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Steps Back and Forward

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She stepped out of the school, glad the day was over. She heard the whispers. No one had any proof she was behind what happened, but the gossip was going in full-force by the end of the day. She checked her phone for messages, as she turned it on one came in.

She looked for West, her partner in crime, wondering if he'd walk home from school with her. She wouldn't fly with him. It was too risky to do right now. She checked the message, assuming it was from him. There really wasn't anyone else she was friends with to text her.

She smiled when she saw who it was from. Even better than West.

Where are you?

He was a man of few words even communicating with her this way.

@ school.

The phone didn't ring again, which kind of miffed her. She hadn't heard from him a few days. Texting wasn't the same as hearing his voice, but it was an improvement over nothing. Seeing him was even better. And she smiled widely when she did just that.

He was standing in the drop-off/pick-up area, leaning against the car with his hands clasped in front of him. He had his sunglasses on, but she knew he'd seen her as soon as she stepped out of the school. He'd probably texted her when he saw her check her phone instead of look around her. And most likely he hadn't taken his eyes off her. She knew the feeling well, she couldn't take hers off him very easily. Especially when she hadn't seen him like recently.

He and her father had been gone for a while. She didn't even know they were back, so his presence there was a surprise. A good one, and her smile most likely betrayed just how good she thought it was.

He moved his hands to his sides when she walked to him.

"You're back," she said softly. She stepped into his arms, which he slid around her tight enough she knew he'd missed her, too.


"I'm glad."

"You did not need to worry, I told you that."

"I know you did, but it wasn't that long ago that I almost lost you. So allow me to worry."

"If you feel you must."

"Like you wouldn't do the same," she said. "So, do I get you all afternoon then?"

"If you wish."

"I wish."

"Then I guess this is your lucky day."

"If it was my lucky day I wouldn't have to go home later."

He slid his hands to her hips and drew her closer. His hands twitched a little, as if he was holding back from touching her the way he wanted to. The way she wanted him to. They'd never been in public together, not like this. So it was a new situation for them both. She could see where copping a feel in front of her school might not appeal to him. And it probably wasn't the greatest impression to make as the new girl.

"I will make the time you have with me feel quite lucky."

"You will, huh?" she whispered as she prepared herself for him to kiss her.

"I will do my best," he whispered and kissed her.

"Let's go," she said. She didn't like this cautious side to him. She wanted back the way they'd been in New York. Since coming to California he'd been different, not so much with the touching. That night in her bedroom at the Petrelli's was vivid in her mind and she wanted more of that.

"There is someone walking towards us," he whispered followed by another brief kiss.

She heard it then, her name. "It's just a friend."

"He doesn't particularly look pleased to see you kissing me."

"He'll deal."

"I hope you are right."

"Be nice. He's one of us."

"How so?"

"He's special like we are."

"Oh?" he said, sounding alarmed.

"He can fly. And he found out what I can do by accident, I didn't just walk up to him and tell him."

"You've erased his memories, so I don't think he's going to hurt me. I mean, he's not working for them."

"I have?" He focused his attention on West then. "I do not recognize him," he shrugged. "Perhaps vaguely."

"Hi West," she said, turning her attention to the guy who had helped her get on the cheerleading squad.

"Hey. I was going to see if you wanted me to take you home."

"I have a ride, but thanks."

"I see that," he said, clearly waiting for an introduction or an explanation. She really had none to give. The Haitian didn't talk, so introducing them would be pointless and she had never told West she wasn't involved with someone. He'd never asked.

"I'll see you in the morning?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"Bye, West," she said, turning her attention back to The Haitian.

"He is still standing there," he whispered against her ear.

"Well, let's go and then he'll go."

"He likes you," he said, starting the car.

"No, we're just friends. He knows I'm special and he helped me get on the squad."

"Men are not just friends with women who look like you. And men do not do favors without expecting something in return, Claire."

"So, you took me to Mexico expecting what?"

"I was doing your father a favor, it was different."

"You can think that if you want to."

"I did not initiate this with you."

"So, it's my fault?"

He chuckled as he pulled onto the street. "Yes."

"And that bothers you?"

"I said no such thing nor am I complaining."

"It kind of sounds like you might be."

"I'm here today and plan to prove that complaining about anything to do with you is furthest from my mind at the moment."


"I have not been alone with you since New York. So, yes."

