***Chapter One***
Word Count: 6,417

July 2003

"You're such an asshole, Bryce."

'Claire,' he said.

"You are! You're supposed to have them for six weeks. It hasn't been six, not even close."

'She wants to go home!'

"Deal with it. You're the parent. The adult. Figure it out. That's what I have to do when she's with me and wants to do something she can't."

'You want me to force her to be where she doesn't want to be?'

"I want you to figure out some way to make it so she wants to stay. Be a grown up and a father. Not only that but you have help! Use Bryce if you have to."

'I'm not pitting him against his sister, Claire. That's mean.'

"Not in that way! Get him to give you some ideas. They're buddies. She worships him and he knows it. She's three. Of course she misses her house."

'And Bryce at thirteen is so much better?'

Well, of course he wasn't, but Bryce's issues and Betsy's issues were night and day difference. Betsy was a little girl, Bryce was a teenaged boy. "Well, obviously he must be. You're calling me to pick her up not him."

'You're the one who wanted her. I was just fine with only one.'

"Right. I remember perfectly when you and Shaun Hankings were talking about the US Senator's race that you're running in next Election Day. Do you remember? Another child would look good. It would show we have a strong marriage after all of these years. You didn't have any complaints about it until now. So don't give me that shit that I wanted her and you didn't."

He sighed. She knew that sigh well, too. Neither of them had seen things turning out this way. She wasn't even sure when it had happened.

"Shit," she said when someone suddenly ran out onto the road practically in front of her car. She slammed on her brakes.

'Quit swearing at me, Claire. This isn't my fault.'

"Believe it or not that one wasn't directed at you," she said, watching as the guy just stood there. He wasn't looking at her, though. He was looking off to the side of the road where he'd run out from, but she couldn't see what he was looking at.

'Oh, will wonders never cease.'

"Shut up, okay! Believe it or not, I miss them. I'm not telling you to make it work because I don't want them back, but they're yours, too. Giving into her on this will only prove that she can get away with telling us what she wants. That's not right. She's three years old."

'I know.'

"Oh my God," Claire said, watching in disbelief as the guy standing in the middle of the road was holding a gun. He was looking towards the woods, still didn't even seem to pay Claire any attention. He had to have heard her slam her brakes on, too. Certainly he'd see her headlights. There was a dog off to the side of the road, looking as if he was ready to attack.

'Bryce, I have to go,' she said when it was clear the guy was on the verge of shooting the dog. She couldn't sit here and let that happen.

"Claire…" She didn't give him the chance to say anything else. She disconnected the call as she pulled over to the side of the road. She'd been stopped to that point, just hadn't moved out of the way of traffic.

Her cell phone rang as soon as she started to dial the police. Too late anyway, the guy shot at the dog. She heard it yelp in pain even from where she sat. The guy ran off then. She ignored the ringing phone and opened the door, heading in the direction of the dog. Bryce had ignored enough of her calls over the years he'd live through her blowing one of his off.

"It's okay," she whispered as she reached for the dog to see if she could ascertain how badly he was hurt. She should have grabbed her bag from the trunk, but hadn't thought of it. "I just want to look at you."

"Put your hands up," someone from behind her said.

"What?" she asked.

"Put your hands up and get away from him."

She heard the cocking of a gun and swallowed hard. Really? This was how she was going to die? Out here on the road less than a mile from her house after arguing with her ex about whether he was required to keep their kids for the full six weeks he was legally entitled to? Because there was no way she could ever just step aside and let someone essentially assassinate a defenseless dog.

She put her hands up.

"Stand up now. Keep your hands up."

She was so stupid. She'd assumed the guy had run off. Evidently not. She also had to be really freaked out because for a reason she couldn't explain the guy sounded a lot like someone she hadn't seen in years.

She stood then, turning to face the man breathing a little easier when she saw it wasn't the guy she'd seen shoot the dog at all. It was a policeman. So, she wasn't going to die out here. At least not by his gun. It would have been sort of fitting in a twisted bit of irony if it had been John instead of the policeman.

"I didn't hurt him. I was trying to see how badly he was hurt."

