|Adult Swim 1/2
||[Apr. 17th, 2008|11:42 am]
Title: Adult Swim
Rating: R – for sexual situations
Pairing: Michelle Dessler/Tony Almeida
Word Count: 5,762
Spoilers: None, actually – References to "Uncharted Waters"
Summary: A turning point for a special relationship.
Author's Note: This story is a little different than any other lantean_manor fic, because it's the first that focuses solely on characters other than John and Elizabeth. This was inspired by a conversation in 'Uncharted Waters' that I couldn't let slip away. Many many many thanks to joyfulfeather as always for the wonderful beta.
It wasn't until he was pulling their rental car into a modest well-kept neighborhood that she realized she was about to meet his parents. He was quite literally taking her home to his mother. She'd flown halfway across the country with him to meet his family. She was meeting a guy's family after three and a half months of dating.
Her eyes flew across the cramped sedan, settling on Tony's face and frantically searching for some indicator of what he was thinking. What had she been thinking when she agreed to take a week of vacation time and come to Chicago with him?
The upper echelons at work had chosen Tony to be their representative at the country's largest Information and Technology in the Private Sector conference, conveniently being held in downtown Chicago. She was just along for the ride. He'd asked her to come, to keep him from racking up a huge cell phone bill from calling her every night because he missed her, he said, and she'd had her bags packed practically before the request was even completely out of his mouth. She must have been tired that night – post-orgasm stupor maybe? - because it was obvious that she hadn't been thinking clearly. Otherwise the implications of going to Chicago, the city he'd grown up in, and meeting his family might have hit her sooner.
Oblivious to her scrutiny, Tony bit his lip gently and hummed ever so slightly to the song on the radio. He had a tiny smile on his face, a barely-there upturn of the right side of his lips, like he'd just thought of something amusing but didn't want to share. Altogether, he looked content, happy. She wondered if it was because he was glad to be turning onto his parents' street and taking her home to them.
Finally he realized that she was watching him, and when he stopped at a stop sign, he slid as close to her as the confining seat belt he was wearing would allow, dropping a gentle peck on her lips and studying her face. She tried to smile, but she knew he wouldn't be fooled by that. Tony, that bastard, could read her far too well.
"Will you hit me if I tell you to relax?"
He grinned. "Okay. Will you kiss it better after you do?"
He shifted a little closer, nuzzling her cheek with his nose and pressing a gentle kiss to her temple. She sighed, circling his neck with the palm of one hand and closing her eyes against the curve of his forehead.
"Relax, Michelle. My mom's five foot five and couldn't hold a gun if she tried, and my dad's as laidback as they come. They're just my parents, not a firing squad."
She slapped his shoulder hard enough to make her hand sting a little.
She pursed her lips. "That's for mocking me."
Tony rubbed the spot where she'd hit him, lowering his chin and offering her his soft, contrite puppy eyes. She might have seen his bottom lip pucker out just a little as well. Oh, he was good.
She opened her mouth to apologize but was cut off by a honk. Tony jumped, looking in the rear view mirror to see a bright yellow cab and a disgruntled cabbie waving angrily at them. They'd been sitting at a stop sign for almost five minutes. Biting his lip in amusement, Tony put the car back in drive, glancing in the mirror apologetically.
"The last time I met someone's parents was at my eleventh grade prom. And he ditched me halfway through the dance."
Tony's eyes flicked over to her. "It'll be fine, Michelle. And if it isn't, we can just go stay at that fancy five-star hotel being provided by Ryan Chappelle at no cost to yours truly. Okay?"
He wiggled his fingers, waiting for her to realize how tense she'd been since getting in the car and take his hand they way she usually did when they drove. She loved holding his hand and he knew it.
"C'mon, you don't even have to think of them as my parents if you don't wanna. Think of it as some sort of breakfast in bed, or whatever those places are called. Just one that has pictures on the walls of my sisters and me with bad hair and braces."
She snorted, reaching up and pressing her palm into his, tangling their fingers together tightly. After giving her hand a jiggle, Tony settled their hands on his thigh. He seemed just as calm as ever as he went back to humming along to Eric Clapton. By the time he pulled into his family's driveway, she was humming, too. It was a little quieter, and a little more nervous, but it was definitely there.
