Chapter Thirty-Seven – With Intent to Collect


If it weren't for the occasional noises of Madison finishing up her ice cream cone, the ride back to her house would've been completely silent. Not for any particular reason. She obviously didn't feel the need for conversation and he knew better than to try and initiate anything meaningful when she had food in her hands.

So it was surprising, to say the least, when he pulled into her driveway and instead of her jumping out of the car, she turned to stare at him thoughtfully.

He stared back at her with raised eyebrows, watching as her eyes travelled the length of his body, watching as her head tilted to the side and rather than immediately blurting out whatever it was that was on her mind, her hand raised to her mouth so that she could chew on her fingernail.

He didn't know whether to be concerned or amazed by her show of hesitance, so he decided to push for an answer. "What's going on in that head of yours?"

Her gaze fluttered away, looking out the windscreen as she took a deep breath and said slowly, "I like you."

His lips pressed inwards as he tried to contain his grin. "Well, that's good to know."

She nodded. "So I should probably pay attention to you."

"Also good."

"Your likes," she continued, oblivious to his amusement, "your dislikes, what you like to do in your spare time… that sort of thing."

This time he did grin, he could hardly help it. "Strangely enough, in varying degrees these days, the answer to all that is you."

She frowned. "What do you dislike about me?"

He leaned back in his chair and shrugged. "At this moment? Probably the fact that you're stalling the inevitable."

"Which is?"

"Me getting you upstairs."

"No I'm not," she disputed abruptly. "We can walk and talk. I'm just trying to make a point here." She opened her door and made to get out, but he grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

"Okay, I'm sorry," he said with a chuckle. "Make your point. I'm listening."

She sniffed and rubbed at her nose. "Well, it's not that important."

"It is," he said, cupping the side of her face, making her meet his gaze. "You telling me you like me is very important."

"And you like me," she said, not a question, more a demand.

He smirked and rubbed his thumb over her cheek. "I like you."

She took another deep breath, licking her lips before continuing. "You've made a lot of effort to integrate yourself into my life. You've done a lot for me; you've done a lot to be with me." She paused, swallowed. "It must be taxing. I must be…"

"Worth it," Caine broke in, bringing his other hand up to frame her face. "You're worth it, Madison."

Delight shone in her eyes and she smiled slowly. "I am?"

"You should know by now, I wouldn't do anything I didn't want to." His thumb swept across her bottom lip. "I want to be with you and I'll do whatever it takes to accomplish that." He gave her a crooked smile. "Even put up with your family."

She nodded. "That's what I'm getting at. You've sacrificed your… well, sanity, to be with me. You've initiated yourself into my world and I appreciate it."

Strangely enough, only now was he confused. He shook his head in bemusement. "You're… welcome?"

She sighed heavily, probably annoyed that he wasn't able to follow her train of thought. "What I'm trying to say is, like you to me, I am the unforeseen disruption in your world and therefore, I should make an effort to integrate myself just as fully as a courtesy to you."

He gave up. There were way too many syllables in that sentence. "You've lost me."

She blew out an exasperated breath. "In simpleton terms, if you would like for us to go to Gavin's party, we can go."

He was stunned. Just… stunned.

"Is that what this is about? You want to go to a party?"

Her nose crinkled in distaste. "I don't want to go, but if you do then I guess we can."

"And you'd go because… what? As a favour to me?"

She shrugged. "Yes, that, plus it would be a girlfriend type thing to do, wouldn't it? I should probably do more of those," she mumbled, more to herself. "Also, I wouldn't mind observing you in your natural element."

It amazed him that she was actually offering to do something she so obviously despised because she thought it would make him happy, though why she would think a typical high school party could ever compare to her bedroom was beyond him. He raised a curious eyebrow. "What makes you so sure a party is my natural element?"

She blinked. "Isn't it?"

Now a question he could answer. He smiled and gestured she hop out of the car. "Come on, I'll show you where my natural element is."

He held her hand as they walked to the door. "Is this where you demonstrate why they call you the Conqueror?"

He glanced at her warily. "Who told you that?"

Her brow creased. "Who told me what?"

"That they call me that?"

"Oh. Chelsea, of course."

He snorted. "Of course. And here I thought she liked me."

"Is the nickname an insult?"

"Yes… no…" He sighed. "I don't know. It's not a nickname. It's just something stupid… a guy thing, I guess."

"You can tell me the truth, you know." She squeezed his hand. "I won't hit you too hard."

He inhaled deeply and tried to hide the despair in his eyes, even as he ran a hand through her hair, staring into her trusting gaze. "I know I can." Then he realised what she'd said and smirked. "And I know you will."

