Break down those walls tonight look so good tonight.
And when we’re good and close, I think I’ll steal your time.
They can shoot on sight, but it’s all right.
– So Good – Say Anything
Seattle, Fall 2004
Once again, he is standing outside the varsity library waiting for her and once again, she is late. He glances at his phone for the hundredth time but there is still no text. Turning, he braces his hands on the wall and resists the urge to kick. Without warning, hands snake around and cover his eyes.
“Guess who?” her voice a sultry whisper, lips grazing his ear sending that delightfully familiar shudder through his body.
“Look, lady. I don’t know what you’re selling but I ain’t buying.” He pulls her hands away from his face and turns around wrapping her in his arms. Their lips touch gently at first and they quickly increase pressure and momentum, tongues battling with pent up longing. He pulls away, grabs her hand and pulls her around the corner out of sight before pushing her back up against the wall and kissing her again. When he releases her, he hands her a lilac bloom. She smiles at his memory. He never forgets.
“God, I wish we didn’t have to hide.” She leans into his chest breathing in the scent of both him and the flower. They are always linked in her mind.
“I know babe, me too.” Their relationship was more damn complicated than it should be. Her scholarship, her place in the university program depended on staying squeaky clean. No parties, no alcohol, no drugs and no boyfriends. At fifteen, the board had been resistant to allowing her in. Even the remarkable results from her SATs had not been enough. Finally, it was the work that she had done for the computer science department that had swayed them. She had taken less than an hour to break into the CIA’s servers. The lead CI on the multi-million dollar research project, with the backing of the agency and one of the major funding bodies, insisted that she be allowed to take up a fully funded RA scholarship.
They had sat her down at the first interviews and told her the rules. What they hadn’t counted on was a relationship that had already blossomed over the summer the year before. He wasn’t sleeping with her, no matter how much she begged. He wasn’t that stupid. But giving her up, when they had put her so firmly in his world, required more strength than he could muster.
Paris, May 21 2011
Less than a week left with her and my lungs are being crushed. Every movement, every word has me salivating like her bloody lap dog and she knows it. She knows what she does to me. This past year of specialist training has been tough but the last five weeks of swanning around in this hotel have been hell on earth and if I have to sneak off for another cold shower, I am going to get hypothermia. I haven’t masturbated so often and so quietly since I was nineteen years old. A lesser man would just leave the mess all over the shower floor for her to step in each morning but she is always up and moving before me so I don’t even get that satisfaction.
Anyone could read her file and know that she’s brilliant but after six years she completely blows me away at every turn. She’s smarter, she’s faster, she’s more lethal and she is fucking sex on legs. I can’t believe that they paired us up. Of all the people in the world. There is no doubt that she is absolutely the best at what she does and that she is one of the few people in the world who could get Christian Grey in her back pocket. They want me to get close enough to do the psyche eval because with all of the shit in his past, they don’t completely trust him not to be deep in this shit up to his armpits. But they know our connection, they know our past. And when I saw her walking out of the water that day I was instantly back in college.
The first time I saw her I was eighteen and thought I ruled the world. She was about to turn fifteen but already a woman in almost every sense of the word. She took my breath away then but she was so young and I was such a dork. In that way of adolescent boys, I couldn’t speak to her so I spent the afternoon showing off. My sister Kate and I were serious high divers. Kate almost made the Olympic trials. So there I was, knowing better but doing somersaults into the pool anyway. I was lucky I didn’t break my fucking neck but the more she pretended not to notice, the more I made her see. I had relegated what happened next to the annals of history. Now, here she is, sharing this room with me, driving me completely nuts with her smart mouth and her sexy body. And I’m pretty sure she wants to kill me.
Jean-Claude left us an hour ago and she is busy fluffing around in the bathroom. I have a good mind to tie her up and go to dinner without her. Finally, she emerges from the bathroom and I would cut my own testicles off just to get some relief. The tight little dress seems to be painted on as struggles to hug the base of her ass. Her dark hair is sleek and sharp, her make up perfect with dramatic smoky eyes and pin-up girl red lipstick. But the thing that really gets me pole vaulting around the room are the five inch fuck me black stilettos and that heady bouquet of lilac and coffee. Jesus Christ.
Smiling as she enters the room, she takes one look at me and her face drops into a scowl. Now what?
“What’s the matter with you?”
“Nothing’s the matter with me. Why?”
“You’re looking at me as if I have toilet paper stuck to my bum. Is there something wrong with this dress?”
