Changes – Part Two

Davy stirred and sat up. "Petah?" He blinked and looked at the other bed, expecting it to be empty and wondering why he didn't hear the usual making-breakfast noises.

Peter was still in his bed, but instead of his usual teddy bear, he had his arms around Kayla. Both of them were buried up to their noses in the blankets.

"Petah!" he cried. "What's going on 'ere?"

Both sleepers opened their eyes blearily. Peter's looked blankly ahead of him.

"What?" he mumbled.

"What are you two doing in bed together? She was on the couch last night!"

Peter frowned and nuzzled Kayla's hair with his cheek. "I couldn't sleep," he said as if that explained everything.

"Wot's that got to do with this?" Davy gestured at the pair.

"You awake, Honey?" Peter asked, squeezing her slightly.

"Hmm..." Kayla snuggled down further into the bed. "Too early. Call me later."

Peter smiled and kissed her cheek. "You need to wake up, Kay. Davy's up and roaring."

Kayla's eyes shot open. "He's awake?" she whispered, a look of dread on her face.

"He wants to know why you're here," Peter explained patiently, holding her close.

"Yeah!" Davy concurred. "We left you on the couch, and I wake up and find you've taken the place of Petah's teddy bear!"

"This is not what it looks like, Davy," Kayla sputtered. "Tell him, Peter!"

"Davy, what do you think we've done?" Peter asked calmly, stroking Kayla's hair absently.

Davy gave them a knowing look. "Do I 'ave to spell it out for you, mate?"

"I wanna hear you say it.. make sure we're on the same page in the story." Peter's calm voice was deceptive... he was angry inside.

"You two are...are...sleeping together!" Davy yelled, voice rising in anger. "Or is it more than sleeping...?"

"No," Peter and Kayla chorused, then Peter went on, "We just sleep. It's the only way either of us can sleep now."

Davy looked thoroughly confused. "I don't get it - you mean you can't sleep unless..."

"Unless we're together." Kayla finished for him. "We don't know why, but ever since we were altered it's been this way."

"Even separate beds in the same room makes it impossible to sleep," Peter said. "She has to be in my arms."

"Man..." Davy shook his head. "Is there any other change we should know about?"

Peter frowned. "What do you mean?"

Davy looked pointedly at Kayla's left hand. "'Ow come she's wearin' the ring?"

Kayla looked at her hand, ring still firmly in place. She had no reason to wear it here, but it hadn't occurred to her to take it off. It seemed to ...belong there.

"You're still wearing it?" Peter whispered.

"I...guess I am." Kayla reached to remove it, but was stopped by Davy's voice.

"Are you sure that sleep is the only reason you two are sticking to each other like glue?" he asked. Looking at their faces, his mouth dropped open. "You two aren't...don't have...feelings for each other, do you?"

Peter buried his face in Kayla's shoulder-blade kissing ebony waves at the question. He felt his face flame. "You wanna tackle that one, Honey?" he whispered, kissing between her shoulder blades gently.

Wiggling away from Peter's searching lips, she looked Davy square in the eye. "To tell you the truth, Davy, we're not really sure. We know we can't sleep alone, and we know that we seem to have this attraction to one another that we can't fight. Take it for what you will. that's what we're doing"

Davy seemed startled by her admission. "'Ow did it 'appen?"

"We think that the aliens that altered us..." Peter sighed. "We think they programmed us when they did. So that now we can't be apart. It's almost like they forced an attraction on us."

"Cripes!" Davy muttered. "Me roommates are in love!"

Footsteps suddenly sounded on the spiral staircase and Micky's voice cried, "Hey, where is everyone?"

Kayla promptly pulled the sheets over her head. "Tell him to go away! I can't deal with the mouth this morning!"

Davy rose from his bed, heading for the door. "In 'ere, Micky," he called.

"Oh thanks ever so much," Peter snapped.

Micky walked into the room. "Some kind'a convention? Where's Kay? The bed's all rumpled out there, but I can't find hide nor hair of her!"

"Guess!" Davy grinned.

Micky scanned the room. He saw a suspicious bulge under Peter's covers and his eyes widened. "Kayla? What are you doing in ... in bed with Peter?"

Peter swore softly, shaking his head.

"Go away! There's no one here!" came Kayla's voice from under the covers.

Micky turned shocked eyes to Davy. "She's in bed with Peter!" he gasped.

"Ow do you think I felt, mate? I woke up, expecting to hear Peter fixing breakfast, and I see that!"

Micky's eyes turned back to the bulge. "You spent the night?"

"Go away, Micky," Peter sighed.

Micky turned back to Davy. "Please tell me she wasn't here all night..."

Davy grabbed him by the shoulders. Turning him toward the door, he gave him a shove. "C'mon, Micky. We've 'ad enough fun. Let's get out of here."

"Are they gone," Peter whispered.

Kayla poked her head out. "They're gone," she sighed. "Well, that was as bad as I thought it would be."

Peter rolled over and touched her lips lightly with his fingers. Then he pulled her into a sensual kiss. "Morning, Honey," he whispered into her mouth.

Kayla finally broke away. "Morning, Shotgun. I won't say it's a good one, but..."

"Agreed." He ran a hand through her hair. "It'll get easier, Kay. It has to... I don't know how to reverse this."

