“Okay, thank you,” Steve said before ending his call with the Hotel manager in LA. He smiled as soon as he saw Ziva exit the building. “You ready to go?”
“Absolutely,” she breathed out with a lightness in her voice that she hadn’t displayed in days. “I will need to pack. And you have your things – where now?” she asked, curious as to what he had ended up doing after he left her apartment.
“Well uh, it’ll have to be a quick stop at your place. I have to pick up something I left there and you’ll need to pack a few things,” he explained. “But you’ll have to hurry because our flight leaves in about an hour and a half.”
Ziva’s eyes widened in surprise. “That soon?” she asked, passing him his coat that had the keys to the vehicle. “I can be quick. Do not worry,” she winked.
“Oh, I know,” he smiled as he got in the car. “And we can always buy anything you leave behind when we get there.”
“That’s sounds good to me. I doubt we will be able to get something decent to eat before we get on the plane so we will certainly need to do something once we land. It has been a long day and I do not think that you bothered to eat anything yourself.”
“Haven’t felt like it,” he explained as they took off for Ziva’s apartment. “There’s twenty four hour room service at the hotel I booked so we can definitely eat when we get there though.”
“That sounds like a plan,” Ziva said slowly, staring at him for a minute in wonder about just how this mini-vacation was going to turn out with everything that happened between them. She wondered what he could have forgotten at her apartment, knowing that he did not usually forget anything even when he was upset.
In her apartment, she quickly went to her storage closet to pull out her suitcase to throw some clothes into it, not caring about making sure they were folded and neat. She could just take them out and let them hang when they checked in after all. She stood at the foot of her bed, staring into the open piece of luggage as she bit her lip feeling positive that she was forgetting something that she knew she would need.
Steve entered her bedroom and picked up the necklace that she had bought him before slipping it back over his head. He shot her a sheepish look but he knew she would understand why he chose to leave it behind. Walking into the bathroom, he retrieved her toothbrush and her other toiletries, slipping them into a ziplock travel bag.
“I think that is everything then,” she commented, brushing off the sadness that filled her at seeing that he had left her present behind initially, and still feeling like she was missing something. “Can you think of anything else?”
“Not off the top of my head,” he replied. “But like I said, anything you forget can be bought when we get there.”
“Then I am ready,” Ziva grinned, zipping her suitcase closed. “Oh just have to spill out the milk before we leave. I don’t want to take the chance of it spoiling while we are gone, even if it is just for a few days.”
“Already taken care of,” he said as he grabbed her case. “I also switched your electricals off at the mains. Don’t want you coming home to a burnt out apartment.” With Ziva trailing behind him to lock-up, they made their way back down to the car.
The flight to LAX wasn’t so long that it was uncomfortable but Ziva sat, thumbing through a couple magazines she picked up in the airport, feeling hopeful and anxious for the mending their relationship desperately needed from this trip. It also did not help that despite sitting beside one another, the airline stewardess shamelessly flirted with Steve and his smiles back at her earned him a jealous glare or two.
“She’s just being nice,” Steve said as he passed her the ice water she had ordered. “And don’t make me remind you of our last trip to Hawaii. I saw the way you were looking at the guy at the powerboat rental place.”
“I did not look at him in any lewd way. I just couldn’t help but wonder what style of martial arts, if any, he practiced. You cannot say that you did not think the same, that he could have been a worthy opponent in a fight,” she replied easily and unfazed by his attempt to shift the blame.
“Oh yeah, you can tell a lot by staring at the guys pecs and his ass,” Steve teased. “And I never said you looked at him in a lewd way, but you did lookhungry by the time we left.”
Ziva rolled her eyes and opened another magazine as she settled back into her seat, nearly ripping the page off in her irritation. A part of what he said was true though. She was hungry by the time they left, but her hunger had been more than sufficiently satisfied that afternoon in her hotel room that could leave him with no question of her desire for him.
“So, it’ll be late by the time we get to LA, but we could go out if you want? Maybe take a walk after supper,” he suggested. “Or we can stay in, watch a movie and head out first thing?”
“You said the hotel has room service so we can just stay in and do something. I am in no rush to do anything but be with you,” she smiled.
“Okay,” he smiled, leaning over to plant a kiss on her cheek. “I’m glad you said that because staying in sounds great. If only for tonight.”
“To me it sounds great the entire time. Just you and I,” she said honestly, looking up at him. “I only want to spend time with you. Not the scenery or the local tourist attractions.”
“Whatever you want,” he smiled. “We can stay in, watch pay per view, abuse room service and do other stuff all you want.”
