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Same Time, Every Year

Virtual Season Seven
Episode Five


Madolyn Hayes was cold. It was not a pleasing - nor was it a familiar - feeling. Odd, because she'd been quite warm when she'd gone to sleep the night before. She remembered this well, for, at the time, she'd been irritated at the warmth of the November night. Wasn't it supposed to be cold this time of year?

Pushing back a shiver, Maddie sat up and ran a hand through her hair, confused to find it without tangles. Shaking her head, she got out of bed, the sheet still wrapped around her, only to find that she was actually dressed. Now thoroughly confused, Maddie turned back to the bed and allowed a small smile to flit across her features as she took in the sight.

The right side of the bed was in complete disarray. The pillow showed an indention where someone's head had been recently, the sheets were tangled at the foot; the blankets actually on the floor. No wonder she'd been cold. The left side of the bed, however, held no hint of habitation save a small, beige cocker spaniel curled atop the pillow.

No David.

Maddie couldn't hold back a smile as she shook her head. No wonder she'd been cold. She had totally forgotten that last night had been her and David's 'away' night. 'Away' being away from each other, both able to do their own thing and not have to worry if the other was having a good time. For Maddie, it meant a warm bath, a trashy novel; a bowl of Haagen-Dazs' finest - vanilla Swiss almond, then, of course, there was the cold bed - the only part of the 'away' night that Maddie really loathed.

At her mistress' sigh, Miss me bounded up off of the pillow and launched herself at Maddie with unnatural speed. Laughing, Maddie scooped up the lap-sized dog and resigned herself to a lick right on her nose. "Good morning, about some breakfast?" Taking the dog's happy yip for one of approval, Maddie set her on her feet and started out of the room.

~ ~ ~

The office was completely silent when David walked through the door. Stopping, he surveyed the scene before him in quiet dismay. All of the employees were at their desks, each working with a chilling sort of devotion.

Placing his briefcase atop the front wall of Agnes' cubicle, David rubbed his eyes and once again looked Placing his briefcase atop the front wall of Agnes' cubicle, David rubbed his eyes and once again looked over the staff.

Tip-toeing around to lean over Agnes' shoulder, David watched her type for a few moments. "Good morning, Mr. Addison," she murmured.

David jumped, startled, and a rumble of laughter went through the previously still room. Then, in unison, the staff all grimaced and shot wary looks in the direction of Maddie's office.

"Ms. DiPesto?" David whispered.

Without looking away from her typing, Agnes answered, "Yes, Mr. Addison?"

Still whispering, David looked around the room. "Why do I feel as if I've walked onto the wrong set?"

Managing to type with her left hand, Agnes reached with her right and handed David a piece of paper from the side of her desk. "The bill for the water-cooler refills came this morning," she whispered, as if this explained everything.

"So?" David asked loudly, causing a few winces.

Agnes glanced around the room and then pointed to the total at the bottom of the bill. David's eyes widened and he whistled. "Well, I can't get you out of this one, kids. You're on your own."

Again in unison, the staff groaned and dropped their heads to their desks. David smiled at Agnes and patted her on the head before heading for Maddie's office.

Flinging open the double doors, he made his presence known with, "Is it lunch time yet?"

Maddie jerked her head up from the file she had been studying.  A smile found its way to her face as she saw him.  "Good morning."  Getting up , she sat the file on her desk and perched on the edge. "Sleep well?" she asked him, not bothering to hide the grin that spread across her face.

David turned and closed the doors with more force than was necessary. "No, but then again, you weren't there."

He sauntered over to her, pulling her forcefully against him.

Touched at his statement, Maddie kissed him lightly on the lips. "That was sweet."

He smirked at her. "Well, sleep seems to come easier to me when you're there."

Touching her lips to his once more, Maddie smiled.

Not being able to resist, David completed his earlier sentence with, "After our activities, who wouldn't be tired?"

She pushed him back, disgusted. "I haven't missed you at all, you know," she said, walking back to her desk and sitting.

David looked wounded. "Ouch," he muttered, walking over and sitting on the corner of her desk, he sniffed the air. "Is something burning?" Gripping her forearm, he yanked her out of the chair, saying, "Stand up."

"Do I have a choice?" she muttered, jerking her arm away.

Quickly, David reached behind her and brushed his hands several times in a spanking motion across her silk clad derriere.

Jumping, she let out a startled screech and glared at David. "What the hell was that?"

He grinned at her. "Sorry, boss, your pants were on fire."   

Leaning in, he kissed her lightly on the lips and pulled back, smiling. "Good morning, by the way."

Maddie sat down again, a smile tugging at the sides of her mouth. "You're right on time, our appointment is due at any moment."

"Appointment?" David asked, settling himself in the chair across from the desk.

Nodding, Maddie sat on the edge of her desk. "The Moore case, remember?"

"Ah, yes......the Moore case," David said, smiling innocently.

Maddie rolled her eyes and moved to sit in her desk chair. "I'll brief you after the appointment, just let me do the talking this time."

Smirking, David said, "I prefer boxers, as you well know, Ms. Hayes."

"I'm not even going to dignify that with a response, Mr. Addison," Maddie returned with a smile that turned to a frown a second later. "Do you know what your employees have been up to?"

"My employees, Ms. Hayes?" he asked with raised eyebrows. "Oh, I get it, when they're good, they're yours, but the minute they have to be sent to their rooms, they're mine, eh?"

Shaking her head, Maddie stood and paced the room a couple of times. "Do you have any idea how much that bill is?"

"Yeah," David said, standing and walking over to her, "I believe it's somewhere in between 'Wow' and 'Yowza!'"

"I don't know what to do with them, David," Maddie said, turning to face him.

David smirked at her. "Well, Christmas is coming, Mr. Scrooge...."

"I am not making them dress up as elves this year, David. Out of the question."

He shrugged. "Your loss," he muttered, once again sitting.

Rolling her eyes, Maddie picked up a file from her desk and dropped it into her partner's lap. "I think we have enough time to brief you on this case before Mrs. Moore gets here."

A knock sounded at the door as Maddie finished and Agnes poked her head in. "Ms. Hayes, your nine thirty is here." She looked back and forth from employer to employer, a smile on her face and said, "I can tell her to come back later."    

"That won't be necessary, Ms. DiPesto," Maddie said, standing. "Show her in, please."

Her face fell. "Really?"

David and Maddie exchanged glances before each nodded at Agnes. Both laughing slightly at the woman's behavior, they took their normal places in front of Maddie's desk as Agnes showed the client in.

~ ~ ~
Tip-toeing around to lean over Agnes' shoulder, David watched her type for a few moments. "Good morning, Mr. AdDavid set his wine glass on the coffee table and reclined on the couch. "Do you realize that this will be our first open and shut case this season?" he called to Maddie.

Sticking her head out of the kitchen, she smiled at him, "I thought the cat case was pretty open and shut. The cat was lost, we found it. Open, shut." She ducked back into the kitchen without waiting for his reply.

Getting up with a groan, David retrieved his wine glass and made his way to the kitchen, "That's because you weren't the one whose life was being threatened," he muttered. "And besides, that was last season."

Maddie rolled her eyes. "Please. They were morons who would have shot themselves before they realized they had the gun turned the wrong way." She said this without turning around, but David could tell by the tone of her voice that she wore a small smile.  

"Ah, I didn't think that Edgar was that bad....kind of reminded me of a little lost puppy." He slowly sauntered over to where Maddie stood before the stove. "Something smells good," he breathed into her ear as he wrapped his arms around her waist.

Maddie jumped slightly. "Mmmm, it's supposed to be chicken," she glared at the pan in front of her, "but it's not coming out right."

David kissed her neck lightly, nosing aside her hair and touching his tongue to her pulse before whispering, "I wasn't talking about the chicken."

