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Chapter Text

Zapata and Reade sit together on his sofa in companionable silence for about a
minute; The Latina agent is satisfied that her friend will stay on top of his meds,
and reach out when and if needed. Reade assures her over and over that he will, and
as she prepares to leave, he catches her off guard, kissing her full on the mouth before
she can react. For a few seconds, she doesn't resist; then mortified, PANICKED, she jerks back
and away. The look of hurt and confusion on his face nearly melts her heart. She steels herself,
however, and tells him that 'they're FRIENDS-that's all', and leaves.

Outside on the sidewalk, instead of going to her car, she paces back and forth, her mind whirring
over the events of the past five to ten minutes. Shocked by the suddeness of Reade's kiss, she remembers
her initial reaction: acceptance...then why did she pull away-run away?

Because you're a CHICKEN SHIT, chimes the voice of her sometimes conscience, RICKY FLORES, her first
real boyfriend (from her teen age years. Ricky was always quick to call bullshit when needed-like now)

But...I'm SCARED, Ricky, she whispers.

OK,'s keep rolling with the one nights stands, until you run into the wrong asshole, or
get too OLD...which of those 'dicks for the night' do you think might be there to have your back?
Malik? Paolo?-one of 'em, FOR SURE, though...RIGHT?!

Tell me what to DO, Rikis...TELL ME WHAT TO DO...

VIVE...y ser FELIZ, por una vez en tu vida.

Chapter Text

Edgar Reade's emotions are all over the place: Has He BLOWN IT-both their FRIENDSHIP, and any chance
for more? She'd kissed him back-for a second or two: he'd not imagined that... One thing
he's certain of: he'd spoken from the heart-ophoids and his recent trauma had nothing to do with what he'd
blurted. He's loved Tasha too long to even consider stopping now. And if he's ruined things...well, he's put it out
there, and what else can one do?

Sensing himself about doze, he's re-adjusting into a more comfortable position on the sofa when to Zapata re-enters
his apartment. The look on her face is both scared and determined.

You should know that I'm a complete and utter mess. My childhood was less a childhood than a daily battlefield that I
managed to survive, against all odds...I'm traumatized, I'll be frightened all the time that I'll fuck you up the way I've fucked
up the few good things that have come my way in life. I'm TERRIFIED, Reade. You are one of those good things I mentioned
earlier. Can we go slowly? And you have to promise that no matter what, I'll never lose your friendship, or your love. If you
can promise me that...I'm IN.

Taking a seat beside him, she says one last thing. "Try not to hurt me, please. I won't survive."

Taking her hand in his. "I promise to try."

Chapter Text

[That look in your eyes
Telling me "No"
So you think that you love me
Know that you need me
I wrote the song, I know it's wrong
Just let me go...]

Edgar (pulls out of her embrace and sits up): Which is right-respecting your fears, and your instincts-
when all reason screams NO? Or pushing forward-jumping 'IN', taking a chance? Risking it all?

Tasha: What do you FEEL? Am I faking? Here (she takes one of his hands and places it, palm
flat, against her chest): See how my heart accelerates when you touch me? THAT'S REAL, Reade. What we did
last night-did it feel like just sex? It didn't for ME.

Reade: You're 100% sure about this?

Tasha: 1000%...I'm that sure because of the little things: 1-I don't 'SNUGGLE'...have you noticed that I
can't seem to get CLOSE ENOUGH to you? 2-After the first couple of hours last night...I was so SORE-and I still wanted
MORE OF YOU-didn't you SENSE that? I NEEDED MORE...there's so may things I could say, but to make it short, sweet, and
simple: I KNOW MYSELF...I know that denying my feelings have gotten me nowhere. You say that you love me, and I believe that.
I can FEEL IT. I look into your eyes, and I SEE IT. You put your big cock inside me, and I KNOW IT-deep in my soul. In the heart of me.
I'm that sure because for the first time since Ricky, I'm opening my heart to the possiblities, I'm giving myself permission to love.

Reade: DAMN!-after that fucking speech I'm HARD AGAIN...

Tasha (rolling her eyes): Of course you are, Amorcito (My darling)...Vez...ya me moje-mojada por ti...despacio...y suave...ummm...
ahi...ahi... (See...I'm WET for you...slow...gentle...there...there...)

