Disclaimer: Fluffy Cat does not own or have any right to these characters or names or places, or anything else in her stories. Fluffy Cat just enjoys the characters Mel and Cole and likes to get them out in the world and play with them a bit. Fluffy Cat does not profit in any way from doing this, other than the pleasure of batting them around for a while.

In the Heat of the Night

By Fluffy Cat

Mel flipped over to her left side and curled her knees to her chest.

It didn't help.

Exhaling in a huff, she flopped back over to her back and stared at the bedroom ceiling.

She hurt.

It was three o'clock in the morning, her medicine cabinet was devoid of pain relievers and she had a killer case of cramps.

"Being female sucks." Mel muttered as she glanced at the digital clock and considered her other options.

Alcohol? Cramps with stupor…a definite possibility; but one that left a woman with not only cramps the next morning, but a gigantic hangover as well.

Mel huffed again and fiddled with her covers, arranging them four times before they were sufficiently tucked in the precise manner she desired.

A little light bulb flashed above her head. Heating pad? She had one somewhere in the apartment; she knew she did. She had made use of it in the past and it had helped a little. The real question was where the devil had she put the thing?

Mel debated whether the small relief the heating pad might offer was worth the trouble of getting out from under her meticulously tucked covers and searching for it at three o'clock in the morning.

A sharp cramp chose that moment to strike making up her mind for her.

She'd search.

The spunky bar owner tossed back her covers, ignored the robe at the foot of her bed and made her way to the hall closet.

Strawberry blonde curls bounced around her slender shoulders as she yanked open the closet door and started throwing blankets, sheets, pillowcases and a solitarily ratty old robe seriously lacking in any form of sex appeal off the shelves and onto the floor.

No heating pad.

With hands placed firmly about her slim hips, Mel chewed on her bottom lip and gave some serious thought as to where she might have stashed the stupid thing.

Cole silently stepped out of the war room to find a scantily dressed Mel in front of him with an impressive mound of linens piled around her pretty bare feet.

"Mel?" He called her name softly.

She jumped two feet! "Cole! I thought you were out tracking a fugitive. You scared me to death!"

He responded with a sweet smile. "I was. I'm back."

"So I see." Mel offered him a relieved smile. "I guess I didn't hear you come in earlier."

"You were sleeping. It is late, Mel. You should be sleeping now." His tone didn't possess a drop of accusation, just concern for her welfare.

"I doubt it." She mumbled to herself. Realizing he wouldn't understand, she clarified her mumblings. "I've had trouble sleeping tonight."

"Why?" Cole asked curiously.

Mel rolled her eyes, tossed her wild strawberry-blonde curls out of her eyes and frowned. "Long story…it's a human thing…a female human thing. Never mind. We won't discuss it."

Mel saw the crease between Cole's eyes and knew he hadn't really understood her explanation but had nodded at her anyway. "Okay, Mel, if you say so."

Cole's eyes dipped down to survey the silver lingerie she was wearing. He liked the cream lace on the bottom where it met her thighs. It matched the almost transparent lace around her female signatures. Mel's sleeping attire met with silent approval by The Tracker. "Are you cleaning out the closet, Mel? Since you couldn't sleep?"

Mel glanced down at the discarded mess on the floor and laughed. "Looks like it, doesn't it? No, Cole. I was looking for my heating pad. I thought I had stashed it in here, but I can't find it."

"Heating pad?" Cole formed the words slowly, as he usually did when he heard a new phrase in the English language.

"Yeah, heating pad." Mel repeated patiently before a second light bulb went off over her pretty head and this one was not only especially luminescent but was flashing as well. "Cole, you haven't recently run off with another piece of electrical equipment, have you? It's a piece of fabric about so long," she motioned with her hands as to the length of the pad, "and it has a heating element inside of it to keep the pad warm and a long cord where you plug it in."

Cole gave her a wide grin. "Yes, Mel. I know what you are talking about now. Is that what it is called, a heating pad?" He inquired with interest.

Mel shot him an exasperated look. She told herself it was three o'clock in the morning and she hurt, she was certainly entitled to a little grouchiness. "Yes, Cole, a heating pad." Narrowing her eyes at him, Mel closed the distance between his handsome face and hers, poking him in the chest with a very suspicious finger. "The real question is….what do you call it?"

Cole grinned at the finger boring into his chest. "It is now a thermal regulator for the conduction of a sample of genetic alien material being processed for sequencing for identification purposes."

Mel dropped her shoulders and the accusatory finger in defeat. "Oh, that sounds important."

"It is, Mel." Cole assured her.

"It would have been too much to ask for it to have remained just a simple household heating pad, huh?"

