CAROLINE AND THE CONTEST

Caroline & The Contest

Rated 'R' for sexual content

By: Jana~

And: Caroline

~~Disclaimer~~

*****~*****

--Richard huffed impatiently as he attempted to drag Caroline by the arm... "Caroline, I told you, no more shoes! That was the third store you've bought out in a row!"

"Richard..." Caroline whined, trying to juggle her several big bags full of shoes... "I promise! Just one more pair!"

He gripped her arm tighter, pulling her up next to him... "No!" he told her sharply... "I'm cutting you off..."

She pouted... "You're no fun..."

"Which again brings me to the burning question... why did you bring me?"

"To help me carry!"

He rolled his eyes, taking a couple bags out of her full hands... "And where is this in my job description?"

"Under, 'I'm the boss, so I make the rules'..."

"Boy, you just lean on that like a crutch, don't you?"

Caroline's witty comeback was stopped short as she noticed something that caught her attention... "Ummm... why is there a car in the mall?" she asked, pointing in the direction just under Richard's nose.

Richard stumbled back as Caroline arm shot up near his face... "Do you mind?"

"Sorry... but... look. There's a car in the mall!"

"Joy. So?"

"So?? Let's go find out why!" She grabbed his arm and started dragging him against his will...

"Caroline, it's not going anywhere... slow down..."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

--Richard stared straight ahead as he sat alone on a bench in the middle of the mall, until he heard Caroline's footsteps quickly approaching.... "It's a contest, Richard! You can win the car!"

"Okay..." he replied without interest.

"Oh, c'mon Richard! Let's enter the contest!"

"Ummm... let's? As in plural? I don't think so..."

Caroline stuck out her bottom lip as she widened her eyes, giving Richard the pouty 'doe-eyed' look. He knew he would give in... he knew he couldn't resist the pout... did she know? Did she know the effect she had on him? He closed his eyes against it.... "Oh come on, Caroline, you already used the pout once today!" he whined...

"Please, Richard? Pretty please?" she begged sweetly.

He sighed deeply and reluctantly agreed... "Fine, Caroline, but you can't use the pout for a whole week!"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

--"Twenty-four hours, Caroline?!" he exclaimed in disbelief, a hint of a whine attached to the end of her name...

"It won't be so bad, Richard..." she insisted, locking them in the car.

"Twenty-four hours without being able to sleep and with no bathroom breaks?!"

"Ok, so, it'll be hard... but we can do it!"

"Ugh! How do I let you talk me into these things?!"

"I'm good..." she smirked.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

--"...And then the vet said that if Salty didn't like that toy, to get her this other toy with catnip and--"

"Caroline!" Richard interrupted... "If you keep talking about that stupid cat I'm not gonna be able to stay awake!"

Just then, Annie wandered up to the car, shopping bags in hand. She laughed when she saw them... "Umm, what are you guys doing?"

"Going for a drive, what's it look like?" Richard snapped.

"We entered the contest to win the car!" Caroline announced excitedly... "If we can stay in the car and awake for 24 hours... we win!"

Annie winked suggestively at Richard... "Twenty-four hours in a car, eh Richie?"

"Yeah, bet you remember those days fondly..." he commented wistfully.

"Annie..." Caroline interrupted... "Do me a favor and feed Salty for me..."

"Sure. And I'll check back with you guys later..."

"Oh, yay. Something to look forward to," Richard quipped with a roll of his eyes.

Annie turned to walk away, calling over her shoulder... "Bite me, Richie!"

"No thanks, I think I'll save that privilege for those that've had their shots!" he called back.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

--Caroline glanced out the car window... "Del? Charlie?" she asked, surprised to see them walking through the mall.

Richard slunk back against the seat... "Oh, this just gets better and better..." he quipped under his breath.

Caroline turned over her shoulder to smirk briefly at him before turning back out the window... "What are you guys doing here?"

Del gestured in the direction behind them... "We just ran into Annie, she told us about the contest, so we thought we'd come and check it out..."

