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3.21 - The Seventh Floor

His presence in her office is entirely unexpected. It catches her off guard and scares her half to death. She has just a second to regain her composure. "What?"

"My son. He's getting fat. My ex says it's hormones, but I think she just lets him eat whatever he wants."

She pulls off her coat, hangs it up. "Mike, what are you doing here?" She hasn't seen him since their little election night mishap.

"MSec wants a word, off the books. One of your interns let me in, which should alarm you."

She makes a note to find that intern later. She grabs her badge out of the drawer behind her desk and busies herself with clipping it to her slacks. "I have a very busy day; it was lovely seeing you," she says, a clear dismissal.

He sits up. "Oh, so you - you want me to go?"

"Please." She sits down.

"Okay. Sure. Absolutely," he says and gets up, heading for the door.

She watches him; it can't possibly be that easy, can it?

He turns toward her. "The thing is - I feel like you don't call me back."

Of course it isn't that easy. "That's because I don't call you back."

He crinkles his brow. "Yeah, well… why not?" He approaches, taking a seat in front of her desk and making her sigh.

She takes a moment to figure out how exactly she wants to break it to him. "Mike, um… what we… shared… on election night was -"

"Crazy." He grins, and his eyes positively light up. It was crazy, she agrees, but she's going to go with a different word so as to not give him the wrong idea.

"- Surprising... but frankly, you're not my type," she says primly. It's a bald-faced lie, and they both damn well know it. He doesn't call her out on it, though.

"I get it," he says easily. "The 'Hatchet Man' mystique, it's sexy, but it's intimidating."

"This is what I'm talking about."

"Fine - I like you, Nadine, and I would like to go out with you."

What was this, grade school? "You sound like a teenager."

"Americans have an underdeveloped language for romance - yes or no?"

"No!" Her line beeps, saving her from having to elaborate her protestations. She answers it without taking her eyes off of him. He looks strangely… crestfallen. She ends the call. "I have to go," she says, and when she gets up, he does too.

He walks ahead of her and she follows warily. He stops at the door and turns around. He has one hand on the handle so that she can't escape until she hears him out. "Look, I'll drop the act."

She sighs impatiently, but he just continues, talking over her.

"No more Mike B show - just Mike." He looks her in the eyes, and subtly pleads with his own. "Have dinner with me. Have dinner, at a salad bar, with me and my fat son."

Nadine feels her lips twitch into a small smile. It wouldn't hurt, maybe, to just appease him. "I'll think about it."

He smiles, satisfied. And just before he leaves, he takes her by surprise by leaning into her, so close that she can feel the warmth of his breath on her skin. "You look amazing, by the way," he whispers. And then he's gone.

She takes a deep, shuddering breath.

What is he trying to achieve here?

Nadine gives herself a minute to pull herself together, then heads to the conference room to meet Colin Mitchell's family.

She'd been doing her best to avoid Mike these past few months - it had been made easy by the fact that he'd been doing a lot of consulting work overseas, and ignoring his calls was much easier than ignoring his spontaneous, in-person visits. As she's just proved to herself.

But his admission of real, heartfelt interest in her, coupled with his promise for genuineness (something that she ever only sees on rare occasions, despite how long she's known him) has really taken her by surprise, and so she is feeling perhaps more open to his overtures.

So when he calls her the next evening about dinner, she answers.

She's in her condo when she gets his call; she's already kicked off her heels and peeled away her stockings, and is half out of her work suit when her phone starts vibrating. She picks up on the second ring.


On the other end of the line, he sounds almost relieved that she's decided to give him her time. He arranges to pick her up tomorrow - dinner in Alexandria, he says. New Italian place.

"I thought we were going to a salad bar." Italian is like, the opposite of salad.

"That'll be for another time. My fat son won't be joining us."

That's better, maybe. (Does his son know that she is more or less the catalyst of his parents' years-old divorce? Can children sense that sort of thing? Maybe it's best not to find out.) "I see."

"Wear something sexy." She can almost hear the grin in his voice. "I'm sure that won't be hard for you."

Nadine raises an eyebrow. "Uh-huh, okay," she says dryly.

"See you on Saturday." He hangs up.

"For goodness sake," she mutters, and tosses her phone on the couch as she walks past it on the way to her bedroom. Sexy. She supposes it'll give her something to think about for the next day and a half.

Nadine sheds her work clothes, dropping them in her "to-be-dry-cleaned" pile, and changes into a pair of yoga pants and a soft t-shirt. Almost reluctantly, she opens the doors of her closet and examines her choices, eventually pulling a few options and hooking them on the back of the closet door. A deep blue sheath with a short hem; a low-backed burgundy number; a lacy little black dress with a plunging neckline. It's been awhile since she's had an occasion to wear any of these dresses. They were too revealing for work, and too casual for state dinners, but too fancy for anything less than a date - not to mention how rarely she's allowed herself to be wined and dined anyway.

She leaves them draped over the door to choose later.

She goes for the blue dress.

She's just poured herself into it when she hears a knock at the door - he's early.

"Coming!" she calls, and twists her arms behind her to zip up the back of the dress as she pads over to the front door in bare feet. She opens it and steps to the side. "Come in - I'm not quite ready yet."

But Mike just stares at her and doesn't move. "Wow," he says finally.

"Thank you." She turns around, exposing the back of her half-zipped dress to him. "Actually, could you...?"

The door fall closed behind him as he steps inside, and he puts one warm hand on her waist as the other one draws the zipper the rest of the way up her back. Lingering fingertips brush her bare skin, and then he steps back. "You look beautiful."

