Ellie vs. the Birthday

Written for the excellent jellie_rayneluv: Happy Birthday, Evil Brain Twin!

Disclaimer: I own nothing Chuck-related, (though if NBC, et. al. would like to loan me John Casey for a few days-weeks-yeah, I'd take it as a kindness!) No infringement intended, purely to feed the muse and the Jellies! Comments and constructive critiques appreciated!

~~Part Six~~

She was drowning in a flood of sensation, and didn't give a damn if she ever surfaced again.

The crush of John's lips on hers shot electricity through her, sent adrenaline rushing to the farthest reaches of her body. Ellie lost herself in the glide of their mouths and the heat radiating out from every place his hands touched her skin. Her pulse jumped from the delicate vessels of her neck, pounded in her ears so loud he certainly must hear it.

Echoes of earlier fantasies swirled around her mind, so vivid she could almost smell the tropical breeze, feel the sway of a hammock, hear the crackle of a fireplace. For a brief moment, she wondered if his being here was a product of her lustful imagination. You aren't just dreaming this.

It would be so easy to blame the warmth of the wine coursing through her system, or her physical and emotional exhaustion, or the long months of loneliness. So easy to convince herself she was experiencing another delicious fantasy.

But the solid, smoldering reality of his body, his hands, his lips on her were too intense to be a dream or imagination. He's really here, strong and sure and so very male, holding you against him.

Desperate not to slide away as gravity overtook her quivering legs, she hitched one around his hip to hold on, thrilling as his large, strong hand followed to caress and secure it. Entwined, they melted to the floor.

Wrapped in his arms, Ellie felt a true connection for the first time in a very, very long time. Pulling back from their kiss, she studied him for a long moment, a growing surety in her chest. For too long, she'd been the invisible housekeeper and cook and accountant, ignored unless something needed fixed. Nothing more than a happenstance bystander during which her supposed partner tried to prove to himself how quickly he could bring her to climax.

How long had it been since she'd been kissed like this? Not with a cocky grin and arrogant, expectant look awaiting, but one of reverent desire, like she was something precious, someone to be treasured.

"See me, John," she whispered, pouring the long days and nights of frustration, loneliness and feelings of growing insignificance into her plea. "I'm here. I'm real. I need…"

John's gaze burned into her with a thousand questions and second guesses, but stayed firmly on her face. His fingers rested lightly against her hips, still gripping the towel. The eight points of bare contact scorched her skin.

A low groan rose from his chest as his fingers flexed around the cloth. Something flashed deep within those stormy blue eyes burning into her, as his nostrils flared slightly at his sharp inhale.

"Eleanor," he growled tightly through his teeth and pulled her closer to him with the towel. "You don't know what you're asking for. Asking of me."

"I know what I'm asking, what I want, John," she insisted fiercely. "What I want is you."

Sudden doubt stabbed through her when he didn't answer, didn't move. She was wrong. He had no interest in her other than neighborly politeness and concern. She was making a fool of herself over a man who fueled her passion in fantasies, but had no real-life attraction to her as a woman. He was just being nice.

But she could feel his big body shudder as she laid her hands on his forearms, could see his visible effort to hold himself back. Always so polite, always so mannerly, always so nice… but there was a hint of the uncontrollable pacing just beneath the surface. She'd sensed it as surely as she could now feel the hard evidence of his desire growing more insistent beneath her naked thigh.

Ellie was overtaken by the sudden need to unleash that uncontrollable part of him, to discover the real John Casey, the one she suspected prowled restlessly beneath his cordial exterior. Running her palms up the backs of his arms, she traced the firm muscles trembling beneath his short sleeves before sliding her touch down the length of his ribs and taking hold of the edge of the dark blue shirt.

"You're angry, Ellie," he rasped, shivering as her fingers caressed down his sides. He still hadn't brought his eyes below her chin, though the tic in his sculpted jaw suggested that was by pure willpower alone.

"You're upset with Woodcomb for not being here. You want to get back at him," his deep voice softened, reasoning with her. "I don't… don't want you to regret..."

"This isn't about him, John. Yes, I'm upset with Devon. For many reasons," she said simply, trying not to let the hurt turn her tone petulant. "His not being here tonight is just one more in a long list that's been growing for some time. It's not just about him not being here, or just the sudden 'dudes-only' weekend that's not 'dudes-only', or just him forgetting my birthday, or just his hardly noticing me when he is home unless he needs someone to pick up after him."

Sliding her hands up under his shirt, she pressed her palms against his broad, thickly-muscled chest. "It's about every time I close my eyes, I see you staring back at me, John. Looking at me. Seeing me. Really seeing me." Leaning forward, she lightly touched her lips to his, whispering against them, "I want it to be when my eyes are open."

"I see you, Ellie," he answered, his voice tight with restrained need. "I see you more than you ever realize." He closed his eyes, jaw clenched and his brow creased. "But I can't… you're not mine. I don't take what doesn't belong to me."

"You're right! " She hissed, growing angry, not so much at his refusal but at the frustrated feeling that she had no say in her own life, and hadn't had for a while. "I don't belong to you, or to anyone but myself! And I decide who to share myself with, the man I choose! I choose you, John."

She wanted him to see her in the truest sense, but was unprepared when his eyes shot open and bore into hers. A new hardness paced behind the fire in those blue depths, a seriousness that locked her in place. His handsome face grew fierce, both dangerous and compelling at the same time.

"You don't even really know me, Eleanor," he growled, a feral smile edging his mouth at her quiet gasp. "You don't know what you're inviting, or believe me, you'd be running the other way."

"I'm not afraid of you, John Casey," she whispered, her voice soft but firm. "You'd never hurt me. I know that. If you… if you're not interested in me…as a woman… just tell me. But don't think you're just going to scare me off with a growl, mister."

She didn't expect the bitter laugh he barked out as he hauled her up to within centimeters of his face. "Not interested in you? I'd have to be blind, stupid and dead to not want you, woman. But what I want and what I'm at liberty to do about it…" his face softened as he carefully rose to his feet, gently drawing her to stand with him. "Sadly, those are two very different creatures."

For a brief moment, John let her see clearly behind his carefully maintained mask. With a tenderness that almost shattered her, he slowly let his gaze slide past her lips down the length of her, not hiding his look of pure longing.

His face contorted in resigned agony. Reverently, he pulled the edges of the towel closed around her now-chilled body.

"If…" he sighed heavily, stepping back slowly, "If things were different…I'm so sorry, Ellie. I wish –"

"John – " she whimpered, ready to wrap her arms around him, beg him to stay.

As suddenly as he'd appeared at her door, he was gone into the night.

~~To be continued...

Sorry for the long delay on this one, hope there's still interest. To be continued… reviews are my pecan pie…. Pretty please? ;D