A/N: The Answer (chapter 2) ended just after lunch time. This chapter begins in the late afternoon of the same day.


The Romance

"Carter."

"Hello Detective."

"Hey" Carter smiled. "What's up?"

"Can you to run a fingerprint for me. We have a name but Finch hasn't been able to find anything on this kid."

"OK. I'll get it to you as fast as I can. I need to run down to Evidence Lockup and get something over to the DA's office."

"If you're too busy I can call Fusco."

"Fusco's over at the 54th looking at some crime photos that might connect to one of his cold cases" Carter informed Reese. "I'll run the print for you… give me an hour."

"Are you going to be working late?"

"I think so" Carter sighed. "The Deedra Cressant trial starts Monday and Rhonda wants to make sure we have everything in order."

"Call me when you are about ready to leave and I'll come and get you or send a car for you."

Whenever she would work past dark and needed to catch the subway home, Reese would much rather she be escorted home, preferably by him.

"John, I'm a big girl. I can get home on my own" Carter said.

"I know you can" Reese said. "But humor me."

In the next instance, Carter's office phone ran.

"That's Rhonda" she said looking at the caller ID. "I'll get back to you on that print" she told Reese before disconnecting with him and answering up her office phone. "Hey Rhonda…"

As promised, an hour later Carter got back with Reese on his fingerprint.

"We don't have anything on that fingerprint."

"OK thanks" he said.

"Do you have any idea what he might be up to?"

"Not yet but I have eyes on him."

"Be careful" Carter said.

"And don't forget to call me when you are ready to go home" Reese returned.

It was just past 10PM when Carter finished with her work and called Reese.

"I'll send a car for you."

"Really John, I can take the subway."

"I thought you were going to humor me."

Even though the solder and detective in her would sometimes balk at Reese's over protectiveness, the woman in her loved every bit of it.

"When will the car be here" Carter said with a smile.

"In about 20 minutes."

"Are you coming over tonight?"

"It might be late."

"That's fine. I want to see you."


Reese finally made it to Carter's place and let himself in. All the lights were out except the flickering one coming from the bedroom. When he entered the room, Reese saw the TV watching Carter. She was lying on her right side buried beneath the covers. She had been working long hours the last few days and Reese knew she was exhausted. He knew she would not mind if he woke her but he wanted her to sleep.

After stripping down to his boxers, Reese slipped under the warm covers and slid up against Carter's backside. Once Reese was comfortably attached to her, he slipped his arm around Carter's waist and anchored her in place. Carter mumbled something as she laid her hand on the forearm that was gently gripping her.

"I'm glad you're home" she whispered, more asleep than awake.

Reese smiled as he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, Carter's eyes did not open until sometime past 8 o'clock. When she started to squirm and stretch, the man cushioned up against her back woke from his slumber.

"You're finally awake" Reese, his eyes still closed, said in a groggy tone.

"You sound like you're still asleep" Carter smiled as she moved her hand down the forearm that was still clutching her and entwined her fingers with his.

"I've been up for hours" Reese said, the sleep still evident in his voice.

"Yeah right" Carter laughed.

"What time are you going into work?"

"Around noon... maybe" Carter said.

"If you want, I'll make breakfast" Reese offered, his eyes still closed.

"You don't' have to do that. I know you're tired."

They fell into their usual comfortable silence and it was not long before Reese had fallen back to sleep. Carter was wide awake but she stayed in bed with Reese for another hour before she eased out of his embrace and headed to the bathroom.

When she was done with what Reese called her after shower ritual, Carter put on her panties, slipped into her silk robe and laid out her clothes for the day. Since Reese was still sleeping, Carter decided to go up front and sift through the mail she let pile up.

It was just past 11:30 when Carter walked back into the bedroom to find Reese awake and lying on his stomach.

"So you're up?" Carter asked.

Reese did not answer but simply stared at her before letting his eyes roam down her body and back up to her face.

"Come here" he said, his voice low and gruff from sleep.

Carter walked over and stood next to the bed.

"How can I help you" she said in jest.

Reese reached out, gently grabbed the back of her knee and slid his hand up the back of her thigh.

"Don't you feel like coming back to bed" he asked in a sleep laced sexy voice as he hand wandered from the back to the inside of her thigh.

"Unlucky for us you've got bad timing" Carter said.

In the next instance and in one fluid motion, Reese turned himself onto his side, grabbed Carter by the arm and pulled her down into a sitting position on the bed.

"Why is that" he asked in a husky voice as he laid his hand on her smooth thigh and let it travel up her silk robe.

"I have to meet Szymanski" Carter said as Reese used his other hand to open her robe and used his mouth to cover the peak of soft mound.

Carter let out a sigh and cradled Reese's head against her breast as his tongue tickled her nipple and she felt the beginnings of a sweet sensation building.

