Of Limericks and Love Songs

By: Glass Mermaid

It▓s late and time to leave the station behind them. Lingering goodbyes and bittersweet memories catch and snag on the hooks of their minds, tearing, because they▓ve lost more than a friend to a plane ride and Hong Kong. It▓s easy to admit that Radio Free Roscoe is, if not over, than crippled. Without the philosopher, the wise man, they▓ve lost an integral corner of their square, and there have already been too many triangles on 88.1 to continue on as one.

Robbie, earnest and angry, has found his voice, his ambition, and his need to speak behind the faГade of Question Mark is beginning to pale before the reality of Robbie McGrath.

Lily, the artist, the introvert, has found her confidence and her path, and Shady Lane is fading into the background as Lily Randall takes the stage.

Ray, the last son, the joker, has finally reached out to grasp his one true obsession and discover his own determination and strength in the process, with it finding what is was to be Ray Brennan. He has Lily, the only thing he▓s ever selfishly wanted. The only thing he▓s ever honestly worked towards.

And walking down the silent sidewalk on a cold night with a realized dream holding your hand is sweeter then he▓d ever imagined.

He turns to glance at her, reassuring himself that yes, she is here, holding his hand and smiling at him like she always does with a fresh blush tinting her cheeks. His fingers tighten around her own, and he feels gratified and elated when she stops and snakes her arms around his shoulders. Her body is lithe and lean, small breasts and flat stomach pressing against his torso. He pulls her closer and lets out a shaky breath.

⌠You okay?■ she asks, smirking cheekily because she knows he isn▓t.

⌠Ecstatic,■ he murmurs, and bumps her nose with his own just because he can.

⌠What? No happy and nervous? Hervous?■

The slim fingers he can feel playing with his black hair make him shiver, his body responding to her touch as any would, and when she feels the press of his erection in her stomach and doesn▓t seem surprised, a speck of fear jumps out to bite his brain even as his hormones groan. Why isn▓t she blushing and pulling away? Did she go so far in her history with River that she▓d know a guy▓s reactions intimately?

⌠I▓m dreaming,■ he jokes, though the fear is beginning to sink its fangs in deeper and adds a darker waver to his voice.

⌠If you are, than I am to, and I▓d say it▓s a pretty good dream,■ Lily smiles, kisses him, and he sinks deeper into the net she▓s cast and forgets his worries.

God, he thinks as her perfume fills his senses and her tongue darts out to touch his lips, nothing has ever been this good.

It▓s so simple to kiss her, to slide his hands down her ribcage and rest at the crease of her waist. It▓s so easy to forget everything outside of the spearmint taste of her mouth and the warmth of her arms around his neck, because it▓s everything he▓s ever wanted for so long and he still hadn▓t imagined it would be like this.

It▓s warm and electric and invigorating. It▓s dangerous and effortless and unimaginably sweet. He can hear her breathing shakily, chest brushing against his with every exhalation. He can feel the shake in her bones and the liquid desire pooling in her limbs. She▓s coming undone before him and it▓s all too much and it▓s all too little because there is so much clothing between and the night is still cold and the streets are not yet sleeping┘

⌠Ray,■ she breathes, and he knows he can▓t continue down this complicated path because they both deserve better than a first time against a cold building.

How many times did she come undone for River?

⌠Sorry,■ he mutters, and sets her from him but reclaims her hand.

⌠Don▓t be. I like it when you lose yourself in me,■ she murmurs softly, and they continue their slow, winding path towards her home.

He glances at her, all dark solemn eyes and wet lips, ⌠Me too.■

She flushes prettily, always prettily, and presses her lips together as if to seal their kiss within herself.

⌠I never knew you▓d be so good at it Ray. Where▓d you learn to kiss like that?■

There is cautious jealousy in her voice, and in a sudden jolt of awareness he knows that she is afraid of the same things about him and Grace, wondering how far it went, how deep he felt, how serious they were. It both cuts him deep and sets him free, because they▓ve wasted so much time trying to find each other in other people that they almost lost themselves. There has never been anyone for him but Lily. It▓s unfair that it took her so long to see the same, and even then she denied it to the point they almost broke.

⌠Lily,■ he tosses her name out like a pass but there is nobody to catch it and the ball is back in his court. ⌠You just pick things up.■

They▓re touching on uncomfortable topics, an unsettled awkwardness in the sweat of their clasped palms as he chuckles awkwardly into the cool night air and runs his other hand through his hair.

