Jessica woke up when she felt something tickling her. She groaned and opened one eye, and broke out into a huge grin when she saw the beautiful blue eyes of the man beside her. He smiled back and placed a light kiss on her neck and then a new game had been started, as she squirmed away and he tried to kiss her every time a new part of her neck became more accessible. Then he got the one spot that was always a sure bet to get her engines roaring and when she moaned Dane just had to roll over the top of her and do it again before capturing her lips in a slow burning liplock.

Jessica sighed in pleasure and said, "How long have I wished for this type of morning to start my day… with you lying beside me…"

He gazed into her expressive chocolate brown eyes and softly said, "Maybe it can be this way, every morning."

At that statement she sighed once more and raised herself up to lean back on her elbows. She gazed into his eyes and felt the love beaming down on her. It was the hope present too that wrenched at her heart. She lay back down and raised her hand to run her fingers through his slightly messy hair and caress his strong jaw line. Seeing the emotion that lay just under the surface in her features, he grabbed her hand and quietly spoke, "I know you have your doubts about how this may go over, I know that we both are in what passes as a relationship, but I also know that none of it matters." He caressed her cheek for emphasis, "Every single day that I spend without you is a waste of what time I have on this earth to fully live my life. Janet doesn't even give a shit about our so-called relationship, she'd be over it in a heartbeat. And Mitch, well… he already knows our history, he's one of the most understanding people involved here. I know he'd prefer to hold onto you forever, but don't you think he deserves to be with someone that can reciprocate, and love him the way he does?"

"Alright, I guess it's back to reality. I understand where you are coming from, and I feel the same gaping hole in my life without you beside me. Please don't ever doubt that. And sure, Janet… is Janet, but I also happen to know how vengeful she can be and that she does love you in her own way. Mitch… shit, I didn't even give Mitch a thought during last night's events, which is bad enough." As she thought about how to put her thoughts into words regarding her boyfriend a tear started to form. "Yes, he does deserve to have someone who loves him just as much, I feel so guilty that I cannot give that to him, but we are able to share a happy life despite the fact that someone else already has my heart. Even though he knows our history he never puts any pressure on me to give you up, he's so selfless about it all. And the fact is I do love him and don't want to hurt him."

"Would it help if we talked to him together? Like you said he's always been so understanding, I know he wants you to be happy. Would that ease your guilt and discomfort over leaving him?"

"I don't know. I just…need a few minutes to think without you in front of me cluttering my thoughts with all these emotions and urges."

"I can understand that, and I'll give you that time." Dane gave her a lingering kiss and rose with the intent to sneak into his own room. Before reaching the door, though, he turned to her. This time when Dane spoke his voice started to take on a frustrated quality, "In case you need reminding though, this man standing right in front of you," he gestured to himself, "the one who you love so much is facing the possibility of heartbreak too. Last time we talked about this the only true barrier was the impact on our parent's relationship, and now miraculously, it's no longer an issue. This ought to be a clear-cut decision, don't you think?"

"Seriously? You say you understand?! Last night you even stated that you knew I wouldn't easily arrive at that decision, yet you expect it from me anyway. And while we're giving each other reminders I should remind you who in this equation has dealt with more heartbreak at the hands of the other."

"Well, I guess here we are again. The only problems we've ever had arise from the circumstances that no longer exist and the pressure from keeping all of this a secret. I've apologized for the pain I've caused you, for my stupid mistakes, and for moving on with my life as you told me I needed to do. I shouldn't have to continue regretting it all over again. What's done is done, but this is a new chance for us to finally get it right. I'll leave you alone now to consider whose heart matters most to you."

"Wait!" Jessica jumped up and squeezed between Dane and the door. "Please don't leave like this! I didn't mean it like that, yes, you have apologized and I know that we cannot change what's already happened in the past. It's just-" she reached up to turn his face in her direction as he started to look away. "It's just- I've never intended to hurt anyone or break anyone's heart. Every time I've chosen Mitch over you or our parents over you, or my ego over you it hasn't been to hurt you. It's never been a simple decision, sometimes it was driven by self-preservation, but even then it was never easy. I've never cared more about Mitch's heart than yours, but I cannot help that I care about hurting him."

Dane exhaled loudly and placed his forehead to Jessica's forehead. "I know. I'm just so sick of repeating the same discussion. All I know is nothing has worked to disentangle you from my heart, and nothing ever will. We're both older and wiser now, and after virtually no contact for two years it still feels the same to me when I am with you. I love you, irrevocably, I don't want to walk away again."

"I don't either, I just need to think of the best way to go about this. I love you Dane, irrevocably. Just let me figure this out."

"Really?" his eyes lit up in delight when the implications of that statement sank in.

