Remedy My Soul

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Lana looked herself over in the mirror of the hotel bathroom one last time. She was getting ready to go to the gallery for her show and she knew she had to dress to impress. She wore a short black dress that was loose with a deep V-neck that dipped between her breasts. She used fashion tape to secure it, so she wouldn’t have any Janet Jackson moments. She wore a long necklace that rested at the top crest of her cleavage, giving the outfit more depth. She slipped on her black Christian Louboutin stilettos, and she was ready for the night.

There had already been a good amount of interest in her work since the gallery featured her work for the week leading up to the show, and tonight her Lover’s Lust collection was going to be on display for the first time in the Los Angeles area. She had a young photographer Mia apprenticing with her part-time, mostly with her landscape and travel shots. However, she was interested in Lana’s other work too, and she was more than willing to help with the show. Mia had booked the hotel rooms when they had offered Lana the show, at that point Lana hadn’t yet figured out she would much prefer staying with Dylan.

A small crowd was already gathered by the front door fifteen minutes before the gallery opened. By the time the doors opened, the group had doubled in size. The show was in full swing an hour into it, and Lana’s head was spinning as she tried to keep up with the people who wanted to speak to her or ask her questions. She took a few moments to speak with a reporter who was doing an article on the LA art scene before slipping away to use the dimly-lit, nicely decorated restroom. She heard the door open as she finished up but didn’t hear the sound of the door locking as the water flushed. She stepped out of the enclosed stall area, startling as she came face to face with Dylan. He flashed her a mischievous smile, not giving her a moment to think before pulling her into him and kissing her hard on the mouth. She could feel his arousal against her hip as he worked his hand between her legs and quickly pushed her thong to the side. He found her already wet as he thrust his fingers into her and he smiled, growling softly into her ear.

“Already turned on?” He whispered as she let out a soft moan.

“Well, I saw you across the room an hour ago and we’re basically surrounded by porn, so...” she trailed off as he started to rub her clit with his wet fingers.

“So, you’re saying I’m not completely out of line by wanting to fuck you right here, right now?” He laughed huskily.

“No, but you better make it quick or people are going to start to wonder where I am,” she smirked as she looked up at him through lust-filled eyes.

Dylan scanned the room, seeing a small chaise in the corner. His eyes met Lana’s and he looked over at it questioningly and she bit her lip with a small nod. He gave her a firm slap on her ass, urging her towards the piece of furniture. She looked up at him once they reached the chaise and he leaned in, kissing her passionately. He pulled away with a grin, spinning her around so her back was to him. He gently pushed on her back between her shoulders to encourage her to bend over.

Lana waited in anticipation, bent over and leaning on the back of the chaise. She heard Dylan unbuckle his belt and open his fitted, black Armani pants, pushing them down to his thighs. He lifted her dress over her hips, tugged her thong down her legs, and placed his hand on her hip as he guided himself into her. He gave her body a moment to adjust before firmly grabbing her hips and taking her fast and hard. She reached down and furiously rubbed her clit, searching for a fast release.

Lana was so wet he slipped out of her a few times, once almost entering through the back entrance which caught her off guard, but surprisingly turned her on even more. He slipped back into her and she met each of his thrusts, the sounds of his sack slapping against her wet heat echoing throughout the room. When she came, she came hard, burying her face against her arm as she couldn’t help crying out his name. He was right behind her, driving into her with all he had as his cock pulsed and spilled out deep inside of her. Her body trembled with aftershocks as he emptied completely, and she let herself fall forward for a moment to catch her breath.

“Fast enough for you?” Dylan panted, still buried inside of her and she nodded with a small laugh.

“I’d like to see how you’re going to top this, that was one of the hottest experiences I’ve ever had.”

“Me too, so I guess we’ll have to challenge ourselves to keep making it even hotter,” he joked as he carefully pulled back, slipping out of her. “By the way,” he started as he lifted her foot and worked her thong over her heel, “I’m keeping these.”

“Huh?” She tried to turn and look at him as he put her foot back down and lifted the other. “You do realize the show goes for another two hours, and you just created a bit of a mess.”

“Then I suggest you get cleaned up,” he smiled as he stood and kissed her, shoving her thong in his pocket before fixing his clothes and buckling his belt.