"Yeah!" Charlie interjected, "And how often do you get to see a car in the middle of a mall?"

"Why are you doing this?" Del asked, ignoring Charlie's comment... "Are you short of money?"

"No, Del," she insisted, "I just thought it would be fun..."

"Yeah, we're having loads of fun in here..." Richard groaned as he crossed his arms over his chest, scowling.

"Well hey, if we win, we'll have a brand new car!"

"Hey, so, do you guys get to drive it around in here?" Charlie asked.

"Yeah, Charlie, we're just gonna run over all the shoppers," Richard quipped.

"Wow... I think that's illegal... isn't it?" His forehead wrinkled in confusion.

"Charlie..." Del shook his head... "He's kidding."

"Oh. Cool!"

"Seriously, Del, I just thought it would be fun..." Caroline repeated.

"Well, whatever, but what about the strip?"

"It's done... on the desk at home."

"So you really have to stay in the car, awake, for 24 hours?"

"Yep!"

"With no bathroom breaks..." Richard added sourly.

Caroline turned only briefly to smack his shoulder as Del asked the next burning question on his mind... "And why are you doing this, Richard?"

"Because apparently sitting in a car with no sleep and no bathroom breaks for an entire 24 hours is part of my new job description..."

"Oh, Richard, stop! You'll live!" Caroline scolded...

"Yes... unfortunately..."

"Well, okay, do you want us to bring you back some food or something to drink?" Del asked.

Richard stared at him in disbelief..."Is there any beginning to your intelligence, Del? Did you miss the part where we said there are no bathroom breaks?"

Del rolled his eyes at Richard's comment... "Fine... we gotta get going."

"Yeah! I gotta get home..." Charlie added... "Watch the pie baking contest!"

"Pie baking contest?" Caroline repeated... "What pie baking contest?"

"The one across the street!" Charlie laughed as Del started to drag him away... "That guy is nuts!"

"Unlike you..." Richard muttered under his breath.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

--The mall was now completely empty... every store closed up for the night. The only people left were Caroline, Richard, the contest monitor who'd fallen asleep in his chair, and the security guard wandering around. Richard eyed Caroline from the driver's seat while she shifted around from the front to the back, then back again, unsure of where she wanted to sit.

He closed his eyes, arms folded across his chest, trying to hold in his annoyance with her incessant moving... but it was to no avail... "Would you stop moving around?" he exclaimed, eyes flying open.

Caroline grimaced in pain as she plopped down in the passenger seat... "I can't help it, Richard, I have a cramp!"

Richard regarded her seriously... "If this turns into the Pamprin versus Midol conversation again, I'm climbing out of the sunroof!" he warned.

She rolled her eyes... "Not that kind of cramp, Richard."

"Oh... But isn't it your... y'know... time?"

She looked to him abruptly, caught off guard... "What?"

"You know, for your... monthly visitor...?"

He certainly didn't miss the look of astonishment that crossed her face, as well as the tiny laugh that escaped... "You keep track?"

"No, I just... I'm observant."

"Uh-huh..." She smiled, then folded her arms across her chest as she leaned back against the passenger side window... "Well, if you must know, it's not due for a few more days."

"Oh, good... thought maybe..." He trailed off.

She squinted in confusion... "Maybe what?"

"That you might be... well... pregnant."

"PREGNANT?!" she screeched, startling the once-snoring contest monitor awake.

Richard shrugged. "Yeah... I don't know..."

Caroline laughed. "Well, you gotta have sex first, Richard."

"I know that! I just... I don't know..." he stammered, shifting at the mention of sex, resolving to shut his mouth before he said anything else stupid.

"What?" she asked, noticing his anxious shift in position.

"What? Nothing!" he was quick to reply.

"Are you uncomfortable with the mention of sex?" was her next inquiry...

"No..." His voice was strained.

"We're both adults, Richard, there's nothing wrong with talking about sex."

