Disclaimer: Not Mine.
A/N: This is a sequel to losingntrnslatn's story The Drunken Fish in the Olive Oil. She was kind enough to let me use her idea.
It was also written for the Leather and Lace smut-a-thon at cmrossiprentiss. My prompt was Whipped Cream (blink and you'll miss it). Thanks to microgirl8225 for letting me post early.
And, last but not least, thanks to mingsmommy and losingntrnslatn for their hard work and support. I love them
Emily sipped leisurely at what appeared to be an iced coffee then ran her tongue along her upper lip to erase the trace of whipped cream left behind. He was mesmerized by her, while around them Rome bustled. A group of American tourists, cameras clicking madly, followed a tour guide through Piazza Navona, and her eyes followed them. From Dave's vantage point, she looked sad, maybe even a little wistful, as their voices faded.
Her hair was short. Not just shorter, but short. Pixyish and blonde, hugging her skull, framing her face and making her eyes seem even larger than he remembered. Her porcelain skin was bare of makeup. He could tell because she looked pale and just the slightest bit fragile. And she had lost weight. Not a lot, but then she didn't have any to spare. Her beautiful face was almost gaunt, her clothes just a tiny bit too big. Despite the obvious toll the last months had taken on her, from where he was sitting, she'd never looked more beautiful.
Dropping enough Euros on the table to cover his Pellegrino, Dave pushed to his feet and ran a shaky hand through his hair. He picked up the Panama hat he had placed on the table and settled it on his head, pulling it low to hide his eyes. Across the square, a waiter stopped at Emily's table. He watched as she shook her head in response to whatever the young man said. With a map clutched in one hand, Dave began a meandering route that would take him right by her.
When he reached her table she was digging through a voluminous purse, but he could tell by the way her body tensed she knew he was there. Still, he took a moment to study her up close; the line of her neck, the slope of her breasts, the curve of her ear were all things he had missed horribly in their time apart. Things he had taken for granted before.
Clearing the lump from his throat, he said, "Excuse me, Signorina, can you help me?"
Emily's head snapped up and her eyes went wide, but she recovered quickly. With a quick shake of her head, she gasped out, "Non. Io non parlano Inglese."
He had to admit, her accent was flawless. The confusion on her face, that tiny wrinkle between her brows, the narrowing of her eyes, was perfect. Anybody watching them would truly think she was telling the truth when she claimed not to speak English. But he could see the fear lurking in the back of her eyes; could see the slight tremble of her hand.
Thrusting the map toward her, he gave her a big smile and spoke a little louder. "Le Meridien?"
Again she shook her head and added an eloquent shrug. "Scusami, mi dispiace."
From the next table, a man spoke up. "May I be of assistance?"
Slowly, Dave turned toward the man. "Oh! You speak English." He forced as much relief into his voice as possible. "I'm supposed to meet my friends at the Le Meridien in forty-five minutes for dinner, and I'm…uh…lost." Holding up the map, he gave the man a sheepish smile. "Can you tell me how to get back there?"
Taking a pen from his pocket, the man quickly sketched out a route on the map. In between quick slashes of ink on the paper, he gestured wildly in the general direction of the hotel. At one point, when the man's hands resembled a pinwheel in motion, Dave glanced in Emily's direction and saw her biting her bottom lip in a way that told him she was keeping back a laugh.
Finally, with his map back in his possession, Dave thanked the stranger. Then, tipping his hat, he bid them both a good afternoon. "Buona sera! Signore and signorina."
Turning away from Emily, he eased into the crowd. With every step away from her, every step closer to the hotel, he prayed she wouldn't disappoint him.
She waited ten minutes. Ten long, interminable minutes while the elderly man who had helped Dave made polite conversation about the weather and the tourists. Ten minutes in which every sip of the Granita de Caffe exposed another nerve ending and every sweep of the second hand, that she studiously refused to watch, twisted yet another knot in her stomach. The waiter came by again, and she asked for her check, ignoring his obvious flirting. Settling her bill, Emily scooped up her bag, slung the strap over her head to leave her hands free, bid the old man goodbye and headed off in the opposite direction from the one Dave had taken.
