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This time Jade makes sure that Dexter is in the conference room already when I arrive. I’ve noticed they’ve put thick plexiglas over the bars in the hallway of razor blades.

I know Jade feels bad for yesterday, but there’s really nothing I can say. I can only blab about my stupidity so much, people are still going to beat themselves up over shit.

I slip in the door and smile at golden eyes, but then realize that there are two very large cops standing against the wall. I turn to look at them, one eyebrow raised.

“Aren’t you guys supposed to be outside the door?” I ask, more than a little perturbed. These pigs are NOT going to fuck up my hangout with this guy.

“This man is dangerous-“ the one on the left starts to speak, but I put a hand up, clucking my tongue in annoyance to stop him.

“He’s not dangerous to me.” I smile with sugary sweetness. “Now please, leave. I’m asking nicely. He’s not going to hurt me. This guy has now saved my ass...” I make a peace sign with my fingers and wag them in the cop’s face for effect. “Twice.”

The piggies glance from me to Dexter, and then the one on the right taps his partner and motions for him to leave.

“Thank you.” My voice is so placating I want to punch myself. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, dickholes. I turn to Dexter as they disappear, and his jaw is clenched.

“What happened to your face?” He demands, and I blink at him.

“How is it that my expert makeup job can hide shit from trained policemen, but you can still see it?” I shake my head and cross to the chair opposite him, sitting down with a little sigh. “Do you have x-ray vision to go with that super strength and speed?”

“What happened to your face?” He asks again, and in return, I sigh again. I dig around in my bag and produce a container. Today it’s my signature chili, designed to melt your tongue out of your head with extra kick. I’ve got a massive dinner roll for him too, so he doesn’t go up in flames.

He doesn’t even look at the food. He can’t take his eyes off of my cheek.

“Christ, don’t worry about it, this is nothing.” I smile, and it only hurts a little. The bruise was pretty bad, but I thought I masked it perfectly. I need to get some better foundation, I guess. “You should see the other guy.” I joke, although it is true. The fucker that hit me is now nursing two black eyes, a broken rib, and one hell of a hangover.

Dexter doesn’t get the joke, however. “It was a guy?” He’s fuming.

“What is with you?” I throw my hands up. “I cracked his rib with my steel toed boot, he was pissed, let it go. I got off easy.”

“You don’t understand.” Dexter leans forward. His eyes are ablaze, again with that passion that I’m starting to envy. I don’t think I get that look in my eyes even when I’m angry. I don’t even know if I really get angry. I think the fighting is really just something to do.

“You don’t know me, Dexter.” I lean forward, and I am determined not to be intimidated by him. “When I hurt someone, they have every right to fight back.”

“I don’t care if a chick is going Rambo on me, I’m not going to hit her.” He clenches a beautiful fist. His knuckles are scarred. “The most I would do is hold her still.”

“What if she’s bigger than you?” There’s a hint of playfulness in my voice.

“Then I run.” He replies easily, still serious. I can’t help but laugh at this. I just can’t picture this six-foot tall god of muscle and sinew running from a chick.

“You’re really insane.” I pretend to wipe tears from my eyes, but he still hasn’t cracked a smile.

“If I get out of here, I’m going to kill every man that’s ever hurt you.” The words come out in a low husk, and all traces of humour are gone from my face. I can’t believe he’s just said that. And by the startled look in his eyes, I don’t think he can believe it either.

“Don’t say that too loud, or they’ll never let you go.” I get a hold of myself long enough to spit the words and compose my heartbeat. Since when did feeling like a helpless damsel make me feel so… I don’t even know what I’m feeling. But it makes my heart rate triple when he gets all manly like that. “Besides, no man has ever hurt me.”

This, of course, is a big fat fucking lie. But the more times I say it out loud, the easier it is for me to believe.

“Fine then, every man that’s tried to hurt you.” He sounds a little bit more lighthearted now. I think he scared himself. Either that or he’s afraid of scaring me. Maybe both. I don’t know.

“Then you’d be a mass murderer, my friend.” I pretend to raise a glass to him and he scowls. “Look, relax. I’m a bitch, okay? Everything that happens to me is incredibly well deserved. I don’t think before I bootfuck.” I smile at him, and he just shakes his head.

I guess he figures trying to convince me of his gentlemanly ways is a waste of time.

He looks down at the container of chili and his eyes light up like a child’s on Christmas morning. “You brought me chili.”

“You like chili.” It’s an observation, not a question. I saw the happiness on his face.

“I fucking love chili.” He cracks it open and begins to devour it in heaping spoonfuls.

I smile, of course waiting for him to start choking on the heat in his throat.

But he doesn’t. He finishes the entire bowl and then slowly turns to the bread and tears off a small chunk. Not even a flinch, or an exhale, nothing.

“Holy fuck.” I cross my arms. “Nobody has ever survived that recipe in one go.”

“You don’t know me.” He replies with an ever so slight slyness in his eyes.

Honey, I so want to know you.

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