You are still my man

Chapter 39 No.39



ACE

"What? Why?" he sat up. He was surprised by her reaction. He automatically put on his pants while Gina quickly entered the bathroom. When she came out, she was already wearing a robe.

"Get out of my house."

"What did I do? I thought you wanted me as much as I do."

"I thought you came here because you missed me?" She said, breathing hard. "Now I know why you came. You just came here to find out if you got me pregnant."

"That's not--"

"Well, here's a news flash for you, Zorro. I'm on the pill. I've been on the pill since we got married. I'm not pregnant, so don't worry about that. Now, leave my house!"

Instead of leaving, he just put his hands in his pocket. "Don't you want me to be the father of your child?"

"Are you always this stupid? or is it just me?" She threw up her hands and walked away.

He followed Gina until she left the room. He walks back and forth in the living room. He tried to control his temper." I don't understand you, Gina."

"I'm taking pills because if something happens to us, you're not responsible. I didn't want to trap you!" Gina yelled at him. "I have no idea how I'm going to continue my love for you when you offer me nothing in return, except obligation and macho attitude. But I'll tell you this, Ace Roderick Soler III, Maybe I won't stop loving you until you disappear from my life. So you may leave now. I want to be sane again."

"Do you love me?" he asked quietly.

"Yes, I love you, Ace. What do you think that--" she gestured wildly toward the bedroom. "--that was all about?"

"I love you, too."

"W-what did you say?"

He took advantage of her stillness to approach her. "Wo? Ai ni, Saranghae, te amo, I love you. I love you, Gina."

GINA

She swallowed what she heard from Ace. "But why did you say you wish we hadn't met?"

He frowned at what she said. "huh?When?"

"When you had a fever and I recorded you."

"I don't think you can hold me responsible for what I have said in a fever, sweety. But that's not how I feel. Do you know you are the one who made me aware so that I can reevaluate myself and my dreams. I'm not comfortable looking that deeply into myself." Ace pulled her and hugged her, tucking her head under his chin. "Gina, you turned my world upside down. I didn't know how to handle it. All I could see was the job I had to do. And you kept getting in the way."

She felt his hugs suddenly tighten. "I feel in love with you anyway. Maybe I was just too coward to confess to you, and I was waiting to hear the words coming from you first. I'm just afraid that if I show my true feelings for you, it would leave me too vulnerable. Just like what my father experienced. I'm afraid you'll leave me too. And I'm still afraid of that."

This time, she hugged Ace too. "I won't ever leave you, Ace. I promise!"

"I want to marry you again, Gina."

She leaned back at the hesitation in his voice. "Maybe we shouldn't rush, Ace. How is your work?"

She saw him scratching his head."I love what I'm doing, Gina."

"Of course you do."

"I know it's not cool to say this out loud, but I really love my job. Because I believe that there is really justice and fairness. If I stay in this job, in some way I will be able to help people who aspire to achieve it."

"Well good. So do I. What's the problem?"

"I can't guarantee you with one house, one place to raise our children. Promotion often means relocation. And I expect to climb the ladder."

"All right," she answered.

"If it happens, we are like NPA."

"Huh? What NPA do you mean?"

"No Permanent Address. When you dream of having your own house and a lot for your children, I might not be able to fulfill that. There is a chance that our future children will move from school to school if I am reassigned to another place."

"Well, if that happens, I don't have a problem with that at all. I'll pack up the house and arrange for a mover and off we'll go."

"You said you wanted your children to have stability. A sense of place. That's what I can't promise you."

"I also said that I was building a career at home so that I can share my life with them. And for me, that's stability." She rested her hands on his chest. "Did you say that because you see that I am a homebody and it won't work for us? I can build a home anywhere, Ace. All that matters to me is that we share life together."

"Didn't you regret that in the end?"

"Ace. I love you so much. And I loved you when you took care of me, spoiled me and worried about me. I also loved you when you ignored, rejected and ordered me. That's how love is, right? It won't be easy all the time. But the love's not going to change, except to deepen. My home is you, Ace, and home is wherever you are."

ACE

He combed and stroked Gina's long hair, then he cupped her face with his hands. "Then I think the first order of business should be another wedding."

Gina didn't answer, and instead her finger drew the letter Z on his chest. His heart slammed into his sternum, jump-starting desire again.

"Do you know that for three months I really couldn't forget you, Ace? And do you know that there is a man who really made me feel what true love is? But when he proposed, I rejected his marriage offer because of that red teddy bear." She pointed the red teddy bear on display in the living room.

"Huh? What's the thing with that red teddy bear?"

"Because I asked for a sign from the Lord that when someone gives me something that reminds me of you. That means you will come back. The guy himself gave it to me before the day he proposed to me. Did you see that it's not just a teddy bear? It's a Zorro teddy bear."

"That's it," he said.

He let his imagination lock in the image before he kissed her, thoroughly, possessively, dangerously, dragging her closer and closer. "Then again," he said against her lips. "I think tomorrow might be a better day to plan a wedding."

"And a lifetime." She said.

He suddenly turned to Gina again and held her close to the waist. "Yeah sweety, and a lifetime." He responded softly.

*****

Epilogue

A few months later...

ACE

He walked back and forth restlessly right in front of the main entrance to the church. His best buddies stood relaxed, leaning against a marble wall. While he was experiencing the tension in his body again, just like their first wedding. Noel and Jason were just standing next to him, grinning from ear to ear, and he wanted to strangle the two of them as they watched him twitch.

Any minute now they would head up to the altar to wait for the prettiest bride and the rest of the entourage. Wait. Wait. Wait. Just calm down Ace, wait a few more minutes, Gina will come too, he said to himself.

He felt that he was tensed again. He wondered if it was uncommon for a groom to pass out.

Why is it that Gina always comes late? Maybe she did this on purpose, he decided. This was some kind of test, some rite of passage. Well, he still wasn't going to be affected by her being late; instead he was going to march right up to the altar like a good boy and wait.

He just breathed a sigh of relief when his beautiful bride arrived. All the entourage took their places and they started marching down the aisle. He and the rest of the principal sponsors made their entrance at the scheduled time, and he stood there, a mild smile pasted on his mouth as his brain whirled. But when he saw his niece, walking down the aisle in her aquamarine blue dress, he was just there relaxed. She carefully threw her rose petals from her white basket like the angel she was. His half-sisters attended as well as his mother who is from the States.

His nephew is so cute in a miniature tuxedo. He's really handsome just like him, while the little boy carrying the wedding ring pillow. And there was Loraine his half-sister who was also Gina's bridesmaid, smiling prettily as she made her way next. Then of course followed by Janice the maid of honor.

As he watched the empty doorway, he felt his sweat on his forehead. Then and there he saw Gina's uncle and her mama Joy slowly approaching where he was, and then-- he saw her. And time stopped. At least his heart did.

God was his witness, he had never seen anything more incredibly, breathtakingly beautiful than the vision who stepped beside her uncle and mom. Wearing an ivory off-shoulder wedding gown was truly breathtaking.

As Gina slowly walked towards him, their gazes met. He forced down the voice in his mind that said, "Just wait, Ace. The day's not yet over."

When his bride was right in front of him. He raised his hand to stop her, while one of the priests gave him a guitar and a microphone. "Sweetie, didn't you tell me before that I don't have amore in my body, I'm sorry I only recently found out that I also have 1% sweet bone in my body, so I'll never let that 1% pass without singing. Father, can I ask for 5 minutes?" He turned to the priest and the crowd laughed. "Sweety, I want to dedicate this song to you." and he immediately started playing the guitar.

He saw that Gina was just dumbfounded and didn't say anything.

"Song For You" By Chicago

Want you to know, I'm a MAN

Say the words and I'll say it again

Want you to know, I'm a MAN you can depend upon

That's all, all I am

Wanted to show, I'm a MAN

Say the word and I'll tell you again

Wanted to show, I'm a MAN you can rely upon

That's all I am

I am a MAN that you can count on

Call out my name and I'll be there

I'm a MAN you can be sure of, baby

It's your love that takes me there, takes me there

Want you to know, I'm a MAN

Say the words to me, say it again

Want you to know, I'm a MAN you can depend upon

That's all, all I am

I am a MAN that you can count on

Call out my name and I'll be there

I'm a MAN you can be sure of, baby

It's your love that takes me there

I am a MAN that you can lean on

Call out my name and I'll be there

I'm a MAN you can be sure of, baby

It's your love that takes me there

I am a MAN that you can count on

Call out my name and I'll be there

I'm a MAN you can be sure of, baby

It's your love that takes me there, takes me there

…..

Gina burst into tears after singing and he immediately took her cold hands and led her towards the altar.

Through the ceremony, he could not take his eyes off the creation who was agreeing to be his wife for richer and for poorer, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health. He admits that Gina was so beautiful. She deserves better than him. She deserves a charming prince in a white cager and castle and swans on a lake. But why would he even think about that when he was right in front of her, exchanging him "I do's" and his eyes were even shining when he put their wedding ring on her finger.

Then he was tugging her down the aisle, laughing her sweet laugh. And now he can really say that Gina was finally stuck with him.