⌠You and Grace,■ she murmurs suddenly and uneasily, ⌠how far did you two┘ take it?■

⌠Take it?■ Ray snorts, and Lily punches his arm with a gentleness that shows how urgent it is she know.

So don▓t ask, he begs inwardly. Don▓t go there and I won▓t go there and we▓ll both not go there together.

⌠Yes, Ray, it. Did you two like, go all┘■ but she can▓t say it and she doesn▓t have to.

⌠Oh,■ and he▓s distantly remembering the smooth press of Grace▓s glossed lips and the swell of her cotton covered breast in his palm like it was from some long forgotten dream. It makes him feel edgy, guilty, and he glances down at Lily▓s slender body in her gorgeous purple dress and wishes to touch her in the same ways and better to erase the memories.

⌠A┘ A bit. We took it a bit,■ he swallows and throws her the quick grin that always distracts her.

But Lily▓s mouth isn▓t smiling, he notices. Her little chin is pouting and her eyes are serious, but she doesn▓t ask him again.

He can▓t leave well enough alone. He never could. He can▓t let it go, not when he wondered each and every time he saw them together if River Pierce had touched her the way Ray had always dreamed he would first.

⌠So, how far did you and River go?■

A mutinous gleam in her eyes, and then, ⌠a bit,■ greets him crisply from the darkness.

It makes him unjustifiably angry, to feel her close that part of herself off from him so quickly after he▓s finally gotten inside, and he frowns and drops her hand.

⌠Ray,■ she soothes, that soft hand coming up and grabbing his forearm. There was once a time that she would have remained silent or stormed away because of his immaturity. They▓ve both grown, and the fact that she▓s touching him and speaking so earnestly means so much to him it hurts. He▓s always looked too far into the little things with Lily, but she▓s fighting for him, not against him now. She▓s been so selfish, and so blind, and so petty for so long┘ She▓s finally woken up and seen him and it▓s beautiful.

He feels the muscles in his arm clench. He▓s gotten bigger. He worked out, played some sports. He was going to show off for Grace. He was going to hope Lily noticed.

⌠Yea?■

⌠What are you mad about? We made out. He touched me a bit. It was just heat of the moment stuff.■

And he was guilty of the very same, the scent of Grace▓s apricot perfume still accessible to his senses and how he had wished, God he had wished, she had smelled of lilies as he had trailed his tongue along the soft skin of her shy neck. Had Lily ever imagined herself with him instead of River?

⌠Gotcha,■ he still feels unforgiving when such hopeless thoughts plague him, and Lily stops on the sidewalk.

The night, he finally notices, is pretty cold, and the streets seem empty and forlorn.

⌠I can▓t erase it. I don▓t know if I▓d go back and never let it happen even if I could, Ray!■ she says, and he catches a touch of uncertainty in her voice that makes him realize she doesn▓t know how to fix this. Well, neither does he. He▓s new to this whole Having the Girl of His Dreams trip, especially when she made so many nightmares in between.

⌠I get it, Lil, it doesn▓t matter. I just┘ I go nuts thinking that he┘ and that you┘ I couldn▓t take it.■

He feels like he▓s been fighting for her forever, and it still isn▓t enough.

She rolls her eyes and the streetlights catch the sparkle of her earrings and blink at him.

She moves to run a hand through her hair, an innately Lily gesture in brushing the long blonde tresses away from her face, but it▓s still up in its simple dance updo and she only succeeds in catching her fingers in it and pulling some slippery strands out. It warms his heart fiercely, and he reaches forward and tucks a strand behind her ear. It▓s uncharted territory to feel her lean into his touch and despite his confusion and uncertainty he smirks.

⌠I wasn▓t exactly jumping for joy about you and her,■ she mutters.

The her is self-explanatory by the venom in her voice, Lily▓s rarely seen jealous side edging around the corner of her consciousness. It boosts his ego, making him momentarily forget that she hadn▓t seemed that concerned about Grace while twirling about hallways with River, that in all likelihood, when she was with River she was only with River.

⌠Lily,■ he grins for a moment, and she looks like she wants to punch his arm again.

Instead, she pulls him close and kisses him hard, and Ray sinks into her mouth like he could drown in her.

