Setting Fire to Our Insides for Fun

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Spoiler: Set after 2x11 "All the King's Horses"

Now with better grammar and less mistakes thanks to the generous lily moonlight! You're awesome!

o0o

"Burning desire to be or do something gives us staying power - a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment."

Marsha Sinetar

o0o

Wanting, longing. Need. Desire. Desire to connect. Desire to belong. Desire to touch.
It can cloud your judgement. It can lead to irrational decisions and rushed actions.

It led me to kiss Nico.

His proximity had always made me tingle with the desire to touch him and the night he brought me Pittman's tapes, I failed to resist him. His vulnerability, the look in his eyes when he told me I'd knew him, triggered something. Heat rushed through my body and hugging him wasn't enough any more. What had started out as an attempt to comfort a friend quickly turned into the desire to connect with him.

So I kissed him. And kissed him. And kissed him. So unprofessional. For some reason I lacked control when Nico got too close to me.

If Ray hadn't called to tell me that Ray Jay had been arrested for drug-possession, I'm not confident that I would've been able to stop at kissing. Not with his erection pressing against my center after I straddled him. Not when his hands roaming over my clothed body made me want to tear away every layer of fabric between us. If Ray hadn't called I probably would've slept with Nico right there on my porch.

Part of me was shocked that I was willing to escalate like that, part of me just wanted it to happen.

I've thought about our kiss since then. I've longed to kiss him again ever since.

That was five days ago. Five days that Nico and I haven't seen each other. Five days I spent being angry at my son and yelling at him for being so stupid. Five days I spent arguing about money with my ex. Five days I checked my phone for Nico's messages every fifteen minutes. Texts about TK and Marshall's funeral and work. Very professional again. But I missed his proximity.

He organized an attorney for Ray Jay, did I mention that? Mr. Stein. Thanks to him, Ray Jay would only have to do social hours and attend an anti-drug-program. When I asked Mr. Stein about the payment, he said he had done it as a favor to Nico.

The part of me that simply wanted to ravish Nico grew stronger then.

Of course I knew that Marshall Pittman's funeral wouldn't be either the time or the place to act on my desires but that didn't keep me from slipping a condom in my purse before I left home. I told myself I was just acting like a responsible adult. I couldn't come up with an excuse why I stared at Nico's mouth, his hands throughout the ceremony though. Truth was, I wanted him. I wanted him to kiss me, I wanted to feel his hands on my body, I wanted him to fill me up.

But when I caught his eye when he walked behind the casket with Gabrielle Pittman and her daughter, I just wanted to hug him. He looked a little lost, which was weird considering, that he had one of the Pittman-women on each side. His hand was resting on the small of Gabrielle's back as he led her out of the church and to the grave. He had his arm around Juliette the whole time. In some sense, both of the Pittman-women were clinging to Nico as if they would drown otherwise. Gabrielle did so with glances and stolen touches while Juliette held on to him quite literally.

I adored Nico for being there for poor Juliette, but my insides clenched whenever Gabrielle and he touched. I knew I should've been sympathetic for her loss and on a rational level I knew Nico was only touching her for comfort, as a friend. But I had touched him for comfort and we had kissed and now I found myself jealous of the woman he once had an affair with;, that he had loved once.

The three of them stayed together at the service at the Pittman's residence. You know that people are rich, when they have a salon in their house big enough to hold a service for over hundred people. The salon was a grand room with big windows that went to the garden. My high heels made clicking noises as I walked on the wooden floor.

Juliette was still holding on to Nico when I came to them to offer my condolences. I could see that Gabrielle had cried, her cheeks were wet and her hand felt a little damp when I took it. Her mascara was a little smeared, but she still looked beautiful in her black dress. Nico stood close by her, but they weren't touching. His shoulders were straightened and his chin up. His eyes stayed dry, but I detected a tension within him that made his grief obvious to me.

There were too many people around with too many empty words. I just wanted to be alone with him. Without all those people I could touch him again. But the whole Hawkes-team was here and Matt and the coach waited in line behind me to give their respects as well, so Nico and I shared a look and he nodded at me slightly, before I had to walk away.

