She could hear them on the other side of the door.  There was a whispering noise, a sound of feet shuffling, then them Meredith pushed Justin into the door and he told her she was being mean.  They probably had their heads pressed to the door to see if they were going to kiss each other goodnight.

"I should go in," she said nodidng head towards the door.

"Wait," Chris put his hand to her arm and rubbed it against the bare skin there ever so gently.  "I know you have to go and that you're flying home next week--but can we maybe go have dinner or something before you leave?"  He paused and rolled his eyes.  He took his hand away from her and rubbed his chin as he thought for a moment.  It was cute how nervous he was. "I mean can we have dinner again before you leave.  I think we have more to talk about.  I think we both want to finish what we started tonight."

As much as she wanted to jump up and hug him right then for his comment she knew that she couldn't.  She knew that she needed to take everything that had happened that night and everything in their past into consideration.  If she was going to form a truce with him over this, or even consider letting herself think those love related thoughts about him she was going to have to really be sure this time because she knew it was a now or never type of a thing.

"I'll think about it," she said.

She saw his expression drop.  He took a breath and leaned and kissed her cheek.  "Well," he said and formally backed down the steps a little.  "Thanks for coming to dinner with me tonight.  I'm glad that we could put our differences aside for one night and talk.  I just hope this isn't the last conversation we have."

"Chris?" She began to ask him something, but by the time she got his name out into the air she'd forgotten what she was going to ask.  He was looking half hurt, heart broken even, and she knew that she was the reason for his pain.  "I was just going to--"  She stepped down the steps and pressed a soft kiss to his lips.  "Thank you for tonight.  If I have time before I leave I'll call you and we'll go out again."

He kept his eyes closed and pressed his lips together savoring the kiss they'd shared.  "That's a good enough--"  His eyes flew open.  "That sounds like a good deal."

"Thanks again for dinner," she said and hesistated with the next part, "And the talk--even if we didn't get it all figured out tonight."

"Anytime," he said and backed away.

Before going in she knocked on the door.  She was turned away from him, but she could hear him walk down to the car and for a moment she thought she even heard him unbottoning the top buttons of his shirt and letting out a sigh of relief.  She smiled at the thought of the evening then frowned when she heard footsteps going away from the door on the inside of the house.

With the door open she heard the couple of the house, yet again, on the couch in front of the television.  She didn't even have to see them to tell what position they were in.  She imagined them lying on the couch, heads towards the front door and feet towards the door that lead out to the back porch, Justin holding her and Meredith holding onto the remote fighting to turn the channel to something she wanted to see while he tried to grab it away and turn it to something else.

"Hey Dani!" Meredith called.

"Hey Doc," Justin followed up with.

Dani was tired of this little scene and when the thoughts of Chris that she'd been trying to fight for the last few days overtook every cell of her body, making it clear that she was going crazy she began to walk down the hall to the living room with an attitude.  "Is every activity you engage in happen in this room?" she asked coming in to find them in the same spot she always found them in.

Justin was lying on the couch hugging Meredith to her.  The couple seemed to know that her question was a rhetorical one and stayed put staring at her.

He lifted his head to speak, but she cut him off.  "Oh yeah...i forgot.  Not everything happens down here.  Most of it happens upstairs."  She began to pace thinking of all the things that had happened that night and all the things that had gone on between Meredith and Justin..  "You know I hear you!  I hear you all night long--"

Justin started to say something again.

"Don't even think about it Timberlake.  That isn't a compliment to your sexual abilities."  She pointed at them then retracted her finger.  Her hands formed into fists and she bent her knees a little and groaned out the next part.  "I hear you fucking all night long!  Do you guys even sleep?"

"Did something happen between you and Chris tonight?" Justin asked cautiously ignoring the comments she'd just made.

Her breath caught in her throat and she realized that what she'd been thinking had really come out of her mouth.  "I'm--I'm sorry."  She ran her fingers through her hair and stared at them.  Her heartrate had shot from zero to a million miles an hour and she felt it even hard to breathe due to the adrenaline rush of finally saying what was on her mind.

