The State's Attorney's office is a madhouse, but what else is new? Lisa keeps stacking files on her desk, and lines one, two, and three are flashing on her telephone. Stella ignores them all, and calmly drafts a Motion for Discovery for Lisa to type up.
"Kowalski!" Connor pops his head around the door frame. Stella spares him only the briefest glance, just long enough to notice that his tie is askew. "Meeting in ten minutes," he says. "I'm running downstairs, do you want anything?"
She's already looking back at her legal pad. "Diet Coke. Pack of Newport Lights. I'll pay you back."
"Okay, sure," Connor says. "Oh, and hey," he adds, "you've got a Mountie in your hallway."
Stella slowly looks up, and yes, just behind Connor's looming figure she can see a flash of red wool. Then Connor takes off and Constable Benton Fraser is standing alone in the hallway outside her office, holding his hat in his hands, looking like he doesn't want to butt in. She wonders how long he's been there.
Deliberately, she puts her legal pad aside.
Fraser clears his throat nervously. "You wanted to see me, ASA Kowalski?"
He nearly chokes on her name, and Stella fights a grin. She likes being a Kowalski instead of a Shaw: it makes her feel tough. She didn't bargain for much in the divorce—hell, it's not like Ray had much to give her—but she got a couple of things: his name, his grandmother's good china, his pack-a-day habit. Most importantly, she got his attitude: she went into that marriage a shy debutante from the Gold Coast and came out of it prepared to go toe-to-toe with anybody. She had Ray to thank for that, which was another reason she still wore his name.
"Yes," Stella says and stands up. "Yes, I did. Please come in, Constable, and shut the door behind you." She says this last with a careless wave of her hand, and, after a moment's hesitation, Fraser steps in and shuts the heavy wood door behind him. She's thankful, then, for the amazing chaos of her office; she doubts she could have enticed him to shut the door otherwise. Fraser's too conscious of propriety; he's a gentleman. But Stella knows all about gentlemen from the days when her aspirations involved Newport, R.I., and not Newport Lights.
She steps around her cluttered desk, her lined skirt rustling against her thighs. She's wearing a high-necked, cream silk blouse—very proper—because she doesn't want to give these assholes even the slightest advantage. Her hair's pinned to each side of her head with tiny gold barrettes.
Because she's a cop's wife, she notices Fraser's eyes sweeping over her, taking in each detail; Fraser's a cop, too, whatever else he may be. But she's pretty sure that Fraser's look is one of approval. He probably appreciates her conservative taste and obvious sense of decorum. She gives him a brisk, business-like smile, leans back against her desk, and and crosses her legs at the ankles, sliding one brown leather pump over the other. She's trying to put him at ease, but Fraser doesn't seem to understand what "ease" means. Still the set of his shoulders relaxes a little, and he looks like he's not going to turn and run, anyway.
She extends her well-manicured hand to Fraser and says, "May I take your hat?"
This damn near flummoxes him, because he clearly doesn't want to give up his hat, but she's extended the offer as a courtesy, and how can Constable Fraser refuse a courtesy? For a moment, he's almost vibrating in space—leaning the slightest bit forward, then pulling back, then leaning forward—and finally he makes the decision and comes to her, hat extended in front of him.
Her smile widens as she takes it—it's heavier than she thought—and carefully puts it down on the desk beside her. He's close now, right in front of her, and he's taller than she remembers him being. She always thought Ray was shorter than he was, too. Maybe she just cut him down to size in her mind, or maybe she's inflated her own size. Ray's 6'1", counting the spikes in his hair. Fraser must be nearly that tall, she thinks.
So she looks up at him, studies his face. He's pretty—almost too pretty for a man. She's learned to disdain pretty men as well as gentlemen; all in all, she's come to prefer the company of tough guys, hard drinkers, straight talkers. Still, though, she has to admit he's attractive: blue eyes, dark hair, generous mouth.