She smiled, not bothering to deny it and pushed the door open to a dark, empty house. "No one must be home."

He wondered if this was Fate's idea of a joke – giving him a prime opportunity to tell her everything because she was asking - the bet, his intentions, his undesired future – and then giving him an empty house and the likelihood of zero interruptions while he concentrated on seducing her.

It didn't take him long to decide which option he wanted.

He unhooked her bag from over her shoulder and dropped it to the floor, then turned and pushed her back against the closed door, trapping her in with hands each side of her head. "I hope you know you're going to be missing your programme tonight."

She nodded as her hands gripped the sides of his shirt. "I kind of guessed that already."

"And I don't want to go to Gavin's party."

"Are you sure?"

For answer, he pushed his hips into hers so that she couldn't mistake his arousal for anything other than what it was. "Positive."

Her breath caught and her hands slid beneath his shirt, along his back, her palms cool upon his hot skin. "So tell me what you do want to do."

His leg shifted so that it was in between hers and she had no option but to straddle his thigh. "I'd rather show you."

He felt her fingernails scratch lightly against his back and the sensation gave him goose bumps, but the frown that appeared across her brow gave him pause. "I'd actually rather you tell me. I would like to know-"

"My schedule?" He chuckled and shook his head. "There isn't a programme. I'm trying to seduce you here. Since when have you needed an itinerary?"

"Uh… since always," she said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "I haven't needed it before because you were always predictable. I know you'll stop every time, just when it starts to get good. But now…"

"Now," he started, pushing into her again, just to hear her breath hitch in her throat… just to feel her hands clench and the instinctive rise of her body. "I'm going to follow through on my promise."

"Yes," she said on a sigh, closing her eyes as he pressed a kiss at the base of her neck. "It would appear so. But what is your promise exactly?"

"Simply put?" He pulled back to see her face. "I'm going to take your clothes off and then I'm going to go down on you and make you come."

He watched in satisfaction as she swallowed deeply and felt the corresponding shiver her body gave at his words. It amused him as much as it turned him on to see understanding invite interest into the expression on her face. Well… she wanted honesty.

"Down on me?" she said finally, her voice barely above a whisper.

"Yes. Down on you." He tilted his head coyly. "I would explain the mechanics of the process but I'd much rather demonstrate."

"That's so…" She let out a shaky breath. "Dirty."

He smirked and pressed a kiss beneath her ear. "Only if I do it right."

She shook her head. "No, I mean, that is extremely unsanitary."

"I really don't care about that," he said through a smile.

"Well, I do," she said softly. Her hands floated down to grip onto the top of his pants. "Can't we shower first?"

"You mean can I give you time to talk yourself out of it?"

"No, I mean let's shower." He went to reply, to ease back a little and tell her that if she was having doubts then he could wait. He'd be entirely frustrated but he could wait. Frustration wasn't anything new to him really, so they'd just do it another time. But before he could say any of that she said, "Together," and he could've sworn he somehow got harder.

She didn't even give him time to respond before she nodded confidently and said, "Yeah, that's a better plan," and yanked his shirt up and over his head.

He had to laugh because she'd become quite adept at removing his clothes lately. Well… his shirts anyway. Other times, whenever her lovely fingers would go near his pants he'd about lose it and have to stop her. He was always surprised by her eagerness, even though he shouldn't have been… even though he encouraged it wholeheartedly. Perhaps it was because she was so innocent and it was all so new to her and she was always so open to discovering her sexuality with him. It almost made him wish that he were just as new to the experience as she. But then, had he been some budding young virgin, there was no way he could maintain his staying power. He would've already disgraced himself more times than he could count.

It just went to show, every other girl before Madison was an exercise in resistance. Years of experience had prepared him for the main event and now that he was in her arms, staring down at her face, pressed against her body, he could only be amazed that he had managed to hold out for as long as he did.

Especially when she ran her hands across his chest with an expression of unabashed hunger. "Your bare torso is very appealing to me."

It was his turn to take a shaky breath this time as her fingertips skimmed down his stomach, to his sides, only to drift up again. "Yeah?"

"Mmm-hmm." She nodded, her eyes mesmerized by the play of her fingers – his eyes mesmerized by the intensity on her face. "And whenever I see you topless… whether it be in public, or alone… I just want to…" Her words drifted off, her head dipped to press her lips lightly above his left nipple as she whispered, "lick you." Her tongue darted out to follow through on the desire, in just a brief touch that had his balls clenching. "Is that weird?"

