Rating: M

Pairing: Jesse/Suze

Disclaimer: I don't own them. Sigh.

Author's Addenda: I hope you all like it!

The problem of having a boyfriend born in 1800s is that, overall, they tend to have particularly, shall we say, extreme attitudes towards the proper treatment of women. And ok, yeah, I suppose for most girls the problem would be that the boyfriend would have to be either dead or some sort of über-super centenarian. Like, hello and goodbye, Anna Nicole, I know, and I've been there. Omigod, eww. I meant I've had a dead boyfriend. Wait. Well, no, yeah, it's true. Not like coffin-drippy-zombie-necrophilia dead, of course, just run-of-the-mill ghost dead. They're two different deads, trust me. But you know, once you get over that kink in the mortal coil, there's the whole attitude thing, in the back smirking and waving to you from somewhere near the bedroom door .

They're either "Oh, useless woman, forsooth you have no rights or mind of your own! Now, chattel, put on an attractive frock and bring forth unto me a sandwich!" or just the opposite, with the virtuous, moral, pedestal placing, R-E-S-P-E-C-T kind of thing. Mine happens to fall in the second category. Now, I'm all for treating a woman like a princess and what have you but enough already with that, because sometimes I just want to be taken like a five-dollar- um… oh. Well. I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, hi. My name is Suze Simon. Susannah, really, but there are about three people in the world who can call me that without receiving a subsequent punching and I really don't think I'll be adding any new names to the list anytime soon.

I kind of talk to dead people. It's not, like, a schizophrenic thing, really. I guide lost souls to their final and/slash/or next destination. One of those souls happened to have been my boyfriend, Jesse. He check-marked the box next to 'next' on that one, because he's human now, establishing a life, and fully mortal, living, and delicious.

Which means all systems are go, yah? I mean, no more going around making out with invisible people, my parents have formally met and approved of him, he has his own apartment, and yes it is ridiculously close to a Catholic rectory, but perhaps some women find a little religion sexy! I mean, if your ex-deceased, Roman Catholic, former ranchero, pre-med studying boyfriend wanted you to go church with him on Sundays, you absolutely would too, if it meant you got to see him looking all serious and meditative in attractively respectful clothes. See if you don't!

I'm getting off subject. Which is pretty much the only thing about me that is.

Getting off, I mean.

Sorry, I know, that was crude. It's just, God! Well, it's not God, actually, it's Jesse. He's just too attractive to not jump. I, for one, should be fully aware that sexually harassing people is WRONG and BAD and not something good to do, but then I see him waiting for me in the sun, to pick me up from school, leaning back, looking at me with that smile on those lips, and I feel his arms as they make their way around me and it's like suddenly I want to pray at the Altar of Jesse, only I want to do it using my hands, lips, tongue, teeth, and who the hell am I trying to kid? Everything else, too. I'm just one quivering ball of girly hormones when it comes to him.

Let's be honest here, it's not like I'm repulsive to the opposite sex, usually. I mean, I have gotten more than my fair share of admiring glances in my seventeen years on this earth, and even the gatekeeper of the Shadow Realm seemed kind of taken with my fabulous self. Well, sort of.

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is that there is no earthly (or spectral) reason anymore for my life to continue running at a PG-13 rating. I've been on a mission to bump it up to at least an 'R,' but aside from a few isolated front clasp toying incidents, it hasn't been going too well.

"This is the kitchen!" he kept moaning at me between kisses. I guess to someone who didn't grow up watching MTV it might seem kind of novel to be making out passionately in the same place the food lives.

"Yeah, but it's night time." I said, running my hands down his chest, in that way that made him- yes, growl like that. I slid them up and under his shirt, scrubbing my hands across the smooth, warm skin of his back.

"What does that have to do with anything?" He demanded, his body forcing mine back against the counter. He cradled my face in his large, tanned hands, and arranged me so that he could explore my lips more thoroughly. I started to break away slightly to respond and he shushed me, pulling me to him again. Between the press of the cold counter at the back of my thighs and warm Jesse at the front, I was beginning to get lost in that hazy maze of lust that only he could ever help me navigate. Losing my head completely I brought a leg up to wrap around his hip, and he made that noise again, the one that told me in no uncertain terms that I was his and his alone. God, did I love that noise. He left one hand stroking my throat and jaw, tilting my head this way and that, but the other skimmed over my body to knead the thigh that was pulling him closer to where I needed him to be. I was so glad I was wearing my BCBGMaxMara mini, because I'd caught him checking out the wildly indecent amount of leg presented all throughout dinner. He didn't know I knew of course, otherwise he probably would have apologized for compromising my feminine virtue or whatever- something which I would hopefully be losing tonight completely as things in this kitchen were looking up.