He trailed kisses up and down her neck, slowly running his fingers through her hair as he did so. Maddie dropped the spoon twice before giving up and leaving it where it dropped the third. She turned in his embrace and for the first time that day, their lips met for more than a brief moment.

A few moments later, they parted, each breathing heavier than before. Without thinking, Maddie pulled him back to her roughly. "Upstairs. Let the dog in and take the chicken off before you come...Got it?" she whispered, smiling seductively.

"We've got children reading this, Maddie," David whispered.

"Got it?" she repeated, blue eyes twinkling.

David nodded, smirking. "It's gotten, lady."

There was a sudden scratching on the back door and a series of tiny yips could be heard from outside. Maddie's smile widened. "No longer than five minutes, Addison." She walked out of the kitchen with a flirty backwards glance.

"Yeow," David muttered as he hurried over to the back door and yanked it open. A small, blonde dog raced into the room, running around the kitchen table before arriving back at David's feet, "Well, if the other blonde is half as excited as you are," he paused, leaning down to scratch Miss me behind her ears, "what am I still doing down here?"

Winking at the dog, he hurried up the stairs, all the while undressing. His sweater landed in a heap on the potted plant next to the stairs, his undershirt on the railing, his pants on the stairs, etc. The bedroom door opened, then slammed shut, and all was quiet.

~ ~ ~

His breathing slowly returning to normal, David rolled over and pulled Maddie against him. "I think we did it backwards," he said suddenly.

Maddie pulled out of his embrace and rolled to face him, propping herself on one elbow. "What do you mean, you think we did it backwards?" she asked indignantly.

Laughing, he kissed her. "Doesn't dessert normally come after dinner?" He sniffed the air. "Do you smell something burning?"

"You must be getting old, you used that one this morning," she reminded him with a smug smile.

Jumping from the bed, David ran to the door. "I'm serious. I smell something burning..."

He turned when Maddie called his name. She was now standing by the bed, calmly putting on her robe, "Careful, Adonis, wouldn't want to damage the goods." As she strode past David, she placed a light kiss on his shoulder. "Get dressed, will you?"  

As Maddie descended the stairs, she was alarmed to realize that David had been right; there was indeed something burning. With images of a burnt, crispy, black Cocker Spaniel flitting through her head, Maddie ran the rest of the way to the kitchen.

Miss me sat in the middle of the rug in front of the sink, barking in frenzied little half-yips. Scooping the little dog up in her arms, Maddie opened the back door and sat her on the ground, then closed the door  again. About this time, David rushed into the kitchen, fire extinguisher in hand. He stopped and stared at the stove for a second before bursting into fits of laughter.

The pan of chicken sat on a burner, forgotten in the moment of passion, and flames about a foot tall rose from it. Maddie glared at him and rushed to the stove. Not thinking, she reached out and pulled the pan back from the burner. Screaming from the pain of her hand, she yanked it back and turned her glare on the chicken, which caused David to laugh even harder.

He composed himself and calmly walked to the stove, slipped on an oven mitt, and pulled the pan from the burner. He then gently pushed Maddie away and turned the fire extinguisher on the pan of offending chicken.

Afterwards, they stood in the smoke filled kitchen, just staring at each other. David shifted from foot to foot, the tile floor sending little shivers up his spine, dressed in only a pair of boxers. Maddie coughed and winced as she bumped her burned hand on her mouth. This one action seemed to motivate both of them, David walked over and gently took her hand, examining it. He brought it to his lips and pressed a light kiss to it before leading her to the sink and running it under cold water.

"We should be more careful next time you cook, I guess," David said, hiding a grin. "Guess the bedroom wasn't the only room the heat was on in."

Maddie grinned, despite the pain in her hand and replied, "Didn't I tell you to take the chicken off the stove before you came up?"

Frowning in mock innocence, David shrugged. "Chicken wasn't exactly what was on my mind, if you get my meaning."

She sighed and said, "Well, there goes dinner."

They looked at each other and simultaneously, they said, "Pizza."

Maddie went upstairs while David was on the phone, coming back down a few moments later dressed in a pair of sweatpants and an old t-shirt. "Yo, Blondie, pepperoni OK with you?"

She nodded her head and took a seat on the couch, flipping through a magazine.

"Hey, how's it going?" David's voice in the quiet room made her jump, and she laughed at herself. Stretching out on the couch, she propped her feet in his lap and continued her perusal of the magazine.

"Yeah, the number is 555-3971. Hayes, Madolyn. What do you mean you've never delivered here before?" He cast a look at her, and Maddie shrugged. Shaking his head, he continued, "Well, I'm sure there will be more pizza delivered here from now on.....No, the name's David........Yeah, I guess you could say that.....Medium pepperoni. Uh...." He looked down at her again, "Maddie, do we want a bottle of Pepsi with this?"

She appeared to think for a moment before shrugging again, "What the hell."

David grinned. "Yeah, sure, why not?" He gave the address. ".....Actually, Ben, may I call you Ben?....Oh, Alicia, my mistake.....I like to think so, yes.....There is something else you can bring me, if you don't mind, that is......Great, Alicia, what I really want is a pint...." He looked down at Maddie again. "Scratch that, make it a quart of ice cream."

Maddie's eyes widened with curiosity as he went on: "Yes, a quart. Preference?" Maddie shook her head. "No, just any kind of ice cream you can find that comes in a quart.....Yes, I realize how large a quart is....If you can't find one, just bring me two pints." He laughed. "Yes...exactly. What does that total to? Thank you." He hung up the phone and lifted Maddie's feet from his lap. "You're an expensive lady, you know that?"

"Me? I'm not the one who wanted a quart of ice cream." She got up and went to the kitchen, returning with plates and two empty wine glasses.

"It's going to be about forty-five minutes." David informed her as she set the glasses and plates on the coffee table. He eyed the china with a bemused smile. "I don't think I've ever eaten pizza off of fine china before. Don't you have paper?"

Maddie laughed. "No, no paper."

He sighed and stood. Picking up the plates she had just set down, he walked towards the kitchen. "I'll show you how real people eat pizza."

"As opposed to the fake ones that eat it?" Maddie quipped, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. "Do tell."

As David opened his mouth to explain, a small series of yips came from the backyard. He smiled and held up a finger. "One minute."

Maddie was reclining on the couch when David reentered the room, Miss me close behind him. She had a file from their most recent case in her lap, her legs tucked underneath her and a wine glass in her hand. He just stood in the doorway of the kitchen, watching her. Her short blonde hair was pulled back in a pony tail, loose wisps of hair hanging down and just barely touching her skin.

David was almost positive he was one of the only people that had ever seen this side of Maddie Hayes. The relaxed side, the side that wasn't afraid to let her hair down and have a good time. He was pleased- if a bit shocked - that he was one of the privileged few.  

"You going to stand there and stare at me, or are you going to come sit down?" Maddie's voice broke through his thoughts, making him smile.

"Can I do both?" he asked, sitting beside her on the couch.

There was silence for a time before David spoke again, gesturing to the file in his lap, "You know, I don't think this man wants to be found."

Maddie looked at him quizzically, flipping her own file shut. "How do you figure?"

He turned toward her. "Not taking into consideration how this guy seems to have changed his name, address and all other information that make it necessary to know in finding him, he ---"

David was interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. He glanced at his watch, then back at Maddie. "You expecting someone?" She shook her head and he looked at his watch again. "It's too early for the pizza...."

The doorbell rang again and David shrugged, getting up and walking to the door. He opened it to find himself face to face with the biggest bouquet of Babies Breath and Daffodils he had ever seen. "Madolyn Hayes?" the tiny yellow and white flowers shook with the rumble of the deep voice.

David quirked an eyebrow and grinned at them. "Yeeees?" he asked, rocking back on his heels and slipping his hands in his pockets.

