It took him four days before he realized that it wasn't working. Rather than numbing him the way the alcohol had done previously, it only seemed to exacerbate the problem. When he was awake, he'd dwell on every moment he'd spent with her, every interaction, wonder what he'd done wrong, think about her smile or her eyes or her voice, wish he could have it all back to do differently. When he passed out, he'd dream of her, his unconscious all too happy to conjure her up in no end of situations in which Reese had never actually witnessed her.
Coupled with his anger, the frustration quickly overwhelmed him. He couldn't rid himself of it. He couldn't rid himself of her.
It only occurred to him as he was pounding on her door that he should have changed out of the clothes he'd been wearing since the last time he'd seen her. Except for their first meeting, Reese had always looked nice when he faced her. It did nothing for his self-esteem when she opened the door, her look of surprise immediately fading into one of concern when she took in his bedraggled appearance.
In a paranoid fashion he'd never witnessed from her, she leaned out the door, checking both directions of the hallway before she put a hand on his arm and pulled him inside. She locked the door behind him, shaking her head as she turned around.
"You shouldn't have come here, John."
He laughed humorlessly. "What are you going to do? Arrest me?"
"You're a wanted criminal and I'm a cop. What the fuck do you expect me to do?" She put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
"Go ahead, take me in." He held out his hands to her, half expecting her to slap the cuffs on him, half knowing she never would.
She looked at his outstretched hands for a moment, then directed her attention to his face, her familiar smiles replaced by a disapproving frown. "You're drunk."
"No shit, Sherlock."
She looked over him again, her eyes lingering over his filthy clothes, his unshaven face, his unkempt hair. "Four day bender, huh? I'm sure you can do better." She took a step toward him, but then made a face and stepped back. "You need to go home, sober up, take a shower."
He shrugged one shoulder. "Why bother?"
"Because you reek." She looked down, perhaps feeling responsible for the condition he was in. "You should call Finch too. He's worried about you."
"He's worried about him."
She shook her head. "No, he was worried about you."
"He's worried I'll get myself arrested and tell someone what I know." He was tired suddenly, the burst of adrenaline that had driven him to her door was spent and he wanted to collapse onto his bed and sleep. But he didn't dare sit down in Carter's apartment, even sitting down seemed like it would make him look weak.
As though showing up in his condition hadn't proven exactly how weak he was when it came to her.
He cocked his head to the side, studying her face. "So you and Finch are friends now? You can't work with me, but you can work with him?"
"I'm not working with him. He warned me you were really pissed off at me."
He choked out a laugh. "Oh, yeah, Finch worries about your well-being all the time."
"And here I always thought that was you watching out for me." She glared at him, letting him know she was well aware that he, not Finch, had been the driving force behind including her in their work.
So Finch and Carter were chatting now, if that didn't take the fucking cake. He didn't like that he'd somehow become the third wheel who was being discussed by the other two, leaving him unable to even understand that Carter knew, that she'd always known, that it had never been about work. "Since you two are so close, I should probably warn you, Finch is a lot more dangerous that you think. At least you know what you're getting when it comes to me."
"Whatever you came here for, I can't help you. You being here puts me and my son in danger. If I see you again, I'll turn you in. Fair warning." She turned toward the door, unlocking the deadbolt.
The threat fueled the fury once again and he surged forward, sandwiching her body against the door as soon as she turned back to face him. His hands gripped her wrists, pinning them up by her head. "You're going to call Snow and set me up again? Almost getting me killed wasn't enough for you, I guess. You know he'll kill me. Is that what you want?"
She was afraid, it was reflected in her wide eyes, but she still met his cold stare. "No, John, that's why I said I can't work with you. That's why you can't come here again."
He glared at her, trying to determine if she was just telling him what he wanted to hear or if it was true and promptly realizing he was far too intoxicated to even hazard a guess. If he'd had two sober brain cells to rub together, he'd have gathered up what shattered bits of his dignity remained and run away with his tail between his legs. "I told you there was no going back, Carter, you knew what you were getting into."
She struggled, trying to pull her hands away, trying to put space between them, failing at both. "I imagine Finch told you the same thing, but that didn't stop you from quitting."
His fingers closed tighter on her wrists, trying to find some pleasure in her gasp of pain, telling himself to ignore his instinct to grind his hips into hers. His eyes moved over her face. She was struggling still, but her eyes were open wide, any trace of fear long gone. It made him angrier somehow to see that she did trust him, even though she was still walking away from him.