That is not me being funny. It's a figure of speech.

Anyway, things really were looking up because as I rolled my head back so he could set delicious fire to my neck, there was not a hint of an indication that Jesse was about to call it quits on account of preserving my maidenhead. I tugged a trifle desperately at his broad shoulders so that I could press myself into him deeper, and I'm not sure if it was that or the way I was sort of panting his name, begging him for something I couldn't find the words to express but he made this strangled noise as his hands found their way under (YES! UNDER! A FIRST AND VERY PROMISING SIGN!) my skirt to lift me up. It was like I weighed nothing- he draped me around himself and then he flattened me up against the cupboard.

I couldn't help it. I began to rub against him, wrapping one arm around his neck and arching like a bow drawn taut at the feel of him. It was a superb moment- he had kept one hand under my skirt, squeezing the flesh there and hitching my legs up higher so that he could get me nearer. I was literally immobilized with lust.

It was, therefore, completely reasonable that it took me a moment to figure out why I was suddenly sitting dazedly on the kitchen table, with my lips pursed, still thinking that they were kissing Jesse. Jesse, who was across the kitchen from me, cursing in Spanish, looking like rumpled sex. Oh, sex… We were so close to making each other's acquaintance tonight.

"Jesse?" I asked, my voice slightly horse, and, I could see from the shadow the hanging light behind me was casting, my hair in somewhat of a disarray. "We were- you! Your hands were… Oh, and it felt…" I wasn't making sense, but he was looking at me with his dark eyes lit up with a glow that was altogether human. You try looking into them and remembering what the hell you meant to say before your mouth opened.

"Querida, I- Forgive me for- I didn't mean to take advantage!" But his eyes, they were on me, on my swollen lips, on my body as it rested splayed over the placemats that CeeCee had given him as a housewarming gift. They would sweep in an agonized loop from my face to my askew silk drape top down my hips where they would pause to take in where my already indecent skirt had ridden up. He had to be seeing just the barest edge of my best lace panties. Then, down the legs and the whole thing would start again.

"Advantage?" I was still not processing. I shifted a bit, raking one hand through my hair while leaning heavily on the other. I was over here but he was over there. What is that? What's going on in my life? "Because of the kissing?"

He looked at me and for a moment I thought I could see a smile, before his eyes fell to my blouse again which had shifted, or rather, not shifted with me when I moved before. He came over to me, reaching out to set my shirt to rights like it pained him to do it. I grabbed his arm, to make sure he didn't do something stupid, like cross the room again.

It was starting to come back to me, awareness of my life and times, so I knew that there were many ways to play this. We could argue. Sometimes the next best thing to wild making out (No such creature! No such creature!) is needling Jesse about his attitude. I like to feel like I'm helping him progress into a 21st century man a little more everyday. And it's not like he can just disappear on me now, since he's no longer Night of the Living Dead Jesse, so, you know, score.

But so far, so far the direct approach has not really done wonders for me in the bedroom department. Apparently an honest and heartfelt expression of emotion and desire is too complicated for the male brain to handle, particularly one who grew up in the 1800s (or, The-Time-of-Male-Pattern-Dominance). So I decided to try something else.

I'm sorry, Father D, but I'm pretty sure that using my wiles on him now is completely on the up and up. If he chooses to succumb to the mind blowing spectacle that is me in charm mode, well, that's really in his very capable human hands, isn't it?

He was still looking at me, hands clenching and unclenching the fabric of my top he was still holding, his face down-turned and his eyes closed, trying, I think to get his breathing under control. Well, buddy, sucks to your plan's asmar.

I tugged the arm I was holding and made him look at me, putting on my best wide-eyed, doe-a-deer expression. "Did I-" I debated on the voice tremble, but I threw it in at the end, because really, why do something by halves? "Did I do something wrong?"

Poor delicious bastard never had a chance.

His arms slid around me immediately, murmuring soothing words, and fervent denials, telling me "No, Querida! It was not anything you did, well, it was, but it is not your fault. I need to keep better… control of myself when I am with you, especially now that I am human again, and darling girl, please understand that I do it for your own good…" I let him continue on in this vein, congratulating myself on the supreme effort I put forth in not allowing my smug triumph to show. Enjoying the feel of his strong arms for a moment, I simply let my head fall forward to bury in the curve of his throat, in a way I knew he found particularly enjoyable.

