Chapter Sixteen

Three Years Later

Marshall walked across the great seal that greeted visitors as he went to the check-in desk in the FBI's main lobby. He never thought he would enter the building again after he had become a private detective but he had learned his lesson about making assumptions and he had wisely given that practice up. When he entered the doors for the first time in over three years, he had fought his apprehension and foreboding that the he would be sucked back into that life. He had served his country, faithfully, and still did to an extent. The higher ups knew not to approach him, talk to him, or even look his way.

An efficient looking young man looked him up and down and pasted a phony smile on his face. Wearing his new Italian suit he knew in comparison to the standard haircut, dark suit and basic ties the Feds had to wear Marshall looked like he was right off the runway. He had always hated these types of guys that figured just because someone dressed well that they were some rich man's son and here to buy a get-out-of-jail card. He had seen just as many good guys dressed badly, as bad guys dressed to the nines. He could care less for the reasons these pricks felt compelled to pick fights and try to bring some excitement in their boring lives. They could fill a day looking busy at the desk and getting off on their power trip of hassling people just because they can. Taking out his identification he placed it on the counter and returned the same phony smile. He wasn't going to get too ticked off today and he damn well better not be late. Not today punk.

Monday through Friday he entered this lobby at the same time and had the same destination. He wouldn't veer from the plan even if his life depended on it. Unless requested to do special escort everyone knew who he was. Everyone, no exceptions. Occasionally a former colleague would stop him to shoot the breeze or a new cadet would want to do a little hero worship. Marshall was always polite and went out of his way to make everyone feel comfortable around him. This prick just wanted to pick a fight and unbeknownst to the asshole he was selecting the wrong day to do so.

"Sir if you'd just place your hand on the scanner we'll get this process underway." Marshall knew the man was smiling as he turned his back on him to retrieve a form out of the cabinet that lined the wall. He would have bet money that if the man could have performed the Carlton dance he would have just to piss him off more.

Marshall was just about to lean close and tell the idiot that he shit bigger than him, always loving that line from the movie City Slickers, when the desk phone rang. Marshall tried not to sigh out loud when the twerp made a show of answering the phone using an overly professional voice and acting like no one was waiting to be cleared through security.

With an amused expression Marshall watched as the man sat up straighter in his chair and his face changed a few different shades of red. His heart warmed over as he began to guess who was on the other line of the call. That voice, that could turn him on with just a few words and cause him to hurry home, was powerful and was working its magic. He knew the dressing down the prick was getting would make more than a few rounds down the gossip grapevine.

Once when Derrick and Cedric had decided to break it off with their girlfriends, the young ladies had almost related to desperate measures to get them back. Marshall had been at his wits end with naked females in his bed, females crying in his living room, and sneaking into his bedroom thinking it was one of the twins. Some would arrive at all hours of the night trying to break in to the house. They had even resorted to lying and making up all manner of stories to get the twins in trouble. It was the second most happiest day of his life when M.I.T. called and they were able to start early skipping their senior year in high school.

What had saved his sanity had been when Camille had had all the young ladies over for tea. He had listened in awe as she laid down the law telling the girls it was past due time they started having some self-respect and started behaving like individuals with brain cells and not just reproductive organs. She calmly had told each girl what she would personally do if they did not abide by her rules and demonstrate that she was not making the wrong decision by not telling their parents. When she demanded they eat all the cookies and drink all the tea, Marshall didn't think his stomach would ever recover from laughing so hard.

He kept his smirk to a minimum as the young man hung up the phone softly, handed him his identification, and buzzed him through. Marshall had a feeling he would not have any more trouble with this guy ever again. A lesser man would have been put off by his woman taking matters into her own hands and showing she had balls. He was confident enough in his maleness to be glad he had a woman that wouldn't take crap from anybody, not even him. Guys like him got turned on by strong women, not turned off. He was a strong man and damsels in distress that couldn't think for themselves would never be on his dance card. Of course his dance card was completely full and he would not be making any changes ever.

Boarding the elevator he let his grin grow as the chimes pinged for each floor. Looking at his watch he had exactly three minutes before he was considered late. When the doors opened on the top floor, he made his way down the hallway to the offices. The floor was deserted with most having left for the typical government worker's lunch from 11:30 to 2:00. Although it had become a running joke between them, she would forever give him a hard time about his punctuality.

