Author: Thalia (thalialunacy)
Pairings: Chris Pine/OFC --> Chris Pine/Karl Urban
Rating: NC-17, yar.
Length: ~16,500 words total.
Teaser/Summary: He shouldn’t call her. He knows he shouldn’t. It goes against his upbringing and his personal morals to call a girl just because her accent makes him miss a possession that was never really his. He picks up his phone anyway.
Disclaimer: Obvious fictional content is FICTIONAL. Please, please don’t sue me. And don’t be hatin, we just like the fuckin.
Contains: RPF!, dirty het, dirty slash, mary-sue as deus-ex-machina, opera, bad pick-up lines, manly angst, the author projecting her wishes for ST:XII, a Lindsay Lohan joke, cigarette smoking (a lot of it), totally unmanly fluffiness
Warning: If you've ever been in love with a married person, this might hit you in the kisser.
He sat there for like twenty minutes before she paid him any attention. This isn’t unheard of—life isn’t some Fitzgerald novel, after all—but still. Most people are a little jumpier than that, and he knew she’d noticed that someone had sat down next to her. The subtle shift in her movements, the little cough. Tricks of the trade. Or something.
Then their knees accidentally jostled and she looked up from her book with a brief generic apologetic smile ready on her face—and froze upon recognition. He waited for a squealing sort of reaction, or at least a token ‘oh aren’t you that guy—,’ because habits and human nature, etc., but in a split-second the recognition disappeared from her face and she nodded in bland apology before going back to her book and wine.
So now he’s blinking down at his overpriced hotel-bar beer. And okay, even this kind of willful ignorance isn’t unheard of in LA, but this isn’t LA, and people have not been shy over the past few days. And she doesn’t have that LA-hardened look about her, anyways, that vague dislike that the unsuccessful have for those that have made it.
Well, whatever. He’s got places to be—Uh, maybe. He looks at his watch for about the eighteenth time, willing his phone to ring to say his flight’s been worked out and he can— Hang on, she’s reading a… She’s reading a goddamned Nick Hornby book. And not one of the ones that’s been made into a movie, either. He didn’t even realize women read that shit. Huh.
He’s done with his drink and about to give in to the restlessness and go for another walk (okay, smoke) while he waits, when the bartender, a fugly guy with the bad kind of dreadlocks but a surprisingly charming smile, asks her if she wants another glass of wine.
He tries not to visibly start at her answer. Not the words— The way she says them.
First off, she’s got the voice of a high-quality phone-sex operator, lush and low and slightly smoky, but smart, with that hint of sardonic wit.
But even that’s not the thing that does him in. No, the thing that does it is the way the vowels come out. Tangy, tinkly, dry, flat, unpredictable. Ringing of a place where the water goes down the drain the wrong way, where Christmas is in the summer and Xena took over every facet of pop culture for way too long.
Looks like he’s found a way to occupy the next hour or so.
He signals for another beer, and when it’s put in front of him he rotates the glass in his palm, rifling through lines in his head. One of these days he’s going to try ‘Nice shoes, wanna fuck,’ but he senses that today is not that day.
He’s contemplating when she startles him by speaking first. “It’s a crap book.”
“You’re staring at my book, so I felt it proper to warn you that it’s crap. Not his best, at the very least.”
He hadn’t realized just how much he likes hearing ‘crap’ as an adjective. “Okay, well, thank you.” He rotates his beer again, then decides what the hell. “But I wasn’t only looking at the book.”
She swivels her head and looks at him, blinking once as she regards him. Then there’s a twinkle in her eyes. “What’s next, ‘That dress looks great on you, but it’d look better on my floor’?”
Chris can’t help but smile, shrugging comically. “I was going to go with ‘Nice shoes, wanna fuck?’”
She laughs openly, throwing her head back, and it’s a huge startling sound but her teeth are straight and white and somehow it makes him feel better, to not be the only one in the room with a head-turningly geeky laugh.
“And here I was hoping for some quality time with Nick and Ste Michelle, but instead I end up sat next to a guy with a penchant for strangers and dodgy pickup lines.”
“It’s just your lucky day.” He tilts his head towards the door. “Cigarette?”
“Hah. Dodgy pickup lines and filthy habits.”
“I’m a complex individual.”
“So will you have one with me?”
“Depends. What kind?”
“Uh… American Spirits?”
“Well, I did go to Berkeley. And once you’ve started on these, anything else tastes like burnt ass.”
“I try. So will you deign have one?”
“I suppose. Lead on, MacDuff.”
The bartender points them in the direction of the back alley—Good man, he’ll get tipped well—and she graciously allows him to open the door for her.
Once outside, he suppresses a shiver. God, he’s almost forgotten how cool the nights here can be. He stuffs the hand not holding his cigarette into the pocket with the pack, using his other fingers to pass her hers.
She doesn’t have a lighter on her, but lights up like a pro once she has a hold of his. “Quit?” he asks, curious.
“Quitters never win.”
“So I’ve heard.”
“No, I’m…” She exhales and waves the cig around vaguely. “Not supposed to. Blood pressure, etc, etc.”
“You mean they’re bad for you?”
“So I’ve heard,” she mimics with a small smile.
They smoke in companionable silence for about three-point-five seconds, the most smokers usually let go by, then he forges on ahead. “So what do you do?”
She doesn’t answer right away, takes a drag instead. “I’m a performer,” she says finally.
He tries not to quirk his eyebrows. In his experience, that’s code for ‘stripper,’ which, okay, she’s beautiful enough, with pale skin and a nose that somehow holds together an arresting face, but she just doesn’t seem the type. They’re easy to spot, and they usually do not hang around four star hotel bars drinking glasses of expensive wine. But you never know, he muses. “Locally?” He points his finger down and spins it in an indicative circle.
“Alright.” Nothing more is forthcoming, clearly, so he switches it up. “You’re not going to ask me what I do?”
