-Chapter 1-

Early January

Brandon walked into the room, a pair of boxers hanging snuggly from his hips, his eyes downcast. He didn't want to see the girl lying in his bed. For all his effort though, he couldn't help but catch a glimpse of her.

Lane was motionless, staring up at the ceiling, her light brown hair fanned out around her head on the pillow. The blanket was pulled up to her chin, her arms resting on top to hold it in place. He could still see the dampness on her cheeks from the tears he had caused. It killed him to see that he'd hurt her.

He sat down on the edge of the bed facing the window, away from her. It was quiet for some time. He'd thought she'd fallen asleep but was too caught up in his own thoughts to lie down beside her. It shocked him when she spoke but what surprised him even more was what she said in a voice barely above a whisper. "I'm sorry."

He turned and staring back at him were her ocean blue eyes. Bigger and brighter than he was used to. Laying there, she looked so childlike, so vulnerable. "I didn't mean to ruin it. I knew it would hurt, but I didn't think… I thought I could handle it. I'm so sorry…" She brought her hands up to cover her face.

Without saying anything he slid under the covers and pulled her close to his chest. He gently pried her hands away but she wouldn't meet his eyes. He settled for whispering in her ear. "You have nothing to be sorry about. You didn't do anything wrong. I'm just sorry that you're in pain even if it was unavoidable." He sighed and kissed her forehead. "I love you."

Lane relaxed in his hold before mumbling, "I love you too." Brandon listened as her breathing slowed, absently rubbing soothing circles on her bare shoulder. Her deep breathes eventually calmed him enough to close his eyes and sleep.

o O o

Sometime later, her eyes fluttered open. She still felt bad about the way the night had ended despite his reassurance. She looked over at him. He was sleeping on his side, his arms wrapped around her and some of his dark hair had fallen in front of his eyes.

Lane ran her fingers through it to brush it back from his forehead. He looked so peaceful asleep like that. It was so different from the pained expression he wore on his beautiful face earlier. She leaned in and pressed a kiss to his shoulder. She lingered for a moment before pulling back. Sighing, she glanced back at his face and was surprised to see the green of his eyes. "I didn't mean to wake you. I'm sorry."

"What were you doing?"

She looked down to avoid his eyes but he forced her to look at him by lifting her chin with his forefinger and kissing her on the lips. They stared at each other before she closed her eyes and kissed him harder. She was baiting him and it worked. He slid his tongue across her bottom lip and then bit it lightly when her mouth opened. They went on kissing for a few minutes before she rolled onto her back. He leaned over top of her with his hand on her bare side moving up and down repeatedly. When her hands found his boxers and slipped under the waist band slightly, he stilled.

She opened her eyes. "Can't we try again?" He turned his head, but she saw the worry and concern written in his eyes that clearly said no. She kissed his chin, the corner of his mouth. "Please?" she whispered against his skin.

His eyes slid shut. "I don't want to hurt you again," he whispered back.

"It won't be as bad this time. I promise. I'll be alright. I've got to do this sometime and I love you. What better time is there?" She tried to smile at him but he couldn't see her.

After a moment of contemplation, he reluctantly turned his head back and kissed her. She sighed against his mouth.

He kissed from her mouth to her cheek and then down to her jaw. He kept working his way down until he reached her neck. He sucked and nipped and kissed until she couldn't take it anymore. She pulled him back up so she could kiss him. It went on like that, lips and hands exploring.

Her hands found his hips again but he didn't stop her this time. She pushed his boxers down as far as she could and he kicked them the rest of the way off. He reached over to his nightstand for a condom, positioned himself between her thighs and stared into her eyes. She shut them as he slowly pressed forward. She felt pain the whole time but it wasn't as bad. Not like the last time. She opened her eyes when he stopped. She felt the tears gather again but they didn't fall.

"Breathe. You need to relax and it'll stop hurting. I love you. I'm sorry."

"I know," she replied. Finally, she rolled her hips underneath him, experimenting. It didn't feel excruciating to have him inside her body. She just felt the stretch of him and strain he was putting on her body there. Brandon still waited for her to give him permission to move. He remained perfectly motionless while she adjusted. "Okay, I'm ready."

