***Part Twelve***
Word Count: 3,851

He used the key that had been left for him under his name at the front desk. She'd had to reserve the room under her name because he didn't have any credit cards. It was certainly a step-up from the pretty cheap place they'd stayed at when he visited her in October. He was about to flip the light switch so he could see to put his things away, but there was enough light from the hallway to let him see shoes and a dress in the small coatrack area designated for hanging things.

She hadn't told him she was going to stay with him tonight. He supposed he should have expected it, but she had classes tomorrow since it was Friday. He was flying out of Indianapolis bright and early Sunday morning, her idea. She wanted to take him to the airport and he couldn't say he minded. It was only sixty miles to that airport and driving with her was certainly better than a bus ride.

He shut the door, sliding the security chain in place once he did. Quietly he set his duffle down before shedding his clothes in order to join her on the bed. He left his shorts on only because he wasn't entirely sure she'd see her being here as an invitation for him to climb into bed naked.

He was tired. Flying standby had its drawbacks, like waiting for hours for a seat on a connecting flight. It was the reason he'd chosen the late bus when he chose times. He was kind of lucky he hadn't ended up having to stay overnight downtown Chicago somewhere. It was why he'd taken Thursday off instead of Sunday, wanting to make sure he got here in time for her shindig.

He slid an arm around her as he settled in beside her. She was on her side currently so he fit behind her nicely. His hand slid along her hip, causing him to groan softly when he discovered she wasn't wearing anything under her nightshirt.

He didn't instantaneously get hard, but it was pretty close. His hand slid along her thigh, higher to her stomach bringing the shirt up as he went. He found her neck with his mouth not at all embarrassed by the almost hungry way he kissed and sucked on her skin there. She must have taken a shower when she got here because her hair was still a little damp and she smelled nice. Soap and a subtle perfume he always forgot to ask her the name of because she always distracted him when they were together. He liked it on her, though.

"Mm, hi," she whispered sleepily.

"Hi yourself. I wasn't expecting you to be here."

"Why not?"

"You have class tomorrow," he said.

"Yeah, I got here early so I could sleep until you got here and I figured you could sleep when I have to leave."

"Is that right?"

"Mm hmm," she murmured.

"You have plans for me between now and then, do you?"

"I do," she said, turning to face him. Her hand skimmed along his torso. She seemed to like what being a Marine did to his body. Lower along his abdomen to his shorts. "Why do you have clothes on?"

"You have clothes on," he said.

"Because I was sleeping."

"You slept without them in December."

"Because you were in bed with me."

"I'm in bed with you now, too," he said.

It didn't take them long to remove the offending articles of clothing.

"God, I missed this," she said.

He chuckled softly.

"What's so funny?"

"I just never thought I'd hear those words coming out of your mouth, Princess."

"It's true. Even without the sex, the sleeping part. I liked it."

"Yeah?"

"Mm hmm," she said before kissing him.

Hands grew busy, eager as they each worked at reacquainting themselves with one another. Touching, stroking as they assured one another they were really there together again. He slid on top of her, his mouth joining in on the exploration. His fingers slid between her legs as he used his mouth at her breasts. He sucked long enough in a couple of instances to leave a mark, but he didn't think she cared any more than he did. She didn't stop him at any rate and certainly by now she knew what he was doing.

"I'm not going home to my parents this time you know," she whispered, hands at his head. She was encouraging his mouth higher and he took her up on the offer.

"If we're not careful it's going to look like I beat you or something," he said as he dipped a finger inside of her finally.

"I don't care," she whispered.

He chuckled softly. "The pristine princess likes there being physical evidence she's not so innocent after all, eh?"

"I like them from you," she said.

"Yeah, well, you'd better not be getting them anywhere else."

"No," she said as he moved his finger in and out of her slickness. She was as ready as he was.

"God you feel so good," he whispered.

"I could feel better."

"You could? Is there something wrong?"

"Yes!"

He drew away a bit. Was she serious?

"Stopping isn't going to fix it," she said.

"I see," he said, returning to what he was doing. He slid his finger out of her, up a bit to stroke her nub as he found her ear.

"So what can I do to make you feel better, Princess?"

"You don't need to ask."

"Hmm, I think I do."

"Oh God, John, please."

"Nuh uh, tell me what's on your mind."

"You in me, now," she whispered.

"You're still taking your pills?"

"Yes! You think I'd stop?"

