She paused just inside his door, listening. Not a sound, not even deep breathing. He was awake then, good - or was it? He must have heard her enter, and now he was waiting too, motionless in bed. For the briefest, most fleeting moment, she nearly had second thoughts. She had never pulled this on Victor yet..
Victor was not Mac. Mac would complain, but she suspected that he secretly liked the attention. In many ways, though she naturally took care not to let it show, Mac was her favourite, a bit silly at times, but largely easy-going, the sort of man who would take her intrusions in his stride. Victor now.. she really did not know how he would react, and if she were to be perfectly honest for once, that was part of her reason for finally trying out her favourite method on him too.
She took two steps further into the darkened bedroom.
"Right there!" he said, warningly, and she heard the sound of a pistol being cocked.
"Oh Victor - how predictable!" she groaned. "You know you really disappoint me? For a while there I actually thought you'd switch on your bedside lamp before trying to take aim in the dark.."
The gun came uncocked, noisily. The bedside light was turned on, and he sat up fully, blinking at her.
"You? I mean - Director?"
Good. She hadn't been sure how he thought of her - as a person or as a function. She chose not to acknowledge either.
"You really need to unwind a little", she said, her tone dripping with disapproval.
He sighed, finally putting the gun aside.
"I didn't mean that", she said. "You know, I had no idea you slept in pyjamas. Mac doesn't."
"Yeah? Well, his apartment is warmer. So what do you want?"
He did not seem surprised that she should know about Mac's sleeping habits. Presumably, Mac had said something then. Unless Victor just assumed she was using her cameras for purposes of voyeurism whenever she felt like it. All right, maybe she had her predictable moments too..
He was a hard man to rattle. Better get to the point then.. She glided closer, a vague, elegant threat in a rust-coloured robe, matching her shoulder length hair.
"You have been approaching Li Ann again."
"She told you about that?"
"You should know by now, I know everything." No reason to give him any straight answers. He had not paid for them. Yet.
"Well, so what's the harm? All I did was ask if we couldn't pick up where we left off - she wouldn't even have to marry me if she doesn't want to."
"I can't have teams within teams."
"Aha, so you finally admit you have other teams?"
"There are no other teams", she said, in a tone neither impatient nor convincing. "And I won't have this one split up or recursed in upon itself. I need the tension between the three of you. I won't have you cut Mac out."
A frustrated click of his tongue, a slight sideways toss of his head. "Mac cut himself out. When he suddenly decided to get married - you had nothing against that, you even went to the wedding!"
"Maybe I knew nothing would come of it." After all, she had staked good money on that - and won.
"So maybe you did. But he told me to do good by Li Ann - those were his exact words!"
"That was not his decision to make. I need you going all for one and one for all."
"Look, if you need The Three Musqueteers.."
She shook her head dismissively. "I need musqueteers who can keep each other on their toes. At all times. A steady triangle will do that. A couple and a third wheel will not."
He sighed. "All right, I stand corrected." A brief look around reminded him that he was not standing. "Sit.. lie.. whatever."
"Thanks", she said, letting her robe slip to the floor, revealing the thin, black nightgown that was all she wore underneath. She went to sit on his bed, leaning seductively towards him. "I thought you'd never ask.."
He looked as if he were about to protest that he had not meant it as an invitation, but if so, he thought better of it. After all, he knew her well enough to realize that she could only have mistaken him deliberately.
"Just why are you here?" he asked, his voice so low that she could not tell whether it sounded intimidated or threatening.
"You say you stand - lie corrected, but I don't agree. I'd like to administer some of that correction myself.. to make sure you remember.."
This time she was almost certain she saw a flash of pure anger in those sea-green eyes. Not bad. There were definitely attractive sides to this one as well..
"Director, I don't know what mind games you've been playing on Mac, but I'm not him. I won't stand for this."
"Oh, you will", she said languidly. "You'll stand for anything I tell you to, once I get started.. "
His eyes widened, far enough that she knew he had been bluffing too.
"You really mean this?" he asked, incredulously.
She smiled indulgently, reaching out for his pyjama shirt.
"Don't! Please", he added as an afterthought.
Once before, his noli-me-tangere attitude had actually held her back, but that was a different time, when he was in a bad spot and she had felt he could do with some respect of privacy. Not now.
