Midnight is an odd time, not just because it's the middle of the night, but because things get kind of still, quiet, like you're waiting for something to happen, and if you're still awake at midnight you probably are. Sitting in a bar in a hotel in Toronto waiting for the band to pack up our stuff to move on to the next gig, right now I feel like it's good to be a girl, albeit a girl pushing her mid thirties trying to at least look like she's only pushing her late twenties. There's only one thing wrong with that at midnight, the few men left wandering the bar at this time of night are usually middle aged men on business trips, lonely and far from home, and they always want to buy me drinks, especially if they've been slowly getting drunk watching me up on stage. But that's just one of the many things I hate about playing in the lounges of hotels. Drunk audiences, half empty or totally empty audiences and then the guys that will sit there through the whole set and stare up at you like you're the most beautiful thing they've ever seen and then pester you afterwards.

Not tonight though. Tonight it's quiet, considering it's a Saturday night, most of them have probably headed out to strip bars or clubs near by which has left the bar nearly empty. Nearly, because there are a few guys in suits left scattered around the room. Some of them seem to be chatting in a group, but there's one or two sitting at the bar contemplating the bottom of their glasses. That's something you see a lot at midnight, that quiet moody contemplation of the bottom of a glass, the question being do you go for another drink or do you go up to bed? It's a catch 22 really, because if you go for another drink you might just find yourself thinking more about whatever is on your mind that's kept you up this late in the first place, work or your life or lack there of and another drink isn't going to make that go away, but then again going up to bed on your own, well that doesn't usually help that much either.

I find myself watching one of the guys at the bar, dark suit, long lean body, wide shoulders, dark damp curls, staring into a half empty glass of what looks like rum and coke or something mixed with cola anyway. He doesn't look like your regular run of the mill businessman, but he does look haggard, tired, and just a little beat up. I watch him glance at his watch and then at his drink. There it is, should I have another drink or not? Then he glances at the group of younger men behind him and I follow his gaze to the happy group, all smiles and laughter, with plates of nachos disappearing amongst them. He looks like he wants to join them but there's something holding him at the bar, something making him feel like he doesn't belong.

The light catches his profile and I can see the scars that riddle his face like topographical markers, white bands of scar tissue that are the only blemishes on an otherwise roguishly handsome face. A strong jaw line partially masked by a few days growth that's just starting to turn from almost red to silver, and a nose that was once straight but has been broken, more than once. I can't help but imagine how those lips might turn up into a smile if he was sitting with this group in the middle of the floor but there's something between them, something that makes him feel different, alone.

I know how that feels. A few years ago I would be helping to pile the amps and speakers into the trailer, a smoke hanging between my lips, swigging beer from a bottle, happily chatting with the boys. But that was then, that was when I was in a band that was fun that was rock and roll. This is now, now that I'm dressed in sequins instead of leather and have a carefully tied scarf around my arm to cover my tattoo and the band I front is full of serious jazz musicians that treat me like a lady. I shouldn't complain, but I still do.

So I know what that look in his eyes means, I know the longing for something I used to have and wish I could have again. But what punk rock band wants a chick in her mid thirties? Maybe that's what makes up my mind, makes me walk up to him, or maybe tonight is just one of those nights where I feel like a little company.

"Can I buy you a drink?" I ask, sliding onto the bar stool beside him. He looks over at me, surprised, his hazel eyes scanning the little black dress with the sequins at the neck and then his gaze slides down to my legs which I cross slowly, giving him a quick glance at garter belts and stockings. His eyes search mine for a moment, quizzical, and then he shakes his head slowly, dimples appearing in his cheeks.

"I don't…pay for it," he stutters, looking bemused, his hazel eyes sparkling with gold. I think about being offended, for a moment, but then again, I am dressed to the nines and I do have a little more make up on than a woman probably should but I guess he hadn't caught the show.

"My names Marianne, I played in the lounge tonight," I extend my hand towards him and he blushes, and takes my hand and shakes it firmly.

"I'm sorry I thought…well I'm sorry about that," he apologizes.

"That's alright, honest mistake I guess," I shrug. "So, what about that drink?"

"How about I buy you a drink, to apologize," he offers and I nod, smiling back at those deep dimples, glad that even making him squirm a bit has taken that haunted look out of his eyes. He motions for the waiter with long strong fingers, fingers that look like they should play piano, fingers that look like they do something for a living. The bartender asks me if I'll have the same again and I nod and he goes off to make me another Crantini.

"So what's with them?" I ask, glancing over at the group of younger guys. He follows my gaze, and then looks back over at me, shrugging.

"They're my teammates, we won tonight," he replies, his gaze searching mine, looking to see if I know who they are maybe, or if I know anything about it. I shrug, intentionally looking blank and then smiling as an answer comes to me.