"Just had to be sure," he said, sliding inside of her. He'd intended on being gentle about it, slow knowing it'd been a while. That plan flew out the window as soon the head of him was at her entrance. She arched into him almost at the same time as he pressed into her, drawing him deeper more quickly than he'd meant to.

She cried out and he started to pull out thinking it was too much, too fast. She slid a hand to his hip, fingertips grazing his ass.

"Don't you dare stop," she said breathlessly. She tipped her head back on the pillow as he thrust back into her as deeply as he had been to start with. It was almost as if she was offering her neck to him.

"I like being right here best anyway," he said.

"Oh God, me, too," she said as he nipped at her throat.

"Yeah? You like me deep inside of you?"

She laughed softly. "I think that might be the most ridiculous question you've ever asked me."

"Hmm," he said. "I see, I give you what you want and then you make fun of me."

"Yes, all part of my nefarious plan."

She was more responsive than she had been their first few times together. Not that she'd just lain there then, but she'd seemingly been a bit embarrassed about what he'd think if she was too active a participant. He'd assured her during their couple of conversations they'd had that he'd gone off-base to have with her that there was nothing she could ever do wrong. Maybe, too, she knew more what to expect this time so could let herself enjoy it. He didn't care which it was, her moving underneath him, meeting his thrusts by arching into him almost as if trying to draw him even deeper into her was almost more than he could take.

He told her that, too.

"It's okay. We have all night and all weekend. I sort of figured neither of us would last that long this time."

He gave himself credit for lasting as long as he did. She felt too good, but it was her giving him a hickey on his shoulder that was his undoing. She'd been very careful in December not to put them anywhere they'd remotely show in his uniform. She did tonight, too, but she was very enthusiastic about giving this one to him and it was a heck of a lot closer to potentially showing than the couple she'd left him in December had been.

He shifted them so they were side by side. She didn't let him move too far, though, settling her foot on the other side of his calf. As if he had any desire to be anywhere but right here until Sunday. He drew the blanket around them. It was surprisingly nice out today so the blanket wasn't hugely necessary but it was instinctive, he supposed.

"How were your flights?" she asked.

"Fine," he said.

"Long day, I bet you're tired," she said.

"Yeah, I'm not complaining, though."

"No?"

"It got me here, so no."

"I'm glad."

"Me, too," he said. "I hopefully took care of the Samantha situation during my layover in Chicago."

"Is that why you flew there instead of Indianapolis?"

"Yeah," he said.

"I was hoping it wasn't because you thought I didn't want to drive to Indianapolis to get you."

"No, I know you would've and it would have been better, but I wanted to get it done."

"It could've waited until summer."

"It could've, except I'm hoping I can talk you into meeting me somewhere other than Chicago whenever I get my leave."

"Like where?"

"I don't know," he shrugged. "Like I've ever been anywhere out of the Chicago suburbs until now. New York? Disney World? Myrtle Beach? The Dells?"

She giggled softly. "You're going to fly up from North Carolina to go to The Dells with me?"

"Well, it wouldn't be my first choice, but if that's what you want to do I would."

"I'd have to talk to my parents."

"I figured that'd be the case."

"I'm not sureÖ"

"I assumed they may not like the idea. They certainly couldn't stop you from visiting me over spring break or something, though, so I'm not sure what difference it being summer break makes."

"It's their house and, well, they're paying for my schooling."

"I get that," he said. "I thought about seeing if you'd want to move down there for the summer. I'm not sure what type of job you could get or anything which is why I haven't done much but thought about it."

"With you?"

"Well, no, I wouldn't be able to change on and off base like that, but I'd be able to see you most weekends unless I was in the field."

"Or got deployed somewhere."

"Always an option, yes," he agreed.

"So, how'd that conversation go anyway?"

He shrugged, relaying the conversation to her. "She wasn't happy, neither was James. I don't know if I went about it the right way or not. I don't think she's the type to do something crazy."

"You never know."

"Exactly. I can't risk it. If she was our age I probably wouldn't be as concerned, but girls that age can be a little nuts."

"Hmm, you realize I was that age?"

"I do, and I'm sure you were a little nuts. I mean, I didn't like know you well or anything, but then I guess fourteen year old boys probably are a little nuts, too."

"You think she'll stop writing?"

"I don't know. I think I embarrassed her so I'm not sure what her reaction will be. I guess my next option is to return her letters to her."

"God, that'd be awful."

"You're taking her side?"

"No! I hope she never writes you again," she said. "It's kind of weird. I mean, a letter or two, like you said she's your friend's sister."

