Steffani closed her eyes and smiled at Nick's kisses. "Tough choice." She mumbled, not wanting to move. "Ravishing sounds interesting" She was interrupted by her stomach, which growled. "Traitor." She muttered to it at its voicing that it wants lunch.

He laughed lightly against her stomach, kissing it once more before raising himself off her and planting a kiss on her lips. "Ravishin'll come later then. Let's feed ya."

Steffani laughed. "Deal." She told him. Pushing herself up to rest her back on the headboard, she looked at Nick. "You know I'm gonna have to do some serious kissing up to thank ya."

He forced himself to roll of the bed, putting on a pair of boxers. "Why on earth would ya even think ya'd have t' do that?" He asked, reaching for a pair of jeans.

"Female intuition." She told him bluntly, staying in bed.

Nick shook his head. "Well, I'm not one that usually argues against female intuition, but in this case, yer off. I'm doin' this 'cause I want t'. So don't worry 'bout it." He shook the jeans so they'd straighten out, attempting to put them on again.

"Fine I won't." Steffani agreed as she crossed her arms over her chest.

He chuckled, buttoning up his pants. "Ya gonna stay there, or at least keep me company while I cook for ya?" He said, tossing a balled-up oversized t-shirt of his at her, trying to get her to join him.

Steffani shrugged. "I'm trying to see if my legs will work this very minute." She didn't move. "Obviously not." She told with a playful smile.

Shaking his head, he looked through a drawer and remembering her comment about 'showing off' he grabbed a white wife beater tank, putting it on and automatically tucking his necklace into it. "Fine. Guess I'll have t' carry ya," he said with a smirk, resting his knees against the bed and he leaned closer towards her.

"I'll follow as soon as I'm ready." Steffani shot at him. "And only then."

He smirked at her sudden aggressiveness. "Yes, ma'am. See ya soon." He exited into the hallway, nearly tumbling over the two dogs. "Geez guys, not used to having ya two 'round. Careful where ya lay down, will ya?" He added humorously as he headed to the kitchen.

As soon as Nick had left Steffani jumped out of the bed and walked swiftly to the only bag in the bedroom. She pulled out a tie back shirt and a pair of red leather flares. Changing quickly, Steffani noticed Zeus' head around the corner. "Come here Zeus... mommy's got you a mission." She told him before telling the dog to go and fetch the smaller gray bag. Watching the dog run out, Steffani slowly tip toed to the bathroom where she washed her face and wetted down her hair to run her fingers through it. Hearing a muffled woof she looked at Zeus holding the bag. "Sshh." She told the dog before taking the bag and pulling out the bag holding her hair items. Putting her hair in pigtails, Steffani headed towards the kitchen. It felt fun not having any secrets with Nick. "Hey cowboy." She greeted.

Nick had managed to find some eggs, ham, and potatoes, setting them down on the counter. Leaning into the fridge, he tried to see what else he had in there. Looking up over the door, he did a visible double take. "Someone cleans up well," he said jokingly, although he was still surprised by her attire. He straightened up. "Hey Darlin'. Long time no see," he added with a wink.

"Well I seemed to have remembered someone saying that the blackness of black is out." She teased him with a smile.

He smirked, closing the refrigerator door and moving to the counter, getting out the cutting board. "Yer pants don't look too black t' me, Darlin'."

"I know. They’re red." She told him with a smile. "Some one is this 'ship gotta wear red."

He laughed, leaning forward to rest his elbows against the edge of the sink as he began peeling potatoes. "Hope an omelet’s okay with ya."

Steffani nodded as the two dogs came up behind her. "Yeah.. Just as long as there's no peppermint or pineapple in it we're good." She told him checking him out as he peeled the potatoes.

"Ya allergic or somethin'?" He asked as he continued to peel, unawares of what she was doing.

"Something like that." Steffani muttered as she tilted her head watching him.

"Well, not t' worry, no pineapples or peppermint. That'd make a mighty strange omelet, don't ya think?" He said, turning his head over his shoulder to toss her a grin. He started to laugh. "Subtle, aren't ya?"

