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Faith rubbed her hands together as she stepped into the locker room, her teeth still chattering from the cold. She was tired but she knew she wouldn't sleep that night, just like she hadn't slept the past several nights for more than a couple hours at a time. She didn't bother to glance at Bosco as she headed for her locker, reluctantly pulling her gloves off.

He stood at the end of the row of lockers, his arms crossed over his chest. "So that's it? End of discussion?"

"I didn't realize we were -having- a discussion."

"True, cause you refuse to answer any of my questions."

"Sorry, I didn't realize when I came to work today that I was going to spend the shift under interrogation." There was a hint of annoyance in her voice and she spun the combination on her locker.

Bosco took a few steps over to her. "All I wanted to know was what's been buggin' you lately."

"And I told you. It's nothing. There's nothing wrong."

His eyes narrowed, and he shook his head. "So why've you been jumpin' down my throat all week?"

"Maybe I have PMS," she retorted, shooting a glare at him.

He rolled his eyes. "Right Yokas."

She turned away from him, beginning to unbutton her uniform shirt. "Don't you have -other- people to worry about?"

"Excuse me?"

Faith smirked. "I'm not the one you should be all concerned about, Boz."

"And who exactly should I be concerned about?" He shot back. "You're my partner."

"Exactly. You don't have to worry about -me- stabbing you in the back." She pulled off the shirt and reached for her sweatshirt that lay at the bottom of her locker, folded neatly.

He stood there for a moment, staring at her. "Is this about Cruz?"

"Isn't everything in your life about Cruz?" she asked without looking at him. Her voice was flat, even.

"Fine! I don't even know why I bother tryin'!" He stormed over to his locker.

She flinched slightly at the anger in his voice, then closed her eyes, letting out a small, inaudible breath. She pulled the sweatshirt on over her head.

Bosco opened his locker, and then looked over at her. "Tell ya what. From now on I'll just leave you alone. I'll come to work and do my job, and I won't bother askin' you how your doin' or what you've been up to." He put his hands up. "Cause I don't care anymore."

His words stung, but she knew she deserved them. "Fine. You do that. I don't care either," she lied, her words just as harsh.

"Good. Glad that's settled." Bosco quickly started to change out of his uniform.

"What's settled," Sully asked as he came into the locker room.

"Nothing," Faith replied, not turning around.

Davis raised his eyebrows and glanced at his partner. "They at it again?" he asked, his voice barely audible.

Sully nodded his head. "Are you surprised?"

"Not really. But it is the holidays."

"And you think that matters with these two?"

He grinned. "Obviously not."

The older officer sat down in front of his locker. "So...Faith, this is what? Like the first time in how many years we've had Christmas Eve, and day off? Got big plans?"

She stiffened for a moment. "Yeah, actually. Fred and I are takin' the kids to his parents for Christmas Eve and over to my parents' Christmas day. It's gonna be great."

"Sure sounds like it."

"What about you, Sully? What are you doing?"

"Well...I'm going over to the home to visit my mother for a little while, and my sister is actually coming up from Florida this year."

"That's great, Sul." She forced a smile as she glanced at him.

He nodded his head, a smile on his face. "Yeaah, I'm really lookin' forward to it."

"Hasn't shut up about it all day," Davis told her with a grin.

Sully shot his partner a look. "I haven't been talkin' about it all day."

He chuckled and shook his head. "Bosco, what about you? Any big holiday festivities planned?"

Faith grew quiet, turning back to her locker again.

Bosco looked up slowly. "I'm goin' over to my mother's this year. She's throwin' a Christmas Eve party for family, and then she's makin' a big dinner for Christmas," he informed them before standing up, and putting on his jacket.

"Well, that's cool." Davis grinned. "I got a date tonight. Then tomorrow I'm going over to my mom's...with my date who will be spending the night tonight at my place."

He slammed his locker shut. "Good for you Davis," Bosco mumbled as he headed for the door.

His eyebrows furrowed. "Uh...merry Christmas," he said in confusion.

"Yeah, somethin' like that. See ya on Friday." He pushed the door open, and headed down the hall.

"What's his deal," Sully asked as he looked over at Faith.

She shrugged. "It's Bosco. Who knows." She pulled her coat on. "You guys have a good holiday," she said as she walked toward the door, as well, her shoulders slumped slightly.

"Yeah, you too, Faith. Have a good time with your family."

She bit down hard on her lip. "Thanks, Sully," she said softly, not looking back as she exited the room.

Davis frowned. "What happened to the holiday spirit?"

Sully shook his head, and stood up to get his jacket out of his locker. "All I know is I'm not gonna let their attitudes ruin -my- Christmas."

"They better be careful or Santa'll leave 'em a lump of coal in their stockings."

"If anything."

* * *

Bosco stepped inside his apartment, and flipped on the light. He pulled his jacket off, threw it on a nearby chair and headed into the kitchen to get himself something to drink. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the light blinking on the answering machine. He paused on his way to the refrigerator long enough to hit play, and a few seconds later his mother's voice filled the air. She wanted him to call her. With a sigh he turned around, beer in hand and stared at the phone for a moment before picking it up to dial her number.

"Hello?"

He took a swig of his beer. "Hey Ma."

