Title: Foreplay

Author: Mindy

Rating: T, some sexy stuff.

Disclaimer: Tina Fey made 'em, I just play with 'em.

Pairing: Jack/Liz.

Spoilers: "Reunion", "Retreat to Move Forward".

Summary: Fighting is their foreplay.


They used to fight about stupid stuff, work stuff. They used to fight about Tracy's latest escapade or Jenna's latest stunt. Occasionally about Liz's product integration sketches or Jack's newest concept for a reality show. They've always fought. But it used to be less personal.

She can remember yelling at him about Bianca though, whilst lugging his hooker. And she can remember getting a really bad case of word vomit when he asked her what she thought of Phoebe and pushed til he got her truthful answer. It wasn't until the words were out of her mouth that Liz realized she'd gone too far. She'd wounded Jack's male pride and she still hasn't forgotten the look on his face.

So maybe the fault is all hers. For turning their arguments personal. Maybe she started it. That sounds slightly juvenile. Actually, It sounds like something he would say. And that's part of the problem. They know each other too well -- well enough to predict what the other will say. Maybe that's why, when they argue now -- which is not all the time, but when they do -- it's so easy to wound the other. It's all too easy to hone in on that familiar weak spot and mercilessly attack.

Jack says she does it to protect herself. Attack others as a defence mechanism. It sounds horrible when he puts it like that. And she could easily retaliate with something equally as spiteful about his propensity to shift blame which links into his screwed up childhood and patent mommy issues. Because that is just how well she knows him. But he knows her equally as well, so when he says something like that to her, she is more than apt to believe him.

She doesn't give it much thought at the time he says it. In the heat of the moment, her mouth just keeps yabbering away with little thought as to the consequences. But after the fact, Liz has to wonder -- if she is protecting herself, then why is she protecting herself from Jack? What possible injury does she dread, if he gets too close?

After all, Jack is her friend. She trusts him. He is a good man and a good friend, for the most part. Some of his values might be a little screwy, but at least he gives her less grief than most of her friends. Also, occasionally Jack will do something for her, something that will just floor her. Totally stun her -- in a way that no man ever has before. And with that odd little gesture, he will prove to her just how much he cares. Which makes Liz realize how much she cares. And how very much she relies on him to be the one person who truly gets her.

That is probably another reason their fights with each other -- while less frequent and admittedly exhilarating – have become unsettling. Because they're invested in each other now. They care about each other now in a way they didn't before. In the beginning, fighting with Jack was just a normal part of her daily schedule, an accepted part of their routine. She used to be able to walk away from their clashes relatively unscathed. She could dismiss any hurtful things he said to her as just Jack Donaghy being a jerky boss and go talk to some food about it. Half an hour later, another crisis would arise, she'd be distracted, and the next time she saw him, they'd have moved on.

In a way, she misses that simpler time. Because now, after they argue, she obsesses about the things he says to her. She wonders how right he is and how she ever got to be so dysfunctional without anybody noticing but him. And he does seem to notice every little thing about her. Not just the bad, like he did in the beginning. But the good too. Which makes his opinion harder to dismiss. Because nobody has, or possibly ever will, see her with as much blinding clarity as Jack does. Or understand her half as well.

He always did have that knack. And perhaps she resents him a little for it. Because it's vaguely unfair for someone to know her like that, read her like that, and understand her like that when that someone is not the love of her life. That should be the sole province of a mate surely -- not a boss, not a friend. And it means that any man she meets and dates has an awful lot to live up to. Because the bond she shares with Jack has a peculiar comfort to it, an ease which should have taken much longer to develop than it actually did. It's something she revels in, something she values, something she finds hard to walk away from. And not many other men – not any, so far -- can compete with it.

When it comes to actually expressing the depth of their strange, shared connection though, she and Jack are equally inept. Jack shows he cares for her by doing kind little deeds and encouraging her with what praise he can honestly give, by touching her in polite ways. And by looking at her sometimes in a way that makes her feel wholly and utterly…seen. She shows she cares for him by being his shoulder to cry on, standing up for him when the others are making fun of the boss man and punching his arm once in a while. Actually, it's quite an imbalance if she looks at it that way.

