7 - 2. Interlude V - Reward

"Yo! Anyone awake?"

The voice came from the living room. Ben had let himself in. If he'd rung the doorbell, Sophie had slept through it. Though that wasn't unlikely.

At least she'd showered before falling back to sleep. She'd slipped on a thin tee and undies, intending to start the day, but she was still drowsy and solidly in the afterglow of a night's great sex. Dustin not leaving until after three a.m. was responsible for both.

So she'd rested for a moment on her too-comfortable bed, thinking happy thoughts about Dustin's body until she'd drifted off, sleeping until Ben's voice woke her.

Quickly she grabbed the sheet and slipped her bare legs beneath it. Just in time, as Ben knocked on her bedroom door.

"Come in," Sophie croaked. Her voice was lower than it ought to be in pitch and volume.

"Are you alone?" Ben asked. The door swung open but he remained on the other side.

"I said come in," Sophie responded, testily. "Yes, I'm alone."

The door opened fully. Ben strode into the room. There was something in his right hand. "Did you strike out?" he asked.

"Oh, please." Sophie's annoyance was mostly feigned, and mostly to hide any sign of a sappy smile that might tend to form if she considered the previous night. "It wasn't a contest. He was ready to break free. He just didn't know it."

Ben lifted his hand. What he was carrying revealed itself to be a long white envelope. He displayed it with a flourish, then rested it on its edge against Sophie's right breast, pushing it against her nipple. The corner bit sharply into the rise of the edge of her nipple. In her current state of recalled arousal, the sensation shot straight down to her sex, making her breath catch.

Sophie didn't insist he move the envelope. "Is that...?"

"Mmhmm," he said. "You won the bet."

She sighed. "I didn't win. Or at least, you didn't lose. This was always a setup. It was about Dustin."

"What do you mean?" Ben asked. He was watching her nipple swell, not attempting to hide his interest. But then, Sophie wasn't trying hard to mask her reaction.

"You care about him," she said. "You didn't like seeing his despair. You knew if you could kick-start his recovery in one area, you could help him through it. For such a major jerk, you have a sensitive side. You wanted to lose the bet." She grinned. "Fortunately for you, I wanted to fuck him."

Ben slid the sharp corner of the envelope over Sophie's now-swollen nipple, letting it dig into her. The spikes of arousal were making her wet.

"Were the first years also your agents?" she asked.

"If they were, they failed where you succeeded," said Ben, a touch of curious respect in his eyes.

"Did you pay them with tickets?" Sophie asked, looking at the envelope, its edge pressing into her nipple.

Ben shook his head. "No... but maybe I didn't strike out with them as badly as I led Dustin to believe."

"Both of them?" Sophie didn't try to hide her amusement. "Both of them together?"

Ben sighed dramatically. "The sacrifices I make for a friend."

Sophie laughed, then took the envelope and tugged it toward her. "Mine, then?"

Ben didn't release the envelope as she moved it, allowing it to draw his fingers with it. When the edge he was holding was close to his not-sibling's breast, he released it, and, taking a rare chance, moved his fingers the short distance to her tee shirt to pinch her nipple.

She shivered, letting him continue as she opened the envelope.

"How the fuck did you get courtside seats, anyway?" she asked.

Ben's fingers slid around the tip of her breast, lightly squeezing and tugging it. She'd never let him touch her like that, and she found the hunger in his eyes amusing, and in her current state it felt good. "Uh," he said. "You don't want to know."

"I probably don't," Sophie agreed, sliding higher on the bed, her nipple moving out of Ben's reach. "Now go away. I need to face the day."

"Okay," he said. "Get together later this week?"

"Sure," Sophie replied. "Text me. I'll figure out my schedule."

Ben turned to leave. Halfway to the door, he turned back. Sophie caught the movement out of the corner of her eye as she was studying the tickets. She looked up at him.

"How did you know about my hookup profiles?" he asked.

Sophie chortled. "I didn't. I do now, though."

Ben shook his head. "I should have known," he said, "and I should have kept my mouth shut."

"You might learn one day," she agreed.


"Dustin," said the voice on the phone.

"Seems you got home okay," Sophie said.

"Oh, hey." His voice grew softer. "No muggers around at four in the morning."

"I was more concerned that you wouldn't be able to walk," Sophie replied.

He laughed. "Well, true. Yeah, I'm fine. Better than fine."

"Doing anything Saturday?" she asked.

"Umm, no?" came Dustin's voice.

"Wanna go to the game? I have courtside seats for two."

"You mean, like, on a date?" he asked, nervously.

"I told you yesterday," Sophie said, "hookups don't need to turn into dating, and dates don't need to become relationships. Call it a first and last date, if you like. I thought we could go eat, see the game, come back here and get naked for a few hours, then go our separate ways."

"Uh... okay," he said, his voice suddenly thick. "So, uh, how did you get courtside seats?"

"Believe me, man," Sophie replied, "you really don't want to know."