"Maurice. I was wonderin' if you were ever gonna call me back."

"I just got home from work," he informed her.

She sighed. "I wish you'd check your messages from your cell phone once in awhile."

His eyebrows furrowed, and he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. "Ma, there aren't any..." His voice trailed off when he noticed that he'd missed a couple calls on his cell. "Oh."

"Yeah, oh." Rose shook her head.

"Sorry," he mumbled. "So what's goin' on?"

"I just wanted to know if you were still gonna be workin' tomorrow and Thursday. I was gonna see about goin' to your aunt Helen's for the holiday."

He let out a breath. "Oh, uh, yeah. It's gonna be crazy ya know?" Bosco leaned against the counter, and took another drink. "Everybody with families is wantin' time off to spend with their kids and stuff. We'll probably be shorthanded," he lied.

"Right. Well, don't work too hard, all right, baby? Maybe I'll see you on New Year's Eve?"

Bosco nodded his head. "Sure Ma, that sounds great."

"Take care, Maurice. Love you." Without waiting for a response, she hung up the phone.

He closed his eyes, and sighed. "Love you, too," he whispered even though she'd already disconnected the call.

* * *

Faith sat curled up on her sofa, the phone pressed to her ear. "Shirley? Hi, it's Faith." She could hear a lot of noise in the background. Almost like they were having a party.

She glanced around. "Hold on a second, I can't hear you. I'm gonna go in the other room, okay?"

"Yeah, okay." She covered her other ear with her hand to try and hear better.

Shirley stepped into the small dining room. "Is that better?"

"Yeah, that's fine...can I talk to Emily or Charlie?" she asked hopefully.

She was silent for a moment. "I'll uh...I guess I could go see if I can find one of them. It's kinda crowded."

"Yeah...thanks, Shirley." Her voice was soft.

"Sure." She held her hand over the phone as she headed back into the packed family room looking for one of the kids. Spotting Charlie sitting between a couple of his cousins she held up the phone. "Charlie! Charlie come here."

He slid off the couch, and made his way over to her. His eyes questioning her.

"It's your mom," she informed him, holding out the phone.

The young boy's eyes widened, and he quickly snatched the phone out of her hands. "Mom?!"

Faith smiled at the sound of her youngest child's voice. "Hi, baby."

"Hi! Where are you?"

"I'm at home. Are you guys havin' a party or somethin'?" she asked, trying to sound cheerful.

"Yeah. Grandma invited everybody over, so there's a lot of people. Most of them are old though."

She chuckled softly. "You havin' any fun?"

He shrugged as he walked into the dining room, and plopped down in one of the big wooden chairs at the table. "It's okay. Jake's here, but it's still kinda boring."

She was quiet for a moment. "I miss you."

"I miss you, too. When am I gonna see you agan?"

Faith closed her eyes. "I don't know, Charlie. Soon, I hope. I've got a bunch of presents for you for Christmas."

"Yeah? What'd ya get me," he asked with a grin.

"It's a surprise."

"Oh come on."

A faint, sad smile touched her lips. "My lips are sealed."

"Fine," he chuckled. "I got you somethin' too."

"Oh, yeah, what'd you get me?" she teased.

"Funny Mom."

"I thought so."

He grinned as he kicked his feet back and forth in the air. "You work tomorrow?"

"Nope, I have the day off. I'm off on Christmas day, too."

"Yeah?" He paused for a moment, and bit his lip. "Will you come see us?"

She felt tears prickle at her eyelids. "We'll see, okay?" she said softly. "Is your dad around?"

"He's somewhere. I'm not sure where though." He looked over his shoulder toward the family room.

Faith drew in a breath. "Can you do me a favor?"

He nodded his head. "Yeah."

"Can you find him for me? Tell him I need to talk to him?"

"Sure. Okay." He slid off the chair, and went into the other room, searching for his dad. Upon finding him he put the phone to his ear again. "Found him."

"Thanks, Sweetie. I love you," she said softly.

"I love you, too. Here's Dad." He handed the phone to his father.

"Hello?"

"Fred?"

His eyes narrowed slightly. "Yeah?"

"How are you?" She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, feeling nervous.

"Fine. Why?"

"Well, it's almost Christmas."

"I know that, Faith."

"I wanna see the kids," she said softly.

"We've got plans," he informed her.

"Fred, come on. It's the holidays."

"Look Faith, you made your choice. You've got your job."

She felt a surge of anger flood her veins. "This -wasn't- my choice. You're the one who had an affair!"

"Only cause you were never home."

"I wanna see my kids. It's Christmas. I don't care if you come here or not. I can come there if it's easier."

"No. You're not coming here."

"You can't keep me from them."

"Look Faith, I've got guests to entertain. I gotta go."

"Fred--"

"I'll think about it." Without another word he hung up.

"Son of a bitch!" She hit the end button and threw the phone across the room, so upset she was shaking. She pressed her hands to her face. This was going to be the worst holiday ever.

* * *

Bosco slammed the refrigerator door shut, and then opened the freezer. It was Christmas Eve and he had -nothing- good to eat in his apartment. He'd been through every cupboard twice, and had cleaned out the fridge looking for something that looked tempting, but he was still empty handed. After his second look through the freezer he closed the door, and looked at the clock on the microwave. "Wonder if Ma's still home?"