The point is though, they've always been careful to keep a safe distance. Because there has always, always been, from the very beginning, an inexplicable tension between her and Jack. Whether they wanted to strangle one another or were the best of friends, there always was an underlying…thing, just…there. Unacknowledged but unmistakable. She knows she's not the only one to notice it. Jack has too much experience with the opposite sex not to pick up on it. It was like living with a ticking time bomb that only got louder and more dangerous. And more obvious.

Nothing was said, ever. Everything was veiled, always. Which only created further tension. Which, apparently, after three years, is starting to show. They are beginning to fray at the edges, the pretence is wearing thin. It shows in little, seemingly insignificant ways that aren't noticeable to anyone but them. And it comes out in sudden massive arguments, which surprise them both with their fury. Basically, she thinks that they've reached a level of intimacy -- for lack of a less creepy word -- where they have only two choices. To either have sex or fight.

So, they fight.

Perhaps fighting is their version of sex. Perhaps they fight to stop themselves from having sex. Perhaps the fighting is foreplay and they're just stuck in the preliminaries, waiting for someone to make a real move. She must admit, it is hot when they explode at each other like that. It is thrilling to say the things she's always wanted to say to him and see his eyes flash at her in response. To feel like she could punch him in the gut she has so much rage. It is exciting to stand up close to him and look him in the eye and feel like one of them could storm out at any second.

Not that either of them likes to give in. But that's how their arguments have resolved themselves of late, with one of them leaving. He walked out on her when they were stuck in that closet at her reunion. And a few weeks later, she walked out on him when she came to his room at his Six Sigma conference. It only occurred to her after she left and ate her omelettes, followed by a large juice, two coffees and a plate of pancakes, that they were fighting less like friends and more like a couple. Maybe, that's why somebody ended up leaving each time. They've been getting too close for comfort and on some level, they both knew it.

This time -- this fight -- ended with her storming out. She was the one to leave in a flurry of insults. She'd slammed his hotel room door hard that it had rattled on its hinges. And she hasn't seen his annoying face since. Some of the things he'd said were not only horrible, they were really, really true. She can forgive him the horrible – but she's not sure about the rest. Worse than that, she cringes when she thinks of the things she said back. She also cringes when she remembers how he'd grabbed her arm, tried to stop them fighting, and she'd yanked it out of his grasp before calling him a few more names and leaving in a gigantic huff.

Now, she's alone in her room. Her dreary, beige-coloured room having eaten most of the contents of the mini bar instead of going out to dinner with Jack as they'd planned. It was supposed to be a celebration of them making it through one of the most boring weeks they'd both ever spent on Earth. They'd agreed that without the other they might have had a stroke, mid-conference, due to complete mind-numbing tedium. She'd had to nudge him awake more than once and on one afternoon, Jack had tried to make her laugh out loud by passing her teenage-level dirty notes.

The conference was only meant to be fun because they were going together. And he was the one who insisted she come. She didn't need to be there, she didn't want to be there. The only reason she came was because Jack said he needed her. So really, it was all his fault. His fault she snapped like she did, his fault she behaved like a raving lunatic and stormed out on him. His fault they weren't currently eating a lavish dinner and sharing a bottle of wine and enjoying each other's company, instead of engaged in a hotel room stand-off.

Actually though, she's past blaming Jack. She's moved onto blaming hotels. Because they're never like this when they're at home. Well…never might be overstating it. But when they are around their usual people, dealing with their usual antics and walking their usual hallways, they aren't like this. Much. They're good, they're fine. They're stable people, they have a sound, safe rapport. It's only when they leave that environment and venture beyond it that they morph into these crazy, weird people who want to rip out each other's throats. She doesn't know why that is exactly. And she doesn't want to think about it any more that she already has. What she wants is a drink. So she heads to the mini bar once again, planning on starting on the overpriced booze within.

And that's when she hears a knock on the door. She knows who it is. It doesn't take a great brain to guess. She's not sure why she glances in the mirror on her way to answer it though. That's fairly irrational. Either she's checking that she hasn't got chocolate around her mouth or trying to psyche herself up for what's coming. Or, more disturbingly, she actually cares about looking like a proper woman for that lunatic she works for.

