Hey guys! This is kind of a long one, I know. I was going to do several chapters, but I just decided to break it up into sections and post it as a one-shot. It's basically a series of themed one-shots.
Please read and review!
I own nothing, and this is very sad for me.
When Elizabeth Scott was a little girl, her father bought her a Barbie doll. Poor Sam obviously had no idea what to do with a child, and even less what to do with a female child, but he did know that his sister bought her daughter scores of plastic dolls with blonde hair and massive amounts of clothing, and that her daughter adored them all. Elizabeth would forever remember the look on Sam's face when he knocked on her open door with one hand behind his back and a gigantic smile.
"Knock, knock," he said, taking one hesitant step into the room like she was going to kick him out. "Are ya decent?"
Elizabeth didn't get the joke, but Sam sure seemed to think it was funny.
"Listen, honey, I know this place isn't exactly set up for a little girl. I wasn't expecting you… you weren't expecting to get stuck with me… but it doesn't have to be all bad. In fact, it doesn't have to be bad at all." Sam sighed when she didn't respond but kept going anyway. "Maybe if you had something of your own besides that rabbit to play with…"
Elizabeth clutched at her beloved bunny. It was the only thing her mother had ever really given her, and it was the only thing had been saved out of the fire besides her. She jerked the stuffed animal behind her back and out of Sam's range of sight. Sam quickly rethought whatever he was about to say.
"No! Honey, no. I wasn't going to take your toy from you. I just thought I would add to it," Sam said, desperately stumbling over his words. He brought the doll out from behind his back and waved it in front of her like a white flag. "Here you go. Your very own Barbie. What do ya think?"
There were no words for what she thought. Her very own Barbie! Elizabeth's mother never would have bought her something so extravagant no matter how much she begged. Not that she begged. Begging was for babies and was usually useless anyway. She reached for the doll but then pulled her hand back and eyed Sam suspiciously. He was practically a stranger, and the last thing her daddy told her before he left was not to talk to strangers. They couldn't be trusted and they were almost always up to no good. But then again, Daddy wasn't a stranger and he wasn't very nice either. In fact, the only two people she really knew were her parents and neither one of them were as nice as the man standing in front of her. Maybe just this once, she would take her chances on the stranger. Elizabeth reached for the doll and Sam placed it into her outstretched hand.
It was the most beautiful thing Elizabeth had ever owned. The doll had blonde hair that fell down her back in waves, and she had on a beautiful red ball gown that accentuated her perfectly tan skin. Elizabeth sat down on her bed and when Sam sat beside her, she didn't move away like she normally did. How could a man who gave her such wonderful things be bad?
"Thank you," Elizabeth said softly as she traced the doll's face with her fingers.
"You are very welcome, Elizabeth."
Sam smiled at her and she frowned a bit.
"Mr. Sam?" Elizabeth sat the doll alongside her bunny on the bed and gave Sam her most serious face. She only had one request, and he had to know that she meant business. "Mr. Sam, please don't call me Elizabeth. Mommy only called me Elizabeth when she was mad at me. Please call me Lizzie."
Sam never called her Elizabeth again.
His next big gift was as equally as exciting. Elizabeth came from school one day to find a box sitting beside her customary after-school snack on the kitchen table. It was wrapped in newspaper with a big blue string tied around it. She picked it up for a moment then sat it back down on the table.
Elizabeth nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of Sam's voice behind her.
"Go on. It's yours, so open it," Sam said as he sat down at the table, looking at her expectantly. "You really didn't think I'd flake out on your birthday, did ya? Give me a little credit here."
It was her birthday. It was her birthday and she had forgotten. She had forgotten and Sam had not. Elizabeth threw herself into Sam's arms, stunning the man into silence. She had never hugged him before, and now she was clutching onto his neck like something bad was going to happen if she let go.
"Hey… It's not that I'm not loving the affection, but what's gotten into you?" Sam joked and laughed a bit until he realized that she was not laughing with him. She was crying. "Lizzie… Lizzie what's the matter? Tell me what's wrong."