"I can do that just fine. Step away from him."

"I'm a veterinarian," she said, glancing at her hand, seeing blood on it. She'd only touched him for a second.

He eyed her suspiciously. "You're a veterinarian?"

He thought she was lying? That was the craziest thing she'd ever heard. Who would say they were a veterinarian who wasn't?

"Yes," she replied cautiously. "He's yours?"

"Yes. I'm his handler. He's my partner," he said, holstering his gun. He must have believed she was a vet then at least. That was a good sign.

"Can I please finish looking at his leg? That seems to be where he was shot and I didn't get a chance to see how bad it was. My hand looks like this just from touching him for a minute if that," she said, holding it out for him to see.

He pulled his radio off his belt, talking into it. She heard him say some codes, which she realized would mean something to whoever he was talking to on the other end. She heard 'officer down' distinctly enough and imagined there'd be more cops here shortly to investigate.

There were no other cars around but hers so she wondered if he'd come out of the wooded area she'd seen the first guy running from. They must have been pursuing him. She wondered what he'd done, but it wasn't any of her business really.

"He only shot once?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied. "The guy you were following went across the street," she said, wondering if he shouldn't be going after the guy.

"He's long gone by now."

"Oh," she said. "Well, my office is just down the road if you want to carry him to my car I could take him back there and look at him."

"I can do that. I have to call in that I'm leaving the scene," he said, regarding her curiously. "If you tell me where you're going I can go back around to get my car and meet you there."

"It's only a mile or so up the road," she said. "Can I put my hands down now?" she asked, feeling ridiculous standing there with them up.

"Yes," he said. "Your practice is all the way out here?"

"It is," she said. She wasn't going to explain herself to him.

"All right," he said.

He moved toward the dog. She watched as he ran his hand along his body from head to toe. Did he think she hadn't been honest about him only getting shot the once? Or was he just reassuring himself? She had no idea, but she felt as if she was intruding on a very personal moment between the man and his partner. She knew people. She knew people who owned animals. There were some who didn't give a shit whether their pet had enough water to survive the day. There were some who spoiled their pets worse than any child. Then there were people like this police officer who clearly had a relationship with his animal that many people would be envious of, animal or not. He picked it up with ease she noticed, but also with a great amount of care. She was glad to see that.

She ran to her car and opened her trunk, grabbing a sheet she had in there for just this reason. She spread it out over her backseat before he set the dog on it.

"If you want to ride back there with him I can bring you to your car when I'm done. It would be helpful if you did actually, to keep pressure on the wound. It didn't seem deep, but you didn't give me much of a chance to really look. I'm going to give him a sedative. I should have before you picked him up I wasn't thinking clearly."

"Yeah, sure, thanks," he said, climbing into the backseat then.

She heard him on his radio again, reporting he was leaving the scene with his partner. Would he get in trouble for doing that? The animal needed medical attention, surely he couldn't be punished for seeing to the well-being of his partner. Could he? She hoped not, but had to assume he knew what he would and wouldn't get in trouble for.

She felt his eyes on her even as she overheard him saying soft words of encouragement to the dog. She couldn't help but smile a little at that. A glance in the rearview mirror told her that he was applying pressure on the leg as she showed him to do. It didn't seem to be bleeding profusely, but she figured it was better to be safe than sorry. She'd never thought about the type of relationship a police officer would have with his K9 partner but she supposed it'd be no different than anyone else who owned a pet.

"This is your office?" he asked when she pulled onto the clearing on her property. She lived off the highway on a private road. The land had been in Bryce's family forever. He hated living here, though, so he hadn't balked at her wanting to stay here. Plus her business was here.

"That's my home," she said, pointing to the gated entryway across the road from her office. "That's my office," she said, steering her car to the building she used as her practice. It was a now defunct farm so there had been plenty of buildings for her to choose from when she decided to start her own practice. Bryce had been supportive of her doing it, so he'd spent an obscene amount of money ensuring she had the state of the art equipment for her animal hospital in the middle of nowhere for most people.

