AN: Well, here it is, the end of our story. Thank you so much for reading along and reviewing to let me know what you thought of this story. I am honored and humbled by your response. Please join me on the next story, coming very soon to an inbox near you! Love, Kricket

Warning: Strong sexual content

Chapter 37

As Derek carried Penelope into her room, she was cradled in his arms effortlessly. She felt light as a feather, although she wasn't. It was a good, although unique, feeling. She was about an inch from his mouth—his full, thick, delicious mouth—but he wasn't kissing her. He was obviously focused on his task at hand, as was she.

Being that close and being the artist that she was, she studied him. He was a very manly male. His face had lost some of the boyish good looks he'd had, only to be replaced by chiseled cheekbones, perfect crinkles by the sides of his eyes, and deeper dimples accentuating his lips. He also had a small scar about his right eyebrow, a little slash of lighter skin he hadn't had when he was younger. She made a mental note to ask him about it later.

Much later.

It made her smile that he didn't ask permission to enter her room; he just did it as if he belonged there...because he did. He then slowly lowered her to her bed, following her down and hovering over her. His mouth was a mere inch from hers, his delicious, wine-scented breath humid against her lips, and a riot of tingles surged in her body. Her entire body throbbed at the realization that he was going to kiss her again.

Gently, so softly, he brushed his lips against hers, like an angel's wing fluttering nearby. The heated zing of passion she was feeling moved to a flood of warmth and heat, centering in her groin, as he kissed her again, this time coming from a different angle, yet almost as gentle. He kissed the corners of her mouth, her bottom lip, the little divot in the center of her upper lip, making a full exploration of her mouth.

He kissed her slowly, leisurely, making a study of her, as if he'd never kissed her before. She was doing the same, trying to feel and compare, but it was no use. Penelope couldn't keep her eyes open, and her mind was beginning to swim with lust. Her lids felt weighted, heavy, as he continued his kisses.

It felt like a dream, an awesome experience, filled with such duality. Her bed was so soft, her pillows surrounding them like a cloud from heaven, yet every inch of his masculine body was rock hard above her. The scent of her room was feminine, nearly powdery, yet the scent of Tide and warm, strong Derek, so masculine and purely male, flooded her.

When he licked against her lips, she signed and opened her mouth, welcoming the invasion. She sank farther into her pillows as he sank them further into the kiss.

The slight slide of his tongue against hers was electric, the tingles rushing over her body again. She sucked gently, wanting more, and when he returned the action, she moaned. His taste... She could become addicted to his sweetness, like a meal she needed to devour. She wrapped her arms, her legs, around his body, wanting to feel more of him.

In that short moment, the dreamy sweetness she was feeling switched over to pure want and need. The pressure of the kiss increased tenfold. Derek slanted his mouth over hers, his tongue shooting deep into her mouth and demanding more. He pressed his body into hers, the hardness of his chest, his hips aligned with hers, the huge ridge of his cock pressed against her mound.

Penelope melted, yet her body ached for more. Trying to fill that ache, she rocked her hips against him, wanting to feel more. A second later, Derek moved one hand beneath her hips, pulling her upward, until she was riding him, feeling him exactly where she wanted him to be. She shivered and gasped as he thrust against her rhythmically. At the same time, he continued his drugging kisses, sending her further and further away from her conscious mind.

Penelope cried out, her body tightening and shuddering, arching against him as she reached climax. She held tight, gasping for breath as waves of sensation roared over her. He continued to hold her, sinking with her into her bed that felt more like a cloud at the moment, and a warm feeling of relief and pleasure washed over her. As she held him back, she realized quickly, and with some mortification, that they were still clothed. She'd come, and they hadn't even taken their clothes off yet.

Somehow that didn't surprise her too much- they were always explosive together.

"How are you feeling, sweetheart?" he asked, his deep voice gruff and gravely.

"Wonderful," she said. She opened her drowsy eyes and looked up into Derek's. His gaze was intense, filled with erotic promises. The pleasurable languor she'd been feeling started to shift.

He smiled down at her wickedly. "Want to feel even more wonderful?"

Derek didn't wait for her answer. He needed her to want and feel him as much as he still wanted her. He didn't know if that was even possible—he'd never wanted anyone like he wanted Penelope.

