After meeting with Kirby, you passed the afternoon back at the office in a overproductive haze, keeping yourself busy burrowed under your mountains of work instead of focusing on the looming trouble that is headed your way like a unstoppable freight train...
You escaped the office at five on the dot, managing to avoid running into anybody on your way out and had finally made it to the peace and quiet of your apartment and poured yourself a glass of whiskey, ready to unwind when Paxton texted you with an address to meet at..
You changed your shirt, loosing the white collared button down you wore to work, instead opting for a tight leopard print V-neck camisole before jumping in your car and punching the address into the GPS...
Now that you're parked out front of a small hole in the wall looking bar, you nervously fiddle with the fleur-de-lis pendant that hangs from a long chain around your neck...
Once again, you find you're second guessing your decision..
Maybe you shouldn't be here.. "What are you doing, girl?" You mutter under your breath..
The doubts have started eating away at you, weighing on you..
You're beginning to think you're losing you're mind because you're certainly not acting like yourself..
Checking the time on your phone screen you step out of the car into the fresh evening air..
Taking a deep breath you make your way to the grubby red door where a thick necked bouncer stands with his arms crossed.. He looks you up and down before giving you a nod and stepping to the side to let you in..
You roll your eyes as you brush past him, pushing your way inside..
You're greeted with a surprisingly elegant interior, dark cherry wood and low hanging crystal pendant lights that emit a soft yellow glow.. Smooth piano music drifts throth the air as your eyes sweep across the room, landing on Paxton, who stands out looking like a Norse God carved from marble, the sleeves of his white dress shirt are rolled up to expose his muscular forearms..
He sits at the bar, patently waiting..
You make your way over to him, he looks up from his scotch on the rocks with a smouldering gaze as you drop into the seat beside him.. "I was just about to order another.." He holds up his nearly finished drink and you nod..
"Perfect.. I'll take mine neat".. You smile..
He arches an impressed eyebrow at you before he motions to the bartender who makes his way over..
Paxton orders the drinks before turning back to you with that sly sharky grin that makes your nervous.. "You sure know how to keep a guy waiting.. I was beginning think you weren't gunna show.."
The bar tender places the drink in front you and you take a slow sip of the firey Amber liquid, you feel the tickling burn all the way down to the pit of your stomach.. "I honestly wasn't sure if I should.. But, I'm here now, so.."
He sets the glass down.. "So.. Are you gunna tell me what's going on.. Or you gunna make me wait for that too?"
You turn, looking up at him.. Even seated he is taller than you.. Not as tall as Jackson..
"I'm not sure about that either... Your digging into Elijah really set him off.. I'm beginning to wonder if you'd be better off to stay out of this, Hunter, I don't know if you want to be involved.."
He frowns, watching as you continue to nervously fiddle with your necklace.. "It's a little late for that don't you think? Im a big boy Ellerie, I can look after myself.." He jokes in a deep teasing tone..
"Can you though?" You sigh rubbing your temples tiredly..
He scoffs, leaning back.. "Because Elijah already knows it was somebody from the CIA looking into him.. Its only a matter of time before he finds out it was you.. He's dangerous, Axe.."
He leans in so close you can smell his fresh, outdoorsy scent.. Like pine forests and sunshine.. "Why are you so afraid this guy? You don't seem the type to scare so easily.."
You blink, taken aback by the boldness and accuracy of his statement.. You heave a breath and take another gulp of your scotch.. You might as well admit the truth to somebody and Paxton has been surprisingly supportive, so why not him?.. "I made a mistake, Axe.. Elijah and me.. We--" You can't even finish the sentence you're so ashamed of yourself..
Paxton finishes the thought for you instead.. "Ah.. Had a thing?"
You look away, unable to maintain eye contact with him any longer.. You fix your gaze on the fancy bottles on the top shelf behind the bar instead as you speak.. "He was married AND my boss.. It was stupid of me, and so selfish.." You drop your head into your hands, leaning over the bar.. "I really thought he cared about me, you know.. But when I got promoted to his offices.. Well.. I began to wonder if it was ever about my work, or just--" You lift your head and flick a glance over at him..
His features are hard set and impossible to read.. "And now you probably think I'm a homewrecking slut who slept her way to the top, right?" It wouldn't be the first time somebody accused you of such a thing and you would probably deserve it..
Instead, he reaches out, taking your hand.. "Ellerie.. I would never.. ... I think you're beautiful.."
Your head swivels and you face him stunned.. "You what?"
He smiles wide, pulling back his hand and straightening in his seat.. "Too much?"
You laugh, he's the most unexpected character.. "Maybe just a little.." But, thank you..
The two of you pass another hour chatting about less serious matters.. Your shared experience working for government agencies giving you more than enough common ground to start with..
When he offers to walk you out to your car, you nod, silently agreeing.. He leads the way to the door in long confident strides, holding it open for you..
You shiver stepping out into the now very brisk night breeze.. "I know you were on the fence about meeting me tonight.." He offers honestly, before adding, "I'm glad you came to your senses.."
You giggle, dispite yourself you actually enjoyed spending time with him.. As the wind whips around you shudder, wrapping your arms around yourself in an effort to warm up.. "I'm pretty sure this the opposite of sensible, Axe.."
"Here.." He unhooks the grey blazer he has slung over the crook of his elbow and drapes it around your shoulders as you walk side by side, inches apart, down the sidewalk towards your parked red mini..
You peer up at him appreciatively, the thoughtful gesture doing something funny to your tummy.. "Thanks.."
As you reach the car you turn to find him already looking down at you, grey eyes like glinting gemstones watching you curiously.. "You're not going to.. You know.. Tell anybody what I told you tonight.. Are you?" You query nervously..
He reaches up, your eyes following the movement of his fingers as they curl in the ends of your hair.. He toys with the silky strands.. "Who would I tell?"
That's not a yes or no.. You don't like that answer.. "Greyson.. Knox.. Iris? I don't know.. I'm trying to trust you here Paxton.. You gotta give me something!"
He takes a step closer, his hand slips around your waist and you're surprised by the forwardness of the move.. Still you don't push him away.. Its kind of hard to push away a guy that looks hot as hell, and is as bad as sin on a Sunday morning.. "I'll tell you what.. I won't tell.. If you don't.."
Your head tilts to one side.. "Hunter.. What would I te--"
He cuts you off with a kiss.. Hungry and deep.. You part your lips to allow his tounge to sweep across yours.. He tastes of scotch and sweet apples.. Before you know it, your hands are wrapped around his neck as you fall deeper and deeper into a lustful embrace..
He groans, pulling back just a little to growl out a low whisper.. "Fuck, you're a real firecracker, Devereux.."
Your eyes snap open to find his blazing gaze boring into yours.. Placing your palms against his chest you take a step back before letting your arms drop, severing the contact between the two of you.. "I'm sorry.. I.. I gotta go.."
He smiles, shoving his hands into his jeans pockets.. "Yeah.. Of course.."
You turn to open your car door, feeling his eyes on you as your shaking hands push the key into the lock.. A thought occurs and you...
Is this some kind of game for him?
You shake your head to clear it.. Just because your doubting yourself doesn't mean you should doubt him too.. Right? Turing back to him with a question in your eyes you manage to keep your voice steady.. "I'm.. I'm not sure about anything right now, Axe.. But.. I want to be.. Are we.. Good?"
He nods once.. "We're good, Sweetheart.."