His breath flew out of his lungs in a growl and his hands buried themselves in her hair so he could pull her head back and find her mouth with his in a rough, demanding kiss, hot and greedy, all tongue and no finesse, grinding his erection into her, making her gasp and moan, making her right leg lift to hook around his thigh, his hands grabbing her ass so he could pick her up and push into her more, both her legs around his waist in a position oh-so-natural, oh-so-right, just to grab her ass again and aim his erection just right… just right… so right… that the way she moved on him, in a rhythm as old as time… that if they were naked he'd be inside her, hard and deep… coming inside her…

Instead of against her.

"Fuck!" he grunted after several stunned seconds, his face buried in her neck. He couldn't believe it. He couldn't believe he had just fucking done that, when he'd been so busy praising himself for his staying power. How fucking humiliating. "Fucking, fucking hell!"

She snorted and he could feel her chest shuddering as it struggled with finding oxygen to breathe and laugh simultaneously.

His head pulled back to glare at her. "You know… I think I actually hate you."

Her head fell forward onto his shoulder as she shook with a melodic laughter that, if it hadn't been at his expense, would've delighted him. As it was, he felt like strangling her.

"I'm serious," he continued, his hands squeezing her ass, this time as a punishment. "I think I could quite happily murder you."

"Why?" she said through a laugh, her head raising to grin at him. "Because you came and I didn't?"

"Yeah, rub it in. That won't make me want to kill you any less."

She laughed again and her hands ran through his hair… stroking gently across his head, as if trying to soothe his wounded ego, the bitch. "Well, now you know how I felt when you did it to me… at school. Which is worse." Her smug smile turned satisfied. "At least now we're even."

"Yeah, that was my main concern," he grumbled sarcastically. His gaze drifted down to where their bodies met. "And now we really do need a shower." At his words, she rubbed against him, and the move surprised him so much he almost dropped her. And not because he didn't expect it, but because he felt an answering pulse in his cock and he couldn't believe she could have him responding again so soon.

"I liked making you lose control like that," she murmured, inciting another pull in his groin. She bit her lip on a smile. "I want to do it again."

He groaned and squeezed his eyes shut and actually became grateful that his dick was taking a breather otherwise he'd be disgracing himself twice in just as many minutes. She wasn't even talking dirty and she had him mauling her against the door. What the hell would he do if she did? He firmly believed that if she whispered the word 'fuck' in his ear his head would explode.

"Let's shower," she said, her voice eager and full of confidence.

"Yeah," he answered, his voice guttural and full of appreciation. He let her slide her legs to the ground and then stepped back to look down at her. "But first, take off your shirt."

"What?" she gasped on a laugh. "Why?"

He smirked and folded his arms across his chest, feeling as if he were gaining the upper hand for the first time all night. "Because I asked nicely."

He should've known better than to challenge her because her eyes narrowed and without hesitation she lifted her shirt up and over her head, throwing it at his face. She stuck her hands on her hips and raised a taunting eyebrow. "Would you like me to remove my shorts as well?"

He didn't know why he couldn't speak. Not really. He'd seen a great number of girls in just a bra before. He'd even seen her in a low-cut bra-slash-singlet in which the nylon material moulded itself to her as faithfully as her skin, but seeing her standing before him now in a simple, black sports bra and black shorts that only just reached the bottom of her ass had somehow vanished his voice.

Perhaps it was because he'd forced upon himself two long weeks worth of second-base celibacy and now, when he was granting the magnanimous reprieve of truly sating his desire, he was looking at her in a new light. He was allowing his hormones to come out and do precisely as they pleased and with no limit on his resistance, he was looking at this girl… his girlfriend with amazed eyes… and he couldn't believe she could be more beautiful.

Her tan was completely even, all over her body. He hated to think how she might have accomplished that because he was picturing her sunbathing topless somewhere and despising anybody who might have been witness to it. Her skin was the same honey gold as her eyes and he wanted to run his hands over it… so he did. His right hand trailed the length of her left arm, from her shoulder all the way to her wrist before both of his hands lifted to cup the curve of her waist. But it was her breasts his eyes couldn't quite leave, even though he'd seen plenty of breasts in his lifetime. Most bigger, because that was normally how he rolled, and all of them bare, but none had been quite so appealing as the pair in front of him now, hidden behind a comparatively unimpressive bra.

He wanted them… in his mouth…

But his silence must've gotten to her because her shoulders twitched and her hands rested on top of his. "You're staring."

A slow, predatory smile crept across his face. "I know. Does it make you uncomfortable?"

