The New Girl
"Have you seen the new girl?" Weiss asked. He fanned himself. Vaughn studied the hand gesture critically.
"What does this mean?" he said, repeating the wavy motion.
"What does it mean? It means she's hot."
"No, you don't get it." Weiss was channeling the same intensity he wore when an agent's life was hanging on the line. "She's *hot*. Super hot. Smokin'. She makes Jennifer Lopez look like dog meat."
"Wow." Vaughn paused. "So you're breaking up with Kath?"
"Don't tempt me. She made me throw away my Garfield boxers."
"Tell me about it."
"Hey, did you guys see the new agent?" Sydney asked, coming up to their huddle.
"Do you see my eyeballs flaming?" Weiss shook his head ruefully, as if conceding to the universe that he was toast.
"You need to be professional, Eric." She'd come prepared to scold. "The poor woman has probably suffered male objectification her whole life. Men ogling her during classes, as she walks down the street--"
"Driving into telephone poles," he agreed in a knowing tone.
Vaughn was considering Sydney, impressed and a bit surprised, though maybe he should have given her more credit. "That's really supportive of you," he said sincerely.
"Hey, I can do sisterhood. I just don't get a lot of chances around here."
"In this male-dominated work culture." Weiss gave an earnest nod of agreement, laying it on thick enough to make Sydney roll her eyes.
"Fine. Mock. But I'm going to be an ally for her. Maybe even a mentor." She walked away with emphatic heel clicks, head high. Weiss and Vaughn looked at each other.
"Ten bucks says catfight by noon," Weiss said.
They met her for the first time later that morning in a briefing. She came in with Dixon, who introduced her. "This is our newest agent, Elle Stavropoulos."
Weiss leaned toward Vaughn and whispered, "Elle."
"Shut up," he whispered back, not looking his way.
Dixon glanced around the table to make sure everyone was paying attention.
"Agent Stavropoulos joins us from Langley. She was with DEA for five years as a special operations officer before joining the agency and has a background in the investigation of narcotics trafficking. She's coming on board as an operational and field agent. I expect everyone here to help her ramp up."
Stavropoulos smiled at them all. She was a knock-out. Weiss hadn't lied. It was actually pretty staggering; she was like the reproductive miracle love-child of J.Lo and Angelina Jolie. He forced his gaze away when he realized he'd been staring at her in a half-trance, turning his head to find Jack staring at him across the table in not quite the same way. Vaughn's heart did a tiny somersault and then he smiled. It wasn't hard to imagine Jack's train of thought. The man had once been like the great stone face of inscrutability--when had he gotten so transparent? When had it started to get so heart-achingly exciting?
Last night they'd been sleepy-eyed on the couch together, watching some news program and planning to turn in early, but that plan hadn't lasted to the bedroom, where they wound up kissing and grinding, upright and then on the sheets. When he'd drawn one leg up to let Jack touch him, Jack had instead pressed two fingers to Vaughn's lips, then eased them in.
Vaughn had sucked women's fingers before. He'd heard somewhere that they liked it. His technique had been more or less the same with every woman: lie near her, take her fingers, kiss them, draw them lightly into his mouth, play his tongue around the tips, try not to chip polish off her nails. Jack had kept his fingers rigidly together and pushed them along Vaughn's tongue, again and again, with different angles and rhythms, increasingly harder and deeper until it was impossible not to get it, a dirty hot preview of exactly how Jack intended to fuck him. Vaughn hadn't made it that long--he'd come while Jack was jabbing his fingers inside him up to the knuckle, sucking Jack's fingers as if to get the flesh off the bones, jerking himself off and whining pitifully.
It was hard to imagine Jack harboring any jealous insecurities after that. Plus, Jack was a rational guy. Except when he wasn't.
"Agent Vaughn," Dixon said, breaking into his thoughts. "I'd like you to help Ms. Stavropoulos get up to speed on our current operations."
"Sir." He nodded and smiled at the woman politely. From the corner of his eye, he saw Jack give her an impassive but thorough once-over. Vaughn had a feeling that the other man had just conducted a threat assessment, itemizing her weight, height, age, body-mass index, ancestry, original hair color, brand of cosmetics, and whether or not she flossed. Vaughn hid a smile. Jack should not be cute. It was distracting, not to mention flat-out wrong.
He met Stavropoulos at her workstation that afternoon and sat with her, reviewing the ops directory and how to use it. She smelled like Chanel No. 5 and was one of those women whose hair holds the scent of shampoo all day, convincing the world of their dedication to cleanliness. She smelled good and looked good and was smart besides, and there didn't seem any reason not to give her the basic masculine courtesy of appreciation, which meant a pleasant tone and regular smiles. And mindful of Sydney's lecture, he wanted her to feel welcome.