Liz pulls a face at herself in the mirror and continues on her path to the door. When she opens it, Jack is leaning one hand against the doorframe, his eyes cast downwards. He is in a fresh suit. But his hair is a mess. She'd fix it for him but she's still mad. And also, that would be unspeakably weird.

He takes in her unchanged jeans and sweater before reminding her. "We had a dinner date."

She frowns at him. "Seriously?"

"Did you want to check your diary?" he asks facetiously.

Liz shoots him a dirty look, waving one hand vaguely. "I just scarfed down every last thing in the mini bar. And I was just about to start drinking whatever's left."

Jack sidles deliberately closer. "Mind if I join you?"

She holds the door and blocks him: "Yes, actually."

"Lemon…" he says softly. His tone draws her eyes up to his and as she meets his gaze, he reveals two kebabs from behind his back. "We…need to talk."

It might be the fact that he chose to bribe her with food, or it might be the fact that she knows she was unfair to him before. Or it might be the fact that Jack is standing close and smells nice, but whatever the reason, she opens the door and allows him in. Not without shooting him a warning look though. Not without him completely ignoring it either.

He steps past her, surveying her room with his usual, appraising eye. "I'll have a bourbon, since you offered."

She rolls her eyes and heads for the mini bar: "Bourbon and kebabs? You're a class act, Jack."

"I'm glad you think so," he returns breezily.

He sits down on the low double bed, because it is the only place to sit (she doesn't rank an eating area in her room like he does apparently) and begins unwrapping the kebabs. She walks over to the bed, handing him his drink. He puts his fingers over hers as he takes the glass.

"You're still mad," he states, looking up at her.

"Whatever gave you that idea?" she mutters, avoiding joining him on the bed by heading back to get herself a drink and taking her time about it.

"Just a hunch," he murmurs lowly.

She is silent as she walks back over to the bed. She sits down on the opposite side -- he is at the foot, so she moves to the head –- taking her kebab as far from him as possible. "What'd you come here for, Jack, an apology?"

He looks surprised. "No. I…had hoped you'd have had time to cool down."

She humphs into her kebab: "Oh really?"

"I know we fight sometimes, Lemon," he says carefully then takes a breath: "I know we sometimes say very hurtful things to each other--"

She looks over at him, frowning slightly, because it's strange to hear Jack talk like that. As in, honestly -- without making a crack or disparaging comment. It's also strange to hear him mirror her earlier thoughts.

He gives shrug that it's slightly child-like in its simplicity: "But…we always make out."

She stops, mouth full: "We…make out?"

Jack screws up his face, shakes his head: "I'm sorry, I meant to say…work it out or…make up. Make up, is what I meant."

She eyes him for a moment then lets out a small, uncertain laugh.

Jack smiles in response, leaning closer. "Would it help," he asks, blue eyes glinting: "if I passed you a lewd note at this stage?"

"I think that might be pushing your luck," she mumbles but the half-smile remains on her face.

Jack takes up his kebab, biting into it. "Actually, I have a theory," he says after a pause, peering at her from beneath his brows: "I'd like to run it past you."

She casts him a sideways look. "Is this a theory I want to hear, Jack?"

He shrugs non-commitally. "Well, it concerns you, Lemon, and it's all I've been able to think about for the past few hours, so perhaps you could provide some clarity."

She takes a sip of her drink and grimaces at its potency. "What's this theory about?"

Jack pauses to clear his throat. "It's about why we keep fighting the way we do."

Her eyes cut to his, then quickly away again. "We don't fight that much."

"I know." He nods a few times, turning over his dinner in his hands: "For the most part, we get along very well. But, when we fight, it does tend to be…"

She gulps down her mouthful: "…Explosive?"

"Exactly," he agrees: "Explosive."

"And your theory is…?" she prompts when he doesn't continue.

"Well…" he muses, adjusting his seat on the end of the bed: "Anger is a very passionate emotion. Very hot, exciting, impulsive."

"Uh huh…"

"The physical signs of anger in a person can also be quite similar to…"

She winces in anticipation. "Don't say--"


She frowns at him. "What're you saying there, Jack?"

"Do you know when Bianca and I started fighting?" he asks her suddenly.

