A/N: PS - I forgot to say that this is for TFP! You'll find the prompt in this half of the story!

and for those of you averse to smut, this is the steamy half of the story. ;)

Happy reading! xoxo


(2/2)

You should take it as a compliment

That I'm talking to everyone here but you

And you should think about the consequence

Of you touching my hand in the darkened room

If you've got a girlfriend, I'm jealous of her

But if you're single that's honestly worse

'Cause you're so gorgeous it actually hurts

(Honey, it hurts)

Ocean blue eyes looking in mine

I feel like I might sink and drown and die

- "Gorgeous", Taylor Swift


Something in her must have known this was coming, woman's intuition or something, because she wore a blouse and skirt combination today and she never wears skirts or dresses to work. She's thankful for the change in pattern though when Wyatt pushes her skirt up around her waist and his fingers start to toy with waistband of her boring white cotton underwear. If they keep doing this she may have to buy more skirts purely for the convenience of speedy access alone.

He releases her lips when breathing becomes difficult. Their lips were sealed together so tightly that a smacking sound echoes through her room as he pulls back. If she wasn't breathing so heavily she would pull him right back in. Her need for oxygen be damned.

But she can't stop. She can't stop moving, touching him, kissing him. If she stops she'll start thinking again and if she starts thinking again she'll send him back to his room and away from her.

Because Wyatt Logan scares the shit out of her. He makes her feel too much and makes her hope for things she had resigned herself to never having. He could break her heart all over again if she let him, and in his hands the pieces left behind would be smaller and less manageable than ever before. The fear starts creeping back in and she has to do something to forget it. She has to act.

She reaches for the bottom hem of his shirt. Shedding clothes. Shedding clothes will keep her focused on him and on the present. They take turns removing clothes, almost like a game. His shirt, her blouse, his pants, her skirt.

And then she's standing in front of him in nothing more than her unexciting mismatched cotton underwear and trying her hardest not to think about the last time she had a wax because hot damn if Wyatt Logan doesn't look like some sort of god among mortals. He's all hard muscles, dimples, and stubble as he stands there in his boxers and she thinks she must pale in comparison to his superhuman glory. But then she meets his eyes and there's a hunger that might surpass her own growing brighter and brighter with each moment. So maybe…

Maybe she's enough. Maybe he actually does find her as attractive as she finds him.

He must see the nerves and doubt on her face because in the next moment his forehead is pressed against hers and his hands are on her hips, pulling her against him.

"You are absolutely beautiful. I'm not sure how you don't know that," he says with a warm grin. He gives her no time to respond before he's devouring her again.

He kisses her like he's going to swallow her whole. She has never been kissed like this in her entire life. She's never been kissed as if she's the only person someone could ever want until now. Until Wyatt Logan. He walks them backwards toward the bed and then slowly pushes her back onto it until they're stretched out across the mattress with half of his weight against her.

He pauses for a moment and gives her a questioning glance. She sees his lips part and she knows the next question on his lips we'll be if she really wants this, wants him. She can't let him ask. She can't give herself the opportunity to think.

Her hand slips below the elastic band on his boxer and wraps around him. Any question he was planning to ask is gone and replaced with a low, throaty moan. He buries his face in the curve of her neck as the rest of his muscles clench. She sweeps her thumb over the tip of him just to see how he'll react, and the result is better than she ever could have dreamed.

"Fuck, Luce," he says in a gravelly strained voice against the skin on her neck.

He nips at her throat gently as his hot breath seems to warm her entire body and wraps a hand around her wrist that is inside of his boxers. He pulls her hand away from him and pins it above her head.

"You're gonna finish this before it ever starts if you're not careful, ma'am," Wyatt tells her before he releases her wrist. "I plan to take my time with you."

He flashes her a lopsided smile that is nothing short of sinful and then his mouth his hot against her neck. Nipping. Sucking. Licking. She feels the gentlest bite of his teeth at one point and arches against him with almost embarrassing eagerness. God, she has a weakness for neck kisses, and he seems to have already figured that out. His mouth finds her pulse point and he focuses completely on that spot after she lets out a wanton whimper. It's a sound she has never made before in her life. But the weight of him on top of her and the way his mouth just seems to immediately know her is so delicious that she gives herself over to it completely.

She likes control. Always has. But if just the beginnings of friction between them feels this amazing, then he can have it. He can have her for whatever he wants. He just needs to tell her what to do. She'll do it if it means he keeps doing exactly what he's already doing.

While his lips focus on her neck, his hands trail down her ribs. His hands move slowly like they're trying to count each one beneath her skin. She feels one hand ghost over her stomach and then finally stop on the inside of her thigh. His other hand travels back upward from her ribs to her shoulder and then to hold the back of her neck. He uses his hold on her to roll them until she is lying entirely on top of him, and then with one hand he reaches behind her and unfastens the clasp on her bra.

She feels the straps go slack and then pulls back to look at him in surprise.

"What the hell?" she asks with an amused grin. "Did you just open the clasp with one hand? I can't even do that!"

He laughs loudly as he rolls them back over to their previous position and winks at her. "Guess I'll have to teach you, Professor."

She's heard that full laugh one time before and it's just as beautiful as she remembers it. But then she's also remembering the last time she heard it and all their fighting...and the multiple times she's tried to write his death into the film.

She feels the edges of fear closing in on her and threatening to halt everything, but instead of running away, she dives right in. She throws her arms around his neck and pulls him back in for another searing kiss. The straps of her bra are still hanging loose around her shoulders, and she releases him one arm at time so he can help her slide the straps down and pull the garment out from between them.

He tosses it over his shoulder and she's not sure where it lands. It's the last thing on her mind just seconds later though when his mouth is kissing a trail between her breasts. Oh God. If she's going to start wearing more skirts maybe she should think about no longer wearing bras, too. Ease of access should be her number one priority from now on.

In college and her adult life she was always the one of her friends to insist that good sex came from emotional intimacy and that "chemistry" was bullshit. Yes, she wrote about chemistry in her books, but that was fiction. In real life your connection was formed by getting to know each other better than anyone else. She thought she had that with Noah. She knew the name of his favorite childhood pet, she'd been to the house where he grew up and met his high school friends, she knew the stories behind every scar on his body. She thought they had pretty satisfying sex. She thought they had chemistry.

She thought wrong.

Wyatt Logan is making her question everything she thinks she knows about love and relationships, which wasn't much to begin with, and something about that fact pisses her off. She has been living her whole life ignorant to real chemistry. Passion. She didn't know any better. Ignorance really was bliss.

But now she is going to have this to look back on and these feelings of burning frenzied need. No other relationship is ever going to be the same again because she will always be comparing it to this. To him.

His tongue barely traces over one of her nipples and she's arching and moaning. She would find it embarrassing if she wasn't in the throes of a type of perfect bliss that completely new for her. There's so much skin against skin and yet his boxers keep the part of him she's craving most hidden from her. She runs her hands down the well toned muscles of his shoulders and back before she reaches the waistband of his boxers and tugs them downward. He's returned to the valley between her breasts as he's on his way to her other breast and she feels him smirk against her. She can picture the one dimple and the flames in his darkened gaze and it only makes her want to work faster.

His kisses drift lower and his body moves with them, pulling the waistband out of her reach. She hears herself whine and mentally chastises herself for being so blatantly obvious. She's never been one to whine or beg and she's never been truly impatient, but then…

She's never had Wyatt Logan, has she?

She hears and feels the rumble of a laugh against her stomach. She reaches a hand down and runs her fingers through his hair and then tugs playfully at his ears.

"You did that on purpose," she says in a low breathy voice that cannot be her own.

Yet it is. Good God, what is he doing to her?

"I told you, Luce," he says in a husky voice that's muffled against the the inside of her thigh. "I'm taking my time. No matter how much you may want to rush, ma'am."

The nickname is new. That is the second time he's ever uttered it and both times he's said against her skin. If he keeps that up he may have her trained to want him against her skin every time he says it.

"We have all night," he says before he presses a featherlight kiss to the opposite thigh.

"Tell me you are not going to make me wait that long," Lucy says with a chuckle.

"Trust me, I couldn't wait that long even if I wanted to," Wyatt answers as he looks up at her from where he's lying between her thighs. "But I'm not wasting any opportunities and I'm not rushing this."

He smiles slowly and holds her gaze as he slides one finger from each hand under the waistband of her underwear. He pauses and purposefully withholds tugging them down her hips. She lifts her hips and sucks in a breath and wills herself not to grab his hands with her own and force him into action. It isn't until her breathing is even and heartbeat has calmed that he finally tugs. He pulls them down her hips and over her thighs and legs as slowly as he can, taking his time to caress her legs as he went. He tosses them off the bed carelessly and then resumes kissing her inner thigh.

"This is so unfair," she says breathlessly as his lips inch closer and closer to the small bundle of nerves between her legs.

"Who said life is fair?" he asks, cocksure smile evident in his voice, before his lips are on her overheated center.

She gasps and writhes underneath him. Her hands find his hair and she's gripping him so tight that she's afraid her nails might leave broken skin on his scalp. He doesn't seem to mind. In fact, it seems to encourage him. His hands grasp her hips and hold tight to keep her from bucking underneath him. Her toes are curling. She can feel her muscles straining and feels the coil tightening deep inside of her. Pressure building to an impending explosion.

And he wasn't even inside of her yet.

His name falls off her lips over and over, mingled with gasps and sighs and moans, until the coil springs. The pressure releases and she cries out with a sound that is the mix of a sob and a whine before she relaxes against the mattress.

His hands caress up her body as he pulls himself up to face her again. The minute his bare chest is against hers, she remembers he's still wearing his boxers. She glares at him and for once there is no true anger behind it.

"Off," she says as she tugs at the elastic.

His eyebrows raise and he grins. "Yes, ma'am."

If he's going to call her ma'am in bed then it's going to be a lot harder for her to hate it.

As soon as his boxers join her underwear and bra on the floor, her arms go around him and her hands land on his ass to pull him to her. He's made her wait long enough. She gave him control and he took too long. Now she's taking it back. She's pulling him back onto the mattress with her and as his lips meet hers again, she reaches between them guides him inside her. She pulls away from the kiss for a briefly for a sharp intake of breath. He stays still inside of her for a long moment and she knows why. He doesn't have to say it.

It's obvious to both of them.

And once again, Wyatt Logan scares the shit out of her.

Because they fit. They fit so goddamn perfectly. He doesn't just fill her, he fits against her. He's her missing puzzle piece finally sliding into place and they both know it. Never has anyone ever molded to her like him.

She's a minute away from panicking at the sheer size of that knowledge because it's too big, too much, too frightening. But then he places a soft and slow kiss on her lips and she's too caught up in him and now to let the panic go much further. Her lips part and then their tongues are mingling and tasting and exploring while his hands are tenderly caressing her face, neck, and kisses are awestruck and reverent like some sort of grateful prayer, and she's not sure why but tears start streaming down her face.

She's not sad or hurt or angry. She doesn't even feel particularly joyful.

But he's kissing her as if she's some sort of miracle while he fills her completely and the tears just come. His thumbs absently trace over the trails of tears on her cheeks and wipe them away. His eyes are bright and she thinks they might be watering. She doesn't have much time to examine him though because he chooses that moment to move. It is barely anything, she knows. He shifted to make their positions more comfortable but she feels it just the same.

The thrill that runs up her spine with one tiny flinch has to be impossible. She feels herself barely clench around him and hears Wyatt hiss in surprise.

"Jesus, Luce," he says with a deep calming breath. "This isn't going to be as slow as I wanted it to be."

"Good," she tells him with a ragged breath. "I'm done with slow."

She wraps her legs around his waist and then lifts her hips off the mattress in the hopes of urging him on. It works. He releases a growling groan and thrusts. His hands travel to her shoulders and pull her closer against him so with each thrust he his movements reach deeper and deeper. She's moaning and gasping as her heart beats erratically, and every muscle in her body tenses and her joints curl. Her hands roam up and down his back, nails pressing into his flesh, as everything builds.

They're coming together too effortlessly, like this was always going to happen, and the pleasure filling her with every movement, every kiss, and every touch finally drowns out her fear and doubt and paranoia. All she can feel or hear is him. As if his universe shrinks at the exact same moment as hers, his movements slow down. The need is still there but it's not frantic or possessive. The minute the voices are drowned out, a switch is somehow flipped and she turns tender. His eyes meet hers, cobalt linking with cinnamon, and her hands trail up from his back to his shoulders to the back of his head. She's caressing them through his hair. She brushes the hair off of his forehead and down further across his cheek and then his chin. The stubble under the pads of her fingers is coarse but the friction of it feels intimate. Just as intimate as the way their bodies were currently connected.