"I know. I just hope those two have gotten it out of their systems, although I seriously doubt it."

~~~~~~

When they all were dressed and eating breakfast, the talk turned to mundane topics.

Then, Peter sighed. "There's one thing about this entire situation that troubles me more than anything. Kay, if you can't play Black Beauty or the 12-string anymore... the band may be compromised."

There was silence for a moment, then Micky gasped, "Peter? I've never heard you talk like that before!"

Peter blinked at the sound of his voice. "What?"

Micky looked at Davy for help. "Have you ever heard him sound like that?"

"No, mate. What gives, Petah? You feel all right?"

Peter nodded, confused. "I'm fine, Davy." Then he grinned slightly, cracking, "Blind, but fine. What do you mean, I sound odd?"

"You sound...smarter, more serious," Davy elaborated. "Is that part of the change?"

"Yeah, it is," Peter said with a smile, standing up and finding the sink, putting his empty plate in it. "I got zapped by the beam that altered Kay... and then... well, I couldn't stop thinkin'... and I guess I got smarter."

"It's true," Kayla confirmed. "He's the one who figured out how to escape..."

"He figured it out?" Micky gaped. "How's you get outta there anyway?"

Kayla squirmed as she recalled exactly what ruse Peter had devised. "We...caused a distraction. When we were taken out of the room we made a break for it."

"Must've been some distraction... " Micky put in. "You're both redder than the proverbial beet!"

"It worked," Kayla said sternly. "That's all you need to know!"

"And... Peter was shot in the escape," Micky said softly.

"Yes I was," Peter said. "One of them hit me across the eyes with a laser beam. I know enough about lasers and the damage they do... I don't think the damage to my eyes is repairable."

Davy looked at Peter, brown eyes sad. "Are you sure, mate? Maybe a doctor..."

"And how are we gonna afford a doctor?" Peter countered.

"Peter's right." Kayla wandered over to the chaise, sitting on the end. "We don't even have the money for the rent - you sent it to us, remember? And we spent it getting home."

"The rent," Peter half-moaned, keeling backwards onto the couch, palms digging into his eyes. "Babbitt."

"We'll 'handle Babbitt," Davy said. "Micky'll think of something, won't you? And Petah, I'd still feel better if you saw a doctor."

Peter lowered his hands and sighed. "Davy, there's really no need. This is permanent, okay? Kayla's change is permanent, my intelligence is permanent, my blindness is permanent. This is who we are now."

"About that," Davy said. "It seems like... well, like now there's very little of Mike in that form! Like she's female inside as well as out!"

Peter shrugged. "Maybe she is."

Davy shook his head in frustration. "It's just so hard to understand. How can you be so accepting, Petah?"

"Easy," Peter said, smiling the humorless smile again. "I don't have a choice."

"Just like I don't" Kayla added.

"And like we all don't," Micky said, crossing the room and picking up the 12-string. "I'm gonna go ahead and run this to Mr. Carlson, see if he can go ahead and alter it. Kayla, why don't you see if you can still play Black Beauty, or if I have to have it altered as well?"

Kayla stood and walked to the riser, gingerly picking up the shiny black Gibson. Sitting down, she cradled it in her lap.

Please let me be able to play this, she thought. After what I sacrificed to buy this, I'll never be able to see it cut down. Raising her left hand, she quickly found the fingering for an F-chord, one of the most difficult for her to play.

She sighed in relief as she realized that the six-string was smaller than the other guitar. It was a stretch, but she would still be able to play, with some added practice. "It's all right," she said in wonderment. "I can still play Black Beauty!"

Peter closed his eyes, relief washing over him in waves. He knew what Mike had sacrificed to get that Gibson... and the relief that Kayla wouldn't have to see her beloved guitar butchered was an almost palpable thing.

"That's all right, then" Davy said. "Now, what about playing gigs. Are we even going to, I mean, with Petah blind and Kayla instead of Mike?"

Peter sat up. "Kay, work with me later. We'll rework some of the songs you sing lead on -- rewrite them so the lyrics reflect a female singer! And the ones that make no sense doing that, I'll sing!"

"You think you can handle an audience, Shotgun?" Kayla asked quietly.

"Long as you three don't let me fall off the stage!" came the cracked reply, delivered with a saucy wink. "Just don't dance around too much, and you'll be fine!"

Kayla laughed, happy that Peter seemed willing to try working again, despite everything.

Peter's smile vanished. "Honey, you're the one I worry about," he said. "Are you up for an audience?"

Kayla bit her lip, thinking before she replied. "I don't really know," she admitted. "It's gonna be...different...that's for sure. One thing I do know, though. I've worked too long and too hard at this to just give up now."

Micky came back into the Pad at that moment. "Carlson said he should have it ready for us by morning." A grin split his face. "He said we don't have to cut her down at all. Said different strings are all she needs -- slimmer strings to fit your fingers."

"That's that, then," Kayla said, relief flooding visibly through her. "Peter and I will work on the songs tonight. Then we need to see about getting work, before Babbitt really does come over."

"Songs?" Micky frowned at Davy.

"They're gonna re-work Mike's songs, so a girl can sing them," Davy explained.

"Oh." Micky sighed and moved to the drums. "How's Black Beauty?" he asked.

Kayla clenched the instrument possessively. "Fine," she said. "I can play her with no trouble."

"Great!" Micky whooped. "How's about we jam a little... see how the four of us sound now?"

"Sounds good to me," Peter said, standing up and carefully making his way to the bandstand. Davy grabbed his maracas, while Kayla talked to Peter, leading him with her voice.

When they were finally together on the bandstand, she looked at them all. "Do you guys mind if we start off with one of Micky's? I wanna work my way into this slowly."

Peter ran his hands over the keyboard, plucking notes seemingly at random. He paused, his fingers hovering over the keys --- then he counted off aloud and struck the opening notes of "I'm a Believer."

Kayla concentrated on playing, frown wrinkling her forehead as she gave it her full attention. Halfway through the song, she smiled as she relaxed and began to enjoy the music.

Until in the left-handed solo, Peter hit a horrible clinker.

The music stopped cold. Kayla stood stock still, fingers still poised on the frets. "Peter?" she asked. "What happened? You never miss that solo!"

Peter stood, frozen. His mouth worked, but no sound came out. Finally, he choked out, ".... I... I couldn't... I couldn't see the keys....my hand slipped..."

"Petah, we don't 'ave to do this now..." Davy began.

"Peter." Kayla shrugged the guitar off, placing it back in its stand. "He's right. Why don't we wait a while, and pick this up later?"

Peter just stood there. He'd begun to tremble. "Kay..." he whimpered, sounding like he had before his transformations. "Kay... I'm blind..." And he began to cry.

Kayla motioned to Davy and Micky. "Give us a minute, okay?"

Micky nodded, and the pair slipped quietly out to the beach.

"Peter." Kayla stood behind him, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist. "Talk to me. Don't hold back..."

He moved faster than she thought possible. He whirled in her arms and pulled her close, crushing her to him. He lowered his head and buried it in her shoulder, the sobs wracking him so hard they both thought for an insane moment they would rip him in two. Peter had had to work so hard at adjusting to being blind, he'd never yet had time to grieve for his loss of sight.

"I wish I could make it go away, Shotgun," Kayla whispered.

He raised up and chewed on his lower lip, trying to make the sobs stop. Peter caressed her cheeks, and found to his shock they were wet. "You... you're c-c-cryin' too..."

"So I am." She reached up to feel the evidence for herself. "I wonder what they're for...you, me, or this whole damned situation..."

"What do you think they're for?" he asked softly.

"All of the above?" Kayla smiled slightly. "I think we're entitled."

"I think so too." Peter held her tightly, as the last of the sobs erupted from him.

"So," Kayla sniffed, wiping at the last of the tears. "What now?"

"Well... we could stand here in each other's arms all day... I could kiss you.... or I could practice. " He smiled. "Which do you think I should do, Honey?"

"As tempted as I am by the first two, I think we should practice - both of us."

He pulled back slightly. "Tempted?" he whispered.

Kayla shut her mouth with a snap as his words hit home. Where had that come from? "I shouldn't have said that."

"No... I'm glad you did... You really are tempted to just... and for me to...."

Kayla shrugged. One if the things that hadn't changed was Mike's - and now Kayla's - truthfulness. "Yes," she affirmed simply.

He used her words as a guide, pulling her even closer and following the sound of her voice to kiss her full on the lips. Unlike his previous ones, this one did not end quickly.

Minutes - or was it hours - later, they both came up for air. "Whoa, Shotgun!" Kayla said. "That was..." She stopped, unable to come up with the right word.

"...incredible," Peter gasped, tangling his fingers in her hair. "Simply incredible..."

Unable to deny it, Kayla just stood there. Facing the bay window, she let out a groan as she spotted Micky and Davy making their way back to the Pad.

"What is it?" Peter asked, pulling her collar aside and nibbling slightly on her neck.

"Company." Kayla jumped as he hit a particularly sensitive spot. "Davy and Micky are coming up the beach."

Peter moaned and lay his head on her shoulder, giving her a quick hug from behind before releasing her and moving slowly back toward the keyboard. He began the solo part again, at half-tempo, till his fingers knew once more what to do. Under his breath, he mumbled, "They have the worst timing..."

"No comment!" Kayla said sarcastically, picking up the guitar again. By the time Micky and Davy walked in the door, only her slightly flushed features gave any clue as to what had just happened.

Peter licked his lips and turned toward the sound of the opening door. "Davy? Mick? Is that you? I think I'm ready to try Believer again," he finished, lightly stroking the keys with sensitive fingertips.

"Smashing!" Davy replied.

This time the song went flawlessly.

"That sounded pretty good, Peter," Kayla complimented.

"Thanks," he said. "Maybe I can do this after all...."

"You can!" Kayla's no-nonsense tone brooked no arguments. "Don't ever doubt it!"

Micky lay his sticks down. "I have a question for you two. Can you really not sleep at all unless he's holding you?"

Kayla rolled her eyes. Trust Micky to not be able to let that go. "It's true, Mick." she confirmed. "Is that going to be a problem?"

For answer, Micky just smiled and looked at Davy. "Shall we tell them? Or let them find out tonight?"

Davy merely smiled. "Your call, man."

Micky smiled. "We got to talking on the beach, and we decided that since that was the case... Davy's going to move upstairs with me and we're gonna push the twins together in the downstairs bedroom. Give you two some privacy and more room."

"I don't believe you two!" Kayla exploded. "You discussed sleeping arrangements on the beach! What else have you decided for us?"

"Whoa!" Micky snapped, holding up his hands. "We just thought you two are in a tight spot, and we're tryin' to make it easier! We're only tryin' to help!"

Kayla stared at the floor. Finally, she said very quietly, "If I didn't believe that was true, Dolenz, you'd both be in trouble."

Peter hadn't spoken. He just moved around Davy to her side, taking her once more in his arms, lending her his gentle strength.

Micky looked at Davy and nodded toward the downstairs bedroom. They exited quickly, going to put their discussion into action and shove the beds together to make a full-sized one.

Peter raised his head. "I think we're alone," he whispered.

"They're in there pushing those damned beds together," Kayla observed.

"They're only trying to help out."

"That's the only reason I let them live!"

Peter grinned as his lips closed on hers again. Pulling back, he whispered, "I think I'm becoming as addicted to your kisses as I am to holding you."

"Keep that thought," Kayla whispered. "Little pitchers have big ears, and they're bad enough already!"

He chuckled and hugged her tightly. "I love you, Kay."

"I don't suppose you'll let me go without saying it back," Kayla observed wryly.

Peter released her and took a step backward, smiling impishly.

"Hey!" Kayla stepped back to him, taking his hands and replacing them around her waist. "You're not supposed to let me off the hook that easily!"

"Well?" he asked.

"Love you, too, Shotgun." She pushed him away this time. "I'm gonna go check on those two. I'm not sure Micky even knows how to make a bed."

Peter sank onto the bandstand laughing. "Hurry back, Honey," he gasped, wiping tears.

~~~~~~~

After practice, Peter and Kayla went for the first of what would become routine walks on the beach as the sun set. They discussed the programming and each wondered how far it went, and how they were supposed to resist it.

When they returned, they were both surprised to find no dinner waiting. "I don't smell anything cooking," Peter frowned. "What's going on?"

"We were waitin fer 'er!" Davy said, pointing at Kayla.

"Whatever for?" Kayla sent him a puzzled look.

"Well," Micky said, looking confused... it was perfectly obvious wasn't it? "We were hoping you'd cook."

"It's your night, Davy," Peter pointed out.

"But she's the girl," Davy retorted.

"So?" Kayla's eyes widened as she looked at Davy's expectant face. "What's that got to do with it?"

"So," Micky said, spreading his hands. "Peter can't see to cook, and neither of us is much good at it... so that leaves you."

"To quote Davy, 'you must be joking!' You know I cook even worse than you two!"

"Yeah, but we thought... since you're a girl now..." Micky bit his lip.

Kayla threw up her hands in disbelief. "You think that since I'm female, I automatically become some kind of Suzy Homemaker?"

Davy and Micky didn't answer, but the looks they shot each other confirmed it.

Peter couldn't restrain the chuckle at her words.

"Don't you start!" Kayla led Peter to the kitchen table.

"Sorry... the mental picture that phrase painted...." He gave up and laughed outright.

Kayla grinned. "At least you're not picturing the miniskirt again!"

"That's what you think!" he giggled. "A little French maid costume..." He clutched his stomach with one hand and wiped his eyes with the other as the guffaws rocked him once more.

"Stupid aliens created a monster!" she muttered, turning red.

"Me?" Peter asked, gaining some control.

"Yeah you! One alien kidnapping and you've suddenly got a one-track mind!"

"Wot's all this about a miniskirt?" Davy asked, curiosity vivid on his face.

"I just got to thinkin' before we went shopping what she'd look like in a miniskirt... and I've been teasin' her about it ever since," Peter was sitting up now, still wiping his eyes from the laughter-induced tears.

