Chat Room Romance

Part 3

by Lady Ragnall
8/29/01

I swear, everybody, this is it. The final part. Leave it to me to make this thing too long too post all at once. LOL! Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed it.

~LR~

The coffee shop had not been far from Quark Tower. Erika walked slowly back the way she had come earlier. Tears threatened with each step she took. He had probably seen her and ran the other way. 'Why oh why had she gotten her hopes up?' She thought sniffling looking down at the flowers in her hand, suddenly feeling sorry for him as well.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~

Dwayne entered the costume shop just as they were closing.

"I'm sorry, mister, but we're closed," the clerk said as he walked through the door.

"I need a costume." Dwayne said not paying attention to the guy.

"I said...."

"Look, buddy, here's a hundred dollar bill. All I want is a costume like that one," he said, pointing to the Zorro costume on the wall. "Take the cost out of this and keep the change for a tip."

"Ok. Ok. Here you go," the guy said reaching up and grabbing the apparel and handing it to Dwayne. But...."

"Thanks," Dwayne said, grabbing the attire and heading out the door.

He sped to Quark Tower. He quickly changed into the costume while he rode the elevator up to Slate's floor. "Man, I hope this works. I can't lose her. Not now," he said as he stepped out of the opening doors. A couple waiting to enter looked at him strangely as they saw him exit.

"Costume party. I'm going to meet my date," Dwayne said, answering their looks, before turning to look for Erika's apartment.

He adjusted his mask and knocked on the door.

"Who is it?"

"Special delivery," he called out.

"I didn't order anything," she said as she opened the door and her jaw dropped open.

"I believe you dropped this tonight when you got up to leave."

"But how did you find it? You never showed up."

"I saw you drop it. I was there all along. I just didn't know it was you," Dwayne said, lifting the mask over his head. "I'm sorry."

"Dwayne? It's you? You're Zorro?"

"Yeah. Pretty goofy, huh? Um, I understand if you don't want to see me again. I know that I'm really not your type and all."

"What do you mean? I've always liked you just the way you are."

"Really, Doc? Why have you never said anything?"

"You never acted as if you cared."

"If you only knew," he mumbled to himself.

"Excuse me?"

"Um, nothing. Would you mind if I came in? I'm beginning to get some strange looks, standing outside your door like this."

She giggled. "Yeah, sure. Would you like a cup of coffee? I probably can't make it as well as the shop down the street, but I'll try."

"I'd like that."

"Good. Have a seat and I'll be right back."

Dwayne removed his cloak and settled himself on the couch. He could smell the aroma of fresh brewing coffee coming from the kitchen. Getting up, he followed the smell. She was climbing a stepping stool to reach for something and fell backwards. He reached out and caught her.

"Easy there. What are you after? I can get it for you," Dwayne said, steadying her.

"The creamer on the back shelf," she answered, feeling her cheeks blushing from the feel of his hands around her waist.

Dwayne reached up and grabbed the creamer with ease. Erika poured the coffee and after asking how he liked his, went about preparing the two cups. She handed him his as they made their way back to the living room, each taking a seat on the sofa. Neither one said a word as they silently sipped the hot brew.

He set his coffee cup down and turned to see Erika crying.

"Doc, what's wrong?" He said reaching out to take her hand.

"Nothing. I'm just so happy that it's you."

"Come here." He shook his head, grinning as he pulled her into his arms. "To tell the truth, I'm glad it's you, too. So tell me, Jane Austen, how do you like the real me?" He kissed the top of her head.

"Just fine. And you, me?" she said, snuggling closer to him.

"More than fine. You have my heart, my lady Jane," he said, lifting her chin up and kissing her deeply.

"And you mine. My handsome masked bandit."

Later on as they cuddled on the couch, Dwayne heard Erika giggling.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing," she said mischievously. "I was just wondering how I should address you in public?"

Dwayne groaned as he tried to keep from laughing. "How about just Dwayne, and I'll call you Erika?"

"Dwayne and Erika," she repeated after him, as if savoring the sound of their names together on her lips. "I love it."

"I hoped you would," he said, pulling her close and kissing her.

THE END

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