This story is about Hank and Theresa. I hope it turned out okay. I wrote it awhile ago!
Four Kisses That Led to Forever
The first time they had kissed, it was a case of mistaken identity. A grand Halloween party at the Crane mansion had been in full-effect and Theresa had been invited by Ethan. He had told her that he was coming as Zorro and so she had dressed appropriately for the Catherine Zeta Jones role, complete with a tight bodice that exposed possibly too much of her breasts (Pilar had thrown a fit and made her throw on a shawl which Theresa ditched as soon as she arrived).
She spotted a tall dark-haired man dressed as Zorro swoop into the room - cape, mask and all - and she smiled widely. Ethan! He had finally come downstairs. She had been eagerly counting the minutes until her beloved appeared and there he was!
Without hesitation, she had moved over to him and reached up, grabbing him by either shoulder and pulling him down to her height, pressing her lips against his soft ones. She felt him stiffen almost immediately and knew something was wrong.
"Ethan?" she asked, her eyes wide.
He pulled off his mask. "'Fraid not," the man said and she stared in amazement at one other than Hank Bennett. He had shot up a good two feet since she had last seen him and he looked very handsome. His lips were creased in a little smile. "Sorry to disappoint you."
"I'm not disappointed," Theresa said, unconsciously touching her lips. "Just surprised. And embarrassed."
"Don't be. It could happen to anyone," Hank said and then he spotted Ethan approaching from the opposite way. "There's your Zorro." He gave her a little smile and walked away, disappearing into the throng of people.
The second time they had kissed, it had been orchestrated by a third party. With Ethan's help, Theresa had finally launched her fashion business and she was looking for the perfect male model to do photo shoots with (since it had been decided Theresa should be the "face" of her own company called Fate Designs). She had begged Ethan to model with her but he had just laughed and said, "No thank you. I prefer to keep my dignity intact." It had been a bit of a hurtful comment but she too had laughed it off in the end.
She had been searching for weeks for the perfect guy to do the shoots with but all it took was one look at Hank playing basketball in her backyard with Luis, his shirt tied around his lean, tapered waist, for Theresa to decide she had found the perfect male specimen.
Talking him into it was another matter entirely. "I don't know, Theresa, I don't see myself as the modeling type."
"Oh come on, Hank. You'd be perfect and Ethan would pay you so well."
"I don't know if I like the idea of taking Crane money," Hank said. "Your brother is spouting off to everyone who will listen about how evil they are."
"Well trust me, Ethan is nothing like the rest of them."
In the end, it took some more cajoling but she finally got Hank to agree "to a few photo sessions". The first day of the shoot, Theresa had nervous butterflies in her stomach, especially when Hank walked in awkwardly wearing breeches and a flowing white shirt. Theresa smiled at him.
"I'm humiliated," he said. "I had no idea playing Mr. Darcy was on the agenda."
Theresa hitched her arm through his. "We're selling an image, Hank. One of the handsome, dapper, refined gentleman being swept off his feet by the doe-eyed, innocent beauty."
Hank smirked. "Which one do I play?"
Theresa giggled, realizing no one quite made her feel so comfortable in their presence as Hank did. They were still teasing and cajoling each other when the photographer came over. He immediately said he noticed "the chemistry" between them and wanted to play it up. They looked at each other warily but agreed to hold hands and hug if it fit the shoot. The photographer had other ideas though and ordered a costume change. Soon enough, Theresa was in a too-short pink dress she had designed and Hank was standing there, embarrassed, in nothing but a pair of blue jeans. The photographer then told them if they wanted to sell the designs, they had to do what he told them to. Which he said, meant they had to kiss.
Theresa looked at Hank shyly and he just shrugged at her. She looked at the photographer. "You don't understand, Gianni. I am engaged to another man."
Gianni shook his head. "This is just business. Now kiss or I walk out of the shoot and won't come back."
"Temperamental," Hank mock-whispered to her.
Theresa sighed. "Hank, he's the best photographer in the business. I really need him to do this shoot so I know its a lot to ask..."
"A lot to ask to kiss a beautiful woman and get paid for it?" Hank joked. "I don't think so. Besides, its just business, right?"
Soon they had kissed for the camera at least twenty times but it didn't feel very much like business to her.
The third time they had kissed, they were both in extreme distress. Ethan had found out she had inadvertently sent the news of his paternity to the tabloids and wasn't speaking to her. On top of it all, Sheridan had been presumed dead in a boating accident and while everyone was gathered around Luis saying how much they felt his pain, no one was seeming to feel Hank's. He had loved Sheridan too. Theresa felt badly for him but also felt extremely upset about destroying her relationship with Ethan seemingly forever.
"He never wants to see me again," she cried as she showed up at the door of Hank's apartment. "I - I'm sorry. I didn't know where else to go."
He had ushered her into the small front room and led her over to the broken-down, ratty sofa, lightly pushing her down onto it. He started to move to the opposite chair but she grabbed his hand. "No, please. Just hold me."
He nodded and slipped down beside her, pulling her into his arms, resting his head on top of hers, her head fitting naturally into the crook of his neck, like it had belonged there all along. "He's my nephew it turns out," Hank murmured. "That's wild."
Theresa nodded. "I know and its all my fault it came out the way it did at our engagement party. I was so dumb to scan it into my computer. I was also a fool to think Ethan and I stood a chance!" She cried and her tears dampened his work shirt.
Then her eyes fell on a picture of Sheridan on the mantle and she clutched his hand. "God. How can I go on like this when you're obviously hurting so much? I may have lost Ethan but at least he's alive..."
"Hey, no worries. Sheridan was a good friend but its Luis who's really freaking out."
"I know he is ... but you loved Sheridan too. Who's looking out for you?"
He shook his head as he watched sympathetic tears fill her eyes anew. "I'm so sorry, Hank."
"Its okay. I'll be alright."
They talked in low tones for a long time and somehow in a moment of heightened emotion, Theresa found her lips crushed underneath Hank's. She didn't push him away. He instead pulled away first and murmured, "You're Ethan's girl. He's eventually going to forgive you and then ... I can't do this."
She nodded. "Right ... and you're grieving for Sheridan ..."
Still, she ended up staying that night long enough to fall asleep, fully-clothed, in his arms.
The fourth time that they had kissed, it hadn't been planned either but would lead to forever.
Ethan had long since married Gwen and Theresa had begun to let go of her lifelong obsession with him, with Hank's steady assistance. Theresa eventually found herself cherishing every moment they spent together and counting the minutes and seconds even until she could see him again.
Winter rolled around again soon enough and they spent one whole morning throwing snowballs at each other. Hank finally cried defeat when she slammed a snowball into his nose. She hadn't intended to do it quite so hard but he crumpled to the ground in a heap anyway. She immediately ran over to him, screaming "I'm sorry, Hank, I didn't mean -" Her voice broke off as she dropped to her knees in the snow as she soon realized he was laughing.
"You jerk," she screamed and whacked his arm. Then she started to wrench herself upwards but he grabbed her arm and pulled her back to him. She landed on his chest and he laughed until he saw her eyes darken with desire.
"Can I kiss you?" He finally asked.
She nodded and soon their lips had found each others once again.
That was the fourth kiss but many, many more would come after that. One day he would marry her and seal their destiny with another kiss but for now they were just reveling in the joy of finding something truly lasting with each other.