A/N: This is the final chapter of this story. Thank you for your reviews as they have made me smile and I hope you'll be kind enough to leave a final review.
Harry woke up, his body telling him he needed to use the loo. The clock on the nightstand said it was 4.19 and he listened for any other noises in the house before rising and moving quietly down the hall.
It was only a couple of hours ago that he and Ruth woke up, still on the sofa. Harry guided Ruth up to her bedroom and standing on the threshold, she asked him to stay. He stumbled over his words until she clarified that he should stay in the guest room due to the late hour. He was about to say he was fine to drive when his body betrayed him with a yawn and he agreed to her suggestion.
After finishing his business, he was making the return trip when he noticed the door to Ruth's room wasn't closed all the way. Although he had no reason to think otherwise, he decided to make sure she was sleeping fine; that's the reason he gave himself, anyway. Placing his left hand on the door and wrapping the fingers around the edge, he gently pushed the door open until it was wide enough for him to take a step closer and maneuver his head through the opening to see around the door.
A streetlight shone indirectly through the two windows, providing just enough light for him to see the room clearly. She was lying on her side, her arms wrapped around the pillow on which her head rested. The bed covers were at her waist and one foot had escaped to rest atop the covers. He was barely able to control his reaction to the sight of Ruth in bed with her naked back towards him.
For a brief moment he let his imagination get the best of him and he wondered what it would be like to slip under those covers and rest his body next to hers; the skin of his chest resting against her back while his hand explored the rest of her and his face was buried in her hair.
He imagined the noises she would make as he pleasured her with his hands, his lips, and his tongue. What he didn't need to imagine was the reaction of a certain body part to seeing her like this. What was it about this woman that made him react so powerfully?
Taking a step back, he pulled out of her room and closed the door before walking back to the spare room. He crawled back into bed but knew he'd get very little sleep the rest of the night. His body was too wired from seeing Ruth and the images of them together, naked in bed, were still flooding his mind.
Their conversation and actions from the previous hours told him that Ruth was attracted to him. Was he attracted to her? Or was he just needing to scratch an itch and she a convenient opportunity?
He let his mind wander back to the few times when he allowed a woman to scratch that itch. His last two relationships were with women he'd known through work, though neither worked for Five. Ten years ago it was Liza from Six and two years before that it was Polly from the Home Office. He knew both women for several months before becoming involved with either of them and while there was an immediate physical attraction to them on his part there was never any desire to get to know them beyond the basics. Each affair was short lived; he was only with each woman a few times before things ended poorly. Eventually he found it easier to just avoid romantic relationships altogether.
If Ruth were to tell him she was leaving, going to work elsewhere, he knows that he would do whatever it would take to convince her to stay. The thought of working on the Grid with her no longer there was something he didn't want to face. And yet, he was quickly coming to realize that his desire for her wasn't simply professional, but was personal as well. She stirred something in him that he hadn't felt in a long time. The idea of a romantic relationship, a true personal relationship that was based on something far beyond sex wasn't anything he had entertained in years.
Harry decided to test the waters and see if Ruth was interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him. Despite his strong physical reaction to her earlier, Harry feared that adding sex to the mix too soon could be disastrous, especially given that he was her boss.
Harry was seated in the kitchen drinking coffee when Ruth walked into the room. Her hair was sticking up, she was wearing a dressing gown that was hanging open to reveal a nightshirt that showed far more of her legs than her skirts ever did, and her hand was covering a yawn.
"Good morning," Harry greeted with a small smile.
"Morning," Ruth mumbled as she sat at the table opposite him.
"Can I get you some coffee? Or something else? Though considering this is your house I'm not sure what you have..." Harry trailed off as he stood and moved to the counter.
"Coffee's fine. Not sure I'm up to eating food," Ruth said as she folded her arms on the table and rested her head.
"I can make toast. Might be a good idea to get something in your stomach."
"Okay" was her muffled reply.
Considering that she was usually on the Grid as early as he was most mornings, he assumed her grogginess was an effect of her drinking last night. He quietly made her a cup of coffee with sugar and set it before her. She lifted her head, wrapped her hands around the mug, and inhaled the scent of coffee.
"No milk," she noted.
"Didn't think that would be the best idea for your stomach."
"Good point," she conceded before sipping at the steaming beverage.
Half an hour later, after stilted conversation and a breakfast of plain toast and scrambled eggs for Ruth, she finally seemed to be awake. They each refilled their mugs and settled on the sofa, Ruth curling her legs under her.
"Did you sleep okay? I hope you found everything you needed."
"I did sleep well. Thank you for letting me stay. I think I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow."
A slight smile graced Ruth's face. "I'm sorry I was such a mess last night, but thanks for getting me home safely."
"You're welcome." Harry sipped his coffee and mentally debated his next comment before deciding it would be all right. "By the way, you have a lovely singing voice."
Ruth just managed not to spill her coffee in surprise at Harry's statement. "Oh, we were singing in the pub, weren't we? Not sure I'm going to be able to look Richard in the eye next time I visit the George."
"Well yes, but I was referring to your singing in the car on the way home," he clarified.
Ruth narrowed her eyes at him. "What was I singing?"
Harry grinned at her reaction. "Just some Elvis tune you found on the radio. You managed to keep up with the words fairly well given your drunken state."
By this time Ruth had set her mug down and buried her face in her hands. "Oh, how embarrassing. I'm sorry, Harry; I promise this isn't something I normally do."
"You have nothing to be embarrassed about. As I said, you're a good singer."
Ruth lifted her head and let her hands drop to her lap. "Well, I must admit that Elvis isn't a part of my normal repertoire," she said with a laugh. "Did I do anything else that was embarrassing?"
