When Molly leaves her office, Sarah finds herself somehow in a much better mood; the fugue state of the day before couldn't seem any further away. She has enough work to keep her busy, finished manuscripts just waiting for her to dive right on into them, but she files them away at the back of her mind for now, in favour of her handsome and so far mostly unappreciated companion. After all, what kind of host would she be if she went right on trying to ignore him?
They've been cooped up and pretty miserable, spending most of their time trying not to bug the other or to free themselves, and she thinks it's time to have a little fun. Molly's right (for the time being, she refuses to consider the possibility that Jareth might have been right as well) – she needs to lighten up a little. She needs to learn to just go with the flow, to take the magic.
Her conversation with Molly still fresh in her mind, though a little uncertain at first, she asks the Goblin King to use a little more of his magic to get them out of the building unseen. She doesn't want him to take them home, she clarifies, but to get breakfast and some more coffee, seeing as his last effort went to waste. She's nervous he'll laugh at her – he's only a will and a nod away from making more, she knows – but Jareth agrees with barely a lift of his eyebrows, questioning only where she wants to go exactly.
The coffee house she chooses is one of a dying breed: a mom and pop place that's a little off the beaten track, away from the worst of the noise of traffic and those early morning hordes searching for their daily fix of caffeine. They find a seat at the back, away from the windows, sitting opposite one another at a cramped but spotlessly-clean little booth. It's made a little awkward by their chain, and the ever-present coat that conceals it looks a little odd as it takes up almost half of their tiny table, but hardly anyone seems to pay the two of them any mind.
As she's beginning to realise, she's been wasting her time in keeping her unexpected house guest hidden away. Jareth has this odd sort of charm about him, a chameleon-like ability to adapt and blend comfortably into any given environment, the oblivious people around him accepting him easily enough as one of their own. Somehow, she doesn't think it's entirely to do with magic; he's managed to charm her just as effortlessly years ago, even after she swore he had no power over her.
She remembers the confidence that carried him through his first little chat with Molly, the Goblin King at home even in a room filled with complete strangers. It reminds her of a certain costumed ball she was pulled into many years ago; of drinking and dancing, the guests a pleasant contrast to the goblin-fueled chaos that seemed to rule over the rest of his kingdom. Such adult social occasions call for grace and sophistication – something she herself was sorely lacking in as a teenager – and Jareth seemed to blend right in even then, saying little, but standing out all the same, the sheer magnetism that clings to him making him the centre of attention, commanding the room.
He's always in control, and she thinks, for the first time, she's beginning to realise exactly why he's a king. It's an oddly awe-inspiring thought to have, sitting down to order a simple breakfast, surrounded by simple mortals who have no idea who walks amongst them. She starts to worry if she should have taken him somewhere more sophisticated, but when Jareth starts to browse a menu, she knows there's no need. Though he has his many flaws, she doesn't think elitism is one of them.
The only person who truly stares at the pair of them is a chubby little baby, not yet old enough to have been weaned off his mother's breast. As said mother sips her coffee and chats to a friend, the little boy's blue eyes are as wide as saucers, never once losing sight of the enchanting fae before him as he settles back in his seat. It makes Sarah a tad nervous when Jareth finally notices the boy, but then the Goblin King actually grins, looking a little boyish himself, his eyes lighting up at once. Immediately, the baby reacts in kind, cooing and giggling at some private joke between them. He kicks his tiny legs and rocks forward as Jareth gives an exaggerated pout, and then pokes out his tongue and wiggles his fingers.
The little guy finally settles back in his carrier, sucking at his fist and gurgling contentedly to himself, and only then does Jareth return his attention to her. He's still smiling, and Sarah can't help but smile back.
“You know, I've never asked you what you did with Toby all that time you had him. I'm starting to think he was in better hands with you than he ever was with me,” she tells him.