The look on Davy's face was priceless. Looking Kayla up and down, his expression turned thoughtful. "You know, I'm beginning to see wot you mean..."

"So am I..." Micky said, almond eyes huge.

Kayla closed her eyes, clenched fists at her sides. "I'll kill them, I swear I will!" she said under her breath. "They deserve it..."

"We do not," Peter said, all seriousness. "All teasin' aside... Kay, I've seen you.. I remember what you look like... you have gorgeous legs."

"Yeah, yeah. And I'm beautiful and gorgeous and all those other things you keep calling me." Kayla wrapped her arms around herself. "Just don't expect me to be some sort of fashion doll. It's all I can manage to deal with the body right now. I don't wanna think about how it affects you guys."

Three faces went ash-white. They'd never thought about how this must be tearing her up inside....

Peter stood up and moved to her side, wrapping his arms around her waist. "Kay, honey, I'm sorry."

"I didn't mean to snap at you," Kayla apologized. "This is just so hard..."

"Don't worry about it, luv," Davy replied. "We shouldn't 'ave teased you like that."

"I'm sorry too, Kayla," Micky said softly, laying a hand on her slender shoulder. "What do you say I make supper?"

"Tell you what," Kayla said. "Let's put this to the test. I mean, maybe you guys are right. Maybe I can cook better now. Anyway, at least let me make up for my lousy disposition."

"You sure, Honey?" Peter asked, concern evident on his face...

And Kayla was jolted at the realization that she could no longer read his eyes to gauge his feelings! His blinded eyes were lifeless, a dull brown. "Peter!" she whispered, stunned and shocked. They'd all grown accustomed to Peter's openness. One of his charms was that you always knew where you stood with him - no pretense in him.

How would that change now, when they couldn't tell his emotions at a single glance?

"What?" he gasped, stiffening, concern deepening in his expression. The eyes remained unchanged. "What is it... Honey, what's the matter? You're trembling!"

"Your eyes!" Seeing Peter's face immediately close up, she elaborated. "It's not what you think, Peter. I'm just so used to being able to read you like a book. It threw me when I realized that I can't see all those emotions in your eyes..."

After a long moment when no one spoke, he whispered, "What do you see in my eyes, Kay?"

"It's more what I don't see...your laughter, happiness, sadness...all the things I've come to expect when I look at you."

Peter's face went completely blank, devoid of emotion whatsoever. "Oh."

Micky took an involuntary step back at the eerie sight of a completely unreadable Peter Tork. Stunned beyond words, he tried to force words past his closed throat, but nothing at all emerged.

"It's really strange, Petah." Davy cast his fellow Monkees a sad look. "You were always so..." Davy stopped. He, too, found it impossible to express what he was feeling.

"So what?" Peter asked, expression stone.

"Open, I guess," Davy answered. "You could never hide how you felt - all we 'ad to do was take one look at you. Now we can't do that."

Peter nodded slightly. "Kay, do they reveal any emotion at all? My eyes I mean..."

Kayla laid a gentle hand on his sandy hair. "Not really. They just look blank...empty..."

"...blind," Peter finished in a whisper. He released her and turned away, groping for obstacles as he moved swiftly to the downstairs bedroom. The slamming of the door behind him seemed to shake the entire Pad.

Kayla immediately started to follow him, only to be restrained by Davy's hand on her arm. "Let 'im go," he instructed.

"No, you let me go!" Kayla retorted. "He needs to talk..."

"E needs some time alone," Davy countered. "Listen. You two have been together nearly constantly since all this 'appened. He needs some time alone to think this through."

"Davy's right," Micky said. "You two have been joined at the hip since this started. He need space, Kay."

"Maybe you're right," Kayla sighed. "I just hate to see him like this..."

"We all do," Davy said. "But sometimes being alone can help you deal with things a little better. Petah's got to accept 'is blindness, and we can't do that for 'im."

"I know that. I just wish there was some way I could help him..." Kayla gazed at the closed door. It was taking all her willpower not to go in there and comfort him.

"So do we," Micky whispered.

And a loud scream of frustration erupted from behind the closed door.

"Peter!" Kayla pulled away from Davy, rushing to the bedroom and flinging open the door.

Peter sat curled on the far side of the newly double bed, his knees to his chest. His head was buried in them and he was rocking back and forth, moaning in misery.

Kayla ran to his side. Kneeling beside him, she took his head on her shoulder. "Shhh.." she hummed in his ear. "It's gonna be okay, Shotgun."

In the doorway, Micky leaned over and whispered in Davy's ear, "Mike used to call all of us shotgun at one time or another... now Kay reserves that for him."

"I know." Davy eyed the pair on the bed. "And when 'e said it, it didn't sound like that."

"It's like... like when he calls her honey..." Micky's eyes went huge. "Dave, the term's become his nickname! Her ... her pet name for him!"

"That's rich, that is!" Davy sent Micky a mischievous look. "Pet names!" he snickered quietly.

Peter's shoulders were heaving with the force of his sobs. "Kay, will I ever get used to this? Will I ever get used to being blind? It hurts, Honey... it hurts!"

"I know," she soothed. "But I promise I'll help you any way I can. We all will." Kayla glared at Davy, who swiftly wiped the grin off his face.

"Honey..." He bit his lip and raised his head, gently touching her cheek. "Would you... would you do like you did before? Would ... would you be my eyes like you were on the road?"

"Just say the word. I promise help you see everything I can, even if it's just in words."

"The word is said," Peter said. He closed his eyes and buried his face in her shoulder again, winding his arms around her slender waist and pulling her into his lap.

Micky and Davy looked at each other, then back at the pair who were now completely oblivious to their presence.

"C'mon mate." Davy tugged Micky back toward the door. "They don't need us in 'ere."

Micky stared at them. "Dave.... I don't think they even know we're here."

Davy gave a frustrated sigh. "'Avent you got any manners, Micky? This is personal!"

Micky's face flamed and he stepped out, closing the door quietly.

Kayla held Peter for long minutes. Finally, his sobs began to quiet, and his breathing grew more regular. "Feel any better?"

"Some," he sniffled, wiping his nose on his sleeve. "I'm sorry I keep breakin' down..."

"Don't be. Like I said before, I think you're entitled. Besides, I'm not much better, bitin' everybody's head off."

Peter's saucy grin returned. "Well, I'm just chalking it up to PMS..."

"PM..." Kayla's puzzled look turned to outright disgust. "I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that!"

Peter suddenly turned serious again. "No kidding, though --- we do need to prepare for that little visitor...With four men livin' here there was no need, but it's different now."

"Oh, man..." Kayla flopped backwards onto the bed, hiding her face in her hands. "Why'd you have to remind me?"

Peter stretched out beside her, running a gentle hand down her cheek. "Because you have to face it," he said gently. His fingers encountered hers, and he sighed. "You are still wearing the ring!"

"I keep forgetting to take it off..."

His fingers curved around her hand. "Leave it there," he said in a whisper. "Please."

"Why is it so important to you?" she queried.

"It was my mom's... and she... she died right before I met you guys. I've searched for the right woman to give that to... please... I'm askin' you to keep it."

Kayla looked at his earnest face. He was vulnerable now, still adjusting to blindness. She couldn't hurt him by refusing so small a request. "All right."

His million-dollar smile shone like a ray of sunshine. "Thank you, Honey."

She shrugged off his thanks. "So. What do you want to 'see' first?"

"You. The guys..." He sat up. "Speakin' of which --- we never did get anything to eat!"

"Ugh...and I told them I would cook. What was I thinking?" Kayla stood, pulling him up by his hands. "Well, I guess there's no getting around it. Time to see if there's anything to the nature versus nurture theory! Any requests...not that I can make any guarantees, mind you."

Peter nodded. "Vegetable fajitas. I'll help you slice the peppers and onions...."

"Deal." Together they made their way out to the living room.

"Course I'll probably end up slicin' my finger off...." Peter said with a shrug and a slight grin.

"Don't even think about that!" Kayla shuddered. "Tell you what... how about I wash the vegetables and find where in the fridge Micky's stashed the tortillas instead? Safer that way..."

"Much! We don't need missing fingers, on top of everything else!"

A half hour later, Kayla was spooning the charcoal that had once been vegetables into the garbage can while Davy ordered pizza. "Well, I guess that settles that," Kayla commented. "I may look, walk and talk like Kayla, but I still cook like Mike!"

"Some things never change, huh?" Peter said, encircling her waist from behind. Blind or not, his arms could find her unerringly every time. "Well, look at the bright side," he cracked. "At least it wasn't Cream of Root Beer Soup."

"As I recall, even that was better than this." Kayla shook her head. "Sorry, guys. Looks like our dreams of home-cooked meals just went up in smoke. Literally."

