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Road Trip Part 11/12
damien listening guitar
Title: Road Trip Part 11/12
Rating: R (language and sexual situations)
Author: morgan72uk and rogoblue
Summary: Dominic and Adelle have a few quiet moments before leaving for Safe Haven.


Dominic turned at the sound of Adelle DeWitt’s voice. “Yes, ma’am,” he said, turning innocent eyes on her narrowed ones.

“Do you want to have dinner?” she asked, closing the distance with nary a hint of a limp.

“Are they still serving?”

“For another few minutes.”

Shaking his head, he said, “I’ll give it a miss then. I have something I need to do first.”

He smiled when she fell into step beside him, slowing slightly to accommodate her pace. “You’ve made yourself scarce since I saw you earlier,” she said.

“Since you saw pretty much all there is to see earlier, I figured I’d give you a break for a couple of hours.” He glanced sidelong at her as they passed from the caravan proper to the array of personal vehicles around it. “Wouldn’t want you to get bored.”

“You don’t bore me, Laurence. Far from it.”

Adelle’s smile held wariness, amusement and something else Dominic couldn’t quite place. “Glad to hear it.”

“Where are we going?” Adelle asked.

“We aren’t going anywhere,” he said. “I’m getting something from the Jeep and doing what I need to do. You’re tagging along.”

“I see,” Adelle said, smiling and waving at someone from one of the new groups. “Perhaps I could help you.” When he laughed, she added, “It isn’t out of the question. If you’ll recall, I’ve assisted you before.”

“Feel free to pitch in, Adelle.”

“Why do I feel as though I’m waiting for a punch line?” Adelle asked.

“I don’t know,” Dominic said, putting up the rear lift gate of his Jeep. He picked up a large paper bag, lowered the gate and took Adelle’s hand. Her surprise at turning away from the caravan was only momentary. “But you don’t have to worry,” he said. “I’m not joking.”

Adelle’s eyes tracked from him to the bag and back again. “What’s in the bag?” she asked.


“How am I to guess?” she retorted, exhibiting the beginnings of exasperation as they turned off a path wide enough for a vehicle to one requiring them to walk closely side by side. “There are innumerable things small enough to fit in such a receptacle.” When he didn’t offer any ideas, Adelle said, “Let me carry it.”

“I don’t think so.” He risked an impudent grin. “Wouldn’t want you to strain anything now that you’re on the mend.”

“Let me lift it then.”

“Just a sec,” Dominic said, holding aside several pine branches that had effectively hidden an even narrower path. “After you.” Adelle looked dubiously over her shoulder at him as the path climbed steadily.

“Give me the bag, Laurence.” He did and watched her gauge its weight. As she shook it, Dominic steadied the bag with both hands.

“I wouldn’t do too much of that,” he said, smiling, taking the bag from her and her hand into his free one. “Any guesses?”

“I was hoping for a bottle of Bill’s brew and relevant glassware, but that isn’t it.” Adelle sighed. “Where are we heading?”

“Up there.” Dominic pointed with the bag to their destination about 100 yards away. “See it through those trees. The small cave.”

Adelle stared at him for a long moment. “What do you need to do up there?”

“A couple of things.” He kissed her quickly on the mouth, then urged her forward with a hand on the small of her back.

“Name one,” Adelle challenged.

Dominic held up the bag. “Have dinner with you.”

Her smile seared right through him.

* * *

The cave had been, if not exactly transformed, then certainly improved. There were candles carefully placed at strategic locations and on a rug a collection of slightly mismatched plates and cutlery had been lain out, alongside a bottle of Bill’s best brew.

More importantly an air-bed had been inflated and covered by a blanket and a cushion. It might be safer to assume that he’d provided it to ensure they didn’t have to sit on the cave floor while they ate but she was sure neither of them had any doubts about where this evening was heading.

She wasn’t very often at a loss for words, but this gesture from a man who she wouldn’t normally consider romantic left her momentarily speechless. Even if she could find the words she didn’t trust herself to verbalise what she was feeling. As an alternative she turned towards Laurence and pulled his mouth down to hers. She hoped that in the depth and heat of her kiss was everything she couldn’t bring herself to say out-loud.

Laurence leaned back, feathering his thumbs over her temples and then down to her cheekbones with a gentle, even reverent touch. This was the man who claimed to have little experience of being himself when it came to relationships. His expression – half nervous, half smug as he looked down at her was that of a man who believed he’d done something worthy of commendation but who needed just a little reassurance. She was more than willing to give him whatever he needed.

She’d been wooed before, possibly even seduced once or twice. For years she had taken luxury for granted – expected fresh, heavy cotton sheets on her bed, silk underwear; the best of everything including ambience. But, what had any of that meant really?

She slipped her hand down his back, lifting his t-shirt so she could caress the muscles of his lower back; watching his eyes darken and feeling him react when his fingertips started to turn a small circle on her hip.

“Are we going to have dinner?” he asked and though she seriously considered telling him ‘no’ she was prepared to concede that there were advantages to letting the anticipation build further.

“I think that depends on what dinner involves.”

* * *

“Eating food,” Laurence Dominic said, holding onto his smile, keeping a smirk at bay. “Beginning with a very simple appetizer.” Dominic lifted a plate filled with wedges of various kinds of cheese and slices of homemade French bread out of the bag and placed it in front of the mattress. “Maybe drinking some of this.” Laurence Dominic poured Bill’s liquor for both of them. “While seated,” he said, gesturing for Adelle to sit first. She accepted the glass he offered as she complied. Dominic settled in next to her and raised his glass. “To privacy.”

“To privacy,” Adelle repeated, touching the rim of her glass to his. They watched each other as they sipped their beverages, thus completing the toast.

Breaking eye contact, Dominic swiftly put together two plates of cheese wedge-bread combinations. “Did you get lunch?” he asked.

“Gavin had one of his eager young men serve us sandwiches.”

Dominic sighed. “I can’t offer you five star service.”

Making a show of looking around, running her hand along the edge of the air mattress, Adelle said, “I trust this … rustic establishment will meet all of my true requirements.”

“Which are?”

Taking advantage of the mattress, Adelle reclined on her side, propped up on one elbow, her plate before her. Kicking off her shoes, she said, “Food, alcohol and sex.”

“In that order,” Dominic said, chasing cheddar cheese on bread with a sip of liquor before matching Adelle’s position.

“Evidently.” She caressed his chin with gentle fingers. “You shaved.”

“Was that a mistake?”

“No,” Adelle countered. “I’d just become accustomed to the beginnings of a beard. It suits you.”

“Nah,” he said, sampling an open faced Swiss cheese sandwich. “There’s too much gray in it these days.”

“There’s nothing wrong with gray hair.”

“I feel the years when I sit for too long,” he said. “I don’t need the reminder if I chance upon a mirror.” Adelle’s fingers strayed from his chin to his throat, along the column of his neck to his collarbone, igniting nerve endings along their path. “You should eat something,” he murmured, offering her a piece of Colby cheese. Eyes on him, she bit down with a decisive snap. He laughed. “Should I be glad I still have the tips of all of my fingers?” Dominic asked.

“If you like,” she replied, grasping his wrist lightly as she took the rest of the piece of cheese from his hand and licked the fingers that had held it.

