AN: This is based on the sneak peak of Morgan in Garcia's apartment in the towel, and chats about it with Harleyzgirl and Sangreal7. An interesting fact: we wrote at the same time..and came up with similar scenarios (Morgan and the car, etc.)...Proving yet again, great minds think alike...Just an idea...and providing some requested angst...

Chapter 1

Derek swore under his breath as his hand slipped, busting up his knuckles yet again on Esther's axle. He'd been under Penelope's car for the greater part of four hours for a job that originally was going to take about half that time. He was covered in grease, his hands were sore, and he couldn't have been happier.

Like a lot of other men his age, he liked to tinker with cars. It was something he'd done with his dad before he'd passed away. On a late Saturday evening, they'd head out to the garage—"Just us two men," he'd say—and start putzing around with the Morgan family station wagon. It was something that had never left him and was quite useful.

Yesterday at work, when Derek had stopped in her lair for his morning tease, Penelope had mentioned that her car was making funny noises...

"What kind of noises, Baby Girl?"

"You know," she replied. "The squealy, whistly, whiny kind of noises that cars make sometimes."

He shook his head. "Baby, they're not supposed to make those noises."

She nodded rapidly, but looked unconcerned as she went back to her typing. "Oh, I know. I'll get it looked at next week."

"Uh uh," he argued. "No way. That could be dangerous. I'm not letting you go the whole weekend without me checking it out."

She shot him a sheepish look. "Can I at least drive Esther home?"

"Straight home, Penelope," he ordered. "I'm serious."

Rolling her eyes, she went back to typing. "Really, Hot Stuff. Sometimes, you're too much of a worry wart. How bad can it be?"

It turned out to be awful, as was what happened a lot of times to older cars. Both sets of brake pads had been worn down to nickel width, and her timing belt was thin and ready to snap. The pads were a breeze—he could do those in his sleep—but the timing belt required some dissembling and hands far smaller than his to maneuver without injury.

A shadow was cast over him, along with a delightful floral scent that was rather out of place among the heavy, overpowering smell of gasoline and grease. He looked to his left and saw a trim pair of ankles.

"How you doing under there, handsome?" she called out. He could hear the distinct sound of ice chinking in a glass.

Derek rolled out on his creeper that he'd brought with him to Penelope's apartment. Sure enough, she was holding a glass of something wet and refreshing in her hands, complete with a little umbrella attached on top.

"Thanks," he said as she handed the drink to him. He chugged down half of the homemade cherry cola, burped from the bubbles, and then wiped his cheek that tickled slightly from running grease. "Almost done, and then I will be out of your hair, sugar."

"Like I mind you being in my hair," she chided. "You're absolutely filthy, you know."

Derek shrugged. "I'll clean up when I get home."

"You can't go back in your car like that," she said, positively aghast. "Why don't you use my shower and get cleaned up?"

With the caked on grime making him feel the urge to scratch, he answered, "I think I'll take you up on that, sweetheart."

She smiled brilliantly. "I'll take your go bag up from your car so you have a fresh change of clothes."

"Thanks, momma," he said, laying down and scooting back under her car to finish the job.

"Thank you," he heard her tease. "It's not every day a girl gets a naked chocolate god in her shower."

He was grinning as he tightened a bolt. "Crazy girl…"

Penelope had only a few minutes to get her apartment tidied up a bit for Derek's arrival. She felt a thrill of anticipation, excitement pouring through her veins. It was silly, really. Derek had been in her apartment a million times before, and he never seemed to care if it was messy or not, but still…she wanted it to look nice.

A moment later, he stepped inside and started taking off his shoes. "All done."

"Oh, good," she said, watching as he peeled his t-shirt off and used it to wipe the grime off his face.

Lord, the man was beautiful! Chiseled like a statue, each muscle tight and defined. She could feel her fingertips tingle with the urge to touch him.

"The..." She had to pause to swallow saliva. "The bathroom is ready for you." She swallowed again, her voice sounding crazy husky to herself. "I...I put a towel out for you."

Derek shot her a dazzling, knowing grin. She knew he was well aware of the effect he had on women.

"Thanks, baby," he said, touching her cheek with his finger as he passed by.

"Ewww! Don't touch, grease monkey!" she answered back, the tingles on her cheek spreading as she heard his retreating chuckle.

