Chapter 5

"Belonged?" Alex said, eyebrow raised.

"Yeah…" she said looking intently at the floor, "about what I said before… I lied."

"Well that's a surprise," Josh said rolling his eyes. "What did you expect?" he added when Alex shot him a withering look.

"Okay look," she said finding it hard to meet his eyes, "Gabriel did catch me that night in the club but he didn't take blood, he would barely touch me, as if he were afraid I'd break. He took me everywhere, clubs, parties, casinos but not once did he ever let a pair of fangs anywhere near my skin. He gambled a lot, I think it gave him a sort of high, and one night he kept losing, he was drunk on vodka laced blood and he couldn't think straight. Eventually he ran out of money so he bet me… and lost." She gestured at the picture, "He won. As much as I hated Gabriel he was nothing compared to Dante, he would have sucked me dry if Gabriel hadn't bought me back a couple of months later."

"Bought," Alex growled through his teeth.

She shrugged, "Yeah, I heard I cost him an arm and a leg," she said sardonically. "Not literally," she said quickly seeing Alex's appalled expression. "Sorry, it's a human expression."

"And Dante just let you go?" Josh asked sceptically.

She shrugged again, "I didn't stay long enough to find out, I stabbed Gabriel in the chest while he slept. I guess I missed his heart."

Alex just looked at her as if seeing her for the first time.

"Well," Josh said a little uncomfortably, "I'll just be leaving now, I have work to do."

Alex dragged his eyes from her own to watch as Josh turned and walked back the way he'd come.

"So… about my clothes…"

Alex was still lost somewhere in his thoughts and she had to wave a hand in front of his face to get a response from him, "Huh?"

"Clothes?" she asked gesturing to her semi-naked form.

"Oh yeah," he said suddenly remembering where he was. He opened one of the numerous cupboards and pulled out the pile of her clothes.

"Bastard," she said smiling crookedly. Avoiding the spilt coffee she took a step towards him and made a grab for the precious bundle.

"Wait just a minute," he said playfully holding it out of her reach, "you promise you're not going to try and kill me?"

She rolled her eyes but smiled slightly, "Yes I promise I won't try to kill you."

Still holding it out of her each he raised an eyebrow.

"Fine, I promise I won't maim, dismember or otherwise cause you bodily harm," she said crossing her arms. "Happy?"

Smiling he held out the wad of clothes for her which she grabbed for immediately, half expecting him to hold it out of her reach again. When she caught the faint smell of fabric softener she stopped and sniffed at her shirt. She raised an eyebrow, "You washed my clothes?" she asked dumbfounded.

He shrugged and bent to pick up the fragments of the mug that she'd dropped.

"So," she said rocking back on her heels, "is there a bathroom around here? Preferably with a shower? A hot tub would be nice too but I'm not getting my hopes up."

"Yeah, down the hall. Second door to the right." She was about to turn when he added, "Oh and Callum," she waited expectantly, "you'll need these."

She smiled widely as he tossed her guns, and the remainder of the small artillery she always carried with her, to her.

"Thanks," she called over her shoulder as she practically left the kitchen skipping.

After locking the door to the bathroom she turned the water on full and stepped into the freezing water. She stood shivering in the cool water, letting it clear her head of Alex's compulsion, until it warmed. Sighing, she turned her face to the water. After letting the water wash away the remainder of last night's activities, the smell of stale beer and sweat, she climbed from the shower and grabbed one of the luxurious white towels off the towel rack.

"Huh, heated towel racks," she said with admiration, "nice."

She climbed into her freshly washed clothes and ran a hand through her damp hair, curly from the steam of her shower. She strapped on her sheaths, the familiar weight of her weaponry reassuring her.

"Hey Alex," she called as she exited the bathroom, ringing the last drops of water from her hair, "since when do-"

A hand clamped over her mouth just as she was about to walk back into the kitchen. She looked up, startled, into Alex's green eyes. He put a finger to his lips. She nodded, all too aware of his body pressing hers into the wall at her back. He backed off and pointed to the gun strapped to her ankle which she took from its holster and handed to him before taking her remaining gun firmly in her hand.