Thank you to everyone who has continued to review this fic! I am truly amazed by all of you and it is because of those reviews that I was able to finish this. Really I cant' name you all but I truly appreciate each and every signed and guest review!

A special thanks to all of you who offered suggestions and although at eighteen Wanda is a little too old for a teen pregnancy in my opinion I hope everyone approves of my take. ;)

As always I have no beta there for all spelling and grammatical errors are my own. Please Review!

Catching the Sun


"Where do you want these boxes?"

The room was littered with dozens of boxes in various states of being unpacked. It was amazing how much stuff I accumulated over the years, and even more amazing how hard it had been to decide what should come with me to college and what to leave behind.

Glancing around the room I saw no good place that wasn't already occupied. "Anywhere is fine."

From the corner of my eye I caught Ian ginning down at me as he placed the box in the corner, but as much as I adored staring at him my mind was elsewhere. In my lap sat several photo albums Mom had put together for me. We both shared a love for scrapbooking and keepsakes, a trait that Melanie did not understand. Where as I had always found the methodical actions relaxing she found them tedious and borderline narcolepsy inducing. We agreed to disagree on that front long ago.

Distractedly I flipped through the pages until my fingers came to an abrupt stop. Smiling faces stared back at me from the glossy photo paper; a sandy-haired man stood with his arms around a small woman with hair like spun moonlight and sea green eyes. They were both ginning broadly and in the women's arms was an infant swathed in glittering pink fabric. My birth parents and me…

Invisible hands gripped my throat and my vision blurred without my consent. Twelve years had passed since the car accident that left me orphaned and although I didn't think about it much anymore, the pain that rose with the memories was still acute.

"What'cha got there?"

The deep baritone cut through the rising tide of emotion threatening to drag me under. Strong arms circled my waist and pulled me back until I rested comfortably in Ian's lap, grounding me against the oncoming storm. Ian always knew exactly what to do when I was upset, years of practice giving him a distinct advantage, I supposed.

"I didn't realize how much I still missed them…" I choked as another wave surged up in my throat. My eyes swept over their distantly familiar faces and my fingers itched to reach out through the paper and touch them once more, but I couldn't and that was what hurt most of all.

I could still remember their funeral like it was yesterday. Dozens of faces outlined in varying shades black offering their condolences. Each with a sympathetic sentiment to lie at my feet, but I couldn't hear any of it. My mind hadn't grasped that my parents were actually gone from this earth and from my side forever. It was nothing more than a long nightmare that I would wake from any moment, only I had never woken and they were still gone. After hours of well wishers I managed to slip away from the oppressive mob to sob in peace.

I was barely six or seven at the time but I remember hiding in my mother's closet, surrounded by her scent – a mix of vanilla and lavender - when Ian found me. He didn't say anything; no empty promises that everything would be alright, he simply settled his gangly limbs down beside me, not touching but for where his shoulder brushed mine with each breath. His dark head propped up on his bent knees while I cried in silence. It was such a simple thing for a child to do but he; unlike so many others, knew what I needed.

He was what I needed and still was to this day.

"It's ok to miss them you know. It's ok to talk about them and to love them…and just because you still miss and think about them does not mean that you love the Stryders any less." He whispered into the hollow of my shoulder. Warmth wiggled it's was through my core and goose flesh prickling across my extremities. It was a heady thing to be held in his arms like this, comforting in a way that sent my heart fluttering madly against the cage of my ribs.

Turning in his hold I unleashed a watery smile. "How is it that you always know what I'm thinking?" I asked in wonder.

A gentle smile curved his cheeks sweetly while I watched him raise one of my hands to his lips and place a single kiss on each violet tipped finger tip before he answered. "That's an easy one. I've known you most of your life and spent an inordinate amount of that time watching you…that sounded creepy didn't it?"

I had to laugh at the adorable frown creasing his brow. "Yes, a bit but also really sweet. I guess I can forgive your stalker like tendencies this once." I assured with a wink and giggle when he nipped the tip of my index finger playfully.

Ian shot me a considering look before nodding his agreement and resuming his earlier task. Crazy man… "Good to know. Now where was I…oh, and most importantly…I love you." He concluded with a butterfly kiss to my nose.

"I love you too, with all my soul."

