Life Imitates Art

1:00 p.m. the following day

Sara raised her head slowly and stared at the clock. The night before had been bad. Two nightmares in one night. It had been a long time since that had happened. She had missed her appointment.

Sara got ready for the day, blushing every time she thought of the night before. In the process of opening the fridge she was the note.


Thea dropped by so I didn't wake you. She called the lab and rebooked you for tomorrow, 2:00 p.m. Gods, it's great to have connections.

Could you be a dear and pick up some spagetti sauce?


P.S. No phone calls from you know who.

Sara shook her head in amusement. I didn't think he'd call right away, even if he was going to. I'm going to have to call Thea and thank her. She took an apple and some cheese out of the fridge, then made a mental note of some other things she wanted to pick up. Now, where will I go, and how will I get there?

A jog would be a good idea. Sara got her small backpack, slipped her pepperspray in her front pocket and opened the door.

Josh paced, trying to get up the courage to knock. This is stupid. She probably doesn't want to see you again. Just go home. No. I have to try…

He jumped when Sara opened the door. He was wearing white shorts and light blue half shirt.

"Hi," he paused and licked his lips. Sara was startled to see fear in his eyes as he searched her eyes and then dropped his to the floor.

He's scared? Of what? Why is he here? "Hi, Joshua. What are you doing here? I was just on my way out for a jog and to pick up some groceries." Keep cool, Sara. Sara smiled brightly at him, remembering the passion she felt last night, and the conversation she had with Twila. "Would you like to come in?"

His jaw dropped and he offered a tentative smile. He gave a slight nod and followed her into the apartment. Closing the door, he leaned up against it.

"Can I offer you some coffee? It'll have to be instant, because we used the last of the real stuff last night." Sara said, mentally chiding herself. Sure, Mclintock. Start reminding him about the fiasco when he hasn't even been here for five minutes. She clasped her hands in front of her, trying to hide her nervousness.

He shook his head, bangs falling into his eyes, he reached up and flicked it out of the way. Clearing his throat, he looked her in the eyes. "I want to apologize for last night. It's my fault and I'm sorry."

Sara gave a private, happy smile. Twila was right. She said if he was a good guy he'd apologize without being prompted. There just might be a chance… She looked at him silently for a few moments, then nodded. "Apology accepted," she replied, ending that discussion.

"So, while you're here, do you want to take a look at the portfolio? If you don't, that's fine by me." Sara watched Josh closely, trying to gauge his reactions.

"I would like that, I, umm, didn't get to really look at them last night. But let's not do it here okay. I came to…" A look of panic crossed his face as he glanced down.

Quickly he opened the door and looked outside. A sigh of relief escaped him and he turned back toward Sara holding up a oversized wicker basket. "I was hoping you would be free for a picnic. There's a small park about 35 minutes from here."

"Sure," Sara replied. "I'd love to. Gimme a sec while I get the photos." She quickly went into her bedroom and shoved the portfolio into her knapsack. Sara wrote a short note to Twila and put it on the fridge door:

Gone for a picnic with tall, dark and apologetic. I should be back in time for dinner. I'll pick up garlic bread too. Sara.

"All right, let's go." Sara ushered Joshua out the door and locked it behind her.

An hour later, the two found a tree and Josh pulled out a blanket, sandwiches, potato salad, a round green glass wine bottle with a wicker basket and two wine glasses.

Sara peeked into the basket, looking to see if there was anything non-alcoholic to drink. She noticed a couple of hardback books inside. "Is wine all you have? I don't want to sound unappreciative, but I don't drink alcohol."

Josh grinned. "Well, that was the only container we had in the house. It's Koolaid."

He reached over and poured her a glass, putting his back to the tree he stretched his long legs out and snagged her backpack. Slowly he went through the photos, one by one, studying them between bites of food. Every once in a while he'd glance at Sara.

"These are good, Sara. I can't wait until you are done."

"Done what? You mean the book or school? I figure a year or two to get my masters. The book should be done soon. I have a couple more days of shooting to do, then I have to put everything together. Hopefully it'll be ready to go to press by September."

"What are the books in the basket?" Sara asked curiously.

