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count it all as time well wasted

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Joe was sitting on his couch, idly zapping through the channels when he heard footsteps behind him. Turning his head, he felt a smile coming to his lips at the sight before him. Caitlin was standing at the entrance to the living room, rubbing her eyes sleepily, staring at him with a confused expression on her face. She couldn’t be that sleepy, he decided, as one look at her told him that she’d been awake enough to find his shirt from yesterday on the floor and put it on, although she’d evidently failed at doing up all the buttons. It looked like only every second one was fastened, but considering the view that that afforded him, he wasn’t going to complain about it.

Besides, sleepy tousle-headed Caitlin happened to be one of his favourite looks on her, and it was one that up until now, he’d only seen in hotel rooms and tour buses. Seeing it in his own house was a novelty and a welcome one.

“Where did you go?” she mumbled as she padded over to him, dropping down onto the couch beside him and snuggling into him.

Joe wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulled her close and took a deep breath, allowing himself to savour the moment before he answered. “I woke up about an hour ago, didn’t want to wake you.” He pressed a kiss to the top of her head, let his fingers untangle a particularly large section of hair sticking out from the top of her head. “I knew you’d surface when you were ready.”

Caitlin’s eyes were already closed again and she made a little noise of approval at the back of her throat. Whether that was approval of his words or his actions, he didn’t know and, to be honest, he didn’t really care. Not when she swung her legs up and over his, not when his hand could fall on her knee, slide up under the shirt she was wearing to the soft skin of her hip, and certainly not when she pressed herself closer against him like she was exactly where she wanted to be and had no plans of moving anytime soon.

Joe did not have a problem with that at all. They’d been criss-crossing the country for most of the last few months so to be in his own house, surrounded by his own belongings, with Caitlin at his side was a balm to his soul that he hadn’t even realised he needed.

He moved his other hand so that it cupped the back of her head, let his fingers play with the strands of her hair. She made that little noise again, sweeter than any harmony he’d ever heard and Joe felt more at home than he’d ever felt.

“What time is it?” she murmured against his shoulder and he cast an eye to the clock on the mantel.

“Almost eleven,” he told her and she groaned at that.

“I should get going soon.” She sounded about as eager to get started on that as he was to let her and he couldn’t help himself, he looked down at her in sheer surprise that sounded in his voice when he spoke.

“You have plans?”

She lifted her head then, a small smile playing around her lips. “I need to get back to my place,” she told him, wide awake now. “Do laundry… clean… I’m sure there’s an inch of dust everywhere. Shop for groceries…” Her fingers moved to his chest, plucking at the white cotton of the undershirt he wore. It brought back memories of all the nights that she’d done something like that in some random hotel room, usually as a precursor to something far more interesting than this conversation. “Not all of us are superstars with staff to do these things for us.”

“You can do laundry here,” he pointed out. He’d been planning to do a load anyway. “And there’s a fully stocked kitchen down the hall.” His fingers inched up higher on her hip. “You could stay. I’ll cook brunch.”

Her laugh was a touch breathless, a touch filthy. “Does this mean I’ll get to finally taste some of that famous Joe West cooking that I’ve heard so much about?”

He kissed her forehead. “Anything you like.”

She closed her eyes, looking thoughtful and he knew that look. “It’s tempting,” was all she said and he pressed his case.

“Besides, first day back after being on the road? You need to rest… relax… get your strength back up.”

He moved his hand just a little under her shirt and she gasped, arching her back. Her eyes flew open and he grinned down at her, got a raised eyebrow for his trouble. She was smiling when she said, “Why do I get the feeling my strength's not the only thing you want to keep up?” with a devilish smile and a shift against him that had his own eyes fluttering shut for a moment.

“So, what do you say, sofa Saturday, you and me.” He moved so that she was lying back on the couch, his body covering hers and she smiled as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Snuggle in front of all the bad tv we’ve missed over the last few weeks… we might even look at some of it.”

“I doubt that.” Caitlin didn’t sound sorry about that. “But it sounds perfect.”

And perfect is exactly what it was.