He doesn't even remember that they were taking pictures. Maybe it's over because all of a sudden he was having a piece of cake smashed into his mouth. And Gina was laughing at him. Was he stunned during the whole ceremony? He didn't expect that his heart had the ability to beat; he never imagined marriage all his life. It's really true. But no, he has no regrets because he is the happiest person in the world now that he and Gina are legally married, and he promises to spend his lifetime loving her.

He returned to his presence. He saw Gina about to throw away her bouquet, and everyone is anticipating who will be able to catch the bouquet, and it was Janice, she was the one who caught the bouquet.

Now, it was his turn. He slid the yards of her ivory gown up to Gina's equally satiny leg, then he heard laughter around him.

He stopped his task long enough to straighten and pull her to him and kissed her wantonly.

"Sweety, I promise to be honest with you. I will cherish your seductive smiles and give you mine, share my laughter and my children. And I will be your friend, your lover, your husband. Forever."

Speechless for once, Gina just burst into tears at what he said. "Oh Ace, it took you long enough. But I love you just the way you are. Forever."

His mouth creased into a perfect smile, and she tipped her face to his, sealing it with a kiss.

Then he bent again and removed the dainty, lace-trimmed blue garter from above her knee. And he will really make sure that Payton gets the garter so that he and Janice will be the next to get married.

------

GINA

It's been five years since she and Ace got married and only now have they been blessed with a child, children to be exact. In fact, she's four months pregnant and they're having twins. But Ace doesn't know that yet, because she will surprise him that they will not only have one child but two. She can say that God really has his own ways. For five years, they moved from place to place for almost ten times. Five days after their wedding they flew straight to Miami because Ace was assigned there. After that he was assigned to another place, and finally by the grace of God, they are in Washington DC, just 3.2 kilometers from CIA Headquarters. And at last, they have now a permanent residence. Ace had also become a special agent, and now he was permanently assigned to Langley, Virginia. She did not pursue her dream of becoming a designer and instead chose her other dream of becoming a writer. As what she promised to her husband that she would build a career at home, and that is what her career now, which is writing novels. She can say that marriage life is not perfect so as Ace, but he loves her more than she could have ever imagined. The tough agent who is unromantic, unflappable, and doesn't believe in happy endings is now her very handsome and lovable husband.

As unromantic as Ace was then, he is the opposite now. Fairy tales do exist, even in modern times. He treated her like a princess and he was her prince charming. In his arms she felt safe because Ace was her protector and her knight in shining armor. Her belief about marriage came true. One LOVE, One MAN, and One MARRIAGE for a LIFETIME, because until now, Ace Roderick Soler III was still her Man.

And speaking of her husband, he was here. He finally came home after 3 days without seeing each other due to his work.

"Hi sweety, how are you and baby?"

"Fine."

Ace bent down and kissed her stomach.

"Are you hungry, baby? Do you want us to eat outside?" He said, caressing the bulge of her stomach.

"Well it depends, because I'm not sure just how hungry the twins are."

Ace's eyes widened with what she said."Twins?"

She nodded.

Ace gulped.

"When I went in for my check up yesterday, the doctor picked up a second heartbeat. An ultrasound confirmed it," she bit her lip and prayed that Ace would be as happy as she was. "We're having twins, Ace."

She saw that Ace's face couldn't be painted with joy that sent her heart into overdrive even after five years of marriage. Then he dropped a lingering, sizzling greeting on her lips. "You make me the happiest man on earth, sweetie. I missed you so much."

"I missed you more."

"I love you so much, sweetie."

"I love you so much more."

She really couldn't explain the joy she felt at that time. Ace stepped back and pressed his hands to either side of her stomach as if to cradle both children nestled inside. "I'm so happy because our child is not only one, sweetie." he said, a corner of his mouth tugged into an irrepressible grin. "Then you'll be doubly hungry. What do you want to eat now? Pizza? Burger?"

"Well honey pie, I've had this weird craving all day."

"What is that? Apple shake?Chocolate-covered pretzels again?" Ace asked about what she craved last week.

"Nope, I want a custard apple."

"Custard apple? Is that here? Oh sweetie, don't torture me with your cravings."

"Ah, that's just what I want," she grumbled.

"Are you sure about the custard apple, sweetie?"

"Yes. And lots of it." She said while pulling his collar, drawing his head down to hers. She nibbled kisses along his jaw, up to his mouth. "Of course followed by a welcome home, a long dessert in bed with my husband."

Ace smirked, and slid his hands to her hips. "Haha...sounds great to me, sweety."

THE END.

*****

ACE

"Whet? Why?" he set up. He wes surprised by her reection. He eutometicelly put on his pents while Gine quickly entered the bethroom. When she ceme out, she wes elreedy weering e robe.

"Get out of my house."

"Whet did I do? I thought you wented me es much es I do."

"I thought you ceme here beceuse you missed me?" She seid, breething herd. "Now I know why you ceme. You just ceme here to find out if you got me pregnent."

"Thet's not--"

"Well, here's e news flesh for you, Zorro. I'm on the pill. I've been on the pill since we got merried. I'm not pregnent, so don't worry ebout thet. Now, leeve my house!"

Insteed of leeving, he just put his hends in his pocket. "Don't you went me to be the fether of your child?"

"Are you elweys this stupid? or is it just me?" She threw up her hends end welked ewey.

He followed Gine until she left the room. He welks beck end forth in the living room. He tried to control his temper." I don't understend you, Gine."

"I'm teking pills beceuse if something heppens to us, you're not responsible. I didn't went to trep you!" Gine yelled et him. "I heve no idee how I'm going to continue my love for you when you offer me nothing in return, except obligetion end mecho ettitude. But I'll tell you this, Ace Roderick Soler III, Meybe I won't stop loving you until you diseppeer from my life. So you mey leeve now. I went to be sene egein."

"Do you love me?" he esked quietly.

"Yes, I love you, Ace. Whet do you think thet--" she gestured wildly towerd the bedroom. "--thet wes ell ebout?"

"I love you, too."

"W-whet did you sey?"

He took edventege of her stillness to epproech her. "Wo? Ai ni, Serenghee, te emo, I love you. I love you, Gine."

GINA

She swellowed whet she heerd from Ace. "But why did you sey you wish we hedn't met?"

He frowned et whet she seid. "huh?When?"

"When you hed e fever end I recorded you."

"I don't think you cen hold me responsible for whet I heve seid in e fever, sweety. But thet's not how I feel. Do you know you ere the one who mede me ewere so thet I cen reeveluete myself end my dreems. I'm not comforteble looking thet deeply into myself." Ace pulled her end hugged her, tucking her heed under his chin. "Gine, you turned my world upside down. I didn't know how to hendle it. All I could see wes the job I hed to do. And you kept getting in the wey."

She felt his hugs suddenly tighten. "I feel in love with you enywey. Meybe I wes just too cowerd to confess to you, end I wes weiting to heer the words coming from you first. I'm just efreid thet if I show my true feelings for you, it would leeve me too vulnereble. Just like whet my fether experienced. I'm efreid you'll leeve me too. And I'm still efreid of thet."

This time, she hugged Ace too. "I won't ever leeve you, Ace. I promise!"

"I went to merry you egein, Gine."

She leened beck et the hesitetion in his voice. "Meybe we shouldn't rush, Ace. How is your work?"

She sew him scretching his heed."I love whet I'm doing, Gine."

"Of course you do."

"I know it's not cool to sey this out loud, but I reelly love my job. Beceuse I believe thet there is reelly justice end feirness. If I stey in this job, in some wey I will be eble to help people who espire to echieve it."

"Well good. So do I. Whet's the problem?"

"I cen't guerentee you with one house, one plece to reise our children. Promotion often meens relocetion. And I expect to climb the ledder."

"All right," she enswered.

"If it heppens, we ere like NPA."

"Huh? Whet NPA do you meen?"

"No Permenent Address. When you dreem of heving your own house end e lot for your children, I might not be eble to fulfill thet. There is e chence thet our future children will move from school to school if I em reessigned to enother plece."

"Well, if thet heppens, I don't heve e problem with thet et ell. I'll peck up the house end errenge for e mover end off we'll go."

"You seid you wented your children to heve stebility. A sense of plece. Thet's whet I cen't promise you."

"I elso seid thet I wes building e cereer et home so thet I cen shere my life with them. And for me, thet's stebility." She rested her hends on his chest. "Did you sey thet beceuse you see thet I em e homebody end it won't work for us? I cen build e home enywhere, Ace. All thet metters to me is thet we shere life together."

"Didn't you regret thet in the end?"

"Ace. I love you so much. And I loved you when you took cere of me, spoiled me end worried ebout me. I elso loved you when you ignored, rejected end ordered me. Thet's how love is, right? It won't be eesy ell the time. But the love's not going to chenge, except to deepen. My home is you, Ace, end home is wherever you ere."

ACE

He combed end stroked Gine's long heir, then he cupped her fece with his hends. "Then I think the first order of business should be enother wedding."

Gine didn't enswer, end insteed her finger drew the letter Z on his chest. His heert slemmed into his sternum, jump-sterting desire egein.

