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Thanx to mandy for posting this for me and chels for dealing with it. love feedback as i get very little communication from the western world.
Sequel to Graceland
by Keeper March
"We need to talk."
And just like that, after months of nothing, he was back in my life.
"That's what we're doing here, genius. Exchanging words. Talking."
"No, we need to really talk."
"O.K., let's talk about you coming back to the Centre. That's a nice topic..."
He cuts me off, "How about Miami?"
Oh, I knew he couldn't let it rest.
"Hmm, Miami? Mi-a-mi? Vague recollection. Wait, wait, it's coming back to me. The place where you drugged me for two days so you could escape. That Miami?"
"Someone has the suite footage."
With that one sentence, the sarcasm drains out of me. Of course I remember Miami. Jarod and I, well, we did something we shouldn't have. I could foist blame a million different places. I could give two million different excuses but the fact remains that Jarod and I went at it like drunk monkeys.
And someone, like we suspected at the time, caught the whole thing on tape. And this being my luck, we don't have said tape.
Oh. My. Fucking. God.
"Can we talk now?" he asks a bit impatiently.
I'm driving to the meeting point. I will readily admit my thoughts are more than a little disjointed. I thought Jarod and I had come to an unspoken understanding. We would never again mention what had happened between us and that was...fine. But with the threat of someone else knowing about it and showing god-knows-who, our tacit silence would have to be broken.
But meeting face to face...
Lyle knowing about us scares me.
Raines knowing about us scares me.
Jarod and I discussing us scares the piss out of me.
But we had to get that tape back. That much I knew and that thought allowed me to push all my apprehension aside.
I'm sitting on a park bench, not-so-patiently waiting. My sunglasses are slightly lowered and I'm casting furtive glances, darting my eyes from side to side. I'm sure I look like the stereotypical other woman.
He sneaks up behind me, big surprise there, to have a seat on the back side of the bench.
I know I shouldn't think it but he looks and smells so damn good. I mentally kick myself, call myself all manner of names. Will he never cease in making me angry at the world, at him, but especially at myself?
"In all your plotting and puppeteering did it not occur to you to get the tape?" Anger. Familiar. Puts proper distance on things.
He leans toward me, whispering in my ear, "You weren't there. It was down to the wire. I barely got you out. Forget tearing apart the mansion looking for the tape. I thought with all the chaos, it would be forgotten. When the authorities arrived, Dante's men had just enough time to get rid of most of his video surveillance evidence. Most of it."
"And our..." Quick look at him over my shoulder, "Christ, so who's got it now?"
"Minor henchman. Thought he could use it to get some play on the porn market. One of my friends recognized me, told me about it. Our...union, was admittedly hot."
The memory of it makes me redden a little. "Hot" is an understatement. It's probably cracking Playboy's Top 10 Rentals as we speak. We could probably be up for an award. Breakthrough Performance or something like that. Don't dwell on it, though.
"How do we get it back?"
"Well, he contacted my friend for help with distribution. Which means it hasn't hit the market yet..."
Big supersize sigh of relief. It means I'll have to scrap my award's speech for "Best New-cummers." Damn.
"...but we need to get it from this guy. Remember, there are lots of distributors in Chicago."
Don't throw out the speech so soon.
"I assume you have a plan."
"I wouldn't be asking you if I didn't."
"What is it?" He's moved closer to me. I can feel his breath on my neck. His arm is now draped over the shared back to our benches.
"I need you to pose as a distributor."
"What? Get out of here. Do I look like a smut peddler?" His eyebrows lift for a second. "Shut up. Why can't you do it?"
"He'd recognize me. Dante's network of cronies isn't exactly pleased with me."
It hits me to be petty. "What about that redhead you were with last? She looked like she'd fit in perfectly in that biz."
My smirk is smothered when his hand fingers a lock of my hair and he whispers right in my ear, "Jealous?"
I pull back so his finger is toying with air, "Hardly."
He looks at me like he doesn't believe me. Hell, I don't believe me. Thankfully, he lets it go.
"She's no longer in the picture. So you're all I've got left."
I take a week off work. Jarod instructs me as to which hotel to check into in Chicago. I've stayed at the Palmer before. I don't worry about contacting him. I know he'll contact me.
The bellboy brings my bags up and tries to show me the amenities.
"I get it, Junior." I cut him off and slap a fairly generous tip into his hand. "Just leave, please."
I don't know when to expect Jarod but I figure I have enough time for a shower. The lukewarm spray does wonders for my nerves. I try to think of the varied ways this will end. There's just no telling.
I turn off the tap and grab the towel I left hanging beside the stall. Securing it around my body, I walk out to find Jarod lounging on my bed. I follow his line of vision back to the bathroom I just exited and his perfect view of the shower.
