The following few weeks passed without any more slip ups between me and Rosie. Not that it was easy. If I’d gained a quid for every time that I’d thought about those luscious lips of hers, or the feel of her body pressed against mine, then I’d have re-earned half of my yearly salary. She hadn’t wasted time getting into the thick of the mischief with the rest of us either, earning both respect and disapproval from the rest of the Watch, and Tom.
It was a Monday evening that found me sitting at the dining table in Dodger’s living room, having been invited for dinner. The cosy area was illuminated with a warm and flickering glow from the numerous candles lit around the room, it bounced off of the ruby red walls, giving the impression of a romantic little restaurant. The delicious smell of roasted chicken filled the air, and we were all grouped around the table that was draped in a clean, white linen tablecloth. A few of the others had already got other plans for the evening, but Sam and Cain had come, along with their wives, and Rosie had joined at the last minute too. As we sat around the table tucking into the delicious dinner that Em had cooked, there was a steady flow of conversation between the women. Eva, Sam’s wife, was merrily talking about her pregnancy with their son, and offloading an entire batch of tips on how to deal with various upcoming challenges. Hope soon joined in with added mentions of how the birth of hers and Cain’s daughter, Holly, went. Including suggestions of what she would need to prepare for, and have with her for that occasion. Dodger was sitting with Em, his arm wrapped around her shoulder, whilst he rested a hand over her pregnant belly, stroking it softly and listening intently, whilst his dinner lay abandoned on the table. I glanced toward Rosie, who was looking in their direction, her eyes glassy as she absentmindedly toyed with her dinner. Watching her, I could tell that something was on her mind, and it bugged me.
“Are you okay?” I whispered, keeping my voice as low as I could so that the others didn’t hear me.
She jolted at the sound of my voice, looking up and pasting a bright and broad smile on her face as she answered:
She maintained a steady gaze with me for all of a second, before diverting her eyes southwards, back to her plate, combing her fork through the green beans. I continued to study her movement, mentally trying to gauge the situation.
“How about you Bane? Decided to settle down yet?” Hope called down the table, flicking her long black hair over her shoulder and smiling sweetly over at me.
I laughed as Cain scoffed into his glass of red wine, shaking my head.
“No, still single.” I answered, lifting my bottle of beer to my lips and taking a mouthful, as Eva leant forwards to look down the table at me.
“How has some lucky young lass not snapped you up yet?” She asked, her amber, doe eyes widening in surprise.
I noted, out of the corner of my eye, that Rosie had peered up at me to tune into this part of the conversation.
“Lucky hey? You forgetting that I’m right here?” Sam asked teasingly, staring at his wife, who simply shrugged, cosying up to him in a side hug briefly, her forkful of chicken floating just before her mouth.
“Like I could ever forget.” She smiled back, pressing a quick peck on his cheek, before turning back to the table, “His big mouth would be impossible to miss.”
A rumble of laughter ran around the table as she promptly swooped on the forkful of food, chewing it with added relish whilst Sam shook his head with humour and disbelief.
“How about you Lacey? Settled down, or serial dater?” Em asked, filled with intrigue at getting the scoop on the newest arrival.
Lacey looked like a deer caught in the headlights for a moment, before clearing her throat and shaking her head.
“Not settled down, no. Still single, and not much of a dater either.” She informed them brightly.
Somewhere inside, I felt relieved that she wasn’t much of a dater. Refusing to play through the horrible visions of another man’s lips moving against hers, where mine had felt so at home.
“Well would you look at that! We have the female version of you Bane.” Cain chimed in with a smirk.
“I always said evil people came in pairs.” Dodger added, tilting his drink to the side and waving it side to side in the air, gesturing between us, the entire table breaking into laughter.
“Calling me evil now buddy?” I called to him, attempting to keep a straight face, and finding it hard, “Maybe I should quit saving your ass all the time.” I teased.
He emitted a loud gasp, moving to clutch his chest with mock hurt, whilst Lacey giggled to the side, taking a mouthful of her beer and glancing at me over the neck of the bottle.
“You wouldn’t dare. What happened to brothers, man?”
I winked at him, and Em reached for his hand, wrapping her fingers around it.
“Don’t worry baby, you’ve got me.” She said with the tone of talking to a sad child.
Dodger’s eyes bulged and with a quick glance at his fiance, he turned back to us and pulled a repulsed face, shuddering in his chair and erupting in laughter as she swatted him on the arm, scolding him for being an ass.
The rest of the night continued to pass with laughter being present throughout. I always loved getting together like this on nights off, it was a light break from the seriousness of work, and everyone always left in high spirits. Checking my watch, I finished the last of my drink and cleared my throat, pushing away my empty dessert bowl.
“This was lovely, as always, Em. But I better take off.” I said, getting to my feet, thinking about the early start before work tomorrow.
“Shoot, yeah, me too.” Lacey added, following suit.
The others all nodded, some rising to their feet as we both said our goodbyes and left.
The streetlamps illuminated the dark path outside the house as me and Lacey walked away from the house. I heard her take a deep breath of the fresh night air, then slow her steps, coming to a stop, fishing her phone out of her jeans pocket.
“You okay?” I asked, stopping myself and taking my keys out.
“Yeah, definitely.” She assured me with a smile. “This was a lovely night. I’m totally stuffed now, and close to food coma status,” She laughed, “But the girls, they’re really great.”
They are,” I agreed, “They are also a little bit nuts, and kinda scary at times.” I added, memories of the past invading my mind, causing me to stifle a laugh.
She looked inquisitively at me as she unlocked her phone.
“Scary?” She asked, arching her brow, the ghostly white glare from the phone screen, now shining on her face.
“You’ll find out some day.” I shrugged with amusement.
“Ah, I look forward to it. May need to have you on hand for an escape plan if it gets too scary though.”
She smiled at me and began to tap on her phone.
I felt the familiar pull towards her, that beautiful smile was making my blood heat and my heart beat faster.
“You calling a cab?”
“Yeah, my car’s at the garage until tomorrow.” She groaned, not looking up from the screen.
I reached out and rested my hand over hers, tipping the phone down and smirking as I jangled my keys until she looked up at me.
“Want a ride?”
Her eyes flicked between my keys and my face a few times before she pouted, locking her screen and biting the inside of her lip in thought. Even that small movement nearly brought me to my knees, her power over me with the slightest movement was astonishing, and even unnerving. I’d never had to fight attraction like this before, and I was hating every second of it. I wanted to give in far too often, it was taking all of my willpower to keep to myself.
“I suppose I can tolerate your presence for a little longer.” She taunted, her lips curving into a playful smirk.
“Tolerate it? And here I was, beginning to think that you liked spending time with me.” I teased, turning and walking towards my car, hearing her footsteps following behind me.
I knew that I was playing a dangerous game in being with her for even longer, when I was already struggling to keep myself in check. But I wasn’t about to drive off and leave her on the street waiting for a cab, besides, a part of me really hated saying goodbye to her.
Unlocking the car, I opened the door, and was about to slide into the driver’s seat, when she pulled her door open too. Leaning over the roof, she smiled, and there was a flirtatiousness in her voice as she said:
“Maybe I do.”