Overhead, the sky was just beginning to take on the faint pink hue that signaled sunset. Golden light slanted between the buildings, filling the streets and alleys with a soft glow. The cobblestones were releasing the last of the day's heat and a cool breeze had Emily shrugging on the short denim jacket she was carrying.
Traffic was…insane, as usual. Drivers treated their cars like weapons; blowing horns, screaming and gesturing at the other drivers, whipping in and out of impossibly tight spaces without even blinking. It was just one of the reasons she loved this city. And now, Dave was here. He was here, in this place where she lived but didn't exist. In this place where she was no longer Emily.
Looking over her shoulder had become second nature. And even her desire to get to Dave, to see him and touch him and talk with him couldn't make her sloppy. That's why she stopped at the corner drogheria to look at their window displays. Using the reflections in the glass, she checked the crowd behind her. That's also why, two blocks later, she crossed the street unnecessarily. Her route to the Le Meridian was long and circuitous and took her longer than the allotted forty-five minutes. But he was still there, sitting at a corner table in the bar, with his back to the wall, and her silly heart – the only part of her that was still one hundred percent Emily Prentiss – did a slow, sweet flip.
She let her eyes drift over the dim room, checking each face for a hint of the familiar, while her feet kept moving her in his direction. Then he was standing and moving around the table and she was there, right there, with his arms wrapped around her waist, and for the first time since this whole mess started, she felt safe.
"Emily," his voice was thick as he whispered in her ear, and she felt a tear slip along her cheek.
Tightening her arms around his neck, she pressed her cheek against his shoulder and sucked in a deep breath. If it shuddered as it left her lungs, he didn't say anything.
"It's Eva," she murmured against the soft cotton of his shirt. Then she released the hold she had on his neck and stepped back. "Hi. Long time, no see."
Dave frowned, his mouth tightening and his brows drawing down. "Don't joke about this."
Tipping her head, embarrassment flooding her chest with heat, she said, "You're right. I'm sorry.
His face relaxed a little, and he gestured toward the table. "Do you have time for a drink?"
"I'd love one." She took another look around. "Could we grab a booth or something? I don't like to sit with my back to the door."
He studied her quietly for a moment, his eyes sad and his mouth tipped up in that half grin of his. She wondered briefly if he was going to miss Emily as much as she already did. "Would you rather go up to my room? We could raid the mini-bar. Maybe order room service, if you're hungry."
Emily never hesitated. This was Dave, and she had missed him so fucking much it was a physical ache, and she wanted nothing more than to relax for a few minutes and be her. It's not like she'd never been alone with him before. And if her heart was doing that funny flip again, well, it was because she had been alone for months. It definitely wasn't anything else.
"Sure." Laying a hand on his arm, she looked up at him. "Thank you."
His hand covered hers and he squeezed her fingers gently. "Let me pay my tab and we can go."
As soon as they entered the room Emily tugged all the drapes closed. Even when he commented on the view, she simply shot a glance in his direction and moved into the bedroom area to finish the job. She even went behind him, double checking the locks on the door while he poured their drinks. Then the pacing started.
"Do you want to look in the closet, too?" Dave had settled on the sofa, his hands wrapped around a tumbler of bourbon in his hands while watching her stalk around the room.
Taking a sip from her glass, she let the whiskey warm her. "Sorry."
Exasperated, he said, "I think you've apologized to me more in the last half hour than you did in the entire past three years. Stop saying you're sorry and sit down."
With a last nervous glance at the door, Emily perched on the edge of the sofa, her knees scant inches from his. Up close, he could see her hands shaking. He noticed earlier that her bottom lip seemed chapped. Now, he knew why. She worried it with her teeth, continuously, unconsciously. The delicate skin beneath her eyes appeared bruised, dark smudges telling him of her exhaustion. She was beautiful and too close to being broken, closer than he had ever seen her.
