The last chapter! And the song is: All This Time by OneRepublic
The reception was modest, as all Agency parties are. But Joan had never been at one in her honor. More people than she knew were gathered in the star hallway, where there were usually more somber parties. But tonight was a happy celebration. They were called heroes, brave and honorable, protecting the country. Isabel was even there, and Joan had promised they could stay in touch once Isabel was relocated.
Joan was wearing a pretty lavender blouse and a gray pencil skirt, staring up at the wall of stars symbolizing every agent who died for their country. Annie was off in a corner, taking to Scott, who was rather cute. Annie had insisted she stay with Joan, but Joan assured Annie that she wanted to be alone for a moment, and sent her friend off to flirt.
Joan had only been to a few ceremonies at the Agency, but they were all similar. No alcohol, and everyone making cordial conversation. And of course, the medals she and Arthur received had been placed in the vault. But she didn't care.
"The Agency giveth, and the Agency taketh away."
Joan turned and saw Auggie, grinning and holding out a red plastic cup. Her face broke into a matching grin and she threw her arms around him.
"Hey," he chuckled. "Heard you kicked some ass in London."
She laughed and nodded. "I guess you could say so."
"Here." He held out the cup, and she took it.
"I spiked it," he whispered. "I call it an Anderson; sparkling cranberry juice with a dash of Patron."
Joan smiled adventurously and took a sip, immediately choking.
"Holy shit. That's awful."
He sighed. "Yeah. Sorry."
She laughed and wiped her mouth. As she looked around the room, she saw Arthur, standing by the window. She put her hand on Auggie's forearm.
"Hey, I have to go do something. Talk later?"
He nodded. "Go get him."
She smiled, and then made her way towards Arthur. The clicking of her nude pumps on the marble gave her away, and he turned. When he saw her, his face lit up.
"So, the parking lot, huh?," she asked casually, looking out the window. He laughed.
"It's not the London skyline, but it's not that bad. Surrounding forest is pretty."
She nodded, a smile forming on her lips. "It is."
Arthur made eye contact with her. "So, we get 2 weeks off."
She widened her eyes. "Do we really?"
He nodded. "Yep." He took her hand in his, and Joan felt a chill go through her body. But the good kind of chill.
"And I would love nothing more than to spent it with you."
She smiled at him sadly. "But Arthur, we… we can't, remember? I don't want to risk... whatever this is."
"Life is about taking risks," he said, looking into her eyes. "And what we have could be so much more."
She looked at him, her eyes full of hope. She wanted to believe it, she did. But her past kept tugging at her, warning her that within her, she had the unconscious ability to ruin all good things.
"I… I don't know."
"Joan, please." His eyes sparkled, like he already knew he could convince her. "See the world with me. We can travel without the burden of having to recruit an asset or put our lives on the line. Two weeks is enough time to experience the endless possibilities that I know we have. I might become my mother, and you may fall down the rabbit hole again. Or, you could trust me when I say that this can work, and everything is going to be okay. Better than okay."
"Shh," he said, putting his finger to her lips. His smile was like that of a little boy. Excited, adventurous, determined, and hopeful. "Just say yes."
She smiled, made a decision, and let her emotional walls take the blow. They crumbled, and she nodded.
He grinned, and took her face in his hands, kissing her. Those cliché fireworks went off and they kissed until they ran out of breath. Their foreheads rested against each other, and they both laugh and smiled, gazing into each other's shining eyes. Full of light and hope, and the beginnings of something truly wonderful.
I am the master of cheesy endings. Literally. Hope you enjoyed it! I have an idea bubbling in my mind for a possible sequel, so if I get enough interest in that, I might go for it. Thanks for reading this story everyone!