"It's the principle of the matter," Sarah Jane said as she leaned forward to check her lipstick in the mirror as Harry rounded the car onto the motorway. "I mean, I love her. Really, there's no one in the universe quite so wonderful as Aunt Lavinia. But I told her a million times, I don't want a big production today."
"Well, it's a big deal," Harry said, looking rather dashing in his casual clothes. He was the sort who seemed born in a uniform, but the loose white shirt and trousers suited him well. "You don't turn 30 years old every day, you know. And you are her only blood relative."
Sarah Jane Smith crossed her leg, exposing a shapely, denim-covered calf to Harry's glance. She wore white too, an enormous fringed jumper that made her look like a hitchhiking angel on an adventure. "I know that, Harry, which is why I gritted my teeth and agreed to the visit this weekend. Dinner party Saturday night with a gaggle of her university colleagues, while she regales them with a list of my accomplishments, and their spouses try to hook me up with deadbeat sons still living in the basement." She rolled her eyes. "The worst thing is, Aunt Lavinia hates that sort of thing as much as I do. So why on Earth would she agree to it?"
"Well, maybe her friends wanted to meet you."
"Bunch of old gossips, the lot of them," Sarah said crossly. "Never did quite get over the fact that Lavinia wouldn't marry, so now they want their claws in me."
"Or…maybe it's just a good excuse to have a party?" Harry winked at her, hoping to lighten her mood a little. "You know how it is–a coworker's niece is having a birthday, what a great excuse to break the diet?"
Sarah had to laugh at that. "You do have a point. Oh, I suppose it won't be so bad, and it'll give me some time with Lavinia. I do adore her." This was followed by a wicked grin. "Besides, she sent me practically two months' worth of rent as a birthday gift." She rolled her shoulders, stretching her neck slightly. "Generous to a fault, that Lavinia Smith. And, yes, I will have a wonderful time at that dinner if it kills me." Another sigh. "I wasn't joking when I told her I wanted to keep things simple this year. No big parties, no presents…"
"…that require wrapping," Harry interjected with a grin.
"Financial gifts are appreciated, but not expected, not even from my aunt." Sarah flashed him a cross look, one strand of brown curls brushing her cheek as she turned. "I hate birthday parties. All that smiling and laughing and 'oh, you can't possibly be that old!' lying." She looked at Harry from under her lashes, an expression of gratitude softening her features. "At least you understand, Harry. Thank you so much for respecting my wishes. A lovely dinner out, maybe a bottle of wine with a good mate. That's all I want."
Harry closed his eyes lightly, held them closed perhaps a bit longer than driving safety allowed, then looked back at the road. "I, erm…just have to stop off at U.N.I.T. HQ before we go. Paperwork."
Sarah groaned. "Harry, no! The last thing…."
"Oh, it's late on a Friday evening, old girl. The place will be deserted." He winked at her. "Think of it--all those offices, filled with classified files no one is watching….."
She chuckled, a look of self-deprecating humor brightening her face. " I thought I told you, Harry Sullivan! No presents."
"It'll only be for a moment." Harry turned off towards the facility that had become a second home to him over the past few years. "Promise." He justified the lie by imagining the revenge Sarah Jane Smith would exact on him later. It seemed almost a fair karmic trade-off, all things considered.
"It's so quiet!" Sarah's heels clacked on the tiles as they headed down the hallway towards the Brig's office. "Seriously, Harry. Let's blow off the reservation, order a pizza, and have my birthday dinner here." She waggled her eyebrows at Harry's horrified expression.
"Maybe we should–"
"Ten to one, the Brig stashes smutty magazines in his office. Let's go find them." She grabbed his arm, laughing as Harry protested. "Come on, where's your sense of adventure? Twenty pounds says we find hookah pipes and Swedish nudist magazines in the bottom drawer. What's your call?"
"Please lower your voice, old girl." He looked around the deserted hallway nervously.
Sarah stopped and whirled to face him, hands on hips. The fringe on her jumper fluttered wildly before settling back into place. She wore more makeup than usual, especially around the eyes, which gave Harry the distinct impression of being stared down. "The place is deserted, Harry. What are you so nervous about?" She pressed closer to him, a mischievous grin widening her features. Her hand was on his chest, backing him into the closed door to the Brigadier's office. "I'm sure your virtue is safe with me, Dr. Sullivan," she whispered, laughing as he blushed pink around the ears.
