DISCLAIMER: The characters are the property of Viacom and Spelling/Goldberg. The story is pure me and my romantic tendencies. No infringement is intended.

TITLE: First Dates


SETTING: 1972, three weeks after Destined To Be Together.

SUMMARY: Mike and Jill decide to take their relationship one step higher. Will Mike make the giant leap and propose?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is totally au. Should read Destined To Be Together before reading this one. Thanks to my friends in the chat room for being the first to read and critique before I submitted this.

It had been three weeks since Mike Danko and Jill O'Brien had walked out of Lieutenant Ryker's house. Three weeks since Mike and Jill had seen each other. Thanks to Jill's supervisor Sheila Hastings, she had been placed on 4:00 to midnight shift while Mike had pulled the 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. shift. That didn't leave the couple much time to call each other let alone see each other and Jill was not happy at all.

As she approached the nurses' station, Jill spotted the woman in question. Taking a deep breath, she walked over to Sheila and said, "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

Sheila looked up and smiled at her favorite nurse. When Jill stood there with her arms folded, she sighed.

"Is there a problem?" Sheila asked.

"There sure is," Jill replied. "What's my schedule like next week?"

"The same as it has been the last three weeks. Why?"

"That's what I was afraid of. Are you trying to punish me for taking."

"No, Jill I am not trying to punish you. I happen to be short handed for the rest of the month on that shift and you are the best I have. You never complained before."

"Because I had no life before. I have a life now. And thanks to our lovely schedules, we never get to see each other."

Sheila smiled at her friend. "I get it now. This has to do with Mike doesn't it? That cute blue-eyed cop with the tight butt. I had a feeling you would like him. I'm glad you two hit it off."

"Well, it might not last if this keeps up. Come on, Sheila can't you switch me with some of those new comers. I have seniority over them don't I? Why do I have to do the 4 to midnight?"

"Because the newbies are not ready."

"Sheila, I'm not ready to lose Mike. I want the same exact shift he has. If I can't work that shift then I have no other choice but quit."

Sheila stared at her. "You can't be serious?"

"I am serious. I want the day shift. I don't need the same day off Mike has, but the same shift. You have until Monday, Sheila. Otherwise, you get my resignation."

Before Sheila could say anything, Jill walked away to check on her patients. Slowly the older woman smiled. She had wondered how long it would take before Jill got back to her spunky self. Picking up the telephone, Sheila dialed Lieutenant Ryker's office number.

Meanwhile, Mike was just heating up a TV dinner when the doorbell rang. He opened it and let in Willie Gillis and Terry Webster.

"Hey, Michael," Terry said. "You ran out of the station so fast we didn't get a chance to tell ya we were going to The Open House. So I hope you didn't wanna go."

"No, Webster, I didn't. I was hoping to get home in case Jill called."

"I gather, from the look on your face, you either missed her call or she never had the chance."

"Right on both counts. You two want a beer?"

"I'll take one," Willie said.

Mike looked at Willie. "Do you ever say no to a free beer, Gillis?"

"Of course not. Would you?"

Mike went to the refrigerator and took out three beers. "You two don't mind watching me while I eat my dinner do you?"

"Not at all, Danko," Willie said. "That's what friends are for. By the way, how long has it been since you have seen Jill?"

"Three weeks. Three long and frustrating weeks if you two must know."

Mike went to the oven and took out his chicken dinner. Picking up a knife and fork he went to the counter and sat down.

"I gotta tell ya, man," Terry said, making a face at his friend's dinner. "I don't know how you can eat that garbage. It looks down right disgusting."

Mike made a face after he took a bite. There was no way he was going to be able to eat it. With a sigh, he got up and tossed the dinner away.

"It was. You two want any hot dogs? I really wasn't in the mood to cook. That's why the dinner."

"No," Willie said. "We ate real food. And if you stuck around long enough, you would've too."

"Look, I would have, but I was hoping Jill would call before she started her shift. I guess they got her working pretty hard."

"Is there anyway Ryker could switch you to her shift?" Terry asked.

"Are you kidding? You want to ask Ryker to switch me to the 4 to midnight shift in the mood he's been in lately, you ask him. Me, I happen to want to live to see Jill. Not get booted to god knows where."

Terry and Willie exchanged glances. "He's got a point. Ryker has been a bear lately. I wonder what the problem is," Willie said.

"You and Jill didn't trash that house did you?" Terry asked.

Mike glared at his two friends as he took out two hot dogs. "No we did not trash the house. You think I would be here if I did?"

"This is true. So, what are you going to do about this schedule problem you and Jill are having?"

"I don't know. I guess we're just gonna have to wait it out."

"Well, you know what they say."

"And what's that, Webster."

"That absence makes the heart grow fonder."

"Then my heart is gonna be real fond of Jill by the time this schedule thing is over."

The two guys laughed over that as the telephone began to ring. Before anyone could move to get the receiver, Mike snatched it up much to Willie and Terry's amusement.

"Hello?" Mike asked.

"Is Mike there?" Jill asked.

"Jill?" Mike smiled for the first time in days.

"I'm sorry, I didn't recognize your voice," Jill said.

"That's okay, brown eyes. It's been awhile. How you been? Can you talk long?"

"I'm doing good now. I spoke to Sheila and guess what."


"I gave her an ultimatum. Either I get the same shift you do or I quit."

"Are you kidding?"

"Nope. And I think she knew I was serious because she called Ryker and asked for a copy of your schedule."

"And he gave it to her?"

"I don't know. But that's what one of the other nurses told me. I'll let you know. I miss you, Mike."

"I miss you too. I hope you're right. Cuz this shift thing is driving me nuts."

"Me too. Can I call you back later? When I get off? Will that be okay?"

"You can call me any time you want to. I'll be here."

Jill smiled. "I'll call you then. I love you."

"I love you, too, baby. Talk to you later."

After Mike hung up, he turned to Willie and Terry, all smiles. "Jill gave Sheila an ultimatum about the schedule. Either Jill goes on days or she quits."

"And?" Terry asked.

"Sheila apparently called Ryker. What Ryker said is anyone's guess but Jill said she'll find out tonight."

"So that means, maybe one more week of not seeing Jill," Terry said. "Can you handle it?"

"Yeah, Webster, I think I can."

Later that night, Jill was about to sign out to go home when Sheila approached her. "Jill?"


"You will be happy to know that as of a week from Monday, you and Officer Danko have the same schedule. I couldn't give you the same days off, but you are on the same shift. Happy now?"

Jill hugged her friend and said, "Thank you, Sheila. I owe you one."

"You're damn right you do. I want to be in the wedding party when the day comes. A deal?"

Jill smiled. "You have a deal." As she picked up her bag, she turned to Sheila and said, "You were going to be in it anyway."

Before Sheila could say anything, Jill hurried out of the hospital and to a waiting bus that would take her home.

Half an hour later, Mike was just drifting off to sleep when the telephone rang. Remembering that Jill had promised to call him, he got out of bed and hurried into the kitchen.


"Did I wake you?" Jill asked.

Mike smiled to himself. "Almost. So what happened?"

"Well, as of next Monday we are on the same shift. Can you believe it?"

"I'm for one am glad to hear it. These different shifts are murder. So when's your first weekend night off?"

"Next Friday. Why?"

"Do you know if you're working Saturday or not?"

"I probably won't know until Monday. Why?"

"Because I want to plan that date we talked about. And I want to get it right. Will you let me know when you find out?"

"Of course. But, Mike you don't have to go to all that trouble. I don't mind a night out at a pizza place."

"You deserve better. How was your shift?"

"Quiet for once. Mike?"


"I truly miss you. I can't believe how hard this is."

"Hey, baby it's just one more week. Then we can spend every evening together and make up for lost time."

"I like that. I love you, Mike."

"I love you too. And I promise, I'll stop by in a couple of days to see you. Okay?"

"You don't have to."

"I know I don't have to. I want to. Maybe I'll stop by on my next day off and take you out to lunch. How does that sound?"

