Sarah Versus Chuck's Dancing Skills
A follow up to "Chuck Versus Sarah's Same Sex Seduction" and
"Infiltration and Inducement of Friendly Personnel"
Please, I always appreciate feedback. SPOILER ALERT: Episodes 2.03 and 2.04.
I woke up feeling... brilliant. The most relaxed and content that I had felt in years.
I woke up next to a mop of wavy brown hair and a goofy smile. To a warm, loving body wrapped around my own.
"Got to hand it to you," I murmured. "You've got moves, Chuck."
His grin threatened to split his face. "Thank you."
"No, thank you. For last night."
"You're welcome... Sarah?" he asked, unsure how to address me.
I nodded slightly. I hated the fact we'd have to become all-business once again, but it was for the best. He sighed, not liking it, but understanding.
"Go hop in the shower. I'll drive you to work."
Chuck slipped from bed. To my delight, he didn't feel the need to slip on underwear before making the short trek to the bathroom. For a man who works on computers all day, he really has a nice bum. And very lean legs. Of course, he does a lot of running for his night job.
I could hear the shower switch on. No doubt he was standing beneath the head, hot water pouring over his body...
"We're not at work yet," I reasoned. "I can pretend a little longer."
I slipped into the shower as Chuck was tending to his morning problem. He was startled to see me. More so when I reached out to touch him and took him into my grip.
"Sarah?" he moaned.
"Not yet," I murmured back. "We still have a little time."
An evil grin overtook his face. "I was hoping you'd say that." I squealed in delight as he roughly grabbed my wrists and pinned me to the shower wall. "NOW you're all wet," he leered.
I snorted in laughter as he kissed me.
It was Walker's bar, ironically enough.
The order came from Beckman. We were tasked to shadow a man named Andrew Cartwright. Specifically, we were to stake out Walker's bar and observe a rumored meeting between Cartwright and Frank Whaley.
Apparently the NSA picked up on some chatter between the two. Whaley was a known malcontent with suspected ties to anti-government militia groups. And Cartwright was known to have recently purchased several tons of fertilizer. NSA feared they might be plotting an act of domestic terrorism.
Of course, as a CIA operative (our involvement in domestic matters was forbidden), I wasn't officially working the case. But apparently Beckman trusted me enough. How sweet.
Anyway, Chuck and I were to pose as a couple. Casey was also on sight posing as a random patron. As we entered the bar around seven, Casey, Chuck and myself discretely hid short-range audio bugs around the place. After a quick check of our earpieces, we settled in to wait.
It was a nice middle class pub. The sort of place I wouldn't mind coming again. Nice ambiance, good beer, pool tables, classic rock on the jukebox. Chuck and I found a booth to set up observation. Casey found a pool table. We had the place covered.
Around 7:40, Cartwright arrived and took a seat at the bar. Ten minutes later, Whaley arrived and joined him.
"Look alive," Casey said heard over my earpiece. "Showtime."
For thirty minutes, while Casey played solo at the pool table, while Chuck and I enjoyed a quiet drink, we listened in to Cartwright and Whaley's conversation.
Chuck had a flash on Whaley, but only basic information. Essentially confirming his involvement with certain militia groups. Nothing more substantial.
By 8:30, the mission looked like a bust. Especially when Cartwright revealed the fertilizer was intended for use on the apple grove he recently purchased north of LA.
"Casey, did you read that?" I asked.
"Affirmative. I'll confirm with Beckman."
Casey put away his pool cue, paid his bar tab, and exited.
"So what happens now?" Chuck asked.
"If Cartwright's claim of an apple grove checks out, Beckman will probably hand off surveillance to the FBI. They'll dispatch a couple agents to his property to ensure his purchase forms are in order."
"That's it." I reached for my wallet, ready to pay our tab. "You ready to go?"
Chuck looked disappointed. "Do we have to?"
Surprised, I said, "No, I suppose not."
He nodded to the pool table Casey recently abandoned. "You play?"
"Of course. I'm widely regarded for my ability to handle big sticks."
Chuck gagged on his beer.
As a CIA operative, you never know what skills might become useful. More than once, my ability to handle a pool cue proved advantageous – both to play the game and as a weapon.
