A/N: This was supposed to be a bit longer and a lot more – well, physical. But the story and I had a long discussion (more like, I begged and pleaded and explained that several people told me they were looking forward to a little "action") and the end result is: the story insists it's done, that where it ends is exactly right for the kind of story it turned out to be. And, on the whole, I agree with the story. So, my apologies to those expecting a little more smut and the vague promise of a concluding story to make this a trilogy, but God, my to-do-list and Alex Trebek only know when I'll have time to write it.
BEGGARS WOULD RIDE
Sequel to "If Wishes Were Horses"
Dinner had been… pleasant. A nice bottle of wine, soft music in the background, low lighting and a subtle candle. We'd talked and teased over our meals, keeping everything lighthearted and easy, avoiding certain topics of conversation, like this afternoon's elevator incident. We both knew where we wanted – no, wished – this would go, but I think we were both too afraid to push. Maybe the whole thing in the elevator had been just something as fleeting as it was elusive. Maybe for all the wishing and wanting between us, there was too much reality. So we ignored it as long as we could.
Woody walked me up to my apartment and even came in for a cup of coffee. We sat awkwardly at either end of the couch, sipping the hot beverages and keeping up the running patter we had at dinner and during the drive home. Woody ruined it. "I wish-" he stopped, literally biting his tongue.
I waited a moment, watched him. His eyes darkened and he scrubbed a hand through his spiky hair. The silence couldn't last forever. "What? What do you wish, Woody?"
He looked down, his legs shifting, fingers tapping the rim of the coffee mug. "I don't know. Never mind."
"No. What do you wish?"
"I really don't know, Jordan." He raised his gaze to mine and I saw that he meant it.
I nodded slowly and went back to sipping my coffee. The clock in the kitchen ticked and outside, a horn blared. Somewhere down the hall, one of my neighbors slammed his front door. In the distance, I could make out a siren. Finally, I sighed. "What are you afraid of? That I'll run in the morning… or that you will?"
I might as well have hit him in the solar plexus. He exhaled in a rush and his skin paled. He ran his hand through his hair again. Eighteen more times until he caught up with this afternoon's shoe tying record…. "I – I – don't know… what to say."
I took a deep breath. "I wish you'd just tell me what you're feeling. I mean, if this afternoon was a mistake, if-"
"It wasn't." His voice was thick. "Not even close." He stopped, his eyes roaming my apartment, avoiding my face. If I'd had a hair band ready, I'd have shot it at him, just to get his attention. "I just wish… I wish we could be sure."
"Sure? About what?"
"About what happens… tomorrow. The day after that. Next week."
I let myself smile a bit. "Tomorrow the sun comes up. Sadly, someone probably kills someone else; you'll investigate the act while I autopsy the body. The day after that-"
"I'm serious." My recitation clearly wasn't amusing. Must remember that for when I write my book about the adventures of the medical examiner who is prone to a little detective work on the side.
"What are you looking for, Woody? A guarantee? A label –on my ass maybe – that says 'Money back if not completely satisfied?'"
"Jordan! I don't mean anything like that."
I scooted over to him. "Then what do you mean? Did you mean anything you said today?"
"Yes!" His response was instant, visceral. "I – I just wish… I love our friendship and it's amazing we still have that after… everything. But sometimes I wish we could start over."
I arched an eyebrow at him. "You'd really like to go through all of that again?"
He laughed at last. "No. No." He paused. "Although could you maybe kiss Lu again? That was really hot."
I smacked him on the shoulder.
"Sorry." He was still grinning. "I wish there were a way we could be sure we wouldn't hurt each other again."
"There is," I told him, deadpan. He waited. "We never see each other again, never talk, never work together. One of us should probably move out of Boston."
"So am I." I straddled him and threaded my fingers behind his neck. "Woody, if we're going to try this, we're going to hurt each other. I know I don't know all that much about relationships, but I do know that. And I also know we'll get past it." I dipped my forehead to his. "What I don't think we'll get past is not trying."
He looked into my eyes, his deep blue gaze searching, hopeful. "You think so?"
I nodded, a slow smile spreading over my face. "And now I wish you'd shut up and kiss me."
And with that we were back to where we were that afternoon. My wish was his command.