Dylan kissed her once more before checking himself in the mirror briefly and leaving her to her own devices. She looked at her reflection, her skin glowing with a post-orgasmic shimmer. She quickly cleaned up the best she could and made sure her hair and makeup were reasonable before stepping out of the bathroom. It was like stepping out into another world as her entire body felt so relaxed and everyone outside was so high energy. It took her a few minutes of chatting and sipping on a glass of champagne to really gain her bearings before she felt she could mingle with the prospective collectors.

By the end of the night, all the photographs that Lana had on display at the gallery had sold and she had a waiting list of requests for new releases and prints. The show was a huge success, and she felt like this might be the beginning of her big break. She didn’t realize it until she had started selling her risqué work that many men and women were becoming more open about blatantly putting it out there that they liked sex. One would think that most people interested in her work would be men, but in reality, it was about 50/50.

Lana was surprised that Dylan had stayed throughout the entire show. He never became overbearing or intruded on her conversations with collectors or people wanted to ask her about her work. He mingled with the other guests most of the night, and they would exchange glances or small smiles when they encountered each other briefly. At the end of the show, Dylan stayed behind as Lana talked business with the gallery owner, who asked her to do another showcase in the future. They left the building hand in hand and he drove her back to the hotel since her apprentice who had driven her there had been long gone.

Lana convinced Dylan to have a drink at the downstairs bar while she went up to the room to slip into something more comfortable. She had given him her extra key to her room and told him to come up in 20 minutes. She took the elevator up to her floor, made her way to the end of the hall, unlocked her door with the key, and stepped inside. As soon as the door closed, she was grabbed from behind, her arms pulled behind her back and forced further into the room. She was thrown down onto the bed and straddled, and the man leaned down so he was face to face with her. It was dark in the room, but she could tell by the shadow of his features and the sound of his breathing that it was him.

“Who is he?!” Nathan screamed in her face and she jumped. “Who the fuck is he?!” He yelled again.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she shook her head as her eyes filled with tears and she struggled underneath of him.

“You’re lying!” He snapped, and she let out a small sob. “I saw you with him. I saw the way he looked at you from across the room. I saw you come out of the bathroom, your face flushed and relaxed. Tell me, does he make you come like I did?” She shook her head as she cried.

“Please, stop,” she whispered.

“I don’t understand, Sweetheart. The sex was great, we had a nice place, I gave you everything you could ever need, and you left me.”

“Please, get off of me,” she begged as she managed to pull her arms free, only for him to pin them down above her head.

“We were so good together, your parents and your brother liked me...” he trailed off with a genuine look of confusion on his face.

“Nathan, you’re not well,” she pleaded. “Let me go so I can find someone who can help you.”

“You mean, the cops?” He laughed. “You should know by now that the pigs may haul me in, but nothing will ever stick.” He paused and looked around the room. “So, where’s the boyfriend? Will he be joining us?”

“He’s not here,” she lied. “He went home.”

“Are you lying?” He growled, and she quickly shook her head from side to side.

“No, I promise!” She cried harder.

A few seconds passed before Nathan tried to kiss her and then climbed off the bed and turned the light on before he started pacing back and forth in the room. Lana knew that he was going to completely lose it in a matter of minutes. She sat on the edge of the bed, kicking her shoes off as she prepared herself to make a run for it at the first opportunity. She spent the next ten minutes trying to convince Nathan that he was paranoid and there was no one else in her life.

Dylan sat down at the bar, watching the time pass by slowly as he waited. He decided that he was only going to wait 15 minutes instead of 20, maybe he could catch her unprepared and they could make an attempt to one-up their heated sexual encounter that had occurred earlier in the evening. He drained his gin and tonic, leaving a few dollars tip on the bar before heading for the elevators. As the doors opened on her floor and he stepped into the hallway, he was nearly knocked over by a barefooted, hysterical Lana. She couldn’t get the words out as she frantically tried to explain what happened. They heard a man’s voice and she froze in place, grasping onto Dylan’s shirt in fear. He looked over and came face to face with the tall, blonde haired, blue-eyed man who was still dressed in his business attire. He did a quick assessment of the situation. They were about the same height, but he was more muscular than Nathan was. As Nathan stalked towards them, he wasted no time throwing a hard, right hook to his gut. He got a few more punches in before Nathan finally backed off.