She shoots him a startled look—A-ha, so she had recognized him, he thinks with a sense of triumph that then sickens him slightly—then sees he’s teasing and rolls her eyes. “Maybe I should. Should pretend I’ve no idea who you are.”
“You pulled it off pretty well back in there.” He nods in the general direction of the hotel wall.
“Yeah, I…” She looks carefully at something on the ground. “I have this thing about not acknowledging celebrities. I was sat next to Josh Jackson at a restaurant in London once and pretended I had no idea who he was.”
She finds this question surprising, apparently, and sucks in some more smoke before answering. “Because anything else seems rude to me?”
“You don’t think they ask for it? Deserve it or whatever?” The pronoun choice is, he supposes, cheap of him, but that’s how he’s always done it and it’s not likely to change.
If she notices it, she doesn’t comment. “Either way you mean that, probably not—They get plenty of accolades when they’re at premieres or awards shows etc, in the proper sort of arena, right? And I don’t think daily harassment’s part of the ‘if you want the glory, you gotta take the little heartaches that go with it’ thing. Seems more to me like the heartaches should be left to hours at the gym and having people on the internet call you a twat.”
“People on the internet call me a twat?”
“Second person ‘you,’ you megalomaniac. You know what, I take it back, you deserve to have your dinners interrupted.”
“Have you ever wanted to be?”
“Have I ever wanted to be interrupted during dinner?”
“Oh, that,” she laughs sardonically. “Of course. Anybody who’s on stage for a living and says they don’t want to be famous is lying. It might not be their first priority, but it’s always there. Performers want attention, the end.” He opens his mouth but she shakes her head wryly. “Don’t even try saying you were different.”
“Actually, I was going to agree with you.”
“Oh.” This startles her into quiet, and he almost smiles. Her blue eyes really are quite something, like seeing his own reflected back at him in a different face. And her lips might be plain, free of the sticky gloss so hip with the kids these days, but they’re full and expressive and they hint that talking might not be the only thing they do well.
He drops his butt and crushes it with his heel. “Come on, let me buy you some more of that ridiculous wine.”
She considers him as she takes the last possible drag off her stub of a cigarette, then shrugs and carefully smooshes the cherry under her toe. “It’s a free country. And it’s a good wine.”
“Are you a wine connoisseur?” he asks as they wend their way back to the bar.
“Oh, God no. I just know what tastes good, and that generally the more you spend on it, the better it tastes.”
He laughs at that, settling back on his stool. He’s just raised his hand to motion for her drink when his phone buzzes in his pocket. Done, the text from his PA reads. Get to the airport right now. “Fuck. Listen. I’ve gotta go. And I won’t be back tomorrow.”
Her eyebrow goes up. “What does this look like, Cheers?”
“You do kind of resemble Norm.”
She smiles. “And you make about the prettiest Diane I ever did see.”
“You know, I’ve heard that before.”
“Why am I not surprised.”
“It’s the feathery hair. Listen, give me your phone number.”
She laughs, picking up her wineglass. “Yeah, right.”
“Yeah, right,” he counters doggedly. Her accent is like a bone he has to get his teeth into.
She looks at him, her glass paused halfway to her mouth, and blinks several times before she actually believes that he’s serious. And actually he’s not even sure she thinks he’s serious then, but at least she acquiesces. “Alright, fine.” She puts down her drink, rifles through her purse for a pen, then reaches for a napkin.
When he looks at it, the area code is nowhere he recognizes. He looks up at her. “Am I going to have to fly somewhere to take you out to dinner?”
She hesitates, then answers, a smile hiding behind her lips. “Depends on how bad the traffic is on the 10.”
The grin splits his face. He holds out his hand. “Chris Pine. Nice to meet you.”
“Jessica Painter,” she says as she shakes it. “Have a safe flight.”
Weeks later, he finally unpacks fully enough to discover the slip of paper on which is written Jessica - 360-555-3927. The handwriting is incredibly bad, the seven crossed like she was grade-schooled by a European tutor or something. He stares at it.
He had almost forgotten. He assumes for a moment that she’s forgotten too— until he remembers who he is, with that same start he gets every time he remembers he’s not just Some Guy anymore. It’s equal parts thrill, dread, guilt, elation, and regret, remembering that he’s fucking famous. The stuff poetry’s made of, really.
But that’s for another day, another notebook. For today, he has this number, found at the bottom of the carry-on he doesn’t use very often.
He stares at it, searching for direction in the messy, looping numbers. He shouldn’t call her. He knows he shouldn’t. It goes against his upbringing and his personal morals to call a girl just because her accent makes him miss a possession that was never really his.
He picks up his phone anyway.
“Yes, hello?” a slightly annoyed-sounding American woman answers.
Chris kind of blinks. “Yeah, this is Chris, and I’m calling for Jessica?”
There’s a shuffle and a muffled curse, then she’s there, the low accented tones filled with laughter. “Yes, hello. Now, would this be Chris the boy that I had a crush on in primary school, Chris the girl that had a crush on me in upper school but then found Jesus, or Chris the tardy actor who most likely just found my number at the bottom of his man-purse?”
His smile is wry. “I’ll let you guess.”
“Might take a while.”
“Well speed it up, because I’ll be at the Monarch hotel bar at nine tonight.”
She lets out a little laugh. “Awfully short notice, Mr. Mysterioso.”
“And what are you, an idiot? I’ll be there.”
“You picked my one night off,” she says as she slides onto the stool beside him, “and picked a hotel I actually knew. Uncanny.” Then she sees the glass of wine waiting for her. “Uncannier.”
“You haven’t tasted it yet.”
She waves this off. “Free hooch always tastes awesome.”
He laughs outright at that. “You just said ‘hooch.’”
She takes a drink, looking at him, her eyes twinkling. “Think they’ll chuck me out of the bar for my uncouth language? I mean, I‘m dressed smartly enough, right?”
She kind of swivels to him as she takes off her jacket, and he makes a great show of looking her up and down. She’s in a pencil skirt and heels, which show off her calves but are still classy enough, and her blouse is a shade of green that should not be attractive, but somehow works with her long auburn braid…
“I call it ‘baby poop green.’”
