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Between Then And Now & One More Step by Anne Haynes
Between Then & Now by Anne Haynes
DISCLAIMER – Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and the Fox Network. I mean no infringement.
Spoilers – US Season Five plus the movie
“Between Then and Now”
So, Mulder had kissed her.
It wasn’t like they couldn’t just forget it ever happened.
Hell, she was GREAT at denial. Lost sister. Lost ova.
I deny it.
Dana Scully closed the file on her desk, giving up on completing the tasks she’d hoped to accomplish before she and Mulder moved into their new office on Monday.
This once, denial was getting her absolutely nowhere.
He had kissed her. Even if the fullness of the gesture had been denied by the sting, the very fact that he’d thought to do so, thought to shatter the barrier between what they were and what they could beShe lowered her head to the desk, pressed her forehead againt the cool wood.
What would have happened next? Was he kissing her goodbye? Or hello?
That they had not spoken of the kiss since it’s untimely abortion was hardly noteworthy. God knows, they’d built a whole partnership on significant silences. How could she expect this to be different?
The problem with silence, she thought, was how easily one could read the wrong message into the void between words. Not that words between them provided much more clarity.
You made me a whole person.
At the time, the words had shattered her heart. But now, in the cold light of distance and time, what the hell did they mean?
I fill in the blanks of his jump-now-look-later psyche? I’m the glue that holds his sanity together? I’m Watson to his Sherlock?
The knock on her door was loud. Repeated three more times.
She pushed wearily away from the desk, knowing who it would be. Suspecting, even, what she’d smell on his breath when he walked through the door in some hideous bit of deja vu.
Fuck it, Mulder—I’m not going to break into a Naval hospital with you this time. And I’m not going to run through corn fields in the middle of the desert.
And if you had to fucking get smashed in order to come over here and kiss me again–
She paused at the door. He didn’t SOUND drunk.
“Scully—are you okay?”
She heard panic in his voice. It set off something equally frantic within her, spurring her into action. She opened the door quickly and looked up into his widened eyes.
“It’s 2 a.m.”
His panic subsided a bit, and he looked properly chastened.
“I know. I’m sorry—did I wake you?”
She shook her head.
“I haven’t been drinking,” he added, as if expecting her to ask. He touched his fingertips to his nose as proof.
She bit back a chuckle and a nose joke. “So what brings you here at this time of night?”
“I guess it just struck me that—” He sighed and started again. “Monday, we get to be partners again. Officially.
God, he was struggling here. If she had a half a clue what he was trying to say, she’d help him out. But he was lacking coherence, even for Mulder.
Finally, he just subsided. Leaned back against her door and looked at her, uncertainty in every fiber of his being.
She cocked her head, beginning to realize what this was about.
That damned kiss.
His eyes narrowed slightly.
“I absolve you, okay? It was one of those moments—it seemed like a good idea at the time. Hell, I’m sure it would have been very nice.”
I’m sure I would have puddled onto the floor and lain there, a throbbing mass of sexually-stimulated goo, but we don’t have to say that to him now, do we, Dana?
Oh shit. Now she’d insulted him.
The odd thing was, he didn’t look all that insulted. He looked—
He moved away from the door and took a step toward her.
His eyes seemed to glow from somewhere deep within him. He looked–
She felt the telltale spread of moisture at her center.
Heat seemed to radiate from her flesh in waves, so intense that surely he could feel it, even from where he stood. Especially as he was swiftly, purposefully closing what little distance remained between them.
She parted her lips, found her voice. “Very nice.”
He chuckled. God, what a sound—low, like a growl.
Dripping with sexual awareness. So mind-bendingly different than the boyish look of fear and longing she’d seen in his eyes in the hallway outside his apartment.
What had happened between then and now?
Between now and just a moment ago, when he’d been so flustered he couldn’t put together two coherent thoughts?
She took a deep, swift breath to steady herself.
And smelled it.
Raw, female, heated and heady.
God, no wonder his confidence had made a comeback.
She might as well have hung a sign around her neckDo me, you big strapping hunk of he-man.