Jesus Christ. I have to have this woman. “I do like,” he whispered, breathing a trifle rapidly. Wrapping his hand around the back of her neck, Dominic said, “I don’t think I’m going to be able to wait for the second course.” He kissed her, taking his time, gauging her response, adjusting his technique to what she seemed to like.

“I have every faith in your … discipline, Laurence,” Adelle said, “but I must admit to spending a large part of the last few hours wanting to touch your upper body.”

Smirking, daring to mimic her, he murmured, “Don’t let me stop you.”

* * *
Faced with his consent to her exploration she took a moment to plan her approach. He watched her with evident amusement before commenting, "there's a strategy?"

"I want to please you," she murmured as she trailed her fingertips lightly down the centre of his chest. "There's nothing wrong with planning my approach."

"That's very pleasing." It was almost a moan, but she had been an over-achiever since birth and almost didn't cut it. Intent on her task she kept the caresses gentle, pattern impossible to interpret, reaching up to steal a kiss from time to time.

Finally tiring of the thin barrier of cloth she carefully lifted the t-shirt, releasing him so he could pull it over his head and discard it. Before she returned to her task she pressed her hand to his shoulder, pushing him into a recumbent position and then moving over him.

She varied the pressure, alternating light scratches with soft, gentle stroking; pressing her lips to sensitive spots and finally biting down on a nipple. "Adelle!" This time it was definitely a moan and she smiled as his hands stroked down her back, tugging her shirt out of her jeans, heat and tension spreading through her at his touch to her skin.

She sat up a little to look at him, enjoyed how tempting he was right then; struggling for control, pleasure suffusing his features. She let herself remember how buttoned up and remote he'd looked in a suit. This was better.

"Would you like me to undress for you Laurence?" For a second he appeared to struggle to make his voice work. His eyes were heavy with desire as his gaze dropped from her face to her body, lingering on her breasts and when he eventually replied he sounded as though he had been running.

"That question is rhetorical, right?" Smiling just a little and making sure he was watching, she started to slowly unfasten the buttons of her shirt.

* * *

Adelle DeWitt’s sure, unhurried movements captured Dominic’s complete attention. He sat up to get a closer view and smiled at Adelle’s slight frown. The glimpse of her breasts in dark blue lace made his fingers twitch. “Leave it to you to have sexy lingerie.”

Shrugging a shoulder out of the men’s dress shirt she wore, Adelle whispered, “I didn’t fancy you an admirer of such items.”

“I’m not.” Eyes glued to the pale skin of the exposed shoulder, Dominic concentrated on evening out his breathing. “Usually.”

“The difference now being?” she asked, tone low, sultry, a perfect accompaniment to her nails dragging along his abdomen.

“I … God, Adelle, I … don’t know.”

She nodded as though he’d answered her fully, allowing the shirt to slip from her other shoulder to the cave floor. Smiling at his hard swallow, her nails scraped along his right side. Pleasure flew through him and Dominic couldn’t suppress a gasp which turned into a groan as Adelle repeated the caress. Stroking at just the right spot, Adelle undid the button of her jeans and slid down the zipper with maddening slowness. Christ Almighty, the underwear matches. Dominic was on his back again, without any memory of how he got there, looking up at Adelle removing her jeans.

Her smile pure sin, she straddled him and drew a single fingernail from his right nipple down toward the spot that was making him insane. The urge to stop her hand was incredibly strong. Something akin to panic surged within him and Dominic forced himself to go perfectly still. Adelle’s fingernail paused to draw figure eights on his flesh. “Do you want me to stop, Laurence?”

His mind screamed, “Yes,” but he shook his head. Her smile took his breath away and her nail along his side lifted his hips off of the mattress. Dazed with sensation, he didn’t comprehend what Adelle planned until she grazed his side with her teeth. The sensations multiplied many fold. Dominic couldn’t reason. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t imagine the sensations ceasing or continuing. There was nothing beyond this moment. The helplessness. The desire. The need. His arms wouldn’t obey him at first. Like the rest of his body, they’d accepted the inevitability of the building tension. Finally, he caught Adelle by the shoulders, lifting her lips from his skin, urging them upward to his mouth. Dominic kissed her, lips and tongue communicating his willing surrender to what she’d done to him. To whatever she next intended. He wondered at his expression when he saw pleasure and satisfaction settle in on Adelle’s. Rocking his hips upward, he murmured, “Please.”

* * *

His capitulation spoke to a level of trust she wasn't accustomed to but she relished it, even more because of who it came from. Looking at his expression, witnessing his abandon and knowing she was the cause, her own arousal skyrocketed.

She hadn't missed the plea from his body but she wasn't ready for that yet, though she shifted slightly, settling more fully astride him and turning her hips in a circle which made his eyes flutter closed and one hand tighten into a fist.

She waited until his eyes opened and then reached behind her to unfasten the bra he'd admired. She let it fall from her shoulders setting it carefully aside. Gauging his reaction she briefly cupped her own breasts, drawing a groan from him that went right through her.

As she leaned forward, pressing warm flesh to warm flesh, they both sighed at the contact. She brushed her lips to a spot on the underside of his jaw as the friction of his chest against hers did wonderful things. Honestly she didn't know how long she could continue like this, the need for more was a plea her body was finding it increasingly difficult to ignore. However, the knowledge that this wasn't intended as a one time thing for either of them, that she would have the chance to do whatever she wanted with and for him at some point in the future, was potent and powerful.

She pulled back a little, kissing along the line of his throat, lingering at the freckles on his shoulders before working her way back to the spot she'd already discovered had a devastating effect on him.

When he swore fluidly she backed off, sat up and reached down to pop open the button on the combat trousers he wore. "You're wearing far too many clothes," she informed him, surprised at how breathless her own voice sounded.

* * *

“So are you,” he murmured, tugging gently at the small strip of lace that remained between Adelle and nudity. The flicker of pain on her face as she shifted above him sent a pang of dismay to undercut his desire. Idiot. That position has to be hell on her thigh. Supporting her injured thigh, Dominic lifted her leg and slid out from beneath her. Mindful of her shoulder as well, he sat up in order to lower her and, incidentally, to divest her of her underwear.

“Come here, Laurence.”

Adelle’s voice drew his eyes to her inviting smile and the provocative way she stroked the mattress next to her. “Damn,” he whispered, feeling the strength of the pull she exerted upon him. The insistence of his body not to resist stunned him. Mesmerized by the longing in her lovely green eyes, he removed the rest of his clothing by touch alone and lay beside her. Kissing her softly, he said, “Yes, ma’am.” The pained expression left her face when his hands found her breasts. Dominic knew he’d kill for the rapt look that replaced it as he worked his way with a light touch toward her nipples. And the soft whimper she made when he gently stroked them. Maybe even for the low unsteady moan when he took the left in his mouth. Possibly for the way her hips moved restlessly when he stroked it with his tongue. Definitely to have her fingers tangle in his hair to keep his mouth where she wanted it.

Smiling against Adelle’s skin, Dominic skimmed her side, hip and upper thigh with a hand on a very important mission. He sucked on her nipple to distract her—a successful strategy if the tightening of her grip on his head was any indication. Or maybe she’d reacted to his fingers traversing to her inner thigh and upward. Adelle’s hands relaxed slightly as he began to work her with two fingers. She groaned, “Laurence,” when he altered his angle of approach slightly in response to how she’d shifted her hips.

