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Chapter 3 – Rick


Rick: Good morning, beautiful.

Michonne: Hey Rick, good morning

Rick: Have a good day

Michonne: You too…and lock up lots of bad guys!

Rick: I got you…


Rick: What's your favorite color?

Michonne: I don't know…red?

Rick: Yeah, you would look amazing in red…

Michonne: I do look pretty amazing in red. Wearing red today

Rick: I wanna see

Michonne: …

Michonne: (texts picture in a red silk blouse and black pencil skirt)

Rick: I knew it that made my day, beautiful


Rick: How old were you when you had your first kiss?

Michonne: Uh…

Rick: I kissed a girl the first time when I was 15. Late bloomer

Michonne: oh yeah? I was like 11 when I kissed a boy for the first time

Rick: My mother would have called you fast

Michonne: Mine too. Good thing she never knew about it LOL! What would you have called me?

Rick: Mine


Michonne: tell me a secret about you, that no one else knows.

Rick: I've never been in love

Michonne: You didn't love your wife? I loved my ex…terribly

Rick: I loved her…I wasn't in love with her. Big difference

Michonne: What is it? The difference?

Rick: Maybe one day I can show you. What's your secret?

Michonne: …

Michonne: when is your birthday?

Rick: September 14th. Yours?

Michonne: February 14th. You're a Virgo…figures. Loyal, practical, smart, tenacious…sound familiar?

Rick: Is that supposed to be me, my little valentine's baby?

Michonne: If the shoe fits…

Rick: Ok, I found yours. You're an Aquarius…independent, spontaneous, intelligent…sound familiar?

Michonne: Hush, Sheriff! Call me later...

"Hey, beautiful."

"Rick, hi. What's up?"

"This sleepover Carl and Andre have cooked up, I just want to make sure that it's still ok, and the logistics of the whole thing."

"Oh, ok. I worked from home today, so you can drop him off whenever you are ready. I'll text you my address. And I will bring him back to King County tomorrow when I go see my parents. Does that work?"

"Yeah. Sounds good. It will be nice to see you again, Michonne. Not just a texted picture."


"Why do you sound nervous? You don't want to see me?" I ask on a light laugh, picking up on the jittery wobble in her soft voice. The idea that she might not does make me nervous, a little unsure of myself. We've been texting all week, and I have to admit that every one of those messages has made me fall for her just a little bit more.

"No, that's not it at all, Rick." She promises on a firm assertion, clearing away the heavy uncertainty that was attempting to cloud my brain. "It's just that, um, I didn't expect this to be a thing. You and me. I did something kind of crazy and spontaneous that one time, and…" Michonne trails off, hoping that what she has said is sufficient to explain what she can't seem to vocalize.

"Hey, it's ok, I understand."

"No, I don't think you do. It's not that I don't-"

"Michonne, hey sweetheart." A man's voice interrupts.

"Hey, Aaron, come on in." Her voice lightens, and takes on an airy, chipper tone as she welcomes some guy. Aaron. I remember hearing this guy's name before, and my blood begins to boil in my veins. "Rick, I'm sorry, I have to go. When you drop Carl off tonight, we can talk. Ok?"

"Sure. That's fine. I look forward to it."

"Me too. Bye."

Sitting on the couch in my living room I drop my phone to my side, and sit back, grasping for a relieved breath. A deep one that quivers over my lips, bulks and sinks my chest with the effort to calm myself. This woman is doing something to me.

Ever since I met her on New Year's Eve, she has been on my mind. The tiny details of her are trapped in my brain. Her intoxicatingly sweet scent in my nose, and days later still a faint lingering dash on my sheets. The provocative tang of her womanhood seems to still be sticky on my lips. The ghost of her supple skin still soft and smooth in my greedy palms, while I was buried deep inside of her silk. Inviting moans, purred seductively in my ears. The sight of her dusky hued skin, damp and glistening with sweat, writhing in pleasure across my white sheets. Damn.

For the last few days I have dreamt of her every night. Reached for her body that should have still been warm in my bed. Instead her sudden appearance, and even more sudden disappearance from my life, has left a stinging bereft feeling, and I don't like it. She blessed me with the gift of her, then surreptitiously stole it back. Now I'm desperate.

That next morning when I went to my parents' house to get Carl, I was hoping to find her at her parents' home. She wasn't, but when her son gave me her phone number and her name I was just as scattered with emotion as if she was. Though I tried to hide it behind the same face I use at work, my professional sheriff's face, from her father's questioning stare, and her son's youthful scrutiny, my mental state was a messy tangle. Eager excitement to finally know her name and how to get in touch with her, was at war with a slight anger that she had not stuck around that next morning, and that I was uncharacteristically turned on by the chase that was about to commence. A carnal craving to find her and deliver a few swats to her round bottom as punishment, uncharacteristically stimulated me and kept my longing for her dancing on the knife's edge of an odd and potentially dangerous fixation on her.

Dragging my hand down my face, attempting to cool my lustful thoughts of Michonne, I drop my head back on the cushion of the couch and school my breathing, directing my body to relax.

"Hey, Dad, what did Andre's mom say? Is it still cool for me to spend the night?" Carl excitedly asks, his energy and anticipation of hanging out with his new friend causing him to bounce on the balls of his large, sneakered feet.

"Yeah. Get your things together. We'll take off in about twenty minutes. I'd like to get you dropped off over there and get back before the freezing rain they're calling for gets started."

"Cool! Let me get my stuff. But, Dad, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

"Sure, you can always ask me a question, Carl. What's up?"

"You like Andre's mom?"

"Yeah, she's a nice lady. Why do you ask?"

"No, Dad, I mean…like-like her."

"Why do you ask, Carl?"

"I don't know. Just the way you were looking at her at Grandma and Grandpa's house the other night. Kind of an up and down look at her, you know, her body. And you asked Andre for her name and number. So, I was just wondering if you wanted to date her or something?"

