Chapter 3

Sensation trickled slowly back to the parts of her that weren't in contact with his body. The comforter, bunched awkwardly underneath her ribs. Her hair snagging wildly on the rough cotton of the hotel pillowcase. Her socks, still warming her feet where they bracketed his calves. They hadn't found time to take off her socks in the urgency of being together.

Lee's arms were still banded about her waist, and he was nuzzling the back of her neck when he remarked, "That's definitely going to make the list."

"List?" she tilted her chin forward to grant his lips better access to the sensitive skin below her earlobe. He nibbled; she shifted her bottom in the cradle of his lap; he sighed.

"Mmmm. My favourite ways to make love to Amanda list." She could tell by his tone that he was grinning foolishly, and she did what was expected of her and tapped his forearm, chiding him.

"Leeeee, there is no list. You're making it up."

"Maybe. I'm not at liberty to say. But if such a list did, in fact, exist, this position would most definitely be on it." He was using his best spy-voice.

"You've given this some thought, I can see."

"Well … yes. It helps pass the time when we can't be together, like these past few weeks."

"So that's what you were daydreaming about when you should have been helping me catalogue those security checks the other day." she said humourously.

"Guilty as charged."

"So, what else is on this list that may or may not exist?" she inquired, her curiousity peaked. She wanted to know what pleased him, what he found the most arousing, but anytime she'd found the courage to ask, he'd simply responded "you", and left it at that. Flattering, but not particularly enlightening.

"Oh, so many things. Sex in the shower. Sex on my desk in the Q bureau. Sex in the great outdoors. Something involving a pack of cinnamon hearts and an ice cube …" his voice drifted off, distracted.

"But Lee, we've never done any of those things!" she twisted to look over her shoulder at him, catching his playful expression.

"Maybe not yet, but I've got a very vivid imagination, Amanda."

She was quiet for a time, and he picked up some faint signal of worry emitting from her skin.

"I'm kidding about the cinnamon hearts and the ice cube. Or … I'm kidding if you want me to be kidding. You know … What's the matter, Amanda?"

He felt her ribs expand as she prepared to speak, stopped, shook her head, drew a deep breath again. By the time she said something, he was convinced she wasn't planning on answering.

"Lee, do you think we're sexually compatible?" she blurted out.

The resounding silence from behind caused her stomach to roil, and she cursed her tendency to say whatever she was thinking. But it was out there now, so she might as well see it through to its logical conclusion. Or at least try.

"What I mean is, I'm not sure I'm … I always figured you saw me as …. oh hell." she let out a frustrated sigh, searching her thoughts for a feasible distraction other than the obvious choice when they were lying naked, still tangled together like hands knit in prayer.

For his part, Lee was gobsmacked. He knew she couldn't be talking about her ability to please or excite him. Not when the very tangible evidence to the contrary was nestled quite comfortably in the vee of her thighs, and he still got slightly lightheaded if she so much as touched him in something other than a purely professional way. She knew that, didn't she? It was so painfully obvious to him, so he was certain the whole world was aware of the potent cocktail of love and lust he drank in her presence. And despite his natural tendency to do rather than say, he thought he'd been making a fair effort of vocalizing his appreciation for her in bed. So where was this new bout of the sexual yips coming from?

Unfortunately, he'd left his Amanda-seeing crystal ball in his other pants, so he was going to have to coax it out of her. Fortunately, he was a world class coaxer.

The first step was to see her eyes. Even when her mouth was working at cross-purposes, he prided himself on being able to read Amanda through her eyes. He pulled gently on her shoulder, encouraging her to roll over and face him. She tucked her head underneath his jaw, and he began to rub random patterns along her back.

"Please tell me you aren't saying that you doubt how much I want you." he finally asked, and was relieved to feel the shaking of her head.

"Is it because I mentioned my fantasies about making love to you in different ways?" A brief nod this time.

"I'd never coerce you into doing anything you weren't comfortable with, Amanda."

"But that's what you'd want. What you fantasize about." she whispered to his chest.

"Sure. Sometimes. But it's not like I'm going to lose interest if you tell me that my hopes of having you on the hood of my car aren't going to be realized."

He was hoping for a laugh, or better yet, acknowledgement that she shared his sports car fetish, but she was quiet again, and he decided to let her come around in her own time. Which eventually she did, in her own way.

"Lee, do you remember the first meal you made for me?"