He lifted his head. “Yes, Adelle,” he said, marveling at the flush in her cheeks, the light sheen of sweat on her shoulders, the rapid rise and fall of her chest and the spark of desire in her eyes. She mouthed his name, drawing his attention to her lips. She licked them slowly. Shifting to bring his head level with hers as rapidly as possible without bouncing the mattress too much or disrupting the rhythm he’d established with his hand between her legs, Dominic drew his tongue along Adelle’s lower lip just as she had moments ago.

“Now,” she whispered, arms draped around his neck almost casually.

He scissored his fingers and brought his thumb into play as he bit her lip gently. Dominic felt her body clench and savored her long, drawn out, “Yes.” Dominic held Adelle as she trembled in release. When she stilled, he pushed her hair out of her eyes and kissed her lightly on the lips, heart rate accelerating in response to the promises made by the smile she bestowed on him.

“Shall we have our second course now?” she murmured, luring him in for a slow, languorous kiss.

“As long as you don’t mean dinner.”

She laughed. He smiled. “And if I did?” Adelle asked, as her hand meandered down his back to his hip before settling on his ass.

“You didn’t,” Dominic said, toying with the nipple of her right breast.

“But if I did?”

Rising to meet the challenge and playfulness in her tone, Dominic said, “I’d have to excuse myself for a few minutes, because I can’t eat in this condition.” He sighed. “I can’t even think about eating.”

“Think about this,” Adelle said.

* * *

Adelle kissed his throat, then grazed the skin with her teeth as she slid her hand between them, circled him and started to stroke. It was fascinating to watch his open expression get overtaken by need as his hips moved with her hand, pressing her down into the mattress.

She lifted her good leg, wrapping it around him as she kissed him again; open mouthed, full of temptation; tongue drawing his forth.

She hastened her stroke a little and he gasped her name, his fingers tightening on her nipple; bringing her back to the edge.

"Please," she whispered as she guided him to her and wrapped her other leg around him. In a surge of heat and movement he took her mouth in a bruising kiss and pressed into her.

Her stomach tightened, her neck arched back and she stilled, wanting to hold him right there. To just luxuriate in this and forget about every bloody thing in the devastation of this world that meant this shouldn't be happening. But her mind was too lost in pleasure to dwell on the vagaries of fortune and Laurence was far too impatient.

"Yes," he ground out, moving back and pressing forward. He kissed her, slowly this time, as she fell into sync with him.

When her fingertips found the spot she'd exploited earlier his movements faltered. A second pass had him speeding up, a choked, "Christ," escaping him. He pressed his eyes shut, apparently fighting for a control she wasn't inclined to allow him.

* * *

“Laurence?” Adelle DeWitt murmured, stilling the maddening caress.

Dominic’s eyes flew open and he groaned at the sight of Adelle splayed beneath him, expression alight with pleasure.

“That’s better,” she murmured, tightening her legs around him.

“Bet … God, Adelle …. Better?”

“I want to see your eyes when you come,” she said. Smiling as though she had a secret she was on the verge of telling him, Adelle scraped along his side with her nails.

His arms nearly buckled when the wave of pleasure hit him. Adelle stroked his side in time with the movements of his hips, faster, then slower as he tried for deeper penetration in an effort to bring her with him. The dual stimulation drove him toward a precipice he desperately wanted to fall from. At the same time, the few rational brain cells Dominic could call to bear feared the intensity of this experience. In part, because he didn’t want everything that followed between them to be anti-climactic, but also, and somewhat perversely, because he sensed it wouldn’t work out that way. It’s a little late to be wondering if you’re in over your head, Dom.

A moan of utter abandon from Adelle pushed Dominic over the edge. Pleasure overwhelmed his mind and body for longer than he’d thought possible. He realized he’d closed his eyes in contravention of a direct order only when he opened them. Hoping he didn’t look as dazed as he felt, he kissed Adelle gently, mouthing, “Wow,” against her lips. Collapsing next to her, Dominic regarded her closely, enjoying her loose limbed relaxed pose. Adelle smiled and something inside him lurched in response. I’m definitely in over my head.

* * *

Adelle propped herself up on her elbow and looked down at the man sprawled beside her. She smiled when he reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear and then pulled her down for a kiss, before letting his arm fall back to his side.

"Am I going to be making conversation with myself?" She enquired, running her finger along the bridge of his nose.

"If you give me a minute I might remember how to form sentences." He stretched, arms above his head and her stomach tightened - desire and something she tentatively identified as tenderness nearly overwhelming her. When she looked up, his eyes met hers and all she saw was understanding. "Yeah," he said, "me too."

"Is that all right?" she asked, unwilling to assume anything but not particularly surprised to discover they were feeling similar things. But she wondered if it was too serious a question for a moment when their conversation should probably be made up of something light and inconsequential or alternatively an exhausted silence. She detested the thought of herself as the kind of woman who said, "we need to talk," immediately after sex.

He pulled her closer, running his hand up and down her side. "If your plan is to use physical proximity and intimate caresses to distract me, I wholeheartedly approve." She rested her chin on his chest and added, "we don't have to talk about this Laurence."

"You scare the hell out of me," he told her as his fingertips traced up her spine and over her shoulder. "You always did, just not always for the same reasons. I don't want to start to feel as though it matters what happens to me, I have no experience of having something to come back to. But it's already too late for that, isn't it?"

"I'm afraid so," she reached for him, letting her kiss provide if not reassurance, then an acknowledgement that his fear had merit. "Your fate mattered long before tonight. I'm afraid to hope as well, it seems little short of lunacy given the state of the world. But if we don't," she didn't know how to finish the thought and suspected she didn't need to.

"We'll figure it out," he offered.

"Of course we will." Deciding a change of subject might be needed she looked up at him and smiled beguilingly. "Laurence,"

"Adelle," his eyes drifted to her lips and she moistened them at least in part to see his reaction. She leaned closer, running a nail over his chest.

"Is it time for the main course now?"

* * *

“You’re talking about food, right?” he asked, smirking. “Because if what we just did qualifies as an appetizer for you where sex is concerned, I’m not going to be able to meet your needs.” Allowing his hand to come to rest on the back of her neck, he said, “You’ll need to find yourself an eighteen year old you can train to service you appropriately.”

“I prefer experience to enthusiasm,” Adelle whispered. Dominic didn’t have long to wonder about her mischievous expression as she slid her body down along his and kissed the sensitive spot he hadn’t known he had on his right side. The sensations weren’t as sharp or intense as when he’d been aroused, but they were enough to make him squirm. Seemingly pleased by the small sound he couldn’t contain, Adelle said, “I did mean food. I find I have an appetite.”

“I’ll say,” Dominic muttered, mustering the energy to move, watching Adelle sit up and don the oversized shirt she’d discarded. Her breasts swaying freely beneath inspired Dominic to rise and locate the bag of food. Smiling at the discontented noise Adelle made when he pulled on his pants, Dominic said, “I’m only doing it so you can take them off next time.”

When he’d retrieved the food, Adelle settled in next to him on the bed, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him soundly. “I think I’m going to enjoy taking off your shirt every time.”

Setting out cold grilled chicken, a couple of apples and a complex pasta salad, Dominic said, “I think I am too.” He gestured toward the food. “Dig in. It’s not much, but I tried to pick things that would keep ok.”