"Why don't you have a seat here for a minute, Carl. I guess we haven't needed to have this talk before." Gesturing towards the chair next to the couch, I sit up, elbows on my thighs, hands hanging in a light clasp.

"Oh god, Dad. Not the birds and the bees, we already talked about that. If you're gonna tell me about sex with Andre's mom I'm gonna puke, ok?"

"What? No! Why would you think I was going to talk to you about that? What we did-"

"What you did? You had sex with Andre's mom? When?"

"I didn't say that. Hold on, let's back up here." I throw up my hands up in a halting motion, attempting to calm the elevated alarms going off on Carl's face, and in the raise of his pubescent voice, already rasping from high to low. "I do like her, very much. I would like to get to know her better. I know that's new for me, cause I haven't been with anyone since your mother and I divorced, but I think it's time for me to get on with my life now. Your mother has, and I want to as well. Do you understand that?"

"Andre's not going to like this, Dad. He seems to think his parents might get back together eventually. He seems pretty confident of it." Carl shakes his head, and overly long brunette hair swishes across his forehead, almost masking his eyes from me.

"Hm. That's interesting, and confusing, but that's not really for me to worry about, I'll leave that to his mother I guess. What about you, though, Carl? What do you think about me dating Andre's mom?" I ask, honestly interested, seeing as this is unchartered territory for us. Carl has never known me to be with any woman other than his mother. And while he seems to be adjusting well to his life with divorced parents, the actuality of me moving on with another woman might not sit well with him at all.

"I don't know. I like her. She seems really nice, and smart. Different, though."

"How so?" Now my interest is piqued. What does my son think of her being different, and what's the difference he's thinking of?

"Different from…Mom. From that Jessie lady Grandma was trying to hook you up with. From us."

"Is that a bad thing?"

"No… I guess I didn't think she would be your type. But, you always tell me to consider the person, and what they do, not what they look like. So, it doesn't matter to me, but to someone else it might."

"Ya know, Carl, beautiful women come in all shapes, sizes, colors, whatever. I think Andre's mom, Michonne, is gorgeous. And yeah, maybe her color is what caught my eye at first. It made her stand out, that's not a bad thing. It's only bad if the only reason I like her is because of her skin, or her features. But it's not. She's funny, intelligent, and I really like her. At this point I only care what you think about me moving on, not what anyone else might think about what she looks like, it's irrelevant and none of my business."

Bashfully dropping his eyes away from my face, darting them about the room, as though he's struggling with what to say next, Carl finally settles them back on me. "I know what Mom did, Dad. I'm not stupid. I'm 15, I remember when you guys would argue. When she used to call him. When you found out whatever happened between her and him, and stopped coming home. I heard the phone calls Mom would make to Granny Kate and Aunt Marcie. I heard her telling them in those same phone calls what she did. I also know that the baby she's carrying isn't yours. She's angry at herself for what she did, she's sorry, but it's done, I get it…why you divorced. I think, you deserve to be happy."

"She told you that?"

"No. But I watch, I listen. I also know he doesn't come over anymore. They're not together."

"Yeah, well, what your mother does or doesn't do isn't my concern any longer." Uncomfortable speaking to Carl about the drama between his mother and I, I rub my thumb across my forehead, sensing the tension of a headache approaching. "I'm sorry you've had to hear about all of that ugliness, that kind of grown up stuff, but I'm glad that there are no secrets and we can all move on. If things could have been different between your mom and I, I would have been happy with that. For you, if nothing else. But, they aren't. I appreciate you being good with me moving on."

"No problem, Dad. Just remember all of this come my birthday, and next Christmas."

"Sure, ok," I laugh, truly grateful yet again for the maturity and understanding of my son. "Go get your stuff so we can go."

"What's up, man! Come on in. Hello, Mr. Grimes."

"Hey, Andre. You can call me Rick if you want."

"That's ok, my parents prefer that I give elders their respect by not calling them by their first names unless we're close." Andre answers in a polite but dry tone, a smile that surely does not reach his bespectacled eyes on his lips.

"Ah, ok. Suit yourself. Is your mother around?"

"Yeah she's in the kitchen. You can wait here, I'll get her." Andre briefly sizes me up again, his eyes so much like his mother's, roaming over my face. Searching for something. Trying to figure me out, I suppose. My intentions. Presumably finding me as acceptable as when he gave me his mother's name and phone number, he turns on his heel, and heads to where I assume the kitchen is.

"It's all good, Dad. Don't be nervous." Carl whispers and pats me on the back, a reassuring smile on his face, standing next to me like a dutiful wingman. "He'll warm up to you eventually. He gave you her name and number after all."

Standing in the foyer I tap my sweaty hand nervously against my leg, waiting to lay my eyes on her again, and nod my head, agreeing with Carl's assessment. And of course she doesn't disappoint, as she's just as stunning as she was when I last saw her, asleep in my bed. But the baby held tightly in her arms, and the guy following her and Andre from the kitchen is definitely a surprise I did not expect.

"What's with you and all things King County lately? This new case, the guy?"

"Hush, Aaron!"

"I'm serious."

Rounding the corner, a chorus of laughter spilling out into the hall to announce her arrival, I catch the twinkling tones of her voice. And then I see her. Tight black leggings cover her lengthy legs, and a cropped pink workout shirt barely covers her torso, drooping off her left shoulder, while exposing her well defined abdomen. With her hair piled high on top of her head in a bun, she is the picture of relaxed beauty as she throws her head back on a loud chuckle, turning to playfully swat at the bearded guy walking closely behind her.

Holding a little baby girl tightly to her chest, she is the epitome of what every artist has attempted to capture in a depiction of motherhood. Bouncing the bundle of pink and purple blankets, swaddling the kicking and squirming baby, Michonne has the brightest smile I've yet to see on her face. Nuzzling into the neck of the baby, she fusses over her, pulling the hood of her snowsuit and blankets over her head, and whispering a few softly spoken words to her.

