Nothing Keeping You

by Abbie

Disclaimers: None of these characters belong to me.
Rating: *Hard* NC-17. Maybe NC-18. Read at your own risk.
Author's Notes: This is my first attempt at smut. Basically I was trying to be as realistic as possible, so . . . here we are. Read kindly.

He honestly didn't know what it was. It could have been, obviously, the stress. The pressure of the hearings. The knowledge that she was tired and hoarse and frustrated because she had been arguing herself raw for weeks, fighting for them. It could also have been the alcohol. It could have been the way she dragged slowly on someone else's cigarette despite the fact that she didn't smoke. Or the way a strap of her camisole slid off her shoulder when she leaned over the table. Or the comment she'd made about wanting to go straight to bed. Or that slimy-looking guy who'd been eyeing her all night. Or just the anger, the energy, the sheer frustration. Or the fact that they were left alone - Donna had swept Josh off somewhere, C.J. and Toby were together, Leo had gone home - and she was the only one left who could understand.

It could have been his eyes, burning holes in her mind from across their table. Or the frustration of the hearings, feeling like she was saying the same things over and over with no effect. Or the couple they passed on the way to the bar, the couple making out energetically on the Mall as if they were the only two people in the world. Or the fact that she didn't really want to go home, because her father had left a message saying he was going to call her and she didn't want to talk to him - not now, she couldn't face him right now. Or the job she had been offered.

She shouldn't have told Sam about the job - with a perfectly respectable Republican Congressman - but she did. And he took a deep swallow of his drink and said, quietly enough so that Josh and C.J. couldn't hear, "There's nothing keeping you with us."

And some demon had made her look into his eyes when she replied, "Yes, there is."

Whatever the reasons, when C.J. and Toby had stumbled off and Donna had come, pale and worried, to collect Josh, Sam had turned to her and said matter-of-factly, "I don't want to be alone tonight." And she had replied, shocking herself, "Neither do I." He couldn't believe he had found the guts to suggest that they didn't have to be alone, nor could he believe that she agreed. But whatever her reasons she had gathered her rumpled and loosened clothing around her and followed him almost silently to a cab, and he had given directions to his apartment and then led her inside.

Her mouth went dry suddenly as she surveyed his apartment. He had a spacious living room, not sparsely furnished but not crowded either, open. His kitchen lay off to one side, and by craning her neck she could see two bedrooms and a bathroom down a hallway. Not as large or as fancy as she might have expected for someone whose previous job had been as lucrative as Sam's, but nice. Distractedly she let her coat drop off, catching it on her wrists as she stumbled further into the room and tried to pretend she wasn't hoping he would seduce her - or rather, hoping he would even want to.

Her coat slipped tantalizingly off both shoulders at the same time and slid down her back, stopping at her flexed wrists. He was sure she didn't know what she was doing, but her absent-mindedness itself, the total lack of physical control, was almost blindingly sexual. She couldn't know that, he supposed, but she certainly knew why she was here - what was on both their minds at the moment. Her distraction made her amble forward on wobbling ankles - her distraction or the alcohol, one of them - and she was taking very noticeable calming breaths. He stood for what seemed like an eternity just watching her walk slowly into the apartment, her coat starting to trail from her hands and her chest lifting and dropping again in hypnotizing movements.

Her long fair hair was splayed across her shoulders, trailing in slightly rumpled waves over the curve of her breasts just barely apparent beneath the loose blouse she had rebuttoned in the car. The top of her hair was mussed around the crown of her head and he found himself stepping forward with the urge to smooth it down before he could stop. As it was she noticed the hastily aborted movement toward her and looked sharply in his direction.

Her eyes flicked from his face to the carpet between them, as if measuring their distance, and then back up to his eyes. "What?" she asked, her voice heavy with sleepiness and drink and trembling with uncertainty.

His right hand was still lifted as if it had been frozen in the very act of reaching for her. The fingers closed up reflexively as he lowered it. "I just - nothing."

"Nothing?" Ainsley echoed cynically. Her voice was a tone higher than usual and carried a note of false casual gaiety.

"I wasn't sure -" He stopped mid-sentence. 'I wasn't sure if I could touch you' seemed such a ridiculous thing to say, but how else to stop the momentum - to express the thought that had suddenly leapt into his mind. He had been about to cross the room, touch her hair, pull her into his arms and lure her into his bed - but then what? Well, after the immediate of course. His relationship with Ainsley had hovered so carefully on a comfortable edge since the day they met - so careful not to cross over into actual friendship but taking such delight in their occasional skirmishes. If he did this - that was it. Their relationship could never be so uncomplicated again.

He almost laughed, but restrained himself with the thought that she was sure to ask questions. Uncomplicated? Sam Seaborn and Ainsley Hayes had never been uncomplicated. What they had been was superficial. They were still, he thought soberly. And the problem with having a superficial sexual relationship with a friendly colleague was that it always, always got even more complicated.

On the other hand, did the future matter so much right now? He looked at her and read her expression as perfectly as he had ever done. She was scared and beginning to reconsider, but she was also shaky and tired and lonely, and desperate for someone to want her - and her eyes raking his body had seen something that made the blood rise in her cheeks. He extended a hand and motioned her toward the couch. "Sit," he said as gently as he could manage without his voice breaking. As she passed him, giving him a sidelong glance that turned his desire into a pleasantly throbbing ache, he pulled her coat off her hands and tossed it over a chair.

She started to lower herself onto the couch, but a gesture stopped her. "Turn around," he instructed, and she felt her heart leap into her throat with nervousness as she complied. She settled sideways with her back to him, fairly hearing the room hum with the tension and awkwardness and something else . . . Her eyes flew open a little wider as she forced herself to recognize that something else as anticipation. A sudden flooding of desire shocked her enough that she almost vaulted off the couch and made for the door, wondering what kind of fatalistic alcoholic craze mixed with horny desperation had made her think about sleeping with Sam Seaborn. Then it was too late, because he had taken hold of her hair to sweep it off her shoulders and gather it together in back - and then warm hands brushed along her jaw back to her hairline and she lost all urge to leave.