"Oh…hockey, it was on in here, I could hear some…well the locals didn't sound very happy, put it that way" I offer which makes him laugh. That's a nice sound, deep and masculine, and his entire face lights up from within. Something inside of me stops, clenches, flutters, and begins to beat again.

"Yeah, it was kind of a…beating. So…I think we heard the last song or so…jazz right?"

"Mmmhm," I reply, taking a sip of the Crantini before putting it down on the folded napkin. "Standards, Doris Day, that kind of stuff."

"You sounded good," he offers but it doesn't sound sincere, it sounds like forced flattery.

"Not your kind of music?" I laugh, and then shake my head when he starts to object. "Don't worry, it's an acquired taste or so I'm told. It can be fun, in the right place at the right time. This…quartette, we're part of a bigger band thing. We play some swing bars, especially down in the States, it's bigger there. But this pays the gas bills in the mean time."

"Swing…that was big a couple years back," he replies, his face sobering, but thoughtful. He looks more intelligent than a jock usually would, like there's more than one thought going on at a time behind those hazel eyes.

"Yeah, we had our day, but there's still a lot of places to play at car shows and that whole fifties revival thing is really big in Europe right now so you never know." I smile over my drink at him and he smiles back, that warmth in his eyes making my heart flutter again.

"So you travel a lot too," he says, cocking his head to one side and giving me a long considering look that makes me feel warm all over.

"We do," I reply, letting the toe of my shoe work it's way slowly up the inside of his leg and enjoying the way the heat rises in his cheek with each centimeter I raise his pant leg. "So I know how it can be, being around the same people all the time. You can only read so many books, am I right?"

"You read?" he coughs, looking a little flummoxed as I lean forward to loosen his tie.

"All the time. Big, thick books," I purr, reaching down for my purse and pulling out the latest hard cover novel about vampires and werewolves that I've found. He glances at the cover, a shadow of a woman's curves by candle light and then up at me.

"I uh…like non fiction," he adds, glancing over at me while I stow the book back in my bag. When I look back up he's pulling nervously at his collar and trying to tighten his tie without being overly noticeable. I take another long sip of the Crantini, enjoying the tart taste on my tongue while I consider the way his curls fall onto his forehead, the way his lions' eyes dart around the room, and the way he looks almost boyish as his gaze finds mine again.

"Don't you ever get tired of dealing with reality? Don't you ever want to just…escape?" I know I'm not really talking about the books here and I can tell by the way his eyes track slowly down to my cleavage and back up to my eyes that he knows the same thing.

"I guess it's kind of a…," he pauses and his gaze glazes over for just a moment, disappearing somewhere else before it returns back to me, "self education."

"Mmm, brains and brawn, my favourite combination," I smile, slowly licking a drop off the rim of the glass before putting the glass down. He shifts on the stool and I know that I'm making him uncomfortable, but it's fun and whenever those dimples appear it just makes me want to make him blush again.

"Where's your band?" he asks, glancing around again. I bring his attention snapping back to me when I lay my hand on his knee.

"Loading the bus, and then they'll be into some all night poker game, as usual." I consider not asking the next question, but I'm curious so I do. "Why aren't you sitting with them?" I tilt my head towards the group of younger men and watch as his eyes glaze over a bit. He shrugs, looking back at me, considering whether the explanation is too long and involved.

"I don't enjoy reliving the game anymore. I like being out there, but I just don't get anything out of going over it," he shrugs, some of the luster gone from his smile.

"But you're not tired enough to go to sleep yet, right?" I ask, putting the question in my eyes, asking if he'd like some company instead. A number of things pass behind those gold flecked eyes before he downs the remainder of his drink, gets up and walks away. I allow myself a moment to sigh, thinking that's just one more guy that can see right through my war paint and knows how pathetic and lonely I really am and doesn't want it to rub off on him. I glance back over at the group of younger guys but dismiss that thought altogether. I'm not up for a party either.

I get up from the bar stool and start to head toward the table at the back I'd been sitting at when I feel a hand slide over mine, long fingers curling around my smaller ones. I look up at him, see the indecision in his eyes but the determination in the set of his jaw. I search his gaze, but he glances away, like he doesn't want me to see that he thinks this is crazy. So I let him lead me to the elevators instead, carefully avoiding trying to meet his gaze as we step into their mirrored interior. Instead I watch him run his thumb along the edge of the pass key to his room, agitated, unsure. I slide my hand over his, stopping the movement and looking up into his eyes.

His gaze searches mine for one long moment before the door opens, and then he leads me quickly down the hall in long strides that I have to jog to keep up with. He knocks on the door, two hard taps, then waits, his whole body radiating nervous energy. When there's no answer, he slides the key in the lock and pushes the door open, yanking his tie from around his neck and sliding it over the door handle as it closes behind us with a click that seem to reverberate in the still air. We stand in the semi dark of the small hallway between the bathroom and the closet, one on each side, staring at one another, each waiting for the other to make the first move.