"Jesse." I brushed soft kisses down his jugular, my tongue darting out to curl at his ear once when the temptation became too much. It's really unfair of me to use that spot against him, as it was pretty much like a direct route to come-hither town for Jesse. I clutched at him, as his arms tightened, and I could feel the tension in his frame as he fought not to give into his baser, more fleshly instincts. "Oh, Jesse, please, oh please," I begged, my breath hot against his shoulder, hitching with desire. "I need you to- Oh, God. I need you to touch me, please. I love you so much and I just, I-" I let my legs slide around him again, chafing my calves against his thighs. His breath caught, and then caught again when I bent backwards so that my shoulders were braced on the tabletop and I was arching and rolling against him.

"Querida, I-" His hands gripped my hips now and I could feel his fingers shaking slightly. I dragged in with my legs and up with my hips, and I think I might have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for CeeCee's damn, meddling placemat. It hit the floor with a poly-vinyl slap and it seemed to bring Jesse back to order. He detangled himself despite my protests and stepped back surveying me in a shrewd sort of estimation. His breathing, however, I was pleased to note, had yet to settle completely.

"That, Susannah, was underhanded." He took me by the hands and tugged firmly, but gently. I was on my feet and he began to shuffle me towards the door. "Particularly how you chose to put me off guard by using the kitchen. That was downright diabolical. I know that you planned on staying here tonight while your mother and stepfather have the house repainted-"

"Now hang on!"

"And that is why I will be heading over to the rectory. I simply do not have the self-restraint necessary to spend the entire evening protecting your chastity, as would a stronger man." His eyes cut sideways and he bent hastily to grab my overnight bag that I had ditched upon entrance. "Though He knows that you would try the forbearance of a saint in these outfits of yours. Now I'm sure you don't mind if I borrow the car… "

His voice was that detached calm I knew he only used when he was feeling superior, and it ruffled all of my tingling, sexually-frustrated feathers to hear him use it now, now. If anyone had a right to get all huffy about one of us not playing fair with the other it's ME.

"Hold it!" I broke free, and skittered a bit in my too high heels which I hadn't paused to take off when I had gotten in. "We need to get something straight right now." I teetered as I stalked angrily back and forth in front of him, not really putting too much effort into balance right then.

"Jesse, you do not guard my 'chastity.' I do! It's my chastity to guard! And I have to say, I have done a pretty good job of it! When Bryce wanted to undo my bra clasp I said no! When Paul stuck his tongue in my mouth, I- well, okay, I may have kissed him back a little, but when he climbed on top of me I so completely jabbed him in the eye!" The bag falling out of Jesse's hands could have been a sign either way, as could the arrested way he reached for me so I kept barreling on, in that way I do when I'm being an idiot.

"The point is, I can take care of myself, dammit, and if you don't want me, great, fine, I'll just crawl away and die somewhere, but don't for one second longer think that something I am willingly, and consciously, giving away to you is anything less than a valid and rational decision on my part!"

He took my face in one of his strong hands and tilted it until I was staring as deeply into his eyes as was possible to do. The dim light spilling from the kitchen reflected in them, almost luminous.

"Susannah," he began gently, drawing me to the couch like a fluting native would charm a snake. "Susannah, did Paul touch you, hurt you in any way?" I pushed his hand away and stood up.

"Way to miss the point, Jesse. Seriously, I'm not at all amazed by your SAT score. Your comprehension is frickin' astounding."

"Susannah," his hands on my skin as he grasped my legs to make me face him did nothing to assuage the still pounding lust fist smashing up my insides. His voice was serious. "You don't know, not really, what you're saying. Your precious gift is not for you to give away- it's for God and your husband to deal with, when the time comes."

That canned it for me. I don't think he noticed the storm brewing on my face or he might have tried to backpedal in order to avoid the coming rain.

"And I'm not saying that I don't plan on being that husband. I do. But if something should happen to me, I wouldn't want to compromise the intimacy of that ultimate act of trust for you-" He trailed off when he noticed I wasn't in the room anymore. I heard him call my name in confusion, and the soft rustle of the couch cushions as he stood up to find me.

It didn't take long- the apartment was like a shoebox with a toaster oven in it- before he succeeded. Nothing could have been less what he was expecting of course, but that's good. A little shock is good for the soul.

"You're the one who doesn't get it," I said calmly, from my perch on his freshly made bed. I had flung my skirt into the corner already, and was working methodically on the ties holding my shirt together. He stood there, stock still, stunned a bit, I think.