Her hands slid restlessly to his forearms. "I'm not sure. I haven't had someone stare at my breasts for so long before without feeling obligated to punch them."

His hands squeezed, bringing her up against him again. "But I'm not just someone."

She breathed a quiet little sigh. "I know."

"I'm the someone who will be doing the punching from now on."

"Well, I won't let you have all the fun."

He chuckled and leaned down to kiss her as his hands slid up the length of her back, down, up her stomach, then to the sides of her breasts so his thumbs could run gently across her nipples in one full circle, making her gasp and bite his lip. And just like that, he was getting hard again. He lifted his head and murmured, "Let's get in that shower."

She nodded, eyes heavy-lidded with lust. "Agreed."

He swooped down to plant one more kiss on her lips and then bent to pick up their shirts and her bag in one hand, while holding her hand in the other, leading the way up the stairs.


Madison had never felt so completely wanton in her life. She had not intended for her night to go as it was. Not in the slightest, especially considering her and Chelsea had spent the better part of the evening coming up with a series of questions in which she might gain a little more insight into the life of Caine. They were good questions too, like where was he from, how old was he exactly and why did he dress like a complete slob sometimes when he had Armani underwear? Not that she had known what Armani was until Chelsea had pointed it out, but there that was; the fact that he had top-dollar clothing and she'd accused him of being a homeless person.

She'd had a nice interrogation all planned out for the night, after the documentary she'd wanted to watch of course and yet, here she was, probably only minutes away from doing something she never even thought of doing… to anybody… ever. At least not before he came along, and now…

She wanted to do everything to him. She wanted him to do everything to her. She wanted him… so much, and somewhere, between the bottom step and the top step, her need to touch him had escalated, and she figured, since he was hers, why on Earth was she resisting what was quite rightly her property?

Once they hit the top floor, she pressed her body against his back and ran a hand down the side of his torso while pressing a kiss to his shoulder. His back was just as attractive as his front. She loved watching the muscles as they moved beneath the skin. It fascinated her as much as it aroused her, and feeling his bare skin against hers made her want to purr.

Her action made him stop walking, turn and hook his arm around her waist, pulling her in for a hungry kiss, walking her backwards to her room. They barely made it to the doorway before he threw their clothing and her bag somewhere in the direction of her wardrobe and hooked both hands beneath her thighs to lift her up again, amazing her with his strength even as she wrapped her legs around him in a position that was as familiar to them as breathing, all the while, not breaking their kiss.

Then he began walking towards the bathroom and she felt a shiver of lust streak through her body as sudden and electric as lightning, though strangely enough it brought along with it an unexpected flash of apprehension. It bemused her because she didn't know why. What did she have to feel apprehensive about? It was just Caine after all. Her and Caine. There wasn't anything new or nerve-wracking about that.

Of course, now he would be seeing her naked. And she would be seeing him naked. And that was entirely new.

He reached the bathroom finally; kicking the door closed with his foot and released her legs so she could stand. He broke their kiss and stared down at her, eyes glittering with lust, but the expression quickly eased as he smiled and ran a hand through her hair. "You okay?"

She took a deep breath and nodded slowly.

"No second thoughts?" he asked.

She exhaled and shook her head.

His smile widened. "Are you sure? Because your silence is saying otherwise." He ran his hands up and down her sides, in a motion meant to soothe, but only making her shiver again. "What are you thinking?"

For once in her life, she couldn't quite pin down one stable thought, but she supposed she shouldn't be surprised as Caine seemed to scramble her brain most of the time. She didn't like to admit it, but it was there, every time he touched her, every time he looked at her, every time she was around him. And she sincerely hoped that the sooner they got past this next step in their relationship, the sooner her need for him would wear off, because at the moment, it had her firmly in its hold and she had no idea how to shake it loose.

And if that wasn't a good enough excuse to start, she didn't know what would be.

She stepped around him to the shower and switched it on, then faced him. "You go first."

He grinned. "You're not going to chicken out on me, are you?"

She shook her head. "No, but…" Her eyes ran down his body and landed at his crotch. "Well… you're already messy."

That knocked his cocky smile off as he stared down at himself with a frown. "Right." He looked back at her with a glare. "Thanks for reminding me."

"I wasn't being mean," she protested, folding her arms over her stomach. "I just thought that might be something you'd want to address."

He sighed and walked towards her. "Trust you to put a dent in a guy's seduction."

"I didn't mean to," she said, rubbing at her nose. "But yours will be the first real life penis I'll see and I figured you'd want it to look its best."

