C A I N
My head throbbed with the after effects of far too much whiskey. I was wearing sunglasses despite being in the office, flicking through CCTV images on my laptop.
I grunt my thanks as Harry pushes a coffee towards me. It's in a Styrofoam cup, and I personally feel it tastes bland this way, no matter what brand of coffee you use.
"You look like shit," Harry says cheerfully, sitting opposite me. He rubs his eyes with his hands, exhaling loudly. The case was getting to him now. We weren't getting anywhere.
"You smell like a brewery," Harry continues, sitting back in his chair. His tie is loose, despite it being barely eleven am. Part of me wondered whether he had even gone home last night. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing," I shrug. "I just felt like getting pissed."
Harry rolls his eyes, before examining the screen in front of him. We're quiet for a while, but then he speaks again.
"A girl was admitted to hospital last night. She was seventeen, didn't speak a word of English."
This gets my attention.
"She had been repeatedly assaulted, starved and beaten. She was wearing a corset and a thong. Full face of make-up on. A glass bottle had been broken on her back- the surgeons are working tirelessly to get as much of it out as they can."
My chest heaves with anger, and I close my eyes.
"Is she one of his?" I ask finally.
"Well, either she is, or she had an unfortunate experience with a random man. Or a boyfriend. Her injuries didn't occur overnight, though."
Plus she didn't speak English. Like most of our predators victims.
"Fuck," I groan, sitting up. "How is he so hard to find?"
Harry looks ready to commit murder. His eyes are dark, the anger and disgust raging within them.
"He will fuck up. I'm going down to see the girl with an interpreter."
"You know these kids, Harry. They won't tell you fuck all- in any language. They are in love with their captors."
"Yeah, I know. But I'm still going to try, Cain. We're sending in some undercover guys too, something has to give."
"Look," I sit up, stretching my arms out. "I'll make a few enquiries around town. Some dirty bastards are paying these girls- we just need to find out who. I'll head into town tonight to put the feelers out. If I see him, I'm following him."
"Don't confront him again, Cain," Harry warns. "He's a clever fucker."
"So am I," I scoff indignantly.
"If you were clever, Max wouldn't be seeing another guy," Harry huffs.
I drum my fingers on the desk, my stomach churning with the thought of Max allowing a man to touch her the way I did.
It didn't sit well with me.
"Good for her."
Harry raises an eyebrow, cocking his head at me before he sighs.
"Your loss, my man."
I feel prickly now. I hadn't spoken to Max since our little spat, but I'd missed her like crazy.
"No, it would be a dick move for me to continue fucking her when she wants something more," I argue.
"You seen the way you behave when you're talking about her? You go all fucking gooey eyed, Cain."
"She's a great fuck," I scowl at him when he waves at me dismissively.
"Try getting to know her. Like Andy is."
Andy. Who the fuck went on a date with someone named fucking Andy?
"As I said; good for her."
Harry ignores me then, and I stand up, tugging my jacket on.
"I'm going home. I need to sleep if I'm on the case tonight."
Harry nods silently, and I leave the room.
My head is thumping, and now I'm annoyed. Max was already seeing someone? The sex between us was insane- was it as good with him? I wasn't the sort of guy to chase a girl, but this was different.
It was Max.
I drag my phone out, letting myself in the car before dialling her number.
Her breathless voice set alarm bells in my mind. Were they fucking now?
"It's me. You alright? Is now a good time?"
Like she didn't know.
"Yeah, Maxie. It's me."
"What do you want?" Max asks coldly, and I grimace. She is still pissed.
"Look. I've been thinking-" I begin, as she cuts me off instantly.
"What?" I demand. "You don't even know what I'm going to say!"
"It will involve just sex, so no."
"You're wrong. But you're not gonna hear me out are you?'" I growl, pushing the Bluetooth button on my car dash.
"I'm wrong?" Max asks dubiously. "Look, Cain. I've got to go out in half an hour-"
"So you're in? Great. I'll come round."
I hang up before she can protest, a warm feeling in my stomach. My head felt lighter at the sheer prospect of seeing her, but I had to control myself. If I allowed myself to seduce her this time- she wouldn't ever see me again. Within ten minutes I'm at her apartment, having broken countless highway code laws.
Max answers the door, and I'm fucking floored. She is wearing jeans and an off shoulder top, her eyes and lips accentuated by some kind of make-up. Her hair is pinned up loosely, and she is glaring at me like I'm about to break in.
