Sidebar: Stolen Moments

Manhattan - Donovan Residence

The top three floors of a five floor mansion on Fifth Avenue, the Donovan home is quite large. The outer walls are a beautiful white limestone with a wrought-iron gate blocking the entrance. The home has eleven large rooms and has wonderful details throughout including the original staircase, elevator to all floors, 11-foot high ceilings, hardwood floors, three wood burning fireplaces, a solarium with skylight and a great south facing terrace. There is a grand foyer on the main floor, a beautiful living room with three large windows overlooking Central Park. Other rooms include a formal dining room, powder room, a service kitchen and a staff room and bath. The next floor is the sleeping floor with 4 bedrooms and baths, including a spa like master bath. On the top floor there is a wonderful den that opens into a windowed eat in chef's kitchen that over looks the 400-square foot south facing terrace with views of the Empire State Building, a powder room and a solarium also looks out to the terrace. There are also two large storage rooms.


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Preston Van de Mark Cooper Montgomery Ariel Johnson-Lowell

Orders placed, he leads Ariel away from the gang and on a tour of the house. Preston gives Ariel an honest, quick tour of the house, although he did have an ulterior motive of just stealing a few private minutes alone with her. It hasn't even been a week since he saw her last, but it doesn't mean he's not glad to see her. Even if he does wish it was under better circumstances.

He does save his bedroom for last, simply because of Cooper's teasing and the way Ariel got so fully embarrassed. "And this is my bedroom. I saved the best for last."


The witch gives no contribution to the conversation, other than a quiet, "I don't think I have to worry about that tonight."

Ariel is happy for the respite offered by Preston's impromptu tour. She's glad that Preston isn't blowing her off, especially after what happened, but she's not sure how to read Cooper. Getting away from the group, even for a few minutes, is a god send.

"Your bedroom is the best room in the house?" Ariel teases. "That sounds like something Cooper would say."

She pauses in the doorway and looks back at him. Then she leans up and presses her lips to his, hooking a hand around the back of his neck to draw him down, metaphorically holding her breath the entire time.

The kiss surprises Preston, if only because he knows that it takes a lot for Ariel to make the first move like that, unless her hormones are already kicked up. He returns it easily, circling an arm around her waist. He steps her backward, walking the few steps into his bedroom, then reaching back and softly closing the door behind them.

Deepening the kiss, one hand glides down over her backside and the other trails over her arm and up to rest at the back of her head. Preston turns them again, walking backward and drawing her along until his knees hit the back of the bed. Then without breaking the kiss, he sits, setting his hands to her hips to guide her to a kneeling position over his lap.

He breaks the kiss slowly, nipping at her bottom lip as he does.

"Hi," Preston grins at her boyishly.

"Hi," Ariel whispers with a soft giggle. She knows that they can't stay here for long; they will be missed, but she needed this brief moment of connection and contact with him.

She tickles her fingers through his hair. "I'm sorry … will Coop be mad?"


