Disclaimer: Once again, I don't own these GW characters and make not even a dime from spending hours writing about them.

Warnings: AU, sexual situations, yaoi 1x2, 3x4, and various past relationship

The Pretender
Chapter 12
by Dyna Dee

Heero took a circuitous route to his bedroom, locking the front door and shutting the lights off. Once they entered the lawyer's bedroom, Duo wasn't surprised to find the furnishing followed the same simple lines and modern design as the rest of his apartment. He felt comfortable here. Standing at the foot of a queen-sized bed that was covered with a pale blue comforter, he watched as Heero moved to the chest of drawers and pulled from the top drawer a white T-shirt and cotton draw-string pants. He then returned to Duo's side, kissed his mouth briefly and handed him the clothing. "Why don't you change while I'm in the shower. I'll be back in five minutes. Go ahead and climb into bed when you're ready."

Duo agreed with a nod and watched as Heero moved towards the door to the left of the room and disappeared behind it. He waited until the sound of the shower could be heard before beginning to undress himself. Any other gay man would probably think him an odd duck or ridiculous, dressing for bed and having every intention of doing nothing but sleeping beside the supremely hot guy. And why was it that Heero, no doubt taking a cold shower in the other room, seemed all the more attractive and desirable because he promised to take things slow?

He felt an urgent need to hurry and change because Heero might unexpectedly open the door and see him naked if he didn't get a move on. Shaking his head and calling himself a prude, Duo reminded himself that Heero had already seen him naked.

Changing quickly, he neatly folding his clothes before placing them on the utilitarian chair set on the far side of the bed. Then pulling back the covers he practically jumped between the sheets and snatched the comforter up to cover his lower body.

Waiting for Heero to return, he thought back on how long it had been since he'd slept in another man's bed. He'd first tried it with Wufei, several weeks after they'd begun dating. That night had marked his first attempt at having sex with someone. The Chinese student, knowing he was a virgin, had taken him to his apartment after having dinner together and promised to take things slow and to stop if asked. That promise had made it easier for him to climb into Wufei's bed and into his arms. He had every intention that night of having sex with his first boyfriend, but he had learned over the years that even the best intentions can fall flat and turn sour.

A simple kiss progressed quickly into something that promised to be wonderful. Wufei had been a hell of a good kisser, which should have alerted him to the fact that the guy had a lot of experience. It wasn't long before he was ready and eager to move to the next step. He'd enjoyed being held and kissed by Wufei that night and loved the feel of the warm firm flesh under his hands. But suddenly, like a knee jerk reaction to the escalating pleasure, he'd reacted with volition and in a way that not even he could have predicted. When Wufei's hand slid beneath the waistband of his boxers and his fingers dipped between the cleft of his ass and teased his entrance, it somehow triggered a shocking, unexpected reaction. A voice sounded in his head. It was the voice of his Aunt Helen, speaking in an all too familiar lecturing manner, pronouncing that gay men only wanted sex from a partner, not permanency nor a commitment. Her voice sternly warned that Wufei would use him for sex and then toss him away like yesterday's garbage.

Shocked and appalled from hearing his aunt's castigating voice in his head, he physically pushed Wufei away, jumped out of bed and then he proceeded to chew the poor guy out. He'd never forget the look on Wufei's face that night. His almond shaped eyes had widened with disbelief and confusion, which was probably a good match to how he felt. He hadn't understood what had happened either and had a hard time explaining it to the other equally shocked man. He wound up spending the remainder of the night wrapped in a blanket on Wufei's sofa, hating himself and trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with him? The trust that he'd started to build with Wufei had gone to hell in a handbasket in less than ten seconds. Only a couple of weeks later he'd learned that his "boyfriend" had been having sex with some other guy on campus. Wufei obviously hadn't been worthy of his trust after all.

Trust. It seemed to be the big issue with him over the years. Almost every guy he'd dated had let him down in one way or another, with Trowa's betrayal being the worst. He'd trusted the man when he said he'd wait for him to get better. Could he trust Heero, or would the gorgeous lawyer let him down like the others had?

Shaking his head, he decided he'd better change that train of thought quickly, before he second guessed his decision to stay. What was taking Heero so long? Looking around the room for something to distract himself with, he noticed a flat screen TV tucked neatly into a cabinet directly in front of the bed. Another quick glance around and he located the remote on the bedside table. Picking it up, he turned the television on and waited for Heero to show up.