"It sounds like a date."

"Because it is. But next week's date is going to blow all others out of the water. Trust me, okay? I want you to have the time of your life."

"Like Cinderella?"

Mike smiled to himself. "Yeah. Exactly like Cinderella. Listen, babe, I hate to cut this short but I really got to get some shuteye. I love you and miss you like crazy."

"I love you too. See you soon."

"Bye, babe."


Jill hung up, grateful that she would go to sleep hearing Mike's voice in her head.

A few days later, Mike had the day off and decided to see if Jill wanted to go for a long lunch before she had to go to work. Picking up the phone he dialed her number. When after five rings it wasn't being picked up, he decided to call the hospital thinking she had pulled a split shift.

"Fifth floor nurses' station, Mrs. Hastings speaking," Sheila said.

"Sheila? It's Mike. Is Jill there?"

"Oh hi, Mike. No, Jill isn't here. She called in sick today."

"Oh. Well, I just tried her at home and she didn't answer."

"Jill usually turns the phone off when she's not feeling well. That way she can get plenty of rest."

"Thanks, Sheila. I'll stop by her place and see how she's doing."

"If you do that, you will have a friend for life."

Mike grinned to himself. "I already thought I did. I'll call you later to let you know how she's feeling."

"Thanks, Mike."

Mike hung up, picked up his car keys and headed out of his apartment.

A half an hour later he pulled up in front of Jill's apartment building and turned off the engine. Taking the stairs two at a time, Mike reached Jill's second floor apartment and rang the bell.

When she didn't open the door, he reached up and took down her extra house keys and let himself into her apartment.

"Hey, Jill," Mike said. "It's me. Sheila told me you weren't feeling so good."

Mike stepped into Jill's bedroom and found her fast asleep, her dark hair curling around her face. He sat down on the edge of the bed and brushed the hair from her eyes.

Jill stirred at his touch and slowly opened her eyes. Mike grinned at her as she struggled to wake up.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, happy to see him.

"Sheila told me that you weren't feeling well and so I thought I would stop by and see you were doing."

"How long have you been here?"

"I just got here. I was hoping to take you out to a nice long lunch."

"Oh, Mike I'm sorry. I rarely get sick, but when I do."

"They're whoppers," Mike guessed. "Have you eaten anything today?"

"No. I'm not hungry."

Mike checked his watch. It was going on twelve and he knew she should have something light at least to eat.

"You like soup?" he asked.


"Yeah. Chicken noodle, tomato, onion.you know, soup."

Jill couldn't help but smile at him. "I'm not going to ask if you're teasing me.Yes, I have all of the above."

"Then, milady, which would you prefer?"

"Surprise me."

Mike grinned. "Are you sure? Putting me in a kitchen could be very dangerous. I have been known to experiment."

Now Jill didn't know if he was serious or not. "Uh, nothing's going to explode will it? I mean you can boil water right?"

"I happen to be a great cook. I just hate to cook. Big difference. Besides, how can you go wrong making a can of soup?"

Fifteen minutes later, Jill was about to encounter a whole new meaning to the word experimentation as Mike came in carrying two bowls of soup. Handing one to Jill, he sat down on the edge of the bed and watched as she stared into concoction.

"What exactly is in this?" Jill asked.

Keeping a straight face, he said, "Tomato, chicken and potato soup. A few seasonings and herbs and.Is something wrong?"

"You mixed all three soups in here?"

"Yeah. Is there a problem?"

"Well, I like all of them but.together?"

"Well, I did warn you that I like to experiment. Go ahead and try it. It is good."

Jill stared at the soup and back at Mike. "It smells really strange."

"It's a three soup mixture. It really is good."

Jill looked from Mike to the soup and back again. Finally, she placed the soup on the nightstand and said, "Mike, I love you very much, but I think you really should stay out of the kitchen."

Mike grinned. "Why do you think I experiment?" He handed her his bowl and said, "Did you really think I would feed you that slop. This is your lunch. Chicken noodle soup. The only thing I added were the noodles."

She stared at him. "What if I really ate that.what ever it was."

"Now, would I do that to you?"

Jill made a face. "Yes you would."

Mike laughed. "At least you feel better, right?"

Jill couldn't help but smile back as she took a cautious sip of the soup. After a couple of seconds, she looked at Mike with surprise.

"This is really good," she said. "Why don't you like to cook?"

"By the time I get home I am too tired to cook. Besides, there's no one to cook for. Until now."

"Well, Officer Danko, you can cook for me anytime."

"You feel better?"

"A little. I think the fact you're here helps. And thanks for the soup. It really is good. What's your favorite meal?"

"Swedish Meatballs. Why?"

"Just curious."

"By the way, what's your schedule like next weekend?"

"As of Monday, all my nights are mine. Thanks to Sheila and Lieutenant Ryker. Why?"

"Do you have Friday or Saturday off?"

"Friday. Why?"

Mike grinned. For once they had the same day off. "Will you go out with me Friday Night?"

Jill smiled back. "I would love to. Where are we going?"

"That's a secret. But I promise you, you will have the time of your life."

"Oh come on. Can't you give me just a little hint?"

"And spoil the surprise. Not on your life. You're just gonna have to wait until Friday."

Jill made a face. "No fair."

"Who said love was fair. I promise, you will have a great time."

Jill reached out and kissed his cheek. "What was that for?" he asked.

"For just checking on me. No one has ever done that before. Except for my grandfather and Amanda."

"Hey, it's been three and a half weeks since I last saw you. I wanted to see you. Sick or not. So the pleasure was all mine, milady."

Mike reached out for her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist. "How was the soup?"

"It was very good. Thank you. I don't think I would've eaten anything today."

"In that case, I better stick around and see that you eat something for dinner." Mike took the empty bowl from her and said, "Try to get some sleep. If you need anything, I'll be in the living room. Okay?"

Mike started to rise when Jill said, "Can you stay with me until I fall asleep?"

"Sure. I'll stay as long as you want me too."

Jill smiled at him as she wiggled under the sheets and blankets. Mike brushed the hair from her eyes and said, "Don't fight the sleep, okay? I want you to be healthy for our date."

Jill's smile grew. "Just a little hint? Please?"

"Nope. You are just gonna have to wait until Friday to find out what I have planned for you. I do promise, though, you will have a good time."

"I always have a good time when I'm with you." Jill stifled a yawn.

"And I always seem to put you to sleep," Mike said with a grin. "Get some rest, brown eyes. I'll still be here when you wake up."

"Seeing me like this," Jill said, "is what I had in mind when I wanted to see you again."

"I know, but you know something?"


"You are still one of the most beautiful ladies I know. Now get some sleep."

Jill saluted him, as she said, "Yes, sir, doctor."

Mike winked back at her as he left the bedroom. As Jill drifted off to sleep, the last thought she had was of Mike's sexy smile. God, I love you so much, she thought to herself.

A week later, a nervous Jill was standing in front of the mirror in her bedroom as her sister Amanda did her hair in a French twist. She was dressed in a light pink dress that hung straight down just slightly past her knees with spaghetti straps. To Amanda her kid sister never looked more beautiful.

"You have to settle down, Jill," Amanda said. "You are going to make me a nervous wreck."

Jill turned away from the mirror as her old sister finished with her hair and smiled. "I'm sorry. It's just that this is the first real date Mike ever took me on and I want everything to be perfect."

"Jill, it will be perfect. And you look stunning. You are going to knock Mike's socks off."

Jill bit her lip. "I hope so. You know, he has Willie and Terry well trained. When I was feeling better, the guys came over and when Mike would leave the room, I tried everything to get them to tell me what he had in mind."

Amanda smiled at her. "And they never told you?"

"Terry said Mike would kill them if they said a word."

"Well, you will know soon enough. He's going to be here any minute."

Jill checked her watch. It was almost time for Mike to show up and now she was more nervous than ever.

"Are you sure I look okay?" she asked.

