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Upside Down

by Minim Calibre

"You're certain he'll be there for at least another hour? Thanks."

Lilah looked at the address she'd written down. She could make it there in fifteen minutes, ten if she didn't miss any lights. That left her plenty of time to get ready.

She grabbed her notepad to look over the evening's agenda. She'd touch on the cutting; maybe work a joke about lozenges in there somehow. What else? The waste of intellect--that might get him. While she was at it, she might as well hit lack of purpose, make it a double whammy. If that didn't work, she'd go for the hat trick and bring out the crush. That one was certain to get a reaction.

Men were so predictable.

She opened a new package of nylons. Dior. Sheer. No pesky snags or runs. No underwear tonight; they'd ruin the line. Plain nude satin would do for a bra--nothing too obviously inviting or tacky, just good support without seams. A tastefully tight skirt and a blouse that just barely qualified as clingy completed the outfit.

A look in the mirror reminded her to increase her tip at the salon. Perfect little femme-fatale waves framed a perfectly made-up face. Damn, she looked good.

Better than she normally looked for a date, which befit the situation. Dates were an occasional social necessity, or a practical business decision. This? This was fun, and if it helped her out at the firm, well, so much the better. She smiled at her reflection and walked out the door.

When she came home an hour later, she was still smiling. There were no marks on her throat, no evidence that his hand had made the threat that still felt like a caress. Still, she'd cracked that cool facade of his like an opera singer shattering a wine glass. All it took in the end was the right note. Notepad in hand, she crossed a few items from the list, then chewed on the end of the pen for a second before adding a new item to the bottom.

That night in bed, she planned her attack strategy. He was on the edge; she just had to tip him in the right direction. She had just the outfit for it, too. It was once she'd used to great effect in the courtroom, and L.A. judges were a jaded bunch. Maybe it was pandering to the lowest possible male instincts and drives, but a sharp mind and a total lack of conscience only got you so far, even in the twenty-first century. Besides, all's fair in law and war.

Even a less-than-pleasant day at the office couldn't quell her anticipation. On the contrary, a day spent trying to out-maneuver Gavin and dealing with piddling crap assignments only made her more eager to get back to her own special project. Lilah wondered if she could bill for the hours she was investing in it. She'd at least expense the spa appointment she'd made for after work.

She took her time getting dressed; she was anxious, but she wasn't in a hurry. There was something about pulling fine fabrics over freshly buffed and massaged skin that made her want to savor every minute of it. Another virgin nylon sacrifice--Givenchy this time--was essential. Lilah wavered for a second on the bra before deciding to go with last night's style in black.

She pulled a small Baccarat crystal vial out from a drawer and applied just a drop of its contents between her breasts. It smelled expensive and rare, and it was. Chanel, blended after her death, and only available to those who had the money to commission post-mortem perfumery. Or to those who made the necessary arrangements for it to happen. Working for Wolfram and Hart might have its ups and downs, but the perks were unbeatable.

When the door of the apartment swung open on the first knock, she knew he'd been expecting her. Smart boy; looked like he was starting to learn the rules of the game.

"You." It was really something, the amount of bile and exhaustion he managed to fit in those three little letters. Was there a hint of relief in there, too? She thought there might be.

"Me." She worked in amusement, superiority, and a touch of attraction. In just two letters. Advantage, Lilah.

He didn't bother to protest when she swept into his apartment. Maybe he'd learned his lesson about fighting losing battles.

"What is it this time, Lilah?"

Her eyes widened in a careful parody of innocence. "I just thought it was in your best interest to have someone check up on you, and considering I'm the only person who even gives a rat's ass about your well-being these days, here I am."

Some barbs never lost their sting. She watched him stiffen slightly, his lips narrowing as he shot her another one of those filthy-hot looks.

"Fuck you."

She moved a little closer to him, making sure she was just barely in the edges of his personal space. Close enough to smell, close enough to touch, and close enough to make him uncomfortable. "That an invitation, Wes?"

Must have been, because she suddenly found herself pressed up against the wall with Wesley pressed up against her body, his mouth hard and demanding and his hands pinning her arms to her sides. Well, that hadn't taken anywhere near as much effort as she'd thought it would. He let go of her and took a step backwards.

"What do you think?" he asked.

Twisting his hands in her hair, he kissed her again before she could answer and pushed her the mercifully short distance to the bedroom. Her shirt was unbuttoned and her bra unhooked before they even made it through the door; he'd obviously had more practice at this sort of thing than most people would have guessed.

For all that Wesley had desperation written in indelible ink all over him, he sure wasn't letting that practice go to waste. The way he moved his hands and mouth over her body made her think someone had slipped a copy of the Kama Sutra into his research pile one day and he'd just studied it like any other text containing mysteries and codes he needed to crack. Whoever it was deserved a medal. With that, Lilah stopped thinking and let herself enjoy the first good fuck she'd had in longer than she cared to remember.

His facade was back in place before his weight left her body; from the looks of things, it had managed to mend overnight. Demanding that she leave didn't bother her--it wasn't like she'd planned on sticking around, no matter how good he looked when he glowered. She might as well twist the knife she'd inserted earlier and let him know just where he stood with her.

"I wasn't thinking about you when you were here."

Her game face slipped for half a second as the words snaked their way to an Achilles' heel she hadn't even known she still had. She watched him carefully while she replied; if she'd blinked, she'd have missed the impact. Wesley might still think of himself as playing for the good side, but it wouldn't take much to bring him over to hers.

She'd be back; they were both counting on it. Lilah walked out with a swing in her step and a new to-do list in her head.


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