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11 October 2013 @ 10:33 pm
Fic Post: Quantico, Langley, and Capitol Hill  
Title: Quantico, Langley, and Capitol Hill
Author: Montiese
Category: Humor/Romance
Pairing: Erin Strauss/Mark Cramer
Rating: TEEN
Summary: “You should probably just ask me what my favorite book is so you won't get yourself in too much trouble.”
Author’s Note: This is #17 in The Story of Us series.


August 1985

“Hi.” Mark tapped Erin on the shoulder before walking around and smiling at her.

“I had to beat off three guys by telling them that was my boyfriend’s stool.” Erin said pointing to the empty one next to her. “For the trauma of having to call a guy I don’t even know my boyfriend I want to know how you broke your ankle.”

“I did it playing squash.”

“You said last week that it was a funny story.” She made a face while drinking her beer.

“I was going to lie and tell you something interesting like skydiving or dueling.”

“Dueling?”

“Dueling isn’t interesting?” Mark asked. “I think it sounds pretty intense. Alexander Hamilton died in a duel. The story goes that he didn’t think Aaron Burr had the guts to shoot him and that Burr’s gun was empty. The man wrote The Federalist Papers, helped build America. He died in a duel, Erin. It’s interesting.”

“Do you often lie to impress women?” Erin countered with a question of her own. She kept the smile about his Alexander Hamilton knowledge to herself.

“No. My looks are usually enough.”

She didn’t get a chance to answer before the bartender came over to take Mark’s order.

“I’ll have a bourbon with a beer back; Samuel Adams please.”

“Put it on your tab, Erin?” the bartender asked.

“That’s fine.”

“You don’t have to do that.” Mark said when the bartender walked away.

“I don’t mind. Anyway, if you're not paying for drinks all night then you won't be under the impression that you're getting something at the end of it.”

“Well how do I know that you won't take advantage of my body?” Mark asked. “Women are not exclusive in being concerned about that kind of behavior.”

“You don’t, and that’s the rub.”

“I guess I’ll have to take my chances.”

His bourbon in front of him, Mark took a healthy sip. It had been a long day and excitement to see Erin tonight got him through it. He actually didn’t even know if she was going to be there. Last week her answer about seeing him again was vague at best. Erin told him that she came to Creepy’s on Tuesday nights. Creepy’s was what she called it.

“Who do you play squash with?” Erin asked.

“My boss and I play on Thursdays. I'm not fond of it and I'm not terribly good either, hence the ankle.” He pointed to his Ace bandage. “I think he asked me because he knows that he’ll win. I indulge him because I want to know his experiences. He's been an insider for some time.”

“Oh right, you have a ten year plan.”

“Yes.” Mark nodded.

“But you have no intention of stabbing Caesar in the back?”

“No ma'am.” Mark shook his head.

“Don’t call me ma'am.” Erin said.

“I'm sorry. You look really pretty tonight.”

She wore a denim skirt with black high heels and a black camisole. Her makeup was minimal but her skin had a dewy glow. Mark didn’t know much about women when it came to that sort of thing but his mother always told him there were two kinds. There were women who put a lot of work into looking as if they hadn’t and women who put no work at all into it but looked amazing. Something in him told Erin was the latter. He didn’t think he’d ever know for sure.

“My hair is a mess.” She rolled her eyes. “I'm growing out a perm from the ninth gate of hell. I will never again in life subject my tresses to such abuse.”

“If I say I still think you look pretty it'll seem as if I'm working too hard to impress you, won't it?”

“Mmm hmm,” Erin nodded. She held up her mostly empty stein to get the bartender’s attention.

“Then I’ll just say you're pretty in spite of the perm from the ninth gate of hell. How’s that?”

“Don’t ask me…go with your gut.”

“My gut’s telling me to lean in, say something devilish, and go for the kiss.” Mark said.

“OK do not, under any circumstances, go with your gut.” Erin smiled and made a slashing motion with her hand.

“What are you drinking, Erin?” the bartender asked.

“I want a High Life, Jake. I prefer bottle if you have it.”

“So why the FBI?” Mark asked. He put his chin in the palm of his hand.

“Why not the FBI?” she countered. “I was recruited.”

“That sounds more like the CIA.”

“Not really.” She shook her head.

“Are you in the CIA?” Mark asked.

“No.” Erin laughed.

“Could you shoot me from a ridiculously long distance and probably kill me?”

“Yes.” She nodded. When the bartender handed her the beer, she took a long sip. Then she pulled a Parliament Light from her satchel purse. Mark took a lighter from the inside picket of his tan sports jacket. “Do you smoke?”

“No, I just have a Cary Grant complex. I can't help myself.”

“Are you looking for your Ingrid Bergman?”

“I'm more of a Katharine Hepburn kind of guy.” Mark replied.

“You're from a political family, aren't you?”

“Yes. My father was a Rhode Island State Senator for many, many years. My mother’s family is New York political elite.”

“And they're Republicans?” Erin asked.

“My father is a moderate Republican, like the Senior Senator. While he isn’t against many federal social programs he doesn’t think all of our taxes should be dumped into them. He believes in small government, personal responsibility, and fiscal frugality. My grandfather and later my Uncle were Justices on the New York State Supreme Court.”

