A Place For Romance


melissa2_icon.gif perry_icon.gif

Scene Title A Place For Romance
Synopsis In one day Melissa and Perry experience romance, amazement, heat and fantasy.
Date January 14, 2011


Morning was spent lazily. The vacation is almost over, after all, and they’ll be leaving in a few days, so they may as well make the most of the time that they have left. Which means being lazy. Breakfast was ordered up and eaten in bed, while they talked and joked and laughed, growing more and more at ease with each other.

But there was something special that Melissa wanted to do. Something not on her bucket list, something a little softer and sweeter than visiting volcanos and going exploring in caves. Something more along the lines of visiting the waterfall. She wanted to see dolphins. It’s not something you can exactly do in New York. Especially not if you want to swim with them, and she does.

Luckily she was able to find several places that would take people out to do just that, and she booked spots for both of them on that boat. She dressed much like she had the previous day, in shorts and a tank top, with her bathing suit beneath, and for the first time since they’ve gotten to Hawaii, she’s giddy. It’s a sight to see, really. She hasn’t had the opportunity to be giddy about anything in a very long while.

When the boat arrives and they immediately see not only fins, but dolphins leaping out of the water and diving back in. The smile on Melissa’s face is bright and happy, and her hand in Perry’s squeezes tightly. “Look at them. This is gonna be so much fun!” she says, turning away then so she can don the life vest they’re all required to wear in the water, eager to get in the water and start swimming.

You can just how clever dolphins are due to their their interest in people. Just as human beings gather to watch animals at play, so do dolphins find humans entertaining as they gather to do whatever it is they have to do to manage in the water. The craftiness of those bright eyes and the seeming smiles on their porpoise faces makes them both personal and engaging. It's so strange to meet a creature so close in intellect, yet from such a different world.

They're also adorable, which doesn't hurt, but of course Perry gazes at the leaping, swimming creatures with an interest particular to him. Wondering if these creatures experience Being. Wondering if dolphins know about their deaths. If they fall in love.

They do like to play, however, and Perry is a poor companion standing up on the deck. Melissa's thrilling and the squeeze at his hand remind him what emotions are appropriate for this outing. No need to get existential. It's time to jump in! Okay, not really. Once his orange life vest is donned, he moves to the boat's back ladder and makes his safe way into the water, stroking backwards to make way for Melissa's own descent.

"You- uh- you can approach them first," Perry offers, as he bobs in the waves, "I think you're- uh- a better representative of the species."

Melissa laughs as she dons her mask then climbs into the water. “A better representative? How so?” But any reply will have to wait since she turns, ducking her head under the water and swimming away from the boat. It takes her a minute to surface, as a dolphin swims up, intrigued by this funny looking person in its water. She grins beneath the water, reaching a hand out, nearly laughing as it’s nudged by a long nose. When she does surface, she is laughing, and another dolphin swims over to join the first. “This is amazing!”

Perry follows after, letting the leader of this delegation take point. Putting on a good face for humanity. The young man keeps watch up top while Melissa dips her head under, only to find himself being bumped by a curious dolphin of his own. Perry turns and looks the creature in the eye, momentarily stunned, really.

"H- hello," is all he can think to say, "you- uh- you look pleased with yourself."

And the dolphin likely is, dipping under Perry, dodging just under his feet before spinning up and around again, catching Perry as the young man swishes his arms, trying to turn to follow.

"Cute," Perry remarks, with an almost grudging smile. A tip of the hat to marine pranksterism.

Melissa glances back when Perry speaks, grinning brightly at him. “Cute? They’re more than just cute. I just hope they’ll let us do that thing where we hold onto their fins and they swim with us.” But first they have to get used to the pair, right? Which isn’t a hardship in Mel’s opinion. She keeps her feet as still as possible, hands reaching out, touching, petting any dolphin that comes near, with a look of delight on her face.

When the next dolphin jumps and spins, she laughs, the sound sweet and joyous, a far cry from her usual laughs. ”They’re awesome! I want one. Think it’d fit in my bathtub?”

