Disclaimer: I don't own these things and I'm pretty sure I never will. That won't stop me from having fun with our favorite couple though.
A/N: It's me again! I wrote this while posting my other fic, which is why you're getting something else so quick. This idea came to me and the title even came to me! I have such trouble with titles, so I was pretty excited. Still though, I wasn't planning on writing this, but apparently when I get an idea in my head it just doesn't go away. We have to assume Perry and Della have been dating for quite a while, but I'm sure that won't be hard for any of you. Enjoy!
Della's head was lying in Perry's lap. She was stretched out on the couch and he was gently combing his fingers through her hair. They hadn't been on a case for a few days and Perry was debating. He really wanted to ask her a question, but he was positive she would say no. She always did. Oh well. He decided to throw caution to the wind and just ask.
"Della?" Perry quietly asked, in case she was asleep. Her eyes were closed.
"Hmm?" Della questioned. She wasn't asleep, but she was enjoying this. She was a little disappointed that he ruined it.
Perry stopped combing his fingers through her hair, knowing how she would react to the question. "Will you marry me?"
Perry's thoughts were correct. Della's eyes popped open, she swung her legs off the couch and sat up quickly. She looked at him to make sure he wasn't kidding and then sighed. "Perry, we've talked about this."
"We haven't," Perry argued. "Well, at least not in a year."
Della's heart started pounding. There was no way he could remember that, could he? "What are you talking about?"
Perry looked at her. "You know what I'm talking about."
Della winced. "Refresh my memory?"
Perry agreed. "We had just finished a case and Paul had just left the office."
"So, are we going to dinner or do you just want to go home?" Della asked him.
"Will you marry me?" Perry asked.
Della smiled, thinking he was kidding. "That wasn't an option."
"I'm serious," Perry told her.
"Don't be," Della pleaded with him. "Because if you are, I have to say no."
"Why?" Perry asked her. He wasn't completely surprised at her answer, but he did want to marry her and he wanted to know why she refused.
"You don't want a wife," Della said. "You think you do, but that's only because we just finished a case. The husband killed his wife because he loved someone else and you want to believe there is still some good left in the world. You want to believe that all love hasn't died." Della walked over and kissed him gently on the lips. "It hasn't and l won't be killing you any time soon because I love someone else, but I won't marry you to prove that."
Perry took her hand and slightly smiled at her logic. "How do you know that's the reason I asked you? How do you know I don't want a wife?"
"I know you," Della told him. "In two days, if not less, you'll be ready for the next case."
"But…" Perry started.
"Perry, please," Della cut in. "Let's not talk about this anymore. Ask me in a year. If you still want to marry me then, we'll talk."
"I realize it's a little over a year," Perry told her. "But at the year mark we had just finished a case and I didn't want to have that conversation again. You told me to ask you again in a year."
In all reality, Della hadn't expected him to remember. She had only said that to shut him up about the topic. She hated to talk about marriage, especially to him. She wanted to marry him, God did she want to, but she couldn't. "I know I did," Della admitted. "But I still have to say no."
"Why, Della?" Perry asked.
"Because I don't want to be cooped up in a big house without you," Della told him. "I don't want to be waiting for you to come home, yet knowing you won't."
"I would always come home," Perry said.
"You would not," Della contradicted. "How many times in the last week did you go home?"
"Twice," Perry admitted. "We were on a case though!"
Della nodded. "And how many cases do you have in a month?"
Perry knew that question was rhetorical and didn't answer. "How do you know I wouldn't change. After all, if you were at home waiting for me I can guarantee I would be home."
Della shook her head. "Maybe for the first week—okay, maybe for the first month—but you would get disillusioned with me quickly. I like the way things are now. I like working for you and I don't want things to change."
"Some changes are good," Perry informed her.
"Changes are only good when the situation isn't good," Della argued. "I like our situation how it is now. Can you honestly tell me you want to get a new secretary?"
"I'll hire one that's old and ugly," Perry bartered.
Della laughed. "I don't care who you hire. I wouldn't care if you hired a beautiful young woman…" Della paused for a minute thinking that over. She actually might care if that happened. She shook her head lightly. "The point is I don't care. I don't want anyone else to work for you because I want to work with you. I like questioning suspects, I like the court cases and I like running from the police. Not only that, I want to be there when we're running from the police. I have to make sure you don't get into any trouble…or any more than you already do."
Perry smiled. "Well then, you could still be my secretary if we got married."
Della scoffed. "Oh, the press would have a field day. Gossip columns, magazines and Spicy Bits would never let us get away with that."
Perry raised his eyebrows. "You read those things regularly?"
Della rolled her eyes. "I do skim the gossip columns. I like to see what they say about us and besides, I'm a girl. I don't read them regularly, but the people who do are potential clients and if they saw true, scandalous things about us they wouldn't come for your services anymore and your business would suffer."
"I really don't think what the papers said about us would matter," Perry mused. "After all, people don't want to go to jail and it seems I'm the best one to get them acquitted. Besides, the papers say enough about us already."
"People would talk," Della argued. "We'd get women who'd feel sorry for me because they think you seduced me and would only keep me until the next best thing came along. There'd be other women who would think the same thing, but think they were the next best thing and try to seduce you. We'd get guys who'd wink at you conspiratorially because they would think you were lucky for catching me but they'd also think you were only biding your time…or sleeping with other women too."
"It doesn't matter what people say," Perry told her.
"But it does!" Della exclaimed. "I love my job, I love your job and I love you. I don't want anyone to discredit that or you."
"What if I told you I don't care?" Perry asked.
"Well I do!" Della said. "You are a prominent attorney and that doesn't need to suffer just because you think you want to get married and I agree."
"Think?" Perry inquired. "Della, you know I wouldn't ask if I wasn't serious."
Della rolled her eyes. "You think you're serious."
Perry gently kissed the back of her hand. "Della, I love you."
"I know you do," Della admitted. "And I love you. Why do we have to tell the world? They'll make it sound cheap."
Perry, unfortunately, knew she was right. Every time a prominent man got together with his secretary it usually was something cheap. He knew they had something deeper, but he also knew the gossip columns and other things of that nature wouldn't make it sound that way. In fact, he also knew the columns wouldn't care. If he and Della did get married, there was also no way to keep it quiet. People were always nosing around in his business and it would be even worse if people found out on their own.
"There's got to be a way," Perry mused.
Della smiled, loving how much he was thinking about this. She knew she couldn't allow herself to marry him though, at least not right now. "There isn't. You know I'm right."
"There just has to be!" Perry claimed.
Della didn't want to talk about this anymore. It was only putting a damper on a wonderful evening. She used the tone of voice that always worked on him. "Please."
Perry sighed. He hated when she did that. She knew he wasn't able to resist that tone and he was sure that was more than half the reason she used it. If she had just given him a few more minutes he was sure he could've figured this out.
Perry looked at Della. He took both her hands in his and pulled her to him. He kissed her long, hard and deep. When he released her he said, "One of these days, I will get you to say yes. I'll have such a good argument you won't be able to say no."
Della shrugged. "I don't doubt it."
"I won't stop asking," Perry told her.
"I don't want you to," Della admitted. She brought her face close to his. She gave him an Eskimo kiss. She had one more thing to say before she claimed her mouth with his. She raised her eyebrows and gave her voice a teasing lilt. "Ask me again in a year."
Well, what did you think? I'm not too fond of the ending. I got stuck right around there and I feel like it's very…blech. But what do I know? I'll let you, the readers, tell me what you think. And of course, you can't do that unless you review! Thanks for reading!