His gaze moved back to hers. "I'm not afraid of the consequences, Carter."
She turned her head away, a grimace forming. "Get out of here, John. Go home. I mean it."
He was calling the shots though; even drunk, he had her pinned and had the benefit of size to make up for his lack of sobriety. Besides, he wasn't convinced she was really trying. So rather than accepting the rebuff and backing away, he leaned in closer, his chest pressing into hers, his face nearly touching hers. "What are you going to do if I don't?"
She looked up at him, her wide eyes having already darkened with desire at the contact. "I'm not afraid of you."
"You should be." Maybe he'd been trying to be a decent person since Finch had given him a second chance, since Carter had started working with him, but he hadn't been before they were in his life and now that they weren't any longer, Reese fully expected to become that soulless, walking dead man again.
"Well I'm not, so stop trying to intimidate me." Her arms had stilled for a moment, and his reflexes were slow, so when she sharply yanked her arms, she succeeded in breaking free of his hold. She shoved him then, using his lack of balance and delayed reaction time to slide sideways away from him. Once she was across the room, she squared her shoulders. "Now get the fuck out of my apartment before I arrest you."
Furious that he'd lost the upper hand, he reached out, swiping his arm across the table by the door and sending Carter's things flying. The sound of glass breaking comforted him somewhat and he smiled as he kicked the broken lamp out of his way.
The fact that she backed away as he approached only further infuriated him and he glowered at her as he continued to advance on her. "Go ahead, Carter." He started to smirk, seeing the way it disturbed her. "You already told me about your fantasy with me in handcuffs."
Ignoring the bait, she looked at the lamp and then back at him. "That was my grandmother's, you know, so if you were trying to make me sorry, you win. I'm sorry I ever met you."
She could say anything she wanted, but until she made a move toward her gun, he wasn't going to listen.
He moved toward her slowly, planning to back her into another wall. It was the only way he'd get his hands on her again, something he'd recently realized was his ultimate goal in his phenomenally stupid plan of going to her apartment. "I don't believe you. I don't think you're a bit sorry." He smiled again as he reached for a glass vase on the side table. "This from someone special, Carter? Your husband maybe?" He hurled it past her, loving the sound of it shattering against the wall.
"Get the fuck out of my apartment, John, now." She was good and pissed and Reese realized he infinitely preferred it to her sympathy.
He stepped forward again, feeling very much like he was playing with his prey. She had to feel something to get that pissed off at him, he figured. "If you didn't want me here, you shouldn't have let me in."
"I wouldn't have, but I figured you'd kick the damn door in." She continued to back away, her lack of attention to anything but him causing her to continually bump into furniture.
"You're probably right, Carter, I don't usually let things get in the way of what I want."
She jumped when she hit the wall, squeezing her eyes closed for a moment as she realized she was trapped, a wall on one side, a table on the other. Then she met his eyes, anger flashing despite her predicament. "And just what is it you want, John? Clearly you're not here to blackmail me and I doubt came here to critique my decorating style, even though you obviously have some pretty strong feelings about it." She swallowed hard as he continued to approach, taking his time, drawing out the inevitable moment. "So you're going to kill me, I assume? How are you going to do it? Shoot me with my own gun maybe? Got a knife on you? Or maybe you'd rather strangle me. I know you're a hands-on kind of guy."
The alcohol continued to influence his emotions, thankfully masking the hurt her words were causing, allowing him to chuckle despite the pain he was in.
"Oh, no, Carter," he promised as his hands braced on the wall to cage her in front of him, "I don't want to kill you." He looked down, his eyes slowly raking over her curves, curves he had every intention of touching finally, then meeting her eyes again, not caring about the way she gasped when she saw the desire there. "At least not yet."
She was shaking and it only served to egg him on.
"You are right about one thing, Carter," he continued with a grin as one of his hands moved to her waist. "I do like to use my hands."
He felt the shudder that ran through her when his hand slipped under her shirt to gently stroke her skin. She was just staring at him, watching him as he slipped one leg between hers. He pressed into her, determined not to break eye contact, determined to win the battle of wills. Using the hand on her waist, he pulled her forward as he shifted his leg, his erection pressing into her. He felt it when he hit the right spot, her whole body tensing, her fingers clenching around his shirt involuntarily. Her eyes closed as she fought to control her desire and he watched her attempt, quite pleased to see she was having as much trouble resisting this as he was.
But she was evidently stronger-willed than he. She pushed at his chest, trying to turn her body way from him, trying to end the physical contact between them. "Let me go, John."
