This is it the last chapter! I posted a day early for all my loyal reviewers, readers, and followers!

Thank you all for reading this story between the bridge and party which we didn't see in the 1982 movie. I plan to continue with a sequel entitled Mothers and Daughters, it will answer more questions leading up to the wedding. I'm hoping to start posting the sequel no later than June, it's still in it's infancy (so stay tuned). :-) Also, I have some ideas for one-shots that may appear here and there utilizing this Annie universe as well! ;-)

A Big Thanks to my beta Sis21K again for editing and supporting my story throughout this whole process! I also want to give a big shout out to markaleen for previewing each chapter for me! You two have been wonderful through this journey with your support and suggestions. :-)

Chapter 9 - 9:10-9:45 a.m.

9:10 am - Oliver's Office

"You ... you … what?" questioned a flabbergasted Oliver.

"Daaaaddyyyy Warbucks, I sssssaaaaaid I've noticed mom's lackin' a ring on her finger!" repeated Annie with slight annoyance and humor to her tone, "I thought I gave you plenty of time to 'seal the deal'! What happened?!"

"What happened?! What happened?! This ball of energy came barging into us before I could 'seal the deal' thank you very much!" replied Oliver with his own mock of annoyance as he tweaked Annie's nose.

"Well, that 'ball of energy' was mighty hungry and missed'ya too!" cheekily responded Annie. Grace and Oliver shared shy yet happy grins with her and with each other. Oliver then nonverbally signaled for his two ladies to join him at the small table as he pushed the serving cart toward it for easier access.

"Soooooo, what's the hold up? You both love each other? Is it 'cause of the other lady? Aunt Abigail said, out in the garden, that mom thought all that girlie jewelry in your drawers were for that other lady. But, once I told her what I saw she figured that you were subcontinently buyin'em for mom. Is that right? And, that ring was for mom especially when I told Aunt Abigail what it looked like. She said mom pro … pro … processed its in … in … invoid or something like that and she thought it was for that other lady, but must have been wrong. Am I right?" rambled on Annie not letting either of her parents answer until she ran out of steam.

"First off, it's subconsciousness and invoice," corrected Oliver with a soft tone, "and secondly yes I purchased all of that jewelry with your mother in mind. BUT, I also want you to understand why I have all that jewelry in those secret compartments …" Annie responded with a head nod after taking another bite of her eggs.

"It's a way of redistributing or diversitizing my wealth so that if something happened like the Stock Market Crash again the deflation of the dollar won't hurt us like it may others," continued Oliver.

"Oh … okay, so are you gonna get on your knee and propose'ta mom now?" questioned Annie.

"Did you not listen to what I just said?!" questioned an exasperated Oliver. Grace stifled her laughter as she witnessed their little tete-a-tete because it appeared like both parties had forgotten that she was even in the room.

"No, I heard'ya daddy but I don't understand those big words and I'd rather have you propose'ta mom than have another word lesson right now," nonchalantly answered Annie. This did cause Grace to erupt into giggles.

"Grace, this is not funny," stated Oliver seriously increasing Grace's giggles to full out laughter.

"MOOOM, daddy Warbucks is soooo right! It is a very serious matter!" reverberated Annie. "If you guys get married by tomorrow night we can have a … a … a double party, I think that's what you would call it … for my adoption and your marriage. Grandpa William said that if you wanted'ta you could drive across the state line and get hitched in Jersey, but Grandma Esther turned a deep color red and said no such thing would happen on her watch! I thought it was a swell idea, but I guess not 'cause Aunt Abigail also said she vetoed the idea as well. Whatever that means!"

"Oh really! What party are you talking about Miss Annie? I was unaware of a party," stated Grace as she attempted to control her mirth at the situation yet continued to hold onto hope that Oliver would definitely 'seal the deal' as Annie put it.

"MOOOOM, you're delaying the proposal with all your questions, good heavens! Okay, Grandma Esther, Mrs. Greer, and Mrs. Pugh ... I guess this morning in the kitchen ... they thought it would be a great idea'ta combine 4th of July and my adoption by throwin' one grand party tomorrow! I thought we could make it a weddin' party too until Grandma Esther shot down my idea of you two goin'ta Jersey'ta ... what's the word … antelope? But I'd settle for an engagement party!" joyfully stated Annie as she looked at her parents expectantly. Grace and Oliver both shared humorous grins at Annie's continued attempts to use words that were not quite what she was looking for during her statements.

