Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/19/16 chpt 4

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Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/19/16 chpt 4

Post by jake17 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:55 pm

AMAZING banner, from the perfect RoswellOracle, thank you so much!

Title: Ignite the Flame
Author: jake17
Rating: Adult
Paring: Z/L
Disclaimer: I own nothing Roswell
Summary: A string of terrifying fires, destroying three houses and killing one man has hit the small seaside town of Overlook Maine. With mounting pressure from the Mayor and the local media to find the suspected arsonist, Chief Valenti is forced to call upon suspended, disgraced firefighter Zan Evans, the only man he knows is capable of solving the case, that is if he can get him to agree to do it.

Chapter one

“Sir, with all due respect, I think you’re making a huge mistake. The guy is a divorced alcoholic, with severe anger management issues. I’m not sure this is even legal, as you know he’s been suspended pending an investigation into that Chelsea Thomson case, not to mention breaking and entering charges concerning his ex wife. I’m not sure where he’s even living now, his checks go to a P.O. Box in town, it’s obvious he doesn’t want to be found. I think you’re better off - “

Pressing his palms firmly on his desk, looking over the file of the worst string of crimes he seen in the quiet area of Overlook Maine in its history, Chief Valenti sighed heavily.

“He’s also the best firefighter I’ve seen in my twenty years on the job. Do you have any idea how many lives that man has saved? For Christ’s sake he’s solved more cases than I’d care to admit. He was born with an instinct. If it wasn’t for the fact that he’s a major fuck up, he’d have my goddamn job right now. Look we both know Fire Marshall Hanson has his head up his ass, I’m out of options, if this guy strikes again this could turn into a national media frenzy, not to mention the loss of more lives, which I will not tolerate, not in my town."

“But sir - “

"I know what your going to say Michael, he's reckless, and a danger to those around him. Just answer me this, if it was your family trapped in a fire, who would you want charging in?"

Michael knew he was right, Zan was the type of guy who wouldn't think twice about risking his life to save a life, he'd never seen anyone walk straight into the belly of beast with no hesitation or concern for himself.

Spinning the file towards firefighter Guerin, the Chief waved him out of his office.

“Exactly.. Just find him, convince him to catch this guy, tell him that if he cooperates I’ll do whatever I can to get him reinstated with full benefits and time on the books, tell him anything you have to, just get him to do it.”

Furious Michael jumped in his car pounding on the steering wheel in frustration as he made his way to the only woman who might have an idea where to find him.

Knocking on Jamie’s door, Michael immediately raised his hands in the air remembering her temper.

“Jamie, it’s important that I find Zan, you’re the only one who has a chance in hell of knowing how, please help me out. It’s a bad one, it’s about those fires up on Break Neck Hill, and Oak drive. Please Jamie, do you have any idea where he is?”

Swirling her red wine around in her glass, she shrugged her shoulders before slamming the door in his face.

“Try looking in Joe’s bar, or under the bar knowing him, good luck Mike, he’s been on a major bender.”


1:15 am
Joe’s Bar

Hunched over the bar, knocking two ice cubes together at the bottom of an empty glass, Zan lifted his tired eyes towards the row of bottles in front of him.

There reflected in the mirror behind the booze was the reason why he was there in the first place.

He didn’t know her name or anything else about her, which was strange considering you could fit the size of the town on postage stamp.

Still there she was, nestled in ripped fake cherry red leather, last booth near the back door, just like every Friday night, working on her third Vodka and tonic as if she were waiting for someone who never came.

She was beautiful, the kind of beautiful who wouldn’t be caught dead in a seedy bar, a woman who would know better, who would size him up in two seconds.

Unattainable, definitely, but she was enough to get him through the night, lately it was all he had, what he looked forward to, fantasized about.

Always in some classy dress far too upscale for Joe’s bar, or this hick town in general, she definitely stuck out, but in the very best way.

Long jet black hair, smokey dark eyes, long legs crossed shaking her heel to the music in time, always lost in thought, giving off the vibe that she’d turn you down flat if you even looked her way.

She was trouble, in every way possible, which at the moment Zan had more of than he could handle, given so he was content enough just to watch, to imagine the things he’d do to her if things were different.

That was until his view was obstructed by the rookie fireman he personally trained, not to mention saved during one particular bitch of a fire.

Running his fingers through his unruly hair, it was clear Zan wasn’t in the mood for a lecture, or anything else his once good friend had to say.

“How the hell did you find me? No, wait let me guess… god damn Jamie.”

Sitting down next to him, still in his uniform from work, Michael shook his head, waving off the bartender.

“Does it matter?”

“Now hold on Lou, I wouldn’t mind another.”

Looking over at the unshaven, long haired, one time hero, who now appeared older than he was, sporting huge bags under his eyes, Michael shrugged his shoulders.

“So is this it? You’re just going to drown yourself in this hole, wasting the rest of your life because you had a hard year?”

