After Tonight

by J.G. Heath

Title: "After Tonight"
Date: June 29, 2012
Author: J.G. Heath
Rating: NC-17, for language and explicit f/f sex (consensual). So abandon all hope, ye who enter here who happen to be under the age of 18. Pairing: implied Reyes/OFC; a sheer suggestion of MSR (yuck); and Scully/Reyes bliss Category: femslash; Scully/Reyes romance Distribution/Archiving: ask nicely?
Note: Pretty much plugged and chugged this out, so I do apologize in advance for any perceived lack in character development, aside from other mistakes that I likely made and missed. I do plan on churning out a sequel - maybe I'll make it a trilogy, who knows - wherein, hopefully, such gaps will be filled and issues rectified. And feedback is always welcome and appreciated... so long as it's constructive, of course. DISCLAIMER: Dana Scully, Monica Reyes and all other mentionable characters and aspects of The X-Files belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, and Fox Broadcasting. Yes, I borrowed these two lovely ladies without permission, but only temporarily and I promise to return them undamaged. All copyrights acknowledged...

Aaand I think that's all for now. Enjoy. ; )

Part I
Friday night

"You have got to be fucking kidding me," she says, practically spits, after a pronounced silence. When she's angry, she cuts the corners of her eyes and enunciates every syllable, giving each its own sharpened edge. It's a defense mechanism, how she fashions her words into little daggers. Her tone is fierce, as fierce as the look I know she's giving me. Sharp eyes, sharper words; if it were possible, she'd cut me with either - or both.

Buddha said, `the tongue, like a sharp knife, kills without drawing blood.' No shit.

She's haphazardly pulled her car over to the side of the street, jutting it awkwardly into an empty parking space. The street lamp to my right rains pale yellow light down onto the sporty black coupe; it creeps in, but doesn't seek out every dark space of the interior. I'm facing forward, staring at the dash, watching the shadow of a skinny tree limb dance across its surface. The thin branch sways and shakes in the warm breeze, its little leaves trembling as if they've been scolded. I know the feeling. I suppress a shudder. She's staring at me, glaring at me from the driver's seat, her upper body turned toward me and her eyes locked on the side of my face. She's poised to strike, anticipating confrontation - hell, she's on the verge of hoping for it - and yet I know that what she really wants is for me to concede and say something apologetic, to tell her I'm just tired and over-thinking things, I'm being ridiculous, I'm crazy, I'm wrong. But I'm actually none of those things, and especially not sorry. While the tension inside the car is building steadily toward the breaking point, a slow roll of thunder warns of a storm brewing out in the distance.

"Rach, I..." Reflexively, my hands lift from where they've been twisting in my lap, palms turned up and fingers spread. "I don't - I can't..." Shit. My hands fall back to my lap, useless. This is frustrating. I feel like I've suddenly lost the ability to form complete, coherent sentences. My head is certain there's a long and meaningful stream of words just waiting, just wanting to pour out of me, but my heart disagrees. Unfortunately, my mouth is taking cues from the former; it opens again and I am completely lost for words.

"Well, Monica, I'm so glad you got to spend the last month holding me at arm's length, just stringing me along while you figured out exactly what you want."

I resent her words immediately, individually, as they fall from her lips. Apparently, sharp edges aren't the only weapons stowed in her arsenal tonight. I turn to meet her eyes for the first time since getting into her car nearly twenty minutes ago and search her face, wanting to tell her how clueless she is... but I won't. To do so would be to tell her more than she really deserves to know.

"During the first five months of this relationship, you took the liberty of figuring out exactly what you wanted, with someone else, admittedly on more than one occasion. So, no, Rachel, you're the one who's fucking kidding me." I catch a flash of - is it regret, or shame - in her hazel eyes. Then her jaw clenches.

"And I've apologized a thousand times for that mistake! And I've begged you for forgiveness a thousand times more!" I don't have to wonder why or how she can refer to multiple acts of indiscretion in the singular: according to her logic, because all of the three admitted encounters involved the same person - an ex-flame, of course - she only cheated once.

I take a deep breath. "You have."

"So why? Why are you doing this?"

Another breath, and, "Because I can't just toss away what you did like it doesn't matter. It's... like a brick in the pit of my stomach."

"Well, fine. That's fine. I guess now is as good a time as any to just accept the fact that I'll never live up to your standards, Agent Reyes."

I've had enough. "You know what?" I turn toward her as venom fills the tip of my tongue. "Fuck you."

She leans back in her seat a bit, wanting to be offended. "Excuse me?"

"Fuck you," I repeat, less harshly, shaking my head, "and your mistake." I yank on the handle and throw open the car door. Reaching up with my right hand, I grip the door frame and then pause, turning back toward her. Her expression is awkward, to say the least, an inharmonious mixture of competing emotions. The look I give her is undeniably stern and confident. "I forgive you. But I'm making the decision to walk away now so that I don't hold what you did over your head - or over my own. Because I deserve more, Rach. I deserve better. And at the very least, you deserve a chance to get it right the first time with someone else."

Our eyes are locked and we're matching each other breath for breath. Another long, low roll of thunder echoes across the city just before tiny droplets of mid-summer rain begin to speckle the windshield, the back of my hand, my forearm. The tears welling up in her lower lids catch the soft light filtering down from the street lamp and her eyes take on an almost otherworldly glow. She knows that every part of what I said is true, and I know that, deep down, she agrees with me. But she's angry and, for her age, still so immature and selfish. Though she knows that she's at fault for what's happening - her infidelity being the catalyst - she's not yet humbled enough by any part of this experience to shoulder the heavy burden of blame on her own. We have absolutely nothing in common, not a damned thing. I'm not even sure now that I ever saw in her any redeemable qualities... No, I remember what it was that stirred my interest: physical attraction, plain and simple. And, of course, the regular orgasms kept me interested - that is, until I discovered that I wasn't the only one on the receiving end. Rachel is - was - a cure for chronic loneliness, a much-needed distraction. So maybe I'm not just an innocent bystander in this wreck, after all. Her emotions are no longer competing with one another. Her expression turns solid as stone.

"I want you to go. Get the fuck out." Her and her sharp edges... She wants so badly to cut me. If I was in love with her, I'd cry.

"Rach... I'm already gone."

Monday morning

When John arrives at the office, Monica is already seated at her desk with her sleeves rolled up and elbows propped against the desktop. Her eyes are scanning the papers scattered across its surface; both she and the documents are illuminated only by the pale yellow light provided by her antique brass desk lamp. Her face is tense, her posture rigid. She's opted for low lighting, and she's uncharacteristically early. Shit, John thinks to himself. Something's up.

"I, uh," he begins and then pauses, not wanting to add to her frustrations by being too playful. He finishes his thought once he's reached the safety of his own desk. "I'd like to crack a joke about you beatin' me to work - on a Monday, of all days - but considering the look you're wearin' right now, I'm afraid that if I do, you'll ruin your Mont Blanc by jammin' it into my neck."

She remains tense for a long moment, unresponsive to his light attempt to ease the tension. Then she closes her eyes and lets out a long, burdened sigh. "Sorry, long weekend." She admits, her eyes rolling in his direction. "Just glad it's over." She looks beat. He processes her words cautiously, and not for his own sake.

"Anything in particular you wanna talk about?" His tone is soft, low, and sympathetic. His question elicits another sigh.

