Okay . . . I'm trying to get back to steady updates here but it isn't easy having to do this between work, class and the hospital so everyone please be patient. And thanks so much for all of the support!

A Date Deferred

Chaosia laughed as the water splashed up and over the side guard of the small boat her class had taken out for the day. This was far too funny to not have a video camera . . . She turned, grinning at her professor as he shook his head; trying not to laugh out right at the others. They hadn't been able to find any great whites-which until they did this enough to establish their feeding patterns and hunting grounds wasn't too big of a deal- but they had found a small pod of blue whales.

And one of the cows had a calf that was absolutely enthralled by the boat. She leaned over the railing, watching the juvenile swim closer to the bow before he shot back to his mother. It was days like this that she loved her major . . . and that she knew she was definitely going to do the right thing with her life. And to think she'd almost called out . . . She shook herself, trying to concentrate on the matter at hand. The sea wasn't too choppy or rough but it wasn't as steady as she'd liked it to be with a load of newbies. And she needed to be alert just incase anything happened.

She turned, watching her professor step up beside her as one of the other poor souls shot behind them; hanging halfway over the starboard bow as he puked his guts out. She raised a brow as her instructor shook his head. Seriously? There were hardly any waves or wakes . . . and there was absolutely no wind at all. What was he getting sick over?

She glanced up at the teacher, brow raised as the older man just chuckled. She liked this guy enough . . . Brody was mellow and didn't put a lot of emphasis on anything but the research and the sea hours. Meaning that as long as you showed up and did what you were supposed to-and had all of your shit together towards the end of the course- that you would pass with flying colors. Something she could definitely get behind.

She turned back to the whales, watching one of the adolescent females jump and fall back into the water before the calf tried his hand at it. He got about half way up before plummeting back into the greenish blue sea gracelessly. She laughed, shaking her head as she looked back to Brody. He had pulled his Raybans off and was cleaning them, shaking his own head as he chuckled.

"Poor kid doesn't have it yet. But give him time and he'll be jumping higher than any of the others."

She nodded, pushing her hair out of her face as she tugged her hoodie a little tighter. It was getting pretty late in the afternoon, the sun already beginning to make its descent on the western horizon. Meaning that it was starting to get chillier than it had been when they'd lit out closer to five. She sighed, looking up to Brody as he turned to tell the others to get ready to head back in. They were about an hour and a half out now so it would be almost nine before they got back to the docks. Great.

A hand on her shoulder brought her attention away from the time and back to the present, bringing her eyes up to meet her instructor's. He grinned, nodding to the helm.

"I'm getting ready to take the helm. I think that we're about the only two who have a clue how to steer this thing . . . . Wanna keep me company?"

Chaos raised a brow but nodded, tugging her jacket tighter as she made her way to the rear of the boat. She watched the other four students huddle around the mast, whispering as they slathered each other with aloe or tried to stay warm. She rolled her eyes, shaking her head. They'd been warned that this wasn't going to be a fun cruise. They needed to dress appropriately and bring the proper materials. Sunscreen, jackets, dry warm clothes, fresh water and sunglasses being among them. She looked up at Brody as he laughed, shaking his head as they gained speed. Now she couldn't hear the others but she could see they were paying close attention to the two of them.

Now why in the hell were they doing that?

"Don't pay them any attention Guadimus. You're the only one who didn't almost go overboard today . . . and you knew everything about seafaring before being drilled. Well, that and you knew what type of whales we'd come across."

She looked back at Brody, watching the wind push his chin length curls this way and that as the boat cut through the waves. She glanced back, watching the two girls glare at her before she rolled her own eyes. She knew why they were being so damned pissy . . . Brody was one of the more sought after teachers at UCSLB. And not just because he was a great teacher. He was in his mid thirties with dark blonde curling hair, big pretty blue eyes and permanently tanned from his time in the sun. And when he wasn't here in Long Beach teaching he was down in the Keys trying to help recover galleons and sunken ships.

A freaking modern day Indiana Jones of the water variety . . .

She rolled her eyes, leaning back to talk with him as she tried no to snort. They could have him . . . she had her own brooding beau to get home to.

"Uh huh. Sure. Now tell me the one about mermaids and krakens . . . They're pissed this wasn't the party they thought it was going to be and we both know it."

He shrugged, giving her a lopsided grin as glanced back at the setting sun. The red orb was hanging, barely teetering over the now still and almost mirrored ocean; reflecting most of the light in white crests and prisms while the once blue sky seemed to be on fire. She sighed, watching it for a few moments before she turned back to him as he spoke. She wished Sphinx was here to see this . . . He didn't seem to really care about the ocean one way or another but if he could see it like this-or even watch the sharks and whales when they caught up with them- then maybe she could change his mind.

Oh who was she kidding? He was as in love with cars as she was the water . . . and that was something they were just going to have to compromise on. Which wasn't a huge sacrifice seeing as she loved cars almost as much as he did.

"Yeah well, they'll learn to work or they'll drop the class. Usually the way it goes. I start out with about six and end up with about three. I don't know why people hear deep sea lab and think ocean party. Or dating set up."