⌠Don▓t do that,■ he sighs as she pulls away, ⌠or I won▓t be able to stop myself.■

Lily, her mouth a bruised red and her eyes soft, punches him once again but leans forward and presses her lips to the ache. Ray shivers, his erection aching sorely in his pants, and he pulls them once more in the direction of her home.

⌠Can we forget about River and Grace?■ she asks seriously, ⌠You▓re my first call. Can▓t you be my first┘ everything?■

The bottom of his stomach drops out, and he stumbles on a crack in the pavement. His mouth falls open and he knows he▓s blinking at her stupidly but he can▓t even comprehend what the girl beside him is saying. He waits for her to correct him, punch him fiercely and call him a pervert, but when she doesn▓t and he knows she isn▓t going to, Ray feels excitement and alarm scald his blood and run through him like fire.

They▓ve barely been together an hour and she▓s offering herself to him in her entirety. Does she have any idea what this means to him? Does she know how many nights he stayed away imagining the feel of her beneath him? The taste of her skin? The length of her legs wrapped around him?

⌠You mean┘ I mean I think you mean┘ You want to┘■

And his mouth is dry enough to be a desert and she▓s still walking and he▓s following like a dog on a leash because what else can he do when she▓s just told him that she wants him to have her completely? What can he say when she wants him like that?

⌠Ray,■ she says, ⌠I want so much. I want and I want and I want┘ I want all of you. I don▓t know how much time we▓ll get together because of the mall tour and Mickey▓s, and we▓ve wasted so much time already┘ Is it too much?■

Maybe it is, but he▓s never been known as a model of self restraint, and Lily is something he▓s always glutted himself on.

⌠No!■ he bursts out, eyes wide and nerves tangled, ⌠I feel the same way.■

⌠Good.■

She sounds so self-satisfied, so pleased, that he throws his arm around her shoulder and pulls her along. He needs to get her home as quickly as possible. He needs to go home, satisfy his baser needs, sleep long and hard, and wake up tomorrow in order to hear Lily tell him all of this again.

Her house looms up both quicker than he▓d like and none too soon, but when he gets to her basement door and goes to twist the knob, her hands are covering his and she▓s pulling him towards her. Sorely tested, he pushes her against the wall and explores her mouth painfully slow, hoping that with it he can punish her for her teasing.

But she fumbles with the door, pushing it open and tumbling them both inside, and in the darkness he can see nothing but the shine of her eyes and a promise he▓s not sure he▓s ready for.

⌠Tonight?■

He▓s unimpressed with the squeak in his voice.

⌠Dad isn▓t expecting me home until much later, he▓s already in bed, and Ray┘ Ray I want to give this to you.■

⌠But you don▓t have to,■ he blurts out in a harsh whisper. ⌠You don▓t have to prove anything to me, or show me you▓re over River, or anything like that!■

⌠Is that what you think?■ She sounds both offended and amused, a dangerous combination, but by the lights coming inside from the streetlamps he can see her lazily removing the pins from her hair and shaking it out.

⌠No. Yes. I don▓t know.■

He▓s distracted by her silhouette, all slim lines and Lily, and he fumbles towards her despite himself.

⌠Ray, honestly, is it so hard to believe that I want you?■

⌠Yes! Yes it is! Lily, I▓ve gone so long on nothing but your scraps, your cast offs, that to have you is so much┘ I▓m scared that you▓re going to take it all away if you make the wrong choice now.■

He▓s said too much, honesty has never been something Lily takes to well, but he feels her hands touch his shoulders from the darkness, and the apology is written in the digging of her fingers.

⌠I never wanted to hurt you Ray. You▓ve got me now. Please don▓t be so afraid to loose me that I loose you first.■

How can he do anything but fall into her?

They meet clumsily in the gloom of the basement, all lips and intensity and warring tongues, but he can feel the sincerity in the nip of her teeth and he can read the honesty in the wild exploration of her hands on his body.

They▓re groping and tugging and pulling at one another▓s clothing as they fall back and push into the couch, and the thick embroidery of her elaborate dress is engraved into his palms like a prayer. Her clothing is deceptive, and instead of undoing at the front, he has a frustrating tussle with a tiny zipper at the back, but when it falls away completely and the yellow streetlight illuminates the creamy skin of her back to his disbelieving eyes and she turns with a shy smile and lets her arms fall to her side, he forgets about everything but the pounding of his pulse.

