Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks, and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

Summary: This is the eight story in my summer writing project. Missing scene from Love and Guns.

Warning: There is a scene with non graphic het sex…but it's not what you think it is.

Love Bites

by Twilight (Dawn)

********************

I can't believe this…

Dr. Kingsford stood across from her, wearing a crisp white lab coat, using a special stippling brush to sweep away some dust and debris from a small statue sitting on his work bench. "Come, Maya. It's only for the week."

"But Professor Kingsford…I don't understand. Did I do something wrong?"

He turned to glance at her, wiping a hand absently over his thinning hair, taking off his glasses and sighing. "It's just a favor, my dear. Young Mr. Sandburg needs a competent assistant and I immediately thought of you."

She lowered her eyes, accepting his words, but it still made her mad. What was she? America was no different if women could be traded at will, as a convenience or favor no matter how the men in charge tried to sugarcoat it.

"I guess I'll go see him."

She turned to leave, stopping in the doorway as her boss said, "Good girl."

She fumed all the way down the hall and to the adjoining wing, taking the steps down to work out some of her anger.

Two old metal doors creaked opened as she pushed through into the sublevel, feeling the air thicken just a bit, smelling the almost cloying dust that hung heavy around her face. The hall was darker than the newer section of Hargrove and as she followed the way, heels clicking smartly over the hardwood floor, she cooled off, thinking that it might be a bit of an adventure to work for someone new, someone younger.

She found the door with Blair Sandburg written on a piece of paper, taped under the placard that should have held an engraved name plate. She knocked lightly, surprised of how the sound amplified in the old hall, pushing the heavy door opened and looking around the dim interior.

A row of shelves holding all manner of obviously old things stood to the left and she caught movement behind them. A younger man moved around them, holding files and rims of paper.

"Uh, come in."

He smiled at her as she introduced herself, his lips slipping into a frown as she let her displeasure known.

"Oh, no. No, you're not being traded. Borrowed, maybe, but not traded. I'm sorry. I didn't think that you'd object."

She watched his eyes, blue as any sky, seeing the sincerity in them as he bent to stow some of the files in a box under his messy desk. "It's just that I needed someone good and Dr. Kingsford said you were his best assistant. But, hey, you know, if you don't want to work for me...I understand."

"No," she conceded, "I just like to be asked, that's all."

And then he smiled, showing off a perfect row of small white teeth. "Okay. Then I'm asking. Would you please be my…" He stood, sending the top of his stack off balance and they fell to the floor.

She bent down to help him, because he clearly needed it.

Hours passed as she helped him sort through endless piles of papers, listening to him chat about places he'd been and people he'd met in his travels. He spoke of a tribe that lived in the trees and how beautiful it had been to live among them for a short time, gaining their trust and acceptance.

She had only ever been to America, having left her home country a few years ago, coming to live here after her mother died. Her father had said it would be for the best, they could start over and be happy in this new country and she was happy to be someplace new, where the pain wasn't as bad, where she could escape into the world of academia and explore her interest in people a few generations gone.

Blair was talking, his hands moving to emphasize his point and he spoke with such a passion, a true love for what he did and the people he had studied.

"Well…I guess that's it for the day." He pushed himself up off the floor, using the chair as support. She wrapped and stacked a few clay pots to be crated and placed them carefully in the box. "I guess if you can, I could use your help again tomorrow afternoon."

She tucked a curl behind her ear, not wanting their time to end, but also not sure what to say.

Blair turned out to be a great guy, smart, cute and definitely sexy.

"I ah…I was wondering if you would like to join me for dinner…I mean…if you don't have plans."

Real smooth, Maya.

He cocked his head to the side, a small smile turning his lips, eyes darting to the clock hanging over the door. He seemed to be turning the suggestion over and she was about to back out, let him off the hook when he agreed. "Were do you want to go?"

The drive to the outskirts of the suburbs took a good thirty minutes, but in that time she got to talk to Blair a little more, charmed by his enthusiasm, his subtle glances and quick tongue.

The driveway was empty as they pulled up and she wondered if her father was home.

"Okay, come in. I just need to make sure my father knows where I'm going."

She used her key, finding the front door locked and led Blair in.

"Are you sure this is okay? I don't want to intrude."

"Don't be silly. I want you to meet my father."