"Do we have to?" he asked nervously.

She laughed... "No, we don't have to."

They both sat silent, uncomfortable for a moment... "Come to think of it," Caroline piped up... "It's been awhile for you, too."

"Yeah? So? Then I'm not pregnant either!" he quipped.

She laughed. "I was just making an observation, Richard..." she told him... "I'm observant too."

"How do you know how long it's been?" he asked... "You think you can tell if and when I've had sex?"

"Well no, not exactly..." she admitted... "But it has been awhile, right?"

"If you must know... yeah..." he quickly replied.

"And, if I'm guessing correctly, I'm thinking it's been since that Maddie woman from the employment agency..."

He squirmed again, which she immediately picked up on, pressing further... "Am I right, Richard?"

"Yeah," he finally replied... "So?"

"So... why no dates?"

"Haven't found anyone I'm interested in... or anyone that's interested in ME for that matter..." he replied sadly.

"Well, maybe I could set you up!" Caroline suggested... "What's your type?"

"I don't have a 'type'," he insisted.

"You've gotta have a type! Everyone does!"

Fine Caroline, he thought... My type has red hair, dimples, and beautiful brown eyes... Out loud he replied, "Well... I don't."

After an uncomfortable pause, Richard piped up... "So what's your type? Tall, dark, handsome, and rich?"

Tall, blond, cynical, and artistic is more like it... she thought with a smile, shrugging in outward response.

"I don't need you to set me up, Caroline," he insisted.

"Why not?"

Because I don't want anyone but you... "I just don't like blind dates," he replied.

She shrugged... "Fair enough..."

"What about you?" he asked, turning the conversation back onto her... "Why no dates for you?"

Cause I don't want anyone but you... "No one has struck my fancy," she replied with another shrug.

"Your fancy?" he repeated mockingly in a fake British accent, inciting a giggle from Caroline...

"You know what I mean," she laughed, then turned serious... "I just... haven't found anyone I'm really crazy about..." she said softly, gazing into his eyes...

"Me neither...." Richard replied, returning her gaze. He knew he was giving away his feelings... her eyes were so penetrating... she could see right into his soul, he was sure of it... "Ummm... uh..." he stammered... "Uh, so did Salty like the catnip toy?"

Caroline couldn't help but smile... "Yes, Richard... but why are you changing the subject?"

"Am I?" he asked nervously, not wanting to explain or admit to anything...

"Were we talking about Salty?"

"Earlier... yes..." he defended, squirming in his seat again.

"Earlier, maybe..." she admitted with a smirk... "But I wanna get back to the other subject."

"Why?"

She looked at him, a slight grin on her face as she rose up on her knees... "Cause," she whispered, then leaned in and kissed him.

He tensed up, shocked at first, and pulled back... "Wait a minute... we're making out? You and I are making out?"

"Not anymore..." She smiled.

"Since when do we do this?" he asked nervously... on edge.

She shrugged. "Since now," she replied, leaning in to kiss him again.

"Well..." he muttered against her lips... "You're the boss..." He then shut his eyes tight and returned her kisses.

She shifted slightly in the car, moving over to straddle him, sitting in his lap, not breaking the kiss. She heard a sharp intake of breath from Richard and smiled.

The tender kiss quickly became passionate, and his response was with more than just his lips... Caroline pulled back and gave him a knowing look... "I guess we should maybe stop this before it goes any further, huh?"

Richard's expression turned regretful... "Right. I understand..."

"No, Richard, I don't think you do..." Caroline explained... "I just mean for now. Cause we're in a car in the mall."

He smiled just slightly as she looked deep into his eyes. She touched her lips softly to his before climbing off his lap and returning to her seat. "I'm sorry..." Richard apologized.

She looked up at him abruptly... "For what?"

"Well, I know I'm not that great of a kisser, just... mediocre..." he admitted sheepishly.

Caroline's eyes widened... "Are you kidding me?!" She shook her head... "Richard, that kiss was far from mediocre."