After I got myself a cup of coffee, I watched him from a corner of the salon. How strange that felt. Usually it had been him who had watched me. I had felt his eyes on me when I worked. It always had made me feel safer, knowing that he had been there to protect me. Especially when I had met a new client with anger issues. I hoped that maybe my presence here could make him feel less alone.

"Are you okay?" asked a masculine voice coming from my left.

When I turned my head I looked into Matt's serious face. His hand brushed my arm and the rush of sensation that I usually had felt whenever he had touched me, was missing. Strange thing. Just a few weeks ago I had believed that I could possibly find pure happiness with this man and now … Truth was he hadn't broken my heart in as many pieces as I had expected. I gave him a tentative smile.

"I'm alright, thanks for asking," I said.

Matt frowned. "Are you sure? I haven't seen you in a while and the coach said that you had personal things to–"

"I'm okay," I interrupted, "Nothing to worry about." I smiled again.

Still skeptical, Matt held my gaze.

My son would have to serve a hundred hours of social work because he had been caught with five marihuana plants in his car, but that wasn't something I wanted to discuss with him. In retrospect, Matt had never been the person I had wanted to discuss my problems with. Another reason why we had failed as a couple. For some reason I never had trusted him enough. I had wanted to, really, I had tried. And he had proven himself to me more than once, but there always had been parts of myself that I had kept from him. I appreciated everything he had done for me. He had been the man who had made me feel sexy again after I had found Ray cheating on me. He had been the man who had made me feel like a woman again. And for that I had loved him.

Someone called Matt's name and he looked away for a moment. Matt waved at one of the players that gestured him that he wanted to speak to him and then Matt turned back to me. "Call me, if you need something," he said.

I nodded before he walked away, but I knew I wouldn't take him up on his offer.

When I looked back at Nico and Gabrielle, I saw Nico walking out of the room towards the exit with his cell phone pressed against his ear. Part of me wanted to scold him for working so hard and part of me just wanted to take the opportunity to catch him alone. I handed my empty coffee cup to one of the servants that were walking through the room and then made my way through the crowd to the door.

o0o

I walked down the long hall, but couldn't see Nico anywhere. Damn, I had been too slow. Instead I saw Juliette standing in the open front door with a cigarette in one hand and a glass in the other. A cigarette package and a lighter lay at her feet. The transparent liquid that filled the glass didn't smell like water. She blew a cloud of smoke outside before she squinted at me.

"You're that shrink. Dr. Santino," she said. It wasn't a question. It was a statement.

"I am. And you're Juliette Pittman."

Juliette drew from her cigarette and inhaled before she tossed the cigarette outside.

She put her hand in the dip of her hip. "Nico wants me to talk to you about my father."

"If you want, we could make an appointment."

Juliette nodded then looked outside. I waited and used that moment to pull down the hem of my dress. It always hitched up when I walked but its classy cut made it perfect for this occasion.

"Before they found his body, I had been sober for three months," Juliette said eventually, still staring at the outside. She turned her head to me and the smile on her face almost broke my heart, then she looked away again.

"It won't soothe the pain," I said. I remembered the time that Nico had asked me for advice about a friend. I wondered if he had been talking about Juliette.

Juliette snorted. "But talking to you will?"

I shrugged. "It might. It's a start."

A movement of her wrist made the fluid in her glass dance. "I want to get wasted," she said, "even the worst hangover feels better than this."

"Did you drink yet?"

"No."

"Why not?"

She shook her head. "I promised Nico I'd stay sober for him. I said I wouldn't do it for dad but for him." Juliette swallowed. "Nico said I should do it for myself."

One just had to adore that man. I cleared my throat. "He was right."

Juliette looked at me again. "My dad is dead," she said. Her lip quivered.

I sighed and touched her hand that held the glass. "I know."

When I took the glass from her hand, she didn't resist. My mother-instincts kicked in and I wanted hug her, but that would've crossed a professional line. So instead I reached into my purse. My fingers brushed against the condom as I searched for my cards.

"If you want to talk, my door is always open," I said and handed her a card.

Juliette shoved the card underneath her dress and into her bra.

"I don't have a purse with me," she said blushing. Tears ran down her face. "I'm such a mess."

"It's okay." I reached into my purse again and handed her a tissue.

She blew her nose. "I'm sorry."

"Don't worry. Handing out tissues is part of my job description," I said with a smile.

