Max was surprised with himself. This was not like him. As she didn’t struggle against him, he deepened the kiss slowly. It was like time was standing still. He knew it had been way too long since he had a woman in his life. As his lips moved to cover hers gently and with a need he didn’t quite understand his brain was screaming at him that she was a student, she was younger than him, she was out of his league, anything, and everything to try to pry himself off of her. However, the rest of him wasn’t listening to his brain, one iota.

Deanna was surprised by the closeness of him at first. It was one thing for him to be a gentleman but another to set every nerve off she had in her body because he was so close to her. When his lips touched hers, she went blank. He was kissing her. Her dream man was kissing her. The was trying to think or to hold on to any thought, but she could only feel his lips on her mouth. As she sighed softly to herself, he took that as an invitation to nip at her lips and then enter her mouth.

His hand at her back was holding her close and off the car door that she was sure was touching the back of his hand. She didn’t want it to end. This had to be a dream.

As he pulled back from the kiss slowly and gently. He watched Deanna as he started to stand up to his full height. Her eyes were still closed and began to flutter open. It was an awakening he was witnessing before his eyes. Deanna’s eyes came open, and he saw the color of them had changed slightly. The deeper color was enough of a hint that she had liked the kiss was enough to make his more primal side roar with pleasure while the more civilized side was hoping that he hadn’t got himself into trouble with doing that without warning.

“Why?” Deanna asked softly as she met his eyes.

“You seem to be under the impression I want to be like your brother, sweetheart.” He said as he took a step back, and then his hand dropped from her back only to take her hand. “I assure you the thought never entered my mind.”

“Max.” She said softly.

“Deanna, I wanted to do that the moment I saw you walk into the office. I know I may have crossed a line.” Max began to say as he was grasping for something, anything to make her stay there with him and to calm her fears.

“It is okay.” She said softly.

“What?” he asked.

“It is okay.” She repeated as they entered the restaurant. The dim light of the building was to add to the atmosphere. She looked around the place and saw that it seemed full of people that she had seen before but couldn’t place where. He told the person it was a party of two, and they went to the waiting room by the stand for the hostess to wait for their table.

“It was okay?” he asked softly and in her ear as he stood behind her.

“I got the point you’re not my brother, okay,” Deanna said as she turned her head to look at him.

“You think that was the only reason?” he asked with an eyebrow up as he questioned her. He sighed as he saw the look in her eyes. It seemed she had no idea how she affected him. “Deanna, let’s finish this conversation after dinner; otherwise, it may be the most painful meal of my life.”

“Painful?” she asked softly.

“Trust me, painful is very much the correct word.” Max chuckled as he looked down at the crown of her head as he stood back up to his full height. He glanced around and saw five others of the university staff along with their interns and assistants. He had forgotten that they came here to have a working meal. All of the professors in the place were the ones who were questionable at best with their relationships with the students. Max had thought the practice of dating a student while in the class was a significantly massive conflict of interest. Though he knew no laws were being broken because it was two adults in a consensual relationship, but he knew the result was never going to end well for both parties. He had seen it time and time again. It always followed a pattern.

Here he was with his new assistant. She had been a student years prior, but she wasn’t anymore. Deanna wasn’t the young woman who was still a teenager trying to find herself in the sea of university life anymore. There was no conflict of interest between the two of them. He had already agreed to sign the papers saying she was his assistant, and then she could receive the credit so she could graduate on time with her class in May.

This wasn't the same as the others. He tried to convince himself of this. He was trying to guess her age. She was older than the females with the other teachers.

“Is this a professor hang out?” Deanna asked as she looked around.

“It looks like it, but I wouldn’t have a clue,” Max replied. “I know some people from the force have told me this place was good.”

“How does that work?” Deanna asked as she turned around to face him. He was glad she had dropped the subject and was talking about another.

“How does what work?” he asked back.

“You and the police force?” Deanna asked as she met his eyes as his name was called to be seated. He guided her back to the table and waited until she sat before he took the seat opposite of her.

