***Part Six***
Word Count: 2,974

He woke up with the hardest erection he'd had in years. The reason for that iron-like erection was snuggled against him, head at his stiff arm. The movie she'd turned on was long over. Not that they'd watched any of it. If he wasn't mistaken he could see the first signs of daylight out the nearest window.

She'd changed from her cheerleading outfit into a more conservative skirt for their date, which was currently well above her knees. He was sure she would have changed out of it if she'd planned on falling asleep like this.

He took a moment to contemplate how exactly he'd gotten here, sleeping on a couch with her on top of him. He'd come to California when Peter had told him about her, the person he'd gotten the ability to heal from. Peter had neglected to tell Adam how old - or rather young - she was.

He'd come of the mindset to conquer. It was what he had been doing for over four centuries and did quite well. For some reason, however, upon seeing her, nothing had gone according to plan. At least not his plan. Perhaps someone out there had a different plan and the progress they were making was adhering to that one instead.

All he knew was that the time he'd spent with her over the past not quite a month had changed it somehow. His intentions. It had been a long time since he'd had to woo and court a young woman. Truthfully, he'd long ago given up hope that he'd actually succeed at wooing and courting anyone. He was far too bitter for anyone to not see that any attempt at being pleasant was merely an act, a mask he wore to hide the real him.

He'd come to find, though, that the chase was somewhat fun. Particularly when the long-run reward was so sweet. No longer alone. A woman by his side, able to heal as he could. He'd been foolish to approach her and be so bold, revealing all. He'd had no other choice though. He could tell right away that she was the type that would view his withholding information from her as being a violation of trust. He'd been betrayed himself and still remembered what that felt like.

Unable to resist, he grazed the palm of his hand along the back of her thigh. He never claimed he wasn't a cad. He'd been called far worse over the years. Few realized he behaved in such a manner to protect them. She stirred on top of him, arching into his hand as he slid it higher. What time did she claim that thing she called a dog would be up?

She pressed against him again, only this time she wiggled a little. Which was both pleasant and very painful. His mind knew she was just reacting automatically in her sleep. His body, on the other hand, was still of the mindset that she needed to be conquered. And the sooner the better. He knew that a joining between them would be the closest to magic he'd ever come.

"Adam?" she murmured, sounding as if she was still half-asleep.

"Were you expecting to be sleeping with someone else?"

She laughed then, propping herself up on his chest. "No, I just wasn't sure if it was real."

He grazed his fingertips along her inner thigh. "As real as you want it to be," he whispered. He was perhaps taking things too far. He'd indicated he wouldn't force her, but there wasn't anything wrong with a gentle push in the direction he wanted things to go. Was there?

She pressed her ass up against his arm, parting her legs ever so slightly and he took a deep breath, had to. She wiggled against him again and he groaned. That one was on purpose, and her flirtatious smile told him she knew that he knew that it was.

"That's not quite playing fair."

"Isn't it?" She leaned up and kissed him. She was certainly getting the hang of doing that with him. "You feel good."

He cleared his throat. "As do you."

"I do, huh?"

"Yes, but I'm sure you already know that."

She shrugged and kissed him again.

"I should probably be going before your mother comes down."

"It's still early. I haven't heard Mr. Muggles yet," she whispered.

"While I'm pleased you don't want me to go, if I'm discovered here with you, particularly like this, I get the feeling I will not be invited back."

She sighed heavily, rubbing her cheek against his jaw. "I know."

"I can pick you up later this morning and you could spend the day with me."

"Like this?"

"However you'd like."

"Like this."

He chuckled softly, slid his hand slowly up the back of her thigh, along her ass to her lower back. "That's definitely a request I would be anxious to fulfill."

She rolled onto her side, dropping into the scant spot beside him on the couch. She slid her hand along his arm, almost a feather-light touch. His eyes drifted closed as she found his shoulder, neck, jaw, chin and lastly his mouth.

He took her finger into his mouth with a soft groan - he thought he heard her give one, too. The couch was small, but he'd had worse accommodations in his lifetime. He shifted them so she was beneath him, hands joined he held them above her head and kissed her hungrily. His whole body was starved for her and he knew if he didn't stop now he'd do something stupid. Her mother seemed to like him, that was important. And it was paramount he kept it that way.

He tore his mouth away from hers, heard her shallow breathing and felt her fingers clutch his. He kissed her chin and laughed lightly.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing. I have to go, Claire."

"I know."

"Understand, I don't want to."

"Me, too."

"I'll come back in a few hours."

"You'll sleep with me then?"

