And Maybe Lovers

Chapter: 1

Rating: PG

(A.N: This is set in season 4 directly following the episode Just Friends)

Tonight Mary was home alone. And it felt rather odd. Lou had been to her apartment every night for the past week. They usually had dinner together, some drinks, watched a little television. Rhoda had been joking with her at how comfortable Lou was at her place. Teasingly referring to them as mommy and daddy.

Even though she didn't want to admit it, she missed him. She had gotten used to having him around. In fact she even liked having them there.

As much as she didn't want to be the go between for the Grant's she still found herself in the middle. She had managed to sit up dinner between the two of them in the hopes of getting them back together. And now she found herself wondering how things were going between them.

Rhoda noticed Mary picking at the vegetables on her plate. "What's wrong?" she asked. "Undercooked?"

"No."

"Overcooked?"

Mary shook her head. "No." she said. "They're fine."

A smile played across Rhoda's lips. "You miss him don't you?"

"A little." she admitted, looking up. "I don't know why, but I do."

Rhoda reached over and took a piece of broccoli off of Mary's plate. "You want to know what I think?"

"Not really, no."

"Well, I'm going to tell you anyway." she proceeded. "I think you like him."

Mary arched her eyebrow. "Like him?"

"Mmm hmm." she breathed out.

She waited for her friend to elaborate further and perhaps she even wanted her to but instead she was met with silence. And Rhoda stealing another piece of broccoli off her plate. Finally the pressure of it all was getting to her. She wanted Rhoda's opinion. "That's all?"

Rhoda shrugged. "What more do you want to hear?" she asked. "I think you like him. And I think he likes you too."

"What makes you say that?"

"Because you're sitting here picking over your dinner."

"No." she objected. "What makes you think he likes me? In that way."

"Well, it's the little things." she said. "Mostly that he keeps coming over here and feels completely at home. But mostly it's the way he looks at you. The way he watches you as your making dinner. The way he always sits right next to you on the sofa."

"Oh, Rhoda!" she laughed. "That's ridiculous."

"Is it?"

"Of course!" she said. "He wants his wife back. He's over there right now trying to work things out with her."

She took a sip of her red wine. "I think that their marriage is pretty much over. Everyone sees it, even Lou. He may not admit it but he knows. Besides are you really going to tell me that you're not sitting here thinking about him?"

"I was just wondering how it was going that's all." there was a bit of defensiveness in her voice. "That doesn't mean that I like him."

"Oh, come on, Mare." she teased. "Just admit it. You have feelings for the guy."

"He's my friend." she said. "And he's my boss."

"And you have feelings for him."

Mary shook her head. "Feelings of concern." she said. "I don't want him to get hurt, that's all. He's starting to cheer up a little, you know?"

"He's starting to cheer up because of you." she pointed out. "I'm telling you, there's something there between the two. And know there is, why don't you just admit it?"

She took a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh. "Maybe."

"Well, that's a start." she said. "You know what they say admitting it is the first step."

Mary laughed. "What are we talking about here?" she dismissed the entire thing. "Mr. Grant is a friend and nothing more."

"Okay."

"Okay?" she asked. "You're going to let it drop just like that?"

"Yeah." Rhoda replied. "You'll figure it out on your own. But when you do I get to say I told you so."

xxxxx

There was a knock at her door that took her away from the documentary she was watching on channel six. She wasn't all that surprised to find Lou on the other side. She pushed open the door to let him in. "How was dinner?"

Lou searched his mind for a word. "Nice."

"Good." she made her way back into the livingroom. "How's Mrs. Grant?"

"Fine." he replied, following behind her.

Mary switched off the television set. "Are you going to tell me what happened?"

Lou sat down in the chair. "We talked." he was being vague.

And Mary hated when he was vague like that. "What about?" she sat down on the coffee table in front of him.

"We've decided to get a divorce."

She was a little surprised. Not about the divorce but about his calm attitude. "And you're okay with that?"

"Yeah." he admitted. "Not that it isn't sad. We were married for a long time. But it's the right things. For both of us."

Mary nodded. "So, you okay?" she asked, again. "Really?"

"I'm gonna be fine." he said. "Thanks to you."

"Me?" she questioned, "Why me?"

"Because you're a really good friend, Mary." he told her. "I don't know what I would have done without you."

"You know I kind of...missed you tonight."

A smile crossed his lips. "You did?"

"Well I've kind of gotten used to you being here." she looked away from him.

His hand under her chin lifted her eyes back to his. "You wanna know what else I realized tonight?"

"No." she said, softly. "What?"

"That I like being here with you too." he said. "Seems like we might have a little problem on our hands."

"Yeah? Why's that?"

"Because I have this overwhelming desire to kiss you."

She was so very relaxed with him. "I really don't see why that's a problem."

Lou inched closer to her. "You sure?"

Mary instinctively licked her lips. "Pretty sure."

He wanted to alleviate any awkwardness that there might be between them. He wanted to get this right. In his desire for perfection he over choreographed his movements and the kiss ended up being chaste and a little stiff.

"That was awful." he said, immediately after.

"I think we can do better." she leaned forward, cupping his face in her hands. Her thumb swept over his bottom lip. "Shall we try again?" she caught his bottom lip between hers and then his top. She repeated the action a few times before her tongue slipped past his lips to lightly touch against his.

Lou took the lead then, deepening their kiss even further. They explored with great patience, taking their time to throughly enjoy every movement, every sensation. And they were totally enthraled in this slow dance type of kissing.

"Much better." Mary said when their lips parted.

"Uh huh." he managed.

She smiled. "Is that all you can say?"

"I think you're incredible."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

"Kiss me again."

His hands on her face drew her to him. His lips teased over hers before indulging her in an all consuming kiss. One that could have went on forever had it been uninterrupted.

"Opps, sorry." Rhoda's voice filled the apartment. "I guess I should have knocked."

"Yeah." Mary breathed out.

Lou got up from the chair. "It's okay, Rhoda." he assured her. "I was telling Mary goodnight. I have an early day tomorrow." he turned to Mary. "We'll talk tomorrow."

"Okay." she smiled.

"Night, Rhoda." Lou said, closing the door behind him.

Rhoda looked over at her friend and smiled. "Wow." she breathed out. "I would have knocked, but I thought you were alone."

"It's okay." she assured her. "It's not a big deal, really its not."

"But the two of you were kissing." she said. "How did that happen?"

Mary shrugged. "It just sort of happened."

Rhoda arched a curious eyebrow. "So how was it?"

"Honestly?"

"Of course."

Mary smiled. "Amazing."

"That good, huh?" she asked. "Sorry I interrupted."

"Yeah, me too."

tbc...