All For Love

by RPcrazy

Title: All For Love

Author: RPcrazy

Category: DRR romance

Rating: NC-17 sexual situations

Key words: Doggett POV, Reyes POV, angst, RST

Summary: For the first time since they met over a decade ago John has asked Monica to spend the New Year with him in New York. Eager to go she is beset with obstacles that make her trip harder than usual to pull off. Will she make it in time to see the ball drop in Times Square making it the perfect excuse for a first kiss?

Notes: A big thank you to Muskrat for being the inspiration here.


Chapter One
Mexico City, December 30, 5am

He hovered above her, his solid body perched mere centimeters from hers. Her eyes closed as his lips lightly kissed her over and over until she could bear no more and pulled him in for a deeper more fulfilling embrace.

The flutter in her chest became pounding as he continued the kisses down over her shoulder bringing with him the strap of her midnight blue satin slip. Ever so slowly and sexily he pulled on the band until it just uncovered one nipple. The anticipation of what he would do to her body made her muscles weak and numb. He had told her to lie there, to let him make love to her.

Hot breath made its trail along the thin lace line of her sleepwear until she felt more than heat on her nipple. As he circled his prey with his tongue, fingers hooked the other strap gradually moving it over down over her shoulder until both breasts were exposed and vulnerable to his carnivorous appetite.

Fingers absently splayed through his hair and down his neck urging him on as he sucked and nibbled each breast in turn. Leaving no doubt where he was headed his hands little by little pulled down the thin, soft fabric, exposing excited velvet flesh as he progressed.

Kissing between her breasts his mouth made a searing pathway downwards lingering around her navel, running spirals around its circumference.

"Mmmm, tasty," his voice buzzed from below sending minute shockwaves rippling over the skin of her abdomen. She was helpless. Her body too energized to move as he peeled the last piece of material over her legs then off her toes. "Mmmm, beautiful." Through closed eyelids she could see him admiring her body before moving back down and running tantalizing tongue strokes along her bare thighs.

With small pushes he enticed her legs apart, his hot tongue getting nearer to its projected destination.

"John," For the first time she groaned his name wanting desperately to feel his hot breath on her core.

"You like this." He growled as his hands pushed her knees wider. "Beg me."

"Please," she implored, aching for his touch. Light kisses were felt on her inner thigh, moving upward just millimeters from promised fulfilment. Then her heart thudded more uncontrollably as his fingers opened her wide and a tongue felt over her ultimate desire for him.

Hips ground into the mattress of her bed as her fists clenched and unclenched the sheets as his tongue over and over stroked her ready need. The hot, wetness from his oral actions and his fingers playing with the skin of her upper thighs was all too much to hold back what she required to express. Her whole body craved this man and was beginning to demonstrate her love physically.

The more she pulsed the more he fondled as she bodily articulated multiple cascades of pure emotion. As she lay there heaving as though having run twice around the block he smiled at the way he could get her to such heights.

"Monica?" Through the haze she thought she heard her name called. "Monica?" It wasn't until the second time that she quickly opened her eyes and sat up in bed. There was a faint glow from the moonlight through the window coating surfaces with its silvery fingers. "You were dreaming."

"What?" Monica shook her head in dismay. Moments ago it had all seemed so real. Sitting on the bed next to her daughter her mother pulled up the lone slip strap that had strayed off a shoulder.

"You were dreaming about him again." Her voice was soft and caring.

Monica's immediate reaction was to say no but she could never lie to her mother. She could never lie to anyone.

"Mama!" Monica was not often embarrassed but somehow her mother knowing her deepest thoughts made her want to hide.

"Whoever he is you should go to him and tell him how you feel." She lightly stroked her daughter's hand.

"Mama, it's not like that." She moved the blanket to cover more of her body.

"I know you Monnie, you have deep feelings for this man. Even if you believe he would say no, you must try." She stopped stroking but took her daughter's hand in hers and squeezed. "This past week it has been clear that your thoughts have been elsewhere. Follow your heart, even for your mama and papa's sakes." Monica just nodded lightly. It was all too confusing to explain to her mom. "I'll let you get a little more sleep before heading for New York today." She displayed a reassuring smile as she left the room.

Turning on the bedside lamp, Monica reached for the printout of the email she had received the previous day and reread it quietly.

Dear Monica, It's been two weeks and I'm missing you. Come spend New Year with me in New York? We can go to Times Square for the final countdown. Love John

What did it mean? Was she reading too much into it? He was missing her.

Chapter Two

New York City
December 30, 9am

"She should be heading for the airport by now." John called from in front of the computer screen checking his email. "Says here she's taking the twelve o'clock flight from Mexico City. Means after all the stop overs she should be here this evening."

"That's good dear." John's mother walked into the study wiping her hands on a towel after having insisted she wash the breakfast dishes alone. "Why is she coming again?"

"Mom! She's my partner, I've known her for over ten years and we've never spent Christmas together let alone New Year's." John chuckled as he had already told her twice before.

"So you like her romantically, is that it?" Was she probing or did she just want to hear him say it?

"Mom! It's not like that. We just work together." Well that's what he wanted her to know for then. Especially over the last couple of years his feelings had developed for his partner but with work ethics in mind and his personal convictions about mixing a career and romance he had not acted upon them.

There had been an increasing number of occasions when he could have swept her into his arms and physically demonstrated his growing affection but there was always something that held him back. Was it a fear of making a commitment with one person again like Barbara and it all going wrong? Perhaps it was how it would be perceived in the bureau. More importantly he really just didn't know how she'd react. He couldn't go through any more rejection in life.

So that was it. The mucho, strong exterior had an interior of mush! Perhaps inviting her to stay with him and his parents over New Year was a way to apologize for being such a romantic wimp for the past years. It would certainly be a chance to spend some quality friendship time with her and to get a reaction from his parents.

"So where will she sleep? You know our home is small." Mom called from the kitchen where she was replacing the towel.

"We've talked about this." John shook his head and smiled as he shut down his lap top computer and followed his mother to the kitchen. "Monica can take my room and I'll sleep on the couch." He rummaged through the cupboard for two coffee mugs.

"I don't think I like that." His mother confided.

"Why not?" After pouring two steaming cups he made for the milk to add to one of the mugs.

"I don't want a son of mine sleeping on the couch when he comes to visit." From her son she took the latte coffee with a thank you.

"Well Monica can sleep there or better still we can just share my bed." John smiled into his mug as he heard what sounded like a small gasp from his mother.

Just then there was a voice at the door and a tall man with short white spiky hair appeared having just showered.

"What's this I hear about you sleeping with someone?" John's father questioned.

John just shook his head and snorted.

"Coffee, Dad?" He turned to secure an extra mug.

"Three sugars this time. I'm too old to count calories," he grumbled as he went to sit on one of the tall breakfast stools beside the kitchen bench. After the first two sips John's father seemed more amenable. The other occupants of the room seemed to predict this so waited until he'd calmed. "So when's this lady friend of yours getting here?"

"Her name is Monica and you've met her several times before." John reminded. "I'm picking her up from Kennedy late this afternoon."

"Forecast says we're in for a big dump of snow today." Mr. Doggett took a few more sips. "Might have to close the airports."

"Dad, you're being a naysayer. Everything will be fine." The male agent went for the morning newspaper and also sat on another of the stools. On the front page was a picture of Times Square and last year's ball lowering and the subsequent fireworks.

"I'm taking Monica to the ball dropping tomorrow night." He faced the paper towards his dad and with an index finger tapped the picture.

"Looks crowded and cold."

"We'll dress warmly and the crowd is all part of the atmosphere for New Year's countdown." No wonder John Doggett had grown up sceptical with a father who mainly saw the drawbacks and not so much the good. He had learned to live with it and was probably the stronger for it. He forgave his father though. Being a NYPD cop was hard work especially the years he was in the force, a lot earlier than his son. "And no need to wait up for us. I'm planning on taking her for a little tour of the NY night time sights after that."

"So you know what they do at the stroke of midnight." His mother reminded with a wink.

"Mom!" John lowered his eyes fearing his mother saw him flush pink. That was the main reason he wanted to take his partner to the end of year celebration. That way there would be an excuse for a first kiss with the possible promise of many more.

Chapter Three
Mexico City Airport, 12.05pm

"But I have a connecting flight at LAX, I'll miss that too." Monica was more mad with herself than the airport desk clerk. Leaving John's parents' address back at her own parents' place meant she had to return to retrieve it wasting valuable commuting time. Incorrectly estimating the time it would take in traffic and then for her parents to find a car park meant that she had missed her flight by only five minutes.

"We have a flight at 2pm and we can make the necessary arrangements for connections as long as there is availability." The clerk was genuinely trying the best she could to help the situation.

"Yes please," Monica was a little more at ease as the attendant tapped away at her computer. "I'm sorry Mama, Papa to put you both through this."

Papa Reyes just laughed,

"I thought it might be a way of fate telling us we could keep you in our clutches a little longer."

"No Cirro, she has a man now other than just you." Maria Reyes nudged her husband's arm and chuckled.

"Mama!" Monica flushed. "He's my partner, just that."

Maria leant in towards her daughter and whispered, "So you tell me who else has sensual dreams about their work partner unless it's something more?" How did she know? "Early this morning I heard you call out his name in your sleep."

"You must be mistaken." No matter what Monica said, her mother was a lot more perceptive than some. She took after her mother in many ways and her natural ability to read people was one.

"You have been too long without a man Monnie. John Doggett is a good catch. You have to admit he's respectable, intelligent and mighty fine looking and most importantly he's available."

"Don't go marrying her off and having a family too soon now Maria." Cirro commented. "I'm too young to be a grandfather."

"Will you two stop it!" Monica was beginning to smile at how her parents really did love her and wanted the best for her. This was the first time she had felt a little pressure from them to settle down. Usually they just accepted that she would find her own path. She had to admit if roles were reversed and she saw her daughter sitting back and waiting so long for her knight to make a move then she would react the same way.

"Senorita, the bookings have been altered." The clerk handed Monica her ticket. "The connecting flight at LAX should get you to New York by 8 pm tonight." Monica watched as her single suitcase was checked in and safely moving along the conveyer belt.

"Muchas gracias." She took the ticket with some relief. It was uncharacteristic of Monica to feel anxiety but she knew it was more than just a missed flight. Normally she would shrug it off saying what's done is done but there was more to it than that.

"You need to get in touch with your friend to let him know you will be later than expected." Maria Reyes began to walk with her daughter and husband towards a row of seating. In comfort they would need to discuss their next move.

"I could call him now." From her carry bag Monica retrieved her cell phone and began to enter the string of numbers she had memorized. As she listened nervously to the dial tone a nearby television was displaying the country's weather forecast and the three found themselves particularly focused on the weather in New York.

It did not look promising. There was a forecast of a storm coming from the east, one that could dump a good deal of snow onto the city and also possibly affecting airplane arrivals and departures.

"Joe di Pincus," came the unfamiliar voice on the other end making Monica sit up taller. Was that a friend of John's parents?

"Hello, is John Doggett there?" She said rather tentatively knowing the answer even before she'd finished the question.

"You must have the wrong number," came the expected reply.

"Okay, thank you." Monica clicked off her phone and went for her notebook to check the number. "I've written it down incorrectly." She shook her head with disbelief. She was usually so careful with copying down facts such as that.

"Never mind, when we get home we can find his number for you and give him a call on your behalf." Maria comforted. "You just relax back and enjoy your vacation time."

After saying her farewells to her parents and eventually boarding a plane to LAX all she could think about was the bad luck she was having. Monica Reyes was usually one to experience good karma. Were all the things going wrong telling her that maybe she was making a mistake and it was all too soon to think about trying to go the next step in her relationship with her partner?


"What you reading?" The woman beside her on the flight from Los Angeles to New York had been fairly quiet after initial introductions. That's the way Monica had wanted it. It left her time to think about what she was getting herself into. The more the time approached when she would be seeing her partner the more the butterflies in her stomach were becoming carnivorous.

