Cody stirred on the couch and then awoke. He saw London smiling at him. While certainly a pleasant sight, Cody felt a little bewildered.
"What happened? he asked as he sat up. "Did I fall asleep?"
"Sort of," London replied. Before she could say anything more, Cody was distracted by the sight of the clock on the wall behind London.
"Is that the time? How did it get so late?"
"It's not late," London said, wondering why Cody was so confused. While she understood that he would have no memory of his time under the influence of hypnosis, she was only thinking of terms of the last few minutes. She didn't realize that Cody's memory had been suppressed all the way back to the point he'd first entered London's suite. He didn't even remember meeting Dr. Blasko or any mention of hypnotism.
"I can't believe I fell asleep," Cody muttered. "We should have been talking about the next webcast."
"Don't worry about that," London said with a smile. "Our next show will be fine." She sat down next to Cody, anxious to talk about her feelings for him. "Besides, there's something more important to deal with now."
Cody noticed London's expression was a bit different that he was used to seeing. She was smiling and happy, which wasn't unusual, but there was also a certain gleam in her eye. It took Cody a moment to guess just what expression that gleam was conveying. He finally concluded that London seemed...eager about something.
Eager and excited.
London blushed as Cody studied her face so intently. "Why are you looking at me like that?" she asked.
Cody's response was to grin. "You've got something on your mind," he said. "And I think I know what it is."
Oh my gosh! London thought. He's figured out what I'm going to say?
Cody stood up. "You don't want to talk about the webcast because you're more concerned about something else."
London held her breath.
"You want to get right to our fencing practice today," Cody concluded truimphantly.
London's jaw dropped. Obviously Cody hadn't figured out what was on her mind.
How can such a smart guy jump to such a wrong conclusion? she wondered.
Before the heiress could correct Cody's assumption, the young man was already heading to the other room where he could change into his fencing outfit.
"To tell you the truth," he said. "I'm looking forward to our match today. I think I may surprise you."
"But..." London started.
"This may be the day I finally beat you," Cody continued as he left the room, closing the door behind him.
Now alone for the moment, London threw up her hands in frustration.
"Why didn't I just tell him?" she said aloud.
But, taking stock of the situation, the heiress decided this was only a slight bump in the road. She and Cody could fence, and then when they were done, she would sit him down and tell him how she felt.
And since she was still very anxious to have that particular conversation with him, she decided she was going to hold nothing back in their match today. The sooner she could beat him, the sooner they could talk.
When Cody returned, London was waiting for him wearing her own fencing outfit. They both put on their safety masks and the match commenced.
London was very agressive in her opening attacks. Almost taking Cody by surprise. But he managed to parry her every thrust, using some of the new techniques he'd been studying. London was surprised and frustrated by this development.
He's getting better than I realized, she thought. Darn it! I want this over quickly!
The heiress responded by pressing her attacks with even more vigor, hoping to intimidate Cody into making a mistake. But this tactic had the opposite effect.
She's never fought this hard before, Cody observed as he kept up a flawless defense. She must think I've improved enough that she can go all out in her attacks.
Taking London's efforts to be a compliment, Cody's confidence only grew as their match continued.
I don't believe this! London thought. Why did he pick today to be so good? I want this match over!
Almost as soon as that thought entered her mind, London got her wish. She overextended her arm on an attack and Cody not only parried her strike, but with a deft twist of his wrist managed to send her sword flying from her grasp. The next thing she knew, London was standing unarmed and Cody had his sword pointed directly at the valentine-like heart on the chest of her fencing gear.
"Yes!" Cody exclaimed. "I have you now!"
London was in utter shock for a moment, not believing that she had lost. But then she let out a gentle laugh. The match was finally over, after all, and that was what she wanted. She reached up and removed her face mask.
"Yeah," she said in a soft, warm tone. "You have me." With one hand she took hold of Cody's sword and pushed it aside so that she could step closer to him.
Cody didn't know what to make of London's expression as she stepped forward. The look in her eyes was unlike anything he'd ever seen before. It gave him goosebumps. He removed his own fencing mask. "London? What's going on?"
"I said you have me, Cody," she whispered, as her arms slowly wrapped around him. "I'm yours."