I swallow. “No. If you can call it a dress. Are you hoping to get picked up during or after dinner?” I turn and put my watch on, quickly check my phone before putting it in my pocket and grab the key card off the dresser.
“What the hell crawled up your butt? Why is it that every man thinks that a girl in a mini skirt is a prostitute?” She’s right. She looks fantastic and I am being a grade A shit just because I can’t keep my dick in my pants.
“Mia, I just…you just,…you make this difficult. When you…I just can’t…” Fuck, now I can’t even form a coherent sentence. “Look, forget it. Let’s go eat.”
Dinner at Maxim’s is an exercise in shock and awe. Mia scans the menu ordering our food and wine in flawless French, while completely charming the usually stoic and unimpressed staff. It is not about the language, I can speak and understand as well as she does. It is the attention to detail, the patter with the maitre’d and sommelier, matching exquisite combinations of food with wine. There is also the way that every head in the restaurant follows her as we walk in and take our seats. Everything about her is perfection, an exquisite and heady mix of vibrant naivety and calculated sophistication. If they knew that she could hack into their bank accounts from her iPhone over dinner or kill them in one of fifty ways without leaving a visible mark using just her butter knife, they would think twice about trying to attract her attention. As for her, she notices everything without looking at anything.
“You’re staring at me like I’ve grown horns again.” She leans over the table to pick up her glass and I get another view of cleavage, as her nipples try desperately to pop out the top of her dress. Her eyes are bright, her dimpled grin cheeky and I can feel the seething rage in her voice hit me like a laser canon across the table top.
“No, I’m the one growing horns.” I mumble lifting my phone up to cover my face. She pulls it down and glares at me.
“I know you aren’t reading. What is going on Kavanagh? You’re like a bear with a sore tooth.”
“Just drop it Mia. Let’s have dinner.” The food arrives on cue and we eat in silence except for the times that one of the wait staff call past the table and then she’s all animation and light. When the coffee is finished I throw down my napkin.
“Right, let’s get back to the hotel.” She looks at me as if I have gone mad but I’m so fucking tired of the constant flirting with anyone who isn’t me.
“Oh, no. Not me. This is our last week in Paris and I’m not spending it locked in a hotel room. I’m going out clubbing. Every night!” Her defiance is cute but she is out of her tiny wee mind if she thinks I am letting her loose in Paris on her own.
“We have work to do, plans to go through. We are going back to the hotel.” There that told her.
“No. You heard Jean-Claude. We don’t have to pretend to be married. We just have to do our job, and we’ve been over those plans a million times. During the day, we can have as many conversations as you want but the nights are mine. Tonight I want to dance.” Fuck. Will this woman ever take a direct order? For a moment, I imagine her on her knees, doing what she’s told. Tempting. But she’s right. We could do with blowing off a little steam.
“Alright. But we are both back in bed by 1am. No arguments.” She sits back in her chair with a sexy little smile.
“What makes you think you’re invited, Kavanagh?”
“I’m not taking my eyes off you.”
“Is that an offer?” Her tongue snakes out and licks those full luscious lips and my dick jumps in my pants. Jesus Christ, why couldn’t she be an ugly cow? Why does she have to be the worst type of temptation? I’m kind of over this shit.
“It’s whatever you want it to be, Mia. You call it.” I place both hands over hers and lean in to make my point. If she wants to tempt me then I’m letting her know, once and for all, that I am tempted. Maybe if we fuck tonight we can both move on and finish this assignment without complications.
She pulls her hands sharply back as if I just burnt her. Not so immune after all, Grey. Unexpectedly, she looks up at me with wide eyes that are contrite and confused. Then her eyes narrow. “Why do you send such mixed signals, Kavanagh? What are you hoping to achieve?”
Shit, what am I hoping to achieve? I have to keep reminding myself that she is just 22 years old. She hasn’t had anything like a normal life, not just because of her upbringing but because of the agency. I have got to get my emotions under control because she doesn’t deserve to see what a fucked up mess I am when I’m around her. She’s been able to move on and if I were a better man, I should be able to let her. That would be fine if I wasn’t still so fucking in love with her. I take a couple of deep breaths and try to tamp that shit right down.
“Mia…look… I know that you don’t like me much. I get that. I can’t help how I respond to you, although I am trying. Once this is over, you won’t have to deal with me again, I promise.” I’ve already got a sweet gig lined up at the ass end of the world in butt-fuck New Zealand – ski instructor, hiking guide, whatever the fuck they want me to do. As far away from Seattle and Mia Grey as I can get. “Now, let’s just enjoy the rest of our evening.”