Playing out like a movie in front of me, I'm stuck to my spot in the foyer, a mesmerized set to my features, a tilt of my head. She looks so natural, calm, and at ease in this moment. This moment that feels so organic, it's like I can see the future in this snapshot, this frame of time. Her future. The essence of her joy. And I am immediately reminded of her quietly mumbled confession of not being able to have any more children, and it's a shame. That memory colors this vivid picture of motherhood, of her aura, with melancholy brushstrokes of blue sadness, layered with the sharp glow of reds and oranges, bursting from her form. I have no clue how, or why I am able to see her this way, the basic truth of who she is, but there is a magnetic pull of my own energy to hers because of it. I can't fight it, and it's stirring something akin to the most powerful of base human urges inside of me. To claim. To protect. To love.

Relax Rick. Relax.

With Andre to her right, his gaze bounces in anticipation between my own shocked stare, Michonne, the baby, and her friend. Aaron. Coming to a halt in front of Carl and I, Michonne's smile never falters, even as my own has dropped my lips into a confused frown. The guy who accompanied her and Andre down the hall stops next to her, hip to hip, his arm casually thrown over her shoulders, as though he is asserting his rights over her, and this baby.

I'm boiling. Overheating. I'm certain that from the shearling collar of my brown suede coat, there is steam bubbling out and up into the atmosphere, clear evidence of how disappointed and foolishly angry I am at the sight of her with this guy, this baby. His hands on her. Her laughing at his words. Him so effortlessly making her smile. They look like a family, the four of them together. While Carl and I appear as interlopers, outside viewers of their idyllic family dynamic, blessed with insight to a world where we don't belong.

Relax Rick. Relax.

"Hi, Rick, Carl. I'm glad you could make it. Has it started raining or snowing yet?" She looks up, that beautiful smile of hers still gracing her full lips, her head tilted back to help her make eye contact with me. It's a stunning moment, almost spiritual, like when God's hand pushes the clouds away to bless you with the warmth of the sun. That's exactly how gone I am for this woman that I barely know. Her words soothe the savage beast, and instantly I can feel some relief from the tension of her unexpected company stiffening my bones.

"Uh no, but it's coming." Latching on to her smile and the depth of her brown eyes, I drop my hands into my pockets to prevent them from throwing this guy's arm from her shoulders, and reaching for her, pulling her into my body.

"Mom, Carl and I are going to head to the basement, then maybe walk over to Cyndie's for a bit. That ok?"

"Sure, I'm good with that if Rick is."

"Yeah, I guess so. Cyndie live close by?"

"Cyndie is Andre's girlfriend. She only lives a few houses down the street, so they should be fine walking. As long as they have on coats, they don't really need to worry about the storm."

Taking off further into the house, Carl waves back towards me, then follows behind Andre through a door headed down to a lower level of the house.

"Well I do have to worry about the storm, so I'm gonna get going. Eric is going to lose it if Liana and I get stuck over here."

"I guess that means I have to give her back to you huh?"

"Yes, sweetheart, you do. But, I am going to take you up on that offer to babysit Sunday night, don't forget." Leaning down to her, he presses a kiss to her lips, and it's as though my brain has short circuited in its haste to scramble away from the succor of her smile, and back behind the clouds of discontent.

"Fair enough." She answers, that light twinkle still in her voice, and returns his kiss with one of her own, then hands him the baby. Maybe recognizing the uncomfortable shuffle of my boots, and my silence, a tiny laugh leaves her mouth. "I'm so sorry. My manners suck so tough right now. Rick, this is my best friend in the world, Aaron. Aaron, this is Carl's father Rick. He lives in King County."

Carl's father? Is that all? I brush it off though, because the cheerful relief at knowing who this guy is to her, shifts my mood a little, and allows me to regain some semblance of cool poise.

"Nice to meet you, Aaron." I nod, shaking his hand, no longer wanting to rip the arm attached to it from his body, but still curious at their obvious closeness. Not to mention the way he's also sizing me up, much the same way Andre did, but with a more mature awareness, perhaps of my own intentions.

"Same. What is it with you and King County lately?" He looks to her, a puzzled smirk angling his eyebrows between his eyes. Shaking his head, he turns back to me. "Anyway, you're a hell of a dad driving 40 minutes to drop your son off for a sleepover. Michonne do you remember when my father wouldn't even drive me around the corner to your house?"

"Well, in his defense he thought that you were coming over to make out, so I think I see his point."

"True. But, if you remember we did have that one time-"

"Alright, Aaron, I will see you on Sunday. Be safe, and tell Eric I said hello." Cutting him off, she helps him situate the bundled baby girl into a car seat next to the front door.

Watching Aaron and his daughter depart, the sadness that was imperceptible before makes a brief return to her face. With the rambunctious utterings of Carl and Andre, wafting up from the basement, she closes the door and resets her face into a placid smile.

"Thanks for letting Carl hang out. He's been talking about it all week."

"Oh yeah, no problem, Andre always has friends over. I would rather they be here where I can keep my eye on them, and I know they aren't getting into any real trouble."

"Smart." I agree, my hands still in my pockets, curling into themselves, itching to touch her.

"Would you like to stick around for a little bit? The storm is coming, and I'm just about to order some pizzas for the boys. Maybe watch a movie? I could use the company, and then we can talk some."

"Alright. Sure."

"Good. Please remove your boots and follow me, Sheriff."

Reaching down, I tug each of my cowboy boots off, hang up my coat on the rack next to the door, and follow Michonne back towards the rest of her house.

Much larger than my own modest three-bedroom ranch, her house is easily three times the size. From the entry foyer I can see the dining room and a front sitting room, but moving deeper in to the modern contemporary home, I can tell that the foyer does nothing to give away the full richness of her home. With a large kitchen, decked out in stainless steel, and granite to the left, and a wide TV room to the right, my senses are assaulted by the scent of warm vanilla and sugar cookies. Nostrils flaring, the scent is cozy, and coupled with the roaring fire blazing in the fireplace underneath the large TV, it's all evoking a feeling of home. Welcome. Family.

