Duke had a plan. He had a plan to get Audrey and Duke into bed with him. It was a self-serving plan, not to mention risky if he miscalculated. But he felt confident in that the two detectives desired him as much as he desired them.
Earlier that day, he had invited them to a poker game out on his boat—a poker game that wouldn't have any dubious strangers who wanted to steal from him and strand him out in the middle of the ocean. He had said it was going to be a friendly game—and it was—but what Duke failed to mention was that it was also going to involve all of them losing their clothes. Possibly during the game, but Duke wasn't picky; whenever it happened was good with him. He just wanted Audrey and Nathan naked on his boat. That was pretty much the plan. His brain short-circuited when Duke tried to plan further than that. He got to the part where Audrey and Nathan were naked and…that was it. His brain would work no further. It wasn’t like anyone could blame him though. Both persons in question were very hot. Duke knew he wasn’t a bad looker himself, so it stood to reason that they should all hook up.
He set the champagne in the ice bucket, knowing there'd be some strange looks thrown his way, but not caring much about it. There would be beer too, if his guests found the champagne too formal or whatever. But Duke—Duke wanted to impress tonight. Never let it be said that Duke Crocker couldn't be a gentleman when he wanted to be. Okay, so he was a gentleman who smuggled things for others and generally lied, but his heart was in the right place. And there were lines he definitely didn’t cross. He had a moral fiber as strong as the rest of Haven. It just didn’t want to make an appearance most of the time.
It was tunnel-vision. Duke had been so focused on getting both Audrey and Nathan on the Cape Rouge and getting them both naked and having his wicked way with them that nothing else permeated his mind. This was a flaw in his thinking seeing as how he couldn’t actually convince them to play strip poker with him. He got them onto the boat, which was tricky in of itself. But as far as the rest of Duke’s brilliant plan went, he got road blocked. He could make a joke about it, but if he went that route, both Audrey and Nathan wouldn’t take him seriously and he needed them to take him seriously because this was serious business, the most serious business Duke ever conducted.
Nathan followed Audrey's lead, not saying anything, but arched his eyebrow at Duke, before he took a chair across the table. The important point being that Nathan didn't object. He could've, at any point. Yet, he remained tight-lipped and silent as ever. Duke counted that as a win. Nathan might’ve been a laconic guy, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t anything going on in that smart brain of his.
Audrey was the great buffer between Nathan and Duke. She was the great equalizer. The game was friendly, much to Duke’s surprise. It was surprising because there was no fighting or accusations of cheating on Nathan’s part. It seemed like the two of them couldn’t be in the same room together without Nathan taking shots at him. Duke figured because Audrey was there with them, Nathan was on his best behavior. He honestly couldn’t guess why Nathan was mad at him or why he couldn’t trust Duke—excepting the obvious reasons of his destiny being to kill Troubles and Audrey. But he wouldn’t do that. He vowed to not follow in his family’s footsteps. For one thing, he believed in carving out his own destiny, even with overwhelming evidence that destiny would screw everybody no matter what their personal beliefs. Yet Duke firmly believed in not killing the Troubles or Audrey, and he’d keep sticking to that philosophy no matter what anybody else had to say about it, thank you very much.
Duke really, really liked them both. He might’ve dismissed it as merely a crush once upon a time. But it didn’t go away; if anything, it got stronger and festered under his skin like an uncomfortable itch. An itch, inconveniently, that only Audrey and Nathan could’ve scratched, or so he thought. There was only one way to find out though.
Duke couldn’t concentrate on the game; his thoughts were so muddled with desire. Should he just come right out and say, “I want to have sex with you both?” It’d be direct, sure, but not subtle and he wasn’t sure that Nathan wouldn’t hit him for suggesting it.
He was so deep in thought on how to initiate the conversation about sleeping with both Audrey and Nathan that Duke didn’t concentrate as well as he should’ve on the game. He usually had a good poker face, which had no hope of surpassing Nathan’s, but it usually didn’t make him lose the first three hands he was dealt. He really should’ve tried to stop fidgeting and grimacing when he tried out his best pickup lines in his head. He had a feeling his best stuff wouldn't work on Nathan.
He wasn’t really paying attention to the soft conversations Audrey and Nathan were having when Audrey turned her gaze on him. It was scary when she laser-focused on her suspect.
“You okay there, Duke? You’ve been kinda distracted ever since we came over.”
He nodded, briefly looking up before glancing down at his cards, trying to look anywhere but at the two of them. He needed to play this smoothly, but he didn’t trust that his desire wasn’t written plainly all over his face to give him away.
He wasn’t sure he registered what hand he had, but it didn’t matter all that much. His mind was on anywhere but the game.
Duke was surprised when Audrey got up, taking the champagne out of the ice bucket. She poured herself a glass, and poured one for Nathan as well, who looked at the offered wine like he didn’t know if he wanted to drink it or throw it overboard. He finally settled on taking a small sip.
Once Audrey had her glass, she didn’t take her seat but sidled up to Duke’s side, who, at first, thought she was trying to take a peek at his cards, trying to cover them. She smiled at him, mysteriously, before caressing the tip of his ear. She was too close and too warm and he didn’t know what to do. It felt like all the air had gone out of his lungs. Nathan was looking at them now.
“Nathan…do you really want to play cards?” she asked, taking a sip and raising her eyebrows expectantly.
Duke expected Nathan to ask what else they were going to do if not play cards, but, surprisingly, Nathan only shook his head, throwing his cards down on the table.
Audrey leaned in closer, and whispered to Duke, “how about we play something a little more fun than poker?” Before taking his hand and leading him toward the sleeping quarters below decks.
Nathan was suddenly at his back, also too close and too warm and…was that Nathan’s hand on his back?
What was happening? Not that he was going to complain if he was all of a sudden getting his heart's desire.
When they got to the foot of his bed, Audrey looked him in the eyes, "you can say no," she said when she went to work getting his clothes off, Nathan behind her.
Yeah, like hell he could.
(And they all lived happily ever after. For the most part.)