A/N This is a rated M Story. As you all know by now, I own nothing except my heart's desire to see Adrian and Natalie have a happy ending… and great sex.

The car was so warm; the windows were getting a little foggy as he sat and looked through the passenger side window and right into Natalie's dark house. He could just see inside by the low glow of the nightlights in the hall outside the living room. He'd been driving aimlessly for hours in the cold November rain. For months he'd been doing this same thing on and off. Trying to sleep, being unable to because his brain just wouldn't rest.

When he'd had difficulty sleeping because of Maria Cordova, Natalie had told him to go for a walk—that had been a long time ago. That had led to him witnessing a crime. So with this new bout of insomnia, he thought his sleeplessness would be better handled by going for a drive. He didn't need a new crime on his mind as well. He hadn't told Natalie about his insomnia this time; he hadn't dared to call her in the middle of the night. He was afraid that all of it… his anguish, his feelings, his love, his desires would all come tumbling out in some disorganized and jumbled way, and she'd think him insane, and he couldn't have that happen. So he drove through Marin County last night. The night before, he'd driven over the Golden Gate Bridge. He was getting braver, more confident in his driving, back to where he'd been before Trudy had been brutally taken from him. The fourteen years since that day had changed him in so many ways. First negative changes, then as he learned and grew and accepted—positive changes. In his heart, he knew the reason for many of the positive changes in the last eleven years was sleeping less than a thousand feet away from him in that cute little Victorian house. How he dreamed of sleeping next to her with his arms wrapped around her tiny frame, his face buried either in her hair or in the crook of her neck. He was afraid sometimes of those dreams because they weren't about Trudy, but he was learning to put the guilt and the past behind him where they belonged.

Sometimes, he even dreamed of Natalie's scent. He woke painfully lonely and even more painfully aroused. When they were together during the day, and he was surrounded by that alluring scent in one of their cars, it was enough to drive him to distraction. It was good that she still did most of their daily driving. He might have gotten them killed otherwise. Her nearness activated all five of his senses, and then there were some senses surfacing he didn't even know he possessed. In fact, he was like a man possessed by demons lately. He'd never felt this overwhelming desire towards anyone before, not even Trudy. Theirs had been a much more quiet and sweet, yet ardent if low flame, love. It was beautiful and perfect. Just tame and straightforward. Now, although woefully inexperienced, he somehow knew that being with Natalie would be a forest fire, a conflagration that even the cold rain that poured from the November sky on that black morning on the day before Thanksgiving could not extinguish. The car stereo was playing on low, set to a station Natalie had left it tuned to earlier in the day when they'd been running errands and Adrian had been so distracted by his thoughts he hadn't noticed.

The DJ's voice broke through his disoriented thoughts and said, "Next up, November Rain by Guns And Roses." Something about the coincidence made him turn up the volume.

When I look into your eyes

I can see a love restrained

But darlin' when I hold you

Don't you know I feel the same?

Nothin' lasts forever

And we both know hearts can change

And it's hard to hold a candle

In the cold November rain

Well, that's a coincidence. Here I am sitting in a cold November rain, and this guy is basically singing my thoughts. Keep going, let's see if you have any advice.

We've been through this such a long long time

Just tryin' to kill the pain, ooh yeah

Love is always coming, love is always going

No one's really sure who's lettin' go today

Walking away

If we could take the time to lay it on the line

I could rest my head just knowin' that you were mine

All mine

So if you want to love me then darlin' don't refrain

Or I'll just end up walkin' in the cold November rain

Wow, no advice, but you definitely get me.

