The SAS And The Glam That Goes With It
Outside, there was a distinct chill as the sun set. A breeze was stirring the litter in the back alley gently, sending paper and wrappers skittering along the cobbles and raising gooseflesh on her bare arms. Sam set her glass and the bottle on the windowsill and perched herself on top of the bins, hidden in the ivy that coated the back of the gallery building. Above her, the setting sun painted the sky in vivid hues, lighting up the patchy clouds in shades of lilac, pink and gold. It was truly magnificent, and for a moment, Sam forgot all about her troubles. She sighed and closed her eyes, leaning her head back against the cool stone.
Part of her felt like carrying on out of the back of the gallery and sneaking off down the alley, a solution that conveniently avoided having to speak to Price, or Gaz, who for some reason, seemed to be determined to make her life miserable. Why did he invite Price? She opened her eyes and her brow furrowed as she thought. Perhaps he's trying to tell you that you're not welcome?She groaned. She had thought that he liked her.
Sam knocked back her wine and poured herself another. She stared down the narrow, fluted glass, watching the bubbles rise and sparkle across the surface. Bollocks. She thought. She wasn't ready for this yet. She wasn't even sure if she was ever going to be ready for it, but if she had been, this wouldn't be what she wanted. She had wanted to see Price, but not like this. She hadn't wanted to bump into him wearing make-up that not even a well-meaning liar would call gothic, and veering slowly from tipsy into drunk.
As she considered her situation, a fat ginger tomcat detached itself from the shadow of the yard opposite and slunk across the cobbles towards her. It ducked into the crevice between the bins and the wall and, with a clatter, leapt onto the bin beside her. Settling onto its haunches, it mewed.
"Hello, puss!" She said.
The cat looked at her like it was waiting for something.
"I've only got wine!" She laughed and tickled its ears. It stretched its neck back, sniffing at her hand. She smiled. Its fur was warm and soft under her fingers. She scratched its back, smoothing the fur, and stroking along its tail.
The door to the shop creaked open and Sam jumped. The cat leapt from the bins and darted towards the noise, jumping over her legs in a single bound. Sam followed it to where it stopped, at a foot leaning out into the doorstep, the body still in the kitchen. She looked at the brown brogue and followed the slim leg up as the person stepped out into the yard. Her heart leapt into her throat: it was Price.
Sam froze. He was looking at the cat, who had seated himself expectantly beside the doorstep. It stared back at him and mewed plaintively, a noise that Sam knew was deliberately constructed for maximal feline gain. Price stared at it for a few moments, and then he crouched down with a grunt, dangling one of Gaz's miniature sausages, still impaled on a cocktail stick, in front of its nose.
He hadn't noticed Sam and she wasn't sure what she should do. She wondered if she should say something, but anxious fear held her paralysed. Perhaps he might go away if she kept quiet, or go back inside for another nibble and then she could make a run for it? She bit her lip, considering her options. Bollocks!
The cat grabbed the sausage and Price laughed under his breath. Sam looked at his face as he was distracted. He had the same strong profile, dominated by his Roman nose. The moustache had evolved into a full, neatly-trimmed beard that flowed into his sleek, short hair. She thought this looked even better. A small knot of excitement tightened in her belly and then she was cross with herself for being so pathetic.
She watched as he stroked along the cat's back, rubbing the fur underneath his hand. The other hand rested on his bent leg, and she noticed with a start the bandage over his wrist. Had he hurt himself in the siege? She felt guilty, she hadn't even considered this possibility and feelings of concern for him overrode the prickly remains of her anger at his words.
Stiffly, like he was in pain, he sat down on the doorstep. He rested his jacket across his knees and pulled out a slim silver case. Opening it, he tipped a thin cigar into his hand and then replaced the case into his jacket. He was still looking at the cat as he cut off the tip and bent his head to light it, the glow of the lighter casting an orange flare on his face. She watched him lean back against the door frame as he inhaled and closed his eyes.
Sam shifted back, a flush of shame rising. She felt like a voyeur. He sagged against the doorframe, his eyes still closed, like he was asleep. There was something intimate about watching him when he thought there was no one else there, innocently resting. She was slightly ashamed of the tiny flutter she felt as she stared at him, thinking that this would be what he would look like if he was sleeping beside her. Despite the coolness in the shadowed yard, she felt her face flushing.
It was too late to announce her presence without it being awkward. She bit her lip. How long did it take to smoke a cigar? She craned round again, trying to see if he was any more likely to leave and then the bin lid shifted under her weight, knocking her off balance and making an ugly clanging noise. Price's head jerked up and he saw her for the first time.
"Jesus!" he exclaimed.
They stared at each other for a few seconds.
"Why are you hiding in the bins?" asked Price, eventually.