"Well, I didn't know what you liked so I brought two of my favorites. JA's Sense and Sensibility and Shakespeare's Sonnets." He brought them out one at a time. "I was hoping that you would read to me."

"Me? Read to you? Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?" Sara teased, picking up the volume of sonnets. "Where would you like me to start?"

"Whereever you wish," Josh smiled and lay back, closing his eyes. I love her voice, I could listen to it all day.

Sara looked up from the book as she was reading to look at Josh. He's just so… beautiful. Does this man really like me? She continued reading. I wish I had a camera with me. Sara went through approximately a third of the book when she started to feel restless.

A slight noise of discomfort escaped from between Sara's lips. "I'm getting all stiff, sitting like this. I need to move around a bit." She put the book down on the blanket.

"I think I'll go for a bit of a run. Care to join me?" Sara caught the inside of her lower lip between her teeth. Should I? Why not, the worst he'll say is no. "If you catch me, I may just let you kiss me again." She blushed slightly because of her boldness. It's just a kiss, for God's sake, not a proposition or marriage proposal.

Josh raised his eyebrows and looked her up and down. He grinned. "Is that a challenge, Sara?"

He surged to his feet, making a wild grab for her.

Sara dodged to the side, evading his hands, and rolled to her feet with practiced ease. She stood lightly on the balls of her feet, prepared to move quickly. "Maybe," Sara allowed. "But what do I get if I end up catching you?" So he wants to play sneaky. Well, two can play at that game.

Sara moved suddenly, a diving tackle aimed at Joshua's midsection. She hit him solidly, taking him down. A surprised gasp escaped him and she rolled him over onto his back, straddling his waist so he couldn't move.

Josh looked up at her, a slow, sensual smile spreading across his face. "Well, I think the prize is up to the captor."

I don't think this is exactly what Twila meant about my making the first move and being on top, but I'm quite sure she'd be pleased as punch if she saw me now.

"Up to me, eh? Hmm… Let me think." A thoughtful look crossed Sara's face. "You don't mind if I sit here until I can figure something out, do you?" If I were Twila, what would I tell me to do? Sara thought to herself, then a smile crossed her face.

"I think a kiss would be a good starting point," Sara said. She leaned forward carefully and kissed him gently, tentatively, on the lips. Sara could sense Joshua's arms begin to move, and without looking, she captured them and pressed them to the ground over his head. Pulling back slightly, she spoke in a whisper. "I haven't said you could touch me yet."

He searched her eyes and nodded slowly. He waited for her next move, desire rolling through him. His eyes dropped briefly to her breasts and then back to her face. "I want you, Sara."

"I… I'm sorry," Sara stammered. Her heart skipped a beat and her breath caught. She moved to her right and off of Joshua's torso. "Don't think that I don't want… It's just that I've never…"

Sara looked at him, scanning his eyes, hoping that he'd understand. Please don't be like the others. Don't push me away because I haven't… Her own desire, and fear, were reflected in her eyes.

Josh closed his eyes. Idiot! He opened his eyes and smiled at her. Reaching out, he ran a finger over her mouth.

"It's okay, Sara. I'm sorry. I am moving too fast, aren't I? I just wanted you to know how I feel. I'm sorry if I said it badly. I've never felt this strongly about someone before."

He reached up and pulled her to him, gently so she could pull away if she wanted. He held her in a light hug.

"Neither have I," Sara whispered, unaware she had said it aloud. She pulled away, but picked up one of the books and returned to the comforting circle of his arms. "Now, where were we?"

How long are we going to go on like this? This is nice, though. Josh sighed, feeling content. He listened to her read and then realized the that it must be getting late.

"It's getting late. Maybe we should head back."

Sara glanced at her watch, surprised at the time. "Yeah, we'd better," she agreed ruefully. "I've got to pick up some groceries or Twila will cook me for dinner, rather than the spaghetti." With regret at the ending of the pleasant time she'd just had, Sara helped Joshua tidy up the picnic and pack everything away.

Josh held the grocery bag as Sara opened the door. A quick look assured her that Twila wasn't home yet. Josh unpacked the groceries and then stood uncertainly.

