Notes: Disclaimer is with the first chapter. Umm…sorry this took so long to get out, but I've been extremely busy with the holidays approaching. Thanks for all the reviews. Hope you like this next chapter as much as the last one. Oh, and I hope Wakizashi hurries and gets her next installment out too. *Hint, hint.* Without further ado, here we go. Oh, and please review.
1:30PM, Monday, July 17, 2002, Blush Magazine Headquarters
Dennis Finch hurriedly exited the offices of Blush Magazine and hopped on the elevator. He was desperately trying to locate Maya who had run out of the office, but he wasn't exactly sure where she had disappeared to. He chewed on his bottom lip as he tried to consider all the places she might go to take refuge. He knew that she was likely still in the building…somewhere…because it was only the middle of the workday. Maya wasn't the type of person to just blow off work, no matter how upset she was. Finch's eyed narrowed in anger as his thoughts drifted to Elliott. He just knew that Elliott had done something to hurt Maya deeply.
The elevator dinged as it reached the ground floor. Finch stepped out into the lobby and looked around. He didn't see Maya. His eyes flicked to the women's bathroom. Perhaps Maya had taken refuge in the bathroom. Bathrooms seemed to be pretty popular places for women to go when they were upset. Shrugging his shoulders, Finch made his way over to bathroom. Opening the door a crack, he asked, "Maya, are you in there? If you are, please answer me. It's Finch."
Finch turned around when he heard the guy behind the lobby desk snarkily comment, "Hey bud, that's the female's bathroom. The men's bathroom is on the other side of the lobby. Why don't you try looking at the signs on the doors."
Finch quickly shut the door and turned to address the man. "I know it's the women's restroom. I'm a peeping tom…didn't you know?" When he saw the man narrow his eyes and reach for his phone, Finch rolled his eyes and snorted, "I'm kidding. I'm looking for someone…petite woman with long brown hair. One of our co-workers upset her pretty badly and I'm worried about her. You haven't seen anyone like that have you?"
The man shook his head and said, "Nah, the lobby has been fairly empty and no one has gone into the women's restroom in probably the last twenty minutes or so." Noticing Dennis' dejected look, he added, "But if I were trying to find someone hiding out in this building, I think I'd try the parking garage."
Finch nodded and said, "Thanks man. I'll do that." Finch quickly made his way to the parking garage. He tried to remember where he had seen Maya's car parked earlier, but the answer eluded him. As he was wandering through the garage searching for Maya's car, Finch thought back to the kiss he and Maya had shared. He smiled to himself despite the current situation. That kiss had been full of heat and desire and passion and…love? He wasn't so sure about the love part. Well, he knew the kiss was filled with love on his end, but he wasn't so sure about Maya's end of the kiss. However, he was almost positive her kiss contained all those other elements and that was definitely a starting point. A person doesn't kiss someone like that if there's nothing there to begin with.
Finch's ears suddenly picked up low music playing somewhere in the parking garage…Barry Manilow music to be exact. Finch knew he had located Maya as he followed the strains of I Write the Songs. Turning the corner around one of the rows of cars, Finch spotted Maya's car. He observed Maya sitting in the front seat with the windows rolled down. Her head was leaning back against the headrest and her eyes were closed. He could see that her face was still wet with tears. Slowly approaching her window, he leaned down and whispered, "Maya?"
Maya jerked upright in surprise. Quickly wiping her face, she shakily asked, "How did you find me?"
Finch shrugged and said, "There's only so many places you can go to hide in this building. I already tried the women's restroom down in the lobby…almost got thrown out of the building for being a peeping tom too." Maya gave him a watery smile at that. "This was the next place I looked. Are you okay?"
Maya didn't answer the question. Instead, she lowered her head and stared down into her lap. Her hair fell across her face obscuring her eyes from Finch's view. Dennis gingerly reached a hand through the window to push Maya's hair out of her eyes. When Maya felt his hand come into contact with her face, she jerked back distrustfully. Finch yanked his hand back as if he had been burned. Maya glanced up at Finch and winced as she saw the hurt look plastered across his face. "Look Finch, I'm sorry, but I just really want to be alone right now."
Finch sighed and said, "Maya, I know something happened between you and Elliott. You just can't keep everything bottled up inside…it's not healthy. I think it would be best if you told someone what was bothering you. I'm willing to listen."
