December 30th, 2015
His eyes never left me. I could see him trying to figure out how the woman from last night connected with the woman standing before him as he slowly approached us. He finally looked away once Charlie put a hand on his shoulder and brought him in for a hug.
“It’s been too long, brother.” Charlie said as he patted Liam’s back.
“Yes it has.” Liam said as he watched Charlie take a step back and put an arm around me. “And who is this?” Liam said, looking down at me.
“This is Katherine Fox. She’s the Alpha Teams newest assignment.” Charlie said looking from me to Liam.
“Kate.” I said, taking a step out of Charlie’s reach as I held out a hand to Liam.
“Liam.” He said as he took my hand and brought it to his lips, giving me flashbacks of last night. “So you’re the one they’re protecting.” He said, lowering my hand but not letting go.
I frowned and looked over at Finn, “You told him?” I asked.
Finn shook his head in defense, “No, I didn’t say anything.”
Charlie spoke up, “I contacted Liam a few days ago, asking if he wanted to be a member of the Alpha Team like old times.”
“Old times?” I asked, pulling my hand back as I looked at Liam.
“I’m retired.” Liam said firmly, looking over at Charlie.
“Retired?” I repeated quietly.
Charlie let out a deep laugh that made me jump a little, “C’mon Liam…You know you miss it, don’t lie to me.”
Liam shook his head, “I have a good thing going now.” He said as he folded his arms over his chest.
“Yea, well, you stick around long enough and you might find a reason to stay.” Charlie said with a grin before he looked back at the temple.
On that note, Liam looked down at me and raised a brow, “Maybe.” He said softly before looking over at Finn, “Come on, brother.” He said as he walked towards the temple with Finn.
Charlie looked back at me, “You coming?” He asked.
I nodded slowly, “Yea.” I whispered before following them through the glass doors.
The hour that I was suppose to be meditating went by slow. Finn sat to my left and silently tried to give me tips on how to relax, but with Charlie in front of me and Liam to my right, relaxing was the last thing on my mind. I was terrified Liam was going to give me up in some way, but after a few minutes of thinking about it, I decided if he was going to give me up he would have done it already.
I counted the minutes as they drug by, I couldn’t sit still. When I wasn’t looking at the clock, I was stealing glances over at Liam; He was sitting there peacefully in a whole other world. I checked the clock again, I had ten more minutes to either sit there and fidget or I could sneak out and get some air.
I decided to sneak out.
“Oh my god.” I whispered to myself as I stepped outside. How am I ever going to survive this? I had enough problems going on in my life, how could it possibly get more complicated?
“Kate.” Someone behind me whispered.
I turned and saw Liam slowly walking up to me, more relaxed than before.
“Liam, hey.” I said softly.
He waited until we were toe to toe to speak again, “You want to tell me what’s going on? Or should I take a guess?” He asked looking down at me, his deep blue eyes searching me for answers.
“There’s a lot going on, Liam, you’re going to have to be more specific. Also! You’re retired?” I asked, raising a brow.
Liam sighed, “Yes, I’m retired. We’ll circle back to that. What’s going on between you and Charlie?” He asked.
“That’s way too complicated to get into right now-” I started but Liam cut me off.
“-Then what’s going on between you and me?” He asked with an impatient tone.
“You and me? Nothing! Jesus, we kissed. That’s it. I had to leave after that, I never thought I would see you again.” I said with a shrug.
“Is that what you do in your spare time? Lead random guys on and then get scared and bail last minute?” He asked, trying to push my buttons.
It was working.
“Scared?” I let out a light laugh, “Please, I was anything but scared. Don’t be ridiculous.”
“So you intended on going through with it?” He asked with a raised brow.
“With last night? Well I wasn’t going to chicken out if that’s what you’re implying.” I argued.
Liam looked down at me with a cocky smirk that I wanted to smack off his face a little bit, “So it wasn’t just a kiss then.” He said in a ‘matter of fact’ tone.
“Oh my god… are you, thirteen?” I said as I turned my back to him, heading into the woods.
“Tell me I’m wrong then.” He said following me at a slow pace.
“I don’t have to tell you anything.” I said over my shoulder to him as I kept walking.
I heard him laugh, “You can’t even say it, can you? If you admit that you were scared then you look weak, and if you admit that you would have let me fuck you senseless, then that would mean you’d be admitting to actually wanting me, and that’s the last thing you want to do, isn’t it?” He said, catching up to me.
I stopped walking and looked back at him, “What do you want, Liam?” I asked.
He was close to me now, I had to look up to make eye contact with him.
“I want a rematch.” He said firmly.
“A what?” I asked annoyed.