Sipping her drink, Adelle said, “In case we were distracted by the … scenery?”

“In a manner of speaking.” Looking around, frown replacing his wry smile, Dominic muttered, “Where’d I put my glass?”

“It’s just there,” Adelle said, pointing to his left. “By the corner of the mattress.”

“Thanks,” he said, grabbing the glass and draining the contents. “Damn, that’s good. I’m going to have to see if I can get Bill to part with another case.”

“Why not leave that to me?” Adelle suggested, eyes widening in obvious approval of the pasta salad.

“Because Bill would make a pass at you and I’d have to kill him.”

“You wouldn’t have to kill him, Laurence.” Her mischievous look had returned. Dominic turned his upper body slightly and armed himself with a drumstick to defend his right side.

“If I didn’t, the floodgates would open, Adelle.”

“Somehow I doubt that.”

“Don’t. Besides,” he said, schooling his features to a scowl worthy of Adelle’s former chief of security, “I don’t want you flirting with him.”

“It isn’t technically flirting with him to unfasten an extra button or two of my shirt.”

“I’m not letting you off on a technicality.” Deciding it was safe to eat his weapon of choice, Dominic munched on his drumstick, watching Adelle watch him as she nibbled on her apple. She raised an eyebrow when he chuckled. “It’s nothing,” he said.

“I’m a student of nothing.”

He took a steadying breath. “I was just struck by how … well, normal this feels.”

“This?” Adelle prompted.

“This.” Dominic made an inclusive gesture. “Sharing a meal in a cave after incredible sex.” Observing her closely, he added, “With you.”

“Exactly how much experience have you had sharing meals in caves after incredible sex?”

“Um … not much.” Understanding dawned as if inspired by him refreshing their beverages. “I wasn’t comparing you to anyone. I was just … saying that it’s amazing how something that would’ve been laughable or unthinkable … before is … better than fine now. I think that’s what I was trying to get across, anyway.”

“Better than fine,” Adelle murmured, perhaps trying the concept on for size. “I can’t dispute your assessment.” Raising her glass, she said, “To being better than fine.”

“I will definitely drink to that,” he said, tapping the rim of her glass with his. This toast, they sealed with a kiss.

* * *

Adelle smiled as lips teased a spot beneath her ear and a warm hand caressed her hip. She'd been dozing lightly for a while and was now watching the first signs of dawn. As much as she was enjoying lying here she knew, they both knew, that their private time was running out.

Dinner had led to, well dessert she supposed, which was a far more relaxed encounter that had nevertheless been extremely pleasurable. They'd fallen asleep still wrapped together and stayed that way until Laurence had woken in the small hours, swearing over his lapse. She didn't think falling asleep there was such a crime and she had resolved the matter in an eminently satisfactory manner – and then he'd been too exhausted to worry about falling asleep again.

Now she turned over and pressed her lips to the corner of his mouth. “I think it's time to head back,” she offered, relieving him of the burden of being the one to end these few stolen hours.

Slipping out of his embrace she located items of clothing and began to dress, but then she realised that he hadn't moved and was, in fact, still lying on the mattress watching her. “Laurence?”

“Sorry,” his apology was undermined by his smirk and by the heat of his gaze as it lingered on her, but he did at least get to his feet. Though watching him pad around in search of his clothes distracted her sufficiently that he was dressed while she was still wearing just a shirt.

When she shook herself out of her reverie and turned to pull on her jeans he slipped his arms around her waist, pulling her back against his chest. She didn't resist and they stood together in the entrance to the cave, watching the light change from grey to golden. She leaned her head back against his shoulder, reflecting on the long and bitter path she had followed to be standing here like this. There had been ambition, strategies and plots, power and secrets, loyalty and betrayal. Along the way she had developed skills and knowledge that were still needed in the perilous new world they found themselves in. She remained uncertain as to her future, but unbelievably the one thing she was sure of was that the man who was with her now would be a part of it. They would find a way to be together; it wouldn't be an easy resolution, but it would be uniquely theirs. Which was fine with her.

“What are you thinking about?” It was a question with a complicated answer and one that might be better left for another time. But there wasn't always another time.

“That Caroline isn't going to want me at Safe Haven. She's probably right, I'm not sure that it would be a good idea to have us where we could constantly bump into each other – damaging for morale. I don't particularly want to be there anyway. I don't think I could abide having no role beyond caring for Topher, no responsibility.”

* * *

“If you couldn’t last a couple of days without pointing out Gavin’s faults to his face, I can’t imagine you and Caroline peacefully coexisting.” Feeling Adelle tense in his arms, Laurence Dominic continued, “You’ve changed and she’s matured some, but she’s accustomed to leading and so are you.” Keeping one arm around Adelle, he rubbed her good shoulder with his other hand. “There probably is a way for the both of you to share the responsibility, but I’m not sure either of you will want to put forth the effort to discover what that is, and if you’re both not on board ...” Mentally kicking himself for ruining the moment, Dominic reflected upon the difficulty of the honesty Adelle wanted between them. “So … I guess you’ll have to pass Topher and Jenkins off to Caroline and go forth and become a vintner.”

Adelle turned in his arms, green eyes boring into his. “Topher and Jenkins?”

Dominic shrugged. “They get along. Jenkins has the makings of a decent fighter, but he’s going to be a long time healing. Being with Topher gives Jenkins something to do that’s of value right now.” Risking a small smile, he said, “Priceless in my book.”

He watched Adelle turn the idea over in her mind. “I’m uncertain he’ll be willing to go, Laurence. Jenkins talked himself into the raiding party against the butchers to impress a certain young woman.”

“Who hasn’t once come to see him since he’s been hurt,” Dominic said.

“Perhaps she blames herself for his injuries,” Adelle said, fingertips grazing Dominic’s cheek. “Or suspects he might.”

“Neither,” Dominic murmured, leaning into her touch.

“You surprise me, Laurence.”

“I do? Why?”

“You took the time to make inquiries into Jenkins’ love life?”

Looking past Adelle into the lightening sky, Dominic said, “Topher was up in arms about Jenkins being sad because a girl named Jessica hadn’t visited him. You know how Topher gets when people he likes are sad.” Rolling his eyes at Adelle’s chuckle, Dominic continued, “All I did was ask Haley what the deal was with whichever Jessica had hooked up with Jenkins. She pointed her out to me and it was plain as day that Jessica had already moved on.”

“Did you inform Jenkins?”

Not sure he understood the alarm in Adelle’s expression and tone, Dominic was glad to be able to answer, “No. I told Topher. Topher told him.”

“Are you sure?”

“He doesn’t lean forward with an eager expression on his face every time the door to the hospital truck opens anymore.”

Nodding thoughtfully, Adelle pushed gently against his chest. Dominic released her and went about the business of breaking camp—deflating the air mattress, washing the dishes in the nearby tributary, packing everything in the heavy duty backpack he’d brought with him prior to arriving with Adelle. The silence was companionable, but something in Adelle’s bearing troubled him. “Are you worried about being relieved of Topher duty?” he asked.

“It is … disconcerting to contemplate purposelessness.”

“Making decent wine is a purpose.”

“That’s just a dream. A fantasy, if you prefer.”

Closing up his backpack, Dominic said, “It doesn’t have to be.”