Tapping his lighter on the bar, desperately in need of a cigarette, Zan lowered his voice, reeling in his temper with the understanding that this was basically the last bar that he hadn’t been banned from in town.

“I like you Mikey, you’re a good kid, but you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Go home to your wife and kid where you belong.”

Scoffing the young fireman pulled out the thick file from his coat throwing it on the bar.

“Valenti needs your help, I'm sure you've heard about the fires in town, all signs point to arson, but there’s no proof. Hanson is sitting on his hands, writing reports on how dry the season’s been, he’s barely done a walk through, he’s gathered no evidence, we have nothing.”

Downing another drink Zan flashed his eyes towards the brunette doing all he could to give off an air of not caring.

“Listen, If you help us out, find out who’s doing this, the Chief is prepared to do everything he can to lift your suspension, bring you back full time... or you can just stay here and drink yourself to death.”

Pushing the folder away, Zan reached for his leather jacket, coughing up years of ash that’s made its home in his lungs.

“Not interested.”

“I knew it, I told him this was a bad idea, that you were too far gone.”

Nodding to Lou, Michael stood swinging his keys around his finger.

“Valenti thinks you’re the only one who can catch this guy, he still has faith in you. If you don’t want to help this town, and maybe yourself along the way, then you bring back the file to Jim, tell him yourself that he was wrong, that you really don’t give a shit anymore.”

Waiting for Michael to leave, Zan slammed his fist on the bar before lifting the folder open slightly to scan the first few pages.

Rubbing the back of his neck, he flashed his eyes once again towards the mirror, now more than ever needing to escape into the sexy siren that always managed to bring him some semblance of peace, but she was gone.

Throwing a twenty on the bar, he nodded to Lou. “Keep the change.”

Grabbing the file he made his way out the back door to the alley, thankful for once that he lived close, even if it was a shitty efficiency apartment behind a hole in the wall bar at the edge of town.

He made it just outside the door when he felt a sharp pain in his head, followed by deafening ringing in his ears, just one the many injuries he was left with over the years on the job.


Holding his left ear, bracing his back against the hard brick of the building, he took a few deep breaths before the painful piercing sound finally subsided.

“Hey… are you alright?”

Shielding his eyes from the headlights beaming straight at him, he called out to the sultry voice behind the breathtaking silhouette outlined in front of the car.

“Who’s there?”

It was her, last booth, long dark hair, too beautiful to be real, too beautiful to know better.

“The name’s Liz.”

His voice rasped deep and low making it obvious that this wasn’t the first time he’d noticed her.

“You know you really shouldn’t be out here, it’s not safe.”

Flipping her hair over her shoulder, she tilted her head to the side giving him a slight nod ignoring his blatant warning that had everything to do with him.

“Well I’ve been coming here for a month waiting for you to make a move, I figure either you’re not interested or… ”

“I’m interested.”

She bit down hard on her bottom lip trying to conceal a satisfied grin before turning to get behind the wheel.

“So let’s go.”
Last edited by jake17 on Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

"Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love."

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/14/16 cpt 1

Post by sarammlover » Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:12 pm

WOOHOO!!!!! RF is back~!!!! And Carrie, you are back with a story!! YESSSSSSS!!! I am excited to see what happens in this story. Happy New Year!!

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/14/16 cpt 1

Post by keepsmiling7 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:39 pm

It will be good to read this again as you post it here.......
The banner is outstanding and relates to the story so well.

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/15/16 chpt 2

Post by jake17 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:34 pm

sarammlover: thank you sara :) Happy New Year to you too!
Carolyn: you're the absolute best, you know that right? thanks Carolyn :)

Song: Tenderly, by Billie Holiday

Chapter two

Looking directly into his amber gaze, confident, unashamed by her forwardness, she leaned over opening the passenger car door leaving no room for misunderstanding.

“Are you coming?”

Zan couldn’t help but run the implications of that question in his mind a few times before his brain relayed the message for his legs to move.

Stepping into her silver Mercedes he already felt out of place as dirt from the treads of his boots scattered across the spotless car mat.

“So is my place alright, or would you rather - “

Cutting her off he laughed sliding his hand across the dashboard of the a car that most likely cost double what he made in a year.

“You have whiskey?”

Raising one eyebrow she appeared mildly insulted.

“Is that a deciding factor?”

Taking off guard by her quick retort he was at a loss for words, maybe for the first time in his life.

Shaking his head he finally answered in a way that showed he was clearly off his game.

“No of course not, I didn’t… I mean - “

The corner of her mouth lifted in victory as she backed out of the alley.

“Will scotch do?”

Shoving the file between the fine leather seats, he turned towards the dark haired beauty that he had been watching for weeks on end, trying to get a fix on her motive for all this.

“Yeah sure.”

He couldn’t help but stare as soft jazz filled the air, making the small space between them heavy with mood.

The attraction was palpable, like electricity ripping through the sky during a thunderstorm.

“I’m Zan by the way.”

