First: Purchased: Negotiation
Leander was smiling, even though he wasn’t totally sure this wasn’t going to blow up in his face. Things did, even when everything was planned out with the best intentions. And he was – if not certain, that was too much to ask, he was pretty damn sure Sylviane had the best intentions.
“I think,” he murmured, leaning over so he could let his breath brush across her ear and lowering his voice even more, “that”… if you want a real statistical sample, well, you ought to get more than one baseline measurement, yeah?”
She chuckled at him. “Oh, absolutely. But let’s start with one? Since we can’t do them simultaneously – unless you have some unforeseen ability to Work with time that would be amazing, but really, really out there-“
He took a small risk and kissed her, not a long kiss but enough to taste her, the slight saltiness from movie-watching snacks and the sweetness that was Sylviane. He ran his hands up and down her back and found his smile only growing.
He leaned down to kiss her neck where it met her shoulder, and then to do the same on the other side. He couldn’t remember the last time – he could remember the last time, he realized with a bit of a start. But right now, he didn’t want to be thinking about anyone except Sylviane.
She cupped his ass with both hands and made a warm, appreciative noise. “You are wearing too much clothing. I think – I think there was a shower recommended, and after the day we’ve both had, I think we need it.” She peered up at him. “If you don’t mind?”
“Mind waiting?” he chuckled. “No. Mind taking a shower? Almost never. Mind seeing you dripping with water after your shower – not at all.”
His instincts were screaming at him to tone it down. He couldn’t just say shit like that. He couldn’t just suggest he wanted to look at her naked, much less flat out say it.
But she wanted a baseline, he assured himself. And that meant acting as much like himself as he knew how to.
He was a little surprised to find that acting like himself was something he had to think about.
“Mind showering with me,” she clarified. She reached out for him; for a second he froze. Wait, what?
Lucky for him, from the smile on her lips, she thought that was because she’d startled him with the shower. She caught his hand and gave a tug; Leander let her see a smile that was sheepish for too many reasons but was, well, just sheepish.
She is not going to hurt you, he reminded himself. She does not WANT to hurt you. She is your charge; it is your job to take care of her, not the other way around, he added, just for good measure.
“Now showering with you is something I would have to be insane to mind,” he assured her. “Besides, I’m hoping you can get that spot at the center of my back that I always have trouble washing myself.”
“Oh, believe me,” she grinned at him, “I am going to get lots of spots that you have trouble washing yourself. I am going to wash you so much…” She interrupted herself with a brief snort. “All right, that sounded a bit weird.”
“That’s all right,” he assured her. “It sounded a bit weird, but it didn’t sound, ah, it didn’t sound bad.”
“You’re an interesting one.” She looked at him as if she were seeing him for the first time. He looked back at her and wondered what she was seeing.
Then it occurred to him that he could just do the same, instead of standing here like an idiot. After all, there was a lovely naked woman in front of him. And she was not the sort that would punish him for noticing that.
She was fit. He’d known that already, but it was one thing to know it and another to see the muscles that she hid behind her clothes. She had thighs that could probably crush a man’s skull – where had he heard that? Some cartoon somewhere? – and a stomach with a 6-pack gym rats would kill for. Her breasts were perfect. They were –
“You’re sweet, too. I didn’t expect you to be sweet. Then again, there were a lot of things I didn’t expect from you. I didn’t expect, mm. I didn’t expect the nerves, and I didn’t expect the way you, ah, the fierceness. The way you were when you fought back against those jerks, it was like they’d personally offended you-“
There was a heat rising in her voice. There was a heat rising in Leander, too. He risked kissing her, his free hand on her shoulder, shoulders were safe, just a little touch of his lips to hers, that was all. That was – she stepped up against him and wrapped his arm and hers around her back and there was no more little touch of lips. The kiss was something like a lifeline. Someone had been hurting her, they’d been putting her at risk, and that wasn’t okay. That was not okay. He thrust closer against her, wishing for a moment he had taken the time to undress, and then he really wasn’t thinking at all. He was holding her, caressing her, tasting her mouth and pressing his mouth closer to her and-
At some point, he picked her up so her legs were wrapped around his waist, or possibly she just climbed him. At some point, she started pushing at his shirt, until, impatient, she muttered a Working at it and it vanished. At some point, he moved to kissing her neck and shoulders before kissing her lips again.
At some point, she whispered bed, and he had absolutely no argument with this idea.