Cole only gave her a sympathetic look as a response.

"Okay, heating pad all gone! I got it. Well, Cole, it's off to bed for me. I'll leave you alone to conduct or regulate your genetic material however you see fit…" Mel spun around and kicked the blanket closest to her as she headed back to bed. It was a childish gesture but it made her feel a bit better.

"Mel?" Cole followed her. "Why did you need the heating pad?"

"It doesn't matter." She sighed, stopping at her door and giving him a weak smile. "Good night, Cole. I'm glad you're home safe after tracking your fugitive."

"Thank you, Mel." Cole caressed her throat in his Cirronian way of showing affection for her.

"That feels so good." Mel's eyelashes fluttered shut as she enjoyed the warmth and tenderness of his caress. The words popped out of her mouth before she could think to stop them. "I don't suppose you'd be interested in doing that a little lower, hmm?"

When she realized what she had just proposed, her eyes grew round with such acute embarrassment, it had Cole grinning at the appalled look she wore. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean that. I mean, I don't know what made me say such a thing. We'll forget it." Mel spun around to hide in her bedroom but Cole was Cirronian; and an intrigued Cirronian could be damned fast when he wanted to be, as Mel was about to learn. Curious George had nothing on a Curious Cole!

"Mel?" Cole stopped her, his large masculine hand gently restraining her embarrassed retreat. "What do you mean could I do it lower?" His voice was husky.

An image flashed through Mel's mind that could only be defined as sexually explicit.

Flustered at the image as well as the effect his hands had on her, Mel started sputtering in an attempt to smooth over her mistake. "Nothing, Cole! Really. It's so late and I haven't slept and I don't even know what I'm saying. Why are you listening to me anyway? I thought you usually tuned me out in that Cirronian way you have of ignoring my mutterings?"

Cole gave her an amused smile. "Mel, I hear everything you say. I listen, I just don't always comment."

That piece of information threw her! "You do?"

"Of course, Mel." He watched her tenderly as if the thought of not listening to anything Mel had decided to say to him was ludicrous.

She ceased trying to flee into the privacy of her room and stared at him. "Even when I'm mumbling to myself and I tell you not to listen?"

His lips curved. "Yes, Mel, especially then."

There was that Cirronian sense of humor again, she lamented.

He reached out, moving in closer as his fingers gently stroked down her throat. His eyes studied how entrancing his fingers appeared against her soft, light skin.

Cole felt Mel's unease at this act of intimacy between them but he also sensed her willingness to capitulate to the alluring attraction of it. He watched her as she leaned slightly into his touch.

The Tracker smiled and deepened his caress.

Mel drew a deep breath, her eyelashes fluttering shut as she confessed a second time as to how wonderful his hands felt on her skin. "That feels good, Cole." Her lips joined his in curving upward at the phrase, recalling fondly how he had used those same words when she had soaped his chest while teaching him how to bathe.

"I'm glad you like it, Mel." Cole stated softly as his dark gentle eyes admired her beautiful face. He was standing so close to her that Mel knew his stance surely fit the definition of violating her personal space, but she certainly didn't feel like remarking on that fact. His hands and his tall, silently soothing presence banished the thought.

Besides, the last thing she wanted was for him to step back.

His magic touch persisted. Cole's fingers descended past her collarbone where he noticed her rapid pulse, to the swell of her breasts. He turned the voltage up on the amount of energy he was transmitting to her as his hands progressed lower still.

Mel sighed softly as the warmth grew in intensity, inspiring thoughts and feelings about Cole that she never allowed herself to indulge in except for the darkest hours of the night when she was alone in her bedroom.

Her eyes remained closed as she drank of his tenderness and heat. Mel fell back against the door frame, using it for badly needed support.

Cole made no comment as he followed her the few inches she had fallen away from him and continued caressing her.

He had her pinned against the frame. Her eyes remained closed, but her mind traveled back to when Cole had done the same thing to her against a building only a few days after they had met. She remembered how her hormones had jumpstarted when his hard hips had brushed against hers and that tremendously appealing broad chest of his had pressed against her soft breasts. Mel decided the memory of that particular incident wasn't helping her this night!

Gentle, expert Cirronian hands glided down her throat, caressing the sensitive skin, traveling further down her slender frame to her female signatures. Only a thin barrier of lace and silk lay between his heated touch and her eager skin.

A quiet sigh of acquiescence slipped past her lips.

Cole's lips curved as he whispered in the silent apartment. "Lower, Mel?"