Penelope sat down on her couch and listened as water the water turned on in the bathroom seconds later. That meant that he was naked now, probably starting to soap away the grease and dirt that had accumulated.

Closing her eyes, she thought about what he was doing. He'd probably started soaping his hands and his face, using her bar of hand-milled, specialty soap she'd bought a month ago. He'd probably chuckled at the bubble gum scent, thinking that only she would buy something like that.

He'd move to his neck next, along with his powerful shoulders and arms, brushing over each curve and valley, cleaning the face of the lion tattooed on his deltoid. He wouldn't notice how imminently touchable he was, how his muscles and skin begged to be touched.

The water and the suds would splash over his powerful pectorals as he soaped his chest, sluicing down over his perfectly defined abdomen. Maybe even a few soap bubbles would get trapped in his belly button, before rolling down to the trail of hair that bisected his flat lower stomach.

Penelope could feel her breath coming faster, her face heating as she imagined the next part. Thick and long, even in its resting state, he'd begin to clean his cock. Starting from the nest of black curls at the base, he'd wrap his fingers around his cock in a serviceable way, stroking back and forth, his touch not as delicate as hers would be.

Swallowing hard, she suddenly imagined herself in the shower with him, naked, her fingers intertwining with his as they stoked back and forth. She could feel him lengthening, pulsing with life under her fingers, the pant of his breath stirring her hair as they both watched their movements.

"Oh, yeah, like that," he'd groan, removing his hand to let her do the work. His voice would become hoarse and husky, echoing in her bath chamber, as he grunted in satisfaction while she worked her fingers over the tip, her thumb brushing against the sensitive skin underneath the crown.

But she wouldn't be content just doing that. Oh, no. In a dream come true, she'd drop to her knees, looking up at him as the cooling water splashed against his shoulders. She'd stick her tongue out, like a spoiled girl with a lollypop, and give a few teasing licks, tasting his salty sweet male musk, before settling her mouth more firmly on—

"Penelope?" a familiar voice called.

Penelope's eyes flew open in alarm and panic, and she quickly jumped to her feet. "Kevin! H-How did you get in?"

Her boyfriend shot her a quirky half-smirk. "Ah...the door was open?"

Trying to slow down her still rapidly beating heart, she asked, "Why are you here?"

"I came over to apologize because we were fighting, and the door was open, and—Penelope, what were you doing?" he asked, giving her a suspicious eye.

"Nothing," she said quickly, sounding guilty to her own ears. She knew she was blushing red—she could feel the trademark heat in her cheeks—and had probably looked as turned on as she felt.

His lips twisted again in an almost amused smile. "You sure don't look like it was nothing..."

"I swear, it wasn't anything—"

"Baby Girl, where'd you put my go bag?"

Both Kevin and Penelope turned to see Morgan standing in her hallway, wearing nothing but a towel. A cold feeling of dread, one that told her that her entire life was about to change, washed over her and made her sweat. That was ironic, since she was frozen, incapable of any movement. In fact, all three of them seemed stuck, a moment in time none of them would ever forget.

Surprisingly, out of the three of them, Kevin reacted first. She watched as he stiffened, his eyes widened in shock and dismay, and his lips pursed like he'd sucked a lemon.

Two seconds later, he turned and was gone.

"Penelope," Derek said softly, an unreadable expression on his face. He didn't say anything else; it was like he was waiting for her response.

Staring at him, she thought of a million things, each of them causing her gut to churn and her head to ache worse than it already did. She realized at that moment, she had a choice to make.

Did she chase after her long-term boyfriend or did she stay put and choose the dream of Derek sweeping her into his arms and telling her that in the shower, he'd dreamed of her, too? Did she take someone with flaws and imperfections, just like she had, or did she choose someone carved by a master sculptor and expect him to want her, too? Did she take a sure thing and throw it away for what might never be?


Fact or fiction.

Reality or fantasy.

Kevin or Derek.

With one last, longing glance at her dream man, she turned and ran out her door toward something real, shouting, "Kevin, wait!"

It didn't matter; he was already long gone.

Stepping back inside, she saw that Morgan was nowhere to be seen, either.

Tears stung Penelope's eyes as she leaned against her door, trying to make sense of the dual sense of loss...of what was and what would never be.

She knew the second hurt infinitely more.