… not to mention her personality. “Fitting.” And he means it, in all those ways.
She regards him, holding a sip of wine her mouth, then nods and swallows. “Thank you.” And so does she, he thinks. And he smiles.
“So come on, I have to ask. Why are you here and not back in the penal colony?”
“Never heard that one before.”
“I’m just getting started.”
“You’ve been practicing?”
She looks at him, one eyebrow slightly raised.
“I have a—uh, coworker from New Zealand.”
She makes a little hmming noise, but he’s got his gaze squarely on his food so he doesn’t have to see the comprehension he knows is on her face. Fuck being famous sometimes, fuck it right off.
She can also seem to sense that bit, the bit with his ire, or perhaps this fits into her strange philosophies on how to treat celebrities, because all she says is, “Slightly different jokes there,” in a light tone.
And he’s so grateful he wants to kiss her for it. Instead he confirms it for her, trying to be offhand and mostly succeeding. “So he tells me.”
She deftly changes the subject. “And to answer your question, same thing that brings everyone else here.”
“City of Broken Dreams, all that jazz.”
That finally gets him to look at her, with a small snort. “All that jazz?”
She shrugs. “My mum likes musicals?”
“Oh God, mine too.”
They share a smile. “But you don’t sing?”
“What? One of my secret ambitions is to be a rockstar.”
“And that qualifies as singing?”
“Does it matter when there are leather pants involved?”
She throws her head back with a laugh. “Fuck no.”
“This is what I’m saying.”
“Do you?” he asks when they’re nearly done eating.
“Do I what?” she asks in return, spearing the last bite of her ravioli.
She chews deliberately, looking at her plate. “Do I sing?”
“Yes, you know, notes, lyrics, all that jazz?” She takes a slow sip of wine and he watches, curious. “And why are you stalling?”
“Why am I stalling?”
He rolls his eyes. “What, are you really bad at it? Did you get traumatized by your debut as Snowflake Number Three in the third grade play?”
“Oi, watch it.”
“Hah, see? So you do sing.”
She throws her napkin down onto the bar and pokes at his shoulder. “That’s right, I do sing, and I’m bloody good at it, and I’ve had enough wine that I just might show you if you push it, so please stop pushing because if I do end up showing you, I will surely hate myself in the morning.”
“Nuh-uh,” he tsks, poking at her shoulder in return. “You’d only hate yourself in the morning if you sucked at it, which you say you don’t.”
He waggles his eyebrows and she lets out something resembling a growl. They have a bit of a staring match—and he begins to think he knows what people mean when they say his eyes are like lasers, Jesus—then finally she reaches for her phone. “Fine,” she says as she scrolls through the thing to find a name. “But not one word from you about it.”
“But what if—“
“I said no. Chuy!” she exclaims brightly into her cell. “Hey baby, yeah, I need a favor. I’m in your hotel. Is Ballroom 4 booked for the next half hour or so?” Chris finally closes his mouth as she listens for the answer. “Cool, can you unlock it for me? You know it’s the best piano.” A smile spreads across her face. “Excellent. And pay no attention to the person I’m with; I’m out of his league. Love you dollface, see you in five.” She slides the phone shut triumphantly.
Chris lets out a surprised laugh. “What the hell?”
She signals for the bill, then smiles a bit mockingly at him. “You want me to sing or not?”
“Shut up and say yes.”
“I can’t do both those at once, you—“
She claps a hand over his mouth. “Oh my god. Are you always this insolent?”
“Yes?” he mumbles into her hand with a grin. The bill comes and she has to let him go; they scrabble over the check for a minute but finally he just gives her a look that clearly means ‘I’m rich and you’re an idiot,’ and she acquiesces.
She grumbles, though. “It’s a wonder you have any friends.”
“Some people find me charming.”
She snorts as she gathers her purse and jacket. “Some people want into your pants.”
He can’t pass that one up. “Some people?”
She rolls her eyes at him for real and holds out her hand. “Come on, let me humiliate myself properly, and then I’m going home to pass out in peace.”
The smile she gives him is genuine, though, and there’s a warmth in his chest as he smiles back and takes her hand.
She tugs him out of the bar and down the ubiquitous long hotel hallway, and suddenly they’re in front of huge double doors and a huge guy whose nametag says ‘Jesús.’
Said Jesús opens the door for them, and Jessica peeks her head inside. Her “Ah, perfect” echoes inside the room, then she comes back to plant a kiss on the big guy’s cheek. “Thank you so much. I owe you.”
Her nose wrinkles at the nickname and Chris laughs. Chuy turns to him, so he sticks out a hand. “Chris.”
Chuy’s face gets even more stoic, if that’s possible, and although he shakes Chris’ hand he doesn’t speak to him. He speaks to Jessica instead. “Princess, I can tell from the way you're talking that you've had a lot of wine. I’m here for another couple hours but even after that— You know where to find me, yeah?”
She laughs and puts a hand on his cheek. “I can handle this whippersnapper, my dear Jesús, but thank you.”
Chuy glances at Chris again, then nods at them both and departs. Chris feels like he’s passed some strange Big Brother test, both in the Family Ties way and the 1984 way. But he shakes it off when she tugs him into the room.
It’s huge, of course, and the piano tucked into one corner is huge as well. She futzes with the bench, then sits, her legs spreading the pencil skirt snugly so one foot can reach the pedals while the other stays back. She laughs as she has to try twice to put up the keyboard cover, and he can tell she’s nervous. “Hey,” he tries to dissuade, “just, ignore me, okay? Pretend I’m not here.”
She guffaws. “Does that work for you? When you’re working?”
“This is what I’m saying,” she mimics perfectly his words from earlier. Then she tugs at his side belt loop until he’s standing behind her. “One of my favorite artists once said an audience is like an unexpected dinner guest—you have to talk to them, work with them, so you can somehow figure out if they want steak or fish. Or tofu.”