It was one thing to share New Year's celebrations if they were in DC but he had asked her to fly thousands of miles to be with him and not on her territory but his parents'. What did he have in mind apart from spending their first New Year's together? Knowing John Doggett he wouldn't have an ulterior motive except to perhaps help strengthen their already sturdy friendship and partnership.

It took the woman next to her another question before Monica registered exactly what she said.

"Whatever it is it mustn't be that interesting."

"Huh? Oh, this book?" She displayed the title as 'Has Earth Had Visitors?' by Theresa Porter. "Hi, I'm Monica." She smiled and held her hand out for shaking.

"Rebecca," the woman in her early thirties returned the handshake. "I'm also into science fiction, have been from an early age."

"Me not so much but I'm becoming more in tune," Monica mentioned. "This book is non-fiction discussing whether aliens have really visited Earth and the demonstrating evidence both ways. If they have then why is the government keeping it all under wraps? Should we the public have a right to know as something as important as proof that beings other than us exist in the universe?"

"Good question. I think we do have a right to know about anything extraordinary that happens in our world so the fact that we don't probably suggests that it's all in our imaginations. What people see as UFOs could really be explained in physical terms, we just need the knowledge to understand them." Rebecca offered her fascinating thoughts. "What's your view?"

"I'm swaying either way," Monica responded. "There are just too many accounts of UFO sightings and alien abductions for people to just go making it up from their imaginations. I tend to trust people. If they say something happened to them and can go into detail then I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt."

Rebecca nodded seeing her neighbor's point of view.

At that moment there was a crackle from the communication system and, who appeared to be the captain, began an announcement.

"As you may have heard there have been some storms over New York and the North-East coast that have dumped a good deal of snow. As it has not been as much as forecast we can expect to land at JFK in approximately one hour. Sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of your flight." The intercom clicked off and Monica rested back in her seat a little relieved. Perhaps the run of bad luck had been left behind in Mexico.

"Live in the big apple?" Rebecca spoke, breaking the moment's silence.

"No, DC, I'm meeting a good friend for New Year's." She decided not to bring into the conversation that he was her FBI work partner. She had come to realize it was better if her profession was not a matter of casual conversation.

"I can tell you're in love." Rebecca leant over and spoke more quietly.

"What?" Monica was not used to people except her mother being able to read her intentions.

"The way you've been reading that book on and off, you have something on your mind and it's not aliens versus earthlings."

"He's just a friend." Monica smiled as she closed her eyes and laid her head back on the headrest. She'd been saying that a lot lately, almost as though she was convincing herself of the fact. Only her dreams revealed her true self. A wave of pleasant endorphins spread throughout her body as she remembered dreaming about the touch of his lips all over her body. Would it really be like that? Would she ever get to find out?

"Well you know what they say about midnight New Year's Eve." They were Rebecca's last words before Monica drifted off into sleep.

When she awoke it was to her neighbour lightly shaking her.

"Monica, wake up!"

It took a while for her to reorientate herself.

"Are we there?" Monica sat up and stretched her cramped muscles. What she heard next she couldn't believe.

"You missed it all?" Rebecca conveyed the surprising news. "We're in Norfolk, Virginia."


Chapter Four
JFK Airport, NY, 10pm

John Doggett looked at his watch. Monica's plane had landed and she would be alighting shortly. Originally she was going to make her own way from the airport to John's parents' home in Long Island but he had decided he would surprise her and save her an expensive cab fare.

For the past hours, like someone about to walk down the aisle of his wedding, he was having last minute jitters. Was it the right decision to take the big step and ask Monica to fly all this way just to be with him for the New Year period? Would it all flop and when he went to kiss her as the Times Square ball fully dropped would she politely refuse? He had lived with enough pain in his life that another rejection was nothing he couldn't handle. Monica was different somehow. Rejection from her would make the refusal compounding. They would be there amongst the noisy, excited revellers, two people in a sea of celebration. There would be many families, friends and certainly lovers all shouting, hugging and embracing. Would the excitement of the moment rub off onto his partner?

John stood as the first passengers were disembarking. His chest tightened with expectation. Never before had he felt so nervous about seeing his partner once more. There had been many a break from work where they had gone their separate ways seemingly never giving each other a passing thought. On returning to work they would smile and appropriately greet each other, exchange a few vacation details and then just as quickly get back into business.

Their mutual rapport had grown over the two years they had been X-Files associates. The bureau saw them as the perfect partnership, coming at cases from different angles, professional and above all they got the job done.

Normally agents like that would keep their association strictly professional but it was becoming slowly evident that the vast amount of time they spent together at work and the increasing time they spent together in leisure activities was a sign that he was falling for her.

About a third of the passengers had disembarked but there was yet no sign of his partner.

He found himself looking forward to seeing her angelic face. That smile he had come to anticipate fondly as he entered the basement office each morning. That smile he had seen more of lately, demonstrating their emergent comfort in each other's company.

He still didn't understand what she would see in his crotchety manner and his sometimes off beat treatment of her. Hopefully she would understand that it wasn't a reflection of his attitude to her but his approach to his job.

With growing unease John watched as the passenger line began to thin and still no Monica. He began to wonder if she had changed her mind and couldn't reach him to express her change of plans. That thought became larger in his mind as the last of the passengers trickled out.

"Excuse me Ma'am?" He approached the flight attendant's desk. "I was expecting someone on that flight."

"All right Sir, what's the name?" With a pleasant smile the blond haired young woman clicked a few keys on her computer keyboard.

"Monica Reyes." He spelt her surname and waited with both hands firmly on the dais trying to appear as though he wasn't about to walk behind the desk and look for himself.

"I'm sorry Sir but Ms. Reyes had been on the passenger list but it seems she cancelled at the last moment." The attendant offered.

"Cancelled? Would she have taken another flight?" He was becoming more worried.

"That information Sir I cannot give you." She looked up apologetically.

"Um, thank you anyway." John was just short of producing his FBI badge but he knew he had no right to use the authority that way.

Moving away from the growing crowd that was to be leaving on the next departure he found a quiet place to contact her on his cell phone.

With frustration and concern he shoved the apparatus back in his pocket when he found her phone to be temporarily disconnected.

Once again looking forward to something had produced only disappointment. Not knowing what was happening was making him exceedingly restless. Taking out his cell phone again together with a small notebook he flipped through the pages until he rested on Monica's parents' phone number.

"Due to difficulties affected by today's inclement weather the service to this region is temporarily interrupted."

"Damn!" Forcing both articles into the one jacket pocket he looked for his next avenue of investigation. Finding an airport Internet port he immediately went to work sending Monica an email. Hopefully she would get the message and reply. He had already decided to wait for the next arrival from LA just in case she had missed the earlier flight. It was highly unlike Monica to do so but he felt he had no other choice.

No sooner had he pressed the 'send' button than sirens were sounding throughout the airport and an urgent message came over the intercom.

"Please remain calm. We need people to leave the airport as quickly as possible. We have a situation. I repeat - we have a situation. Please leave the building and remain calm."


"What's going on?" Immediately in agent mode John smartly walked up to a security guard.

"Sir, I have to ask you to calmly leave the building." The burly guard duplicated the message that was being repeated over the public address system.

"I'm Agent John Doggett with the FBI," He produced his badge that he often kept in his jacket pocket, ever the protective person he was even in his leisure time.

"We've had a bomb scare. Maybe nothing but as you know it's normal procedure to take every precaution." The guard confided as he directed worried people out the main door of the airport main building.

"What about flight arrivals? How will this affect those?" He still hoped Monica was on the following flight.

"They've been rerouted to nearby airports until the fuss dies down." He redirected his words towards anxious clients. "It'll be okay ma'am, just a formality. Just follow the others to the parking garage. We'll let you know when it's safe to return."

John was aching to find out what had happened to the flight on which Monica was a possible passenger but he would have to wait. There was more urgency in the current threat.

"What can I do to help?" At least helping out with the situation would take his mind off his partner's plight.

"Head of Security over there." He pointed to a group of officers with only one in a jacket. That must have been the man in charge.

"Agent John Doggett FBI," Once again he produced his badge to the man in charge. "How can I help?"

Before he spoke he sent the group of guards scattering in different directions clearly destined to do their job of locating a possible bomb.

"Agent Doggett, good timing. I'm Ben Nevis, the security chief here. Come this way." John followed the imposing man as he made a path to the main security camp. "It's good to see the FBI in on this so fast."

"Well I'm DC based, here in New York visiting my parents and just happened to be here waiting for a friend but I'm happy to help out." The male agent was obliged to admit.

"We could use any expertise we can get our hands on right now. We have an airport to get back into business." He ushered John into the main security room.

The area was filled with every sort of technical gadget necessary to carry out efficient security of such a major airport.

"How did you find out about the possible bomb?" John's brow furrowed with deliberation as he leant over a bench sporting multiple security screens.

"Here," the guard pushed a button on what seemed to be some sort of high tech sound recorder. The voice was muffled but was clearly a threat that unless the airport paid the million-dollar ransom the bomb would be detonated within twenty-four hours.

Agent Doggett nodded as he hung on every word.

"I need not tell you how many bomb threats there are at major airports each year." John had done his research and had to add his thoughts. "This could all be a hoax."

"Yes it could be and probably is but in the light of two years ago we must go on heightened alert especially so close to New Year's Eve." The imposing man pushed the stop button. "We get many people coming here from around the country for the Times Square festivities tomorrow night. This twenty-four hour period given by the extortionist brings us mighty close to countdown to New Year."

Just the memory of the following night and how he wanted to spend it with Monica sent momentary pain to the pit of his stomach. The uncertainty of it all was all too much.

As he was contemplating his discomfort and trying to dull the thought a call came in.

"Barker here Sir." Came the clear voice over the security boss' radio.

"Yes Barker, what is it?"

"We've found it sir. Men's rest rooms upper level east."

"We're on it!" Together with four other guards, the chief and Agent Doggett hurriedly made tracks to where the bomb had been located.

"Bomb squad on their way sir." A young technician looked up from the complicated looking device.

"Well let's clear the area of as many bodies as we can until this thing is disarmed." The boss' second in command gave jobs to the excess guards that were standing around just looking at the contraption.

"Agent Doggett, have you any expertise with disarming bombs?" John just shook his head. He liked to solve mechanical problems but when it came to that level of intricacy he left it to the professionals. "Then perhaps you could look into the threats? Until this bomb is disarmed and the hazard null and void only then can we begin letting flights back in here."


Chapter Five
Norfolk, Virginia Airport Hotel
December 30 11.50pm

Monica Reyes lay on the bed of her Norfolk, Virginia hotel room looking up at the ceiling and thinking about December 30 being the unluckiest day of her life. She didn't really believe in so called luck but that everything happened for a reason. Many other people would be dwelling on the negative but Monica was one to accept the present and make the best of what she could do to change things.

As she sank into the bed she remembered back to how she came to be there lying in a bed where two hours ago she had no idea she'd be.

The aircraft Captain had apologetically announced, "Welcome to Norfolk, Virginia International Airport. JFK Airport is currently indefinitely closed due to a possible bomb threat. You are welcome to wait in the reception area or take advantage of our offer to put you up overnight in the Ramada Inn Airport Hotel." There had been quiet in the cabin as each passenger mulled over his or her choices. "If the airport is not open by morning the airline will organise some buses from here to New York. The crew and myself all assure you that you'll be there in plenty of time for any New Year's activities."

"I'm going to take up vigil in reception. I have my family waiting for me in Queens and want to get there as soon as possible," Rebecca had mentioned as she reached for her belongings in the overhead locker. "I'll catch a few winks in one of the chairs if I have to."

"Well in my job I've spent many an hour waiting like that," Monica had laughed quietly. " I think I'll take the easy option this time."

Both ladies had shaken hands and wished each other luck before going their separate ways promising to look for each other at New Year's festivities.

A shuttle bus had transported the Ramada Inn contenders together with their luggage.

As sleep lapped at her body she pondered the fact that if she hadn't missed her initial flight then she would be with John right at that moment. What would it be like lying in a bed at his parents' house? The thought of being in his bed made her blush even though no one was there to see. She smiled and sighed imagining his warm body lying next to hers. His arm would be underneath her, wrapped around her shoulders as she nestled into his chest. Her arm would be securely clutching him proving he was really with her. Light fingers would tantalize her arm.

