Title: "By Hook, By Crook, or By Kiss"
Author: Pirate Turner
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Dana's determined to keep her man by hook, by crook, or by kiss.
Warnings: Het, Established Relationship
Date Written: 26 February, 2012
Word Count (excluding heading): 2,021
Challenge: For the Aphrodite's Blessings Yuku forum
Disclaimer: Rich Halke, Dana Foster, all other recognizable characters mentioned within, and Step By Step are ᄅ & TM their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission. Everything else belongs to the author. The song is ᄅ & TM Jimmy Buffet, not the author, and is used without permission. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.

"I shouldn't be here," Rich complained over the loud music throbbing inside his head. Nonetheless, he steadied his pole and hit another ball.

JT watched as his friend popped another ball into a corner pocket of the pool table. "Why not?" he called back over the music. "Barky got you on that tight a leash?"

"We don't do things like this," Rich countered. "It's not just because she wouldn't want me to be here. I miss her," he admitted as he waited for JT to take his turn.

JT laughed. "Dude, you are so whipped!" He was about to take his shot when another waitress in a uniform that left for too little to the imagination for Rich to even look upon her and yet still covered too much to his friend's way of thinking came up. She shimmied against the table as she asked them if they wanted drinks. Rich looked away, his mind instantly going back to his beloved Dana, who was the only girl for whom he still had eyes, but JT glorified in the wanton girl's attention as he gestured for another shot and slipped a dollar bill into her black bra.

"Can't we get on with the game?" Rich groused.

JT laughed. He wrapped an arm around the waitress and pulled her closer to him. "Man, you need to lighten up! Learn to live a little! Here," he said, pulling more money out of his wallet and giving it to the girl. "Enjoy a drink on me." He lightly slapped her behind as she started over to Rich.

"No thanks," Rich said. "I don't need beer or easy women to have a good time." He glanced at the girl's face, careful not to look any lower than her neck. "No offense," he said as he saw her pouting. "I'm sure you're great and all, but I'm a one woman man."

She leaned down, and JT's mouth fell open at the sight that she was offering Rich. She reached over and fondled the shorter man's black hair. "I'm sure I could change your mind, stud, if you give me half a chance. How about a free drink?" She shook her breasts, and they almost popped free of her tiny bra. "On me."

"No, thanks," Rich said, backing out from underneath her hand. He laid his pool stick down. "I've had quite enough, JT," he told his friend, pointedly ignoring the waitress. "Call Cody or Mark or some other dude, but I'm going home."

"To Barky?" JT asked in disbelief. "You're going to pass this," he waved his hand at the woman who was now wriggling against the pool table in time to the music, "up for Barky? Trust me, man, Barky's never going to look or act like that!"

Rich grinned widely. "That's one of the many reasons why I love her, not that I expect you to understand, JT. She's beautiful. She's intelligent and a lady. She would never act like this girl who's probably had so many guys that she's carrying diseases!"

The waitress fumed and sprang at Rich, her hand raised to slap him. Her green eyes widened in surprise as her hand was caught just before she could hit the little shrimp. She glared toward the girl who'd caught her hand only to find that she had to raise her eyes to actually see her angry face. "Not on my man, you don't," Dana spoke fiercely, her blue eyes flashing.

"Dana!" Rich exclaimed in surprise.

"Barky!" JT laughed and swung his emptied shot glass through the stale air that smelled of old peanut shells, grease, motor oil, and other rotten smells that neither Rich or Dana would have dared to name. "You decided to join the party, after all!" He hiccupped.

Dana cast a scowl over at JT but otherwise chose to ignore her inebriated stepbrother as she looked back at the waitress. "Some men," she said, "true, real men don't like or want your kind. My Rich is one of those. Please leave us alone." Her words were nice enough, but the look on her face, the glare in her blue eyes, the tight grip in which she still held the other woman's hand, and the dark tone in which she spoke all warned the waitress that Dana would drop the nice act in an instant if the girl gave them any further trouble.

The waitress nodded meekly as Dana released her hand. She held it, nursing it gently, as she hurried off. "Some guys just aren't worth the trouble. Your Rich is one of those."

"Hey, wait for me!" JT called after the fleeing waitress. He dropped his pool stick on the table and shrugged at Rich. "You won't be playing any more, any way." Then he headed swiftly after the easiest target he'd found in quite some time, leaving Rich and Dana alone to gaze into each other's eyes in a bar room full of people with which neither had even the slightest wish to be associated.

"Rich," Dana started at the same time as he spoke her name. She sighed and looked deeply into his chocolate brown eyes. She had known he had been here. Sam had called her, furious that JT had left the shop early to go to the bar with the guys, and she had heard Rich and JT arguing over rather or not he should go to the bar the night before. Dana had fumed herself, first exclaiming, in hurt, how Rich could choose to not come home to her and instead go out to the bar and then declaring that she would bring him home where he belonged by any means necessary, by hook or by crook, as the old saying went.

