Ladies and gentlemen, this is it: the final chapter of Property of a Lady. It's been a heck of a ride, both in writing this story and in knowing that you guys have enjoyed it so much, and my biggest thanks goes out to all of you, every one! As we join Bond and Maggie for the last time, Tanner has just gotten a text informing him of the newly married couple, and then we finally get to see Bond and Maggie get what they have so richly deserved: a happily ever after.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my wonderful readers, including Fairytales1981, liz1967, JessicaAsh008, saye0036, and detectivecaz. Hugs and kisses to you all for staying with Bond and Maggie until the very end!
Christmas was a time for miracles. And boy, did Bill Tanner ever just witness one.
The agency was just getting ready to close up for the holiday and everyone was heading out into the snow when Tanner received a text from Bond. As soon as he opened the message, his eyes nearly bugged out of his skull. There was a photo of Bond and Maggie at the altar of a church, beaming into the camera and clasping hands so that the person beholding the picture had a clear view of... wedding bands. An iron-gray ring on Bond's left hand and a delicate silvery one on Maggie's, just below a sparkling bauble of a peridot engagement ring. Below the picture was the actual message: I hope you got what you wanted for Christmas. I just got myself a wife! Miracles really do happen this time of year.
Tanner shook his head. It just wasn't possible. James Bond, married, and to their new boss, no less? No, this had to be one of Bond's jokes, so he opened a fresh message and texted back: Bond, you are aware that this is Christmas, not April Fool's Day, aren't you?
Extremely, came the return text. Tanner, this isn't a joke. Maggie and I just got married in Glencoe.
Give over. You're having me on!
Gordon Bennett, Tanner, he's not joking! Ah, Maggie must have grabbed the phone from Bond. Even in a text message, he'd know that tone anywhere. We really are married. Bride and groom. Husband and wife. Bound to each other in wedlock for life.
Something about that caused Tanner to snicker and he responded: Have you been reading Dr. Seuss, ma'am?
You're lucky I'm not there, otherwise you'd have a jolly good smacked head. We. Are. Married. Do you get it now?
Blimey. You're serious, aren't you?
YES. Thank God you finally used your head for something other than a hat rack.
In spite of himself, Tanner began to laugh. Well, I suppose congratulations are in order. How long would you like me to step in as pro tempore chief? You two will want a nice long honeymoon.
You're not disgusted by the difference in our ages?
Why would I be? Age doesn't matter. And I saw the way Bond was looking at you when you two first came to the office. I knew he had it bad; it was just a question of whether or not you felt the same way. So... back to my previous question.
I don't think any longer than two weeks. Can you manage for that long?
As long as you trust me and Q doesn't blow the place to Kingdom Come, yes.
He swore he could hear her bark of laughter in the next text. Nutter. Good luck.
Right back at you, boss. Tell Bond I said the same. And congratulations again.
"Crikey, who's blowing your mobile up with text messages?"
Tanner had just received Maggie's text of thanks when he looked up to see Q standing before him, wrapping a navy blue Burberry scarf around his neck. "Bond. And the boss. They're going to be away for the next two weeks."
"Hmm," the Quartermaster replied nonchalantly as he pulled on his winter coat. "Undercover mission?"
Tanner smiled, stifling a laugh. "You could say that." He paused to relish the metamorphosis of Q's reactions: from befuddled to gobsmacked faster than a set of traffic lights. "Happy Christmas, Q," he said cheerily, walking out of the office and leaving a flabbergasted Q in his wake.
Snow may have been tumbling from the heavens and transforming the United Kingdom into a winter wonderland, but inside a simple country house in Glencoe, a fire was burning... in the hearth of a warm bedroom and in the hearts of the newly married Mr. and Mrs. James Bond.
"Mmm," Bond murmured as he kissed his wife. "You are so beautiful."
Maggie ran her hands down the bare expanse of his back, relishing the soft deliciousness of his lips against hers. "And you are absolutely shameless."
Bond flashed her an I-am-the-man smile and planted more kisses down her neck and along her clavicle, roaming his hands over the curves of her body until he got to her scar. Tenderly, he traced the mark with a fingertip. "I know," he whispered, tickling her belly and beaming when she giggled like a girl. "I'm also the happiest I've ever been. I feel reborn. But then again, resurrection's always been a hobby of mine."
"Reborn? Funny, that's my middle name."
"You're joking. Your middle name is Renée."
"Exactly. Renée is the French word for reborn."
Bond could have sung out loud, he was that happy. "My God, you really have brought me back to life... in every way." He kissed her again. "I love you, Maggie."
"Ah-ah." Her eyes sparkling sapphire, Maggie held a finger to his lips. "Call me by my proper name."
He grinned. "Margaret?"
"Not even close. Say it."
Bond silenced her with a kiss and pulled her into his arms, melding their bodies into one. When they'd kissed, explored, and made love again, Bond drew his wife securely next to his heart and whispered in her ear, softly, the words she'd been longing to hear... the words that made him hers, now and forever.
"I love you... M."