Even though she could imagine that their first time sleeping together would be just that, sleeping, she could also see that his every move would add to her keen sexual desire for him, making it almost impossible to just sleep.

His parents would be in their bedroom oblivious to the loving going on between she and their son. The thought of them opening the door of John's room in the morning to be surprised by the sight of a woman sleeping in his arms was making her desire go sky high.

The reality of it was that she would be in one bed and he in another in different rooms but her thoughts were all she had to comfort her. In no way would she violate the rules of the Doggett household.

As she nodded off, the last thoughts were of intending to get in contact with John. Her body craved sleep so she was content in the fact that her parents would have contacted him letting him know she was on a later flight. Also knowing him he would have rung the airport and found out about the bomb scare and where her flight had been diverted.

It was her fateful day not his.


JFK Airport, NY
Main Security Room 3.30am

"Found anything yet?" The large security boss walked over to where John Doggett had once again been checking out the tape of the extortionist's demands. "The airport authorities are getting restless about this."

"I know and I'm so close," John confided. "It just has to be someone who works here or has an exceptional knowledge of the plan of the place." He stood upright to face the man in authority.

"An employee?" His eyes spanned the room watching the three technicians in nightshift attendance.

"That's what I figure. To be able to plant the device where he did he would have needed to go through a security checkpoint. To take something as large the bomb it would have probably been pushed on a trolley and covered over. Why did no one ask to check it out?"

"Good point. Anything else?"

"Yes," John nodded as he spoke. "I did a trace on the call that you have recorded here and it came up from a payphone in this building."

"Where?" Mr. Nevis was certainly impressed with the efficiency of the investigator.

"We'll get to that. Listen to this again and tell me exactly what you hear." John once again pushed the button to the audio playback device but stopped it again when a radio call came through to the security chief.

"Sir? The bomb has been defused but there's growing concern among the flanks that it was too easy." Came the voice from the radio.

"What are you saying? There could be another bomb?" His eyes rolled in frustration but calmed enough to give more orders. "Then get on with it! Send a team out to search the whole place. Get back to me as soon as you've found anything."

"I don't think there is another bomb." John said plainly as the Chief Nevis signed off.

"What?" He frowned with curiosity.

"Who was that on the radio just then?" John inquired.

"That was Lillis. He's in charge of what we call E sector. Why?"

"Listen to this." John once again flicked the play button to hear the muffled voice of the extortionist.

"What am I meant to be listening for?" Nevis was confused.

"I went to take a look at the payphone in question and it's near a window that looks out to the tarmac. The window is covered with a light curtain. That's what the assailant used to disguise his voice. He placed the material over his mouth."

"How does that let us catch this guy?"

"Look, I'm no technician but I've seen enough of these done to have a go myself. See here?" The male agent pointed to an oscilloscope screen that showed the soundwaves of the person talking on the phone. "Here." His finger traced along one line that seemed out of place to the others. "I had a go of removing that distortion myself and this is what I came up with."

John pushed another switch and then the play button again. This time the tone sounded quite normal.

"I recognize that voice." Nevis slowly comprehended and John nodded acknowledgement. "You're a good man." He immediately picked up the radio and selected a secure channel. "Hodgens, are you there?"

"Hodgens here Sir," came the speedy reply.

"It's Lillis, I want you to send a team and go find him. Apprehend that bastard!" He signed off and then called to anyone in the room who would listen. "Call the NYPD and tell them we have him. Then ring management to tell them the good news. The airport can be reopened as soon as we have the son of a bitch." He turned to the agent, a gratified look on his face. "Thank you man. You saved the day for us. To get someone to do that sort of analysis at this time of night would have been hard going."

John just nodded. It was all in a day's work for him. He thrived on keeping his brain and body active even if it was in the small hours of the morning.

"I'd like to ask you one favor in return if that's okay." John was confident his wish would be granted given the circumstances.

"Go ahead, anything."

"That friend I was waiting on? I need to know if she was on an incoming flight when this happened and where she could be now."

"You heard the man," Nevis pointed to one of the technicians then turned back to John. "Give Johnson the details and he'll find out for you." Smiling, he held his hand out and both men shook with energy. "Agent Doggett, keep in touch." Before leaving the room he gave a confident thumbs up sign to the FBI agent.

Faintly he heard Nevis' radio and that Lillis was in airport security custody.

Chapter Six
Norfolk, Virginia Airport
December 31, 8am

"Why can't I get on a flight?" Monica Reyes was not a happy woman. "I heard that the threat has passed the airport is open now."

"I can book you into a flight but the next available time will be ten tonight." The attendant mentioned apologetically still watching her computer monitor looking for any cancellations.

It was no use arguing with the facts but Monica had to say one last word if only to let the tension out.

"But I'm due to meet my friend for New Year's in Times Square."

"I'm truly sorry ma'am for the inconvenience but you must see our side. We have a backlog of passengers and besides, this time of year most flights are thoroughly booked even with no bomb threat." The attendant looked truly remorseful and Monica didn't have the heart to throw at her all the frustration that had built since the previous morning when event after event began to go wrong in her life. "Look, there is a bus service outside that will get you into New York today. The next departure is in thirty minutes but you may find it also booked out unless you hurry."

Lugging her heavy suitcase, refusing a trolley because she felt the need to punish herself further, she made her way to the bus booking office.

"Sorry ma'am, this departure is fully booked." It seemed as though this mission of hers was doomed to failure. When she heard those words they really came as no surprise. "There is one seat left on the twelve noon departure. That should get you into New York about ten tonight."

"Where would it let me off?" Monica was clasping at straws but she wanted to make it there before midnight or not at all. "42nd Street at the Port Authority Bus Depot, not far from Times Square."

"Okay, I'll take it." That would give her two hours to find John, plenty of time especially if she could get in touch with him beforehand to organize a meeting place. She had so wanted to spend the whole day with him, to see the sights of Manhattan with him by her side. They would have exchanged laughs and anecdotes of their vacations apart. It had seemed like a lifetime since she had visited the city. The tall buildings were so oversized when she was a girl. Would they still look massive as she looked skyward?

After receiving her ticket she thought about how she was going to fill in the hours until the bus' time of departure.

First priority was to find some breakfast and then some way to contact her partner. She would then ring her parents. Talking to them would be a way to let off her steam. Her mom especially had always been a listening ear to her frustrations when growing up.

With a fruit and frozen yoghurt cup she sat eating and reading the morning news. A little food in her stomach was making it settle and finally adding a rosy glow to life. How could she have been so uptight? Life and love have many hurdles but each can be overcome without there being lifelong damage. Now that she was secure in the fact that in three hours she would be on her final leg of her journey to see John she could sit back and relax a little.

'BOMB THREAT DEFUSED' was the main headline. Taking a spoonful of the sweet, creamy mixture she read on. 'New York's George Lillis today confessed to all charges relating to threats, extortion and planting an active bomb at JFK Airport last night. All incoming and departing flights were cancelled or redirected to other airports until the threat was resolved. It has been said that the FBI was finally responsible for solving the case leading to the arrest of the now former airport security guard. JFK is trying to cope with a backlog of flights but is more or less running to schedule today. More on P.3.'

Before turning the page Monica's eyes caught sight of a small advertisement for individual tarot card appraisals. She smiled at how ironic it would be if she got a reading. Shaking her head she inwardly laughed as she thought about the cards telling her that the road on which she was headed was not a safe one and to turn back. No way would she turn back now. Monica Reyes was a determined woman, all the more motivated by what lay ahead for her in New York.

She failed to see someone on the next table actually reading page three, a large photo of the FBI hero Special Agent John Doggett displayed clearly in the center of the article.

.....

"Can I have directory assistance please?" Monica held her cell phone to her ear until she heard a response. "The number for a Joe and Martha Doggett of Long Island, New York."

With the other hand she held her notebook open, her pencil poised between her fingers.

"013." She reiterated the final digits in the John's parents' home phone number as she wrote them down.

"You may find some difficulty getting through due to cable damage from the storm," reminded the operator.

"Thank you so much for your help." Monica hung up and just as quickly began dialling the number she had written down.

There were a few rings before she heard someone answer. The line was indeed quite bad but she tried to soldier on.

"Hello? John, is that you?" The crackly line made it difficult to hear but she assumed it must have been John's dad answering. "This is Monica Reyes, John's partner. Can I speak with him?"

"He's ..... now, .....message," was all she could make out from the interference. Maybe he was out?

"Hello Mr. Doggett. It's good to hear you." She was a polite person by nature. "Would you please give him an urgent message from me?"

"Wait......., ...and pen." She got the idea that he was going to write down the memo and waited for his return. "......ready....".

"Would you tell him that I couldn't get on a flight." She waited wishing she could be talking to John instead.

"Say.....again." Monica was not sure what he meant but knew that her communication was also distorted his end.

"I'm in Norfolk, Virginia. There were no flights to New York." This time she hoped he understood. "I'm taking the bus." She spoke slowly hoping he could hear and then scribe the whole message. "I'll meet him tonight on the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway." After that the interference was just too much to understand anything. All she could do was hope he could relay the message.

She sighed but was otherwise happy that at least John would know she was okay and could still meet her in time for New Year's countdown in Times Square. They would have to make up for her lateness the following days of her stay until eventually going back home to her Bennett Street, DC apartment.


Chapter Seven
Long Island, NY, 12 noon

"Son, good morning." John's father was reading the New York Times and had the page open at the prominent picture of Special Agent John Doggett the hero of the night.

"It's almost afternoon Dad." He scratched his tousled hair and yawned as he stretched his rested limbs. It had been six am when he had finally got to bed after all the interviews about the events of the previous night. "What's that?"

"My son the hero." Mr. Doggett had been proud about many things his son had done but no prouder than when there was a photo in the newspaper, rewarding his efforts as an FBI investigator.

"Just doing my job Dad." He went over to the coffee pot and added the remaining three centimeters of black liquid to a cup, took a few sips and then proceeded to prepare the contraption for a fresh brew.

"Well your 'job' just saved lives and relieved a big headache for the New York Air Authority." He began snipping out the article no doubt to add it to his pile of Doggett memorabilia he had first started collecting when in the NYPD.

"Well, I'm off for a shower." John Doggett was not one to bask in glory. To him it was still all just part of what he was trained to do. "I'll pour us a fresh coffee when I'm out."

He began walking towards the door when his father stopped him.

"John, there was a telephone message for you." He finished snipping out the article and closed the rest of the newspaper. "I wrote it down, near the phone."

"Who's it from?" He was already on his way. "Was it from Monica?" He'd been told that she was indeed on the following flight from the one she had planned but it had been redirected to Norfolk, Virginia. After that the airline records had no more information. It had heartened John that she had not changed her mind after all. The reason she was not in New York then was because of a little bad luck.

He had checked any return emails from her but there was nothing. Maybe she just didn't have Internet access. Her cell phone was still not responding even though he'd called her on several occasions. He put it down to possible line interference from the storm they'd had the previous day.

Picking up the note and reading its contents left him empty inside and disappointed. With silence he left the room for his 'morning' shower, his father calling after him,

"I'm sorry son."

........

He couldn't believe it! After all his hopes, the communication, the anticipation, she was not coming. Letting the hot water run down over his face and then down his back he let the pounding rivulets try to soak away his deep regrets.

The note had read that there were no free flights to New York and that she'd decided to go home to DC. Even if she had chosen to drive from DC there could just be enough time to make it by midnight but the roads were surely brimming with traffic with that exact thought in mind.

When would he get another chance to show his attraction for her with something as simple as a kiss for the New Year? If she truly cared for him she would try to make it no matter what. So he thought. Perhaps she would wait until the rush had died down and then fly up but he was due back home in three days. Would she think it all worth it?

All those times he thought she was becoming more interested in him was it all just pity? Had he misread her signals?

By the end of his shower he had decided to lock it all away in his heart. He was so practised at doing just that. For years the pain of his son Luke's untimely demise were also locked away. They would surface every so often with cases on which he had worked, especially child related ones, but he was always able to put them all back in the box and lock the padlock.

