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Rose turned over in her fitful sleep, rolling into Herbie's sleeping form.

"Mm?" he mumbled, cracking one eye open to look at his should-be wife. "Rose? Rose, honey, what's wrong?" Her mouth was moving rapidly in her sleep as tears ran down her cheeks. "Rose, honey, wake up."

"No!" she shouted, her arms flailing and wrapping around his neck as tears continued to stream down her face.

"Rose? Rose! Wake up!" he gently shook her before pulling her close as he sat up.

She pulled him tighter to her, sobbing into his shoulder as he rubbed her back in soothing circles.

"-Herbie- an' she- No!" he was able to make out between her sobs against his shirt. "-leave-no-my baby!"

"Rose, honey, what's wrong? What is it?" Herbie whispered as her crying quieted.

But he knew. He knew she had been dreaming about June again. She had woken up crying at least once a week since she left. June's leaving tore her heart out, but she wouldn't say it. She refused to admit how much it hurt her. But he knew all the same. What he didn't understand is why his name had been uttered.

Rose pulled her face away from his shoulder to press her lips to his desperately, her hands still wrapped around his neck as she pushed his mouth hard against her own.

"Rose!" he pulled away, surprised. "What is all this about? What's wrong?"

Tears glistened in her eyes as she bit her lip to keep back the tears that still threatened to fall. She hugged him close again, her full lips brushing his ear, "I love you."

"I know, Rose, I know. And I love you. But what's wrong?"

She kissed below his ear as she hugged him tightly. "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you," she kept repeating in his ear.


"Herbie, I love you," her breath was hot in his ear. She traced his earlobe with the tip of her tongue before she kissed below his ear again.

Rose's fingers curled under the trim of his shirt, her nails brushing his stomach as she pulled it over his head. She leaned against him again, pulling herself against his hard chest. Her cheek was flush against his chest and she heard his heart beating in time with her own. She kissed directly over his heart before burying her face in his skin as hot tears spilled from her eyes.

"Rose, darling, what is it?" Herbie asked again, combing his fingers through her flattened red curls. He lifted her face up to his level before gently covering her lips with his.

She pushed against him, forcing him into a laying position and lying atop him as she kissed him back. He gasped in surprise against her lips and she slipped her tongue into his mouth, pressing it urgently against his. One hand left his shoulder to dart into his boxers as she moved her weight from her destination.

He sucked in a deep breath, breaking their kiss, as he felt her fingers caressing him. "Rose, what are you-"

"Shh," she breathed, kissing him hard on the mouth again as her fingers closed around him. She felt his breathing quickly become erratic beneath her as she moved her fingers moved faster along the hardening length of him.

His hands settled on her lower back as his fingers began slowly drawing her nightgown up her back. Rose moaned quietly into his mouth when he finally slid his hands under her gown to tease the bare skin of her breasts before sliding one hand down her back to rest on her behind. The fingers at her breast were circling the bud of her nipple, the pad of his thumb running over the hardened peak slowly, matching the cruel pace of her fingers.

"I love you," she breathed against his lips before kissing his jaw line. "I need you." She leaned away from him, pulling his boxers down his legs before sliding her palms up his thighs. She placed a single kiss on his lower stomach, her breath tickling him as her fingers had. "I want you," she told him. She looked up at him, the tears now gone from her soft brown eyes. She ran the tip of her tongue across the tip of him before taking him into her mouth and swirling her tongue around him as she sucked gently, eliciting a rumbling groan from him.

His hands were on her shoulders, her head bobbed slowly as she alternated taking more then less of him in the wet heat that was her mouth. "Rose," he breathed, his fingers bruising her shoulders as he struggled between his desire to pull her up to his level and the one to pull her head closer and surround himself with her hot mouth.

"Oh, God! Rose," his voice was strangled. He glanced down, watching her. She was too busy to notice her curls fall from behind her ears to tickle him as her head bobbed lower, the heat swallowing him and making his head dip back. "Rose."

"Mmn?" she asked, her lips still around him. She sucked harder.

"Rose, stop," he breathed. She ignored him, grazing him with her teeth before swirling her tongue around him again. "Rose!" He pushed her from him, turning away as he shuddered his climax and spilled out.

Rose kneeled behind him, wrapping each of her arms under one of his to pull him close and grazing the back of his neck with her lips, "I'm sorry, Herbie. I love you." He felt hot tears splash against his skin as she kissed his skin where his neck and shoulder met. "Don't be mad. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Please don't be mad, Herbie. Please?"

Herbie turned his head away from her, forcing himself to breathe deeply.

"Herbie?" she clung to him tighter. "Please, Herbie. Please don't be mad." She was crying again, gasping for breath between her apologies against his back. "Please? I'm sorry, Herbie, I'm sorry. Please? I love you. I need you, Herbie. Please? I love you."