Suddenly she straightened up. "You wanted to go somewhere and I rambled and–"

"It's okay," I cut in. "I was just looking for Nico. It's …" I hesitated. What should I tell her? I didn't know so I settled for, "Don't worry."

"I saw him walking into the office there." Juliette pointed into another hallway. "He's probably still in there."

"I can stay if you want," I offered.

Juliette shook her head. "No, it's okay. I'll have another smoke then I'll go back to my mother." She bent down and picked up the pack of cigarettes and the-lighter.

"Are you sure?"

She put a cigarette in her mouth and nodded as she switched on the lighter.

I touched her arm before I turned to the hallway. I walked up to the door she had pointed at, but I couldn't hear any sounds coming from the inside, which made me insecure so I turned my head to look at Juliette. When she nodded at me and gestured me to move forward, I opened the door and stepped inside.

o0o

The office was small. Elegant, wooden bookshelves covered all the walls, but were almost empty except for a few antique books and some cheesy porcelain figurines. I assumed that the Pittmans used this room to put all the stuff in they didn't really like but had to keep for some reason.

I found Nico standing in front of a huge wooden desk with detailed carvings of flowers, that dominated the room. He leaned on the desk, his back to me, his head hung.

"Nico?"

For once I must've succeeded at sneaking up on him for a change, because he flinched at the sound of my voice. Quickly he straightened himself up and ran his hands over his face without turning around to me. I placed Juliette's glass in the bookshelf that was the closest to me.

"I'll be right out, I just need a minute," he said, sounding choked up.

"Nico …" With just a few steps I got close enough to touch him.

His shoulders tensed under my hands when I placed them on his shoulder blades.

"Look at me," I repeated his words from a week ago.

He turned around slowly, his eyes were reddened. Tiptoeing I wrapped my arms around his neck. I felt him hesitate for a moment but then he relaxed into my embrace and his arms looped around my waist.

"I'm so sorry," I whispered against his neck and pressed my lips against the exposed skin above the collar of his blazer.

He pulled away a little and our gazes met, before he bent down and kissed me. Gently at first, just his mouth moving against mine. He ran his tongue over my bottom lip and I opened my mouth to his while my arms tightened around his neck. He slipped his tongue inside my mouth and let it play with mine. His hands grabbed my ass. I could feel him hardening against my stomach. Almost effortlessly he lifted me up and swirled us both around. He gently sat me down on the desk, our lips not breaking contact once.

My dress hitched up to my hips, exposing the laced bands of my hold ups, as I spread my legs. I hooked them behind his back. Now his erection pressed against my center and I moaned into his mouth. His hands wandered restlessly over my body, cupping my breasts, sliding down my sides and caressing the exposed flesh above my holdups. My fingers dug into his skcull as he covered my mound and started stroking me through my panties with one finger. I was already wet.

He broke away from my mouth to pepper little kisses down my throat. He shoved the crotch of my panties aside, slipped a finger inside me and I groaned again. I directed his mouth back to mine as he added another finger and pushed deep inside of me. I bucked against his head, thrilled by the sensation his fingers brought to me and yet it wasn't enough. I still needed more. Luckily I had packed a condom this morning!

When he pulled his fingers out of me, I wanted to protest, but the words got stuck in my throat as he kneeled down between my spread legs. He reached for my panties with both hands and I supported myself with my arms, so I could lift my hips to make it easier for him to pull my panties down. He traced my legs with kisses while he did so. The sounds of our heavy breathing filled the air and I couldn't get enough of watching him. He looked so sexy, his hair was a mess and his eyes never left mine. After he dropped my panties on the floor, he ran his hands up my calves, over my kneecaps and moved my legs further apart, again pressing his lips against the inner side of my leg.

I drew in a sharp breath when he parted my pussy-lips with one hand and brushed his thumb over my clit. I wanted him so much. I needed him so much. My hands tightened around the smooth edge of the desk. His fingers slipped back inside of me and my head fell back as I tried to hold back another groan. I tried to remember where we were, I tried to think about all the people in the salon, but his fingers were so deliciously distracting.

When I lifted my head I caught a glimpse of movement by the door in front of me. Oh my God! We hadn't locked the door! I wasn't even sure if I had closed it after I had entered the room. I concentrated my gaze on the door. My breath stuck in my throat when it was met by the gaze of another person. Matt. Oh please, no!