"I wasn't looking." She told him. "I was thinking." She added after a minute.

His laughter continued, albeit much softer as he finished with the peeling and moved the potatoes to the cutting board. "If I can ask, what 'bout?"

"Fish." Steffani blurted. Fish? She mouthed to herself.

He gave her a humorous curious look, then turned his attention to cutting the potatoes into cubes. "Okaay... some other pastime I should know 'bout?"

"No.... Just thinking about fish." She told him with a tightlipped smile the whole time thinking about how stupid her answer had sounded.

He shook his head. "Got ya." He glanced over at her, motioning to the fridge with his head. "If yer still thristy, feel free t' grab something t' drink."

Steffani nodded as Apollo sat down in front of her. "What?" She asked the dog, who let out a little whimperish bark. "Do you got two medium sized bowls heavy enough not to be tipped?" She asked Nick talking with her hands.

Nick frowned, thinking. "Umm, try the second cabinet from the fridge. I think I got the bakeware in there."

"Cool." She told him going over she pulled out two medium-ish pots and held them up to Apollo, who barked loudly in agreement. "All right all right. I'm moving." She told him bluntly.

Nick chuckled at her interaction with the dogs. "Demandin', aren't they?"

"Very." Steffani stated only knowing that Apollo had stepped up as the bossy food dog since Aries was gone. Filling one pot with kibble and the other with water, Steffani put them in the corner and watched the two dogs eat.

Nick finished cubing up the potatoes and started doing the same thing with the ham. "Hey, can ya grab a bowl for me? Uh, should be the first cabinet. Oh, and a fork. Drawer above it."

"Directions around the kitchen how fun." Steffani told him getting what he wanted. "Anything else." She asked setting them down next to him.

He smirked, cracking the eggs against the bowl, then tossing the shells into the sink. He maneuvered himself behind her so she was directly in front of the bowl, his arms wrapped around her, holding her hands on the counter. "Know how to whisk?"

"That's about the only thing I know how to do in a kitchen.. other then use a microwave."

He kissed the nape of her neck. "Go for it, Darlin'." He released her hands, wrapping his arms around her waist instead, resting his chin on her shoulder so he'd be able to see.

Whisking the eggs, Steffani looked at Nick out of the corner of her eyes. "Am I doing okay so far Mr. Cowboy Chef?"

"Perfect," his tone indicating he was talking about more than just her whisking, but his eyes didn't move towards her, wondering if she'd let the comment slip by unacknowledged.


Giving her another kiss, he pulled away, taking out a pan and setting it on the stove, turning on one of the spots.

Continuing her whisking Steffani looked over at Nick. "So, do I get my first cooking lesson or is this a watch and learn dealio?"

He grinned. "Which do ya prefer? Gotta warn ya, I'm doin' the flippin' either way, 'cause it's tricky to get it flipped whole." He put some cooking oil in the pan before putting in the cubes of potatoes so they'd start to cook.

"Tell you the truth...I'm not really sure." She told him bluntly. "I mean me cooking... instant death wish."

Nick laughed. "Okay, I want t' survive the afternoon, so just sit this one out then." He turned the cubes so that they'd brown evenly as he spoke.

"Fine by me." She told him as she finished whisking and crossed her arms over her chest watching him.

He put the ham in, stirring it in with the potatoes. Moving back towards her, he grabbed the bowl. "Thank ya." He smirked as he returned to the stove. "I bet ya thought I was lyin'," he commented as he carefully poured in the eggs, making sure it all settled evenly.

"Now why would I think that?" She asked him as Zeus sat down next to her liking his lips at the smell of the cooking ham.

"'Cause the idea of a cookin' computer tech must've been far too outrageous t' hear about," he said humorously, keeping one eye on the pan as the meal cooked the other on her.

"It is a left fielded idea." Steffani gave him. "But there are others."

"Do tell," he prompted her, turning away from her momentarily to flip the tortilla.