“That one has changed over the years. At first, I was trying to pull a full load and still do the whole professor thing. That only made me feel like I wasn’t given either of them my full attention, and it was tiring. I tried one year to do the detective thing more, and the professor thing less, and that was also was burning me out for both.” Max said as he thought back about the first few years, he was in the two roles.

“That had to be hard,” Deanna said.

“It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.” He replied. “It was the third year I was doing both that I found a sort of balance to the two. I worked at the university for four days one week and then three for the force. The next week it would be reversed so three days at the university and then four for the force. It worked well, but it was still a heavy load because both jobs require a needed rest, and I was just doing both all the time. It was just changing the mindset of the week. So now I do three and three with one day off. It is the best balance, and they call me when they really need me at the force. I am more of a consultant based on this force than I am a detective. It allows me to be more flexible, and they still get their cases closed in a record manor, and they have enough time to cash in on my success. I have to find more of a balance if I want to continue in both, but it is hard.”

“Do you?” Deanna asked after they placed their orders. Max looked at her when she placed hers and was not thrilled with the smallness of it. Though he didn’t think it was because Deanna was doing it for vanity reasons. She probably couldn’t eat all that much because she had conditioned herself to save money.

“Want to continue in both?” he asked as she nodded. “I am honestly, not sure. I can see that there is a need for the class, but I am not sure I want to continue in the education system. I thought things would be different five years down the road, but there is so much red tape involved, and I don’t do well with politics of lobbying on why I should get the green light. One thing I learned was not to be a bootlicker.”

“You were in the military?” she asked as she laughed somewhat surprised with that knowledge.

“Army.” He said as he looked at her. “How did you know?”

“My dad was in the navy, and my brother's in the army and navy.” She replied. “Bootlicker is a normal term in my house. Why did you get out?”

“Medically discharged.” He replied as he pointed to his shoulder, “On my second deployment, I was shot through the shoulder while on rounds. I lost a bit of mobility at the time, and they didn’t want to wait to see if I got it back.”


She replied.

“It was a good way to go to college.” He said as he shrugged, “I knew what I wanted to do in a way. I didn’t expect to be good at it like this.”

“Well, I guess it is good either way.” Deanna said, “I just hope I will be good at what I want to do.”

“And that is?” he asked.

“Something in a lab.” She replied. “I want to help people, but at the same time, I have found I am good in a lab setting. I thought this would be the way to go.”

“And then right as you are ready to graduate, the school throughs you a curveball.” He chuckled, “Then you end up with me.”

“Excuse me?” Deanna asked as she looked at him with widened eyes. He had to mean that some other way than how it came out.

“Well, the school through you that curve ball then you had to come and ask me for help. That couldn’t have been easy.” Max said as he took a drink of his water. He had realized what he had said and the double or triple meaning it could have been taken as. “I mean, you hadn’t spoken to me since that one time after class.”

“You remember that?” Deanna asked as she blushed quickly and looked down.

“Of course, I remember that.” He said as he reached over and lifted her face to meet his eyes, “Men do have the tendencies of remembering when a beautiful woman tried to impress them, even if they get tongue-tied and want to run away.”

“Damnit.” She said. As she wanted to look anywhere but at him. Though she was saved by the food arriving. Though the two ate in silence, she was still lost in the words he had said. He thought she was beautiful?

That didn’t seem like something he would say. He was relaxed, and she could look freely at him as he ate. She remembered his conditions for working for him. Every Friday, they were to go over the students and have dinner together. Was he trying to make it seem like a date instead of a working dinner?

“What?” he asked as he looked at her as she looked at him. He could read the questions she had but needed her to voice them.

“What days do you work at the station?” she asked.

“Usually Friday through Sunday.” He replied.

“You wanted to meet on Friday to go over your students.” She said softly.

“I know.” He replied. “I can take a few hours to do something besides go over files of the bad guys. To spend some time with you and go over the students.”

“Spend time with me?” she asked as she was now confused.

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