Not my characters - I'm not making a dime.


The Big Date – Part III

Forty-five minutes later we trooped into Morelli's house carrying our ridiculously expensive leftovers, Pino's take-out, and beer. Bob bounded past us, took a whiz in the front yard, then galloped back to Joe and attached his nose to the side of the bag from La Bella.

"Oh look," I said, "He knows which one is his."

Morelli rolled his eyes and moved around me into the kitchen. I followed him, cracking open two beers and unwrapping the subs while he set the boxes of tiramisu on top of the fridge (out of Bob range) and then dumped the container of gizzard pasta into Bob's bowl. Bob dove in immediately, his whole butt wiggling gleefully while he ate. Joe watched him for a few seconds and sighed heavily. "Well, I'm glad somebody's enjoying it."

"Hey, we gave it our best shot. At least we're okay with not being fancy."

He nodded absently and shrugged out of his suit jacket. I started to kick off my shoes but changed my mind. It would ruin the effect of the garter belt if I didn't leave the heels on. Morelli grabbed one of the subs and a beer, collapsed onto the couch, and kicked off his shoes. I took my sandwich and beer around to sit down beside him.

"Are you mad our big date didn't turn out like you'd planned?" I asked him between mouthfuls.

"Not mad," he mumbled around meatball and bread, "Just getting tired of coming up short."

"What are you talking about?"

"This," he said, holding up his sub in one hand and beer in the other. "I thought I could be fancier for you – just once – but I couldn't pull it off."


"This is it, Cupcake. This is me: a stinky dog, a hand-me-down house, and take-out."

"So?" Look who's getting good with the one-word sentences.

"So…I don't blame you for looking at Ranger the way you do. I don't drive a fancy black car, I don't have a penthouse apartment, and I'll never be Batman."

Whoa! OK, now I was getting pissed. This certainly explained the weird mood Morelli had been in all night, though. "This is not a competition between the two of you," I said in (yay for me!) a calm, even tone.

He barked a laugh that had nothing to do with humor. "Don't take this the wrong way, Cupcake…but the hell it isn't."

"And you thought you could buy me off by getting dressed up and having dinner at a fancy restaurant?"

He scowled. "Well, when you say it like that it sounds…"

"Shallow? Juvenile? Chauvinistic? Stop me when I get to one you like," I snapped.

Color started creeping up his neck. "Now just a damn minute; I didn't go to all this trouble just for us to fight tonight."

"Trouble?" My voice rose an octave. "I'll show you trouble." I stood up and turned to face him then stripped off my top and skirt, flinging them aside so that he got a good eyeful of the lingerie ensemble and heels.

"This," I waved my hand down at my body ala Vanna White, "is trouble. Do you have any idea what goes into putting an outfit like this together?"

Morelli just stared at me in open-mouthed shock. He stared so long that my anger faded enough for self-consciousness to start setting in. I felt the first tingles of a blush crawl up my neck and across my cheeks. Joe still had not moved. I'm not sure he was even breathing. My sails suddenly deflated completely.

"Um…yeah…I'll just…" I looked around for the rest of my clothes. "I'll just go on home." My mind raced, trying to plan my escape. Joe had driven me here so I'd have to either call for a ride or hike to my parents' house and borrow Big Blue. Hoofing it three miles in heels? So not happening. I'd call Lula when I got outside. I spotted my shirt hanging off the end table and moved to retrieve it. The Morelli statue reanimated.

"You're. Not. Going. Anywhere." he growled.

Suddenly I was backed up against the wall, pinned by his body without any breathing space between us. Then he kissed me. I tried to stay angry. I knew I had a perfectly good reason to be angry – but for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was. Morelli leaned into the kiss, pressing our bodies together so that we had contact from lips to toes and I was no longer capable of coherent thought at all.

For a few glorious seconds everything was hands and heat and mouths. He pulled back just enough for my hands to slide up his chest and begin undoing his shirt buttons. When I reached the point where the shirt tucked into his pants, I yanked the tails free and finished the buttons in a rush. I pushed the shirt off his shoulders and let it slide down his arms until it caught him in sort of a sexy straight-jacket at the elbows. He turned loose of me momentarily, letting the shirt to fall to the floor, and then attacked my lips again. A low but urgent whining brought us back to reality.

"Bobbus Interruptus," I murmured against the curve of Morelli's neck.

