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Chapter 17

Addison didn’t wake up until the early afternoon. She panicked for a moment before she realized that Rossum must have moved her to his bed after she fell asleep on the couch. When she looked over to the bedside table she smiled at her glock displayed there. Smelling something coming from the direction of the kitchen, Addison jumped out of bed and rummaged through Rossum’s drawers and threw on some old track pants and a big shirt then made her way out of the small room.

“Good morning!” Rossum announced once Addison slipped into the kitchen and grabbed a mug from the cupboard.

“Morning, you didn’t need to give me the bed. I was more than comfortable on the couch and if I’m going to inconvenience you by staying here I insist on taking the couch.”

Rossum just shook his head and turned the bacon he was frying in the pan, “don’t be silly, it was no problem. I’m not such an old man that I can’t take a little sleeping on the couch. I actually slept great last night, what about you?”

“Like a rock actually,” she confessed. “Is there anything I can do to help? We have to get to the office soon.”

“Yes, you can make some toast, and pour me another cup of coffee, would ya?”

Addison danced around Rossum in the small kitchen to help with breakfast, then they say down at the table in comfortable silence. Rossum read the paper and Addison responded to the emails she had lost track of since being in the hospital. Finally, once all the food on both their plates had been finished, Addison stood, grabbed them and placed them in the sink. “I guess it’s about time that both of us got ready for work.”

“You don’t have to rush, I’m sure no one is expecting too much from us, we did just get out of the hospital.”

“Well, then I guess we better get out there and prove everyone wrong.”

“I’ll tell you what,” Rossum folded his newspaper, placed it on the table and leaned forward, “why don’t we go for a quick workout, then I’ll take you to the shooting range that I was talking about yesterday.”

“Are you sure you can shoot with your injury? You might want to take it easy Rossum’s arm was still in a sling – even if he didn’t wear it all the time – and Addison was concerned that the force of firing a weapon would further injure him.

“I’m not really the one that needs practice firing a weapon. I do that for a living, if you forgot.”

“Oh of course, you’re a big bad FBI agent, my bad.” She turned to leave and change, but she stopped, “and by the way, I don’t need any practice either.”

With that she escaped the kitchen and grabbed her overnight bag on the way to the bathroom. She pulled out some spandex shorts and a comfy white shirt, then set aside some jeans and a blouse to take with her. After she changed she tried to pull her hair into a high ponytail, but the spot where the intruder had smashed her head was still tender, so she gathered it into a loose, low one instead. With the hair pulled away from her face it was easier to see the extent of the damage she went through, even with almost a week of healing cuts and bruises were noticeable scattered across her body. Addison played with the loops of light brown across her left wrist and was lost for only a moment before she straightened her spine and stepped out of the bathroom.

“Alright, so if I come up to you and grab your wrist like this,” Rossum was explaining some basic self-defence moves and Addison, who just couldn’t be bothered to argue with him, was going along with it. He grabbed her lightly by the wrist, hesitating a bit when he saw the bruising there, “what would you do?”

Addison batted her eyelashes innocently and put on her best southern belle accent, “Well, I’m awfully sure that I don’t know Mr. Rossum, but I know that a strong man like you could give me a good idea. Won’t you help me out of this awful predicament?” Addison put the hand that wasn’t captured to her forehead and feigned fainting.

“Addison would you please try to take this seriously? Now, if you just try to pull your hand away it’s not going to work, my grip is too tight there. What I want you to do is turn your wrist to the smallest part is where my forefinger meets my thumb.” Addison did as she was told with a bored look on her face, “good, now push your elbow towards me and pry your wrist out of the opening. Good, you got it Addison!”

“Gee, thanks Ross.”

“So, what would you do if I came at you and started choking you?” He placed both his hands on either side of Addison’s neck.

“I would say, please stop Rossum, I’m not really into that fetish.”

“Oh, ha-ha Addison. Now you’re dead.”

Rossum was about to go on, but they were interrupted by two guys who had been watching them on and off, “Aw, look at this Tony. The consultant can’t take care of herself. She needs big bad Rossum to show her some moves, how adorable.”

