Title : The Pilot Episode Reviewed
Author : Karen Gomes (pyrie@hotmail.com)
Rating : R (Oooh la la)
Type : Romance, as usual.
Format : Prose.
Spoilers : Probably…
Notes : Ah, to write or not to write - that is the question. Hmm, guess which one I chose. This is a re-write of Caroline in the City (Pilot) and what should have happened, in my twisted view anyway. Well, enjoy. Criticism is always welcome, but not too harsh, we all remember that I'm only semi-human.

Cheers.
Gomes.
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After dinner, Caroline and Richard walked to her apartment. "Thank you so much for being there for me, tonight." Caroline said with a smile, giving Richard's hand a squeeze.

Richard shrugged. "Thanks for telling me what Sweet Bread was before I ordered it." He quipped. «What is it about this woman that attracts me?» He asked, as they got in the elevator together. «She has the attention span of a gnat.» He thought to himself as he watched Caroline gaze at a shiny sticker on the wall and then at her shoes followed by the ceiling. «She's way too happy.» He observed her constant smile, his eyes resting on her luscious lips. He found himself yearning to taste some more. Even after that small peck on the lips at Remo's - that small kiss had such a strong effect on him that he had to catch his breath and sit down. He just couldn't keep his mind off her lips. There was some gravitational pull towards this woman, and at the present moment, Richard wasn't sure whether to fight it off with an army, or welcome it with open arms. «Truly an enigma.» Richard sighed, and looked straight ahead as the doors to the elevator opened, revealing Caroline's loft.

"Del!" Caroline raised her eyebrow as Del was kneeling near her door. "What are you doing?"

"Religion just not cutting it for you, Del? Or do you feel that doors just don't get the praise they deserve?" Richard remarked monotonously.

Del got up and dusted his pants off. "I…uh…" He looked up at Richard who was eyeing him intently, with a rather confused look bestowed upon his face. "Well, I figured you were out…" Del paused, unable to come up with the correct term. "..walking the cat." He sighed.

"Walking the cat?" Caroline asked suspiciously.

"Interesting euphemism." Richard muttered to Caroline.

Del produced a key from his pocket. "I was just slipping your key under your door." He waved the key in front of Richard's face. "I have her key."

Richard held up his key, mimicking Del. "So do I." He grinned.

Caroline bit her lip from laughing. Though she adorned a smile, on the inside, Caroline was at battle with her feelings. Sure she loved Del, but this blond-haired man beside her, was definitely something. «We just met today, but what makes me so drawn to this character.» Caroline shook her head and realized there was silence. She looked up, her brow furrowed. "Oh, is it my turn to speak?"

"No, it's okay Caroline." Del pressed the elevator button. "I'm off. Have fun tonight." Del said, glaring at Richard.

Richard playfully ignored Del's minor threats and unconsciously grabbed Caroline's hand, locking his fingers with hers. "Oh we will!." He chanted evilly.

As the doors closed, Caroline turned to Richard. "You are an evil, evil man!" She laughed and then looked at their hands. «Why does this feel so familiar…so safe?» She asked herself. "Do you want to come inside? For a coffee or tea?" Caroline began unlocking the door.

Richard watched the back of Caroline's head - feelings bubbling up within him. «No! Don't even go there!» Richard closed his eyes, willing them to forget all of his heartbreaks - especially the one with Julia, still fresh in his mind. «Love is just not for you Richard. You have to accept that.» He mentally cursed himself as his body, disobeying his mind, entered the loft.

"So…" Caroline smiled nervously, as she hung her coat on the hangar. "That went well." She laughed nervously.

Richard stood, poised against the door upon which he was leaning. There was an awkward silence which Richard decided to break. "Um, about that coffee?"

Caroline broke out of her reverie. Something about his eyes - strong and emotional, passionate yet gentle - just conjured up images in her psyche, transporting her to another world. "Right." She flashed him a smile which made Richard weak in the knees. "Sit down." She motioned the sofa.

"Even off the clock you're a slave driver." He half-smiled as he dropped himself lazily on the couch.

Caroline was surprised at how relaxed he was at the moment. "Slave driver?" She tried not to laugh. "You've worked for me *one* day…how do you know I'm a slave-driver?" She asked, putting her hands on her hips. She chuckled and made the coffee.

Richard sat staring straight ahead, throwing longing looks towards Caroline when she was not looking. He looked at her again, and gasped inwardly as their eyes met in a tangled mixture of fury, intrigue and desire. «Does she want the same thing? *Could* she want the same thing?» Richard asked to himself and swallowed hard. He broke eye contact as his breathing became more rugged.

Caroline's pulse had quickened as well, and a mutual confusion lay heavily in the room. Just then, Annie noisily entered the room. "Hey Caroline!" She walked over to get herself a cup of coffee. She then noticed Richard. "Hey cat-hater."