"Doc it's ok," Justin said moving away from Meredith to come over towards her.  "Just tell us what happened?"

"Ugh!" she said and groaned out again.  "Nothing happened and yet something happened.  I don't know.  It was all too--all too--"

"What'd he break?" Justin asked as Meredith asked her own question.

"What'd he blow up?"

"Nothing!"  She ranted.

She pressed a hand to her heart and put her purse down on the breakfast bar's counter.  Her heart hurt from the thought of the decision she had to make.  Either she said yes to him on the slight chance that he'd changed his ways and was going to be her prince charming, or she said no and would lose the only man who'd loved her unconditionally.

"Nothing at all."  She began to count off the things on her hand.  "Not a water glass tipped over, not a fork dropped.  Hell his fucking hair--his fucking hair didn't even freaking move.  And the beard--"  She pointed angrily again, this time at the door she'd come in.  "Get this.  He shaved.  HE SHAVED!  Can you believe the nerve of him?  He shaved his beard for me--FOR ME!"

At this point she was pacing so fast that Meredith had to get up to keep her eyes on her.  She and Justin reached for each other and held hands as Dani got the rest of her rant out.  "He's been kidnapped.  He's been kidnapped because THAT--"  She stopped and pointed at the front door.  "THAT was not the Christopher Alan Kirkpatrick that I dated for two years."

Justin took a deep breath and started to talk then hesistated as if he thought she might speak again before he finally continued.  "It sounded like everything went well though."

"Yeah," Meredith said.  Dani watched as she tipped her head to the side and looked at her closely as if Dani had completely lost her mind, "It sounded perfect."

"It was," she groaned again.  This times her eyes widening so far she thought they might just pop out of her head.  "That's the point."

"Back me up on this Mere--" Justin looked over at Meredith for only a moment.  "This night was perfect, perfect hair, perfect dinner, perfect everything?"

"Yes." Dani answered.  Had he not heard her?  She was thinking that she was speaking English, but maybe she'd started talking in Spanish or Yiddish or Pig Latin for that matter considering the confused look on his face.

"Then what's making you so upset Doc?"  His voice was soft and the look of brotherly love for her that she saw in his eyes startled her.  She'd never thought that the guys had cared about her, but she was really really upsetting him with this crazy talk.  "You're starting to worry me here a little."

Dani slumped against the counter.  "EVERYTHING.  He's everything I wanted in a man."

"Then what's the issue?" Justin asked in true boy style.

"It's not Chris."  Her head came up to face them and there were tears in her eyes that flowed down her cheeks.  "What have I done?"  She thought for a moment.  "I completely wiped away every single thing I love about that man."  She took a deep breath, "He told me that I break his heart every moment that I'm not with him.  What am I supposed to do with that?  I knew that it was going to hurt him to break up with him, but breaking his heart?  That's a lot of pressure to put on someone."


It was late, but as Chris drove away from Meredith and Justin's a smile came to his lips.  He lifted a finger to touch his lips.  They were still tingling a little from when he kissed her.  He didn't understand how after so long and after his experiences with her that a kiss from Dani could send him over the edge.  He put his hand down and grabbed for his phone, putting the earpiece in his ear before he dialed Michele's number.  He wanted to tell her the good news or at least tell her about the small victory he'd made that night.


The male voice startled him, but he recovered quickly.  "Hey Ian."  As Chris answered he suddenly felt strange for calling Michele like he had.  She was dating someone and calling a girl with a boyfriend, let alone a live in boyfriend, at that time of night probably wasn't the best thing.  "I hate to bother you, but is Michele around?"

"Yeah," he said and yawned.  He must have looked at the clock as he walked through their apartment.  "It's kinda late Chris.  Are you ok?  You don't need a ride or something do you?  You can ask me ya know."

"Naw," he sighed out, "I'm good.  I'm just wanting to update her on some stuff we were talking about earlier."

"Oh," he said, "OK...hold on a second."

"I didn't wake you up did I?" he asked.

"No...Jet lag is a bitch," Ian explained with a laugh.  "I'm thirty two and I go to be at what...ten o clock every night?"  A yawn escaped his mouth.  "I was just heading to bed though.  I've gotta fly to LA in the morning."