Elizabeth pulled herself away from Sam and tried to catch her breath. She hated crying, and she especially hated crying in front of Sam. She didn't want him to think she was a baby. She wanted him to know that he didn't have to take care of her. She could take care of herself. That's what big girls did.
"You remembered my birthday."
Elizabeth tried to suck in a deep breath to calm herself, but it only resulted in her letting out a shuddering sob.
Sam chuckled in amusement and a bit of disbelief. "Of course I did. What kind of father would I be if I didn't remember my own little girl's birthday?"
"F-father?" Elizabeth stuttered a bit as she tried to wrap her head around the concept.
"Yeah. I kinda thought that if I'm going to raise you I might as well make it as official as I can make it. Would you like for me to be your daddy?" Sam sucked in a nervous breath and waited for her reply.
Elizabeth's thoughts immediately turned to her real daddy, who she had not heard from in over a year. Would he be okay with this? Would he even care? Elizabeth decided then and there that even if her daddy cared, SHE didn't. Sam was a nice guy and he took very good care of her and of course he could be her daddy.
She nodded her head slowly and Sam grinned.
"Good. I may not be the best father in the world, but I can promise you that I'll never stop trying to be. And a part of that means getting you presents on your birthday. I'm dying to see you open what I got you, Butterball." Sam took the present and held it out to her.
Butterball? Elizabeth made a mental note to ask about that later. In the meantime, she wanted to see what Sam had gotten her. She took the gift from his hands and tore into the paper, strewing it haphazardly on the floor. Her eyes lit up when she saw a face peering up at her through the plastic casing. A Ken doll!
"My niece always says that Barbie isn't half as fun without her Ken. Personally, I think Barbie just uses him as arm-candy, but that's just my opinion," Sam said as used his pocketknife to free Ken from his plastic prison.
Elizabeth didn't know what Sam meant, but she nodded just the same. He handed the doll back to her and she marveled at the feel of him in her hands. His hair was blonde and slicked back, his permanent smile was inviting and sweet, and best of all, his tuxedo was black with a little red tie. He was perfect for her Barbie.
Elizabeth played with Barbie and Ken tirelessly, imagining all of the great adventures they would go on together. Thanks to her cousin Tracey, who had outgrown her doll phase, there was a change of clothing for every adventure. Still… when it was all said and done, Barbie ended up in her bright red ball gown and Ken ended up in his tuxedo. A perfect match. It was easy for Elizabeth to picture a Ken of her very own. He would come from an exotic land and whisk her away from Nebraska and take her on adventures. Because that's what Kens do for their Barbies.
As Elizabeth grew older, she learned very quickly that she was no Barbie. Her hair was brown and mousy, her eyes were a dark blue that might as well have been brown, and her figure was far from an hourglass. She was scrawny and timid and would never do any of the great things that Barbie had done. Yes… Elizabeth Scott knew that she was no Barbie, but that didn't stop her from wanting her very own Ken.
"What are you wearing?"
Elizabeth wished desperately that she was at a point in her career where it was acceptable to hang up on Raymond Reddington and there was no chance of it getting her fired.
"Is this the way you're going to talk to me tonight? Because if it is then you can just find someone else…"
"Really, Lizzie, you've got to get a sense of humor or we're never going to make it as partners." Elizabeth could practically hear his eyes rolling as he tried to smooth her ruffled feathers. "What I meant was… what are you wearing tonight?"
Oh. He really could have started out with that. But Red never made anything simple for her. It was one of the many things that made her want to bash him over the head with something hard.
"What does it matter what I'm wearing tonight? You told me to go formal so I bought something formal." Elizabeth leaned against the kitchen counter and kept an ear out for Tom, who was supposed to be upstairs. "And Tom will be down here any minute so please get to the point of whatever you called for."
One of these days Elizabeth was going to have to actually order something from Nick's Pizza, as much as the number showed up on her phone.