* * *

Faith stared blankly out the living room window at the lightly falling snow. The radio was on, but the only songs the stations were playing were Christmas music that she found to be incredibly depressing. If she heard "Silent Night" one more time, she'd either break the radio or have a nervous breakdown, whichever came first. Her stomach growled and she sighed softly, closing her eyes. It was Christmas Eve and she was supposed to be with her family, not stuck in her apartment completely alone.

I no longer have a family, she thought wearily.

She didn't have any food left in the place, either. She sat up slowly, reluctantly admitting to herself that she was starving. She hadn't eaten anything since the day before at lunch and that had only been a salad. Looks like I'm going out, she thought.

* * *

He shifted his winter cap on his head, and pulled up the collar on his jacket as he walked against the wind trying to find a restaurant that was open. His mother had apparently gotten a hold of his aunt because she wasn't at home, so he was on his own for Christmas Eve dinner, and Christmas day for that matter. He'd originally thought it was a good idea. Spending the holidays alone. Not having to worry about anyone else, but now that he was alone he realized it wasn't such a great plan.

* * *

Faith shivered against the cold air, the wind causing her eyes to water as she walked down the sidewalk. So far she hadn't found a single grocery store or even a cafe that was open and she was getting really hungry. To the point where it was giving her a headache. She supposed she could have called her mother and spent the evening with her parents, but somehow sitting around and watching her dad chug a flask of whiskey and chasing it down with a case of beer while her mother waited on him hand and foot just didn't appeal to her. She sighed softly and kept walking.

* * *

As he walked he blew into his hands trying to keep himself warm. The temperature had to have dropped at least ten degrees, and he cursed himself for walking. "Finally," he mumbled as he found a diner that was open. There were only a couple people inside, but they were definitely open. He grabbed the door handle.

* * *

Faith sat down on a bench on the sidewalk, closing her eyes briefly as she pulled her coat closer around her. She'd been walking for nearly an hour and a half and now she was hungry, freezing and completely worn out. She rested her head on her hands for a moment, then opened her eyes and stared across the street. A diner she must have passed a million times at work suddenly appeared in front of her eyes, and she was amazed to see lights on inside. Taking it as a sign, she rose to her feet, and quickly crossed the road, pulling the door open and stepping inside, still shivering.

Bosco had been seated in a booth on the opposite side of the restaurant from the other patrons. He figured the hostess put him over there because he was the only person in the place who -didn't- seem to have the holiday spirit. Grabbing the menu he let out a groan. "Do you guys have to play Christmas music?"

Faith recognized the disgusted voice immediately and her eyes locked on the figure in the corner. Shit. Her heart sank and she quickly turned to exit the diner, not wanting him to see her there, to know what was going on.

"Excuse me, Miss? Miss?!" The hostess called after Faith as she approached the front entrance. "Would you like a table?"

She cringed, hoping that Bosco wouldn't be alerted to her presence. "No, I'm sorry. I'm just leaving," she said quickly, her hand on the door.

Seeing as the diner was practically empty the hostess's voice carried. He turned his head to see what was going on. His eyebrows furrowed when he saw the person standing at the door. The jacket, and hat looked familiar, but it couldn't be her. She was spending the holidays with her family.

Faith didn't turn around before pushing the door open quickly and stepping back out into the cold air. It was starting to snow rather hard. "Great. That's just -great-," she muttered.

Bosco watched as the figure exited the diner, and walked past the window. His eyes widened slightly, and he quickly slid out of the booth, heading for the door.

She wrapped her arms around herself, walking straight into the freezing wind and snow. She suddenly wondered why the hell she'd ever liked this time of year, or snow for that matter.

He stepped outside, and shivered. He'd taken his jacket off in the diner, and in his hurry hadn't put it back on. "Faith?"

Dammit. She stopped in her tracks but didn't turn around to face him.

He jammed his hands into his pockets. "What are you doin' here?"

"I...got hungry?" She turned around reluctantly.

"Yeah." He nodded his head. "Me too."

She tightened her arms around herself. "I thought you were spending the evening with your mom." Her voice was quiet.

He kept his arms close to his body trying to keep some warmth. "Uh, right...yeah." He nodded his head. "Long story."

"You should go back inside. You're gonna freeze."

"Where are Fred and the kids?"

She looked away. "At a party."

"Oh." He nodded his head, shivering visibly.

"You really should go back in," she said softly.

He eyed her up. "You care now?"

Her shoulders slumped forward a little. "Merry Christmas, Boz." Her voice was defeated as she turned away and started to walk again, not feeling up to arguing with him anymore.

Bosco sighed. "Were you serious? Are you hungry?"

"No. I'm gonna go home. I'll see you in a couple days."

"Don't let me stop you from havin' dinner."

She paused, closing her eyes for a moment against the sting of snowflakes smacking her in the face. Her stomach growled, protested against the urge she had to run far away from the only place that was open that evening.

"It's not like we have to sit together or anything," he informed her before turning around, and heading back inside.

Faith stood alone in the middle of the sidewalk for another long moment before reluctantly turning around and following him back into the diner.

Bosco headed back over to the table where he'd been sitting. He sat down and rubbed his arms trying to return some heat to his body.