“What’s wrong? You can fight and harass a woman, but you can’t fight me?” Dylan glared, his voice raised. He quickly moved towards Nathan. Nathan took one failed swing at him before shoving the door open to the stairwell and taking off. A few other hotel guests had been brave enough to peek out of their doors.

Dylan turned to look at Lana who was standing behind him in shock. He quickly pulled her into him and she held onto him tightly. She cried into his shoulder as he pulled his phone out of his back pocket and called the police. They slowly made their way back to the room, Lana still very shaken. Dylan hung up the phone as they stepped into the room and Lana took a seat on the small loveseat along the far wall. She stared at the bed as she replayed the moments in her head, not snapping back into reality until Dylan wrapped a blanket around her that he had found in the closet. He sat down next to her and she looked over at him with tears drying on her cheeks, still speechless. He reached for the box of tissues on the small end table and handed her a few of them. She clutched them in her hand as she took a deep shaky breath and he pulled her into his arms where she fell apart all over again.

“Shh, it’s alright. I got you,” he whispered, kissing her on the top of the head as he tried to soothingly rub her back. “Once you talk to the police, we’ll go back to my place and you can take a hot bath. We can try to forget all about it for the night. Okay?”

“Yeah,” she sniffed. “Okay.”

Dylan held her in his arms until the police arrived and Lana gave them the whole story starting from when the abuse initially began while they were dating. She told the police that this was the first time since they had split that he had gotten that physical with her, and she explained that charges for harassment never stuck because of who he was. She had always dealt with the local police back home, but the LAPD seemed to be taking what she said very seriously despite her telling them that he had friends in high places. Once they were finished questioning her, they assured her that with that level of aggression they could press charges once they found him. They also told her that they would be placing a call to her local and state police departments to tell them the situation and that they were looking for him.

Once they were finished up with the police, they headed back to Dylan’s place. Lana was in a fog after the night’s events as Dylan led her upstairs to his massive bedroom. She sat on the edge of the king-size bed and got lost in her own thoughts as he disappeared into the ensuite bathroom. He came back ten minutes later, taking her hand and leading her in. The smell of lavender hit her nose and she saw the large jacuzzi tub that sat along the left wall that was filled with water and had the jets running. She gave him a weak smile and he gently pulled her in, placed his hand around the back of her neck and kissed her on the forehead.

“Get in and relax. I’ll get you a glass of wine and go hunt down some shampoo and conditioner,” he said softly, and she nodded. He kissed her on the cheek before stepping away and leaving the room.

Lana looked around at the impressive bathroom, seeing a large glass shower that had a big rain fall shower head centered above it. She also noted the granite countertops and double sink on the opposite side of the bathroom. On the far wall there was a doorway cut out that she assumed led to the toilet. She took a deep breath as she slipped out of her short dress and dropped it on the floor before climbing up the two steps to get into the tub. She sunk down into the water, relaxing her head back and smiling as she heard soft jazz music start playing in the bathroom. Not only was Dylan an amazing man, but his bathroom was to die for. A few minutes passed before he brought her a glass of cabernet and her shampoo and conditioner out of her bag. He lightly pressed his lips to hers with a smile before letting her relax and take all the time she needed.

After she finally dragged herself out of the warm bath, she headed into the bedroom wrapped in a towel in search of clothing. She smiled when she saw her small suitcase on the bed that Dylan had brought up from the car and dug through it, realizing that she had forgotten pajamas. It wasn’t so much as an oversight as it was that she thought she wouldn’t be needing them. She figured Dylan wouldn’t mind her borrowing a shirt, and she opened his dresser drawer finding a faded, blue, long-sleeve t-shirt. She pulled it out and set it on the bed, finding a pair of underwear in her bag before slipping the shirt on, relieved that it was long enough to at least cover her butt.

