Word Count: 3,925
"I don't expect you to clean my place."
She let out a startled sound, just about bashing her on the hood of the stove. She hadn't even heard him come in. She was in his kitchen, scrubbing the stovetop. She had found his stereo and while he didn't have many CDs that interested her (or that she was familiar with) she was able to find a radio station that played a decent mix of music.
She and Allison had stopped for a cup of coffee on their way back to her car and then Buffy had stopped at a grocery store to pick up some things. She figured since she had a kitchen available to her she may as well use it. Lee didn't have much in the way of food in his house, so she assumed he didn't cook much.
She wasn't counting on Xander calling and getting into a conversation with him about the slayer she was in Phoenix to locate. So, she'd forgotten about the rice that she had started and it boiled over onto the stove. And when it had run out of water, the rice burnt to the pan. And didn't smell so good.
"You found the planter I take it."
She moved to stand, but he stopped her with a hand at her hip.
"What were you doing?" It was a logical question, but his voice was low, husky and suggested he had no interest in what she had been doing.
"I was thinking you might want something to eat."
"Where'd you get food?"
"Supermarket on the way here. Do you ever eat here?"
"Sure. I have take-out menus…"
"No, I mean real food. You know, that you cook and requires dishes to wash as a result of it."
"Very rarely. Once in a while I get a hankering for something."
"I looked through your fridge and cupboards and they were pretty bare."
His hand slid lower along her thigh, a caress that made her breath catch. It surprised her how easily she reacted to him considering she really didn't know him. Sex had, other than with Parker, been about a relationship and some sort of commitment for her. The three men she'd been with other than Parker she'd gotten to know before sleeping with them.
He found the hem of her skirt, drew his hand up again pushing the skirt with it.
"I'll work on rectifying that."
"I already did a little," she whispered, sounding breathless to her own ears as his hand slid to the juncture between her legs. He prompted her to spread them and she did. She cried out, leaning forward as he slid a fingertip along her labia. "What are you doing?"
He chuckled and found her ear, nuzzling there. Pressed against her back as he was, she could feel even through his pants that he wanted her. Here. Now.
"If you have to ask that…"
"No, I mean, why here?"
"I come home from a crime scene I'd rather forget about. And instead of the temptation of a beer I find you by my stove, the smell of food in the air. Not to mention I've had a picture of you in this skirt going through my mind when I should have been thinking of other things. It was a turn-on."
"You find domesticity a turn-on?"
He slid a finger inside of her and she groaned, pushing against his hand.
"I guess so."
"Your bed would be domestic."
"We've already used the bed, a couple of times in fact."
"And that means we can't use it again?"
"I was going for spontaneity."
"Oh, well…" She broke off as his thumb found her clit, circling it while his finger thrust inside of her. She brushed the front of his trousers with her butt. "You're a little overdressed for spontaneous."
He lifted the hand from her hip then and she sighed softly, missing the warmth of his hand against her skin. And then he stroked her clit again and she wasn't missing his hand anymore. She heard the jingle of a belt buckle, the soft sound of a zipper and saw from her vantage point that his pants were now to his knees.
She made to turn around, but he stopped her.
"Where are you going?"
"I was going to…"
He nipped at her neck, the same spot her scars were and she groaned. There was something about him doing that that just did it for her. He reached around her, sliding the now cold pan of burnt rice to the countertop beside them.
He slid inside of her, just a little to be sure she was ready. He pulled out and thrust all of the way inside of her in one powerful stroke. She barely had any contact with the floor at all this way, but she had the stove for support. And he wasn't going to let her go.
She didn't mind him being behind her, but she couldn't touch him like this and it grew frustrating. She wanted to touch him. As if reading her mind, he slid a hand along her arms finding her hand and laying his on top of hers. She cried out as his thrusts grew faster, more urgent as he stroked her clit. She felt him come, she was almost there, too. He kept thrusting inside of her, emptying himself into her as he worked to bring her off, too.
He stepped away, supporting her hips as he guided her so they were both on the floor in front of the stove.
"Hmm, I never realized burning rice had such an effect on a man."
He chuckled softly. "Me neither."
His eyes followed hers and they both started laughing at the picture he made sitting on the floor, completely dressed except his pants down.
"Has anyone told you that you shouldn't take phone numbers from guys when you're sleeping with another guy?"
