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Road Trip Part 8/12
damien listening guitar
Title: Road Trip Part 8/12
Rating: R (language and sexual situations)
Author: morgan72uk and rogoblue
Summary: Dominic and Adelle explore some possibilities.

He wasn’t really inebriated she decided, but there was definitely something looser in his demeanour. She rather liked it, though she was less happy about the complicated range of expressions that had crossed his face when he’d implied Gavin had deliberately kept him out of the way for the day. She hesitated to describe it as jealousy, but the shyness she had diagnosed in him meant he would easily find excuses to back away - and she couldn’t allow that to happen.

“If it makes any difference at all I don’t think he had anticipated my intervention, he certainly made every effort to resist.”

“So it was about Matt then,” his expression shifted again, to something she recognised as relief. He rubbed his hand over his face, before he looked at her and said, “OK, I’ll bite - what did it take to talk him round?”

“Some flattery, a few home truths, an acknowledgement of my own failures and I believe I also accused him of tyranny.”

“That explains why half the caravan was lining up to tell me that you’d taken him on head to head.”

“It wasn’t quite like that,” she turned more fully towards him, wondering if he even realised how he had shifted accommodate her movement while ensuring they remained in contact with one another. “I had to prove I had the strength to confront him but, having done so, I needed to give him an excuse to hear me out; without making it look as though he had given way to me.”

“Sounds exhausting,” he commented and when she shrugged, not sure she really wanted to admit that it had taken more out of her than she’d expected, he touched her face carefully. “Are you OK, Adelle?”

“Rumours of a battle royal are somewhat exaggerated,” she offered and then, because he was waiting for an answer from the woman, not the seasoned campaigner, she added, “but I didn’t particularly enjoy bringing some of my darkest hours out for his inspection.”

“But now the two of you are going to overhaul operations.”

“Apparently he’s been looking for a way to revise some aspects of the caravan’s operations for a while now.”

She smiled knowingly at him as he bit out, “Yeah, right.”

“It’s what he needed to hear.” Fearing where that particular line of thought might take him, given how well he knew her past she added, “I’m not proud of it Laurence - if there had been any other way...”

“You two have noticed that there’s a meal going on, right?” The newcomer grinned brightly at them - though he swayed a little and seemed not to care too much that he had interrupted them at an intense moment.

“We were talking.” Laurence said - his tone conveying all his displeasure at the interruption but having absolutely no effect.

“Calm down Dom, I’m not stupid enough to try to join you.” He put a plate loaded with food down between them. “At least try to drag your attention away from each other for long enough to eat something. The lovely lady has had a busy day and she deserves a little repast.” Sighing heavily Dominic gestured to the man,

“Adelle, meet Bill. Bill - get lost.” Bill laughed and offered his hand to Adelle; he held onto it for a beat too long.

“You are going to thank me later,” he said - his remark addressed to her. “We can discuss how you express your gratitude any time you like.” He glanced over at Dominic, “Gavin is doing the rounds - he doesn’t seem to have any visible injuries so I’m guessing everything is fine.” The short nod in response seemed to satisfy him. “You might not have noticed - having better things to pay attention to, but a few people want to come up and say hi. Rumour has it someone not a million miles away from here talked El Jefe into a few very necessary changes today.”

His pointed look at her prompted Adelle to intervene. Voice low and intent, trusting in the intelligence she saw in his eyes she said, “if you want those changes to go through I’d advise you to make sure people realise they were Gavin’s idea. All of them. I’m only helping with the implementation.”

Bill’s mouth twitched into a smile and was clear that he was avoiding further comment, probably directed at Laurence, with some difficulty. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“I’d be most grateful.”

“I doubt you’ll be as grateful as I’d like you to be - but OK.” He clapped Dominic on the shoulder, “but you can remember how grateful you’re going to be later.”

As he ambled off, disappearing into the crowds Adelle looked over at her companion who wasn’t as exasperated as he appeared to be. “I assume that was your drinking companion from earlier?”


“And I’m in his debt because?”

“Bill makes the best booze in camp and I have a case of his premium product.” She had a feeling there was more to it than that, since possession of the alcohol didn’t explain why Bill claimed Laurence was going to be grateful to him as well. But possibly that was something she didn’t need to know about.

“I look forward to sampling his best efforts later - I hope you’ll share the bounty?”

“I can probably be persuaded to.” In a rare unguarded moment she could see the doubt and shyness he battled in regard to her and she could also see the edges of the feelings he had no idea what to do about. She smiled at him, not in victory, because it wasn’t one and anyway this wasn’t a battle to be won or lost, but because she liked sitting with him, close enough to touch, talking, looking at each other. He smiled back.

* * *

How is it possible for her to look gorgeous in a man’s dress shirt and sweats? Catching himself staring as well as thinking of Adelle DeWitt as gorgeous, Laurence Dominic shifted his gaze to the food Bill had brought, yet he remained disturbingly aware of Adelle. Almost in the same fashion as gravity held him on the planet, she anchored him to this spot, to this moment in time and to the future, rather than the past. The immensity of such a thing to a man who never thought about the future and who was normally haunted by his past went far beyond Dominic’s ability to articulate.

“Are you going to eat that roll or throw it at anyone who approaches, Laurence?”

“Hmmmmm?” he asked even as he realized he was tossing a small, healthy looking roll from one hand to the other.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Adelle said, tapping him lightly on the temple.

“You’d just about get your money’s worth,” Dominic replied, struck by the thought that he was tossing the roll to give his hands something to do. Something other than touch the woman next to him. Christ almighty, I need a drink. Reaching for the tumbler filled to the brim with inferior beverage, Dominic took a deep breath. Calm didn’t arrive. Hell, calm is on sabbatical. Sipping the drink, wincing in anticipation of harshness, Dominic laughed. “I’ll be damned.”

Adelle’s hand came to rest on his shoulder. “What?” she asked.

“Try this,” he said, offering the tumbler. Watching her closely, Dominic took a bite of his much tossed roll. The widening of her eyes presaged the expression of pure enjoyment that came over her face. Dominic couldn’t help but wish he’d caused that transformation.

“This is marvelous.”

“Keep your voice down,” Dominic said, leaning closer so as not to be overheard. “Bill will quote you and raise his prices.”

“What price did you pay for a case of this?” Adelle asked, hand sliding from his shoulder to the small of his back, leaving a trail of hyperawareness in its wake.

“Bill was under the mistaken impression that he owed me.” Smirk at the ready, he said, “I didn’t make much of an effort to correct him.” Hoping to forestall an inquiry as to the nature of the good turn he’d done Bill, Dominic said, “Is this ok, Adelle?”


“Eating dinner out here,” he said, gesturing vaguely with his half eaten roll. “I know you’re probably tired from talking sense into Gavin. I should’ve given you the option of having dinner with Topher.”

“After the events of today, I’d rather have dinner out of doors with you,” she said, bolstering her remark with a small smile. “It’s refreshing to be around people who aren’t focused or driven or … Topher.”

“I’m not absentminded or lazy,” Dominic said.

Smile wider now, Adelle said, “At the moment, you don’t strike me as particularly focused or driven either.”