She hung her towel back on one of the hooks in the bathroom, ran a brush through her hair, and grabbed her empty wine glass off the bathroom counter before making her way through the expansive house. His bedroom screamed masculinity and sex all at the same time. His platform-style bed sat on a black frame with a carved out wooden headboard facing a shoulder-height gas fireplace built into the opposite wall. The bed sheets were black, paired with a white comforter and a couple of matching pillows, and there was a red plush-seated wooden storage bench at the bottom of the bed. The walls were painted a deep gray, coming together well with the dark hardwood flooring. The two large windows were covered with floor-length black curtains, and there was a large mirror propped against the wall between the bedroom and bathroom. The atmosphere of the bedroom was finished off with a crystal chandelier that hung above the bed that was set to dim lighting.

She passed by a few open bedrooms and another bathroom upstairs, and one closed door which she assumed was his daughter Natalia’s room before she made her way down the stairs. The living room, kitchen, and dining areas were very open concept. The living room had high ceilings, a beautiful white marble fireplace, and had two rooms off to the side which appeared to be the laundry room and an office. There was a sliding glass door off the back of the house that led to a small patio and gated walkway down to the canal.

She peeked into the office and saw that the back wall was floor to ceiling glass, giving it a great view of the canal behind the house. She saw a closed laptop on the desk, which was the messiest thing in the room with a few random papers strewn about. The opposite wall of the office was a built-in bookshelf which housed his books on the top shelf along with a picture of him with his daughter, the rest of the shelves filled with different books that ranged from fiction to historical reads. The inside of the house was just as modern as the outside, and even though everything was clean and well-organized, it felt comfortable and homely.

She went into the kitchen, refilling her glass of wine from the open bottle on the counter. She spotted another sliding glass door off the right side of the kitchen that led to an inground pool surrounded by modernistic shadow-box privacy fencing. She hadn’t seen Dylan anywhere else in the house, so she figured she would find him out there. She opened the door and stepped outside, the warm breeze grazing against her skin.

Dylan looked up from his book as he sat back on the lounge chair, smiling at the sight of Lana wearing one of his old shirts. He marked his page and sat the book on the small table next to him, picking up his glass of whiskey. They exchanged smiles as she made her way towards him, and he placed one foot on the ground and slid back to make room for her to sit in front of him. She placed her glass on the table next to his before sitting in front of him on the lounge chair, curling her feet under her as she wrapped her arms around him and rested her head on his chest. He held her securely in his arms, pressing a kiss to the top of her head before resting his cheek against her hair.

“Feeling any better?” He questioned softly.

“Much better,” she replied with a small nod. “Sorry I stole your shirt, I under packed,” she sighed playfully.

“I’ll forgive you. I think you pull that shirt off better than I do anyway,” he joked, causing her to let out a small laugh. “Despite it being kind of a shitty night, I’m glad you’re here with me.”

“It wasn’t all bad,” she shrugged. “I made some good money, and some hot guy ambushed me in the bathroom and we had some pretty incredible sex, so I’m going to call it an overall win.”

“The sex was pretty incredible,” he chuckled, and she smiled. “I’m lucky I have such a horny girlfriend.” They both laughed.

“So, I’ve reached girlfriend status now?” She looked up at him with a smirk.

“Only if you’ll have me,” he wagged his eyebrows and she laughed again.

“I guess you make a pretty okay boyfriend,” she teased. He leaned in and caught her lips in a kiss.

“Good, because you make me really happy,” he admitted, and she blushed. He reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear. “You’re everything I could ever ask for in a woman.”

“Well, you’re more than I could ever hope for in a man,” she confessed, and he kissed her deeply before she cuddled into him again.

The couple spent the next hour talking and relaxing by the pool. They headed to bed in the early hours of the morning when Lana was so tired she could barely keep her eyes open. They climbed under the covers and she cuddled up to Dylan, resting her head on his chest and closing her eyes, trying to forget about the stressful event that had occurred earlier in the night. He kept his arms wrapped around her tightly, not relaxing until he knew for sure that she had fallen asleep. He tried not to think about her returning home the next day, where she would be alone and unprotected.