"Oh," Chris said, "Well I hope you get some good sleep tonight and have a good flight tomorrow.  I hear the weather out there is going to be good this week."

"Let's hope," he said, "Although that doesn't help me when I'm working in a warehouse all day."

"You know you love the production stuff," Chris joked.  "Think about all the days in the studio.  Those places don't have windows you know."

"Yeah," he yawned again, "I is Michele.  Don't make her stay up too late tonight.  I don't want to find her on the phone with you when I wake up tomorrow."

"Yes dad," he said with a sarcastic tone.

A moment later the phone was handed to Michele and there was a short conversation in the background about Michele coming to bed and that Ian would be waiting for her.  Chris hated to interupt them knowing how it was when a couple would split up for a few days due to business.


"Michele, real quick."  Chris bounced in his seat a little as he began to explain his evening.  "I just wanted to tell you that the date went really well...I know you have to go, but I wanted to tell someone."

"Awwe," she sighed, "Chris I'm happy for you.  You sound happy."

"I am," he said, "It's funny that all I got was a kiss at the end of the night and I'm jumping up and down like a little idiot."

"That's sooo good Chris," she said, "I'm glad for you."

Chris turned down his street and parked the car, but sat where he was.  He stared at the house through the windshield.  "Anyway, go be with Ian," he said.  "I didn't mean to interupt."

"You weren't," she said.  "I know that this is important to you."

"I think this is the most important thing that I've done in my life."

"Wow," Michele said, "This is pretty serious then."

"I just hope that she didn't take what I said too hard."

"Well what'd you say?"

"I told her that every day that she was away from me my heart was breaking."

"Whoa," Michele breathed out.  "You're seriously seriously in love with this woman aren't you?"

"Yes," he said, "I don't know what it is about her, but I don't think that anyone could take her place.  No offense or whatever to you, but you know how you can picture yourself with someone for the rest of your life."

"Yeah," Michele said with a whistful tone.

"Ok. ok," he said, "Stop staring at Ian and listen..."

She laughed, "I know what you mean Chris.  I'm not offended by that.  I know that you're in love with Dani.  I knew that while we dated too.  I think that we were together because we had that in common.  We were both in love with other people so it was safe for us to be together."

"I hate that we used each other like that," he said.

"Yeah well it went to good use."  She laughed.  "We both realised that we weren't going to be happy unless we were with the people that we're in love with."

"Now I just have to figure out how to get back with her."

"I think after tonight you might not have to wait so long for that to happen."

"You think?" he asked.  "I think I might have freaked her out a little with that."

"Yeah," she said with a thick sarcastic tone, "Someone's heart breaking every moment they aren't with you?"  She was smiling and probably looking at Ian again.  "That isn't a statement that goes in one ear and out the other...that's something from a fairtytale or something."

"Oh no," he groaned remembering his earlier conversation.

"Oh no what?" she asked.

"I don't want fairytale," he said.

"Why not?" she asked.

"Because nothing is perfect."

"Have you thought about that really hard?" she asked, "Was it or was it not you who was freaking out over being perfect for her earlier this week."

"That's different."

"How?" Michele said, "Have you ever thought about what really was going on between you?  It wasn't the way you dressed or the way you acted.  It was the way you let yourself believe the hype about your relationship.  It happened to us to when we were together.  We dated for two months and in that time we had so many rumors going around about how bad or how good we were together that half the time I didn't know what to believe about us."

"I want her believe that I love her and that I miss her."

"Your comment isn't going to go unnoticed."  Michele laughed, "That isn't something that goes in one ear and out the other, like I said...Well at least not for most people.  I don't know though...does Dani have hair in her ears to catch it?"

"Again with the hair?"  Chris laughed.

"I'm glad to hear you laughing again.  That's a good sign."

"Thanks Michele."  He sighed.  "Go be with your man so I don't get you in trouble."

"Call me when you figure this all out.  Ok?"

"You got it."

"Good Luck," she said.

"Hopefully I won't need it."

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