Jeff Slade opened his front door and walked in, throwing his keys onto the small sofa in the front room. A woman walked in after him, taking her coat off and throwing it alongside the keys. She had blonde hair and blue eyes, and a smile that could stop armies charging. Slade thought yet again how lucky he was to have found her. He looked down at his wedding ring and smiled to himself. None of his friends or he himself ever thought he would get married and settle down. But here he was happily married to a beautiful woman he didn't deserve.
"What are you smiling at?" the woman asked.
"About what?" she asked, smiling as she snaked her hands around his neck and kissed his lips quickly.
"You.....Jessica Louise Slade." he replied playfully, rubbing his nose on hers. Placing emphasis on the surname seemed to make her more his wife than she already was.
"Good thoughts I hope...?" she purred in his ear as she nibbled his lobe.
"No.." Slade replied in a sweet and innocent voice, but before she could hit him he added, "wicked ones!" His eyes were sparkling and alight with passion as he whisked his wife off to the bedroom.
They had met in a pub in London's West End. He had been on a stag night for his friend Jim, who after years of on-off relationships had finally proposed to his long suffering girlfriend. She had been there celebrating her promotion. They had both gone up to the bar for their respective round of drinks, and the rest as they say was history. She had tried (and failed) to resist his charm, and he had failed to get her out of his mind. It was getting so that neither of them were able to work, and the only solution had been to get married. That had been two months ago. Had it only been that long? Seemed like a life time to Slade.
They were now in the bedroom and Slade was having trouble removing her bra.
Holly Turner was sleeping in her bed. At least, she was trying to sleep. She was having trouble as Slade was sleeping on her couch in the other room. Holly was distracted partly because it was Slade, and partly because he was in the same room as the time machine. Could she trust him not to use it? He had already gone behind her back once in the past, and although they had talked about it, she still didn't trust him. However, it was the first reason that was really keeping her awake. Slade was in the next room. The man who drove her up the wall, yet she couldn't help liking all the same. He was charming, witty, intelligent, a damn good detective, but most of all....single and attractive.
Oh god! What was wrong with her? She was acting like a teenager with her first crush! It wasn't like she hadn't had any boyfriends. There was - Steve Marlowe. Okay, so he had turned out to be a cold blooded killer, but how was she supposed to have known that? Then there was....was... oh god, was Steve the only man she'd ever been out with? What kind of record was that? Slade would want someone with more experience surely? Wait a minute, what Slade wants? What's that got to do with anything? Get a grip, girl!
Her train of thought was thankfully interrupted by a sound coming from the front room. Holly suddenly wished she had insisted Slade stay at a hotel. She quickly got out of bed, too eager to see what Slade was doing to put on a dressing gown, and walked into the front room. When she arrived there was nothing to see but Slade tossing and turning on the couch. Leaning against the door frame, she watched him for a while. He looked almost peaceful, he had a slight smile on his face like the cat who got the cream. Then his expression changed to one of frustration, and his movements became so big he was in great danger of falling off the couch altogether.
Holly walked to the couch and sat on the edge, trying to wake Slade up by shaking him gently.
"I love you...." Slade said dreamily. Holly was taken aback. Was he talking to her, or just muttering in his sleep?
"I know..." Jessica replied looking down at him. She lay on top of him, clad now in only her underwear, slowly stroking his chest.
"No, I mean it, I really mean it. I love you." Slade reiterated.
"I know..." Jessica said as she kissed him thoroughly. When at last they came up for air, she added, "And you know that I love you..."
"How much?" he asked playfully.
"Let me show you how much...."
For once in his life Slade was lost for words, and he didn't mind a bit. He brought Jessica's lips to his for a burning kiss. She went willingly, and returned the kiss and more. He turned her then, so she lay beneath him and made a place for himself between her legs. She struggled slightly, but soon succumbed to his will.
"Slade..." she sighed, as she buried her fingers in his hair.
"Slade!" Holly was nearly screaming now, somehow she had to wake him.
Slade opened his eyes. He was met with the site of Holly laying beneath him looking like she had been thoroughly kissed. Not only that but her short night shirt was now bunched round her hips, and his hands were in places they shouldn't be.
"Slade!" Holly pleaded.
Reality set in, and Slade moved freeing Holly from her prison between him and the couch. She sat up beside him pulling her night shirt down to cover as much of her thighs as possible. She tucked her hair behind her ear, while Slade seemed content to look at the floor.
