“Sorry I punched you,” she says sheepishly. Miles picks up her hand and kisses it. “Miles told me everything. That you’ve been working with him since Alexander tried to use you to get close to Miles.”

“Though it took me a minute to realize it wasn’t so much me he was interested in.” Miles glances around the room, and my face turns red.

I look at Captain, but he doesn’t seem to care that everyone can see his crazy little picture collage of me. He absolutely doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks.

“Oh. My. God,” Mal says, noticing the pictures for the first time. “Are you sure Captain and Oz aren’t related? Because they’re definitely both stalkers.”

I can’t help but giggle again. I like that Captain is a little crazy. That his walls are covered in me. Mal squeals, making us all jump.

“Your finger!” She breaks from Miles’s hold and grabs my hand. “It’s perfect. It’s so you.” Her eyes start to water all over again.

“You have got to get this crying thing under control,” I tell her.

“Totally fine,” she sniffles, as Miles pulls her to him again. I’m not sure why she even tries to leave his reach. It’s pointless. I laugh as she sneakily wipes her nose on his thousand-dollar shirt.

“This has been great and all,” Captain says, clearly wanting everyone out of his bedroom. We’d made plans to not leave the bed all day.

“That’s sweet, but I’m not going anywhere,” Mal tells him, grabbing me by the hand. Captain lets me go as she pulls me from his room and down the hallway to the kitchen.

“You can’t live here. There’s no food in here,” Mallory says, opening all the cabinets and looking around. “Captain, you know you’re marrying Paige, right? Wait.” She stops moving around the kitchen. “Where will you live? Are you leaving? Does Captain still work for Oz now that this whole Alexander thing is over?” She lets out a little gasp. “Are you still with the CIA?”

She whispers the last question, like she hasn’t been asking the room questions all at once. We let her get all of them out before I answer.

“He will no longer be with the CIA, we are both staying at Osborne Corp, we will live in my place because it’s bigger,” I tell her. “But we’ll have to move the Paige shrine because that’s obviously coming with us. And never once has my man let me go hungry.”

Captain rounds the kitchen island, picking me up by my hips and sitting me on it, then placing a deep kiss on me. “What do you want, kitten?”

“The bakery.”

“I’ll be right back.”

“Oz is going with you,” Mal adds. She walks over and gives Miles a kiss before pushing him out the door with Captain. I sit on the island, watching her rush them out.

“This is crazy,” she finally says, when the door closes. “What happened last night? I really am sorry I broke down and told Oz. He was so worried about you. You should have seen him.”

Her words warm me deep inside, knowing how much Miles actually cares about me. After the past week, I think he always has. He just hasn’t known how to show his feelings. That is, until Mal ripped them open, and now they seem to be pouring out.

“He killed him for me.” I lick my suddenly dry lips.

“The oh-so-perfect Captain isn’t so perfect, after all. Guess you don’t have an excuse now,” Mal says, hopping up on the kitchen island with me.

“No, he is. Perfect for me.” I look over at her, and her whole face lights up with a smile.

“That’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

“I know. You three must be rubbing off on me.”

“Oh, I think someone has been rubbing on you.” She wiggles her eyebrows.

“I thought when I lost him yesterday I’d never pull through. It hurt so bad. Worse than anything.”

“I knew something wasn’t right. I mean, I see the way he looks at you. I see the same look when Miles looks at me. Captain’s so in love with you. He’s been giving you that look from the first time I saw the two of you together.”

We sit in silence for a moment. She reaches over and grabs my hand.

“How do you feel today, now that it’s over?”

“All I feel is happy.” I squeeze her hand. “And I don’t think the happy comes from him being gone. I know I’ve wanted that for so long, but last night gave me Ryan. That man would do anything in the whole world for me. I have no doubt of that. I am the single most important person in the world to him. That’s not something I’ve ever felt before. To be someone’s whole world.”

“I get that,” Mal agrees, and I know she understands. She never had a family of her own, and she has a man who would do anything for her, too. It’s empowering.

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