Exploring the impossibilities
A kiss is just a kiss. Perhaps imaginative, even. Kate seems reluctant to face the truth. Ben has his means to make her see. ONE-SHOT
In my safe deposit, I have numerous things. But no certificate to ownership of this, I'm afraid.
Rating T for language and romantic scenes, no smut.
Kate looked up, hand on his shirt next to his tie, demanding some sort of explanation. She could feel his wildly beating heart under her hand.
"I'm sorry. I had to do that." Ben said, looking as dazed and baffled as she felt.
"Have a good tire… thing." Kate mumbled.
"Thank you." They both had severe difficulties to get their respective brains back to work properly. Usually, he'd have teased her about not remembering an easy thing such as tire balance. But in this dizzy state, there was not much he could focus on but her lips and how to connect with those again, as fast as possible.
"You're welcome." But Kate seemed to need distance, if the way she quickly withdrew her hand from his shirt was any indication. 'Oh my God – I just kissed Ben! How the hell did that happen?' rushed through her brain.
"Good night." Ben said, withdrawing into the elevator.
"Good night." He repeated, when Kate was too dazed to respond.
"Good night." Kate finally managed to say.
"Good night." Ben had stepped back, the elevator doors closing.
"Good night." Kate repeated, her face a study in confusion, but sweet as hell.
Ben knew that this expression on her face would haunt his dreams.
The next day
Kate stepped out of the elevator, spotted Ben standing a few paces to her left, and retreated inside the elevator box with the same swing as before, only in the opposite direction.
Ben was there. Ben, whom she had kissed the night before. Well, he kissed her first, and then she had responded. Eagerly. With tongue. And in earnest.
The memory of that kiss hadn't left her alone all night long, and after tossing and turning the better part of the night without getting any real sleep, she decided that it all had been only in her mind, and that Ben did not, in fact, kiss her. It was impossible.
Better she acted as if all this was only the product of her overactive imagination (she preferred to steadfastly ignore what that revealed in regards of her subconscious), than to face the reality of having kissed her co-worker. Her infuriating co-worker, who drove her up the walls on a daily basis, and who could be so charming that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. And he was challenging her, and he -
No. This had to stop. She couldn't afford thinking about him any longer. She already had enough on her plate to mess with her life as it was: her same-age stepmother, also her partner in her co-owned law firm, her ex-husband whom she met more often than was healthy in order to get over a failed marriage… oh, that was more than enough already.
So – Ben had to take a backseat. Period. She would flatly refuse to let him conquer her mind any further, and she would tell him in no uncertain terms that their whatever-that-was-yesterday ('The best kiss you had for a long time, including Justin', piped up a small voice in her head – she chose to stamp down this particular voice right this instant, never to be heard again in this century), was nothing remarkable, something co-workers did when they closed a case ('You never kissed Lauren after a case', the same voice pointed out, and somehow, if she was completely honest with herself, she hoped that Ben didn't, either). Ah crap. She'd make something up along the way, improvise. She was good at that.
So she chose to meet him head-on, and get this mess out of the way. For good.
"Ben, can I talk to you for a second?" She asked, stepping directly and deliberately in front of him.
"Sure, Katie, any time, with pleasure." Ben smiled, obviously pleased to see her seeking his proximity. "And before I forget: Do you want to go to dinner tonight?" he asked, pointing a finger at her (as if she could forget that he meant her).
"Um, look, Ben, that's exactly what I want to talk about." Kate took his arm and led him away from the main stream of people, who were milling in and out of the building, filling the offices and corridors for another long day.
For Kate, this was not like any other day. She needed to fix that. Instantly. So she tugged at Bens arm, and shoved him into a corner with relative privacy.
"Oh my, Katie, so eager to repeat yesterdays' experience? I agree, it was exceptionally good." Ben beamed and stepped closer to her, taking her hand in his.
"So this wasn't my imagination? We kissed for real? Oh, this is just great." Kate's voice left no room for interpretation that she was anything but thrilled at the prospect of in fact having to deal with the incident, against all hope to the contrary. There went one possible way of dealing with the situation.
Kate gently extricated her hand of his, and brushed her hands for a moment over her face. She needed a clear head, and her hand in his (warm, comforting, exciting, sensual… STOP.) distracted her too much.
Kate steeled herself to explain. "Listen Ben, I'm sure we can sort this out. It all was a product of the relief after a particularly strenuous case, and we both were tired and let ourselves be caught in a moment of… Oh well, I don't know, some kind of stress release, you know? Let's not over interpret anything here."