"The point is that I want to know what you are going to be wearing so that I can match my outfit to yours." Red's tone was casual and a bit impatient, like matching outfits was something that Elizabeth should have already considered. "You are my date for all intents and purposes, and we have to look like we are the kind of couple that coordinates colors and fabrics and whatnot. Remember we are a rich pair of yuppies that have nothing better to do than to go to a ball at the Syrian Embassy."
Elizabeth startled when she heard movement from upstairs. "Duly noted. I'm wearing a red dress with black accessories. Happy?"
"Ecstatic. I would love to chat, Lizzie, but since you are clearly dying to get me off the phone, I'll say goodbye until tonight."
"Goodbye, Red," Elizabeth sighed as she hung up the phone. These random pointless phone calls needed to stop. What if Tom were to answer? He was her husband and he had every right to pick up her phone if she wasn't around. And knowing Red… well he wouldn't hesitate to strike up a conversation if he were ever to get Tom on the phone. There was silence upstairs and Elizabeth briefly wondered if Tom had heard any of the conversation between her and Red. She quickly brushed the thought away. Tom wouldn't know what he was hearing anyway so it really didn't matter.
Elizabeth meandered up the stairs to the closet in her bedroom, pulling out the garment bag that contained her dress. It was an indulgence for her, that red dress. She had intended on going with the standard FBI black that Red so loathed, but was drawn in by the scarlet color that so vividly matched the color of Barbie's ball gown. Elizabeth weighed her options, and Barbie won, hands down. She pulled the gown out of the bag and held it up to her body. It was long and low-cut with a dangerous slit up the side. It was perfect.
"Please tell me you're not wearing that out in public."
Elizabeth hadn't even noticed Tom leaning against the doorway of the bathroom, looking at her like she was something he needed to scrape off the bottom of his shoe.
"What's wrong with it?" Elizabeth asked in confusion as she pulled the dress away from her body.
"Don't you think it's just a bit… slutty?" Tom eyed the slit with a certain amount of disgust. "What kind of undercover work are you going to be doing, exactly?"
The accusing tone of Tom's voice surprised Elizabeth. He was never one to be jealous.
"It's the kind of undercover work that I am not allowed to discuss with my husband," Elizabeth said as she laid the dress out on the bed. "I don't understand why you're acting this way, but I don't need this right before I go on an assignment. I'm nervous enough as it is."
Elizabeth wondered if she had overdone it when Tom remained silent. Her fears were allayed when Tom walked over to her and put his arms around her waist.
"You're right. I know you have a job to do and I don't need to get in the way of that. Besides…I've seen your partner and I don't think I have anything to worry about. You were never much for blondes."
Blondes? Ressler… He thought she was going with Ressler. Thank goodness for little misunderstandings.
"Right. And I'm not much for a Jersey accent from a person that's from Boston," Elizabeth said as she leaned into Tom's chest. "You have nothing to worry about."
Four hours later, Elizabeth wasn't so sure.
Elizabeth waited in the main room of the safe house for Red to make his grand entrance. Because that's what he was doing. Already she knew him too well. Even though at times it felt like she didn't know him at all. Either way… he was wasting time.
"Lizzie…. Wow." Red stopped in his tracks and stared openly at Elizabeth.
Wow indeed. It wasn't the first time she'd seen Red in a tux, but it was the first time she'd really allowed herself to get a good look. He'd opted for a black tux that fitted him REALLY well with shiny black shoes and no hat. And to top it all off, he'd chosen a red pocket square that perfectly matched her dress.
Elizabeth smiled shyly at the man in front of her. She couldn't help herself. "Nice tux." It was a nice enough compliment. She supposed he deserved one every now and again.
"Nice dress," Red said in a low voice, looking her up and down like he had every right to do so. "It does wonders for your… figure."
Elizabeth blushed and she hated herself for it. "We're late. Is there anything else we need to go over before we leave?"
There was no hesitation as Red shook his head in the negative. "No… we've gone over everything you need to know. If anything comes up… well… you have me. And I'm not going to let anything happen to you."