"Come on in, have a seat." Plopping down on the large, deep seated, sectional sofa, Michonne pats the cushion next to her, inviting me to relax with her. "It's really nice to see you again. You look good, Sheriff. Nice shirt." She compliments, her dark eyes scanning me from my wool socks, jean clad legs, and up and over my torso hidden beneath a cream colored, long sleeve Henley style shirt.

"Thanks. You look good as well."

"Thank you. I was going to workout downstairs when Aaron showed up with my god-daughter Liana."

"She's a pretty baby."

"Oh isn't she? Aaron and his husband just adopted her a few months ago, and I don't know if it's good that she feeds my baby addiction, because I never want her to leave. I just adore her. I love babies."

"Yeah, me too. I always wanted a lot more kids than I got, but such is life I suppose." Easing back, I lean into the welcoming cushions of the couch, my arm riding the back behind her shoulders. "So, Aaron huh?"

"What do you mean?"

"That guy's your best friend? He's gay?" I ask, a hint of disbelief in the tone of my voice, and the curling quirk of my eyebrow. I hate to be so blunt with my questioning, but my head won't stop pounding until I'm certain that I understand their relationship. She said he has a husband, but he also just kissed her on the lips, and clearly feels a protective ownership over her. So what gives?

"My very best friend. And yes, Rick, he's gay."

"You guys are very close it seems."

"Oh yeah, we have been since we met. He's the only man I love outside of my daddy and Andre." She wistfully answers. "Little known secret, Aaron was my first, and I was his."

"What? Is he the guy you kissed at 11? I thought you just said he's gay!"

"No that's not him. The guy I kissed at 11 was named Jamie Beavers. And yes, Aaron is gay. Now. But, when we were in high school he wasn't exactly sure, and we were both curious. It was a completely awkward encounter, believe me. We were two kids just trying to figure out our bodies and our feelings. We loved each other, just not romantically. It's all good now. I adore his husband Eric."

"Hm. I don't know how I should feel about that."

"There's no way for you to feel about it I guess. We don't sleep together now, Rick."

"Is it wrong for me not to want to share you with anyone else? At least not that way."


"Let me rephrase myself. I'm not going to share you with anyone else."

"Rick, we're friends, you and I. I like you. Let's not ruin that."

"I don't know what that means, but I meant what I said."

A subtle hint of confusion drops her features into a small frown, but she quickly recovers, and reaches onto the coffee table in front of her to gather her phone. "Make yourself comfortable. I'll go order the pizzas, and grab some drinks. If I remember you are a bourbon man, is that correct?"

"Yeah, but I'll take whatever you got. I probably shouldn't drink if I'm going to drive back to King County tonight."

"You sure?" She cocks her head to the right, and gives me a seductive grin that pulls her full lips up with a slight curve that sends a tingle up my spine.

"I'll have one drink, after pizza. I haven't eaten since breakfast."

"You shouldn't skip meals, Sheriff, gotta take care of yourself."

"I agree. You should do the same. Or let me help you with that."

"Smooth, Grimes. Very smooth." She compliments, giving me her back as she walks behind me and towards the kitchen.

"You really don't like ET? Who doesn't like ET? It's not a scary movie, Michonne."

"I know that, Rick, but there was something about him that wasn't right. He's an alien for God's sake. Why did those kids think he was harmless? Did you see those crazy big eyes? Yuck! Totally scared the shit out of me."

"But you said you still won't watch it now though? How old are you?"

"37. I won't watch it all. Little dude still creeps me out. You don't have a movie that you were creeped out by when you were little, that still kinda scares you?"

"No. Wait, I hated Aliens that was gross. The way the little one popped out of her stomach was crazy. When my mom was pregnant with my little brother Jeff I was pretty certain he was gonna pop out like that alien, but his birth didn't turn out near as exciting."

"Ugh. See, that's why I don't watch scary movies, at all. Even if I had someone to watch them with. Mike used to try and get me to, but I would spend most of the movie in his lap, hiding my eyes in his neck. Scared to death!"

"Mike your ex-husband?"


"You miss him?"

"Honestly? Sometimes I do. Andre is growing up. He's got his own friends, a girlfriend. And, he'll be gone soon, and it will just be me. Alone. More so than I am now. Than I was towards the end." Her voice breaks over the soft whisper of her last few words.

"The end of what?"

"The end of my marriage. Probably the last year or so, I knew it was coming to an end. It was a gut thing, you know. Mike wanted something I simply could not give him, and that created an irreparable rift between us. Days would go by and he wouldn't kiss me. We would share the same bed every night, and he wouldn't reach for me, our bodies wouldn't even touch. Hell, his back would be to me all night. He forgot about me, about wanting me. About what I needed, how I was feeling. I was alone then. I'm alone now, and it still scares me that this is just the way it's always going to be."

"Doesn't have to be. No need to be scared with me sitting right here, Michonne. I'm with you right now."

"Nothing scares you huh, Sheriff?" She sniffs, honest question in her low voice.

"Honestly, you scare me a little." I confess, needing to help assuage some of her fear, by sharing my own.

"Me? Why would I scare you? You're taller than me, stronger…" Her words trail off, her small hand tightly wrapped around the bicep of my left arm. Legs pulled up to her chest, she's tucked underneath my arm, and with her head resting on my shoulder, as it has been most of the night, she raises her wide, dark eyes to mine, full of a need to understand.

The ice storm came right after the pizza, and not long after, the boys returned from Andre's girlfriend's house. Michonne convinced me that it wasn't safe for me to drive back to King County in the middle of the storm, and offered me her guest room for the night. I obviously decided to stay the night.