"Relax," he said softly, stroking his fingertips down the sides of her neck to the muscles where her neck and shoulders joined, which were raised with tension. She made some sort of acquiescent noise and he stopped his movement, instead resting one warm palm against the back of her neck as he whispered, "Let me, it'll help." Then the soft friction of his fingertips skimmed down her neck again, dancing over the collar of her shirt before moving back to her neck, flirting with the edge of the fabric before slipping under it.

Her head bent forward slightly, exposing the slope of her skin smooth and white against the gold of her hair and the dark silk of her shirt. He was teasing that sensitive spot at the juncture of her neck and collarbone, tapping slightly and letting her feel his nails - just enough to set the skin on edge, to make her want more, to make her want a firmer touch.

He was teasing her, she knew. The little nips of his nails spread among the constant faint brushes of his fingertips made her breath catch, built an aura of awareness and hypersensitivity until she was ready to beg him to rub the skin down and soothe the tension. The little whimper that escaped her lips mortified her, but it seemed to have an encouraging effect on him. His hands paused momentarily, heightening the tension until she thought the nerves in her shoulders might explode, and then he moved outward and began to massage her in earnest. His hands were bigger than they seemed in ordinary contact and his thumbs reached her shoulder blades even as his fingers curled over her collarbone, kneading into a spot she'd never known was sensitive before.

She was so small; his hands could reach all the way over each shoulder. Another little whimper both amplified the throb in his groin and challenged his brain to find a spot that would coax that sound from her again. The tips of his fingers tentatively explored her collarbone, pressing into the space under the bone. Her pulse throbbed in almost perfect rhythm with his own pounding blood and when she cried out softly he almost joined her. He was determined to be patient, to build them up to real intimacy rather than blind desperate sex, but every inch of his body felt alive with adrenaline and he had to accelerate slightly. Careful not to touch her, he let his hands reach around and sought out the top button on her blouse.

Her mouth dropped open as he froze, waiting for a sign. She was pleased to note that his breathing in the empty silence was every bit as ragged as hers. It was still an awful idea, professionally, politically, in every way, but the care and tenderness in his touch had swayed her mind. She closed her eyes to gather herself and then covered his hands with her own. She was only half-conscious of her tongue running over her teeth as she stroked his wrists in encouragement.

He closed his eyes and let his body lose control, just for a moment, as he felt her fingertips drift over his skin. With eyes still shut he pulled the button loose and then kept his hands on the parted sides of her shirt. She moved with a calm haste as she undid the rest of the buttons herself and shrugged the blouse from her shoulders - he moved his hands to let it slide and reached down, pulling the material out of her skirt so she could remove it entirely.

She had to close her eyes and consciously fight a tiny moan when his hands found her bare shoulders, his thumbs teasing at the silky fabric of her camisole. As he kneaded the tense, knotted muscles and worked his way slowly down her arms she found herself wanting to give in, whip the camisole over her head, and plead for more. She managed to quell this urge by thinking of the total humiliation that would probably result from giving him the upper hand. No, if he was going to seduce her she was going to make him work for it. No need for him to know she was ready to jump him regardless.

After he had massaged her into what he considered to be a satisfactory state of relaxation, his hands went back to her jawline. They stroked gently up the sides of her face, rubbing at her temples and tugging her back toward him. "Come here," he whispered softly. He couldn't see her face but she allowed him to pull her against his chest and settled comfortably into his arms. For a moment he rested his cheek against her hair and closed his eyes. Eventually he planned for this to go further - a lot further - but he took the time to enjoy the simple feeling of her warmth, the softness of her hair against his skin, her smell. The fact that her warmth was soaking pleasantly into his lap pulled him back to full awareness, and he turned her carefully to face him.

His hands on her shoulders were insistent but gentle, twisting her until she was forced to put her feet on the ground and lift her weight before resettling almost on his lap. He was holding her far enough back, toward his knees, that she didn't yet have concrete evidence of his desire but she could see the look in his eyes. She reached up and rested her hands on his shoulders while his hand went to her waist, the other one stroking her hair back from her face. His palm easily spanned from her jaw to her cheekbone and his fingertips burrowed into her hair, energy shooting from every nerve ending in his fingers through to her head and straight to the odd dropping feeling in her stomach. It didn't surprise her when he leaned forward to kiss her, but the anticipation drew a gasp from her lips anyway. He first kissed the delicate bridge of her nose and then brushed across each now-closed eyelid as softly as he could manage.

His little kisses on her eyelids tickled and made her want to rub her eyes. Instead she gave in to the feeling of sensation out of control, barely noticing that her fingers were stroking tiny patterns on his shoulders. He leaned in then and touched his lips to hers only faintly, pulling back a bit and giving her the sensation only of a breeze wafting by. When he returned for another kiss the pressure was firmer and she pressed her lips harder against his in response. He captured her lower lip and worked it between both of his, rolling and squeezing the sensitive skin until she finally whimpered and moved to take his bottom lip between her own - for the sole purpose of putting her upper lip in his range. After all, equality was important. Then she felt the tip of his tongue against her lip and gave a higher, more desperate whimper.

Sam had very firm plans to take this kiss slowly - seducing her mouth as a hint of things to come - but the softness of her lips started a chain reaction that was completed by his first taste of her. His tongue brushed her lip and her little cry vibrated against him, and that was all he needed. His hands flew to the back of her head and he pulled her into him with a passion that made her gasp. By now he was thoroughly attuned to her reactions and this sound, predictably, went straight to his groin. One hand dropped back to her waist, taking the extra second to snake under her camisole and find warm, bare skin before he pulled her hips against him. Logistics got in the way and she quickly shifted to straddle his lap, letting her skirt hike up so that she could almost make contact with his hips. Now she did encounter his arousal and for a second the realization threw her - or rather, the reality of the situation. Kisses were one thing, even with the eventual outcome firmly in her mind, but his erection against her thigh was real.

He felt the contact too and couldn't repress a groan. They broke the kiss and she sagged forward in his arms. He was aware that she was being careful not to accidentally pinch anything important, and for that he was grateful, but he was concentrating much more on her neck. She had buried her face in his shoulder, turning her head to the side and opening that smooth white skin for his access. He nuzzled at her first, mouth closed, rubbing his nose into her skin and inhaling, savoring, the mixed smell of soap, light perfume, and Ainsley. The softness was comforting and arousing at the same time and he strove to feel her skin over his entire face before moving on.

