It's almost mechanical, the way she eats them. Her elegant little fingers move precisely, time and again.

Choose a bear. Toss the bear. Catch the bear. Chew the bear. Swallow the bear.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

She's made eating gummy bears into a completely sensual production, he notices.

"Did you know that there are cracks in the plaster on your ceiling?" she offers.

Choose a bear. Toss the bear. Catch the bear.

"This one looks like a map of Virginia, yes?"

Chew the bear. With those pink lips and tongue.

"And the one in that corner like Florida?"

Swallow the bear.

"It is, perhaps, your own version of Mapquest?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" he demands, amusement roughening his voice.

Finally, a reponse. "Your ceiling." Smiling from beneth hooded eyelids, she glances over at him from her position on the end of his couch. He's looking at her as if she really is a crazy ninja.

"My what?"

"Your own Google Maps?"

Make that super crazy ninja, she thinks, her smile widening as she returns her hand to the bag of Gummy Bears lying on her flat stomach.

"Wow! How much sugar have you had today?" he snarks.

Selecting a green bear, she offers a small shrug. "Not nearly enough?"

Tossing the bear into the air, she stretches her neck slightly and then catches it on her pointed cat tongue. "Want one?" she offers generously.

"No, thank you. I think you've injested enough sugar for the both of us combined today."

"Your loss," she offers lazily, before chewing and swallowing. "What is this movie again? Spartacus?"

"What? Oh..." He shifts slightly at the other end of the couch, moving her Nike clad feet in the process. "Best Roman history movie ever. If you don't count Malcom McDowell's Caligula."

Twisting on the couch, she studies him for a moment. Eyes the curve of his cheeks, the set of his broad shoulders, the movement of his fingers as he gestures while talking.

A yellow gummy bear this time, she decides, settling back again. This time, distracted by the man only four feet from her, the toss is a little off center, and she coughs as the bear hits the back of her throat.

"You're going to choke, if you keep doing that," he warns.

"Hmm..." she shrugs, feigning indifference.

"I'm thinking the Heimlich maneuvre would be the most appropriate procedure," he offers.

She snickers her response. "Some people use any excuse to perform mouth-to-mouth on unsuspecting women, do they not?"

He sighs. Loudly. "Explain to me again why you're here, and not in your own apartment, watching your own television?"

"You had the gummy bears. I did not."

"And neither will I, if you keep eating them," he points out.

"I bought them in the first place," she counters.

"Gee, thanks."

"You are welcome."

There's one gummy bear left - a red one. She examines it for a long moment before carefully licking the end, and biting off the head. Then, holding it between her thumb and forefinger, she drags the hapless bear over her bottom lip, feeling the sugary pectin catch and stick.

He makes some indecipherable noise, as if he's clearing his throat, and she glances up to find him staring at her.

"Cherry," she says, as if that explains everything, and his hazel eyes darken.

When he stands, and takes the two short steps needed for him to reach her end of the couch, she quickly slips the rest of the bear into her mouth. She tries not to blink as he leans over her, one hand braced on the back of the couch, and the other resting on the armrest behind her head.

"Yes?" she asks, as it's completely normal for him to be so close to her, a hungry look in his eyes.

He dips his head slightly towards her. "May I?" he asks, and she doesn't need to look down at the empty bag still resting on her stomach to know what he's referring to.

"That was the last one. You snooze, you lose," she laughs.

He arches one eyebrow. "You going to share?"

"You said you did not want any more candy." He's still leaning in, and she can feel his breath on her face now.

"Maybe I changed my mind."


It's not really a kiss, to start with. He slowly drags his tongue across her full bottom lip, licking away the sugar, and tasting the corners of her mouth. She makes a small sound - perhaps not quite a whimper - and he takes that, too, before darting his tongue inside her mouth to steal what's left of the bear.

When he pulls his mouth away from hers, her hands find the cushions beneath her, grabbing the fabric so she won't reach out and grab him. She's sure he's just done more than enough touching for the both of them this night.

"Toda," he says, humor in his tone.

Somehow, she finds her own voice. "Prego."

She watches him lean back, hands gradually leaving the sofa, and then take those same two steps back to his end of the couch, replacing her feet in his lap. If it weren't for the pounding of her heart, she might think the past sixty seconds had never happened.

Except they did happen, and now she has the taste of him on her lips to prove it. "So," she says, and her hands loosen their tight grip on the sofa as she relaxes back into the couch, "Tell me about this movie."

He shrugs his shoulders, and starts to tell her the plot, about Tony Curtis and sponge baths, and how that relates to Ajay Khan, as she fingers the empty gummy bear package, a thoughtful look on her face.

She tries to remember where the bag of chocolate malted milk balls ended up.