The hazy morning light was streaming into the hotel room through the vertical blinds, the wrought iron of the small balcony casting shadows into the empty hotel room. Though it was early morning, there were children splashing in the pool, their laughter carrying up through the open sliding glass door. Rayna's feet were propped up on the balcony, the last bite of a chocolate croissant melting on her tongue. She'd just picked up her mug of coffee when she heard a knock at the door.

Taking a quick sip, she set the mug on the little glass table on the balcony, watching as the steam rose into the morning air. The knock came again, more insistent this time, and Rayna made her way to the door. Luke had an early call for some promotional thing at a radio station, so he was away, leaving Rayna to enjoy the last bit of her morning before she had to get back on a plane. Staying for all of twelve hours was silly on her part, she knew, but she kept telling herself that she had to fix this thing with Luke in person. She told Bucky and the girls that, too. The truth, however, wasn't something she was interested in confronting—it wasn't something she wanted to look at too hard, not since that night in her kitchen.

When she opened the door of her hotel room, Deacon was standing there. He was leaning against the doorframe, his black button down shirt stretching tight across his chest, his jeans hugging him in all the right places. His arm was above his head and a smirk was on his face.

Rayna felt a tightening in her stomach—it was something she'd long since given up trying to guard herself against. Even twelve years of marriage couldn't cure the tightening of her stomach any time she laid eyes on Deacon; at this point, she figured nothing would. It was just one of those inevitable things she'd have to learn to live with—like loving him.

"Wheeler here?" Deacon asked, his deep voice nestling its way into Rayna's stomach. She'd also long since given up guarding herself against the things his gravelly voice did to her. It turned her insides into liquid, even with an innocuous phrase—sometimes even the way he talked about the weather made her weak in the knees. For years she'd wonder does he have to say wet like that?

She quirked her eyebrow at him, "You know he's not." She stepped back from the door as Deacon pushed himself from the frame.

Chuckling, he crossed the threshold; as the door closed behind him, his eyes traveled up her body. She was wearing skinny jeans and a light white sweater, her old boots sat beside the door, her black painted toenails visible on her bare feet.

"You look well-rested." He said, smiling.

Rayna narrowed her eyes at him, "What's that supposed to mean?" She'd known him for long enough to know that he wasn't simply complimenting her.

Deacon smirked, "Nothin,'" He shook his head, "Except if you'd have chosen me, you damn sure wouldn't be well-rested right now." He trailed his eyes over her, making sure she understood his point. "I'd have had you up all night." He chuckled, "Or, you would've had me up all night is probably the more accurate way to put that."

He dragged his gaze up her body again, finally stopping on her face and he was rewarded with a slight blush creeping up her neck and settling on to her cheeks.

"Deacon…" Rayna breathed, averting her eyes to a particularly interesting spot on the hotel carpet.

"What?" He asked in mock innocence as he moved further into the room.

"Don't make this…" She trailed off, meeting his gaze as she walked to the sliding glass door. She reached out and grabbed her mug. Taking a sip, she shrugged as she put it back down, "Harder than it needs to be."

Deacon laughed, the sound bouncing off the bare walls of the hotel room, "In those jeans, Ray, you're making this hard enough for the both of us."

Rayna couldn't help the fact that her eyes dropped down to the front of his jeans; she couldn't help that her breath came shallow, she couldn't help that her tongue darted out to wet her lips when she saw that he wasn't lying.

He took a step towards her and she took one back. His eyes held a playful gaze, underpinned by the fire that was always there when he looked at her, "You like to sleep with him naked?"

Rayna felt the blush intensify—she'd nearly fallen off that chair when Luke had sung that line to her last night; she'd resisted the urge to look for Deacon to see his reaction, even though, logically, she knew he'd already heard it dozens of times in rehearsal. Even though, logically, she knew she had no right to his reaction.

"Deacon," She said again, wishing she could steel her voice against the quiver his presence always somehow dropped into her voice box.

Deacon shrugged, stepping towards her until the back of her legs hit the white bedspread, "As I recall, you and I didn't do much sleeping when you were naked." He said, his voice dark.

Rayna threw her arms up over her chest, folding them over her breasts, and sighed, "I get it, Deacon… the sex was great." Her gaze dropped to a point beyond his shoulder, not trusting herself to look at his face and say 'sex' without something wildly inappropriate flashing through her brain.

Deacon let out a huff of air, letting her know he knew her game—the understatement of the century: "Yeah, the sex was great." His eyes turned glassy, but he still looked at her, his piercing gaze searching her face, "Remember that time in Sausalito?" When her eyes snapped to his, he chuckled, "Yeah, I thought you would."

He reached his hand out and brushed a strand of hair from her neck, exposing the skin just above her collarbone. His thumb dipped into the dip of her collarbone, tickling the skin there; her eyes fluttered closed and her hands fell to her sides.

His thumb stroked her skin, "A tattoo, Rayna?" He dropped his hand from her collarbone, "Are you serious with this guy?" He grabbed her wrist and ran his thumb over her pulse point. She opened her eyes and met his gaze, "Is that what I gotta do? I gotta get a tattoo with your name on it?"

"Deacon…" She breathed, like it was the only word she'd ever known.

Deacon leaned forward, his breath hot on her face, "Darlin,' we both know you branded me a long time ago." His thumb smoothed over the underside of her wrist.

"I…" Rayna started, but trailed off, unable to speak, her eyes suddenly drawn to his lips.

"So, what?" Deacon tightened his grasp on her wrist, holding it firmly, "What do I have to do, Rayna? Self-immolate?" He lifted her hand and pressed a small kiss to her palm, "Take a match, light some coals, and I'll walk over 'em, baby. Tell me what to do and I swear to god, I'll do it."