"I guess I should be going." He walked over and took ahold of Sara's hands. He pulled her to him and kissed her.

He whispered softly, smiling into her mouth, "You can touch me, Sara. Put your arms around me."

Filled with uncertainty, Sara put her hands on Josh's shoulders. She could feel the warmth of his body through his thin shirt. Sara brushed her lips against his and tentatively touched the tip of her tongue to his mouth.

He opened his mouth. Sara ran the tip of her tongue along Josh's teeth, but when their tongues met, her groin tightened and a curl of desire began to work its way through her body. Will it be like this every time? She became a bit bolder with her explorations, and her fingers slowly became entwined in his hair.

Josh pulled back, his breath coming in short gasps. "You caught on to kissing quickly." His eyes danced at her. "Let me show something else."

He leaned closer and kissed her chin. Slowly he traced small kisses along her jawline. His tongue lashed out across an earlobe. He moved her hair off her neck tracing a line from her ear to her shoulder and then slowly across her front to take care of the other side.

Sara shivered in delight at his ministrations, then, faintly, she started to feel the old panic. His breath against her ear… Her fingers flexed in his hair once. She leaned a bit closer to Josh. "I'm a fast learner," Sara said breathlessly. "But I think school should be over for the day." She pressed her lips to the side of his neck.

Sara pulled back so she could look into Josh's face. Her right hand slid from in his hair to gently caress his jaw and the side of his face. "Thank you for this afternoon, Joshua." Sara paused, a bit embarrassed. "I was wondering. Would… Would you mind if I take your picture before you leave?"

Josh blinked and took a few deep breaths. "Picture? Did you wish me to pose?"

He smiled and took off his shirt. Hooking his thumbs in his shorts, he waggled his eyebrows at her.

Sara smiled as she grabbed the camera from the counter and started shooting pictures. What a body. Sara swallowed convulsively. No wonder he looks so good in a suit. Women probably fawn all over him. She was silent, concentrating on keeping her shaking hands steady. She nearly choked when he started taking off his shorts. Sara was so distracted that she stopped taking photographs. She cleared her throat.

"Um, thank you. That's enough for now." Sara couldn't believe her eyes. Is he some sort of exhibitionist, or is he doing it to test me, see how I'll handle it? She stood where she was as Josh picked up his shirt. Sara felt a pang of disappointment as he put it back on.

Sara put the camera down on the coffee table and walked with Josh to the door. "Thank you." She gave Josh a quick kiss on the lips and truly happy smile lit up her face.

"Would you go to the movies with me tomorrow night?" he asked.

"Sure," Sara replied. A couple of hours alone with him in the dark. Will he try anything. I hope… Sara! Stop thinking like that… "But aren't you afraid you're going to get sick of me? That'll be three days in a row."

"I don't think I'll ever get enough of you." He kissed her softly. "Five o'clock be alright?"

Sara nodded and closed the door behind him.

Josh headed down the stairs, whistling. He slowed as he saw Twila sitting on the steps. She glanced up at him and smiled. Patting his cheek she dashed upstairs. How long as she been here? Josh thought with another smile.

"Well?" Twila demanded as she closed the door behind her.

"Well what?" Sara answered as usual. She couldn't keep the smile from her face. "He came here at 2 while I was on my way out for a jog. He apologized for what happened last night–without any prompting from me," she assured Twila. "Then he invited me on a picnic." Sara's face turned a slight shade of pink. "He says I've caught on to kissing very well."

"Oh Twila," Sara said, almost dancing with joy. "I am so happy. I don't care if this relationship doesn't go anywhere. He makes me so happy right now. I actually feel normal."

Twila laughed with her. "Well, he seemed pleased with himself. Do you have any questions? Did you remember the sauce?"

"Of course I remembered. I also picked up garlic bread, ice cream, salad fixings, and a couple other things." Sara grinned. "Josh offered to carry it, so I splurged." She took a can of pop out of the fridge for each of them. "Oh yeah, I won't be here for dinner tomorrow. Josh and I are going to the movies."

"The movies? Wow."

Sara stuck her tongue out at Twila. They both laughed, and started to put dinner together.