Chapter Sixteen: Her Assistant
Ariel and Hannah turned to the door to find Meranda standing there, staring at them.
“Meranda!” Hannah cried out as she rushed to her sister.
Meranda took her sister into her arms and held her close as she cried.
Ariel wiped a tear off her cheek, happy she could bring these two sisters back together. She had been trying to figure out a way to keep Hannah from being deported like the other women, and had finally come up with something earlier, and talked to Trenton about it.
He had agreed to it, as long as the girl does her job. Ariel was sure, to keep from being deported and never seeing her sister again, Hannah would work her ass off.
“Thank you.” Meranda said to Ariel as she looked over her sister’s shoulder.
Ariel smiled as she gave her a wave.
Ariel looked around the now empty room. The other women were taken away hours ago, to be processed and sent back to their own country. They hadn’t even gotten to recuperate after being a sex slave for years.
“Where are the other girls?” Meranda asked as she looked around the room.
“In the process of being deported home.” Hannah said with a frown.
“Already?” Meranda asked, almost squealing.
“Detective Gunnar pulled some strings for me, so I could see you before they took me away.” Hannah informed her sister.
“No.” Meranda said as she covered her mouth.
“I have something to say to that.” Ariel said as she watched the two sisters, who were just reunited.
“What?” The sisters asked at the same time as they looked at her.
“I talked to my boss, and he has agreed to sponsor Hannah, so she can get a work visa, and work towards getting her green card, but she will have to work her butt off as my assistant. And he wants her to learn English and not miss one day of work; unless she is dying, or I send her home.” Ariel said as she watched their faces.
Hannah burst into tears as she rushed to Ariel and took her into her arms and held her. “Thank you.” She cried.
Ariel smiled as she patted the woman on the back. “I just wish I could have found a job for the other girls, too.”
“You saved them, that is more than others have done.” Hannah said as she took a step back.
“Thank you for everything, Ariel.” Meranda said as she leaned over the bed and kissed Ariel on the cheek.
“I told you I would find her.” Ariel said with a smile.
“Even if it killed you.” Meranda said with a frown, remembering that Ariel was stabbed while saving her sister.
“Yeah, well, I’ve been sliced, shot with an arrow, tackled, stabbed… I think I’m getting used to being in the hospital.”
The sisters laughed as they smiled down at Ariel, then wrapped their arms around each other.
Luka walked into the room and smiled at the three women. “They’ve sent me to retrieve Miss Kieran.” He said as he watched them turn to him. He hated this part of his job.
“You’re too late.” Ariel said with a smile.
“How so?” He asked as he approached her bed.
“I talked to my boss; he will sponsor Hannah so that she can get a work visa. And he will give her a job so that she can stay here with her sister.” Ariel said with a smile.
“That’s great.” He said with a smile. “But she still has to come with me. They will want to hold her until they complete the work visa, and she can go straight to work.”
Hannah looked between Meranda and Ariel, not sure what the detective was saying. Ariel explained to her what Luka had said. With a frown, Hannah nodded, then walked over to Luka.
“Don’t worry; you will see each other again.” Luka said with a smile as he led Hannah from the room.
“He is such an asshole.” Meranda grumbled.
“Who, Detective Gunnar?” Ariel asked, her eyebrows furrowed.
Meranda shook her head. “No, he’s just doing his job. I’m talking about the leader of our country.”
“Ah.” Ariel said with a laugh. “You won’t get any arguments from me.”
It took Trenton Kody, three days, to get all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed, but Hannah Kieran finally got her work visa and started work immediately. She doted on Ariel as she laid in the hospital, then took care of her when she was sent home.
Ariel smiled at her assistant as the woman brought her a pillow to put behind her back as she sat on the couch.
“Thank you, Hannah.”
“It is my job, no?” Hannah said in English.
Ariel smiled. “No, but I appreciate it.”
“Oh.” Hannah said with a frown. “What is my job?”
“Well, I’m not sure I have never had an assistant before.” Ariel said as her mouth made a funny-looking frown.
Hannah nodded. “Then, it is my job to teach you.”
“Teach me?” Ariel asked as she stared at the woman.
“Yes.” Hannah said with a nod. “I will teach you what an assistant does.”
Ariel laughed. “You can go home now, Hannah. I will be fine.”
Hannah didn’t look convinced. Ariel wanted to be alone in case The Sapphire Dreamer showed up tonight, being it was her first night out of the hospital.