There was no doubt or uncertainty that could be found in my statement. Ian told me weeks ago that I had four years worth of experiences ahead of me and that he would understand if I didn't want to be tied down to him. That was about the time I freaked out, thinking he was trying to let me down easy so he could break up with me. After an entire box of tissues and much groveling on his part I realized that he was being noble and attempting to set me free like an idiot. Needless to say I set him straight and threatened to turn Melanie on him if he ever thought about leaving me for my 'own good' again.

Collage may be an entirely new frontier compared to the vacuum that was high school but I knew what I wanted out of life and Ian was top of the list. That was never going to change and I told him as much. My mother fell in love when she was fourteen years old and married my father six years later, every bit as in love as the day she met him. I may have been young and prone to rash emotional outbursts but I knew that relationships took work and I was willing to do what ever was necessary to keep Ian in my life.

"Wanda, I –" Not waiting to hear his protests, I pulled his mouth down to cover mine. Passion sparked at the contact and we were swept away in a lust induced haze of fire and sensation. An entire summer of stolen kisses and heated make out sessions in the back of Ian's car had made me bolder.

Our tongues met in a slow slide, caressing and coaxing until my head was spinning. Needing more of him, my hands slid down his back, over taught, hard muscles until I found the hem of his shirt and slipped my hands underneath. His skin hot, like touching living flame under my palms. Smooth and flawless but still beautifully solid. I could live a thousand years and I would never get enough of him.

I groaned into his mouth as one of his hot hands mirrored my actions but instead of stopping at the hem of my shirt it wandered down to cup my bottom, the action crushing my pelvis flush with his hips…

"Oh get a room you two! I leave you alone for five minutes and you are all over each other!" Melanie barked from the door effectively dousing our passion in ice water. Moments like those I really wanted to strangle my sister and if the low growl sounding from Ian was any indication; similar thoughts were running though his head.

"Funny…I thought we were in a room, her room to be specific!" The acidic note to his growl complemented his narrowed eyes well but Mel wasn't easily intimidated and stuck her tongue out in retaliation.

I watched the exchange with a shake of my head. Sometimes they were no better than a pair of two-year old's fighting over a new toy.

"Whatever. Don't you have somewhere to be Ian?" Mel called over her shoulder heading back into the living room of our new apartment.

Not wanting Mel and I separated for my first year at ASU, our parents footed the bill for a small two bedroom apartment just off campus. Mel had a part-time job at a local coffee shop for spending money and she offered to put in a good word for me with her boss if I wanted a job. I was excited to start next week after classes started. It would be my first job!

"As much as I hate to admit it, she's right. I'm going to be late for practice if I don't head out…" Ian glanced at his watch, "three minuets ago. Damn! I love you and I'll see you after practice right?" Setting me back on the floor he kisses my lips in a parody of our previous kisses before dashing out the door.

"I'll meet you there. Love you." I called after his retreating back already missing his touch. I really was a love-sick puppy, I thought with a pout.


"Mel, can I ask you something… personal?" The infernal Arizona sun beat down on our heads from above, the punishing heat provided the perfect camouflage for the flush of crimson mottled across my cheeks.

After another hour of unpacking Melanie and I headed down to the field to watch Ian and his teammates practice. The season was still a few months away, but with the addition of a few new player they would use all the time they could to get everyone on the same page.

My eyes followed Ian's dark head as he moved with his teammates in perfect tandem, his movements lithe, executed with precision and grace. Previously doused hunger roared to life, clawing at my insides and filling my head with thoughts better left for a time when I wasn't in public with my sister waiting expectantly.

"Anything, hon. What's up?" There was a calculating look to Mel's hazel stare that had me wondering if she already knew what I was going to ask. My cheeks burned anew under her scrutiny but I kept my gaze level, meeting her look head on. This was college and it was time I got over my more bashful tendencies.

You can do this, Wanda.

"How did you know you were ready to…well, um…you know…with Jared for the first time?" I trailed off like a stuttering five-year old. Silently I berated my self for choking on the word; it was as simple word. Sex, see not so hard, but no matter how many times I reminded myself of this there was a mental block that prevented my lips from forming it on my tongue.

"Sex? Is that what you are trying to say?" Mel cut in what a badly concealed smirk.

"Yes…" Forget concealing her smirk, she was out right laughing at me then and I was torn between wanting to crawl under the bleachers and clobbering her with my purse. "Do you have to laugh so hard? It really isn't that funny." I mutter petulantly.