She found the nuzzling move to be adorable and reassuring and endearing, but then she felt his tongue on her neck and jumped, reflexively tilting her head and nearly crushing him in her haste to hide her neck. He pulled away quickly, fingers instantly threading through her hair and setting all those nerves on edge again. "What?" he asked anxiously.

"Nothing," she reassured, having a hard time both finding her voice and choosing words. "I'm just, you know, a little ticklish."

The worried look faded and he asked wickedly, "Just there?"

"Lots of places, actually," she managed to stammer out.

"Am I going to find out?" he asked in a low, teasing tone.

Ainsley shifted back a bit as she burst out laughing. "You haven't been practicing that one, have you?" she asked.

"No, that was all spontaneous," he replied soberly with a return to his accustomed serious semi-nerdiness. She giggled again and he fell toward her, resting his forehead against hers as they relaxed briefly. "You know what I'm going to do?" he asked slyly.

"What?" she asked with a certain amount of hesitation.

He nipped at her shoulder and smiled when she squeaked. "Well," he said, drawing the word out, "I'm going to kiss you much more thoroughly, but first I am going to make sure that you know what my mouth feels like," he punctuated each word with little kisses to her shoulder, "on every inch of your neck." When he felt her shudder he grinned smugly and pressed a kiss to the silk strap of her camisole.

His words, and the gravelly tone in which they were spoken, had an immediate physical effect. She was ridiculously embarrassed by the noticeable hardening of her nipples - after all, he could hardly deny his own state of . . . mind - and at the same time the material of her bra and camisole suddenly felt terribly constricting. The first open-mouthed kiss on her neck, the first touch of his tongue, made her jump and also produced a sudden moisture at her center. She made herself hold still and let him explore, fighting the urge to jerk away as he found her most vulnerable, ticklish places. Under his careful ministrations she relaxed eventually and began to enjoy it. He sucked her skin into his mouth, tasting her with ever-increasing delight and scraping gently with his teeth to add to her sensation. He stopped just short of actually leaving a mark - hickeys on a thirty-year-old White House attorney would just be tacky - but he made her fidget and whimper until he could barely stand it anymore.

He pulled her roughly back to him and plundered her mouth, forcing her lips open and showing her every ounce of frustration, built-up passion, and need. Her eager response pleased him beyond what words could express - and then her tongue slipped past his lips and words flew out of his mind. He could do nothing but whimper like a wounded animal as she explored his mouth, tracing patterns over the inside of his cheek and his sensitive upper palate. Simultaneously he experienced her fingertips teasing his earlobes and her tongue massaging in a circular path around his, and he bucked his hips up in a vain attempt to relieve some of the tightness. He ground against her in a particularly good spot and she cried out into his mouth, pinching an earlobe and finally pulling out of the kiss.

He looked up at her with fondness, undisguised need, and a little of the awe of discovery. He had always, from day one, thought of Ainsley as sexy, but nothing compared to this. Her pale face was flushed with arousal and her blue eyes had gone wide and dark. He had the sudden need to know whether she also flushed over her chest when aroused - her camisole came up too high to see - and so at last he grasped the hem in both hands and pulled the garment over her head. He had his answer - the skin across the top of her breasts was indeed pink - but by now he cared little. He was fascinated, torn between wanting to take in the sheer amount of skin now open to him and wanting to focus entirely on her breasts.

He leaned back into the couch and held her torso away from him so that he could study her, while her face and chest blushed more deeply under his scrutiny. The shadows tantalizing him at the openings of her shirts were transformed to the line of her collarbone, the prominence of her clavicle, the little groove at the base of her throat. While his hands danced over her ribs and snaked around to caress her spine, his tongue darted into that little groove. From there he went into the smaller niches on either side of it, between ligament and collarbone. Her soft moans drove him crazy, and finally he was forced to take serious action. He pushed her off his lap and stood, pulling her by the hand toward his bedroom.

Once there he paused, still holding her hand, in the puddle of light coming from the hallway. His free hand came up in the shadows and reached for her waist, stroking lightly up the bare skin to the bottom of her bra. He broke away for a moment to flip the lights on, and when he returned she was looking down at the floor. He bent to her level to catch her eye before straightening up, bringing her gaze with him. They shared an unsure smile, and he asked quietly, "You're sure about this?"

Her eyes tightened and she asked, equally softly, "Should I be?"

He clasped both hands behind her neck and leaned down to kiss her forehead. "I don't know," he answered honestly despite his painfully obvious erection.

When she spoke again she stammered in the direction of his clavicle. "I don't - I don't have one-night stands, Sam."

His hands slid caressingly over her neck, back, and shoulders. "I don't want to have a one-night stand with you, Ainsley," he whispered.

"But I thought -"

"You thought what?"

His hands were distracting. "I thought this was a - you know, bad day, alcohol . . ."

"It is that," he replied, his fingers now teasing under the back of her bra, exploring around the clasp. "But it's not like we picked each other up in a bar. It's us."

"Us?" she asked with a tiny gasp as he stepped closer and his chest brushed against her breasts.

"Us," he replied firmly. "You can't - you can't sleep with a friend and not have it mean something."

"But is it going to mean something just for tonight, or for - you know, a while?" Her voice was trembling, and he closed his eyes against a rush of desire. His fingers decisively unsnapped her bra and it loosened, their contact still holding it mostly in place.

"Ms. Hayes," he drawled teasingly, "are you soliciting me for sex in the future?"

"I don't know what I'm asking," she whispered, letting her forehead rest against his shoulder.

"I do," he replied. He stepped back and slowly, slowly, drew the straps of her bra down her shoulders. With infinite care he edged his fingers under the cups and pulled them off, finally drawing the garment off her arms and tossing it to the side. As his hands slid up her sides and began very gently to caress the under-curves of her breasts, he said into her ear, "How many people do you think would fall over and die if we started dating?"

"Lots," Ainsley whimpered, wishing he would move his hands. "Are you suggesting we play havoc with leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties?"

"Sounds dangerous," he murmured. His fingertips traced circles around and around her breasts, growing ever closer but never touching her aching nipples.

"Sam," she groaned softly.

"What?" he asked, leaning forward and biting gently at the top of her ear.