Harry hesitated a second too long.
"I did! What did I do?"
Harry shook his head. "Really, Ruth, it wasn't anything. At the pub you, Sam, and Zoe were singing but that was it."
Ruth looked at him skeptically. "And what about after the pub? You said I was singing in the car. Did I do anything else?" She reached out and reflexively put her hand on his arm and a sense of déjà vu washed over her.
Harry looked at her hand on his arm and was reminded that a similar action last night led to a fiery kiss. He looked back at Ruth and noticed the strange expression float across her face.
"What's the matter?" he asked.
"I have a strange sense that I've done this before. Sat on this sofa with my hand on your arm and…" Her voice trailed off as the image of she and Harry kissing surfaced in her mind, causing her to blush.
He didn't want to embarrass her but he decided it might be worth it if he could kiss her again. "You're blushing. Why?" he asked as innocently as he could.
Ruth's eyes had dropped to her hand, which was still on Harry's arm. She bit her lip as she contemplated telling him the truth.
Harry reached over and lifted her chin with his finger. "Did you remember our kiss?"
She finally met his eyes and gave the question in her head a voice. "That really happened?" she whispered.
Harry nodded. "Twice. May I remind you?"
Ruth nodded without thinking. Harry's hands gently cupped her face as he moved closer. Ruth's eyes closed involuntarily and then the image in her mind was real. Harry was kissing her; sweetly but with a little something extra that she knew could make her lose control in the best possible way very quickly.
Breaking apart, neither spoke for a moment as they caught their breath.
"Can I ask how that happened? Last night, I mean?"
"Something to do with you telling me you weren't attractive to men. I said you were beautiful and smart and a few other things that I can't remember at the moment and you tried to give me reasons as to why none of those things could be true and all I wanted to do while you were talking was to kiss you, so I did. And then we kissed again and then fell asleep here on the sofa."
Ruth nodded her head. "I vaguely remember that. And you stayed; you didn't go home."
"Well, it was late and I was tired, so your offer to let me use the guest room was welcome."
Harry scooted himself a bit closer to Ruth and let his arm rest on the back of the sofa, his fingers running through her hair and delicately touching the back of her neck.
"I want to ask you something but you don't have to answer right away." Harry took a deep breath, knowing what he planned to say could make things awkward between them. "May I take you out to dinner?"
Ruth surprised him by not looking away and watching him as though trying to find the real meaning behind his question.
"Regardless of your answer, I want you to know that I didn't kiss you because I thought it would quickly lead to something that would undoubtedly be quite satisfying." Ruth continued to watch him and with a tilt of her head indicated that he should go on.
"I kissed you because I truly wanted to know what it would feel like to kiss the woman that I can't get out of my mind; to kiss the woman who has made me willing to throw out my rules about dating coworkers because the thought of not exploring a romance with her is something I don't want to consider. But most of all, I wanted to know what it would be like to put my arms around you and..."
Harry's answer was cut off by the sudden placement of Ruth's lips against his and he wasted no time in response. His right hand held her head close to his while his left reached out and settled around her waist, pulling her closer to him.
By the time they broke apart for air, Ruth was straddling Harry. They both glanced down and blushed at the suggestive sight of Ruth's bare thighs resting alongside Harry's trouser-clad legs, her nightshirt having risen up to her hips as she sat on him. Ruth drew her dressing gown closed so it covered much of her upper legs but she didn't move from Harry's lap.
"Is that a yes to dinner?"
Ruth laughed at the question. She heard the hesitation in his voice and realized that he was nervous.
"You daft man. Of course that's a yes. And now I know what you meant about the other person talking and all you want to do is kiss them. I just couldn't stop myself," she said with a smile, leaning down for another kiss.
At its conclusion Harry wrapped his arms around Ruth and rested his head against her upper chest, listening to her heart beat and reveling in the feeling of being so close to her.
"What Elvis song did I sing? I don't really know any of his music," Ruth noted.
Harry released his hold on her enough so he could look at her. "Umm, it was modern and didn't sound anything like Elvis. The words were something like, 'less conversation, more action' which seemed to inspire you to try to grope me," he said. His face broke out into a grin as he watched the deep blush of red quickly spread across her face and neck.
She surprised him by trying to climb off his lap, which he quickly stopped by putting his arms around her waist. "Ruth, its fine. No harm done and nothing truly inappropriate happened. I simply wanted to be honest with you about what happened."
Ruth had buried her face in her hands, obviously still embarrassed about what he'd told her.
"Ruth, look at me."
It was a few moments before she lifted herself to be sitting upright, though she was very aware of the positions of their bodies.
"In the future, it might be best if you save your groping for when we are at one another's home. That way I can reciprocate with some groping of my own."
There was a beat before both of them broke out into smiles and Ruth leaning in for a quick kiss. "That only seems fair." She tried, as gracefully as possible, to climb off Harry's lap and managed to do so without ending in a heap on the floor. "I know I've already said yes to dinner, but would you like to spend the day together? Visit a museum or go for a long drive?"
"I would like that. I do need to go home to shower and change, though."
"I'm going to take a shower, so why don't you head home and do what you need to do and come back when you're ready? No rush and then we'll see what we're in the mood for," she suggested.
Harry stood and kissed her once again. "I'm not sure I'll ever tire of being able to do that. But yes, excellent suggestion." He walked to the front hall and slipped on his shoes before putting on his jacket and gathering his wallet and keys. "And think about what you want to do once I return. Whether it's conversation or action, I leave that up to you," he said as he walked out the door with a smile.