Hello! Big, big thanks to justlook3 for the title of this story! Honorable mention to my Jassandra trash squad for inspiring this idea in the first place. Enjoy :)
She woke up feeling almost as disoriented as she felt when she went to sleep. Before she opened her eyes, she knew she wasn't in her bed, and once her eyes fluttered open and adjusted to the unnecessarily harsh lights, she found herself facing the Back Door.
Right, Cassandra thought. Annex. Gas poisoning. We barely made it.
She rolled over to see how her fellow Librarians were doing. Ezekiel was next to her, still sleeping and snoring soundly. Stone's cot was empty, all signs of him gone. She reached down next to her high-heeled shoes and touched her phone to check the time. She'd been asleep for hours. Jacob must have gone home.
Sighing quietly, Cassandra wandered into what was essentially the Library's locker room. The boys and Baird called it that, but it was nicer than the image that appeared in Cassandra's head when she thought of a typical locker room. The showers and sinks were made of marble, and there was a spacious closet for each of them. Heading for hers, Cassandra came out with a fluffy blue bathrobe and a hair brush and headed for the row of sinks.
Choosing one, she tossed her robe across the dry counter and stared at herself in the mirror in front of her. After a moment, she tilted her head down and reached behind her to remove the dainty strings of pearls around her neck. She set the necklace down on the counter and looked in the mirror again, reaching for the butterfly accessory still in her hair. Before she could unfasten it, Jacob Stone entered the room from the hallway that headed towards the showers.
Cassandra's eyes widened when she saw him behind her in the mirror. He was naked, save for the towel wrapped around his waist. He was looking at the floor, using a second towel to rub his hair dry. Stone caught sight of the bare feet on the tiled floor and looked up, standing in place when his eyes caught hers in the reflective glass. They were both just as surprised to see someone else in the lounge as the other, and their gaze held in the glass for several seemingly long moments before Cassandra blinked a few times and looked down. As she did, Stone continued his journey to the counter.
"Hey," Stone said, shooting her a smile.
"Hey," Cassandra mimicked. "You alright?"
"Good as new," Stone said. "You?"
Cassandra nodded in agreement. "I didn't mean to sleep that long," she admitted.
Despite her communication to the contrary, Stone observed her slow movements and defeated expression as she removed the butterfly jewel from her hair, placed it on the counter next to her necklace, and fluffed out her hair with her hands.
"Are you really okay?" he asked softly, gently touching her back. "You still seem kind of…worn out."
Cassandra paused, momentarily bracing her hands against the edges of the counter. She didn't look at him when she quietly said, "We almost died today."
"I know," Stone said, matching her tone. He shrugged, trying to lighten the mood in the room and said, "Occupational hazard, right? We were warned. Librarians die."
Cassandra nodded slowly and turned around to finally face him. She pushed herself up to sit on the counter beside where he stood near her and said, "It's weird. Everyone expects me to be alright with that or have a sort of confidence in a way that you and the others can't because…" She tapped her head. "I know my time is already limited, so what's risking my life when life is already going to be short, right? It's not like I'm expecting to make it to 80 or whatever."
Stone didn't know what to say. He never did when she said something like that. He knew everything she was saying was true, but he preferred it when it was an unspoken understanding. He sensed she wasn't done, so he wrapped the second towel around his shoulders, crossed his arms against his chest, and waited for her to continue.
"But it's not really like that. Today…really kind of scared me for a few moments there, and if anything, I think this…" she admitted, tapping her head again. "I think it makes me more scared because I feel like my time is too precious. Everyone's is, of course, but I have so little of it that I can't stand the thought of losing any of it. That's why I'm trying."
He still didn't know what to say. He thought maybe he wasn't supposed to say anything; maybe she just wanted him to listen, but he wanted her to know he was listening, so he asked, "Tryin'?"
She smiled through her shaken eyes and nodded again. "I'm trying to live my life my way. Finally make my own choices, you know…do what I want. My contract offer played into that. He knew…the Library gave me that. I just got that. I can't lose it already," she said. She took a deep breath and concluded with, "So I'm okay. I'm just…a little freaked out."
She finally took a second to read the look on his face and instantly felt bad. He always looked so sad when anything regarding her less-than-ideal fate came up, and she knew it probably wasn't a coincidence that his offer of being able to 'protect his friends' came while the Devil still hovered over her collapsed body. She hated making his face look like that; it happened far too often.
"I'm sorry," she said, shaking her head. "I shouldn't have…there's just so much I haven't done."
"No," Stone said genuinely. He liked that she felt comfortable enough to share her deepest thoughts with him, even if he preferred some things to be left unspoken. "You don't ever…don't apologize."