Rayna heard her voice before she felt the words leave her body, "Kiss me." She said, her gaze never leaving Deacon's lips.

Deacon cocked his head to the side, a smile creeping up one side of his face. His arm snaked around her waist, his fingers grabbing tightly to her side. He pulled her against him, and his lips crashed to hers.

He slid his tongue into her mouth, kissing her roughly, not asking permission but knowing she'd give it if he did. He ran his tongue over hers, pressing his body into hers as her hands clutched at his back, grabbing on to his shirt for stability she knew she would never find. A throaty moan escaped her lips and Deacon growled into her mouth before he pulled away.

His gaze settled on the bed behind them, the white sheets bright in the morning sun. "Did he have you here?" Deacon asked, pushing his hips into Rayna so she could feel him hard against her. Rayna's eyes fluttered open, a look of shock darting across her face, "Did he?" Deacon asked again, his hand walking up her back and burying itself in her hair. When she didn't speak, he tugged, "Answer me."

"Yes," Rayna whispered, her face tilted up to his.

Deacon pushed Rayna back on the bed, watching as she fell back, her hair floating out on to the white bedspread. As she propped herself on her elbows, lust thoroughly invading her gaze, Deacon reached out and unbuttoned her jeans and eased the fly down. He trailed his hand down into her jeans and under the waistband of her panties, his fingers lightly brushing over her. He smiled when he found she was already wet.

"I'm going to have you now," He said, dropping his head to her ear, groaning when she pushed herself into his hand.

Rayna shuddered as his words made their way to her stomach; it was liquid the minute Deacon spoke—but now, it was on fire.

She smiled, and the desire she felt for him flooded her voice when she spoke, "You've always had me," Rayna said, wrapping her hands around the back of his head and pulling him down to kiss her.

Deacon worked her jeans off, taking her panties along with them as he kissed her, his tongue exploring her mouth as she made tiny sounds in the back of her throat. Rayna marveled at the feel of his muscles rippling under her touch as his hand moved against her—she was panting in no time, Deacon smirking against her mouth.

She'd always been his favorite instrument, and damn if he didn't know how to play the hell out of her.

When he pulled his hand away, Rayna whimpered, and then joined his effort to remove his jeans and boxers. When no clothing was left between them, he positioned himself at her entrance and pushed inside her in one hard thrust.

Rayna cried out, her fingers clawing at his back as he finally began to move. His moves were deliberate, were just what she liked and he knew it. She writhed underneath him, her head digging into the bed before he dropped a hand between them, his fingers finding her and stroking—suddenly, she exploded around him and he followed after, the feel of her too much; her name was sweet on his tongue as he shuddered and collapsed against her, their bodies molding perfectly together.

He planted soft kisses along her collarbone, making a path from her neck along her jawline. When he reached her lips, he kissed her gently. When she came back down and her hands began to softly stroke the blazing skin of his back, Deacon chuckled.

"That's the tattoo I should get," He said, "Something I wouldn't mind having on me forever."

Rayna furrowed her brow in confusion and Deacon stood, turning his back to her.

Rayna let out a gasp as she saw Deacon's back: angry, red with scratch marks made from her nails digging into his flesh. Rayna sat up and ran her index finger lightly along the marks, noticing a bit of blood easing from some of them.

"I'm sorry," She whispered, standing up behind him and wrapping her arms around his waist.

Deacon brought his hands up to cover her hands as they rested along his lower abdomen, "Don't be," He shook his head. "I'm not."

Rayna pressed her lips to his back, running them softly over the marks, her tongue dotting along the hard lines she'd made on his skin in her ecstasy. Deacon shivered as her tongue soothed the scratch marks.

Turning in her arms to face her, he planted a kiss to her forehead.

"It shouldn't scar," Rayna said, her fingers moving with a feather light touch up and down his back.

Deacon brushed her hair from her face, "Wouldn't be the first one you gave me."

Rayna's eyes grew sad, her mouth opened to speak but she could find no words except, "I'm sorry." Her voice was heavy.

"Hey," Deacon said, his thumb under her chin, "I gave plenty to both of us all by myself. Besides," He lifted his forearm to her and grinned, "I meant the infamous wine glass incident of '96.'"

Rayna brought her hand to his forearm, "I know," her finger tracing the small patch of raised skin, "I didn't," Her voice was quiet. "This one?" She raised her left hand to his chest, his heart under her palm; the large ring she wore to pretend that what she wanted wasn't right in front of her caught the light and threw it across the room, "It'll be the last." She pressed a kiss to his neck as she felt his heart beating steadily under her hand.

Deacon smiled and brought his lips to hers, "I'd take a thousand more if it meant a single day with you," He spoke against her mouth.

"Oh, you did not just say that to me," She said, smiling against his lips.

She kissed him, looping her arms around his neck she felt as though everything shifted into place as their lips moved together.

A peal of laughter came in through the sliding glass door, the children outside still playing in the pool—calling after each other: Marco! Polo! Their cries growing more and more frustrated with each presumably failed attempt. Rayna longed to shout out to them: You'll find each other eventually.

Instead, her eyes found Deacon's, "This feels so right," She whispered, leaning her forehead against his, echoing words he'd said to her on his couch when the weight of a thousand secrets and lies was hovering all around them. She'd nearly choked on them that night, but the air here was clear—and sweet.

Deacon nodded, his fingers trailing a light path up her arms. His right hand settled over her heart, "That's the thing about scars—they heal if you let them."