Author's note: Once again, a BIG thanks goes out to nuttymoomoo for reviewing this story! You help motivate me and remind me that people are reading this story! Thanks to joygoddess for the support! Anyway, in 2-3 or chapters this will be moved to the mature rating but until then, please review this story or click on fav/follow under the story options.

The next morning the delicious smell of Sidney making breakfast lured Mark out of his room. They dined together and discussed their plans for the day. Sidney had a doctor's appointment and had to go grocery shopping. Mark had a scheduled phone call with his captain and needed to catch up on some paperwork. After a brief kiss goodbye, Mark waved as Sidney pulled out of the driveway.

It was 11:30 a.m. when Sidney returned home to Mark vacuuming. He set the vacuum down and opened the door for her.

"Thanks but you really don't have to do that," she said when he took one of the shopping bags from her.

"It's not a problem and it's the least I can do." he followed her into the kitchen.

They continued to speak as they put away most of the groceries.

"How was your appointment?" He asked.

"It went well; I got a clean bill of health."

"That's good to know. You must be the most indestructible person I've ever met."

"You're not wrong."

He rinsed a bunch of grapes, placed them in a bowl and put the bowl on the breakfast bar where Sidney sat. After putting a grape in his mouth and biting down, he savored its sweet juiciness.

"Thanks. I um…I'm also back on birth control after being off it for three years." She looked at his face waiting for his reaction.

He stopped himself from popping another grape into his mouth, "Oh..are you feeling OK? I mean, are there any side effects?"

Relieved that he didn't seem uncomfortable or over enthusiastic by her admission, she replied, "There are but I feel fine, thanks for asking."

With a small nod he said, "So, three years."

"Yeah..since Derek. Before that it was Billy, just once but he was my first."

His eyebrows furrowed, "Didn't you start dating him at the end of your sophomore year?"

"I did but we didn't have sex until our senior year, on the night of…Stu's party."

Her tone and the look in her eyes made him realize what she was telling him, "I see, that's.."

"Pretty fucked up?"

"I-I was gonna say really unfortunate but we can go with that."

A rueful laugh left her lips, "You're too kind."

His hand rested on top of hers, "You were a teenager and you didn't know what he really was."

She gripped his hand, "I know that now - but back then it took me awhile to stop blaming myself."

"It seems like that horrible experience…made you stronger."

"I guess in some twisted way, it did. I learned to reject any guy who tried to pressure me. Then I let Derek into my life, he was a good guy. And you're not so bad." She teasingly shrugged.

"Wow, you really know how to make a guy feel special." He softly chuckled.

In a serious tone, she remarked, "You are. I mean, you have actual battle scars because of me."

"Sid, it's my job to protect you."

"It is but it's also who you are…" Her right forefinger lightly dragged down his sling's shoulder strap.

His eyes locked with hers, "I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

"I know and I'm grateful," her gaze slowly traveled down his body before returning to his handsome face, "So, I want you to be fully healed because when the time comes, I'm going to show you just how grateful I really am."

The look she was giving him made him nervously swallow. Her confidence was both sexy and intimidating. Despite being the older and more experienced one, he felt like an awkward teenager again.

"Cat got your tongue, detective?" Her voice and grin were flirtatious.

He regained his composure, "Not at all. In fact, I appreciate your concern for me. It's very…thoughtful."

His blue eyes darkened and held her gaze. He gingerly turned her left hand over and slowly brought the tip of his right forefinger down her forearm then into her palm tracing light figure eights.

Sidney suppressed a gasp but couldn't stop the shiver that went down her spine. The hairs on the back of her neck and on her bare arms stood on end. She remained still as he began closing the distance between them until his mobile phone rang.

"Goddamn it," he muttered, "It's Mel. Sorry I need to-"

"She's family, don't apologize." She gave him a reassuring smile.

"You're the best," he planted a quick kiss on lips before going to the deck.

A long huff came from her before she popped a grape into her mouth. She turned around the moment he returned.

He didn't break his stride as he spoke, "Mel only called to let me know that Moira emailed her mockups of mom's necklace."

"What did she think?"

"Oh she loved it and she wanted me to let you know that you have great taste. And that you're probably too good for me."

She giggled, "I haven't met her and I already like her."

"Of course, likability runs in the family."

"Mmm, and modesty too?"

He playfully rolled his eyes then put his hand on her waist, " you already know, next week is my mom's birthday but I also have dinner plans on Friday with Wallace and his wife Lila. They told me that I could bring a guest. But, I understand if you think it too soon to meet my friends and my parents-"

"Actually, I'd love to meet them."

He blinked, clearly not expecting that answer, "Really?"

Nodding, she explained, "You've spent almost your entire vacation here. So, we've gotten to really know each other during these past couple of weeks. And I don't feel uncomfortable or that we're rushing into anything…do you?"

His mouth formed into a smile, "No, in fact it feels-"


"It does."

"Good. How are you with a grill?"

"Pretty good, why?"

She reached into one of the shopping bags, "I bought some steaks, corn on the cob and potatoes. You handle the steaks and I'll take care of the rest."

"Got it." he accepted the shopping bag from her before getting a bottle of steak seasoning from the cabinet.

"Oh and I like my steak medium!" She nearly hollered as he headed for the deck.

"So do I!" He answered back when he opened the grill.

At the kitchen table they enjoyed the tasty lunch they both made. Halfway through their meal there was a lull in the conversation. Sidney leaned forward and picked up her glass of wine.

"So, you've had four girlfriends, who was your first?" She took a sip from her glass.

He combed his fingers through his hair, "High school, it was the middle of junior year with Amy Gregg. We were each other firsts. But it was puppy love that fizzled out a few weeks before graduation. She went to college in Chicago and I went to UCLA."

"All right, which one was your first true love?"

The left corner of his lip twitched, "Hmm…you just get right to it."

"Yep," she chirped.

Leaning back in his chair, he sighed, "When I was twenty-eight, Millie. We even lived together for two years."

"It was serious. What happened?"

"Mel was on a date at a restaurant and uh, she saw Millie with another guy, they were kissing."

With a sympathetic look she said, "That's terrible, I'm sorry."

"Well, there was more to it. Millie said that she loved us both and wanted an open relationship. I didn't. That's not for me." He shook his head.

She agreed, "I couldn't do it."

A content grin came to his mouth, "I see how happy my parents are and they've been together for thirty-six years. I want what they have…" He saw Sidney eyes shift to the right then downward, "Oh shit, Sid I'm sorry I didn't mean to-"

Waving him off, she shook her head, "Don't be, what your parents have, it sounds wonderful."

He still reached for her hand and interlaced his fingers with his, "Still, I should have been more mindful of my words."

"Mark, it's fine-I'm fine. I mean, my dad still loves my mom. The way he used to gaze at her...he still has that love in his eyes and voice whenever he talks about her now. And my mom, I remember seeing the love and admiration on her face when she was with him. She wasn't faithful to him but he-uh, he definitely had her heart."

"There was clearly love between them Sid…because they created you."

Without saying a word, she walked over to him, sat on his lap and tasted his warm tender lips.