And then his lips on hers again, tongue hot against hers, and the frenzied passion returns. Harder. Deeper. Faster. Every noise from them seems to echo in her room and her heart. She moans against his lips before pulling back and arching against him.

She is so close. So close to falling over the treacherous edge in front of her. An edge higher than anyone had ever taken her too before. It's dangerous. It's exhilarating. And she is so close.

He dips his head to her neck and gently nips at her pulse point. She whimpers and feels herself clench around him. Still not quite there, but with every flick of his tongue and scrape of his teeth against her rapid pulse he pushes her closer.

Just one more push and there will be nothing but a blissful fall into the unknown. He pushes.

One more hard stroke is all it takes and she is lost. Lost in the heights of this pleasure that only he has ever taken her to. She has a feeling that no one else will ever take her there again. Not this high, this fast. When the fall is over and she lands, it's back onto the luxurious hotel mattress and into the tangled crisp white linens emotionally and physically spent. A moment later and Wyatt joins her. His weight collapses against her and they lay just like that for a moment. Both panting.

"Oh god, Wyatt," Lucy says as the realization of what they've just done hits her. She wants to regret it. She wants to dismiss it as a mistake and send him back to his room. But she can't. The words won't leave her throat and won't stick in her heart. "What was that?"

He laughs against her throat and she feels it rumble through her from his stomach down to where they were still joined.

"Damned if I know," he says as he's still trying to catch his breath. "Whatever it was, we're doing it again."

Her lids feel heavy as she blinks at him. She's not tired, she tells herself. She doesn't need sleep. She needs more of him before the fear comes back and she actually does send him away. But when she goes to tell him this all that escapes her is a yawn. He smiles fondly at her before untangling them and lying back on the bed next to her.

"After a few hours of sleep, that is," he says as he pulls the covers up and around them.

She nods and lets her eyes flutter closed. She assumes that this is how they'll sleep. Him on one side, her on the other. Wyatt obviously disagrees because once all the lights are out he reaches for her and pulls her to him. His arms go around her as his chest presses against her back, and just like before she wants to distance herself but she can't. His arms seem to bring a sense of comfort she never feels in any hotel room. Hotel rooms are not a home. Never have been, no matter how many of them she stays in.

But here in this hotel room, in this bed that's exactly like every other bed in the building, she feels at home. In her sleepy state, her mind suspects that home may not be a place at all. As her eyes close and sleep claims her, she thinks that home might be him.

She wakes up later, the room is still dark with no light filtering through the spaces in the blinds, and Wyatt's arms are still securely wrapped around her. Her last thought before falling asleep returns and panic builds in her chest. No, no, no, no, no.

Her heart won't survive another break like Noah, like her mother. If her heart breaks again she'll be lost. Despondent. Unreachable. She told herself no actors but what she really meant was no risks. No unnecessary dangers. No chance of someone undoing the bandages she painstakingly wrapped around her heart. She told herself no Wyatt Logan. He is a risk, an unnecessary danger, he could unwrap her heart and claim total ownership. He is not home. He is not comfort. He is not safety.

He has the potential to rip her to shreds if he decides to. He can hurt her worse than Noah ever did. She's almost willing to let him. Her mind is imagining how they would make it work, wondering if she can deal deal with him leaving for months at a time for a new project, contemplating trusting him. She's allowing herself a weak moment to consider it.

This weak moment has her turning in his arms and seeking him out. She wants him to banish the fear again. To distract her with passion and love and need until nothing exists but her and him and her heart almost feels whole. She needs him to wake up so she can shove down her panic and paranoia. She can't stop to think. Can't stop to face the world behind her hotel room door. Can't lie here with him unless she's asleep and her mind is quiet.

Or unless she's otherwise engaged.

She runs her hands over his arms, his neck, and then through his hair softly.

His eyes open, sleepy but still present in the moment with her. A lazy smirk spreads across his face and he quirks a brow at her. "Need something, Luce?"

His voice is deep and groggy as he says the new nickname. She feels goosebumps over her arms and knows he's succeeding in establishing that Pavlovian response she was worried about. He's found a button to press that makes her want him and it's a damn nickname. It's proof of the power he has over her. The power that causes those treacherous heights they reached a few hours ago. The heights she needs to go back to in order to drown out the voice in the back of her head that tells her the two of them will never work. The one that tells her she's normal and boring and only as good as her talent. He'll use her and leave her to live with her obliterated heart while he enjoys himself with someone much more enticing than her. The voice that tells her she's not enough for him.

She needed it to shut up.

"You ready for round two yet, Soldier?"

His hand moves across the inside of her thigh, underneath the sheets, and she sighs as he slides one finger inside of her.

"Oh, I am," he says as he leans his face closer to hers. He winks and curls a finger inside of her. She sucks in a breath and tilts her head back reflexively. He chuckles and she feels him place a quick kiss on her neck. "Feels like you are too."

She almost hoped the first time was a fluke. Heightened emotions and tension. Nothing more. But as the second time progresses she knows that's not true. It isn't any of that. It's him. But he succeeds in distracting her and drowning out the voice. He succeeds in taking her up to the top of that same cliff and the fall feels just as wonderful as she remembers. Damn him.

Sleep catches them again and the next time she wakes, light is barely peeking through the blinds, and this time he's reaching for her. Kissing her senseless and settling her on top of him. She mumbles about him being insatiable but eagerly complies. Because he's already an addiction. She can't get enough. Will never get enough. Not after three times or even for the rest of her life. She knows this and she hates it. Or she thinks she does. The line between hate and love seems fairly thin to her at this moment.

The voice is returning but it's barely a whisper, and nowhere near loud enough to keep her from him.

She collapses against him with a sound of ecstasy that she can't even describe. It's a combination of all the sounds she's made throughout the night and, though she's a writer, she can't find a single suitable descriptor for it. His hands find her back and rub soothingly as he pulls her lips to his for several languid kisses. They're soft and affectionate and nothing like what she would have expecting from him just a few weeks ago. Under all that smug charm is a man who is much more romantic than he wants to admit and a man who cares more deeply than she wants to admit.

She's simultaneously wanting to escape him and keep him with her forever. Nothing she feels makes sense and for someone as logical and composed as she normally is she cannot understand it. She cannot control it. Cannot rationalize it. For Lucy, the loss of those things is like the loss of solid ground. It's frightening to her core.

And it's the first thing she feels when her phone wakes her up with a shrill ring the following morning. Wyatt is still coiled around her, face buried in the back of her neck as he dozes, and all the while fear seizes Lucy tightly.

She needs out, needs away, needs to think or forget. Either will work. But in the light of the morning, with reality ringing from her nightstand, she can't turn to him for that. Not this time. She reaches for her phone and glaces at the screen. Her eyes widen and she curses.

Shit. Is that today's date?

Oh god, she is an idiot.

She suddenly doesn't care if she wakes Wyatt. He has to go. Not only does she need to start getting ready, but Wyatt is supposed to be at the sound stage in an hour. Regardless of today's date and all the ways she is a complete moron, there's still a shooting schedule to follow. She untangles herself with very little grace, her foot tangles in the loose sheet and she falls to the floor with a loud crash.

"Shit," she curses. She growls in frustration as she pulls her foot out of the sheet and then begins digging through her suitcase. Slamming and throwing things in her haste. The anger at herself grows with every minute.

How is she this stupid? This weak? How did she let herself succumb to his charm so easily? She knows better. She knows they're too different. She knows they don't make sense. He's a risk and she doesn't do risk. Not with her heart. Not anymore. She hears the bed creak just barely and then a moment later she feels his arms snake around her from behind. She contemplates sinking into it for a moment as he presses his lips to her neck, but then her phone rings again and acts as a well timed reminder of who she is and who he isn't.

She pushes his arms away and shakes her head.

"Stop, Wyatt. Stop."

Her tone is clipped as he backs up several steps.

She doesn't look at him as she puts together an acceptable outfit and she doesn't need to. The confusion is evident in his voice.

"What's wrong?"

She lets out a bitter laugh because she honestly doesn't know how to answer that. There's one thought reverberating in her head though so that's what how she replies.

"This shouldn't have happened."

He recoils to the other side of the room, as if she has slapped him with great force.

"I'm sorry," he says in a voice that cracks with a tremor of something. She can't find a label for it. "Say that again?"

She walks away from him, toward the bathroom, with her clothes in her hand. She picks up his boxers from the floor and throws them at his chest. He catches them easily.

"This should not have happened, Wyatt. It was a mistake."

"Didn't feel like a mistake to me," he says through gritted teeth. "You didn't seem to feel that way either a few hours ago. So, I'm gonna ask again, what happened?"

She grabs a towel from the linen closet and wraps it around herself before she dares to face him again. She manages to meet his eyes for a brief moment before looking away again. He didn't look angry. He looked hurt and frustrated. She can't blame him for that. She is too.

"I woke up," she tells him with a shake of her head. "I woke up and remembered that this," she states as she motions between the two of them, "is not real. We're too different. You and me is just...a fantasy. I can't build a life of a fantasy. I tried that once already."

"Bullshit," he says with a dry laugh and a scoff. His voice is firm and loud. "I'm calling bullshit, Professor. That's not what's happening here. We both know exactly what this is."

"Oh yeah?" she asks with a challenging glare. "If you know me so well then what is it?"

"You're running scared," he answers with a shake of his head as his voice raises. He mimics her gesture and motions between them. "This is good. It's good for you and it's good for me and that terrifies you. Admit it. Admit you're afraid."

Her jaw tenses and her hands curl into fists. He is right. She hates that and she won't admit it. Her fear is valid. Fear makes sense because fear keeps you from making the same mistake twice, which is clearly what he would be.

"Do you really think it's that impossible for a woman to not want you?" she asks with a roll of her eyes. "I mean, I've always thought you were smug but really, Logan—"

"And now you're picking a fight," he says as he collects his clothes from the floor. "Should have seen that coming. I don't think it's impossible for a woman to not want me. Jessica couldn't get away from me fast enough. I think it's impossible that you don't want me. I was there, every time, Lucy. I felt everything you did. I have no delusions about last night. I know exactly what that was and what it meant. Do you?"

"It never occured to you that maybe it meant more to you than it did to me?" she asks with a glare.

He laughs, a full real laugh, and then shakes his head. "No. I'm not being a cocky asshole when I say that. I promise you. I've never been touched the way you touched me last night. It was exceptional. Something that exceptional doesn't happen unless the connection is deep and mutual. Shit, Lucy, you and me...I've never felt anything like that. Not even with Jessica and I was married to her."

Her fear inflates and rises in her chest and she's almost certain a panic attack is imminent. Is he saying that last night meant more than anything he ever had with his ex-wife? He can't be saying that. Can he?

"It's fucking scary," Wyatt tells her. "I get it. I feel it. I'm afraid, too. You don't have to run from it. You don't have to run from me. The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt you."

His voice is soft and sincere and warm. She can feel him pulling the confession from her lips. It's right there. But she knows the minute she admits it out loud then it's all over. Her control will be gone, evaporated into nothing. She's not ready to let that go. She needs it. She clung to it when Noah left, it saved her life. If she gives it up now then she risks drowning. Drowning sounds like a horrible way to go. She won't do it.

"Wyatt, it's not happening. I can't do this. I'm not afraid. I'm not picking a fight. I just don't want it to go any further." He opens his mouth to protest but she steamrolls over him. "Please leave."

"That's it?" he asks with a furrowed brow and a disbelieving glare. "You just decide it's over before it even starts? We're not going to talk about it at all?"

"We just did," she snaps. "You have to be on set in an hour. We tried it, it didn't work, and now the show goes on."

"We tried it?" he asks in a yell. "Like hell we did. You don't know if it would work, Professor, so you can't say it didn't. What we did and felt in that bed," he says in a quiet seething tone as he points to her unmade hotel bed. "It worked pretty damn well. We could be great but you're determined to bail out and you won't tell me why. You're just throwing it away. Like one of those discarded death scenes you keep writing. You've done how many rewrites of the ending so far?"

Her mouth drops open and she gawks at him. She knew he found the one but how did he know about the others?

"Yeah, Denise let that little fact slip the other day. She looked regretful right after she said but I caught it. You've written seven versions of the death scene for Will Lancaster. So, how about you consider this your eighth," he sneers. "Because it sure as hell hurts like one."

