And this is strange and this is new and he's not quite sure what to do or why the sultry, jittery, darkly, dangerously flirtatious woman from the bar is staring ahead, eyes empty, one chipped crimson nail scoring the edge of a paper coaster, shredding it.
She was the one who'd made all the moves. He'd resisted manfully -- his job, his position, his security clearance; none of them meant that giving into filthy-sweet suggestions murmured into his ear with a punctuating lick from her candy-pink tongue was a good idea.
But it had been too late from the first breath he'd taken that had been saturated with her scent; cheap motel shampoo, shoplifted perfume (Paul knew the price of what she'd sprayed on all that pale, hot skin and it was outside the budget of a woman wearing scuffed-up boots, oddly flat, not the spike heels he'd expected.).
Just letting her breathe on him was foreplay.
He'd bought her drinks, fended off her idle questions, got nothing from her but a name he found improbable.
Faith. In what? The dark eyes staring at him mockingly don't look as if they know the meaning of the word.
Then, just as he's about to retire to his hotel bed, regretfully, carefully alone, his dick hating him, she gets a call that makes her shiver, tense, shut down, and the eyes are blank now.
"Can I --?" he begins. "Bad news? Anything I can do?"
She turns her head, and it's fast that turn, and he gets the icy shiver he associates more with General O'Neill on a bad day looking for someone (him) to blame for something (anything).
"Really," he says quietly. "Anything."
She puts her hand on his knee. It's a hard pressure, heat soaking through to his skin, a chemical burn, corrosive. "A friend just died on me. Third one this year. Can you make that better?"
"No." He meets her gaze. "But you know what I do. You have to know that's happened to me, too, so I understand --"
"They were children," she mutters. "Not trained fucking soldiers."
He hesitates and her hand covers his in a hot clutch. "You were going to leave, weren't you? Play it safe?"
"Want to do something to help? Get me off. Make me scream."
He readjusts his view of her. Whores don't demand and she's the sort who does nothing else.
Of course, that sells, too, but…
He's sure that for her sex and money have gone together in a dreary, dragged-feet dance fairly often, but sex and comfort? Not so much.
He's flattered, apprehensive.
Still (always) suspicious.
"If you want to talk --"
"I want to come," she interrupts flatly. "Your dick in whatever hole you want to put it. I want you to hurt me. I want you to try and make me beg so I can hurt you back. I want blood and sweat and tears --"
He doesn't make the mistake of thinking that's rhetoric or a quotation.
"I want -- I want --" She looks him over and he fails her. He's killed, he's come close to dying, but she's looking at him with a weary tolerant contempt, stinging, dismissive, as if she's the one who knows death best of the two of them.
He stands and doesn't touch her. "I can't hurt you. I don't know you well enough to want to."
That makes her smile, a puzzled, baffled smile, but he thinks she gets it all the same.
Her breasts are heavy, full, and he wants to bend, here in the crowded bar and set his teeth in one, feel the soft flesh give under his teeth, feel her nipple rise and harden under the wet suck of his mouth through the thin black cotton of her T-shirt.
And she'd let him.
"But I can try and be enough."
She smiles quizzically and when she walks away, he follows, invited by the twitch and sway of her ass.
When they're done, he's wearing her blood and his and his neck's collared in bruises, but she's smiling in her sleep and her head's cradled in his shoulder.
That hurts, too, but she's smiling, so he doesn't mind.
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