The flowers were shoved into David's arms, revealing a little man behind them. "I'll need you to sign for those, sir," he said, pushing his wiry glasses further up on his nose and sniffing disdainfully. He leaned down and picked up the clipboard he must have set down on the porch, holding it out to David impatiently.

"Just a second, please," David said, turning away with the gargantuan plant balanced precariously in his arms as the little delivery man huffed in annoyance.

Maddie got up from the couch as she saw David struggling with the humongous bunch of flowers. "My God, David," she said, taking them from him and setting them on the floor with a grunt and a thump, "did they run out of pizza?"

"Sir," the unhappy delivery man called, "I still need a signature."

David walked back to the door and signed the clipboard. "Have a wonderfully stupendous night, now," he said with too much cheer, causing the little man to glare and stomp away. David shook his head and smiled, closing the door.

Walking back to where he'd left Maddie and The Flowers (there were so many of them, he decided, that they deserved to be thought of as proper nouns), David peeked over her shoulder at the card. "Who's the sender?"

"I don't know," Maddie answered absently, studying the card in her hand, "but he knows his poetry."

Snatching the card out of her fingers, David read aloud:

"How sweet I roam'd from field to field / And tasted all the summer's pride / 'Till I the prince of love beheld / Who in the sunny beams did glide!"

A slow smile spread across David's face. "What a nut-job," he said, handing the card back to Maddie and dropping down onto the couch.

"It's William Blake, David," Maddie said, smiling softly, "and it's beautiful."

Curious now, David sat up and studied her. "You like stuff like that?" he asked in disbelief. "You? You who once threw roses into the trashcan?" He stood up and walked back to her, once again snatching the card from her hand. "You really like stuff like this?" he asked again, studying the card carefully.

Maddie shrugged and moved to the flowers. "It's romantic, that's all."

David stuck his hand out, amusement apparent on his features. "Hello, my name is David Addison, I don't believe we've met."

Batting his hand away, Maddie hefted the flowers and awkwardly carried them to the kitchen. "Forget it, Addison."

Following closely behind her, David pestered, "No, no, no, I want to hear about Maddie Hayes' romantic side."

She shot him a look as she filled a large vase with water. "Where have you been the past seven months?"

"Ah, so that's what that was."

Sighing, Maddie began to arrange the Flowers in the vase. She stopped suddenly and blinked at her partner. "My God, David. Has it really been seven months?"

He nodded; then looked unsure. "Either that, or the writer is miscalculating."

"It doesn't seem like it's been that long," Maddie said, going about her task.

David smiled. "Yeah, it seems like just yesterday Sarah and Diane were arguing over the cake...."

Maddie looked up with a smile. "That was just yesterday, David." She gave him a strange look, then glanced down at the flowers. "Who do you suppose....?"

He shrugged. "I don't know....had any hot dates lately?"

Maddie returned his shrug and smiled softly. "You tell me."

"Well, there was this one last Wednesday.....she was pretty hot.....Oh, I'm sorry, that's me." He slowly brought her hand to his lips.

Maddie yanked her hand out of his grasp and shook her head, but didn't say anything. She merely picked up the vase full of flowers and carried it back out to the living room, setting it in the middle of the coffee table.

The pizza arrived ten minutes later, catching Maddie and David curled up on a pile of blankets in front of the fireplace, watching the flames dance. Carefully setting his wine glass to the side, David got up and hurried on bare feet to the door.

Pulling it open, David exposed a tall gangly teenager awkwardly balancing a box of pizza, a liter of Coca-Cola, and a huge tub of ice cream. "Um....hi," the teen said, glancing down at the receipt on the top of the cardboard pizza box, "that'll be....$20.43."

Maddie appeared, taking the load off of the teen, while David reached into his wallet and pulled out the money. He smiled and took the ice cream. "Thanks."

After smirking at Maddie and saying, "Later," while pointing to the ice cream, David deposited it in the freezer and made his way back into the living room.

"Later" found Maddie and David once again curled in front of the fire, both rather drowsy from the combination of the heat and the wine. When David began to nuzzle the back of Maddie's neck, she merely tilted her head for him to have better access.

"Mmmm," she mumbled. "Is it later yet, David?"

Tracing kisses up the side of her face and kissing her quickly on the lips, David stood and picked up their wine glasses. "Well, if it wasn't later then, it's later now."

He appeared a moment later, tub of ice cream in hand, and they moved up the stairs together. The bedroom door slammed closed a moment later; all was silent except for the occasional noise from behind aforementioned door. (Use your imaginations, people, because we all know you have them!!!)


Maddie stepped from the shower, careful to step onto the towel and not soak the rug, and reached for the towel she had hung earlier. Wrapping it around herself, she took another and started drying her hair.

Making her way into the bedroom, Maddie picked up the earlier discarded clothing. A shirt here, a sock there; she smiled. Opening her mouth to say something to David, she snapped it shut again when she saw that he was not in the bed where she'd left him.

Arms wrapped around her from behind, making her jump. "God you scared me," she murmured. Then, "You know, I left my....."

"You left your what?" David asked. "Lover? Boyfriend? Flavor of the year? Man-Wh--"

"David!" she said, her exclamation cutting off the end of his sentence as she turned in his arms.

"You left your David?" He looked around the room in mock confusion. "Where'd you leave him?"

Ignoring this, she went on. "There are people under seventeen reading this....."

Grinning, David said, "There are people under seventeen writing I'm confused-"

"Well that's nothing new," Maddie said, interrupting him.

He went on as if he hadn't heard her, "Did you misplace your David or the people under seventeen?"

Maddie rolled her eyes and kissed him. "I think you've misplaced your sanity, Addison." She licked her lips. "You still taste good, though."

"Good to know," he murmured before once again pressing his lips to hers.

Maddie pulled away only when he pressed her further into his body. "David, I'm clean," she protested.

He smirked at her, pulling her forcefully back to him. "You weren't too clean last night, Ms. Hayes."

Against her will, she felt herself softening and a smile bloomed on her face. "Ice cream is messy business," she kissed him, "Mr. Addison." When she draped her arms around his neck, Maddie once again pulled away. "David, you're sticky."

"I resemble that remark," he exclaimed indignantly, kissing her again. "I guess I am a bit gross...."

"Yeah," Maddie said, stepping back, "you need a shower." She threw a towel at him and started to walk off when he pulled her back.

"Wanna help?"

Laughing, Maddie took his hand, leading him to the bathroom. "If you've got the money...." she said, turning on the water.

"Baby," David murmured, unwrapping the towel from her body, "I've always got the time."


Tuesday passed uneventfully for David and Maddie, filling itself up with follow ups on the current cases and a couple of leads on the not so current ones. Five o'clock slowly became six; six slowly became seven, then seven had the audacity to turn into eight.

"Hey, boss lady, you ready to blow this joint?" David asked, coming into Maddie's office shortly after discovering the time. "The staff finally got bored and left; it's just you and me, kid."

Maddie looked up, as if surprised to find him in her office. "Hi," she said before bowing her head once more to the file open on her desk. "I've almost got it," she murmured.

"Hope it's not contagious," David muttered, coming up behind her. "What have you almost got, Detective Hayes?"

Maddie smiled. "A lead on this damn's been driving me crazy." She looked up suddenly, a smile on her face. "Where've you been all day?"

"Here and there." David leaned down and kissed her, then walked over and slumped down onto the couch. "I cracked the Cumming's case, by the way."

Maddie nodded. "I know, Mr. Viola informed me." Closing the file on her desk in obvious disgust, Maddie stood and stretched. "I'm going home, I've had enough of," she made a rude gesture to the file, "that."

David smiled and got up. "I agree wholeheartedly," he said, walking over to the coat rack and retrieving her jacket. "In fact, I think I might join you."