"Right? That's what I thought at first. You know? I mean, guys just don't do the whole pen pal thing. James tries, but he's busy doing whatever he does. He got a job before Christmas."

"Oh?"

"Yeah, at Montgomery Ward."

"Oh, I didn't think he needed to work."

"I donít think he does, but I think that girl he was talking to when I was talking to you at the picnic might like to do things once in a while. Who wants to ask their parents for money for a date?"

She chuckled at that, settling against him. "True."

"I just hate being the bad guy, you know? She's a nice kid and I'm sure she doesn't mean anything harmful or anything."

"You're probably right. I'm glad you talked to her, and I don't know how else you could've done it either. A letter seemed like it could backfire."

"How so?"

"Well, she could take your writing to her as a sign if she wanted to."

"A letter telling her to stop writing her?"

"She's got a crush on you it would seem. I can't really blame her. I developed one on you within an hour in that library."

"I much prefer you."

"That is very good to know," she said, shifting her head against his shoulder a little.

"I thought you took a nap so you'd be well-rested for my arrival."

"I did. I am. I just like having you here. I told you I really like the other stuff, too."

"You sure you want to go to that thing Saturday?"

"Pretty sure, yes. Why?"

"We could just stay here all weekend."

"We could, but I'm not turning down the chance to see you all dressed up."

He sighed softly. "The feeling's mutual. I saw you brought your dress here."

"I did," she said. "I'll bring the rest of my stuff I need to get ready tomorrow after class, but I figured I'd bring it here today so it's here. I can drop your uniform off at the cleaners I found tomorrow if you want."

"Or you could tell me where the place is and let me use your car."

"I could do that."

"I should probably be sure I'm leaving it with someone who's going to do it right. They have rules and stuff."

"Right, I know. I said I could let you have my car."

"Besides I have a couple of things to pick up while you're busy learning how to become a teacher."

"You do? Here?"

"Yes, here, things I couldn't bring with me."

"Hmm," she said.

"And I'm not telling you what they are."

"That's not fair."

"Life's not fair, Princess."

"You sure I can't convince you?"

"Positive. I've been told girls like surprises from their boyfriends."

"Who told you that?"

"More than one guy who offered me commentary on this weekend when I mentioned I'd never been to something like this before."

"A dance?"

"Yes."

"Never?"

"Who the hell would I have to go to a dance with?"

"You could have found a date, John. I don't have to know what you were doing all through high school to know that girls liked you and would have said yes to you."

"Sure and with what money was I supposed to buy a suit, a corsage, and dinner?"

"I see your point."

"You do realize I'm not a dancer, right?"

"I sort of figured, yeah."

"Hmm," he said. "Not disappointed?"

"No, I'll teach you."

He snorted. "By Saturday?"

"Well, no, but for the next one you'll be better."

"The next one?"

"Yes, they do this every year. You know, end of the year celebration stuff."

"I see. I'm on the hook for the next one, too, I suppose?"

"No, if you have a miserable time Saturday I won't make you. I was surprised you wanted to come to this one."

"I told you I missed out once on seeing you dressed up I wasn't going to again."

"I know and you're sweet for that."

He scoffed.

"So, no, if it's bad," she shrugged. "I'd rather you use your leave to come see me for something you want to do."

"I want to rent a cabin with you on water somewhere and do nothing but lay in bed with you naked for days. Doors and windows open and nothing but the sound of the water bothering us. A lake, the ocean. Down south, up north in the woods. I don't care. That's what I want."

"That does sound nice."

"It does, doesn't it?"

"I'll talk to my dad."

"Good to know. Now about this long nap you took," he said.

"You just came here for sex, didn't you?"

He chuckled. "You caught me."

"Well, I don't want to send you back feeling neglected."

"We wouldn't want that, no."

***

"You didn't tell me your dress was so low cut," he said, eyeing her as she adjusted her dress. It was strapless and as it was pushing eighty degrees today she didn't need a coat but had a sweater to wear over it for later tonight.

"What?"

"Your dress."

"Yeah? What about it?"

"You never told me it was like that."

"What's wrong with it?"

"Nothing, but I really don't want people to think I hurt you."

"I think everyone there will know the difference between a bruise and a love bite, John."

"I hope so," he said. "I noticed mine doesn't show."

"Well, I didn't think that'd be right."

"You're probably right," he said. "I've never asked."

"Please don't," she said with a soft laugh. "I'll just assume anything above shoulders is off-limits."

"Hmm," he said.