He really had been too busy to read the newspaper or stay up late enough to watch the ten o'clock newscast, so if there really was a serial killer, he'd been completely ignorant about that news story. A late, late night talk show was on, so he switched channels to one of several news networks. He finished watching a report on global warming and just as it ended the bathroom door opened.

The bright light of the bathroom silhouetted Heero's body in a wonderfully erotic way as the man toweled off his thick mop of hair. If his life depended on it, Duo couldn't stop his own physical reaction at the sight of the near naked man. From what he could tell in the dim light, Heero had nice, strong shoulders which tapered down his chest to a slender waist. He let his eyes lower only a fraction to assure himself that Heero was wearing boxers. Honestly, there was not one thing about the man's physique he could find fault with. Heero was simply stunning, he decided. His heart was now tripping over itself, and the stirring below the covers clearly indicated his desire for the good-looking lawyer. Damn, not only was he lusting after the other man, but he was also becoming more and more enamored of him. How in the hell was he going to be able to resist any of the lawyer's advances? Did he really want to resist Heero?

"You want to watch the news?" Heero asked, not quite suppressing the fact that he was surprised at finding the television on. He tossed the towel in his hand behind him and shut off the bathroom light before walking towards the bed. Duo was both relieved and, well, maybe just a little disappointed that the lawyer clearly favored boxes as his choice of sleeping garment. While he was glad there was another barrier between them, the loose fit of the undergarment displayed very little of what lay underneath the blue plaid print. Still, all that wonderful bronze skin and the hairless chest had his breath catching in this throat. Damn, he wanted the man.

He swallowed, recovered quickly and blurted out, "Thought I'd see if there was anything on the news about that serial killer you mentioned. With everything that's been going on at work I'm completely out of the loop about what's going on in the world."

Heero smiled knowingly while climbing into bed and sitting close to Duo's side. Despite the reported cold shower, he could feel the heat of Heero's body and leaned a bit closer, like a moth to a flame, unable to resist. "I suppose no news is good news when it comes to that story," his unwitting tormenter said. "The last victim's body was found a week ago."

Duo looked away from Heero after realizing that he had been staring. Heero's bare chest was most definitely putting a strain on his self control. He ached to reach out and touch that smooth, tantalizing warm flesh. Stifling a frustrated moan, he forced his hands to remain in place on his lap, willing them to stay put and not give into the urge to run them over that tempting bit of flesh. Shit, a quick second glace showed him Heero's dusky brown nipples which were pinched, just aching to be fondled. It took every ounce of his dwindling self discipline to turn his eyes back to the television.

Heero shifted slightly and lifted his hand up and under the thick braid and began to gently massage his neck. "You're tense," he observed, his blue eyes never straying from Duo's face.

"No kidding," Duo muttered with dry chuckle.

A small smile twitched at the corners of they lawyer's tempting mouth. "Do I make you nervous, Duo?"

"I wouldn't exactly say nervous, on edge is probably a better description."

Heero leaned closer and kissed the exposed side of the braided man's long and slender neck. "I think I like the sound of that."

Duo chuckled nervously, wondering how to cool the other man down without coming right out and telling him to knock off the sexy talk when the newscaster said something about serial killer. "Listen," he said, turning up the volume.

The middle-aged reporter was wearing a grave expression as he continued his report. "All five murders occurred near downtown Los Angeles, within a three-mile radius of each other. The police aren't revealing details about what evidence has been found at each crime scene, but in a statement issued last month the city's police commissioner reported they had linked the five murders as having been committed by the same individual. Commissioner Allison Hardwick wants to assure the public that the L.A.P.D is on top of this investigation. Regardless that here is an increase in police presence in the area, she asks the public to be aware of what is happening around them if and when they go out at night and to avoid going out alone. In a news conference, broadcasted three hours ago, Commissioner Hardwick reported the five victims appeared to have frequented trendy downtown clubs and dining establishments, particularly those catering to gays. Interviews with friends and family members indicated the victims had often visited these establishments alone. We'll bring you up-to-date information as it's released to the public."

"Damn," Duo said, shocked by the story. "That's not too far from where I work. I went out on my own to West Hollywood the other night and didn't know a thing about these murders. Guess I should consider myself lucky that nothing happened."

"Where did you go?" Heero asked, looking interested.

"To a place a... a friend of mine suggested. She's been trying to set me up with someone for a while now and gave me a couple of guest tickets to the Palomino Club."

"I've been there myself," Heero said with an appreciative glint in his eyes. "What was your impression of the place?"