"If that's what you want."

She giggled softly. "Someone kept me up too late."

"I'm sorry to be such a burden."

"It was a chore."

"I can tell," he said, eyes dropping to the front of her blouse and the visible evidence that she was enjoying this as much as he was.

"You're not supposed to look at me like that."

"Why not?"

"You weren't supposed to notice."

"I notice everything about you, Claire. And I'd be worried, nay bothered, if you did not react to me."

"You would, huh?"

"Yes."

"Haven't had that happen very often?"

"You'd be surprised."

"Hmm," she said softly.

He brought one of her hands to his mouth and kissed it. "I'll come back around eleven?"

"Okay. Do you want me to walk you to the door?"

He stood from the couch. "Another time, I fear if you do now I'll never leave. We seem to kiss ourselves into distraction."

"Is that bad?"

"I could think of worse fates."

"Me, too."

He leaned down and kissed her. "Get some rest. And if I haven't mentioned it before, I like you in a skirt."

"What does that mean?"

He shrugged. "Whatever you want it to mean."

They had been lucky. Mr. Muggles had woken up no more than five minutes after Adam left. Claire had just about had a heart attack, afraid her mom would find some evidence Claire hadn't been alone on the couch all night. The throw pillow smelled like him, but she doubted her mom gave much thought to what Adam smelled like. And maybe you just smelled what you wanted to smell.

"Where are you going, Claire?"

"Adam's picking me up."

"Will you be gone all day?"

"Probably."

"Your father's going to be home later, I know he'd like to see you. Try not to be too late."

"I'll try not to be."

Her mother gave her the once over. Claire wondered for a minute if she looked silly. Or like she was trying too hard.

"You look nice," her mother said.

"Thanks."

"Have a good time, but be careful."

"Mother!"

"Your father would be upset with me if I didn't say the last part. I trust you, Claire."

"Does that mean he doesn't?"

"Your father has a lot on his mind. He worries about you, all of us. And Adam is older than you."

"I know," she said with a soft sigh.

She grabbed her purse when she heard a car pull up in front of the house. "I'll see you later then."

"Let him come to the door, Claire."

"Mom!"

"You shouldn't appear anxious. It's not flattering."

"So, I have to make him get out of the car?"

"Yes, and he should at least say hello to me."

Claire rolled her eyes, but set her purse down on the table and took a seat on the couch.

The doorbell rang a minute later. "Am I allowed to answer it?" Claire asked.

"What am I going to do with you?"

"I don't know, Mom," Claire said with a shake of her head. She would never understand her parents. She stood to answer the door and couldn't help but smile as Adam took in what she was wearing. She'd taken his skirt comment to heart, upping the ante a little though. She was quite sure he hadn't had a black leather skirt in mind.

"Hi," she said.

"Hello. I see our late night didn't prevent you from looking as pretty as usual."

"I guess not."

He looked behind Claire; she saw the change in him. It was subtle, but the flirtatiousness in his eyes went out as if he'd thrown a switch. "Mrs. Butler, how nice to see you again."

"Why thank you, Adam. I was just telling Claire I think her father will be home this evening. If you two didn't have plans for dinner you could join us here."

"And I told you, Mother, that we'll think about it. It's Saturday so I doubt it."

"Well, keep it in mind if you find yourself hungry and in the neighborhood."

"Okay," she said, grabbing her bag. "Ready?"

"Always."

"Bye, Mom," she said before closing the door behind her. "That must drive you nuts."

"What's that?"

"Having to play nice with my mother."

"Who says I'm playing? She seems like a nice enough woman who clearly cares for you, so we have that in common."

"Smooth."

He opened the car door for her. She wasn't used to that type of thing, but he usually did it. It drove home the whole he'd been basically held a captive for the last thirty years. That he was far older than he seemed. That she'd get that way, too.

"So, do you still wish to spend the afternoon here," he asked once they were at his place.

"If you want to. I mean, if you don'tů"

"I'm asking if you want to. Your wish is my command."

She laughed lightly. "In that case, I meant it. I'd like to spend the day with you here. Like that."

"There are certainly worse fates I could think of."

"Hmm. Are there?"

"A few. It's hard to think about many that might be worse."

"And to think, I wore this skirt just for you."

"I meant to mention you look quite incredible in that, but your mother distracted me."

"Mothers! You can say it now, though. Unless you changed your mind."

"No, no, I'm just wondering how you plan on sleeping in that."

"I slept in a skirt last night. On the couch, so it has to be more comfortable here."

"You had something other than my couch in mind?"