"Jill, you look amazing. Mike's going to be speechless. And I can't wait to meet the man who has you this nervous."

Jill smiled at her sister. "He's wonderful, Amanda. He has the most beautiful blue eyes and a killer smile. Not to mention a great butt."

Amanda laughed. "You always were a butt chick."

"It's more than that. He makes me feel safe. And he accepts me for who I am. I can be myself around him."

"Sounds like a lady in love. You got it bad, kiddo."

"Is this how you felt with Paul?"

"You mean love at first sight?"


"Not at first. I thought he was a pest." Amanda smiled. "But he grew on me."

Before Jill could say anything, the doorbell rang. "He's here."

Taking a deep breath, Jill left the bedroom with Amanda hot on her heels. She couldn't wait to meet the man who had finally stolen her kid sister's heart.

Jill opened the door with a smile and stared at Mike dressed up in a suit. "You look very nice," she said, lamely.

"And you look amazing."

"Please come in. There's someone I want you to meet."

Mike stepped inside and pulled his hand away from his back. He was holding a dozen long stemmed roses.

"These are for you, milady."

Jill smiled as she accepted the flowers. "Thank you. Mike, I want you to meet my sister. Amanda this is Mike Danko."

"Mike, it's a pleasure to finally meet you. Jill has told me a lot about you."

Mike shook Amanda's hand. "Same here. Jill told me you took her in after your grandfather passed away. Tell me was she as big a handful then as now?"

"Michael!" Jill protested.

"You know how teenagers are," Amanda said, hiding a grin.

"Amanda!" Jill handed her sister the flowers. "Will you put these in a vase for me?" Turning to Mike, she said, "I would get a sweater, but between the two of you."

Mike grinned as he pulled her close and kissed her passionately. "Feeling better, babe?"

Jill couldn't help but smile. "You know, you can be a real pain."

"So I have been told. You do look beautiful."


Mike ran his finger down her jaw. "Really. Ready to go?"

"Can't you tell me where you're taking me?"

"It's a surprise. Just trust me. Okay?"

"Jill," Amanda said, "Mike's a police officer. You can't be in better hands. Have a good time you too."

Jill turned and gave her sister a hug. "Thank you for being here."

"Hey, you're my sister. I'll always be here for you."

"Thanks. I'll call you in a couple of days, okay?"

"Just have fun."

"Oh we will," Mike promised. "And I'll take real good care of her. I promise."

Amanda gave Jill a farewell hug and watched until Mike and Jill were out of sight then she turned and locked up her sister's apartment, leaving one light on.

A half an hour later, Mike pulled over to the side of the road and said, "From here on out you have to close your eyes."

Jill stared at him. "You can't be serious."

"It's all part of the surprise. It's only for two minutes." Mike grinned. "You think you can handle it?"

"Aren't you going a little over board with this surprise thing?"

Mike pulled her close and kissed her forehead. "Do I have to blindfold you?"

"You wouldn't dare."

"I wouldn't huh?" Mike started nibbling on her neck.



"Is this part of the surprise?"

"It could be. If you keep your eyes closed."

Jill sighed with frustration. She had found out that when Mike put his mind to something he rarely deters from it.

"You are the most." Mike kissed her hungrily.

"You were saying?" he asked.

"You win. Two minutes?"

"That's it. I'll tell you when can open them."

Jill kissed him back and sat back in her seat as he pulled back on to the road.

"You're eyes closed?"

Jill closed her eyes and said, "They are now."

Mike grinned to himself as he glanced over at her. Her eyes were indeed closed.

"I feel absolutely silly," Jill said.

"But you look positively adorable."

"Are we almost there yet?"

Mike pulled into an empty parking lot. But the lights were on so the restaurant was open for business. He hoped Jill would like the fact he rented out the whole restaurant. A band had been included in the price. If he had known she would look as gorgeous as she did tonight, he never would've rented the whole restaurant. He would have shown her off to the whole world.

"Okay, brown eyes," he said, turning of the engine.

"I can open my eyes now?"

"Nope. Sit for just one second. Okay?"

"Oh fine."

Mike got out of the car and went to Jill's side of the car and opened the door. "May I have your hand, milady?"

Jill stuck out her hand and Mike took it, gently pulling her out of his car. "Now can I open my eyes?" she asked.

"You really have no patience do you?" Mike teased, as he easily lifted her into his arms.

Jill squeaked and hung onto him tightly. "What are you doing?"

"Making sure you don't fall and I couldn't think of any other way. I can put you down if you want me to."

"Don't you dare."

Mike grinned as he climbed up the three steps and entered the restaurant. Once he was through the doors, he gently put Jill back on her feet.

"Now, milady," he said, "you can open your eyes."

Jill obeyed and had to blink several times as the bright light blinded her. As her eyes got accustomed to the light, an elderly man hurried up to them.

"Mr. Danko," the man said, grinning ear to ear. "This must be your lovely lady."

"This is Jill. Jill, this is Mario. He is the owner of this place and was happy to grant me my request."

"Which was?" Jill asked, as she smiled at the older man.

"Your man here wanted to rent out the entire restaurant," Mario replied. "And he paid very well for it. I must say, I for one cannot blame him."

Jill turned to Mike in surprise. "The whole restaurant?"

"And the band," Mario added. "You two have the band and restaurant until midnight."

"Mike, that must have cost a fortune," Jill said.

Mike kissed the inside of her wrist. "You are worth every penny. I hope you're hungry."

Jill kissed Mike and said, "Starving. And thank you. No one has ever gone this far for me."

"You're welcome."

"Come, come," Mario said. "Your table awaits."

Mike took Jill's hand and the couple followed Mario to the table he had decorated for Mike's romantic evening.

"You're salads will be coming up shortly," Mario said. "Would either of you like a glass of wine to start?"

"I would love a glass of Chablis," Jill said, as she sat down.

"Why don't you bring the bottle, Mario," Mike suggested.

"My pleasure." Mario left the couple alone.

Jill smiled at Mike as he took her hand. "So, milady, what do you think?"

"I think this is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. And I will never forget it."

"That was the reaction I was going for."

Before Jill could say anything, Mario returned with the best bottle of wine he had. "I hope you like this," the older man said. "And, Mike it's on the house."

"Mario, you don't have to do that."

"I know, but I want to. So sue me."

Mario popped the cork and poured the two glasses. "Enjoy." Leaving the bottle, Mario again left the couple alone.

Mike shook his head as he took a sip from the wine. "Not bad."

"Mike, can I ask you something?" Jill asked.

"You can ask me anything your heart desires."

"Why did you do all this? I would have settled for a pizza."

"I know, but I wanted to do something special. Something no one has ever done for you. I figured every guy you had dated would take you out for a pizza. I needed to do something different. Something that you would never forget."

"Well, I certainly won't forget this night. But, you really didn't need to rent out the whole restaurant."

Mike smiled at that. "I did go a bit overboard, didn't I?"

"A little," Jill replied, with a warm smile. "It's going to be hard to beat this."

Mike took her hand, as he sipped at his wine. "Who said you have to beat it?"

"I know, but I feel like I should do something special for you. After everything you have done for me."

Mike kissed the inside of her wrist. Without taking his eyes off of hers, he said, "I like doing things for you. Especially if I get that beautiful smile every time."

Jill couldn't help but smile at him now. "How do you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Always know the right things to say?"

Before Mike could say anything, Mario returned with their salads. "Enjoy."

Mario left before either Mike or Jill could say thank you.

"He's fast," Jill said.

"That he is. Where were we?"

"I asked you how you always knew the right things to say."

"I learned from my grandparents. Mostly my grandfather. He was a gentlemen from the old days. Knew how to treat a lady."

"What about your father? What did you learn from him?"

Mike frowned as he took another sip. He had a feeling Jill was going to start asking him about his family and until now, he had been thrilled the subject never came up. Now he realized he would have to explain about the father from hell. He just hoped he didn't scare her away.

"Nothing much," Mike admitted. "I really didn't spend much time with my family since I was 7 years old."

