"Then you have no reason to apologize," he told her, once she'd answered his question. "My offer for dinner is still on, you know," he added. It was a promise he'd made back in Paris, but one that hadn't happened yet. The Chinese didn't count, in his opinion.
"My acceptance hasn't been withdrawn," she assured him warmly. "I'm glad I didn't send you running for the hills last night. It's been a long time since I've relaxed with someone, let alone let myself get drunk. In a way, that was a rather massive compliment, even if it means you have to put up with the hungover me for the next couple of hours."
"I had fun, too, Meg," he assured her, hoping last night wasn't a one-time only event. He wasn't sure where they were headed or what the future might bring, but he was secretly hoping for more than just friendship, though he didn't want to get his hopes up too high only to have them shattered. Slow steps, they'd agreed. One thing at a time. "I thought we'd take the car today. I wouldn't want you to fall off the bike," he teased.
She laughed - not the giggle from last night, but the more controlled, grown up laugh she displayed in public. "How thoughtful of you," she teased him in return, finishing the contents of her plate before pulling what was left of her coffee toward her. "What a wonderful impression I'm going to make today - second day at the CIA and hungover already." She, too, hoped they would be able to repeat the night before; not the getting drunk part, although that had been enjoyable, but simply spending time with him. Unlike him, however, her hopes were already flying high without a tether.
"I won't tell if you don't tell," he assured her with a grin before returning to finish up his eggs and toast and crunch on his bacon, washing it all down with his coffee. "How's the head feeling?" he asked, wondering if the coffee and aspirin was having any effect yet. "I could have told you not to mix your drinks last night."
"I wouldn't have listened," she smiled, relaxing a little now the pounding seemed to have muted itself. "Better, though, thank you. I don't seem to have an ill-educated percussion section in my head any longer."
"I doubt you'll be called upon to do much today anyway," he assured her further. It was, after all, only her second day on the job, but he had already decided that there were certain things he wasn't going to allow them to force her into. He just wasn't quite sure how he was going manage that.
"Here's hoping. Let me get my boots on, and I'll be ready to go," she told him, finishing her coffee to slide down off the stool and go fishing for a pair of comfortable boots. He had plenty of opportunity to note that her socks were mismatched - not just different colors, but different patterns, too, and much brighter than most people would expect to find on her feet. "Hopefully there won't be too much computer time, today," she said as she sat on the edge of the bed to pull her boots on. "At least, not until after lunch."
"Take your time," he told her. He hid a smirk behind his coffee mug as he noticed the mismatched socks on her feet, but once again, said nothing of it. She'd realize it sooner or later, and he was hoping he'd be there when she did. While she searched for her boots, he cleared the counter of plates and cups, rinsing them off before placing them in the dishwasher and turning off the coffeepot for the day.
It was only when she was ready to go that Meg realized she hadn't actually looked at a clock yet, glancing down at the watch on her wrist. "You know, I think that's the fastest I've ever managed to go from recumbent to presentable ever. You are obviously a good influence on me. Can I keep you?"
"Do you really want to?" he asked, turning the question back around on her, though neither was really being serious about it. Or were they? "I'm good for a few things, I guess." Making breakfast and cleaning up after her seemed to be a few of them, but he wasn't interested in being her cook or her servant, and he didn't think that was really what she wanted from him either.
"More than a few things," she told him, her smile close to tender as she picked up her bag. She paused next to him, touching her fingers to his cheek. "Stop worrying so much?" she suggested softly. "Of course I want to keep you. The question is really yours to answer, whether you want to be kept." Rising onto her toes, she kissed the tip of his nose, reaching around him for her keys.
"Well, I don't really want to be a kept man, if that's what you're implying," he replied with a grin, pausing for a moment as she touched his cheek and kissed his nose, feeling amused and elated and confused all at the same time. He had a perfect opportunity to take her in his arms, as she reached around him, but he resisted the temptation, wanting things to happen on their own.
"What, not even a little bit?" she teased, jangling her keys in her hand. "Not even at weekends?" She gave him a gentle tug to usher him toward the door, waiting until he was turned away before letting herself frown just a little. Was it just her, or was he leaving everything to her? Every gesture that counted toward affection seemed to be coming from her, if she discounted being tucked in and having breakfast provided.
"Maybe on weekends," he allowed, with a smile. The truth was, he was a little unsure what exactly it was she wanted from him, and he was afraid of disappointing her. She'd come all the way from England because of him, after all ... or so she claimed. What if she decided he wasn't who she thought he was, after all? What if she changed her mind? What if, what if, what if?
"I'll bear that in mind," she promised, nudging him out into the hall to turn and lock her door securely behind them. "Well then ... shall we, Agent Doyle?"
He'd done everything he could think of to impress her, to treat her with respect, to be the gentleman he thought women wanted men to be, but he couldn't help getting the impression he'd disappointed her somehow. "You know, sometimes I wish we were still Sarah and Jason," he admitted as he stepped out into the hall and turned to wait for her to lock up. Not Sophie and Jake, but Sarah and Jason.
"You do?" A flash of concern rushed through her at this; she knew he'd liked her Sarah alias, but she'd thought that perhaps her true personality might be more palatable. But apparently not. She glanced down, ostensibly watching her hand put her keys away. "May I ask why?"
It wasn't because he liked his women ditzy, but because they'd been comfortable with each other then. Easy going, without any preconceived notions or expectations. Even if it was phony. "Because we were just Sarah and Jason, then," he tried to explain, turning to face her, but not moving from the spot just yet. "I mean, forget the fact that we both had ulterior motives and that we weren't really who we were pretending to be. I don't know. Maybe I'm trying too hard," he said with a frown. What if she decided she liked Jason or Jake better? What if he was going about this all wrong?
"Maybe we both are," she shrugged. "Andrew ... the only thing I asked to postpone was sleeping together. You don't have to hold me at arm's length; I'm not going to be offended if you touch me, or kiss me, without getting clear verbal consent first. We're not friends, Andrew. We're somewhere between friends and lovers, and there's nothing wrong with acting on instinct. Truly."
"But why do we have to wait?" he asked, still confused. After all, it wasn't like they were virgins or that they'd never slept together. Of course, he was thinking like a man, while she was thinking like a woman. "I don't want to be friends, Meg," he admitted honestly at last, not only to her, but to himself. "I'll keep it professional at work, but I'll be honest. I want more than that. Do you know how many times in the last month I came close to getting on a plane to London just to see you again? Just to see if the sparks I was feeling were real or just my imagination? And now that you're here, I know I wasn't imagining things, and I know you felt it, too," he said, reaching for her hands. God forbid anyone peek out of their doors to see what was going on in the hallway.
How had they not managed to have this conversation last night? But here they were, standing in the hallway of their apartment building, trying to work out exactly what was going on between them. Meg flushed, not embarrassed or shy, but a little caught up in the moment. "Of course I felt it," she was quick to agree with him. "I still feel it. Every time you're close, every time you touch me, or it even seems as though you might touch me, I feel it, and it's ... it's overwhelming. I've never felt this way before, and I don't know how to handle it, and ... I don't want to be overwhelmed like that until we're both comfortable with each other. Please, I'm not asking just to confuse you or to make you suffer. If anything, I'm making myself suffer, but it's only because I don't want to disappoint you!"