prompts: office, games
A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing. - Oscar Wilde
He's never shouted at her before, and there, there's the slightest widening of those big dark eyes, and it's clear as a blow upside the head - she's not sure what her next move should be.
He catches himself before the bloom of satisfaction that catching her wrong-footed created spirals into something uglier and harder to control. His fists are clenched but he keeps his breaths nice and steady, keeps his desk between them.
She's just inside the doorway. She'd stepped in far enough to close the door behind her, then retreated silkily, an invisible slide until she was framed by the door. Like she was posing for a photograph.
A dirty photograph, the kind so many Chicago politicians went down for - she's got her fuck-me boots and her fuck-me smile on.
But she always wears those, and her voice is always just above a whisper, the ghost of an accent making her pauses seem significant, investing her words with weight. "Cary," she'd said, like that was enough.
And it could have been.
But he's seen her play this game before, the one where she says, hey, you, give me what I want, let me into your space where I can build a house I might never live in, let me drive you crazy for as long as I'm in your life, and at some point I might just let you fuck me. Because she treats herself like a bargaining chip, one more weapon in the fight she's waging against the world. And she doesn't know how to win, because there's nothing she wants other than what she's got, which is herself and a determination that she'll never be the one to fall first.
He's not like her. He thinks justice is real, that it's worth fighting for. That there are people who are worth standing next to, standing up for, making something real out of breath and blood and themselves.
She's the one with a sharp eye for cost. She's the market and the commodity, setting her price as equivalent to copies of the files he's got locked away. That's today's going rate, anyway - yesterday it might have been a couple of beers, tomorrow it might be an in with the FBI, but it's always a limited time offer.
Her hands tighten on the belt of her trench coat when he says, "I've got work to do." She steps close, leaning over the desk to give him a view of her cleavage and that little smile and he can see by the shine in her eyes that she's revising, working out how to sweeten the pot. "I don't want any quid pro quo," he says, and waits for her next move.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.