Her scar was aching.

She twitched the left side of her mouth, hoping irrationally that the movement would make the dull pain vanish. As she looked at the sky she saw the clouds forming, and knew right away there would be rain.

She used to love rain. The smell of it, the sound of it, the cool air. She still loved rain, but each time the weather darkened like this she got that damn ache on the side of her face. The first few pellets of water only served now to remind her of those days in that damn room in Woodbury. Her old self still loved the rain, but her new self still flinched and wanted to run the very instant the clouds grayed and the ache reminded her of the look on his face when he dug that knife deep into her cheek, and forever killed the joy rain used to bring her.

Quickly she shook her head, dismissing her thoughts. That was too long ago, and as they escaped Woodbury she made a promise that she would never feel sorry for herself, become a victim.

Easier to achieve when she realized she wasn't the only one in a sour mood.

Next to her, Rick clicked his tongue in annoyance. Andrea looked at him.

But he didn't seem to be in a bad mood because of the weather. As she looked at him she wasn't sure he even noticed the bruising sky.

He was looking ahead, his eyebrows furrowed sourly at a distant figure. Andrea followed his gaze.

That woman was leaving her house again, her lips pressed into a smile as she spotted them down the street. Andrea didn't know much about her. Some random brunette who resided in Alexandria, who always seemed to have her hair perfectly brushed under a hairband.

They'd only just been there a month or so, and those first few weeks they spent huddled in the same house, distrustful of this new community. Only now were they beginning to trust, to move into their own houses and spread out, but she still didn't know many of these people. After her experiences in Woodbury, she'd been the first one to cast suspicion upon Alexandria, and even though they now knew the town was safe, she couldn't shake off this compulsion to sleep with one eye open and stay away from people.

Not that she could fraternize. She spent most of her days away from the town, anyway. Her job every day was to march her ass up the watchtower, and by the time she came home most people were asleep. Rick, on the other hand, had been appointed the role of Sheriff, and so it was his responsibility to get to know every single resident of Alexandria.

And from the look on his face, she could tell that if he could get on an airplane and fly far away from this woman, he would. And by the shake of the woman's hips, Andrea could tell what her intentions were. It didn't take a genius.

Andrea struggled to even remember the woman's name. Leslie? Tracy? Stacy?

Still, she smirked as she looked at Rick.

"Fan of yours?" she commented wryly.

Rick's face worried even more. In the years she'd known him he'd never been one to say much. But when Rick tended to say nothing, that's usually when he said the most, and his quiet sigh gave her all the information she needed.

As she shook her head, she handed him a box of canned soup. "Rick, just turn her down. It's not that hard."

He made a face. "I don't wanna hurt her feelings."

Andrea looked at him and rolled her eyes. "You'll end up hurting her feelings even more if you keep stringing her along."

His hands hurried at her to pass him the next box as he frowned. "I'm not stringing her along."

"Yes you are," she said, passing him a box full of canned beans. "Maybe not on purpose, but if you keep being this nice and handsome around her she'll keep getting the wrong idea."

She sighed loudly as she realized that was the last of the cargo and he smirked at her playfully. "Nice and handsome, huh?"

Her turn to click her tongue in annoyance and roll her eyes. "You know what I mean."

Rick's smile diminished as the moment of levity passed. "I know," he said. "It's just... we just got here. I don't wanna cause any trouble."

"Exactly," Andrea said. "So just be nice and tell her you're not ready to see someone again. She'll understand. But all this wishy-washy shit is just going to make things worse."

He didn't have much time to think about it. One second he was looking down, mulling over her advice. The next second Jessie was just a few feet away from them, smiling brightly and waving her hand at him. Rick took a step back and whispered at Andrea,

"Here she comes."

"Do it," Andrea hissed at him and promptly began to flee the scene.

Jessie began to jog towards them. "Rick!"

At the mere thought of actually having to do this, be an asshole to this poor woman, Rick's fingers circled Andrea's wrist and he stilled her. "Don't leave."

Andrea turned around with a no bullshit look. "Rick."

He looked at her desperately, whispering, "I don't know how to do this."

"Just do it!" she hissed back.

"Hey, Rick!"

Rick's face worried. "Andrea-"

Andrea sighed loudly.

She just went for it. Didn't even think about it. Not that she would've thought about it at another time in her life. She'd always been impulsive, always been irrational and dramatic. She always did things like this, telling herself at the time that it made sense. How many times had she looked back on her life with regret because she'd always been so damn impulsive?