Pulling out onto the highway she nodded.

“Yes I know, I told you... I’ve been waiting for you. I hope you don’t think I'm the type that would take a complete stranger home.”

Narrowing his eyes, he studied her knowing there was no way he could ever forget that face.

“So we’ve met before?”

“You could say that, don’t worry… it will come to you.”

Pissed at himself for even questioning her, wondering if he was trying to fuck this up, he decided to quit while he was ahead.

He was used to watching her from across the room, blurred from booze, lingering sideways distant views of sinful moments played out for his pleasure, but this was different.

Here and now, with perfect lucidity, she was just inches away, razor sharp, vivid in ways that shattered his mind like never before.

Feeling the need to fill the fleeting silent moments while trying to figure out what she meant, he commented on her choice of music.

“So you like Jazz?”

Smiling sadly, as strange as that sounds, it was something that she perfected with heart wrenching ease, Liz turned the volume up a hair, sighing as if remembering something in her past.

“It’s Billie Holiday… I could change it if you’d like.”

Shaking his head Zan drank her in, drowning in every move, each hushed breath, musing that he’d listen to glass breaking if it meant going home with her.

Her beauty far exceeded any late night fantasies he had, she was elegant, graceful, clearly intelligent, a world away from what he was used to.

Leaning back his lips parted breathing in her scent of wildflowers and musk that would forever make an indelible mark on his senses.

“It won’t be long now, I’m just over the bridge on Castle Rock Island.”

Her voice was calm, sexy, drifting on a sea of breezy confidence that seemed to effortlessly command his complete attention.

“Never been, too rich for my blood, might as well be on the other side of the world.”

Reaching down she swept her fingers over his hand pointing out an old lighthouse resting high on a towering cliff, and the moon as it clung to the horizon rippling its haunting reflection for miles.

“My father was a fisherman, I used to help him bring lobsters from the mainland to sell in the small shops over here. I remember he’d always keep his head down. It was like he was embarrassed of where he came from, who he was, he’d grab my hand, hush me when they’d walk by. I never understood that.”

She spoke as if they had known each other for years, as if this night was planned, set in motion long ago, a reunion of sorts.

Nodding, understanding all too well why her father felt the way he did, Zan whispered, gazing at the change in scenery.

“I bet you do now.”

Crossing the iron bridge that divided the rich from the poor, Zan tried to put the pieces together.

“So you grew up around here?”

Her voice seemed distant, as if her mind was wandering someplace dark, private.

“Yes, I left for awhile when I was seventeen, I’ve just recently returned.”

Her car hugged the rocky shore as each towering glass mansion passed them by, one more impressive than the next.

“Off at some Ivy league college? Maybe a trip around Europe after graduation? ”

His remark was snarky, unfair, he regretted it the second it left his mouth.

“No, just away.”

Turning onto a secluded narrow road, bordered by tall trees making it impossible for anyone from the gated neighborhood to notice, she parked, leaving him sitting alone in the car without a word.

It was becoming more evident by the minute that he wasn’t nearly drunk enough to handle what was being laid out before him.

Leaving the folder behind, Zan followed the path she took down twisted cobblestone through a wrought iron gate into a large arched red doorway.

This house was different than the architectural prizes poised along the edge of the coastline, this home was a beach house, built from stone, passed down through the generations, a treasure to whoever owned it.

Closing the door behind him, Zan found himself alone again being drawn to the sound of ice clinging inside a glass.

With each room he entered he realized it was more of a museum than a home, half the size as the others but just as impressive, it rested higher on the cliff, demanding the best view of the Atlantic.

Roaming through the halls it felt like a tomb, cold, void of happiness, empty accept for various pieces of antique furniture that seemed to hold a past of its own.

Seagulls cried out overhead through open windows that sent salty sea breezes in along with continuous lapping of an ebbing and flowing tide.

Finally finding her in the dining room, setting a crystal decanter down, she turned toward him as the familiar torch singer once again filled the air.

It was her Billie Holiday, sweeping into the air like cream spilling from the sky, pulling him closer.

The evening breeze caressed the trees tenderly
The trembling trees embraced the breeze tenderly
Then you and I came wandering by
And lost in a sigh, were we

She literally took his breath standing before him, thin red silk of her dress poised dangerously on the tip of each sun kissed shoulder, diving down as deep as possible in the front, an open invitation to a place he never wanted to leave.

The shore was kissed by sea and mist tenderly
I can't forget how two hearts met breathlessly
Your arms opened wide and closed me inside
You took my lips, you took my love so tenderly

Handing him the scotch, she made her way up a winding staircase nearby, again, without a word.

Taking it down fast, he quickly filled his glass again, this time savoring its taste, closing his eyes letting the slow velvet burn slip down his throat.

Ascending each step slowly his attention was captured by what could not be ignored, what she obviously wanted him to see.

Framed pictures on the wall leading to her bedroom told the story.

Zan took his time ghosting his fingers over glass taking it all in.

