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UAgirl
4.28.07, 11:16 PM
So...are we supposed to post fics here now instead of the old boards?

Well, until I find out differently, I'll just post at both. ; )






























One True Thing










Chapter 1









The azure sky was cloudless, melding into the blue-green waters of the sea.

The heat from the unfettered sun clung to her skin, and small beads of perspiration dotted her forehead beneath the large, shading bill of her hat.

The age-old wood of the dock creaked beneath the steady steps of the Captain as he carried their bags aboard the boat, and she flashed a sincere, if nervous smile at the man who helped him, pretending to groan from the effort of shouldering her bags.

She watched the two men disappear into the boat’s cabin and let her gaze wander around the harbor, noting the boats and yachts of many sizes. Some of them had occupants. Others were empty, bobbing up and down with the surge of the gentle waves.

A slight touch on her hip startled her, but she allowed herself to relax and breathe more evenly as she stared into the pair of deep brown eyes she loved so completely and without reason.

His voice was low and soothing, and she felt the warmth of his hand through the thin material of her white dress as it moved to the curve of her waist, caressing and gentling her.

“Are you ready?”

She slid her palm into his, trusting him not to let her fall as she stepped carefully into the unsteady vessel.

His arm curled protectively around her waist as he led her to the back of the boat, and she watched the Captain untie the ropes from the docks and take his place at the wheel.

The engine came alive, and after a few minutes of laid-back handling and expert navigation out of the harbor, it was adrift in the open sea.

The wind whipped her hat back, and his mouth curved upward at the corners, wanting to laugh at her.

She saw the mixture of love and trepidation she knew to be in her blue eyes reflected back at her in his gaze, and she slipped an arm around his neck, cupping his jaw in the palm of her hand, the golden band on her finger glinting in the sunlight.

His lips moved against hers with slowness and uncertainty at first, but their kisses grew bolder as she snaked her other arm around his neck, pressing her body more firmly against his solid form. His fingers tangled in her blond hair, dislodging her ridiculous hat, and she smiled against his mouth when she felt the wind lift it away.

They broke apart, breathless and laughing as they searched the ocean behind them, seeing the hat bobbing uselessly in the deep blue waters.

“I’ll buy you a new hat,” he offered, unable to curtail the smile on his lips at the reappearance of the sparkle in her eyes.

“I never liked that hat anyway,” she laughed, running her hands down his sides and letting her arms loop around his waist. She tucked her head in the curve of his neck, one of her hands rising of its own accord to slip into the open vee of his loose dress shirt and trace lazy circles on the revealed bronzed skin. She rubbed her nose against his skin like a kitten seeking affection, the teasing quality of her voice a hum near his ear. “But, by all means…buy me a new one if you insist.”

He laughed, low and deep, the vibrations in his chest pleasant and reassuring as he gave her waist a firm squeeze.

The sky was so blue, and the ocean calm, and in his arms she relaxed fully, pushing other, more troubling memories of a trip similar to this one to the back of her mind as miles and miles of blue, rippling waves were traveled.

They were a world away from home, and with each passing moment, she felt freedom and love blossoming inside her heart, other damning emotions fading to the background.

The island appeared before them, a tiny speck on the horizon, and they had to strain to hear the Captain’s voice over the rush of the wind in their ears as he pointed in its direction with a broad smile. “This island’s been a favorite honeymoon spot for years. You’ll enjoy your week here.”

She tried to move her hand from his chest, drop it to her side, but a strong hand on hers quelled her movements. “Don’t. Stay with me, Sheridan.” She sighed, resisting her sudden urge to run and wrapping her arms more tightly around him instead.

The island came into closer focus. Pale white sands, towering palm trees, and an unadorned structure beyond the beach surrounded by lush green growth had them drawing in their breath in surprise.

The Captain simply smiled at them as he cut the engine, letting the boat drift closer to the shore with the rolling surf. Several feet out, he dropped the anchor and turned to them in question. “Do you want to make the trip first, or your luggage?”