She stood just inside the doorway, gazing over at the booth where he was seated, shivering. She swallowed hard, then slowly walked over to a booth a few seats away from him, sliding onto the seat. She didn't bother taking her jacket off.

He took a long drink of his coffee then leaned his head back against the back of the booth. He closed his eyes for a moment then opened them slightly. Looking over toward Faith.

She was slouched down in the seat, her eyes closed as she leaned against the wall, her hands folded on the tabletop.

"How come you're not at the party?"

She sighed softly. "Long story."

"Yeah, I know how that goes."

Somehow she doubted it. "How come you're not with Cruz?"

He pressed his lips together, and shook his head. "She had better things to do," he told her, his voice bitter.

Something about his tone made her open her eyes and she gazed at him across the booths separating them. This is stupid, she thought. She scooted off the seat and stood up, walking over to where he was seated. "Is it okay if I sit with you?" she asked softly.

Bosco looked up at her, and nodded his head. "I think I can handle that."

She gazed at him for another moment, then sat down across from him, folding her arms on the table. Remaining silent.

"She informed me she doesn't do holidays," he told her softly.

"I'm sorry," Faith said just as softly.

He chuckled. "No you're not."

A small smile tugged at her lips. "Okay, so I don't like her and I don't think she's good enough for you. But I don't think anyone should be alone on the holidays."

He managed a smile, and then looked down at the table. "Yeah, well the bein' alone thing...that's kinda my own fault," he whispered.

"Why do you say that?"

"My mother...she thinks I'm workin'."

Her eyebrows furrowed. "Why does she think that?"

He shrugged, sinking a little deeper into the booth. "Well when she first asked I thought...well I thought I was gonna be with Cruz. I figured it was better to tell Ma I was workin' than to tell her I was spendin' the holidays with my girlfriend. And then when I found out I wasn't spendin' it with her...I guess I just thought I'd rather be alone."

Faith looked down at the table. "You could always call and tell her you got tomorrow off. A last minute kind of thing."

"I can't," he sighed. "She called me last night, said she was gonna go to my aunt's."

"Sorry," she said softly.

"No big deal," he whispered. "I did this to myself."

She nodded, jumping slightly when the waitress suddenly appeared at the table.

"More coffee," she asked Bosco, who nodded his head. She then looked at Faith. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"Yeah...I'll have the same thing he's havin'. Thanks."

"Okay." She smiled at the two of them. "I'll be back in a minute, and then I'll take your order."

Faith nodded, watching as she headed away. She sighed softly, finally unzipping her coat and shrugging out of it.

"So...you know my story. What's yours?"

She shifted uncomfortably. "Like I said, they're at a party."

He studied her for a moment. "And why aren't you with them?"

She looked down at the table, not bothering to look up when the waitress returned with her cup of coffee. She reached out, wrapped her hands around the ceramic mug. Felt its warmth sinking into her skin.

Bosco gazed at Faith then looked up at the waitress. "We'll have two of your specials," he informed her. "The turkey dinners."

She was barely aware when the woman walked away again. She was staring down at the murky liquid intently.

"Hey," he whispered. "What's goin' on?"

"He left me."

"What?"

Faith was silent for a moment, still not looking up. "He said I worked too much and I wasn't giving him or the kids what they needed and...he left."

He sat up, and leaned on the table. "He left?!" Bosco shook his head in total shock. "So that...that's what's been goin' on with you?"

She nodded slowly, remaining quiet.

"Damn Faith. I'm sorry."

She shrugged slightly, took a sip of her coffee.

Bosco was quiet for a long moment, and leaned back. "You coulda told me."

"I guess I wasn't ready to deal with anyone else knowin' that my husband's a cheatin' bastard." The words she hadn't intended to say slipped right from her lips.

"Whoa." He held his hand up. "He -cheated- on you?!"

Faith leaned against the back of the booth, avoiding his eyes. "Yeah. He told me it was because I was never around and he had needs."

"That son-of-a-bitch!"

She was startled by the anger in his voice and finally looked up.

"He cheated on you, and then said it was your fault?!"

She remained silent, gazing at him.

Bosco's jaw was tense. "I'll go kick the shit out of him if you want."

A sad smile touched her lips. "That's okay. Thanks for the offer, though."

"I've done a lot of stupid things in my time, but what Fred did." He shook his head. "That takes the cake."

"I miss the kids." Her voice was soft, vulnerable.

He nodded his head, a sad expression on his face. All their words from the day before completely forgotten. "When did you see them last?"

She rubbed the back of her neck with one hand. "Couple days before Thanksgiving."

"How could he do that," he asked in disbelief. "How can he just keep them from you?"

There were tears in her eyes as she stared at her coffee. She could only manage a small shrug, unable to speak.

"Do you know where they are?"

She nodded slightly. "They're staying at his parents'."

"I'll take you there."

"Even if we showed up, there's no way they'd let us in."

"Do the kids wanna see you?"

"Well, Charlie wants to. I don't know if Em...she's never around when I call."

"We'll call. We'll tell them to meet us outside or somethin'."

"I don't know, Boz," she said doubtfully, her voice soft.

"Come on, Faith. He can't do that. It's like...it's like kidnapping for chrissakes."