"Rachel and I broke up and I'm moving," she says evenly, in a single breath. Recognizing the immediate and obvious concern that etches itself deeply into his face, Monica continues, sensing and answering all of the questions rising in his throat in one fell swoop. "Yes, it was my decision; yes, I'm fine; no, not because of the break-up; and not to a land far, far away. Never thought I'd see the day, John, but I actually found a place in the heart of D.C. that's big enough for me and all of my baggage."

He hardly cracks a smile at her tepid, self-depreciating humor. "I see." He says awkwardly, then lays his jacket over the back of his chair and sets his briefcase down on his desk. He lets out a heavy breath after his hands come to rest on his hips. "Well, maybe it'll do you some good, y'know, to clear out the cobwebs and start over."

Her posture relaxes while she stares down at her desk. "It will," she replies, nodding her head in the affirmative despite her unconvincing tone.

"Yeah," he says in agreement, nodding his own head. But when Monica looks up at him, she realizes that he too is tense, distracted. She can see something in his eyes, sense that there is something lingering just below the surface. He has a look about him that screams `discomfort.' It's as if he is aware of something that she isn't - something significant, momentous, even painful - and he's hesitating, either because he can't find the words or isn't sure of exactly how to tell her.

"Are you alright?" Her problems fade into the background as she becomes acutely aware of the fact that she's not the only one in the room wrestling some inner turmoil. The look he gives her is telling.

"Skinner and I crossed paths upstairs."

Monica's brows knit together in question. Her lips form a thin line. "And?"

"You `n I have a meetin' with him in," he glances at his wristwatch, "thirteen minutes."

"Look, John, I prefer that you just say all of whatever it is that you need to tell me, rather than forcing me to digest it in pieces."

At that, he nods and pulls in a long, deep breath. His eyes are cast down. He looks at the floor, at his shoes, anywhere but in her direction. "It's, uh... it's about Dana." He hears her gasp softly, pulling in a sharp breath between parted lips. But he can't look at her, not while recalling how hard and long she had sobbed that day in the desert after watching that SUV disappear over the horizon, and how hard she cried again that night, and again the next morning, and again... for days, she was inconsolable.

"John." His name punctuates the silence. It's both a statement and a question; her trepidation is evident in her tone and pitch.

He quickly meets her eyes. "No, it's nothin' like - look, she's alright, ok? Don't worry," he says with a wave of his hand, as if the action can or will or should somehow help to drive away any of her unspoken fears that were not fully mitigated by his words alone.

After a pregnant pause, "Ok..."

He studies her expression for a moment, gauging her state of mind. On the surface, she looks concerned but composed. But he knows Monica Reyes better than that: she's bracing for impact. Even in the low lighting, he can see tears beginning to well up in her eyes. "She came back, Mon. Last night." He watches her lips part, watches the evolution of her expression as it falls slack. Her eyes drift from his face, stare off. She blinks once and, levees breeched, heavy tears roll down her cheeks. "She's waitin' in Skinner's office."

Part II
Friday morning, three months later

If I, Dana Katherine Scully, am destined to be certain of nothing else in this world after today, I take comfort in knowing there are at least three things about which I will always be absolutely and unquestionably certain, and all three do concern Agent Monica Reyes. First and foremost, I trust her implicitly. She sheltered me, protected me; she helped me bring my son into this world and then carried me, kept me from drowning in a sea of agony after I gave William up so that he might have a fighting chance to experience a normal life. In that God forsaken desert, she locked eyes with me just before Mulder and I sped away; one last determined look that said, `I'll never stop fighting'. And, as if all of that isn't enough, she's slowly - although I doubt she knows it - been breathing life back into me since my return, since turbulent waters vehemently expelled me from what was intended to be a new beginning, from what was supposed to be a new life. It's been three months since I was tossed back ashore after two years of running, of hiding, struggling to stay afloat. Mulder is gone again, off chasing the truth, seeking it out among the stars. He doubted my commitment to him and to the pursuit. Over time, his audacity, selfishness and lack of trust all became too much to bear and it made me lose faith in him, in us. But Monica... she never gave me cause to doubt her, to even question her, and so I simply don't. When I needed stability, she was my rock, my anchor, my solid ground. She never wavered. The second thing about which I am absolutely certain is that she has an uncanny ability to read people, to see what rests beyond the coolest exterior, the roughest edges and thickest walls. She can connect with, gently draw out and soothe other's anger, disappointment, uncertainty, pain, and fear. I know this because I was more than once the recipient of it, of her gift, so to speak. In my worst moments - indignant, desperate and otherwise - I felt the sudden but welcomed warmth of her hand covering mine, and looked up into her dark, depthless eyes as her lips formed that soft, kind, crooked smile... and felt the rippling waves of a serene sense of calm wash over me, wash me clean. When I needed comfort, she offered me strength, patience, solace, and peace. She gave it gladly and without question. Last, but never least, I am absolutely and irrevocably certain that she is unsettlingly beautiful, both inside and out. All those years of Catholic school and Sunday morning masses be damned if I'm expected to deny that it's true, as denying it to any degree would be as absurd as denying that water is wet. She is, in a word, devastating, and she seems to be completely unaware of it. From the doorway, my gaze traces the length of her body. She's a runner, long and lithe and firm beneath supple, lightly sun-kissed skin. Her face is tipped down toward the file lying open in her hands; she has the hands of an artist, a musician, her fingers long and thin but also powerful, very capable. Her hair is longer than it was two years ago... it still looks so soft, perhaps even softer. Several dark tresses have slipped from her strong shoulders and fallen against the side of her face, gently framing it. Reaching up with two of those graceful fingers, she absently tucks a thick, loosely-curled lock behind her left ear and then touches her earlobe, holding it between her thumb and the second knuckle of her index finger. She's lost in reflection, rubbing her ear as if it will help sort her thoughts, as if it soothes her. I don't doubt that it does; it would soothe me. Either she can hear my thoughts or finally senses my presence, because her body stiffens ever so slightly, tensing at the realization that she isn't alone and is being watched. Releasing her earlobe, she lifts her gaze from the paper and turns it toward where I'm standing.

"Hey, Monica," I say, light as air. She doesn't move, but something in her raw honey-colored eyes ignites. Whatever she's thinking, whatever she's feeling begins playing out on her lips, tugging at one corner until they form that soft, crooked smile. And oh, that smile... caught you, it seems to say, playfully. She inhales deeply as she straightens her posture, allowing her head to fall back ever so slightly. She blinks slowly.

"Dana." Does she know that the way she says my name, how she breathes it out - almost a whisper - makes my heart flutter inside my chest like a caged bird beating its wings against its confines? I enter the office and, as I approach her, the sound of my heels clicking against the polished tiles echoes through the room. The space is much neater, much calmer than Mulder had ever allowed it to be - it's refreshing. Still smiling, she tells me, "I didn't hear you coming down the hall."

"I gathered, considering how you kept your nose buried in that file."

Her lips twist further upward as she shyly averts her eyes. "Yeah, I tend to get lost in the gory details every now and then," she says, then shrugs her shoulders and closes the file. "But, uh... anyway... what brings you here this morning, Professor Scully?"

I cast my eyes downward, feeling a blush creep up my neck. "Actually... you." When I meet her eyes again, I see that her expression has sobered a bit. Her lips part and then close again.


"Yes, you." At that, a dark and very well-manicured eyebrow perks up. She's scanning my expression, searching for an answer, for intent. "I came here to see you, to ask you something," I explain softly, then silently hope that I didn't sound as nervous as I feel.

