Saturday night at the Ritz
Saturday night at the Burkes.
It was becoming somewhat of a ritual since Hope's arrival. Elizabeth would cook and Neal and Sara would relax with a good home cooked meal while Peter doted on Hope, cooing and talking baby talk as he would hold her - refusing to put her down…
Peter and Elizabeth loved having the little family over and it was a welcome break for Sara, who was on maternity leave and feeling somewhat isolated all day at home. It was a chance for her to talk to grown-ups about grown-up things and spend an evening that did not revolve around discussions of diaper changes and breastfeeding.
Elizabeth and Peter had offered on several occasions to take Hope for a night but Neal and Sara didn't feel ready to leave her – they were enjoying the cocooning. Every night when Neal came home from work, Sara would relate the events of the day – things like bowel movements, subtle changes in the baby's behavior and how much breast milk she took – things that only a mom or dad of a new baby would have even the remotest of interest in. Then, they would settle in for an evening on the couch with Neal holding his baby daughter and feeding her a bottle of breast milk while talking and singing to her.
She was already six weeks old and changing every day; she had begun to smile over the past week and that in itself held hours of pleasure for the new parents as they cooed and smiled at their daughter and watched in wonderment as she smiled back, recognizing their faces and their voices.
Although Hope had a beautiful room in the back of the apartment, they had recently taken to settling her in a small crib by their bed at night so that she was close by for feedings and so that they could monitor her sleep. She had an excellent appetite and was up every three hours day or night; she would wake like clockwork, and let them know in no uncertain terms that she was hungry. Neal would get up out of bed, walk over to the crib and bring Hope over to Sara to be breastfed; so every night, several times a night, their bed was shared with their daughter and the only casualty was their intimacy and the lack of energy to resume their previous nocturnal activities.
Not that they didn't miss it… On a few occasions, Sara or Neal had initiated some serious groping activity but it was inevitably interrupted by Hope's crying or by one of them simply drifting asleep halfway through the preliminaries. Every book they read warned about the importance of maintaining some alone time for new parents but Neal and Sara had not yet found the time and energy to connect.
One Saturday night, over pasta and Caesar salad, Peter and Elizabeth brought up, once again, their interest in taking Hope overnight and Neal and Sara looked at each other, tempted. It would be nice to go out for a grown-up meal somewhere and the idea of sleeping in undisturbed was suddenly irresistible.
And so, the following week, Sara started to express her milk in anticipation of 24 hours away from the tether of her daughter needing her breast every few hours. She stocked the milk in the refrigerator so that Elizabeth would have plenty to feed Hope and bonus….. Sara would be able to have a drink and have it eliminated from her system before she resumed breastfeeding.
Saturday afternoon arrived and Sara was busy getting all of Hope's things ready for her first sleepover. How could such a tiny baby require so much by way of equipment and organization, she thought. Neal, on the other hand, was looking rather unsure.
'Are you sure we're ready to leave her?' he said, pacing the apartment
'Neal, we haven't been alone together in over six weeks. I miss you' she said.
'She's just so tiny' he cooed, looking down at Hope as she smiled back from her baby carrier
'We're talking about Peter and Elizabeth, here. We're not leaving her with a thirteen year old babysitter' said Sara as she packed the receiving blankets and baby wipes.
Neal looked in horror 'People do that' he said with his mouth agape
'Look, I know she's little but I need a break. I've been with her 24/7 since the moment she was born. I want to get out there and see the world for a few hours. Share a nice dinner with my fiancé, have a glass of wine...'
'You're right' Neal said pulling her close 'I miss you too. Did you pack enough diapers?' he added as the romantic gave way to the responsible parent
Sara rolled her eyes 'Pass me that soother' she said
Once they arrived at the Burkes, it took Peter all of 30 seconds to grab Hope's car seat from Neal, bring it into the living room, take her out and cradle her in his arms, cooing. He had developed a true love affair with his goddaughter and to see the 6 foot 2 FBI agent talking baby talk never failed to made Neal smile.
Neal had arranged for dinner at the Auden Bistro at the Ritz Carlton. They had an amazing selection of fish and seafood which was a favorite of Sara's. Dinner was amazing; Sara chose the roasted beet and apple salad and the sea bass and Neal opted for mussels and rack of lamb. Neal chose a light Chardonnay for the appetizer and Sara surprised him by having two glasses so he had to order a second bottle, a Merlot this time, for the main course.
