AUTHOR: Suki
TITLE: A Dressing Down
PAIRING: CJ/Ainsley
RATING: R for mature themes and colorful language
FEEDBACK: Welcome at suki@ashesofoldlovers.net
SPOILERS: Specific spoilers for Five Nights and everything up until that to be safe.
DISCLAIMERS: For what it's worth....The West Wing and it's characters are the property of Aaron B. Sorkin, Warner Brothers, NBC et al. No copyright infringement for profit is intended.
ARCHIVE: Please ask first. And, as always, this and my other pieces will be archived at http://www.ashesofoldlovers.net
NOTES: Missing scenes from Five Nights, and this is a companion piece to Secret Handshakes, posted on or about October 28, 2001. While it's not necessary to have read Secret Handshakes, you may wish to take the time.
TEASER: I am a strong woman, dammit, and an attorney, and a member of the White House Counsel's Office. I can decide for myself what is, and is not, offensive.
DEDICATION: Artemis, thank you for the title and the inspiration.

A Dressing Down by Suki

**************************

"And you," Ainsley says, swinging back toward Celia again, "stop trying to take the fun out of my day," she says, smiling because she feels like laughing. "With that, I am going to get a cupcake," she says, walking out of the bullpen, missing Celia's look of thoughtful, veiled respect, and Bonnie's and Ginger's amused glances.

She almost dances down the hall toward the mess, stopping to wash her hands in the women's restroom near the mess. She glances at herself in the mirror as she washes her hands, the rainbow of highlighter over her fingers paling under the suds and water but remaining nonetheless. Celia's words still inhabit her mind and psyche, and Ainsley wonders how many days she'll continue to hear the accusations and think of alternate come-backs. She hates feeling like she has to defend her very existence, especially to a woman who would never take the time to even get to know her properly. She washes her face, wiping away the last traces of her evening with water and paper towel, and takes the time to unwind and unbraid her hair, sighing when she has at the transformation: Cinderella is home again, without prospects or adventure. She uses the few pins to put her hair up in a hasty and unglamourous bun, ready to work until the language is right.

She licks chocolate frosting from her finger, juggling two cupcakes as she moves quickly down the steps toward the lower level. She ate the first cupcake quickly in the kitchen of the mess, and only intended to take a second for while she worked in her office, but the third looked so lonely left behind that she took it as well. Hours later, the light in her office dimmer than in the counsel's library, the third chocolate cupcake half-eaten and discarded next to the last draft of the UN proposal, Ainsley works, absorbed in the nuance and gradation of the words, searching for the right balance of clarity and acuteness. The sound of her door opening should startle her, but it somehow doesn't, feeling welcome and expected, despite the surprise of the visit.

"Hey," Ainsley says, looking up and seeing CJ standing just inside her office, hand still on the doorknob behind her before she lets her hand slide off one finger at a time.

"Hey," CJ says, her voice slightly hoarse, as if from strain or emotion.

"I heard. I'm sorry," Ainsley says, nodding sadly, knowing from her conversation with Sam when she went up to get the last revisions that CJ was really upset over losing the reporter, and that a scene followed with his widow, causing CJ to close herself in her office for a half hour before meeting with Leo again.

"Yeah," CJ sighs, her shoulders slumping and eyes relaxing, her face losing the edge, the sharp angles, that Ainsley has come to think of as her Press-Secretary-face. Habitually, like just now, the mask falls away when they are alone. Although, so often when they are alone, they are empty and beaten. She watches CJ slump down onto her couch, her body drained.

"You ok?" Ainsley asks softly, putting down her pen and leaning back in her chair so she has a better view of CJ seated on her couch.

"No," CJ says sadly but honestly.

"Anything I can do?" Ainsley asks seriously, swinging her chair toward CJ, ready to get up and walk over to the couch if CJ indicates that the proximity would be welcome. So often in these late night impromptu meetings, the distance between them is held by tacit and silent understanding, a physical barrier to prevent the break down of the emotional barrier from pulling them too close together.