That she was still trying to deny it pissed him off. He'd already fucking given in and showed her that he wanted her. He'd be damned if he was going to let her reduce him to that and then walk away without giving up something of herself in return.
His hand caught her hip, shoving her back into the wall. "No," he growled.
Her eyes flew to his, but he was sure, as sure as he could be in a drunken, lust-filled haze, that she wasn't scared. She was resisting because she thought she should, not because she wanted to. "No?" Her voice held a challenge, same as it always did. Her eyes were still burning with anger, and something else too.
No. Absolutely not. She wasn't walking away from him. He wasn't sure he was capable of letting her.
He shook his head, holding her eyes. "No, Carter." He shifted his hips against hers, wanting to blame it on manipulating her, knowing it was because he was desperate for the contact. The hand that had been resting on the wall next to her moved over her throat, his thumb rubbing across her chin, feeling her racing pulse pounding under his fingers.
He battled with himself as he thought of how easy it would be to apply a little more pressure, cut off her air just enough to make her beg, to make her agree to do anything, to hear her promise she wouldn't ever even think about leaving him again. He'd done it a hundred times, probably more. He'd done plenty of horrible things and even when he'd known they were horrible, he'd always been able to do them without hesitating.
What the hell was it about Carter that made him so unlike himself?
He could force her to keep working with him. He could blackmail her or threaten her or kill her. He could punish her for leaving, ruin her career or simply terrorize her. He had options. Lots of options.
And yet, he didn't have any at all.
Damn her for making him feel again.
Damn him for letting her in.
Her voice cracked as she whispered, wondering if he really was going to kill her after all. "John?"
He was shaking too as he continued to hold her, one hand wrapped around her throat, the other on her waist, his legs around one of hers, his pelvis still pressed against hers.
"No, Carter, I won't let you go." His hand shifted, leaving her throat in favor of gripping her chin hard, his fingers digging into her skin. "Ever."
While the benefit of sobriety and forethought would have told him that Carter wasn't about to be bullied or threatened or manhandled, he had neither. He only had the waning presence of the whiskey and the incensed fury at her abandonment to guide him, which left his hormones in charge.
He didn't give her a chance to respond. He closed the remain distance between them, crushing his mouth to hers, kissing her so hard he tasted blood. He had no idea whose it was, but it wasn't about to stop him. The hand on her chin moved to tangle in her hair, grabbing a handful and wrenching her head back, giving him complete control of the kiss when her mouth opened surprise. His tongue plundered her mouth, mapping the territory, marking it as his, running along her velvet tongue. He wondered when she'd bite him. He knew he deserved it. He knew it was the only defense she had at the moment. It might actually have hurt enough for him to regain some control.
The fact that she didn't, the fact that she wasn't even trying to get away, the fact that she was tugging on his shirt to pull him closer still, well, that didn't encourage control.
He reached down, lifting her leg, using it as leverage while he thrust harder into her. The way she whimpered into his mouth at the sensation damn near killed him. Moving his mouth away from hers, his lips slid against her skin, across her chin, down her throat, stopping at the hollow of her collarbone. He bit down hard, knowing it would leave a mark, knowing she'd see if every time she looked in the mirror, knowing she'd think of him when she saw it. He nearly came at the thought of it, of her remembering the way they were right at that moment, the way they would be soon, with him buried inside of her.
She was pulling at his shirt, yanking at the buttons, forcing them to open. He wanted to be proud of it, of the notion that he'd finally driven her crazy enough to actually attempt to rip the buttons off his shirt, but he wasn't. He hated how it was happening. He hadn't wanted to touch her like this, he hadn't wanted to hurt her. It wasn't all his fault, he promised himself, she was the one who made him lose it. She was the one who'd tried to leave him. He could have been happy with what they had, but no, when she tried to take it away, he had to have it all.
He grabbed the hem of her shirt, pulling it over her head and tossing it to the side. He would have loved to pause to appreciate her beauty, her flawless skin, her full breasts, but there was no time. Heaven fucking forbid either of them came down off the wrath high they were on. Instead of gently exploring her body, he was rough, cupping one of her breasts through the fabric of her bra while his other hand worked at the clasp.
Having finally gotten his shirt open, she shoved it down his arms. He'd be forced to let go of her to get it off, but fearing that she'd run from him, he found another way. While he pulled the shirt from his arms, he stooped down, taking one of her taut nipples in his mouth, teasing it with his tongue. Her hands locked around his head, holding him there, her groan of pleasure filling his ears.