"Oh, I was going to say," he said. The gate leading to their property was Bryce's idea. An animal hospital had medications and stuff in it. He didn't want people breaking into their house thinking they'd find stuff there, too. So a gate had been built. Well, the brick wall-like fence had been there but needed to be repaired in many spots due to age as it had been years since the property had been used. The gate was new. There'd been one there, but it would've cost more to update it to work with the security system than a new one had cost. She hated it, but she supposed tonight knowing there was someone the police had been chasing running around she'd feel safer.

She opened his door for him before going to unlock the building. She flipped the lights on while holding the door open for him.

"I'll get it," she said, seeing him struggle to close the back door of the car.

Obviously thinking about John earlier had her imagining things because she couldn't help but think for a moment, under the reflection of the security light she'd parked under she thought it might be him. Impossible because John would never be a cop. He was probably wanted by the cops. That was assuming he was still alive and not already in prison.

"Thanks," he said. His eyes met hers again and she wasn't sure what he was looking for. Assurance his dog was going to be okay? She hadn't had the chance to examine him thoroughly enough on the road to say for sure, but it seemed as though the shooter didn't have very good aim. She saw no reason why he shouldn't have been shot straight between the eyes.

"Sure. Pick any of the exam rooms," she said, gesturing to that side of the office. "I'll shut the door and be right in."

"Thanks," he said again.

"Sure," she said. Realizing they'd both just repeated themselves. He had to be scared and shocked. What was her excuse?

Not surprisingly her phone was ringing when she got to her car again. She grabbed the phone, answering it. If she didn't Bryce would just call back repeatedly not realizing she was busy.

'Really? You hang up on me and don't answer again? Is this a joke to you?'

"No! I just saw a dog get shot. I'm doing my job!"

'Oh,' he said, sounding genuinely apologetic. Of course, he could sound genuinely anything when he wanted to. She'd learned that too late, though. Like fifteen years too late. 'Are you okay?'

"I'm fine," she said.

'Good.'

"Bryce, I have to go. All right? Just deal with the situation as best you can. Give it another few days and we'll see what happens from there."

'All right,' he said.

"Thank you. You won't regret it. I promise."

'It's not a matter of regretting it.'

"Good night, Bryce."

'Yeah, good night. I hope the dog is all right.'

"Me, too," she said, hanging up the call.

"Sorry," she said, joining them in the exam room.

"It's all right."

"What's his name?" she asked.

"What?"

"His name. What is it?"

"Oh, sorry. I call him Randy."

"That's not his name?"

"Uh, no. He's pedigreed or whatever it's called. He's got some long name that begins with Dolphus. It was given to him before the precinct got him so we had to go with what we were given there."

"So you call him Randy?"

He shrugged. "It works for us. Dolph comes from Randolph. I don't know if Dolphus does, too, but I wanted something I wasn't going to be struggling over at a stressful moment."

"I can see that," she said.

She grew quiet then, examining Randy. The policeman seemed to be doing the same to her. She tried not to feel uncomfortable, but it was difficult to do.

"What did the guy do?"

"Huh?"

"The guy you were chasing?"

"Oh, drug dealer."

"Oh," she said.

"We'll catch up with him again."

"Does he work out here?"

"No, he was meeting one of our narcs at the boat launch."

"Oh," she said. "That's a relief," she said.

He snorted softly at that and she glanced at him sharply at that. He was laughing at her for being relieved drug dealers weren't operating practically on her doorstep? She lived out here for a reason!

Her cell phone rang again and she ignored it. It stopped ringing but about two minutes later started again.

"You can answer it if you need to," he said.

"No, it's fine."

"No, go ahead. I can keep him calm while you take it. You're doing me a favor."

"Okay," she said, sighing when she saw it was Bryce's number. What could he possibly want now? "Just keep applying pressure, okay?"

"Yeah, sure," he said. She had no doubt he'd do exactly that, too. She could tell that he was very concerned about his partner's well-being. She was glad to see that, too.

"Hello," she said, stepping out of the exam room into the back. She'd use the time to get some supplies so it worked out well she supposed.

'Mommy.'

"Hi, sweetheart. Aren't you about ready for bed?"