Three years earlier

New Year's Eve

Marshall rang the doorbell and tried not to pace across the porch. The ring box in his jacket pocket seemed to beat him in the chest as he shifted from foot to foot. He had never been so anxious in his life. Not even before a mission. He knew she was angry. Hell, the twins had been giving him regular updates on her mood ever since he made contact with them a few months ago.

He should have been back sooner. Shaking his head there were a lot of things he should have done sooner but he put all that on the back burner. Brax had been taken down and Marshall knew he was the one to get the job done. He and Ortega had gotten out of the house before the explosion by following the trapdoor Juliet had used when Brax had started shooting indiscriminately at everybody. Marshall had gotten off two good shots but Ortega had been wounded in the return fire. In the craziness Ortega's men had thought him dead and Marshall had lost communication with his team.

Things would get worse before they got better when he would lose Brax' trail and need to get Ortega off the street. The drug lord wasn't as big as some of the crime families but any low level drug dealer that wanted to come up in the world and make a name for himself might be tempted to take the out the guy who the State Department didn't even know was in the country.

It had taken a month but Ortega was on the mend and he knew were Brax was holding up. The idiot went to one of his whores and he picked the most inept one ever. She didn't know how to dress his wound and if Marshall hadn't have found him infection would have done him in. Brax got no sympathy and there would be no guilt when he handed him over to Ortega.

That then had presented the second complication. Getting Ortega and Brax back to Venezuela and to his family compound. Ortega was still weak and needed some additional time. Marshall had finally made contact with his team and things were set in motion to finally rid his hands of this case. A week later and enduring being locked in a dungeon he was shaking hands with Ortega and saying he hoped they didn't cross paths again. The man had laughed and said that any past incidents were wiped clean and Marshall was always welcomed in his home. He had presented him with a 20-carat diamond bracelet.

"I do apologize for my family's misunderstanding. They did not realize you were not the one that shot me."

"I'm glad we got it all worked out and I'm able to tell the tale."

"My nephew and the enemy will be dealt with very soon. Are you sure you do not want to take part."

"I believe I have kept the lady waiting long enough." Manuel Ortega had smiled in such a way that Marshall was sure he knew what he was talking about. The man's faraway look was replaced with a small smile as he gestured to one of his men. The man held out a square rectangular velvet box to him.

"I once kept my wife waiting for 2 years. Biggest mistake of my life. So take this for the senorita to apologize for causing you to be delayed." When Marshall made to refuse the look on the man's face warned that to insult him would not be a good way to end their parting.

Marshall had taken the gift and sprinted for the jet that sat idling on the private airstrip. Sanchez had kept him apprised of the events Stateside and he would never be able to thank her enough for not only taking his nephews in but taking charge like he knew she could. She was no longer the pretty little wife that sat home and made PTA pastries. But there was one more person he needed to have a conversation with before he returned to Washington D.C. and her arms.

Two days later he let himself in to a large flat in Paris, France. The owner didn't seem surprised to see him sitting at his dining room table drinking black coffee.

"Was wondering when you'd get to me." Joseph said nonchalantly taking a seat across from Marshall.

"I like the new look. Suits you." The nose and chin job had provided the man enough variance from the late Fred Wilson that when people looked at him he would seem familiar but not readily recognizable. Some greying at the temples and colored contacts completed the look.

"I know you're going to take great care of Camille. She deserves on the best and I am glad she'll have you. I do regret that I will miss out on being grandpa but I'm married to my research now."

When Sanchez had alerted him to the disappearance by death stunt Joseph had dreamed up he had thought the agent had finally gone off the reservation. It took the entire team to convince him that not only was this necessary it was time the French agent went home. Adding his own recommendations everything went like clockwork and Camille was now a wealthy single woman. The conversation had been brief and when most guys would have felt compelled to say a lot of nonsense, they didn't need any words to convey how things were going to be from now on. Before parting Marshall had offered him a handshake.

"I only regret that Camille got caught in the middle of all of this. I found I loved research more than being an agent because of her. We produced three great children and those memories I would not trade for the world. I know you are going to give her the life I never could."