Before Mel could wrap her mind around exactly what he was doing or asking; his hands took the decision away from her completely as his fingers glided between her breasts and dipped lower still. Mel felt the heat follow his touch and knew the smart thing to do would be to turn away but the protest just wouldn't come. His touch radiated such soothing warmth!

Suddenly the heat was so intense, the warmth surrounding her in such a delicious assault on her senses that her knees started to buckle and she began to slide down the door frame.

Cole's hips moved against her, preventing her from slipping all the way to the floor. Those same hard masculine hips held her in place as both his hands covered her slender ribcage. His thumbs lightly brushed the undersides of her breasts and his hot touch felt as if she had been branded by him, sparking a gasp of pure pleasure from her lips.

The Tracker seemed very pleased by Mel's reaction, so much so, he brushed against the female signatures a second, then third time before bringing his hands up to cup her soft breasts ever so tenderly in his palms. "Do you like this, Mel?" Cole asked in a husky voice as his hips shifted into closer contact with hers.

Cole's fingertips brushed against her nipples in the briefest of touches, so softly that Mel wasn't entirely certain he had really done so. But the proof was more than evident through her sheer clothing. She didn't have to look down to see that her nipples were voicing their pleasure over Cole's magic touch.

Who would have thought Cirronian heat could match the effects of cold weather or wet T-shirts? Mel silently mused.

This night was getting way out of hand! Mel knew, but when her lashes fluttered open and she saw the amazed and delighted expression on Cole's face as he watched her body's response to his touch, she didn't have the heart to end it just yet.

"Yes, Cole, I like it very much." Mel whispered the truth against his lips. His eyes darted up to her own gaze to verify the truth of her words.

He read her desire in those beautiful eyes he admired so often and nodded. "I'm glad, Mel." He flattened his hard body against hers from chest to knee and grinned. "I like doing things that make you happy, Mel."

He was like a little boy, enormously pleased that he had done something so right. Mel decided he was too cute to do anything but grin back at him.

Boy, had he done it right too! Mel realized as she battled with the natural inclination to arch her hips into the rather large male signature she could feel pressed against her.

Signature? Heaven help her; she was starting to think like a Cirronian!

Out of hand…she reminded herself, this was getting dangerously out of hand!

Mel nodded that she had heard his words and nibbling on her bottom lip nervously, tried to ease both of them out of this entirely too explosive situation. "You're good at it, Cole." Mel admitted honestly. "Too good." She muttered to herself.

He heard it of course.

And grinned.

Mel rolled her eyes because she had already forgotten he had just informed her he always listened to her mutterings.

"Why did you want the heating pad, Mel?" Cole softly quizzed her, his fingers igniting her passion again with a fleeting touch of warm fire against her straining nipples.

He was watching his handiwork rather than looking directly at her.

Mel decided then and there; males were males! Whether they came from Cirron and were composed of energy or were just the plain old garden variety born-on-planet-Earth types, males always seemed to gloat over a feminine response to their advances.

It must be a constant in the universe, she decided rather philosophically and that realization gave her an idea as to how to deal with the current awkward situation between them. Suddenly she had a plan for extricating them from this dangerously volatile situation they found themselves in. Maybe there was another constant, she asked herself?

She decided to give it a shot!

"I needed the heating pad for the cramps I'm having that unfortunately go along with the human female reproductive cycle." Mel bluntly explained, fully expecting a rapid retreat by any male in close proximity.

Cole's eyes immediately filled with tenderness. "Ah, now I understand, Mel."

He didn't run away.

He didn't even back up.

In fact, much to Mel's surprise, he pressed closer. His forehead bumped hers and his hands abandoned her breasts to caress her lower abdomen.

If the door frame hadn't been there, Mel might have jumped back four feet!

The Tracker didn't waste any time. He also didn't act as if her shocked attempted retreat bothered him.

At that moment, Mel found him to be so much her Cole, intentlyfocused on what he considered to be her problem, and therefore his problem; that her eyes filled with emotional tears.

"Does it hurt here, Mel?" His voice demanded in a whisper as his hands pressed against her stomach.

She knew her face was bright red. "Uh…Cole…I said we wouldn't discuss it."

Cole glanced up, his expression clearly puzzled. "But you just explained the problem to me, Mel?"

She shook her curls wildly and fumbled for words. "I just wanted to scare you off. You're supposed to run away, Cole, like every other human male when a woman mentions her period." The sheepish smile she gave him said it all.

Cole shook his head. "I'm not human, Mel. I'm Cirronian." He corrected her gently.

"I know." Her lips curved with the rueful sigh. "Sometimes you fall into human male behavior, Cole, and sometimes you don't. It keeps me on my toes."

Cole's eyes dipped downward to study her feet.

Mel giggled.

