Chapter 85 (final)
Rickie was sipping his second cup of coffee when a tentative knock sounded on the office door, a knock that could only be one person. He grinned as he opened it, and saw the vision in front of him.
Meaghan was dressed in a baju kurung of red, orange and yellow batik. She looked like a pillar of flame; it was very different from her usual cool tones.
“You should wear more colors like these.” Rickie wrapped a hand around her waist and pulled her towards him. Meghan willingly moved into his embrace, putting her hands on his shoulder and tiptoeing up for a kiss.
“That’s a fun way to begin the day!” A tinny voice came from the desk, and Meaghan broke away to see Raine’s face on the laptop. She hoped the creeping warmth on her face couldn’t be seen on the other side of the webcam.
“Hi, Raine. I didn’t know you and Rickie were still talking.”
“You’re looking rosy-cheeked today,” Raine smirked, “I can wait.”
Rickie sat down at the desk, and grabbed one of Meaghan’s hands. “So what did you find on the SD card?” He used his thumb to idly stroke across her knuckles.
Raine became all business. “After you dropped it off last night, we cross-referenced the data and found the organization had been using your Nice office to launder and funnel money to their main organization in Shanghai. Because of the data backups here in Malaysia and the files we received from Meaghan and the late Ivoire, we have a complete history of all their dealings, accounts, and overt personnel.”
Meghan tensed at the mention of her friend’s name; Rickie, sensing her distress, placed a swift kiss to her palm and pulled her a little closer. She sat on the armrest and rested her other hand against his nape, taking comfort in his presence.
“With the intelligence that we gathered, we coordinated a strike team with the Chinese Ministry of Secret Service, and overnight we captured almost the entire organization, including Mystisith. She had apparently made it into the country. She is going to be extradited back to France to stand trial for the explosion. As far as we know, everyone identified in the Tornos’ file has been either captured or killed.”
“So it’s finally over,” Meaghan whispered, a lump in her throat. After everything that happened, it was an almost painful relief to know that those who caused her parents’ deaths were brought to justice, and that she and her sister were safe.
A lone tear slid down her cheek. “Thank you,” she said to Raine, almost inaudibly. Rickie moved her to his lap and caught her in a strong hug as the tears began to flow in earnest. Rickie nodded at the screen; Raine gave a quick salute and disconnect the comlink.
Rickie rocked Meaghan gently and waited for the storm to pass. Eventually the tears slowed down, and with a final hiccup, she pulled back and looked at him, still perched on his lap.
Even with her face swollen and red from her meltdown, she never looked more beautiful to him. He leaned forward to open a drawer on the left side of the desk and pulled out a small purple velvet box.
“Maybe this is the wrong time to do this, but I’ve got you captive now.” She became still as she realized the import of his words. “I want us to become a true family, to live together, have children together, and grow old together.” With that, he opened the box and pulled out an exquisite square-cut solitaire diamond ring. Meaghan touched it with her finger and admired the rainbow flash of the perfect X within the faceting. “I love you, Meaghan Torno. Will you be my princess?” He slipped it on her finger; it was a perfect fit.
“Yes,” she said and began crying again, this time tears of joy.