Her irises darken as she processes my tone, my words and what they could mean, or perhaps what she wants them to mean - secretly, what they do mean. A different kind of look takes up residence on her face. Her voice is low and smooth. "See me... and ask me what?"

The look she's giving me is affective, full of emotion. In her eyes I see concern but also... hope?... and something deeper, sweeter, stronger. I feel my knees weaken. "Can I -" I want to close my eyes. I want to believe that doing so would make this easier, but I know it won't, and so I can't. I look deeply into her eyes and feel a much-needed jolt of courage shoot through me when I realize she's holding her breath. "Can I come over tonight?

The setting sun is pouring amber-orange light across the whole of the District, making it appear as if it's been encased in gold. To the east, far out over the Atlantic, the sky is darkening. Within the hour, as the cover of night encroaches upon and drapes the city in sleepy, dreamy azure shadows, tiny specks and sprinkles of stars will become visible overhead. I love watching D.C. wind down and slowly drift to sleep through the enormous, north-facing windows of my sixth-floor loft. The morning after I ended it with Rachel, I made the decision to move. Not because of her and not because of the end of `us,' but rather because of an intense need to start over, to wipe the slate clean. I took everything into consideration, particularly the magnitude of the feelings I'd kept locked inside for so long that I'd begun to feel claustrophobic. What I needed was a place big enough to contain me and the proverbial elephant in the room: my emotions. So I immediately began searching for a new place to call home, and made spaciousness a very high priority - this place is huge - and, of course, reminded myself that location was also going to have to take center stage during the decision-making process. I found this flat on that very next, very bright and hot Sunday afternoon, thirty-eight hours after the breakup and twenty-six hours after having decided to move, and immediately fell in love with the open airiness of it. I adore the huge, renovated kitchen, in all its stainless steel, dark granite and mahogany wood glory - and especially appreciate that it provides direct access to a secluded section of the roof via a set of hinged French doors. I love the exposed, slate-colored brick walls and the thick support columns linking the dark hardwood floor to the eighteen-foot ceiling. I love how huge and open the living space is - I contemplated at least twenty different furniture arrangements the first time I gazed out at the city through one of these enormous windows. I'm still on the verge of drooling whenever I enter the massive bathroom and my eyes sweep over the decorative glass and stone tiling throughout, in soft grays and muted greens; then I step into the incredibly large shower, with its wide glass door, tiled bench, steam vents and multiple shower heads, and practically swoon. I smile as I climb the four wide and gently rising steps that lead up to the sprawling bedchamber - it's a clever design, and kinda sexy. Inside, the longest walls - to the left and right of the doorway - contrast nicely: the left continues the theme of exposed brick, while the right is smooth plaster, painted the color of sea grass. The floor matches the dark wood throughout the rest of the flat, and the walk-in closet, to the right of the wide doorway, feels bigger than the whole bedroom of my last apartment. Occupying the farthest wall in the bedroom, opposite the doorway, three more long and wide windows allow light to pour in and illuminate the peaceful space. Without a doubt, I've been head-over-heels about this place from the start, and it was the natural lighting and expansive views provided by all these wide, twelve foot windows that sealed the deal. I've had three months to settle in, and I feel comfortable, at peace. Almost. Not for a lacking in my surroundings, of course. There's no lack of familiarity or comfort in the objects, my things, many old but some new, decorating the ample space. No, it's what I couldn't tell Rachel the night I ended our six month disaster of a relationship - what I've been holding inside for so long, too long - that makes me feel lost and, dare I say, desperate. It's her, Dana. I'm... God, I'm so in love with her. So in love it hurts. And she's coming here tonight. Here, to my loft. That morning in the office, when John told me she'd come back, so many emotions took hold of me at once that I went blank. In an instant, I felt so much that some deep, ancient instinct took over - self-preservation, I suspect - and I suddenly couldn't feel anything. And I couldn't move, and I couldn't speak. In a fog, I excused myself to the restroom, where I splashed cold water onto my face for what felt like an eternity. And all the while a tiny voice in the back of my mind was telling me that I might as well drown myself in the sink now and get it over with, because there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that I'm going to be able to keep it together in A.D. Skinner's office, in her presence. In her presence, again, after two long years. But I did keep it together, somehow. Perhaps because of the blessed numbing effects of that primal instinct, or perhaps because I knew that I could not fall to pieces in front of Skinner - or in front of her, certainly not in front of her. Absolutely not, because she didn't know how I felt. She'd never known, because I'd never told her, for fear of complicating her life further with my feelings. John knows. I didn't actually have to tell him outright, thanks to the catharsis I experienced in the hours and days following her arid, whirlwind of a departure with Mulder. Only John and my closest friends, both back in New Orleans and New York, know and understand the magnitude of the despair and grief that seized me when Dana Scully disappeared. The day she returned seems like a blur now, in retrospect. But I remember stepping into Skinner's office behind John and quietly closing the door, and then turning and feeling the weight of her sapphire gaze as it fell directly on me. In that moment, I willed my body not to fail me; I prayed for strength that I wasn't sure existed. It almost hurt to look at her, for how indescribably beautiful she was just sitting there, half-smiling. Her hair was longer and lighter, almost strawberry-blond, in contrast to her once alabaster skin, which had darkened at least two shades. She looked travel-weary, but relieved. And her eyes sparkled just like I had remembered - the color of the ocean stretched out beneath the midday sun. There she was, real and alive and so beautiful, and she was looking at me and smiling. Not at John and not at Skinner. At me. "Monica." My name had been a breathy whisper on her lips. She stood and walked briskly toward me, and I managed to decrease the space between us by only two small steps before her arms wound around my waist and mine enveloped her shoulders. Both men remained respectfully silent as she and I held each other fiercely, my left cheek resting atop her head and her right pressed against my chest. While Skinner sat in his leather office chair, his large hands folded patiently in his lap, John made his way over to one of the chairs positioned in front of the large desk. Neither said a word until Dana and I separated, smiling broadly. Since that long display of affection, Dana and I have hardly touched each other, and it's all been respectful and innocent. We've seen each other at least two or three times every week since she returned, but these meetings have been short, friendly, and professional in nature - she'd even helped John and I with our two most recent cases, once performing a double autopsy and several times analyzing tox screens and x-rays, and so on. I suppose I should've expected that there'd be a lack of more personal contact between her and I, what with her having to readjust to life in D.C. again - with living a normal life, I should say, which includes having to reacquaint herself with her mother and brothers on top of settling into her new teaching job at Quantico. And I've been occupied, as well, not only because of my move but with work, which I unfortunately cannot avoid. But this morning... this morning was different. And I feel like throwing up. I could puke my fucking guts out from the anxiety that's been coursing through my veins like a bad hit, or like a symptom of withdrawal, ever since Dana left me standing in the middle of the office with my thoughts racing. And I would puke, if I hadn't already - which, interestingly enough, is how I discovered what the second worst thing is, after orange juice, to pair with the flavor of spearmint toothpaste and mouthwash: muscato. But I need this drink. I think I'm going to need another as much as I need this one, which is as much as I needed to brush my teeth and rinse after I needed to throw up. No, what I need to do is calm down. Calmdowncalmdowncalmdown. I must be as composed as possible when she walks through that doorway and... well, when she says or does whatever it is that she's planning to say or do. No matter what happens between us tonight, be it minute or monumental in either implication or action, or both, I want it to transpire as it's meant to, as she intends it to. I cannot and will not push her, ever. I'll take only what she feels capable of giving me, even if all she has to give is friendship. But I know I saw something in her eyes this morning. When she first looked at me, her irises were bright, the color of a perfectly clear summer sky. But our banter released a charge into the air around us, and that had an affect her: very quickly her eyes darkened to a deep blue-gray, the color of storm clouds. I stared down into her eyes, wanting so badly to claim her lips with my own, willing her to bridge the gap between us and kiss me hard, and I swear her irises began to swirl. It was hypnotic, watching those kaleidoscopic storm clouds. She asked if she could come over, and I squeaked out my answer: "Yes." Her eyes dropped to my lips, just for a moment, and then she smiled, light and sweet. I saw something in her eyes though, I know I did, before she turned on her heels and sauntered out of the office. My gaze burned down her back and settled on her ass as she walked away. I watched it sway with each step, enjoying the sight of it through the fabric of her tight skirt. When I could no longer hear her footsteps, I let out a huge rush of air, not realizing that I'd been holding my breath. I felt dizzy, drunk. And then I closed my eyes and I thanked the sky for what had just happened, and thanked the stars for what I hoped was going to happen, and thanked the conspiring forces of the universe for making it all possible.