At no point during their meeting did she say, "Call me Elle." She was a woman, savvy to the system, and wouldn't put herself in the position of seeming too friendly to men on her first day in a new job. But over the next week she relaxed and came to Vaughn often for help on various things. Despite her good intentions, Sydney was too busy to be a real mentor, and a mission had taken her to Rotterdam for several days to track down a shipment of nuclear warheads bound for a terrorist cell in Kaliningrad.
"Call me Elle," Stavropoulos said the following Tuesday while they were meeting to review her first mission analysis.
Vaughn hesitated, then smiled and said, "Sure."
Jack had said nothing about her yet, other than brief, neutral, office-bound comments, such as, "Make sure that Ms. Stavropoulos attends the meeting--it will help her gain a broader understanding of the Central European situation." Once, at Jack's house, making pasta, Vaughn had said innocuously, "She seems nice." Jack had given him a look, the kind of look a cat gives unsatisfactory fish. Taking his cue, Vaughn's comments after that had been limited to the same professional realm.
For the last week, though, Jack had seemed more tightly reined and tense-jawed than usual. He didn't say anything about Stavropoulos but he fucked Vaughn every night, four nights running, leaning him up against the bedroom wall, or the shower wall, or up against the headboard, shoving inside him, smooth and big, then taking him almost silently, with deep, fast, vicious strokes until Vaughn lost his mind--he always came first and he barely needed his dick touched. He'd been having sex for twenty years but he hadn't known that he was capable of being brought to a point of sobbing, screaming, sweat-slick, thrashing pleasure. He hadn't known he could scream at all, that he could burn his throat raw crying someone's name, that he could come twice, hard, in just under fifteen minutes with another man's dick thrusting relentlessly inside him.
"Oh my god, I was noisy," he groaned after one session, a hand across his eyes, his face flushed. He could barely move.
"I like making you noisy."
"Do you know how sore my ass is right now?"
There was a guilty silence and Vaughn moved a few fingers and opened one eye to look at Jack, who finally said, "We don't have to do...that."
"I like *that*. I love that. I'm just saying...I don't know what I'm saying." He flipped his hand back onto the pillow. "So you don't care if I scream like a girl?"
"You don't scream like a girl." With the emphasis Jack put on his words there were nearly full-stop periods between each one.
The stern assurance made Vaughn smile. "Okay." His eyes closed and he drifted in afterglow. After a few moments he said, "You're a sex maniac. Anyone ever tell you that?"
"I think Kinsey would want corroboration of the data."
"Kinsey can go screw himself."
"I'm sure he tried."
Vaughn actually wasn't sure if the manic fucking had anything to do with Elle Stavropoulos, but if it did, he thanked her. It did occur to him to wonder if Jack had started taking Viagra on the sly, but he thought it would be rude to ask. Toward the end of Elle's second week, he and Jack went out to dinner. Jack seemed distracted.
"Hey," Vaughn said after they ordered, catching his attention, face lightly inquisitive.
"I'm sorry." A silence stretched; Vaughn let it. Jack was turning a thought around in his mind, preparing to say more. "You may have noticed I've been...on edge."
"Really?" Out of kindness, he kept his face straight and his eyes attentive, but Jack gave him a look anyway.
"Perhaps you noticed when I had you up against the wall last night?" he asked in a dry, mildly sharp voice, pitched low to avoid being overheard by the people around them.
"You did seem a little tense. Stiff, even." They were in an open-air restaurant three feet away from a pair of dewy-faced lovebirds holding hands. The woman wore a shiny engagement ring. Even with low voices, etiquette demanded vagueness and innuendo. "Not that I minded."
Jack sighed without force and aligned his fork with his knife in a cursory way, eyes on the table. He didn't seem to know what else to say. It could have made Vaughn uneasy, but instead he felt soft, weirdly happy.
I love you, he almost said, but it felt too soon. He swallowed and found other, less risky words. "I don't mind a rough edge now and then."
"Good to know."
So that was their talk about Elle Stavropoulos. Later that night, they lay side by side and rocked quietly into each other's hands, kissing and gasping their breaths into each other.
Afterwards as Vaughn was easing toward sleep he thought back over the evening, about Elle and work, and the shape his life was taking with Jack. This whole talking about something without talking about it wasn't a new thing. He'd had those periods in a relationship before--usually the period right before one ended. But it was different with Jack. If they'd needed to talk, they would have, Vaughn felt certain of it. He'd need to test this theory, of course, some time when Jack withdrew and things got strained. Vaughn had a feeling those times would come, sooner or later.