Dave drank two cups of coffee and regaled them with a few of his best personal tales before he departed for San Diego. He promised to keep in touch, and they promised the same. When he left, the boat shed was quiet, Nell and Eric's tea long since finished, and their moment apparently long since passed.
Eric busied himself washing their mugs and tidying the tea accessories. Nell could tell he was nervous, and she felt the energy, too. When her body betrayed her and a yawn escaped, she mentally cursed herself. He noticed immediately.
"Tired?" he questioned unnecessarily.
She thought for a second. She was, but the energy between them had her on edge at the same time. "Physically, yes," she responded truthfully. She could feel that her back and legs would be sore tomorrow from their hike in and subsequent chase during the scavenger hunt. "Mentally, not so much," she finished.
Nell watched as his eyebrows arched in that way that told her he was processing the information and trying to form the right response. He looked again at the tea service, and she didn't want him to offer. She didn't really know what came next, but she was sure the boat shed was not the right venue. Whether they hashed this thing out tonight or continued on the way they were, the shed did not need to bear witness- even if she knew where all the cameras were.
Nell stretched her shoulders behind her back, which made Eric look in her direction and, was he looking at her chest, she wondered. A smile played on her lips, and she watched him look away as the pink crept up his neck.
He cleared his throat. "You are tired," he said, his gaze still reaching the couch beyond her. "You wanna just crash at my place?" She watched him drag his eyes up to hers, so earnest, so eager. She felt her heart race.
"Sure," she replied, her voice quieter than she'd expected. She immediately rationalized his question. His place was closer than hers, he probably didn't want her to drive alone this late. It wasn't like this was the first time she stayed in his apartment. They had a whole routine and he'd even reserved a pair of sweats and an old Zelda t-shirt for her to sleep in. On the couch, which she knew was comfortable if she used both pillows he always offered. She realized neither of them was moving. "I could use an episode of MST3K before bed, I think." She's even managed to see the new season three times in the few short weeks it's been out, so she knows she can fall asleep to it. She knows what she just said might be drawing a line, but that's what they do, right? They run up to the line of true feelings and declarations before both retreating.
He still looked at her, worrying his bottom lip for just a second. "Yeah, okay," he responded as he put his hands on his knees and pushed himself up. He reached a hand out to help her off the couch. Her skin, her whole stupid body in fact, tingled from his touch. She tried to take a calming breath like she'd worked on with Nate, but it was all she could do to take in any air at all.
The ride to his apartment was quiet. She looked out the window and let his video game techno-remixes fill the air between them. She could feel him glance her way every once in awhile, but she couldn't turn back. She didn't regret her decision, but she didn't know which would be a bigger regret: facing tomorrow morning after crossing the boundaries that had been in place for so long, or letting the status quo remain.
The drive wasn't long enough to make a decision and when they got to his apartment, she let him carry the duffle they'd grabbed from her car. She followed him inside and quietly took the clothes offered to her before slipping into the bathroom to change while he set up the couch. He queued up MST3K and she chose an episode at random. When it was over, she pretended to be asleep. Not her bravest move, she knew, but yet again, she'd panicked.
Eric turned off the lamp near the couch and whispered goodnight as he placed a feather light kiss to her temple before heading to his room. She could hear him plug in his phone and pull the covers back before he slipped into bed. She heard the switch on his bedside lamp and the apartment was only dimly lit by the orange glow of the streetlight outside.
Nell tried her relaxation tricks to fall asleep, but had no success. She could only think about how they could have been sharing a bed in a cabin in the woods tonight had things not played out so quickly. She could only focus on every sigh Eric let out as he changed positions, seemingly as unsettled as she was. The light sleeper that she was, she knew he usually fell asleep within minutes and barely moved from his position.
Screwing up all of her courage, Nell kicked off the blanket and padded across the apartment. She stood in his doorway, just able to make out Eric as he propped himself on his elbows. "That story you told about me in the woods," she asked for the second time that night.
"True," he responded.
Nell nodded briefly, but she didn't really have to think about her next move. She strode across the room and launched herself across him. Unable to get his arms out from where he'd been leaning on them, Eric fell back with the impact of her body, but quickly recovered, his hands finding his way to her waist as their lips locked.
