Hugs go to my beta, Gemenied!
Perry sat in his car and listened to the rain that hit his windshield. He had been waiting for over an hour, which was one of the most silly things he had ever done. He parked in front of Della's apartment house and did nothing but stare at the entrance. After she had left him at Clay's Restaurant he had come to the conclusion that he was a fool and that all he needed to do was to take action. He could get her back, if he just convinced her that he still loved her no matter what. So far the plan.
Unfortunately his "no matter what" mode had been greatly disturbed when he had seen Paul Drake arrive shortly before him. Instantly the jealousy he had experienced several times over the last weeks was back. It hurt like a knife stabbed right through his heart. It didn't matter that he had sent Paul to protect Della or that Paul was his best friend. He was jealous and hurt. He had been up there in her apartment for over an hour now and every minute of this hour had felt like a year.
He lit his next cigarette and blew the smoke against the windshield where it became a cloud and slowly lulled him.
Paul left the building over half an hour later. Perry watched him as the PI hurried to his car, smiling all over his face. Damn him.
The shower he took did him no good. The hot water almost boiled his neck and back and did nothing to relax him. On the contrary, he became more and more nervous. He couldn't take his mind off Della and the idea that she could have fallen in love with Paul. And what about Paul? Of course, he had a soft spot for Della. She was lovely, beautiful and everything a man could want.
Perry wiped the mirror and stared at his blurry face. Should he talk to both of them? Perhaps tonight? But if he was wrong, how much would be destroyed, if he gave words to his assumption?
He grabbed his robe and went into his bedroom to get a fresh pyjama when the doorbell rang. His watch was still in the bathroom, but he assumed it was after 9 pm. Too late for a normal visit.
Curious and annoyed at the same time, he went to the door and hardly believed his eyes. It was Della, all drippy.
"Good you're here," she said her arms wrapped around her body. Her trench coat was soaking wet and her hair was a mess.
"What happened to you?" he asked, as she walked in.
"It's raining cats and dogs outside," she explained. "I got this wet while running from the side walk to the entrance."
He watched her with growing curiosity.
"Where's your bodyguard?"
"In the hallway... told him to find a chair, because this could take longer."
"I'll get you a towel," he said, ignoring her statement. "Give me your coat."
Della shook her head. "I don't want a towel, Perry... I think we have to talk."
There she was. The woman who had left him only seven hours ago in Clay's restaurant was now standing in his living room and wanted to talk.
"All right... what about?"
"You first... why did you spend the whole afternoon in front of my apartment building?"
The question surprised him and he didn't know what to respond.
"How do you know?" he asked, while he searched for a plausible answer that didn't let him appear like a jealous fool.
"My bodyguards are everywhere," she answered. "Once one gets used to them, they can be quite handy."
"What happened between you and Paul?" he barked, hardly able to keep his voice even. It was a question he had wanted to ask the first evening he had arrived at Della's house, but he had kept his tongue, because he feared the answer. It was also a question that he couldn't ask Paul. The moment he did, it would stand between them forever, and there would be nothing that could mend the rift between him and his best friend.
"Well, Counselor," Della sounded almost amused, as she crossed her arms over her chest. "If we were in court I would object now and demand that you rephrase your question."
"And why's that?" he asked, more than just a little curios.
"Your question should be 'Did something happen'," Della explained. "Your question is leading the witness."
"Sustained," Mason agreed mildly. "So... did something happen between Paul and you?"
Perry breathed in and he suddenly realized how tense he had been since she had entered his apartment.
"And if you dare to ask me why not, I'll walk through this door of yours and never return!" she added darkly. He could tell she was dead serious and so he decided to oblige.
"I won't," Perry shook his head. "I'm sorry, but..."
"It was eating you up, but instead of asking us, you ran around, building this wall up around you."
Now he was the one who was getting angry, his hands, secured in the pockets of his robe clenched into fists.
