You hadn't meant to interrupt whatever discussion was going on in this room before you walked in.. But now that you have everyone's attention, you have a burning question that has been playing on your mind for weeks...
"Of course you can, Yevie.. How can I help you dear?" Iris waves you closer..
You steel your nerve, as friendly as Iris has been to you, she is still quite an intimidating lady.. "I was wondering.. All those people.. The ones from the lock-up.. What happens to them now?"
The group exchange glances with each other.. Patrick just smiles at you admiringly.. Its hunter who pipes up first.. "What do you mean sweetheart?" His head tilts to one side..
You look between them.. Archer is watching you curiously, along with Jackson and Ellerie.. "Well.. For example, Lacey has you.. Somebody who loves her and can afford to help her get back on her feet, but.. Not everybody will be so lucky.. Right?"
He nods thoughtfully.. "Traditionally, once we return the civilians to their lives, our role is considered complete, Yevie.."
You cross to the center of the room now, eyeing each of them.. "But, is that right?"
Silence.. They all seem to be deeply considering your words.. It's almost unfathomable to you that none of them have stopped to consider this.. Finally Iris speaks.. "So, what would you propose Yevie?" Her eyes sparkle excitedly..
"I.. I was thinking.." You look over to Patrick, who leans casually against a low bench.. He smiles wide, nodding to you in encouragement and you feel a surge of confidence.. "Specter could expand to include a victim support and rehabilitation programme.. As a non-profit NGO that's sole focus is assisting 'civilians' - as you call them.." You throw Hunter a playful grin.. "The charity could fundraise outside of the.. Um, Intelligence community.. but Specter would benefit from the many tax concessions that come with operating a charity.. You know.. Since none of your organisation's practices are 'officially government sanctioned' I'm sure the IRS are awfully critical of your activity.."
They all look stunned.. Except for Patrick.. He just continues to beam with pride..
"It sounds like you have really thought about this.." Iris blinks in surprise..
"The entire time I was in the hospital.. I may have gone a little overboard on the research.."
She rubs her chin in thought.. "And you would head up this Non-profit? Operate it as the CEO?"
That's basically your dream job, helping people, making a real difference in the world.. "I.. I would.. If that is something you'd be interested in.."
She chuckles and pulls out her phone.. "Yevie dear, I am extremely interested. Let's schedule a meeting to put your vision in motion.." She holds out her phone and you dial your number in for her before handing it back.. You're sure she's only doing so to be polite.. After all, she's a spy, she could find your phone number easily if she wanted to.. "Well I'm done here, and I've got to go tell the boys at Langley I have nothing for them and that I've poached three of their top agents.. Wish me luck!"
They all share a laugh that you don't quite understand, but it doesn't matter because you're too excited at the idea of beginning a new career, having new friends.. A whole new life really.. Archer stands to leave first.. "Yevie, you're going to make all of us better here at Specter.. You're one of us now.." He winks at you and places a hand on your shoulder as he walks by, you smile at him...
"Tell Honey for me, would you West?"
He calls out over his shoulder with a chuckle as he walks through the door.. "She probably already knows Yeevs!"
You turn back to Jackson and Ellerie.. They might be sitting next to each other, but there is an icy tension swelling between them... "Uh, guys?" You raise an eyebrow in question, but Ellerie is too fast..
"Such an incredible, compassionate idea Yevie.. I'm so glad we'll be working together.." She pulls you in, kissing your cheek and wrapping her arms around you briefly before rushing out the door..
You watch her go before spinning back to Jackson.. "Okay, you've got to go fix that Jack.." You hitch a thumb toward the door.. "But, if I could ask a favour before you do.. I've learned that self defense can be an important part of regaining empowerment after trauma.. I was really hoping you could point me in the right direction in terms of what I should be considering?.."
He stands up and holds out a hand, you take it and he shakes it with his firm grip.. "Yevie, you told me you were going to be my best student, and you were right. I'm in darlin'.." He looks towards the door and gives you a guilty smile.. "I better--"
You laugh.. "Yeah, go.."
He hurries off in the same direction Ellerie had gone.. Now it's just you, Patrick and Hunter..
They both shift about uncomfortably.. Hunter takes a step towards you first.. "Are we still on for tomorrow?" From the corner of your eye you see Patrick stiffen as his whole body tenses..
"Yes of course.. I'm looking forward to it!" You smile and Hunter grins..
"Good.. Lacey is so excited, I was worried that--" His eyes flick to Patrick.. "You might have something more important to be doing.."
You reach out and squeeze his bulging bicep.. "Hunter, Lacey is important to me, and so are you.." He shifts uncomfortably again.. Clearly showing so much emotion is taking its toll on this alpha male..
"Thanks sweetheart, you're really something you know.." He casts his eyes over to Patrick.. "It would be great if you could come too man.. I know Lacey wouldn't mind.."
Patrick nods, stepping up beside you and wrapping an arm around your shoulder, you turn your chin and look up at him.. "If you're not busy, I'd love that Paddykins.."
He chuckles.. "Then I'll be there.." He extends his hand to Hunter who takes it before turning to you and leaning down to peck your cheek.. He quietly slips out of the room and finally it's just you and Patrick again..
"You really like that guy, huh?" Patrick hums in playful disapproval..
You laugh.. "You're jealous?"
"Very.." He grins..
"He's a little abrasive and maybe short sighted.. But he's a good man, with a good heart Paddykins.. He's got nothing on you though.." You stretch up on your tip-toes to plant a kiss on his upturned lips..
He groans and leans into you, his hands finding the small of your back as he tugs you closer... He pulls back, just enough to look down at you with glowing eyes.. "I love you, Yevette.."
You freeze, stunned.. "You.. You do?"
He smiles softly, tucking your hair back behind your ear and over your shoulder to expose your neck, you shiver as his finger brush against your sensitive skin.. "Yeah, I do.."
The buoyancy in your chest threatens to lift you up and carry you away, you feel like you're floating.. Dreaming.. An overwhelming amount of happiness pulses through you, you have everything you could have ever wanted.. More even. So, the words tumble easily from your mouth.. "I love you too, Patrick.."