She watched him as he regarded himself in the mirror. He wasn't vain, she knew that though he had every reason to be because holy cow did he look amazing in his full dress uniform. He was making sure his ribbons were where they were supposed to be.

Marksmanship. Those were the ribbons he'd received to this point, one for a rifle and one for a pistol. A world she knew nothing about, guns and weapons. He'd mentioned he was good at his job, but he'd failed to mention they had competitions and he'd won one of them.

"No sword?" she asked.

"Huh?"

"Do you have a sword?"

He chuckled. "No. I'm not an officer and they're really just for show anyway."

"I see," she said.

"You like what you see, Princess?"

"You really think you have to ask me that? I'll answer, though. Yes, I like what I see very much. You know I do, though."

"Really?"

"Yes. I'm pretty sure I'll be the envy of every one of my sorority sisters. You clean up very nicely. I've never paid much attention to men in uniform before. I mean Naval Station Great Lakes wasn't too far from us, remember? So we'd see some while doing stuff downtown or something. Those sailors in their uniforms have nothing on you, though."

"Thank you. You look very nice, too," he said. "But in addition to the marks I've left being visible to everyone I'm not sure where you're going to put your corsage."

"I could wear it on my wrist," she said.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, most of them have a wrist thing," she said, taking the container holding the corsage. She opened it and picked the small assortment of flowers up. "See," she said.

"Not as nice, though," he said.

"You can try pinning it to me."

"And draw blood? No thanks," he said.

"It's not fair you can't wear a boutonniere."

"My boss, the President, frowns on it," he said with a chuckle. He kissed her. "Next time I'll just wear a suit and then you can get me one."

"Okay."

"I'll probably need some help with the suit, but we have a year it sounds like to deal with that."

"True."

"So," he said. "I pass inspection?"

"Yes."

"Good."

"Do I?"

"Almost."

"Almost?" she asked. What more did she have to do? She'd spent longer on her hair and makeup than she usually did. She even had sexy panties on under her dress for him to see later.

"Close your eyes for me," he said.

"John," she protested.

"Do you want to know why I said almost or not?"

"Fine," she said, closing her eyes. She heard him walk across the room and unzip his duffle bag. He returned a couple of minutes later and her heart started racing when he took her hand.

"Keep them closed," he said as if knowing her instinct was to look to see what he was doing. "It occurred to me in October that I need something a little more permanent than hickeys to suggest you're taken."

"John," she murmured.

"You can open your eyes now," he said as he slid a ring over her finger. He was lucky it fit, thankfully a little loose. "Not what you were hoping for maybe," he said.

"It's beautiful," she said, running a fingertip along the opal. It was very colorful with a couple of smaller diamonds alongside the stone.

"Well, I liked it so I went with what I liked without someone to ask."

"What do you think I was expecting?"

"I donít know a diamond of some sort," he said.

"I wasn't expecting anything and I certainly wouldn't expect a diamond."

"You deserve one."

She shrugged. "Maybe one day."

"I'm planning on it."

"When did you buy this?"

He chuckled.

"What's so funny?"

"I bought it after Valentine's Day. It was amazing how many deals were out there afterward."

"Oh," she said, unwilling to take her eyes off of her hand yet.

"Sorry, should I not say that? I mean, I would have bought that one regardless of the price. I saw it and knew it would look good on you."

"It does," she said.

"So, now you're ready."

"Now I really feel bad. I've never gotten you anything."

"You're not supposed to get me anything. And you send me stuff all of the time."

"Yeah, cookies and brownies. Cards."

He took her into his arms, sliding his arms around her.

"Haven't you heard the way to a man's heart is through his stomach so cookies and brownies are a good way of going about that?"

"Do I need food to do that?"

"Get to my heart?"

"Yes."

"No. I love you without food even in the equation."

"Good I'm glad and I love you, too." She kissed him, drawing away a little. "Are you okay?"

"Okay? Yeah, why?"

"You just said it."

He chuckled. "You hung up on me before I could say it back in February and I just assumed you weren't ready to say it regularly or anything. I mean, it's how I feel, I'm not ashamed to admit that."

"Thank you."

"Thank you, Princess. Now let's go dance."

"You don't know how tempting it is to say screw it and get you out of your uniform."

"You can help me out of it later. I promise. I put it on, may as well put some miles on it before the end of the night."

"Okay," she said, grabbing the sweater she had for later. She took his offered hand, still not entirely sure she wasn't dreaming this whole night. John gave her a ring in a Marines uniform and said he loved her.

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