In case you didn't know, I am a pretty big believer that sexuality is fluid, and that with the right person anyone can love anyone, regardless of gender. So don't be offended that these are two gay people. My headcanon is that John is "straight," anyway, but that with Sherlock it doesn't matter. I personally cannot orient myself, for although I am a woman who likes men, I can't claim straightness. I am frequently aroused by women, but wouldn't call myself bisexual either. Orientation is pretty meaningless to me. Just putting that out there! Enjoy!

The rain's soft pattering on the roof of the car soundtracks the otherwise silent drive for a while. The woman sits in the passenger's seat with her hands folded in her lap, her eyes set forward and her jaw rather stiff. Though her expression is as firm and devilish as it ever was, her eyes are wide and wet. She keeps swallowing. Her unspoken thoughts are flooding Sherlock annoyingly. At a moment like this, he wishes he wasn't so observant. He doesn't really want to see this weakness in her. He likes the woman who shows no mercy, who doesn't want his help, who is hard and cold and strong-like him.

His decision to rescue her from certain death had been an instinctual one that went against all his better judgement. He wondered if he would have even made such a decision before John had come into his life, bringing with him a whole mess of sentimental values. Rapping his impatient thumbs on the steering wheel, he decides that this choice he'd made was a stupid one. Sentiment is a defect, a weakness only found in the losing side. He knew it, he'd proved it, yet there he is. Fury and regret are simmering low in his belly.

She sighs beside him and blinks a few times. Sherlock can tell, even with his eyes fixed determinedly on the road ahead of him. God, I hate driving. So boring. The irrational part of his mind considers swerving intentionally to make the ride a little more interesting, but the part of him that sounded remarkably like John warned against it.

But he's bored. Bored by his ridiculously human sentiment, bored by the endless stretch of grey before him, bored by the woman's silence, and the steady tinker of drizzle on the roof.

Peering at her out of the corner of his eye, Sherlock takes in the data of the new glare she has fixed on him. She has composed herself at last, and Sherlock is simply pleased he is no longer forced to touch the shock she had been radiating for the last twenty minutes.

"I've got to say, I'm a little surprised, Mr. Holmes," she says, shattering the painfully dull droll of the rain at last. Sherlock's ears are grateful for it.


The woman's lips curl into a devious smile, while the rest of her face remains tactfully still. Ah, she's good, Sherlock thinks, finally reminded of the woman he'd first met-the skillfully data-free Dominatrix without a trace of her past written in any line. Impossible to read, and delightfully interesting; this was why he had saved her. Now he could remember. His fidgeting hands fall motionless on the steering wheel, and he grips it diligently, refocusing his gaze on the road.

"Mr. Holmes," she purrs, and he is disturbed and irritated as she leans gracefully in her seat towards him, taking care to direct her breath so it rustles his hair and warms his ear. An uncontrollable shiver creeps down his spine-an unpreventable physiological reaction, he reminds himself. "You saved my life. After bringing me down without a second thought, yes; it is surprising. I never thought you were one for sentiment."

"It's not sentiment," Sherlock seethes. "I was just in the neighborhood."

This actually elicits a genuine laugh from the woman. "Oh, admit it, Holmes. I got to you. Just a little. Go on." She takes her bottom lip (coated in fading red lipstick) between her teeth. Her eyes narrow a bit, and the exhale through her nose tickles Sherlock's long neck. He reaches up to scratch the spot, and she kisses the back of his hand.

When he brings his grip back to the wheel, he can see a clear lip print there. He is indifferent to its presence, but the woman seems pleased by it. She rests her head on his shoulder, and his lip curls. He's not sure what the appropriate physiological response is to an action like this, but the flutter in his stomach is reminiscent of the feeling he'd experienced back at Baker Street those months ago when she'd kissed his cheek wearing nothing but that robe. He knows it is natural-just a body's response to closeness.

He thinks of John: the way John sputtered nonsensically at the woman's nudity when they'd first met her. He thinks of the way John stares at women, and the way he sometimes stares at Sherlock as well. Ah, Sherlock thinks pleasantly, allowing himself a tiny smile. He does rather enjoy John's suppressed attraction. He always knows when he provokes physical reactions in John, and he's always pleasantly amused by them when he does.