His hands lifted to cover his face and for a quick second she thought she might have actually made him cry, before he broke into helpless laughter. "God," he said between chuckles. "You're going to give me performance anxiety soon."

"Well, that's not true," she said, rubbing his arm. "It's not like I have anyone to compare it with."

Her attempt at appeasement didn't stop his laughter any. "Thanks," he snorted. "That makes me feel better."

She blew out an exasperated breath. "Well, I don't know what you want me to say."

His hands cupped her head and he pressed a short kiss on top of it. "Do me a favour, don't say anything at all." He released her and gripped the top of his pants. "Now, if you don't want to shock your virgin eyes, I'd suggest you turn away now."

And before she could even think of a response to that, he pulled his pants down in front of her and stepped into the shower, making her mouth drop open in surprise.

He poked his head out from behind the curtain and grinned. "I'll give you thirty seconds to decide whether or not you're going to join me. Then I'm coming after you." His head disappeared and she was left staring at his silhouette.

"Those aren't options," she managed once she'd found her voice. "That's an ultimatum."

"Twenty-five seconds," he called out, ignoring her objection.

She stood there with her arms crossed, grumbling at his demands. She was still getting over the fact that he'd so blatantly shown her his bare buttocks let alone deciding if she was ready to do the same. And it was so unlike her to be shy. It was quite annoying really, the self-consciousness that had popped up from nowhere.

His head poked out again, his hair plastered to his head and his face wearing that cocky grin. "Wimping out?"

"Fifteen seconds," she growled, glaring at him.

He chuckled and disappeared again, leaving her scowling at empty air. So maybe she was a little shy, and perhaps even a tad nervous. It was only natural after all. He wasn't even easing her into it. Not that she was the type of person that needed to be eased into anything. She liked jumping in feet first before looking for the landing. It was the only way she ever managed to do anything. But…

"Seven seconds," he sang, amusement lacing his voice.

She growled again. Fine. If he wanted her naked, he was getting her naked and she hoped he bloody well choked on his tongue.

She stripped out of her clothes just as she heard him call out: "Three, two, one… ready or not, here I-" His head poked out and the expression on his face when he saw her almost made his teasing worth it.

"Come?" she said, raising her eyebrow tauntingly.

He swallowed deeply as his eyes travelled down her body – too slow to be polite, too hungry to be ignored – staring at parts of her body she'd let no one see before.

"Jesus," he whispered, his eyes drifting back from between her legs to her breasts again, making her blush a bright crimson. "You don't play fair."

His inability to take his eyes off her slowly had her confidence returning. "I just did what you told me."

He nodded. "That's what I mean. How can I ever win anything with you looking like that?"

Her chin went up defensively. "Like what?"

"A goddess," he said in a hushed praise. "My goddess."

Amazingly, she blushed a deeper shade of red, sending him a small smile of thanks. And before she could lose her nerve, she pushed the shower curtain aside and stepped in. "I want to see you too."

"Good idea," he said, cupping her head in one hand and licking his way into her mouth, distracting her from her main goal, pulling her body against his until she felt the spray of the shower hitting her back and the hot length of him pulsing against her stomach and the feel of him, wet, hard and completely naked had her breaking the kiss.

"But I want to see you," she protested breathlessly.

"I know," he answered, his mouth going to her neck, sucking the water from her skin. "But I need this first."

His mouth returned to hers and she decided to allow it, wrapping her arms around his neck and giving herself to him fully, revelling in the feel of his wet body against hers, standing on the tips of her toes to rub herself against him, feeling the clench of his hands, one on her hip, the other below her armpit, before he began trailing kisses down her jaw, down her neck, licking at the drops of water in her collarbone, down the middle of her chest, then he lifted his head, looked into her eyes and said, "You'll like this," and took her left nipple into his mouth.

And she did like it. Boy, did she ever. It was like an explosion of sensation, rocketing through the nerve endings of her body and when he sucked, she cried out at the exquisite pain, her fingers tunnelling through his hair and pulling in rhythm with his mouth. Then he moved to her other nipple and it happened all over again.

She couldn't believe how much pleasure he could wring out of her body. He played her like an instrument and the music her moans. He'd given her an orgasm before, that very first time, their passions, sudden, unexpected and clashing like a thunderstorm, and she didn't know it could get better than that. She didn't know his seduction could be so wonderfully, slowly torturous. Sure, she'd spent the past two weeks kissing and grinding against him, but their clothes were always on and she knew he would stop it before they could reach that point of no return.

This was painful. And incredible. And so delightfully unfair because he was making her lose control when she'd wanted to do it to him. And when he began licking his way down her stomach she thought she might have felt her heart stop.