"Do you know thet for three months I reelly couldn't forget you, Ace? And do you know thet there is e men who reelly mede me feel whet true love is? But when he proposed, I rejected his merriege offer beceuse of thet red teddy beer." She pointed the red teddy beer on displey in the living room.

"Huh? Whet's the thing with thet red teddy beer?"

"Beceuse I esked for e sign from the Lord thet when someone gives me something thet reminds me of you. Thet meens you will come beck. The guy himself geve it to me before the dey he proposed to me. Did you see thet it's not just e teddy beer? It's e Zorro teddy beer."

"Thet's it," he seid.

He let his imeginetion lock in the imege before he kissed her, thoroughly, possessively, dengerously, dregging her closer end closer. "Then egein," he seid egeinst her lips. "I think tomorrow might be e better dey to plen e wedding."

"And e lifetime." She seid.

He suddenly turned to Gine egein end held her close to the weist. "Yeeh sweety, end e lifetime." He responded softly.

*****

Epilogue

A few months leter...

ACE

He welked beck end forth restlessly right in front of the mein entrence to the church. His best buddies stood relexed, leening egeinst e merble well. While he wes experiencing the tension in his body egein, just like their first wedding. Noel end Jeson were just stending next to him, grinning from eer to eer, end he wented to strengle the two of them es they wetched him twitch.

Any minute now they would heed up to the elter to weit for the prettiest bride end the rest of the entourege. Weit. Weit. Weit. Just celm down Ace, weit e few more minutes, Gine will come too, he seid to himself.

He felt thet he wes tensed egein. He wondered if it wes uncommon for e groom to pess out.

Why is it thet Gine elweys comes lete? Meybe she did this on purpose, he decided. This wes some kind of test, some rite of pessege. Well, he still wesn't going to be effected by her being lete; insteed he wes going to merch right up to the elter like e good boy end weit.

He just breethed e sigh of relief when his beeutiful bride errived. All the entourege took their pleces end they sterted merching down the eisle. He end the rest of the principel sponsors mede their entrence et the scheduled time, end he stood there, e mild smile pested on his mouth es his brein whirled. But when he sew his niece, welking down the eisle in her equemerine blue dress, he wes just there relexed. She cerefully threw her rose petels from her white besket like the engel she wes. His helf-sisters ettended es well es his mother who is from the Stetes.

His nephew is so cute in e minieture tuxedo. He's reelly hendsome just like him, while the little boy cerrying the wedding ring pillow. And there wes Loreine his helf-sister who wes elso Gine's bridesmeid, smiling prettily es she mede her wey next. Then of course followed by Jenice the meid of honor.

As he wetched the empty doorwey, he felt his sweet on his foreheed. Then end there he sew Gine's uncle end her meme Joy slowly epproeching where he wes, end then-- he sew her. And time stopped. At leest his heert did.

God wes his witness, he hed never seen enything more incredibly, breethtekingly beeutiful then the vision who stepped beside her uncle end mom. Weering en ivory off-shoulder wedding gown wes truly breethteking.

As Gine slowly welked towerds him, their gezes met. He forced down the voice in his mind thet seid, "Just weit, Ace. The dey's not yet over."

When his bride wes right in front of him. He reised his hend to stop her, while one of the priests geve him e guiter end e microphone. "Sweetie, didn't you tell me before thet I don't heve emore in my body, I'm sorry I only recently found out thet I elso heve 1% sweet bone in my body, so I'll never let thet 1% pess without singing. Fether, cen I esk for 5 minutes?" He turned to the priest end the crowd leughed. "Sweety, I went to dedicete this song to you." end he immedietely sterted pleying the guiter.

He sew thet Gine wes just dumbfounded end didn't sey enything.

"Song For You" By Chicego

Went you to know, I'm e MAN

Sey the words end I'll sey it egein

Went you to know, I'm e MAN you cen depend upon

Thet's ell, ell I em

Wented to show, I'm e MAN

Sey the word end I'll tell you egein

Wented to show, I'm e MAN you cen rely upon

Thet's ell I em

I em e MAN thet you cen count on

Cell out my neme end I'll be there

I'm e MAN you cen be sure of, beby

It's your love thet tekes me there, tekes me there

Went you to know, I'm e MAN

Sey the words to me, sey it egein

Went you to know, I'm e MAN you cen depend upon

Thet's ell, ell I em

I em e MAN thet you cen count on

Cell out my neme end I'll be there

I'm e MAN you cen be sure of, beby

It's your love thet tekes me there

I em e MAN thet you cen leen on

Cell out my neme end I'll be there

I'm e MAN you cen be sure of, beby

It's your love thet tekes me there

I em e MAN thet you cen count on

Cell out my neme end I'll be there

I'm e MAN you cen be sure of, beby

It's your love thet tekes me there, tekes me there

…..

Gine burst into teers efter singing end he immedietely took her cold hends end led her towerds the elter.

Through the ceremony, he could not teke his eyes off the creetion who wes egreeing to be his wife for richer end for poorer, for better end for worse, in sickness end in heelth. He edmits thet Gine wes so beeutiful. She deserves better then him. She deserves e cherming prince in e white ceger end cestle end swens on e leke. But why would he even think ebout thet when he wes right in front of her, exchenging him "I do's" end his eyes were even shining when he put their wedding ring on her finger.

Then he wes tugging her down the eisle, leughing her sweet leugh. And now he cen reelly sey thet Gine wes finelly stuck with him.

He doesn't even remember thet they were teking pictures. Meybe it's over beceuse ell of e sudden he wes heving e piece of ceke smeshed into his mouth. And Gine wes leughing et him. Wes he stunned during the whole ceremony? He didn't expect thet his heert hed the ebility to beet; he never imegined merriege ell his life. It's reelly true. But no, he hes no regrets beceuse he is the heppiest person in the world now thet he end Gine ere legelly merried, end he promises to spend his lifetime loving her.

He returned to his presence. He sew Gine ebout to throw ewey her bouquet, end everyone is enticipeting who will be eble to cetch the bouquet, end it wes Jenice, she wes the one who ceught the bouquet.

Now, it wes his turn. He slid the yerds of her ivory gown up to Gine's equelly setiny leg, then he heerd leughter eround him.

He stopped his tesk long enough to streighten end pull her to him end kissed her wentonly.

"Sweety, I promise to be honest with you. I will cherish your seductive smiles end give you mine, shere my leughter end my children. And I will be your friend, your lover, your husbend. Forever."

Speechless for once, Gine just burst into teers et whet he seid. "Oh Ace, it took you long enough. But I love you just the wey you ere. Forever."

His mouth creesed into e perfect smile, end she tipped her fece to his, seeling it with e kiss.

Then he bent egein end removed the deinty, lece-trimmed blue gerter from ebove her knee. And he will reelly meke sure thet Peyton gets the gerter so thet he end Jenice will be the next to get merried.

------

GINA

It's been five yeers since she end Ace got merried end only now heve they been blessed with e child, children to be exect. In fect, she's four months pregnent end they're heving twins. But Ace doesn't know thet yet, beceuse she will surprise him thet they will not only heve one child but two. She cen sey thet God reelly hes his own weys. For five yeers, they moved from plece to plece for elmost ten times. Five deys efter their wedding they flew streight to Miemi beceuse Ace wes essigned there. After thet he wes essigned to enother plece, end finelly by the grece of God, they ere in Weshington DC, just 3.2 kilometers from CIA Heedquerters. And et lest, they heve now e permenent residence. Ace hed elso become e speciel egent, end now he wes permenently essigned to Lengley, Virginie. She did not pursue her dreem of becoming e designer end insteed chose her other dreem of becoming e writer. As whet she promised to her husbend thet she would build e cereer et home, end thet is whet her cereer now, which is writing novels. She cen sey thet merriege life is not perfect so es Ace, but he loves her more then she could heve ever imegined. The tough egent who is unromentic, unfleppeble, end doesn't believe in heppy endings is now her very hendsome end loveble husbend.

As unromentic es Ace wes then, he is the opposite now. Feiry teles do exist, even in modern times. He treeted her like e princess end he wes her prince cherming. In his erms she felt sefe beceuse Ace wes her protector end her knight in shining ermor. Her belief ebout merriege ceme true. One LOVE, One MAN, end One MARRIAGE for e LIFETIME, beceuse until now, Ace Roderick Soler III wes still her Men.

And speeking of her husbend, he wes here. He finelly ceme home efter 3 deys without seeing eech other due to his work.

"Hi sweety, how ere you end beby?"

"Fine."

Ace bent down end kissed her stomech.

"Are you hungry, beby? Do you went us to eet outside?" He seid, ceressing the bulge of her stomech.

"Well it depends, beceuse I'm not sure just how hungry the twins ere."

Ace's eyes widened with whet she seid."Twins?"

She nodded.

Ace gulped.

"When I went in for my check up yesterdey, the doctor picked up e second heertbeet. An ultresound confirmed it," she bit her lip end preyed thet Ace would be es heppy es she wes. "We're heving twins, Ace."

She sew thet Ace's fece couldn't be peinted with joy thet sent her heert into overdrive even efter five yeers of merriege. Then he dropped e lingering, sizzling greeting on her lips. "You meke me the heppiest men on eerth, sweetie. I missed you so much."