"I built walls around me? What about you? You walked out of my life three years ago and never let me come close to you again!" he had raised his voice and for a moment she seemed dumbfounded. She licked her lips before she finally mumbled, "You never tried to... and we both know why." She swallowed, but her eyes held his gaze. Were they finally – after the last few weeks – getting to the bottom of everything?
"Enlighten me, please, because I fail to see your point."
He sank onto the rest of his couch and looked at her. He noticed she seemed much more confident than just a few hours ago. At their meeting in the afternoon, she had seemed much more unstable and shaken. Now she was almost her normal self.
And she was right in one point. He hadn't run after her, when she left Los Angeles, but as he had seen it, there was nothing he could have done to keep her with him.
"I was pregnant, after we spent one night, one single night together and, always the gentleman, you asked me to marry you," Della resumed.
"Something you agreed to," he reminded her.
"Yes, and then I lost our baby... there was no reason to get married anymore." Her shrug bothered him to no end. Marriage wasn't something one should shrug away like this, but Mason reminded himself that she never said or took things lightly. Maybe she had invested much more thought in their relationship than he knew. Maybe she had grown tired over it. God knew, he was tired of the uncertainty.
"I love you and when I asked you to marry me, it didn't happen out of... obligation or false commitments, although I admit that you being pregnant ramped up my decision."
"Yes, but as your wife and without your baby I would hardly be in the position to see an awful lot of you... I would wait for you to come home and sooner or later I would get tired of waiting, because let's face it, as long as people get falsely accused, you'll be out there, defending them at every cost... because that's who you are... it's what you do and I love you for it, but I was afraid I would hate you for it sooner or later, if we went down that road..." her voice trailed off.
"We could have found a way," Mason returned, much calmer now. He saw her point, but he couldn't accept the sacrifice it contained. It wasn't worth it. There was always a way.
"I'd rather stay away, than being pushed aside," Della said.
"You've made that point rather clear in the last couple of years. The question is... what about now? Why are you here?"
She sighed, tears building up in her eyes, "Because I'm tired of making my point."
"Is it really that easy?" he wanted to know and rose again. She didn't move, just waited for him to do to something. For some moments he just watched her, uncertain, undecided. They had gone through so much and they had survived it, they had changed a little and yet they stayed the same. They were still there, on the same page, weren't they? Love wasn't the question between them, it never was. Question was how to live with it. How to live it. And he thought he had the answer.
With two swift steps he closed the distance between them and kissed her. He pulled her into his arms and possessively captured her mouth. His kiss was demanding, hungry, desperate to make up for the time they lost and she gave in, ready to accept that there was no way she could ever be happy without him.
Hours later his fingers ran lazily over her spine, causing a slight, but deliciously arousing tickle underneath her skin.
"You won't let me rest, will you?" she purred with a content smile on her face.
"The poor guy in the hallway won't be happy about me," she said and placed a kiss on his chest.
"Want me to give him a chair, because there's no way you'll leave this bed for the rest of the night."
Paul Drake didn't often wonder about Perry Mason. He knew the lawyer was one of the most unusual men he ever met, but the one thing he usually did, was taking his calls. But today Mason didn't answer his phone in the office or at home. Even his secretary didn't know where or how to reach him and Paul decided to take his chance. After all he had to tell to best friend the most exciting news ever and Paul was sure, Perry could need some cheering up. Armed with some bagels, he made his way up to Perry's apartment and was surprised to find a FBI agent sitting next to Perry's door.
"Morning," Paul greeted him with a crooked eyebrow. "Long night?"
"Longer," was the yawned answer.
The agent helped himself to a bagel and Paul knocked at the door. When nothing happened, he knocked louder and just before he wanted to go downstairs again to call Perry, the door opened and Della, only wearing one of Perry's shirts looked up to him.
"I caught the wrong day, didn't I?" He asked with a knowing look.
"That's a bad habit of yours," she answered and waved him in. "Coffee's ready soon."
"You better have enough," Paul said with a cracked smile. "The poor guy in the hallway is falling off his chair."