by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル)
The morning sun streamed in through the windows of the place simply known as by Headquarters to those who worked there. A simple, non-descript building from the outside, inside it held much more than appearances would lead one to believe.
Yvette stood in the stainless steel kitchen with her arms crossed over her chest, glaring at the matching stainless kettle on the stove’s back right burner.
A watched pot never boils, Grandmama always said.
Fuck that. It was early, and she wanted her tea. It was too early to deal with anything without caffeine, especially in this blindingly bright kitchen which seemed cheerier than Yvette could make herself be. Eileen always made fun of her for the tea; she was a fan of over-sweetened flavored coffees which all probably had more calories in them than Yvette ate in a week. It was running commentary between them: Yvette would offer Eileen a cup of tea every day, which she would decline without fail. In return, Eileen would offer to get Yvette a cup of her favorite latte, and Yvette would also decline.
No, Yvette preferred the smooth taste of black tea. Add a teaspoon of vanilla sugar and just enough milk to change the color to match her dark skin, and it was perfect. The best part was she didn’t have to leave her apartment or headquarters to make it.
“Hey, Yvette!” Eileen bounded into the kitchen, paper coffee cup from a local cafe in hand, and bent over Yvette’s shoulder to press a kiss to her cheek. “Might help if you turned on the right burner, hon.”
Eileen, ever observant, was correct. The burner under the kettle was cold as ice, but the one to the left of it was red-hot and bordering on smoking. Yvette moved the kettle over, then turned to look up at Eileen. “You’re later than usual this morning.”
Eileen nodded with the cup to her lips, then wiped a fleck of foam off her upper lip before answering. “Yeah, I overslept a little. I was out late last night, super busy. How about you?”
“It wasn’t too bad. Dropped off the intel with HQ here and went home. Had enough time to watch TV before bed.”
“Wow.” Eileen raised her eyebrows. “I thought you hated TV.”
Eileen often spent her evenings at Yvette’s apartment, either curled up with Yvette on the sofa or lounging in bed. Since they’d started dating a few months earlier, they had to navigate how to be a couple while still being an effective team at work. At first, Yvette had found it difficult to keep her emotions in check, and it had led to a few nearly-botched jobs. Over time, Yvette had been learning to let go, and for her own part, Eileen had been learning to take less risks.
“Yeah, I did, until your dumb ass got me addicted to that fucking fashion design show. I don’t even like fashion!” Yvette threw up her hands. Once Eileen was done laughing, Yvette turned to pull out the tin of black tea, then spooned the shriveled leaves into the infuser.
Tea bags made for shitty tea. The only way to have the perfect tea was to let the leaves have room to unfurl. It made the taste richer. More like tea and less like vaguely tea-flavored water.
“Same tea as always?” Eileen asked, the sound muffled by her coffee cup.
“Yeah. I’ve never found a better black tea. It’s just perfect. My day is never right unless I have some. Want a cup?”
“No thanks.” Eileen grinned, tossing her empty cup into the trashcan. “I can think of a few ways to make your day start even better, though. Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll drop by your place before work with a couple lattes, get you off on the right foot?”
Yvette rolled her eyes and threw a kitchen towel at her. “You’re the worst.”
“Don’t lie to me. You’d love it.”
“Yeah, I would.” Yvette pulled the kettle off the stove just as it started to boil and carefully poured the water over the infuser. “But don’t get my hopes up if you’re not sure you’re gonna be able to deliver. I’m not gonna let you give me blue balls.”
“As if. You don’t have any balls, much as you want a pair.” Eileen dropped another kiss onto Yvette’s cheek, then waved. “I’ll go find out what’s on the agenda for today. Enjoy your tea.”
Yvette muttered a reply, then smothered a yawn behind her hand. The scent of the tea had started to fill the kitchen and bury the sharp scent of the steel beneath it. She brought out the vanilla sugar and took the milk out of the fridge, then began the mechanical ritual of disposing of the tea leaves and preparing her cup to perfection.
Once she had enjoyed her first mug out of the teapot and poured herself another, she took it with her to track Eileen down. As partners in the cutthroat (sometimes literally) espionage market, they needed to both be on the same page before they could start any sort of recon mission.
Finding Eileen turned out to be easy, as they nearly ran into each other just as Yvette walked out of the kitchen.
In her hands, Eileen had a manila folder, and she tapped it with a fingertip. “Got the details. Can you take it to the conference room for me? I’ll be back in just a few.”