"Nice view," he says, not looking up.
He's sitting on the bed, semi-reclining on his elbows, black button-down taut against his chest. First instinct is to flirt back.
Instead, "The curtains are closed, boy-wonder."
He looks at the heavy drapes obliterating whatever view I may have.
"So they are."
He rises. "I'll let you get dressed, then."
In clothes, I can stabilize, resume my footing. I open both doors to the sitting room and we catch each other's eyes. Why am I so good at setting myself up for temptation?
"OK," I try, "Give me the specs."
"Guy who has the video is Damon Fowler. You're set up as a buyer for Vivid Video. You negotiate for exclusive rights. He signs over the deal and the video. You have to make sure he gives you all the copies. Play hardball, you're good at that. He'll be adequately compensated so he should sign over. While you're doing this, I'll have a look around his place in case he made a few copies he doesn't want to divulge."
"Won't he recognize me?"
"We'll put these glasses on you and a blond wig."
Oh great. Me as a blonde. I knew this was going to be a pain in my ass, but a blonde wig? It better not be a Dolly Parton knock-off. If wigs can be tasteful, that's what I want.
"OK. How do we set up a meeting?"
I hate the way he says that and pauses. As if the wig weren't bad enough.
"It's already been set up for this afternoon. Problem is it's at his place. I was hoping for neutral territory but we have to go to him."
I don't like this one bit. Something just feels wrong. With a resigned sigh, we finish up the details and get ready to meet the man who unwittingly has our lives in his hands.
Note to self: the wig is indeed from the Dolly collection around the time she and Porter were dueting.
Jarod follows me in another car. For a minor henchman, Damon Fowler has a pretty nice spread. Not the Miami-Vice slice of heaven that was Dante's abode but still.
I ring the doorbell and maybe it's the wig and the fact that I can't get "Jolene" out of my head but I start speaking in a southern accent.
"Hi," I drawl out, two syllables for two letters. "I'm from V-Vid. Mista Fowla's expectin meh."
I'm ushered into Fowler's office. Nice surroundings. And here I was laboring under the impression that stuffed albino tigers were out.
Mr. Game Show Damon Fowler rises to greet me. He oozes smarm.
"Call me Shirley," because surely I'm about to go into sugar-shock.
"Shirley, then. So I hear that you are interested in this video of mine." There it sits benignly on his desk, he doesn't even recognize the ticking of the time bomb.
"Indeed I am."
"Well, it's very hot. Now, it's not professionally done but..."
"I'm sure it will be sufficient for our market."
"I'm sure you're right. If you don't mind me saying so, there's something familiar about you. Have we met before?"
I'm not a panicker and I'm not about to start now.
"Nah, I don't think so."
"Oh, well. I guess..."
Just then, he's interrupted by alarms. Oh sure Jarod can break into my house undetected but he can't get in this den of iniquity without tripping wires.
"Excuse me," Fowler gets up and goes to the door just as Jarod is pushed through.
Fowler immediately recognizes him.
"Jarod. There are quite a few people in Miami looking for you."
I'm still facing Fowler's desk, my back to the action.
"I can't imagine why you'd risk coming back here," Fowler says.
Maybe if I continue to look down I'll go unnoticed.
"Surely," and with that he pulls my wig off, "you weren't coming back for this
With my Grand Ole Opry hair in one hand and a better instrument of my death than he'll ever know in the other, all I can do is level my gaze at Fowler and say, "Maybe your shouldn't call me Shirley anymore."
"Look on the bright side," Jarod says, "they won't kill us. Well, yet. They're going to wait it out until they consult Dante."
We're locked in a bedroom on the second floor. We've been here over an hour. There are no windows and while Jarod's good at escaping, he's not that good. The door is locked and guards are posted in front of it. My anger has been slowly building. It erupts as I throw my fake glasses at him.
"Shut up. Just... Shut up."
"Don't get mad at me."
"Don't get mad at you? Who the hell else am I supposed to get mad at? Did you not think he'd have a surveillance system? Jesus, Jarod. Did you think at all? Breaking into his damn safe. Did you need to see what was in the safe?"
He jumps up off the bed. I'm leaning against the window glaring at him.
"For your information, yes I needed to get into the safe to see if he has multiple copies. Which, thankfully he does not. That one copy on his desk is it. When we get out of here, all we have to do is grab that one and we're in the clear."
I'm still slumped against the window sill. Jarod's sitting back down on the edge of the bed.
"When we get out of here," I whisper with a snort. "IF we get out of here is more like it."
"Look," he says, getting angry now, "I've gotten out of worse situations than this. I've eluded you for quite a while now, haven't I?"
Oh, here it comes. Throw it in my face.
I step away from the window and slowly walk towards him. He stands up in anticipation.
