“I have to go meet Greg. I’ll wait here until you go inside.”
“Sure. Drive carefully,” Lesly said before she stepped out of Alec’s car.
It was raining heavily, so she had to cover her head with her bag and run towards the entrance to the building which was thankfully not very far away. When she got there, she waved goodbye at Alec and went inside. Lesly took the elevator up to the 11th floor and used her copy of the key to get into the apartment. It was somewhat strange how she came to feel so comfortable in a place that was only supposed to be a temporary residence.
Alec told her that his meeting with Greg could take a while and that he might arrive late. This encouraged her to take her laptop into the living room and to go through the files the informant sent her one more time before she showed them to Alec. Lesly placed the laptop on the coffee table and hooked it to the charger before she went into her room to change. Then she fixed herself a feta cheese sandwich before she sat in front of her laptop to resume the investigation she began in her office.
Going through the flash drive the informant sent her stirred her curiosity about his identity all over again. Why did he contact her now after going radio silent on her for months? And why did he send her details about this case in particular? What was he trying to tell her?
Lesly leaned back against the couch and frowned at the bright screen in front of her. Every time he sent her intel, it seemed as if he knew exactly what she was working on or what she was trying to accomplish. It was obvious that he not only knew so much about her, but also was aware of the type of cases that would surely pique her curiosity. This was definitely a case that she was deeply interested in given what happened to Alec. Was he aware of her connection to Alec and wanted to offer help in locating the second assailant? If yes, why? Why was he so invested in helping her?
It was bazar that he would contact her about a case such as this one. In all of the times he established contact with her, he never once approached her about a matter as morally complex as this one. It was clear that he wanted some good to be done. Otherwise, he would not have sought her time and again. This time, however, he was turning in an individual who was forced by his helpless situation to seek justice for his younger brother. Why? It could be argued that the informant took a different stance from hers in this particular case. However, if he knew her too well, then surely he would know that this case is really not that different from Lang’s interference and his attempt to help her following the Davis’ scandal five years ago. There was also the fact that most of the files he included reinforced Smith’s innocence and incriminated Cook.
What did he expect her to do exactly?
Curious to find out the answers, Lesly once more took a careful look at all the emails she sent him in the past. He never responded, never tried to answer her questions, or address her concerns. Something told her he read her messages, every single one of them, but for some reason, he never wrote back. Why? Why was it so important to him that she never found out who he was?
Without thinking, Lesly found herself madly typing an email in response to the last one she received from her mysterious informant. She did not hold anything back as she made the extent of her exasperation, anger and confusion clear at being manipulated like that. She was aware of how much of a mess the email might seem to the intended addressee, but she did not care. He had to know that she could not put with being treated like that any longer. If he truly needed help or wanted to offer it, he should contact her personally. He could keep his identity hidden if he wanted, but he should at least address her questions and tell her in person why he chose to contact her of all people. If he thought to ignore this email just like the previous ones she sent, then he should think again because she was willing to go as far as showing him the same courtesy this time.
Lesly paused as she stared at the last line in her email and wondered if it was wise to include it. However, she finally decided that enough was enough and she clicked ‘send’ before she changed her mind.
It was almost ten in the evening when Alec made it back. Lesly heard the rattling of his keys and subconsciously found herself checking her wristwatch. She had completely lost track of time in her quest to develop a better understanding of the case.
Alec walked into the living room a few seconds later and saw her sitting on the floor in front of her laptop.
“Hey,” he greeted as he took his coat off and hung it.
“What are you working on?” He asked as he walked towards her.
“The usual,” she said evasively before she flipped her laptop shut. She still did not know how to tell him about her new findings.
Alec took his jacket off, folded it, and placed it on the arm of the couch behind her before he took a seat.
“Did you eat?” He asked from behind her.
“I did,” Lesly said before she turned around to face him. “How’s your meeting?”
“The same as always.”
There was a moment of awkward silence that made her feel extremely self-conscious. In an effort to cover it up, she stood up and announced hastily that maybe they should have something to drink. Alec had other plans. He held her arm and pulled her so that she was sitting on top of him. He did not waste time and began kissing her neck immediately.
Lesly was still not used to this new development. The simple look he gave her earlier was enough to revive the memory of everything that transpired the night before. She knew what was coming next and she felt flushed and flustered. Without realizing it she began chattering nervously to hide that from him.
“I had quite the eventful day,” she tried to maintain a casual tone even though her whole body was on fire.