Sobering up, she made a valiant attempt to appear composed but the corners of her mouth twitched with suppressed mirth every few seconds. "It is a little bit funny and I'm sorry…but honestly, if you can't say the word, are you sure you're ready to actually have sex?"

"What! I didn't say I wanted to have…you know. I was just asking when you knew you were ready." I sputtered stupidly.

"Yeah right, that's why you're looking at Ian like he's an ice cream sundae and you're starving for desert. But fine, I'll humor you until you are ready to spill you dirty little fantasies." Mel oh so generously offered with a wiggle of her sculpted brows.

Oh lord, help me…

"So generous…" I mumbled, but she paid me no attention, instead her attention wandered down to the side lines where Jared and Kyle were watching the team calling out not so helpful suggestions. Watching Mel's tanned face soften with a dreamy smile lessened my irritation with her slightly. Mel and Jared were truly made for each other and I was happy for them, even more so now that I finally understood what they shared because it was exactly what I felt for Ian.

Four months ago Ian confessed his feelings and every moment since had been nothing short of bliss for me. To some it may have seemed like a short amount of time, but we had known one another for so long that the transition from friends to more was natural for us. Like coming home after a long, drawn out absence.

I knew from the moment he first dragged me against his body and claimed my lips, branding me with his passion that I wanted him in a way that I had never wanted anyone else. Sure, I had crushed over Jared for years, imagined what it would be like to be held by him, to feel his lips brush mine but those thoughts where innocent compared to the erotic fantasies Ian brought out in me. Such thoughts were embarrassing and wanton but I couldn't help them, he was addictive in all the best ways.

Ian never made any secret of his enthusiasm for me but no matter how heated our make out sessions became he was always quick to pull away when we crossed his imaginary line. Truthfully, I loved Ian all the more for respecting and wanting to protect me as he did, but I was getting down right frustrated!

"I don't know when I knew exactly. It's not like I woke up one day and said 'this is the day I am going to have sex for the first time'. It was our 8 months anniversary and he took me out to dinner and we ended up back at his pace…one thing led to another and…we had sex." She finished with a far off look in her eyes a tilt to her lips.

I didn't know what I had expected but I really hadn't thought it would be so…mundane I guess. Mel must have sensed my thoughts because her tanned cheeks darkened with a flush of blood that surprised me.

"Don't look at me like that!" She chided, glancing away from me to watch the field again. "It wasn't candles and roses and all that mess, but it was still special. He was good to me and I know that when the time is right, and I am not saying that is now, but I know that Ian will be good to you too."

That time I did duck my head under the veil of my hair to hide my burning cheeks.

"But I am not going to lie to you sis." She continued after a moment drawing my attention back to the conversation at hand. "It's not like it is in books or movies. It's painful the first time and sometimes even the second time too, but it does get better. I just wanted you to know that."

Painful? I knew it was uncomfortable for a woman her first time but I had never really given that part of it much thought. It was hard to imagine anything about Ian's touch could ever be anything less than amazing.

"Thanks. I'm not saying I'm ready to have…sex, but when I'm with him it's hard not to think about it…to want him. I just can't help wondering if I'll be good enough for him."

And there it was…my biggest fear laid bare before me. I knew Ian loved me and was physically attracted to me but what if that wasn't enough? I had no experience with men and Ian had admitted to having been with two other girls before me. There was a nagging doubt in my head that wondered…what if I he was disappointed him?

Tears fought their way to the surface and I pushed them back but not before Mel saw. Her arms circled my shoulders in a comforting embrace and I accepted the support willingly; grateful to sink into her unassuming stability. It was easy to forget sometimes, but I needed Mel, needed her love and support to keep my head on straight when insecurities threatened to run away with it.

"I know it's hard but don't think like that honey. You are that most amazing woman in the world and he loves you…has loved you for as long as I can remember; anything you two share will be perfect. I promise you that." She whispered against my head. "Besides, all you have to do is look at that boy and he melts. Putty in your hands baby sister."

We both laughed at the mental image and I knew she was right. With one more squeeze we separated as Jared came bounding up the bleachers like an over eager puppy, but one look at me and his smile flipped into a frown of concern.

"What's going on?" He asked with some trepidation. Mel ignored him and kissed his cheek sweetly grabbing her bag.

"Nothing you need to worry about, hon." He didn't look convinced, not that I blamed him but some things where best left alone. A truth that Jared knew well.

Looking somewhat appeased, Jared returned her kiss then reached out to tug on a lock of my honey colored hair teasingly. "We're going to go get some dinner at the pub, do you want to join us or are you going to wait for O'Shea?"