"Oh, wow... a Benitez!" She watched as he hurried to the bright painting hanging near the entry to the dinning room. "When I was in Brazil, I saw some of his works at an exhibition at the National Museum. He claims he collects plants from the rain forest to make his colors."

"And that's why no one has ever been able to match his vibrancy." Her father came down the steps from his study. "Not many Americans know Benitez."

He and Blair spoke about the artist's work and a few others that they both liked and she was pleased that her father seemed to like Blair, approve of him.

Her father had to excuse himself to take care of some kind of problem in the greenhouse, but when he returned she asked if he would mind if Blair joined them for dinner.

"Of course. I'll let Blanca know. Make yourself at home, Blair." He kissed her cheek as he left, running a few calloused fingers over her face.

"We have a little time before dinner…would you like to take a walk?"

"Sure…that'd be great."

The grounds of her home were beautiful and she could smell the salty air of the ocean drifting up from the cliffs behind her house. It was one of her favorite places to go when she needed to be alone.

As they strolled toward the drop off, they chatted about anything and everything and it seemed perfect…it seemed something important was happening.

She had dated a few boys since she moved here, but her experience was limited. Being only nineteen, she didn't want to rush into a relationship…she wanted to find the perfect man…someone like her father.

They stopped near the bluff, and she pulled him down to sit on a rocky outcrop that overlooked the gentle sloshing of water far below. The sun was low, bright reds and oranges streaked the sky and the moment felt special.

Blair smiled when she turned to him, but she was hesitant.

"This is beautiful." He told her, taking up her hand and squeezing oh so gently.

"Yes. It's lovely."

They didn't speak as the sun sank lower, eventually dipping below the horizon and plunging them in shadow.

"Dinner should be ready now."

The table was set with the good china, the napkins neatly folded and lying on the plates, the stem glasses filled with a deep red wine and Blanca was setting out the covered dishes as she and Blair entered. "Your father regrets that he can't join you, Maya. He had some unexpected business to take care of."

"Thank you, Blanca."

She served them; a sweet savory aroma permeated the air. Blair waited for Maya to pick up her fork before he began eating and the action was endearing.

Conversation was sparse, but she chalked it up to nervousness on both their parts and as Blair left for home, a soft kiss sent her over the moon.

"Thank you for dinner."

She leaned in again, smiling as he pressed his lips to hers again. "You're welcome. I'll see you tomorrow afternoon."

With a little wave and a huge smile, he climbed into his car and honked as he drove away.

The crickets chirped and the birds sang and she bounded up the steps to her room, slamming the door in her hurry to get to her desk and pull out her journal.

The evening had been wonderful and she wanted to record every minute of it while it was still fresh in her mind…she was falling in love.

********************

The next few days passed in a blur and Blair had to ask himself yet again…

What the hell am I doing?

He had seen Maya every day at the U and every night over the last week, but things hadn't progressed beyond kissing and light touches.

Jim had warned him to take it slow; worried that Maya's father was not only involved with the gun running, but also connected to the murder of one of Jim's snitches.

But Blair couldn't bring himself to think about the possibility. The man he met was so cultured, into fine arts and good wine…raised orchids for Christ sake.

"I just don't want to see you get hurt, Chief."

But he wasn't being hurt…in fact this had been the best week of his life. Maya was totally incredible, beautiful, sexy and smart.

Her smile lit up his heart and the feeling was so totally new to him. When he had first met Lisa, he had felt something like it…a mix of pleasure with something he couldn't quite put his finger on, but he knew he was grinning like an idiot every time he thought about her…it was more than lust or hormones or even loneliness…this could be the real thing.

His cell phone rang as he left the student union and he had to dig around his backpack to find it, eyes lighting as he read the number. "Hello?"

"Hello, Blair. Can you meet me in your office?"

"Sure." He turned at the crosswalk, moving over the field that led to Hargrove Hall.

"What are you up to?"

"You'll just have to hurry and see."

The line went dead and he quickened his step, pushing through the double doors and rounding the corner to the hall that led to his office. A gentle glow crept from below the door and as he pushed it open, he could see Maya lighting the last of dozens of candles that washed his dingy office in a warm and inviting golden color.

"Maya, what's this?"

She turned slowly, blowing the match she held between her fingers. "It's dinner. I made it at home and I warmed it up in your microwave."

