My timing was off only by a couple of minutes. I had lingered behind the bathroom door for a while, waiting for the slam of the outer door heralding Duo's return from the yard. I knew Hilde would be out on errands for a few hours still. It had struck me as a good opportunity.
Never mind how crazy the idea was.
I pulled at the towel wrapped around my waist and opened the door when his footsteps were close. I had deliberately forgotten to bring a clean change of clothes with me when I went for my shower, just so I'd have a reason to walk back half-naked - and into his path.
He stopped as he saw me, tried to look past me. I side-stepped. So did he, after another step towards me, intent on getting past me.
Just before he would have accomplished that, I hit my palm against the wall and blocked his way. He glared at me and turned to go back. Before he could, I used my other arm to stop his retreat, trapping him up against the wall. He kept glaring at me, but I couldn't help notice that his eyes drifted down just a bit every few seconds.
I smirked back at him and prayed it would cover up the fact I had the heartbeat of a hummingbird and a cold sweat down my damp back.
"Your towel's slipping..." he finally commented, meeting my look again.
I glanced down and nodded. It was. I shifted my weight from one leg to the other and tried to subtly flex muscles to provoke its downfall. Drastic results required drastic measures. "You'd better tuck it back in, then..." I murmured back at him, trying not to grin at the scowl he made. He did not voice an immediate retort. I felt a shiver down my spine, not sure it was an entirely good one.
That damnable book had suggested being aggressive and confident. One for two, so far. My still soaked bangs hung heavy down my forehead, one tip interfering with my field of vision. The occasional droplet fell from it and to the floor.
Slowly, I leaned in against him. The way he gulped did not escape me, even as he tried to make it inconspicuous. Closer now, I breathed in deep. He'd only worked up a light sweat, by the sniffs of it. There were trace scents, too - his strong deodorant, his gritty aftershave and that strawberry shampoo he's fond of. I didn't stop closing in, met the start of panic in his eyes with the stubbornest gaze I could make while standing on legs of jelly. Duo pursed his lips, but didn't say anything.
Just before, I veered off to the side and slid my moist cheek against his dry skin, my body coming to rest the width of two fingers away from his light jacket. I grazed the corner of my lips to his ear before I pulled back again, still smirking.
I wasn't sure I was fooling him anymore. Shock or even surprise were not to be read on his face. Frustration was clear as day, mixing with traces of anger and indecision.
At arm's length once more, we engaged in a staring contest. I suppose he's the adult of the two of us, as he gave in first, again looking down my chest. That did not still my heartbeat.
"You're wet," he finally deadpanned.
I had to chuckle at that. "You're as observant as ever, Duo..."
"Get away," he growled. "You're dripping all over me."
"Make me," I dared, my heart feeling like it was about to jump up my throat. This was the point of this whole plan, after all. There was only one way he could remove me.
It was up to him just where to touch me.
He glared at me again, then at my chest. To goad him on, I started leaning in again.
That did it. Tentatively, he brought his hands up and pressed his palms against my damp chest, starting to push.
I resisted, made him use force - made him get a good feel of my body. His hands slipped just a bit, and his fingers brushed over my nipples. I took a sharp breath, but let him push me back after that.
He was soon gone down the hallway, walking fast and not looking back. My towel still clutched my hips at the brim of decency. I never told Duo it was only kept taut by a rapidly extending tentpole. Maybe I would have used the gibe, had he lingered.
Actually, I had counted on that he would, just to vent his anger at me for the stunt. The last few days, he'd been more and more evasive towards me, more skittish than usual about my passes.
Heading back to my room, I started to assess the results of this little experiment, short of the tent in front. He could have pushed me off of him much faster than he'd done. Far more brutal, too. Like, with a well-placed knee or fist. Was it just his fear of hurting me that restrained him, or was I finally coming close to his breaking point? Was the slip of his fingers intentional? Both hands had moved, after all.
I decided this required consideration - and perhaps a follow-up or five. I would have other fairly inconspicuous chances at testing his boundaries. My regret of not stealing a kiss when I had the chance was fairly brief. I was determined to get what I wanted - but not before Duo gave it willingly, with all his heart.
Maybe next time.
And sometime, next time would be this time.