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The Male-Female Differential Job

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Sophie disconnects the call and drops her cell phone into her drink.

She doesn’t want to hear from Nate right now, doesn’t want to deal with him. She has too many things to work out. And it has to be her own plan, in her own time.

Parker is sure to find a way to get in touch with her somehow. Hardison will undoubtedly track her down. And if they can’t they’ll surely send Eliot to do it for them.

But for the time being, Nate will respect her space. She knows him well enough to know that much.

The only other person who matters – the only other person she would be interested in keeping in touch with from that life – is sitting at the table in the corner.

The bartender has already brought a new glass to the table by the time she slides into the booth.

"After years of dealing with Nathan, I figured you would need a replacement."

Sophie takes a deep breath, slowly exhaling as she swirls the amber liquid in the glass before her. "He can be rather exasperating."

The full out laugh that the comment brings forth from her companion catches her by surprise.

"That's putting it lightly."

~*~*~*~*~*~

Sophie sits up in bed, leans against the mahogany headboard, and takes a sip from her teacup. The sound of the water shutting off in the next room as Maggie's shower comes to an end brings a smile to her lips.

She shifts on the bed, the satin of her nightgown gliding smoothly against the satin of the sheets. Her muscles ache from exertion, but she's more relaxed than she has been in almost two years.

She needs this break. Needs to be away. Needs to drop the game for a while.

That's why it's so different, so interesting, with Maggie.

Maggie's not a part of the game.

Maggie is probably the only person who Sophie knows – aside from some family – who isn't connected to the game.

And yet, if it weren't for the game – if it weren't for Nate – Sophie would have never met her.

The thought of Nate brings some of the familiar tension back into her shoulders, and she groans at herself. She got herself away from him, away from the team, all so she could take that necessary step back to examine things and recollect. And she’s managed to do that with the one person who reminds her of all that she’s stepped away from.

Maggie appears in the doorway, wrapped in nothing but a towel, her hair twisted up on her head, and all thoughts vanish from Sophie's mind.

"You should have joined me."

Sophie smiles and places her teacup on the bedside table. "There are times when a girl just needs to wash her own back."

Maggie's smile is slow to form, a mischievousness to it that Sophie cannot immediately place.

"Is that how you look at it?" The towel pools at Maggie's feet. "Well, since I'm done with the washing, maybe you could help me lotion? There are some places I just can't cover properly on my own."

Sophie moves up on her knees, shuffling down to the foot of the bed. "Might take me a few moments. And we'd have to stay off the bed for a while. I'd hate to stain everything with oil."

Maggie approaches the foot of the bed, her finger tracing a path along Sophie's left shoulder, eloquently slipping the strap of her nightgown off.

"That would be a shame, wouldn't it?"

Their lips touch and the last thing on Sophie's mind is the part she wants to play, or what the next move needs to be in order to pull off the grift.

Maggie's teeth tug at Sophie's lower lip as the strap of her nightgown slips off of her right shoulder and Sophie pulls them both backward onto the bed.

"How about if we lotion each other? A little later."

Maggie's laugh is light and airy. "That sounds like a plan for the day."