Logan watched resignedly as Goren ploughed his way through the hordes of drinkers towards his seat at the bar. For a big guy, he was surprisingly light on his feet, but then all police officers learned ways of getting through crowds. Goren reached him and dropped heavily onto the vacant seat next to him.
"You, uh… you want a drink?"
Yeah, why don't you make sure I'll just sit here without moving while you give me the "Hands off" speech? Logan thought sourly. Then again, the alcohol would at least make it more bearable. "Yeah, why not? I'm drinkin' bourbon."
"Uh huh." Goren stood up and leaned across the bar. The barmaid miraculously found time to serve him, despite the huge queue waiting. Or possibly it was just the appealing shy smile Goren was aiming in her direction. Logan had heard Goren could be pretty damn charming when he put his mind to it; he had to agree with that assessment. He sighed. Jesus, this was a weird situation.
Goren handed him the drink, and supped some of his own beer. "How are you… how are you finding life in Major Case?"
"That's great. Eames and I are glad to have the help."
Could you cut to the chase, already? Stop dicking around with the small talk and let's get this over with.
"I noticed you looking at her, earlier."
Fuck, IS he psychic? Logan shrugged, deciding to play nonchalant. "Not a crime to look."
Goren chuckled. "Yeah, if I took exception to everyone who eyes up Alex I'd spend my whole life doing nothing but that. Well, most of it." He grinned and drank a little more beer.
ALEX? He was far too professional to let his reaction show on his face, but inside Logan's mind was racing. That was as good as an open admission that the two of them were an item, and that wasn't the sort of information either Goren or Eames would want spreading around. How much beer had Goren had, anyway? In the time he'd been in the bar, he could only have had one beer, nowhere near enough to get a guy Goren's size drunk, a little buzzed, maybe, but no more. Why would he want Logan to be in on the secret that he and Eames were an item? He wants something from me in exchange, he realised. What the hell's going on? This was real interesting all of a sudden.
He kept up the nonchalance. Let Goren work towards whatever he was getting at. "Yeah, she's a stunning lady."
"That she is. It's her birthday next week. Forty."
Jeez, Goren, if you go around spreading that kind of information about your girlfriends, no wonder you never used to get any. "No shit? She doesn't look it."
Goren chuckled, and rolled his eyes humorously. "Yeah, but you try telling her that. I've tried, but… she doesn't believe me."
The other man sighed, and stared off into the distance. "I think maybe she needs to hear it from someone who's not me. I want this to be a special birthday for her. I can buy her things, but she has all the possessions she needs, that won't make her happy. She and I got to talking recently. Things we wished we'd done when we were younger, things we wish we could do…"
This was getting stranger. Still, it was better than the "Stay the fuck away from my girlfriend" speech. If all he had to do was listen to Goren ramble drunkenly, he'd have gotten away lightly. He tried to rein in his awareness of Goren, and of Eames too, a graceful figure just at the edge of his field of vision. Still, that was easier to ignore than Goren. He was beginning to feel the effects of the long years without a man very, very acutely. Goren was only about a foot away from him now, and having to lean in close to speak. Logan was trying desperately to tamp down his awareness of Goren's physical presence, his scent of beer, soap, and… maleness. Don't react, don't react, this could turn into the mother of all embarrassing situations, he thought frantically. Big, powerful thighs and if he turns any further toward me in those thin pants, I'm going to be seeing whether those rumours are true…STOP thinking that way, you moron!
"A whole lot of things… you want to take a guess at what her's was?"
No, I want to stop wishing like fuck that you'd say that YOURS was to sleep with a guy, "just to see what it feels like," because right now I'd give ANYTHING to hear that. Hell, Eames can watch. "I hate guessing games. Prefer just to yell at 'em until they tell me what they're getting at."
Goren smiled, a strange little smile. He was a little flushed, Logan noticed. Was it the heat, or something more? "Okay, well, hers was to have a threesome. Me, her, and another guy."
Oh God. And you're telling me this because…
Goren was still talking. "Which threw me a little, but if it would make her happy…"
Logan interrupted him. "Lemme see if I can cut to the chase here. You want to give her that for her birthday, and you're either telling me this 'cause you want me to tell you it's a fucking dumb idea, or…"
Goren made eye contact, which did nothing whatsoever to calm Logan's troubled state of mind. If anything, the sight of those sleepy brown eyes staring deep into his, naked, vulnerable – it surely couldn't be easy for him to tell someone else, a virtual stranger, that his girlfriend wanted to sleep with another man, even though he'd be there at the time… what did that say about how much he must feel he could trust Logan? – was making it difficult for him to frame a coherent thought, let alone finish his sentence.
"…you want me to be the other guy."
"Yeah." Goren's voice was low, and Logan guessed this wasn't too easy for him. "I thought about it… figured it had to be someone we could trust, someone who wouldn't run off and tell everyone about us… we're not really supposed to be together." He shrugged, and spread his hands (those big, graceful, skilful hands that Logan could very easily imagine doing all sorts of things to him). "That and, well, she likes you, I've seen her noticing you, and obviously you're keen on her… so what do you think?"
What, BOTH of you? Together? FUCK YEAH! Oh shit, did I say that out loud? A quick glance at Goren's unchanged expression reassured him he hadn't. "Well, I'm real flattered to be asked. I mean, any man who looks at her would want to, I can't believe she doesn't know that."