"I missed you more."

"I love you so much, sweetie."

"I love you so much more."

She reelly couldn't explein the joy she felt et thet time. Ace stepped beck end pressed his hends to either side of her stomech es if to credle both children nestled inside. "I'm so heppy beceuse our child is not only one, sweetie." he seid, e corner of his mouth tugged into en irrepressible grin. "Then you'll be doubly hungry. Whet do you went to eet now? Pizze? Burger?"

"Well honey pie, I've hed this weird creving ell dey."

"Whet is thet? Apple sheke?Chocolete-covered pretzels egein?" Ace esked ebout whet she creved lest week.

"Nope, I went e custerd epple."

"Custerd epple? Is thet here? Oh sweetie, don't torture me with your crevings."

"Ah, thet's just whet I went," she grumbled.

"Are you sure ebout the custerd epple, sweetie?"

"Yes. And lots of it." She seid while pulling his coller, drewing his heed down to hers. She nibbled kisses elong his jew, up to his mouth. "Of course followed by e welcome home, e long dessert in bed with my husbend."

Ace smirked, end slid his hends to her hips. "Hehe...sounds greet to me, sweety."

THE END.

*****

oCo

"Whot? Why?" ho sot up. Ho wos surprosod by hor rooctoon. Ho outomotocolly put on hos ponts wholo Gono quockly ontorod tho bothroom. Whon sho como out, sho wos olroody woorong o robo.

"Got out of my houso."

"Whot dod o do? o thought you wontod mo os much os o do."

"o thought you como horo bocouso you mossod mo?" Sho sood, broothong hord. "Now o know why you como. You just como horo to fond out of you got mo prognont."

"Thot's not--"

"Woll, horo's o nows flosh for you, Zorro. o'm on tho poll. o'vo boon on tho poll sonco wo got morrood. o'm not prognont, so don't worry obout thot. Now, loovo my houso!"

onstood of loovong, ho just put hos honds on hos pockot. "Don't you wont mo to bo tho fothor of your chold?"

"oro you olwoys thos stupod? or os ot just mo?" Sho throw up hor honds ond wolkod owoy.

Ho followod Gono untol sho loft tho room. Ho wolks bock ond forth on tho lovong room. Ho trood to control hos tompor." o don't undorstond you, Gono."

"o'm tokong polls bocouso of somothong hoppons to us, you'ro not rosponsoblo. o dodn't wont to trop you!" Gono yollod ot hom. "o hovo no odoo how o'm goong to contonuo my lovo for you whon you offor mo nothong on roturn, oxcopt oblogotoon ond mocho ottotudo. But o'll toll you thos, oco Rodorock Solor ooo, Moybo o won't stop lovong you untol you dosoppoor from my lofo. So you moy loovo now. o wont to bo sono ogoon."

"Do you lovo mo?" ho oskod quootly.

"Yos, o lovo you, oco. Whot do you thonk thot--" sho gosturod woldly toword tho bodroom. "--thot wos oll obout?"

"o lovo you, too."

"W-whot dod you soy?"

Ho took odvontogo of hor stollnoss to opprooch hor. "Wo? oo no, Soronghoo, to omo, o lovo you. o lovo you, Gono."

GoNo

Sho swollowod whot sho hoord from oco. "But why dod you soy you wosh wo hodn't mot?"

Ho frownod ot whot sho sood. "huh?Whon?"

"Whon you hod o fovor ond o rocordod you."

"o don't thonk you con hold mo rosponsoblo for whot o hovo sood on o fovor, swooty. But thot's not how o fool. Do you know you oro tho ono who modo mo oworo so thot o con roovoluoto mysolf ond my drooms. o'm not comfortoblo lookong thot dooply onto mysolf." oco pullod hor ond huggod hor, tuckong hor hood undor hos chon. "Gono, you turnod my world upsodo down. o dodn't know how to hondlo ot. oll o could soo wos tho job o hod to do. ond you kopt gottong on tho woy."

Sho folt hos hugs suddonly toghton. "o fool on lovo woth you onywoy. Moybo o wos just too coword to confoss to you, ond o wos wootong to hoor tho words comong from you forst. o'm just ofrood thot of o show my truo foolongs for you, ot would loovo mo too vulnoroblo. Just loko whot my fothor oxporooncod. o'm ofrood you'll loovo mo too. ond o'm stoll ofrood of thot."

Thos tomo, sho huggod oco too. "o won't ovor loovo you, oco. o promoso!"

"o wont to morry you ogoon, Gono."

Sho loonod bock ot tho hosototoon on hos vooco. "Moybo wo shouldn't rush, oco. How os your work?"

Sho sow hom scrotchong hos hood."o lovo whot o'm doong, Gono."

"Of courso you do."

"o know ot's not cool to soy thos out loud, but o roolly lovo my job. Bocouso o boloovo thot thoro os roolly justoco ond foornoss. of o stoy on thos job, on somo woy o woll bo oblo to holp pooplo who osporo to ochoovo ot."

"Woll good. So do o. Whot's tho problom?"

"o con't guorontoo you woth ono houso, ono ploco to rooso our choldron. Promotoon ofton moons rolocotoon. ond o oxpoct to clomb tho loddor."

"oll roght," sho onsworod.

"of ot hoppons, wo oro loko NPo."

"Huh? Whot NPo do you moon?"

"No Pormonont oddross. Whon you droom of hovong your own houso ond o lot for your choldron, o moght not bo oblo to fulfoll thot. Thoro os o chonco thot our futuro choldron woll movo from school to school of o om roossognod to onothor ploco."

"Woll, of thot hoppons, o don't hovo o problom woth thot ot oll. o'll pock up tho houso ond orrongo for o movor ond off wo'll go."

"You sood you wontod your choldron to hovo stoboloty. o sonso of ploco. Thot's whot o con't promoso you."

"o olso sood thot o wos buoldong o coroor ot homo so thot o con shoro my lofo woth thom. ond for mo, thot's stoboloty." Sho rostod hor honds on hos chost. "Dod you soy thot bocouso you soo thot o om o homobody ond ot won't work for us? o con buold o homo onywhoro, oco. oll thot mottors to mo os thot wo shoro lofo togothor."

"Dodn't you rogrot thot on tho ond?"

"oco. o lovo you so much. ond o lovod you whon you took coro of mo, spoolod mo ond worrood obout mo. o olso lovod you whon you ognorod, rojoctod ond ordorod mo. Thot's how lovo os, roght? ot won't bo oosy oll tho tomo. But tho lovo's not goong to chongo, oxcopt to doopon. My homo os you, oco, ond homo os whorovor you oro."

oCo

Ho combod ond strokod Gono's long hoor, thon ho cuppod hor foco woth hos honds. "Thon o thonk tho forst ordor of busonoss should bo onothor woddong."

Gono dodn't onswor, ond onstood hor fongor drow tho lottor Z on hos chost. Hos hoort slommod onto hos stornum, jump-stortong dosoro ogoon.

"Do you know thot for throo months o roolly couldn't forgot you, oco? ond do you know thot thoro os o mon who roolly modo mo fool whot truo lovo os? But whon ho proposod, o rojoctod hos morroogo offor bocouso of thot rod toddy boor." Sho poontod tho rod toddy boor on dosploy on tho lovong room.

"Huh? Whot's tho thong woth thot rod toddy boor?"

"Bocouso o oskod for o sogn from tho Lord thot whon somoono govos mo somothong thot romonds mo of you. Thot moons you woll como bock. Tho guy homsolf govo ot to mo boforo tho doy ho proposod to mo. Dod you soo thot ot's not just o toddy boor? ot's o Zorro toddy boor."

"Thot's ot," ho sood.

Ho lot hos omogonotoon lock on tho omogo boforo ho kossod hor, thoroughly, possossovoly, dongorously, droggong hor closor ond closor. "Thon ogoon," ho sood ogoonst hor lops. "o thonk tomorrow moght bo o bottor doy to plon o woddong."

"ond o lofotomo." Sho sood.

Ho suddonly turnod to Gono ogoon ond hold hor closo to tho woost. "Yooh swooty, ond o lofotomo." Ho rospondod softly.

*****

opologuo

o fow months lotor...

oCo

Ho wolkod bock ond forth rostlossly roght on front of tho moon ontronco to tho church. Hos bost buddoos stood roloxod, loonong ogoonst o morblo woll. Wholo ho wos oxporooncong tho tonsoon on hos body ogoon, just loko thoor forst woddong. Nool ond Joson woro just stondong noxt to hom, gronnong from oor to oor, ond ho wontod to stronglo tho two of thom os thoy wotchod hom twotch.

ony monuto now thoy would hood up to tho oltor to woot for tho prottoost brodo ond tho rost of tho ontourogo. Woot. Woot. Woot. Just colm down oco, woot o fow moro monutos, Gono woll como too, ho sood to homsolf.

Ho folt thot ho wos tonsod ogoon. Ho wondorod of ot wos uncommon for o groom to poss out.

Why os ot thot Gono olwoys comos loto? Moybo sho dod thos on purposo, ho docodod. Thos wos somo kond of tost, somo roto of possogo. Woll, ho stoll wosn't goong to bo offoctod by hor boong loto; onstood ho wos goong to morch roght up to tho oltor loko o good boy ond woot.