Three pieces of pizza, and a bowl of popcorn later, I'm still in disbelief of how perfectly this night has turned out. Michonne and I have been on her couch, snuggled closely, watching movies all night, and now at 2 AM, we've finally finished our last one, Dirty Dancing. As her guest she allowed me to pick first, and the only movie I could find on Netflix that I thought we both might enjoy was a western that I have seen many times, but was new to her. 'Unforgiven'. The next movie, was a superhero one that we both agreed we could have lived without seeing, though she seemed to enjoy the eye candy of the actor playing Superman. Dirty Dancing, the last movie, was her choice, and though I've never seen it before, I suppose I could see the appeal of it to young girls and women. And as she noted that it was her favorite movie ever, I liked that it kind of let me see more of her, who she really is. Sheltered girl, ready for someone to see the woman she's become. The romanticism of being deflowered by the older, tough guy.

Clearing my throat, tongue a little loose from the four glasses of bourbon I've consumed, I focus on her face, while my hand massages slow circles on her back. I'm stalling, taking a moment to gather my thoughts through the clouds of thick cotton obstructing my ability to fully focus and not sound like a dork.

"You're unreal. Everything about you is so special. When I tell you that I've never known a woman like you, I mean it. You're smart, and funny, and gorgeous beyond belief, and…I have been hoping ever since we met that I could measure up. I know I'm not probably what you're used to-"

"What would that be, Rick?"

"I don't know, Michonne." Looking around at the splendor of her home, I'm working up the nerve to get to the heart of my self-doubt when it comes to her. "I'm a white sheriff, from a little country town 40 miles from Atlanta. You're a sophisticated, and intelligent black attorney from Atlanta. What am I doing here?" I laugh, eyes still set on her pretty features, truthfully in awe that we are here together right now. "But, I can't stop the urgent feeling that we are destined to be together. That me and you, is a good thing, even if I'm afraid that at any moment you're going to realize that you're more woman than I can handle, and I'm less of a man than you deserve."

"Don't say that, Rick. You're perfect. You are. We've been sitting here all night, and it does feel normal to be doing this with you, and I barely know you. But I didn't feel any hesitation or trepidation in inviting you into my home, sharing my time with you, offering for you to stay the night. I have to be honest though, I see how you look at me, how you're looking at me right now, and… it's me, Rick. It's why I left that morning after we slept together. I'm not at all who, or what you think I am." Michonne shakes her head as though she's attempting to break free any illusions she may have about the magic of what's building between us.

Quiet, the only sound that can be heard is her cat, Teeny, purring, and curling itself around my legs, the same as it has been doing all night.

"Tell me. Who are you, Michonne? If you think I'm biased, you tell me who you think you are."

"Sex, Rick, sex makes you biased. We shared an intimate night together, and it was wonderful, and delicious, and nasty, and I could completely lose myself in that. With you. But, once the effects of great sex wears off, you would see the truth, and I don't think I can survive that again. It's dangerous and painful, and I don't know that I can pick up the pieces of myself and move on. I've done it before, and God help me, it hurts to break apart like that, and I don't want to endure that again. I don't. I can't understand why you would want that either." She shrugs, and makes a weak attempt to pull away from me, but I don't let her. I keep my arm stiff, maintaining the closeness that she is adamant on escaping.

"Michonne, isn't what we've been doing, existing alone, more painful? What's dangerous about this feeling growing between us? I want to know you, make you feel good, keep you from being alone. What kind of harm can come from that?" Using my index finger to tilt her face up towards my own, I'm stricken by the play of agonizing emotions animating her lovely features.

Finally finding the strength to pull away, she snatches her body from my grasp, and hoists herself up. Standing, she wordlessly walks away from me, and into the kitchen. I can hear her footsteps behind the TV room, as she aimlessly pads across the hardwood floors of her kitchen. I blow out an exasperated breath. Having received no answers to my questions, a heavy knot has me tied up inside, and anchored in confusion.

I've been adrift for a long time. Much longer than the moment I found Lori with another man, or when the ink dried on my divorce papers. No, it was way before then. I can't pinpoint when exactly, but just like Michonne said, it was a gut feeling, an inkling. It was in the way we no longer reached for each other when in the same room. When our words no longer held the sweetness of how much we missed each other, loved each other, were happy to see each other. It was me falling asleep on the couch, her in the bed, and not even getting the feeling that something was wrong with that. It was her spending weeks at a time at her parents' house in South Carolina, or with her sister Marcie, all under the guise of needing 'me' time. Most importantly, it was the minute I realized that none of that meant anything to me, I simply no longer cared to return her angry pleas for more of something that I could not give. And that's when I knew my marriage was over. That the love we supposedly built a family on, had withered away and seeped through our fingers.

For awhile, I was satisfied with being alone. The disintegration of my marriage allowed me to comfortably be quiet in solitude with my own thoughts, feelings, and it afforded me the opportunity to think about what it was that I really wanted, needed. I wasn't compelled to speak, I had nothing to say. My emotions towards my ex-wife had been anesthetized by the droll creep of time and silent acrimony. But, and I have to be honest here, until my mother posed the idea of hooking me up with Jessie, I had not even considered being with another woman. The normal sexual urges of a man were there, but I had gotten so used to Lori putting me off, that restraint had become my best friend. But there I was with Jessie, feeling something that had been latent, buried, coming alive, opening me up to the possibility. And when I laid eyes on Michonne, it sprung forth, stirring, bubbling, like water bursting from a spring. And now? Now that I've tasted her, felt her grow wetter and tighter around me, been on the receiving end of that smile, I'm not going back. Period.

Rising from the couch, I find Michonne in the kitchen, leaning over the island with a glass of red wine in her hands. Walking up behind her, I angle my face into the crook of her neck, and I breathe her in. Her body trembles slightly, and she drops her head, her chin to her chest.

"I can't be the woman you think I am, Rick, the one you want. I tried that before, and failed. Miserably." She swallows, and it seems as though the effort it takes for her to do so exhausts her, weakens her spirit to admit such a thing. "We've been talking and texting all week, and now here you are, shiny and bright, watching stupid Dirty Dancing with me, and I see you. You say that you see me, but I see you too, Sheriff."