I glance down at the bill and punch in the code for my credit card. I know that she is studying me and I really don’t want to know what she’s seeing. I take out my phone to check emails just to distract myself from an answer I don’t want to hear.
“You know, for one of the agency’s rising star profilers, you have no idea about women.” Dropping the phone to my lap for a moment I look at her. What the hell does she mean by that? Psychological profiling is kind of my thing. I was recruited into the agency after I took part in an extended study on empathic reading and body language. I’m what’s known as a SuperRecogniser. Less than 10% of the world’s population can do what I do. I’m that fucking good. Reading people inside and out. The trouble with Mia is she is so fucking mercurial that I defy anyone to read her. So much of it is defensive. That’s what happens when you discover that everyone you love and trust has been lying to you. I take up her challenge and choke down my own guilt on that one.
“Really? Well, I can tell you now that you’re a lost little girl in a woman’s body. You’re attracted to me but you don’t want to be. You’ve been raised in privilege with great promise and high expectations placed on you. This has given you the combination of social confidence and crippling inner doubt. You’re smarter than most of the collective alumni of your postgrad program and you’re motivated by mystery and solving puzzles. Money doesn’t do it for you but you would rather not be without it. You have always known that you’re a beauty and you’re confident with your body in a world where curves are not hailed as the female ideal. And you suck at taking orders.”
“That’s hardly news, Ethan. You could read that in my file.” She’s pouting but she’s getting ready to fire up again. Bring it on, Spitfire.
“However,” I hold up a finger to stop her, “you like to subvert the accepted beauty standards so you indulge in the odd dessert on the basis that it keeps your curves rounded and it pleases the people you are with. It also explains why you would rather have your hair-colored bright purple or orange rather than it’s natural color and why you have a mask tattooed on your left shoulder and an infinity symbol on your ankle, although I suspect that one is a reward for completing your PhD. You’re a high achiever and a perfectionist but your perfect world was completely rocked by finding out the truth about your parents. Relationships are something you both embrace and subvert. Part of you likes that you’re family is not as perfect as they want the world to believe. However, the delight is tempered with the disappointment of knowing that the woman who raised you, who you thought was so strong and capable, is actually a doormat.” And some stupid prick lied and broke your heart six years ago and you will never forgive him for it.
My eyes have held hers all the way through this assessment and it is only at the last minute when the tears actually well-up and threaten to fall that I understand my mistake. She looks directly at me with fire in her eyes as she dabs the moisture with her napkin, amazingly avoiding smearing her heavy eye make-up all over her face. “Fuck you, Ethan.” She stands up and throws her napkin on the table storming out of the restaurant. Stunned by my own stupidity, it takes a moment before I move, racing out to reach her before she hails a cab.
“Mia, I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” My arms wrap around her and for a moment her body is stiff and resistant then she presses into me, her silent tears smearing mascara and eyeliner all over my black shirt. We stand there for a while, me rocking her gently and stroking her back, feeling like a complete asshole.
“You’re a prick, Kavanagh. I hate you.” Her husky voice filters up through my chest but she doesn’t pull away which is promising.
“Yeah, I know. I’m really sorry, Mia. You didn’t deserve that.”
She lifts her head to look at me, all softness and panda-eyed and I can’t help myself. I lean in and cover her lips with mine. I’ve kissed her at least a hundred times but this is different. It starts soft at first, pleading for forgiveness and then I feel her mouth open to me. My tongue sweeps in and its the sweetest fucking taste on the planet. There’s the residual chocolate and Bordeaux on her tongue but its more than that. When she moans into my mouth, I have to pull away. She doesn’t let me. Instead, she tries to grasp the power by grinding her pelvis hard against my erection and I’m about two seconds from going Neanderthal and carrying her into the nearest alley. Then without breaking the kiss her arm shoots up to signal a taxi.
Before long, we’re underway, heading to God only knows what club. I really don’t care because Mia is all hands in my hair as she straddles my lap in the back seat of the car, her tongue thrusting, teeth biting, and hips grinding. There’s so much going on that I’m wondering how long its been since she actually got laid. She’s almost desperately clawing at me but Christ, she feels so good. Minutes later, the cab pulls up and after we pay and get out, she pushes her way to the front of the line gaining us instant entry like we’re some sort of celebrity couple. I have no idea if they knew her or if she paid them but I gather doors simply open for Mia Grey, wherever and whenever she wants. I’m guessing that no one says no to her, and I’m not about to start, even though I should. I’ve waited, too up close and personal, for too fucking long to call a halt now. If this is what she wants, then fuck it, I’m in.