Wrapping her arms around him, Maddie pressed her lips to his. "I don't think I've seen you all day....not since......breakfast....this morning."

"Ah," David sighed, "so that's what they're calling it these days."

She kissed him again, pulling away to murmur, "Your place or mine?"

David frowned. "Which is closer?"

~ ~ ~

"Anyway, there we were, in the middle of a graveyard, when it suddenly started pouring down rain." Maddie took a sip of her wine and smiled at the memory. "Everyone was older than me - and therefore had longer legs - so when they began running home, I fell behind. The rain was falling in sheets; blinding me, and I stumbled...."

David chuckled. "Don't tell me you...."

"Yes," Maddie said with a sigh, "I fell into a grave."

Laughing, David took a sip of his wine. "Maddie Hayes: Famous Model, Super Sleuth, and Grave Robber."

Hitting him lightly on the shoulder, Maddie laughed. "It was horrible; traumatizing for a ten year old child." She winced. "Not to mention the ten year olds parent's reaction."

"Your parents got upset over something that small? God, you should have seen some of the stuff we pulled over on my mom and dad." He smiled. "Richie and I were terrors," he admitted.

"Were?" Maddie teased.

There was comfortable silence for a time, broken only by the soft music floating from the stereo. Maddie got to her feet a second after another song began and pulled David to his. "Dance with me," she whispered, taking his wine glass and setting it beside her own on the coffee table.

"Anytime, Lady," David murmured, taking her in his arms as the music played.

Tonight you're mine, completely
You give your love, so sweetly
Tonight, the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow?

Is this a lasting treasure?
Or just a moment's pleasure?
Can I believe the magic of your sighs?
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Tonight with words, unspoken
You say that I'm the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sun.

I'd like to know that your love,
Is a love I can be sure of.
So tell me now, and I won't ask again.
Will you still love me tomorrow?

As the song ended and the DJ came back on, David pressed his lips softly; gently against Maddie's. He then put his arm under her knees and lifted her into his arms.

Their lovemaking was slow and gentle that night....unusual for them, but it just didn't seem to be much of a priority at that moment in time. Instead, they talked. About anything from first memories to worst nightmares. It lasted all night long, until the sun was just peeking from the horizon, and it only ended when they simultaneously fell asleep from pure exhaustion.


As beautiful and unforgettable as Tuesday night through Wednesday morning had been, when Maddie's alarm went off at seven AM, the two occupants of the Hayes' residence both groaned and had to drag themselves from bed.

Grumpier than usual, they fought over the shower, what to eat for breakfast; even what kind of coffee to get. Neither admitted it, but both were glad to be rid of the other when they reached the office.

It wasn't until a little after four that Maddie finally saw David for more than five seconds. He came into her office, looking bored, grumpy, and tired all in one little frown.

"What's wrong, the staff won't play with you?" Maddie teased as he came in and sat on the corner of her desk.

He shrugged. "What are you doing?"

"Not much....working on the Moore case, but not getting very far," Maddie confessed. "I'm actually planning out Thursday's dinner."

"Don't you remember how awful our little get together was last Christmas?" David asked with a frown.

Maddie paid little attention and merely shuffled the papers laying atop her desk. "This is Thanksgiving, David, not Christmas, and Annie and Mark won't be coming."

"There is a God," David commented.

Maddie went on as if she hadn't heard, "My parents are going to fly in this evening; you'll pick your dad, Stephanie, and Richie up at the airport tonight, and Walter and Terri will be here Thursday afternoon."

"Sounds like you've got this all figured out."

Nodding, Maddie tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "I'm actually looking forward to cooking this year," she said with a half smile.

David cringed in feigned horror. "Is that Thursday?" He snapped his fingers in a downward motion. "Drat, I forgot I have to mow the lawn that day."

Not amused, Maddie quirked an eyebrow at him. "You live in an apartment, Addison." She waved off his answer and stood, stretching. "Don't worry about my cooking, David, there will be three other women there....I'm sure we'll be fine."

"Three?" David questioned.

Looking at him, Maddie rolled her eyes. "Weren't you listening?" She counted off on her fingers, "My mother, Stephanie, and Terri. One, two, three."

Putting emphasis on the last word, David said, "One, two, three, four...ah ah ah."

Maddie shook her head, confused. "And who, pray tell, is the fourth?"

"Come on, Maddie," David said with a disbelieving snort, "you don't really expect Richie to show up all by himself, do you?"

Slumping back in her chair, Maddie sighed. "I hadn't really thought about it, tell the truth." She picked up a pen and scribbled something down on a note pad. "Well, the more the merrier, I suppose."

The words that were about to come out of David's mouth were cut off by a knocking on the office door. Maddie called out a quick 'come in' and Agnes opened the door, pushing it as wide as it would go.

"Yes, Ms. DiPesto?" Maddie asked, eyebrows raised.

The secretary looked up, a confused expression on her face. "Hmm?"

Maddie and David exchanged a look of mixed amusement and frustration before David gestured to the now open door and said, "Did you want something, Ms. DiPesto?"

"Oh," she exclaimed with a smile after a moment of thought, "Ms. Hayes got a package just a minute ago."

Maddie, confused, glanced up at David, only to find him looking at her. "What?" she asked defensively.

David shrugged. "You expecting something?"

Shaking her head, Maddie stood, watching as two of the staff carried in a box. Though, Maddie thought, box wasn't exactly the right word for it. This thing was the size of her desk, she thought with alarmed amusement.

As the employees dropped the humongous offering in the middle of the room, they both collapsed onto the couch, panting for breath.

The five occupants of the room stared at the misplaced item sitting placidly in the office with a kind of fascination. David finally cleared his throat, causing the others to jump, and gestured with his head to the door. Agnes and the other two nodded and left the room, each with a small backwards glance.

"So..." David drawled, slowly circling the large box. "Are we going to open this baby or just stand here and stare at it?"

Maddie shrugged and approached the rectangular object. "Here goes nothing," she murmured, more to herself than to David. Pulling at the ribbon of the bow on the top, Maddie gave it a hard tug and the box's sides fell away, revealing a teddy bear.

"Can you call it a teddy bear when it's bigger than a ten year old child?" Maddie asked, making a slow circle around the gigantic bear. "Look, there's a card."

David reached down and took the card from the bear's paw. "Pardon me, I hope you don't mind...."

Rolling her eyes, Maddie snatched the card from his fingers and carefully opened the flap of the envelope. She took such a long time that David poked her in the side impatiently. "Come on, Maddie, if it were going to explode, it would have done so already."

She shushed him and finally pulled the little card from its holding. David peeked over her shoulder, leaning his chin upon it, to read. Their voices made an interesting contrast as they both read aloud:

"I have a longing to be loved, darling /  Shall we fall together, interweaving / Like strands of hair in long, locked, liquid braids descending / Let us fall together and be one."

"Wow," Maddie said after a moment of silence.

David snorted in disgust. "It doesn't even rhyme," he complained, sitting on the edge of Maddie's desk.

Examining the card, Maddie absently responded, "It's poetry, David, it doesn't have to rhyme."

She lay the card - almost lovingly, David thought to himself - down on her desk and walked over to where the monster of a bear was seated. She stroked his ear, enjoying the feel of the soft fur. "I wonder who sent it," she questioned. "It wasn't signed again this time."

"I don't know," David said honestly, picking up the card and walking to where Maddie was standing, "but I don't like it."

She turned to face him. "Well, it's nice that someone sends me things. That someone --"

"Are you saying I never send you things?" David asked, cutting her off.

Maddie smiled. "You have never sent me anything, David."

"I didn't know you liked mushy stuff like that," he said, confused. "You just never struck me as that kind of person."