"Why not?"

"Boarding school. The only people who came to visit me was my grandparents. When they died, they left me everything they had. Including their house, which I sold. My father was livid when he found out."

Jill stared at Mike. "Why didn't they leave everything to your father?"

"Because my father's an ass. They knew it and decided not to leave him a dime. And since I was practically disowned, they decided to make up for their son."

"Wait a minute. Your father disowned you? For what?"

"He didn't exactly disown me, it's just that.Are you sure you wanna hear this? I didn't exactly have a great childhood."

"Mike, I love you, but I don't know anything about you. Except for the fact you're a good man, a great cop with a sexy smile, you know more about me. I just want to know how you became the way you are."

"Well, it certainly wasn't due to my father's influence, thank god. Between boarding school and my grandparents, I learned the real way to treat people."

"Is that why you became a cop? Because of your childhood?"

"Not really. When I finally graduated, the war in Nam was just starting. I thought it prudent to join before I got drafted and signed up for the air force. What I saw there, that's what made me decide to become a cop. The fact that my father hated the idea, just made it even stronger."

"Do you love your father?"

"Sure I love him. I just don't like the things he does. Jill, you have to understand something. My father came from basically nothing. My grandparents worked hard all their lives to give him a solid foundation to grow up on. Somewhere along the way his thinking got all twisted up. Money became a dominant factor in his life. It rules his life to this day. My brother and sisters work for him and he treats them like merchandise. I got out of that the day he sent me to boarding school. I only saw my family on summer and winter vacations."

"What about your mom? How is she?"

Mike smiled at that. "My mom is the sweetest, kindest person you ever wanna meet. I don't understand what she sees in him, but you know what they say about opposites attract. Anyway, she's the reason I went home when I did. Her and my sisters."

"Why didn't your dad send your siblings to boarding school?"

"Because, they never acted up. Stood up to daddy and basically told him to go to hell."

"You did all that at age seven?"

"There were extenuating circumstances."

"Like what?"

Mike sighed. He had a feeling Jill wasn't going to let this go but before he could say anything, Mario returned with their meal of every pasta dish he sold at his restaurant.

As Jill stared at the plates Mario explained, "Mike wanted you to sample everything. So, please, take your time and enjoy."

Jill laughed as Mario walked away. "I hope he has doggy bags. Mike, there is no way I can eat all of this."

"Hey, the guy said sample. So take a little of everything. What we don't eat, we'll have tomorrow."

"Are you kidding? I won't have to grocery shop for a week."

"Then I hope you really like pasta."

Jill laughed again. "It's a good thing for you I do. You know, we can always invite Willie and Terry over."

"And waste all this good stuff on their palate? Not in this lifetime. Besides, I'm tired of sharing you with them."

"I don't mind them hanging around."

"I know you don't but there are times when there's too much Willie and Terry. Hey, don't get me wrong, I love those guys like my brother but I see them eight to ten hours a day. After awhile, they start getting on my nerves."

Jill had to agree with that. There were times when the guys got on her nerves too. Especially when she wanted to be alone with Mike. It seemed that they never knew when to leave.

"So," Mike said, "where were we?"

"We were talking about your dad. But we don't have to any more if you don't want to."

Mike grinned, hiding his relief. Unless Jill met the guy, saw him in action; she could never understand the hostility between them. There were times when he didn't understand it either. He loved his father but he just didn't respect him. Not like a son should respect a father. Then again, over the years his father never went out of his way to earn his respect from anyone. Unless the person had more money than his father did. Then his father could make ass kissing an Olympic event.

"I would rather talk about you," Mike said, honestly.

"You know everything about me."

"Not everything. For instance, what was it like growing up with your sister and grandfather?"

Jill smiled at the question as she sipped the last of her wine. "It was wonderful. Don't get me wrong, I loved my parents but they died when I was four so I don't remember much of them. My grandfather was a kind, gentle man. I helped out around the farm, chasing chickens, cleaning out the barn. He never let me do anything that I wasn't ready for. Until Amanda went to college, she did the cooking and some of the cleaning. My grandfather had a part time housekeeper who did the rest of it."

"Sounds like a happy childhood."

"It was. My grandfather took good care of us. He loved Amanda and me like he loved my dad."

"Jill." Mike was hesitant. He wasn't sure if he had the right to ask but, like he told her, he wanted to know everything about her. "How did your parents die?"

"Amanda told me it was a car accident. They were going to dinner when they were struck by a truck. They were killed instantly."

"I'm sorry." Mike took her hand.

"It's okay. I really don't remember any of it. I was four at the time. I mean, I know I loved them but I don't remember them at all. Is that bad?"

"I don't know. I think it depends on who you are. How old you were at the time. I'd say at four there really isn't much to remember is there?"

"My grandfather tried his best to keep the memories alive. And sometimes, when I was living with Amanda, she would tell me stories of the four of us, but I think it was more for her than me. I do remember crying a lot and asking a lot of questions."

"Let me guess. The natural are mommy and daddy in heaven type of question?"

"Yeah. The typical childish questions. Are they angels? Are they watching over me?"

"What did your grandfather say?"

"Yes. That my parents will always be in my heart. And there are times when I remember bits and pieces."

"Such as?"

"When I would get sick, I remember the times my mom would sit beside me until my fever was down. Or she would bathe me in alcohol to bring the fever down."

"Sounds like she was a typical mother. I'm sorry they were taken away from you."

"Me too. But, I grew up happy and that's all that matters right?"

"Yeah. And you grew into a very beautiful woman. Your parents would be proud of you."

When Jill looked at Mike, he saw tears in her eyes. Reaching across the table, he gently wiped them away.

"You think so?" she asked, finally.

"I know so. You are smart, pretty and funny. And you have a heart of gold and a smile that melts any cold-hearted heart. Yes, brown eyes, your parents would be very proud of the lady you turned out to be."

Jill smiled warmly at him. "Thank you. That means a lot to me."

"Any time, milady."

Later that night, Mike pulled up in front of Jill's apartment and turned off the engine. Jill, who had laid her head on his shoulder and fallen asleep, stirred as he turned to look at her.

"Hey, sleepy head," he said. "Did you have a nice time?"

"I had a great time," Jill said, as she sat up. "Would you like to come in?"

"You sure you're not too tired?" Mike asked, with a grin.

Jill shrugged. "What can I tell ya. You tuckered me out, Officer Danko."

"And Willie and Terry say I'm old."

Jill made a face and punched him on the shoulder. "Hey, that's assaulting a police officer," Mike said, rubbing his shoulder.

Jill opened her car door with a smile. "So arrest me."

Mike laughed as he got out of the car and walked around to meet her. Pulling her into his arms, he said, "Keep hitting me like that, and I just might."

Jill leaned in and kissed him. "Thank you for tonight. Please, can you stay for a little while? I don't want this night to end."

"Are you sure?"

"I've got." Jill's eyes widened as she let out a burp. "Oops." When she giggled, Mike realized she had just a bit too much to drink.

"C'mon, babe," he said, taking her hand, "I better get you into bed."

"Is that an invitation, Danko?" Jill asked, struggling to stay awake.

"Another night maybe," Mike said, taking her hand as he led her to her apartment. "Tonight, you need to get your sleep."

"You know what you are, Michael Danko? You are a party pooper."

"And you are three sheets to the wind, babe and in no condition do much of anything except sleep."

"Can you at least stay until I do? That way." Jill closed her eyes as she started to see two of Mike. "Uh, Mike," she started to giggle, "you never told me you were a twin."

Mike shook his head as he reached up and took down her spare key and unlocked Jill's front door.

"So," Jill said, "can you and you're twin stay til I fall asleep? This way the night never really ended."

"I'll stay as long as you want me too. But, first get changed, okay."

Jill tried to stifle a yawn as she did a mock salute. "Yes, sir, Officer Danko, sir."

Mike grinned as he gently slapped her on the butt. "Go."

