Love Never Dies

She tore the cellophane off the heavy brown leather journal she had been saving for months. It smelt delicious and she closed her eyes for a second, savouring the smell of the aging material before opening the cover and running a hand over the soft ivory coloured pages just begging to be scrawled all over with her neat handwriting. As she had ever since she was fifteen years old, she carefully wrote the start date on the inside cover, knowing that when she had filled all of the journal's pages, she would write the end date beside it, and then add the thick notebook to the catalogue of journals that lined her shelf.

She sat back against the bedhead and wondered how to put all of her thoughts onto the paper of this new journal. They flew around in her head like a thick, chunky soup, each thought fighting for position at the front of her mind. Right now there were simply too many, so instead she sighed, then smiled, and quickly wrote a dedication underneath her start date.

She sprang from the bed, knowing exactly where she needed to go. She knew where she needed to be and she bolted from the room, leaving the new journal open at its first blank page.

For my darling Nick…I'll love you forever.

Chapter 1 Lust

It was almost funny the way, in their longed for moment of truth, they had been interrupted by the shrill ringing of their phones. Duty called, as it always did, and it should've been something they were both used to by now. Resigned to always having to put work before their relationship, Nick and Jen both headed back towards Homicide to begin the paperwork on Philip Canter's untimely death.

When night fell and the team were ready to call it quits, Jennifer felt an awkward uncertainty about what the night would have in store for her with Nick. Maybe nothing would happen? Maybe that kiss, before their phones had interrupted them, had not meant as much to him as it had to her. Maybe it wasn't their first step to being back on track like she had hoped it was.

As she stewed over it all like some thirteen year old lovestruck girl, Nick got up from his desk and as coolly as ever, leaned in towards hers as he walked towards the lift. "Dinner at my place, eight o'clock?" he whispered.

Jennifer grinned, her heart almost jumping out of her chest. She nodded wordlessly in answer and watched him as he walked away from her and into the lift, a tiny spring in his step.

The drive to Nick's place, a drive she had taken so many times before, went quickly. She was already breathing fast in anticipation, unsure of what might happen, but knowing damn well that she wanted something, anything, to happen. They'd waited long enough. But she was scared, and she just wanted his reassurances – him tell her she was being a worrywart, an over thinker, a goody two shoes. She knew she was all those things, but she didn't want to be if it meant they stopped her from being with Nick. But she knew fronting up to his place that afternoon had been the first hurdle, and they were over it. Now they needed to jump the next one, together. It had to be together.

As she parked her car and walked up the driveway, she wondered why she was so god damn nervous. Maybe it was because this was a man she'd shared everything with. Everything. The man she loved more than she'd ever loved anyone else. The person she'd told all her secrets to, all her hopes and dreams. She knew she was never meant to be with anyone else, but now she needed to know if he felt the same way. If he didn't, then it would never work. Not knowing what he was thinking – that was what made her nervous. She tapped lightly on the door, clutching her bottle of wine tightly.

Moments later the door opened, and he beamed at her. That smile she had fallen in love with, years ago now. It never failed to make her weak at the knees. He was still a little battered and bruised, but handsome all the same. Cuts and bruises may have disguised him a little from what he normally looked like, but underneath he was still Nick Buchanan, the love of her life. She beamed back at him, wondering if he would kiss her in greeting.

But he didn't, instead just stepping back and letting her inside. She stepped in, hesitated in front of him, and handed him the bottle. That was all it took to dissolve away her nerves. He pulled her into an embrace and she leant into his chest, breathing in so deeply that her entire rib cage lifted up, sucking in his wonderful after shave smell. It was almost enough to put her in a trance, and she smiled against his chest. It felt good to be hugged by him again.

They pulled apart a few moments later and his arm remained loosely at her waist as they strolled into his kitchen. Jennifer kept a steady grip on his waist too, feeling comfortable again already being so close to him. It just felt so normal, so right. They didn't speak as they reluctantly parted as Jennifer took a seat at the kitchen bench and Nick moved to deposit the wine in the refrigerator. They just smiled at each other, coy and happy, relieved and at ease. The night was theirs. Finally.

Later they sat on the couch, half eaten bowls of noodles sitting cold and abandoned on the coffee table in front of them. Jennifer sat with one knee bent on the soft cushions and the other leg dangling off the edge, her foot brushing the carpet. Nick sat the same way as he faced her, his elbow propped up on the back of the couch. He could see she was dying to get something off her chest. He shot her a look that pleaded with her to come out with it.

It didn't take much. A look of sadness swept over her face and she looked away from him briefly, remembering the devastation she had felt last time she'd been sitting in this position when she had thought Dane Majors had killed the man she loved. "I sat all night on this couch, wondering what I'd do without you Nick," she whispered. She exhaled and looked back into his eyes and he took hold of her hand, stroking it softly with his thumb. His hand was warm and his fingers glided effortlessly over her own, warming her extremities in a way only Nick could.

Nick knew how she felt. He had sat slumped in that bush hut thinking about her too. Every minute of every hour he had thought of her, and how he'd been such a fool to let her go so easily the previous year when she had put an end to their relationship. He was determined to never again make the same mistake.

"That's behind us now," he said quietly, still holding her hand. "We don't need to focus on it anymore."

