Chris whacked his knuckles against the door and bounced from one foot to another.  Showing up like this without calling wasn't something he had wanted to do, but when he couldn't get ahold of her on the phone he thought he'd swing by.  It was becoming a habit today, but it was important so he wasn't going to stress about it.  He had to tell someone about this.  It was too important to keep it to himself.

 

*****
 

[an hour before...]

Dani opened the door of Joey's house and Chris stepped back off the steps a little.  He could see that she wasn't thrilled to see him.

"Before you start in on me," he said, "I wanted to apologize and I wanted to offer to clean the dress for you or if that doesn't work, buy you a new one.  I don't know the whole thing about wearing those dresses again, but I feel like I should replace or repair whatever damage that I did."

"Chris," she said, "This really isn't the time to talk about this.  I don't want to get into it."

"Fine," he said, "But you have to give me a chance to explain myself and to try to make up for it.  You said last night that you would go to dinner with me so I wanted to know if you'd keep your word on that promise to me and let me take you out."

Dani blinked a few times.  "You're freaking amazing.  You poured a glass of wine on me Chris.  It wasn't even that.  It's the fact that you don't think about things when you do something and you seem to have this knack for being a tazmanian devil and everything around you get's caught up into this whirlwind--"

"I'm sorry about the dress.  It's not like I poured it on you on purpose."

"I know you didn't do it on purpose, but these accidents are common place in your life and I don't want that for me."

"Please Dani," he said, "Give me one chance, one night to prove you wrong.  I deserve that much from you.  Don't let things fall away so easily this time.  Let me at least try to be the kind of guy that you want in your life."

"Why?" she asked, "Why should I do that?"

"Because I love you," he said in desparation.  "I love you and I think that I shouldn't let you out of my life because I've--"  He took a breath and felt tears in his eyes.  "Please Dani.  I'm begging you for this.  Give me one night to be perfect for you and if I don't end up being what you wanted at the end of the night then I'll leave you alone forever.  I'll let you out of FuMan if you want, pay you half of whatever or make some deal about it.  Just don't let what we had disappear because you think that I'm a fuck up."

"Dani!" Colton yelled inside the house.  "Can we cook the hotdogs now?"

"I've got to go," she said.

"Please," he pleaded.

"Fine," she said, "I've got the kids today and tomorrow, but the next night dinner sounds like a good idea.  But--"  She pointed at him, "After that I'm not giving you another chance."

 

*****
 


"Yes.  Yes.  Yes."  The news was being mumbled on his lips.  He'd done it.  He'd convinced her to go out with him.  It was silly to think that one date might change her mind, but the thing was that it was the only chance that he'd get.  After the incident at the wedding he'd thought she'd never speak to him again, but he'd gone through with the feeling of need to ask her out and had been successful.

The door swung open and there she stood looking at him with a strange look on her face while she took a drink from her soda can.  She wore jeans and a t-shirt and didn't look like she was going anywhere so he thought that maybe he'd be able to talk her into going with him.    "Please tell me that you're not busy today," he pleaded.  He wanted to drop to his knees and beg, but he thought that might be a little much.  He hadn't resorted to that for Dani and he wasn't about to do that for Michele, even if her help was important.  "Please please tell me that you're free."

She lowered her lashes and licked her lips.  "Well I'm not free old man, but I'm available."

"I heard that."  The voice came from inside, making them both jump a little.

Michele started to laugh as she looked up and down from head to toe and back again.  "Good Lord Chris.  You must have eaten pixie stixes or something.  You're wired."

Ian chose that moment to walk by.  He had a newspaper in his hand and only looked up for a moment.  "Hey Chris!"

"Hey Ian!" Chris called over her shoulder then turned his attention back to Michele.  "I thought that he was leaving town?"

"He was, but the trip got postponed."

"Oh."  He lowered his voice,  "So are you free?"

"Yes." She said shaking her almost empty can a little.  He could hear the dirnk fiz but ignored it when she spoke again, "What's gotten into you?"

"I asked her out."  He took a deep breath. "I asked her out, like you said I should, I then threw wine on her by accident, but went and begged for forgiveness and she said yes.  SHE SAID YES MICHELE."

She smiiled at him.  "Wasn't that the point?"

"Yes," he said, "But I--"  He kicked his foot against the ground a little.  "I didn't think she was going to say ok to it."

"Calm down," Michele replied, "You're gonna break something if you keep up like this."

"You have to--" He paused for a minute. "God forgive me for saying this, but you have to help me shop and set up the restaurant."

"Chris.  You don't need shopping help."

"Come on," he said, "A few days ago you were offering to help me and now you're not?  Indian giver."

"No," she said and sighed.  She stepped back a little.  "Ian hon, I'm gonna go shopping with Chris for a date he's going on.  I'll be back in like an hour and a half."

"Thank you," Chris said.

"OK Hon," Ian called back, "I'll finish up my CAD drawings and order pizza for dinner for us."