And even that thought, that flippant, self-deprecating thought, was enough to send a new flood of wet heat between her thighs. Enough to paint vivid pictures in her mind of his body sheathed in hers, limbs tangling, grasping, tongues sliding, mating—
He caught her before knees buckled. He had the decency not to laugh as she pressed her hot forehead to his chest and lashed herself with a few sharp bits of humiliation. In fact, he had the decency to simply hold her, his arms loosely wound around her waist, while she found the strength to pull away and meet his gaze.
He was still hungry. Still exciting. But some of his momentary cockiness had faded, leaving questions swimming in the murky depths of his eyes.
And she knew just what had to be done.
Slowly, she lifted her hand to his neck, threading her fingers through the soft, dark hair at the base of his skull. She drew his head down, lifting to her toes in order to press her lips against his forehead. Then she leaned her forehead against his.
They stood just so for what seemed like an eternity, serenaded by the ragged cadences of their breathing.
Slowly, the dissonance dissolved into harmony, until their breasts rose and fell in concert. It was a strange sort of intimacy, sharing the rhythm of their lives.
He pulled away first. As it had been before, so it was now. As it should be.
She gazed into his eyes, wondering now, as she had wondered then, if they were tempting fate one time too many.
But now, as then, she recognized that fate was on their side. It had to be, or neither of them would be standing here now, bodies arching toward each other on the brink of something new and necessary.
His head dipped. Her chin lifted. Lips parted and brushed.
Hovered, as if waiting.
And nothing happened. No flood, no fire, no pestilence.
His mouth moved lightly over hers again. Softly. Feeling its way.
It wasn’t enough. She rose, pressing her lips more firmly against his. Her arms slipped around his neck, ensnaring him.
God, his hands were big. Big and long-fingered and suddenly everywhere–on her hips, her back, her ass, her breasts.
Two fingers closed over the hardened peak of her nipple, squeezed gently through the thin fabric of her silk pajama top. He released her, flattened his palm and soothed the tender nipple with a brush of heated silk.
She gasped into his mouth, and he answered with a long, slow slide of his tongue against hers. Filling her mouth.
Stilling her breath for a long, aching moment.
He drew away, and she shuddered at the loss. Her breath came in ragged, shattered gasps.
“Yeah?” Was that her voice? God, how humiliating.
It took a moment for the words to pierce the cottony haze of desire. When they did, she saw red.
“You son of a—”
He caught her hands before she could finish her halfformed intention of throttling him. “Now we’re even. And now—”
He lowered his head again, and God help her, she didn’t have the strength or resolve to stop him from kissing her again. And after a moment, she didn’t even remember being irritated. He was good at this. Amazingly good, considering how little practice he’d had in recent years.
And she wasn’t fooling herself about that–if anyone in the world would know if Mulder was getting any action, it was Special Agent Dana Scully.
Of course, she hadn’t been getting any, either–so her judgment regarding his lovemaking prowess might be a bit on the lenient side.
Oh, fuck it, Dana. He’s Don Juan, Lothario, Valentino, Cary Grant, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas all rolled up into–
Holy Mother of God.
His fingers had found her center. Through the silk of her pajama bottoms and the soft, wet cotton of her panties, he’d found her.
She was fucking seeing stars.
No, really. Bright, speckly, darting stars.
She arched her hips without planning to. It just—happened.
Sort of like the way her right hand just happened to curl around the unmistakable bulge in his Levis and give a little squeeze.
Yeah, she thought, her head still spinning. It’s almost a religious experience, isn’t it?
Their hands dueled for a few moments, his fingers tracing her folds through the drenched silk, while hers stroked his erection through rough denim. And it occurred to Scully, in a rush of dark mirth, that they were both going to come fully clothed, which was probably made some sort of strange, cosmic sense in the greater scheme of their highly dysfunctional lives.
Well, fuck fate.
She unbuttoned the waistband button of his jeans and unzipped his fly. He made a soft, growling noise deep in his throat.
His jeans were too tight to provide any room for her hand.
They had to go. She tugged them downward, baring the soft heather gray of his shorts. Not quite boxers, not quite briefs, and not cut quite full enough to handle the impressive results of their foreplay.
“Are you going to just stare at it all day?”
She looked up into the mingled laughter and pain in his gaze. “Five years, Mulder. You don’t wait five years and just settle for a glance.”
“Hell, you could’ve seen it five years ago if you’d asked nicely.”
She bit back a grin. Okay, this was just getting too weird.