Oh, I’m focused, Adelle. I’m most definitely focused. I’m not driven, though. I’m being driven. Halting that train of thought was more difficult than Dominic would’ve liked. “There are a lot of focused people here right now.” Adelle radiated skepticism. “Look,” he said, gesturing toward the nearest long table of animatedly talking people. “That dark haired guy in the blue shirt. He’s focused.”

Dominic enjoyed watching Adelle observe the young man he’d pointed out for a few moments. He smiled at her laughter. “All he is focused on is disappearing into the trees with the woman seated across the table from him.”

“Exactly,” Dominic said. As Adelle’s startled expression became curious with a hint of speculative, he said, “It’s a different type of focus than you’re used to, but it’s no less … um … focused.” Pointing at the tumbler in the hand that wasn’t lightly rubbing his back, he asked, “Are you going to share that?”

Handing it over, Adelle said, “I can’t think of the last time a man was focused on having sex with me out of doors.”

“Really?” Dominic said, proud of how nonchalant the word had sounded.

“Really,” she said.

“It hasn’t been all that long ago, Adelle.”

“I beg your pardon,” she said, peering at him as though he’d suddenly become either more interesting or unglued.

“Bill thought about it.”

“Perhaps,” she began. “But thinking about it isn’t the same as focusing on it.”

“He’s been watching you since.”

“He’s been watching you, more like.”

Glad she hadn’t said that before he’d swallowed the alcohol he’d just sipped, Dominic laughed. “Why would Bill watch me?” An odd expression flitted across Adelle’s face. “Believe me,” Dominic said. “Bill is not into guys.” The odd expression didn’t disappear. “He’s not.”

“When was the last time a woman—? No, that’s likely too simple a question.” Adelle considered. “When was the first time a woman focused on having sex with you out of doors?” Smiling, Dominic stared into the tumbler. “Laurence?” Adelle prompted.

Something about the way she said his name loosened his lips. Or maybe it was the alcohol. “My first time was on the beach.” He chuckled. “Kind of a From Here To Eternity moment.”

“How old were you?”

Her whisper slithered into his ear and spread through his entire body. “Fif …” He swallowed. “Fifteen. It was my birthday.”

“Quite the birthday present.”

“Yeah, it was.”

“Who was she?” Adelle asked.

“Excuse me, Dom,” said an earnest looking man roughly their age. “We … that is to say us that’s sitting over there.” The man pointed to the long table at which the man with the blue shirt and his conquest no longer sat. “We wanted to say thanks to your lady for what she did today.” Finally looking at Adelle, he placed a tumbler in front of her. “Thanks.” With a nod and a small salute, he retreated.

“I’m sitting with a celebrity,” Dominic said, grinning at Adelle.

“Now you know how I have been feeling.”

“Shoe is definitely on the other foot.” Still grinning, he said, “Now that you have your own drink, I’ll just keep this one that’s less full.”

“The boy who received the right kind of attention on his fifteenth birthday would trade drinks with me.”

“No he wouldn’t,” Dominic murmured, attention arrested by the spark in her green eyes. “But I will.” He held his breath as the trade was made.

“Who was she?” Adelle repeated, leaning closer, expression intent.

Dominic’s mind went blank. Seeing no help for it, he said, “Who was who?”

“The purveyor of fine gifts,” she clarified, smile devoid of mockery.

“The daughter of my mom’s best friend. Emma. Our families vacationed together at Virginia Beach for two weeks every summer. The parents still do … um … did.”

This time, Dominic was grateful for the interruption when another person delivered a drink to Adelle. He hadn’t intended to paint such a stark picture of “that was then and this is now.” Concentrating on the drumstick Bill had provided, recalling that Adelle didn’t care for dark meat or ate only white meat because it was healthier or something, he wondered what she was thinking. He didn’t have long to wait.

“Awfully precocious of you, Laurence,” she said, nibbling on a piece of cheddar cheese. “Seducing a young girl into being your fifteenth birthday present.”

Her engaging smile drew a rueful one from him. “Hardly.” To her inquiring raised eyebrow, he said, “Emma was eighteen, Adelle.”

“Ah,” she said, closing her eyes briefly to fully enjoy a sip of Bill’s brew. “An older woman, then.”

To encourage her to open her eyes and focus on him again, Dominic talked. “We’d gotten along ok when we were younger, but for a couple of years before the one in question, Emma wouldn’t have anything to do with me. I understand now how huge the gap between fifteen and twelve is, but I didn’t then. I just thought she’d become a stuck up bitch at that fancy private school she went to in Manhattan.” Smiling at the thought, he said, “I wonder if I would’ve felt the same way about a homeschooled intellectual.”

“Perhaps,” Adelle allowed.

Not questioning the impulse to continue now that he had Adelle’s attention, Dominic said, “But that year, she started talking to me like I was actually a distant relative of a human being again.” He shrugged. “Might’ve had something to do with the growth spurt, I’d had during the school year. I was suddenly closer to six feet tall than five and had been lifting weights for swim team, so I’d filled out some.” Chuckling, he added, “Emma was always kind of shallow.” Thinking back to that tumultuous time was remarkably easy. “Anyway, she constantly wore a bikini and always seemed to be in my personal space and touching me. No where serious. My arms. My back. She was big into applying suntan lotion that year. Pissed my older brother off. My little sister thought it was funny. I was … confused a lot of the time and ready as hell when she decided to take things further.” Aiming a small smile Adelle’s way, he said, “I’ve never been seduced like that since.”

“Some men might call that being teased rather than seduced.”

“It wasn’t,” he said. “I know the difference.” Seeing a follow up question in her eyes, Dominic said, “What about you, Adelle? Anybody ever make you them want them so badly you couldn’t see straight?”

* * *
“What about you, Adelle? Anybody ever make you them want them so badly you couldn’t see straight?”

There were any number of answers she could give to that question, but not all of them would match the nature of his confidence and she wanted to meet him on equal ground since he had surprised her with his willingness to pursue this conversation.

“I think the first time you experience desire like that it has a special intensity,” she sipped her drink and gazed into his eyes because she didn’t want him to forget that there were other types of intensity. “Do you want me to tell you about my first time Laurence?”

Probably there was a way to ask that question without making it sound suggestive, but she didn’t attempt to find it. His eyes widened and a smile tugged at his lips – his expression screamed, ’hell yes,’ but what he actually said was, “only if you want to.”

“It seems only fair that I, reciprocate.” She paused for a moment, considering that Bill’s concoction might be loosening more than her tongue. It wasn’t a painful memory – but it had been a long time since she had thought about it. “I was rather older than you.”

“Sheltered childhood,” he offered and she nodded.

“There were a distinct lack of young men in my adolescence; no cousins, or family friends with sons close to my age.”

“I imagined eligible young men forming an orderly line outside your parent’s front door.”

“I’m afraid not, I was almost 19 and it was during my second year at University. He was in my year – but I was a little younger than everyone else because I’d gone up to Oxford at 17, instead of 18.”

“Does Topher know you were a child prodigy?”

