THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Epilogue - 11/6/16

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Eva
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 77 - 9/25/16

Postby Eva » Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:03 am

The banter between Maria & Michael is priceless! And I keep enjoying them together, certainly in this story.

And actually the same goes for Val en Alex. Having some insights in her way of living, explains a lot. A bit of her already knows what she's missing: unconditional love. And she knows Alex could be her key to that luxury. But admitting it is still a step too far. By saying she could use him, she's holding on to him.
Take a look at Eva's world[/center]

sarammlover
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 77 - 9/25/16

Postby sarammlover » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:30 am

I LOVE that Isabel is bringing Alex to her sanctuary....even if it is for a specific purpose. And this guy Maria is going to live with...should be an interesting dynamic. I love that he is an old man, michael/bane won't have to worry! HA! Can't wait for more!

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Ms_BuffyAnneSummers
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 77 - 9/25/16

Postby Ms_BuffyAnneSummers » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:29 pm

I loved Alex and Izzy they cracked me up! I'm glad they are staying together for now! Hopefully Michael will see the error in his ways about being septated from Maria... Only time will tell! BUMP bump bump!!
MAX: Liz, I just want to put everything that happened behind us.
LIZ: Yeah, you know that I would, too, if I had impregnated an alien killer who murdered one of our best friends and then left the planet with my unborn child.
MAX: So you're still holding on to that?

Roswelllostcause
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 77 - 9/25/16

Postby Roswelllostcause » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:49 pm

Michael and Maria will always be Michael and Maria! Michael, I know will at some point get this head out of his ass!

Alex and Isabel are great too!
Check out my Author page for a list of my fics!


http://www.roswellfanatics.net/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=155639

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Double Trouble
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THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 78 - 10/2/16

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:25 am

keepsmiling7: Lol, yeah, she didn’t seem to thrilled with that prospect.

Eva: We’ll get to see them again today.

Every little glimpse into Val’s past helps explain a little bit more about her. She wants more for herself, but she’s going to have to reach for it... and she won’t have to reach far.

sarammlover: She’s certainly insisting that it’s for a specific purpose. Could it be that she protests too much? We think the dynamic is going to be fun. We’ll find out more about Maria’s situation today.

Ms_BuffyAnneSummers: We’ll see more of those two today. You’re right about that – only time will tell.

Roswelllostcause: Yes, they will.

Thanks, we have a lot of fun writing them!


Part 78

“It’s situated to the north end of the island on a little over a hundred acres.” She’d never even stepped foot on the island but she’d had a hand in the way the place was furnished and decorated. “The ocean can be seen from nearly every room in the house and the beach is an easy walk from the front door. It’s more space than necessary with five bedrooms and six baths, but it’s also well away from nosy neighbors and tourists. There’s a guesthouse on the property and that’s where Javier and Lucia stay.” She shot a glance at him as she took the turn that would lead them down to the marina. “I’m sure the boat will be more than adequate for deep sea fishing or whatever it is you wanna do on the ocean. Me, I enjoy scuba diving when I get the chance.”

“You dive?” he asked, surprised.

She shrugged. “Yeah. It’s easily a solo activity and since I don’t exactly socialize...”

“But it takes some training and time, no?”

“Military background, remember?”

“You like a Navy Seal or what?”

“Close enough.”

“Is there anything you can’t do?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Figured.”

They drove in silence for a while before she pulled off the main road and after just a few more miles, into the parking area for the marina. She slid her sunglasses on as they climbed out and the midmorning sun glared off of the sparkling ocean, nearly blinding them in its intensity. They grabbed their gear and he followed her down to the dock, his eyes scanning the boats lined up, their hulls glistening brightly.

Yeah, he could get used to this. So far she hadn’t said a word about sending him packing and he wasn’t gonna remind her of her intentions to do just that. He stopped when they reached the small office situated off to one side and she motioned for him to wait while she went inside. After a few minutes she came back out, her head turned as she answered something asked by someone inside the office.

“What’s up?”

“Nothin’, just making arrangements to have the car moved to a secure location.”

He looked around. “Yeah, guess we can’t just leave it out here.”

“No. There’s a nearby garage that leases space to locals who are gonna be out for an extended period of time.”

He nodded and followed when she started moving again. He smirked when they reached a 30-footer and he couldn’t help but admire the clean lines of the boat. He recognized the model. It was a twin-engine cabin cruiser, complete with sleeping berth, galley and head. Oh, hell yeah, what could be more perfect than spending a day out on the ocean with a woman like her on a boat like this?

“El Conquistador, huh?” he teased with a nod at the name painted on the boat’s hull.

“You expected something more... romantic?”

“With you?” He chuckled. “I’m surprised it isn’t named Valkyrie.”

“Well, that’d be either vain or stupid. Do I strike you as either of those?” she asked as she stepped on board.

“Can I just pass on that answer and we move on?”

His question didn’t amuse her. It didn’t. She fought back the smile she could feel trying to break through and instead motioned for him to hurry up. “You said you worked on a charter before, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Did you sail or just handle the tourists?”

“Both.”

“Good.” She tossed a set of keys to him. “Let’s get goin’ then. Once we get out on the open water head north. It’s about 24 miles up the coast.”

“You trust me with your boat?”

She met his gaze directly. “I’ve trusted you with my life.” After that, the boat didn’t seem like a big deal.

He thought about it for a moment and then nodded with a shrug. “True enough. That was definitely more risky.”

“Let’s get underway. I’m getting hungry and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

“Sounds like a good plan.”

She moved to settle on one of the cushioned seats while he looked the control panel over before starting the engine. While he was familiarizing himself with the boat she made a call, alerting the caretakers at the compound that they were on their way and would be arriving shortly.

“Do you have food stored there?”

“Javier and Lucia keep the place stocked. He makes a trip into town a couple times a month for supplies.”

“You must trust them,” he mused aloud as he navigated the boat out of the marina.

She shrugged one shoulder, not giving an actual answer but Alex knew it was true regardless. No one could survive without a little help every now and then. It seemed like even she had learned that in the past and maybe she was finally ready to admit it to herself now.