Erin’s father was a Republican as well but likened himself more to Ike than Dutch. He was anti-Reagan and though he hadn’t changed his party he had no love for its leader. Since Erich Strauss was a political scientist this was a conversation Erin had more than a million times in her life.

“What party do you subscribe to?” Mark asked.

“Politics, religion, and sex are three things people should never talk about in great detail.” Erin replied. “That surely goes double for strangers. It somehow always ends on a sour note. I studied political science in college; I prefer theories. I can theorize till the cows come home. At least with the right person I can.”

“I thought you studied history.”

“I had a double major in political science and history. I have a Master’s Degree in political science from City College of New York and I attended a one year social psychology program at Bradshaw University.”

“Fascinating; you're just fascinating.” He smiled. “But you don’t want to discuss politics?”

“It’s probably for the best.”

“Religion is out?”

“I was baptized Anglican, which is my mother’s faith. My father was raised Lutheran but is an agnostic. I just hope God, if he exists, forgives me for being too busy most times to think about him. That’s all I have to say about religion.”

“And we’re not having sex later?” Mark asked.

“You should probably just ask me what my favorite book is so you won't get yourself in too much trouble.” Erin said.

“What is your favorite book, Erin Strauss?”

A Kiss before Dying by Ira Levin.” She said.

“I've never read it.”

“Just for tonight I won't hold that against you.”

“You can hold me against you anytime you’d like.” Mark said. “I promise not to be offended. I’ll be just the opposite in fact.”

“You promise?” Erin put her hand on top of his.

“Cross my heart.”

***


“I want to see you again.” Mark said before his mouth covered hers again.

He couldn’t remember the last time he kissed anyone like this. He'd never done such a thing in public. They were standing by her car, leaning on it now. The two beers, bourbon, and scent of Erin’s perfume coursed through Mark’s veins like drugs. She smelled so good and tasted even better.

He loved the way Erin kissed. She wanted to take control and he didn’t mind letting her. She wanted to kiss, push him away a bit, and then pull him closer like she had to have more. They were so close all Mark hoped was that she didn’t feel his heart thumping in his chest. Not feeling the beginnings of an erection were probably more important but who wouldn’t be turned on by this. It was useless to fight chemistry.

“My schedule is so tight.” She mumbled. “The Academy doesn’t give me much time for a social life. As the end gets closer, the work triples.”

“I can cook you dinner.” He stroked her cheek. “I bet a home cooked meal would hit the spot.”

“You can cook?” Erin stopped kissing and looked at him.

“There are some dishes that I'm almost good at. I'm not as good as I am at kissing but I hold my own.”

“I'm really busy, Mark. Now probably isn’t the best time.” She sighed.

It wasn’t that she wanted to turn him down, now just wasn’t the time for this kind of distraction. Men were a distraction. Men who kissed like him were definitely a distraction. Erin wanted to just pull him into the backseat right now and have her way with him. Those feelings needed to be repressed for the time being. Her focus had to be the FBI.

“How about you give me a call if you get un-busy?” He suggested. “I'm busy too so I do understand. But I’ll keep the cooking offer on the table. It'll be there if you want to take it.”

Erin nodded and moved out of his arms. She needed to get back to the dorms. It was getting late; there were classes in the morning.

“I had a good time tonight.”

“Me too. I’ll check my schedule and call you about dinner.”

She unlocked her door and Mark held it open for her. Turning, Erin kissed him once more before climbing in. She honestly hadn’t expected to have that good of a time tonight. The first night had been nice but she was looking at James for Alex more than she was Mark for herself. He was nice to flirt with, Erin loved to flirt when the liquor was flowing, but it was no love match.

Tonight she drank, laughed, flirted, and Mark made her feel good. She wanted to make him feel good as well. He interested her and it had been a long time since a man had done so. There was David Rossi but that was never going to happen and Erin needed to move on. She wasn’t sure that moving on right now, with a million other things happening in her life was the best idea, but when it rained it poured. Sometimes stormy weather could actually end up making your day.

“Be safe driving back.” Mark said, closing the car door.

Erin rolled down her window, calling him with her finger. “C'mere.”

He squatted down and leaned into the car. It seemed as if the last kiss was better than all the rest. Mark couldn’t help but moan into her mouth. He felt dizzy when he stood.

“Was that something to remember you by in case I never see you again?”

“Goodnight, Mark Cramer.” She smiled.

“Goodnight, Erin Strauss.”

He held up his hand to wave as she pulled her older model BMW out of the parking space. Mark stood for a few moments before turning to walk to his car. It was a good night; a good date. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever see Erin again but wanted to think positive. He wanted to hear her talk, feel her skin, and see her smile.

Erin was special, and it didn’t take long in her presence to know that. He was attracted to her and wanted to give in to that attraction. One of the things that attracted him, which surely made him crazy, was that he had no idea how to read her. She was brilliant and flirty as hell but other women were the same. The first date just cracked the door for getting to know each other better. Mark hoped to have the opportunity to walk through it.

***

 
 
Where am I?: the lair
Feelings: happyhappy
Background Noise: silence