“Being a year ahead scarcely made me a child prodigy. I’d been brought up in something of an intellectual hot house, but it didn’t prepare me for college life. Roger and I shared some lectures and a tutor – he was very much at the centre of our year; intense, brilliant and popular. We competed a lot but we were drawn to each other as well. There were many late night debates and discussions – we talked about power and politics, love and sex. Standard student fare, although of course at the time we believed we were startlingly original.”

“You fell in love with his mind?”

“He was handsome as well – very Byronic and dashing. Our first time was after the summer ball that year; it was almost dawn and we’d been up all night - drinking champagne and talking. We’d discussed taking that final step, there had been kissing and some touching – things had got quite far along on several other evenings but the time had never seemed quite right. Then suddenly the sun was rising, we were alone in his rooms – the time was very right. He wasn’t a virgin – but I don’t think he’d had many lovers before me; my dress was pale blue, I remember that his hands were shaking as he unfastened it. He was gentle; he knew enough to take his time – to make sure it was good for me as well.”

“You loved him?”

“I certainly thought so at the time. But when I look back, it was a heady time without real responsibilities and that was all wrapped up together; the intellectualism, the debates, the frantic, intense sex.”

“You had to get that in,” he said, “the frantic, intense sex, I mean.”

“I’m sharing this confidence with someone whose first time resembled an iconic film moment that even I am familiar with.”

* * *

“I’m sharing this confidence with someone whose first time resembled an iconic film moment that even I am familiar with.”

Adelle DeWitt’s wryly arched eyebrow in combination with the words startled a laugh out of Dominic. “I see your point,” he muttered, calling to mind her tone-expression combination when she’d begun to tell him about Roger. She’d looked radiant with an undercurrent of sin. Dominic knew he couldn’t have looked away even if he had wanted to, which he hadn’t. Time for a strategic retreat. “Topher will be relieved to hear that your life hasn’t been devoid of iconic films.” Now she looks sad. Or is that expression more resigned? No, I have to go with sad. “What’s wrong?” he asked. When she didn’t immediately reply, he said, “Nothing on that plate to your liking?” He got a small smile for his effort.

Making herself a small sandwich with a roll, some ham and the cheese she seemed to like, Adelle said, “There’s nothing wrong with the food, Laurence. I was simply enjoying our conversation too much to interrupt it with eating.”

“Maybe I should shut up so you can eat,” he suggested, taking a sip of alcohol large enough to make his eyes water as it ripped down his throat.

“Perhaps you should talk, so I have something to listen to while I eat.”

Her eyes held his. “A … about what?” he said.

A couple slipped past their table, laughing quietly. “Why not divulge more details of your iconic film experience and make me jealous?”

Incredulous, he shook his head. “Sometimes details are best left to the imagination.” Regarding Adelle thoughtfully, he said, “If I wanted to make you jealous, I’d probably tell you about my last time here.”

“What are you two talking about so intently?” Haley asked.

“Sex,” Adelle said in the same tone as most people would say, “The weather.”

Haley’s face froze for just an instant. Then she grinned, said, “Carry on,” and sauntered back in the direction of her table.

“You heard the woman. Carry on,” Adelle prompted, sipping her drink. “I’m all ears, as they say.”

“I don’t want to make you jealous,” he whispered, tight throat demanding lubrication with alcohol. I don’t even want to think about what I want. I shouldn’t think about it or want it.

Adelle leaned closer. “I’m glad,” she replied, soft tone luring him in as well. “I loathe being jealous.”

Dominic felt as adrift as he’d felt anchored earlier. There was nothing to latch onto, other than her eyes, her lips, that incredible smile he’d never seen before a couple of days ago. Not once. Not in three years of working together. He’d seen her smile but not like that. Not anything remotely like that. She’s looking expectantly at me? Did she say something? Christ, Dom, get a fucking grip. “I’m sorry, what?” If you want me to listen to you, don’t look at me like that. Christ, Adelle, I’m only human.

“I wondered if your elder brother desired Emma,” Adelle said,

“My brother … desired to be the best and brightest and the center of attention. Captain of the football team, valedictorian, Ivy League school on a football scholarship. As far as my father was concerned, Lyle was all that and then some.” Hearing the bitterness in his voice, feeling his fatigue, Dominic reached into his pocket.

“Don’t take a booster just yet.” Her whisper meandered pleasantly through him again and he placed his hand back on the table.

“Lyle wanted Emma. Had for a couple of years. She’d teased him unmercifully without relenting. I’d watched from the sidelines and he couldn’t deal with me coming in off the bench.” Dominic stared at the tumbler in his hand. “I’ve got to stop drinking this shit.”

“After you tell me about your brother’s fall from grace,” Adelle said. Her hands framed his face and Dominic felt his will draining away in the face of her interest and concern.

How in the hell does she know about that? “He discovered cocaine in his sophomore year, got his scholarship taken away, dropped out and took a job at a Radio Shack in a strip mall. Killed my dad. My mom just increased her focus on my sister. I did the best I could to become someone other than me.” He took one of her hands in his. “Look, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to ruin—.”

“Have you always been so solitary?” she asked.

Not expecting that question, he said, “Solitary?”

“Your brother was your father’s favorite, your sister your mother’s. Who was there for you?” Without waiting for a response, she said, “Undercover, preparing to be or debriefing. Again, Laurence, who was there for you?”

“I had an uncle who was pretty cool and my supervising agent got me.” He shrugged. “Could’ve been worse.”

“Could’ve been better.”

“It is.”
* * *

The admission seemed to surprise them both and brought in its wake a stronger desire than ever to close the remaining distance between them and kiss him. But she wanted that development to come from him, wanted to kiss him knowing that he understood that she had fallen into this as deeply as he and that wasn't a disclosure to be shared with an audience.

As a substitute she brushed one fingertip against the very corner of his mouth - as though she were indeed pressing her lips to the spot. They gazed at each other for a moment longer and then carefully she released his face, let some of her absorption in him recede as they eased gently back into their surroundings.

"Maybe I'll see if I can find you some fruit?" He offered and she didn't fight his need for space.

"That would be wonderful." He lingered for a moment longer, some internal battle apparently being fought that was concluded when he gently reached forward and tucked some of her hair behind her ear. His fingers grazed over her skin and she shivered, looking up to see his pupils dilate before he dragged himself away.

Her breath was decidedly shaky as she watched him go, but she got herself back under control as it became apparent that although Haley had retreated she hadn’t been ignoring them.

"I'd apologise for interrupting," she offered as she returned, "but somehow I don't think I did."

Adelle took a swallow from the remains of her tumbler and looked up to find the younger woman avoiding her gaze. "I'm sorry," she said, her attention fixed on the trees. "I didn't realise how it was with you and Dom."

"You have nothing to apologise for," Adelle waited, drawing Haley's eyes to hers, "Laurence and I have more to deal with than our previous lovers."

"He wants you," Haley grinned ruefully, "I'm not telling you anything you don't know there."

"We need a little longer," Adelle knew how risky it was to wait, time was more than a luxury in this dangerous world. "Sometimes you have to stop yourself from snatching what you want."

"It's easier to snatch." The younger woman observed, "especially now."

"I'm aware of that."