He shakes his head and mutters angrily to himself as he hastily puts on his pants and storms out of the room. He slams the door behind him and she's sure the entire floor heard him. She feels tears stinging her eyes and forces down the bile in her throat. Her mouth tastes like regret. But it's not regret from the night before, no it's regret from the morning after.

She gets out her laptop and writes through her tears. She writes until they've dried on her face. She writes of Leslie taking a shot and missing her intended target. She writes of Leslie with a gun in her hands as she realizes her bullet hit the wrong person, the one person that Leslie is almost certain she can't lose. She writes a tearful goodbye and the end of hope and possibilities that leave Leslie a cold shell of herself. Guilt, remorse, mistakes. All ending with Will bloody, broken, and lifeless in Leslie's arms dead by her own hand.

Her phone rings again and this time she answers it. She's not sure how much time has passed since the door slammed closed, on her hotel room and probably her heart, but the time on her phone says it's a quarter 'til noon.

He's right on time, as always.

"Jonas," she says with forced brightness.

"Hey, babe," he says. "Did you sleep in?"

"Yeah," she lies. "I've been writing for two days straight so Denise said I could be late to set today. Are you here?"

"Car just left the airport. Listen, why don't I just meet you at the soundstage? I'm dying to see the sets and meet the cast. Not to mention, I'm ready to see you. I've missed you. I can check in to my room later. It'll still be there."

"Oh, um, sure, yeah," she says as she quickly emails Denise the new pages and stashes her laptop. She tries not to think about the fact that she didn't tell him she missed him, too. That's not a place in her heart she needs to explore right now. "I still have to get ready so you may actually get there before me."

"I'm sure I can find something to keep me busy while I wait," he tells her with a chuckle.

"Right, of course," she replies with a small laugh. "Okay, then, I'll see you there."

"Great, I'll see you soon then."

"See you soon," she says as she hangs up.

And she's back to where she was when her phone first rang that morning.

God, she is an idiot. She got caught up in Wyatt and forgot all about real life. The life waiting for her once filming ended. Jonas, her third novel, her mother's resentment. Reality. She was letting her mind and her heart get tangled up in the magic of movies and the romance of a manufactured love story. Romance is a great concept, but the reality of it is overrated.

At least that's what she is going to keep telling herself.

She doesn't need it. She doesn't need him.

Maybe if she repeats it enough she'll stop feeling like Wyatt took what was left of her heart with him when he stormed out of her room that morning. It's worth a shot, anyway. She grabs her clothes and heads for the shower. She can't keep Jonas waiting. He's had this visit planned since before she left.

She just forgot it in the face of Wyatt Logan's infuriating smirk.

She arrives at the sounds stage an hour later and panics the minute the set comes into view. Jonas is there, chatting enthusiastically, with Mason and…

And Wyatt.

She rushes toward them gripped with an irrational fear that Wyatt will do something reckless and impulsive. It's not unheard of him for him to act before he thinks. As she approaches, Mason spots her and gestures to her with his hand.

"Ah, there she is," Mason says with a smile. "Our Writer-In-Residence. We were just talking about you."

"Y-you were?" She asks apprehensively.

"Yes, Jonas was telling us he's your editor."

"Hey, babe," Jonas says as he pulls her into his side and presses a chaste kiss to her lips.

Wyatt's brows raise in recognition and then furrow as his expression darkens.

"And clearly, more than that, too," he quips as his disappointed gaze focuses on Lucy. His tone is polite but his face holds thinly veiled anger.

Jonas doesn't seem to notice. He kisses her temple and then smiles proudly at Wyatt and Mason. "Only a little," Jonas says with a teasing chuckle.

Lucy forces a light laugh and a smile she knows doesn't reach her eyes. She knew this would be awkward but why does it hurt? It physically hurts. She has a pain in the center of her chest and it is pulsing and spreading through her ribs.

"Well, Jonas, welcome to set," Wyatt says as he clear his throat awkwardly. "I'm sure Lucy will be more than happy to show you around. I, on the other hand, have a stunt rehearsal to get to."

His eyes don't meet hers again. It's as if she's not there or he doesn't know her. Honestly, after this morning what did she expect? Isn't this what she wanted? Isn't it better? Yes, it is. It has to be. Jonas is the safe bet. Jonas is security and certainty. He is her smartest choice. And Lucy Preston prides herself on being smart. Her intelligence is what gets her where she needs to go. Her own mind and determination has served her well her entire life. The one time she let her heart lead, it failed her. Now more than ever, she needs her intelligence to be her shield.

"Lucy?"

She snaps herself out of her thoughts and turns to face Connor Mason. "Sorry, what was that? I missed it."

"We were supposed to be on location tomorrow," Connor says slowly, as if speaking to a child. "But the location fell through this morning. We're going to have to shoot it on the Hangar set. Would you mind terribly if I asked you to rewrite it?"

In one night? Yeah, sure, she can whip up magic in, what, nineteen hours? She'll just have to stay up all damn night. Seriously? It's not like she got much sleep the night before. She was up most of the night with Wy—

She stops her train of thought, not willing to go back there just yet. "Yeah, sure, no problem."

Jonas looked disappointed though. "I guess I'll have to cancel those dinner plans I made."

She gives him a genuinely apologetic look. "I'm sorry, Jonas. Tomorrow night, okay? I promise."

He gives her a small smile and nods. "Alright, I'll take it."

Her relief at not having to go to dinner with Jonas is wrong, isn't it? She should feel guilty about that, right? It's just that everything with him feels different now. Before this movie she felt adequately happy with Jonas. They were progressing at a slow and steady space. He never expects too much from her. He never has to leave town for months on end. He's stable, successful, and not at all involved in the movie business.

He's perfectly fine.

Which was okay before Wyatt Logan came into her life. Now suddenly perfectly fine felt perfectly boring.


She did it. And she did it with five hours to spare. It is a miracle. By now the script supervisor has printed and distributed the new pages and Lucy has gotten a fair amount of sleep. It is enough that she doesn't need the extreme sleep deprivation remedy of a 4 cream and 4 sugars cup of coffee. She can get ready for the day, go downstairs (hopefully before Wyatt), and get a good strong cup of Earl Grey from the cafe in the lobby. That is exactly what she needs.

She dresses in a hurry and just as she's finishing there is a knock on her door. One glance through the peephole tells her it's Jonas and she grabs her shoulder bag before answering the door. He's holding two paper to-go cups, which she somehow didn't notice before, and is holding one of them out to her.

"Thought you could use a cup of liquid reinforcements," Jonas says.

She nods and whispers a quick thank you as she takes the cup, a huge sip, and then…

Immediately wants to spit it out. What the hell did she just drink? This isn't tea, this isn't even coffee the way she likes it. She doesn't know what this is in this cup. But it is bitter and awful. And of course, Wyatt Logan would walk by her open door just as she's grimacing and faking a smile.

Wyatt's eyes find the to-go cup and then they find hers. She feels red hot fury at the knowing smirk that overtakes his face. He knows what's happened without her having to say it. How? Oh, he makes her so angry.

Jonas walks with her toward the elevator and she's praying that Wyatt has already caught one without them but, of course, she's not that lucky. They three of them step into the small space and Lucy tries to stand as far away from Wyatt as she can. Wyatt leans against one of the walls and stares at the to-go cup in her hand.

He grins and then turns to Jonas. "That smells like some strong coffee you have there, Jonas."

"Black coffee is the only way to wake up," Jonas replies with a smile and a nod.

"That so?" Wyatt asks. She can tell he's holding back a chuckle. "Is that what you have too, Professor?"

She supposes so, but she doesn't trust any words that might come out of her mouth so she nods. She's been holding the cup of coffee without taking another sip and as soon as she can escape Jonas she knows the cup is going in the trash. So does Wyatt.

Wyatt makes a thoughtful noise and nods. "Funny, I always took you for one of those hot tea types. You know, I thought you would drink Earl Grey with a splash of cream."

And two sugars.

She once admired his steel trap of a memory but right now she hates it. He's making Jonas look like a fool and Jonas doesn't even know it. He's also making her feel like a fool which she assumes is his point. Wyatt hasn't known her as long as Jonas but he thinks he knows her better.

"No," Jonas says with a grin. "First thing in the morning you need strong coffee. Right, Lucy?"

Her eyes shift from Wyatt to Jonas and she nods.

"Right," she replies weakly.

It's a little white lie and it will make Jonas happy. It's not a big deal. But Wyatt gives flashes her his sad puppy dog eyes and shakes his head. She had let him down somehow. She doesn't even really understand what she's done by the idea of letting him down places a weight on her shoulders. Why? She shouldn't care what he thinks. This is her life. She needs to live it in a way that makes sense to her.

"Hey, so, I know you can't leave set for lunch," Jonas tells her. "But I can, and I saw this sushi place not far from the soundstage. I was thinking I could go pick us up some sushi. What do you say?"

Wyatt's quirks a brow at her expectantly. Both he and Jonas are waiting for her answer. She doesn't know why Wyatt seems so interested. He can't know what she thinks he knows. She's never told him.

"Um, yeah, okay—"

"I thought you hated sushi, Luce?"

Her sharp intake of air as he says the nickname isn't missed by either man. As she is sure Wyatt intended, images of their night together flood her memory and the reaction her body has is instant. Pavlovian.

Jonas now gives them both a suspicious glance. "You don't like sushi? But we go to that place near my office all the time."

She's too shocked that Wyatt even knows that to deny it.

"You can't possibly know that I—how?" She asks Wyatt with a wary glare.

He laughs lightly and shrugs. "I pay attention. We regularly order from that place and you never join in. I noticed, that's all."

He noticed? He's been watching her that closely? He's been filing away details about her for his own personal knowledge. It's sweet. It's intimate. By admitting it, he steals another piece of her heart. He's been collecting little pieces all along. She sees that now.

She should have done a better job at pushing him away. She should have held firm and never let him in. Why did she let him in? Because now that she has let him in and she is trying to forget…

She can't. And dammit she misses him.

"Why do you let me take you to that place near my office if you don't like sushi?"

Jonas' voice breaks though her thoughts and she turns to him with a sheepish smile. "It's quick for you on your hour lunch and you like it. Besides, I can never get enough miso soup and good hot tea."

Jonas looks as if he's just remembered something. Just noticed it.

He nods and then speaks with a furrowed brow. "You never actually order sushi when we go, do you? I never thought about it before but now...why didn't you just tell me?"

She shrugs and looks down at her feet. "I told you. You like sushi. I thought it would make you happy."

"And Lucy always sacrifices what she wants. Don't you, Professor?" Wyatt asks her as he pins her down with a knowing stare.

"Not always," she replies with a huff and a roll of her eyes.

"Well, from now on," Jonas tells her as he gives Wyatt a wary glance. "We eat at places we both like."

She smiles weakly and nods. "Okay."

"Matter of fact," Jonas says as he moves to stand between Lucy and Wyatt. "Let's have dinner tonight. When you're done with filming. Somewhere nice. We can have a date and talk about your next book. Two birds with one stone."

"Okay," she says with a small genuine smile. "I actually had some thoughts on what to write. I know we talked about that romantic comedy style chick lit story about the mismatched couple on the run from a hitman and while that idea sounds great, I'm just not sure it's me."

"What are you talking about?" he asks with an encouraging smile. "Of course it's you. You'll do great things with that plot. It's equal parts romantic and suspenseful."

"Yeah, I know, and I'm sure it would be an interesting book but I was thinking...I want to write a follow up to Sign," she tells him as she releases a nervous breath.

Out of the corner of her eye she she's Wyatt smile and knows he's pleased with her. She hates that just knowing that bolsters her confidence. She shouldn't care what he thinks. She shouldn't.

Jonas sighs tiredly. "Lucy, we've talked about this. Your last sci-fi technology book didn't do well remember? And the company will drop you if your third doesn't sell. You need a guaranteed hit to get back on your feet."

"I know but if the first one was a success, don't you think—"

Jonas' eyes slide over to Wyatt before he smiles warmly at Lucy and places a kiss to her temple. "How about this, if you promise to seriously talk about the chick lit plot then I will promise to consider a follow up to Sign? Deal?"

He would consider it? It's her writing career. Her book. What does he have to consider? She feels anger flare up in her chest but the last thing she wants to do is rock the boat so she nods and smiles. A habit with Jonas. An instinct at this point.

"Deal," she replies with a hollow smile.