Then you and I came wandering by
And lost in a sigh, were we

Families with raised champagne glasses, men in expensive suits shaking hands, a sailing boat proudly drifting in white capped waves, marked with the name, Elizabeth’s Star.

The shore was kissed by sea and mist tenderly
I can't forget how two hearts met breathlessly
Your arms opened wide and closed me inside
You took my lips, you took my love so tenderly

The very last was of a bride and groom standing before an imposing roman catholic church, the beautiful woman in flowing white, her body pressed next to a much older man like a possession, his, bought and paid for in full.

There it was again, that sad smile gazing back at him as if she were resigned to a brutal fate, one she never chose.

Rubbing the back of his neck, feeling the weight of her misery, Zan turned down a long hallway, following a flickering light until he reached her again.

Standing before a large open window, the sea breeze lifting her hair from her shoulders, Liz stared out at the lighthouse as its bright beam crossed over the ocean to light up her face.

“Do you like the scotch?”

Breathing in deep, watching with great intensity, he grew instantly hard as one strap slipped from its perch leaving the curve of her body bare for him to see.


It was clear she didn’t want to discuss it, at least not tonight.

“It’s very rare, one of three in its existence.”

Liz wanted there to be no confusion, no useless lies to start them off to wherever the night would eventually lead them.

He understood, and didn’t care, not in this moment, not with her standing there, not with Billie singing sweetly in his ear.

His dark haired beauty was married, that much he knew, the rest he wasn't sure, but there was something familiar now about her, like a dream he was just now waking to.

“Really? Must have been very expensive.”

Walking close to her Zan drifted his mouth along her neck setting the night in motion.

Her response was shaky, the anticipation of his touch almost more than she could take.


"How much?"

“Half a million.”

Zan raised the glass, drinking the rest down as a beam of brilliant white from the lighthouse struck them in its grasp.

Gasping she heard crystal hit the floor just as his hand slipped slowly inside the slit of her dress set high upon her thigh.

Hovering over her lips he whispered softly before kissing her, taking what was offered to him, without question or regret.

“I hope he feels the loss.”

"Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love."

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/15/16 chpt 2

Post by Natalie36 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:20 pm

this is sounding really good :shock:

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/17/16 chpt 2

Post by jake17 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:43 pm

Natalie: thank you sweetie, so good to see you here

Song, Solitude by Billie Holiday

chapter three

Zan sighed needing a moment as his lips hovered over her mouth hesitating breathlessly.

Liz opened her eyes edging her gaze toward the sea as his fingertips reached the beginnings of raised scars along the small of her back.

Memories crashed down like waves hitting the shore below them, it couldn’t be he thought to himself, not her.

“Now you know. “ she said distantly, lost in the warmth of his touch that lingered still.

Frozen in an embrace, lost in time, he shivered as she took control moving towards him lifting the edge of his black tee shirt from his jeans.

Releasing her quickly he grabbed her wrists flashing his eyes to her shaking his head as he backed away.

One side of her pale lips rose in a sad smile once again while she walked towards him refusing to let him off the hook that easily.

“Are you embarrassed of your scars ? Still ? After all this time, a big strong handsome man like yourself, I can't imagine anything getting in your way of a good fuck.”

Pain struck his face visibly hearing her speak this way.

“Beth… don’t, please.”

Walking towards a bottle of wine on her nightstand, she poured herself a glass drinking it down fast.

“Or is it just with me? I wonder if I didn’t give myself away so soon if you’d have me up against the wall by now naked as the day you were born.”

Sitting on the edge of the bed blindsided he curled his hands into fists.

“You’re drunk.”

Lifting her glass to her lips she whispered seductively like before.

“Not yet, but I’m getting there.”

Grabbing the glass from her, spilling the wine on the floor he began pacing the large nearly empty room.

“You’re acting like a child.”

Scoffing she shoved him aside leaving him alone in her bedroom.

“You didn’t seem to think so all those nights in the bar.”

Running his fingers through his long hair he gripped the roots hard trying to wrap his mind around what was happening.

“Beth, wait.”

Following her down to the main floor, past the photo’s on the wall, he reached for his cigarettes before changing his mind, remembering the damage to her lungs.

“It’s Liz now, he doesn’t care for Beth, sounds too common for his tastes, ‘ a name fit for someone with a meager upbringing’ is how I believe he put it.”

Confused he grabbed her arm to stop her from running away from him.

“But it’s your name, it’s who you are.”

Breaking away from his grasp she began searching the kitchen cabinets for more wine as he stared at her in amazement at the woman she had become.

“Stop please.”

Glaring over her shoulder Liz pulled a bottle of Merlot down holding it close to her between her breasts.

“Stop what? What am I doing? No one forced you Zan. You willingly came back here with me, to ‘be’ with me, and now it seems you’ve had a change of heart, so … just go, leave.”

Shying away from her barely there dress he rubbed his tired eyes, unsure of what to say.