Before he could steady himself, Harry felt Sarah's arm around him, hand on the door knob, turning. He practically fell backwards into the darkened room. Gritting his teeth, he waited for Sarah Jane to turn on the lights.
The room was suddenly ablaze in lights, crowded full with friends both in uniform and in civilian clothes. Well-wishers surrounded Sarah almost immediately, separating her from Harry with a chorus of "happy birthday" and good wishes for the day. Someone had hung an enormous banner over the Brig's desk that read, "Happy Birthday, Sarah Jane!" There were balloons and streamers hung everywhere.
"Well, I don't know quite what to say," she said, eyeing the Brigadier suspiciously. "Why do I get the feeling you had something to do with this, Brigadier?"
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart held up his hands, as if to defend against an invisible attacker, and laughed. "Guilty," he admitted, and pulled her into a fatherly hug. "Many happy returns of the day, Miss Smith."
"Thank you, Brigadier," she said warmly. "Thank you, all," she added to the entire room. "Thank you. Enjoy the party!"
Then she disappeared into the crowd again, and for several minutes, Sarah smiled and hugged and accepted one after another the dozen or so happy returns on the day wished her.
It wasn't until she was posing for a snap shot with the Brigadier that Harry got a good look at her tight expression, her frozen smile, and the look of pure malice in her eyes as she glared across the room at him. This had definitely been a bad idea.
They moved the group to the Officer's Mess, where even more people had gathered for the celebration. A three-piece combo played jazzy versions of popular songs off in the corner of the hall, and people were already tucking into the buffet that had been spread for the occasion.
"Of course, Miss Smith," the Brig was saying as someone handed him a scotch on the rocks. "All of us here consider you an honorary member of U.N.I.T. Even if you are a reporter…"
"Ooh, The Big Bad Press," Sarah teased. She'd excused herself just after arriving and made straight for the bar. An intense conversation with the bartender had netted her a dry martini, the first of many leading to the current one, which she was poised to drain. "Did scare the ickle soldiers?"
The small cluster of officers chuckled, including the Brig, who smiled at the young woman. "Not at all, Miss Smith, although our positions do make some things a bit more…challenging…from a defense standpoint."
"He's afraid you'll find his secret plans for world domination," Mike Yates teased.
Harry couldn't help noticing that he hadn't taken his eyes off Sarah all night, and Sarah seemed to have no problem at all with his attention.
Sarah made a big show of yawning. "Oh, please! That's not the sort of thing I care about. I want to know about the Brigadier's sordid personal life. The drugs and discos and all those…waterfowl…"
They all laughed, and Sarah planted a quick kiss on the Brig's cheek. "You put Harry up to this, didn't you?" she whispered in his ear as they hugged. Her tone was nothing to be taken lightly, and the Brigadier looked almost nervous as she locked eyes with him. "Uh, huh." Her face snapped back into party mode, and she turned to her admiring captain. "Mike Yates, front and center," she ordered in a mock command.
"Aye, Miss Smith," he said, snapping to attention.
Sarah downed the rest of her martini in one gulp, shoving the empty glass into Harry's hand. "You promised me a dance," she purred, taking his arm and leading him onto the dance floor for a slow, sensuous rumba.
Harry looked at the glass, then at the Brigadier, then at the couple dancing on the floor. Sarah laughed loudly at something the captain said, then let him twirl her a couple of times before laughing again.
"Well," the Brigadier said with forced enthusiasm. "She seems to be having a good time, doesn't she?"
"I'm sure she is," Harry agreed. He took another sip of his whiskey, which had grown warm and watery as he ignored it in order to keep an eye on the alarming number of martinis Sarah had been consuming.
There was a long pause as the two men watched the birthday girl dancing. The music switched to something more lively, and Sarah and Captain Yates launched into a rather shaky version of the Hustle.
Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart cleared his throat. "This was a mistake, wasn't it?"
"Absolutely." Harry took a huge swallow of his warm drink. "We're dead men."
The Brig nodded. He'd been military too long to let a little thing like impending disaster get him down. "Cheers, then," he said, clinking glasses with Harry before retiring to the buffet for a little more rumaki before dying.
"And I said to him…" Sarah leaned on the sergeant's arm for support as she wobbled slightly on her feet. "I said, Yes, Senator Price, I do have my green card and, no, you cannot borrow my lipstick!" The men laughed raucously, and Sarah downed the rest of her martini in mock salute. "Got the story, kept my job, and the bastard lost his re-election bid!"
