Career Choices

Summary: If he's going to actually ask questions about her life as a model, she's actually going to answer him... but no promises on anyone liking the answers! BH/CG. Written for a drabble trade with Author376. ^_^


"You ever pose for Sports Illustrated, Cinderella?" Beach Head asked, absently, tapping a finger lightly on the temple of the brunette head resting on his leg. The rest of her was occupying most of his couch—or at least all of the couch that could fit her, insanely tall woman that she was. "You know, that swimsuit issue."

"Sports… Illustrated?" she reached over and traced a finger along his knee, looking over from where neither of them was really paying all that much attention to the old black-and-white movie playing on his TV. "Hm. My agent thought it'd be contrary to my image."

Beach Head snorted, and glanced down at her—those long curves, those longer legs—bare but for her favorite casual shorts, now, curled under her. Damn, but she was something to look at. "Your image? Are you serious?!"

"Hey." She gave him a sideways look, her face sleepy and amused, her hair spreading over his BDUs when she moved. His eyes slid appreciatively down the way her back arched, toes pointing, muscle tightening along her bare arms, as she stretched. Mmm. Damn. "I did high fashion and catalog… not swimsuit and lingerie."

"Why not? God only knows you've got the body for it." He said it matter-of-factly, because, well, it was true, and raised an eyebrow at the surprised way she twisted to face him, rolling onto her back, her tank top baring a riff of pale midsection--and what was that in her belly button, glitter?--before she pulled it back down and ruined the view. He grunted his displeasure. "What?"

"Nothing. Just… Well, it was a little while ago, you know?" Courtney shrugged, rearranged herself so that she was sitting next to him, not half-draped across him. Sometimes, he swore she was half cat, the way she just sort of sprawled wherever she was put. "Modeling goes through phases, and it was a little more conservative then. None of that 'naked with well-placed spangles' stuff. Pretty much the most provocative thing they ever put me in was… I think it was a corset and shorts. Oh, and a pair of boots."

Wayne thought about that, and smirked at the image. He'd put money on the fact that they hadn't been the army boots she clomped around in all day, every day, or her baggy olive drab cargoes. "Nice. Hey, you still got that outfit?"

Courtney stuck her tongue out at him.

He smirked. "You really wanna do that, sweetheart?"

This time, she squeezed her eyes shut and wrinkled her nose when she stuck her tongue out of him—not one bit pretty at all, and he laughed.

"I'll have you know I was the 'America's Sweetheart' type of model, not a member of the slut-of-the-month party club," his girlfriend informed him, tilting her chin up with that little amused scowl crossing her forehead. He liked that about her—she was a firecracker, all right, but when she got riled, it started out as this little crinkle across her forehead, then it spread to her dark, dark blue eyes, then the line of her mouth… Took awhile to get her realling yelling, but okay, so what if it was fun getting her there?

Beach Head reached out and hauled her across his lap—quickly enough that she squawked and swatted at his chest on the way over. "Good, 'cause… I'd really hate to have to go out there and kill a whole lot of guys."

A lot.

He'd never been big into magazines, but if even he knew what the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition was, then it had to have a big following. If he'd actually had to go and take out every man who'd been subscribing to the rag back in her modeling days… yeah, he wasn't sure there was enough ammo in the entire damned Pit.

"Hell," he muttered, glancing up at her—those spitfire blue eyes, that kiss-me mouth, long curves like an invitation for his hands. An invitation the damned woman hadn't extended out to him, but… "I'd never get any actual work done."

"Wayne!" his girlfriend struggled for a moment in the circle of his arms. Wayne grinned, and tugged her tighter against him—he'd made her do enough pull-ups to know that she was stronger than her frame made her look, but… she wasn't anywhere near his level. "That's not funny."

Beach Head snorted, and let her flail around for a moment before he resettled her against him. She grumbled, her eyes narrowed, but she sat, her knees framing his thighs. "You think I'm kidding? What, Princess, I grew a sense of humor just 'cause we started goin' out?"

Well, he was kidding. Obviously.

Well, maybe. The next time the damned sailor took it into his fool head that she needed 'helping' over a particularly tough obstacle during PT, and it was just too bad that he had to grab her ass with both hands to do it… but he had to admit, grudgingly, that she'd kicked 'Wreck a pretty good one.

