A/N: This takes place in Season 1, during Deacon's little fling with Juliette. Rayna finds out.
Juliette Barnes sauntered away, high heels echoing in the small room, her hips suggestively swaying from left to right as she left. When the door clicked behind her, Deacon Claybourne's eyes were choosing between several points of focus, including but not limited to: the floor, a floor lamp with the bulb burnt out, the stage, an errant piece of glitter on the floor—anywhere but Rayna Jaymes. He'd felt her gaze on him the moment Juliette walked into the room, and now that she'd left, he could feel that Rayna's gaze had only intensified. He always knew when she was looking at him, he could feel it no matter where he was in a room, no matter how many people were in it.
"Sometimes a guitar's just a guitar?" Her voice was deep, throwing his words back at him.
He shrugged, and then wrenched his gaze away from a particularly fascinating exit strategy diagram on the wall, making mental note of the emergency exits in case he should need them shortly. He knew without looking that her eyes were narrowed, her hands were crossed over her chest, and she had that little wrinkle in her brow that she always got when she was well and truly pissed.
Not trusting himself to speak, he stood there, shrugged again, and then he stilled and let out a small breath, as though he were bracing for impact.
Rayna's eyebrows shot up, "Guess you still like 'em young, huh?"
Deacon's head snapped up at that, his eyes wide—he knew exactly what she meant. Suddenly, he felt a rush of anger sweep over him, the hot-white kind that only Rayna could give rise to. He knew she was talking about herself, about how he'd somehow managed through clenched fists and teeth to wait until she was 18 (and not a day later) before he touched her.
"Seriously, Rayna?" he asked, his voice dark. "Is that how you want to play this?"
She smiled then, but it had an edge. "You know," her voice was too sweet to be genuine, "I think it is."
Deacon let out a short laugh, just this side of mean, "Alright, Rayna, we can do that. But, keep in mind that what I do—and who I do it with—stopped being your business a long time ago." His voice was steady, but the anger was starting to seep into his words.
Rayna held up her index finger. "See, that's where you're wrong. When your personal life—and who you do it with—gets tangled up with your professional life, it becomes my business." She dropped her hand to her hip, "And it's damn unprofessional." She walked to the front of the stage, picked up her water bottle, and took a sip.
Deacon's eyes were boring into her now, and she had trouble meeting his gaze this time, feeling the anger brooding under the surface between them, thick in the air. "Oh, really? Professionalism didn't really seem to be an issue for you when you crawled into my bed 20 years ago."
Rayna's mouth dropped open, and she felt her face flush at his words—and at the memory. She blinked, trying to clear the sudden cloud shrouding her brain at the thought of their first time together.
"So," Deacon continued, advancing on her, "What's this really about, Rayna? Cause it damn sure isn't about my professionalism." He stopped a few feet from her.
Rayna folded her arms over her chest, pursed her lips, and looked down. She couldn't look at him, she couldn't say the words, couldn't let him know that until now, he'd kept his personal life private—he'd kept it away from her. She couldn't say it, but she didn't need to. She'd never really needed words with Deacon.
Deacon scoffed, and the anger in him seethed to the top, "You have got to be kidding. You're jealous? No." He shook his head, "Absolutely not. You are not allowed to be jealous, Rayna!" His voice was loud now, "You've spent 12 years in another man's bed. 12 years with another man's hands on your body, another man's mouth on your body—your mouth on his." He stepped closer to her when he spoke, his anger evident. "I've had to live with that for 12 years, and you think you have any kind of right to be jealous?" The last word came out in a hiss.
When she finally looked at him, she had tears in her eyes—a mixture of embarrassment, sadness, and anger. She fought hard to keep the first two at bay, and she was relieved when the anger won out.
She laughed, the sound short and loud— "I'm not jealous." Her voice caught on the lie, but she kept going, letting the anger fuel her, "I'm just wondering how you fell into bed with Juliette Barnes." She smiled sweetly, "Has it really been that long since you've been with a real woman?" Her voice dropped low, and she walked away from him then, headed towards the mic stand at the back of the stage.
