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Didn't Anyone Ever Teach You to Knock?

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Sophie was unusually early for the morning meeting. Still, Nate should have been on his fourth coffee, impatient for everyone to arrive. Sophie went upstairs to check on him.

She pushed open Nate’s bedroom door to find Eliot zipping up his jeans and Nate pulling on a wrinkled dress shirt he’d worn the day before. The bed was completely tousled. Whatever she'd expected, it certainly wasn't this.

Nate froze. In a strangled voice he said, “Sophie. I can explain.”

Eliot was positively ashamed. “Now, Sophie --”

Sophie turned on her heel and headed downstairs, her mind spinning with the implications.

“No, no, you don’t owe me any explanations,” Sophie said.

Eliot doubted that. And he could see Nate wasn’t buying it either, seeing how Nate was scrambling to fix it.

Nate said, “Well, I mean, didn’t you -- you said you were dating. And, and, you and I've never really --”

Eliot cut Nate off to stop him from making things worse. “Look, I’m sorry. It was a one-time deal and we got caught up and it was way out of line. It’s a betrayal and I know nothing can make it right, but --”

And that’s when Hardison and Parker walked in.

Nate watched Sophie anxiously. He’d never meant to hurt her.

She was acting like everything was normal. That made no sense.

She couldn’t worried about hiding it from Hardison and Parker. They were used to her being pissed off at him for no apparent reason.

She had to be plotting something.

He couldn’t say he didn’t deserve it, but he wanted to be prepared.

He couldn’t guess her motivations from her behavior because it had to be an act. The puzzle gnawed at him as he searched for pieces.

What point was she making by pretending not to be upset?

Now that the initial shock had faded, Sophie was very secretly amused. She felt a bit bad for leaving them to squirm, but honestly, they really should have known better.

Still, she had been pushing Nate to date other people. She could hardly blame him for turning to one of the few people he already knew.

And she never could stay mad at Eliot for long, not when he played the earnest and genuine Southern gentleman.

And after all, she’d not left empty-handed. She tucked away the memory of Eliot zipping up his jeans, saving it for a rainy day.

Two years after the fact, Eliot still smiled when he thought of that awkward morning. He and Nate never could manage to stay away from each other, no matter what they tried to promise Sophie.

But then it stopped mattering because Sophie got right in the middle of it, determined to seduce them both. Eliot’s willpower never stood a chance.

Sophie teased Nate, letting him take credit for the flowers she knew he didn’t buy. Parker poked her Venus flytrap. Eliot winked at the guys and headed up to Nate’s apartment, looking forward to Sophie’s special way of showing appreciation.