She pressed her lips together in a vain attempt to stifle her little cry. "Could you please . . ." she began, too embarrassed to finish.

As a hot flush crept over her face and chest once more, Sam finally gave in to desire. He braced both hands on her shoulders and bent down to press a kiss to the top of one breast.

She gasped and whimpered at the same time as she felt his mouth, hot and wet and caressing, over her nipple. His warm, rough tongue rubbed over and around the sensitive skin until goosebumps broke out on her chest, and then he began to suck on her. She gripped his shoulders as his tongue slid out around the largest possible area, his teeth and the suction still working her nipple into a hard, tight peak. When she said his name on a high, desperate whine he stood up, rubbing his thumbs over her arms. "Ainsley," he whispered, pulling her into an embrace and tucking her head into his shoulder.

"What's the matter?" she managed to ask, confused by his behavior.

His short laugh confused her even more, but she was distracted by his mouth on her neck again. "You surprised me," he said, inhaling the scent of her skin.

"I surprised you?"

"Mmm-hmm." He flicked his tongue against her neck, enjoying her sharp intake of breath.

"How?" she asked breathily.

"You said my name."

"Did you think I'd forgotten it?"

He smiled against her. "No, I just - liked the way it sounded."

Her eyes closed and she leaned her cheek against his head. "Sam, I think that was sweet."

"I try." His fingers brushed tentatively over her nipples, and then he dove down abruptly and picked her up.

"What are you doing?" she asked, amusement warring with desire.

He cradled her against his chest and walked her toward the bed. "I left a job undone - but I'd rather do it on the bed."

"Oh," she gasped as he laid her down, and then, "Oh, my God," as his tongue danced over her other nipple.

He grinned smugly, enjoying her sweet fragrance and the soft, pliant skin under his mouth. "Good?" he asked, pressing his lips tight together and kissing the very tip of her hardened nipple.

"Oh, God, yes," she moaned, arching up toward him. She blushed flaming red, feeling a bit like a wanton slut, but she cared less and less. Still . . .

He seemed to have read her mind, because he crawled up her body and pressed a kiss to her lips. "I don't think I've ever wanted someone this much," he said softly, and she leaned up to kiss him in response. They tangled for a bit, his weight coming to rest on her, and somehow she got the buttons on his shirt undone. He pushed up so she could get it off his arms, and then helped her pull his undershirt over his head. She tugged his head down to kiss him again, and they both moaned as his bare chest came in contact with her sensitive breasts.

Without warning she hooked her leg around his and flipped them both over, rolling on top of him and settling down into his embrace. His heat seared her bare skin, the slight rough friction of his chest hair made her tingle, and she needed to kiss him again or she seriously thought she might explode. His tongue moved in teasing, provocative lines over her lips and she lost nearly all sense of time or place. She was only dimly aware of her legs parting to straddle his body (the difference in their heights put her hips at about his lower ribs) and of her own almost frantic movements, thrusting her pelvis into him. Before she had a chance to get embarrassed as this action sank in, his hands gripped her firmly and pulled her harder against his body. Her little noises, something between a gasp, a choke, and a whimper, were easily drowned out by his deep groan. This gave her ideas and she pulled her lips away from his - smiling as he whined at the loss - and braced herself on either side of him so that she could lean up. "Shh," she murmured, dropping another quick kiss on his mouth, "my turn."

His face turned pleasantly crimson at that suggestion, and she was grinning as she lowered her mouth to his chest. She was distracted for a while by the expanse of warm skin, the neat contours of muscle, the unexpected softness of his hair, and laid her cheek against him to feel his heartbeat. His fingers tangling in her hair recalled her to her mission, and she tilted to press a kiss to his skin, then another, then another, then an open-mouthed one that made him squeak.

She raised her head, beaming every bit as smugly as he had. "Sam, did you just make a girly noise?" she asked, drawing out the accent a bit more than usual.

"I did not," he replied with such a note of offended dignity that she burst out laughing. She couldn't, however, resist the pull of his skin and his smell and . . . still laughing she lowered her mouth back to his chest and continued her exploration. While he lay perfectly still, pretending to be insulted, she silently catalogued the different scents taunting her nose. Soap - something masculine, one of those woodsy things from those shops - and maybe a touch of cologne, a little of the smell of his fabric softener, a saltyish twinge that was probably sweat, and that skin-smell that was unique to him. Turning her head from side to side she rubbed her face against him, not really sure which of them was enjoying it more.

Sam managed to be offended until the exact moment when she decided to taste his left nipple, and then he abandoned the wounded dignity posture in favor of writhing and a strangled moan. She actually giggled - torturer - and resumed manipulating the tender skin with her tongue, hot and wet and -

"Okay, stop," he groaned as the light scrape of her teeth sent a jolt straight to his groin.

She sat up, looking concerned. "Too hard?"

His eyebrows lifted and he took deep, calming breaths. "No, perfect. Too perfect. Almost over."

"Almost - oh." She blushed again (positively adorable) and asked with a touch of ego, "Without even touching . . ."

"Okay, stop," he grunted, trying to sit up.

"Stop . . ."

"Hearing you talk about it is almost as dangerous as the actual thing, thanks."

She smiled slyly, her cheeks still tinged with red. "So what do you suggest?"

"Well . . ." By the time she gasped he had already pinned her to the mattress, straddling her legs and holding himself up with hands on either side of her shoulders. "I suggest you're wearing a little too much. A lot too much, actually."

Suddenly her eyes were a little too wide, and her face even hotter than before. "Ainsley?" he asked, amusement mixed with concern. "You - you're not getting shy on me, are you?"

His serious tone and his fingertip stroking her burning cheek made her reply quietly, "Maybe."

He bent and nuzzled her neck gently, feathering kisses across her jaw. "Why?"

She closed her eyes. He was being so sweet and so very careful, and she wanted him the way she had never wanted anyone else, but . . . she turned and hid her face in his hair.

He lifted his head. "Did you just say 'because the lights are on?'"

"Yes," she admitted, feeling the color build in her face.

His brow furrowed as he looked down at her, trying not to embarrass her but unavoidably curious. "Have you never had sex with the lights on? Or, you know, in the daylight?"