Perry's dolphin maybe gets the sense that he's the shy one here, and seems to take it upon him(her?)self to get the young human male out of his shell. Zipping around him, striking glancing blows with its fin against Perry, it's almost as if the animal is nudging him. "Be social, darnit, be social!" Perry just ends up a bit confused, until the dolphin surfaces next to him, moving in a slow arch. Gingerly, Perry reaches out and lets his hand brush the cetacean's skin as it skims past.

"I- uh- I think you'd- uh- need to give it a little more space to roam," Perry says, casting a smile Melissa's way, "maybe flood your apartment? Wear scuba gear to get around? I mean- you'd be asking it to trade Hawaii for New York."

Feigning a sigh Melissa nods. “Yeah, you’re right. And who would trade here for there?” She grins then, swimming carefully over towards him, doing her best not to accidentally kick any of their flippered friends. “But it is pretty amazing for now. We’ll just have to enjoy it while we can.” She leans in, kissing him lightly. “Thanks for coming with me, by the way.”

When they get rubbed against and nudged, she just grins more, thoroughly enchanted by the creatures. “Makes me wanna watch old Flipper reruns or something. Or…uh…I don’t know. Something with dolphins. Closest I can think of offhand, movie wise, is Free Willy.”

The tang of salt water is on their lips when they kiss, adding a layer of sensation that's new. A Pacific baptism. With human courtship habits being an object of some mystery to the dolphin community, however, they don't get much privacy. Curious eyes peek up at them as sleek heads poke out from the waves. Perry's smile is a little goofy after the kiss.

"To the dolphins or- uh- to Hawaii?" he asks, seeking clarification though, as he adds shortly after, "I'm- I'm happy to do both. Really happy." Like really. It's going to be hard to go back to a ever more dystopic New York to fight the good fight. Escape is its own temptation.

"They- uh- they seem to be getting used to us," he grins, "and they like you of course. You- uh- you could see if they'd take you for- uh- for a spin?"

Melissa grins and can’t resist giving his butt a little pinch. He just looks so darn cute. “It’s all amazing. And do you really think I could be upset that you came with me to Hawaii given all that’s happened?”

She looks back to the dolpins, petting them when they bump into her, grinning and watching them like she were twenty years younger. There’s that much enthusiasm to her. “We can certainly see, can’t we?” And she maneuvers around, so that she can carefully grab ahold of a dorsal fin, and to her delight, the dolphin starts to move, pulling her through the water with an easy only such a large and powerful creature could manage.

"I'm- uh- I'm with her," Perry explains to the dolphin who's taken an interest in him. Whether sympathy, vouch or interspecies friendship, Perry's dolphin draws up alongside him and, after a moment's hesitation, the young man latches on and off they go! The creature's power is incredible, the seemingly effortless slide through the water now very clearly the work of seriously athletic animals.

Pushing his boundaries, perhaps, Perry's dolphin submerges, bringing the young man under, if briefly, before his life vest tugs him up and he's forced to let go. But for the brief span of time he's under, he sees something. No strange shape of wreck this time, not like the last recreation dip he took, back when Messiah's ranks swelled with young hopefuls. But Perry doesn't have time to reminisce or regret. He emerges, stammering.

"I- uh- I saw- uh-" Perry tries, "I think I saw- I- I think-" he gestures vaguely towards 'beneath'. He gulps. "A whale shark." He sounds excited if a little unnerved.

Glancing back, Melissa grins at him. “Seriously? Those are the ones that don’t actually nibble on people, right? I mean they said this was totally safe and all.” Which could be why she isn’t the least bit worried. Or she could just be that excited over the swim they’re currently enjoying. “They said we might see manta rays and turtles, or even a humpback whale out here. I kinda hope we don’t see the mantas. That’s later!” she calls back, now holding onto her dolphin with both hands, thrilling at the feel of water sliding over her, around her.

"I- uh- I think they just eat plankton. Or krill. Or something like that," Perry says, nodding, "but it's just so- so big. I think it's- uh- the biggest shark." He may have learned that during Shark Week. He watches a lot of educational TV. Nerdy bachelor style.

