Disclaimer: I don't own anything Scorpion. I'm just borrowing the characters and playing with them for a while.

This story takes place approximately 5 years after episode 02x13. I was originally going to post this entire story as a one-shot - but it just got too long so it will now be 2 or maybe 3 chapters.

As with all my stories, this one carries a Mature rating so you have been duly warned. If that's not your thing – you should probably stop now.

For those of you who don't mind that…..Enjoy!

Thanks in advance for reading and reviewing.


Gauguin

Walter shifted carefully as he attempted to maneuver himself from beneath the naked woman sprawled across his chest. She had fallen asleep six minutes and thirty one seconds earlier, exhausted and sated from their activities of the past couple of hours.

He always held Paige, after sex, until she drifted to sleep. It wasn't something she asked for or expected of him but something he felt the need to do. Not because he felt obligated. Obligation wasn't something Walter O'Brien let influence him.

He wanted to hold her.

He enjoyed holding her.

More than he ever would have imagined before she came into his life.

Holding a woman after sex was not something he had ever done before Paige. Before her, sexual intercourse was just a physical release for him. Nothing more. He engaged in it only occasionally when his body's need for that release became a necessity.

He only had two previous relationships with women and neither of those lasted more than a couple of months. His inability to connect emotionally doomed any kind of relationship he attempted. But all of that changed when Paige entered his life. Although it had taken almost 2 years of Paige and Ralph's presence in his life, and his sister's untimely death, before Walter was willing to admit and accept he was capable of emotion.

Before and between his failed relationships, Walter sought sexual release through escorts – although it was very rare. His mind was normally too occupied with intellectual pursuits that the physical needs of his body were always secondary and most often not even on his radar. He would go months without even the thought of sexual release crossing his mind.

Now Walter was lucky if he could go several days. That was the kind of affect Paige Dineen had on him. The old Walter would find his unrelenting desire for her disturbing and a distraction. But in the over six years that he'd known her, and the over 4 years since he decided not to fight his nature and admit his feelings for her, Walter O'Brien had come to learn one very important fact about himself.

He was capable of extremely intense emotion, particularly for the woman in his arms. Before her, Walter didn't believe love existed. It was nothing more than junk science, a semi-euphoric, temporary, chemical reaction to the physical attraction individuals had for each other.

But now, Walter knew love was real. It still confused the hell out of him much of the time but it was real and intense and something he never wanted to live without again. And it was all because of Paige and her son, Ralph.

In the time since he and Paige had started engaging in sexual intercourse, Walter had memorized every inch of the woman in his arms. From the curve of her smile to the curve of her hips; from the way she walked and talked and laughed, to the light dusting of freckles that dotted her skin, particularly on her chest and just below her naval; from the way she moaned and her skin flushed when he touched her, just the right way, to the small combination of a sigh and whimper that she made, in the back of her throat, just as her body and mind were surrendering to sleep.

Walter smiled as his fingers gently caressed the silky skin of Paige's back as it rose and fell with her soft breathing. She always fell asleep within minutes of her last orgasm. It was like her body shut down, whether from exhaustion or just satiation, she was almost incapable of remaining awake more than a few minutes.

Walter teased her, once, that the way she practically passed out after sex, it was like she was the guy in their relationship. After all, guys were notorious for just rolling over and falling asleep as soon as they came. But when Walter teased her about it she just snorted delicately and then rolled on top of him, before sitting astride his hips, and once again proving to him that there was nothing about her that wasn't all woman.

As a man with an eidetic memory, Walter could still see her in his mind, as clearly as the night it happened, and whenever he let his brain wander back to that memory his body reacted the same way. Even though he'd come less than fifteen minutes earlier, Walter felt the familiar tingling starting again, and he knew if he didn't get out of that bed right then, he would roll Paige onto her back and wake, and then take, her again.

As if sensing he was pulling away, Paige's body shifted and she pressed her face into his neck, her soft lips brushing against his skin making him shudder. But he used her shifting to successfully extricate himself from her and he swung his legs over the side of the bed. Both of their clothes were haphazardly littering the bedroom floor and Walter looked for his boxer briefs, in the moonlight streaming through the windows, to no avail.

With one last look at Paige, Walter stood and tugged the sheet up over her body, letting his fingertips brush softly along the length of her back. She moaned softly in her sleep and Walter smiled before he walked over to his dresser. He grabbed a pair of pajama pants and a white t-shirt out of his drawers and slipped them on before exiting the bedroom quietly.

##############

"What are you doing up, buddy?"

Walter walked into the kitchen area on the lower level of the garage to find Ralph sitting at the round table, a bowl of cereal and his laptop in front of him.

Although Paige still kept her apartment, she and Ralph spent most nights of the week at the garage. Several months after he and Paige started dating, particularly once he and Paige started having sex, Walter had his bedroom area enclosed and a second bedroom for Ralph built in the loft.

Two years ago, Walter invited Paige and Ralph to move into the garage with him. It was a huge step for Walter and one he analyzed for almost a year before he even broached the topic with her. But Paige turned him down. She felt it would be better for her and Ralph to maintain their separate space. Initially Walter was hurt by her refusal, not understanding why she would want to continue paying for an apartment when she and Ralph spent more time at the garage than at her place. It was inefficient and a waste of money.

But Paige explained that, as much as she loved him and was committed to him, and as much as both she and Ralph loved having the rest of the cyclone in their lives, they could just be a little much sometimes. They were always at the garage and, while Walter didn't mind them invading his space at any given hour, Paige needed to be able to take a step back and have her private breathing space that wasn't invaded by work or the chaos that a group of geniuses could inadvertently cause.

And as Ralph had grown and slowly come out of his shell, he emulated his mother more and more. He, too, needed his space from the team, at times, and as difficult as it was for Walter to understand he was forced to accept it.

He had been slowly transitioning the team to respect the boundaries of his private living area. For the last several months he had what was once the loft, above the garage, enclosed into a completely independent apartment, even with its own exterior entry, hoping Paige would change her mind once she saw that he was providing her with the privacy she needed. They hadn't discussed her and Ralph moving in, again, but he hoped she would see that making her and Ralph happy and comfortable was of the utmost importance to him.

Walter walked over to the counter as the fifteen year old looked up at him before slamming his laptop closed.

"Nothing," Ralph answered Walter's question in a clipped tone before he dragged his bowl back in front of him and shoved a spoonful of cereal in his mouth.

Walter pursed his lips as he pet Ferret Bueller, who was lounging on the counter, before pouring himself a bowl of cereal and walking over to the table.