"What are you apologizing for?" Preston tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. "Please don't apologize for kissing me. I'm not sure my ego can take that."
"Mad? Why? This is Coop we're talking about sweetie. Pretty sure he's expecting it. It is why I dragged you off." Preston winks at her and leans in to kiss her sweetly. He whispers after, "You just beat me to it."
There's a giggle at the reference to his ego. "It's not like you have an overinflated ego that can be destroyed."
Ariel dips her head and rolls her shoulders in a shrug. "I don't know, he just seems … different. Off. I don't know. I can't quite put it into words."
Still looking down, she plucks at invisible lint on Preston's shirt. "He's still freaked out by me isn't he?"
Preston isn't going to lie to her. He sighs and strokes a hand over her back. "Yes, but … he's here, Ariel. He didn't hesitate to come here for me when he found out about Siobhan and he was the first one to suggest inviting you over."
Cupping her cheek, Preston coaxes her face up so that he can meet her gaze. "He's trying but his whole world has been upset by finding out that magic is real. He needs time to adjust, but he really is trying, I think."
"Besides, as long as he's being gun shy, that means that you don't have to share me and I don't have to share you," Preston says with a gentle, teasing laugh as he draws her in for another kiss. It's nothing too heated, because he knows it would be a really bad idea to go there right now.
Ariel exhales slowly. "I wish I hadn't ever - I wish I'd known that was going to happen and I could have controlled it." She honestly enjoyed what happened in Vegas, and she was having fun with Cooper when he visited her. She felt confident and sexy and wanted … right up until that moment when she ruined everything.
It isn't that she doesn't feel that with Preston too, but she's a little like Veruca Salt. She wants it all. She wants them both.
The kiss distracts her from her thoughts, if only briefly. She rests her forehead against Preston's trailing her fingertips over his shoulder. "But do you want to? Share me?"
"He would have found out about it eventually, Ariel. He needed to find out about it. He still doesn't know everything he needs to know. Starting with knowing what he is. He needs time and space."
Preston traces her cheek with his fingertip. "He just needs to keep seeing you as the beautiful, sexy woman you are. I think he'll come around."
The actor sighs and gives a mirthless chuckle. "Ariel, sweetie, you're not mine to share."
"What if I want to be?" The witch holds his gaze soberly. She puts her fingers on his lips before he says anything. "I know you said that we'd talk about this when I move to the city, but I know what I want Preston."
"I don't regret being with you or having you be my first. I don't care about sharing you with Cooper." Even if she'd rather have them both. "I know what I want, and some mysterious perfect soul mate isn't going to come out of the woodwork and change that."
Preston blinks at her. He kisses her fingertips and moves them from his lips. "Stubborn is a damn family trait isn't it? I'm starting to think you could out-stubborn your cousin."
Cupping the back of her head, Preston tugs her in for another kiss. This one is harsh and filled with heat and hunger. The hand on her back cups her ass and pulls her closer to him. His tongue plunders her mouth, exploring every corner, imprinting the taste of her in his mind and imprinting the taste of him on her.
That's certainly a good way to win an argument. Or stop it. Ariel squeaks into the kiss, then moans softly as Preston deepens it. Her hand fists in his shirt and she practically melts against him as much as she possibly can.
Which is more than might have been expected given the confines of her jeans. She still manages to shift against him, settling on his thighs and rocking against the growing bulge in his pants.
Preston delivers a firm smack to her backside. He breaks off from the kiss and harshly bites her lip, marking her as the kiss breaks. He doesn't want to stop; he wants to flip them over on the bed and repeat all the things they did when he visited. Only two people can do this to him, and the other is downstairs. The knowledge that there are people downstairs, and the faint guilt he feels for acting this way when Siobhan is missing, that's what stops him.
"We're not talking about this right now. Once Siobhan is safe and back, if there's time, before you leave the city, we'll talk. Not right now, though, wicked little witch."
Preston grasps her by the ass and lifts, twisting a bit and depositing her onto the bed beside him. Then he reaches down and adjusts himself. "You know I'm not going to be able to walk for a few minutes, right?"

Once up the stairs, Cooper clears his throat loudly in the hallway. "Door closed? C'mon, you two. Enough screwing around. Dinner's here, and Jenna and Chance are already quite suspicious. You want to make them more so with the amount of time you've been gone?"

The throat clearing has Preston rolling his eyes. "No one is screwing around, Coop. We're just talking." Maybe they weren't just a few minutes ago, but they are now. Mostly Preston is trying to calm himself the hell down so that he can walk out of the bedroom and go downstairs. "You can come in, you know. No one's naked or half dressed."
"Since when do you go for the modest approach?"


Ariel gives Preston a genuinely apologetic smile and slides to her feet. She glances at the door, then back at Preston and slides her hands into the back pockets of her jeans, "I'll go back downstairs." The tension she'd started to lose is starting to creep back in, because from what she knows of Cooper … well, he wouldn't normally be so distant and modest about things.
She walks to the door and opens it. "Hey, I'm going to head downstairs now …"

"Since I wasn't sure what I'd be interrupting, and I didn't want to embarrass the Mermaid if she was in the middle of fucking your brains out." Cooper steps into the doorway, notes the way Preston's sitting, and snorts.
"I did tell them you were making out. They didn't believe me, but I told them."
He keeps his eyes on Preston for a moment, but doesn't move out of the way to let Ariel pass. Hugging her, he presses a small kiss to the top of her head. "He needed that, Mermaid. Thank you for grounding him a little."
"I expect nudity next time though."

Preston shoots a look at Cooper. "Why would you tell them that?" That's not a conversation that Preston is ready to have yet. He's still sorting things out in his head, really, and trying to accept the fact that he really just can't put a label on this. Ariel is an anomaly, but he's obviously more than willing to explore what it means. In his own time, and without any outside pressure and questions.
Watching Cooper hug Ariel, Preston's slight glare turns to a faint smile. Baby steps, and it's a start.
"I can give you nudity right now, but it'd hardly be conducive to us returning downstairs." Preston waggles his brows. "You know you can't resist me."