"Make it ok?" CJ says, a sad half-smile not quite reaching her eyes, gracing her face in place of the professional mask.

"Sorry, contrary to popular lore, I am not, in fact, a witch," Ainsley says, as she gets up and walks over to the couch, sitting down beside CJ and gently taking her hand, "or did I hear that wrong?" Ainsley smiles in relief when CJ's eyes relax in the next small smile.

CJ shakes her head and closes her eyes, obviously searching for where to begin or trying to banish the thoughts in her head. "Billy's wife," she finally says, looking at Ainsley, holding her stare even when Ainsley allows her fingers to trace CJ's lifeline, "she was so angry, and she looked at me like we didn't do enough, like I stood back and let them kill him."

"You didn't," Ainsley says softly.

"I know," CJ sighs. "She wouldn't let go of my hand, kept gripping it, and I couldn't think of anything to say," she sighs, the unspoken irony hanging between them.

"There wasn't anything more you could have done," Ainsley says a little louder. "His fifteen minutes passed long before you even knew he was missing."

"I know," CJ says again, closing her eyes and leaning her head back against the back of the couch.

Ainsley watches her in profile, her face still reacting to whatever conversation she is having with herself in her head. And she wishes CJ would let her fully in: so many times she holds the really important things back, allowing Ainsley to approach, encouraging her to approach, and then closing the door on her again just as she reaches the her she hides. She turns CJ's hand over, traces the hills and valleys of her palm, waiting for the air to cool around her as CJ churns beside her.

CJ opens her eyes and swings her gaze toward Ainsley, and Ainsley looks up and smiles self-consciously. After a moment of shared stare, Ainsley stops moving her fingers over CJ's palm and looks down, carefully lowering CJ's hand to her own leg, and then slowly pulls her hands away, breaking all touch but the top of their shoulders side by side on the couch.

"That was nice," CJ says softly, her smile tender and unguarded. Ainsley blushes under the warmth spreading through her, and nods almost unperceptively, acknowledging the compliment and the smile. "So, I heard something about you giving a lecture on feminism in the bullpen?" CJ says, shaking her hair off her face and tapping Ainsley's thigh with her fingers.

"It's already all over the building isn't it?" Ainsley asks with a sigh, watching CJ's long, graceful fingers on her leg.

"Yeah," CJ says, smiling more broadly, her eyes crinkling in amusement.

"Let me guess, the punch line goes something like `short lecture'?" Ainsley asks, trying to laugh off the chill of seclusion.

"Yeah," CJ breathes almost apologetically, taking Ainsley's hand. They sit quiet for a minute, and Ainsley can feel CJ's eyes moving over her, and wills her body to ignore the look. "So, what was it about? The Lecture?" CJ asks, and Ainsley looks up to find her stare trained on her face once again.

"The usual," Ainsley says with a shrug, "some baby feminist feeling the need to comment on something that has absolutely nothing to do with her, because apparently I am incapable of recognizing inappropriate behavior, and even more amazing, I am unable to recognize when I have been demeaned," Ainsley says sarcastically, but with an edge that she wishes she could hide. "And by the way, demean means to lower in character, status, or reputation, so, actually, Sam was, in my opinion, doing quite the opposite while `Little Miss Meddlesome' was actually the one doing the demeaning by intimating that I, the subject of his comments, am incapable of understanding or recognizing--"

"-- Ainsley," CJ says loudly, grabbing her thigh to get her attention. "Stop, please, you're making me dizzy and I've had a hell of a night already. Now, what happened?" CJ asks more forcefully.

Ainsley takes a deep breath and then shakes her head slowly, looking down at CJ's hand still gripping her thigh. "Sam made a comment about how I looked, in the dress, a slightly hokey but complimentary one at that, and apparently this woman, Celia somebody-or-other, thought it was harassing or demeaning or somehow offended her feminist sensibilities," Ainsley says with a wave of her hand.

"What did he say?" CJ asks, her voice still soothing, her fingers still resting around Ainsley's thigh.