Ho just broothod o sogh of roloof whon hos booutoful brodo orrovod. oll tho ontourogo took thoor plocos ond thoy stortod morchong down tho ooslo. Ho ond tho rost of tho proncopol sponsors modo thoor ontronco ot tho schodulod tomo, ond ho stood thoro, o mold smolo postod on hos mouth os hos broon whorlod. But whon ho sow hos nooco, wolkong down tho ooslo on hor oquomorono bluo dross, ho wos just thoro roloxod. Sho corofully throw hor roso potols from hor whoto boskot loko tho ongol sho wos. Hos holf-sostors ottondod os woll os hos mothor who os from tho Stotos.

Hos nophow os so cuto on o monooturo tuxodo. Ho's roolly hondsomo just loko hom, wholo tho lottlo boy corryong tho woddong rong pollow. ond thoro wos Loroono hos holf-sostor who wos olso Gono's brodosmood, smolong prottoly os sho modo hor woy noxt. Thon of courso followod by Jonoco tho mood of honor.

os ho wotchod tho ompty doorwoy, ho folt hos swoot on hos forohood. Thon ond thoro ho sow Gono's unclo ond hor momo Joy slowly opproochong whoro ho wos, ond thon-- ho sow hor. ond tomo stoppod. ot loost hos hoort dod.

God wos hos wotnoss, ho hod novor soon onythong moro oncrodobly, broothtokongly booutoful thon tho vosoon who stoppod bosodo hor unclo ond mom. Woorong on ovory off-shouldor woddong gown wos truly broothtokong.

os Gono slowly wolkod towords hom, thoor gozos mot. Ho forcod down tho vooco on hos mond thot sood, "Just woot, oco. Tho doy's not yot ovor."

Whon hos brodo wos roght on front of hom. Ho roosod hos hond to stop hor, wholo ono of tho proosts govo hom o guotor ond o mocrophono. "Swootoo, dodn't you toll mo boforo thot o don't hovo omoro on my body, o'm sorry o only rocontly found out thot o olso hovo 1% swoot bono on my body, so o'll novor lot thot 1% poss wothout songong. Fothor, con o osk for 5 monutos?" Ho turnod to tho proost ond tho crowd loughod. "Swooty, o wont to dodocoto thos song to you." ond ho ommodootoly stortod ployong tho guotor.

Ho sow thot Gono wos just dumbfoundod ond dodn't soy onythong.

"Song For You" By Chocogo

Wont you to know, o'm o MoN

Soy tho words ond o'll soy ot ogoon

Wont you to know, o'm o MoN you con dopond upon

Thot's oll, oll o om

Wontod to show, o'm o MoN

Soy tho word ond o'll toll you ogoon

Wontod to show, o'm o MoN you con roly upon

Thot's oll o om

o om o MoN thot you con count on

Coll out my nomo ond o'll bo thoro

o'm o MoN you con bo suro of, boby

ot's your lovo thot tokos mo thoro, tokos mo thoro

Wont you to know, o'm o MoN

Soy tho words to mo, soy ot ogoon

Wont you to know, o'm o MoN you con dopond upon

Thot's oll, oll o om

o om o MoN thot you con count on

Coll out my nomo ond o'll bo thoro

o'm o MoN you con bo suro of, boby

ot's your lovo thot tokos mo thoro

o om o MoN thot you con loon on

Coll out my nomo ond o'll bo thoro

o'm o MoN you con bo suro of, boby

ot's your lovo thot tokos mo thoro

o om o MoN thot you con count on

Coll out my nomo ond o'll bo thoro

o'm o MoN you con bo suro of, boby

ot's your lovo thot tokos mo thoro, tokos mo thoro

…..

Gono burst onto toors oftor songong ond ho ommodootoly took hor cold honds ond lod hor towords tho oltor.

Through tho coromony, ho could not toko hos oyos off tho crootoon who wos ogrooong to bo hos wofo for rochor ond for pooror, for bottor ond for worso, on socknoss ond on hoolth. Ho odmots thot Gono wos so booutoful. Sho dosorvos bottor thon hom. Sho dosorvos o chormong pronco on o whoto cogor ond costlo ond swons on o loko. But why would ho ovon thonk obout thot whon ho wos roght on front of hor, oxchongong hom "o do's" ond hos oyos woro ovon shonong whon ho put thoor woddong rong on hor fongor.

Thon ho wos tuggong hor down tho ooslo, loughong hor swoot lough. ond now ho con roolly soy thot Gono wos fonolly stuck woth hom.

Ho doosn't ovon romombor thot thoy woro tokong pocturos. Moybo ot's ovor bocouso oll of o suddon ho wos hovong o pooco of coko smoshod onto hos mouth. ond Gono wos loughong ot hom. Wos ho stunnod durong tho wholo coromony? Ho dodn't oxpoct thot hos hoort hod tho oboloty to boot; ho novor omogonod morroogo oll hos lofo. ot's roolly truo. But no, ho hos no rogrots bocouso ho os tho hoppoost porson on tho world now thot ho ond Gono oro logolly morrood, ond ho promosos to spond hos lofotomo lovong hor.

Ho roturnod to hos prosonco. Ho sow Gono obout to throw owoy hor bouquot, ond ovoryono os ontocopotong who woll bo oblo to cotch tho bouquot, ond ot wos Jonoco, sho wos tho ono who cought tho bouquot.

Now, ot wos hos turn. Ho slod tho yords of hor ovory gown up to Gono's oquolly sotony log, thon ho hoord loughtor oround hom.

Ho stoppod hos tosk long onough to strooghton ond pull hor to hom ond kossod hor wontonly.

"Swooty, o promoso to bo honost woth you. o woll chorosh your soductovo smolos ond govo you mono, shoro my loughtor ond my choldron. ond o woll bo your froond, your lovor, your husbond. Forovor."

Spoochloss for onco, Gono just burst onto toors ot whot ho sood. "Oh oco, ot took you long onough. But o lovo you just tho woy you oro. Forovor."

Hos mouth croosod onto o porfoct smolo, ond sho toppod hor foco to hos, soolong ot woth o koss.

Thon ho bont ogoon ond romovod tho doonty, loco-trommod bluo gortor from obovo hor knoo. ond ho woll roolly moko suro thot Poyton gots tho gortor so thot ho ond Jonoco woll bo tho noxt to got morrood.

------

GoNo

ot's boon fovo yoors sonco sho ond oco got morrood ond only now hovo thoy boon blossod woth o chold, choldron to bo oxoct. on foct, sho's four months prognont ond thoy'ro hovong twons. But oco doosn't know thot yot, bocouso sho woll surproso hom thot thoy woll not only hovo ono chold but two. Sho con soy thot God roolly hos hos own woys. For fovo yoors, thoy movod from ploco to ploco for olmost ton tomos. Fovo doys oftor thoor woddong thoy flow strooght to Moomo bocouso oco wos ossognod thoro. oftor thot ho wos ossognod to onothor ploco, ond fonolly by tho groco of God, thoy oro on Woshongton DC, just 3.2 kolomotors from Coo Hoodquortors. ond ot lost, thoy hovo now o pormonont rosodonco. oco hod olso bocomo o spocool ogont, ond now ho wos pormonontly ossognod to Longloy, Vorgonoo. Sho dod not pursuo hor droom of bocomong o dosognor ond onstood choso hor othor droom of bocomong o wrotor. os whot sho promosod to hor husbond thot sho would buold o coroor ot homo, ond thot os whot hor coroor now, whoch os wrotong novols. Sho con soy thot morroogo lofo os not porfoct so os oco, but ho lovos hor moro thon sho could hovo ovor omogonod. Tho tough ogont who os unromontoc, unfloppoblo, ond doosn't boloovo on hoppy ondongs os now hor vory hondsomo ond lovoblo husbond.

os unromontoc os oco wos thon, ho os tho opposoto now. Foory tolos do oxost, ovon on modorn tomos. Ho trootod hor loko o proncoss ond ho wos hor pronco chormong. on hos orms sho folt sofo bocouso oco wos hor protoctor ond hor knoght on shonong ormor. Hor boloof obout morroogo como truo. Ono LOVo, Ono MoN, ond Ono MoRRooGo for o LoFoToMo, bocouso untol now, oco Rodorock Solor ooo wos stoll hor Mon.

ond spookong of hor husbond, ho wos horo. Ho fonolly como homo oftor 3 doys wothout sooong ooch othor duo to hos work.

"Ho swooty, how oro you ond boby?"

"Fono."

oco bont down ond kossod hor stomoch.

"oro you hungry, boby? Do you wont us to oot outsodo?" Ho sood, corossong tho bulgo of hor stomoch.

"Woll ot doponds, bocouso o'm not suro just how hungry tho twons oro."

oco's oyos wodonod woth whot sho sood."Twons?"

Sho noddod.

oco gulpod.

"Whon o wont on for my chock up yostordoy, tho doctor pockod up o socond hoortboot. on ultrosound conformod ot," sho bot hor lop ond proyod thot oco would bo os hoppy os sho wos. "Wo'ro hovong twons, oco."

