saga/title/fandom: Adagio chapter 18 (A Man Apart)

author: Rae/Celtia/Celtiareborn

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.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Kafelnikov smiled broadly as Alexei came into the office. Alexei saw the smile, sighed tiredly.

"I thought you promised to leave her alone until tonight," he said, sitting down in front of the desk.

"Thereís nothing wrong in a man calling his wife to tell her good morning," Kafelnikov insisted.

"Sheís not your wife, Grigori."

"Not yet."

"I didnít come here to talk about your love life. We need to nail down the arrangements for Friday. I need to give the men their assignments so they can prepare."

"I sent the list to your e-mail. Donít you ever check it?"

"E-mail? For Godís sake, Grigori, thatís too dangerous. You know e-mail isnít safe. If the Feds hack into my system weíre screwed."

"Donít be such a worrier. You made the arrangements for tonight, I assume."

Alexei sighed again. "Yes. The yacht will be ready, the orchestra too. Champagne, roses, caviar, all the trimmings. No pun intended."

"Donít be vulgar. I think that making plans for the time you get to spend with the woman you love is much more enjoyable than talking business all the time. You should get a girlfriend, Alexei, loosen yourself up."

"I have a girlfriend. She just happens to change every night."

"Philistine." Kafelnikov took a sip of tea and flipped open a folder containing several surveillance photos. "Narodin is already planning to double cross me. Thatís him with his friend from Moscow. He just got back from there, no doubt after discussing the shipment he intends to highjack from me Thursday night. A carefully placed slip of the tongue and the story is all over the city about that shipment."

"Yes, but are you sure Narodin is falling for it?"

"Absolutely. I know this man. I promise you that at this very moment heís gloating about the triumph heís going to win over me when he steals my merchandise. All the better when I spring the trap," Kafelnikov predicted.

"Letís imagine that you pull off the deception, Katya falls in love with being a czarina, and she quits resisting being in love with you," Alexei said. "When do you tell her what you really do for a living?"

"After the wedding."

"Youíd be better off telling her before so she can marry you knowing who you are. She canít be your wife and a cop too."

"Katya is going to retire when we marry. She wonít need to work and she wonít want to once sheís with me," Kafelnikov contended.

"I wish youíd let me do a little research on her and her partner, that ox from the newspaper photograph. According to the article theyíre very close. He might not be willing to stand aside for you, especially if she tells him who you are," Alexei said.

"Heís a non-entity. When she quits her job sheíll leave him behind as well."

"You certainly have everything figured out. I know it hasnít happened yet, Grigori, but thereís always a chance that your life wonít work out the way you intend it to. I have a bad feeling that Katya is going to be your first disappointment, and maybe your last," Alexei said.

"Iím not worried. If she does not see our relationship my way, Iím arranging for an insurance policy to ensure that she changes her way of thinking. Given a little time and persuasion, I know sheíll admit that she loves me as much as I love her," Kafelnikov said.

"Insurance policy."

"Katya has a daughter, a lovely little girl she thinks I donít know about. I paid her ex-husband a visit yesterday before I had dinner with her to discuss an addition to the house and he talked about their child. She looks just like Katya. On the off chance that my darling doesnít express the same level of affection for me as I for her, Iíll simply point out that Iíve learned about her daughter. Sheíll understand what that means," Kafelnikov said.

"And sheíll hate you for it."

"At first. But in time sheíll forgive me, especially when we have our own children. Women are blind sometimes, Alexei. They need a little light from a man to help them see the truth."

A knock came on the door. Kafelnikovís secretary brought in a large box and gave it to him. Once she left he hurriedly opened it, smiling at what lay inside.

"Whatís that?" Alexei asked.

"Katyaís dress for this evening. I just ordered it from Raskolnikovís shop a little while ago. Beautiful," Kafelnikov said, holding up the dress. "I need you to take it to her at the precinct. She must have it in time to wear it tonight."

"You take it. Itís your present."

"Thatís precisely why I canít deliver it. Part of the charm of a woman receiving a gift is that the man giving it to her takes the time to have it brought to her by a third party. It impresses them so much more that way," Kafelnikov said.

"Such an expert on the psyches of women," Alexei said cynically. "Let me send it by a messenger, then. I need to meet with our people."

"Take it to her for me. I donít think she liked you the other day and I want her to feel comfortable around you."

"Good lord." Alexei jumped out of the chair and grabbed the box. "Iíll take it to her, but only if you promise me to think about nothing but business the rest of the day. Iím sick of romance."

Kafelnikov laughed. "All right, my soulless friend. Until I see Katya tonight Iíll be the consummate businessman, just to make you happy," he vowed. "But donít you think Katya will look amazing in it?"

Alexei merely shook his head and left the office.


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