A Long Winter’s Nap


This is a direct follow-up to All the Best Lies.

Rated: M

Tags: talking, first-time, Christmas, pie

It was Christmas, and so the midday Friday traffic was uncharacteristically light, but McCall still had plenty of time to second- or even third-guess herself on the drive over to Hunter's place. When they had initially talked about the holiday, she had invited him home with her, assuring him he would of course be welcome with her family, but he'd begged off. He was tired. Emotionally fried. Plus, there was the part neither of them really wanted to discuss, which was that they still hadn't defined the precise nature of their current relationship with each other, and so it would be super awkward to spend a couple of days answering pointed questions about it from her mother and Aunt Donna.

So McCall was a little relieved when he'd said no, but then she found when she was supposed to drive off and leave him alone on Christmas, she just couldn't make herself go through with it, not with all that he'd been through in the past month. She had called her parents, made vague excuses she knew she would end up having to solidify under the pressure of the Maternal Inquisition, and turned her car toward the beach—despite the fact that she wasn't entirely sure he would welcome her.

Hunter's face registered surprise when he opened the door, but his tone was warm when he said, "Hey, I didn't expect to see you today."

She smiled self-consciously and shrugged. "Merry Christmas?"

"Merry Christmas," he said, still sounding a bit bemused. But he opened the door wider to admit her, and she took that as a sign he wasn't too upset at her impromptu visit.

She should have brought him some sort of gift, she realized. That would have established the ideal pretext for dropping by. Unfortunately, she had spent most of the days leading up to Christmas working two jobs and getting shot at in-between. This schedule hadn't left a whole lot of free time for shopping, so she'd barely had time to throw together a few things for her parents and brothers.

She took off her coat but held it in her arms, still unsure whether she was staying. "I just, uh, I wondered what you were up to today," she said.

"You're pretty much looking at it." He was dressed in an old flannel shirt and jeans, and she could smell something sweet and aromatic coming from his kitchen. "I was just mulling some wine—do you want a glass?"

"That would be great," she said, relaxing at last. She put aside her coat and followed him to the kitchen, where she lounged against the counter to watch him ladle out two mugs of wine.

"I spent this morning at the hospital with Sabrina," he said. "She said to thank you for the magazines."

She cupped her hands around her mug and eyed him. "Did you decide to get her a Christmas present?" When last they'd talked, he had been undecided on the issue.

"I guess that depends on what you think of this," he said, nudging an envelope across the counter toward her. "I took her a copy today."

McCall put down her mug so she could look at the folded papers inside the envelope, which she could tell from the return address had to have originated with the DNA testing lab. She scanned the papers once and then read more carefully to be sure she had interpreted correctly. "She's your sister," she said finally, laying the papers down.

"Seems so." He took a sip of wine. "Pretty wild, huh?"

"Very." She waited a second. "How did Sabrina take the news?"

"She was pretty quiet about it—I guess kind of like me. We both have this paper now that says we're family but we don't even know each other. It's just so weird, you know? A few weeks ago, I buried my mom, and I was thinking, 'This is it. I'm the last one,' and the whole time Sabrina was out there and I didn't even know it."

"You may just have to give it a little time," she said softly. "She's been through a lot. You both have."

"Yeah." He looked thoughtful. "I dunno. They were reading the Christmas story on the radio this morning as I was driving back—the real one, you know, from the bible?" She nodded. "And when they got to the part about 'unto you a child is born' and all that stuff about how he would change the world—I guess I felt it in a new way this year. The way one birth can change the world." He straightened up and looked a little horrified at himself. "Not that I'm saying Sabrina is Jesus."

She laughed and laid a hand on his arm. "No, I get it. You got a baby for Christmas. She just happens to be twenty-three years old."

He relaxed with a smile. "Yeah, exactly. And I've got about as much of an idea of what to do with her as I would if she were a squalling red infant."

McCall considered. "For now, I think…just be her friend. We can all use more of those, right?"

He nudged her. "Right."

There was a companionable moment of silence, and she took up her mug again. "So," she said before taking a sip. "What are your plans for the day?"

"Me? I was going to drink this with some crackers and cheese and watch 'Miracle on 34th Street,' which is coming on in—" He checked. "Fourteen minutes. After that, I was going to take a nap."