As Jill staggered into her bedroom, he muttered, "She's gonna hate herself in the morning. But, damn if she's isn't cute when she's drunk."

A few minutes later, Jill called out to let him know she was changed in bed. Mike entered the bedroom.

She watched him as he pulled over her desk chair and sat down next to her bed. "What's wrong with cuddling?"


"Yes, cuddling. You know, you lay on the bed and we just hold each other."

Mike grinned as got up, put the chair back and lay down beside her. Pulling her into his arms he said, "And that's all you want?"

"For now, it's enough."

"You know I have to get up early tomorrow to go to work."

"Will you wake me before you leave?"

"If that's what you want."


"Your wish is my command, milady."

Jill stifled a yawn as her eyes drifted closed. "Have I told you that I love you?"

"Not for hours."

"I love you, Mike."

"I love you, too, baby."

The next morning, Jill woke up to gentle kisses on her bare shoulder. She groaned as she turned on her side and muttered, "Do you have to kiss so loud?"

Mike grinned at her as she opened one eye. "Regret asking me to wake you up before I left?"

Jill couldn't help but smile back at him in spite of her banging head. "How much wine did I drink last night? And no I don't regret asking you to wake me up."

Mike sat up on one elbow as he brushed the hair out of her eyes. "Most of the bottle and I'm glad to hear it." Jill looked at him confused. "The answers to what you just said. In order."

"Oh. Mike?"


"How come you're on top of the covers? Shouldn't you be under them?"

"Baby, if I was under the covers you would be in a boat load of trouble. For me, it was safer on top of the covers."

Jill noticed that he also had on the pants he wore last night but not his shirt. She made circles on his chest as she said, "I wouldn't have objected."

"I know you wouldn't have, but that was last night. Could you say the same thing today?"

Jill slowly sat up and leaned against the headboard. "Didn't you want to have sex last night?"

"Actually no." Seeing the look on her face and the tears well up in her eyes, Mike pulled her close and held her, saying, "I wanted to make love to you. Big difference. But, considering the condition you were in last night, it wouldn't have been fair to you."

"Even if it's what I wanted too?"

"Jill, you weren't exactly thinking clearly by the end of the night. After all, you saw two of me. And you were flirting big time. I think I know you pretty well to know, that's not really you. Is it?"

Jill shook her head as she looked at him. "What's the difference?"


"The difference between sex and making love?"

"Oh. Um."

"Mike, maybe I should tell you something."

Jill bit her lower lip. She knew this was going to be discussed one day and she hoped she could get it over with. All her life she had waited for the right guy. Though the men she had dated since she was fifteen were nice guys, she had never felt the physical attraction towards them as she did with Mike. Usually Jill would stop before they reached the point of no return. But, for some reason, it was Mike she wanted to lose herself with. And in her mind, she knew soon it was Mike she would lose her virginity to. And hopefully, with any luck, he would be the only man she would ever need.

When Jill hesitated, Mike brushed a finger down her jaw. "You know there's nothing you can't tell me. What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Not really. It's just.I'm.I've never." Jill took a deep breath and just decided to tell him. "I've never really been with a man before."

"Never?" When Jill shook her head, Mike grinned. "So, I would be."

"My first. Is that a problem? I mean, when the time comes, would that be a problem?"

"Not in this lifetime. Now I am glad I slept on top of the covers. Baby, when we make love, I want it to be special. I want us to both want it. I don't want alcohol or anything else influencing you. I don't want you to regret a thing we do together. Especially when we make love. That's why they call it making love."

"And sex is just."

"Sex. It has no meaning for the two people involved. It's just a way to relieve their raging hormones. Whereas making love is two people who have strong emotional ties to each other show that love in ways that can be amazing. And more importantly, neither one regrets a minute of it. Can you honestly tell me you wouldn't have regretted it if we made love last night?"

"I don't know. I wanted to make love to you, Mike. I really did, but."

"When there's but involved, that usually means you're not ready. Babe, when the time comes, I want you to sure it's what you want. Not just because you think it's what I want."

"So you're not mad?"

"How could I possibly be mad? Jill, trust me. The time will come when it'll be right. For both of us. Okay?"

Jill leaned up and kissed him. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"For being understanding. Not every guy I've been with was as understanding as you."

"Has any of them."

"If they tried, they'd be howling like a stuck pig. And they knew it. My grandfather brought me up right. He made sure I could take care of myself."

Mike grinned. "If that punch you landed on me last night was any indication of what your grandfather taught you, I believe it. You have one hell of a right."

Jill smiled back. "Is your shoulder still sore?"

"No, thank god. Ryker would have my head if I had to go on desk duty." Mike checked his watch. "Damn. Speaking of which, I have just enough time to get to my apartment, shower and change. Can I call you tonight?"

"You better. Did I tell you I had a great time last night?"

"Yes you did. In more ways then one." Mike reached for his shirt and put it on. "If I don't get out of here right now, I'm never gonna make it to the precinct." He bent down and kissed her. "I'll call you later. Okay?"

Jill smiled at him as she brought his face down to hers and kissed him back. "I'll be here."

After Mike left, Jill lay back in bed and thought about the previous night. She wished she didn't get as drunk as she did but was glad that Mike didn't take advantage of the situation.

You got lucky with this one, she thought to herself. So don't blow it.

Smiling to herself, Jill wondered what she could do to pay him back and let him know that she was ready to make love to him. Suddenly, she had an idea but she needed help.

Reaching for the telephone, Jill dialed Terry and Willie's number.

"Hello?" Terry said.

"Terry? This is Jill."

"Hi, Jill. If you're looking for Mike, he's not here."

"Actually, I was looking for you or Willie. Can you tell me what Mike's next day off is?"

"Sunday. Why?"

"What about next week? Is it Thursday?"

"As far as I know."

"What about you? When's your next day off?"

"Friday and today. Willie's day off is Tuesday. Just in case you wanted to know."

Jill smiled to herself. She was off next Friday too. "Are you going to be home on Friday?"

"Probably. I usually do the laundry then. Why do you ask?"

"Do you have a key to Mike's apartment?"

"Yeah. We have an extra set. We never used it."

"I don't suppose you will be able to let me in next week could you? I want to surprise Mike with a home cooked dinner."

Terry smiled to himself. "I think I can do that."

"What time will you be here?"

"I have to buy some things but I'll try to get there early. Thanks, Terry. And please, don't tell him. Okay? It has to be a surprise."

"He won't hear it from me."

"Great. I'll see you then."

Jill hung up but had one more call to make before she got ready to go to work. Hopefully she won't strike out. If she did, dinner wouldn't be as special as she wanted it to be. Jill wanted Mike to have his favorite meal and she had a feeling it had been awhile since he had Swedish meatballs.

She rummaged in her nightstand for a phone book and looked for bookstores. Finding one in her neighborhood, she dialed the number.

Suddenly Jill hung up. It was too early for any bookstore to be open. Oh well, she thought. I'll just have to call at lunch or break. Writing down the phone number, she reached down for her purse and stuffed the paper into it.

Later that afternoon, before Jill took off for lunch, she headed for the nurses' to call the bookstore.

When the phone was picked up on the other end, she said, "Hi, I hope you can help me. I'm looking for a cookbook on Swedish Meatballs. Would you carry something like that? Yes I can hold."

Jill crossed her fingers behind her back. "Yes, I'm here. You do? Oh that's great. Can you hold it for me and I'll pick it up this afternoon? My name is Jill O'Brien. Thank you so much. You are a life saver."

As Jill hung up, a male voice said, "Who's a life saver? And should I be jealous?"

Jill jumped at the sound of Mike's voice and whirled around. He was standing by the counter with Willie in tow.

"Hi," she said, lamely. "You scared me."

"I'm sorry, baby. We just stopped by to see if you would like to join us for lunch."

"I would love too. But I only have half an hour."

"So do we," Willie said. "We don't mind eating at the cafeteria."

"Nobody eats in the cafeteria, Willie. We usually go across the street for sandwiches. They make great meatball wedges."