While she waited in the warm car – living in Southern California had ruined her for what winter was really like and she'd neglected to pack anything heavier than a windbreaker - Tony unlocked the front door with his key, waving for her to kill the engine and come inside with a sharp flick his wrist. Taking a deep breath she turned off the car and gathered her purse, flinging the car door open so quickly that with the help of the wintry wind it slammed shut almost as soon as she cleared it. Less than fifteen seconds later she had plowed into Tony's body and the two of them stumbled inside, laughing at themselves. Tony twitched as a delayed shiver took over his body and she scrubbed her hands up and down over his fleece-covered arms.
Silently he stole a kiss, rubbing their cold noses together and breathing warmth into her. She let her purse fall to the ground and lifted her arms, now completely unencumbered, up to hold onto his face, sliding her thumb over his five o'clock shadow. She was still caressing his jaw when he broke their kiss.
"So, you gonna let me buy you a coat tomorrow?" he asked with a teasing smile. She could feel his warmth through the thin layers of her own jacket, trying – and failing – to resist the urge to let him envelope her in a bear hug.
"No, but I'll let you take me somewhere so I can buy me a coat."
She felt him laugh and kiss her head gently. He was always trying to pay for everything, even things he should have rolled his eyes and flat out refused to spend a cent on. It was simultaneously the sweetest and most aggravating thing ever, to have to argue over who was going to buy her milk, her eyeliner, and even her tampons.
"Tony?" she asked after they'd managed to stand in the entryway of his parents' house for a good ten minutes without hearing anything from said parents.
"Where are your parents?"
He smiled, kissing her forehead quickly. "They're probably watching from the kitchen doorway waiting for just the right moment to spring," he teased.
He squeezed her tighter. "They're in the kitchen. My mom's getting coffee and something for us to eat. Dad's restraining her from pouncing until then. You had enough time to warm up?"
She smiled; he'd been stalling for her sake, allowing her to get acclimated to her surroundings before she came under scrutiny. When she nodded he unzipped her jacket and took it off her shoulders. He draped it over the banister, putting his over hers. He took her hand, tugging her into his side and leading her into the kitchen.
"Mom, Dad? This is Michelle."
Her fingers tightened nervously, but she found herself smiling and greeting his parents. Tony's father was a few inches taller than Tony, with silver, close-cropped hair and the same gentle, easy smile. While Tony's eyes were brown, his dad's were green, she noticed when he stepped close and took her hand in a firm grip.
"We don't bite," he promised in the same light facetious tone that Tony used. "Nothing to be worried about."
"Unless he hasn't had his coffee yet, then you might want to stay by me, dear," Mrs. Almeida interjected, smiling widely at her husband before abandoning the coffee carafe and extending first a hand and then a hug to Michelle.
"It's so nice to meet you, Michelle. Tony's done his best to tell me nothing about you beyond that I would probably be insanely jealous of your gorgeous hair."
Beside her Tony laughed awkwardly, which indicated that her hair probably wasn't the only thing he'd told his mother about her. She chose to let it go in favor of thanking his mom and offering to help get the coffee ready. Four ceramic cups were already on the counter, so she asked how everyone took their coffee while Mrs. Almeida poured. She got the usual answer of black from the men and was directed to the cream and sugar for herself and Tony's mother.
"I heard you talking about needing a coat; if you don't want to buy one, you're welcome to anything in the hall closet. I think Mara left one here when she went back to school last week. I keep waiting to get a phone call from her, begging me to box it up and send it, but she's probably got another one stashed away somewhere." Tony's mom shrugged. "She's twenty-two and she lives for the sales."
"She lives to spend my money," Tony's father added with a lopsided grin, coming up behind her and taking both mugs out of Michelle's hands. One he kept for himself and the other he handed to Tony. She smiled back, feeling more at ease already.
"Is Mara your youngest?" she asked, lifting her own mug and sipping carefully on the coffee. Tony's mother nodded, pushing a plate of sinful looking chocolate somethings into her hand and shooing the three of them through the doorway into the living room.
"Elena is four years younger than Tony, which was almost enough to keep them from wanting to kill one another. Mara came along almost seven years later, and you wouldn't believe the war that caused," his mother narrated, touching her shoulder and steering her over to one wall.
Michelle nodded, studying the pictures of Tony and his sisters that were on the mantle. One in particular left her grinning and she looked back over her shoulder to see Tony hiding behind his hand and shaking his head.
