Just want to let you guys know now, that I do turn up the heat a little bit in this chapter, especially at the end. Next chapter we'll finally get to an action scene, which I have never really written before, so that'll be fun and probably embarrasing. Also, I'll admit, I know next to nothing about guns, so if I got anything wrong down below (you guys will know when you'll see it) please, please, PLEASE review or PM me letting me know and I'll gladly change it. Last thing I want is to be inaccurate.
And that brings me to another point, thanks to No Way (Guest), who I must thank for pointing this out to me. Since Connor is based very heavily on Jason Statham, it makes sense he carries his accent. Well, I did point out in the Prologue that it says in his file that his family is primarily Irish based in South Boston. I did not state that he LIVED in South Boston or that his family was second, third, fourth, whatever generation, Irish. From where I'm writing, I'm basing him more around the Manhattan area, than the Boston area, and his accent is just . . . there for shits and giggles and fangirling, I guess. SO, No Way (Guest) NO, Connor does not speak with a Southie accent. Sorry for the confusion :)
AJ (Guest): I love your reviews, keep them coming! And you'll get most of your answers this chapter and yeah, Lorna is not exactly a shy girl, you'll see that more in this chapter too. I like that trait too because I don't think Connor's used to having women with that much spunk (GOOD spunk) other than his sister and it keeps him on his toes. Secretly, he likes it though, you can tell ;) And by the way, I will explore their pasts in later chapters - don't worry - especially the whole Connor and Holly thing, which I do touch on in this chapter too.
Hope you guys enjoy! And please, please, please review!
Connor Fontaine: Jason Statham (as previously stated)
Lorna DeWitt: Lauren Cohan
They landed approximately eight hours later, and immediately, Connor became all business again. While on the long flight, he had slept for a good third of it – a pretty good sleep, if he could say so himself. Another third had Lorna sleeping, her head propped on his shoulder, but he didn't move her off him. He wasn't a cold-hearted bastard, despite what some people thought, but then again, he didn't exactly make things comfortable for her. He didn't wrap an arm around her; he didn't shift ever-so-slightly so that her head was on his chest instead of his shoulder. He didn't even move for another seat so that he could gently stretch her out without waking her (he had done it before). He just simply allowed her to sleep and when she finally awoke and noticed that she had been sleeping with her head on his shoulder, the blush that immediately bloomed out across her cheeks, made her appear positively adorable, and made him give her a small smile in return as he shook his head.
"Don't worry about it." He told her, and she nodded, although blush did continue to tinge her cheeks slightly as she opened her book again for the last third of leg of the flight. When he had first woken up, he had woken up refreshed and ready to go – almost cocky, in a way. He was bodyguarding a woman in the French Riviera of all places – a woman that, for all intents and purposes at the moment, he seemed to get along with quite well (although he would admit it was more on her effort than his, although he was coming around a little bit). How bad could this be? Hadn't he certainly dealt with worse in the SEALs? Shit, hadn't they and his black ops missions thrown Goddamn near everything at him, including the kitchen sink? What were a few mob bosses to Afghani bombers and flushing terrorists out of their underground bunkers?
He sat there and while thinking this, immediately remembered Holly – keenly and with a flash of anger and hatred that threatened to split his heart in two. His teeth gritted as the scar on his back that she left him as a 'loving' parting token, almost seemed to give a twinge of pain in remembrance of what she had done. He had been in sheer agony when it was being done to him, both mentally, and physically and it had damn near killed him from blood loss if he hadn't managed to somehow drive himself to the ER.
That had been an interesting story to tell the doctors, police and Karen.
He felt Lorna's eyes on him again from over the edge of her book. "You okay?" She asked him, her voice quiet and he nodded as the plane coasted to a gentle stop. As she marked her place in her book before stuffing it into her bag as well as the one by Oscar Wilde, Connor quickly unbuckled himself as soon as he was able. He then turned and headed to the leather duffel sitting in the seats across the aisle from them. He should know better than to underestimate any type of mob boss or type of opponent, really. Holly's cruel betrayal had taught him that.
He quickly unzipped the bag sitting in front of him, and pulled out one of the numerous pistols held inside, all hidden within jeans, shirts and other articles of clothing. It was a veritable small arsenal of weapons he might need, but the pistols were what he was interested in at the moment. They were all Glocks – police and military issued - but only one of which he withdrew. He snapped a loaded clip into the chamber before reaching around, lifted the back of his shirt and then stuck it securely behind him into the holster he had strapped around his middle underneath his shirt. He glanced at her from where she had been watching him in her seat the entire time.
"You know how to shoot a gun?"