Eyes wide, Ariel blushes and shakes her head. "No, I wouldn't - not here - and now - " She's stumbling over her words and can't quite get out a full sentence. There's simply no way she'd do that with Jenna and Chance downstairs, and with Siobhan missing.
A bit surprised, Ariel accepts the hug. She's trying to keep in mind what Preston told her, and will accept whatever small steps Cooper takes. "You're welcome." The little witch isn't sure that she should be getting thanks when she's not sure she did help with anything.
"I don't think that will be happening."

"One; because it was the truth. Two; because we all know that they wouldn't believe me anyhow. Jenna thinks you're both up here having a 'moment', where you're crying your eyes out. No clue what the Cowboy thinks." Cooper rolls his shoulders in a shrug as he lets Ariel go.
"Well, I did promise to not fuck the hell out of you, because I made them promise not to screw around in the living room again." Chuckling, Cooper gooses Ariel, and gives her a nudge through the door. "Go on down, sweetie. I'll drag Preston down with me when he can walk again without such a huge bulge in his pants."
"Do you see us making out? Do you have any proof that we were?" Preston challenges. It's not a serious challenge because the proof is quite visibly in his lap. Probably on his lips too and he reaches up to thumb away Ariel's lipgloss. At least he didn't leave Ariel with hickeys, and things didn't get heated up enough to mess up her hair.

The actor glances over at the witch, catching her eyes before she can slip out of the room. "We will talk later, Ariel. I promise."

"Again?" Ariel looks between the two men, then holds up a hand. "No, I don't want to know." Although maybe she should pursue that inquiry if she's going to be living here.

With Preston under the same roof.

Okay, she doesn't want to follow that line of thought either, right now.

She squeaks and jumps away from Cooper's hand with the goosing, and gives a feeble swat in his direction. Still, she's smiling and not feeling like a complete pariah. "I'll see you both downstairs …"

The witch stops in the bathroom, just to make sure she looks presentable. Hair is fine, and the perks of wearing gloss is that it's not as noticeable when it's smudged. She didn't plan it that way, she just prefers gloss over lipstick. Her face is a little flushed, and her lip may be a little swollen from Preston's bite, but it's nothing that she can't explain away. She'd hide it with a little illusion magic, but Cooper might sense it and wonder what's going on - and she doesn't want to do that.

Ariel splashes water on her face and heads back downstairs.


Preston watches Ariel's retreat appreciatively until she's out of sight, then lifts his green eyes to his boyfriend's blue. "You are far too amused by this."

Groaning, Preston rubs a hand over his face and adjusts himself again. "I thought you were the only person who could get me hard that quickly." It's not something he's admitted out loud before, acknowledging how responsive he is to Cooper and how the older man affects him.

"I have no idea how I'm going to live under the same roof with her." Though it is obvious he's going to have to tell Jenna what's going on. He's a great actor, but unless he enlists Siobhan for some sort of charm to block his emotions, he's not going to be able to fool the empath.


Cooper chuckles again, and nods. "Extremely. You're like a horny teenager. I don't think I've ever seen you like this, sweetie." He would head toward the bed to help, but at this point he'd rather just fuck the hell out of his boyfriend, so he's maintaining his distance.
"I don't know if you'll be able to. Not without telling Jenna what's going on. I doubt you want your best friend and ex walking in on the two of you, because that would be a lot more difficult to explain."
"Bullshit," Preston grunts. "You've seen me with you. It's not so different." Granted, Preston doesn't usually restrain himself where his boyfriend is concerned.

"Yes, exactly that." Preston takes a deep breath and counts to ten slowly. "As soon as this is all cleared up and we have Siobhan back, I'm going to sit down and talk to Jenna."


"After Ariel goes home." He's not sure how Jenna will react to it, and he'd rather not have Ariel around when he opens that can of worms.

"Not the same as watching it in action, sweetie." Cooper leans against the frame of the door, and nods.
"You might want to tell her through a closed door so she doesn't throw things at you."

"That's not the only thing you'd like to see in action, is it?" Preston gives his boyfriend a devious smirk.