"Sounds good to me," she replied, coloring just a little as she brazenly invited herself over.

He raised his eyebrows at her. "Even the nap?"

She gave a half-shrug and avoided his eyes. "I helped buy the bed," she said. "Seems only fair I get to test it out."

Hunter made a noise that suggested he was definitely intrigued, but she ignored him in favor of the refrigerator, where she located two different kinds of cheese. Together, they made up a plate and took it to his living room, where she took off her shoes so she could curl up on his couch. Hunter switched on the TV and sat down next to her. He gave her a sideways look as he stretched one arm behind her.

"Not that I'm complaining," he said, "but aren't you supposed to be spending today with your family?"

She settled in next to him, and his arm closed around her. "Yeah," she replied. "I am."


She awoke to a shadowed room, surprised to find she had slept at all, let alone with such surrender. She and Hunter had only shared a bed a handful of times, not nearly enough for it to feel routine, and now there was a warm, tingling sense of possibility between them—maybe they would nap, maybe they would kiss. Maybe they would do more than kiss. She wasn't sure how the afternoon would go but had decided to open herself up to a range of potential options when she'd removed her bra from beneath her top prior to climbing beneath the covers with him. Besides, there was no way she was sleeping with an underwire on.

Hunter had watched with naked appreciation as she withdrew the bra, Houdini-like, through one armhole. He blinked as though she'd materialized an actual rabbit from a hat and not a white lacy undergarment from underneath a turtleneck sweater. "Should I take off my underwear too?" he'd asked, deadpan.

She'd looked pointedly at his jeans. "Are you even wearing any?"

He'd grinned as he'd drawn the drapes. "Play your cards right, Sergeant, and you just might find out."

But instead, they'd slept. In all fairness, they were both running an enormous sleep debt after their harrowing adventures in trying to clear him of murder charges. A couple of hours in a big, soft bed, nowhere else to be, felt sinful and luxurious. She stretched with a sleepy smile, and Hunter must have felt her stirring. "Hey," he said, propping himself up on the pillow next to her. "Sleep well?"

"Bed passes inspection," she murmured as she snuggled in again. "It sure got dark in here, though." She had no idea what time it was, but the indigo light shafting in from outside suggested the sun was already down.

"I have a cure for that," he said, getting up to flick on a wall switch. It activated a couple of strings of white Christmas lights that hung around the edge of the ceiling, casting a soft glow throughout the room.

"You put up Christmas lights?" she asked as he rejoined her under the covers. "Your reputation as the resident Scrooge may be in jeopardy here, Hunter."

"I had extra after I put up your tree."

"Oh. Right." She rolled to face him. "Did I ever say thank you for that?" It was hard to remember, given the immediate aftermath with the bullets and the kidnappings and the almost-getting-murdered part.

"I think so." He touched her cheek briefly, and she missed the warmth of his hand immediately when he pulled away. "Did I ever say thank you for sticking by me during this whole awful mess?"

"I think so."

They were lying on their sides, facing one another, so close she could feel him breathing. Their hands rested next to each other on the bed, and she stroked the mattress with her fingertips. She wanted to be touching him instead but she couldn't quite make herself close the gap and do it. She could just start caressing his hand, which would no doubt lead to more touching, and then kissing, and then taking off of clothes…there was nothing at all to stop them this time, and maybe that was what was holding her back.

"I can feel you thinking," he said dryly.

"Hmm?" She jerked her attention away from his long, tapered fingers. "Oh, sorry."

There was another silence, this one a bit less comfortable. "What is it?" he asked her finally. "Just tell me."

It hadn't even occurred to her to be afraid the first time. They hadn't planned to sleep together, of course, and she remembered the sweet shock of that initial kiss. But after that, she'd felt only joy and wonder; she hadn't known about the terrible awkwardness and tension that would follow. "This," she said at length, indicating the warm inches of space between them. "We, uh, we screwed it up pretty badly last time."

He chuckled and grabbed her hand. "That's not how I remember it," he said in a low voice, and her face went hot at the memory.

"The after part," she said.

He squeezed her in brief apology. "I know. You're right. We messed up."

