The trouble with having spectacular and possibly very slightly kinky sex with your boss because he’s caught you ogling him after work-related sports practice is that however well it goes – and it had gone really, really well – there’s no easy way to suggest a repeat. Pretty much as I’d expected, actually managing to sleep with Nightingale – if I can use that term for an activity that had been conducted while both of us were standing up – had meant I was a bit less distracted by him on a day-to-day basis. But it hadn’t stopped me wanting him; almost entirely the opposite. Now I had memories to re-live in my private moments. And it just made me want to make some new ones. I kept coming back to how much Nightingale had liked it when I’d pinned his wrist to the wall; how much I’d liked what it had done to him. That was an experiment that I felt bore replication. Maybe a lot of replication. Or switching up the variables; I thought about it once when I was having a quiet morning wank, Nightingale telling me to keep my hands where they were, and it was over almost before I realised it. So yeah. We could try that. Or just shag; I really wasn’t fussy as long as it involved at least a minimal amount of nudity and orgasms.
But as far as I could tell Nightingale had considered it an expedient way to get me to pay attention to what I was doing, however much enjoyment he’d got out of it himself. And I somehow didn’t think that playing up being distracted again was going to make my case for me. Or – and this was maybe more likely – he was reconsidering how theoretically inappropriate the whole thing had been and didn’t want to put pressure on me. In case I wasn’t interested. That would be a really stunning misinterpretation of my attitude to the situation, but Nightingale had been practicing caution for a long, long time. It wasn’t his natural habit, I knew that by now, but it was almost as ingrained as one.
Of course, that left it up to me to move things along. And the thing is that I’ve just never been very good at that. Ask any of my ex-girlfriends. (Particularly Beverley, who has commented that she could write a thesis on the topic.) Ask Lesley, who never was my girlfriend, and almost certainly never would have been – but it’s not like I ever managed to make the suggestion, is it? On the other hand – I’d managed to catch Nightingale’s attention enough that it had overcome all the extremely rational objections to what we’d proceeded to do. I just had to get him distracted again.
Without being obvious. Or making an idiot of myself. Or – worst of all – making it awkward, if he really just wasn’t interested.
My main problem was that Nightingale was a man capable of almost total control of himself. It was why he was so good at magic, I’d slowly figured out; Newtonian magic was all about concentration and control and he had it in spades. On the other hand – I lived with him, as well as worked with him, and I’d been doing so quite some time now. So I had plenty of opportunity to observe.
I just wasn’t sure what I was observing. I should have just asked. “The other day, that was fantastic. Can we do that again?” But like I said – given everything, I didn’t quite know how to get the words out. So it was like we were playing some sort of weird game. Most of the time we had things to be getting on with, you know, our jobs. Then I’d catch his eye – or brush past him – or one of us would smile – and I’d practically have a flashback. Nightingale put his hand on my shoulder once, and it was like getting an electric shock. And I know he felt it, too, because his grip tightened for a second. I walked around still feeling where his hand had been for a good half-hour.
And another time – we were in the library, and Nightingale was reaching for a book on the top shelf, and couldn’t quite get it – the cover was leather, and slippery. I’ve only got an inch or so on him but my arms are relatively longer. I stepped up beside him, meaning to be helpful, and I got the book, all right, but my wrist was pressing his hand against the shelves, and it reminded me – and I know it reminded him, because I actually heard his breathing get a bit shallow. We both stepped away, but it was a lot slower than it should have been. I’ve never been so glad for exactly how dull research can sometimes be, let me tell you.
Yet despite the – you couldn’t call it unresolved sexual tension, exactly, but it was tension and it was sexual – we were unaccountably failing to have more actual sex. Of course, being the overworked members of the Metropolitan Police Service that we are, we had plenty of things to occupy us otherwise, but I felt we should probably make time for it at some point. Or rule it out entirely. One of the two. There was a Schrödinger’s cat joke in there but I wasn’t sure if Nightingale would appreciate it, so I hadn’t bothered to work out the details.