And big it is, a great sandy shadow shifting beneath the surface of the water. The dolphins don't seem to mind it's presence. A couple seem to be keeping it company, diving at perpendiculars to its steady course, before flipping around and making their way diagonalwise upwards again. Perry dips his head under water to get a look at the looming giant, which keeps its distance, or rather just disregards the humans, it's dim, archaic brain taking no interest in them.

Perry tries to keep up with Melissa, now he's lost his mount, but he resorts to laughing as she's drawn ahead by her friendly piggybacker. "A- uh- m- manta would be an impressive specter."

“The manta’s are later. Apparently they use spotlights to draw them out, so nighttime is the best time to go swimming with them. They say they’re gentle and don’t have stingers or anything,” Melissa says, releasing the dolphin that had been pulling her around, then tugging the life vest off, pushing it towards Perry. “I’m gonna dive down, see if I can touch it,” she says, grinning at him.

No one can say that she isn’t adventurous.

Without waiting to listen to any potential warnings, she draws in a deep breath then goes under, kicking her way down towards the whale shark, her attempt interrupted once or twice by dolphins wanting to play or just get attention of some sort.

"I'll- uh- keep a lookout…" Perry says to no one save himself, bobbing above the waves as Melissa disappears in search of her quarry. After a few seconds of alone time, he wrinkles his nose and dips his head under water, letting the salt water sting his eyes a little - nothing he can't handle, not after flashbangs. Swimming freestyle until he catches sight of Melissa, coursing through the water, he keeps pace, remaining at the surface, but watching his companion's progress towards the behemoth.

Such a large creature isn’t going to be worried about someone of Melissa’s size. Which is a boon for her as it allows her to get closer. There’s no hoping of riding along with him like she did with the dolphins, but she does manage to trail fingers along its back before she has to kick for the surface. When she does she sucks in a big gulp of air, a much needed gulp, then she grins at Perry.

Perry grins back, a little unevenly, being the doof who stayed above. Still, he watched, and thrilled vicariously, imaging what she might be feeling and in imagining maybe getting a hint of the real thing. At least he can hope. He swims over to Melissa, bumping lightly against her as a wave gives him an unexpected push. "Sorry!" he says, though he takes hold of a life vest strap all the same, tethering together, close. "I- uh- know it seems like a stupid thing to say but- but thing here are so big. I can't imagine what a- uh- actual whale would be like."

Melissa grins when he’s knocked into her, and she wraps her arms around him. “If you really wanna find out we can go see the humpbacks. We’ve only got a few days left, and mostly we’ve done what I wanted to do. And it’s a girlfriend’s job to keep her boyfriend happy, now isn’t it?” And she seems to get a thrill just saying that. Boyfriend. Booooooyfriiiiiiend. Yeah, it’s nice. Very nice. Enough that she has to kiss him before reaching for her vest to slide it on again.

Whatever has happened to Melissa Pierce? Perry frankly looks a little stunned, his cheeks starting to burn even before he realizes his embarrassment consciously. Not embarrassed, of course, to be called boyfriend by this young woman. But rather embarrassment at feeling so confounded by it. What could he have possibly done to deserve this? But the kiss banishes his thought and along with it his flusterment. This is not something he need think about. It's something he'll just do.

The blush has Melissa pausing, her vest on but not fastened, and she laughs. “You are so impossibly cute, you know that? A mess of contradictions. But really, do you wanna go see some whales? Or is there something else you wanna do? I mean, it is Friday, and we’re leaving the day after tomorrow. And tomorrow I wanna spend a chunk of time at the spa getting pampered.”

"No, this- is the first I'm hearing it," Perry replies, his smile sweet, happy if still a little confused. He needs to thank these dolphins. They have worked some charm on Melissa. "And- and sure. Whales would be- quite amazing. Though-" he pauses, "I had a thought. About- uh- something you said you'd teach me," his lips purse slightly and he suggests, delicately, "we could- uh- head into the city? Go- uh- go dancing?"

From the look on Melissa’s face, he couldn’t have suggested a better thing for them to do. “That sounds like a wonderful idea. Tomorrow night, I think, but we will definitely do that. I can’t wait to get you out on a dance floor. And one of these days I’ll get you on Tartarus’s dance floor.”