"What scares me is-what if…what if that happens again?" It was more than a little terrifying, putting all her eggs in this extremely tall, undeniably handsome, often exasperating basket. He was offering to be her everything, and she couldn't quite believe she was considering it. Rick Hunter. The man whose milk carton typically had a longer expiration date than his average romantic relationship.

Hunter took a deep breath and considered. "Yeah, there's no guarantee, I guess."

"And that doesn't scare you?"

"Hell yes, it scares me. You were about to walk out on me and join the FBI, remember?"

"I wasn't ever really serious about that," she said, her tone conciliatory.

"Serious enough," he replied darkly. "So, yeah. I get it. We're operating without a net here. I guess I just hope maybe we learned something since last time. Or at least, that we screwed it up and still it worked out okay in the end. You're here. I'm here. So maybe we're not as bad at this as we think."

She hadn't considered that aspect. "So we're bad," she said, "but not to the point of irreparable damage."

He grinned. "Exactly." Then he sobered for a moment. When he spoke, he reached out with one finger and traced a gentle line back and forth across her wrist. "And this thing with Sabrina, with my mom…I don't know…it's made me think how easy it is to miss your time with someone. Maybe my mother meant to tell me all that stuff about my dad and the money and Sabrina—but she didn't. She didn't get that chance. And Sabrina's been here, right here in the city only a few miles away, and I didn't even know she existed."

Emotion welled within her, and she reached to squeeze his hand. He answered with a return squeeze and inched a little closer to her.

"I can't promise I know what I'm doing," he said. "Or that I'll always know the right thing to say. Or that I'll say anything at all, even when I should. I'll try, but God knows, I'm bound to screw it up somewhere. But I guess…I'm just excited to have the chance. Some people get only one shot at this. Amazingly, we've got a second one."

"Stop," she said. "You're going to make me cry."

"See? I told you I'd get it wrong." But he was teasing, and so she laughed through her tears.

"And here I worried I'd scare you off forever with all the Steve and marriage talk."

"Nah," he said as they leaned heads together. "I may be a screw-up sometimes, but I don't scare easy. At least not when it comes to you."

She started toying with one of the center buttons on his shirt, the next best thing to touching him. He nuzzled the top of her head, and she closed her eyes, enjoying the closeness and the slow buildup of anticipation. Neither one of them was making any move to get out of the bed.

"I had no idea you'd started seeing him so young," Hunter said eventually.

"Hmm, yes. We dated for several years before we got married." It really seemed like a lifetime ago, like she'd been a completely different person.

"Was he your first, then?" Hunter asked.

She froze with her hand on his button. "Why do you ask?" she replied, drawing back to look at him.

His eyes were dark in the low light, but his expression was earnest. He shrugged. "I just like knowing stuff about you," he said. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

She thought about what he'd said about Sabrina existing in the same city for years without him ever having known, about how little she really knew of his past, too, beyond the occasional anecdote here or there. She and Hunter had spent many more years apart than they had together, and she while certainly didn't regret that time, but she had questions too, about him and where he came from. A sexual debut was minor stuff in the grand scheme of things, but it was somewhere to start. "I'll tell you," she said, "if you tell me."

A laugh escaped him, and she frowned.

"What?" she demanded. "I think that's fair."

"It's totally fair. I just think you're going to be disappointed is all."

"Humor me."

He settled back down next to her, more serious now. "Understand, I don't even count this except in the most technical sense."

She rolled her eyes. "Duly noted for the official court record."

"I had just turned sixteen. It was the summer before junior year, and a cousin of mine, Tommy, threw a party at his parents' beach house while they were down in Mexico for the weekend. I didn't know too many people, but there was all the beer you could want and a giant bonfire and plenty of girls in bikinis."

"I think I'm getting the picture."

"Anyway, this one girl—I don't even remember her name—she had strawberry blonde hair and a green-and-yellow striped bikini. We were talking and stuff and I'm thinking I look like pretty hot shit, standing there with a beer, when she asks me if I wanted to go the bedroom where it's quieter. Hell yeah, I wanted to go to the bedroom—who wouldn't? I figured we were going to make out, just the usual messing around. Maybe if I was lucky, she'd let me take her top off, you know? But when we get in there, there's hardly any preliminaries before she's going for my pants. She kept saying 'We have to be quick,' and I'm still thinking 'quick about what?' when the next thing I know I'm practically on top of her. She's going, 'Put it in, put it in.'"