"Ah…When you met?" she guesses.

"When we stopped having sex," Jack tells her: "I suppose we replaced one with the other."

"Well." She looks down, resisting the urge to squirm under his gaze. "We aren't…having sex."

"I think I'd be aware if we were," he answers, his voice low, then lower still when he adds: "And I know you would be."

He shoots her a sly grin and she knows she's supposed to react in some way to his innuendo. Be grossed out, laugh, roll her eyes, say something hilarious or dismiss it altogether. He's probably trying to get them back onto familiar ground. Th problem is, though, this is all feeling a little too familiar for her, a little too close.

Jack, sitting in her room, on the bed where she sleeps and dreams, even if it's only for a week. Him being in her space, where she dresses and stress-eats and where a few minutes ago she was fuming over the insults he'd recklessly hurled at her. It's all a little too much. This whole week has been too much. Too much togetherness. Too much closeness. Too much fun. Too much dependence. Too much of them getting on together and not needing anyone else. And definitely too much of them losing it and yelling at each other, saying weird, mean things they hopefully didn't mean. It only happened once, but once was enough.

She lowers her face, aware that Jack is studying her every move and expression. For once, he seems worried that he doesn't know what she's thinking. Or perhaps he's worried that she's still mad at him. She's not. She's glad he came, extending the olive branch. And, while she wants to be with him, she's not sure this -- sharing crappy, greasy food in her bed -- is what she can really handle right now.

She looks up, attempting a smile: "You know what? Maybe we should go out."

"Are you sure?" he asks uncertainly.

"Yeah." She nods and shrugs: "Last night here, and all that. Let's get some air, get outta this damn hotel and eat some decent food. We deserve it, right?"

"Absolutely." He bobs his head, smiles widely: "Let's do it."

"Okay…" She bites her lip before getting up from the bed. "Just gimme a minute to change."

He stands as well, watching her head to her suitcase, overflowing with crumpled clothes. "Would you like me to wait downstairs?"

Liz pulls out a wrinkled black dress, then shoots him a half-smile. "Black dress, black heels, Jack. Even I can't mess that up." She heads for the bathroom, telling him over her shoulder: "I'll be right out..."

"Hey--" Jack picks up her spanks from the floor: "--don't forget these," and throws them at her.

She rolls her eyes as she catches them with one hand then swings the door shut. In the bathroom, she yanks her sweatshirt over her head, unzips her jeans and kicks them off. She stops, catching her reflection in the mirror, the fluorescent light unforgiving on her not-so-young-anymore skin. She runs her eyes over her shape, one hand skating over the swell of her stomach. Then she turns away from the mirror and pulls on her spanks.

When Liz exits, barefoot, Jack is standing by the window, finishing his drink. There is something nervous about the smile he gives her, eyes tracking her progress back to her suitcase. He clears his throat. "Ready?"

"Almost." After another moment, she huffs: "Aw, nerds…!"

"What's wrong?"

"Forgot my black heels."

"Ah…" Jack brings her a pair of bright red heels from by the bed. "What about these?"

"They pinch," she tells him. But she takes them anyway, tucking one foot into one shoe with a silent wince. Jack puts out a hand as she wobbles. She steadies herself on it as she puts on the other shoe then straightens. She flicks her hair out of her eyes and smooths her hands down over the black dress. It doesn't eliminate some of the deeper creases but Jack doesn't seem to notice.

He gives her a soft smile that crinkles his eyes. "You look lovely."

She turns away, moves to the bureau, quickly fluffing her hair in the mirror. "Well, I wouldn't want to embarrass you, would I?" She immediately regrets the mumbled words, immediately regrets repeating one of the sorer points from their earlier disagreement. She clamps her mouth shut, picking up her 'L' pendant.

If she's honest, it still stings a little. Or alot. To think that even a part of Jack – the uptight, superficial, ambitious part – might actually feel that way. That the one person in the world who knows her, the one person she trusts to…well, if not love her exactly, then at least stick by her, ultimately may think she's as much of a loser as the rest of the world, which never bothered to get to know her. It's an issue that's come up before. Like at the Six Sigma conference when he tried to put her in her place and call it 'professionalism'. He'd tried to create some illusion of proper distance between them when they both knew there was absolutely none, but when it became too conspicuous to the people in his world that they were maybe a little too close for a boss and his subordinate.

