Disclaimer: Life On Mars and everything related belongs to Kudos and the BBC.
Title: First Time For Everything.
Rating: To be safe, 15. But it's probably not.
Pairing: Sam/Annie. Sex reference, nothing particularly graphic.
Synopsis: Inspired by the discussion on their fake identities in 2.04. Sam and Annie have an evening out. All seems to be going well, but Sam is harboring a secret and as the evening draws on, he knows he will have to reveal it.
Sam had inadvertently become lost in thought; dwelling, as he often did, on his paradoxical situation with a slight frown on his face. Deep and philosophical thinking is generally liberating, and excellent for passing the long, murky hours between bouts of fitful sleep. Many would agree, however, that reflective meditation is not a good state to be caught in during a date.
The lilting voice sought out Sam's consciousness and dragged him out of his reverie. He lifted his unseeing eyes from the table, shook the prowling, dark questions from his head and gave his date a warm smile.
"Sorry. I was miles away."
Annie accepted his apology with a sweet smile that soothed his agitated mind. As the food arrived, their eye contact was broken and for a few minutes, the only sound at the table was the clinking of cutlery and the high song of wineglasses.
Sam's eyes meandered over Annie's soft face, taking in each detail; her plump red lips; her sparkling bright eyes brimming with compassion and intelligence; her silky brown curls which gleamed rich gold where the light stroked them. How beautiful she looked in the candlelight he mused, as he rolled his wineglass lightly in his fingers. His stomach clenched. How was he going to tell her?
The evening passed in a tastefully lit swirl of good food, good wine and lively, laughter-filled conversation. Every now and again, one would get engrossed in staring at and thinking about the other. Talking would pause, their eyes would catch, and both would turn away, one in embarrassment and the other in amusement.
Sam was getting flustered. He was fidgeting, fiddling, unable to keep still. He felt like a teenager again: nervous, excited, jittery; riddled with desire, consumed with confusion. Shooting a tentative glance at Annie, he was suddenly gripped by a powerful urge to lean over and French her right there and then and to hell with the consequences. Quashing the uncharacteristically strong feelings down inside him, Sam grasped his wineglass and drank deeply in a futile attempt to clear his head and wet his unusually dry throat.
Annie began another conversation and Sam gratefully seized on the distraction. Not to be beaten, however, his mind tried another tack. Sam spent the next few minutes trying to keep a coherent conversation going with Annie and ignore the vivid fantasies being plugged into his imagination.
Annie sat sipping her wine, radiant in her poppy red dress, oblivious to the turmoil she was creating inside the young policeman's mind. The clock hands were marching purposefully onwards; it would soon be time to pay up and leave. What then? Sam wondered in frustration. How to go about it? How was he going to tell her?
Ten stately bronze chimes and the rich, nutty smell of coffee heralded the end of the evening. Draining the hot beverage with a feigned air of composure, Sam felt waves of wakefulness surge through him. His sense heightened. He noticed the exact shape and sizes of her unpolished pink fingernails. The way she wrapped both hands around the coffee cup. The intricate crystal velvet designs in her maple sugar eyes. He became distinctly aware of the sweeping, sensual curves of her scarlet-clad body, distinctly aware that part of his knee was pressing against hers.
A curling paper receipt on a white saucer was placed with a muffled 'chink' on to the cream tablecloth. Sam brought out his wallet from the pocket of his leather jacket and opened it. Annie's hand went to her bag for her purse and her face crumpled in irritation. She had, of course, forgotten it. Their eyes met and silent dialogue was exchanged.
You've forgotten it, haven't you?
Maybe. Her eyes were awash with annoyance.
That would have to mean…Impish laughter lit up his face at her frown. Dinner's on me. Chortling gleefully under Annie's furious glare, his eyes not leaving hers once, Sam slowly counted out the bill – the whole bill - and laid it neatly on the plate. Annie conceded defeat in the nonvocal tussle with an exasperated giggle. Independent through and through, she hated Sam paying for things, and he knew it full well.
Propping his elbows up onto the table and resting his chin on his knuckles, Sam flashed her a playful grin. The effects of the evening's wine were kicking in; his agitation and abashment were melting in the warm glow of alcohol-fuelled confidence. Pouring the rest of his wine down his throat in one swift gulp, he threw his gaze to the clock. Twelve past ten. 12 past 10. 10:12. One oh one two.
Lost in tipsy musings on the numbers ten and twelve, it was several seconds before Sam picked up on the fact that Annie was speaking to him. Once this fact was established in his brain, he realised she had been speaking now for quite a while and he hadn't taken in a word. Damn. Now he was going to look completely inconsiderate, not to mention stupid and inebriated. Sam followed the only option that a cornered man has when in discussion with a girl – agreement.