"Thanks sweets," she called back and followed him to the car.

 

*****
 


[ a few hours later... ]

"Ginni can you do some alterations on a suit for me?" he asked holding up the bag.  He knew that he was taking a chance by asking her, but even she couldn't resist the idea that Chris might get back with Dani.  He knew that if he got completely desparate and needed more help the fans would even tell her to take him back.

"Do you or do you not remember the last time you had me work on a suit for you.  Can I remind you of it because it wasn't pleasant for either of us."

"But you got a great lunch out of it," he said with a cheesy smile.  He moved towards her when she started to move away.  "Please Ginni...Pallleeeasseee?  I've got a date that I'm going on--"

"You're wearing a suit?" she asked eyes going wide.

"Why is everyone so surprised that I'm wearing a suit?" he asked.

"You're the jeans and t-shirt man," she said, "You practically wanted to wear them to the wedding."

Chris frowned and tried not to get too upset about her being right.  He sighed then shrugged off the feeling that came to him to snap back at her.  She didn't need to hear it from him and he didn't need to piss her off if he was going to get his suit for the date.  "I'm trying to make a good impression."

"Ok," she said, "Open up the bag and put on the stuff."

Chris smiled at her and leaned and kissed her cheek.  "I'll make it up to you."

"Just hurry," she said, "I can pin it for you and have it done by--"  She looked at her watch as he moved into her little dressing room.  "When do you need this?"

"Two nights from now?" he asked, worried that it would be too soon for her to get it done.

"Well well," she said looking him over, "From the look on that sad little face of yours Kirkpatrick it looks like Dani is back in your life."

"I'm trying Ginni," he said completely comfortable with the idea that he'd tell her about Dani this time.  He had a feeling that he'd tell everyone that day about his date.

"Well good for you," she said, "Now hurry up and get changed and we'll fix it."

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dani returned to the movie she'd been watching then got bored and started to read her book, then moved on and took a shower and got into her pajamas and headed for bed.  It wasn't that late, but she wanted to get to sleep before Meredith and Justin came home from their date.  They'd gone out that with their families since everyone was in town.  Dani had been invited, but wasn't feeling that great after the wedding and the drama that had gone on with Chris so she decided to stay home.  Besides, she knew that they'd be wanting some privacy and she wanted to make sure that she was locked away in her bedroom fast asleep before they got back.

Her head lay back against the pillow and she stared up at the ceiling.  Her thoughts clouded her head and rang in her ears.  She knew that going on a date with him would be a challenge, but she wanted to give it another try.  She just wondered what kind of date she was going on.

With Chris the sky was the limit when it came to trying to guess what he was up to.  Their dating history, actual dates that they'd gone on officially, were random, but they ranged from picnics to a trip to Vegas for the night when they'd been in LA one time.  He'd even taken her skiing once in Colorado when she'd mentioned that she wanted to see the snow.

The flower that he'd given her at the door was sitting in her room staring back at her challenging her believe that her next day with him wouldn't be like the last one she'd had with him.  Nothing that he did was predicatble, even skateboarding could be an adventure for them so she tried to psyche herself up to do whatever came her way the next day.

*****

"Come on," He was on street level while the girls were on the sidewalk pushing their boards along with him and Andy.  "Put your other foot up there...if you keep it on the ground you're just going to go slow.  Watch Taylor.  Even she knows how to do it."

"Don't push me Chris," she said looking over for only a moment as the board hit a stick and slowed down, almost throwing her off it.

"I'm not," he said, "I'm just telling you that you'll have an easier time of things--"

"I can figure this out on my own!" She growled at him then turned back to the sidewalk in front of her.

Andy, Chris's neighbor, was riding with both feet on the board, moving so that the front of the board went side to side without him having to put a foot down.  "She's doing good Chris," he said, "She just needs to get used to the feel of the board."

Moments later she was on the ground.  She'd hit her knee and skinned most of the palms of her hands.  She sat there for a moment making sure that her body was still in tact then looked up whens he finally heard Chris's laughing.

"What are you doing?" she asked.  Tears came to her eyes as the stinging increased in her palms.  She also could feel the embarrassment rising as his laughing continued.

"Doc, come on D...don't pout at me," he said, "It was funny."

"No it wasn't Christopher.  If you're gonna laugh at me then I'm gonna go home to LA.  I don't need this--" She almost swore then looked over at Taylor who was watching them with a worried face.  "I don't need this kind of joke pulled on me."

"I'm sorry you fell Dani.," he abandoned his board near the curb and came over to help her up.  "You were doing so well I thought you saw that the curb wasn't shaved down to streetlevel."

"Next time warn me," she said holding up her half blood palms.

"I will," he said, "I'm sorry Doc.  I didn't mean it.  I--"  He stepped closer to her and held onto the backs of her hands for a moment.  "How are your hands?

"They hurt," she said pulling them away.  She stared at her palms and tried not to think about how him calling her Doc was something that she wasn't going to yell at him for.  He hadn't called her that in a while, but she wanted to keep hearing it.  She needed to keep hearing it.