"Cain. You've got ten minutes of my time, then I'm going out," she says icily, swivelling on her heel and walking into her apartment. She was wearing heels that just made her exquisite ass demand my attention. She leans forward to pick up her jacket from the chair we'd fucked on the last time I was here, and it takes everything in my power to keep my hands to myself.
"God, you're beautiful," I whisper, and Max flinched slightly, as though I had offended her.
"Nine minutes," Max says flatly.
"Are you going out with Andy?" I ask bluntly, enjoying the way her eyes narrow briefly. If I were looking for an element of surprise, I would be disappointed.
"Yes. What do you want, Cain?"
I step closer to her, the scent of vanilla and passionfruit tantalising my senses. Max folds her arms across her ample chest, and I notice her lips part slightly. The attraction between us was dangerous, and I had to play nicely.
"Honestly? I don't know."
I step closer, and Max watches me suspiciously as I raise my hand to stroke her cheek. It's silky soft, and her eyes close slightly when our skin makes contact.
"You stink of alcohol," Max states, her lips curving into disapproval.
"I know. I'm sorry."
I daren't step closer. I knew that if I did, our clothes would be off and we would be having raw-
"Six minutes," Max breathes, as my eyes meet hers. "Say what you came to say, Cain."
I swallow then, my eyes searching hers for support, wanting her to just read my mind. She wouldn't make this easy.
"Will you come on a date with me?" I ask, my brain almost shattering with nerves. My stomach was churning now, especially when her mouth fell open slightly.
"That's not fair, Cain," she groans, turning her head into my hand. I stroke it softly, my other hand reaching for her without thinking.
"Why?" I ask hoarsely, pulling her against me. I know I smell of whiskey, and I'm probably in need of some mouthwash, but fuck me. I need her.
"You want sex, and in order to get it you're willing to play the dating game. Four minutes," Max whispers, her hand gently pushing me backwards.
"Please?" I ask desperately. "No sex. I want us to get to know each other."
Max looks up at me then, a sadness in her eyes that I never want to see again.
"No, Cain. I don't trust you."
"How am I going to earn that trust if you're not willing to let me try?" I ask quietly, aware I'm losing her.
"I'm seeing someone, Cain."
"Are you exclusive?"
Her tongue licks her lips lightly, and I can't help but smile.
"One date. Please," I whisper, stroking her face softly.
Max finally meets my eyes.
"One date. And if you even think of your cock-"
"I have to go, Cain-" Max says, going to push past me. I stop her, and our eyes lock, her breath hitching in her throat as she did. I want to kiss her so badly I'm feeling lost- but the way she is looking at me tells me not to.
"Be careful, sweetheart."
I release her then, and her eyes rest on my mouth, her teeth biting down on her lip so hard it went pale. Was she fighting the urge too?
"Thank you. I will."
There was a soft knock on the door, and Max groaned.
"I won't say a thing," I yawn.
Max looks strange, but as we move to the door her facial expression relaxes. The man on the other side is a good looking dude. In one hand he has a bouquet of a dozen pink roses, and in the other he has his car keys.
A Range Rover.
He smiles widely at Max, but then his gaze shifts to me. His smile fades, and a frown forms on his forehead, causing Max to turn to me.
"Hey, Andy. This is Cain, uh, my best friend's husband's best friend," she babbles, before turning back to Andy. "Cain, Andy."
Andy clearly looks perplexed at what I seem to be doing in Max's apartment, but I don't want to step on his toes.
I want to step on his fucking face.
"Good to meet you," I drawl, turning to wink at Max. "See you soon, doll."
I drop a chaste kiss on her cheek, my hand grazing the bottom of her back as I do. She stiffens, and I nod at Andy who seems to be weighing the situation up. I walk away, my jealousy now hammering to get out of my body so I could kill Andy.
"Bye, Cain," Max mutters.
"Wow, you look beautiful. I'm a lucky man," Andy whistles, handing Max the bouquet. Max blushes, and as I turn the stairs I catch her eye one last time. She is gazing at me sadly, but the minute I raise my eyebrows and slow my steps, it's gone.
"Thank you. I'll just put these in water."
I'll put him under water, I think to myself. I stroll out of the building, making my way over to my truck. She'd agreed to a date with me, sure. But until then, she was on a date with him, and there was fuck all I could do about it.