TITLE: Reading the Signals
AUTHOR: Ellen Milholland
EMAIL/URL: radiant@bluelikethat.com, http://www.bluelikethat.com/radiance/imagine.html
RATING: R, gratuitous girlsex.
CODES/SERIES: CJ/Ainsley. Sequel to 'Limelight and Slow-Dancing.'
DISCLAIMERS: Like the powers that be would do this?
ARCHIVE: Ask, please.
SUMMARY: "'Just... misread this,' she says, and her lips are soft and pliant against CJ's."

*

Reading the Signals by Ellen Milholland


She is glowing, breezing through the darkened bullpen on a euphoric cloud of alcohol and sexual frustration and the lingering scent of men's cologne on her skin from a few too many trips around the dance floor. All she can think of, though, is CJ's lips near her face, the feel of satin under her fingers, the way CJ's eyes had smoldered from across the room for the entirety of the dinner.

Three hours and too many drinks after the not-so-veiled invitation, Ainsley finds CJ's office starkly, incredibly empty. The computer's screen is off, the lamps are dark, and the papers on the desk are arranged into perfect piles.

Even more-than-half-drunk she manages to be disappointed and offended and even more frustrated than she had been. She hadn't for a moment questioned the genuineness of CJ's fingers in her hair or the reality of the tremor in her voice every time Ainsley accidentally brushed past her. This had been Ainsley's plan, of course, to tease her into being incapable of running away.

Clearly, it had not worked out precisely as Ainsley had expected. So she is standing in the middle of CJ's office in the semi-darkness, considering her next move, furrowing her brow. Her brain is cloudy, and her mouth is sticky from the various cocktails she'd been convinced to drink.

She is in the middle of having a crisis -- attempting to figure out how exactly to escape from this mortifying predicament without anyone seeing her, how to avoid CJ for the next dozen weeks, trying to remember the number of the cab company -- when she becomes distinctly aware of the fact that hers is not the only breath in the room.

She turns slowly, her dress brushing against her ankles, hoping that she looks much more confident than she suddenly feels. "Tell me you didn't do this on purpose, CJ."

"What?"

"Leave me to think that you'd stood me up."

CJ smiles. "You were trying to think of the cab company's number, weren't you?"

"I can't believe you, CJ. I can't believe you would leave me here like this."

"I wanted to see that look on your face."

"Which one?"

"The indignant one you get." She shuts the door behind her slowly. "The look you get when you're ready to start some painfully articulate argument with me."

The only response Ainsley can muster is, "Oh."

CJ shakes her head. "Jesus, that's a great dress."

"I think we went over this before..."

"But I didn't get a chance to explain to you how..." She smiles a little nervously, but licks her lips as well. "Your collarbone, it's perfect, and the lines of your neck. Your spine against your back. Your shoulder blades. I've had all night to watch you."

Ainsley is breathless, and her lips are pressed hard together while she attempts to respond. "Oh."

"I spend all night deciding exactly why I like you in that dress, and all I get is an 'oh'? Maybe I should've let you flounder in here for a while longer."

"No, I was just trying to string a few words together to describe to you exactly why I love you in blue satin." She smiles. "And how I was going to convince you to let me find out how much I love you out of said satin."

CJ's throat moves as she swallows, her hands fidgeting against her thighs. "Go on."

"I've been watching your ankles for months, and your knees, because your legs are... forty-miles long and amazing. The shape of your hips, and the way the fabric hugs you like it's afraid to let go. The way the neckline shows off the perfect planes of your back, and the shade of your blush, and the fact that you're wearing Sonia Rykiel perfume and Chanel nail polish."

By the time she finishes, CJ's cheeks are bright. "Should I ask how you know what brand of perfume I have on?"

"There are things I know." Ainsley smiles slowly. "Things like that."

"I wasn't sure you'd show up," CJ says suddenly. "So, so I've been doing that thing... you know it always rains when you don't bring an umbrella, but it never rains when you do?" Ainsley arches her eyebrow. "So, I kept leaving..."

"To try to get me to appear," Ainsley nods, suppressing a smile. "Yes, I think I understand."

"So, that's where I was, just now. Pacing aimlessly around the West Wing in this ridiculous dress, intentionally not waiting for you. Making myself nuts."

"Anything I can do to make it up to you for not showing up earlier? Every man in the room seemed to require a dance, and Sam wouldn't let me turn any of them down."

"You could... or I could..." CJ begins, stumbling over her words. Their eyes meet, and she stops. "You could just let me kiss you."

"I didn't think you'd wait to ask permission."

"I wanted to make sure I hadn't misread the signals. I usually misread the signals. It's a chronic condition."

Ainsley's full-throated laugh is loud in the quiet office. She takes a step towards CJ, and through her laughter manages to get out, "I couldn't breathe, and I almost stuck my tongue in your ear in the middle of the dance floor... And you thought you'd misread the signals?" She is still laughing when she touches CJ's shoulder.

"You don't need to go out of your way to make me feel stupid, Ainsley."