"All right. A New York undercover narcotics detective can cook a five course meal for two people in less then three hours - by himself." Steffani told him with a raised eyebrow. "I've always been wondering how he could do that."

He gave her a curious look, then busted out laughing. "I have no idea what you're referrin' to, I'm sorry t' say."

"Deaqon Hayes." She told him. "My old partner, with Logan." She told him hoping that Nick didn't catch the same last name as Dre bit.

"Ahhh. Well, I've never tried that much cookin' at once yet, so we'll see if I can match him one day," he smirked, then turned back to face the meal, frowning into it. 'Two person meal... old partner...' He mentally shook himself. 'What do you care?' "Almost done here," he said aloud.

Steffani caught sight of Nick's frown, kneeling down next to Zeus she started to scratch her dogs head. "It wasn't for me." She told him bluntly playing with her dog.

Nick looked over at her, clearly surprised. "Ah... err... okay..." He felt like a kid with his hand stuck in the cookie jar. Shaking his head, he grabbed some plates and forks, placing them on the counter that protruded from the wall, allowing for use as a table.

Giving Zeus' head a quick tousle, Steffani stood. "What? You actually think Deaq would cook for me? A burger maybe."

He floundered for a response, pausing long enough to turn off the stove, serving the tortilla onto one of the plates and returning to the counter. He sighed. "Sorry 'bout the assumption there, it's just... ya haven't told me much 'bout yer... previous romances, Steff." He cut it in half and served it onto her plate. He moved to the fridge. "What do ya want t' drink?"

Steffani laughed. "That's cuz there is none." She told him bluntly. "Water's cool."

He almost dropped the glasses he had taken out. Actually, he did drop one, except he managed to catch it. He placed them down on the counter. "I... I'm yer first...?" He couldn't believe it.

"First romance...yeah." Steffani clarified.

He still couldn't believe it. "I... don't believe it. I mean... it's not that... but... Wow." He said simply.

Steffani blushed. "Yeah well... as flattering as it is.." She trailed off. "All right I guess you can call it flattering."

He almost smiled. Instead, he leaned across the countertop to kiss her. "I'm not only flattered, I'm honored." He grabbed two water bottles from the fridge, sliding one to her as he took a seat on the stool next to her.

"Be honored... Just don't go blabbing it okay? Got a reputation to up hold." She teased taking the water.

He arched a brow at her. "Fine... as long as you don't tell anyone I'm a teddy bear," he added quickly, smirking at her before feeding himself a forkful of the omelet.

Playing with the omelet, Steffani nodded. "Deal." She told him. Taking a bite, she smiled. "You chose the wrong profession, cowboy." She told him after swallowing.

He smirked, although he wanted to blush. "Ya like, then?"

"Past like... try love." She corrected him taking another bite.

He grinned, a blush actually appearing now. "Good, I'm glad," he said, taking another bite himself.

"We could probably fry a few more eggs on your face." Steffani pointed out slyly to him.

That didn't help any. "Oh, shush. I'll poke ya with my fork," he said laughing.

Laughing, Steffani hung her head and let her bangs fall into her face. "Oh please don't... I bruise easily." She joked.

"Yeah, thought that'd back ya off," he said smirking, returning to his meal.

"Har-Har." Steffani told him reaching over and poking Nick with her fork.

He grabbed the fork quickly from her, smiling down at her. "Careful where ya stick that thing. Otherwise, no food for ya later."

"I know how to order a pizza." Steffani told him with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah, but why order in when I can cook it? Well, maybe not a pizza but... ya get what I'm sayin'." He said with a chuckle, releasing her fork.

"Duh," Steffani replied pulling her fork back and taking another bite. She was silent a minute and for some reason her mind wondered back to who would want to kill her dog. Shaking her head, Steffani wished that it would just leave her alone for at least one day... one incredible day. ""Other then omelets and Italian food what else can you cook?" She asked attempting to keep her mind off of the dog.

"Chinese, some Cuban, some Mexican. A potpourri of stuff," he responded between bites.

"Never ever had Cuban food." Steffani replied. "Sounds kinda funky though."