She was halfway there when he caught her elbow with his hand, and she turned to face him, trying to keep the sensation of his rough hand on her skin out of her mind. She glanced down at where they met, expecting him to let go, but he didn't. His grip was firm, but not painful.
"Is that what this is about, Rayna?" He asked, a glint in his eyes, "Are you worried about your pedestal?"
She shook her head, it was a small movement, nearly imperceptible.
"No?" He chuckled slowly, "So now you're lying to me. Why don't you just ask the question, Rayna?"
She pressed her lips together, her stomach was in knots, her pulse racing, and his hand was still around her arm, making it hard for her to think.
His grasp tightened slightly, and his fingers dug into her skin, sending heat through her body.
"Ask me." He wasn't asking this time. He leaned his face to hers, and she felt his breath on her face, "Ask me." He repeated, his tone harsh.
Despite the fact that she knew his end game, that she knew what he was doing, Rayna felt the anger—the only safe emotion here—and before she could lock it down, jerk her arm away and get out of there, she heard herself speaking. "Fine." The word was heavy in her mouth, and she stared Deacon in the eye, "Was she better than me?" On release of the question, one side of her mouth inched up into a smirk, meant to intimate confidence. If she had been talking to anyone else, anyone except Deacon, she could have gotten away with it. With anyone else, the spark of uncertainty in her eyes would have gone unnoticed. But she was talking to Deacon, and he saw it plain as day—fear.
His expression softened slightly, and his grip loosened as he walked her back until she felt the wall beneath her, pressing into her back. She inhaled sharply, surprised at the coolness at her back juxtaposed with the warmth of his body in front of her.
His eyes narrowed—how dare you ask me that? But his lips would answer her in a quiet whisper. "No." His answer was firm, and when she tried to avert her gaze, he wouldn't let her, using his thumb on her jaw to make her look at him, "You're still the best I've ever had." His voice was gruff and raw, and Rayna couldn't stop the shiver that ran through her at his words. His gaze darkened, and something passed over his face, "What about Teddy? Is he better than me?" He asked, unable to keep the venom out of his words. When she blushed instead of answering, he placed both hands on the side of her head— "Turnabout's fair play, Rayna." He sneered.
Her eyes were burning now, but she couldn't look away from Deacon. He had to lean forward to hear her when she finally spoke, "No." She breathed it out, and then brought her fingers to her mouth, unable to believe she'd given voice to the thought, ashamed and aroused at the same time.
Deacon smirked at her again, and dropped a hand to her face. His thumb caressed her cheek, and she leaned into it, the tension between them thick but dissipating, replaced with the normal charged energy between them, laced with a bit of sadness.
She cleared her throat, willing the butterflies in her stomach to stop flitting around, "Well." Her voice was heady, and she knew she should be embarrassed by how she sounded, but every nerve in her body was on edge, so she didn't have the energy. She smiled, "What did you do to receive a 50,000-dollar guitar as a thank you?" Her eyebrows rose at the end of her question.
Deacon chuckled then, and his hand moved from her cheek to the back of her neck, her hair tickling his hand. He pulled her in close, and leaned forward until his mouth was on her ear. When he spoke, she could feel his breath tickle her ear, and she involuntarily closed her eyes, "Don't worry… Not that thing with my tongue." He chuckled softly in her ear, and her body went rigid, "That's always been just for you, baby." She felt his words in her stomach, and they traveled down, sending little jolts of electricity throughout her body.
When she finally opened her eyes, he was halfway across the room, his back to her, his gait slow and careful, and she knew why. When the soft click of the door closing hit her ears, and she was alone again, she exhaled, pushed herself up from the wall, and walked to the edge of the stage terrified her knees would give out on her. She was thankful—and surprised—when they didn't. She sat down, and started to cry; after all these years, she and Deacon were at least still telling one truth.
I may have them a little out of character here, but I just couldn't help it. I wanted them to discuss this, without creating a complete AU. They're toeing the line much more than on the actual show, but this was pretty fun to write, so I guess I'm not all that sorry.