Disclaimer: All characters belong to their respective owners. This story is for entertainment purposes only.

Author's notes: This is a Ricky/Shelley pairing fic, yay! A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Phineas Bogg who has been nothing but kind and supportive since I've been posting "My Bodyguard" fics on this site. Please be sure to read her fics!

"All In Due Time"

"How did you get that scar?"

It was an innocent question, but corrupted enough to make him pull his arm and hide it behind his back.

"Ricky, lemme see."

She reached out and clasped his elbow, gently tugging on it. His eyes went dark and his face frigid. For a brief moment, he considered recoiling from her touch all together-his most natural reaction to whenever someone noticed his "guilt." But that was when Gramma Peache's playful but comforting voice reached out from the depths of his memories.

"You're among friends, Ricky. You're among friends."

He had relented, albeit reluctantly, for the first time back then; allowing others to see his secret shame, the dark secret that he'd kept hidden for over a year.

Without realizing it, he already allowed her to examine his wrist. She brought it close to her face, seemingly fascinated with it.

"What happened?" she asked candidly as she used the tip of her finger to trace the pink scars, her breath warm against his flesh. "How...?"

"It was..."

His fingers curled into his palm and made a tight fist. He very carefully withdrew from her touch and averted his stare. "I..."

"Ohhh, Ricky." She smiled sadly at him as she slipped her arms around his waist and hugged him tight, the side of her face pressed against his broad chest. "I know that one day you'll be ready to talk to me about it. Just like you were able to talk to Clifford about it, right?"

She lifted her head and gazed up at him with such sincerity and overwhelming positivity, her braces shining against her white teeth. "You know I'm right! After all, I'm always right about these things, aren't I?"

Shelley had such an infectious grin, and he couldn't help but return the gesture. He felt at ease with her and he knew that some day, he'd be ready to share his past with the girl he truly and deeply cared about.