“There seems to be a nice reef,” he said after a sailing silently over the ocean. “Should be good for snorkeling.”

“Should be, yeah.”

He turned to glance at her when he caught the distracted tone in her voice. “You know,” he said conversationally, “in certain parts of the Cayman Islands they have fish that fly.”

“Um-hmm.”

Alex smirked. He didn’t know where her mind was but it wasn’t on the current conversation. “Yeah, they’re about a foot long with purple polka dots.”

“I’m sure they’re…” Val narrowed her eyes as she glared at him. “What the hell are you goin’ on about?”

He laughed at her annoyed expression. “Just seein’ if you were payin’ attention.” He scanned the ocean, enjoying the view of the empty horizon. “Where’s your mind?”

She blinked a few times. “That is none of your business, Whitman.”

“Isn’t it?” He lifted an eyebrow.

“It’s not important now,” she said and got up, glancing out and over to the island they were approaching. “We arrive, we eat, we sleep and then we get back to business.” Janus needed to die but they deserved a few hours of rest and peace first.

“For a woman with so many talents you have a seriously one track mind at times.”

“I could easily say the same of you.”

“I’m not sure I’d care for being called a woman,” he teased, drawing a smile from her.

“I’m certain that is one mistake no one would make. Don’t think I don’t know where your mind is.” She snorted and got to her feet, her eyes searching for the cove where they would dock. She didn’t want to admit it, but she was anticipating finally seeing the house. ”Up ahead...” she trailed off and nodded when she felt the slight shift in direction as he altered their course.

“So only the two other people living here?” They were only approaching, but it already looked like a huge compound – easy to get lost in.

“Yes, just the two of them.”

“That’s a lot of work.”

“Well... they have all day.”

He chuckled. ”Well, I guess that’s a good point.”

“I know. That’s why I made it.”

“So what’s the plan once this is all over?”

“We’ll figure that out if and when this ends,” she said and turned her attention to the shore.

It wasn’t much of an answer, but he took it as a good sign that she’d decided to bring him along. Nope, he wasn’t about to start pushing her for more at this point.

“Do you think Michael will figure out a way to hunt down Janus before us?”

Val growled. “Well, he doesn’t have what I have.” Her expression turned smug. “You.”

Alex snorted but ended up laughing. “Yeah, I guess it’ll be hard to reach out blindly.”

“True.” She was sure Bane had his own effective ways but she hoped they weren’t as quick as hers. That fucker could not always win!

“Have the two of you competed against each other very often?” he asked as he maneuvered the boat through the water and carefully docked.

“Often enough,” she muttered as she grabbed the anchor line and jumped down on the dock.

“How’s that work? I mean, you guys were generally sent out on assignment, right?”

“We were given assignments. There were also times when they’d pit us against each other.” She straightened up and dusted her hands off when she was finished. “Other times there were bonuses for certain jobs. The money was damn good and on occasions like that we were usually after targets that deserved to eat a bullet.”

“But he’s managed to gain the upper hand more often than not?”

She cleared her throat and narrowed her eyes at him. “I didn’t make it to where I am by losing.”

Alex laughed and cut the engine. “Hell, Isabel, I wasn’t suggesting anything of the sort. But there’s an obvious desire to get to Janus first and this time there’s no money in it so I just figured Michael’s had the upper hand one time too many and you want the win. Now if that’s not - “

“Oh Dios mio!”

His eyebrows lifted as he shifted to look at the man hurrying down the dock. He was interested in seeing how Isabel interacted with the couple she’d told him about. They had no idea that she was the owner of the compound or that she’d made sure the jobs went to them. The man was probably in his late forties, maybe early fifties, with gentle features and a ready smile.

Although she tried very hard to keep a neutral face, Val felt her lips twitching and she knew she had lost the battle when the man on the pier spread his arms wide. Her features lit up in a giant smile.

“Hola, amigo.”

She waited until the boat was settled and then moved to join the man on the pier, accepting his hug with slight hesitation. “Como estas?”

Alex stood back and watched with surprise how Val went into small talk – something he had never ever witnessed with her before.

The conversation flowed with ease and eventually the language shifted back to English and he was able to follow it better. He could speak some Spanish but he wasn’t fluent and following their conversation had been next to impossible beyond picking up the occasional familiar phrase.

“Lucia, she believes you are the one,” Javier said and motioned to the property behind him.

Val just shrugged one shoulder.

“She is right again.” He sighed and then smiled widely. “I should know now she will be right. She is always right, my Lucia. And you have come home finally.” He nodded at Alex and reached over to offer his hand, welcoming him to the island before looking at Val once more. “Esta es tu hombre?”

Alex just looked between them as if he had no idea what they were saying. He’d never told her he spoke and understood a little Spanish and he was interested in her answer to Javier’s question.

“This is Alex,” she replied, intentionally avoiding answering the question the way it was meant. Then she turned to the man in question who was looking confused but she didn’t buy it completely. He was smart; a little Spanish wouldn’t be a problem for him. “Alex, this is Javier.”

Well, that wasn’t very satisfying, he thought but smiled anyway. “Nice to meet you.”

“Sueño?” A surprised woman’s voice was heard over a distance and they all turned into her direction.

Javier began speaking to the woman in Spanish, the conversation rapid fire and impossible to track. Alex was able to pick up enough to determine that she was the man’s wife and if he understood correctly, she was under the impression that seeing Val seemed like a dream.

Lucia, overcome with emotion, rushed up to Val and enveloped her in a big hug that seemed to express gratitude and welcome all at once. It was apparent that she held the belief that she was responsible for their good fortune. ”You have come home finally,” she said as she released the taller woman. ”Oh,” her eyes lit on Alex, “and you have brought your man.” She didn’t wait for confirmation. ”Come, I will prepare breakfast.” She clucked disapprovingly. ”You are both much too thin.”

And she was off and running again in her native tongue, instructing her husband to go and collect a list of fruits and vegetables from the garden. As soon as he nodded and retreated back along the path she turned and hooked her arm through theirs, urging them to walk with her towards the house.