"Once or twice," she said, not able to meet his eyes. Any second now, she would die of humiliation and this would be mercifully over. "But only after I'd been with someone for a while. A long while."

His head dropped to her breast while he thought. He couldn't believe that a woman as thoroughly beautiful as Ainsley could be so insecure, but it was oddly endearing. "Okay, I'll make a deal with you," he said after a moment.

"Um, okay," she replied nervously.

He kissed his way tenderly back up to her mouth, speaking softly into her skin as he went. "Let me undress you here, and then I'll get up and turn the lights off."

She considered this briefly, willing her color to fade. "You first," she said, motioning to his pants.

He was about to get up and comply, but he changed his mind. This was about her - and it was a principle, of sorts. "No deal," he said, shaking his head. "This isn't about me."

Ainsley propped herself up on her elbows. "So you get to see me, but I don't get to see you?"

He met her eyes seriously as though they were discussing an important piece of legislation. "Hmm. Not all that fair."

"No," she agreed.

"Okay. You first, then me, then the lights."

"Why me first?"

"Because I'm impatient."

She took a deep breath. "Okay."



"You're sure?"

"Sam!" She almost squirmed beneath him. Sudden insane modesty was one thing, but it was beginning to be overcome by pure lust. "Just - go ahead."

"Okay." Suddenly faced with the daunting task of uncovering the rest of her dangerously perfect body, Sam found himself swallowing hard to keep from losing all control. With one hand attempting to be comforting on her stomach, he worked the side button of her skirt open with the other hand and wriggled the zipper down. Looking up at her for a sign of permission, he slid the garment down over her hips and all the way off, tossing it carelessly toward a chair in the corner of the room.

By the time he returned his gaze to her, she had sat up and managed to struggle most of the way out of her stockings. He raised an eyebrow as if to ask what she was doing, and she said with a grimace, "Not exactly an attractive garment."

With a broad grin he pulled the stockings off her feet, one hand getting free to push her back down onto the bed. "Whatever you say." He bent and pressed a kiss, then his tongue, to the inside of one ankle.

"Sam," she said, her voice unusually high, "lights are still on, here. As, I might add, are most of your clothes."

He raised his head and gave her a sheepish smile. "Sorry. Got distracted." He crawled back up her body to cover her mouth with his, his hand simultaneously going to the waistband of her black panties. With that one arm that wasn't holding him up he managed to get them down over her hips, and then he found it necessary to stop kissing her and kneel up. With one leg on either side of hers he pulled her panties down and, lifting his hips out of the way, off. He never broke eye contact with her the entire time, but once he had tossed her panties to the side he allowed his gaze to rake over her entire body. She was starting to tremble. He covered her body with his and kissed her deeply again, his tongue sliding over hers until she whimpered and clutched at his shoulders. When he lifted his head, he whispered almost inaudibly, "You are so beautiful." Her face grew hotter and he thought she looked suspiciously close to crying.

When he stood up, he found himself suddenly seized with an attack of nervousness. Not that numerous women hadn't seen him over the years, but few of them had been lying naked on the bed watching curiously as he disrobed. When he met Ainsley's eyes she grinned at him, and he laughed back at her while unfastening his belt and then his fly. He kicked off his shoes and peeled his socks off before lowering just his pants, still grinning at the impatient expression on her face. "I'll get there," he said teasingly.

Now that the focus was on him and not her, Ainsley seemed to have lost some of her self-consciousness and had found the energy to be amused by him. "Need some help?"

He sent her what he hoped was a smoldering look in return. "Not right now, but I'm definitely going to need some help in a few minutes."

As he had secretly expected, she burst out laughing.

"Okay, well," he said, watching in fascination as her bare stomach contracted with her laughter. "I'm glad you did that before I got my shorts off."

That only made her laugh harder, and finally he shook his head and pulled off his boxer shorts, throwing them across the room. He was painfully aroused, especially with her naked and laughing on his bed, and the air was also a trifle chilly. By this point she had stopped laughing.

He fought the urge to cover up under her scrutiny, knowing he had tortured her and that now it was her turn. Her eyebrow lifted with secret amusement and she was almost smiling when she met his eyes. Ainsley not being, in fact, a porn star, he figured it was unintentional when she licked her lips. Still, he tightened noticeably. He cleared his throat, feeling a bit like a flagpole, and said, "Okay, well. Lights."

A previously unconsidered advantage of this deal, from Ainsley's point of view, was the shot of his naked rear when he turned to hit the lights. She thought she might actually have groaned out loud when the lights clicked off and she couldn't see him anymore, but the anticipation of having that naked body back in bed was consolation enough. She wriggled enough to pull the covers down and slip between the cool sheets so that when he rejoined her he could slide under with her. Just the combination of the sheets and his warm body against her exposed skin made her tingle, and his mouth on hers produced a deep, throaty sigh. He rolled her on her back and slid on top of her, enjoying the way her fingers tightened on him when she felt his erection against her thigh.

"Well," he said, in between dropping kisses on her collarbone, neck, and breasts, "now that we've gotten past the awkward part."

"Oh, not entirely," she murmured, running her fingernails across the base of his spine and then pulling his hips against hers.

"What?" he asked through a choked-off moan.

She looked seriously up at him when he lifted his head. "I'm not on anything, so . . ."

"Right." He dove to the side just enough to reach the bedstand and pulled a box of condoms out of the drawer. "Okay?" he asked, waving them in the air a bit.

"Fine," Ainsley gasped as he rubbed against her thighs again. "You want to give me one -"

"In a minute," he interrupted, tossing the box to the bed beside them. His fingers danced over her nipples until she writhed under him.

"Sam," she whispered, feeling something contract and throb at her core, "if we don't do this soon, I think I may have some kind of coronary."

"Oh, I'll help you out with that," he replied with a smug grin. He was rock hard, but he knew the longer he held off the better it would be - and exploring her was fun enough for some time. He snaked one hand down between them and let his fingers run through her curls, stroking down between her legs to separate her outer folds. "Are you getting wet?" he asked unashamedly, still stroking.

"Getting?" she asked in a strangled tone. He laughed and moved the outer skin away, encountering the moisture that was the evidence of her desire for him. It was a heady feeling, and she was impossibly hot. He threw the covers off his shoulders and slid down her body, parting her legs as he went.