He sank down next to her, a bit overwhelmed. No other women he had dated had done something this nice for no reason. He took in the table spread with all sorts of eatables. "This is incredible. Why?"

"Because tonight is very special." And then she moved, leaning over to scoop some type of chicken from a glass pan, serving him like she had done when they had dinner at her house.

When his plate was full and the red wine poured, she picked up her fork and squired a chunk of chicken from his plate, pressing the bite to his mouth.

They food was spicy, but not too hot and the dessert was delicate and sexy. She gave him a tiny taste on the tip of one finger, telling him it was tradition. He returned the gesture, pulse quickening as she lapped at his finger before sucking the digit into her hot mouth.

"You know, the first time that my mother ever cooked for my father, she made this pastry. It's a very special pastry. Like you're very special."

Moving too fast…

Trying to push down his arousal, he asked about her mom.

"She died. I was very young. In a riding accident."

The questions progressed and soon she asked him why he wanted to know. "I'm curious…about you, about your family. I want to know everything about you."

And that was true…he wanted to know all he could and not just for Jim or for the case he was working on.

"Why?" She licked a bit of pastry from her fingers, big brown eyes searching his.

Could he say it? Could he say what he was thinking…

"Because I think I'm falling in love with you."

She leaned in, kissing him softly. "And I think I'm falling in love with you."

For a few minutes, their tongues twined together and he could taste the sweet pastry.

Heat raced through his veins and he could feel his face flushing with desire and something else, but the fire was doused as soon as she pulled away and told him she had never made love before.

His mind raced and he took a big gulp from his glass. She asked what was wrong and he felt a pang of guilt over her confusion and the worry she wore on her face.

He couldn't do it…not like this.

And told her so, but the look of hurt was too much. "I'm sorry…I gotta go."

A minute later he found himself in his car, the road lights on the highway blurring by.

"What am I doing…what the hell am I doing?"

He managed to get home in one piece, finding he had the loft to himself. After a quick shower he went to his room, sinking into his bed. His mind wouldn't shut down…wouldn't shut up.

He had never been the one to take a woman's virginity.

It seemed so sacred, special and knowing that he was still trying to get information for Jim cheapened the whole thing.

He knew he hurt Maya and that really sucked, but he couldn't…he just couldn't.

People always remember their first time…he remembered his. Flopping back, he tucked his arm under the pillow, blowing out a heavy breath.

"Gracie Thorp."

A voluptuous sixteen year old with long blond hair braided into pig tails and she smelt of rain and lilacs. Her waist was thin, her hips were full and her breasts were perk and perfect. She was older, had been around the block and Blair could remember how shy he was around her. She slept with his buddy Scoot, who talked about her tits for days upon days so when he found himself alone with Gracie after everyone else had left the park, he worked up the nerve to ask her if she wanted to have sex.

Next thing he knew she had him on the ground, pinned to the grass, sucking on his chin and neck. Her hands were sure and steady as she squeezed him through his jeans, nearly ripping his shirt to get to his chest. She sat up, pulling her purse close, frowning as she dug through it. Finally she asked him if he had a condom.

"I ah…I could get some." He knew he was being ambitious, but he wasn't exactly thinking straight either.

She let him up and he remembered walking home through the woods, Gracie close behind, a boner pressing uncomfortably against his jeans and his shirt still hanging open.

His mother wasn't there, so he left her waiting in the living room as he searched his mother's bedside drawer, finding a few condoms in a string of foil. When he turned to get her, he was startled that she was waiting at the door and rushed forward to push him to his mother's bed. Her hands were everywhere and he wasn't too sure what to do. He tried to copy what he had seen men doing to his mother, but she pushed his fumbling hand away, pressing her own down the front of his jeans and grabbing him again.

That's when he decided he liked sex…liked it a lot.

She stripped him and straddled him and he almost exploded when she went down on him and the whole thing was over before it really started. The front door swung open and they raced to put clothes back on and get to his room before his mother came up the steps. She found him a few minutes later in his room, a book opened between them.

After some very awkward, yet polite conversation she left them alone and they both giggled. Blair held up the remaining condoms and Gracie's eyes lit up like a beacon. "I'll see you tomorrow at the park." And before she left, she kissed him like no one had kissed him before. He had spent every day until they moved away a few months later screwing Gracie Thorp.

