saga/title/fandom: Adagio chapter 15 (A Man Apart)
rating/genre: (NC-17) - Romance/Crime Drama
warnings: het, language, violence, and graphic sexual content
summary: Officer Sean Vetter, formerly of the DEA, tries to rebuild his life in Chicago after losing his wife in a botched assassination attempt on his own life. Joining the Chicago Special Tactics Unit, Vetterís bitterness toward life and sullen determination not to care for anyone makes him a nightmare of potential partners, until a stubborn Irish woman named Kate Shea decides she isnít going to let Vetter chase her away Ė from his career or his life. (Sean/OFC)
comments/disclaimers: My summary and first chapter pretty well give away the plot of the movie, so if you haven't seen it yet you might want to wait to read this until you have. FEEDBACK: Two conditions: Please talk to me, not at me; Please do not rewrite my stuff and send it to me the way you would do it. Otherwise have at it. Thanks. ARCHIVE: A qualified yes Ė I would not like the story to appear anywhere else without the person discussing it with me first. NOTES: The story does involve a stalker. Also, there is some violence stemming from Vetter and Kateís jobs as undercover officers. NOTE II: There is some Russian used in the story but I try to explain it unless it explains itself.
Just before leaving to go to the van after wiring the house Vetter kissed Kate. When he finally pushed himself out the door the look in his eyes betrayed a man whose conscience and heart walked separate paths.
Kate gazed at the clock above the sink: 6 5. She moved to the window. The surveillance van sat half a block away. She wished she could see inside it, see Vetter and how he looked now that he let down his guard with her. She meant it when she said she would wait for him but she wanted to have something to wait for.
A memory of Vetterís body flashed into her mind and she closed her eyes to steel herself against the desire it created in her. He put out an incredible heat that wrapped itself around her like a shroud. She could still taste him, the strangely sweet flavor that came with his kiss, and the surprising delicacy of it merged with the conflagration he created with his body to leave her totally helpless against him. Her safe world of isolation and anger vanished beneath his touch, fleeting as it was.
She gazed at her reflection in the window glass. Dressing for Kafelnikov had been hell. She needed to wear something to entice him yet at the same time she felt that leading him on, even in the name of the investigation, would be cheating on Vetter. The ridiculousness of that idea combined with her turmoil about what to wear until she barely managed to make a decision at 6:45. She finally selected a soft pink button-down sweater and a pair of jeans: a little dressy but not provocative. She clamped on a pair of rose-colored earrings, brushed her hair, bound it with a black band enameled in roses, and waited for the Russian.
He arrived promptly at seven. Kate peered out at him through the glass panel at the side of the door, taking in his polished appearance, the casual suit and pullover sweater he wore that made him look like someone from a clothing catalogue for up-and-coming businessmen. He held a dozen pink roses and a bottle of champagne. He kissed her when he entered and she barely managed not to pull away. He gave her the roses and champagne, saying how good it was to see her again. She smiled faintly and took the flowers and liquor to the kitchen. When she heard him close the door behind him she felt a bolt of panic shoot through her that she somehow forced down.
"You have a lovely home," he remarked, walking around the living room as he took in details.
"Itís nothing compared to yours," she replied as she emerged to walk toward him.
"Nonsense. It isnít the size of a house that makes it beautiful, Katya, itís the heart inside it."
"Do you always go around talking like a poet?"
He laughed. "I try to. What do you think about poets?"
"I guess I never really gave them much consideration. Outside of James Joyce my knowledge of poetry is limited to dirty limericks."
He laughed again, the sound gentle, refined. "You should try Pushkin. I think you would be taken with his imagery."
"I donít have much time to read," she said, setting the salad on the table. "Besides, cops are supposed to be semi-literate anyway."
"Youíre hardly that."
"You canít be sure, Grigori. I might not be the woman you imagine me to be."
He crossed the expanse of the living room to her. "Of course you are," he said softly, running a gentle hand over hair. "Youíre the most amazing woman Iíve ever met."
His touch roused a memory of Vetter in her. "Weíd better eat before dinner gets cold," she said quickly, pulling away from him.
She put the food on the table while he watched her. When she finished he pulled her chair out for her, then took his own seat. Instead of sitting across from her the way she set the table he moved his place setting so he was next to her. The table was small enough that his elbow touched hers.
"Your food smells wonderful," he remarked.
"Itís Irish. Try to eat it anyway."