It even came naturally.

She just grabbed the sides of his face and pressed her lips to his.

He went still instantly. Andrea didn't want the moment to seem unauthentic, so she didn't allow him the pause. She nibbled on his lips, and quickly he got the message. His arms snaked around her waist and he pulled her close. An arm stayed pressed to her middle, while the other one sneaked up and he tangled a hand into her ponytail.

And then all thought of rain or this woman, of Alexandria and his job vanished. He pushed into her, forcing her to walk back several steps as his tongue brushed her lower lip from one side to the other, ending at the edge of her scar. Her mouth opened, and something took over. Something big and scary, something that was slowly crawling out of shadows he'd cast upon it himself.

She was soft, and sweet in a way. Her hand caressed his cheek and he felt...

He felt... He didn't have time to figure it out. She pulled back suddenly and he felt... dumbfounded.

Their lips parted with a loud smack and he instantly breathed deep, blowing air onto her cheek. He couldn't think about anything, save the intense fever between his legs as he held her close. When he opened his eyes, he saw that hers were closed, and for the first time he noticed how long her eyelashes were, her button nose, the slight freckles on her cheeks, how delicate her skin was. His hand began to reach up to run his fingers through it, but suddenly she stopped him.

"She gone?"

"Who? Oh," he said quickly, and then reality came crashing. And then he realized why she had done it. Something deep unsettled within his chest, but he had no time to delve on it or even try to figure it out before he looked up. Jessie was gone now, and Rick hated to think about the look on her face as she'd seen him like that. "Yeah."

"Okay," Andrea said as a small smile spread across her face and she took a few steps away from him. All body heat left him immediately and he felt the cold air, and it made him bitter. She, on the other hand, didn't seem as fazed. She merely picked up her rifle and raised her eyebrows at him. "You're welcome."

Rick frowned as she walked away, his eyes following her figure all the way to the gates.

Soon they remembered how fragile life was, when even the mighty walls of Alexandria succumbed to a herd.

He'd all but forgotten this feeling, the fear, the rush, the adrenaline. The constant taking of attendance in his head. Glenn, Beth, and Maggie. Michonne. Morgan. Daryl. Abraham, Rosita, Eugene. The people who mattered the most. He knew where they all were. Carl, right by his side. Andrea.


He knew where she was, or hoped he knew. Out in her watchtower. Logic told him she was safer than everyone else out there. Safer than them in here. He'd sent some of the guys there to bring her some food and water, and he knew that they, too, would be safer with her. Still that old fear, that old rush.

They'd all forgotten.

It was easier in Alexandria, to leave their guards down and only have to face the threat of one or two walkers. They'd all forgotten, how it was when they found them like this. He remembered Morgan's old words.

- They might not seem like much one at a time. But in a group, all riled up and hungry? -

He didn't have time to think, and really, that was another reason why the herds were always the most dangerous. They had no time to plan, no time to think, no time to come up with an exit strategy. Jessie and her son crouched under the window sill, as did every resident of Alexandria in their own homes at his suggestion. Or at least he hoped they were. He peered out the window. The herd was still calm, still moving along.

But the fences were tearing even more, and hundreds of them continued to seep in.

He needed to get out. They needed to get out. He had no idea how many of them there were. On the road they'd encountered herds of thousands, and he knew that if this herd was just as massive they were as good as dead. He couldn't count on the residents of Alexandria staying still for so long, most of them had never even held a weapon in their lives. There were too many children, too many innocent people. The herd could stop, decide to roam around Alexandria. And what, then? They wouldn't be able to stay still for long. He needed to get out there, somehow, find Abraham, take care of the fence. They needed a way out.

Before he knew it, him and Carl were dragging a body into the house. Jessie's eyes widened and her son began to heave when they began to hack it in pieces. This had always worked, had always done the trick. Before he knew it he was covered in guts, himself and Carl. He knew where the cars were, he knew that if he could only get to one he could use sound to drive the walkers away.

But then Jessie was panicking, desperately begging at him to get them out, too. She was shaking, her son crying, and Rick knew that if he left them behind they wouldn't be able to keep quiet. They'd be devoured.

And so minutes later they were all covered in guts, making their way through the herd. Him and Carl were handling it well.

But behind them, Jessie's son began to panic.

And it happened fast after that.

The walkers moving in on the boy.

Jessie calling for his name.

The walkers moving in on Jessie.