"Do I have to remind you that I own you?" she said lightly, tricking the shirt off him quickly, before he could make up his mind to fight her for it. "Hmm.." she mused, admiring the view while ostensibly criticizing it. "Mac has a whole rug of hair, you know.." She ran her hand along his smooth chest. "Still, I suppose everyone can't be so gifted.."
He glared at her and moved as if to shake her off, but she ignored him. Slowly exploring his chest, she asked, "Why the pyjamas? Don't you feel secure in here? Afraid of intruders in the night?" Her hand was gradually moving further south.
"I can handle myself", he said gruffly.
"Oh, I'm sure", she said. "But have you, lately?"
Her hand landed squarely where it had no business, squeezing lightly. Good, he was not entirely opposed to this, or at least, not all of him was. She removed her hand almost immediately, but not before humming in appreciation and lecturing him, "I hope you know that size does matter. Never think anything else. Can't have a grown man believing in myths.."
"Thanks", he said, "but Li Ann already told me that."
"You are to forget about Li Ann, except as a partner on the team", she said, absently tracing a scar just inside his hip bone with a long index finger.
"Don't", he said. This time there was no please.
"Why not?" She never stopped for a moment. "Don't tell me it hurts."
"No, but it's unpleasant. Scar tissue is half numb, I only feel something going on, but I can't tell what. Leave it, will you?"
She leant forward to lick one of his nipples. Then, keeping in mind that men's skin was supposedly less sensitive than women's, she changed her tactics, using her teeth to nibble lightly. She carefully kept back her smile at his involuntary moan. She took advantage of his distraction to glide up along his body, until her mouth was at his throat. She bit him, just hard enough to let him know he was by no means safe in her company. Not that she could easily have harmed him that way; his collar size had to be nearly twice that of Mac's..
To her surprise, he caught her by the arms, lifted her off of him and told her steadily, "I think you'd better go now, Director. This has gone far enough." He let go of her arms and gave her a light shove to encourage her to leave.
She glared at him. He had almost called her bluff. This was about as far as she had planned to take things, before punishing him by leaving, the way she always did Mac. Hell, she couldn't let him win..
"Wrong, Victor", she said. "Didn't I just remind you that I own you?" She made as if to try and push the rest of those miserable pyjamas off him.
He swallowed. "All I'm saying is that if you keep this up, you might not make it out of here. So unless you really mean this - and I can't think you do - you'd better get out now."
She almost laughed. "Are you threatening me? Because if you are, you'd better take it back right away." Viciously, she scraped a fingernail along his scar. "I only give one warning."
He gasped sharply - obviously, that scar was not dead to outright abuse. My, but his eyes were beautiful when he thought he was being dangerous..
"Funny", he said. "I was just about to say that.." Before she had a chance to react, he caught her and spun around in bed, pinning her under him. He should not have been able to catch her unawares, she had had even more martial arts classes than he had, but for some reason she had expected him to be a gentleman, like Mac for instance.. Right now, she had no room to apply any of her extensive training, he kept her down, and he had enough sense to keep his head down too, tightly against her neck, so she couldn't get at his eyes or ears.
"Wow!" she said, refusing to be intimidated. Better concede him the victory and be done with it. Maybe she really should leave. "All right, Victor - that is your name after all. Mind letting me breathe?"
He broke the regular lock he had on her, but he did not release her entirely. She was not worried yet, but she had started to berate herself for disregarding his strength completely. She usually did not think much of men's strength, there were many ways around that. Of course, in a really tight clinch, most of those ways were fairly useless..
He held her tightly against him for a while, long enough to make sure she was not trying anything. Then, gradually, he moved one arm, bringing his hand up to brush one narrow strap of the nightgown off her shoulder.
She should have made an effort to leave right then, but he was caressing her bare shoulder, and his hand was hot and dry.. against her better judgment, she decided to wait a little and see what would happen. He had called her bluff, why should she not call his?
By the time he had her other strap down, she was beginning to doubt that he was bluffing, and when he had worked his hand down under the nightgown, she was sure he was not.
Suddenly, he released her. "Take it off", he rasped, his voice so husky she did not at first catch his words.
"What did you say?"
"Your nightgown. Take it off."