Haley’s eyes widened, "I'd offer to keep out of your way," she said. "But I doubt either of you would notice if I tried to do anything different.”

Adelle let her get a step or two away before calling her back. "I'm not in any position to intervene in what goes on between you and your father. But Laurence wants to help, if you'll let him. I think it might help you to have someone to talk to."

A shaky nod was her only response, but Haley's head was down as she walked briskly away from the table and though it was quieter now Adelle was all too aware that many people likely witnessed their conversation and would speculate about what it meant.

She was turning the empty tumbler in small circles when a hand pressed to her uninjured shoulder announced Laurence's return. He offered her an orange which she tucked away to share with Topher later.

"You promised we could walk," she said, suddenly keen to escape all the scrutiny. "A trip to the Jeep to retrieve some more clothing might be a suitable excursion?"

He nodded with ready acquiescence and offered his hand to help her stand. He didn't relinquish it, instead tucking her arm into the crook of his and offering her more support than she was ready to admit she needed.

"What did Haley say?" He asked as they wandered slowly in the direction of the vehicles.

"Shouldn't you be asking what I said to her?"

"At the moment I'm interested in you," she squeezed his arm a little in response.

"She apologised for interrupting us, although actually what I think she meant was she was sorry not to have interrupted us." She debated for a moment; it would be so easy to mention that something was clearly happening between them, to bring it out into the open now that the opportunity had all but presented itself. But the words she'd spoken to Haley echoed in her mind and she took an alternative direction. "I told her that you could probably be a good friend if she needed one."

"You think she needs one?"

"I think she needs the support of someone who is older and more experienced, who sees her for who she is - not a great hope for re-building society, not a sexual object - just herself."

"And that's me?" In truth she'd recognised the trap inherent in Haley's position and she was sympathetic to that, having been caught in one herself not so long ago. She couldn't help her evade it - the dynamics were all wrong, but she suspected it would do Laurence some good to recognise that he could.

"That's a facet of who you are, I'm learning daily how much more to you there is."

* * *

The memory hit Dominic broadside—the feeling of being out of control, the desperate need to communicate to someone, anyone, even Echo, that there was more to Laurence Dominic than barking orders and waving a gun around. Following on the heels of the flashback was the recognition that he’d allowed himself to be the guy he’d described, first in the Attic, then in the chaos that passed for a new world order. He smiled when Alec Guinness’ voice sounded in his head. Well, of course I know him. He’s me. Wishing he had similar confidence in his self-knowledge, Dominic glanced to his right to find concerned green eyes on him.

“What just happened?” Adelle asked.

“I told you before,” he said. “I get flashbacks sometimes as a result of the boosters.”

Adelle frowned. “Triggered by something I said.”

It wasn’t a question but Dominic said, “Sort of,” anyway. She sighed, picking up her pace, probably out of frustration. Dominic didn’t comment on that or the fact that she was limping when they reached the Jeep. He raised the rear door and lifted Adelle into a seated position on the floor in the back of the vehicle, pretending not to hear her soft groan of relief. “Here’s your pack,” he said, offering it to her. Taking Topher’s, Dominic pulled out a fresh set of clothes for the neuroscientist. Stacking them in a neat pile, Dominic took his bottle of boosters from his pocket.

“Do you need to take one of those tonight?” Adelle whispered, stopping rummaging in her pack to pat the floor next to her in invitation.

“Yeah,” Dominic said, declining in favor of swallowing a small red pill, closing his eyes to bask in the influx of energy. “I have a lot to do before morning.” Smiling at her obvious surprise, he said, “I need to do what I should’ve been doing today. Talking to people. Finding out if anyone new has traded with or joined the caravan since we’ve been here, find out what I can about anyone new and making sure Haley and her people know to come to me with that sort of information for so long as we’re here. Suspecting people is second nature to Gavin. He’ll have his team on the alert. Haley’s more trusting.”

“Do I detect guilt over taking time to drink with a friend or have dinner with me?”

Adelle’s question was posed casually, but Dominic wasn’t fooled. “I’d say I probably spent too much time with Bill and not enough with you.” Her smile sent his racing heart into overdrive. She patted the floor next to her again, but Dominic didn’t trust himself to be that close to her again. Not tonight. Maybe not any night. “We should get back,” he said. “Do you want to walk or …”

“I’ll walk,” Adelle said, sliding forward awkwardly. Dominic lifted her to her feet, his hands lingering on her waist, grip tightening involuntarily at her whispered, “Thank you, Laurence.”

“You’re welcome.” Neither of them moved. “Adelle … I … What in the hell are we doing? This … is … is … I don’t know what this is other than dangerous right now. Dangerous in the life threatening sense. More so than usual and that’s saying something.”

Expression implacable, Adelle asked, “Are you afraid, Laurence?”


“So am I.” She smiled. “Something else we have in common, evidently.”

Another image flew into his head. His face reflected in a mirror as he explained the facts of life in the Attic to a very frightened fifty five year old woman, encouraging her to face her fear of growing old. Solidifying, what he’d thought was an image seemed all too real. Am I still in the Attic? Panic welled inside him. “I’m not,” he muttered. “I’m out. I’m out.”

“Laurence?” Adelle’s hand rested on his cheek. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” he murmured, releasing her, taking a step back. “I just need to move.”

* * *

Laurence Dominic climbed into the hospital truck with a breakfast tray of coffee and scones. Adelle’s bed was neatly made and empty. Topher and the young man Dominic had seen yesterday were reading comic books. “Where’s Adelle,” Dominic asked. The complicated series of expressions that flashed across Topher’s face nearly had Dominic reaching for his gun. A quizzical look got him nothing. “What’s going on, Topher?” garnered a stubborn pout. Glancing at the young man as he put the tray on the small table next to Adelle’s bed, he said, “Would you give us a minute?”

“Sure,” he said, standing and tossing the comic book down on the other bed. “Name’s Jenkins, sir.”

“Thanks, Jenkins.” Dominic watched the kid jump down, leaving the door open to ventilate the stuffy truck. “Do you want a scone, Topher?” A single shake of the head. “Coffee?” The same. “Why am I in trouble this time?” Dominic asked.

“Same as last time,” Topher said.

The memory of stopping for a break as the sun was coming up came to him. “Don’t scream,” Dominic said. “Just don’t scream.” When it seemed like Topher would comply, Dominic ventured, “Adelle is sad?” A single nod of the head. “Because of me?” The same. “Damn,” he muttered, “Did she say why?” Topher regarded Dominic with the pity he used to put into his expression when asserting his intellectual superiority. The familiarity of the look was disconcerting. “Of course not. She wouldn’t.”

Sipping coffee, Dominic muttered, “Ok, this is about how things were left last night. It has to be. Things seemed fine before then.” Voice dropping to nearly a whisper, he said, “Better than fine. Before the flashbacks and my remembering that I’ve been indulging heavily in wishful thinking lately.” Closing his eyes, Dominic called to mind the part of their conversation they’d had at the Jeep. It couldn’t have been anything I said on the way back here. I didn’t say anything. Is that why? Because I clammed up after spilling my guts earlier. “What?” Dominic snapped at Topher, unnerved by the intent yet guileless way in which the neuroscientist was clearly closely observing him. Tears welled up in Topher’s eyes. “For God’s sake, don’t cry. That’ll put another nail in my coffin. Maybe the final one. The penultimate one for sure.”

