A/N...For Burner4Life aka Noelle...the best online big sister a gal could ask for! Enjoy everyone!
A string of expletives escaped from Michael's mouth as he crawled on the floor of the loft trying to find a bullet that he dropped and heard roll away from him.
"Mikey, it has to be around here somewhere. It couldn't have just disappeared." Sam said as he scoured the floor in the opposite direction.
Michael agreed. "It has to be under the bed. That's the only logical explanation."
As he reached around, he stopped when his hand hit what he thought to be a small wooden box. Carefully Michael pulled out the box, forgetting about the bullet he lost, and opened the lid. Inside he saw little scraps of paper, napkins, post-it notes and other things.
Sam came around to the side of the bed where Michael was sitting and asked "What you do you have there?"
Michael shook his head and said "It must be Fi's. I found it under the bed. It's little notes and stuff that I never really thought about." Pulling out a yellow sticky note, Michael showed it to Sam saying "I left this one day when I needed her to get me yogurt from the store." At the bottom of the note was a heart with the letter M next to it.
Sam took the note and smiled. "Mikey you old dog, I never pegged you as the type to draw hearts!"
Quickly Michael the note back. He pulled out a matchbook from their first fancy dinner in Miami. He saw several plastic swords that must have come with drinks they had over the years. Michael smiled when he saw that Fiona saved a doodle he had made and thought she never saw. In the doodle, Fiona was wearing a dress and her hair was blowing in the wind.
"When did you draw that?" Sam asked, peering over Michael's shoulder.
Michael answered softly. "She was dating Campbell at the time. I never thought she saw that drawing."
"Looks like she found it. She must have liked it enough to tuck it away."
As Michael looked through the box, he pulled out pictures she had taken of him when they were either testing cameras or just goofing around when it was the two of them alone in the loft. Some pictures were of the two of them together and looking happy. He stopped at a picture that he remember Maddie taking at Christmas when Michael and Fiona were sharing a quiet stolen moment in the kitchen.
"I remember that picture. You gave her those emerald earrings and she dragged you off into the kitchen. I thought maybe she didn't like them or she was going to read the riot act because of the money you must have spent on them." Sam said. "You guys were in there for like ten minutes before your mom snuck in with the camera."
"She got emotional because I had her brother ship the earrings from Ireland. They were Claire's and she said that every Christmas Claire would steal her emerald earrings. Fi left them behind when she moved to New York. She expected to go back eventually, so she left them there so she wouldn't lose them. I remember the story and surprised her. I didn't count on her getting so emotional and she didn't want to cry in front of you or Jesse over jewelry, so we ran off to the kitchen."
Sam smiled at the story while reaching around Michael and pulling out a pair of handcuffs. "I never thought you guys used handcuffs in the bedroom." Sam said with a laugh.
Sam regretted joking with Michael as he heard a sadness creep into his voice when he said "These are the handcuffs I used to chain Fiona to the fence before she turned herself over to the authorities. I hung them up above the workbench when I came home. I couldn't find them after she came back but i didn't think she would keep them."
Michael pulled out a shirt that was his. "Why would she keep my shirt Sam? It has holes in it and is faded."
"Brother, I'm not one to tell secrets, but I think when you would go on missions she would sleep with your shirt. A few times I saw it on the bed but never asked her about why it was there. She missed you more than you'll ever know."
Michael reached the bottom of the box and pulled out a stack of letters. His fingers traced the lettering on the envelope as he felt a wave of emotion hit him. Putting the letters next to him, he sat silently for a moment. When Sam reached for them, Michael quickly grabbed them and said with a shaky voice "Not for your eyes Sam. These are Fiona's."
Sensing that he had come dangerously close to crossing a line, he put his hand on Michael's shoulder and said "Sorry. I won't touch the letters."
Michael was confused. He understood keeping happy memories, but why bother to keep the painful ones. The letters he held, documented his gut wrenching heartbreak and pain while Fiona was incarcerated. She would answer his letters but never once mentioned them once she got out of prison. He had hoped she had left them behind or threw them away so there would be no reminded of his emotional distress of being without Fiona. Letting out a sniffle, Michael asked "Why would she save these? I don't get it."
"Who knows why women do what they do. All I know is that Fiona seems to be head over heels in love with you. That's why she saved all this stuff, the good and the bad. You mean the world to her apparently."
Packing the items in the box and placing it under the bed exactly where he had found it, he stood up and told Sam "Stay and look for the bullet, if you don't find it, I'll look again later."
"Mikey, you ok? You seem a little frazzled. Don't let the stuff in the box get to you, all women keep stuff like Fiona did." Sam said, genuinely confused by Michael's sudden change in attitude.
Heading towards the door, Michael shouted over his shoulder as he left the loft "I have to go do something."
"As long as I've known him, he's still mystery to me. Beer first, then look for bullet" Sam mumbled to himself as he made his way to the fridge.
A few days later, Fiona was alone in the loft. Michael was over his Madeline's working on the Charger. Michael had given her a book of Irish poetry for her birthday. She had finished reading it and wanted to put it away in her keepsake box. She pulled the box out from underneath the bed and opened the lid. Realizing that her things were out of order, she looked through the box, almost ready to go over to Madeline's and kill Michael for snooping. When she saw an item that she never had seen before, she pulled the tiny box out. With trembling fingers she opened it and saw a note. The note read "A happy memory for you to keep. Love Forever, Michael" Simply seeing the words he wrote was enough to make her cry. She removed the note from the box and gasped when she saw a beautiful diamond Claddagh ring. Not realizing that Michael had come home, she jumped when she heard him say her name softly.
"Michael, what is this?" she asked with tears falling from her eyes.
"It's an engagement ring. I searched high and low for the most perfect ring, then I came across this in a little antiques store. I knew when I saw the ring that it was the one I wanted. Just like when I first saw you, I knew you were the one I wanted...forever. Will you marry me?" Michael asked, with an uneven voice. Taking the ring from the box, he placed the ring on her finger. Seeing her enormous smile was enough of an answer for him.
After celebrating their engagement, they lay in bed. Michael held Fiona close as she rested her head on his chest. "Fi, I have to ask you something. I understand why you saved the notes and the other happy memories. Why would you save things like the handcuffs and the letters I wrote you when you were in prison?"
Fiona propped herself up on her elbow and looked Michael deep in the eyes. "I saved those things because they are a part of our history. They tell the story of our love. As painful as it was to be separated from you, those letters reminded me everyday how much we love one another. They are painful and sad but I was the only person who really knew what you were feeling and I am honored and amazed that you love me enough to show that side only to me. Those letters and the handcuffs document that no matter how terrible things were, we still loved one another.. No matter how hard it was we were still together, if not physically, then spiritually."
Michael had shut his eyes to hide the tears he felt threatening to fall. Fiona leaned over and gently kissed each eyelid and whispered into his ear "If you rifle through my stuff again, you will live to regret it, do you understand what I am saying Michael?"
"I promise to not go through your stuff. I also promise to only give you good memories to store away, because I never want you to have bad memories." Michael answered.
Fiona smiled and rested her head on Michael's chest. At a loss for words, she kissed his chest and shut her eyes, happy knowing that she would be spending forever with the only man she ever loved.