Authors Note

I'm back. With rules in place. I will not be able to update as frequently so I'm offering fair warning now. Be PATIENT. I highly suspect this will be a multi-chapter story to rival "Mr. Longmire Takes a Vacation", so if you are going to commit do so now. (insert smile and a laugh) There will be lots of ups and downs and since I don't know where this story is headed (like I ever do, come on) I at least hope to make it enjoyable. Of course, I would like to graciously thank all of you for reading and for reviewing. Just so you know, reviews are the life blood of inspiration. You, the reader, are cherished.


"What are you waiting for, Vic?"

She rolls her mahogany eyes in silent contempt for him, for the task at hand, for the entire situation in Absaroka County.

"We only got one more."

He says as a sort of reassurance but he doesn't sound convincing not even to himself. She walks past him with her hand looped through the prisoner's v-shaped elbow. She doesn't even look at him anymore. That's the part that cuts the deepest he thinks as she strides past him refusing to acknowledge his existence.

Ferg starts up the yellow county school district bus. His open palm rests on the extended shifter perched from the floorboard. Leaning forward he waits for Vic to load the last prisoner. After she sits him down, she takes her seat opposite him in the front row. Walt sits directly behind Ferg, his long legs stretch out and extend past the seat blocking the aisle, his back presses against the cool metal framed glass. He drinks in the sight of her twisted mouth and sharp profile as she looks ahead through the oversized window into the dead of night. Ferg closes the double doors, eases the clutch, and shifts through three gears until they hit the highway then upshifts through to fifth gear.

"When did you get a license to drive this thing, Ferg?" She asks.

"About eight years ago when I started volunteering as a coach for the wrestling team."

"Wrestling?"

"Yeah." He smiles thinking of the good times and not the pictures flashing through Vic's mind of him fashioning a wrestling onesie.

"Ferg was all-state." Walt says.

She ignores him, looks out of her window, and remains silent the entire ride to the main county lock-up. They process the prisoners from the warrant sting. The drive back to the school is quiet with only the creaks and moans from the metallic shocks and gears keeping them company. Ferg decided months ago that he would not take sides and he does a great job of staying out of whatever it is that is going or not going on between them. At the schoolyard he pulls into the dedicated space for the bus. He opens the doors and shuts down the engine after recording the mileage.

"Walt, I'm going to head back to the station and finish up the paperwork from tonight. It won't take me too long." Ferg says.

"I can help, Ferg." Vic says as she steps down and into the parking lot turning around with her hands in her back pockets.

Walt turns the two steps into one with his long legs and lands just inches from Vic. Her dismissal of him is so complete she doesn't step aside. You see, for her, he simply does not exist.

"Thanks, Vic, I appreciate it."

Walt absorbs her disdain and moves aside, "Ah, Ferg, I need to talk to Vic about something first so I'll just drop her off if you want to go ahead."

Ferg passes them both and offers a closed lip smile, "Sure thing. See you in a bit." He fires up the Trans Am and rumbles past them. Vic turns her head down and toward the blacktop her disinterest evident.

"Vic." His voice quiet and deep, "Can I talk to you for a few minutes?"

"I don't know, can you?"

"May I talk to you?" He is desperate to be back in her game.

"What do you want, Walt?" She asks with her arms folded across her chest, the leather sleeves keeping her warm in the crisp night air.

"You."

"What did you say?" Her forehead wrinkles.

He reaches out and touches her hand and looks at her so she won't misunderstand him anymore as he pulls her toward him, "You heard me."

His lips descend before she can blink her eyes and he hovers just above her as if he thought it rude to just kiss her without either warning or permission. He can see and feel her face redden as her eyes grow big. He leans in just a little more silently asking and she answers by meeting him half-way. Their lips touch gently at first neither one of them wanting to disappoint or be disappointed by what they have imagined for so long. He closes his eyes and for an instant he feels his jealousy of Sean and Eamon pound through his veins but it's diminished by her tugging his shoulders and his arms unconsciously pulling her into him.

Just as quickly, their kiss deepens, and then it takes a life of its own becoming nearly frenetic with loud groans and hands and spit. He's the first to stop but it is not because he wants to and it's not because he's out of breath it's because his heart is beating so fast it jolts him. Her eyes search his looking for the reason he pulled back and he can see the fear and maybe the insecurity as to why he stopped and he answers her before she asks.

"Feel this."

He puts her hand over his heart and she can feel it beat nearly out of his chest and she looks at the vein traversing his neck and can see how plump it is even in the black night and her deviant smile permeates her face as she enjoys the distinct satisfaction of knowing and understanding her power. She's always had it. She just never knew it. She moves her hands around the thickness of his waist and she rests her head against his chest listening to his heart settle and deciding right there in the school parking lot sandwiched between the school bus and the Bronco that this is where she will reside for the rest of her life. She's finally arrived at her destination of this she is sure and it scares her.

"I don't want to overthink this." He says into the top of her head.

"Then don't."

"There's so much at stake." He says between the two kisses he places on her hair.

Her hot breath filters through to the skin covering his heart. "There always has been."

They hold each other, the heat becoming obvious, but so comfortable and inviting. She breaks his hold, "Ferg is going to get worried."

He nods his head acknowledging her and he opens the Bronco door for her. She jumps in the seat as she has done throughout the years but this time he stands perched between the seat and the door. He takes off his King Ropes baseball hat and smooths back his matted hair slinging his hat onto the dash so naturally she thinks it must be out of habit because they have never been here, in this place, together. There's no precedent for this.

Walt stands there deciding the new boundaries and configuration of them when she reaches out and pulls three fingers around the edge of his eyebrow, past his sideburn, and down toward his lips and somewhere along the way his eyes close to her touch. His body relaxes into her and he falls forward kissing her again and this time it is controlled, purposeful and full of thought. All of the thoughts he's held inside that have blossomed and grown since the day she stormed into his life and he can't hold them back as they flood through without restraint.

She turns part way through their kiss and his hands snake around her as her legs ceremoniously open and he wraps them around his waist. He groans with each stroke of her fingertips and he knows they have to stop but he doesn't want to, not now, not after waiting so long for this moment.

"Walt" She says into his mouth, "We have to get back."

His eyes are glistening and he stares at her like a mortar round just went off and he's lost his hearing. He nods his head and before he steps back he leans in just a little more, turns his head, bends his knees just a bit sliding his hand down the front of his jeans tamping down the erection inside of his pants and kisses her cheek before slamming her door shut.

He steps up into the driver's seat, leans over and pulls on the baseball cap, creasing the bill to ensure it maintains its inverted U-shape, and heads toward the highway.

About a half a mile toward town he looks over at her silhouette. He's not searching for words and he does not doubt where they are now. He's just looking. His eyes go back to the road and he feels her tug his sleeve and his hand comes down, backside against the grainy leather, and she fills his palm with hers. They stay that way all the way into town. Not a word passes between them because it's not necessary. You see, they have been here before, in their dreams.