"I can't think about talking to Jenna about it right now." Honestly, Preston can't. He can't even explain his attraction to Ariel, and he's still working on just going with it. What is he going to say to Jenna? He knows Jenna and no matter what he says, she's going to hold a mirror up to herself.

Finally able to stand, he adjusts his shirt so that its hanging over his pants. Hopefully by the time they get downstairs, his little soldier will have gotten the message that there is no invasion and he can stand down. "Let's go before they send a search party for us."


"You're right, it's not. I love watching you in action. It's hot." He thinks back to their last time with Sera, and smirks just a little. Preston may not be into women, but he definitely knows what he's doing when he's with one.

"Just do it before the Mermaid moves in, alright? If it's uncomfortable here, you're welcome to crash at my place for a while."

Once Preston gets to the door, Cooper pulls him in for a harsh, heated kiss. Letting it go before it can get too heated though, he turns his boyfriend toward the stairs.

"Food will be here shortly."

"You can watch me, you know. When she moves out here." The words actually surprise Preston when he says them. He can keep debating it in his head, but his subconscious knows what he wants. He might try to protect Ariel, but endgame is that he's going to explore and pursue this thing with her.

He wants to tell Cooper that he can be part of it, that he wants him to be part of it, that Ariel wants him to be a part of it, but he's probably said enough on the matter with the few words he did say. Cooper has to come around in his own time, and Preston isn't going to pressure him. (Though he'd be lying if he said that there aren't some tempting thoughts running through his brain.)

He groans into the kiss, returning it with just as much heat and groans more deeply when it breaks.

"Right. Food." Preston turns toward the stairs and heads down, because if he doesn't he probably will fuck his boyfriend senseless right now.


"I don't think she'd be alright with that," Cooper replies. Hell, he's not sure he'd be alright with it. Everyone is right. Ariel's personality hasn't changed, but he's still dealing with the big witch news.
"Don't worry, Pres. We'll take care of that other hunger later. I promise."


Preston stops and turns back to his boyfriend. He gives Cooper a long look and then walks back up and hooks a hand around the back of Cooper's neck. Drawing the other man closer, he presses his forehead to his boyfriend's.

"She is okay with this, Coop. She wants it. I want it." God, Preston wants to protect her, he does, but he's also human and he can't deny the other side of things that he wants either.

He kisses him harshly before the dancer can respond and breaks it with a soft sigh. "Don't say anything, alright? I know, you're dealing with a lot and there's no pressure here. Really, I mean that. Just know that I'm not shutting you out in favor of Ariel. Take your time and figure stuff out, and if it's too much for you, that's fine. But there aren't going to be any closed doors."

Unless Ariel meets someone else, and that's something Preston doesn't want to contemplate right now.

"Are yo—" The words are cut off before the question can be fully formed, and Cooper groans into the kiss. He doesn't say anything, he just lets Preston get all of that out. Then he strokes his fingers over his boyfriend's cheek and sighs.
"I know you're not. I'd be alright with it if you were though, you know that, right?"
"I know you would, but I'm telling you that I'm not." Preston runs his fingers lightly through Cooper's hair. He half-laughs and half-sighs. "Though until you deal with things and figure things out, I'm glad you don't mind me seeing her."
"Sweetie, how could I possibly mind you having a girl on the side, when you have never once even batted your eyes at the fact that I need one?" Cooper nudges Preston toward the stairs again, because his brain is going to places it shouldn't right now.
"As long as you don't mind me hooking up with Sera still, I'm not going to complain."


"Could we not refer to her as a 'girl on the side?' " Preston asks with a grin. That cheapens it a bit, and he doesn't want to imply that Ariel is just an experiment, or a passing phase or a way to get off.
He wants to come up with a reason to suggest Coop look elsewhere other than Sera, but he immediately realizes that it's not fair. He did talk to the woman (vampire) and his gut tells him that she'll be true to her word. She won't hurt Cooper. It's better the devil you know, right? Maybe once all this is over, he'll have the Priory look into the vampiress. Just to be safe. "I don't mind, you know that."


"Fine, but you balked when I called her your girlfriend too," Cooper points out, with a matching grin.
"I know you don't, sweetie." If he ever comes around to being with Ariel again, she might take issue with it. That's something he's got to think about, but not until later.
"At least they're not fucking on the middle of the floor. That's a bonus, isn't it?"

"I … don't know what to call her yet. Let's just leave it at that for now, shall we?" Preston responds to Cooper, and then there's really no way to continue that conversation.

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