Standing here in the middle of her living room, sopping wet with arousal, looking at Mulder’s remarkable hard-on and Actually Discussing It.
Weird…but somehow wonderful. A reminder that with all the other things they were to each other, they were also friends. Confidantes.
Soulmates who could talk about erections as well as ectoplasm. Orgasms as well as organisms.
And speaking of the big O….
“Mulder—” She gave a little thrust of her hips against his hand, which had gone still when she had begun to undress him.
He grinned slightly and moved his fingers against her. Her body leapt in response, so strongly in fact for a moment she was briefly delayed from her own task of removing his shorts.
But her multi-tasking skills kicked in and she reached her goal in seconds.
He was…large. She’d had a clue long before this—it wasn’t the first time she’d seen him naked. But Mulder at rest and Mulder at full staff were considerably different prospects.
Not too large–she didn’t have the sudden urge to run screaming for a chastity belt at the sight.
Quite the opposite.
Fingers through silk definitely did NOT get it.
“Yeah?” His voice was in her ear, little more than hot breath.
“I think I’ve had enough foreplay. You?”
“Five years too much.” He slid his hands over her hips and under the waistband of her pajamas. He slipped his fingers lower, beneath her cotton briefs. Lower, gliding over the muscles of her ass. Lower, sliding down her thighs, pulling the bottoms and the panties with him.
His breath was hot against her knee as he lifted one foot, then the other, and tossed the garments aside. Then, hot against her thigh.
Then, hot against her cleft. Hot and intense.
Okay, I was wrong, she realized as his mouth closed over her, his tongue and lips and teeth working magic at her core.
I haven’t had enough foreplay. Her knees buckled and his hands rose up her back, holding her steady as he drove her inexorably toward insanity. She clutched at his hair, probably hurting him, but she was beyond any rational thought now, too caught up in the whirlwind of pleasure his mouth wrought.
When he finally drew back, she was mere millimeters from release. She moaned in frustration when he rose, abandoning his ministrations.
“Soon,” he murmured. He reached out and flicked open the buttons of her pajama top, then lifted his own t-shirt over his head. He tossed it aside, then slid her shirt off, tossing it aside as well.
He paused for a moment, just looking at her. His gaze was impenetrable; she couldn’t read him for a moment, and that scared her.
Then he lifted his gaze to meet hers, and doubt fled in the onslaught of need and passion and—yes–love that flowed over her in that one look.
She reached out and threaded her hands through his, pulling. Her body thrummed, still on the verge of satiation, still clamoring for release, making her movements sluggish and unsteady. But somehow they made it to the sofa—the bed was too far away for realistic consideration.
And though the sofa was too small, really, she just didn’t give a damn.
She lay down on her back, opened her thighs and reached for him. He sank atop her, his hips shifting restlessly, seeking harbor.
There was never anything romantic about this moment, she thought. No delicate way to handle the logistics of two bodies joining. And yet, somehow, when his fingers slid between her legs and opened her to himself, there was such tenderness in the touch, such reverence for her body and for what they were about to share that tears filled her eyes.
When he entered her, the tears spilled, sliding silently down her cheeks.
He kissed the tears, his lips gentle. “Am I hurting you?”
She shook her head swiftly. “No.”
He was still for a few moments, giving her body time to adjust to the unaccustomed fullness. And fullness it was. Tight, thick, almost overwhelming.
He took advantage of the quiet time to move his lips gently, teasingly over hers. “Nice?”
She flicked her tongue against his lips in answer. He parted his lips and welcomed her exploration. She tasted the mint of his toothpaste and a dark, smoky flavor she realized must be the essence of herself still lingering on his tongue.
With some surprise, she felt her center contract in a series of hot, sharp spasms. Pleasure flooded through her in growing, undulating waves.
Oh, my God, she thought, I’m coming.
And coming and coming, without Mulder making the first stroke inside her. She didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or impressed.
He waited for the spasms to ease before he lowered his head next to hers and murmured in her ear, “So damned independent.”
She chuckled self-consciously. “Or else, you’re better than you thought.”
He lifted his head and gazed down at her. “Ooo, a theory to test.” He rocked his hips, and once again, she saw stars.