Addison pulled Rossum’s hands off her throat, “I think you’ve taught me quite a bit. Do you think it would be alright to try some of them out on someone else? That way you could watch and tell me if I’m doing something wrong.” Rossum hesitated before nodding and Addison walked over to the man that had been speaking before. “It’s Gerald isn’t it? Well, since you seem to be so interested in what agent Rossum and I are doing, you wouldn’t mind helping us out, would you?”

He rolled his eyes slightly, “Are you sure princess? I wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt you, especially in your… delicate state.”

Rossum also hesitated, “Addison, I’m not sure if you should be sparring with anyone, not while you are still on the mend.”

“Nonsense, it’s just a couple of bruises, I’m feeling great. So, what do you say, Gerry?”

“I only have one speed princess, so if you’re expecting me to take it easy on you, think again.”

Shrugging her shoulder innocently, Addison nodded, “How else would I truly learn? I don’t think a real attacker is going to take it easy on me either, in fact he didn’t.”

Rossum slipped the sling back over his head and arranged the two others, “Okay why don’t we try the bear hug from behind?” Addison stood still as Gerald wrapped his arms around her middle a little too roughly, “What do you do Addison?”

Before Rossum had finished the end of his inquiry Addison’s elbow had made contact with the side of her attacker’s face, then the other side. While he was momentarily stunned, Addison pried loose two fingers on the hand at her waist and pushed them as far back as she could before spinning out of the hold. She then kicked the back of his leg so he collapsed onto his knees and twisted his arm behind his back. By the end Gerald was wincing on the ground with Addison standing in a dominant position behind him.

“How’d I do?”

Rossum pressed his lips together firmly, “so, I suppose I was just wasting my time trying to teach you anything this morning.”

“I may have known a couple of moves before today.” She smirked when she heard a groan from the man attached to her hand.

“Now that you guys have talked it out would you mind releasing me?” Gerald asked from his kneeling position on the gym matts.

Addison whipped her hand away from his, “I do hope the princess didn’t hurt you.” Gerald rubbed his wounded hand unconsciously and muttered obscenities under his breath as he walked away. “Why I do think I’ve made a new friend today!”

“Yep, that’s you Addy, spreading sunshine wherever you go.” Rossum grabbed his gym bag and threw it over his shoulder, “Are you ready to go to the shooting range, or should I just assume that you’re an expert marksman as well?”

“I wouldn’t call myself a marksman… I did warn you that I didn’t need any practise, but sometimes you only hear what you want to hear. Anyway, I would never say no to going to the range.”

He bent down and picked up Addison’s bag as well, then guided her through the hallways until they arrived at the gun range. Rossum ditched their bags in a locker and retrieved goggles, and ear plugs. He handed her the small buds and slipped the glasses onto her face then Addison produced a large gun out of her purse.

“I don’t think I will ever get used to you holding that huge thing.” Addison cocked an eyebrow and threw him a dirty smile. He cleared his throat and nodded towards the targets, “shall we get started then?”

“We? I thought you were super FBI agent and didn’t need any target practice?”

“If you can bring a grown man to his knees in your state I think I can fire a gun in mine.”

She shrugged, “try and take it easy, won’t you?”

“Would you?”

“Good point.” Addison turned to go to the barrier and when she got there she pointed her glock at the target, closed one eye and exhaled as she fired off four shots. Next, she heard Rossum do the same thing to her right before the targets whooshed forward so they could grab them. All of Rossum’s shots were right on the bull’s-eye, every single one a kill shot. When he glanced over at Addison’s target he shook his head a little and pointed at the hole right over the heart, “Don’t be discouraged, one out of four’s not bad.”

“I’ve never really liked to colour between the lines. Who is this target to tell me where I need to shoot? There is more than one way to kill someone, and what if I don’t want to kill them, what if I just want to disarm them? This target is not thinking outside of the box.”

“So this…” Rossum pointed towards the bullet hole in the middle of the forehead.