She turns to face him again, and a light blush colors her skin. "Thank you."

He glances at the side of her face. "You're missing an earring."

"I'm not ready yet - you're early." Nadine heads back to her room to grab her other earring and slip into her heels. "I'll be right back," she calls behind her.

When she emerges again, both earrings on and heels in place, his eyes travel over her body without the decency of shame. A little reluctantly, he says, "Okay, let's go," and from the way that he's undressing her with his eyes, she gets the feeling that he'd much rather not go anywhere at all.

Dinner is wonderful. The food is good, and the company is better. Mike makes her laugh, his snark keeps her wits sharp, and the conversation brings her a mix of comfortable nostalgia and heady newness. She feels pleasantly warm, and if she's being honest, more than a little worked up.

She is all too aware of his obvious lust - and her own. It persists all throughout their meal, a sharp undercurrent to their banter and discussion, and she'd be lying if she said it isn't affecting her. It's the combination of everything that's reeling her in - the wine, the atmosphere, the electricity between them.

When the waitress comes back to inquire about dessert, he doesn't even tear his eyes from Nadine as he replies flirtatiously, "Absolutely. I need something sweet to end my night."

Nadine smirks.

A shared slice of tiramisu and half an hour later, Mike is walking her out of the restaurant and toward his car. When they get to the passenger side, she reaches for the handle, but he presses her against the side of the car instead. The length of his body covers hers, and he slides one hand over her waist and the other one around the back of her neck. He locks eyes with her for half a second before pulling her into him and kissing her hard.

She moans, unsurprised. The entire evening has been building up to this. She cups his face in both hands and kisses him back. She gently presses her tongue against his mouth; a question. He parts his lips and she slips her tongue past them and licks at the roof of his mouth teasingly. "Take me home," she mumbles into the kiss.

She doesn't have to ask him twice. Before she knows it, he's pushed her into the passenger seat and is getting in on the other side and pulling out of the parking space with haste.

He keeps one hand on the wheel, and places the other one on her bare thigh, brushing the fabric of her dress out of the way so that he can stroke her skin. He starts somewhere near her knee, but a few minutes later, he's moved dangerously high up her leg. Mike moves his thumb back and forth over smooth skin, and she bites her lip and tries not to react. She parts her legs ever so slightly, but focuses on not doing anything uncouth, like canting her hips or pulling his hand up to touch her. She's a grown woman, for god's sake.

His hand slides up even further, but stops just short of the seam where her hips meet her thighs. Fingertips brush against the lacy hem of her underwear, but he doesn't move any higher.

Her head is cloudy with lust, and the ride seems interminable. When, finally, they pull into the parking garage of her place, Nadine is out of the car and Mike is leading her by hand to the elevators. When it opens for them, he pulls her in and is on her again even before the doors have a chance to fully slide closed.

It takes them up to her floor and they stagger toward her condo in a heated embrace, unwilling to let the other one go. Nadine breaks the kiss for a second, fumbling with her keys as Mike licks up the line of her neck and tugs the zipper of her dress all the way down.

She unlocks the door and they tumble inside. He immediately shoves her up against the nearest wall and peels off her dress, following the path of the fabric with his lips. She gasps as he nips at delicate skin, and tries to keep up with his ardor. She pushes his suit jacket off and works on unbuckling his pants.

They're both naked in no time, and then she pulls him to the ground with her and he fucks her right there on the floor.

"God, I've missed you," he's saying in between deliciously hard thrusts, but she can barely formulate any words of her own in reply. He hooks one of her legs over his shoulder, and she can't help but moan as he goes even deeper. Her nails dig into his back, and he only grins. "Like this, right? I remember that you always loved it when I fucked you just like -"

"Stay focused," she gasps, arching into him. She's so fucking close. Her eyes roll back into her head and she bites her lip. He knows that look on her face, he must, because he responds exactly how she needs without her having to explicitly tell him to. And when she tumbles over the edge, he follows right behind her.

They lay there afterward, trying to catch their breath. "Wow," he mumbles, markedly less talkative than he'd been minutes before. She laughs, warmth and giddiness bubbling up inside of her.

After awhile, she leads him to her bedroom, pushing him down on the bed, and climbs on top of him. This time, she rides him slowly.

It doesn't take long for him to grow impatient. He reaches for her hips, trying to take control of the tempo, but she grabs his hands and pins them to the mattress.

She leans down, still writhing her hips achingly slowly. "No. Just like this," she murmurs, her breath hitching slightly.

When Nadine comes again, he holds her hard against him like he's trying to keep her together. She collapses on top of him, sweaty and spent, and he works her hips as he chases his own pleasure. The friction against her overly-sensitive skin is intense but not unwelcome, and she moans desperately, lips against his ear, knowing how much the sound drives him crazy.

Sure enough, he curses and begins to fuck her faster, and when he comes her name falls from his lips like a prayer.

She loves that sound.

Nadine lays draped on top of him as he catches his breath. Mike strokes light fingertips over her spine. "I've missed you too," she murmurs finally, and he tightens an arm around her and presses a kiss to her hair.

Eventually she rolls off of him, grabbing a tissue off of her nightstand to wipe herself discreetly.

She's suddenly nervous, a little. "Do you… want to stay?" she asks uncertainly. Besides their drunken election night tryst, she doesn't make a habit of staying the night with anyone.

But it seems that Mike has no such reservations. He winds an arm around her waist and pulls her back to him. "Yes," he says, and kisses her lips.