The question startled her, he could tell, and knew by the look of wide-eyed shock on her face, that she didn't. He didn't mind it – in fact, he kinda figured it - but it certainly made things a little bit harder for him. He nodded. "Well aren't you an Angel?" He muttered and her eyebrows furrowed in slight anger. Her mouth opened in a fiery retort, but he shook his head and kept her from speaking. "Don't worry, that's fine. I've dealt with clients before who didn't know how to shoot a gun and I can deal with it now. But still, here – carry this just in case." He reached in and withdrew a smaller Glock than the one he had withdrawn first – the one he always carried with him. He held it out to her butt-first and she hesitantly took it. She glanced up at him, a look of nervousness on her face as she weighed the gun in her hands for a moment.
"What do I . . ." She trailed off and closed her eyes as she shook her head. "It might be a stupid question, but what do I do with this?" He shook his head.
"It's not a stupid question – come here."
She did as she was told and he took the gun from her. "I'd rather you ask me how to work it, then don't, and get us in trouble later." He told her and she nodded, a look of relief appearing on her face as he continued: "It's already loaded and the safety is on, but still, be careful with it, okay? You probably heard the saying a million times: it's not a toy, so don't go playing around with it." She nodded again. "You cock it like this – puts the bullet in the barrel . . ." He then quickly gave her a crash course in how to then uncock the gun and turn the safety back on before showing her how to remove the empty clip and then reload it with a fresh one. He taught her how to turn the safety on and off and that of course, to pull the trigger if she wanted to use it. She sent a 'duh' look at that last comment that threatened to bring a smile to his face but he managed to catch himself at the last minute. He found that Lorna held that talent – to say and do things that threatened to put smiles on his face and pull laughter from his throat, and he didn't know if he should wary of it or not yet. It didn't seem like anything . . . now. But it might later. It was certainly something to keep an eye on.
He did have to give it to her, though - she watched him keenly – taking in everything he showed her and nodding at the appropriate moments, asking all the right questions. He couldn't help but hope that she was a quick learner and really did get everything that he showed her. He didn't want to stumble upon a bad situation and figure out that everything he told her had simply gone over her head.
"Here, now lift up your shirt."
She turned another wide-eyed look onto him full of surprise, and he rolled his eyes. "How many times have I told you that I like to keep a business relationship? This isn't anything, Lorna - just pull up your fuckin' shirt for a minute." He spoke, irritation lacing his tone, and she did as she was told again. She lifted her shirt up, revealing a toned, olive-colored stomach, and he stepped closer to her, withdrawing something else from his bag as he did so. She shivered as he moved to strap a gun holster around her – a virtual twin to the one that was strapped around his own middle. His hands were cold and he felt her quivering flesh break out into goosebumps underneath his hands as he adjusted it – tightening it to fit around her better. His eyes connected with hers briefly and held them. "Sorry if my hands are cold." He muttered lamely, wondering why the Hell he had felt the urge to apologize for something he had nothing to do with after being stuck on a freezing ass damn plane for over eight hours. She shook her head, holding his gaze unflinchingly.
"Don't worry about it . . . they're fine." She replied and he found himself hurrying after that, quickly tearing his gaze away then. He was done moments later and had been almost unable to ignore the way her breath fanned out over his cheek as he stood there, trying to concentrate on making it snug enough to fit and wouldn't fall off, but yet, also wouldn't be uncomfortable for her to wear. He slid the gun into the holster at her spine when he was done and replaced her shirt over it. "If you ever need it – it's right there; easy access. I've got the same rig on me – should work fine." She nodded and continued to stand there as he got everything else he could possibly need, ready, but noticed the anxious way she stood there beside him. He glanced at her.
"It's just . . . I've never carried a gun on me before." She told him and he nodded.
"You'll get used to it. Soon, it'll become like a part of you – an extension of not just yourself, but your arm. You'll feel like you're constantly forgetting something if you ever leave it behind and if you do, tell me. In fact, if anything suddenly feels off to you or if you suddenly notice that anything is off - Hell, if you know anything you think I should know, then tell me, no matter how mundane it seems it might be."
"Is that what they taught you in the SEALs? To always carry your gun with you and always be aware of every house plant and dust bunny?" She asked and he nodded. He knew she was teasing, but he could still sense the nervousness in her tone and realized she finally understood that maybe this wasn't just a simple vacation to the French Riviera that her father was sending her on, and that he wasn't just your normal, run-of-the-mill bodyguard.