“In any event,” Adelle said, smiling up at him in a way he recognized as a prelude to a subject change, “I believe the events of last night and early this morning indicate I’m sufficiently healed for us to travel on.”

He smiled, looking her over with obvious appreciation as he considered how a pleasant dinner had segued into lovemaking with just a look. Dominic couldn’t describe the expression on Adelle’s face that had demanded he set aside his dinner plate and make love to her the way he had—with urgency embedded in slow sensuality, nothing rushed, everything shared. It wasn’t merely a come hither look. Adelle’s expression had been an invitation to perfect intimacy. Only the foolish or the insane would have declined if, in fact, they could’ve.



“I said I’m ready to travel,” she said.

Enjoying the battle between curiosity and wariness being waged on Adelle’s face, he said, “I’ll let Gavin know we’re heading out the next time the caravan moves. With the four of us in the Jeep this time, I’ll drive around like a crazy shepherd for a while and then we’ll slip away at a point far from both of the suspect new groups.”

“I see you’ve given this some thought.”

“Just keeping in practice.”


“My role as once and future chief of security.” He smirked at her as he strapped on the backpack. “A lot of people will kill for decent wine. In addition to the people who will kill just for the hell of it. Your security is going to have to be outstanding.”

“Your … role?”

The caution in her tone spoke to him. “Poor choice of word. Insert job or … better yet, purpose.”


“If you like,” he said, slipping an arm around her waist, taking one last look at the cave. “I think I prefer purpose.”

“You’ve thought about … my winery as well.”

Even though it wasn’t a question, Dominic nodded. “Believe me, Adelle, I tried not to. There’s an element of danger to planning ahead. But I just kept finding myself going over what I know about the wine country—I’m thinking the Russian River Valley or Sonoma by the way—and wondering who I could trust to keep you safe when I wasn’t around.” He glanced sidelong at her. “I know it’s presumptuous to insert myself into your plans. I’m sorry.”

“Who else do you think I would want inserted?”

“The eighteen year old you’re going to train as your sex slave.”

Adelle laughed. “I would never entrust such a person to keep me safe.”

“It’s him or me, Adelle. You can’t have it both ways.”

In response, she kissed him and whispered, “You,” against his lips.

After a last embrace, they started down the narrow path. This silence felt better to Dominic; there didn’t seem to be any pressing issues lurking in it.

“Was it really so awful to fall asleep out here?” Adelle asked as they emerged onto the wider path, unable to completely mask the amusement in her eyes.

“I didn’t intend to,” Dominic said, smiling when Adelle draped her arms around him and slowed his pace to a stroll, grateful for the excuse to steal a bit more time.

“Obviously,” she said, grinning up at him. “You swore quite creatively for a man who wasn’t yet fully awake.”

“You took care of that,” he said, recollecting how her eyes reflected the candlelight when her hands and her mouth derailed his diatribe.

“I don’t recall the registering of any complaints.”

“Because I had none.”

* * *

At first she had no idea how she felt about him taking her small fantasy so seriously, to have made plans about it – and then to wonder if he should have included himself. It wasn't the presumption that troubled her, far from it, but rather the idea that appropriating a vineyard and bringing it to life was something that he considered possible.

As they had walked the idea had taken a firmer hold on her imagination and the possibility of Jenkins taking over caring for Topher seemed to bring it tantalisingly within reach.

“You don't seem concerned that I may know very little about running a vineyard,” she pointed out as they approached the site. “Isn't that a pre-requisite for this endeavour?”

“Adelle, I have great faith in your ability to adapt and actually, 'very little' when applied to you doesn't mean the same as when applied to the rest of us mere mortals.”

“I don't know enough,” she admitted. “I worked on a vineyard acquisition for Rossum while I was still in Europe.” The task had required a rudimentary understanding of process as well as a greater knowledge of the business and her interest had been sparked. She'd tried to maintain the interest when she moved to California but the demands of running the Dollhouse had made it difficult for her to pursue anything so prosaic as a hobby. “Russian River means Pinot Noir and Chardonnay primarily – if we head towards the hills in Sonoma there are micro climates – more variety. We should probably find something small, off the beaten track. As well as outstanding security I will require a small workforce and a way of obtaining supplies.”

“Not necessarily a problem,” she could see he was making plans and if she was honest, so was she. “A trade link to the caravan would be useful for disposing of what we produce – you should talk to Gavin before we head off; it will give us access to other provisions and people as well.”

“Which you'll handle?” She didn't want it to sound like a criticism, she was perfectly aware that he wasn't ready to entirely leave his nomadic lifestyle behind.

“Makes sense.”

“Agreed,” he looked sideways at her, perhaps surprised by her ready acquiescence but she didn't need to try to get him to make promises that he wasn't ready to keep. “We'll need a link to the outside world Laurence, it makes sense for it to be you.”

“As long as I'm welcomed in a fitting manner when I return,”

“I'm not sure what you'd consider a fitting manner but...” he'd swooped before she could finish, kissing her hard, leaving her breathless. “I think I can manage that,” she replied once she'd caught her breath.

“I don't think you understand how difficult you'll make it to leave.”

“It will always be your choice Laurence – I won't be the reason you make sacrifices.”

As they neared the medical truck her thoughts turned to Topher, she didn't doubt Jenkins would be able to care for him but the bond she had formed with him was unique and special; he was important to her and the idea of leaving him behind was painful to contemplate. She knew he wouldn't understand. “I can't leave Topher until I'm sure he is settled, prepared for my departure. At the start of this trip you said that if I left him it would set him back – I think he's better than he was then but I don't want to be the reason he regresses.”

“He understands that things change and he cares about you.”

“He's refused to leave me on two occasions – how do you imagine he'll feel about my leaving him?”

“You don't have to, we can work something out with Caroline.” But that wasn't an option – they both knew it.

“I remind him of too many bad things. It might be easier if I'm not around – but it needs to be handled with care.”

“You're very good at that.” His expression was innocent but she wasn't convinced or particularly inclined to let him get away with the remark.

Leaning close she whispered, “You have no idea how good,” and then brushed past him to push open the door to the truck and swing herself inside.

* * *

“I miss the scowl. I truly do.”

“Hmmmm?” Laurence Dominic muttered, his thoughts occupied with his checklist for leaving the caravan rather than Bill’s blather. Topher and Jenkins had been delivered to the Jeep as soon as darkness fell, one at a time, secured in wooden crates that had almost been too small for the job. To fit them both in the Jeep, Dominic had had to leave most of his trade goods with Haley, keeping only fuel, his weapons, some food and a few bottles of Bill’s brew. The younger men would ride in the crates until they were clear.

“I said, I miss your irritable scowling self,” Bill said, punching Dominic lightly on the shoulder. “The almost constantly smiling version gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

Smiling at the thought of she who was responsible, Dominic said, “It’s not my fault.”

“You took her to the cave,” Bill said.

“You aided and abetted that particular maneuver.”

Bill laughed. “You are so not blaming your perpetual good mood on me, Dom.” Draping an arm across Dominic’s shoulders as they walked back to the caravan proper, Bill said, “Because I know the two of you haven’t had a spare moment since you sauntered back into view in time for lunch that day. No sex is that good.”

“Don’t be too sure, Bill.”