"Wait," she gasped, her hands clenching in his hair and her back thudding against the wall, noting distractedly as the spray of the water went straight over her head. "You can't."

He knelt at her feet and stroked his tongue into her belly button and said, "I most certainly can," while his hands slid from her calves, to the bend of her knees, up her thighs until they cupped her hips, his thumbs brushing her pelvic bone.


"Do you trust me?" he asked, staring up at her, his eyes both eager and inviting.

"Y-yes," she stuttered. Of course she trusted him. She didn't just get naked in front of any odd body, nor did she let them put their mouths where he had or where he was planning to.

His fingers brushed across her bottom in a tender caress as he landed a kiss at the base of her stomach. "Have I ever done anything to you that you didn't like?"

Her hands moved restlessly to his shoulders as her brain struggled to come up with an answer. "Well, I wasn't too impressed that time you ate the last of my cake."

He chuckled and she felt the heat of his breath against her nether regions and felt an unbidden thrill somersault its way through her body. "I told you what I wanted to do to you," he said, skimming his lips across her hip before nipping gently at the skin, making her bite her lip on a moan. "Don't you want to let me?"

He bit her again and her hips arched into him of their own accord. "Is this you trying to manipulate me?"

"Mm-hmm. Is it working?"

How could she deny a man when he was begging on his knees? It would be awfully heartless of her. "Fine," she said breathlessly. "But don't think I won't retaliate."

He sent her a wicked smile. "I look forward to it."

And then without hesitation, he licked into her and she thought she might have felt her brain pop.

She gasped his name and it turned into a cry as he picked up her right leg and draped it over his shoulder, then did something with his tongue that had to be illegal and if he didn't have a firm hand on her hip, she would have toppled right over.

And he was relentless, doing things with his mouth and his fingers, sending wave after wave of pleasure shooting through her body, assaulting her senses, heating her blood, making her moan and groan and whimper words that weren't words, gripping his hair, gripping the wall, moving her hips, higher and higher and higher until she exploded, gracelessly and artlessly into a climax she could barely comprehend.

It felt like days before she stopped floating and could finally open her eyes to see him standing in front of her, leaning into her, forearms either side of her head against the wall, smiling down at her smugly, a hint of triumph blazing in his gaze.

She wished she had the brain power to say something cutting that would wipe the arrogant expression right off his face, but she felt far too grateful, far too enamoured, far too good to ever have a bad word to say about him ever again, so she settled simply with sighing: "Wow."

"Yeah," he said, nibbling at her lips. "My thoughts exactly."

She hummed her satisfaction. "I didn't know it could be like that."

"It can be a lot of ways," he said, his hand stroking her breast, more for his own pleasure than hers. "I'll show you the rest later."

She felt an answering pull in her loins as his fingers played with her and decided she had better return the favour before she got carried away and let him get one up on her again.

She stepped around him and pushed so his back was to the wall. "My turn."

"That's not necessary," he tried, his hands going to her shoulders.

She narrowed her eyes at him. "You're not going to wimp out on me, are you?"

He inhaled deeply and licked his lips. "I may do."

"Too bad," she replied softly, her tongue lapping at the water on his chest. "What you do to me, I do to you."

And putting action to promise, she licked at his nipple and sucked it into her mouth, feeling the rumble of his groan beneath her lips, ecstatic to find that he seemed to like it as much as she did. She lavished his other nipple with the same amount of attention and felt his hands sink into her hair, tangling in the wet strands.

She lifted her head and pressed a kiss to his mouth, sucking at his tongue, running her fingers over the grooves of his ribcage, down the muscles of his stomach, following the trail of hair as it led down, down, until her left hand circled his erection.

He sucked in a harsh breath and she pulled back to stare at him, eyes wide in question. "Did I hurt you?"

His teeth sunk into his lip and he shook his head.

Her mouth quirked at the fact that she managed to render him speechless so easily, before her attention returned to what was in her hand. It was so different to what she'd been expecting, not that she knew exactly what it was she'd been expecting. She'd seen pictures before, of course, as she was an aspiring doctor and she'd endured the same Health and Sex classes as everybody else her age did, but putting it all into application was another thing entirely.

She circled her hand around and rubbed her thumb across the tip, startling slightly as his hips jerked in response, thrusting against her as if he couldn't quite help himself. "Still okay?" she asked, not really caring about the answer as her other hand joined in the play, taking him between both palms and running her thumbs from root to tip.

"Fuck," he groaned, pressing the heel of his hands to his eyes. "Fuck."

Her lips tilted into a smile. "I'll take that as a yes."

