24: Life Must Go On (original ending)
Ryan stepped out of the car, followed by Josh. Both men buttoned their suits as they approached the church. Zoe stood outside the church. “It’s about time! What took you so long? We’re running behind schedule.”
Ryan handed the box to her. “It is not my fault Adrien placed the box in a place so difficult to find. What kind of a best man leaves the ring in his house?!”
“And he gave us terrible instructions on how to find the box!” Josh added.
"Get in. I'll deal with the rest." Zoe said.
Both men hurried into the church and found their seats.
“Carlos and Mia. I didn't see this coming,” Josh remarked.
“Just like we didn't think Toni and Zoe would get back together,” Ryan said. “Do you think Daniel is still alive?"
Josh shrugged. "Zoe has moved on. I don't care."
The sound of music in the background brought their conversation to a halt.
Guests came to their feet. Zoe turned her head and caught a glimpse of one of the guests. The man had black hair and he wore glasses, but she recognized him. In turn, she caught his eye. In the midst of a wedding ceremony, they acknowledged each other with a nod, an exchange which Toni inadvertently witnessed. After the ceremony ended, Zoe turned around again to look for the man but he was nowhere to be seen.
“We should say goodbye to Lucas and Mia before they head off,” Zoe said.
“You go ahead. I need to make a call,” Toni said.
Zoe headed over to the reception hall in search of the newly married couple and their best man.
“Where is Toni?” Adrien asked.
“He is making a call,” Zoe said.
Adrien immediately sensed trouble. “Excuse me for a minute.” He discreetly raised his brow.
Lucas caught on to Adrien's signal. He turned to Mia. “I’ll be right back darling.”
“Where are they going?” Zoe wondered.
Mia shrugged. “No idea. Those two are always up to something. I gave up trying to keep track.”
Zoe realized a possible reason for the men running dashing off. "Oh. I just remembered. I need to make a call." She quickly made her exit from the reception hall.
Mia sighed. She suspected some sort of drama was unfolding but she couldn’t leave her guests unattended especially since her husband and his best man have decided to disappear in the midst of their reception.
Adrien and Lucas stood outside the church. They looked around for Toni and Daniel. Under the tree some distance away from the church, one man was already on the ground. “This is not happening,” Lucas muttered as he and Adrien hurried their way towards the tree.
By the time Zoe found her way to the same tree, Lucas was standing and watching. He had both his hands in his pockets. Daniel and Toni were rolling on the ground. Adrien was waving his hands around.
"Aren’t you going to do anything?” Zoe asked, concerned for both men on the ground.
Lucas shrugged. “I wanted to pull them apart. Adrien wants to talk sense into them. Don’t think his way is getting anywhere.”
“We’re at Lucas’ wedding! Have some respect!” Adrien shouted. His words fell on deaf ears. Toni hit Daniel again. This time Daniel chose not to hit back and he fell to the ground. Adrien placed both his hands over his head. “Oh jeez…”
Toni stepped forward and grabbed Daniel’s shirt.
Zoe was horrified. “Toni!”
He stopped and looked at her.
“Please. Stop.” She pleaded.
Toni took a deep breath.
"Toni." Zoe shook her head, silently pleading for him to stop.
He gradually released his grip on Daniel. He took a few steps back and sat on the ground.
Zoe slowly approached Toni and knelt down in front of him. Zoe placed her hand on his. “What are you doing?”
“He can’t just show up after all these years,” he said in a lowered tone.
“You didn’t have to hit him.”
Toni looked at her. He couldn’t help it. He was angry at Daniel. He was afraid of losing her again.
Lucas stood next to Adrien. “You almost lose your voice with the yelling but she utters a few words and he stops."
“Did you know he was going to be here?” Adrien asked.
Lucas shook his head. “I didn’t even know he was still alive!”
“Wonder where he has been?” Adrien asked.
“It is story for another time. Now it is time for us to return to the reception…” Lucas pointed to his watch. “… before Mia kills me for ruining our day.”
“She won’t kill you. She’ll kill Toni and Daniel,” Adrien added.
“I’m an easier target,” Lucas replied.
“Oui, because you’re older and move slower,” Adrien said, laughing at his own joke.
