Sorting his dirty, smelly laundry in front of Sarah sounds like a surefire way to negate whatever leftover heat there is between them, but at least he won't have to explain the bloodstains that mark about half of his shirts and at least two pairs of jeans. He ends up grabbing the whole duffel and heads back downstairs. Sarah's in the kitchen, drinking from a round little bottle of Orangina. She's rebraided her hair and looks more relaxed now than she has since he first showed up. "Mmpf," she says when she sees him, then swallows and starts over. "Want something to drink?"
"No thanks," he says, then waits for her to cap the bottle and lead the way. She opens a door and heads down the stairs and he follows her into the basement. It's a warren of rooms, some of them with closed doors and extremely sophisticated thermostats visible by the entryways. "Art storage?" he hazards a guess.
"Some of it, yeah," she says. "Not any of the stuff I like - Dad let me put those paintings up. But some of it is really valuable, so we have to take care of it."
"And what's the rest?" he asks.
"Just ordinary basement stuff. Furnace, water heater, laundry." She heads over toward across the main room to a shadowy doorway, her steps silent on the thick, tightly-woven carpet. She snaps on the lamp, and he can see a bright little alcove lined with closed wooden cabinets and featuring a washer and dryer. "Okay, hop to it," she says, opening the washer's lid.
There's no point sorting the clothes, he decides; they hadn't been separated any of the approximately eight hundred other times they've been tossed into a washing machine, and one time won't restore the colors and whites back to their original brightness. It's much better if they're a little faded anyway - less conspicuous, less memorable. He just grabs clothes by the handful, frankly a little astonished by the stink of them, and he finds a packet of pungent herbs, wrapped in a cotton handkerchief, still stuffed into a pocket of one of the pairs of jeans. He should have gotten rid of that weeks ago, and he chucks it into the trash can sitting by the big wicker basket.
The washer is big enough to accommodate everything in his bag in one load, and Sarah appears beside him holding a jug of environmentally-friendly detergent that smells more expensive than the cologne he used to wear on special occasions at Stanford. He dumps a capful of clear liquid in, gets the machine going, and opens the wooden folding chair propped up against the wall. Sarah seats herself on top of the washer and looks at him, glowing in the lamplight.
"So," she says. "Did you mean what you said?"
"Can you narrow that down for me?"
"That you liked me but weren't expecting anything from me."
"Yeah, of course I meant it. You haven't seen me in a couple of years, and while our meeting was, um, memorable, I don't think you could call it one of the best times of your life. I mean, your friend died, and you saw a ghost for the first time, and . . . what?"
She's looking at him, but not meeting his eyes, like she's thinking about something else. "You've got . . ." she leans forward a little before realizing she can't reach him. "Come here."
He stands and gets a little closer. "You've got an eyelash on your cheek," she says, one fingertip light as a feather glancing over his face and finally holding it up in proof. He can tell from the look in her eyes that she's waiting to see if he remembers his own long-ago, fumbling attempt to touch her.
"You should be the one to make a wish," he says, and she leans forward to kiss him.
Her lipstick tastes waxy, but her mouth is sweet with Orangina. Tantalizingly hot, too, and he pulls back enough only to fit their mouths together a little more snugly. He's aware that the room has gotten a little humid from the washer, can feel a little moisture on her face when he touches her cheek. She moans a little, drawing him closer with her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist.
This is not how he had thought it would happen, when he'd even let himself imagine that Dean was right and that she might welcome him back with open arms. But Sarah is so eager, so willing to be kissed breathless, that there's no reason to stop. He leans forward a little, supporting her back with his hands, and she goes soft and boneless, heavy and helpless, letting him hold her up, depending on his strength completely. The washing machine is rocking beneath her, vibrations he can feel from his toes all the way up, and he wonders how many of the choked little noises she's making are because of him and how many are because of the insistent rhythm pulsing through her.
She's pushing him away, and he lets himself be pushed until he hears her gasp and registers that she just needed air, that she wasn't trying to escape his kiss. He pulls a little on the end of her long braid, just enough of a tug to tip her head back, let her unfocused eyes linger on the ceiling, and he dives for her neck, elongated and trembling. She's flushed, so beautiful, and he can feel the heat of the blood beneath her skin when he sucks noisily at her neck, letting his tongue rasp roughly against her smooth flesh. Her fingers are getting tangled in his hair, not yanking - not yet - but flexing and relaxing in unconscious mimicry of thrust and release, the pattern they're running headlong toward.
"I want . . . so long . . . this, Sam, uh," she's mumbling, pulling him closer still, and he can't tell if it's her words that are incoherent or if he's too caught up in the heat of her to compute what she's saying.
He leans forward a little more, resting one forearm on the cool, shuddering surface of the washing machine, and slides his free hand down the outside seam of her jeans. Her legs tighten around his waist in response, and he traces a path back up that long, long leg, slipping underneath her thick baby blue sweater. All she's wearing underneath the sweater is a scrap of silk, unbearably smooth and unspeakably thin, finer than an eyelash. His fingers slip against it, but then it bunches easily in his fist when he pushes it out of the way. He can feel a thin sheen of sweat between her breasts, can feel the moister skin of the underside of her breasts, heavy and still shielded from view. He wants to see her, wants to hear her scream his name and not just pant it out in warm little breaths against his neck, wants to have her mouth around his dick, wants to have her hands on his ass, pulling him deeper inside her, and he wants to hear what she wants him to do to her, every last thing in exquisite detail, and he looks at her eyes, neither blue nor green, glittering with lust, closing in pleasure, and then the buzzer goes off and the washing machine rocks to a halt.
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