If it's possible, Jack is erotic even when he's eating. Not merely edibles that naturally bring to mind the sensual, like chocolate or strawberries or grapes (and doesn't he just love those; Gwen suspects he eats them strictly for the innuendo involved), but even the mundane like pizza or biscuits or Chinese take away.
Today, it is a ham sandwich. Swiss cheese, light on the mustard. As Gwen watches him eat it, she wonders what that says about Jack, that he specifies light on the mustard. He sparks her curiosity so easily that it's not unusual for her to look for clues in his little details.
When he catches her staring, she nearly flushes but reins herself in at the last moment.
"Have I got something on my face?" he asks, and the corners of his eyes crinkle. It's become a joke.
They're sitting in a little cafe, just the two of them today, out and about and stopped for lunch. Gwen shakes her head and smiles. He can read her like a book, and while Gwen doesn't especially like it, she knows there's no avoiding it. She's dropped her eyes to her turkey on rye a moment too late, and now it's Jack that's staring at her.
"You're being awfully coy today, PC Cooper," he teases, and Gwen's got no choice but to lift her gaze to his. There's something undefinable lurking just behind that blue, and she hates how unsteady it makes her feel. "Will you be playing footsie with me next?"
The instinctive reaction is to scoff at his inherent audacity, although in truth, Gwen suspects that anyone else would be worse about it and immediately forgives him. Not that forgiving Jack's transgressions is at all anything new to her.
"You wish," she replies after a sip of her tea, only because it's the required response.
"Maybe, yeah," Jack easily volleys back, and his tone might have dipped an octave, but he's giving nothing away in his expression. It seems so hopelessly unfair to Gwen that he can practically read her mind, and she can never even tell when he's joking.
Still, Gwen's nothing if not adaptable, and she shakes it off easily enough. Drawing her brows together, she muses, "It's been awhile since I played proper footsies," as if she were seriously considering it.
"Then what's stopping you?" Jack asks, insufferably calm as he takes another slow bite from his sandwich and watches her, silent challenge in the subtle quirk of his lips.
Gwen is far too aware that nothing is ever quite what it seems with Jack, and if the man can make a ham sandwich (light on the mustard) sexy, footsie is definitely fair game. Yet, the gauntlet's been thrown down, and the fact that she might just want to play footsie with Jack is immaterial.
Brows importantly arched, Gwen toes her Converse against Jack's left ankle and takes another casual bite of her sandwich.
Jack laughs brightly then, and all in all, Gwen's glad to see it, to hear it. His smile is addictive, she's found, especially when it's genuine, like so much else about him. Some days she feels like the proverbial moth, drawn helplessly to his light. Never does she fool herself into thinking she's the only one courting that flame.
"Oh, come on, Gwen, you can do better than that," he chides, reaching easily across the wobbly cafe table to wipe a bit of mayo from the corner of her mouth with the pad of his thumb. She knows that when he lifts that thumb to his lips and sucks it clean it's entirely instinctual, yet can't help but be struck a little dumbfounded by how innately intimate the action is. The green of her eyes sparks and sharpens, but if Jack's noticed the change, he's not showing it.
The two of them have a symbiosis, an unspoken way of doing things, and Gwen doesn't make an attempt again just yet, instead anticipating the touch of his boot when it skims against her ankle. Instruction transcends protocol and target practice, and he's always been intent on teaching her anything he can, anything she'll allow. She doesn't blanch until he's moved over the curve of her calf and past her knee, and when her eyes widen, Jack only smiles and settles his sole against the edge of her seat, between her thighs.
There is, she reasons, a proper way to do everything. Even footsie. As Jack impassively levels her with his blue-eyed gaze, Gwen can't decide whether this is strictly instruction or some kind of prelude. By no stretch of the imagination is she as good at this as he is, although she rather wishes she knew exactly what it was, at least. The fact that she's not yet questioning his motivation should unsettle her, but doesn't. This is Jack, after all, and she is only herself.
"Is it still footsies if my feet aren't actually involved?" she asks, and thinks she sounds suitably apathetic about it. Jack, for all that he knows her, clearly isn't buying it.
"Maybe you should get your feet involved, then," he counters, just smug enough that she doesn't hate him for it. He's good that way.
Gwen's mouth opens, and she's planning on lobbing a very clever reply back, but before the words pass her lips, there's the slightest nudge against her inner left thigh, and she can't remember at all what she was going to say. Jack sips his coffee.
Unfair, unfair, unfair, her mind screams, but she's not dim enough to think he's incapable of fighting dirty. Her sense of justice is both her greatest asset and greatest shortcoming, and even with everything she's seen, she can't help but cling to the idea that every playing field should be level. It is perhaps this ideal that petulantly lands a red Chuck Taylor against Jack's crotch. She'd not been aiming quite that far, and Gwen looks more surprised than Jack does, which earns her another of those bright laughs. Eyes dancing, his hand catches firm against her foot before she can draw it away again.
"Such a quick study!" he teases her, and Gwen can't decide if she'd rather be able to pull away or stay right as she is, with his confident fingers curled warm around her slender ankle. Somehow, it doesn't bother her so much when he bests her, perhaps because it's expected.
"I learned from the best," is the automatically quipped reply, and in spite of it all -- His hand on her ankle, or the way he's brushing his thumb in languid circles against her skin there, or how his expression has shifted, darkened -- Gwen flashes her best cheeky smile, showing rows of white teeth and staunchly ignoring the fluttering of her heart in her chest.
It does the trick, the air between them immediately less tense, and Jack releases her ankle, although the smile that accompanies it seems to shine just a little more hollow than the last. Gwen doesn't know why but is afraid to ask, and simply plays along as their feet return to the floor.