Glancing at the field I noticed the mass exudes for the locker rooms signaling that practice was over. "He should be out soon. I think I'll just wait for him but we'll meet you guys there."

Jared looked unsure for a moment, glancing around the near deserted field with apprehension; ever my protector. "I'll be fine Jared, really." I put on my best mega watt smile and with Mel's back up he relented.

Mel rolled her eyes on my behalf which had me giggling as I watched them join Kyle and his latest fling, Sunny on the side lines. I had only met the dark-haired cheerleader once or twice but I liked her immediately. She was sweet and bubbly, but not a complete ditz like Kyle normally favored. Kyle played it cool but the casual way he tucked her lean body against his side, and the softening of his dark eyes as they drifted down to her smiling face every few minuets gave him away. Kyle O'Shea was falling in love and It was about time, I thought happily.

"Hey! Your Wanda right?" A deep rumble sounded to my left, the gravelly voice abrading my concentration and pulling my attention away from my thoughts. I glanced up, only the setting sun blacked out the face but for a halo of flaming curls surrounding a distinctly male face. Raising my hand to shield the glare I caught a glimpse of pale skin, deep set eyes and a dusting of freckles dusting a hawk like nose that made for a vaguely familiar face.

"Yes, and you're…" I searched for a name but came up empty. Noticing my discomfort he ducked to the left and out of the setting sun.

"Sorry for blinding you. I'm Burns, we met a few months ago." He offered me warm smile, holding out a large mitt of a hand for me to shake. It was almost comical to watch my bird thin fingers disappear in his wide paw like grip.

The combination of his disarming smile and gravely voice put me at ease and I found myself returning his smile with one of my own. I had a distant memory of meting Burn when Ian brought me down to meet his teammates on my campus tour last month. At the time I had been too overwhelmed with all there was to see to really notice anyone in particular. Not to mention Ian had been rubbing tantalizing circles across my knuckles during the introduction which made it almost impossible to concentrate on anything but his skin on mine.

Another blush reached from the tips of my ears down to the exposed v of my camisole as I remembered the rush of Ian claiming my lips the moment we were out of site of his friends that afternoon. The way the cold concrete scrapped against my shoulders as he pressed me against the side of the building that housed the gym and locker rooms. The very thought had a torrent of shivers raking my body as if it were winter and not the dead of summer.

Burns looked confused by my sudden shift in demeanor, asking if I was alright. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just a chill from the breeze." I explained rubbing my arms for effect.

He looked down at his bag for a moment as if looking for something, "Sorry I don't have my jacket with me." He apologized with a frown.

Thank goodness he didn't have anything to offer me, I was anything but cold, I was practically melting with the sun and my thoughts heating my skin to boiling point, but I appreciated the thought non the less.

In an effort to stave off any further embarrassment I banished my lusty thoughts and focused on Burns. We talked for no more than ten minuets and I found Burns to be an entertaining companion. Full of good humor and interesting stories that reminded me of Kyle without all the hard edges that made you want to hit Kyle more often than not.

Burns and I were laughing at some joke he had told when I caught sight of Ian making his way toward us from the locker rooms, a dark look clouding his normally open face.

"Ian!" I called in half excitement and half questioning but the steel-blue of his gaze wasn't focused on me but on Burns, effectively pinning his teammate to his spot like a bolt to the shoulder.

"Hey man, I was just keeping Wanda here company while she was waiting." Burns threw up his hands in a show of surrender that had me glancing between the two of them rapid fire. Ian didn't look impressed; when he reached up he pulled me a little roughly from my perch and secured me to his side with one iron-hard arms draped from my shoulder to waste.

I didn't appreciate his harsh treatment and had the urge to pry myself out of his hold but I could feel the granite tension in his muscles; it would be useless to resist him now.

"Thanks, but I'm here now so you can go."

I had never heard Ian be so clipped with another person and it didn't sit well in my stomach. Burns looked between the two of use for a second longer before he nodded at Ian and offered me a, "I'll see you around Wanda," and a half-smile before leaving us alone.

Once Burns was out of sight and I felt some of the tension bleed from Ian's muscles and I wrenched myself away from him. Unfortunately, the momentum tipped me off-balance and I crashed painfully into the bleachers, catching my hip hard on the metal step. I cried out before I could swallow the exclamation.