"Really. You're right, I can't continue to live my life without you." At her words Dane lifted her up at the waist and whirled around in circles. The laughter erupting from her smaller form was the best sound he'd heard out of her for awhile, and that was saying something... With another meeting of their mouths in exploratory wonder and one last frenzied embrace he left the room to give Jess the space she needed to determine how to move forward.

Throughout breakfast, an hour later, neither of them could keep the stupid grins off their faces. But neither of them cared. This was bliss!

"Honey, did you hear what I said?"

Jessica turned to look at her dad, "I am so sorry, I must have drifted off, would you mind repeating that?"

Jameson looked at his daughter with a questioning expression and cocked his head to the side. "You seem to be feeling better than yesterday. What is it that has you in such a chipper state? You aren't already contemplating setting me up are you?"

Jessica laughed at the humorous tidbit from her father. Backtracking to his previous question she considered if she should just come out with the cause of her high spirits, but that would have been going against the plan. She could just imagine the look on Dane's face to be caught unaware by her father questioning him about his intentions.

Jameson couldn't quite put a finger on it, but there was a subtle difference in his daughter's expression that made his heart soar. Jessica may no longer be his little girl, but he still wanted to prevent her any pain and provide anything her heart desired.

"How is Mitch doing these days?"

Jessica sat up abruptly, "Oh, sorry dad, but we'll have to continue this at another time." She rose out of the chair and leaned down to kiss the top of his head. She didn't stop until she'd reached her room and closed the door quietly behind her.

A moment later she heard a knock at the door. When she opened it she didn't know if she was disappointed or relieved to see Diedre was her unexpected visitor. "Hello Jessica. I hear from Dane that you both are staying a couple more days! I am so happy that you are able to stick around."

"Yeah, I decided there was no use going home just to turn back around and drive north."

The two women embraced. "Well, would you be interested in a little girl time a bit later? It's been a very long ti-ime." Jessica couldn't help but smile at the singsong character sneaking into her stepmother's voice.

"Sure, that would be fun! What do you think- an hour or so before we leave?"

"Perfect for me!" Diedre practically floated away down the hall. As she was shutting the door, she didn't notice the hand that quickly darted between it and the frame.

"Ouch! You fucking bitch!" Dane said from behind the wood.

Jessica laughed and swept the door open to allow the love of her life in. He came in swiftly and shut the door behind him. In one deft action he'd grabbed a hold of Jess and brought her up against him as he leaned against the door.

"Oh, honey you know I love it when you let me dominate you."

"As do I," was his happy response before brushing his lips against hers. It just wasn't enough for either of them, and immediately he sought entry into her mouth. She felt the tell-tale signs of her own arousal when his tongue brushed gently against hers and his grip tightened. She was not a short woman, but his height had always made her feel small and secure. It was a major turn-on when she felt his body against hers, like he just absorbed her into his larger mass. It was hard to explain, and when she'd said something to him before he teased her about it for days. He also teased her with it in other ways…

He was kissing her in the slow manner that always got her heart pounding, lightly sucking on her lips and tongue, leading to a definite pooling of juices to indicate she was ready whenever he was. It didn't help that he was slowly moving his hips against hers while she had him trapped against the door. As much as she loved the way his size dominated her, it was irresistibly delicious to have him at her mercy. He was the sexiest man she'd ever known, and she'd known a lot of sexy men! She knew her feelings for him only made the whole package that much more desirable. She wanted to rip his clothes off due to his ceaseless hip movements and the way his mouth felt like it was slowly devouring hers. With a wild cry, she pressed him more tightly to the door and reached down to feel the growing erection between them.

"Now now, don't get yourself all worked up," he mocked.

At his words she gripped him harder and rubbed him through his jeans. She simultaneously moved her mouth to his neck and zeroed in on his weak spot to tease him mercilessly. When she stepped back she eyed her handiwork. It was quite a sight to see, Dane panting with a raging hard-on and a deadly glint in his eye. He reached out to pull her back and glared in frustration as she evaded his hands.
"Now now," she said stepping in close to brush herself against his bulging fly, "don't get yourself all worked up." Giving him a teasing nip on the neck for good measure. Then on a whim she whispered lustily in his ear, "Pretty soon you will be able to have me anytime, anywhere… however you want me." Pulling away she finished her thought in a matter-of fact tone, "However, right now I am supposed to be getting ready for some girl time with your mom."

"Girl time is over-rated, you know."

Giving him an appraising look she replied, "Given my other option, I would have to agree with that assessment. Nonetheless, I am going."

Gesturing, he asked, "Do you want to help me out with this first?"

That's how she ended up running a little late for her planned excursion, not that she was complaining.