"Elopement, dear," quietly corrected Grace with a hint of humor to it. She then turned a deep red as she shyly looked toward Oliver and stated, "I'm sure if your father wanted to 'seal the deal' he would find no objections from me. However, we shouldn't pressure him if he's not ready." Oh please, how I hope he gets down on one knee soon … Just then Oliver cleared his throat and tugged at his collar again as a sudden thought came to him. This immediately stopped Grace's train of thought as she watched the color drain from his face a bit.

"I will be right back I need to do something. Why don't you two beautiful ladies continue without me," stated Oliver as he quickly rose from his seat and briskly walked toward the door leaving two perplexed ladies behind without explaining the purpose of his departure. I need to talk to William. If I want to do this properly … well it just dawned on me … I mean ... I NOW have a daughter myself … and I would hope that one day her suitor would ask me for her hand in marriage before proposing to her. Geez, William and Esther deserve that respect and honor as well.

"Mom what just happened?" questioned Annie as she quickly turned toward her mother for answers. "He hasn't changed his mind has he?"

Grace attempted to conceal her dread and heartache from Annie as she too was mystified by Oliver's departure, "I don't know Annie."

"Do'ya think I pushed'ta hard?!" continued Annie with more trepidation in her voice, " I didn't mean'ta push him. I really wantcha two'ta get tagether, but I also wanta go'ta Coney Island."

The Coney Island comment threw Grace for a loop derailing her worry and heartache for a moment. "What's this about Coney Island Annie?"

"Well'ya see I wanted'ta earn my keep 'round here, even though you said I didn't need'ta. Sooooo, I decided I would secretly earn it by helpin' daddy Warbucks with his image and getcha two tagether before I went back'ta the orphanage. Aunt Abigail and I made a bet on Sunday in the park before shoppin' that if I gotcha two tagether during my stay she'd take me'ta Coney Island, but if I lost I had'ta stay with her and Ellis for a week'ta change Willis' diapers. On Sunday, I thought it was a win-win situation 'cause I'd get outta the orphanage either way," finished Annie with a half shrug but worry still etched on her face.

"I see … it appears I will need to have a similar discussion with my sister … one which I just had with your father about encouraging your gambling habits whether it be with cards or with life, won't I?" Grace asked while giving Annie an eskimo kiss in an attempt to lighten her mood. "I also think I need to definitely teach you, sooner rather than later, a few other card games to expand your repertoire to end you tendency to bet."

"Ah moooooom …" trailed of Annie as the door to the office opened revealing not only Oliver but William and Esther as well.

"Annie, come here for a moment," instructed Oliver with a serious tone and face while he beckoned her with his finger. Annie immediately looked toward her mother for reassurance and Grace briskly nodded to her to follow Oliver's request, however, not without her own trepidation seeping into her body. During their silent conversation William and Esther entered the room walking toward the small table to join Grace with serious expressions on their faces. Grace noted their looks with anguish but hastily turned her attention back toward Annie silently watching as she joined Oliver. She attempted to catch Oliver's eye but he refused to look at her not wanting to sway her decision or give away his own emotions on the current situation.

When Oliver closed the door behind Annie and himself Grace let out a soft gasp of dread as she continued to stare at the closed door silently beckoning her two loves to return to her pronto. Oliver … Esther hastily placed her hand on top of Grace's to draw her attention back to them. Once Grace tore her eyes off the door and turned her full attention toward her 'parents' they both gasped themselves due to their shock when her shiny tormented eyes met theirs. "Grace, dear, what's with the sudden tears?!" questioned a concerned Esther once she found her voice.

"What's with all the unshed tears? Are you jesting?! You're here to tell me that Oliver doesn't want meeee!" protested Grace as silent tears burst forth coursing down her cheeks.

"WHAT?! No, leapin' lizards, YOU TWO are pieces of work, I think Annie's on to something about adults, at least you two, you are more complicated than kids right now!" William stated adamantly as he tried to sooth Grace.

"Then why are you here?!" wailed Grace as she wiped away her tears with her handkerchief.

"Well, my dear, we came to see how you feel about Oliver. So, my dear, how do you feel about Oliver?" inquired Esther as she prolonged Grace's agony a bit. Oh my! Oliver! These two are pieces of work! He must not have told Grace the purpose of his departure! Hmmm, do I prolong her agony or do I tell her ... No, it's every mother's right to torture her child, just a bit, for the fun of it as pay back for all the grey hairs she's caused over the years, right!? Awe, my dear William has figured it out too. And, if the slight twinkle in his eyes weren't enough of an indication that he's all for prolonging her torment then forty years of marriage and mastering our silent communicaton would!

"HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT OLIVER?! Are you kidding me?!" Grace questioned with an edge of surrealism to her voice.

"Grace, do not talk to your 'mother' like that! Now, humor us, how do you feel about Oliver?" continued William.

Grace glared at both of them before responding through gritted teeth while her eyes flashed with her Irish ire, "I am absolutely, positively in love with him and I know you are very aware of these feelings!"

"Thank you for confirming what we are already know, we just wanted to double check. Now, how do you want things to proceed with Oliver?" continued Esther.

"What do you mean?! I would think HE as well as YOU TWO would be fully aware of how I want things to 'PROCEED!'" stated Grace as she used air quotes around proceed.

"So, even if society makes comments about your relationship you will be able to ignore them and look past their evilness?" questioned Esther getting to the heart of Grace's earlier fears.

"Yes, I would definitely be able to look past their sinister comments … all I need is Oliver and Annie reciprocating my unconditional love to quickly look past their snooty opinions. Oliver even stated that he doesn't give a 'damn' about what they think about him or us!" confidently rebutted Grace.

"Well, that's good because Oliver asked for your hand in marriage a few minutes ago. However, I requested that we talk with you prior to his proposal so we would know exactly how you felt, even though we had a pretty good idea before hand. We also had a chat with Oliver before giving him our blessings. You see we wanted to make sure that he will always treat you like his queen by giving you his unconditional love, loyalty, and trust which you deserve for the next 50 years. I said 30 years but he corrected me and stated at least 50 years," finished a slightly perplexed William and ending their ruse.

During his recount of their previous encounter with Oliver, Grace slowly shook her head in disbelief as giddy tears rolled down her face. When William talked about the 30 versus 50 years Grace let out a full out snort. She soon cheekily shared the inside joke with Esther and William, "Oliver made a comment earlier about the next 30 years and I told him he better make that 50 years at least." This caused all three of them to chuckle.

"Now I understand why he was so adamant about 50 years, and yes we gave him our blessings. Grace, dear, I just want you to be happy and as your … your 'father' I also want to make sure this is what you truly want," choked out William for the last time.

"Yes, all I've ever wanted was Oliver and now I want Annie too! I couldn't imagine life any other way now," emphatically stated Grace as she reached out to clasp both Esther and William's hands then squeezed them with affection.

"Good, now I believe we've let Oliver stew enough outside. We will also make sure a little person, also known as Annie, will give him at least five minutes to propose before bursting back into the office for confirmation that you've 'sealed the deal," boldly finished Esther which caused all three of them to burst out into laughter again knowing full well that's exactly what she would do.

"Good luck with containing our little fire cracker," jested Grace as she too rose from the table with Esther and William but halted the procession near the sofa. Esther and William both placed chaste kisses on her cheek in addition to giving her hugs of support before resuming their original destination toward the door.

Esther turned prior to reaching the door to blow a kiss toward Grace and nonchalantly added, "Oh, Helen, Dottie, and I nearly have tomorrow's party planned out and booked so you needn't worry about it, just enjoy and bask in the love of your newly built family. The party will be spectacular and to all your liking, to not only commemorate 4th of July, but Annie's adoption in addition to the celebration of your upcoming nuptials. Also, I'm sure you already heard I've vetoed the notion of an elopement, besides you wouldn't want to rob any of us the joy of planning and watching your wedding. After all, I have complete faith that we will have everything ready by next weekend." Esther threw over her shoulder with a wink just as William opened the door for her. He then gestured for Oliver to enter while blocking Annie from following behind her father.

As the door closed Grace and Oliver both heard Annie's protest to Esther and William about their denial of her entrance. This caused both her parents to erupt into guffaws as they pictured their daughter's attempt to negotiate her entrance while imitating her father's mannerisms. Just as their laughs were dying down they heard through the door, "you've got five minutes daddy 'fore I come in there!" This caused another round of laughter for not only her parents but also Esther and William on the other side of the door.

Once they both regained a semblance of their wits and they looked toward each other to finally 'seal the deal' they felt awkwardness start to creep back into the room. Grace ducked her head as Oliver cleared his throat but he quickly reached for her hand. He then tugged her gently over to the sofa to sit with him.

