"See something you want?"

Once upon a time her asking this would have led to quickly averted gaze and verbal denial, possibly furious blushing and a desperate search for a diversion. Once upon a time he would have pretended that the sight of her skin, at least that skin which usually stayed hidden under the marine green uniform, did nothing to his hearbeat. Then again once upon a time she would not be lying on his sofa, leaving no place for him to sit, wearing nothing but a haphazardly buttoned up white shirt. His shirt. And he could swear she had just stretched her back and thrown her arms over her head on purpose.

He made no attempt to look away. Instead his eyes traveled very slowly from her toes up her uncovered long legs to the hem of the white shirt, which was resting right above the curve of her sweet six. The garment was baggy on her, but possibly even sexier than the evening dress he had unceremoniously tore off of her the night before. He chuckled at the memory of her angrily nagging him about buying her a new one in between the heated kisses. Since the buttons were not in the right holes he could glimpse her navel before his eyes continued their upward journey to the soft material stretched over her breasts, the sweet contours of her collarbone, the elegant line of her neck. Her lips, slightly parted and slightly swollen still. Her eyes. Dark as a chasm, unless sunbeams danced over her face and gave them a curious golden glow. Like honey and secrets and comfort. And right now promising pure ecstasy. Sarah Mackenzie was a work of art and put on Earth to torment and destroy his self-control.

"What are you offering," he said and congratulated himself on managing to sound slightly bored, while he folded his arms in front of him and raised one of his eyebrows.

Her eyes narrowed like a cat's. Her arms returned to their original position, palms now resting on her abdomen, seemingly absent-mindedly playing with the buttons. She observed him for a while, then pursed her lips.

"More than you could handle, I'm sure."

Both his eyebrows were up now and even though he knew she was teasing, his male pride was slightly insulted by the insinuation. In his mind he quickly conjured up last night again. They were both passionate lovers and liked to take control, but they had also learned that letting the other one be in control from time to time took nothing out of their pleasure and actually deepened the experience of love making. Every single time they were together, it was more than just love and lust, though both were in abundance. It was about trust and it would always leave them both bewildered and astonished at the depth of the feeling. More often than not she would end up with tears streaming down her face. When it happened the first time he was aghast, terrified that he had hurt her with his loving. Only when she managed, in between the broken sobs, explain she was just overwhelmed with everything being so perfect and beautiful did he return to bed and took her in his arms, burying his face in her neck in gratitude. He would never get used to her tears, but he was right there now, to kiss them away gently, instead of leaping out of bed and babbling incoherent apologies like that first time. She did cry last night. And now she dared to suggest she was too much for him to handle?

With deliberation he looked her over again.

"From what I see I think I could manage," he stated firmly. Confident of his victory in this skirmish he turned his back on her and headed to the kitchenette to finish making early lunch. They had woken up quite late and the sassy Marine on his sofa was hungry after all. He was about to open the fridge when he heard her again.

"Manage? Is that the best you could do?"

He let go of the fridge handle.

He had a shirt to tear off of someone.