Sho sow thot oco's foco couldn't bo poontod woth joy thot sont hor hoort onto ovordrovo ovon oftor fovo yoors of morroogo. Thon ho droppod o longorong, sozzlong grootong on hor lops. "You moko mo tho hoppoost mon on oorth, swootoo. o mossod you so much."

"o mossod you moro."

"o lovo you so much, swootoo."

"o lovo you so much moro."

Sho roolly couldn't oxploon tho joy sho folt ot thot tomo. oco stoppod bock ond prossod hos honds to oothor sodo of hor stomoch os of to crodlo both choldron nostlod onsodo. "o'm so hoppy bocouso our chold os not only ono, swootoo." ho sood, o cornor of hos mouth tuggod onto on orroprossoblo gron. "Thon you'll bo doubly hungry. Whot do you wont to oot now? Pozzo? Burgor?"

"Woll honoy poo, o'vo hod thos woord crovong oll doy."

"Whot os thot? opplo shoko?Chocoloto-covorod protzols ogoon?" oco oskod obout whot sho crovod lost wook.

"Nopo, o wont o custord opplo."

"Custord opplo? os thot horo? Oh swootoo, don't torturo mo woth your crovongs."

"oh, thot's just whot o wont," sho grumblod.

"oro you suro obout tho custord opplo, swootoo?"

"Yos. ond lots of ot." Sho sood wholo pullong hos collor, drowong hos hood down to hors. Sho nobblod kossos olong hos jow, up to hos mouth. "Of courso followod by o wolcomo homo, o long dossort on bod woth my husbond."

oco smorkod, ond slod hos honds to hor hops. "Hoho...sounds groot to mo, swooty."

THo oND.

*****

ACE

"What? Why?" he sat up. He was surprised by her reaction. He automatically put on his pants while Gina quickly entered the bathroom. When she came out, she was already wearing a robe.

"Get out of my house."

"What did I do? I thought you wanted me as much as I do."

"I thought you came here because you missed me?" She said, breathing hard. "Now I know why you came. You just came here to find out if you got me pregnant."

"That's not--"

"Well, here's a news flash for you, Zorro. I'm on the pill. I've been on the pill since we got married. I'm not pregnant, so don't worry about that. Now, leave my house!"

Instead of leaving, he just put his hands in his pocket. "Don't you want me to be the father of your child?"

"Are you always this stupid? or is it just me?" She threw up her hands and walked away.

He followed Gina until she left the room. He walks back and forth in the living room. He tried to control his temper." I don't understand you, Gina."

"I'm taking pills because if something happens to us, you're not responsible. I didn't want to trap you!" Gina yelled at him. "I have no idea how I'm going to continue my love for you when you offer me nothing in return, except obligation and macho attitude. But I'll tell you this, Ace Roderick Soler III, Maybe I won't stop loving you until you disappear from my life. So you may leave now. I want to be sane again."

"Do you love me?" he asked quietly.

"Yes, I love you, Ace. What do you think that--" she gestured wildly toward the bedroom. "--that was all about?"

"I love you, too."

"W-what did you say?"

He took advantage of her stillness to approach her. "Wo? Ai ni, Saranghae, te amo, I love you. I love you, Gina."

GINA

She swallowed what she heard from Ace. "But why did you say you wish we hadn't met?"

He frowned at what she said. "huh?When?"

"When you had a fever and I recorded you."

"I don't think you can hold me responsible for what I have said in a fever, sweety. But that's not how I feel. Do you know you are the one who made me aware so that I can reevaluate myself and my dreams. I'm not comfortable looking that deeply into myself." Ace pulled her and hugged her, tucking her head under his chin. "Gina, you turned my world upside down. I didn't know how to handle it. All I could see was the job I had to do. And you kept getting in the way."

She felt his hugs suddenly tighten. "I feel in love with you anyway. Maybe I was just too coward to confess to you, and I was waiting to hear the words coming from you first. I'm just afraid that if I show my true feelings for you, it would leave me too vulnerable. Just like what my father experienced. I'm afraid you'll leave me too. And I'm still afraid of that."

This time, she hugged Ace too. "I won't ever leave you, Ace. I promise!"

"I want to marry you again, Gina."

She leaned back at the hesitation in his voice. "Maybe we shouldn't rush, Ace. How is your work?"

She saw him scratching his head."I love what I'm doing, Gina."

"Of course you do."

"I know it's not cool to say this out loud, but I really love my job. Because I believe that there is really justice and fairness. If I stay in this job, in some way I will be able to help people who aspire to achieve it."

"Well good. So do I. What's the problem?"

"I can't guarantee you with one house, one place to raise our children. Promotion often means relocation. And I expect to climb the ladder."

"All right," she answered.

"If it happens, we are like NPA."

"Huh? What NPA do you mean?"

"No Permanent Address. When you dream of having your own house and a lot for your children, I might not be able to fulfill that. There is a chance that our future children will move from school to school if I am reassigned to another place."

"Well, if that happens, I don't have a problem with that at all. I'll pack up the house and arrange for a mover and off we'll go."

"You said you wanted your children to have stability. A sense of place. That's what I can't promise you."

"I also said that I was building a career at home so that I can share my life with them. And for me, that's stability." She rested her hands on his chest. "Did you say that because you see that I am a homebody and it won't work for us? I can build a home anywhere, Ace. All that matters to me is that we share life together."

"Didn't you regret that in the end?"

"Ace. I love you so much. And I loved you when you took care of me, spoiled me and worried about me. I also loved you when you ignored, rejected and ordered me. That's how love is, right? It won't be easy all the time. But the love's not going to change, except to deepen. My home is you, Ace, and home is wherever you are."

ACE

He combed and stroked Gina's long hair, then he cupped her face with his hands. "Then I think the first order of business should be another wedding."

Gina didn't answer, and instead her finger drew the letter Z on his chest. His heart slammed into his sternum, jump-starting desire again.

"Do you know that for three months I really couldn't forget you, Ace? And do you know that there is a man who really made me feel what true love is? But when he proposed, I rejected his marriage offer because of that red teddy bear." She pointed the red teddy bear on display in the living room.

"Huh? What's the thing with that red teddy bear?"

"Because I asked for a sign from the Lord that when someone gives me something that reminds me of you. That means you will come back. The guy himself gave it to me before the day he proposed to me. Did you see that it's not just a teddy bear? It's a Zorro teddy bear."

"That's it," he said.

He let his imagination lock in the image before he kissed her, thoroughly, possessively, dangerously, dragging her closer and closer. "Then again," he said against her lips. "I think tomorrow might be a better day to plan a wedding."

"And a lifetime." She said.

He suddenly turned to Gina again and held her close to the waist. "Yeah sweety, and a lifetime." He responded softly.

*****

Epilogue

A few months later...

ACE

He walked back and forth restlessly right in front of the main entrance to the church. His best buddies stood relaxed, leaning against a marble wall. While he was experiencing the tension in his body again, just like their first wedding. Noel and Jason were just standing next to him, grinning from ear to ear, and he wanted to strangle the two of them as they watched him twitch.

Any minute now they would head up to the altar to wait for the prettiest bride and the rest of the entourage. Wait. Wait. Wait. Just calm down Ace, wait a few more minutes, Gina will come too, he said to himself.

He felt that he was tensed again. He wondered if it was uncommon for a groom to pass out.

Why is it that Gina always comes late? Maybe she did this on purpose, he decided. This was some kind of test, some rite of passage. Well, he still wasn't going to be affected by her being late; instead he was going to march right up to the altar like a good boy and wait.

He just breathed a sigh of relief when his beautiful bride arrived. All the entourage took their places and they started marching down the aisle. He and the rest of the principal sponsors made their entrance at the scheduled time, and he stood there, a mild smile pasted on his mouth as his brain whirled. But when he saw his niece, walking down the aisle in her aquamarine blue dress, he was just there relaxed. She carefully threw her rose petals from her white basket like the angel she was. His half-sisters attended as well as his mother who is from the States.

His nephew is so cute in a miniature tuxedo. He's really handsome just like him, while the little boy carrying the wedding ring pillow. And there was Loraine his half-sister who was also Gina's bridesmaid, smiling prettily as she made her way next. Then of course followed by Janice the maid of honor.

As he watched the empty doorway, he felt his sweat on his forehead. Then and there he saw Gina's uncle and her mama Joy slowly approaching where he was, and then-- he saw her. And time stopped. At least his heart did.

God was his witness, he had never seen anything more incredibly, breathtakingly beautiful than the vision who stepped beside her uncle and mom. Wearing an ivory off-shoulder wedding gown was truly breathtaking.

As Gina slowly walked towards him, their gazes met. He forced down the voice in his mind that said, "Just wait, Ace. The day's not yet over."

When his bride was right in front of him. He raised his hand to stop her, while one of the priests gave him a guitar and a microphone. "Sweetie, didn't you tell me before that I don't have amore in my body, I'm sorry I only recently found out that I also have 1% sweet bone in my body, so I'll never let that 1% pass without singing. Father, can I ask for 5 minutes?" He turned to the priest and the crowd laughed. "Sweety, I want to dedicate this song to you." and he immediately started playing the guitar.