He turned his eyes up to meet hers... "Really?"

"Really."

He threw her a sexy grin... "Well then I say we have another go at it." He leaned in to kiss her again, pulling her back onto his lap.

As the kiss grew in intensity, he moved to wrap his arms around her. She leaned back to give him room to shift, when her back touched the horn...

The loud honk echoed through the empty mall, startling the pair quickly apart, briefly awakening the contest monitor before he drifted back into his peaceful slumber. "Sorry..." she whispered.

"Sorry," from Richard quickly followed.

They both paused and laughed at their teenage antics before leaning in to kiss again. Caroline resumed her position on his lap, leaning against him as his kiss deepened, reaching her hand out to press it against the seat. Instead, her hand pressed on a lever, and the seat flew backward, causing Caroline and Richard to both cry out in surprise as they wound up in a horizontal position.

They shared another laugh, Caroline once again apologizing for her clumsiness. Richard grinned... "Maybe there'll be less safety hazards if we move this to the backseat, hmm?" he suggested, arching an eyebrow playfully.

She readily agreed, and climbed off Richard, into the back, Richard following quickly after her, moving the driver's seat up to its original position as he checked to make sure the contest monitor was still asleep. He sat back against the seat, Caroline taking the hint to climb back into his lap, straddling him as she leaned down and kissed him passionately.

Richard ran his hands up her back... up under her shirt... pushing the material up to expose her stomach. Soft kisses soon followed as he adored her with his lips, licking around her belly button affectionately until he heard her giggle. He looked up... "What?"

"That tickles..."

"Do you want me to stop?" he asked seriously.

"Oh, God no!" she insisted.

He grinned... "Good..." Then he continued where he left off, licking around her belly button. He then traveled upward, leaving a trail of feather light kisses up to her collarbone, reaching for the buttons on her shirt.

She shivered as his fingertips grazed her skin, which got a smile out of Richard... loving the effect he was having on her. He pushed her shirt down her arms and tossed it aside while she reached for the buttons on his shirt, removing it the same way he did hers and tossing it aside. She then pushed him back as she kissed his chest, the golden hair sprinkled across it tickling her face. She then brought her lips back to his as she started to rub his chest.

He in turn, ran his hands up and down her back passionately, kneading... gently massaging, before moving his hands down her back, grazing over her bottom as he moved down to her legs, gliding his hands across her thighs. Caroline, in response, began to rub against him seductively, eliciting a moan from Richard.

"Caroline..." he pleaded breathlessly, pulling away from their kiss... "If you don't stop this torture I'm gonna end up taking you right here, right now."

"Do you want me to stop?"

He smiled... "Wanting you to stop and thinking you should stop are two entirely separate things..." he replied, reaching for the hooks on her bra.

She quickly grasped his hands and pulled them away before he could unhook it... "Richard... the monitor..." she whispered as he kissed her again.

"Is asleep..." he finished for her, muttering against her lips.

She chuckled as she pulled away... "Not anymore..."

They both looked over to see the monitor watching them through the window. "We're not sleeping..." Richard reminded him.

He smiled... "Okay... I'm taking a bathroom break, I'll be right back."

Richard rolled his eyes... "Great... remind us of the hell we have to go through to get this car."

Caroline giggled, then watched the monitor walk off until he was out of sight... "Okay, Richard, we don't have much time..." she whispered.

"Well, I'm not Del, Caroline, I like to take my time..." he joked.

She laughed, touching his face... "Well I'm not Del either."

"I should hope not... if you were, that would mean a major lifestyle choice..."

She laughed and drew his mouth to hers again, kissing him passionately. Her hands tenderly glided down his chest, caressing him, before they found the zipper on his pants. As she began to unzip him, he gripped his hands to stop her... "Caroline, wait... this is going just way too fast..." he whispered breathlessly, prying her hands away from him.

She twined her fingers through his... "Yeah... maybe you're right..." she replied, sounding a little downcast...

