Quiet Resolve

It started with a memo.

A simple interoffice note written to inform Gale Hawthorne that he would be having a new intern start with him the following day. Attached to the memo was a resume and cover letter for the intern, but Gale didn't bother looking at the intern's qualifications. It didn't really matter what the intern's credentials were, he planned on treating the intern the same way he had been treated when he started – by asking him to make copies, file paperwork and prove himself by doing all sorts of busy work before being trusted with anything substantial. Only then, after this period of grunt work had passed, would Gale even entertain the idea of trusting the intern with real work. The memo, along with accompanying information about the intern was quickly forgotten. Lost in stacks of papers and volumes of text littering Gale's desk.

He would later come to regret not reviewing the resume, not being prepared for the shock that Madge Undersee gave him when he arrived at the office the next morning. She was not the he that Gale had been expecting – more specifically, she was the daughter of one of the firm's partners.

On that particular day, Gale was running late. He didn't usually run late, in fact he was meticulous in his attentiveness to being on time and following a schedule. It was a special morning though, his baby sister's birthday, which meant breakfast at the diner for pancakes topped with whip cream and bright pink sprinkles. While the dark-headed man was typically all seriousness when it came to most things, this ingrained part of his temperament did not apply to his interactions with Posy. She was in many regards the light of his life – everything that he did and worked for had been to provide for her, his brothers and mother after their father had passed unexpectedly. Anytime he felt like giving up, or taking a personal day all Gale had to do was look at the one framed photograph in his office of his family, and he once again found the motivation to push on. This of course was one of the reasons that he had skyrocketed through the ranks at the engineering firm, and was ultimately the reason that he despised Madge Undersee.

Madge was waiting for him right outside of his office dressed impeccably in a tailored suit, her hair knotted in a sleek chignon, and her feet clad in shoes with a tell-tale bright red sole. Gale breezed right by her, unfazed by the beautiful woman and more concerned with checking his email and getting the day started so he could be off in time to pick up balloons and pizza for Posy's celebration that night.

He started pouring over emails, the thick sound of a throat clearing caused him to look up from his computer, "Mr. Hawthorne?" The blonde woman in his doorway queried.

"Yes." Gale's response was short, he was clearly irritated by the interruption.

The blonde woman stepped into the office, seemingly unfazed by his blunt response, "I'm the intern, Madge. I'll be working with you for the next six months." She informed him casually, but internally she was a ball of anxious nerves. Her father had insisted she work with Gale, claiming that he was the best and that Madge could really learn something about tenacity from the dark-headed man. Her father hadn't mentioned how incredibly handsome Gale was. Of course he hadn't, because why would her father tell her such a thing? Besides, Madge was not one who was usually taken aback by vain things such as male beauty.

Gale – Mr. Hawthorne – starred at Madge and then made a long 'hmmm' before clearing his throat, "Well, don't just stand there. You can take the desk in the corner to store your things. Please start a pot of coffee. I take mine black, and I'd like it in a travel tumbler." His eyes dropped back to the computer while Madge stood in her place, stunned at the effective way he had dismissed her without actually dismissing her. She backed up, nearly tripping in her new shoes before finding the desk he had directed her to. Madge waited for more instruction, but it never came. It was as if the gruff man had completely disregarded that she was there.

Despite his calm demeanor, Gale was seething. How dare they send him a yuppie girl, with her designer clothing, and expensive perfume to be his intern? He was positive that she had never worked a day in her privileged life, she reeked of indulgence and an upper crust upbringing. As soon as she disappeared down the hall he dug out the memo, and was unsurprised to find that her father was a partner. Of course, he was surprised though to see that she looked like an especially promising candidate from her resume.

It didn't matter though – Gale had already decided that he didn't like her, and nothing that she could do would sway his belief.

It took five days, an entire work week, before Madge reached her breaking point.

Gale was nothing if not thorough in his expectations of her. Stressing the importance of every mundane thing from how his files were numbered, to whether or not she leveled or heaped the coffee grounds. He rarely looked directly at her when making his expectations known, or acknowledged her by name.