Duo shrugged. "I don't know. After all I'd heard about it, it seemed a bit over rated to me, but then there weren't a lot of guys there and I'm not in the habit of frequenting gay bars. I went to them in college and they lost their appeal pretty quickly. Like I told you, I'm not into one night stands, and that seemed to be what most of the men frequenting those places were looking for."

"What are you looking for, Duo?" Heero asked, and the serious look on his face made Duo a bit nervous. He really, really liked Heero, and even though they seemed to be getting along very well he didn't know if he was ready to get into a deeper conversation about his personal feelings. Hadn't he said enough already? Hell, opening up any further would be like a walk across a mine field. He decided to try and skirt around Heero's question and maybe turn the tables. He wanted to know more about the man sitting next to him, and so he supposed a little honesty about himself was called for. Give a little, get a little, right? "I want more than just sex or a one night stand. I'm not saying you're wrong in the way you live your life, Heero, but after sleeping with as many men as you have, don't you want something more, like having someone who's there for you, having a relationship that's more than sex?" His eyes stayed fixed on Heero's face as he waited for the man to answer.

"What's the matter with sex?" Heero shot back, his grin turning devilish.

Duo shook his head. "Nothing, I suppose. Unless that's all there is."

"Sometimes sex really is all there is." The smile on the handsome man's face faltered only slightly with that statement.

An awkward moment of silence hung between the two men while the newscaster began to speak about the newest state legislation that would increase the gas tax in order to improve the highways. Duo wasn't really listening to it, he was too busy thinking about what a bad idea his staying the night had been, that he should really high-tail it back to his apartment and forget he ever met Heero Yuy. It was pretty obvious the two of them had very little in common, as far as sex was concerned, and if he pursued this relationship any further he was going to get hurt. "I think this was a bad idea," he blurted out and made a move to get out of the bed.

"No. Wait." The touch of Heero's hand on his thigh effectively held him in place. Duo turned his head and saw a change in the man's expression. Dropping the sexy, devilish grin, Heero looked much more serious when he said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you off with my teasing. I know you were being honest with me and I was trying to.... I don't know, lessen the tension, and I failed, miserably. I can see that we might not see eye to eye on everything, but give me a chance, Duo. I don't know what it is... Well, yes, I do. I have the most insanely, powerful attraction to you. It's probably my baser nature taking the lead here, but you're like some kind of addictive drug to me. I've had you once, and from that one encounter you're all I can think about, even after you stood me up and I thought I'd never see you again. I'm probably not doing this right, but I like you, and that has nothing to do with sex. In fact, I like you a lot. And I like the fact that you're different from me, that you're cautious about who you allow into your life and bed. I think you have something to teach me. I don't know what that ‘something' is yet, but I'm anxious to find out. Please say you'll stay."

Duo knew he really should go, get out of that bed and Heero's apartment and take himself home as fast as he could, but the look on the other man's face, an earnestness that bordered on pleading, was more than he could resist. He had a sinking feeling that, for better or worse, Heero was going to bring about big changes in his life.

"I've still got your promise that you'll behave?"

"Word of honor," Heero answered, the corners of his lips twitching slightly. "And to prove it, I'm ready to go to sleep. How about you?"

Turning off the television, Duo put down the remote. "Yeah, I am."

With the touch of Heero's fingertip to the base of the lamp, the room was plunged into darkness. Duo felt the other man laying down and getting settled. "Come on." There was a touch of humor in Heero's voice.

Scooting down, Duo lay on his back, feeling a bit stiff as he prepared to sleep in an unfamiliar bed and room. No sooner had his head hit the pillow, he was pulled against a warm body. He turned and settled against Heero's side, resting his head on a warm shoulder. Heero smelled good, he decided after taking in a deep breath. There was something heady about the faint scent of soap and a natural, masculine scent that was unique to Heero. He took in another deep breath and simply enjoyed the heady smell of the other man. He lay there, fairly stiff within Heero's embrace for several moments before the man came to the correct conclusion. "Am I wrong to assume that you're uncomfortable with this situation?"

"It's not you," Duo rushed to say, then wondered how he could possibly explain why he was feeling uncomfortable. A grain of truth was better than an outright lie, right? "I'm not used to sleeping with anyone else." Then realizing that comment might be taken the wrong way, he added quickly; "It's been a while since my breakup with Trowa. I haven't dated anyone since then."

"I understand," Heero replied, then yawned. "Tell me about Charise and more about how you came to work for her."