“That- uh- that will require a whole new set of clothing, won't it?" Perry replies, "I mean- uh- I have some shirts with really grim existentialist quotes on them but- uh- I don't think that's quite in keeping with the club's style, even if it keeps with the spirit."

Melissa laughs and shrugs. “I don’t care if you dress goth or not, Perry. If you want to get some goth clothing so you fit in, we can totally do that, but it’s up to you.” She glances towards the boat, sighing softly. “Looks like it’s time for us to head back. Time went by too quickly. This whole trip is going by too quickly.”

"Try- uh- to hold it in memory," Perry suggests, lingering just a little longer, giving the dolphins a small salute, "experience everything full so- so you can revisit it." Practical advice for the freezing of time. He begins to swim back towards the boat, letting himself 'accidentally' bump into Melissa as he moves by her. Double whoops.

Several hours later…again

So they filled their day with marine life, enjoying a couple hours spent with the whales, then swimming in the dark with the surprisingly gentle manta rays. It was exhausting, yes, but thrilling as well. Definitely something to hold in the memory for when good things are few and far in between.

And what else would such a pair of explorers do after a day filled with activity? Hit the bar of course! Unsurprisingly it was Melissa’s idea, leading him down to the hotel’s bar and grabbing them a booth, for the sole purpose of being able to sit beside him more comfortably than they could’ve at a table with chairs. She’s even being cute and sweet and holding his hand.

Ahh…the honeymoon phase of the relationship. It makes everything fun and sweet. And sappy.

When the waitress arrives at their table, Mel wastes no time in grinning at her and ordering her drink. That’s gone quickly, as is the second. When that’s gone she’s starting to sound more southern, a sure sign that she’s well on her way to getting tipsy.

Seeing Mel happy has the troubling side effect of making Perry forget all bad things, even those directly relating to Mel. Not to say his attention has been, in some part, underscored by the hope that maybe, if she's happy enough, she'll drink less, a hope that sometimes seems to hold potential. Seems to.

To bring this up now, with her so close, smiling so wide, after so full a day… it feels all sorts of wrong. But every day Perry puts it off he proves he's more worried about his having Melissa than Melissa herself. And that isn't caring, that's selfishness.

"Uh- M- Melissa," Perry says, his stammer spiking in the face of his nervousness, "there's something I- there's been something that's worrying me and I hoped we- uh- could talk about it." He sounds apologetic already.

“What’s that?” Melissa asks, glancing at him curiously, helpless but to notice that nervousness. “Because if you’re breaking up with me already, I’m gonna have to hurt you. Like big time hurt. Mega hurt. Linus the sunboy hurt.”

"Oh- God no!" Perry exclaims, and he's reacting to the idea of dumping her, not the idea of the torment that such an action would produce, though both reactions might sound similar. "No- no I, I'd be crazy to do that, no.

"It's- uh-" the young man says, eyes cutting to the side for a moment before returning to Mel, forcing his gaze to remain steady, "I- I worry sometimes, about- uh- about how much you drink. I'm sorry- I'm not- not trying to insult you, you know I think you're- just wonderful but- but it does worry me and- and I care too much about you not to say something."


When he denies the breaking up, Melissa smiles and gives his hand a squeeze. But when he continues she frowns a little, looking at her empty glass, then to him. “What’s wrong with how much I drink? It’s not like I’m always passed out from drinking or anything. No worshipping the porcelain god or anything like that.”

"Maybe you're right, I may just be- uh- sheltered," Perry admits, not being the most confrontational of people, "but- it's true that it worries me. I don't- I think it may be- you know- what people often use it for. To deal with- with being sad. Because you were sad. You seem- you seem happier now but- but you still drink and- uh- I just wonder if you need to anymore."

Melissa’s head tilts and she continues to consider her glass and his words. “I…I think I started drinking after my first mission. Not so much because I was sad, but because I needed to dull the images. To be able to not dream when I went to sleep. Seeing the faces. Hearing the…sounds. Then things just kept getting worse and worse, so I guess I just figured why not keep drinking, make it so I could cope.”