Between the appetizer and the entree, Sara excused herself to go to the ladies room and as she entered the lobby, she grabbed her phone and texted Elizabeth.
Sara: How is she?
Elizabeth: Good, she had a bottle about half an hour ago and is asleep
Sara: Did she fuss?
Elizabeth: No. And you stop fussing, now go and enjoy your evening
Sara: Alright, see you tomorrow!
The moment Sara stepped away from the table, Neal grabbed his phone and texted Peter
Neal: Is Hope alright?
Peter: She's fine Neal, sleeping
Neal: Did she have some milk – she's not used to the bottle as much
Peter: Yes, she had a bottle now get back to your bottle – which I hope is a good vintage!
Neal: Alright, call if there's anything
Neither one of them owned up to their clandestine communication since they had promised each other not to get in touch with the Burkes - and had failed miserably.
Elizabeth let herself drop on the couch next to Peter.
'Wow, I never realized how much is involved in taking care of a small baby'
'How did you manage with the diaper change?' asked Peter looking glib
'You'll find out for yourself, Agent Burke, 'cause the next diaper change is all yours!' she said, smiling
'Neal just texted me' admitted Peter
Elizabeth rolled her eyes 'So did Sara' she added
'I think we should turn off our phones' said Peter
'And totally freak them out – not a good idea' answered Elizabeth as she heard cooing coming from the upstairs where they had put Hope down for her nap.
'I'll get her!' said Peter rushing up the stairs before Elizabeth could even react
Somehow, the second bottle of wine was empty and Neal really didn't think he had drunk that much. Sara seemed very mellow and having removed her shoes, she began to play footsies with Neal under the table. She looked over at him with a naughty smile and a mischievous look in her eyes.
'Seriously?' Neal said, grinning 'Here I was thinking we'd go to the Star Lounge upstairs and have a drink and a nice slow dance but I think you might have had your fill, young lady'
Sara looked at him with a sultry look and continued to move her foot up his leg and up along his thigh.
'Sara!' Neal said, surprised. 'Save it for when we get home'
'I don't want to save it' she said with her speech slightly slurred 'I've missed you and I want to have my hands – and feet – all over you'
Neal could see that if he didn't do something quick, they would both be in trouble.
'C'mon Repo, I'm taking you dancing' said Neal as he stood up and took her hand
Once in the hotel lounge, Neal ordered a Cointreau and Sara had a 'Shining Star' one of their signature drinks. Neal was starting to think he was going to have to carry her home, so he suggested they burn off their drinks and dance.
The song playing was Frank Sinatra's Strangers in the night and Sara lost no time curling up against Neal's chest with both her arms wrapped snuggly around his neck. He smiled; she felt so good in his arms and against his body. She ran her fingers through his hair, pulled him in close and put her mouth to his ear, whispering.
'I want you, Caffrey' she purred as she exhaled. The effect on him was immediate as he felt himself start to stir. He pulled away slightly to look into her face.
'Sara Ellis, you are drunk. Do you remember what happened the last time you got drunk?' he said thinking back to the night of June's birthday dinner almost a year ago.
She smiled and kissed him – a kiss that was not meant for public display. As much as Neal was enjoying this, he realized that unless this stopped soon, he was going to have difficulty walking back to the table unnoticed.
'Is this your way of telling me you're ready to go home?' he asked looking into her eyes and seeing the lust she was not trying to hide in the least
'No, I want to kiss you again' she said moving in for another probing kiss
'Sara, I love you and I really really want you right now' said Neal pulling back 'but I don't want the whole world to see just how much'
He took Sara's arm and they started back to the table to collect their things. Sara followed and as she walked behind him, she let her hand drop to Neal's ass squeezing and once again, he secretly wished they were already home.