"Is that what this was about? I didn't know you noticed."
"Part of it. I'm a cop, I notice everything, Buffy."
"Oh, well, if you'd asked me - or him - we'd have told you he's from Sunnydale and I knew him when he was playing Little League baseball."
"And he waited until now to give you his phone number?"
"Well, I helped save him. It's a long story," she said, and proceeded to tell him about the world of nightmares Billy had created by refusing to come out of his coma. "It's nothing, he just wanted to get something to eat with someone who knew about the things we know about."
"You sure that's all?"
"You're just an attractive woman and he's someone a little closer to your age."
"You joke about my stamina, young men have stamina to spare."
She moved to kneel around him, straddling his lap as she wrapped her arms around his neck. "I haven't made one complaint about you in any capacity."
"If you hadn't been treating me like you didn't know me, maybe I would have told him I was staying with you. You seemed to be all secretive about it, so all I could tell him was that I was staying with a friend. Why is that anyway?"
"Why did you treat me like that?"
"I was at work, Buffy."
She drew away. "So, I'm good enough to come home and fuck because you had a bad day, but not to acknowledge that you know me in front of your cop buddies?"
"That's not what I said."
"That's what it seems like. I realize I'm not permanent, that I'm leaving, but you moved my stuff here. I didn't ask you to. You made your ex think we were an item."
"It just made sense."
"From a convenience standpoint?"
"Well, no, put like that…"
"I'm not asking you to kiss me or anything, but a little something so I don't walk into something like that wondering if I'd done something wrong I don't know about."
"And what am I supposed to tell Bill, Allison, or anyone else when they ask me where I'm staying? I told him a friend."
"Allison doesn't know where I put my witnesses so she's not going to show up at the hotel looking for you."
She closed her eyes and stood from his lap. He stood then, fixing his pants in the process. Somehow this had turned from good sex that he hoped was going to lead to more of the same into an argument. He wasn't sure how it happened.
"How did you get those scars?"
"The scars on your neck, there are two sets of them. They look like bite marks, fang marks I'm coming to understand. They aren't from the other night. I've looked, they're not fresh."
"I got bit. It's a hazard of the job."
"Why the scarring?"
"I don't know! What is it you want to know?"
He focused on his feet, realizing he hadn't even taken the time to kick his shoes off. Smooth, very smooth, Scanlon. Not that he was sure why leaving his shoes on made a difference when he hadn't removed any of his clothes at all.
"Despite this being temporary, or whatever you want to call it. You're still here, in my bed, in my house, and I like you. Do you think I enjoyed walking into that crime scene, knowing that you've been bitten at least once that I know about. That could have been you lying there this morning."
"But it's not!"
"That's not the point. My mind can tell me that all it wants, but I couldn't help picturing you the night Allison and I found you. I took an oath to protect and serve, and I can't do that with you. Your life is more dangerous than a cop's, you don't get backup."
"And that bothers you," she said in barely a whisper, realization dawning on her. On him, too. He was concerned for her. It'd been a long time since he'd felt the need to worry about someone.
"Yes! And I was afraid if I said anything to you that'd spill out in front of everyone."
"We couldn't have that," she said wryly.
"Not if I want to be respected on my job, no. I'm a good cop, I'm not supposed to let emotions get in my way but they did today. She looks like you. Did you notice that? Not exactly, but there's a resemblance."
"I didn't really pay attention."
"Well, she did. And then you came onto the scene, very much not dead, dressed like that."
"Like this? What's that mean?"
"Your skirt that's meant to…"
"Show off my legs? Isn't that the purpose of a skirt?"
"Yeah, but not in front of a couple of dozen cops!"
"So, I shouldn't wear skirts?"
"I didn't say that."
"What are you saying, Lee?"
"I don't know."
He sat on the couch then, looking up at her. She wasn't mad, not anymore. He didn't know her real well yet, but he could tell by her eyes she wasn't upset. He was coming to understand that she was more than just a short-term fling. He wasn't sure what that meant. She'd be going back to London soon, maybe not as soon as she thought initially but soon. And then what? At least he wasn't going to get his heart scooped out finding out she was working for the very people he was investigating.
"In addition to a few other things, yeah I guess. Cops can be pretty crass at times amongst ourselves."
"And they said stuff about me?"