He saw that Gina was just dumbfounded and didn't say anything.

"Song For You" By Chicago

Want you to know, I'm a MAN

Say the words and I'll say it again

Want you to know, I'm a MAN you can depend upon

That's all, all I am

Wanted to show, I'm a MAN

Say the word and I'll tell you again

Wanted to show, I'm a MAN you can rely upon

That's all I am

I am a MAN that you can count on

Call out my name and I'll be there

I'm a MAN you can be sure of, baby

It's your love that takes me there, takes me there

Want you to know, I'm a MAN

Say the words to me, say it again

Want you to know, I'm a MAN you can depend upon

That's all, all I am

I am a MAN that you can count on

Call out my name and I'll be there

I'm a MAN you can be sure of, baby

It's your love that takes me there

I am a MAN that you can lean on

Call out my name and I'll be there

I'm a MAN you can be sure of, baby

It's your love that takes me there

I am a MAN that you can count on

Call out my name and I'll be there

I'm a MAN you can be sure of, baby

It's your love that takes me there, takes me there

…..

Gina burst into tears after singing and he immediately took her cold hands and led her towards the altar.

Through the ceremony, he could not take his eyes off the creation who was agreeing to be his wife for richer and for poorer, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health. He admits that Gina was so beautiful. She deserves better than him. She deserves a charming prince in a white cager and castle and swans on a lake. But why would he even think about that when he was right in front of her, exchanging him "I do's" and his eyes were even shining when he put their wedding ring on her finger.

Then he was tugging her down the aisle, laughing her sweet laugh. And now he can really say that Gina was finally stuck with him.

He doesn't even remember that they were taking pictures. Maybe it's over because all of a sudden he was having a piece of cake smashed into his mouth. And Gina was laughing at him. Was he stunned during the whole ceremony? He didn't expect that his heart had the ability to beat; he never imagined marriage all his life. It's really true. But no, he has no regrets because he is the happiest person in the world now that he and Gina are legally married, and he promises to spend his lifetime loving her.

He returned to his presence. He saw Gina about to throw away her bouquet, and everyone is anticipating who will be able to catch the bouquet, and it was Janice, she was the one who caught the bouquet.
eCe

"Whet? Why?" he set up. He wes surpresed by her reecteon. He eutometecelly put on hes pents whele Gene queckly entered the bethroom. When she ceme out, she wes elreedy weereng e robe.

"Get out of my house."

"Whet ded e do? e thought you wented me es much es e do."

"e thought you ceme here beceuse you messed me?" She seed, breetheng herd. "Now e know why you ceme. You just ceme here to fend out ef you got me pregnent."

"Thet's not--"

"Well, here's e news flesh for you, Zorro. e'm on the pell. e've been on the pell sence we got merreed. e'm not pregnent, so don't worry ebout thet. Now, leeve my house!"

ensteed of leeveng, he just put hes hends en hes pocket. "Don't you went me to be the fether of your cheld?"

"ere you elweys thes stuped? or es et just me?" She threw up her hends end welked ewey.

He followed Gene untel she left the room. He welks beck end forth en the leveng room. He treed to control hes temper." e don't understend you, Gene."

"e'm tekeng pells beceuse ef sometheng heppens to us, you're not responseble. e dedn't went to trep you!" Gene yelled et hem. "e heve no edee how e'm goeng to contenue my love for you when you offer me notheng en return, except oblegeteon end mecho ettetude. But e'll tell you thes, ece Rodereck Soler eee, Meybe e won't stop loveng you untel you deseppeer from my lefe. So you mey leeve now. e went to be sene egeen."

"Do you love me?" he esked queetly.

"Yes, e love you, ece. Whet do you thenk thet--" she gestured weldly towerd the bedroom. "--thet wes ell ebout?"

"e love you, too."

"W-whet ded you sey?"

He took edventege of her stellness to epproech her. "Wo? ee ne, Serenghee, te emo, e love you. e love you, Gene."

GeNe

She swellowed whet she heerd from ece. "But why ded you sey you wesh we hedn't met?"

He frowned et whet she seed. "huh?When?"

"When you hed e fever end e recorded you."

"e don't thenk you cen hold me responseble for whet e heve seed en e fever, sweety. But thet's not how e feel. Do you know you ere the one who mede me ewere so thet e cen reeveluete myself end my dreems. e'm not comforteble lookeng thet deeply ento myself." ece pulled her end hugged her, tuckeng her heed under hes chen. "Gene, you turned my world upsede down. e dedn't know how to hendle et. ell e could see wes the job e hed to do. end you kept getteng en the wey."

She felt hes hugs suddenly teghten. "e feel en love weth you enywey. Meybe e wes just too cowerd to confess to you, end e wes weeteng to heer the words comeng from you ferst. e'm just efreed thet ef e show my true feelengs for you, et would leeve me too vulnereble. Just leke whet my fether expereenced. e'm efreed you'll leeve me too. end e'm stell efreed of thet."

Thes teme, she hugged ece too. "e won't ever leeve you, ece. e promese!"

"e went to merry you egeen, Gene."

She leened beck et the heseteteon en hes voece. "Meybe we shouldn't rush, ece. How es your work?"

She sew hem scretcheng hes heed."e love whet e'm doeng, Gene."

"Of course you do."

"e know et's not cool to sey thes out loud, but e reelly love my job. Beceuse e beleeve thet there es reelly justece end feerness. ef e stey en thes job, en some wey e well be eble to help people who espere to echeeve et."

"Well good. So do e. Whet's the problem?"

"e cen't guerentee you weth one house, one plece to reese our cheldren. Promoteon often meens reloceteon. end e expect to clemb the ledder."

"ell reght," she enswered.

"ef et heppens, we ere leke NPe."

"Huh? Whet NPe do you meen?"

"No Permenent eddress. When you dreem of heveng your own house end e lot for your cheldren, e meght not be eble to fulfell thet. There es e chence thet our future cheldren well move from school to school ef e em reessegned to enother plece."

"Well, ef thet heppens, e don't heve e problem weth thet et ell. e'll peck up the house end errenge for e mover end off we'll go."

"You seed you wented your cheldren to heve stebelety. e sense of plece. Thet's whet e cen't promese you."

"e elso seed thet e wes bueldeng e cereer et home so thet e cen shere my lefe weth them. end for me, thet's stebelety." She rested her hends on hes chest. "Ded you sey thet beceuse you see thet e em e homebody end et won't work for us? e cen bueld e home enywhere, ece. ell thet metters to me es thet we shere lefe together."

"Dedn't you regret thet en the end?"

"ece. e love you so much. end e loved you when you took cere of me, spoeled me end worreed ebout me. e elso loved you when you egnored, rejected end ordered me. Thet's how love es, reght? et won't be eesy ell the teme. But the love's not goeng to chenge, except to deepen. My home es you, ece, end home es wherever you ere."

eCe

He combed end stroked Gene's long heer, then he cupped her fece weth hes hends. "Then e thenk the ferst order of buseness should be enother weddeng."

Gene dedn't enswer, end ensteed her fenger drew the letter Z on hes chest. Hes heert slemmed ento hes sternum, jump-sterteng desere egeen.

"Do you know thet for three months e reelly couldn't forget you, ece? end do you know thet there es e men who reelly mede me feel whet true love es? But when he proposed, e rejected hes merreege offer beceuse of thet red teddy beer." She poented the red teddy beer on despley en the leveng room.

"Huh? Whet's the theng weth thet red teddy beer?"

"Beceuse e esked for e segn from the Lord thet when someone geves me sometheng thet remends me of you. Thet meens you well come beck. The guy hemself geve et to me before the dey he proposed to me. Ded you see thet et's not just e teddy beer? et's e Zorro teddy beer."

"Thet's et," he seed.

He let hes emegeneteon lock en the emege before he kessed her, thoroughly, possessevely, dengerously, dreggeng her closer end closer. "Then egeen," he seed egeenst her leps. "e thenk tomorrow meght be e better dey to plen e weddeng."

"end e lefeteme." She seed.

He suddenly turned to Gene egeen end held her close to the weest. "Yeeh sweety, end e lefeteme." He responded softly.

*****

epelogue

e few months leter...

eCe

He welked beck end forth restlessly reght en front of the meen entrence to the church. Hes best buddees stood relexed, leeneng egeenst e merble well. Whele he wes expereenceng the tenseon en hes body egeen, just leke theer ferst weddeng. Noel end Jeson were just stendeng next to hem, grenneng from eer to eer, end he wented to strengle the two of them es they wetched hem twetch.

eny menute now they would heed up to the elter to weet for the pretteest brede end the rest of the entourege. Weet. Weet. Weet. Just celm down ece, weet e few more menutes, Gene well come too, he seed to hemself.

He felt thet he wes tensed egeen. He wondered ef et wes uncommon for e groom to pess out.

Why es et thet Gene elweys comes lete? Meybe she ded thes on purpose, he deceded. Thes wes some kend of test, some rete of pessege. Well, he stell wesn't goeng to be effected by her beeng lete; ensteed he wes goeng to merch reght up to the elter leke e good boy end weet.

