Author: pygmymuse PM
It's not ridiculous.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Eva Zambrano & M. Procter - Chapters: 10 - Words: 30,457 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 05-16-10 - Published: 05-07-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5952759
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Word Count: 2,845
Disclaimer: I can't own anything. The pygmies and debt collectors own me.
Summary: It's not ridiculous.
Spoilers: Up to 1x04.
Author's Note: I kept thinking about Eva's reaction to a certain comment, and... Fic was the only answer. I guess 1x05 kind of throws some of these ideas out, but it was started without seeing the episode, and it could have happened this way in some alternate timeline. That's the point of fanfiction, right?
To Talk... Or Not to Talk
Proctor walked towards the door, frowning. He was not expecting any visitors, especially not at this hour. He opened the door, looking at his guest with amusement and a bit of concern. Certainly, it was surprising to see her here, and why would she not call if there was an emergency? "Dr. Zambrano?"
"Eva," she corrected.
"Eva," he agreed with a smile, letting her in. "Is there something I can help you with?"
"It's not ridiculous."
He frowned. There was something he was clearly not privy to going on here. "What?"
"You and me. It's not ridiculous. Chris said it was ridiculous, but it isn't, not really, right?"
"Have you been drinking again?"
"A little. Not a lot," she admitted. She shook her head, clearly in distress. "I had to know why it bothered me so much. Warren said that I'm always responsible, that I never get stupid over a man. I've got a good career, a good life. So I guess I was flirting with Chris at the bar, but I got a ride home from you. Good thing, because I never want to go there with Chris. I couldn't remember what happened, but I thought something had. It didn't, and I know I have you to thank for that. I felt kind of... And then Chris goes and says that the idea of you and me is ridiculous. I was trying to figure out why that bothered me so much."
Proctor figured he was due another night on the couch. She was going to have to sleep this off again. "Eva, if I may—"
She put an arm around his neck and pulled his lips to hers. Though he was not at all bothered by women who knew their mind or made the first move, he was reluctantly forced to push her away. She had been drinking; she had admitted as much. This would go no further tonight, not while she was under the influence. "Eva, while I am very much in agreement that the idea of the two of us is not at all ridiculous, I do not believe that you are entirely clear headed at the moment."
"I'm not drunk."
"I very much doubt that. I am not sure you would have come all the way to my door under your own power just to tell me that Chris was wrong about it being ridiculous if you were not," he told her, moving into the kitchen and filling the coffee pot with water. He had a feeling he would need this just as much as she did. It would be another rather long night.
It was very hard being a gentleman when he knew there was a beautiful woman asleep in his bed, and she'd been so out of it that he also knew she was naked. The walls were too thin, and he swore he could hear every movement she made. It drove him to distraction, and he had gotten very little sleep that night until he finally gave up and went for coffee.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm not drunk."
"I am rendering a second opinion that you are, in fact, quite drunk. Should you wish to continue this conversation, it will have to take place after you have sobered up," he insisted, giving a moment's thought to the odds of the conversation actually taking place. While he would very much like to have more than a few drunken kisses with the woman next to him, he had his doubts about her willingness to discuss this when she was not intoxicated. She would probably be happier if nothing happened, again.
The coffee started to percolate, and she sighed. "So, how long is it going to take to convince you I'm not drunk?"
"A while. Is there something you'd like to discuss in the meantime?"
"I thought as much. Would you like to have a seat, at any rate?" he offered, pointing to the other room and the couch that would be his bed tonight...assuming she didn't fall asleep in the next few minutes. He supposed he could always carry her to the bed if that was the case.
"Warren is kind of like our own Chatty Kathy, did you know that?" Eva asked, making no move to go into the other room. "She told us all about your daughter... who's not your daughter but is your daughter..."
"Did she indeed?" he poured a cup of coffee and handed it to her. "And suppose that was just the story I told her?"
"That would not surprise me at all."
"As it happens, that one was true," Proctor said, filling a second cup and drinking from it. "I did get quite attached to a woman and her daughter, and had it worked out, I might have adopted her formally. Obviously, it did not work out."
"Obviously,"she agreed, the coffee disappearing down her throat at an almost alarming rate. She set the empty cup on the counter and closed her eyes. "Why'd she let you go?"
"Who said it was her?"
"You're the gentleman. Had to be her."