He would try ringing her again in the morning. Until then he would just attempt to enjoy his time away from work. It wasn't often he would get to see his parents. Perhaps he would take up their offer to accompany them to their friends' New Year's Eve party. The daughter was around his age and had also been divorced for a few years. They had grown up together. Some female company for New Year's was better than none at all.

Chapter Eight
New York City limits,
New Year's Eve, 10 pm

It had been an extensive, tiring bus trip but Monica had once again met someone she could talk with making the journey seem not so long. Andy had been great company. It was easy talking to him, just as easy as an acquaintance she had known all her life.

He was travelling to New York on a similar quest. He was also going to meet his partner for the final countdown. Both lived together in Norfolk, Virginia but his other half had arrived a day earlier to meet up with some old school friends.

Monica was not usually one to discuss her feelings with a stranger but Andy had a way of drawing it out of her. They exchanged stories of love and disappointment. He had urged her that no matter if loving her partner was not encouraged in her work, love was more enduring and important than career and to follow her heart. 'Do it all for love,' he had said. Those words were to stay with her for longer than expected, making her smile every time she ran over them in her mind.

The bus driver had made good progress until they had hit the traffic of New York. That's when Monica had begun to think that she might not make it in time to meet up with John and see the final descent of the crystal ball.

All the way along, the driver had ensured the crowded bus that he would get them there in time for the final countdown to the New Year even if he had to drive over car roofs to get there. It had made the passengers laugh and feel a little more at ease. Even if they didn't make it in time Monica was pleased that she was finally reaching her destination. Her pleasure at being determined to reach her goal made her feel proud.

When they reached their final destination with only fifteen minutes to spare Monica was resigned to the fact that neither of them would find their respective partners in time.

"Come on, never say never," urged Andy. With protest he took her heavy bag from her, leaving him with his backpack and her with her small shoulder bag. The cold hit them as they alighted the bus. The snow was piled up against the road still showing some white of having relatively recently fallen. Monica had foreseen the temperature and donned a thick coat, scarf and gloves.

"I haven't been here in so long," she mentioned as she followed him along 42nd street on the way to Broadway. For approaching midnight the streets were very crowded but she knew that the surrounds of Times Square would be even more so. Stopping at crossroads gave her a chance to see the enormity of the city. It was truly imposing with its busy traffic, streams of visitors and the taller than tall buildings. Even though bitterly cold the excitement itself gave her a warm feeling in her heart.

"Come, we have ten minutes," Andy urged with excited gestures. It seemed the city was getting to him too. Just then some uniformed security men stopped them in their tracks.

"Excuse me, but you cannot take those bags any further."

"What? We've just come by bus from Virginia." Andy commented.

"I don't care if you've come from the White House, the rules are no bags beyond this point." They were not going to be swayed, rules were rules. Especially after the happenings of 9/11 she understood the precautions precisely. A million thoughts raced through Monica's mind. She was so close to where she had arranged to meet John and there was so little time left. There were two choices, stay with her bag or leave it behind.

Andy had already made his choice. Placing his wallet and other essentials in his pocket he left his backpack against the wall of the nearby building. Biting the bullet she also placed her bag next to Andy's. Possessions could be easily replaced. True love was not so ephemeral.

"Andy, where were you meeting your partner?" Monica realized that if he was accompanying her then he might miss the countdown with his own friend.

"Monica, I am already involved, you two are just beginning." He took her hand leading her onto Broadway. His unselfish attitude gave her an admiration for this selfless person.

The beating of her heart was almost louder than the crowd noise as she reached the meeting corner. The loud speakers were announcing that Shoshana Johnson and New York City Lord Mayor Michael Bloomberg were just about to press the button for the final sixty-second descent of the crystal ball and the seeing in of the New Year.

The large illuminated ball could be seen atop a building a number of streets up.

Anxiously Monica looked around at the crowd but John was nowhere to be seen.

.......

Wending their way through crowds Andy followed Monica through the longest sixty seconds of her life. She had made it this far, if she didn't find John then that would just top off the bad luck she had endured for the past two days. There were too many faces. How was she to find him in time?

The ball was half way down and the cheering deafening as she raced through, dodging bodies. To top it all off a light rain was falling. By the last fifteen seconds and seemingly having searched the whole crowded intersection her hopes were fading that she would find him in time or if he was even there.

Perhaps he was also searching for her and they were missing each other.

The final countdown had started and as if in slow motion Monica did a final sweep of the crowd.

That's when she saw the familiar adorable face, his features illuminated by the lights of Times Square.

Amidst boisterous crowd noises she turned to give Andy a thankful hug and a kiss on the cheek before turning to see that he had noticed her and Andy. His face was solemn and a little sad but there was no way she was going to let him stay that way.

With five seconds to go she was running over to him and faced him, letting him gaze into her eyes.

'4...3...2....1...' They stayed just staring into each other's eye. 'Happy New Year!' was the announcement over the loudspeaker system and the subsequent cheers were almost noiseless as the couple were then the only ones in the world.

The rapport between them, the unspoken thought, the vibes all spoke a history of an unresolved sexual tension that was about to be broken.

"Happy New Year, John." Monica mouthed and smiled as she slowly moved in towards his lips, never diverting her eyes from his. He willingly accepted her approach and closed his eyes as their soft, warm flesh touched for the very first time. His arms in slow motion encircled her body and held her with enough firmness not to detract from the kiss that was still soft but slow and sensual.

John smiled, really smiled for the first time since missing Monica at the airport the previous day. How could he ever have doubted that she would be there for him? He was the most contented he had been as far back as he could remember. The kiss continued as Monica's arms clung to her suitor's body and they moved in slow circles as though dancing to an inner waltz.

The crowd seemed to give them room as they moved sensuously in each other's hold.

Monica also closed her eyes and tilted her head to make the kiss a little firmer. She took in his wonderful scent and allowed herself to her hips closer so she could feel his firm body pressed against hers. With arms loosening their grip a little and their lips momentarily unlocking there was time for John to return the salutation,

"Happy New Year to you too Monica," John again smiled one of his smiles that had her always wanting to feel it with her lips. They had survived their first kiss and each of them knew immediately it was instant magic.

The revelling continued around them permitting them more time for themselves.

"I didn't think you'd be here," John spoke into her ear. It was still difficult to hear with all the merriment around them.

"For a moment I didn't think so either," she spoke back, still holding him tightly. "Wanna go somewhere quieter?" She took his hand and he readily accepted it as she retraced the steps she had come with Andy not long before.

On the corner of one building she smiled as she saw Andy with what must have been his partner. They were embracing and dancing. He deserved to have his happiness too.


It wasn't until they had reached the building where Monica and Andy had left their bags that it was quiet enough to be able to have a conversation.

Looking down she saw that her suitcase had gone but she smiled hoping it had gone to a worthy cause. She would have been very surprised if it had still been there. All she had with her was what she was wearing. Thankfully she had everything she really needed in her shoulder bag that was under her think coat. Even without that she still would have been the happiest woman alive at that moment.

"So, you hungry?" John asked as he kept his hand in hers and started walking up 8th Avenue.

"I haven't eaten since about two," Monica mentioned. "We were going to stop for dinner but it was either that or be late here." John just nodded as they strolled along the street. The rain had turned to feathery snow with the promise of new snowfall over night.

"There's a small Italian place in 57th Street near where I parked my truck." They briefly locked eyes as he spoke. It was still too good to me true. It was the New Year and they were together, holding hands, with nowhere to go except where they both decided. "When I went in for a soda they said they'd be open tonight as long as there were customers."

"I'd like that." Her face was holding back exploding from smiling too much. She wanted to show him how much she cared but there was plenty of time for more loving caresses. Taking it slowly was more important at the start of a new relationship, especially one where they had known each other as friends and work colleagues for so long.

As they walked the long stretch of street they passed many nighttime revellers. Some looked up as they passed but many more than Monica noticed. She just had eyes for John.

"So what did you mean about thinking I wouldn't be here?" Monica remembered back to his statement in the crowd. "You got my message?"

"I got the message where you had decided to go back home." John looked across to her with the same solemn expression she had first seen that night.

"That wasn't at all what I said to your father." Monica mused and chuckled. "The line was pretty bad. Sorry John, it's a long story but we can talk about that later. Then how did you know where to meet me?"

"Just putting two and two together." As they waited at the traffic lights of 49th street John turned to face his partner. "I thought if you'd decided to come to New York after all, the flights would be all booked out so you'd take the bus. The main bus station is in 42nd street and you'd make your way along towards Broadway. Just A to B to C." He grinned and then looked up to see it was okay to cross the road."

"That's why I love working with you John." Their gloved hands were still locked and she found herself imagining how it would feel flesh against flesh. "You think logically." Once again he smiled and nodded, taking the accolade for what it was worth.

"So who was that you were with tonight?" John asked the question Monica had expected to come up.

"That was Andy. We sat together on the bus and he listened to all my woes."

"I wouldn't have thought someone like you had woes." John laughed as they crossed 50th street with a stream of others. Monica just smiled. A comment like that was not a conversation she wanted to continue right then. There would be plenty of time later to get into the book she could write about her epic journey from Mexico City to New York.

Crossing the next few streets they were quiet as they watched passers-by and all the nightlife of the famous city. Even this late at night the city seemed alive and ticking along. It was exciting. Monica experienced freedom like she had rarely felt before. She was on vacation and with the man she had more than anything wanted to be with just at that time.

There were no accusing eyes watching them. They were at liberty to use their constitutional right of free will.

As they walked closer to their destination Monica kept wondering how the night would turn out. Would there be another chance to kiss without it being forced? His lips had felt so good on hers that she couldn't leave it just at one. Hopefully he felt the same way or he probably might not have been continually holding her hand.

They crossed 57th street and turned right.

"So where's this place?" By that stage the snow was a little more prominent. They would need shelter soon.

"Just a little further, two more streets." John comforted. "So where's your luggage?"

"You only just noticed?" Monica chuckled.

...........

"I imagined you would have left it somewhere and would go back for it." John spoke commonsense.

"Well you're right. I left it somewhere and went back for it." They stopped at the lights about to cross the final street. "Security was tight and wouldn't let me take it further than the corner of 8th avenue so it was either leave it there and meet you or stay with it and not meet you."

John snorted and shook his head,
"So you have no spare clothes."

"I'm going to have to sleep in my underwear tonight." She was going to say 'naked' but it could give John images that were most likely not the right timing.

"We'll need to do something about that." The lights went to green and they crossed. "Stores will be closed tomorrow though."

Monica had images of John sharing his clothes with her and liked what she saw.

"Is this the place?" Monica was halted outside a brightly lit Italian eatery that looked well and truly open.

"This is it." He took her inside and they both took off their coats and placed them on the coat stand provided.

"Table for two?" asked the decidedly New York accent. As if she was expecting Italian. "This way." The couple were taken through a beaded curtain into a more dimly lit section of the eatery.

As they were sitting the man stopped John.

"I know you." He pointed a wavy finger towards him.

"Excuse me?" John looked up as he got comfortable in his seat and gave a menu to Monica.

"You were in the newspaper today."

Monica's eyes widened and she saw John's eyes go a little uncomfortable.

"John?" She began taking off her gloves out of habit but was very curious why her partner would be in the news.

"The FBI guy." The waiter held out his hand and John shook it firmly to be polite. Many other eyes also looked and a buzz developed around the room. "It's an honor to meet you. What can I get you, anything, it's on the house for you and your lady."

"John, what's going on?" Monica spoke softly not wanting to cause him any embarrassment.

"That's okay man, just doing my duty as a Federal officer." He looked across to Monica but not at her. She could see he had some explaining to do.

"The Toto's special is good today. All fresh ingredients." The waiter mentioned as John looked across for Monica's approval.

"Sounds good," Monica agreed.

"Four slices and a beer each." John took charge but checked Monica's face for approval.

Excitedly the man moved away leaving the couple in relatively enough peace to have the much-needed chat.

"Did you have something to do with helping find the airport extortionist?" It was Monica's turn to add two and two.