That moment Nico pressed his hot mouth on my clit and licked, making my eyes roll into the back of my head. When I could see again, the door was closed. Just an illusion, I thought. Then I stopped thinking, because Nico's mouth was on me and his fingers were inside me and that was all that mattered. Until it wasn't enough. Until my desire reminded me what I was still missing.

Trying to get his attention, I gently pulled at his hair with one hand. I moaned at the loss of his mouth when he tilted his head to look at me. With his fingers still moving inside of me, I had to focus to get my words out.

"Nico … my purse, condom … now, please…" was all I could manage. Gosh, I sounded desperate!

He smiled and rose to his feet then kissed me gently. I could taste myself on his lips. I wished he would hurry up, I needed him so badly. Removing my hand from his hair, I started feeling around for my purse. I needed to find that condom quick. He withdrew his fingers from me and I missed his touch but I knew it was necessary and, oh my, that man could kiss! I still hadn't found my purse, when he broke the kiss and looked down. I followed his gaze and saw a condom in his hand. I had no idea where it came from, it wasn't the one from my purse, but I didn't really care as long as he'd finally take me.

He fumbled at his belt and I stopped searching for my purse to caress his length through the cotton of his pants. He moaned and I smirked. He felt so good, I could do this all day. But for now I had other things in mind. Trying to make myself useful, I pulled down his zipper and reached inside, while he opened his belt. I helped free his cock from his pants, but when I started stroking him, Nico caught my wrists and pulled away my hands.

"I won't last, if you keep doing that," he said, his voice unusually dark and hoarse. He was so sexy.

My hands flexed with the desire to touch him again, but I kept them to my sides as I watched him put on the condom. He positioned his cock at my entrance, then held my hips in place with both hands and entered me slowly. Too slowly. I crossed my legs behind his back to urge him forward, but he took his time, distracting me with a kiss. Once he was fully sheathed inside of me, he pulled out and pushed back hard and deep. This time he swallowed my moan with his mouth. His hands grabbed my ass as he kept moving inside of me. I couldn't stop kissing him. I looped my arms around his neck and felt the fabric of his blazer against my skin.

I had to get him naked, was the last thought before I came. He followed close after.

For a moment we both just held each other, kissing lazily. He pulled away too early but I was too weak to hold on to him. Again I found myself watching him as he got rid of the condom and put his clothes in order. Then he kneeled in front of me again and kissed my ankle before he slid my panties over my feet. He pulled them up to my hips, pressing his lips against my legs here and there. He made me lift my hips, then kissed me again while he pulled down my hitched up dress. His tenderness overwhelmed me. I wished we had more time. I wished I could undress him and start all over again.

He stood up and helped me from the desk. As I stood on my still wobbly legs, I took his face in my hands and kissed him again. I had no words.

"I think I probably need to get back to the service," Nico said eventually. His tentative smile was so sweet, I had to steal another kiss before I let go of him.

We left the office together. The floor was empty, no sign of Juliette or Matt, or anybody else. But just as Nico closed the office door behind us, Gabrielle came down the hall. She scrutinized us with her gaze, but her face gave nothing away. She still looked while I had a run in one of my hold ups. I ran a hand through my hair to smooth it, wondering if she'd guess what Nico and I had been doing. Part of me felt guilty about what we'd just done at a funeral service and part of me wanted her to know. That most jealous and insecure part of me wanted her to know how he had kissed my ankle afterwards and that he was mine now. Of course I didn't.

Gabrielle stopped in front of us. "I need you, Nico," she said.

Nico turned to me with a questioning look. I adored him for it.

"I have to leave anyway." I smiled at him then turned to Gabrielle. "If you or your daughter would like to talk to someone, please don't hesitate to call me," I said with all the professionalism that I could bring up. If Gabrielle did call, the best I could do was probably to refer her to another therapist though.

Gabrielle nodded. "Thank you," she said. "Thank you for coming." We shook hands.

"Can I call you later?" Nico asked me. His voice was soft.

"That would be …" I glanced at Gabrielle, "nice." I felt like a dork. He brushed his fingers against mine before he followed Gabrielle back to the salon.

o0o

I had almost reached my car, when I heard Matt calling my name. I felt myself blush at the memory of my little hallucination. Seeing the face of my ex while having sex with another man … Any therapist would have a field-day with that one. I was probably just scared of getting involved with somebody new so quickly. And yet I couldn't wait to be with Nico again.