Courtney stared at him, then thumped one of her fists against his shoulder. He didn't flinch—but he did feel his lips twitch a little in approval; yeah, the girl was strong. "Oh, for God's sakes, Sergeant Suspicious!" she growled, and yeah, now the annoyance was in her eyes, a spark of green through the hot dark blue. "I hadn't even met you yet when I was modeling. Thank God! You'd have hated me for my career choices anyway… just on principle!"

"Yeah?" Wayne shrugged, enjoying the weight of her perched across his knees, the soft-solid curve of her waist and her hips where his hands were resting. She was probably right, he wasn't going to deny that. He might have looked at her, that was true, but… anyway, that wasn't who she was now. "So?"

"So…" there was nothing passive about his girl, he'd give her that. When Courtney Krieger got in his face, she got in his face, and did she even realize just how kissable she looked when she was pissed? No, she probably didn't—because if she did, she'd never have given him the satisfaction. "Why would it even matter if people saw pictures of me scooting around in a bikini?!"

Beach Head cocked his head at her and scowled, stroking a hand down her hip. Was she being just intentionally dense, or did she really have no idea how men's minds operated? "You think I don't know what those bikinis look like in those skin mags? Hell, first of all, that'd mean they've seen more of that body of yours than I have, Cover Girl, an' that ain't no kind of fair—"

Yeah, that wasn't quite the right thing to say—even if it was true—because that wasn't that laughing ha-ha annoyance purring across her mouth and her eyes anymore, that was full-on Cover Girl grumpy—"That'd better not have been a proposition or a hint or whatever, Wayne, because if so, that was quite possibly the worst line I've ever heard—"

"—an' second, I don't like other guys ogling what's mine, an' if you're planning something stupid like that, well… put it out of your pretty little head," he finished, ignoring her. What the Hell was she nattering on about? But… he studied her—her narrowed eyes, her pursed lips, the stiff way she was leaning just a bit away from him. "What?" he demanded. "You got a problem with that, Cinderella?"

He could see her eyes sparking like midnight lightning, hear the fact that her teeth were clenched together, when she snarled, "Well, I swear on the damned Wolverine, Beach Head, I have never posed for Swimsuit Illustrated, or whatever. You happy? Now let go of me, you damned pig, before I blow your hands off."

Well, shit. Beach Head watched her storm off with a puzzled frown. He'd just been telling her what was on his mind—she'd been the one who'd wanted more 'communication,' so why was it that every time he told her what he really thought, she ended up yelling at him?

"Stanley's always smashed things," the TV babbled. "Why, on our wedding night, as soon as we came in here, he snatched off one of my slippers and rushed about the place smashing the light bulbs with it…"

"Oh, shut the fuck up," he told it.

So much for a peaceful afternoon hanging out before she got shipped off to Sierra Gordo the next day. Yeah, he didn't know why she kept thinking these 'quiet movie nights' she planned ever stayed quiet—they didn't have a problem hanging out when books were involved, but she got just as stir-crazy during the stupid movies as he did. And then they ended up either talking—which he bitched about, but okay, so he didn't really mind—or fighting—which was sometimes a lot of fun—or making out—which, okay, he really wasn't stupid enough to complain about that. None of the above ended up being all that quiet.

Hell, there was something about the girl, that sometimes they could do all three at just about the same time.

Last night, though… no, that'd just been fighting, and not the fun kind.

Beach Head didn't know how she caught sight of him, standing by the side of the Motor Pool—he was pretty sure he'd been quiet. It was habit. He didn't say goodbye to her when she was moving out on a mission, but… it made him feel better to see her off. He didn't care that they'd been fighting—again--fuck, it didn't even really matter, not when she was on her way back into a war zone.

He wasn't worried—no matter what Scarlett or anyone of the rest of the romantic-minded yahoos might've thought. No, he wasn't. She was as prepared as he could make her, and he knew he was harder on her than on most any of the rest of the Joes—sure as Hell it wasn't something he ever planned to apologize for. But he liked to see her prepped and packed, in her gear and ready to go all the same.