She ran her hands up and down the length of him again, feeling his body shudder, watching as his hips thrust against her and she realised her own body was responding in kind, getting just as aroused from knowing she was the cause of his undoing. It was empowering and incredibly exciting to have him come apart in her hands.

But she had promised to do everything he had done to her, and she was never one to break a promise.

She dropped to her knees and looked up at him. "Let me know if I'm doing it wrong."

She faintly heard him moan, "Oh, Jesus fucking Christ," before she took him into her mouth and that was an interesting experience too. It wasn't entirely unpleasant. In fact, it wasn't so different to sucking on a Popsicle stick; except it wasn't cold… it was far from cold. It was hot and hard and smooth and it made him gasp and moan and groan and swear a lot, especially when she ran her tongue up the length and popped it back in her mouth again with a gentle suck and just when she took it in both her hands to give a measured stroke - once, twice, three times - he lifted her up and shoved her against the wall, eating at her mouth in a kiss so erotic, so carnal, thrusting and grinding against the bottom of her stomach… almost lower… almost so intimately low that she thought she was about to lose her virginity right there and then, that she didn't even notice when he came. Not until he shuddered and broke their kiss did she realize the dampness between them was something other than water.

He leaned against her heavily, his breath sawing in and out of his chest, his heart beating as erratically as hers, and dropped his forehead to her shoulder, letting seconds upon seconds of silence pass before he sighed, "You're going to kill me one of these days."

She ran her hands up his back and smiled. "And here I thought you enjoyed that."

He stepped away from her and stared pointedly at the evidence of his 'enjoyment'. "There's no doubt about that."

He pulled her into the shower spray, turning her back to him so that the water hit her front and then his hands, foamy with soap, began washing her. She sighed and leaned against him, relaxing in his arms as he cleaned her thoroughly… some places more than others. Then she turned and did the same for him, stopping to kiss every now and then, lazily enjoying the exploration of each other's bodies until they unintentionally pushed each other over the edge again and figured they had better get out of the shower before they caused a major drought.

And when they were getting ready for bed, he wouldn't let her put on more than a singlet and panties while she wouldn't let him put on more than his boxer shorts, and they crawled under the blankets, his body spooning hers, one of his arms under her head while the other curled around her stomach so that he could cup her breast comfortably in his hand, just because he could, while her hand rested on his forearm. He pushed a leg between hers and she gave a slight shiver of pleasure at feeling the hair of his thigh tickle the skin between her legs before they both settled with a sigh.

He pressed a kiss to the side of her neck before whispering, "Thank you."

Her eyes blinked open with surprise. "What for?"

He nuzzled her, inhaling deep. "For tonight. For everything." He pressed another kiss to her skin. "For being mine."

She smiled and hummed in delight, pushing back deeper against him. "I liked it. I can't wait to do it again."

He chuckled and thrust his leg higher against her, making her gasp. "If you're not careful we'll be doing it again sooner than you expect."

She felt the unmistakeable ridge, hot and hard at her back and knew he wasn't lying. "We need to sleep," she protested unconvincingly.

The hand holding her breast squeezed, making her gasp as he murmured, "I don't disagree." His mouth buried into her neck and bit lightly at the skin that curved into her shoulder. "But you feel so good."

"Caine," she moaned, arching into him, helpless to the pleasure he was inciting in her body, even as she pulled his hand out from under her shirt. "No more. We have to sleep."

He groaned deeply and rolled to his back with a hand covering his face. "You're right… you're right."

She turned to face him and grinned at his clear frustration. "You should be more accustomed to denying yourself than allowing yourself to have me anyway, shouldn't you?"

"You'd think so, huh?" He met her gaze and smiled ruefully, then reached for her hand. "Come here."

She slid back into his arms, her head on his shoulder, her chest pressed up against his side, her left leg over his left leg, while her left arm hugged his stomach. His arm curled over her shoulder and his hand buried itself in her hair and they both sighed.

"Tonight was fun," she said. "Thank you."

He chuckled. "You don't ever need to thank me."

But she did, because he made her a whole new person. Someone who was wanted, someone adored, someone who felt beautiful. He made her want to try new things and embrace the experience for exactly what it was. He made her want to try when she'd stopped believing in the unknown and the unsure. If it weren't for him she would still be an angry shell of a person, lacking trust, lacking hope, expecting disappointment at every turn. If he weren't there pushing her and reassuring her he would catch her if she fell, then she would never even think of doing something as stupid as allowing happiness into her life.

But he was there for her and the knowledge made her heart melt a little.

