A/N: I confess I was not delayed in updating because I was so terribly busy, out of internet connection or any other good excuse. No, this Fiction was delayed because I did not want to see this story end. Forgive me, readers?

Disclaimer: I don't own the Bourne Series.

Chapter 16

As Marta instructed her body it began to move and she headed towards where Aaron was standing. Each step made her insides tremble with fear and regret. I don't want to do this but I have to, she reminded herself. I can't marry him if I know that the marriage is doomed. It isn't fair to either of us. Bravely, Marta continued her journey across the room to where Aaron stood, ready to do what she had to.

"Aaron we need to talk," Marta said softly tapping his shoulder, struggling to keep up a façade of normalcy while she felt ready to fall into pieces she was so brittle.

"Can you wait just a minute, love? I have to go tell the caterer that we're out of wine." Aaron replied, not pausing to look at her, but taking her hand absent mindedly. The places where he touched her suddenly felt like erroneous zones and made her heart kick up a notch and her breath shorten. She sucked in air, hoping to starve off the reaction and focus. He began to make his way to the kitchen brining her with him, his mind on the wine.

"Aaron!" Marta exclaimed, desperate for his attention. I have to call this off RIGHT NOW, she decided, desperately fearing her nerve would fail at the last second. Her free hand curled into an anxious fist and she felt the nails bite painfully into her palm. Aaron turned to look at her, surprised at her uncharacteristic forcefulness. Seeing her drawn, pale face he altered his path abruptly, cutting through the guests and leading her on to the back patio. Leading her into the cool night air he lead her only a few steps towards the swimming pool for the sake of privacy and then turned to face his tense fiancé.

"What is it? What's wrong?" He demanded worriedly, struggling to keep calm as he grasped her hands, and pulled her close to him to protect her from the crisp December chill.

"It's all a mistake," She told him, flatly.

"I don't understand," He said. "What's a mistake?"

If only he wasn't this tender and patient, she thought frantically while salty tears slid down her face.

"The wedding," She elaborated. "It's a mistake."

"I don't understand," Aaron stalled. He did, though, completely, even if he didn't want to understand it. Play dumb, beat around the bush and create a strategy, win her back. Plenty of brides get cold feet, he reassured himself.

"I can't do this because I love you! I love you more than anything! I can't marry you if you don't love me and I know that you can't because of what Outcome did to you! Your expectations of me are too high! I can't be the wife you deserve, who gives you the freedom and distance you'll need when I love you this much! I can't marry someone and drown in one sided love for them until I go crazy!" She exclaimed, gripping his hands as tears streamed down her face. Choking back sobs she pulled off the diamond engagement ring and held it out, waiting for him to take it. He stared at the ring in shock, unmoving. A moment passed and she pushed the ring into his hand.

"I'm so sorry, Aaron, but I can't disappoint you. I love you," She whispered, gasping to force the words past the rising lump in her throat. Spinning, she took off as quickly as she could walk in her heels around the house, fleeing. Tears blurred her vision and she could hardly see through the film of salt water that covered her eyes, but she followed the sidewalk, knowing it would take her to the gate and far away from this crisis. One foot in front of the other, she coached herself. Misery tightened her chest as she painfully accepted what she had done, but she continued to walk.

A hard arm clamped around her waist and dragged her around sharply so that she was flush against another body. A small scream flew from her throat as she caught a glimpse of Aaron's furious, cold face when he threw her over his shoulder and headed towards the garage.

"What are you doing?!" She demanded, outraged at his manhandling.

"I'm taking my fiancé away from this damn party," He snapped and deposited her in the passenger seat of his car.

"You can't-"

"YES, I can!" Aaron barked forcefully, throwing the car in reverse and backing out of the garage. On the porch his cousins waved, tipped their beers at them and smiled knowing smirks as the car speed past, having witnessed the later part of their exchange. Opening the screen door, Hannah stuck her head out the door.

"Do you suppose that there's any hope they'll come back and enjoy the rest of the party?" She asked Jesse and Ryan who were watching the Mercedes' tail lights disappear. "No, don't answer that, of course not- well, we can party without them."

Aaron drove for several miles, his anger sizzling wildly between them like a visible fire. Nervously Marta waited in the seat beside him as he stewed, keeping quiet. Tears still slipped down her cheeks but she held in her sobs. She wondered if she should say something, or ask where they were going. Glancing at him out of the corner of her eye she didn't dare ask. Why he'd kidnapped her she didn't know. At least the last time he'd taken her she'd known why. Instead of analyzing his behavior she squeezed her eyes shut and willed the tears to stop. Why does he have to drag this out? Marta wondered sorrowfully as pain, misery and loss threatened to overtake her self-control and a new wave of tears slid silently down her face.