The club is dark and loud. Bodies are jammed on the dance floor but yet again, paths open for her and she grabs my hand, leading me into the center. Instantly, her arms are around me, her forehead pressed against mine, our bodies touching from waist to thigh. Her luscious breasts light up under the fluorescent lights and it’s difficult to resist the urge to bury myself in them. As with everything she does, she moves like a seasoned professional, every sway of her hips calculated to make me drool. If I’d known that coming to a club would do this to her, I would have brought her here weeks ago.
The crowd melts away until all I can see is her. Lips locked once more, our kiss is bordering on pornographic and suddenly she pulls away. We dance apart for a while, me trying to match her moves but feeling happy just to watch her do her thing. She’s a thousand watt light bulb lighting up the room and drawing other dancers in like moths to her flame. Soon there’s a crowd around her singing and dancing as one, and she leads them, egging them on, one arm thrusting into the air as her hair sways back and forth. As I watch her, I have one thought. I’m screwed.
Just when I think I have lost her to her people, she grabs my hand and drags me off the dance floor. We rush up the spiral staircase and down a corridor then without any ceremony she moves past a line of people taking me with her into the ladies bathroom. I try to pull back and get out of there but no one bats an eyelid when she shuts us in a cubicle. My pants present little challenge for her and without much warning her hands thrust inside my boxers stroking my cock from tip to base as she thrusts her tongue into my mouth.
Sliding her skimpy little dress up to her waist, the breath is sucked out of my body when I look down and see her matching red g-string. Fuck me! I push it aside and sink my fingers into her molten lava.
“Fuck, baby, you are so hot and wet.” She laughs, throwing her head back and I latch my mouth on to her neck, sucking and licking up to her earlobe and down her jaw. Her skin is salty with the sweat from her exertions on the dance floor. I can’t resist sinking to my knees to get a taste of her cream. I lap at her clit, her hands gripping my head as I taste that sweet, sweet honey. My fingers pump inside her enjoying the feeling of her building climax. She smells amazing so ripe and rich and sweet. She gasps and then her pussy pulses around my fingers, hot liquid saturating my face as I try to devour her orgasm.
Strong hands pull me up and she quickly reaches inside her bra to fish out a condom. With incredible dexterity she rips the foil and sheaths me pulling the latex down to the base of my cock. In the back of my mind, I am disappointed that she is so good at this. I try not to linger on how many public fucks she has had as I move myself between her legs.
“Put your legs around my waist.” I hoist her up by her ass and her long legs pull me closer. Carefully balancing her on the tip of my shaft I look at her. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I want you to fuck me. I want you to be the first.” My body goes rigid, not quite believing I have heard her right.
“I want you.”
“No, what else did you say?” Suddenly, she goes from aggressive vixen to shy virgin, peering at me from under her bangs.
“I want you to be my first.” I look into her eyes and for the first time I see the tell. She’s serious. I lower her down until her feet hit the floor, before removing the condom and throwing it into the toilet. My anger builds but I’m trying not to let it show. A fucking virgin? Jesus Christ! Disappointment and shame are all over her body as I do my pants up and adjust her dress. She doesn’t look up but I can see the tears. She slaps my hands away and continues straightening her dress.
“No.” She’s angry. I get it. But her first time is not going to be a quick fuck in a public toilet.
“Mia, come.” I hold out my hand and there are a few tense seconds before she puts her hand in mine. We move quickly back down the stairs and through the crowd. Out on the street I find a cab quickly and get us back to the hotel. We don’t talk or touch all the way and even when we get into the suite, I storm into the bathroom while she sits on the edge of the bed. As I close the door, I hear the thud of her shoe hitting the wood behind me.
Standing in front of the basin, I run the water and splash it over my face. I still have a semi but he’ll have to wait. Fuck, he’s been waiting six years. Turning on the hot tap, I grab a wash cloth and rinse it under the warm water then move back into the room where she’s still sitting with angry tears coursing down her face. I’m going to take that as a good sign. At least she still feels something which is more indication that she still gives a damn. It fills me with more hope than I’ve had for the past few weeks.