"Can't he wait" Reese breathed many moments later as licked his way to the other soft mound, intent on making the other nipple as hard as its twin.

"No" Carter sighed as she continued to cradle his head. "I have to meet him at a crime scene."

Reese continued to caress her breast with his mouth and tongue. He increased the intensity of his suckling, his teasing as if he had not heard Carter. Her sensations increased and for a second Carter thought about giving in.

"John" Carter groaned as she looked down at Reese feeding on her breast. "I have to get ready to go."

Giving her breast one last suckle, her nipple one last lick, Reese moved up her chest to her neck. After suckling Carter's neck for several moments, Reese released her.

"Sorry" Carter said as she stood and Reese fell back on his back.

Reese watched as Carter went over to her dresser and pulled out a bra. After watching her put it on, he got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. By the time Reese finished showering and dressing, Carter was in the kitchen making sandwiches for them.

"I have potato salad and chips. Which one do you want with your sandwich" Carter asked.

"Chips" Reese answered.

"Lemonade or water?"

"Water."

After they finished their lunch, Carter cleared the plates and glasses from the table.

"I want to take you out to dinner, someplace nice" Reese said as he reached into his pocket.

"OK" Carter said as reached for her gun and holster.

Reese walked up to Carter and handed her 8 one hundred dollar bills.

"What's this for" Carter asked as she took the money.

"I want you to buy something nice to wear."

"Can I get a mani and pedi too" Carter the woman laughed teasingly.

Reese reached into his pocket…

"I'm kidding" Carter laughed. "This is enough."

"You sure?"

"Yes..." Carter smiled. "So what's gotten into you? Are you getting all fancy on me?"

Reese smiled back.

"I've never taken you to a really nice place before" Reese said as he reached for Carter's left hand, pulled her close and fiddled with her ring.

Carter's smiled grew brighter. With the money still in her hand, she pressed herself against Reese and threw her arm around his neck.

"What am I going to do with you" she said as she threw her other arm around Reese's neck.

"What ever you want" he grinned wickedly as he lowered his head and met her lips for a kiss.


Three weeks had passed before Carter and Reese were able make a date for a nice evening out. Reese told her he would pick her up at 7PM and as usual, he was right on time.

"Hey" Carter smiled brightly when she opened the door to him standing there with a vase that held a bouquet of flowers.

"Hey yourself" Reese returned her smile as he stepped inside.

"Nice flowers" Carter said, the smile still on her face.

"You like them" Reese asked as Carter took the vase and sniffed the bouquet.

"Yes I do" she smiled. "And thank you for the earrings."

Carter had come home that afternoon to find a note and a small, gift wrapped box sitting on the table. I hope you like them the note read. Unwrapping and opening the box, Carter discovered she had a new pair of 2 ct princess-cut diamond solitaire stud earrings.

"You're welcome" Reese said as he watched and mentally feasted on Carter as she pondered exactly where to put her flowers.

The dress she bought hugged her delicious body. The V-neckline exposed just the right amount of her inviting cleavage. The logo clip inches below her breasts drew attention to her tiny waist, a waist he suddenly wanted to have in his hands.

"You look really nice" Reese said softly as his eyes settled on Carter's derrière and he began to walk toward her.

"Thank you" she said bashfully as she decided on a spot.

As soon as she set the flowers down, Carter turned to find Reese standing directly before her. Smiling up at him, she laid her hands on the lapels of his jacket.

"New suit I see" she smiled as she ran her hands up the lapels and hooked them around his neck. "Tailored too."

"New tie too" Reese smiled down at her as wrapped his arms around her waist and he lowered his head to meet her lips for a soft Hello kiss.

"The roses are beautiful" Carter said when their kiss ended. "So are the earrings."

"You have to read your cards" Reese urged because he wanted to get the evening started.

"Did you come up with that arraignment?" Carter asked as she used her thumb to wipe the lipstick from his lips.

"I had a little help" Reese admitted.

Carter gave Reese a big smile before dropping her arm from around his neck. Reese loosed his hold on her and she turned to her flowers. Reese settled his hands on her hips, pulled her back into his chest and encased her waist with his arms.

Roses… yellow, pink, lavender, orange and white… small bouquets of each color surrounded a single red rose.

"Where should I start?"

"On your 9 and go clockwise" Reese said then bent his head and kissed her cheek.

The yellow roses were at her 9 and she plucked the card from its stash as Reese dropped his arms from her waist and moved to stand next to her. She pulled the folded square card out of its envelope and opened it. The top ½ of the card was type written and the lower ½ was hand written:

Yellow

The bright, sunny color of yellow roses evokes a feeling of warmth and happiness. The warm feelings associated with the yellow rose are often akin to those shared with a true friend. As such, the yellow rose is an ideal symbol for joy and friendship.

Friendship

It can't be bought…

It can't be sold…

It can only be given…

Your friendship came at no cost yet it is priceless…

I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

Carter smiled as she turned and looked into the eyes of the man she called friend. They held each others' gaze for a few moments before Carter plucked the next card.