And she knew he wouldn't.
He offered his arm to her and she linked hers through it, and, for that night, Elizabeth was Barbie and Red was her Ken and he was taking her on an adventure.
Elizabeth knocked on the door of Red's posh hotel room at 7a.m. sharp. Why he insisted on meeting up so early in the morning was beyond her. Especially on a Sunday. Elizabeth could have been catching up on some much needed sleep, but instead she hauled herself out of bed before dawn to meet with Red.
Dembe opened the door and leaned against the frame. "He's waiting for you. Bastard woke me up before daylight to help him 'get organized'. I swear…. If it weren't my job to protect him, I might be one of the many people who are trying to put a bullet in his head."
That said a lot coming from a man who had barely spoken two words to her since they'd met.
"Ignore him, Lizzie. He can be such a grouch first thing in the morning. Let him get some coffee in his system and he'll be fine," Red smiled as he brushed past Dembe to take Elizabeth's arm. He steered her into the middle of the room and left her there to resume whatever he'd been doing before she got there. And judging by the ties that were laid out on his bed, he'd been dressing.
"Now that you have me here, would you mind telling me what you want? If I leave here in the next ten minutes I can still make it home in time to get a couple more hours sleep. And I can assure you that at this point sleep trumps anything and everything that could come out of your mouth."
The corners of Red's mouth turned up in a smile and Elizabeth immediately wished that she had just stayed in bed. Nothing good was going to come out of this day.
"I have something for you, Lizzie. A gift, so to speak. Now, I'm not insisting that you keep it. In fact, what you do with it after I give it to you is completely up to you," Red said as he opened a briefcase situated on the corner of the bed. "I kept a copy of it if you're into ritual burning. Just a thought."
Red pulled a manila envelope out of the briefcase and handed it to Elizabeth, frowning a bit when she hesitated to take it. "It won't bite you. Just take it."
Elizabeth took the envelope with shaking hands and opened it up. She bit back a cry as she saw what was inside. It was Tom. Well… it was a photo of Tom. It was a photo of Tom wrapped around a blonde… Gina. Gina Zanetakos. She was seated on his lap, smiling seductively at the camera. Tom was smiling as well… and his hands were planted firmly between Gina's knees.
"There were others. Other photos. But this was the only one that wasn't of an explicit nature so this was the only one I could bear to give you." Red took the photo from her and placed it on the nightstand. Elizabeth let out a shuddering sob when his hands enveloped hers. "Lizzie, I know it's hard. He's your husband and I understand your need to protect him, even though you know what he's done… what he's capable of doing. But I need for you to remember that he is not a good guy. He's not the guy you love. That guy doesn't exist. We will never be able to get anything out of Tom if you don't remember that."
Elizabeth knew that what he was saying was true. The Tom she loved never really existed. Tom had played her from the very beginning, and she should want revenge. Right now all she wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry until she finally felt better. But crying never helped anything, so she might as well suck it up and do what she needed to do. She looked up at Red and nodded. "You're right. I have to remember who the bad guy is. Right now the bad guy is Tom."
"Good girl," Red sighed. "I hate what he's done to you, and I hate that you have to play along with him for God knows how long… but this is the only way. I'm truly sorry, Lizzie." He pulled her forward into his arms and she buried her face in his chest momentarily before pulling away.
"I should go. You've probably got things to do…"
"I have nothing to do," Red cut her off with a soft smile. "In fact, I was thinking about ordering an obscene amount of food and hanging around the hotel today."
Elizabeth sighed. "Sounds good. I'll leave you to it, then."
Red rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Lizzie, would you like to hang around here with me? Dembe's already gone back to bed and I get lonely watching old movies by myself. Besides… the thought of sending you back to your husband is quite loathsome, and I want to put it off for as long as possible."
Relief flooded through Elizabeth as she nodded and smiled. Tom had proposed doing the same thing the night before… spending Sunday laid up on the couch watching movies and being lazy. The thought had been abhorrent to her. The idea of doing that with Red, however, held a certain appeal.