"It's okay, Kayla," Micky said, breathing deeply from the open window. "We'll all get better... we have to, we can't afford pizza all the time!"

~~~~~~~

Hours later, they looked back at the day. All in all, Kayla thought, they'd managed pretty well. Now, with nighttime rapidly approaching, she struggled to hold back the yawns which were coming with increasing frequency.

"Kay's gettin' tired," Micky observed. He smiled at where Peter was sitting, on the couch, his arm around Kayla's shoulders. He was drooping. "So's Peter."

"Why don't you guys go to bed?" Davy said. "Micky and I aren't tired yet, so we'll straighten up and put the dishes away."

Peter let out a soft chuckle. "Micky straightening up," he giggled. "And me unable to see this minor miracle..."

"Hey!" Micky bellowed, making the other three laugh.

"I'll describe the whole thing to you!" Kayla promised him. "This ought to be good!"

Peter leaned his head onto her shoulder and she felt his lashes brush against her shirt as his eyes closed of their own accord.

"Or maybe not," she observed. "Peter, c'mon, wake up!"

"Mmm," was his only response. The emotional roller-coaster of a day had thoroughly worn him out.

"C'mon, luv." Davy went over to Peter. "I'll 'elp you get 'im to bed."

But the instant Kayla moved from Peter's arms, his head snapped up and his eyes opened. "Kay?" he gasped.

"I'm right here, Peter." Kayla frowned at his frantic tone.

"It's... true!" Micky gasped, staring at them. "He can't sleep unless...."

"Unless we're together," Kayla confirmed. "I think those aliens turned me into some sort of human teddy bear," she joked, trying to lighten the mood.

"Not that I'm complaining..." Peter said, grinning as Davy helped him to his feet. He gently pulled away from Davy and reached for Kayla to guide him.

"Let's get you to bed, Peter." Kayla started slowly for the bedroom. "You're out on your feet."

"Mmm..." he responded, weaving slightly as he leaned on her shoulders. "Guess so..."

Opening the door, Kayla went through first, Peter slightly behind her. They nearly stumbled as Kayla suddenly stopped, struck anew by the sight of the lone bed.

"What's the matter?" Peter gasped.

"I'd almost forgotten about that..." She shook her head, seeing Peter's confusion. "Nothing really."

"You... stopped.... you saw something that shocked you... what was it, Honey?"

"I'd just forgotten that Mick and Davy pushed the beds together. I opened the door expecting to see two twins, like always..."

"Oh," Peter said. He moved to the dresser which was thankfully still in its place and pulled his pajamas out. "I'll get changed and I'll see you in a few minutes." He moved for the door, heading for the bathroom across the living room. Unfortunately, fatigue was winning and he stumbled and swayed.

"Be careful, Peter!" Kayla ordered, watching as he barely missed tripping over a low end table.

He froze. "I can't do this," he whispered, turning back, face pleading, blind eyes dead. "I can't do this alone..."

Micky grabbed his arm and steered him into the bathroom, standing vigil till he was changed. Turning to Kayla, he said, "I'll handle him till he's back in the bedroom. YOU get ready for bed."

Kayla silently headed back to the empty bedroom, shutting the door behind her.

Rummaging through the drawers for her nightgown, she paused as she came across a familiar garment. A pair of Mike's silk pajamas. A slight smile teased the corners of her mouth as she fingered the soft material

I wonder if Peter would let me get away with these, she thought wryly. Throwing caution to the wind, she pulled on the pj's. They were miles too big, but she rolled up the pants legs and sleeves as best she could.

There came a rap on the door. "He's here," Micky called. "Night, you two."

The door opened and Peter staggered in. He was even more weavy than before, if that was possible. He shut the door and leaned against it. "Kay?" he whispered.

"Over here," came the soft reply. "By the dresser."

"M so tired..." He groped for where she was at, and his fingers impacted the material she wore. "You've changed."

"I found these in the drawer," she said by way of explanation. "Davy or Micky must have put Mike's things down here."

He smiled. "They're too big... you're eight inches shorter."

"So? They're comfortable, and I like them."

Peter's eyes were closing again and he swayed slightly. "I think... I think it's bedtime, Honey."

"Just take three steps straight ahead. That will put you right at the side of the bed."

Peter obeyed her directions, and was between the sheets in seconds. His eyes stubbournly refused to close right away, however.

"No dice, huh?" Kayla asked. He looked just like a child, too tired to hold his eyes open, but too stubborn to give in to sleep.

"No dice," he sighed. "Come on."

"One human teddy bear, at your service." Kayla sat on the edge of the bed, then slid under the covers.

Peter's arm snaked automatically around her waist. As he pulled her close, his lips brushed her cheek. "Night, Honey," he mumbled as his eyes finally slid closed.

"Night, Shotgun," Kayla answered, for what good it did. Peter was already dead to the world.

As it turned out, she wasn't far behind. Before more than a few minutes had elapsed, Kayla, too, was fast asleep, snuggled warmly in Peter's arms.

~~~~~~~

Peter felt the warmth of the sun on his face and opened his eyes. Alarm stabbed through him as darkness met his gaze, but then he remembered. It had only been a few days since he was blinded; of course he was not used to it completely yet.

He shifted position slightly, smiling as he inhaled the faint scent of strawberries emanating from Kayla's hair. As usual, she was curled up next to him, and his arm was around her waist.

He moved to move his arm, and found to his shock that he couldn't!

After a moment, he discovered the trouble. Kayla had moved during the night. Her right arm now lay on top of his, and their fingers were intertwined.

Smiling broader, Peter squeezed her fingers and leaned over slightly to brush his lips against her cheek. "Wake up, Honey," he whispered.

"Go 'way," Kayla muttered. "It's too early...."

"I'm up," Peter whispered. "Meaning you can't sleep either."

Kayla moaned, blinking at the morning light. "All the people in the world, and I'm stuck with a morning person."

Peter chuckled then squeezed her fingers again. "You linked our hands last night," he said softly.

"I did?"

"When we went to sleep I was just holding you. Now your arm is on top and our fingers are linked." He proved his point by gently squeezing them again.

Kayla lay silent for a moment. "Peter...I ...just don't place any motives behind that, okay? I was asleep."

"No motives placed, Honey. Just felt... kinda nice, that's all."

She studied their hands, her smaller, paler fingers twined with his. "I guess so..."

He disentangled his fingers and sat up, trying to fingercomb his flyaway locks into some semblance of order. "Time to hit the showers I guess." He moved to the closet and opened the door, then lowered his hands and sighed, muttering a curse under his breath.

"Want some help?" Kayla asked, joining him.

"Love some," he said with that killer smile. "And we need to scrape some money together and get you some more clothes... or get some of Mike's altered...."

Kayla picked an outfit, this time an orange striped sweater and black jeans. "Let's talk to Mrs. Purdy," she suggested. "She sews, and, to be honest, I'm not ready to shop yet."

"After we get dressed, then, let's consider it a date!.... er, an appointment! Sorry." The grin turned sheepish.

Kayla turned him in the direction of the door, giving him a gentle shove. "Just take your shower," she ordered. "You know the way."

"Yep." He turned slightly and grinned. "And you don't even have to help this time --- I remember where the towels are!"

Kayla's face softened with pride. "You're learning fast. But yell out if you need anything, and I'll send Davy or Micky in."

"Gotcha." He was halfway through the living room before he turned back. "Kay? Would you get breakfast? I'd make a mess with the cereal..."

"No problem," she answered. Good thing they all liked cereal for breakfast, because she was not attempting to cook again!

Why had she agreed to cook that first time anyhow? She thought once she was alone. What in the world had possessed her lately? Since New Mexico, she had noticed her reactions, her thoughts, her words and behavior... they were changing. "Mike" was vanishing.

It scared the hell out of her.

Fifteen minutes later, Peter emerged from the bathroom toweling his blonde hair, a towel firmly around his waist. "Kay?" he sang out, trying to establish her position.

"Over..." Kayla's voice died out as she saw what exactly he wasn't wearing. She cleared her throat. "Over here, Peter."

His smile was sheepish and his face reddened with every word. "I ... uhm... left my clothes in our bedroom."

"I'll get them," Kayla answered faintly. Hastily retreating to the bedroom, she grabbed the clothes he'd left on top of the dresser, ignoring the red-faced reflection of herself in the mirror. Venturing back out, she handed the garments to Peter. "Here you go."

"Thanks." He took them, accidentally brushing her wrist. His eyes widened. "A silk robe too?"

Kayla grinned. "Apparently you never realized how much Mike liked silk!"

"And apparently it carried over."

She chose to ignore that comment. "Go get dressed," she said. "You'll catch your death, standing around like that."

He chuckled and went back into the bathroom, kicking the door closed behind him. It swung open again, and she got an unexpected view before he slammed it shut. "Sorry!" he yelled.

Kayla stood there, stunned. That was not the way she'd planned on starting the day! Trouble was, she wasn't quite sure it had been an accident... "Sure, Peter," she grumbled.

Minutes later, he came out fully dressed sans shoes, his blonde hair streaming damp against his face. "Your turn," he smiled, slowly moving toward the hamper to dump the wet towels, then toward the kitchen.

"Table's straight ahead," Kayla's voice guided him. "Bowl and spoon at your usual spot."

He nodded. His fingers brushed the edge of the table and he sat down, finding his spot and the cereal. Smiling, he managed his own milk and asked Kayla if she'd made tea or coffee yet.

"Water's on for tea," she replied. After that little floor show of Peter's, she was too jumpy for coffee.

"Fanks, fon..." he said, mouth full.

When the kettle finally came to boil, she took down Peter's favorite mug, and, finding a teabag in the cupboard, filled the cup with hot water to steep. Setting it by Peter, she made her way to the bedroom. "I'm going to take that shower now," she stated. "And watch that tea - it's hot."

He nodded, mouth full of corn flakes.

Five minutes later, Kayla stepped into her shower, closing her eyes against the sight of the still-alien form she now wore. She leaned against the tile, sighing heavily as the morning's events replayed themselves.

Suddenly Kayla heard a crash and a shriek of pain.

Quickly shutting off the water, Kayla jumped out of the shower. Grabbing the robe, she struggled to pull it on over wet skin. Still dripping, she ran out to the living room. "Peter...what's wrong?" she gasped.

He was standing in the middle of the kitchen, tears of pain streaming from his eyes. "I .... I tried to refill my cup..." The teakettle was on the floor and there was a dark patch spreading on the floor. His hand was fiery red and soaking wet.