Marshall didn't feel any need to comment on the man's statement. The man had been an idiot and no matter how smart he was in other ways, his loss was a gain he would not be letting go of. In the recesses of his mind he'll always want to off the guy for what he put Camille. Joseph's genuine concern to keep her safe above all else will put the man in the tolerate area if nothing else. Eight hours and eleven minutes later the weariness he should have been feeling was obliterated by his need to see Camille and hold her in his arms. His proposal was long overdue and although he knew she suspected he was alive and well and keeping in touch with his nephews he wanted their reunion to be right.

He had been lost in thought when she opened the door. It was if he hadn't injured hiding in the shadows to find Brax or been locked away in a dark and dank dungeon until the Ortega family could determine the truth.

Her hair was pulled up on top of her head in a messy bun and there was flour on her face. The twins said she had been baking and that the house was full of enough confections to fill a bakery. Her expression showed her surprise but he was baffled at how quickly she covered it with a blank look.

"You're late," Camille said putting her hands on her hips unmindful of the flour that now coated her dress. So awestruck by her beautiful he didn't say anything. When he still didn't say anything she closed the door in his face.

Marshall looked down at his shoes then back at the door. What the hell just happened. He was a man of action not some first-time shy little boy. Instead of ringing the bell he knocked, hard, on the door.

She answered again and he swore she was trying to suppress a smile. "You're late," she repeated this time a little softer and possible expectant.

Marshall had no problem finding his tongue. "I was delayed," he simply stated deciding to beat her at her own game.

"There are phones, even in the jungle." Marshall had a feeling not only had he been set up, there were mostly being watched by multiple sets of eyes, including four that just might make it to their eighteenth birthday.

"Extreme silence was needed." His unexpected trip out of the country had meant that Sanchez had not been able to encrypt his phone with the necessary software to bypass scramblers that were sometimes used to block signals. The Ortega compound kept any and all signals from being transmitted. Then once he was able to make a call, it was limited to one call and as much as he wanted it to be Camille he knew his team would get him what he needed to get back to the States and finally put the Brax fiasco behind him.

"And once silence wasn't needed," she asked. He noticed her eyes a softened a little and he wondered if more than just the twins had divulged he alive and well status. There was no use in prolonging their torture. Each day without her had been torture. Once his need to deal with Brax had been assuaged he mind had become on track. Get back to Camille and never let her go.

"A funeral was underway," he stated frankly. He had been ready to leave Venezuela and pick up with her where they had left off. Knowing she was safe and out of harm's way had been of prime importance. He didn't want anyone from Brax's or Joseph's circles to come looking for her.

Camille nodded and looked at the man she had dreamt about each night since the explosion. Joseph's deception and lies had devastated her. She would have the memories of a pretty good life and her beautiful children to reflect on. Losing Marshall was as if someone had carved out her heart and left her hollow and void. When the tears had finally stopped she had to turn her attention to Joseph's departure back to France and officially out her and the children's lives. Her only sadness was that Vance, Vila and Vance would not know the truth. Their anger and dislike for their father would have to remain to keep all parties safe. Her sullen look made her the picture perfect wife that was mourning one of the world's more generous researchers. She had given the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded in medicine for his pharmaceutical contributions that were freely distributed worldwide for all people to Vance. Her eldest son seemed to finally come to peace with the man he believed was his father and promised to make more visits to Washington D.C. in the future. It was more that Joseph deserved but he had helped to escape and she was now glad that she could officially close that chapter and look ahead to a future where she could be with someone that truly loved her.

Victor and Vila had handled most of the arrangements leaving hours upon hours to wish, yearn and long for a life she that seemed just outside her grasp. Why couldn't she have met Marshall in college? Why couldn't he be the father of her children? Why didn't she realize she he loved him sooner and done something about it. As if reading her mind as her expressions played across her face, she launched herself into his open arms. He caught her easily as he had done before. She buried her face in his neck temporary satisfied to let his scent permeate her senses. The tears of joy threatened to spill from her eyes. He was here.

