Rating: T, sexual concepts.
Disclaimer: Tina's. No money. I swear.
Pairing: Jack/Liz only.
Summary: Post-ep for "Reaganing". Jack uses jellybeans to "fix" Liz.
A/N: Avery and Carol are gone. Deal with it.
"Lemon. Do you see this jar?"
Liz looked at the jar of jellybeans he'd placed on her coffee table. "I see it. Are those for me?"
"In a way." He put out a hand to stop her leaning forward. "Don't eat them yet."
She sat back, waited. "Okay…"
Jack gave a flourish of one hand, announcing, "Lemon, this jar represents your sexual inadequacy."
"That jar does?"
He nodded. "Yes."
"That jar right there?"
"Uh huh..." She took another look at it. "So what do the jellybeans represent then?"
He drew in a breath, his gaze dropping to the tall glass jar that stood between them. "The jellybeans are representative of the erotic hurdles you need to conquer in order to heal yourself of this deeply ingrained sexual insecurity of yours."
"Oh. Wow…" Liz tipped her head to one side as she examined the trapped candy. "Well, that's…that's an awful lot of hurdles, I gotta say."
"It is," he replied stoically, eyes returning to her face. "I never said this was going to be easy, Lemon, or brief. But I did commit to this and I intend to see it through."
"Me too," she nodded.
"But, um…" she shifted her position on the couch, tucking her feet under her butt, "how exactly is a jar of jellybeans going to make me be better at sex?"
"Well," he mused, loosening his tie and undoing the button at his neck, "I thought it best to simplify the matter as much as possible. And the first thing we need to concentrate on is linking sex with something that already gives you pleasure."
"Uh huh! Food. I get it." She tapped her head with a finger, winking at him. "Good thinking."
"Thank you," Jack smiled. "And don't think there won't be a chance for other food to be involved because I have already thought of that. Cheesecake for instance, is a natural choice. Ice cream or whipped cream always proves useful in bedroom situations. Chocolate can be as well."
"Ooo, yes, please!" she jumped in, eyes glittering with both excitement and hunger. "What about noodle salad? I like noodle salad. Could you incorporate noodle salad?"
"I…might make it work, I suppose, with some imagination."
"What about potato chips?"
Jack began to shake his head. "I don't think-"
"And pizza? What about pizza?"
"Pizza is not sexy, Lemon."
She pulled a face. "Augh! How dare you."
"Cake, I can put on offer," he said with another wave of his hand.
"Yes, cake! Cake is good. Do waffles count as cake?"
"No, but the syrups generally served with waffles can easily be inserted into foreplay."
"Awesome," she grinned, all but salivating. "How about some ham with that?"
"Lemon, I think we are getting a little off topic here."
"But this is fun," she insisted, bouncing up on her heels. "Let's just keep naming foods that I like for awhile."
He shot her a sardonic look. "Is there food in existence that you don't like?"
"Yes. Never bring any type of pasta into my house," she told him, wagging her head back and forth. "It's gross, I hate it. Nope-! No, I can't even kid about that. I love pasta, bring on the pasta, fill the bed with it if you think it will help."
"I do not envisage slurping tagliatelle off your naked stomach any time soon," he told her, expression dubious. "Oddly enough, I don't think that would benefit our sensual endeavor."
She gave a shrug. "Hey, your choice."
"Anyway," he muttered, redirecting their discourse, "the presence of the jellybeans in our arrangement is not incidental. They're to serve as a training tool, a reward system to aid and expedite learning. It's the same basic principle used in the training of any animal of average intelligence."
"That's very flattering, thank you."
"The idea is simple," Jack told her, opening the clasp of the jar and extracting one single jellybean. "Every time you perform or make a real attempt at a sexual, sensual or similarly ambitious act, you get a jellybean. You initiate a kiss, you get a jellybean. You give a blow-job, you get another jellybean. You don some attractive underwear and/or take off said attractive underwear in a manner that is meant to arouse, you perform an erotic massage or engage in mildly indecent behavior in a semi-public environment – all acts deserving of a jellybean. This reward will naturally trigger a response in the pleasure center of your brain, releasing happiness hormones, causing you to soon feel more relaxed, confident and willing to engage in these types of activities without your typical hesitation or any need for coercion."
Liz was nodding her head, rolling her eyes. "Yeah, I get the general principle of bribery, Jack. You don't have to explain it to me. How else do you think I get the writers to stick around on rewrite day? It's not for my sparkling wit. It's for the free pizza and bottomless candy bowl."
"No," Jack said firmly, taking a step toward her. "No. This not about bribery, Lemon. It's not about getting you to do things you don't wish to do."
She frowned up at him. "It's not?"
"No. You are absolutely free to choose here. Whatever you wish to learn, whatever you wish to engage in, it's entirely up to you."