"Hey Slut-O." Richard replied to quickly, without even throwing a glance towards Annie.

"How do I know that's going to come up again?" She asked, shaking her head. "Oh Caroline? Do you want to go shopping tomorrow? I'm gave my understudy my matinee." Annie smiled.

"Annie is in Cats, Richard." Caroline said, trying to lighten up the mood, as well as change the subject.

"You're in Cats?" Richard eyed Annie. "Figures."

"Why? Because I have a dancer's body?" Annie struck a ridiculous, over-dramatic pose.

"No, because cats sleep around all day. Both literally and figuratively speaking." Richard smirked which only resulted in both girls sighing loudly.

"So, what are you two guys up to?" She looked at Richard and Caroline, both standing uncomfortably - avoiding eye contact at all cost. "Oookay, this is where I leave the Land of Unresolved Tension and step back into the Land of -"

" - the Sleeping Whore?" Richard interrupted, causing Caroline to roll her eyes.

"Hey." Annie put her hand on Richard's shoulder. "Who's sleeping?" She grinned.

"You two are going to have to get along." Caroline shook her head.

"If you haven't noticed, Caroline…my people skills aren't the best in the world."

"C'mon. You're not that bad." Caroline sat down next to Richard.

"I've had one relationship in my life and…" Richard struggled with his words. "I haven't done to well with my family either. My mom is God knows where, and my dad, well I'd prefer that remain a secret - even to me." Richard sighed and looked at his shoes. His brow furrowed. "Why am I even telling this to you?" He got up.

"Richard, Richard…sit down." Caroline looked him in the eye, and noticed his sadness even more. "What's wrong? You can tell me." She said, tenderly.

Richard stared at her longingly, and took a deep breath. "I've had it tough with people, Caroline." Richard paused. "People, animals and even plants. I don't like them, they don't like me."

"You don't like people?" Caroline said, a little hurt but more so confused as to why she was hurting. «Why is it important that he likes me?»

"Most." Richard replied to Caroline's question. His eyes slowly reached hers and they stared long and hard at eachother.

"Do you like me?" Caroline whispered, inching towards Richard. She leaned in, until she could feel his warm breath upon her mouth.

"Yeah…" Richard breathed huskily. His eyes opened wide when Caroline gently placed her lips on his. After a second, she retreated. Richard's eyes fell to Caroline's lips, once again. This time, he moved in towards his prey. He hungrily attacked Caroline's lips, causing her to gasp in his mouth. Gently cradling her in his arms, he covered her mouth with his, forcing her tongue to tango with his.

"MM.…" Caroline moaned against Richard, her hand was under his shirt, rubbing his strong back. "To the bed…" Caroline said, getting up and dragging Richard with her. They ascended the stairs in a frenzy of kisses and sensuous feelings. Once upstairs, Caroline practically ripped off Richard's shirt and threw it on the floor. She slowly undid the belt buckle of his pants, and slid them down. She kissed his chest, her tongue setting fire to his skin as her hands gently tugged at the elastic waist of his boxers.

Meanwhile, Richard's threw his head back in ecstasy as Caroline kissed and sucked on his chest, but then he brought his head back, and looked at her. "Caroline.." he was breathing hard. He shook his head and stepped back.

"What?" Caroline looked up at Richard, a puzzled fear on her face. "Did I do something wrong?"

Richard was speechless. "Rebound." Was all he could muster out.

"What?" Caroline whispered, understanding the direction in which Richard was set on.

"It'd be wrong to do this, and you know it." Richard sat on the side of the bed, and put his pants on.

Caroline kneeled behind him on the bed. She gently put her hands on his shoulders and began messaging them. "I know you think it's revenge, Richard. But in my heart…I know that it isn't." Caroline was almost pleading with him. She wanted to be in his arms, she wanted to feel his love and taste his passion.

Richard looked at Caroline. "For some reason, I am strangely attracted to you." He paused and stroked her cheek. "Attracted to your body is a no brainer, but I'm trying to comprehend why I'm attracted to your personality." Richard smiled at Caroline's warning look. "Your annoyingly perky disposition with a need-to-know-everything but still be the sweetest, most caring and loveable person somehow pleases me." Richard kissed Caroline on the forehead. "Immensely."

"Well what about you, Mr. Cranky pants!" Caroline laughed. "You're cynical, pessimistic, dark and suspicious, but I know that you're doting and gentle. Once I get your complete trust Richard, and I know I will" Caroline smiled, "I know I will find so many more qualities that lie dormant in you." She grabbed his hand and kissed his knuckles. "Now, shall we continue where we left off?" She asked, grinning seductively.