Hastily going to Peter's side, Kayla took his injured hand in hers. "C'mon," she said, pulling him toward the kitchen sink. "Let's get this into some cold water." Shaking her head, she muttered under her breath, "Of all the dumb things to do..."

She'd forgotten about his keen hearing. Tears sprang to his eyes again. "I'm sorry... I just thought I could do it myself..."

Turning on the cold water, Kayla stuck the reddened hand into the soothing stream. "I know, Peter," she soothed. "Someday you will be able to do that - and most other things - for yourself again. But for now, you still need to ask for some help." She emphasized her words with a quick hug. "How bad is it?"

"It hurts." He frowned. "Kay, will I ever adjust?"

"Peter, how can we not adjust - both of us?" Kayla sighed softly. "All I can tell you now is that I'll do everything in my power to help you."

Peter turned and hugged her --- then his eyes went wide with surprise. "Uhm... Kay...." He looked down at her as if he could see.

Kayla looked up at him when he stopped speaking so suddenly. "Peter?"

His hands moved around her waist, and his face went blood-red. "You... were still in the shower, huh..." he whispered in a very choked voice.

Kayla laughed out loud at the look on his face. "Now you know how I felt!" Pulling herself free, she grabbed his hand. "This looks a lot better, now." Patting it gently, she placed it back at his side. Still chuckling to herself, she went back to the bathroom. "See you later, Shotgun!" she teased, shutting the door behind her."

~~~~~~~

Minutes later Peter walked into the upstairs bedroom bellowing, "RISE AND SHINE!"

Micky groaned and burrowed under the covers.

Davy squinted at his alarm clock. "Petah, it's 8am!"

"Kay and I have been up for an hour and a half!" Peter laughed.

"Shut up!" Micky bellowed, half-sobbing. "Lemme sleep!"

"Yeah!" Davy concurred. "Come back in a couple of hours!"

Peter sighed. He walked over to the first bed he came to -- Davy's -- and yanked the covers off. Then he moved to the other one and dumped Micky into the floor.

Both reared up roaring.

Peter, however, had already gone to the doorway and was heading down the stairs. "I think they're mad," he grinned, hoping Kayla was in the living room.

She was, having just come out of the bathroom, fully dressed in a pair of Mike's jeans and a shirt, the cuffs of both rolled up several inches. "What did you do? she asked curiously.

Peter told her, moving toward the sound of her voice and without quite thinking about it, taking her in his arms. "What do you say we go get some clothes to take to Mrs. P?"

"I think we'd better," Kayla replied. "I look like somebody's poor relation!"

~~~~~~~

Mrs. Purdy opened the door and smiled broadly. "Oh, Peter! Welcome! And who's your lady friend?"

Peter smiled. "This is Kayla.... Mike's sister."

"Come in come in... Oh it's nice to meet you, my dear girl! Yes, I can see the resemblance...."

Kayla looked at Peter. Sister! Shaking her head, she smiled at their neighbor. "Nice to meet you, Mrs. Purdy."

Mrs. Purdy smiled. "What can I do for you... Kay, is it?"

"Well..." Kayla began. "I was wondering if you could alter some of Mike's clothes to fit me. The airline lost my luggage, you see..." Kayla stopped, letting the older lady draw her own conclusion.

"I see...." Mrs. Purdy looked over the black shirt, the eight-button shirts they wore in gigs, the suit... the jeans... "I'm certain I can... let me take your measurements, and...." She stopped. "All your luggage? Even your... unmentionables?"

Kayla looked at Peter, unsure how to answer that.

"Afraid so, Mrs. P," he said. "And her bathing suit."

"Well!" Mrs. Purdy huffed. "We can't have that!" She fished in her purse and pulled out over a hundred dollars. "Go take this and buy what you need! Let me take your measurements, and I'll work on the alterations while you get some underclothes!"

Kayla backed away, holding up her hands in protest. "We can't take your money!"

"You can and you will. I insist!" For emphasis, she tucked the money into the pocket of the blue flannel shirt. "Now come on and let me get your measurements! Peter, sit down and read a magazine or something...we'll be right back!"

Peter's face fell. But he didn't say a word. Mrs. P grabbed Kayla by the wrist and literally drug her away.

Kayla followed the other woman to the bedroom, casting a concerned glance at Peter.

"Now..." Mrs. P. said, digging through her box. "Drop that shirt and jeans and let me get a good measure."

"What!" Kayla squeaked, holding the shirt close to her body.

"You heard me. I need to get an accurate measure of your figure and I can't with you wearing your brother's clothes. Off with them."

Kayla slowly complied. By the time she was ready, her face was flaming with embarrassment.

"Come on, love... it's nothing I've not seen before." She took the tape. "Arms out from your sides." As Kayla complied, she wrapped the tape around her chest and mm-hmmed, then moved down to her waist and hips, then measured her legs, arms and shoulders. "Done. You can get dressed now."

Kayla dressed faster than she'd thought possible. Fastening the last of the shirt buttons, she asked, "So, what's the verdict - can Mike's clothes be altered enough to fit me?"

"They certainly can!" Mrs. P. smiled. "Just a matter of taking out the seams and re-sewing a few here and there. The shirt hems don't have to be altered too much... I can make miniskirts out of these with no trouble at all...."

"Please," Kayla groaned. "No miniskirts!"

"No?" She frowned. "Not even one? You've the perfect figure for them... tall and slender..."

Kayla thought quickly. Inspiration struck her, and she grinned broadly. "Well, you see Mrs. Purdy, I don't think I should wear things like that when I'm at the Pad - Mike says Davy cant be trusted around girls, and I really shouldn't tempt him..."

"Nonetheless," the older woman said, wagging a finger at her, "I'm going to make one miniskirt for you in case you change your mind. Now... which shirt should I alter for that...."

Kayla started to argue, but thought better of it. "I'll let you choose," she said disinterestedly.

"Thank you." Mrs. P. smiled and lay an arm around Kayla's shoulders, and froze as they entered the living room. "Peter, dear, you haven't moved a muscle this entire time?"

"I'm... afraid to, Mrs. P. You've got so many breakables..."

"I don't understand."

Kayla walked over to Peter, lending him her support. "Peter is blind, Mrs. Purdy," she explained. "He doesn't know where everything is here, so..."

Her face had turned ashen. "Blind? Oh my heavens... and I told you to read a... Oh, Peter I'm so sorry..."

"It's okay, Mrs. P. You didn't know."

"How?"

"I was shot."

She frowned. "And Kay... you're his eyes?"

"I'm trying very hard to be," Kayla replied. "But I'm not doing a very good job. I'm sorry, Peter."

He took her hand and squeezed it. "You do just fine, Kay. Now let's go get that stuff and let Mrs. P. do her stuff, all right?"

"Give the saleslady this, okay?" Mrs. P. handed Kayla a piece of paper. On it were her measurements. "She'll be able to help you faster this way."

Kayla took the paper. Folding it, she stuffed it into the shirt pocket that held the money. "I really appreciate this."

"No problem. And, Michael... I don't understand how or why you did what you did... but you make a lovely woman." With a smile and a wink, she vanished back into the bedroom.

Kayla's jaw hit the floor. "SHE KNOWS!"

"How?" Peter gasped, his jaw wide open. "How in the world... unless... Kay, did you have to undress for her?"

"Well of course! but I still don't see..." Kayla's words halted. "You mean..."

"Yes!" Peter gasped. "As Mike, she had to take your measurements too... when she made our original eight-button shirts! She must have remembered the scars and birthmarks....if they survived intact...."

"They did," Kayla confirmed. "Do you think she'll tell anybody?"

Peter grinned. "Has she ever told anybody about the time she saw the horse in our house?"

"Noooo..." Kayla grinned. "As I recall, she kept passing out!"

Peter laughed. "Want me to go with you to the store? I can't give much of an opinion on looks, but I can be there for moral support... and I don't think Davy or Micky is quite ready for that chore yet."

She considered his offer, then shook her head. "I think I'd rather go alone, Peter. Besides, you should work on memorizing the layout of the Pad. Once you've got it down, you won't have to rely on us to guide you."

"All right." He leaned over and kissed her, holding her close before releasing her. "I love you, Honey. See you later, then."

"See you later," she echoed.

~~~~~~~

The department store was an ordeal. The unfamiliar garments were painful to put on – not so much physically as emotionally. Kayla felt with every one she tried on, every one she bought, "Mike" was vanishing more and more behind the female she now was. While she was waiting for the saleslady to return, she wandered aimlessly through the ladieswear section, finding herself at the dresses. She fingered one of the silken sleeves, and found herself wishing Peter could be able to see so he could see her in it...

She froze. "What the hell...." she gasped, her eyes widening. I can't wear a dress! She thought.

Yes you can, came another unbidden thought. You're a chick. Chicks wear dresses.

Her chocolate colored eyes widened slightly more, and to her horror they filled with tears. I AM a chick, she thought miserably. A chick who's falling in love with her best friend...

Kayla ran to the bathroom and locked herself in a stall till she could get herself under control again.

~~~~~~~

Mrs. Purdy waited on her porch until she saw the car roar up. "Kayla!" she cried, waving her arm. "Come here, child!"

Kayla picked up her shopping from the passenger seat, then trotted up the porch steps. "Hi, Mrs. Purdy."

"I have something for you," she said, grabbing her arm and dragging her inside. She held out a brick-red eight-button --- minidress. "Try this on for fit."

Kayla took the dress, holding it in front of her. "This is awfully short..."

"That's the style now," she said pragmatically. "Look... you're female now. You need to get used to wearing dresses. I'll turn the others into shirts as I promised... but I think this one would suit you. Try it on for fit."

Kayla sighed heavily, but went into the bedroom. Less than five minutes later, she returned in the dress. "I feel ridiculous!"