He started kissing her again, working on the buttons of her silky shirt. His hands were shaking; she had him so worked up, he was like a teenager again. It had been so long since he'd been with her that his senses were on hyper-alert. He was was taking in every single nuance, every change with her. He slid her shirt open, revealing her perfect breasts, the breasts he'd dreamed about for years. No other woman compared. He'd searched, dating girls like Penelope, girls who were anti-Penelope's, and none could ever take her place in his heart.

With one hand, he released her bra and then peeled the shirt and the bra from her milky white body. She was so beautiful, her large heavy breasts with their light, strawberry pink peaks that begged for his mouth and his touch. She looked like dessert, and he had to taste her. Leaning forward, he drew one of her nipples into his mouth. While he devoured her, he caressed her, her silky skin soft under his hands. He cupped the heavy weight of her free breast, trailing an open-mouthed kiss to the tip before giving that one similar attention.

Slowly, he kissed his way down her ribcage, nipping at her skin there and making her gasp, before working his way to her navel. He dipped his tongue inside, teasing her and making her moan, before slowly kissing downward. He unzipped her skirt, pulling it down and leaving her in nothing but her panties.

Derek glanced up at her face and was struck again by how lovely she was. Her honey blonde hair was spread out in wild disarray, her face flushed with passion, and her eyes closed with her thick lashes resting on her porcelain cheeks. She nearly brought tears to his eyes—she was exquisite perfection, everything he'd ever wanted and all he'd dreamed about.

"You're perfect," he whispered as he stood, drawing her panties down her legs.

She shook her head, watching him as he undressed. "No. You're the one who's perfect."

"I'm far from it, whereas you...every part of you is perfect. Here," he murmured, sliding into bed again, kissing whatever he came in contact with-her tummy, the curve of her hip, the top of her thigh. "Here... everywhere..."

He moved down between her thighs, and breathed in her sweet scent. "My perfect angel."

Penelope was about to argue with him again, but was immediately silenced when he placed her leg over his shoulder. She drew in a deep, surprised breath as he licked through her intimate curls, touching her clit. He circled his tongue, tasting her before dipping deeper into her entrance. He drank from her, stopping to blow against her damped flesh to make her shiver, and then continued to lick and tease.

He couldn't get enough of her taste. He lapped at the bud of her sex while he thrust one finger and then two into her tight channel. He watched as she arched, her hands digging into the soft comforter on her bed and her legs shaking uncontrollably. She cried out as she trembled, convulsing on his fingers and flooding him with her pleasure.

It was too much for Derek. His senses were overflowing with her—her salty sweet scent, her delicious essence coating his fingers and his tongue, her flushed body, the softness of her skin, the sounds of her moans echoing in the room and his ears. His cock was throbbing, as hard as steel, begging for completion, and he was sweating with the effort to remain in control. He needed her, needed this, needed to come home, more than he needed to breathe.

Derek withdrew his fingers and slid over her body, the smoothness of her skin a shocking contrast to his. He slid a hand behind her head as he aligned himself to her body, her gaze meeting his. He was trembling, as was she, at the intensity of the moment that was twelve years in the making. They both gasped as he slid deep into her body, until he was fully imbedded in her, hip to hip, chest to chest, heart to heart.

Neither could speak as Derek began a rhythm. He tried for slow, delicate, one that commemorated the moment, the feelings happening between them, but he couldn't do it. He tried, but he wanted her too much.

"I can't go slow, sweetheart," he said as his rhythm faltered.

She reached up, holding his face in her hands. "We'll go slow in round four."

Derek grinned as he thrust into her, plunging deep and hard and causing her to gasp and groan. He did it again, and she cried out, arching her hips toward him. He began a feverish rhythm, thrusting, pounding, quickening his pace. Each plunge brought a cry of delight from Penelope and brought him closer and closer to completion.

"I love you, Derek," she cried out. "I love you, I—"

Suddenly, she screamed, holding him tight and shuddering. The feel of her body clamping down on his, squeezing him, was his final straw. With a deep, hard thrust, he held her hips to his, crushing his mouth down on hers as he came with near-violent intensity.

He lifted his mouth to her ear and whispered, "I love you, too. I always have, and I always will. Forever."

Penelope dragged her mouth to his and kissed him softly, in a kiss of truth and beauty, one that told him she knew, and even more, she believed. He rolled off her, to his side, and pulled her into his embrace. Soon, she fell asleep in his arms, her breaths coming deep and slow.

Derek took a moment to watch her while she slept. It was a dream come true for him, having her in his arms again. He finally felt whole, complete. He kissed the top of her head, and held her close, knowing he was doing what he'd been destined to do: watch over her- Every day of his life.