The dark green lace of my strapless bra must of caught his eye, because as I tossed aside my discarded shirt, Jesse couldn't seem to move his gaze. I cleared my throat, as my hands came up to graze along my own skin, and continued.

"I want you, Jesse." I leaned back against his pillows and kept his gaze as I slid my finger beneath the front closing clasp of my bra. "I want you, and I'm a big girl who knows what she's doing."

I let my eyes flutter closed with a small moan, twitching my hips back and forth, and back and forth… The clasp gave way and my suddenly free breasts sprung out, bouncing with enthusiasm. Jesse fell to his knees on the bed, towards my feet, but I just braced one flat on either side of him and lifted my hips up with a moan. I began to work my lacy boy shorts down my legs, but his hands wrapped around my wrists before I could get very far. I saw his eyes, wild and dark, black with lust and decided it was, as he said, for his own good. With the my thumbs still under the fabric, though of course my hands were stilled, I simply began to wiggle up thusly achieving much the same effect. Or at least it would have, had he not jerked my hands out and to the sides, pinning them to the bed.

Of course, this move turned out to work in my advantage (and honestly, I should have just stripped nearly naked long before this cause I wasn't really finding a way something could not be turned to work in my advantage with him on top of me and his eyes struggling not to look at my bare chest. I recommend it if you ever have to get your 1800s man into the sack.) because it brought him up closer to me, and his face was aligned beautifully with my breastal area. All he had to do was lean in and they were his for the exploration. Oh, Jesse, I thought. I wish I didn't have to play this so unfairly.

Although, I do admit to sort of enjoying it. Immensely.

"Querida!" He roared, unable to not look as I began to arch for all I was worth, to get him to touch me. In my defense, I was under the impression that I might actually die if I didn't have him on me, in me right then. It makes it less brazen by half. Brazen? I have been spending way too much of my time with Father D. "We need to stop! You need to stop. I cannot- No man could resist this, and I-"

"We don't need to stop! We need to keep going! I need you to keep going! It can't be that you don't want me. Look! You are shaking with the same thing I feel. Jesse, please, please-"

He pulled my wrists sharply so that suddenly I was sitting up, facing him, on bent leg on either side of his kneeling form. He kept hold of them as he kissed me, and it was akin to madness in that kiss. He began to bear me down backward, still tangled in my lips. And then, in a flash he was wrapping me in the coverlet, and apologizing for letting it get that far, and something about immortal souls and I was like, "That's it."

I jumped out of the bed, flinging the coverlet into his face, my hands on my hips and a rage like a white hot clamp tightening around me.

"So, seriously? It's the virginity thing? If I weren't a virgin, would you sleep with me then?" I was struggling into my skirt, jerkily, squeezing into the tight denim without paying much attention.

"Querida…" His voice held a warning, as though he knew where I was going with this. "Don't be foolish, Querida."

I rounded on him, unable to locate my ridiculously expensive La Perla push up so just grabbing my shirt off the floor and turning it over trying to find out how to put it on. "Oh, foolish? Never. But I'm beginning to think that my virginity is a bigger problem in this relationship that I thought it would be. I mean most guys, assholes that they are, would be pleased that their girlfriends hadn't been the town bicycle before they got together. But not you, Jesse. Not you!"

I gave up on finding the proper way to wear the shirt and just began tying it around my breasts. Jesse looked torn and very concerned, but right then I was so mad I could have beat him soundly over the head with his own 'concern.'

"But, God knows I love you, Jesse. I really do. And if my being a virgin is causing you pain, or suffering, well then I know what I have to do, don't I?" I slipped on my heels as I spun and marched through his bedroom door. I began to rummage through my bag for the keys to the Rover, with him following, not looking pleased. In fact, most of the concern had drained away to make room for one of his unfathomably dark expressions, and I knew that he had caught the undertone to my words.

"And what, exactly, do you mean to say by that, Susannah?" His arms crossed and his eyes narrowed ever so slightly at the challenging look I threw at him

"I mean that I'm going to take care of the problem, Jesse. I can't have this stupid virginity of mine wrecking our relationship, can I? And you know," oh, the danger of speaking this name at this time was a risk, and a dirty cheat, but I was so mad that I couldn't not. "Paul has been so much nicer to me lately. I know that he would help me out with this; he'd hate to see us on the rocks."