“A head shot can be just as deadly as a chest wound.”

He eyed the one just below the right shoulder questioningly, “And this?”

“Right about here,” Addison traced a circle on Rossum’s chest, “is a bundle of nerves and arteries unlike anywhere else in the body, if you get shot here it’s a death sentence, and before you ask the arm shot was not a kill shot, but it will disarm someone in a hurry with minimal damage in the long run. I hit exactly every target that I wanted to.”

“Maybe you should be training the rookies.”

“Probably.” She laughed and tucked the gun back into her purse, “Are you quite satisfied now? Am I allowed to walk the streets alone now?”

“Don’t make me seem like an overprotective ogre. I’m not making up the threat against you. It’s very real, Addison, I don’t want you to forget that.”

“How could I possibly when you are reminding me every five seconds?” The pair glared at each other as a few seconds ticked by before Addison let out an exasperated sigh, “I really would prefer not to have the same fight we’ve had a million times. I’m feeling a bit under the weather; would it be alright if I took today off and just headed back to your place?”

“Sure, do you need me to come with you?” Rossum winced a little as he handed Addison’s bag back to her.

“No, I think I’m just going to crawl into your big comfy bed and rest for a while.”

Rossum looked somewhat dejected for a moment but quickly recovered, “You can take the car back if you want.”

“I kinda feel like taking the bus, oddly.” Addison crookedly smiled at him, “I’m feeling a bit squirrely today.”

A chuckle escaped Rossum, “Okay little squirrel, head on home, I’ll see you in a couple hours.”

With only a nod she headed to the bus station. It was a bit of a walk, but Addison was in one of her rarely felt self-pity moods, so the sullen, lonely walk was exactly what she was looking for. The busses breaks squealed as it lurched to a stop in front of her and she doors sprang open. She spared a half-smile for the overweight driver and pushed the fare into the glass box. There was no seating so she headed as far back as she could and grabbed a hold of the railing above her head. The past few week’s events were racing through Addison’s mind before, suddenly, they stopped dead when she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She could feel someone watching her and her body seemed to be rejecting that feeling. A cursory scan of the people in front of her showed no one going out of their way to stare at her, but she couldn’t shake the feeling. Addison was about to check out the rows behind her when she heard a familiar voice.

“Would the lady like a seat?” Alex Brogan stood up right behind her and held his hands out to his seat.

“What a gentleman,” Addison said as she took the offered seat. The old lady in the next one glowered at her for a moment before resuming her examination of the window, “so what brings you to the bus?”

“I do reckon my car is in the shop. I’m stuck with this here bus for a few days. I didn’t think girls like you took the bus.”

“Girls like me? I’m not sure if I should be flattered or offended.”

“I sure don’t mean to offend ma’am. I just mean… I mean you drive a Mercedes.”

“Ah, yes, but sometimes I drive a beat-up old Honda, but, as it happens today I drove in with Rossum and he wasn’t quite ready to go home.”

“Well, I’m awfully sorry if I offended you at all.”

“It takes quite a bit more than that to offend me, sweets.” She winked and pulled the yellow wire hanging from the wall and swung out of the seat. “Catch ya later, Brogs.”

Addison dropped her bags on the couch and winced as her stitches pulled and tugged. “I can’t wait to get these damned things out.” She groaned to herself. Pulling off her leggings she stumbled into Rossum’s bedroom. When she lifted off her shirt she lightly fingered the wound on her abdomen.

“Boxers, boxers…” Addison said throwing open random drawers. “If I were a pair of Ross’ underwear where would I be?” She found his socks and pushed some of them around just in case his underwear was under it. She was about to close it up when she heard a crinkle.

I probably shouldn’t… she thought as she pulled out an unmarked envelope. When she flipped it over she saw it was unsealed and reasoned that just one look wouldn’t hurt. “It’s probably some cheesy love letter to his high school sweetheart. Forgetting all about the underwear she was searching for, Addison collapsed onto the bed with her legs crossed and pulled open the stiff paper. The writing was sloppy, but slightly familiar.