Chris grins. “Truth.”
“Although I already know you eat steak, so just—“ She waves a hand vaguely. “Okay?”
He nods, and he mostly does understand. “Okay.”
Her fingers are kind of stubby, is the first thing he notices when she puts them on the keyboard, but as she starts playing, they easily coax a lovely sound out of the hard keys. And when she starts singing he finds himself leaning forward, trying to dip into the sphere of whatever magic she has that lets this happen through her.
Eventually, he gives in and actually steps closer, and by the time she’s at what he thinks is the bridge, he’s as close to her as he can manage without actually touching her, trying to feel her movements and imbibe the music in as visceral way as he can manage.
It’s fucking awesome, is what it is, and he wants to lap it up.
When she’s done, he slides down to sit on the bench beside her. She scootches over minutely, easily, and their legs rest comfortably against each other as he looks at her and she looks at the keyboard. She keeps touching it, just little caresses, layings-on of hands, and he’s got to admit he’s jealous, of both her, for being the recipient of such talent, and the piano, for being the recipient of such touches.
He watches her, and he ponders. She’s not his usual type, especially not recently. But she’s just—she’s comfortable, to him. Nothing electric, nothing romantic, just… Warm and fuzzy and somewhere he can be whatever it is he is—even if that’s nothing, because sometimes it seems everything he is took off on that plane.
He immediately banishes that whole sphere of thought, focusing instead on her face. Then he notices the tears in her eyes. He reaches out to wipe gently at one, and she immediately smiles in a cringe-y sort of way. “Pathetic, isn’t it?” she says while she swipes at the remainder.
Chris shrugs. “I’ve seen studly old men weep like babies because of music, so no, not pathetic. Hell, my dad chokes up at every baseball game we go to.”
She laughs. “I’m related to the guy that wrote the US national anthem, so there you go.”
“I thought it was a bar tune.”
She looks at him in surprise. Her eyes roam all over his face, but then settle to dancing between his eyes and mouth. “Well, I’ll be, Mr. Pine,” she says in a somehow dead-on southern drawl, “but I am impressed. Not just good looks after all.”
And it just seems to be the right kind of moment, so he leans in and kisses her.
She stills, one hand on a group of black keys, and her lips press back lightly before she’s turning away from him, clearly embarrassed. “Oh god, don’t, I’m a snotty mess.”
He can’t help but smirk a little. Her lips are warm and soft. He likes it. “Three tears hardly qualify. But—“ He reaches into his inside jacket pocket for his handkerchief and sends a silent thank-you to his grandmother for her incessant harping on gentlemanly behavior. “Use this and then tell me about the thing with the guy with the bar tune.”
She laughs wetly but not weakly, and does as instructed. She blows her nose once, nearly delicately. Her cheeks are still red. “He wrote…” She licks her bottom lip as she clears her throat. He tracks the movement with his eyes. “The poem. He wrote a poem while he was a prisoner on a boat, watching the port get sacked, and that poem— it later got put to a bar tune and then you tossers stole it and —“
“—perverted it into our national anthem,” he says into her lips, because watching them form the word ‘tosser’ had been too much to resist. “Yes, I know.”
She makes a noise in her throat, a tasty one, and Chris is about to lean in again but she pulls back. “Just—“ She blushes even more, turns away, wipes at her eyes with her hand and her nose with the handkerchief, a couple times. Then she tucks the handkerchief in her purse and turns back to him. “I’ll get that laundered and send it back to you.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
He puts up his hands in surrender. “Fine.”
“I don’t think it’d go for very much on EBay, anyways.”
“Not with your snot in it, no.”
She laughs. “Thank you. I have now heard one of the most famous actors in the world speak of my snot. My life is complete.”
Her smile is huge and he has to kiss her again, and it goes further than it probably should but she’s not objecting—She’s making more little noises and kissing him back, in fact, swiping her tongue against his and yeah, he now totally does not care that she’s not his usual type.
So he brings his hands up to her face, her neck, and kisses her how he wants to kiss her, thoroughly and unhurriedly. It spirals, though, and when he can feel it going way too far for a hotel ballroom, his unavoidable sense of propriety kicks in and he pulls away, running his fingers up and down her arms and trying to think of how exactly he can say what he’s thinking without sounding like a bad porno or a stuttering idiot.
But again, she startles him by saying it first: “Nice shoes. Wanna fuck?”
The laugh bursts out of him and he throws back his head to accommodate it. “I cannot believe you just said that.”
She bats her eyelashes extravagantly, then grins. “Sorry, I suppose I should’ve been more coy and feminine about it.” She cups his face in her hands, her face very serious. “I think that your taste in shoes is extraordinary, and I should like to enquire as to whether your taste in underclothing is similarly robust.”
He laughs again, and presses his lips against hers again, and gets caught up in it again. He pulls her against him and kisses his way along her jaw to her ear. “We could get a room.”
She makes a sound of protest. “This is an expensive place, you know, and—" She squeaks a little when he nips at the skin right below her ear, trying to kiss the hesitation out of her, and although she brings up a hand to clutch at his hair, she still plows ahead. "And I know you have all this fame and fortune nonsense but…" He nips a little harder and the words stutter into a soft moan.
He pulls back, and it’s his turn to cup her face in his hands as his eyes twinkle at her. “And what good is all this fame and fortune nonsense if I can’t have my way with a woman when I want to?”
"Well." She looks at him for a moment before leaning in to kiss him lightly, trailing her lips down his jaw, which is a little rough by now but her voice—her accent is then rough in his ear. “I find it difficult to argue with that.”
“Oh thank Christ,” Chris exhales into her hairline.
She laughs and sits up, clearing her throat as she gets out her phone again. One hand is still cupping the back of his neck as she pushes buttons. “Chuy. Yes. No. The opposite.” Whatever Chuy says must be funny, because she grins. “Excellent. Put it under my name.”
His eyebrow is up, for sure. “You done this before?”