Ian reached for me in concern but I warded him off with an out stretched hand and a glare worthy of Melanie. "What was that about?" I demanded pulling my self into a sitting position so that I could continue to glare at him comfortably.

"Nothing. Are you alright sweetheart?" He reaching for me again but stopped when I swatted his hand away. Hurt pinched his features but I was too angry to censor myself just then.

"Don't give me that! Where do you get off chasing him off like that? This is not high school anymore," he flinched at the reminder of his time spent warning guys away from me. "and we were just talking."

Through the haze of red clouding my vision I saw him take a stuttered step back at my accusations before he lips thinned in indignation and he launched forward in his own verbal assault.

"Just talking? He was practically drooling on your lap!" He fired back. "I know you don't see it but you have no idea how these guys look at you, baby." There was a note of pleading in his voice now that pulled at me but I resisted. He was wrong about Burns. We had only been talking; he hadn't tried to put a move on me…or had he?

I thought back to our talk only a few minuets ago and how Burns had asked me how long Ian and I had been together. He had joked that we were still new and anything was possible which I laughed off at the time, but now I was starting to wonder if Ian was right. Shaking my head to clear away the doubts starting to take shape in my head, I focused on my anger once more.

"It doesn't matter if he was hitting on me or not. You acted like a cave man about to throw me over his shoulder and bang your chest in a show of dominance. You are being ridiculous and for the record, you don't own me Ian!" I was shaking with unexpected anger as I continued to yell at him, my voice growing higher with each word.

Ian and I had never fought before, we had misunderstandings but this was different. All of my frustration and doubts were rising to the surface, fueling the fire burning in my veins. I wanted him to admit something but I didn't know what I was hoping for and it gnawed at me uncomfortably.

"Maybe not, but I will be damned if I'm going to sit back and watch some guy pawing at you like you are a piece of meat!" He exploded. We were inches apart suddenly, both breathing heavily, with hearts pounding and blood rushing through out ears in a maddening roar. The rush of blood brought with it the urge to allow my body to sway toward him, bridging the space between us was almost palpable but my anger was still too strong to give into the pull.

Blinking back the sudden blur of tears misting my sight I grabbed my bag and ran down the steps, ignoring the lingering pain in my hip that dogged my steps.

I felt a cold chill settle in my gut leaving me feeling empty, the feeling magnified by Ian's cobalt stare blazing up my spine. I was tempted to keep going but I stopped and waited. "Are you coming?" My voice was brittle with unshed tears as I looked over my shoulder briefly to catch a glimpse of him. My heart plummeted at the stricken look tightening Ian's devastatingly handsome face.

With a nod he vaulted down the bleachers after me.


Dinner was a tense affair, filled with questioning looks and whispered concerns but we both held our peace while we pushed our food around our plates. Both in no mood to eat and be sociable.

Mel finally cornered me in the lady's room and demanded to know what was going on. I held out for a second longer considering Sunny had joined us but there were too many emotions turning in my stomach to contain a moment longer.

My voice shook embarrassingly as I recounted out fight but with each word I began to suspect I may have over reacted...

"Don't get me wrong, I think he's an idiot but Ian does have a possessive streak a mile wide when it comes to you. I'm not surprised he flipped his lid." Mel offered gently as not to set off anymore water works from me and no doubt worried I would jump on her for defending Ian.

"And Burns has asked about you a lot lately, Wanda. He's got a reputation and I know Kyle told him to leave you alone." Sunny added over my shoulder, handing me a damp paper towel to clean away my running mascara.

A reputation? What did that mean, I wondered but didn't ask. Burns may have been testing the waters but it didn't matter now any more than it did before. I wasn't interested in Burns or anyone else, I loved Ian and nothing was going to change that. Even Ian being an overprotective ass. But why than did I over react so much? Truthful this wasn't the first time Ian had been over protective, he had been the same way toward Was at Prom and I had found it endearing then. So what was the difference now?

I was afraid. The thought struck me hard and fast. I was afraid of being left behind and that fear was breading anger. Why couldn't he see that I'm wasn't going to leave, that he's was the one pushing me away. I was tiered a frustrated and when he showed up like some snarling beast I snapped. My realization brought be some measure of comfort, cooled my anger and gave the the resolve to return to Ian.