"So when did you upload your game to the beta test site?" Walter asked, knowingly, as he sat down across from the young genius.

Like Walter, Ralph was hard wired to only state facts so it was no surprise when Ralph's eyes widened before he cringed slightly and admitted honestly.

"Last Saturday."

"I thought we agreed I would review it before you uploaded it," Walter reminded as he tapped one finger on the top of the laptop.

"You and mom were out on your monthly date night and it was ready. I wanted to get it up."

Their lives were so busy most of the time with cases from Homeland as well as Walter's continued software developments that a few years back Paige insisted that they have monthly date nights to ensure they at least had one night for just the two of them to catch up and reconnect.

Walter found the notion silly because they worked together every day and slept in each other's arms almost every night. But Paige told him it wasn't the same because Walter oftentimes came to bed hours after Paige had long fallen asleep. On the nights they climbed into bed at the same time it was because they were going to engage in sexual intercourse and very quickly thoughts of talk were replaced with more pleasurable activities. And then Paige would be asleep long before either one of them were coherent again.

"I don't think your mom would consider that an acceptable excuse," Walter replied in a serious tone. "She only agreed to let you design that racing game, for the coding experience, if we both adhered to her rules of supervision."

"But it was ready to test. It was only logical to get it uploaded as soon as possible to ensure maximum feedback. To delay would have been inefficient. I've already gotten valuable feedback in just two days."

Walter smirked because the young genius used the exact same reasoning he would have used at Ralph's age. But then his brow furrowed as he remembered the woman sleeping above them.

"I gave your mom my word that you wouldn't visit that site again without my supervision."

"Walter, you made that promise five years ago."

"There are no time limits on promises," Walter replied plainly.

Ralph rolled his eyes and Walter pursed his lips again. Ralph was getting to that difficult age when he was rebelling against all authority and Walter remembered what it was like to be fifteen. He also remembered how much he had rebelled at that age and it made him cringe slightly. If Ralph was anything like Walter, and the young genius was very much like him, he and Paige were in for some challenging times ahead.

"I'm not a kid anymore, Walter. I shouldn't have to be supervised like this. That Overt Target thing was over five years ago. She's just being overprotective."

While Walter agreed with the young genius, his mother did not. And Walter knew better than to go against his girlfriend when it came to this.

"Ralph, I respect your desire for and understand your impatience in wanting feedback for your work but going behind your mom and my back on this is not the way to get her to loosen the reigns. It's only going to upset her. How, exactly, do you expect her to agree to let us continue with the project knowing you didn't follow her rules about it?"

Walter used the word "us" because he felt as invested in Ralph's success with coding his own game. It was what would hopefully be the beginning of Walter's next stage of mentoring the young genius.

Ralph was thoughtful for a moment but, then, rather than answer Walter he sighed and segued to a new topic. "So, did you talk her into it?"

Walter gave Ralph a long look but then let his question drop for the moment as he smirked. "Of course. Did you have any doubt?"

Ralph grinned. "No. Mom is very predictable that way."

Walter laughed. "One word I would never use to describe your mother would be predictable. Normals are most unpredictable."

"But she's a normal surrounded by geniuses," Ralph pointed out as he stood up and carried his bowl to the sink.

"Exactly," Walter agreed as he finished the last of his cereal and pushed his bowl to the other side of the table. "She's probably the only person on the planet who could handle this much genius in one place. And that's why she may be the most unpredictable woman I've ever known."

Ralph snorted out a short laugh as he picked up Ferret Bueller and started petting him, much to the ferret's delight. "I can see your point. Do you think she suspects anything?"

Walter shook his head. "Not at this point, no. But that's not to say she won't figure it out. Your mom has just enough intelligence to be unpredictable," Walter stressed drolly and Ralph chuckled, knowing Walter's words were a compliment. "Are you sure your dad won't say anything to her."

Ralph, in turn, shook his head. "He won't. I just told him we had a surprise for her and to please not say anything. He's so wrapped up in his new girlfriend these days my mom isn't even on his radar anymore."

For that Walter was infinitely grateful. Drew had tried more than once over the years to convince Paige to give him another chance. He even had the gall to pursue her after he knew she and Walter were together.

So, needless to say, Walter despised the former athlete with ever fiber of his being. Of course, although Paige was aware of his feelings, Walter was very meticulous about keeping it from Ralph. He didn't want to influence the boy's attitude and feelings for his father one way or the other. But it still didn't stop Walter from wanting to punch Dew in his stupid face every time he saw him.

Ralph put Ferret Bueller back on the counter and walked over to the table as Walter sat back in the chair and crossed his arms over his chest. "You know, you don't have to go visit him next week, Ralph, if you don't want to. You can stay here with the team while we're away."

Ralph shrugged. "It's okay. If I tell him I don't want to go he'll want to talk to mom for sure. And if I don't go she'll probably try to cancel your trip and that will ruin everything."

Walter pursed his lips as he evaluated the meaning of the young boy's words. "It won't ruin anything, buddy. I can easily adapt my plans for your mom."

"No," Ralph insisted as she shook his head stubbornly. "Don't change anything. She's going to love it and I don't mind visiting him. He'll be fine once I get there. He always is."

"Are you sure?" Walter asked, not wanting the Ralph to spend time with Drew if he didn't want to.

"Yes," Ralph nodded. "You've been planning this for months. It would be completely inefficient to change now with only days left," Ralph said through a yawn.

Ralph was right, of course. Walter had been planning this trip for months. However part of him wondered if he was doing the right thing, not giving Paige a say in it. Everything had been arranged, and everything in his gut told him that she would love what he was planning, but that didn't mean he couldn't change his mind.

But rather than second guess himself, which was completely inefficient, for what was probably hundredth time, Walter decided to stop worrying about it, which again was a completely inefficient endeavor.

Besides he and Ralph had much bigger things to worry about. Like how to tell his mom that the young genius had uploaded his game unsupervised.

"You should probably head to bed now," Walter sighed. He needed time to plan how to approach breaking the news to Paige. "If your mom finds out you were not only up half the night but on that site unsupervised, we'll both be in even more trouble."

"Okay," Ralph yawned again then frowned. "Are you going to tell her about the game?"

"I don't keep secrets from her."

Ralph arched his brow. "You mean like this trip?"

Walter's brow furrowed. "That's different. This is a surprise."

"Keep telling yourself that," Ralph snickered and grabbed his laptop from the table.

"Leave that here," Walter instructed as he held out his hand. "If you're going to throw me to the wolves by making me be the one to tell your mom you posted your game before I looked at it I need to, at least, be armed with all the information."