He took her hand and he could see in her eyes that the alcohol had really made its way straight to her libido bypassing her inhibitions. They waited by the elevator with Sara's hands all over him and no matter how enjoyable this might have been under the right circumstances, Neal was feeling uncomfortable especially when two older ladies walked up behind them. He smiled his Neal Caffrey smile at them as he tried to keep Sara's hands busy; she, on the other hand, was totally oblivious to everyone around her. She was kissing his neck, biting his ear and whispering very loving and unmentionable things in his ear while he tried to maintain his composure. When the elevator finally arrived, they stepped in and he stood at the back, holding Sara in front of him as they both faced the door. The ladies took their place next to them curiously glancing over at the amorous couple. Sara's hands wandered down to Neal's groin and she squeezed gently; Neal let out a small sound from the back of his throat which attracted even more attention to them.
He smiled at the two women 'My fiancée's had a little too much to drink' he offered by way of explanation
Sara just grinned, satisfied with herself. The ladies left the elevator on the upper lobby and Sara immediately turned to face Neal with a big smirk on her face and a lecherous look in her eyes as she reached for him once more. He couldn't take it anymore. Neal reached around Sara and pressed the button for the main floor. As the doors opened, he grabbed Sara's hand decisively and led her to the reception desk.
'Good evening sir, what can I do for you' said the gentleman at the desk
'Hi' said Neal, all Caffrey-esque 'Could we get a room for the night please. We had dinner in your lovely restaurant and I'm afraid we've had a little too much to drink'
'Yes, sir we have room… 1503 available' said the young man checking his computer screen as he reached out to take Neal's credit card.
Sara was standing next to Neal, with a twinkle in her eye, again with the overactive hands. Neal smiled at her patiently and proceeded to fill out the guest card as quickly as he possibly could. Then, he turned and grabbing her hand once again, they walked briskly into the elevator and pressed 15.
As soon as the doors closed, Neal grabbed Sara forcefully and pushed her up against the back of the elevator. His mouth began to devour hers and as he finally let his primal instincts kick in, he began to tug at her blouse, pulling it out of her skirt, his hands reaching underneath as he felt her skin and he reached for the clasp of her bra freeing her breasts underneath her blouse. He pushed his hips up against her, pinning her in place and Sara just moaned and let her head fall back enjoying the feel of his hands and his mouth on her as she grabbed Neal's ass and pulled him even closer. They pushed and tugged moving around the elevator car and, once again Neal slammed her up against the wall as his hands travelled down to her hips and buttocks, grabbing, pulling her skirt up over her hips as he began to frantically rub up against her thigh. Her hands tightly fisted in his hair, Sara continued to kiss Neal deeply, moaning as her breathing began to get louder and more erratic.
The elevator dinged as they arrived on the 15th floor and without their lips parting or their hands leaving each other, they fumbled their way out of the elevator and started down the hall as Neal opened one eye to orient himself towards their room, reaching with one hand for the card key while continuing to hold Sara tightly against him. It took a few tries but he managed to get the door to the room open as they both stumbled in, kicking off their shoes and urgently undressing each other.
Clothing flew in all directions as they carelessly stepped over everything, trying to make it to the bed as quickly as was humanly possible. Neal's mouth, warm and wet on Sara began to move down her body as he threw her on the bed, kissing and biting her neck, her throat, her breasts, her belly and finally settling in between her legs as she began to pant and thrash on the bed. Neal moaned as he breathed her in, the smell and taste of her and realized he had missed her more than he knew. Sara squirmed on the bed as she felt Neal's mouth, his lips, his tongue on her, taking her to a place she had almost forgotten about. She called out his name as she finally let go and he lost no time moving up the bed to kiss her hungrily as he began to see to his own pressing needs by sinking into her without a moment's hesitation. She welcomed him by wrapping her legs around him and began rocking with him, urgently clutching his ass and tugging fiercely with each thrust. Neal's breathing was off the charts as he tried to say her name, over and over, moaning and groaning as he finally let out a loud grunt and let go, holding on tightly to her while he rode his orgasm all the way.
After a few moments, he fell back on the bed, staring at the ceiling.
'Who was that?' he finally said when his breathing slowed and he was able to talk
'I have no idea' answered Sara, as she also regained control of herself
'I guess that's what happens when we stay away from each other too long – we sort of self-combust!' said Neal, looking over at Sara.
They both began to laugh as they realized what had just happened – how two self-respecting parents of a six week old could carry on with such abandon in a public place and not even have the patience and self-control to take a cab home and have sex in their own bed like normal people.
