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Toward Joy

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AJ's running his fingers across the piano keys, from high to low and then back again, but Lilly's so used to it that it doesn't interrupt what she's doing.

"You know," he says, and she looks up from the receipts just long enough to see the grin he quirks in her direction. "There's always something I wanted to try with you."


"A little serenade." He plays a sequence that sounds brilliant and professional, and Lilly softly laughs in response. "Are you finished with those receipts?"

"Almost. Two more minutes."

"Want me to keep count?"

Lilly shakes her head. "No, because it might be closer to five."

Another stroke over all the keys. "Guess I'll have to wait then."

Jake's arms circle around her waist, and he drops a kiss right behind her ear that makes her shiver. "AJ still harassing you, baby?"

"Man, that's harsh," AJ says at the same time that Lilly answers with a soft, "Hmm?"

She realizes what Jake said a beat later and laughs, leaning back against his weight. "No, he's serenading me."

"Oh." Jake's fingers move in soft lines up and down Lilly's stomach. It tickles so badly that she slaps a hand over his, nearly squirming off the stool. "Is that what he's callin' it?"

"Harsh," AJ says, and presses on several of the keys at once, the low notes rumbling through the bar. "You done yet, Lil?"

"Almost," she promises, pushing down Jake's arms so she can dive back into settling the till before either one of them interrupt her again.

Whatever AJ is playing -- and he seems to know a lot of songs -- is relaxing, a soothing backdrop to the boring accounting that Lilly has to accomplish. It's worth it, though, because this is her business (hers and technically Jake's and AJ's, too), and it's grown so much since--

Her thoughts still stutter there even though it's been years, but-- Her business has grown so much since Ghost. She doesn't like to think about him.

And she doesn't have to often, not when she has Jake and AJ, who are both seated on the piano bench, Jake drinking what looks like scotch while AJ plays. Lilly could watch AJ for hours. Sometimes, she does. She loves his hands and his smile and his silly fedoras and the way he wears his pressed white shirts and vests with as much irreverence as he deals with everything else. He's a good fit for her. And Jake.

When she's finished, she goes to AJ first, stealing his hat and dropping it onto her own head before she loops her arms around his neck, admiring the way his fingers stroke each piano key.

"You done yet?" he asks as he tapers down to what Lilly's guessing are the last notes.

"Mm-hm," she says, and kisses the corner of his mouth, freeing the first button on his vest.

He laughs and captures her hand. "Sneaky." Then he drops a kiss to her knuckles, twisting around on the bench. "I still owe you a serenade."

"Then what was that just-- AJ!" she shrieks when he picks her up with only an, "Up we go," in warning.

He puts her on top of the piano, and she swats his shoulder, but she can't keep her glare in the face of his smile or the eager, open pleasure of his expression.

"Sorry, Lil. You okay?"

She wraps her legs around his waist, digging her heels into his very flat butt, and draws him in, threading her fingers through his hair as she rubs her nose against his. "Next time, ask, okay?"

"Or there won't be a next time," Jake adds.

Lilly hums in agreement, but she still pulls AJ forward for a kiss, shivering beneath the squeeze and slide of his hands up her dress.

"Still want to serenade you," he murmurs against her lips.

"What are you-- Oh," Lilly gasps, arching into the rub of AJ's knuckle over her panties. She's wet just from the tease.

"It was a euphemism," he says, which Lilly knows now, but she doesn't get a chance to say it because AJ's tugging her panties out of the way, because he never seems to have -- or take the time to pull them off.

She laughs, bright and breathless, and finds it nothing but endearing, and then she's shaking from the slide of his tongue. She reaches out, hoping to grab onto Jake, keep him a part of this like always. Jake's fingers twine through hers, and he kisses the top of her hand just as AJ thrusts his tongue into her, shoving it deep and fast, so she can feel the rush all the way down to her toes.

"I got you, baby," Jake whispers, and all Lilly can do is moan.

With shaking fingers, she sinks her free hand into AJ's hair and remembers that she has his hat, lost somewhere now and so unimportant when he's pushing her higher with each thrust of his tongue. Lilly feels so wanted, and she tries to suck in a breath only to lose it to a moan when AJ's lips wrap around her clit and suck. She's caught between too hard and oh god, and she can't keep the bubble of noises in her chest anymore, not when AJ's hands squeeze her thighs so she can't squirm away from the hot suction of his mouth or the swirl of his tongue.

"Oh god, oh god, oh god," bubbles out of her as she squirms, rolling her hips to get closer, moving away to retreat.

She can't get the leverage to pull away from AJ's mouth or Jake's hand or the pressure building and building, shaking out of her in moan after moan. AJ has her so tense that she kicks off her pumps to keep from hurting him and rides his mouth, his tongue, letting go, breathing fast, holding on.

When AJ sucks her clit again, she's finished, coming so hard that she arches with her fingers tangled in his hair.

"Too much, too much," she gasps, wriggling her hips to get away, and AJ laughs in response, lips soft and damp when they move to the inside of her thigh.

"God, baby," Jake says, and kisses her knuckles, each one down to the tips of her fingers, the caress of his mouth making her shiver as she tries to catch her breath.

"So." AJ kisses her, too, trailing his mouth up her body. He stops shy of her lips and rests his chin between her breasts.

Lilly shakes her head and laughs. "You." She tugs on his arm until he moves close enough that she can kiss the tip of his nose. "I love you. Your serenade." And she can't help but giggle as she says it. "It was beautiful."

AJ smiles, and she strokes the corner of his mouth with her thumb, tracing the shape of his smile, shuddering from the puff of his breath when he says, "Love you, too, Lil."