"Did you see anybody else there?" Benton asked, a pint in one hand and a plate of sandwiches in the other.
"Studio 54 was mad fun," she said, stealing a tiny ham and cheese sandwich from his plate. "There were all these famous people I didn't really know, obscene amounts of drugs…" She paused to swallow. "I'm told there's this back room where they take the really big stars for, you know…" A quick eye waggle. "…special parties. Not that a little nobody like me got stoned with the likes of Mick and Liza. No, I just stayed out on the dance floor with the rest of the half-dressed hedonists!"
Benton and the boys laughed. Sarah was about to signal to the bartender for another drink when a young lieutenant handed her a refresh. "I noticed you were getting low and might want another," he said eagerly.
"Oh, how…very…helpful…" Sarah sniffed the drink then pointed to the bartender she'd spoken to earlier. "Did Reg make this?"
"Erm, no, it was the other bartender, the lady at the other end of the bar."
Sarah sighed dramatically and handed him back the martini. "I’m very sorry, Lieutenant. I don't mean to be a diva, but I'm very picky about my drinks. Reg over there makes them perfectly, and I just–" She stopped, seeing a face in the crowd that she recognized. "Jo? Jo Jones?" She waived as the very pregnant young woman smiled and made her way over. They hugged as tightly as Jo's protruding belly would allow. "When did you get back to London?"
Several of the soldiers were greeting Jo as well, patting her shoulder and kissing her cheek. "Well, Cliff was pretty adamant about my not having our baby in the wilds of the Amazon basin, so he took a fellowship with King's College for a year. I'm sorry I missed the big surprise, sweetheart." She hugged Sarah again, a huge smile on her face. "I framed a copy of the article you did on Cliff's work. It was amazing. I can't thank you enough!"
"Nonsense, that's what friends are for." Sarah turned back to the young man holding the martini, winked at him, and took the drink before putting her arm around Jo's shoulder. "Walk with me to the loo, then?" she whispered. To the boys, she said, "Sorry, lads. Time for girl talk." She pinched Martini Boy's cheek. "Save me a dance, soldier," she whispered then hurried Jo towards the ladies'.
"Looks like I missed all the fun," Jo laughed as they ducked in and locked the door behind them.
Sarah crossed to the sink, pulled out the olive, and dumped the rest of the martini down the drain. "I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to see you." There was no trace of inebriation in her voice. "I do believe I would have lost my mind if one more person had grabbed me to tell me how wonderful I look." She rinsed out the glass, filled it with water, and dumped the olive back in.
Jo leaned against the door, chuckling. "Monsters! What a horrible thing to say!"
Sarah glared at her. "It's not what they're saying, Josephine Jones, it's what they're not saying. You look wonderful…for a thirty-year-old. You look smashing…for a woman your age. Ugh."
"Oh, you poor thing! Turning thirty was hard for me, too," Jo agreed.
"What sort of torture did you endure on yours?" Sarah asked.
Jo looked down at her stomach, blushed, and turned away for a moment. "Well, the actual birthday wasn't so bad…"
Sarah put up a single hand. "Say no more. Please. I got enough of that, too. Nice girl like you should think of starting a family. Doubt it, thank you." She took a sip of her water-martini.
"So what's with that?" Jo asked, indicating the fake drink.
"Oh, I slipped the bartender a ten pound note to make my martinis out of water all night."
"And you're acting drunk why?"
Sarah sighed, putting the drink down on the porcelain rim of the sink. "Well, I'm enjoying the hell out of making Harry and the Brig squirm." She waited for Jo to stop laughing, then continued in a lighter voice. "And the drunker I appear to be, the more superficial the conversation. Fewer people offering advice, making suggestions. It's all tall tales and flirting."
"Yeah, I noticed."
"Just how long have you been here?" Sarah's eyes narrowed, and Jo chuckled again.
"Long enough to know that you've more than tormented poor Harry Sullivan, if that's what you're going for. He looks so jealous he can barely muster an 'at ease.' 'Course, if you keep it up, the Brig may put the whole place in lock down in order to assure that you get safely home."
"I can handle myself," Sarah assured her. "And I'm not trying to make anybody jealous. Harry and I are friends. That's all." She ignored Jo's knowing chuckle and continued. "Although, I would have expected a friend to close the bar on an obviously drunken friend at least an hour ago. Really, I thought Harry was more responsible than that. Who knows what kind of trouble I could get in to?" She took a sip of her water. "All I wanted was a little Italian dinner and maybe some wine. Is that so much to ask for my birthday?"
