Summary: Taylor makes a decision about the future.
Spoilers: Spoilers for the series finale.
Sonny Bono met Matt at the door and rubbed against his leg. He smiled down affectionately at his cat who was still adjusting to life at Taylor's place. It didn't help that Taylor was most definitely a dog person. Matt nudged the door closed behind him before Sonny Bono could make a break for freedom.
"Honey?" he called out as he entered the apartment. "I brought Chinese food and a stack of brochures on places we can elope... from Reno to, bizarrely, Anchorage. If a Northern Exposure shotgun wedding is more your style."
Taylor was sitting on the couch, a hand pressed to her mouth as she chewed on her thumb nail. Matt didn't fail to notice the nervous glance she cast in his direction. He felt a sinking feeling that was immediately suppressed with a grim smile.
"Is Chinese food not okay anymore? I'm having trouble keeping up with what Junior is craving."
Taylor dropped her hand and forced a smile. "Chinese is fine."
"Okay then," Matt replied hesitantly. He started unpacking the cartons, trying to ignore the fact that she was staring at him now after being distant all day.
"I got you an extra serve of egg rolls. Let's eat before this gets cold."
"About the brochures..." Taylor started again, moving towards him.
"We can talk about them later," he said, his voice clipped.
Taylor took a deep breath and sat down at the table, leveling her eyes at him. "I think we should talk about them now."
Matt's stomach was like lead. He turned slowly to replace the food on the kitchen counter, avoiding looking at her for as long as possible. When he finally joined her at the table, he decided to make an offensive move rather than wait for her to crush what little hope remained.
"Two days," he said, trying for a light tone but failing. "It took you two days to change your mind. I knew I should have started an office pool."
She frowned. "What are you talking about?"
"Calling off the engagement. I knew it would come to this. I never should have listened to Stone. If we'd just to Maui we'd be married by now and you second guessing our relationship wouldn't be an issue. It's my fault. I'm an idiot."
"Are you finished?" Taylor asked, one eyebrow raised.
Matt was surprised to see the twitch of a smile on her lips. "Yes," he said, puzzled.
"You are an idiot. I don't want to call off the engagement. What do I have to do to prove that to you?"
"Elope with me," he replied quickly, unable to hide his relief. "I hear Anchorage is lovely this time of year."
"Matt," Taylor said, reaching out to hold his hands. "We're going to get married. I'm not backing out, and neither are you... Are you?"
"Good, because I will hunt you down in cold blood." She waited as he smothered a grin, her expression growing uncertain. "But I've been thinking... I don't want to get married in Anchorage, or Reno, or Maui."
"Not the Elvis chapel in Vegas," Matt groaned jokingly.
She spoke in a rush, as if saying it quickly would lessen the impact. "I don't want to elope anywhere. I want us to get married in front of our families and friends."
Matt's eyes widened. "You want a wedding? Since when?"
"I don't know," said Taylor contritely. "I never imagined myself as one of those white-gowned, perfect brides. But I don't see myself as a disappear-over-a-weekend-and-come-back-a-m
Matt sat back in his seat, pondering her words. "You really want a wedding?"
"A small wedding. Just us, your parents, my father. Maybe my mother if things go well in Colorado. Our friends. Something simple." She squeezed his hands hopefully but dropped them when he made a face. The frown returned. "What?"
"I just didn't imagine we'd do it this way. I mean, do you really want to go through all that crap? How long will it take to organize?"
Matt's expression showed her didn't believe her.
"When I said simple, I meant simple," Taylor insisted. "We're getting married before I start looking like I have a basketball ball shoved down the front of my dress." Matt opened his mouth to say something but she silenced him with a look. "Do not say 'short shorts'."
He duly bit back the words that were spoken whenever she mentioned basketball. He gazed across the table at her as his smile widened.
"Just where are you planning on having this wedding in one week?"
"The office. I'll get Patti to help with the decorations."
Taylor rolled her eyes. "Of course not. We'll find somewhere. A restaurant. A garden. I don't care. But I want us to do this properly. If you still want to..."
"Well, I don't know..." Matt said, getting up and coming around to her side of the table. "I mean marriage is one thing, but an actual ceremony? You drive a hard bargain, Ms. Wethersby."
Taylor grinned as she stood up and wrapped her arms around his neck, her rounded belly nestled against him. "I'll make it worth your while."
"I have no doubt, Mrs. Dowd," Matt murmured before kissing her.
"There's no way I'm calling myself Mrs. Dowd," she countered.
"Not a chance."
"Then I'm afraid the extra egg rolls are mine. They're not community property yet."
Taylor narrowed her eyes at him. "You've got a week. Enjoy it while it lasts."
Matt grinned and kissed her again. His arms tightened around her before he suddenly let go.
"What?" she asked as his face lit up.
"Oh, you know what this means, don't you?"
"I have a feeling I don't want to know."
"Two words, my wife-to-be... Bachelor. Party." Matt stepped back and raised his arms in triumph. "The Dowd is back!"
"Oh God," Taylor groaned as she sank into her seat. "Where's the brochure on Anchorage?"