Duo chuckled, realizing Heero was just trying to get him to relax by talking about himself. It wasn't exactly a bedtime story, but what the hell. He began his tale with his graduation from college. By the time he got to the part if the story where he was plucked out of his junior associate cubicle, Heero's breathing had evened out and his responses were a muffled "huh" and an occasional, "hum". Duo felt himself relaxing as the other man drifted off to sleep. Moving slowly, hoping not to disturb him, he slipped a hand across Heero's body in order to get more comfortable. It felt good, he decided, to lay so close to someone that he could hear his heartbeat. That steady beat was like a soothing lullaby to the day-worn executive assistant, and its rhythmic pulse helped to lull him into a comfortable state of sleep.

Not a heavy sleeper, a soft moan brought Duo to full wakefulness. It took a moment for him to become reoriented, for his brain to tell him that he was in someone else's bed and that he was pretty much sprawled on top of a man, his thigh pressing up against a morning erection that certainly wasn't his own. He muttered an embarrassed apology and began to move when the arms around him tightened.

"It's all right." Ah. The voice revived his sluggish brain and told him it was the man of his most recent dreams who was speaking to him. There was a hint of amusement in the other's voice as he added, "In fact, I like this."

Duo had to admit that it was rather nice waking up to the warmth of another body pressed against his own. He could definitely get used to this. But would Heero hang around long enough for him to learn whether or not he could trust the lawyer? Well, he trusted him well enough to sleep in his bed last night, hadn't he? And hadn't Heero proved himself by not taking advantage of the situation? Just as that thought went through his head, a hand moved under the hem of his T-shirt and a smooth palm slid up the length of his back. "Um... you feel so good," Heero murmured sleepily, his lips against the top of Duo's head. Suddenly, Duo found himself flipped over and onto his back, their positions reversed. Heero was now above him with his leg now pressing against his very interested groin. Evidently morning breath didn't bother Heero, for the lawyer paused for only a moment to look down at him, then lowering his head he kissed him soundly. This was one hell of a great way to wake up, Duo thought as he threaded his fingers through the thick head of messy, dark chocolate brown hair.

Breaking suddenly for air, Heero gasped. "God, I want you."

"Too soon," Duo replied as he struggled to catch his breath and control his raging hormones.

Heero's hips thrust upward. Duo moaned as their stiff erections rubbed against each other. He reacted instinctively and met that thrust, silently telling the other man that this kind of contact was not only all right, but welcome. With lips joined, chests pressed together and their lower bodies seductively grinding against each other, Duo was tempted to give in and invite Heero to take him. He wanted Heero, so why the hell was he was putting him off? It wasn't like he hadn't had sex with the other man before, but that had been different, or so the voice of reason whispered inside his head. It was the same voice that often parroted his aunt's warnings and accusations. And right then it was telling him that if he truly wanted Heero in his life, more than a short fling, that he should wait. If the lawyer really wanted him, the voice in his head reasoned, he would take this burgeoning relationship seriously by not giving into the baser need to copulate so soon. They were intelligent men, they could figure out how to make this relationship last, if that's what Heero really wanted from him.

And like a light turning on in his head, Duo suddenly knew without a doubt that was exactly what he wanted from Heero; a loving, long-term relationship. But was the other man ready for the monogamous relationship Duo would insist on?

Heero's moan was muffled slightly by their joined mouths. His hands were tangled in Duo's long hair, holding him in place as most of the lawyer's weight moved on top of his body. This definitely felt good, Duo thought. No, better than good, he amended. He'd always been drawn to strong men, though he wasn't sure why. Could it be that he liked being dominated? Or had he unconsciously sought out someone who would take the lead in their relationship? He didn't know and, frankly, at the moment he wasn't overly concerned about the answer. Heero was making him feel wonderful and sexually alive, and he was loving every moment.

Regardless of the fact that their bodies were separated by Duo's bedclothes and Heero's boxers, and that their hands hadn't strayed too far south, Duo was completely aroused by having Heero on top of him. He responded by bucking his hips up in time to Heero's thrusts. And then he was tipping over the edge, drowning in waves of pleasure even as Heero continued to move on top of him. He clutched the man's shoulders and gasped at the powerful release, his ejaculate wetting his borrowed sleeping pants. Falling back into the pillow with a gasp, he strove to catch his breath as Heero's tongue claimed mouth and his hips continued to thrust against him until he also gasped his release and moaned loudly as he rode out his own climax.