"Maybe you can channel your need for a follow up into a screenplay," Jonas suggests as the doors open. "Provided this movie is a hit and they want another one, that is."

He exits the elevator first. Her eyes find Wyatt's unintentionally. He looks as though he wants to say something, to offer an opinion. But instead he motions for her to exit the elevator first.

"After you, ma'am," he says with a sigh. He looks deflated, like he's been waiting for something and now he's given up. She wonders if he's given up on her.

She steps off the elevator, but before she gets too far Wyatt's hand is on her shoulder, turning her to face him. He doesn't say anything. He just takes the paper to-go cup from her hands and drops it into the trashcan next to the elevator.

"If he asks," Wyatt states, gritting his way through the acknowledgement of Jonas. "You dropped it."

And then he's gone. He walks ahead of her without another word. For some reason, she wants to cry. She failed to speak up for herself at every moment and it is clear how Wyatt feels about that. She's a doormat. She has always been a doormat. The only person to ever urge her to stand up for herself is Amy. Or was Amy. Until Wyatt.

Until now.

And she didn't. She couldn't.

And because she couldn't, she feels like she hurt him. Again.

God, this is going to be one of those days, isn't it? She should have stayed in bed.


They are halfway through the day before they finally have time to start preparations for the newly rewritten scene. Jonas has been stuck to her like glue. She has a feeling he suspects something has happened between her and Wyatt. He's been more publicly affectionate than he usually is and has been asking her questions about her likes and dislikes. It's as if he's trying to beat Wyatt at an undeclared competition. It's grating on Lucy's nerves.

So when Jiya comes to her, while Jonas is busy, and tells her Wyatt has questions about the new pages she is more than happy to slip away.

"What kind of questions?" she asks Jiya as the younger woman walks her to Wyatt's trailer.

She shrugs. "He didn't say. He just said he needed to talk to you."

Great, that's exactly what she needs. Wyatt questioning not only how she lives her life, but her writing, too. She sighs and nods as Jiya knocks. It's either face Wyatt or go back to Jonas while he hovers over her shoulder.

She would rather face Wyatt.

"I've got to go back to set," Jiya says as taps her headset, indicating something urgent has happened. "Are you good?"

Lucy smiles with forced politeness as she lies. "Yeah, I'm good."

The door opens as Jiya walks away and Lucy focuses a glare on Wyatt Logan. Damn, he looks good. His blue eyes look brighter when contrasted against the red Flannel shirt he's wearing and for a moment she's lost in them.

But then she remembers Jonas is waiting for her on set and severs the connection. No actors, no risks.

"You have questions?" she asks in irritation.

"I do," he says as he motions for her to come inside. "You might as well join me in here. This might take a while."

Alone? With Wyatt? In the privacy of his trailer? Does she trust herself in that situation? Does she have a choice?

"We have to shoot this scene in an hour. Can we move this along?" he asks with a huff.

She rolls her eyes at him and climbs the steps. "Fine."

The door closes behind her and she stands in front of him with her arms crossed. "I was told you have questions."

"Just one actually," he says as he leans against a nearby table. His jaw is set and locked. His stance is rigid and tense, and after a moment of seething silence he finally explodes. "Lucy, seriously, that guy?"

She runs a hand through her hair and sighs tiredly. "So this isn't about work then?"

"You can't possibly think he's right for you," Wyatt says with a furrowed brow.

"Just because he was never People Mag's Sexiest Man Alive doesn't mean that he's not—"

"That is not what I mean and you know that," Wyatt tells her with a frustrated and bewildered expression. "He doesn't care about you and the things you want for yourself."

"And you know that after seeing us together this morning for, what, ten minutes?" Lucy asks him sharply with a roll of her eyes. "You don't know him, Wyatt. Stop acting like you do."

"You're right," he tells her. "I don't know him. But I know you."

She can't help it. She laughs. He's known her for four weeks. Exactly how much can he know. Her laugh causes him to take two big strides forward until his standing directly in front of her with a heated gaze.

"I know you hate sushi, I know you carry a box of cheap pens in your purse at all times, you prefer white wine to red, or if you're stressed a rum and coke. I remember how you said you take your tea. I sure as hell know better than to show up at your door with a cup of black coffee. I know your little sister is your best friend, I know you don't want to write that stupid chick lit plot Jonah was throwing at you—"

"Jonas."

"What?" he asks.

"His name is Jonas," Lucy tells him with a glare and a hand on her hip.

"Do I look like I give a damn?" he asks with an annoyed expression. "My point is that I have paid attention and remembered the stupid stuff because it's you, and I can't help but notice. I notice every time you arrive in any room. But I know more than that. I see you, Lucy. That guy, Jonas or whoever, he doesn't see you! He has no idea who you really are."

"Stupid stuff? So, those little things you just claimed to know, that's all stupid stuff? Those little things are what make an intimate relationship. They're not stupid," she says as she glares at him.

"Yes, they are. They're useful things to know but they're not what matters," He tells her.

"Fine," Lucy says curtly. "Enlighten me. What exactly are the things that matter?"

"You have no idea how beautiful you are, for one. You're too damn self sacrificing. You hate disappointing other people. You're tenacious and stubborn when you believe in something and you know you're right. You're level-headed and rational Lucy Preston, and you like knowing that's how people see you. You've written a beautiful romance in this movie and yet don't seem to believe in romance yourself. You never tell people how you really feel. You like control. You like to lose control," Wyatt says when he finally stops to take a breath. He reaches a hand out to caress her cheek with the backs of his fingers, and it takes all she has not to lean into his touch. "Ask me how I know that last one, Professor. Go on, ask."

She doesn't need to ask. She knows. He figured that out night before last when she gave her control to him, if only for a night. She doesn't ask and she can tell he's frustrated by her refusal to play along. But what did he expect? Did he think she would take one look at his stupid handsome face and melt into his arms? This was real life, not a movie.

"I know because the other night I was in your bed all night long, and you seemed more than happy to let me take the lead, Luce," Wyatt says softly as he puts his hands on her waist and tugs her closer to him. "You let me in." His lips are hovering dangerously close to hers now. So close that if she leans even an inch upward her mouth will touch his and it is so tempting. It is within her reach and if Wyatt would shut up, she would do just that. But the idiot has to keep talking. "Why him and not me?"

The question sends her reeling back to reality. She steps back or tries to, he has a firm hold on her waist, and remembers. Jonas is dependable. Jonas rarely has to leave town to work. Jonas is normal.

"Because it just makes sense, Wyatt," she replies.

"Sense?" he asks with a furrowed brow. "Sense? Really?" His voice raises and he releases her waist. "That's the answer you're going with? Sense?"

If he wants to shout then she can shout, too.

She glares at him and begins to tick off the reasons on her fingers. "He doesn't leave for months on end to work. He doesn't have random women slipping him their numbers on cocktail napkins. He doesn't film love scenes with actresses and then run away with them to Ibiza or where the goddamn ever they went, he doesn't treat me like a fucking meal ticket. He's safe, he's sensible, he's sane, and he's—"

"Boring," Wyatt interrupts loudly. "He's boring, Lucy. And after the year you and I have had, I get that. Noah was a son of a bitch and he treated you like shit, but he was fucking idiot and I am not an idiot. I would never do to you what he did and I would never use you for my career. I have no problems getting roles on my own. I don't need a meal ticket, Baby Doll," he yells with a frustrated shake of his head. "No movie, no role, no part of my career would keep me from being there for you. No matter how far away I may be or how long my shooting schedule is. So, if that's what's holding you back, then—then I'm sorry but that is bullshit. I don't get a fair shot because he met you first? I don't even get a chance with you because you happened to meet a bastard that called himself an actor? Really? You're better than that, and you are braver than that. I know you are."

They are both red faced and squared off against each other now. Full on arguing, louder than they ever have before, in the middle of his trailer. There is no doubt that anyone passing by can hear every word but she cannot bring herself to care. How. Dare. He. Baby Doll? Did he call her fucking baby doll? She is so pissed that she could spit and, if she didn't find spitting so disgusting, she would. It is her prerogative if she never wants to date an actor again. He's accusing her of being a coward? He knows her? He doesn't know her! There are so many things they haven't talked about. Just because they slept together, doesn't mean he knows her.

"You keep saying that! But you don't know. What's my middle name? My birthday? How long ago did my dad die? Oh, I'm sorry, did you not know he passed?" Her voice is loud and increasing in volume with each question. He doesn't move, doesn't flinch. He just seethes. She finds his eyes and hopes the fire in her veins is reflected in her brown eyes. "You. Don't. Know. Me. Sweetheart." The endearment is said with patronizing venom and she can see his jaw twitch as she uses it. Finally, something visually upset him. She was beginning to think he was a damn stone wall.

He scoffs at her. "Those things I can learn. Those are facts, history. Anyone can know those things about you. But I know you. I see you. Jonah—"

"Jonas."

"Still don't give a damn," Wyatt spits as he continues loudly. "His name doesn't matter because he can't even see through your people pleasing smile to put together that you hate sushi and drink tea. No way he sees anything else you try to hide from him. Is that what you want? You want that? I can't believe that. No, you want someone who challenges you. Who makes you admit what you want. Because you won't. You won't admit a single damn thing that you want for yourself if you think it will hurt someone else. Noah and your mother took advantage of that for far too long and neither of them ever deserved you. He'll be no different. Hell, isn't he already doing that? What about your book, Lucy?"

"What about it?" Lucy asks in aggravation. He hit too close to home. She feels her defenses going up along with her stress. He can't know all of that about her in just four weeks. He can't.

"You told me you wanted to write a follow up to Signs, and he should be encouraging you. But he's not, is he? No, he has other plans for your book. You tried to tell him this morning and he didn't listen. But what's worse than that, than him ignoring what you want, is you agreeing to it." His arms are swinging wildly as he yells and he stops swinging them to point an accusing finger at her. As much as she wants to see anger in his eyes, she doesn't. What she sees is protective fear and irritation. "You've been through this before or have you forgotten? Have you forgotten how your mother and Noah took control of Carbon Copy? How you let them take control of it? You're letting him do the exact same thing and he is more than happy to exploit that. To exploit you. You cannot seriously tell me that you would rather have that than be with me. I refuse to believe that."

He is not right. He is not. Jonas would never do that. She'll talk him around on the idea. She will. Except, deep down she knows she won't. She knows she'll sit across from him at dinner tonight, look him in the eyes, and ultimately agree with whatever he thinks is best. And what's worse is, after this morning, she is almost certain Jonas takes that for granted. Now, she's angry with herself. With Jonas. And then it all circles back around to Wyatt because he brought it to her attention. She could have lived without knowing that Jonas was just like everyone else who ever tried to get what they wanted out of her. Why couldn't he just let her be?

"You know what?" she says through gritted teeth. "I don't have to stay here and take this from you. I told you, Wyatt, this is never going to happen. We are never going to happen. Jonas is normal and removed from all of this Hollywood shit and that is all that matters to me."

She turns to storm away but trips over the raised corner of a rug. She sees the corner of a table rapidly coming closer to her face and shuts her eyes to brace for the blow, but it never comes. Instead she feels a hand on her arm that catches her and spins her until her chest collides against something warm and solid and safe. She breathing heavily and still trying to find her bearings when she opens one eye to find Wyatt searching her face in concern.

No. No. He can't look at her like that. They were just screaming at each other. He should be furious with her.

"Are you okay?" he finally asks as his arms tighten around her waist.

She shoves him away as hard as she can. He stumbles back a couple of paces and looks skyward with a loud exhale, as if willing himself to calm down. The frustration and furrowed brow are back on his face when he looks at her again.

"I'm sorry. Would you have rather I let you fall and crack your skull?" he asks with a glare.

She's still panting to try and still her rapidly beating heart, but the erratic thumping isn't from her near fall. No, it's from him. Why, of all people, does she have to be attracted to him? She's so mad at whatever force is in control of the universe because she doesn't want to want him. She doesn't want to need him. She doesn't want to pull him back in so he can wrap his arms around her once again. She doesn't want any of that and it's somehow all his fault. Why does he have to be so caring and concerned and why does he have to want her to be happy? Why can't he just move on with his life so she can move on with hers?

Stupid, handsome, good man. Handsome and good are not bad descriptors but she thinks them with an accusation. She's glaring right back at him with every ounce of frustration she knows he feels. Their eyes connect and then suddenly…

She wants him.