She tried not to laugh out loud when he yelled 'Get out!' and it was immediately followed by scrambling, grunts, and groans. 'Tell Sanchez I'll call him tomorrow.' The tightening in her stomach had not extended to her in between her thighs at his words. Tonight was theirs. No talking, no explanations, no regrets. When the door slammed he gently pushed her thighs so she could slide down his body. His removing from her body reminded her she had a pie in the oven. She quickly ran into the kitchen turned the oven off and met him at the base of the stairs.

Camille grabbed his hand and him upstairs to the master bedroom. She had completely redecorated the room, including new furnishings. The king-size poster bed was about to get the workout it deserved.

"Camille," he began but she put her fingers to his lips and led him to the bed. She was giddy and lightheaded as he followed her lead and sat on the bed. She took her time undressing him, kissing each part of exposed skin as it was revealed. Marshall had a body. Hardened and ripped in just the right places to take her breath away. He was marvelous and she awe at being able to touch him any way she wanted was almost overwhelming.

She had him stand briefly to remove his pants and underwear and hands down his package was more than impressive. The tears were threatening to return so she didn't delay when she pushed him back down on the bed, kneeled before him took him in her mouth. He worked him over and over fueled by his outburst of pleasure and the sometimes forceful grip on her head and gentle tugs on her hair.

"Camille, baby. You better stop," Marshall began almost blinded by the pleasure she was giving him. He could tell she was pouring her heart out to him and it was tearing him up. He wanted to pull her off of him and throw her down on the bed plunge into her depths. For the first time in his life was turn between letting her continue or him taking control. His body decided to be in league with her and let her remain in control of her making love to him. She forced more of him into her mouth and down her throat feeling his release nearing. She gently stroked his thighs as he roared his pleasure. With a satisfied smile she popped him out of her mouth and went to the bathroom.

Marshall felt her absence immediately but wasn't quite ready to open his eyes and lose the wonderful feelings just yet. He heard her approach the bed and he couldn't help the sigh that escaped his lips and a warm towel moved over his body and touched him to his soul. His eyes opened just in time to see her toss the towel away and she climbed on top of his body. He wasn't surprised that he was aroused again and he took matters into his own hands literally and lifted her hips and slammed her down on him.

Their combined moans were music to his ears. Once he set the rhythm he let her take over again. He watched with fascination as her breasts bounced before him and her eyes shined brightly as she gazed back at him. He loved her, plain and simple. They would make love two more times and fall asleep in each other's arms. The next morning she kicked him out of her house and slammed the door in his face.

He had returned to his place almost resigned. He had underestimated yet again. Her anger was just as powerful as her love. Making love to her all night was not going to completely absolve him. He had his work cut out for him and this time he was going to do it right. He spent the next few weeks demonstrating his love in many ways by revisiting every restaurant, every museum, every park they had gone to while he was following her. He caught on to what she was doing. They were recreating memories that would be theirs and not based on falsehoods and halve truths.

Each time they would meet she would greet him with 'You're late,' and then walk off. He would catch up to her, take her hand and silently walk beside her. Each "date" would progress from holding hands to full hugs, then kisses on the cheek to kisses on the lip. In Las Vegas he finally used her words when she arrived at the chapel and signed the marriage certificate. He made sweet love to her after he had carried her across the threshold of the Montana cabin he had bought. Now when she said 'you're late,' it was there secret joke that reminded them of their love for each other.

Present Day

"She's in a real good mood today," his wife's assistant Sandra said as she grabbed her purse from the desk drawer. "I am going to miss

Marshall merely nodded as she dashed for the elevator. He opened the door and paused as he saw her standing in front of the large office window. The large bouquet of zinnias, her favorite flower, sat displayed on her desk.

She turned to face him and smiled. "A little trouble getting upstairs today."

Marshall slowly approached her and smiled. Camille had her hair down, softly touching her shoulders. He resisted the urge to brush her hair aside and kiss his favorite spot on her neck. He had favorite spots all over her body and was looking forward to kissing each one. "Seems knowing the boss makes a difference."

"Apparently not enough since you shouldn't have been hassled at all," she said taking a step closer to him and removing her suit jacket. Her part time work with the FBI while she worked on her doctorate was coming to an end. He smiled in remember a year after they had been married when she was offered the mostly freelance job.