She lifted her gaze to his face, her eyes sad.

He nodded his head. "I'll take you."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah." He looked down at the table, and then back up at her. "Look, what I said yesterday..."

"It's okay, Bosco."

"I do care, Faith."

"I know," she said softly, meeting his eyes and holding his gaze. "I care about you, too."

He reached across the table, and gently touched her hand. "How 'bout we eat dinner then we'll head over there?"

She moved her hand slightly and slid her fingers through his, giving his hand a light squeeze. "I think that sounds like a good idea."

Bosco smiled at her. "We'll figure this out," he told her softly. "It'll be okay."

Faith gazed at him for a moment. "I believe you."

* * *

Bosco grabbed the bill as soon as the waitress put it on the table. Grabbing his hat and jacket he slid out of the booth. "I'll go pay for this."

"Hey, wait, I can pay for my own dinner."

He looked at her, a sheepish grin on his face. "Well, it's the least I can do seeing as I didn't get you a gift this year."

Faith couldn't help the grin that spread across her face. "In that case, you forgot my birthday too, so you wanna spring for dessert later?" she teased.

"I didn't forget your birthday," he said defensively.

She chuckled. "Damn. I was hopin' you wouldn't remember."

"But if we can find a store that's open I'll spring for some festive cupcakes or somethin'."

"Works for me." She slid out of the booth and rose to her feet.

He waited for her, and then lightly rested his hand on the small of her back, guiding her toward the cash register.

Faith was a little caught off guard by the gesture, but didn't move away as she walked with him to the register, his hand still resting on her lower back.

Bosco handed the hostess their bill, and waited for the total. He then reached into his pocket, pulling out a twenty to cover their meal.

"I can pay for half," she offered again softly.

He turned to look at her. "I told you I got it."

She met his eyes. "Fine, fine."

He winked at her. "You realize after this you'll owe me dinner."

She rolled her eyes good-naturedly. "I -knew- there was a catch."

Without even thinking about it he rubbed her back as they stood there waiting for his change. He looked around the small front entrance at all the Christmas decorations.

Faith shifted her gaze to him once more, wondering if he was all right.

Bosco thanked the hostess, and put the small amount of change in his pocket. "So, you ready?"

"Yeah, I'm ready." She studied him for a moment, decided he was just tired and she turned to head for the door.

He kept in stride with her, his hand now moving up toward her shoulder.

She glanced at him worriedly. Bosco was -never- that physical. At least not with her.

"We're gonna go to your place first, right? Get the gifts?"

"Right. Boz, are you okay?"

He turned to look at her, his eyebrows furrowed. "Yeah? Why?"

She held his gaze for a few seconds, then smiled. "No reason."

Bosco smiled at her, then removed his hand from her shoulder long enough to put on his jacket and winter hat. Before reaching for the door he put his hand on the small of her back once more.

She pulled the gloves out of her jacket pockets and slipped them on before reaching for the door handle.

"Hey," the hostess called from behind the register.

Faith turned to look over her shoulder, her eyebrows furrowing. "She talkin' to us?"

"I think so," he whispered, turning to look as well.

With a grin on her face the hostess pointed above their heads.

Frowning slightly, Faith glanced up and saw the mistletoe dangling above them. "Oh, please."

Bosco looked up, a mischievous grin playing across his face.

She caught the look on his face and her eyes widened slightly. "You can't be serious."

"What?" He raised an eyebrow. "It's tradition."

She stared at him.

"That your way of sayin' you don't wanna kiss me?"

Faith opened her mouth to object before she noticed the challenging look in his eyes. Then her own eyes narrowed.

He chuckled softly, and then leaned in a little closer to her.

She leaned toward him, feeling slightly hesitant before their lips met. She closed her eyes, kissing him lightly, lifting one gloved hand to his cheek.

Bosco took a step closer to her, and slowly slid one arm around her waist as their lips touched.

She was more than a little caught off guard when he deepened the kiss, but she didn't try to pull away. Her heart was pounding rapidly against her chest as her skin tingled with warmth and electricity.

After a few moments he pulled away, swallowing hard as he gazed at her. Worried that he'd taken this way too far after they'd just patched up their friendship.

She gazed back at him silently, her blue eyes full of emotions. She couldn't help but wonder where the hell that kiss had come from.

"We should uh..." He pointed across his body. "We should probably go."

"Right," she murmured, nodding slightly but not taking her eyes off him.

He quickly leaned in once more, and kissed her lips before pulling away. He took her hand, and pushed the door open.

If anything, the second kiss surprised her even more and she followed him out the door wordlessly. She couldn't have strung a sentence together to save her life.

* * *

They sat in Bosco's mustang outside of the Yokas house. He kept the car running for the heat, and looked over at Faith as he felt her grip tighten on his hand.

She drew in a breath and pulled out her cell phone, dialing her daughter's number.

* * *

Emily had finally succeeded in getting away from her grandparents and father by locking herself in the spare room that she and Charlie had been sharing. She was thankful for the quiet as she lay on the bed staring at the ceiling. When her cell phone rang she quickly reached over, and grabbed it off the nightstand. "Hello?"

"Em? Hi, it's me."

"Mom?"