This, however, is quite different for Sherlock. Lying one's head on another's shoulder? He's had lovers in the past, and experienced physiological reactions from them and in response to them, but never had he felt such gentleness, and never from a woman. In university, it had always been men for him, and while everyone threw themselves at the unsurpassed gorgeousness of the mysterious Sherlock Holmes, he only ever took a few privileged men to his bed, and only for experiments. No; there had never been love in Sherlock's like, and there had certainly never been women. There was only ever her-the woman.

As though she can read his thoughts, she smiles against his shoulder. "I prefer women," she said.

"That's nice," says Sherlock lightly, not understanding or really caring.

"I know you're not the virgin they all think you are," she says. "I can tell. But you've never been with a woman, have you?"

He doesn't bother to lie. "No."

"Only men?"


Her smile broadens, and he can feel her glow. He breathes in deeply. She's so warm, and smells rather nice. She smells like sweat and pheromones under a flowery scent he understands to be her lotion. It's powerful and a little dizzying. "But not John?"

Sherlock gives an unintentional twitch. "No." He's thought about it, but what they have now, this friendship and this partnership, is adequate. Why change what works? John is better off thinking his flat mate really is the asexual virgin he's pitted to be. "Not John," he adds quietly. His voice a low, sweet rumble as the familiar name trickles off his tongue in a way that makes him feel comforted and at home in the unfamiliar atmosphere.

"Why not?"

He doesn't answer.

"I've been with men, despite my disposition," she says coolly, blinking slowly and lifting her head from his shoulder to stare down the side of his head. "I know what everyone likes. I can always tell, regardless of gender, and men come to me for the same reason women do, as you know."

"Why are you telling me this?"

The woman sneers. "You know already," she says, daring him.

"You are attracted to me," Sherlock blurts. He can never refuse the opportunity to show off how well he can read people. "You are as attracted to me as you are to women, and it's uncomfortable to you."

"Gay, but smitten with you, Mr. Holmes," she sighs, breathing his surname in a gentle puff onto the sensitive skin behind his ear. He shivers again, his lips parting in a sharp intake of breath. She grins widely at this. "Sherlock Holmes," she purrs reverently. "The only man who's ever beaten me, and the only one who ever will."

"And you: the only woman who's ever been close to escaping me."

The woman falls quiet for a second. Sherlock can practically hear her brain working as she tenses up. "You are going to hand me over, aren't you?" she breathes.

Sherlock feels inclined to tell her yes, just to document her reaction. Would she be stoic and accepting while hiding her how upset she is? Probably. But I'd know, and it would be awful. Would she be outwardly angry with me? Probably not. Would she not mind, and simply be grateful to be alive? Likely.

But Sherlock has no plan to have her taken into custody. The world will think her dead after tonight, and that's fine. "Why would I do that?" Her exhale is full of relief. "You will not blackmail anyone anymore. The world assumes you dead, now. You cannot take up your old business, because you will, of course, be recognized and eventually recaptured. You must go into hiding, and you know it, so there is little logic to turning you in."

The woman's lips touch his cheek for the second time since they'd met, but the kiss is slower than last time. The pressure lingers for at least ten seconds, which tick by achingly slowly for Sherlock. Her breath sends tingles over him, and the gentle touch makes his torso feel rather like he's been dipped in some warm, numbing liquid. He doesn't like it. As she pulls away, and her lips draw back wet and pursed, a familiar stir nags at Sherlock's groin. Skillful man that he is, he suppresses the feeling. Damn that woman.

"Thank you," she says silkily in a way that causes Sherlock's chest to constrict. Ah. He remembers there reactions. These are reactions he'd only ever experienced in response to the dashing young boys at his university (who begged and whined for him to fuck them, calling him brilliant and extraordinary until afterward, when he rudely deduced some point of weakness for them and they'd flee, much to Sherlock's delight. Sherlock had preferred it that way).

Now, the pleasant rumble in his lower belly is a little disturbing to him. He tightens his grip on the steering wheel so his knuckles whiten slightly. "Mm," he grunts, not knowing what else to say.

Her lips find his earlobe slyly. Sherlock lets out an involuntary gasp as the wet tongue sensually traces the curve of his ear. Thoroughly light-headed, Sherlock's deft suppression lifts a bit, so the excitement peeks over its barrier and he becomes half erect in his trousers as the warm enveloping contact now works its way down his lengthy neck. The feeling is excruciatingly awkward while driving. He blinks furiously, swallowing hard and trying desperately to tune out the tongue lapping at his skin. He needs to concentrate on the goddamned road.