Bright, speckly, darting stars–
He set a rhythm and dared her to keep pace, his gaze challenging her with each thrust of his hips. She was hurtling fast toward another climax, but she was damned if she was going to go there alone this time. So she strained against him, biting her lip to keep the pleasure from erupting too soon, arching her back and tightening her muscles to drive him toward the same beckoning insanity that loomed before her.
Come, Mulder, she thought, squeezing his ass as he drove into her. Come for me.
He went rigid in her arms, his back arching. A low, rumbling moan escaped his throat and his hips bucked hard against hers. Once. Twice. On the third time, his pelvis ground hard against hers, triggering an explosion of sensation that rocketed straight from her core to the pleasure center of her brain. With a keening cry, she dragged him with her over the edge and they flew together toward the sun until they burst into flames.
Sunlight was peeking through the curtains of her living room when she formed her next coherent thought. The clock on the mantle read 5:35 a.m. She’d fallen asleep on her sofa.
THEY’D fallen asleep. For Mulder was still there with her, his head on her breast, his body still joined with hers.
Hard again. And growing harder as her body flexed involuntarily around him.
He stirred, rubbing his chin against her chest. His beard had grown overnight, stubble leaving a little path of heat against her sensitive flesh.
He lifted his head and looked at her, his gaze sleepy and warm and faintly surprised. “You’re still here.”
Somehow, that soft admission deconstructed her. She lifted her hand to his head, and stroked his hair. “Yes, I am.”
His expression grew almost comical as he came more awake and realized just what the bottom half of his body was doing at the moment. She could almost see the calculations in his head–how best to disengage without betraying his cool exterior….
He just looked at her, nibbling lightly at his lip.
“Since you’re already…here…”
He dipped his head, resting his forehead against her collarbone. “Bless you.”
She didn’t expect another orgasm. Early morning hard-ons, based on her somewhat limited experience, weren’t known for their staying power. So it was with some surprise that she found herself wracked with yet another climax—milder, perhaps, than the volcanic proportions of last night’s pleasure, but certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Mulder followed soon after, closing his lips over the tendon in her neck and sucking hard as his body shook with release. She would have marks. More rumors would start.
She pushed those thoughts firmly aside and cradled her lover in her arms. There would be time for worries and fears and doubts later. Time to figure out the logistics of loving her partner. All those considerations could wait.
Right now, she just allowed herself to feel. His arms, tight and possessive around her. His lips, moving lightly over her throat. His body, soft and spent and pressed so intimately against hers.
So, Mulder had made love to her.
Denial could go fuck itself.
One More Step by Anne Haynes
DISCLAIMER – Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. I mean no copyright infringement.
CATEGORY – MSR
RATING – NC-17
SPOILERS – US Season Five and the movie
This is a follow up to my earlier story, “Between Then and Now,” but you don’t really have to read that one to figure out this one.
“One More Step”
They hadn’t left the bedroom since they’d wandered there, still damp from an early morning shower, and curled up together on Scully’s soft bed. It was a new bed, Mulder had noted sleepily, wider than the one where he’d spent a fevered night under her care a few years ago. He’d nodded off before he’d thought to ask her when she went bed-shopping.
It was a rare Saturday morning that he stayed in bed until noon. A Saturday morning spent lying in bed with his partner, her soft, naked back curling into his belly—that was a fucking miracle.
He couldn’t stop touching her. It was stupid and juvenile, and he’d be lucky if she didn’t kick him out of bed and her apartment before it was all over, but damn it, he’d been an incredibly good boy around her for five years, copping only the most mild of feels from time to time when the urge to feel her skin was too much to deny. He’d told himself he was treating her with courtly regard, and if his fingers had happened to linger a bit longer than they should against the heated curve of her back, well….
“Are you hungry?” Her voice was a sleepy rumble against his chest.
How to answer that? Sure, his stomach felt a bit empty—he hadn’t eaten since lunch yesterday, actually. But right now, if he had to choose between a sirloin and the feel of Scully’s round little ass pressed against his pelvis—no contest. He chose the safest answer he could think of. “Are you?”
He kissed the back of her head, burying his nose in her shower-damp hair. She smelled like apples. “I make a mean omelette.”
Damn. Guess that meant he was going to have to get up after all. He nibbled her ear lightly, hoping that maybe the promise of more sex might deter her from her quest for food. But she just chuckled and wriggled out of his grasp, sliding safely off the bed.