She stared at the man blankly in confusion at first, then laughed at her own stupidity. “Luis?” she asked, looking into his twinkling brown eyes expectantly. She tried to telegraph to him her wishes through her eyes, feeling slightly foolish at the notion. Her lips curved up happily when Luis answered for them both.

“Would you mind taking us first?”

“Not at all,” the Captain said affably. “I’m used to Honeymooners not caring if they have a stitch of clothing with them at all.”

She blushed a deep red at the man’s comment, casting her eyes down.

“Just teasing, Ma’am,” she heard him apologize, and she looked up to find both the captain and Luis laughing at her. She pushed at Luis’s chest playfully before taking his hands and letting him lower her into the small rowboat.

The rowboat rocked with the waves and the addition of extra weight as Luis and the Captain got on board, and soon she found herself with her back to Luis’s chest, held securely in his arms as the other man rowed them inland.

Both men hopped out of the boat into the shallow water, tugging it toward the beach.

She held her sandals in one hand as she clasped Luis’s hand with the other, squealing as the water splashed around her ankles and meeting Luis’s lips in a brief kiss. “We’re here,” she whispered, her eyes holding the tiniest remnant of hesitation. She leaned into his touch as he feathered his fingers through her short blond curls, tucking her hair behind her ear and letting his palm cup her jaw.

“We’re here,” he told her calmly as he watched the Captain row the tiny boat back out to sea to retrieve their bags. “And we’re just Sheridan and Luis. No one else. We’re just us, okay?”

She blinked away her tears as she nodded her head, leaning her forehead against his as he ran his thumbs over her damp cheeks gently.

Luis kissed the tip of her nose and drew back, raising her chin to gaze into her blue eyes for a long moment before releasing her. “I’m going to help bring in the bags.”

She took a shaky breath at the absence of his touch when he was gone, turning toward the path leading to the beach house they’d call home for the next week.

The golden band slid off her finger, its metal warm and solid against her palm as she studied it for a moment. Her fingers curled closed around it, and she closed her eyes as she let it drop into the pocket of her filmy white dress.

Her eyes were brilliant, blue, and as clear as the sky when she opened them, glancing back at Luis and sending a reassuring smile his way before she turned and began walking up the stone path.

Just Sheridan and Luis.

UAgirl
4.28.07, 11:18 PM
Chapter 2





Their clothes hung beside each other in the closet. His snow-white linen dress shirt. Her pale blue dress, the same shade of blue as the afternoon sky.

She cried, unclasping her hands in her lap and reaching one shaky hand up to wipe away her tears.

The bedroom was big, airy, and open.

Floor to ceiling windows lined the far wall, and one turn of the knobs of the French doors before her led to a veranda overlooking the lapping blue waves.

She rose slowly from the bed and slid her hand into the pocket of her dress, withdrawing the golden band—cool without her bodily warmth, and placed it carefully in the outdrawn drawer of the antiquated table beside the bed.

The boat bobbed along the rolling waves, far away in the distance, the Captain at the helm.

The veranda stone was warm from the sun beneath her bare feet, and her hands gripped the railing firmly, letting the breeze blowing in from the sea caress her face as she closed her eyes and waited.

As always, he didn’t have to say a word or make a single sound to let her know he was nearby.

She felt him.

The heat of him. The emotions roiling just beneath the surface.

She just knew.

His arms came around her from behind, pulling her body back into his. He rest his cheek against her temple, each breath he took fluttering the blond curls there.

She threaded her fingers through his and let her eyes remain closed, soaking in his touch. The way they fit so well together.

They always had.

When she opened her eyes again, the boat was a toy figure disappearing into the receding sun.

His thumb stroked her abdomen absently, and his lips brushed against her cheek. He must have tasted the salt of her tears because he turned her around gently in his arms and gazed deeply, intensely into her eyes. “Sheridan?”