"How long has it been since you slept?"
Giving him a tired smile, she shrugged. "January?"
"Damnit!" He shoved a hand through his hair. When he saw her flinch, something the Emily Prentiss he knew would never have done, he bit back the rest of what he wanted to say. Instead, he sucked in a deep breath and held it for a count of ten. "Why didn't you tell us…tell me? I would have helped you. You know that."
Emily stared into her glass. "Because I know him." She turned her head then, her haunted eyes meeting his. "You shouldn't have come here. If he thinks any of you know where I am, he'll kill you to get to me."
"So why send the gifts?" Her eyes darted away from his, back to the glass clutched tightly in her hand. "If you didn't want me to find you, why send me an engraved invitation to look?"
He watched her eyes as she wrestled with her answer. Finally, the fear won out. Pushing to her feet, she set her glass on the coffee table with a thunk. "I made a mistake." Jerkily, she snatched up her jacket and shoved her arms into the sleeves. "I'm sorry you made the trip for nothing." Grabbing her bag, she headed to the door. "I have to go."
Before he could weigh the consequences, Dave was behind her, his arm reaching past her shoulder to hold the door closed. She was shaking, her body trembling where it touched his. She swallowed and he watched the muscles in her throat working, and he wanted to touch her, to comfort her, to protect her from whatever and whoever was out there.
"Emily," he breathed out her name.
She shook her head violently. "My name is Eva."
Dave touched her then; just a hand on her shoulder, a thumb stroking along the back of her neck, but a touch all the same. Leaning in, his lips brushed over the curve of her ear."You are, and always will be Emily."
He could feel her fighting for control, and while he admired her for it, he just wanted her to let go and let him in. "Let me help you," he whispered. "Please."
A quiet sob shook her slender frame. "I've missed you. So much." Her voice was ragged, and he had to strain to hear. "That's why."
Relief washed through him, sweet and warm. His knees went a little weak, and for a second she was the one supporting him. Eyes burning, Dave pressed his cheek against the back of her head. "I missed you, more."
He had. More than he ever imagined he would. Everything about her, from the sound of her laugh, to the amount of sweetener she put in a cup of coffee, to the way she was never afraid to go through a door, he had missed it all. Hands on her shoulders, he gently turned her into his embrace.
She was clinging to him, her arms sliding around his waist, her face pressing against the side of his neck as she cried. Dave had never been good at this part, at offering comfort, but with Emily something was different. He wanted to take her pain and anger and loneliness and make it his so she didn't have to feel any of those things again. He wanted her to be the happy, confident woman she was just months before. So, he ran his hands along her back and whispered to her and promised her everything would be fine.
At first he wasn't sure that the flutter against the side of his neck was deliberate. When he felt it again, and then a third time, he realized exactly what it was and it rocked him down to his very foundation.
"Emily?" he rasped, his arms instinctively pulling her closer.
"Mmmmmmmmm?" She snuggled into him, her legs tangling with his, her hands sliding up and down his back.
Damn! She felt so good, so right in his arms. Even though he hadn't flown half way around the world to take her to bed, he couldn't deny that he wanted her. If he were honest, he'd wanted her from the day he met her. He could still see her standing there, all long legs and big brown eyes, smoothing down her skirt and looking like she'd bolt if he said 'boo'.
This time, her mouth was warm and wet, and he couldn't control the hiss of his breath when her teeth scraped over his skin. "Are you sure this is a good idea?"
She didn't answer. Instead, she feathered a string of kisses along the underside of his jaw, stopping just underneath his ear. Lifting her head, she stared into his eyes. "I need you."