Senator Meyer had invited them to a large dinner that would soon turn into his prelaunch for his campaign for governor. While touring his mansion she made a few comments about the artwork which drew attention away from her being Mrs. Marshall Price to what could this female no one had heard of know about art. Marshall watched as she provided quite convincing evidence that the Senator's priced works of art were in fact frauds. Camille had been quite discrete when a large crowd had gathered but when they were alone in the Senator's office she gave details only someone with an art history background could know. The FBI asked her to come and help out with a few cases. She was a natural closer.

Her most recent case had almost stumped her. Marshall stood at the ready to assist her in any way. He had come to love how her mind worked as she pieced together small things that would seem insignificant to most people to help her track down forgers and thieves. He had laughingly told her she could come to work for him any time. She took it one step further and told him he could come work for her as she entertained taking a teaching position and treasure hunting, as she called it, only on weekends. She was being offered positions across the country and internationally.

Placing her hands on his chest she leaned up ready to receive his kiss. He deepened the kiss then pulled back, drawing her more into his embrace. "Whew, I thought you were going to be late," she laughed as she put her ear to his heart.

"I learned my lesson and I don't like repeating things that can be done without the drama," Marshall rolling his eyes and tilting his head to the side.

Camille fully laughed as she looked at him knowing he was imitating the twins when they described the antics of their classmates at M.I.T. She pushed his suit open and let the jacket fall off his shoulders. She caught it and tossed it on one of the chairs. "You look really good. So good in fact your look extremely delicious."

Marshall chucked as she ran her hands up and down his back and placed kisses on his neck. If they made love in her office, it wouldn't be the first time but that was not what he wanted to do on their anniversary. He pulled back from her an smiled. He faltered for just a moment when she lifted her skirt to review she had no underwear on.

"Woman I swear you are trying to kill me." He knelt before he and put small kisses down her body as he pulled her skirt down. He ignored the pout as he grabbed their jackets and pulled her toward the door. While in the elevator he did put his hands to good use that almost left her whimpering in his arms. He stopped three floors from their stop to give her a few seconds to collect herself. He ignored the look she gave him knowing he would make it up to her.

Marshall grabbed her hand, brought it to his lips and then led her out of the elevator. They made their way out the building her tolerant smile being replaced by genuine excitement when she saw the limousine. He nodded and pulled her into his arms. "Kissing her deeply again before helping her into the car he whispered against her lips, "Happy anniversary."

That had almost made it to their destination but he had to call the driver to drive around for a bit longer. His wife was not to be denied what she couldn't take in her office and on the elevator. Hours later while they lightly dozed after multiple love making and quick grabs of room service, Marshall laid on his back and enjoyed the pressure of her body curled into his side. His arm was her pillow while her hand covered his heart. After all the couples he had watch self-combust and end, in what he thought back then, in typical fashion. He couldn't fathomed being without her. She had gone back to school and become her own person without him defining or labeling her to where she wasn't her own person. He had thought her tenacious when she was trying to repair her fake marriage. He was humbled every day by how completely she gave herself to him and how she demanded he do the same to her in return.

Her children had accepted him and he was glad to have someone with experience to help him with the twins. He was glad when she declined to go with him while he finished up a few 'cases' he had already committed to before he had to deal with Brax. Her naiveté regarding love and motives kept him refreshed and less cynical.

"Stop thinking so hard, I'm going to have to borrow a billion from Sanchez so I can ask you for your thoughts."

Marshall laughed, knowing she was almost as rich as him with the money Joseph had left her. "Not thinking about,"

"Before you attempt to finish that answer, I can tell by your heart rate you're thinking about something. Your body is telling on you. So I'll ask again, what are you thinking about?"

"Not really thinking, but reflecting. How we met, when you fell in love with me, that kind of thing," he smiled she lifted her head and hit him with her hand on his chest. "Okay, okay. I was thinking about how to wake you so we can start round 4."

"Good answer," she smiled as she pulled him toward as she laid flat on her back. Hs last thought as he gave himself over to their lovemaking was, he hadn't gone looking for love that day but he had been extremely fortunate to find it. Now he would spend the rest of his life cherishing his blessings.

The End

Copyright ©2015 LeichelleK. All Rights Reserved. This story is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Re-distribution without permission is not allowed.