"Excellent. Let me finish this and I'll order us something delicious and fattening." Red turned back to the bed and surveyed the many ties he had spread out over the bed. "I know it seems pointless to dress for the occasion, but I can't have room service thinking I'm anything less than a rich, self-absorbed, arrogant ass who will not be caught in his pajamas."
"Of course." Elizabeth cringed as Red made a grab for a truly heinous yellow tie. She would have thought he'd have learned by now that just because something's expensive, that does not mean that it looks good. An annoyed mewl left her throat before she could stop it and Red peered at her curiously. "Problem?"
Elizabeth nodded. She took the tie from his hand and tossed it to the other side of the bed, grinning triumphantly when it fell to the floor. Red watched in amusement as she leaned over the bed and picked up a solid blue silk tie and studied it seriously. His eyes widened slightly when she brought the tie up around his neck and proceeded to tie it, her fingers brushing his skin with every loop.
"Will you be picking out my clothes from now on?" Red said as Elizabeth straightened the tie and tucked it into his vest.
"Only if you insist on wearing that atrocious tie."
A small part of Elizabeth hoped he would.
Elizabeth could never understand Red's fascination with fedoras, and sometimes she wondered why he insisted on visiting that hat shop every few weeks when he almost certainly owned one of every piece in that store.
"I'm suffering from a bit of uncertainty here, Lizzie. Care to help me out?"
If this was what he called her here for….Who was she kidding? Of course this is what he called her here for.
"You've never had an uncertain moment in your life. What do you want, Red?" Elizabeth shifted on the balls of her feet and shoved her hands in her pocket, trying to take uninterested stance. But, as usual, Red seemed to see right through her.
"Come here and take a look," Red said as he gestured to the three hats on the counter. "I've narrowed my choices down to these three."
Elizabeth sighed. "Why don't you just get them all?"
Red wasn't impressed with her suggestion.
"If I buy all of these hats now then I will have no reason to come back here later. I like this place. It has character." Red shot a grin to the owner and gestured again to the hats. "Pick your favorite."
Elizabeth moved to stand beside him at the counter and examined the hats. It was better to just give him what he wanted than to hear about it every day until she finally relented and came back to the store with him. Each of the hats was very stylish in its own right. The first was white with a red band around it. Elizabeth thought it would go very well with Red's white suit, though she would never tell him that. The second was black with no band at all. Elizabeth immediately took it out of the running by sliding it back toward the owner and shaking her head. It lacked a certain something, and by the approving look in Red's eyes she knew he agreed. The third hat was by far Elizabeth's favorite. It was brown with a dark green band. She picked it up and held it out to Red with both hands. "This one."
"Why this one?" Red asked as he took the hat from her hands.
Heaven forbid there ever be a simple choice where Red was involved.
"I like this one," Elizabeth said, trying to look anywhere else but Red's face.
"But you don't like the white one?"
Elizabeth shrugged. "I like it just fine. I like this one better."
Elizabeth's face flushed as Red's green eyes bore into hers.
"I like the green. The green matches your eyes." There. She said it.
Red smiled knowingly. "This one it is, then. Thank you, Lizzie." He gave the hat to the owner along with a credit card. "Wrap this up along with the one I picked out earlier and give them to Dembe. Lizzie and I will just be moving along now."
Red gently took Elizabeth's arm and propelled her out of the shop and into the waiting car.
"So where are we moving along to? Since I'm apparently going with you," Elizabeth tried to sound sarcastic, but truth be told, she was more than curious about what he had planned.
Red smiled as he rested his head back against the seat. "I'm in need of a new pair of glasses…"
That was the first of many times Red conned Elizabeth into spending the day shopping with him.
One month later Elizabeth came home to find a box sitting on her dining room table. She flipped open the card that sat on top of it and smiled.
The blue matches your eyes.
She hurriedly opened the box and peered down at the contents, bursting into peals of laughter. There, nestled in the pristine white paper, sat a black fedora with a baby blue band.