"It's okay." Holly cut him off.
"Did I...oh, god....Holly, look I'm really sorry. I don't know what I was doing. No that's a lie I thought I was dreaming...I didn't know that I.." he looked at her hoping to god she understood.
"Who's Jessica..?" Holly asked. A look crossed Slade's face, pain or surprise?
"Someone I knew," For what ever reason Slade didn't want to talk about it, so Holly decided to let it drop.
"Okay, well as it's nearly seven, fancy something to eat before we go?" Holly tried to make light of the situation. Slade merely nodded, so she got up and made her way to the kitchen. If truth be told she was glad of the excuse to leave the room. She wasn't sure what had just happened, but what worried her more was that she couldn't totally deny she had liked the experience. Slade had kissed her....really kissed her.
Of course he wasn't kissing her, he thought he was kissing this Jessica woman. Who was she anyway? This is crazy, she thought trying to find her sanity. Could she actually be jealous of a woman she hadn't even met? Perhaps that's why she had agreed to go along with Slade's latest plan, because she didn't want anyone else to play her part. She had been secretly flattered Slade had asked her. After all how many women did Slade know? As she set about making a snack she thought back to how Slade had persuaded her this time...a slow smile began to spread across her face.
"Oh go on," Slade pleaded for the umpteenth time.
"No!" Holly repeated. She would not give in this time! How many times had Slade asked her now, ten? Twenty? But she would not crack this time. No....did he have to use that look? Her resolve was wavering, and Holly had to fight the impulse to give in and say yes.
"Why not? It'll be fun."
"Oh really? This is your idea of fun!?" Holly was almost shouting now.
"Please..." Slade whispered, and used the look to full affect.
"Look, what is it going to take for you to understand? The answer is NO, Slade N O, NO! Not maybe, oh we'll see, perhaps later, or even oh go on then what the hell! I SAID NO!". Holly was now staring at Slade defying him to say anything.
"So....that's a no then is it..?" he tried to make light of the situation.
"At last the penny drops!" Holly exclaimed.
"But why not?" Slade asked.
"Because what?" Slade saw a weakness and went for it.
"Yes...?" A rue smile crept onto his face.
"Because....I haven't got anything to wear!" Holly was almost relieved she'd been able to think of an excuse! However she knew without even looking at Slade that it wouldn't wash. He'd find her something, or say how splendid she looked in a sack, if it meant she'd go.
"What about that nice little black dress?"
What did I tell you, Holly? she said to herself.
"How did you know I've got a black dress? I haven't worn it for years."
"Ah....I saw it the other day," at her sceptical look he added, "your wardrobe door was open."" He smiled sheepishly.
"Well anyway, there's no guarantee that we can go anyway."
"What do you mean?"
"I can't control the amount of time we go back, remember? We may only get a few minutes." It was no good her resolve was wavering again. Perhaps it was the fact that Slade had guessed she had a black dress. A dress which at this minute was in a locked chest under her bed and not in her wardrobe. The reason she hadn't worn it for years was because she had worn it to her mother's funeral. It was a painful time, and every time she wore the dress it brought back memories. Her mother had made the dress as part of an economy drive, to help her father buy the valuable parts he needed for his work.
"Why do I have to go anyway?" Holly asked.
"Because," Slade said, "I need someone to put off Monica." Holly had a "what?" expression on her face, so Slade explained it in more detail.
"Okay, my Uncle is organising the party, right?" Holly nodded, "Well, Uncle Paul has a daughter, called Lucy, who has a friend called Monica. Now whenever I went to visit uncle Paul, Monica always seemed to be visiting Lucy, and I....well....I kissed her once and we may have gone out a few times. Look, anyway, to cut a long story short it didn't last long, and the break up was less than amicable. Since then, she's been trying to flaunt the fact she has a new boyfriend, and is basically trying..."
"To make you jealous.." Holly finished for him.
"Yes! So if I turn up with someone, she will finally understand that I'm not interested." Once again he used the look and this time it seemed to be working.
"Do you have any idea how petty and childish this sounds?" Holly asked.
"It isn't me!" he insisted, "It's her. Look if you can't beat them, join them!" Slade who had long ago realised that it was a stupid idea started to laugh with her. "Oh come on. It'll be fun! Who doesn't like a ritual humiliation every now and again?" he said playfully hitting her arm.
"Okay, all right! Anything to shut you up. But just so you know, no funny stuff this is strictly a one off to help you out okay?"