“Later, Javier will show you the gardens and the groves. He is a genius, my Javier, and the plants, they thrive for him. But first you will eat and then rest. You have had a long journey, no?”

“Food and rest will be welcome,” Alex said with a smile.

“Um-hmm, you are as evasive as this one,” Lucia chuckled, but didn’t press for more information. She looked at Val for a moment. ”You will stay?”

“For now,” the woman answered vaguely. “We still have a job to take care of, but the timeframe isn’t set yet.”

Lucia nodded. She didn’t know what their benefactor did for a living but she knew it to be dangerous. She had known from their first and only meeting that they had been fated to meet. She didn’t question such things, but she believed in them. The tall blonde had been searching for something – something Lucia suspected even she was unaware of at the time. She glanced at the young man walking beside her. There was an easing in the woman at his presence and it made her smile. “We would like very much if you would return when you have finished this job.”

“I’ve never been a fan of future plans,” Val said as politely as possible. “Time will tell.”

Alex smirked and shook his head slightly. That was gonna change if he had anything to do about it. “So Lucia, how do you like living out here?”

“It’s a dream,” the woman beamed. “We have so much more than we need and just look around...” She made a wide motion with her arm.

He followed her gesture and inhaled deeply before smiling at her. “Paradise,” he said simply.

She nodded. “Exactly.”

*****

Maria was jostled awake as the car rolled to a stop and she lifted her head, trying to get her bearings when Michael started to speak. It took a moment before she realized he wasn’t talking to her and she blinked rapidly, trying to bring her vision into focus. The first thing she noticed was the wrought iron gates slowly swinging open and then she felt the car moving again. She shuffled into a more upright position and looked around with interest.

A quick glance at the dashboard clock let her know it was nearly two in the afternoon and she reached up to run her hand through her hair in an attempt to put it back in order. She didn’t need to look to know that her nap had made a mess of it. Her eyes widened when she saw the body of water nearby, the sun glistening brightly off of the calm surface.

“What a view,” she murmured.

Michael shot a glance at her, fighting to push the regret down. “House isn’t bad either.” He nodded as they followed the paved driveway as it curved and he chuckled at her quickly indrawn breath.

The house was impressive. A large structure built of wood and glass, deceptively open. Security on the estate was state of the art and Barkley employed two full-time bodyguards so one of them was nearby at all times. He stopped the car in the circular drive and opened the door, climbing out and stretching.

“C’mon, lemme introduce you to Barkley.”

She swallowed and pushed the door open. This seemed to be a super nice place – she could definitely imagine living here. If only there wasn’t the sour taste that also reminded her about the man at her side leaving her here all alone and forever.

He led the way up the path, taking the steps two at a time. He could feel her behind him, keeping pace, and he had to smile. It had become second nature for her to stay on his heels. His expression shifted and became neutral when the front door opened and he met the bodyguard’s stare evenly.

“Mr. Barkley’s expecting you, Mr. Smith.”

Behind him Maria snorted but didn’t comment on the obviously false name.

“Montgomery, I do wish you’d refrain from being so formal,” Alfred said as he smacked the large man with the back of his hand to get him to move out of his way.

Maria watched the man approaching and couldn’t help but automatically feel a rising sympathy. He had a nice open and friendly face, something that told her she was already welcome here.

“John,” he greeted with a smile and shook his visitor’s hand. He knew John Smith wasn’t the man’s name, but it was the only name he’d ever been given and he respected the unspoken request to not have it questioned. He turned his gaze to the young woman. “You never mentioned just how lovely my new houseguest is.”

“Wait until you get to know her better,” Michael said and winked over his shoulder, making sure they knew he was teasing.

Alfred chuckled and offered his hand to her. “Alfred Barkley at your service,” he said, bowing deeply.

Was she supposed to give her real name? She looked at Michael helplessly.

“There’s no need to introduce yourself. I won’t buy it if you give me a false name anyway.” His green eyes sparkled with mischief. “I’m old, I’m not blind. I’d recognize you whether or not you used your real name, Ms. Deluca.”

“Maria’s good enough,” she said and shook his hand. She wouldn’t exactly call him old. He couldn’t be older than mid to late-forties.

“Very well,” he conceded. “And you may call me Alfred. John tells me I’ll benefit greatly from your aid as my research assistant.”

“I’ll do my very best, Alfred,” she agreed.

“I know you will.” He turned to the silent bodyguard. “Montgomery, find Emily and ask her to prepare refreshments for our guests.” He made a shooing motion when the man hesitated with a glance at John. “Go on now.” He shook his head and leaned to the side to watch his retreat. “He’s not much of a conversationalist, but his physical assets more than make up for that lack of skill, don’t you think?” he asked, looking back at Maria with a devilish grin.

“He looks like a strong man,” she agreed. She had seen stronger men fall during the last months though.

He sighed with a nod. “Strong indeed. And ridiculously straight. Alas, I have yet to give up trying to put a slight bend in his preferences.” He grinned unrepentantly at her surprised expression.

“Well...” Hell, what was she supposed to say to that?

Alfred paused. “I apologize if I’ve made you uncomfortable.”

“No, I’m good,” she hurried to say.

Michael cleared his throat slightly. This was too much small talk already – or whatever they called it. He was impatient. Impatient to get this over with.

“See, now this one?” he motioned to John. “Damn good looking, but too impatient.”

“Not to mention stubborn as hell,” she added.

“Sadly, the good ones usually are.” He winked. “I wasn’t sure if you’d be more comfortable staying in the main house or in the guest house so I’ve had both prepared. If you’d like I can show you around.”

“That would be lovely.”

“Wonderful!” He led the way through the house, showing it off and feeling pride surge through his veins in response to her positive reaction. It wasn’t often he had the opportunity to entertain and he was enjoying himself immensely. He wasn’t comfortable being in the spotlight and as a bestselling author he had been thrust into a world so unfamiliar it had left him struggling to breathe. His discomfort had only grown the more famous he’d become and after nearly a decade of fame he’d become the target of a stalker. It wasn’t a situation he cared to remember. It hadn’t ended well for either of them but at least he’d come out of it alive. He’d never come to terms with that event and it had led him to seeking refuge well away from the prying eyes of society.