In the dark of the apartment, their kiss wasn't tentative and sweet as the one earlier in the day had been. It was eager, it was promising, it was greedy. Nell used one hand to grab the back of his head while the other braced her on the bed, afraid of crushing him.
But crushing him seemed exactly his plan as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her body flush with him. His hands moved to under the hem of her borrowed shirt and he paused. Ever the kind, wonderful Eric, he paused as though he needed her permission. As though she could ignore the warmth pooling between her legs or not notice his hardness pressed into her thigh. She separated from him and sat astride him as she swiftly pulled off the shirt, exposing her chest to him fully. For a brief moment, she wondered if he could see anything with his glasses sitting on the nightstand, but his sharp inhale told her he could certainly see enough. She started to pull up the hem of his shirt, and he pulled his upper body up to help. His shirt fell to the side where she'd discarded hers. Nell ran her hands up his chest. She wanted to explore, but his hand guided her head back to his lips and they lay chest to chest while their mouths fought for control.
She'd always wondered just how he'd react to kisses on his long, lean neck. She'd thought about it more often than she'd care to admit with his open shirt collars. Those hours in Ops when she stared over his shoulder at the monitor looking down onto the spot where his shoulder and neck met, wondering if she could make him moan with just her mouth right there. She broke the kiss and explored with her tongue, her predictions were proven correct within moments as she heard his breath go ragged.
Eric used the opportunity to slide his hands between them and cup her breast. The feeling of his hand there broke her contact with his neck when her head tipped back involuntarily as she took in a breath. Lifting his upper body towards her, he took a nipple into his mouth. Nell felt her hands plunge into his hair as she ground down into him, the friction pleasant, but not enough. He took the opportunity to flip them over, placing her beneath him, his hands and mouth still exploring her breasts.
"Eric," she panted as she hooked a leg around his, still seeking release. "Please," she begged, though she wasn't sure what to beg for. She wasn't ready for dirty talk, and she wasn't sure he'd even like it. Instead, she hooked her fingers in the waistband of his shorts and tugged down.
Clearly, he got the message. He shucked his shorts and helped her out of the sweatpants. They lay together for a few moments until she wrapped her legs around him and moved her hips up. His hands slid down her body and between the folds.
"You're so," he started as his fingers slid along her opening.
"Ready," she finished for him, and thrust in his direction again.
Eric nodded and reached for the bedside table.
"Wait," she said. "IUD," she stated as way of explanation. She watched him process what she meant. "Tested?" she asked him as she nibbled on his jawline.
"Tested," he replied and she nodded as she reconfirmed her answer and spread her legs wide.
He started slow and she felt each thrust fill her completely. She moaned, he muttered words she could barely understand. She used her heels to pull him in deeper still and her words encouraged him. His pace quickened and soon she gripped the sheets as his hands continued to explore her breasts and then slide down to between them. She writhed on the bed and he held her hips firm in his hands as he growled her name. She came underneath him and he followed quickly before collapsing on top of her, peppering her shoulder with kisses between pants as they both attempted to catch their breaths.
When they regained their breath, Eric rolled off her, immediately pulling up the covers for her to roll under. When she was settled, he placed a quick kiss to her shoulder before he slipped from the bed and padded off to the bathroom. He returned moments later with a washcloth, which he sheepishly handed to her, then made a show of not watching as he clambered back into bed. She used the cloth and discarded it on the floor, to be taken care of in the morning.
Nell rolled away from him, and as she predicted, he sidled his body up to hers and pulled an arm around her. She felt him nuzzle into her neck. "Ground rules," she stated, knowing the amount of time she'd have him conscious was limited.
Apparently it was enough to snap him to attention. "Okay," he said and she felt his chest separate from her as he propped up on an elbow.
"Work is work, and this doesn't happen there." She hugged the arm that wrapped around her in an attempt to reassure. It seemed to work.
"Fair," Eric responded as he nuzzled back into his former position. She heard him take a few deep breaths.
"And you're buying breakfast tomorrow," she added.
"Mm-hmm," came the response she expected as she felt his grasp around her loosen. Moments later, Nell felt herself drift off, a smile on her face.