I really can't stay – but baby, it's cold outside
I've got to go away – but baby, it's cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice – I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice

Like I thought, Carole's family is keeping her until the power outage is over. There is a note slipped under my door – she says I can borrow her stove as well. With that and my dad's heater, we might manage to get toasty warm after all.

Because we just had dinner at my parents, we aren't hungry. Instead, we settle down on the couch. It's weird, not having television to distract you... I am not sure what to say to him. Part of me just wants to put my arms around him and never let go, but I'm not sure how he feels about that. So much has happened today. Last thing I want to do is drive him off now. Two more days is all I have to change his mind. After all, the power cut can't last forever.

"Can I get you anything more to eat?" he asks with a smile. He just looks so right sitting there. As if he's been here forever. The stove and the gas heater is doing the trick – it's nice and warm in here.

"No, I'm fine. My mom does have a tendency to overfeed people at Christmas."

"Oh good... I thought it was just me not being used to a good meal anymore. Is there anything you would like to do? What would you normally be doing right now?"

"Watching sappy Christmas movies in my pj's... I guess that out of the question at the moment." I laugh.

"Well, um... Don't let me stop you from getting into your pj's." Am I imagining the hunger in his eyes? He averts them so I can't tell.

"Nope, not putting them on yet. Not with you dressed so fine. You look like we should be dancing."

"If you insist." He gets up and offers me his hand.

"There's no music." I point out.

"There is always music. You just need to listen." He pulls me close in his arms. Softly humming, he slowly starts to twirl me around the room. I recognize the tune – befittingly, it's "Baby it's cold outside."

I know a few of the words, so I softly sing them. "I really can't stay... I've got to go away… This evening has been… So very nice"

There is a near kiss, but he pulls away, leaving me feeling disappointed again. I think he gets how much I want him. I think he even feels the same. I just can't seem to convince him to give it a shot.

"I liked today. It's been a long time since I felt at home somewhere." He sits down on the couch again, creating a distance. I take a shot and sit down in his lap. I am not pushed off immediately, and I pray for a chance.

"It was a pleasure to have you there," I answer.

"I don't think your mother would agree with that, do you?" he asks with a smirk.

"Not at first perhaps, but at the end she had come around. You sir, are irresistible," I say, poking his chest and then surreptitiously undoing a button.

"Only to you it seems."

"My dad liked you from the start."

"Ok, only your family. "

"Carole adores you."

Joe shrugs.

"Give it up, you are wonderful. Everybody who meets you knows it." I hug him tighter.

There is a deep and painful sigh."I haven't felt wonderful in a long time. I cost so many people their job. I don't know how to ever make that right"

Alright, if there is one thing I don't like about this man, it's how he puts himself down. "Stop punishing yourself for that. Don't you see that wasn't your fault? That wasn't you, that was some money-stealing thug that cheated you out of a fortune."

"I was still responsible."

"And you did everything you could to save it. You saved the company by selling it, in fact saving hundreds of jobs. Losing everything yourself. When are you gonna see you are a great man? The kindest I ever met. I love you, Joe Holsteens. And not the man you were but the man you are."

"How can you? I have nothing."

I make him look at me."How can I love you? Very easily, trust me. Life is about a lot more than material things. And you have that in abundance."

"You hardly know me."

"I know enough."

"Listen, these last few days were a dream, I never felt better... but I have bad days too. Grumpy days."

So what? "You think I'm perfect? You haven't seen me at my worst either. We might fight, we might not. We'll never know unless we try. Please, Joe. Give us a shot. What have you got to lose?"

"Nothing. But you have," he objects.

"Only my heart... but if you leave now, I will have lost it already."

He doesn't look at me... doesn't say anything... but the grip he has around my waist tightens. I take that as a sign.

"Make love to me," I beg him.

More protests. His gentleman behavior will be the death of me."But I told you…"

No more. "I don't care where this is leading to... I want you now. And I know you want me too." Or at least his body does, I can feel it. Besides, the hunger is still there in his eyes as I stare deeply into them.

"It's been so long…"

That makes me giggle. "So? I don't think you'll have forgotten how to. And if you have, we will learn it all together."

His hand slowly makes his way down my leg, stopping at my knee, and then goes back again, this time pushing up my dress. I bite my lip trying to suppress a moan.

"I might be a bit rusty," he warns me.

"I might be a bit impatient. You don't half know how bad I want you." I look at him, hoping he has no more objections. He wants me as bad as I want him, I can feel it.

"Since you were a teenager. How can I live up to that," he shakes his head.

"Oh, I sure hope you don't. My teenage dreams were very embarrassing. I hope you are better than that," I tease.

He starts to laugh, it sounds glorious. "I'll try. I love you, Nelia. From the second I saw you, with all my heart." Lips are pressed onto my collar bone. His arms pull tightly around me. He is not holding back anymore as he finally finds my lips and almost crushes them with his kisses. So this is what it feels to be loved by this wonderful man.

His touch is electrifying, and he's so gentle that I feel worshiped, like a goddess. His lips press kisses onto my skin, leaving a tingling sensation where ever they touch me. I get lifted up, and he carries me to the bedroom... where my dreams finally come true. Joe Holsteens is mine. I can hardly believe it. And I can't imagine him being anywhere else. Of course, it isn't up to me – it's a choice he must make. So I just enjoy the now.

As we are lying in each others arms, in the afterglow of our lovemaking, the lights come back on. My heart stops... having the power back on can mean only one thing. We lie there for a moment, blinking as our eyes adjust to the sudden burst of light.

"I'll stay..." he suddenly says.

"Yes!"I kiss him deeply, feeling overjoyed.

"I love you, my pretty Nelia. But that offer still stands – if I ever become a burden, you throw me out." He looks at me sternly.

"Alright. You are never gonna be a burden anyways." I cuddle him.

"I'll find a job starting tomorrow."

"You could work for my dad. He needs help or he'll burnout in his retirement. Trust me, he needs help desperately. And you are heavily overqualified. So please... I mean, looking like this, you should be able to get work anywhere, but... "

"Like this? Naked, you mean?" he laughs.

"Well, I'd hire you like this... But I meant dressed and all cleaned up. You look great. So handsome."

"I still can't believe anyone would think I was handsome – let alone someone so beautiful as you." The way this man compliments... I feel like I can fly.

"Get used to it. I'm planning to remind you of it for a long, long time." Like for the rest of our lives.

Fictionpress is not allowing me toupload new docs, so that's why this is a day late *grumbles*