He clears his throat. "Could you stop that?" he asserts, his voice tense. "I am driving, you know."

"You don't have to be," she breathes, and Sherlock wants desperately to shut her up. This cannot end well, if she keeps this up. He knows what she wants. She's not exactly transparent, but she's not exactly trying to hide this desire, either.

He does not care to fuck her, but she's not altogether unpleasing, he supposes, and judging by the dreadful pulse between his legs, his body does not object to her. He rather hopes she does not press further; he is unsure that he can resist her lithe form pressing into him. It had been a very long time since he had gotten off, after all, and she was clever, yes, very clever, the way she'd nearly brought the British government to its knees, and oh, Sherlock realizes, that's what roused my long-dorment pull of attraction: that mind of hers. If any woman could beat me... it would be this one, and that... that is why I'm drawn toward her, if you can call it that.

He clears his throat, forcing his demeanor to be stony and fixed again. "But I am. We need to get out of this country, you need to go into hiding, and I need to go home."

"So eager to get back to your sweet John?" the woman teases, her voice sing-song but low and sultry. "He's a lucky man. Wish I could be so lucky. There's no one else like you, Sherlock." Her use of his first name does not escape his notice. In fact, the way she hums the word is tantalizing and slow, as though she's tasting it as she speaks it. Her eyelids are heavy; her lips are pushed out into a pout. Sherlock is annoyed at her for all of these things, especially for the way her pupils are blown wide, dominating her irises. He imagines that her pulse is racing, too. How typical. How boring. She isn't boring, though, piped up a minor part of Sherlock's brain. He shoots it down.

"That's true," he snaps in a voice packed full of agitation. "There is no one like me. But there is also no one like you." He regrets saying this immediately, and curses himself silently for letting himself speak without thinking.

"Yes. Look at us both. Too clever for anyone else in our fields. Orientations all torn up because of each other."

"I don't know what you mean."

The woman smirks. "Oh, come now, Mr. Holmes," she says playfully, amusement dancing in her low tone, "I think you know exactly what I mean." She places a hand on his chest, and something in Sherlock's gut begins to rumble- something alive and monstrous in a dark, forgotten cave, just starting to wake from half a decade of rest.

Her soft fingers slither down his front, tickling gently so he sucks his stomach in at the shock of her touch. No one touches him like that until he tells them to, but this woman could not be told. This woman- the woman- does what she pleases when she pleases, and Sherlock's body is not complaining despite his mind's quiet rage. But-Ah! Sherlock's defenses come down all at once as she palms the bulge in his trousers. He lets out a little hiss, a slight tinge creeping up the pallid flesh of his long face.

"I..." He swallows, his lips trembling as he struggled to find words, but he's not sure what to say. He never wanted this. He just wanted to delve into her mind and dig through the parts that made her tick, to be the only one to beat her, to not let her be one of those to get away. Yet as her fingers gently stroke the length of his cock through the fabric of his trousers, he can't stop himself from wanting it anymore. God, he just can't. Immune to women he may be, and brilliantly clever at suppressing need he may be, but his body still functions like any man, and despite everything, Sherlock still wants sometimes. And god does he want now. "I'm... still... driving," he manages with difficulty.

"Tisk tisk, Mr. Holmes. I told you: you need not be driving. You can pull over. Pull over, Sherlock. Pull over and let me thank you. Let me say goodbye. Properly." The words drip from her like honey, filling Sherlock's ears so his brain feels clogged with sticky, sensuous temptation.


The road ahead, simply stretching on and on in front of them, is hard to concentrate on when the woman in the passenger's seat is being so delightfully interesting to Sherlock. As her grip tightens, his vision goes a little fuzzy, and his uncontrollable squirm is the evidence he needs to realize that he has no power in her hands. He is putty under her gaze. He needs to pull over.

He turns off the road slowly, keeping his hands as steady as he can on the wheel. Sherlock notices the distinct difference in traction as they veer onto the dirt (slowly becoming mud in the light rain), and recognizes the change in volume as they lose momentum. When he parks, it takes him several long seconds of sitting in silence before he can look at her. When he does, she is smiling. He glares, as though she's made him pull over against his will.

"Why, when you could have let me be killed, did you bother to save me?"

