The Range Rover pulls sharply into Scotland Yard, tyres screeching heavily as it does so. No one wants to draw similarities to another fateful ride around London, and certainly not at this hour of the night. Inglis is escorted hurriedly inside by his bodyguards, but not before throwing a glance towards the car where his PR team are still scrambling out.
‘Mia, you go on ahead,’ says Liz.
‘And if the Commissioner asks where you are…?’
‘Tell him I’m dishing out disciplinary action. Within the bounds of my authority.’
Mia gapes at her, looking slightly aghast. However, the word “resolute” isn’t even enough to describe the expression on Liz’s face at the moment and so she does as she’s told.
But not before she whispers, just loud enough for her boss to hear: ‘Don’t be too hard on him.’
‘I thought I told you to go, Mia… not you,’ Liz orders as Finn tries to brush past her.
Amazingly, he stops – though a little unsteady on his feet, she notices. If she was angry before, this tips her over into absolute fury.
Finn opens his mouth – which appears to be his standard, default reaction – and unleashes torrent upon torrent of criticism. Liz simply lets the waves roll past. Mostly because she’s drained and exhausted. Mostly because, frankly, she’s run out of fucks to give. And mostly because what he’s saying is already a forgone conclusion. One which had been reached the very second she started talking in front of that already resentful crowd and someone at the back had shouted, ‘Get back to where you came from, you fucking Yank!’
And there came the rock. Of course.
An hour might have passed since, but Liz hasn’t quite made up her mind whether to be more outraged with the faceless rock-throwing protester or with her Deputy. When Finn takes a step towards her, evidently to make a point, light from overhead spills upon his bruised forehead and, God fucking help her, that settles it.
‘Fuck you, Finn,’ she growls and which Finn barely hears before her words (and coincidentally, his) are swallowed up in a rough, blistering kiss. His hands immediately come up, in an unusual attempt to cup her face.
‘No,’ she snaps. It’s a tremendous effort wrenching her lips from his and she’s aware that the unrestrained hunger in her gaze is threatening to undermine her authority, but she has to stick to her line.
But it’s difficult to remember what that line was, now that Finn’s tongue is tracing a warm, wet one down her neck and collarbone. She knees him – gently – in the groin, pleased at the hardness which welcomes her there, along with his ensuing soft cry of mingled pain and need. The sound is a timely reminder of why they’re still out here in this godforsaken carpark and not in the relative warmth of the department floor upstairs.
‘Is this your idea of “dishing out disciplinary action”?’ asks Finn with a sneer, as if reading her thoughts…and not for the first time. Damn him.
Without warning, Liz shoves him back into the Range Rover and he ends up lying flat – all six feet of him, impressively – on the back seat. Finn’s head narrowly misses hitting the window. She briefly muses that it would be a terrible but fitting irony if she managed to knock him out twice in as many hours.
‘Why pamper life’s complexities when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat’, croons Finn and distressingly in tune. She tells him, sweetly, to shut the fuck up. She does not need her Deputy singing The Smiths as they make out in a £80k+ car (paid for by taxpayers’ money) to make this any weirder, thank you very much.
Experience has informed them that the back of a Range Rover is roomier than imagined, but not that much. Space constraints, however, barely register when their lust-addled brains murmur frantically to take and take and take: Liz to take control, Finn to take whatever she deigns to throw at him. Each time he half-rises from the seat to capture her lips, she pushes him back down with a snarl. Each time he attempts to caress her hair, her cheek, her breasts, she disdainfully bats his hand away. It isn’t doing any wonders for his self-esteem, but he’d thrown that away the moment he decided to step between her and that hurtling rock earlier. It’s troubling how he hadn’t given it a second thought. Or indeed how neither of them thinks this shag in the back of a car is a potentially disastrous idea.
‘You and your fucking day-one insubordination,’ hisses Liz when she straddles him. ‘You’ve gone too far this time, Finn.’
If he has, thinks Finn, he certainly isn’t sorry, if her tantalising heat above his cock is anything to go by. Maddeningly, Liz won’t let his hands get anywhere near his trousers and so he grinds himself up, roughly, against her in revenge. She lets out a small cry, grappling at his shoulders when she falls on top of him. Finn immediately takes the opportunity to flip them over and is momentarily flummoxed when she grabs his hand.