“A rematch.” He repeated, “You, me, and the dart board. Tonight at eight.”
“Is this some rivalry thing between you and Charlie? See who wins the girl over?” I asked, resting my hands on my hips.
He shrugged, “Maybe.” He said, “Only, Charlie doesn’t know about our little meet cute last night, does he?” He asked me with a head tilt.
“Did you just say meet cute?” I asked, biting my lip to keep myself from smiling.
“Don’t change the subject.” Liam said as he took his thumb and ran it across my bottom lip. He lightly pulled my jaw down just enough to release my bottom lip from its hold before he leaned down and kissed me softly.
I wanted to push him away in fear of getting caught, but as soon as I felt him sigh and pull me closer, I melted against him and kissed him back. It was a slow, patient kiss. One filled with passion and longing. He ran his left hand up my back and through my hair as he slipped his tongue into my mouth, eagerly tasting more of me. I didn’t feel obligated to continue or stop, I was caught in the moment and wanted to enjoy every tingle running through my body.
As I ran my hands up his chest, I heard him release a soft moan in the back of his throat that immediately triggered something in me. I wanted to hear that moan over and over again. I wanted to be the reason he had to release such an involuntary plead as I had my way with him until he reached his breaking point. I wanted to control it. I wanted to find out what other sounds that beautiful mouth was suppressing and I wanted to do it now.
Our kiss became more aggressive as our mouths and hands explored each other. I didn’t even realize that he had backed me into a tree until I felt the hard bark between my shoulder blades scratching against me. Liam’s lips were on my neck now, leaving a hot trail of soft kisses as I ran my hand through his hair. His touch was a combination of rough and gentle, leaving kisses where he bit and rubbing where he scratched. I had never experienced such a thing, either a man was everything but gentle or everything but rough, never a mixture of both. It blew my mind how Liam and Charlie could be cut from the same cloth, but still be so different. Charlie knew how to get what he wanted and he did it well, but he seemed to have only one setting and that was to fuck. With Liam it felt more personal, more intimate. He seemed like the kind of man who knew how to fuck and make love at the same time, and I was eager to find out if I was right.
As if on cue, I heard a deep voice to my right ask what I was doing. Being on cloud nine, all I pictured in my head was this little angel on my right shoulder crossing his arms and tapping his foot at my actions. It wasn’t until I felt Liam pull away that I realized the voice wasn’t inside of my head, and as I came back to reality my little angel disappeared with a poof. I followed Liam’s gaze and swallowed hard as my eyes settled on Finn. His arms were crossed over his chest and he had this disappointed look on his face that made my stomach twist into a knot.
“I’m sorry… What was the question?” I asked Finn as I tried my hardest to catch my breath in a non-obvious way.
“Do you two have a death wish?” Finn asked looking from me to Liam.
“Don’t be so dramatic, Tim.” Liam said as he looked over at his brother.
“Dramatic? Do you realize what Charlie is doing for this girl?” Finn asked as he took a step closer to Liam, “I know you and Charlie have your differences but this is crossing a line, Liam. When the hell are you going to grow up?” Finn snapped.
“Finn.” I interrupted, “This isn’t one sided so why don’t you give him a break.”
Finn looked over at me as I spoke, “What the hell were you thinking? You know how Charlie is. If he would have saw that-”
“-But he didn’t. I’m sorry you had to see it but its not happening again so lets just forget about it, alright?” I asked him with a worried tone. He was right, I did know how Charlie was and I didn’t want to think about what would have happened if it was Charlie standing there instead of Finn. Even if Charlie isn’t so innocent himself.
I watched as Finn took in a deep breath and released it as he looked over at Liam, “If Charlie finds any reason to banish you from this place he’s going to banish me with you so DO NOT mess this up for me. Just because you hated it here doesn’t mean I do too, so no more making out behind trees and for Christ sake Liam, watch your six.” He said before he looked over at me, “Meet me back here in an hour, stretched out and ready.”
I nodded ‘okay’ to him and watched as he shook his head at us and walked back towards the temple. I felt awful for putting Finn in that position. He had been nothing but great to me and then I had to go and mess around with his brother.
Speaking of, Liam and I turned our attention back to each other once Finn was out of sight. I bit my lip as he rubbed his jaw line, both of us trying to hide an embarrassed grin. “Well.” I said as I looked down at the ground, “I should go get ready.”
“Yea, me too.” Liam said as he took a step closer to me. He reached out and lifted my chin so he could look into my eyes as he softly ran his thumb across my cheek. I wanted to lean in and kiss him again but I fought the urge and stood still. “I’ll see ya around, kid.” He whispered to me before he dropped his hand and walked back to the trail. I took a few minutes to collect myself before I headed back to the cabin. I was hoping that fifteen-minute hike would clear my head of all my emotional confusion, but unfortunately all it did was give me time to daydream.