“I will be fine. Go home to your sister and sleep. I will see you bright and early tomorrow.” Ariel said with a smile.
“Of course.” Hannah said with a nod.
“Hannah.” Ariel said as the woman headed for the door.
Hannah turned to her employer with a brilliant smile on her face. Ariel couldn’t help but smile back at the woman.
“Your English is getting better.” She said in the woman’s native tongue so that she would understand her.
Hannah smiled. “Thank you.” She said in English, then walked out the front door, locking the knob before she closed it behind her.
Ariel sighed. It was so good to be home again. The past week in the hospital has been so dull. She looked at her TV and stuck her tongue out at it. She had had enough TV in the hospital to last her three lifetimes.
A tap on the back door had her turning and staring at the man in the black mask.
“Sapphire Dreamer.” She whispered, then slowly got to her feet and walked to the back door.
As soon as the glass door was open, the man rushed into her house and took her into his arms. She sucked in a shocked breath when his lips claimed hers in a long, devouring kiss. When he finally let up, the room was spinning as she stared up at him.
“Hello to you, too.” She said as she tried to get her bearings.
“You don’t know how good it is to see you.” He said as he continued to hold her. “Last time I saw you, you were bleeding…”
“It’s okay; I’m all right.” She said as she touched his mask.
He sighed as he let her go, then paced the living room floor.
“I did something that I don’t normally do, because of you.” He said as he looked up at her, then turned and paced away from her.
“You did?” She asked as she moved to sit on her couch.
“I didn’t kill every single one of those sons of bitches…” He stopped pacing and looked at her. “Because of you, I left several men alive. Who will slip through the system…”
“Because of me?” She asked as she laid a hand over her chest.
“Yes. Don’t you see?” He asked as he started pacing again. “Even while you were in the hospital, I have killed no one. I left them for the cops to take care of…”
“Wow.” She whispered as she watched him pace her floor.
He stopped and glared at her. “I wasn’t built to not kill people, Ariel Lawson.”
“But isn’t that a good thing?” She asked as she got to her feet again and moved towards him. “It means you have a conscience.”
He let out a booming laugh that sounded so evil over the voice changer. “I do not do it because I have a conscience. I do it because you do.”
She stopped and stared at him. “How’s that?”
He growled as he pulled her into his arms. “Because you have that silly conscience, I can’t kill. I think of you and what you would think if I did it.” He rolled his eyes as he pulled her against his chest and held her. “You, my sweet, innocent girl, are my conscience.”
Ariel closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his waist; she has never been someone’s conscience before. She smiled at the thought. Within a week, she has been called a hero and a conscience.
“You feel so good in my arms.” He mumbled as he held her close. “I didn’t know anyone could ever have this effect on me.”
“I’m glad you feel that way.” She said with a sigh.
She groaned when a pain shot through her body.
“You’re in pain.” He said as he led her to the couch.
“I’ll be okay.” She said as she let him help her onto the couch. “Sit with me.” She whispered as she looked up at him.
He paused for a moment, then sighed when he saw the plea in her eyes. He nodded, then sat on the couch next to her. She pulled his leg up onto the sofa against the back, then slid in between his legs and leaned her back against him.
He swallowed past the lump in his throat as she settled against him. This isn’t what he is meant to do. Who knew a woman could change everything about him, everything he stood for?
He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the couch. She feels fantastic, lying against him like this. He felt her pull his arm over her shoulder, and his eyes popped open when he felt a breast against his arm. He’s not supposed to get these longings.
“Are you comfortable?” He asked as he looked down at the top of her head. His voice was husky and sounded funny over the voice changer.
“Mmhmm.” She said sleepily as she laid her head against his arm.
He remembered her saying something about never seeing his face. Maybe it was time she did. He had a feeling he could trust her with his identity.
“Ariel.” He whispered as he moved his other hand up to the mask that covered his face. “I want you to see something.”
He pulled the mask up when he heard her soft snore. He sighed as he pulled the mask back down. Maybe another time. He leaned forward and kissed the top of her head, then laid back and closed his eyes.
Ariel woke and moaned as every muscle in her body ached. She paused when she felt something move against her. She looked down to find a large, gloved hand over her breast. The night before flashed through her mind.
She had fallen asleep in the arms of The Sapphire Dreamer.
She moved his hand off her, then slowly turned to look at the masked man. He had fallen asleep too. She smiled as she reached out to touch him.
A hand was around her wrist so fast; she sucked in a shocked breath.