As they reached the end of the tour he stepped out onto the large wraparound porch that faced the lake. There was a pool off to the right and beyond that lay the guesthouse. They skirted the pool and he stepped onto the stone path that led down to the smaller dwelling. He stepped up on the porch and opened the door, pushing it open and gesturing for her to enter ahead of him.

They walked through the rooms one by one and he noticed she couldn’t keep her eyes off of the lake that was visible from most of the windows in the small house.

“If you wish, the guesthouse is yours. I welcome you to stay wherever you think you’ll feel most comfortable.”

Michael only halfway paid attention to what the man was saying. His eyes roamed over the house, inspecting neither the furniture nor the view. His focus was simply narrowed down to security systems and the amount of possible entries into the guesthouse.

“That’s almost too much to ask,” Maria said. She was used to large houses, but this wasn’t hers and it wasn’t even family related.

“Nonsense.” His smile lit up his eyes. “My only companionship here is limited. There’s Emily, the generous woman who has taken it upon herself to push healthy food down my throat on a regular basis and order me around my own home. Montgomery, whom you’ve met. Harrison, my other bodyguard, who has a wicked sense of humor. And there’s Ernie, the gentleman who looks after the grounds. I needed only to meet you to know your presence here would breathe life into the place.”

Michael was faced away from them and allowed the smirk that automatically lifted the corners of his mouth at the man’s words. He had no clue about the Deluca temper yet. She sure as hell would breathe a whole lot of life and trouble into this place.

“Alfred, it’s past time for your afternoon meds.”

The older man rolled his eyes affectionately. “That would be the bane of my existence, Emily.” He turned and shook his head when the woman barreled through the front door. She was a spry woman in her mid-forties who liked to think she was about twenty years younger. “Cougar on the premises,” he whispered to Maria when his housekeeper’s gaze automatically zeroed in on John’s form appreciatively.

“I see,” she chuckled quietly. There was nothing to worry about. Michael would be gone soon and he wasn’t even looking at her anyway.

“She’s currently chasing after a young man of twenty-four.”

“This from the man who can’t keep his eyes off of Montgomery,” Emily huffed with a fond smile as she handed over a bottle of water and a couple of pills.

Albert downed the pills. “I have no idea what you’re rambling about, woman.” He nodded at Maria. “I’d like to introduce you to our guest.”

Emily shook the other woman’s hand. “We’ve been expecting you. This old goat’s been anticipating your arrival.” She winked. “Maybe now he’ll make some headway with his new book.”

“Old goat,” he muttered under his breath. He hadn’t crossed the half century mark yet!

“What’s your new book-” Maria started, but stopped when Michael cleared his throat.

“Oh,” Alfred pulled his pocket watch out and released the cover to check the time, “I hadn’t realized it had gotten so late. You said you were working under a time constraint and here I’ve kept you, rambling on. I’ll leave you alone, let you say your goodbyes in private. John, if you have a moment I’d like to speak with you before you depart.” He smiled at Maria. “Please don’t feel as if you’re under any pressure to make a decision right away. You’re welcome to use the guestroom if you’d like more time to decide which of the options suits you best.” He turned and shooed Emily when she hovered. “Blast it, woman! Don’t you have something better to do?”

Michael snorted softly as the two of them carried on as they left the guesthouse. “Life should be interesting with this group.”

“Yeah, it seems like it,” Maria chuckled, but she didn’t feel it. Her heart and mood was sinking over what would happen now.

“It’s time,” he said after a few minutes of heavy silence.

“I know,” she countered shortly, her gaze focused on the lake outside. Keep your thoughts occupied, she ordered herself, don’t let your feelings get the best of you. Not until he’s gone at least.

He didn’t know how to make this any easier on her. “I...” He shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. “I’ll get your things outta the car.”

“Okay.”

Michael left the house without looking back, damning himself for getting involved with her. He didn’t know how to do this, how to walk away without causing her more pain. She’d had more pain in her life than any one person deserved and he hated himself for adding to that burden. He collected her bags, thinking once again that for all she’d left behind she had very little to show for it. He carried them around the main house, making his way back to the guesthouse. He had a feeling she would choose it for her stay, if for no other reason than she’d want to be alone to sort through things after he walked out of her life.

Maria glanced over her shoulder briefly when he came back and set her bags in the middle of the room. “Thanks.” Biting her lower lip for a moment to suppress the pain, she forced her voice to remain even. “Maybe it’s best if we don’t make a big deal out of this. We already said goodbye... kind of.”

He nodded, relieved that she was playing it this way. “Stay low and off the radar. Barkley’s bodyguards are well trained; Harrison’s ex-SWAT and Montgomery’s an ex-Marine. If you stick to the plan you should be safe here.”

It wasn’t the time to argue so she nodded. “Yes, of course. Good luck with Janus and... I hope you have a good life.”

He was hesitant to leave her like this, but he knew it was for the best. She could do so much better than him. She deserved a guy who was gonna be there for her and with her. Her back was ramrod straight and her features were set, a combination that told him she was fighting to hold herself together. He didn’t want to see her break, knew it would only make it harder for her if she lost it while he stood there watching. “I’ll finish it and take it from there,” he promised and took a step back.

Her eyes locked with his for a long silent moment. There weren’t any words left, nothing that would help. “Go now, Michael.”

He swallowed at her final tone and gave a short nod before turning and walking to the door. He had never said it out loud, but deep inside he hoped that she knew he cared about her.

Maria watched him leave, fighting the urge to run after him. “And thanks for everything you did for me,” she called after him when he pushed the door open. “I know you didn’t have to and I appreciate that you saved my life.”

“No,” he said quietly, “I didn’t have to.” He turned to look at her through the screen door. “But I’m glad I did.” And he left with those words ringing in the air.

She pressed her lips together and stood there frozen with her eyes locked on the closed door. I’m glad you did too, she thought, feeling her muscles trembling. If only she was familiar enough with her surroundings to know a good place to hide out for a few hours.