Just when she senses that he's about to ask what she wanted to see him about, Stella raises her hands and begins to unbutton the tiny, fabric-covered buttons on her blouse. For a moment, Fraser doesn't react at all, as if he simply can't process what he's seeing—and that's a moment she needs. By the time Fraser takes a stumbling step backward, blue eyes wide, creamy complexion flushing pink, she's got her blouse all the way open and she's unhooking the French lace bra she's wearing underneath. Her breasts are smallish but perking nicely, and the rosy pink of her hardening nipples contrasts nicely with the pale white skin of her body.
Fraser's staring at her agape, mouth open. Stella knows that he's seeing all of her: her face, her breasts, her soft belly.
"Here," she says softly, and tugs the French lace cup aside to give him an uninterrupted view. She touches her breastbone, just above the gentle slope of her left breast, with her fingertip, and says: "Put your mouth here, please."
Fraser's head is shaking slowly, but he can't seem to tear his eyes away. "You're...." he says, but he can't seem to find any words. "You're...."
She wonders idly how Fraser would finish the sentence. Naked? Crazy? She has to suppress a giggle, because she isn't either of those things. She might be a little wicked, but so what? She watches Fraser wrench his eyes away and glance at her closed office door, and then watches with some amusement as he turns and takes a step toward it, arm already outstretched, before remembering with a visible jolt that she's behind him, naked and in clear view of the door. She almost feels sorry for him, because he's trying to protect her. He's so clearly a victim of his warring impulses—open the door! don't open the door! escape! don't!—but then again, that's his problem in general, isn't it?
Time to put Fraser out of his misery. "It's locked," she says, though actually it isn't. Still, it might as well be, because a closed door in a law office is an unbreachable boundary, the universal sign for "Privacy Needed." Someone might be having a confidential talk with a client, or sniffing a line of coke, or fucking a colleague. Nobody ever opens a closed door.
And Fraser's not going anywhere. Stella's one hundred percent sure of that.
He's looking at her with uncertain eyes; he believes her about the door, or maybe he doesn't and that's just the excuse he needed to stay. She thinks Fraser probably takes orders well, so she goes for it. "Come here," she says gently, letting her fingers slide around the soft side of her breast until she's cupping herself from underneath. "Put your mouth here," and then she adds, softly: "Ray used to put his mouth here," and that's it, she's got him.
She has to stop herself from crowing triumphantly, but she's used to that kind of restraint. Judges hate it if you look smug, especially if you're a woman, so she's learned to say, "Yes, Your Honor. Thank you, Your Honor," demure as you please. The victory dance for later, for the bar afterwards, when she can talk trash with her team and get shitfaced.
For now, she just closes her eyes and breathes, relaxing, almost meditating. She knows her calm confidence will attract him, as will her apparent passivity and her blindness. Fraser can be made to do anything if he doesn't have to confront the idea of doing it, if he doesn't have to watch himself, so by not seeing him, she allows him not to see himself. Like many sexually inexperienced men, he's most comfortable as a voyeur. She lets him look.
She knows he likes girls, because she worked on his arrest two years ago, back when Ray was still at the 1-9 and "the Mountie over at the 2-7" was a myth, not connected to anyone she knew. She remembers reading the file—she'd been asked to make a recommendation as to whether the State's Attorney's office ought to honor the defense motion to drop the case—and had been struck by one particular detail: Victoria Metcalf had made Benton Fraser go to a porn shop. Not just any porn shop, either; she'd made him go to one of the back rooms at Heavenly Bodies, where you could watch a woman masturbate behind glass for a quarter. Stella hated the place (she'd busted it several times) but found herself with a sneaking admiration for Victoria Metcalf, who'd managed to convey to Benton Fraser without a single word how well she understood him, and the nature of their relationship.
Stella can feel the change in the air around her. He's near; he's coming to her.
She knows he likes boys because she sees the way he looks at her husband.
"Ray used to...right here," Stella breathes, rubbing a circle over her heart. "He used to put his mouth..." and she feels his breath on her skin one moment before his mouth touches her, and a sigh escapes her. "...right there."
She's glad that she's braced against her desk, because she might have fallen if she didn't have something holding her up. Controlled she may be, but she's only human—and so her eyes open and she sees the thick, dark brown hair on the top of Fraser's head as he presses his lips to her heart. She drops her head so that she can rub her cheek against his hair. It's very soft, and it smells nice.