"I mean, we're in a mall..." he clarified, picking up on her tone... "I... I want you... you have no idea how much I want you, but... maybe we should just... slow down?"

She looked down at her lap sadly. "Yeah... you're right..."

He tipped her chin up to look in her eyes... "Caroline..." he said softly... "The issue is not whether or not I'm attracted to you, because believe me... I am!" He smiled... "But we have all the time in the world for that other stuff, okay?"

She smiled, relieved... "Okay."

He leaned in to kiss her and she met his lips with hers, nothing but a tender, loving kiss passing between them. Caroline pulled away and stared into his eyes, still in his lap, as his left hand rested on her waist, the other tracing her facial features. She smiled as she watched him... "So is this why you didn't want to tell me your type?" she asked.

He grinned, meeting her gaze. "Well, yeah... otherwise I would've had to say... 'My type has red hair, dimples, and big, beautiful brown eyes'..."

She giggled... "And I would've had to say... 'My type is tall, blond, cynical, and artistic'..."

Instead of laughing, he remained serious... "I'm not really your type, though."

"What? How can you say that?"

"I'm not like Del..."

"Which is a good thing!" she laughed, before turning serious... "Del was all wrong for me, Richard."

"And I'm all right for you?" he asked.

"Better than just alright," she whispered, leaning down to kiss him. After they pulled away, she ventured next... "I don't see how I could possibly be your type... you always seem so annoyed with me..."

"Well, yeah, you do annoy me... sometimes..." he admitted... "But mostly it's just an act."

"What do you mean, 'an act'?" she asked.

"If I act annoyed with you, I can keep a distance... where it's safe..." he explained.

"Safe? Safe from what?"

He traced the contours of her face with his eyes while toying with her hair. "From getting hurt... falling in love..." he replied after a thoughtful pause.

"Falling in love?" she repeated, astonished... "You're falling in love with me?"

He smiled lovingly... "I already have."

"Oh, Richard..." she whispered, staring at him.

Richard returned her stare expectantly, waiting for her to say something. After a moment of silence had gone by he piped up... "Okay, now I'm feeling a little awkward cause I said what I said and you've said nothing..."

"I love you too..." she interrupted, capturing his lips with hers.

After sharing a passionate kiss, feelings of warmth and love running through both, they pulled away... "Why would you be afraid of falling in love?" Caroline asked gently... "Falling in love is nice..."

"Not always... After Julia I learned the hard way... love hurts..." he replied bitterly.

"Not always!" Caroline insisted.

"For me? Always..."

Her expression saddened... "So you're gonna doom this to failure before it even has a chance to start?"

He hesitated. "No, I just... I don't know how to love... I just wreck everything..."

"Well maybe I'll just prove it to you, then..." Caroline said with a smirk, leaning in to rub her nose against his.

"Prove what?"

"That love doesn't always hurt." A wry smile played across her lips as she added, "Well, unless you count the chains and the whips..." The look of pure shock from Richard made her laugh even harder... "Kidding! Only kidding..."

"Well, whips and chains are ok…" he interjected… "But I prefer whipped cream and strawberries…"

A devilish smile from Caroline followed his comment… "I have no objections to that…" She leaned in to kiss him, but stopped abruptly… "Wait… were you kidding?"

"No…" he chuckled… "I wasn't kidding. Why would you think I was kidding?"

She shrugged… "Just trying to picture you with whipped cream…" she laughed… "I don't know! I guess I just don't see you as the 'kinky sex' type…"

"There's so much about me you don't know…"

"Hmmm…" she hummed… "I'm willing to find out…"

"That's good… cause I'm willing to show you…"

"Ok… show me…"

"Here?"

She laughed… "Ok, then tell me… what other surprises do you have in store for me?"

"Well, if I tell you, then they won't be a surprise…will they?"

"True… just trying to see exactly how kinky you can get…"

"Oh, I can get pretty kinky…"

"Oh yeah? Like… for example…?"