Red was apparently capable of talking Elizabeth into anything. She wouldn't be sitting on the deck of a sprawling bungalow in Haiti, watching the tide roll in if that weren't the truth.
"I want to take you out to dinner, Lizzie," Red said around puffs of his cigar. "It's about time we celebrated your recent victory."
"I hardly consider a divorce victory." Elizabeth leaned back into the wooden rocking chair and used her foot to push off and propel the chair back and forth. "It's more like a failure. The biggest failure of my life."
"It doesn't count if you were set up to fail." Red lifted his glass of brandy and observed it before taking a sip, frowning when it did not go down easy. "You've been moping around for months now and as much as I know you don't want to hear this, I have to say it. Tom isn't worth it. He was never worth it. You, my dear, were always way too good for him. It's time you let him go."
Elizabeth found herself tearing up. "I don't know how."
"I do." Red stood up from his chair and put the cigar out in the crystal ashtray that was perched precariously on the small table that also held his brandy. "You are going to go out with a devilishly handsome man tonight. You are going to let him ply you with wine and tell you over and over how beautiful you are. Then, at the end of the night, if all goes well and the devilishly handsome man behaves himself, you are going to let him kiss you at the door. Those are the first three steps in moving on with your life."
He made it seem so simple… so easy. And it could be that easy. At least for one night, Red could make it all go away. Elizabeth decided to let him.
"And who would that devilishly handsome man be?"
Red grinned. "The only devilishly handsome man I know. Me."
Elizabeth should have expected that. She grinned back at Red as she stood from her chair, stretching out her unused muscles like a cat. "Well I don't know about devilishly handsome… but you're pretty cute when you want to be. I guess I could knock out my first three steps and get a free dinner out of it too." Red pouted at first but then smiled when he realized she was accepting his offer. He was awfully cute when he pouted. "And out of curiosity… what would be step number four?"
Red grabbed her hand and held it up to his lips. "Oh Lizzie, you aren't ready for step number four."
Elizabeth dared not ask. The possibility of a kiss at the door was daunting enough without having to think about what might come after it.
"You go and get ready. We'll leave in an hour," Red said, walking past her and into the bungalow. She followed after him, but veered into her own room when he shut the door to his. Obviously the Haitian weather was clouding her judgment. She had just agreed to a date with Raymond Reddington. And from the look in his eyes as he was describing their upcoming evening, it was definitely a date.
She showered quickly, remembering that she only had an hour, and blow dried her hair in record time. A few quick swipes with a curling iron and her hair flowed in waves that stopped just above her shoulders. She went light on the makeup, but indulged in some bright red lipstick. It wasn't something she wore everyday, but she had to admit that it looked good on her.
Normally, finding an outfit for such an occasion would be difficult for Elizabeth, seeing as she hadn't been out on a date in years and had never owned more than a handful of dresses at any given time, but Red had obviously planned this out well in advance. Her large closet was full of dresses of all styles and colors, and even though at first she had vowed not to wear any of it, the absurdity of wearing slacks and blouses on the beach had won out over her pride. There was one dress in particular that she was rather anxious to wear. It was covered with bright and colorful flowers, it flowed down to her knees, and it was backless. Completely backless. Elizabeth wasn't sure if she was brave enough to pull it off, but she was about to find out.
She stepped into the dress and tied the halter in the back. It felt amazing… like she was wearing nothing. One glimpse in the mirror proved that it looked amazing too. The fit was perfect –she would expect nothing less from Raymond Reddington- and it hit at just the right spot at her knees. Elizabeth found a pair of high heels that she could tolerate and stepped outside her door, expecting Red to be waiting on her. He wasn't. She checked the clock on the wall and found that she still had twenty minutes to spare. There were footsteps heading toward the hall and a voice came with them.
