"Lies" by Mala

    "What do you want from me?"

    Nikita whirled away from her bay windows, staring across the room. A life. . . love. . .maybe a few babies, she wanted to shout. But instead she swallowed to erase the lump in her throat. "Oh, no, Michael," she hissed. "Don't ask such a loaded question. You know you won't like the answer."

    The expression in his green eyes didn't change. . . was still cool, remote, and faintly curious. He crossed his arms over his chest. "How can you be so sure?" he quizzed, arching a silky dark brow.

    She dragged a hand through her loose blond hair, pushing it back off her face. "How can I be sure?" she repeated. She threw up her hands in surrender as she moved towards him. "You're right. I can't be. I don't know you at all. We've established that," she reminded.

    A faint smile tugged at his lips but didn't reach the ice of his gaze. "Nikita. . ."

    Saying her name in that husky accent--that was playing dirty. She rubbed her hands up and down her bare arms, suddenly wishing she wore more than her blue crop top and jeans--like maybe a nun's habit. "You like playing games, don't you?" she murmured bitterly. "Touches. . .promises. . . saying my name like it means something. . . lies--all your lies!" She shook her head. "What do you want from me?"

    Michael sat down on the couch, slipping off his black jacket. "Don't ask such a loaded question. You won't like the answer." He mimicked her earlier words. "What about your lies, Nikita?" he wondered.

    "When have I ever lied to you?" She looked at him incredulously. And oddly enough, her heart was turning over. He looked so good, so natural, in her home. Of course, he'd picked it out. . . perhaps that was why.

    His eyes were suddenly filled with damp irony. "'You're jealous because I love Gray and not you'. . .isn't that what you said?" he reminded.

    "Oh, is that what you want to hear?" she shot back, tears trembling on the edges of her lashes. "You want me to admit that I love you? No. . ." she gasped. "I won't give you another weapon against me. Dream on, Michael."

    He stood up then. . . and crossed over to her. "Yet you want me to open myself up. . ." he murmured, tenderly brushing stray locks of hair back from her temple. "You want to take all my defenses away. . . you're the one who held a weapon to my head, cherie. And you hold it again now. You're the one who wants to hear it."

    She shivered, rubbing against his touch. . . his voice was so calm, so matter-of-fact. "Is that so wrong?" she asked, feeling tears escape and slip down her cheeks.

    And he caught the wetness on his fingertips. . . kissed it off. "No." His tone was suddenly choked. "No, its not." Both of his hands cupped her jaw, urged her mouth up to his. His kiss was so tentative. . . so gentle. . . it was like a prayer. "I love you, Nikita," he murmured into her lips. "I love you too much."

    She couldn't help the low cry that came from her throat. "Michael!" And she kissed him back as three years of self-enforced Hell gave way to sudden Heaven. His fingers anchored in her hair as his mouth moved over her eyelids, her forehead, the curve of her cheek. Her palm grazed the roughness of his jaw . . . caught the tears that were leaking from his closed eyes.

    "You've disarmed me, my love," he admitted.

    Their mouths met again. . . and again. Michael. . .Michael. He lifted her, carried her the short distance to her bedroom. From there, it was all a fever of demands and the hurry to learn every inch of each other's flesh. Their clothes were a cumbersome barrier that soon melted away. . . until they were finally skin to skin. . . this time with no camera, no mission. . . and no acting, between them.

    "I love you, too," she whispered in their most intimate darkness. And for that instant. . . there was nothing but the light and the utmost truth.

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