"You were adorable," she promised, sipping her coffee and joining him on the loveseat. Immediately he slipped an arm around her and made sure she was close. Apparently Tony had no problem with displaying his affection in front of his parents.
"You put those out special, didn't ya, Ma?"
She laughed when Tony's mom patted his cheek on her way past them. "You'll never know, sweetheart. Try one of the éclairs. I told your father he couldn't have one until you got here."
Rolling his eyes, Tony followed his mother's instructions. Nodding in satisfaction Mrs. Almeida left the room. After making sure she was gone, he broke the éclair in half and bumped the larger side against Michelle's lips.
"That's the bigger side."
"Yeah, but the cream goes straight to my hips," Tony deadpanned, holding onto the chocolate dessert while she took a bite. Immediately her taste buds were engulfed in rich, wonderful chocolate custard, and she had to fight the urge to groan.
"So Tony, what's this conference that you've been sent to about?"
Glancing over at his father, it took Tony a minute to compute what was being asked of him. He'd been engrossed in watching her eat. The elder Almeida raised an eyebrow at his son which left her snickering into Tony's shoulder. It wasn't often that he got to be embarrassed in front of people; this week was going to be fun.
Midway through his explanation of the conference objectives, Tony's mother stuck her head in, smiling at her son.
"Antonio," she called affectionately. "How many times have I told you to hang your things somewhere other than the railing?"
Tony grinned. "At least a million times, Ma. Aren't you glad they all sunk in?" And then, just to be annoying, he flicked his shoes off his feet and reached for Michelle's.
"Tony! Leave my shoes alone!" She squirmed away from him, trying to put as much distance between him and her feet as possible. Finally she gave up and he grabbed one leg triumphantly, throwing her shoe to the ground with a flourish. The entire game took less than five minutes, but everyone was grinning when they finished. Setting her sock covered feet in his lap she reached across him for her coffee.
"Now that you're done playing, Tony, I can finish what I was going to say," his mother added with a grin. "Your room's all ready. I moved all of the boxes Mara stashed in there during her winter break to the closet, so be careful when you open that. I was going to put your bags upstairs, but they seem to be missing."
Tony raised an eyebrow. She guessed that his mother didn't usually go to so much trouble when he came to visit.
"They're still in the car," he explained. "I'm still contemplating making a run for it," he added sotto voce. She laughed, poking his thigh with her toe.
"I'm pretty sure your mother's decided you're staying, so if you're gonna go give me a signal and I'll distract her," his dad drawled, nodding to the doorway where Tony's mom was still leaning, an expectant look on her face.
Tony's index finger lightly traced a question mark on the outside of her knee. It was up to her whether they stayed. Right now, though, she couldn't imagine turning down his mother's hospitality, and she gave him a quick nod over the rim of her coffee mug. With a fake put-upon sigh, Tony nodded to his mother and reached for his shoes.
"Hand me mine?" she asked, setting her mug on the end table beside her.
"Nope. Dad and I'll get them." When she started to protest, he added, "We have coats and you don't."
She huffed. "Fine. Keys are in my jacket pocket."
Tony kissed the corner of her mouth gently. "I'll let you warm me up when we get back inside, so ditch the-"
"Tony!" she hissed, feeling her cheeks grow hot. She heard his parents chuckle; apparently this, too, was not uncommon for their son. Tony'd probably always been demonstrative.
As soon as both men were bundled up and had darted out the front door, his mother settled beside her, drawing her feet into her lap just as Tony had. She patted her jean covered knee and smiled. She was rapidly coming to realize that the entire Almeida family was as tactile as Tony was.
"So tell me about you. I know you and Tony met at work, you're just a little older than Elena, and that you don't like baked potatoes. What else?"
"I also tell a mean knock-knock joke."
Mrs. Almeida laughed. "I'm not interrogating you, honey, don't worry."
Before she could reply, the front door banged open again. "I already miss Los Angeles," Tony groused under his breath. "You said my room, Mom?"
"Where else do you sleep?"
Both women turned to watch Tony scratch his cheek and look to the ceiling. "So I'm sleeping on the couch? Or in 'Lena's room?"
She nearly lost it when his mother looked at Tony like he was slow. "I assumed both you and Michelle would stay in your room."
"Oh. You mean-?"
"Put your things in your room and be quiet, son," his father advised with a wry grin. "We haven't been concerned about your virtue in years."