"I was just there at the right time," he explained. "I was waiting for your flight and when you weren't on it I was going to wait for the next. It just happened."

"So you're the hero all these people have been talking about? You found the assailant?" Monica was amazed but understood that she would do the same in similar circumstances. They were trained that way.

"Monica, you and me both know it's no big deal." His voice was quiet as he looked around to see if anyone else was listening in. "I was doing my job, you know that."

"Here you go Toto's Special and two beers. Enjoy." The waiter kept his wide beam as he gave the couple some peace.

It smelt so good that they both had to take a few bites of the pizza before continuing their conversation. After finishing one piece each and half their beer they sat back a little to talk.

"John, I'm so proud of you." She placed a hand on his and he automatically linked fingers with hers. It was another magic moments as the skin on skin contact sent more messages to their bodies than outwardly apparent. "How did you do it?" She found herself saying but thinking what she would like him to do to her at that moment.

"I'll tell you later." He looked around the room indicating to her that he would prefer to explain it privately rather than with many listening ears.

"I'm full." Monica used her napkin and sat back quietly waiting for John to finish. Taking random sips of her beer she watched him as he completed his meal. They had been in that same situation when on away cases where they would eat a meal together but this was all so different. The evening on cases would be all planned. They'd finish up work for the night and then say goodnight and go to sleep in their separate beds in usually adjoining rooms.

Monica couldn't see them sleeping together at his parents' home either. Even though they were both well over the age of consent it was just not the done thing to sleep with someone's son under the same roof as his parents. Although it would be highly erotic staying quiet enough for them not to hear.

Monica mentally scolded herself for jumping to conclusions. One kiss did not mean they would suddenly jump into bed. Even though she would accept, he would need to be the one to initiate such intimacy.

"Ready to go?" John dabbed at his mouth with his napkin and then drank the dregs of his beer.

As they passed the counter there were excited goodbye waves from all the staff. John thanked them with some handshakes and grabbed both their coats from the rack. "Glad to get outta there." John laughed as they both donned their overcoats in the snowfall.

"What now?" Monica followed John down the slight incline of the street to his truck that was parked halfway down the block.

"Well." He leant up against the door of his truck and held out both arms to entice Monica into them. Naturally she obliged with a grin and once again accepted his strong arms around her. "We can either go back to my parents' place or.....," he paused showing it was perfect timing for another kiss.

That time it was even better than the first. Their lips barely touched at the start as if teasing but then became closer. John's mouth opened as he took her ready lips. They were French kissing before long, Monica's body pressing into his with an urgency that probably required a private room. His hands wandered over her back but not yet going lower even though Monica willed him to do so.

Her arms circled his neck as the kiss continued, neither of them wanting to stop.

It wasn't until they heard an ahem from a passer-by that they stopped and saw where they were.

"Or? What was the other option John?" She still held him close hoping he would suggest what she wanted him to.

"Or we could stay overnight in a hotel." His gaze went to the hotel a little down the street. "I've already made a booking."


"You made a booking for us?" Monica's heart was racing like a Grand Prix driver.

"It could be for us." His clear blue eyes seemed pleading and she knew that even if she hadn't turned up that night he was going to stay in the city overnight anyway. "The Salisbury. It's not five star but it's elegant, spacious and friendly."

"Okay, let's do it." Even though she had been looking forward to meeting his parents again it could wait. He grinned and then went to the trunk of his vehicle and produced an overnight bag. Taking her hand he led her out of the snow and into the lobby of the hotel.

"Ah Mr. Doggett," It seemed his reputation had preceded him yet again. "Your room is ready. Will the lady be staying with you?"

"This is Monica Reyes and she will be staying with me." He seemed proud to introduce her. "She has been unfortunate enough to have had to abandon her luggage because of New Year's security."

"We'll see what we can do." No further explanation was needed. "Leave your keys with Ralph our Valet over there and he'll take care of your vehicle.

With no more talk John collected the room key and taking Monica's hand once more led her to the elevator. She had been speechless the whole time concerned that her numb tongue would say something unintelligible and make her look foolish. He was really taking her up to his room and to his bed.

The climb to the fifth floor was silent as it was shared with three others. All the time John was fondling his partner's fingers making her body scream out the be touched all over the same way.

As he unlocked the door he gave a small smile and then ushered her inside first.

It was a very spacious double room with old world hues and furnishings. The window looked out onto a West 57th Street below that was slowly becoming white.

John disappeared into the next room and Monica followed to see him placing his overnight bag on a seat near the bed.

"Come on," he went to help her off with her coat and then took both garments next door to place on the coat stand. As Monica took off her gloves and scarf she looked around the room and especially focused on the double bed.

When John came back she couldn't believe how good he looked. He wore a dark green ribbed sweater and jeans that looked new.

"John I...." She wanted to say something about wanting just that situation for way too long but it would have sounded lame.

His hands went to her shoulders and he looked deeply into her eyes, "We will only do this if you want it." How could she say no when he asked so caringly and with such a sexy voice?

"John, I want this." She began to slowly take off her sweater leaving her silk camisole underneath. "I've wanted this for a long time." John tried hard not to focus on her chest but she smiled at his controlled reaction.

"Good, so have I." He also took off his sweater revealing his characteristic white well-fitted T-shirt.

Moving closer, Monica decided that she wanted to make more contact. Undoing his belt she noticed his eyes closing and his chest heave at her touch.

"Let's take this slow." She reached a hand behind his neck and drew him down into another kiss. This time his hands felt over her back but also went lower drawing her hips towards his. She couldn't help but grind into him and feel how already he was prepared to make love to her. Her hands pulled out the T-shirt from the rim of his jeans and meandered over his bare back. As she pulled out the rest of the top and moved over his chest he deepened the kiss until they were in a heated embrace that could have melted a street of snow.

Monica ached for him to remove her clothes, to experience his fingers lightly grazing her skin. As if reading her mind his hands moved under her camisole and began undoing her bra. With a swift motion both her bra and top were removed leaving him to watch the gift that unfolded. For the very first time he saw her naked breasts and had to touch them. With cupped gentle hands he massaged them as Monica's eyes closed in the ecstasy of the moment.

"You still want this?" he asked in a breathy voice that teased her left cheek. Always the gentleman, his attitude made her even hotter for him. It was a redundant question as she lifted his T-shirt up and over his head leaving them both naked from the waist up.

Sitting on the bed she patiently let him take off her socks shoes and then his own before he straddled her in an embrace that had their tongues slow dancing.

With her jean clad legs open he rested his crotch on hers and gently ground into her as they both kissed more deeply then ever. His hardness for her was more than evident making her ache for his length to be free of its constriction and deeply wedged inside her.

It was all too perfect, the setting, the timing, the person. He was doing this for her, to her timing, her notion of perfection. It made her wonder if he had ever had wet dreams envisioning her like she did about him. He must have known that to do this for the first time at his parents' place would not be so memorable.

To help the session along further she moved her hands between them to undo the fasteners of his jeans. He stopped kissing and slipped closed his lids as she deliberately felt over his erection while taking down his pants. It was solid and hot, needing freedom from its restriction. With his jeans resting over his upper thighs she slipped his briefs down letting his manhood spring free.

He let out audible gasps as she took both garments further down his body letting his erection deliberately touch her body as often as possible. Once around his knees he took over the removal of the garments letting them rest on the floor.

He was on her mouth again as Monica's hand encircled what would soon be inside her. It felt huge and alive to the touch as she moved her hand slowly up and down its rigid length.

"Monica," he breathed into her mouth. "Let me love you."

They were the perfect words for the perfect moment.

"Please do," she whispered on his cheek as she undid the button of her jeans and began pulling them over her hips. His head bent down to look as she slowly revealed herself to him.

"Oh Monica," He was a ball of sexual self-discipline as he helped her off with both garments at once. The way he looked at her was with pride rather than lust, which was ideal for the moment. She wanted him to show he liked what he saw not that she was just any female who was going to make love to him.

She let his erection find its own way rubbing between her legs as they kissed again.

"Just do it John, I want you." Her insides called out for him to enter her threshold. With one hand she helped guide his solidity into her for the very first time. It was big and needed to move in slowly even though she was well lubricated. Their hips moved in counter motion letting him take his time entering her.

When in deeply they both took a moment to experience the ultimate. It was the most amazing feeling, to be loved by a most amazing person. The union was unique and sizzling hot.

For ages they just moved with each other, kissing, fondling, getting to intimately know the bodies that would continue to also engage in such sweet entertainment in the future. Instead of just dreaming, John was really there and in reality making the kind of love to her that she had only envisaged.

Monica was the one to come first. The most wonderful experience of her life was coming with this man inside her. He smiled on her mouth as he felt her pulsate on him and her head move back to endure the thick pleasure. The dream of the morning before came back to mind but the orgasm with the real man was so much more intense. It seemed to endure, wave after pleasurable wave as he kept moving and kissing lightly over the curve of her neck.

"Come for me," she whispered as her orgasm trailed off into sleepiness, giving him permission to release inside her.

John didn't need any more encouragement. With a few chesty grunts she felt his warmth fill her and experienced a serenity that was far more effective than any yoga class. The following moments were pure heaven as they lay together, John lightly laying his naked weight on her until gently pulling out and lying beside her.

"They're going to know we made love," John chuckled as they both lay naked on top of the bed.

"I think they knew that well before we crumpled their bedspread." Monica joined in the light-heartedness.

"It was that obvious?" He joked.

"A handsome hero bringing a mute female to his hotel room, you tell me!" She turned her body to look into his eyes.

"For a mute girl you sure spoke heaps just then with your body." His eyebrows rose with his revelation.

"Come on," She got up and began finally taking the bedcovers off so they could slip between the sheets. John complied and turned off the bedside light letting the room fall into semidarkness. "You still have some explaining to do Mr. Hero Man."

With both their spooned bodies facing the window and John's arm draped over his new lover, they watched the gentle snow fall outside, thankful they were comfortable with each other both emotionally and physically.

Chapter Nine
The Salisbury Hotel, NYC
New Years Day, 8am

"Mom, I'm okay really." John spoke quietly not wanting to wake his sleeping partner in the other room. After a shower and pulling on some clean boxers he had gently closed the bedroom door to keep out most of the distractions of the phone call home. "Yes, I stayed over night in a hotel." He switched the phone to the other ear and sat on one of the lounge chairs in front of the large screen television that was on but with the audio set on mute. "Yes, I'm with her. 'Her' by the way is Monica."

John lay back on the couch with his feet elevated and free arm lying along the head of the seat.

"Mom, would you have minded if I'd shared a bed with her at your place?" He rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I thought not." He crossed his ankles. "Okay I lied. I do have feelings for her. No wonder I became an investigator Mom, I learnt the third degree skills from you." He laughed.

"John?" A still sleepy Monica appeared at the bedroom door and then waved and went back into the bedroom when she realized he was on the phone.

"Mom, I have to go." He stood and began walking towards the telephone cradle. "We should be there mid afternoon. You don't think it's wise? Mom! Can we have this conversation later? Bye, love you too." He bent over, the phone still at his ear all the way down. "Mom, her name's Monica and you'll love her too, I promise." He hung up and blew out a puff of air in relief.

He had wanted Monica and him to wake up together but being the early riser that he was he just couldn't go back to sleep after being ready for the day at seven. In a way, if they had made love that morning it was probably too soon. He wanted to keep the memory of the previous night intact. It was all so wonderful.

"Who was that?" With a hotel towel around her middle Monica began picking up the clothes that had been strewn on the floor, the testament to a night of lovemaking.

"I just rang home, Mom worries." He stood there a little awkward hoping his lover wouldn't see the small amount of unease. He had more or less told his mother he had slept with a woman. What would she think after all the years of being single?

"So she knows?" With an armful of clothes Monica proceeded to the bathroom and then turned and waited when she reached the door. John just nodded almost imperceptibly. He really didn't want to go into any more details. "So your parents are happy for me to stay with them?"

"They're okay with it." He didn't lie, just played down their seemingly indifference.