Her laughter put a smile on his handsome face and he relaxed against her. "Why would a human male run away from a female he cares about just because she mentions a natural process associated with their species' reproduction?"

Mel shrugged her shoulders and forgot her embarrassment. This was Cole. "I guess they don't completely understand it so it makes them a little nervous. I don't really know."

Cole nodded then smiled so gently at her. "Come into your bedroom, Mel. I'll make you feel better."

Now there was a loaded statement if she had ever heard one!

"Umm…Cole…I'm not sure…"

"I am, Mel. Trust me." His gentle voice sent shivers down her spine. He slowly peeled his hips away from hers and Mel swore she caught a glimpse of disappointment on his face before he managed to look unaffected. "Sit on the bed, Mel. I'll take care of you."

Oh God! Mel almost moaned out loud at the visual image those words evoked!

"Exactly how are you going to do that?" She squeaked when Cole took her by the hand and began pulling her into her bedroom.

"Not the way you think, Mel." Cole flashed a quick knowing grin over his shoulder.

She gave a half-laugh and nodded her consent. "Okay…okay…so you're pretty good at picking up on what I'm thinking these days…that's because you're around me all the time. Just don't start thinking you can always read my mind, Cole." She warned softly.

He gave her a very amused look without comment.

Mel started worrying over that peculiar expression while he nudged her into sitting on the mattress. "You can't read my mind, right, Cole? I mean if you could read my mind, you would have told me that a long time ago, right?"

"Sit, Mel."

"I'm not a dog, Cole." Mel muttered. "And that's not an answer!" She gave a panicked shout.

He turned his head so she wouldn't see his amusement.

"What are you going to do?"

The soft and hesitant question stirred emotions in the Cirronian he wasn't ready to fully assess. "I'm going to alleviate your pain so you may sleep, Mel."

"Oh." She thought about that for a moment and grinned. "Why not just put me to sleep like you've done before, Cole?"

"Humans can still feel pain in their sleep, Mel." He informed her gently. "I would wish for you to be without pain at all times."

Her lips trembled at his sweet words.

He watched her with a tender expression for a few seconds while their eyes connected. Cole gently lifted her legs and placed them on the mattress. "Lay back, Mel."

It felt strange wearing nothing but a slip of fabric in front of him… in her bedroom… while he leaned over her…on the bed. "Uh…Cole…maybe we should reconsider this idea?"

"Why?" He inquired simply.

Loaded question, Mel mused. "Uh…Oh…" Mel stammered, her eyes staring at the ceiling for a solution to the intimate situation they were currently entangled in, a situation that could solely be blamed on her actions. She sighed dramatically. The ceiling wasn't jumping in with any smart answers just yet; but Mel gave it another moment, just in case, and by doing so, completely missed Cole's next move.

When his hot hand slipped beneath the hem of her negligee and made its way up to her lower abdomen, pressing gently against her soft skin, Mel's startled jump evoked an amused grin on The Tracker's face. "Easy, Mel," he ordered sweetly. "Tell me when your pain is gone."

Her beautiful eyes were so wide with astonishment, Cole's lips twitched. "Is this better, Mel?"

She drew a deep breath, hoping the air contained a very generous portion of calm grace. "Yes, Cole."

His dark eyes held immense tenderness in them as his hand pressed lightly against her body, soothing the internal cramping he could sense beneath her silky skin. Cole's sweet expression turned to a rather pronounced frown. "How long have you been in pain like this, Mel?"

A burst of healing, soothing warmth brought a welcome end to a particularly painful cramp and Mel sighed with relief. "All evening," she moaned softly. "Cole, your hands feel wonderful!" She blushed with the admission but Melanie Porter believed in giving credit where credit was due.

Keeping his healing touch on her abdomen, Cole reached up with his free hand and caressed Mel's cheek rather than her throat, cradling her face gently as a lover would. "Promise me, Mel, you will never let yourself hurt like this again? You will tell me so I may help you."

With one large hand slipped beneath her nightgown, his other affectionately caressing her cheek and his beautifully expressive eyes gazing sweetly into hers, Mel wasn't able to give her gentle Cirronian any other answer but one. "Yes, Cole, I promise."

"Good. Good-night, Mel." Cole ran his palm over her face and gently put her to sleep.

But The Cirronian didn't leave after easing her into a restful slumber. He continued to sit beside her, fascinated by her pretty face and the emotions that were evident there.

While sleeping, Mel's expression suggested she was a woman who felt cherished and loved.

As Cole sat in the darkened bedroom, gazing down at Mel while she slept, The Tracker was unaware that those same emotions were clearly reflected in his eyes when he watched her.

The End