Ralph's eyes widened and he skin paled.

"Why do you look like that?"

"No reason," Ralph muttered but the way his eyes shifted between Walter and his laptop, the genius knew Ralph wasn't telling him the truth.

"Okay," Walter didn't push but shook his outstretched hand and Ralph reluctantly handed him the laptop. "Now get some sleep. Your mom will be upset if she knows you didn't sleep."

Ralph chucked despite his anxiety. That was the second time Walter expressed concern over Paige being upset. Ralph knew Walter never wanted to see his mom upset and would do just about anything to prevent it. Even if it meant encouraging Ralph to do something that they both knew he didn't need.

Like Walter, Ralph functioned perfectly on only a few hours of sleep. It was a side effect of their dense brains; something his mom never truly understood. Or perhaps she refused to understand because her first instinct was always to be concerned for his well being.

As Ralph trudged slowly by his chair, Walter saw him stop out of the corner of his eye.

"Walter?"

"Yes?"

"My mom is going to love your surprise by the way. All three of them."

Walter looked up at him, his eyes unreadable. "You think so?"

Ralph nodded. "Yes."

"Why?" Walter asked.

"Because she loves you."

Walter nodded but remained silent. He saw Ralph shoot one last anxious glance at his laptop before the young genius walked out of the kitchen.

"Goodnight, Walter," he heard from behind him as Ralph approached the stairs.

"Goodnight, Ralph," Walter replied before he opened Ralph's laptop. Although he had his own coding work to do, he decided to see what Ralph had done first.

############

Hours later Walter was so engrossed in the lines of code he was typing he didn't hear Paige come up behind him. It wasn't until her soft fingers brushed along the back of his neck that he realized she was there.

"Hey," she said softly as her fingers slid through his short hair, massaging a gentle path up the back of his skull. Walter's entire body instantly relaxed at her touch.

"What are you doing up?" he asked for the second time that night as he leaned back in his chair and let his head fall back against her chest.

"I'd ask you the same thing," she murmured as her fingers slid up over the top of his head and then back down to his neck again before dropping over his shoulders to rest on his chest from behind. "But it would be redundant. Have you been down here since I fell asleep?"

"Mmhmm," Walter murmured back. He grasped her hand and tugged her gently to the side as he pushed the chair back slightly so he could see her. She was wearing the gray button down he had worn the previous day and her hair was pinned in a messy knot on top of her head. He noticed the slight imprint of the pillow on her cheek as his eyes raked over her from head to toe, stopping briefly at the button that rested between her breasts.

Above it, the shirt was open and the shadow of her cleavage beneath it taunted him. He never understood the appeal of a woman wearing a man's clothing until the first time Paige wore one of his button downs. Now just the mere sight of her in one had his entire body clenching with need.

"Walter, it's almost four," she murmured again as she reached out and brushed her thumb over the dark circle beneath his right eye. Her genius boyfriend needed less sleep than most people but she still worried when he tried to function on only a couple of hours a night. "You need to get some sleep."

He shrugged casually. "I got immersed in this and lost track of the time."

Paige leaned against the edge of the table and glanced at his laptop. But Walter's eyes were drawn down to her legs. His shirt fell to her mid-thigh and he let his gaze rest on the smooth flesh he'd been buried between a mere few hours ago. His fingers flexed as his body instinctively reacted to the memory and he groaned internally. He shouldn't want her again this soon. It couldn't possibly be normal.

"Is that Ralph's laptop?" Paige asked curiously as she motioned with her head to the second laptop on the other side of the table.

"Huh?" he said before her question finally registered and he cleared his throat as he looked up at her. "Uh, yeah. Ralph was down here when I came down."

Paige's brow furrowed as she crossed her arms over her chest. The movement caused the hem of Walter's shirt to lift just slightly. Once more his eyes were drawn to her legs and he shifted in his seat as his fingers flexed again.

"What was he doing awake?"

Walter forced himself to look up at her face again. "Working on his game."

"Was that all he was doing?" she asked with a hint of hesitance in her voice.

"Uh, sure," Walter replied halfheartedly. He didn't want to lie to Paige but he'd found more than the coding for his game on Ralph's computer.

"That was real convincing Walter." Paige arched a skeptical brow at him.

Walter took less than two seconds to debate which truth would be the lesser of two evils and decided the game was it.

"He, uh, uploaded his game to the beta site on Saturday," Walter heaved out a harsh breath and waited for her wrath.

"He what?" Paige asked as she pushed off the table and stood up, her eyes flashing. "Did you know he was going to do that? I thought we agreed you'd show me the game and where he was going to post if before he did it."

"That was, uh, the plan."

Paige narrowed her eyes. "And what happened to the plan, Walter?"

He didn't want to throw the young genius under the bus but Walter quickly realized he was going to have to.

"He grew impatient. I've already spoken to him about it and made it clear that he was wrong to go against both our wishes. He knows he screwed up."

"So you didn't know he was going to do it?"

Walter crossed his arms over his chest defensively. "No. He didn't tell me the game was ready yet. But I thoroughly checked his computer and logged into his account on the beta game site." Then his tone turned from defensive to impressed. Walter couldn't help but feel proud at how far Ralph had taken his coding without any help from him. Then again the young genius was almost as intelligent as he was, with an IQ measured at 185, only 12 points lower than Walters. "It still needs a lot of work but he's got a good base for it and is receiving some very productive feedback already."

Paige gave him a long look. To Walter, if the outcome of a situation was favorable then he could often overlook the methods. He and Paige frequently disagreed about that and it certainly didn't fly when it came to her son and he knew it. But that didn't stop Walter from trying to defend the young genius.

"Don't sound so proud of him," Paige scolded. "He defied both of us. Why would he do that when he knew he wasn't supposed to?"

"He was impetuous. And he's fifteen," Walter answered her with a slight shrug, as if that was an acceptable answer.

Paige sighed because even though it wasn't an acceptable answer, knowing her son they way she did, it was a reasonable one. Ralph was at the age where he was starting to really assert his independence and her little boy was pulling away from her.

For more than half his young life she failed to connect with him and all that lost time broke her heart to remember. But since he was nine, thanks to Walter and the team, she had finally been able to understand and relate to her genius son. And she wasn't ready to let that go yet, but she didn't know what to do to prevent it.

"So is that all you found on his computer?" Paige asked again as she stepped between Walter's legs and lifted her hand to run her fingers through his short hair.

Walter looked up at her as he unconsciously reached out and fluttered his fingertips down the back of her thighs. "Pretty much." Distracted by her proximity the next words slipped out of his mouth before he could stop them. "Why? Were you expecting me to find something else?"