“Now, you’re teasing me.” Bill halted, so Dominic did as well. “Stop or I’ll confiscate one of the cases of liquor I gave you.”

“Consider it stopped.”

Bill watched Dominic for a moment, making Laurence wonder just what was on his mind. “Eyeing each other over meals and laps around the camp are enough, huh?” Bill asked and, to his surprise, Dominic heard genuine curiosity.

Dominic marshaled a fine scowl. “For now.”

“Thank Christ!” Bill said. “He lives. The Laurence Dominic I know and love.”

“He’ll always have a scowl for you, Bill. How’s that?”

“I’ll make do.” Looking past Dominic, Bill inclined his head. “Farewell, my Queen. I’ll miss you every day.”

“And I, you, Bill,” Adelle said, bestowing a small smile on Bill before turning to Dominic. Her smile changed before Dominic’s eyes from amused affection to something far more intimate. “Have your preparations been made?”

“All is in readiness, Your Majesty,” Bill replied. “Once your fine self is installed in the shotgun position, I should say.”

“Goodbye, Bill,” Adelle said, not dodging Bill’s kiss on the cheek. “I enjoyed meeting you.”

“The pleasure, I assure you, was all mine.” Bill’s eyes cut to Dominic. “Be safe, Dom.”

“Back at you, Bill.” Dominic took Adelle’s hand and reversed course back toward the Jeep. “Is Gavin all squared away?” he asked.

“He’s made a fine start,” she replied, frowning when he released her hand until he placed his on the small of her back. “And Haley?” Dominic took a sudden interest in the row of vehicles they were walking past. “Laurence?”

“She cried.” He sighed. “She always does.”


The sharp quality to her tone made him smile. “Haley has a list of about ten or twelve people who get the tears when they go.” Adelle made a dismissive sounding noise. Watching her out of the corner of his eye, Dominic said, “Plus Derek’s dog, Skip.” He slid his hand to her shoulder as she laughed. They halted next to the passenger side front door of his Jeep. As Dominic reached around Adelle to open it for her, she stepped into him, framed his face with her hands and kissed him. He tasted the relief to be leaving and the wariness of what was to come along with all the positive emotions. Abandoning his mundane task, he set out to reassure her to the extent he could with his lips and tongue. “God, you taste good,” he murmured when they parted.

She tightened her grip around his neck just as someone cleared their throat. “We’re moving out, Dom,” Kyle said, gaze studiously directed to the front quarter panel of the Jeep. “Gavin wants you to mind the stragglers in Phase One.”

“Fine,” he said, making sure Adelle understood the reluctance with which he released her. “I won’t let anyone get left behind.” After he climbed into the Jeep and started it, Dominic looked to Adelle. “Think happy winemaking thoughts.”

* * *

They'd executed their departure from the caravan flawlessly. At the requisite moment Dominic's Jeep had dipped its headlights towards Kyle's vehicle – the signal for him to take over the task of shepherding the stragglers to their next destination. At the next fork in the road they had headed in the opposite direction with barely anyone present to see them go.

They'd driven for another half an hour before stopping and getting Topher and Jenkins out of the crates. Though Adelle suspected that Laurence had second thoughts about the decision when Topher had launched into a spirited rendition of “999,999 green bottles, sitting on a wall,” with all the enthusiasm of a small child on his way to a favoured holiday destination.

They endured three verses before the man behind the wheel issued a sharp and to the point, “Topher, shut the hell up!” which put an end to that particular burst of enthusiasm.

But apparently Topher was happy to be out of the medical truck and on the road once more and having a new friend along for the ride had him more communicative than usual. At the moment he and Jenkins were busily discussing a series of comic books with a story that was a modernised version of the Iliad. Topher was explaining the comparison to Jenkins but when Adelle leaned back and corrected him on a pertinent detail he blinked at her in surprise.

“I don't think you're supposed to know about his stuff,” Laurence pointed out when he glanced in the rear view mirror to see Topher's shocked expression.

“Frequently I don't.” She told Topher, “I've never as much picked up a, comic book in the course of my life, I promise.”

“Her education is severely lacking,” Laurence joked – grinning at her attempt to shut him up. “You should definitely explain it to her.”

“Careful Dom or you'll be sleeping on the floor,” Jenkins piped up – his uncertain smile making it clear he wasn't sure that he was allowed to be cheeky. When she raised her eyebrow at the comment he blushed, “sorry ma'am – I didn't mean to imply, I mean I don't know, I'm not sure...” He trailed off, looking completely befuddled and while Adelle let him suffer for a moment longer Topher came to his rescue.

“Dominic doesn't sleep on the floor, because he doesn't sleep. But sometimes when Adelle sleeps he stays in the bed with her.”

It was an accurate assessment – all the more so given the recent change in their relationship – although she didn't imagine there would be much opportunity for sharing of beds until they reached Safe Haven. “We were buried,” Topher carried on as Jenkins listened with wide eyes, “until Dominic came for us. I didn't like him before because he was angry all the time, he was angry the last time he came back. He isn't angry now.”

“The first time I met Dominic I thought he was angry too,” Jenkins agreed, “now – not so much.”

“If you don't all stop talking about me as though I'm not here I'll show you angry,” the interjection lacked force though he grumbled to himself, “everyone is a little too interested in my mood these days.”

She didn't think this was a good moment to inquire too closely as to who 'everyone' was, especially not when she could hazard a guess that it included either Bill or Haley, possibly both of them. Her own farewells had involved nothing in the way of teasing, at her handover meeting with Gavin he had told her that she was welcome back, with or without Dominic, at any time. The knowledge that she had a place there had given her confidence – even if her plans lay in a different direction.

Sergei had bid her a fond, very Russian farewell – giving her lengthy instructions for the care of the healing wound as well as telling her stories of his motherland – as though he feared never being able to share them in his native tongue again. The closest he had come to referencing Dominic was to tell her that 'adversity was a good teacher and for a Queen you are an excellent student,” which she had thought better than to try to respond to.

“I'm less interested in your disposition than in other aspects of your personality,” she offered softly – smiling at Laurence in a way that she hoped conveyed her point. Just to make sure she reached across and rubbed his shoulder, stroking her thumb over the back of his neck.

“Adelle,” it was half warning, half plea and she smiled again as she stopped touching him – since he was currently navigating through darkened roads she was wary of being too much of a distraction. “See, he's not grumpy anymore,” Topher piped up with not a whit of discretion.

Deciding a change of subject might be the safest option and aware that they had spirited young Mr. Jenkins away with barely an explanation of where they were heading she said, “why don't you tell us about Safe Haven.” It wouldn't hurt to be prepared when entering the realms of Caroline's Kingdom – though she didn't expect her welcome to be much better than that of a traitor, especially since she wasn't feeling particularly penitent these days.

* * *

Laurence Dominic met Jenkins’ eyes via the rearview mirror. The kid suddenly looked very young, his expression open, curious and trusting and he’d earned better than to be delivered to Safe Haven in that state. “Caroline Farrell is in charge,” Dominic began. “She’s intense, driven and often too focused on bringing down Rossum to count the cost. To be fair, she’s resourceful, smart and tough, but Caroline isn’t someone to be followed blindly. Do your own thinking. Reach your own conclusions. Take to heart what Paul Ballard says. Listen hard for what he doesn’t.”