Ben had been following her words with mild interest, studying her face carefully. She didn't think that their kiss meant anything, did she? Only a moment's whim, with no consequences the next day? He thought they were past that stage, given their growing experiences with each other. He was careful though not to let his disappointment show. Perhaps there still was a way to coax her into admitting to their chemistry. Ben was used to take advantage of favorable circumstances, and even to create said circumstances. He decided to play along.
"Well, Katie, if you think that's all it was…." He let his voice trail off.
"Yes, I do. Glad to see we're on the same page." Kate jumped in to complete the sentence, relieved beyond measure (but somehow oddly disappointed) that Ben agreed to forget so quickly about their interlude.
"… then you will have no objection to submit your theory to a little test." Ben continued, still very calm and composed. He shielded her from the view of all passers-by, for which she was highly grateful, so none could see her blushing. No one but Ben, of course.
"What? - Theory? And what test?" Kate stuttered, caught at unawares.
"Well, if you think that our kiss was merely a product of a moment, then we can repeat it now. Here. The case is over, we are rested, and I feel no tension whatsoever." Liar, he told himself. To be near Kate without kissing her was pure torture. He missed her hand in his. 'Oh dear Lord, how pathetic am I. I sound like a 15 year old with his first crush.'
Quickly, his adult self took charge again. "So, let's make a bet. If it really is as you say, that we feel nothing when we kiss, then we will pretend as if nothing has happened. Neither now nor yesterday, … everything will be back to normal." As if, his mind supplied sarcastically. At least not for me.
"But if not…" he took a step closer and now filled all her vision. "If we both feel that there is something between us, then you allow me to take you to dinner."
Ben's face was inches apart from hers, and she could feel his breath on her face, his solid body emanating heat and his expensive cologne, blended with a scent that was uniquely him, was quite overwhelming. She looked up.
All she saw were his eyes, locked with hers, and tantalizingly close, coming ever closer. "Relax Katie, it's all in the name of science." Ben whispered, seeing her eyes slam shut as he let his lips ghost over hers.
He was deliberately slow this time, not making too much contact all at once, to learn the shape of her lips, letting her in turn get acquainted with his touch. He teased her mouth in slightly different angles, flittering lips and not touching her anywhere else than with his mouth. When he heard and felt her sigh against his lips, he grew bolder and took her into his arms.
He increased the pressure on her lips, teasingly coaxing with his tongue against her teeth to gain access, begging entrance.
She moaned deeply back in her throat, a sound which he feverishly wanted to hear again (all day and night, oh yes please, all day long), and granted his wish. Her arms slid around his neck, pulling him even closer.
His hands wandered up and down the sides of her body, both not caring that they were in a public building, where such behavior was highly inappropriate, and letting their tongues battle and dance. Kate shifted her body closer to his, needing even more contact and letting her hands roam in his hair and angling his head for better access, to drink him in and tasting him, like he was fresh water after almost dying of thirst in the desert. No one existed but the two of them, and time stood still.
"You'll be finding out if she had coffee yesterday, if your tongue continues its journey any further." A joking passers-by clapped Ben on the shoulder, startling both of their kissing-dazed bubble.
They looked at each other, both with an utter reluctance to let the daily business invade their perfect moment, and too brain-muddled to talk.
"Umm…." Ben started, feeling obligated to say something, but lacking enormously his usual broad vocabulary.
"Ehhh…." Kate wasn't faring any better.
Both stepped back a bit, bringing some space between their bodies.
'I would have jumped his bones if this jerk hadn't interrupted us.' Kate glared in the direction of the intruder. On second thought – she probably would have to thank him. Jumping co-workers in the middle of the hallway of a public building was NOT filed under "acceptable behavior", at least that's how she had been raised.
Finally, she was able to form a complete sentence. "Ah well, I'm glad that we did this. Now, back to work." She turned and was about to flee from him, when she felt his hand around his wrist.
"Nice try, Kate." Ben gently, but irresistibly pulled her back to him. Both minds were flooded with a memory of a similar movement, just a few hours ago, which led to their first kiss, and this one to the moment at hand.
"So, dear Kate, I guess I disproved your theory. Pick you up at eight, then." Ben said, kissing her wrist lightly.
With this, he strolled past her, leaving a shell-shocked Kate behind in his wake.
A/N: This story could go on, of course, but so far, I've not enough ideas for another chapter. My other story in this fandom isn't finished yet, and this idea was swirling around in my mind, so I decided to write it down.
Thanks to DoMaRi for the encouragement!