"Just okay?" Monica moved into the bathroom with her partner on her heels. "John I really don't want to be a burden. I can stay at a hotel."

"You're not a burden." After she placed the clothes on a nearby chair he was there before her, looking at her intently, wanting her to see that it didn't matter what anyone else thought, he wanted to be with her and that's what really counted. "And you're staying, no questions asked."

"The sleeping arrangements?" She smiled and raised her eyebrows eliciting a small chuckle from her male friend.

"Monica," he moved in closer and ran a hand softly up one arm. "Before me, my father was a NYPD cop, my mother spent her career as a nurse in the US army until us kids came along. I was brought up in a strict household. Just because I'm forty something doesn't give me liberties to fool around under their roof."

"I know John," she spoke softly and with acceptance. "And that's part of who you are too. I understand."

"Then you'll also understand that I'll be dreaming about being with you." His other hand also made a move. He wanted so badly to kiss her but didn't want it forced.

"Last night was wonderful John." Her arms lifted and moved over his shoulders, her fingers lightly touching his neck, sending instant messages to the pleasure center of is brain.

"Yes, it was." A thumb played with the ridge on one ear, as she seemed to gauge his readiness for more fun. "Monica, I....."

"You don't want to do this?" There she went reading him again but naturally his apprehension didn't seem to worry her. "We have a hotel room and a large shower we need to make use of."

"It's just that," His head turned slightly away looking inwardly. "I didn't ask you to New York to have sex with you." He looked back into her eyes, conversing with more than just words. "Don't get me wrong. I wanted to make a move, to kiss you and I thought last night was the perfect opportunity." She was just smiling. Why didn't she say anything? "For a while now I've wanted us to be closer but the timing was all off. Here in New York, away from home, it seemed easier to make that first move. I just hoped you might have wanted it too."

By the time he had finished his speech her face was glowing and with a hint of tears. At that moment he knew he had said something right.

"Me too John. I've also wanted this, us." Her hands traversed gently over his bare shoulders and then fingers wandered over the well defined shape of his chest. "I've just been waiting until you were ready." Didn't she know that what she was doing with her hands was driving him wild? "Now I know." Her voice trailed off as her fingernails grazed his abdomen just above the rim of his boxers. "And I want more."

........

It was the perfect moment for another kiss, one that would probably lead to the inevitable again.

They moved in together, he sliding his hands over her towel and pulling her body in close and she feeling over his back and then down over the slippery material of his boxers.

The kiss was slow and measured and erotic. Each of them had all morning for themselves if they so wished. Her lips were warm and soft yet her body and arms displayed a strength that showed she didn't want to let him go. He was hers for that moment, free do to with him what she willed.

"Make love in the shower?" It really wasn't a question as she slipped her fingers under the rim of his boxers and began tugging them from his hips, still kissing breathlessly. As the fabric slipped to his ankles he flicked them off. Continuing the barrage of kisses his hands went for her towel and let it also fall to the floor leaving them both completely bare and vulnerable to each other's whims.

The shower was a separate cubicle with a glass door and big enough for two amorous people. John reached in and turned the faucet letting a torrent of steaming water hit the base. The temperature was just right as John ushered his lover inside and then followed, immediately madly kissing again but this time under the hot steady spray of water.

"How are we going to do this?" His smile felt over her mouth as his arms enclosed her hot body not caring that he was declaring his readiness to immediately pin her against the wall.

"You want me to give you a love lesson John Doggett?" She licked over his lips then attacked his mouth again this time also letting her hands slip to rub over his butt.

"I don't want to hurt you." His said gently enough not to alarm her. Looking at him with that famous mischievous smile she twisted in his arms until she faced the wall and then bent forward moving her ass in just the right spot on his ready body.

It would have been sexy enough out of the shower but with the water running down their bodies making the skin glisten added to the eroticism. His hands found their way to her dripping hair, then fingers felt over her neck, across her shoulders, over her breasts then made their way down her curves, admiring his prize all the way down to her hips.

"John," it came out as one big breath as he pushed his length into her from behind. She tilted her head so he could see her face, her forearms leaning against the tiles for support.

The look of simple pleasure his lover wore and the feel of her hot skin to his touch made him want to go full force inside her but learnt by years of self-restraint he held back. Holding her hips steady with his hands he slowly built up momentum just mesmerized about making love to the woman he so desired.

At that point he never wanted to go home but stay at the hotel indefinitely. There they would be in their own world, discovering each other in a whole new way without the intervention of outside influences. He only wanted to know what his parents thought if it was good but they had only met Monica a couple of times and she hadn't been introduced as his girlfriend. Way at the back of his mind was what the couple would do when they were back at work. It was something however that they would need to discuss beforehand.

Watching how Monica responded to his movement inside her and his hands caressing her back and hips there was no doubt that the previous evening and that morning were turning points in their relationship. There was no returning to old ways. He had wondered where a simple kiss would lead but really had not thought it would go as far as making love in the shower the morning after.

The way she groaned pleasure and expressed her deep contentment in her face made the moment even more special. He watched her as they both reached the highly pleasurable ultimate and caught her when she almost slipped. He had always desired to be there to catch her in the past and vowed at that moment to be always there in the future. To him making love to a woman was making a statement of commitment that should never be taken lightly.

"Hold me John." She turned again in his arms and he could tell that her footing was unstable. "That was something!" Her smile touched his lips and they kissed again as the water covered their easing bodies.

They had almost finished helping each other soap and rinse their bodies when Monica heard something outside.

.....

"What is it?" John quickly rinsed the remainder of the lather and stepped out of the shower, reaching for a clean towel.

"I just think it was the front door." Monica peered out as John was wrapping the towel around his waist.

There was another soft knock as he headed out of the bedroom and into the lounge area of the suite.

"Oh Mr. Doggett, I'm sorry if I caught you at a bad time." There was a smartly dressed woman at the door and her eyes were clearly trying not to look at the half clad still wet man before her. Her timing could have been a little more apt.

"Yes?" He looked down to what she carried in her hand and looked up puzzled.

"I'm Mary Miller the joint owner of the hotel. I believe this belongs to your lady friend." She handed over the largish suitcase to a still confused John. "When you said she had to leave her bag behind we did some digging around. The security guard must have taken a liking to your friend because he took it to the local Police station."

"Thank you. She'll be relieved." He was about to close the door when he saw she had something else to say.

"This also came for you. It's a phone message. Your mother insisted, when your phone wasn't answering." She looked a little apologetic as she quickly looked down his body clearly showing she knew where he had been to not hear the phone ring. "Sorry again for the bad timing."

This time he was able to close the door. It was becoming a little chilly standing there with only a towel.

"John?" Monica came out also just dressed in a towel.

"Looks like your luck is turning Monica." He smiled as he placed the suitcase on the bench provided.

"Wow, it sure is." She looked at him to explain.

"Security took it to the local PD. Just as well or you might have had to wear men's clothes for today." He nudged her as he passed, heading for the bedroom to get dressed.

"What's that?" Monica noticed the paper in his hand.

"It's a message from Mom." He opened it as he spoke and then read, his eyes and mouth going steely.

"Okay." Not wanting to pry into what was probably private she went to find some fresh clothes to wear.

He moved up towards Monica with a mixture of annoyance and regret.

"Mom and Dad want us there for lunch at one. Apparently they've invited someone over." Monica swept past him and into the bedroom with her clothes in her hand. "I'll ring back and say we can't make it."

"No John, that's okay. We still have a couple of days here for you to show me around." Dropping her towel she began clothing herself in her underwear, much to John's distraction. "You can show me the city another day."

He went quiet, which made her stop and look at him for answers.

"Mom always does this. Testing me." Slowly he made his way to his overnight bag and began pulling out some clothing.

"Testing you?" Monica resumed dressing herself in a clean pair of jeans and a ribbed V-neck sweater. Sitting on the bed she proceeded to pull on socks.

"Mandy Chisholm was an old flame of mine in senior high. We could have made a go of it but I was too young and had my sights set on joining the Marines."

"So you loved her?" Monica rummaged around the floor for her Nikes and found them under the bed.

"I suppose I loved her but what is love when you're that young?" John pulled a T-shirt over his head. "Mandy married not long after that. I always thought it could have been me and for a while I did regret not staying with her." He gave a chuckle and added, "We could have had a bunch of kids by now." He then went thoughtful as he pulled up his jeans and zipped and buttoned.

"So Mandy's going to be there for lunch and you think your Mom deliberately invited her to add a fly to the ointment?" Monica finished tying her laces and stood and opened her handbag for her hairbrush. He didn't need to answer for her to understand. Moving up closer she rested a light hand on his arm. "Really John, if it's going to be too awkward for your parents I won't stay there. I really don't mind."

"Damn it Monica! If anything I should be the one to move out with you." He heavily sat on the bed to put on his socks and shoes. "But that's bailing out. It's not the way to handle Mom. She's a strong woman but she also can accept when I've made a decision." With just his socks he stood and held onto Monica's hands. "If you want to be with me then I'm prepared to show her that my ties are with you."

He waited until she made a sign that her intentions were longer plan.

"I can't imagine myself being with anyone but you John." She sweetly smiled and looked into his eyes that spoke unending gratitude. "Let's get some breakfast. I'm starving." Monica almost pulled him out the door without his footwear.

Chapter Ten
Long Island
January 1, 12.55pm

"This is the house you grew up in?" Monica looked across at the double fronted smallish dwelling with a colourful garden even though there was a thin covering of fresh snow. "It's so sweet."

"Cosy, you might call it." John switched off the engine and pulled out the keys and just sat there looking at his childhood house and then Monica. "Mom and Dad could afford a bigger place but they've always liked the area and all their friends live here."

"Oh I understand John." Monica reached out her hand to hold his. "I can't believe our parents are so similar that way. They lead the simple life, I admire that."

"How far from here is where you lived when you were married?" Monica took off her seatbelt but was in no hurry to get out of the car.

"Oh, about two miles thataway, east." He nodded the direction with his head. "Barbara's and my families grew up attending the same church. That's how I knew her."

"I didn't know your family was that religious." Monica smiled and sat back more in the seat.

John chucked before replying, "Oh yeah, every Sunday religiously."

Monica could tell it wasn't the time to delve into the man that was the younger John Doggett or they would be there all afternoon. She had remembered the time on one case when he'd said he'd slept through his share of Sunday Schools. She smiled and snorted imagining what it would have been like to know him then.

"So are you ready?"

John took a renewed breath and got out of the truck. Monica waited for him to open her door knowing that's what he wanted to do the first time as a couple at his parents' home.

"Monica. I can't believe we're going to do this."

"Trust me John," As she stood Monica gave him a kiss on the cheek. "It's the best way for your parents to stop testing you."

As they approached the front door it opened and as if my magic an elderly couple stood there to greet them.

"Mom, Dad, you remember Monica." John looked from them to his partner as though showing off a prize but all Monica could see was their body language. She had been wondering whether it was a ritual in the Doggett family to give a hug and kiss as a greeting but from their manner it did not seem that way.

"Come and meet our guest," was all his mother said after giving Monica a nod of acknowledgement. Had John noticed how his mother had more or less brushed off his friend's presence?

The remaining three just stood still for a moment not sure of how to react.

"Well Monica," John's dad spoke up and held out his hand to shake hers. " I hope you enjoy your stay with us." At least he made her feel a little welcome. She felt John's hand on her back urging her in the direction in which his mother had taken. Moving into the dining room, in the center a table was adorning with all the trimmings for the expected meal.

Also standing behind one chair was an attractive smiling woman possibly in her late thirties. She stood a little taller than Martha Doggett who was grinning by her side.

"John, you remember Mandy Chisholm. Seeing you couldn't make it last night I thought I'd bring her here to meet you."

Mandy moved around the table to give John a greeting hug to which he politely responded.

"How long has it been now?" Her soft voice questioned.

"About three years." John replied, a smile across his face. "We must catch up over lunch." Being left to conclude the introductions he turned to Monica.

"This is Monica Reyes. She's my work partner."

"Oh, I've heard about you." Both ladies shook hands. "You're the one who was meant to help John with the airport case but got in too late." Monica's jaw dropped at the unexpected utterance.

