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The Road Not Taken

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"Did you get the pages?"

He grunts, not looking up from his paper.

"Have you read them yet?"

Over the top of his glasses, he watches her standing in the kitchenette of his trailer. She's thrown a tea bag into a mug and splashed hot water over it like it was the offending writer and needed to be boiled alive to pay for their sins.

"I take it you have an issue with them?"

"No."

Lies, he can tell. She wears all her emotions on that exquisite face of hers. Somehow she never got the posh totty as inscrutable cipher down very well, though it's fascinating to watch her try. He doesn't put his paper down just yet. He knows she'll tell him everything if he just lets her twist a little longer.

"Well, I just find it hard to believe that mere moments after she's locked in this intense, intimate scene with Gene, she's off shagging this complete stranger. I just, I'm struggling to see where that fits in her character." Two sugars are dropped like boulders on the hapless tea bag, the lot of them stabbed about with a flimsy little stir straw.

"Well, you didn't think they were going to shag straight off, did you?"

"No."

Again, he licks his lips and does not smirk at the pout in her voice.

"But you have to admit, making her look like a slapper isn't going to exactly help her case with the viewers. I mean, they're already struggling with the relationship as it is. Alex Drake is not Sam Tyler, it's that simple."

He folds his paper quietly, and sets his glasses on top of them, rising to his feet silent as a mouse. She's too busy wrapped up in the sound of her own voice to notice.

"It's one thing for there to be this unresolved sexual tension between the two of them, but to make it so blatant, and then to blink at the last moment -- to be honest, I don't see either of them backing down."

She starts a bit when he speaks, his lips right next to her ear. "You don't think he'd be a gentleman about it?" He rests a hand on the counter beside her, trapping her there.

"Why would he?" She sips her tea and hisses a bit, sucking air over her tongue to cool the burn. She cuts a glance at him through those long dark lashes, waiting for his explanation.

"Maybe he wants more than a one night stand? Maybe he's starting to acknowledge he has deeper feelings for her? Maybe he just doesn't want to shag his DI. There are any number of reasons."

She sighs, exasperated. "Maybe. I just don't get why she has to go and shag this total stranger afterwards."

"Oh that's simple. What's more attractive than a stoic man intent on preserving his lady's honour? That same man turned inside out with jealousy." He pulls away just long enough to reach across and lock the door to the trailer. And then he's right back where he started.

She turns to face him, not at all put off by how close he's standing to her. "Gene Hunt doesn't get jealous, does he?"

"At the thought of a total stranger in her bed, oh absolutely. When he should be the one with those long fucking gorgeous legs wrapped around his waist? You bet your Bolly Knickers he would be."

"Does he think about her that way?" She purses her lips and blows across the surface of her tea and his eyes are riveted to her lips.

"He hasn't stopped thinking about her that way since she walked into his life. He's thinking that way about her right now, as we speak."

"Oh is he now? So then why would he walk away from such an intimate question?"

"Because she was drunk." He bends his head, nuzzling the side of her neck, breathing in the scent of her. "And when they do decide to act on their attraction, he wants it to be mutual, or else, what's the point?"

She's grinning down at her tea now, her cheeks flushed. "You're awful, you know that?"

"Why would you say that?"

"I mean, I appreciate your dedication to the role, but no one told me you were a method actor." Her eyes close as his breath feathers over her cheek, but she's not pulling away. She never pulls away from him. She lets him push and push, deeper into unknown territory and he loves that she seems to have no limits where he's concerned.

"What would you do if I told you I wasn't, hmm?" His voice has gone quiet again.

"I'd ask what the hell you were doing, for one."

"Don't tell me you're not enjoying this."

She hums a little, watching as he takes her tea away from her and sets it aside. Her hands now freed, she reaches out to touch him, one hand on his hip, the other resting on his chest. "Maybe. A little."

"Don't lie. Your knickers are soaked aren't they?"

She bites her lower lip and he knows it's true. Still, she tries to deflect. "And what if they were? It's not like anything is going to come of it." She knows. He's let her set the boundaries so far, and respected them.

"Oh you don't think so?" Again, he breathes the words against the shell of her ear, smiling as she can't contain the little shiver that runs down her spine. "Maybe you'll get all wound up and go home to your husband and shag his brains out tonight. Maybe you'll be thinking of me the whole time you do, and maybe you'll come harder than you've come in years. Maybe that's what I think will 'come' of it. Like Alex in her flat, shagging Mr. Red Braces, is thinking of Gene the whole time."

"You think so?"

"Oh I know so. I know so. God, I can practically smell you, Lee."

She toys idly with the buttons on his shirt, whispering into the hollow beneath his jaw. "Does it make you hard, hmm?"

"You have no idea."

"Gene doesn't have a wife to go home to, not anymore. He'd have to go home and have a wank all by himself. In the shower, you think?"

"Yeah. Yeah, probably." His voice gravels, almost a whisper.

"Mmm, I like that thought. All naked under the hot water, taking matters in hand, so to speak."

"Oh you are far crueller than I ever gave you credit for, you little minx."

"Only paying you back in kind, for getting me all riled and then not doing anything about it."

"We have to be on set in ten minutes. Is that what you want? Just a quickie?"

"No." There's a breathless quality to her voice that tells him so much more than her words. "No, I just want to get through this scene without embarrassing myself, truth be told."

"Don't worry, love. They'll never know what hit 'em." He brushes a chaste kiss across her cheek, gratified to hear the little disappointed sigh on her lips.

"Now run along and don't forget your pages. Tell them I'm just behind you."

"Need a moment?"

"And a bucket of ice water, now mush."

"Yes, sir," she teases, plucking at his tie as she slips passed him to collect her script.

How he's ever going to make it through this series without getting arrested, he has no idea. But fucking hell it'll be worth it, just to spend more time with that incredible woman.