"Of course." He threw the jellybean in his mouth, making his way around the coffee table. "The reward system is simply about bypassing your most mulish neuroses, your constantly interfering rationale so that you can begin to fully and properly enjoy all the many pleasures you've missed out on for most of your adult life." He took a seat on the couch with her, letting out a breath. "It's a simple way to start, I grant you. But over time, your brain - instead of linking sex with humiliation and dissatisfaction - will learn to link lovemaking in all its facets with both pleasure and reward. Until eventually, you will no longer require the reward of food. Because you will receive the reward of sexual release and fulfillment instead. As well as the reward of witnessing and inciting your partner's gratification, which can be just as thrilling, let me assure you."
"But- wait a second..." Liz tucked a foot under her opposite knee, turning to face him. "Jack…a jellybean…it's very small."
"An excellent observation. What's your point?"
"Well…" She looked over at the jar filled to the brim with assorted jellybeans. Then she looked at him, eying him up and down. Then she looked back at the jar again, brow furrowed. "I think I'd like to negotiate the terms of this reward system."
"You'd like to negotiate?" he mused, voice betraying an impressed lilt. "Re-eally?"
She gave a curt nod. "I think so, yeah."
One corner of his mouth curled up. "Are you trying to turn me on now, Lemon?"
"I was not," she answered, visibly taken aback. "But negotiation works for you, huh? As, ah…"
"Form of foreplay. Yes, it does."
"Well…duly noted. And hardly surprising." She paused, clearing her throat before continuing on. "But, what I'm saying is…one jellybean per sexual task seems pretty inadequate. It seems a bit unbalanced to me. Particularly when you start talking blow-jobs and private peepshows. Those should be at least worth, like…five jellybeans. Each."
Jack nodded, silent a moment. "Well, the concept is far more important than the quantity. Like I said, it's about creating a new response in your brain, not merely feeding the bottomless pit that is your stomach."
"But having said that, I am open to negotiation, either now or as we tackle each individual erotic hurdle. In fact, I'd welcome it since engaging in a little verbal sparring before our carnal encounters may actually add to my own personal enjoyment."
"Yes. Well…" Liz bit her lip, stifling a grimace. "I guess your personal enjoyment is just something I'm going to have to get used to."
"You will indeed," he murmured, leaning back into the couch cushions. "As it will be the most important gauge of your success in this field. The other gauge will be this jar." He leaned forward suddenly, grabbing the jar and placing it between them. "With one glance, we will both be able to follow your progress. See? Look here, Lemon. By the time we get to say, here-" he indicated about a third of the way down the jar, "you should be comfortable with- indeed, you should relish some light foreplay, kissing, fondling and so forth. By the time we get down to here-" he moved his fingers a little further down, "we ought to have conquered oral sex, both giving and receiving, the different techniques to be mastered as well as the different positions in which to do so. And by the time we get to the very bottom of the jar-" he looked up, met her gaze, "you should be able to disrobe, lie naked in bed with the lights on and Tom Jones playing in the background and still get wet, still want a man to come to you and make love to you. That-" he paused for what seemed like an eternity, "is our ultimate goal here."
"Right. Okay." Liz gulped hard. She eyed the jar and all the jellybeans within it for a long moment. "But, um, Jack…?"
She looked up, eyes unsure. "If that's our goal, then I think we're gonna need a bigger jar. A much…much bigger jar."
Jack just smiled. "We can refill this jar as many times as we need to."
"We might exhaust the world's supply of jellybeans."
"If so, then we simply move onto…"
"Whatever will work for you."
"M&Ms could work…"
"Right now though, Lemon, right at this moment-" Jack shifted toward her on the couch, his warmth starting to reach her, his voice sending little tingles along her skin. "All you have to do, all you have to concentrate on is one thing. One single act, deserving of one single reward. You know…one of Reagan's favorite quotes was: 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step'." He reached a hand inside the jar, drew out a jellybean and held it between two fingers. "So. Come and take your first step towards sexual freedom." He paused, licked his lips. "One kiss, Liz, one kiss and you get…this jellybean."
Her eyes shifted between his face and the tiny reward. "I don't…I don't love the yellow ones."
Jack threw it over his shoulder, causing her to release a surprised laugh. "We can get rid of them," he muttered then extracted another jellybean. A red one, this time. "Okay?" he asked, both checking to see if she was ready to begin their new endeavor and if she approved of this particular flavor.
"The red ones are my favorites," she admitted, voice low.
"Then come and get it," he told her, voice just as low, though less anxious. "It's time, Lemon, time to get yours. And all you have to do, the only thing to do now…is kiss me."
Liz was absolutely still for a moment. Then she blinked. Slowly, she scooted closer on the couch, in the deepening silence. "Close your eyes," she told him, voice coming out as a whisper. And when Jack's eyes obeyed, she knelt up and leant in, hovering close. Her hand closed over the fingers that held her reward as her mouth found his and…she kissed him.