McCall frowned. This certainly did not sound like the 'hail the conquering hero' story she'd been expecting. "So what happened?"

"I was half-loaded and confused, but I knew I wasn't supposed to be turning this kind of opportunity down. Guys were supposed to go for it. So I put it in. Like two seconds later, Tommy starts banging on the bedroom door. He wanted to use it with his girl. I zipped up and we hightailed it out of there. I never saw her again. I was kind of left wondering what all the fuss had been about—I finally had sex, and that was it? What a letdown."

"Ouch," McCall said. "Sorry." She hesitated. "I didn't think those kind of stories happened to guys."

Hunter gave her a wry smile. "It's more like, we just don't talk about 'em. I told you I barely even count that one."

"Oh, I see," she said, mildly amused at his personal math. "Do you count the next one?"

"Yeah," he said after a moment. "She counted."

She knew then that he was talking about Lucy, and she rubbed his arm in sympathy. He reached up to catch her hand with his, and he kissed her palm lightly. "Okay, I told you. Now spill."

She'd suggested this deal, so it was only fair to hold up her end. She curled up next to him, her head on her arm. "Well, in some ways, it's a bit of a similar story," she said, and his eyebrows shot up. "Not like that," she said laughing, and slapped his arm. "I mean in the sense that it was not perfect. Yes, it was with Steve, but no, I didn't tell him first. We'd gone out a few times and I liked him. I was ready to get it over with, and he was older, so I figured if I didn't go through with it after a few dates, he'd just find someone else."

She glanced at Hunter and saw she had his full attention. She took a deep breath before continuing.

"Anyway, needless to say, that wasn't the best recipe for success. It was awkward and unpleasant and when Steve figured out what had happened, I thought that was it—he was never going to call me again."

"I think the wedding rather gives this one away," Hunter replied.

She smiled fondly in memory. "He asked me to the movies the next night. After it was over, we sat in his car and he said he was sorry for pushing me—which he hadn't, by the way, if anyone was pushing it was me, wanting to just get on with it already—and that we could wait the next time until I was sure I was ready."

"Did you rip his clothes off right then?"

She laughed. "No, I don't think I heard much beyond 'next time' because it meant he wanted to keep seeing me. We went out a few more times, and he kissed me and held my hand and just kept coming around again, until I was sure of two things: one, he meant it when he said he liked me; two, I was falling in love with him. So yeah, the second time was a lot better." She flushed a bit at the memory of lying naked in bed with him on a sun-dappled June afternoon. By the time dusk fell, she'd finally understood, as Hunter had said, what the fuss was about.

She was sort of waiting for Hunter to make a raunchy joke, but instead he smiled and touched her face. "Sometimes I wish I'd known Steve better," he said. "He sounds like a hell of a guy."

"He was." Her sigh was both regretful and happy, both at the memory and at the chance to share it. Hunter never made her feel like she had to give up Steve; it was always okay to talk about him, and she was hugely grateful to him for that in a way that was difficult to articulate. She settled for snuggling closer. "What about you?" she asked. "Was it better the second time?"

He chuckled. "For me? Yes. For Lucy…well, I hope she got something out of it, but I was still pretty clueless about the whole thing. Female anatomy can be awfully mysterious, you know. The last girl, she'd just said 'put it in'—how was I supposed to know there was much more to it?"

"Oh my God," she said, wincing on Lucy's behalf.

"You see what I mean," he said. "They teach entirely the wrong things in sex ed."

Someone had taught him, McCall thought, and taught him well. Her body warmed again she remembered the feel of his body on top of hers. "Yes. I don't imagine we'll be seeing hands-on courses school any time soon," she said.

"Well, that's what it took," he told her. "The girl after Lucy—Camilla—she was not about to put up with my bumbling around. She was an older girl, and she knew what she wanted. When I couldn't figure it out, she showed me."

"And women everywhere thank her," McCall finished wryly.

"Oh, but see, that's not the end of the story."