“This isn’t fair, you know I had no idea it was you.”

The sound of another record flopping down echoed through the house as the needle lowered to release more of Billie’s painful melodies.

Rushing up to him with a fury of emotions gleaming in her smokey brown eyes, Liz came within inches of him placing her hand over her heart.

“Not fair? I wrote to you… every day in the burn unit. I poured my heart out to you. A solid year of agonizing skin graphs, surgeries, endless therapy, and all I wanted was to hear from you. I was scared, alone, I trusted you, believed the words you said to me while we were trapped in that hell hole, but there was nothing. You just forgot about me.”

In my solitude
You haunt me
With dreadful ease
Of days gone by

Gripping the counter , riddled with guilt, Zan clenched his jaw edging his eyes toward the door realizing how easy it would be for him to just go, to drown himself in booze, to act as though this night never happened.

In my solitude
You taunt me
With memories
That never die

But he couldn’t, not since the moment she slipped from his arms ten years ago, not even now, not ever.

“I was married, fucked up, I still am, more than you know. You ... you were so young, seven years younger, just a girl. Being with me would’ve ruined any chance you could have had at having a happy life.”

Smirking sarcastically sending a dozen knives straight through him she stepped back pulling the cork from her bottle raising it for a bitter toast.

“Well here’s to being happy!”

I sit in my chair
And filled with despair
There's no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I'll soon go mad

She didn’t have to say a word, he could see it plain in her sad eyes, she was trapped in a miserable marriage, to a man who she didn’t love, you most likely didn’t really know her at all.

Zan knew it was a mistake, but the scent of her skin mixed with flashes of curves too beautiful to ignore caused him to take a long lingering look.

Eyes made from the colors of a setting sun, adrift in a far off horizon, raked over her with breathless admiration.

She was trapped, caught in his spell once again, so easily, stilled by those eyes that stared at her for hours, convincing her she’d make it out alive, that she would survive the impossible deadly inferno surrounding them.

In my solitude
I'm afraid
Dear Lord above
Send back my love

“God you are beautiful.”

Setting the bottle down she brazenly released the thin straps perched on her shoulders allowing her dress to fall like feathers to the floor.

Bare all but for white lace panties she turned around lowering her chin, crossing her arms holding herself tight.

“I’ll never be beautiful, not with these.”

Showing him all of her, everything that the doctors could not fix, she shuddered feeling his lips against her spine.

I sit in my chair
And filled with despair
There's no one could be so sad
With gloom everywhere
I sit and I stare
I know that I'll soon go mad

Her eyes flew open hearing his raspy voice brush against her body, demanding to know.

“Do you love him?”

He couldn’t say the word ‘husband ‘ found it impossible to mumble the name plastered beneath every framed photograph, no matter, she knew what he meant.


Falling to his knees he slid the transparent material down her thighs while releasing the buckle of his belt.

In my solitude
I'm afraid
Dear Lord above
Send me back my love

His mouth sought her out hungrily unable to hold back the tide of feelings that had been burning a hole inside him for so long.

Bracing her palms against the wall she could barely breath as he rose to his feet letting his jeans and boxers fall in a pool around his ankles.

Her forehead hit the wall feeling him hard and needy between her cheeks.

Zan may have had the soul of an angel, but he was far from a saint.

Brushing his mouth to her ear he gruffly whispered a simple request as he led himself to her entrance.

“If you’re going to walk out of my life after this night… tell me now, stop me now, because I won’t live through losing you a second time.”

Gazing back over her shoulder with tears in her eyes Liz whispered a single word, one he wouldn't forget.


"Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love."

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/17/16 chpt 3

Post by sarammlover » Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:07 pm

Carrie!!! WHOA!!! Wow. What a couple of updates! Always so hot those two! I can't wait to get more of the story!

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/17/16 chpt 3

Post by Natalie36 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:24 pm

:shock: wow :shock:

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/17/16 chpt 3

Post by keepsmiling7 » Tue Jan 19, 2016 2:07 pm

The Billie Holliday music is perfect for this story......

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Re: Ignite the Flame (UC,L/Z,Adult) 1/19/16, chpt 4

Post by jake17 » Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:25 pm


Thank you so much for being here :)

Song, Lover Man by Billie Holiday

Chapter four

I don't know why but I'm feeling so sad
I long to try something I never had
Never had no kissin'
Oh, what I've been missin'
Lover man, oh, where can you be?

Pulled into a fantasy, a break from the loneliness that plagued both their waking days and restless nights they sighed together shakily.

Reaching back with one hand he pulled off his black tee shirt tossing it to the ground as one hand slid around her throat, the other between her thighs.

Breathing hard they both stilled in that moment, that sweet swirl of descent that resembled any sense of heaven they had ever known.

The night is cold and I'm so alone
I'd give my soul just to call you my own
Got a moon above me
But no one to love me
Lover man, oh, where can you be?