‘What the fuck?’
‘It wouldn’t be proper not to have some handholding action when we’re in a Range Rover, would it?’
'Actually, now that you mention it…’ He makes to guide both their hands to beneath her skirt, but she shakes her head vehemently.
‘Your pants off. Now.’
‘Can’t take them off if I’ve still got my trousers on,’ he gripes, unable to resist taking a dig at her American English.
Liz expresses her complete disinterest in playing his game by unceremoniously stroking his cock through his trousers.
‘Shit, Liz,’ he gasps. The fabric there is warm and damp to the touch. Telling. She can't help but feel immensely pleased with herself and the throbbing between her thighs grows apace, almost insistently.
‘I’m a hands-on kind of person, just so you know,’ she comments languidly, as if she’s chatting him up in a pub and not currently half-pleasuring, half-punishing him on public property. With her other hand, she reels him in by his tie and murmurs low into his ear, ‘Or if taking your pants…sorry, trousers off is such a fucking chore, I could simply unzip you and give you an impersonal handjob. Smartass.’
Despite the onslaught of her touch, a curious mixture of aroused loathing brews in Finn’s gaze.
‘That I believe was the whole point,’ she replies icily.
Both maintain a veneer of indifference as they shift clumsily into a (relatively) comfortable position, discarding various pieces of clothing with nearly clinical precision. But they can’t quite rein in the mutual sighs when she sinks on top of him, nor quite deny the growing desperation in their voices as they begin to frantically rut against each other. There’s an unspoken realisation building strength between them, as they helplessly find themselves staring into each other’s eyes.
Because anger and insubordination can only go so far to explain their actions now: convenient, familiar go-to points to explain the unexplainable…perhaps even the inevitable.
Liz is the first to break eye contact. Turning away, she doesn’t see the flash of disappointment across Finn’s face.
‘Liz.’ Her name slips out of his mouth, unbidden. He repeats it, unthinkingly.
‘Liz. Liz, look at me.’
Tortuous seconds pass. His body, already on the brink of climax, tells him that it’s irrelevant to know whether she feels the way he does about her. Wanker, he’s getting the ride of his life, isn’t he? Surely, that’s more than any thirty-something man in his position would ever want? His brain – or is it that mysterious muscle now beating so wildly in his chest – however needs more than that, feels more than that…
Finally, she turns, if only fleetingly. But what he glimpses is enough and when Liz latches her lips onto his, framing his face in her hands as she comes, he shouts and spills and smiles.
They stay in that position for a while, Liz absentmindedly stroking his hair as he slowly regains his breath in the crook of her neck.
Eventually, she slips off his softened cock and slides out of his arms. The only minor consolation he gets is an eyeful, or nearly a faceful, of Liz’s arse as she clambers to the other side of the car.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Shutting the door.’
‘Really, Liz?’ he exhales, weakly. ‘It didn’t occur to you to shut it before we had sex?’
‘I figured it was unnecessary, seeing that you come with all the sound and fury of an albatross.’
Something immediately occurs to him. ‘Hang on, if I’m an albatross, you’re one, too.’ There's a lengthy pause. ‘Albatrosses mate for life, you know.’
She fixes him with an inscrutable stare. ‘Meaning?’
He can feel his cheeks reddening despite himself: thank fuck it’s dark.
‘Fuck knows,’ he grunts, instinctively reaching for his gum, only to remember that his trousers are still bunched up about his ankles.
Liz tuts and pulls up his briefs and trousers while he restores her underwear and tidies her skirt.
‘I don’t know how we’re going to explain this to Frank,’ says Liz, cringing.
‘You’re Head of Communications, you’ll think of something,’ quips Finn, unhelpfully.
‘Oh, now I’m Head of Comms, huh? Only whenever it’s fucking convenient for you...’ The rest of her retort is cut off when a text buzzes in: Inglis wants to know where they are. ASAP.
Finn lets her out first, apparently forgetting that there is, in fact, a door right beside him. As he steps out, Liz pecks him on the forehead.
‘Don’t ever do that again,’ she says meaningfully as he gapes at her. ‘I’m going to be one lonely albatross, if you do.’