"What do you see, Michonne, hm? I'm just a man, who sees what he wants. I'm not perfect. I'm a mess. And maybe so are you, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't explore this, together. I told you before, let me take care of you. Give us both a chance to fix what's broken, at least to try."

"Rick, this isn't the love story you think it's going to be. I can already tell. I see hope in your eyes, I hear it in your voice, read it in your texts. You want to be free to love again, and I just don't know that I can give you that."

"I'll take what you can give."

"What if in the end it's not enough for you? I've been there, done that. Haven't we both been through enough already? Let's try just being friends first." Drinking down the last of her wine, she places the glass on the counter and turns to me, a hopeful expectancy on her face. She thinks this is a good idea. It's not.


"Rick, hear me out." Placing her palms flat on my chest, the simplicity of her touch calms my wildly beating heart. "That way we won't expect too much from each other. We can explore this friendship without the pressure of romance. Disappointment hurts, and this way, we can protect each other from romantic complications. If we have no expectations other than to be friends, we can still enjoy each other."

"I don't even understand what that means or how that works."

"It just means that we can make up our own rules for this…friend."

"Friend?" I frown at her, my face twisted in displeasure.

"Special friend?" She smirks with a tilt of her head, as she continues to rub over my chest. The heat from her palms, combined with the alcohol I've consumed, is making me pliant and amenable to something that I know is a bad idea. I don't want just this piece of her. I want all of her. But, she must be able to sense how malleable I am to her wants in this moment, because she loops her hands behind my head and pulls me down to her. Reaching down to meet her offered lips, I gently kiss her. Though there is a quiet rage floating through my veins at the thought of only being her 'friend', I stall it out, and command my movements to be gentle.

Itching to get her fully into my arms, I grab her by the swell of her rounded hips and pull her into me, letting her feel the bulk and heft of my need for her. Moaning, Michonne sags her form into mine, grinding against my cock, her body is soft and willing in my hands. Sucking her lips, I spear my slippery tongue inside of her mouth, tasting the bitter grapes of the wine on her tongue.

"Take me upstairs, Rick." She mumbles against my lips, her breath sweet and moist.

"The kids are in the house. Is that a good idea?"

"They're asleep in the basement. We just have to be quiet."

"Think you can do that?" I tease, remembering how vocal she was the last time we were together.

"Let's find out, Sheriff." Taking my hand, she leads me up the stairs. Watching the swing of her hips and ass in her tight leggings, the hard set of my dick in my pants sends a sharp ache through me. I have to close my eyes. The sight is threatening to set me off before I even get a chance to get inside of her. I can't let it happen because I remember the spiritual experience I had with her before. Dreamt of it every night. Wished for the blessing of it with every waking breath. Of having another chance to receive succor at the altar of her heavenly form.

Realizing that her cat has followed us upstairs, Michonne makes a little clicking sound, and the cat stops at the doors of her bedroom. Apparently satisfied that her owner does not need her company this evening.

Walking through the double doors of her bedroom suite, I release her hand for a moment, just long enough to set the lock, ensuring that we are not disturbed. Standing over by a built in bookcase on the other side of the large suite, where an expensive looking white chaise rests, draped over with a lavender colored fur blanket of some sort, Michonne's back is to me. Taking her time, she lights a few candles. Their flicker, and the aroma of spiced vanilla that already permeates the atmosphere of her home, perfumes the air of her room.

Moving away from the candles, her back still to me as she works on something else, the scratch of a record player's needle transmits the melody of an unfamiliar song, and continues to set the mood in the darkened room. It's an upbeat, but sexy song, with fluid grooves, definitely funkier than anything I listen to.

Of course Michonne has a record player, I think to myself. I should expect nothing but pleasant surprises from her at this point, and unexpectedly, as staid as I usually prefer my life, her astonishing swagger is definitely a welcome shock. Turning back towards me, I'm gifted with the beauty of her face again, and it causes me to suck in a sharp breath. Popping her fingers to the rhythmic beat of the mellow horns and guitar, she raises her hands above her head, her body a liquid wave of undulating breasts, hips, and thighs as she prances in a sexy two step towards me.

Blowing out a deep breath, I'm trying to steel myself against the beast that's rising in my chest, commanding me to continue the chase that started the minute I sampled her exquisite sweetness, and persisted the moment I learned this heavenly being's name. She doesn't know it, but she's mine.

A wicked, beautiful angel, her steps lead her to me as the song switches to the soft spoken falsetto of a male singer, belting out the sexually laced lyrics of my head, my heart.

"I guess it never was
The way I thought it was
I say this only just because
You never came to love
I guess it wasn't so
Guess that's how the story goes
You didn't dig my flow
You didn't dig my flow…"

A naughty twinkle lights her dusky flirtatious eyes, as she reaches to lift my shirt from my body.

"I like you, Rick. A lot. Go with this, Sheriff. Let's enjoy each other and make our own rules."

Before I can say another word, her warm hands are rubbing over my abs, fingernails scratching through the hair leading into my pants. I don't move. I watch. The voyeur in me delighting in the eager and hurried grasp of her fingers' movements to unbuckle my belt and jeans, to get to what she really wants.

"But you're still welcome
(You're welcome babe, you're welcome to me)
(Anytime you want, I'll always be free)
Anytime you want some
(You're welcome babe, you're welcome to me)
Make yourself at home cause you're welcome

Dropping her hand down past the waistband of my jeans and underwear, she releases a delighted gasp at the hardness of my cock. Greedily, her fingers dance through the thatch of thick pubic hair, finally curling around the base of my cock and balls. Withdrawing me from the strict confines of my jeans, the paradox of the cool air of the room dusting along the sensitive tip, against the heat of her palm, arouses me, and stiffens me even further. Excitement flairs and sparks in her eyes like the quivering beam of the candles, bathing the room in a shadowed sepia cast.

In a fluid movement, so easy and seamless, Michonne releases me from her hold, then removes her cropped top. Expecting to find a bra of some sort, my gaze finds only her full, rounded breasts, perky and high, nipples turgid and tilted upwards. My mouth waters, but my slightly parted lips are dry, parched from the draft of the in and out pace of my breaths. Licking them, I keep my eyes focused on her as she slowly falls to her knees.