Paige trembled softly under his hands but then she sighed again as her hands slid down the sides of his face to rest on his shoulders.

"I walked by his room the other night and caught a glimpse of his screen before he slammed his laptop shut."

"What did you see?" Walter asked absently as his eyes dropped once again to the shadow of flesh exposed between her breasts.

"I think he was looking at porn," she replied as her fingers flexed on his shoulders.

Walter coughed and dropped his hands to his thighs as his eyes shifted to the screen of his laptop.

"Did you find porn on his computer, Walter?" she asked him suspiciously.

"No," Walter dragged the word out slowly. Technically that was the truth. It wasn't on his hard drive.

"Why do I think that's not exactly the truth?" She shifted between his thighs and then brought one hand to his chin and tilted his face so he would look at her.

She gave him an expectant look and he pursed his lips. This wasn't a battle he was going to win.

"It wasn't on his computer. It was in his internet search history."

She dropped her hand from his chin and it fell to her side. "I checked that already. He erases his search history."

Walter's lips curled up on the right side. "Yeah but I know how to access it."

"You're going to have to teach me that," she murmured before she once again lifted her hand to his shoulder.

"So you can spy on your son?" Walter asked as his eyes dropped briefly to her cleavage again before looking back at her face.

"It's not spying," she scoffed softly before she stepped back to, again, lean against the side of the table. "It's being aware of what he's doing. He may be a genius, intellectually, Walter, but he's still a child."

"It is spying," Walter insisted as he frowned, not liking the distance she was putting between them. "And he's not a child, Paige," he added carefully, knowing how sensitive the subject of Ralph growing up was for her. "He's a teenage boy who is on the cusp of manhood."

"I'm not ready for this at all, Walter." The skin between her eyebrows scrunched as her brow furrowed and her lips curved down into a frown.

Walter reached up and smoothed it with his thumb before grasping her hips gently and pulling her toward him again. He still wasn't adept at offering comfort, even to her, but he tried when he recognized her need for contact. "You can't stop him from growing up, Paige. Even wanting to is illogical."

"I don't want to stop him," she argued weakly as one of her hands covered his on her hip. It was her way of acknowledging his attempt. "But I wouldn't mind delaying him for a while. How does he even know about porn anyway?"

"Did you seriously just ask that question?" Walter asked, although his question was essentially rhetorical.

"He's only fifteen," she insisted, grasping at straws.

"And are you saying you didn't know about sex at fifteen? Come on, Paige, now you're just being ridiculous."

Paige glared at him but, long used to his often deficient verbal filter, she didn't take offense. She knew he wasn't dismissing her feelings; he was just being, well, Walter. "I've never even had a conversation with him about sex yet."

Walter shook his head. "You don't need to. He knows about sex, Paige. He asked me about it years ago."

Paige blinked. "I'm sorry, what?"

Walter reached over to the table and closed his laptop. He clearly wasn't going to get back to his work tonight. "He came to me not long after you and I started sleeping together and asked me if we had sex?"

Paige stepped back away from him and bumped into the table. "Are you freaking kidding me, Walter? What did you tell him?"

The horrified look on her face was almost comical but Walter frowned and bit his bottom lip as he replied. "I told him the truth."

"Oh god, Walter," Paige groaned as she reached over and lightly smacked him on the back of the head.

"Ow," Walter reached up and rubbed the spot even though her smack really didn't hurt.

"Why would you do that?" she asked exasperated.

"He asked," Walter replied before adding. "I think it was his segue into asking about sex in general."

"Well, what did you tell him?" she asked again, needing to know while simultaneously not wanting to.

"I gave him Toby's medical journal," Walter replied as if it was obvious. "And told him to read it and come back with any questions he had."

"And did he?"

Walter shrugged. "He had a few."

"So what did you tell him?" she asked a third time.

Walter was pretty sure Paige didn't want to know what Ralph asked him, nor the truthful answers he'd given the boy. "Although I can recall and repeat it verbatim, do you really want me to relay the conversation in its entirety?"

Paige chuckled humorlessly as she just imagined what Walter's answers would have been. She'd probably be even more horrified than she already was at the knowledge that her son had inquired about her and Walter's sex life. "No, I guess not. But Walter you should have told me."

"I'm telling you now."

"You should have told me then," she replied, clearly disappointed with him. She tapped his shoulder with her finger they way she often did to Ralph when she was scolding him.

Walter gripped her hips and pulled her to stand between his legs again. He'd had enough of her pulling back from him. "Why does it feel like you are more upset at me for not telling you Ralph asked me about sex, four years ago, than you are at him for trolling porn sites?"

"I'm not really upset at either of you," Paige admitted honestly as she let him guide her closer, resting her hands on his shoulders again as her fingertips caressed his neck.

"I'm confused. What was this interrogation for then?"

Paige laughed softly. "I wouldn't call it an interrogation. And I know all of this was bound to happen eventually but I just wish it didn't happen for a few more years. I'm losing my baby, Walter."

Walter debated how to respond. If he pointed out the obvious, that Ralph hadn't been a baby in over, at least, thirteen years, he knew he would sound insensitive. But pep talks were just not his forte. He was better at distracting her, when she was upset, than he was at offering her fumbling attempts at comfort. And if the fluttering of her fingertips against his neck was any indication he figured she just might be ripe for a little distraction.

So he shrugged and lifted his hands to her chest, his fingers fiddling with the top button on her shirt, casually slipping it through the hole. "If it's any consolation he didn't visit many sites and they were all pretty tame for the most part. You can't access full on porn without paying, although he is more than capable of hacking it, so he was just looking at amateur soft core. There were a couple of sex sites but clearly he's got an obsession with breasts because that was the majority of what he watched."

Paige let out a short laugh despite herself.

"I can't blame him," Walter murmured as his fingers deftly released yet another button on the front of her shirt, exposing more of her flesh to his gaze. "I'm quite partial to breasts too."

"Is that so?" Paige laughed as she looked down at his hands.

"Well one pair of breasts anyway," Walter's tongue peeked between his teeth as he brushed his fingers over the soft swell of the inside of Paige's right breast.

He swallowed as his eyes darkened and the look on his face made Paige gasp softly. When he looked at her like that it always felt like her body would burst into flames and all thoughts of her son and their previous conversation fled.

"My eyes are up here," she murmured has her hands reached down and tugged on the hem of his t-shirt.

Walter's lips curved into a mischievous grin but he raised his arms without question and allowed her to remove the cotton fabric from his body.

