The hotel bar was practically deserted at this time of night, which suited Joe perfectly. Still buzzing from the roar of the crowd, he never could sleep right after a gig, but that didn't necessarily mean he wanted to be surrounded by people either. They'd stayed at this hotel before and the lone bartender recognised him, poured him a generous glass of bourbon and left him to his own devices which, in this hotel, involved a piano in the corner and his fingers carefully roaming over the ivory keys.
Usually that would relax him, but not tonight.
Because tonight, he wasn't buzzed from the glory of the crowd that he'd held in the palm of his hand.
Or rather, he was - except that it was a crowd of one.
Closing his eyes he could see Caitlin standing by the side of the stage, see the smile on her face as she watched him. It was the same smile he'd seen on so many of their coffee walks, but different too. Brighter, more brilliant somehow. It was the kind of smile that, when a woman sent it in the direction of a man, the man wanted to do nothing more than to smile back, so he had, and as he'd continued singing, he'd forgotten about the crowd and Cisco and the whole damn world and all he could think about was Caitlin.
Which, if he was really honest with himself, had happened before. But never to that extent.
And even if it had, she'd never looked back at him quite that way before.
He blew a stream of air between his lips, thinking of all the ways that this was a bad idea but as he lifted his glass, there was a soft, "Hey," that had him looking up into the very eyes he'd just been thinking of.
"Hey." His eyes moved up and down her body, taking in how she was dressed - black leggings and ballet flats, a thin sweatshirt too big for her, slipping off one shoulder - and the messy ponytail she'd obviously pulled her hair back into and came to the only conclusion he could. "Can't sleep?" She certainly didn't look like she was dressed for company.
"No." She shook her head, gave a soft chuckle. "I thought a walk around the hotel might tire me out." She jerked her chin towards the glass in his hand. "What's your excuse?"
"I can never sleep after a gig." Part of him was surprised she didn't know that by now, another part of him wondered why he'd expected she would. He inclined his head towards the empty table nearest them. "Nightcap?"
She looked like she was considering it for a moment, but only for a moment. "Sure," she said and he signalled the bartender to bring them over another glass. He did so and, with a quick glance between Joe and Caitlin and what looked to be a knowing smile at Joe, he left the bottle behind him too.
Caitlin waited until she had a drink in her hand before she asked, "You play?"
Joe wrinkled his nose. "Chopsticks, mostly." She smiled at that and he added, "A little, just messing around. I'm no Cisco Ramon, that's for sure."
"Who is?" She raised an eyebrow at the same time as she raised her glass and he took the hint, clinked his against hers gently. He held her gaze then, stared into her eyes and, just like at the gig, he saw something there that he'd never expected to see.
"So." He heard himself speaking before he could think of how best to say what he was thinking, so all that came out was, "What has you prowling the corridors so late?"
Those eyes held his and didn't blink. He did though, when he heard her soft, "You know," because he hadn't expected her to come out with it like that. He made a mental note that Caitlin was more forthright than he'd thought as he considered his response. Which seemed to take the wind out of Caitlin's sails a little, if her, "You do know, don't you? This isn't just me-"
"Caitlin." One word stopped her, either that or the way his free hand closed over hers. Her skin was cool against his and the way her breath hitched at the contact caused something to short circuit in his brain. "It isn't just you," he told her when he'd recovered.
Her smile was the most glorious thing he'd seen in years, brighter then than even it had been from backstage. "Oh, thank God," she said, the words somewhere between a laugh of embarrassment and one of sheer relief. She turned her hand over in his and he took the hint, laced their fingers together.
"It hasn't been just you for a while now." His voice was quiet as he admitted something he'd only just got around to admitting to himself. His eyes never left hers though, and the soft smile that played around her lips was echoed in them. "But, Caitlin..."
"No." The word was as soft as her smile but he could hear the steel underneath. "No buts." Her fingers tightened against his and she raised her glass to her lips, took a long swallow. "Not tonight."
He opened his mouth to say something but then thought better of it. Raising his own glass, he swallowed down the mouthful that was left, blamed that for the heat that pooled low in his stomach, spreading slowly along his veins. "No buts."
Caitlin's smile spread, turning from soft to sultry in a matter of seconds and she stood, looked down at him with unmistakable intent. Tilting her head towards the door, she issued a wordless invitation that he answered in kind, standing up and letting her lead him from the bar, across the lobby of the hotel and towards the elevator.
The ride to their floor seemed to take forever as they stood side by side, hand in hand. The corridor too seemed longer than ever until finally they ended up outside her room. She looked up at him then, eyes huge and dark and her breath seemed to catch in her throat as she caught her bottom lip between her teeth. Even so, there was a smile - nervous or not, it still counted - on her lips, a flush on her cheeks and he gave in to the impulse he'd been fighting with in the elevator, on the walk down the corridor.
His hand still laced with hers, his other hand found her hip and carefully, slowly, ever so gently, he moved with her so that her back was pressed against the wall, his body so close to hers that he could feel her tremble against him. It was that motion that almost proved his undoing and he made himself take a deep breath, count to five and release it slowly before he moved his hand, slid it up her side, to her shoulder and from there to the side of her face.
His thumb swept a pattern up and down her cheek as he whispered, "Tell me to stop... and I'll stop."
He meant it, even if he didn't want to but she gave the tiniest shake of her head in response. "Don't stop," she whispered and then she didn't get a chance to say anything else because he lowered his head and she rose up on her toes and their lips met.
The initial contact was gentle, tentative, but it didn't stay like that for long, not when she pushed her body against his as her arm went around his neck, pulling him closer against her. His mouth opened against hers and he deepened the kiss, heard her whimper in response, a sound that he instantly wanted to hear her make over and over again.
Later, he wouldn't remember how exactly they got into the room, how they made it to the bed. But afterwards, as they lay tangled in the sheets and each other's bodies, her sighs and whimpers and moans ringing in his ears, he knew that no matter how many people he'd held in the palm of his hand during the concert, this room, with this woman, was where the true glory lay.