Beach Head wasn't gonna make a big deal of it, and Hell no he was never going to let her know about it… so he always kept it quiet, and stood back from all the noise and fuss and the roar of the machinery.

So it was a bit of a surprise to find her walking straight towards him.

"You're so predictable, Beach," she said, tonelessly, looking up at him, her eyes almost black, and just… weirdly flat. "All about the routine."

Damn it, still? "Are you still being pissy?" he demanded. "Jesus, girl. You can run rings around BATs in a tank, but you can't take a simple question about your damned former career?!"

She ignored him, reaching for something poking out from the mess of straps around her rucksack. "Here, Ranger Man, something to keep you occupied," she shoved a flat package at him, wrapped in brown paper… then she blinked up at him, looking a little embarrassed, and herself, not this cold, steady stranger, when she whispered, "Uh… you probably want to open that when you're, y'know, by yourself."

Courtney Krieger? Embarrassed? The girl sang to herself while she worked on machines, and she was tone-deaf as a stone. He was too puzzled by this to comment when she walked off, towards her Wolverine.

So he wasn't really all that surprised when he tore the brown paper open—in the privacy of his own quarters, because he just wasn't stupid enough to not take her at her word. It was… a magazine.

A Playboy, in fact.

Wayne rolled his eyes. "Oh for cryin' out—" he sighed, riffling the pages of the thick booklet.

Yeah, no wonder she was kind of in a bad mood. Okay, so she'd totally taken what he'd said the wrong way. It wasn't that he didn't want sex with her—of course he did—but he really hadn't been hinting that he was expecting it anytime soon or anything. Didn't she know him well enough by now to know that he didn't bother hinting? Hell, when he'd told her that there wasn't going to be any hanky-panky while they were on base, she'd snarled, "Oh, don't worry, you don't have to worry about that," and thrown a book at his head! A goddamned hardcover car repair manual.

Damn it all, wasn't it a compliment that he wanted her?

But a Playboy? Seriously? Beach Head felt his mouth crook into a rueful smile, glancing down at the smiling blonde on the cover. His girlfriend couldn't have said, "Here, use this instead, 'cause you're keeping it in your pants around me, soldier," more clearly than if she'd just… well… said it.

He wasn't going to pressure her into sex. Hell, the thought had never even occurred to him. Sure, maybe he was an ass, but he really wasn't that kind of an ass.

He grimaced and rubbed the top of his head, looking down at the magazine. Yeah, when she got back, they were just going to have to sit down and have another one of those incredibly awkward, painful conversations that they both hated again.

"'America's Sweetheart… as naughty as she is nice?'" he muttered, reading one of the taglines aloud. "Are these people for real?" Damned girl had even stuck a post-it note in there, and he could tell at first glance that it definitely wasn't an article she'd tagged for him to see.

Though the idea of Courtney Krieger shuffling her way through a store to pick up a Playboy, and then actually spending long enough going through it to tag it … really made Beach Head smirk. She could just be such a prude in the weirdest ways. Sure, he knew what was in Playboy, and yeah, it wasn't just skin pics, but at the same time, he wasn't putting any bets on her necessarily knowing that.

"Oh, fuckin' blazes, for bloody cryin' out loud, Courtney," he sighed, though, when he saw the picture she'd tagged. Yeah, okay, the centerfold of the month was pretty hot. Very hot. Yeah, she was a brunette, with soft copper waves framing her face, falling around her shoulders—longer, than Courtney's, yeah, but… really damned close to the same color, actually. Wayne's eyebrows jumped, and he couldn't help his smile. He did like brunettes.

Actually, the Playmate was built a lot like a scrawnier version of his tall, long-bodied girlfriend.

But damn it, what the Hell had she been doing—looking for stroke material for him that looked like her? The thought made his amused grin fade, and he sighed again, and rubbed his forehead. Or maybe it was some damned female thing—she didn't want him groping her, but she didn't want him getting off to someone who wasn't her? Was that it?

Well, fuck, even he knew that sounded like something he didn't want to mention to her.

Jesus. Beach Head really wasn't complaining about him and Courtney—truthfully, they were better together than he'd thought they'd be—but… most days, he was sure the tank driver was just a little bit crazy, and sometimes he knew that she was a lot crazy, and for all her experience modeling and in the military, she didn't get men at all.