And when your fears subside

And shadows still remain, oh yeah

I know that you can love me when there's no one left to blame

So never mind the darkness, we still can find a way

'Cause nothin' lasts forever, even cold November rain

The song went on - it seemed to last forever, there was an instrumental interlude. It was almost hypnotic. For hippie rock music, it was really quite good. Just then, Adrian noticed movement in the window of Natalie's living room. A light snapped on, illuminating her soft curves. She was wearing her typical tight double tank top and drawstring sleep pants. The colors and patterns never matched. Nothing he'd ever seen her sleep in matched. How she did it, he didn't know. He sighed with an unrealized desire that overtook his caring about matching sleepwear. As if an unseen force pushed him, he turned the car off and exited to the chilly, rainy walkway. He stood like a voyeur watching her straighten up a few things and possibly lighting a fire. Then she disappeared—to the kitchen, he assumed. He was right. She came back with a mug with a teabag in it, tag still dangling, and watched her settle on the couch. He realized he was getting soaked through to his skin despite his rainwear. He swallowed and mustered his courage. Never had he needed it more. Never had he needed it standing in this spot before. Never had he needed it to knock on Natalie's door or ring her doorbell no matter what time it was. He'd also never needed it when he burst in unannounced if her door was unlocked or when he used his key… he knew he was always welcome… Wasn't he?

He made it to the porch and shook the excess water off of himself before he knocked. How many times have I stood in this spot, he wondered. He knocked with timidity at first, then he became bolder and knocked with force. Moments later, Natalie pulled open the door and found him standing there dripping on the porch. "Mr. Monk?"


"It's 2 am."

"Well, um, happy Thanksgiving Eve day morning," he tried awkwardly.

"What are you doing out there in the pouring rain?"

"I couldn't sleep, so I was driving around, and I ended up here. Then I saw you were up too."

"Yeah, insomnia is horrible. I made some chamomile tea. Want some?

"That would be nice. Thank you." She stepped back to allow him entry.

"Good grief, you're really soaked! How long were you out there? Let me find you some clothes. I still have a stash of Mitch's things. Hold on!"

He continued dripping in her entryway as she ran up the stairs. She was back in minutes. She handed him two soft towels, and a pair of fleece sweats and a long-sleeved t-shirt with "Navy" emblazoned on it. "Go into the bathroom and dry yourself off, change and then come sit with me on the couch. Your tea will be waiting!" As she expected, it took him more than ten minutes to do as she suggested, where it would have taken most men two. He was still somehow wearing his shoes and wet socks when he walked back into the room.

"That will not do!"

Adrian looked down at himself and didn't know what "wouldn't do." He draped his wet clothes over a chair near the fireplace. She'd hung his raincoat by the door over the doormat.

She pulled him towards the couch and pushed him into a sitting position, then she kneeled between his legs. He nearly had an aneurysm looking down at her in that position. How would that look if anyone walked in… at two in the morning… just out of the blue. Get a grip, Adrian. No one is going to walk in for no reason at this hour.No one but him. As his mind wandered, she untied his shoes, removed them and pulled his socks off gently too. She put them close, but not too close to the fireplace to dry out, beside the rest of his clothes.

"Okay, that's better! Silly man, you could catch cold standing in the rain. Why did you wait till you were soaked to knock if you knew I was awake? You know you're always welcome here… even in the middle of the night! What is keeping you up?"

He didn't know which question to answer first. "It's kind of a long story."

"Well, I'm awake. You're awake. Tell me, what has you wide awake in the middle of this dreary night?"

"Why don't you go first? Tell me why you have insomnia. Then I'll tell you my story."

"Well, first, last, and always is money. And no, that was not a hint for a raise. I'm worried about Julie's tuition and living expenses for her semester abroad. Jonathan said he would help, but I feel terrible even contemplating that option."

"I'm sorry you're so worried, Natalie." Adrian frowned, and his brow creased in concern. He knew this was his fault somehow. If only he could pay her more… or let her go so she could find a better-paying job. Deep down, he knew he'd never let her go, and not just because she was a great assistant.

Natalie realized how that had sounded. "It's not your fault. Truly, you asked why I was awake; I wasn't trying to make you feel bad. I was just trying to juggle expenses to keep all the balls in the air… you know," she shrugged.