Sherlock lowers his head just a little, his eyes still fixed avidly on the woman's so that their intense gazes are locked in battle. He remains silent.

"Were you trying to one-up me? Is that it, Sherlock?"

Still, he says nothing.

"Did you want to be the one who beat me, and the one who could save my life and steal my last dignity? Beat the dead horse, as they say? Were you bored?"

He smirks, and still says nothing. He does not know how to respond, for once. That was always the case with the woman. She was one of the only people who could evoke incoherence from him. She, and sometimes John, were always the only ones who could render him speechless by reading him too well. Sadly, the woman is better at it than John, and she is a criminal. No hope there. But is there hope with John? Sherlock's stomach churns and files the thought away for later.

The woman leans forward. She is covered in a simple black underdress, but the amount of skin that does show is taunting for Sherlock. He vaguely remembers how it feels to brush skin on skin in an intimate setting like this, how electrifying it can be, how stimulating for the nerves and brain cells. He does not notice that his mouth is hanging open, nor that his pupils have dilated and his cock is straining. But she has. Of course she has. Her thin lips drift into a wide grin, devious and just a bit victorious.

She is so close to him, now. Too close. So close that his brain is whirring in overdrive trying to absorb the data of her body language, her telling eyes, her lips from this vantage point (barely an inch from his own). "Shall I take your pulse this time, Mr. Holmes? What do you think that would tell us? Hm? What do you think?"

Sherlock shudders visibly, and just as a wave of embarrassment crashes over him, her lips meet his.

The sensation is certainly new. He has kissed men before, but it was always hard and rough and needy and all about now, now, now, yes, fuck me now, fuck my mouth with yours and then fuck me, damn it. This is nothing like that. It is soft and plush and her tiny moan against the hard line of his mouth makes his heart tug because this is the last time they will ever see each other. After this, he will drop her at the next city, and she will be gone forever (though that is not to say that Sherlock could not find her again if he so desired, clever as he is). This knowledge somehow holds him there, keeping the kiss in place. It has no logic to it, and he is kicking himself mentally for giving in to such a mundane human want, but it would be a waste of effort to hold himself back. He needs the release. And hey, maybe John is growing on me. Maybe it is sentiment. Sherlock's lip curls a little at this thought, and the movement against the woman's lips is the fuel he needs.

He lunges, his hand threading into her dark mess of hair and forcing her head closer. It is he who initiates with his tongue. He plays with her- seeing what she will and will not accept from him. She-the powerful Dominatrix-accepts it willingly to his great surprise. His delight at this new information makes him groan, and she lets out a laugh into his open mouth. "There you go, Sherlock. There's a good boy. I knew you had this in you." She is short of breath, and as she finishes her last sentence, Sherlock steals what's left from her lungs with his strong mouth. His free massive hand engulfs the side of her face, pale skin standing out even whiter against the woman's blushing cheek. She is swaying on the spot.

Sherlock is shaking off his coat onto the driver's seat where he's still awkwardly positioned, his tongue never releasing from its wild battle with the woman's cavernous mouth. He is a scientist; an explorer, and gatherer of data. He is cataloguing every texture of her tongue and teeth and roof to store away in a box labeled "useless physicality" which he'd stow away in a corner of his mind palace another time.

Minutes pass of this dance before the woman gathers the logic to move them. She takes him by the hands and slides between the seats to settle in the back, and he follows silently, cheeks burning hot at his instinctual obedience toward her. The moment they are together again, she shoves him backward. He is stunned and immobilized by her strength, and falls upon the leather seat without a fuss. His lips are swollen, wet, and worn. His breathing is uneven. He has not felt this lust in years, but he remembers it well.

The woman straddles him. Beneath her tiny dress there is only a thin layer of cotton undergarment separating her from the pressing bulge in his trousers. She settles herself directly on top of it, her hand keeping his chest down, and begins to move. Her head is thrown back and her lips are pursed as she rocks slowly atop him in a rhythm that is inciting Sherlock's cock to weep for her beneath its confines. He is struggling not to groan. His brow is furrowed deeply, and his eyes are cold but dazzling. He knows he's beautiful. It has always been an asset in getting things he wants out of people. WIth her, however- the woman- he feels betrayed by his appearance. Perhaps this would not be happening, confusing their hearts and heads, if only he had been less appealing.

"Stop," she says suddenly.

