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Disclaimer: Not ours. The real ones at least. Just wild imaginary spinnings.

Summary: Hmmm, about technophobes and friends who mean well.

Chapter Thirteen

Billy watched her with narrowed eyes, as he leaned back against the headboard of her bed, just waiting to see what kind of move she was going to make. She was sneaky, he'd give her that, and even a little bit bold, but he was too. He saw Michelle's eyes light up briefly and he wondered if maybe he hadn't just gotten in over his head.

"Are ye gonna show me, or just sit there with yer thumb up yer ass?" he asked, hoping for that brief flash of anger she always gave him when he needled her on.

He wasn't disappointed.

Michelle laid the cards she held in her hand down on the bed. "Straight flush," she announced with a wicked smile.

Billy felt his hopes fall to the pit of his stomach. Sighing heavily he threw down his cards, his head shaking in disbelief. "That's three ye've won in a row! How do ye do it?" he asked, his mind still whirling with the fact that she had beat him at poker yet again.

Michelle shrugged her shoulders underneath the blanket she had wrapped around her like a robe, as she gathered up the cards from the bed and shuffled them. "I told you. I learned in college as a stress reliever from all the classes I took. Then I found out I had a knack for it and used it to gain a job in Vegas for a while until I could get a real job."

"Amazing. So what do I owe ye now? Knickers?"

Michelle could feel her cheeks heating, and she refused to look up at him. "I was kidding, Billy, I won't take your clothes."

"Ye asked for clothes for payment, love, ye're gonna get them," he assured her, his green eyes twinkling in the dim light.

Michelle bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing as she looked up at him from beneath her lashes. "Then you'll have to mail them to me, cause I have no intention of sending you home bare-assed. Now, do you want to play another game before it gets too dark to see?"

Billy shook his head. "I'm afraid I'd lose all me clothes for sure."

She tossed the cards aside, and then moved till she was able to get underneath the covers of her bed. Billy watched her the whole time, not moving from his spot on the bed.

"Tell me something, Billy."

"What?"

"Do you hope to get in my pants or something?"

He was taken back by her bluntness. Here she was, laying beside him in the bed, looking quite innocent and pure snuggled down in the covers, blinking her big blue eyes at him…and then she pops up with a question like that.

"I canna say I was hopin' for anythin'."

He saw something flash through her eyes….disappointment? Relief?

Billy slid down on the bed beside her, propping his head up on his hand. "Why do ye ask?"

"Because…I just think we've got a really nice thing going here, and despite what you might believe, I don't sleep around," she admitted reluctantly.

"I never thought it. I wouldna dare."

"Seriously, though, why are you here?"

Billy's eyebrow rose in a cocky way that she was beginning to like. "Because of the snow, love."

"Oh," she said, a little dazed by that look. "Well, you could probably get a cab if you wanted to really leave."

"But I dinna want to leave."

Michelle was glad the blanket was up to cover her smile, but she was sure Billy saw it. "That's good. Cause it's cold out there."

He laughed softly. "Cold in here too."

"Yes, it is. You should get under the covers before you freeze."

"I think I already have. Besides, shouldna I go on the couch and sleep?"

"No. I don't mind you staying here. As long as you keep your hands to yourself," she said with a warning in her voice.

Billy slid under the covers with her, glad for the extra warmth. Cold had already seeped through the clothes he still wore. "But me hands are cold," he protested.

"Then warm them up on your side of the bed," Michelle said, flipping onto her other side, as her space began to eventually warm. "Night, Billy."

"Good night."

Michelle had just closed her eyes, when she felt a pair of cold hands close around her waist and slide her backwards to close the space between her and Billy's body. She laughed, when she felt his cold nose burying in the side of her neck too. She didn't protest, mostly because she liked the feel of him snuggled up behind her. Michelle made herself relax, and eventually she felt herself start to drift off asleep.

And then a phone rang.

The noise jarred her, considering it echoed throughout the eerie silence. She and Billy both sat up, looking at each other in confusion. The ringing started again, and Billy's head slumped forward as he laughed. He reached over in the vicinity of the bedside table, picking up a cell phone.

"Sorry," he said, answering it. "What?"

"Is that any way to answer your phone? What if I had been someone really important? Like the President of the United States?"

Billy groaned when he recognized Orlando's voice. "Then I would still tell ye to fuck off. What the bloody hell do ye want?"

"Well, I was only concerned for your welfare in this hellish snowstorm, but it seems I might have interrupted something pretty important."

"Aye, me sleep!"

"Uh…I've never known you to be this surly because I woke you. Wait, yes, I do. Nevermind. Where are you?"

Billy glanced over at Michelle, who was starting to drift off back to sleep again. "I'm at…a friend's house."

The line was silent for a minute. "Bill, you don't know anyone in Minnesota. Who's the friend?"

"Just…a friend."

"Spill it, William."

"And if I dinna?"

"Then Dom and Elijah will find out just who it really was that nearly got himself arrested for streaking down Rodeo Drive."

Billy cringed. "Fuck," he swore softly. "Canna I tell ye later?"

"No."

"Yer friend's friend," he said, quickly, glancing over at the now sleeping Michelle.

"What? That made no sense, Billy."

"Jennifer's friend. Michelle."

He waited for the outburst, the cursing…anything! But it never came.

"Oh," Orlando said, kind of quiet. "So, you and Michelle are…"

"Not in the least. Just friends, O."