Why was it that only now she wished she hadn't said that? The funny stuff suddenly seemed to have some appeal.
They had time travelled, and the machine had been generous and given them eighteen hours. Thus they had had a few hours to kill before the party was due to start. As Holly was shattered she had suggested they get some sleep, not that she had gotten much she smiled.
Slade sat up on the couch and thought about the situation. How the hell did he get himself into these messes? His uncle Paul was throwing a party for his father to celebrate his release from jail. Of course he had to go, but he didn't want to turn up alone because of Monica. Alas the whole point became mute, when just before he left for the party he witnessed a mugging, and ran after the mugger catching him up just before he reached the end of the road. Thus instead of attending the party he had been at the office all night sorting out the charge sheet.
Holly meanwhile had been away at a conference and had not been around to help him with the Monica problem. Well until now that was. He had finally persuaded Holly to time travel, so they could attend the party, keep his dad and uncle happy and put off Monica! This would be the first time they would have used the machine for personal reasons.
Stop putting it off.
Okay, so what had brought back the dreams of Jessica? Slade tried to think of a reason and it all boiled down to one thing, Holly. It was always the same when he got close to someone, the dreams would return and an overwhelming sense of guilt with them. Would he never get his life back in order? He had loved his wife, but she was gone now, out of his life forever. So why did he feel so guilty about spending time with another woman?
It was slightly different with Holly. In the beginning it was the time machine that had been the attraction. She had something that could help him, and he viewed the machine as an asset to be used when necessary. However after a while he realised how privileged he was. Holly had chosen to share her secret with him, someone she didn't really know very well. It gave him a sense of trust he hadn't felt in a long time. The only problem which he hadn't foreseen were the proprietary feelings towards Holly and her machine. They were his and no-one else's. This fact had really hit home when Steven Marlowe had resurfaced.
Steven Marlowe had been Holly's first date, and for some reason Slade didn't like that idea. Steven had been all wrong for her. He wasn't Holly's type. So what was her type, you? he asked himself.
Before he could answer, Holly returned carrying a tray with two plates, each holding baked beans on toast.
"Is this it?" he mocked.
"There'll be food at the party, besides, you're the cook" Holly smiled.
A few hours later, their previous indiscretion forgotten, they were getting ready for the party. Slade decided to wear a fairly smart suit and reluctantly a tie. They were so constricting! He stood in front of Holly's hall mirror trying to tie the tie (he hadn't worn one in years), when Holly came out of her room.
"Okay I'm ready," Holly said interrupting Slade's attempts. He looked at her, she looked nice. No better than nice...she looked more like a woman than a scientist. No, that was unfair, Holly always looked like a woman just not like a woman. An attractive young woman who you could really...
"What are you looking at?" Holly asked, paranoid something was wrong with her appearance and trying to see in the hall mirror.
"Nothing...you look lovely.." she looked at him, "No, really, you do! Shall we go then?"
"You do of course realise that you'll have to act like my girlfriend?" Slade said as they climbed out of the cab they had taken to get to the hall.
"What!" Holly almost screamed.
"Well how else can I put off Monica, unless she thinks that I have girlfriend? Perhaps we should pretend we're engaged?" Slade smiled obviously enjoying Holly's discomfort.
Holly seemed to twig that Slade was just winding her up, and decided turnabout was fair play. She snaked her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear, "you can count on me darling,!" Then, giving him a chaste kiss she turned and walked out the front door. When Slade made no move to follow her, she turned and said, "well come on then darling, can't keep everyone waiting."
Suddenly realising that his jaw was hanging open, Slade closed his mouth and followed Holly into the hall. That had been the last thing he had expected from Holly. He enjoyed winding her up, as it was usually so easy, plus it usually helped him get to use the time machine. But this? This was different, he had wanted to see her reaction to his suggestion. Some part of him was hoping she'd say no, that playing his girlfriend wasn't something she was prepared to do. Why? Because that would give you an easy way out, stop you feeling guilty wouldn't it? The dreams of Jessica would go away, and you could get on with your life. The other half was secretly overjoyed that Holly had risen to his jesting, and retaliated. Had he been more prepared for her reaction perhaps the kiss would have lasted longer. He found himself wishing that they didn't have to pretend to be a couple.
With that realisation Slade was determined to do it. It was time to move on. Three years was a long time to mourn a woman who was gone. Maybe it was time to fill the void that was in his life. With his father being in jail for so long, he had been on his own for years, having no-one to share his life with. He missed that.
