Someone Important


peyton2_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title Someone Important
Synopsis Caring about other people complicates things — especially flings, Peyton and Wes are discovering.
Date September 5, 2010

Redbird Security Smedley's Apartment

True to his word, Smedley went out and bought a tie. Even if now, at the end of the evening, it hangs loose around his neck, his shirt collar unbuttoned.

And from the look of his apartment, when he and Peyton return to it after taking Von for an evening walk, he doesn't appear to have recently purchased much else, save for the dark gray suit that likely came off a department store rack. But, in addition to the chair and couch that were already sitting in the living room, a guitar in a battered black case leans up against one wall. Someone needs to make a trip to IKEA.

When the door opens, Carson lets out a short round of barks on his way from the bedroom to the main living area. Wes reaches into the bag of leftovers for an eggroll and holds it up, and the dog obidentantly sits, his ears perked patiently. With a smile, Wes tosses the bit of food into the air, and with a stretch of his head, Carson snatches it up and eats it greedily, his tail wagging.

"D'ja have fun?" he asks as he turns toward the kitchenette to put the leftovers in the fridge - the first real food to grace the fridge since the building became Redbird Security. It's not the first time he's checked in on Peyton's entertainment level this evening, but it's the first time he's done it so directly.

Despite the fact she's in a designer cocktail dress, Peyton crouches down and pets Carson once he's had his scooby snack, lips kissing his furred brow with affection. "Hi, Carson baby," she croons to him, stroking his ears and neck before standing back up to follow Wes into the kitchenette, leaning against the counter.

"I had a good time," she says, smiling a little at his solicitous questioning. "Thank you," she adds, tilting her head and studying him from behind. "You?"

"I did," he says with a note of surprised pleasure. Of course, having another man's name - a dead man's name - associated with his face on a brand new set of identification helps to ease the tension. Carson is as thankful for the attention from someone other than Smedley as he is the snack, but eh's soon ready to go lie down again. He heads toward the couch, where he curls up on one end of it.

Wes closes the fridge and turns to rest his weight on the counter beside it, folding his arms across his chest as he looks over the small distance to Peyton. But his eyes fall on the line of her neck and shoulder rather than her face. "Thanks," he says, a smile sliding from one side of his face to the other. "It was a nice change'uh pace." And something Wes hasn't done in far, far too long.

"Good," Peyton says softly, moving away from the counter to step in front of him instead and slipping a hand between his crossed arms to help uncross them, taking one of the freed hands in hers.

She steps a little closer, then lets go of his hand and instead wraps her arms around his waist, resting her cheek on his chest as she melts into the hug. "You feel better? Now that you have the papers, and you don't have that date looming over you anymore?" she asks softly — August 31 had been a dark shadow lurking over him for some time. Her own shadow still lurks in the distance, but she can breathe a vicarious sigh of relief with him.

Wes is more than willing to let Peyton play bendy-toy with his arms, but once she's settled them, he holds her tightly and gives her hand a squeeze. He buries his face in her hair long enough to take a deep breath and plant a kiss on her head before he turns his face to one side, leaning his cheek against the top of her head. "Yeah," he says softly, letting his eyes close. He can forget about Logan and Zarek. At least for tonight.

Even if there was a chance of someone spotting them out in public, they would have only seen Peyton's name on the reservation. But even those small, niggling fears of winding up on page ten of some gossip rag have faded. There are heftier things to worry about these days, and a fresh mask to face the world with makes that possible.

"I ain't got anythin' to offer you t'drink," he muses after a moment, the frown that accompanies the words audible in them. "Or…anythin' to drink out'uh."

His words draw a low chuckle from her, and she looks up at him, reaching with her hand to smooth away that frown. "I don't need anything to drink," she says, shaking her head, and reaches for his hand again, tugging him toward the couch in the living room area of the small apartment. "I am capable, whether you believe it or not, of having a pleasurable evening without the use of drugs or alcohol." Once at the couch, she steps out of her strappy heels, and curls her legs under her as she sits on the couch.

Wes shrugs out of his suit jacket and tosses it to one side, clearly not concerned with the garment's care. The tie follows soon after it, and as soon as he's reduced himself to the more comfortable arrangement, he joins Peyton on the couch.

