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The next time Dale Cooper finds Audrey in his bed, she's wearing the black lingerie she had donned in One-Eyed Jack's, her failed attempt at undercover work leaving her with a hard look in her eyes and a nasty scar on her innocence.

Cooper's heart constricts in his chest so tightly he can barely breathe past it. His body is drawn toward her still form, kneeling on the bed, white arms outstretched and he stumbles forward like a puppet on a string. Dale has words on the tip of his tongue, stupid words about 'can't' and 'wrong' and 'taking advantage' but Audrey brushes them all away with one beautiful fingertip feathered over his lips.

There's no resistance left. Dale covers her with his full weight, knowing he can't break her. Audrey has a frighteningly hard core beneath the softness of her lush body, fired like steel by her father and the fact that she's overly wise, like the owls that sing through the trees.

She gasps and arches beneath him as they kiss, her clever fingers undoing his belt and pants, reaching inside to stroke his already erect cock. He moans against her cherry red lips and she smiles, knowing she has him, that's she's always had him, she just had to be patient.

His arms struggle out of his suit jacket and she tears at his shirt so violently, buttons go flying, bouncing off the hardwood pine floors, the ones that Mr. Horne had chopped down by the thousands to create his hotel. Maybe the spirits that haunt the hotel come from the trees, Dale thinks for a fleeting second, before Audrey slowly slides down the straps of her corset, erasing all thoughts from his mind.

Her breasts aren't perfect, one is slightly larger than the other, an imperfection makes them all that much more beautiful. He cups them with his hands and examines them, his earnest curiosity making Audrey blush deeply. She cries out when his mouth slides over them, throwing her head back, her hands pressed to his naked shoulders.

He can't help touching her everywhere after that, running his fingertips along her throat while his hand cups her sex, his fingers slipping into her wet cunt. He notices how tight she is and part of his brain is gratified to know that he was right about her being a virgin. Audrey's hands and body are urging him to do it, to take her without thought, but he shakes his head -- that is the one thing he won't do while she is hurt and desperate.

She's upset only for a moment. He makes sure of it with his face buried between her milky legs, lapping at her with all the concentration he can muster. She stiffens, first with fear, then with wonder as her body loosens up, giving itself over to pleasure. Her little cries sound so sweet, so surprised , that Dale finds himself coming messily all over the sheets. It takes longer for the telltale signs of orgasm to wrack Audrey's tiny frame, but it happens, satisfying Dale in ways he never thought he'd enjoy again.

Not after ...

They lay together awkwardly after that, his head resting on Audrey's thigh. He stares up at her, examining her beautiful, blissful expression, her eyes fixed toward heaven. "I knew it would be like this," she whispers. "It couldn't be like anything else."

"I'm glad, Audrey," he replies softly, pushing down the twinge of guilt that's leaving a sour taste in his throat. Dale hates guilt -- it's such a pointless emotion in a universe full of them -- but he's human. All too human, he thinks as he crawls up to cradle Audrey in his arms, tucking her head beneath his chin.

"This is just the beginning," Audrey claims. It sounds like a vow.

Cooper has taken vows too, a long time ago, about how certain matters of the heart were coming to an end.

It might be time for a reassessment.