She felt unwanted emotion clutch and crush her throat, and she felt a physical ache when she uttered a question that didn’t have any sensible answer. “What are we doing here, Luis? How can we…”

“You can still change your mind,” he whispered, something in his dark eyes begging her to ignore his words. Telling her that they couldn’t go back now no matter how hard they tried to convince themselves they could. “We can leave this island, and go home. You can go back to him and forget this ever happened. Nothing’s happened yet that’s irrevocable. You can go home, and I’ll…I’ll leave Harmony. Neither one of you will have to see me again. You’ll forget me. He wants to make you happy, Sheridan,” he said softly. “I believe he could if you’d just…if I remove myself from the picture, from your lives…”

She let her head drop down against his chest, and her words were muffled against his skin, but she knew from the way the tension in his muscles seemed to uncoil and seep away that he had heard her loud and clear. “It’s too late, Luis.”

His big dark hands swept her hair from her face, one hand cupping the base of her skull and the other sweeping along her jaw to touch her chin lightly as he urged her to meet his eyes, his weak, last-ditch denial an echo of what she was feeling. “It’s not too late.”

She pressed her lips to the thumb that wandered the expanse of her mouth and shook her head. “The intent…I could never forget you, Luis. It’s something I don’t even want to think about,” she told him earnestly. “YOU make me happy. You’re the only one who can,” she breathed, her voice dying down to a strangled whisper as his thumb left her lips, leaving her feeling bereft.

Luis’s head lowered, his lips the kiss of a butterfly’s wings against hers. Gentle and sweet and without pressure.

Her blue, blue eyes sparkled with the lingering sheen of tears as she slipped her arms around his neck and held him. “I’m sorry, Luis,” she murmured against the skin of his neck, dampened by her own tears. “I’m sorry for turning everything in your life into an ongoing melodrama, and for…”

Luis hushed her babbling with a finger to her lips once they drew apart. He couldn’t bear her sadness or her doubt. “Are you kidding me? My life was boring before I met you,” he teased, pleased with himself when his words drew a smile out of her.

“Crashing into your police car was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Sheridan teased back, more than a kernel of truth in the sentiment.

“Car crashes, kidnapping, doing the James Bond act in Paris…what more can a guy ask for than a little adventure?” Luis chuckled, glad the somber mood had lifted, at least for the time being. “Would it please the lady to join me for dinner?”

“If you let me help you cook,” Sheridan answered, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes at the shared memory of the ‘accidental’ scrambled eggs.

“If I were a smart man, I’d refuse, but I never could resist that sparkle in your eyes,” he said, sincerity shining in his eyes. He offered his arm to her, and she took it, letting him lead her back through the French doors into the bedroom and further into the house with a smile. “I think there’s a fire extinguisher in the kitchen,” he deadpanned.

“I won’t need it,” Sheridan bragged confidently. “It might come in handy though if I need something to deflate your ego,” she said, arching a golden brow at him.

“Ego? What ego?” Luis pretended to be innocent.

She was laughing and breathing freely beside him, and the worries and guilt were locked away in a dark compartment of her heart for what he hoped would be the rest of their time at this beautiful paradise.

Happiness had crept up on them, at least for the moment, and the way he saw it, they had no choice but to live in the moment.

The past had taught him many things. Not taking love for granted the most important.

He thought he could hear the cacophonous noise of the real world fading away.

Leaving only the two of them.

And it was one of the most beautiful sounds he’d ever heard.

UAgirl
4.28.07, 11:29 PM
Chapter 3





They’d kept dinner simple—pasta, a fresh green salad, chilled wine.

The warmth of Luis’s touch never strayed far.

She felt it in the hand splayed at the small of her back as she rinsed the lettuce for the salad. She felt it in the gentle brush of his shoulder against hers as they placed two white plates side by side on time-worn table, each reluctant to let the other out of arm’s reach. She felt it in the fingers that tucked a renegade curl behind her ear as they laughed over some trivial nonsense, their tongues faltering over more meaningful, heavy conversation. She felt it in the tender press of his lips to the corner of her mouth when he claimed she had a bit of red sauce just right…there. She felt it as she took the hand he offered, the nervous flutter of her stomach somehow making her pulse jump and pound away in her veins.