"Not at all," Jo flashed a mischievous smile. "Need a little help getting him the hint?"
Sarah grinned back. She'd known the moment the Brig had introduced her to Ms. Jo Grant-Jones that the two of them were sisters in spirit. "Why, whatever did you have in mind?"
Sarah led Captain Yates to a secluded section of the hall. "Really, Mike," she said, taking his hand. "I can't even begin to thank you for this."
"Well, I turned thirty a few years back. I'm sure Sullivan and the Brig mean well, but…"
"You really have to have lunch with me, so we can catch up properly." She hugged him tightly. "I'm so glad you're back where you belong, and that…well, things have sorted themselves out for you."
Mike kissed her cheek gently. "You were a big help, Sarah. And I'm happy to return the favor. How far do you want me to go?"
"Well, personally, I wouldn't slap you if you tried to cop a feel, but remember–Harry doesn't know we're setting him up. He might get…you know, protective..."
"Yah," Yates snorted. "Navy man. I’m scared."
Sarah smacked him on the shoulder. "Do not turn my vengeance into some petty Army-Navy thing, Mike Yates!" she scolded.
"I don't know, Harry," Jo's voice echoed down the deserted hall. "I just don't know what's got into her!"
"That's our cue," Sarah said, positioning herself against the wall. "Come on, soldier. Make a woman of me."
Mike laughed, but dutifully took his place and began kissing Sarah Jane passionately.
"She's had so much to drink, and well, you know how it can be turning thirty." Jo was really playing it up, the worried older sister. "When I turned thirty, well, I was just…irrational."
Sarah stifled a laugh as Yates tickled her a bit. "Stop it!" she hissed.
"She's been so depressed," Harry admitted as they neared the final turn in the hall to where Sarah and Mike waited. "I'm afraid she may have had a few too many tonight."
"Well, I know that on my thirtieth birthday, I didn't care about anything. I just wanted to throw caution to the wind, to be wild and outrageous, to do all sorts of things I'd regret in the morning…." Jo watched as Harry turned the corner and his eyes widened in shock. She hurried after him, then had to stifle a laugh at the picture she saw.
Mike had Sarah Jane against the wall, her leg hefted over his hip, face buried in her curls. They were moaning like the stars of a bad adult film, hands everywhere, gasping out random cries of "yes, yes, yes!"
"Harry!" Sarah's performance resembled a drunken Vivien Leigh, hopped up on gin in an X-rated Gone with the Wind. "Hey, Mikey, Harry's come! It's a party!" She kissed Mike Yates hard, moaning like a porn star.
"Now, see here, Yates!" Harry was already crossing the floor, pulling the soldier off Sarah. Her jumper draped low over one shoulder, and her hair was wild around her face. She frowned at her suddenly empty arms.
"Hey, where'd Mikey go?" She staggered a little bit, and Jo had to fight not to laugh out loud. Sarah pouted in Harry's general vicinity. "Spoil-sport! You're no fun at all since you lost the sideburns, old man."
"I think you should go, mate," Harry told Yates, a look of warning burned across his face.
Mike grinned broadly. "No harm, Sullivan. SJ and I were just having a bit of fun." He gazed lasciviously at Sarah, who literally purred in response. "It's her birthday. We're…celebrating."
Harry frowned. "Decency, man. She's not exactly–"
"Harry, stop spoiling my fun!" Sarah pushed through, throwing her arms around Yate's neck. "Mike wants to show me a good time on my big day." She cast a sultry look at the young man. "Really big," she said pointedly with a glance downward at Mike's…
"Yeah, right." Harry drew in a hard breath, his decision made. "Sorry, lad. Party's over."
"Oh!" Sarah pouted, still clinging to Mike. "Unfair!"
Jo, who'd been watching the pantomime with growing amusement, found that the perfect moment to put her opinion in. "Don't be difficult, Harry. I'm sure Mike would never take advantage of Sarah Jane."
"Never," Mike said in a voice that was just short of a silent film villain twisting his moustache in malevolent delight.
"No, I think it would be best if I took Sarah home now!" He gently extricated the young woman from Yates' embrace, struggling as she flopped limply in his grasp. "Come on, love." To Jo, he added, "Please give our regrets to the Brig, will you, Mrs. Jones?"