A tear slipped onto Topher’s right cheek. “All I said to her was that I needed to move,” Dominic asserted, not quite believing he was making his case to Topher. “I’d just taken a booster and had a flashback to the Attic. One that was so damn real I thought I was back there. I thought I’d never gotten out. That everything that’s happened was just one big long nightmare that had very recently taken some turns for the better. That’s a lot to try and process in a few seconds. On top of everything else.”

He snuck a peek at Topher. More tears. Christ. “Before that … right before that, I mean seconds before, Topher, I … well … I … um … she … Adelle told me she was afraid. I’d already admitted I was. So it wasn’t like I was acting like I wasn’t scared and she was. I didn’t even have time to be surprised that she was scared, much less admitting it, or to realize that she’s been straight with me since I picked the two of you up, so if she says she’s afraid, then she is, before I had the damn vision of trying to talk Monica out of being afraid of getting old.” Taking a deep breath, Dominic slumped onto Adelle’s bed. “I was scared. I hate being scared. I was nearly out of control and I can’t afford that. Not now. Not with someone still after us.” Crushing a scone in his fist, he whispered, “I wish I could.” Staring at Topher defiantly, he said, “I didn’t want to make her sad. Like you, I don’t like it when she’s sad. Hell, I didn’t know anything I said or did could or would make her sad.” He waved a crumb covered hand to shut the mouth Topher had opened. “I know, I know, it happened once before. The time you screamed and there’s no need to do that again as we’ve discussed. I just … Hell, I thought that was a fluke.”

“It wasn’t, Laurence.”

Dominic spun around. Adelle DeWitt stood just outside the open door. “I understand that now,” he said, actively not wondering how long she’d been there. “I’m sorry.” He risked a small smile. “I can’t promise it won’t happen again, but I can say I’ll try not to let it.”

“I think I must extract a promise not to perpetrate violence on breakfast pastries in the future,” she said.

“Huh?” Following her gaze, his eyes came to rest on the scone he’d reduced to crumbs. “No more scone crushing. Understood.”

The huge grin on Topher’s face was dimly mirrored in the hint of a smile on Adelle’s.

Dominic helped her into the truck. “I am sorry, Adelle. Yesterday was … intense.”

“Yes, it was.”

Sensing she wasn’t quite ready to let him off of the hook failed to inspire Dominic to eloquence. “I enjoyed it.” Opting for the simple truth was the right choice, judging from her smile.

* * *
“So did I.” This was a more than welcome turn of events – especially since after a long night of soul-searching she had decided that retreat was her best option, because clearly the wounds she’d inflicted upon him were too grievous to be overcome.

But, the information Topher had extracted helped to give context to what had happened the night before, even if she didn’t entirely approve of the methods used to extract said information.

The flashbacks must be agonising for him – the price the boosters extracted for energy was a heavy one. She couldn’t imagine what it would mean to have your sense of reality played with like that; to have any stability he’d managed to achieve undermined.

Set amidst that was the fear they had both admitted to, a fear that came from what they’d done to each other and what was developing between them now. She wanted the time and space to discuss that with him, but the lack of privacy made it difficult to do so. It was another obstacle they would have to overcome, something else that needed time.

She’d been standing looking at him for far too long, her only mitigation was that he had been doing exactly the same thing. “I need to get some of this stuff over to Haley,” he said – reaching for some of the goods he’d brought over from the Jeep yesterday. “Are you going to be here – or with Gavin?”

“Ma’am?” she turned her head to find young Mr. Jenkins standing by the door of truck. He was currently Topher’s favourite person, due to his supply of comic books. “Mr. Montgomery is asking if you’re ready to resume your strategy session?”

“Please tell him I’ll be there shortly,” she told him, “would you mind staying with Topher while I am otherwise engaged?”

“Sure – if he doesn’t mind my hanging out with him?” He was very young, barely 18 and clearly he had needed to grow up fast. But he hadn’t been, hardened, by that experience which possibly explained his tolerance of Topher’s eccentricities. Topher blinked at him and managed to shake his head, “I guess that’s OK then; I’ll let Mr. Montgomery know you’re on your way.”

She risked a glance at Laurence to see if he was concerned about further interaction between her and Gavin but his expression didn’t waver. Instead he said pointedly, “because you’re going to be resting your leg today, we should make sure you exercise it by taking a walk, later?”

“I’d like that.” She quelled Topher’s enthusiastic bouncing with a look. “Stop interfering,” she whispered to him as Laurence started shifting the items he’d brought to trade.

“He made you sad,” he pointed out, supplementing his case with a pout she had to steel herself against.

“It’s for us to sort out sweetheart,” she brushed his hair back from his forehead and sat down next to him so he could lean against her.

“He’s not the same,” he pointed out, “he isn’t grumpy and buttoned up anymore. Well, he’s a bit grumpy – just not with you. But I don’t want him to make you sad anymore.”

“And what about if I make him sad?”

“You don’t.” She wasn’t sure that was true, but he wasn’t the person to discuss it with. She let him hum into her shoulder for a little while, before the lure of the comic book proved too great and he started trying to explain the plot to her.

As she listened she let her thoughts wander back to Laurence. He’d talked about the Attic without blame or rancour; there hadn’t been an angry diatribe about the reason for what had happened to him, what she had done to him. Instead what she’d heard was the agony of a man struggling to deal with an experience that had affected him profoundly; a man whose pull on her was growing stronger with every hour.

* * *

“All right, all right, calm down,” Haley said, holding up both hands in a pacifying gesture. “I’m taking this seriously, Dom. I promise to let you know if any strangers trade with us. Excuse me if I thought telling dad was good enough.”

“It’s not,” Laurence Dominic said.

“I hear and obey,” Haley said, smiling up at him. “Now, show me what you have for me,” Haley said.

“I’ll give you a better price,” said Penelope, Haley’s trading partner, as she elbowed Haley gently in the side.

“I’m hoping to pay for food and supplies, including gasoline, with this lot,” Dominic said, gesturing with the large box he held. “With some left over, since I’ve been doing some security and Adelle’s become an advisor.”

“And we’ve had to assign someone to watch the target whenever you both are out and are subjecting ourselves to Rossum’s wrath,” Haley said, tone brisk and businesslike.

Dominic smiled. “You play hardball with me and I’ll take this stuff back to the department store where I found it.”

The two young women stared at each other. “Which one?” Penelope asked, voice now more reverent than anything else.


“Show me,” Haley demanded, coming around to Dominic’s right even as Penelope flanked him on the left.

Making no move to open the box, Dominic said, “The last time I was here, you mentioned … um … how grateful you’d be to anyone who brought you something like this. That part of the deal is off.”

“Open the damn box, Dom,” Haley demanded, undoubtedly blushing at the reminder of her offer of oral sex in exchange for certain material goods.

He complied with her request and stepped back. Haley picked up a bright blue fitted tank top and squealed in delight. The next thing Dominic knew, he had his arms full of gorgeous young woman.