He smiled at that. "I'm sure I can be a right bastard when I want to be. Your friend Chris would say so, especially after our altercation the other day."
"Well... Chris is a man, and he's wrong about a lot of things." She moved closer to Proctor, into his personal space. "See, you're a gentleman. Gentlemen are nice to ladies. To men... Not so much. But since I'm a woman... You're being one right now, a perfect gentleman, even though I'm not drunk."
"You are, and we're not having that debate again."
"I wish you'd stop being a gentleman," she said, taking a hold of his shirt. She twisted the fabric as she tried for another kiss. He was forced to push her away again.
"And I wish you were sober," he returned, cursing himself and the alcohol and every instinct that was telling him to listen to her. She was not making this easy, and he knew that she would regret this in the morning. "Come on. I'll take you home."
"Then you have two choices, either you sleep it off or you take a cold shower," he said, thinking he was going to need one himself.
"I'll take a warm one. With you."
A very tempting offer. She was pushing all of his restraint, and he knew he was wavering. Coffee hadn't helped. And she wasn't looking like she would accept his suggestions. He set down his cup and started to guide her into the other room. She dug her feet in and tried not to move. "I'm not drunk. Would you please stop that?"
"If you want to resume this discussion in the morning, I would not object. However, I cannot continue this now."
"Stop being a gentleman."
"Neither of us would forgive me if I did."
"My head hurts."
"Usually happens when you drink too much. Dehydration," he reminded her. She sighed and leaned her head against his chest. She'd finally relented to sitting down on the couch, and she had more coffee, settled a bit. Both of them had. He was still due a cold shower and was not so certain she'd given up but rather changed her methods. "We should, actually, get you some more water."
"I don't feel like moving."
"Very well," he said agreeably. He had a feeling, with as much liquor as she had, that if he kept her still long enough, she might just fall asleep. It was the best solution at the moment. He could think of no better alternative because she was very determined.
"Talk to me, Proctor. Make up another story about your past. Or the truth. I'm sure it's stranger than fiction."
He laughed a little at that. He did not want to discuss his past. He liked his secrets. He would ask her about some of hers, but she was more likely to fall asleep if he spoke. "I will tell you a story, then, one that used to be told to me by my maternal grandmother—"
"Nice. Way to deflect again."
"You asked for a story," he countered, and she laughed. She had adjusted her position again, pulling her legs up onto the couch and leaning further across him, her arm over his shoulder as her head nuzzled him. He was growing more suspicious. She did not seem the type to... snuggle.
"A story about you, not one you were told. There's a difference."
"About me?" he shrugged a little, noticing that it did not dislodge her at all. "Hmm... There is a story I should tell you, then. Involves a time when I had very much to drink and made an absolute fool of myself, which seems very fitting under the circumstances."
"Yes, you are." He found it amusing that they were still arguing over this point. Her insistence on sobriety when she was very clearly not, so stubborn and so very charming in its way. She might have had to work up to approaching him, but when she set her mind to something, she did not give up easily. She wanted him, and she was not going to back down.
At least until the morning and she'd slept off the alcohol.
"Tell me about... eighty-eight seconds."
"That Warren is quite the gossip, isn't she?" he remarked with amusement, and then he noticed that Eva's hand hand slipped from his shoulder and down into his lap. Definitely a ploy. He struggled to keep a straight face. There was little he could do about other physical reactions. He needed that shower. He picked up her hand and wrapped his fingers around hers. "Why do you need to know about the eighty-eight seconds? She already told you."
"That's one version. Chris has another. And I bet you have more."
"I like my secrets."
"I could make you tell me."
"I bet you could," he agreed, and he was starting to wonder if she had been telling the truth about the alcohol. Maybe she had not had as much as he thought. She certainly seemed more awake, active, and especially more devious than he would have thought under the circumstances. "What would you like to hear? That I was dead, and I came back?"
"Depends on the definition."
She snorted, muttering something in Spanish. "There's a word for what you are. It's not that you lie, not necessarily, but it feels like you evade everything. I mean, I really thought you'd leave me wondering for days if not longer about what happened that night..."