Agent Rossum,

She had only just begun to read but she already had a sinking feeling in her stomach.

I know you discovered my little present, and I do hope you enjoyed it. The poor girl it belonged to was alive and well when she lost it, sadly, but you haven’t met her yet.

Now, I know you have begun accustomed to a certain kind of letter from me, but things have changed, you, my friend, have changed. I’m sure I know why and I’m fairly certain you have an idea as well, and that idea Agent is why I felt the need for a more… shall I say, personal letter.

I do hope you have put together all the puzzle pieces, Phil, because I’m not sure how much longer I will be entertained by this game, and when I’m no longer entertained who knows what I might do. Although I’m not sure if I could ever grow tired of those green eyes, cushiony pink lips, and especially the soft, silky brown hair.

Addison took in a shaky breath and glanced at the mirror in front of her. Brown hair framed her green eyes. All she wanted to do was crumple up the letter, throw it out the window and never think about it again, but for some reason she read on, she couldn’t stop herself.

I know you know what I mean, agent. I’ve seen the way you look at her, that glint in your eye. Have you ever smelt her before? I don’t mean like a passing whiff, I mean really smelled her. Up close, grabbing a handful of hair and buried your nose in it? I have, and it was amazing.

Does that make you angry, Rossum? Do you want to strangle me until you see the life leave my eyes? I guess you’d just better hope that you get to me before I get to our girl.

Give my regards to Addison. I do hope I didn’t do too much damage with the whole stabbing incident.

You’re Friend.

It felt as if time was going by in slow motion for Addison. She read the whole letter over to make sure she hadn’t hallucinated the entire thing, but even then she wasn’t convinced that it was real. Everything was numb. She wasn’t scared, or angry, she felt absolutely nothing until she heard a key slip into the lock. After that her entire body stiffened, and she clutched the paper in her hands. She finally felt something and tried to blink the fire out of her eyes.

Rossum had tried to focus on work after Addison left, he really had, but every time he picked up a file, or clicked something on the computer, or even simply when he closed his eyes, there she was. She was haunting him. His every thought was consumed with her safety. He attempted to pinpoint when his concern for her had turned into obsession, but the insanity of it all only made his head hurt. So, instead, his thoughts drifted to the letter safely tucked away inside his sock drawer. In all honesty, he wanted to put it in a safer place until he figured out a way to bring it up to her, but Addison had shown up so unpredictably that he hadn’t had a moment to do it since.

When he first received the thing, tucked inconspicuously into his mailbox, he had lost an entire night’s sleep debating whether or not to show her. He knows that eventually he would have to, but he wanted to be able to answer a few questions for her when that time came. He wanted to be able to say that they were close, that the FBI was going to finally catch this guy and she didn’t need to worry, not that she would anyway. On top of that, there were a few things about the letter that he didn’t understand, but every time Rossum read it he was so blinded by anger he couldn’t think about anything rationally.

Staring blankly into the space of his office, Rossum blew out a sigh. All the thoughts about the letter just made his anxiety about Addison’s safety more intense. He pushed himself out from under his desk and flicked his lights off before he closed his door tightly.

The house looked quiet and peaceful when he exited the car, bit something about the arrangement of the clouds framing it made it look ominous and Rossum had an overwhelming feeling that he should turn around. Instead, he bounded up the steps and unlocked the blue door. He held his breath as it swung open, and, sure enough, he was greeted with a slap to the face.

“what the fuck, Addison? I just got here, what on earth could I possibly have… why aren’t you wearing any clothes?” He had been so distracted by the slap to the face that he had failed to immediately notice that Addison was pacing his living room in nothing but her bra and underwear set. She threw him a glare, but didn’t answer his question. The tension in the air was still thick and Rossum was about to repeat his question, but the words died in her throat as he saw what she was clutching in her left hand, “Shit…”

“Oh, ‘shit’ is right! What could you possibly have been thinking? That I wouldn’t find out? That it wasn’t a big deal? And please don’t feed me the ‘I was trying to protect you’ line because we both know it’s bullshit. There is no way in hell you can justify not showing me this the second you got it. THE SECOND, ROSS!”