"Yeah, you could say that the SEALs and a few other key events in my life, have taught me the value of both of those things. You never know when a houseplant could become a handy weapon," He spoke with a small smile, and she returned a smaller one as he continued: "Anyway, don't mess with it unless you absolutely have to, and chances are, you'll forget it's even there until you actually need it. If you actually need it, that is." He quickly added, seeing the pale look on her face at his words. "If shit does hit the fan and we do find ourselves in a situation where guns are needed, leave it to me unless I tell you otherwise. I've been in combat before and I've been trained for combat. I know how things are done, I know how things need to be done. You just keep your head down and stick close to me at all times, okay?" She nodded again as he finally moved to zip his duffel back up.
She still looked nervous, though, shifting uneasily from foot-to-foot, and he paused mid-zip to turn his eyes onto hers again. "You still worried about the gun?" She shook her head. "Then what is it?"
"There's probably something I should let you know. It probably nothing, but all the same . . . you said to let you know . . ." She trailed off awkwardly, and he felt something drop down into the pit of his stomach. He turned to face her fully, his intense gaze boring into hers.
"Lorna, what is it?"
She bit down on her bottom lip then, an action that his eyes flitted to briefly before resettling on her eyes again. "I have an ex who lives here pretty much year round." She told him and Connor gave a chuckle, relieved, as he finished zipping up his bag.
"So you bagged yourself a Pierre or a Jean-Claude who turned stalker?" He asked and Lorna let out a snort.
"His name is Justin. And kinda. If he knows I'm in the Riviera – which he always ends up knowing somehow - then he will always conveniently show up wherever I'm at and cause a scene if I don't pay enough attention to him. He's the atypical little rich boy that threw a temper tantrum when I broke up with him and he can't let me go. And now, whenever I vacation here, I almost can't get a moment's peace thanks to him." Connor arched an inquiring eyebrow.
"Is he dangerous?"
"What do you mean?"
"Has he tried to hurt you before? Has he threatened you before – has he, you know, send you threatening notes, placed murdered kitties on your doorstep, given you strange phone calls at night?" She slowly shook her head.
"No, none of those before. Personally, I don't think he has the balls to do anything but stamp his feet and yell. But still, regardless if you're a bodyguard or not, if he sees me with another man, I just want to let you know that he might . . . do a little bit more than just stamp his feet." She trailed off, and his eyebrows rose higher, this time in amusement.
"I'm pretty sure I can handle whatever he can dish out, Lorna." He promised her and she nodded, although her expression remained a little skeptical. He moved to explain himself further. "From what you've just told me, he's nothing more but a little barking Chihuahua. I'm a Doberman. He won't be able to hang with me, I guarantee it. Hell, I'll go so far as to promise you that!"
Once again, he scolded himself for underestimating someone but he ignored the voice. He had more pressing issues and more dangerous people to worry about than a jealous ex-boyfriend.
When they left the plane and exited the airport, Connor couldn't help but gaze in surprise at the cherry red Mercedes-Benz sitting out front of the airport waiting for them. He had driven nice cars in his day but never one like this.
And why was every vehicle that Lorna drove, cherry red? Did she simply like the color? Or did it symbolize something personal for her?
Lorna noticed his gawking, and stopped to turn a polite gaze onto him. "Is there a problem, Connor?" She asked, noticing that he could not take his eyes off of the sleek sports car sitting in front of him. He shook his head as he moved to open the passenger side for her, and as airport staff hurried to load their things into the trunk.
"N-No, I'm just . . . I'm used to driving a Wrangler." He told her, and Lorna's eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
Connor gazed at her like she had grown two heads for a moment. "It's uh . . . it's a car that – you know what? Nevermind - it doesn't matter now." He shook his head as he hurried around the front to reach the driver's side. When had been the last time he had driven an automatic? He didn't know – years? Decades? He had his Wrangler for so long now that he had forgotten how long it's been since he's driven anything other than a stick.
He opened the car door and slid into the leather driver's seat. He turned the key in the ignition and the car immediately purred to life – the engine a silent powerhouse just waiting to be sped down roads at breakneck speeds of 80-miles-per-hour or higher. He could feel Lorna's smile as she gazed at him. "You want me to drive, Connor?" She asked and he glanced at her, manly pride causing his chest to puff out slightly and he shook his head. Jesus Christ, was he going to do that annoyingly embarrassed thing whenever someone who had driven a stick for a long time, first got into an automatic? Where you weren't as used to how quick the brakes were and ended up doing that stupid little 'stop-go-stop-go' thing for five minutes until you got used to it? In fact, why was he stressing about this so damn much?
