~Don't own One Piece or Rhythm of Love by Plain White T's. For Cori again.~

Rhythm of Love

"A trip to the beach?" Cori blinked. "Sanji, We're six hours away from the beach and I have work tomorrow - "

"Nope." Her boyfriend, a long-legged blondie with a habit of smoking everywhere, grinned at her. "I called in sick for you."

Cori's face turned bright red in flustered irritation. "Wha? Sanji you can't just-!"

"Shhh..." He patted her head, finger to his lips. "Why not? You've been working...I've been working...Bri's been working to drive us crazy...It all works out!"

Cori raised an eyebrow. "Why is your head always stuck in the clouds?"

"Because I love the view from up here." He winked at her, but his tone turned serious. "We just need a break. Together. Alone." He took her hand. "Please say yes."

Cori sighed her acceptance and nodded. "Fine...when do we leave?"

"Five thirty tomorrow morning." He grinned. "Think you'll be able to wake up?"

"I'm sleeping on the way." She wrinkled her nose. "I guess that means we'll be taking your car. Gross. It smells like cigarettes." But for all her complaining, she really didn't mind. It smelled like him.

He smirked, kissing her briefly. "I'll see you after work." He promised, flying out the door.

Cori gave him a half-hearted smile, waving as he left. Brief. That would be the word to describe their kisses. Just these small things that tied them together as boyfriend and girlfriend. That was all. He was right, she realized as she stood to grab more food from the kitchen. They needed a break with the two of them to remember what exactly had drawn them together in the first place. She was tired of him never taking anything seriously except for his cooking. And what did he have to show for it? Some half-rate job as a cook in a nursing home. He complained about it all the time. He wanted his own restaurant. And she wished she could help him with it, but he had to come half way. She was getting tired of supporting all of this on her own. Cori sighed and stopped what she was doing, head hung. She'd put her dreams on hold for him, delaying college so they could pay for a place to live together, ignoring her parent's screeching protests of her 'blasphemous' behavior; the works.

When was he going to realize all the things she'd given up for him?

Cori felt the wind and the sound of air being sucked into the car woke her from her sleep. She rubbed her eyes, trying to assemble her thoughts. She didn't even remember waking up and getting in Sanji's car. Panic set in and she looked down at herself. Please, God, let her be dressed and look cute. Everything seemed to be in order and she stretched, relieved.

"Morning, sleepy head." Sanji said, blowing smoke out the window. His hands rested easily on the wheel and she found herself fascinated by his long fingers. "We're about thirty minutes away."

"Mmm..." Cori sighed. "Okay. How're you?"

He gave her an amused smile. "I'm fine. Just enjoying the nice weather."

She had to agree with him on that. It was beautiful and sunny and it brightened up her initially doubtful attitude towards this trip. It felt like this trip would be the breaking point in their marriage; either they'd stay together forever or separate and go on with their lives.

The thirty minutes didn't last long. They pulled up to a large white building with large windows. It looked fancy and sophisticated.

"Sorry, this was the biggest hotel I could afford." He smiled apologetically at her, opening the door and helping her out.

Cori smiled, grabbing her bag. "It's amazing." He had paid for all of this? On his meager salary? He must've been putting aside money for the longest time.

He grabbed her hand and walked with her, yet the contact surprised her. They hadn't held hands in forever. She smiled even more. This was getting better and better.

Despite the initial grandeur of the hotel, the room they had was small and had the tiniest balcony. Cori stood on it anyway, amazed as she looked out at the blue, blue sea. It was spacious and grand, extending over the horizon and onward towards what seemed like eternity.

Sanji put his hands on either side of her, her back pressed against his chest. He ran his nose over her neck, inhaling her sugary sweet scent. "I know I promised we'd go sit on the beach but right now...you're intoxicating." His voice was sultry, almost.

Cori turned in his arms, leaning against the railing as she looked up at him, watching the wind push around his bangs. He seemed concerned, like he didn't want her to feel unhappy at all on this trip.

He gave her a serious look. "If you really want, we can go to the beach instead."

She smiled and kissed him - actually kissed him. Electricity ran down her system, bringing her arms up so her hands could clutch the front of his shirt and pull him closer. Her lips, over-sensitized by his taste and expert skills, felt every kiss after that with an intensity.

He pulled her towards the bed and its clean linen sheets. He ran his hands over her shoulders, slipping off the straps of her small dress as she fought with the cardigan she had donned. Her hands went for the buttons on his shirt as he reached behind her for the dress zipper. Off came the dress and the shirt soon followed afterwards. He picked her up, spun her around and dropped her on the bed.

She bounced, laughing as she lay, sprawled out in the bed that she didn't have to make the next morning. They'd made love since their first time, sure. But never like this. It had never been this sweet or passionate since that very first time.

Sanji paused, something he hadn't done in forever, and just stared at her. He took his long fingers and caressed her cheek. "I love you so much." He murmured.

She took his fingers and pressed her lips to them, feeling tears build up. This was what she needed. She wanted to hear him say he loved her. It'd been so long.

"I know I haven't been the best..." He said apologetically. "And that's wrong of me. I'm so sorry but..." His face became determined as he kneeled over top of her. "I'm going to do better. I found a better job and yesterday was my last day. We're going to live so much better, Cori and you - " He cradled her head in his hands. " - You can go to college now."

That did it. She started to bawl. She sat up and wrapped her arms around his middle, sobbing into his chest.

He held her tightly, inhaling her scent again. He was trying so hard to make this right. He loved her so much. He couldn't see her walk out on him. Not ever.

They made love after that. The cool breeze coming off the ocean chilled the sweat on their skin as the moved together, each pushing for an orgasm.

Cori, surprisingly, came first. She cried out, clutching his shoulders as she rode out until the end.

Sanji panted, following soon after her. He panted, laying next to her on the bed, watching the shadows dance on the cieling lazily.

She curled up next to him and placed a hand on his chest. "I love you."

He didn't answer, but held onto her and ran his hands over her curves.