"It's all right," she murmurs, letting her hands drop onto his broad shoulders. "You can touch me."
Fraser doesn't look up, doesn't meet her eyes, but he lets himself touch her. His hands are strong, blunt, rougher than Ray's and a lot less elegant. They slide down her skirt to clutch her upper thighs, just below her hips. She's breathing hard, now—she's very turned on—and so she cups her left breast in her hand and guides her nipple into Fraser's mouth. He closes his mouth around it, tongue instantly coming to stroke her—and now she's tingling down there and getting wet, her clit aching to be licked or rubbed. Helplessly, she pushes her hips forward and begins to rub her mons against the wall of Fraser's chest. Fraser's hands tighten on her; he's opened his mouth to lick and kiss her breasts, his mouth wet with saliva. He returns to sucking her with a kind of desperation, his tongue pushing hard against her erect nipple as if he's rooting.
She's gasping now, and her hands are in his hair, and she's shoving his head downward. Obediently, he goes, sliding down her body until he's on his knees before her, hands still clutching her hips. Desperately, Stella slips a hand to the small of her back, flicks open the button of her skirt, and tugs down the zipper. The skirt's lining catches on her stockings—she's wearing stockings, not hose, the elastic tops snug against her thighs—on its way down to the floor, but it ends up crumpled at her feet. She's about to shove her underwear—cream-colored lace panties that match her bra—down when Fraser leans in and pushes his face into her crotch, mouthing her through the lace, licking and sucking roughly until the fabric is damp from his mouth, and not entirely from his mouth.
She's wild with it, and gasping as she clutches his head in her hands. He isn't hesitant or shy, and that's thrilling to her, Ray was like this, too; Ray used to go down on her just—just like—
She doesn't know if Ray sees it yet, if Ray knows yet that Fraser wants him, but he's going to figure it out sooner or later, because Ray's a lot of things but not blind. Sooner or later, Ray is going to see how Fraser looks at him, the way that Fraser stares across the car at him with a kind of abject longing. Sooner or later, unless she can—
She thought she'd have greater control over this—she had a fantasy of standing there coolly, holding herself open for him with the V of her fingers—but she feels neither cool nor controlled. Instead, Fraser tugs the scrap of wet lace down her thighs and strokes his tongue over her and it's all she can do to hang on. His face is buried between her legs, and his mouth is versatile—but she supposes she should have guessed that. She pulls one hand out of his hair and blindly clutches the edge of her desk to steady herself. She's breathing hard as she rubs her clit against his lips, his tongue, his face. She's rocking unsteadily against him, and christ, she's never felt so empty inside. She wants him to fuck her, fuck her hard, needs Ray to fuck her, and her gasp is met with an answering moan from between her legs. "Ray... Ray...."
She closes her eyes and it's 1977 again. She's a Gold Coast girl, a debutante, though her classic Grace Kelly exterior has been updated with just a touch of Farrah Fawcett, gold hair feathered around her head. She's stayed at school late to use the dance studio, rehearsing for the fall concert, and now she walks down that hallway, opens that door, turns that corner...and there's Ray Kowalski, being shoved up against the tile wall outside the boys' locker room. Stella stops short, heels squeaking against the scuffed linoleum floor, and for a moment she doesn't know if she should run for help—find a teacher, a coach, anybody who might still be around at half-past six on a Friday—or just stop and scream her lungs out and hope that Patrick Leary stops—well, what exactly? Stella blinks and tries to process what she's seeing, because she was sure that Patrick had been punching Ray (lots of people tried to punch Ray at Lakeview, because he was skinny and tough and drove a beat-up old Mustang instead of a Trans Am or an El Dorado), but now she sees that Patrick is kissing Ray, one hand shoved up under Ray's cheap t-shirt. And Ray is...Ray's pale, skinny arm is slung carelessly around Patrick's neck, and—hell, she hasn't even been able to get a date with Patrick Leary, because Patrick is one of the most popular kids at school, first baseman of the Lakeview Colts and MVP of the High School All-Star Playoffs held over at Wrigley Field.
