Courtney hates Mike Carden.
Not because he’s an asshole – although he is – and not because he’s a know-it-all about everything - because he’s that too, but because there’s only one person in the world who gets to say shit about her brother and it sure as hell isn’t Mike Carden.
Of course, she can’t just go for some petty revenge, because this is serious, and she’s a Beckett, and there’s no way he’s getting off easy, so when she sees him at Marcia’s party, it all clicks into place with such ease, she has to laugh. William will shit a brick and Mike Carden will know exactly where he stands.
There’s enough booze that it’s easy enough to orchestrate, and within an hour she’s got him out on the back patio in a dark corner. They’re sitting on a low wicker loveseat that has a horrible mustard colored cushion that they can’t see in the dark. Mike’s on his fourth beer and she knows he’s had at least two Jell-O shots, maybe more if the fact that he’s arguing the merits of David Lee Roth versus Sammie Hagar with her is any indication.
She laughs in all the right places and, maybe she’s a little drunk too, because she spends most of the time watching his mouth move. His lips look firm and nice, damp from the beer when he pulls the bottle away, and wet from his tongue where he licks them clean. When he swallows, she watches his throat, and sometimes she lets her gaze find his hands as he emphasizes a point. She turns a little more to the side, one leg on top of the other, and when his hand falls after a particularly emphatic argument, it lands on her knee instead of his.
He glances down and then up and there’s a strange silence, like the rest of the party moves away a good fifty feet. It could also be the fact that her head is filled with the sound of her own heart beating and every nerve in her body seems alive, attached to where Mike’s warm, slightly damp palm is pressed against her leg. He licks his lips again and Courtney hears a sound, surprised when she realizes she’s the one who’s made it. Mike blinks twice and then leans in, closing his eyes in the instant before his lips touch hers.
She’s only ever kissed one person if she doesn’t include the hours she spent the summer she was eleven practicing on her arm and pretending it was someone from ‘Nsync, and she’s not sure it really counts at all, because it was that one night in the summer she was twelve when she and William were crowded together in the bed in their grandmother’s attic, sweating in the heat, talking about anything and everything in an effort to not be so hot, when William asked her if she’d ever been kissed and she’d gone to shake her head, but before she could, his mouth was on hers, moving against hers and his tongue was heavy in her mouth. Some silent thrill of wrong had shuddered through her, but it hadn’t stopped her from kissing him back, sucking on his tongue, pulling him closer until they were both damp from sweat and shaking and William had pulled away and crawled back into the sleeping bag on the floor.
Still, this is different than both of those. Mike tastes like beer with the underlying sweetness of something stronger, the tang of blue raspberry Jell-O and Everclear. She swallows hard as he touches her face, fingers so light on her cheeks and jaw. It’s a series of little kisses, ones that barely last and certainly don’t linger, but keep coming back again and again. Her hands shake as she lifts them, resting them on his forearms and then his biceps, feeling the flex of his muscles as his thumb swipes lightly over her chin and he tilts her head, guiding her right where he wants her.
This time the kiss lasts longer and her fingers dig into the soft fabric of his T-shirt as she tries to move closer. She can’t really do it the way they’re sitting, but she gets to her knees and Mike moves his leg, and then she’s pressed against him, and they’re kissing again without a word. Her hands move up to Mike’s shoulders, and she’s not sure she’s breathing. Everything feels washed with light and shimmering, her stomach clenched and bottomed out all at once, heat swimming in her veins. She holds on to keep her hands from shaking; sure Mike can feel her heart pounding in her chest as he pulls her even closer.
She makes a little noise that devolves into a moan as Mike’s tongue brushes her lips. She can’t help but part them, and the feel of his tongue on hers is like a match that sets her on fire. Everything comes alive inside her, and she moves her hands up, feeling the tendons of his neck, her fingers ghosting over his Adam’s apple and up to his jaw. There’s a hint of stubble that rasps against the pad of her thumb and he moves to her touch, letting her tilt his head and control the kiss.
Her palms feel clammy, damp with nerves and anticipation, even though she’s not completely sure what she’s anticipating. It just feels so good, and she doesn’t want it to stop, and she wants more. She slides her hands to the nape of his neck and into his hair, the short, shaved ones at the nape tickling her palms. She makes another noise, lost in his mouth, and a shiver rocks through her. Mike matches the sound with one of his and his hands find her hips, spanning around them and tugging lightly, shifting in his seat and leaning back, pulling her down on top of him.
He feels good and different and right and she kisses him again, deeper now that she’s pressed against him completely, lying against his chest with his fingers curled into the belt loops of her jeans. She’s always associated surrender with bad things, but she knows that’s what she’s doing, surrendering her mouth to Mike and letting him possess it, claim it, and she never wants it to stop. She shifts against him and he makes a noise, hips pressing upward. She gasps and swallows his moan as his hands tighten and he pulls her hips down snugly on his, his erection hard against her. She wants to move – down against him, up away from him, she doesn’t know, both all at once – but he holds her there, breathing rough and heavy into her mouth.
“Jesus, Court.” He nuzzles her mouth, stealing her breath, and then he’s kissing her again, his hands sliding up and down her back as he pulls her closer, kisses deeper, until she’s not sure which parts are her and which parts are him. She can feel his blood pulsing along with hers; feel it like it’s under her skin. One hand fits over the curve of her ass, and the other pushes her t-shirt up, settling on the small of her back, his fingers warm hot spots in the perspiration. “Jesus.”
“Shut up,” she murmurs, kissing him this time, sucking on his tongue and framing his face with her hands. It feels like he’s surrendered as well, and she thinks that’s how it’s supposed to work, because it all seems so right, so perfect as she presses closer, hips moving against his until his fingers are digging into her back and ass and he breaks away, panting roughly against her neck.
“Shit. Shit. Courtney. Have to…have to stop.” It’s breathless, and it’s another rush to her head, the fact that she made him sound like this. “God, gonna kill me here, Beckett.”
The phrase stops her more than the desperation in his tone, because that’s exactly what she was hoping for. She’d do this and tell Bill and he’d kick Mike’s ass and Mike would think twice before ever saying anything about Bill again. Only now she doesn’t want anyone to know, doesn’t want anything to touch this moment at all.
Mike turns his head and presses a sloppy kiss to her jaw. She feels drugged, like the time she took one of her mom’s Xanax just to see what would happen. Her limbs are heavy and flushed and her mouth feels bruised and swollen. “You want a beer?”
She nods, even though she’s only sixteen, of course, he’s only nineteen, so it’s not like it’s all that much worse. She shivers again when he heads inside, wrapping her arms around herself at the sudden sharp loss of his body heat. It takes her a minute to wonder if he’s going to come back at all, and she’s half convinced that he’s in the party telling everyone what a slut she is when he comes back out and slouches next to her, passing her a bottle of beer. He leans back against the loveseat, draping his arm over the back. She doesn’t move and he reaches out, hand curling over her shoulder and pulling her back until she’s pressed warm against his side.
“Your brother’s going to kill me,” Mike whispers against her hair, and she can tell he’s smiling. “Better do that as much as we can before he finds out.”
"Yeah," she nods, her hand trembling slightly as it rests on his chest. Maybe she doesn't hate him so much after all.