"Listen, Rico… don't take this the wrong way, but I don't give a damn about shipping routes and gunfire and the Haitian police. Those are your problems. My only interest is getting my shipment to my client in a timely manner, and I was told you were the man for the job. If you can't…" Raymond stopped when he noticed Elizabeth standing in the hall waiting on him. "I'm going to have to call you back tomorrow. You have one day to make this right or I'm going to take my business elsewhere." He hung up the phone and smiled fondly at Elizabeth. "Lizzie! You look wonderful. Give me fifteen minutes and I'll look just as wonderful and we can get this evening started."
He was still in the suit from earlier, though the tie and vest had been discarded and the shirt was un-tucked. Apparently he hadn't counted on her being ready in an hour. Elizabeth was pleased to have proven him wrong.
"No hurry. I'm a bit early. I'll just wait out on the porch and watch the waves for a bit."
"Fifteen minutes, I promise," Red said as he backed into his room, smiling as he noticed the cut of her dress.
The door was almost shut when Elizabeth called out to him. "Red!"
Red poked his head out of the door curiously. "Yes?"
"Wear the white suit."
Red's eyes glinted mischievously and he grinned. "Yes ma'am."
Elizabeth had imagined, all through her childhood, having her own personal Ken and dressing him up in whatever she wanted him to be in. Never had she ever imagined dressing him down, or completely undressing him, for that matter. Yet… that was exactly what she was doing.
One month had passed since her first date with Red. One month of long talks, walks on the beach, dangerous flirting, and casual touching was enough to drive Elizabeth crazy. She had never wanted anyone as bad as she wanted Raymond Reddington, and he was determined that they weren't going to do anything more than kiss 'until she was ready'. If he had been paying any kind of attention, he would know that she was more than ready. Finally, Elizabeth took it upon herself to speed things up. Enough was enough.
Since Red seemed to be a pro at brushing off subtle sexual advances, Elizabeth opted for a more direct approach. She left the door to her bedroom cracked and ran herself a bath, leaving the bathroom door cracked as well. If this was going to work, he was going to have to be able to hear her. She stepped into the water and let it rush over her body, relaxing for a moment before she put her plan into motion. She had never been this bold before. Maybe Red was starting to rub off on her.
She heard Red's voice coming down the hall, and she knew this was her chance.
Silence from the hall.
"Red, I need you!"
"Lizzie? Where are you? What's wrong?"
Elizabeth tried to keep the smile out of her voice. "I'm in the bathroom! I need your help!"
There was movement outside the bathroom door and she knew he was there, trying to figure out what she could possibly need from him.
That did it. Red burst into the bathroom, his eyes wide in alarm. "What is it? What's wrong?" He looked her over for any signs of harm, stubbornly ignoring the fact that she was naked in the tub and not bothering to hide anything from him.
"It's my back. I can't reach it. Could you be a dear…?" Elizabeth scooted up in the tub and wrapped her arms around her knees, offering her back to be washed. For a moment Red did nothing, and Elizabeth felt the swell of humiliation rise up inside her. She would never be able to face him again…. But she calmed when Red kneeled beside the tub and rolled up his sleeves.
"You know… there are easier ways to get my attention," Red said as he dipped a washcloth in the water and lathered it up with soap. The cloth touched Elizabeth's back and she let out the breath she didn't even know she was holding.
"If that were true, I wouldn't be sitting here naked and freezing. There's quite the breeze in here."
Red rinsed her back then gently tugged on her arm until she stood, still stubbornly ignoring her naked body as she stepped out of the tub. He grabbed a towel from the rack and wrapped her in it, only meeting her eyes when she was fully covered. "You don't want this. As much as you think you want it… you don't." His voice was thick and low and Elizabeth just wanted him to say her name.
"I have wanted you for longer than even I know. You are the one constant in my life. You are there for me… always. Emotionally… mentally… why not in this way too?" Elizabeth brushed her lips over his neck and he grasped her arms, pushing her away.