She just grins at him, all teeth and lips and sparkling eyes, and stands. “Come on,” she says, holding her hand out to him. “Or I'll call Chuy back and tell him you're being a nancy.”
"Well," he says as he stands and takes her hand, "that wouldn't do."
"No, it would not."
And it all goes rather quickly from there, quickly but unrushed—which seems like a ridiculous pairing of words, Chris thinks as he kneels before her and kisses his way under that pencil skirt, but it's poetic and, at any rate, accurate. She's no demure flower but she's willing to savor as well, to explore and to let him do as he wishes.
She stills once he gets to just above her knee, though. "Oh damn,” she curses softly.
“What? Are you…You know, is it…?” He gestures at her lady-bits in a cyclical fashion. “Because that’s okay with me, if you—”
“No! But goddamn did you just win yourself some points.” She leans down and he smirks into the brief kiss.
“Then what is it?”
“I, uh… I only did the cursory shave today.”
“The cursory shave?” But he’s smiling, because he knows, and he’s still pulling apart her thighs.
She swats at his shoulder. “Well come on, how many people actually believe they’ll be in this position?”
He grins fully and plants his lips on the very inside of her left thigh.
“…okay don’t answer that. Just—Eee—I trust you won’t think less of my femininity because I’m not properly—“ She gasps. “Oh, fuck it,” she says roughly, threading her fingers through his hair and welcoming him in.
Her noises are heartening and she's slick and warm and Chris enjoys himself, per usual. When her breath starts to hitch, he tips her hips up a little and steps it up a notch.
“I should warn you…" she manages to say. He doesn't stop. "Nobody makes me…” He slips two fingers inside her— "Nobody—fuck—" –spelunks around a little bit, while steadily increasing the movements of his tongue, and is highly rewarded by the sharp cry that comes out of her mouth when her body softly seizes around him then flutters into contractions.
He stills his mouth but not his fingers, and gently rides through it with her. There's a sizable smug grin on his face. “Nobody does what now?”
She looks at him through narrowed eyes. “Makes me come the first time. Or most times. Jesus Christ.”
“Oh my god, shut the fuck up.” And she drags him up for a kiss, and they're settling back on the bed in a pile so it takes him about a second to realize she’s really interested in lapping up all the taste from his tongue, his lips, his cupid’s bow.
He pulls back. “You sly dog. You like women, don’t you?”
Spots of pink appear on her cheeks. “What gave me away?”
He passes his forefinger across his chin, where evidence of her still lingers, then drags it across her bottom lip. She whimpers and immediately sucks the finger into her mouth. And then it’s his turn to whimper: she might like women but she sure as shit seems to know how to fellate his finger.
And it's her turn to smirk. “You're not the only one with some tricks up your sleeve." She pushes him off her. "One of my ex-boyfriends is bisexual," she continues casually as she gets him onto his back and climbs on top of him, her body warm around his knees. "He gave me some pointers." With a wicked glint in her eye, she slides herself down the bed.
"Pointers?" Chris manages, his fingers already itching to tangle into her hair.
She makes quick work of the fastenings on his pants. "He drew charts, my young friend."
He snorts, then inhales as her warm hand finds his cock. "Charts aren't exactly the same as hands on—" And then her mouth is on him, and— "experience. Jesus fucking Christ."
She meets his gaze, which is hot as shit with eyes that fucking color, then does this thing with her tongue and he kinda can't focus anymore, so instead he lets his eyes slide shut as his head sinks back into the bed. And he tries not to think of anything but this moment, of anything but her mouth and his dick, but his brain, his poor pathetic love-addled brain, has other ideas, ideas that involve a different mouth, among other things— and he can't help it as the image starts to encroach upon his frontal lobe—
No. Fuck that.
With a growl, he leans down to cup the back of her neck and stop her motions. She lifts off, leaving a small kiss on the tip, then raises an eyebrow at him, and it's such a fucking familiar motion that he lets out a pained groan. He's sure his face will betray him so he pulls her up quickly and kisses the living daylights out of her, one hand fumbling at his back pocket.
"I've got it," she says softly into his mouth. She trails her lips down his jaw to his ear and neck as her hands deftly retrieve his wallet— "Up," she says so he'll hump off the bed for access— and unfold it to search out the condom.
His hands weave into her hair and he kisses her with gratitude as her warm, steady hands work the rubber onto him. And then she's guiding him in and they both let out a hiss of air as she sinks down onto him.
She smiles down at him, touches his cheek, her thumb tracing his lower lip. He can't help but smile back and push up into her, and hustle his hands under that ridiculous blouse. She rocks into him, tipping her head back with a satisfied sort of murmur, but when his fingertips touch her nipples she bucks hard, crying out.
Pleased, he pauses long enough to get her shirt unbuttoned and her bra pushed aside, then moves his hips again, syncing them up into an easy rhythm so he can explore this newly exposed skin with his hands. She's incredibly responsive, and it's not long before he's propped up onto his elbows, his mouth on her breasts as she rides him with deep rolls of her hips.
Their rhythm begins to disintegrate and Chris' balls are starting to tighten, so he clutches her bum and rolls until he's on top. She unhesitatingly lifts her legs up to his shoulders and curses as he thrusts back into her with a purpose.
It's a good curse, he can tell, from the movements of her hips and the way her fingers are clutching at his shoulders, his back— Sliding down his back, then one pushes at his hip, setting the nerves to singing as he feels his orgasm nearing, and, if her sounds are any indication, hers too.
He leans down, nips at her collar, her neck, her lips, and nearly jumps out of his skin when one of her hands slides neatly down, running along the line and in between to graze not so lightly over his asshole, even pushing in just the littlest distance— But instead of jumping out of his skin he just comes, and comes and comes and comes into her like a freight train as her body contracts around him.
"Holy shit," he chokes out as he lowers himself on shaking arms. Encouraged by the hand cupping the back of his neck, he buries his face in the crook of her neck and just lays there like a slug for a moment.
