One Breath 7 To disclaimer and such see part one.

The walk to his car was made in complete silence. The only thing that proved Miranda was indeed there was the fact he had his arm around her waist, keeping her as warm as he could. He believed his touch was somewhat comforting for she was leant into him, her breath was calm and she seemed really tired.

Declan quickly looked over at her but the black velvet covering her head stopped him from seeing her face. She had unconsciously leaned her head on his shoulder, resting it softly on the warmth of his body. She was so worn out, not only physically, but mentally too. She was tired of thinking so much; of using her brain so much as she was using it. She was very good at math, at her classes of physics, quantum mechanics and all that stuff but when it came down to her feelings and her life she was just dumb, too stupid, she had no idea what to do.

She even thought she didn't want to need him like that, but it had been a long time, perhaps never, since she had needed anyone so much. Since a little girl she had learned to count on herself, to not need anyone as long as she could do anything by herself. She traveled so much that a long term relationship was something very hard to have, hard to find someone that would take care of you when you couldn't, good friends you could count on, you could trust with your life was something she had never had.

Until she met Declan.

He had contradicted everything she knew; all the way she had learned to live. With him she started to take her walls down, to let someone watch over her because she could let him. For the first time she had someone she could call best friend, she could tell people that he was her buddy, who she hang out with all the time. Sure, he was a professor and much older but Miranda never was one of befriending someone younger. She was just too mature for her own age and having friends with her own age was something hard to do. They were all still infantile, they wanted to have fun, to get into trouble doing something good, to not give a damn to the world. To just be a kid.

And Miranda was not like that. She was too smart for common people, the usual things of life were too easy for her and soon she got bored. Having Declan around was exactly what she needed; she had realized that after a while. He was always challenging her, making her think, use that intelligent brain of hers, always there for her, helping her, being her friend. And now it wasn't so strange that she would feel attracted for him. It'd be strange if she only saw him as a friend, as an older brother. He was the only close man in her life and falling in love with him was more than expected.

With him she had finally found a home, a place where she felt she belonged. And to tell the truth, she felt more at home now than when she was with her family. She loved her parents, of course she did, but the feeling she had living there, working with Declan and going to that university was much more like home than she had ever felt.

And that's why she couldn't lose it, no matter what. If she lost her home to where would she go?

As she saw the redness of the truck coming closer, Miranda sighed quietly, but not quietly enough for Declan heard and looked at her again, but didn't say anything. He kept on walking with her and when they had reached the passenger's door, Declan let go of her to open the door. "Here we go." He said, smiling at her and helped Miranda get inside.

"Thanks." She mumbled politely as she got inside.

Declan closed the door and hurried to the driver's side half worried that Miranda would take off while he wasn't there to stop her even knowing she wouldn't do that, not in the state she was in right now. He got inside and before turning the engine on he took a quick glance at Miranda, seeing the lines on her face, which weren't there before. He felt bad for here, all he wanted was to take all her pain away but he couldn't do that. He knew she was feeling like that because of their moment in his office but he just couldn't understand why it had affected her so much like that.

He would make sure to get all this straight. He would talk to her and get this over with, starting with telling her how he felt.

She let out a breath on the car window making a circled form of dull on the glass. The inside of the truck was much more warmer than the outside causing the steam to stay for a while before fading away. Miranda used her index finger to slowly draw a heart on the glass then stared at it for a couple of seconds before running two fingers over it, erasing the heart.

Sighing, she took her hand from the glass and leaned her head on it instead; resting her forehead on the cold surface and closed her eyes. But half second later she opened them again when she heard Declan's voice.

"Are you hungry?"

She looked over at him but quickly brought her eyes back to staring ahead. "Not really." She mumbled.

Declan couldn't take it anymore. The entire ride was done in silence with no word from Miranda but her monosyllabic responses when he tried to start a conversation and now the only thing he got was a small mumble. He stopped his truck in the first empty space and turned to face her fully. She was staring puzzled at him as to why he had stopped. "Are you gonna tell me what the hell happened?"

The expression that appeared over Miranda's face made Declan think she'd cry again, but she didn't. She held on her attitude and crossed her arms. "Look, I told you, all right? There's nothing wrong. Nothing you should be worried about."

"Really? But the problem is I'm already worried, Miranda." He said with a soft, warm voice. So warm that it reached her very core and gave it a wonderful good feeling. It'd take so little to make her open up completely, to make her tell him 'I love you', but Miranda was strong, she had a good control over her emotions and that was the only reason she hadn't told him that already.

"Well, you shouldn't be."

"Can you just stop? I care a lot a bout you, how do you want me to see you suffering and not do anything?" He stopped and let out a breath, then went on, "Is this about what happened back in my office? Because if it is I think we should..."