Unsure what else might be useful to Jenkins, Dominic said, “Caroline has many … um … talents, but being so gifted sometimes makes things harder, rather than easier. Ballard is ex-FBI, knows his way around investigations and interrogations. He’s less savvy with regard to infiltrations but he’s learned a lot in that regard over the last few years. That’s the power base at Safe Haven.”

Glancing at Adelle, not able to interpret her expression, Dominic said, “When I left, the community was about 450 adults. There are a lot more kids under twelve and pregnant women than Gavin has in his caravan currently. There’s more talk of the future and the next generation than sex at Safe Haven, as if sex wasn’t a necessary prerequisite to the other. I really can’t tell you why. Different sorts of people, I guess.”

“What use will I be to Caroline?” Jenkins asked, voice betraying his nervousness.

“Caroline wants Topher calm and she needs fighters,” Dominic said. “One of those goals, you can help reach now. The other role will come in time.”

“Why does she want Topher?” Jenkins asked.

“Because Rossum does,” Adelle DeWitt said, hands clasped in front of her tightly, as though she didn’t trust what one or the other might do if allowed its freedom.

“Because he’s so smart.”

Jenkins statement met with no argument. Not seeing anything good coming from getting any more specific in regard to Topher’s brand of genius, Dominic said, “It’s a small community that’s basically a bunch of tents, a few mobile homes, small houses and one or two bigger ones within a sizeable, I forget how many acre fenced compound. A large amount of land is set aside for farming. That wasn’t going so well the last time I was by. They have a couple of doctors and a few nurses to man a tiny hospital. The security is well managed. The rest, not so much. Those are the highlights. Is there anything else in particular any of you want to know?”

“Are … Anthony and Priya in Caroline’s inner circle?” Adelle asked.

Dominic met Adelle’s eyes. The thought of her with Tony imprinted as Roger tightened his hands on the wheel.

“I had fun with Priya,” Topher said. “Then I made a mistake. That bathtub was gross.”

Bathtub? An inquiring look at Adelle brought nothing. Rather than ask, Dominic opted to address Adelle’s question. “Tony is in the chain of command, if he’s still there,” Dominic said. “Priya has kind of … shut down.” Adelle’s concerned eyes drew him out. “She was the peacemaker for a long time. Practically the only one to whom Tony, Caroline and Paul would speak frankly with on a lot of relevant issues. Priya burned out trying to keep the others moving in the same direction. Tony’s restlessness didn’t help matters. He was talking the blasphemy of using the tech again.” Lowering his voice, he said, “Priya cried a lot. It’s a good thing Topher wasn’t there.”

“Are there … you know, girls?” Jenkins asked after a short period of silence that made the yawn Dominic couldn’t suppress sound loud.

“Girls have cooties,” Topher pronounced with uncustomary gravity.

A slight smile tugged at Dominic’s lips. “The cootie epidemic hasn’t reached Safe Haven, so there are disease-free, unattached young women roaming around. They all know self-defense, though.” Dominic shrugged at Jenkins’ abashed expression. “Just FYI, Jenkins.”

“I have to go to the bathroom,” Topher said. “I had to before but I didn’t want to in the crate. Not even in the far corner, although I wondered if I could aim through the slats. Then I forgot. Now I remember.”

“Way too much information, Topher,” Dominic muttered, finding a spot to pull well off to the side of the two lane road. Topher leapt out of the Jeep. “Damn it,” Dominic muttered, getting out after him and watching the neuroscientist head into the trees. Jenkins proceeded after Topher more slowly on his crutches, sighing in what sounded like relief at the opportunity to move. Dominic gazed at Adelle over the roof of the Jeep. “How are you holding up?” he asked.

“I’m not the one yawning,” she countered, soft smile undercutting any criticism the words may have held.

“No, you would be the one not answering my question.”

“Perhaps you should come around the vehicle and ask again.”

Dominic didn’t need to be prodded twice. Automatically, he identified the high ground to the north on the same side of the road. The land to the south—the direction in which they were heading—and on the other side of the road was more or less flat. Putting a hand on the Jeep to either side of Adelle, he asked, “How are you holding up?”

Her hands came to rest at his waist. “I’m fine,” she murmured, luring him in a little closer under the pretext of being able to hear her. “A trifle nervous, perhaps. I don’t relish the thought of a reunion with Caroline Farrell.”

“You’ll be fine.”

“I wish I shared your confidence.”

Pressing Adelle’s body back against the Jeep with his, he whispered, “I guarantee you’ll have more sex than she will.” Adelle laughed and looked happy in this unguarded moment, forcing him to kiss her.

“I will hold you to that, Laurence.”

“Your wish is—.” Dominic stepped back, put a finger to his lips and drew his sidearm. Jenkins had raised a closed fist. Now that his movement had drawn Dominic’s attention, Jenkins pointed to his eyes and gestured roughly northeast. Putting gentle pressure on Adelle’s shoulders, he maneuvered her to the cover of the front quarter panel and her open door of the Jeep. He picked up her gun from the floor in front of her seat and handed it to her. Taking another gun from the glove box, he threw it to Jenkins as he sprinted past and ordered, “Keep Topher out of sight.”

Dominic ran as quickly and soundlessly as possible in darkness illuminated quite well by a nearly full moon. Reasoning that anyone following them wouldn’t have had a lot of time to set this up, Dominic headed east, toward the road, shortly after he started up the small rise. Every few paces, he stopped and listened. Hearing nothing, he began to wonder if Jenkins had been mistaken. The fifth or sixth time he stopped, Dominic heard a rustle that didn’t sound natural. Cautiously, he stepped into a small clearing and shot the person spinning to bring a rifle to bear. Twice. He moved in rapidly and kicked the weapon away from Melinda Paulle, one of the new women to join the caravan.

He wondered how the woman had tracked them before he recalled what Bill had said about her “interest” in Kyle Monroe among others. Kyle saw us go and spilled his guts to this woman. I’ll have to tell Gavin about that the next time I see him. “Are there more of you?” Dominic demanded.

“As if I’d tell you, one way or the other,” she said, smiling in a snide manner.

Dominic shot her in the forehead. “Boring conversation anyway,” he muttered. I’ll have to tell Topher I said that and see if he gets the referent. I have no idea if he memorized all of Han Solo’s lines too.

He picked up the sniper rifle and started down the slope, making a ton of noise on purpose. It would suck to buy it from friendly fire at this stage.

“Dom?” Jenkins called, just before Dominic stepped into view. The reason for the panic in Jenkins’ tone was obvious. Jenkins had a fistful of Topher’s shirt and his hold looked as precarious as Topher appeared determined to get to Adelle.

“We’re clear,” Dominic said, not questioning the instinct to respond that way. He’d seen the flash of fear admixed with failure before the assassin had put on her brave front.

Adelle rose instantly and watched him critically as he crossed to the Jeep. He nodded and smiled. Her shoulders relaxed and she took a deep breath. “Saddle up, everybody, we ride for Safe Haven.” He glanced at his watch and did some mental calculations. “We should be there by mid afternoon tomorrow.”

  • 1
AWESOME. Their relationship is lovely, if fraught with baggage, and I'm getting very anxious about how Safe Haven is going to work out (or not)...

Lovely and fraught with baggage--yes. That's not at all easy to reconcile, but I think it's coming along ok.