She hugged herself closer to his body and smiled. "You make me happy."

She felt him go still beneath her as his breath caught and his hand stopped stroking her hair and she wondered if she might have revealed something she probably shouldn't have too soon. But then, their whole relationship was based on their bodies trying to catch up with their emotions, or vice versa, so her saying something so simple shouldn't be at all detrimental.

"Hey," he said, making her lift her head to look at him. "Whatever happens, you know that I care about you, right?"

She frowned at the serious expression in his eyes. "Okay."

"I mean it," he said, his hand clenching in her hair. "No matter what, this has all been real for me." His other hand gripped her back. "Tell me you know that."

She nodded slowly, confused by his determination. "I know." She pushed his hair back with her fingers and stroked his cheek. "I know you do."

He swallowed deeply and blinked away the anxiety in his eyes, and the green turned tender and he was back to being her Caine again. "Sorry, I just… I just need you to know that I wouldn't be with you for any other reason than that I care for you. And that I want you, every day, always. And that you make me just as happy."

As touched as she was by his words, she couldn't help but grin her amusement. "Gosh, isn't it so nice how us girls can share our feelings like this?"

He blinked and pressed his lips inwards. "And then there are the times when I actually hate you and you deserve to be punished."

Which is when he did something truly despicable and began tickling her until she was too exhausted to laugh anymore, too exhausted to retaliate and much too exhausted to do anything but curl into him and fall asleep, content to be exactly where she was.



A/N: Okay... so maybe not as M-Rated as I may have led y'all to believe. But... a little bit more lovin than usual, and that's always a good thing. Especially between these two. And man.. honestly... I could've gone on and on and on... making them all sappy and sexy and dirtying the sheets a little more, but I thought I'd better save that goodness for when (IF???) they finally have sex. So until then...

My heartfelt thanks, of course, to these lovely reviewers: citygrl (hmm...I'll never least not yet.), Nightwalkr, ess3sandra (sadly, I'm gonna try and veer away from describing a basketball game since I know nothing about it, but we'll see. Might happen.), BasementDwellerExtraordinaire (I hope it lived up to your expectations!), CV-S, Simple Wish (Eep. I do not want to be the death of you. That would be sad. So I hope you enjoy.), Lettuce B Frank, FauxAfflictions, I Will Not Die I Will Survive, CBlack4991, Mariposa-12, flowingypsy, shellbell10 (wow, thanks! I never get anybody jealous of me so what an that weird?), Lemoncheesecake (Yeah, Nate is cool. Just ask him. Lol), UbiquityEssence, animegirl214, lemontea-addict, NB-writer (I can't wait for this story to end too. It's taking me aaages to get there. Oh well.), MaAgEc, shutterbaby, AbbeyXD, Kcoarra, Lauren, Dr to be (I planned for this story to be a lot less longer than this. Lol. So, as far as plans go, I'm hoping to finish it shortly... probably won't happen.), JesseElena, Midnight113 (such wonderful compliments. Thanks so much! I hope this chapter doesn't disappoint.), demi91, total romance (still getting there, but 1000 reviews? I should have a party. You're all invited!! But, just to answer your question, Madison finally found an excuse to utter Caine's name aloud...I think she liked it. Lol.), shannon01 (I know, right? Bloody boys.), ItHurtsIKnow, iceflakes, xXKittykatt, HPRK08 (No way, Myrika's a way better writer than I am. But what a compliment!), Veronica (I'm not opposed to hearing awesome a little more. Lol.), asianinvasion0530, Kenyakemya (Cool beans! Haven't heard that in ages. Thanks!!), rollinby, Glass Satin, BibiLove, Charlotte Russo (yep, they're all 17 turning 18. Although I have a hard time judging how mature teenagers should be these days. So different from in my time when holding hands was like MAJOR...god I'm old... It's also nice to hear Mad isn't a Mary Sue. I try to steer her away from it but this is a cliche story. So I'm not trying THAT hard. Lol. Thanks!!!), MonsterInTheMIRA, LotusTears-ChibiRin (keep gets worse. In a good way though. I hope.), FlowerGirl7.

Thank you lovely people for your reviews and all your congrats to my AWESOME awards. I'm gonna try and stick the banners on my profile page. I don't know how. But I have enough time on my hands to play around with it. And once again, I'll try and get the next chapter up soon. Hopefully it won't take as long as the last, last update, but it definitely won't be in a week like this one. I'll get there though... I'll get there. Just be assured that I WILL NOT stop writing this story until it is finished... or I'm hit by a bus... man, that would suck.

Thanks for reading!!!!