"Something about a dog breaking his leash," Ainsley says, and then laughs a little at CJ's dubious expression. "It's Sam, CJ. Despite the winning smile and dapper dress, and all appearances to the contrary, he's a moron when it comes to women. He meant it as a compliment. He was drooling," Ainsley says proudly and slightly teasing.

"I'll bet," CJ says a little harshly.

"CJ," Ainsley laughs, "it was sweet, and I think meant to apologize for calling me in."

"So, what happened?" CJ asks, shifting so she partially faces her, and leaning her elbow on the back of the couch.

"What did you hear happened?" Ainsley asks, twisting a little as well, so they are almost facing each other, resisting the urge to lay her hand on CJ's on the couch between them.

"That you were trying to talk to Sam and instead made a confusing but seemingly impassioned speech about how wrong feminism is," CJ says smiling fully now.

"Well, no, not really, but closer than stories about me tend to stay. I just critiqued the nonsensical issues so many feminists focus on which distract our focus from the real and pressing issues by squandering our political and emotional capital," Ainsley says nodding thoughtfully.

CJ bites the side of her lip to keep from laughing and then continues. "I also heard that you told this woman to stay away from you," CJ says smiling.

"That, I did not do," Ainsley sighs. "I simply told her to cease and desist sucking all the fun out of my night. Anyway, it didn't concern her, so why would she feel the need to comment on me?"

"Ainsley, I'm sure her comments to Sam, I'm sure they weren't about you. I'm sure it was about what Sam said that made her--"

"-- CJ, it was absolutely about me, and I'm just saying, what made her think she had any right to comment on me. Why do women think they can comment freely on me, on my business? If it had been you, she would have followed your lead, trusted your judgement, and the comment would have been ok because you are someone, I am sure, she would respect and it obviously wouldn't have bothered you, so, by implication, the comments wouldn't have bothered her. She would have respected your center and not perceived any wrongness. So, I am wondering, what is it about me that makes other women think they can comment on my life or my judgement, like I am a child in need of protection. I hate that. I am a strong woman, dammit, and an attorney, and a member of the White House Counsel's Office. I can decide for myself what is, and is not, offensive. And that was the highlight of my night."

"Ainsley, I'm not sure of everything you just said but--"

"-- If you think I don't know that they think I'm a fraud, say I'm a joke, you are seriously mistaken," Ainsley says almost primly.

"And if you think that I don't know that you still care what they think, so are you," CJ says, all directness and reality, no apology.

Ainsley looks toward her desk to avoid CJ's eyes. "There was a time when all I would have wanted was to be liked, to be an equal, to be accepted, to have a group of women think of me as included as opposed to contrary," Ainsley says, sighing.

"And now?" CJ asks kindly.

"Now I think it doesn't matter, because they're not *my* equals," Ainsley says, looking back at CJ, hoping her anger and frustration doesn't show. She looks toward the far side of the office and sees her dress hanging in the corner, and she smiles, shaking her head, and waves toward it. "I bought that dress because it made me feel powerful and sexy," she says, laughing softly, looking back at CJ and feeling her cheeks flush as she looks at the dress. "I liked that Sam almost forgot what he called me about when he saw me, and that Celia-woman wasn't really upset about whatever Sam said. She was upset that he focused on how I looked," Ainsley says, leaning towards her and shaking her head more forcefully. "See, that's the part we enlightened feminist women don't like to talk about. For all her feminist morals, her anger wasn't over Sam's supposed inappropriateness, at least not entirely. Part of it was over being uncomfortable that sexuality still influences almost all our relationships. With her staid clothing and no-nonsense tone... she didn't like that Sam was influenced by how I looked," Ainsley says, gaining momentum. "In her perfect world, Sam not only would not have commented but he wouldn't even have noticed how I looked, like he should be oblivious to it,"she says taping CJ's leg when CJ starts to shake her head in objection. "Don't shake your head. It's true, at least in part, and you know it. I don't want to live in that world. She didn't like that Sam commented on my appearance? Tough, no one asked her, and it was inappropriate, and a little rude, to comment."