With her gaze locked on his Dave could see everything she wasn't saying, everything he had only suspected was in her heart. Then she slid her arms around his neck, threaded her fingers through his hair and kissed him. At that moment, it didn't matter to him if making love to Emily was wrong or right. All that mattered was the taste of her – coffee and whiskey and tears. All that mattered was the feel of her – warm and pliant and alive. Her breath ghosted along his cheek, and her quiet whimper slid over his tongue. The last of his doubts slipped away, and he lost himself in the moment.
The bedroom was dim, the only light filtered in from a lamp in the sitting area. Underneath her the sheets were soft and cool while above her Dave was warm and solid. When she first felt him, skin to skin, she almost cried. It had been too long since she touched another person, and the pure emotion in her reaction to his physical touch scared her more than a little. But his mouth was on hers and his body was pressing her into the mattress, and she let him burn away her fears.
He kissed her scars, pushing her hands away when she tried to hide them from him. He kissed them and drew his fingers over them and told her she was beautiful – not despite the lines of harsh red tissue but because of them. When tears leaked from her eyes and trailed along her temples he kissed them away too. He let her know, with his actions more than his words, that in that moment she was the only woman on earth, that she was more precious to him than anything or anyone. And because she needed to, she allowed herself to believe it.
He tasted her; her nipples, her navel, her thighs, her cunt. And then, while she fisted the sheets in her hands, he cupped her ass in his and used his tongue to push her over the edge. She came with a choked scream, her thighs shaking and her stomach muscles convulsing.
Breath rasping in and out of her lungs, Emily tugged Dave up until his mouth was poised over hers, until his cock was pressing between her legs, until she could smell the soft musk of her own release on his beard. "I want you inside me," she said in a voice so desperate, so needy, she almost didn't recognize it. "Please." Then she pulled his face to hers, sucking her own taste from his mouth.
She felt his moan as a soft vibration against her chest, felt his cock twitch, felt his weight shift as he reached between them and fumbled until he was pressing into her. Then he was pushing forward and pushing in and filling her. And she couldn't remember anything but him and this.
"Jesus," he breathed. Then he found her mouth with his, nipping at her bottom lip before soothing it with his tongue. Groaning, he buried his face in the curve of her shoulder and started to move, setting a slow steady pace. "So fucking good."
She tried to concentrate on Dave, on every inch of his hard cock sliding in and out of her, on the feel of his lips, the soft bristles of his mustache against her cheek, the taste of him. Even knowing this was a bad idea, knowing her exile would be even more impossible for making love with him, she relished his weight on her, the wonderful achy stretch of her muscles around him.
A breeze from the open window blew over them, drying the sweat on her skin. The sounds from the streets below filtered up six floors, adding a muted backdrop of traffic noises to the soft rustle of sheets and the quiet squelch of their bodies joining together. She wanted to wrap herself around him, to hold him close and never let him go.
Under her hands, the smooth skin of his back bunched and moved as his muscles flexed. She trailed her fingers along the length of his spine and lower until she could cup his ass in her hands. Soft and firm and apparently very sensitive, if the way he moaned against her neck, the way his rhythm faltered was any indication. Her heart seemed to swell as she cataloged his reactions to her touch, committing them to memory for the long, lonely days ahead.
As if he could sense her thoughts, Dave lifted his head and looked down at her. His eyes were dark, emotions she wasn't ready to confront swirling dangerously in their depths. With a hand that trembled, he stroked her cheek, brushed a thumb over her mouth. "Emily, I…" His words trailed off, and she thought she saw a glint of tears in his eyes before they slid closed.
Afraid of what he might say, afraid of how she would react, Emily shushed him. Then, taking his hand in hers, she kissed his palm before linking their fingers together.
Time seemed to fall away as they moved together. His body asked and she answered, he took and she gave, he offered and she accepted. Each movement was one that had been performed countless times throughout centuries, but to Emily each felt brand new, unique. The simple beauty of the moment, the purity of their emotions scared her and saved her at the same time.
In a rush, the orgasm that had been lurking in the background became a raging need. She couldn't wait another minute, another second. Her body demanded the release he was promising. With a needy little groan, she hitched her hips higher, wrapped her legs around his hips and tugged him in tighter, deeper. "Harder," she whispered against his lips. "Come on, Dave."
