A/N: I was asked to give a speedy update… So here we are. It´s gotten to the sorry state that I´ve written a AU of a fic that was AU to begin with. This is also the final part – for this story.

Chapter 5

His face was so close she couldn't see all of it anymore. Instead she took in only details. The curve of his lips, the hint of the maddening attractive dimple, just above the corner of his mouth, visible even when he wasn't smiling, the light stubble on his chin. Her gaze darted upwards, across his nose and finally up to his eyes. The intense look in his steel blue eyes took whatever was left of breath away. He was staring at her just as intently while everything else around them, including themselves seemed to have come to a complete stand-still.

Suddenly she became aware of the feel of his hand on her waist, almost burning through the thin material of her silk nightie. It was the most intimate she´d been touched since Eddie had left and his obligatory, half-hearted brushes didn't have even half the effect on her as Tim was having now. He wasn't even touching her bare skin yet and already she felt a knot of anticipation tightening in her stomach.

He was barely touching her and yet already experiencing a sensory overload. She completely filled his senses. Her scent, something sweet like vanilla filled his nostrils, the sound of her slightly irregular breathing, betraying just how much affected she was too by their close proximity and the feel of her warm, soft body underneath his fingertips, separated only by a wisp of silk fabric. But what captivated him most was the sight of her brown, slightly widened eyes. Every emotion was clearly visible in them and in that moment he could read her like a book, seeing every bit of nervousness, anticipation and desire she was feeling. And the hint of something much more and deeper.

The same sensation she'd experienced earlier when she'd been standing between his arms in her bedroom washed over her again. A feeling of being completely safe, making her want to get closer to him. Her eyes drifted back to his lips, suddenly wondering what they would taste like, how they would feel pressed against her own.

"I-…" When had her voice become so breathless and husky even? "Thank you for coming over, Tim. Although I am sorry for all the trouble…"

The first part of the sentence barely filtered through his mind, distracted as he was by the feel of her so close and the way her lips looked so inviting to kiss. Her apology however brought him slightly back to his senses.

"Don't apologize," he told her softly, his hand on her waist tightening a fraction. "I'm glad I was able to help and even more glad you trusted me enough to call me…"

"Of course!" She gave him a brilliant and genuine smile. "Of course I trust you, Tim."

If she hadn't smiled at him like that he would have been able to pull back, he reflected later. But that smile was his undoing and every last bit of restraint and reserve melted away right there. Everything he wanted, everything he was looking for in a woman was standing right in front of him, looking utterly beautiful and watching him with a tender expression in her warm eyes.

Slowly the hand on her waist moved to her lower back, pulling her closer against him, quickly joined by his other hand.
"Ruth…" he breathed quietly against her skin, brushing his nose against hers, giving her enough chance to pull away if she wished to do so.

He was drawing her closer until their bodies were almost touching, but it wasn't until she felt his lips covering hers that she dared to believe what was happening. He was kissing her so gently it brought tears to her eyes. His fingertips were brushing along her lower back, tracing idle patterns through the silk of her nightie, causing shivers to run up and down her spine. Hesitantly she brought up her own hands, placing them on his chest, feeling his steady heartbeat and the warmth of his body.

His lips moved over hers carefully, familiarizing himself with the curve and the texture before he pulled her bottom lip between his teeth and stroked it softly with his tongue, causing her to give a small whimper. Gently he coaxed her lips apart to grant him entrance and once he started to explore her mouth she nothing but melted into him, her hands moving up to his shoulders to hold on for support, slowly giving in to the kiss and responding to him, her lips moving in rhythm with his.

The arm around her waist held her securely against him, while his other hand moved up underneath the jacket to rest between her shoulder-blades, his thumb stroking her skin through the soft material of her nighty. By then Ruth didn't even know anymore if he was pulling her against him or if she was pressing herself against him and it didn't matter at all anymore. Threading her fingers through his hair, she lost herself in the feeling of being held and kissed by him. It had been years since she'd been kissed like that. So thoroughly and ardently that every other thought disappeared from her mind. As if nothing else in the world existed anymore except the two of them. A kiss just for the sake of kissing. A kiss that made her toes curl.

When they finally broke apart she was too overwhelmed to form a coherent thought, let alone a sentence. All she could do was stare into his eyes, seeing to her amazement that they burned with desire, but with something else as well.

Her eyes were shining with happiness and seemed even larger than before and he marvelled at the way she had surrendered to him so completely. The same urge he'd felt earlier, to protect her and make sure that nothing and no-one ever hurt her again – as old fashioned as it sounded, surged again and his decision was made instantly. It would be so easy to give in to the desire and heat of the moment now. But one look at the dazed expression on her face told him it would be too much, too soon. She deserved to be treated so much better.

She relaxed a little in his arms, her hands moving back to his chest again and her forehead resting against his chin and once again her hugged her close against him.

He was in love with her. Suddenly it was all so clear and obvious. If there was even the slightest possibility to win her over, to draw her out of her shell, he wasn't going to do a thing that would even remotely hurt his chances. Bringing up his hand, he cradled her face and bend down for another slow, sweet kiss. This time when he pulled back it was with more determination.
"Would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow night?" he asked hopefully. "There's a new sushi place in Skipton that opened up a while ago and…" he trailed off as her face brightened with excitement.

"I'd love to. I adore sushi."

Her excitement was infectious and as things between them suddenly appeared to progress at a much swifter pace, he felt himself getting caught up in the whirlwind. It was something good though. If not the best thing that had happened to him.

"I'll pick you up at six then," he told her, while he brushed a strand of hair away from her forehead, still quite unable to stop touching her.

She gave a slight nod, seemingly regaining her senses somewhat and suddenly looked down. "Right… you're going to need your jacket back…"
She slid out of it and handed it back to him, offering him a tantalizing view of her bare shoulder as the strap had come down with the jacket.

Unable to resist her, he pulled her close once again for a last kiss, feeling rather delighted as he noticed how much more at ease and bolder she already appeared.
"Sleep well, Ruth," he whispered against her lips, as he rubbed his hands up and down her arms to keep her warm.
"I'll see you tomorrow."

"Until tomorrow," her voice was equally soft, but her eyes never stopped beaming at him.

He had to leave now or he never would. One more final last kiss, a last hug and a squeeze of her hand - just let go of her and get to the car! – and he was finally on his way.

Ruth stood in the door opening watching him until the car turned around the corner before she stepped back inside, never even noticing the cold anymore. Without really seeing anything she made her way to her bedroom, turning off the lights a she went and crawled under the covers, her mind replaying their moment in the hall over and over again. Seconds later she was asleep.

I´d love to hear what you think!