........

Before anyone could verbally react, John's mother was organizing people to sit so she and her husband could serve the meal.

This was not the way for Monica to feel welcome. Beginning to regret having set foot into the house, she sat anyway wondering how she was going to explain all and still furnish acceptance.

"Actually Mandy, I asked Monica here as a friend." It was about time John stepped in. "She was staying with her family over Christmas in Mexico and I invited her here for the New Year.

"So you made it after all." Joe Doggett chimed in reminding the agents of his initial blunder with the telephone message.

"Dad, you got the message wrong. She couldn't get a flight but took the bus instead." John glowered at his father but it made no difference. Like a man who wouldn't accept blame, he was steadfast.

"So John, what plans do you have for the next few days while here in New York?" Mandy clearly looked hopeful that he would have time for her, making Monica wonder just what John's mother had told her. Martha knew John and she had spent the night together in a hotel and in the same bed.

"Here it is. Dad, would you mind carving?" Martha brought the roast turkey out on a large platter. The smell was wonderful reminding her she hadn't eaten since breakfast. "Mandy, I'm sure John would find the time to meet you for a coffee and maybe a meal."

"Mom, I can make my own arrangements, thanks." John tried to say politely but Monica could see he was irritated. He immediately stood and began walking towards the kitchen. "I'll help with the rest of the food." Monica sighed knowing John would be talking with his mother about what was transpiring. She didn't want to come straight out with her being in love with John but they were going to have to know sometime.

"I'll help too." John's father stood leaving the two women to talk, and for Monica to continue the carving of the meat.

Monica prided herself on knowing John's character fairly well and knew he would not be swayed by his mother's actions. Also if he were in any way romantically attracted to the other woman in the room he probably would have already acted upon it. It had taken him years to admit his feelings for Monica and she could only see him as a one woman man.

"So how long have you known John?" In her eyes Monica could see that Mandy was beginning to understand what was happening.

"I worked a case with him here in New York ten years ago. That's when we first met." She decided not to mention the painful nature of the case. "And you?"

"John and myself go way back. As a boy my older brother was his best friend at school. He would often come to our house to play." She smiled as she reminisced, sending Monica into a wave of pity. Did his mother know that by asking Mandy to lunch it was giving her false hope?

Monica was just about to tell her that she and John were more than just partners when the others came back into the room with a platter each.

"Here we go," John's mother announced. "Mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, gravy."

Monica by then had placed some meat on each of the five plates before her. Handing them out to the others she sat and waited for the bowls of vegetables to be passed around.

There was a buzz of conversation over the meal, all talking about their Christmases and then New Year's resolutions.

"So John," As the meal was subsiding Mandy got his attention as well as the whole table. "Did you make a New Year's resolution.?"

Monica watched his reaction wondering whether he would pluck up enough courage to go ahead with their plan. It was perfect timing. He placed his cutlery on his plate and dabbed at his mouth with a napkin.

"Mom, Dad," He looked at Mandy but it was really an announcement directed to his parents. "I've come to a decision that I have been single for far too long. Work has come first to the exclusion of a love life." Monica could see John's parents on tenterhooks and tried not to show the emotion that was brimming within.

"Son, what are you trying to say?"

"Dad, I'm saying that I've fallen for someone at work." He tried not to glance at Mandy as he spoke which was a good thing because her look of remorse could have distracted him from what he needed to publicize. "I've thought long and hard about this and if she is willing I would like to marry her as soon as possible."

"John, are you sure about this?" His mother showed a worry for someone too young to make up his own mind but her son at his age was more than capable of doing that.

He and Monica exchanged sweet smiles trying to keep their emotions in check for their plan to be foolproof. For more effect he took Monica's hand in his before continuing to the captivated audience, "Never been surer. Monica here supports me on this and that's part of the reason I asked her to New York as a partner and friend." He gave her hand a squeeze. "Mom, Dad, Monica, if she'll have me I want to marry Dana Scully." ........

"What?" John's parents echoed each other's confusion.

"She's the one who gave away her child." Martha was trying to fathom his decision.

"And I could have a son again if there is any way to get William back." John was doing a remarkable job seeing it was all acting but Monica had seen his impressive work badgering witnesses to get to the truth.

"I thought she was with that Mulder guy?" Joe Doggett questioned.

"Mulder is always running off. I could convince her that with me she could have a stable life again." His hand was still squeezing his partner's, all for effect.

"So she doesn't necessarily feel the same way?" Was that a little relief in Martha Doggett's expression?

"I think I could convince her that marrying me would be beneficial." John finally looked across to Mandy who was still dumbstruck. "Monica here said she'd support me to the end."

"That's what partners are for." Monica nodded to each member of the table. She then did something that had been planned but needed perfect timing to work. Standing and placing her napkin on her finished plate, she moved closer to her partner and gave him a kiss on the lips. It wasn't just the kiss of friendship. Even though it was a light touch of the lips the kiss lingered just barely over the realm of alliance, long enough for the room's occupants to be even more puzzled. "Now, if you'll excuse me I need to visit the bathroom. John would you mind directing me there?"

John quickly stood and ushered his partner from the room. All the way to the end of the hall the house was quiet, the three they had left were clearly stunned. ...........

John opened the bathroom door and they both went inside, Monica barely able to keep her control.

"I've never seen Mom and Dad look that shocked before." John shook his head and snorted.

"You were perfect John, it'll get them thinking. What do you think they're talking about now?" Monica spoke first.

"Have I lost my mind? Pity is no reason to marry someone, it should be for mutual love." John responded.

"If he wants a child he could have his own, he's still young enough." Monica found herself wanting to touch him again.

"He's getting himself into another doomed marriage if you tell me." He mimicked his mother's voice.

"They'd be thinking but not saying out loud about why it is that you're sleeping with me when you love and want to marry someone else."

"I think they'd be in denial over that one, Monica."

"John, I think I hear someone. Part Two!" Immediately they lightly held each other and began a gentle kiss. It lingered but, for effect, was never meant to get any deeper.

"John?" They chose to ignore the soft voice that came from behind the half closed door. The kiss was a little too good to keep light but it was necessary for the play. "Your mom said that dessert's ready. John?"

There was a gasp at the door and an apology before the couple unlocked lips to see the open doorway empty. Mandy had fled the scene of the crime.

"Do you think she'll tell?" Monica asked still keeping the man in her arms.

"Even if she doesn't then we still have Part Three right?"

"And am I looking forward to that one!" Monica gave him another quick kiss and on the way out of the bathroom flushed the toilet for effect. "Coming?"

Chapter Eleven
Doggett senior residence,
January 2, 2am

"John, you still want to do this?" Monica lightly touched her partner's arm, as he lay asleep on the couch in the darkened lounge room. He woke slowly to her stroking his cheek. "John, Part Three remember?"

"Yeah, I remember. Didn't mean to fall asleep for that long." He stirred and then sat up dressed in sleeping T-shirt and boxers, getting his bearings.

"Come on, meet me back in your bed." She tiptoed out of the room with John lazily following still not fully awake. There was no way in the past he would have entertained the thought of a woman in his bed under his parents' roof. Not just that it was not something they would tolerate but that he would have also felt a little uneasy.

When he had witnessed his parents' reaction to having a woman by his side and especially after his mom's 'talk' that afternoon, that was when he knew he and Monica needed to do something to convince his parents that Monica was indeed an ideal match for their son.

Still a little sleepy he slipped under the covers beside a warm Monica. It was a cosy fit in the single bed, each of them having to lay close linking limbs.

"I can't believe I'm doing this," John whispered as Monica rested her head on his shoulder and began skimming her hand down his side and underneath his top. One leg lay lightly along his.

"Why not John? Even you agreed it would be a way for your parents to see who you really wanted to be with, particularly who you were sexually compatible with." She sat up a little and began taking off her satin slip. "Come on, we agreed to leave our clothes on the floor."

Reluctantly but with understanding John also took off his T-shirt and boxers and dropped them to the floor near his partner's night attire.

Settling back in a warm embrace they each knew just how natural it felt. To be naked in bed seemed as though it had always been.

"I still can't believe I'm actually here, you are here." John continued to whisper as his hand followed suit and moved to hold her closer.

"No regrets?" Monica kissed his chest as she spoke and then moved her head to see his face in the semi dark room.

"That's just the thing. You know me Monica." John continued to whisper. "Would I kiss someone and then sleep with them so soon afterwards?"

"Only me," she giggled and went to run her hand over his cheek. There hadn't often been the opportunity to be that close. The silence between them belied the thoughts that raced through their minds as they just watched each other, smiling.

"What'll we do when we get home?" John's voice was more than a whisper but then quickly decreased the volume when he realized his parents could possibly hear.

"I couldn't go behind people's backs either John." Her fingers combed through his hair and over his ear to his neck. "Let's not think about that now. We have our current case to consider." Her body climbed lightly on his and felt him begin to come more alive beneath her.

"I thought we were just going to sleep?" John accepted her mouth on his because the temptation was too great. A naked female draped over any man would be enticement enough let alone one he had desired to be closer to.

She let him reconsider the statement as they continued a kiss that couldn't stop at one.

"John," she paused just millimetres from his lips. "Have you ever fantasized about having sex in this bed?"

"Monica, I...." The words caught in his throat. "We were going to sleep. I don't want my parents hearing anything."

"We can be quiet. Come on, tell me what you've dreamed about." As she spoke she moved her body on his just enough to indicate that she couldn't just stop at a kiss.

"You're a tease Monica Reyes," he whispered and then swiftly rolled her over so that he was in the dominant position. "You don't know how many times I've wanted you just like this."

"So you've dreamt about me in this bed with you?" Intently she watched as his eyes filled with desire.

"I've had plenty of time over the last two weeks." He kissed her once and then let her talk.

"So that's why you asked me to New York? You've been fanaticizing about me?" Monica made the most of the intimate moment and began running a hand slowly down his bare back to rest on his ass.

"Maybe a little," John chuckled, having given himself away.

"So tell me, what have you imagined doing to me?" Both of them knew exactly where all the talk would lead as gradually their bodies were becoming more impassioned.

"Monica, it's hard for me to discuss these things, even with you." His voice was low, his parents' bedroom across the hall from his.

"So let me help you." Her arm encircled his body and she gave a lingering kiss before she spoke. "Did it have anything to do with tasting me?"

"Might have." John whispered as he kissed her softly on the lips and then across her cheek to her ear where he licked along the ridge.

"Hmm," she purred approval. "Where else did you taste me?"

"If I showed you would you promise to keep your voice down?" His voice buzzed sexily in her ear. .............

"No promises until I know what you're doing." She murmured as he perched on an angle above her, running small kisses over her face and to her lips.

"Then I'll show you." With one hand he touched her body, over a shoulder and down one arm then up over her thigh to a breast. As if practised he lightly managed her soft mound as his mouth explored hers more fully.

Monica was willing him to do what she had dreamt about back in Mexico City, to touch every part of her with his mouth. As if on signal he smiled before shifting his body to straddle hers, still under the bed covers. With his wonderful face he watched her first before moving down to a breast. The hot, wet feel as his tongue gently touched a nipple almost caused her to loudly sigh but she kept it in, simply relinquishing a few quick breaths.

"John," she whispered slowly as he licked a line to her other breast leaving the first to cool off in the night air. Her back curved and her arms stretched high above her head stifling a deep moan as he suckled her.

"We shouldn't be doing this here," he tried to justify but smiled and softly chuckled as he planted small kisses all the way to her belly.

Monica couldn't even moan a reaction as his fingers placed a little pressure on her inner thighs giving the response of moving her legs apart. If that wasn't enough to let her know what he had planned, his hot breath was already between her legs.

"No we shouldn't," she heavily sighed as kisses moved along her inner thighs.

"Shhh," he quietly reminded and then blew hot air between her legs. Holding onto the bed head behind her for support she bit her lip to stifle any escaping sound as he began exquisitely licking and sucking her. To dream about him doing just that was erotic enough but the actual feel of his tongue wandering over her impassioned bud was highly stimulating. She was on the verge of letting herself lose control when she felt a thick finger push inside stimulating yet another pleasure node.