"Do you have any idea how wrong I think what you just said was?" CJ says, almost sputtering.

"Do you have any idea how much I hate caring what you think?" Ainsley says harshly, pulling back slightly, and then feeling herself tense under CJ's surprised stare.

"What?" CJ asks cautiously.

"CJ, when I first came here," Ainsley says, moving slightly away and turning so she no longer faces her head on, "you slammed your door so hard you broke it. You don't think that spread all over the building in like two minutes? You don't think that it said exactly what the women in this building should think of me?" She asks, crossing her arms across her chest. "I thought I would hate you, I wanted to hate you," Ainsley says.

"I didn't know you then," CJ says, almost apologetically.

"CJ, you keep saying that, like you know me now," Ainsley says laughing derisively, emphasizing the `you' and the `me', making the sentence more fluid and dancing than it should be.

"And you keep saying that," CJ sighs, emphasis on `that', obviously irritated, as she shifts closer. "When you wanted to celebrate the thing, the alumni award from Smith, you came looking for me, and we got drunk, and talked about school, and concessions to position. And when I was so angry and raw over the base in Qumar that I thought I would scream, I came looking for you, and you talked me down. I talked to you about my dad, about how worried I am, and how guilty I feel. And you told me about trying to keep a strong relationship with your sister, despite the influence of your mother lingering between you, and about how important the alumni award was to you. I know so many things about you, like your middle name is Monroe, named for your mother's family. You took cotilion classes when you were a child, and hated all but the pretty white lace gloves and the fact that upon graduation your mother let you have your first pair of shoes with raised heels. You adored your paternal Grandmother, Ava, and were intimidated by your maternal Grandmother, Charlotte," CJ rattles off, moving closer, her tone getting more intimate. "I know you are harder on yourself than anyone else could ever be, that you honestly get into the intricacies of legal precedent, and really do want to be accepted, despite what you may say. I know you. Better than you're comfortable with." Ainsley sits quiet, trying not to panic, unable to argue with her. When she looks up, CJ shifts closer again and takes Ainsley's hand. "Are you really surprised? Did this really upset you that much?" She asks gently.

"Yes, every time I think I am fully realized, someone treats me like I'm handicapped. It was more insulting to me that she thought she had any right to comment on something Sam said to me than anything Sam could have said."

"It made her uncomfortable," CJ says, shrugging and stroking the back of Ainsley's hand, "to hear Sam comment about your sexuality, your appearance, in the workplace, it made her uncomfortable. She has a right to feel uncomfortable, and to say so for that matter," CJ says kindly but without any apology or preaching.

"Why?" Ainsley asks seriously, her tone set in challenge.

"Why what?" CJ asks, her voice rising and eyes crinkling in confusion.

"Why does she get to comment, and ask others to refrain from doing something that was not directed at her, not obscene, profane or overtly offensive, and had nothing at all to do with her? This was not a sexual harassment case where some man made degrading statements either to her, or generally but with the intent to influence or intimidate her. This was one friend commenting teasingly to another, and I think I am the only one in a position to say whether or not the comments were degrading or offensive. I mean, if we keep on this trend, eventually we're going to say that people can't breathe too loudly because it might be construed as offensive. Come on," Ainsley says, building up a head of steam as she goes, stopping to take a breath and regroup.

"But she doesn't know Sam or you, and she doesn't understand the nuances in your relationship," CJ says defensively. "And the comments made her uncomfortable in her workplace," CJ persists. "That is a very real issue, and one she had every right to address with Sam."

"CJ, people make me uncomfortable in my workplace every day, and I don't get to say anything, because political harassment is socially acceptable."

"Political harassment," CJ laughs.

"And when did women get so thin-skinned? I mean, it's like all the gumption of the previous generations has atrophied with disuse now that we have all these PC rules of conduct. And yet, there is still sexual harassment, honest to God sexual harassment, and no innocent comments can qualify, I'm sorry."

"Ainsley," CJ groans, and Ainsley realizes she is revisiting the same argument they had two weeks ago about sexist comments in the media.