That being said, I was more proficient using the stick as a weapon. I was only a moderately skilled player, but that didn't stop me from accepting Chuck's wager of ten bucks per rack.
Naturally the little bastard was a shark. By 9:30, I was down fifty bucks.
"I don't like being scammed," I warned him, hefting my pool cue.
"Scammed?" he feigned innocence. "I have no idea what--"
"Cut the crap. Where'd you learn how to play?"
Chuck was silent a moment. "My dad," he finally admitted. "Pool was one of the few things he was good at. Helped him pay off his gambling debts."
I didn't know how to respond. Parents were a touchy subject for Chuck. I could relate.
"Anyway," Chuck said, suddenly upbeat, "if you think I'm good, you should play Ellie. There's a reason why her student loan debt is so low."
"Really?" I asked, intrigued.
"The week before each semester started, she'd hit the local pool halls and bars. She always won enough to cover her books and dining hall fees. Whenever she needed money for groceries or clothes, she'd hit a bar. She never had an actual job during college."
"Wow. Maybe I should take lessons."
"Sarah Walker? Taking advice? Tryin' to wrap my mind around the concept—"
"I'm holding a really big stick."
Chuck held up his hands in mock fear. "Want a quick tutorial?" I considered for a moment. Then he added, quite brazenly I thought, "Are you willing to put yourself in my hands?"
I couldn't help the slight quirk of my lips. I nodded consent. As Chuck moved around the pool table to me, he said—
"Pool is about physics and geometry. A mass struck at the proper force and angle, striking another mass."
"Oh joy. Physics and geometry."
"Hush. Now your problem is you're stuck on the physics. By which I mean you put overwhelming force into everything. Highly appropriate when saving me from a roomful of Fulcrum goons, not so much on a pool table. You don't get bonus points for driving the cue ball through a brick wall."
"O-kay," I drawled in amusement.
"Me? I prefer subtlety. I find just the right angle of approach and apply the minimal amount of force necessary. Sure, it doesn't cause a huge splash, but it sets me up for my next shot."
Somehow I had the impression he wasn't talking about pool. Not entirely, anyway.
"And does that work?"
"Of course. I find that a series of well-executed shots is the best way to break down the opposition. For a time, he or she think they can stay in the game, offer a resistance. But eventually they cave under the steady pressure. In the end, I take the match and win my prize."
"Sounds like you've given this a lot of thought," I teased.
"A ridiculous amount," he grinned back. Then, he commanded firmly, "Line up the shot."
As I bent over to line up the shot, I suddenly felt a masculine presence looming over me. Then, a hand on my right hip. I worked very hard to control my breathing, but judging from the light amusement in Chuck's voice, I knew I was failing.
"Remember. Right angle, right force. Leave yourself open for your next shot."
Suddenly, Chuck's chest blanketed my back. His arms slid down mine, until his large, strong hands engulfed my smaller ones as I gripped the stick.
"May I?" he whispered. I didn't trust my voice, so I merely nodded.
With a soft, gentle stroke, Chuck guided my hands and struck the cue ball. The white ball impacted the nine ball. It had just the proper angle and just enough momentum to sink into the far left corner pocket. And sure enough, I had an open shot to put the three ball into the side pocket.
"See? Sometimes all it takes is a tap to have the desired effect."
When he pulled away, I shivered at the loss of his body heat. Flushed, I stammered, "I, uh, need to use the washroom." I quickly walked away.
Soon as I entered the ladies' room, I rushed to the sink. Twisting on the cold water, I cupped my hands and splashed the cool liquid onto my face. I never heard the door open.
"I'd need to cool off too after that display."
In walked a cute little redhead. She smirked as she moved to the sink next to me and started fussing over her makeup in the mirror.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
"The pool table. I wish I could get that sort of hands-on instruction. Especially from a boy like that. Bit geeky, I think, but you gotta love his bravado.
I could only nod my head. That was a fairly accurate assessment.
"Does he accept students?"
I turned to the woman with a sly smile. "Sorry. He's a one student kind of teacher."