The lust that had been simmering in his eyes flared bright and hot, burning away the last vestiges of her fear and doubt. Keeping his pace slow and steady, Dave started moving harder, driving into her with a fierceness that was in equal parts angry and possessive. A quiet grunt escaped him with every stroke. Dragging his face down to hers, Emily kissed him. Hot, wet, sloppy kisses that landed on his lips, on his cheeks, on his chin.
Every time his cock drove into her, every time she felt the smooth skin of his hips sliding along her inner thighs, every time his breath fanned along her cheek or over her lips, she wanted to scream. Scream in frustration at the release that was hovering just out of reach, scream with sheer joy at the things he was doing to her, scream with anger that she would never be able to do this again.
Once again, he seemed to read her mind. "Relax, Em. Just let it happen." His words were jerky, but his body never stopped its sweet assault on hers.
Deliberately, she forced everything out of her mind except Dave, except the heat of his cock and the weight of his body. For her, nothing existed except this man and the way he filled her – body and soul. She could hear nothing but the sounds of their love making; the rustle of the sheets, the quiet slap of his flesh against hers. Their scents mingled in the still air; sweat and musk and a faint hint of his cologne – the odors of sex. She wrapped herself in the experience and let her mind find peace.
Hyperawareness. She could hear the soft mewling sound she was making in quiet counterpoint to Dave's deeper groans, could feel her muscles stretching and bunching as her hips pushed up to meet his thrusts, could feel her nipples tighten into hard points. When Dave groaned her name and started moving faster and faster, his cock pounding into her at a furious pace, she could feel him swelling inside her. The ache between her legs became a wave of heat that radiated up into her belly and her breasts and down the insides of her thighs. Then the heat became a tingle; a tingle that she felt from the tips of her toes to the top of her head, a tingle that jostled something loose around her heart.
Her tears weren't a surprise to either one of them. Neither were his.
"We're going to catch him." Dave put every ounce of confidence he had into the statement.
Emily was pressed along his side, her head resting on his shoulder. At his pronouncement, he felt her stiffen. "I don't want you involved. Any of you."
His bark of laughter sounded bitter in his own ears. "In case you missed something, I'm already involved."
She was silent for a long while. But he knew her well enough to never take that for acquiescence. Emily's stubbornness was equal to anybody he'd ever known and surpassed only by his own, so he didn't expect easy from her. And he didn't get it.
"I'm leaving Rome." She nodded against his shoulder as if trying to convince herself as well as him. "This," she waved a hand between them, "can never happen again."
Dave had learned many years before, back when he was still a kid running the streets of Commack, that to fight fair was to lose. And he didn't intend to lose.
"I grieved for you, you know?" Dave stared up at the ceiling. He felt Emily shift against his side, heard her suck air into her lungs. "I was so determined to play by the fucking rules this time around, to do my job and not try to sleep with every woman that crossed my path, that I denied what you meant to me. And then it was too late."
"Dave…," her voice shook.
"I was sitting there, in that waiting room, praying harder than I've prayed in years and it wasn't enough. It was too late." He ran a hand along her arm, grateful for the simple feel of her skin under his palm. "I buried you. Stood beside your grave and watched as people who didn't really know you spoke about your spirit, your strength. And I grieved.
"Then the gifts started." He chuckled then. "Took me a while to prove it, but I could feel in my gut that you weren't really dead." Rolling onto his side, Dave stared into her eyes. "I found you then. If you run, I will find you again." Stroking her cheek, he gave her a lopsided grin. "I love you Emily Prentiss and I'm not living without you."
Her eyes were huge, luminous in the darkness, and he could see fear and hope and love shining in their ebony depths. "Then I guess we'd better catch him." A smile teased at her mouth, the first true smile he'd seen since all this started. "Because I'm tired of running from him. And I don't want to run from you at all."