She couldn't help let a low groan escape her throat as his lips, tongue and finger moved her into ecstasy land. It was the most delectable orgasm she had experienced. Letting her muscles relax she allowed wave after wave of pure bliss to coat her body.

"John." The appreciation she felt for his actions could not be translated but could be rewarded. "I want you inside me." Her fingers traced through his hair as his face looked to hers with satisfaction.

Her hands leaving the bed head went to his body, pulling him closer until his hips were aligned with hers.

"I don't know," John teasingly whispered but Monica moved her hand down and found overwhelming evidence that he also needed release. Shifting her legs to link around his hips her strong thighs brought him closer, motioning for him once again to couple with her.

As he pressed inside, his eyes slid closed and Monica could see the raw gratification he expressed on his face. It must have been so foreign for him to make love in that bed but it was also the most natural thing in the world. After all the time of waiting for the right time he was making love to her. The three times they had joined was testament enough that they were sexually attuned. What they had gone through as work partners and what they were prepared to endure as lovers was sign enough that, even though poles apart in attitude to various topics, they were indeed well-matched.

Pulling herself to sit on his lap gave her the chance to hold him as they made love. Her hands lightly scratched down his back as they rocked the bed. Thankfully there were no creaks from the bouncing bed frame as he pushed in deeper and harder. His hands cupped her ass cheeks drawing her in even nearer into his hot body.

Just as she felt the sparks of a second orgasm he whispered in her ear,

"You feel so good." The way he tilted his hips giving a few more thrusts, all the time his breath teasing her ear, kick started her into feeling the paradise all over again. How could that man do to her what no other man had?

As they both sat on the bed staying linked they heard something outside the room. Immediately John put a finger lightly against Monica's lips. Footsteps could be heard along the hallway giving the lovers a chance to unlink and get back under the covers.

They both stayed still just listening, Monica on the verge of laughing. John wasn't so light hearted.

"Do you think they heard?" Monica asked but in a way didn't mind if they had. It had all been part of the plan to get caught in bed together but in the morning rather than post coital during the night.

"Monica, are you all right?" John's mother's voice could be heard outside the door. Again John placed a finger on her mouth letting Monica know that silence was better than her answering when she was meant to be in a deep sleep. Eventually the main bedroom door closed letting them let out the breaths they had both been holding.

.....

John's bedroom, 8am

Monica was spooned up to John's warm naked body as they both slept peacefully. The golden light in the room hinted at the glorious sunrise outside. As usual John had woken at seven but decided that he would just lie there enjoying holding his woman. Together with the temperature of two bodies under the covers and the warmth he felt emotionally he had drifted back to sleep.

She hadn't heard the soft knock at the door and the female voice until she was woken suddenly by what appeared to be a gasp. Quickly sitting up in bed holding the sheet to her bare breasts she remembered that the situation was exactly what they had planned. As the door closed she got the swift glimpse of John's mother.

John was just stirring from sleep as his lover got out of bed and dressed in the satin slip that Mrs. Doggett must have seen on the floor with her son's night attire, demonstrating just how naked they were under together the covers.

Quickly extracting the robe from a stand by the door she donned it as she headed out the door. Looking back, John was still stirring and stretching but she left, time was of the essence.

"Mrs. Doggett," Monica found her in the kitchen slumped over the sink, her hands supporting her body. She stayed there collecting her thoughts. "I'm sorry you saw that. It was my fault." Monica tried to be the most empathic she had for a while at the same time playing out what they had planned. John's mom remained there shaking her head slightly while Monica moved up closer tempted to rest a hand on her shoulder.

"It takes two Monica," she finally commented.

"I know it takes two but I was the one to ask him to sleep with me." She quickly continued. "I know it was insensitive of me under your roof but he had intentions of being back on the sofa when the household woke."

"You really don't need to hide anything from us Monica." She turned, still with the weight of her body on one hip against the sink. "I just don't understand. Explain to me all this nonsense about marrying Dana Scully."

"He feels he's doing the right thing by her." Monica spoke gently. "She's lonely and sad when Mulder isn't around. Maybe he can give her a life that Mulder couldn't. I support him no matter what."

"That's bullshit and you know it!" The use of the expletive emphasized her feelings on the plan. "How can he offer to marry her when he's sleeping with you? I assume this has happened more than once." Monica just nodded somewhat. Mrs. Doggett moved over to the coffee machine and began preparing it for the morning. "That's not how marriage works. Have you been married, Monica?"

"No, I haven't," she replied simply.

"Joe and myself have been happily married for fifty years now. We have two boys and a girl from that union." She placed the machine's filter paper in the slot and poured in the fresh coffee. "You know why we are still together?"

"Why?" Monica was pleased John's mom was doing all the talking.

"Because we made a commitment between just us. There were no lovers on the side that could complicate things." After pouring in the water she flicked the on switch. "I have to tell you Monica, as much as I also support my son, I can't see him throwing the rest of his life away like this."

As the machine began gurgling she reached for four coffee mugs and then crossed to the fridge for some milk. Monica tried to stay out of the conversation as much as possible. It was far better for Mrs. Doggett to verbalize her feelings than for Monica to suggest them.

"Tell me Monica, you seem a girl with her head screwed on right. At your stage in life for you to sleep with someone you would have to love them right?" She reached up to a cupboard for the sugar and then leant against the kitchen bench. "Do you love my son?"

"Mom, Monica?" John stood at the door, his hair tousled, dressed again in boxers and t-shirt. "What's going on? Coffee smells good."

"John, your mom found us in bed together." As she spoke, John moved up closer to be by his partner's side.

"Oh sorry Mom. It was my fault." He found it difficult not to smile. "I only meant to stay there for a short time."

"The fact that you were in bed at all with a woman when you're planning on marrying another, doesn't that seem incongruous to you?" Mom went up to her son and took both his hands in hers. "Look me in the eye and tell me you still want to propose to Dana Scully."

"I...," he looked suitably hesitant. "No I don't." Mrs. Doggett showed a sigh of relief and went back to the coffee machine. As his mother's back was turned was a suitable chance to do what they had planned just at that time.

Smelling near victory John moved in to face his lover and wrapped his arms around her. Monica reciprocated feeling total love for the man in her arms.

"I love you John Doggett," she whispered just enough for his mother to hear and turn to see them lightly kissing. At that precise moment his father also entered the kitchen. The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

"What's this?" came the gruff morning voice. The two just smiled into each other's eyes as they let the Doggett parents piece together the puzzle.

"I think they been having us on Joe Doggett." Martha poured a coffee for her husband and spooned out three sugars, and added the cream. "Our son had no intention of marrying Dana Scully."

"That the heavens above!" He took a few sips as he found a seat.

Monica and John stood side by side and hand in hand, smiling their satisfaction that finally they had shown their intentions.

The real moment of acceptance then came from John's mother as she approached Monica with her arms out. Monica accepted the warm hug all the time smiling, a special peace forming in her heart.

"Welcome to our family Monica." As Martha Doggett embraced her son's accepted lady friend, Monica noticed John's dad smiling and nodding acceptance also. At last she was accepted. She could see John's beaming face beside the picture of his mom's turnaround in thinking.

Chapter Twelve
New York City
January 3, 12 noon

The air was chilly but the scenery was spectacular. It had snowed over night but most of it had melted from the sun that peeked every so often through scattered clouds. As they walked hand in hand through Central Park on their last day before heading back to DC they reflected on their time together over the previous few days.

"How long until we meet Andy, Rebecca and Mandy and her new boyfriend?" John wasn't used to walking that slowly but the past few days spent with Monica had taught him that there were moments in life to treasure. Their relationship was not one to quickly solve the case but to slow down and enjoy the time they had for themselves. Back in DC would be so different.

"Long enough to take our time. If we walk just this pace it'll get us there at the time we arranged." Monica noticed her first squirrel scurry down from a tree. "Oh it's so cute."

"Don't stare or it'll keep following us." John chuckled but Monica stopped and bent down to entice it over. It just watched as though saying, 'You gotta be kidding me lady. I don't see any food.'

"What do they eat?" Monica stood upright when she knew the creature would come no closer.

"Don't concern yourself Monica. The squirrels in this park get enough to eat." He held out his hand to urge her along. "Apart from the food given by visitors here I think they eat a variety of plant material including roots, stems and bark."

"You know a lot about these squirrels." She accepted his hand and they moved onward.

"Probably every kid brought up in New York has fed the famous Central Park squirrels." For the next few minutes they were quiet as they took in their surroundings. It was bitterly cold but somehow being hand in hand together made them as warm as toast.

"One thing has been puzzling me." Through thick gloves Monica squeezed his hand. "If you were brought up in New York then how did you come to be born in Democrat Springs, Georgia?"

"Each of us Doggett kids was born there." John returned the squeeze and smiled. "The water in the region was thought to have healing properties amongst other things." He rolled his eyes. "My parents said a number of women would go there to give birth believing it brought long life to them and their offspring."

"So I have a long lifetime to look forward to with you John Doggett." The timing was perfect to express her feelings that she never wanted to leave him, that he was the one.

"If you can put up with me that long." They'd reached the edge of the park and stood on the pavement face to face while waiting for the traffic lights to indicate it was safe to cross. Monica slipped her arms under his heavy coat and he also enveloped her in his embrace.

"Hmmm, warm," she purred. "I wish we could be like this forever. It's been like a storybook for the past few days. I still can't believe your parents let us sleep together in your bed after playing that prank on them."

"I think they were just relieved I wasn't going into a marriage that was doomed from the start." John noticed the green light. "Come on." Reluctantly Monica stood upright and walked across the road with him. "They really like you Monica." He spoke more softly and smiled.

"Everyone wants to be liked John," she returned his sweet smile. "But I was prepared to earn their acceptance of me if I had to."

"Talking about parents, you rang your mom and dad in Mexico, right?" Hand in hand the couple made their way along Broadway towards the theater district of the city.

"They apologized for not being able to get through to you about my rearranged flight plans." Monica paused a moment waiting for John to ask the question that she noticed on his lips.

"You told them about us?" John looked across to his partner with a half smile. He would have agreed with Monica's thoughts about having to earn acceptance but it certainly helped if there was some there in the first place.

"She squealed so loudly on the phone I was almost deaf for the next hour," Monica giggled. "I would have told you then but I saw you in deep conversation with your father."

"They like me that much." John nodded and humbly grinned.

"Put it this way, yes they like you John, but also their little girl has finally found a man who she can love and who will be good to her in return." She had constantly been with him for the last few days. They had made love in his bed on numerous occasions. They had shared stories, laughs, meals, tours and caresses and yet she wanted to touch and love him then, in a busy New York street.

"Just good?" They stood at another set of lights not far from their destination. "I can be more than good." The sexy whisper next to her ear sent sparkles over her skin.

"And you've certainly shown me that John." She let out a rush of air thinking about how wonderful he had been in bed. Not just how his naked body felt against hers and how he held her close all night but also how he idolized her with his touch. No words could express what he did with his body to articulate his love for her.

As they stood outside the entrance to the Marriot Marquise Hotel ready to meet Andy, Rebecca and friends in the Atrium delicatessen they had one final discussion.

"Back in DC can't be like here Monica." He stopped her beside the entrance. "We're back at work tomorrow morning."

"I know, and in a way I don't want this to end. I want New York to last a lifetime." She held both his hands. "We don't have to make any work decisions now, John. It's not as though when we're back in the office that all we would think about is sex."

"Talk for yourself." John chuckled and moved in to give her a brief kiss, one that would not attract too much attention but also show he cared deeply for her.

"No really John, you'll see. What I'm trying to say is let's enjoy the little time left we have here and when we're back at work we can concern ourselves with how we combine our jobs and love lives." She could see a slight smile, one that showed he trusted her. Maybe he couldn't see then how it would all pan out but he did have faith in his partner that if she said so then there would be hope.

"Okay," he said minimally and nodded.

"Come on," Monica took his hand and led him through the stately front entrance doors into the hotel lobby. "Our friends await. Let's find out what they also endured, all for love."

The End


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