In From the Cold

Chapter 6

Alex POV


Bobby struggled throughout the morning, trying to get into the groove of this relationship thing, but after our talk in the bathroom, he seemed much better.

We had a light lunch and then we spent the afternoon working.

And it felt perfectly normal.

It was like any one of the dozens of times that I'd been at his place over the years, poring over casefiles.

And it had been a good idea to go out to dinner, too.

It was slightly stressing, knowing that someone was recording our every word, so getting out of the apartment would give us a much-needed break from having to censor our conversation.

Although, then we'd be watched, so our actions would have to be calculated, but still…what was the big deal?

I even felt almost carefree as I took Bobby by the hand and walked with him to the restaurant.

But then he'd kissed me.

There'd been no warning and I'd had no clue of what he was about to do. It was honestly the last thing that I'd been expecting.

But I didn't breeze through my time in Vice for nothing.

I know how to go with the flow.

And I don't think that he had any idea what that kiss had done to me.

I mean, I wasn't upset with him.

I'd given him the green light for playing the part. I could only guess that he was treating me like he'd treated girlfriends in the past.

I was pretty sure that he hadn't had any recently, but the man had obviously not forgotten how to kiss.

Because even though he'd started it as something chaste and it had been me who'd intensified it, he hadn't missed a beat.

And all throughout dinner, I kept replaying the feel of his lips on mine…this was definitely way better than any assignment I'd ever had in Vice.

And if I kept this up, when we went back to the department, I was going to wind up with a broken heart.

Because being in love with him without any hope or potential was something I'd learned to deal with.

But experiencing this kind of closeness, knowing what I'd be missing…that was going to be really tough.

"Can I get you two some more wine?" the waitress asked us, interrupting my thoughts.

We'd eaten dinner and had finished off one bottle of wine between the two of us. That was probably more than enough.

I didn't need to be tipsy when it was time to climb into bed with him.

"We're fine," I told her. "Thank you."

"So, you can have the bedroom," he said to me after she left. "I'll sleep on the couch."

"Are you serious?" I asked him. "So, you don't snore at all, or breathe heavily, or move while you're sleeping?"

"Well, yeah, I guess," he replied. "I mean, I don't snore," he added with a smile. "But I do tend to breathe."

"They'll hear you, Bobby," I reminded him. "I appreciate the chivalrous gesture, but we both need to sleep in the bed."

He stared at me for a moment and I noticed that the color in his cheeks deepened a little.

Was he thinking about what I was thinking about?

Probably not.

"Don't worry. I won't jump you while you're sleeping," I told him.

"It's not…I wasn't…" he began ineloquently, and then he stopped and sighed. "I don't know why I'm having so much trouble with this. We have a great friendship. I'm not shy around you, and yet suddenly the prospect of getting into bed with you…it has me…"

"Uncomfortable," I supplied. "I get it. I'm not someone that you would ever think of like that, and maybe it's better that way…"

"That's not what I was going to say," he interrupted. "I just meant that…it has me…worried about boundaries."

"So you are afraid that I'll jump you," I joked, desperately reaching to keep the moment light.

Because I was nervous about the prospect, too.

Although, oddly enough, or not as the case may be, I wasn't worried about actually sleeping with him.

It was a time when a person is at their most vulnerable, but yet that didn't bother me in the least.

I just wasn't sure of how my subconscious would act while having his body so close to mine.

"It'll be awkward tonight," I conceded. "And then we'll get used to it. Trust me. Just don't hog the blankets and we'll be fine."

My words were much more confident than my thoughts.

And as he stared at me from across the table, I found myself looking at the impossible thickness of his lashes.

I was in so much trouble here.

He reached over and put his hand on top of mine where it rested on the table.

"I can't thank you enough for doing this with me," he said. "I just keep thinking of what I'd be doing right now if I'd entered this alone, and…I just can't imagine."

His sincerity and the warmth of his hand and the darkness of his eyes combined to make my insides melt. That and the memory of his kiss…did I mention that I'm in some serious trouble?

"You're welcome," I replied simply.

We paid the bill and walked back to his apartment.

"Earlier," he said when we were nearing his lobby. "I was thinking about how important this sell is going to be to Marcovic. And about what might have happened to previous agents who'd attempted to infiltrate. And well…that's why I kissed you. I don't want us to look like cops. I want us to look like a happy couple who desperately wants a child."

"I know," I told him. "And I turned it into what I did because no couple kisses so innocently," I added with a smirk. "You kissed me like it was a first kiss."

"It was," he said with a grin.

And there went my stomach again, doing flip-flops at his sweetness.

He pulled me to a stop before we went through the lobby doors, and instead, leaned against the outside of his building.

I stood in front of him, and to my surprise, he settled his hands on my hips. I'd nearly forgotten that we'd been followed to dinner, but his next words reminded me.