My hand was on the doorknob and I began to yank the door open, intending to march out to the car, and drive at least partway to CeeCee's before I broke down crying. It slammed back shut, Jesse holding it closed, trapping me in the space between his outstretched arms. His voice was soft, and ever so angry.

"I do not find you amusing, Querida," he breathed, glaring at me when I gave up on the knob and turned around. I cocked my head, defiantly.

"I'm sorry, did you think I was trying to be funny?" I asked, keeping my voice calm and adding a touch of surprise. His eyes snapped fire, and he leaned in closer.

"I can only assume so, because you must know that it is ridiculous to suggest that somebody else would get to touch you, while I remain alive." It sent a bolt of pure animalistic lust through me to hear him talk that way. I know, perhaps not the most forward or enlightened thought, but one that did things to me in wet, feminine places. He must have seen it in my face because he pressed his advantage. Who was using wiles on who now, Father D? "That's right, Querida. I can see you understand. Your soul and mine are intertwined, and that makes me yours, and you mine."

His voice was rolling across me, my breathing labored and my everything heightened. I could feel the heat of his body on mine, as if it wanted to touch me like he wouldn't.

"You can't own other people anymore. It went out with the horse and buggy and petticoats." He pulled back and dropped a glance at my bare-to-there legs.

"A petticoat or two would not go amiss right now, Querida."

You can play the gentleman, pull back, leave me wet and wanting but when you start critiquing my wardrobe, well that's just one step too freaking far.

"I haven't heard anyone who isn't a rampaging nun complain." I tossed my hair, and ducked under his arm, grabbing my keys from where they had fallen from my nerveless fingers earlier. "And if you'll excuse me, it seems I have things to do."

Jesse didn't excuse me, and let me know by sliding one arm around me, drawing me back against his chest, gently, seductively. Oh, dirty tricks! Who was being unfair to whom? He slung one toned forearm across my hips, and used that to hold me, drawing his fingertips lightly across my throat, over my shoulder, down my side. He entwined our fingers, and then turned my head to face him, using out tangled hands. I was boneless, nerveless, completely in love with this man who held me now like he wanted to keep me where I was forever and longer. He grazed my lips with his, barely, torture.

"Now tell me again, what were you going to do if you left this apartment tonight?"

He was so close to me I could feel him when he breathed in. I began to move against him, not with any art or design, just lost to the feeling of the Jesse against me. His shoulders tightened a bit more, and the hand keeping my hips still gripped tighter. I sensed he still hadn't learned his lesson.

"I was going to get in the car, and drive straight to Pau-" his sharp movement left me pinned beneath him, on his squashy sofa that we had found at a garage sale when he'd first gotten corporeal again. The change in incline was startling, and it occurred to me that I was going to get back problems if this game kept up. Yet another to add to the long list of good reasons for me to get into bed with Jesse soon: avoiding a slipped disk. He pressed his forehead against mine for brief moment, before he could speak again.

"No. Try again."

His grip, like his voice, was firm. My undoing of course, was the warmth in both. I sighed, giving up on getting some, and instead attempted to detangle myself from him. Looks like it's the flannel pajamas and the couch for me tonight. A true waste of extraordinarily battable mascara, if you'd ask me.

"Alright, already. Fine. You win. I give up. Who would want to sleep with their extremely willing, and let's face it, ridiculously nubile soul mate when they could spend the night, you know, not doing that instead? I get it. I'm too young to be engaged in consensual acts of physical affection, and I'm too naive to fully understand the consequences and repercussions that might arise both literally and spiritually. I'm The Sound of Music. Good game, Jesse. Good game."

Only, suddenly, Jesse wasn't playing anymore. His expression, which had turned thoughtful sometime during my concession speech, faded, leaving something indefinable in its place.

"Come on, Jesse. Let me up. I'll wear my granny pjs and we can, you know, play Scrabble. I won't even play the dirty words version, I swear. I'll make 'fuchsia.'"

For the first time that evening, he grinned at me, playing some sort of crazy game where I always lose with my pulse beat. He slowly shook his head.

"I don't think so, Querida. I think that you have engaged in some truly underhanded deeds this evening. You don't get to suddenly be mature and responsible now."

I didn't think he was kidding, but I'm pretty sure that my whole argument from the beginning was that I was mature and responsible, and that he was the one who was acting like a big, stinky, old, Victorian freak. Perhaps, though, not in those terms.