Shrugging, Maddie gestured to the bear. "I'm going to need help getting him down to the car," she said, sighing.

"Wait a minute, you can't just end the conversation on that note can't just end the conversation," David insisted, making no move to help with the bulky bear.

Maddie rested her hands on her hips and faced him. "What conversation, Addison? Someone is sending me presents....I like're jealous --"

"Whoa, hold on there, I never said I was jealous."

Rolling her eyes, Maddie said, "You didn't have to say anything, David." She shrugged. "I can just tell."

"That's ridiculous!" David exclaimed. "I am not jealous....what is there to be jealous of?" He realized he'd said the wrong thing the same moment he said it. "I didn't mean--"

"I know exactly what you meant, David," Maddie said, glaring at him. She stopped abruptly, suddenly looking tired. "Look," she said, rubbing her forehead, "neither of us got enough sleep last night.....why don't we just go home--"

David nodded. "Good idea, we'll just go home, have dinner, a bottle of wine, and then go to bed." He started out of the office, turning back when Maddie spoke.

"I meant I'll go home, and you go home. Our respective, individual homes, David."

"So I should understand that I am to go home....alone?" David asked, a hint of anger in his voice.

Maddie sighed. "I'm tired, David, I don't want to fight. Not about this. Not about something that is so trivial."

He looked at her incredulously. "Trivial? Someone is sending you love poems and tokens of.....of....."

Exasperated, Maddie said, "Of what, David?"

"Love tokens," he spat out, as if saying a particularly bad word.

"You're being ridiculous, Addison."

"Well maybe you're not being ridiculous enough, Hayes," David said, not kindly.

"I don't understand why you're so angry, David, it's not like this person has made a threat or even a serious proposition."

"That's not the point," David snapped.

Maddie glared at him. "What exactly is the point, David?"

Looking frustrated, David pointed to the bear. "The point is, that thing isn't from me."

Rolling her eyes, Maddie said, "Now, in addition to being ridiculous, you're also not making sense."

David was interrupted by a knock on the door. Maddie, still glaring at David, called, "Come in."

Ms. DiPesto opened the door and poked her head in. "Ms. Hayes, your mother is on line two."

"Thank you, Agnes," Maddie said with a forced smile. She waited until the woman nodded and closed the door before turning back to David. "This conversation," she said quietly, warranting no argument, "is over. I want you to go home and get some sleep and I'll see you tomorrow morning, OK?"






"Will you stop yelling?" Maddie screamed at him. They stood staring at each other for a moment before David sighed and looked away.

"Look, Maddie, you're right. I haven't had enough sleep and," he laughed nervously, "I guess I am a little jealous...."

"A little?" she prodded gently.

David laughed. "OK, a lot." He pulled her into an embrace, tucking her head under his chin. "I'm just....."

"Yeah," Maddie agreed, lifting her head to smile at him.

They shared a tender kiss before David pulled away and began to say something, but was cut off by the crackle of the intercom. "Ms. Hayes? Line two....your mother?"

Maddie smiled apologetically at David and pressed the button on the intercom. "Yes, Ms. DiPesto."

David kissed her quickly on the lips before heading to the door. Maddie held one finger up to tell him to wait a minute and picked up the phone. "Hi, Mom," she greeted. "Can you hang on just a second?" Covering the mouthpiece with her hand, Maddie spoke softly to David, "Don't forget, your Dad, your brother, and Stephanie are flying in tonight at nine-thirty."

"I won't," he promised. "I'll get one of the boys to help you take...." he gestured to the bear, "that out to the car."

"Thanks," she replied with a smile.

"Anytime, Blondie," he said, blowing her a kiss and closing the door quietly behind him.

Maddie sighed and stared at the door before removing her hand from the phone and speaking. "I'm sorry, Mom, client.....what's up?"
"You going to stand there and stare at me, or are you going to come sit down?" Maddie's voice broke through his thoughts, ma~ ~ ~

"Yo, Dave!"

David turned toward the sound of his brother's voice, lifting onto his tiptoes to search over the crowd. "Rich?"


"Rich?!" David called out, turning in a frustrated circle.

There was no more calling out and David once again turned in a circle, searching for the tall form of his older brother. "Richie?" he called once again. Hands suddenly clapped David on the shoulders, making him jump and whirl around.


"Umph," was David's response to Richard Addison's uncharacteristic greeting of a hug. "Great to see you, too, Rich.....get offa' me you big oaf!"

The brothers separated, exchanging a handshake. "How ya' been, Dave?"

David nodded and slipped his hands into the pockets of his slacks. "Can't complain." He grinned and said, "Not gonna complain."

Richie grinned back. "How's the blonde?"

"She's good; probably up to her neck in a bubble bath," he said, smiling.

Richie's grin widened. "What the hell are you doing here, then?"

Shaking his head, David shrugged. "I've asked myself the same question." Noticing the woman standing off to the side, looking rather uncomfortable and out of place, David lowered his voice and asked, "You gonna introduce me?"

"Huh?" Richie followed his brother's eyes to where the young woman stood. "Oh! Oh, yeah." He pulled her over to where they were and casually put his arm around her waist. "Dave, this is Amalia Roberts. Ames, this is my brother, David."

Amalia stuck out her hand and David took it in his own. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Roberts."

The woman shook her head. "Amalia or Amy is fine." She shrugged and added, "Ms. Roberts makes me feel old," by way of explanation.

David laughed and was about to speak when Amalia pushed a piece of her hair behind her ear and the glint of a diamond caught his eye. Mentally groaning, David scanned the crowd. "Where are Dad and Stephanie?" he asked.

"Luggage," both Richie and Amalia said, then they smiled at each other. David bit back another groan.

"Hey Rich, could I speak to you for a sec?" David asked, gesturing to nothing in particular a few feet away.

Exchanging a look with Amalia, Richie smiled at David. "Sure, bro." They walked over to a bank of pay phones. "What's up?" Richie asked.

"I should be asking you the same thing," David snapped.


"She's got a rock on her finger that says `off limits' to other men....what was it shouting to you, Rich?"

To David's surprise, a slow smile crept across his brother's face. "Don't worry about it, Dave."

"What do you mean, `Don't worry about it, Dave'?" David asked, frustrated.

"Exactly that....just don't worry about it, Dave."

Any further conversation was cut off by the arrival of David Addison, Sr. and his wife, Stephanie. David greeted his father and step-mother with real enthusiasm; in the back of his mind, he wondered just what Richie had gotten himself into this time.....


Thursday dawned bright and cheerful, promising a beautiful, crisp Fall day. Maddie frowned as she examined the turkey, poking it with a fork. When her mother came into the kitchen, Maddie straightened up and turned her frown to her. "Is it supposed to look like that?"

"Like what, dear?" Virginia asked, coming forward.

Maddie's frowned deepened. "So dry."

"Baste it, sweetheart," she laughed, handing Maddie a turkey baster.

"Oh," Maddie murmured, "I knew that."

Terri Bishop laughed as she came into the kitchen, her husband close behind her. "He's only two and a half, Walter, he can't possibly need one of those yet."

The little boy that Walter held giggled and, upon spotting Maddie, reached out his arms. "Ma'i!!" he shrieked, right in his father's ear.

Laughing, Maddie took the boy, settling him on her hip. "How's my favorite big boy?" she asked, welcoming a hug.

The doorbell rang in the middle of little Walter's speech of gibberish and Maddie reluctantly handed him to Terri. When he protested, she tapped his nose, making him giggle. "I'll be right back," she promised.

Maddie was greeted at the door by David Addison, Sr. and Stephanie. "Maddie!" David Sr. exclaimed. "You look just as lovely as the day we first met."

Not sure how to reply to this, Maddie just smiled and turned to Stephanie. "It's nice to see you again, Mrs. Addison."