"Professor Scully..."

Monica's voice is echoing through my head. It has been since this morning. A tingle crawls up my spine. That wasn't the first time since I've been back that she's called me `Professor,' but I shiver whenever she says it - especially this morning, because of how she said it, like... God, like she was a student and she was hot for me. In the two and a half months that I've been teaching at the academy, though I have caught several young men ogling me when they think I'm not looking, none of my students have or would ever dare cross any lines. But Jesus, I stood there in the office this morning wishing Monica would cross every line. I was helpless to stop the fantasy that conjured itself up in my mind... one of her, alone in the dimply lit lecture hall, leaning against the corner of my desk. I imagined her hair mussed and lips smiling wickedly... imagined the top buttons of a far-too-tight oxford shirt undone, exposing more than a hint of cleavage, and her lightly tanned and very toned thighs barely concealed by a much-too-short skirt, the hem of which she gripped with both hands, tugging at it playfully, between her legs...

"Jesus Christ, get a grip, Dana," I admonish out loud and literally grip the steering wheel harder, until my knuckles turn white.

I have never lusted after, never craved, never fantasized about someone, dreamed of their touch or longed for their kiss like hers, like this. Never. No one has ever unraveled me with a look or shook me to my very core with only words. No one's ever made me feel completely naked and exposed despite all of my clothing. No one but Monica. Even when I was with Mulder, I would dream of her. I knew that I wanted her, desperately, and that made me miss her all the more. When Monica and I first met on that crisp, breezy morning on that hillside in Montana, I was preoccupied with finding Mulder and with bringing my son into the world safely. I was damaged. My life was far too complicated to even consider the butterflies that fluttered furiously in my gut whenever her dark, kind eyes fell on me, let alone whenever she smiled at or touched me. And so I buried it, all of it. I buried it until after I'd run away with Mulder and realized that she was no longer a part of my life, until I realized how much she had sacrificed just to keep me safe and keep me grounded. After letting them marinate for so long, the night that I came back, I finally decided to allow myself to savor my feelings. And that following morning, after having digested it all, I was certain of what was the truth, my truth: I was in love with her. I'd loved her all along. But I knew that I needed to straighten my life out. I needed to settle back into a normal routine before I could tell her exactly what and how much she meant to me. And I'm ready now. And if she feels the way that I do - and I think, I hope she does - everything will fall into place as it's meant to. No more waiting. No more yearning.

Dana... Dana... Dana... Her name is my mantra, a prayer echoing through my head. I feel my eyes slip closed at thought of what her name would sound like if I were to whisper it against her lips in the gathering darkness of this sprawling room, or in the moonlit air of my bedroom. I can't help but envision her and I together, in my bed, a tangle of warm, bare limbs and soft, cool sheets, skin against skin and her name on my lips, her name slipping out between sharp breaths and short sighs, her name interspersed amid throaty groans and gasps, her name... The sensation that tears through the lowest region of my pelvis just at the thought of crying out her name in ecstasy causes me to rock forward. My breath hitches in my throat. A sudden and soft rapping at my door breaks my reverie. She's here. I feel like I'm floating, like my body and brain are functionally separate and I'm operating on some sort of physical autopilot. I absently sip my wine, but neither taste it nor sense that I've swallowed as I approach the large, heavy door. I grasp the long handle with my right hand and pull it, and the steel door slides open smoothly over the well-oiled ball bearings lining the track. I think I'm dreaming. I feel my lips instinctually form a crooked smile as my eyes meet hers.

"Hey, you."

"Hey." Her lips curl up into a shy smile, and I quickly step to the side.

"Come in, come in."

She drops her head a little and crosses the threshold, stepping into my flat. For the next several moments, she simply looks around in wonder, taking in the interior without saying a word. "Wow, Monica, this is..." she trails off, clearly impressed with what she sees. Her eyes then fall on me, and my grin widens.

"You like?"

True to form, her neat little eyebrow vaults toward the lofty ceiling. "Like? Monica, this place is... incredible."

I blush. "Well, I'm really glad that you like it. I, uh... I really like it, too - love it, actually. Probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. I mean, it was sudden and somewhat impulsive, and it's definitely one of the most expensive decisions I've ever made, but also one of the best."

She hides a playful smile and shrugs a shoulder casually. "Eh. Not too shabby, I suppose," she says, and I chuckle at her feigned indifference. She smiles back broadly. "So, you gonna give me a tour of the place, Agent Reyes, or would you prefer that I rummage around unaccompanied?"

I like this. I like Dana's playful, flirtatious side. I like knowing she feels at ease. "Oh, a grand tour, if you so desire," I tease. In an exaggerated show of grace, I bow my head and wave my hand out to the side. "After you, m'lady."

Watching her gaze out at the city through that enormous window, her fingertips coolly clasped around the rim of her wine glass as the dying embers of the setting sun alight her profile... it's like looking at a photograph. I feel like a lowly, lone patron in some fashionable art gallery, mesmerized by the life-size picture of a strikingly beautiful woman, mesmerized by one of the most serene images I've ever seen. She had just finished telling me how much she loves looking out through these huge windows, and how the colors of the sunset pouring over the sprawl of the normally colorless buildings and monuments make the city look like it's been encased in gold, like it's on fire, so alive. She paused then and lost herself in the view, her shoulder pressed to the bricks and a small smile curling up the corners of her lips. Whatever she's thinking now - even if it's nothing - she looks peaceful, so content. I don't want to disturb her. But as she basks in the colors of the sunset, I want to bask in her glow. So I approach slowly, quietly, my eyes never leaving the side of her face. Her smile deepens as I make my way to stand beside her and, with some courage, snake my arms around her slender waist. She welcomes the gesture; her left arm slips around me and cradles my shoulders, pulling me closer. Only then do I turn my eyes to look out the window with her - and she's right. The colors, the view... they're breathtaking. I wonder what she sees as she stares out at the world; I wonder if, right now, she and I are looking at the same thing. She pulls in a deep, shaky breath, breaking my reverie. I lift my head and lean back to study her face, and catch sight of a pair of tears rolling down her smooth cheeks.

