Disclaimer: I'm still not ESG, so I don't own these characters. Just playing.

A/N: In TCOT Envious Editor, that Bill Nicholson guy says he despises the defendant because she turned down his marriage proposal so much. He also mentioned how many times he asked her. Connect that to Perry always asking Della to marry him and what do we have? A fic from me! I don't remember the exact order of events in the show…so we'll go with what I think I remember, deal? Enjoy!

Della sighed. She was sitting on Perry's couch dishing out the Chinese. Perry had gone into the kitchen to get the wine. They had come back to his apartment to discuss what was going on in the case so far. She, as well as Perry, was sure Alyce was innocent, but they just didn't have the evidence to prove it. At least, not yet. Paul was off chasing one of Perry's many leads, hoping he could find something to prove innocence.

Knowing the client was innocent but not being able to prove it was not what was bothering Della right now. She was more concerned with some of the testimonies given that afternoon. Well, to be more precise, she was concerned with what one witness said. Bill Nicholson. He had said, "I despised her. I would do nothing to prevent her harm." It wasn't that what he said had much bearing on Alyce as the murderer. Della was more worried about what it meant for her and Perry. Nicholson asked Alyce to marry him many times and she always turned him down. That was what spawned that statement from Nicholson. Perry was always asking Della to marry him and she was always turning him down. Did that mean someday Perry would say the same thing about her? She wasn't sure she could handle that.

At that moment, Perry came out of the kitchen with the wine. She had finished dishing out the food so she handed him his plate as he handed her the wine. While they were eating, they went over the details, big and small, of the case.

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Perry could tell something was wrong. He wasn't sure what it was, but he knew it was something. She wasn't acting too strange, so it couldn't be something huge. In fact, if he didn't know her so well, he probably wouldn't have even known something was wrong to begin with. Knowing Della so well, he was in tune with all her little tells and finally he had enough.

"Della, what's wrong?" Perry asked.

"Nothing," Della lied. As she did though, she wondered why she was even trying to lie to this man. She knew he would know she was lying and worse than that, it would make him more determined to find out what was wrong.

Perry raised his eyebrows. "Try again. I know something's wrong and I want to know what it is."

Della sighed. "Perry, Alyce is in jail and we still don't have enough evidence to prove her innocence. Now is not the time to discuss what may or may not be wrong with me."

"Della, I know something's wrong and I'm going to bug you until I figure out what it is!" Perry told her.

Della leaned her head back on the couch and closed her eyes. She debated with herself for a few seconds but finally decided she might as well tell him. She had no doubt he wouldn't let up on her. Then the night would be wasted and Alyce could very well spend tomorrow night in jail. "Do you despise me?"

"Do I…what?" Perry inquired. Of all the things she could've asked, this question seemed to come out of left field.

"Do you despise me?" Della repeated. She knew he heard her, but knew he was shocked, which was why she chose to reiterate the question rather than throw back a smart remark. Besides, this was a rather serious situation.

"What brought this on?" Perry asked, than realize he hadn't answered the question. "And of course I don't despise you! Della, I love you."

Della kept her eyes closed and let the pink tint in her cheeks diminish before she began again. "Bill Nicholson despises Alyce."

Perry wrinkled his forehead. "Um, yes. I still don't see what that has to do with us."

Della turned her head away from him and opened her eyes. "He proposed marriage to her so many times and she kept saying no. And now he despises her and while he wouldn't necessarily hurt her, he probably wouldn't do anything if a safe was going to fall on her head either."

The light bulb went on over Perry's head. He finally realized what was bothering her. He was amazed he didn't see it in the beginning. How had he missed it? He had thought Nicholson's plight was similar to his…at least until Nicholson started that despising crap. Regardless of how many times Della turned him down, he could never, ever stop loving her. He would always love her.

"Della, look at me." When she didn't quickly obey, Perry took his hand and turned her face to his. "Why did Alyce keep saying no to Nicholson?"

Della knitted her brows together. "Because she thought he was going to be poor and she didn't want to be poor again. Rather, her sister was afraid of being poor again."

Perry nodded. "And why do you keep saying no to me?"

Della was thoroughly confused by this line of questioning, but she answered anyway, knowing if he was asking, he must have a point to prove. "Because I don't want the gossip columnists to discredit you or the work you do. You're an amazing man and I don't want anyone to say otherwise."

Perry smiled. "Exactly. Alyce was thinking of herself and her fears about money when she kept saying no. You are thinking about anyone but yourself when you say no. In fact, if I know you, you're probably ignoring everything you want just to make sure no harm comes to my practice. Which I've told you many times I don't really care about."

Della rolled her eyes in slight amusement. "You say that now…but just so we're clear…even if I never marry you, you will never start to hate me?"

Perry sighed. While he hoped someday he could convince her marrying him would be a good thing, he knew he would never hate her, not even a little bit. "Della, no. I'll always want you as my secretary and as much more."

"You only want me as your secretary because you wouldn't be able to run your office without me," Della teased.

Perry's blue eyes bore into her and Della immediately regretted her statement. She knew he was going to turn this conversation into something deep right away. "I want you because I couldn't live my life without you."

Della closed her eyes, took a deep breath and tried to calm down her sudden heart palpitations. "Perry…"

"Della, I love you so much," Perry said. He brushed his lips across hers in a feather light caress. So light, Della had to wonder if she imagined it in the first place.

Della looked at him and read the complete openness, truthfulness and love in his eyes. She smiled at him. "I love you too."

Perry pulled her to him for a deep kiss. Della took a brief minute to think about how they probably weren't going to talk about Alyce much more that night and that she may just have to spend tomorrow night in jail. As wrong as Della knew that was, at this moment in time, she just couldn't scrounge up enough morality to care and enough willpower to stop this wonderful kiss. She resolved to make sure they worked extra hard to get poor Alyce out of jail…tomorrow.

So, I probably got some things wrong, but hopefully everything was decently okay and the message came through. When I heard Nicholson say he'd propose marriage to her "many times," Perry and Della immediately came to mind. I also knew Perry could never despise Della, but I decided to make her insecure. I debated with the idea of making her cry, but I'm not a huge fan of Della crying. Maybe because I just can't see her crying, but I'm sure that's just a problem with me! Anyway, if you liked this please review, if you didn't like this please review and thanks for reading!