'You have to admit that was fun' Sara said finally
'Ah, yeaaah' said Neal, unintelligently
After a while they began to explore the hotel room, turning on some lights and realizing that they had nothing with them, no clothes, not even a toothbrush. This was definitely an adventure, they realized. Sara wandered into the bathroom and called out to Neal.
'At least, there are some nice bathrobes in here' she said 'Oh, and Neal, there's a beautiful Jacuzzi, come see'
The next thing they knew, they were both settled in the hot tub, Sara leaning back into Neal's chest, letting the warm water wash over them.
'The last time we were in a hot tub wasn't quite this relaxing' Neal said thinking back to the night Hope was born
'You're right. I wasn't enjoying it much that night although thinking back, it wasn't so bad' she added
'Are you kidding? I'm the one who had to deal with keeping you centered and focussed. It wasn't easy with all those insults you hurled at me' said Neal with mock hurt
'Really? Was I that bad? I'm sorry, I was just trying to get through each one of those contractions knowing there was another one right behind it' said Sara
'Do you have any regrets?' she added looking over her shoulder at Neal's face
'Are you seriously asking me that?' said Neal craning his neck to look into Sara's eyes
'No, I'm not. She's amazing, isn't she? Oh, I forgot to tell you, yesterday while I was breastfeeding her, she stopped suddenly and her bottom lip was dripping with milk and she just looked at me and smiled'
'You're kidding. I wish I could have seen that' said Neal with the same wonderment as Sara. 'When I took her out the other day, we sat on a bench in the park and I swear she was gurgling like she was trying to talk to me'
'She is talking to you. You just need to answer back. They say that babies get the rhythm of language at a really young age' said Sara
'Now, look who's becoming the child development expert' teased Neal, jostling her playfully
After a moment, he added quietly 'Do you want to have more?'
'You mean more babies?' Sara said, not really surprised at this question
'I wouldn't rule it out, you?' she said, knowing full well the answer
'Yeah, I'd be up for one or two more' said Neal, predictably
'How about we give it a couple of months before we discuss it' countered Sara
'Ok, I can live with that' Neal said, kissing Sara's hair
'I wonder if she's sleeping of over at the Burkes' added Sara
'We could call...' said Neal, tentatively. They had agreed that this was their time and that they would trust that Peter and Elizabeth would take good care of Hope so they could concentrate on each other.
'It would only take a minute and we might sleep better, knowing' reasoned Sara
After snuggling into the cozy bathrobes kindly provided by the Ritz, they decided texting was the way to go so they wouldn't wake anybody up in the household including Peter and Elizabeth who might have decided on an early night. It was almost midnight and they didn't want to take any chances.
Peter's text came back almost instantly: 'All's quiet on the home front, Hope is sleeping and so is Auntie Elizabeth. Enjoy the rest of your night'
Neal and Sara lay on the bed facing each other, looking into each other's eyes, enjoying the quiet and intimacy of the moment. They spoke of work of the future, their impending wedding which was a mere month away. Neal leaned in to gently kiss Sara and the kiss deepened.
Neal scooted closer and Sara lifted her leg to welcome him as he tenderly glided into her, looking at her intently and speaking softly. They began to rock very gently together, keeping their focus on each other and enjoying the sensation of warmth and closeness they shared. Neal always thought that their bodies were a perfect fit and when they were making love he felt a sense of well being that had not been equalled at any other moment in his life.
'Sara, I love you so much' whispered Neal, as the tension built slowly within his body
Sara smiled at him, that smile that filled him with hope and expectation and never failed to keep him centered.
They fell asleep in each other's arms; a blissful sleep uninterrupted by their daughter's demands to be fed and woke rested the next morning, feeling totally fulfilled and content.
Breakfast was a fun affair in what they now realized, with daylight, was a beautiful room. They ordered room service and fed each other bites of croissant and fruit and sipped on fabulous Italian roast.
They didn't need to say the words out loud – they both were anxious to swing by the Burkes to pick up their little darling and get her home and back to their routine.
This little oasis had been a hoot and they realized that they needed to connect on this intimate level on a regular basis and with Peter an Elizabeth's support, they would make it a regular occurrence.
They got dressed, hailed a cab and headed back to their lives.