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How sweet it is to be loved by you

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He tries to read the book.

Honestly, he tries. 

The whole idea of this vacation spawned from his desire to read this book in Ireland. Granted, he wasn’t sitting in a pub at the moment--which had originally been part of the dream--but he was much happier with the way his idea had turned out instead. 

Rather than a noisy pub, Phil sat in a beautiful old house with polished wood floors, a garden out back, and a view of the Irish country-side that was to die for. Currently, Phil sat on the couch in the cozy living room as it rained lightly outside, his sock-clad feet were propped up on the coffee table, and he was trying his best to keep his eyes from straying to the other side of the sofa, where the source of his distraction sat.

She was snuggled up to the arm of the couch, graceful legs folded underneath her and one hand twisting the edges of her hair idly as she read. The more he watched her, the more he wanted to throw the book behind him and drag her closer to him. That way his hand could play with her hair and she could cozy up to him instead.

Melinda May turned the page of her own book slowly. “You know,” her voice broke the comfortable silence that had settled between them. “If you’re pretending to read, you should at least turn the page every once in a while.” She smirked as Phil shifted his gaze from her back to his book. “Our Academy instructors would be ashamed.”

Phil scoffed. “I’m not pretending. I really am reading, I’m just...taking it slow.” He met her eyes and lowered his voice. “Enjoying every little detail.”

Melinda’s eyes held more heat than they had a moment ago, and Phil knew she caught his double meaning. But instead of coming closer to him as he’d hoped, Melinda looked away and tried to fight her smile.

“Pass me an Oreo.”

Phil pouted. He knew she felt the same magnetic attraction that he did, but she was much better at resisting it than he was. (Well, usually, anyway. The other day when he’d tried to do Tai Chi in the garden with her, she ended up tackling him to the ground and kissing him till he forgot his own name. He’d made a mental note that Tai Chi was definitely worth waking up early for.)

The Oreo cookies were resting on his side of the coffee table by his feet. Phil had bought them specifically for Melinda (who had a special weakness for them), but, feeling very much like a five year old who didn’t get his way, Phil decided to pretend he didn’t hear her.

“Phil,” Melinda said, warning in her tone. “The cookie.”

“Oh, were you talking to me?” Phil raised his eyebrows. “I’m sorry, I’m just so engrossed in reading Ulysses.” 

Melinda rolled her eyes and held out her hand, staring him down. He picked up a cookie from the open sleeve and, without breaking eye contact, placed it in his mouth and bit into it with a loud crunch.

Melinda’s eyes narrowed, which would have been frightening, except that Phil knew her too well. He decided this could be fun, and a way to get her to come closer to him. That way he could hold her the way he’d been wanting to all afternoon. Phil set Ulysses down, knowing there was no way he’d be able to go back to reading now, and picked up the whole plastic tray of Oreos, holding it to his chest.

“Why don’t you come over here and get them.” Phil invited, smiling wolfishly.

“Have I ever mentioned how infuriating you are? Give me the Oreos.” Melinda reached for one, but Phil stood up and scurried behind the couch, effectively sealing his fate.

Really, Phil? I thought we left all the kids on the Zephyr.”

Phil stuffed another Oreo into his mouth in response.

Melinda threw her book down and jumped over the back of the couch easily. “When I catch you, you’re dead.”

Phil wasn’t about to tell her how attractive she looked, stalking up to him slowly and threateningly as if she wasn’t barefoot wearing a (his) baggy t-shirt and a pair of black leggings. “You mean, if you catch me.”

With that, he turned and bolted for the kitchen.

He did pretty well, considering the limited running room in the small house. But despite his effort, his socks were his undoing. 

Phil was dashing back into the living room, Melinda right on his heels, when he reached a particularly slippery area on the wooden floor and his feet flew out from under him. Oreos scattered everywhere, and Melinda had no choice but to ram into him, sending them both sprawling to the ground.

Phil groaned and tried to catch his breath. His back would likely complain--loudly--for a few days after this, but at the sound of laughter, his pain all but disappeared. He turned his head to see Melinda next to him, a wide smile on her face, her laugh still ringing in his ears. He hadn’t heard that carefree laugh in years. It brightened the whole room and made his heart so light that, if he hadn’t been quite literally knocked to the ground, Phil was positive his body would have floated at the sound.

After a moment, Melinda rolled closer to him and propped herself up on an elbow, her other hand coming up to rest on Phil’s chest, and he lost his breath over something else entirely.

“Gotcha.” Melinda’s brown eyes twinkled and she slid her hand over his chest seductively. His heart began to pound until he realized she’d reached over him to pick up an Oreo from the floor. She smirked and took a bite, enjoying her victory. “I win. What’s that make it now, 47 for me, 2 for you? 3, if I’m being generous.” She finished her Oreo as he laid there and stared at her, anticipation and desire coiling in his stomach.

“Depends on how you look at it,” Phil slid an arm around Melinda and pulled her on top of him. “From where I’m looking, I’m definitely the one winning.”

Melinda snorted, but couldn’t keep the smile off her face. “You dor-”

He kissed her soundly, and Melinda took no time in deepening it. The sweet icing from the Oreo combined with the taste of her lips left him moaning. 

Melinda hummed and pull back just far enough to whisper huskily, “We’ll call it a tie,” before falling back into him. Her hands were around his neck, and the pent up passion of her kiss told him he wasn’t the only one who’d been frustrated on the couch earlier. Phil buried a hand in her hair, his fingers getting lost in the brown waves, and flipped their positions, his other hand skimming the skin at her waist.

This wasn’t part of his original Ireland dream, but this--Melinda smiling in his arms, the ability to kiss her whenever he wanted to, laughing with her--this was a million other dreams rolled into one. This was a dream that he’d almost given up on, stopped saying “Someday” to a long time ago, but one that never really left his heart. 

This was one dream he’d never have to put off again.