"Don't. Move." Joe replied, punctuating each word with a kiss. He bolted for the back door with Bob hot on his heels and I heard him lecturing the poor dog about timing and threatening to leave him on the tie-out all night. When he rounded the corner back into the living room I wished for the ability to slow time down. Watching him prowl towards me wearing that white muscle shirt and those gray slacks in bare feet…sweet Jesus what I wouldn't give for perpetual instant replay of those few seconds. In slow motion.

"Now where were we?" he asked as he slid in close.

"Pants," I said.

"What about them?"


He smiled. "What's the magic word?"

"Now." Holy crap at the single-word statements! I've been hanging around Ranger entirely too much. Dammit. Why am I thinking about Ranger right now? No. Bad Stephanie! No naked, sweaty Ranger thoughts! Ah, shit…too late. Quick, think about naked, sweaty Morelli. OK, now where was I?

"Something wrong, Cupcake?"

"Nope…um, not a thing." Whew! That was almost another one-word sentence. I really need to break that habit. At least I didn't say any of that out loud. Wait, did I? Why is he looking at me like that?

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"You're so cute when you have those conversations with yourself in your head."

"I'm glad I amuse you."

"That you do," he purred and pulled me to him. Since he'd ignored the pants command I snaked my hands between us and undid the belt buckle myself. When I got the fastener and zipper undone and tugged, he stepped back to let them fall in a puddle of gray material around his ankles. He ripped the undershirt over his own head in a rush, and then we were both only wearing underwear. I plastered myself against the front of his body, suddenly unable to get enough skin contact with this gorgeous man. I simply had to be touching him. Everywhere. Right now.

I swear the man actually growled. Like, literally…this wordless, rumbling sound that I felt more than heard came from deep in his chest as he swept me into his arms and carried me up the stairs to his bedroom. He tossed me down on the bed and made that growling noise again. Then he just stood there, eyes wide, staring at me.

"You see something you like, Detective?"

"You are so damn sexy." His voice had gone low and raspy. "Can you…" he paused, licked his lips, swallowed hard, and tried again. "Can you take the panties off and leave the rest?"

I smiled. "That's the point of wearing them this way." I wiggled the thong off my hips, slid it down my legs and kicked it across the room with a flick of my foot. Morelli made kind of a strangled noise. The strained front of his boxer-briefs let me know just exactly how much he liked the show, and I reached up to free him from their confines.

"Godammit, Cupcake," he breathed as I wrapped my hand around him. He lowered himself onto the bed, forcing me to let go or hurt him, and kissed me. When he tried to pull back to stare at me again, I fisted my hands in his hair and pulled him down to me, covering myself with his body like a favorite blanket. I arched my body up to meet his, rubbing myself along his length and tearing moans from both our throats. "God…Stephanie…Please…" he begged. I angled my hips up for him and cried out when he slid inside with one powerful thrust. He found his angle and rhythm quickly and sent me plummeting over the edge, screaming my pleasure into his broad, sweat slick chest.

When I came back to myself I realized that the expression on his face wasn't entirely pleasure. I looked down our bodies and discovered that at some point I had wrapped my legs around his and gripped down so that my high heels dug into his calves. I started trying to reposition my legs but he held me still for a second. "I can't decide if the heels are unbelievable or if they just fucking hurt," he said.

"You want me to take them off?" I whispered. My voice wasn't up to anything more just yet.

"No." He flipped us over so that I rode him and the heels were safely pointed away from any exposed flesh. "Move for me," he commanded.

It didn't take long until reality shattered for me again, and this time Joe followed a heartbeat behind. I collapsed on top of him and we lay in a sweating, panting heap for several minutes. When the thudding of my pulse began to slow I heard a faint, plaintive 'woof' coming from the backyard. "Bob wants in," I rasped between hoarse breaths.

"If your legs work, feel free to go let him in," Morelli sounded as winded as I was. Goody.

"OK, how about whoever can walk first gets Bob and brings dessert back upstairs?"

"Didn't we just have dessert?"

"I mean the tiramisu from the restaurant."

"I know what you mean," he paused, "Where does a shower fit into this plan?"

"Alright, try this one: whoever can walk first gets Bob and brings dessert back upstairs. The other one starts the water running, and after we eat the tiramisu we hop in the shower."

"Not bad, but I have a better idea." There was definitely a mischievous note to his voice.

"What's that?"

"Whoever can walk first lets Bob in and brings the tiramisu upstairs. We eat it in bed - preferably off of our bodies - inevitably getting all sticky and messy and then take turns cleaning each other up in the shower afterwards."

"I think we have a winner."

The End.

Thank you to VampTrampBella for her amazing beta skills!