Mel and Sunny gave me a minuet to clean myself up before I rejoined the table. Ian looked miserable, his strong shoulders hunched over the table while he stared at his near full plate dejectedly. Drawing a deep breath I took my seat, reaching out I caught his fingers under the table, giving the cool skin a reassuring squeeze. Sapphire eyes flashed up to mine hopefully. My smile was a little forced but it was enough to ease some of the tension in his posture.

All wasn't forgiven he knew but it was a place to start.


The walk to mine and Mel's apartment was spent in a pregnant silence. Melanie and Jared agreed to check out a local club with Kyle and Sunny but I couldn't stand the idea of letting this sit for a few more hours unchecked. So we both declined and Ian walked me home alternating between brooding and throwing side long glances at me every few steps.

Once inside I tossing my bag on the couch and opened the refrigerator with the intent of grabbing a bottle of water but Ian's strong arms snaked around my middle. One heavily muscled arm crossed over my waist to rest on the opposite hip, while the other brushed my breasts and cupped my shoulder in a heady embrace. My resolve to stay strong evaporated in a cloud of hormones and I allowed myself to sink back into his body, my arms mirroring his hug perfectly.

"I'm sorry I was a jerk." He soothed in a low voice nuzzling my ear through the thick curtain of my hair, the hand on my bruised hip rubbed slow circles by way of an apology for my fall. "The two of you were laughing and I could see the way he was looking at you. Like he wanted you…and it was all I could do not to beat his face in."

I shivered at the threat. He was practically vibrating at the memory and I hugged him closer in silent comfort; in spite of my aversion to violence a thread of desire curled in my belly at the possessive nature of his statement.

"You can't have it both ways…" I sighed, getting down to the root of my frustration. It had taken the better part of dinner for me to understand why his actions upset me so much and it was time to confront him. "You can't offer me freedom every time we get close only to yank me back when someone shows interest in me. It doesn't work that way. You either want me or you don't…"

Please want me, I silently prayed.

In a move reminiscing of a dancer spinning his partner out and then back to him, Ian spun me in his hold until our bodies aligned from root to tip. Gasping at the sudden change in position I looked up at him only to be caught by his intensity. Love, passion, and a tinge of fear lurked in the crystalline blue of his eyes.

"Do you want to be free…" Fear thickened his voice into a hoarse whisper. This was the first time Ian had ever shown me this side of him. Glimpses had peaked through occasionally but he had always been the strong one in our relationship; pursuing me emotionally and physically. It had never occurred to me that Ian was truly afraid that I didn't want him. The very idea seemed insane to me, completely, hilariously, ridiculous.

"No! I want you, and only you. I don't care about Burns or anyone else who may come sniffing around. As long as you want me I'm yours. Please stop pushing me away Ian. Please…"

"I don't want you to regret this…us. I love you so much but I don't want you to look back in a year or twenty years and wonder what you missed out on because of me."

Reaching out on my tip toes I smacked him on the back of his head as hard as I could. Which was not very hard at all, but it had the desired effect when he looked at me blinking in surprise. "You're a fool and an asshole!"

"How many times do I have to tell you; to show you how much I want you! Your not that much older than me and you may have had sex with other girls but that doesn't mean you know what's best for me. Do you want me to go out and sleep with someone else? Is that what you want? I'm sure Burn's will be more than happy to oblige me if what you're saying is true." I spat at him, beating my hands against the solid wall of his chest to get him to understand.

"I love you…but if you can't see that than…" swallowing back a sob I pushed forward. "than maybe we shouldn't be together."

"Screw that!" In a whirlwind of motion he hoisted off my feet and pressed my back against the refrigerator door in the heart beat between my statement and his. "I am the world's biggest asshole and I probably should let you go but I'm not going to. You're mine, little Wanderer and I'm not giving you up!"

There was no time to reply, there was only mind numbing pleasure. Ian feasted on first my lip than the sensitive skin behind my ear before trailing a long line oh hungry kisses down my throat. Each sweep of his tongue and scrape of his teeth dragging strangled sounds of pleasure from my body like a wild animal gasping for breath. His hands felt like they were everywhere at once, stroking and caressing my flesh until I couldn't tell what was residual heat and what was his actual touch until one hand grasped my thigh and hocked the limb around his grating hips.

"Ian!" I gasped his name as exquisite sparks of arousal rippled out from my center as his hips pumped into my softness in a slow agonizing rhythm.

"Mine…" He bit against my throat then suckled the spot until the sting melted away in a wash of primal need. Emboldened, I wrapped my other leg around him aiding in my need to bring him closer, to relieve the ache throbbing in my belly.