She laughed, shaking her head as he cringed. He wasn't as clueless about the reason that a lot of girls took his class as she'd thought. But his next words shocked her enough that she almost toppled when the came across a particularly high crest. Was he serious? She hadn't acted interested at all . . . because she wasn't. Oh she had to set this straight now before this got out of hand. Or her towering boyfriend caught wind of it and removed all of his protruding extremities piece by piece.

"Speaking of which, what are you doing later tonight? I'd be up for grabbing a drink if you wanted to . . ."

She smiled at him, shaking her head the whole time. God please don't ever let Sphinx find out that this guy was hitting on her. Because then things would definitely get ugly.

"I'm going out to a movie and dinner with my boyfriend tonight actually. But thanks for the invitation . . ."

Brody looked at her before laughing, shaking his head as he tried to breathe.

"Kid I wasn't asking you on a date. I was asking you to get a drink so I could see how much you know. But it is nice to know that you're attached to someone and not going to bide your time to jump me."

She raised a brow, trying not to point out how narcissistic that sounded. But he seemed to catch himself and blushed, trying to smooth that over.

"Well it isn't like it hasn't happened before. Hell a few semesters ago I had a girl sneak on this damn thing in the middle of the night. She was waiting on me the next morning with nothing but a string bikini and a bottle of wine. That came soaring at my head when I told her to get off my damned boat."

Chaosia laughed, looking at him perplexed.

"Why'd you toss her off? Not hot enough for you?"

He rolled his eyes before giving her a very pointed look. One that she took to mean 'drop it'. She threw her hands up in mock defeat, turning to see the docks coming into view. She smiled, her shoulders sagging. As much fun as all of this had been she just really wanted to go home and get a shower, get dressed and go out with Sphinx. She just hoped they could decide where to go and what to see without too much bloodshed.

Sphinx tried not to grind his teeth as he tugged the dark gray dress shirt a bit straighter. He'd forgone his normal suspenders and jeans, pulling a better pair out of the back of his closet and the seldom worn dress shoes he loathed. But the square toed black leather loafers would look good with the dark washed jeans and the dark shirt. Hell he'd even donned a black leather belt. Now he just had to find the black sports jacket he'd stashed in the back of the closet and he would be ready to go.

He rolled his eyes, running a hand over his now clean shaven face before he smoothed his hair back. He knew he looked fine but something about actually going out with Chaosia was . . . anxiety inducing. He rarely went on dates. And even though he knew they were together he still felt like he had to make a good impression with this.

Now if he just knew where to bloody take her . . .

He sighed, shaking his head as he turned and made his way into his living room. Only to glare at the man lounging on his couch. It was days like today that he regretted ever giving Jackson a key . . . He watched the older boost twirl said keys around his finger as he grinned, looking for all the world like the cat that got the canary as he kicked his feet onto his coffee table.

"Still don't know where to take her?"

Sphinx glared, going to grab a beer as he grumbled to himself. He'd known better than to tell Atley anything about this but he just couldn't seem to stop himself. He'd needed help and Jackson had been the least likely to lead him astray. Other than Otto but he wasn't even going to broach that topic. The man was okay with their fledgling relationship but he doubted that would continue if things progressed the way they had been. Especially if they picked up where they'd left off before her parents had gotten here . . .

He shook himself, trying to will that memory away. He didn't need to go into tonight with that thought at the forefront. It would only get him in trouble. He moved back into the den, dropping onto the sofa beside Atley as the man grinned and chuckled. Before he pulled two small tickets from his pockets and handed them to him with a Cheshire grin. Sphinx raised a brow, looking over the two passes before he looked back to him like he was crazy. This was insane . . . how in the hell had Atley even known about this? Let alone gotten the damned tickets for it on such short notice?

He flipped the smooth paper over in his fingertips, watching Atley settle back into the sofa smugly.

"No thanks necessary. Just take the damn girl and have fun . . . and don't start a damn fight. It was way too difficult to grab those damn things up for you to fuck all of this up by being a jackass. Now I would suggest taking her to dinner first before the two of you go and want the night away."

Sphinx shook his head, turning to look back at the tickets before he finally just chuckled to himself. Christ what would he do if he didn't have Atley? He'd honestly been contemplating the dinner and a movie idea but now Jackson had given him the key to ensuring they had a wonderful night. But he still couldn't shake the nagging feeling that he'd been planning this . . .

He glanced back up, eyes narrowed as he looked his still too smug friend over.

"And how did you come across these then? Because I highly doubt you went and fetched them all on your own . . ."

Atley shrugged, scratching his chin before he looked at him. But Sphinx could see some of the surety fading away into sheepishness. Meaning that Jackson hadn't been the mastermind behind this. He furrowed his brows, trying not to growl as he ground out.

"Jackson. Talk. Now."

He sighed, running a hand over his slicked back hair before he finally caved. And Sphinx didn't know whether to strangle him or thank him. Actually the lot of them. Did they honestly think he couldn't handle this? Just because he didn't let them know every time he had a bloody lover or girlfriend didn't mean he wasn't some clumsy bollocksing virgin. He knew how to go on dates and where to go . . . he was just a bit hesitant to take Chaosia where he would anyone else. She was . . . different.