If I mention that I got to the bad quantum mechanics jokes about five days after that boxing practice session had devolved into another sort of session entirely, I think you’ll understand the sort of frustration I was operating under. So the next time, the next evening, when we ended up a little bit closer than we should have, when Nightingale turned to go somewhere – wherever - I reached out, put my hand on his shoulder. Close in, so my thumb was resting on the bare skin of his neck, just above his shirt collar.
I couldn’t see his expression; but he let me pull him backwards, until I wasn’t more than an inch behind him. I slid my hand down his arm, ran my thumb over the soft skin of his wrist, onto his palm. His fingers curled around my hand. I didn’t close the gap; I’d been learning a lot over the past few days about the virtues of anticipation. We weren’t touching, except with our hands. I leaned in that fraction further – still not touching, quite, but that weird sensitised feeling where it’s hard to tell if you are or not – and said, “If this is a game, I’m not too proud to lose it.” Because I really, really wasn’t.
“I did wonder,” Nightingale said, and tipped his head back; I took the hint and kissed the curve of his throat, keeping that careful inch away otherwise. “You were either being unwontedly patient or figuring something out. I was going to give you until tomorrow.”
“I can be patient,” I objected. “If I have to be.”
“I know,” said Nightingale, and lifted my hand, the one he had a hold on, and kissed it. It wasn’t an explicitly sexual gesture – you could call it romantic, if anything – but after the last few days every time we touched had ratcheted up to something beyond what it was. Seriously, shagging was probably going to be a genuine achievement for our productivity. “And if you don’t have to be?”
I reclaimed my hand and turned him around, a gentle tug and push at his upper arms; he went easily, and closed that last little bit of distance. After the last few days, the full-body contact was nearly overwhelming all on its own. Kissing him was a relief.
Last time we’d both been insistent, and I wouldn’t have called it rushed, but the whole thing had had its own momentum. This was a lot slower, and a lot more thorough, and a lot more – deliberate. Nightingale had his hand on my elbow in a way that was reminding me distinctly of our getaway from the fae, last month. I’d liked it then – against all my better judgement, given the situation – and I liked it now.
“I do have one suggestion, though,” I said, when we broke for a second.
“What’s that?” Nightingale said – no – murmured, against my jawline. I really needed to get him to murmur things more often.
“We move things to a bed.” Unlike the other day, Nightingale right now was as buttoned-up as he always was; we might be pressed up against each other but there were at least three layers of clothing between us. I was feeling very motivated to reduce that, preferably to zero.
Nightingale regarded me, and grinned. “I think we can manage that.” Then – as if to put to the test my previous assertion about my patience – he stepped back, and we walked the whole way not even touching. Except for where he was still holding my elbow. So he’d noticed that, too.
Well, I say “walked”. But we were moving pretty fast, to be honest.
That was the last thing that happened fast for a while, though. Nightingale seemed determined to draw things out and I – was enjoying myself, so I let him set the pace. Besides – we’d skipped a bunch of things, last time. I put my attention into remembering the details. How he felt against me; how much he liked it when I put my hands on him; the noise he made when I bit gently on his earlobe. By the time we’d gotten rid of our clothes, I was half-crazy with it, but I didn’t want it to stop, either. We ended up on the bed, Nightingale on top of me. I’d sort of flailed up with one hand and ended up holding onto the brass bedframe, cool against my palm. Nightingale had his hand on my lower arm, but it was a light touch, almost hovering; I reached over with my free hand and curled his fingers more firmly around my arm, put a little pressure on. I wanted to know if – and when I pulled my hand away he put his weight into it, pressed my arm into the bed, and, yeah, that was good. I leaned up and kissed him, a silent sort of yes, and when I put my other arm above my head he took the hint and pinioned that one, too. Nightingale wasn’t a light weight on top of me, but I didn’t mind right then; it was grounding, somehow. And, you know, a massive turn-on. I shifted my hips and, yeah, okay, we could just do this, this was good. It wasn’t going to take very long for me to come.
Of course, not very long after that thought had crossed my mind Nightingale pulled back, lifting his hands away and going up on his knees, and I’m not ashamed to say I whimpered out loud.