Their eyes lingered on one another's for maybe just a moment too long again. A little of the light had come back to her eyes, and Cassandra smiled softly at him, her lips curving into the smallest of comforted grins.
"Anyway…" she mumbled with a nod of her head.
A still silence fell across the room as they shared another evocative gaze. She finally broke their stare as she glided off the counter, intending to grab her robe and hit the shower. At the same time her feet were heading for the floor, however, Stone stepped forward, reaching for the knob on the sink next to where she sat. Her body slid against his arm as she slid down, and they both froze in place again.
He turned to face her, one hand on the counter, the other halfway extended, almost as if he were fighting the instinct to reach out and touch her. He needed to turn around, go back to what he was doing and let her be, but she was standing there, still in that gorgeous green dress she'd wore on their undercover mission, and he couldn't stop looking at her.
Cassandra's eyes slowly danced up his arms and chest as her eyes searched for his again. She'd had trouble not staring when he'd walked into the room wearing nothing but the towel around his waist, but not staring now, when he was right next to her, seemed like an impossible task. His body was sculpted better than she'd ever let herself imagine, and when his arm brushed against her…she unconsciously shifted to face him as well.
Their eyes met again, and then they were kissing. No more talk, no slow leaning in, no hesitation – just hard, breathy, passionate kisses. His arms went around her, hands creeping all over her back, while hers started in his damp hair, slid down to his face, pushed the towel off his shoulders to run her hands across them, and finally fell to his chest. Her delicate fingers danced across his skin, her arms nearly crushed against his bare chest as he pulled her impossibly closer.
After several minutes of tongues and lips and mingled moans, Cassandra reached for the towel around Stone's waist. He felt it pulling against his skin and stopped her, taking a step back.
"Cassandra," he said warningly, his voice low, his eyes dark.
"I want this," she said firmly, confidently, desire pooling in her blue eyes. "Don't you want this, too?"
"You know that ain't it; of course I do," he said. "But Cassie, we ain't even toget…"
"We can be," she said with a smile. She gave him a moment to process and repeated, "We can be."
"Shouldn't I at least take you on a date first?" Stone asked. "Ain't that the right thing to do?"
She laughed nervously. "If there's one thing I've learned in my life it that's there is no right timeline," Cassandra said. "Things don't always happen the way they're supposed to. There are no rules, Jacob, not really. Who says this couldn't be our beginning?"
Stone just shook his head a little and grabbed her head, pressing her hair to her cheek as he pulled her in for another kiss. After a few more hot kisses, Cassandra picked up where she left off and pulled the towel around his waist free, letting it drop to the floor. She wrapped her hand around him, and Jacob groaned, letting his hand linger against her breast as it traveled back to her hip.
This was the fiercely confident Cassandra he rarely got to see, and watching her take the lead was sexy, so he tugged her to him again, slowly sliding the zipper down her dress. Her spine tingled as the cool air hit her skin, but then she felt like she was on fire when his hands found her bare skin and stroked her back, unhooking her bra along the way. He stopped then and pulled back again.
"What's wrong?" she asked, her lips already pink and swollen and so perfectly kissed.
"Are you sure?" he asked her slowly. "'Cause, Cassie, once I get this dress off of you, I ain't gonna be able to stop."
She smiled brazenly and looked at him with sultry eyes. "Take the dress off, Jacob."
He bypassed her lips and attached his to her neck as his hands tugged the dress off her shoulders and down her arms. Cassandra tilted her head back to welcome his kisses and let her bra fall to the ground before helping him push the fabric down her body. By the time the dress hit the floor, Stone's lips had found her nipple, and she was aching.
Stone turned them so her back was against the counter and bent her backwards slightly as he kissed one breast and palmed the other. Cassandra couldn't do anything but sigh and bury her fingers in his hair. Her head still thrown back, she squeezed her eyes shut as her brain automatically started highlighting the pattern on the ceiling, and Stone used his free arm to scoop her up, her legs falling around his hips. She thought he was just going to slide her back up on the counter and take her right there, but instead, he started moving backwards, back in the direction he'd come from, his lips finding hers again.
He's taking care of me, she realized. He knew she came in there to take a shower, to wash the remnants of their first truly close call away, and he was going to make sure she got that, distraction notwithstanding. She rolled her hips against him in appreciation and approval and lowered her feet carefully to the ground as she felt his grip around her slip. Stone pushed her panties off her hips, and she shimmied out of them, kicking them away as they stepped into the shower stall. He turned the water on and kissed her again, and Cassandra didn't even care that the water suddenly beating down on her was chilled because Jacob's hand fit perfectly between her legs.