Waving off the formality, Stephanie embraced Maddie. "Just Stephanie," she said with a laugh.

"Where's David?" Maddie asked, looking out the door expectedly.

"Oh," David Sr. said, "he was picking Richie up at the hotel around twelve-thirty, they ought to be here soon."

"OK," Maddie said. "My father and Walter Bishop are in the den watching the game," she told David Sr.. As he wandered off in the direction that Maddie pointed him, she turned to Stephanie. "Everyone else is in the kitchen...."

They spoke at the same time, "Where the women belong."

Maddie returned Stephanie's grin and followed her back into the kitchen.

~ ~ ~

"Richie? Have you seen my earrings?" There was a distinct note of panic in Amalia's voice as she called out.

Poking his head out of the bathroom, Richie pointed with the razor he held. "Check the dresser....I think I remember you taking them off last night."

Hurrying over to the dresser, Amalia banged a fist on the polished surface. "They're not there, Richie," she wailed.

Richie walked to where Amalia stood and put both hands on her shoulders. "Calm down, Ames...everything's fine...they're just earrings."

"Oh it's not the earrings, you idiot," she murmured, sinking into his embrace. "These people are your friends...what if they don't like me?"

Grinning, Richie pushed her away gently. "I like you, Amalia, and to me, that's all that matters." He tucked a lock of brown hair behind her ear and kissed her lightly on the lips.

Sighing, Amalia frowned. "Well, that's a good thing, because I don't think your brother's too fond of me."

Richie returned her frown and was about to speak when there was a knock on the door and a calling of, "Yo, Rich, you ready yet?"

"Yeah, Dave....almost there," he called back. "Look," Richie said to Amalia, "we'll talk about this later, OK?"

She shrugged. "Go finish getting ready, I'll let him in."

Kissing her again, Richie walked back to the bathroom. Amalia sighed, watching him go, and then shook her head and pasted a smile on her face before turning to open the door. "David, hi," she greeted cheerily.

Smiling, David said, "Morning, Amalia. You ready to go?"

Nodding, Amalia said, "Richie's just getting dressed, he ought to be ready any minute."

David nodded and came into the room. "So, what kind of work are you in, Amalia?"

Smiling, thinking maybe her earlier assumptions had been made in haste, Amalia motioned to a chair. "I'm a lawyer, won't you have a seat, David?"

David looked taken aback for a moment before obliging. "A lawyer, huh?"

Amalia nodded. "I actually wanted to be an FBI agent, but I guess you can't always get what you want." She smiled. "What about you? Richie tells me you're a detective, that must be pretty interesting and exciting."

"Yeah, it's interesting," David said with a small smile. "So Richie told you all about his family?"

Shrugging Amalia said, "Pretty much just the basics."

There was a sort of awkward silence as they waited for Richie. He came in a moment later, wearing a nice black sweater and a pair of khaki pants. "Hey, bro."

"Hey, Rich," David returned, "ready to go?"

"Yep, just let me grab the key," he walked to the dresser and sorted through the junk on top. "Ames, you seen the key?"

"What?" Amalia asked, jerked suddenly out of her thoughts. "Oh, the key, yeah, it's in my purse, sorry."

Richie smiled and walked back to them kissing Amalia on the cheek. "No prob," he said, turning to David. "Let's go, bro."

"Yeah, Maddie'll kill me if we're late," David said absently, following his brother and Amalia out the door.

~ ~ ~

king him smile
"Yo, Maddie!"

Maddie smiled against her will and excused herself from the kitchen, hurrying to the living room. "Hi," she greeted David, kissing him quickly before turning to Richie. "You're a sight for sore eyes," she commented, hugging him.

"It hasn't been that long," Richie said, returning her hug. "There's someone I want you to meet."

Amy walked closer to the three people, a nervous smile on her face. "Hi," she murmured shyly.

Maddie looked from Richie to David to the woman, then back again. "Hi," she said uncertainly.

"Ames, this is Maddie Hayes. Maddie, this is Amalia Roberts."

Shaking Amalia's hand, Maddie said, "It's nice to meet you, Amalia."

"Likewise," Amalia answered. "I used to use Blue Moon Shampoo when I was younger; it's neat to meet their spokes model."

Not sure what to say to this, Maddie merely smiled. " long have you and Richie known each other?" she asked.

The two shared a glance and Richie spoke, "A little over four weeks. It's kind of funny, the way we met."

David forced a smile to his face. "OK, I'll bite, how'd you two meet?"

"Took a lesson from Maddie," Richie said, winking at her. "I fired her."

Amy giggled and nodded. "He walked in, looked at me and said, 'Hello, Ms. Roberts, my name's Richard Addison, and you're fired.'" Giggling again, Amy looked up at Richie with such an expression of love that Maddie found herself having to look away.

"Well, the more the merrier," she murmured, uncomfortable.

David, too, seemed a bit out of sorts, but was disguising it. "You get used to us after a while," he said, false cheer abounding.

"No you don't," Maddie muttered, barely loud enough to be heard. When she realized she had been heard, she smiled. "David still manages to surprise me on a daily basis."

Amy smiled brilliantly at Maddie. "That's what I love about Richie," she said.

Forcing a smile to her face, Maddie nodded. There was silence for a moment before Richie exclaimed to David, "Have you heard about the game today?"

David shook his head and followed his brother out of the living room to the back of the house, leaving Maddie alone with Amalia. The timer in the kitchen dinged and Maddie silently breathed a sigh of relief, she started to leave the room, then turned back. "Amalia--"

" me Amy...Amalia is kind of a mouth full."

Maddie smiled. "Amy, you know anything about baking?"

Amy nodded enthusiastically. "I bake a mean apple pie," she said, starting toward Maddie.

The two women walked into the kitchen and were met with laughter. Maddie felt her own lips curving as she took in the scene before her. Virginia Hayes, Stephanie Addison, and Terri Bishop were all doubled over, laughing hysterically, while Baby Walter sat on the floor, literally ghost white. He stared at the three women and then down at the now empty bag of all purpose flour on the floor.

Maddie jumped as Amy nudged her and whispered, "I know Mrs. Addison, but who--"

"My mother, Virginia, and my...." Maddie stopped, not too sure what Terri was to her, if anything at all. She shrugged mentally and continued, "David's best friend Terri Bishop." After all, she couldn't very well introduce her as 'My ex-husband's wife', could she?

Amy nodded. "And the baby....yours and David's?"

Maddie shook her head and sighed. "Terri and Walter's," she said.

Walter's wails cut off anything that Amy had been about to say; when Maddie saw that Terri was more liable to drop him were she to make an attempt at comforting, she shook her head and walked the rest of the way into the kitchen. Bending down, Maddie pulled the shrieking child into her arms and cradled him.

As the adult's laughter tapered off, Walter's cries quieted to occasional sniffles. Maddie continued to rock the still upset toddler back and forth, holding him close, not totally oblivious to the white powder that was rubbing from the child onto one of her favorite blouses, but enjoying the feel of him in her arms too much to care.

Terri made her way over and shot Maddie an apologetic glance before taking Walter from her. Murmuring words of comfort, mingled with the occasional snort of laughter, Terri walked out of the kitchen. Maddie merely shook her head and turned to her mother and Stephanie. "Mom, this is Amalia--"

"Amy," she corrected, sticking out her hand.

"Amy," Maddie said, "Roberts. She came with Richie."

Mrs. Hayes smiled and shook the proffered hand. "It's lovely to meet you, Amy," she said, leading her further into the kitchen. "Tell me, do you cook?"

Amy grinned and nodded. "My Dad is a dessert chef, so I know how to make all kinds of pastries and pies....I'm not too good with anything else, though."  