Grinning, she shouted, “I love you, Laurence Dominic!” In a quieter tone, she murmured, “I know you put that one on the top for me.”

“Guilty as charged,” he said.

“I love you too,” Penelope asserted, holding a deep red, V-neck T-shirt. “These are awesome, Dom. How many?”

“One hundred and five,” he said. “Various sizes and colors.” To twin stares of disbelief, he said, “I have another box.”

“This will pay for your upkeep through the next two stops at least,” Haley said. “At least, Dom.” She released him and stepped back. “Thank you. I mean it.”

“If you’ve just inspired the sweet young things in this caravan to wear those …” Grinning, Bill hugged Dominic. “I love you, Laurence Dominic.”

“Let go of me, you maniac,” Dominic said, laughing, shoving Bill away.

“Shit,” Bill said. “Do you think that counts as interfering with an established couple?”

“Yes,” Dominic said. “I’ll see you up on charges.”

“Only if you might be interested, Dom,” Bill said, smirking. “Is there something you’re repressing?”

Rolling his eyes at Bill, Dominic drew Haley a bit away from the others. “The next two stops, maybe three?” he said. She nodded. “That’s fair. I’ll get the other box.”

“I’ll walk with you,” she said.

“Fine,” Dominic said, looking sidelong at her, seeing something beneath the pleased exterior. “Are you ok, Haley?”

“Other than being royally pissed at my dad, I’m good.”

“I heard about Kyle.”

“From Bill.” Eyes spitting fire, Haley said, “Or maybe not. Everybody knows my dad wants me to have Kyle’s frigging babies. Do you have any idea how humiliating that is?”

“I think I might be able to imagine—.”

“No, you can’t. You’re a guy! No one is going to anoint you as some kind of Madonna.”

“True enough.”

“Don’t get me wrong, Dom. Kyle is nice. He’s sweet and polite and kind, but he’s not … he doesn’t …”

“Excite you.”

“I love that you state that as a fact rather than insulting me by asking. Your mother raised you right.”

“She did her best with lousy material,” he said, hesitantly putting his hand on her shoulder. “Haley, I’m not defending your father, but I think you’re missing the point.” Faced with an impressive female glare, he continued, “He wants you to be safe. In this world, that means you need someone strong and faithful. And Gavin would prefer that someone to be under his thumb, so he won’t take you away from here. Away from the caravan. Away from Gavin.” Seeing that he had Haley’s attention now, he said, “That’s why he’s so opposed to you being with me. If … we had decided to make a go of it, it wouldn’t have been here. Gavin’s so afraid of losing you; he’s acting in such a way as to ensure just that.”


Dominic smiled. “He’s a guy and your father. You’re a beautiful young woman who reminds Gavin of your mother every day. He wants you to be safe and not to lose that reminder, Haley. You have to decide how to live your own life in and around those expectations, because they’re there and always will be.”

Taking his hand briefly, she asked, “When did you get to be so smart?”

“When I started hanging around with a woman who’s about a thousand times more intelligent than I am,” he said.

“She’s beautiful,” Haley said.

“Yeah, she is.” The smile came unbidden.

“Does she know how you feel about her?”

“I hope not.”

This time, Haley stopped Dominic. “Why?”

“She’s not for me.”

“What?” Haley said, the disbelief in her tone drawing his eyes.

“C’mon, Haley. Be serious. An aristocratic intellectual Brit and me? I don’t think so.”

“I’m not getting the problem with aristocratic intellectual Brit and American action hero, Dom. Sorry.”

“It’s complicated, Haley.”

“Explain it to me,” she challenged.

Dominic stopped several paces from the hospital truck and tried not to question the impulse to talk about Adelle. “She was my boss.”

“No shit?”

“Back in the day, yeah, and I wasn’t exactly a model employee.”

“Bending your boss over her desk and taking her from behind is frowned upon by HR.”

Helpless to resist, he laughed. “If only it were that simple.”

“Maybe it isn’t as complicated as you think.” No doubt seeing she had his attention, she said, “She clearly likes being with you. Hell, she practically seduced you in front of everyone at dinner yesterday, Dom. Doesn’t that tell you something?”

“That you and she have more in common than I first thought?”

Haley frowned at him. “You have to get over this, ‘I’m just a regular guy’ thing. You’re not. You help people and don’t look for anything in return. You keep moving when any number of people would welcome you into their communities, because you always wonder if there might be others out there who could use some help.” She smiled. “It wasn’t just the broad shoulders and slim hips that did it for me, you know.”

“Haley,” said a harassed looking older man. “Gavin wants to move out in three hours.”

“Ok, Manfred,” she said. “I’ll get the trade station squared away.” Grinning at Dominic, she said, “Once I’ve taken a very special box into custody, minus a … black I’m thinking … tank for you to give to Adelle.”

* * *

The camp was a hive of focused activity; people were busily packing away and preparing to move to their next location. Judging by the age and condition of some the vehicles in the caravan Adelle understood why the whole exercise of moving from one site to the next demanded preparations and great care. She knew the security considerations alone of moving 1400 people from one place to another would be daunting.

Compared to everyone else she and Topher have very little to secure for the journey – although Sergei's near panic at the idea of moving was an amusing sideshow and one she imagined was repeated every time the caravan shifted site. He was a whirlwind of muttered curses and belongings strewn from one place to the other. It was all very dramatic and Topher had retreated under his bed – though she could see his eyes peeking out from the blankets as he observed the drama.

Her meeting with Gavin had been successful – details discussed, arrangements made and her role clarified. Things would start to change when they reached their next location though it would take longer than that to embed those changes throughout operations.

“How about that walk?” Laurence said as he and Haley jumped into the back of the van. He pushed a box towards his companion and she shot Adelle an amused grin as she delved into it for a moment, looking up at her with narrowed eyes for a moment before going back to rummaging. At last she retrieved a garment and pressing it into his hands and with that accomplished she lifted a hand in farewell as she jumped out of the truck and took the box with her.

For a moment Laurence looked embarrassed and if she hadn't already detected his shyness it would have been readily apparent in that moment. “Haley thought I should save you something from my trading goods,” he said – pressing a black top into her hands. One that on further inspection was revealed to be tight and low, no doubt Haley had considered both of them in making her choice.

“Been dispensing a little advice?” She asked – guessing that if Haley had been telling him what to do, then it was likely in response to some input on his side.

“Someone told me I might be able to help her,” he responded as he assisted her down to the bustling surroundings. “The next site is a good 10 hours drive and it’ll take us twice along to get there safely. You and Gavin work everything out?”

“We made as much progress as we could – he's going to make an announcement before they start trading at the next site. Things are going to change; but he wanted to give the community the chance to discuss, to agree.”

“And you're going to help?”

“For a little while – until we're ready to move on to Safe Haven.” She'd been trying not to think about leaving a place where she had found some useful output for her skills and instead heading to a place where she wouldn't be welcome.

“Topher needs you, the others are going to have to deal with that.” Apparently she hadn't done a very good job of hiding the direction of her thoughts - or else he was getting to know her. “If you can talk Gavin into changing the way this place is run, you'll manage to find a role at Safe Haven.”

