"Seriously, man," Jensen said, "name one thing Cougar's got that I don't."
Aisha, never one to use a man's literal words against him (ha!) promptly said, "He's good with kids," and Clay thought uh-oh.
Jensen looked offended. "I'm good with kids. I'm great with kids. Kids love me."
"Blood relatives don't count," Clay said, feeling like a bastard. He shot Aisha a look which he hoped conveyed the ix-nay on the Cougar situation. Some things, a guy had to hear from someone other than his commanding officer who loved him very much.
"You talk a lot," Aisha said. Clay wasn't sure if she was being kind or merely accurate.
"And that's a bad thing?" Jensen shook his head. "I don't think that's a bad thing."
"Look," Clay said, "Pooch asks me 'can you free up Cougar so he can babysit my kids?', what am I going to tell him? 'Have Jensen instead'? You want to file a complaint, do it with Pooch."
Aisha glanced at him and waggled her eyebrows. Clay frowned a 'non comprendo' back at her.
"Sorry, what are we talking about here?" Jensen asked. "Because I thought we were talking about girls. Specifically, girls who are all over some guy who barely talks. What's with that?"
"You talk a lot," Aisha repeated and shrugged. "Maybe try shutting up more often."
"And anyway, seriously? Pooch wants Cougar to babysit his kids?" Jensen scoffed.
Actually, I'm pretty sure that's not the only thing Pooch wants Cougar for. Not that it was any of Clay's business what people did during their down-time. Roque had accused him of being a mother-hen and overly emotionally involved, but then, Roque had been a traitor, so clearly, he knew nothing.
"Again: you got a problem, take it up with the person you've got a problem with," Clay said. "Maybe you want to talk to Jolene. I hear she's very reasonable. Sweet as honey."
Jensen grimaced. Jolene's temper was a thing of legend. Literally, Clay suspected sometimes; he'd never found the woman to be less than polite, rational and logical.
Of course, the fact that she'd never tried to kill him even a little might be clouding his judgment.
"Pass," Jensen said. "Anyway, not looking to rock the boat here."
"What are you looking for, then?" Aisha asked. "Dating advice?"
Clay closed his eyes and sent out a quick prayer to the god who watched over fools, children and the Jensens of the world.
As usual, He was apparently busy elsewhere. "Sure," Jensen said. "Why not?"
"Look," Clay said. "Jensen. Why don't we all walk away from this conversation now, nice and slow? Let Cougar do Cougar - you're you. One day, I'm sure you'll sweep some girl right off her feet."
Aisha smirked. Clay shot her a 'not helping!' glance. She shot him back a 'relax and stop worrying so much' look that reminded him of Roque.
Possibly, he should consider that a bad sign of things to come.
"Okay," Jensen said. "Sure. I mean, it's not like he's going to meet a ton of girls babysitting, right? So at least there's that. Not that I'm jealous or anything, don't get me wrong."
"You're jealous," Clay said. "It's natural. We've all been there."
"I haven't," Aisha commented. "And anyway, he doesn't seem the type to cheat, so I don't see what the fuss is all about."
Say what you want about Jensen: he wasn't an idiot. Well, not during the times when you sort of wanted him to be one, anyway. "He - wait, what? Did I miss something?"
"Guess so," Aisha said, far too casually.
Clay mentally went over his options for damage-control. Blatant lies were an attractive short-term solution, but he wasn't sure if the long-term effects were worth it.
"You ... " Jensen said, staring, and Clay abruptly yanked himself back to the present.
"What? No. Absolutely not." Even if he'd been interested (which he definitely, positively wasn't) he had no idea how to even begin to have that particular conversation.
Some people simply weren't meant for threesomes, whereas others probably had to beat them off with a stick. Not that Clay was complaining; one woman was plenty of excitement for him already. He wouldn't have known what to do with another intense, up-close-and-personal relationship. (Amber's husband, clearly, had been a mistake. One he'd learned from.)
"Then ... " Jensen blinked. "Baby-sitting. Riiight."
Clay started breathing again. This seemed to be going well. The penny had dropped, and nobody was looking hurt and/or homicidal. "They have some sort of arrangement. I don't know the details." He hoped that was a broad enough hint.
"Huh." Jensen looked a little stunned. Stunned was okay. Clay could handle stunned. "So."
"So I guess people really do find him more attractive than you," Aisha said. "Many people."
Clay glanced a 'rub it in, why don't you?' at her, for which he received a bland 'isn't that what it looks like I'm doing?' in return. Some women had no concept of the meaning of 'mercy'.
"Many people," he said. "Not all people."
Jensen chewed on that for a bit. "How about you two?"
"Us two?" Clay echoed. Aisha seemed amused. Not a good sign. "We're - "
"Not interested," Aisha finished quickly, and Clay thought oh, right. "No offense."
"It's cool," Jensen said. "It's cool. Just ... you think maybe they need another babysitter? What with there being two kids and all - and they're probably going to want to have some time for themselves, right?"
Well, that was quick and painless. Clay decided not to feel hurt. Clearly, Jensen hadn't meant anything by it. Just a simple Q&A. Recon. "What kind of unit do you think I'm running here, a kindergarten?"
"Fine." Jensen raised his hands. "I'll talk to Pooch."
"He should be in a good mood when he gets back," Aisha said. "Jolene tells me Cougar's really something."
Jensen scowled. Clay sighed. "C'mon. Let's get you a drink. I'm buying."