She nodded back at him, but she had trouble putting it out of her mind. That night on the couch, and then that day in the bush – just her, Dane and two guns, had been her penny drop moment. The moment when she finally realised how much Nick meant to her, and how much she wanted to be with him. She mimicked the way he rested his elbow on the back of the couch and held her heavy head up with a weary arm as she looked at him.

He smiled affectionately at her in the dim light that surrounded them in his living room and after a while she smiled gracefully back and allowed him to change his grip on her hand from a soft hold to a close lacing of fingers. The feeling of that movement alone took Jen's breath away and neither said anything, too lost in the moment. With his other hand he reached over and stroked her cheek with the back of his index finger, so lightly she could barely feel it, and without realising she leant in to his touch, her eyes obediently falling to half mast, her lashes fluttering as they sheltered her tired and worried eyes for a few moments.

When he lifted her chin ever so slightly to meet his lips, she was more than ready to kiss him back, eagerly leaning in towards him, their fingers still intertwined together, his free hand still delicately holding her cheek. Nothing was going to interrupt them this time. Nothing. They spilled off the couch, their dirty plates left behind on the coffee table for morning.

He kept a firm grip on her hand and led her down the hallway, kissing her the whole way. Just meters before the bedroom door, their bodies so close now that they were breathing in time with each other, he hoisted her up onto his hips seductively. She was as light as a feather, her fine bones like putty moulded around him. She crossed her ankles at his backside, locking their bodies together. Her shoes fell off with two quiet little thumps behind him as she held her arms tightly around his neck, one hand edging into the soft brown hair at the nape of his neck and the other gripped against the rapidly warming skin just under his ear. She closed her eyes in delight at the feel of his arms so tightly and securely around her, his hands all over her, his breath so close, his fierce lust lying like a heavy blanket over her entire body. They stepped into the bedroom where he placed his hands delicately across her back, laying her down gently on the bed like he would a newborn baby. She gazed up at him in the darkness, so infatuated and so in love as he knelt over her. She smiled and pulled him in closer to her so she could kiss him again as she spoke breathlessly, her voice raspy from their passionate activity. "Nick…" she began.

He swept his hand over her temple, easing her fringe away from her eyes and smiled reassuringly down at her. "Jen," he replied, as if knowing exactly what she was going to ask him. "I'm not wasting another second of my life not being with you."

It was what she needed to hear. She didn't speak again as she willingly devoted herself to this man, allowing him to pull off her clothes gently, allowing him to tousle his fingers through her blonde locks, allowing him to make her shiver from the inside out. A waterfall of feelings rushed through Jennifer at break neck speed – excitement, fear, happiness, vulnerability, but mostly disbelief, that they had finally, finally got to this point and were no longer going to let work, or their own reservations, stop them from being together.

It was messy, fumbly and a little chaotic as they got to know each other again. It had been a while since they had been in such a position together but it didn't take Jen long to remember the way a thin layer of sweat always shone off Nick's body from the exertion not long after their clothes had been pulled from their bodies and thrown to the floor, or for Nick to remember just what made her body tremor, what her soft nails felt like across his back, the feel of her hair in his face and the way he felt like he breathed for her when she made deep exhalations at the height of their aching passion.

They sat up in the sheets for a moment, her astride him with her ankles crossed, locked, at his backside again. Her flat stomach, damp with sweat, slipped up his torso as he then fell backwards, now looking up at her in nothing but absolute desire. I'm going to be with you for the rest of my life he thought to himself as she grinded herself against him feverishly, one hand on his shoulder and another on his chest, her fingers bent, her nails starting to dig in, a look of pure ecstasy on her face. He laid back and enjoyed it, knowing he would never be with another woman, because Jennifer Mapplethorpe was all he needed.

She shifted and eased herself to be closer to him and their lips met again, roughly crashing together in a hot and heavy breathless exchange as he snaked his hands around her back, feeling the curve of her lower spine as she arched her whole body involuntarily against his, seeking out further ways to be closer to him. Her knees straddled his slim hips as he eased himself up off the bed again and her hands fluttered down his just visible six pack setting his skin on fire with every inch that she touched. Her hair fell forward from behind her ears, damp and dishevelled, a look Nick found unbelievably sexy. No woman had ever had such control over him, and he loved it. He took her face in his hands with such surety and kissed her so deeply that she almost fell limp against him for a moment, completely at his mercy in the dark. He cradled her tiny body as she leant back towards the pillows but never quite made it, instead firmly held close to him, her legs flicking out from by his hips to hover mindlessly in the air up under his shoulder blades. His hot breath steamed all over her already soaked body as he kissed her chest and shoulders, making her tip her head back in surrender, her hands slipping from around his neck, her eyes closed, her heart beating off the charts and her breathing deep and throaty. This was an entirely new level of lust and they didn't stop all night long, only falling asleep from happy exhaustion a mere half an hour before the sun drifted in through the bedroom window.

As they dozed together as the sun rose outside, the perspiration on their bodies cooled, encouraging them to burrow closer to each other to keep warm. Nick laid with both his arms around her as she huddled into his chest, her chin tucked down into her own chest and her wrists bent and her fists lightly clenched close in to herself. Her hair splayed over his chest just under his chin, lightly rustling it every time he breathed out. With his arms around her she remained warm and almost squishy to the touch she was so relaxed. He smiled as he watched her sleep. Even in slumber she looked like a bombshell. The bombshell I fell in love with on day one he thought to himself grinning at the memory. And everyday I've known you since you've only looked better.