"Don't I know it," she muttered, and he pressed her back into the pillows until she giggled.

"I mean," he continued when he backed off again, "Camilla's lesson was entirely personal, only I didn't know it at the time. When I tried the same moves on the next girl, I got nowhere. I'm doing my thing, and she looked like she might have been watching a presidential debate or something. Finally, I figured the one thing that was transferrable from Camilla: this girl could show me what she wanted. That lesson stuck. Ever since, I make women give me the grand tour, so to speak."

She blinked, thinking back on their night together. She had offered no tour, nor had he demanded one. A slow smile spread across Hunter's face. He leaned down into her personal space to murmur to her.

"I know what you're thinking."

Her cheeks went hot and she lowered her gaze. "You do not."

"Yes I do. You're thinking I didn't ask you for the tour."

Dammit, she hated when he was right. She swallowed but didn't say anything. His face was millimeters from hers, and his words vibrated against her skin.

"I didn't have to ask you," he said, his voice low. "I was surprised, too. But it turns out all those years of having to watch you, to read your every move and expression because our lives sometimes depended on it…well, that kind of study pays off." He lifted his hand and held it over her, close enough that she could feel the heat radiating from his palm. He ran it slowly down the length of her body, not quite touching her, murmuring near her ear the whole time. "I know what you like. I can tell what you want."

Her pulse quickened, she raised her eyes to meet his, challenging him to prove it. "Oh, yeah? What do I want?"

With nimble fingers, he popped the button on her trousers and slipped his hand down between her legs, cupping her through her underwear.

She gasped at the intimate touch. It was crazy—they hadn't even kissed. They were still dressed. But yet there she was with his hand down the front of her pants. It was aggressive and shocking and totally arousing. The satisfied gleam in Hunter's eyes said the game was on, but she wasn't about to let him win just yet. "That's it?" she said, and licked her lips. "That's what you think I want?"

She forced herself to hold perfectly still, as though this weren't getting to her at all.

"Mmm." He leaned down and brushed his lips against her cheek, softly once, and then again. "I think you want it," he murmured. "I think you need it."

He started rubbing his fingertips back and forth in a lazy rhythm. Oh, that was nice. She cleared her throat and used the sound as a cover to widen her legs just a tiny bit. "It's…it's not bad, I suppose," she said. She sounded like she might have been filing her nails.

"Not bad?" He had nudged loose material of her turtleneck to one side so that he could kiss her throat. Kiss. Kiss. Her face felt like it might burst into flame, but she held her ground. "Then how about this?" he murmured against her skin.

He shifted his fingers to a circling motion and she held back a moan. There was no real space in her pants for the both of them, so he was pressed right up against her underwear, delicious friction that was slowly driving her mad. She was determined not to squirm. "That's…that's okay," she said, sounding a little breathless now. She twisted her hands in the sheets so she wouldn't reach for him.

"I think." He picked up the rhythm and bit her lightly. "I think it's better than okay. I think you like it."

"Mmm," she said, neither confirming nor denying. Any outright refusal would be difficult because the slim barrier of her panties had become thoroughly wet. She shut her eyes as her body started rocking into his hand of its own free will.

"Just say the word," Hunter told her. "And I can take your pants off."

She could take her own damn pants off if she wanted, but that wasn't the point. "If that's what you want…" she replied.

Hunter's mouth hovered over hers, not quite kissing her. "Oh no," he breathed. "It's not about what I want, remember? It's what you want."

"I'm…I'm good."

"You sure?"

"Uh..uh-huh." It was getting harder to form words; her brain had gone all muzzy. She peeked down to see again the sight of his strong arm, with its golden tan, disappearing into her pants. His tendons moved in rhythm as he pleasured her, and her hips followed the increasingly frantic dance. The friction caused her trousers to slip lower, exposing her naked abdomen. She felt him everywhere-his arm hairs tickling her, his breath on her face, his long, talented fingers like fire between her thighs.

She gulped for air. Oh, God. Don't come. Don't come.

"If you're not sure," he said, "I can always stop."

No, no, she thought, even as he pulled his hand out. Wet fingertips trailed over the soft, tender skin of her belly. She lay there, tense and quivering on the edge of an orgasm that had suddenly disappeared. "You are evil," she said when she could find some words.