"No…I need more time." Richard said, looking at the floor. "I need to make sure that I'm not just another lay, that you're not going to use me." Richard sighed. "I can't be used again…I won't survive another time." His voice started to crack and Caroline could sense him breaking down.

"Richard." Caroline closed her eyes, hurting because he was hurting. "I want to help you."

"All my life, I've been used, Caroline. As a human dodge-ball in elementary school, as an inspiration to lousy mockeries in high school and as a tool of jealousy in love." Richard closed his eyes, painfully thinking of Julia and her means of using him to get the unobtainable. "It's the last one that hurt me the most." He looked back at Caroline. "I can't take it…"

Caroline cupped his face in her palms. "Talk to me." She smiled. "Tomorrow. Let's just get some sleep?"

Richard got up and nodded. "See you tomorrow. Ten o'clock?"

Caroline grinned. "Nine." She stated. "But, you won't have an excuse to be late for work." She took his hand and guided him to the other side of the bed. "I promise I won't be naughty." She smiled devilishly.

"Great." Richard lay down on the bed. "Make it harder for me." He looked her up and down. "How Del could not want you is beyond my comprehension." He kissed her lightly on the lips and rested his head on the pillow.

Caroline smiled and dared to cuddle up to Richard. To her surprise, he actually put his arm around her and brought her closer. They both fell into a dreamless sleep, small smiles resting on their faces.

***
Meanwhile outside, Del looked up at Caroline's loft and watched the light go off. "That son of a gun…" he muttered thinking of Richard. He sighed…«Did I make a mistake letting Caroline go?» He asked, as he walked away from Caroline's loft, his head hung low. Just then, two beautiful twins came into his view, and walked right by him. "Ladies!" He grinned, turning on his heel and jogging after them. "I would *love* to 'double my fun', if you know what I mean." Del tried to sound cool. He was rewarded by a simultaneous slap on both sides of his cheek.

The two blondes then walked off. Del ran up and stood in front of them. "Figures." He said, sticking his bottom lip out. "My girlfriend dumps me, and *I* get slapped." He made puppy dog eyes.

"Aww, you poor thing." The first one said, running a hand through his hair.

"Can we take him home?" The second one asked the first.

Del smiled sheepishly, and each girl looped their arm around Del's as they walked off to Del's apartment.

***
When morning finally came, Caroline awoke to the smell of bacon and eggs. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, as the added scent of coffee danced around her nostrils. She tossed the covers aside and bounded down the stairs. There she saw the most beautiful scene she had ever laid eyes on. There was Richard, hair tufted up, pants wrinkled sans shirt setting a table with two candles, and a full brunch served.

She softly walked up to him from the back, and wrapped her arms around him. Leaning her cheek against his back, she giggled as the vibrations from his speech tickled her face.

"You like?" He asked, turning around to face her.

She stared dreamily into his eyes. "Now more than ever." She leaned up to kiss him as Annie busted into the room. "Hey guys." Annie walked in and stopped. "Whoa, guys!" She glanced at Richard's bare chest and then covered up her eyes, yelling "my virgin eyes!"

"Please, nothing of yours could be considered virgin." Richard remarked, as he sat down at the table.

"Whatever." Annie leaned in and stole a piece of bacon from his plate. Richard attempted futilely to bat her away. "Oh my god! It just occurred to me….you guys *slept* together!!"

Caroline sat down facing Richard, and immediately found his feet with hers. She gently caressed them and smiled at him.

Richard, who was so engrossed in his food, jerked his head up at the electrifying touch. His face then relaxed when he saw Caroline's caring smile. "We just shared the same bed, Annie." Richard muttered, raising his eyebrow as Annie brought a chair and sat down at the table. She then started taking bits and pieces of their food, to make her own meal.

"What? A girl's gotta eat!" She mumbled, with a piece of toast in her mouth. "So you guys *didn't* have sex?" She asked, astonished.

"That's probably something you never hear." Richard stated faintly, but the other two did hear it.

"Ugh, I'm eating in my own apartment, where there's plenty of love to go around." Annie pouted, and then pointed at Richard. "And shut up, Richard!"

"You know Annie," Richard said, getting up and walking Annie to the door, "this is going to be the start of a *bee-yoo-tee-full* friendship." He grinned, shoved her gently out of the loft, and closed the door in her face.

"Richard…that was a little mean." Caroline tried not to laugh.

Richard paused. "You're right." He went to open the door, where Annie was still holding her plate, in a somewhat shock. "Here." Richard picked up Salty, planted him in Annie's free hand, and closed the door once again. He sat back down, and look at Caroline. "Now *that* was a little mean."

He grinned as Caroline shook her head and giggled, finally really, truly content in her life. «A great guy *and* a colorist. Talk about two birds and one stone!»