"Bye, Mike!" Sarah waved as Harry led her down the hall towards the car. "Say bye-bye to the soldiers for me!" She winked at Jo and Mike, who were holding in their laughter.
"Bye, Sarah," Jo called after them. "Happy birthday!"
Mike waited for the couple to leave the building before putting his arm around Jo's waist. "Poor bloke hasn't got a clue, has he?"
"Not a single clue," Jo said. "Well, let's go see what's left on the buffet."
The trip to the car seemed interminable. Harry had to pause every few feet to gather up Sarah, who staggered and sang off key and hung all over him as they walked.
"I want to drive," she slurred, kissing his neck hotly.
Harry chuckled nervously, shaking his head. "Erm, no, Sarah. I don't think–"
She pushed him away, stomping her foot. "Harry! I want to drive! It's my birthday, and you have to give me everything I want on my birthday, and I want to drive." She started groping him, searching for keys in his pockets clumsily. "Gimme the keys, Harry!"
"You've had far too much to drink," he stammered as she maneuvered him back against the driver's side door. "I really don't think…"
But she was all over him now, searching his pockets, tugging at his clothes, pressing hard against him. "Where are they, Harry love? Where did you hide those naughty ickle keys?"
Harry struggled to maintain control, but her hands were roaming freely, making contact with certain…sensitive areas of his anatomy in her quest to locate the keys. "Sarah, please. Be reasonable."
"I don't want to be reasonable," she whined, throwing her arms around his neck and pinning him to the car. "Reasonable is old, and I'm not old!" A pair of enormous puppy dog eyes batted their lashes up at him. "I'm not old, am I, Harry? You don't think I'm old, do you?"
"Of course not, old–erm, of course not, Sarah," Harry faltered slightly. Her breath was hot on his skin, her perfume in his nostrils, her hair tickling his skin.
"I'm still pretty, aren't I?" She was kissing his neck now, her voice low and flirty.
"Pretty?" Harry's response was choked. "You're…Sarah, you're beautiful," he whispered as his control began to slip. He kissed her hair, furtively, before moaning, "Absolutely gorgeous."
And just as he was about to fall, just as his defenses seemed completely shattered, Sarah pushed him away with a laugh. "Got your keys!" she taunted, dangling them high and laughing. "Got your keys!"
Harry blushed furiously, but the greater problem was the car. He tried in vain to grab the keys back from the drunken young woman, but she was elusive, slipping through every attempt he made to catch her. Finally, his patience strained to the limits, he said, "Now see here, Sarah. You're not driving tonight. You are drunk, and embarrassingly so. I will not stand idly by while you put your life at risk."
Sarah rolled her eyes and pushed him away. "The only thing at risk is our friendship, Harry," she said, shedding the drunken act like an ugly jacket as she tossed him the keys.
"I don't–" Harry caught the keys in one hand. "You're not drunk?"
"Oh, please!" Sarah groaned, shrugging his hand off her shoulder. "What a cliché! Poor Sarah, so depressed at turning the Big Three-Oh she gets smashed at her surprise party and starts throwing herself at everything in trousers." She glared at him, folding her arms across her chest as she leaned against the car next to him.
"Look, I'm sorry." Harry drew in a long breath. "I'm sorry about the party, and I'm sorry about…well, I'm not sure exactly what I'm sorry about, but believe me when I say I'm really sorry."
Sarah laughed softly. "You are an imbecile, Harry Sullivan." But she didn't push him away as he put an arm around her waist and pulled her to his side. "I just…didn't want a big fuss. You knew that."
"I know, I know. But–"
"But the Brig bullied you into it, and instead of warning me, you just–"
"I'm a complete coward." Harry shot her a self-deprecating look. "I should have warned you." He cocked his head to the side, affecting a particularly sheepish grin. "Have I suffered enough, or am I going to have to get used to being the butt of your jokes?"
Sarah made a big show of considering his options, then smiled. "Two things. First, you get me that Italian dinner I've been craving. We can do take-away and bring it back to my flat."
"Consider it done, my lady." Harry bowed. "And second?"
She groaned and tossed him the keys. "Promise me you'll never make me drink anything even resembling a martini again."
"I can't believe you live here…" Harry stretched slightly on the cushion and carefully placed his wine glass back on the make-shift table. Sarah's studio was crammed full of books and boxes and a slightly disorganized desk that commanded the majority of space in the tiny flat. They'd pulled one of the larger boxes into the middle of the single room and tossed an old towel over it for a tablecloth.
