saga/title/fandom: Adagio chapter 20 (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 TWENTY

"Man, he does have the patter down," Monaghan remarked in the surveillance van with a shrill whistle.

"Too bad heís wasting it on Shea," Edwards replied.

"Itís that damn accent. Women hear an accent on a guy and they go nuts. He could be the Phantom of the Opera and heíll still get to screw somebody if he talks like heís in a vodka commercial."

"Letís not go there," Edwards suggested. He walked over to the video monitors. "Lights too damn dark on that boat for us to see anything. At least her wireís working."

"Heís got to tell her about the cover party tonight," Vetter said. "I can feel it: heís going to make this sale by the end of the week. As soon as he talks about getting her to his house Iíll page her, get her out of there."

"Geffen isnít going to like that," Monaghan said.

"Fuck Geffen. It isnít his ass on that yacht," Vetter said.

"Just the same, we ought to let her see what else she can learn from Kafelnikov. Maybe he has the stuff around here, in a warehouse on the docks ready to go," Monaghan said.

"So heís going to finish dessert and say, ĎBy the way, my darling, polish your badge and come see my illegal weapons stash.í Hardly likely," Edwards said.

"Sheís under cover. She ought to stay there for a while," Monaghan insisted.

"That sounds personal," Vetter commented. "Just what did she do after I left last night thatís pissing you off so much?"

"Nothing," Monaghan contended. "Sheís always saying how she can hang with the big dogs so I think we ought to let her hang, thatís all. She wants to act like a man she can take the risks we take."

"When was the last time you went in deep with an arms dealer?" Vetter demanded.

"Hey, Iíd go if I had the opportunity. No problem."

"Right." Vetter turned back to his monitor, muttering, "And fuckiní piss yourself."

On Kafelnikovís yacht Kate felt lost among the polished rewards of the Russianís wealth. A small orchestra played at the bow of the ship while she and Kafelnikov dined at the stern on duck and caviar, strawberries and champagne, mousse and chocolates from Switzerland. The dress he sent her accentuated the positive points about her figure, most of which she had forgotten about until now. The ruby earrings at last gleamed on her ears.

"Are you happy, Katya?" he asked as he poured fresh champagne for her.

"Blissfully happy," she answered.

The words tasted bitter but she managed to get them out. She needed Kafelnikov to tell her about the gathering he planned to cover his involvement in the arms deal, and to do that she had to make him think that his attempt to control her stood a chance of succeeding. A very good chance.

"You look so beautiful in the outfit I chose for you," he remarked, stroking her hair from her face.

"Iíve never had such a lovely dress before. And the earringsÖI still think I was selfish to take them," she remarked.

"Nonsense. You are only accepting a gift from the man who loves you, and with whom you are falling in love."

She took a long sip of the champagne. He smiled.

"What, you arenít going to tell me Iím wrong about you?"

"I donít know if youíre wrong or not."

"How encouraging for me. Youíve moved from confusion to mere uncertainty."

"Iím still scared to feel anything for you, Grigori, you need to know that. I canít trust a man yet."

"I understand. Thatís why I want you to take your time sorting out your emotions for me. Not too long, of course."

He kissed her. She forced herself not to reject the gesture, though she perhaps could have returned it with more ardor than she permitted herself. When he pulled away from her the intensity in his eyes sent a chill through her.

"I want to make love to you," he said.

"We were supposed to spend the evening in a public place where Iíd feel safe with you," she pointed out.

"The musicians and staff are here to stop me if I canít control myself."

"Would they?"

He laughed softly. "No, I suppose not. But you are the kind of woman who can take care of herself."

"I have been." She finished her champagne.

"My poor Katya, so much at war within herself about me. If you donít stop flattering me like that Iím going to start thinking that Iím getting farther with you than youíre admitting."

Kate arose from the table, went to lean against the rail as the yacht bobbed gently in the marina. Kafelnikov followed, standing so close that she could see the pattern on his tie even in the dim light.

"You live in a very different world from me, Grigori," she said.

"A world meant to be shared," he responded.

"Thatís just it: Iím not sure I can. Iíve never been comfortable with wealth. Brie and I had a huge house, threw gala parties, had all the toys a couple in our position were supposed to have, but I never particularly cared for them. I always felt like I was on display, like I was letting Brie down somehow by not flaunting his success, even when I was alone. His second wife is very good at that. I never will be," she said.

"Wealth is an acquired taste, Katya: very few people realize that. You must learn how to enjoy it."