She saw Tony's ears turn a shade pinker. After exchanging a flustered smile with his mother, who nodded and shooed her on, she went to help Tony, taking her small rolling bag from his hand.
Once they were in his room, Tony closed the door and leaned against it as if he was afraid one or both of his parents would come barging through.
She set her bag down on the ground, looking around his room with a smile. It was quintessential Tony, minus about fifteen years. Three separate Cubs posters on one wall, various other sports memorabilia on the others, and a buxom blonde swimsuit model on his closet door. The last made her grin at him.
"I was fifteen," he explained with a shrug. "You can take it down if you want. I can't believe my mom never did, she hates that thing."
"Can't imagine why," she teased, watching him cross the room and yank the poster down. Walking around, she looked at the rest of the décor. The framed photos of Tony at four and eleven holding his baby sisters drew genuine awws from her, but it was the picture of him in his dress uniform that made her stop.
It was silly, really. She saw him every day and in every state of dress, but there was just something about how his mouth was set in that firm line as he stood ramrod straight. She'd never seen him that way.
Tony groaned, reaching out to pluck the picture from her fingers. "You too?"
She giggled, sneaking a glance back at his picture. "Guess so. You just look so different. The uniform's sexy." Wrapping her arms around his waist, she pressed her lips to his chin. "I like you better this way, though."
"You're just saying that so I won't make you sleep on the floor." His mouth curved into a grin. "And just so you know, I definitely can't fit into my uniform anymore, so that little wounded soldier/nursemaid game you're concocting will have to go."
"Mmm, damn," she sighed, letting him walk them back to his double bed, where he sat down and took hold of her hips, bringing her into his lap. "So what's all this about your virtue?"
"Michelle," he whined, his hands midway through pulling her sweater up over her head.
"Must be juicy if you don't wanna tell me," she goaded, pressing her face into his neck and nibbling at his pulse point.
Tony tugged her sweater the rest of the way up, tossing it carelessly across the room. Taking her face in his hands he grinned. "I'll tell you, just not right now. Right now I've got something else in mind."
Her cami followed in her sweater's path, baring her upper body completely. She bunched his shirt in her hands, indicating that turn about was fair play and she wanted it off. He did as she asked, quickly returning his hands to her chest and cupping her breasts in his cold palms. She shivered when he lightly circled and then flicked his thumbs across her nipples. After pressing a soft kiss on her lips, his head bowed and he gently latched onto her breast, slowly kneading its twin in time with his mouth's gentle tugs.
Her head fell back when he switched. "God, Tony."
Someone knocked. "Hey, Tony. We're heading to bed."
As quietly as possible, Tony released her from between his lips. "'Kay, Dad. Good night."
"Good night. And Michelle?"
"Y-Yes?" she asked, coughing to clear the huskiness from her voice.
"His bedtime's in half an hour, don't keep him up too late."
She laughed, rubbing the back of Tony's neck gently. "I won't. Good night, Mr. Almeida."
"George, Michelle. Good night."
She nodded even though he couldn't see it, turning her head back to face Tony and wondering why he was shaking.
"What's so funny?"
He laughed, sliding his hand around her back and pulling her tighter into him. "That virtue question you asked me?"
Her eyes widened.
"I was sixteen, Mara was five and I was babysitting because Elena was at a sleepover. My girlfriend came over and we were on the couch downstairs. Was hovering somewhere between second and third base and who walks in?"
He nodded. "And my little sister who'd been crying for me for the last ten minutes. She'd had a nightmare and wet the bed."
She laughed, petting the backs of his ears gently.
"Amy got dressed and split, dumped me the two days later during homeroom no less, and I got grounded until my next birthday for being irresponsible. Whipping out the condoms I'd got special for that night didn't help my case, by the way."
She laughed so hard she would have fallen off his lap if he hadn't locked his hands around her back.
"At least you were prepared?" she offered lightly, pressing her mouth to his quickly. Ignoring his whines of protest she lowered her feet to the floor and stood, moving to her suitcase and grabbing her pajamas. "It's getting late. Why don't we get some sleep and you can tell me more embarrassing Teenage Tony stories tomorrow?"
He cracked an amused grin and pointed. "Only because you make good on your rain checks."
She tugged her nightshirt down over her head. "Good. Show me where the bathroom is?"