Madge had expected to be treated like a secretary, her father had pretty much told her that she would be expected to pay her dues. It felt like he didn't even see her though, that was what bothered her. He wasn't intentionally belittling or mean – he just didn't seem to know that she was there. Ordering things and flicking his wrist to dismiss her. How was she supposed to learn if he never talked to her? She was working underneath him because he was the best, she never anticipated him making her feel so wholly unnoticed.

The dark-haired man noticed everything about his new intern. He especially admired her temperate attitude, and her quiet tenacity impressed him even if he was disinclined to admit it. Madge had a way of streamlining things, making them more efficient. Her work ethic was admirable – not once did she complain about any task that Gale gave her, not even staying well past the end of the business day. He didn't acknowledge these things because the last thing that he wanted to do was coddle her.

So, when he pointed to a stack of things that needed to be filed and asked her to do such, he was a bit surprised with her response, "Not until you look at me and address me by name." Gale looked straight at her, taking in the flushed state of her cheeks and the set line of her lips. Her gaze was unwavering even if her stomach was churning with nerves.

They stared at one another, both holding their ground until finally Gale conceded. "Madge, would you file those reports?" He didn't say please and she didn't expect him to, she just wanted to know that he recognized he was dealing with a sentient being and not a robot.

"Yes, Mr. Hawthorne. I will." She responded, her voice higher than usual, before clicking out of the office on her towering heels.

Gale watched her leave. Adding the sway of her slender hips and curve of her ankle to the list of things he wished he didn't notice about Madge Undersee. Along with her quiet resolve, some of the things he noticed made him feel a bit disconcerted in her presence. He was careful to hide that he was discerning these things, because he was completely taken aback that he was aware of them in the first place.

It wasn't like him to ogle a woman – his mother had raised him better. Gale respected the line between admiring and ogling, and as he watched Madge walk away he was embarrassed to realize that he had in fact been doing a little more than admiring her beauty.

The handsome man was no stranger to a beautiful woman. While he didn't really have time, or so he told himself, to date, his sex life was still very active and did not suffer. Gale's preferred method was to find a partner that wanted the same thing that he did – safe sex without the tethers of a relationship. He found these relationships satisfying and accommodating to his lifestyle, staying with a partner until either of them decided it was time to move on. Really Madge was no prettier than the woman he was currently bedding, in fact in many ways she wasn't as attractive. There was something about her though that made him take notice of Madge differently than he ever had taken notice of a woman before.

Whatever it was, Gale didn't like it.

He was in over his head before he realized what was happening.

Over the months, Madge had grown on him and he had grown on her. The silences between them were comfortable as they worked together, side-by-side on projects. She was brilliant adding a perspective that he was lacking in, a fresh look at things and an uncanny ability to see all sides and anticipate all issues. He taught her how to be meticulous and precise, relaying his knowledge and experiences to her. She absorbed everything that he taught her, and in many ways Gale knew that ultimately she would be better at his job than he was. He wasn't intimidated, nor did he play down her talents because he was exceedingly proud of her.

There was that other thing, too.

It didn't have a name because it was more than just basic attraction. It was a connection, but also different. He couldn't pinpoint it exactly, and he sure as hell wasn't capable of defining it. It had something to do with the way his heart sped up when she leaned in close to review a document, or how the sound of her soft, melodic laugh made his stomach clench. Gale understood physical arousal, he knew what it meant to want someone or to dream of them naked. But this thing that he felt for Madge was completely different than that. In many ways it encompassed traits of desire that he understood, almost painfully so. His wish for casual sex had been replaced with thoughts of what it would be like to wake up next to a pillow covered in silky blonde hair.

Gale found himself hard a lot. He was almost embarrassed by these inopportune erections popping up at unexpected times like when Madge leaned over to straighten a pile of documents and he caught a glimpse of her slip. It was bad enough that he had some school girl crush on his intern, he didn't need his dick acting like a fourteen-year-olds in her presence.