Yvette nodded and accepted the manila folder, then kissed Eileen gently. “Yeah, I can do that. See you soon.”
The conference room they preferred was thankfully empty, and Yvette laid the manila folder on the table in the center of the room. Like the kitchen, the room featured clean lines and simple design; this was one of Yvette’s favorite aspects of this job. No extraneous items to clutter up the spaces meant there were fewer things to clutter up her mind. She could think clearly, lay out plans and commit them to memory without distraction.
Eileen returned a few minutes later, a mug of her own in hand. She’d prepared another cup of coffee herself instead of going to her favorite shop. It didn’t have the whipped cream and other crap on top, but it still smelled of flavored creamer. She settled down into a chair at the table and gestured to the chair next to her. “Here,” she said, “it’ll be easier to see if one of us isn’t looking at it upside down.”
Yvette sank into the chair and squeezed Eileen’s hand before opening the manila folder. Inside were photographs of both the mark and the location of their recon assignment that day, along with maps and dossiers. Eileen helped spread the papers out and took a sip of her coffee.
“So all we have to do is make sure we’re here at 1:15,” Eileen said, pointing out a stop on a subway map. “The mark will be meeting his contact there, and all we have to do is make sure we’re close enough for our recorder to pick it up.”
“And what are we supposed to hear?” Yvette leaned forward to prop her elbows onto the conference table, peering at the array of papers between Eileen and herself.
“Money laundering deal. He’ll be discussing account details and the like.”
Yvette’s lips pulled down at the corners and she nodded. “God, I hate bankers.”
Eileen snorted. “Tell me about it. They’re rich, slimy scumballs, all of them.” She picked up her coffee again, cupping the mug between her palms.
“Why do you drink that junk?” Yvette gestured to the cup in Eileen’s hands. “Tea’s better for you. Hell, even black coffee is better for you.”
“I don’t know, I just like it.” Eileen shrugged. “It tastes good.”
Yvette laughed. “You can’t even taste the coffee, I bet. Just all that flavoring.”
“All I know is that it tastes good, and I will continue to drink it, thank you very much.”
Smiling, Yvette reached a hand out to squeeze one of Eileen’s. “I’m sorry. Well, let’s go get ready so we’re not late.”
The good thing about being a pair of girls, Yvette knew, was that they could get as close to male marks as they wanted. Just act vapid and vaguely interested in him (bonus if you both act interested) and he’ll let down his guard.
That was their goal today. They had gone home and changed into clothes that showed off more skin than usual, and acted more couple-like than they usually did.
The scummy guys always went for the lesbians. Threesome? They were all over that.
At 1:15, they waited in the subway stop, Eileen giggling at a terrible joke Yvette had just made. A pair of men in suits eyed them on their way off the train, appreciative looks on their faces, but went to a secluded corner together.
Yvette looked up at Eileen and gave the signal. That’s them.
They moved through the crowd with relative ease, taking advantage of the shuffle to board and exit the subway train. It was simple to be close enough to overhear without causing suspicion, since the men were so wrapped up in themselves and their conversation.
Eileen, once again, had been correct — money laundering. They kept up their vapid act through body language but remained carefully silent until the men wrapped up their conversation, then headed for the train which had just arrived. Time to get back to work and start dissecting this information. Yvette laced her fingers through Eileen’s as they approached the train. They had to keep this cover until they stepped back into headquarters, and Yvette wasn’t about to let such an opportunity to be affectionate with Eileen in public pass without taking advantage of it.
“Excuse me, ladies,” one of the men said.
Yvette turned first and squeezed Eileen’s hand. They were too close. Yvette’s nose filled with the smell of liquor and smoke where before it’d been content with the flowery scent of Eileen’s perfume.
“Can we help you?” Eileen asked, laying on the charm. With her long strawberry-blond hair and tanned, freckled skin, men fell over themselves to get her attention. Yvette let Eileen do it; generally, men ignored Yvette anyway.
“Yeah, actually, you can.” The shorter one, balding in the most pitiful way, said, “See, we saw you earlier. You girls are cute.”
“Thank you, but that doesn’t tell us how we can help you.” Yvette tightened her grip on Eileen’s hand. These guys set off her creep alarms already. She hoped she and Eileen didn’t have to pull out their handguns.
The first man, taller and fatter, grinned. “Well, that’s what we wanted to talk to you about. We were interested in a little bit of fun. No harm to anyone, just you girls coming back to my buddy’s place here. We’ll watch a movie, order a pizza.”