"No, CJ, why is it that women who claim to be uncomfortable by comments about sexuality or attractiveness will hate me for them, and think I am in need of education? I mean...CJ, she thought she was superior to me. She's a temp in the assistant's pool, and she looked down on me. Why would she be threatened by Sam's comments to me?"

"Sounds to me like you educated her just fine, and maybe because comments like that in the workplace really do feel inappropriate to her," CJ says, smiling as she looks at Ainsley shaking her head, and then she sighs, and leans her head back as she continues in a huskier voice. "Or maybe it's because you're beautiful, and sexy, and you know it, and it's in the way you move, and the way your hair falls over your shoulders, and having Sam comment drew attention to it, and made her uncomfortable," CJ says more quietly. "Maybe it's because she doesn't understand that you don't see your sexuality as a hindrance, but rather, as an asset, or maybe it's because she does understand that and it makes her crazy," CJ says smiling mischievously. "And maybe that is what she doesn't like, that sex still equals power in so many ways in our society. And while I don't always like that, I admit, it is true, and you and I both know that the power is intoxicating. Now, I am tired, and I don't want to debate post-modern feminist theory with you all night. Can we just agree to continue this another night?" CJ asks, smirking.

"Thank you, I think," Ainsley breathes, "and we can table this, but don't think your making those very nice comments is the end of this conversation. We're just tabling it for the night."

"You're welcome," CJ says, grinning, "and so noted."

They sit in silence and Ainsley listens to her pulse, and prays the spaces between beats will lengthen.

"Stiletto feminism?" CJ asks after a moment, nudging Ainsley's shoulder with her own.

"That was Ginger's," Ainsley says, smiling and leaning slightly toward CJ so their shoulders and hips stay in contact, "although an apt description I think: the right blend of power and sex and a little fear-inspiring imagery. There's an implicit respect and strength that I think is important."

"I thought maybe it was a new euphemism for interesting sex," CJ says with a teasing note but strong undertone of challenge.

"That, too," Ainsley says quietly, meeting the challenge.

"Hmm," CJ sighs, and then laughs softly. "Speaking of which, these are nice," she says nudging Ainsley's extremely high, pointed-toe, glittering black heels with the toe of her own more sensible shoes.

"Yes, they are, aren't they?" Ainsley says, smiling fully and nodding, silently patting herself on the back for splurging for them.

"We'd be almost face to face," CJ muses.

"If that's what's been stopping you," Ainsley says a little loudly, "I could easily have made up the height differential before now."

"So, what's been stopping you?" CJ asks, with the emphasis on the final word.

Ainsley mock shrugs, and stretches her legs. "No clear signal, a lot to risk, not wanting to do this if you are going to go on ignoring me most of the time. I'm not good at being ignored," Ainsley warns with a raised eyebrow.

"You're pretty hard to ignore, Ainsley, and anyone who thinks you need protecting has never tried flirting with you," CJ says, slightly breathless.

"CJ, are we ever going to acknowledge this?" Ainsley asks with mock agitation.

"This?" CJ asks, obviously playing obtuse.

"This, the fact that we find ourselves in each other's offices, late at night, trying hard not stare at each other's breasts and legs and hands," Ainsley says.

"I don't try all that hard," CJ says smirking, and looking directly and longingly at Ainsley's breasts.

"Yes, I've noticed that," Ainsley says, smiling despite her nerves and feeling her face flush and her body react to the shift in mood and tone, as CJ takes her hand again, causing her breath to catch.

"Sam said the dress was unbelievable," CJ says, stroking Ainsley's wrist in circles with her smooth fingertips.

"I hoped that you would have been the one who called me in," Ainsley says, watching CJ's fingers move over her wrist, just under the cuff of her shirt, over her raging pulse point.

"Why?" CJ asks, stroking the sensitive skin between her thumb and finger with one soft fingertip.

"Because I wore it, knowing it was unlikely I would see you tonight, but hoping I might get called in or could otherwise contrive a plausible reason to stop in, so you could see me in it," Ainsley quietly admits.

