A/N: Just a bit about Pete and Miranda... A couple years later they're in a very intimate relationship, but still have some things to learn about each other.
The dark-skinned woman lay, still waking. The soft blankets covered her bare body, concealing it from the man who occupied the space in the bed beside her.
Glancing to one side, she looked at the clock. Just after three in the morning.
Rolling to the opposite side, she cast a long look at the man who lay sleeping, seemingly serene as a child.
A smile appeared on her face, and she reached one hand to touch his face. She caressed his cheek carefully, and he didn't wake up. Pulling the blankets closer to herself, she inched closer until her head was resting on his chest, and she draped an arm around his naked waist.
She woke as someone pushed her short, curly hair out of her sleeping face, kissed her cheek gently.
Never a heavy sleeper, she let her eyes open slowly.
"Hey," a man's voice said softly. He leaned down to kiss her again, this time on the forehead.
"'Morning," she whispered, her voice hoarse with sleep.
"Did you sleep well?" He was so polite, even though he needn't be. Sitting up and leaning against the headboard, the blankets fell down to his waist, and she stared at his bare chest and stomach.
One hand went out to briefly touch his exposed body, then crept back under the blankets. "Yes... What time is it?"
"About ten," he replied, stroking her hair. "Do you want anything to eat?"
She shook her head; let her eyes close again as she relaxed, the softness of the pillows and blankets calling her back to sleep.
"I think I'll go shower, then come back later, okay?"
She felt the bed shift as he crawled out from under the blankets, heard his feet step softly onto the wooden floor.
"Love you, 'Randa."
"Love you, Pete."
Miranda Grey fell back to sleep as Pete left the bedroom, headed for the bathroom.
She woke with a start.
Sitting up, she momentarily forgot she was naked, and looked around. The curtains were still drawn, and - although it was only Pete who would see her - she pulled the blanket up over her chest.
Sure, she loved him, but she didn't feel like having him oogle her when she first woke up.
Noticing that he'd left a robe for her on the bed, she pulled it over to her, slipped her arms into it.
Stepping onto the cold floor, she tied the robe, using the belt at her waist to secure it.
'No sneakie-peeks right now,' she thought, seeing that the bathroom door was open, the room deserted.
Guessing Pete would be in the kitchen, she left the bedroom, headed down the stairs.
Crossing the carpeted living room, she made her way to the kitchen where she found her lover, quite busy. He was rushing around, a pot on the stove, a pot full of eggs boiling next to a frying pan with an omelet, waiting to be finished.
While he was cooking, he'd rush away for a quick second; jot something down on a piece of paper on the table. A few sheets of paper, actually. He had a small pile of papers, ink scribbles all over them.
Miranda stood in the doorway, watching him.
Pete couldn't see her, as his back was to her, but he quickly attended to his omelet, glanced at the pot. Tapping his fingers against his temple, he picked up the pen and wrote something down, crossed it out, kept writing. Once, he went to the refrigerator, opened the door and stared long and hard at its contents. Finally, he closed the door and returned to his eggs.
She could only watch this routine for so long before she said anything. "Pete?"
He was clearly surprised and looked up from the papers. "Miranda. Good morning, love." There was an edge of nervousness in his voice, but she let it go. He was always nervous these days.
She strode across the kitchen, stopped by the table, careful not to look at his papers. "Morning. What are you doing, running around the room like this?"
He smiled, laughed. "Just getting work and breakfast done at the same time."
Dropping the pen on the table, he threw his arms around her, drew her close. Placing his lips over hers, he kissed in only the way that a satisfied man could.
Miranda finally pulled away, raised an eyebrow at him. "Aren't you cold wearing only boxers?"
Pete glanced out the window. Winter had certainly set in, and was trying to creep into the house. "No, no, I'll just turn the heater up if I need to."
She smiled, seated herself. "Are you going to eat all those eggs?"
He paused where he was, halfway between the table and stove. "I'm not sure... I just felt like cooking."
Shrugging off his odd behaviour - she was accustomed to his strangeness appearing every-so-often - she let it go, simply observed him at his tasks.
After about ten minutes, he'd long ago finished with the omelet, put it on a plate, set it on the counter. He'd also asked her if she was hungry, but she simply said no, she didn't often eat in the mornings.
After a year together - two years since she'd lost her husband - he still asked her if she wanted breakfast (she didn't), how she liked her coffee (she didn't drink coffee, just tea) and if she wanted him to pick her up anything to drink when he went to the "jar store" (vodka coolers).
But she held no grudges - he was still learning about her. And after all, he was just used to asking these questions. He had lived with a woman a few years earlier, and always asked her things about her, because she always changed her mind.
But Miranda was pretty consistent and Pete was beginning to understand her. They had only been living together for about seven months now - she moved into his house, grateful to leave her rented apartment - and she loved it, living here with him.
Sometimes Miranda thought that she and Pete had a better time together than her and her late husband. But they really were different kinds of relationships. She tried not to compare, as that was unfair, and instead enjoyed Pete's sometimes erratic behaviour.
Currently, she was drinking a tall glass of ice water, still sitting at the table, watching him.
He was immersed in his letter, mumbling to himself, writing, getting ink on his fingers as he ran them over the pages.
Eventually, she had to go over and turn down the element on the stove as it continued burning, but Pete was paying no attention. On her way back to the table, he hunched over his papers.
"Pete, honey, I'm not looking at what you're writing," she told him, sitting back down.
"Huh?" His head snapped up. "Oh, I know, I know... Just... something I do. Sorry, love," he apologized, glanced back at the stove. "Thanks."