Picking Up the Pieces - Epilogue

It was the sun streaming into the room that woke her. She smiled softly, listening to Tony’s soft snores and gently extricated herself from his arms. She slowly stood from their rather comfortable nest on the floor, tugged on his discarded T-shirt, and padded out of the bedroom.

Intent on making a semblance of breakfast, she moved toward the kitchen, but stopped at the sight of the shelves containing his DVDs. There were five books stacked on the bottom shelf and she grinned. Tony DiNozzo actually owned a book. Well, five of them.

Curious, she read the titles on the spines and her heart fluttered in her chest. It was Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. She remembered telling him about it one time, but she couldn’t believe he listened. She couldn’t believe he actually read them. Judging from the cracks on the spines he’s read them several times.

“You certainly are full of surprises, Tony,” she whispered and pulled the last book, the thickest, off the shelf. She opened it on the page he had bookmarked with a folded paper, but it was the writing on the bookmark that caught her attention.

She unfolded the paper and a lump lodged in her throat as she read the top inscription. I will

Five lines were crossed out.

I will give her space
I will give her time
I will be patient
I will tell her how I feel
I will get her back

Tears were running down her cheeks as she read the two lines added at the bottom.

I will never forget you
I will love you forever


She pivoted, her blood chilling at the panicked tone in his voice.


Tony stumbled from his bedroom, his chest heaving, his gaze locked to her. He reached her in three strides, pulled her into his arms, and burrowed his face into her neck.

“You’re here,” he breathed. “You’re here. God, I thought it was all a dream.”

She circled him with her arms, kissed his temple. “No dream.”

He lifted his head, cupped her cheeks. “I just lost 10 years of my life.” And then he kissed her. A devouring, urgent, utterly devastating kiss that had her moaning in two seconds, one leg curled around his upper thigh.

He abruptly ended the kiss, and leaned his forehead against hers. “I love you.”

“I know. I love you, too.”

“I know. And I see you found my ‘will’.”


He grinned. “We’ll make one together. You game.”

She just nodded, her body still humming from the kiss.

“We can make one now.”

She just wanted him to carry her back to bed.

He kissed the tip of her nose and pulled her toward the kitchen. “We will have breakfast, because we need fuel.” He sat her on a stool. “We will go out and get a bigger bed, because I’m not spending another night on the floor.” He grabbed a pan. “We will also buy extra condoms just in case.” He cracked some eggs, seasoned them, and whisked. “We will come back here and spend the rest of the weekend making love.” He winked.

She chuckled. “That’s our will?”

“A temporary one. We can make a lengthier later.”


He flipped the omelet. “Yeah. I figure it’ll take a while, though.” A long, searching look. “How does the rest of your life sound?”

She smiled through her tears. “Just perfect.”

And as they dug into their breakfast she couldn’t help but send a silent prayer of thanks. She was finally home.

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