"Would you put it on for me?" CJ asks calmly.

"CJ," Ainsley says cautiously.

"I want to see you in it," CJ says more directly.

"I would have thought you'd rather see me out of it," Ainsley says teasingly and shivering under the flash in CJ's eyes when she looks up.

"That too, but first, I want to see you in it," CJ says, her voice rough with emotion but sure.

"And I should do this because?" Ainsley asks, still unsure, feeling almost scared.

"Because I asked you too, and because you have wanted me to touch you in that dress since you saw it in the store," CJ says cooly, nodding toward the black dress hanging in the corner. "Standing in the dressing room, probably in white socks and cotton underwear and the wrong bra, you thought about it then, what it would be like to stand before me in that dress. So...go put it on for me," CJ directs.

Ainsley locks eyes with her and waits for the laugh, for the teasing smile, for the joke to break. When CJ just continues to stroke her wrist and hold her stare, Ainsley nods and stands. CJ releases her hand with a crooked, heated smile as Ainsley toes off her running shoes, leans over picking up her fancy shoes, and then turns with a pivot toward the dress.

"Excellent," CJ says, settling back on the couch and nodding approvingly.

Ainsley walks across the room and pulls the dress off the rack by the hanger, draping it over her arm, stopping to lock the door with a grin toward CJ, and walks across the room to lay the dress over one of her visitor chairs, feeling CJ watching her with every step. She reaches down and tugs off her socks, trying to build up the nerve and the confidence to actually take off her clothes and put the dress on in front of CJ. "This isn't how I pictured this," Ainsley says with a small smile as she lays the socks, balled up, on the edge of the desk.

"How did you picture it?" CJ asks, stretching her arm across the back of the couch and smiling, the picture of calm assurance.

"Well, I figured I would already be in the dress, and perfectly made up, and I would knock your socks off," Ainsley smiles.

"Ainsley, you knock my socks off every time you walk in the room. Now, stop stalling and put the dress on." When Ainsley still hesitates, CJ pushes her hair out of her eyes and laughs softly. "We go to the same gym, Ainsley, and have used the gym here: I've seen you half-dressed before," CJ grins wickedly.

Ainsley stares at her, knowing her eyes are wide, not sure she's breathing, as she thinks back on all the times CJ has probably seen her near naked, and she feels vulnerable and naked already. She finally moves when CJ starts laughing again, shaking her head and feeling herself blush more.

"Ainsley, you don't have to--"

"-- no, it's ok, I just hadn't thought about the locker room thing," Ainsley says, pushing her leggings over her hips and down her thighs, folding them and placing them on the corner of her desk. She self- consciously adjusts the leg of her underwear as CJ watches, now touching her jaw. Ainsley slowly unbuttons her blouse, watching CJ grow a little more excited with each button, and she pauses just a moment with it hanging open, showing a path of skin and bra underneath. Smiling, and without flinching, she allows the white blouse to slide down her arms and then drapes it over the pile of clothes on her desk. CJ smiles, and Ainsley begins to feel the power of the attraction between them fortifying her, making her stronger, making her sure. She allows her hands to shift over her hips and up her sides, over her breasts, nipples pressing against her sheer, pale bra, touching the straps at her shoulders as she wonders whether to take it off before she slips the dress on and if she does, whether she should do so facing CJ, or facing away from her. CJ makes a slight noise in the back of her throat, audible in the otherwise silent office, and Ainsley looks up seriously and reaches slowly around, unhooking the bra but turning as it falls away so that CJ sees only the slope of her breasts before seeing her now bare back.

She can hear CJ's sharp intake of breath as she drops the bra on the desk and reaches for the dress. She glances over her shoulder at CJ, smiling slightly as she slips the cool fabric up her arms and then lets if fall over her head and down her body, shivering as the fabric scrapes over her bare, sensitive nipples. She shifts the dress down over her hips and adjusts the straps, allowing her hands to slide back down her body over her breasts and ribs and hips.

