Part 7

Chinese take-out warmed in the oven. Fox's favorite beer chilled in the fridge. Dawn even managed to pick up brownies from the corner bakery. Her version of dinner was taken care of. All that was needed was the man of the house. And while she waited for him to come home, she became comfortable on the living room floor with her box of stuff from her old desk at homicide.

Half-smiles and hearty chuckles eased the sadness of looking back at the past. Knee-deep in nostalgia, she didn't notice Fox until he joined her on the floor.

"I didn't hear you come in."

He smiled. "I know." He brushed his lips against the corner of her mouth. "What's all this?"

"My desk." She handed over a 5 by 7 frame of their wedding picture. "I cleaned it out."

He looked from the photo to her. His eyes widened with concern and outrage. "They can't fire you! You're one of the best detectives they have. We'll get a lawyer. Dara!" He fished his cell from the pocket of his shirt.

She closed her hands over his. "Baby, no. It's okay. I wasn't fired. It was a lateral move."

"What was?" He held onto his phone, just in case.

"Captain Cragen at Special Victims Unit requested…ordered that I join his team. My new partner is Reynaldo Curtis."

A look of disgust crossed Fox's face.

"What? Do you know him?"

"The pretty boy of the PD," he muttered with sarcasm. "Yeah, I know him. We had a few run-ins."

"You never told me." She tried to keep the accusation from her voice.

Her husband rested his hand on her knee, squeezed and then moved up her thigh, lightly rubbing. Her body sizzled from the caress. She chewed her bottom lip to keep a moan from escaping.

"Peaches, it was before we met."

He crawled to lean against the bottom of the sofa. Once he was comfortable, he pulled her between his open thighs. The hint of excitement pressed hard against her backside. She glanced over her shoulder. He smiled and shrugged.

"It's yours if you want it," he said, kinda smug.

She couldn't stop the smile from coming to her lips. "Thanks. I'll keep that in mind."

His strong hands gripped her shoulders. He kneaded her flesh the way she liked, hard and deep. "I can smell the Moo Goo Gai Pan and the brownies, but that can wait. How do you feel about this move to SVU? Do you want to go?"

I hate it. I had a brief, meaningless affair with Elliott Stabler and now, I'll have to see him everyday. I'm scared to tell you, but I know keeping it from you will only make things worse.

"Shit." She couldn't say any of that out loud.

Fox's hands became still. "Am I hurting you?"

She shook her head. "It feels good. Keep going."

"Tell me about SVU."

She threw her legs over his left leg. As they faced each other, she used the quiet moment to memorize the deep understanding of his hazel eyes, the fullness of his bottom lip, and the adorable mole on his right jaw. Her chest hurt from loving him so much.

"Do you know why I asked you to move into the guest bedroom?" she asked. "It's because I was scared."

He touched her cheek in a wistful gesture. "I know. I gave you good reason. The trust factor and all…"

"You're trying so hard," she whispered.

"You noticed." He laughed softly. His expression sobered just as suddenly. "You mean the world to me. I'm determined as hell. I make jokes about how much I want to make love to you. I'm serious, of course, but I am willing to wait."

She drew her thumb across his sexy pout. "I don't want to wait anymore."

"Are you sure? God, I can't believe I asked that."

"I'm sure, but if you'd rather have the Moo Goo Gai--"

He bent his head forward and hungrily claimed her mouth. Clothes flew from their bodies. Fox rolled onto his back. Dawn landed on top of him. He lifted her and entered her as she came down. She shuddered upon first contact. Their eyes met as he thrust upward. Dizzying sensations rippled through her body. She clutched his shoulders. Her back arched.

"That's it, Peaches," he breathed. His hands moved over her, finding places that begged to be touched. "Let go. It's okay, my love. I'm right there with you."

They exploded. Breath pushed from her lungs. She collapsed on his chest. He wrapped his arms around her. She closed her eyes and made a silent promise to tell him everything. Tomorrow.


Dara waged an intense battle with patience and won. All day long, Jerry hovered and loomed. He took his time setting up the spare bedroom just right. To his credit, he didn't smirk once as movers helped him rearrange the furniture. She worked hard to ignore him, reminding herself that dinner with Alex made the present headache worth it.

Then, she began checking her watch. The time grew closer to dinner. Irritation threatened. Finally, Jerry disappeared into the bedroom. Dara waited until she heard the shower running, then she grabbed her jacket, purse and heels before slipping out the door.

She arrived at the restaurant the same time as Alex. A smile started at his vibrant green eyes and came to rest on his mouth. He tucked her hand in the crook of his elbow and approached the maître'd.

"I have reservations for two. Krycek. We'd prefer a private table."

"Of course, Mr. Krycek."

They were led to a very secluded booth. The servers lit candles and served wine faster than she could blink. She gripped the menu to calm her excitement.

"I recommend everything on the menu," he said. "I always have a difficult time choosing."

The restaurant definitely had a romantic air. She gave him an amused smile. "Do you come here often?"

He laughed. "Business lunches and dinners. Never for fun…until now."

"I'm happy to oblige."

He didn't respond, but humor lingered in his eyes. Soon after, the waiter took their orders. While they waited, they sipped wine and chatted.

"I enjoy your company, Dara."

"You say that like it surprises you."

Color flushed his cheeks. He glanced away. "I suppose it does. I'm usually a loner."

"I thought so." She toyed with the stem of her glass, a little hesitant to meet his eyes. "You have an air about you. As if you don't trust easily. I watched you at the bar that night. I never thought you'd ask me to dance. You didn't seem the type."

"What type is that?" His voice was open, without censure.

Dara tilted her head. Ease swept over her as their gazes locked. "The type to dance."

"I love to dance…but only with the right partner," he said. "I chose wisely that night."

She sighed.


"Lil Bit."

Keesha's breath caught. Jian looked up from the puzzle and he and Jacob were solving. She willed herself to breathe. Then, she recognized her cousin's voice.

She smiled. "Justus."

Jian's gaze remained locked on her for a second longer. Jacob nudged him and Keesha watched the quiet man respond to her child.

"I can't talk long," Justus said. "Just checking in."

"I didn't think you would," she said. "When I heard that name, I didn't know what to think."

"I'll never leave you completely alone," he said. "One day, we won't have to live this lie."

"I look forward to that day."

He paused for a moment. "I know. How's my little man?"

"Great. He's growing so much," she said. "When I look at him, all the sacrifices are worth it."

"If you need anything, don't hesitate to call our friend. I've been on long enough, we'll talk again."

The dial tone hummed in her ear. It sounded lonely and hollow. She understood those feelings completely. She hugged the receiver to her chest for just a moment, as if she'd hug Justus.

"Keesha?" Jian called out as she moved to her desk. "Everything okay?"

"Just fine. How's the game?"

He tilted his head. "It'd be better if you'd join us. The pieces are small. We need a woman's eye. Right, little man?"

Little Man. Justus' name for her little boy. There was no such thing as coincidence. For whatever reason, fate reunited her and Jian. She left her desk and joined them. The three of them working together never felt so right.

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