***Part Eleven***
Word Count: 1,402

They'd done quite well. Adam had really. Claire had gotten lucky a couple of times and then her luck had run out. Adam claimed it had merely transferred from her to him. As a reward for being his good luck charm, he had taken them somewhere special. When he'd driven them into the middle of nowhere she'd balked. Not because she was afraid of walking around in the dark. She just wasn't dressed for it tonight.

He'd solved that problem by carrying her the entire way from his car to their destination. A cave that led underground wasn't exactly her idea of somewhere special. That was before she'd seen the water.

And, oh man, was the hot spring heavenly. And it was so much roomier than his shower or tub, things they'd put to use a time or two. Floating on the water, in no way embarrassed about doing so stark naked she knew what she had to do. She decided now would be a good time to tell him. She'd been waiting, wanting to hear from her father first. And tell him before Adam.

"Adam," she said softly, moving with the water to the edge.


"I've decided when my dad calls…" she said, making her way to him.

"Go on," he said, realizing apparently she'd gotten momentarily distracted by seeing him naked and wet. Because he was hot normally, but add wet into the picture and her insides just turned to goo.

"I don't want to go back with him."

"To California? I'm sure if you tell him he'll take you wherever you want to go."

She smiled. "No, that's not what I meant."

He slid into the water, sliding his arms around her and switching them so her back was against the edge. She felt him hard against her, had seen moments ago that he'd been very happy about her swimming around naked.

"What did you mean then?" he asked, gathering her legs up so she'd slide them around him.

It took her a minute to respond as he slid inside of her. She watched his face. He was better at showing her the real him, but sex was the one time she thought she got closest to seeing the true him. And she always saw relief there. Relief that he'd actually found her and would no longer be required to go it alone.

She tried hard to imagine four hundred years but just couldn't. There were times she still wasn't sure she believed what he was saying was real. But she knew that if it'd taken him this long to find her it wasn't like she would be able to go out and find someone else like them. It helped that they had chemistry.

"I want to stay with you," she whispered. He picked that moment to slide all the way up and in, thrusting deep inside of her so the words came out sounding somewhat funny.

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. I'm ready."

"I can feel you're ready."

"Funny man. Not that way. I'm ready to be with you."

"Not that I'm complaining, but why now?"

She let her head fall back as he hit that one spot, thrusting against it so she half moaned and hitched her breath from the pleasure of it. His hands were strong, holding onto her tight. If she were a normal woman, she'd have bruises galore. Luckily, she wasn't normal and she'd come out of this unscathed, other than rubbery legs from good sex. The water of the hot springs would probably take care of that, though.

She lifted her head, finding his neck and kissed, sucked, and bit. Marking him. For all the good it did her. Just like her not bruising from his vice-like grip on her, the hickey would be gone in moments. But it turned her on to see it there for that fleeting moment. Especially when he tilted his head to the side, granting her better access. That meant he liked it, too.

"I can't go back to not living with you, being with you after this."

She watched him, his face a mask of passion and carefully maintained control as he timed his thrusts so her pleasure came first. She saw relief there. And happiness. And then his release took over soon after hers and she saw pure pleasure.

He set her down, rubbing her hips and thighs where his hands had been.

"I'm very glad to hear you say that. And if it makes you feel better, I think your father already knew that is what would happen."

"Knowing he is aware of who you are, yeah. They won't have to run so much then."

"And I have more and better resources available to me for flying under the radar. No one will know you're with me, unless Peter confesses telling me about you. And he would not do that to you."

"You don't think so?"

"I think he'd rather die than betray you, yes."

"That's good to know."

"You'd do the same for him."

"He saved my life. So, yes."

"Your loyalty is not misplaced nor does it make me jealous." She quirked a brow at him. "Not too jealous anyway."

"What do you think of my decision?"

"It pleases me, but you already knew that. It seems I have won over your body, now I shall have to focus on your heart."

"What makes you think you don't already have that?"

"I want to ensure you never regret your decision."

"Never? I imagine there will be days, weeks, months that I regret it a time or two."

His lips quivered into a smile. "Is that your way of saying you think I will drive you nuts?"

"Sometimes, but I'm sure the feeling is mutual."

"When did you make this decision?" he asked. She noticed he didn't argue with her. That was good. That meant he wasn't fooling himself into thinking that just because he'd found her and they were together that life would be problem-free from now on. Even her parents fought and she thought they had a near-perfect marriage.

"I think I knew the minute we left California. It's one thing to date you, spend time with you at your house knowing I have to go home. It's another to live with you."

"What?" he asked when she looked away.

"And I don't like being the reason you're alone any longer than you have to be. I try to think of what I'd be feeling if I were in your place. To be this close and yet so far away. Seeing this house, the equipment you have to make IDs, the money you have stashed away. It drove home just how alone you've been. That's not right."

"It is rather frustrating, but only because you are so close."

"I don't want to frustrate you anymore."

"If it is for me you are doing this, I assure you I can wait."

"No, I mean, that's part of it, but it's for me. I don't want to have to hide who I am anymore. I don't want my family to have to move because of me."

"When your father calls to tell you he is all right and you can come home, I won't hold it against you if you change your mind."

"I'd want to go see them, but I don't think I'll change my mind."

"All right. Well, just so you realize I would understand. Right now you're unsure if there is a viable option but me."

"You make it sound so romantic."

"Is there romance involved?"

"Of course there is."

"That is good to know."

She ran a fingertip up the length of his arm, tracing his collarbone and then up to his neck. "I especially liked you taking off the garter."

"And you thought they couldn't be fun."

"I stand corrected."

"Corrected enough to wear them again?"

"Maybe," she whispered, kissing him and reaching with her hand to stroke him. "If you ask nicely."

"I'll beg nicely. Will that do?"

"Begging works."

"I thought it might," he murmured as she exposed his head and brushed her thumb over it.

"Did my decision make you happy?"

"Happy is putting it mildly. I'm not sure I can put it into words."

"Show me," she said, her voice husky.

And he did just that enough times that she was pretty sure she understood.

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