"Oh god, no." She groaned more to herself than really to Declan. That was exactly what she didn't want to hear, what she didn't want to happen. She was sure he would tell her to forget about it, to pretend it didn't happen and if he did that then she would be even more hurt, that would be the last thing to finally break her heart into millions of pieces forever. "I don't want to hear it, OK? I really don't need that." And before he could say anything else, she opened the door and stormed out. She just needed to get out, to get away from him for a while.

She walked quickly away from the truck, her heart shattered. Suddenly she felt as if she had been pushed to the ground, as if someone had ripped her apart, knocked her right on the face. It was like someone stabbed her directly in the heart and then pulled it out, leaving her to bleed. She didn't feel alive anymore. She was terrified because she had never felt like that, like living didn't matter anymore. Did that feeling come with being in love? She whished she knew, she thought so because she always heard that love also brought a lot of pain and only now she understood why.

Then suddenly she felt her arm being pulled by strong hands. At first her brain wouldn't make sense of anything but after a while it stuck her that Declan had probably followed her out of the truck and now was there. And she was right for the hands turned her around so she was facing him. "Miranda, stop!" Declan said when she started to struggle out of his hold.

"Let me go."

"Stop it!"

"Let me go, damn it!" She said in an almost scream, but he didn't. He held her tighter showing her he wouldn't let her go so eventually she got the message and stopped struggling. When Declan believed he had her under control, he let go of her arms and brought his hands up, gently cupping her face in his hands.

"Look at me." When she didn't look up he moved her face so wanting it or not she'd have to stare at him. "God, Miranda, will you let me speak please?"


"Just let me say what I want to say." He begged in a small whisper.

"If-if you want to-to forget what happened..." She whispered out, more tears coming down her face. If it was going to happen then she would make it quickly and less painful, not that she really believed there was a way to make all of that less painful. Hearing Declan say what she feared the most would hurt as much as he tried to make it easy on her. She would suffer just the same.

Declan breathed in deeply, thinking over what he would say. He rested his forehead softly against hers and closed his eyes, searching for the right words. But then that was Miranda; anything he chose to say would seem too simple, too silly. He wanted to make it easy, to impress her somehow, but he didn't know how. "No..." He whispered, deciding that just saying it out would have to do. "Don't you get it? That's the thing, I don't want to forget it."

She pulled back and stared at him with a disbelieving expression as she tried to process what he had said. "What?" She said with that same small voice she had greeted him that time she was in the hospital.

"I don't want to forget it." He said again, tightening his hands around her face, gently running his thumbs over her wet cheeks. "I have strong feelings for you, Miranda, and believe me, all I wanted to do was to kiss you."

"You... you have feelings... for me?"

"Yes." He nodded and smiled brightly, a part of him elated that he got Miranda stunned and so confused, something that rarely happened. "Yes."

Her heart fluttered and all the feelings came rushing back to her, washing within her. He had actually said... God, she couldn't believe this. He had said he felt something for her that he didn't want to forget what happened. That rush of relief and happiness went through her. Was it real or was she hallucinating? She closed her eyes and leaned her forehead on his again. That was really happening.

Then he pulled back again and let out a soft breath. He locked eyes with hers and a sweet smile crept up on his face. She had to say something, She had to tell him she felt that too, she wanted to say she loved him but she couldn't, it was at the tip of her tongue, but the damn thing just wouldn't come out, she was paralyzed.

"Me too." She finally whispered out.

A sweet, lovely smile crept up on his face and he shined it on her. He tilted his head, looking at her, then he leaned forward and she felt his soft lips press against her very own lips. She felt her heart flutter and her breath stopping. That was it, he was really kissing her, and she was really feeling that soft pressure she so much wanted to feel for so long.

She closed her eyes as soon as she felt his lips upon hers, feeling under the darkness the gently touch of his lips. It was very softly at first, lips against lips, just tasting, playing, teasing, feeling the texture of them, but then it got more intense when Miranda, wanting more, opened her mouth, allowing him to her, feeling their tongues play together.

Her head was spinning; her body was becoming limp. Feeling him like that was much more wonderful than she had ever dreamed before. He was so gentle, so suave, taking such sweet care of her that it amazed her. While he used his mouth to make Miranda feel like she had never felt before, his hands were caressing the skin of her face, cradling her head as if it was made of porcelain.

But soon the necessity to breath was becoming too strong to ignore and they had to pull apart, to break their contact, but it was only for a few seconds for as soon as Miranda got her breath back, she pulled him to her, claming his mouth again. He chuckled on her mouth, he couldn't stop it and she smiled right in the middle of the kiss.

"What?" She whispered as she took in small breaths when she pulled apart for the second time.

"It's just..." He started but stopped as his eyes froze on hers but instead of continuing his sentence, Declan just leaned in, kissing her again.

They pulled away later from the lack of air, but Declan kept his hands around her. Miranda put her arms around his shoulders, leaning into him, letting him embrace her in his warm arms. She closed her eyes as she rested her face on his shoulder, making sure to have her nose in his neck, just to feel his soft scent. This was so lulling, so comfortable; she could fall asleep standing in his arms at any minute if she let herself to do so. She felt so good in his arms; he sent her chills as his fingers touched the back of her neck. "I love you..." She whispered almost unconsciously as she tightened her arms around him and nuzzled his neck.