"Monica, wha-"

"You were gone for so long," she breathes out, her eyes still fixed somewhere in the distance. Another set of tears follow the shimmering paths left on her cheeks by the ones that preceded them, and I can't stop the sudden tight feeling that comes to my throat or blink away the warm tears that could my vision. I'm only vaguely aware of the fact that she's setting her wine glass down on the large sill as she turns in my arms to face me. Her now free right hand joins her left around my shoulders; her palms warm my back through my thin sweater. "But you came back." Her voice is hardly above a whisper and her tone disbelieving, as if she's not sure that I'm actually standing here with her, as if I'm an apparition and speaking any louder might cause me to dissipate, vanish again. The look in her eyes as they study mine leaves me grasping for words.

"I - I just... I had to," I stumble, wanting to say more. She doesn't respond, just continues to gaze at me - through me. Here, in her arms, I feel myself unraveling. I swear I can feel her inside my head, inside my heart, searching. I take a deep breath - take a leap - and answer the question she's not asking me. "For you. I came back because of you."

"I missed you," she whispers, tears shining in her eyes as her warm hands begin to slide up my shoulders, my neck.

My hands find her upper arms. Her strong shoulders flex beneath the soft cotton of her long sleeve tee shirt as her hands continue to move, cupping my face. "I missed you, too."

The fingers of her right hand begin touching my face, trailing across my eyebrow, skimming down my cheek and then tracing my jaw line. They remain there as the tip of her thumb brushes my lower lip, grazing it so lightly, so gently. Her expression is one of awe as her eyes follow the movements of her fingers. It's as if she can't believe that I'm here, or that she's touching me, or that I'm letting her touch me like this. And her touch is electric; my nerves are on fire.

"There's so much," she says, her voice just above a whisper and her eyes are on my lips. "So much I want to say to you."

I swallow hard. Her lips part when I lick mine. "Monica." When I say her name she lifts her eyes, and they're so are dark they look depthless. I take a shaky breath. "Kiss me." Her pupils dilate. I'm transfixed. "Please."

"God, Dana -" her voice is so low and quiet, I almost don't hear her as she pulls me closer. Then her lips press firmly against mine, and I'm gone. I didn't think I could be more mesmerized, but I'm lost in the sensation of her kiss. Jesus, I'm kissing her. I'm kissing Monica. She's kissing me.

And nothing else has ever felt more right.

Part III

Nothing in my life has ever felt more right than this. Our lips are meeting in warm and firm, open-mouth kisses, then parting and meeting again. They're sliding and suckling, our teeth gently nibbling, pulling; Dana's hands are on my shoulders, my neck, in my hair, and then the tip of her tongue grazes my bottom lip and my knees threaten to buckle. A groan drowns in my throat as I open my mouth to her and our tongues begin to duel slowly, passionately. I grasp her hips and pull her closer, deepening the kiss, and she moans into my mouth. My head is spinning. I wrench my lips from hers and, with one hand on the side of her face and the other at the small of her back, pull her harder still against me as I bury my face in her neck. She gasps and digs her fingertips into my shoulder blades as I begin to suckle and nip at the exposed flesh where her collar bone meets her throat. I nibble and kiss my way back to her mouth and she crushes her lips against mine. I'm so lost in this kiss - her mouth, her tongue, her hands, her body against mine - that I don't realize she's pushing me backwards until my back is pressed against the cool bricks framing the window. She's got me pinned in spite of my advantage in height and weight; she's in control and kissing me deeply, kissing me hungrily. While her hands slide up my sides, her open palms grazing my breasts as they continue on their journey upward, my hands slip down her back and cup her ass. My nerves are humming rhythmically, a steady, buzzing pulsation that's becoming more dynamic with each passing moment, as my arousal builds and my want to touch her and taste her edges toward overwhelming. My eyes squeeze shut and my head falls back against the bricks as Dana's lips and tongue and teeth take their turn teasing and tasting my neck. I lose the fingers of my left hand in her soft hair, gripping it firmly but gently, encouraging her as she feasts on my skin. She swirls her tongue and then suckles hard at the base of my neck and an intense jolt of pleasure rockets down my spine, plucking the knobby protrusions of my vertebrae before bottoming out at my hip bones and crashing to a halt directly between my legs.

"Ahh, Dana..."

Her body undulates rhythmically as I suck on her neck, rippling like a slow wave, and it sends me reeling. To know that I'm having such an effect on her makes me feel powerful. She's pulling me so hard against her, moaning my name and rocking her hips against mine, and it all feels so good that I can hardly believe it's really happening. I want so badly to touch her intimately, to touch everywhere and to be touched by her, to feel her on me and inside of me and all around me... I want to possess her. I want her to possess me. I want to be taken. I want to be shed of all barriers - clothing and otherwise - and be set free. I want her love, in all of its forms, to release me. And I want to return that love in equal measure. With one tug from her hand in my hair, I release her neck and lift my face to meet her fervent kiss. Her lips and tongue elicit from me low, rumbling groans and muffled gasps. Monica's mouth is exquisite; I've never been kissed like this, so passionately. And I'm so lost in her mouth, her tongue, her hands, her body against mine, that I don't realize she's turned us until my back is pressed against the cool bricks between the windows. Her mouth is on my neck again and her hands are skimming down my arms. She threads our fingers together as she swirls her tongue and nips and suckles my neck, and now she's pushing my arms up, sliding them up the wall until they're above my head. In this position, my breasts are pushed up and out toward her, pressing into her upper abdomen. The deep v-neck of my sweater presents lavish flesh and just a hint of cleavage; Monica pins both of my wrists to the wall with her right hand and moves to kiss me as the fingertips of her other hand tickle across that exposed expanse of skin. Now trailing kisses down my jaw and neck, her hand fully cups my right breast, squeezing it gently. We moan in synchrony. Before long, her mouth is on my chest, both hands are on my breasts, and my hands are in her hair. She hasn't even touched me yet - not really, not beneath my clothes in the places where I want it most - but I already feel like I'm on the verge of tumbling over the edge into oblivion. Craving more contact, I reach down and find the hem of my sweater and begin to tug it upward. Monica's lips leave my chest and her hands assist me in removing the garment. She doesn't toss it carelessly to the side, but rather lets it fall gently to our feet. She stares into my eyes for several moments before allowing her gaze to drift leisurely across my nearly naked upper body.

"You are so... beautiful," she says softly, emphatically, and there's not a doubt in my mind that she means it, not only because she's said it before, but because of the intense look in her dark eyes. I feel my body start to tremble.

I reach out and tug at the hem of her form fitting shirt. She steps back, her eyes never leaving mine as she smoothly pulls it up and off. As she drops it to the floor on top of my sweater, she tips her head back and shakes her hair from her face. I drink in the sight of her: her dark, softly curled tresses, gentle eyes and flawless face, slender but strong shoulders and arms, the swell of her breasts and smooth-looking material of her black bra, and her well-defined torso. She's long and lean and her worn jeans hang low on her narrow hips, low enough that I can follow the v-shaped curve of her lowest abdominal muscles as they taper inward from just above her hipbones, down toward... My fingers find her belt loops. I pull her toward me and her pelvis presses firmly against mine. She braces herself against the wall with her hands at either side of me, her arms bent at the elbows and her face just inches from mine.

"No, Monica... you are beautiful."