She looks over at him. “I don’t know if I drink too much, since I’m functional, not a drunk or anything. I go to work, I take care of Junie, all of that. But…well, how much does it worry you?”

Melissa's very calmness at the worry makes Perry feel like he's worrying too much. That it isn't that big a deal. But then he remembers the night she showed up drunk, having snuck out to drink alone. And it scares him a little. So he has to press on. "Enough that- that I'd like to see- uh- if you stop drinking for a bit- uh- what happens? See- uh- see how much you miss it. If you miss it- uh- and how much, you'll know whether or not it's- uh- too much, right? And if you don't miss it," he gives a lopsided smile, "then you maybe won't miss it enough to- uh- indulge my neurosis?"

His face is studied, his worry weighed, and Melissa chews lightly on her lower lip as she thinks. “Well, I’ll say now that I don’t want to quit drinking cold turkey. But like I said…supposed to be keeping my boyfriend happy, so I’ll give it a try if you want. When we get back home. A week or so, see how it goes, alright?”

That… yes. That's reasonable. She's willing, she's made a promise, and she's set it in terms of honoring their relationship, still new. He smiles, all gratitude, feeling a certain weight lift from his chest, at least temporarily. Perry takes her hands and leans in to kiss her on the lips. "Your boyfriend," he says, before kissing her again, "is both grateful," yet another kiss, "and extremely lucky." His tips his head forward, bumping foreheads lightly and bringing them nose to nose. "Thank you."

The kiss is returned then Melissa smiles, happy to have made him smile. “You’re welcome, though I think I’m the lucky one. After all, I’m the one who’s difficult to deal with. Don’t expect I’ll always be this accommodating,” she teases, giving his hand another squeeze. “But oddly, it’s kinda nice accommodating you right now.”

"As- uh- as long as you can accommodate, tolerate or even just- uh- put up with me," Perry says, near grinning now, "I'm sticking around. And I- I know how you feel. Doing things for you feels almost as much a gift to- uh- to myself as to you."

“Now we’re just getting sappy. I think I’m getting a toothache,” Melissa says, grinning and scooting a bit closer, so their bodies are lightly pressed against each other. “But you’re easy to tolerate, Perry. Though I think I may have to steal some of your books once we get home, so you don’t hole up with them and totally forget all about me.”

"Sorry," Perry says, brows lifting, but he's still smiling, arm slipping behind her when she draws closer, "but the truth- uh- the truth hurts sometimes. Even if just in your teeth." One brow stays raised. "I think my books should- uh- should be more worried. You are a perfect distraction. But- uh- if you want to steal some books, you can. On the condition to read them." Terms!

“Duuuude. I don’t have time to read books! Okay, so I did look over a babies for dummies book, but that was necessary,” Melissa says, laughing. “But maybe, maybe, I’ll read one at some point. If it’s something good. Fiction, all the way. So it’s like a movie in word form.”

That leaves Perry to wonder just what fiction could be both exciting and philosophical? His lips purse in genuine consideration. One book, maybe, just one - and the hope that it could spark an interest. Mostly it's true what he said before - he can read for the both of them. Part of what draws him to Melissa is her tendency towards action. To be and do rather than ponder.

"I'll- I'll think of something," Perry says, at length, "maybe- uh- maybe something by Umberto Ecco. He's- uh- he's fantastic."

Melissa grins and bumps him lightly with her shoulder. “Don’t think too hard. Though I guess if I’m gonna be forcing my movies on you, it’s only fair that I accept your books now and again. And speaking of…what else do you do for fun, besides the reading and philosophy thing?”

"That's- uh- that's most of it," Perry admits, sheepishly, "I- uh- have a sort of monastic lifestyle. I guess- uh- I guess I like to watch TV sometimes. But most people do. And I- like- uh- the occasional Sudoku?" He smiles, lamely. "There's a lot of room in my life. But- uh- that just gives you more space, doesn't it?"

“Oh honey, no more being a shut in for you!” Melissa says, shaking her head and feigning a sad look. “This trip was just the beginning, though a hell of a lot more out then we’ll get back home, but may as well start it off with a bang, right?”

