I stared out the window as Felix drove me back to my place in his black SUV. I mourned my rust bucket of a truck as I realized I would have to find a way to get the money to purchase another vehicle. Although my old truck wasn’t anything special, it was a means to a way. It allowed me to travel from city to city gathering information for clients and gathering information for myself.
I guess my search on White Valley will have to sit on the sidelines for a while. I thought as I heaved an inward sigh.
“I’ll have someone tow the truck back to your place,” Felix said.
“Yeah, thanks. Maybe I can sell it for parts or something.” I thought about the bullet holes that covered its metal body.
“I’ll make sure that we replace your vehicle.” He added.
I turned to look at him, surprise covered my face. I opened and closed my mouth as I tried to gather words.
“It wasn’t worth much.” I shook my head.
“Yeah, but it was your vehicle. It’s not like you showed up last night expecting to get shot at and have your vehicle totalled.” He glanced at me as he turned off the main highway. “We will replace it, or at least give you money.”
“It was probably only worth a thousand bucks.” I shook my head.
“Well, that’s your money back for it.” He pulled his SUV to the side of the road outside of my apartment building.
“You must be familiar with the area.” I looked up at the high-rise. “Thanks for the ride.” I tucked my phone in my pocket and rolled up the jacket sleeves to hopefully hide the blood that stained my arm.
“Sure.” He nodded his head.
“You’ll need to have those stitches removed in a week or two.” I pulled open the door handle. “Do you have someone that can do that without reopening the scabs?” I asked, doubting the answer would be yes.
“I’m sure I can find someone.” He wasn’t concerned.
I let out a sigh and reached across to the car dash. I picked up his phone, appreciating that it didn’t have a lock and sent a quick text to myself.
“There,” I gave him back his phone. “Now you have my number. If you can’t find anyone, call me and I can take them out.” I offered, even though the thought of having to touch him again sent chills down my spine and a knot in my stomach.
I nodded. “See you around, Felix.” I slipped from the truck before he could respond and made my way up to my apartment.
I sent off the file to Mr. Davis. Over the last two weeks, I had been able to collect enough information on his soon-to-be ex-wife and Jordan. I had detailed notes, audio clips and photos of clear adultery. Mr. Davis would be happy with the settlement he would receive at the end of all of this. Which meant that my bills would be paid on time this month, and I would probably have enough to put into savings.
I stretched back in my desk chair and let out a deep sigh before I leaned back forward and went through my business emails.
“Who to help next…” I trailed off as I read through each potential client. I groaned as I read through most of them. Perverts wanting to stock their ex’s, more partners wanting proof of cheating…the list never ends in those departments.
Maybe that’s where the money is…helping poor men and women prove their spouse is nailing the hot gym teacher or nanny. I thought as I re-read some of those emails.
“Job’s a job, Ella.” I spoke to myself before I hit reply.
I looked down at my phone as it vibrated on the table in front of me. I picked it up, curiosity getting the best of me.
“Hey, ah…” He trailed off for a moment. “Are you free at the moment? I kinda need these stitches out and I’m in the area.” I pictured him scratching the back of his head as he spoke.
I smiled, my heart pumping at the thought of seeing his delicious body, but my stomach clenched at the thought of touching him again.
Breathe. You’ve touched him once, he’s still alive. This time won’t be any different.
“Ella?” I heard his voice call my name.
“Oh, yeah…sorry.” I pinched the bridge of my nose. “Sure, you can come by whenever.” I tried to play it cool.
“Great, mind buzzing me up then.” I frowned, surprised by his words.
“Oh, you’re here?” I said. “I thought you were in the area.” I deepened my voice to mimic him.
I went to my door and hit the buzzer to unlock the main door.
“I’m on the fourth floor. Apartment 121.”