In that shy moment, standing in nothing but black panties and long hair, she is utterly his. They meet skin to skin in a shock of warmth and startling intimacy, and they both realize that it▓s happening in the here and now and neither would have it any other way than on her ratty old couch in her basement with the ruins of their shared past behind them and the shaky future before them.

⌠Lily,■ he groans hoarsely, and her fingers are shakily undoing his pants and awkwardly tugging them down and away until he▓s embarrassingly bare in his boxers with the smell of his want touching the air. Reverently, he trails his fingers over her breasts and buries his face between them, feeling his breath puff against her collarbone and running his tongue over her until she gasps and lets her head fall back.

He wants her, but he wants it to be good for her, and his hands tremble and he reaches out and touches her as carefully as he can, uncertain of this shaky domain and waiting for some sort of encouragement.

⌠I▓m sorry┘ I don▓t really know what to do,■ he admits, but she shakes her head and covers his hand with her own, guiding him carefully.

⌠I▓ve never had anyone else touch me there, Ray. I▓m as lost as you are.■

And her familiar beloved voice gives him confidence, and he loses himself in the investigation of her body until she is shaking, gasping, and whimpering his name in a way he never thought he▓d hear. She climaxes quick and hard, lost in the excitement and anticipation and the disbelief that he is finally there with her, and as her trembling subsides she pushes his hand away.

⌠Here,■ she whispers, reaching into the bag he hadn▓t even noticed was there and pulling out a small square of tinfoil.

Ray takes it with hands still wet with her, glancing at her in the darkness and wishing desperately that he could see her now, splayed out naked with the stamp of his accomplishment on her.

⌠Where did you get this?■ he asks, tearing open the foil.

⌠Sex ed, you dork. I pretty much forgot about it until now. Put it on.■

And he clumsily rolls on the condom, feeling a finger of fear because he has no clue about what he▓s doing, and a race of anticipation because this is such a huge deal and he▓s going to be making love to Lily Randall.

⌠Okay. Here we go,■ he breathes.

She giggles, ⌠I thought you were going to say It▓s Go Time. I would have pushed you off the couch.■

And they share a secret little laugh before he positions himself and the moment turns momentous.

⌠I love you so much, Lily,■ he says by way of apology, because he knows it will hurt but he can▓t stop now.

He▓s pushing in and feeling the soft skin of her thighs brushing against his hips and the crush of her arms around his neck and smelling her skin and her body and listening to the sounds they▓re both making so quietly in this secret world they▓ve created. He threads his fingers through hers when he climaxes.

They▓re both breathing hard when he pulls himself out of her, and he▓s gentle with her as he lowers himself as best he can beside her and pulls her into his arms. He can feel her tears, wet and complete as they run down his chest, but he doesn▓t disturb the silence they▓ve wrapped themselves in as he waits for her to move first, because he can feel her smile too.

He wants to wax poetic, and he casts about in the secrecy of his thoughts for the right words, waiting for them to bite the lure, but she finds her own first.

⌠Ray, do you have any idea how many songs I▓m going to write about you?■

And he chuckles and brushes her hair from her face, and kisses her cheek and breathes her in.

⌠Make sure you capture my many manly attractions and my charming wit, okay?■ he jokes, and catches her fist in the dark before it can meet his arm. He presses his lips against it, hears her sleepy sigh, and pulls her closer.

Soon, they▓ll have to get up, gather their clothing, tidy their hair and make their way to their separate beds, but for now he can gather her body to him and feather his fingers along her spine, and wait for dawn to break as they talk of the everything that might happen as they wait, and the everything that already did.

Ray can feel change in his blood and bone. He can feel the difference that having her has already brought about in him. He is dizzy with it, drunk on it, lost within it, and with all the years of Lily Randall wisdom he▓s acquired, he can sense that she▓s captivated by it too. Finally, they▓re on the same page. They▓re together in this, the shared discovery of one another after so many mistakes, so much useless misery, and he can let go of his apprehension and relax into their relationship.

⌠Did you know it could be like this?■ she asks him quietly, slender fingers toying with the curls of ebony hair behind his ear.

⌠Yea,■ he laughs slightly, and holds her close. ⌠I knew all along.■

---

End