Lorna gave a laugh and edged towards him. Her hip met his and her hand landed on his arm. "Okay, Chinese Fire-drill, big boy. I'm driving." She told him and he blinked at her in surprise for a moment.
"Because you've obviously been driving a stick for so long, that it makes you nervous to drive an automatic – don't know why – but it does. Like even now, your hand is ghosting over the middle console 'cause your used to having to shift into gear instead of the car doing it for you." Her eyes twinkled mischievously again. "Don't worry, Connor, I'll let you take the lead some other time, but this time, let me have the control. I promise I'll give you a good ride and then later, you can give me one, deal?"
There was that damn heavy flirting again – the kind that made him want to open his mouth and lecture her. He almost always ended up doing that, too, however, at the same time, she almost always ended up stopping him before he could. Her hip pressed insistently against his, practically pushing him out of the car and he gazed at her in disbelief the entire time he walked around the car and stood at the passenger side. She grinned when she saw he had yet to open the door and rolled down the window so that they could speak:
"Get in. We're holding up the line."
He shook his head. "This isn't right, Lorna."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh please tell me you're not about to launch into some chauvinistic tirade about how men should be the ones who should always drive!" She spoke and he shook his head.
"I'm not, 'cause I've met some damn good female drivers in my day! What I am protesting, is the fact, that what if we are followed? What if we need to lose someone? Do you know how to do that? 'Cause I do!"
"Well . . ." She began, her face and tone suddenly serious. "Here's the way I see it: I know the roads of the Riviera like the back of my hand because I practically grew up here – you don't. What you do know, is how to lose someone if we do need to. So if it comes to that, I'll do the driving and you'll do the directing. Does that sound kosher to you?" Her brown eyes glittered at him in the bright sunlight and he swallowed hard as his heart skipped a beat. Should he be worried about this? Heavy flirting, those damn big brown eyes of hers with those annoying little twinkles they'd get . . . was he keeping an adequate job of keeping the appropriate distance between them?
Finally (and after being relentlessly honked at for five minutes before being angrily cursed at in French), he threw his hands up in the air in exasperation. Lorna grinned and laughed as he yanked open the door and slid into the passenger seat, immediately clicking his seat-belt into place. She did the same. "If I think we're being followed or if we need to lose someone, you do exactly what I say, when I say, got it?" He told her, his voice brooking no argument, and she gave him another one of those infectious, carefree grins of hers.
"Oh Connor . . . won't you live a little?" She asked and he sat there, gazing at her for a moment, before pursing his lips.
"I did. She almost killed me. So sorry if I'm a little cautious."
Fear did not flash through her eyes like Connor thought, or nervousness or even anxiety. Instead, concern flashed through those eyes and once again, his heart gave one of those annoying little pangs he was starting to get around her. He gave a shrug when she didn't tear her gaze away from him for a moment, and when the angry Frenchman laid on his horn again. "There's nothing else to tell about it." He told her, obviously not going to speak further on her the matter, and she gazed at him for just a moment longer before finally pulling off of the curb and into traffic. He took out his phone and after gazing at it a phone, turned it off and slid it back into his pocket.
They had driven for a little bit less than ten minutes, Connor's eyes pinned on the rearview and side mirrors for potential cars tailing them (although he really didn't expect to see none this soon. Give them a few days and by then, he'd make damn sure he'd be driving) when he heard Lorna let out a scoffing laugh. "Bitch." He heard her mutter under her breath and he snapped a confused gaze onto her.
Lorna glanced at him, eyebrow cocked. "The woman who almost killed you? Yeah, she's a fucking bitch. No one takes away my Tiger's need to live a little." She told him before her cocked eyebrow adopted a look of amusement. "I'll just have to give it back to you."
She returned her gaze onto the road then and for a moment Connor couldn't tear his eyes away from her. Whether it was in shock or surprise or whatever the fuck he was feeling run through his gut at that moment, he couldn't help but he felt . . . something towards her.
"Tiger?" He asked and Lorna nodded confidently.
"Yup, it's your nickname."
"You gave me a bloody nickname?"
She nodded again, her eyes sparkling again. "Of course. Tiger . . . I think it suits you." Her eyes took on that same mischievous twinkle that he was starting to both love and dread because it heralded some pretty heavy flirting. "That and you seem like the type of man who would growl a lot, if you get my meaning."
He sat there, still unable to tear his gaze away from her and she couldn't help but laugh at it. He couldn't help it. He couldn't think of nothing to say. He was completely and utterly dumbfounded by the woman sitting beside him - the woman who never failed to take him by surprise – the man who he had thought had seen everything before. He had never thought she could be so bold, he had never thought she could be so . . . so . . .