"You lead, I follow," Perry says, sounding game enough, anticipatory for every bit he may also be unsure what to anticipate. "you- uh- see to have a talent for broadening my horizons. Showing me new experiences."

“Mmm…that’s not just me, Perry,” Melissa replies, shaking her head and smiling. “I’ve had a lot of firsts on this trip too, after all. All good firsts, for that matter. And go figure, the best ones weren’t even on my bucket list.” As her third drink is brought she gives him a sheepish look, but the deal was for once they got back to New York, so she picks it up and sips. “Been wondering how it’s gonna work once we’re here. You and me. It’s not like we can do like we’ve been doing here, since there’s work and everything to deal with.”

"I think- uh- I think I'll come visit," Perry says, trying to manage the transition in his head - New York is not Hawaii, that's why they went to Hawaii in the first place, "and give you hand when you need it and- uh- watch movies with you. And on- uh- on weekends I can take you out. Do- whatever. What people do. Dance. Attend events. Just… walk in a park. Though- uh- that last may wait 'til spring. Unless we don't mind- uh- holding mittened hands."

“Ever been ice skating? For the longest time I’ve wanted to go ice skating with a guy, just going nice and slow and holding hands. Because we want to, not because we’re trying not to fall on our faces,” Melissa says, smiling. “Dancing is definitely good, and same with movies. I haven’t done a walk in the park since…well, I had to get rid of my dog, Jerry, and haven’t done the walk in the park thing since. Hasn’t been a point.” And she clearly misses her puppy.

"I'm- uh- a Bangorian," Perry says, with a soft chuckle, "there's- uh- too much ice for there to be any excuse not to skate. I- uh- used to ice skate in the Gardens. That was some time ago though. I'll be- uh- a little rusty," he grins, "but I guess I'll have you to lean on if I start to stumble, right?" His flags down the waiter, letting himself order a drink now that the issue of drinking has been cleared up, at least for now. "You- uh- do you miss having a dog? Why couldn't you keep him?"

Melissa laughs. “Perry, I’ve only been skating twice in my life. You can’t be worse than me. Though I’ll look stylish when I fall on my ass!” Then merriment fades a bit. “I do miss him, yeah. But when I went on probation and had to move into the apartment, and everyone else was leaving the house on Staten Island…there was no place for him to go. And it wouldn’t have been right to leave him with someone else for five months anyway. It would’ve been their dog by that point instead of mine. Especially since he was still just a puppy. A big puppy, but still a puppy.”

She perks a little. “But at the end of next month I’ll be off probation and can move. Even if I can’t move back into my house, I’m sure I can find a house somewhere.”

This is information that Perry stows away in his brain for later use, a catalogue of wishes and hopes he's trying to build for Melissa, understanding his chief job in her life now as the agent of their fulfillment. This is actually sort of how he formulates the words in his mind, but thankfully doesn't speak them aloud. The thought is sweet, though, however oddly brewed. "Your little green house," he says, remembering, having visited before, "that- that was a lovely little place. Hard to replace. But- but yes, I'm sure you'll find something somewhere. I'd- uh- be happy to go with you to check places out, or even do some legwork myself," he smiles, "don't- uh- don't be afraid to delegate tasks to me. I consider it a boyfriend's duty."

“Well it wasn’t always that nice,” Melissa says with a grin, tilting her head to rest against his shoulder, absently sipping at the drink in her hand. Yay for straws! “I had to do a hell of a lot of cleaning because it hadn’t been lived in for ages. Because the last owner apparently died or got killed. Found his skeleton walled up in the basement. And had to do a bit of remodeling too. The basement and attic are both liveable as rooms. But it’s not mine and they’re apparently cracking down on squatters, which I guess I technically was, so…”

"Skeleton?" Perry says, unable to hide his surprise, "walled- walled up? Good lord, was the- uh- previous tenant Edgar Allen Poe?" Literary jokes, FTW. "Did you- let the police know or anything? Was this- uh- while you still could?" Before, that is to say, terrorism and other illegal activities became a large part of Mel's life.