'Yes,' she said and she smiled a little at that.

"Well, I'm glad you called me to say good night then. Are you being good for Daddy?"

'Uh huh,' she said.

"Good."

'I want to go home.'

"I know you do, sweetheart, and you will soon. You have fun with Daddy."

She sniffled and it tore at Claire's heart to hear that.

"Can you put Daddy on the phone, please?"

She returned to the exam room, covering the mouthpiece of her phone with her hand.

"Just another minute. Okay? Sorry."

"Yeah, sure."

She honestly doubted he'd even really noticed she was gone he was just that focused on Randy. Between talking to him and applying the pressure he needed to his leg he was very serious about what he was doing. It was nice to see. Really. As someone who had never had occasion to think about a police officer in this type of situation it made her feel good to know he took the care of Randy to heart.

'That is totally and completely not fair!'

'It's not my fault you're not equipped to handle her. How dare you have her call me when I told you that I was taking care of a dog who's been shot and try to guilt me into coming to get her.'

'And I told you to give it a couple of days. Not twenty minutes. Now I'm working…'

John sat there looking around the exam room, trying very hard not to listen to the conversation. Being the only one in here, though, it was hard not to because it was pretty quiet in here. Even Randy was quiet. She'd given him a sedative in the car before driving here so he imagined that was why he was just lying there. John had his hand on his back, felt his heart beating so he knew he was okay. He was feeling pretty helpless because there just wasn't anything he could really do. Apply pressure. Outstanding. He'd been lucky to this point, he supposed. He'd never had to deal with Randy, or his dog before him, getting hurt like this. He supposed it was how parents felt when their kids got hurt. Randy was the closest John had to that type of relationship to know. It was certainly the first time he'd felt this helpless before.

Was it possible she didn't recognize him? She certainly wasn't acting as if she knew him. He'd recognized her as soon as she turned around and the thought that it could have been her shot instead of Randy had given him pause. Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time.

'Bryce, you help your father with Betsy okay?'

'Thank you. You go to bed soon, too. Yes, I know you're too old to go to bed at the same time as she does. I love you.'

He was going to guess based on the fact she said her house was on the other side of the road and the conversation that he was overhearing that she was divorced. He'd heard she'd gotten married, of course. She'd married a politician John thought he remembered hearing through the grapevine. They'd been married for quite a while, like right out of college a while. He recalled now seeing her picture in the papers a couple of times. They had a couple of kids he thought, a nice-looking family that photographed well for all of his political dealings. He hadn't heard about a divorce, but then he didn't pay much attention to news or politicians.

"I'm so sorry."

"It's all right. You're off the clock."

"I couldn't just leave him out there."

"I appreciate that because carrying him back to my car would've been a pain in the ass."

"Hopefully I can get my work done now. I don't think the bullet is lodged very deep, so hopefully there won't be any permanent damage."

"Okay."

"Do you have to call in where you are or anything?"

"I did when you were shutting the car door."

"Oh, okay. Good. I'd hate to see you getting in trouble because I happened to be there."

"No, we're good. I'll have to file a report later."

"Is he always this calm? I was surprised he let me approach him honestly."

"He's very good and perhaps he sensed you were one of the good guys."

"I saw that guy staring at him like that I thought for sure he was going to kill him."

"I think that was more than he wanted to deal with, killing a police dog doesn't carry a death penalty or anything but it'd be a pretty ridiculous thing to go to jail for."

"And drugs aren't?"

"Harming animals isn't a popular thing in jail for some reason. Who knew prisoners have standards."

"Oh," she said. "Well, I'm glad because I didn't know what to do!"

"You did exactly what you should have done, stayed put."

"I'm going to have to put him under. If you have somewhere to be I could put him in a kennel and get you back to your car."

"I'm not leaving him," he said. No way in hell would he leave him here to wake up not knowing where he was or without a familiar face.

"All right. I just wanted to offer. He's going to be here the night at least."

"I understand."

She was quiet as she worked at removing the bullet, which as she said wasn't lodged very deep. He watched with interest as she gave him the stitches he'd need and wrap his leg. No ring on her finger, he noticed, which went with the tone of the phone call he'd overheard earlier. He could see the lines still there. So a recent thing?