"Iím sure itís marvelous." He took a bite of the steak and Guinness pie steaming on his plate. "Exquisite, Katya. You are a gifted cook."
"I donít get much chance to do it anymore," she said. "Living alone usually means dinner comes from a bag. Itís nice to be able to make a real meal for someone."
"Your partner does not dine with you?"
She paused briefly before saying, "Sometimes. Why would you ask?"
"Iíve heard that police officers are very close to their partners. And from the photograph in the newspaper I can assume thatís true of the two of you."
"Are you trying to find out if Vetter and I are involved, Grigori?"
He shrugged. "I guess I am not as clever as I believed."
"Vetterís my partner. Partners donít have romances. Besides, Iím sure he has women dripping off him, as good looking as he is."
The comment slipped out of her mouth like an eel escaping a fishermanís creel. Kate did not acknowledge it.
"My secretary finds him attractive as well," Kafelnikov said.
The hint of darkness in his voice unnerved Kate. "Heís all right, but I donít go in for muscle guys," she said quickly. "I much prefer men like you."
His concern vanished in wake of the compliment. "And what kind of man am I?" he asked.
His eyes shone like lanterns on her. She stared into them despite telling herself not to acknowledge his gaze. Once she found her voice she answered, "A dangerous one."
"To your heart or to your head?"
The Russian looked upon her a moment longer, then took her hand and kissed it, palm up. "I want to be dangerous for you, Katya," he said quietly. "To be dangerous for a woman is to be a little inside her heart."
"I still donít know why Iím with you," she confessed.
"Because you are a passionate woman, and because I awaken the fire inside you. Itís very simple." He raised his hand to the side of her face, studying her as if she were a fine work of porcelain. "All day I have imagined what it would be like to be here, alone with you in the house where you sleep. The thought of that excites me tremendously."
"Tolstoy," she whispered.
"Tolstoy. You do sound like the hero in a Tolstoy novel."
"Thatís exactly what my assistant Alexei tells me. Only it disturbs him, which Iím assuming does not happen to you."
"I wouldnít be so sure, Grigori." She felt her throat tightening: could she breathe with him in the room this close to her?
"If I considered you scheming like most women I would think you were trying to trap me into falling in love with you," he said. "As it is I know that youíre too honest to say anything you donít mean. Thatís one of the things thatís so refreshing about you. A man knows where he stands with you."
"We really should eat," she said, finally managing to look away from him. "Meat pies are best when theyíre hot."
Outside in the surveillance van Edwards noticed that Vetterís mind was not focused on his work. Monaghan, buried under headphones, enjoyed the conversation passing between Kate and Kafelnikov tremendously. He made little comments that earlier in the day brought Vetterís temper to the fore, but now the big man merely sat silently, staring ahead at the video console, totally unaware of what it showed.
Edwards walked over to Vetter. "You handling this okay?" he asked.
Vetter heard him but the import of his words only sunk in several seconds later. "Yeah. Thanks."
"Shea really is capable of taking care of herself. You donít need to worry about her."
"I know. I guess I still think of her as somebody I have to protect. Once sheís been my partner longer that will go away."
"Donít bet on that. We all feel a little protective of Shea, although sheíd kick our asses if she knew that. Some of itís because sheís the only woman in the unit, and you know how cops feel about women. But more of it is her. A lot of things go on inside her that she doesnít let anybody see. Now and then they slip out and when they do a man instinctively wants to make sure nothing more hurts her in her life," Edwards said.
"Not exactly a great attitude for a cop to have toward another cop."
"Weíre still men, Vetter. We donít lose the things we naturally feel for women just because we carry a badge. Or because one of them does."
Vetter looked up at him. "Sorry about the partner thing," he said, surprising himself. "I had a lot going on."
"Forget it. If you hadnít fucked up our team I would never have gotten to work with Sunshine Boy over there," Edwards smiled, shaking his head in Monaghanís direction.
He returned to his station and put on his headphones. Vetter did the same, managing a grin before he did so.
Inside the house Kate refilled Kafelnikovís teacup. The steak and Guinness pie and other parts of the main meal were done and they moved onto the Baileyís chocolate mousse pie she prepared that afternoon. She felt a little calmer now that she had steered the Russian away from his words of courtship. He could talk like a normal person instead of a poet. But her comfort disappeared when he suddenly took her hand and led her from the table into the living room. In his free hand he carried the piece of pie she gave him and a spoon.