She leans on the desk and steps into her shoes before turning around, hearing CJ shift on the couch, and swallows the smile and the shiver of excitement. She reaches up and undoes the pins holding her hair in the haphazard bun, knowing that CJ is getting a lovely view of her mostly bare back, her lifted arms accentuating her curves as she lets the hair fall in a graceful and fluid wave over her shoulders, knowing that CJ will want her hair down. As Ainsley shakes her head, feeling her hair swing against her bare skin, she hears CJ chuckle softly and pictures her look, all heat and admiration, and she hopes, anticipation. Ainsley turns as she tucks her hair behind her ear and almost steps back under the heat of CJ's stare, more predatory than she even imagined, eyes flashing and teeth almost bared in smile or leer.

"Nice," CJ says huskily, "very nice. Sam was absolutely right, and then some. Turn around," she waves with her fingers, leaning slightly forward on the couch.

Ainsley steps away from the chairs and turns slowly around, glancing over her shoulder to watch CJ's eyes rake over her, the years of ballet and cotilion paying off in grace, and then smiles fully as she stands before her again, shoulders straight, head tilted slightly toward her.

"Watching you put that on was perhaps the most erotic moment of my life," CJ says with appreciation and praise after her eyes have wandered over Ainsley's body, almost touching her bare skin with the heat from her stare.

"Wait until you take it off me," Ainsley says with more calm then she feels, thankful that for once she isn't tongue-tied when faced with this moment.

"That will be the most erotic moment of *your* life," CJ says, smiling wickedly, regaining some of her cool.

Ainsley steps forward, watching CJ stand up from the couch at the same time, and they walk slowly, step for step, toward each other. Ainsley shifts direction, moving toward the doorway so she can turn off the overhead light. She reaches for the light switch without taking her eyes off CJ and her fingers slide over bare wall, then the edge of cool metal, unable to find the switch. She finally tears her eyes away from CJ advancing toward her now to look for the switch, hitting it down as CJ's hands slide over her shoulders and down her arms. She turns and CJ slides her hands back up Ainsley's arms to the front of her shoulders.

"God," CJ whispers, tracing just the fingers of her right hand across the neckline of the dress.

"I did, you know," Ainsley says, watching CJ's face, half in shadow, as CJ follows the path of her fingers with her eyes.

"What?" CJ asks, tracing the edge of the dress down toward the side swell of her breast near her arm.

"Think about you, touching me in this dress, the first time I saw it," Ainsley admits, her breath hitching when CJ's fingers drift over the side of her breast as she trails her fingers along the curve of the dress-edge toward the small of her back.

"How long have you had it?" CJ asks, still serious and gentle as she turns her so she can continue tracing the place where the dress meets her skin.

"A little over a year," Ainsley says softly, as CJ tilts her head and turns her again, lifting her arm, to follow the line of the dress.

"You bought this, thinking of me, before you ever even knew if I was-- "

"-- I thought maybe I'd never wear it, except in dreams, but I knew that I had to own it," Ainsley interrupts, unsure why she feels the need to tell CJ her secrets.

"I'm so glad you are an optimist," CJ says, her voice regaining some of its bravado and teasing tone.

"Oh, only chronically," Ainsley says, her voice starting out sing- song and ending in a hiss as CJ presses her lips against the bare skin at the base of her neck, sliding her fingers over the thin straps crossing her back.

"God," CJ whispers again, kissing her way down Ainsley's spine, "you're skin tastes just like I thought it would, sweet and warm."

"CJ," Ainsley groans leaning toward the wall and bracing herself, arching forward, moaning again as CJ grips her hips and leans against her, still kissing and licking her way across Ainsley's bare skin.

"Thank you for wearing this, for me," CJ says between sucking tastes of skin. "You're trembling," she says, sliding her arms around Ainsley's waist and pulling her close as she moves her mouth back up to her neck.

"You have no idea," Ainsley laughs, turning and leaning back against the wall, allowing her arms to fall to her sides limp, before stroking CJ's arms at her waist. CJ's hands slide across the bare small of Ainsley's back and follows the point of the dress down over the swell of her ass as she leans forward and slowly kisses across the ribbon of bare skin above the neckline of her dress, now flushing with arousal.