"Just... misread this," she says, and her lips are soft and pliant against CJ's.

She half-expects CJ to jump back in alarm, to start talking about how this is a mistake, how there are places she needs to be, how this is going to end up looking bad someday down the road. Ainsley's not sure that she would blame her, because somehow these things always end up badly.

So the fact that CJ's hands are suddenly gripping her hips surprises Ainsley into a low moan. At the small sound, CJ's fingers tighten, and she's pulling Ainsley towards her until their legs are meeting.

A moment later, they are looking at one another, wide-eyed and panting, and Ainsley is inordinately glad that she wore the heels that make their heights at least similar. "So, okay. I guess I wasn't misreading," CJ says quietly. Her voice is low, and her breathing is ragged, and her leg is nudging its way between Ainsley's thighs.

"No, I wouldn't say that you were," Ainsley says, her mouth against the base of CJ's neck.

"I'm not drunk," CJ says, and Ainsley raises her head.

"No?"

"I didn't want you to think--" CJ shakes her head, even as one of her hands is sliding up Ainsley's side so that her thumbs can touch the edges of Ainsley's breasts.

Ainsley's back arches slightly, and there's a hint of a delighted smile on CJ's mouth. "God, CJ. I'm trying very hard not to think," Ainsley says as her fingers creep down CJ's spine.

"I just wanted you to know," CJ shrugs as she kisses one of Ainsley's temples. "Because, Jesus, you're beautiful and you deserved to know that I was saying that and not the vodka-cranberry."

"Thank you." Ainsley's hands are rubbing the small of CJ's back, and there's the slightest tremor in her voice.

"You know, we're not so different as you might think," CJ says.

"Are you going to talk like this for a very long time?"

"I just mean... oh, I'm not sure what I mean."

"This doesn't have to be anything, CJ. I'm not going to hunt down your phone number in the morning, not going to show up asking you to feed me or fuck me again. I just want... I want to kiss you, and watch you, and remember the fact that you're letting me touch you."

"Keep your eyes open," CJ says, and then her mouth is hot against Ainsley's, and Ainsley is memorizing the planes of CJ's teeth, and the exact texture of that spot beneath her tongue. She can feel the sharp edge of a capped tooth, tastes the metallic twang of a new silver filling, and CJ's tongue is quick.

CJ chews on Ainsley's lower lip, and their eyes are open and very close, and Ainsley's hand is creeping up CJ's thigh until she's brushing CJ's hip.

She moves back a step, so that she can see CJ clearly, so that she can appreciate the movement of CJ's shoulders, and the way she's leaning back against the door. "What exactly are you looking at?" CJ asks.

Ainsley grins. "You are so hot."

"I'll take that as a compliment." CJ gasps when Ainsley's palm flattens against her stomach and slides down towards the apex of her thighs, light and teasing through the material of her dress. "Oh, Ainsley, I didn't take you for a tease."

"Who says I'm teasing? That would imply that I don't intend to do anything besides touch you like this."

CJ bites her lip, hard, and one of her hands comes to rest on the doorknob, the only thing she can find to grasp, and her knuckles turn white with the fierceness of her grip.

Ainsley chuckles. "I wish I could take a picture of you, just like that."

CJ's eyes narrow, and she says, "What makes you think that you're the only one here capable of doing anything?" She holds Ainsley's arm by the wrist, lifting the young woman's hand to her face, drawing one of the long, slender fingers into her mouth.

Ainsley gasps. "I'm not sure that was fair." She is overwhelmed by the fact that CJ's eyes are open, that they are staring at each other in the pale light, that CJ's tongue is flicking over the pads of her fingers.

Ainsley isn't one to turn down the challenge she sees in CJ's eyes, and so her fingers are creeping up CJ's leg beneath the knee-length dress, and CJ's teeth are a little too sharp against her pinky. Her fingers are against the inside CJ's smooth, and surprisingly bare, thigh, and then she's trailing her index finger against CJ's panties.

"Oh," CJ gasps, releasing Ainsley's fingers, instead grabbing at the hand between her legs. "Oh, Ainsley."

"Now, tell me honestly, did you ever think we'd end up doing anything like this?" Ainsley asks, because she wants to laugh a little and because she's still buzzed.

"Ainsley, shut up. Now."

And then Ainsley is pushing past CJ's panties, CJ's mouth is open, and Ainsley's sliding one and then two fingers in deep. CJ's voice is hoarse, and she's saying, "I didn't think it would be like this. I didn't think your fingers would be so long."

And she's up against the door, and Ainsley's pressed up against her and kissing her throat, and CJ's whimpering somewhere under her breath. And then CJ shudders, gripping Ainsley's wrist tightly, and being surprisingly silent.

A moment later, Ainsley's licking her fingers clean, and they are pressed against one another and against the door. CJ opens her eyes, puts an arm around Ainsley's waist, and whispers lightly in Ainsley's ear, "Come home with me."

Ainsley nods. "I'm right behind you, CJ. Let's go."

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