They both stared across at Eames, who seemed to be aware of it through sheer female instinct; without turning round, she arched her back a little, then turned and smiled at them both over her shoulder, the soft curve of her breast just visible. Both men were rapt, fascinated by her, and Logan was struck again by what a stunning woman Alex Eames was, and what a strange situation this was, to be sat next to a man he would give anything to sleep with, when both of them were staring at the same woman and wishing they were in bed with her. A woman, who, in turn, was aware of their attention and aroused by it – that flush on Eames' cheeks surely couldn't be just heat. But then, that was her right, Logan thought, a little feverishly. She was the alpha female of their little pack, and it was only right that both the alpha males should be chasing her.
He turned to look at Goren, trying desperately not to let his reaction to the sight of the man, sitting there, big body a little tense, nervous. What Logan wouldn't give to be able to relax that tension, imagining the two of them kissing, Goren's powerful body laid out underneath him, accepting his exploration, his hands, his mouth… don't go there, Mike, he invited you to sleep with his girlfriend, not him. "Well… you mind if I take a little time to think about this?" He lifted the glass in his mind, trying to imply that this wasn't the sort of decision he thought he should take whilst drunk.
"Uh… yeah, sure. Can you let me know soon? It's her birthday a week today."
Boy, that'll be a long week, especially if the two of us are gonna be spending it exchanging knowing looks. That reminded him. "You going to tell her first, or is it gonna be a surprise?"
"A surprise." Goren looked a little awkward. "I know she really does want to do it, but if I tell her in advance she might get cold feet. But she needs someone other than me to reassure her, and it has to be someone she respects…"
He looked even more awkward, and Logan was moved to reply reassuringly, "Well, I guess she thinks you'd think she looked hot whatever she looked like."
"Yes, I would."
That came out very softly, and Logan felt a new shaft of envy, not just physical this time, but something more than that. He was not the settling down type himself, never had been, but he guessed anyone could sometimes feel a longing to have someone else in the world who cared about them. Goren and Eames were so perfectly suited to each other.
"Well, I'll think about it, but… I think I'm gonna say yes, Goren. Can't turn down a woman like Eames." Or a man like you, even if all I get to do is just see you naked. Jesus, I should NOT think thoughts like that til I get out of this bar!
Goren smiled with a flash of even white teeth, doing unfortunate things to Logan's attempts at self-control. Those teeth, nipping at me, my ears, my neck, marking my shoulders…don't go there! "That's great, Logan. Let me know for sure soon, will you?"
"Not a problem. We'll make it good for her… real good." And for you, too, if you give me a chance.
"It will be."
He hated to say this, but with the wisdom of his older years (and the remnants of his determination never to see Staten Island again), he knew he had to ask. "You're okay with seeing your girlfriend with another man?"
Goren smiled again, a small, enigmatic smile. "Yeah, so long as I'm there at the time."
Oh, I don't wanna think about what THAT means, or rather I do, just not here. Without thinking, he blurted out. "So, what was on your wishlist?"
Goren looked surprised, then smiled again, said nothing in reply, and left, with "Speak to you later," tossed casually over his shoulder. Logan drained the bourbon in one gulp, stared into space for a while, then waved to Goren and Eames and left the bar in search of fresh air and some peace of mind.
An hour later, having gotten Chinese take-out and a taxi home more or less on autopilot, he was sprawled on his couch at home in the old pair of sweat pants he usually slept in, picking at the food and not really hearing the TV. Goren's proposal had knocked him off balance, all right. He'd said he'd think about it, but he was lying. He already knew what he'd answer. It might be smarter not to say yes, to plead professional reserve, but he'd be lying, and Goren sure as hell would pick up on that. Besides, he couldn't stop thinking about it, picturing the three of them together, puzzling over what Goren had meant by those last, mysterious, words. He wasn't anywhere near sure, but he couldn't resist thinking – well, hoping – that somewhere on Goren's wishlist was an urge to experiment a little.
Would I be his first? he thought suddenly. The thought caused him to freeze, hand midway to the foil takeout container, sweating slightly. Obviously, he wouldn't be Goren's first ever – he and Eames had to have been sleeping together for some time, and Logan would bet that young soldier Goren had cut quite a swathe through the female population wherever he'd been posted – but the thought of being Goren's first man, showing him what it could be like with someone whose body worked in exactly the same way, who knew exactly what to do, where to touch, whilst Eames watched, maybe even joining in herself… Jesus. That was a fantasy, all right, one he'd give anything to have come true.
With a sigh, he reminded himself that Goren hadn't said anything about the two of them together, just about pleasuring Eames. Well, that in itself would be enough to make the whole damn thing worthwhile. The thought of them together… they were together right now, he realised, looking at the clock. They'd have left the bar by now. He had a sudden clear image of Eames snuggled up against Goren with a blissful expression, her head resting on his shoulder, his huge arms wrapped protectively around her. It didn't take much imagination to insert himself into the picture, spooned up close behind Eames, breathing in her scent, her soft, sleek body pressed tight against his (Goren's arm against his chest, the other man's legs tangled with his, and with Eames'…).
He smiled to himself, the sudden flash of white teeth that never failed to charm others, and nodded to himself, rising off the couch and heading towards his bed. It would be a long week, he thought, but this time next week? That fantasy would be a reality. And maybe a few others will be too, he thought, and grinned.