Maddie watched as her mother set Amy about making what appeared to be an apple pie. Taking the time when Amy was otherwise occupied, Maddie studied her. Her brown hair was pulled back in a careful bun, a few stray wisps hanging down and fanning the back of her neck. She looked to be about thirty, thirty-three years old, definitely younger than Richie, but not by much. She was pretty - not beautiful - but pretty nonetheless; she had a kind of uniqueness about her that most men found to be intimidating.


Jumping and letting out a squeak of alarm, Maddie whirled around to find Terri, still holding floured; pouting little Walter.

"I'm sorry," Terri apologized, "I didn't mean to startle you....I was just wondering if you could take him," she held out Walter, "while I run home to get him a change of clothes."

Maddie smiled and took the pouting child from his mother. "Sure, I'll watch him," she replied, settling the boy on her hip. "Actually, it looks like everything's covered in here, while you're gone do you want me to get him cleaned up?"

"You know," Terri said, smiling, "that would be you mind? He can be a little terror in the bathtub."

Rolling her eyes, Maddie said, "Oh please, if I can deal with David, I think I can handle a two year old."

"Two ana haf," the child in question piped up, indignantly.

Maddie smiled and corrected herself, "Two and a half."

Terri raised her eyebrows at the implication and Maddie shook her head. "I didn't mean...."

Holding her hand up, Terri cut Maddie off. "I better go if I want to get back in time for dinner."

Maddie watched Terri walk away and turned to face the three women in the kitchen. "Mom?" she called out, causing her mother to stop rolling out dough and walk to her.

"Yes, dear?" she asked, smiling again at the sight of Walter all white.

Maddie sighed and hoisted the boy higher up on her hip. "Do you think you can spare me while I clean Walter up?"

"Oh, of course sweetheart," Mrs. Hayes answered, going back to her task. "We've got everything covered here."

"Good to know," Maddie muttered, walking out of the kitchen and making her way upstairs to the bathroom.

She set Walter on the toilet seat and started the water, making sure it wasn't too hot nor too cold, and plugged the drain. "Come here, you," she said to the squirming boy as she reached for him. "Let's get these clothes off, Casper."

Adding a capful of bubble bath to the running water with a shrug, Maddie then picked Walter up and sat him in the tub, where he proceeded to splash her. "Well then," she said with a good natured laugh, "I guess this blouse we can kiss bye-bye."

As an answer, Walter giggled and splashed her once more. Maddie laughed and ran her hand through the boy's hair. "Two can play at this game, you know. And I'm much bigger than you are." She splashed at him, careful to keep it away from his eyes.

As Walter alternated splashing and trying to stick the soap in his mouth, Maddie's thoughts wandered. She couldn't help but feel sadness at the sight of the little boy. After all, he could have been hers. Hers and David's.

A fresh wave of a pain she'd thought long passed shot through Maddie and she shook her head, trying to get the images of David playing with a brown haired blue eyed child out of her mind. She only succeeded when Walter splashed her in the face.

Most of the time, she kept thoughts of what might have been out of her head, but there were times (like this one) that the contemplations just wouldn't be held at bay. Shaking her head again, Maddie took the soap and began to wash the white powder from Walter's skin. "Well would you look at that," she murmured, "there is a little boy under there after all."

Walter giggled and Maddie felt her heart crack for the child that was never meant to be.

"Can I do both?" he asked, sittin~ ~ ~

"Hey Mrs. H," David said as he came into the kitchen, giving her a hug. "How's it goin'?"

Mrs. Hayes smiled and hugged him back. "It's going quite well, actually," she replied.

"That's great....listen, have you seen Maddie? I need to talk to her about something."

Before Mrs. Hayes could answer, Stephanie spoke up with, "She took Wally upstairs to wash the flour off."

All three of the women in the kitchen burst into laughter. David smiled, confused. "OK, thanks."

Making his way up the stairs, David thought he heard giggles and the splashing of water from the bathroom. He walked down the hall and was about to speak when he stopped in the doorway of the bathroom.

Maddie was on her knees in front of the bathtub, leaning over, soaking wet, washing Walter and singing softly to him. David leaned against the doorjamb and just watched and listened.

g beside her on the couch."Hey, time won't wait
Life goes by
Every day's a brand new sky.
Every tear, comes to dry.

All that really matters in this crazy world is you and I together baby, just remember
The first leaves off the tree, the way you look at me
A thousand chiming church bells ring, the simple things are free
The sun, the moon, the stars, the beating of two hearts.
How I love the simple things, the simple things just are

So, here we go
Let's just dance
Teach my soul to take this chance
Put my heart in your hands
Out of all the moments that we leave behind
Turn around and tell me, baby, we'll remember

The thunder and the rain
The way you say my name
After all the clouds go by, the simple things remain
The sun, the moon, the stars, the beating of two hearts
How I love the simple things, the simple things just are

Oh, the ocean and the sky
The way we feel tonight
I know that it's the love that brings the simple things to life.
The sun, the moon, the stars, the beating of two hearts,
I love the way the simple things just are"

He must have made some kind of noise, because Maddie suddenly gasped and whirled quickly. "God, David, you scared the hell out of me."

"Not in front of the kid, Blondie," he replied, speaking around the lump in his throat, his words sounding rather croaky to his own ears.

Maddie glanced back at Walter and winced. "Whoops," she said, smiling nervously. "How long have you been standing there?"

"Not long," David lied with a smile. "He's pretty cute," he commented.

Looking down at the wet, happy child, Maddie murmured, "Yeah, he is." Pointing to a towel lying on the sink, she said, "Can you hand me that? I'm a bit wet."

"Hey, I've said it before, I'll say it again, wet becomes you."

Rolling her eyes at his leer, Maddie said, "Just hand me the towel, Addison."

He obliged, saying, "Actually, I came up to tell you that Terri is back." He nodded his head at Walter. "If you'll bundle him up in a towel and bring him down, she'll get him dressed."

Maddie smiled and nodded, taking the towel and throwing it over her shoulder. "Can you hand me the other one, too, please?"

David was about to leave the room when Maddie called him back. "Yeah?"

"Someday...." she whispered with a smile.

A bolt of longing dashed through David and he smiled back. "You've got yourself a deal, Ms. Hayes."

~ ~ ~

"OK, before dinner begins, there's a sort of tradition we have."

All eyes flew to Maddie as she spoke. She cleared her throat and smiled. "Before we eat, we go around the table and everyone states one thing that they're thankful for."

A round of groans went up from the table and Maddie grinned. "The rule is, if you don't participate, you don't Dad, you want to start off?"

Mr. Hayes, sitting on Maddie's right, smiled and nodded. "I am thankful for my wonderful family."

"That's cheating, Alex," Mrs. Hayes said, laughing. "All right, I'm thankful for my daughter and her wonderful....boyfriend?...."

Everyone laughed at the statement that was really more of a question. It continued around the table.

Walter (Big Walter): Trains

Terri: Condoms (said with a look at Wally)

Richie: Lawyers

Amy: Old and new friends

Mr. Addison: Football

Stephanie: Tampons

Maddie smiled as it got around to David, waiting for his answer.

"I am thankful for all of those things, except Stephanie's, for obvious reasons. What I am most thankful for, however, is second chances," David said, never taking his eyes from Maddie's.

Maddie cleared her throat. "Second chances are also what I am thankful for. Mediocre minds, I suppose." She shrugged. "Happy Thanksgiving everyone."

"Happy Thanksgiving," they chorused before digging into the food.

~ ~ ~

"I'm stuffed," David said, leaning back in his chair. "Why don't we adjourn to the living room?"

There were murmurs of agreement and the scrape of chairs on the floor when Richie spoke up, "Before we do that, I have an announcement to make."

Everyone paused, sitting back down. Richie and Amy both stood, holding hands. "I....that is, we....well, I proposed to Amy a week ago, and she said yes....we're getting married."