Dylan woke up around ten o’clock the next morning, smiling at Lana’s peaceful features and brushing his lips to her cheek before getting out of bed. He pulled on a white pair of gym shorts and a red muscle shirt, grabbing his iPhone off the dock and his wireless headphones off the dresser. He left a note for Lana in the kitchen letting her know that he had gone on a run and would be back shortly. He did some small stretches as he walked out through the garage, closing the door and continuing to the end of the driveway. He slid his sunglasses into place before taking off into a jog. He ran the length of the canal and continued until he reached the public beach. He stopped at the edge of the water and looked out as he enjoyed the cool, morning breeze. He was pulled from his thoughts as his phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket to check the caller ID. He saw Natalia’s mother Mari’s name flash across the screen and he swiped to answer the call.

“Hey, what’s up?” He greeted, still slightly out of breath from his run.

“I need you to take Nat today. I just got a call that my grandpa is really going downhill and I need to go to Arizona for a few days,” she explained. He couldn’t really be upset with her, knowing that her grandfather had been fighting cancer for a while.

“I can take her. Are you sure she doesn’t want to go with you?” He rubbed the back of his neck as he thought about Lana, probably still fast asleep in his bed.

“I asked her, but she didn’t know him well and I think she gets overwhelmed being with that part of the family. She said she’d rather stay home with you.”

“Yeah, that’s fine. What time do you want me to come get her?”

“I was hoping to leave here by two-ish. I want to get out of the city before rush hour. Why? Are you in the middle of something?” She snipped with a bit of a sarcastic attitude.

“Chill out. I’m going to have to change some plans, but it will be fine. I’ll be there by 1:30.”

“That’s fine. Thank you for taking her on such short notice.”

“You’re welcome, but please stop talking to me like I’m her babysitter instead of her father,” he snapped back before hanging up the call.

Lana stirred awake when Dylan stepped back into the bedroom, she watched as he set his phone and earbuds on the dresser before stripping off his sweaty shirt. He caught her staring at him and smirked, moving to kneel on the bed and leaning over her. She bit her lip as his presence took over her and he leaned down, kissing her sweetly. Lana placed her hand on his strong arm and deepened the kiss. He laughed as their lips separated and she bit her lip again.

“Why are you looking at me like I’m a piece of meat?” He teased, resting his forehead against hers.

“Because you look absolutely delectable,” she smiled, tracing her finger down his bare chest and hooking it in the front of his shorts.

“Mmm, good excuse,” he replied softly, kissing her again. “Give me a few minutes, then join me in the shower?” He suggested with a smirk and she nodded in agreement.

Lana waited about five minutes before going into the bathroom. She quickly brushed her teeth and stripped off her shirt, dropping her underwear on the floor as she saw Dylan rinsing out his hair. She opened the door, stepping under the rain fall shower with him and placing her hands on his arms, pressing her lips to the back of his shoulder. He turned to face her, tangling one hand in her hair and lightly grasping her ass with the other causing her to meet his lips with a smile. He was sporting a full hard-on as he kissed her greedily, backing her against the tiled wall and thrusting his hips into her. She moaned softly into the kiss as he rubbed against her sensitive clit. He wasted no time as he lifted her into his arms, carefully filling her to the brim.

Dylan gained his footing as she wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. He took her slowly with controlled movements as they showered each other in kisses. She let herself be totally in the moment with him as he pleasured her in the total opposite way of how he had the night before. The night before he had been rough and eager, and now he was completely tender and gentle. Despite the slow pace she was quickly on edge, trying to sustain her pleasure.

“Don’t hold back, Baby. I’m so close,” he panted against her ear. She rolled her hips forward just a bit to get the needed friction and she quickly started soaring. “Fuck, Lana,” he groaned as his thrusts became sloppy and he soared with her, both of them slowly coming back down together.

After their bodies started to calm down, they held each other and shared some more slow, tender, lasting kisses. Once they finally separated they dried off and got dressed before heading down to the kitchen in search of something to eat. They sat down at the island and talked as they enjoyed some turkey sandwiches before he turned to look at her. She could tell he had something to say and gave him a small smile.

“So, something came up and I have to go get Natalia in a bit,” he sighed, and she nodded.

“That’s fine, I understand completely. I would never want to get in your way of taking care of your daughter,” she replied, placing her hand over his on the counter.

“You’re not in the way, at all. I promise,” he flipped his hand over, loosely lacing his fingers with hers. “Actually, I was kind of hoping that maybe you would want to meet her,” he looked at her a bit shyly.

