The Best Part of Me:
Della Street took the Winchester and ran around to the window where Perry had dropped the fire ladder. It lay in a pool of chain and metal. Dammit! She should have anticipated what he would do to protect her.
In the distance she could barely make out the sounds of sirens. Once Selkirk heard the police coming, God knew what he might do.
Making her way around the house, she stopped outside the large kitchen window and saw-nothing. Ducking down, carefully with the shotgun, she moved to the small octagon shaped window beside the fireplace. There in her living room sat Perry and David Selkirk, bold as brass, as if they were having tea and cookies. He was trying to hold Selkirk's attention until help could arrive, but suddenly, Perry used his cane to knock the intruder's arms off the table..
Della knew there was no way that Perry, with that bad leg and weight, was going to get away in time. Running back around to the front door, she knew that if she braced the gun against her shoulder she was probably going to hit the ground before Selkirk did. Holding the barrel at hip level she fired right into the door handle and lock. The front door flew open, but the recoil pulled the weapon out of her hands and it flew backward onto the lawn.
A blur of movement caught her eye. Selkirk had his knife in the air reaching for Perry.
"No!" she screamed moving into the room. Reaching under her shirt, she pulled the fallen officer's service revolver and aimed at Selkirk's chest and fired.
Everything was a blur. Perry was down and bleeding; Selkirk was jumping through the air and slamming into her. The gun went flying from her hands across the room.
Both of them fell to the floor, but Selkirk was wounded, his shoulder bleeding profusely. Della scrambled to grab the gun, but the madman was not giving up.
He got to his feet and stumbled to get the gun. He was closer and she knew it was probably over for both her and Perry if he managed to get it.
A loud shriek followed by hissing caused Selkirk to look down and Festus was between his legs and not too happy about it. The cat sank his claws deeply into the man's leg. Festus had been hidden beneath the sofa, but with the shooting and screaming, he'd had all he could take. Selkirk was trying to remove the cat and that gave Della the extra seconds she needed, as she barely reached the gun first.
Her fingers closed around the grip of the revolver, and so did David Selkirk's. Wrestling over the gun, neither of them heard the police cruisers. He overpowered Della, shoved her down, and stood up, pointing the gun at her.
"Lovely Della, it is simply too bad that your beloved Mr. Mason won't be able to witness this. I guess I'll have to do."
Della didn't have time to close her eyes or even flinch before she heard, "Drop it, LAPD! Now!" The house was surrounded with flashing lights and patrol cars. One of their own was dead and another may not make it. They were out for blood and if Selkirk so much as twitched, he was not going to walk out-and he knew it. He cocked the pistol and moved closer to Della when three shots rang out, all hitting him in the chest.
It took more than a minute for her to realize that she wasn't shot, but that David Selkirk was down, still alive and looking at her. He gave Della a strange smile and said, "I remember wiggling my ears for you. You betrayed me, too."
Police and EMT personnel filled the house. Selkirk was up and gone on the first stretcher.
A nice police sergeant helped Della to her feet and over to Perry where the paramedics were working on stopping the bleeding. One of the EMT's place a blanket around her shoulders as she knelt down as close as she could get.
"Is he alive? Oh, God, please, tell me he's alive?"
"Yes, ma'am, he's got a good pulse and strong heart beat. Respirations are good, but he's shocky, so we need to get moving. His, uh, well, extra padding may have helped to keep the knife from going too far in."
Della didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so she did both.
******************P & D************************************************
"Della! Are you ready yet?"
"I'm coming. After all this time, wouldn't you at least like me to have on shoes?
Perry laughed, "Della, I would marry you barefoot and-"
"Hold it, Counselor! I'm ready."
Perry took her in his arms and kissed her firmly.
"Kenneth, Paul, we're ready to go," Della called when she came up for air.
Ken took Della's arm and escorted Della to the white limo at the curb. Paul hung back with Perry.
"Can I ask you something, Pops?"
"Is it about the birds and the bees because it's a little late now? And this is a wonderfully happy day, that's why I am letting you by with the 'Pop's' comment. What do you want to know?"
"How did you get Della to agree to marry you?"
Perry smiled broadly. "I explained to her the concept of 'common law' marriage. When she realized we had already been 'technically' married for a long time and she didn't care for the term "common law," she finally saw the light."
Paul was still laughing when they got into the car.
As the limo pulled away toward the courthouse, Paul thought he'd never seen the two of them so happy. Perry couldn't stop smiling and Della couldn't keep her hands off the old man. Until Della patted Perry on the leg, and said, "Dear, I don't mind you sneaking a smoke occasionally, but would you not drop the butts near the front steps."