He snorted. "Well, yeah. You're pretty, look good in a skirt, weren't afraid to look at a dead body, and Bill tells them that you're beyond cool."
"He said that?" She smiled at that, apparently surprised to hear it.
"Yes. As if you didn't know."
"No, I really didn't. Unfortunately, I don't often get to meet up with the people I've saved once I leave them. Bill is one of the only, so I never know if people walk away from me thinking I'm just crazy or what."
"I had to fight the urge to touch you today. That was my problem, Buffy. I saw those bite marks she had, saw your scars and I wanted to ask you about them. Touch them. And I can't do that."
"You could have asked me about it."
"I just did."
"Not and keep my focus where it should be. And I'm not just fucking you. If I gave you that impression…"
"No, I just wasn't expecting you to act like you didn't know me. And then come home, well," she said, waving a hand in the direction of the kitchen, "like that."
He could understand that. "I, truthfully, wasn't sure how to deal with you at the crime scene. It wasn't really my scene for one. I was invited because I'd found the body the other night. So, I was afraid if I said or did something to make them think we were together that they'd ask you to leave. I didn't want to risk that, because I wanted to know if you needed to take care of her."
"You wouldn't have let me take care of her there anyway."
"Well, no, but I could have gotten you in later to take care of it. I wasn't going to sit idly by while men could be in danger."
He noticed she hadn't asked him how he'd get her in or how he'd explain the disappearance of a body. The thing was when he spoke to someone in the coroner's office earlier that day he mentioned bodies did that sometimes, disappeared.
"I can't tell you how mad it makes me to think someone, somewhere in the chain of command knows about this and says nothing. They're putting the lives of their men, the men who trust them, at risk."
"Do you still want me to make you dinner?"
"I can take you out if you want, a cop hangout if that'll make you feel better."
"Or make you feel better so they know you're with me."
"There is always that benefit, but no, I just want you to realize on the job and off the job I do things differently."
"All right, let me shower and change."
"You don't need a shower. You look great just like that."
"Thank you, but there's one aspect to sex I'd forgotten about."
"Considering we haven't done anything out of the ordinary, I'm almost afraid to ask what that might be."
"Sex without a condom…"
"Ah," he said simply. He hadn't thought of that.
"Mm, yeah, so just give me a minute to clean up then I'll be out."
"We don't have to go out you know. Then I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning up."
He shrugged, about to say more when someone knocked at his door. He wanted to take her out and it didn't really have anything to do with wanting anyone to know she was with him. He should have asked her about checking her out of her room, but it had seemed foolish to keep her there when she'd come back to his place last night. She'd mentioned an expense account. So why have an expense when she could stay here free?
Okay, so he wanted to take her out because he didn't want to be one of those guys that a girl thought he only wanted her for sex. And keeping her holed up here, letting her cook meals for him. Well, that screamed of hiding her. To him. Maybe she didn't mind, but he did. Because he wasn't using her for sex. The sex had just kind of happened, and he would be the first to admit he'd been in a bit of a dry spell before it happened with her.
He looked through the peephole and let out a soft groan when he saw who it was. He glanced behind him, only to see that Buffy had already vanished into his bathroom. He could pretend he wasn't here, but admittedly he was kind of curious.
He opened the door, realizing too late while he'd pulled his pants up he hadn't bothered to refasten his belt. He hadn't been paying attention and if Elena hadn't obviously noticed he probably wouldn't have realized it yet.
"Am I interrupting?" There was a wicked smile on her lips. One he recognized as her amused look.
"No. A few minutes ago maybe. What do you want, Elena?" He fixed his pants then, fastening the buckle haphazardly.
"I realized after seeing you yesterday it had been ages," she said, breezing past him without an invitation. Her eyes went to the unusable pan of rice on the kitchen counter. "Someone need work on their culinary skills?"
"No, the culinary skills are just fine all around. And there's a reason you haven't seen me in ages."
"Come now. You're not still bitter about what happened?"
He wasn't sure how to answer that. Was he bitter about what happened? Was he upset about not being married? To her? Yes and no. He'd loved her so much, there was a part of him that wondered if he'd ever find that again. Had he blown his chance of having it all: a wife, kids.
But then he'd come back to not just who she was but that someone like her wouldn't tolerate his being a cop. It wasn't in her blood to get that late night phone call every cop's spouse dreaded. She wouldn't tolerate him putting her in that position.