"For example…" he murmured deep and low… "I could tie you to your bed and cover your delicious tummy with honey and spend hours licking off every drop…"

Caroline shivered with longing at his words… and could only hum in response…

He took that as approval and ran his hands up her back, bringing her to him and kissing her passionately. He ran his hands from her back to her legs, traveling along her thighs. Then, he moved to her inner thighs, eliciting a gasp from Caroline. She shifted higher on her knees, giving him better access. Richard took advantage of this new position and his hand ran further up her skirt to brush against the delicate material of her undies.

She broke the kiss and moaned softly as she laid her head on his shoulder... she felt dizzy… almost intoxicated… "Richard…" she whispered…

"Do you want me to stop?" he asked gently…

"No…"

He smiled to himself as he gently hooked his fingers inside her panties and moved them aside… giving him better access. He caressed her lovingly, causing her to squirm against his hand.

The feelings he was creating were incredible, and she found herself forgetting to breathe, gasping for oxygen when her body reminded her. She snuggled into his shoulder and kissed his neck, licking and sucking gently as his fingers continued their dance across her most intimate area. His own desire started to overcome him, and his tempo sped up accordingly…

"Richard…" she whispered… "Don't rush… slow down…"

He slowed at her prompt and slowly caressed her to a mind-shattering climax.

*****

--She fought to catch her breath, panting as Richard kissed her neck tenderly, whispering "I love you…" in her ear…

"That was amazing…" she breathed… "Amazing…"

"I'm glad…" he replied with all honesty…

"And now it's your turn…" she smiled mischievously…

"Oh… well, I don't know…"

Caroline ignored his weak protests and unzipped his zipper, pulling his pants and boxers down just enough to expose him.

"Caroline…" he whispered… "Are you sure you want--"

"Ssshhh…" she interrupted… "Just relax and enjoy…"

She reciprocated his touch, her fingers wrapped around him almost too much for him to take. He moaned softly, deeply… and his eyes flew shut.

"Caroline…" he started to warn her… but she already knew what was coming.

She brought him to climax as his hands flew to her hips, grasping them, kneading them softly in response.

When she felt him start to quiet she leaned in and kissed him passionately… intensely… adding to the euphoric sensation he was feeling…

"I love you too, Richard…" she whispered in his ear as she licked it…

"Mmmm…" he moaned… "Well, after all this… I sure hope we win the car…"

"Yeah…" she chuckled… "I guess we did kinda… break it in… huh?"

"Yeah." He agreed, then looked around… "So, now what?"

"Now…" she said as she grabbed her purse… "We clean up!" She produced a few envelopes of moist towelettes from her purse and handed a couple to Richard as he looked at her in disbelief. "Sorry…" she apologized… "It's all I have…"

He took the towelette and used it best he could… "Wow! Now I'm… squeaky clean!" he stated sarcastically, shoving the used wipe in the glove box…

"Ugh! Richard!" she whined… "Now I really hope we win the car! Don't want to be explaining that!"

She jumped back in his lap playfully and chuckled at his surprised reaction…

"Scared?"

"Surprised…" he clarified…

She started kissing him passionately, and need began to rekindle…

"So... seeing as we have already gone this far..." Caroline raised her eyebrows suggestively...

"You can't be serious!"

"Well, we've already made this car our own... why not make it completely our own?"

"Caroline, what you are suggesting is insane! Or at least highly illicit!" he paused for a moment, seemingly in thought... "It's actually turning me on!" he added as he wrapped his arms around her and lied back with her on the seat.

He kissed her passionately as he hooked his fingers inside her underwear and started drawing them down. She took the hint and with a little shifting and a lot of effort she managed to get them off. He kissed her neck and shoulder... he licked her ear and nibbled on the lobe, then his hands found her bra. He cupped her breasts through the material and fondled her as he slowly entered her. Her eyes flew open to find his staring lovingly at her, and the small smile that soon crossed his lips caused Caroline's heart to flutter. She smiled in return and hooked her fingers around the back of his neck, bringing him to her. The rhythm they found was slow and sensual... loving and perfect.