Jessie gripping Carl's hand tight.

The walkers moving in on Carl.

He didn't even think about. Reaching for his hatch, he cut her hand off and watched as the walkers continued to devour her and he moved his boy to safety.

Their plan ruined there wasn't much to do. But fate spun a complicated web that day, because suddenly there were gunshots off in the distance. The walkers moved towards the noise, ignoring Rick, ignoring Carl in the process. And then suddenly Abraham was out, with Rosita and a group of residents using bats and clubs to hack the walkers to pieces.

It was just a second in time.

A breath. Everything happened in a blink. A moment so tiny in time that when he opened his eyes again, everyone in Alexandria was outside taking care of the walkers and he stood there, dumbfounded. Then Abraham was yelling at everyone to get into formation, to drive the herd out. And like a miracle suddenly he found himself surrounded by fallen rotten bodies, Carl holding his gun.

He couldn't think, couldn't speak. Behind him, he heard someone mourning for Jessie, but he couldn't bring himself to turn around. Abraham stood in front of him, asking for advice, or permission, fuck if he knew. He just nodded numbly, and the large man took off to do god knows what.

Roll call. That was always the first he did after an attack, the thing that always brought him back and kept him together. Carl was safe by his side. Abraham, Rosita, Daryl, safe. Glenn, Maggie and Beth, safe. Andrea.

He tried to look out, but the watchtower was away from the town.

"I bet she's okay."

"What?" He didn't even recognize the voice, and when he looked at his son, Carl suddenly seemed so much older. So much wiser.

"She's like you, dad."

Rick chuckled dryly and looked down, thankful for the fact that some of Carl's innocence was still in there. He didn't want to tell him, didn't want him to know that they only kept surviving out of sheer luck. They weren't super heroes, they weren't being protected by some cosmic force. What kept them alive was mere happenstance, and he knew that the longer they tempted fate, the closer they got to their deaths.

"Let's get out of these clothes."

Carl nodded, and on their way back to the house he heard a ruffle. Rick pushed Carl ahead, and when he cast his eyes sideways he saw her. She was re-animating, her hair perfectly brushed under that headband. Rick looked at her.

And the thing was... he couldn't feel it. Maybe it was buried in there too deep, he hoped that was the case. But as he watched her come back he didn't feel the guilt, the anger, and the feeling of loss he used to feel when this all started. Walking over calmly, he reached for his knife and put her out of her misery.

It was too dark for his comfort.

Too many hours had gone by. The whole town was still cleaning the mess, but they were ready to call it quits. The sun was leaving the sky, and no one wanted to be outside in the dark. The children were still scared, the women were practically still in tears.

Rick turned his badge in his hand over and over.

It'd been hours. At least 8 hours. She should've been back.

Maggie was a wreck sitting next to him, constantly running a hand along her swollen stomach. If she kept doing that she was going to rub the pregnancy away, but Rick understood. He'd sent Glenn out there, hoping the boy could get to Andrea and help them, somehow. And now the boy might be gone, and Andrea...

He couldn't stop thinking about that afternoon, in front of Jessie. Since then he'd been weary of her, weary of being around her. Not scared that she might do it again, but scared that he might, that he'd had these thoughts about her. There'd been no other woman after Lori. After she died, he just couldn't see the possibility of finding someone again.

Not that he'd found something with Andrea.

After all, she had done it just to help him out. A favor. It probably hadn't meant anything to her.

Still, he couldn't help looking back now and realizing there'd been moments they shared, moments that he'd never been able to share with Daryl, or Abraham, or even Michonne. Moments when he'd been a wreck and she'd been there to put him back together, moments when she'd been gone, lost, and he'd gone to hell just to bring her back.

He'd thought about it. Even before she kissed him he'd thought about it, why not?

But then he'd remember Lori, remember what the Governor did to Andrea, and then he wasn't sure that anything would, or should, happen.

The thought aggravated the situation, and like Maggie, he knew he wouldn't sleep, not until they knew, made sure, had confirmation one way or the other. Waiting was always the worst part, the not knowing. The not knowing if he'd spent too much time thinking and now she might be gone and he might never get his answer.

It was maybe an hour or two later.

Gunshots made them both jolt up. He heard Abraham's booming voice. He didn't know how it was possible for a pregnant woman to outrun him, but Maggie rushed past him so fast he feared she was going to bounce the baby out. He felt his own pace quicken, hissing at the peering faces in every home to stay inside. Maggie was already at the gates when Rick looked up, and saw Abraham hoisting the boy over the fence and onto the ground, where Maggie collapsed and threw herself at Glenn.

