In Captive Wings

Part Eight: Propositions and Trust

Against her better judgment Tanya followed Duke into his chambers. He motioned for her to have a seat on the bed. He then sat next to her with a very serious look in his eye.

“Look Tanya,” he began gently, “I know you think I’m just some two bit thief out to clean out museums and jewelry stores, but the Brotherhood’s more than that, I’m more than that.”

Tanya studied him carefully, he seemed to be telling her the truth. “Is this what you tell all your new girlfriends before they turn you down?” It wasn’t something she was asking to be stubborn, she honestly wanted an answer.

Grinning Duke ran his fingers through her hair, “I ain’t gonna lie to ya sweetheart. Sure, I’ve had other girls, but I didn’t love any of them. They weren’t anything like you. Not all that smart, kinda pretty, but never loyal.”

“One night stands?”

“Never got that far.” Duke admitted, “I can’t see myself--you know--with someone I’m really not interested in. Even us lady’s men have standards ya know?”

Tanya eyed him, the thought of Duke L’Orange still being a…well…it just seemed too far fetched. But she still had that nagging feeling that he wasn’t lying---yet. What’s more, she wanted to believe him. Only, that would mean that she actually DID feel something for this thief. But like Duke said, there was more to him than larceny.

“And the joke’s basically this. I’m the leader around here right? That means I take on certain duties and stuff,” the more Duke explained the deeper Tanya felt she was being pulled into the whole criminal organization. “One being, second in command. I’m responsible for making sure that if anything happens to me, this whole mob doesn’t fall apart. Falcone was technically the next in line. Now you see why I really wasn’t thrilled about that.”

“Where do I come in on all this?” she asked.

Pausing for a moment to choose his words carefully he replied, “Tanya, join up with us. Join up with me.”

‘Join up with me’? And just what’s that supposed to mea---oh boy! Tanya drew back as she realized what he was saying. Duke actually wanted her to become part of the Brotherhood, by becoming his…oh she had to be misinterpreting him.

When she didn’t say anything Duke leaned forward and gently kissed her bill. “Tanya, I love you.”

She remained silent, but didn’t pull away. There were just so many thoughts racing through her head…and her heart.

“I could sit here and promise you riches and power and stuff, but you probably aren’t interested in any of that.” he continued, “And maybe that’s part of why I love ya so much. But Tanya, I’ve gotta be honest. I don’t want to let you go. But I love you. So if you wanna go…”

Tanya honestly didn’t know what to say. She knew one thing for sure, when it came to leaving Duke, she didn’t want to go. But what would life with him be like? Waking up every morning next to someone who’d probably just knocked over a jewelry store…constantly worrying if he’d run into the police, or worse, Falcone…and then came the part about having his--how much could she be expected to deal with?!


“C’mon Tanya, it’s simple. You can either stay here with me and be a part of the Brotherhood or you can go back to that little apartment of yours and working late shifts at the lab.”

It wasn’t simple! How could he say that?! There was Ruby to think about (her best friend), her job (which she liked), and her home. Then again, Ruby had her boyfriend, the lab work left her with little time for a social life, and her home (while well kept) got lonely. Admittedly, something was missing in her life. Something that Duke was offering her now. So what if it wouldn’t be perfect, love wasn’t supposed to be perfect.

Oh great, Tanya caught herself, I love him too.

Tenderly Duke placed a hand beneath Tanya’s beak and lifted her face up toward his. Instead of resisting she let him pull her closer, into a deep, long, passionate kiss.

Their arms went around each other and for the first time in either of their lives everything was perfect. Nothing was awkward or out of place. The moment felt right. The fact that they were together, embracing, sharing a kiss, and in love made perfect sense.


Tanya awoke hours later and glanced at the clock by Duke’s bed. Three thirty a.m., she noticed something odd, the reason she’d awakened, Duke wasn’t there.

She’d fallen asleep with his arms wrapped tightly around her and the warmth of his breath on the back of her neck. But now she was lying alone in bed gazing into the darkness.

A creaking sound disturbed the silence and Tanya noticed the faint outline of Duke’s figure as he crept into the room and over to the bed.

“And where have you been?” she questioned angrily.

“Out.” he answered, climbing into bed.

Tanya decided to leave it at that but Duke wasn’t going back to sleep so she turned over to him. “Is everything alright?”

She could tell he was smiling at her. His arm ran up her back and she laid her head against his chest. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt this relaxed.

Impatiently Duke stretched out and sighed a little. Tanya could tell he had something on his mind. Finally he spoke, “So your last name’s Vanderflock huh?”

Tanya lifted her head up and stared at him, “How’d you know that?”

“And your middle name’s Gertrude,” he chuckled.

Tanya slapped him on the shoulder, “Hey, it’s not like I had much of a choice in the matter.”

“I did some research on ya sweetheart. Figure’d I’d need to know a little about your background before-” Duke stopped, he was getting ahead of himself. Not willing to waste another moment beating around the bush he got up and walked around to Tanya’s side of the bed.

Tanya rolled over and watched as he turned on the lamp and got down on one knee. Taking her hand in his he breathed deep and started speaking (trying to sound suave and romantic, his nerves were getting the better of him). “I don’t make all my money dishonestly sweetheart. And I’ve been saving some honestly earned cash for a long time. I kind of took off tonight,” he pulled a black velvet case from his pocket, opened it, and presented the ring inside to Tanya, “to buy ya this.”

Tanya gasped at the engagement ring. It was stunning, a sparkling pale blue diamond atop a gorgeous gold band. And what made it even more beautiful, was the fact that Duke hadn’t stolen it, but legally purchased it for her. He really was a Casanova.

Duke smiled at the loving gaze she gave him. He’d hoped she’d react this way. “Tanya Vanderflock, will you marry me?”

The question she’d thought she’d have the hardest time answering soon became the easiest in the world, “Yes. I love you Duke L’Orange.”

A kiss sealed their engagement and when they pulled away Duke had slipped the ring on her finger.

“Tanya L’Orange,” he smiled, “that does have a nice ring to it.”

Tanya laughed and wondered aloud, “Ruby’s never gonna let me live this down.”


“She saw it coming.”

“Looks like she’s got an invitation coming now. It’ll have to be pretty exclusive you know.” he informed her, thieves usually didn’t have big weddings, for obvious reasons.

“I know.” Tanya answered, putting her arms around him, “And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Duke grinned and pulled her to her feet. Leading her to the door he whispered, “Now to take care of one last thing.” Jerking the door open he shouted to the crowd of thieves huddled around it, “It’s alright boys, she said yes!”


*Corny…maybe. The End? Nope! Review and I’ll have the next part up ASAP. I told ya the rating was going up and I meant it. (It’s just in the next chapter.) ^_~*

Part 7

Part 9