"Uh, sure. I cooked us Japanese stir fry when I was hiding out at your place, pretending to be dead. Why?"

"I don't know how to make Japanese stir fry. Haven't the foggiest idea where to even buy squid."

"Riiiiight …" he was at a loss as to where she was going.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is that your tastes run to the exotic, and I've always been a meat and potatoes kind of girl."

Ah-ha. The analogy made sense now. Time to ease her fears.

"But you enjoyed the stir fry, as I remember."


"And if I told you how to make it, showed you where to buy squid and inoki mushrooms, you could make it yourself. If you wanted to have it again, that is."

"I suppose."

"Amanda, more often than not, if I was hungry before, I'd get takeout. Italian from Giorgio's one night. Sushi from Inawa another. And that was fine, but there was no single restaurant that had everything I wanted. So I amassed quite a stock of … take-out menus." She was looking at him now, a knowing look in her eyes, and he grinned abashedly, then continued, knowing she was following his thinly veiled point.

"But what I really craved was a home-cooked meal, and someone to share it with. Now, if I'm in the mood for something exotic, we can try to make it together. And if it turns out either one of us doesn't find it to our taste, that's alright, because there are thousands of other recipes out there for us to try. I don't have to find another restaurant; I just need to try a different dish. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Oddly enough, she did. Perfectly. And by either talent or blind luck, he'd managed to say exactly the right thing. She felt the now-familiar sensation of her heart spilling over with love for him, and started running her fingers through his hair from temple to nape, tracing the outer edge of his ear en route. He closed his eyes in silent appreciation, and she placed warm kisses on the papery skin of his eyelids, using her lips to follow the topology of his striking features downwards until they met his in soft recognition. She knew she would never tire of kissing him. If sex was analogous to food, then his kisses were even more elemental, like air, and she demanded her fill.

He held still under her ministrations for as long as he could stand to, his hands pulling her tight against him where she could feel his arousal re-building. Patience finally exhausted, he rolled over top of her and explored her upper body with questing fingertips and an agile tongue. Their hips thrust lazily together, first randomly, then in syncopation, and eventually in a slow prelude to the act of sex itself. At the zenith of each movement their bodies froze for a beat, trying to wring out each drop of pleasure before subsiding to build again.

His gruff voice rose up from where he was licking her suprasternal notch, tasting the sweat of their previous exertions. "Do you feel that, Amanda? Feel how well our bodies understand each other? I can assure you, we are perfectly sexually compatible."

In further evidence to his claim, he knew exactly when she was ready for him. Could read the precise moment when tease became torture in the timbre of her moans and the entreaties of her hands. Reaching between them, he guided their bodies together at the same time he returned to her mouth, swallowing his name and replacing it with his tongue.

He loved the second round of lovemaking. Enough of the sharp edges of his need had been smoothed away that he was able to concentrate on what Amanda's body was asking for, and he was much more likely to accommodate her without the threat of premature ejaculation hanging over his head. Growing older had to have some benefits in the sack, after all.

Tonight, she wanted closeness. Tight, belly-rubbing, undulating, barely-pulling-out-before-he-dove-back-in closeness. Her arms were knotted around his shoulders and her legs had started wrapped around his thighs and were creeping higher, seeking the place that would create just the right angle to maximize the friction she needed to come. He knew she'd found it when she pressed her crown into the pillow and locked her ankles over his tailbone.

"Oh, right there. Right there, Lee. God. Keep going, just like that. I'm … I'm … I'm …"

Yes, you are, he thought proudly, feeling her muscles rippling along his length. He tried to steady his rhythm to the beat of her pants, drawing every last possible moment of pleasure out for her. Eventually, she subsided, and he had no problem reading the question in her eyes. He understood what she was offering, but he still had a point he needed to make. He'd always been fond of meat and potatoes.

One at a time, he massaged her hip flexors as he encouraged her to lower her feet to the mattress. He bent his head to her neck as he started to rebuild his pace, her hips still rising to meet him. This was Amanda, whose body was accepting him so openly. Amanda, whose pleasure was evident in her glowing eyes and wet acceptance. The reality of her was more potent than any fantasy he'd ever had, and he could feel his focus narrowing, anticipating the sudden rush of satisfaction that was cresting and waning just outside his reach. It was right there, and it was going to pull him inside out like a rubber tube. Right there, and all he needed was to look into her eyes. Right there, and there it was …