"Yeah." Her voice was soft, a faint smile on her face. "Merry Christmas."

She sat up on the bed, crossing her legs, and resting her elbows on her knees. "Merry Christmas."

"I have a surprise for you. And for Charlie."

"Really? What is it?"

"Are you in the spare bedroom?"

"Of course. I -had- to get away from them for my sanity."

Faith smiled. "Look out the window."

"What?"

"Look out the window," she repeated.

Emily stood up, and moved over to the window. She pulled back the curtains as she gazed outside.

Faith opened the passenger door and climbed out of Bosco's car, waving to her daughter.

Her eyes widened. "Oh my God."

She smiled again. "You wanna get Charlie and come out here?"

"Yeah." She stared out the window for a moment longer, totally surprised that her mother was actually there. "Just a minute." Emily hung up, and threw the phone on the bed. She hurried out of the room, and grabbed her coat from the hall closet. "Charlie, lets go outside. It snowed again."

Charlie looked up at her from where he sat on the floor playing the Playstation he'd brought with them. "So?" He looked back at his game.

"Charlie, come on," she demanded as she pulled his coat off the hanger.

He frowned slightly and glanced back at where his dad sat on the sofa with Cheryl.

Fred looked over at Emily. "Why you in such a hurry to go outside?"

Emily shook her head. "No reason." She looked over at Charlie at nodded her head slightly.

He sighed and paused his game, reluctantly standing up and taking the coat from her, still giving her a questioning look as they headed for the door.

"We'll be back later," she informed everyone as she pulled the door open, and practically shoved her brother outside.

"What's your problem?" he grumbled.

"I'm just in a hurry that's all."

"Like you've never seen snow before." He rolled his eyes. "Why do I have to come out here with you anyway? You're a big girl." As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he spotted the familiar blue mustang and his eyes widened. "Mom!"

"That's why," she informed him.

He didn't respond as he took off running toward his mother.

Bosco smiled softly from where he still sat in the driver's seat, wanting to give them a little privacy during their reunion.

Emily hurried after her brother, a smile on her face.

Faith grinned and opened her arms as she knelt down and hugged her son tightly, kissing his forehead. "Hi, baby."

"I missed you!"

"I missed you, too." She kissed his forehead and looked up at her daughter. "Come here, Em." She held her other arm out to her.

She crouched down beside them, and joined in on the embrace. "I can't believe you're really here."

"I had to come see my two favorite people on Christmas Eve."

"I'm glad you're here," she whispered.

"Me too." Faith kissed the top of Emily's head, holding her tightly.

Bosco rolled down his window. "Why don't you guys get in the car," he suggested softly. "It's a lot warmer in here."

"You guys wanna get in?" she asked, glancing back and forth between them.

Charlie nodded. "Hi, Uncle B!"

He smiled at the young boy as he opened his car door, and leaned forward so Charlie could squeeze into the backseat. "Hey Chuck."

"Merry Christmas!"

He couldn't help but smile at the kid's enthusiasm, and he looked at Faith as he started to close the car door.

She gazed at him for a moment, a grateful look in her eyes. She was lucky to have such a good friend.

* * *

Faith walked up the staircase of her apartment building slowly, Bosco right behind her. She pulled her keys out of her jacket pocket and started to unlock the door. "You wanna come in? I can make hot chocolate."

"Sure...if it's not too much trouble."

"It's not," she assured him. She pushed the door open and flipped on the light, stepping inside her apartment and holding the door for him.

He followed her inside, and took of his stocking cap. "So, that went pretty well with the kids, huh?"

"Yeah." A soft smile touched her lips and she closed the door and locked it behind them. "Thanks for driving me."

"No problem. I'm glad I could help."

She turned to look at him as she shrugged out of her jacket and hung it up on the coat rack.

"It's kinda weird...us endin' up at the same diner tonight."

Faith nodded slightly. "Yeah, it is. Kinda like...fate or somethin'."

He took his jacket off, and hung it up next to hers. "And I'm not gonna question fate."

"Me either." She turned and headed slowly toward the kitchen, sensing his gaze following her.

Bosco watched her as she walked away, a smile on his face as he thought about the kiss they'd shared under the mistletoe at the diner.

Faith set about fixing them mugs of hot chocolate, sliding them into the microwave when she was through with the mixing part. She leaned against the counter, her gaze lifting to his face as he leaned against the kitchen entrance.

"You look better," he told her softly. "I mean, not that you didn't look good before, but..."

A faint smile touched her lips. "It was good to see them."

He nodded his head. "They were both really happy."

The microwave dinged a few seconds later, but she didn't make an effort to remove the mugs from inside. She gazed at him silently, her eyes cloudy.

"Are you okay," he asked her softly as he looked at her.

She nodded slowly, then pushed herself away from the counter, walking toward him. She stopped when there were only a couple feet between them. "I've been thinkin'."

He tilted his head to the side a little. "About what?"

"Well...you don't have plans tomorrow...I don't have plans tomorrow..."

"You wanna spend Christmas together," he asked softly.

"I don't see why either of us should spend it alone." Her voice was soft, as well.

Bosco held his hand out to her.

Faith slowly slid her hand into his, lifting her gaze to his once more. "In fact...I don't think we have to spend tonight by ourselves either..."