It was Ian's turn to groan a strangled cry of pleasure.

"Please…Ian. Please make love to me." I all but begged when the coiled spring tightened to an unbearable point. I needed release and soon.

Something in my voice must have penetrated his lust and with a growl he pulled away from me, leaving me bereft of his touch. Unable to support myself I slipped bonelessly to the cold hardwood floors with acidic tears burning a river down my face.

"What…" I couldn't push the words out of my swollen throat but he heard me and understood my fears. I was scooped up and carried to the couch as I clung to him for dear life.

"I'm so sorry Wanda. Please forgive me. I didn't mean to leave you like that but you drive me insane." Over and over he whispered how sorry he was, and how much he loved and wanted me until my tears dried and I was left sniffing pathetically in his lap.

"I thought for a second that I had done something wrong…"

He laughed a self-deprecating laugh at my lament. "Hardly...You did everything right, too right in fact. I was seconds away from taking you against the frig and damn the consequences."

Oh…wiggling in his lap experimentally I felt him stiffen under me when my curves made contact with the proof of his need. Giggling with my new discovery I went to work on his neck, feasting soft needy kisses along his pulsing jugular vein only to be thwarted as his hands clapped around my hips and thighs to still my movements a second later.

"Not tonight, love. Our first time is not going to be make-up sex." He chuckled when I pouted up at him in frustration.

"But I heard make-up sex is the best kind." I purred boldly, nipping at his jaw eliciting a growl of approval from my pray.

"Minx." He accused, capturing my lips in a dominating clash of tongue and teeth. Just when I started to think I had him beat he pulled away again leaving me mewing like an unhappy kitten. This was not fair at all!

"The first time I make love to you will be more than a quickie against an appliance or in your room hoping Mel and Jared don't come home early." Each word punctuated with a hot open-mouthed kiss down my neck before he reversed back to my lips. "I want to take my time with you, baby."

My insides quivered at the thought of what Ian could do with unlimited time, so lost in the idea I didn't notice him pulling away until I was back on the couch and he was kneeling a safe distance away at my feet with a pleading look leveled at me. 'Please don't push me…' his eyes begged and with a sigh of defeat I collapsed against the cushions with a huff.

"Fine!"

I was still decompressing when Ian unceremoniously scooped me up, marched us into my bedroom, and kicked the door shut before dropped me on my bed without a word. "Ian! What are you doing? I thought you said…" He cut me off with a searing kiss and smirk that had my toes curling.

"I said we weren't going to have sex tonight. That doesn't mean I cant give you a preview…"

I barely had time to consider his meaning before he set to work on driving me out of my mind with ecstasy…multiple times over the next hour.

Needless to say two weeks later I lost my virginity to the love of my life and although it wasn't candles and roses – both Ian and I agreed that wasn't what we wanted – it was absolutely perfect.


Four Years later…

"I would like to propose a toast to my friends and family!" I raised my glass calling the table to attention. I glanced around the circle with some apprehension but Ian grinned at me encouragingly and squeezed my hand, lending me the strength to continue.

"Thank you all for being here tonight to celebrate my graduation. I couldn't have done it with out all of your love and support though the endless tests and term papers but each and every one of you urged me on." Laughter rose at the comment about the tests and term papers as most of them remembered what it was like to be in my shoes. Turning to my right I fixed Melanie with an adoring smile.

"Melanie…my sister and my rock. Without you I would have gone insane under all the pressure of getting my teaching degree. You kept me together when I thought I couldn't make it through one more day with your humor and unfailing support." She mouthed a 'your welcome' before I moved on to the handsome man beside her.

"Jared, my protector and midnight doughnut runner. I have you to thank for these few extra pounds but I wouldn't trade it for the world." Another round of laughs followed except for Ian who choked on his own breath beside me. Kyle slapped him on his back making some comment or another which eared him a glare from his long time girlfriend Sunny.

One by one I went around the table thanking my friends and family, growing more nerves with each passing face until I was left with the moment I had dreaded for the past two weeks. Ian stood, folding my slighter frame into his side protectively; we were in this together his touch reminded me.

"I am so happy you could all be here tonight because Ian and I have an announcement to make…" My mother clapped merrily, anticipating our wedding announcement no doubt.