"I get very little practice in that area, Iím afraid."

"Then I must get you some."

"Youíve already done that," she said, nodding toward the champagne.

"This? This is nothing. Wait until you come to my house on Friday night, to the party Iím going to throw for you. Then you will see what itís like to be a czarina," he boasted.

Kate felt tenseness settle into the base of her stomach. "Iím not good at parties," she said.

"Thatís why Iím giving you this one. I want to introduce you to my friends and business associates, show you the kind of life you can have with me. Iíll teach you how to be comfortable with a czar."

"All right. I want you to be pleased with me -" She stopped in mid-sentence, looking away from him. "God, I didnít meant to say that."

He brought her close to him. "Thatís why I know itís the truth."

He kissed her again. She returned the kiss this time with a marked amount of passion, though she almost could not make herself dwell with her mouth against his. She put her arms around him and turned her face away so he could not see her eyes.

"Tell me about this party," she said.

"It is going to be the most impressive event the Russian community in Chicago has ever seen," he began. "Everything will be only the best, from the catering to the music to the dress I get for you. Yes, Iím buying you another dress for the evening. I think it will be green, like your eyes, and youíll wear those earrings again that I love so much on you. When you walk into my house you will feel like the world is yours."

"Thatís quite a tall order," she said.

"Nothing is too good for my Katya. Now," he said, turning her face toward his, "I want to see how right I am about your desires for me. Let me test you."

He just lowered his mouth toward hers when her beeper sounded. She pushed out of his embrace immediately, ran to her purse and pulled out the beeper.

"Emergency," she said, grabbing her wrap off the back of the chair. "I have to go. The department needs me."

"At this hour?"

"Thatís the drawback of police work: youíre never completely off duty. Call Vassily, would you? I need to get home right away so I can change to go in."

"Ignore it. Let them get along for one night without you."

"Grigori, itís my job. Please understand."

He sighed impatiently but his anger soon faded. "It seems I can deny you nothing. Iíll have Vassily bring the car around to the wharf. But only if you promise to let me take you shopping for your new dress tomorrow evening," he said.

"That would be wonderful. Six oíclock. Iíll see you then." She started off the boat but he brought her back and kissed her, hard enough that she winced at the press of his mouth against hers. The moment he released her she went hurriedly to the gangplank and scurried toward the wharf.

"Friday night," Vetter said as he joined Kate on the sofa in her living room. "I knew he was going to bite. Are you all right?"

"Only slightly nauseated. For a moment I thought he wasnít going to let me leave," she said. "Another half a bottle of champagne for him and I think I might had to learn to run in heels." She kicked her shoes off.

"Do you think he was high?"

"Maybe. He was certainly more intense than heís been before when he kissed me goodbye. Heís very scary, Vetter. I can see why people fear him."

"The important thing is that you got the information we needed and youíre out of there."

After a moment he opened his arms and she leaned into his embrace, greedily drinking of his scent and the warmth of his touch. "Geffenís not going to be pleased that you paged me," she said.

"You completed your assignment. To keep you there any longer would have been foolish and unnecessary."

"He isnít going to see it like that."

"Fuck him -"

"You canít afford to take that attitude with him. Heís too powerful for you to fight, Vetter. Youíre already on his shit list. Donít get yourself kicked off the force when youíre the only partner I want from now on," she said.

"Iíll be the first to admit that I shoot my mouth off but this time Iím right. Heís endangered you and Katie and I canít let him get by with that just because he has a bigger title than me. That wouldnít be right," he insisted.

She looked up at him, smiled in a way that made him ask what she was thinking.

"That youíre like some knight from long ago, setting wrongs right and protecting fair maidens from dragons. I never thought Iíd like that but I do," she said.

"Thereís nothing wrong with needing someone to look after you." He stared at her as if his own words surprised him, then added, "I need you, Kate."

She gazed at him steadily, then took his hand and kissed it. "Then weíre on equal ground here."

"Can I stay with you tonight?" he asked.

"If you tell me what that means."

"That I want to sleep with you."

"Sleep with or sleep with?" she asked.

" Ė Both."

"Youíre going to have to explain that one."

"I want to be with you, and I want to make love to you: Iím just not sure if I can do that yet. But I donít want to spend the night without you," he confessed.

"Well, youíre honest, anyway." She arose and extended her hand to him. "Come on, Vetter. I have a spare toothbrush you can use. But Iím sleeping naked tonight. I think you should know that."

He nodded. "Me too," he said.


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