It did though, and once while he watched her eat strawberries he even considered jerking off in the bathroom to relieve the ache in his groin. Her sexiness was mystifying. So unassuming that he was quite positive she didn't realize the reaction that she caused in him, he was sure the thing with the strawberries had been a sexual fantasy created in his mind completely.

She wasn't intentionally seducing him, was she?

She liked his eyes on her. At first, Madge thought she had been imagining the steel grey orbs tracking her movements, because when she looked towards him he would dutifully be attending to his work. As the months progressed though, he got sloppier, lingering for longer and she would catch them darting away and never daring to meet her own.

With his thick, dark hair and chiseled jaw, it was hard not to have a slight crush on him. She and her friends would giggle over margaritas as she detailed their odd partnership. She had no doubt that he valued her as an intern, but she couldn't quite figure out where she stood on other things even though she had a pretty good idea. The crush turned into something more, something she wished to explore when her internship was over. Madge found that the intensity that first intimidated her actually excited her, and he had a softness to him as well. The way in which he fussed over his family and adored his baby sister was evident. He was a man of great passion and compassion, and thinking about how that would translate to between the sheets was worth fantasizing about.

They often ate their meals together. A companionship marked by few words, but a comfortable silence marked by eating noises and the background chatter of the office. Madge regularly read and Gale would use this time to catch up with his mom. But the day with the strawberries would change everything – it was the day that she decided if he didn't make a move then she would.

She had a bowl of strawberries and a book propped up for reading. She was reading, stealing occasional bites of fruit when she felt the heat from his gaze on her. Madge felt her cheeks flush in response to the intense way in which she could feel him looking at her as she traced the strawberry over the seam of her lips. At the time she had not intended anything sexual by the movements, just a random tic caused by her involvement in the book. That was until she felt him looking. Then she played into it, rolling the fruit over her lips carefully before nibbling on the tip. Madge knew Gale was watching and she knew he liked what he saw when he hastily excused himself, fussing with his pants and leaving the room.

There was something there for both of them. An unnamed something worth exploring and it was a matter of seeing who would speak up first. Would it be when her internship was over? Both were pragmatic and responsible, but the something between them that was growing each day was not to be ignored.

When her internship was over, Madge packed her things and hovered at the door hesitantly. She had accepted a position in a sister company and was excited to start, but there were so many things left unsaid between her and Gale.

He watched her pack. He didn't say a word as his eyes followed her movements. As she lingered at the door he felt his gut clench. He knew what he wanted to do, what he had to do if he wanted to see her some more, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. This was new for him, Gale Hawthorne was not an indecisive man.

This felt huge though.

A possibly life altering decision, and he wasn't quite sure how to proceed or if she felt the gravity of the moment too. Because of this, his indecisiveness and inability to recognize that she was feeling the same things that he was, he almost missed his chance.

She walked out the door, heels clicking behind her even though he could not hear them due to the sound of blood humming in his ears. The pulsing in his ears only getting louder the further down the hall she got. He wanted to chase after her, do something, but his feet were cemented to the ground he was standing on.

Madge turned and rushed back to the office just as Gale moved from his position behind his desk. They met in the doorway, her cheeks ruddy and his breath rushed, "Take me to dinner." She managed to assert just as he hurriedly asked her on a date.

A phone call almost changed things.

Gale wanted to take Madge somewhere special, he supposed she was accustomed to ritz and a fine dining experience and as luck would have it, he was friends with someone who had restaurant connections. His best friend had married a man whose family owned the bakery that supplied all the uptown eateries with bread.

It wasn't this phone call that almost ruined the night for Gale and Madge, no the phone call to Peeta went over quite well. There was of course some good natured teasing, with Peeta chuckling over how Gale owed him big time. That really translated into letting the Mellark's use his season tickets – something that he would have done without Peeta making him promise.