Once they were both seated, Oliver cleared his throat again to start his dialogue, but Grace placed her index finger on his lips as she steadily looked at him with a spark of fiery in her eyes, "Oliver, before you say anything, I want you to know … that I never want you to scare me like that again especially when it comes to my heart! Do I make myself clear?!"

"What … what in the world are you talking about Grace?!" Oliver squawked back flabbergasted by her chastising again.

Once more Grace emphasized her response by pairing the poking of her index finger into Oliver's chest when she replied, "I mean you left Annie and I without a word of your intentions and as noble as it may have been it left us completely confused and … and … and my heart was in my throat again. Do you understand me now?!"

"Well … well … well that wasn't my intention at all …" stammered Oliver as the door cracked open revealing Annie's head.

"Golly Ned, it's been five minutes already and you two HAVE YET to 'seal the deal' and I'm still hungry!" supplied Annie before a hand pulled her back out the door. Oliver and Grace both stifled laughs as they attempted to refocus their attention back on the other, however, their shared mirth unleashed another round of laughter.

Once their laughter was under control and they also shared a knowing look that their daughter would soon burst into the room whether they 'sealed the deal' or not, Oliver finished his earlier explanation, "Grace I never meant to scare you. Just … well … it dawned on me that … well I would hope … one day Annie's beau would ask for her hand in marriage and well … well … I figured I better do it too out of respect and love for you as well as William and Esther." When Oliver finished the last part he started to pull at his collar again as nervousness started to take over; however, Grace set him at ease quickly when she cupped his face between her hands then placed a searing kiss to his lips as a means of agreement toward his earlier actions.

Unbeknownst to Oliver or Grace during their kiss the door slowly cracked open so the others waiting out in the hall could have full disclosure to the upcoming proposal. Three bodies stood in an embrace with William standing behind Esther as she held onto Annie in anticipation. The three had a perfect view of Grace and Oliver as they utilized the decorative mirror on the back wall to watch the 'Grace and Oliver Proposal Show.'

Annie slowly inhaled a frustrated sigh but softly exhaled it as Esther squeezed her to nonverbally tell her to be still; and just as she started to divert her eyes from the mirror to question Esther's gesture she saw her daddy Warbucks slowly slide off the sofa onto his knee. She nearly squealed with excitement but Esther gently squeezed her again to hush her.

After releasing their lips from the searing kiss as well as requiring air both parties rested their foreheads together in contentment enjoying the peace that enveloped them. Oliver then affectionately pecked Grace's lips three more times before taking in a deep breath while holding Grace's gaze. Alright Oliver old boy! It's time to 'seal the deal!'

Then slowly Oliver pulled away from Grace as he slide from his spot onto the floor as he fumbled in his pocket for the ring. During his descent, tears of joy sprung into Grace's eyes and when he pulled out the ring she gasped as everything seemed to come full circle. Oh, he's finally going to 'seal the deal!' I'm finally going to have everything I've every wanted! Oh my, the ring is so lovely, it's description years ago didn't justify it's tranquility and elegance! Focus Grace, even though you can barely see through unshed tears!

"Grace, I purchased this ring after our first trip to Paris. I was so elated that the rumors about you having a beau were false in addition to the closeness I felt for you, I subconsciously agreed to go to Tiffany's with the sole purpose of purchasing you a ring to 'seal the deal.' When I saw this ring I knew it was the one, not only because of it's elegance but because the center stone reminded me so much of your mesmerizing eyes. I am just sorry my proposal is six years later … and if I am being honest a decade later because you have had my heart for over 10 years now. So … I guess what I am trying to say is … well would you do me the greatest honor and agree to becoming my wife?" continued Oliver as he fought past the lump of elated emotions in his throat toward the end of his proposal.

Grace answered, "yes!" as she raised her shaky left hand toward him to place the ring on her finger. Once the ring was securely on her finger she slowly slid into Oliver's arms sealing her pledge with a toe curling kiss. They broke apart only for air and as they rested their foreheads together an ecstatic girlish squeals penetrated their euphoric brains. Then slowly knowing grins blossomed on their faces when thunderous footfalls were heard heading toward the stairs paired with a bellowing announcement, "AUNT ABIGAIL, I WON, WE'RE GOIN'TA CONEY ISLAND!"


Like I said before, my reviewers have kept my creative juices going and I am glad you all enjoyed my "Annie universe." You all deserve another round of hugs and thank yous!



Loyal DC Fan




Also remember that a link to Grace's ring is on my profile! :-)