Annie felt Auggie's lips, pressed as they were against her collarbone, stretch into a smile when she gasped, "Oh!" His thumbs pressed harder against her hipbones. Beneath her own ragged breathing she could fee his heart pounding. Her skirt, which hadn't felt all that tight when she'd put it on that morning, had temporarily stymied his inquisitive fingers. Beneath her fingers, still interlaced with the curly hair at his nape, Auggie's neck was banded with tension. She wanted to ask him if he was sure about this, if maybe they weren't getting a bit carried away.

He didn't give her a chance. One hand dragged up her spine, giving her goose-bumps in the process, to cup her cheek. The pad of his thumb slid over her cheekbone. Just as her lips parted on another gasp, Auggie leaned in and kissed her again. Apparently dissatisfied with the angle of her head, he moved his other hand to the other side of her face. Individual kisses merged into a sensual concerto. Annie tried to turn her head, finally. She couldn't draw a full breath. Her skin prickled. A fine sheen of sweat had broken out on her breasts. She needed to gasp, to draw in more oxygen, to gather one coherent thought. A whimper was all she could manage.

Convinced she would pass out if she couldn't find a way to draw deeper breaths, Annie frantically tugged at the buttons of her blouse. She whimpered, again, against Auggie's insistent lips when the blouse drifted to the floor behind her. When she tried to twist her arms behind her to unclasp her bra, he murmured: "Shh, sweatheart, let me."

Unable to see her face, and with his hands otherwise occupied, Auggie stopped kissing her for the moment. His large, long fingered, hands had her white lace demi-cup unclasped in seconds. With the index finger of each hand he pulled the straps down her shoulders, across her forearms and then tossed the bra aside. He returned his hands to her waist, waiting patiently while Annie unbuttoned his shirt.

"Mmm," he sighed as she kissed his collarbone in imitation of his earlier ministrations. Her fingers danced across his chest, murmuring in soft appreciation of the corded muscles. He frowned when he felt her weight shift. She stood up and tugged at his hands.

"Bed," she whispered. Then, in a heartbreaking addendum, she said: "Please."

He let her lead him, one hand locked around his, to his bed, even though it felt backwards, somehow. At the foot of the bed she turned back to him and pressed her, gloriously naked, chest against his. "Where were we? Should I tie you back up?"

With a snort, he shifted his weight and used one foot to sweep her legs out from under her. She toppled back onto the bed with a squeak. "No. I want to feel very inch of you while I listen to every moan, every word you beg, every time you say my name." He lowered himself gently onto the bed, careful where he put his weight in case she'd shifted.

Annie reached up and tugged his face down to hers. "Do you really need your hands for that? Wouldn't…" she had to wrench her head sideways to break away from a searing kiss. "Your tongue work just as well?"

"Oh, I think it will work better for some things."

"Prove it," she taunted.

He shook his head. "Patience, Miss Walker."

She pouted, knowing that he couldn't see her expression but doing it all the same. "Tease."

"No, Annie. " He slid down beside her, resting his weight on one arm. His free hand traced patterns across her stomach. "I'm not teasing you."

Her back arched. He removed his hand. She grumbled.

"Liked that did you?" Despite his assertion of moments before, Auggie's tone was lightly teasing.

"Yes, damn you." She grabbed him and pulled him to her for a frantic kiss. He indulged her, spending several long minutes just kissing her and exploring her mouth. When he finally did raise his head she was panting again.

He needed to slow down, even though the woman beneath him was panting with need. He needed to take his time, even though his own body was screaming for release. He needed her as much on an emotional level as a physical one. The need was so palpable that he was close to sobbing it out loud. He was mildly surprised that his voice didn't quaver when he spoke.

"Let me see you, Annie."

Emotions roiled beyond control already, Annie had to swallow a cry at this heart-rending request.

Auggie had suddenly realized that, despite multiple sparring sessions, collisions in the hallway, and frantic consolation hugs, he'd never had the chance to "see" Annie's face. He used his thumbs and index fingers to lightly trace her cheekbones, her slightly pert little nose, the almond shaped eyes, the finely etched brows. He knew what her lips felt like – hell he knew what they tasted like at this point, so he skipped over them to caresses her chin. It felt delicate and small in his big hands, but knowing Annie, he was sure that jaw could clench into a pugilistic stubbornness with surprising quickness.

Annie watched him while he explored. His big brown eyes tracked with his fingers as if he would actually see what he was feeling. His expression flitted between intense concentration and tender awe. It was a humbling experience.

"Well," she finally whispered. "Did the guys describe me correctly?"

He grinned, again, and shifted his weight. "I'll have to tell you later, they weren't really concentrating on your facial features." While she grunted in mock outrage he reached down to cup one breast. She rewarded him with a soft sound of pleasure. He continued to explore and caress, listening to her audible feedback. He learned what pleased her, what touches made her writhe, and what made her beg.

Annie felt as if she was being simultaneously worshipped and devoured. His fingers, and tongue, where everywhere. They stroked, laved, pinched, rolled, tasted, and drove her to the brink of insanity. Sometimes he would grin at her with his usual play-boy arrogance and sometimes there would be naked need scrawled across his handsome face. She did her share of touching, managing, finally, to divest him of his pants. When he nipped her earlobe and whispered "Let go, Annie," she knew precisely what he meant. He sucked on the sensitive skin above her collarbone as she shuddered beneath him.

Auggie listened as Annie's breathing descended from ragged pants to something approaching normal. He let his fingers glide down her thigh and back up again while he feathered kisses over her forehead and closed eyes. She was so relaxed beneath him that he grunted in surprise when she shoved him onto his back.

"My turn, Mr. Anderson."

He looked horrified. "Please, that's not really a sexy monitor. Reminds me of…." He stopped when he felt Annie lift her head from where she'd been tracking kisses down his chest and stomach. "Never mind. Shutting up, now."

"Smart man," came her muffled reply. He couldn't argue with her – he'd lost the ability to speak. His fingers twisted in her hair and his hips jerked. She knew him so well that she played him right to the edge before raising her head and wiggling back up his body.

"I need you, Auggie."

The y rolled again so that he was once more above her. He stroked her side and pulled one knee up beside his hip. "Shh. Relax. Just let me lead and I'll bring you home safe."

She smiled and he felt it against his lips. "Just like you always have?"

"And always will." He pulled her close, shifted his weight, and matched her gasp with one of his own.

Later, when she was sure the gorgeous body beside her was deep asleep, Annie sat up to leave the bed. Instantly, a hand locked around her wrist. Eyes still closed, Auggie said in a voice not at all clouded with sleep, "Stay with me."

She leaned over to brush a curl off his forehead. "I was just going to the bathroom, Aug. You can't get rid of me that easily." She kissed him softly and patted his hand. After a moment he let her go.

When she returned from the bathroom he was waiting. He pulled her close, one heavy arm falling across her waist, the other cradling her head. He slept the entire night holding onto her hand. She wouldn't have had it any other way.