Her head rolled back against his chest giving him a glimpse of her lovely face, mouth slightly open, dark eyelashes fluttering along rosy flushed cheeks.

Her heart was rapid with the initial feeling of him as she leaned forward, arching her back, pressing her hands, digging her nails into the wall, pleading for him to move.

The vision of her, bare, her long raven locks spread out over golden curved skin, numbed any guilt or notion of consequences.

She felt too good to be true, so warm, tight, sparking a memory of long ago, one that he could never let go, one that would systematically bring him to the tragedy of his life today.

Surging inside his hand smoothed down around her hip guiding her roughly back while he teased her inciting the most beautiful sounds he had ever heard.

He dreamt of this moment a million times, breathed her in during many alcohol hazed nights, even mumbled her name on the skin of more than a few one night stands, but it never compared to this.

I've heard it said
That the thrill of romance
Can be like a heavenly dream
I go to bed with a prayer
That you'll make love to me
Strange as it seems

This was desperate, hard and fast, not at all resembling the many times he had slowly, gently made love to her in the dark recesses of his mind, where he dared to summon back that night where he truly felt happiness for the first and last time.

Feeling her shiver beneath his fingertips he had an intense need to see her face as she fell apart.

Spinning her around he lifted her onto an oval glass dining room table, spreading her out so he could feast on all of her.

Gazing up at him, lost in this moment, just as much as he was, her arms reached out to touch him.

Zan stood tall, muscles flexed, sweat glistening, panting, he tried to slow this down but they were well past that point.

Gripping her thighs he jerked her toward him for several more earth shattering strokes while pressing the tip of his finger gently on her clit.

This casual fondling was almost painful in its intensity, causing her to immediately fall with him into a kind of bliss neither of them were prepared for.

The house was eerily silent afterward, except for the needle on the record player that was skipping, sending a part of the song on a loop over and over.

someday we’ll meet
someday we’ll meet
someday we’ll meet

It was something neither of them noticed until it was over, but its sound lent a hand to the unsettling moment left between them now.

Awkwardly parting, Zan quickly backed into the shadows reaching for his clothes, making it a point to hide the scars that marred his skin up and down his entire back.

Liz stared up at the ceiling, bringing her legs together, folding them to the side while spreading her hand across the water colored stained glass.

The other hand skimmed across her stomach as if still feeling the effects of her climax rushing over her.

Out of breath, his chest tight with pain, Zan buckled his belt before being brave enough to look up at her.

It was almost painful how beautiful she was, no longer the shy innocent he once knew, it was clear Liz was a regular of the darker side of life.

Unnerved by the repeating loop, he fixed the needle letting the somber tune play out to its conclusion.

Someday we'll meet
And you'll dry all my tears
Then whisper sweet
Little things in my ear
Hugging and a-kissing
Oh, what I've been missing
Lover man, oh, where can you be?

Liz turned, lifting her gaze towards the record player as her fingers swept along the paisley glass, her voice was soft, sad, teetering on the edge of tears that never came.

“This table cost twenty thousand dollars, the base is made from driftwood gathered from white sandy beaches on the shores of the Caribbean, specially preserved, carved from Brazil. The glass was hand blown in Italy by an eighty seven year old artist. Harrison waited for a year for it to be completed. He loves this piece, won’t let me touch it, we’ve never as much as sat down for a conversation here.”

His stomach churned feeling her sorrow, her loneliness penetrated the air, her hopelessness screamed between the moments of silence demanding to be heard.

Zan heard her, felt her pain, it mirrored his own, the raw emotion between them was too much for him, he had no choice but to leave, to run.

Grabbing a throw off a leather couch in the other room, Zan draped it over her before lifting her up in his arms, flush to his chest.

Nuzzling close to him her eyes slid shut, clearly exhausted, she fit perfectly within his body, just as she had that night as he charged into the flames to free them.

Laying her down gently in her bed, he stepped back, his gut knotted, his head pounded, knowing what he was about to do.

“Don’t leave.”

It was her last words before drifting off to a deep sleep, knowing full well that it was a futile request.

Grabbing her cell off the nightstand he put his number in her contacts before brushing a stray hair from her cheek.

Backing away, staring down at her, caught in the alternating brilliant strobe of the lighthouse illuminating his worn tired eyes, Zan breathed out harshly searching for his cigarettes.

“Fucking hell… why Beth… why now?”

Turning to leave, running down the stairs, he brushed past one of the pictures as something caught his eye.

It was a large photo of a ribbon cutting ceremony, rich men wearing hard hats standing in suits, unveiling a large company in what looked like another country. Reading the sign it was clear where her husband made his money.

Harrison was a land developer.

This seemingly useless fact drifted away as Zan pushed open the arched red door to make his way on foot back over the bridge to his side of the world he knew.

Grabbing the file from her car first, he turned for one last look at the million dollar beach house, thinking of the angel sleeping inside, while smoke billowed like a dragon out his nose.