And if he knew anything about himself through his struggles, he'd come to learn that he was a cop. There was nothing else he'd rather do. The cop in him rebelled at the fact the enemy knew him so well. He'd taken a mobster into his bed and hadn't even realized he was doing it. How had he been so blind? Or was she just that good?
That was the part that bugged him. Which was it? Was he that easily duped? Or had she been that good at hiding who she was?
"I really just wondered if you were still in this quaint place."
"I'm sorry if it's not to your tastes, but my living arrangements aren't really your concern anymore."
"And she doesn't mind?"
"I haven't asked her and she hasn't said."
"Really, Lee. You can be rather dense sometimes. Who would really want to live here? Like this? She struck me as being a little out of your league. High maintenance."
"Looks can be deceiving. Just because you might be high maintenance doesn't mean I am," Buffy said from behind them. They both turned to look at her and Lee was struck by how natural she was. She was pretty but it wasn't in a fake way. Here she was dressed in a towel, her hair wet and she looked good to him. He couldn't recall ever seeing Elena like this.
She walked toward them, not seeming to care she was only wearing a towel.
"How do you know I don't have a place of my own that Lee's not going to move into? You don't is how. You don't know anything about me. And from what he told me you don't know anything about him anymore. You came here to see if he'd really moved on. As if somehow his showing up at that restaurant with me was planned or an act." Buffy smiled then. "It wasn't planned. I'm here, you're not, and I can guarantee I have no secrets from him, so deal with it."
"People always have secrets."
"Only people who want to hide what they really are. I'm sure you've figured it out, but secrets aren't exactly the thing to keep for the long haul. Now you're keeping me from getting dressed and holding up my dinner out."
"She is a bit rude, isn't she, Lee?"
Lee just shrugged, resisting the urge to kiss Buffy hard there and then. She didn't have to do any of this. Elena would figure it out eventually. He wasn't sure if she suspected something was amiss, but she wouldn't let it go if she did.
"I'm from Southern California, we're just bred that way I guess."
"Are you moving to California?"
"No, actually, Buffy lives in London. For now," he added as an afterthought, since Buffy seemed willing to go along with the game they'd started the other day.
"You'd leave Phoenix? The force? I find that hard to believe."
"Good night, Elena. Your curiosities have been settled. I still live here. She's really here. We have plans."
He walked the short way to the door and opened it. "You don't need to come by again and check on me."
"We were good together, you can't deny that."
Oddly, he had a problem conjuring up images of what they were like together anymore. Once upon a time that had all he'd been able to focus on. He'd had to as a way to distract him from her deception. Now, though, well, especially today after Buffy letting him have her in the kitchen with little to no foreplay made him realize that she hadn't been as good as his memory conjured her up to be.
She'd never have made love in the kitchen or the floor or anywhere like that. Not that that mattered, but it did in a way. Didn't it? He had no kids, no pets, no anything so shouldn’t he be able to do what he wanted? Wherever he wanted? Within the constraints of the law, of course.
"No, Elena, we really weren't. A while ago I might have answered differently, but not now. I've moved on and Buffy has nothing to do with that. I was on drugs, probably the lowest point of my life. Nothing about that time was good for me."
Her face fell. He'd surprised her with his answer. He had, too. There had been some ways he hadn't moved on, letting someone get close to him. But that was a trust issue more than anything. And he was sure with the right person he'd work on that. The fact that he was willing to kiss Buffy, just kiss her told him he was already working on it.
"Good night, Elena. Have a good life."
"Lee," she said, but he grabbed her by the elbow and escorted her out the door. Once past the threshold, he released her arm and closed the door.
Buffy returned a few minutes later. He was still standing by the door, almost afraid if he left it she'd come back in.
"Do you think she's still there?"
"I don't know. You look," he couldn't help but take a nice and leisurely stroll down the length of her body and back up again. "Great."
"Thanks," she said, smoothing down the miniskirt that was really shorter than it should have been. Not that he was going to complain because she was his date. For the night, for the week, for the here and now.
"I should change into something that isn't work clothes."
"You look fine."
"And you look great. Allow me to at least try and look like I'm not a bum you picked up off the street."
She smiled and placed her hands at his chest, smoothing down the front of his shirt. She reached up to kiss him. "Okay."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com