It was only after that whole thing had blown over that she found out that the Head Sigma dude had simply assumed, based on Jack's track record and her conduct, that they were clandestine lovers. And also that Jack had done little to disabuse him of this idea. In fact, most of the people at that conference were under the mistaken impression that the only reason she was there was that she was sleeping with Jack Donaghy, the retreat was merely their front. Somehow, this made her less embarrassing, or seemed to excuse some of her more inappropriate behaviour.

The fact that Liz had found out that morning that a similar rumour was currently circulating the gathering they were now at – had been for days -- may have had something to do with their earlier explosion. She's not completely sure. But it's possible. It made her feel idiotic. Especially when she brought it up and Jack laughingly denied having anything to do with it. Apparently, this rumour had started all on it's own.

Jack doesn't respond to her thoughtless comment. She can feel the tension emanating off his body though as he sidles up behind her, placing his hands over hers. "May I?"

Her eyes meet his in the mirror. "Sure..." She gathers her hair up in her fist and bows her head.

His fingertips brush her skin for the barest of moments as he fixes the necklace around her then drops his hands back at his sides. There is a moment of silence as he looks at her in the mirror. "Liz…" he says, voice a mere rumble in his throat: "I am always very proud…to be by your side. I'm sorry if I've ever said or done anything to imply otherwise." He pauses, shuffling on the spot. "And I'm very sorry for earlier."

She blinks at him in the mirror, lets out a big breath, lets her shoulders drop. "Me too, I'm sorry. It was stupid, Jack, I was stupid. Can we just…forget all about it and go eat?" She turns to him, offering her hand: "Friends, again?"

His mouth curls up in one corner, expression pensive. "Simple as that, huh?"

She gives a shrug. "Why not? Right?"

He slips his hand into hers slowly. There's something strange about the way he does it though. Something deliberate and tender. As if he's testing her skin to see if he likes it. And maybe he does, because his thumb begins to move over the back of her hand. An incredibly small, incredibly soft movement that sends shivers up her arm, down her spine.

He is standing close, close enough that she can smell him. She is trapped between him and the bureau, with nowhere to turn or move. Not that she particularly wants to. Especially when a moment later, while still retaining her hand, Jack's lifts his other hand and touches her face. Softly, so softly, just his fingers grazing her jaw, as though he's exploring, as though he's never touched a chin quite like hers. As though it's something he might've been curious about for who knows how long.

Her throat is dry and her knees actually tremble underneath her. Just from his touch, just from his proximity. This man who's stood next to her practically everyday for the last few years, who's shuffled this close in crowded elevators, but never been so close to her while they were alone. Never touched her properly until this very second. She doesn't hate it, and she can't imagine why she ever thought she might. When his fingertips slide up over her cheek, her breath hitches. And when his thumb dusts over her lips, they part without hesitation. She can't look at him – she can't -- but suddenly his face is crowding her vision as he leans in.

In a voice that breaks her heart, mends it and makes it beat hard and fast all at once, Jack murmurs: "I'm going to kiss you now, Lemon."

She doesn't say anything in return. His hand is cupping her jaw, fingers spread either side of her ear. Their other hands are still clasped between them, the skin where they meet moist. Her chin tilts itself up, her eyelashes lower. Jack's breath brushes her lips, making her flush warm all over.

"If you don't want me to…" he adds, his voice slow and rich with hunger: "…now would be the time to stop me."

She's not sure she can stand another minute of anything. Especially him. Saying things. And touching her. And not kissing her. He needs to stop all of it. And also, never stop. She's so close to self-combusting it isn't funny. And if she's ever felt this way in her lifetime, it was a godawfully long time ago. It must've happened to some other girl. Because this feeling in her bones is so unfamiliar, so deeply exciting, that she doesn't dare even move for fear of disturbing it.