"Sure about that? Never knew you to stay at a woman's house and not-"

"Well, now ye have," Billy interrupted him quickly. "And how is yer grand life?"

"Working on it. Look, I don't know if I'll be flying out tomorrow. I think I might stay here a little longer."

"Fine by me. I'll talk with ye later."

"Later," Orlando agreed before he hung up.

Billy flipped off the phone and made sure to power it off, before laying back down beside Michelle. He noted she didn't shove him away when he pulled her back into his arms again, which clued him in that she was sound asleep. As he lay there, sleep was long time coming for him. The only thing he could think of was…could they just be friends after sharing a kiss that had rocked his entire world? He wasn't sure…but he was certainly willing to try.

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

Billy stood at the boarding gate, feeling kind of out of sorts. In fact, he hadn't felt right since Orlando and Jennifer had come to get him and Michelle out of bed that morning. Some of it had to do with the fact that Michelle wouldn't even look at him for longer than a split second, the other was the fact that he didn't want to leave at all. Course it wasn't as if he thought he would actually get lucky if he stayed, but he still didn't want to leave. Orlando and Jennifer had volunteered to park the car, while he and Michelle went in to check in his luggage. Michelle was unusually quiet, almost fidgety, as she stood by him.

"See them yet?" she asked, pretending to search the airport terminal for Orlando and Jennifer.

"Nae, I dinna see them," he replied, his voice gruffer than usual.

Michelle glanced over at him. "What's wrong?"

"I guess I'm findin' that I dinna like havin' to leave today."

She turned toward him slowly, her look wary. "Why not? Don't you have work to get back to?"

"Aye."

"And don't you want to work?"

"Most of the time, aye."

"So, what's the problem?"

Billy eyed her for a moment, wondering if he should just come right out and tell her. Instead, he grabbed her arm and pulled her closer, taking advantage of her surprise to kiss her. Michelle froze against him, too stunned to even manage a protest. But then she melted, letting him pull her body flush with his, wrapping her arms around him as she gave in. Billy was a bit taken back that she was responding so eagerly. The feel of her tongue wrapping around his, was having a profound effect on his own reaction. He wasn't too sure he would be able to walk properly onto that plane if this kept up.

When Michelle finally pulled away for some air, she looked up at him with slumberous eyes and swollen lips. He looked as shook up by that kiss as she was. It was ten times better than the one they had shared before.

"Michelle…" he began, but wasn't able to finish since Orlando and Jennifer walked up at that moment.

"Ready to go, mate?" Orlando asked, slapping Billy on the back, distracting him.

Billy offered what he hoped was a bright smile, masking what he was really feeling at the moment, which was utter confusion. "Aye, all ready."

"Call me when you get back. I'll be heading back late tomorrow night."

"I'll come get ye, if ye need me to."

The two shared a brotherly hug as the boarding call for Billy's plane sounded over the intercom. Billy gave Jennifer a hug as well, murmuring a quick bit of advice as he did.

"Dinna break his heart. I dinna think he could take it."

Jennifer hugged Billy tighter, nodding her head, unable to say anything for the lump in her throat. As Billy turned to Michelle, he noted how she still had that dazed look in her eyes from that kiss. And he knew what was going through her mind…cause it was going through his as well. Would they ever see each other again?

"Thank ye for yer hospitality," he said, giving in to impulse and hugging her briefly.

Michelle could only nod and wave, as he pulled away and started down the ramp to his plane. Her heart still hadn't settled down into a normal rhythm, as they all three stood at the window and watched his plane take off. Michelle touched the cool glass with her fingers, surprised to find tears burning her eyes as the plane became nothing but a small dot in the sky. She felt as if she had just lost her one opportunity for true love…surely she was hallucinating. After all, if he had wanted more, wouldn't he have left her his number? Gotten hers at least?

The three of them made their way back to Jennifer's car, Michelle sitting in the back half listening to the conversation between Jennifer and Orli, her mind still on Billy leaving. If she never heard from him again, it wouldn't be such a bad thing, would it? At least she had gotten a brief fun time out of it.

"Michelle? Are you okay?" Jennifer asked, bringing her back to reality. She saw that they were parked in front of her house again.

"Oh yeah, sorry. Just dozed off there for a minute. Thanks for the ride!"

"Michelle, do you want to come over for a while? Take a hot shower?"

"No, that's okay. The power is probably back on by now. You two have fun!" she said, pushing her way out of the car as she talked.

Giving them a forced smile and a wave, Michelle turned and hurried back into her now lonely house. She closed the door and swore she smelled Billy there. Shaking her head at her own silliness, she realized the power was indeed back on and turned the heat up to ward off the cold. After making a quick mug of hot chocolate, she went upstairs, intent on washing her sheets so she didn't dream of Billy all night long.

When she did, Michelle was surprised to find an envelope there with her name on it. Her heart speeding up again, she sat on the edge of the bed to read it.

"Michelle, Thank you for the time you let me spend with you. Unfortunately, it wasn't long enough. I don't know if you felt something click between us, but I did. I hope you wouldn't mind if I called you or even e-mailed you occasionally, even if you only want to stay friends. I could use a friend. I hope you could, too. Love, Billy"

Michelle saw the number he left, as well as his e-mail address, and her heart lifted for the first time since she had watched him walk down that ramp. Maybe there was something to hope for after all…

 

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