Jack wasn't in the habit of arguing with women when they said things like that. So he lay down on his sofa, easing his bruised body upon the leather cushions, and propping his head upon the corner pillow. "You've gotten me home. I think that's as much as duty demands."
"Who said this was a matter of duty?" Nadia called from his bathroom. He could hear her rummaging through his medicine cabinet. Although Jack kept nothing there more personal or incriminating than eyedrops, he couldn't help feeling uneasy.
He also couldn't help noticing that Nadia didn't say what it was that had motivated her to escort him home, if not duty. Between him and Nadia, so many things were better left unsaid.
She emerged with Band-Aids and a wad of tissue in one hand and a bottle of peroxide in the other. A strand of black hair had escaped from her ponytail to fall across one cheek. "Will you need something to bite down on?"
"You like pain. Interesting."
Jack knew better than to respond to that.
Nadia knelt on the sofa beside him, her thigh brushing against his side. Jack watched her dab the tissue with peroxide. When she held it above his forehead, she paused. "Ready?"
He nodded once. The sting went deep, but it hardly compared to some of what he'd been through on missions. Of course, Nadia understood this as well as he did, but apparently she liked playing nursemaid. Apparently he liked it too.
Pull yourself together, Jack told himself, not for the first time.
But his good intentions were so far away, and Nadia was so close –
"There," she murmured. Her face wasn't far from his now, as she studied the cut above his brow. Or pretended to study it. "I take it back; you were right. You won't need stitches."
"Does this mean next time you'll listen to me?"
"You should be so lucky." Nadia's smile warmed Jack despite all his resolution. He rested one of his hands on her forearm as she pressed the tissue to his forehead again, and a shiver passed through him when her voice instantly deepened to a husky whisper. "I keep hoping that you'll listen to me for a change."
"I'm not very good at that."
"So I've been warned."
"You should listen to the warnings," Jack said. It was as much caution as he intended to give her; despite their vast difference in years, Nadia Santos was not a child.
She looked deeply into his eyes and answered him smoothly. "I did. It doesn't make a difference."
They weren't even pretending that this conversation was about anything else, not anymore. Jack tugged her arm away, so that not even her makeshift bandage was between them, and pulled her down for a kiss. Her mouth opened above his, warm and soft, and her body melded to him from ankle to belly to breasts, and Jack couldn't feel any pain anymore, not at all.
This weekend, I'll have time to actually cook up some porn for you.