Rick had the sense to stop for a second, check for injuries, but his eyes darted up quickly. Abraham continued to reach for the small group, his large biceps contracting. Heath followed, then Spencer, and then finally he saw that blonde ponytail and he felt like he'd been out of oxygen for 8 hours and now had it back.

"Fuck," she uttered as she hit the ground and Rick wasn't surprised by her colorful language.

He knelt by her, bringing a hand to her knee as she rubbed her shoulder on the spot she'd landed.

"Are you okay?"

She looked up with a frown, panting, looking around the mess that was the town and returning her eyes to his. "Are you okay?"

Her tone was quick, smart-mouthed, and he knew then he didn't have to check for any injuries. She was fine, though in desperate need of a shower. "Yeah."

"Fuck," she uttered again and he helped her onto her feet.

She was covered in blood, and though thankfully none of it seemed to be hers, his heart was still racing. He was getting so sick of these close calls. "What happened out there?"

She sighed, wiping away at her clothes. In his peripheral vision, he saw Glenn rise with Maggie. "We found a few cars, tried to ride the tail of the herd away."

"That's why they stopped coming in?" Abraham said.

"I don't know," she answered, hobbling in place a few seconds. Rick frowned and reached for her, but she pushed his hand away and began to walk away towards her house. "I need a drink."

Rick smiled as he watched her go, thinking he, too, could go for a drink. But he thought better of it, and decided maybe he needed some time to think about this development.

It took days for Alexandria to remotely resemble some modicum of the charming town it used to be. The constant stench of the dead had everyone struggling to work faster, but with so many bodies Rick was weary that the smoke would attract even more walkers. With all this work and Andrea still at the watchtower from morning til night, he hadn't even had the chance to see her.

That night, she returned a little earlier and as he finished his patrol he saw her jog up to her house.

He'd spent the last few nights in bed thinking about her, about that afternoon in front of Jessie. He'd always resisted Jessie's advances, he thought, because he just wasn't ready to see someone again. Thinking about Andrea in that way was telling, and although the possibility of another relationship made him nervous, he knew, that it wasn't about being ready.

He followed her, knocking on her door gently and hoping to God that he was doing the right thing.

She opened the door barefooted, her jacket off, her ponytail a mess from having been up there all day. Something about it, though, was somehow endearing and he felt a warmth in his stomach spread everywhere.

"Wow," she said, smiling and crossing her arms. "Rick Grimes, is it?"

He chuckled, feeling at ease. "Can I come in?"

She moved aside to let him in. He looked around her living room, like he hadn't seen it before.

"Is everything okay?"

Rick turned to her. "Yeah, fine."

As she walked towards the kitchen, she turned her head to look at him. "Could've been worse."

He followed her. "Could've."

In the kitchen, she reached for the kettle and Rick made a face. God, he hated tea. But coffee was a precious jewel these days, worth more to some than food or water. How he missed the simple things, like walking up to a 7-11 with Shane and getting free coffee. Now he couldn't remember the last time he'd drank it.

Andrea got two mugs ready, and as she waited for the water to boil she looked at him with a grim press of her lips. "I'm sorry about Jessie."

He merely huffed drily. Truth was, Jessie had never been all that significant to him. Significant in the grand theme of things, in the grand scale where she played an important role in the rebuild of civilization, a rebuild that ached for people, but especially women. Yet personally... he wrote her death off so quickly that...

He looked down. When he did he noticed her hand for the first time. She rested it against her thigh, but he could see the flecks of dry skin hanging off her knuckles. It was easier to concentrate on that. Better to concentrate on that. And he should've felt troubled about the fact that her little scrape hurt him more than Jessie's death, but he didn't.

Andrea followed his gaze, shook her head and rolled her eyes. "Spencer."

Rick's pulse quickened fast at the revelation and he felt an anger. "Did he-"

"No," she said quickly, trying instantly to keep away the memories and all insinuation of the Governor. She recovered with a sigh. "He's just not exactly a team player."

He walked over to where she leaned against the counter and grabbed her hand, dragging his thumb through her knuckles. They were red and swollen with bits of skin flaking off. "What happened."

She looked at her hand and took it away, and looked at him with a frown. "Did you send him up there?"

"With Glenn and Heath. You needed food and I was counting on Heath and Glenn to figure a way out."