"Yes, I agree." Annie smiled and put down her cup.
Oh, bugger. What had he agreed to?
Rising easily from the table, Annie moved around to the back of her chair and picked up her brown jacket. She swung the jacket over her shoulders and turned her head quizzically to one side on seeing Sam still seated. They must be leaving. Catching on, Sam grinned and let her sunny smile pull him to his feet.
Deep, ocean blue skies with smears of silver cloud greeted them as they stepped outside the restaurant. Moonlight slid down the brick walls and tree trunks of Manchester to pool in oily brilliance on the roads and roofs, ignoring the shadows and leaving them to sulk and plot in their perpetual darkness. It was cold – cold air that was occasionally stirred with a cold breeze, a breeze that slipped through clothes as if they were not there and chilled the skin. Annie gasped and shivered as she took her first step out into the night, her body trembling like a young, thin leaf of spring. Sam took off his leather jacket and slid it over her shoulders; it was so freezing a night that Annie barely tried toprotest before accepting it gratefully.
Sam was drowning in cold. It was freezing his chest muscles solid, restricting his breath. That little which he exhaled curled upwards from his lips like icy, sluggish cigarette smoke. Sam concentrated hard on not shivering, not displaying weakness, just putting one foot in front of the other and doing so as if he were as warm as he could ever wish to be. Their footsteps echoed down the empty street.
Stopping at the crossroads, Sam hunched his shoulders and hugged himself, abandoning all pretence in an effort to conserve his heat. Not just any crossroads, this was the one at which one of the most important questions ever asked would be spoken. Annie turned on her heel and observed him with quiet love and shyness.
She's never going to say it, thought Sam. He had to. Were they ready? Yes. Was he? That didn't matter; he was going to ask anyway.
"My place or yours?"
A moment's thought.
"Yours," Annie smiled.
They turned right – a sign? - thought Sam, and paced along the ice-cold street, down toward the plain square block of flats where he lived.
Sam turned the key in the lock. It was supposed to be deep symbolism, keys and locks and all that, he mused. Well, he was out of his depth here. Or worse, he was going to be; a young man who couldn't swim and had no choice but to fling himself into the ocean before him.
He pushed through into his tiny apartment and held open the door for Annie. Trepidation filled him. Thankfully, he had tidied earlier that evening, but even a diligent dust and straightening-up could not hide, at least in Sam's critical eye, the inescapable dinginess and ugliness of the rooms.
Wiping his sweaty, nervous hands on his shirt, Sam politely offered her the only chair. He could sit on the bed – but would that look a bit presumptuous? Well, there was the floor – no, too weird. Standing up wasn't an option either – it would look imposing, like he was waiting for her to leave. Perhaps…but there was a niggling thought skipping through his mental ramblings. What had he forgotten?
Sam's brow creased in concentration as he sought the elusive thought. He – a drink! The stationary man jerked to life.
"Would you...um...like a...drink?" I sound like a stupid scared kid, though Sam angrily. The he noticed that Annie had taken off their coats and draped them over the back of the chair, but hadn't sat down herself.
"Wha-"His voice was cut off by her gentle finger on his lips.
"Oh, Sam…" She had moved closer and he could feel the warm brush of her breath as she spoke. Shaking her head softly, her eyes shimmering with love and amusement, Annie stroked his cheek. "You're too sweet," She leaned closer in. "Just cut to the chase" she said, and she kissed him.
Shocked, Sam felt time slow to a blurred halt. He tried to think, then realised he didn't need to. Time spun back to normal around him. His hands lifted from his sides. Tentatively at first, then more firmly, his hands curled around her waist. Tilting his chin down to fit with hers, he kissed her back. It was everything he had imagined and much, much more. Strands of her hair tickled his cheek as he caressed her curves, revelling in her warm, soft body. The kiss they were sharing was gentle and caring and loving. It spoke of repressed passion, held back by shyness.
Annie could stand it no longer. Suddenly, she grasped at Sam's shirt collar and pulled him in close to her. Their bodies pressed together, heat ran through and between them, igniting them both with a powerful craving for the other.
Annie began to undo the buttons on Sam's shirt, which was still cool and stiff from the night air. Drawn by desire, he followed suit: slipping his hands around her back to tug down the zip. Questing fingers teased the straps of her dress down over her shoulders as their kiss became deeper, more intense and his tongue danced over hers. Breaking away, Annie struggled and wrenched herself out of her dress, allowing it to fall crumpled to the floor to join Sam's shirt. Sam sat on the bed, tearing off his shoes and socks and flinging them carelessly across the room. Annie did likewise.