"Um, Sam?" she started to say.

He had overshot and was kissing his way up her calf, stopping off to lick at the back of her knee. He smiled and lifted his head at her tiny cry. "Let me taste you," he asked in a low, deadly serious voice.

She was stammering again. "I never let - I mean, only once and it was - oh God."

His hands skimmed reassuringly over her legs, coming to rest on her hips. "Let me," he asked again. "I promise it'll be okay."

Ainsley had always resisted this particular activity mostly because she couldn't imagine wanting to be this vulnerable. But something made her trust Sam - not just something, really, knowing him made her trust Sam - and besides that, if he didn't touch her soon she might have to do it herself. She didn't quite have the courage to tell him to go ahead and - do - that, but she answered with a lift of her hips toward the air.

His hands creeping up the insides of her thighs separated her legs as far as he could without stretching her to the point of pain. She had never felt so exposed in her life, but at the same time it wasn't completely uncomfortable. His fingers, which had gone back to teasing her outer lips and exploring the wetness, now pressed further and stroked softly along her inner folds - not even opening them yet, but making her want more and more. When the very tip of his tongue traced the pattern of his fingers, she whimpered quietly and lifted her hips toward him again. She needed him, now.

Gentle fingertips opened her completely, touching around the very edge of her opening to collect moisture before moving further front to the crease of her sex. Just lightly skimming over the area, he located the firm center of her pleasure and rested one finger over it. "Here?" he asked, even though he knew from her sounds that this was the right spot.

"There," she managed to reply. He stroked her lightly once, then harder, and then before she could gasp his mouth had closed over the sensitive bundle of nerves. He first licked around it slowly, slowly, pressing rather hard, enjoying but not responding to her cries. His tongue felt rough and soft at the same time, and unexpectedly hot. When he was satisfied so far he took the nub between his teeth, just hard enough for her to feel them. She gasped his name, and that was all he needed. He actually sucked the little bundle into his mouth, pulling on it with his lips while flicking his tongue rapidly over it inside his mouth. In his peripheral vision he saw her hands clutching at the sheets, and the wetness, the musky femaleness, and the slightly salty taste in his mouth increased.

Just when Ainsley thought she was going to have to explode, Sam's weight shifted. He kept up the incredible things he was doing to her with his mouth, but she felt a finger teasing her entrance. It circled around and around, and then suddenly what felt like three fingers were thrust inside of her. Her muscles tightened desperately around them, needing anything that would fill the aching emptiness, while his mouth moved unrelentingly over her. His fingers moved in and out, in and out, circling inside and pressing upward against the most sensitive part of her passage, and the tightness was building, building, building . . . The touch of his tongue became almost too much, she was twisting her hips in desperation, needing to release the way she needed to breathe. She thought she might be crying, and she didn't care. He continued his assault, suckling and probing, and then suddenly his tongue was pressing flat against her clitoris and his fingers spreading inside her, and all that tightness exploded around him. She felt the familiar locking up of all her internal muscles, but this time it lasted much longer than ever before. That one contraction seemed to hold for minutes, hours, clutching his invading fingers into her, before everything finally released into a series of throbs. She was aware of practically screaming his name, her eyes slammed shut, sure she couldn't handle pleasure this extreme. He didn't let up, still licking at her as she came down from her orgasm, fingers still stroking her inner walls.

When she had stopped pulsing he withdrew his fingers and rested his head on her thigh. One damp fingertip stroked lazily around her sex while she trembled under him. "How you doing?" he asked, lifting his eyes toward her face and trying to keep the smugness out of his tone.

"Doing okay," Ainsley somehow found the presence of mind to utter. "Just fine, in fact."

"Good." He rubbed his face against her inner thigh and grinned as the muscles tensed under his touch. She really had unbelievable legs, white and smooth and going on for miles despite her petite stature. And he'd held off for a long time, but now all he wanted was to feel those legs around him, and to be buried deep inside her where his fingers had just been. He kissed his way back up her body, then rolled off to the side and reached for the box of condoms. "Did I hear an offer of help, earlier?" he teased, retrieving one foil package from the box.

"You did," she confirmed, taking one last deep breath to steady herself and accepting the condom he handed her. She pushed him onto his back and laid the condom on the bed, running her hands over his chest, shoulders, arms, thighs, eventually getting near where he wanted her. To his surprise she didn't immediately put the condom on, but instead wrapped cool fingers around his already solid erection. He leaned his head back into the pillow, eyes closed, groaning softly as her hand stroked up and down, squeezing and pulling with less experience than care - which mattered not at all. Her free hand was exploring between his legs, caressing every part of him that she could reach, and just when he thought it was too much he felt her tongue on him.

This was also something she had done only rarely, and she would be the first to admit she had never enjoyed either the idea or the act itself. Somehow this was different - maybe the fact that he hadn't asked or expected it, maybe the aftershocks of what he had just done to her, maybe the simple fact that his tenderness and care for her pleasure proved he wasn't just looking for a quick . . . she really hated the word. Whatever the reasons, this time was less uncomfortable and unpleasant than usual, and after a moment she actually found herself enjoying it. Knowing he was trying to hold out for being inside her (which made her still-tingling passages ache with need), she wasn't focused on getting him off, but rather on making him feel as wanted and - well - loved as he had made her feel. She hadn't taken him all the way into her mouth but rather licked up and down his shaft, fingers still stroking wherever her tongue wasn't, while his hips bucked almost uncontrollably at the air. She loved seeing his abandon, comprehending what she was able to do to him. It was a power rush and a relief all at the same time. Meanwhile he was getting harder and warmer and somehow larger and redder in her hand - she would also be the first to admit that she had little up-close knowledge of the male anatomy, as most of her previous lovers had been more anxious to get in her and get it done - and the answering pressure was building inside her again. When he finally moaned, "Stop, Ainsley, stop," she was half glad, because that meant they were both ready.

She let go of him and retrieved the condom again, carefully pinching the tip the way someone had taught her in a long-ago safe sex lecture, and gently rolling it down over him. He reached for her hands as if to pull her on top of him, but she shook her head. "This time, I want to be under you," she said almost shyly. "I want you over me."