“Says you! But you can’t honestly tell me that if you had received this letter you would have told me about it. You can sit there on your high horse all you want and spout your righteous words at me, but you don’t know until you are put in that situation!”

“How dare you! Don’t turn this around on me! I deserved to know about this. He broke into my house he stabbed me, he smelled my hair, Ross! Do you know how sick that is? Do you understand how dirty and disgusting I feel? My skin is crawling and all I want to do is shave my head.”

“Exactly!” Rossum finally had time to step into his living room while Addison continued to pace back and forth. “I knew this is how you would feel which is why I didn’t show you. There’s no wonder you feel disgusting, that letter is disgusting. Don’t you think I felt the exact same way after I read it? I didn’t want to show you because I didn’t want to have to deal with it myself, let alone help you deal with it.”

At that Rossum saw the fire reignite in Addison’s eyes. She crossed the room in three strides. Once she was in front of Rossum she pressed finger into his chest, “Who told you that you needed to help me deal with it? I don’t need shit from you, Rossum, I never have. You don’t need to help me ‘deal’ with anything! In fact, since I’m clearly such a burden to you, I might as well go. I certainly wouldn’t want you to have to help me ‘deal with anything while I’m here. It would clearly cut into all of the shit you have going on!”

“Oh come on, Addison, don’t be childish. You know I didn’t mean it like that!”

“So now I’m being childish. It’s a wonder you were able to put up with me at all!” Addison stomped over to her bag and flung it over her shoulder in a huff.

She was turning everything he was saying around and it had his blood boiling. The sight of her about to walk out the door nearly tipped him over the edge. He pulled the strap off her arm forcefully and pushed her body against the nearest wall. “Put up with you? You can’t be serious! There hasn’t been a single moment since I met you that you haven’t been on my mind. You’re all I think about, you’re all I worry about, I can’t focus on anything else, ever. It is the most frustrating feeling! If you walked out that door right now I would have no choice but to come and find you because not knowing how you are is debilitating!”

His speech had him out of breath and he could see the force of it moving the hair framing Addison’s face. The fire had been extinguished from her eyes and her eyebrows were furrowed deep in thought. Her slightly parted lips pressed together quickly before she spoke, ‘stop, just stop it, Rossum. You don’t have to do this. I don’t need a babysitter.”

“I’m not your fucking babysitter!” with that he pressed his lips so fiercely into hers that he was worried for a moment he had broken the skin. After that fear evaporated a new one took its place. Addison wasn’t kissing back, she wasn’t responding. Was it possible he had misread everything, was there really no chemistry between them? As quickly as he had decided to kiss her, he knew he had to pull back, as much as his body was screaming at him not to.

Their eyes locked as their lips separated. A hand flew to hers and lightly pressed them like she was trying to press the feeling back into them. “What was that exactly?”

“I’m sorry, Addy, it’s just… I just had to know. I guess I thought we were on the same page.”

She blinked a few times like she was trying to clear something from her eyes, Rossum took a step back to let her out from the wall, but Addison’s hand wrapped around the back of his neck and pulled him back down to her lips. This time they slightly parted and Rossum could feel his pulse pick up. He thought his heart might actually jump out of his chest. He pushed her harder into the wall attempting to get his body as close to hers as possible.

Addison pushed him away slightly and Rossum immediately went into apology mode, but before he could get a word out she pushed her hair out of her face, wrapped a slender hand around his tie and pulled him back in. the tie was loosened and thrown to the floor, next her fingers made quick work of his buttons and slipped the white shirt off his broad shoulders. It fell to the floor to join his tie. At that, Rossum slid his hands down her soft skin, when he rounded her hips he lifted up a little using the wall as leverage. Addison responded by wrapping her long legs around his waist and pushed her fingers into his hair. Using the busy hands she gripped a chunk of hair, pulled him back and looked straight into his eyes. The green was mixed with a breathtaking gold surrounding her pupils, he had never seen them like that and he hoped that it wouldn’t be the last time. After what felt like a lifetime staring into them he realized that her lips were moving and she was trying to tell him something. He tried to shake out the lust that had clouded over his brain, “sorry?”