After a few gentle strokes, he simply wrapped his arms around her waist, finally slowing their kisses down as the water grew warm. With a hand on the small of her back, he tugged her close, and she followed his lead, their kisses tender and soft but still deep. His hand found her face again, and he cradled her head as his other hand slid down to playfully squeeze her ass. Cassandra pulled away, taking a moment to catch her breath, and their eyes met. She smiled; he did, too. He stepped just out of the direct line of the shower spray, pulled her with him, and leaned in to her ear.
"He stepped down, trying not to look long at her as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking," Jacob muttered, kissing her earlobe when he finished.
"What?" Cassandra asked.
"Tolstoy," he said. "You're beautiful, Cassandra, and I ain't just saying that because you're wet and naked in my arms right now."
She smiled again, a little shyly this time, and wrapped her arms around his neck to pull him in for another slow, sexy kiss. When she pulled away, she moved away from him to grab a bottle of shampoo. He watched as she lathered up her hair, her body svelte, a slight arch in her back as she reached to her head. Cassandra washed the suds out of her darkened red locks and finally opened her eyes. When she did, her breath hitched as she saw the way Jacob was looking at her, his eyes dark with arousal. She crooked her finger, and he joined her under the spray again.
Her tongue slipped past his lips, and his hand reached behind her for the bar of soap resting on the ledge. He took his time exploring her, stopping for a while to just hold her and gently kiss her neck, and her hands wandered, too. When she pulled away from him and stopped his movements, too, claiming to want more, he grabbed her, shut the water off, and carried her to the bench across from the shower. Stone laid her on her back, water from her hair spilling through the little holes in the plastic bench, and she reached for his hips. He pulled away.
"What's wrong?" she asked again.
"Condom," he muttered.
Her face deflated a little. "Oh…" she replied. Then, suddenly, as if she remembered something, she repeated, "Oh!" and stood, running out of the room, not even bothering to grab one of the towels hanging by the wall, her hair leaving a trail of water in her wake. She returned about a minute later with a little package in her hands. He frowned.
"You just had those?" he asked, surprised she was able to produce one so quickly.
"No," Cassandra laughed. She shrugged. "Baird did."
"You stole condoms from Baird?" he asked.
She laughed again. "Not exactly. It's a girl thing; she told me a long time ago that she had a stash of the essentials in her closet, and I could help myself if the need even arose."
"The essentials?" Stone asked.
"Yeah, you know, girl supplies," Cassandra said. She looked at the wrapper in her hands and said, "Never needed to take these before, though."
Having had enough of the talking, she slipped beneath him on the bench again and kissed him, hard and passionate again, warming them both back up after their little interlude. Cassandra helped him slide the condom on, and then it was slow again, unhurried movements and tender kisses.
He increased his tempo when she finally whispered, "Jacob, please," reaching between them to caress her until she started trembling. He swallowed her moans with more passionate kisses, then followed her into oblivion.
When it was over, he brushed some hair away from her face and looked at her for a long moment before he gave her one more kiss and sat at the end of the bench, his back against the wall. He used a towel hanging behind them to clean himself up before he grabbed her legs and threw them across his lap; their hands found each other and rested against her stomach. Cassandra caught her breath, glanced around the room, met his eyes with hers, and just started giggling.
"Oh my god," she whispered between giggles. What had just happened in the bathroom wasn't like her, but she was happy, so happy. Her laughter was infectious, so it didn't take long for Stone to start laughing, too.
"Yeah," he said, his chuckles dying down. "That's not how I thought that would happen."
Cassandra's giggles dissipated, too. "You've thought about it?" she asked.
"You gonna tell me you haven't?" Stone asked knowingly.
Cassandra grinned and squeezed his hand. "Well, I didn't say that."
He tugged on her hand then, pulling her up into a sitting position for a few more kisses. Her body had dried, but her hair was still dripping, and the air around them was cool, so when he stroked down her arm, he felt the raised bumps on her flesh and pulled away, promising to be right back. As he left, Cassandra sighed and laid back down, her hands on her face in elated disbelief. He returned just a few minutes later with a towel around his waist again and her blue robe in his hands. She smiled up at him as she realized he was still taking care of her. Cassandra stood to take the robe from him and snuggle into its warmth, but before she could tie it shut, Stone looped his arm around her body and kissed her again.
"We okay?" Cassandra asked as he pulled away, allowing her to tie up the robe.
"What do you think?" he muttered, pecking her lips again.
She grinned softly and asked, "So what now?"
"How about we get dressed and you let me take you out for dinner or breakfast or…whatever you call the meal you eat after sleeping off gas poisoning?" he suggested.
She chuckled at his continued insistence upon taking her out, headed for her closet, and looked back at him over her shoulder. With a playful shrug, she answered, "If you insist."
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