He grinned. "Look at your plate, Darlin'. It's an omelet in English, but a 'Tortilla' in Spanish."

"I took and failed Spanish." Steffani told him with a smile. "All the years I took it."

He chuckled. "Growin' up in Houston my childhood friend was of Cuban heritage. So I learned Spanish, and he learned English. Worked out real well."

"Lucky you." Steffani muttered. "I had ghetto friends and looked how I turned out."

He smiled softly. "Yeah. Here with me. I'd say that worked out pretty well."

"Well yeah that is the good part." Steffani agreed but the road was kinda crappy and bumpy....Maybe I took the wrong turn at Albuquerque or something like that."

"Well... as you say, 'Carpe Diem'," he said, cutting off another piece with his fork.

"Oh trust me I took today." Steffani told him.

"Ditto. In any case," he continued, wanting to change the subject, "if ya stick a recipe in front of me, it's all good."

Steffani laughed. "Don't tempt me." She told him as she put her fork down to look at Nick silently with a wicked grin on her face.

He raised a brow in the air. "Don't tempt ya t' do what?"

Steffani shrugged. "Wouldn't you like to know." She teased him.

"Yeah, actually, I would." He ate the last piece left on his plate and turned in his stool, propping his left elbow on the counter to face her.

"I'm not telling." She told him with a wink as she stood up and cracked her back.

He shook his head, then looked over at her plate. "Ya done?" He asked, standing as well, placing his fork on his plate and moving towards the sink.

"Yeah...light eater." Steffani stated glancing over her shoulder.

"Well, I'll change that." He said with a wink, taking the plate and frowning. "Seems a like a waste t' toss it. Umm... Do dogs eat eggs or potatoes? I know they'd like the ham chunks but dunno 'bout the rest."

"They eat everything but leafy green stuff." Steffani told him. "At least mine do."

He laughed. "Got ya. It's okay if I give it t' 'em then?"

"Feel free." Steffani told him. "They'll love ya for it too."

He grinned. "Brownie points! Bonus!" He cut it up into smaller pieces and dropped it into their new food bowl.

Steffani laughed and watched her two dogs go after Nick's cooking. "Don't spoil them all right?' She told him with a wink. "Their big babies as it is but no need to remind them." She added hoping to sit on the counter while Zeus let out a growl trying to tell Apollo that the left over omelet was his.

He laughed. "Don't worry guys, there's enough for the two of you," he said as he put her plate and fork into the sink also, running some water over them. He tossed a glance over his shoulder at her. Leaving the dishes for later, he moved in front of her, cornering her into her seat. "So, what was that temptation again?" He said with a smirk as he let the tips of his fingers climb up her legs.

"Not telling." Steffani told him giving him a quick kiss on the nose.

He placed his hands on the sides of her waist, smiling. "Never?"

"Never Ever."

Nick gave her a pouty lip. "Please?"

Kissing Nick, Steffani shook her head. "No."

He kissed her back. "Pretty please? With a cherry on top?"

"Maybe some whip cream." She told him.

"Whipped cream too, if ya want it." Nick said with a grin.

"Kinky." Steffani told with a raised eyebrow. "Me like."

He laughed, then regaining his composure, responded. "That's not what I meant, doll."

Scooting forward, Steffani smiled and rested her arms one either side of his head. Kissing Nick, Steffani rested her forehead against his. "Let's go back to bed." She told him with a soft smile.

He raised a brow in the air. "What, done with the lavishin', now ya want the ravishin'?" He asked with a slight smile.

"Something around those lines."

He chuckled slightly, lowering his hands back to her legs, moving them so that they were around his waist. "I won't argue. Hold on," he said as he wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her tightly to him and lifting her off the counter.

"Wee." Steffani joked as she wrapped her fingers behind Nick's head to keep a grip from falling.

He grinned, being careful not to trip on the dogs as he walked down the hallway. Closing the door with his foot, he deposited her on the bed. "Okay, yer on the bed. What'd ya want t' tell me?"

"Surprise me." Steffani told him letting one of her hands slide down his neck and chest.