But before she completely let the subject drop, Paige combed her fingers through Walter's hair as she asked. "Will you talk to him about it? I could ask Toby but god only knows what kinds of twisted things he'd tell Ralph."

Walter snorted as he gripped her hips again and pulled her even closer so he could brush his nose against the soft skin between her breasts. He inhaled and let the soft, familiar scent of her invade his nostrils. It made every muscle in his body, again, clench with need. "I don't think I'm the best person for that. Porn was never something that interested me."

"Are you telling me you never watched porn?" Her voice was tinged with mirthful disbelief.

"I didn't say that," Walter pulled his head back and looked up at her. "I just didn't find it very stimulating and it was inefficient use of my time to watch something that didn't stimulate my mind."

Paige's lips curved upward into a sultry grin. "Porn isn't meant to stimulate your mind, Walter," she purred as she straddled his legs and plopped down on his thighs. She slid her arms over his shoulders and leaned forward, brushing her lips against the shell of his ear as she breathed her next words.

"It's meant to stimulate your body."

Walter's fingers flexed, pressing into the soft skin of her hips. He felt the heat of her through his pajamas and he groaned. He was already hard but the feel of her caused his already aroused body to surge.

Her lips curved against his skin. "It appears I'm able to stimulate your body."

"St..st..stimulation is good," Walter stuttered softly and Paige let out a breathy laugh against his neck.

As a general rule, Walter still disliked physical contact. It just made him uncomfortable, uneasy and, oftentimes, made him want to crawl out of his skin. The only touch he could tolerate was Paige's and, to a lesser degree, Ralph's. In fact, if he was honest, Walter more than tolerated Paige's touch. He'd grown to need it, rely on it and crave it. She could simultaneously calm and arouse him and it often muddled his normally clear brain. Just like she was doing now.

Paige lifted her head and cupped his face in her palms as she fused her lips with his. Walter automatically gripped her hips and pressed her down onto him as he groaned softly into her mouth. The heat of her was becoming too much and he instantly knew why.

As Paige pressed closer, crushing her breasts against his chest, Walter's hands slid down beneath the hem of the shirt. His fingers pressed into the soft, naked flesh of her ass and his groan turned to a growl as he realized the only thing she was wearing was his shirt.

"Walter," Paige gasped softly into his mouth as he bucked his hips beneath her. "God, I need you again."

Walter slid his hands lower, letting the rough pads of his fingertips brush against her, and he found her warm and wet. Paige's legs trembled on either side of his and she slipped her tongue into his mouth as a fresh wave of her arousal coated his fingers.

Paige circled her hips over him, slowly, as his fingers teased her. Needing more of the taste of her, Walter tore his lips away and kissed a wet path down her neck. He reached one hand up and tugged gently at the knot on her head, letting her hair tumble down around her shoulders.

"We should take this upstairs," he panted against the hollow of her throat but he made no move to do just that.

Paige's body shuddered in response to his touch and a soft whimper escaped her lips before she leaned down and swirled her tongue against the shell of his ear. And that sensation, combined with her warm breath, caused Walter to buck his hips beneath her once again.

"We're fine," she whispered against his ear. "Ralph is asleep."

Walter tilted his head back. "I thought that, too, when I came down a few hours ago." Walter fluttered his fingertips against her heated flesh and felt, yet another, rush of her arousal coat them. He became impossibly harder in response.

"But I checked on him just before I walked down here. He's out like a light," she replied breathlessly. "Now will you just shut up and kiss me already."

Paige covered his lips with hers again, sliding her tongue along the seam of his lips, requesting entrance. Walter opened for her eagerly and the kiss deepened and lengthened.

She slid her hand down his chest, over his abdomen, until her nimble fingers dipped beneath the waistband of his pajamas. She could feel him hard between her thighs, already, but when her warm fingers wrapped around his shaft, she felt him surge, hardening and lengthening in her palm. She stroked him firmly, just the way he liked and he choked her name against her lips before burying her face in the hollow of her throat.

"Paige." His voice was hoarse and guttural and Paige took that as approval to continue. She slowly slid her hand down before tugging upward, repeating the motion slowly and more firmly with each pass. Walter's body jerked and his fingers momentarily stilled as he clamped his lips onto her throat, swirling his tongue against her skin as he sucked shakily.

"Don't mark me, Walter." Paige barely had the clarity of mind to remind him because he had a propensity for leaving marks on her body. She didn't mind if it was in places no one, but him, saw, but her throat was one of their agreed upon off limits areas. Wearing a turtle neck in the spring in Los Angeles was not something Paige could do to hide the evidence of his hunger for the taste of her skin.

Reluctantly he tore his lips away from her skin and he momentarily released her, also pulling his fingers away from her swollen flesh. With one quick motion he ripped the front of his shirt open, sending buttons flying everywhere, finally exposing all of her to his gaze. His eyes darkened and one arm reached around her and pulled her toward him. He wrapped one arm around her waist, his hand gripping her hip as the other reached up and cupped her breast. His fingers flexed around the soft globe as his thumb brushed softly over the hard bud in the center. Paige's head fell back and her eyes fluttered closed just as he lowered his mouth to her. His lips wrapped around her nipple and he flicked it rapidly with his tongue.

Her hand stilled as he suckled her, teasing her with a combination of gentle nips and swipes of his tongue.

"Walter," she breathed his name hoarsely. He didn't exaggerate when he said he was partial to her breasts. Obsessed would be more accurate. Who would have ever guessed that Walter O'Brien was a bona fide breast man? Not that Paige was complaining. Quite the contrary.

Paige's breasts were the second most intense erogenous zone on her body. Even the slightest stimulation to them would send her arousal skyrocketing. More times than she could count, over the years, Walter had been able to bring her to orgasm just from stimulating her breasts alone. And it was something he was extremely smug about.

As Walter released her nipple and sought out the other one, Paige frantically pushed the front of his pajamas down and released him from the confines of the material. She pushed up on the balls of her feet, lifting just enough to guide him inside her.

As she sunk down on him her hands grasped Walter's face, pulling it up so she could kiss him again. Both of his hands grasped her hips as she started riding him slowly, their bodies moving in unison, with the familiar push and pull synchronized from years of practice.

Paige panted into his mouth as she rocked her hips, rolling them in tandem with his, with practiced ease, as Walter lifted and lowered her on his shaft, pushing deeper inside her with each thrust of his hips.

For several long minutes the only sounds in the dark garage were the panting breaths of the two lovers, combined with the sound of wet flesh slapping and the squeaking of the old kitchen chair beneath them.