The lawyer collapsed on top of him, his head tucked beneath his chin. While still catching his breath, Heero whispered, "Look what you've reduced me to, Duo. I'm dry humping you like a horny teenager. I'm sorry, but I couldn't help myself. You're too tempting to resist completely."

Duo brought a hand up and combed it through the messy locks of deep brown hair. "It's all right," he replied. Although what they'd just done wasn't technically having sex, it was close enough that Duo felt rather triumphant. He'd proved once again that he'd overcome his phobia about sex. He must be cured. "In fact, that felt damn good."

Lips pressed against his neck, and then a tongue swirled against the pulse beneath his skin. "You taste good," Heero murmured while his lips and tongue continued to explore the sensitive area. Duo knew this man could probably seduce him over and over again, but he resolved to wait until he was sure Heero saw him as something more than a sexual conquest.

With some reluctance Duo pushed at Heero's shoulders. "Time's up," he told him with an apologetic grin.

"It's Saturday," Heero protested. "We've got all day, not to mention all weekend."

Though tempted, Duo was determined to resist. "Nope. Besides the fact that I've got a large, uncomfortable wet spot to deal with, I intend to make you breakfast."

Heero eased off his body to rest on Duo's right side, content for the moment to study the long-haired man's face. The small grin he wore showed that the man wasn't upset about his suggestion being sidelined. "All right. A shower and breakfast, and then what do you want to with the rest of the day?"

"What time is it?"

Heero looked over his shoulder to a clock on his bedside table. "Seven thirty."

"Ever play racquetball?"

The two men spent a very pleasant day together. Heero learned a new sport at the gym near Duo's work, and Duo's estimation of the other man rose after learning first hand that Heero was a quick learner, competitive and a good sport. The Asian man confessed that he was a proficient tennis player, and thought that with a few more games he might just become as good in racquetball. As an extra bonus, Duo couldn't help but notice just how good the lawyer looked in the jersey sports shorts and tank top he wore.

Exhilarated by the exercise, the two men showered at the gym, stealing glances at each other without drawing attention from the other men, and changed back into the jeans and T-shirts that Heero had once again provided from his wardrobe. With very little persuasion he convinced Duo to not only have lunch with him, but then take in a movie at a nearby cinema.

It wasn't long before Duo realized why Heero had picked a movie that had been out for more than a month and had gotten less than stellar reviews. His first hint was when the man led him to the top of the stairs and into a corner spot. With only a handful of people attending the matinee, Heero's reasoning became quite clear. "Are you planning on watching the movie at all?" Duo asked as Heero sat down and lifted the arm rest between their seats.

"Not more than a couple of minutes of it. You?"

Duo could only laugh as he sat next to the other man. He felt a tingle of pleasurable anticipation tickle its way along his spine to ignite his groin when Heero took his hand and threaded their fingers together. Duo smiled at him before taking a sip of the soda he'd bought at the concession stand in the lobby. There didn't seem to be a need for words, and Duo reasoned it was because they were both simply enjoying each other's company. The lights dimmed, the preview for coming attractions came on, and they made five minutes into the feature presentation before Heero turned in his seat and began to kiss the living daylights out of him.

Duo floated into his apartment later that night. He couldn't remember ever having had a day as perfect as the one he'd just spent with Heero Yuy. He flopped down onto his sofa and relished the feeling of contentment that enfolded him, a feeling he attributed to the Asian man. Damn, Heero was perfect. Had he finally hit the jackpot and found the man of his dreams? Heaven knows he'd suffered enough to get to this point. With a string of boyfriends and disappointments and one heart ache after another, he'd almost given up hope of having a relationship, of loving someone and having them love him back. Was it fate or dumb luck that had brought Heero into his life?

Before he could fully contemplate the answer to that question, the phone rang. Reluctantly dragging himself off the sofa, he went to the table where the phone sat and looked at the machine just as the answering machine kicked on. "This is Duo. Leave a message and I'll call you back when I get a chance."

"Duo, this is Trowa. Please call me."

"Fat chance," he answered sourly, unhappy that his euphoric state had been sullied by hearing his former boyfriend's voice. He then noticed that there were two other messages on the machine. He erased Trowa's message and played the next one.

"Duo, this is Quatre." Erased.

"Why haven't I heard from you?" Dorothy's voice demanded. "Call me or I'll show up on your doorstep in the middle of the night; and you know that's not an idle threat."

Hitting the speed dial button for the blond woman, Duo knew better than to ignore her call. "Finally," Dorothy answered after the third ring. "Where the hell have you been?"

