Morning By Lauren Metal

A very short follow-up to Haggerty's, 3am.

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It was almost 6 a.m. and they were still wondering the streets. She didn't feel the cold, with his coat snug around her shoulders and him so near.

They had danced at the bar 'til closing, his hands on her at the small of her back, on her ass, on her face, in her hair.

After that first kiss, they couldn't get enough.

Kim Zambrano never thought she'd ever feel this way about Carlos Nieto. She'd heard the stories, seen him in action. She knew how he operated with the ladies.

But that was before, and now, he was different and she had often found herself enjoying his company shift after shift.

He was a different man. One she felt safe with. One she trusted and knew could trust her in return.

And tonight they had no particular destination. They just went with the flow, did what they wanted to do, said what needed to be said.

She talked and he listened. He talked and she listened. They talked about everything and then nothing at all.

Through the laughter and the tears, the gossip and the silence, she felt surprisingly safe in his arms.

There were no false pretenses, no annoying coworkers or the constant squawk of the radio to interrupt them.

He didn't have to pretend to be the strong one.

For the first time Carlos Nieto felt like it was okay to open up.

Kim understood him. She knew what things were like in the aftermath of Alex's death. She'd been there with Bobby too.

She understood his sadness over losing Kylie. She had a child, she was the only one who knew a little bit of what it was like to bring another life into the world.

She didn't even tell him he'd made the right decision, that it was for the best. He'd heard that a million times, but it wasn't what he needed to hear.

Instead she told him it was okay to be sad, that everything would be okay in the end.

They would be okay. Kim felt it in the simple squeeze in Carlos's hand. He felt it in the gentleness of her fingertips on his cheek, in the intimate touches they shared all through the night. He felt it at the bar. On the silent street corners the tired bums played reluctant witness to their newfound closeness.

After so many hours, his feet ached, but Carlos didn't want to go home. If he took Kim home, even if he took her to bed, they would eventually fall asleep and the night would be over.

When they woke up, would it only be a dream?

He wanted this to last forever. This night was better than anything before, or anything he could imagine happening after.

But the sun came up so early these days and it was already morning.

They found themselves at Central Park as the sun awoke at the horizon. The morning dew clung to each blade of grass as still they clung to each other.

"You know this doesn't have to end here," Kim smiled as the first warmth of the sun's rays hit her tired face.

He smiled back before kissing her once again.

It was going to be a beautiful day.

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