"Oh, boy," Susan said sometime around noon, "you're a cuddler. That is--I did not figure you for that."
"So I like some afterglow," said Ford. He wound his arms more thoroughly around her back and pulled her closer. Susan took the bedspread with her. "A little bit of sugar with my tea."
Her nose was mashed to his throat, and she'd a hank of hair tickling at the end of a nostril. "Do you... drink tea?"
"Of course I drink tea," he scoffed somewhere near her ear. "I'm a man!"
"Sure, sure," said Susan in a little bit of a squeak. "Okay, I need you to ease up on the vise, please, you're very m-manly--" Oh, God, she thought. She couldn't stop it.
Ford only drew her closer. He pressed his teeth to her ear, her ear! Didn't he ever shave?
"Didn't think you had any doubts left after last night," he murmured. Like being seduced by a grizzly bear. Jesus! She could barely focus on his stubble rubbing along her cheek. "Or this morning. Or this morning, again. Or thirdsies--"
Talking only made it worse, but when had Susan Cooper ever known how to shut her mouth?
"Don't call it thirdsies," she said, "just don't call it thirdsies, call it hobbit breakfast but d-don't--"
"I'm not calling it hobbit breakfast," Ford said in his impatient graveling way, "that's an inaccurate suggestion, hobbits only eat two breakfasts a day, following the six meal schedule most farming communities keep to."
"Jesus, Tolkien, I'm sorry!" said Susan, "I didn't realize I was fucking Elijah Wood!"
"Like hell am I Frodo. You look me dead in the eyes--"
"I can't, my face is in your silky smooth chest, do you wax?"
"In the film adaptation of my life--Fording the Riches--"
"Oh, my God," said Susan.
"The only man even remotely tough enough to play me, Rick Ford, is Viggo Mortenson."
"Didn't he marry that horse?" Susan tried to say. What she actually did was sneeze all over Rick Ford's freakishly hairless chest.
"What the fuck," said Ford.
"I told you to stop squeezing me," Susan said, "what, are you trying to pop me?"
"I'm trying to make you feel precious, and powerful in your sensuality!"
"Yeah, well, you better brace because--"
She sneezed again.
"The last time someone sneezed on me," Ford said, "it was an assassin sent by the head of the League of Assassins himself to snuff me out. And he sneezed because I took the poisonous powder he tried to slip in my drink in my hand and then I shoved my fist down his throat."
"Okay, well, no fist stuff," said Susan, "I don't want any fists or thumbs anywhere near--near--"
"All right," said Ford. He pulled the bedspread over her face. "Let it out, Cooper. There you go."
She wished he'd stop rubbing her back. Her entire body hurt. Most of her body, anyway. She tried wiggling her toes. Something in both her thighs exploded.
"What did you do to my legs?" she asked.
"Well, I'm fucking starving," said Ford. "How about you? Of course you're hungry, after all that riding." And he patted her ass very gently before he swung out of bed.
Susan squinted after him as he strolled, naked as a mole rat (God, she hated the mole rats in the office kitchen), past the window. Sunlight limned the musculature in his ass, the strength in his thighs. Holy shit, Susan thought. She'd fucked that. God damn. She really was a super spy. Bitches look out.
"Where the hell are my pants?" Ford asked. He had his dick hanging out and everything.
Susan sat up in bed, drawing the bedspread halfway up with her. Well, why the fuck? He'd seen her naked. She let the duvet slip low on her breasts.
"I might have ripped them," she hedged.
Ford only nodded twice, eyes lidded, and gave her a finger gun that he shook with silent, profoundly masculine approval. Then, gleaming in the sunlight, dick all the fuck out, he wandered off into the apartment's kitchen.
"What do you want to eat?"
"What, you're making me breakfast?" she joked.
Ford leaned back through the doorway, dick swinging between his legs. "Course I am!" he thundered. "I'm a fucking gentleman, all right? But I only know how to make pancakes, after two years in deep cover as a French chef working for the yakuza."
"How would that in any way limit what kind of dishes you can make?"
"They burned the taste buds clean off my tongue," he said, making a ripping motion she really didn't need, "so now the only flavor that brings me any pleasure is that of buttermilk and vanilla."
"That's probably the most obviously bullshit thing you've ever said to me," said Susan.
"No," said Ford, "the most obviously bullshit thing I ever said was to suggest you would have a hard time seducing a man because of your attire and looks."
"That's--wait a minute," Susan said, "did you just say that to piss me off? Is that, are you winking at me right now? You realize you're just blinking your eyes?"
Ford jabbed the first and last fingers of one hand at his eye and stared unblinking at her. "Nerve gas injected directly into my retinas--"
Susan leaned her head back against the headboard and laughed. "That is, that's just total--go make me pancakes."
Ford smiled at her. It wasn't even remotely a smirk.
"You better get your mouth ready," said Ford, "because I'm about to flavor fuck it so comprehensively you'll never get the taste off your tongue."
"I really think that we need to record the things you say and play them back for you," said Susan.
"A real spy lives in the moment!" Ford yelled back at her.
"A real spy wouldn't yell about being a real spy!" she shouted. Grinning, Susan untangled the bedspread from around her legs. Lord, but she was sore. Running, that shit with the helicopter, fucking those guys up like a ninja:
"Super spy," Susan said to herself. She wriggled her aching toes and smiled at them. Probably Ford would burn the pancakes, if this place even had the stuff to make pancakes. Susan's pancakes were second only to her actual for real cakes, but it was nice to let someone else make her something to eat for a change.
Susan laced her fingers together over her chest and looked out the window to the sunlight on the Prague skyline, the blue of this strange sky in a new place, and here she was looking at it.
In the kitchen Ford was cursing at the stove top.
"Hey," Susan said slowly, "isn't the League of Assassins from a comic book?"
"It's a real league of real assassins!" Ford said.
"No, it's totally from a comic book," she said, "that's, like, Ra's Al Ghul--"
"The Demon's Head is a real criminal mastermind--"
"Oh, my God," said Susan, "did I fuck Batman?"
"Hey!" Ford emerged again. He pointed a smoking spatula at her. "I wear my pants inside my trousers."
"Well, you're naked right now, buddy," Susan said, still giggling.
Ford spread his arms and then his legs. "C'mere," he said, "give the cook a kiss."
"How about you c'mere," said Susan, "and give me breakfast?"
"Tough broad," said Ford, cheek creasing.
"You fucking know it," Susan said. "Now get in there and make me some pancakes, Ford."