"Sounds good to me," Mike said. "So, who's the life saver?"

"Oh no one really. I was looking for a cookbook and he had the one I needed. I'm going to pick it up tonight and study it."

"You're going to study a cookbook?" Mike asked, with a grin.

"Well, I only cook hotdogs or spaghetti and you like to eat, so I figured I better learn how to cook more than that."

Mike took her hand and led her around the nurses' station. "Can I watch?"

"I don't think so. Because if you do, I have a feeling we won't be cooking dinner."

Mike grinned as he kissed her. "Promises, promises."

"Would you two like to be alone?" Willie asked. "I could always go into the cafeteria and eat."

"Don't you dare," Jill said. "Mike will behave himself. Won't you?"

"Do I have to?" Mike teased.

"Yes, you have to. You're the one who invited Willie. It's the least you can do. Come on, Willie. If we ignore him, maybe he'll."

"Go away?" Willie hoped.

"Not on your life," Jill said, as she took Mike's hand. "This is one guy I'm not letting go."

"It figures," Willie pouted. "If it was me and Terry who arrived at the hit and run."

Jill sighed. She and Mike had already had this conversation. I guess Mike never told Willie what I said, she thought.

"Willie, I hate to break this to you and you and Terry are great guys, but to be perfectly honest."

"Wait, don't tell me. It was his eyes? Was that it?"

Jill smiled. "That among other things. Willie, I love you like a brother and."

"Okay, I'll accept that."

Mike grinned at his friend. "Now do you understand why I never told you? I didn't want to break your heart. I figured I'd let Jill do it instead."

"Thanks a lot, hot shot," Jill said. "I am sorry, Willie."

"Don't sweat it," Willie said, honestly. "At least we're friends, right."

Jill hugged Willie. "The best."

"Come on, you two," Mike said, leading Jill toward the exit. "We only have a half an hour."

"Jill, you better learn how to cook really well," Willie said. "This guy lives on his stomach."

"Don't worry, Willie, I have it covered."

I hope, she thought to herself, mentally crossing her fingers.

Later that night, Jill entered her apartment and headed straight for her kitchen sat down at the table and opened her brand new cookbook to the Swedish Meatballs. Rummaging in her purse, she took out a pad and pen and jotted down the ingredients. When she was finished, Jill thought about what else she would need to make Friday night's dinner perfect.

Candles, she thought to herself as she jotted down the items. "And flowers for the center of the table."

After Jill finished, she went to the refrigerator to see what she had to eat. Just then the doorbell rang.

Closing the refrigerator door, Jill went to the front door and said, "Who is it?"

"Three of your favorite cops with two large cheese pizzas," came Mike's voice.

Jill smiled to herself as she unlocked the door. "How did you guys know I had absolutely nothing to eat?"

Mike entered her apartment followed by Willie and Terry and kissed Jill as he handed her a pizza box.

"'Cause I checked your refrigerator earlier this morning and noticed it was dry," Mike replied. "Where shall we eat?"

Suddenly Jill remembered her notes and the cookbook. "How about in the living room?" she suggested.

"Sounds good to us," Terry said.

"I'll go get some plates. Would anyone like something to drink? I have soda and juice."

"Sodas all around?" Mike asked.

When the other two guys agreed, Mike started to follow Jill into the kitchen. She stopped him at the doorway.

"I can get the drinks," she said. "You go relax."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am sure." Jill kissed him. "Go."

"Okay. I know when I'm not wanted."

"Oh, Danko, you are most certainly welcome anywhere you want. Just not in my kitchen at this minute. Okay?"

Mike pulled her close. He did see the cookbook open but because Jill was blocking his view, he couldn't see the recipe.

"I was just teasing," he said. "You weren't kidding about studying a cookbook were you?"

"No. Now, will you and join your friends? I will be right out."

"Okay. If you need help."

"I will call you. Honest."

"Hey, Danko," Willie called out. "You and Jill better get in here. At the rate Terry's going, there won't be any pizza for you two."

"I'm coming," Mike said, kissing Jill again. "How many pieces should I keep from Terry?"

"Two please. I will be right there."

Jill entered the kitchen and closed the cookbook. She stuffed the notepad back in her purse and then went to the cabinets for plates and glasses. Jill pulled out a tray and then took out four cans of soda. A few minutes later, she headed out to the living room.

"Don't tell me you all are done already," Jill said, as she sat down on the floor.

"What can I tell ya," Mike said. "They're pigs."

Jill shook her head as she took out one of the last few pieces. "At least you all saved me some."

"Mike said if we didn't you probably won't eat anything 'til tomorrow," Terry said. "We can't let ya go to bed hungry."

"I would've made a sandwich," Jill replied, glaring at Mike. "I never go to bed hungry."

"I know how much you like pizza," Mike said, in self-defense, glaring at Terry. "And I wasn't about to let these two yoyo's eat all of it."

"Mike," Jill said, biting into the gooey slice, "you all brought two boxes. How much can you all eat?"

"You would be amazed," Willie said, innocently.

They all laughed at that. And suddenly Jill realized that the guys were as much a part of her family as Amanda, Paul and Tori were. Even Ryker was like a father to her and she wondered if that's how the guys thought of him and how he felt about them.

Later that night, as the guys got ready to leave, Mike pulled her close and kissed her. "When's your next day off?" he asked.

"Tomorrow and Friday," Jill replied. "Why?"

"Wanna go out Friday night?"

"I would love too, but I have plans. Can we make it for Saturday instead?"

"Sounds like a plan. What do you say to a movie?"

"I would love to. What movie?"

"Your choice. Which ever you want to go see."

"Sleuth or Poseidon Adventure. I am a Michael Caine freak."

"Michael Caine isn't in The Poseidon Adventure."

"I know. But Gene Hackman is. And he's not bad either."

"How about the Godfather?"

Jill made a face. "Marlon Brando as the godfather? Is he really believable?"

"They say he's amazing and may be up for an academy award."

"Can you stay up that long?" Jill teased. "I hear it's a very long movie."

"I think I can manage it," Mike replied, with a grin.

"Then The Godfather it is."

"Great. I'll see you then."

Mike leaned in and kissed her. "I love you, babe."

"I love you too. Can I call you tomorrow?"

"I would be disappointed if you didn't."

Jill watched as the three rookies drove away. She closed and locked the door hoping Terry didn't spill the beans about Friday night's surprise dinner.

"Or I'm going to kill him," she muttered.

The following Friday, Jill was carrying several packages toward Mike's apartment when Terry spotted her from his balcony.

Going back into the apartment he shared with Willie, he snatched up Mike's spare key and went out to not only meet her but also help her carry a bag or two.

"Hi, Jill," he said, as he took a couple of bags. "You're here early."

"I know," Jill replied, as Terry unlocked Mike's front door. "He has no idea about this right?"

"Would I do that to you? I just wish I could see the look on his face when he sees what you have up your sleeve."

Terry put the bags on the counter as Jill closed the door. "Is there anything I can help you with?"

"Actually there is." Jill looked in one of the bags and pulled out a Welcome Home banner and handed it to him. "Could you hang this for me? You're a bit taller than I am."

"Sure. Where would you like it?"

Jill looked around the apartment. Finally she said, "How about over the stereo? That way he'll see it as soon as he walks in."

"Sounds like a plan."

Jill handed Terry the banner and tape. After a few minutes, the banner was in place.

"So, what is he having for dinner?" Terry asked.

"Swedish Meatballs. He told me it's his favorite meal. I just hope I can cook it the way I am suppose to."

"You brought the cookbook right?"

Jill pulled it out of her handbag. "I tried memorizing it, but it's hopeless."

"You'll do fine. Actually I don't think Mike will have a single complaint. And if does, he'll have to answer to me."

Jill smiled at Terry as she walked over to him and gave him a hug. "Thank you, Terry. I really appreciate your help."

"Anytime, Jill. Anytime. If there's anything else you need, feel free to call me. I should be home most of the day."