Five minutes later they pulled into a charming little hotel somewhere outside of the D.C limits. Leaving the car for a few seconds Aaron headed inside and picked up a key leaving a terse order for her to stay put. It really wasn't as though she had any other choice, but she still didn't say anything, only nodding submissively in response.

"Why are we here," She asked as he pulled her out of the car. Roughly he pressed her up against the car while he put the engagement ring back on the proper finger. Not acknowledging her question he half dragged her into the hotel room with three strides and one strong arm. A sharp slam echoed when he let the heavy door fall closed. "Why are we here, Aaron?" She tried again as he locked the door behind them.

"We're going to talk about this," He snarled, his voice guttural with rage. "Let's start. Screw Outcome, screw my damn training, and screw everything they said about me at the hearings. I'm not their damned puppet, and I never will be. If I was a freaking puppet I'd be dead right now. The only standards that you're going to 'disappoint' are the illusionist ones in your own head and quite frankly I don't give a rat's ass about those! I don't want anything but you all of you and no standards or expectations or whatever applies to that. Do you really think that I can't love, Marta? I'd be a monster if I fell in line with all of their training. I wouldn't have emotions at all. Believe me I have emotions, you're witnessing them right now!" He growled roughly staring down at her where she sat on the bed in stunned silence.

"I love you," Aaron continued. "I didn't think that you loved me. After all who would love a killer? A weapon that'd been put out of commission and nearly broken- would a woman like you? Never in a million years." He broke off and clenched his fists in rage, snarling and fighting for control. "Do you have any idea what it felt like? You said it's over and I love you all in the same breath! I nearly died! I'd been trying to make you love me all along! With sex, with romance, protection, trust, whatever I could! And then I hear you say that you love me but you can't be my wife? Do you know what that did to me?" Aaron barked bitterly. Reaching his for his collar he began unbuttoning his shirt.

"What are you doing?" Marta asked, reeling in both shock and euphoria.

"I'm going to prove to you that I love you," Aaron announced tossing the shirt behind him and stalking towards her. Picking her up easily he lifted her into his arms and deposited her on the bed and placed a branding possessive kiss on her lips plundering her mouth with his, determined to put her under his spell. Stripping her of her clothes he let his hands roam over her curves but didn't make a move to go any further slanting his mouth over hers and twining their tongues in a pleasurable dance. Torturing her with his iron restraint he nipped her lower lip and stroked her tongue with his until her nerve endings danced with fiery sensations and she couldn't think beyond the feel of him against her. If you'd asked her name she wouldn't have been able to give the correct answer she was so worked up. Slowly he brought himself under complete control as the fear of losing her stopped twisting in his chest and he could breathe properly again. Soaking up the feel of her in his arms he kissed her softly, almost apologizing for his rough treatment earlier and planted a sweet, gentle kiss on her swollen mouth.

"Let's start this over from my proposal. I love you, and I want you to marry me tomorrow, will you, Marta?" Aaron asked, pulling back. Hardly believing that she could feel this tremendous, euphoric, love, Marta linked her arms around his neck and looked up into his turbulent green eyes.


Standing before the minister the next day Aaron felt tense and fought nerves, despite the night that they'd spent together before. At least she can't run away on the boat, he reassured himself. Relief and joy coursed through him in equal abundance as she stepped into the yacht's ball room in a cream satin gown. The familiar faces of family and friends turned and watched her as she walked by, and if Aaron had been paying attention to anything other than his bride he would have seen a tear course down Pamela Landy's cheek. Jason Bourne however did see the tear and elbowed Nicky next to him, pointing out the legendary CIA director in a rare moment of weakness. She smiled and laid her hand on his arm, leaning over.

"How do you think she'll look when we invite her to our wedding?" Nicky asked.

"Worse than this- she's a real sucker for romance isn't she?" Jason whispered back to his fiance with a smirk. Nicky pressed her lips together tightly to smother a giggle before turning her attention back to where Aaron and Marta stood at the altar.

Miraculously Marta was free of nerves that day as she took the final steps to Aaron and handed her bouquet to her maid of honor, Eliza. Aaron loved her- everything else was meaningless in the face of that reassurance. She was sure that there was nowhere in the world she would rather be than here, on this yacht at her wedding. She wouldn't even trade if for the boat back in the Philippines- no, this was much better, she decided taking Aaron's hands. I'm beyond happiness, Marta thought in elation as her heart drummed a staccato beat while they recited their vows, gazing steadily into each other's eyes.

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