"You look beautiful." Mrs. Purdy handed her her shopping bags. "Now go home. I'll alter those clothes you left too."

Kayla rushed to change out of the dress, breathing a sigh of relief as she re-dressed in the jeans and shirt. Stuffing the dress in her shopping bag, she thanked Mrs. Purdy again, then walked back to the Pad.

Leaving Mrs. Purdy shaking her head. "I guess I won't alter those clothes..." she mumbled, grinning. "Can't with her wearing them..."

Peter looked up from his playing as he heard the door open. "Kay?"

"I'm back," she announced. "What are you up to?"

"Playing... trying to remember the bass parts by ear. Davy and Micky went for a walk on the beach. Did you get what you needed?"

"Yep." Refusing to elaborate on her purchases, she headed to the bedroom. "I'm just gonna put these away, then I'll be back out."

After a moment, he knocked on the door and walked in. "I heard Mrs. Purdy calling you," he said, moving around the bed. "What did she w--- What's this?" His fingers had hit the minidress she had thrown across the bed. Before she could answer, he picked it up and began to run his fingers over it, "seeing" it."

"Just one of the 8-button shirts," she hedged. "Mrs. Purdy had that one finished, and she wanted to give it to me."

Peter shook his head. "No, it's too long for a ---" His eyes widened. "Kay, is this a ---"

"Don't even say it!" Kayla fumed, grabbing for the dress. "I tried to talk her out of it, but she insisted."

But a grin was already spreading. "Try it on,” he said. "This I gotta see... so to speak."

"But Peter, you...oh no you don't, Shotgun!" Kayla tossed the dress away. "No way I'm gonna let you see me in that!"

"In what?" Micky asked from the doorway.

Before Kayla could say anything, Peter grinned and reported, "Mrs. Purdy made one of Mike's shirts into a miniskirt!"

"What?" Micky's eyes widened and he began to smile.

"Thanks a lot, Pete!" Kayla stormed across the floor, looking fixedly out the window.

"Just don't push it, all right?" Kayla turned from the window to look at Micky. "And no comments from the peanut gallery!"

"I'm outta here," Micky said with a grin. "I'll leave you two to your lover's spat."

"We're not lovers!" they chorused angrily.

"Sure," Micky said, grinning as he closed the door behind him.

Peter keeled over onto the bed. "Great."

Kayla sank to the edge of the bed, burying her face in her hands. "So what do we do now?" she asked. "You heard what he thinks!"

"That, combined with the way I feel about you..." Peter shook his head. "This is so confusing... and having to sleep with you every night doesn't help any...."

"We could always try to sleep apart again..."

"And you know as well as I do how that would end up," Peter chided.

"The same way it ended up every other night," Kayla sighed. "We really need to disabuse Micky of the idea that we're lovers, though."

"How?" Peter asked. His voice was a lifeless monotone.

Picking up on the tone, Kayla lifted her head to look at Peter. "What is it?"

Peter sighed. "Just sitting in the dark cursing the fact that lighting a candle won't help."

There wasn't any good response to that. Kayla simply leaned over to Peter, giving him a hug. They sat for a long while in companionable silence.

Then Peter ran his hands through her long ebony hair and sighed. "The worst part about being blind is that I can't see you."

"Yes you can," she countered. taking his hands, she lay them gently on her cheeks. "Tell me what you see, Peter."

His fingers skimmed her cheeks, her smaller nose, her closed eyes with their long lashes, her pouty mouth... Peter smiled. Whispering, he said, "I see the woman I've fallen in love with."

Taking his hands in hers, she squeezed them tightly. "You sure know how to charm a girl!"

His million-dollar smile shone out and he bent to kiss her softly on the lips. Then he pulled back. "You know.... Micky may not be so far off the mark after all."

"If I didn't know that was the truth, I'd argue with you," Kayla admitted. "But still, I don't like him presuming that because we sleep together, there must be something else going on!"

Peter pulled her to him, laying his cheek on top of her head. "I don't either, Honey. But what can we do? I can't hide the way I feel about you anymore than you can hide your gender."

"Still, he needs to know that we aren't lovers, " Kayla insisted. "I'm not saying we have to hide anything - just be truthful."

"Agreed."

Micky knocked and stuck his head back in. "Just to let you know --- Davy and I are going out for scouting... lookin' for gigs."

"Fine, Mick," Kayla said distractedly. "But we need to have a long talk when you get back."

"Fine." And he was gone.

Peter tilted his head. "They're pulling out... the Monkeemobile's got a cough."

"Sounds like she's missing," Kayla agreed. "Mick and I will take a look at it when they get back."

Peter suddenly grinned. "We're alone."

Kayla backed away. "I'm not sure I like that look, Peter!"

He laughed. "Sorry... didn't mean to look... hungry? Predatory?"

"That about sums it up! What are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking of how much I'd love to kiss you right now.

"Peter," Kayla groaned. "That isn't a good idea."

"Why not?" he asked. "We're alone... nobody walkin' in on us..."

"That's my point!" Kayla crossed her arms in front of her as if to shield herself. "We have too much chemistry, Peter, too strong a connection. What if we can't stop at just a kiss?"

Peter closed his useless eyes. "You're right," he said softly. "Oh my stars, what was I thinking?"

"No more than I was," she said. "But we have to be more careful about being alone together, or Micky will be right."

"Is it too soon to ask you to marry me?" he asked with a ghost of a smile.

"Huh?" Kayla shot him a look of utter confusion. "What did you say?"

Peter stood. "Look... you don't want to be lovers any more than I do. But we are joined at the hip now. We couldn't be apart if our lives depended on it. I don't want you to be my lover, Michaela.... I do want you to be my wife."

"This is gettin' too weird!" Kayla stared at the ceiling, mulling over his offer. "Peter, do you want to be married? she finally asked.

"All I know is thanks to those idiot aliens, I quite literally can't live without you." He sighed. "I'm sorry, Kay... where is my mind today?" He jammed his hands into his jeans pockets and turned his back.

"I didn't want to make you feel bad," she protested. "But a person should want to get married - not feel like they're being forced into it!"

"I want to," he whispered. "I love you..."

Kayla hung her head. "I can't give you an answer now, Peter, but..."

"But?"

"I won't turn you down out of hand, either. I will, however, promise to give it serious thought. That's all I can do for now."