Time seems to stand still for a moment as she waits for his mouth to meet hers. Instead though, Jack lifts her all of a sudden, hands gripping her gently and hoisting her onto the bureau. She lets out a little gasp, and a louder one when she feels his hands land on her knees. She looks down as he parts them, the sight of his big hands on her bare legs both strange and thrilling. When he steps between her parted legs, his hands rest there on her knees, without venturing any higher.

One lifts to curl her hair behind her ear. And for a moment, he just looks at her.

She leans in a little, leans down a little, her breath coming in short pants from parted lips. She lifts her hands onto his shoulders, fingers involuntarily clawing at the thick material as Jack closes the rest of the distance between them and fits his mouth over hers. He draws in a breath through his nose, both hands lifting quickly to her face.

There is immediate relief when they kiss. And immediate chemistry. She is not thinking about the best angle or dodging noses or synchronising tongues. She not even thinking about where his hands are, although she feels them drop to her back, stroking her in languid circles. She can feel them pulling her closer, closer to the edge of the bureau, closer to his body. In fact, they've barely begun and their first kiss is not what first time kisses are usually like. It isn't tentative or polite or experimental. It isn't like kissing a stranger, because they're not.

They seem instantly in tune with each other. Jack is really, really kissing her. And she is really, really kissing him back. Not hurriedly or messily. But unreservedly. She's not sure she's ever kissed anyone unreservedly. Even when she hasn't had reservations. And it's not that she doesn't have reservations about what they're doing – she just doesn't care about them. Because kissing Jack is what she'd always thought it would be like – really, really fucking good.

It's almost like they've already been together, known each other in this way. Or maybe, it's like they are just about to. Which makes more sense, because suddenly, she's lifted in the air. Her head spinning, she wraps herself around him, holding on tight as he whirls them round. She doesn't let go or open her eyes as she feels her back land against bed. Or when she feels his body cover hers. Jack lies half on her, half beside her, one hand moving down her body as he muffles warm whispers into her neck. Warm whispers that start and end with her name. Her first name. Something that effects her more than she ever would've believed it could. Her body arches towards him and she knows at least half of the soft moans echoing round her room come from her.

She keeps waiting for the moment something's going to go wrong, the moment she's going to stop him. She keeps waiting for the little thing that's going to freak her out. She keeps waiting for him to say or do something she doesn't like. That moment comes when he slips a hand up her dress. Breathing heavily, her eyes snap open and her hand darts down to stop him. His hair is all ruffled as he peers down at her, and she must assume that that's her doing. Probably also her doing is the hardness pressed against her thigh. His eyes are half-lidded aswell, and seeing them up close, looking at her as they brim with unhidden lust makes something in her chest both leap and ache.

She can't believe she's turned him on. Well, she can. Jack is fairly easily turned on -- as far as she knows, and she has tried not to know. But it's information that has slipped into their friendship nevertheless. He gets turned on by rising stocks or playing hard ball or eating steak. He doesn't even need to be the one eating either. But even so, it's a powerful thing, being looked at like that, knowing she can have that effect on him. It's slightly weird that she's had that effect on her best friend -- but she can't say she hasn't wondered at least once what it might be like to be at the centre of the sort of adoration and concentration and enthusiasm that Jack devotes to a woman.

And now she knows. It's not completely comfortable for her. But nor is it so weird that she wants out.

"Jack--" she says, barely recognising her own voice.

"What's wrong?" he pants. He glances down at his hand up her dress, on her bare leg, and her hand over his, outside the material. "Don't you want to?" he asks.

"It's not that," she tells him, nibbling her lip in embarrassment: "I…I still have my spanks on."

"I realize that," he replies in all seriousness: "We're not going to get very far with them on. So if you'd allow me, I'd like to take them off now."

She snorts a laugh despite herself: "You…want to take my spanks off?"

"I really do." He lowers his head, open lips plucking at hers teasingly: "But I promise to be gentle."

She kisses him back, muttering: "Yeah, but do you promise not to laugh?"

"There's nothing about getting you naked that I find humorous." He smiles as his fingertips tickle her leg, inching higher. "Imperative, yes. Humorous, absolutely not."

"Would you mind if, um," she mumbles falteringly: "…if I take them off instead?"

"If you prefer," he murmurs but doesn't move at all or allow her to rise.