“I suppose so,” she said – far from convinced. “The question is, will it be a role that I welcome?”

“You have something in mind?” he asked – clearly intrigued.

“No, not really,” she let her mind wander to the idea that had crept up on her days ago, not sure if she wanted to share evidence of her fanciful daydreams. He waited her out and she gave in easily. “I've been wishing Safe Haven were closer to California, there must be lots of vineyards that aren't being worked any longer.”

“You want to be vintner?” He sounded incredulous and she supposed he had a point.

“Since Arizona isn't known for its wine making I doubt it will be an issue.” She looked around her, recognising their direction and making a decision. “I'd like to walk towards the river.”

“If you get tired I'm carrying you back.”

“My leg's much better,” she said – ignoring his sceptical look as they changed direction and headed towards the river.

For so long she'd been caught in the trap that was the past; in the decisions she had made, the failures, the abuses – all that damage and destruction. Before this she had been certain that she had no future so thinking about it was a waste of time. Even now the idea was delicate, fragile – one that she feared would be ripped away from her. But moving forward meant that some things needed to be relinquished.

Her hand tightened on the small item in her pocket – she knew this was the right decision, but it was still an enormous step. “Adelle?” Laurence looked concerned, “is everything OK?”

“There's something I need to do.” Taking a breath she took the data-stick out of her pocket and threw it into the river without allowing herself the opportunity to hesitate or think about what she had done.

Laurence looked relieved and she managed a shaky smile – even though she had just cast away her personal insurance policy and watched it disappear into the water. He took a step towards her and she lowered her head onto his shoulder as he rubbed her back gently.

“You didn't have to do that,” he murmured.

“I think I did.” She allowed herself to rest against him for a moment longer, fighting the urge to pull him closer still and then, because she didn't want to push things between them before they were ready, she made herself lift her head – prepared to back away. But he resisted just a little and they both paused – closer than ever, his nose just brushing her cheek. Her eyes slid shut and when she opened them again she could read his indecision, the urge he wanted to give into and all that held him back. So she straightened up – retreating for both of them and though she smiled it was made bittersweet by the knowledge that she still wasn't able to break down his barriers. She wasn't sure what else she could to do.

* * *

What’s she thinking? There had been a time when Laurence Dominic had been able to almost read Adelle DeWitt’s mind. He’d give just about anything to have that ability back for one hour.

“Adelle?” he ventured.

She looked sad when she turned her eyes to Dominic. “Yes,” she murmured.

“I … ah … I’ve been wanting to say something to you.” Her expression brightened and Dominic wasn’t sure what to do with that. “I wanted to … say that I’ve been … impressed by you on this … road trip of sorts. I didn’t expect you to contribute as much as you have. Not that I expected you to bitch if you chipped a nail or anything like that, but you … think quickly and clearly.” He frowned. “It isn’t that I didn’t know you thought that way; I just wondered if the different circumstances might erode that ability a bit.” He gripped her upper arm lightly. “I’m not saying this very well, but I want you to know that I appreciate everything you’ve done … for me. And for Topher, obviously. I didn’t expect to be saying anything like this.” Lowering his voice he muttered, “That’s not all I didn’t expect.”

“What else?” Adelle asked, tone soft, almost hesitant. “What else didn’t you expect?”

“To … um … for you to be so different.” Her puzzled look drew him out. “I thought I knew you pretty well … when we worked together. I guess I didn’t. Or you’ve changed a whole lot.”

He thought he saw a hint of amusement in her eyes when she asked, “How am I different?”

“I don’t know,” he mumbled, glancing at a large pine tree they passed.

“Yes, you do,” she said. “Was your view of me so unflattering that you hesitate to describe how you perceive I’ve changed?”

“No,” he said. “It wasn’t. I admired you then. Respected you.”

“You don’t admire or respect me now?”

“I didn’t say that!” He shoved a branch away in frustration. “I admire and respect you now too. More so than before, because you seem more … real. More in the moment rather than above it somehow. Adapting to situations rather than manipulating them to your satisfaction. More … accessible.”

“Accessible?” Adelle said the word as though trying it on for size.

“I didn’t expect you to be any of that.”

“I see.”

Knowing they were very near the camp, Dominic stopped. Putting his hands on her shoulders, he said, “No, you don’t, Adelle. You don’t see. You still think you’ve nothing to contribute other than taking care of Topher, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I’m not sure why you see yourself that way. Maybe you think that’s all you deserve, but you don’t. You deserve a hell of a lot more than that.” He took a deep breath. “I didn’t expect you to have such a dim view or to want to help you get past it.” The urge to stop was overwhelming, but Dominic was tired of trying to hold everything in check. “When you decided to come along, the last thing I would’ve imagined was trying to help you.” Rueful smile tugging at his lips, he murmured, “No, that’s not right. Helping you was the next to last thing I would’ve imagined.”

“And the last thing?” she asked, stepping closer.

Now or never, Dom. “Wanting you.”

Her smile sped up his already racing heart. “Something else we have in common, Laurence.”

Smirk emerging almost in relief, Dominic said, “You want you too? Didn’t see that coming either.” Catching her chin in his hand, staring into her eyes, Dominic tried to wipe away her mild annoyance with his thumb stroking her bottom lip. The moment lengthened as the intensity built. At one level, he wondered why Adelle allowed him to touch her like this. On another, he didn’t give a damn about her reasons. Never breaking eye contact, he lowered his head. She tilted hers upward. Laughter sounded quite close by.

The disappointment in her expression disappeared when he pulled her a little further into the woods. Backing Adelle against the trunk of some deciduous tree or another, Dominic slid a hand behind her neck, smiling when hers found their way to his shoulders. He asked permission with his eyes, laughing at the clear “Get on with it already” look she bestowed upon him. Not quite believing his luck, Laurence Dominic kissed Adelle DeWitt, slowly, thoroughly, allowing passion free reign for just a few moments.

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(Deleted comment)
This fic nearly wrote itself. I got to write Dom as someone different than I had in the past. And had someone to look at my Adelle to make sure she came across ok.

So, I'm so glad it's working for some folks. Thanks so much for your continued reading and commenting.

Excellent chapter (I think it's my favourite one so far)!

I loved the bonding between Adelle and Laurence, I loved Topher's protectiveness of Adelle (especially in regards to Dominic), Dominic's conversations with Haley and what I loved most of all, was the kissing in the woods.

Thanks so much for the lovely feedback. Glad you are enjoying the story.
I think the Adelle /Topher dynamic and his 'interference' with regard to her well-being was a really interesting development as we started to write.
Haley was all Rogoblue's - I just tried to make Adelle's response to her in character.
And the kissing, well - long overdue really.
Thanks again

It was interesting to allow Adelle and Dom to have the time on their "road trip" to discuss/sort out/explore so many things. I was pleased by how well the Attic experience aided and abetted this story.

Topher-Adelle was strange in this story. Strange yet interesting. I'm glad to more than just the two of us.

I liked the idea of ShyDom with someone like Haley who just bulldozed through the shyness, as opposed to Adelle who is dead set on him getting past it.

Kissing in the great outdoors--very fun.

