The First of Many

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Chapter 42

“Hey,” Aedan said, after a week, pretending to ignore her habitual flinch as his hand brushed against her arm. “You ever been to a club?”

She turned to him, raising an eyebrow and staring at him as if to say are you a complete idiot. “Of course,” she said. “What’s your point?”

He paused, suddenly at a loss for words.

Hannah tilted her head, smirking at him. “Aedan Smith, are you trying to ask me on a date?” she teased gently.

“Are you implying that would work?” he asked.

She pursed her lips, looking him up and down. “I suppose I might let myself be persuaded,” she said.

"Really? You’d like to?" he asked, a hint of excitement in his voice.

“What makes you think I wouldn’t?”

“Lots of people, really close, I dunno, sounds like a recipe for trauma with you.”

She shrugged. “The music helps,” she said. “And usually, I can just treat it like a job, cut out the instincts. I’d like to give it a shot. But, just in case, if things start going sour, we can leave, right?”

“Just say the word and we’re out of there before you can say Jack Robinson,” he said seriously, a twinkle of laughter in his eye.

“Jack Robinson?”

“Leave me and my southern expressions alone,” he grumbled. “Don’t you have to do all that makeup shit, anyway? Shoo.”

Hannah rolled her eyes. “Hypocrite,” she muttered. “I hope you’re not planning on going in that.”

“What’s wrong with my clothes?” he asked, looking down at his jeans and T-shirt.

She groaned. “Never mind,” she muttered. “Change your shirt, there’s a sauce stain on it from yesterday.”

“Oh,” he said, sheepish. “Right. Oops.”

Hannah wasted no time in taking over the bathroom with seemingly endless quantities of makeup, and Aedan found himself pacing the living room, wondering what was taking Hannah so long.

He stared in awe as she stepped out of the bathroom, smiling almost shyly.

She wore red; bright, provocative red, but what got Aedan was how little of it she was wearing.

The top of the dress clung tightly to her chest and ribcage, all in sheer fabric so pale and translucent that it looked like she wore nothing at all save for the red embroidery and lace that covered her chest and ran down her sides almost like fingertips, thickening at it went down, flaring out into a skirt that fell just past her upper thighs, revealing miles of leg.

Aedan froze as he stared at Hannah, eyes going up and down her. "Wow," he said out loud. You look...amazing."

"Thank you," she said with a grin.

“Umm, Hannah…” Aedan frowned, “I maybe don’t want to know, but are you actually wearing anything under that?”

“Maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll let you find out,” she teased, sliding her arm through his. “Come on, country boy,” she teased. “Take me dancing.”

Despite Aedan’s innocent-country-boy exterior, he turned out to be a very good dancer, and Hannah had no trouble cozying up to him on the dance floor, carving out a space among the pulsing, gyrating crowd.

They fit perfectly together; Hannah’s nose nestled in the hollow of his throat and his chin rested gently atop her head. Her arms slung about his neck, fingers toying with the hair at the nape of his neck, and his broad hands held her hips and pulled her close.

Hannah grinned up at him. “Not bad,” she said. “Ever do any undercover work in the less desirable areas?”

"Not really. I'm primarily sent to Iraq and Afghanistan where we don't do a lot of undercover work," he said as they sat down at a table and ordered drinks.

Hannah smiled. “You owe me a few dances,” she answered. “You’d do real nice in Sweden.”

He grinned. “Be glad to,” he said, in his prominent southern drawl that made a shiver run up Hannah’s spine.

"So, how long have you been a SEAL?" She asked as she collected herself.

"Next week makes three years. How long have you been in Delta?"

Hannah smiled. “This’ll be my third,” she said. “Two years in Rangers before that.”

"Interesting. You know, if I had known that a girl as beautiful as you was in the Army, I would have joined the Army over the Navy, if it meant that I could have met you sooner."

Hannah grinned. “Flattery will get you everywhere,” she teased. “I like your accent. Where’d you grow up, exactly? Oklahoma all your life?”

"Yup. I had a pretty normal life. Both my parents were in the Navy so my siblings and I were really close, since they weren’t home real often. My dad was in team seven, and my mom is an Admiral. Big Navy.”

Hannah smiled. "Lots of pressure to join the Navy, then?"

"You have no idea," he said with a grin. "My brother and I both joined the teams out of High School."

Hannah smiled. "Do you regret it?" She asked. "Do you think you might have chosen differently, if you hadn't been pushed so hard to this life?"

"No. I couldn't see myself in any other job. From my fifth birthday, I knew I wanted to be a SEAL.”

Hannah smiled. "I admire your conviction," she demurred, and he took her hand to lead her back to the dance floor.

They danced the evening away, and Hannah let her mind wander as she leaned gently against Aedan's chest, letting him lead her.

"Aedan, thank you," she said as they swayed their way through a slow dance.

"For what?"

"For caring."

He kissed the top of her head. "Anything for you."

She smiled and led him out of the club, leaning gently against him for the walk back to his apartment.

He never noticed the cold metal of a gun hidden under her tight dress.

They returned to Aedan’s apartment in the early hours of the morning, and she smiled up at him when he reached the door, an arm casually about her waist like it had always been there.

Hannah grinned up at him teasingly. “I think you get points for being such a gentleman,” she said with a grin.

"What do you mean?" He asked, smiling down at her.

She smirked for a moment, then leaned up, standing on her toes to press her lips softly against his.

Aedan reacted by wrapping his arms around her, fingertips running up her back. It wasn’t long before she was against the wall of the hallway, kissing Aedan languidly as he responded in kind.

Normally, she was not fond of kissing – people’s mouths were slimy and annoying – but Aedan’s lips were warm and textured, goading a purr from her throat. Her fingers traced up his arms with feather-light touches. He growled and cupped her face between his hands, cradling her as though she were something fragile. He tasted of cold seawater and something sweet – peaches? She wrapped her arms around him and held him close, savoring his taste for as long as she could.

There was an outraged gasp from further down the hall, and the sound of a self-righteous ‘Well, I never-”

They pulled apart and looked at a greying old lady who was staring at them, a witness to their kiss.

Aedan blushed beet red. “Umm… Sorry, ma’am,” he said, fumbling with the doorknob and all but dragging Hannah inside.

The moment the door was closed, Hannah burst into laughter, and Aedan stared at her in confusion as she found herself forced to sit down before she collapsed.

“What?” he asked.

“Well, I never-” she laughed in a falsetto voice. “Jesus, talk about ruining the mood!”

He chuckled. “Well, it was our fault. Hallway might not be the best place.”

She smiled, standing and taking Aedan’s hands. “I had a great time,” she said. “And now, I’m going to bed, because you just about danced my feet off, farmboy.” She leaned up and kissed him gently before turning and going to change for bed.

Aedan smiled, warmth settling into his chest, and went to bed as well.

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