He asked her to lie back on the sofa. She did so, not knowing why, and he sat down on the edge of the couch at a level with her chest. He took the spoon and stirred the pie until the mousse and topping blended together into one smooth pile of thick, shining cream. He placed a small bit of the mixture on his mouth and kissed her. She tasted it, she tasted him, and her heart began to pound against her ribs. When he finished the kiss he set the plate down and began to work open the buttons of her sweater. She watched him doing it, and though internally she screamed at herself to stop him she lay completely mute. He quit after four buttons. She was exposed to the front enclosure of her bra.
Kafelnikov retrieved the plate. He dragged the spoon through the creamy mixture once more before taking the contents of the spoon and painting the top of Kateís breast with it. He leaned over her after taking one moment to look into her eyes.
At the touch of his mouth against her skin she jumped, heard a sigh escape her body against her will. The Russian began to lick the dessert from her breast, his tongue making long, deliberate strokes over her flesh. Once he consumed the sweetness he kissed her breast and told her how beautiful she was. She felt her nipple harden beneath the words.
"Take it easy, Vetter," Edwards said.
Monaghan pulled off his headphones and glanced over his shoulder at Vetter. "Looks like itís Nijinskyís lucky day," he remarked with a grin.
"Knock it off," Edwards ordered, adding quietly to Vetter, "Sheís doing her job."
Vetter nodded but did not look at the other officer. As he listened he heard another sound from Kate, a sharper cry this time, like a small sword piercing her skin.
"Damn, wouldnít you love to hear that right in the middle of it?" Monaghan said with a soft whistle. "Fuckiní Russianís hit the mother lode."
Edward whacked him the back of the head. Monaghan put his headphones back on and turned toward his video console.
Another cry came and Edwards pulled Vetterís headphones away from his ears. "Take a break," he said, nodding toward the rear doors of the van.
Vetter hesitated, then removed his headphones completely and slipped out the doors to the street. Monaghan watched him go, then turned back to Edwards.
"Heís doiní Shea, man," Monaghan contended.
"Shut the fuck up," Edwards commanded.
"Iím telling you, thatís not partner jealousy. The Russianís getting his candy and heís not happy about it."
Edwards watched Vetter walk up the street, then closed the doors. "Shea would never break protocol by sleeping with her partner," he said.
"I donít know. I always thought she and Byron had something between them. Like his dick."
Edwards hit him again.
"What is this, ĎWhack Monaghan Monthí?" the other man demanded. "First Shea at the assignment conference, now you. Give me a break."
"Vetterís been through a hell of a lot. I know you arenít capable of forming a bond with a woman that lasts longer than an erection but if I lost Sandi because somebody was trying to take me out Iíd go nuts," Edwards said. "You donít help the situation by shooting your mouth off about Shea. Of course he feels protective of her with whatís happened to him. Act like an adult, for Godís sake."
"Did you think about where Romeo might go when you let him get out?"
"Vetter wonít blow the surveillance."
"Iíd keep my eyes on him just the same. Men do strange things for love, or whatever it is a trained bear feels for women." He saw Edwards hand come up, stopped him, and hit himself. "Saved you the trouble."
Vetter leaned against a leafy elm halfway down the block. He stared across the street at the house. He thought of Kate and Katie standing there waiting for him as he locked the truck after they returned from the Amber Parrott. The little girl took his hand and her motherís and they carried her up the stairs with her swinging happily between them. If he was not so clear headed at the moment he would have sworn he saw Stacey beside him, smiling lovingly as she recalled the scene with him.
He thought of the desire he felt when he kissed Kate. He still remembered the feel of that emotion, the incredible pull of its magnetic force against whatever control he had over himself: even after five years of lying dormant inside him it could not stay mute when he looked at this woman. Iíll wait for you, VetterÖHe heard the words rattle around inside his head like a jar full of pebbles. Wait? Wait for what? He didnít know what he had left to give to another woman. He thought his ability to love might be dead, buried with Stacey beneath the headstone with the beautiful carved angel.
He did not blame Kate for succumbing to Kafelnikov. She was a passionate woman and Vetter woke that passion without satisfying it. He still believed she would honor her promise to give him the time he needed to overcome his feelings of infidelity to Stacey. She meant what she told him. He found himself strangely pleased that she did.
What Vetter could not see was Kate sitting huddled in the corner of the sofa frantically buttoning her sweater. Kafelnikov sat a respectful distance away. After a moment he said softly, "I apologize, Katya. I knew you were not ready to move beyond our kisses yet but my passion for you overwhelmed me."