He glares. "Stop what? I've done nothing."

"You're thinking, Sherlock. I can tell. You need to stop, and let me thank you. Let me take you away and give you the proper gratitude for saving my life." On the last word, she grinds hard against his cock, and he cannot help himself anymore- he cries out. She laughs. "There we go, boy. I knew you'd get used to it."

"Stop talking," and Sherlock's voice is a dangerous growl. The woman looks intrigued, but her expression slides with impressive speed into one of shock and then to pleasure as he grabs her round the waist, pulls her into his strong grasp, and flips her easily. She is so small in his massive arms, he could crush her. It would be so easy. Too easy. He wouldn't. No; he is too curious about her body, about what information he can gather from the landscape of her skin and the depths between her legs. Ah, her legs. They are spread around Sherlock's waist. He is thrusting against her, cursing the fabric which kept them apart, but not stopping. She is biting her lip, her eyes shiny and telling of desire.

She is anxious and needing it badly. He doesn't need his powers of deduction to see that plain as day. Her hands are grasping at his belt, and her hips are rocking forward to meet the thrusts of the consulting detective. It is a frenzy of clothed humping, each too taken under by their thoughts and physiological needs to be bothered with undressing. Sherlock had not been this lust-addled in nearly five years, and now the oxytocin is stealing his brain. It is amazing to him how little he minds it. The woman writhing beneath his is all he can focus on, and he finds himself letting out small breathy grunts into her parted lips. She devours his noises eagerly as though each one were some gift for her to keep.

Sherlock helps her work his belt off him, and as she fumbles with his button and zipper, he reaches down between them to touch her. Her knickers, cotton with a polyester blend, are thin and soaked through. He gasps at the moisture, and pulls his mouth away from her for a second. She laughs. "Different?"

He nods.

"You'll like it."

He nods again, completely overpowered and mind-controlled by the chemical lust driving him on. His long fingers stroke the outside of the fabric, and he considers the shape of her folds through the fabric, learning and analyzing quickly. They both grow rather still as he moves the fabric to the side after a few strokes, and gently slides the tip of his middle finger along the length of her. The wetness leaks onto his hand. She is steady as a board, but Sherlock finds himself quivering at this new contact. His breath catches. She smiles encouragingly.

The detective plunges with his hand, and the woman moans heartily. She grasps wildly all around her, unable to get a grip on anything, and the squeaking sound of fingernails on leather as she makes the effort is really grating, but they ignore it. Sherlock's longest finger is buried inside the woman, and his cock is throbbing jealously. "Yes," he sighs without thinking, and in goes a second finger.

Sherlock Holmes is a fast learner, and there is nothing to be said against that. He presses, he thrusts, he rubs and shakes and destroys the woman inside until she is a wanton mess beneath his crushing body. "Oh!" she yelps as his fingers stroke a delightful spot which causes her to go red. "Oh, Mr. Holmes. Yes. You've bloody got it."

"Not exactly hard to figure out," he growls, and this causes the woman to buck upward with her hips and force his buttocks down with her claws. She wants it, and she wants it bad. There is no mistaking the signs, and Sherlock is more than ready to give her what she is asking for. He cannot wait for the clothes to come off. He simply can't. His trousers come down just enough with a violent wriggle, and the woman's knickers are shoved to one side.

He has felt her inside with his long, deft fingers, and he knows how prepared she is to accommodate his generous length. The rest is easy and swift. The two are so desperate and mad in this fit of passion and goodbye that little time is wasted on foreplay. The head of Sherlock's cock presses against the warm wet surface of her cunt. He is leaking painfully against her burning slit, twitching and trembling in an instinctual begging gesture. The woman sighs from the heat of their contact, her eyes fluttering closed for a moment to treasure the soft sensation. Then she gives him a single nod as the go-ahead, and Sherlock sinks.

His heart is a bass drum, deep and rhythmic like the motion of his hips, and deafening in his ears. His whole head is pulsing with the beat, and his breathing is jagged. He has not felt this brand of adrenaline in so long. He has forgotten the euphoric fire of entering a person, but oh, he thinks,this is easy to recall. This is beautiful. This is perfect. This is warm and wet and engulfing, and like falling backwards into a blissful void of thoughtlessness.

