Hey there, strangers.

The idea for this one-shot popped into my mind right after watching Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me. I was wondering what might happen next between Wade and Zoe and started to imagine potential scenarios; this is obviously the one I would love to see.

Hope you enjoy,

Giulia.


The drive back home from the campsite had been excruciatingly tiring and long, the loud chanting of the wild, young rangers doing nothing to help Wade's headache.

He and George had talked. And oh, how they had.

Since the 'Zoe situation' had begun, Wade had tried to spend as little time as possible with George. Not that he didn't consider him one of his best friends anymore, but just being in his presence reminded him how what he and Zoe had was just temporary, not serious, whatever. It reminded him that with enough effort and a single snap of his fingers, George Tucker could still easily win Zoe over in a heartbeat, even though maybe he didn't even know it. George Tucker had the power to destroy and erase everything that had happened between him and Zoe in the last couple of months with a bat of his eyelashes. That was simply the reality of things, wasn't it?

Well, George had begged to differ.

Wade could still see him right there in front of him, in the woods, by the pond, as he lectured him, not quite angry but almost sad, telling him that he and Zoe hadn't exactly been as subtle as they had thought. Those who didn't know the two of them had actually been together the night of the infamous wedding that never was, were brushing off their behavior towards each other as odd and maybe borderline flirty, but George knew there was more to it than it seemed, he had observed them for some time, and there was no doubt in his mind that they had real, strong feelings for each other, and that they were together.

Wide eyes and mouth agape, Wade had struggled to find the right comeback. When it came to Zoe, and whatever it was that they had, Wade was a terrible, terrible liar. Mostly because he felt so conflicted over the whole situation that he himself didn't know what was the truth and what was a lie anymore. It was confusing, and complicated. Something he had never had to deal with in any of his previous relationships, and he had had plenty.

So, when he yelled back at George that he and Zoe didn't 'have' anything, that theirs was just casual sex when they felt like it – which was a lie already – the skeptical look his friend gave him hit him like a ton of bricks: he wasn't anywhere near convincing anymore. He was exposed. He wore his heart on his sleeve. When did Wade Kinsella become that kind of man?

"You should just tell her how you really feel", George's pained but supportive voice rang in his ears. That was what he, at the same time, most hated but respected about him, that no matter what, George Tucker would always be the better man, looking out for others.

He sighed once more as he looked over at the carriage house for the millionth time from his spot on the driveway. He had been standing there for what then, forty minutes? It was lame, and pathetic, and so un-Wade like, but he couldn't help it. She was the only one he wanted, hell, longed, to see.

He wondered how those two days had been for her, if she had missed him just as terribly as he had missed her. It wasn't like they were used to spend that much time together every day, but it was all the little things that he had missed... the banter, the silly smiles, waking up and falling asleep together, kissing her and just holding her in his arms. He could still almost smell the perfume of her skin, all salty and sweet at the same time, as it brushed against his between her silky sheets.

Sighing once more, he ran a hand through his messy, blond hair. He had it bad. And what scared him the most was that he wasn't actually scared, it was that he wanted things to be serious and official between him and Zoe. He wanted to be her boyfriend. And the strength of that realization took him aback. He hadn't realized just how much he wanted it and for how long he had already. How come it took bloody George Tucker for him to finally see what had been there all along?

Looking down at the ground, he fidgeted with his hands, something he never did, but then again, when did he ever like a girl for real?

Gathering all of his courage, he started to walk towards the carriage house, not even sure about what exactly he was going to tell her – was he ready to possibly jeopardize what they had? Part of her was better than nothing, wasn't it? And at least, that gave him the security that she wasn't seeing anybody else, something he wouldn't have been able to bear. He knew she would have, though, eventually. If not George, then somebody else would have come by and swept her off her feet, and he would have been left wondering what could have been. In her life, he was just a placeholder, while in his, she was everything.