Then, as she watches, Patrick's hand moves to the fly of Ray's jeans, fingers curling to cup his—his—and their mouths separate and Ray says breathlessly, "Yeah, fuck, go ahead—" and she doesn't remember making a sound, but she must have, because suddenly Patrick is whirling and leaping away from Ray like he's on fire, and Ray is gaping at her with huge, horrified eyes, and Stella can see the hard outline of his erection in his jeans (plain jeans, not Jordache or Calvin Kleins or anything; just plain jeans from, like, Sears or something).
Patrick turns and takes off at a run down the hallway, but Stella's got Ray pinned to the white tile wall with her eyes, staring at him in utter disbelief. Finally, she hears herself saying, "But he's a jock," like that's the important point; how could Ray Kowalski even be seen with a jock? Not, she supposed, that Ray ever intended to be seen.
Ray takes a deep breath and seems to be trying to keep his cool. "Yeah," he says, and shrugs. "So what?" and of course, it's not like she has anything to say about it; it's not like she's his girlfriend or anything. Still, though, he's been hanging around her like a lovesick dog for years, which doesn't seem to make sense anymore. Is Ray a fag? Is Patrick? She feels suddenly foolish, like Ray's been pranking her all these years by seeming to want her.
"So you like boys?" she asks, and it comes out sounding mean; she doesn't actually say "fag" but she bets that Ray hears it anyway. She 's angry and embarrassed and trying to get the upper hand, but Ray doesn't run away the way Patrick did; instead, he frowns at her like she asked him a really hard question that he's got to think about.
Finally, he shrugs and says, "I dunno what I like," but now Stella knows: Ray Kowalski likes Gold Coast Girls and All-Stars and Mounties. Ray Kowalski likes her and Patrick Leary and oh my god, suddenly it's Fraser shoving Ray up against the wall and stroking his cock, and Ray would kiss him and be really, really into it—
She convulses against his mouth, and he licks the wetness out of her, kissing her labia, sucking her throbbing, dripping cunt. A flush of heat surges through her, warming her exposed breasts, which ache to be touched.
Fraser turns his face; he's breathing hard, and he rests his cheek against her still-twitching thigh. "Fuck me," she whispers, and he looks up, startled. His swollen mouth is glistening with her juices. "Come on," she whispers, lifting one foot out of the puddle of her skirt . She spreads her legs and touches herself with two fingers. She's very wet. "Come on, fuck me..."
She's a hundred percent certain that Fraser will obey her, because he wants what Ray had, wants to be where Ray was. And Ray was inside her almost nightly for seventeen years, ever since Stella first let him fuck her in the back of his beat-up old Mustang on the night Patrick Leary ran away. So Fraser will stand up, unzip his pants, and fuck her on top of her file-cluttered desk, because he wants Ray, and having what he had is the closest he can get to—
Fraser kisses her thigh gently, then pulls back and looks up at her, shaking his head slowly. "No."
For a moment, she doesn't know what to say, and that feels desperately unnatural to her. "But—"
"I can't." Fraser gets to his feet with a soft grunt. He's flushed and sweating slightly, and his dark hair looks damp. The skin of his neck is mottled with what looks like a pink rash. "I'm sorry," he says softly, and the horrible thing is that he actually does look sorry. "It's just that...it isn't you. I wish it were you," Fraser says softly, and God, but his sympathy is making her sick. "But it isn't. It's—him. And I think you know that."
Suddenly she's furious; she could scratch the bastard's eyes out. All of them, all the assholes, Ray especially. "Get out of here," she says savagely, hooking her bra together, reaching down to swipe her skirt off the floor. "The hell with you. I don't need you, or him, or—any fucking body, do you hear me?"
"Stella," Fraser murmurs, and then his hand is sliding into her hair, and she's sobbing into the red wool that's covering his chest.
Note: For the DS_Flashfiction "Seven Deadly Sins" challenge. Thanks to Resonant and Terri for beta!