After I got back to my cabin, I took a quick shower and searched my closet for some comfortable fitting work out clothes. I decided on a pair of black leggings, a white long sleeve thermal, and a black zip up vest. I pulled my hair up into a ponytail, slipped on my black tennis shoes, and jogged out the door.
I hadn’t spoken to Charlie yet and I really wasn’t in the mood to explain to him why I disappeared during meditation this morning. So needless to say, I planned on avoiding him at all costs until this evening, along with Liam. I didn’t need any more distractions, regardless of how good of a kisser he was.
As I jogged back to the temple, I thought of what I was going to say to Finn. I was embarrassed and truly felt bad about how irresponsible I was with Liam. Truthfully, I didn’t even want to bring it up but I felt like something needed to be said and an apology needed to be made.
When I walked through the temple doors, I heard Finn on the second floor moving things around. So I jogged up the stairs and greeted him with a small smile, “Hey.” I said just as he finished laying down a large thick floor mat.
He looked over at me as he stood up straight, “Hey, You ready?” He asked as he dusted off his hands.
“I feel like we need to talk about what happened earlier.” I said as I walked over to him.
“We’re here to train, not to talk.” He said firmly before he grabbed a pair of gloves and tossed them to me.
I stayed quiet as I slipped them on and examined them. They were black with wrist straps and padding around the knuckles. Finn explained what we were going to be doing as I tightened the gloves to fit my hands.
“The next few days you’re going to be learning about pressure points and blocking.” He said right before he shoved me down by lightly pushing against my right shoulder, resulting in me falling on my ass.
“And footing.” He added as he circled me. “If you don’t have the right footing, even the slightest hit will put you off balance.” He explained.
I got to my feet with a sigh and stayed silent.
“You’re always going to want one foot behind you to keep you balanced. Otherwise you’re going to be stumbling around like a baby giraffe every time someone throws a punch.” He said as he stood next to me. I watched as he demonstrated a good stance and had me follow his lead as we did a few shadow boxing exercises to get me comfortable with the footing.
After ten minutes of constant moving, my quads were burning and I was ready to be done, but we were only getting started. Finn used up our entire three hours down to the last minute teaching me how to block, and throw a punch, and what pressure points to hit. By the time we were done I was so sore, I could barely catch the water bottle he tossed to me.
“I have to go shoot guns later? How am I suppose to hold up a weapon if I can barely hold onto this water bottle?” I asked with a laugh.
Finn responded by handing me a twenty-five-pound weight plate and told me to hold it in front me of like a steering wheel until he says to stop.
That was the longest two minutes of my life. I learned then and there never to complain about a sore muscle again.
After I helped him clean up, he told me he would walk me to the mess hall and show me the around. I was about to tell him I could find it on my own but then I thought it might be a good opportunity to finally talk to him about Liam. We weren’t even three steps out the door when I turned to him, “So about this morning.” I started.
“Kate, listen, I don’t need to know about what you do or who you do it with, but you’re headed into a very dangerous situation if you keep seeing my brother.” He said as he started to walk. “Liam and Charlie only play well with each other when they’re on a job, other than that, they butt heads and challenge one another every chance they get. They’ve fought over a woman before and it wasn’t pretty. Trust me.” He explained as we walked into the forest.
“What happened?” I asked curiously as I walked next to him.
“In the end, she wanted Liam. He was cleared to leave and he never came back.” Finn said with a shrug.
I frowned, “What happened with Liam and that woman? Did they stay together?” I asked, terrified to hear the answer.
“They were married for a few years, then she got real sick and died. Charlie had talked to him a few times since then but Liam has always kept his distance from this place. Until now.” He said looking over at me.
“Oh…” Was all I managed to say. I wasn’t expecting an answer like that, I honestly don’t know what I was expecting.
“Ever since then he’s kept himself busy, dating here and there but mostly working.” He shrugged, “Honestly I don’t blame him for leaving but coming back and starting something with you is only going to get him killed. Not only is Charlie stronger now than he ever has been before, but he’s also more comfortable with violence. The idea of hurting Liam for something this small wouldn’t even phase him.”
“Would he ever hurt me?” I asked nervously.
“No, Charlie would never hurt you. He may try to scare the shit out of you, but he wouldn’t lay a hand on you.” Finn assured me.
“Right.” I said with a nod as I stared at the ground. “Is there anything else I need to know?” I asked.
“Probably, but we can save that for another day.” Finn said with a small laugh.
“Oh joy.” I joked as we kept walking, “What am I getting myself into.” I whispered.