When somebody loves you
It's no good unless he loves you - all the way
Happy to be near you
When you need someone to cheer you - all the way
When somebody needs you
It's no good unless he needs you - all the way
Through the good or lean years
And for all the in between years - come what may
Who knows where the road will lead us
Only a fool would say
But if you'll let me love you
It's for sure I'm gonna love you - all the way
All the way
Frank Sinatra Song
ALL THE WAY
The intrusive sun worked its way into Lauren Chambers' bedroom, lazily encouraging the man and woman sleeping in the bed to wake and greet the early afternoon. Lauren continued sleeping, but Horatio Caine slowly opened his eyes. Turning his head, he saw Lauren laying next to him, on her stomach, with one slender arm thrown carelessly across his waist, and her tousled blond waves obscuring all but her closed eyes. Horatio noted that the crumpled lavender sheet had shifted haphazardly around her hips and across her pretty derrière, and he had a sudden, almost irrisistable, urge to shove it aside completely - an urge he checked for the moment. Horatio grinned inwardly: she looked like a child, a wanton child, resting there so peacefully now that her desires had been met. Smiling, and stretching his body with satisfaction, Horatio admitted to himself that he also was feeling rather peaceful and rested after the morning the two had shared.
His mind wandered back to the events that had occurred earlier in the day. After a night of soul-searching the evening before and an odd but strangely freeing dream, Horatio had sent a text message to Lauren before the dawn's first light, asking her to call him. Even now he felt a pang of remorse as he remembered the uncertainty in her voice when she did.
Horatio heard his phone buzz while he was drinking his coffee and worrying that perhaps Lauren, with good cause, would refuse to respond to his message. Perhaps she had given up on him, decided he was too much work and too much trouble. The beautiful younger woman could easily find a man with less emotional baggage to share her heart with. Quickly reaching for the buzzing phone and seeing it was the number he'd hoped for, Horatio exclaimed, "Lauren, sweetheart."
He noticed a momentary hesitation in her voice. "Hi... I... just saw your text... "
Hearing the soft voice and its tone of vulnerability and knowing he was the cause, Horatio wanted to be there with her, talking to her face to face, not over the air waves. "Lauren... I, um... I'd like to come over... now... if you'll let me." The lack of response from Lauren alarmed Horatio, and with a deep voice he said urgently, "Sweetheart, we need to talk. Now."
Holding his breath, he was relieved when she finally agreed to see him. Horatio had quickly gotten himself together and drove to Lauren's place where she opened the door, still dressed in her bed clothes - pale blue, soft cotton pajamas.
With her face stripped of make-up and her waist-length blond waves tumbling about her neck and shoulders, all Horatio could think of was how much he wanted to reach out and gently pull her into his arms and tell her he was sorry for being such a blockhead and causing her such unhappiness. He entered the room and closed the door behind him and stood there for a moment, leaning against the door, wondering how to begin now that he was actually facing her. Lauren stood across from Horatio, looking at him mutely. Her light gray eyes were wary and her posture one of both apprehension and hope. When Horatio seemed to be incapable of either speech or action, Lauren seemed to come to a decision and she abruptly lifted her hand to his cheek. She lightly caressed his face, saying with a catch in her voice, "Sweet Horatio... how terribly I have missed you these past few weeks."
That was all it took to free Horatio from his frozen state, and he quickly moved toward Lauren, enfolding her in his arms. "Lauren, Lauren... Lauren," his deep, expressive voice whispered into her hair, "I don't want to lose what we had. I am sorry for... being so cold... can you forgive me? It wasn't that I wanted to hurt you. I've never wanted to hurt you."
"I know," she said simply. "I know." Lauren pulled back just far enough to look up at Horatio. "I love you, Horatio."
Meeting her gaze squarely, Horatio tenderly took her face in both his hands and replied, "And I love you, Lauren," and he kissed her - a kiss that started out gentle but quickly became something else as his hands began to move to the back of her neck and shoulders. Horatio tried to put all his remorse and love into that kiss, hoping to say without words what was in his heart.
Finally, Lauren broke away and grinned. "Now THAT, Lieutenant, was a MUCH better answer than the last time!"
Smiling at his lovely girl, Horatio lightly replied, "I've heard it said that 'practice makes perfect.' "
"Hmm... well, I guess I will have to give you ample opportunities for practice. But for now, let me make some coffee. You're right - we do have things to talk about, the most important being why you can now say these words when a few weeks ago, you couldn't."
"Penny for your thoughts, Officer." Horatio was pulled back into the present by Lauren's teasing voice. Looking her way, he saw the laughing gray eyes peeking out from their hiding place behind the blond waves. "Having second thoughts?" While she spoke teasingly, Horatio sensed that beneath the light-hearted banter, Lauren was still a bit uncertain that he wasn't going to change his mind and regret having told her that he loved her.
Smiling, he reached out to smooth the wayward locks from her face. "Nope - no second thoughts, no uncertainty, no regrets. I'm in this all the way, sweetheart."
Horatio leaned forward, gently urged her body toward his and kissed her soundly, putting Lauren's fears to rest. When the kiss ended, her face was bright with warmth and she said feelingly, "'All the way,' Horatio ... just like the song?"
"Yes ma'am, just like the song," and leaning forward once again to kiss her, Horatio finally gave in to the urge to push away the teasing, bothersome sheet from Lauren's body.
Some time later, Lauren listened to the sound of Horatio showering as she languidly raised her arms above her head and yawned with satisfaction. Reaching for her robe on the chair near the nightstand, she pulled it to her and rose from the bed, putting it on. She walked over to her bureau and looked at her reflection in the mirror as she hastily grabbed her hairbrush and ran it through her hair. The reflection before her smiled back at her, the gray eyes snapping with happy energy and the reddened lips slightly swollen from passionate kisses. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday, thought Lauren. Thinking she would have to discuss dinner with Horatio, she wandered into the living room on her way to the kitchen when her eyes chanced upon the two mugs sitting on the coffee table across from the sofa, still half-filled with the stale, cold coffee. The sight of the abandoned coffee mugs steered Lauren's attention from thoughts of dinner, and she sat down on the sofa, remembering her earlier conversation with Horatio and how it had led from this sofa into her bedroom.
To be continued.