Disclaimer: Once again, I do not own these characters...

Author's Note: The "Let's make a pact" scene from To Heiress Human has always puzzled me: why is Maddie so dead-set on forgetting her night with David? What's going on behind David's protests and silence? This is the best answer I could come up with...

Fear of Falling

"David, do you remember what you said to me last night?" she asked, pulling the ace out of her sleeve.

"Yes, I remember what I said last night…" he looked at her, lips pursed. "And I meant it."

"Well, if you really meant it, then you'll make this pact." She leaned back in her chair, trying to preserve a cool, commanding façade, while her heart hammered in her chest. She willed herself to breathe deeply, to maintain eye contact with him; she couldn't let him see how rattled she was.

And after all, what was there to be rattled about? It had been one night—only one night. It shouldn't be that hard to wipe out the memory of it…to pretend it had never happened…even if, from the moment he caught her wrist, it had felt—inevitable. Like she had been fighting the forces of nature—like trying to counteract gravity. It was such a relief to give in and let herself fall.

That was exactly how it felt: as though she had jumped out of a plane and was falling through the sky, the air gently buffeting her, able to see the whole of their relationship for the first time. It felt completely freeing, and unexpectedly exhilarating.

And later, finally hearing him say the words—the words she had fought for, had ached to hear—it was like a parachute opened above her, at just the right time, ensuring her safe landing. Things slowed down a little…she could notice more, appreciate more…she watched his face, his hands on her body, his delight at her pleasure. She felt like she could do anything, be anything, there with him in the dark.

Then morning came. She woke up: the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, she looked over at David, hair standing on end, black stubble shading his cheek…impetuous David…Mr. Lost Weekend himself... His arm lay across her, and under its weight she remembered: had she really—?

Just like that: POP! The parachute was gone. There was only cold air streaming by her and the ground—not safe now, but menacing—rushing up to meet her.

"Sleep OK?" she had asked, every muscle tensed.

"I wouldn't really call it sleep…more of a toe-straightening break." He had stretched and smiled…


* * *

"Well, if you really meant it, then you'll make this pact," she said softly, leaning back in the chair. David looked at her, his lips twisting with amusement and a certain sense of disbelief that they were having this conversation.

This one—good God, she was nuts! More than nuts—she was a whole can of Planter's. Hadn't she been there last night? Hadn't she seen what he'd seen, felt what he'd felt? He was sure she had, even if she hadn't responded in kind when he said those three little words…three little words, by the way, that he'd only said to two other women in his adult life. Both of whom had valued them about as much as Maddie was doing right now.

But last night—she had felt differently—he knew it. Her smile, the way she pulled him even closer, the way she had watched him, had responded to him…forget her speech to "Sam," her feelings were right there, laid out for him to see.

So this morning, his one thought all the way to the office had been how soon he could get her alone. He didn't think she'd go for one of those "nooner" hotels, but lunch…lunch was a distinct possibility. A place with highbacked booths—very high—and, preferably, curtains. Yeah, that would work.

When she called to him from her doorway, for one crazy second, he thought they were on the same page—like she could hardly wait to get him behind closed doors so she could lay one on him. He breezed in, jaunty and confident.

It was like the Titanic hitting the iceberg. Only the iceberg was a helluva lot warmer.

Two years he had waited for this…and now she wanted to pretend it never happened? Make some ridiculous agreement that it would never happen again? Ha! For his part, David was planning on it happening, over and over again, and as soon as possible, for the foreseeable future. Pact schmact!

But then he looked at her. She sat in that mauve leather chair, her hands on the armrests, as though this conversation was merely one of the more distasteful things on her "To Do" list…but if he looked carefully, he could see the confusion there, the apprehension…maybe even a kind of sadness.

They locked eyes for a long minute, while he tried to figure out where the real problem lay: was she afraid that good ol' One Night Dave wouldn't stick around? Was she (God forbid) regretting the spaceman's departure?

A knock broke the silence. He watched her: if she sent whoever it was away, he would give it another shot. He'd tell her, several times, if necessary—

"Come in," she called.