For some reason it was hard finding the right flow to this next chapter. Anyhow, I hope you guys like it though.

Owyn was driving back to Cole's house. She couldn't shake the anxiety that was already consuming her busy thoughts. A list of questions eagerly compiled on the tip of her tongue. Not minding if she got work done or not, as long as it meant time spent getting to know Cole. But he seemed very committed to helping, which impressed her greatly.

She had a stack of books, small laptop and files with papers piled on the passenger seat. Now wearing a pair of comfy gray sweats, a black tank top and slippers. She didn't care; her feet ached from those monstrous heels. Besides she was already about to pull up to his house when she noticed he was already back too.

Barely able to open the front door with all the contents in her hands; Cole stepped in to relieve her load. He led her to his room where he had set the Chinese takeout boxes neatly on the floor by the heaps of books.

Owyn preferred eating right out of the containers to avoid hassling over plates. Cole did the same as he began to show her pages that he had marked. They sat on the floor surrounded by a rainbow of colored text books and loose sheets. Quietly concentrating. Cole never spoke unless it was regarding her paper.

Taking advantage when eating Owyn scoped the room. It was bigger than Ethan's and more organized. Same style as the rest of the house and very spacious, assuming it was the master bedroom. For such a big room there wasn't a lot of stuff in it. His bed was pushed to the corner; his desk and nice bookshelf up against the wall. On the other corner stood two guitars and all that was left was a lot of floor space.

"What time do you think everyone will come back?" She said breaking the silence.

"Oh I wouldn't worry… they usually stay till three in the morning." He confirmed.

There was something very interesting about the way Cole expressed himself, both verbally and physically. Now that she thought of it, he never seemed to be in a rush, he was always very calm and poised. His movements weren't jerky or clumsy, just one smooth motion. She definitely saw something sexy about his demeanor. His confidence in decisions, thoughts and actions. This caused her to really wonder about that night at the bar.

"Now if he would only lighten up." She mumbled.

"Excuse me?" He asked uncertain.

"Oh, just reading aloud."

After the first few hours the food was gone, her hair was up and pinned with a pencil, neck cramps were pestering and more books were closed as the information was narrowing down. Cole provided constant refills of refreshments as Owyn was busy typing away. Her eyes were straining; proving it was time for a break.

"This might sound crazy… but do you have any coffee?" She asked hopeful.

Cole nodded and they both dragged their feet into the kitchen. Owyn plopped on one of the kitchen stools and laid her head upon the counter. Smelling the fresh grinds of coffee as he poured the scoops into the small machine, she raised her head and waited as though her life depended on that cup.

In the meantime she surveyed Cole's appearance, liking the change. He seemed so much younger and attractive, even more than what she had originally envisioned. His hair a tad shorter, messy and inviting. She imagined what it felt like between her fingers and what would he do in return. But the thought of that actually happening seemed so far away or even impossible.

She read 11:45pm on the microwave clock. Cole then turned around to find Owyn's penetrating gaze.

"I'm still trying to get used to you without your beard. It's like talking to a totally different person."

Cole hunched over the island counter across from Owyn.

"I know... I feel naked." He said rubbing his chin. "I did it for the shoot … but more so because I was ready."

"How long did you have it for?"

"I think almost 3 years."

"Any particular reason? Or you just decided one day you were going to grow a beard."

"There's a complicated story behind it. I really don't want to get in to…"

Owyn's plans of breaking down Cole's walls were back firing. She could tell it was a difficult subject.

After gathering the two full mugs and creamer, he then sat on the stool next to Owyn. Cole remained enchanted by the mug and the vapors that floated from it. Owyn contemplated how difficult it was talking to him; the conversation didn't necessarily flow as easily as she had hoped. It almost felt like that awkward silence on a bad date, except she wanted to be there. She wanted to get to that comfortable place.

"So I was wondering the other day… Why are taking Physiology?"

"Well… I know it not the flashiest of careers but … I've always dreamt of being a scientist."

"That's funny, I always dreamt of being a singer." Owyn chuckled.

"It's taken me a little longer; I had to rearrange my classes… So why are you taking that class?"

"My parents own the laboratory on Main Street. I work there part-time. It's kind of the career path that's already been chosen for me." She shared regretfully.

"I wish we could trade places then." He said before taking another sip of coffee.

"If you ever want to stop by and see the lab, you're more than welcomed to."

"I might do that…So what ever happened with Ricky?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well weren't you guys dating?"

"Oh no, that was one group date. I thought it would be a fun diversion. I think he's a cool guy and all but… I just wanted be friends."


"Can I ask you something…that night at the bar, were you really that drunk?"

Cole's eyes didn't move off his cup, his thumb kept wiping the smudges off the sides. He began to nod his head no, admitting that he was more sober than she thought.

"So when you were almost about to…why did you pull away?"

Cole then turned his head to observe her intriguing hazel scowl. Then looked back down, thinking hard.

"I was selfish. I almost forgot you were there with someone else on your 'group date'. I couldn't do that to him."

"So you wanted to though?" She persisted.

He glanced at her once more, a shy half smile traced upon his lips.

"Dance? Yes." He said standing up. "We should get back to your report."

Owyn felt helpless, her report was doing just fine. It was her heart that needed mending. Was it really worth it to stay and mildly suffer at the sight of the person you felt an undeniable attraction to? To continue in these mind games and false hopes. Owyn wanted to scream at him or just take off. This night felt so dull, lifeless and gray. Regardless the torture, she still liked him.