Sitting on the bed, they faced each other. Two pairs of bright eyes glinted. By some unspoken cue they moved simultaneously, their lips crashing together with the dynamism and passion on waves on the shore. Sam rolled flat on his back and pulled Annie's body down to rest atop his. Their kiss was feverish, impassioned. After months of gentle flirting and hastily snatched, shy adolescent kisses, the desire inside the two was grown to a near unendurable point.
Exhilerated, Sam ran his hands over the creamy golden skin of Annie's lower back. She was his air. But a black worm of tormented distress was snaking through his otherwise euphoria-drenched mind; a dark anxiety that filled him with shame and horror that he would soon have to reveal his secret.
"Annie..." Her fingers scrabbled fervently over his chest, moving down.
"Annie…' Her fingertips probed the waistband of his trousers. She fumbled for the brass belt buckle and delicately began to undo it.
"Annie!" Pushing the confused woman away to kneel beside him, Sam sat upright on the edge of the bed, his fists clenched atop the covers at his sides. He couldn't look at her. Breathing heavily, thoughts a monochromatic hurricane, Sam tried to figure out what to say.
"I..." Sam began, but one hesitant look at her bewildered face with the faintest moist beginning of tears bemused tears in her eyes choked him.
"We…Annie, I…" He couldn't say it.
"I should have known," Annie muttered bitterly, more to herself than to Sam. "You would never... no, it's all about the job - " An angry tear splashed onto the green bedspread as she pushed herself off the bed and began to gather the folds of her disgruntled dress from its pile on the floor. "Professionalism, musn't get involved, of course you'd never – "
Reaching out, Sam caught her wrist in his hand as she passed by the bed, where he had been sitting, still as stone. She froze. Pulling her unresisting arm towards him, the rest of her followed and she seated herself on the creaky-boned bedsit next to him.
Sam's fingers curled gently under her chin and turned her head to face his. Annie lifted her chin out of the cradle of his hand, jutting it fiercely upwards. The hurt and confusion in her damp pink eyes crushed him inside.
"…." Silence issued from his open mouth. He would look at her as he said this, he would. "Annie…" Desperation, helplessness, fear; it was strange how much emotion hung in his single, small word. Her beautiful eyes were still shining with hurt, but also awash with questioning and care. Look at her. Be a man. Hold your gaze and tell her.
Sweat trickled down his back. Silence yawned through the room. The seconds were stretching out around them. You coward. Do it. Look at her. She deserves to know. Speak! His frenzied thoughts were like hands scrabbling away at something inside his mind, twisting and twisting it, trying to wring some bravery into him. But Sam felt far too pathetic to sustain any form of courage. The knot of fortitude inside him dissolved. Sam gave up and looked away.
"Annie, I've never done this before." His voice cracked slightly and his eyes grew moist with shame. Not looking at her, not daring to, Sam couldn't discern her reaction. He had only one possible hope yet he knew… Sam pulled the trigger of his final gun, knowing all the while the clip was empty.
"Have…you…" One split-second, nervous glance at her expression was a nasty confirmation of what he had already known to be true. His head hung again and his cloudy gaze fell to the floor, followed by the quietest of mortified tears.
Sam felt like an insect being slowly and torturously crushed. Not only had he had to make the most humiliating of confessions, now he was crying like a pathetic child. Why couldn't he be more assertive? He would never have been in this situation if he wasn't so weak. He –
The grasping of his hand stopped him in his tracks, pulling him out of his whirlpool of self-hate and forcing reality back around him. Sam looked across. Annie had dropped the bundle of dress again and had taken his hand in hers. He wiped his eyes and face brusquely with the back of his other hand, as if to make sure the tears weren't making him see things.
"How come you haven't..laughed…or- or left…wh-"He didn't understand. Annie gripped his hand tighter and smiled, breathing out a hint of a chuckle at the look of supreme consternation on his face. Her smile was so warm, so caring and loving, that for a second it seemed to Sam as if the Sun itself was shining from the ceiling and illuminating the room.
"Sam." She reached out and stroked his cheek. "Poor, sweet Sam. Don't worry – you don't have to worry, you don't have to cry." Crawling across the bed to him, Annie folded her arms affectionately around his stunned form, nuzzling her velvety soft nose into his neck. "And if anything," she added, with a grin he could hear and feel rather than see, "I'm honoured."
Sam stayed fixed with shock for a few seconds, then slowly encapsulated her in his embrace. After a quiet, strength-renewing minute, Sam pulled away to look her in the eye. His face was the picture of nervous innocence. "Help me, Annie."
And still she didn't laugh, Sam marvelled. They lay on their backs and talked, holding hands and staring up at the cracked ceiling, feeding off each other's love. And later that night, gently, tentatively, sweetly, Sam Tyler made love for the first time.
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