'Hi,' she said, her voice small as he climbed the steps to meet her.

'Hi,' he said back, almost afraid to say anything, afraid he would scare her away. He held her gently, his lips against her temple.

'Ryan, can we. . can we live with all that's happened? Or will it wreck us?'

'I don't know.'

'Mother can't forgive me and I'm not sure I can forgive myself. It seems so strange. I never thought that I would end up shooting Mickey. It haunts me. He haunts me. I know he was trying to hurt us, but I shouldn't have had to kill him. . And I dream about it all the time. I want it to be the way it was in Mexico but I don't know if I can get back there.'

He reached out and folded her in his arms. She pressed against him.

'Love isn't something you control,' he said, giving her own words back to her. 'It's something that just happens.'

She looked up at him as the Malibu surf rumbled in, white water licking the posts at the bottom edge of the deck.

'Then let's let it happen.' She laid her head against him.

Ryan felt whole again-rebuilt and rejuvenated. This time, he was not going to let it come apart.

This time he would catch the pass.


Cole Harris won his third Pulitzer for the story he titled 'The Plan.' He had put Naomi Zur up posthumously, and her family shared the prize with him. He was o ffered a contract at NBC and he went to work every da y i n pleated pants and suspenders and quietly drove all o f h is coworkers crazy with his compulsive behavior. He sent Ryan and Lucinda a pen and pencil set. TO COLE HARRIS, THE BEST OF THE BEST. C. WALLACE LITMAN, the engrave d p laque said. He enclosed a note that said, 'Not until I me t y ou guys. Have one on me.' The expensive champagn e t hat was supposed to accompany the gift never arrived.

C. Wallace Litman was forced by the FCC to sell his broadcasting interests. He was indicted for election tampering and acquitted two months later by a New York jury.

Haze Richards was indicted for conspiracy to commit the murder of Anita Richards; A. J. Teagarden was indicted as a co-conspirator. Haze pled to manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years; A. J. Teagarden sentenced himself to death. He bought a.45 at a Washington gu n s hop, rented a hotel room, and ended his life in a chipped, dirty bathroom. Nobody claimed his body.

Babbling John Baily remained at Madison Junior High. But Cole and Ryan gave him the funds to build a state- of-the-art video lab, which the RF engineer maintained and ran for the school.

Fudge Anderson was elected the forty-third President of the United States of America.

Ryan and Lucinda got married in June. Their first child was born in March 1998, a seven-pound, three-ounce girl. They named her Elizabeth.

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