Title Windows and Doors
AN thinking about making this a multi-piece fic, but... haven't made up my mind yet, so for now, this is it.
Warnings – none
Disclaimer – on profile.
"... and then you just... make your little donation, and your part is done."
"My part is done?" He snorted, and then he shook his head and redirected his focus to the bigger issue. "Soph – this is a dumb idea. A dumb idea that you should probably be hittin' up Nate about, instead of me."
"It's NOT a dumb idea. It's... I... Nate is wrapped up in Maggie now. They're..., working on putting the pieces back together... and," her eyes widened and her lips tightened into a forced smile, "and they should be together. The two of them. I – I've come to realize that."
Eliot looked over at Sophie, trying to decipher from the shade of her eyes and the set of her jaw if she actually believed what she was saying, or if she was just trying to convince him..., or herself.
"I've let enough time pass by, waiting for 'something'," she sniffed and unwrapped her arms from her frame. Dropping her hand to the chair she stood next to, she picked a piece of lint off of the dark material. "...I've spent enough time waiting for Nate." She lifted her eyes to Eliot's. "I'm done waiting. I'm moving on."
"Ever heard of baby-steps?" He cringed at his unconscious choice of words.
Sophie smiled. "I can't afford baby-steps; I've wasted too much time as it is." She moved her hand along the chair's headrest. "In case you weren't aware, we women – unlike you men - don't have the luxury of just popping out a baby whenever we want to. We have a window. And my window is closing."
"Your window's not -"
"It's blood-well closing Eliot!"
He tried another tack, "So you finally decide you're 'over Nate'" he air quoted the phrase, "and the first thing you want to do is get pregnant?"
"No, the first thing I wanted to do when I realized Nathan and I were over was to curl up in a ball and never leave my damn apartment." She moved forward and plopped – as much as Sophie Devereaux could ever plop – into the wingback chair. "I spent a whole weekend in a t-shirt and sweatpants." She leaned forward, her elbows on her knees, her eyes on the ground. "Me! A bloody t-shirt and sweatpants!"
Eliot chuckled at the thought. Sophie could pull off any look she wanted to, but he was pretty damn surprised that she even owned a pair of sweats. She answered his unspoken question as she continued.
"They were Nathan's." She lifted her eyes, her hair still hanging as a curtain in front of them. "On day three, I had a lovely cleansing ceremony involving fire starter and a metal garbage pail." She lowered her head again, but not before Eliot saw a faint, bitter smile grace her lips. "The second thing I wanted to do when I realized Nate and I were over, was go on a shopping spree. And I did that. See these Christian Louboutin's?"
She extended her foot and leg for his perusal, and he let his eyes trail over the curve of her calf and the turn of of her foot even though he'd already taken in her outfit, her shoes, her make-up - all of her – when he arrived at her place twenty minutes ago. He was, beyond being an astute observer/hitter, a man. And Sophie, Sophie had nice legs.
He looked but didn't say anything.
"Yes, well, I have them in red and blue as well." Looking back up at Eliot, her smile softened, "and now that I've fully shopped the bloody man out of my system? I need to move on. Move forward."
Eliot settled onto the coffee table across from Sophie. "With a baby?"
Her smile broadened. "With a baby."
He pushed back again. "Okay so, so you want to have a child, and you've ruled out Nate. Why... what the hell made you think I'd be willing to do this?" He stood up and walked to the other side of the room. "They have 'banks' for this kind of thing... You know... where they sell the stuff you, uh, need for this kinda thing. And they let you pick... I mean you could pick someone... someone else," he offered a self-deprecating smile. "Someone taller."
Sophie laughed at the normally unflappable Eliot's aversion to the words: sperm/sperm banks. Schooling her features she responded, "True, but I wouldn't know the father then."
"You'd know enough. You'd know their eye color, and I think they give you the guy's education level, and blood type and -"
Sophie stood up, "Could they tell me if he was a good man?" She took a few steps in Eliot's direction. If I used a sperm bank, I wouldn't have any way of knowing if the father of my child was a good man, and oddly enough, even though I'm a grifter, having a child who has a good father is important to me... I know that you're a good man, Eliot.."
Eliot made himself stand still. And then he made himself ignore the scent of Sophie's perfume. And finally, he made himself avoid the argument he wanted to make regarding his own value, or lack thereof. He, instead, grasped at straws. "Hardison. What about Hardison?"
He answered his own question at the same time that Sophie did.
"She's a sweet girl, but I don't think she'd be willing to share him with me."
Eliot let a small chuckle escape him. "Parker definitely ain't the sharin' type."
Sophie took two steps closer to Eliot. "So that leaves... you."
And he once again made himself stand still. And he once again tried to make himself ignore the scent of her perfume. But this time, this time the flashes of what he'd done... what he did... what he would continue to do, couldn't be avoided, "I'm sorry Soph, but I'm not the right person... Choosin' me ain't... I -"
And then he made the mistake of looking into her eyes. Her dark eyes.
Perhaps she was playing him. The perfume. The fitted skirt. The 'just there' cleavage. The 'woman-is-my-middle-name' heels. The closeness.
Perhaps she was playing him.
But her eyes.
Her eyes read true to him. Her eyes were pleading with him. 'Closing window' or not, Sophie wanted a baby.
He knew he was second choice. If Nate hadn't turned to Maggie. If Nate weren't a complete and total idiot when it came to Sophie – she'd be asking Nate to father her child. Hell if Nate weren't an idiot, Nate and Sophie would be going at it like rabbits and makin' themselves a baby – the old-fashioned way.
But Nate Ford was a blind idiot. At least when it came to Sophie. Always had been.
So, unfortunately for Sophie, she was left with the runner up.
… yeah. It had been a total and complete miscalculation on his part to look Sophie Devereaux in the eyes. Good. Bad. Evil. No matter what label belonged on him, Sophie needed him. And he'd never ever been the type of man who could turn down a woman in need.