"There's that sedan again," he said, although he kept his eyes on mine.

"They're not very subtle, are they?"

"No."

"Well, do you want to try that kiss again and see if you can get it right this time?" I suggested.

What can I say? I enjoy tormenting myself. And the thought of kissing him again was just too good to pass up.

Oh yeah, and it would fit our cover, too.

"Get it right?" he retorted. "I think it was pretty good last time."

"Yeah, but I had to help you out," I reminded him with a smile. And just because I could…because it would look good to our audience, I took a step closer so that our whole bodies were touching.

And maybe it was too bold of a move because I was having trouble remembering that this was a game.

"Eames, I had no idea you were such a tease," he said, but he wasn't smiling any more.

And his voice was deep and rumbling and his eyes were even darker than usual.

"Now you know my secret," I told him as I ran my hands down the front of his shirt.

Then he took his hands off my hips and instead put them on my cheeks, with the tips of his fingers dipping into my hair.

And then he leaned down…so slowly that the anticipation was akin to torture…and then at last he put his lips to mine.

And as innocent as his first effort had been, this one was equally sinful.

It went on and on and my insides were on fire as he expertly worked his mouth over mine.

I swear, I was closer to having an orgasm just from this kiss than I'd been in my last half dozen sexual experiences combined.

When at last he pulled away, I was breathless and swamped with need.

For him.

And this was day one of our assignment.

Trouble was the understatement of the year.

"Was that more like the kiss of lovers?" he said huskily.

"That was…yeah," I managed to reply.

I needed to get inside and take a cold shower before I embarrassed myself.

I thought that he'd be cocky as we walked into his building, but he wasn't. In fact, he flashed me a shy smile as we got onto the elevator.

"So, back to open mic night, huh?" he remarked.

"Yeah, I guess so."

We got off the elevator and he brought our joined hands up to his lips. He kissed my knuckles and gave me a wink.

"We can do this," he said confidently.

And I was glad that he'd found his confidence because I seemed to have lost mine.

I just wanted to forget that this was an assignment.

I wanted to drag him into the bedroom where I could have my way with him.

"Do you want to watch some TV before we go to bed?" he asked me as we went into the apartment.

TV.

That would be good.

Something to distract me and hopefully remove from my mind the vivid imagery of the two of us making love.

Before we had to go to bed together.

I glanced at him and he was nodding at me encouragingly.

He wanted me to agree with him.

Because he needed a moment to cool down, too?

Doubtful.

He was probably just a night owl and it was only ten o'clock.

"Sure," I agreed.

So we spent a couple of hours on the couch watching television.

It had been a good idea and it allowed me to gain some perspective since he was no longer touching me. We were both on the couch, but we kept some space in between us.

"I don't think we should rush into requesting Marcovic," he commented during a commercial break.

"Okay," I agreed. "So…you want it to be their idea?"

"Don't you think?"

See, Marcovic's agency was partly a legitimate business.

It did actually help couples with foreign adoption.

But then there was the side business. And we weren't sure what prompted this aspect.

Maybe it was because a couple was turned down for some reason and so they would be unable to adopt through legal channels.

Or maybe it was because the couple had a lot of money and didn't want to wait for the cutting of the red tape.

But Bobby was right. We'd go in and let them decide that we needed the next step.

It might take longer, but it would be more plausible.

"Yeah, I think so," I told him. "So, you know your background, right?"

We had to be sure that we knew all of the details that the Bureau had provided.

They'd done a nice job with our identities.

We were still Bobby and Alex, only now, for this specific undercover, we were Bobby and Alex Goren.

Seeing that name on the driver's license that they'd provided had been strange.

I mean, as a girl, any time I'd had a crush on a boy, I'd always tried out the sound of his last name.

I'd write it out in a notebook.

Alex Camden…Alex Dunlap…and the really good one, Alex Milanesi.

It was funny that when I did get married, I kept my own name.

Besides, I was a grown woman now and I didn't do silly things like jotting down my first name in association with the last name of the man with whom I was in love.

So I'll pretend that I didn't enjoy the look of the name in bold text on the official documents in the file.

But so the identities were as true to life as they could be except that our socials had been altered so that they could fabricate the necessary backgrounds to go along with our story.

I was in real estate.

Bobby was an investment banker.

We had an upscale place near Central Park, but it was currently being renovated which was why we were presently making do in an apartment near Bobby's work.

We'd been married for ten years.

And yeah, that was kind of funny considering that's how long we'd been partners.

Our bank accounts showed that we were extremely well off. We had the funds necessary to do whatever it took to get a child.

We had doctors' records which showed we'd gone through every possible medical procedure in order to have a baby of our own.

And Bobby's criminal record showed a DUI, followed by a six-week stint in rehab. It would be enough to disqualify us from most traditional adoptions.

So we would look good on paper as prospects for Marcovic's operation. All we had to do was sell it in person.