Suddenly, all of the emotions -- her newly acknowledged love for Finch, her frustrations with Elliott, her stress from work -- that Maya had been trying to hide from for the last few days came out in a rush of anger. Unfortunately, that rush of anger was directed at the wrong person…Dennis. In a biting voice, Maya lashed out, "Look Finch, I said that I didn't want to talk about it, and I damn well meant it! Can't you get a clue? God, you're just as bad as Elliott. When I say no, I mean no! When I say I don't want to be bothered, that means leave me the hell alone! I can't believe that I actually trusted you. I must have been crazy to think you were actually my friend. Just get the hell out of here and leave me alone." Maya quickly looked up with fire in her eyes to drive her point home. However, she faltered when she saw Finch staring at her with a devastated expression on his face. When she beheld the tears welling in his eyes, her world crashed around her. *Oh god, what did I just do? Why did I say all those horrible things to Dennis? I didn't mean any of them.* Finch opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Maya thought he looked a bit like a fish out of water with the way his mouth kept opening and closing. Maya was just about to apologize for her outburst when Finch whirled around to make a dash for the door of the parking garage. As he was stepping into the lane, a car screeched around the corner at top speed. Maya's heart stopped and "Dennis!!" ripped from her lips as she saw the car bearing down on Finch.
Finch heard Maya scream his name and then he heard the sound of squealing brakes. Jerking his head up, he saw a car fishtailing as the driver tried to stop the car in time. Finch closed his eyes as he waited for the inevitable. A thought flicked through his mind, *At least now, I won't have to deal with Maya's total rejection of me.* But instead of metal meeting his skin, he felt arms encircle his body in a tight embrace. Dennis hesitantly peeked out from under his eyelashes. The car had stopped scant inches from running him down, and Maya was holding him and sobbing into his chest. Finch was having some trouble grasping everything that had just happened.
Maya stepped back a bit when the man inside the car yelled, "Hey you idiot, you need to watch where in the hell you're walking! You want to get mowed down?"
Maya turned to the man in the man in the car and venomously retorted, "And you need to keep your freaking speed to under sixty miles per hour in the parking garage! Save the speed demon stunts for the racetrack, you moron! You could kill someone…hell, you almost did!" Maya grabbed Finch's hand and pulled a still dazed Finch out of the lane. The driver gave them a look of contempt and as he drove by, he flicked them off. Maya returned the uncouth gesture before turning back to Dennis. Maya hesitantly reached up and touched Finch's face. She softly asked, "Are you okay?"
Maya's shaking voice broke Finch out of his stupor. He was just about to smile at Maya in reassurance when he suddenly remembered why he had been fleeing the garage in the first place. Finch's eyes hardened causing Maya to step back in surprise. In a cold voice, he said, "I'm fine…not that you'd care." He abruptly turned on his heel and started heading toward the exit again.
Maya blinked back tears as she followed him. In a desperate voice, she called, "Finch…Dennis, please wait." Dennis ignored her and kept on walking even though it was breaking his heart in two. Maya's voice cracked as she begged, "I didn't mean the things I said. I can't lose you." Finch's steps began to slow, but he still continued onward. He heard her start to cry as she said, "I don't blame you for hating me. I deserve it, okay. I won't bother you again…I'm sorry." His steps falter and then came to halt. Turning around he saw Maya trudging back to her car, her head down and her hair falling across her face. He could hear her pitiful sobs from where he was standing.
As he gazed at her retreating form, Finch thought to himself, *What are you doing, you idiot? You love her, and now that she's apologizing for words obviously said under duress…you're just going to walk away and not even try working it out. Some friend you are.* Finch shook his head in defeat and quickly caught up to Maya. Touching her shoulder lightly, he softly said, "I could never hate you, Maya."