“Bedroom?” She was still breathless and the sound was echoing in his ears. While he was still processing she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and tugged on it.

Rossum groaned and pulled it back out with his lips then started to walk towards his bedroom. The door bounced off the wall when he kicked it a bit too aggressively and when Addison laughed he felt the vibration against his mouth. He felt like his body was on fire. Like every nerve was exposed. Without any further waiting Rossum pushed Addison’s shoulders and tossed her onto the mattress. She bounced slightly and her long hair fanned out around her. He took a couple seconds to look at her, really absorb the moment before he put one knee on the bed and crawled towards her. Small arms encircled his neck and he thought this it is. This is everything I’ve been waiting for. THE LOOK ON HER FACE WAS LIKE THE NIGHT IN THE RAIN AND HE FINALLY KNEW WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE THERE WITH HER.

Rossum woke up to the steady beeping of his alarm clock. A quick look around found that he was alone in his bed. Was it just a dream? He thought before he lifted the sheets. When he saw that he was naked he realized that he couldn’t have made it up, regardless of how many similar dreams he’d had in the past. It couldn’t have been a dream, the night before was still hot in his memory and it was as real as the smell of her perfume that continued to linger in the air. The curves of her body, the slight moans that escaped her lips, the way her nails dragged across his back.

A bra was hanging off the dresser precariously. The rest of the room was impeccably neat. Even his clothing that had been shed to the floor last night had been neatly folded and placed at the foot of the bed. He finally sat up, placed his face into his open hands and rubbed up into his hair. The silence in the little house was deafening. He grabbed his boxers out of his drawer and slipped them onto his naked lower half and quickly checked around. If it weren’t for the bra on the dresser and the coffee in the pot Rossum would have doubted that Addison had ever been in his house at all.

“Well this can’t be good.” He said to the empty house. He poured himself a cup of the leftover coffee and sighed as he flopped into one of the wooden kitchen chairs. When he sipped the coffee he realized it was still warm so Addison couldn’t have been gone for long, in fact, the smell of her perfume still lingered in the air around him. He leaned back and soaked it in for a while, closing his eyes and trying to remember every moment of the night before. A smile crept onto his face, but it quickly disappeared when he heard his phone vibrating from his desk.

“Ugh,” he groaned as he slowly made his way to the small home office. It felt to him like every muscle in his body was sore and stiff. “Hello?”

“Agent Rossum?” There was a lot of commotion in the background and Brogan’s voice was raised, “where are you?”

“What do you mean, where am I? It’s seven in the morning; I’m at home like a normal person.” Rossum tucked the phone between his shoulder and his cheek and made his way to the bedroom to slip his pants on.

“It’s just… Addison is here and I assumed that you would be here, or be on your way, or something.”

“On my way where, to the office? Agent Brogan, I’m going to need you to start being a little more clear.” He smoothed the wrinkles on his forehead and scratched his scalp lightly.

“The office… no, didn’t anyone tell you, I thought someone would have called you?”

“Alex! Please tell me what is going on right now!”

“There’s another body. We’re pretty sure it’s the tri-way killer again, but it’s different. I can’t explain it on the phone, you really need to get here, you have to see it.” His voice didn’t sound shaky or quiet, it was all business, but Rossum was thankful for that this particular moment.

“Are you serious? Alright, I’m on my way, just give me the address.”

“It’s 1802 Emma Street.”

Rossum nearly dropped the phone, “no, you must be mistaken, that address is –”

“Addison’s building, yeah. Just get here, Phil.”

Rossum grabbed the first shirt that his hands made contact with and pulled it over his head, “Wait, where is Addison, is she safe?”

“Yes, she’s fine, she’s here.”

“I’m out my door right now. I’ll be there in ten. Tell her it’s going to be okay.”

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