Determined to change his life, he came up with a plan. A plan which involved Holly - involved Holly a great deal.
Inside the hall the party was in full swing, the DJ was playing music in the far corner, and a large portion of the partygoers were on the dance floor. Holly checked in her coat at the door and after ordering a white wine, waited by the bar for Slade. He was finding a parking space, and she had insisted on going in to the party without him to put some distance between them. She needed some time to collect her thoughts together. And she needed alcohol, lots of alcohol.
Slade wasn't far behind. Unfortunately Holly wasn't the first to spot his arrival into the hall. Monica had been waiting for him to arrive, and as soon as she saw him, she made a bee-line for him.
"Slade" she purred hugging him far too close for Slade's liking. Even though they had split up, Monica felt sure she could win him back, for what man could resist such beauty? As Monica kissed him, Holly walked up and interrupted them, much to Slade's relief.
"I got you a beer," she said handing Slade a bottle, "Who's this?" she asked with just the right amount of false sweetness to show she was bothered by the woman's actions, but not so much that she considered her a threat.
"Ah, Holly, this is Monica, Monica, Holly." As the women exchanged pleasantries, he added, "Holly's my girlfriend." Monica froze slightly, but recovered quickly. So, she had a rival for Slade's affections. She would soon dispose of her.
"Let's dance, Slade!" she said practically ignoring Holly, and dragging Slade off to the dance floor. Caught off guard Slade had no choice but to follow Monica. Holly for her part simply smiled at Slade as he left. If he didn't know better he'd have said she was laughing at him, at his discomfort. To add to his distress a slow song started the moment they hit the floor, and Monica pressed herself against him as they swayed to the music.
Holly returned to the bar to finish her glass of wine, smiling to herself. It wasn't often that Slade was caught out, so when he was Holly loved it. He was always winding her up, and fool she was she usually fell for it. It was wonderful to see him being caught out for a change. She glanced back to the dance floor, and saw Slade trying to put some space between him and the would be boa-constrictor. Slade caught her laughing and sent her a "thanks for helping me out - not" look.
As Holly revelled in Slade's discomfort a man approached her from down the other end of the bar.
"Hi, my name's Peter," he said introducing himself, half shouting to be heard above the music. "Are you a friend of the family?" he asked.
"Mmm," Holly replied nodding and swallowing the last of her wine, "I work with Jeff Slade. Holly Turner," she said holding out her hand.
"I'm Paul Turner's son," Peter informed her, "Slade's cousin. Can I get you another drink?" he asked, noticing her now empty glass.
"Thanks, a white wine."
Having placed the order with the barman, Peter returned his attention to Holly. "So how long have you known Slade?"
"'Bout a year now. I joined the police force science division when my father passed away."
"Oh right, so you're not a real policeman then?"
"No, I'm with forensic."
"Slade seems to be enjoying himself!" Peter laughed pointing at Slade.
"Mmm" Holly agreed, both knowing that it wasn't the truth.
"So. Um, you and Slade?"
"Yes?" Holly said, knowing what question was coming.
"Well if I was to ask you to dance, would he mind?"
"Probably," Holly said getting up and walking to the dance floor, a smile spreading on her face.
The DJ decided to play another slow song back to back, and so Holly found herself wrapped in Peter's arms swaying in time to the music. Come on Slade, take the cue this is the perfect solution! Holly's mind screamed in a vain attempt to make him hear.
Slade having watched Peter take Holly to floor wasn't best pleased. Still trying to escape Monica's vice like grip, he was amazed at how jealous he was seeing Holly with another man. It was almost as if Peter had no right to be dancing with Holly. She's just dancing with him, his rational mind argued. Yeah, but with my Holly! Slade then caught a look in Holly's eye, she was trying to tell him something, but what? An invisible message then seemed to pass between them and in an instant Slade knew what Holly was doing. Thankfully the song then ended, and Slade managed to manoeuvre his way out of Monica's arms. When free, he made his way towards Holly and Peter.
"So...what are you doing next Friday, Holly? And can I persuade you to do it with me?" Peter was saying as Slade arrived.
"She's not available, Pete, sorry." Slade cut in before Holly could respond.
"Not available, as in no she will not go out with you."
"What," Holly whispered hotly, "are you doing Slade?", with her back to him Peter didn't see her sly smile towards Slade.