Her tears fell silently at first and when the first sob tore through her throat, she remembered cloudily where the bathroom was located and she ran towards it, locking herself in.

Albert stood on the front porch, waiting patiently for John to come around the side of the house. Somehow he had a feeling it wouldn’t take long and a few minutes later the sound of heavy footfalls let him know he was right. He recognized the cold mask that had descended over the younger man’s features but he didn’t comment. “We’ll keep her safe,” he said when John paused next to the car to look at him.

“You’d better,” he said half serious, half teasing. “She’s a good girl. Loud at times and crazy at others, but she deserves to be happy after all that’s happened to her. Keep that woman busy, Alfred.”

“Staying busy won’t be a problem around here.” He watched as John drummed his fingertips against the roof of the car, his gaze locked on the side of the house. It was none of his business but he dared to speak up anyway. “Will you be back for her?”

Would he one day? Or could he stay away forever? He didn’t have an answer. “I wouldn’t count on it.”

“That’s unfortunate,” he mused quietly.

“It’s for the best.” He opened the door of his car, but stopped halfway. “You know what to do if someone threatens her. If anyone ever comes after her-”

“I don’t pay Harrison and Montgomery to stand around here and look good, John. If a threat should be made it’ll be dealt with swiftly and with finality.”

He nodded in satisfaction, knowing that the older man meant it. “I appreciate your help with this.”

Alfred met John’s gaze evenly, wondering if he could really leave Maria for good. “Just remember one thing, John.” He paused a moment before continuing. “There’s nothing better for a battered soul, nothing more beautiful, nothing more... true, than a woman – or a man – in love.”

“This isn’t about me,” Michael said in a final tone and got into the car, putting his sunglasses on. With one last nod out the window, he started the engine.

He watched the car as it disappeared from sight, wondering not for the first time what he’d gotten himself into. The very fact that John denied the situation having anything to do with him only strengthened his belief that it did. Maria wouldn’t be the only one hurting over this enforced separation.

“Should I see if the young lady would like to join us for supper?” Emily asked from behind him.

“No, let’s leave her be, Em. She’ll come to us when she’s ready.” He turned to walk back inside and paused next to her. “Broken hearts do eventually mend, don’t they?” They did in novels if the writer was so inclined, but reality was a far cry from the safety of the written realm.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

Roswelllostcause
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 78 - 10/2/16

Postby Roswelllostcause » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:54 am

Great part can't wait for more!
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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 78 - 10/2/16

Postby sarammlover » Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:07 pm

I wanted to bawl with Maria. How incredibly heartbreaking. Maybe with Albert's help she can mend some and distance and distract herself from Michael...I mean John Smith. HA! How many names does he have? Such a great update as always. Keeps me coming back every week!

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 78 - 10/2/16

Postby Eva » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:31 am

Michael cares deeply, although he doesn't want too.

I had to smile now and then when Alex and Isabel arrived at her house. The way they talk towards each other is fantastic. And above that, Lucia is a pearl of a woman!
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Part 79

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:26 am

Roswelllostcause: Thanks for reading!

sarammlover: Albert might just have a positive affect on Maria. Lol, he’s probably got quite a few aliases associated with him.

Eva: No, he’s tried hard to keep that from happening, but if there’s one thing he’s failed to do, that’s it.

Alex and Isabel are a lot of fun to write. The back and forth between them is entertaining. Lucia is a wise woman.



Part 79

The weather was stifling and miserable as Bane hacked his way through the dense undergrowth with his machete. There wasn’t enough bug repellant in the universe to deter the insect population from feasting on his skin. The humidity in this region of the Sierra Madre Mountains in the Honduras wasn’t suitable for habitation, which made it the perfect location for Janus to set up his new lab.

It was nearing the end of July and he’d been searching for that bastard since January. For the first time in his life he was hunting his prey for the sole purpose of revenge. There was no money involved, no orders and no other reason. He wanted to see Janus crawl on his hands and knees and beg for his life. It disturbed him on some level that the man was incapable of feeling pain, although it explained to some degree how he could do some of the things he did. It didn’t in any way, shape or form excuse him.

He slapped at his neck when a stinging sensation reminded him that the bloodsucking mosquitoes were still following him and he made a face at the smear of blood and insect carcass on his palm before wiping it on his pants leg. “Ungh, I’m so fuckin’ sick of this jungle.” They called it a mountainous region, but to him it was a jungle with a lot of big fucking hills and valleys.

Tracking Janus had proved to be even more difficult than he’d anticipated but in spite of that he knew he would never give up. It wasn’t just what that maniac had done to him, Val and the other assassins. It wasn’t even about what he and his people had done to Evans and Parker. A lot of it was about his deep seated desire to protect the small blonde-haired, green-eyed spitfire he’d left in California.

He viciously hacked through the dense foliage as thoughts of her surfaced. He tried to control the urge to let his mind drift back to her, knowing it could cost him seconds off his reaction time and ultimately make the difference between living and dying. But he allowed himself the luxury of picturing her. She was doing well, she was safe and most importantly, she was alive. The reports he’d received suggested she wasn’t as happy as she could be, but she was okay and that was what mattered most.

He had detoured and collected the contents of the safe deposit box for her, making sure it was delivered to her. He knew she had probably never expected to see what her father had left for her and he could easily imagine her emotional response to the package. There had been some information about the case but he’d kept that, shipping only the personal effects to her. She didn’t need to be faced with anything else relating to the Circle and he hadn’t thought twice about disposing of it.

Something moved through the underbrush and over his right boot, and without thinking twice about it he brought the machete up and swung it hard, slicing through whatever it was. Looking down, he cringed internally and then kicked the half of the snake still lying on his foot as far away as possible. He hated snakes. He forced down a shudder and continued on his way, pausing as he neared an area that showed signs of recent clearing.

Janus had found his way into a remote part of the world and begun to rebuild his lab so he could continue his sick experiments. He had no idea what he was walking into but one way or the other this ended today. He crouched down and pulled out his binoculars, scanning the area and spotting the compound with ease. It wasn’t a new building so either Janus had known of its location or it had belonged to the Circle long before they’d taken them down.

