Jack had been tense and twitchy all day; for a former conman he could be appallingly bad at hiding things. Oh, he put on a good act, the nonchalance and the innocence, but to the trained eye it was obvious his shoulders were bunched beneath his light blue shirt, and he almost jumped every time Ianto approached him. Then there was the slight glint of wary suspicion in his eyes as he picked up his coffee mug and sniffed at the contents before taking a tentative sip, as if fully expecting it to be the dreaded decaf. He positively reeked of guilt.
The trouble was, Ianto had no idea what it was Jack had done that he felt so guilty about, and there was no way he was going to ask; that would make things far too easy for Jack, and besides, if Ianto did ask, Jack would simply deny any wrongdoing. No, the only way to handle this was to play the waiting game. Sooner or later the guilt would become too much, then Jack would break down and confess all. He always did.
So, in the interests of speeding the process up, Ianto made sure to be extra nice to Jack, smiling at him, giving him a quick kiss every time he entered or left his lover’s office, providing two chocolate biscuits with his coffee… It all mounted up. Jack’s barely perceptible twitches soon increased in both frequency and severity, and he started to develop that rabbit in the headlights look. Ianto was patient, he could afford to be; it was only a matter of time.
Come lunchtime, when Ianto took his lover fish and chips, and a slice of his favourite decadent chocolate cheesecake, Jack was practically a nervous wreck. As much as he wanted the delicious lunch in front of him, he knew he didn’t deserve it.
“Okay, okay, I admit it!” he blurted, unable to live with his guilty conscience a second longer.
“You did? You’re confessing?” Ianto raised one graceful eyebrow.
“Yes! I’m the one who ate all the chocolates from the box up in the tourist office! I’m a terrible, horrible person, and I swear I’ll never do it again!” It all came out in a rush.
“I didn’t mean to, honest! I just saw the box open on the desk when I came in and they were so tempting and I was only going to have one but they were really good and I was hungry so I had another and then another and it was like I couldn’t stop myself and then suddenly they were all gone and I’m sorry!” Jack stopped speaking and sat there panting, trying to get his breath back.
“You ate the whole box?”
“Yes,” Jack said meekly. “Every last one. I know it was unforgivably greedy, but I promise I’ll replace them, I’ll get you another box exactly the same! Please don’t hate me!”
Ianto smiled blandly, his mind racing; what box of chocolates was Jack talking about? He certainly hadn’t bought them, and come to that, he hadn’t even known they were there. In fact he hadn’t been up to the tourist office at all today, having taken his car when he went to get lunch. The chip shop was far enough away that everything would have been cold by the time he got back with it if he’d walked.
“So you saw a box of delicious chocolates sitting there unattended and just decided to help yourself without bothering to find out who they belonged to and ask permission? Is that something you make a habit of?” Ianto folded his arms across his chest and frowned sternly at Jack.
“No, of course not! They were just sitting there looking all yummy and delicious and it was like they were saying ‘Eat Me’, so I did!”
“Ah, so the chocolates were to blame, were they? Flaunting themselves, tempting you until you could no longer resist their dark allure?”
“Yes, exactly! I was powerless, they cast a spell over me!”
Jack was nodding so hard Ianto began to worry he might nod his head right off.
“And do food items tempt you like that often?”
Jack shook his head. “No! I mean, food is almost always tempting, unless it’s something gross and disgusting, but I can usually resist.”
That wasn’t entirely true; chocolate biscuits, especially dark chocolate Hobnobs, were never safe where Jack could get at them, but Ianto decided to let it slide.
“But these chocolates were the exception for some reason?”
“Yes, they were the best chocolates I ever tasted! They practically melted in my mouth.” A blissful expression came over Jack’s face at the memory.
“Well, it seems I have a confession to make as well.” Ianto shifted to sit on the corner of Jack’s desk, frowning. “I have no idea what chocolates you’re talking about. I didn’t buy any and leave them in the tourist office, and as far as I can tell, nobody else seems to have noticed their chocolates missing, so who did they belong to?”
Jack blinked. “They weren’t yours?”
“Nope, sad to say they weren’t. But I think it might be a good idea to find out where they came from. I’ll get the empty box and have Owen analyse it, along with any traces of the chocolates you might have left behind. Not that I expect there’ll be much.” Ianto got to his feet, making for the office door.
“Wait a minute!” Jack’s indignant shout stopped him in his tracks.
“Yes?” Ianto raised an eyebrow.
“If you weren’t mad at me for stealing your chocolates, why’d you let me confess?”
Ianto shrugged, smiling. “There’s a dent in the SUV, and you’ve been looking guilty all morning. I was hoping you’d own up without me having to say anything. After all, confession is good for the soul.”
“But I didn’t dent it, I swear! I haven’t even used it, not since that retrieval yesterday, and you were driving then!”
“Ah well, seems I have two mysteries to solve. Enjoy your lunch!” Ianto wandered out of Jack’s office to start the ball rolling on the mystery of the chocolates, wondering what it would take to get the real guilty party to own up about denting the SUV.