He raised his eyebrows slightly. "You want me to stay," he asked in quiet disbelief.

A small smile tugged at her lips. "If you want to."

"I'd like that," he whispered.

"Yeah?"

Bosco squeezed her hand, and pulled her a little closer. "Yeah Faith." He nodded his head. "I'd like to stay here with you tonight."

She gazed at him, then lowered her eyes to his lips before leaning in and kissing him gently.

His eyes drifted shut, and he took a step forward, wrapping his arms around her waist.

She lifted her hands to his face, deepening the kiss slowly as she closed her eyes.

"Mmm." He moaned softly as they kissed, his knees beginning to feel weak.

The mugs of hot chocolate still set in the microwave were barely even a distant memory as she slowly guided him out of the kitchen, reaching out and flipping the light off without breaking their kiss. She pushed him gently into the living room.

He smiled against her lips, and let his hands rest on her hips as he allowed her to guide him.

Faith broke away from the kiss briefly, glancing at the couch. It was definitely too small for the two of them, but somehow going to what had been her and Fred's bedroom for the last fifteen years didn't seem right, either. Not that it had stopped Fred. She pushed the thought away. Fred was the last person she wanted to be thinking about right then. She glanced at the coffee table, then kissed Bosco briefly before moving it over in front of the entertainment center. She walked to the Christmas tree and plugged it in so that all the lights were glowing.

As he watched her move the table he lifted his hand up to touch his lips, smiling at the fact that Faith had just been kissing him. "What are you doin'," he asked in a whisper.

"Makin' us a bed on the floor," she told him, a small smile on her lips. She walked over to the closet and retrieved several blankets and a couple of pillows they saved for when guests came over. Not that that happened often. She spread them out on the floor by the tree and sat down, glancing up at him.

He gazed at her for a moment, and then shrugged before lowering himself to the floor.

Faith's eyes were soft as she looked at him, reaching out to touch his face, running her fingers lightly along the curve of his jaw.

"So...fate, huh?"

She smiled. "I think I'm really startin' to like fate."

Bosco nodded his head in agreement as he leaned forward to kiss her.

Their lips met in a soft, deep kiss and she slid her hands down to the top button of his shirt, slowly undoing it, shifting closer to him.

He wrapped his arms around her, trying to pull her even closer than she already was.

A soft moan escaped her mouth as she nibbled lightly on his lower lip, undoing the second button on his shirt, her fingertips coming in contact with his bare skin briefly.

Bosco pulled back slightly, and swallowed hard. "Are you sure this is what you want?"

Faith gazed at him, her eyes full of clarity. "Yes," she whispered.

He nodded his head. "Okay."

"Is this what you want?" Her voice was soft.

"Yeah Faith, this is what I want," he whispered.

A soft smile touched her lips and she kissed him again, finishing unbuttoning his shirt and pushing it off his shoulders.

He pulled away from her long enough to help discard his shirt. As soon as that task was finished he slid his arms around her again, this time allowing his hands to travel under her shirt, and rest on her sides.

She shivered lightly at the feel of his hands on her bare skin and she slid her own hands over his chest. Feeling amazed and in awe at what they were doing. Never in a million years had she thought she'd end up like this with Bosco.

He grabbed the hem of her shirt, and started to pull it over her head.

Faith lifted her arms without hesitation and allowed him to remove the article of clothing, gazing at him intently. The lights from the tree reflected in his eyes and she smiled softly.

Bosco returned the smile as he ran his hands up and down her arms.

She kissed his neck lightly, her hands trailing down his back, feeling the taut muscles there. She shifted closer to him.

Slowly he moved his hands around to her back, and began to fumble with the clasp of her bra.

She closed her eyes and allowed the clothing to fall away once he'd undone it.

He put his hands on her shoulders, gently urging her to lay down.

She lay back until her head rested against the pillows she had arranged on the blankets. She gazed up at him in nervous anticipation.

His eyes roamed her body for a moment before he returned his gaze to her face momentarily. He then began to gently trail his fingers over her chest.

Faith drew in a short breath, her heart beating more quickly than usual as he touched her.

He leaned down, and began placing soft kisses on her torso. Starting at her stomach and working his way up, occasionally darting his tongue out to taste her skin.

Her eyes drifted shut and she slid her hands up and down his back slowly before allowing one hand to tangle in his hair.

"You've got a great body," he whispered softly before licking the indention at the base of her neck.

"And it only took you ten years to notice," she said lightly, shivering at the feel of his tongue on her skin.

Bosco was too busy kissing her to say anything else. He lowered himself down so that their skin was touching, his face mere inches from hers.

She gazed at him intently before lifting her head up so she could kiss his mouth again.

He was leaning on his forearms, not wanting to lay his weight on her, but wanting to be in contact. Slowly he ran his tongue over her lips.

Faith laid her hands on his sides, slowly moving her fingertips down to his rib cage and then finally to rest on his hips. She allowed her lips to part so he could deepen their kiss.

He began to explore her mouth eagerly, but gently.

She sighed softly, enjoying the contact.

Bosco shifted his weight so he could run a hand through her hair as they kissed. In the back of his mind he tried to remember how they'd ended up here.

She felt a rush of urgency wash over her and she deepened their kiss again, wrapping her arms around him.