There was nothing but silence around the table for the next moment or two, then all hell broke loose. Everyone began talking at once, offering both congratulations and exclamations of surprise.

"Dave?" Richie asked a minute later, a worried frown on his face. " you to be best man."

"Married, Rich?" David questioned with a smile.

"Yeah, Dave."

"Best man?"

"Yeah, Dave."

David came forward, hugging his older brother. "Of course I will, Rich."

While the brothers had this little exchange, everyone had gone to the living room, chattering happily. With his arm slung around his brother's shoulder, David lead Richie in and they sat on the couch.

It wasn't until Maddie's parents were leaving that David noticed he hadn't seen her in about an hour, not since dinner had ended.

"I'll go look for her," he offered.

Mr. Hayes shook his head. "Don't worry about it, we're not leaving for another few days, we'll call tomorrow; it's been a long day."

David nodded and walked them out to the cab. He watched until the tail lights faded into the darkness before he went back in to search for Maddie. He found her in the backyard, sitting on the wicker table, her elbows resting on her knees.

"Hey, Blondie, you just kind of disappeared."

She didn't even jump in startled alarm when she heard his voice. "Is everyone gone?"

"Yeah...." David sat down by her. "Is something wrong, Maddie?" he asked quietly.

Maddie sighed and shook her head, then seemed to change her mind and nodded instead. "You know the gifts I've been getting?"

A large boulder seemed to take up residence in the middle of David's stomach. "Yeah, I think I recall something like that, why?"

"He was here," she whispered. "He came here."

David stood, crossing his arms over his chest. "He was here? Right here? Why didn't you come and get me?"

"He wasn't a threat, David. Just a lonely man. I felt sorry for him." She shrugged.

Anger took place of the anger. "What did you tell him, Maddie?"

Recognizing the anger in his voice, Maddie's own anger rose. "What do you mean, what did I tell him? Why, I told him that my current lover was otherwise occupied and could he please--"

"Maddie...." David said, a warning in his tone.

"You're unbalanced, Addison," she said icily. "Why don't you just come out and tell me you don't trust me? Wouldn't that save a lot of time?"

"It's not you I don't trust," he said.

Maddie sighed. "Yeah, OK, David. Look, why don't you just go home? I'll see you in the morning."

"Fine," David said, "I've had just about as much of you today as I can handle anyway."

The words were out of his mouth before he could even blink. Then, he stood there, amazed at himself. That was totally out of character for him, saying things like that to her.

"God Maddie...I--"

"Don't," she whispered. "Just don't." She turned and walked back into the house, closing the door with a soft click of finality.

"Just great, you idiot," David murmured, smacking his forehead before trudging around to the front of the house. He wasn't even going to bother calling a cab, he deserved to walk.


Maddie walked into Blue Moon the next day with a sense of sadness. She answered Ms. DiPesto's "Good morning" with a wave and hurried to her office, closing the door behind her and leaning up against it.

After depositing her briefcase on the floor by her desk, Maddie took a seat. It was then that she noticed the envelope with her name scrawled on the front, and a rose sitting atop it.

With a raised eyebrow, Maddie slipped a finger under the flap of the envelope and extracted the folded paper from within. Her expression slowly softened as she read the words.

"Love is all I can offer, no treasures can I see; no pot of gold or silver threads, to tie you close to me. No paintings that hang in halls so grand, no jewels that sparkle bright, but I give to you my heart and soul and my love to hold you tight. I give my tears that fall for you, when we must be apart, and when we're both together I'll offer you my heart, I'll give the world a miss and leave the moon to the night, and when I hold you close to me I'll kiss your lips so light. Love is all I can offer, the love I have for you, and never will it fade away, for without you I'll be blue. To never hold you close to me or to stroke your silken skin would kill my heart and soul for sure; it would be a mortal sin. Love is what I give to you, a love that's given free, a love that grows each passing day wherever we may be, and when that special day it comes, when we will never part, as we hold each other close, you can give me back my heart.

"How's that for poetry, Blondie? Please forgive me for last night, I was a jealous jerk. I love you --- D"

"Yes, you were," Maddie said, not raising her eyes, but knowing he was standing in her doorway anyway.

"Does that smile mean I'm forgiven?" he asked, coming in all of the way and closing the door behind him.

"Yeah," she whispered, getting up and meeting him halfway across the room. "Yeah, you're forgiven."

He smiled and kissed her.

"Now go away, David," she said, turning and walking back to her desk, sitting, "I've got work to do."

David walked to the door and was about to leave, but said, "Gee, an `I love you, too' seemed to be rather appropriate."

The door closed and Maddie whispered, "I love you, too."

~ ~ ~

"Well, what do we do with our check for twelve hundred dollars?" David asked, pouring a glass of wine.

Maddie smiled and took the glass from him. "We put it in the bank."

"That's no fun," David commented, taking a sip of his own wine and setting it down on the coffee table.

"I've been thinking--"

David groaned and collapsed back onto the couch. "I don't think I can take any of your thinking, Maddie."

Sitting beside him, Maddie ignored this statement. "We got through another year of our relatives....and this year we had other obstacles to overcome....I'm proud of us, Addison."

Glancing up at her, David smiled. "Really?" When she nodded, he returned it. "Yeah, yeah you're right." He pulled her to him, so that they were lying together, and kissed the top of her head. "We're pretty damn good, aren't we?"

Maddie raised her head and kissed him softly on the lips. "Yeah, we're pretty damn good."

"Wanna neck?" David asked, eyebrows raised; a mischievous smile on his face.

Maddie's reaction was the last thing David expected. She began to laugh. "What's so funny?" he asked, indignant.

"Nothing....nothing...I'm not laughing at you," she said by way of explanation.

"Oh."...... "So what were you laughing at?"

Maddie put her head down on David's chest, listening to the steady, thrum thrum thrum, of his heart. "I was just thinking that we have to do this on Christmas too."

David groaned. "I'll tell you about we let the family fend for themselves this's not that I don't love my family--"

Maddie snorted.

"--but we did the Christmas thing last year. And besides, your parents are going on that cruise, my dad and Stephanie are going to her sister's house, Richie and Amalia are going to Amalia's parents.....and I think the Bishop's can find somewhere if they look hard enough." He took a deep breath and finished with, "Let's just go solo this Christmas."

Maddie was silent for a few moments before she picked her head up and nodded at him. "I think that's a good idea....and you're right....let's do `the solo thing' this year."

There was a comfortable silence for a time, the only sound the music in the background. They lay on the couch, David running his hands through Maddie's hair, listening to the music.

Don't go changin', to try'n please me
You've never let me down before.
And don't imagine you're too familiar, and I don't see you anymore.
I would not leave you, in times of trouble
We never could have come this far.
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times,
I take you just the way you are

Don't go trying' some new fashion
Don't change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care
I don't want clever conversation,
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are.

I need to know that you will always be
the same old someone that I knew
Oh what will it take till you believe in me, the way that I believe in you?
I said "I love you" and that's forever,
This I promise from the heart,
I couldn't love you any better,
I love you just the way you are.

I don't want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to.
I want you just the way you are.

When the song was over and the inevitable commercials came on, David asked, "Hey wanna neck now?"

Thanks go to too many people to count, but particularly to Heather, Adina, and Aubrey - I shudder to think what this would be like without your help - and the sixth season staff (or should we be the seventh season staff now?) - Good lord, I never dreamed this would go on for so long. Three cheers for us! Thank you everyone and Happy Holidays (however belated they may be!) --- Sarah


Will You Still Love me Tomorrow? - Carole King
The Simple Things - Jim Brickman with Rebecca Lynn Howard
Just The Way You Are - Billy Joel (of course!)
d awkwardly carried them to the kitchen. "Forget it, Addison."When When When When My Heart Finds ChristmasMy