She picked up her head again with a curious expression. “Is that what you wish for? Because I will be more than a willing participant but if you and I are not – fixed, then it could prove to be rather uncomfortable for you and I if we cannot work ourselves out.”
“Oh… no no, I didn’t mean to imply that we wouldn’t be talking stuff through,” he explained. “We have to. We need to. But I want you to have fun while we’re here. I want to have fun too. The last few days have been so hectic… this was supposed to be a vacation if you remember. The plans we made…”
“A vacation from the vacation?” Ziva replied in a light, teasing tone. “We shouldtalk before we move on to anything more. Get that out of the way first so that we do not have to sit there for days just lost in worry.”
Steve nodded and took her hand. “Well I don’t need to tell you how hurt I was by what happened. And I know it killed you to push me away like that. I guess I just need to know that it won’t happen again. Even if Tony doesn’t come around like you hope. Because I don’t think I could take you pushing me away like that again.”
“I will not again. And if you and I do not work out, it will not be like that either,” she said, closing her fingers around his. “Tony promised he would make the effort and I believe him. He did appear to be genuinely interested when I mentioned that Kono had asked about him.”
“I still can’t see it,” Steve grinned. “Tony doesn’t strike me as the type of guy that she’d go for. And if she is interested, I doubt Chin would be happy about her dating someone as old as he is.”
She chuckled, shaking her head. “If it helps him to get over you and I being together, why not? Kono is not as sweet and innocent as she may appear to you guys. I think you all have blinders on and refuse to see her for what she is. I agree they may not be each other’s type but if they can find some fun in spending time together, then let them be. It would keep him distracted, would it not?”
“I can’t promise that Chin won’t want to introduce him to the business end of his shotgun, but I guess I can live with Tony’s attention focused on Kono,” he smiled.
“Kono will set Chin straight on things if it did come to that. Just, let’s save all this for later?”
“Sure,” he squeezed her hand. She was right. If the conversation turned sour, he wouldn’t like to be sat next to her for the remainder of the flight, they’d end up screaming at each other and causing a scene, not that he was hoping for it to go that way. He hoped that they wouldn’t fight again for a long time to come.
Having landed at LAX, they wasted no time in heading over to the hotel to check in. As the bellhop unlocked their room’s door and ushered their bags inside, Steve couldn’t believe how tired he was, but then again he had been up for nearly a full day.
As he went over to the bed to drop off their carry on bags, Ziva quietly tipped the bellhop and closed the door behind him. “So? Dinner or nap? You look as if you could fall asleep on your feet right there,” she smiled, making her way over to him.
“You’re not wrong there,” he half yawned. “How about we sleep for a couple of hours and then get a bite to eat?”
“Set the alarm otherwise both of our sleeping schedules will be off. I do prefer not to fall tired in the middle of the afternoon if I can avoid it.”
Setting the alarm clock on his cell phone, he proceeded to strip to his boxers. He was too tired to fold his discarded clothes, so he just left them on the rug by his side of the bed. Pulling back the sheets, he sat on the mattress and waited for Ziva to join him.
Shuddering from the air conditioner, she pulled off the majority of her layers and left her light pants and undershirt on as she crawled in beside him. “Naptime,” she yawned, a smile coming across her lips as she snuggled up to his warm body.
Holding her close, Steve made sure she was well covered by the sheets as she rested her head on his chest. Closing his eyes, he kissed her forehead gently as he mumbled a simple “Sweet dreams,” before finally succumbing to fatigue.
By the time Steve’s alarm went off, Ziva was awake and suffering from a small bout out her cold. Taking a hot shower, she let the steam of the water vapor help clear her breathing after shutting the air conditioner off and opening a window to let warmer air in.
Reaching over to switch off the alarm, Steve found himself alone. By the sound of the running water coming from the bathroom, Ziva was taking a shower. Although he was hoping to wake up beside her, the fact that she was in the shower presented Steve with an opportunity he wasn’t about to pass up. Swinging his legs out of bed, he slipped off his boxers and quietly stepped into the steam filled en suite. With a sly grin, he reached for a sponge and some shower gel and snuck up behind Ziva, only to begin gently washing her back.
Ziva jumped, opening her eyes as she had just been standing there breathing in the moist air. “What are you doing?” she asked, surprised and confused.
“Scrubbing your back, why? What does it look like I’m doing?” he asked as he ran the soft sponge over her shoulders, allowing the suds from the shower gel to gently slide down her back. “I know how much you get frustrated when trying to get to those hard to reach places.”
She found herself smiling as she stepped up closer to him, reaching up to rest her arms over his shoulders and lay her head on his chest. “Scrub away then,” she replied, feeling happy and content.