He moaned softly as he matched her intensity. His foot rubbing against hers.

Faith slid her hands over his stomach and slowly began to undo the button on his jeans.

Not sure why, but feeling the need to hurry he pushed himself up to his knees, and began to take his jeans off. His eyes locked on hers.

She gazed back at him, her heart beating heavily. She began to undo the button on her own jeans, as well.

Bosco quickly pushed his jeans off his hips, and then reached out to help pull her jeans down.

She lifted her hips up to help him in the process of undressing her.

As he pulled her clothes off he leaned down, and placed a kiss on the smooth skin of her stomach.

She licked her lips lightly, running her hand down his arm.

Once he'd stripped her of her jeans he placed a kiss on each of her thighs. He then looked up at her. "Is this still what you want," he asked in a whisper.

"Yes," she said without hesitation, meeting his gaze and reaching for him.

He slid his body over hers, shifting so he could push his jeans the rest of the way off.

She kissed him as she trailed her hands down to his hips, slowly pushing his boxers down, as well.

His heart was racing and his blood was pumping as she removed his last article of clothing.

She smiled faintly at him, kissing his cheek softly as he lay against her, bare skin to bare skin.

"We're really gonna do this," he said softly, a small smile on his face.

She almost chuckled. "Well I hope so."

He didn't respond, instead he rubbed himself against her.

A small gasp escaped her and she arched her hips.

Bosco smiled at the sound that escaped her, and placed a soft kiss on her shoulder. "Are you on the pill," he asked very softly.

"No, but...I've got the birth control patch on," she told him, swallowing hard.

"Good." He nodded his head, slowly rubbing against her once more.

Faith laid her head back against the pillows, her hands curling around his shoulders.

With one hand on her hip, and his other arm braced against the floor for support, his eyes closed as he slid inside of her.

"God," she murmured, the breath catching in her throat at the feel of him entering her body.

He bit his lip as he remained still for a moment. Opening his eyes to gaze down at her.

Her eyes were full of emotions as she gazed up at him.

Bosco leaned down to kiss her lips as he began to rock his body against hers.

The sensation was nearly overwhelming and she kissed him back urgently as she wrapped her legs around his waist.

The urgency in her kiss was clear to him, and he began to move faster within her. His body was on fire as his hips met hers.

Faith moaned softly into his mouth as thrust into her, tightening her legs around him and pulling him deeper within her. Sweat broke out on her forehead as they moved together.

Breathlessly he pulled away from the kiss. He braced his hands on the floor, and lifted his upper body so he could gaze down at her. "Gawd Faith," he moaned.

She swallowed hard, her breathing heavy as she looked up at him, her hands sliding over his bare chest.

Bosco's eyes closed momentarily and he tilted his head back as she touched his torso. He shifted his body slightly, and began to thrust a little harder.

A soft cry escaped her lips and she reached down to rest her hands on his backside, closing her eyes as she felt her body start to grow warmer, her stomach muscles tightening.

The sweat dripped off his body, mixing with hers as he moved one hand to her hip. He picked up the pace a little, feeling the pressure building within him.

She panted for breath as she met his thrusts. "Boz..."

He reached his hands under her, curling them around her shoulders, attempting to pull her toward him as he slid over her body. "Faith," he moaned her name.

The slight change in angles sent a wave of pleasure through her and she tilted her head back. "Oh, my God..."

If he hadn't been teetering on the edge those words would have made him smile. Instead he held onto her a little tighter as he thrust into her again.

Faith was more than a little shocked as she felt herself hit another release, her inner muscles tightening as she buried her face against his neck. "Bosco...God..."

He gasped as his body shuddered. "Faith," her name came out in a cry as the pressure he'd been feeling exploded.

Her head fell back against the pillow, her eyes closing tightly as she tried to catch her breath.

Their bodies still connected Bosco lay on top of her, breathing heavily. He pressed his cheek against hers.

"God," she murmured.

"Damn," he whispered.

She kissed his cheek lightly, resting her hands on his back.

"Am I hurting you," he asked softly.

"No," she said just as softly. The warmth from his body felt good against her own.

He kissed her earlobe. "That was unbelievable."

"No kidding." She placed a soft kiss against his neck, her eyes still closed.

A smile broke out on his face, and he chuckled softly.

"What?" she asked, a small smile on her face.

"After yesterday, this was the -last- thing I expected to happen today."

She couldn't help but chuckle at his words. "You've got a point there."

"Hey Faith," he whispered.

"Yeah?"

"I think...well, I'm pretty sure...I mean..." He swallowed hard. "I love you."

She kissed his cheek again. "I love you too, Boz," she said softly.

Carefully he rolled off of her, and laid beside her on the floor, his head resting on her pillow. He reached for the blanket to cover their bodies.

She snuggled up against him, the lights from the tree glittering down on them as they lay together.

"Any regrets," he asked softly as he rubbed her arm.

"No," she whispered, gazing at him. "You?"

"No." He shook his head. "Perfect night. Perfect tree. Perfect timing. Perfect woman. No chance I'd regret this."

She smiled softly and placed a soft kiss against his chest. Earlier she'd been dreading the holiday. Now she couldn't wait for Christmas day to arrive.