Jareth laughs heartily at that, but is saved from replying when a waitress comes to take their order. Their talks flows a lot easier than it has the last couple of days – trivial things, nothing of any real consequence – and it's so refreshing after nothing but accusations and worrying all this time. She finds she's smiling a lot more, laughing a lot more, particularly when their drinks and food arrive, and the Goblin King has to work out how best to attack the mass of waffles, strawberries and whipped cream he's ordered, given he'll be doing it mostly one-handed.
While he tries to figure it out, she finds herself looking at him more than her granola and yoghurt, wanting him, but also really appreciating him for the first time since she first wished him here. This is what she's wanted for so long, to just have him here without any real reason, and she's been too wrapped up in trying to get rid of him to enjoy it. A pity it's taken thirteen years and an unbreakable chain to get them this far. She wants to laugh at that, but doesn't want to disturb him, now that he's finally winning the battle versus his breakfast. She smiles at him over the rim of her coffee cup, her head full of romance, and when her stomach starts to give the same familiar little flutter she's always felt around him, she lets it go right on fluttering.
They finish at their leisure, lingering over a second cup of pretty decent coffee, and she insists on paying since she promised him breakfast. Then, the afternoon is theirs. It's almost worrying how well they seem to have gotten used to hiding their chain between them, walking hand in hand in the pale afternoon sunlight as if it's the most natural thing in the world. To her enormous relief, Jareth says not a damn word about her sudden change in attitude. He really is just going along with the flow of things, for once following her lead as takes him on what could almost – but probably isn't, and definitely shouldn't – be considered a date.
Their stroll eventually leads them in front of a movie theatre, and when Jareth pauses to look at what's playing, so does she.
“You get around to watching many movies Underground?” she asks, joking but genuinely curious.
“Only when I have cause to venture up here for any extended period of time, and that doesn't occur too often – apart from my visits with you, of course.”
“I guess not. What's the last thing you saw?”
He has to consider for a moment. “It was some horror story about a hotel, I believe. There was talk of some kind of 'shine', and a quite disturbed man doing a lot of running around with an axe.”
“You mean- … really?” she asks, incredulous. “That came out almost twenty years ago!”
Jareth shrugs. “Been a while, I suppose. The concept of your movies interests me, but it's so rare I get the time to indulge. I think prior to that, the last one I watched was 'Casablanca'.”
Her mouth actually drops open. “You have got to be kidding me. We so need to further your education,” she says, with a grin that quickly falters. “Uh … that is … if you're up for it?”
The Goblin King tips her a wink. “You'll find I'm up for anything, pet.”
It's enough to make her blush, but she finds it's somehow an enjoyable blush, biting down on the urge to smile.
There's some sort of artsy-looking drama starting soon, which has the potential to be sophisticated and give them something meaningful to discuss – something to think about. She actually considers it for a moment, before she remembers she isn't supposed to be thinking today; she's supposed to just feel, letting things play out as they will. She watches the way Jareth's eyes pass over the title, in favour of what looks to be some kind of lowbrow gross-out sex comedy, and that makes the decision for her.
“Come on,” she says, tugging on his hand. “I got us into this whole mess – the least I can do is repay you with your first movie in two decades.”
They pass a couple of hours in the dark, Jareth's booted feet kicked up on the seat in front of them as the movie plays out. There are only a few other patrons in the theatre with them, and she thinks the Goblin King's rich laughter rings out loudest of them all as he watches the antics on-screen. He seems to be enjoying himself, but she finds she can't give the movie her full attention. He's the perfect gentleman, keeping his hands to himself even in the darkness of the theatre, but he keeps distracting her all the same; his eyes abandon the movie and flick over to her whenever anything even remotely suggestive happens on-screen … not that she minds. Even this late in the year, the A/C in the building is turned up high, but she finds herself feeling very, very warm, all the same.
By the time they make it back to her apartment, she's practically beaming.