He nodded. He did know. He also knew that he had the power to help her, he could take on private cases now as she'd always wanted him to, and he felt he could do that, but they'd discuss that tomorrow. He looked at her carefully then. Desirable without even trying in her simple nightclothes. Delightfully disheveled from being in bed. Amazingly, he didn't even want to see her straighten her nightclothes or brush her hair. Under her eyes, however, were shadows she'd been hiding with makeup during the day. Those shadows didn't just get there tonight from a few hours of missed sleep. He knew she'd been carrying a lot on her shoulders on her own for far too long. He wanted to change that, give her less worry, give her the support she deserved. He cleared his throat, "Natalie, there's something on my mind. Something that's been causing me to lose sleep for months now. Something I think I have known for a long time but refused to acknowledge—even to myself." He paused, sipped his tea, and looked directly into her eyes. This could change their lives forever, and not necessarily in a good way. But if he didn't try, if he didn't tell her, he might never sleep through a night again. He put his mug back on the table.

With worry in her voice, she asked, "What is it? What is making you sound like this is life or death? Are you ill?" She took both of his hands in hers. Now that he was driving again, he did go places without her. Maybe there'd been a doctor's appointment she'd missed. Was he keeping things from her? It was Natalie's turn for the frown and furrowed brow.

He studied their joined hands for a moment and squeezed hers gently. "No, Natalie, I'm not ill." She sighed with relief. He smiled, "But I am a little sick. Lovesick." He smiled again at her puzzled expression. "I've finally realized that it's okay to be happy. It's okay to love. It's okay to want. I finally recognize I'm still alive—and I want to live. With you." He paused momentarily and raised his eyes from their hands to regard her face, to see if she understood what he was saying. "I love you, Natalie. I've been in love with you for so long that I barely remember not being in love with you. I hardly remember my life without you in it. Honestly, I don't want to imagine my life without you beside me."

Natalie didn't respond at first. Staggered, she simply stared at him, green eyes huge and glistening. Finally, a tear escaped, and that broke her silence. "You… love ...me?" She squeaked. "Are you sure you're not ill? Not disassociating?"

Adrian looked a little put out. "No, Natalie, I am perfectly healthy physically and mentally, but if you don't respond somehow… I may not be either for much longer."

"Oh, dear lord! Adrian." She used his first name. This was going okay now. He relaxed marginally.

"I love you. I have been in love with you for a very long time too… I never imagined you would return my feelings, so I settled for our friendship. Which has always been one of the greatest things in my whole life. But try as I might to push them away, the romantic feelings kept coming back. Every summation of a case, every 'I solved the case' smirk, every rare, dimpled smile, every bit of progress you make, every car ride, every meal we eat together. There they were—those feelings that never go away. So every night I come home to this empty house wishing you were here or I was there at your place, and I go to bed lonely, frustrated, and sad."

"I am so stupid for such a supposedly brilliant person."

"No. Don't you ever say that about yourself! Certainly not to me! You are my brilliant, handsome, fascinating, frustrating, loveable Adrian."

"But Natalie, all this time…."

"You weren't ready. Your heart wasn't healed enough..."

"You are so compassionate and more generous than I deserve."

"No, we are exactly what the other deserves. I need you. I want you. I always will. But right here, right now, I have never wanted something so badly as I want you to kiss me."

He smiled that dimpled smile that she loved, and took his hands from hers and enveloped her in his arms, and obliged her want. Their first kiss was gentle, tentative, and cautious. When it ended, they stared at each other a moment before the next began. More intense, caution was thrown to the wind as Natalie pressed herself to him, and he groaned with unfettered yearning against her mouth. The kissing became more passionate as their tea grew cold and the fire in the fireplace began to sputter.

Adrian drowned in the feelings of love and warmth and safety that Natalie's kisses and arms were creating for him, but he particularly enjoyed the sounds of pleasure from Natalie as he touched her haltingly, then more boldly. He'd forgotten how gratifying it was to know you were making someone happy, giving them pleasure. As he watched her eyes glaze over with bliss of her arousal, he knew they'd reached a point he'd not expected to arrive at so quickly. Years of pent-up desire had led them swiftly to the point of no return.

"Natalie, are you sure we should… you know… now. So soon?" He asked quietly against her delectable neck.

She stopped kissing his neck and looked at him closely. He was nervous. She scooted out from under him and walked to the fireplace. She added two logs and waited for them to catch before she turned back to him. But she didn't sit. Instead, she grabbed two throws from the back of the couch and several pillows. She laid the blankets over the plush rug that sat in front of the fireplace. Then she sat down in a non-threatening pose. Legs crisscrossed like a young girl, smiling brightly.