“If you think you’re ready for that, I’d love to meet her. Does she know you’re even seeing anyone?”

“She has an idea. One of the nights we were texting back and forth, she called me out and told me if it got serious she needed to meet you to give her approval. I was thinking I can take you back to get your car, and once I feel her out I’ll let you know and maybe we could all get together for dinner tonight. I just don’t want to put you out and make you feel like you have to wait around all afternoon.”

“I was actually planning to do some shopping before I went home, so I can go do that in the meantime and you can let me know if it’s a go. If she’s not up for it though, I totally understand. I know it’s kind of a big deal for her, and for you to have us meet. I’m flattered but if she’s not ready for it, I’m okay with that, too,” Lana assured him, and he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers.

“You’re amazing,” he grinned. “Are you sure you’ll be ok by yourself?” He asked as his smile faltered.

“I’ll be fine. I’ve been dealing with Nathan for over two years, plus I’ll be in public areas and he’s not stupid enough to try to pull anything in a public place.”

“The fact that you’re so used to it upsets me, but if you need anything I’m only a phone call away,” he squeezed her hand again.

“I know, thank you,” she smiled and leaned in for one more kiss.

A couple of short hours later, Dylan pulled up in front of Mari’s house and found himself knocking on the front door. Mari had some strange quirks when it came to Natalia-starting with the fact that even though Natalia had a key to his house, she wanted her to knock on his front door before coming in. Mari also insisted that when he came to pick her up, he came to the door instead of sitting in the driveway and waiting. He suspected that it had something to do with her growing up in a rough neighborhood, but he still thought it was a little obsessive. Despite their differing opinions, he learned a long time ago to choose his battles with her. If something that stupid kept the peace, he was all for it.

The front door opened, and Natalia grinned, greeting him with a hug. He stepped just inside the threshold and grabbed one of her bags while she picked up the other. He saw a strange man walk through the kitchen talking on his cell phone and he furrowed his eyebrows. Natalia handed him her violin case and yelled a goodbye to her mom before they both stepped outside. Dylan looked over at her questioningly.

“Who was the surfer dude?” He cocked his eyebrow and she rolled her eyes as he popped the trunk open.

“Mom’s latest squeeze. His name’s Kris with a K, as he says. He’s an idiot,” she threw her stuff in the back of the car. “He’s going with her to Arizona to be with her and the rest of the carnie rejects in that side of her family.”

“Wow, that’s kind of harsh. I’m proud of you for that one,” he joked.

“Dad, seriously, he like, just turned 21. It’s practically illegal. I don’t understand what she sees in him,” she shrugged as he shut the back of the car and opened the passenger’s side door.

“Well, hopefully he won’t last long, like most of the guys she dates.” This just earned him another roll of the eyes before he shut the door and went around to the driver’s side.

“What about you, Dad? Is she your girlfriend yet?” Natalia smirked, and he let out a small laugh and shook his head.

“Is who my girlfriend?” He played dumb.

“The girl you were texting last week. She must be pretty impressive, you never text.”

“She’s alright,” he smiled, and she glared at him playfully. “Alright, I like her. I think you would too, actually.”

“Really? You’re going to let me meet this one? I actually get to approve or deny?” She nearly bounced in her seat in excitement. “You haven’t introduced me to any of your girlfriends in years.”

“In my defense, there haven’t been many I would consider my girlfriend,” he reasoned. “I want you to honestly tell me what you think though, okay? Don’t sugarcoat it like you do for your mom’s boyfriends.”

“I’ll be honest, I promise. When do I get to meet her?” She grinned again.

“Well, do you want to meet her over dinner? Maybe somewhere by the beach?”

“Only if we get to walk on the beach afterwards,” she smirked.

“Agreed,” he nodded as they turned onto the highway.

Lana luckily found a parking spot in one of the busy lots close to the beach. She kicked her heels off before getting out of the car, pulling on her trusty pair of flip-flops and looking down at her outfit to make sure she would make a good first appearance. She had picked up a pair of capri-length, ripped skinny jeans and a simple, white, flowing tank top. She grabbed her clutch and set the alarm on her car, shoving her keys into her bag and wishing she would have brought her purse. She headed for the boardwalk, keeping her eyes open for the arcade. She took a deep, cleansing breath as she spotted it, realizing how nervous she really was.

