There were a few requests to add some more to this story so I'm obliging (aren't I easy?). Hopefully this will tie things up nicely.

Ladies' Man

Ch 8

Tony woke in the morning to a gentle caress along his jaw line, down his neck to his chest. He smiled into the glowing face of Maryann.

"Good morning," he stretched his arm around her shoulders pulling her closer to him.

She nodded, "Good morning," as she twirled her finger around his muscular chest. She chewed at her lip struggling to find the words she knew she had to tell him.

Noticing her silence Tony looked into her face, "What's wrong?" he asked replaying the previous night's activities and wondering if he misread any of the signals she had been giving off.

"It's just that you've loved me so honestly and I haven't been completely truthful with you," she swallowed averting her brown eyes from his probing green ones.

Tony's gut clenched and his arm tensed holding her even tighter to him. 'How could I have been so wrong?' he dreaded.

"It's not what you're thinking. Not entirely, at least," she paused pushing herself away from her and pulling the sheet up to cover herself.

"How exactly is it?" Tony's ire was rising, but he wanted to hear her confession.

"I did hear rumors about the Thomases planning the hit, but I didn't want to be with you to get the story." His disbelief was evident in the glare he gazed upon her. "It's true, I did start listening to the police scanner and checking out crime scenes to see if it was him. But the more times I went and saw you, the less I cared if it was him or not."

Tony took a deep breath and looked up to his ceiling not sure what he should say or do.

Realizing she probably should explain more, Maryann continued, "Last night was real Tony. I would never do what we did if I didn't have the emotion to fuel it. You have to know that."

"How could I know that?" Tony avoided looking directly at her.

"Remember how we were together. I gave myself completely to you. Just because I wanted to be with you. There's nothing you told me yesterday, I won't read in the paper today, and I certainly wasn't running off to my editor to write it. I only wanted to be with you."

"But why were you in on the rumors? Why would you care if the hit was pulled off or not?" Tony did look at her, the investigator in him searching for the answers.

"My uncle is a part of a rival militia. His is not nearly as radical, just the locals who want to keep their rights to bear arms a part of the constitution. I have cousins who are in the military and we are all proud of their service," she admitted. "My mother is his sister and has really no interaction with him other than Christmas and birthday cards. My father has always been hard set against any militia, but its like they say, you can't choose your family."

Her shot at humor didn't crack a smile on the normally easy to humor Tony. He was taking it all in. "Still then who contacted you and wanted you to watch out for the outcome of the hit?"

Knowing he wasn't going to let it go, Maryann closed her eyes and told him everything. "My uncle called me about 3 months ago after he first heard the rumors. He was concerned that if the Thomases were willing to kill one of their own, then our family may be in grave danger of them as well. My cousins are due to return home next month. My family doesn't want a feud of any kind to start up. For the most part they really are a peaceful people."

Tony nodded. "So what do you think will happen now?"

Pulling her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms around them, Maryann could only shake her head. "I'm not sure. I guess they can only hope that the hit was based solely on their belief that one of their own was a traitor."

"I have to talk to my boss," Tony grabbed his shorts and went to make the call privately.

"Yeah, Gibbs," was the usual gruff answer.

"Boss, I have to tell you something."

"What is it DiNozzo?" Gibbs said impatiently.

"Maryann was telling me about her family and she's concerned for them," Tony knew there was a lot more to say, but also knew Gibbs liked things as brief as possible. "Her uncle is a member of a different militia and they have family in the military. They're all concerned that the Thomases may try exacting their retribution on them much like they did our young Ensign."

"I'll notify Fornell. We may have to work together to protect her cousins."

"Thanks, Boss," Tony breathed.

"Tony?" Gibbs questioned.

"Yes, Boss," Tony nearly grimaced at what he knew was coming.

"She stayed the whole night with you?" he asked.

"Yes?" Tony was a little confused.

"Just making sure the article in the paper wasn't hers is all. I'm glad she came clean for you," Gibbs wasn't sure if it was going to work out in the end between them, but it was going to be up to Tony to figure out if he was willing to put any more trust in her.

"Gotcha. I'll talk to you later," he finished to a dead line.

Returning to his bedroom he saw Maryann sitting on the edge of the bed putting her shoes on. She had redressed in anticipation of Tony throwing her out. Really what more could she expect. She should've said something sooner, but she was honest when she told him she didn't care any more.

"You want me to take you home?" Tony asked softly. She looked into his face, not believing he could use such a comforting tone with her.

"I figured you'd want me to leave as soon as possible," she shrugged, concentrating on her shoes once again.

"You can stay for breakfast at the very least. I'm sure I can rustle up something to eat," he smirked.

"You really want me to stay?" she asked curiously.

"I'm willing to go on a little faith that you've told me everything," he narrowed his eyes and liking that she held eye contact with him; he nodded.

"Yes, that was it," she lifted one shoulder. "Nothing too nefarious, but I couldn't bear to keep silent about it any longer."

Tony nodded. "Okay. Let's see what you think of my famous pancakes then."

"Sounds good," she smiled. She walked over to him and put her arms around his neck, pulling him down for a kiss. "Of course, there are better things for breakfast," she raised an eyebrow at him.

"Oh, yeah. Pancakes can wait," he returned her kiss and pulled her closer to him. 'Maybe that DiNozzo charm can work like magic,' Tony thought to himself.