"Come here," she said softly and held out her hand to him. He tilted his head and stretched his neck, unsure and uncomfortable. "The blankets are clean; I just washed them today. They're also very, very soft." It was true, they were so soft. She'd spent a good sum of money on them at a chain discount store, but they were initially much more from a super expensive department store, and they felt sexy on bare skin… although this would be the first time she shared that delightful pleasure. "Please?" And with that one word, as it would be for the rest of their lives, he agreed to make her happy. From that moment on, if it was in his power to give it or to get it or grant it, he would do so. He did it now, a little frightened but also a little excited, for the first time.

He went to her and kneeled. The warmth of the fire caused his cheeks to heat. She met him on her knees and looked up at him with a sultry smile as she placed a hand on his warm cheek. She reached up with her other hand and snapped off the lamp so that the room was dark and lit only by the fire. "Adrian," his heart raced when his name escaped her lips on a soft sigh that was laced with desire. "I have wanted you for more nights than you can imagine. One of my fantasies has been to make love with you in front of this fireplace."

Adrian drew in a sharp breath at her words. She had fantasies! About him! This was way out of his world of experience. She pulled at the hem of his borrowed t-shirt, and he let her lift it over his head. She tossed it to the side, and it landed perfectly on the couch. Natalie ran her fingers softly over Adrian's chest. He hadn't felt a woman's touch on his bare skin in more than fourteen long years of self-imposed abstinence and solitude, and he shivered involuntarily at the pleasure that coursed through him. Soon, her lips replaced her fingers, and her tongue traced magical, ethereal paths along his abdomen, pectoral muscles, and nipples until he felt as ablaze as the logs in the fireplace.

Suddenly he became far more aggressive than was his personality, but he tugged at Natalie's tight camisoles and dispensed with one, and then the other leaving her bare from the waist up, leaving him stunned for a moment. He pulled her down to the blanket and laid her head on a throw pillow from the couch as he reverently kissed her and his hand rose to caress her bare breast for the first time. He swallowed with difficulty as his fingers made contact with her hardened peak, and she gasped his name like it was a plea or a petition. He smiled against her mouth and kissed her before he bent and exchanged his fingers for his lips and tongue. He made slow teasing circles around the sensitive peak with his tongue, and Natalie sank her hands into his hair and held him to herself loosely, lost in the pleasure she was experiencing. Of course, being Adrian Monk, he had to give her other breast equal attention, but before he did, he looked at the woman he loved in the light of the fire and watched as the shadows of the flames danced on her perfect skin. "I love you, Natalie. I will love you for the rest of my life, I promise you." He returned to pleasuring her, and as he did, he used one of his clever hands to untie the drawstring at her waist. She lifted her hips, and he helped her remove her sleep pants. Never stopping his busy lips and tongue the whole time.

Not to be outdone, Natalie reached for her man and drew him up to her so she could kiss him while she removed his sweats. He hesitated at first, putting a hand over hers as she pulled at the waistband. Then, finally, she whispered, "It's just me. You trust me. You love me. I love you. Let me show you how much I love you, Adrian." He released her hand and allowed her to work the sweats down, and then he kicked them off. She quickly kissed him again and then leaned back so she could look at him. They lay side by side in the firelight, almost nude, glowing with love in the firelight, making Natalie giddy with a joy she had never felt before. "Are you okay?" she asked solemnly.

"I am," he whispered almost brokenly. "I really am."

Natalie, knowing him, didn't take that at face value. "Adrian, we can stop if you're not comfortable. If you're not ready."

"Oh, sweetheart, I am more than ready. I just want you to be sure. There's no going back to before after this, at least not for me. You will be mine forever." He said the last as if he expected Natalie to find that threatening or off-putting. But she only smiled and caressed his cheek.

"I am yours already, love. This was my destiny from the day we met. I won't ever want to go back to those lonely nights without love, without you as my lover, without your arms around me as I sleep,"

"Earlier, I was thinking for the thousandth time about how I wanted nothing more than to fall asleep with you in my arms so I could just touch you all night. Then, wake you with kisses to make love whenever we want."