Her crystal blue eyes are sparkling, even in the gathering darkness. Her full lips are parted slightly, daring me to kiss them again. Her breasts, clad in a lacy, dark-colored bra, are large for her petite frame; I watch them rise and fall as she breathes and can't help but want to put my mouth and hands all over them. Everywhere I look, her skin is smooth and unmarred, and I want to kiss and touch every inch of her that I can see. I follow the indentation that bisects her flat, lightly-muscled abdomen past her navel, down to the waistline of her jeans. She said that I'm beautiful, but I shake my head.

"Only because I'm standing this close to you."

She kisses me again, but this kiss is different. It's softer and slower, unrushed, and it speaks volumes of an emotion other than need, or want, or lust. It's raw and deep. "Monica," she whispers my name for the second time tonight, this time against my lips. When she says it like this... from now on I'll assume that something momentous will follow.

"Yes?" She pulls back to look at me, and I double the space by leaning back. Her eyes search mine. Her lips part and I feel her begin to tremble. "Dana?"

"I love you."

She loves me... she loves me... she loves me... "I - I -" I stutter. Words fail me.

I'm stunned. She loves me. My knees weaken and I will my body not to betray me also. She loves me? I feel like I can't breathe, like there isn't enough oxygen in this enormous room to quell my desperate need for air. She loves me?! A sudden stinging in my eyes forces me to acknowledge that I've begun to cry. Jesus, she loves me. Dana touches my face as hers creases with worry.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"

I stop her apology with a reverent kiss. I cup her face in my hands and pour all of my love and trust and hope and forgiveness into it, and when we part, there are tears in both of our eyes. "Have you any idea how long I've been waiting, wanting to hear you say that to me?"

"Monica... I am so sorry that I ran away, that I was gone for so long without so much as a message to let you know that I was still alive and safe. But, more than anything, I'm sorry for being such a coward; I am so, so sorry that I lacked the courage to admit how I felt, even to myself."

I can only stare at the floor and nod, allowing the weight of her words to sink in. Tears fall from my face and hit the hardwood with tiny, audible plops. After a heavy breath, I meet her eyes. "Dana, I've loved you for so long."

This time, she kisses me with reverence, slowly and softly, cupping my face in her hands and pouring all of her love and trust and hope and contrition into it. Soon, we're both whispering I love you's and our kiss deepens. Then our hands begin moving again and our bodies respond hungrily to every touch, every caress, every soft grasp, the gentle raking of fingernails. Every inch of me is on fire, and my heart feels like it might burst right out of my chest... and I think I'll let it. My hands move to cup her ass. With ease, I lift her from the floor and pin her to the wall with my hips; she groans and bites into my shoulders with her fingertips. We're groin to groin, breasts to breasts, and mouth to mouth, and I can't get enough of her. I can't kiss or touch her enough and it's driving me crazy. Pressed against her like this, I can feel the heat of her desire radiating from her body.

"Mmm," she moans into my mouth and I break our furious kiss. For several moments we remain as we are, her pinned to the wall with me pressed between her legs. Our foreheads touch as we breathe raggedly.

"Dana..." I murmur her name between near gasps. Her eyes are already on me, her lips parted, chest heaving. She looks drunk with desire; without a doubt, I look the same. "I want you in my bed."

She leans in and kisses me softly once, twice. "Then lead the way, Agent Reyes."

Very gently, Monica eases me to the floor and guides me to her bedroom. She doesn't pull me; the steps of our procession are slow and unhurried. We walk comfortably, hand-in-hand, without any words passing between us. And I can't help but think that this makes sense, because there is more between us than need and want and lust: there's love. And though this night has been a long time coming, we are in agreement, albeit unspoken, about not rushing what's happening. Tonight is ours - hopefully the first of many more to come - and neither of us seems to want to hasten it toward morning. We climb the four wide, long and low wood steps leading to her bedroom door - it's a clever design, and kinda sexy - and Monica ushers me inside, releasing my hand in order to place hers on the small of my bare back. Moonlight is pouring in through the three windows at the farthest end of the room, glinting off of her dark and sturdy-looking furniture, including the enormous four-post bed positioned at the center of the long wall to our right. Monica's warm hands slip around my waist as she places an open-mouth kiss on the top of my shoulder. I turn in her arms and capture her lips with my own, and we begin moving in tandem toward the bed, freeing each other of our bras in the process. It feels like an eternity passes before the backs of my legs meet the bed frame and my ass the side of the plush mattress. She groans as my hands skim her bare flesh, brushing over her hardened nipples. Her breasts are firm in my hands; I test their weight, squeezing and massaging them, and her head falls back as she moans my name.

"God, Dana..."

Then she lets out a heady groan, dips her head and crushes her lips to mine. Her hands are on me, clutching me, pushing me back onto the bed. Our lips meet and part in audible, sucking kisses as I scoot backward across the cool white sheets and she crawls over top of me, hovering. She lowers herself to onto me slowly, covering me with her body, warming me with her flushed skin and plucking the strings of my desire with wet, nipping kisses to my shoulders, my neck, my chest. Her right thigh is nestled between my legs, and as she moves, laving and loving my upper body with her lips and tongue, her muscles twitch and press into me. I gasp as the pressure sends a ripple of pleasure through my body. I grab her leg and pull it harder against me. That mouth of hers... it's on my breasts now, alternating between nipping and suckling and teasing one while a dexterous hand manipulates the other.

"Ah... so good, Monica. Feels so good..." I need to feel more of her, all of her on me, every inch.

My hands find the button-fly of her jeans. I quickly release all four buttons and then slide my hands over her hips and onto her ass. Her skin is so soft, but beneath it, she is firm. She's the perfect combination of strong and sexy, feminine but powerful. Her hand is slipping down my stomach, fingers spread, the pad of her middle digit circling my navel, and I can't get enough of her touch. Now that hand is on the fly of my jeans, popping the button and sliding the zipper down while she braces her weight on the other elbow and kisses me languidly. Hardly breaking our kiss, we help each other shed our last vestiges of clothing: our jeans and my panties form a small pile on the floor beside the bed. I just realized Monica's wasn't wearing underwear.

Our hands are drawing invisible lines across each other's naked flesh, our fingertips memorizing every inch. But she's giving me that look. I smirk. "What?"

"Were you so sure you were getting laid tonight, or is `commando' just part and parcel of your everyday state of dress?" I giggle at that.

"Well, not every day, but... I've never enjoyed wearing underwear."

"What, cotton too constricting for you?"

"Nah, it's just hard to find leather underwear that's actually comfortable."

The sound of her laughter is music to my ears. "You would."

"I would what?"

"Wear leather underwear."

"I'd wear a lot of things, if they came in leather." I give her a suggestive look, and she returns it.

"I know of a few things that do... have a leather option, that is."

"Well, maybe you and I can take some time to explore those options... at a later date and time, of course."

"I don't see why not."




"Kiss me."

"Yes, ma'am."

Soon after our lips meet our tongues begin dueling hotly, and I'm dizzy with desire all over again. I move to fully cover her, sliding my other leg over hers until my hips are ensconced between her parted legs and the heat of her need is pouring over my nether regions. I dip my head and pepper her chest and neck with little kisses and her hands slide up my back, into my hair. Then I roll my hips and grind against her, where she needs it most, and she gasps. Her hands fly to my ass, her nails bite into my skin.

"Ah... " she moans and pulls me harder against her. I repeat the motion and her eyes close as her back arches off the bed. "Mmm, don't stop, please."