They're still mostly dressed, and her legs are still loosely around him while he softens inside her and they catch their breaths. After a few minutes, she nudges at him. "Unless you move within the next ten seconds, I call dibs on the bathroom."
He chuckles into her skin, the reluctantly slides out and sits up. He doesn't stand up, though, instead motioning towards the connecting door. "Ladies first."
She grins at him. "Hardly a lady, but I'll take advantage of you while I can." She kisses him on the forehead. "I'll be quick-like."
When she's finished, he makes quick work of his own cleanup, his mind folding over all his options. He walks back in the room already talking. “Listen, I’ve gotta be honest, here, I’m not—“
But she’s sitting on the bed, her skirt and her bra properly rearranged but sans blouse, shaking her head. “Don’t." She holds out a hand. "I’m just here to help you forget about her.”
Surprised into submission, he takes the proffered hand and lets her pull him back onto the bed. “Her.”
“Whoever it is you’re clearly trying to fuck out of your brain. It’s fine. You’re not the only one.” She snorts. “I just hope it’s not the same her.”
Chris’ brain is tripping over itself a little trying to catch up. “I doubt that.”
She hears something in his voice, she must, because she looks at him carefully for a long moment. Then her countenance softens. “I believe you.” She tugs him closer, lands a kiss on his mouth. "Now are we going to get our money's worth out of this room or what?"
He grins, and dives in again.
Hours later, he's too tired to dream. Which is a damn good thing, because waking up with a new wet spot and a different name on your lips—Well, Jessica's understanding, but that would be above and beyond, and she doesn't deserve such blatant disrespect. His grandmother would be appalled enough at his behavior as it is.
They part in the clear light of dawn, having agreed beforehand that earliest would be best, to avoid photogs and to get on with their days.
She hugs him just inside the door, tightly, and he reciprocates, his eyes shut tightly against everything that's coming. "You have my number," she murmurs as she draws back. She looks him square in the eye. "Don't be afraid to use it when you need to."
And she kisses him on the cheek and is gone.
He's okay for a while. Really. He is. He ignores the kiwi fruit in the produce section, he turns the channel when there's a Lord of the Rings marathon or, God forbid, a rugby game, he artfully dodges when Zach brings up anything even obliquely related.
Then a few weeks later, he sees pictures of Karl and Natalie at the premiere of Karl's latest chest-baring dash-and-slash Epic Picture of Epicosity. Karl's decked out in the classiest fucking suit possible, looking at once victorious and humble, and of course effortlessly smoking hot. And he's got his fingers laced securely through Natalie's.
Chris wants to throw up. Instead, he picks up the phone.
This time, there's not nearly as much talking. Her eyes have a wild sadness to them, and he has a feeling he's not the only one chasing away memories tonight.
He's okay for a while after that, too. A longer while. He even cracks a joke about it, something about Xena, but Zach doesn't laugh and the moment is fucking awkward.
He takes another drag of his cigarette and moves on.
Then, one perfectly normal Tuesday, the script for the sequel lands on his front step.
"It's sent by messenger, see," he explains to her as he lays sprawled naked and face down on the spacious hotel bed, his chin over the edge and his eyes trained on the amber-liquid-filled glass resting on the carpet directly below. "Super stealth secret. They keep everything so fucking secret."
She's sprawled out naked too, but face up, her shoulders pillowed in the small of his back and her head pleasantly heavy on his upper torso. Every once in a while she lifts up to take a drink, and the silk of her hair tickles him a bit. She's fallen behind in the drinking competition, though, whereas Chris is in it to win it.
"Well, I can't blame them," she says matter-of-factly, "but it must get a bit annoying."
"Fuck yeah. I can't even piss without an escort."
She turns her head, her cheek warm on his skin. "Sounds like a story."
He waves a hand into the air above them. "I got photographed peeing too indiscriminately for their tastes, I got a talking to, end of story."
She turns back with a snort. "Good story."
"I know, right?" He takes another drink. There's silence for a long, okay moment, then—
"So you've some scenes with her you weren't expecting, is that it?"
His eyes close involuntarily. He hadn't given her any explanation, just shown up and fucked her, hard, on all fours. Then once they'd finished—and yes, she'd come, twice actually—he'd started drinking.
He'd given her nothing, really.
"Yeah," he finally says hoarsely. "Something like that."
"Kirk finally getting shagged and she's the lucky girl? That'd be a bloody nightmare, for sure."
He laughs outright. It tastes bitter. "No. No, it's just… We're just going to be working together very closely. More than last time."
"I see." She turns again, her whole body this time, and he feels her lips leave a soft kiss on his shoulder-blade. "I'm sorry," she murmurs, and her breath spreads tingles across his skin.
And she really is, and he can tell from the feel of her mouth and the look in her eye as she rolls him onto and into her again, and that's what he fucking needs, and no one else seems to be able to give it to him.
So he takes what she's offering. And he tries not to think about it.
He’s having his coffee, cig, and Times on his porch a week or so later when he sees it. Sees her, sepia-toned on the flimsy newsprint, muffled by a dreary costume, and washed out by stage lights— but her nonetheless.
And okay, so he had been wrong. So totally, utterly wrong that he has to laugh at himself. At the situation. At everything. You have to laugh at yourself, he'd heard once, because you'd cry your eyes out if you didn't.
He stares at it, at this half-page ad in the Entertainment section, for an opera called Peter Grimes. The composer’s name is vaguely familiar, and he searches his brain for a minute before remembering— College. Stephen. Stephen who had gone on and on about queer pride and queer history and queer role-models, and Chris isn’t exactly one for opera or parades but Stephen had let him fuck him up against the shower wall every morning so he put up with it. And it had been educational; not only does he know way more about gay artists of the early 20th century than he would otherwise, but he knows how to give excellent fellatio.
But he’d by lying if he said the day Stephen tearfully confessed to having become ensconced with Steven (more poetry) had left him torn up inside. They parted amicably and have kept in touch.
Chris smirks and considers calling him. Then he’d at least not be going to the opera alone.