Shaking his head lightly, he climbed onto the bed, coaxing her onto her back as he kissed her. "Why do I get the feelin' yer gonna wear me out eventually?"

"Why is it always the girls fault. They be the death of guys or they'll wear out guys.. why can't a guy wear out a girl for once?

He waggled his brows at her playfully. "Comin' right up," he said, locking his lips with hers.

Kissing Nick passionately, Steffani ran a hand through his hair as she pulled him close to her.

Continuing the kiss, one hand started to untie her top, the other maintaining his elevation above her.

Sliding her hand down to Nick's neck, Steffani touched the necklace he wore and looped it once around her fingers as she kissed him back, arching her body towards him as she did.

Removing her top, he started to move down her body, only to be stopped by a sudden tug around his throat. He raised his free hand around his neck to grab her hand, smiling. "Sorry, gonna need my head if ya want t' continue."

Steffani smiled. "Really." She told him. "I thought you would be up to a challenge."

He smirked, then grew serious, thinking quickly. Shifting himself, he raised his head and ducked it out of the necklace. Lowering himself onto the bed at her side, he held her hand that clutched the necklace between both of his, kissing hers lightly as he made a decision.

A confused look came over Steffani's face. "Oookkkkaaaayyy."

"Steff... I was going to try and find you a Valentine's Day gift, but with the day's events... nothing seems appropriate anymore." He looked up at her, raising one his hands and running it through her hair as he spoke. "So... I want to give you something to wear until all this is over." Using both his hands, he untangled it from her grip, hesitating only slightly before placing it around her own. "This was my dad's. Mom gave it to me when I was 8, after my communion, sayin' that my father would always be lookin' out for me. I've taken it off twice... three times, since then." His fingers reached up to tangle themselves in her hair once more. "I got t' be honest; it would pain me t' give it up permanently, but I want ya t' wear it for now. I know he's watchin' over me... but I'd like you t' wear it as a reminder that *I'm* here for *you*."

"Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no." Steffani repeated repeatedly. "No, no no...Did I mention No? I can't take"

He kissed her. "Please. I want the pleasure of getting it back once this mess is over."

"I can't take this." Steffani told him. "I can't take something that was your dads. I just can't." She added after a minute.

"You're not takin' it... You're borrowin' it." He kissed her. "I want you to know I'm always there, even when I'm not physically next to you. And I doubt any of my rings fit ya," he said with a slight smile. "It's a show of confidence that all this will be over soon."

Steffani lowered her eyes and looked at Nick. "Stop it your gonna make me cry." She told him seriously. "I still can't take this though...Borrow it or whatever."

"Last thing I do is wanna make ya cry, I swear. But... Okay, tell me why not," changing his thought in mid-sentence.

"Because...It was your dads." Steffani told him. "What happens if something happens to me." She asked. "Hmmm??? You'll never get it back."

He shook his head. "Nothin'll happen t' ya. I won't let it."

"You can't be with me twenty four seven Nick." Steffani told him. "And even if you were.. look at what they did to Aries...How the hell do you think I could bare with that?"

His brows lowered into a slight frown. "Steff... yer worried that somethin' might happen t' me?"

"Extremely." She corrected.

"Oh geez, Steff, don't. I'll be fine."

Steffani looked at Nick. "I don't know who this guy is Nick. I took down some really bad guys. And the gangs are always looking to hurt an ex-blood." She told him. "I don't want to lose you too." She cocked out.

His heart sank, and he kissed her. "You won't lose me. I'll fight whatever situation I end up in. You've given me a reason to fight again. You'll never lose me."

Steffani scooted closer to him. "You better keep that." She muttered keeping a grip on him. "I mean die, I'll kick your a**."

He wrapped one arm around her waist, ducking the other under her head, holding her close. "I'll keep it now just t' prevent the consequent whoopin'." Nick responded in an attempt at brevity.

Closing her eyes, Steffani nodded and kept her head rested on Nick's chest.

Leaning down, he kissed her. "How 'bout I give ya that ravishin' now?"

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