"Wanda is pregnant. We are going to have a baby!" Ian announced with a gleeful, if not nervous grin and I was grateful that it wasn't me that had to speak the words. A hush descended over the table as our news sank in; reaching out I crushed Ian's hand in a death grip as my parents looked at us with blank stares of shock.

Just as I was about to bury my self in Ian's arms and insist that we run away to lord knows where, Kyle's booming voice filled the silence. "Congratulations bro! You knocked her up before the proposal! Nice, man. Not even I managed that one. Very impressive baby brother!"

And just like that the tension broke and smile of joy and congratulations surrounded us.

Ian was pulled from my grasp as Kyle enveloped him in a back thumping man hug that had me giggling in spite of my frayed nerves. The two brothers laughed loudly and then it was my turn to be mulled by Kyle. I closed my eyes and enjoyed being swung around like a rag doll until my stomach gave a rumble of protest and he put me down with a fast apology.

"It's OK Kyle." I assured him and then I was turned in every direction for more hugs.

Melanie practically tackled me wanting to know why I hadn't told her the second I found out but thankfully she accepted that Ian and I had wanted the news to be a surprise for everyone. After all it was only right that everyone else shared in our unexpected shock.

Jamie hugged me tenderly as if he was afraid I would break or that he would hurt the baby if he squeezed too hard. Jamie was excited that he would be an uncle, talking animatedly about all the things he could teach and share with his little niece or nephew. Happy tears swelled in the corner of my eyes and it was Jared who whipped the offending moisture away before it could ruin my makeup. A sweet smile turned up his lips and I was reminded why I had thought myself in love with him once upon a time.

"You are going to be an amazing mother, Wanda. I am so happy for you." He breathed tenderly against my temple before kissing my crown in a way that could only be described as reverent. I was still slightly off-balance when he stepped away to fix Ian with a stern look. I didn't have a chance to hear what was said because my mother and father took their turns next.

Mom promised to take me out shopping soon, while dad grilled Ian on our living arrangements and plans for the future after the gushing leveled off.

"Wanda and I just bought a house about thirty minuets away from you guys a few days ago. It's not very big but we love it and it will be perfect for us to start out in." Ian told my parents with a note of pride in his voice and stance.

The pregnancy was unexpected; we had always been careful but as we learned nothing is full proof and surprisingly, when the shock wore off we both found that we were excited at the prospect of becoming parents. It was my love for children and teaching that prompted me to go for my degree in teaching and with Ian's degree in Agricultural Science he could teach if he wanted to as well. It was not what we planned but it was exactly what we wanted in the end.

With the love and support of our family everything was finally falling into place.

"Wanderer…" I head Ian's silken voice call my given name behind me and I turned to find him kneeling at my feet with a bashful grin drawing his face toward mine.

Oh my goodness.

One quick look around confirmed my suspicions, they were all in on this. "My sweet Wanderer. I know that our relationship has been unconventional at times but I have loved you from the first moment I saw your shinning head peak around the rose bushes in my mother's garden after Kyle chased you away from our tree fort. You are my everything, my love, my life, and my soul mate. I wanted to do this before we found out about the baby but our little one beat me to the punch." He chided leaning forward to press a kiss to my still flat stomach eliciting a laugh from our family and a happy giggle from me.

"He had the ring a month ago!" Mel chirped up behind us, silencing Kyle's insinuation that he was only proposing out of a sense of responsibility.

Ian flashed Mel an appreciative glance before pulling out a velvet ring box. "Please do me the honor and allowing me to becoming your husband?"

Nestled in the satin folds was a beautiful antique white gold ring carved with intricate scroll work resembling leaves twining around a halo of diamonds set in a flower design that took my breath away. The ring was beautiful but it was nothing compared to the rare sapphire blue jewels sparkling up at me with such pure love reflected in their depths.

"Yes!" I cried, not waiting for him to slip the ring on my finger, I threw my arms around his neck and sealed our love with a kiss.

This was my happily ever after, only it was just the beginning...

The End! (For real this time)

And there you have it. I truly hope this lived up to every ones hopes and expectations. For all of you out there that were hoping for a love scene I didn't want to up the rating so I scrapped it and kept the content as T as I could for these two. Which is harder than it looks as I just can't help writing these two hot and heavy. It's all that amazing chemistry SM wrote into them I guess. But maybe if a few people ask nicely I could be persuaded to finish it and post a separate PWP for this fic...What do you all think?

Please review! I know it's the end and it's easy to skip on by without a word but I really want to know what everyone think about the ending…Please! ;)