Spice & Raspberry Wine
Part Three
by sarAdora


9:30 PM - The next night
Hoover Building

Eric wanted to get to the gym before 10 PM. He didn't know what time Morgan usually arrived for her workout, but he didn't want to take a chance and miss her. The gym was still humming, more than a few agents and other personnel were in the middle of their exercise routines. The gym was open to all FBI personnel and their families. He wondered how Morgan fit in. He didn't think she was married. Maybe she's a secretary. He sighed heavily. If she was, this wasn't his smartest move. He had meant to check her out in the FBI computer database but was called into an urgent meeting with the deputy director as soon as he arrived this morning and had been busy all day. Morgan Woodehouse, he remembered, Have to look up her name tomorrow.

He started his warm-up, stretching muscles, deep breaths, slow bends, and a few squats. By the time he was ready for a serious workout, the gym had almost emptied. Just a few stragglers. Eric eyed them, correctly assuming they were in the final stages of their workouts. Good. They'll be gone soon. She should be here any minute.

10:15 PM
He pulled his boxing gloves off, stepped back and took a giant swig of water. Grabbing a towel, he wiped the sweat off his face and then poured the rest of the water over his scalp. He shook his head, the water spraying everywhere and wiped his eyes. When he removed the towel, she was standing in front of him, an impish smile on her face.

"Where'd you come from?" he smiled, thinking he probably looked like an idiot and sounding worse. He thought she was a lot more attractive when she smiled. "I never heard you approach." He peered down at her.

She liked the sound of his voice. It was a rich deep voice and it seemed to rumble. She grinned. "I guess I'm pretty good at walking quietly. I didn't expect to see you this evening, Mr. Cleveland." She took a step back. "Did I remember to thank you for last night?"

She's nervous. Eric nodded. He casually stepped away from her and finished wiping his wet face and neck. "Thank me? Not necessary. Didn't do anything. Was glad to wait until you finished and it's not Mr. Cleveland, it's Eric." He stepped over to the treadmill. "Going to do it again?"

"Yes," she said, relieved. "I am."

"Good, I'll workout with you."

"I thought... didn't you just finish?"

"I'll do a little more. That okay?"

"Of course. I'm... I'll just warm up first." She moved to the treadmill and walked at a normal pace and then a little faster for 15 minutes, the same as she had done the night before. Eric used the treadmill next to hers and remained silent. When she began jumping rope, he joined her again, jumping/skipping lightly, never pausing or faltering.

He isn't even breathing hard, Morgan thought.

Who cares? Her conscience smirked. Look at that body! Woof!

She smiled. He is devilishly handsome.

Handsome? Her conscience laughed. I'm more interested in those hard muscles, those broad shoulders, those yummy thighs, that... I bet he's hard all over.

The naughty thought startled her and she tripped on the rope that suddenly entangled her feet and fell hard.

He was at her side immediately. "You okay?" he asked, his hands cupping her shoulders. "Are you hurt?"

She looked up into his warm brown eyes and saw genuine concern. It surprised her and so did the feel of his hands on her shoulders. It didn't alarm her; she felt... His hands are warm, she thought. Warm and gentle.

"Are you all right?" he asked again.

"Yes," she murmured. "Just a little clumsy."

"Let me help you up," he offered, extending a hand.

"Thanks," she said, surprised how easily he helped her to her feet.

Eric thought she looked a little unsteady and suggested she take a five minute break.

"Only five minutes," she teased.

"Only five," he growled, placing his hands on his hips and glaring at her.

Morgan was startled, not realizing he was teasing her.

"Oh," she said softly, taking a step back.

Idiot! I'm a fucking idiot. I scared her. "I was teasing you," he said softly, stepping away from her, wondering again what had happened to make her afraid of him.

Don't be so damn skittish, her conscience snapped. Relax. I'm trying! Gimme a break.

He moved to the mat just as she did and they collided, making Morgan jump again. Eric put a hand on her arm, holding it and spoke softly. "I'm not going to hurt you. You don't have to be afraid. Please believe me."

She *was* afraid. But she wasn't afraid that he'd hurt her. She was afraid she'd hurt him.

~ End Part Three ~

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