"Doc," he said, "Come here."  He wiped his hands on his shirt a little then moved his fingers over the shreded skin taking some of the dirt away with his fingertips.  He leaned and kissed each palm then looked over at Taylor.  "Taylor grab Dani's board so we can hit the road and get back home.  It's getting late and mom is gonna be back soon."

Taylor moved away from them and picked up the skateboards and carried three of them over to Chris.  She handed the biggest one to Chris then tucked Dani's under her arm and rode her skateboard back in the direction of the house.

"Are you gonna be mad at me?" he asked.

"Yes."

"I didn't do anything," he said, "I just--"

"Leave it alone Chris.  This is just another reason for me to believe that I shouldn't--"

*****

Her eyes flew open with thoughts of the fight that had started that day.  She never should have said that she didn't want to be with him, but she had and he'd hurt.  He'd played it off, but she was sure that it had left a mark on him eith that.

She was staring at the ceiling when she heard noises in the hallway.

"I wanna make love to you tonight," Justin's low voice said in the hallway.

She heard steps then Meredith replied, "Dani is here."

"I don't care," he said, "Personally I don't think Chris would be too happy with me and you and her."

"Ugh!" Meredith said.

"Bear I was kidding," he said, "You know I was.  I know you can feel me up against you right now...you have to know that it's only you that makes me this way."

Dani rolled her eyes as a joke about how men always seemed to think with the wrong head filled her head.

"Feel that," she heard him say.  "Are you going to leave me hard like this all night?"

She almost wanted to get up and tell them to go in their bedroom if they were going to talk like that, but she knew she couldn't.  Not only was she a guest in their home, but there had been a time or two when Justin had caught her and Chris doing things in the bus that they probably should have saved for a hotel room or somewhere more private.

*****

"Chris we can't do this," she said with a laugh as he tugged on her shirt.  She pushed his hand back down away from pulling her shirt up and glared at him.

"Oh yeah we can," he growled at her. "I haven't seen you in three weeks."

She looked around as his he dipped his head to kiss her neck.  She shivered as his tongue touched her skin.  "Chris we're in the freaking living room."

His head moved up to look at her.  "No one is coming in here for a while.  Everyone is at dinner and Darren is in the back asleep." He pulled at her cothing again.

"He's asleep back there?"

"He won't be if you keep talking," he said with a smile.  He began to pout.  "I'll be quick...I swear...I just need you right now."

"You--"  She laughed as he tickled her again and finally lifted her arms when he started to tug harder on her shirt.  "You're crazy you know that."

"I'm only crazy in love," he said.  He moved her shirt a little and she pulled it back over near her as he moved away from her to undo his fly.

"We can't do this Chris," she said still holding on her shirt.

"What?" he asked and tugged on her shirt to get it out of her hand.

"Leave it alone Chris," she said, "I want that right there in case anyone comes in here."

"You really don't want to do this do you."

"I'm not fucking you on this couch," she said.

"Please," he pleaded, "I'll sit right here and you can--"  He looked at her with heavy eyelids as he pulled his shirt over his head.  His hand moved to his crotch.  "You can't leave me like this."  He reached out and put her hand over his ver erect penis.  "Please Dani.  Please don't leave me like this."

Dani blushed and finally decided that she'd go through with whatever he wanted.  "Fine Chris, but if we get caught I'm never doing this again with you."

"I'll take that chance," he said and sat down.

Dani pushed her jean skirt up a little and moved to straddle him as he slid his boxer's down.

She closed her eyes and let Chris's hands on her thighs and hips flood her mind.  She was about to let him enter her when she heard a noise.  "I can't do this," she said moving away, "As much as you and I both want this.  We're gonna get caught.  I know about tour gossip and I can't have all those guys talking about me the whole time I'm here."

"Ugh," he groaned in frustration.

"I'll make it up to you," she said, "You know I will."

"I know," he said with a pout, "But what am I gonna do about this?"  He began to pull up his boxers.  "I'm fucking hard as a rock right now."

Dani laughed a little.

"Don't be mean Dani," he said, "You don't know what it's like to be that close and then get shut down."

When Justin walked in a moment later they were dressed, but from the look on his face she knew that he knew what they'd been up to.  It wouldn't have been that bad, but when he opened his mouth to speak Dani felt completely embarrassed.

"It smells like sex in here," he said.

"Like you know what that smells like Jusitn," Chris joked as Dani left the living room and the bus behind.  If the door could have been slammed she would have slammed it shut behind her.

*****

Her eyes flew open when she heard the door across the hall close.  Dani squeezed her eyes shut for a moment thinking about how good she and Chris had been together.

The shower went on and was shut off again after the occupants of the next room showered and she heard the bed squeek a few times before she finally pulled the pillow over her ears.  At least if she was going to be conflicted and frustrated she wanted to at least be well rested.
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