"I get it, Jesse. I do. No sex. Blah blah blah. You think I'm not ready, and that I don't get the metaphysical significance of a popped hymen. The only place I would be able to find the answers to the questions that you think I don't understand is somewhere in the ether between the exchanging of the rings and the unlocking of the hotel door. I don't know what we're going to do about it, but I don't suppose it's going to get solved tonight." I twisted a little, trying to get my feet on the floor and out of the heels at the same time. "Now, let me up."

The scar in his eyebrow whitened as he quirked it. "You do have a way with words, Querida."

"Thank you. I also have an itch on my leg and crick in my neck, so if you'll kindly get off me, I will not burden you with the needs of my vagina any more tonight."

He did move off me, but only pulled me back into his lap when I tried to stand. He took hold of my ankle gently, and began to undo the clasp on my shoe strap. It felt so nice to be taken care of, I just leaned my head on his shoulder and nuzzled his neck to let him know I appreciated the effort. When he was through with both shoes, I looked up at him, to smile and call pax, but his eyes were faraway.

"You might have a point, Susannah, about it being your body and your maidenhood to protect."

"Might?" I snarked, not really listening, wrapped up in thoughts on how I was supposed to deal with college applications and keeping my youngest stepbrother from getting too beat up and, oh yeah, fighting ghosts, all the while in a constant state of 'yes, please!"

"Please, Querida, I am trying to make an apology to you. It would be kind of you to hear it out."

"Apology?" I was intrigued. "I'm intrigued! Please, continue."

"I am truly sorry that I have been treating you as I have. You are very smart, and not at all a child, and I should have listened to you when you tried to tell me that. I did not intend to write off your concerns as I see now that I have."

I liked where this was headed, but I motioned for him to continue. One couldn't be too sure with Jesse that he wouldn't pull a fake out worthy of American Gladiator maze of death proportions.

"I want you to know that it isn't that I found your logic wanting, or your intellect lacking, in any way. And although you do like to point out that I am somewhat old fashioned in many areas, I must confess that it was even less a product of that than it was something else. Something deeper."

See? See what I mean? My blood was running cold at the thought that the moment had finally come when Jesse woke up to the fact that he was alive again and didn't have to pick me just because I loved him. Everyone could see him now, including all of his college girl, co-ed, stuff of Animal House classmates. He was going to tell me that he simply wasn't attracted to me that way and that he had met an art major named Freedom Flowerchild in the quad earlier and that they were planning on having a large family.

"The problem is, I denied myself for so long, because there was so much between us. It was the right thing to do. I thought it a certainty that one day you would wake up, possibly in college, and understand that there was more to the world than loving a ghost could offer you. It would be better for you if you had less to deal with, and less to regret. I was weak, but so happy the day you said that you loved me, that I let things get out of hand. It wasn't even in my wildest dreams that I thought that there would be a way for us to be together, right and free. Now that we are, even though we are, it is difficult for me to get out of the habit of holding back."

I had kept my eyes on him the whole time he spoke, and there was a faraway expression on his face, as though he were only now really working it out himself. It was one of the times I loved him most. He was trying, as he always does, to protect me, and not in the chauvinistic way I had initially assumed. I mean, yeah, he was coming at it from a ridiculous angle, but he meant well, and I should have known him better and given him a better chance to explain. Ergo, it was time to put a stop to the beating he was giving himself.

"Jesse, we don't have to hold back anymore. I mean, we're both here, now, and we have as much of forever as anyone else- that is to say, mostly likely far too little of it. I know the risks of taking this next step- how many times have you told me to 'please turn off Jerry Springer, you're studying?' I have protection, I'm on the pill, and I'm not doing this with a stranger or with someone I don't know well enough to trust. The fact that you managed to fend me off this long is sort of proof that you aren't in this intending to hurt me, isn't it? I want to do this, but more importantly, I want to do this with you. I'm ready, Jesse, and I can't say it any more plainly than that. But I don't want this to be something bad for you, something you'll regret. But if the reason you're stopping play is because you're worried that I'll regret it, now, or someday… I really, really won't."

I meant every word I said, including the protection, and studying the risks. As he ran his hand through his hair, I knew that he finally heard me, and understood. It was confirmation ex post facto when he picked me up in his arms and wrapped me around him again.

"You are the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed in two centuries, Susannah." I wriggled my toes a bit, in delight, and against the new flood of 'yes, please!' that rushed through me at the heat in his voice.

"Well, be ready to say that again soon, because I'm pretty sure the best part comes next."

"Don't worry, Querida. I'm going to make sure that the best part comes first."

The bedroom door slammed closed behind us, a victim of an exuberant Jesse's well aimed kick, cutting off my peels of laughter.