Sarah smirked at him with all the condescension a woman just barely turned thirty could muster. "Don't judge the accommodations, Mister Ship-Shape. My flat is perfect for me, and if you didn't like it, we could have gone to your place."
"You insisted on Cucina Santini, Miss Smith. By the time we got to my place, the pasta would have been cold. If we had gone to Ristorante di Paese like I suggested–"
"That place got lousy–" she nabbed a bit of lasagna from Harry's plate with her fork to emphasize her point. "–reviews."
Harry slapped her hand. "It got four stars."
"From the press," Sarah snorted.
"You are the press, Sarah!"
She laughed. "Ristorante di Paese is strictly for the turisti, Harry my friend. Owner's a friend of the publisher over at The Telegraph, and well, you know how those things are." She took a quick sip of her wine. "Now, I know a pizza joint near the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti in Rome that would kick your arse."
"Show off," he teased, taking a sip of his wine. Leave it to Sarah to crave Italian food when they both had decided to wear white. They were lucky they didn't look like war wounded, drenched in tomato sauce blood, scrambling around on the floor as they were.
"Hey, my aunt paid for the education, why should I hide it?" She winked, and took another bite of her Pollo al Forno to emphasize her point. "You should hear my Latin." She moaned slightly at the texture of her chicken as she chewed, the delighted reaction of a pure hedonist in her glory. "Now this is the birthday I wanted. Great food, good company, quiet surroundings." She sighed, smiling contentedly. "Thank you, Harry. You really were a good sport about tonight."
"Well, I had it coming, didn't I?" He leaned over to kiss her cheek. "Happy birthday, Sarah dear." She wrinkled her nose at him. "Did you really slap a U.S. Senator in the ladies' room at Studio 54?"
Sarah laughed so hard she had to take a deep breath to compose herself before answering. "Yes," she admitted. "Although I added in the part about the lipstick purely for spite."
"You're just never going to be content with a normal life, are you, Sarah Jane?" he said softly.
"No," she agreed, her response matching the slightly sad tone of his question. "No, I'm never going to settle down and be anyone's wife or mum." The last part was pointed, for Harry's benefit. "My life is what it is, Harry. But I'm glad I have friends to share it with, and a career that keeps me happy."
"Are you happy, Sarah?" Harry leaned in to place a gentle kiss on her lips. There was no pressure, really, no expectations even of a response from Sarah Jane.
"Very," Sarah admitted, then frowned playfully. "Your breath smells like garlic."
"Look who's talking, Miss Mozzarella Mouth."
Sarah laughed, then looked over at the Japanese futon in the corner. With a slight blush, she whispered, "You're welcome to, erm, stay over tonight. If you'd like…"
Harry looked over at the futon. While technically he knew it folded out into a double bed, he doubted seriously that it would be any more comfortable than it looked, no matter what Sarah swore.
"No strings…no expectations," she added.
He was tempted. Sarah Jane was so many men's fantasy girl–smart, sexy, open-minded, free-spirited. She demanded no commitments–hell, she ran from them. She wanted no strings attached, and he suspected she was quite good in bed.
"I guess…" he said part of him kicked himself for the imbecile he was. With Sarah, he doubted seriously he could stick to no strings and no expectations. She might be a free spirit, but Harry had a bad habit of falling in love with the women he slept with. "I'm sorry. I guess I'm just too old-fashioned."
Sarah leaned over a kissed him again, a sweet, loving kiss. "And that's what I adore about you, Harry Sullivan." She hugged him gently. "I'm never going to be anyone's wife…or girlfriend, Harry, not even yours. I can't be what I'm not. But if you ever decide…well, if you ever decide you could handle it as friends…"
"There wouldn't be a lock in creation that could keep me away from you," he completed the sentence for her, his voice hoarse and muffled in her hair. He couldn't help himself–she tasted as sweet as she smelled, and he began to nibble greedily at the soft skin of her throat.
Sarah squeezed him tightly, then pushed him away. "If I'm going to sleep alone tonight, you should really stop doing that. I haven't got a single battery in the place." She tucked back into her chicken with gusto.
"Batteries–what on Earth for?" Then Harry caught up to what she was saying, and blushed straight down to his shirt collar. Quickly changing the subject, he coughed, "So, erm, what story are you working on now?"
Sarah couldn't stop laughing at him long enough to answer. At least, not for a while.