Maya's head jerked around in surprise. Her eyes met his and hope flooded through her. When he reached up to push her hair out of her face, Maya flung herself into his arms and started to sob. "I'm so sorry Dennis. I didn't mean what I said. Everything was just building up…"
Finch smoothed her hair down with his hand as he finished, "And I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, right." Maya buried her head in his chest and nodded mutely. "I know Maya, I know. Hell, I even knew you didn't mean it, but it still hurt. I think I just wanted to make you hurt too, but then I thought to myself what would I accomplish by hurting you…nothing other than losing the most important person in my life." Maya glanced up at him and he smiled slightly. He gently wiped the tears from her face as he asked, "Know what?" Maya slowly shook her head, and he smiled as he said, "I decided that you were more important than my pride. Hell, I don't have any pride anyway…I listen to Barry Manilow." Maya snorted against his chest and tightened her arms around him. Pulling back slightly, Finch said, "Why don't we sit in your car for a few minutes and straighten everything out." Maya nodded and Finch pulled her over to the car. He opened the driver's side door for her and then walked to the passenger side and got in.
Glancing down, he saw Maya's cell phone attached to her belt. "Can I snag your phone for a sec?" At Maya's questioning look, he said, "I think we should call your dad and tell him that we'll be back in a few minutes and not to worry. I'm sure he's heard something about what happened." Maya sighed and handed the phone to Dennis. He quickly punched in Jack's number. "Hey Jack, it's Finch…Calm down, I found her…She's okay, now…We'll be back up in a few…Umm yeah, something to do with Elliott." Finch let out a small giggle as he glanced at Maya, "Should you fire him? Wouldn't bother me at all." He rolled his eyes when he saw Maya shaking her head, "But Maya seems to be opposed to firing baldy…Maybe you should talk to him though…Look, it's not my place to say what happened, especially since I'm not completely sure myself. You really need to ask Maya…Yeah yeah, we'll be up in a few minutes…Bye."
Maya glanced at Finch and said, "So he heard, huh?"
Finch nodded, "I think the whole office heard, Maya. I highly suspect that your little disappearing act and the sound of Elliott's slap reverberating through the office will be fodder for office gossip for a long time to come. So yeah, he heard, but he's not exactly sure what happened…just that it involved you and Elliott." Running his hand though his hair, Dennis continued, "Hell, I have a hunch, but even I'm not entirely clear on what happened other than that Elliott somehow made an ass out of himself…again." Handing the phone back to Maya, he asked, "So feel like clueing me in? It won't go any further, I swear."
Maya took a deep breath and said, "He made a pass at me." She glanced at Finch to see his reaction.
Finch rolled his eyes and said, "I kinda figured. Stupid Elliott, not knowing when to take no for an answer." Dennis licked his lips and pondered, "So he made a pass and you slapped him."
Finch intense gaze centered on her. *What there's more? She didn't like his pass did she? Of course not you idiot, or she wouldn't be sitting here with you. She'd be up there smooching on that…thing.* Clearing his throat, he said, "So he made a pass and then…"
Maya glanced out her window and replied, "Well, I told him to stop…that I didn't see him that way anymore. He was my friend and that was it." Shuddering slightly, Maya continued, "I told him that he was in my past and I didn't want any reminders of when we were together. He said something about reminding me of how good we were together." Letting out a shaky sigh, Maya whispered, "Then he grabbed me and kissed me so I hit him."
Dennis stared at Maya with a dropped jaw. He closed his jaw with an audible snap. "He kissed you?" When Maya hesitantly nodded, Finch muttered, "I'll kill him."
Maya smiled at him and shook her head. "It wasn't so much the kiss as what was behind the kiss that bothered me." When she saw Finch's brow furrow in confusion, she explained, "I don't mean I wanted him to kiss me, not at all. I would have been angry regardless, but it was the feelings that in that kiss that unsettled me." Blushing mightily, she stuttered, "Our kiss was nice…sweet with lots of good feelings fueling it on." Tightening her grip on Finch's hand, she continued in a shaky voice, "But his kiss was just brutal and possessive. It scared me…he scared me." Finch let go of her hand and protectively wrapped his arm around her. He leaned over and kissed her on the temple. Maya caught his gaze and gave him a small smile. "I feel safe here with you though." Saying that, she snuggled in closer to Finch's body.
Finch tightened his grip on Maya's shoulder and said, "You are safe with me. I won't hurt you, and I won't let anyone else hurt you either." Finch thought for a moment before he continued, "Though I didn't keep Elliott from hurting you so I guess I mean I'll try to keep anyone else from hurting you."
Maya smiled, "I know what you meant, but you know what's really bothering me now?" Finch just raised his eyebrows in question. His brow suddenly furrowed in confusion when he saw Maya grimace as though she had a bad taste in her mouth. Maya raised her eyes to his and said, "Now I have yucky Elliott taste in my mouth."