The sound threw him into even more of a frenzy. He'd never heard anything so fucking erotic in his life. He had to make her do it again, louder, harder. His hands moved to her pants, his dexterity failing as he tried to open them. Finally, he gave up, ripping at the damn button until it popped, fearing somewhere in his brain that he'd really, completely lost control.
Her nails were digging into his skin, raking down his chest and back, leaving angry, red streaks in their wake. It hurt like hell, but he barely noticed.
He gripped the waistband of her pants and panties, shoving both down her legs, sliding his palms over her ass, pulling her closer to him. He finally had a chance to touch the ass that had driven him damn near out of his mind and he couldn't even enjoy it. He could hear her voice, but he had no idea if she was talking to him or moaning or screaming. He was being controlled entirely by lust and he would have hated the idea, if he'd been capable of thought.
His mouth pressed against hers again, another harsh, painful kiss, before his hands found her shoulders, spinning her sideways, bending her over the table. When he reached down to unfasten his pants, he realized she'd beaten him to the punch. He didn't have time to even consider that he hadn't noticed. He simply finished the task, shoving his pants and boxers down, freeing his painfully hard erection from their confines.
His head was screaming at him to stop, to allow them more dignity than this, to respect her body the way he respected her mind.
But his desire was louder and, finally having removed all physical boundaries and seeing her perfectly compliant with his unorthodox seduction, it got the better of him.
There was no restraint left as he slid his fingers between her thighs, checking to make sure that he wouldn't hurt her too badly when he entered her. She'd hardly had much of a warning, but when he found her wet, he realized she must have been as desperate as he was. He heard her voice again, louder, whimpering as his fingers played along her folds. No, maybe it hadn't been the way he would have chosen, but he could still make sure she enjoyed it as much as he did.
He withdrew his hand, grabbing her hip to hold her steady, and stepped in close behind her. His dick pressed against her ass, begging him to finish what he'd started.
Scraping together the last bit of strength he had left, he leaned forward and pressed his chest against her back. One arm curled around her waist, holding her tight; the other arm braced them against the table. His lips brushed her ear as he forced himself to exhibit some modicum of control.
"Yes or no, Carter?" He had to be sure. He had to know. In case he needed to grab her weapon and blow his fucking brains out as soon as he was done.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Her voice was low and threatening, dripping with hostility. "I'm going to fucking kill you either way."
It wasn't the answer he expected. He'd thought that her anger, like his, had mostly burnt off, melted away by the physical sensations.
And rather than warning him that he'd only made things worse, rather than frightening him that he'd irrevocably broken her trust, her ire only stoked his yet again.
He grabbed a fistful of her hair, pulling her head back, waiting until he heard her hiss in pain before he let up the slightest bit. "Yes or no, Carter?"
She reached back, her nails dragging harshly against his scalp as she fisted her hands in his hair and yanked just as hard. "Yes, John, fuck me. Right now."
He didn't even know he did it. He just knew somehow he'd wound up with his teeth sunken into her shoulder and the coppery taste of blood in his mouth again. The woman made him completely insane, reduced him to some kind of animal with no conscience or morals or control.
With his teeth still latched onto her shoulder, he entered her in one swift thrust. It had been a long time, so fucking long, and he'd done his best to deny the urge, refused to act on any attraction he felt. And now he was glad he had because no one would have felt as fucking perfect as she did. She was tight and wet and hot and he never wanted to be anywhere else as long as he lived.
And still, it wasn't enough. He wasn't sure anything would ever be enough. He wanted her too fucking badly, he'd waited too fucking long. He pulled almost all the way out and slammed back into her, drawing a grunt from her. He wanted more. He did it again, harder, this time shifting the table under her with his weight, hearing her groan.
She hadn't said she wanted him to make love to her. She'd told him to fuck her. He was happy to comply.
He tightened his hold on her, just in case the table wasn't strong enough to hold them both, and started to move continuously. Hard and fast and without control, groaning himself as he dropped his forehead against her shoulder. He pounded into her, her moans growing longer and louder as he slammed his body against hers.
He knew he wasn't going to last long and he couldn't face the embarrassment of not getting her off, so he reached forward, sliding his palm down her belly, through her curls, between her thighs. His fingers worked against her clit, rubbing and circling and pressing and pinching until her back arched and her body clenched with her climax. He felt the tremors working through her, tightening her body around his dick until he couldn't take anymore. He pushed into her one last time and gave in, letting her body milk him dry.