Massaging her back with the sponge and his empty hand, Steve made sure that he cleaned every inch of her shoulders and neck before proceeding down her back. He finally reached her toned and shapely ass, one of his favourite features on his lover’s body. Taking his time, he kneaded her buttocks gently, making sure that the suds coated them well but it wasn’t long before he was squeezing them firmly, applying the right amount of pressure that would allow her to reallyfeel it, without leaving a bruise.
For the most part, she remained still in his arms, letting him move at his own pace. By the time he was below her waist, she had turned her head enough to look up and watch him as he focused his gaze down her back. Pushing herself up, she turned his face towards hers and pressed her lips to his, guarded at first before she was able to fully let him in.
Returning her kiss with the same amount of hesitance initially, he soon found himself matching her enthusiasm. Their lips and tongues duelling for dominance, he hoisted her up by her ass and held her against the tiled wall of the shower.
Wrapping her legs around his body as securely as she could, Ziva let out a small giggle between the dance with their lips. “I do not want us to be over,” she said softly, her eyes flitting over his face and a hand entangled in the back of his hair.
“I can see that,” he grinned as she playfully ground herself against him. “I was stupid to have tried to leave in the first place… I should have fought to keep you.”
“And I would have given in to you. I still would have had to try to fight Tony of course. To keep him in my life, but at the time … I realize I was wrong now and for that I am sorry,” she sighed, her eyes falling to his chest with the heaviness of guilt she still and would hold for a long time to come.
“What is it that Gibbs says? Don’t apologise because it’s a sign of weakness?” Steve asked, without waiting for an answer. “Well I don’t want you to apologise for this. Not anymore. Let’s just focus on what lies ahead, okay?”
Ziva kissed him again, a firm solid kiss before smiling. “I like the sound of that. However, even I am too hungry for food now for even our playtime, as much as it pains me to say,” she let out, her eyes drinking in his wet body that she was pressed against.
“What are you in the mood for?” he asked as he gently lowered her to the floor and reluctantly stepped from under the spray of the shower. Grabbing one of the complimentary bath robes, he wrapped himself up in it and lent against the tiled wall by the shower.
“I do not know. Food?” she teased as she finished rinsing the last of the soap off before turning the faucet off and took the towel that he held out for her. “Anything really, except the usual. It’s nearly 10:30PM now so we might be able to get something in the restaurant downstairs still.”
“I’ll call reception and see if there’s time,” he grinned as he pulled the towel around her tightly and kissed the tip of her nose. “Don’t be long, okay?”
“I won’t be,” Ziva smiled. “Just give me a few minutes to dress and blow dry my hair then I will be ready.”
Steve simply nodded with the goofy smile on his face she had come to adore. Leaving her alone in the bathroom, he picked up the phone and dialled reception. The restaurant was open for late diners so he reserved a table and proceeded to get dressed.
When she came out after several minutes, she made her way over to her suitcase to pull out an extra sweater to take in case it was too cold with the air conditioning. “So are we set for supper?”
“We are, they’re open for another two hours or so,” he said as he slipped on a suit jacket. “Did you enjoy your shower?”
Ziva chuckled as she stopped at a mirror to fix her earrings. “Tremendously. Shall we?” she asked, turning to gaze at him.
“We shall,” he smiled as he offered her his arm. “You’re looking particularly gorgeous tonight, you know?”
“You said that when I was in bed hacking up a lung when you arrived. Oh, please remind me to take the antibiotics and other cough things the doctor gave when we return. Otherwise I will never get any rest.”
“I will,” he reassured her as he locked the room up behind them. As they proceeded down the hall toward the elevator, a man dressed in a service uniform slipped the master card key he’d stolen from one of the housekeepers into the lock of Steve and Ziva’s room and entered quickly, disappearing from view.
The man pulled a small black case from his pocket, opening it with a smile on his lips. Looking around, he tried to find the best place to secure its contents. Carefully he looked around, checking in their bags before noticing the watches left out on the dresser and end table. He knew they were only downstairs for a meal and that they’d be back for small affects like that if they were to go anywhere else. Popping open the back casings, he slipped in the tiny, nearly microscopic chip in and resealed the jewelry.
Reaching for his phone, he sent off a simple text message. It’s set. Tell the boss.
Making his way to the door, he opened it to find someone blocking his way. Before he had time to react, the intruder was shot in the chest twice with a suppressed pistol, dropping to the floor, he was shot a third and final time in the head before his killer’s gloved hand placed the weapon on his chest and took the cell phone. Casually walking away, his killer began to whistle For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.