"Hey, Freckles?" asked Sawyer upon waking the next morning. "I've got a little favor to ask of you."
"I already did you a favor," she said, smiling as she pulled his mended shirt out of her back pack. "I fixed your shirt."
He took it from her proffered hand and examined it in genuine surprise. Slowly a smile came over his face. "You've been going through my stuff?" he teased her. "Stealing my shirts? What kind of a pervert are you?"
"Don't mock me!" she laughed, slapping at his arm lightly.
"Don't mock me!" he said in a high-pitched voice, to which she rolled her eyes but continued to smile.
"You're such a teenager," she chided him.
"Oh, so I've progressed!" he grinned. "Last week I was in junior high. What grade am I in now, about 10th, you reckon?"
"On a good day," she said, glowing with her smile.
He held up the mended shirt. "Thank you," he said sincerely, his voice quiet. She could tell that he was touched, despite his teasing.
"You're welcome," she said quietly, almost blushing and wondering what had inspired her to do such a favor unasked. "Now what were you going to ask me?"
"Ah, that," he said, placing the shirt aside. "Well, you see, my physical therapy's going along kind of slow and I'm begin to suspect that my trainer isn't fully certified." Kate gasped in mock offense, but he held up a finger to stop her from protesting. "Now, now, that's not the point," he continued. "The thing is, I still can't lift this arm here above my head," with a gesture to his injured shoulder.
"Yeah?" she said. "And?"
"And it's damn hard to work up a good lather with only one hand." He grinned and gestured to his dirty hair.
"You want me to wash your hair," she said, more of a comment than a question. She placed her hands on her hips and looked at him with a small amused smile.
"Hell, you're already my barber, ain't you?" he asked. "Might as well do the complete job, Freckles."
Kate laughed. "So now I'm your nurse, your physical therapist, and your barber," she said, ticking off the titles on her fingers. She sighed and in a teasing question said, "What would you do without me?"
"Go crazy," he said, smiling faintly and with a tone of half-seriousness in his voice.
She paused as if in contemplation for a moment, then looked at him skeptically. "So what do I get out of this?"
"The pleasure of my company?" he offered.
She laughed. "Uh uh," she said, shaking her head. "I want something... tangible."
"Well I've got a lot to offer," he said silkily. "Was there something in particular you had in mind?" His eyes were sparkling with the thinly veiled innuendo.
Kate pretended to ponder this for a moment before saying with a saucy smirk, "A kiss ought to do it."
Sawyer stood and came over to where she was standing. His eyes were serious and intense. "Baby," he said quietly. "You don't gotta bargain for one of those." And he leaned in to take her lips in a kiss.
But Kate turned her cheek to him and laughed. "Not yet," she teased. "I haven't earned it."
"Oh-ho," he chuckled. "So we're playing, are we?"
She grinned at him. "Always."
Kate held Sawyer's head in a small plastic bin on her lap, wetting his hair with a bottle of water and squirting a dab of shampoo into her palm. "You ready?" she asked.
"Mmm hmm," he hummed, his eyes closed and a smile on his lips.
He moaned lightly as she began working her fingers through his hair, massaging his scalp firmly. "You have no idea how good that feels," he purred, peeking his eyes open for a moment to examine her face from his upside-down position.
Kate rolled her eyes a little. "You sound like you're having an orgasm," she said, laughing at him as he continued to make small sounds of approval.
"Maybe I am," she said saucily, his eyes dancing.
Kate smiled, feeling her cheeks warm with his remark, but he had closed his eyes again, and she continued for several minutes with her lathering. "You're so dirty," she remarked, noting how grimy the water in the bin had become.
Sawyer smiled, eyes still closed. "You have no idea."
"Oh, I don't know," she retorted, feeling brave. "I've got a pretty good imagination." She picked up the water bottle and dumped it over his head, rinsing out the suds.
"Hmm, I like the sound of that," he cooed. "Tell me, Freckles... what've you been dreaming up?"
She bent down closer to him and said in a conspiring whisper, "Maybe I'll tell you later... if you're good."
"You know I'm good, baby," he said, sitting up and running his hands through his now clean hair. "Now you ready for that kiss or what?" He was smiling at her expectantly, and she reached for him with the towel she had nearby, moving in close to towel off his hair.
But she shook her head. "Not yet," she said. "We're not done."
"We're not?" he asked, confused.
"Nope," she said, pulling a straight-edged razor from her bag and showing it to him.
"Woah-ho-ho," he said, backing away a little. "What's that for?"
"What do you think, doofus?" she teased. "You need a shave. You're starting to look like some kind of convict."
"Takes one to know one," he teased, an acknowledgment of their shared criminal pasts, and she smiled, untroubled by the reference coming from him, knowing he did not sit in judgment of her.
"Do you trust me?" she asked, a sincere question.
He nodded slowly and moved to put his head back in her lap. "Yeah," he said quietly. "I trust you."
"Good," she said quietly, hoping to herself that their trust in each other would not break like Jack had said it would. "Just hold still."
Cradling his head in her lap, Kate slathered his face with shaving cream. Carefully, she began moving the razor across his cheeks in smooth, controlled strokes, periodically rinsing the razor and moving in again for another steady swipe. Done with his cheeks, she instructed him to stand to better shave his chin and neck, and he watched her from the corners of his eyes with a small smile on his face as she circled him looking for the best angles, her face screwed up in concentration and her tongue between her teeth as she tried valiantly not to nick him.
"There," she said triumphantly, when her task was finally complete, wiping his face with the damp towel she'd used to dry his hair. She was looking at his mouth and smiling like a cat in the cream.
"What?" he asked, feeling slightly self-conscious at her stare.
"I can see them again," she said, meeting his eyes, her own eyes veritably dancing with happiness.
"See what?" he asked, confused.
"Your dimples." Her voice was affectionate, her smile broad and glowing, and she moved in closer to him so that her body was flush against his.
"Aww, shucks," he said in feigned modesty, rubbing his cheeks. "These old things?"
And then she was kissing him, lips soft, wet, insistent. She was holding his freshly shaved cheeks, feeling the baby-soft smoothness of the tender skin, and after several moments he pulled her down to the ground, holding her on top of him, tumbling in the sand with her.
Finally they broke away from each other for a moment, all grins and giggles. "I thought you said a kiss, Freckles."
"Are you complaining?"
"Not for one second," he said, pulling her to him again and parting her lips with his tongue.
Panting, he pulled away after a long moment and looked up at her. "So when you gonna tell me all about this colorful imagination of yours?" he asked. "I've been a good boy, haven't I? I held still and everything, just like you said."
Kate was smiling impishly, and she moved her lips close to his ear to whisper. "I could tell you," she said, "or... I could just show you."
"Mmm," he purred, moving his hand down to her ass as she placed light kisses on his neck. "Show and tell. How 'bout that, Peaches?"
"Hmm, I don't know," she said with a smile. "Isn't a 10th grader a little old for show-and-tell?"
And they smiled as their lips came together once more.