I am not sure exactly where in my mind this came from. It just popped into my head after rereading one of the books. Plus, i know a guy just like this.

Please leave reviews, as feedback feeds the muse.

Rated : M for mature theme, Language and sex.

Acceptance

Steph caressed the smooth, dark, hairy skin of his hand, lying limply on the sheet as he slept. She sniffed quietly, trying to keep the tears from falling down her cheeks. She wished she could let him see the tears, know the pain she was feeling, the ache in her heart that he wanted to share so little of himself with her. If he heard or saw her tears, he would end their relationship. He would say she "wanted more than he could give her."

The thing was, she did want more than he could give her. Or more than he wanted to give her, at any rate. She had only consented to the deal- the only sex thing, because it got her into at least a small section of his life. Better a small part than none at all. Even if she had to bite her tongue every time they were together to keep from blurting out how much she loved him.

Ranger had made it clear to her repeatedly that there was no room in his life for relationships. It was obvious that he wanted her or one thing only. He was a considerate lover. He was always very sweet and tender with her in bed, and he was an excellent lover. He always made sure she climaxed before he did, and on a couple of occasions, his tongue had spent an hour pleasuring her. But he would never let her into other areas of his life. It had been going on like this for almost four years.

She stroked his arm again and wondered how a man who could be so sweet and tender in bed could be so callous and emotionless out of it. Her sniffing seemed loud in the quiet of the room. The stillness was broken only by the soft sound of his breathing as he lay sleeping, oblivious to her pain. She wanted so much for him to comfort her, to take her in his arms and tell her it was ok, that he loved her. She wanted him to open himself up and let what could happen between them happen. But that would mean letting go-giving up some control. And control was the name of the game for Ranger. Never out of control, never in danger of feeling anything.

He spent quite a bit of time and energy keeping her out of various aspects of his life. He spoke volumes on her physical attributes, how much he liked her breasts, her leanness, the tight hotness of her vagina as he slipped inside. But he never spoke about her. What he liked about her. What he felt about her. The everyday details of her life that she wanted to share with him.

Ranger had spent years hardening himself. She was sure he had been hurt at least once, since he seemed deathly afraid of feelings. He was always so measured and careful in conversations, so careful not to say anything that could be construed as him having feelings for her. Maybe he was afraid acknowledging feelings would make him seem weak. More likely though, he was afraid to feel, afraid to love, because loving meant risking. Loving someone or something meant risking getting hurt by them or the hurt of losing them. For all his immense physical strength and toughness, Ranger's emotions were powerful, and she thought overwhelming. She suspected he had once given reign to his emotions and allowed himself to feel for a woman, and it hurt him terribly. Now, he had constructed a wall to keep anyone from entering his heart. Stephanie kept bruising herself banging against and ricocheting off that wall. Yet she kept banging her battered and bruised heart against it, hoping that if she hit it just one more time, she might catapult over it into the forbidden land of Ranger's emotions.

She wanted to tell him that it was ok, that she wouldn't hurt him. That she loved him and accepted him for who and what he was. But she knew that if she said that, Ranger would literally run from her, going "into the wind" where she wouldn't see him or a month. He was so scared of feelings. But he didn't have to be afraid of her.

She stumbled up from the bed and went into his pristine bathroom, noting the neatness. The toothbrush and toothpaste, rolled neatly from the bottom, and razor were lined up in little rows on the sink just ready to be used efficiently and put right back in the same spot. Not like her bathroom, where items were thrown haphazardly on the sink and the tube was squeezed from the middle. Seeing the toothbrush and razor on the sink brought the tears back to her eyes. These were highly personal items, parts of Ranger's everyday life. A life she didn't really get to share.

The overly neat bathroom was just a metaphor for how Ranger lived his whole life- everything in its place, nothing in the wrong place. Each thing in its own little compartment, ready to be used for the exact purpose it was meant and then put back right into its neat, orderly spot. No possibility of using the razor before the toothbrush, or accidentally squeezing the toothpaste from the middle. Everything in Ranger's life was carefully regimented so that no hint of spontaneity, no succumbing to a whim or feeling was possible. Hence the all black wardrobe. Sure it made him look sexy as hell but Ranger would look sexy in anything. The all black was simply his way of keeping it simple- no thought, no emotion, just black pants, black shirt, and black boots.

Even Stephanie was in a compartment. She was confined to Ranger's "sexual pleasure" compartment, never to be allowed to spill over into any other aspect of his life. She never went places with him, they never dated. She never got to go shopping with him or meet his family. He just came to her when he wanted physical gratification. They never made love, they "had sex."

She sat back down on the bed, wiping her face with a tissue as she stroked his face. She played gently with his hair, kissing his eyelids softly as he slept. She didn't believe that he didn't care for her. Once in awhile, some of his emotions slipped past his fa├žade of emotionless control. It was evident in how he talked to her, made her laugh, gave her cars, spent lots of money and men protecting her. Surely he wouldn't be so careful of her safety if he didn't care for her? He was so tender and sweet in bed, often kissing the top of her head when she lay in his arms. Surely, if he didn't have feelings for her he wouldn't do this. Wouldn't emotionless sex be quick and fast and not tender?

Most women would think she was crazy, not wanting a guy who would date her and love her. But Steph knew Ranger, she understood him. He had let her closer to him than anyone had ever gotten, and she accepted that that was probably as far as she'd ever get.

Ranger stirred, and caressed her leg. Stephanie quickly dried her tears, knowing Ranger's senses would pick up on the slightest sign of tears. In the soft tenderness of early morning and the dim light in the room, Stephanie could almost pretend that they were a loving couple- husband and wife, caressing lovingly in the middle of the night. Instead, Ranger grabbed her and pulled her under him again, his hips thrusting as he entered her. She almost cried at his tenderness as he caressed her. She tried not to let her love for him show in her gaze as he thrust into her. She knew that sex was the only way Ranger could ever show her how he felt about her. The bedroom would be the only place his emotions could come out. If this was all she could have of him, then she would make it be enough. She sniffed and tried to be content with that, even as her heart was breaking.