She smiled. "And Spencer?"

"He wanted to get to you," Rick said, and at the time he'd sent Spencer up there it he hadn't made anything of it, but now the young man's intentions were becoming clear and he felt uneasy. "I figured, the more people you had on your side, the safer you'd be."

"Hmm," she said in unison with the kettle whistling, and as she began to pour the hot water into the mugs she shook her head. "Well, I'm not sure he's good for much. Last time I checked we didn't need an Apocalypse Romeo."

Rick frowned at the confirmation, and at the sudden realization that the news upset him so much he knew he was in deep fucking trouble. "He up to something?"

"No," Andrea chuckled, handing him his mug. "I mean, he is, but... He's an idiot. And a coward."

Rick set his mug down. "What happened?"

"We couldn't take on the herd, so we thought we might just drive them away. Glenn and Heath were down. Me, too. I mean, it was the logical thing to do," she explained. "Bitch Boy Spencer, on the other hand... He said we should just leave. Not even Glenn and Heath and us. Just him and me. He just wanted me to run away with him. Can you believe that?"

A small smile spread across his cheeks. "So you socked him in the face?"

"I'm not gonna lie, Rick, it felt pretty damn good," she said, looking at her swollen hand with pride.

He chuckled, couldn't help but reaching over and pulling her into his arms. She went still for a moment, and he took it as a bad sign, but then she relaxed in his embrace and patted his back. He let her go.

"I'll deal with him later."

Rick took her swollen hand and resisted an urge to kiss it. "I'm just glad you're okay."

"You, too," she smiled, stroking the back of his hand with her thumb. It sent little shivers up his spine and suddenly he felt so odd that this was happening to him again. He met Lori when he was only 17, and that had been so long ago. He couldn't remember the signs, what it felt like, what it should feel like. He couldn't remember, but maybe that was okay, because Lori was Lori and Andrea was Andrea. It should be different with her. He met Lori one night at a party and an hour later they were kissing. He'd known Andrea for years, she was one of his closest friends. It should feel different.

"It looked really bad from up there, Rick. I wasn't sure you were gonna get out of this one."

He nodded, not even realizing she was still talking.

And that made her frown as she looked at him, feeling his change in mood. "Are you on patrol?"

Rick looked at her and it was like seeing her for the first time suddenly. "No."

But she continued to frown. "Is Carl okay?"

"Yeah." For some reason he couldn't let go of her hand, like he needed her to help him do this. And in a way he did. She'd always been the strong one, and more than anything what he needed was strength.

"Rick," she said in a low tone. "You're acting weird. You look weird."

He smiled, nearly laughing at her choice of words. "I feel weird."

"Are you sick?"

She pressed her other hand to his forehead and he grabbed it. "No, no, I'm not sick."

But the concern was still in her eyes as she looked at him, trying to figure him out. Ironic, that. She'd always been able to sort him, to look at him and quickly see behind his eyes what was the matter. Now that he kind needed her to, she couldn't.

"What is it?"

"I'm..." he began, not knowing how he was going to do this but to hell with planning. "I've been thinking about it for a few days. Six days. And I... I think I'm just pissed."

Andrea frowned. "Pissed?"

He nodded, feeling more confident at her confusion, knowing it gave him the strength of the upper hand. "I think I'm pissed."

"At whom?"

He rolled his eyes. Leave it to her to use perfect grammar. "At you."

At the accusation her eyes saddened and she looked at him like Bambi.

To reassure her, he smiled, reached and placed a hand on the side of her face, his thumb running along her scar. The sadness left her eyes but the confusion stayed. "You stole something from me."

Her eyebrows furrowed as she looked at him, and he could see that fight, that fire in her take over as she prepared to defend herself. "Rick, I haven't even been to your house."

"No," he told her, and she looked at him curiously. "That day, in front of Jessie..."

Her eyes widened. "I didn't take any of that canned food. Ask Olivia. Check my cabinets."

"I'm not talking about the food," suddenly frustrated. How could she not get it? But he smiled and leaned in closer. "You stole my kiss."

He searched for her reaction, knowing that he needed it to help him make a decision. If she reacted coldly, he'd drop it. They'd both been badly burned by this world, and the last thing they needed was animosity between them.

To his surprise, she looked at him and a small smile tugged at her lips. "I stole your kiss?"

Feeling encouraged, he got closer, and she pressed her back to the counter. He still held on to her hand. "Hmm mm."