But it's his turn to put his head in her lap. He rests his feet on Carson, who lifts his head and eyes his master with tired acceptance before laying back down and letting out the most pathetic sigh known to dogkind. Wes just chuckles and toes off his shoes, letting them fall with a thud to the floor on the other side of the couch's arm.

He looks up at her, searching her face for…something. There's plenty of philosophy he could delve into about the whys and wherefores of their meeting, and the role of fate, or even some higher power in the course of a man's life, but he doesn't. He doesn't say a word. He simply looks up at her, and slowly, inch by inch, brings his eyes to hers.

It's only on those rare instances he meets her eyes that Peyton notices the lack of such eye contact normally, and her breath catches in her throat just a little, her heart skips a beat with the poignancy of the look. Her own dark gaze softens a little as she stares down with him in affection, and her hand moves to caress his cheek, then up to run her hands through his hair.

It's a long moment, so still and quiet but for the rumble of a train in the distance and the low thrum of cars on the street somewhere below, the hum of someone's air conditioning, and Carson's sighs. She smiles slowly, and traces his lips with her fingertips.

But with each second that passes, it gets more and more difficult for Wes to hold Peyton's gaze. For each note of affection in his eyes, there is a counterpoint of guilt. For each glimmer of content, there is a shadow of worry. The skin around his eyes wrinkles, the crows feet and laugh lines there deepening before he finally lets his eyelids slide down like shutters over windows.

Wes reaches up at almost the exact moment his eyes shut to close Peyton's hand in his own rough grasp. He could ask her to stay, but why would she be here if she didn't intend to? So instead, he presses her fingers to his mouth and kisses them, his eyelids tightening their seal.

Her brows knit together when his eyes close, though she smiles at the kiss to her fingers. Her thumb slides to draw a line along his jaw. Dark eyes study his face, her free hand moving to run across his forehead, smoothing the tension there before her fingers rake through his hair.

"What's wrong?" she murmurs, finally, her voice soft and low with worry and compassion.

He swallows, the mechanism of throat and saliva echoing in his ears, and that mounting tension only going so far down his throat as a result. Peyton's hands are more helpful in the effort, and he does relax some under them, though his eyes remain securely closed.

"S'hard to look atcha's'all," he slurs, the words mumbled against the hand he hands in his own. He brushes his thumb over the backs of her fingers and wishes he had a better answer at the same time he throws another shovel full of mental block on the real one.

Peyton arches her brow, not that he can see it, his eyes clamped shut as they are. She huffs a soft laugh, considering hamming a flustered patting of her hair and checking of her makeup, but since he isn't looking at her, there's no need.

"I'm not sure if I should be offended at that or take it as some sort of crazy backward backwaters compliment," she says a little wryly, the tone suggesting she clearly doesn't believe it's the latter of the two. "If you can't look at me, Wesley, I can go."

A kicked-at sort of smile cracks across his face, and Wes opens one eye to peer up at Peyton. She stays slightly out of focus this way, and he is able to make it look like he's looking directly at her. "I didn't mean it like that," he grumbles, but like her, there's a hint of humor in his tone. "Y'just… y'look a little like someone else's all. N'you…you tend t'remind."

He opens his eyes then, but also jerks himself up from Peyton's lap, sliding his weight up the length of the couch at the same time he pulls her down in an effort to get her lying beside him. "Ain't nothin' you did. Ain't nothin' wrong with it. Just is what it is."

Her frown doesn't quite disappear, though she does stretch out her long legs, angling them so as not to kick the poor dog at the other end of the couch, and nestle into Wes' arms. She rests her forehead against his, her gaze dropping this time. Arms snake around his waist, and she is quiet a moment, contemplating his words.

No girl likes to be told that they remind a man of someone else — unless it's on a first meeting, being told they remind them of a movie star or model or something complimentary. This late in the game, it's nothing so flattering, Peyton knows.

"Was she someone important?" she asks softly.

Wes draws a line down Peyton's jaw with the side of his thumb and swallows again, knowing full well that how he answers that question could alter the course of the evening, not to mention his…what? Realtionship with Peyton? Dynamic? Whatever it is they have. And he's just gotten used to and happy with the status quo.