What the hell is that? They're both pissed, and not just at each other, but her body seems to have a mind of its own because more than anything she is craving him. Without thinking, she flings herself across the small space that separates them and covers his lips with hers. He lets out a soft growl against her lips and backs her up to the nearest wall. He pins her against it with his body, pressing himself tightly against her. Her soft curves, meeting his lean muscle. She feels him untucking her blouse from her skirt and then feels his calloused hands on the smooth skin of her stomach. She gasps and he takes full advantage of her open mouth. These kisses are not the same kisses as the last time. These kisses are hot, urgent, and wet. Sloppy as hell.

Good God, if she doesn't love it.

His hands softly trail up her stomach and then under the cups of her bra until he's palming and massaging her breasts. She whines into his mouth with an urgent level of need she didn't even know it was possible to feel. She arches against him as he continues. As soon as her lips leave his, his mouth is firmly secured to her weak spot, the pulse point on her neck.

She can feel him now, pressing hard and insistent against her through his jeans. His hardness matches the warmth pooling between her legs and she is momentarily amazed. How were either of them ready for this so quickly? They took it slow last time and there was torturous build up, but this…

This is happening so fast that she hardly has time to think, let alone hear the voice that plagued her the first time.

He removes his hands from her bra to cup her ass and then trail down the outside of her thighs until he's grasping the undersides of her knees. He presses her harder against the wall and lifts. She takes the hint and wraps her legs around his waist. The new position puts her core right up against him and she can't resist grinding against him. The layers of clothes between them are thinner for her, especially with her skirt naturally riding up around her upper thighs while he's between her legs. The friction of his jeans and erection against her lacy underwear is just too delicious. Practically forbidden.

He's moving with her a moment later while he unbuttons her blouse and then shoves it down her shoulders. She releases her grip on his upper arms long enough to pull her arms out and for him to undo the back clasp of her bra. She tosses both aside and then clings to his shoulders once again. He's the only thing keeping her head above water, the only thing keeping her from drowning in the pleasure building between them.

Her bare chest is pressed against his clothed one as he captures her lips again. He's pressing her to the wall with nothing but the solid weight of his body. She doesn't feel his hands on her anywhere now. She's so distracted by his tongue branding hers and then exploring her every inch of her mouth that it escapes her notice. So, he catches her by complete surprise when he hastily pushes her underwear aside and enters her. She cries out at the jolt of delicious pressure inside of her and feels him press his lips to her ear as holds steady, not moving even a fraction of an inch.

His husky voice, dripping with yearning hunger, is now tauntingly speaking against the shell of her ear. "I know he doesn't fit perfectly inside you like I do, Luce. He doesn't fill you like this." On the word 'this' he thrusts, hard and fast.

She's gasping for air as her skin overheats and she presses her nails into his back. She's so close to slipping below the surface and drowning in him completely. She holds tight to him as he thrusts again and again, deeper and deeper each time. His movements turn frantic and fast and fierce the closer they both get to release. Her hands frame his face and pull his lips down to hers. The kisses that they indulge in are savage and possessive.

This moment is the opposite of the first time they made love in every way.

There is no tenderness, only raw need.

She's never one to be loud during sex. Not even with Wyatt their first night together, but in this moment with him she has no control over the sounds leaving her lips. She's close to bursting when he abruptly slows his pace.

He presses his forehead to hers, leaving her eyes no choice but to find his. His eyes are trying to communicate something she isn't sure she wants to name. The tenderness is back and in his eyes she finds something deep and faithful. She shouldn't think it because it's the last thing she's supposed to want, but she has the strange thought that he's trying to promise her he isn't going anywhere. That he wants her for the foreseeable future. She might be wrong, maybe he means something else, but regardless she sees longing and intention in his eyes. So much of it that he steals the breath from her lungs and now her breathing is erratic as her heartbeat.

She's right on the cusp of letting go. His recent slow pace has kept her from being immersed in bliss, from falling over that ledge from a few nights ago. She's getting impatient. She wants to drown. She wants to fall.

His name leaves her lips in a desperate plea that's a mix of a sob and moan, and that seems to pull the trigger. It seems to send him back to the place they were before he wordlessly begged her to meet his eyes. It sends both of them back to those feelings of possession and frustration. His movements are furiously quick again and his kisses intrusive and messy. Raw. Passionate. Hungry.

And then it happens, she's careening over the edge toward cool refreshing water that she cannot wait to lose herself in. Her hands fist in Wyatt's shirt as she comes. His name is spilling from her lips again in satisfaction and exhaustion as he joins her. He's just landed at the bottom of the cliff with her, her muscles are still in spasms around him, when there's a knock at this trailer door.

"Wyatt? They're calling places."

Jiya.

"Right," Wyatt replies. His voice is hoarse and deep and they both know Jiya won't hear him. He clears his throat and tries again. "Right! I'll be there in a minute."

"Alright, but you'd better hurry. Mason is in a mood. Just giving you a heads up. See you on set!"

"Yeah," he replies lamely. She feels every rumble of his voice against her stomach and through their current connection. Oh, God, what did they just do? "See you on set."

There's a moment where they're both frozen, as if they are holding their breath to make sure Jiya is really gone. Once that moment passes, they're left to stare at each other awkwardly.

"I, um, I guess we'd better…" he says as he lets his sentence trail off.

She pushes gently against his shoulders. "I think we can, uh, untangle now."

And so they do. She finds her bra and and her blouse and he buttons himself up and she goes to leave. Not knowing what she wants or should say in this situation. She really thinks he might let her escape without another word until his hand grabs hers as she turns away. She stops but doesn't face him. She can't face him.

"Lucy—"

She cuts him off. For the sake of her heart she has to. "We don't really have time for this right now. We need to get to set and, in the interest keeping the rumors at bay, we shouldn't arrive together."

He reluctantly releases her hand and she practically sprints from his trailer. How did she let that happen again?

She hides out in the bathroom for several minutes. She needs to think and regain her composure. She needs to find her footing in logic and reason.

Just because it happened, doesn't mean it's significant. Except she's not exactly the type of person to think of sex as a casual act. It always means something to her. She should never have gone to his trailer. She knew that was a bad idea the minute he invited her in.

But why did it happen? What had she been thinking? She was so angry at him and angry at herself. He catches her. He saves her from a trip to the ER, most likely. And that's all it takes for her to jump him? Because that's what she did. She literally jumped his bones. She was trying to express how much she didn't want him one moment and then…

Why is her heart determined to disobey her mind?

She needs piece of reality cling to. She needs a reminder of how fabricated love and romance actually is to help her climb out of this spiral. Loving Wyatt Logan would only lead to heartache. She needs to be around something that will reinforce that idea. Something to keep her from falling into his arms.

The only thing she can think of at that particular moment...is Jonas. She heads back to set and seeks him out. She will glue herself to his side like he tried to do to her earlier. He is reality. Wyatt Logan is a dream.

And she always wakes up from her dreams, even if she doesn't want to.

The only time they see each other for the rest of the day is on set when they're surrounded by hundreds of other people. They both seem to decide focusing on work is the only way to make it through the day. When the day is over and they all return to the hotel she parts with Jonas at the elevators to get ready for their date. She's freshly showered and towel drying her unruly hair when there's a knock on her door.

She glances through the hole in the door and freezes. Wyatt.

She'll just ignore him. He'll go away. He doesn't know if she's in her room or not. She can pretend she isn't here. Except, she thinks as she eyes her hair dryer on the bathroom counter, if she doesn't blow dry her hair soon there will be no point. He will definitely know she's in the room if he hears the hair dryer.

Besides, she has to face him at some point. This time she will stand her ground. He will not break down her defenses. She will resist and prove to him that whatever is happening between them isn't real.

She opens the door with a sigh and gives him an annoyed expression. "Yes?"

"We have to talk...about today," he tells her with a nervous glance as he leans against the doorway.

"I don't see why that's necessary," she says. She means it, too, because she would really rather forget the whole thing ever happened.

His eyes narrow on her and he opens his mouth to speak but then glances around the hallway cautiously. "Can I come in? I mean we can have this conversation across the doorway if you want but—"

"Or I could just slam the door in your face," Lucy states with a narrowed gaze all her own. She was not repeating the same mistake twice. Being alone with Wyatt Logan is never happening again. Especially not while she's wearing nothing but a terrycloth robe.

"Why are you being so difficult? There is obviously something happening between us and I thought that would be obvious after today—"

"Today was a reckless and impulsive mistake," Lucy says as she cuts him off. "So was the other night. I should never have let myself get caught up in all of this movie magic or whatever insanity I've been suffering from. Filming will end in another six weeks and then you and I will go back to our regular lives. Do you really see this," she pauses and motions between the two of them. "Going anywhere after that? I find it hard to believe that Mr. Action would want me once we're back in the City of Angels where there are plenty of more appealing options."

"Hold on," Wyatt says as he pushes off the doorway and gives her a doubtful look. "You think I want you because we're on a film set and there are no other options? You're shitting me, right?"

"I'm a writer, nerd, and klutz who regularly has a pen mark or two on her face because I stick pens behind my ears without the caps on. I'm a mess. And you...you're...well you're—"

"A jealous asshole who until about a week ago was trying to purposefully make your life hell? Also the guy who drunkenly pretended he didn't care about you and threw hurtful words in your face? Yeah, yeah that's me. Reckless, hotheaded, and moronic. You're talking like you think I'm too good for you but I'm completely certain it's the other way around," he admits as he stares deeply into her eyes. "You genuinely don't see how amazing you are or understand any of what you deserve and I'm not saying I deserve you because I'm pretty sure I don't, but I am saying that you're too good for Jonas. You deserve better than him."

She isn't sure what to do with the look he's giving her now. It's pleading and hopeful yet self-deprecating all at once. It's as if he's taking a shot that he knows he'll miss. He anticipates losing but he can't risk giving up the chance that he'll win. Who does that? Who fights a battle they think they are certain to lose on the off chance it might go their way?

A reckless hothead that's who.

She can see on his face that he doesn't think she'll choose him but he cannot stand the idea of her choosing Jonas. To feel something like that—to care so much that you just want to make sure the other person is happy even if it isn't with you—then he would have to be…

No. No way. He can be attracted to her, sure. They can have chemistry, she'll admit to that even if she's never been a believer in "chemistry." They can have outstanding sex. But he absolutely cannot, after only four weeks, be in love with her. It's not possible. Her imagination is getting the better of her or maybe...maybe she's projecting?

Oh god, does she love him? Is she seeing love in expression because she's the one who's in love?

As always with Wyatt, he's making her feel things that terrify her beyond all reason. He makes her feel things that are fast and big and loud. He took root in her heart almost instantly and no matter how she tries, she cannot weed him out.

He has to go before she says something she regrets, before she shows her hand. But he looks more determined than ever to stay and the only times she has ever gotten him to leave is when she has tried to provoke him into a fight. He sees through it by now but it's all she has, all she knows, to keep her distance. She will use it to keep her sanity for as long as she can.

"And, what, you think that's you? You think you're better than Jonas?"

Her tone is harsh and patronizing. He flinches like hearing those words from her physically hurt him. Saying them hurts her, too.

"I think I'm better for you than Jonas, yes," he says through a tense jaw.

"So, Jonas doesn't know I like tea, he doesn't know I hate sushi...big deal. I hardly think that's reason enough for me to leave him, especially for someone who is such a risk," Lucy tells him. "You think I should choose sex over a stable and solid relationship?"

"What you have with Jonas is not stable or solid," Wyatt says with a roll of his eyes. "If it was either of those things we wouldn't have had sex—" he stops and looks skyward as he appears to mentally count "—four times now?" He smirks at her and she desperately wants to smack him. "You would be running to him with your fears and worries. He would know what you really wanted and how deeply Noah and your mother actually hurt you. But he doesn't, does he? You can't talk to him about that, can you? He doesn't make you feel as safe as you pretend he does. You don't trust him. Do you really want to go all in on a man you don't trust?"

"Better him than an actor," Lucy says with a scoff.

"How in the hell does this still boil down to my career choice? How many times do I have to tell you that I am not Noah? Jesus Christ, I know you're stubborn but you would think you would get it by now," Wyatt jeers. "Noah didn't care about you Lucy, I do. And I know you care about me, too. I know you don't care about Jonas the way you care about me."

She shakes her head at him. "You can't know any of those things. You're not as attuned to me as you think you are."