With one hand behind her neck and the other on her left hip, I grind into her slowly, taking up a steady rhythm that her own hips quickly adopt. I shower her breasts and chest and neck and lips with slow, sensual kisses and she moans breathily, in time with our movements. And as we move, evidence of our collective arousal commingles and soaks our thighs. We're kissing ferociously, and the feel of grinding my own heat and wetness against hers, coupled with the pressure that's building inside me, is causing me to groan into her mouth with every quickening thrust of my hips. She's gripping my shoulders and I'm holding her hips, both fiercely, and her breaths are coming hard and fast. Our kiss breaks. We're both close. No, no... not like this. I slow my pace, almost to halt.

"Not like this," I murmur my thoughts aloud, into her neck. "Not like this, Dana. I want," I pause, trying to catch my breath. "I want to touch you." She nods, unable to verbalize. Her face is tense. She wants to come.

Sliding one hand down her abdomen, between us, I rake my fingers through a thin, well-manicured patch of hair above her lower lips. Like a racing stripe, I muse. Wouldn't have pegged her as the type... and I like it. The rest of her skin is soft and very smooth.

"Monica, please," she whimpers, rolling her hips toward my touch, and I concede, parting her lips and slipping my middle and ring fingers through her wet heat. We gasp together.

"God... damn you are so wet," I growl, closing my eyes to the sensation that rockets through my body as I touch her intimately. My fingers find her clit and circle it gently. She groans.

I open my eyes as hers squeeze shut; I want to watch her. Very slowly, I slip my fingers lower and tease her tight, hot opening. She pulls her pouty bottom lip into her mouth and bites into it with her teeth. Just looking at her, just touching her like this, is so unbelievably erotic that my body continues to wet and rewet my thighs. Her left hand slides down my arm and covers my hand between her legs. I push my long fingers inside her and, again, we gasp together. She's tight and incredibly soft and wet and hot and I've never been so enraptured in my life. I slip my fingers out and thrust them smoothly back in, and Dana bucks her hips, then pulls my upper body against her and loses her fingers in my hair. Her hips roll with each thrust of my hand.

"Ugh, so good, so good.... so - ah!" She cries out when I press my fingertips upward, finding that spot behind her pubic bone and manipulating it gently. She clutches me tighter and sucks in a sharp breath through gritted teeth. "God, Mon - ah! Don't stop... don't stop..."

I fight to release my upper body from her grip and then kiss and suck and lick my way across her full breasts, stopping to tease and suckle her nipples before continuing south. I swirl my tongue around her shallow navel and then nip the skin just below it. Her hands are twisting the bed sheets, her head is thrown back and she's moaning and mumbling incoherently. I kiss her hipbone and run my tongue down toward the inside of her right thigh... and God, I can smell her. The scent of her desire is thick and aromatic, and I begin to salivate at the though of what I'm about to do. Nestling myself between her legs, I slide my left arm under her right thigh and skim my hand across her ribs. I find her breast and knead and massage it while I kiss and nip and bathe the insides of her thighs with my tongue. Then I hover my open mouth over her, breathing hotly against her slick flesh while my fingers continue to pump in and out and stroke her deeply.

"Tell me what you want, Dana," I breathe against her. Her hands find my head and her fingers thread into my hair.

"Please," she begs and rolls her hips up toward my mouth. A bead of saliva runs over the swell of my bottom lip and drips to the bed sheet.

"I want to hear you say it."

She sucks in a sharp breath. Our eyes meet. "Lick me, Monica. I want your mouth."

While her expert fingers pump and press and swirl upward, deep inside of me, her lips and tongue attack my clit with the acumen of a seasoned professional. She licks and suckles and sweeps and swirls and her mouth is so much more than exquisite - it's fucking mind-blowing. And I'm flying high, a burning, trembling mass of sensation, a willing prisoner, surrendering to her touch. Then she adds a third finger, and the feel of her stretching me and filling me to the brim is unbelievable. She flattens her tongue and begins stroking my clit with a speed I've never before experienced. Her fingertips find that spot deep inside me and press upward, in hard strokes, and my hips shoot off the bed. Monica uses her free hand to hold me down.

"Come for me, Dana," she murmurs against me. "I want you to come all over me." I'm shaking now, hard. My legs are trembling. Every muscle in my body is contracting and releasing at lightning speed, contracting and releasing. My eyes squeeze shut and bright colors are bursting like fireworks across the backs of my eyelids. A powerful sensation unlike I've ever experienced is rippling through my womb, and it's so good, so good, so good, her tongue is so warm and wet and fast and she's pushingpushingpushing so deep inside of me and I've never felt this before, I can't breathe.

"Ah, ah, ah, oh God, oh Mon, oh God, I'm gonna, ah-I'm gonna come, I'm-ah, I'M GONNA COME, OH GOD, I'M COMING, I'M COMING, I'M-AH! AHH! AHHH!" My entire body trembles, vibrates, clenches, and then undulates wildly as the most powerful orgasm I've ever had brutally rips through my body.

Every muscle contracts and every nerve is firing, firing, firingfiringfiring and I'm exploding, back arched and legs clamped around Monica's head and all I see is white hot light and I'm leaving my body, soaring and soaring and soaring and screaming, my hot release pouring into her palm and mouth and spilling onto the bed as an endless wave of ecstasy rolls over me and I tumble and tumble and tumble...

Part IV

"Dana? Dana, honey, open your eyes. Sweetie, open your eyes." I brush a stray lock of hair from her forehead, and it appears that my gentle prodding is working. Slowly, Dana rouses in my arms, her eyes blinking open. "Hey, there you are," I say softly. She smiles, her eyes only half open, looking very content.

"How long was I asleep?" Her voice is rough.

"Um," I give her a half smile, feeling equally proud and guilty - it's a strange mix. "You weren't exactly... sleeping." She considers my words and then gives me a curious look. I chuckle and kiss her forehead. "You passed out, honey."

Her eyes go wide. "What?"

"You passed out. You were... flying pretty high, and as you were coming down, you -"

"Did I hyperventilate?"

"Well, I'm not sure exactly. You sort of had me in a vice-grip," I admit with a smirk, and she covers her blushing face with her hands.

"Oh my God."

"No, no, don't be embarrassed," I plead sympathetically, easing her hands away. "Please? There's no reason to be. I'm not." She just rolls her eyes and smiles.

"Well, of course you're not - it's your fault!" I shake my head and laugh.

"Ay, mi cario... no es mi culpa," I touch my chest as I tell her it's not my fault, and she must assume I've said something to that effect, because she doesn't question it - just quirks that eyebrow even higher. "I was only giving you what you asked for."

"Oh, well I seem to have forgotten asking you to cause me to pass out by giving me the most incredible orgasm I've ever had."

Now it's my turn to blush. "Ever?"

"Yes," she says immediately, honestly, then takes a breath and a moment to reflect. "I've never felt anything like that before."

My heart swells. "So you've never - I mean, what you're saying is, no one's ever made you... ejaculate."


"Before tonight."

She shakes her head and smiles through silent laughter. Then her eyebrows vault upward. "Definitely not. Not even close." She leans up and kisses me slowly, lovingly. "That was amazing, Monica," she whispers against my lips, then kisses me softly, her lips lingering on mine before she pulls back to look at me. "You're amazing."