“Come on,” Luis encouraged softly. “I want to show you something.”

Heart in her throat, Sheridan followed where Luis led, balking only when they reached the open doorway to the bedroom.

Sensing her hesitation, Luis released her hand and crossed to the open French doors, stepping through to the waiting veranda. Moonlight cast his profile in shimmering blue and silver shadows as he rest his forearms carelessly across the railing. “It’s beautiful. Peaceful,” he said, barely affording her a glance as she lingered in the open doorway, her hands clasped in front of her uncertainly.

“Luis,” she breathed, so quietly she doubted he even heard her. “Luis, what are you doing?” she wondered, brow furrowed as she watched him remove his shoes then his socks and turn once more to her, teeth gleaming white at her confused expression and brow raised expectantly.

“I’ve never found sand in my shoes to be that romantic,” he grinned, dark eyes sparkling with humor as he held out a beckoning hand.

Feeling her unease slipping away like water through her fingers, Sheridan wore a small smile of her own as she closed the distance between them, toeing off her sandals along the way. A warm breeze caressed her skin with a lover’s touch, and the gauzy white material of the dress she wore tickled at her ankles. Clasping his fingers in hers, she felt first the still warm smoothness of the stone beneath her feet then the grit of sand between her toes as she let him draw her forward. Laughing softly at the expression on his face as his own feet sank into the shifting sand, she softened her reply with affection. “You wouldn’t.”

“I wouldn’t. What’s that supposed to mean?” Luis frowned, bracing himself against the insistent tug she gave on his arm.

“Nothing,” Sheridan lied, blue eyes dancing silver in the moonlight as she let go of his arm and slowly backed away from him, arms outstretched in front of her.

Reluctant to let her go, Luis held out his own hand, and their fingertips met and laced together. He let her draw him to the water’s edge, where the gently rolling waves lapped and tickled warmly at his ankles, their spray rising up like a fine mist flirting with and then kissing his bronzed skin.

Sheridan laughed, the carefree sound childlike leaving her lips as she grasped his callused hands tightly in her own and spun him once, twice, three times in an ever-broadening circle, her blond head thrown back, moonlight and the twinkling stars above illuminating her smile and saving it from the shadows that crept closer and closer.

Always beautiful to him, in that moment she was breathtaking—laughing, happy, lighter somehow. Maybe it was the magic of the paradise they’d willingly stranded themselves in, but Luis liked to think maybe he had a little something to do with it.

Pulling one hand free, she looked at him with wicked eyes of blue and a secretive smile.

“Sheridan.” Luis’s halfhearted protests died with the realization that they were spoken too late. Warm water swirled around his calves, and he felt the tickle of Sheridan’s skirt against his skin mere moments before the sensation of water splashing against his cheeks had him blinking in surprise. Shaking the excess water from his face, he reached for her, only to have her slip like sand through his fingertips, and his brown eyes narrowed as she backed away, an elusive white figure in the moonlight. “You do know this means war,” he warned, with an evil glint in his own eyes.

Playfully splashing him once more, Sheridan didn’t back down from the challenge. “You have to catch me first.”

Advancing on her, his movements slightly sluggish against the ocean’s pull, Luis smiled at her in a way that left no doubt as to his plans for her once their little seaside romp was over and he’d emerged the victor. “Yeah?” Luis took another predatory step forward, the gleam in his eyes growing as the action sent Sheridan splashing back two additional steps, the little dance of theirs making his heartbeat speed up anticipatorily in his chest. “Since I’m such a nice guy, I’m going to give you a head start.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Sheridan smirked, teasing him by straying just beyond his reach.

“Do you really want to take that chance?” Luis returned her smirk with one of his own, his true intent displayed in his dark eyes, delicious and deadly. “I’ll give you to the count of three. One…two…”

On three, Sheridan ran.