Sam felt angry embarrassment flooding over her. Her face burned. "I wasn't hiding." said Sam "I was just... sitting." She looked away, mortified. This wasn't how it had worked out in her head: a scenario that had involved a mature but informal reconciliation in the hours of daylight, possibly with coffee. Bins had not featured largely in it.
She thought about what she had wanted to say. It had been a lot easier in her head, when he wasn't actually there, looking at her with an expression of boyish surprise on his face. He was handsome, and now that he was staring at her with his piercing pale eyes, she felt the tingle of gooseflesh rise on her arms. She stared at her feet for a few seconds, not sure what to do.
"I shouldn't have called you a liar." He said, matter-of-factly.
"No." said Sam, slightly taken aback by this sudden, honest admission. Her train of thought derailed.
There was an awkward silence. There were so many things that she wanted to say and none of them seemed right.
"I should apologise."
"Yes." said Sam. The phrase came out a lot more brusquely than she had anticipated and she bit her lip. "It's all right." she said, more softly. "I know we both under a lot of strain. I'm... I'm sorry about Donnie."
Price looked at her, his expression tinged with sadness and cocked his head to one side, as if he was considering this statement.
"I was telling the truth, on the phone, about why I didn't answer your call. It's not about... Harriet." She hated saying the name out loud. "I mean, not that it didn't come as a bit of shock, but I appreciate why you didn't want to tell me right away. I mean, we barely know each other."
Price rolled the cigar in his fingers ruefully and let her continue.
"I had to think for a bit." she said. It was hard to find the words for what she was trying to say. Everything seemed awkward. What was the right way to tell him that she liked the way he made her feel without sounding like a mad woman? "I mean... I had a good time... with you and..."
"Did you really worry about me?" he cut her off.
"Yes. Yes I did. Quite a lot actually, I suppose."
He regarded her thoughtfully. "I really blew it then, didn't I?" He took a long drag on his cigar and breathed a long plume of smoke into the air. Sam could smell the sweet smell of the tobacco from where she stood at the other side of the doorway.
He stood up, pushing against the wood of the doorframe for support. He stubbed the cigar out against the brick and flicked the stub into the weeds by his feet. "Did you mean what you said on the phone?" he asked. "That you weren't going to worry any more?" His gazed flickered across her face.
Sam pursed her lips, embarrassed at the memory of her breakdown in the recovery room "I was angry, and there was a lot going on. Maybe... I would have liked to mean it at the time."
"I wanted to call you." said Price, suddenly. "But it didn't seem right, and I was worried you wouldn't answer, and that you meant what you said. I only came to this-" he nodded back towards the gallery door, his tone implying his general indifference to Vivianne's show "-because Gaz said Viv had asked you to come."
I will kill Gaz. Thought Sam, closing her eyes. I will take that bloody melon and I will-
"I just thought the worst, and things kind of snowballed..." He looked down at his feet, scuffing the toe of his shoe against the cobbles like he was nervous. He walked forward as he spoke until he was just a few feet from Sam. She watched him pitifully try to stuff his hands into his pockets only to discover that his bandaged wrist wouldn't fit. He let it drop forlornly by his side.
"Look." he said "I like you." he said."You're sweet. You worry." he trailed off. "You're very... beautiful." he said, suddenly and then looked away, as if he was embarrassed.
Sam blushed, and looked away. Oh, for heaven's sake! Get a grip! She thought.
He was standing directly in front of Sam and his presence caused the fluttering in her stomach to reach an almost painful intensity. She breathed out very slowly, and looked up at his face. The shock of looking into his eyes this close crackled over her skin. They stared at each other, his pale eyes burning her face with his steady hunter's gaze.
Sam felt dizzy. The air seemed charged between them as he looked deep into her eyes. The spicy scent of his cologne, and the sweet smell of the cigar filled her lungs as she breathed. Her head throbbed. She could feel a tremendous sense of pressure pushing her forward. Her body didn't feel like her own any more as she stumbled towards him, swaying slightly.
He reached out to her, and touched her arm with his good hand, steadying her. She felt his rough fingertips stroke her skin, sweeping over her shoulder and trailing over her neck to hold her face in his hand. She shivered under his touch, a rush flooding through her body. They were standing close now, close enough that she could feel his breath on the skin of her face.
She looked up at him, raising her face towards his. She could hear his breathing quickening as he bent his head to her. The world seemed to slow down around her as he paused, the skin of their foreheads barely touching. Sam closed her eyes, and then he kissed her.
Author's Note: Well! It's been long road with this little story and I hope you've found it enjoyable. I've been left some very kind and helpful reviews during the time I've been writing it, for which I am very grateful. If you enjoyed the story, or you think there's something that could be improved upon, please let me know. If you'd like to read any more of my work, there are a few stories here and if you are over the legal age to read adult material, there are some erotic stories on AdultFanFiction by myself for the Modern Warfare universe.
I am also on Tumblr, under the same name, where I post things related to the Modern Warfare universe, writing, and Special Forces.