Sam needed little encouragement on that point. He sat up and rolled on top of her as she lay back against the pillows, his hips falling between her legs. He bent to kiss her mouth, and she could taste the last lingering traces of herself on his tongue and lips. He pressed against her pubic bone and she whimpered, lifting her knees and letting her legs fall open. Without breaking eye contact with her, he lifted his hips and rubbed his shaft along her opening, carefully spreading her moisture over himself. He had no idea how long it had been for her, and he wanted to be very sure of not hurting her.

The feeling of his length sliding along her open, wet folds was almost enough to make her come right there. She finally wrapped her hands around his shoulders and begged softly, "Now, Sam, please." He smiled a little, and then she felt his fingers opening her. His head pressed at her entrance, creating just a moment of discomfort as her body tried to stretch around him. When he finally slipped through, the brief instant of pain relaxed into a deeply throbbing need. Having him just partway inside made her need the rest all the more, and she lifted her hips against him in supplication. He pulled out and pushed back in, out and in, each time just his head pushing through her, teasing them both, until he no longer saw her wince with each push. "Okay?" he asked, pausing with his tip inside her.

"Fine," she replied, smiling at his care. "It's been a little while."

"Okay," he replied in a tender tone that would have made her knees weak, except for the fact that his head was still inside her and just barely rubbing at her most sensitive places and she couldn't wait for more. "Go on," she asked, twisting her hips in encouragement.

Her opening had been tight enough, but he thought he might die as he pushed the rest of the way in. She was narrow, as he might have expected from her height and the small cradle of her hips, and also burning hot and slippery with need. He allowed himself a moment to wish they didn't need a barrier between them, but this was more than stimulating. Her muscles were already squeezing at him as they tried to stretch to let him in, and the sensation of her body parting for him made his groin clench up even more.

"Okay?" he asked, still putting gentle pressure on her.

"Yeah," she gasped, her fingers tightening on his shoulders. "Sorry, I'm trying to relax . . ."

He paused, trying to think of a tactful way to ask if he was bigger than her other lovers. Before he had to find the words, she said shyly, "I think the um, the last guy was a little smaller. Plus I tend to get nervous."

His hand stroked down her stomach and came to rest where they were joined, rubbing delicate circles until she moaned and arched against him. He wanted to keep going, wanted to make love to her hard and right now, but he had to ask. "The other guys . . . did they . . . I don't believe I'm asking this . . . I mean . . ."

"Did they go this slow?" Ainsley repeated, a little wryly and a little breathlessly. "No. No one's ever gone this slow."

His brow furrowed. "So they just . . ."

"Sort of pushed on in," she confirmed, wriggling a little.

He winced. "No wonder you get tight and nervous."

Now she was blushing furiously. "Hey, Sam?"


"A, you don't really need to worry, and B, I really, really need you to move now."

"I won't hurt you?"

She took a deep breath, willing all those muscles to unclench. "No, you're okay now."

"All right." He pulled out and stroked back in, slowly, watching her face carefully. She had stopped wincing completely and was relaxed back against the pillow, her face flushed over with passion. On his third stroke he pushed a little harder, and felt her make way for him. On the next stroke his tip made contact with the unyielding surface of her cervix, and he looked down to see that she had taken him all the way in. His entire length pulsed at the sight and he paused there, his finger coming back down to rub insistent patterns on her sex.

She felt him bottom out, as far in as he could go, and felt his fingertip sliding around and around her clitoris, trying to accustom her to the invasion. Her eyes closed for a moment and she pressed upward, ignoring the minor discomfort, begging for the third time, "Move, Sam." Still circling her nub with his finger, he slipped partway out and stroked back in, out and in, all the way this time, her knees opening wider to allow better access and his testicles rubbing against her. Her body got used to him and the difficulty was gone, leaving in its path only intense pleasure and heightened sensation. She could feel every inch of him sliding against her walls, in and out, up and down, filling her completely. Digging her fingers into his skin she squeezed with her internal muscles, delighting in his ragged moan. She did it again and again, loving the way he slipped through her when she did that, timing it to match with his strokes out and the rhythmic thrusting of her own hips.

She was tightening around him now, not just on purpose but also with little involuntary clenches that matched the motion of his fingers. He knew he was bringing her close again, he could see it in her face, the darkness of her eyes, the desperate movement of her hips, the way she moaned and gasped with every stroke into her. He was focusing on her as much as he could, needing to see her come again - to feel her come around him - before he could let go. It wasn't easy; she felt heavenly and her writhing and her little noises were the biggest turn-on he'd yet discovered. But he held on, painfully almost, rubbing more insistently and driving his thrusts deeper and harder.

They were perfectly suited, fitted so well that she could feel him on all sides of her passage at once. His head felt as if it were driving at the very core of her being, and all she could do was wrap her long legs around his waist and thrust against him with everything she had. Between them his hand was pinching, pulling at her clit and making her cry out, clutching at him with her hands, her legs, her body clutching him inside her. Then he pushed up on his elbow, changed the angle so that with every stroke his head ran along her upper wall, hitting just the right spot and then rubbing along it, over and over, harder and harder. They were both sweating and gasping and the space between them was fiery and wet; she felt dizzy and knew she was spiraling inexorably toward completion.

Everything was too sensitive, the twists of her hips were an effort to get away from his insistent fingers but she couldn't, the tightness was building and building, she felt herself clenching around his length, he drove into her harder in response, he was gasping her name over and over, all her muscles locked up, a sound escaped her lips that might have been a sob, and then the first wave seized her. If she'd thought that first contraction had lasted long before, this one blew her away. All her internal muscles, from the depths of her passages to the very ends of the nerves under his fingers, bore down until they actually ached, freezing her orgasm for an eternally long time. She screamed his name, drawing it out as her muscles convulsed around him, her hands on his shoulders pulling him down to her. When it finally released and her orgasm pulsed and throbbed through her body, she could only hold onto him and buck her hips wildly as she rode it out. She came down repeating his name like a caress, pulling his hips into her, feeling him inside her with every contraction and needing desperately now for him to release within her.