He pulled his hips back and slid back in. His head dropped to her shoulder, feathering his lips across her skin. The more he moved the easier it got for Lane. She swiveled her hips again causing them both to groan at the sensation.

It wasn't long before they were both gasping for breath. They were getting close. They could both feel it. The tightening in the lower abdomen, the increase in speed and urgency. She was so very aware of it all.

They went over that edge together. Before Lane knew what was happening, Brandon collapsed on top of her. He was heavy, but it was nice to have his body blanketing hers. She wrapped her arms around his back and hugged him tightly.

A little later, he made a move to roll off of her, pulling the sheets up to cover them. When he was settled on his back, he held his arms open and she moved over to him. She curled into the nook of his arm, her head rested on his chest and her hand laying on his abs. He idly trailed his fingertips up and down her arm, from her shoulder to her elbow and back again. They were both exhausted and fell asleep to that calming rhythm.

o O o

Lane woke up in the morning to a single daisy and a note on the pillow beside her head. The note was simple. Just a piece of notebook paper folded in half with her name on the front. Honestly, who else would it be for? She smiled.

I love you. Meet me downstairs?

The note and flower were just like Brandon. Instead of a whole page of writing, it was just two short lines. Instead of the traditional rose, he opted for a daisy. Simple and sweet.

Lane stretched and felt surprisingly achy. It wasn't a bad feeling, just new. She felt different after the night before. Happy. Invigorated. She stood up and pulled on her underwear and found one of Brandon's shirts to wear. Her best bet was that if it wasn't on the floor, hopefully it was clean.

Leaving the room, she walked the length of the hallway, down the stairs and to the kitchen doorway. She paused at the sight of Brandon in his boxers at the table reading and drinking coffee. Tip toeing over, she wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned down. "Good morning," she whispered in his ear.

Brandon pulled her around and down into his lap sideways. He kissed her with just the right amount of pressure to drive her insane. He smiled when he pulled back causing her to blush a light pink. "It's a good thing your parents aren't home yet," she said to divert attention from thoughts of the night before.

"I'd say," he said while his eyes skimmed over her clothes, or lack thereof. His hand rested on her thigh right above her knee and started a slow progression up. Lane blushed more and stopped his roaming before it got too high.

"I meant about you sitting at the table in your underwear, but I guess I see your point." She glanced down at herself in nothing but the t-shirt that barely reached the top of her thigh. "Maybe I should go put something more on…" She trailed off and went to go back upstairs but Brandon laughed at the frown on her face and held her in place on his lap.

"Laney, I was only kidding. My parents aren't due back until Sunday night at the earliest and it's only Saturday morning. Calm down. You look beautiful." He kissed her again. She was the one to pull back this time.

"How about I make breakfast?"

"Well, aren't we domestic?"

"Hey, don't get used to it." She smiled. "What would you like?"

"Hmm, what about pancakes and bacon and toast?"

She nodded and stood. Brandon slapped her lightly on the butt when she turned towards the fridge. She turned to glare at him but couldn't help but smile at the grin on his face.

o O o

Lane ruined breakfast. She didn't even make it to the bacon and toast. She got batter everywhere. It was all over Brandon's shirt she was wearing and smudged on her face. She had the grill on too high so she burnt the pancakes to the point that it set off the smoke detectors and Brandon had to stand on a chair to turn them off.

Lane was leaning back against the counter, her eyes on the floor, when she heard Brandon hop down from the chair. A few seconds later his bare feet appeared in her vision. He pulled her against his chest and hugged her. It was stupid to get upset about the breakfast fiasco, but she was. She was ashamed she couldn't even do this one little thing for him. "So much for breakfast. I guess I'm not the most experienced person in the kitchen."

Without responding, Brandon lifted her so she was sitting on the counter. He kissed her and disappeared, ducking into the fridge. He came back up with two slices of cold pizza and a half gallon of chocolate milk. He had that grin on his face again making Lane smile and shake her head. She grabbed a cup out of the cupboard beside her head as Brandon leaned beside her and like that they ate their pizza and shared a glass of chocolate milk.