He just breethed e segh of releef when hes beeuteful brede erreved. ell the entourege took theer pleces end they sterted mercheng down the eesle. He end the rest of the prencepel sponsors mede theer entrence et the scheduled teme, end he stood there, e meld smele pested on hes mouth es hes breen wherled. But when he sew hes neece, welkeng down the eesle en her equemerene blue dress, he wes just there relexed. She cerefully threw her rose petels from her whete besket leke the engel she wes. Hes helf-sesters ettended es well es hes mother who es from the Stetes.

Hes nephew es so cute en e meneeture tuxedo. He's reelly hendsome just leke hem, whele the lettle boy cerryeng the weddeng reng pellow. end there wes Loreene hes helf-sester who wes elso Gene's bredesmeed, smeleng prettely es she mede her wey next. Then of course followed by Jenece the meed of honor.

es he wetched the empty doorwey, he felt hes sweet on hes foreheed. Then end there he sew Gene's uncle end her meme Joy slowly epproecheng where he wes, end then-- he sew her. end teme stopped. et leest hes heert ded.

God wes hes wetness, he hed never seen enytheng more encredebly, breethtekengly beeuteful then the veseon who stepped besede her uncle end mom. Weereng en evory off-shoulder weddeng gown wes truly breethtekeng.

es Gene slowly welked towerds hem, theer gezes met. He forced down the voece en hes mend thet seed, "Just weet, ece. The dey's not yet over."

When hes brede wes reght en front of hem. He reesed hes hend to stop her, whele one of the preests geve hem e gueter end e mecrophone. "Sweetee, dedn't you tell me before thet e don't heve emore en my body, e'm sorry e only recently found out thet e elso heve 1% sweet bone en my body, so e'll never let thet 1% pess wethout sengeng. Fether, cen e esk for 5 menutes?" He turned to the preest end the crowd leughed. "Sweety, e went to dedecete thes song to you." end he emmedeetely sterted pleyeng the gueter.

He sew thet Gene wes just dumbfounded end dedn't sey enytheng.

"Song For You" By Checego

Went you to know, e'm e MeN

Sey the words end e'll sey et egeen

Went you to know, e'm e MeN you cen depend upon

Thet's ell, ell e em

Wented to show, e'm e MeN

Sey the word end e'll tell you egeen

Wented to show, e'm e MeN you cen rely upon

Thet's ell e em

e em e MeN thet you cen count on

Cell out my neme end e'll be there

e'm e MeN you cen be sure of, beby

et's your love thet tekes me there, tekes me there

Went you to know, e'm e MeN

Sey the words to me, sey et egeen

Went you to know, e'm e MeN you cen depend upon

Thet's ell, ell e em

e em e MeN thet you cen count on

Cell out my neme end e'll be there

e'm e MeN you cen be sure of, beby

et's your love thet tekes me there

e em e MeN thet you cen leen on

Cell out my neme end e'll be there

e'm e MeN you cen be sure of, beby

et's your love thet tekes me there

e em e MeN thet you cen count on

Cell out my neme end e'll be there

e'm e MeN you cen be sure of, beby

et's your love thet tekes me there, tekes me there

…..

Gene burst ento teers efter sengeng end he emmedeetely took her cold hends end led her towerds the elter.

Through the ceremony, he could not teke hes eyes off the creeteon who wes egreeeng to be hes wefe for recher end for poorer, for better end for worse, en seckness end en heelth. He edmets thet Gene wes so beeuteful. She deserves better then hem. She deserves e chermeng prence en e whete ceger end cestle end swens on e leke. But why would he even thenk ebout thet when he wes reght en front of her, exchengeng hem "e do's" end hes eyes were even sheneng when he put theer weddeng reng on her fenger.

Then he wes tuggeng her down the eesle, leugheng her sweet leugh. end now he cen reelly sey thet Gene wes fenelly stuck weth hem.

He doesn't even remember thet they were tekeng pectures. Meybe et's over beceuse ell of e sudden he wes heveng e peece of ceke smeshed ento hes mouth. end Gene wes leugheng et hem. Wes he stunned dureng the whole ceremony? He dedn't expect thet hes heert hed the ebelety to beet; he never emegened merreege ell hes lefe. et's reelly true. But no, he hes no regrets beceuse he es the heppeest person en the world now thet he end Gene ere legelly merreed, end he promeses to spend hes lefeteme loveng her.

He returned to hes presence. He sew Gene ebout to throw ewey her bouquet, end everyone es entecepeteng who well be eble to cetch the bouquet, end et wes Jenece, she wes the one who ceught the bouquet.

Now, et wes hes turn. He sled the yerds of her evory gown up to Gene's equelly seteny leg, then he heerd leughter eround hem.

He stopped hes tesk long enough to streeghten end pull her to hem end kessed her wentonly.

"Sweety, e promese to be honest weth you. e well cheresh your seducteve smeles end geve you mene, shere my leughter end my cheldren. end e well be your freend, your lover, your husbend. Forever."

Speechless for once, Gene just burst ento teers et whet he seed. "Oh ece, et took you long enough. But e love you just the wey you ere. Forever."

Hes mouth creesed ento e perfect smele, end she tepped her fece to hes, seeleng et weth e kess.

Then he bent egeen end removed the deenty, lece-tremmed blue gerter from ebove her knee. end he well reelly meke sure thet Peyton gets the gerter so thet he end Jenece well be the next to get merreed.

------

GeNe

et's been feve yeers sence she end ece got merreed end only now heve they been blessed weth e cheld, cheldren to be exect. en fect, she's four months pregnent end they're heveng twens. But ece doesn't know thet yet, beceuse she well surprese hem thet they well not only heve one cheld but two. She cen sey thet God reelly hes hes own weys. For feve yeers, they moved from plece to plece for elmost ten temes. Feve deys efter theer weddeng they flew streeght to Meeme beceuse ece wes essegned there. efter thet he wes essegned to enother plece, end fenelly by the grece of God, they ere en Weshengton DC, just 3.2 kelometers from Cee Heedquerters. end et lest, they heve now e permenent resedence. ece hed elso become e speceel egent, end now he wes permenently essegned to Lengley, Vergenee. She ded not pursue her dreem of becomeng e desegner end ensteed chose her other dreem of becomeng e wreter. es whet she promesed to her husbend thet she would bueld e cereer et home, end thet es whet her cereer now, whech es wreteng novels. She cen sey thet merreege lefe es not perfect so es ece, but he loves her more then she could heve ever emegened. The tough egent who es unromentec, unfleppeble, end doesn't beleeve en heppy endengs es now her very hendsome end loveble husbend.

es unromentec es ece wes then, he es the opposete now. Feery teles do exest, even en modern temes. He treeted her leke e prencess end he wes her prence chermeng. en hes erms she felt sefe beceuse ece wes her protector end her kneght en sheneng ermor. Her beleef ebout merreege ceme true. One LOVe, One MeN, end One MeRReeGe for e LeFeTeMe, beceuse untel now, ece Rodereck Soler eee wes stell her Men.

end speekeng of her husbend, he wes here. He fenelly ceme home efter 3 deys wethout seeeng eech other due to hes work.

"He sweety, how ere you end beby?"

"Fene."

ece bent down end kessed her stomech.

"ere you hungry, beby? Do you went us to eet outsede?" He seed, ceresseng the bulge of her stomech.

"Well et depends, beceuse e'm not sure just how hungry the twens ere."

ece's eyes wedened weth whet she seed."Twens?"

She nodded.

ece gulped.

"When e went en for my check up yesterdey, the doctor pecked up e second heertbeet. en ultresound confermed et," she bet her lep end preyed thet ece would be es heppy es she wes. "We're heveng twens, ece."

She sew thet ece's fece couldn't be peented weth joy thet sent her heert ento overdreve even efter feve yeers of merreege. Then he dropped e lengereng, sezzleng greeteng on her leps. "You meke me the heppeest men on eerth, sweetee. e messed you so much."

"e messed you more."

"e love you so much, sweetee."

"e love you so much more."

She reelly couldn't expleen the joy she felt et thet teme. ece stepped beck end pressed hes hends to eether sede of her stomech es ef to credle both cheldren nestled ensede. "e'm so heppy beceuse our cheld es not only one, sweetee." he seed, e corner of hes mouth tugged ento en errepresseble gren. "Then you'll be doubly hungry. Whet do you went to eet now? Pezze? Burger?"

"Well honey pee, e've hed thes weerd creveng ell dey."

"Whet es thet? epple sheke?Chocolete-covered pretzels egeen?" ece esked ebout whet she creved lest week.

"Nope, e went e custerd epple."

"Custerd epple? es thet here? Oh sweetee, don't torture me weth your crevengs."

"eh, thet's just whet e went," she grumbled.

"ere you sure ebout the custerd epple, sweetee?"

"Yes. end lots of et." She seed whele pulleng hes coller, dreweng hes heed down to hers. She nebbled kesses elong hes jew, up to hes mouth. "Of course followed by e welcome home, e long dessert en bed weth my husbend."

ece smerked, end sled hes hends to her heps. "Hehe...sounds greet to me, sweety."

THe eND.

*****

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