"Rose, what is wrong with you?" he ground out.

He was mad, he couldn't help it. She knew how he felt about that. He had told her how unladylike he found it. He had told her before that he didn't want her ever to lower herself to that.

She hiccoughed as tears continued to spill from her eyes. When she spoke, her voice was small. Afraid. If hadn't felt the vibrations of her voice on his back, he wouldn't have believed it was her.

"Don't leave me, Herbie."


"Please! Please don't leave me the way all the others did, the way June did. Please, Herbie. Please don't leave me. I love you. Don't leave me."

He pulled out of her grasp before turning around to face her. "Is that what this is all about? You're afraid I'm gonna up and leave?"

She nodded tearfully, "Ever since June married Tulsa in secret and walked away from me."

"Why?" he whispered., taking her hand in his.

She wiped at her tears with the heel of her free hand, refusing to meet his eyes. Her voice was barely above a whisper, "They always leave. And my baby left. My baby-" Her voice broke and she covered her face with her hand, shaking her head. "My sixteen year old baby got married and left me. And I still haven't married you yet. My baby got married before I did. But I do promise, Herbie, I do. And I'll keep my promise, I swear. Just- Please don't leave-" Her voice broke again and she pulled him close, wrapping her arms around his neck and burying her face against his skin again.

He couldn't deny that he was surprised that she was saying all this, admitting all this. He couldn't believe that she was talking about this at all.

"Rose, honey, I'm not gonna leave you," Herbie murmured into her curls, combing his fingers though them slowly. "It's okay, honey. You know you always got Herbie."

"But you said that you might just pick up and pack out," she cried. "Herbie, don't pack out, please! Don't leave me, Herbie! You can't leave me!"


"Please! Please, you can't leave me. It'll kill me, Herbie," tears were still streaming down her cheeks, splashing against his flesh as she pulled him close to her.

He kissed her temple before chuckling into her hair, "Nothing could kill you." He kissed her temple lightly again.

She ran her tongue along his collarbone, sucking gently, "Please don't leave me, Herbie. I need you." Her hands trailed back down his chest. "I love you."

He groaned expectantly, "Rose, honey- what do you want?"

"You, Herbie. Always you," she told him, pressing her lips against his is a desperate sort of kiss. She leaned back into the pillows, pulling him down with her.

"Rose," he breathed against her lips. "Rose, I love you." She helped him pull her nightgown over her head before pressing her lips back against his.

Rose moaned into his mouth as he trailed his fingers back to her full breasts, "Oh, Herbie!" She shifted her legs beneath him, settling him between her thighs.

"Herbie," she buried her face in his neck as he entered her with a groan muffled in her mess of red curls. Her fingers dug into his back when he started moving, her nails cutting as his had bruised her. "Please," she begged, tears still shining behind her eyes.

"Please what, Rose?" Herbie smiled down at her, stopping his painfully slow movement.

"Want me, need me, love me," she answered seriously, her hands at his cheeks, caressing. She pulled his lips crashing to hers. They were both panting for air when she finally released him. "Please don't leave me. Stay with me, Herbie. Please stay."

"Forever, Rose," he promised, kissing her lovingly. "Forever." He began moving inside her, slowly, as he trailed kisses to her neck.

She clutched him tightly between her thighs, forcing him deeper, as she murmured the same thing over and over again between his deepening thrusts, "Don't leave me, Herbie-don't leave me. Please-don't leave me-honey, please don't leave."

Her head tilted back as she moaned deep in her throat, her body moving in time with the pure force of his thrusts. "Oh, God! … Oh God, Herbie! Oh God, oh God."

"Rose-I'm not-going anywhere," he panted, kissing her neck between pants. "Believe me." He sucked gently on her pulse point, eliciting another deep moan as she dug her nails into his back.

She felt his blood pooling under her nails as they dug deep into his flesh but she pressed her fingers harder against him, trying desperately to stabilize herself through her pleasure-fogged mind. "Herbie!" she cried.

"I'm here, honey, I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. It's okay, I'm right here," he breathed against her ear.

She pulled his lips to hers again, her feminine purr escalating as she writhed beneath him. "Please! Please don't leave me, Herbie," she managed before burying her face in his neck with a strangled moan. She shivered violently beneath him, her muscles tightening around him and bringing him to a shuddering climax as well.

"Herbie," she panted, pulling him close again as she came down from her peak.

"I'm here, my Rose, I'm here."

"Herbie, I love you."

Herbie wrapped one of her ringlets around his index finger before kissing the tip of her nose. "I love you, Rose, I always will." He rolled gently off her to clutch her tightly to his side, drawing the covers over their sweaty forms.

"Don't leave me, Herbie," she whispered against his chest, tracing light patterns with her fingertip.

"Never, my Rose," he responded, kissing her damp hair lightly. "Never."