"Busy," he answered with a chuckle.

"I hope it's the kind of busy I'd approve of."

He rolled his eyes at Dorothy's weird humor. "Pretty much. Guess who showed up in Charise's office as her new lawyer?"

There was a long pause before Dorothy answered. "There's only one person that seems the most unlikely candidate. Don't tell me it was your fantasy cowboy."


The woman actually gasped. "You're kidding me?"

"No, I'm not, and I can hardly believe it myself," Duo said as he took the phone with him back to the sofa. He sat down and brought his stockinged feet up to rest on the coffee table.

Dorothy's questioning continued. "What are the chances of that happening? You're sure it's the same guy?"

"Positive. He was a little bit upset with me at first, but I think it was more because it was a shock, seeing that we each thought the other was a prostitute, then it was for me leaving him hanging at the ranch, so to speak."

Dorothy's laughter carried over the phone line. "So tell me what happened."

He briefly described how he'd entered Charise's office and his reaction after discovering Mr. Yuy was indeed the man he'd had sex with in the hot tub of a brothel. He also told her of their agreeing to a truce, to treat each other in a business-like manner. He skipped the part about his argument and disassociation with Quatre, but mentioned that he and Trowa were having a disagreement in his office when, much to his surprise, Mr. Yuy showed up. "To make a long story short, he asked me out to lunch, and we really hit it off." He also decided not to mention how that ended with him storming out of there and later making up with Heero in his office. "He then asked me to his place for dinner and convinced me to spend the night, seeing that there's some serial killer in the city."

"If you tell me you had sex with him, I'm going to give you a Dorothy Catalonia certificate of graduation."

"Well, I slept with him. Does that count for something?"

"No sex?" She sounded shocked.

"Let's just say no penetration."

"Why not?"

"Because if I have sex with him again I want it to be for the right reasons this time. Not just to have sex."

"Duo, Duo, Duo! What is going on in that gorgeous head of yours? You've already had sex with him, what exactly are you looking for?"

Feeling somewhat put off by her cavalier attitude regarding the things he believed were important, he answered rather waspishly, "Something more than a one night stand. I'm looking for trust, a relationship with meaning and commitment?"

"After one date?!"

He had to concede that she was right to be questioning his logic. He was expecting a lot from Heero after a short acquaintance, especially considering they first met and had sex under false pretenses. That day and their unexpected meeting had brought about something he'd wanted for a long time; to conquer the voice in his head and have sex. He owed Heero his gratitude for unknowing helping him, but what he felt for the man was more than just gratitude. On the other hand, having sex with Heero, a virtual stranger at the time, had to indicate he trusted Heero on some level even then.

He knew what Dorothy thought, that he should enjoy his sexuality now that he was, hopefully, free of his phobia. But he knew it wasn't in his nature or beneficial to his long-term goals to be loose with his affections, especially in such an irresponsible way, having sex with random strangers. "He really seems to like me, Dorothy, maybe even as much as I like him. I was being truthful when I said that I'm looking for a monogamous relationship. It's what I've always wanted. After the whole thing with Trowa, I just need to be sure the person I'm involved with isn't going to leave and hurt me like he did."

Dorothy took on a more professional tone when she said, "You've got to get over that, Duo. So Trowa dumped you for another man. It happens; get over it already. Are you really going to let his actions continue to affect your life? You need to move on. Learn from the past, but don't let it cripple you."

"That's exactly what I'm doing," Duo replied, frustrated with the woman's inability to understand his reasoning. "I told you in the beginning, Dorothy, when it comes to sex and relationships, I'm not a player. I want to love and be loved, and I want someone I can trust. I can't get either of those two things on one date, or even six. It takes time, and I don't want my physical desires dictating what my emotional needs are. I gave into them once, just to prove that I could get past my aunt's influence. Now I'm searching for what I've always wanted, a faithful life companion, a lover and best friend all wrapped up in one."

Dorothy sounded amused when she said, "Sometimes your naivete really surprises me, Duo."

That stung, and feeling defensive he shot back, "And sometimes your lack of morals shocks me." He regretted his words a scant moment after they left his mouth.

After a long moment, Dorothy said in a stiff tone, "I think it's best that I hang up now. It would appear our sessions are over for the time being. If you have any further need of my services, feel free to call."

"Dorothy, wait," he shot back, but not before the dial tone sounded in his ear. She'd hung up on him. "Well, shit!" In the space of a week he'd offended both of this therapists and lost his closest friends. He was definitely on a roll.

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