“Yeah. Had a few people over, was giving them the grand tour, and we got interested in the wall that wasn’t the right color. Magnes was there. His ability let him tell that there was something behind it.” Melissa’s lips twitch. “Kendall played a joke on all of us. Make it look like part of the wall crumbled and a skeletal hand was reaching out for one of them. She nearly freaked, Magnes nearly peed his pants, Colette disappeared, literally. And Kendall, of course, was just laughing his ass off. It was so good to see, since he’d hated being evolved before that.”

She draws in a deep breath and smiles. “Good times…And no, didn’t let the police know. Couldn’t. It wasn’t my house, remember? A friend helped me bury it though, so whoever he or she was, they’ve been laid to rest.”

"We- uh- live strange lives," Perry says, which is true enough. Still, his drink arrives on time and when he sips it it's good and so even if things are strange, they aren't bad. There are silver linings, or so he must believe. "I still wonder who- uh- who they must have been. I suppose it doesn't matter."

Melissa laughs and lifts her head long enough to kiss his cheek. “Took you long enough to figure that out,” she says teasingly. “And I honestly don’t know. And all things considered…I can’t care too much. It looked like he’d walled himself in, to be honest. He had a radio and canned food and bottled water and stuff. So he probably did it to himself.”

"I- I can understand living in fear," Perry says, frowning, trying to imagine the will to do such a thing, "but- but I never want that to be my reaction. Hiding in a hole like that. I'd- I'd rather face what I was afraid of. Though- I guess that's easy to say right now," his smile is wide and warm at the kiss, "I don't feel like anything could go wrong."

“Oh, things will go wrong…but we’ve gotten through them before, we’ll get through them again,” Melissa says, shrugging a little. “And now we’ve got each other to lean on, so it’ll be easier for us to get through them, I think.”

"I think that- uh- that that will be true," Perry says, only saying that he doesn't know because he really doesn't know. This is all new. Having someone to lean on, at all. And sharing someone else's troubles. He finishes his drink, before looping both arms around her and turning to kiss she side of her head. "We'll come back here some day," he says, after a moment, "revisit. Make it happen again."

“I don’t know how likely that is,” Melissa admits. “Coming back here, I mean. I’m half surprised that nothing went wrong and prevented us from coming here this time. Though I’m damn glad it didn’t. I can actually look at tomorrow and not just dread waking up, like I have for the past…I don’t know, few months, I guess? Longer, probably, but the last few months have been the worst.”

"We don't live in happy times," Perry says, not contesting the legitimacy of her misery even if he tries to combat it, "and we aren't given easy lives, but we- we have the chance to be important. To do something of value. I- it may not be- be good for your heart or your longevity, but it's- it's what must be done."

“Not arguing that. If I didn’t agree, I wouldn’t be fighting, however violent or non-violent that fight may be at any given time,” Melissa says, shrugging and letting out a soft sigh. “Though I am tired of the violence. Not the fist fighting, that…has helped keep me sane. But the other stuff. The big stuff.” The terrorist stuff. “You know how they talk about people like homicide cops and soldiers burning out? Seeing too much, doing too much? I think I was well on my way to burning out too.”

"Of- uh- of course," Perry says, nodding, "I- uh- still think some lengths will be necessary. But- but you don't have to go to them. You need- uh- need to tend to your own soul."

Melissa smiles and kisses his cheek. “I’m not saying I won’t fight, hon. It’s just not my preferred course of action. Besides, you don’t think I’m gonna let you put yourself in danger without being there to pull your ass out of the fire, do you?”

"I- uh- certainly wouldn't much care for my ass getting burned, that's for sure," Perry replies, grinning a little lopsidedly at this kiss, "I'm- uh- glad you hold it in high enough esteem to- uh- protect it."

“High esteem? Baby, that butt is pinchable,” Melissa says, grinning, and she shifts around until she can reach down a hand to deliver such a pinch. “Don’t you know I always work to protect the people I care about? I mean, I did go back in time to save Kendall,” she murmurs.

"Ah- ah yes, the- uh- the time travel," Perry says. He remembers that, but he doesn't remember a lot about saving. This thought darkens his mood momentarily, but the pinch startles him out of it. He eyes Melissa, mock warily. "Are you- uh- being immodest in public?" His tone is of exaggerated puritanism.