Ah, so he still needed her acquiescence. Just as she had thought; he was a gentleman after all. Just not like Mac. Not like Mac at all.. She knew she ought to take her chance and leave. But he had aroused her - curiosity, and besides, wasn't it already too late? What if she should add another twist to her carefully cultivated reputation for madness..
"You first", she said.
"You heard me. Get rid of those ridiculous pyjama bottoms, and I'll get rid of my nightgown." The final call. If he was bluffing, he never would agree.
He was not bluffing. He got the garment off and tossed it aside as if it had never been an issue.
She took her time looking, memorizing every detail of his body, as she was pretty sure she would not get another chance to see him like this. No carefully concealed cameras between them; close enough to touch.. This time, she decided not to say anything about size. Why belabour the obvious. He was probably conceited enough already. True to her word, she squirmed around in bed until she had discarded her black sheath of rather uncomfortable but impressive-looking silk. Without it, and so close to him, she felt like an animal, possibly something feline. Intent, curious, free of all external concerns. She crept down and lowered her head to wash him, cat fashion, and her hair draped itself over his belly, caressing it.
He caught her, holding her back. She looked up in dazed surprise and caught the slight shake of his head. "Better not", he said. Ah, so it had been a while. She'd have to be careful then. Above all, she wanted his tension. She strongly suspected that once that was gone, he'd have second thoughts. Well, that would be his problem, not hers - not if she could help it. She stretched out beside him, letting him choose the pace. He chose well, touching her all over, till she had to be every bit as close to bursting as he was. She was losing her last grip on reality, feeling all animal now. His hot hands were doing absolutely wicked things to her nipples, and her eyes felt as if they were equipped with nictitating membranes, inexorably closing. When he gently inserted two fingers in her, she was certain she would implode and become a neutron star in the far reaches of space.
Throughout, they had not kissed once, but just as he was ready to enter her, he softly touched his lips to hers, so gently as to do little more than tease her, startle her. She had not expected a kiss, but she quickly overcame her surprise and responded with more passion than she had ever meant to let him know from her. His tongue retaliated in kind, like a sweet, darting point wholly at odds with the softness of his lips. Somehow she was reminded of a snake, but she was already deep into the animal world, and the association only served to excite her.
He filled her completely, and for a moment she wondered if she might not actually show cracks after this. Not that she particularly cared at the moment. Closing her eyes, she let go and the surf took her, let her ride the crest in long sweeps to the shore, mindlessly, with no effort and no thoughts. He had held out bravely till now, but she knew she had triggered him with her own climax, and as he answered with his own, she was certain she would have lesions. There was just so much a poor woman could take. Well, nobody would ever hear her say it wasn't worth it..
* * *
Dawn was drawing dangerously close before she finally decided to leave. She had sensed that he wanted her to stay, and for once she had not felt like being unkind. Truth to tell, she felt inexplicably shaken, and she was not at all certain her legs would carry her for a few hours yet. So she dozed in his arms, and only as the street lights went out outside, did she carefully detach herself and get out of bed, snatching up her gown and robe and making a beeline for the bathroom, so as not to drip his fluids on the rug.
As she was ready to leave, she returned briefly to his bed, leaning in to give him a goodbye kiss. That's when she noticed that he was wide awake, staring up into the ceiling. He did not look as if he had slept at all. She sighed. This was what she had been afraid of. Probably thinking about Li Ann again, wondering if she would find out, and afraid to ask. Men and their hangups..
"She won't hear it from me", she said. It went against her grain to reassure him, but he looked so vulnerable right then. She had to be going soft, it was the only explanation.
He made no sign of having heard her, but she was certain he had. Still staring at the ceiling, he said, "This is NOT good.."
She grinned, unable to help herself. "No? I thought it was rather enjoyable.."
He glared swiftly at her, but some of his despair seemed to have suddenly lifted.
Just as she closed the door behind her, she was certain she could hear a low chuckle, and she knew he'd be all right. Not that she had expected differently. His resilience was, after all, one of the reasons she had picked him for her team.
* * *
In a windowless room back at the Agency, Dobrinsky leant back in his chair and stretched. Watching a monitor for hours on end was a taxing job - usually. This time, he had to admit he could not have torn himself away. He was deeply impressed with his supervisor. He had never expected her to actually go through with it. She never had before. Remarkable woman.. he shook his head in silent admiration. He would really have to make his own private copy of the tape..
*** The End ***