Eileen glanced down at Yvette, a question in her eyes. Kick their asses here, or outside?
Yvette shook her head just enough for Eileen to recognize, but hopefully unnoticeable to the men. “I really hate to break it to you, but we’ve actually already got plans, and we’re going to be late.” Behind them, the train’s doors hissed closed. Yvette heaved a sigh, sure to make her annoyance bleed through her words. “We’re going to be even more late now.”
“It’s all right, sweetie. We’ll drive you both back home after we’re done. We promise.” The taller one stepped closer. “We just wanna have some fun. You both look like you could use it.”
“We have plenty of fun.”
“Not like we can give you,” the other man chimed in. “We’ll show you both what a great time looks like.”
Eileen tugged on Yvette’s hand, and Yvette started to lead them away. “Sorry, boys. We really do have to get going now.”
“Aw, come on, don’t be like that!”
All of a sudden, the station felt far too small for Yvette’s taste. The stairs were too far away, and if she pulled her gun out here to show she meant business, people could get hurt. “Leave us alone.”
Eileen, with her longer legs, had moved in front of Yvette. She walked so fast, Yvette had to jog to keep up, until the taller man’s hand closed over her arm.
“Please, baby… let me get a taste of that chocolate skin. I bet you taste even better than your friend there. Girls like you always do.”
Yvette froze, then turned to face him. “What the hell did you just say to me?”
Before the man could answer or Yvette could swing herself, Eileen had punched him in the jaw so hard he collapsed to the ground in a daze. His smaller, balding friend stood frozen in shock for a few moments, then started to drag the tall man away as he groaned in pain, hand cupped to the side of his face.
Yvette grabbed Eileen’s wrist and ran up the stairs and onto the street. Her heart pounded beneath her ribs and her palm was slick against Eileen’s smooth skin, but a sense of calm had descended upon her. She knew they couldn’t get caught or arrested. There was no way to explain to law enforcement what they were doing.
That’s the thing about espionage. You work outside of the law. They can’t help you, Yvette thought.
Yvette pulled Eileen into an alley, and they waited there for a few minutes to catch their breath and make sure nobody had followed them. Once she could be sure they were truly alone, Yvette reached out, took Eileen’s collar, and dragged her down to her own level for a desperate kiss. Eileen pulled her close and crouched down just enough to reduce the strain for Yvette, and slid her hands down Yvette’s back.
Yvette let her own hands circle Eileen’s waist and kneaded the muscles at the small of Eileen’s back with her fingertips. She hadn’t intended to make out with Eileen in public, but the overwhelming mixture of relief at their unscathed escape, the terror of finding themselves in such a situation in the first place bleeding away, and the gratitude for Eileen’s intervention mixed to make her feel the need for closeness.
It was an unfamiliar sensation for Yvette, usually reserved and unwilling to participate in public displays of affection, but she let it sweep her away from her usual private nature. She didn’t want to wait until they were alone; she wanted Eileen now.
Eileen cupped her hands to Yvette’s jaw and slanted her mouth down hard against Yvette’s, and it was obvious Yvette felt the same. After the adrenaline started to bleed away, all that was left was desire.
The cold block wall of the building pressed into Yvette’s back, but she still kissed Eileen with everything she could give. Their moans were muffled by the tongues they stroked together, each tasting the other. Eileen tasted overwhelmingly of hazelnut and sugar and an undercurrent of coffee. Overall, it improved upon Eileen’s normal flavor, and Yvette couldn’t give a damn who could tell she was enjoying herself. Slowly, Eileen pushed Yvette against the wall, using more of her body weight and height to assert herself as the one in charge of not only this kiss, but everything to happen there in that alley.
When Eileen took control, Yvette always found herself melting. At first she’d pegged Eileen for the sort who would be innocent, quiet and blushing in bed. Oh, how wrong she’d been. Eileen was a commanding lover, never satisfied just to leave Yvette content; she always wanted Yvette to be reduced to a quivering, moaning mess once she was done. Yvette would never have it any other way.
Even now, the way she kissed Yvette, Eileen sent an explicit message: today, a good time wouldn’t even begin to touch what Yvette would get. A warmth settled into the pit of Yvette’s stomach, spreading from her center. Her hands started to tremble as she reached up to pull Eileen closer, fed by the desire which had started to build within her. She let Eileen take her over, asserting her thoughts and filling them with images of exactly what Eileen might do to her.
“Nobody knows we’re here,” Eileen murmured against Yvette’s lips. “I know you’ve been wanting this.”
