Disclaimer: JE owns them. I do not.


It's Over


Stephanie's POV

Ranger had been quiet for days. Sure, I knew that Ranger being quiet wasn't exactly a news flash, but to me, it was a huge deal. He'd just gotten home from being "in the wind" on a mission a week ago, and he'd been almost silent ever since.

When the clock hit quitting time, I stood up and made my way into his office. He was just sitting there, staring off into space. I grabbed his arm, and he allowed me to pull him up and lead him down the hall to the elevator. I clicked once to get us to the seventh floor, and once there, I led him into the apartment.

I pushed him down onto the couch and sat on the coffee table in front of him, holding his hands in mine. He kept his eyes averted, not wanting to look into mine unless forced to.

"Come on and talk to me now. Don't hold it all inside," I told him.

He shook his head slightly and grimaced. "I can't." I watched his blank face beginning to slide down. "What I'm feeling and thinking about can't be shared with anyone."

"Since when have I been anyone?" I asked lightly.

"You most especially, Babe. I'm afraid of how it'll change your view of me."

"Nothing you confess could make me love you less," I whispered. "Ever."

After sitting there quietly for several minutes, he whispered, "I'm scared."

"Of what?" I asked, my heart breaking at the pained expression on his face.

"That was my last mission. I'm done. No more military, no more government missions."

I was elated. I'd waited three long years for that. Why was he scared? "Okay, well, why does that scare you?" I asked.

In a voice so quiet, I could barely hear him, he asked, "What do I do now?"

I chuckled. "First, you smile and relax. Second, you realize that just because the government missions may be over, it doesn't mean you'll be sitting around, twiddling your thumbs. You'll have more time now to devote to making RangeMan bigger and better, just like you've been dreaming about. Third, you'll take me and make me your wife. You said our 'someday' would be here when your government job was done. Carlos, someday is here. This is a cause for celebration! You haven't changed. Only a small part of your life is changing, and it's for the better," I said emphatically.

I slid over onto his lap, wrapping my arms around him. He smiled, his face losing the tension of the last week.

"You're right, Babe." Standing up with me in his arms, he began carrying me back toward the bedroom. "The rest of my life, of our lives, begins now. Te amo, Stephanie," he whispered.

"I love you, too, Carlos," I said, smiling as his lips descended on mine.