He takes a step forward until his lips are hovering over hers and then he dips his head and fastens his mouth to her neck, to her treacherous pulse point. His arms wrap around her and pull her to him in a tight grip and she doesn't fight it. Doesn't attempt a single protest. She can't. She melts and settles into his embrace. A soft whimper escapes her and as soon as it does he's pulling away. He stands further away from her than he has for their entire conversation and grins like the cat that ate the canary. Meanwhile, she's standing there breathless, with her mouth agape, warmth pooling in her belly. Dammit.

"I'm attuned enough to know what you like and how you like it, without you ever having to tell me. Can Jonas say the same? Does he know how damn loud you can be? I bet he doesn't," Wyatt says as he searches her face for an answer. "Does it mean so much to be with him that you cry? Because you did with me, Luce. You can pretend that the other night was a mistake, that you want to take it all back, but we both know better. Because if you really thought that, you would have kicked me out of your bed after that first time. But you didn't do that. No, you reached for me again later that night and then again today. You want this as much as I do but you're letting your fear get the better of you."

"You don't know what I want. You don't know what I feel," Lucy says in a voice that she knows sounds less than certain. Her intense reaction to his lips on her neck has her shaken. It was barely anything but she's this close to yanking him inside of her room for more of what they did in his trailer.

"Keep telling yourself that, Professor," He says with a derisive snort. "But I think it's more likely that you don't know what you want or how you feel. I know exactly what I want, and I think I've made that pretty clear to you."

Clear? What's clear exactly? That he's the best sex of her life? That he wants her to be happy? That he cares about her? Yes, she would agree that those things are clear, but none of those things say commitment. None of those things tell her if he'll still feel that way a few weeks from now. Does he want an actual relationship with her? Does he see a possible future where they end up together or does he just think they might have a little bit of fun? He says he's been clear but to her it's anything but.

"No, you haven't, Wyatt. You haven't been clear at all. Is it clear that you care about me? Yes, I think so, but so does Jonas. Am I certain that you believe in my talent? Yes, you have actually made that clear. But, again, so does Jonas. So, other than sex, what do you bring to the table that Jonas doesn't?" She asks with a frustrated glower. "What's different about you?"

"If you don't know that by now then there's no point in my telling you," he quips. "I have proven myself to you. I have told you how I see you and how badly you deserve to have everything you want." He looks down at the floor and chuffs before his eyes find hers again. They're burning with frustration and resentment. "I have tried to show you that in so many ways, but if after all of this you still don't believe me—don't trust me—then why am I wasting my goddamn time?" His voice grows louder as he continues. "I'm not going to beg you to love me. Either you do or you don't, that's the bottom line. I can't stop you from giving into your fear, even if it kills me. I can't do that because how you decide to live your life is up to you. Not me. But dammit, Lucy, you should want so much more for yourself than what you've accepted so far."

He shakes his head and takes another step away from her, she fights herself to keep from reaching for him. His words feel like knives in her chest. He's right. She knows he's right.

"Maybe someday you will," he tells her. "But I don't know if I can wait for that. It just hurts too much." He lets out a mirthless chuckle and then nods at her. "So, you know what, I'm done."

She thought the fear of loving him was paralyzing enough. But the fear of losing him? That's eviscerating. She's watching him walk away from her and she can't seem to move. She can't speak. Nothing. Her breathing becomes shallow and she feels like she's choking. She thinks her heart is in her throat and it's strangling her. Down the hall, she hears his door slam, but she's still standing in her doorway, petrified.

He's done? What does that mean? She's as confused by that as she is about how 'clear' he thinks he's been. So, he's walking away from her forever. Who cares? Isn't that what she wanted? Wasn't that the choice she was trying to force him to make?

Well, she succeeded. She should be happy.

But she isn't.

She refuses to let her heart break, though. It can't break because she is not in love with him. Her heart has never been at risk and it still isn't. She channels what she's feeling somewhere else. She channels it into anger. How dare he come to her room and say all of these things. How dare he try to tell her how to feel! He can't know her heart better than she does. It's her heart not his. Last time she checked, it beat inside of her chest. Just because they'd once been naked chest to naked chest and he'd felt her heart beat against his doesn't mean he knows what's inside of it.

How dare he make such presumptions.

He made her want to scream or throw something.

She was feeling too much at once and it was all because of him. Her control was slipping away from her because of him. Her confusion, her heartache, and her warring emotions were all his fault.

She turns and storms back into her hotel room. She kicks the door shut behind her with such force that she nearly knocks one of the bland hotel room paintings off the wall. Her eyes land on her laptop as it sits on the desk at the far end of the room and she knows what she needs to do. It's a compulsion at this point to use her writing as a means of dealing with her frustrations about Wyatt Logan. Why stop now?

Her fingers fly across the keyboard as she lets her emotions fly. Her anger at the world, fury at Noah, bitterness toward a mother who knows exactly how to wound her, suspicions that Jonas isn't the unquestionable choice she thought he was, and, lastly, her vexation with Mr. Action himself. She prints the pages and throws them into her script folder.

She needs to stay busy, to do something. These pages are not being emailed. She is handing them to Denise directly. She ignores the cocktail dress she laid out on her bed and throws on jeans and a t-shirt instead. Her hair is half dry so she's lost her chance to tame her curls, but she doesn't care. She just going to see Denise. She calls down to the lobby and has them bring around one of the studio's courtesy vehicles before rushing to meet it.

Within ten minutes she's on her way to the soundstage, within twenty five she's marching toward Denise's office, and within forty Denise is finishing her first read through.

Denise throws the papers down on her desk and settles a knowing look on her.

"You know I'm going to say no, don't you? You want us to end the film with Flores successfully thwarting the American Revolution and Leslie returning to a present time where Will Lancaster never existed? Wyatt Logan is our box office draw! You know I can't do that. In fact, you've known that this whole time," Denise tells her with a tired sigh. "Why do you keep sending me these?"

"I...just think it would be unexpected and creative," Lucy lies.

"Not to mention franchise suicide," Denise tells her with raised brow. "What's really going on here? Is there something happening between you and Wyatt?"

"What?" she asks, a little too loudly. "No," she says emphatically. "Absolutely not."

Lucy doesn't blame Denise when she gives her a doubtful look. She wouldn't believe herself either.

"The lady doth protest too much," Denise says in a bored tone.

"I have no feelings whatsoever about Wyatt Logan," Lucy says with a huff.

"You tried to kill him nine times!" Denise yells with a dry laugh.

"Yes," Lucy says slowly, as she tries to think of how to justify it. "I restrained myself nine times. You should be proud!"

"No, dear," Denise says with a laugh. "I restrained you nine times. You would have had Will Lancaster drawn and quartered several times over by now if it weren't for me."

"It wasn't about him! It was just about the film," Lucy yells. She has no idea why she's yelling at Denise. Her voice sounds desperate even to her own ears.

"Really? Okay, so tell me, what's wrong with the ending you've already written?" Denise asks her. "You've been faithful to everything else in your book, why change the end?"

She stutters and stammers but can't seem to string any words together to form an actual sentence. She knows it's a futile effort because she doesn't know the answer. She likes the ending of the script very much. It has the exact tone she always imagined and it sets up future movies perfectly. She doesn't want to change it. She doesn't want to change anything in her script actually. But how does she tell her boss that she was writing about Will Lancaster's death because it was the only thing that kept her from murdering the actor who portrays him?

Denise takes pity on her and interrupts her pathetic sputtering.

"You know what, forget it. I don't want to know. Because it seems messy and complicated and I don't have the patience for that. What I do know is that I will no longer accept these pages from you. I am not your therapist. I am your executive producer. This is a professional film and not whatever revenge fantasy you keep trying to talk me into making. If you have an issue with Wyatt Logan take it up with him. Keep it out of the studio and out of my office. Are we clear?"

Denise's lips are set in a tight grim line and her eyes are narrowed. She looks terrifying. Lucy gulps and nods.

"Yes, ma'am."

Lucy stands to leave but is surprised by Denise's hand landing on her arm.

"Some friendly advice, Lucy? People don't react as strongly to someone as you have unless there is real passion there. I know, from going through this process with you, that your history with people in this industry hasn't been the happiest, but you can't let the unworthy people in this world change you," Denise pasts her arm and then releases it. She smiles warmly and Lucy can feel it comforting her. She knows Denise has two children and, as Denise continues, Lucy thinks she must be an excellent mother. "I understand being cautious, but there comes a point where being cautious turns into living in fear. Don't live in fear. Don't hide from what you really want. I tried that once upon time and all I did was hurt myself. I would hate to see you do the same."

"Thank you," Lucy tells her as she tries her best to return Denise's smile. But so much of what she says reminds her of Wyatt. He's been telling her that same thing this whole time. She heard him, but she didn't listen. She willfully ignored him.

Lucy watches Denise throw her pages into the shred bin before she turns and leaves. The shredding of those pages leaves her feeling like something finally clicks. Maybe it's a delayed reaction from Denise's lecture or maybe it's the visual of her fear being ripped to pieces. She's not entirely sure.

Either way, she's beginning to realize that Wyatt is right. He has been this entire time. About her, about them, about everything.

But especially about Jonas.

She took a risk by going with Mason Studios. She chose herself over her mother or Noah for the first time in years or maybe her whole life, and Jonas was her retreat back to her old patterns. She gave up two controlling and manipulative people and then replaced them with Jonas. What is wrong with her? Is she really that afraid of living her own life and making her own decisions?

Yes, she is. That is exactly why Wyatt terrifies her.

He is everything she never knew she needed and he expects her to stand up for herself. He expects her to be brave and tell the world what she wants. Other than her sister, he is the first person in her life to stand back and really hear her. Not only does he listen but he wants her to follow through, to succeed. She is not used to that. He doesn't want anything from her for himself. He just wants to be there for her. He genuinely wants to help.

It's been so long since she felt that from someone that she couldn't bring herself to trust it. To trust him. There's still a voice in her head, even now, whispering that he's too good to be true. That he declared he was done. That she's too late. That she will never compare to his starlet ex-wife.

She sees his face in the elevator with Jonas earlier that day and remembers what it felt like to know he was disappointed in her. She didn't know why his opinion mattered then, or maybe she did and she couldn't admit it, but she knows now. It all makes sense. The way she wants to comfort him because she knows he's just as broken as she is, how difficult it was to avoid him for days on end, the need to reach for him when his face takes on that anguished look he wears too often, the fact that his opinion means more to her than anyone else's, and the need she feels to be with him. It all fits and leads to one conclusion that she knows she's been in denial about for longer than she cares to admit.

She loves him.

It's only been four weeks. It's been four insane weeks of fighting and flirting and honest conversations and, more recently, sex that makes her toes curl, but still only four weeks.

And yet…

She loves him.

They ran at a breakneck pace towards each other. No matter how hard they put on the brakes they couldn't seem to stop. The crash was inevitable. She sees that now. She's always believed in fate but never believed in romance. It seems fate wanted to teach her a lesson. Sometimes, the two go hand in hand. There is romance in the world, chemistry actually exists, and everything really does happen for a reason. Every heartbreak she went through led her closer and closer to him. She pieced together her heart, bit by bit, following the shards like a trail of breadcrumbs never realizing that she would find him at the end of the path.

She loves him.

But she fucked it all up.

The image of him walking away from her looking rejected and defeated sticks in her brain and stings. She's rubbing salt in her wounds at this point, but she deserves it. She was so busy protecting herself and pushing him away that she hurt him. Is it too late? Can she fix it?

No, she won't go into this doubting herself. She loves him. She made mistakes and she will make up for them.

Her new drive and determination is brought to an abrupt halt as she approaches her hotel room. There, sitting on the floor next to her door, is Jonas. He's dressed for dinner at a nice restaurant and she immediately remembers the cocktail dress that is still laid out on her bed. She was supposed to have dinner with Jonas.

She got so caught up in Wyatt that she forgot Jonas. She feels the corners of her mouth tug upward slightly as she thinks, what else is new?

"You missed dinner," he says. He stands as she approaches and gives her an anticipative glance.

"Yes, sorry about that," she says with a sigh. "I got a little distracted."

"I know, they told me down stairs you called a car and ran off to the studio. Movie making emergency?" he asks. She can see that he already knows he won't like her answer. His face is solemn and drawn.

"No," she replies honestly. "Not an emergency. It doesn't really matter."

"It matters to me," he says as he crosses his arms over his chest. "I flew all the way across the country to see you, so I think it's only fair that you tell me why you stood me up for dinner."

"You know," Lucy says with a forced polite smile. His tone is really irking her. She understands that he's upset, but he has no right to any information that she doesn't care to give him. "I don't think I will."