Paige rolled her hips forward and back meeting each of his thrusts eagerly. She opened her eyes and saw him watching her, his eyes dark and filled with such desire it made her gasp. He always watched her, very rarely closing his eyes when they made love.

She asked him once why he did it.

"Because you're gloriously beautiful," he had replied with no hesitation in his very matter-of-fact, Walter, way and his response made her fall in love with him all over again.

The man had no idea what his words did to her sometimes. He only stated facts and for him it was very simple. But to Paige it was everything.

All too soon Paige's entire body began to tremble on top of his as she felt her orgasm starting low and deep. She felt the sensation spreading outward and she arched her back. Walter's mouth sought out her breasts again, and he teased her as his tongue swirled over the soft flesh, lapping at the hard, pebbled nipples in the center. Paige grasped the back of his head, holding him captive against her and her thighs trembled around his as her orgasm rolled over her long waves.

Walter released her nipple and grunted as he felt her tighten around him. It was a feeling he would never tire of. As he felt her body pulse rhythmically around him, he stilled, gritting his teeth, trying to stave off his own release until she completed hers.

His lips began their ascent upward. His tongue swirled over the hollow of her throat, again, as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her flush against his chest.

Paige whimpered into his mouth as he kissed her, her name slipping past his lips as he gripped her hips again, hard, pressing his fingers into the soft flesh as he held her still now. As usual he kept his eyes open, watching her face as he began pumping his hips upward, steadily and deep, driving himself toward his orgasm. Paige moaned his name into his mouth as she wrapped her arms tightly around him and pressed her breasts against his chest. Finally after several more thrusts, Walter surged his hips upward one last time before they stilled.

He hissed incoherently into her mouth, his eyes finally slipping closed, and his body shuddered beneath hers as he jerked and exploded inside her. Paige's body continued to pulse around him, milking him, as their frantic kisses slowed and softened, finally, morphing into soft sips of each other's lips.

Walter released a shuddering breath as he pulled his lips away from hers. His eyes fluttered open and quickly he noticed something out of the corner of his eye.

"Ferret Bueller is watching us," he murmured as he glared at the ferret on the counter across the room. He was notorious for watching them if he was mistakenly left out of his cage at night, which Walter forgot he was.

Once Walter woke to find the ferret sitting on his chest just inches away from Paige's head as it rested over his heart. The ferret was nibbling on one of his meat treats while he looked back and forth between him and Paige. It was quite creepy and Walter immediately ushered the small animal away without waking Paige. But when he told her about it the next morning she only laughed and shrugged. Her reaction confused Walter but he'd learned over the years to just accept that she would constantly confuse him.

"He's such a perv," Paige chuckled softly before her head dropped onto Walter's shoulder and he felt his lips curving into a smile. He knew she would be out within minutes so he pressed a soft kiss against her neck and then the shell of her ear.

"We better get upstairs now."

Paige shook her head tiredly. "No, can't move," she murmured.

Now it was Walter's turn to chuckle. "Well as long as you don't mind Ralph finding us like this when he wakes up."

Paige's head jerked up and she pushed on his shoulders as she stood on shaky legs.

"Back to bed it is," she said and she backed up so he could stand. She tugged his shirt closed and quickly realized that all the buttons were gone.

"Oops," she chuckled again as Walter tucked himself back into his pajamas. "You have to stop tearing these shirts off me when I wear them. You're not going to have any left."

"Totally worth it," he murmured as he shrugged and his lips grinned unrepentantly before he took Paige's hand and led her upstairs to the bedroom.

Paige climbed back under the sheets, leaving Walter's shirt on. He slipped into bed beside her and she settled in his arms, pressing her breasts against his side.

"I love you," she murmured softly against his neck before pressing a soft kiss against his skin.

Paige was a woman who felt compelled to tell the men in her life she loved them. It was important to her to say the words as well as show them. But she did this with very little reciprocity from them. It's not that she needed to hear the words. She knew they both loved her. She saw it in their eyes, felt it in their touches and in the ways in which they cared for her. But it would be nice to hear it once in a while.

Neither of her two geniuses was very good at verbally expressing their emotions, although Ralph was better than Walter. But she was okay with that. She loved them both desperately and accepted them exactly as they were.

Paige never questioned Walter's feelings for her and hadn't for years, not since the first time he told her he loved her. But it was only during the deep, dark recesses of the night, when it was just the two of them that Walter let all of his EQ out. It was only then, when the two of them were alone, and usually stripped bare, both figuratively and literally, that Walter hid nothing from her. And it always left her breathless. He was capable of such intensity of emotion when he let himself embrace it.

And it was in those moments, when he turned all the intensity that was Walter O'Brien on her, that she truly understood how deeply he felt for her. Normally that intensity was focused on intellectual pursuits. But everything Walter did he did with gusto and that included making love to her.

Of course, he would never refer to it as making love, was horrified whenever anyone referred to it as that, but when Walter focused every part of his body and brain on her, Paige felt desired and loved in a way she never thought was possible. So there was no other way to describe it, at least to her, than making love.

She pressed another brief kiss against the skin of his throat before she turned over, facing away from him and buried her face sleepily in her pillow. Walter turned on his side and rested his head on his palm as he watched her silently for a few minutes. Finally he gave into temptation and wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her back, flush to his chest. As she melted into him and, again, made that soft sound in the back of her throat that indicated she'd succumbed to slumber once more, Walter buried his face in her hair and whispered the words he said to her every night he held her in his arms.

################

"So I hear you and the boss-man are going on a secret, little, romantic rendezvous this weekend," Toby said as he grinned up at Paige as she descended the stairs.

She narrowed her eyes and looked at him suspiciously. "How do you know that already? Walter just asked me last night and he hasn't come down yet this morning."

"A little birdie told me," Toby replied as he motioned with his head toward Ralph who was in the kitchen feeding Ferret Bueller his breakfast of raw meat.

"And does he know where Walter is taking me?" Paige arched her brow inquisitively.

"You'll have to ask him. You probably have some leverage, you know, with him getting busted and all."

"You should mind your own business, Doc." Happy's annoyed voice floated from behind the wall where she was taking apart some sort of electronic device.

"Yeah, Toby. Happy is right," Sylvester chimed in from where he stood at his chalkboard. "If you keep along this line there is a ninety two percent chance you will slip up and then an almost one hundred percent chance Walter will murder you."

"So basically everyone knows where Walter is taking me but me?" Paige said with a little pout. She hated being kept out of the loop.

"Pretty much," Toby agreed with no remorse. "But don't fight it, Miss Dineen. Our emotionally stunted leader so rarely attempts to be romantic so you should just revel in this. It's likely to be a one-time thing."

