the white wooden chair. "Where's Tao and Julio?"
"Tao's cutting it close, his wife didn't get off her shift until this morning. Julio's been laying the groundwork with one of Raydor's cousins."
"What about you? There are some lookers on Raydor's side, anyone you have your eye on?"
Provenza crossed his arms and pouted stubbornly. "No."
The Taos sidestepped down the aisle and took their seats on the other side of Flynn. "Right under the wire, guys." Flynn smiled.
"Flights are always delayed when you're on a schedule." Cathy smiled, giving Flynn a hug. "Did we miss anything?"
"Nah, the show's about to start." Flynn looked over at Provenza who was still scowling like a gargoyle on the Notre Dame.
Sharon sat at the table surveying the backyard full of friends and family. She actually did it. She married Brenda Leigh Johnson. In the loosest definition of the word, of course, considering it wasn't legally binding yet, but still, she'd done it. She watched Brenda chatting with her boys and smiled.
They'd certainly miss her and she'd miss them. That was a challenge for another day.
Brenda caught Sharon's eye and smiled back. She excused herself and walked up to Sharon. "I didn't mean to make you end your conversation."
"I was missing you anyway."
"You're going to be so sick of me before too long." Sharon teased, leaning in and kissing Brenda's lips softly.
"Yeah, yeah. If I'm not sick of you yet it's probably not going to happen." Brenda reached across and took Sharon's champagne glass.
"Hey," Sharon chuckled.
Clay picked up his glass and clanked the spoon against it until he had everyone's attention. "I just want to say how happy I am to have everyone here. When Brenda Leigh was young and I envisioned the person who would be right for her I always pictured someone who would challenge her and help her see another perspective. I pictured someone who would help ground her but allow her to be herself. I pictured someone with a good heart and a strong will, someone patient and loyal. And as long as I'm being honest, I pictured someone who would watch the Super Bowl with me."
Brenda took Sharon's hand and gave it a squeeze.
"I didn't know that the person I pictured for Brenda Leigh was going to be a woman but Sharon is everything I pictured for my baby girl and more. I am so glad that you've been in all of our lives, Sharon, I love you."
"I love you too." Sharon said with tears in her eyes.
Once the party resumed Flynn approached the two women. "So, what's next for you two?" He took a swig of his ginger ale.
"A couple of days rest here and then back to LA. Maybe take a little vacation after we get settled in our new positions."
Flynn watched Brenda for a few silent moments. "Did you say positions? Plural?"
Brenda turned bright red and Sharon closed her eyes with a cringe. "Did I-" Brenda stuttered, "did I say positions?"