“It was a wonderful speech,” Rachel says.
Her voice echoes through Evie’s office, bouncing mockingly off the glass walls. Evie wonders how security let Rachel in here, and then she remembers how many members of her security team have fled. They’re smart. She would have fled too, if she could have.
But she can’t.
“Fuck you,” she spits emphatically, and shoots her gaze up to Rachel. Dagger-sharp, but not sharp enough to cut. Rachel has changed, black blazer and skirt. They match. Evie is certain that Rachel knows.
Rachel is raising her eyebrows at her, as if shaming her for being too gauche. For one horrifying second Evie thinks she is going to say well, if you’d like, and the thought sends a bolt of lightning heat through her that she ignores.
“Get out of my office,” she says. Pauses. Twists her mouth sour-sweet, says: “Or is it your office now? That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? A seat at the table.”
“I want,” Rachel says, “all sorts of things.” Her fingers trail along the edges of Evie’s desk. She’s walking closer. The way her gaze is locked on Evie’s, like she knows. She can’t know. There is no way she could know but here she is, closer and closer. Evie’s fingers tighten minutely on the paperwork. Rachel’s gaze alights on them like a predatory bird, and then back up to meet Evie’s eyes.
“What do you want?” she says, and her voice is a purring breath.
“Like you care,” Evie says.
A smile curls around the edge of Rachel’s mouth. “Humor me.”
“I want everything you have,” Evie says. “Because it was supposed to be mine.”
“Everything I have,” Rachel says, words a slow honeydrip between her teeth, mocking singsong. She is so close. If Evie reached out a hand she could put it on Rachel’s hip, she could rip the cane out of her hand and watch her fall to the floor. Rachel smells like foreign flowers – perfume, maybe. Soap. Evie hates her this close. Evie hates these small pieces of humanity in her.
“All of it? Really?” Rachel says, standing over her, close enough to ruin.
“Careful, now,” Evie says, voice breathier and less mocking than she would really like it to be. “Think you might want to back up, hm? You know how people talk, Rachel.”
Rachel makes a soft mm and does not move. “I also know,” she says offhandedly, “that you’ve been playing this game just as long as I have. Don’t tell me you don’t know the rules of it by now.”
Flip the board around and you are playing checkers, not chess – which is to say, that isn’t the game Evie thought they were playing at all. Check.
But Rachel is right: Evie knows this game. She knows whoever moves first loses. They could sit here and stare at each other forever, Evie’s belly a sick hot mess, Rachel trembling just at the edges where she’s leaning on her cane. That would be Evie’s victory, maybe. That’s all she wants. Just one victory.
…but no. That isn’t all she wants, and she knows, and Rachel knows. Evie turns her chair to face Rachel, hates that she has to tilt her head up to meet Rachel’s eyes.
Rachel watches her for a moment, considering – she’s close, so close – and then in one sibilant movement slides into Evie’s lap and kisses her. Her hand splays against Evie’s throat, not nearly close enough to a noose. The kiss is too gentle. Rachel’s mouth is soft against hers and it’s so horribly sweet, like a consolation prize. Evie lets the moment play out for a heartbeat or two and then leans back.
“Come on,” she breathes, eyelashes fluttering. “The last time I was this close to one of you she hit me in the face with a gun. And all you can do is some chaste—”
Rachel’s face flickers dark for a moment and she smashes her mouth against Evie’s again. This time it’s different. This time it’s teeth, like an attack, like Rachel standing there and watching Evie through the haze of flashing camera lights. Beth’s gun hitting Evie’s face, over and over again, that constant shock of pain.
Evie makes a sharp wretched sound and shoves her hands underneath Rachel’s blazer, the shirt under that, so she can scrape her nails all the way down Rachel’s spine. Rachel gasps, once. She bites.
“Oh, and you liked it,” she breathes against Evie’s lips, hands stroking over the skin of Evie’s stomach. “This wasn’t about obsolete clones at all. It was far more personal than that, wasn’t it.”
Evie presses her mouth against Rachel’s again, doesn’t answer her. Rachel kisses her back, tongue and teeth and everything Evie has ever—
And then Rachel leans back. Evie could lean forward, chase Rachel’s mouth with her own, but that would be the worst sort of losing. She doesn’t move. Her hands have settled on Rachel’s hips; she can’t lift them now, not without giving up.
“Wasn’t it,” Rachel says, like a chastising schoolteacher.
Her face is almost shining. Why shouldn’t it be? She’s won. Evie thinks about Cosima sobbing on the ground, the look of fear on Sarah’s face when Evie punctured the worm in her mouth. Swaps out the Leda. Imagines the blind animal panic in Rachel’s eyes.
“Yes,” she breathes, and leans forward again. They kiss like a trainwreck, fire and the screech of wrecked metal. Rachel’s hands are everywhere, like she’s trying to find something in Evie but can’t quite locate it.
“Don’t worry,” Rachel breathes. “I respect a personal agenda.”
