Dom simply happened to be in the right place at the right time. He'd begged off pints down to the pub with the hobbits and Orlando, decided he'd rather have a night at home, alone; buy some beer and watch a video and not say a single word to anyone all evening. Alone was in rare supply, filming like this, and he was almost starting to miss it. So he'd stopped off at the bottle shop on his way home, and was turning the corner in the wine aisle, his beer tucked under his arm, contemplating buying a bottle of white wine as well, when he ran head first into Cate.
She was standing in front of the display of Merlot, staring at a bottle in her hand thoughtfully and scratching at the glue on her ear. In the last glances of daylight through the windows, she was wreathed in orange light, ethereal but for the very human motion of her hand. When he slammed into her, Cate looked up from her wine, tilted her head in what Dom assumed was a greeting, and said calmly, "Dominic. Hello. I'd have thought you were out with your mates tonight."
Dom shrugged. "Everybody needs a break from the noise once in a while. You can only watch Orlando try to pick up the entire pub for so long before it ceases to be amusing." He paused, considering. "Well, that's not true. I can watch Orli get shot down by Kiwi birds 'til the sheep come home and it will still be funny. But I needed a night off."
Cate laughed, and it was intoxicating, cutting through the reverent alcoholic silence of the shop like a lathe. Dom didn't think he'd ever seen her laugh before; smile broadly when the hobbits tripped into something unintentionally funny, certainly, and gaze beatifically on the teeming throng of cast and crew, yes, but not laugh. It made her look beautiful in an entirely new way, and everyone in the shop turned to stare. "Well," she said, wine still in hand. "You shouldn't drink alone, regardless. I'm going to buy this wine, which is most likely overpriced and not terribly good, and you should come have one glass with me. Then I'll let you go on to your own solitary pleasures."
She rested a hand on his elbow, suggesting that she wouldn't let him say no, and they left the shop together.
Cate's flat was smaller than his, but it was also less cluttered with books and shoes and empty pizza boxes. She'd waved a hand around the living room and told him to make himself at home, asked if he'd like to put his beer away to keep it cold, and disappeared into the kitchen. There was glassware clinking faintly from behind the door, and Dom heard the pop of a cork as he ran his fingers over the framed photos sitting by the television. Cate and Sir Ian together, at some swank event; an older woman, looking enough like Cate to probably be her mother; one of Viggo's, snapped in the makeup trailer, hobbits and elves half-glued into their prosthetics, all sleepy-eyed but smiling gamely.
He'd dropped onto the couch and closed his eyes for just a moment when the other end of the couch shifted. Dom managed to peel one eye open and grope for the glass Cate was offering him without spilling any of it on himself, Cate or the couch. He blinked sleepily and forced his eyes to stay open and focus on Cate; she was making a terrible face at her glass of wine. "I'm afraid," she told him gravely, "it is as absolutely wretched as I'd feared, but now it's fait accompli and I can't bear to pour it down the drain."
Dom laughed and sipped his own; bitter, with an aftertaste that reminded him rather of eating paste when he was a child. "We'll have to finish it off quickly, then," he told her. "And we can move on to my beer, which I assure you tastes exactly as good as its rock-bottom price."
She'd said one glass, but he found that he was comfortable on Cate's couch and she made no move to toss him out. They polished off the bottle of wine, holding their noses and swigging whole glasses at one go, and were tipsily working their way through Dom's beer and conversation about British television shows. It was strange but not unwelcome to see her with a bottle of beer in her hand, utterly relaxed, something anachronistic about Cate and beer together. Her hair had come down from its usual neat knot and was brushing her eyes in shadow, her cheeks flushed from the wine. Dom felt loose-limbed and cheerful, glad for the excellent company and the sound of a voice that wasn't his own. He told her so and stood to get another beer.
He had taken a single step when he realized he's underestimated how drunk he was, tripped on his own feet, and fell straight into Cate's lap.
She was convulsing with laughter, making no move to push him off, and he was suddenly so in love with this undignified, relaxed Cate that he leaned up and kissed her. Her half-finished beer was pressed, damp and cool, against his stomach, and he fully expected to go tumbling to the floor from a shove any minute now. Instead, her free hand gripped the back of his neck, long cool fingers with silver rings like his, and she ran her tongue along his bottom lip experimentally. It was all the invitation he needed. He pulled the beer from her hand, set it on the floor by her feet, and kissed her like his life depended on it.
Cate's skin was smooth, her hands strong and sure, and kissing her was, thankfully, entirely different than kissing his mother, as he'd feared it would be. She wasn't graceful here, tangled in her own shirt, both of them laughing hysterically between kisses. She bit the muscle in his shoulder hard - he knew he'd be bruised in the morning - when he ran his tongue along the curve of her breast, clutched at his hair and murmured his name in her posh accent when he slid inside her.
She clutched at his back and licked his neck and thrust back up against him, and when he came, he buried his face in her hair and felt her shudder underneath him.
Afterwards, they sprawled together on the couch, sticky and sated, and she traced patterns with her fingernails along his spine. "I hadn't meant to do that," she said, sounding sleepy and still half-drunk. She kissed him. "But I'm not sorry I did."
Dom laughed. "If I show up with another bottle of terrible wine tomorrow, can we do it again?"
"Don't spoil my afterglow, Dominic," she said fondly. "You wouldn't rather watch Mr. Bloom - how did you put it? - be shot down by Kiwi birds instead?"
"Orlando's a bit of alright," he agreed. "But since it seems no one's told you before, you've got good looks in spades more than him, love."
She shoved him off the couch and stood up, stepping past him to cross the living room. "Stop flattering me and come to bed, Dom. You've got Feet in the morning." She offered him a hand up and he took it, stopping where he stood to watch her walk, all graceful curves and a slink to her step that put him in mind of jungle cats. Cate turned in the doorway to her bedroom and looked back at him with a tiny, wicked grin. "And if it's truly, truly awful wine, you can come back again tomorrow."