"Kids with their dad?" he asked.

"Uh huh," she said.

He sighed softly. This was fucking crazy as shit. He was talking to her as if he had no clue who she was. He tried not to be insulted she didn't recognize him, but holy shit it hurt a little bit. Wasn't the saying you never forgot your first? Evidently that didn't apply to her.

"So, you don't remember me then, I assume?"

He'd waited until after she was done and was cleaning up.

"Remember you?" she asked, peeling her gloves away and regarding him then. "Am I supposed to? I'm sorry. I'd remember Randy if you brought him in before now, so I don't know how I would. If you contributed to my husband's campaign or something…"

He scoffed at that. "No. We went to high school together…"

"We did?" she asked. She looked at him a lot more intensely now.

"Wow, really? You don't remember?" Was she faking it? He couldn't tell. He supposed it was possible, but holy shit even he remembered having sex with someone on school property. "I realize I was pretty average and everything, but we, uh. Well, you know had a moment together."

"John?"

"Yeah."

"Wow. I'm so sorry. It's been one of those days and a very long time. I haven't seen you since that day of detention."

"Yeah, I know," he said.

He remembered that very well. He'd assumed he'd see her again or at least hear from her. He'd expected. Well, he'd expected her to get all clingy and demand he be her boyfriend and shit. He'd rehearsed his lines on what he'd say to her when she said her thing. Except she hadn't. She hadn't said one word to him after that day. She hadn't walked past his locker. She hadn't called his house. She had done nothing to indicate that what they'd done was anything special to her at all.

It was the oddest thing for him, because he found himself as a day turned into a week … Well, he found himself pissed as hell she'd just blow him off. He didn't call her or anything. He could take a hint. He didn't need to be beat over the head with a stick to get the message she didn't want him.

It'd still hurt, though.

"I didn't even recognize you. You must think I'm a complete idiot because if you hadn't said something I wouldn't have had a clue."

"And you haven't changed a bit."

"I have, too, but thank you for saying so."

"No, you haven't, Claire. I knew it was you as soon as you turned around."

"You're being nice."

"How did you end up out here?" he asked.

"It's my ex's property. It's been in their family going back to the eighteen hundreds. His grandparents were the last to live here, though. It had been vacant for years when we got married. He thought I was crazy for wanting to live here at the beginning with as much work as we had to put into it. It's worth every splinter, bruise, and cut I got though."

"I remember it. Lots of people used to drive onto the road back in high school. There were lots of stories."

"I remember that, too. I never came out here, it wasn't my thing. I remember the stories, though."

"No ghosts keeping you awake nights?"

"Uh no," she said with a soft laugh. "Anyway, we got married and his dad gave it to us. The house is new, but everything else is pretty old. The original house is right behind ours, still standing and everything. I've used it for storage over the years. We keep it up so it's safe to go in there and everything."

"Huh. Do you like it?"

"Yes."

"Even though you're not married anymore?"

"He never liked living here so he didn't fight with me about keeping the house. Besides, it was his idea to build the practice out here."

"Do you actually make a living being this far away from everything else?"

She wasn't an hour's drive from town or anything, but it was a few miles from here to the heart of Shermer.

"I do. There are some farms out this way, too. So I make a lot of house calls."

"Oh, well, then that's good."

"Yeah."

"You on the lake?" He wasn't exactly sure where he was in relation to the boat landing. He suspected the lake wasn't far at any rate.

"Yes," she said.

"Nice."

"It has its moments."

"Thank you," he said.

She shrugged. "You're welcome. He'll be fine. I'll give him some antibiotics. We should test for tetanus just to be sure. Otherwise, he'll be fine, John. How old is he?"

"Not quite three."

"He's been with you all along?"

"Since about four months old, yeah. I had one before him who died about, well, three years ago now."

"I'm sorry," she said.

"Thanks."

"Did something happen?"

"No, actually. Just old age. Some arthritis. You know, same as people, I guess."

"How did you become a cop?"