As I waited for Felix to make it to my door, I gathered the medical supplies I needed. I made sure they were all disinfected. I pulled a bottle of vodka from my pantry. I poured myself a shot. I tipped it back against my lips, letting the liquid pour down my throat. I sucked in a deep breath as the vodka left a trail of heat in its path.
I pulled my shirt down, smoothing it out before running my fingers through my hair. I made my way towards the door after hearing a quick knock. I sucked in another breath as my fingers clutched the cool doorknob. I closed my eyes and levelled out my breathing, trying to calm down the nerves that were swimming at a fast pace through my body.
I looked through the peephole in my door, double-checking that it was Felix and not my annoying neighbour Gretta. My gaze was greeted with the top of his head, he was looking down and his burgundy curls were a mess at the top of his head. I pulled open the door after flipping back the lock.
Felix’s head snapped up, a smile stretched across his lips.
“Hey,” His cool voice moved past his lips like melted chocolate. I felt butterflies float in my stomach as his grayish-green eyes moved up and down my body.
I shifted under his gaze, stepping back to allow him to walk past me.
“Hey,” I replied, watching him as he moved into my apartment. His Bethel’s Jacket didn’t cover his back and shoulders. Instead, it was a gray zip-up sweater that he left undone. A black t-shirt hugged his body beneath that, and he wore a pair of dark wash jeans that shaped his deliciously round ass.
“Kitchen’s this way.” I pushed the door shut and met my strides with his. I moved into the room and went to the sink to wash my hands. “You can sit on the stool there and then I can get those stitches removed.” I nodded at the black stool that was tucked under the island ledge.
He pulled out the stool and then proceeded to remove his sweater and t-shirt. I watched him, my eyes glued to his muscled chest as I lathered my hands with liquid soap.
Jesus, get your shit together. I thought as visuals of lathering his body slipped through my mind. I rinsed my hands and looked away from him as I moved to dry my hands and put on the latex gloves.
I walked towards him, he watched me intently. I felt my breath hitch as I moved to pull out the chair beside him with my foot.
“Alright. Let’s do this.” I said more to myself than him as I grabbed the scissors and shifted in to remove each stitch as carefully as I could. “It healed really nicely. I wasn’t too sure if this side would be as nice since I had to redo a few of the stitches, but it looks good.”
“Yeah I thought so too, but I’ll have a pretty decent scar I think.” His deep voice was like honey. Sticky, smooth and sweet and it called out to every need in my body. Reminding me that it had been years since any of those needs had been met with a man’s touch.
“So, the last time we were in this position you paid a bit more attention than most to the tattoo on my side.” Felix said after a few moments of silence.
I pulled one of the stitches and added it into the glass dish that I had on the counter. My eyes moved to his, wondering where his comment could possibly be leading.
“It seemed like you knew what it meant. Can’t say I’ve had a lot of people actually know.” He cleared his throat, his voice was pitched slightly higher, like he was almost nervous to have this conversation.
“I do know what it means.”
Might as well be honest, right?
“You’ve met someone with my experience before?” He awkwardly worded his question as if he didn’t want to admit out loud that he could throw fire.
“Yes, I know a few people with fire capabilities like yours.” I shrugged. “I have a lot of experience you could say.” I said as I pulled the last stitch from his skin. I sat back, my eyes going back to his as I pulled the gloves from my hands.
“You do?” He looked at me, confused. “You don’t seem like the type of girl that would hang around those like me.”
I moved around the island, disposing of all the utensils in the sink and tossing the rest into the trash.
I smiled at him, my eyes slightly narrowing before I leaned against the counter.
“Just like I wasn’t the type of girl that would hang out in a bikers bar, yet there I was.” I shrugged. “You seem to think you have me all figured out, but you don’t know a single thing about me.” I stood back up and lifted my shirt. I pulled it all the way up to show him the small tattoo that was placed just below the strap of my bra.
His eyes moved to my side, taking in the red and blue numbers sketched into my skin.
“Hi, ninety-seven, I’m one-sixty-four.”