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Improvisation for Beginners

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Lucy is well into her third drink when she notices Wyatt on the phone at the bar. He’d gone to get them another round--including one for Rufus, whenever he decides to show up--and Lucy is waiting in their booth in the very noisy pub, just passing the time by watching normal people talk with normal friends and family from their normal lives.

“Normal” in that they have no idea about the shadowy organization controlling their lives, or that time travel is actually something a small group of people do on a regular basis.

Lucky jerks.

Wyatt is making his way back to their table, efficiently juggling his phone and her drink in one hand, and two bottles of beer in the other. She adds that item to her already long list of Impressive Things About Wyatt Logan: remarkably good with his hands.

If she blushes and avoids looking at him after that thought, well, he just doesn’t need to know why.

Wyatt sets their drinks on the table, then holds up his phone as he slides into the booth opposite her. “It’s Rufus.”

Then she hears Rufus’ voice on speaker. “Hey Lucy.”

“Hey Rufus,” she says, frowning at Rufus’ grinning picture on the screen. “Where are you? We were expecting you an hour ago.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Rufus’ tinny voice says. “I was just telling Wyatt that the Lifeboat’s OS is throwing a hissy fit, and I got called in to try to calm it down.”

Lucy chuckles. “You talk about it like it’s a toddler you’re going to put in time out,” she says, then barks a laugh, looking up at Wyatt. “Get it? Time out?”

“That’s funny,” Rufus says carefully, and then, “Hey Wyatt? How much has Lucy had to drink?”

Wyatt’s mouth turns up with amusement and he shakes his head. “She’s fine. She’s having a good time,” he replies, and something deep and warm in his voice makes her flush a little.

Or maybe that’s the booze. Whatever.

Not wanting to draw anymore attention to how much she’s had--she deserves that Around the World cocktail, damn it--she swiftly changes the subject. “Do you want us to come keep you company? We can finish this last round and come over.”

“Nah. There’s literally nothing you can do here, and I’m going to be elbow-deep in code for a while. I’ll just see you tomorrow. You guys aren’t driving, right?”

“No,” Wyatt assures him. “We’re Ubering.”

“Good. Have a beer for me, okay?”

“Will do,” Wyatt says. “See you, buddy.”

“Bye Rufus,” Lucy says, sliding her new cocktail over, having sucked the last one dry.

Wyatt clicks the screen off after Rufus ends the call, then turns the phone over on the tabletop. He eyes her empty glass, then raises his eyebrow at her. “Is it just me, or are you hitting the hooch pretty hard tonight?”

She tries (and completely fails) to look innocent, shrugging with practiced ease. “Not really. Just happy to have a free night.”

He just looks at her calmly, like he’s going to wait her out all night if he has to, and she caves like an overeager spelunker.

“Fine,” she says, shoulders sagging. “My mother has apparently been trying to contact me again. My old phone is basically DHS property now, so Christopher has been giving me updates on the messages, and I know I’m going to have to deal with her eventually, I just don’t know how, and it’s…,” she stops, trying to find the right word. “Well, it’s just a SNAFU, isn’t it?”

His other eyebrow joins the first one, raising in surprise. “Listen to you and your appropriate use of military slang.”

That makes her smile. Just a little bit. “You were bound to rub off on me eventually,” she says, and feels a blush spread from head to toe when she realizes what she’s said.

Wyatt smirks and tilts his head at her, gaze going speculative. “Is that right?”

Still red (which she blames on the cocktails, because she is not usually a blusher), she huffs impatiently. “You know what I mean.”

His head tilts further, and he leans in. “Do I?” he teases, his tone all flirtation this time.

“Yes, you do,” she says, well on her way to flustered, and she pushes him back to his side of the table, managing not to let her hand linger on his chest, despite the urge. “Besides, you’ve had the same number of drinks I have. What’s your excuse?”

“Just trying to keep up with you,” he says, smiling. It lights up his eyes. “Plus, I’m bigger than you and beer has less ABV. Don’t worry, I can handle myself.”

“I’ve noticed,” she says lustily into her drink before she can stop herself.

Wyatt makes a choking noise, and when she looks up it’s clear he’s trying not to laugh, eyes mirthful and lips pressed together. But the tips of his ears are also red, and she finds that oddly delightful.

“I think that’s my cue,” he declares, reaching over and pulling her already mostly-empty glass out of her hands. “I’m cutting you off.”

“But--” she starts.

Getting out of the booth, he reaches a hand out for her. “It’s getting late anyway,” he says.

She sighs, but lets him pull her up. He grabs his leather jacket off the hook on the side of her bench and shrugs it on, then gets hers and holds it up for her. She turns around and tries not to read anything into the way he helps her into it and pulls her hair out from under the collar, fanning it out around her shoulders.