"Youíd better go," she said.
"May I see you again?"
"I donít Ė yes, but give me some time. I need to think about everything thatís happening between us."
"Of course. Perhaps tomorrow I could take you to dinner. A nice restaurant, so you will not feel so nervous to be with me."
"Not tomorrow -" Kate thought about the investigation "- All right, tomorrow. Seven oíclock."
"Wonderful. Iíll pick you up and show you a lovely evening." He moved carefully toward her, smiling gently as he kissed her hand. "I could lose my soul to you."
He kissed her mouth briefly before rising from the sofa. Kate remained seated. She did not look at him as he left the house.
Vetter saw the Russian appear in the doorway, then come out and make his way down the porch steps toward his sleek Porsche. Vetter hid between a couple of houses. He watched Kafelnikov make a quick call on a cell phone, then speed off into the darkness.
When the knock came five minutes later Kate did not want to answer it, but slowly she pulled herself up and went to the door. Edwards and Monaghan stood on the porch. Edwards looked welcoming, but Monaghan resembled a schoolboy who caught a glimpse of his camp counselor naked through a hole in the wall of the shower tent.
"Whereís Vetter?" she asked when she opened the door.
"He took off already," Edwards explained. "You handled Kafelnikov very well, Shea. Porter wanted me to tell you to take the day tomorrow and do some things for yourself. Just keep your date for tomorrow night."
Kate glared at Monaghan. "Goodnight, guys. Thanks for the back-up."
Edwards told her goodnight and turned for the porch stairs. Monaghan continued to stand where he was.
"Donít you have a whoopee cushion to blow up somewhere?" she demanded.
"Pretty interesting tape, Shea," he said, leaning against the doorframe. "If I didnít know better Iíd say Kafelnikov got to you a little. And there was that comment about Vetter."
"Iím tired, Monaghan. Goodnight."
She started to shut the door but he blocked it with his foot. "I could stay around for a while," he said. "Keep you company."
"Iím going to bed."
"Fine with me."
"Just leave. Right now. I am exhausted and not in the mood for any of your shit," she snapped.
"I donít get why you wonít spend some time with me, especially after what I just heard on the tape. I know youíre lonely. All I want to do is ease your pain a little."
Kate thought a moment, then stepped aside. "Okay," she said, "come on in."
At first he did not believe the invitation an honest one, but once he realized it was he came inside before she could change her mind. She looked him over with a critical eye, letting her gaze run down his body like a pair of unseen hands.
"Go sit down on the sofa," she ordered.
Her tone was one he never heard from her before. It seeped into Monaghanís blood laced with the excitement of possibility. He obeyed her. He watched as she fished around in her purse for a moment. When she turned to face him she held a pair of handcuffs.
"Just what kind of a ride are you willing to go on?" she asked, walking over to him.
He gazed up at her, half man, half feral animal. "Any kind you want to take me on, baby," he answered.
She smiled. "You ever do it on duty, Monaghan?"
"Not yet." The anticipation in his voice echoed through the air.
She held her hand out to him. "Letís go, then."
He followed her outside toward the surveillance van. She told him to unlock the doors. Once he did so she climbed inside and ordered him to do the same and close the doors behind him. He carried out her commands like a trained seal.
She took his jacket away, throwing it on the floor and instantly turning back to remove his shirt.
"Not bad," she allowed as she studied his chest.
"Let me see yours," he said.
"Iím the one giving the orders here. You just be a good boy and do what I tell you."
The idea certainly didnít disturb him. Kate told him to lie down in the aisle between the video consoles. He did and she climbed atop him so she straddled his pelvis.
"Give me your hands," she ordered.
He held them out to her. She noticed his breathing becoming steadily more rapid. Leaning over him so her breasts dangled just out of reach of his mouth she held his hands up over his head so they framed the thick metal post holding the driverís seat onto the floor. She clicked on the cuffs, pulling hard on them to make sure they would hold. When finished she sat back on him, bent forward so her mouth was just an inch from his, and said in a voice hot with desire, "Goodnight, Monaghan."
She leapt to her feet and started for the rear doors. Monaghan started to yell for her to come back but she placed a finger over her lips, then said, "Even though these doors are going to be locked all night, I donít think itís a good idea for you to advertise your presence considering the circumstances in which you find yourself at the moment. Iíd be quiet if I were you."
"Fuck, Shea, donít leave me out here like this!" he said harshly.
She smiled. "Call a cop," she told him as she left the van
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