Shielding his eyes from the sun that was rising over the choppy waves, he reluctantly made the call.

Sleepily, Michael grumbled incoherently on the other end, surprised by who it was.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?”

Flipping through the file, as his boots hit the pavement on the highway, he already was gravitating towards details that didn’t sit right.

Taking another drag off his cigarette he kept on reading.

“I need a ride.”

Pulling his cell back away from his face, Michael stared at his phone is disbelief, while carefully getting out of his bed.

Doing his best to not disturb his wife, he whispered into the phone irritably.

“You’re fucking kidding me, I’m not giving you anything. Call a cab.”

“I’m outta cash, no worries, we can just work on the investigation another day.”

Rubbing his eyes, while his five year old girl, Grace, wandered out from her bedroom to wrap her little arms around his leg, Michael smiled through gritted teeth.

“No, damn it… we can’t wait, we think he’s going to hit another house soon.”

Shrugging Zan closed the file, rolling it up in his hand. “I’m sure you’re right, hope no one’s home when he does.”

“Daddy? Where’s mommy, you woke me up, I’m hungry.”

Waving back at his wife Maria, who was glaring at him through their bedroom door, Michael reached for his boots.

“I’ll pick you up, where are you?”


Shaking his head, watching Zan walk along the highway, Michael pulled over handing him a cup of coffee.

“What happened? Did this one throw you out, steal your money? Or did you sneak out because your beer goggles cleared up, was she not the beauty you thought she was in the harsh light of day my friend?”

Closing his eyes, reeling in his temper, Zan took down half the cup before responding.

“Well it’s really none of your business is it? Just take me back to my place so I can get a quick shower. I want to look at the first house he hit, something just isn’t sitting right with me. We need to check it out.”

Nodding, getting off the exit, Michael drove towards the dump of a bar that he lived above, still shocked that he was agreeing to help out.

Waiting while he showered, in a one room efficiency apartment that was covered with old take out boxes, beer bottles, and ashtrays that were spilling over, Michael couldn’t help but grab a trash bag.

Basically running his arm across every flat surface, dumping everything in the trash, he yelled towards Zan who was now getting dressed.

“So what changed your mind?”

Ignoring him, Zan reached for his sunglasses and his cigarettes, looking around at his place that Michael just cleaned.

“What the fuck did you do that for?”

Rubbing the back of his neck, frustrated, Michael made his way to his car. “Was just wondering the same thing buddy.”

Slamming the car door, Zan opened the file again, flipping through the pages. “Go to the first one, 2033 up on Break Neck Hill.”

Sighing, pulling back out onto the highway, Michael shook his head. “So you see anything in the initial report, or are we going in blind.”

“There isn’t much to go on, our guy Hanson did next to nothing, but there’s one thing… in one of the fireman’s notes, about the damage being not as extensive as the others, also that it appeared that the point of origin was in the attic, unlike the others that started on the first floor.”

Turning onto Break Neck Hill, Michael peered over Zan’s shoulder. “I don’t remember anything like that, and I combed through all the notes.”

Getting out the car, Zan turned to the last page, flipping it over to point it out to Michael.

The writing was upside down on the bottom, written in small cursive that was hard to read, it would’ve gone unnoticed to anyone who wasn’t a stickler for details, for someone that always looked outside the box.

Squinting, trying to make the sentences out, Michael shrugged. “Why did he write this here, hiding it, where no one could freakin see it?”

“Look at his initials, K.V., Kyle Valenti. I know that rookie’s handy work anywhere, being a probie is hard enough, but being the chief’s son, screw that. He’s pretty sharp though, he pickup on evidence even the Fire Marshall missed, he didn’t want to look like a suck up, but he also couldn’t let it go, that’s why I think he wrote it on the back, hoping it would catch someone’s eye, but definitely not Hanson’s. That little shit may end up doing alright after all.”

Taking out his pocket knife Zan sliced through the red police tape blocking the lock.

Looking back he noticed that Michael was sitting on the curb checking his messages.

“This is all you buddy, there’s a chance that roof could come down, I know you don’t give a shit, but I can’t afford to be sitting up in a bed at Saint Mary’s for the next four months.”

Lifting his sunglasses on top of his head, Zan placed a small flashlight between his teeth while pulling out little plastic bags from his back pocket.

With his switchblade he carved out a piece of burnt wood where the house was damaged the most, taking other samples he made his way over appliances, the electrical box, and the furnace, sniffing pools of water that collected on the first floor, where the fireman concentrated the most.

Wiping ash off his cheek, Zan flipped his blade shut, sliding it back in his pocket before heading towards the car.

Michael hurried along searching for his keys before jumping in the car.

Yawing Zan sunk down in the seat slipping his shades back over his bloodshot eyes.

Starting the car, Michael shrugged, running out of patience.

“Well? Are you going to fill me in on what you found? You know, I’m not your goddamn chauffeur, if you think - “

“Easy little man, I was just thinking some things over, why don’t you drop me home so I can get a little shut eye and we’ll meet up for a drink tonight. I have a theory I’m working on.”