"You deserve someone…"
"I deserve someone who's faithful," Elizabeth cut him off with a hand to his lips. "I deserve someone who's loyal. I deserve someone that I can trust. That's you. That's always been you." She removed her hand from his lips and replaced it with her own lips. There was no response from Red, but Elizabeth was persistent. When she finally felt his lips move underneath hers she almost squealed in triumph. She wanted to deepen the kiss, but Red broke it before she could take the initiative.
"If at any point you feel that we need to stop, please tell me. I accept that I am a monstrous human being, but I would never want to take advantage of you like that. I couldn't live with myself," Red breathed in her ear as his hands roamed her body above the towel. Elizabeth nodded in agreement and shivered as the towel was jerked from her body and thrown onto the floor. She shivered again when her body was pulled flush against his and she could feel how much he wanted her.
"As much as I want to do this, I don't want to do it on the bathroom floor. I suggest we move this to bed," Elizabeth said, tugging Red's hand and leading him to the bedroom. He followed willingly, the lust naked in his eyes when Elizabeth spread herself out on the bed, begging him to come to her. She rolled her eyes when he kicked off his shoes and joined her on the bed. He was going to drag this out. She opened her mouth to chide him, but closed it again when she felt his lips on her throat. He could drag it out if he wanted to.
While Red's mouth worked her throat… her collarbone… her chest… Elizabeth's hands busied themselves with the task of unbuttoning his shirt. Each button exposed an inch of skin that seemed to burn to the touch, so much so that Elizabeth wondered briefly if he was feverish. When she tugged at his shirt to pull it out of his pants, Red's hands captured hers and pushed them down into the bed. "If you don't mind," Red said as he trailed back down her body, "I'm busy, and you don't want me distracted right now." His mouth swept over her center and her hands instinctively grasped the sheets, pulling and pushing and finally the sound of ripped fabric pulled them both out of the moment.
"I'm going to take that as a compliment," Red laughed, placing a kiss on her hipbone and untangling her hands from the sheets. He hesitated when she brought them back up to his shirt, sliding it slowly down his shoulders. Elizabeth hesitated as well when instead of smooth skin, her hands met with a pattern of raised flesh that covered the entire expanse of his back.
"Red… I don't understand…," Elizabeth stammered in a voice that certainly too breathy and childlike to be her own. Red buried his face in her shoulder, and Elizabeth could feel tears soaking through her skin. "Don't ask me, Lizzie. Please don't ask me. I'll tell you everything one day, I promise. I'm begging you, don't ask me tonight."
Elizabeth desperately wanted to know, but at the same time, it didn't matter. The only thing that mattered was that she desperately wanted to be as close as she could to the man lying in her arms. "I won't. I know you'll tell me one day. You don't have to tell me anything tonight. Just don't stop, okay?"
Red placed a grateful kiss to her shoulder then rolled off the bed. Elizabeth was disappointed until she heard the clink of a belt buckle being undone. She closed her eyes in anticipation, but at a very inopportune moment, a thought crossed her mind. She couldn't have stopped the giggle that resounded through the room if she tried.
"I know that your experience with men has been minimal, Lizzie, but allow me to enlighten you. Laughter is not something we like to hear when we drop our pants." The serious timbre of Red's voice just made Elizabeth laugh even harder, and it took several minutes to calm herself.
"I'm sorry! I just… it's just… I had… I had a doll. Sam bought me dolls. Can you imagine Sam picking me up a doll? Anyway…I had this Ken doll. He was perfect. He had fancy outfits and perfect hair and he was always smiling and wonderful… He was the perfect guy. And now here you are. You have fancy outfits and a perfectly shaved head and you only really smile for me and you are my perfect guy! And… well… now I just can't help but hoping that you're… that you're… anatomically correct."
She laughed again. She laughed and laughed until she realized that she was the only one laughing.
"Lizzie, open your eyes."
Elizabeth slowly opened her eyes and took a good look at the man standing in front of her.
Yes. Definitely anatomically correct.
Red proved over and over again that night just how correct he was, and by the time the morning light streamed across her bed, Elizabeth was over the idea of having her own personal Ken. She had Red.
That was even better.