She slowly moved her face to his, taking her time. She had it in her mind this this kiss was going to be perfect. It wasn't to be rushed.
As for Cody, he couldn't have moved if he'd wanted to. He couldn't believe what was happening. Fortunately his shocked stillness was the perfect response for this particular situation, as it allowed London to take all the time she wanted.
She pressed her lips against his softly, just savoring the feel of their first contact. Then she slowly deepened the kiss, enjoying every moment of it. Finally she let her tongue quickly brush against Cody's mouth teasing it to open wider. She'd never used her tongue on a first kiss before. With anyone else she would have never have done so...but this was different. This was Cody.
Even so, she wasn't going to go any farther than that. Besides, she'd wanted the perfect first kiss with Cody...and she certainly felt like she'd accomplished that. She gently pulled back from her man and looked him in the eyes.
For his part, Cody was still stunned...but that didn't mean he hadn't soaked in every detail of what had just happened. For the rest of his life he would be able to remember this moment in perfect clarity. His first 'real' kiss.
"London," he managed to gasp when he could finally get his mouth to form words again. "What's..."
London put a finger to his lips to quiet his questions. "If you were about to ask me what's going on, I'll tell you," she said. "What's going on is that I have totally fallen for you, Cody Martin. And I want us to be...us. Me and you. A couple." Her warm smile turned a bit mischievous. "And I sort of think you want that too."
"Us? You want...us?" Cody said with a mixture of disbelief and hope. "But...when did you...how..."
"I'll tell you everything," London said. "But first you tell me...I want to hear you say it. Say that you want us to be a couple too."
The disbelief faded from Cody's face. "I do," he whispered.
And then, London and Cody had their second kiss.
A few hours after London and Cody's fencing match, an unknowing Zack and Maddie entered the lobby of the Tipton. Zack had hung out at the Cluck Bucket until Maddie's shift had ended, and when Maddie realized that she'd forgotten a few of her things back at the Tipton's candy counter, they'd walked back to the hotel together.
"So admit it Maddie," Zack said. "You enjoy having me at the restaurant while you're working."
The pretty blonde shook her head and sighed. This conversation was one she and Zack had on a regular basis. "Truthfully, I do. But don't make that into more than it actually is. We're friends, Zack. That's all. I'm not going to go out with you."
"But why not?" the young man asked. "You have fun when I'm around. And you know I'm crazy about you. Why don't you give me a chance?"
Maddie smiled in spite of herself. She had to give Zack credit for persistence.
"I'm not saying this to be mean," she explained. "But the reason I don't give you a chance is because there is no chance for us. I think you're a great guy, okay? But I'm older, and I'm going to be going off to college while you're still here in high school."
"Zack," Maddie cut him off. "It just wouldn't work. We're not compatible in that way. You and and I would have as much chance of being a couple as...as..." She paused, trying to think of a comparable example. "As London and Cody," she finally said with a laugh.
Zack and Maddie were standing near the elevators as she said that. Barely a second later, one of the elevator doors opened to reveal two occupants, the aforementioned London and Cody.
As it happened, London and Cody had their arms around each other and were just finishing a very steamy kiss as Zack and Maddie caught sight of them.
"Thank you for taking the elevator ride with me all the way done to the lobby, Cody-kins," London cooed at her companion. Even though their relationship was brand new, they'd already progressed to the point of giving each other ridiculously cute pet names.
"You have fun shopping, my little Londy-wondy," Cody replied.
Maddie and Zack stood staring with mouths agape, unable to believe the scene before them.
Cody and London were all but oblivious to their audience, only having eyes for each other. They kissed once more, then London left to go shopping while Cody took the elevator back upstairs.
Maddie and Zack remained staring at the closed elevator door for a good two minutes, mouths still agape.
Zack managed to shake off the shock first. "So..." he said to the still-speechless Maddie. "We've got as much chance as London and Cody? Guess that means I'll pick you up tomorrow around six?"
"Uh...huh," Maddie replied, still staring at the elevator.
"Alright," Zack said in truimph as he hurried away.
Twenty seconds later, Maddie's brain was fully functional again.
"Wait a sec," she said aloud. "What did I agree to?" She looked around and saw she was now alone. "ZACK!"
author's note: Thank you all very much for all the feedback. Please let me know how you think it turned out now that it's done.