"So, that's it then? You just stand me up and I have to live with it?" he asks her with an angry glare.

"Pretty much, actually, yeah," she tells him as she leans against the wall next to her door.

"Is it because of the book?" He asks with a challenging look. "Because I don't think your intellectual sci-fi techobabble history lecture of a book will sell a second time? Is that why you're pissed at me?"

"I actually wasn't anything at you until you opened your mouth a few minutes ago," she tells him with a smirk. "I forgot you were even here."

"Nice," he says with a roll of his eyes. "That's just what every guy wants to hear his girlfriend say."

"Well, then I guess it's a good thing I'm not your girlfriend anymore," she says with a pinched grin and shrug. "Also, I'm contacting the publisher tomorrow and requesting a new editor."

"So, this is because of the book," he says with a sarcastic chuckle and a nod. "I'm just trying to save you from yourself, babe. Carbon Copy was soulless and everyone knows it. You need to do something catchy and flashy. Readers don't want to be lectured over three hundred pages. I've been doing this for a while I think I know what I'm doing."

She rolls her eyes and sighs tiredly. "I don't want to write your damn chick-lit book, babe. Also, I think I have more faith in the general population than you do because I think people want to learn. I think they want to be entertained and educated all at once. More than that, I think we, as a culture, need to encourage that. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. I will write what I want to write and it will be educational and idealistic and it will make people care about their world again. And if you won't help me with that then I guess I'll just have to shove you out of the way, won't I?"

"That's what you want?" he asks with a blank expression. "Well, I guess it's a good thing the world revolves around Lucy Preston then, huh? You know your last book hurt my career too. You owe me."

Her eyebrows rise and she's so shocked by his statement that she actually finds herself laughing at him. "I owe you? I don't owe you a damn thing. I didn't even want to write that book. The publisher, your bosses by the way, read the unfinished manuscript at my mother's urging and made a deal with her. No one even asked me! And you know what? While you were editing that book, you said absolutely nothing about hating it. So, Jonas, there is no way in hell I owe you, and I certainly don't owe the publisher. I will write what I want to write and the publisher can either get on board or let me go. At this point, I can't say I care."

"Well, I can't wait to report that sentiment to my boss," he tells her with a smirk. "Go ahead, write what you want, we'll see how much longer you have a career. I cannot believe you are being so selfish."

Selfish? Selfish? She sees red and feels her face flush as anger builds in her body. Wow, he was really showing his true colors, wasn't he? Was he trying to manipulate her by playing on her insecurities?

"Hell yes, I'm being selfish," she yells. It's late and she is certain she is waking someone up but she is too pissed to care. "For the second time in my goddamn life I am being selfish. I am doing what makes me happy. I am standing up for myself and not letting a user like you twist me around in knots. If you want your idiotic rom-com thriller mystery written so badly, then write it yourself. If you have the talent for it, that is. You know what they say. Those who can't write, edit. And you know what else? I hate sushi and you should have noticed. Also, black coffee? Have you ever known me to drink black coffee? If anyone standing in this hallway is a selfish asshole, it's you."

"Well, Lucy," he says with an irritated click of his tongue. "Tell me how you really feel, why don't you."

"I think I just did. Now, go the hell home, Jonas. I don't want you here," Lucy tells him with a dismissive wave of her hand as she pulls her key card out of her back pocket.

"I can't wait to watch you crash and burn," he says as he watches her open the door to her room. "And this precious movie of yours? I hope it tanks. I hope not even the great Wyatt Logan can save it and it sinks to the bottom of the box office faster than Gigli."

"Wow," she says sarcastically as she steps inside of her room. "Jonas, that was so charming and, you know, I think I want you back now."

He brightens momentarily. "Really?"

She rolls her eyes but leans toward him enticingly. He leans to meet her and as his lips hover close to hers she smirks and replies, "Fuck no."

While the door slams in his face, she flashes him a self satisfied grin. That felt good. Making a choice for herself, telling someone what she honestly wanted, not backing down.

She is never going to let herself be a doormat ever again. Going after what she wants feels right and she pledges to do it more often. Starting with Wyatt Logan.

For the second time that night she is wracked with emotions she can't seem to reconcile. She's also buzzing with adrenaline from that encounter with Jonas. For the past four weeks this has been the moment where she has sat down and written a Will Lancaster death scene, except right now she doesn't want to kill Wyatt Logan. She never really did, if she's honest with herself. Anger was easier to deal with than what she was truly feeling for him and so she made herself angry. She poisoned herself against him.

She wasn't doing that anymore. She knew how she felt. She was through lying to herself. So, maybe…

...maybe therein lies her salvation.

If she wrote through her anger then why couldn't she write through her love, too? And maybe it was time to stop rewriting her movie, and move forward. It was time to start living her life again and planning her future. She sits down at her desk, fingers hovering over the home keys, and pulls up a new document. It was time to write for herself. To write her truth. Once upon a time, when her writing was hidden away on her laptop that was all she did. But then other people tainted it, tainted her. That was over.

Maybe if Wyatt knew that—maybe if she showed him she could be brave—then he would forgive her. Maybe. It was worth a shot wasn't it? Even if it was a losing battle, she had to try. She couldn't give up.

So, instead of a script, she starts a novel. A prologue, really. Barely a tease of what she's always wanted the follow up to Sign of the Times to be. As she writes, she thinks the follow up will be better, stronger. She's found her own real life Will Lancaster, and he is better than she ever imagined. She puts every bit of what she feels for him, and what she imagines Leslie feels for Will, on the pages.

It's a heartbreaking beginning, but it illustrates a great love. A great love that hurts and heals all at once, and a love that always comes full circle. Something steadfast and true that might be tested and bent and beaten, but can never be broken. She hopes he understands. She hopes he reads her words and sees her heart.

She breathes deeply and presses print. A few minutes later, she slides them under his hotel room door and says a quick prayer to anyone who will listen. She prays these pages don't end up in the shred bin. Her previous rewrites were full of lies she told herself to maintain her personal status quo, but these pages are pieces of her. Pieces of her devotion and hopeful redemption.

They are pieces that she hopes he'll keep.


She passes out as soon as her head hits the pillow. She's emotionally and physically exhausted, and she doesn't have to be on set at the asscrack of dawn. Today is a night shoot day. No one has a call time until four in the afternoon, and her personal call time isn't until much later that evening.

So, to say she's irritated and surprised by the insistant knocking at her door at six in the morning is putting it mildly. She pulls her robe on over her shorts and tank top and yanks the door open with what she hopes is a fierce glare on her face, but in actuality probably more closely resembles a bleary eyed wince.

Her heart stops once the door is open and she gets a good look at what waits for her on the other side.

Wyatt Logan. He's holding her pages in one hand and gripping the doorway tightly with the other. He looks short-winded and anxious while wearing nothing but flannel pajama pants. He looks as though he ran from her room to his in a hurry. He wasn't even wearing a shirt or socks. He was barefoot and half naked in the hall pounding on her door as if the building were on fire.

"Wyatt?" she asks with uncertainty. She's not a hundred percent sure she's awake.

"What is this?" he asks as he waves the pages at her.

She's all at once awake under the weight of his anticipating stare. "I—um, they're pages."

"From what?" he asks urgently. "Pages from what? It's not a script. It's not a death scene. So, what are they from?"

"Tempus Fugit," she replies as she bites worriedly on her bottom lip. "The follow up, or what will be the follow up, to Sign."

His face lights up, and for a moment she thinks he might jump forward and kiss her. His eyes brighten and travel down to her lips and then back up to her eyes, he shifts his weight, and his hand that's holding on to the doorway fidgets. It's like he's itching to touch her but doesn't want to cross some sort of invisible line.

"And you left them for me?" he questions with a furrowed brow. "Did you send any to anyone else?" he asks pointedly. "Your, um, editor maybe?"

She tries not to grin at him and bites back a playful remark. Smooth, Wyatt. Real smooth.

"Currently I am in between editors," she tells him. "I, sort of, fired my last one, I guess. Not that I can really fire him, I mean, he doesn't work for me. But I did email my publisher and ask for a new editor so I guess technically I—"

Her sentence is cut short by his lips on hers. She gasps as he deepens the kiss and wraps his arms around her tightly. His kisses are resolved and forceful, like the steps he takes to walk her backwards and further into her room. He lets go of her with one arm and absently shuts the door behind him. Her hands land on his bare chest and then trace over the muscles on his stomach of their own volition. She knows, in reality, they just did this yesterday but it feels like an eternity. It feels like she's been on a year long journey since she left his trailer yesterday and she can tell he feels the same.

His kisses are more potent than any caffeine, and despite the fact that she's running on maybe three hours of sleep, she feels more alive than she as in years. He pulls back from the kiss to meet her eyes. They are full of admiration and awe as a joyful grin spreads across his face.

He holds the pages up for her again. She forgot he was still holding them.

"This is—Lucy, I—I don't even know what to say. Your first book was brilliant, you know I believe that, but this. Jesus, I don't even know how to describe it. Your heart, your soul, everything, drips from these pages. What made you finally start it?" he asks as he brings his hand that's not holding the pages to her face and caresses her cheek softly.

"I'm guessing you didn't read the dediation then," she says with a warm smile. "How dare you skip pages, Logan." She takes the stack of papers from him and turns to the second page. She taps the words and then turns it around for him to see. "I believe you'll find your answer right there."

He reads the words to himself and she watches him eagerly. He quirks a brow at the page and then gives her a lop-sided, unsure, smile. "Do you mean this?"

"Every word," she says as she takes a deep nervous breath.

In the next moment he's reading it aloud in a voice full of wonder and her heart nearly stops. "For the man I love, who saw me more clearly than I ever did." He puts the pages down on her desk and then wraps his arms around her again. "You love me?"

"I do. So much that it scares the shit out of me."

He laughs and then beams at her. Good god, with a smile like that she's never going to need to see the sun ever again.

"It does," she repeats. "That's why I—that's why I was so awful to you. You were right, Wyatt. The whole time I was fighting you, you were right. It was easier to find someone else to give into than it was to stand on my own two feet and decide things for myself. Jonas expected me to do as he said. He expected to walk all over me." Her tone is tense and angry but it turns tender as she goes on, as she focuses on the man in front of her. "But you—you were so exquisitely different. You made it clear my choices were my own while encouraging me to do what made me happy. All my life, people have tried to control my decisions and you just seemed too good to be true. I wanted to trust you but I didn't know how. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." She feels her eyes watering as her hands reach up and caress his stubbled cheeks. "Do you forgive me? I wouldn't blame you if you—"

"Yes," he replies instantly. "You don't even have to ask."

And now she really is crying. They are gentle and joyful tears that fall silently down her cheeks because she never expected him to be so willing and ready to let her back in. "Really?"

"I wasn't exactly Prince Charming myself," he tells her with a shrug. "I'm pretty sure I criticized you and lectured you every chance I got and then I was so careless with you early on. The way I spoke to you...and then, of course, you didn't like that I was improvising with your words. With the way Noah and your mother—I don't think I will ever understand how they could do that to you. Have I told you that? You just wanted to make them happy and they-" She feels his muscles tense against her as he cuts off his own sentence and she is touched by his anger on her behalf. "My point is, I could have been more understanding initially but I was fighting us, too. A part of me still believed the doubts Jessica planted in my head and I didn't think I deserved a second chance. Not with you or anyone. So, you didn't exactly get my best self." He presses his forehead to hers and meets her watery brown eyes with his sincere blue ones. "If you can forgive me for that, then it's nothing to forgive you in return. Besides," he says with a playful smirk. "I don't know if you noticed, but I'm kinda in love with you."

She lets out a watery chuckle and rolls her eyes at him. "Only kinda, huh?"

"Okay, admittedly, a little more than kinda," he says before his face grows serious and he closes the distance between them to kiss her fervently. It's a short kiss but so full of meaning that she can't say she minds. When he pulls back he brushes his nose against hers and sighs contentedly. "I love you, Lucy."

So maybe such a thing as movie magic actually does exist because this moment certainly feels like a happy ending. The credits will roll any minute, she thinks in amusement. Although, she doesn't think this is so much an ending as it is a beginning. She imagines that in this moment, instead of a title card with loopy elegant font stating 'The End', the words that appear in the movie of her life simply say…

The Beginning.


PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY WRAPS ON SIGN OF THE TIMES

By Katie Drummond

Filming wrapped yesterday in Atlanta, Georgia for Mason Studios coming attraction, Sign of the Times. Based on the New York Times best selling novel by Lucy Preston, Sign promises to be a swashbuckling time traveling adventure full of spectacle and romance. Inside reports indicate the movie is still on schedule for it's 2020 release date. The jury is still out on whether or not any reshoots will be required to complete the film.

Today, the cast and crew returned Los Angeles, as evidenced by the attached photos of Wyatt Logan arriving at LAX just this morning. The actor seemed to be oblivious to the cameras as he escorted Lucy Preston to their waiting car. Is this confirmation of the rumors that have been flying around for the last month or so? Your guess is as good as mine, but I will say that they do look quite cozy strolling through the airport with her arm in his.

Much cozier than their exes seem to be. Celebrity gossip isn't my area of expertise, but it really isn't gossip if Noah and Jessica Cartwright decide to argue over dinner in the middle of Ago in West Hollywood, is it? It's more like fact.

The release date for Sign of the Times has yet to be announced. Mason Films has slated the film's release for Summer 2020. Expect a press release regarding a more exact date in the coming weeks.


WYATT LOGAN: OFF THE MARKET?

By Judy Campbell

It's been nearly three months since Wyatt Logan returned from filming his upcoming blockbuster, Sign of the Times, when my colleague Katie Drummond reported that he was spotted looking absolutely besotted with bestselling author, Lucy Preston.

Celebrity gossip may not be Ms. Drummond's gig, but it is mine.

Rumor has it, Wyatt Logan isn't letting Lucy Preston go anytime soon. He was spotted leaving the Beverly Center just yesterday carrying a tiny box in that famous shade of Tiffany blue. Could wedding bells be on the horizon, once again, for Wyatt Logan? I, for once, hope so. Lucy Preston has done wonders for Mr. Action's brooding blue eyes in the last few months.

They are certainly fairing better than the ever dramatic Cartwrights, but that's a story for next week's column. Just between you and me, a little birdy told me Noah Cartwright might finally sign those divorce papers this week. I'm cheering him on from my office because I am honestly so tired of writing about them.

Looks like all's well that ends well, though, for Logan and Preston if that tiny blue box holds what I think it does.

Sign of the Times is set for theatrical release Memorial Day 2020 and Lucy Preston's follow up novel Tempus Fugit has just recently been announced for Memorial Day 2019. Purposefully timed one year ahead of the movie's release. My source inside Cahill Publishing House tells me their office phones are ringing off the hook with request to move up the release date. It seems fans just can't get enough of the Time Team and their thrilling race to save history.


Wyatt's eyes widen as he reads Judy Campbell's article and he finds himself glad he picked up Lucy's magazine before she could. He really tried hard not to be spotted. Damn photographers. He quickly tosses the magazine in the trash and buries it with the coffee grounds he needs to discard from the filter. Even if she finds it, she won't want to read it now.

He's glad to have a successful career, but it makes it hard to plan anything in secret. He's already nervous as hell. He doesn't need the added pressure of her knowing what's coming. He's afraid she'll think it's too soon. Four months of being an official couple isn't that long in the grand scheme of things, but what's the point of waiting if he knows?

He knows in every fiber of his being that Lucy is meant for him. What he feels for her is nothing like anything he's ever felt before. He knew it was different from the minute he opened the door of that luxury sedan. It was an instant attraction and she hadn't even said a damn word. He tried for weeks to tell himself that's all it was. It was attraction, nothing more. But then he went to her room to discuss script pages and he glimpsed the woman behind the mask. He was a goner the minute she pulled out that goofy Marlon Brando impression.

She made him work for it every inch of the way. Persuading Lucy Preston to give him a chance was the most difficult thing he had ever done, and it was worth every minute of the torture he felt. Four weeks of pining for her, four weeks of trying to convince himself he didn't deserve her, four weeks of not understanding how the hell Noah could ever leave her, and four weeks of wishing she would let him love her like she deserved.

Finally, she did.

She dumped Jonas and got past her fears and then they let themselves fall together. Head over heels, wholly and openly.

It took them one month to fall in love. It took them two and a half to move in together. (It only took him two weeks after getting back from Atlanta to realize he couldn't sleep without her anymore.) And three to get a dog. They weren't exactly working with the most traditional timeline to begin with. So, while proposing after four months of dating may seem impulsive, it actually fit their previously established pattern.

As soon as they got their act together, they seemed to be in sync. Usually, they are on all the same pages at all the same times. But in the far corner of his mind he has doubts about this particular page.

He finishes making his coffee and then goes to work on her tea. It;s a lazy Saturday afternoon, for once, and Lucy has decided to spend it writing.

And he has decided to spend it watching her write. That's not creepy, is it? It probably is. Though, she never seems to mind. It's especially gratifying on days like today where she knows it's just going to be the two of them and Dakota (that dog he mentioned earlier, remember?) because she doesn't even bother getting ready for the day. There's no trace of makeup on her face, her hair is curly and wild, and she keeps her slender legs on full display. Just for him.

Currently, she is sprawled across the couch with her laptop resting on her thighs and the dog laying on her feet. She's chewing her bottom lip and rereading what she wrote yesterday while she grimaces and sighs and frantically backspaces over certain parts. She's a perfectionist, which he kind of knew all along, but didn't come face to face with until after filming ended. She's also much too hard on herself. He knows she rewrote one section five times yesterday and what she ended up with was almost word for word identical to her very first draft of that section.

The kettle whistles. The dog jumps off the couch and runs to sit at his feet.

He sighs and stares at the mutt in amusement. "This kettle goes off every day, bud. You should know by now that it doesn't mean you're getting a treat."

The dog just whines and barks, and Wyatt rolls his eyes at him before tossing him a Milkbone.

Lucy laughs from her spot on the couch. "You realize he's never going to learn that if you keep giving in, don't you?"

"You try saying no to his big puppy eyes," Wyatt mutters as he finishes Lucy's tea.

"His puppy eyes I have no problem saying no to," she tells him as she looks up at him. "It's yours that are my weakness, Soldier."

He smirks at her and nods. "Oh yeah? I have puppy eyes, huh?"

"Don't act like you don't know," she tells him with a grin and a roll of her eyes. "You're well aware of how adorable your stupid face is."

"Adorable and stupid in the same sentence," he says as he picks up her cup of tea and his coffee and makes his way to her. "I tell ya, ma'am, you really know how to make a guy feel loved."

"Well, I am a writer, don't ya know? The talent for an eloquent turn of phrase is in my blood." She juts her chin out with playful pride as she takes her tea from him and he can't help but laugh at her.

"Whatever you say, Baby Doll," he replies.

She stares at him for a moment and then sets her laptop on the coffee table. She holds her tea in one hand and then motions for him to join her on the couch with the other. He doesn't need to be asked twice. He sits down next to her and she quickly snuggles into his side. She swings her legs over his and then rests her chin on his shoulder. The casual affection and the ease of contact between them will never cease to amaze him. Or at least he hopes it never ceases to amaze him. She came stomping into his heart without warning and a part of him will always be afraid she could stomp out just as easily. He lost Jessica, who's to say he couldn't lose her, too? It's best, he knows, to not take anything for granted.

Because if Lucy ever left him—

God, that would be the end of him.

He would go on existing, sure, but he certainly wouldn't be living. Not without her.

And it's in that moment that he feels it. That feeling he's been waiting for to propose. It's peace and contentment and certainty. She's cuddled next to him in companionable silence, just casually sipping her tea with her clean face and unruly dark curls, and something in him just knows that this is it. This is the moment. The ring box is pressing against his leg from the pocket of his flannel pajama bottoms and he takes a deep calming breath.

Just go for it, idiot.

He puts his coffee down next to her laptop and then turns and takes the cup of tea from her hands.

"Hey!" she protests. "I'm still drinking that."

He chuckles at her offended face and shakes his head. "I'm aware, and you'll get it back. I just—I have something I need to say."

"Okay," she says with a furrowed brow. "Now I'm worried. Did I forget to turn on the alarm system on last night? I swear I thought I did but I was half asleep and—"

He places a gentle hand over her mouth and smirks at her. "It's my turn to talk, Professor, and, no, it's not about the alarm system. Though, you did forget to turn it on last night. I really hope you turn it on when I'm not home. I mean, you do, don't you? Cause I know this is gated community and everything but—what am I doing?"

He can feel her smiling against his palm and her warm chocolate eyes are shining in amusement.

"I sound like you," he tells her with an accusing glare. "You're turning me into a rambler."

Her shoulders are shaking and he can hear her muffled laughter.

"Laugh it up," he says with a teasing eye roll. "Go ahead."

He removes his hand from her mouth and her laughter rolls out of her as he does so.

"Rambling Wyatt is so cute," she says through her laughter. "I think I just fell in love with you all over again."

He sits and waits and grins at her as her laughter subsides and she clears her throat.

"Sorry," she says as she lightly worries her lip to keep from chuckling. "You had something you wanted to say."

He just sits in silence and observes her for a moment. He wants to drink this in. To drink her in. With her cheeks flushed from laughing, and his button up shirt swallowing her frame, and her teeth teasing her lip. He wants to remember all of it.

"I love you. You know that, don't you?" he asks once she starts fidgeting nervously under his gaze.

Her brow furrows slightly in concern. "Of course I do, and I love you."

"No," he says with a shake of his head. "I don't just mean I love you. I mean I love you. You are the love of my life. I love you more than I have loved anyone else in my life."

Her eyebrows lift in surprise. "Anyone else?"

He knows exactly who she's asking about when she puts the emphasis on 'anyone.' Though, he does not understand why she seems surprised. "Anyone, Lucy. No one else even comes close to you."

"What you're about to say is either really good or really bad," Lucy tells him observantly."Which is it?"

He chuckles and shrugs. His paranoid nerves are returning as he speaks. "I'm hoping for the first, but I think that's really up to you." He pulls the ring box out of his pocket and places it on top of her thighs that cover his.

Her eyes widen at the sight of the blue box with the white ribbon and she glances back and forth from it to him as she gingerly picks it up. She unties the ribbon and lifts the lid on the blue box to reveal a velvet black ring box.

"Oh my god, Wyatt," she says with a gasp as she brings a hand to her mouth. Her eyes water and stares at him in shock.

When it becomes clear she's in too much shock to actually open the box, he does it for her. The diamond ring glistens in the natural white light that slips through the blinds and contrasts sharply against the black velvet of the box.

"I know," he says as his voice cracks. He clears it nervously and continues. "I know realistically it's only been four months that we've been together but...you're it for me, Luce. There's no one else. There will never be anyone else. I know that with every fiber of my being." He grabs her hand that isn't pressing against her mouth and brings it to his lips. He presses a kiss to her palm and then lays her hand over his heart. "Lucy Preston, will you marry me?"

When she removes her hand from her mouth he breathes a sigh of relief. She's smiling brighter than he's ever seen her smile, brighter than any sun or star ever could, and tears are streaming down her cheeks. The joyful kind, he knows. He knows her well enough to spot the difference. He picks up the black box and carefully lifts the ring out of it.

She gives him her left hand and nods with a waterlogged laugh. "Yes, Wyatt. Yes."

"Oh thank God," he says as he releases a nervous breath and slides the ring onto her finger.

She laughs again and then cups his face with her hands. "Did you really think I would say no?"

"It's only been four months, Luce, most people would find that to be too soon," he tells her as he leans into her touch.

"We are not most people. Never have been," she says with a beaming smile.

"Touche," he replies with a chuckle.

She shakes her head at him but her eyes look amazed. "This was perfect. You were perfect."

He presses his forehead to hers and brushes their noses together. She releases his face to throw her arms around his neck and pull him closer. They kiss leisurely for several minutes before he slowly lays her back onto the couch and settles himself on top of her. Her soft hands run through his hair and over his arms. He wonders, not for the first time, how she instinctively knew to do that. From that first day she did it while he was helping her with her harness it was like she just knew he needed it, that he would get the most comfort from a hand through his hair. He didn't even know that about himself so never understood how she did.

But then, he supposes, that's how it should be because she sees him differently than he sees himself. In her eyes he is good, in her eyes he is worthy of care and concern and love. He loves her and he loves her eyes. He loves the man she makes him want to be. Even when he hates himself, he loves her. She's his true north, his constant, his guiding light.

And as a thank you for that, he plans to be there for her and help her achieve any dreams she wants. He gets the privilege of supporting and encouraging her for the rest of his life. She has put her trust in him and it was hard won.

He won't let her down.

Fin.