He held Caroline tight to him, a feeling of happiness he'd never known filling his soul. She felt perfect beneath him... around him... with him. He kissed his way from her neck to her lips as he continued making love to her with a gentleness his true love and respect for her demanded.

The feeling of him on top of her, strong but not crushing was amazing. His touch... his kisses... his very soul completed her in a way she had never before experienced. He kissed her lips and she welcomed the sensation, running her hands through his hair as encouragement.

Richard could tell she was close, and he quickened the pace to accommodate her. She moaned his name softly as he brought her closer and closer to the edge, her hands touching him frantically. He gathered her into his arms and buried his face in her hair as he felt her climax shudder through her body. His followed a moment later as he grunted her name.

--They quickly covered themselves and sat up, looking around to be sure they were still alone... they were. Richard held Caroline in his arms as they recovered from their act of passion...

"Caroline?" Richard broke the silence with his whispered question...

"Yeah?"

"We didn't... well, we didn't have..."

"What?"

"We didn't use a condom..."

"I know..." she replied as she turned to face him... "I'm not worried. Are you?"

"Not worried... just..." he stuttered, trying to find the right words...

"I know..." she smiled... "But it's ok..." she assured him... "It'll be ok. Ok?"

He smiled... "Ok..."

There was another several minutes of silence before Caroline spoke up... "Just so you know..." she hesitated...

"What?"

"I don't usually do this..."

"Do what?"

She smiled... "Have sex with guys I haven't even officially dated, in cars I don't even own..."

"Oh... that..." he chuckled... "I know..."

"I mean, we're moving really fast... but... I don't usually..."

"Move fast?" he clarified...

"Right. It just... felt right. Y'know?"

"Yeah. I know..."

"I just didn't want you thinking I was like... well..."

"Annie?"

She playfully scowled at him and gently slapped him... "Be nice!"

"Alright alright..."

"I just didn't want you thinking poorly of me..."

"I never could Caroline. You don't think poorly of me do you?"

"What? Why would I?"

"Because... I know how you see me..."

"Oh, you do, do you?" she hid a smirk... "And how do I see you?"

"You think I'm uptight and rigid..."

Caroline laughed... "Yeah, well... you are!"

"Thanks..." he sulked and she threw her arms around his neck...

"Oh, c'mon now... you know I didn't mean it like that! It's not a bad thing... it's who you are! Which is fine! I wouldn't have fallen in love with you if you weren't lovable!"

"Lovable? There's an adjective that has NEVER been used to describe me..."

"Well, maybe it is now!" She kissed him softly, letting her tongue dance across his lips before pulling back... "You don't give yourself enough credit..."

"Maybe. Just basing my opinion on past relationships..."

"Well, they didn't know what they had in you!"

"And you do?"

"Yep! And I'll tell you now... I'm not gonna let it go. Easily..."

"Mmmmm..." he moaned... "Does that mean what I think it means?"

"Depends..." she smirked... "What do you think it means?"

"I think it means we're in this for the long haul..."

"If you want to be..."

"I do."

"Yeah, well, we'll save THAT line for a later time... in the future..."

He smiled as she leaned in to kiss him... but within a few moments, he broke away...

"You know what I just realized?" he asked, a look of seriousness on his face...

"What?"

"I have to go to the bathroom."

"So, me sitting on your lap probably isn't helping..."

"Not much it isn't... no..."

She chuckled... "Ok..." she got up... "We should probably move back to the front seat anyway..."

"What time is it?"

Caroline looked at her watch before moving to the front... "Ten till seven..."

"And the mall opens when?"

"Nine."

"And we can get out of this car when?"

"Noon..."

He grumbled as he moved to the front with Caroline... "And the fun stuff has to stop..."

"Yep... 'fraid so..."

"So, what do we do now to occupy our time?"