"Well Donnie and Sway saw the advertisements for all of this stuff going on down near the aquarium and they figured that the kid would want to go. And the tickets came in twos before you start. And with everything that kind of went on today-her parents popping in, the shit with her brother and then her having to run off to that sea lab- well. They figured the two of you would appreciate the time out and away . . . just the two of you. Because we all know you haven't really seen each other unless it's been at the garage. Not with her school and your work."

Sphinx glared before rolling his eyes. He would just take this as the good will gesture it'd been meant as this time. But he wouldn't be so forgiving next time. This is why he hadn't wanted anyone to fucking know about them. They all wanted to get in the bloody middle and meddle.

"Thanks for this Jackson but the lot of you need to stay out of my affairs. Or do you fancy another trip to the dirt? For trying to meddle and scheme?"

Atley rolled his eyes before nodding, pushing up off the couch and going towards the door as he grumbled.

"Hey we were just trying to help you big idiot. Don't snap our heads off. Besides how else are you going to make this work huh? The first month she was here you didn't even know she was sweet on your stupid ass until we pushed you together. Just accept the help and get over it. Or don't and fuck it up. But either way we're just trying to be good friends."

He stepped out the door, slamming it behind him as Sphinx sighed; running hand down his face as he grumbled. Great. Now he'd pissed Jackson off. Again. God he was worse than a bloody woman.

Chaosia opened the front door of her house, looking over Sphinx as he raised a brow. She'd called him when she'd gotten in before she'd gone for the shower. But the mix of the sun and all of the drama at the mall the shop and on the damned boat had made her a lot draggier than she'd thought. Oh who was she kidding? She'd gone to sleep in the damned shower and would still be there if the water hadn't run cold. She sighed, tugging her robe tighter around her as she tried not to blush.

Her boyfriend looked really freaking good tonight . . . especially in that damned shirt.

She shook herself, going to go back upstairs to get dressed when he caught her. He turned her, pushing his fingers into her wet curls as he looked her over; shaking his head.

"You burned, Chaos."

She reached up, touching her warm cheeks before shrugging. She would be tan again tomorrow but it was still weird that she'd gotten red today. But then again the sun reflecting off the waves was bound to make her cook one way or another. His thumb traced her cheek as his hand slid to cup her face, making her blush as she leaned into the kiss he dropped on her lips. God he couldn't start doing stuff like that. So her mother hadn't-openly- freaked as badly as they'd both been expecting . . . it still didn't mean they were out of the deep end yet. And if he started with all of this sweet shit then she was going to be in over her head far faster than she wanted to be.

But his next words made her think that maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.

"We have passes to the Midnight Mash down at the Aquarium . . . but they're doing this all weekend. We could go tomorrow and just stay in tonight. You look about ready to drop."

She tried to gather her outrage and anger but failed, sinking into him as he tugged her closer. She looked up at him, almost pleadingly as he smirked to her; brushing her drying tangled ringlets out of her face.

"You wouldn't mind? I know those passes weren't cheap . . . and you're dressed to go out. Would you really just stay here with me?"

His smirk fell as his face softened, his lips brushing her cheek as he spoke and pressed his forehead to hers.

"There's nowhere else I'd rather be, Lovely. Lets just make sure we actually make it to a bed this time."

She grinned leaning into him as she kissed his cheek.

"Okay . . . who are you and what have you done to Sphinx? Because this is far too perfect for me to believe its happening."

He chuckled, shaking his head before he kissed her again. And as soon as his lips hit hers this time she felt a good bit of the passion from before return. She wrapped her arms around his neck, tugging him closer as his hands traveled down to settle on terry cloth draped hips. She gasped as he pulled her hips into his, which let his tongue slip past her lips to mingle with her own. After a few intense moments they parted, one of his hands coming back up to cup her cheek as the other kept her steady against him. She smirked, kissing his chin lightly. She wasn't going anywhere any time soon . . . he didn't need to worry about that.

His eyes searched hers for a few seconds before he nodded towards the way she'd come. And she knew what he was silently asking her. She nodded, reaching out to lock the door before his fingers looped through hers. He brought her hand to his lips, brushing them against her knuckles the way he had before she left. But something in this gesture was different than before. He wasn't telling her to be careful or trying to be sweet. He was just touching her to touch her. Because he wanted to . . . and he wanted her to know it. She smiled to him, squeezing his fingers as went to go back towards the stairs in her den.

Staying in with him sounded like a much better plan. Even if she couldn't believe she was giving up the chance to go around the aquarium without the crowds . . . She grinned before laughing as he scooped her up when she yawned, shaking his head as he chided her for trying to do too much at once. She pressed a kiss to his jaw, snuggling into his hold. She didn't care what Bastian said or how the little doubts his outburst had caused to flare to life had been eating at her . . . Sphinx wasn't Marcello. And she was definitely happier with him than she'd been in years.

Now she just had to make sure that she didn't do anything to screw it up . . .

A short but sweet update . . . and I totally see Brody looking a lot like Mathew McCaugnehey (sp?).