There were guards of course, but not a significant number. He could take them out. It would be tricky but it could be done. He was doing another sweep when movement caught his eye high in the mountains behind the other end of the compound. He tracked the movements, following the progression and swearing under his breath when he recognized the weapon and then the woman holding it.

“Motherfucker!” He shuffled around, cutting a path through the jungle towards the intruders. What the fuck were they doing here? He’d been careful to not leave a trail for anyone to follow so there was no way they were here because of him. Which meant somehow Whitman had managed to track Janus. And that only served to piss him off. He finally reached a location a decent distance from the compound that was directly in their path and waited to intercept them.

“Have I mentioned how much I hate the fuckin’ rain forest?” Alex muttered as he followed on Val’s heels, brushing something off of his neck without needing or wanting to know what it was.

“You mean in the last two seconds? No.” She glared at him. Some days she wondered how she had managed to stick with him for the last few months without killing him.

“Well, let me reiterate – I HATE the rain forest, the jungle, the humidity...” he trailed off when her irritated tone registered. “Right, well, next time we go on a hunt maybe we could just stick with a region that isn’t anything like this one.”

“We aren’t here because we want to be,” she reminded him, but trailed off when something felt ... off.

He froze behind her, recognizing the sudden stillness that descended over her. “What is it?” he whispered.

“Someone’s here,” she hissed, gesturing for him to stay behind her while she grabbed her gun.

Alex nodded and shifted back out of her way as he unholstered his own weapon. He had no idea what they were getting ready to come up against. They didn’t even have a lot of information to go on as to what they were facing when they reached the compound.

Michael realized the exact second when Val became aware of his presence. That damn woman and her sixth sense! He moved as silently as possible to make a little loop around them and approach them from behind.

“Bane,” she muttered when she felt the air shift around her. There was just something charged about the atmosphere, something that indicated his presence.

“Yeah, sorry, I haven’t showered in a while,” he answered dryly and stepped out of his hidden spot.

“Obviously.” She wrinkled her nose. “What the fuck are you doin’ here?” She didn’t actually need him to answer the question. She knew what he was doing there.

He rolled his eyes at the question. “Vacation.”

“Next time go to Disneyland.”

Behind her Alex snorted at her response. Yeah, he could just imagine Bane at a theme park. Long lines? No problem, just pull out a gun and clear the way.

“Just get the fuck out, Val. This’s my business. Why don’t you two fly back to Mexico and chill out in that fortress you own?” He smirked when her expression showed surprise for half a second.

“I think you’re suffering from delusions due to heat exposure. If you think Janus is yours you can just think again. We found him first, he’s ours.”

“What makes you think you found him first?”

“I don’t think. I know. You wanna tag along, that’s fine, but you’re not gonna be the first one through the door.”

“Sure, his guards can blow you away and I get to kill him.”

She snorted at his arrogance. “His security is comprised of local guerillas. I could pick them off in my sleep.”

Alex rolled his eyes. “You’ve proven you work well as a team. So why not make this an equal thing, huh?”

Bane ignored him. “You haven’t let him off the leash yet?”

“Can’t see any leash.”

“Um-hmm, well, he’s still here, isn’t he?”

“Of my own free will,” Alex added.

“He’s a civilian,” he growled.

“He’s the best hacker I know.”

“Fine, he can go.” This was NOT the way this mission was supposed to go.

“Not that it was your decision anyway,” she rolled her eyes. “So, where were you planning to go in?”

He shrugged at her dismissal. “There’s a weak spot on the north side of the compound. They bring in supplies through a door that leads into the sub-basement level. It’s locked but not guarded. He keeps his guards at the outer edges of the perimeter.”

Val nodded. “I thought about it too.”

He lifted an eyebrow. “And your point of entry?”

“Canalization was my thought.”

“Explain.”

“There’s a huge tunnel leading to the building. It’s an old canalization system, not used anymore. Chances are good they don’t even know about it. It took Alex a while to find it on a map.”

Great, the cesspool of water below the structure was probably ground zero for the local mosquito population. “Then the structure wasn’t built by the Circle,” he mused.

“No, probably not.”

“Were you able to access building plans? Anything that might help pinpoint Janus’ location inside the compound?”

“Sure,” Alex said.

His head snapped to the side and he glared at the other man. “And?”

Val retrieved the folded paper from her pants pocket and showed it to Bane. “Most likely he’ll be here.” She pointed at a spot marked with red.

He studied the mapped layout of the compound, annoyed that he hadn’t been able to get his hands on anything so detailed. Although, even without that advantage, he’d pinpointed the same area. “Agreed.” He ran his fingertip over the notes drawn in the margin on one side. “The canal?”

“The entry should be here. If it’s still there.” She pointed at a section.

He ran a hand through his hair and slapped a stinging spot on his neck. “It might be best to breach the compound through both entries. At least if one doesn’t pan out we’ll still have the other.”

“I was thinking the same,” she agreed. “And if you go in there,” she pointed at his entry, “we won’t be too far.”

“Then let’s do this.” He was ready to have this over with.

“Yeah, the sooner the better. This humidity is fucking annoying.”

“Tell me about it.” Once this was over he’d be damned if he ever stepped foot near another jungle country.

Alex smirked to himself. Once they got over the territorial pissing contest they actually worked well as a team and they weren’t even aware of it. “I couldn’t find any major security systems at work here. Guess he couldn’t find a lot of help after the Circle went to hell.”

“Electricity can be a bitch out here, too,” Bane agreed. “We still need to be careful. Janus had connections. He might be using something that we don’t even know exists.”

“I’ll bomb the whole fuckin’ jungle if I have to, to see this bastard finally dead.” Val narrowed her eyes at the building in front of them.

He snorted and checked his weapons. “Well, let’s hope that won’t be necessary. I’d be happy if my mug wasn’t plastered on every TV news station afterwards.”

Val shook her head at him. “Worried someone might track you down?”

“Why would I be worried about that?” he countered, his eyes locked on the gun in his hands as he needlessly checked it once again. He knew what she was getting at and he wasn’t interested in engaging her.