Because he’s most definitely going.
He gets out his phone to call the box office, a grin spreading across his face. He can't wait to see her face.
It's odd, he thinks; it's sort of like normal theater, of course it is, with the lights and the squeaky seats and the smell of perfume and expendable income. But it's also different. The patrons walk a little differently, and most definitely dress differently. The playbill is thicker, with more pimping of other music-related events, and the ads are certainly different—wines and chocolates and conservatories and all sorts of shit.
Ten minutes to curtain, he's bored of people-watching (as his mother calls it), so he looks more thoroughly at said playbill, internally mocking the glossy headshots and preponderance of college degrees— until he sees her equally-glossy smile and stops to read her bio.
He has to read it twice. Three times. Then he’s just staring at it, his eyes unfocused and his brain at full stop.
He’d like to think he’s not a dumb guy, but he’s been fucking had.
Jessica Painter, it reads, was born to and raised by musicians in Tigard, Oregon. She did her undergraduate at Oregon State before going on to USC to study under Margaret Myles.
There's more, roles she's done and cities she's toured. But it's just a blur to him. And when the houselights do finally drop, he is not prepared. He doesn’t really catch most of the prologue—it’s jarring music, jarring having to look at the supertitles, jarring for him to be readjusting his whole image of a person he felt like he'd known so well.
The funniest part is—not funny-ha-ha, but funny-grandma's-not-coming-back—is that really, when he thinks about it, he's not angry. She has every right to be cautious with a fucking movie star—pun intended—and he clearly didn't need her real credentials to enjoy her company.
Luckily, before that line of thought can coalesce into any serious revelations, he finds himself getting sucked into the story playing out before him.
And shit, she is good. Chris is no classical musician, but the music is strange and difficult (he could swear at one point she and the title character are in two different keys) and the character is immensely opposite to Jessica's actual personality. She positively nails it, all of it, and his respect for her rockets.
She's a natural performer, he thinks sardonically. He has to suppress a laugh.
Chris buys an overpriced froofy beer at intermission and tries not to think. Afterwards, he knows, he should just go home. But he also knows he's not going to.
I live alone, the estranged leading man had said. The habit grows.
All he has to do is smile at the right usher, and she blushes and tells him exactly where the correct stage door is. As these things are, it's off an alley, darkish but mostly clean, with a taxi bank a hundred feet away around a corner.
He doesn't have to wait long before Jessica is there. She’s still got the teacher-hair, but she's scrubbed off the makeup. She looks, he thinks, tired. He sympathizes.
She’s tucking her bag over her shoulder when she sees him, and her hand freezes, clutching the strap.
He waves the handbill once. Maybe twice. “Now I know where you live,” he says, not smiling.
She chews on the words before answering. “Yup. Every day except Mondays.”
The vowels are rich, American. She isn’t trying to dissemble, and he appreciates that, especially now knowing they’re both in the dissembly business.
“Did you enjoy the show?” she asks, and the layers aren’t really like layers; they’re more like drops of oil in a vast dark water.
“It wasn’t what I was expecting, but yeah. I did.”
She looks at him. “I wasn’t the only one pretending, was I?”
He clenches his jaw against the urge to sag, to shrink. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She moves off the wall, clasps his face in both her hands. Leans close enough that he very nearly reaches out for her. But she doesn’t kiss him. Her breath skates along his lips, the vowels once again tangy, foreign, soothing: “Come on, then. I’ll show you.”
She’s on him as soon as they’re in the door. With whatever shoes she has on, she’s startlingly close to his height, and she not-so-gently pushes him against the wall and kisses him. "Listen, Mr. Pine," she whispers into his ear, accent thick as it ever was, as she divests him of his jacket and begins to make quick work of his shirt buttons, "I may not be the smartest person around, but I'm certainly not the dumbest."
He tries to say something as he shrugs off his shirt, but she kisses him instead and he's not trying very hard anyways— She still feels safe to him, somehow, even as she's leading him over this cliff. His body feels the inevitability, at any rate, so he heeds his instincts and shuts the hell up.
"And you must've realized that you give out all these hints, these—" She lets out an impatient noise and takes his wrist and guides his hand under her skirt and panties, to where she is wet and warm, oh so warm, and angles her hips up until the tip of his finger has slipped into her. She catches his gaze purposefully, and probably seeing way too much. "You don't need one of these to let me inside of you."
"Fuck," he groans, and he can't help but push in a little. Her teeth flash at him in a wicked sort of smile, and he feels her inner muscles flex closely around him. He curses again, then brings his finger up to tease her clit in retaliation. She groans and captures his lips, moving her hips against his hand in a tight circle.
He loves the heat of it, the slickness and the way she's breathing delicious sounds into his mouth, but far too soon she pulls his hand off and out, shaking her head. "This isn't about me." She kisses his fingers, slowly, savoring the taste, an act that never fucking fails to make him hard. "This is about how you're covered in his marks, whether you see it or not."
Before he can protest, she presses her lips to his, sweeping her tongue against his as she undoes his pants. "From head…" She pushes them and his boxers down his thighs, then kneels down to mark their path with her mouth. "To toe."
She coaxes him out of the rest of his clothing quickly while she's there, shoes and boxers and socks and pants making a hasty pile next to the door, and he exhales as she kisses her way back up. "And especially here…" She licks once at his cock then sucks it into her mouth for just a moment, and his hand slides around to cup her head.
Then she straightens, replacing her mouth with her hand, and presses a kiss right over his heart. She leaves her free hand on the spot as she meets his gaze. "And there."
Her hand is working his cock effortlessly and her eyes are picking too fucking close to the bone so he pulls her to him, nudging them both toward the bed as he plunges his tongue into her mouth deeply, desperately exploring every crevice. His hands push into her hair, carelessly dropping every pin he encounters until it flows messily down past her shoulders.