He snorted. "Yeah, ironic, right? Me a cop? Turns out," he shrugged. "Chaos and anarchy didn't appeal to me once I graduated. Randy and I, Cooper and I before him. We work the schools a lot. You know, a warm, fuzzy, furry face to put with the phrase 'Just Say No'."

And that worried her for some reason. She didn't say so, but he could see it in her eyes. He mulled over what he'd just said. He hadn't said anything bad or wrong, simply telling her about his job. She'd asked how he'd become a cop. Maybe she hadn't really wanted to know and was just being polite, but he didn't think so.

"Does it work?" she asked finally.

He shrugged. "Sometimes. Thing is because of my past and upbringing. I'm pretty good at my job."

"I bet you are."

"I could have gone elsewhere. They've asked me. They asked me after Cooper died if I wanted to think about moving up the ladder. Better pay and hours would be great, but I like the work."

"That's good. Are the hours that bad?"

"We're the only K9 team in Shermer. So any crime that he's needed for we're called out to. Drug busts and murders don't punch a time clock sadly."

"Oh," she said.

"Yeah. It has its drawbacks."

"I suppose it does."

"Well, listen, I'm going to set him up for the night," she said after a couple of minutes quiet between them. Clearly she didn't know what else to say. He didn't either really.

"I really shouldn't leave him…"

"I know. I have a cot here that I've used for just this reason. Or similar ones anyway. If you give me a few minutes I'll have it set up for you."

"Thanks," he said.

"Sure. I'll be right back."

He watched her leave the room, wondering what the odds were of their paths crossing now. How strange. He'd been in Shermer, she'd been in Shermer. It was a big enough town their paths wouldn't cross and clearly she'd led a charmed enough life she hadn't needed to call SPD to her house for anything.

He opened the door she'd gone through a minute later.

"Claire?" he called.

"Yeah," she replied.

"I can get the cot. You shouldn't have to do that."

"Okay. It's back here. I haven't used it in a while so it's sort of buried under some things."

"Sure," he said, glancing back to Randy who was showing no signs of waking up.

He helped her dig the cot out of the closet. It was actually not a bad cot. He was expecting some cheap thing, but then he should've known better with her.

"Normally, I'd put him in a kennel for the night, but I'll just put some towels down for him next to you. Okay?"

"Yeah, that's fine."

"I'll set some water out for him, but he shouldn't eat right away so I'm not going to put food out for him."

"All right."

Together they carefully carried Randy back to the area she'd set up for them.

"He'll wake up soon," she said, evidently sensing his apprehension at seeing his dog so quiet for this long.

"I know," he said.

"I'll grab you a pillow and a blanket, one for him, too. I don't want him to get cold."

"It's July!"

"And if he gets an infection or something he won't care."

"I suppose," he said.

"I'll be right back."

"Debating about leaving me in here?"

She laughed softly. "Well, no, but I do have to lock you in."

"Yeah, I get that."

"Let me show you where the bathroom is and stuff."

"All right," he said, following her as she showed her where the bathroom was and a kitchen.

"I'm not hungry."

"Well, there's stuff here if you want anything. Help yourself. You weren't expecting to spend hours here tonight."

He reached for her then, touching her cheek. She was so … nervous around him. Why? He almost liked her better before she realized who he was. He leaned in then, kissing her.

He meant for it to be a brief kiss. A show of his gratitude. She'd gone above and beyond. If he were anyone else, cop or no, he wouldn't be sleeping on a cot in her practice tonight. He knew that. She trusted him despite the fact it'd been close to nineteen years since they'd seen one another. He wasn't trying to hit on her or anything.

She kissed him back, though. The urgency behind her response surprised the hell out of him, but he certainly didn't push her away. He wasn't a moron. Maybe despite his thinking he wasn't hitting on her he was. He had no idea. He sure couldn't deny being curious what kissing her now would be like versus then.

He groaned as she touched him, sliding her hands under his shirt and pushing them (and his shirt as a result) up so she could touch his chest. She broke the kiss long enough to slide his shirt the rest of the way off. He had to help lift it over his head and everything so she had to be pretty clued in to the fact he wasn't upset about this turn of events.