He laughed and held his face close against hers. "You want to continue? Just tell me. Tell me what you want."

He edged his hand lower again, and her traitorous body practically leapt toward his fingers. She had won the battle but lost the war. "I want…" Her voice was thick with need.

Hunter shifted so his mouth was barely touching hers. "What? Say it."

"I want you," she breathed, and he kissed her, long and deep. They kept kissing as he reached below and yanked down her pants and underwear, a gesture she enthusiastically supported by kicking them free amid a tangle of sheets and blankets. His hand returned between her legs and soon she was squirming and panting, kissing him frantically as she held his head and rocked against his delicious fingers.

He pulled his mouth from hers briefly, his breath fanning her face as he felt around for the entrance to her body. When he found the right spot, he teased her gently, waiting for permission. He was always so careful with consent, even in the middle of some playful domination, always making it so easy for her to say yes, yes, yes. She answered him with a subtle thrust of her hips, and they kissed with abandon as he began slipping first one finger, then two, smoothly in and out. They kissed until they'd used up all the oxygen; she had not enough air to kiss and come. Pleasure and pressure built and built until she whimpered and stiffened, grabbing his free hand for dear life as the orgasm shook through her.

When she'd stopped trembling, she found Hunter had raised her sweater and laid his head between her breasts. She patted him with an unsteady hand as her breathing slowed, and he replied by squeezing her around the middle. "You were right," she said finally. "I like that."

He chuckled and stretched up to kiss her again. Slowly they shed one article of clothing and then another, until he was lying naked on his back with her half-draped over him. Her hand rested on the smooth, hot skin of his abdomen, and she scored him lightly with her nails. She smiled against his mouth as she felt the sharp intake of his breath. "What's your line here?" she asked him between kisses. "Give me the grand tour?"

"Mmm." He already sounded distracted. "I'm a guy, McCall. The equipment comes standard—and you've already toured the place plenty."

She laughed and stroked his stomach again. "Humor me anyway," she suggested. "I'm curious how this works."

She thought for a second he was going to say no again, but instead he reached down and took her hand in his. She'd expected him to take her lower, down to the impressive—ahem—equipment, but instead he pressed her palm to his skin and dragged her hand slowly up the length of his body: over his firm stomach, past the lean, rangy territory of his ribs, through the fine chest hair covering his sculpted pectorals, and finally stopping at the faintly scratchy skin along his jaw. She rubbed her thumb against his cheek, a gesture that was both tender and affectionate, and he turned his face so he could kiss the center of her palm.

Then he kissed her fingertips, one by one, opening his mouth a bit more each time until he was licking as well as kissing. His eyes were fierce with desire, holding her in place almost by will alone as he sucked each one of her fingers in turn. The rough feel of his tongue combined with the heat of his gaze sent arousal coursing over her body once more.

After he had thoroughly wet her fingers with his mouth, he took her hand back down his body to the soft, hard feel of his cock. They still hadn't broken eye contact. She didn't have to watch what her hand was doing behind her because his hand was guiding hers, slowly up and down, around the top, then down again. His grip was firmer than hers might have been, but clearly he liked it this way.

Eventually his hand left hers to take a different tour. He mapped the curve of her hips, her ribs, up to the full swell of her breast. Somehow she managed to keep the rhythm going with her hand even as he started thumbing one tender nipple. He cupped the back of her head and brought her down for a kiss—which turned into two kisses, then three, then four…

She lost concentration for a moment but then decided to abandon his game plan and try some plays of her own. She rubbed him gently, then with growing pressure, back off once more when she felt him start to tense beneath her. He wasn't the only one who appreciated a good tease. After a few minutes, she had him open-mouthed, heavy-lidded and panting as she used just her thumb and forefinger up and down, over and over again, in the same slow rhythm. "Ah," he gasped finally as his hips bucked. "Stop."

"I wasn't finished with the tour," she pouted.

He rolled her back into the pillows with a growl. "Maybe you weren't finished, but the tour was definitely about to end."