Peter sighed. "That's all I'll ask then."

~~~~~~~~

Peter stood in the middle of the living room, tapping his foot impatiently and wishing for about the millionth time he could read Braille so that he could tell what time it was. "Will you hurry up, Kay? Cheezit, how long does it take to put on a bathing suit anyway?"

Kayla's voice came from behind the closed door. "No way! I'm not coming out in this! You can just go without me!"

"Kay, the guys are already down there! I can't see to find my way! You promised! Come on!"

Assorted mumbling accompanied the banging of the bedroom door. Kayla, swathed from head to toe in a terrycloth beach robe, entered the living room. "You owe me big time for this one!"

"You never did tell me what the suit looks like," Peter said with a grin, reaching out his hand.

"It's a bathing suit, Peter! What can I say about it? "

He rolled his useless eyes. "One piece, two piece, colour, straps or not...."

Kayla sighed. "One piece, black, one of those...Hell, Peter, I don't know what their called! It looks like a tank top."

Peter smiled at the image in his mind. "Straps then... Sounds very pretty, Kay."

"I don't know from pretty - I was just looking for coverage!"

He fingered the sleeve of the terrycloth cover. "Feels like you got it," he said with a sigh.

"Let's get this over with." Kayla led Peter to the door and down the steps to the beach.

"About time," Davy chuckled. "What, is there something programmed into an XX Chromosome that makes ladies late?"

"Can it, Davy!" Kayla said firmly. "We're here, aren't we?"

"Ye're gonna buhn up in that," Davy said, nodding at her robe. "Once Mick gets the bonfire goin'..."

"That's my problem." Kayla turned to Peter, effectively shutting Davy out. "So you're here. What do you want to do? Swim, walk, lie in the sand..."

Peter unzipped his red jacket and pulled it off, standing there in only his red trunks. "Swim," he said, dropping the jacket to the sand.

Kayla looked out at the surf, noting the whitecaps on the rolling waters. "Looks kinda rough," she warned.

Peter stuck out his lower lip. "Darn." He sighed. "Walk it is I guess."

"Which way?" Kayla took his arm in a loose hold. "Your call."

Peter tilted his head, feeling for the angle of the sun on his face. "That way," he said, pointing down the beach. "Into the sun."

Kayla obediently turned in that direction, starting to walk at a lazy pace. Holding up her free hand, she shaded her eyes from the bright sunlight.

After a few moments, he stopped and turned to her, laying his hands on her shoulders. One moved to her neck. "You're soaked in sweat," he said, concern in his voice. "Take that robe off and cool down."

"I'm fine," she protested.

"Michaela, if you don't you're gonna get heatstroke! Then you'll do nobody any good!"

"That's ridiculous!" she scoffed, then stopped dead still as a wave of dizziness nearly overwhelmed her.

"There --- you see?" Peter had still been touching her, and he felt her sway. "Cut out the pride and do what you have to to stay okay!"

Kayla reluctantly untied the belt of the robe, slipping it off her shoulders. The relief was immediate. "Happy, now?" she grumbled.

"That depends,” he said, picking up the robe. "Are you feeling better?"

"Cooler, anyway. The sun's giving me a headache."

"Let's turn back then." He turned around and held out his hand for her to take.

Kayla looked at the strip of wet sand at the water's edge. Seeing its path gave her an idea. "Peter, want to try something?"

"What?"

Taking his hand, Kayla led him to the firmly packed wet sand. "Let's see if you can learn to negotiate the beach on your own. If you stay on the wet sand, it'll lead you right back to the Pad. Want to give it a try?"

"Stay nearby," he said firmly. "Just in case." Then he draped her robe over his shoulder, stretched both hands out in front of him, and tentatively began to walk.

Kayla fought the urge to go to him. "Put your hands down, Peter," she urged. "There's nothing you can run into out here. If you hit water or the dry sand, you'll know you're headed off-course."

He nodded. His face screwed up in concentration as he lowered his hands and swung them by his sides --- walking independently for the first time since the laser shot that had blinded him.

Kayla watched him work his way along the beach, gaining confidence with every step. They were nearly back to the Pad before she spoke. "How does it feel, Shotgun?"

"Almost like I can see," he whispered, amazement stealing his voice. "Where are you?"

Peter jumped as Kayla's voice sounded in his ear. "Right here."

He turned and gathered her into his arms, pulling her close and burying his face into her shoulder. "Thank you, Honey..."

"You're very welcome," she returned, silently thanking whatever had provided that little bit of inspiration.

Then he raised his head and touched his cheek to hers --- then turned his head and suddenly Kayla was caught up in a tender, sensual kiss.

Kayla melted in his arms. Lost in the kiss, she was oblivious to the two pair of staring eyes glued to them.

Her eyes flew open as she heard the sound of someone clearing their throat.

"Like the suit," Davy said lamely.

Kayla quickly disengaged herself from Peter's embrace. "Umm...he was just - thanking me!" she stuttered.

"I thought ye said ye weren't ... involved," Davy pointed out.

"We're not!" Kayla glared at Micky, who was standing wide eyed, mouth hanging open. "Close your mouth, Dolenz - you're gonna catch flies!"

Peter chuckled at the image those words painted.

"But you two were...were..." Micky began.

"Argh!" Kayla threw her hands up in defeat. "I give up! You explain it to them, Peter!"

Peter put his arm around her waist. "I love her."

"Oh that was brilliant, Peter!" Kayla fumed. "Why don't you just tell them everything!"

"E-e-e-everything?" Davy stammered.

Micky just stood there, unable to form a coherent thought.

Grimacing at the blank look on his face, Kayla squared her shoulders. The time for truthfulness had come. "You two want to know the whole truth?" she asked. Two heads bobbed in a slow, stunned nod. "All right," Kayla found Micky's beach towel and seated herself comfortably on it. "Sit yourselves down, and don't say I didn't warn you!"

When the others were finally seated, she began. "Those aliens programmed this attraction between us - you understand that part, right?"

"Right," Davy and Micky said together.

"Well," she continued. "They did an awfully good job of it. Peter thinks he's in love with me." She paused to let the blunt statement sink in.

"No, I don't," Peter corrected her. "I know I'm in love with you."

"See what I mean?" she asked Micky and Davy. "He knows he loves me! He even asked me to..."

"To..." Davy prompted.

"I asked her to marry me."

"M..marry!" Micky said in a strangled voice. "As in....marry!"

"As in I want her to be my wife," Peter said, groping for Kayla's hand and finding it. "We can't sleep apart anymore... we have to practically live together as man and wife now... why not make it legal?"

Kayla noted the expressions on their friend's faces. "I've tried to tell him that I don't think marriage should be just 'making it legal,' but he's stubborn as a goat!"

"Because I love you, Michaela," he said, forgetting the others were there. "I want to spend my life with you. It's not just 'making it legal'... it's so much more... I want to share everything I have with you, everything I am with you... but I can't. Not like this... not until we're wed. I'm not that kind, and I know you're not either."

Kayla silently watched his face. She may not be able to read him like a book anymore, but the emotion was still there in his furrowed brow and the militant set of his mouth. "I gave you my answer, Peter," she said quietly. "I meant it."

"Just so there's no question as to my motives, as to where I stand and where I'm coming from," he said just as quietly.

"Understood."

Micky, still trying to follow the whole conversation, turned white as a sheet. "What do you mean you gave him an answer?"

"I told him I would take it under consideration," Kayla informed him. "It doesn't mean I'm going to say yes - just that I'm not going to say no right away."

"I can't believe you're even thinkin' about this!" Davy gasped. "This... this is just... just too strange!" He gained his feet, gesturing at them. "Look at yourselves! You're in love, whethah or not ye wanna admit it, Kayla... I can see it in yer eyes when ye look a'im! Ye love 'im just as much!"

Peter's eyes widened and he turned to where her voice came from. "You.... do?"

"So what if I do!" Kayla stormed. "Are you satisfied now?" She stopped in shock. Where had that come from?

Tears welled up in Peter's blind eyes. "You mean... all this time... I thought you didn't care... you love me just as much?"

Kayla looked at him, watching as the tears spilled over onto his cheeks. "Yes," she admitted. "I don't know if it's what we've been through, or the programming, or something else. I'm not even sure it's love. But whatever it is, Peter, I feel it, too. And it's strong."

"Very strong," he agreed, cupping her cheek in his palm. Then, in front of witnesses, he bent and kissed her deeply.

~~~~~~~

Peter and Kayla slowly climbed the stairs to the Pad. Not speaking, each was deeply immersed in thought - mainly about what had happened out on the beach.

They had no sooner gotten inside than they were greeted by a familiar pounding at the front door. "Hey you!" Babbitt's rough voice echoed through the room. "Open up, Monkees - it's rent day!"

"Oh crud... just what we didn't need," Davy whispered as he moved to the door. Turning around he asked, "Ready?"

Peter squared his shoulders. "As I'll ever be. You guys?"

"What are we gonna tell him?" Micky asked. "We sent half the rent to you guys, and we haven't had a paying gig in weeks!"

Peter nudged Kayla. "The money Mrs. P gave you! There was well over a hundred... and the clothes were only twenty!"

Kayla closed her eyes in relief. "I left it in the bedroom. Stall him while I get it!"

Davy nodded. He waited till she vanished into the bedroom, then opened the door. "Ello, Mr. Babbitt! What can we do for ye?"

"We go through this every month!" Babbitt roared. "It's the first - pay up!"

Davy sighed. "Ah, yes... Micky, would ye get th'money from the mad jah for the man please?"

Peter took a step backwards, out of his way --he hoped-- and collided with the tornado staircase.

Davy forgot Babbitt was there. He raced over and helped Peter to his feet. Peter was rubbing his shoulder and mumbling words Davy didn't even think he knew! "You all right?"

"Yeah... just feel stupid...ow..."

Babbitt's already beady eyes narrowed. "Hey - what's the matter with him?"

"I ran into the staircase," Peter said in a tone that made it plain that it was perfectly obvious what had happened.

"I know that!" Babbitt stepped further into the room, staring at the blond man. "I know you're not too sharp, Tork, but running into things that big is something even you wouldn't do! What gives?"

Peter glared in his direction, and Micky and Davy froze. That stubborn look on his face was something new -- for Peter. They'd seen it a million times on Mike... but never on him before!

Peter didn't say a word, he just kept glaring.

Kayla opened the bedroom door a crack. Why was it suddenly so quiet out there? She saw Babbitt with his usual pleasant demeanor, but Peter! He was staring in the landlord's direction with a look on his face that was absolutely mulish!

"Davy!" she whispered. "What's going on?"

Davy edged around behind the staircase and filled her in in a whisper.

And the thought sprang unbidden to Kayla's mind -- the words Glaxo had said -- We shall slowly reverse your positions and see how you cope...

"Oh, man! Davy, he's getting to be just like...like me!"

Davy frowned. "What?"

But he said that a little too loud, attracting Babbitt's attention. "Who are you talkin to, Jones?" Babbitt said suspiciously. "There's something going on around here, and I want to know what it is! Now!"

Peter moved instinctively to protect Kayla and walked into the staircase again -- forehead first this time. Screeching an expletive, he stepped back, grabbing at his head, his free hand automatically reaching for Kayla.

Kayla was out of the bedroom before the curse had even left Peter's lips. Grabbing his hand, she pushed back his long bangs to survey the damage. "Let me see."

There was only a small knot and some reddened skin. "Well, I don't think you did any serious damage. What were you trying to do?"

"Protect you..." he said in a low but intense voice.

"From Babbitt?" Kayla scoffed. "C'mon - you know his bark's worse than his bite!"

"This is a lovely scene," Babbitt interrupted. "But would one of you mind telling me just WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!"

"This is Kayla," Peter said, looking in Babbitt's direction, unfocused eyes looking at a point over his shoulder.

"That tells me nothing!" Babbitt said.

Peter absently wrapped an arm around Kayla's shoulders. "This is Michaela Nesmith... Mike's sister."

Babbitt smiled when he saw the attractive woman by Peter. "Well, why didn't you say so?" he asked smoothly. "My, but you must have gotten the looks in that family!"

Kayla plastered a smile on her face, fighting off the queasiness brought on by his ingratiating manner. "So, you're the boys' landlord? They've told me so much about you!"

"I am," Babbitt agreed pleasantly. "But they never told me about you..."

Peter swayed. "Kay, get me to the couch... the world feels like it's spinnin'..."

Kayla led him to the couch, concern evident on her face. "What is it, Peter?"

"Dizzy..." dropping his voice he whispered, "Step away... out of my arms... let me stay awake till he leaves..."

Kayla was confused, but complied with his request. "Well, it was nice meeting you," she said to Babbitt. "But I'm sure you're a busy man, rents to collect and all..."

"Oh, that's no problem!" Babbitt assured her. "The tenants are always late anyway."

Micky stepped in, taking Babbitt's arm. "Well, maybe this is your lucky day - we had the rent money on time for a change. Maybe some of the others will, too."