"Taking you home." Before Holly could feign protest or Peter could come to her rescue, Slade had frog-marched Holly out of the hall. Wrestling free Holly turned towards Slade wearing a look of "mission accomplished" on her face. She was surprised by what she saw. Slade actually looked angry with her.
"What's the matter?" she asked.
"What d'you think you're doing? And with Pete of all people!" Slade ranted.
"I was just dancing with him!"
"You're supposed to be acting like my girlfriend Holly. What d'you think Monica thinks now? She's probably thinking that our relationship is on the rocks or something!" Slade ran a hand through his hair, and Holly had to admit that taken that way it would look good from Monica's point of view.
"Sorry. But look, no harm's done, Monica hasn't followed you out here, maybe she thought you really were jealous." Slade turned and looked back through the door. True Monica hadn't followed him out here, why, he wondered? Before he could ponder on that thought for long he spotted Pete on his way towards them. The look on his face told Slade he had better act fast. Without really thinking it through, he turned again and immediately swept Holly into his arms and kissed her. With luck Pete wouldn't have noticed that Slade had seen him coming.
Holly didn't know what had prompted Slade to kiss her, and right now she didn't care. She had tried to forget the first kiss in her front room, but it was like trying to forget how to breathe - impossible. Truth be told she had been hoping it would happen again. Totally lost in the moment Holly never heard the door open and with it Pete's arrival.
Slade though had been waiting for Pete's arrival, and with perfect timing he broke the kiss with Holly. I hope to god this works he thought. Looking directly at Holly, and still with his back to Pete he spoke with a surprisingly unsteady voice.
"Holly, god, um...look, I like you, I always have, and seeing you with Pete, well....I couldn't take it anymore. The thought of you...being...with him..."
Holly was in a daze, the rest of Slade's speech fell on deaf ears. She couldn't take this in, Slade was saying he liked her. And that he was jealous of seeing her with another man. This had been what she wanted hadn't it? Then why was she so suspicious of Slade's actions? Then, sensing there was someone behind Slade, but unable to make out who Holly twigged. So, this was all for Monica's benefit. Well what did you expect, Holly? She told herself, declaring undying love isn't exactly Slade's style.
Deciding that she had better go along with Slade, and that she would make him pay for this later, Holly played her part in the charade.
"I had no idea. I don't know what to say..."
"Well....how you feel would be a start?" Slade looked at her a semi-pleading look in his eyes. If she didn't know better Holly would have thought it was sincere.
"Well, I never really thought about it-"
"Think about it now." Slade cut her off, griping her arms slightly tighter.
"I do like you, you know that, but I just don't know if I like you in that way."
"So that's a no is it..?" Slade sighed. So much for that plan he thought.
"No....It's just that...well, why me? I know you Slade, I'm not your type. You like blondes and, and-"
"A man can change his mind can't he? Okay I admit, you're not the most obvious choice for me. But....hey, you sneaked up on me! Look, I spend most of my time with you - not just at work, and well, now I can't imagine life without you." Oohh Slade, that was corny...he thought.
"Well I have got kinda used to having you around. And you did save my life."
"True," Slade said smiling.
"I guess I could get to kinda like you, in a liking you sort of way," She said playfully poking him in the ribs.
"Is that a yes...?" Slade whispered.
"Good enough," he said playfully and smiling his head descended and he kissed her again.
Just as Holly was thinking job accomplished, she heard the door open again. Breaking apart from Slade she looked past him to see who it was. To her surprise she saw Monica come through the door and bump into Peter who was looking at her and Slade in silence. But if Monica had just walked through the door, that would mean this had all been for Peter's benefit?
"Slade where are-?" Monica stopped in her tracks when she spied Holly and Slade in each other's arms. Somewhat miffed she was about to cause a scene when Pete stopped her.
"Come on Mon, we better leave these love birds alone," Yes it worked! Slade thought, somewhat relieved.
"But he doesn't love her...he loves me..!" Monica wailed.
"Come on Mon, who are you trying to fool? Now let's go back inside and rejoin the party, and leave these two to talk..mm?" Without waiting for Monica's reply, Pete grabbed her arm and dragged her back into the hall.
A few hours later Slade and Holly returned to the time machine to break the loop they had created. The rest of the party and the drive home had been slightly strained. Slade had acted almost as if nothing had happened, and Holly had been unsure what to say. They were in their own little worlds, both trying to make sense of the situation, both failing.
When the machine had stopped, an uncomfortable silence fell over the room. Slade eventually broke it. "Fancy a drink?" he asked.