Well, “safely” might not be the right word. She was, quite simply, magnificent when naked. Hard muscles and soft swells in all the right places. Milky pale, like alabaster kissed by moonlight.
Mulder bit back a grin. Alabaster kissed by moonlight? Jesus, Mulder, you are a complete sot for this woman.
He realized she was staring at him. He met her amused gaze. She knew he was a sot, too. But somehow it was okay, because her baby blues were shining back at him like jewels.
She loved him. She fucking loved him.
He didn’t want to think too long or hard about that. Any amount of rational consideration would lead to one inescapable conclusion–she was out of her bloody mind and would surely come to her senses sooner or later. There was not much about Fox William Mulder to love, and Scully of all people had to know that. She knew the depths of his madness, the power of his demons. She knew where all the bodies were buried. Hell, she’d provided half of them herself, unwitting sacrifices to the cause he seemed destined to champion.
Don’t go there yet. It’s a nice morning. It’s a good morning. Scully’s standing there, naked as the day she was born, looking at you like you’re Mel Fucking Gibson. Don’t screw this up yet.
He found and donned bits and pieces of his clothing on his way to the kitchen. Scully soon followed, dressed in soft cotton shorts and a ribbed white men’s tank-style undershirt. No bra, he noted with a little frisson of pleasure. For a second he envisioned taking her right there in the kitchen, up against the counter. But he was already elbow deep in eggs, cheese and mushrooms, so he stored away that image for later consideration.
She perched on the counter next to where he worked, her legs dangling, kicking gently back and forth. She had a height advantage from up there and looked down on him with a sort of girlish pleasure he rarely saw in her. “Is this something you learned from an old girlfriend?” she asked.
Shit. He dropped part of an eggshell into the omelet mix. He fished it out with a spoon and wondered if he could get by without answering Scully’s question.
“Never mind—not important.” She shrugged. But some of the happiness seeped out of her expression, and he felt his heart contract.
“Phoebe,” he admitted. It wasn’t something he liked talking about. Scully knew that. She wouldn’t pry further. But before he realized it, the story was spilling from him, the words punctuated by the mildly violent circles of wisk through egg. “She liked breakfast in bed. She liked a lot of things in bed. And I was young enough and stupid enough to be impressed by that. Much more impressed than she was with me, as it turns out.”
Scully touched him, just the lightest brush of her fingers against his cheek. But it burned, hot and pure. Eyes closing, he leaned into the touch, sliding his jaw into the curve of her small palm.
“You’re good in bed, Mulder.” Her breath warmed his ear. “Incredible, in fact.”
He wanted to curl up inside her and spend the rest of his life there, cocooned from the twin demons of his past and his future.
“I know you weren’t fishing for reassurance.” Her lips grazed his cheekbone. “I’m not telling you what I think you want to hear. I’m just telling you the truth. Last night, you made me see stars. Fucking stars, Mulder . Nobody’s ever made me see stars before.”
He opened his eyes and met her gaze. She looked slightly embarrassed by the admission. “Stars?”
He grinned like an idiot. “I think I saw stars, too.”
“Good. I try.” She ran her thumb over his lower lip, then dropped her hand away and looked down at the omelette mix. “How’s it coming?”
Halfway there, he thought.
Oh, wait—the omelette. She was talking about the omelette. He took a deep breath and focused. “Just need to heat up some butter in a skillet….”
It wasn’t the best omelette he’d ever made—her distracting proximity sabotaged his effort to present her with a perfectly browned semi-circle of egg and cheese, but the slightly misshapen final product still tasted good, chasing away the edgy hunger nibbling at his insides. They made quick work of the dirty dishes—he washed, she dried, moving with the efficiency of long-time partners.
Then she chased him back to bed. He let her catch him.
She had the best hands he’d ever seen—small, deft and wonderfully sensitive. She also had a doctor’s brain, full of all sorts of mysterious, arcane knowledge of the male anatomy that had him gasping for breath within a few minutes. He curled his fingers through her hair and drew her back up to him for a long, slow, sweet kiss, allowing his body a moment to step back from the edge before he plunged over prematurely.