Finch snorted in amusement and said, "I think we have the remedy to that problem."
Maya's eyes brightened, "Oh…you have breath mints?" Finch smiled mischievously as he quickly leaned over and gave Maya a small kiss on the lips. Maya's eyes widened, and then she smiled. Nodding, she said, "Definitely much better than breath mints." She quickly grabbed Finch and pulled him back in for another kiss. Neither was sure exactly how long the kiss lasted. It could have been minutes or hours. Maya reluctantly pulled back. Brushing a strand of golden hair from Finch's eyes, she said, "This could get complicated."
Dennis stared at her with a slightly dazed expression before asking, "What?"
Maya rolled her eyes and said, "Duh…my dad and Elliott. They'll both be out to murder you, and if that happens, who will I have to kiss then."
Finch felt an idiotic smile cross his face as he asked, "So you want to keep kissing me?" A bright blush made it's way up Maya's neck. Dennis giggled and said, "Don't worry Maya. I kinda like kissing you too."
Maya smiled at him and gave him a quick kiss. "But really, what are we supposed to do about my dad and Elliott?"
Finch shrugged his shoulders, "Keep it secret…at least for now. Wait until Elliott has cooled off a bit, and we can break your dad into the idea slowly. They don't have to know at the moment that we're seeing each other on more than a friend basis." Finch's brow furrowed as he asked, "I mean…uhh...we are seeing each other on more than a friend basis, right?"
Maya couldn't help but smile as Finch's insecurity shone through. He was just too cute when he was all unsure like that. Maya leaned closer and said, "Definitely more than a friend basis. I don't kiss my friends like that."
Dennis narrowed his eyes and retorted, "You'd better not. No kissing anybody but me from now on."
Maya raised her eyebrows and pulled back slightly. In a coy voice, she asked, "Going all caveman on me already?"
"Damn straight. Don't want anyone else kissing my woman."
Maya snickered and said, "As long as no one but me has claim to your lips." Finch grinned and leaned in kissing her with said lips. Maya pulled back and licked her lips. Sighing happily, she said, "Much better than Elliott taste." Glancing at Finch, she asked, "So we're really going to do this?" Finch nodded in the affirmative. "Okay, but we're going to have to try and keep it to a minimum around the office…or someone is likely to see or hear."
Finch nodded and then replied in a huffy voice, "But I really don't think they'll suspect anything anyway considering they all still think that I'm gay."
Maya snorted and patted him on the back, "Don't worry. I don't think your gay…in fact, I know you aren't." Finch looked at her with a questioning glance. Maya smiled coyly and said, "Well, in the office earlier, right before you broke the kiss, I kinda felt the evidence against my leg."
Maya giggled as the color rushed to Dennis' face. He stared at her in mortified silence before slamming his forehead down on the dashboard and mumbling, "Oh god, kill me now."
Maya suddenly felt horrible for picking on Finch that way. "Oh come on, it's not that bad. I was kinda flattered. It's nice knowing someone finds me attractive."
Even in his embarrassment, Finch looked at her like she was insane. "Of course, I find you attractive, Maya. Your gorgeous."
Maya snorted and said, "No, I'm not."
Finch rolled his eyes and said, "Yeah, you are." Shaking his head he wondered how Maya could possibly not know how beautiful she was. Didn't she have any idea that practically all the males in the office lusted after her…probably some of the females too. Clearing his throat, Finch added, "Do you know how many times your father has had to threaten guys around the office because of the way he'd seen them looking at you? I bet every guy in that office has had inappropriate thoughts about you except for probably your dad and the gay guy from accounting."
Maya stared at him and said, "You really think I'm pretty?"
Finch leaned over and said, "You're beautiful. You're even prettier on the inside though."
Maya smiled and gave him a small kiss before saying, "I guess we should start heading back upstairs."
Finch nodded and then sheepishly asked, "Can I have one more kiss before we go?" Maya giggled and gave him a kiss that left him gasping for breath. Shaking his head, he said, "I'm not even going to ask where you learned to kiss like that." Finch got out of the car and walked around to open the door for Maya.
Maya smiled and said, "Who knew you were such a gentleman."
Grinning, Finch said, "Only for you my dear, only for you."