It's him that crosses the floor first, in one stride, grabbing either side of my face in his hands and pressing his lips against mine hard enough that I think it might leave a bruise but I don't care, I have my hands in his shirt, pulling him against me, my leg curled around the back of his, wanting him that close. His lips push mine open, his tongue twisting urgently around mine, probing, hungry. I answer with my hands, ripping impatiently at the buttons on his shirt, pulling it open to bare the lean muscles of his chest to my fingertips. I let my fingers roam slowly through the dense wiry curls, before I slide the palms of my hands over the hard buds of his nipples and enjoy the gasping response as his lips pull off of mine.

He looks down, his gaze full of heat and desire as he surveys my face, and I look back at him with what I know is amused patience which sends him over the edge, a snarl forming on his lips as he drops them to my neck. The sting of his teeth pulling at the thin skin of my neck makes me gasp, but not in pain; I slide my hand up and around his neck, holding him there, while at the same time using my other hand to give one of those little pink buds a good hard twist, making him groan out loud. He uses his size, the strength in those long arms to pull me off my feet, pushing me up against the wall, his body pinning me, holding me there while his hands work at pushing my dress up to my waist, tearing at my panties so that they cut into my skin one minute and the next what remains of them falls at his feet.

My entire body shudders as his fingers slide into me, one then two, probing for that spot that makes me cry out and push down and against his hand, wanting more. His thumb finds my clit and makes achingly slow lazy circles that have my head spinning and I'm forced to hold on for dear life as the orgasm begins to take hold. I feel his tongue sweep up my neck and flick inside my ear and then the vibration of his laughter sends a shudder down my spine.

"I can't do this," he laughs, stepping back to let me slide slowly to the ground, the laugh lines appearing beside his eyes, his dimples deepening. "I feel weird."

"Trev you promised," I sigh, sticking my bottom lip out in what I hope is a believable pout. "You were doing so well, I'd have believed you if I didn't know you were acting and I had this whole…inner monologue going. It was great."

"I hardly ever get to see you, I don't want it to be like this," he sighs, his fingers tracing around the bruise he's likely left on my neck. "We only have a few nights together a year, I don't want to play games Em, I just want to make love to you." I lean into his hand and smile up into those amazing hazel eyes and slide my hand around to grab a handful of that amazing ass of his.

"Well you did play along with the rest of it so well," I sigh, "I guess we can do this your way now." He shakes his head, chuckling, the desire leaking back into his eyes as he slides his fingers up to my cheek before dropping his lips softly over mine. Where his previous kisses, hot and urgent, made my body hum; this kiss, soft and warm, makes my heart sing and I feel myself melt into his arms where the memories of a thousand stolen moments, a thousand secret embraces bubble to life under my skin, sending ripples of desire up my spine. When I feel his hand sliding down my back, bringing with it the zipper to the dress, I moan, just that simple soft touch alone bringing me back towards the edge. But again he steps back, this time to watch as the dress falls around my feet, to let his eyes roam appreciatively over the black bra, the garter belt, the heels.

"You ruined the effect," I sigh, glancing down at what's left of my panties on the floor.

"What did they cost, twelve bucks? This shirt was almost fifty," he laughs, sweeping me back into his arms, the rumble of his laugh sending goose-bumps racing across my skin.

"Not like you can't afford it," I sigh, leaning my head back and closing my eyes, losing myself in the rasp of his beard against the thin skin of my throat.

"Hey, I'm on a budget this year, I'm just a low paid grinder," he chuckles, his kisses leaving a warm trail down to my collarbone before he lifts me again and places me gently on the bed.

"Yeah whatever Mr. Stocks and Bonds; you can buy me another pair before the game on Tuesday," I smile up at him as he pulls away the rest of his shirt and lowers his hands to the belt on his pants. Now it's my turn to watch, as he slides out of those dark suit pants, steps out of his shoes and slides onto the bed beside me. "Socks too. Don't be trailer park," I laugh as he runs his hand lightly over my abdomen, making my skin prickle with anticipation.

"When are you going to quit the road and come home and live with me?" he asks, his voice low, knowing this isn't the time to broach the subject but it's been in his eyes almost from the time I sat down across from him.

"When are you going to retire and be home for me to make a home with?" I reply, my voice just as careful, rolling onto my side and lacing my fingers in his.

"Soon, maybe," he answers, his eyes turning to liquid gold in the semi dark, the only light behind us low enough we can pretend it's candlelight. "Will you?" he asks, his lips tight, knowing how difficult this conversation is for both of us.