Relax Rick. Relax, the beast demands, recognizing that she has wittingly, or maybe not, postured herself in a classically submissive pose, and it's driving me wild. Insane with lust, she's tapped into a latent desire that has been starved all of my life, and is now threatening to erupt from my chest. To pin her, and fuck her with a torrent of explosive bangs and thrusts. But the genteel and dignified slope of her spine, a demure jut of her chin, giving her form a noble and statuesque appearance, calms me enough to appreciate the manner in which she has presented herself to me. With her legs folded underneath her bottom, hands placed in a refined lounge across her toned thighs, a timid downcast of her eyes sweeps her eyelashes across the rose of her dark plum cheeks.

"Tonight will make one week
Tonight's the anniversary
And if you don't talk to me
Tomorrow will never be…"

"I wanted to taste you. Before." Licking the full expanse of her kiss swollen lips, then retreating her tongue with a small pop, she lifts her eyes to mine and asks, her voice a small drift. "May I?"

Speaking directly to the beast, and his carnal desire to partake of every part of her that she's offering, I caress the side of her face, cupping her cheek. My thumb swipes over the rise of her lips, pushing between the slightly parted seam to the moist heat of her mouth. Suctioning her jaws, Michonne pulls my thumb deeper into her mouth, and laves the length with her tongue. A preview of what's to come that threatens to boil me alive from the inside out.

Dragging my thumb away from her enticing lips, she groans at the separation and it nearly pains me to see the wetness it has left on her parted lips, her mouth no longer filled with me. My chest swells with the effort to maintain control, my need so ravenous. Instead, perhaps sensing the threads of my control unraveling, she utters again, even softer this time than the last.

"May I?"

Before the question can fully leave her lips, I fist the length of my dick and drag the head across the damp moisture my thumb left on her lips. It's all the permission she needs, and with her hands still placidly crossed in her lap, she slowly sucks my dick into her mouth, and claims my soul.

"You're so beautiful, Michonne. Look at you with my cock in your pretty mouth."

"Mmmm…" she utters, the vibration causing a subtle tingle to liven the veins in my dick, as my girth strains and stretches the corners of her mouth. Swallowing and sucking, the back of her throat is doing something wicked to the head of my dick, and I throw my head back, no longer able to withstand the sight of her having taken almost the entirety of my nearly 8 inches into her mouth. I won't last. Her mouth is too good, she's too good. My need to defile her too wicked.

Pulling from her mouth, shock widens her soulful eyes, but she doesn't speak, only maintains a pleasant tilt of her naughty lips, a quiet stillness in her repose. She's teasing me, waiting for me to take what's she willfully offering. Poking the beast that dominates my dormant nature. He wants free, he wants to play, but I've never let him loose before. I tried on my honeymoon with Lori, but she whined and complained at my aggression, turned off by me only partially unleashing my restrained passion. And I never tried to tap into that part of myself for her again, the rejection cutting me too deep.

But I recognize something different in Michonne. She's hungry for that connection, the link of my unfulfilled beast to hers. I saw hints of it our first night together, the way she allowed me to control our pleasure the first time, and the way she impatiently snatched it back the second time, her unbridled command of our joining driving us both towards an end so satisfying that she is all I have been able to think of since.

It's an unspoken affinity for something a little rougher than a mere grazing of bodies, a little deeper than just a surface kiss of our lips. No. It's about an end to the soul's quiet, loneliness. A kinship built on a path to shared pleasure.

I accept her challenge to sate both of our needs, and gingerly wrap my hands around each of her arms, lifting her to me. Kisses, soft, wet, needy. I place them on every inch of her skin, then end on a sucking bite of her throat, the strands of a few of her loose dreads wrapped tightly in one of my hands, while my other caresses the beating pulse just below my lips.

"Harder, Rick."

"Fuck!" I mumble against her swanlike neck, suckling my lips with a little more pressure against her soft skin, causing her to whimper with pleasure.

"I'm so wet. Please, Rick…please."

Rolling my hand from the soft squeeze of her neck, down through the valley of her plump breasts, across her flat abdomen, I find the apex of her thighs absolutely drenched with need.

"Is that for me?" I ask, rubbing through the slick and fleshy petals of her womanhood. Nodding her head slightly, against the grip my hand still has on her soft hair, she moans at the command of my hand, and my long middle finger diving into her depths. "Fuck, Michonne, you got this wet for me? All for me?"


"And tight? You stay this tight waiting for me?"


Her admission is fucking with my cool, and I've had enough of the tease. Removing my fingers from her, she whimpers at the separation. Sticky, covered in her, I lift my fingers to her mouth. Inching her pink tongue from between her lips, she licks at the sticky fluid. I join her, lapping my tongue at the fluid as well, tangling my tongue with hers. The tangy spice heightens my senses and refocuses my thoughts.

"How do you want it, Michonne? Hm? Tell me. I'll give it to you however you want." Releasing my grip from her, now free of my tight hold, she swivels her body around, giving me the gift of her dipped spine, bent over the bed and blooming at the round jiggle of her ass. Resting on her forearms, she widens her thighs, pressing her knees deeper into the mattress. Immediately my heart begins pounding, feverish and brutal against my chest. Fearful that I might devour her with the ferocity of my ravenous desire, I take a moment to worship at her altar, and soothe the beast.

Bending over her, caging her body between my outstretched arms, I accept the kiss she offers from her lips, her head twisted my way. I then proceed to kiss and lick down her spine, thanking her for the opportunity to defeat lonely solitude in her arms.

Standing behind her, I rub my hands over the globes of her bottom, massaging the firm flesh, smacking at the skin. The tiny promised punishment for running out on me last week, to which she groans in pleasure, a naughty smirk dancing on her lips. She knows.