"Toby, shut up already before I murder you," Happy called to him as she moved over to her welder.

"But I'm just-" Toby started before Sylvester chimed in again.

"You should probably listen to your girlfriend, Toby. It usually ends badly for you when you don't."

Paige just shook her head and walked away from Toby and toward her son.

"Ralph, honey, isn't your first class at nine?" Paige asked as she glanced at her watch. She walked up beside him and, from years of habit, she brushed her fingers gently through his hair.

"Yeah, but I got an email from the professor this morning. It's cancelled."

After remaining in primary school for a few more years, Ralph finally entered Cal-Tech two years earlier. He was in the second semester of his sophomore year and was thriving in the new academic environment. But due to his age he still wasn't able to drive so Paige or one of the team had to drive him to campus each day.

"What time do we have to leave to get you to your second class?" she asked as she noticed Ferret Bueller excitedly trying to get her attention, so reached over and stroked his head briefly.

"In just a few minutes but you don't have to drive me today. Walter's taking me so we can stop by the biophysics lab to check my experiment."

"Oh," Paige said a little disappointed because she liked taking Ralph to school. It gave her a chance to spend some uninterrupted time with her son which was rare these days. And, besides, she wanted to have a discussion with him about his game. She had no doubt this impromptu plan of his and Walter's was a way to delay the inevitable.

"Avoiding me isn't going to get you out of trouble, you know."

"I'm aware I screwed up, mom," Ralph replied, repeating exactly what Walter had said the night before. He gave the last bite of meat to Ferret Bueller before standing up and looking over at Paige. He had sprouted up recently and was just about to surpass his mother in height. She suspected he was going to be taller than Walter, and even Drew, by the time he was done growing. "I think the constant supervision is unnecessary and an inefficient use of all our time but I respect your wishes and I'm sorry I went against them. It won't happen again."

She could see the sincerity in her son's eyes and, as always, he was instantly forgiven.

"I'd like you to show me your game tonight."

Ralph grinned and nodded his head. "Sure. It's turning out so cool," he gushed excitedly. "I modeled the track after the streets around the garage."

"I can't wait to see it." Paige smiled at his enthusiasm.

"You ready Ralph?" Walter called from above. "We want to make sure we have enough time to make adjustments based on the results so far."

"Yeah, let me just get my backpack." Ralph grabbed his laptop from the table and started to walk away but Paige put her hand on his arm.

"Before you go, tell me, do you know where Walter is taking me this weekend?"

Ralph smiled at her indulgently. "Of course," he answered honestly before adding. "And, no, I'm not going to tell you, mom."

"Is this trip why you asked to go visit Drew during spring break?" she asked curiously.

"It just kind of worked out that way," Ralph replied casually, almost too casually, and although Paige wanted to ask him more she decided it was not the time.

"You're really not going to tell me?"

"Nope," he said with another grin and Paige frowned.

"I don't think I like the two of you keeping secrets from me."

"Don't know what to tell you but my lips are sealed." Ralph bolted over to his desk and shoved his laptop into his backpack just as Walter came down the back ramp and across the garage.

Paige watched her son wistfully as the realization hit her that her baby boy truly was no longer her baby boy. And he never would be again. As proud as she was of the man he was growing to become, the loss of her little boy left an ache in the center of her chest.

"Is it okay I take him this morning?" Walter asked as he poured himself a cup of coffee, oblivious to her contemplative musings.

"Does it really matter at this point?" she asked as her lips curved up on the right. "I know you were just trying to protect him from my wrath but neither of you have to worry. You're right he knows he screwed up."

Walter smirked and walked over to her. "We geniuses usually only have to screw up once to learn our lessons."

"Usually," she murmured sardonically.

"I'm ready," Ralph called as he headed toward the door without so much as a goodbye to his mother.

"Gotta go," Walter said as he turned and set his, now, empty coffee cup on the table. "I'll be back in a few hours. Call if any cases come up."

He strode over to his desk and grabbed his tablet and car keys before following Ralph out the door.

"Bye," Paige said halfheartedly to herself because both of her geniuses were already long gone.

She reached down and picked up Ferret Bueller, who was pawing at her hip trying to get her attention. He burrowed himself comfortably against her chest and Paige couldn't help but roll her eyes at the irony of all the males in her life being obsessed with boobs.

"You need to stop being a little pervert," she scolded him softly but he just continued trying to burrow his head down her shirt. She finally pulled him away and set him back on the table as Toby walked up to her.

"So do you know what Walter's plans are?" she asked without preamble.

"Nope," he replied and grinned as he shoved his hands into his pockets.

"I can make it worth your while," she offered as she rubbed her two fingers and her thumb together.

"Miss Dineen, what kind of man do you think I am?" I cannot be bribed with money."

"Yes you can," both Happy and Sylvester called, in unison, from the other room causing Paige to laugh and Toby to scowl.

"Come on Toby. I know you know."

"I most certainly do not," he scoffed unconvincingly.

She narrowed her eyes at him. "I don't need to be a behaviorist to know when someone is lying to me Toby."

He snorted and then his eyes softened as he looked at her, tilting his head curiously. "And I don't need to be one to know that from the look you had on your face when you were watching Ralph, and the way your hand instinctively covered your abdomen as you did, that Mama Dineen's biological clock just might have started ticking." Paige looked at him like he had three heads. "Or maybe it's already tocked," he added as an afterthought, quietly, but still loud enough for her to hear.

"Sometimes you can be such an ass, Toby," Paige said as she shook her head and walked away without another word.

She ignored the sound of Toby yelping as something hit the back of his head but she smiled to herself, glad Happy threw something at him.

################

Paige settled into the seat next to the window and looked out over the tarmac. Walter was at the front of the plane speaking quietly to the flight attendant, not making any attempt to hide that he didn't want her to hear what was being discussed.

He'd been incredibly secretive for the last four days, ever since she agreed to their weekend getaway. Ralph had left to visit Drew, for spring break, flying out earlier that morning to spend the next seven days in Portland. And now she and Walter were off to their own weekend escape, one that Walter still refused to tell her the destination.

Paige had tried to convince him to tell her where they were going but he refused, holding out against even her most persuasive attempts. And even though she used all her motherly wiles on Ralph, he also refused to tell her, protecting Walter's plans for her. And despite how curious she was, she loved nothing more than knowing her son and her boyfriend were close enough that they kept each other's confidences.

Finally Walter walked over and took the seat next to her. "You should buckle up. We're taking off in a minute."