I turned around and watched Matt walking towards me. His car was parked close to mine and he already held the car keys in his hand.

"You look a little flushed," he said, raising a brow.

"I was just …" thinking about having sex with Nico. – Nope, wouldn't tell him that. "It must've been the coffee I drank all morning," I offered with a smile.

Matt crossed his arms. "Are you sure it wasn't your encounter with Nico?"

Oh. My. God! This wasn't happening! I must've misheard, I must've–

"You should've locked the door," Matt added.

I could've died. I just wanted the earth to swallow me. All I could do was to stare at Matt in shock. He held my gaze.

"I don't know what to say," I uttered eventually.

Matt tilted his head. "Is it serious?" he asked.

Helplessly I shrugged. "I don't know." I had no clue. I hadn't allowed myself to think about it, really. The thing between Nico and me scared me a little, to be honest. Nico was … He was just always there. Had been so for a while now. Whenever I had needed somebody, Nico had always been there to catch my fall. I wanted to be there for him too. I wanted to be as close to him as possible. I trusted him more than I had trusted anybody for a long time. He made me feel save and sexy and respected and I wanted him. We just had been separated for like five minutes now and I already missed him. I had no idea what to do with this. I had no idea how to explain that to Matt. I didn't want to hurt him.

Matt sighed. "Was it a one time thing?"

Before I could control myself I shook my head. If it were up to me, I'd have Nico in my bed tonight. Naked this time, so I could explore him slowly.

"It's really over between us, isn't it?" Matt asked.

"I'm so sorry," was all I could say.

"It's okay," Matt said slowly. "I hope you'll be happy." With that he just turned around and walked to his car. I watched him until he drove off, too shaken by our conversation to move. Shaken, not because Matt had caught us, but shaken because the bravest part of myself embraced that somebody knew about it and that now there was no chance of acting like Nico and I never happened. Shaken because I realized I was serious about Nico and I hoped he felt the same.

o0o

At home I changed into some comfortable pants and a top and threw the damaged holdups in the trash. I had three clients in the afternoon but I wasn't sure I was really worth my money. I couldn't concentrate on their problems because my thoughts always went back to Nico and his hands, his lips. Oh God, what that man could do with his lips! When the last client told me about the same repetitive fight she had with her mother, I caught myself counting all the spots on my body he had kissed. After she left I tried to work through the bills, but I spent more time staring at my cell than trying to make sense of the bills, wishing he'd call. It was half past five when he finally called. I made myself breathe in and out three times before I allowed myself to pick up.

"Hi, Nico," I greeted him casually. I was proud of myself that my voice didn't sound as anxious as I felt.

"Hi, Dani," he said softly. "Is this a good time or should I call back later?"

"No, the time is good. I just thought of you." Like for the last five hours …

"I thought about you too," he said. I could hear the smile in his voice and it gave me confidence.

"Would you like to come over?" I asked. The words came out a little rushed.

"Yes." There was no hesitance in his answer.

"Where are you now?" I hoped he would be close; I wanted to touch him again.

"Uhm …" Nico paused. "This might sound a little creepy but," he took a breath, "I'm parking in front of your house. I had to drop something off in the neighborhood and I kind of landed here."

I smiled. Seemed like I wasn't alone in my desire to be together again. That left one pressing question: "Why didn't you just knock?"

"I didn't want to impose," he said.

Impose?

"You're not imposing," I said, "Lindsay is still on her vacation and Ray Jay is with his father for the weekend so he can scream at him for a change." I swallowed. This felt awkward. Just a few hours ago we had been so close to each other and now we were being polite. This was awkward. I wanted him close again. "Could you just come here, please?" I added, "I'll wait at the front door." My heart beat against my chest while I was waiting for his answer. Although it came quick, I felt like I waited forever.

"See you in a minute," he said.

We hung up and I walked to the door and opened it and my heart kept racing but suddenly skipped a beat when I saw Nico coming towards me. He had his hands in the pockets of his opened black jacket. He had changed clothes as well. Instead of the black suit he had worn this morning, he was now wearing grey pants and a grey suit with a black shirt, his jacket now adding another layer of clothes that I wanted to peel off his body.