But that was all it was.

Maya was different and he was worried about screwing it up.

The next morning he found that he still had his clothes on from the night before. Jim was gone when he left his room to shower, but a note on the table asked him to meet at the station in the afternoon. Some big bust had gone down and there was a connection to Carasco.

Showered and clean shaven, he grabbed up the note and headed for his car.

Maya was not involved…

He had barely gotten his coat off and the files he needed when she came to his office, mad and suspicious, but he tried to explain…she wasn't buying it and really, he couldn't blame her.

It was like finding out that Gracie Thorp was still screwing his buddy Scoot.

"We can work this out."

"No. No. No, we can't. No."

"Come on, Maya. Please."

She left without a word and Blair reconsidered…this was worse than finding out about Gracie and Scoot.

He had hurt her and that was the last thing he ever wanted to do.

Floating through his day, he begged off going to the station, leaving a message with Rhonda. He called the Carasco home and asked to speak with Maya…if he could just explain it better.

She refused to talk to him, but he tried her cell and she picked up. "Come on, Maya…I still feel…"

"I can't, Blair…I just can't."

The drive home was typical, the apartment empty, but just as warm and inviting. He changed into some comfy sweats and made a sandwich, finding an unopened bottle of white wine.

Not his favorite, but it would do.

The phone rang and he jumped on it, "Maya?"

"It's Ellison."

"Hey, Jim. Look, I really don't feel like talking to you right now."

Jim tried in his own way to make Blair feel better, but it didn't help.

Man, if this is how love feels, then it bites.

********************

The voices from the kitchen grated his nerves, a headache flared from the knock he took to his head and Blair just really wanted to sleep.

Jim was being too nice when he was expecting a lecture, too cheery as he made dinner with the woman Blair met at the station. He flopped over to his back, flinging an arm over his eyes to block the light coming in from the kitchen through the slightly open curtain. A shadow crossed the threshold and he shifted, sitting up quickly as Maya came into his room.

"Hi. I came to say goodbye."

He made room on his bed, hoping she would sit with him, hating the whiny hurt tone of his voice when he asked where she was going.

"I'm going home...to Chile." She sat down facing him, "With my father in prison, I just don't feel I belong here anymore, you know?"

He shook his head, "I don't want you to go." But she stood up, moving away and he rushed to tell her he loved her.

"I love you too. But I hate you too. I just need time. I need to find out who I am and what I feel."

And he could understand that…there was hope in her statement.

Standing, he pulled her into a hug. "I'll be here."

Too soon she pushed away and turned to leave, not looking back.

He heard her walk across the hardwood floor and the front door shutting behind her as he sunk back to his bed.

Jim came in, spouting something about MSG and noodles and it made his chest hurt.

"Not right now, okay, Jim?"

He lay back down, resting a hand on his chest to make sure his heart was pounding normal, running the thumb of the other over his nail bed and closed his eyes to keep the tears pressing from falling.

It was his fault.

"Hey, buddy. Want some hot chocolate?"

Blair turned, rubbing sleep from his eyes. "What about your date?"

"She left a while ago." Jim held up a mug, waggled an eyebrow, nodding toward the living room.

"Yeah, okay." He felt heavy as he stood up, a little cold as Jim pressed the hot mug into his hands.

They sat on the sofa and channel surfed for a while. He hadn't meant to fall asleep, but he did feel a little better, his heart seemed to have found its normal rhythm again.

After a few rounds of flipping Jim settled on a movie, already half over. "It's not your fault, you know…just bad timing."

Blair looked up from his cooling chocolate. "I know…it just seems like my fault."

Jim nodded, turning back to the TV. "Yup, but it'll get better."

And Blair believed him, because surely he wouldn't feel like this forever…would he?

"I saved you some noodles." Jim tossed the word out casually; hardly turning from the TV Blair knew he wasn't really watching. "I could warm them up for you."

He nodded, sipping the chocolate…the real stuff, not powdered. "Yeah, man. Okay."

Jim jumped up and took a bowl from the fridge, putting it in the microwave, bringing a pan in to top off Blair's mug. "Thanks, Jim."

His friend nodded, going back to open the microwave just before it beeped, setting a steaming bowl and a pair of chopsticks on the coffee table, breaking about twenty rules.

But Blair felt better, his chest hardly hurt at all.

The End

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