“What time were you planning to hit the compound?” Alex asked, certain she’d hit a sore spot.

Bane flipped the cover on his watch back. “Nineteen minutes.”

He nodded, not surprised to learn the two assassins were operating on a schedule that was so close as far as timing went.

He snapped the cover back into place and shifted. “We should get moving then. I’ve gotta move around to get to my point of entry.”

Val nodded. “We don’t have radio communications, so you’re on your own if something goes wrong.” This was their only chance to finally get that bastard; they couldn’t miss it because they were busy trying to save one another.

Bane got what she was saying and nodded. “Agreed. Janus is our only priority.”

Resisting the temptation to roll his eyes, Alex stayed back and waited. They wouldn’t let the other one die in there – he was 99% sure of it, they were just too stubborn to admit it to each other.

“Good luck,” Michael slapped her on the back and started to move in the direction of his point of entry. Maybe it wasn’t so bad they were here. Janus wouldn’t have a chance against the both of them.

Val watched his retreating back for several moments before huffing an annoyed snort and heading off toward the canal with her companion hot on her heels.

Behind her Alex couldn’t stop the grin that surfaced when she started cursing a blue streak under her breath. It wasn’t just the fact that she was calling Bane every filthy insult she had in her arsenal, it was that she was also using every language she had learned over the years. Over the past few months he’d become very familiar with her vocabulary; the different languages she was fluent in as well as those she’d only bothered to learn the bare minimum just so she could insult people. So he knew for certain she hadn’t yet said one flattering word about the other assassin.

She finally fell silent as they located the canal and after a quick look around she checked the narrow passage where it had at one time flowed beneath the structure unhindered. Before she could say a word Alex moved past her to the canal and his booted feet made a squelching sound as his weight drove them into the muddy ground. He slogged through the boggy mess and grabbed onto the brush that had grown over the hidden passage, pulling it away from the wall and dropping it next to him. If the canal was passable they could use the brush to cover their point of entry. He made a face at the stone archway that appeared, the rocky entry crumbling in places.

He grabbed the flashlight off of his belt and leaned inside, the light slicing through the darkness. The smell of rotting vegetation and stagnant water infiltrated his senses and he choked down the urge to gag. He was backing out when a hand settled on his shoulder, the pressure warning him to remain still.

“Whatever you do, don’t move,” Val warned, her voice low.

His body froze and without realizing it his breath caught and held at her order. Seconds later he heard the nearly silent, yet telltale sound, of bullets being fired through a sound suppressor. When she patted his shoulder to give him the all clear he inhaled deeply and instantly regretted it as the putrid air inside the old canal filled his oxygen starved lungs. He quickly backed out and turned to look at her, one eyebrow raised in question.

She pointed behind him and he glanced over his shoulder, cringing at the mangled body of a very large snake. “How’s it look in there?” she asked to get his mind off of the snake that had been seconds away from striking. There was no need to tell him that it was highly venomous and had a bite that was known to be fatal.

“Huh?” He pulled his eyes away from the dead snake, realizing that she had said something but the words didn’t register.

“What did you see?” She nodded behind him.

“Uh-” his eyes fell back to the snake but then he forced his brain to focus again. “It looks old alright. And rotten. Filthy. Not trustworthy. It might come down on us or we could choke on the smell. But otherwise we should be good.”

Val sighed but her eyes were laughing. Leave it to him to make a joke of the situation. “I’ll take the lead and you will stay behind me. Let’s hope I won’t have to waste any more ammunition for the wildlife.”

“Amen to that,” he shuddered.

Meanwhile Bane was creeping through the outer edge of the jungle, his eyes searching the exterior of the compound for potential threats. There was little activity in the area and after several minutes he made his way to the entry. It reminded him of an old coal chute and it was probably just as filthy.

Not that he cared. The only thing that mattered was putting Janus down. He secured his weapons and dropped down into the shaft and crawled through the chute, following the old wooden guide and hoping the creaking boards that were rocking under his weight wouldn’t give out and drop him.

A dozen feet from the sub-basement floor the support on one side groaned loudly and he flipped his body over to the other side, dangling there for a minute as he tried to determine if he had a clear path to drop to the floor below.

When he was sure no one was around, he let go and dropped down, wincing when a split in the wood cut into his hand as he let go. Damn fucking jungle!

He checked his hand quickly as soon as he had found a hidden spot on the lower level. There was a splinter as big as a needle stuck in the fleshy part of his palm. Not wasting any time, he grabbed it between two fingers and pulled it out, cursing silently at it.

A sound suddenly got his attention. He pressed his body against the wall and moved to the edge of the building while his hand hovered over his weapon.

Quiet humming was interspersed with words muttered in Spanish and he peered around the corner of a wide shelf to locate the man. Jungle fatigues identified him as one of Janus’ guerilla soldiers. He watched as the man moved from shelf to shelf, searching for something. The beam of a small flashlight moved over the contents stocked there and it paused when he found what he was looking for.

Bane grimaced when the man bypassed a shelf of alcohol to reach for a can of sardines in tomato sauce. He listened as the small key was removed from the side of the can followed by the sound of the lid being rolled back. And right on the heels of that there was a slurping sound as the guy took one in his mouth and then licked his fingers. Gross, he thought.

It sure as hell wasn’t what he’d choose for a last meal, but to each his own. He waited for his opportunity and the moment the can was set down next to his weapon and the guerilla reached up for a box of crackers to accompany his snack, he moved. The struggle was brief and over rather quickly. With an arm around the man’s throat he jerked him back into the open space where his flailing wouldn’t knock anything over. As the body began to go lax from lack of oxygen his free hand gripped the man’s chin and gave it a powerful jerk, snapping his neck.

Locating a hidden corner behind the rickety stairs that led to the ground level he moved the body and then shifted a couple of large crates to prevent it from being seen. He collected the man’s gun and checked it over, nodding at it in approval. Janus had apparently spared no expense in arming his men. Adding it to his arsenal he headed for the stairs and climbed them, wincing at every groan and creak they emitted.