"That's your fault! You're the one who's been busy or unwilling to be alone with me."

"Not unwilling, Claire, merely not wanting your father to think I'm out to accost you."

"He wouldn't think that."

"You are his daughter!"

"I know who I am."

"And I've been told by an objective observer that it is rather obvious our relationship is not platonic."

"Who told you that?"

"No one person. And, bear in mind, I am supposed to be your father's friend. If people who do not know me well have picked up on my feelings, he most certainly has."

"You can't be his friend and my boyfriend?"

"I don't think falling in love with you was part of his plan for me to protect you."

"So, what? He's mad? He's going to do something to keep us apart?"

"Well, no, I don't believe he'd go that far. That is why I've come to see you at your home. So, he knows my thoughts are not illicit. At least not all of them."

"Not all of them? I've been beginning to wonder if you have any at all toward me like that anymore."

"Why would you think that?"

"You haven't touched me since that night in New York, and there we did have chances to be alone before coming out here."

"We've both been rather busy."

"So you make time."

"I am making it now. I had to do this with your father, Claire. I know you grew accustomed to having me exclusively, as I did, but I have a job to do. And doing that job means I'm working to keep you safe, which is of course my ultimate goal."

"Has he said something to you?"

"No, but he knows. He is not stupid and clearly when I've visited it's been to see you and not him."

She pursed her lips, glancing out her window. Her father hadn't said one word to her about The Haitian.

"I'd expect him to have the sex talk with me if he thought…"

"Do you need the sex talk?"

"Well, no, God, he's already done that. I wouldn't want to go through that again for anything."

"Perhaps he thinks it's too late."

She stared at him, mouth open. "No way! He wouldn't… He'd say something for sure then."

"I doubt he would know how to broach the subject, especially since it was his idea you go with me."

"So, he thinks…"

"I do not know what he thinks. He could think many things. I do know he has not tried to kill me, beat me within an inch of my life, or warn me to stay away from you. So, I think we are okay as long as we continue to tread lightly until he grows accustomed to the idea of our having a relationship."

"And my mom?"

"I do not know much of your mother; beyond the fact your father loves her."

"Does he?"

"You question that?"

"Well, I don't know, honestly. Sometimes I wonder if she just happened to fit into what he needed as part of his job with The Company."

"No, it genuinely bothered him to have me remove her memories, particularly in the later years."


"He thought he was doing the right thing, Claire. He truly believed it and thought he was protecting her."

"And me," she whispered. She knew without her in the house her mother's memories would not have needed to altering quite so much.


She was quiet then the rest of the way to his place. She'd seen it once before, the day he signed the lease. He wanted her approval, not that she would tell him not to live somewhere. She supposed if there were cockroaches the size of mice or something she might have protested. That wasn't the case.

"Wow, it looks different. You've been busy."

"A little."

"Your bringing me here today, does that mean you're going to more often?"

"I think I can start to, so long as I have you home at reasonable times and you continue to do your schoolwork."

"I don't think he'd complain if I found something to do instead of cheering."

"He and I are in agreement on that point."


"Neither of us want you in the spotlight. He, because he fears for your safety. My reasons are twofold. Clearly, your safety is my concern, but I also realize the spotlight will draw attention to you from potential dates."

"I'm not going to date anyone."

"You did not tell your friend about me," he said, taking her stuff from her and setting it on the floor.

"Because you've never told me what to say."

He took her into his arms then and smiled. That smile that told her she'd said something he found funny. "You need me to tell you?"

"I don't know. You moved out here, but I don't know what you are. My boyfriend? You go on these trips. What if you are gone for months?"

"That sounds like a reasonable title. And if you cannot wait months for me then that would be my loss."

"But you'd want me to wait?"

He brushed his lips over hers for barely a second. It wasn't even really a kiss but it made her gasp. He was teasing her, which was so unfair considering her feelings were all over the place today. "Yes," he whispered, claiming her mouth.

Her eyes closed as she slid her arms around him, kissing him back. She'd missed this. Too much. He'd kissed her good night at her parents' house, but it was never like this. Never like he meant it, was sad to go, or loved to kiss her. And she'd thought during their time together he'd grown to feel just that.