"What?" Declan asked with disbelief, stilling his hands from running up and down her back.

Miranda pulled back with a start, suddenly aware of what she had just said. Not that she didn't want to say that, but she just didn't know if he was ready to hear her saying so, to have such a responsibility over his shoulder. Especially without knowing if she'd hear the words back. "Nothing..." She murmured quickly, praying he hadn't heard the first time, but seeing his dumbfounded expression she was sure he had heard and now was trying to find a way to tell her something else without hurting her. "I-I... it just..." Her lower lip started to tremble and that expression of who was about to cry came on her face. "Oh, God, I can take it back."

"Oh, Miranda..." He let out in a breath, smiling in spite of the situation. Then he brought his hands back to her face and made her look at him. "I don't want you to take it back. Never. I love you too."

"You do?"

"I do." He said, nodding vehemently. "I do." And then he kissed her again to ensure her of what he had said. Miranda had a serious problem of self-esteem and he really needed to work on that. She was a wonderful person and she should know that little fact. "You're an amazing, wonderful, incredible, smart, beautiful and loving person. There'd be something really wrong with me if I didn't love you."

That got a small smile from Miranda and she shone it to him through her tears. He was gazing deeply at her, making sure she'd receive the message and believe in it then, she burst into merry peals of laughter. And it was amazing because Declan couldn't remember of hearing Miranda giggling before, no, he was sure she had never giggled, not in front of him. That made him wish he had a camera right now to tape that and keep it with him forever so he could look at it and feel happy.

"That means you believe me?"

"Yes." She said between her giggles.

"Good." He smiled too and kissed the top of her head, letting his lips linger on the softness of her hair for a few seconds before pulling away. "What about that food now?"

"Yeah, I'm starving." She answered smiling brightly at him then linked her arm through his as she pulled him back to his truck.

She ran her hand over the steam on the mirror and looked at her reflection. The woman staring back at her was eerily unfamiliar; the smiling face she saw just didn't seem to be hers. She was smiling from ear to ear and, God, she had never smiled so dumbly before; she hadn't even smiled so much. And thinking about that only made her smile even bigger.

She couldn't put in words how she was feeling because it was beyond human understanding; if she herself couldn't understand what she was feeling how she could even try to explain it? He just... he made her feel so good. He sent her heart skipping away in complete happiness and gave this electrifying shock that went through her entire body with just a simple touch from him. He made her know that there was something pleasant out there, something worthy; and not by telling her, but just by the simple presence of him. The way he looked at her with that look that nobody had ever given to her before that made her heart flutter.

She loved him for God's sake. That should be enough to make everything clear, loving someone meant accepting them no matter what, meant knowing all the good and the bad of this person but accepting them nevertheless. It didn't matter if Declan was pushy, or a slob, or scatter-brained, her heart didn't care about any of these things, it still felt for him all that powerful love she had never felt for anyone else. She didn't love him because of how he was, but in spite of it.

She stared at her expression for a while longer, just trying to erase that stupid smirk from her face, which wouldn't go away as hard as she tried to wipe it off. It was just there, stuck on her face and there was nothing she could do. Finally sighing in defeat, Miranda tightened the towel around her and stepped out of the bathroom, bracing herself against the lower temperature that a second later hit her still damp body.

She had said she loved him and her heart almost burst into million pieces of bliss when he said I love you back. She couldn't be happier.

Miranda let out a happy sigh as she walked slowly to her bedroom, a dumb smile still playing over her lips.

He looked up as soon as he heard the sound of his office door being closed soundly. He was ready to scold whoever had shut the door with such a hard thump but when his eyes met the light radiant azure he knew so well immediately his frown broke into a smile. "Hey."

"Hey." She smiled back with the same glow she had back in LA. It was like as if the simple presence of her being there was enough to lit the room, to make everything bright, as if the sunshine was in her smile.

Declan got up almost immediately and walked to her direction, as she did the same, meeting half way. "I missed you." He said softly, bringing one hand up to gently cup her cheek and run a lazy finger over the softness of her skin.

The smile that broke across her face was nothing like anything she felt before. Her mouth was almost hurting for the move, but truth be told; she didn't care at all. Instead of answering him with a typical comeback, she just lifted her head and softly kissed him on the lips, which he quickly turned into a breath taking, world-shaking kiss.

Now, it seemed, life was starting to get better and better. Maybe now she'd have her chance of a perfect life that beautiful, amazing scenery that people only saw in movies. But without the horrible end those wonderful, Oscar worthy movies always have. She truly hoped without the teary saddening end. But she felt it; deep down that it was her time and that a suck ending would never come.


Clears throat too sappy? Too silly? Too dumb? Feedback would be appreciated