Yvette gasped as Eileen’s hand crept up her leg. Eileen was right, Yvette had fantasized about this. She hadn’t thought Eileen would ever go through with it, though. It had been a whispered confession in the dark one night, shared as Eileen had kissed her way down Yvette’s body. I’ve always wanted someone to fuck me where people might see.
Sounds fucking hot, Eileen had whispered back, then hadn’t shut up about it the entire time she’d fucked Yvette that night. Yvette, for her part, had come harder than she ever had.
“And you wore such a short skirt,” Eileen whispered. “It’s like you wanted me to fuck you. Didn’t even want us to make it back to headquarters first.”
Yvette bit her lip against a moan, her eyes drifting shut. God, Eileen could make her come just with the dirty talk alone, and everything combined to drive Yvette to a mental place she didn’t often go.
Eileen’s fingertips rubbed over her panties, teasing her with each brush over her clit before moving back. “I can feel how wet you are already.”
“Oh, God, Eileen,” Yvette panted. She wriggled against Eileen’s touch, seeking more stimulation, but Eileen continued to only tease her.
Eileen grinned wider the harder Yvette writhed until she finally pushed Yvette’s panties aside and slid a fingertip through her folds. “Yeah, I know what you want. What I want is for you to get these panties off. You won’t need them.”
Yvette stopped, staring up at Eileen, but all she did was raise an eyebrow. “You can either get these panties off and into your purse, or you can suffer through your ‘blue balls’ until you get home.”
A quick glance out at the street confirmed they were still alone, and then Yvette slid her panties down as quickly as possible and stuffed them into her purse. As she straightened again, she could feel the air moving between her legs, and she suppressed a shiver as the breeze chilled her.
And even with how utterly humiliating it was to stand there in a dark, dirty alley with no underwear on, Yvette could feel herself growing wetter by the second. The truth was, she loved this. She loved how Eileen knew exactly how to drive her mad with need with only a few brushes of her fingertips and a handful of words whispered into her ear. She loved how Eileen pushed her boundaries and left her feeling naked and exposed to the world by making her remove only a single layer of clothing.
Eileen pushed her against the brick wall and kissed her again, her fingers sliding up between Yvette’s thighs. Yvette whimpered against the kiss and gripped Eileen’s shoulders for dear life. If Eileen wasn’t careful, she would make her come in record time.
“You’re close, I can tell.”
Yvette almost didn’t hear Eileen’s whisper, she was so focused on Eileen’s finger rubbing against her in the perfect way, but she nodded frantically.
“I wonder how many times I can make you come,” Eileen said, her lips brushing Yvette’s ear in a way that brought out the softest moan from Yvette. “Until you scream loud enough for someone to come see what’s happening.”
The idea of someone coming across them, already on the run from assaulting a man and in the middle of a technically illegal job, here in the alley with Eileen’s hand buried between Yvette’s legs, was enough to push Yvette over the edge. She bit her lip so hard she tasted blood, her keening moan muffled to a high-pitched whine.
Eileen was relentless and immediately plunged two fingers into Yvette, changing her angle to rub her thumb against Yvette’s pearl at the same time. Fast on the heels of her first climax, Yvette tumbled into another, and her cry echoed through the alley.
It took one more shuddering, noisy orgasm for Eileen to draw her fingers back, and she grinned at Yvette as she licked them clean. “Come on. Let’s get back to headquarters and explain why they heard all that over the mic.”
Yvette’s eyes went wide, and despite her legs already feeling like jelly, her stomach clenched with another wave of arousal. “Oh, God, they heard?”
“Maybe, maybe not. I guess you won’t know if I turned off our mic until we get there, hm?”
It took Eileen’s support for Yvette to get back to headquarters, where she learned Eileen had only been partially bluffing: HQ had heard them enter the alley and kiss, but nothing more.
Part of Yvette wished they’d heard it all.
Yvette threw herself back onto the couch with a sigh. “Fuck. I can’t believe that guy thought he had the fucking right.”
Now that they’d finished talking to HQ and were back at Yvette’s apartment, the rage from the indignity she’d borne was back.
Eileen sank down next to Yvette and draped her arm over Yvette’s shoulders. “It’s fine. HQ will take care of it. The recording picked that up and you know headquarters will back us up if those scumbuckets come back to try to press charges… and in case you’d forgotten, I took care of you, too.”
How could Yvette forget? “Yeah, I know, but… ugh. I feel like I need a shower in battery acid.” Yvette closed her eyes and shifted to lean against Eileen. “Wish I’d been the one to clock him first.”