In true 'just letting things play out' spirit, when Jareth offers to cook them both dinner, she accepts without hesitation. There's something strangely intimate about the way he explores her kitchen cupboards, finding utensils, dried pasta, canned tomatoes and herbs, and then throwing together a simple pomodoro as she looks on and smiles. He won't tell her exactly when he's picked up the knack of mortal cooking, and she decides not to badger him, letting him have this one little secret – she has enough of her own. While the chain means she can't exactly sit and relax and be pampered, it's nice to have someone taking the initiative for once; she can't even remember the last time someone outside her family has cooked for her.
For the first time in the past couple of days, she feels genuinely hungry, her mouth starting to water at the smells wafting up from the stove. The mood in her kitchen is light and informal, a bottle of wine already open on the counter-top between them, the radio playing classic rock in the background. The Goblin King makes no comment on her choice of drink, nor music, but he accepts his own glass of wine willingly enough, and as he stirs first bubbling pasta and then sauce, she's certain she sees his ass shaking a little to the opening riff of 'Mama Kin' – not, of course, that she's really looking. She grins to herself as she plucks the spoon from his hand, lifting it to her lips to have a taste.
Then, Jefferson Airplane's 'Somebody to Love' comes on, and she goes completely still.
Oh, god. Not now – not with him.
Jareth notices at once – how could he not, with her standing there like a statue, her heart beating out of control? “Is everything all right, precious?” he asks, sounding genuinely concerned.
“Yes … yes, I'm fine,” she somehow manages, though she's anything but.
Grace Slick's husky voice fills her kitchen, and all at once her mind is full, not with red, but with thoughts of heated kisses and near-frantic heavy petting. She's twenty-one again, and as horny as a teenager, parked in a dark little corner with a bad old boyfriend doing his best to make her feel good as Jefferson Airplane blares on the stereo system. The drums thud in her ears, setting off a similar throbbing beat low down in her belly and between her thighs, and suddenly she can feel herself getting wet, her nipples starting to stiffen beneath her blouse.
Jareth suddenly seems far too close, far too solid and masculine, and his scent is even more tempting than the food. She pulls back as far as their chain allows, put it's nowhere near far enough. She's in the kitchen, and no, she can't stand the sudden heat that fills her face and eager body, but there's no escaping it. He's staring at her, no doubt curious, but how can she tell him – how can she possibly explain that she's suddenly horny as hell? Her appetites are running far deeper than food can possibly satisfy, wanting him, wanting nothing more than for him to throw her over her kitchen table.
She can almost feel the throw pillows and grimy shag carpet of that long-ago night in the back of Jay's camper van against her back, the music pounding through her veins as loudly as it did back then. It's a song that always makes her think of fucking and too much vodka; she remembers her panties twisted around one ankle, her legs spread wide with a man between them, his kisses hot and hard, tasting of a desperate need, booze and cigarette smoke, his hard cock filling her in hurried thrusts.
A low moan escapes her, the spoon she's holding slipping through her numb fingers to hit the floor, splattering deep red sauce like a bomb. She comes back to herself with a jump and a low, hissing curse, staring at the mess for a moment before snatching up a cloth to mop it up. She sinks to her knees to clean, and to distract herself from the sudden need she feels, but of course their chain drags Jareth down with her. Their eyes meet, and she can only imagine how she must look, on her hands and knees, wild and all but ready to let him have her, right now, right here on her kitchen floor.
She sees his eyes as they widen with the knowledge, his nostrils flaring, perhaps at his own pleasure, or perhaps having caught the sudden and heady scent of her arousal. It's somewhat satisfying to see his adam's apple rise and fall as he swallows.
“I think we need to turn the heat down a bit, love,” he tells her, and how quick she is to agree.
When they climb to their feet, the pan filled with sauce is bubbling away madly, just shy of being out of control. She sees that the Goblin King's fingers are a little unsteady as they twist the dial, lowering the flame. He stirs things that don't really need stirring, and doesn't look at her for a long time after that, but she's glad of it; the heat in her own body needs longer to cool. He backs off a ways after that himself, and doesn't say much as he finishes up the dish, but the silence between them is far from uncomfortable, charged with anticipation.