Without speaking I squat down in front of her and lift her chin, slowly wiping the make up off her face. As I work, she reaches up and pulls the fake lashes off staring at them as if they are some sort of foreign bug before flicking them into the trash can. I remove her stockings and then gather her up in my arms. We sit on the bed, me propped up against the headboard, her curled up in my lap. The anger has pretty much melted away. Her tears have stopped but neither of us has said a word.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ambush you.” Her quiet whisper breaks the silence. “I thought you wanted…”
“Don’t.” I have to stop her before she starts to believe her own words. “I’m sorry that I let it go that far. I am flattered that you wanted me to be the first. Hell, I’m over the fucking moon. I just didn’t expect that I still could be.”
“You seemed so angry.” I lean back enough to see the flush of red creep up her neck. The Mia I knew long ago might blush but the Mia I’ve lived with for the past couple of months would cut my balls off before being embarrassed. Its reassuring to know which one I’m in the room with now. Once more, I consider that I might actually have a chance, here, and while my mind is calmly trying to process this new information, my heart is pounding through my chest.
“Don’t be fooled,” I laugh. “I’m still angry at you. How could you throw it away like that?” It’s a leading question and I’m a prick but she’s had me spinning in circles for so long that I’m pretty sure I’ve grown a tail.
“Are you going to give me the precious gift speech? Don’t bother, I’ve heard it before, three times in fact.”
I chuckle. Thinking about what I know of Christian, Elliot and Carrick Grey. I can imagine what that must have been like for a girl like Mia. I am just so absolutely blown away by what has just happened. I mean, with all that raw sensuality constantly on show, I just can’t believe that she has never…”Ethan, do you hate me?”
The question throws me. Why would I hate her? Why would she ask? Unless she still cared. Fragility isn’t in her repertoire, not when she’s being Agent Grey. But this is the woman. Laid bare and open. I try to choose my words carefully. A wrong move and this girl, this woman who I never stopped loving, is going to slip through my fingers.
“Never. But why me? Why now?” Christ, how needy does that sound? But I have to know. Because if this is what I think it is then I’m never going to let her go again. If she gives herself to me, then she’s mine. For good. After what happened six years ago I am surprised she would even entertain the idea of me but I’ve never given up hope. Not really.
“You heard me. Why did you want it to be me? Was it just because you had half a bottle of wine and got all hot and sweaty on the dance floor? Or is this some kind of vendetta?”
There is a long pause while she considers her answer. Interesting. Smart-mouthed Mia, the confident super agent who hates my guts would have been quicker off the mark than this. When I hear the next words out of her mouth, I smile.
“You were there. You were willing. Isn’t that enough?” I wait for a few minutes. Let her try and work out why.
“You’re lying.” I keep my voice quiet, emotionless. I don’t want to accuse her harshly and give her a reason to go off her nut at me.
“You’ll never know.” She wriggles in my lap and I see the moment when she feels that I am still hard beneath her. She pulls away and looks in my eyes. I smile, trying to reassure her, hoping like hell it doesn’t come off like a leer. “You want me now.” Of course I do. I’ve wanted you for fucking ever. That’s a hell of a long time to have a hard on.
“You’re here. You’re willing. Isn’t that enough?” I toss her words gently back to her and then bend my head to kiss her. Her lips are so sweet. Her mouth is soft, lips apart and letting me explore. This time I set the pace, keeping it slow, gentle. There is a tremor in her touch as her fingers reach for my face. She is so lovely and she doesn’t even know it. I know exactly what has made her harden her heart to the world but if I have any chance with her I have to persuade her to lower her guard. To forgive me.
And then I have to get past her brothers.
A/N: Welcome to another 2016 Revision and thank you for reading. Please review. Especially if you’ve read the original story. Just because I think it is better doesn’t mean it is. I’d like to know.
There are subtle changes with this one and probably the best example so far of how I am trying to revise my authorial voice. Since I started writing fanfiction, I’ve been heavily influenced by a number of really great writers who offer me wisdom in a number of ways. Jane Harvey Berrick crafts amazing emotional journeys. I’m a huge fan of her pacing although there is a lot to love about her work. JR Ward writes the most kickass dialog for her Brotherhood. Her menfolk are very much to be admired. Of late, CD Reiss has been tumbling my imagination around LA with gangsters and billionaire kinksters. She’s lyrical but not flowery. There’s a rhythm and tempo that makes the heart race. And her female characters are outstanding. When I feel like I’m weakening Mia with too much love and angst, a trip to LA brings her back into sharp focus for me.
The chapter is not too different except for the phrasing and perhaps, more of a sense that Ethan is truly still in love with her. Hope you enjoyed it.