Natalie opened the suite door for Stephen, and then Jack's bedroom door. The boy's dark head rested on his father's broad shoulder and it took both hands for Stephen to carry Jack to the bed. She turned down the bed covers and left Stephen to finish, collapsing on the sofa before easing off the high heels.
She ran her hands over the silk covering her thighs. She couldn't remember ever owning something that looked so nice on her. If Kate ever took it in her head to invite Natalie to one of the political dinner meeting things that Stephen hated—not that the director would—now she had something to wear and not embarrass herself. She giggled.
"What's funny?" Stephen shed the tuxedo jacket and sat next to her.
"I feel like Cinderella who gets to keep the slippers, gown, and pumpkin coach."
His arm wrapped around her shoulders. "You should dress up more often."
"So are you going to start treating patients in a tux?" She rested her head against his shoulder. She felt his nearly silent chuckle. "Jack all tucked in?"
"It's been years since I've seen him crash that hard." He sighed as he stared at the small fire in the parlor's fireplace. "Have I traumatized him for good bringing him here?"
She blinked, carefully considering the question. "In my professional opinion, he couldn't seem any less traumatized. But I'm probably not the best one to ask."
"You see more than you give yourself credit for." His arm squeezed her shoulders. "I want the truth, Natalie, whatever it is."
And it had been such a pleasant evening up until now. She sighed, but gave him her observations and conclusions anyway. "You need to tell Jack why you do this job, Stephen. All he knows is Lisa blaming it for everything that went wrong in your marriage."
He didn't pull away from her like she expected. "She never wanted me to, I don't know, scare him about the nasty surprises Mother Nature has in the world, make him feel obligated to becoming a doctor to please me, I don't know."
"With all due respect, Lisa is being a coddling idiot. Jack is smart and he has your empathy. He knows our cases drive you but he doesn't have a why. And you know as well as I do, kids blame themselves when they don't have a why."
"Jack has my empathy, the stone-cold son-of-a-bitch of the N.I.H.?"
"I know your walls like you know mine. Still it's a shock when you drop them." She twisted slightly to see his making-me-be-mushy face. Well, he put her on the spot with questions about Jack, now it was his turn. "Like when you kissed me in the lab."
His arm tightened around her shoulders again and he glanced down at her. "I shouldn't have pushed you. Jack didn't say if those Longcoats bastards had assaulted you and I shouldn't have—"
"They didn't." She had the urge to kiss the confused look off his face. "My ability to dig out bullets was all they wanted." She twisted, hiked up the skirt of the gown so to not get tangled in it, and straddled his lap. His hands wrapped around her hips. "So all you saw was shock that Dr. Stephen Connor found me kissable."
A grin slowly spread across his face and he tugged her closer. "That's not all I find Dr. Natalie Durant, but it's a great place to start."
She cupped his face as his hands stroked up her back. Their lips met. Natalie's fingers combed through his short blond hair. His hand cradled her head, holding her in place as his mouth plundered hers.
He nibbled down her neck and that made her breathed out his name. She rocked her hips against him, driving a groan out of him. He laid his head against her shoulder and swept his hands down to her butt, leaving shivers in their wake. "How far do you want to go?"
She set her hands on his shoulders as he picked his head up. "If you want to pretend this never happened when we get back to Bethesda, I won't be responsible for my actions."
He chuckled. "No worries about that." He cupped her cheek and ran his thumb along her jaw. "I'm sorry it took you getting kidnapped for me to realize—"
Her kiss stopped that apology. She moved from his lips across his cheek as she unbuttoned his shirt. "Your bedroom or mine?" She whispered into his ear before capturing his earlobe.
"Yours." His hands squeezed her derriere before sliding to her thighs. "I haven't even looked at the bed in mine to see if it's long enough for me."
Natalie pressed her forehead to his while she chuckled and he joined her. She wasn't sure who was pushing and pulling first off the couch, but they made it to the mattress in a tangle of limbs and lips.