“Is that so?” He asked with a hint of amusement in his voice as he pushed her hair away from her neck and began grazing her sensitive skin.
“Yes, it was another crushing victory at court.” She was so nervous that she could not stop chattering.
“I heard,” he said before he lifted her and had her straddling him rather than sitting on his lap.
Lesly gasped when he pulled her so that she was sitting intimately on top of him. His mouth resumed the task of kissing her neck while his hands slid up her thighs after pushing her skirt up.
“I finally got that colleague I told you about to stop asking me to present a speech.” Her voice came out breathless.
He gave her an enticing smile before he pulled her shirt over her head. He slid one bra strap down before he began kissing her bare shoulder. Still, that did not keep her from her nervous chatter.
“I dumped him on someone else instead.”
“Good for you,” he responded in a low voice as his hands slid to her back so they can undo the hooks on her bra. A shiver of pleasure ran down her spine when she felt his hands slide her bra down her arms.
The anticipation of what was about to happen made her sound as if she was out of breath. She could feel his hands sliding up her thighs before they began working on undoing the buttons on the side of her mini skirt next.
“We’re expecting a lot of people for the fundraiser this year,” she said with a noticeable break in her voice after he had thrown her skirt to the side and began squeezing her backside.
“Uh-huh.” He was amused beyond words by the way she was behaving.
He knew she was nervous and knew that her uncharacteristic chatter was her way of handling having him seeing her naked with the lights on. He could have distracted her by kissing her senseless. It certainly worked the night before, but he wanted her to get used to being naked in front of him.
Lesly felt very flustered by the way he was looking at her. He had stripped her down to almost nothing while she chattered endlessly about her day. Her mind refused to cooperate any further. She was more self-conscious now than before and all she could think of were her imperfections, her small breasts, her lack of curves, her scar, her faint burn marks. All of these things never bothered her before, but now that she was sitting on top of him, they became so blatantly obvious to her that she could not ignore them.
Her arms covered her chest just like they did the night before. He gently removed her arms from her chest and spoke to her tenderly, “Don’t hide yourself from me.”
She felt bare and vulnerable as he held her wrists away from her and allowed his eyes to take in the sight of her. It was so agonizingly slow that she felt her heart race in her chest and her whole body burn in anticipation. Eventually, his gaze found hers. His eyes stared deep into hers as he whispered affectionately.
He brushed his lips over hers lightly before he pulled back.
“Your turn to undress me,” he spoke softly against her lips as he released her wrists and began to lightly stroke her arm.
For a brief moment she did nothing. She simply stared at him before she hesitantly complied with his request. Her shaking hands removed his necktie first. He began kissing the side of her face slowly as she fumbled with it. She started working on the buttons of his shirt next. The task would have been accomplished with ease if he wasn’t caressing her body intimately and making her tremble. When she finally slid his shirt down his arms, he cupped the sides of her face and kissed her hungrily. His tongue invaded her hot mouth and rubbed fervently against hers.
“Maybe I should tell you how my day went now,” he said in a low voice between kisses.
“Okay,” she responded with a moan when he began sucking her lower lip.
He pulled away and began kissing a trail up her neck before nibbling on her earlobe. His breath was hot against her neck as he spoke.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about you the entire time. Everything was still so vivid in my mind. The way you moaned, the way you tasted, the way your soft body felt against mine, the way you said my name when you came.”
His fingers began to stork her over the wet fabric of her lace panties. His hot breath continued to send shivers down her spine as he continued to whisper dark promises against her ear.
“I want you so bad. I want your hot writhing body beneath me. I want you to wrap your legs around me so tight when I’m inside you. I want to watch you come over and again. I want you to scream my name just like you did this morning.”
“Good God, Alec, what are you doing to me?” She asked, almost heaving at the feel of his bare chest against her.
“What do you think I’m doing?” He whispered against her ear as his hand began sliding her lace panties down.
“Wait,” she whispered.
“Something wrong?” He asked, concerned.
“There’s something I want to tell you.”
“Can it wait?” He said impatiently as he resumed the task of getting her completely undressed.
“It can, but…” His mouth silenced her with a long hot kiss that left her out of breath.
Alec released her lips and looked at her questioningly, “but what?”
“I lost my train of thoughts,” she said breathlessly before she threw her arms around his neck and began kissing him.
Alec picked her up. Her legs wrapped around him as he carried her to his bedroom. He made slow passionate love to her before he collapsed on top of her. When he rolled on his back, she laid her head on his chest and listened to the frantic beating of his heart. His hand stroked her shoulders affectionately, but she could sense after a while that he was dozing off.