“There better be a really good reason for this,” I said, sitting up myself to at least get a bit closer again.
“I had a better idea,” he said, and that got my attention, and then he told me what the better idea was, and that really got my attention, and proceedings got sidetracked for a minute while I kissed him to demonstrate my enthusiasm for his better idea.
Eventually Nightingale dragged himself away to grab the necessary supplies – the presence of which demonstrated he really hadn’t been planning to let me stumble around figuring out how to ask for much longer – and knelt over me again. I wanted to offer to help, but I wouldn’t have known what I was doing, anyway, and he clearly did; I tucked that away as a suggestion for another time, getting him to talk me through it. For the moment I just enjoyed feeling him shudder as he rocked on his own fingers, pressing quiet kisses into his shoulder, holding him up.
The whole business with condoms is never the most graceful part of proceedings, but we got through it without either of us doing anything monumentally silly. Nightingale gave me a couple of strokes with his hand, right after. That meant I was too busy biting my lip to think about it too hard when he sank onto me, because if I had stopped to think about it there was a genuine chance I might have freaked out for a second, courtesy of the same voice that had stopped to point out exactly what we were doing the week before. But it all felt way, way too good for that. Instead I just put my hands on his waist and waited for him. He paused for a moment, adjusting, I thought; I was busy trying not to move. I didn’t think he’d appreciate it right that second, but it was really hard not to. His hand curved on my thigh; I knew he could feel the muscles twitching. He leant down and rested his forehead against mine. “You are being patient this evening.”
“I’ve got a lot of motivation,” I gritted out.
He just grinned, and started to move – slowly. For a while there wasn’t anything except the small noises of sex. Our breathing was shallow and rapid, nearly in sync.
It didn’t stay slow for very long, though. I couldn’t keep my hips still, as awkward as the movement was in this position, and that got Nightingale moving faster as well. I got a hand on him, and he ground down harder, and I bit his shoulder, and then it was just a frantic plunge towards the finish; we were both way too worked up for anything else. Nightingale wasn’t quiet about it by that point, either, and the sound of him moaning in my ear had me coming astonishingly hard, everything seizing up. I only realised he’d come, too, when my brain reasserted control over my senses some embarrassing length of time later.
That was also when all the muscles in my back took the chance to remind me of what an awkward position this actually was, sitting up like this, and I just sort of flopped dreamily backwards, because wow, okay, that had been pretty incredible. I only got about ten seconds of that before Nightingale climbed off and we had to deal with clean-up, but once that was done I flopped back onto the bed again, because I didn’t really have the energy to do anything else. Apparently neither did Nightingale.
We just lay there for a while, recovering our breath; I glanced over at him once and he had his eyes closed, a lazily satisfied smile on his face, so I was pretty sure we were both thinking much the same thing, which was to say not much at all.
After that, though, I really had to find a way to clarify that I was a proponent of this continuing to happen. I mean, I thought we’d established that, but there’s some things it’s nice to be sure about.
Of course, what I came out with was a lot less eloquent than I’d intended. “This is a terrible idea for so many reasons.”
Which it was, but I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to this sort of thing, it’s tragic, really.
“If you’re about to suggest we don’t repeat this, I’m not sure I’m going to have much faith in your sincerity,” said Nightingale, which was probably fair. And thank god one of us had some sense.
“Just thought one of us should get it out there while we still had a grip on all the reasons it’s a good idea.”
“Mmmm,” said Nightingale, and shuffled over a bit so we were touching; not serious cuddling, we were still too sticky for that, but light contact, shoulder to hip. I put out a hand and combed my fingers through his hair; I’d sort of wanted to do that for ages. He didn’t seem to mind.
“One thing I’ve learned,” he said, eventually, “is that you spend a lot more time in life regretting the things you don’t do.”
He was smiling as he said it. Well – so was I. “Okay, then.”
Yeah, still a terrible idea. But of all the terrible ideas I’d had, lately – I thought I fancied this one’s chances more than most.