"Did you have these on before under this dress," CJ asks, tracing her panty line.

"No," Ainsley says with a surprised smile, arching her hips toward CJ.

"I didn't think so. Take them off," CJ says, her eyes flashing.

Ainsley hesitates only a moment before she inches the wrong cotton underwear down over her hips, through the dress, until they are just below the swell of her buttocks, shifting and moving her legs to inch them down her thighs, CJ continuing to fondle and caress her ass, now through the slick fabric of the dress only. When her underwear is around her ankles she steps out of them and tries to kick them aside, griping CJ's arms to steady herself as she looks down and untangles them from her high heel. She looks up and smiles as she finally kicks the pale cotton away. CJ pushes her further back against the wall, sliding her leg between Ainsley's as she pulls her close and finally lowers her face to kiss her. Their lips touch and slide and hold, almost tentative. Ainsley's tongue slips out and flutters against CJ's upper lip, and she is rewarded with a forceful push against the wall, CJ's thigh rising, her hands squeezing Ainsley's hips as she deepens the kiss, forcing her lips apart, thrusting her tongue roughly into Ainsley's mouth. They kiss hard and almost rough, beginning to move their whole bodies in time to their tongues, tangling and rushed. Ainsley finally slides her arms over CJ's shoulders, pulls her closer as they continue to kiss, rocking their hips together.

Ainsley is only partially aware of the direction, but she is sure that CJ is moving her with purpose, her hands guiding her hips and her lips holding her close. She breaks the kiss and glances down as the back of her thighs hit the desk. The determination and smoldering look of CJ's eyes scares away the protest that had been building towards her lips, and she nods slightly in acquiescence and presence as CJ slides her dress up her legs and allows it to pool over her hips. She feels the cool wood against her bare legs for only a moment before the warmth and silkiness of CJ's fingers on her thighs eclipses all other sensations. The first tender touches, the sound and warmth and insistent movement of CJ's fingers, the feel of her body pressed over Ainsley's hips, the teasing kisses along her abdomen, all fall away with the sound of CJ's name on her lips, and for once, Ainsley is thankful for her dungeon office.

"Incredible," CJ whispers as she slides her hands under the dress, moving it up Ainsley's still trembling body, the cool air chilling her heated skin, grazing her breasts and aching nipples just before CJ's fingers, and then her lips.

"Oh, My, God, CJ..." Ainsley says, taking a deep breath, then laughing softly as CJ's lips trail up to her neck and finally graze her lips. "That was, Oh, My, God, CJ," she laughs louder, her hands finally sliding over CJ's arms at her shoulders.

"You are incredible," CJ says again and Ainsley smiles, almost more shy than before as she kisses her gently.

"Take me home?" CJ says softly.

Ainsley laughs again. "Isn't that my line?"

"Come on, I want to wake up with you," CJ says warmly.

"You think I'm going to let you sleep?" Ainsley laughs once more, almost giddy, and CJ helps her up off the desk, the dress sliding back down her body to her hips. CJ shrugs and leans in to kiss her, a teasing light kiss, despite her fingers grazing the side of Ainsley's breast. She steps away and looks down Ainsley's body as the dress slides over her legs, and she once again shifts it over her hips, settling the line and fabric.

"You're right you know," CJ says, taking her hand and kissing her knuckles.

"About?" Ainsley asks, grabbing her wrap and her purse, looking for her keys.

"They're not your equal, I'm not sure anyone is, and I do want you out of this dress."

"Yeah, well, it's about time," Ainsley says in her distinctive lilt, smiling at CJ and moving towards the door.

"You're going to be voracious, aren't you?" CJ asks, teasing and husky.

"You think I'm insatiable for food? You haven't seen anything yet," Ainsley warns as she moves through the door, CJ grinning and flushed behind her, barely a step behind.

~finis~

suki@ashesofoldlovers.net

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