And she is unbelievably, impossibly beautiful. To know that my touch, my most intimate kiss, has satisfied her in a way that she's never before experienced makes me feel like I've accomplished some feat that was once - and perhaps always - thought to be impossible. And to know that there is love between us, not just in this bed or because of what just happened, but real and deep, genuine love... God, the words to describe this feeling don't yet exist.

I touch her face, and she turns and places a soft kiss against my palm. "I love you."

"I love you."

True to her gentle and caring nature, Monica insisted that we rest for awhile, worried that I might pass out again if things became hot and heavy too quickly. That was nearly an hour ago, according to the sleek-looking alarm clock poised atop the bedside table. Now she's sleeping peacefully, stretched out beneath the soft down comforter with me curled up against her side, my arm and leg resting comfortably across her hip and stomach and my face nuzzled against her left breast. I've been dozing, on and off, but haven't been able to sleep. Because I haven't touched her yet, not how I want to and not where she needs it most, and laying here pressed against her naked body while she sleeps is slow, sweet torture. Almost by their own volition, my fingertips begin drawing lazy circles on her abdomen. Her skin is so soft and smooth; I close my eyes and breathe in her scent. She smells of eucalyptus and mint and something else that's unique to her alone and it's an intoxicating combination. I have to touch her, feel her, taste her. I must. Rolling on top of her, I straddle her thighs and lean over her. She looks so peaceful when she sleeps, so beautiful. I brush a stray lock of hair from her face and then run my fingers down her cheek, her neck, the valley between her breasts. She stirs, her brows creasing momentarily before her lashes flutter. She smiles at me, her eyes only half open.

"Hey, beautiful," I whisper, and she closes her eyes.

"Mmm... mi amor," her voice is low and rough, sexy. "How was your nap?"

I bend down and kiss her. "Not as good as yours."

"No? Why's that?"

"Because cuddling with a sleeping, stunning, naked woman and trying not to disturb her is more difficult than one might assume." "Is that so?" I bite my lip and nod in the affirmative. She smiles. "Well, I'm awake now... y estoy a tu merced." I squint at her, ill-equipped to translate her native tongue, and her crooked smile fades as she reaches up and slides her hand across my cheek. Her fingers come to rest on my neck, beneath my ear. As she pulls me down to her mouth, she whispers, "I'm at your mercy, Dana."

I taste myself on her lips, and it makes me shiver.

Dana's kisses are pure bliss. Her lips are sliding against mine so softly, so smoothly. Her teeth gently capture my bottom lip and she sucks on it lightly before soothing it with a slow sweep of the tip of her tongue. She repeats the action on my top lip, then coaxes my tongue out with short, teasing licks and sucks into her mouth as her nails rake up my abdomen. She palms my breasts, gently brushing her fingers over my hardened nipples, and I groan into her mouth. Jesus Christ, I think she's trying to kill me... but if this is how I'm meant to go, so be it. Her mouth moves to my jaw, my neck, my shoulders, my chest. She's placing open-mouth kisses all over my naked skin, wet and sucking kisses that leave shimmering patches of saliva in their wake; my flesh pebbles as they evaporate, and I shiver.

"You cold, baby?" She asks, then closes her lips around my right nipple. She flicks her tongue over the hardened bud and my head rolls back.


She settles herself between my legs as her hands and mouth shower my breasts with lavish attention. I squeeze her tiny hips with my thighs and run my hands down her back. Then I tip my hips up, pulling my bent knees toward my upper body, and her pelvic bone presses hard and directly against my wet heat. We both moan.

"Mmm, I can feel you... how wet you are," she mumbles against my breastbone. It must excite her, how wet I am for her, because her demeanor changes. Her touch becomes rougher and her mouth more insistent, squeezing and sucking me at me harder. She rocks her hips hard against me and I gasp.

"Ah! Dana... touch me, please... please, baby," I beg, but her hand is already sliding down between us, moving toward its intended goal. Her fingers slip between my lower lips and glide smoothly through my warm wetness.

"God, Monica," she groans, her forehead pressed to my sternum. And in an instant she's lifting her head, moving back up to kiss me hard as the pads of her fingers begin stroking my clit in small, tight circles. My arms wrap tightly around her shoulders and clutch her to me as my hips involuntarily begin to roll in time with the motion of her fingers. Encouraged by my reactions, she moves her hand lower and teases my opening, circling it, spreading it, dipping her fingertips in for a moment, only to pull them out and tease me again. I whimper, feel my hips raising up, craving her touch.

"Please, baby... please..."

"Oh, Mon..." She slips her two longest fingers inside me, to the hilt, and I lose all rational thought.

"Ffffuck!" My whole body stiffens around her. I'm already so close.

She's kissing and licking her way down my body, between my legs. Her lips close over my clit and my hips buck off the bed. I lose both hands in her hair, my fingertips pressing into her scalp as I groan and arch and buck beneath her. She adds a third finger and drives deeper, pushing up into me while she sucks and flicks my clit with her tongue and it's almost too much to bear.

"Come on, baby, I know you're close..." she mouths against me, then resumes her oral assault on my tender flesh.

My hips are rocking against her face, my hands are in her hair and I'm on the verge of incoherence, crying out in Spanish that she feels so good, oh, God right there, right there, just like that, oh, oh, don't stop, God please don't stop, I'm so close, love - so close, so close, so close. I'm trembling, shaking, gasping loudly and raggedly, my eyes shut so tight and my head thrown back. I feel it, I feel my impending release rumbling through me, building and building and building like a mighty river swelling behind a dam and the pressure is too much, I'm going to rupture, I'm going to burst. I clench, squeeze, tremble harder, I'm shaking shaking shaking, I can't breathe - and I erupt. I am a screaming, dying star, exploding with the force of a thousand atom bombs, clutching writhing arching and soaring, gasping as I leave my body, consumed by savage pleasure, drowning in the waves of an indescribably powerful orgasm, flooding Dana's hand and mouth with my love...

many hours later

A short time ago, I woke from a heavy and very comfortable slumber. Monica was still wrapped in my arms, sleeping the deep sleep of the satisfied, her face close to mine and her slow and even exhalations caressing my neck. I've been watching her ever since, memorizing the sound of her steady breathing. Tonight has been like a dream...
As Monica floated back down from her explosive orgasm, I crawled up her trembling body and nearly collapsed on top of her before I managed to roll us onto our sides and pull her close to my chest. We were hot to the touch and slick with sweat; my lips and chin and hand were sticky with her release. Gradually, her breathing calmed, slowed, and she angled her head back to look at me through hooded eyes.

"Mmm," she hummed, giving me a tired smile. She mumbled, "Tha' was incredible."

I rubbed the tip of my nose against hers and kissed her tenderly. "I love you."

"Mi cario... mi vida."

Mi vida. I knew what that meant, and as her eyes slipped closed, mine warmed with happy tears - much the same as they are now. My life. I don't even want to attempt to imagine mine without this woman in it. And I don't want to remember the two years I went without seeing her beautiful face, without hearing her warm voice, without feeling her calm presence or her soothing touch... without knowing what it felt like to hold her in my arms and kiss her, make love to her, to love her and be loved by her. As if she can hear my thoughts, Monica stirs, inhaling and releasing a long, deep breath as her soft, bottomless, honey-brown eyes flutter open. I'm struck by how quickly she wakes, her eyes clearing and focusing to gaze deeply into mine. She lifts her hand to brush the backs of her fingers across my cheek, and her eyes shine with love. No, I can't live another day without her.

"After tonight, love... you won't have to."


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