"You eluded me with help. You've always had someone running interference. It's never been just you and me, buddy."
We're toe-to-toe now. And while yes, he has escaped from me more times than I can count, Sydney or someone he's helped has always gotten in my way. At least that's what I tell myself.
"Actually," he says leaning in a little, that smirk I hate tugging at his mouth, "I bested you the time it was just you and me, buddy."
He lowers his eyes, slowly rises them back to mine, pouts his lips and whispers, "Don't" hitches his breath, "stop."
No he did not just bring up my bedroom incantations.
I swing to hit him but he catches my hand.
He's still gripping my hand as I tell him, "You didn't best me. If I remember correctly, Mr. I'm-inside-you, I faked all of that."
He gives a laugh of disbelief.
"Parker, you had two orgasms. I thought you lost consciousness for a while there."
"Whatever. If you remember correctly, you were the one who started the whole thing. You basically ripped all my clothes off."
"Well, if I remember correctly, YOU started it that morning with your hands in my pants."
Oh, he's got me there. I falter for a second, realize he's still holding my hand at the same moment he does.
I pull my hand out of his grasp and say, "You asked me what I wanted? Right now, I'd like to go back in time."
He returns my intensity. "What happened to, 'It was inevitable. We've been dancing around each other for years'?" He asks me in his mock falsetto. "You can't admit what happened. You're scared of the ramifications to us, not to just the Centre."
"There is no US," I say.
"You're scared," he says leaning a little closer. "You're scared of me."
"I'm not scared of you. You're the one running from me."
"I didn't mean scared of capture. I mean scared of what we do to each other."
I just look at him and give a decisive snort. "OK. Prove you're not scared of me. Kiss me."
"This is ridiculous!"
"OK, all right," I say as I raise up on my toes, lower his head, and kiss him on the forehead.
"Real brave," he says sarcastically. "Try this."
With that he grabs my upper arms and pulls me to him. His mouth descends to mine in a bruising kiss. There's little finesse in it, just heat. I struggle away from him. Last time was so easy. He makes it so easy to just follow my dangerous impulses.
He catches me against his chest and mumbles, "No. No, I want you to kiss me, damnit."
I thrash my head to the right. Maybe it's because he wants it so bad and I hate him calling all the shots. Or maybe it's because I want it so bad and hate that need in me.
He wraps my hair around his hand as his other arm keeps me crushed to him. He wrenches my head around to him and lowers his head again.
It's over. Just the taste is enough to give my need for him the edge. We kiss like we want to consume each other. Our tongues struggle, not against each other but against our inability to articulate this dark drive. And it is a dark drive. There's nothing light or airy or passive about what we are to each other. It bears no comprehension. It can only have come from the deep.
I need to feel his skin against mine again. He releases me enough to allow for one hand to tear his shirt from the waistband of his pants. My hand runs up and down his chest. I free my other arm and unbutton his shirt. He's nuzzling my neck, inhaling, licking, biting, consuming.
I'm gasping for air as I take his shirt completely off. My hands flutter around the expanse of his back, the breadth of his chest. It's such familiar and foreign territory.
He pulls my mouth to his again and that shock only our connection can elicit starts again. Somehow, he's taken off my top. I've wrapped one leg around him and my skirt is riding up.
He breaks our kiss to unclasp my bra. His thumb glances over my nipple then his whole hand takes the weight of one breast.
"God." He groans as his head lowers to my chest. His ministrations leave me breathless, willing my lungs to fill as another impulse forces the air out at
irregular intervals. One hand is scoring his back, one tangling in his hair.
"Bed." I mutter. He walks backwards and topples onto it and takes me with him. I straddle him and continue to lick and nip at his fevered flesh. I can feel him. Hard and ready as I rest on his crotch.
"Naked." He says. It seems we can only issue one word directives. I don't make a move and he reiterates. "I need you naked."
There's a mad scramble to get rid of our clothes. Once that's done, I push him onto his back and straddle him again. He tries to raise up but I force him down, holding his hands above his head.
"You supposedly bested me last time. It's my turn," I say.
I gather him in one hand and raise up. I remember the weight, the feel of him from the last time. I'm going to need a second to adjust.
I slowly lower myself onto him. Brief recognition of being stretched and filled. I pause a second to clench my muscles. Check that all hands are on deck and ready for active duty.
"Jesus, Parker," he groans. I use my thighs to raise myself up and slowly sink back down. He grips my hips and raises me himself. Right as I'm about to take all of him in, he bucks into me. My breath hitches.
I'm trying to reorient myself as I feel one of his hands move from my hip to my front. His finger finds my swollen clit. I jerk at the sensation.
He's slowly drawing patterns on my clit as I make shallow movements. I don't want to end this out-of-control.