"Have you made a decision about what to do when you retire yet?" I ask, feeling the tension beginning to build in my chest, memories of too many fights beginning to rear their ugly head.

"I'm working on some things," he replies, reaching out to push a stray lock of hair back behind my ear.

"Well then, let me know what and where and then…we'll see." I search his gaze and see the slow acceptance in his eyes and then a smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. "When you give up chasing your dream, I'll give up part of mine, that's the deal."

"Part?" he asks, brushing the back of his hand along my cheek until I catch his hand in mine and press my lips to the palm of his hand.

"The other part was always you," I sigh, my voice catching in my throat, my eyes closed against the emotion that threatens to overwhelm me. I feel his hand slide along my waist, sliding behind the small of my back, pulling me towards him. When I look up into his eyes, they're glistening with unshed tears which makes mine spill over and we both end up laughing.

"I love you Em," he whispers, touching his lips to mine, soft, gentle kisses that soon become more passionate, more heated, until he pulls me over him, until I'm straddling his chest and lowering myself over him. I feel him, hard and ready, pushing upwards, and I hold myself, teasing, just out of reach until he whimpers, until his eyes beg me to finish what we've started. Only then do I fully lower myself over him, engulfing him, enjoying the feeling of him thick and solid inside of me, of his eyes looking up into mine, of his hands reaching for me, but this I deny him too, rocking back just out of reach. I move slowly, almost like a dance, over him, taking my hair out from the barrettes and pins that have held it in place for the duration of the evening, shaking it out until it falls in dark waves around my shoulders, making a show of each movement, prolonging each gesture until he gives up and lays back and just watches.

When the last pin is laying on the floor somewhere, I begin to move a little more, putting my hands on his chest, holding him down and using him for leverage, moving with him and over him until I lose myself in the oncoming wave of the orgasm, tossing my head back and howling as my body clenches hard around him. Easily he turns us over, not losing his stride for a single moment, pinning me under him, pushing my knees up to my chest so he can push in deeper, harder. Now it's his turn to make me whimper as he nearly bends me in half, and it feels so good and it always has, it's always been good like this, but now there's a sort of short-hand between us, he knows my body so well, knows when to speed up, when to slow down, what each little sound I make means and what to do when I make them to make them louder, longer.

So just as the next tide threatens to sweep over the shore, he backs away, his gaze holding mine, mischief in his eyes as he holds himself outside of me, waiting for my breathing to slow, for the slight tremors in my thighs to ease before he slides himself back inside me with a sigh, this time taking it slower, gentler, wrapping himself around me, silencing my whimpers of protest with soft kisses.

"Oh no you don't," he smiles, kissing the tip of my nose as I try to pull him deeper with my ankles hooked behind his back, "you know how I like to make the first time last." Two can play at that game, and with a grin I dig my nails deep in his back and feel the shiver under his skin as the pain heightens his senses and sends him closer to the edge of losing his hard fought for control. He closes his eyes and moans, and when I catch his bottom lip in my teeth, giving it a gentle tug, he only smiles. "You'll have to do better than that," he whispers against my lips as he slows his thrusts, stalling, making the edge higher, the drop sweeter. His tongue sweeps across my lips and with a grin I flick my tongue against his before watching him drop his lips down over the outside of my bra, nipping at my very erect nipples through the lace, bowing my back and ripping a screech out of my throat, and sending my nails ripping through his back. I hear him groan, partly in pain, and partly in advance of his release as he slams into me, pulling my hips towards him, pushing my knees back and pressing his lips and teeth against my neck as he pours himself into me with a moan before collapsing onto me, the vibration of his laughter against my neck beginning the wave of an aftershock that raises goose-bumps along my skin. "You always make sure to leave your calling card don't you?" he laughs, wincing as he rolls onto his side while rolling me to face him, tangling his legs in mine.

"What about me?" I ask, running my fingers over a new tender spot on my neck.

"Yeah but you taste good," he sighs, running his hand down my side, making me shiver. His caramel gaze searches mine and then he smiles. "I'm glad you came."

"I'm glad you made me too," I laugh, knowing what he means and being insolent anyway. He gives my bum a hard pat and shakes his head.

"You know what I mean. I'm glad we're here, I'm happy being here with you."

"You're being sappy, stop it, it makes me uncomfortable," I laugh, pushing him backwards but he catches me by my bra straps and pulls me to him, kissing me softly while he unties the scarf around my arm, revealing my tattoo, and bending to press his lips to the center of the crossed hockey sticks, where his number and my initials lie intertwined.

"My tough girl," he smiles, looking up at me, the look in those melted caramel eyes making me shiver with desire.

"Not as tough as you, captain my captain," I reply, settling back into the sheets, and letting out a contented sigh as his lips travel up my arm to my neck as the clock strikes two.