[Ya, ya me está gustando más de lo normal
(Already, I'm liking it more than usual)
Todos mis sentidos van pidiendo más
(All my senses are asking for more)
Esto hay que tomarlo sin ningún apuro
(This must be taken without any hurry)
Tú, tú eres el imán y yo soy el metal
(You, you are the magnet and I am the metal)
Me voy acercando y voy armando el plan
(I'm getting closer and I'm putting together the plan)]

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[If I have to give away the feeling that I feel, yeah
If I have to sacrifice oh, whatever babe, whatever baby
If I have to take apart all that I am
Is there anything that I would not do
Since I'd die without you]

Es verdad, Natasha whispers, with undeniably genuine love. Te amo mas cada dia. Me
muero sin ti.

His answer is just as heart-felt, just as tenderly said. Mi amor por ti no tiene fondo, ni final.
Doy gracias a Dios diario que te encontre. These words aren't sufficient, they don't do my feelings

After twenty more minutes or so, they decide that they're getting hungry enough to get out of bed and start the
day. In Mid-town North, where they live, the area doesn't really 'come alive' until much later, and their five mile run
is more or less un-impeded. A block from their building, they purchase croissant breakfast sandwiches, pasty, and
coffee, which they take home and eat.

Tasha: Let's get married.

Edgar: Seriously.

Tasha: Yes, seriously. You know you want to.

Edgar: I do. Touche.

Tasha: YOU should ask ME, though.

Edgar: That's handled, isn't it? We just agreed to get married.

Tasha: ASK ME.

Edgar: Marry me, Natasha Zapata.

Tasha: Can I think about it?

Edgar: What the...!!

Tasha: Joking! Of course I will.


Chapter Text


The Priest, Father Lozano, and Pastor, Pastor Lincoln, nod to Tasha, and she begins her modified

"Edgar Reade: Oh! GO BLUE!" (muted laughter from the assembled):
"I love you. You are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage
and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle. I promise to
love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple,
and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you and to always hold you in the highest regard. These things
I give to you today, and all the days of our life. You saved my life, Reade. I'm grateful, and humbled, that you
chose me. Te Amo."

Now it's Reade's turn:

"Natasha Zapata: Today I affirm my love to you, and I invite you to share my life. You are the most beautiful,
smart, and generous person, most stubborn and opinionated...LOUD...loving and devoted person, outside of
my Parents, that I know. With kindness, unselfishness, and trust, I will work by your side to create a wonderful
life together. My love for you is eternal, without end. I pledge to you that my commitment to you will never fail.
Te Amo."

Pastor Lincoln intones: "Now, a short reading by Natasha's Bridesmaid, Patterson":

"You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you."

Father Lozano introduces Reade's Brother Everett for his reading:

"Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same


Their team is all smiles, toasting the happy couple again and again. Reade's Parents, along with Jake Keaton
and Wife, Matthew Weitz and ex-Wife, are having the time of their lives. Rich Dot Com and Boston have been
enlisted as DJS...over the microphone: 'LET'S DANCE!"


Kurt yells, "There it is!", recognizing, to everyone's surprise, the opening musical prelude to Puff Daddy's
BEEN AROUND THE WORLD; with Jane in tow, he waves the rest of the group to the dance floor:

[Now trick what? lace who? that ain't what mase do
Got a lot of girls that'd love to replace you
Tell you to your face boo, not behind your back
Niggaz talk shit, we never mind that
Funny, never find that, puff a dime stack...]

He further shocks the rest with his very rhythmic dance moves, eliciting shouts of 'GO WELLER!' as he raps along
(very credibly) with the second verse:

[Write hot shit, and make a nigga say, 'rewind that'
Niggaz know, we go against the harlem jigalo
Getcha hoe, lick her low, make the bitch, hit the do'
I represent honies with money fly guys with gems...]

On the parts where the "N-word" is eununciated, Reade yells, "YO! WATCH IT!", as Jane, Patterson, Roman, Briana,
Stuart, and of course, Zapata and the elder Reades, howl laughter, and encouragement; they are having a ball with
this 'new side' of Kurt Weller.

"DANG!" Tasha leans close to marvel at her new In-Laws dancing skills. "Mom and Dad shaking their ass!"