He smiled. The thought had crossed his mind, but he was not malicious. It was somewhat embarrassing to both parties, especially given how she had reacted when she woke. Her stare, wide eyed and a bit horrified, and then the way she'd fallen back on the bed... When she'd come by to say it wasn't ridiculous, the idea of the two them, he'd been a bit surprised. She had seemed... relieved on the roof, and she'd said it was lucky for both of them that he was a gentleman. Rejection was always a bit painful, regardless of the circumstances.
"It was simply not the time to discuss it, nor the place."
"And the roof was?"
"I like it there. I do my best thinking outdoors, after all," he said, shrugging. "You came to me, we were alone, and the timing did seem right."
"It wasn't that hard to say nothing happened."
"Harder than you think."
Eva stirred slowly, her eyes opening, and her head pounding a little. She had to stop doing this. She rubbed the back of her neck, feeling an ache from sleeping in a bad position. She was still pretty tired. She sat up a little, sitting back and studying her pillow for a moment. Proctor. The gentleman again. She was fuzzy on some of the details, but this time she knew for sure that nothing had happened. He'd been very careful about that, and she'd eventually fallen asleep despite her best efforts.
She rose, getting up and crossing the room to his kitchen. She'd seen where he kept everything for coffee last night when he was trying to convince her she was too drunk to have the conversation, and she almost agreed with him now, in the morning, with some hindsight. She should have come with a completely clear head and a better argument than 'it's not ridiculous' and 'Chris is wrong.'
As the coffee began to brew, she stood, watching the pot fill, warring between embarrassment and frustration. Part of the plan had been good. Part of it was humiliating. She'd thrown herself at him, and he'd put her off. For the second time. He hadn't said he wasn't interested, but it almost felt that way.
A hand touched her shoulder, and she jumped, whirling around to face him. "I see you know your way around my kitchen."
She shrugged, watching him deal with the kink in his own neck. "I kept telling you I wasn't drunk."
He smiled at her. "Perhaps. But you gave a good impression of it."
She made a face as she rolled her eyes. He reached around her to open a cupboard and taking out a clean pair, one for each of them. She put a hand over his before he could lift the pot. "I'd like to have that conversation now."
She started to say that it was past time, since he'd been so unwilling to listen last night—and yes, she knew she could have done a better job of telling him, but still—when their pagers went off in unison. She cursed, loudly.
"Duty calls?" he said, picking up his phone as he poured himself a cup of coffee, walking away as he started to speak."Proctor."
He disappeared back into his bedroom, and she sighed, grabbing her pager. She should call in herself, but if she did... She didn't have a change of clothes, wouldn't have time for one or a shower before she went in. She shook her head. She really didn't like this. She shouldn't be so upset about one damn conversation. Or lack thereof.
She gathered up her stuff and headed towards the door. She stopped. Should she wait? She could always get a ride from Proctor, and if he brought her back to her car, it would give them a chance to talk.
Not that she really wanted to talk, and she needed a shower before that happened. Damn it.
"You're still here," he said as he came back out, dressed in jeans and a polo shirt and looking very good as he did. She shook her head. She wanted to have that conversation, but she couldn't, not now. Not after a page.
"I considered leaving. Almost did."
"Did you think I would be a captive audience in the car? Or did you want me to tell you what we've got before I leave?"
"You know, I wanted to talk last night."
"Cat got your tongue?"
"You wouldn't let me talk."
"That was not talking," he corrected, opening the door. She balled her fists a little, frustrated. He could drive her crazy. Maybe they shouldn't have the conversation, after all. She'd been pretty angry when she came over last night, let Chris' words get to her more than they should. It shouldn't matter that Chris thought it was ridiculous. It wasn't. "Not that the not talking was all bad, mind you, but I had good reason for putting a stop to it."
"You mean, you think you had a good reason," she muttered. "I asked you to stop being a gentleman."
"And I told you, neither of us would forgive me if I did."
"I'm not so inclined to forgive you right now."
They reached the elevator, and he pushed the button for the ground floor. Then he looked at her, and she had a brief flash of what he was about to do before he kissed her. Nothing ridiculous about the kiss. It was hard and demanding, full of desire that she felt ripple through her body and leave her stunned, like she'd just been hit and gotten the wind knocked out of her, but in a very good way.
"That doesn't mean you're forgiven," she told him when she could breathe again.
He looked at her with amusement. "It doesn't?"
She couldn't help it. She laughed. "It was good, but not that good."
"Pity. I must be slipping."