"God, Parker. You can say you bested me. I don't care. I can't take anymore of this," he cries as he rolls over.
Well, apparently we're going for out-of-control.
He's on his side and I'm half on my side, half on my back. He surges into me. Strong and sure. My chin raises, my back involuntarily arches with his every thrust.
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you were actually afraid you'd get it? I don't mean 'be careful what you wish for' crap, but a pleasure so great, so feared because it would obliterate everything else? That's my reasoning as I try to hold off my orgasm.
Jarod must sense this because he glides his hand up my thigh to my clit.
"No," I gasp at the first stab of pleasure the pressure from his finger creates. He wants nothing less than to make me seriously lose consciousness.
His rough swipes send bolts of electricity that radiate through my body. There are controlled orgasms and then there are lose-your-functions orgasms. It's looking like the latter.
"Stop, Jarod," I cry as I involuntarily jerk under his touch. I look at him to find him watching me, wanting to see me fall apart.
I claw at his wrist and forearm. Anything to get him to stop. All the while, though, he keeps his rhythm, keeps his finger on my hard,oversensitive nub.
I hear the moment coming. Every sound slowly dims as the blood pushes from my head. I may very well lose consciousness.
Just then, he thrusts into me and pinches my clit as he orgasms. I come then. Come clenching around him, come with a complete body meltdown. Hell, I could have been speaking in tongues for all I knew.
He wanted to push me over the edge even if it meant I took a piece of him with me.
We regain some semblance of conscious thought. He draws me to him, into his side, as he kisses me into slumber.
I wake up unsure of the time. Jarod must have just vacated the bed because I can still feel the remnants of his heat on the sheets. He's in the bathroom, standing at the sink, trying to clean the scratches on his wrist and forearm.
I silently enter the bathroom, pick up a towel and help him pat his wounds dry. I'm not going to say I'm sorry because I'm not. I knew that look in his eyes, when he was fingering me. It was a calculated risk on his part, his injury an unfortunate side effect. Besides, he'll live.
He breaks our silence when he puts his uninjured arm on my hip and asks, "What is it that we do to each other? I can read a million books, I can comprehend anything man can conceive. I can't comprehend your effect on me."
"I don't think there is an answer to that," I whisper as I brush my lips across his and go back to the bedroom to get dressed.
We sit next to each other on the bed. He's cradling my hand in his lap, stroking my inner wrist with his thumb. I'll never look at wrists the same way again.
"We've been in here a long time," I wonder aloud.
"Hmm," he replies. "When the door opens, follow my lead."
As if by magic, Fowler opens the door.
"Your presence is requested in Miami," Fowler says as he motions us out of the room.
In the hallway, Fowler holds up the tape, the reason for this mess in the first place.
"What was so important about this tape guys," he asks.
With a smirk, Jarod answers, "Sentimental reasons."
Then in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it move. Jarod levels Fowler and the two body guards with him. He grabs the tape presses it into my palm and tell me, "No matter what. Take this and get out of here. Do not wait for me." I nod understanding.
Just then, commotion erupts and three more henchmen spill into the hall. I take off like a bat out of hell towards the stairs. There's one thug between me and the front door. As he makes a move for inside his jacket pocket, I land a kick to his jaw. I slam open the door and sprint to where I know Jarod left his car. It's there with the keys in the ignition.
Later that night, back at the Palmer, my phone rings.
"I see you got out safely," a familiar voice notes.
"Same for you. You're a hundred miles away from Chicago aren't you?"
"Close, two hundred."
"Did you get hurt in your escape?"
"No, just some previous scratches. You got the tape?"
"Yeah," I pause for a few seconds. "I've been thinking. All this trouble for this tape. It's kind of funny."
"What's funny about it? If the Centre knew..."
"No," I cut him off, "not that. I mean, the circumstances. Jarod, no one from your past pretends knows how to contact you. Or if they did, why didn't your friend just get the tape? And that escape was something out of America's Stupidest Criminals."
Long pause now.
"You had the tape the whole time didn't you," I ask.
"Is this a copy or..."
"I have the original."
"For recreation or exploitation?"
Finally, he says, "People tend to love the things they do well. So far, you've been good at one thing."
With a rough shake of my head I ask, "What's that?"
The double meaning makes me smile.
"I haven't been missing you on purpose."
"Regardless." The moment hangs between us.
He finally breaks it. "You know, I'm getting pretty good at this thing you love."
"Missing me?" I ask quietly. Not wanting the implication to remain I add, "Well, that tape, and knowing you, there's now a second, should be sufficient."
"Sufficient to keep missing you?"
"Sufficient to keeping us both on our toes." With that, I end the call. Absentmindedly, the edge of the phone rests against my lips, only slightly obscuring my grin.