Paige fastened the seatbelt around her hips and turned slightly to face him.

"Since you won't tell me where we're going, will you at least tell me how, exactly, you convinced Richard Elia to let you borrow one of his private planes?"

"I asked him," Walter replied as he glanced over at her.

"Just like that? You said 'hey Richard can I borrow your plane so I can take my girlfriend away for the weekend?' And he just said yes? No questions asked?"

Walter shrugged but didn't confirm nor deny her words.

"Come on, Walter. I'm not that naïve."

"I might have helped him with some coding in exchange for the use of the plane," Walter admitted knowing she wasn't going to let it go and they had a long flight ahead of them.

"You took a side job with him?" she asked surprised.

"I wouldn't exactly call it a side job." Walter fastened his own seat belt as he felt the plane begin to taxi across the tarmac.

"You performed work for him and he paid you with what is probably the equivalent of at least twenty thousand dollars if not more. Isn't that the definition of a job?" she challenged as she arched her brow.

Walter pursed his lips in response. "It's approximately twenty five thousand dollars per flight and we will be taking two, both there and back, so it's more like fifty thousand dollars. But technically what you're saying is accurate. I guess it would be considered a side job."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

She seemed to be asking him that a lot lately.

"What part of I wanted to surprise you don't you understand?"

"Walter," she warned him quietly.

"That was rude. I'm sorry," He acknowledged contritely. "I just don't know what the big deal is. I helped him out and he's helping me out. If we had to take a commercial flight then you'd know already where we're going and I don't want you to know until you step off the plane."

Paige sighed heavily as her frown deepened. "So you just hid it from me?"

He looked at her confusion clouding his features. "Are you angry about this?"

She looked back at him, her eyes unreadable. She didn't know why she was so easily annoyed with his actions lately. "Although I appreciate you wanting to surprise me, I don't like it when you hide things from me, Walter. You promised you wouldn't do that anymore after the Italian job."

Walter stiffened at Paige's mention of the job they had taken a year earlier. It was one of the jobs that had gone sideways. They didn't have many of those anymore but every once in a while they still got caught up in cases that they were lucky to get out of.

On the Italian job, Paige had gotten hurt, and it was partially because he kept certain aspects of the case from her. He did if for her safety but in the end it was her lack of information that caused her to be put in harm's way. She'd been caught in the line of fire and was shot in the shoulder and had tumbled down the side of a ravine.

Walter felt his hands shaking and he clenched his fists as the memory of finding her unconscious, covered in blood, flooded his mind.

"Hey," Paige's voice was soft against his ear as her fingers pried the ones on his left hand apart. "Just breathe, Walter," she murmured as she linked their fingers together. She knew he never liked to be reminded of when she was hurt. He always shut down when that day was brought up.

"I shouldn't have said that," she admitted softly as her thumb brushed over the back of his hand.

"This isn't the same thing," he scowled. "I wanted to surprise you with this trip and the only way I could do that was to have a private charter. What I did for Elia was a means to an end but it required doing it outside Scorpion. I won't apologize for trying to surprise you."

Paige continued to caress his hand with her fingers and she felt him slowly relaxing. "I'm not asking you to Walter. All you had to say was 'I'm taking a private job from Richard and please don't ask me why because it is a surprise.' I would have let it go."

Walter arched his brow skeptically and she scoffed quietly.

"Okay I might not have let it go right away but I would have eventually."

After all their time together, Walter knew better than to argue with her at that moment.

"I know the whole team knew about this trip but did they know about your side job?" she asked curiously.

"Why would it be any of their business?"

"You're being vague and difficult, Walter," Paige replied seriously as she pulled her hand back. Sometimes he was too difficult.

"They all know exactly what I did," Walter said quietly. "... And why," he muttered the last two words, hoping Paige wouldn't catch it.

But she did and despite her annoyance that he kept it from her, and as hard as she tried to remain mad at him for keeping secrets, she knew his intentions were pure and his actions were done out of a desire to make her happy. So she decided just to let it go.

Paige sat back against the seat and looked out the window again. She could see him sitting stiffly next to her, and she knew he was questioning his actions even though he'd never admit it. So she reached out and took his hand again, entwining their fingers together. He squeezed gently and she could feel the relief in both his touch and his demeanor.

"So, you're really going to make me wait until we get there to know where we're going?" Paige asked as she looked over him again, smiling softly now to let him know she was no longer mad.

He looked at her for a long moment, gauging the tenor of her question and what he saw in her face relaxed him.

"Yep," he grinned back. "You'll find out soon enough."

"Well will you at least tell me how long the flight it?"

He took a moment to answer her and she knew he was debating if that knowledge would give their destination away. "Approximately eight and a half hours."

"And if I asked the flight attendant, would she tell me?"

"Nope. She has strict instructions not to tell you anything."

"Apparently everybody does," she pouted a little and Walter brushed his thumb gently against the back of her hand in response.

Then she surprised him by leaning over and pressing a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth. His eyes immediately shot to the flight attendant settling in her seat at the front of the plane. It was his automatic reaction whenever Paige showed physical affection toward him when there was anyone else around.

But he relaxed again as he realized the flight attendant wasn't paying them any mind and his eyes slid back to Paige. He found her smiling softly as she reached one hand up and brushed the hint of her lipstick off the corner of his mouth.

"What was that for?" he asked.

"That was to say thank you for being sweet and surprising me with this trip. Wherever it is we're going."

He looked at her with a slightly confused gaze. "Now you're thanking me? Two seconds ago you were upset with me."

She shrugged before kissing the corner of his mouth again. "I'm a woman. I have the prerogative of changing my mind whenever I want to."

It took him four and half seconds to gauge if perhaps he'd miscalculated her menstrual cycle but she was definitely mid-cycle so her mood swing couldn't be the result of the complex physical and/or emotional effects of PMS.

At one time Walter would have scoffed at the existence of PMS. He would have insisted it was a woman's way of excusing irrational behavior. But not anymore. The phenomenon was very real and, some months, Walter still struggled to navigate its existence in the woman beside him. Ninety five percent of the time Paige was level headed and calm and rational. But there were those rare times he wondered if it were possible that she had a split personality.

Finally he tilted his head in acquiescence because he knew no matter how he tried to understand the beautiful woman beside him, she would always find new ways to confuse, intrigue and surprise him.

"Smart man," Paige chuckled before she tilted her head back and closed her eyes, tugging her and Walter's joined hands to her lap as the small plane lifted into the air.

And as he indulged in just watching her, Walter was once again absolutely certain of his plans.

To be Continued...


Thanks again for reading.