That small distance between them remains all throughout dinner, sexual tension simmering away in her belly and making the food even better. Jareth is a surprisingly good cook, it seems, but she can't help thinking about other things he's good at too – things that seem to dance behind her eyelids with every blink, and that keep her smiling all through the meal. When she dares to meet his eyes across the table, she sees her companion isn't entirely oblivious to her reaction.
“Glad you're enjoying it, pet,” he says, smiling himself as he pushes his plate aside. “But I do hope you've saved room for a little dessert.”
He has her moaning within minutes, her eyes rolling back in her head with pure, unadulterated pleasure. “Oh my god.”
Jareth only smiles at her, his mouth as full and tempting as ever. It's just a shame her own is too busy right now to meet it and properly show her gratitude.
“I didn't even think it was possible for it to be this good. How do you do it?”
“Not me,” he corrects her, with a smirk. “My chef. As gifted as I am, even I can't claim such expertise as my own. The man's truly one of a kind.”
So is the dessert. By all appearances, it's just a simple chocolate fudge cake, but this is fae food, and the second it enters her mouth, she's lost to utter bliss. The cake is light and fluffy, and it starts to melt the moment it touches her tongue, the layer of fudge surrounding it smooth and creamy, more luxurious than anything she's ever tasted. The Goblin King has promised her there's no magic involved, and she's known him long enough to trust him on such delicate matters after their last incident with enchanted food, but it's an otherworldly experience all the same, putting any human dish to shame.
She moans again, already moving in for the next forkful. “You should knight him; make him a lord, or something.”
Jareth laughs. “Believe me, it has crossed my mind.”
They share a single slice between them – the cake is far too rich for anything more than that – but Jareth eats no more than a couple of bites, before sitting back to let her finish the rest. She has a moment to feel a little guilty, greedy even, but his easy smile is meant to reassure her. He won't stop smiling at her, watching her, and she starts to feel a little shy as she toys with the last of the cake before spearing it with her fork.
“What? You're giving me a complex here,” she tells him, before taking a bite.
He licks his lips, his eyes darkening with a look she knows all too well. “Forgive me, precious. It seems I've forgotten just how erotic it is to watch a woman eat.”
Her last mouthful sticks in her throat, and she almost chokes on that deliciousness, spoiling entirely whatever raunchy image he has of her right then. She swallows hard; breathes hard. “So, uh,” she fumbles, “how about another glass of that wine?”
Jareth settles down a little after that, but barely. They retire to the living room, to the couch, and though their conversation is relatively innocent once more, his body and hands are not. To start with, he's sitting far too close for her to hope to function properly, and he isn't shy about the way he places his hand on her thigh – casual, but way too high above her knee to be called friendly. The eyes that catch her own are bold and absolutely unwavering, just daring her to do something about it. Her stomach is fluttering too wildly to even consider trying anything of the same, and as that hand starts to stroke her leg, gently kneading her flesh through her skirt, she's surprised she's even able to keep up her end of their conversation.
His fingers are warm and so very welcome, his low voice richer and far more tempting than any chocolate cake as it washes over her, pleasuring her, lulling her. It's annoying, because what he's saying is actually interesting – a long-awaited glimpse into his homeland, his life – and here she is, too busy lusting after him to pay any real attention. She wonders, if he knew, if he would be offended by the fact, but decides he's probably too laid back to care. He has, after all, been pretty distracted himself these past few days, with just one perverse thing on his mind.
Sure enough, less than two hours later, barely after 10pm, he turns his face away and gives what she's almost certain is a completely fake yawn.
“Well, love, it's getting late,” he says. “If you're feeling tired too, why don't we see about taking you to bed?”
She mentally checks her body, and finds she's all but shaking, and not in the least bit tired.
She agrees at once.