Lucas swore and walked over to Daniel. “Are you alright?”
“Luckily she stopped him from killing you,” Lucas said.
Out of nowhere shots were heard and Daniel fell to the ground.
“What the--- Take cover!” Lucas called out. He drew out his gun and headed towards the direction of the shots.
Adrien quickly took off his jacket and rolled it up into a bundle and placed it on Daniel’s wound. “Can things get any worse?” he muttered.
“It can’t be that bad?” Daniel asked.
Toni pushed Zoe to the ground.
“What… what is going on?” she asked.
“Someone is shooting at us,” Toni replied. He wrapped her arms around her to cover her.
Zoe caught sight of Adrien trying to use his mobile. Then she saw Daniel on the ground. “We need to help him,” Zoe said. She struggled free of Toni’s grip and ran towards Daniel and Adrien.
“Zoe…” Toni ran after her. Zoe gasped when she came up behind Adrien.
Daniel saw Toni pull her aside. He tried to explain. “I’m sorry. I really am. I just wanted to attend the wedding….”
Adrien intervened. "Can you be quiet now? There is plenty of time for you to apologize.”
Three months after the shooting
Zoe was at home when the house phone rang. “Hey.” His voice made her smile when she answered the phone.
“Aren’t you supposed to be flying now?” she asked.
“Delay in boarding.”
There was a moment of silence. Zoe hesitated to say anything.
"You might as well tell me," the caller said.
“He is going to be at dinner tonight.”
“Is he? Did he call you?”
“No. Lucas told me.”
Another moment of silence passed, followed by a reply. “We’re boarding now. I’ll see you soon.”
Zoe sighed after she ended the call. She hoped dinner would go well.
Adrien was the first to arrive. Zoe was in the midst of setting the table. “Are you sure you don’t need any help?” he asked. Zoe smiled and shook her head. The doorbell rang. “I will get that,” he declared cheerfully.
Minutes later, she could hear laughter coming from the hallway. “Zoe!” Lucas called out as he entered the dining room. He gave her a quick hug.
“Where is Mia?” Zoe asked.
“She has a meeting. She’ll join us later. Where is Toni?”
“His flight is running late,” she said.
Ten minutes later, the doorbell rang again. This time Zoe took off her apron and went to the door. Daniel stood at the door. Zoe smiled. They exchange hugs.
“Daniel!” Lucas called out.
“We’re heading to the living room. Join us!” Adrien added.
Daniel chose to follow Zoe into the kitchen before joining the others in the living room. “Let me help,” he said.
“You don’t have to.”
Daniel placed his hand on hers. “I am sorry… for all the trouble that I have caused.”
Zoe removed her hand. “Daniel, there is no need to go back there.”
“Please… let me explain. I owe you that much,” he insisted.
“I signed up for the operation before I came to London for the live changing cover.” Daniel paused. He couldn’t believe he had used the words ‘life changing’. "Nothing happened in the early years. But things changed on the day of the shooting at Mia’s wedding. Melanie, the woman who came to the house, she was one of the agents involved in the operation. She was also one of three agents who died that night in Russia.”
“I thought it was just Melanie. There were two others?” Zoe asked.
"They knew we were agents. I managed to escape, got in touch with my handler. I was taken out of Russia and placed in a safe house in Norway. If I came home, they could have tracked me and I would have placed you in danger. I couldn’t risk it. I couldn’t…”
“But they found you. They tracked you to Lucas’ wedding.” Zoe said.
“And now like Seb, I’m dead to the world.”
Zoe raised her brow. “How did you know about Adrien?”
“We caught up a few times after the shooting at the church. I worked it out.”
They heard the doorbell. “That must be Toni,” Zoe said. She turned to walk out of the kitchen.
Daniel grabbed her wrist. “I am sorry for causing you so much pain.”
“You did what you felt was best at the time.”
Daniel lowered his glance. “I lost you.”
Zoe placed her hand on his. “The most important thing is that you're alive.”
Daniel wished he didn’t have to let her go but it was no longer his choice. He looked at her. He knew no matter what happened in between, Zoe would have chosen Toni in the end. Daniel smiled. Zoe was right. He was thankful he made it back to familiar surroundings with friends he considered family.