Delicate fingers are in his hair, tugging hard at the base of his scalp to bring him closer, but he does not move. The only part of him he allows her to control is his hips, which she has in her grasp, pushing hard into her so that he's buried as deep as he can be within the embrace of her cunt. She is dripping around him, wetting their thighs. A low-key ache is pounding in his every nerve, crying to get out in a rush of sensation, and he revels in this feeling. He hasn't felt it in a long time, and he may never again. Certainly not with her. This fuck is it for them. This is goodbye, and it is everything it should be: hot, fast, overwhelming, desperate, and violently passionate. The finality of it spurs their bodies to thrash and twist together in a wild flame, grunts and moans flying in the confined space of the car like harmless echoing bullets. The sound of the rain growing louder on the roof of the car is drowned out.

He fucks her hard into the leather seat beneath her, pounding them both into a state of extraordinary pleasure. His devastating eyes are glossed over and crazed with greed. She is as mad as he is in this furious dance, and the two bodies are hardly distinguishable from one another as their legs cross and their arms envelop. Her head is limp, her eyes closed tightly against the oncoming waves of ecstasy. He is relentless in this rough fucking, eager to absorb her into him and understand the data of a woman's climax- the woman's climax, for she is no ordinary woman, and he cannot group her as such.

Then, all at once, the hot suction of her cunt is shuddering around him, soft and needy. There is a quiver that shoots through her and into him. He breathes calmingly against her neck as she clenches her jaw, her eyes rolling up. He knows it's coming. He senses every muscle in her small figure tensing and shaking and then suddenly a rush of heat engulfs him, and he is pulled in further. She lets out a low groan. It cracks in her throat and lengthens on its way up the scale as it becomes a full fledged crying scream of pleasure. Sherlock is shaken to his core by the sound. It is absurdly real and honestly resembles a goodbye.

He answers it with a deep baritone growl, and sinks his teeth into her neck. His tongue slithers against her skin and her scream is paused. It has hit a volume so high that she has gone silent for a moment from the pressure in her vocal chords, but then it breaks and the scream returns in short bursts, going off in time with every hard thrust he gives her. His cock feels good, god so good, so fucking good, yes, let me stay burrowed inside her warm cunt forever, oh god, but it cannot last.

Sherlock's orgasm rips through him hard, and he nearly obliterates her with his strength as he shoots into her, never once easing up on his violent rhythm as he comes in great sweeping waves. He bites his lip, allowing a long, deep grunt to escape him, but nothing more. His eyes are clenched shut, and he is seeing stars.

When he collapses on top of her, she groans from the pressure, but makes no indication of wanting him to leave. In fact, she wraps her arms around him and hugs him close.

"Thank you, Mr. Holmes," says the woman breathlessly. Her chest is rising and falling dramatically against him.

He revels in the feeling of her body close beneath him. He so rarely gets to experience another person's warmth this way, and he will be a little...what? Disappointed when it's over? He doesn't know. His heart is banging fast against his ribs and his brain's a little muddled, so he allows himself this moment of inability to think straight. He sighs against her collarbone, nuzzling it with the bridge of his nose as the sweat beads on both bodies.

It is another couple of minutes before the thought of John provokes Sherlock to get up at last. She was silent the whole time he lay there, stroking his hair affectionately until he moves away from her, and then her lips become a thin line. She looks sad. He ignores this, zipping himself up, and avoiding looking at her face.

When he clambers back into the front seat, the woman pushes herself up where she is to gaze at him in the reflection of the rearview mirror. He does not exchange the look. He wants this to be the end. He wants her to go and be free so he can privately stew in the victory that he beat her, saved her, and forced her into hiding-that he is the only man to dominate the Dominatrix who had a whole country at her mercy.

Never mind the creeping flush in his cheeks or the steady throbbing of his heart and groin. He just wants her gone. He revs the engine.

She sighs, and does not bother to follow him into the front of the car. She merely sits back as he begins to drive, staring down at her knees, recognizing whole-heartedly her final defeat.

They stop at the next city just outside the country limits, and the woman gets out of the car silently. When she bends down to speak to him through the window, he interrupts her with a single gesture. He extends his hand to her. She understands. Raindrops slide down her face and arms as she responds.

Her mobile phone is cool in his warm palm. As he stuffs it in his pocket and looks away, the woman straightens her posture and walks away without a word. There is no goodbye they could exchange that would be better than what they'd already shared in the backseat of the rental.