"I'll do that."

After Terry left, Jill unpacked the rest of the bags and put the groceries away. She was so excited about tonight. Jill just hoped Mike would like what she has done. She had no idea what she would do if dinner turned out horrible.

Later that afternoon, Mike and Willie were walking toward their apartments when they spotted Terry sitting by the pool drinking a beer and listening to the radio.

"Hey, Webster," Willie said. "I was trying to call you to see if you wanted to join Mike and me at the open house."

"Sounds like a plan. When do we leave?"

"As soon as we take showers and I give Jill a call to say hi," Mike replied. "Say about twenty minutes?"

"We'll be ready," Terry replied. As Willie started after Mike, his roommate said, "Willie, wait a second."

"What's up? Changed your mind?"

"Nope, but Mike soon will."

"What are you talking about?"

"Sit down and I'll explain everything."

A few minutes later, Mike entered his apartment and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the Welcome Home banner hanging above his stereo. When he saw Jill sleeping on the couch, he smiled and quietly closed the door.

Going over to the couch, he sat down on the coffee table and gently kissed Jill on the cheek. When she stirred, he ran a finger down her jaw.

Jill smiled as she opened her eyes. "Hi," she said.

"Hi yourself. What are you doing here?"

She sat up and ran a hand through her hair. "I thought I would surprise you. I made dinner and did your laundry."

Mike looked around his apartment and saw the table set up for a romantic dinner. "I thought you had plans tonight."

"I did. This was it. Only Terry knew because he had to let me in. I hope you don't mind."

Mike brushed the hair from her eyes. "This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. Thank you."

Jill kissed him and said, "You're not mad?"

"How can I possibly be mad? You didn't have to do all of this, but I love it. And I love you. Thank you."

Mike pulled her up into his arms and kissed her passionately. "I guess I better call Willie and tell him I won't be joining them for dinner," he said. "I like this arrangement a lot better."

"I have a feeling he already knows," Jill said, with a warm smile. "Terry was a great help today."

"I bet. How long has he known about this?"

"Since last Saturday. I called him right after you left to make sure you were working today. I couldn't have pulled it off if you weren't working."

"And I had no clue. You have been planning this for a week?"

"Yeah. It's my way of saying thank you for the date you gave me. I couldn't top it, but."

Mike kissed her again. "I like your idea of a date a lot better than mine. This is amazing. Thank you, baby. By the way, what's for dinner?"

"Swedish Meatballs. That is your favorite meal right?"

"You bet. And that's why the cookbook?"

"Yeah. I couldn't believe the bookstore had it. And you walked in on it and almost blew the whole surprise."

"I'm sorry, baby. I'm glad I was clueless."

Jill smiled broadly. "And I'm glad you like it. And there is more to come."

"Oh? Such as?"

"It's another surprise."

"You are just full of surprises tonight aren't you?"

"I do try."

Mike grinned. "Listen, let me take a shower and then we'll eat, okay?"

"I'll be waiting."

Mike kissed her one more time and headed for the bedroom. After Jill heard the bathroom door close, she took a deep breath to steady her nerves then headed for his bedroom.

A few minutes later, she was standing before the bathroom door naked and shaking a leaf. Taking another deep breath, Jill quietly opened the door and stepped into the bathroom.

God, please let him be receptive, she thought to herself.

Creeping slowly to the shower, Jill slid through the curtains and wrapped her arms around Mike's waist and kissed the back of his neck, causing him to jump a mile.

"What the hell?" he said.

"I.I'm sorry," Jill said, mortified, as she tried to scramble out of the shower.

Mike reached out and grabbed her wrist and said, "What a second." He pulled her close to him and kissed her neck. "I'm sorry, baby. You just took me by surprise. Are you sure you want to do this?"

"I've never been more sure about anything in my life. I just wasn't sure if it should be the shower or the bed. Then I opted for the shower because I didn't want to wait any."

Mike bent his head down and kissed her. "Let's do this right," he said, turning off the water. He pulled down a towel and wrapped it around her cold shivering body.

Lifting her in his arms, he climbed out of the tub and carried her into the bedroom. "I gather dinner has been put on hold?" Mike asked, as he placed her on the bed.

"I might have to warm it all up, but yeah it's ready."

Mike grinned as he joined her on the bed. Removing the towel from Jill's body, he kissed a trail down her stomach.

"You are so beautiful," he said. "I gather you planned this too?"

Jill wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him hungrily. "Uh-huh. And I didn't have one sip of wine all day so I am in control of my faculties. Now, can you stop talking and make love to me?"

"You're wish is my command, milady."

Later that night, Mike and Jill lay spent in each other's arms. "Is it always that good?" Jill asked.

"Depends on who I'm with. And I have never been with anyone I've loved more than I love you. You were amazing. I know you were a virgin but where did you learn to do."

Jill kissed him and said, with pure innocence, "I read a lot."

Mike laughed at that. "Those must have been some books."

"Oh they were, Danko they were."

Mike grinned. "You hungry yet?"

"Yeah, but not for food. Can you be addicted to sex after one time?"

This time Mike burst out laughing. "I'm not sure. I've heard it's possible. Why? Are you addicted already?"

"I think I am, because food is not exactly at the top of my to do list."

"And what is at the top of your to do list, if I might ask?"

"Hours and hours of uninterrupted sex. That is if you can keep up."

"Oh, you are insatiable for a first timer. As for me keeping up, you haven't seen nothin' yet."

A few minutes later, Mike's apartment erupted in squeals of pure pleasure as he sent Jill over the edge into ecstasy.

A few hours later, Jill, wrapped in Mike's bathrobe, was spooning out the noodles onto their plates, when Mike came out of the bedroom and wrapped his arms around her waist.

"I thought you were insatiable," he said.

"I am, but I never realized that sex could make you hungry. I am starving."

Mike grinned. "I figured eventually you would be. That actually looks better than my mom ever made."

Jill looked at Mike in surprise. "Really?"


"Well, I hope it tastes as good as it looks. I've never made this before."

Mike turned Jill to face him and said, sincerely, "I don't care if it tastes like over-cooked mud. You made it, I'm gonna love it."

Jill smiled at him and kissed him on the nose. "And you have had over- cooked mud?"

"You would be amazed how big brothers torment little brothers."

Jill laughed at him. "He didn't."

"Yep. He did. He was five, I was three and actually believed what I was eating was a chocolate pie."

Jill started laughing until her sides hurt. "The grainy stuff didn't tip you off?"

Mike laughed along with her. "What do expect from a three year old. I'll tell ya, my mother was not pleased."

"I bet. Didn't your stomach hurt?"

"I have an iron cast stomach. Didn't I tell ya?"

"I guess you would have if you ate a mud pie. This would probably be haute cuisine for you."

"Very funny. Let's eat."

Jill finished spooning out the noodles, and then she took out the meatballs and covered it all with the gravy she had also made.

She handed Mike a plate and followed him to the table where they sat down.

"I like the way you set a table, brown eyes," he said.

"Would you like a beer? I bought a six pack."

"I would love one. But, I'll get them. You sit and relax. You had a long day."

Jill watched as Mike entered the kitchen. He looks awesome in a pair of jeans, she thought. Amazing actually.

"Aren't you eating?" Mike asked, as he returned to the table and handed her a glass filled with beer.

"I was waiting for you to try it first."

"Okay. I will." Mike sat down and Jill watched nervously as he took a bite from a meatball. He smiled at her as he said, "This is amazing. It's better than my mom ever made."

"Really?" Jill asked, beaming.

"One thing I would never do to you is lie. Honestly, I would tell you if I hated it. But not in a way that would hurt your feelings."

"I know you wouldn't. So you really like it?"

"For someone who only cooks hot dogs and spaghetti you are terrific."

"I love to cook, but after work I just can't get motivated."

"I can't blame you there. That's why I buy TV dinners."

Jill made a face at the mention of Mike's infrequent at home meals. "I've tried some of those. I'll take the food from the hospital anytime."