She saw Dylan and his daughter playing one of the large stuffed toy machines right in the front of the arcade. She smiled as she watched his daughter try to direct him to the one she wanted, missing on both tries. He put more money in the slot, making another attempt as she made her way towards them. He spotted her, and they exchanged smiles. After another failed attempt at the machine, he turned towards her as she approached them, taking her hand and leaning in to brush his lips against her cheek.

“Hey, Beautiful,” he greeted softly.

“Hey,” she greeted back. She looked over at Natalia with a friendly smile. “Hi, I’m Lana,” she offered her hand to the young girl who was a spitting image of her dad.

“Hi,” Natalia replied, smiling politely as she shook Lana’s hand.

“It’s nice to meet you, your dad talks about you all the time,” Lana smiled at Dylan.

“He should, I’m a pretty incredible daughter,” Natalia grinned, looking up at her dad. Lana laughed as Dylan put his arm over Natalia’s shoulders and looked down at her with a smirk.

“I can’t complain, you’re a pretty good kid,” he gave her a small squeeze. “Hopefully you stay that way,” he sighed playfully, and she glared at him, quickly breaking into a smile.

The three of them enjoyed dinner at a steakhouse that sat along the boardwalk. Lana genuinely showed interest in getting to know Natalia, and they discovered they shared a common interest in music and fashion. Dylan enjoyed watching them interact as they shared stories, some of them poking fun at him, and seemed to get along. He had been more nervous than he liked to admit about the two of them meeting because he knew his daughter had some pretty high standards for anyone he dated. His feelings for Lana were growing stronger each day, but if his daughter had absolutely hated her he would have been forced to reevaluate the situation. It seemed like everything was going to work out just fine.

After dinner, the three of them took a short walk along the beach as the sun started to set. Lana felt more relaxed now that she and Natalia had gotten to know each other a bit. She seemed like a smart kid, and she could easily see that she and Dylan were close. Once they reached the parking lot, Dylan unlocked his car so Natalia could get in as he walked Lana to hers. Lana opened the driver’s side door and tossed her clutch in, turning to face Dylan. They exchanged smiles and he reached up, cupping her cheek with his hand as he kissed her sweetly. He rested his forehead against hers, stroking his thumb back and forth on her cheek.

“Thank you for tonight,” he whispered softly, and she smiled. “I can tell she already likes you.”

“The feeling is mutual. She’s an interesting kid.”

“That, she is.” They shared a laugh. “Be careful driving home, call me when you get there so I know you made it.”

“Yes, Daddy,” she teased.

“Ooh, that could be kinky,” he laughed, and she smiled again. “Seriously though, watch your back and call the cops if anything seems off.”

“I will, I promise,” she agreed. “I’ll talk to you later tonight.”

“Okay,” he kissed her again. “I’ll try to come down next weekend. I hate that we’re so far away.”

“Me too,” she sighed. “It will make for a good reunion, though.”

“I like the sound of that.” He wrapped his arms around her for a hug, breathing her in one last time before she left.

They shared one last kiss before Lana climbed into her car and he watched as she drove away. Dylan couldn’t stop smiling as he headed for his own car, happy with how the night went. He climbed in and started the engine, Natalia looking over at him with a smirk. He looked in his mirrors before backing out and she rolled her eyes before looking out the window.

“What was that for?” He questioned with a small scoff.

“You love her,” she stated with a small smile, catching him off guard. He looked over at her seriously for a moment before pulling out onto the street. “It’s okay, Dad. I approve.”

“I don’t know that I would say I love her just yet, but I’m glad you’re okay with her,” he reasoned.

“I can tell she makes you happy, and she’s a nice person.”

“She does make me happy. I’m glad that you liked her, because if you didn’t I would have had to break it off. You’ll always be my number one girl,” he reached over and patted her knee and she grinned. “I love you, baby girl,” he smiled as he put his arm over her shoulders and pulled her close, pressing his lips to the top of her head.

“I love you, too, Dad.”

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