Melissa gives him an innocent look. “Me? Never!” Which of course demands that she put her glass down, turn to more directly face him, slide her arms around him, and kiss him like they were in a soft core porn movie rather than in a nice Hawaiian bar. Which is to say, of course, that’s it hot and steamy.

Hormones are a force unto themselves, and when Perry find himself being kissed like this, his own modesty doesn't last overlong. This is Hawaii, after all, home to honeymoons and all sorts of long-awaited thrills and releases. Their economy runs on exceptional thrill. So it's maybe not so bad when Perry kisses her back without shock or shame. And even if it is so bad, he'd be hard pressed to care.

When Melissa finally draws back, and she’s in no rush to do so, she leans her forehead lightly against his and closes her eyes, smiling. “So was that being immodest?” she murmurs, one hand absently moving, to stroke her fingers lightly over his back.

"I- uh-" Perry begins, just a little bit stunned as sense returns to him. He glances Melissa up and down, as if still judging. "I don't- uh- don't know if I can decide given- uh- just one example." A smile. Just slightly sly.

That answer has Melissa laughing. “I can’t let you not be able to decide, now can I?” she says softly, eyes opening to meet his. Then she smiles and is kissing him again, just as intensely as the first time, but now it’s more tender than it is hot.

It's a game, Perry realizes. Not in the form of competition, of course, but a system of play. Give and take. Things held back only to be given. Teasing and gentle tricks. He didn't really know. He likes it. He kisses her in return, his own thoughts making tenderness that much more welcome. When their lips part his eyes flick towards their server. "We- uh- we can drink up in our room, you know."

Melissa grins and gives him a brief, light kiss. “Now why don’t I think you want to go back to our room to drink? But we can go. So long as I get some cuddle time in there too. I’ve found that I very much enjoy cuddling.”

Trust him, he enjoys it too. Too new to this and simply too besotted to find such thing patience-trying, not ever around men of more macho persuasion who might otherwise make him adopt a less affectionate stance, Perry has no objections whatsoever to the whole cuddling thing. He will not, however, deny euphemism. "You- uh- act like I'm expecting something. I just- uh- am suggesting a change of venue." Now who is 'looking innocent'?

Laughing, Melissa shakes her head and gives him a little nudge. “Then hop up, hon. We can go up to the room to ‘continue drinking’,” she says, complete with air quotes. Nope, she’s not fooled. Some cash is pulled out and laid on the table, and she just smiles at him.

Perry slides up out of the booth and waits for Melissa, hand extended, at the point where he's not particularly eager to part from Melissa for any prolonged moment, situation permitting. Ready to lead up to and through their door. Two beds on the other side. One still hardly used.

His hand is taken and Melissa smiles as she slides out of the booth. “Lead the way, handsome,” she says, pulling her hand free of his so she can slide it around him instead, letting her be closer to him as they head out of the bar.

It's a trip they've nearly gotten used to, five days here and with the corridors of the hotel becoming familiar with each passing. Leaving it- well, let's not think about that, shall we? Perry nearly fumbles the maglock card getting the door unlocked, then pushes it, holding it open for Melissa to pass in first. Being a lady, and all.

Melissa apparently finds the fumbling impossibly sweet, and she’s laughing as she takes his hand, drawing him into the room after her. “So damn adorable,” she says, closing the door just in time since immediately after she’s pushing him against said door so she can kiss him again.

You know something's going on when sheer clumsiness appears endearing. Not that Perry ought to complain, as it seems to earn him a very sudden pouncing. Learning to give as good as he gets, the young man crouches down just a little, so he can grab Mel under her thighs and pull her up into his arms, crossing under her rear. He turns, reversing their position and pinning her to the door, now. Still kissing.

There’s a thrill of surprise when his growing boldness shows itself, and Melissa’s arms slide around his neck. It’s easy to plaster herself to him when she’s pinned. Her mouth is dragged from his, reluctantly, and a hand slides through his hair. Just a moment is taken, where she studies his face, then she slowly smiles.

Hawaii is a place for romance and heat, lovers and fantasies. And the night that follows their return to their suite proves just that.

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