Rolling his eyes, Michael looked down at his phone that was lightening up with his wife’s face, knowing she wouldn’t be thrilled about him working on his day off, especially with Zan.

“What kind of theory?”

Shoving the file in his leather jacket, Zan sunk down further into the seat.

“The kind of theory that takes some sleep to come together, pick me up at ten.”

“Ten is too late Zan, I have a family, Maria’s going to kick my ass!”

Dropping him off on the sidewalk, in front of the bar, Zan yelled back at Michael as he walked slowly trying to shield the wind from his lighter.

“My case, my rules Mikey!”


9:55 pm, Zan’s apartment, later that night

Slumped over the sink in front of his bathroom mirror, Zan winced in pain, still feeling the searing licks of fire lapping at his skin caused from shielding her from the roar of the inferno all those years ago.

Closing his eyes he saw it in his mind, the roof starting to cave in, flaming pieces of plaster and wood falling from the ceiling as he wrapped her in his heavy fireman’s coat leaving him defenseless.

Slamming his hands against his head, the ear splitting sound returned paralyzing him, bringing him to his knees.

Grunting he reached for his pills, watching, tormented as they fell off the edge of the sink scattering across the floor.

Washing a few down with a whiskey bottle, he pushed himself back against the wall holding his head, unable to get her out of his mind.

Flashes of her inundated his head, pulling at his heart.

Jealousy tore at his insides hating that she belonged to someone else, knowing just how unhappy she was.

He needed to find out more about this guy Harrison, clearly he had some type of hold on her, some kind of control or she wouldn’t still be there.

Struggling to pull himself up, Zan grabbed his jacket knowing he was late for his drink with Michael.


Joe’s bar, 10:20 pm

The regulars were filing in as Zan emerged through the back door, first looking over to her empty booth, then to Michael sitting alone at the bar talking to Lou, looking pissed.

“Here he is now, I told you he’d show Mike. Usual Zan?”

Nodding he took a seat next to Michael slamming the folder on the bar.

“You’re late.”

Smirking Zan took the shot of whiskey right out of Lou’s hands knocking it back fast.

“Twenty minutes, you’ll live Mikey.”

Realizing there was no point in fighting about it, Michael sipped his beer.

“So do you have anything for me?”

Zan signaled Lou for another drink before opening the file, taking a quick look at the door through the mirror behind the bottles in front of him hoping she would show.

“Well it was definitely arson, that first house was his torch, but he’s far from done.”

Reeling back, Michael was surprised at how clear headed Zan sounded, it was as if he was his old self minus the whiskey shots he was slamming between sentences.

“Okay, so how do you know all this?”

“He was sloppy, rushed, I found traces of some type of an accelerant on the walls, in the prints of his boots, he was spilling the shit everywhere.”

“Any idea what it is?”

Shaking his head, Zan threw his leather jacket on the barstool beside him catching a glimpse of her standing at the jukebox by the back door.

Distracted, he tapped his lighter anxiously on the bar quickly bringing his point home so he could get rid of Michael.

“Nah, not yet, some kind of chemical, smell was like paint thinner but not quite, you’re looking for someone who has access to shit you don’t find in home depot, this is high grade, extremely flammable, highly dangerous. I’m surprised he didn’t light himself up in the process.”

Looking down at his cell, and the number of missed calls from Maria, Michael nodded with curiosity.

“Good news, we’re looking for something very specific, which makes it harder for our pyro to hide, bad news, he’s just getting started, and getting better with each house, or so it seems. I have to check the others out soon before it rains and washes away what’s left of the evidence that the hoses haven’t.”

Turning his ringer to vibrate, Michael chugged the last of his beer knowing he was in the dog house when he got home.

Throwing a few bills on the bar, Michael sighed heavily, “So what now?”

“We need someone who’s good on the computer, I’ll hit up Alex, maybe he can narrow down any factories in the area who use this chemical, but first we have identify it. Let me make a few calls, I spent a few drunken nights with a lab tech down at the morgue, she seemed to like me well enough, maybe I can get her to speed things up. Mandy I think her name was, or was it Candy? Nice ass but couldn’t handle her booze - “

“Zan - “

Music lifted from the merging conversations in the bar as Liz walked to her regular booth without even a glance his way.

“I got this, if Mandy/Candy is still there, I’ll have the origin of the accelerant in two days. Pick me up tomorrow, noon, I’ll look in on what’s left of the other houses.”

Shaking his head Michael sighed, “Can’t be noon, some of us work, I’m pulling a double shift tomorrow - “

Impatiently Zan kept eyeing Liz as she took her vodka from the waitress.

He was mesmerized, watching her gracefully sip at her dirty martini, leaving a red lipstick print along the edge of the glass.

“Fine, I’ll get there on my own. You should get out of here Mikey before your wife has an aneurysm.”

"Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love."

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

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