No, he had to do something, and he had to do that soon. As he walked the last couple of steps, up the wooden stairs of her porch, his mind was set. He was going to put himself out there for her, it was either everything or nothing. She had wanted to be exclusive and he had promised and given that to her, she had wanted romance and he had baked her, or tried to bake her anyway, those damn cookies she liked so much. He had the right to have some requests of his own, didn't he?

When he finally brought his right hand up to knock, he was almost shaking, and got a funny feeling in the pit of his stomach that he should have been used to by then. He always felt like that whenever he was around Zoe or whenever he was thinking about her – which was far too often than he liked to admit – but that time it was so heightened he felt like throwing up. What he was about to do was possibly the most important and the bravest thing he had ever done in his entire life, and he couldn't help but doubt that he was enough of a man for a woman like Zoe Hart yet.

He knocked gently on the door, and heard frenzied rustling and noises coming from the inside, her voice calling out to him, soft and breathless. It took her so little time to come open the front door that he allowed himself to think that maybe, just maybe, she was waiting for him too.

She was wearing a gray tank top and flannel pants, her dark, tousled hair down to cover her bare shoulder. She had no or little make up on, and her cheeks were flustered. He had seen her dressed up and ready for important meetings a hundred times, but she had never looked more beautiful to him than she did in that moment right then and there. The strength of his feelings for her hit him again, like he was just realizing it for the first time, and he found himself left speechless and out of breath just like she was.

It was a quarter to eleven, and he knew she had to open the practice on Mondays. She didn't look tired though, she looked as vigilant as ever, even with her I should probably be asleep already look. Was she really just waiting for him to come home? Was she hoping he would swing by to see her? Or was he just imaging what he wanted it to be?

He smiled down at her, that crooked smile of his that always managed to make her breath catch in her throat, realizing just how much taller than her he was in that moment. Even when she wore heels, she was always a couple of spans shorter than him, but then she was barefoot, and he was positively towering. She looked so tiny and fragile, but he knew she was anything but. One of the many things he loved about her.

"You're back," she whispered, so quietly he wouldn't have caught it if he had been just a little bit farther.

Wade nodded, his lips slightly parted. Zoe was chewing down on her bottom one, and all he wanted to do was kiss her senseless until morning came, but he knew there was something he had to do first, something he had to say.

They looked at each other almost shyly for what felt like an eternity, then Zoe stepped back to free the entrance. "Do you wanna..." she trailed off, motioning between him and the inside of her carriage house. Wade nodded, and his arm brushed her stomach as he made his way into the house, both feeling the electricity of their connection ignite their bodies. The atmosphere around them was buzzing.

Zoe gulped, closing her eyes in an attempt to regain her reason, something she always seemed to lose when Wade was around. But maybe, even if she was having an hard time admitting that to herself, that was exactly what she loved so much about him – around him, she didn't need to rationalize or over-analyze anything, she just had to feel.

"Do you want something to drink?" she offered.

She knew, just by looking at him, and by the way he was looking at her, that even though they hadn't been seeing each other in almost forty-eight hours – not that she was counting or anything – something had shifted between them. She could sense it, and it both excited her and scared the hell out of her.

Yeah, she definitely needed to be at least tipsy to deal with whatever was about to happen.

Wade saw right through her, and stopped her by circling her wrist with his hand. He needed her fully sober and in her right mind. It was something that had to be done, and he didn't want her to have the chance to regret or forget anything.

She looked up at him with her brown, doe eyes, questioningly and unsure. "How was the trip?" she tried.

He took some time to think about his answer, pondering how to approach what he really wanted to say. When he finally decided, his voice was hoarse, as he hadn't spoken a word in over an hour.

"It was nice," he shrugged, his eyes not leaving hers for even a second. "But I missed what I left here."

His gaze on her was so intense she was finding it very hard to breath, her whole body tingling as she felt the heat coming off his, her heart beating uncontrollably in her chest.