"Well, we're pretty darn close, come here and make love to me now, baby. We can sleep later."

He smirked and complied readily. He swept his hand from her neck to her breast to her stomach. He hesitated for a fraction of a second, his shyness made him a little unsure, but he stopped thinking and just let his feelings and emotions rule for a change. God, she was beautiful and sexy, and if he didn't touch her, he would die right there. So he did. Boldly he pulled her panties away and explored her intimately while placing kisses everywhere his lips were drawn, no pattern, no order, just feeling. He sucked on a perfect rosy tipped nipple, and Natalie arched against him and cried his name. He kept his hand busy as he delved further into the secrets of her body, finally revealed and laid bare to him. Natalie writhed in supreme pleasure. Shocked and pleased by Adrian's self-assurance, amazed by his self-control. All she'd dreamed about for years was happening to her at last.

She reached for him and caressed him through his boxers, and he moaned with pleasure. He breathed her name, and it sounded like a song to her ears. Encouraged, she practically tore his underwear from his body, and allowed him a moment to adjust, then took him in her hands. She was utterly captivated by the expression on his face, one she'd never seen before. She looked at him in the firelight and found him as sexy as she'd always imagined he would be under his "Adrian Monk uniform" all those years. Then when he donned a security guard uniform, and lately, when he wore jeans and pullovers or just more stylishly cut clothing, she knew he was in good shape. A sigh of complete satisfaction escaped her lips, along with a giggle.

"What?" Adrian asked through an intense haze of hedonistic pleasure.

"Um, you definitely know how to bury the lead." Adrian was confused, she saw. "Love, you buried this sexy body all these years, and this," she caressed him very intimately again, stroking him until he thought he would lose it in her hand, "under your clothes all this time."

"Oh. Uh. Should I have walked around….ahhhhhh….nude?" He asked as another wave of heat ran through him as her hand ran up and down his shaft.

"No, just for me, but oh my god, you are so much more than I imagined. Please don't make me wait for you any longer."

Pride ran through him, alongside a bit of bashful shyness. Yet, he tenderly took her and turned her on her back, her head on a throw pillow again, the super-soft blankets cocooning them, caressing them, and she immediately welcomed him to her. He paused, and she reached to guide him gently as she always had. This new way was just an extension of everything that had come before this moment. As he entered her for the first time, he knew the completeness that had eluded him his entire life. His hips bucked wildly for a brief moment like a wild stallion as he felt her wet warmth surround him intimately.

Then he absorbed the feeling, and with excruciating slowness, he set a rhythm that she responded to enthusiastically. They built their rhythm to wild ferocity as they continued to move together faster and harder. Adrian, ever the intellectual, ever the traditionalist, had never experienced lovemaking like this, so for a few moments, his brain took over thinking about how different the leverage of the floor was from the "give" of a mattress.

Natalie was riding wave after wave of small tremors preceding her climax. Finally being loved by the man she had secretly adored for years was almost all she needed to reach her orgasm, so the teeny shocks along the way were just making the building to it more exciting.

When at last they collapsed in a tangle of limbs, spent in a way that neither of them had been for many, many years, Adrian leaned away from her so as not to crush her. He let out a laugh before he said, "Well, my assistant, that was quite something! Something I never thought you'd be assisting me with."

Natalie laughed as she snuggled more closely to him. Reveling in his scent, in the feel of his skin against hers. Adrian was languidly kissing her hair and running a hand up and down her arm. She yawned softly.

"I finally feel like I could sleep. What about you?"

"As long as you are in my arms, I feel like I could sleep, and be happy, and do just about anything you ask."

"Can you make it up the stairs without clothes?"

"Um…no. Unh uh. The curtains are open."

"Here are your boxers." He donned them quickly and grabbed the blanket that had been covering them, and wrapped himself in it.

"You look like a caveman in all that fuzzy fur."

"Well, then, I guess I'm ready to go." She stood, stark naked and unashamed.

"Let's go upstairs. I'd like to take a nap and then do some more assisting, my love."