It was a phone call from his mother, a rambling dialogue about weak protagonists and setting women back decades that put a kink in Gale's plans. He nodded and listened and interjected at all the right times. Hazelle was still yammering on the other end of the line, her tone indignant and her choice of words surprising for Gale to hear. She was worked up. The woman who juggled soccer practice, calls from the principal, and the stink of adolescent boys was riled up.

Hazelle Hawthorne was a faithful and dedicated member of the Panem Women's Book Club. While she didn't always appreciate the book of choice for the month, she was always respectful of the other ladies opinions. When it was her turn to host she offered a spread that was perfectly tailored to those present, low-fat options, vegan options, and of course chocolate were always available. Depending on the book choice, she sometimes took Posy wanting her to learn from an early age how important educated discourse was, as well as the importance of using her mind.

That was until the PWBC chose a hot bestseller that appalled Hazelle. It was a haughty tome, which utilized poor adjectives to describe sex and reduced the female protagonist to a simpering fool dependent on a man. This was not a meeting that young Posy would be allowed to sit in on, and Hazelle made arrangements for her to visit her friend for the evening, but a phone call from the friend's mother letting her know the child was sick left Hazelle without a sitter. This was not a problem as her eldest son, Gale, adored his little sister and even if he had to work late Posy could entertain herself with a book in the corner of his office.

"Love you too, Mom. Uh, and good luck with your book club. Give those idiots hell." He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration as he hung up the phone. He hoped that Madge was up for a night of build your own stuffed animal and ice cream at the mall, because it was now clear that the reservations he had to kiss Peeta's ass for were of no use to him - they were going to have a nine-year-old third wheel on their first date.

He went about it all wrong.

Gale was positive that having Posy along would ruin his chances with Madge, so when he called her to notify her of this major change in their plans he did so with a defeated attitude that crept into his voice. She interpreted it as him not wanting to go, which was understandable, and told him that they didn't have to go if he didn't want to.

He assured her that it wasn't that, however his knowledge that a mall date with a nine-year-old wasn't high on anyone's priority list. Madge surprised him when she admitted that she didn't have any siblings so the thought of spending time with his was something she really wanted to do.

To say that Hazelle was shocked when Gale walked through the door with a woman who was not Katniss, would be an understatement. Her son had never brought anyone home with him, and she suddenly understood the hesitance she heard in his voice when they had spoken earlier. She immediately liked Madge simply for the fact that Gale liked her enough to introduce his family to her, and Hazelle always trusted Gale's instincts.

Posy on the other hand was not impressed. How dare her big brother expect her to share with some lady? She was indignant and almost snotty to Madge who politely complimented her new scarf and asked her how school was going. "Do you have a favorite subject, Posy?" Madge had inquired, turning to look into the back seat and make eye contact with the young girl. That was another thing. Gale had insisted that his girlfriend sit in the front seat when he usually let her sit in the seat and choose the XM channel they listened to.

She rolled her eyes haughtily, "No, do you have a favorite subject, Madge." Even though she saw Gale tense in the driver's seat, she didn't offer an apology. It was his fault for bringing her.

"Um, well I always enjoyed music." Her tone was reserved but did not reflect any irritation, which in turn irritated Posy more and her eyes once again turned up towards her eyelids. "How are the boys at your school? Any cute ones?"

This question was one that neither Hawthorne anticipated, and Gale shot a quick look at Madge while Posy grinned wide in response, "Well, there are a few, but right now my boyfriend is Turner."

Gale turned almost all the way around in his seat, "No. No he isn't Posy. You aren't allowed to date even if it is just calling a boy your boyfriend."

Posy, who was capable of being just as fiery as her brother, pointed her finger in his direction and opened her mouth to let him have it when she was cut off by Madge, "What's he look like? Is he pretty cute?" She couldn't believe it! Someone had actually taken her side on this issue and it felt good – Posy decided then and there that she liked Madge, it was her brother that she didn't like.

She stuck her tongue out towards the back of Gale's head, before answering, "Oh yeah he is like the cutest in the entire school. He's even got a cell phone." Gale's jaw clenched and he tensed, but Madge whacked him hard on the arm.