Eileen chuckled and bent to kiss Yvette’s forehead. “Yeah, but then I wouldn’t have gotten the pleasure. Some girlfriend I’d be if I let you beat up the guy that thought he had the right to touch you.”
Yvette shook her head and fought back a laugh. “All right, all right. So we’re home way earlier than I thought we’d be. What do you want to do?”
“That’s a really good question.” Eileen drummed her fingertips against her stomach for a few seconds. “Why don’t you make some tea?”
“You don’t even like tea.” Yvette turned to look at Eileen, her face twisted in bemusement. “Why would you want me to make some?”
After brushing her lips over Yvette’s, Eileen said, “Maybe I just haven’t had the right kind of tea. You always tell me tea bags are shit, and I don’t know the first damn thing about tea beyond ‘heat water, drop bag in water, drink.’ Educate me.”
Yvette stared at Eileen. “Really?”
“Okay, then. Come on.” Yvette pulled Eileen up off the couch, and led her into the kitchen. Eileen followed obediently as Yvette went around her small, simple kitchen and collected the items she’d need. At Yvette’s direction, Eileen filled the tea kettle and put it on the stove while Yvette opened her various tins of tea to smell them and decide what sort she wanted to make.
Eileen had a caffeine habit to make even the most sleep-deprived graduate student look clean, so no herbal teas. Rooibos wasn’t a good option, either. Green and white teas would be delicate but, with her love of coffee, probably not strong enough of a flavor to suit her.
Black tea was the only real option. Yvette pulled down a tin and opened it, closing her eyes as she breathed in the rich scent of toffee and salted caramel.
Yes, this would do nicely.
Eileen raised an eyebrow at the teapot Yvette selected. “Do you really have to go that fancy?”
Yvette looked down at the fine white china of the teapot, an heirloom passed down from her grandmother. “Well… for the first time, I want you to have the best.” She smiled at Eileen, whose surprise bled into a melting smile.
While the tea steeped in the pot, Eileen embraced Yvette from behind. With her chin resting on top of Yvette’s short-cropped hair and her arms wrapped around Yvette’s upper chest, she murmured, “How’d you get into tea? With everything I know about you… it just doesn’t seem like something you would’ve picked up on your own.”
“This teapot was my grandmother’s,” Yvette said as the memories flowed back to her. Many a chilled morning was spent in her grandmother’s kitchen while the smell of tea filled the kitchen. Grandmama had been an avid tea drinker, and she had taught Yvette everything she knew about the stuff. “When she passed, I inherited her tea set. She raised me, and we had tea all the time. With my toast in the morning, I’d have a cup of tea. After school, she’d have the pot of tea ready with a few cookies. While we read in the evening, we’d each have some chamomile with our books.”
Eileen hummed and hugged Yvette’s shoulders tighter. “That sounds like it was really nice.”
“It was. When she passed, not only did I inherit her tea sets, but I’d inherited her love of it, too.” Yvette squeezed Eileen’s hands and stepped forward when she released her, then pulled the infuser out of the teapot and arranged it on a tray, along with a pair of teacups and saucers. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every time I make a pot of tea, I think of her. It just feels like love to me.”
With the tray on the dining table, Eileen took a chair, and Yvette sat down to pour out the teacups for them. “That really makes this seem… more special, in that case,” Eileen said, her eyes cast down at the teacup in front of her.
“I guess it does,” Yvette murmured.
They sat in silence after that, and Yvette weighed the implications of what she’d just admitted to Eileen. They hadn’t told each other that phrase, yet. This hadn’t seemed serious enough to warrant that, yet, but maybe it was.
Yvette needed to think more about this.
Eileen brought the teacup to her mouth and took a careful sip. Her face was still blank after she swallowed the liquid, and Yvette couldn’t bear the anticipation. “What do you think?”
A few more moments of silence followed, and then Eileen nodded. “I like it. It tastes like you.”
Yvette grinned, then set her own teacup down into the saucer. “Does it, now?”
Eileen nodded and stood up from her chair, circled the table, and bent to kiss Yvette hard. She didn’t waste any time making the kiss deep and intense, and she thrust her tongue past Yvette’s softened lips into her mouth.
The way she kissed Yvette reminded her of the alley earlier, and Yvette shivered. “Please,” she panted, filled with the overwhelming need which threatened to drown her.
To Yvette’s relief, Eileen needed her to say nothing else.