Ten months later . . .
He had dedicated his book to her.
It was a simple inscription that stood out on the otherwise blank page, the black ink bold against the off-white paper.
Every time she opened the book, she revisited that page, ran a finger over the words, cherished them. He hadn't told her that he was going to do that and the first time she saw it, in the advance copy that he had proudly handed her to read, she had become embarrassingly emotional.
The book itself had been a flood of nostalgia. The cases, the criminals. The highs, and the lows. As she devoured each chapter, she reminisced most about her partnership with Bobby. The moments where they were completely in sync, and those when they could not possibly have been further apart. The book was a memoir of sorts, a memoir of their partnership, and as she read the final page she was overcome with a sense of gratitude for what they had and where that had brought her. And what they still had now.
Spring had arrived at the overlook. The waterfall had thickened with the spring thaw and it cascaded heavily down from the ledge above. The coarse, dead grass of winter had been replaced by a thick green carpet and birds hopped about on it, searching for food. The forest surrounding the overlook had rejuvenated once again and enclosed the plateau in a curtain of foliage. As Alex finished the last paragraph, a rabbit sat munching on the fresh grass a few feet away and the scent of spring flowers perfumed the air.
Alex lingered for a moment on the picture on the back flyleaf, remembering how he had agonized that day over what he should wear, stalking back and forth between the mirror and where she sat, cross-legged on the bed, evaluating his options. She was pleased with the final selection; it brought out his eyes beautifully. She felt a rush of affection as she smiled at the familiar face in a very new place. The book had been brilliant, and she felt such pride in the man that grinned back at her from the glossy paper.
You've come a long way, Robert Goren. I'm lucky you decided to bring me along for the ride.
Her eyes absently scanned the bio that accompanied the photo, aware that that brief synopsis wouldn't tell her anything new and exciting about the man that she had known for so many years. It was only the last sentence that caught her attention:
Robert currently resides in Maine with his wife.
Alex chuckled as she closed the book, running a hand over the smooth back cover that featured accolades from other true crime writers who had reviewed the book.
Wrong-o! That's what you get for using a boiler plate to create these things. Not quite.
The thought however sent a warm tingle seeping through her body as she maneuvered herself out of her portable lounge chair and stretched. It was a nice notion. She had never been eager to re-marry after Joe - for a while she wasn't sure if she ever would - but with time comes healing and the idea no longer seemed implausible. In fact, it felt almost desirable.
Bobby was standing across the plateau, leaning on the metal barricade that protected visitors from tumbling down the drop-off below the overlook. His arms were folded along the top, his eyes squinting into the sun as he watched a hawk circle and dive. He turned to look at her with a smile as she came to lean against the barricade beside him.
"So . . ?" Bobby raised his eyebrows in anticipation. "All done? What did you think?"
"It's brilliant, Bobby, it really is. Honestly." Grinning, Alex opened the book to the last page and held it out in his direction. "There's just one pretty significant error."
Bobby frowned, stepping back from the barricade and craning his neck to see what she was talking about. "There is? What?"
Alex slid her finger down the flyleaf until it arrived at the last sentence, her expression mock serious. "It says here you are residing in Maine with your wife. Either that's a typo, or you've been leading a double life and you owe me an explanation."
Bobby's face relaxed and a smile once again lit up his features.
Taking one step back, Bobby reached into his pocket as he slowly lowered himself down to one knee. When he withdrew a small black velvet box, Alex's hands flew up to her mouth. She could tell his hands were shaking because it took him a second to get the lid open, revealing a simple but elegant diamond ring that sparkled in the sunlight.
"Bobby . . ." Alex gasped, the word muffled through her hands.
He smiled up at her, a brilliant, toothy Bobby smile. "I was hoping that by the time this book actually gets printed and makes it to the shelves, it would be true."
And it was.
A/N – This story would not have been possible without the support, encouragement, and clever mind of my good friend WendyCR72. I am forever indebted to her. She put up with my crap and, as she quickly learned, that's not easy :)
Thank you to all of my loyal readers and reviewers. Your excitement about the story kept me writing. I appreciate you hanging in there even when it seemed that our heroes were never going to end up together. I hope the ending makes up for it!