He hoped like hell they could support his weight long enough for him to escape the confines of the sub-basement. Nearing the top he froze, listening to the sound of voices coming from the other side. After a few minutes their volume lessened and he knew they were moving away from the door. He stayed there, not moving, for nearly five minutes, making certain there was no one waiting for him before he reached for the doorknob and gave it a careful twist.

The door made a squeaking sound as it was slowly opened. Jeez, Bane thought, no wonder Janus hadn’t invested much money in a security system. It was next to impossible to make a move without the piece of crap building giving it away.

Surprisingly no one seemed to have heard it. The aisle in front of him was semi lit and quiet. He held his breath and waited a few seconds and when he was sure he was alone he stepped out and closed the door as quietly as possible behind him again.

The smell of food being cooked teased his nostrils when he followed the hallway. Seemed like he had arrived just in time for dinner. There was the sound of clattering dishes at the very end but instead of going after it he focused on the map he’d saved in his mind and headed in the direction where he was supposed to meet Val.

The corridors were lit with the bare minimum of lighting, but that worked in his favor. He took advantage of the shadowed recesses provided by the closed doors that lined both sides. The sound of footsteps approaching had him reaching for one of the doors and he rolled his eyes when he realized it was locked. Of course. Why wouldn’t it be?

With no time to move to one of the other doors he wedged himself back into the corner, his hand locked around the handle of his combat knife. The owner of the footsteps paused after turning into the corridor and Bane held his breath as he waited. A moment later keys jingled and then he heard the sound of a key sliding into place and the tumblers on the lock turning.

He exhaled slowly and waited until the man entered the room and shut the door behind him. Damn, he was ready for this to be over. Checking the corridor once more he slipped out of his hiding place and made his way along his intended path. Two floors and three more corridors and he’d be at his destination.

In the meantime, Val and Alex had made their way through the tunnels of the old canal system and were entering the building through a tiny not to mention stinky hole in the ground.

Alex groaned slightly when he pushed himself up and dragged his legs out. Thank God! That last few feet had been way too narrow.

Val stood in front of him as he dusted off his knees. “You okay, Whitman?”

“Yeah, yeah, fine! I’m not a fan of narrow tiny stinky holes.”

“No kidding,” she snorted and turned to inspect the small room they were in.

“Uh... Isabel...”

“What?” she asked without looking at him.

“Do you like spiders?”

“Yeah, love them,” she muttered distractedly.

“Oh well, that’s good. There’s one the size of my hand right on your shoulder.”

“Huh?” She looked at him in confusion for a moment before his words registered. With wide eyes and a hint of panic she snapped her head to the side and used the gun in her hand to brush it off. As soon as it landed on the floor she squished it with her boots, shuddering when she could feel the huge body of the creature under them.

Alex chuckled. “Yay, for jungle wildlife.”

“We need to get the hell outta here.” Walking towards the door, she inspected it closer and then muttered something under her breath.

“What?”

She knocked her fisted hand against it, causing a metallic sound. “This is a security door, Whitman. We’re in a fuckin’ old tresor room.”

He frowned and stood next to her. “The map and everything I checked didn’t say anything about that.”

“Yeah, I guess they didn’t want people to know its location.” Her tone was frustrated and she leaned against the wall next to the locked door. “This’s just great.”

“What now?”

Val made a face. “We’re gonna have to wait until Bane makes it this way and opens it from the other side.”

“You called this a tresor room… treasure?”

“Treasure, yeah.”

“I don’t think I recognize the language. Is it Spanish?”

She moved around the room, cataloging its contents. “No, it’s called Catalan.”

“Catalan… Catalan…” he mused aloud as he poked through the dusty relics on a rotting shelf. It sounded familiar, but why? C’mon, useless trivia, where are you when I need you? “Another language you picked up while hopping around the globe?”

She shrugged noncommittally, finally settling down on a barrel resting in one corner. The beam of her flashlight swept over the room, checking for the presence of more creepy crawlies while she waited for Bane to get his ass in gear. She didn’t mind the small ones so much – not that she liked them, they just weren’t as threatening as the larger ones. She sighed in frustration as she imagined the smirk on his handsome face when he realized their point of entry had led them into a locked room that they couldn’t get out of without his help. At least not without backtracking through what amounted to a pit that smelled like raw sewage.

With little else to do but wait, she found herself watching Alex as he puzzled over the Catalan language and her knowledge of it. The man was like a dog with a bone when he was trying to figure something out and she had to admit she enjoyed just sitting back and observing him. She had always wanted someone in her life who could love her for who she was; someone who could make her feel alive. She chuckled to herself. The day she’d accosted him at his apartment she’d never seen this coming.

For the past six months they had been living together, something she’d never done with anyone else. It wasn’t like life had suddenly become sunshine and roses. No, not at all. They’d had more than one fight, sometimes over the smallest, stupidest things, and other times over things that were big enough to keep them on edge with each other until one of them gave in and they called a truce. It was only after they’d calmed down that he’d approach her and before she knew it he’d managed to get them talking about whatever had caused the fight in the first place.

Actually living with someone was a major adjustment. Sure, they’d shared space while working to take the Circle down, but this was completely different. And while there were days when she was certain taking him out on the boat and stranding him miles from the beach was a good idea, she had gotten used to having him around and she kinda liked having him there.

Javier and Lucia continued to live on the estate and they’d formed a bond. Alex called it a friendship and while she hadn’t admitted it aloud, she had a feeling he was right. And even though so much of their time had been consumed with tracking Janus down they had fallen into a routine that she had discovered she rather enjoyed. She was pulled from her musings by the telltale sound of a lock being picked and she motioned for Alex to move out of the line of fire as she reached for her weapon.

The door made a rusty squeaking sound when it moved inward slowly. Dust filled the air, confirming that the door hadn’t been opened in months, maybe years.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Re: THE ASSASSIN - AU/CC/Adult - Part 79 - 10/9/16

Postby Eva » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:16 pm

Michael & Isabel are also very fun together; Old habits die hard, don't they say? Anyway, I think it was good that the three of them are there together. Together as a team can make the difference, beginning with getting out an old treasure room. Hihi...
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