Andrea rolled her eyes playfully, but he didn't miss the way they stopped at his chest. Her ears were turning red, and he knew, then.

"I thought you wanted to get rid of that woman," she said.

"I did."

"And it worked, didn't it?"

He nodded. "It did."

Andrea shrugged her shoulders. "So what's the big deal?"

"The big deal is, you took that kiss from me, Andrea," Rick said, so close now their feet were touching. "That was supposed to be my kiss."

She rolled her eyes again. "How does one steal a kiss?"

"I was supposed to kiss you first."

Her eyes widened at the information, like she thought he'd merely been joking with her. It gave him pause, because they weren't unknown to harmless flirting here and there. But he was already in too deep to go back. Her eyes were huge and blue, but warm, and he hoped they were able to see, because he was having trouble showing her.

"I was supposed to kiss you first," he said quietly and it wasn't a speech he'd rehearsed by as the words left him he realized how true they were. "I was... I was just trying to find the courage. I-"

She softened up and squeezed his hand, and he could see in her eyes a struggle similar to his. "Rick."

"I wanted to kiss you first. And then you came along and you kissed me," he told her with a tone of accusation and he knew it wasn't vitriolic, but it made him feel better to vent about all these thoughts he'd been having. He wasn't supposed to do this, find another woman. After Lori he swore, never again. And yet she made him do it, she made him love again, and it frustrated him and this was the only way he knew how to get it off his chest.

"You ruined it," he continued, his fingers stroking hers and hanging on for dear life. "I was supposed to kiss you first, Andrea."

She squeezed his fingers back and the smile she gave him was small, barely there, but warm. "You never told me."

"I was trying to figure it out," he said honestly, staring at her hair, fighting the urge to touch it. "I've been trying to figure it out."

She shook his hand to re-direct his attention back to her eyes. "And did you?"

Rick looked at her and once again he felt a wavering, but it passed quickly and he got his strength. He hadn't counted on this happening, but he was tired of this world, of waiting for bad things to happen all the time. She'd tell him herself, that when good things happen you have to relish them.

This knowledge filled him with confidence and suddenly it was like riding a bike. Sure, he'd been a teenager when he wooed Lori, but marriage had been a constant process of wooing, and suddenly it flowed easier.

He got closer to her, close enough to feel her body heat, and she looked at him like she was trying to figure out what he was up to.

"I figured it out." His proximity didn't alarm her. Instead, her smile widened just a bit, enough to go from warm to cheeky, and then after that it's flowed like water. "And I want it back."

Her look turned incredulous. "You want it back?"

"Yeah. I want my kiss back."

"It's a kiss, Rick," she told him and he didn't miss the flirtatious tone, though it was barely there. "There's no takesies backsies."

He leaned in closer because suddenly he had all that confidence and he knew what he wanted. "Well, then, I want restitution."

"Restitution for a kiss."


"How does that even work?"

"You're the lawyer. You tell me."

She looked at him for a moment and he knew he had her. She had that look on her face, the one she got every time she lost an argument and he wondered how many times she got that look while fighting in court. It didn't matter, he felt smug and gave her a smile that told her he knew he had her.

"Fine. Here." Quickly she got on her tiptoes, and she pecked at the side of his cheek and instantly drew away. She made a face, knowing deep down, and deep down he knew, too. And Rick chuckled lightly.

"That's not enough." And then he had her pressed against the counter, his mouth mere centimeters from hers, his hands pressed to the tiles on either side of her frame so she couldn't escape. "You stole my kiss, Andrea. The first kiss. That's worth more than one. That's worth more than some kiss hello. Many more."

She seemed lulled, and he felt hypnotized, too. Sure he could feel the fire burning down below, but it felt so distant he didn't think about it. Instead, he pressed his nose to the crook between her nostril and cheekbone, and she pressed back, releasing a breath and surprising him with a,

"How many?"

It came out as a low moan and he had to take a moment to savor it in, to relish on the feel of her lips close. So close. So close that if he flinched that was it. He had to take a moment to anchor himself, to find the feel of his feet, to prevent her closeness from driving him too crazy. A moment so long he didn't even catch her question.

His hand found a hip and it settled there. "Hmm?"

Her body moved, pressing the hip onto the palm of his hand. "How many do you want?"

Smiling, he brushed his lips lightly down to hers and her breath hitched. He felt electricity all through his body and pulled back only slight enough to look her in the eyes.

"All of them."

And then he took them.

The End