Did she really want to do this? Risk everything they had together – as partners and best friends – to see where this went? Her mind was screaming no. She shouldn't make such a big leap while her eyes were closed and she didn't know which way was up and which way was down. She should wait for the reassurance that he wanted this too. The thing was though, she was almost positive she already had it, and for quite some time too.

He breathed in; desperately hoping some confidence would come to him. If he continued feeling like this for her, he would go mad. If he continued this way and didn't know how she felt it would be even worse.

He knew that she wouldn't take the leap first. It wasn't her style and most certainly wasn't in her nature. Contrary to popular belief, particularly the media, he didn't jump into things without knowing their repercussions. But he couldn't continue on like this, constantly wondering and doubting the strength of connection and how far deep it ran.

"I want more out of this relationship," he said candidly.


"God I shouldn't feel this way," he groaned, raking his fingers through his hair.

"What do you mean?" she questioned quietly.

"I mean look at me," he laughed sardonically. "I look like crap, I haven't slept in weeks, my thoughts are a mess, and anything I write is pure sap!"

"I'm not really sure what I'm supposed be saying now but – "

"That's the thing Kate," he began dejectedly as he rested his head in both his hands on the desk. "You have this filter on all the time and all I want is for it to disappear, so you can just be you. I want you to let me in and I mean that in every sense of the word," he ended dangerously.

"You want to change me?" she said angrily.

"God no! Of course that is what you decide to believe though."

"Well what do you want me to say Rick? You've been acting strangely for weeks and haven't clued me in on this emotional rollercoaster we're on! Tell me what you want from me!"

Kate finally looked up to meet his eyes, quickly seeing fleeting emotions. His gaze became less direct and more guarded.

"All I ever wanted was for you to tell me that I'm not the only one that feels this way Kate."

He was met with silence. He had known that he didn't need to clarify what he meant by his statement. She knew. That's what hurt him even more as the silence continued on and he was met with an unwavering gaze of her fierce green eyes. He laughed at the pain he was feeling because it was better than wanting her with a passion. It wasn't like he could even say he regretted telling her, it was better to figure out what she wanted from this relationship now. It was better his hope was crushed.

"I better head home," Kate whispered.

Seriously Kate? This is what you want. The man you've wanted all along just confessed his feelings for you and you say I better go home? Hopefully the moment was not lost, perhaps she could still salvage what she wanted to say…

"Right, of course," he replied solemnly.

He urged his body to move despite his anguish.

Wordlessly he rose from his desk chair and when he finally reached her she had expected that he would place his hand gently at the small of her back, just like the countless times he had done before. It wouldn't have been anything new. She found herself missing the amount of heat simply his hand radiated through her clothing.

She followed as his body continued forward, leading her out of his study and into the main room. He made his way to the couch where she had earlier placed her coat, finally meeting up with her at the door of the loft.

She watched as he raised her coat in front of her, silently saying she should turn around. He slipped her coat on behind her, his hands betraying him, resting on her shoulder blades for a moment to long.

Kate turned around after his hands fell to his sides. He had taken a considerable amount of steps back, inevitably making sure there was a distance between the two.

Neither missed the symbolism.

"Rick, if you let me explain that I –"

"No need," he waved it off.

"You're not letting me speak," she growled, placing her hands on her hips.

"What could make this any better Kate?"

She hated his voice had so much disappointment in it. What made it worse was that she put it there simply because of a misunderstanding. She knew she wouldn't be able to tell him how she felt, but she'd at least be able to soothe his troubles a bit until she was able to.

"Rick, I-"

"You don't need to explain anything to me Kate. I know you. I've been around you for years now, for a while as a shadow and then as a friend. Regardless, I know you. You don't need to explain, you don't need to apologize. It's how you feel," he shrugged.

"I want more too," she quickly said.


"I want what you want too. I want to be there next to you when you need me to hold you up and when you can stand alone. I want it all."


"Really," she nodded.

Both of them leaned in for the kiss. It was everything they ever expected it to be, and some how even more.

They would get through this.


aaaaand there you go! complete at last. once again i apologize for the lack of updates and any added suspense that it may have caused, school was stressful. hopefully it was worth it though :)