She giggled and stroked his face, pleased she had pleased him. They kissed warmly for a few moments, then with growing passion as his erection lay hot and heavy against her thigh. "Just a sec," he murmured to her, and he stretched across the bed to get a condom. She welcomed him back into her arms but still he made no move to enter her. He kissed and held her and ran his hand over the length of her body, and it all felt wonderful, but she could not figure out why he was holding back.


"Hmm?" His lips were on her neck.

"Please?" She wriggled her hips in invitation, and she felt him smile into her shoulder.

"I should get on with it?" he asked.

"Any time now."

Still, he hesitated. He drew back and looked down at her with serious eyes. "Just tell me if you want to stop, okay?"

Surely he could not possibly think he was taking advantage this time. "I don't want to stop. Definitely do not stop." She couldn't figure out the source of his sudden diffidence.

"Okay. I just…I know a lot has happened since we were here last."

It was the shadow that crossed his face that finally clued her in to what he was thinking: she'd endured an intervening sexual assault, one that she was still in therapy for, one that gave her occasional nightmares, and Hunter, as her best friend in all things, knew every bit of this. She supposed it might have been triggering, lying under an enormous man like this, but he was dear and familiar and felt amazing in her arms. She did the due diligence for his benefit and searched herself for any sign of fear or anxiety, but she found none. She smiled. "It's okay," she told him, drawing him back down for more kissing. "It's good."

He smiled against her mouth. "Is good better than 'nice'?" he asked.

"I don't know yet. Suppose you show me."

He didn't make her wait any longer. She held his face in her hands and kissed him gently, over and over, as he eased inside her body. "Ahh," she sighed with deep pleasure when he was fully seated. It was as just as fantastic as she remembered. Missionary wasn't always her favorite-it was often difficult to come this way—but she had been shocked that first time to find how good it felt with him, to the point where she had climaxed sharply after only a few quick thrusts. This time, she'd had enough of the edge taken off earlier to be able to notice why Hunter was different. The thick base of his cock plus the angle that their height differential created meant he rubbed her off with every delicious thrust.

Yes, it was happening again, her skin growing hot and tingling as Hunter increased the pace of his hips. She closed her eyes and let him take her there, his body pushing her higher and higher until she shattered—a million tiny white lights behind her eyes. Hunter gasped a moment later in sweet relief as he shuddered in her arms. He collapsed on top of her in a sweaty heap.

Later, they cuddled together beneath the blankets. This was the part that made her slightly nervous: the after. Hunter seemed relaxed though as he kissed the top of her head. "So," he said, "was it better than pie?"

She smiled against his chest. "I don't know. What kind of pie are we talking about?" She was actually kind of hungry.

"You don't know when to quit, do you?"

"Mmm. I don't plan on quitting, no." She pressed a kiss to his ribs for emphasis. Then she hesitated. "But I do have to go away for the weekend. My parents might actually show up looking for me otherwise."

"No one wants that," he agreed in a hurry. He squeezed her. "But you can stay tonight, right?"

"I have no clothes."

"I see no problem with this."

"I don't even have a toothbrush," she said, propping herself up on one elbow.

"Ah," he said, holding up a finger to her. "One moment." He got out of the bed, bare-assed, and returned with a new toothbrush, still in its plastic wrap, adorned with a red ribbon. "Merry Christmas," he said as he tossed it to her.

"Thanks," she replied as she picked it up and turned it over in her hand. "Do you just keep a supply of these around for such occasions?"

He had climbed back into the bed next to her. "No, I got that one special for you when I was picking out the magazines for Sabrina."

"Oh. Well then, thank you." She stretched over to kiss his cheek.

"I figure you're leaving again tomorrow, but you're coming back—yeah?"

She held her palm to his face. "Yeah," she agreed warmly. The after part was already going much better this time, and she was only going to be gone for a couple of days. She snuggled in next to him, still holding the toothbrush. "If I'm staying now, though, there will have to be food."

"Fine," he said with a heavy sigh. "I have the makings for spaghetti with vodka sauce. Probably a salad. How does that sound?"

"No pie?"

He rolled over and caged her between his arms, his expression one of fond exasperation. "There might be a frozen apple pie in the freezer somewhere. You are welcome to check. Will that satisfy you?"

She ran her hand up his chest in suggestive fashion. "No," she replied. "But it's a start."


The end.

© syntax6 2015