The sensation of her muscles pulling at him drove him wild, the ripples tugging him further into her body as her hands clutched at his shoulders and her legs clamped around his waist. When she cried his name he only drove harder into her, pausing only to press an open-mouthed kiss to her throat while she moaned softly as her climax subsided. She was hypersensitive now and let out tiny, pleading cries with every stroke. Her walls clutched at him, the smooth skin of her thighs rubbing along his back and legs, her head thrown back on the pillow as she surrendered completely to his need. He lost control entirely now that he'd brought her to release and pumped himself over and over with increasing speed and force into her willing body. Everything around him was tight yet yielding, warm and clasping and welcoming and suddenly he hit a spot that made her gasp, she spasmed around him unexpectedly, and then he was throbbing and pulsing and couldn't hold back for another second. His fingers tightened on her upper arms and he moaned, "I'm - I'm going to . . . God . . ."

Before he could find more coherent words she lifted her hips against his thrusts and murmured, "Go ahead. Come for me."

Women had said that to him before, but only because they thought it was sexy, and generally in that fake porn-star voice that no man in his right mind would find appealing unless he was already close to exploding. Ainsley somehow managed to sound perfectly normal saying this to him, soft and loving rather than falsely seductive. Before he could analyze the fact that the word "loving" was rolling around in his head, her voice and her movements had brought him over the edge. The waves intensified and held and everything pulsed out of him as a shout tore from his throat. He kept up the pumping of his hips, driving in and out as the waves shook him and he bucked erratically with sheer pleasure. He wasn't sure whether he had actually screamed her name, or whether it was just echoing in his head, but it didn't seem to matter. He did know that he was repeating it again softly as he came down from the high, pouring all that he had into her. When he finally had to stop thrusting there was no lapse; they fell immediately into wild kissing, legs tangled together and hands roaming wherever possible, with him still inside her. Finally he disentangled himself from her mouth, kissing her eyelids, her face, her throat, tasting salty traces of what might have been tears, while he said softly, "I have to take care of the thing, here."

"Yeah," she returned with a kiss to his shoulder, unwrapping her legs from his waist so that he could pull out of her body. He kissed her lips once more before extracting himself and walking carefully to the bathroom. She slid down under the warmed sheets, playing nervously with a loose thread while waiting for her heart rate to slow and her breathing to return to normal. She was a little sore and knew she'd feel it tomorrow, but when she closed her legs a stab of leftover pleasure coursed through her and she smiled to herself, watching for Sam to return. She heard water running and called uncertainly, "Sam?"

He returned, walking a bit self-consciously and tossing a towel into the hamper. "Cleaning up," he said. "It says to 'clean thoroughly before embracing again.'"

"It does not," Ainsley laughed, holding the sheets back for him.

"It does too," he said, looking so very serious and insulted that she laughed even harder. He slid under the sheets and said, "Hey, bad things happen when you don't follow the directions."

"Well, you've cleaned thoroughly, so let's get to the embracing part," Ainsley said, pulling him closer to her and laying her head on his chest. With a little sigh he wrapped his arms around her and tangled their legs together. She ran her fingers across his chest, stroking gently while pressing her bare body along the length of his.

He moaned softly with contentment and nuzzled her hair, striving to hold her even closer. "So, that was . . ."


"I was going to say incredible."


"I'm going to say something now," he began, rubbing her back, "and, um, I haven't thought it out that much so you should keep that in mind, but . . . I think it's possible that I'm a little in love with you."

"Just a little, huh?" she teased.

"Maybe more than a little. Possibly a lot."

"So you're basing this on the sex?"

"I'm basing this on months of respect and cooperation and a certain amount of admiration, and - also on the sex," he said cheerfully.

"The sex was good," she agreed.

"A minute ago it was unbelievable."



"The sex was earth-shattering."

He grinned ridiculously. "Really?"

"I thought we were in agreement on that point," she said almost primly. "It certainly felt like it earlier."

"It was mind-blowing," he said, kissing her forehead.



"I think it's possible I might be slightly in love with you."

"Slightly?" His hand had slipped between them and she gasped and arched into his fingers.

"Okay, that's not fair," she moaned.


"Not really."

"All right then." He bent to press his lips to hers again, his fingers moving without stop until she whimpered and gasped into his mouth, her hips arching up into his fingers and her legs trembling as she quaked around his probing. When he withdrew his hand she wrapped her legs around his waist again and pressed her hips into his, seizing his mouth with her own.

When they finally pulled apart breathlessly she murmured, "That is not an acceptable negotiation tactic."

"Funny, I didn't hear any complaints before now."

"Sam?" she asked, her voice suddenly quiet and a little timid.

He settled them both back against the pillows and stroked gently up and down her spine, enjoying the way she nestled closer. "What?"

"Can we . . . I mean, are we really planning to, um . . . play havoc with leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties?"

He kissed her temple several times before answering. "Is that you asking whether this is going to last beyond tonight?"

Her fingers stroked boldly over his bare chest, but her voice was still uncertain. "Maybe."

"I said I didn't want to have a one-night stand with you."

"Yeah." She didn't sound very sure. "I thought that might have been . . ."

"You thought I might have lied to get you into bed?" he asked incredulously.

"Not lied, but I thought - I don't know, maybe you changed your mind."

He grinned and hugged her closer, stretching out along her naked body. "Ainsley, I have definitely not changed my mind."


"So?" Sam's hands massaged comfortably over her back and hips. "Let's play some havoc."

"Are you saying -"

"I'm saying I want to be with you," he said quietly. "Okay?"

"Okay," she whispered back.


It occurred to her that he might want more than a one-word assent. "I want to be with you, too," she replied.


"Yeah." She relaxed then fully and rubbed his arms where they rested over her. "Being with you feels good."

He smiled, even though he knew she couldn't see him, and nuzzled his face against her hair. "Want to put the lights out and get some sleep?"

"Yeah," she whispered.

"Okay." By the time he had flipped the lights off and returned to bed, her eyelids were already growing heavy. He slipped under the covers beside her and settled her into his arms again, stroking her hair and her arms until he felt her breathing even out and she stopped shifting against him. Somehow he believed things wouldn't be awkward when they woke; their conversation had taken care of that. He didn't know what would happen with them, but somehow he also believed it might work out. He grinned in the darkness. Him and Ainsley. Who would ever have . . . but on the other hand, it didn't feel wrong. It didn't feel weird. It felt - good.

The End.

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