“Are you feeling drowsy?” She asked.
“Yes,” he answered in a raspy voice.
She tried to leave then, but his hold tightened around her. “Where are you going?”
“You’ll be sleeping in my bed.”
“Do I get a say in this?” She asked, frowning.
“No,” he said jokingly.
She tried to wiggle out of his hold one more time, but she ended up in a more secure hold than before.
“Stay here for a bit, will you?” He said against her ear as he wrapped an arm around her waist and pressed her back against his chest.
She gave in and dozed off a moment later.
It was probably around four in the morning when they both woke up. She sat there at the kitchen counter wearing nothing but his formal button up shirt as she watched him examine the contents of the flash drive she just gave him. She had a tub of blueberry yogurt in hand that she would have enjoyed more had it not been for the frown on his face. Alec had been wearing that frown since she gave him the flash drive to explore. It remained there even when he began asking her questions. His eyes were still glued to the screen.
“When did you receive this?”
“Sunday. You brought the envelop to my room, remember?”
“You just happened to check it?” He asked before he clicked on another folder.
“No, I opened the package yesterday morning. I went through the files in my office.”
Alec looked at her then. His frown intensified as he asked, “And you’re just letting me know now?”
“I tried to tell you last night. You asked me if it could wait, so I waited.” A faint trace of a blush appeared on her face at remembering the things he did to her hours ago.
“Why didn’t you tell me the moment you received it?”
She shrugged and told him the truth. “I was worried you would keep me from pursuing whatever leads it contained. You have been rather obsessive lately.”
He could not believe what he was hearing. He glared at her, but she avoided looking at him and directed her attention to her blueberry yogurt.
“Did anyone ever tell you your sense of danger is possibly impaired?” He asked with a hint of frustration.
“Yeah, you…a number of times,” she stated nonchalantly as she put a spoonful of yogurt in her mouth.
“This is serious, Lesly,” he said as he directed his attention back to the screen.
“I know. What are you going to do?”
“What else is there to do? This guy, Robert…he has to be held accountable.”
Lesly expected him to react this way, so she tried to get him to understand the factors that pushed the two men to such drastic measures. “I know how you feel, Alec, but is it possible to think the matter over one more time before you seal the guy’s fate?”
“What is there to think about?” Alec asked as he checked another file. “Can you imagine what would’ve gone wrong if Mathews wasn’t stopped? The two could have done much more damage.”
“The only person they killed was Cook. He’s the only one they came for,” Lesly clarified.
“And others were seriously injured in the process.”
“I know,” she responded sympathetically, “but you have to consider that those two had no choice but to seek justice for themselves. The system failed them. Cook had Josh sentenced for a crime he did not commit just so another rich guy could get away with murdering his wife unscathed.”
Alec looked at her suspiciously and tried to reason. “I’m aware of how corrupt some people in my office are, particularly Cook. Still, …”
“It’s not just Cook,” Lesly explained. “Everything in this damn city is dysfunctional. The poor guy was not left alone even after they pinned the murder on him. He was offed in his prison cell while the guards and the warden turned a blind eye.”
“I thought he committed suicide,” Alec asked as he scanned the contents of the flash drive one more time.
“No, he was killed. His death was made to look like suicide.”
“Which file is that?”
Lesly hesitated for a few seconds before answering him. “You won’t find it in the flash drive.”
“How did you know then?”
“I spoke to Robert yesterday,” she answered simply and hoped he would not dig any deeper into how she found out.
“Did you call him?”
“No, I went to see him face to face.” She responded casually before she took another spoonful of yogurt.
Alec turned towards her slowly and narrowed his eyes at her. “You what?!”
“I had to.” She shrugged while keeping her attention focused on her yogurt. She did not want to see him glaring at her. “I wanted to find out more about the case.”
“You…,” Alec was beyond mad. He did not realize that until he tried to reprimand her and realized how loud his voice was.
He shut his eyes, took a calming breath, and tried to maintain an even tone as he inquired further about the matter. “When did you go there?”
Lesly blinked at him with feigned innocence and answered him directly. “At noon, after my court appointment. I asked Stacey to drive me there.”
“Do you have no fear at all?” He was struggling to keep his temper in check.
“It was fine.” She tried to reason. “Nothing happened. Michael was following behind us.”