"What? Oh, er yes," as Slade rose from his usual chair she added, "there's some wine-"
"In the fridge, I know" Slade said interrupting her. As he walked off to retrieve the wine and glasses, Holly sat back in her chair to ponder on the evening. Why had Slade put on such a show just for Peter? After all it was Monica he was trying to fool..? It didn't make sense. Slade returned with the wine, and proceeded to pour some into Holly's glass.
"A toast," he said, "mission accomplished!" clinking glasses with Holly he returned to his chair. Funny that, thought Holly, when had she started to think of that as Slade's chair? Come to think of it whenever he came round these days it was like he lived here. He knew where everything was, and how she liked things to be kept...stop putting it off!
"There's just one thing I don't get." Holly finally found the courage to ask the question she'd been wanting to ask for the past few hours.
"Oh?" Slade replied.
"Why the pretence for Pete? I mean, I thought it was Monica we were trying to shake off here?"
"Well I saw Pete cracking on to you."
"Well let's just say I know him a lot more than you do."
"What's that supposed to mean!? It's not like I was about to hop into bed with him, I was only dancing with him to help you out!"
Slade simply raised an eyebrow to that remark. Why did the words bed and Holly have such an appeal right now?
"I set him up on a date with one of the girls in the station where I used to work. I didn't know then, but he was also seeing two other women at the same time. Louise found out and thought I'd been in on it from the beginning. Apparently as a cover he'd told her we had a bet, to see how many women we could date at once. I almost lost a friend."
"And what? You didn't want to lose me as a friend?" Slade simply nodded and took another sip of his wine. "So I should be grateful?" Holly said some what deflated. The idea of Slade being jealous over her seemed quite comforting in a strange way. It made her feel wanted, cared for.
"And flattered," Slade cut into her thoughts.
"That I think so highly of our friendship. I mean who else do you know who'd go to such lengths to protect their friendship?" he was smiling now.
Put like that Holly could hardly argue the point. If it was true then Slade had just been looking out for her, which was kind of nice really. It had been a long time since someone else had looked out for her. Sure she had other friends, but they didn't know her as well as Slade did. In fact she never spent as much time with her other friends as she did with Slade. Then there was the time machine, who else knew about that? Come to think of it, why had she told Slade in the first place?
"You okay?" Slade said interrupting her thoughts.
"Yeah, just thinking."
"Nice thoughts I hope..?"
"No, wicked ones." Holly said under her breath.
"Nothing. Look I could really do with getting some sleep, so..."
"Ah yes, it may be the early hours of the morning, but you haven't slept very much in the last 24 hours have you?" Slade said smiling.
"Look, um I'm feeling kinda tired myself right now, mind if I crash on your couch? Promise it'll just be for a couple of hours, then I'll be out of your hair."
Not really in the mood to argue, Holly agreed and retired to her bedroom and got changed. She was too tired physically to make him leave, but mentally she was on edge. Once again Slade was in the next room, and try as she might the best she could manage was a fitful sleep.
"So, what's she like?"
"Nice, caring, a bit naive, but I like her."
"More than me?"
"No. The same, just different."
"You'll forget me."
"I promise, Jessica."
"Slade?" Holly whispered. Once again Slade had woken her with his rustling on the couch. It was almost as if she could sense he was in distress! Again she had grown concerned enough to get up and check on him.
"Holly?" Slade slowly came awake.
"Yeah. You okay?" she asked, the concern evident, "you were talking in your sleep again."
"W-What was I saying?"
"Jessica. Who is she?"
"Someone who belongs in the past." he said slowly sitting up. Holly was now kneeling down in front of him, curiosity evident in her face. "Maybe I'll tell you later."
"Only if you want to," Holly said, resting a soothing hand on his knee.
"I don't deserve you, you know that?"
"Yes." Holly laughed. She stopped when she saw Slade looking at her intently. Suddenly feeling self conscious she started to rise when Slade stopped her.
"No, don't go. Not yet."
"Holly, can I ask you something?"
Holly would never forget what happened next for as long as she lived. Cursing because he couldn't think of how to put it into words, Slade kissed her. Not because of a dream, or to put on a show for somebody. And when he sensed that she wasn't pulling away, he deepened the kiss. Trying to hold her closer and closer until they were one, Holly finally had to break the kiss in order to breathe.
"Slade," she whispered.
"Yes?" he replied, a slight trepidation in his voice.
Holly smiled "What took you so long?"