"Let's play 20 questions!" she suggested excitedly...

"Oh, God, let's not..."

"Ah, c'mon! It'll be fun!"

"Not my definition of fun..."

"Ok, fine..." she pouted, then after a moment grabbed her purse... "Oh! You know what? I have a crosswords book in my purse!"

"Oh yay!" he quipped sarcastically...

"Oh, hush!" She opened the book and grabbed a pen... "Ok... first word... an 8 letter word for neurotic..."

"You?"

"That's 3 letters... and wrong..."

"Not the word 'you'... you meaning YOU... as in 'Caroline'..."

"Still wrong... and thanks..."

"You're welcome... 'neurotic' is 8 letters..."

"I know that... give me another example! You suck at this!"

"Thanks. Try 'unstable'..."

"Hey yeah!" she announced as she filled in the spaces... "You're better than you thought!"

"No... I'm better at this than YOU thought!"

"That too." she agreed quickly... "Next word..."

**********

--"Ok... is it red?" Caroline asked a very bored Richard...

"No..." he groaned, his face pressed up against the window as she asked number 13 of her 20 questions...

"Is it blue?"

"No..."

"Is it a color?"

"No, it's translucent..." he quipped... "Yes it's a color..."

"Ok, ok... ummm..."

"Can we just stop playing? You're never gonna get it..."

"No! I have 5 questions left!"

"Please be quick about it..."

"Oh stop it!" she scolded... "Ok... let me think... hmmmm... it's not red and it's bigger than a bread box and it's not a person..."

Richard sighed as she babbled to herself... "I see I'm gonna have to take drastic measures to shut you up..." He grabbed her and pulled her into his lap and started kissing her...

***********

--"Hey! Guys! Still in the car!" Annie greeted them as she approached the car...

"Nothing slips by 'Mighty Slut'..." Richard muttered...

"You know, Richie, I don't HAVE to give you this coffee..."

"Coffee? Yeah, that's what I want when I can't take a bathroom break... warm liquid..."

Annie chose to ignore him and turned her attention to Caroline... "So... what did you and 'sour britches' do all night?"

Caroline smirked and leaned towards Annie... "We made out!"

"Oh, God, Caroline!" Annie winced... "How bored were you?! How far did you go?!"

Jumping in quickly so as to prevent Caroline from saying too much, Richard replied dryly... "Well, we would've done more if she had let me unhook her bra..."

Annie grimaced as her eyes grew wide as saucers... "Ok, WAY too much information..." She quickly handed the coffees to Caroline and turned away... "Leaving now..."

Caroline turned to Richard and smiled... "More? How much more is there?"

He smirked... "Still haven't done the strawberries and whipped cream..."

She smiled before leaning in to kiss him... just then, noise and confetti come showering down on the car, signaling that the contest was over and that Caroline had won...

"I won?" she asked Richard... "I won?!" she yelled out the car...

"Yeah! Come on out!"

Caroline leaped from the car with Richard not far behind...

She hugged the contest manager... she hugged the monitor that was with them all night... then she turned and hugged Richard.

He was stiff when she hugged him... concerned, she pulled back... "What?"

"You tell me..."

"What?! What do you mean?"

"What happens now?" he asked softly…

"With what? With us?"

"Yeah. I mean... I know I'm no Del..."

"So? I know you're not Del, Richard. Del isn't what I need. If he was, I'd be with him..."

"Well, ok, so... what do you need?"

"I need someone who will love me..."

He nodded… "Yeah..."

"Someone who will spend time with me..."

"Yeah..."

"Someone who'll take care of me..."

"Right..."

"I need you, Richard."

"You have me. You had me at first sight..."

"Oh, Richard..." she whispered, tears filling her eyes... "Who woulda thought YOU, Richard Karinsky, would believe in love at first sight..."

He shrugged... "Well, I didn't... till I met you..."

"Sincere Amore..." she whispered as he wiped her falling tears...

"I know…"

THE END