Alec began rubbing his brows in a clear sign of frustration before he asked her. “What did Robert tell you?”
“Not much. He was suspicious of me. I told him I was investigating Richard Tucker. At first, he told me he had nothing to say, but after I asked a couple of questions, he began talking about how he firmly believed that Josh was murdered.”
“Where did you talk to him?” Alec asked; his frown never left his face.
“At his store downtown. He lives on the second floor of the same building.”
Alec said nothing. He did glare at her, but then he redirected his attention to the laptop screen.
Lesly watched him click on one folder after another, not knowing how to get her point across without alerting him to the real reason why she empathized with the guy. It was vital for her to keep Victor Lang’s involvement in what happened to her away from him for fear that he might not understand.
Bent on getting him to see things her way, she tried reasoning with him one more time.
“Alec, I know how frustrating the situation seems, but please try to investigate the matter thoroughly before you make any decision. The guy is still grieving the death of his brother. He thinks he failed him. Josh repeatedly told him that someone was trying to kill him every time Robert visited him in prison. Robert tried to get the authorities to act, but no one did a thing about it.”
“You suggest I let him go free then?” Alec asked, his gaze was still focused on the screen.
“If the system was perfect, I would’ve held him accountable too, but it isn’t,” Lesly explained. “He won’t get a fair trial. You know that, and I know that. The only people his arrest will benefit are those who tried to cover up for Tucker in the first place.”
Alec said nothing. His expression was unreadable as he continued to scroll through another file. This pushed Lesly to get another important point across.
“Alec, the guy has daughters. Two actually. One is eight and the other is twelve. They lost their mother not too long ago. Their father is all they have left. I hate to think what could happen to them if their father was taken away. Given the flourishing human trafficking trade in the city, it is highly likely that they’ll end up under the mercy of some drunken bastard who will pimp them for money. I’ve seen it happen a lot in my line of work.”
He stared at her for a moment not knowing what to say. He did see her point, but he never expected this line of argument from her. She had always been a strict moralist to him who liked to do everything by the book. Hearing her argue for the guy like that proved to him that she was more complex than he and Greg initially assumed.
His reply came out simple. “I’ll think about it.”
“That’s all I’m asking.” She responded in a soft voice before she got up to place her empty tub of yogurt in the trash. She washed the spoon next and cast another glance at him.
He was still occupied with the task of reexamining every single document the informant sent. As expected, the frown was still there. He was obviously still angry with her for not letting him know about the flash drive soon enough and for taking the risk of contacting Robert.
Lesly walked back to the counter where he was sitting, took a seat next to him and stared at him. She thought his noticing her looking at him from the corner of his eye was going to get him to talk, but he ignored her. This prompted her to seek his attention some other way.
“Are you mad?”
He did not look at her once. His jaw was clenched. He must be really fighting the urge to yell at her.
She began stroking the arm that was resting on the counter lightly.
“What are you doing?” He asked in a serious tone, his eyes were still focused on the screen.
“Nothing,” she said innocently.
Her hand continued to caress his arm. It did not take her long to get another response from him.
“Lesly, you need to stop that.” There was a hint of anger in his voice now.
“I can’t focus.”
A moment passed in silence. She kept staring at him the entire time knowing that it would infuriate him.
“Are you still mad?” She asked playfully.
“You’ve been rather short with me lately.”
“I’m sure you know why.”
He began rubbing his brows as he sighed in frustration. His attention was directed at her now. “I never had problems controlling my temper until you came along. No, wipe that proud grin off your face.” He snapped. “What you have done today was beyond reckless.”
“I can handle myself.” Lesly said with a smile before she stood up.
“I’m sure you can, but surely you know that given the current circumstances…”
He never got a chance to continue. She was kissing him now, and quite seductively too. Her hands slid up his hard chest slowly before they linked behind his neck. She ended the kiss before he had time to respond. There was a shy smile on her face when she pulled back to look at him.
It took Alec a few seconds to gather his thoughts and to remember what he wanted to say. The anger was still there, but he lost track of what he wanted to lecture her about.
His frown came back when he remembered. “You could have at least called me…”
She interrupted him with another kiss. This one was more passionate than the one before and once again she pulled away before he had time to respond.
“Damn it, Lesly! You have got to stop doing that.” He said in frustration.
“What are you gonna do about it?” She asked seductively.
He didn’t say anything. He stood straight, picked her up and heard her giggle as he threw her over his shoulder. Two could play this game and he wanted to show her that he was better at it than her.