“Do you always talk this much?” Evie says. “Or am I just that lucky.”
And she presses her mouth to the skin of Rachel’s throat, bites. She hopes she leaves a mark. Rachel makes a sudden high sound and digs her thumb, hard, into the scar on Evie’s face. The nail of it. Glittering silver, like a knife, and Evie’s hips jerk forward against Rachel’s. God. She wants – she wants – she wants.
Rachel lets out a warm pleased breath, and – god help the both of them – opens her mouth to fucking talk again. Evie sucks hard at the skin of Rachel’s throat, once, in warning; she goes back to kissing Rachel, because it’s the best way she can think of to shut her up. Rachel arches against her like a cat, like she can’t get enough. Evie pulls her closer, uncomfortably close – so close Rachel’s breasts brush against Evie’s when she breathes, and she’s forced to move her hands to the arms of Evie’s chair.
Evie takes advantage of this to roll her hips forward, her thighs rubbing between Rachel’s legs. Rachel makes a choked noise against Evie’s lips, needy and thin, and then leans back. She looks visibly shaken.
“No,” she says in a low throaty drawl. “I don’t think so.”
Her eyes are darting back and forth between Evie’s. God. Finally, Rachel looks afraid. Evie shifts just a little (her hips against Rachel’s hips, for a moment, the fluttering of Rachel’s eyelashes) and manages to get her hand between Rachel’s legs. Oh. Oh, god, she’s wet.
“Hm,” she says. “I’m sorry, what was that you were saying about liking it?”
And she presses her fingers up before Rachel can answer. Rachel’s eyes on her are wide, frantic, livid. She rocks into Evie’s fingers like she can’t help herself. Her mouth droops open.
Evie feels that warm flush prickling along the back of her neck, her shoulders, the space in her chest. It means: here I am, winning. Here is a chance to win everything.
“You think you’re better than me,” she growls. “You think you won but you came crawling here because you wanted to get fucked.”
Rachel manages, with visible effort, to shape her mouth around a word – and then Evie brushes her thumb against Rachel’s clit, and all Rachel says is mmn. She wonders what Rachel was going to say. She has enough to bury Evie, again and again. Evie’s downfall, sitting here on her lap letting out a distressed whine at the motion of Evie’s fingers up her skirt.
The worst part of this is that it doesn’t change anything. Evie could make Rachel beg. She could pin Rachel against her desk and fuck her ‘til she screamed and it wouldn’t change the fact that twelve hours from now this won’t be Evie’s desk, and Rachel will still have won.
But god, the satisfaction in it. Rachel wasn’t wrong. Evie has been chasing this since Beth scrambled into her car and shoved a gun in her face. She’s just as wet as Rachel is, really. She wants this just as bad.
But she doesn’t move, just watches Rachel fall apart. Rachel keeps blinking, head rocking forward over and over again like she’s surprised. They’ve settled into a rhythm – easy. Like a joke.
Evie watches until Rachel’s close to coming, high thin noises trapped in her throat. Then she pulls her hand away. Rachel tilts forward and then blinks rapidly, recovers. Her mouth closes, a soft nonsound. They study each other. Rachel’s breathing is heavy; her chest rises and falls. Evie wants to touch her. Evie wants to break her neck. Evie is like Rachel, that way: she wants all sorts of things.
“Petty,” Rachel says, and her voice sounds like she approves.
“If you ask nicely,” Evie says, “I might let you get off.”
Beg me, she means. Rachel knows. She ducks her head, smiles fondly at nothing Evie can see. It is – incidentally – the same smile Rachel wore while watching Evie fall. Evie doesn’t think this is a coincidence.
“Ask me nicely,” Rachel breathes, eyes flicking back up to Evie’s, “and see what I’ll give you.”
Evie imagines it, giddy-sick. Please.
Please, and Rachel would kiss her again, cool and soft. Maybe she would even let Evie back at the table. Evie doesn’t think she cares about the bots, about the science, about the future. She cares about the word please. Evie could give this to her. She could have everything back again. All she would have to do is beg for it.
Instead she swallows, and tilts her chin up. They both know she isn’t going to beg. The same way Rachel isn’t going to beg. Just like that.
Rachel tilts her head to the side, makes a considering mm. “You’re very good at this,” she says offhandedly. “Once all the dust has settled, I might look you up again.”
Evie exhales through her nose, sharp and pained, and Rachel leans forward and presses her mouth to Evie’s one more time. Closed-mouth kiss, short and mockingly tender. Then Rachel leans back, slides off Evie’s lap and picks up her cane again.
“Or,” she says, “maybe I won’t.” And she smiles at Evie knowingly before turning around and walking away. She just leaves Evie there, draped in her desk chair, stinking like sex and desperately needing to get off. Her fingers are still wet.
Evie’s fingers are still wet, and Rachel won. She hates that most of all: that Rachel found a way to win anyways.