With a wistful sigh, the woman said, "Darn. Well if I were you, I'd ask him to repeat the lesson a couple more times. Just to make sure I got it."
The woman smiled and patted my back on the way out. I stared after her. "Good advice," I mused.
After another minute, I sufficiently composed myself enough to rejoin Chuck. He smiled at my approach, indicated two fresh beers on the table and his winnings. "I bought another round. Or rather, you did."
He then looked at me curiously. "You're wet."
My eyes nearly popped out of my skull. "Excuse me?"
"Your face," he clarified, desperately trying to keep a straight face. "I think you forgot to dry off."
I touched by cheek. It was still damp. "Right. I'll be back."
Taking Red's advice, I asked Chuck for a few more lessons. He was only too happy to oblige. I even caught Red's eye as she chatted up a guy at the bar. I winked. She shook her head, amused, and certainly envious.
By 10:30, Chuck took our pool cues and put them away. Taking my hand, he whispered earnestly, "Sarah, I desperately want to dance with you." I froze. Did he...? Then I caught him nodding to the jukebox. "I want to dance with you."
I watched as Chuck dug into his pockets and retrieved a handful of quarters. He dropped a few into the jukebox and selected a half-dozen songs.
A few moments later, the opening strains of Don Henley's "Sunset Grill" filled the bar. I didn't bother hiding my smile. Very good selection.
Chuck held out his hand, beckoning me to him. I accepted his offer. He didn't hesitate to draw me close.
"Besides pool and how to cook balsamic glazed chicken, my dad didn't teach me much. Although he did emphasize one particular fact – when asking a beautiful woman to dance, you can't go wrong with The Eagles or a derivation thereof."
Standing nearly chest to chest, I stared up into his deep brown eyes. "Is that right?"
"Mmm hmm. I remember when Ellie and I were little, when our life had some semblance of normalcy. When our mom was still around, on a rare occasion when our dad wasn't drunk, or out gambling, they would dance in the living room until midnight. Ellie and I would wake up hearing the sounds of the Eagles, or Clapton, or even one of dad's old blues albums. We'd sneak down the stairs and watch them. Enjoy the fact that for just a moment, our home was normal. That we had two average parents who loved each other, who loved us. It would keep us going during the rough times. And times were frequently rough."
I thought about his words. Wondering why he chose to tell me this secret. Finally I asked him.
"Because I trust you," he said. "Because I want you to know."
I rested my head against his chest. His arms wrapped around my body. As "Tequila Sunrise" began to play, our movements couldn't exactly be called dancing, more a gentle swaying to the beat. Between the beer, his body heat and scent, and heartfelt confession, I was feeling a little truthful myself.
"My momma died when I was 11. Ovarian cancer."
"Jenny..." he murmured painfully.
Hearing my real name was like a wrecking ball smashing through a brick wall. I spilled more information than I ever imagined I would.
"My dad spent more than a few stretches in jail for various things. For about seven years I didn't have a parent to rely on. I learned to take care of myself. I also learned not to get too close to anyone. Because I couldn't trust they'd have my best interests in mind. Or that they wouldn't leave me."
"Would you believe me if I said I only wanted what's best for you? That I'll never leave?"
"I'd like to," I said softly.
"I do," he said. "All your desires to keep me safe, alive, and happy – I have those same desires for you."
I laughed softly into his chest. Needing a bit of levity, I said, "I think your desire is to get in my pants."
"My desire is to get into your soul."
It was at this juncture that I was completely his.
"Say my name, please," I begged.
I shook my head. "No. Say MY name."
I melted. I looked into his eyes, trying to convey my need to him. "I know you want normal, I know I'll never be normal, but can you settle for less tonight?" He looked at me in confusion. Obviously wondering if I meant what he thought. "Dance with me, Chuck."
I took Chuck's hand and began to pull him towards the exit. We didn't get too far before I noticed a sudden and drastic shift in the music emanating from the jukebox. Huey Lewis – "Stuck With You". I shot Chuck an incredulous look. For his part, he seemed completely at ease with the selection.
"Hey. That's the Chuck that first charmed you."
I smiled. A happy, hopelessly smitten smile. "Yes, it is. And I wouldn't have you any other way."