Grabbing my cock, I rub the head over her clit, up and through the damp lips, coating myself with her. Closing my eyes, I press at her entrance, and delight at the welcome slip that immediately engulfs me. It's like I'm falling. Deep. Deep. Dipping my hips, bending my knees, she's so slick and sleek, that I can't stop myself from tumbling within, even with the slightly snug resistance of her taut walls. Oh god.

And that's it. I'm hers. She owns my soul now, as she doesn't wait for me to gather my wits about me. No. Michonne, my greedy little vixen, begins a bounce and pop of her hips, meeting each of my long strokes with a punishing strike of her own. Wrapping my hands around her tiny waist, I'm attempting to keep up with her languorous rhythm, by instructing her pussy how to receive the melodic in and out of my return thrusts. In between her moans of ecstasy, she quickens the pace again, greedy, hungry for me. Banging her voluptuous ass against my pelvis, she's claiming me for her own, erasing the memory of any other woman who has ever touched me. There is now only her. The graphic sounds of her wet pussy, sloshing and slipping over my dick. Her pleas and acknowledgment of how marvelous I'm making her feel.

"Didn't you dig the way I rubbed you back girl 
Wasn't it cool when first I kissed your lips 
Was it enough to penetrate your dark world 
Or were you embarrassed about the way you freaked 
Well I wanna hold you 
I wanna know you baby 
If it's alright…"

When she raises herself on her hands, and looks back at me with unbridled passion, acceptance, as though the bruising push of my hips, and the long tunnel of my dick inside of her has reached the truth of her, I'm ready to explode. Animating her lips, her voice struggles over her pants, and rasps from her throat.

"Harder, Rick! Harder!"

That look of pure happiness and satisfaction on her sweaty face is going to be my undoing. I find the world in her gaze, and realize that nothing else matters but this. But her. And I'm unhinged. The beast is unhinged. Removing my right hand from her waist, I crawl it up her damp skin, raising her torso until her back is flush against my chest. Throwing her arms over her head, and back, her fingers are feathering through the curls of my hair, nails scratching a tingling course over my scalp.

This new position curves her pussy, and I bend my knees to now thrust up, jutting my hips harder against her ass. Tapping up against the very bottom of her canal. Michonne is squealing and squirming in my hold, as I lap and kiss at her cheek, ending on a slight bite and a rapid staccato ram against her g-spot.

"Is that what you wanted, baby? Hm? That how you like it?"


"Answer me."

"Ye- ye-ye…"

"You're everything, Michonne. You know that. This is everything."


"You belong to me now. You know that?" I ask, a familiar quiver in my spine threatening to take me under.


"Say it. Say you belong to me."


"I belong to you, Michonne."

"Rick… Fuck!" She yells, her muscles tightening, taut, tense. I swallow the cries of her orgasm, latching my lips to hers, as her arousal rains down my cock, dampening the tight space where we're joined. The strict squeeze of her pussy over my dick, transmits a signal to my body, stealing the most gratifying climax of my life from my depths. With my arm tightly wrapped around her waist, and the other still holding her torso to me, a final few punishing thrusts pull my seed from the head of dick, showering her insides with my cum.

Withdrawing from her, an unappealing action that causes a frown to mar my sweat drenched face, sends a drip of our comingled cum to scatter across the sable hued skin of her ass and thighs. Throwing my head back, I'm trying to catch my breath. I don't release her from my arms. I don't know if I can.

Not until now, standing at the edge of her bed with her supple body in my arms, and her head resting backwards on my chest, do I realize that the song has changed many times. From the more upbeat, funkier fare, to a now more seductive and sexy ballad, seemingly conceptualizing the erotic experience we've just shared.

"Gonna take you in the room suga' 
Lock you up and love for days 
We're gonna be rockin' baby 
'Til the cops come knockin'…"

Leaning down I kiss her cheek. Softer, more reverent than before. "I didn't hurt you did I?"

"No. I liked it. It's… how I like it sometimes, Rick."

"Good." I rasp, my voice rumbling from my chest. Clearing my throat, I smile against her cheek, and continue to press small kisses on her. "Can I get you something? Water?" I ask, dropping a kiss to her shoulder.

"Yeah. You have to be careful not to make too much noise though. Don't wake the boys."

"Got it. Be right back." I tap her hip, and release her from my possessive hug.

Michonne limply releases a long breath, then turns to me. Pulling my head down to hers, her hand behind my neck, she kisses me so easy, sharing the sweetness of her breath, I almost forget how ferocious our recent bout of lovemaking was.

"Hurry back."

Nodding at her, agreeing to her request, I watch as she backs away and heads into the darkness of her adjoining bathroom. Searching the room's shadows for my underwear, I find them carelessly discarded in a corner. I pull them up my wobbly legs, and head out of her bedroom, finding her cat still faithfully posted in a lounging ball of fur by her door. Barely sparing me a look, the cat halfway opens one eye, then quickly drops it back, presumably disinterested with my movements.

Downstairs in the kitchen, I'm quietly moving about, opening and closing each of the cherry wood cabinets looking for glasses. Finding only fancy etched ones, almost resembling the intricately cut tumblers my father favors for his scotch, I look in the refrigerator and find a few unopened bottles of Fiji water. Grabbing them, satisfied with my find, I close the door and I'm confronted with the sleep laden face of my son, hair tousled and in his eyes.


"I was asleep on the couch, and was just looking for a drink, Dad."

"Uh, me too. Why are you up here instead of the basement?"

"Andre snores really loud. I woke him up and he said his mom wouldn't mind if I sleep on the couch up here. What are you doing in the kitchen, Dad? Where is your shirt?"


"You're sleeping upstairs?"

"Yes? Yes. In a room upstairs."

"With Andre's mom?" He asks, eyes widening in question, his features no longer hampered by the remnants of sleep.

"Uh, Carl… We'll talk in the morning. Later. Not now."

"Yeah. Ok, Dad. Later." Eyeing me, he takes one of the bottles of water from my hand, and heads back to the TV room couch.

Oh shit.

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