He was proud of his body. He worked hard to keep himself in shape. Walking with Randy and Cooper wasn't the extent of his workouts, but rain or shine, summer or winter he walked and ran with them ten miles every day. (Okay, some days during the winter they skipped a time or two. He was human.)

He wasn't a hugely conceited guy, but enough to love how impressed she currently seemed to be with how he felt to touch. Taking his cue from her he worked the buttons on her blouse and then the clasp of her bra. His wasn't the only body that had changed over the years. He loved the feel of her breast in his hand as he cupped her.

He loved the sounds she made as he touched her. He hadn't had long with her that day at school. Long enough, but not as long as he would've liked. He'd felt kind of guilty afterward, which was what he initially attributed his feelings to. Then, well, then pride reared its ugly head and made him wonder if he hadn't done it for her. He'd gotten her off, at least he thought he had. Women faked those things, he knew, but he hadn't thought she had. Her not talking to him after that day, though, made him wonder if she hadn't had as good of a time as he had.

She worked his trousers open and it was his turn to make some sounds betraying his arousal as she reached to touch him. She certainly was better at that now, not that he'd left that closet complaining in the least. He'd just had to do a lot of … showing. Not the case today. She knew exactly what she wanted apparently and how to get it.

She stopped touching his hard-on for a minute and he groaned in protest until he realized she was working the zipper of her skirt. He reached between her legs then as she returned her attention to him. His finger slid inside of her easily she was so wet for him.

Shifting them so her back was against the wall behind her he lifted her so she could wrap her legs around him, allowing him to slide his length inside of her. She didn't show any sign she wanted to stop kissing him. He was fine with that as he thrust inside of her with her arching into him as best she could. The sound she made when he pressed his hard-on as far inside of her as he could just about brought him off by itself.

"Do I need to pull out?" he asked after she'd finished and he knew he wasn't going to be too much longer in getting to that point either.

"God, no," she whispered. "Don't you dare."

He chuckled softly, but did as she said and stayed inside of her long after he'd come.

Still they kissed, her hands continued their exploration of his chest and shoulders. Lower along his stomach, too, and along his arms. He pulled out of her after a bit, drawing away and making sure she had her feet under her before letting go of her.

What the fuck was he even supposed to say after that? He hadn't kissed her for that to happen. He hadn't even known she'd want for that to happen.

She followed him back to the cot she'd set up for him after she grabbed her skirt and he grabbed his shirt. He was more than surprised when she sat on the cot, drawing him to her. Her hands got busy exploring again around parts that told him very clearly she maybe wasn't done yet. He was just fine with that thought process. He worked her blouse and bra over her shoulders and off as she worked his trousers lower. He had to sit to take his work boots off, removing the trousers afterward.

"I love double headers," he whispered as he moved on top of her. He wasn't ready to go again right this second, but something told him with her naked under him it wouldn't take him long to be there again. Especially with the way she was touching him.

She laughed softly. "I think I just might, too."

"Yeah?"

"Uh huh," she said.

He moved down a bit so he could focus his attention on her breasts for a while. They'd been nice in high school. He thought they were pretty fucking fantastic now, though, and he hoped he let her know that by his very thorough exploration of every inch of both of them with his mouth and tongue. He absolutely loved the noises she made when he focused on her nipples.

He reached between her legs, dipping a fingertip inside of her and groaning softly at the feel of her wet from him having been inside of her. He circled her nub with the fingertip, more than ready to go now but he wanted to bring her off this way.

The cot was by no means big enough for both of them, but they moved so she was on top of him once they'd finished.

"Sorry," he whispered after a little while, knowing he was dozing off. She, on the other hand, didn't seem tired. She was tracing indiscernible patterns along his chest with her fingers. Fingers he noticed watching her work on Randy were topped off with nails painted very nicely in a bright red that seemed to match her lipstick.

"For what?"

"Falling asleep. Not talking much. Take your pick. It's been a long day."

"And you're worried about Randy. It's fine, John."

"Thanks," he murmured.

He thought he heard her laugh at him, but he was too far gone to care or be upset about it.