Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters or MSW, just borrowing them for my enjoyment. And if I were making money…I wouldn’t be posting on a free website.
Music filtered around the couple dancing under the old tree, their feet shuffling the leaves about. It was dark, only the light of a half moon casting shadows about the yard. An owl hooted, crickets chirped, and tree frogs gave their own voice to the nature orchestra that accompanied Nat King Cole’s Stardust. A blanket kept the couple warm as the cool winds of autumn picked up.
“Mmm?” Jessica hummed, her head tucked under her husband’s chin.
“Are you happy?”
Looking up, Jessica smiled as she answered. “Oh yes. Happier than I could ever have dreamed possible.”
“Even though it’s just us?”
Settling back against her husband’s chest, she sighed, “Oh Frank. You know that I would have loved to have been a mother to your children. The time has passed when it broke my heart that I couldn’t be. And then we had Grady, who became like our own. Now,” she pressed a kiss to his chest. “Now I’m happy and content just being Jessica Fletcher, wife of Frank Fletcher. I enjoy being able to just be with you without having to worry over spilled milk, a runny nose, skinned knees, crying over nightmares, and someone else demanding my attention. I know that may sound selfish, but even though I enjoyed our time with Grady, I’m enjoying it just being us.”
Wrapping his arms tighter around her, Frank pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “I enjoyed our years with Grady, too. I guess I’m a bit selfish myself, because I love that during the summer months we can just pick up and go on a trip if we want to. I even love these autumn and winter months when I have you all to myself at night after school.”
“Even though grading papers some times gets in the way?” she asked as she looked up at him.
Smiling down at her, Frank lifted a hand and tucked a curl behind her ear. “Even then because I still have you all to myself at bed time.”
“Frank,” she whispered, her cheeks flushing.
“Ah, Jessie,” he sighed. “I love to see you blush.”
“I know.” Jessica sighed, a smile on her lips.
Growing serious, Frank cupped her face. “The only regret I have is that if something happens to me, you’ll be alone now that Grady is gone and starting his own life.”
Tears filled her eyes as she shook her head. “Don’t talk like that. You aren’t going to leave me. When the time comes to go, we’ll be old and gray, and we’ll go together.”
“My sweet Jessie.” Frank breathed before wiping at an errant tear. “You have to know that that is what I want, but if it doesn’t happen that way, promise me…”
Shaking her head, Jessica wrapped her arms tighter around him and buried her face against his chest. “Oh please, Frank. Don’t.”
“You have to promise me that you’ll live.” Titling her head up so that he could see her face in the dim moonlight, Frank kissed her nose then lips. “Live and love again, my Jessie. I want you to be happy.”
“Jessie?” George whispered as he came into the room and found her staring at the dancing shadows on the wall. Walking over to her, he wrapped his arms around her from behind. “Where are you?”
Coming out of her memories, Jessica leaned back against George, her hands coming up to cover his. “Lost in memories.”
Jessica nodded. “And sad ones.”
Holding her a bit tighter, George kissed her temple. “Frank?”
“Yes. The dancing shadows made me think of autumn the year before he got sick.” Turning to look up at her friend and lover, Jessica smiled sadly. “We were dancing outside under the old tree. Our conversation turned to how we enjoyed our alone time together after Grady had grown up and moved out. That led to his asking me to promise him that, if our desire to go out as an old graying couple didn’t come to pass, I would live and love again. He told me he wanted me to be happy.”
Gently cupping her chin, George held her gaze. “And are ye happy, Lass?”
“Now that I’ve stopped holding you at bay, I’m very happy.”
“Then you’ve kept the promise.”
“I never made the promise. I couldn’t.”
“But you’ve kept it anyway. You’re living and you’re loving, it’s all that he wanted.”
“He would have liked you, you know.”
George winked as he wiped at a tear. “And I’m sure I would have liked him. After all, he loved you, that says all I need to know about the man.”
Jessica smiled as she caressed his face. “You sweet man. Have I told you lately how very much I adore you?”
“I believe you told me this morning before you kissed me.”
Tracing his lips with her thumb, Jessica watched his green eyes darken. “I simply adore you, George Sutherland. Thank you for being so very patient with me and not giving up.”
“I adore ye, Lass. I could never have given up.” Gently swaying back and forth, he held her close, their bodies casting dancing shadows on the wall.