Though… Wayne smiled wryly and took a long, admiring look at the centerfold spread. One thing he'd give his pretty Princess—she had damned good taste.

The first thing that caught his eye was the glitter of a belly-button ring. Mm. That's kinda hot. The way the girl was just barely keeping herself decent by tugging the bottom edge of a white button-down men's shirt over where her legs met.... that was very hot. Though 'decent' was probably not the right word, considering the shirt wasn't over her shoulders, it was falling crumpled and soft and tangled around her elbows, and her shoulders and breasts—and they were very, very, very nice breasts, he noticed, admiringly—were out for the world to see. Yeah, she didn't have Cover Girl's lean, long toned muscles, that hint of rangy power, but the girl had a pretty good substitute for his girlfriend's sweet body on her, that was for sure.

Hey, yeah, he was determined to be patient and not jump a certain incredibly hot tank driver, but his eyes worked just fine. Seriously, had Courtney been flipping through Playboys looking for a dead ringer for herself? His girlfriend checking out naked girls was... yeah, he didn't know what the Hell to think about that. Other than that he couldn't figure if it was hot or just... twisted.

That was about when Wayne frowned, alerted by that annoying nagging feeling that he was really missing something.

His eyes slid upwards from that very nice rack, the way that long copper hair curled along the slope of a perfect breast, and he actually paid attention to the centerfold girl's lovely face--that hint of a smile in her navy-blue gaze, the way she was nibbling on her lower lip like she was just a little embarrassed to be there but she was going to stick it out anyway.

Oh.

Fuck.

Wayne sat down. Fast. Almost missed the edge of the bed.

It wasn't just because the Playboy Playmate was gorgeous—which she was. She really was. It wasn't even just because the whole package, with those sexy tilted blue eyes, that expression on her face, that holyfuck body and mile-long legs, was absolutely, mind-blowingly hot—which it was.

He didn't recognize that smile—that wasn't what it was, either. That little shy look through thick, short lashes, the way white teeth were closed over just enough of her lip to tilt her smile sideways… it was sexy as all fuck, but no, that wasn't familiar.

But she was.

Because the girl in the picture was thinner, yeah, and softer, but he'd last seen this particular beautiful, copper-haired, pixie-chinned womanthis particular morning.

Beach Head stared down at the picture of his girlfriend wearing nothing but a white men's shirt falling around her elbows and a shy-sexy smirk, tugging one teensy tiny corner of cloth over to cover herself—and that was about all of her that was covered.

Carefully, he closed the magazine. Looked at the cover. Yup. A few years out of date.

Beach Head stared. Swallowed. Shifted the way he was sitting. Remembered to breathe. Carefully, carefully, like the damned thing was radioactive, he flipped it open to the centerfold again—and actually read the note his girlfriend had stuck on the corner.

The yellow post-it read "Ranger Man, if you're gonna shoot everyone who's 'ogled what's yours,' you'd better get started…"

…realized that he had two choices, because if he didn't make someone suffer soon, he was going to kill a certain very pretty tank driver. And that was pretty inconvenient for the troops, since his very pretty tank driver girlfriend—whose 'image' had been too 'nice' for a swimsuit shoot, but who had posed for a fucking Playboy centerfold—was currently on her way to a goddamned drop zone in Sierra Gordo.

"God—fuckin'—DAMMIT, KRIEGER!"

~fin~

Start: July 22, 2009
End: July 23, 2009


For the 'drabble' trade with Author376--obviously, this wasn't quite a drabble, either. -sheepish- But I hope this was as fun for you to read in edits as it was in the original! The cue, for those who are wondering, was CG/BH: Playboy Centerfold. -chuckle- Yeah, putting that up front would have spoiled the... surprise, such that it was. ^_~

The movie quote in there, for those who are so inclined, is from "A Streetcar Named Desire."

If you think that girls buying skin mags for their boyfriends is implausible... well... let's just say that I've had college roommates who've done just that. -laugh- And as for why in the known world Courtney was posing for Playboy in her model days... well... -laugh- I really don't know about the plausibility of THAT, but hey, if anyone's got any bright ideas, let me know?