"Just someone from when I was driftin'," he starts, then immediately regrets the possible interpretation of the phrase. "I didn't know'er very well. We weren't… nothin' like that. Only met'er once 'fore she…" but the words are choked off, and Wes is forced to take a deep, steadying breath.

"But you ain't her," he says once he's got a hold of himself again. "And I don't want you t'be." He tilts his chin to brush a kiss against Peyton's face, in the space between her lips and her cheek. He could ask her to be patient. He could assure her that with time he could blot out the memory of that night with hundreds of enjoyable evenings spent in her company. But he doesn't, because he can't be sure that'd be enough.

She lifts her eyes, and they glisten a little with the threat of tears — not for herself, but for whatever part of him is hurting, for whatever happened to this woman that she reminds him of. She nods once, to show she's heard him, and then tips her head to kiss him lightly back, soft lips grazing his cheek.

"Was it the bomb?" she asks, not knowing his personal history enough to know when it was he made it to New York. Resting her head on his shoulder, she adds, "I'm sorry… I don't mean to remind you." The words are somewhat silly, awkward but well meant.


He shifts so that both of his arms are around her then, if only so he can hold her to him, cradling the back of her head in one hand while the other presses against her shoulder, fingers curling against her skin. "Don't be sorry," he says with the faintest smile in his words. He pauses to kiss her temple, determined to steer them back toward happier thoughts. "Cause I don't regret a minute of you bein' around, 'gardless of what you're doin'."

The word regret brings a shadow across Peyton's face — she's trying to live without regrets, these few months she believes that she has left, and yet here she is spending far too much time with Wes, taking solace and shelter in his company rather than braving the nights alone and lonesome. It's selfish of her. Selfish to get so close and selfish to let him care for her, to let him try to take care of her. Selfish and hypocritical and unfair.

"But I am sorry," she whispers, her head ducked so he can't see those glimmering tears again. "For a lot of things. And I like being around, for what it's worth."

"The hell do you have to be sorry for?" Wes asks with a bit of a chuckle, finding it hard to believe that she could be so guilty of something that she'd need to hide her face. He rocks his cheek against her head in rough sort of nuzzle, turning his face to plant a serious of kisses into her hair.


The kisses ebb, and Wes is left simply holding Petyon, his breathing becoming slower and deeper as possibilities click together like railroad cars in his brain. Unless she's leading him on, and is only here with him because there are no better offers. Offers that just so happen to also reside in this building.

She can sense that shift in his demeanor as the kisses dwindle, and Peyton rolls away, sitting up and wiping wet eyes hastily before he can see them as she stands up. "I should go," she murmurs, finding her shoes and slipping them on one at a time, then looking for a clock — is it too late to make it home by curfew, or should she sleep in her office chair? There's also other furnished apartments in the building, and she has keys to all of them downstairs in her desk drawer.

8:50. Too late to make it home.

The clock is in the kitchenette, meaning Peyton has to walk a fair distance away from the couch to see it. In that time Wes gets to his feet, his jaw held tight and the tendons in his neck standing out of the skin. He's rougher than he would probably like to be, if he were to watch the events replayed, but how he handles Peyton when he grabs her shoulder and pins her against the fridge isn't a point of concern. Keeping her here, keeping her away from him is.

Carson barks twice, the reports low and guttural. Warnings.

Wes crushes his mouth against Peyton's, his hand moving from her shoulder to her neck to hold her head in place. The possibility that such an aggressive display of affection could backfire doesn't even dawn on Wes. He simply covers her as best he can with as much force as he dares to exert on her much smaller frame.

A sharp intake of air from Peyton steals the breath from his mouth as it crushes down on hers, and there's a low sound at the back of her throat of surprise or retort, it's unclear which, before she kisses back. Her hands reach up, one catching in his hair an the other pressed against his chest — as if to push away, but instead the fingers curl around the fabric of his shirt, tugging it as if it were at all possible to pull him closer in.

She's always asking him to stay — but now they're in his place, in his new "home," and the game has changed. Her kiss, as hard as his for a moment, softens, grows sweeter and more giving than greedy, when something clicks — this is his way of asking her to stay.

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