"You want to try this on?" Bobby asked me, holding up the wedding ring that had been provided by the Bureau. "We don't want to have to scramble in the morning if for some reason it doesn't fit."

We'd both noticed the rings earlier when we'd glanced through the file, but neither of us had commented on them.

But he was right.

We needed to be sure that they fit, and we may as well get used to having them on. We'd be wearing them for the duration of this particular case.

I held out my hand, palm up, so that he would give me the ring, but he shook his head and nodded toward my other hand.

The left one.

I mentally berated myself for the fluttering feeling that took up residence in my stomach as I held out my left hand so that Bobby could put the ring on my finger.

"Perfect fit," he remarked with a smile as he brought his eyes up to meet mine.

"Well, now you just committed yourself to me," I joked. "Love, honor, cherish…"

"The ring doesn't make me do that," he replied softly as he put the other ring onto his own finger. "I do that anyway."

I think I stopped breathing for a second until I remembered.

The bugs.

He was saying that for their benefit.

And how stupid was I for even considering otherwise?

"Hey, are you okay?" he asked me, reaching out to touch my cheek.

Now that he was doing because he wanted to, right?

Because they weren't watching.

And I was going to drive myself crazy if I continued to analyze every little action.

"Yeah, I'm fine," I assured him. "I'm just tired. I'm think I'm going to go to bed."

I got up from the couch and started to walk away, but then I stopped.

Because what kind of newly-living-together couple would go to bed separately?

"Are you coming?" I asked him, doing my best to sound coy.

He was still looking at me with concern, but he smiled and got up.

"Let me lock up. I'll be right there."

Twenty minutes later, I found myself lying perfectly still under the covers.

There was no way in the world that I was going to fall asleep when my muscles were this tense.

Because Bobby didn't have a king-sized bed.

He didn't even have a queen.

He had a full-sized bed, which was probably just fine when he was in it alone, but the addition of a second person meant that there wasn't much extra room.

Although I had to admit that I liked the idea that he didn't have a king.

I'd never looked into his bedroom before today, and I'd kind of been expecting that he'd have a large bed so as to maybe better accommodate…entertaining friends from time to time.

"Alex," he whispered, and despite his soft tone, he startled me from my thoughts.

"Yeah?"

"Are you sure you're okay?"

I had no doubt that he could sense my tension. Bobby was perceptive anyway, and now were we lying together, mere inches apart. And knowing him, he was probably thinking that I was second-guessing my decision to be here, or that I was mad about something.

"I'm sure," I told him.

I knew that he'd get what I wasn't saying.

I'm sure that I'm fine. I'm sure that I want to be here. I'm sure that we're okay.

I closed my eyes and tried to force myself to relax. Which, really, was an oxymoron. How can you force relaxation?

But then I tuned into him again as I felt the bed move while he changed positions.

I barely had a chance to register the fact that I could feel his breath on the side of my face when he started whispering, straight into my ear, in a barely-audible voice that would surely be imperceptible to anyone but me.

"Instead of worrying about touching each other maybe we should just go ahead and do it."

His suggestion and the way in which he said it and our closeness and the darkness of the room…there wasn't a single cell in my body that wasn't focused on him.

And while I wasn't a hundred percent sure exactly what he had in mind, it didn't matter. I was going to go along with it.

"Okay," I replied.

The word had barely left my lips before he moved again, this time onto his back, and then he slipped his arm around me and pulled me against him. My head rested against his chest, and his hand settled innocently against the small of my back. I didn't throw my leg over his as I was tempted to do, but I did rest my arm across his waist.

"Is this okay?" he asked, again his voice so quiet that I almost thought I'd imagined it.

"Yeah."

And it was. He'd been right. Now that we were touching, I didn't have to worry so much about doing it accidentally. I took a deep breath and finally started to relax.

I wondered vaguely if our audience had been expecting to get an x-rated earful tonight, especially after witnessing our kiss earlier.

And honestly, if this had been for real and he'd kissed me like that, I would've been all over him as soon as we got into the apartment.

But it was reasonable that we were tired.

We'd been through a lot over the past few days, and surely they weren't going to be documenting our sex life anyway.

But I did need to throw them a bone. I didn't want them suspicious about the authenticity of our relationship. I mean, wasn't that why we were currently holding each other in bed?

"I love you," I told him, although from the sound of his breathing I thought that maybe he was already asleep.

But at my words, his arm tightened along my back, and I felt him press a kiss against the top of my head.

"I love you, too," he answered.

And how pathetic was I to be enjoying this so much?

I mean, I knew that we had a job to do, both for the Bureau and for the department.

So as long as we got it done, who did it hurt if I enjoyed this little fantasy in the mean time?

Me, I reminded myself.

It was going to hurt me when it was all over.

Because then he'd go back to being Bobby.

And I'd go back to just being his partner, Alex Eames.


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