Author's Note: This story is a tag to my longer fic 'The Ghost of Jealousy', but it can stand alone just as well. I promised MatteaAM that I'd write this, and even though it's been months, inspiration has finally struck and I'm happy to share this with all of you. I'm sorry to say that Gibbs might come off as a bit OOC, but it's just the way I see him act in the specific situation. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!
As usual, I own nothing and English isn't my first language, so bear with me and my mistakes.
"Thank you for coming."
Hollis Mann smiled as she rose from her chair to greet her companion, hoping that the way her heart had skipped a beat upon seeing him didn't reflect on her face.
If he noticed, Gibbs didn't let it show, simply giving her a tight smile and a fleeting kiss on the cheek.
"Wouldn't leave you waiting for nothing." He answered curtly, and Hollis laughed.
"The fact that you are half an hour late gave me pause."
She felt her spirits lift when he smiled at her reply. No matter how unfriendly his smile looked.
While he sat down and took off his jacket, Hollis waved the waiter over to their table and ordered their drinks.
"You drinking bourbon now?" Gibbs asked, and he appeared genuinely interested in her for the first time since he arrived.
"I got used to it." She replied, leaning back in her chair with a small smile. "So… what's new with you?"
Gibbs shrugged, "Nothing, really." His voice sounded normal, but the way his eyes tried to avoid hers didn't go unnoticed by her.
"Really? Nothing new at all?" The waiter brought their drinks and Hollis smiled kindly to the young man before taking a sip of her bourbon. "One would think things are prone to changing in six months," She continued.
"I'm a creature of habit, Hollis. I don't do change."
Her smile faded away at his words, the ice in his voice cutting through her life a knife, and she just tried to take the blow in stride.
"That is true."
A long, awkward pause followed her words, and she wondered how they'd come to this point when everything was going just so well between them. How had she let this happen?
"How's work?" She asked after a while, trying once again to break the ice.
"Good. How's retired life?" He shot back quickly.
"Good. I love living in Hawaii." She answered lightly, and then paused for a moment, expecting him to ask if she missed the Army, but he didn't and the conversation was stalled once again.
It was not going well.
A couple of hours and many tumblers of bourbon later, they were still walking on eggshells around each other, but the atmosphere was less tense. She talked about her new house, her new hobbies, her cat. He told her about his team and how they were getting better and better every day.
Hollis didn't know if it was the bourbon or the way he was leaning on the table, closer to her than he had been the entire night; she just felt the urge to touch him, feel his skin against hers in any way possible.
Before she could think about what she was about to do – if rational thought was still a possibility at all, her hand sneaked along the wooden surface of the table to grasp his and she leaned into him. It felt right when he didn't pull back, and she didn't want to think too long about it as her lips hovered over his, their breaths mingling.
"I'm really glad you came, Jethro." She whispered and before he could say anything more her mouth pressed gently against his, her tongue darting out to brush his lips tentatively.
She felt victorious when his lips parted and the kiss became hungry and passionate, fueled by her need to reacquaint herself with the taste that was uniquely his.
He kissed her back, his tongue seeking hers, the need for air long forgotten. And it seemed to last hours, before reality caught up with him and he was taken aback by the sudden appearance of another face in his mind. A face that wasn't that of the woman he was kissing.
As if stricken by lightning, Gibbs interrupted the kiss and pulled back, hazy eyes clearing fast, his hand slightly trembling as he pulled away from Hollis.
Her confused look, the pain in her eyes hit him like a brick falling from the sky and he couldn't bear to look at her as he rose from his chair.
"You're not leaving… are you?" She sounded frightened by the mere idea that he could just leave her there after what had just occurred between the two of them, but she knew him well enough to know that her question might as well have been rhetorical.
"It was a mistake, Hol. I'm sorry."
He didn't even take his coat, in his rush to get away from her.
He just fled.
It was late. Too late for Jenny Shepard to be still awake and reading, yet she was. And it was definitely too late for any kind of social call.
Yet she had most definitely not imagined that familiar knock on her door.
She didn't bother wearing any shoes, knowing exactly who it was, and she just went to open the door.
"Hi." She greeted, taking a tentative look at her partner's face.
"Can I come in?" Gibbs' eyes stared right into hers, and Jenny struggled to breathe when she saw the guilt, the sorrow and the pain within those blue orbs.
Nevertheless, she didn't ask any questions and just stepped aside to let him in.
The moment the door closed behind them, she was against the wall, Gibbs' mouth fiercely seeking hers, his hands squeezing her hips, almost painfully, as he crushed her smaller frame between the door and his own body. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she moaned, responding to the kiss with the same intensity.
She didn't want to know, not now. Perhaps she didn't want to know at all.
She just wanted to make it better.