"Sounds like a catch." Madge smiled widely at the beaming girl in the back, "So, what is on the agenda for the mall?"

Their time at the mall was spent exactly how Posy wanted.

Gale did not protest when his sister indicated that she wanted to build her own stuffed animal. It was the last thing that he really wanted to do, but he could never say no to her. When he turned to Madge to make an apologetic face and promise to make it up to her, he was surprised to see that Madge's face was just as delighted as Posy's. The two were chattering on about what animal they should build, and his stomach did the clenching thing that he had become accustomed to in Madge's presence. He also ealized that he would not be able to hold the blonde woman's hand because Posy had already linked fingers with her as she dragged her to the animal station.

"I already have the unicorn, um and I don't really like frogs that much." Posy jabbered on to Madge who listened carefully to every word, offering opinions, agreeing when necessary and then disagreeing when the young girl expected it.

Eventually they decided to do a bear – it was of course the classic go to when building your own best friend. Posy debated meticulously over what to dress the bear in, and what to name it, and even whether or not it was a boy or a girl bear. Her big brother watched as the two girls, dare he say his two girls, picked out all the accoutrements necessary. Gale was apparently not needed, and he was oddly okay with this. He watched carefully as Posy selected a fabric pink heart and handed it to Madge who beamed back at the little girl before pressing a quick kiss to the heart. Posy rushed to Gale's side demanding the same thing of her brother, "You have to kiss the heart so it'll know how to love." She gushed to her brother who repeated Madge's actions while watching her from across the room.

Madge was quite taken with the precocious little girl. She appreciated the boisterous nature and fiery temperament, and recognized many of the traits the little girl had in the man that she had found herself so intrigued by. She didn't have siblings but had always respected the bond between them, and now as she watched Gale with Posy she realized that not only was the little girl special – her big brother was also someone worthy of taking notice. Madge had glimpses of this during her internship, yet had always been quick to blame it on hormones and attraction. Watching him interact with Posy though, made her realize that this was not simply a wash of pheromones, there was something about Gale and definitely something brewing between them.

As she watched him with his baby sister, tender and protective, it dawned on her how much she wanted him, more precisely not just wanted him, but wanted something with him.

There were many things on their agenda that night. They visited a costume jewelry store and Posy begged to have her ears pierced – it was the only time all night that both Madge and Gale said no to her. Gale because he didn't think she was old enough, and Madge because she didn't want to get off on the wrong foot with Hazelle.

They played games at the arcade, and Gale won enough tickets with his skeeball skills to win a stuffed animal. He tried to give it to Posy, who immediately insisted that he give it to Madge with a wink. They ate pizza in the food court where Gale almost had a heart attack when two older boys approached Posy while she was getting a refill on her soda. He stood to go 'help' her when Madge tugged at his arm and insisted she was okay. Posy was just fine, in fact she talked to the boys animatedly and gestured back to the table where Gale scowled at them in response while Madge waved warmly.

When Posy made it back to the table she was brimming with excitement, "They thought I was in Junior High. Can you believe that? I mean, I told them I wasn't…" She went on and on about how sometimes boys think she is older because she is so tall for her age, and Madge rubbed slow circles on Gale's back trying to get him to calm down. It was good that Madge was there because he was about to blow up from the anxiety of thinking that older boys thought his nine-year-old sister was old enough to try and chat up at the mall.

Their night ended with ice cream at Posy's favorite place. A parlor where you chose your flavor, and then an attendant blended different topping in by hand on a cold slab of marble. "What are you going to get?" the little girl asked Madge as they stood in line.

"I'm not sure yet, what is your recommendation?" Madge tousled the wavy ends of Posy's dark brown hair, a gesture of familiarity that neither girl paid much attention to, but Gale was quite aware of.

"Gale always gets chocolate with bananas. Ewwww!" Posy's face contorted into an exaggerated grimace, "But I like the bubble gum flavor with gummy worms."