He lifted one hand and caressed her blushing cheek, his other hand leaving her wrist as his arm circled her waist and pulled her flush against him.

Zoe's eyes dropped to his lips, and they both leaned forward, him ducking down, and her raising on her tiptoes, meeting in the middle.

As if they didn't know that already, they immediately knew something had changed. Unlike any other kissed they had ever shared, that one started out slowly, lovingly. Somehow, they had both wanted it just like that, and they were in perfect sync with each other.

Wade's hand on her cheek moved to gently cup her jaw and Zoe, whose arms were still hanging at her sides, brought her hands up to fist the lapels of his red shirt tightly in her fingers. They breathed into each other's mouth, and as Zoe encouragingly parted her lips, Wade took the opportunity to deepen the kiss, in a way she was so accustomed to but that felt so different from any other time, her heart was threatening to break out of her chest.

They were pressed tightly against each other, but it still wasn't close enough for either of them. Zoe's arms slowly linked themselves around his neck, as Wade's left hand joined his other to cradle her face tenderly. Hadn't it been for the increasingly pressing need for air, they could have stayed like that forever, holding onto each other.

They broke the kiss, but didn't move a millimeter away from each other, catching their breaths as they shared a look that was worth a thousand words.

Even if, technically, it takes two to kiss, Wade had been the one leading through it, and Zoe couldn't help but wonder what it meant. They had never kissed like that before, at the same time so slowly but so urgently. They had had sex multiple times, yes, but nothing had ever come close to the passion they had shared with that last kiss. And they had never really kissed without wanting it to lead somewhere else.

She looked up at him in awe. "What was that for?" she asked between breaths, her eyes sparkling in the dim light of the carriage house.

Wade combed back some strands of her hair, fixing it behind her left ear. "You're the one thing I missed the most."

The way he said it, so sincerely and naturally, warmed her heart. She felt weird, but in a very positive way, all thrilled, nervous, and excited.

She blushed under his intense scrutiny, or maybe she had never stopped blushing in the first place. "I missed you too," she murmured, playing with the hair at the nape of his neck.

Wade immediately felt relieved, like a huge weight had just been lifted off his back. He knew he should have never doubted the honesty and beauty of what they had, even if they had never said it out loud, they had a connection, a real connection, and there was no way to deny it. He didn't want to deny it.

"Glad to hear that, Doc," he chuckled, leaning down to meet his lips with hers once again. He would never get tired of the feeling of her lips, so smooth and soft, against his rough ones. Of the feeling of holding her into his arms, knowing she was the most precious possession he could have ever dreamed to own. Not in an overly possessive way, but, after all, she was his. She was his girl, no, his woman.

He knew they still had a lot to talk about, a lot of things to figure out – because, yes, everything came naturally around Zoe, but he wasn't a fool, he knew that to really make a relationship work, both feelings and a lot of effort were needed. He didn't want to take any chances, he didn't want to risk losing her only because he had never really had a serious relationship before and wasn't sure how to handle one. They were going to have to grow into it, together. And Wade knew, somehow, that they were going to make it. It was just one of those gut feelings... it was going to work out, they were going to work out.

Zoe sighed against his lips, her arms still around his neck, not wanting to let him go just yet. They parted for a brief moment, looking into each other's eyes. She grinned, and he couldn't help but mirror her bright smile with a lopsided one of his own.

He brought his hands down, grazing the small of her back and sending a shiver down her spine. Circling her waist with both arms, he stilled once more, but Zoe giggling and wounding her arms more tightly around him was enough of a good sign to lift her up, carrying her down the hall to her bedroom.

Reuniting their lips for the third time that day, just before their mind and body and soul were solely focused on each other, both couldn't help but think about how right being together like that felt, with the air clear between them, with no doubts whatsoever about where exactly they stood in that messy situation that turned into the perfect relationship they had always wanted but had never quite hoped to actually find.

So, there was still far too much to discuss and things were far from settled, but it was a step forward. A little one, but a step nonetheless.