When he’s done, she’s breathless, and he’s barely even touched her.

She turns around to face him and he’s watching her, and things are pleasantly fuzzy but she thinks she can see something like hunger in his eyes. It doesn’t make her feel any less breathless.

“Ready to go?” he asks.

She nods, not trusting her voice, and he leads her out of the pub with a hand low on her back.

It’s quiet outside; the pub is in an older part of town, further away from the clubs that are so busy this time of night, so it’s really just the two of them out there on the dimly lit sidewalk. Wyatt’s got his phone out, probably ordering their Uber, so she lets herself be fascinated by the way her breath clouds in the cold air until he’s finished.

They’re standing quietly and companionably, but the tension from inside the pub followed them outside, and Lucy feels it like a pull in her stomach. It’s not long before she can’t stand the silence anymore.

“I’m sorry about, you know, all the drunken sexual harassment in there,” she says, looking up at him, and takes a deep breath. She can see her breath drift over Wyatt’s chin on her exhale--when did he get so close?

“It’s only harassment if I don’t like it. Did you hear me complain?” he asks, and his voice is low and gruff, and it is doing things to her she’s probably not ready for.

Probably. “Still,” she says, and she can’t help but sneak a look at those full, attractive lips of his anyway. “I should probably limit myself to two drinks from now on. Wouldn’t want to make Rufus uncomfortable.”

“Lucy,” Wyatt murmurs, eyes most definitely not on hers either, “Rufus isn’t here.”

“No,” she replies, and that pulling sensation in her stomach is spreading up, tugging her closer to him with every too-fast beat of her heart. “No, he isn’t.”

She doesn’t feel fireworks when their lips touch. It’s more like what blooming flowers must feel, opening up to air and warmth and the light of a full life. It’s way more dramatic than fireworks somehow, and it’s probably the leftover buzz amplifying her feelings, but Lucy is almost overwhelmed by the immediate rush of awareness, of rightness that comes with Wyatt’s kiss.

And they’ve barely gotten started.

The kiss transforms from tentative to insistent in an instant. Wyatt’s hands are in her hair, and he’s walking her backwards until her back meets a hard surface, and by the rasp against her jacket and the change in light, she’s guessing he’s moved them into one of the slightly more private brick alcoves next to the entrance to the pub, but she doesn’t care enough to look. Not when he’s moving one hand out of her hair and under her jacket to slide over the thin material covering her stomach.

She gasps, and he immediately takes advantage, deepening the kiss. The pressure is right but the angle isn’t quite, so she pushes up on her toes, and then it’s so perfect she whimpers. (She can’t remember the last time she whimpered during a kiss.)

Wanting to feel him too, she finds his sweater and pulls it up until she can get her hands under it and on his skin. His hisses into her mouth, and she feels his abs clench under her fingers, and the reaction makes her temperature skyrocket. She wraps her arms around him, digging her fingers into the taut muscles of his back.

He grunts, and suddenly he’s got one hand bunching her jacket against her back to press her closer, and his other is gliding down over her body to grip her knee and yank it up around his hips. The new position allows him to grind his hips into hers, and he does, hitting a sweet spot that makes her cry out.

He kisses down her neck while she gulps for air, and everything’s fine--everything’s wonderful, in fact--until a noise manages to pierce the bubble of lust that’s enveloped her. Opening her eyes, she looks over Wyatt’s shoulder to find the source.

Finding it, she sighs. “Wyatt, wait,” she says, trying to focus and get his attention, although his nipping at her jaw isn’t helping her do that. “Wyatt, we need to stop.”

To his credit, he stops as soon as her words register. He’s breathing hard when he pulls back. “Sorry, I’m sorry. We shouldn’t be doing this when you’re drunk. Or against a wall on the street. Sorry, you’re right, I shouldn’t have--”

“No, I just mean--” she points over his shoulder. “I think our Uber is here.”

He freezes at that, and then groans. “Shit,” he says, but he’s laughing, and he drops his forehead to her shoulder.

She cards her fingers through his short hair, and she feels him shiver in response, turn his head to nuzzle her neck, and she really doesn’t want to move, but--

Wyatt’s phone starts to ring in his pocket.

He chuckles and straightens up and away, putting a few inches between them. “Probably the driver.”

She nods. “Probably.”

“Likely trying to tell us he’s here so that we can get going.”

She nods again, smiling. “Very likely.”

He searches her face in the shadows. “Where should I tell them we're going?”

“I don't know,” she tells him truthfully. When his face falls, she grabs his hand. “But don't we make it up as we go anyway?”

A slow grin wipes away the tension on Wyatt’s face. “Aren't you the one who told me we shouldn't improvise on the fly?”

Lucy moves past him toward the waiting car, using her grip on his hand to bring him along. “Like I said, you're rubbing off on me.”