Trapped deciding what to do, she crept back into his room. He was reading over what she had already typed out. She sat beside him on the floor in the middle of the room, waiting for his thoughts on her piece thus far. Handing the laptop over he continued to supervise her work. Giving her helpful hints as to what approach to take next. At least he was saving her from this miserable report.

The minutes grew long and deafening. Owyn was back on track, half way through her paper. Occasionally reaching a stump, she'd place the computer on the floor and stretch. Looking back at what he was doing; sitting a few feet away entertained with a notebook in his lap.

"How come you're so quiet? Are you like that with your brother and the rest of the guys?"

"For the most part yes."

"Have you always been that way?"

"No…but I've grown too comfortable to change. If I can't say anything important or worth saying why speak just for the sake of it?"

"You must find us girls annoying then." Owyn laughed quietly. "But seriously, why be so intimidating, people want to know you and your thoughts. That's important." She argued.

"Do you want to know my thoughts?"

"Yes, if you were willing to share them. All your friends would."

"They don't seem bothered by it. Why are you?"

"I'm not bothered. It's just impossible to figure you out."

Owyn shook her head and stared back at the keyboard. Relieving her hair of the pencil, letting it fall over her shoulders and back. She rubbed her head trying to regain focus when she was clearly frustrated.

Less than a few minutes went by when Owyn noticed his shadow move. Her eyes still fixed on the screen when she saw then felt him near. He sat close, facing her and hunched forward; about to speak.

"It's been 3 years since I've liked it's been difficult opening up again."

Owyn's frustration melted away as she now was saddened by his words. Wanting desperately to hold his face, wondering how long it's been since any girl had. She was afraid he might push away, but if he sat this close then surely she had the right.

Raising her hand to touch his cheek; in awe of the transformation that took place in his eyes. Like a terrified wolf turned loyal and vulnerable. His hand slowly found hers and he held on as though he were touching another person's skin for the first time. Closing his eyes to take in the softness, her smell and warmth.

They sat like that for a moment. Once again, his actions weren't rushed. Owyn could see the tension in his chest break; his breathes less shallow. His complexion looking less gray. It was the final step towards healing. An ending and a beginning. He looked like a lost child in a mother's embrace; Owyn was glad to see him finally let go.

When Cole looked up, there was something noticeably different. This time it was deeper. Astounded at the beautiful smile he gave. Before he gathered the courage to do so, Owyn leaned forward to give him a quick kiss. Eyes still open, reading his response. Slightly blushing he gradually bowed his head to meet her lips again, only this time not separating so quickly.

Owyn didn't know what to make of it. The innocence, craving thirst and gentleness. The relief, seduction, tenderness and desire all in one long kiss. She never had dreamt of a kiss so passionate. Brushing her books and things aside she knelt before him allowing him to pull her closer. An arm glued around her waist and the other hand holding the nape of her neck.

The aggression in the kiss never grew too rough; all the while no matter how deep or light it was savored and unbroken. Cole was kind and careful, treating her as delicately as she had ever been treated. She thought it strange how he liked to kiss her with his eyes open. But when she forced her eyes to do the same she began to understand why. The exchange in the intensity of their stare made it that much more meaningful and arousing, creating a profound connection.

There were explosions of colors everywhere. Like an array of quiet fireworks, that suddenly disappeared at the sound of voices entering the kitchen. Owyn was the first to pull away.

"Are you embarrassed?" Cole wondered.

Owyn stood up and brushed her fingers through her hair. Unaware of how long she had been "gone", enthralled by his kiss.

"No… but now what? Are you going to pretend that this never happened too? My emotions are at their highest and I can't handle you just brushing me off in front of them." She spoke honestly.

Cole stood up. With sincere lament written all over his face.

"I'm sorry about that night. Will you trust me and give me time? I will promise to be more open with you." He vowed.

Just then his door opened and Nathan peeked inside. Not picking up on the seriousness of their conversation due to his altered state.

"Hey Owyn. I didn't know you were coming back here. Did Cole help you with your report? Awesome!" He rambled without waiting for a reply.

Cole carried a worried expression seeing as how Owyn took their arrival as her cue to leave. He then helped carry her things out to the car.

"I don't understand. Why are you upset?" He asked confused.

"I'm not upset, I just don't know what to expect next."

That following Monday, after Owyn placed her finished report in the professor's mailbox at the office, she met back with Jenny to continue her story.

"I cannot believe you and lumber jack made-out. That is like unforgivable. I don't care how good-looking you say he looks now." Jenny said shocked.

"Yeah well…with my luck he'll simply pass me by in the hallway and stare, as he always does." Owyn sighed.

Owyn caught Jenny's baffled expression as her eyes flew over everyone's head.

"It's like Beauty and the Beast in real life...That cannot be him."

Owyn turned to see Cole walking down the hall, shyly smiling at the guys that patted his back and clapped for his miraculous shave. No beanie, no flannel shirt and no hidden eyes. He found Owyn right away; with a determined walk, confident in where he was going. To whom he was going to. Owyn looked around casually, pretending not to care.

But she lit up as he came closer. Standing before her with a kind smile, sliding his hand in hers. He told her to have lunch with him. Owyn nodded pathetically as she swooned over the sound of his sultry voice. He asked Jenny if she didn't mind. Both girls were surprised that he even cared to acknowledge Jenny. For the first time, Owyn saw her friend smile at Cole. Today was a thousand times better than Owyn had expected.