It goes like this: she's in a black velvet dress at a star-studded Wolfram and Hart event. The diamond-and-silver necklace rings around her neck, clearly from Tiffany's. The open-toed black heels, clearly worth more than a month's rent on Wesley's flat. Opera gloves, black satin, up past her elbows. Lilah eschews the shawl; she tends to fuss at them.
And he's waiting for her, he's wanting her, he's been strolling the grounds at Griffin Observatory to keep an eye on her. And everything is sensation, detail. The crispness of his white shirt, three buttons open. Dress slacks, his last pressed pair. No one who saw him would suspect more than him being an escapee of the elegant soiree going on, the one with light music, faceless Latino servants with plates of food, and the deadly air of business struggling to be pleasure.
July in California, the breeze whipping over the canyons, the stray hairs curling against her neck, and he wants to kiss her, hold her still and make her kiss him back until she's slack in his arms. Wants to possess her utterly, this vixen-demon-woman smiling as she holds her glass of straw-colored champagne in an elegant fluted glass with the grace of a ballerina.
Instead he watches. Watches her pivot-walk-pose, finish a glass and place it on a silver tray, retrieve another, smile triumphantly, lips utterly unmarred and oh, they are deep crimson-wine, painted but not posed. And he watches.
This, after all, is what he's trained to do. To observe his quarry, to understand his enemy. To watch.
To get inside of her.
The gown is strapless, and the line of her spine is sinuous, delicate, perfect, and he wants to draw his finger up that line, slowly, until all the small hairs stand on end.
Wesley admits that he is a man prone to obsessive behaviors. To iterations and reiterations of thought, action, and regret. He is precise, and she is infinitely worth study, a fractal in the form of a woman, almost the same but never quite exact.
When she takes a grape from yet another tray, he suspects she knows he is watching, the way she lets herself linger on the biting down, the teeth cutting through the sweet flesh before swallowing, and that turn to the strawberries....
And there is a savage satisfaction in knowing that no matter how far Lilah goes in her taunting, he will make her take responsibility for her actions. Each breath of anticipation, each uncomfortable adjustment of his pants, he will punish her with later until she's writhing and pleading and laid bare.
She smiles, half-closes her eyes, almost licks her lips. Wesley cannot tell for the life of him if she's certain of his presence. Because she's self-possessed in all her guises; Lilah knows how to utterly enjoy herself in a crowd without seeming crass. None of them can even dirty the facade, let alone see past it.
Wesley feels like a dirty old man in a trenchcoat, watching her sparkle among the glitterati. It's how she makes him feel, and she's the evil one. If he had a pair of binoculars, he would grip them like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window and pray that like Grace Kelly, Lilah knows where to get take-out to feed him.
When he watches her, he's waiting for a crime to occur. Instead she turns elegantly, and the diamonds sparkle on her neck, the siren's beacon. She lets a man murmur something in her ear, his hand lingering on her shoulder, and Wesley's anger is sudden and inexplicable.
Finally, Lilah excuses herself, walks away from the crowd, and Wesley is there, his fingers biting into her shoulders.
"Hello, lover," Lilah murmurs, arching back. Her skin smells like lavender and perfume, and Wesley allows himself one kiss pressed into the nape of her neck. "I missed you."
"Did you? Seems to me you were enjoying yourself without me," Wesley replies, pulling her against him hard. "You do so love to play games, Lilah."
"Only if I'm playing with a worthy foe," Lilah says, turning around so that her mouth hovers less than an inch from his. "What's the game, Wes?"
"I think," and now he is tickling her spine and the feel of her gloves around his neck is inexplicably arousing, "perhaps it's a test of edges. Such as, how long will she allow him to embrace her in public? How far will he allow himself to be teased before he has her pinned against the grass?"
"Not tonight," Lilah says, pulling away before she realizes he's not letting go of her wrists. "This dress cost four thousand dollars, Wes."
"Don't care," Wesley says, waiting for her to tire of twisting her wrists. "I'm not going to let go."
"I could scream," Lilah says, relaxing herself as he gathers her closer. "Bring a crowd."
"You will scream," Wes murmurs, stroking her back, her face, her shoulders. "I like hearing you scream."
"Wes," she says in a very small voice, wetting her lips with the tip of her tongue. And maybe she's said yes, because now she's kissing him, hand tangled in his hair, silk of the opera glove against his jaw. Breasts pressed against him, other hand twined in his as they maneuver for the nearest bench.
"Lilah," he says, pulling back so he can undo her necklace, nuzzle at her neck. No particular reason; it seems he just likes the sound of her name.
He likes her name, he likes the gleam in her eyes when he begins kissing her collarbone, the intake of breath when he pulls off a glove and draws it over her eyes. And there's no moment when it stops being a flirtation and suddenly it turns desperate.
But it is desperate. His hand is doing obscene things to the top of her gown, there is a streak of lipstick on his shirt and a definite crease in his pants and he's hauled her up, dragging her toward a more private corner.
"My dress," Lilah wails, sotto voce, and for that, when Wesley knocks them into the grass, he makes sure it's a wet patch. "Bastard."
But when he pulls off a sodden shoe and kisses the arch, Lilah whimpers, Lilah moans, and Lilah's expensive velvet gown has a very rippable seam that allows her expensive silk stockings to get ruined in the dirt.
"To hell with your dress," Wes says, pulling her wrists over her head and finding himself between her thighs. "To hell with your party."
"To hell with me?" Lilah asks, arching an eyebrow and he's dizzy, dizzy with the fact that he can smell fresh grass, the jasmine, the slightly stale exhaust of an LA night sky, the perfume, her body.
"Always," Wesley says, letting her go just long enough to slam into her and earn an enthusiastic cry of passion muffled, just barely, by the back of his hand.
It's not long before she's glassy-eyed and sweat-slick, a leg wrapped around his waist as he's thrusting harder, her fingernails digging into his neck, her teeth biting into his right hand so she doesn't bring the security guards.
Wesley doesn't know why Lilah brings out these insane, lascivious notions out in him. He's never fantasized of taking Fred like this, could not fantasize of it, nor Cordelia, nor Virginia. But it's a curse; the longer he ignores his craving for Lilah, the more perverse and macabre his urges become until she's convulsing around him, his tongue swallowing her screams as he comes and comes hard, collapsing atop her.
And yet it is good. Less a self-abnegation and more...a discovery. Watching him through her. Inside Wesley there is a dominant animal, a man who takes intense pleasure in the primal force of sex. That is oddly troubled by the bliss-power-wonder in Lilah's blue-green eyes when he moves his hand away, allows her to struggle into a sitting position.
"You know how to make a dress worth ruining, lover," she says, half-amused and half-serious as she makes sure her chest isn't overly exposed, adjusts the split seam to look suggestive rather than sluttish, performs a kind of feminine magic that makes their coupling less bare, obvious, and deplorable. "Drive me home?"
"Certainly," he says, helping her up. "You looked beautiful tonight."
"I know," Lilah says with one of her private smiles, lipstick smudged on her cheek as they limp toward his car. "You wouldn't have had such a good time wrecking me if I'd looked anything less than the best."
And Wesley is left wondering: who's the one who understands better? He has the power; does Lilah have the knowledge? And what, exactly, does Lilah know?
She sets her head on his shoulder. He takes her hand. The round's a draw.
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Title: In the Details
Author: Jennifer-Oksana [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | R | 8k | 08/11/04
Summary: Wesley, Lilah, elegance, sex, knowledge, sensation.
Disclaimer/Other: Joss, not me.
Distribution: list archives, standing orders, others by permission.
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