I sobbed into my coffee in the middle of that crowded diner. The patrons gawked. Some perhaps uncomfortably annoyed judging by how the swift they paid their bills. Others smirked and chattered, feeding off my sadness like leeches, adding embarrassment into my mix of emotions.
Maybe some would say temporarily blinded me with his good looks and seductive charm – but I think I suffered from a more complicated form of vision that allowed me to see beyond all of that, far past the label depicted in long briefings and thick files. I noticed the good in him. Even when his evil stared me directly in the face.
Sean was the head of the Gianetti family. The Don of a crime organization that had wielded its power for generations. However, meeting him – talking and spending time with him, painted a much different picture. I entered his world to gain a job. Actually, to reclaim a position with the JBI (Jenithiyah Bureau of Investigation) when I’d become intimate with my partner, Josh Tucker. All I’d wanted to do was right the mistakes in my life, hoping I could move on as if I’d never made it at all. I never expected to fall in love. Especially not with Sean Gianetti.
I was under the influence of a tremendous attraction. I tried in vain to resist the lure. But I was drawn to this mysterious and fatal destiny. Colliding with the stormy electricity of passion, completely overpowered and entwined in the excitement of him.
I’d tried hard to stay away from Sean Gianetti. I never wanted to complicate my task. I wanted nothing more than to complete my objective and go home, but no matter how much I avoided him, or how harshly I rejected him – he found a way to persuade my heart.
I’d met him in a vulnerable state, recently leaving a neglectful relationship. At the time, I was still coming to terms with the separation. Confused by conflicted feelings. Remembering the Josh Tucker I’d fallen for. Trying to convince myself he’d never existed and convincing myself I couldn’t live with what was left after he’d grown weary of acting. Even after I took him back, I still wrestled with the same questions and emotions.
I didn’t want to feel anymore. I didn’t no longer wanted to play the game – but Sean slipped in before I could harden my heart and left a permanent imprint behind. His blend of affection, desire, and control, turned me on. When he took me in his arms I felt the immense strength that held me captive, but no pain. I felt protected – and seduced.
The fatigue of intoxication and the soreness from our lovemaking still lingered. Barely a few hours had passed. My skin still tingled as if his touch was upon me and not just a memory. So – how in the hell could I be sitting there, balling my eyes out, drawing ‘she must be crazy’ stares from the occupants of that diner?
Because, it hurt, damn it! I was in pain. I choked on sobs, gasped for air, and the sharp ache in my chest. Because this was the fallout of living a lie!
That morning I woke up to find myself hovering over a great mental precipice, my brain arguing with my heart – and my heart was winning, which meant I had to tell the truth – the whole truth – to a mob boss.
I imagined dozens of possible outcomes, one scarier than the next – but I never imagined a break-up. The moment the words fell from his mouth. The moment he turned his back on me, I wished I’d had a chance to tell him what I really was and suffered the ultimate price for my betrayal. It would have hurt a lot less.
I kept my head down, stared a spot of spilled creamer, and tried to regain control of my own tangled thoughts.
It wasn’t personal. It was my job. I was a cop – no – not just a cop – I was an agent ...well trying to be ...again ... but maybe ... maybe ... I wasn’t a very good one. How could I pretend otherwise? I was trained to examine the facts. Plain and simple. Black and white and all the evidence was there to support what kind of cop I was.
The Bureau knew about the rival crime family, but they knew very little about them. Even their identities had alluded them. My only goal was to put a face to a name ... so how the hell did I end up in this mess? How could a few short conversations, laughs, glances – instances that just happened – make me feel and do things like this?
I was just supposed to dance, serve drinks, and watch. The Bureau knew Sean spent a considerable amount of time at De’Bris and they knew the Bolivars would meet with him and I believe Andrew Harkins, the director in charge, knew this would happen. He’d had a hidden agenda since day one. Choosing me to gain employment at the gentleman’s club only because I had the long dark hair and body shape the mobster liked – and Sean had fallen for it.
But who did they really set up? Sean. Or me? I fell too. I fell so hard that I was stuck. Blinded by his good-looks, gentlemanly mannerisms, and sweet smile – so much that – that – I had probably screwed up my professional life.
I wasn’t sure if I had secured my position with the JBI, and surprisingly, I wasn’t worried about that. Instead, I found myself wishing I’d never took the assignment. Wishing I was always this down on her luck woman, dancing for dollars as the last resort.
The Bureau would pull me out. Any moment I would get the call ... I had gotten the name. Sean upset Harkins ulterior motives when he dismissed me. There was no reason to keep me under … but I was going to miss Sean and his world.
Saying good-bye hurt like hell, but, tomorrow would be a better day. I would make it a better day. No more dancing half-dressed, no more leering men, no more all-night shifts, and no more Spencer, that half-witted, perverted bartender! I would never have to listen to his bitching about my clumsy waitressing skills again - I no longer have to deal with any more shit ... hiding my identity, fending off Sean’s advances, and living off chump change.
I was free. I was done. It was time to go. Back to Magnolia, my home and my real bank account. Maybe I would go big shopping spree at the mall. Grab a decent cup of coffee from the bistro. Meet a new man and have a truly romantic experience.
I didn’t love Sean. I was only acting and I got little too into my character. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The pain in my chest formed yet again – the consequence of lying to myself. My heart retaliated with a vengeance, refusing to let me lock away the truth it held.
That brief moment with Sean wouldn’t leave me alone. He’d finally gotten me into his bed. Finally driven me to a point where I was defenseless. Where I could no longer deny him.
No other man had ever gazed at me the way he had. I wasn’t even sure if he felt anything beyond lust for me and I guess that’s something I would never know.
How could I imagine it was more? He’d broken it off too easily for that to be true ... the tears fell from my eyes. My entire body shook uncontrollably. The realization of what the night before had really been about tainted the memory, the romantic magic began to fade, and I became angry.
I shook my head and pushed down the emotions. It didn’t matter. None of it mattered anymore ... I lifted my eyes, forcing myself to watch him leave, meeting his eyes. The start of his engine made it final ... ready or not ... it was over ... The hell it was!