Pink

As a symbol of grace and elegance, the pink rose is often given as an expression of admiration. Pink roses can also convey appreciation as well as joyfulness.

Grace and Elegance, Admiration and Appreciation

Even when you are holding a grenade launcher you are graceful and elegant…

I love that about you.

You are a good solder…

You are one hell of a detective…

You are a magnificent mother…

You are an amazing woman…

I admire and appreciate every part of you.

A small laugh escaped Carter as she turned to Reese again.

"I'm graceful with a grenade launcher huh?"

Reese gave her a big smile but remained silent.

Again, they held one another's gaze for a few moments before Carter plucked the next card.

Lavender

With their fantastical appearance, lavender roses are a perfect symbol of enchantment. The lavender rose is also traditionally used to express feelings of love at first sight.

Enchantment

Because of who you are…

You attract me…

You move me…

You delight me…

You captivate me…

You fascinate me…

You are my own little enchantress.

Carter turned and gave Reese an inviting smile before she plucked the next card.

Orange

With their blazing energy, orange roses are the embodiment of desire and enthusiasm. Orange roses often symbolize passion and excitement and are an expression of fervent romance. A bouquet of orange roses will send a meaningful message.

Desire, Passion

In more ways than one, I desire you…

In more ways than one, you are the object of my passion…

This desire is yours to fill …

This passion is yours to satisfy.

"Are you throwing hints about what you want for dessert tonight?" Carter tried to sound enticing, even teasing but her voice cracked with emotion.

Again, Reese simply smiled at her but said nothing.

The pool of tears began to rise in her eyes, as Carter turned back to the flowers and plucked the next card.

White

White roses represent innocence and purity and are traditionally associated with marriages and new beginnings. The white rose is also a symbol of honor and reverence, and white rose arrangements are often used as an expression of remembrance.

Innocence and Purity, Marriages and New Beginnings

What I have with you is innocent…

What I have with you is pure…

Thank you for making an honest vigilante of me…

Thank you for giving us a new beginning.

One tear, then another slid down Carter's cheek as she read the card again. She furrowed her brows as she thought about how far they had come. More tears began to fall as she realized again just how blessed she was to have Reese.

She was still looking down at the card when Reese hooked his arm around her waist and pressed himself against her side. He kissed her temple once and then again before loosening his hold on her.

Finally, Carter plucked the last card.

Red

Red roses are the traditional symbol for love and romance, and a time-honored way to say "I love you." The red rose has long symbolized beauty and perfection.

Love and Romance, Beauty and Perfection

Everything before has lead to this…

You are so beautiful to me…

You are so perfect to me…

I adore you Joss…

Thank you for giving me you…

Everything before has lead to this, to me loving you…

My heart is in your hands…

"I love you" will never be enough but it will have to do...

I love you Joss…

With every bit of me, I love every bit of you.

Reese's words had done their job. They expressed his feelings for her and to her. They made sweet love to her soul and stroked her emotions to the point of sheer ecstasy.

Carter turned her eyes to Reese… eyes that were overflowing with hot tears.

"You are one beautiful lady" Reese said softly as he cupped her cheek and tried to wipe away the falling tears. "And I'm damn lucky to have you."

"I don't know what to say" Carter finally whispered in a shaky voice.

"Just tell me you love me" Reese said as he continued to use his thumb to wipe her tears.

Carter furrowed her brows again. He was right. I love you would not be enough but it would have to do.

"I love you" she whispered from the depths of her heart as she reached up, took his face between her hands and pulled his head down.

Carter pressed herself into Reese but she still was not close enough. She opened her mouth to his and pushed her tongue past his lips. She wanted him badly and began to mate wildly with his tongue. Wrapping her arms tightly around his neck, Carter deepened the kiss even more because as close as she was to him, it still was not close enough. She was thirsty for him and tried to gulp him down. She was hungry for him and wanted to eat him up.

"I want to make love to you" she moaned into his mouth.

Reese wanted that too... he also wanted to give her the evening he had planned and making love to her… that was the grand finale.

Calling on his military training to remain disciplined and stay they course, Reese pulled his lips slightly away from Carter's and gritted his teeth.

"You're making it difficult for me to keep my promise to take you out on a really nice date" Reese looked down at Carter's upturned, tear smudge face. "Let me do this for you."

Carter smiled. Reese had been so sweet and she knew he had planned a nice evening for them.

"OK" she sighed and kissed his lips. "Can I get a rain check then" the enchantress cooed.

Reese raised his brow at her and gave her an as if you have to ask smirk. Carter smiled at him before moving out of their embrace and going to reapply her makeup. Minutes later, Carter came out from her bedroom with her small suitcase in tow. Reese helped her with her coat and grabbed her luggage as they headed out the door.