Somehow, they made it to his couch. Their shirts and her bra were somewhere on the floor between the door and the couch. She thought he remembered one of them commenting the bed would be more comfortable, but both agreed it was too far. Which was funny, because his apartment wasn't that big. It had just been too long since they'd been alone and neither seemed willing to take those few extra steps.

His mouth and tongue were doing the most incredible things to her breasts while she found the front of his pants and slid her hand inside. He groaned when she closed her hand around the length of his cock and stroked him. She hadn't touched him like this since they'd left Mexico. They were like that, they'd take two steps forward toward getting physical and then some steps back to the beginning. There was something about the innocence of kissing, though, that was nice. It just wasn't enough all of the time. This was one of those times.

He slid lower along her body, hands skimming her sides and her hips before he worked the button and zipper on her jeans.

"Can't touch you," she protested.

"You will in a minute."

She whimpered, a minute was entirely too long now.

"I promise."

Her hands went to his head and she arched into him as his tongue found her belly button and his hands started sliding her jeans off. His thumb circled her clit and she thought she might just get off right there. She was a bundle of nerves right now, so was certainly close enough.

He slid off the couch and she missed him immediately, his warmth, his weight on top of her. He slid her jeans off the rest of the way, tossing them aside. He did not get back onto the couch, though.

"Come here," he murmured. She joined him on the floor, feeling a little exposed just then since he still had his pants on. He hadn't even left her panties on. Except, he was removing his at the moment, so in a matter of seconds he was caught up with her.

He was hard and thick and God it made her wet thinking about what he'd feel like inside of her. So, when he laid down she felt a wave of not just arousal but excitement go through her. He confused her for a minute when he asked her to turn around, but she did. He wanted her facing away from him? She hadn't even thought on that being possible, but she supposed it was no different than him being behind her. And that just turned her on, too. Everything did today it seemed.

And then she felt his hands at her hips and he was drawing her to him. Only, he wasn't bringing her to his cock but his, "Oh God," she whispered when he licked her outer lips before circling her clit with his tongue. She leaned forward, needing to put her hands on the floor for support as he slid a finger inside of her.

It took her a minute to realize that he was right there in front of her for the taking. The very cock she'd been admiring a moment ago and she remembered how well he fit in her mouth, how good he'd felt and tasted. His hand supporting her thigh gripped tightly as she took him into her mouth. She thought she heard him murmur something, but wasn't sure.

She wasn't sure what to pay attention to, what he was doing or what she was. Sometimes it was difficult not to pay attention to his mouth and the wonderful way he was using it and she'd forget for a minute or two to return the favor. He didn't seem to mind, though, and in fact the same thing seemed to happen to him a time or two.

Even after he came he didn't stop, neither did she. She kissed, licked, and sucked him just the same as she had been before.

"I will need a few minutes," he murmured eventually.

"I know," she said with a soft giggle. "You don't need to be hard for me to have fun."

That seemed to turn him on because he returned to what he was doing with such enthusiasm that she came twice almost one right after the other.

She fixed herself so she was lying facing him. He reached up and drew a blanket from the couch while she did that and draped it over them.

"That was…"

"Yes," he said.


"I couldn't agree more."

"And you expect me to go home after that?"

He chuckled. "But you can come back," he said drawing her to him. "And you do not have to be home for a while yet. So, I get the pleasure of you next to me for a while longer."

"What if I want to be on top of you?"

"Like that?"

"Well that, or other ways?"

He ran his fingers through her hair and kissed her. "I think I would be powerless to stop you no matter what you had in mind."

"So, you do want to?"

He snorted. "If you could read minds as your uncle is able to, Claire, you not only wouldn't have to ask that but you would know that I have undressed you and made love to you countless times in my mind."


"Quite so."

"Next time you start mentally undressing and making love to me, quit with the mental and make it reality."

"I did! You are quite undressed and if I'm not mistaken at least somewhat satisfied."


"I know, it is not the completion you are wanting. I plan on enjoying the steps we discover to getting there. I want to know you as thoroughly as possible, and to ensure that you realize I intend to take this boyfriend thing very seriously."

"Oh well in that case, I guess I can't complain."

"I thought not."

Her eyes grew heavy and she snuggled against him, draping a leg over his. She slid her foot along his calf, enjoying being able to feel his actual skin without getting her foot caught on the cuff of his pants. "I'd wait whether you asked me to or not."

"As would I, Claire."

"Thank you."

~The End~