She undid her seatbelt. "Mm, well, there are no parents here. Unless there's something you're not telling me."

"No, no parents. No one but us."

She scrunched her nose. "Then I think that the couch would be too small."

"Small isn't necessarily bad. All the better to be forced closer to you."

She smiled then and got out of the car, he followed, opening the front door for her.

"I don't usually do this."

"I kind of guessed that," he said, locking the door behind them. "Why do you want to then?"

"Because it was nice."

"Puppies are nice, Claire."

"You felt nice. And I liked having you there when I woke up," she said, glancing at him over her shoulder.

"If I didn't know better I might think you're starting to like me."

"You're not so bad when you lay off the eternity stuff."

"I'm a full-on kind of guy."

She smiled then. "Yeah, I get that."

She slid her button-up sweater off, revealing the blood-red camisole top she had on underneath.

"You expect me to sleep with you wearing that?"

"Before you get the wrong idea. I'm still not ready for much, but I wanted to look nice for you. To wear something, you know, appealing."

"You succeeded, but you always look nice, Claire."

"Thank you," she said softly. "Because sometimes I wonder what you find appealing. Is it this? Or is there something, you know, from the past you like? I realize it wasn't too long ago that women were supposed to keep their legs covered and stuff. Maybe you like that?"

"There is certainly something to be said for the mystery in the type of attire that you speak of, but I've adjusted over the years to most of the fads quite easily."

"And I don't have a job, so I have to buy things with my parents' money so this is about as appealing as I can get."

He smiled then.

"Are you laughing at me?"

"No, I don't know why you seem to be apologizing to me."

She sighed softly and sat on the couch. "I don't know. I guess I can't help but think I'm not very worldly or experienced. You've got to find it frustrating."

"You've done nothing to frustrate me. At least not from that standpoint," he said, joining her on the couch.

"Yes, and how long are you going to put up with that?"

"There is nothing wrong with kissing, Claire. I certainly will not deny looking forward to when you're ready for more. I could have walked away. Do you understand that? There was nothing saying I had to approach you when I did. I knew you were young. I could have left and come back years from now."

"Why didn't you?"

He chuckled. "You don't want to know."

"I do."

"Because the idea of anyone else touching you disturbed me and I was afraid I would hunt them all down despite my having left until you'd grown up some."

"I hate that term. Grown up. I'm not a kid."

"I didn't claim you were, but you still have things to experience."

"You haven't hunted West down."

"Because I'm quite confident it's nothing more than kissing you he'd done. And you did not know me, I did not know of your existence when you embarked upon a relationship with him. I could hardly fault him for that."

"You'd really hurt someone because of me?"

He slid an arm around her, drawing her to him. She settled against his chest, her eyes fluttering closed when he slid his hand along her hair. "That would depend on how involved they were. If someone hurts you, physically or mentally, I will not be held accountable for what I might do."

"People don't do that."

"I do that, Claire. You cannot compare me to what you know of others. There is no one else like me. I don't have many things; you are by no means a thing, but I will not allow harm to come to you. You've told me we are able to die, which gives me all the more reason to want to protect you at all costs."

They grew silent for a while. She was just enjoying sitting there with him like this. She didn't have to worry about her parents or Lyle here. And contrary to what most anyone would tell her, she didn't seem to have to worry about him being all pushy and with the pressure either.

"Do you think you'll ever love me?" she asked softly. She was too close to dozing off to edit her thoughts. It really wasn't a question she wanted to ask.

"I can say with sincerity, Claire, that you are a loveable person. I think that anyone in their right mind who spends time with you and does not allow their feelings to grow into that are fools. Or blind."

"So, that's a yes?" she murmured.

He chuckled softly and stood almost effortlessly, taking her into his arms. "Resoundingly, yes," he said, setting her on his bed.

She turned onto her side, facing him when he joined her on the bed, too. "Aren't you going to ask me?"

"I believe your presence here, not just today but my life the past month is answer enough."

"You think so?"

"If you did not deem me worthy of your time, you would not waste it with me."

"You didn't give me a whole lot of choice."

"Had you truly fought me I would have had to."

"So it's my fault?"

He smiled then, drawing a blanket around them. "That's one way of looking at it, I suppose. And paints me in a far more flattering light."

She smiled then as he slid an arm around her, gathering her to him.

"Did you want to be home in time for dinner with your family?"

"I think now that you've actually taken me out on a date."

"It wasn't much of a date, coming back here."

She shrugged. "Was still a date. I want to be with you."

"If you change your mind."

"I'll let you know."

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