She had had many visions of what she would find when she arrived and how she would get him back to her side from whence he never should have left. She had envisioned walking into a dusty bar that was so dirty that she could barely see, seeing him about to make out with a loose woman, and getting into a catfight with the girl. In some of those daydreams, she had lost and Rich had gone on with the woman, laughing about what a lousy fighter she was, and in others, she had won and he had tended gently to her wounds while sobbing over his error in judgement. In one daydream, she had arrived just in time to see a biker harlot moving on him, had crooked her finger at him, and been instantly rewarded with his leaving the other woman and coming straight back to her as he should.

In still other imaginings, Dana had hooked Rich back to her in other ways. She had used a dog collar at one point, clipping it on to his shirt collar and dragging him out of the bar. She had come in, grabbed his ear, and hauled him out of here by it. She had even once used a bullwhip to snag him around his waist and haul him out of the bar and back to her and their clean and respectable life style.

She had envisioned nearly every way of bringing him out of this blasted place except for the way it was actually happening. Rich didn't want to be here, just as she knew he shouldn't. He had allowed JT to convince him to come here and, from the look on his face, hated every moment of it and fretted nonstop over how she would react when she found him. There was one vision she had liked, in particular, of all the ways she had imagined getting him out of the bar, and she decided to act on that one now.

She closed the distance that remained between them and took his handsome face in her hands. She ran her fingers up into his ebony locks, massaging his flesh and hair with her fingers and palms. She lowered her body down slowly against his, and all the while, she kept gazing into his startled eyes. She stopped lowering herself when her mouth was but an inch away from his. She gazed even more deeply into his eyes as her hot breath whispered against his upturned lips, "Let me show you how a real woman does it."

Then she pressed her lips to his in a searing kiss that shot red-hot heat instantly all the way throughout their bodies and out their toes and the tops of their heads. Rich moaned against her mouth, and she took advantage of that moment by slipping her tongue in pass his lips and into his mouth. His eyes widened in surprise. She had never kissed him like this, and it was way pass time they enjoyed this most romantic of kisses!

She leaned her body closer into his, backing him up against the pool table. Her hands swept through his soft, dark hair. Every inch of him burned where she touched him until the heat of their passion screamed all throughout both their beings, burning their hearts, souls, and bodies alike. His tongue tentatively touched hers. She wrapped her tongue around his as she had in so many dreams before. Their tongues darted against each other, in and out of one another's mouths, as they drank deeply of one another's sweet nectar and the love they shared.

When Dana at last lifted her head, Rich was breathless. He gasped for air even as his smiling face practically glowed with his happiness. She beamed back down at him. JT was long gone, but Rich didn't even recall his friend's absence. "That," he murmured softly, "is why you don't take hamburger when you have steak at home."

Dana grinned down at him, took his hands in hers, and squeezed him softly. "So," she asked, "shall we go home, beloved?"

"Yes!" he cried. "Oh, yes, sweetheart!"

Dana wrapped Rich in her loving arms as they headed out of the bar together. He rested his head on her shoulder but couldn't help asking the question that was circling through his brain as they reached her car. "Will you ever kiss me like that again?"

Her grin grew to a more teasing smile. "What do you think?" she asked.

He wriggled inside. "I'm hoping so," he admitted.

"I'll tell you what," Dana said. "I'll make you a deal. You never come back to a place like this again, and I'll make sure," she continued, lowering back to where her face was on level with his and cupping his handsome face once again, "that you have no need to go looking for passion anywhere else."

He blushed shamefully. "I didn't really have a need," he admitted, "to go. I'm happy with you, Dana. I love you! But JT wouldn't shut up, and he dared me . . . "

"And you, my sweet, innocent, and naive Rich," Dana observed, "took the dare." She continued to smile at him as he looked shamefully down. She cupped a hand underneath his chin and lifted his face. "It's okay," she assured him. "I'm not angry." How could she have possibly been angry when he had turned down that wanton woman? Her man was true to her, no matter where he was, and loved only her as she loved and adored him alone, and that was all that really mattered!

"I love you!" she breathed against his lips as they quirked back up into a smile, and then she kissed him again as she had before. Her tongue slipped into his mouth and danced with his as her hands roamed up and down his body, possessively, boldly, and sensually stroking the man who would always be hers alone for all the world to see. Once more, he glowed with happiness as he kissed her back, and the lovers poured into their kiss all the love and passion they'd always have for each other alone. They didn't need bars or other people. They needed, wanted, and loved only each other, as it should be, had always been since they'd first fallen in love together, and would forever remain!

The End