The little girl abruptly burst into laughter as her brother tickled her sides, "Chocolate and banana is the best! I don't know what you are talking about." Her giggles were loud and shrieking, and people from all around were staring at the commotion going on at the ice cream parlor. Posy snorted and panted while she struggled to catch her breath, all with a big smile on her face – adoration of her older brother painted obviously across her features.

The little girl wrinkled her nose, "Well, Madge is with me, aren't you?"

"Always. How about you pick the flavor I get?" Her immediate response shocked both Posy and Gale. He felt that he should warn her what she had signed herself up for, but didn't have the heart to say anything in front of Posy.

Even if Madge felt it was a mistake to let a nine-year-old choose, she never let on and ate her gummy worm infused ice cream without complaint. Posy was ecstatic that Madge had liked her choice, and Gale was beside himself that she actually allowed his sister to choose.

It was then, in the brightly lit ice cream parlor, that Gale knew Madge was the one. For her to be so welcoming and accommodating to the most important little girl in the world, then it meant that she must be the woman for him. A smile ghosted over his lips at the realization, but when the dark-headed girl and the blonde woman asked him what he was smiling about he replied "Nothing."

It was Madge who initiated what came next.

After they dropped Posy off, the car ride was filled with the best kind of tension. Madge gushed over how sweet Posy was and Gale thanked her for her patience, but there was a heady mix of nerves and desire coursing in the small space between them. It was as if the absence of the little girl made all the things that they felt for one another come crashing together in an unspoken want. Madge reached over and linked their fingers. It was an innocent gesture, but the resulting spark between them was anything but innocent.

Gale walked her to the door, as any gentlemen would, and went in for the hug. This was the portion of the night where he would typically bring out his most suave moves and work for an invite inside. This wasn't the typical night though, and Madge was anything but the usual woman. "I had a good time. Thanks for understanding about the whole Posy thing."

"She's a doll, Gale. I had the best time. Thank you for sharing your little sister with me." Madge wrapped her arms around his waist. It was the first time that they had any type of body-to-body contact, and Gale had a hard time responding because his breath caught in his throat. He hugged her back and then pulled away and pressed a chaste kiss to her mouth before bidding her goodnight.

Madge made it clear that she did not want the night to end. Digging her fingers into the cotton of his t-shirt and pulling him close, melding her body to his before arching up to plant a hard kiss on his lips. Gale responded immediately, wrapping his arms around her and crushing her petite frame to his chest. Their mouths moved in a fevered pace, months of want and desire culminating in a searing kiss that left them breathless and panting, but not willing to pull away.

Finally Gale managed to pull away, "I – I…uh, I should go…" he stammered, running his hand through his hair before attempting to straighten his shirt. It wasn't that he wanted to go, he wanted to stay but this was different, she was different and he wasn't sure how to proceed.

"Would it make you feel better if I invited you in under the pretense of a night cap?" Madge's voice was low, sultry in a tone that made his dick pulse in his pants. He was unaware that she possessed that type of tone, and her command of her sexuality thrilled him.

This was unexpected in the best sense of the word. "A night cap would be nice." He managed to get out over the roaring of blood thrumming in his ears.

The minute they were through the door she was tugging on his shirt, insisting he take it off as she stood on her tippy toes pressing kisses to his jaw line. Her shirt soon followed and piece after piece of clothing fell until they were completely bare in front of one another. Gale's eyes and hands roamed over every inch of her creamy ivory skin, eliciting gasps and moans. He quickly learned that while Madge was quiet, she was anything but demure in the bedroom as she writhed, panted and called his name from just the attentions of his hands on her body.

Gale liked this side of her. He liked that it was something unforeseen. He wanted to make sure he was the last person who found this out about her.

With her fingertips she skimmed every available inch of Gale's skin, through the coarse hair of his chest and down over the delicate heated skin of his cock. His moans were feral, ripping from his throat wanton and unbidden. Madge liked this side of him and craved to find out every single way to make him groan.

They came together on the floor in the hallway. Not even bothering to make it all the way to the bedroom before Madge crawled on top of him. She rode him, twisting and rocking and mewling his name as Gale's fingers dug into her thighs when he leaned up to tease her pebbled pink nipples with his mouth.