"Come to think of it, so would I."

Mike reached across the table and took her hand. "I am really amazed that you went to all this trouble for me. Thank you."

Jill smiled at him. "I loved doing it for you. I just wish I wasn't asleep when you walked in. I wanted to see the look on your face when you saw the banner."

Mike grinned. "I think China heard my jaw drop. Seriously, no one has ever done anything like this for me and I'll never forget it."

"Not even your parents when you came back from Vietnam?"

"Oh my mother tried, but like everything else, when it comes to trying to enjoy myself, my father does something stupid to ruin it."

"What did he do?" Noticing that Mike's plate was empty, Jill said, "Would you like some more?"

"I would love some. The Swedish Meatballs was the best I have ever eaten. Aside from our earlier enjoyment, this was worth waiting for."

"Was I really okay?" Jill asked, nervously as she headed into the kitchen with Mike's plate.

"No. You were amazing. It was the most beautiful experience I've ever had."

Jill brought back Mike's plate and placed it in front of him.

"It didn't hurt."


"My gynecologist told me my first time would hurt. You were very gentle."

"I learned from past experience. And you were the last person I wanted to hurt. Or ever hurt."

Jill smiled at him as she sat back down. "Can we have more dessert after dinner?"

Mike grinned back. "You planning on staying the night?"

"If you want me too. I have to go to work though and I didn't bring."

"I'll wake you up early and we'll go back to your place. How does that sound?"

"Sounds like neither one of us is going to get much sleep tonight."

Later that night, Mike turned in his sleep and reached for Jill to pull her into his arms. When his hand hit nothing but an empty bed, he sat up and turned on the bedroom light. Seeing his robe, which Jill had unceremoniously thrown on the floor gone, he had a feeling he knew where she was.

Getting out of bed, Mike pulled on a pair of jeans and left the bedroom, heading for the living room.

When Mike entered the living room, he found Jill looking out of the sliding glass doors hugging her arms around herself.

Approaching her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed the back of her neck. Jill reached up and wiped away a tear. Mike gently turned her around to face him.

"Hey," he said, "why you crying? Did I hurt you?"

"No, it's not you. It's me. I'll be okay. Why don't you go back to sleep."

"You're not gonna get rid of me that easily." Mike took her hand and led her to the sofa where they sat down. "Talk to me, babe. What's bothering you?"

Jill struggled to find the words to explain what she was feeling. She loved Mike so much and it terrified her. The only problem was, she couldn't understand why.

"I love you so much," she said. "And it scares me."


"I don't know. Everything is so wonderful. Being with you, making love to you, I never dreamed it good be like this. It feels like a dream and I'm afraid one day I'm gonna wake up and you won't be here. It scares me to think that some day I might lose you."

Mike reached for her hand and turned so he was facing her. "Does this have to do with me being a cop? Because if it is, I'll quit tomorrow. You mean more to me than any job."

"No, it's not because you're a cop. I know the risks you guys take and it worries me, but I can handle that. It's just.I don't know. It sounds silly."

"Try me."

"It's good between us, right?"

"I certainly can't complain. Jill, I love you too. If things are moving too fast."

"No, it's not that. It's just that, I don't want to lose you and if things are going great."

"You think I'm gonna walk away? Is that it?"

With tears in her eyes, Jill nodded. Mike gently brushed the tears away and leaned in and kissed her.

"I made a promise to you, remember?" he asked. "I will never walk away from you. Not even if you pushed me away. You're stuck with me, baby. No matter what happens, I'll always be here for you.

"Listen, I know I promised you that we would take this slow. Are things moving too fast for you?"

"No. I guess I'm just not used to things going so well. I mean, we haven't had a fight since we got out of Ryker's house. I usually fight with every guy I date at least."

Mike grinned. "I have never dated a lady who is bugged because we never fight. Babe, be happy we don't fight. Cuz, it doesn't make for happy bedfellows."

Jill smiled at him. "I heard making up could be fun."

"Is that a hint?"

"Unless you're too tired. I mean, you are an old man."

Mike stared at her. "You've been hanging around Webster and Gillis too long." Standing up, he reached down a hand and helped Jill to her feet. "I'll show you an old man. Just make sure you can keep up."

"You're on, Danko. I can take anything you dish out."

"We'll see, Miss O'Brien, won't we."

The next day, Mike was in the briefing room when Terry and Willie entered. The guys were early for a change so they poured coffee and sat down.

"How was the dinner Jill made for you?" Terry asked.

"It was amazing," Mike said, with a grin. "How was dinner at the open house?"

Terry and Willie grinned. "Obviously not as good as yours was," Willie said.

"Jill is far out in every since of the word. What are you guys doing for lunch?"

"Usually we eat," Willie said, as he sipped his coffee.

"Very funny. I want you guys to help me pick something out for Jill."

"As in engagement ring?"

"No. I can't afford an engagement ring yet. Though she will get one some day. As soon as I pay off my car and television, she gets her ring. In the meantime, I have an idea in mind and I need your help. What do you say?"

"Will it take long?" Willie asked. "You know how I get when I don't eat."

"I do not feel like listening to his stomach growl all day," Terry said. "It's not a pleasant sound."

Mike laughed. "I know exactly what I want to get her, I just need you to help me on the size."

"I thought you weren't getting her a ring."

"I'm not. I'm getting her a bracelet. A link bracelet actually but I'm not sure what kind. So you two wanna help?"

"Why not," Terry said. "As long as we feed my partner, I'm in."

Mike grinned as Ryker entered the briefing room. "Thanks. I owe you guys."

Later that night, Jill entered her apartment and was happily surprised to see Mike sitting on the couch watching her.

"Hi," she said, as he stood up. "I thought you were going to pick me up at seven."

Mike pulled her into his arms and kissed her. "How set are you on seeing a movie?"

"It doesn't matter what we do as long as we do it together. What do you have in mind?"

"At the moment, nothing."

"Good. While you think about it, I'm gonna take a shower, okay?"

"I'll be here."

After Jill entered her bedroom, Mike reached into his pocket and took out a wrapped square box and placed it on the coffee table.

He was really nervous about tonight. He had never felt this way about any woman he ever dated. Jill was something special and after what she had told him last night about her fears, he thought it was time to make their relationship more permanent.

A few minutes later, Jill came out dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt that was two sizes to big for her and Mike thought she looked adorable. When she saw the box, she looked at Mike.

"Go ahead," he said. "Open it."

Jill sat down on the couch and as Mike joined her, she reached for the box and started to open it. When she had the top off, there was a gold chain linked bracelet with a charm of a heart already attached.

"It's beautiful," Jill said, as she took the bracelet out of the box.

"There's a story that goes along with this." Mike placed the bracelet on Jill's wrist, and said, "When my grandfather met my grandmother, he wanted to give her the moon. Unfortunately, at the time he couldn't afford to give her much. So, when it came time for him to propose, he went out and must have gone to every jewelry store in the neighborhood to look for an engagement ring. When he couldn't find one he could afford, he decided on a different tact.

"There was a bracelet he had seen in one of the stores and a heart charm. Those he was able to afford so he bought it. For every occasion that they spent together, he bought her a charm as a symbol of the event. Births, anniversaries, birthdays.

"Anyway, he told my dad the story and my dad did the same thing with my mother. My brother Chuck, he kinda broke the tradition, but I am here to bring it back."

Taking a deep breath, Mike got off the couch and knelt down in front of Jill. Taking her hand, he said, looking into her eyes, which were filling with tears, "Jill, I love you more than anyone I know. And I made you a promise about never walking away. Well, I would like to make it more permanent. It tears me apart to say goodbye to you every day and wonder if I'm gonna be able to see you.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is.Jill, will you put me out of my misery and marry me?"

Jill, with tears streaming down her face, she flung her arms around his neck and kissed him furiously.

"Is that a yes?" Mike asked laughing.

"Yes, oh God yes, I'll marry you."

To be continued