Title: Salt Kiss
Fandom: Blue Water High (Series 3)
Challenge: kissbingo square - face: jawline
Disclaimer: Not sure who owns them (maybe ABC?) but it's not me, I can tell you that much.
Word Count: ~1,400
Bec doesn't really think of herself as a creature of habit, but even she has to admit that she likes her routines, or some of them anyway. It's a trait she shares with Garry, although he'd probably call it 'a structured programme of training' or something similar. Still, it's important to have some idea of where she is on any given day, and with a household of eight people, six of them still teenagers, she sometimes thinks that it's only the routines that stop everything from descending into absolute chaos and anarchy.
Take mornings, for example. Eight people do not fit into two bathrooms without planning of near military precision, but if there's something that Bec's good at, it's planning. The kids are up at five-thirty and out of the door by quarter to six. Garry might vary the training they do - whether it's laps or runs or push ups - but the timing stays the same. They stumble back into the house by seven-thirty, which leaves just enough time for showers and breakfasts and making lunches before they're out the door and on the way to school. Okay, maybe that last hour is a bit chaotic, but part of the ethos at Solar Blue is sink or swim, at least when it comes to the kids learning how to take care of themselves.
Besides, Bec's up at six and at her desk by six-thirty. It means she never has to worry about whether there's enough hot water or whether the bathroom floor is wet, and she doesn't have to fight it out with two other not-quite-siblings over who gets to shower first and exactly how long is reasonable in terms of brushing your hair and cleaning your teeth.
There are some advantages to being in charge, after all, and she likes to think that it's all character building.
Garry showers last. She's never quite figured out if that's because he has more faith in their boiler's ability to deliver hot water on demand than she does, or whether it's just that he doesn't mind if the water's cold. It's one of the many things they've never got around to talking about, because there've been so many other things to talk about in the time they've known each other, most of them to do with work.
Of course, things are different now, and just thinking about how things are different is enough to make her long for a cold shower of her own.
But she has her routines, and Garry's still out there, putting the six of them through their paces anyway. Anything else is going to have to wait; she puts her head down and buries herself with compiling yet more financial reports for their parent company, this time the quarterly returns that are a supposedly necessary part of her role.
Her coffee has grown cold by the time she finally gets the figures to balance, and she stretches out the kink in her back, glancing at the clock in the corner of her computer screen. It's just after eight-thirty, and she'd been so lost in double entry and asset depreciation that she didn't even hear the kids come back. (And she might hate, just a little bit, the fact that she actually knows what those terms mean, and these days she doesn't even snigger at the first one - if nothing else, that little factoid is a sign that she's finally left teenagerdom behind and entered, full force, into adulthood. As if the fact that she has to spend her mornings doing financial reports before she's even had breakfast hadn't told her that already.)
She's been chewing her pen again, although at least this time it didn't split in her mouth and stain her lips purple, and she gives the end a rather disgusted look before throwing it down onto her desk and going in search of another cup of coffee. It might be her second cup of the day already, but she's definitely earned it.
Garry is standing in the kitchen when she enters it, staring through the window with a cup of steaming java in his hand. When she comes to a stop beside him, it's just in time to see the kids disappear through the fence, a flurry of trainers and backpacks that remind her of nothing so much as the Peter Rabbit books she read as a kid. The sound of someone's laughter - Loren's maybe, or Cassie's - echoes back to her, and she can't help but smile.
"Reports all done?" Garry asks her quietly, leaning back a little so that he can look her in the face. There's a small smile playing around the corner of his mouth, and his hair is sticking up, tousled by sand and salt. He hasn't showered yet; he smells faintly of salt seawater and well-earned sweat, of sunlight and sun block and the summer breeze. It's not an unpleasant smell and Bec leans in to him, closing her eyes and smiling as his arm settles around her shoulders like that's where it's supposed to be.
"Yeah, they're done," she says, and slides her arms around his waist, turning so that she's tucked more securely against his side. They can do this when the kids aren't around, when they don't have to be so serious or so careful. What they have is nothing to be ashamed of, not given that Garry broke up with his girlfriend long before the two of them got together, but that doesn't mean she doesn't remember the last time that the kids thought they were dating, and how they were typical teenagers about it - far more concerned with the effect on themselves than with Garry and Bec. Frankly, she doesn't need the drama. She gets enough of that with them as it is.
"You look like you could use your bed," he jokes, but it's soft and she can hear the smile in his voice. She doesn't open her eyes, not at first; just smiles back at him, echoing the one she just knows is on his face, and hums softly in agreement.
"Think I've earned it," she says, and now she opens her eyes, pulling her head back to look into his face. He hasn't had time to shave either - he never bothers before they go out training - and his stubble catches the sunlight, gleaming a dark, burnished gold along the line of his jaw.
She reaches up and smoothes her fingertip along his chin and up towards his ear, feeling the short hairs prickle against her skin while he squints at her sideways, his mouth curling up in another smile.
He's irresistible up this close; she resisted him for so long, telling herself it wouldn't work, that he had a girlfriend, that they were better as friends. She doesn't have to resist him any more.
She presses the first kiss against his chin, letting her mouth slowly work its way along his jaw line, feeling the way his skin twitches under her touch when he gives in and grins, wide and open. It makes her smile again, until she's pressing that smile of hers against his skin with every touch. His stubble presses against her lips now, tickling and making her twitch, and by the time she's worked her way all the way along the side his face, she's grinning as widely as he is.
She presses the last kiss in the hollow that lies just under the curve of his jaw, where it meets his ear. His heartbeat thrums slowly beneath his skin, and she gives into temptation, ending her little journey with a lick. His skin is salty, and his laughter is sweet as he pulls back and grins down at her.
"Is there something you want, Bec?" he asks, and his smile is as brilliant as the sunlight outside.
She squints up at him, happiness bubbling up in her and not all of it to do with finally finishing the blessed reports. "I want to go back to bed," she says. "I think I've earned it. And," she adds, squeezing her arms around his waist and loving the way that he pulls her into the hug, his arm tightening around her as though it's the most natural thing in the world, "I think you have, too."