Babbitt's eyes lit up as he allowed himself to be led to the door. "You think?" he asked. "You know," he announced. "I think I'll check with Mrs. Purdy - see if she's got it..."

"You do that!" Micky practically shoved him out the door, quickly slamming it closed.

Kayla rushed back to Peter. "What's wrong? Peter?" But the instant she sat down beside him and he felt her presence, his eyes closed and he passed out.

"Micky!" Davy cried. "Get the icepack!" He took Kayla by the shoulders and moved her from the couch to a chair on the other side of the living room.

Instantly Peter's eyes opened. "...Kay...." he mumbled.

"Stay with us, Big Peter," Davy said. "Where's that icepack?"

"Here!" Micky rushed back in from the kitchen and handed it to Davy. Davy lay it on Peter's bruised forehead.

Peter winced at the contact, sucking in a breath. "Kay! Where's Kay?"

"I'm here, Peter!" Kayla called, starting to rise from the chair to go to him. She was gently restrained by Micky.

"Don't, Kay..." Micky said, adopting the shortened form of her name. "He'll pass out again..."

"Ye need t'stay awake, Petah," Davy said gently. "So we're keepin' 'er on the othah side of the room."

Peter closed his eyes and nodded slowly. "I dig... concussion, huh?"

"Maybe. Ye need t'see a doctah..."

"We can't afford one and you know it." Peter sighed. "I'll rest a couple of hours... and we'll see what happens."

"Peter, I don't care what it costs - what if this is serious?" Kayla sat on the edge of the chair, wringing her hands. "You could..." she stopped, not wanting to say the word.

Peter sighed. "All right... but he comes here. Fair enough?"

"Fair enough," Kayla echoed. "Davy, would you call him? And get him to come here - I don't care what excuse you use!"

Half an hour later, the doctor was examining Peter. Micky nearly had to sit on Kayla's lap a couple of times to get her to stay put, but she did.

Finally the doctor raised up and turned to them. "Well, he's got a mild concussion." He shook his head. "I am concerned about the blindness though.. this mild a concussion shouldn't have caused --"

"The concussion didn't cause that," Micky informed the older man. "He was already blind..."

"Ah..." the doctor nodded solemnly. "Well then, a couple hours rest, and a good night's sleep and he should be fine. Just don't let him sleep for two more hours."

"Will do," Davy said with a pointed look toward Kayla.

Kayla glared at him, but remained silent.

"Well then... I'll leave him to you." The doctor smiled. "That'll be twenty-five dollars."

Micky paid him, then escorted the doctor out the door. "Man, that clinches it - we're officially busted!"

"Broke or discovered?" Peter groaned.

"He means broke, Peter," Kayla laughed, at ease now that she knew Peter wasn't in any danger. "I think our secrets are safe from him!"

Before anyone could react, another knock sounded on the door. All four froze, looking at each other.

"It's me, boys," Mrs. Purdy's voice called. "I need to see Kayla!"

Kayla walked to the door, carefully skirting the couch where Peter lay. Opening the door, she greeted their neighbor with a genuine smile. "Hi, Mrs. P."

The older woman smiled as she came in. "I finished your shirts and jeans, dear, and ---" she saw Micky and Davy. "...oh....I'm sorry I didn't realise..." She dropped her voice. "Do they know?"

Kayla snorted. "As if we could keep anything from them!" She took the clothes. "They know - probably more than they want to!"

"Ah." Mrs. Purdy took her arm. "Well, let's go then --- put on a fashion show for me so I can see if there are any other alterations I need to make! Especially in the red dress."

Davy's head snapped up. "Dress?"

"Don't get any ideas!" Kayla warned. "Why don't you two make yourselves scarce - you don't really want to watch me model jeans and shirts, do you?"

"No, but we do wanna see you in a dress!" Davy said with a grin.

"What - have you been taking lessons from Peter?" she demanded. "That's all he can talk about, too!"

Mrs. Purdy shoved her gently toward the bedroom. "Then shut them all up and model it first. Scoot!"

Kayla went into the bedroom, grumbling every step of the way. "Just let them make one smart remark..." Closing the door, she quickly located the dress and changed, taking Mrs. Purdy's advice. "Might as well get it over with," she muttered to herself. "I won't have any peace until I do!"

Peter sat up as he heard the bedroom door open --- and then Davy and Micky's sharp intake of breath. "What is it?" he asked Micky.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you!" Micky breathed.

"Tell me!" Peter demanded, voice cracking a little.

Micky looked at Kayla, noting her bare feet. "Well, you remember how Mike looked in that shirt?" Micky asked.

"Which shirt?" Peter groaned.

"The red 8-button?" Micky prompted.

"The one with the black turtleneck collar sewn in? Yeah, so?"

"Well, forget it! About the only thing that reminds me of Mike right now are those long legs!"

And Peter began to smile. "She's in the dress, isn't she?"

"Oh, yeah!" Micky confirmed.

Mrs. Purdy circled Kayla, eying her critically. "Hmm... you were right, Kayla... I did make the skirt slightly too short."

"No kidding!" Kayla tugged at the hemline. "Besides, what do I do for shoes with this thing? I sure can't wear Mike's boots, even if they did fit!"

"Black half-inch pumps," Davy said without thinking.

"David, those are perfect!" Mrs. Purdy cried. "Those will set her legs off perfectly! How'd you --"

He shrugged. "I've got three sistahs."

"Black what?" Kayla looked at him in confusion.

"Don't move a muscle out of that dress, Kayla," Mrs. Purdy said, heading for the door. "I'll be right back!"

"Wait!" Kayla cried, but she was already gone. "Great - what now?"

Minutes later, Mrs. Purdy walked back in, carrying a bag. Setting it on the kitchen table, she pulled out a pair of black high-heeled slip-on shoes. "I guessed at your size... try these on!"

Kayla eyed the shoes skeptically. "You expect me to walk in those?"

Davy nodded. "The 'eels ah no 'ighah than those on the cowboy boots!"

"Cowboy boots never had those spikes on them," Kayla countered. Reluctantly taking the shoes, she balanced herself with one hand in the back of the chaise and slipped them on. "Maybe I'll get lucky and break my neck!"

"Don't even joke about that," Peter's perturbed voice snapped from the couch. At least he was sitting up now.

Kayla stood shakily on the heels. "What's eating you?" she asked. "Still dizzy?"

"A little. Mostly worried about you though."

"I'll survive," Kayla took a tentative step, nearly toppling over. "But I can't promise to like it!"

"So?" Peter demanded. "Do the shoes work with that dress?"

"I guess..." Kayla looked at Mrs. P. for confirmation.

The older woman smiled broadly. “Perfect! Your legs are really flattered by those shoes!"

"Just what I always wanted!" Kayla quipped. Reaching down she pulled off the shoes. "Ah - that's better!" Heading for the bedroom, she looked over her shoulder. "Show's over, guys!"

Micky stared at her as she walked away. "That's what you think!"

Davy shook his head and whistled. "Man, if she wasn't taken..."

That got a rise out of her. "Well, I am!"

Slamming the door behind her, she started to smile. "Let them chew on that for a while!" she said, looking through the pile of altered clothing. She picked a fresh pair of cotton slacks and a white shirt.

Quickly dressing, she went back out to the living room, only to catch Micky and Davy casting speculative looks at Peter. "What - you three gonna fight over me or something?"

"Nope," Peter said, grinning. "They know better."

"Oh, really? Then maybe they'd like to explain why they were staring daggers at you just now?" Kayla joked.

Davy lowered his eyes and stammered something about sorry forgot for a moment, before skittering up the stairs to the bedroom.

Kayla turned to Micky. "What about you?"

"Uh...I ...I...need to talk to Davy about something! Yeah, that's it!" He ran up the stairs like the devil was after him, leaving Peter and Kayla alone.

"What was that all about?" Peter laughed.

Mrs. Purdy chuckled and clapped Kayla on the back. "I'll fix that dress in the morning. Night, you two." And she was gone.

Kayla explained to Peter, "You know those two," she began. "No woman is safe! I just decided that it's best if they do consider us a couple. that way I only have one of you to fight off!"

Peter's smile faded. He swung his legs down and petted the cushion next to him. "We need to talk, Honey."

Kayla sat down. "You sound awfully serious..."

"I am." He groped for her hand. Finding it, he squeezed it. "Do you consider us a couple, Kay?"

"I guess I do," she confessed. "It seems - right."

His dimpled grin spread. "Yes... it does."

Kayla thought for a long moment. "So. Where do we go from here?"

"You know where," he said quietly, reaching for her. Finding her lips, he gently pressed his to hers. "You know what I've asked you. I won't ask again... just know I still mean it."

"I know. And just know that I refuse to be rushed."

He nodded. "So... will you go out with me? On an official 'date'?"

"It does seem like the next logical step," Kayla said quietly.

Peter brushed the hair from her face. "Tomorrow night then? At the Cassandra?"

"On one condition - not a hint of what happened to us. We've got to think of some explanation for your blindness that people can believe without question."

"Easy," he said, smiling. "I went home for a weekend to see my sister in Connecticut. En route to the airport for the return trip, I wrapped the rental car around a phone pole and went through the windshield." He sat back, waiting for her reaction.

Kayla shuddered at the graphic image that came to mind. "That would do it, all right." She sat back, sighing. "And I guess I'm stuck being Mike's 'sister'"

"That way you can use your own last name." Peter sighed. "Sometimes having a quick mind comes in handy, huh?"

"True. It's agreed, then?"

He held out his hand in mute agreement, waiting for her to take it and cement the deal.

Kayla took the hand, gripping it firmly. "Tomorrow night." Continue on to Part Three