Aching, filling, twisting, thrusting and a shuddering completion for both followed.

It was here when they realized what they had been denying for so long, both of their resolves crumbled and it was obvious now that they were who the other had been waiting for. There were no words, there was no need for them – instead he crawled in bed beside her, tucking her close and they fell asleep without having set the alarm.

When he woke, he was alone.

An empty bed and cool sheets on the other side, Gale was taken aback. It felt like a dream, but he knew it wasn't because he was swathed in pale purple sheets that were sweetly scented with the smell of lavender, and the pillow tucked under his head smelled of Madge's shampoo.

She appeared as soon as he began to miss her. Hair mussed and tangled around her head, blue eyes bright, and wearing his t-shirt that barely covered the tops of her thighs. It was a Saturday morning, meaning that she usually took brunch with her girlfriends while he would have lunch with the Mellark's, but both knew that they weren't getting out of bed at all that day.

Everyone else would have to wait, because they had found each other.

From there on out, they were together.

Madge blended seamlessly into Gale's life, filling a hole that he had not realized was empty until it was full. Her calm demeanor softened him, his family and friends immediately recognized that with her, Gale was his best self.

Gale blended seamlessly into Madge's life, bringing a quiet fire that heated her from within igniting something long left dormant. He brought passion into her life, but most of all he brought something that she hadn't really had before and that was companionship. They were lovers, partners, and most of all best friends.

He had her to thank for the new tranquil state that washed over him like a cool breeze, and she had him to thank for giving her the family that she never had before.

Hazelle couldn't be happier for her boy. The Undersee's were thrilled that their only child had found someone worthy of her love. But most of all, Madge and Gale were beside themselves at the possibilities the future held. They talked about their dreams and wishes, promising one another the world.

She wanted a big family like his, and he agreed.

He wanted to make sure they were set financially first, and she agreed.

They had their disagreements and argued over trivial stuff – but it was always for the better.

He would bring it full circle with a memo.

Madge proved to be as invaluable to the company as Gale, so when he took an executive position it was easy for the partners to decide who would fill his shoes. "Fancy office," Gale quipped, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, "I thought I would deliver this in person." He unceremoniously plopped a memo down on Madge's desk. There was a slight tremor in his movements, an almost imperceptible trace of nerves that she missed because she had yet to look away from her computer.

"Thanks. I'll be ready for lunch in just a minute, let me finish up this email. What is it?" Her fingers tapped over the keys on the keyboard, breaking only to smile up at him.

Gale frowned and leaned over to kiss the top of her head, "I don't know. Guess you'll have to read it." His voice got higher towards the end of his sentence, rushed almost and Madge, who was attuned to him knew that something was up.

She pushed away from the desk with a huff, rolling her chair away and grabbing the memo from the desktop. Her eyes flitting to the script on the paper, she failed to notice the fact that he had dropped to one knee beside her.

He knew when she had read the question, her hand flew to her mouth and her eyes filled with tears, "Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?" Gale asked when she turned to look at him.

Madge's response was similar to the one that Gale had the day he first received the memo. It was immediate and without much thought when she wrapped her arms around him and whispered a soft 'Yes' against his lips before claiming them between her own.

This one-shot was just supposed to be a drabble, but it got away from me. I guess I like writing Gadge more than I realized. The original prompt was:

Contemporary AU, Gadge – Gale and Madge work together and after months of flirting they finally have their first date. TWIST the babysitter cancelled and Hazelle is going to her monthly book club that has a strict no-kids policy. Gale has to bring nine-year-old Posy along on their date (because he knows how much his mom likes her book club and didn't want her to skip it).

So, I took some liberties with the prompt, obviously, but I think this fits it pretty well! Thank you so much to LondonRainings for the prompt. Seriously, she is the Hawthorne Whisperer and I kind of love her for it. Also, a big thank you to Wildharp for his beta work – it is because of him that this is readable!

Happy Valentine's Day!