“What?” he queried in return, frowning.
She watched the red fluid swirl into the already tainted water, then returned the sponge to his face. “‘I let you get too close’” she quoted, mimicking the deep, gruff tone of his voice as best she could, while a small smile played on her lips.
“Well, the President of the Colonies is wiping blood from my cheek,” Bill stated, a sadness detectable behind his words.
“No, Bill,” she said, her other hand cupping his chin tenderly – ostensibly to hold his head still while she worked. “Laura is wiping blood from your cheek.”
He could brook no argument, because she was cleaning up around his mouth now.
When she had finished, she withdrew the sponge, and gently ran her thumb over his lips to remove any moisture she left behind. “There,” she said, barely louder than a whisper. Realising she had been paying those lips attention for perhaps a little too long, she raised her eyes to meet his, and found him watching her with a look of indecision. She smiled tenderly. “You are allowed to have friends, Bill.”
“A leader has to – ”
She held her thumb against his lips once more until she was sure he had stopped speaking and would not resume when she removed it. “You’re not my leader,” she told him.
He nodded. “I know.”
She hitched her skirt up a little and straddled his lap. “Then what are you so afraid of?”
“Laura,” he responded, warningly, moving his hands to her waist to move her off him.
She just shifted further up, seductively rolling his name off her tongue, “Bill.”
“You’re the President,” he stated in explanation for his actions.
“That’s crap!” She startled him with her response; she could see the surprise in his eyes. “I wasn’t the President on New Caprica and yet you were still holding back – although,” she added with a flirtatious smile, “admittedly nowhere near as much.”
He looked like he was dying to squirm out from beneath her and run and hide. But she most definitely was not going to let him.
“It would complicate things,” he said quietly.
She nodded once. “Probably… But I’m tired of running, Bill… Running from the Cylons; running from my feelings… If I stop running from the Cylons, I die… If I stop running from my feelings…” A wide mischievous grin spread slowly across her lips and she leant closer to him, resting her hands on the back of the chair to support herself. “… I live. Actually live, Bill, rather than just existing to run.”
She could feel his breath on her face as she watched him consider her words. He was silent for a long time, and they just stared at each other and breathed; chests rising, hearts pounding; the air crackling with possibility. Then he wound one arm between them, and raised his hand as if to cup her cheek, though his rough skin barely touched her.
“The people won’t approve,” he whispered.
“Then they can take it up with me at the next ‘dance’,” she smirked confidently, resting her cheek into his hand.
He laughed once then studied her fondly. “It’s good to know that you’re willing to fight for me.”
She let out a small laugh as well. “Any time.”
Another silence fell, and Laura watched the conflict between head and heart play out deep within Bill’s eyes. “Bill…” she began, not really knowing what words she would follow that with.
He gently stroked his thumb over her cheekbone, and let out a shaky sigh. “This would have been so much simpler to start on New Caprica,” he stated.
Laura couldn’t help but smile at the fact that this would in fact be starting. “No it wouldn’t…” she argued playfully, making herself even more comfortable on his knee. “We could have had much more fun by now though if it had.”
She took his laughter for agreement and moved her head in closer to his, determined that she was going to get the kiss she had been anticipating for far too long. He pulled his head back before she could make contact though.
“Are you sure?” he asked her, his voice heavy with desire.
She smiled, whispering, “Yes,” then her lips closed over his.
Minutes later, his hands were tangled in her hair; hers had found their way beneath his jacket, and their lips and tongues parted only for quick intake of oxygen.
It was the way it should have been behind that tent; the way it should have been beneath the starlit sky of New Caprica; but most importantly, it was the way it was going to be from now on.