Safe Haven. Adelle certainly isn't looking forward to it and I surely don't blame her.

Thanks for sticking it out with us!

I loved it!!!

I loved that Adelle and Dom finally consummating their relationship, I also loved that they took Jenkins along with them to Safe Haven (especially as it gives Adelle an out to be with Laurence) and I especially loved that Adelle and Dom are actually planning for the future and not just living day by day while really making an attempt at having a lasting and mature relationship. They’re growing up so fast *g*

I really liked that Dom took Adelle's vintner dream seriously and then apologized for kind of writing himself into her script for the future. I'm not sure why, but it seemed like something he would do. And planning for the future in that world seems a bit like tempting fate, but they're doing it anyway.

I was pleased by the way that they went about getting privacy to consummate their relationship. That worked out rather well, I thought.

We couldn't bear to leave Jenkins, injured as he was, behind and Topher needs a friend, I think. So that kind of worked out for all concerned.

Growing up, indeed!

I don't even have words for this chapter! It's so wonderful! Seriously. The sexage was awesome and totally them. I so love it that Adelle took the lead, and it's the most natural thing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Laurence took her seriously about wanting to make wine and actually made plans. That was so incredibly sweet. &hearts I think I fell more in love with him with that. I'm also loving having Jenkins come with them and being Topher's buddy. That's so cute! I can't wait for the final chapter. *sniff*

Thank you for not having words. I like that in a reader.

Writing sex from a dual perspective required short scenes and I was kind of amazed by how well it turned out. Adelle as the aggressor works, don't you think? She was so in control on the show and I've always imagined Dominic as the more emotional one. Really.

I saw so clearly in my head that Adelle would mention making wine and Dom would kind of run with it. It's what he does. She wants X. How can I give her X? Because I think giving her X will pay off in the bedroom (at least that's how he'd think about it because those softer emotions so totally aren't him--right?)

Jenkins coming along seemed to work for everybody so it had to happen.

And ... um ... well ... there's an epilogue (11,000+ words). Really. I just haven't edited it yet.

Thank you for not having words. I like that in a reader.

LOL glad I could service you. ;)

Adelle as the aggressor works, don't you think?

YES! I do think! I think very much, and you both pulled it off so perfectly. The entire sex scene flowed so beautifully, which is saying a lot given that it was split up into parts.

She wants X. How can I give her X? Because I think giving her X will pay off in the bedroom (at least that's how he'd think about it because those softer emotions so totally aren't him--right?)

LOL that makes perfect sense to me! It harkens back to his days as her chief of security when he would have everything taken care for her before she even knew that she wanted it.

And ... um ... well ... there's an epilogue (11,000+ words). Really. I just haven't edited it yet.

WOW! I'm thrilled! Eep!

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Back in the day, teasing Dominic was a dangerous matter. Now, not so much. Wonder why?

Topher was a challenge, because he couldn't be the pain in the butt he was previously, but we wanted him to have a role to play. And this is what emerged. Glad it worked for you.

They did finally get around to having sex, didn't they? Good for them and thanks for reading.

I love this so much I can't even tell you. I can literally see this unfolding in my head, especially the last scene. And the cave scene, though I snickered at Dominic busily planning the security of her winery.

Thank you for the kind words. I hope this means your move has been concluded and you are settling in well.

The action in the last bit was strange because I kept feeling that it was kind of anti-climactic, but it felt so right to just deal with the sniper and move on. So I'm glad it worked.

As the cave scene demonstrates, Dominic is fully capable of planning ahead when there's something important at stake.

Yes, we're moved in. Now if we could just find anything.

The once and future past

Bullet to the head and that's the end of that chapter. I like how Dom solves some of his problems! :) It's nice to get the sniper over and dealt with.

It's so strange yet so fitting to see them plan a future and finally start putting the past behind them. I'm so proud of how far they've gotten, they couldn't have done it without some amazing imaginations. Great job guys.

Now onto Safe Haven.

Re: The once and future past

Dom is very pragmatic. I like that about him.

Planning a future is HUGE for these two and I also am proud of them for being able to do it. Thank you for the nod to imagination, but I think the foundation was there/

Yes, indeed--Safe Haven. I look forward to see what you think of that.

!!!!! Her smile seared right through him. That is a most excellent word image to start the fic off with! :D :D :D

CANDLELIGHT DINNER IN A CAVE! Ohmygosh, improvised romanticism for the win! :D :D :D

TOPHER AND JENKINS! Yesssssssssss!!! Topher needs a man-friend! Way to adopt! I approve! :D :D :D

Aaaaaahhhhh! They're going to run off and make wine together! ohmygosh, this is ridiculously adorable. "Make wine? Okay, why not? *shrugs*" ....*flails* I...just the whole nonchalance about it is incredibly intimate/domestic to me. "You want this; okay, let's make it happen." <3!!!

Also, I'm very pro-the whole Dominic being anti-falling asleep thing. You're isolated! The price you pay for privacy is people being able to kill you in private! Survival instincts are strong in this one! (I realize that's a fairly obvious statement even as I'm typing

“Adelle, I have great faith in your ability to adapt and actually, 'very little' when applied to you doesn't mean the same as when applied to the rest of us mere mortals.” *giggle* Too true!

“I miss the scowl. I truly do.” Dear Bill, you are my absolute favorite. “The almost constantly smiling version gives me the heebie-jeebies.” I...yes. *blows kisses* I may or may not have cackled hysterically into my coffee for a good moment. Also, yes. Dominic (or Damien!) with a teeny-tiny happy smile would be the weirdest, most awesome thing to cross my TV screen in a long time. I do not know if my body could contain the squee....

“Haley has a list of about ten or twelve people who get the tears when they go.”

...I can think of about, literally, 5-10 girls off the top of my head who fit this description... Your OCs are fantastically real and consistent. *applauds* Well done!

“Think happy winemaking thoughts.” dkaljaslkdjalksd!!!! Too cute!

JENKINS! Your shy, awkward, "can-I-tease?" comments are awesome! Keep them up! I approve of you! :D

“Girls have cooties,” Topher pronounced with uncustomary gravity.

A slight smile tugged at Dominic’s lips. “The cootie epidemic hasn’t reached Safe Haven, so there are disease-free, unattached young women roaming around. They all know self-defense, though.” Dominic shrugged at Jenkins’ abashed expression. “Just FYI, Jenkins.”

Ahahahahahahahahhahahahaha!!!!!!! Oh, Topher! Oh, poor, poor Jenkins!

Now onward to Safe Haven! :D

I think my favorite bit of the "finally they are getting together" was Adelle noting that Dom had shaved and their discussion of stubble. Not sure why, but there you have it. Candlelight and searing smiles work too.:)

Topher needs a man friend. Seriously. A careful one wouldn't hurt and it seems jenkings fits that bill.

Off to make wine, indeed. I really liked that Dom was all why the hell not and reminding Adelle of how capable she is. He's a pragmatic person (and a closet romantic, evidently). Like Damien. Heh!

Bill is simply fun and I can imagine Haley crying a little when he goes (particularly b/c he's really going in several senses this time). Reed Diamond has an amazing scowl. Even he admits he doesn't cry well, but the scowling is ... fine!

Girls do have cooties, don't they?:)

Safe Haven might be a bit of a misnomer, but onward ho!

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