Distracted, he breaks the kiss and buries his nose in the piles of girliness, smelling stage lights and hairspray and lavender. Then he curses lowly as she speeds up her motions and his hips reflexively thrusts into her fist. "Wait, I don't want to—"
She shuts up him with a hard kiss, her own tongue having a thorough go at his mouth, and guides him down to the bed until he's laid out, naked, and she's fully clothed and rising above him like a valkyrie. He nearly chuckles at the unintentional opera reference, but then she descends upon him and it's all over but the crying.
"It's not that anyone could blame you," she murmurs, her mouth on his jaw and the words soft, languid, yet steel-truth at the core. "He's a hell of a good-looking guy. Those dimples." She presses a kiss just north and east of his mouth. "That neck." Makes a trail down to his Adam's apple and beyond. "Those broad shoulders." Her hands sweep his chest as her tongue licks at his collarbone. "Is he that tan everywhere, you think?" Her mouth closes over his nipple, teeth tugging just enough to set his spine on fire.
Chris closes his eyes and swallows convulsively. "Yes," he says hoarsely.
"Ah." She licks a path downwards, nibbling on each rib in turn, and he can't help the way his body responds, almost jerking into her. Then she reaches his hipbone and he tightens his hands in her hair. "So you've seen." She sucks down the line between muscles and he positively does jerk into her then, so she splays her hands along his hips to hold him steady. Anchor him. He's pathetically grateful.
He has to swallow again as she works her way down. "Yeah, but not—" He sucks in a breath as she nuzzles one of his balls into her mouth. "Shit. Not touched. Seen but not touched and don't you dare stop."
She doesn't; after a moment of working at it she shifts to the other one, and the continued tongue bath rolls into a wave of pleasure so fucking awesome that he only manages a minor protest when she removes her mouth and rolls his sac gently in her hand.
"It's okay, you know."
The wave wanes. He looks down at her, his brows pulled together. "What is?"
"To be thinking of him right now."
His stomach drops out. "I wasn't, I swear to God, I—"
But she's moving quickly up the bed to swallow the rest with a kiss. "I know, baby." There's a smile on her lips and in her eyes and she kisses him again, touching her tongue to his sweetly, lingeringly. His gut slowly crawls slowly back into place. "Consider this a free pass, then?"
He searches her face and thinks about protesting. He should, on principle.
But he doesn't.
"Good," she says, her hand resuming its motion on his balls. She lowers her mouth to his chest, sucking on his nipples, licking the muscles on his belly, and he's so involved in the warmth she's generating there that he almost doesn't notice her finger slide smoothly down his perineum to his asshole.
It takes him about a half a second to decide whether or not to go with it. Then he murmurs his approval, his heart pounding and his cock hard as sin, and lifts one knee.
She looks up at him, resting her pointy chin lightly on his stomach, and her eyes are so blue they're nearly clear. Without speaking, she breaches him with one finger and he licks his lips, adjusting to the sensation. It's been years. And, he's pleased to discover, it's still awesome.
He meets her eyes again. "Do you have anything?"
She crooks her finger and he curses. His body is fucking lapping it up. "Stop thinking," she says quietly as she moves gently but firmly out and back in again. He tries not to writhe like a fucking girl, but it's a tough fight. It just feels so fucking nice, all those nerve endings singing freedom... "Just go with it. In fact—" She pulls all the way out and leans up to kiss him. "Turn over."
"Shit," he bites out, then sucks at her mouth, feeling kind of dizzy.
A happy noise escapes her at his insistent kisses and she clutches at his torso. "I mean it, Pine," she finally hisses into his mouth, and the accent, the way that vowel sounds just like—goddamnit— "Turn the fuck over."
"Hang on." He kisses along her jaw line, ending by defiantly sucking a mark into the skin of her neck. She makes a squeaking noise and he smiles, then she shoves at him and he tucks and rolls.
Her hands pull on his hips before he can flop down fully. "Nuh-uh. Up."
"Shit," he mumbles into his forearm as he gets himself onto all fours; he can hear her taking off her clothes so he just lets it lie for a moment, occasionally reaching down to stroke his cock. "It's been a while, okay, and I don't even know how you knew that—knew any of this to start with, but for the record, I was usually the one giving, not—"
Slick fingers push inside of him with no preamble, two this time, and he curses at the burn of pleasure. She settles herself over him, and it's finally hot skin on hot skin, and they both exhale.
Then she speaks again. "But you don't when you think of him, do you?" Her fingers slide in and out and fuck, she knows what she's doing, and that's almost too weird for Chris but then she leans in and bites at his shoulder. "You'd let him do this."
Shit, as if he's thought of anything else for the last month while in the shower with his hand around his cock. "Fuck yeah, I would."
"You'd bloody beg him to do this." She adds a finger, and he can't not arch his back, press into it. The need to touch himself is so strong his hands clench convulsively into the sheets. She pushes at his shoulderblade with her chin. "Go on."
Finally having the permission he didn't realize he was waiting for, he strokes himself gratefully, savagely, aware he's close to coming, aware that this is oh so fucking wrong but also aware he wants it and isn't going to stop it. Fuck, he's an asshole. A degenerate. A desperate, pathetic victim of star-crossed love. Pardoning the pun.
But she keeps talking, in that fucking accent, and it makes his toes curl embarrassingly as his cock jumps in his hand. "You want him on you, and in you. You want to watch his expression as he comes, knowing he's there with you, for you—those huge eyes—those lips—"
And fuck if her words aren't magic, because suddenly his face is everywhere in his mind— He can almost picture it being him, imagine it's his breath ghosting his neck, his skin slick against his back, his fingers relentlessly assaulting his prostate until the base of his spine starts to tingle and his balls gather. "Fuck, I’m gonna— fuck—"
"That's alright, baby, let it happen," she murmurs. "For him." She slams home again, and that's it, see ya, out of the ballpark. "Come for him."
Lightning hot pleasure vaults from his ass to his balls to his cock. "Yeah—fuck—" He chokes out the last sound as the orgasm overtakes him and he spills all over his own shaking hand. "Karl—"