His eyes drift over her face a moment, before she chuckles, pushing him back, off her, stumbling slightly to her feet. She hesitates, once she's standing, watching Jack loosen his tie and lick his lips as he sits up on the edge of the bed, watching intently. Like she's doing this for his benefit or something. Which she is not. Well, obviously de-spanking herself (ew) is ultimately going to benefit him. But she's not stripping down as some sort of erotic foreplay. That's sick.

Liz rolls her eyes, holds a hand over his eyes as she struggles to get her spanks off from beneath her dress with just the other hand. "Jeepers…"

"How's it coming?" Jack murmurs after a few moments, peeping through her slipping fingers.

"Fantastic," she mutters. She finally kicks the spanks, along with her underwear, off her feet and under the bed. Then climbs back onto the bed, settling down on her knees, in his lap.

Jack's hands immediately go to her thighs. "So…they're off now?"

"Uh huh," she nods, breathing a little heavier than usual: "They're off."

"Hm. Honestly…" he remarks, tipping his head as he inspects her: "I can't tell the difference."

"Oh boy," she grins lopsidedly: "I could kiss you for that."

"Go right ahead," he smiles back, sliding both hands up to her hips.

Liz takes him up on his offer, puts her hands on his cheeks, draws him close. Then Jack allows her to kiss him, just accepting, not seeking more or taking over. Just enjoying the movement of her mouth against his, letting her taste him, swallow his moans, explore his contours. She squirms in his lap, pressing closer, brushing her breasts over his chest as his hands move round to cup her ass, urging her more fully onto him.

His hands move over her more urgently, her ass, her back, her neck, her thighs. He grips her tightly, thumbs moving over the insides of her thighs. He works them upwards until both digits are swiping either side of her sex, her dress bunched up against his wrists. She relinquishes her control over his mouth, head dropping back, mouth open on a gasp as his lips begin to descend down her neck to her breast. He kisses the skin above her dress, nips at the material covering her, and all the while, his thumbs draw their soft, delicious circles right beside her sex.

"Jack," she asks between pants, when she's had about as much of that as she can take: "would you be…offended at all if I asked you to…to skip the foreplay part…?"

Jack's voice is low, taut with passion when he answers: "Offended, no. Disappointed? Undoubtably." His mouth trails from her chest up behind her ear where he tells her in a hot whisper: "I'm an huge fan of foreplay."

"You're a man," she chuckles breathily: "You're not supposed to say that."

"I don't wish to boink you, Lemon, as you once so colorfully put it." He sucks on her earlobe, glancing down at his hands clamped round her spread thighs: "I want to make love to you."

"Well…thankyou for…clarifying that," she mumbles, chest rising and falling heavily with each breath: "But, couldn't you boink me first? Do the other thing later?"

Jack draws back to look at her, his lips wet with saliva. "I don't think I could, no. And considering the sort of lovers you've had previously, I'm not sure you understand what you'd be missing out on." He leans in to kiss her, lightly, briefly and when he withdraws, there is a sly grin on his face: "Aren't you aware that anticipation is the best part? All the juicy build-up?"

Liz groans under her breath, running her hands up his arms, down his chest. "I've had enough…juicy build-up. Two years too much."

"You've known me three years," Jack points out: "More, in fact."

"But I've only wanted to sleep with you for two of them," she answers before she can stop herself.

His eyes flicker knowingly. "You've wanted to sleep with me all that time?"

"Sort of. I dunno-- maybe." She shakes her head, her tone becoming more frustrated: "Augh, see, this is what I'm talking about. Could we just shut up long enough to do this?"


"Seriously, Jack," she says and pushes him back on the bed: "Shut up!" then her mouth descends, capturing his lips in a purposeful kiss.

"Just to be clear," he murmurs, when they break apart: "I wasn't going to argue."

"Good," she nods.

"But I was going to ask if you'd keep the shoes on," he adds as his eyes and hands slip down her legs.

Liz glances behind at the red heels. "Maybe. We'll see."

His eyes drift back up her body. "The dress is definitely coming off though, right?"

"Sure. Why not?" She gives a shrug, planting her hands on the bed, either side of his head: "Let's do this proper."

Jack grins up at her. "Well. At least we can agree on something."