It was taking all of his strength to remain standing, his arms shaking with the effort of supporting her as well, as he came down. He let himself rest against her, his heaving breaths drawing goose bumps out on the back of her shoulder.
The anger was gone, drained out of him with his strength. He wanted to cry for what he'd done. He wanted to wrap her in his arms and beg for forgiveness, except he wasn't sure she'd let him and he sure as shit couldn't face her rejection. All that was left for him to do was to step back, slide out of her, pull his clothes back on.
He averted his eyes as she righted herself and did the same with her clothes, giving her that bit of respect. Buttoning his shirt seemed a hell of a lot more complicated than it ever had before and so took longer than he might have expected. The silence was incredibly loud, echoes of her groans still ringing in his ears while he tried to figure out if it had really happened. He couldn't be sure it hadn't been another one of his whiskey-induced fantasies.
Swallowing the lump in his throat, unable to recognize his own croaking voice, he broke the oppressive silence. "Did I hurt you?" He honestly had no idea and he didn't dare think about what he'd done. It would hurt too much. It would kill him.
She shook her head. She wasn't looking at him, though, and he thought maybe she just wanted him to leave. He could hardly blame her.
And still, he couldn't leave well enough alone. He took her arm, his touch much softer than it had been during the most intimate of times, and turned her to face him. There was a smear of blood around her mouth and it turned his stomach, but when he reached up to wipe it away, he realized it hadn't been hers. She looked at the blood on his fingers for a moment, then her eyes darted up to his face. She stopped shy of his eyes, spotting the source of the blood, which he'd figured out from the throbbing he felt in his lower lip.
"Did I hurt you?" He didn't want to know, but he had to. He needed to.
Not that it really mattered. Yeah, his actions, his utter loss of control, might have otherwise destroyed their relationship, but she'd already done that four days earlier when she'd told him to fuck off.
Her shoulders drooped as she turned away. "Not physically, but you certainly haven't done much for my pride."
"Then I guess we're even." At his words, she turned her head toward him, but her eyes stayed on the ground.
"You should go." She almost sounded like herself when she delivered that fatal blow.
It took forever for her to speak again, and when she did, her voice was soft and resigned. "It's better for both of us. Safer."
She was right, logically; he knew that.
But there was no way to explain that to the heart that was breaking in his chest.
He wasn't going to cry in front of her. It was all he had and he was going to keep it to himself. Four strides put him at her front door, the metal doorknob cool in his hand. What the hell had been the point of going there if only to wind up in the same place? No, he wasn't in the same place. He was worse off. Shit. He squeezed his eyes closed and thought of the bottles of whiskey waiting in his room, promising the peace of complete oblivion for a few hours.
"Are you going to be ok?" She sounded worried.
After what he'd done to her, she still cared. She really was every fucking bit as perfect as he'd thought. But she didn't seem to realize that he'd just given her a piece of his soul, the only piece he had left. He'd given it to her and she didn't want it.
He couldn't face her. He couldn't accept her concern. He couldn't let her try to comfort him since she was the one who'd fucking killed him in the first place. So he shrugged. It wasn't worth lying. There was no one who'd care that he was dead, so it seemed fair that she should at least know she'd been responsible for killing him. Before he could change his mind and beg her to save him, he pulled the door open and stepped through it.
But he couldn't. The tears were already falling and he couldn't let her see them.
The need to get to his whiskey stash was all that kept him going, but as he passed the pay phone outside the shithole he called home, he stopped. He needed to hear her voice, just once more, and then he could quit cold turkey. Just one more time, that was all he needed. She'd certainly still be in the shower, washing away the evidence of what they'd done. He would listen to the impatient way she stated "Detective Jocelyn Carter" on her voicemail and it would be enough. He dialed the number, letting it ring, waiting for the fourth time when it would cut to the recording.
Instead of the familiar sound, the answer was a voice choked with tears. "John?"
No, god, no that wasn't what he'd wanted to hear. He didn't need to know she was crying too. If what she was doing was so fucking good for them, why were they both in tears?
He stood there with the phone to his ear, trying to decide what to do.
"John, is that you? Please just fucking say something. Tell me you're ok."
He couldn't answer. He couldn't tell her he was ok. He'd never be ok without her.
Replacing the receiver, he continued into the motel. She could trace the call if she was that worried, if she really wanted to find out, and it wouldn't take her any time to figure out he was staying there. A flash of her badge at the front desk and she'd be pounding on his door.
If she came, he'd be ok. If she cared enough to follow him, he'd survive. If she showed up, he'd never let her go, like he'd told her.