"Hi," I said when he stopped in front of me.

"Hi."

We were merely an arm's length apart. I wanted to lean in and kiss him but I chickened out. How did I become so insecure? This didn't feel like it had felt with Matt at all. I had been nervous with him too, but never to this degree. The easygoing fun that had been a strong component of my relationship with Matt was missing here. Probably because this wasn't just about fun. It scared me how serious I already was about Nico.

"Juliette told me that she spoke to you," Nico said. "Whatever you said, it worked. She wants to call you Monday to make an appointment."

"That's great!" Although I really meant it, the smile I gave him was shaky. Why didn't we touch? This was so awkward. Why didn't he touch me? Was our encounter just an anomaly for him? Then why had he kissed my ankle afterwards?

"Thank you for talking to her," Nico added. "Juliette… She means a lot to me."

I tilted my head. "She's the friend with the drug problem you once told me about, isn't she?"

"Yes." And there was this sadness in his eyes again.

I reached out and touched his arm. "She didn't drink today because of you," I said.

Nico ran a hand over his face. He looked tired. "How are you dealing with Ray Jay?" he asked then.

The sudden subject change took me by surprise but I recovered quickly. "I'm doing fine," I answered. "Thank you for sending that lawyer. He was great." I squeezed Nico's arm.

"You're welcome." He placed his hand above mine. "Now tell me the truth."

I choked up and my eyes started burning. All the stress of the last weeks, the spying on my office, my money -problems, Ray burning through the college-money of my kids and Ray Jay's arrest. The fights because I couldn't pay for the future Ray Jay wanted, everything, everything came back to me.

"That bad?" Nico asked frowning, before he pulled me into an embrace. The fabric of his jacket felt rough against my cheek and I wondered if we'd always needed sadness between us to touch. He kissed the top of my head and I breathed in his scent. I felt warm and calm and safe in his arms and I hoped that I wasn't a rebound for Gabrielle to him.

"What is this between us, Nico?" I asked.

His arms tightened around me. "I don't know," he said. The same answer I had given Matt. The answer sucked when you were on the receiving end of it. Then he pulled back a little until our gazes connected. One of his warm hands cupped my face. "It can be whatever you want," he added, the same expression on his face he had worn when he had told me that I knew him.

There was more than sadness and loneliness that connected us. There was more than my almost desperate desire to touch him. He made me feel at home. He made me feel like I could tell him everything and still he would stay. I really wanted him to stay.

"It's over between Matt and me," I said. I wanted him to know that he wouldn't have to compete for me, that I wasn't like Gabrielle.

Nico frowned. "Okay …"

"He saw us together in the office today and when he asked about us…" I searched for the right words while Nico stared at me in shock. I inhaled then blurred out my next words, "It's over with Matt because I want to be with you."

The shocked expression on his face turned into a smile. "Okay." And finally he kissed me.

Desire. Longing. Love?

It felt like it when he carried me upstairs to my bedroom. It felt like it when we undressed each other and it felt like love when he was lying beneath me and I watched the ecstasy on his face while he came buried inside me.

I stayed on top of him, my legs aching from the unusual position, but I didn't care. I felt him soften inside me and we should probably get rid of the condom but I wanted to feel him like this just a little longer. I rested my head on his chest. We were both sweaty and I didn't care about that either but kissed his chest while his hands drew lazy circles on my back.

Then I frowned as I remembered something I still couldn't figure out.

"Where did you get the condoms?" I asked, propping my chin up, so I could look at him. Just like this morning, a condom seemed to have magically appeared just when we needed it.

He chuckled. "I had them in the back pocket of my pants. Since we first kissed, I thought it would be wiser to be prepared."

I smiled and pressed another kiss to his chest. "That's why I carried one around in my purse. We're kind of intense together."

"We are."

"I really want us to work." I said.

I felt his muscles tighten when he rose up until we both sat. He waited until I looked at him before he spoke, "I want us to work, too. I haven't felt like I feel for you in a long time. I'm serious."

Overwhelmed, I nodded. "Can you stay tonight?" I asked.

"Yes."

I kissed him then. This felt like love. This felt like future. I deeply wanted a future with him. The desire in his kiss made me think we had a good shot.

THE END

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