He knew what he should say to her. He knew the three words any man with a set of balls and his head screwed on straight would tell her at this moment. But they stuck in his throat, unsaid. He’d spoken them to Phoebe, back when he didn’t even have a clue what they meant. To Diana once, in the throes of a mind-blowing orgasm—and he hadn’t understood what it was that time, either.
To utter the words now to Scully right here, right now—he couldn’t. It seemed meaningless. Love was just four letters strung together in monosyllabic inadequacy. It couldn’t capture all she was to him. Not even close. And certainly not here in bed, where she could misintepret his meaning, misapply the phrase to some convenient dictate of the male psyche, where “I love you” and “fuck me” too often meant the same thing.
He twined his fingers with hers and rolled her onto her back, gazing down into her laughter-washed eyes. Her thighs parted to cradle the weight of his hips. He sank into the slick heat of her sex and paused there, giving their bodies time to adjust to the joining.
You are my soul, he thought.
Something shifted in her gaze. As if somehow, she’d heard his silent declaration. Tears welled up in her eyes, and answering moisture blurred his gaze.
She reached up, cradling his face between her small hands, and drew him down to her. Her lips moved lightly over his, speaking silent words of passion with each gentle kiss. Then, tenderness taking on a raw edge, she moved her hands over his shoulders and down his back, tracing muscle and bone, until finally her palms curled over his ass and pulled him deeper inside her. “Make me see stars,” she murmured into his ear.
She tightened her muscles, holding him inside her as he began his withdrawal. “How are you with galaxies?”
He answered her with a thrust and a grin.
When she came, it happened quickly, by surprise. He hadn’t even been trying that hard yet, just finding the rhythm of their bodies working in tandem. She clenched around him, hot and slick and so, so tight, a long, breathy growl escaping her lips. He clenched his jaw and fought for control, feeling his own body hurtling toward an early explosion.
Not yet not yet not yet….
He reached between their bodies and rolled his thumb against the throbbing cluster of nerves hidden in the silky curls of her sex. Scully gasped and jerked at the touch.
Hey Scully, he thought, wanna go for two?
He drove her hard, pushing, demanding her pleasure. It became an obsession with him. He wanted to hear her come again. He wanted to hear that low, husky groan she made when she reached the apex of her pleasure, her muscles clenching.
She fought back, requiring his own capitulation. She growled in his ear, demanding his surrender in low, raw terms.
Come for me, Mulder. Come for me.
He felt the first quake of her second climax rocking through her and came unglued, unraveling, imploding, melting in her arms. He thought he could feel the top of his head come off–God knows any gray matter he might have had left escaped into the ether, rendering him blind, deaf and insensate save for the happy little fellow that connected his body to hers.
HE was having one hell of a good time.
When sanity began to return, Mulder rolled onto his side, pulling her with him. He cradled her close and waited for his pulse and respiration to return to something approaching normal.
Scully gave good afterglow. He wasn’t used to cuddling after sex—his previous bed-partners hadn’t been much for that sort of malingering, and he’d never known it was worth asking for. But with Scully, it was the next best thing to—well—sex. She wasn’t a talker, speaking instead in touches and nuzzles. He was becoming addicted to the feel of her small nose nestling just so in the hollow of his throat, the cool slide of her fingers over his ribs and hips and thighs. She seemed to find great pleasure in kissing him, her lips soft and sweet on his, striving not to kindle but merely to warm.
How long could he keep this going? How long could he convince her that he was worth her trouble, worth the inevitable pain? How long could he make her as happy as she seemed in this one, golden moment of time?
“Mulder, you’re worrying, aren’t you?” Her voice rumbled against his chest.
He looked down into her solemn gaze, stunned anew at how well she knew him. “I happen to be damned good at it.”
“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” she said softly.
He couldn’t help but grin. “Kinky, Scully. Post-coital scripture. Is that a Catholic thing?”
She slapped him lightly on the ass. “Stop worrying about what happens Monday or next week or next year. We’ll deal with all of that just like we always do.”
He stroked her hair. “And how is that?”
Together, he thought, savoring the word. Tasting the bittersweet tang of it. She was right—they’d always managed to find a way through everything together. Maybe they could figure out this thing that was happening between them the same way.
Maybe it was as simple as taking one more step each time they though they’d reached the end of the road. If any two people in the world could find a way to make it happen, they could.
Because God help him if he ever had to be without her.
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