I'm not commenting nearly often enough for as awesome as this story is. Every time it shows up on my friends list, everything else stops until I've finished reading.

Keep it up! Can't wait for the last few chapters! :D

Thanks for commenting and reading so avidly. Glad you are enjoying the story.

Any commenting is better than none! And we can't help but be gratified to be the cause of everything else stopping.

Onward we go!


No joke, that's EXACTLY how I reacted when this chapter popped up on my flist, and then periodically while reading through the chapter, especially the ending.

This is really an incredible story. The characters are so perfect, and it makes me nostalgic for what could've been. Ugh, I love it so much. You guys are wonderful, and like I said before, I'm completely hooked so I'll be looking forward to the next chapter a lot! Keep up the AMAZING work!

Thank you - we're really glad that what we have written is being enjoyed by people. I think we are both nostalgic for what could have been. We enjoyed the opportunity to change the scenario a little and challenge the characters with regard to their environment and each other.

I think that's a good reaction. Looks like one. Happy that this is working for you.

The characterization is the reason we wrote it as we did--to make it as good as we could.

Nostalgic for what could've been. Indeed. I think I'm finally working through my nostalgia and might be able to leave this pairing alone now. There was simply so much more that might've been, but I think I may have written my piece now.

Is it bad that my first reaction to you saying you might be done with this pairing, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO" bad? :( Because that's exactly how I feel. BUT, I do understand the feeling of peace with a couple, so I would understand your decision not to write anymore. :)

Oh and it was definitely a good reaction! ;)

I have something completely different for celebration week and that is something. I wanted to write Alpha again. And some stuff I posted on fanfiction.net is relevant to this pairing too.

But ... I guess I can never say never because I thought I was done well before this.

I'll say this--I hadn't written fanfiction in forever until I saw Reed Diamond as Laurence Dominic. I just couldn't let it alone. I guess I'll have to have a look at Franklin and Bash on TNT and contemplate writing about Reed (nephew) to Malcolm McDowell (uncle). I can't wait to see those to guys on screen together.

Oh that's great! I loved Alpha sfm, so I'm looking forward to reading that. :D

I'm glad for that! Hehe, YES!

That was my reaction when I first saw your post and at the end of it. I'm thoroughly enjoying this story and should be commenting on it more frequently, but I'm in the midst of moving houses and time is something of problem for me.

What I wouldn't give for one of Dominic's boosters!

I'm with you on the boosters and moving house is so stressful. Hope it is going OK and thank you for commenting when you have so much going on. Glad you are enjoying the story.
And yes, finally.

Well, I really do think that these two people in these circumstances (with all that went before) had to work to even get to a meaningful first kiss. And talk a lot.

Good luck with the moving (I despise moving above most anything, so much work)!

This is my favourite installment so far! You guys are a very good writing team ;)

Thanks - glad you are enjoying it. Working with Rogoblue was very easy and great fun.

I wouldn't be averse to doing something like this again. Maybe something original?

I'm glad you are enjoying it and that we are getting better as we go.

It was really an interesting process to write this. It went from "Maybe you could write Adelle and I could write Dom?" to "What would we write about?" and about a million emails working out a road trip. Then, finally, eventually, "Are we going to actually write this?" I think both affirmatives were a bit tentative until we started.

Whoot whoot!!! It's about damn time these two finally played on their feelings rather than around them. Great development, and we're only on chapter 8.

So Dom has a family. He didn't just pop out of nowhere like the show led us to believe :P

It doesn't sound like he and Lyle saw eye to eye. But I wonder if his sister was there for him? I just find it so sad that our guy was 'agent Dom' practically all his life, constantly re-evaluating and re-inventing himself. But that's tragedy done right! And Adelle's here now so that's all that matters :D

Can't wait for the next installment. I hope Safe Haven is at least half as awesome as Gavin's camp.

Thanks for the comment - I think the background Rogoblue scripted for Dom plays really well to who he is now and how he lives - and that's a theme that is going to be with us for a while. Glad you're enjoying the fic. And well, Safe Haven - it's going to be interesting.

Re: About damn time!

I think Adelle and Dom had done as much skirting with their feelings as was possible to this point. But there is still more skirting to do.

Dom didn't just hatch from an egg, no. He and Lyle didn't see eye to eye but they weren't rivals either (with one notable exception). Lyle was the eldest and their father's favorite. Dom was the spare who didn't really fit that bill once the crown prince fell from favor. I get the feeling Dom was protective of his sister but that she was into her own thing (and being mom's favorite). Sadly, I think AgentDom was there from an early age. And, yes, he has Adelle in his life now.

Safe Haven is ... I'm not even sure how to describe it. It's certainly isn't quite Joss' vision. Am trying to post soon. Didn't want Road Trip to get lost in Celebration Week and RL is NUTS right now.

Thanks for reading.

Bill is still awesome. I think he is my favorite of your OCs.

I kinda really like the "first time" conversation! It's touching with a tinge of awkwardness and revealing more thin layers and back story and then they made googly eyes at each other and I may or may not have melted.

What are you two talking about so intently?” Haley asked.

“Sex,” Adelle said in the same tone as most people would say, “The weather.”

Haley’s face froze for just an instant. Then she grinned, said, “Carry on,” and sauntered back in the direction of her table.

“You heard the woman. Carry on,” Adelle prompted, sipping her drink. “I’m all ears, as they say.”

I love you, Madam Adelle. I love you with my whole heart. Haley, I take back my crankyface things I was saying about you last review! Your suaveness (can girls be suave?) hath saved you.

Lyle?! He has/had a brother named Lyle?! I realize you just gave Dominic all this wonderfully tragic back story (which was beautiful and broke my heart), but the only that registered to me was that Laurence Dominic and Lyle (from The Pretender) are siblings in an alternate universe somewhere.

As a substitute she brushed one fingertip against the very corner of his mouth - as though she were indeed pressing her lips to the spot. They gazed at each other for a moment longer and then carefully she released his face, let some of her absorption in him recede as they eased gently back into their surroundings. *deded* dflkdfl;kdf!!!!!!!!!!!

FLASHBACKS!!! FEARS OF FALLING BACK INTO THE ATTIC!!! "Did I ever really escape?!" !!!!!!!

TOPHER! I missed you meddling! Although, I like Adelle calling you out on it.

...I can think of several reasons why an older man would not like his daughter getting involved with a man close to his age, but that's neither here nor there! The important thing is that May-December is not happening, so that December-December can happen! :D

!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mygosh, you two! FINALLY!!!!

The exchange of first times was so foreign and yet so right. We weren't sure how that would be received.

Girls can be suave and Adelle and Haley both are--just in different ways.

Dom's backstory is so sad in this; I almost felt guilty about it, but everything seemed to flow perfectly.

The quote about her fingertip at the very corner of his mouth I owe absolutely to my co-author. I reacted very much as you did to my reading of those words.

The Attic is still with Dom, I'm afraid, but he might have some help in that regard now.

Topher is fun when he calls Dom out.

I understand Gavin's point of view, even if he doesn't get Haley's ... yet.

To get these two, with this history, to a point where they can have a meaningful first kiss was no mean feat. Glad it worked for you.

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