Thanks, as always, to my awesome team. PapaKilo14 is my editor. Hal cleans up after us with a second edit. My beta readers, Pixel the Cat (who knows even more about English than I do), OldDave1951 and GeorgeAnderson give me invaluable help and plot tips. A special shout out to the other Dave who helped me. Love you all.
I knew I was going to have fun when I saw him. He was big, had quite a serious case of muscle trying to burst out of the polo shirt he was wearing and he had this explosion of curly brown hair going on. I don't think he was expecting me. Most people don't. I don't look like a security contractor, I suppose. I probably look more like someone that works at your local gym or school or office. Most people don't expect a security contractor to be female, for one thing, or attractive, for another.
I'm tall and very strong for a woman. If you're a guy, and you don't work out very seriously, you're going to be surprised. That's the way I was raised. I've spent two hours a day with weights and cardio at least four days a week since I was fourteen. My father was a contractor when he adopted me. He gave that up to give us some stability and a home life but he kept in touch with his buddies from the bad old days. There were always strange men from exotic places with stories to tell, if you could get them to talk, dropping by our house for a week or a few days.
They were cold, stern men with strange eyes but when a little brown girl climbed up on their laps and wanted to hear a story, they melted like ice on the Fourth of July. I had a string of "Uncles" as long as my arm when I was little and they became "big brothers" as I grew up. They all kept in touch with Dad and, by extension, me too.
When I was fifteen, Dad took me to my first survival camp as a participant. I was the only girl there. It was tough and my two "Uncles" that were running the camp didn't give me a single break because I was their little "niece." I did get to sleep by myself instead of in a dorm and they ate supper with me every night. I went from "slow and weak" to "princess" with my shower in the evening. I've attended at least three intensive training exercises a year since that first one. There are no weapons I don't know like the back of my hand and I'm very good at hand to hand too.
I went to high school at the same place Dad taught. I was just starting my senior year when he passed from a sudden massive heart attack. There were probably 200 men at his funeral that I had known since I was three or four. There was someone with me every minute I was awake for a month and then I was in foster care. I'll tell you more about that later. When I graduated from college, John Davis nearly kidnapped me to go to work for him.
"Sully," he said, (My name is Sullivan Adams, and yes, I've heard all the comments about my name) you're the best operative I know. I know you don't need to work, but you don't want to be idle. You're smart and cute and no one will ever see you coming. I know you don't need to work, but Aaron (my father) wouldn't want you to just vegetate."
"I have no intention of vegetating," I told him. "I plan to become professionally decadent. I'm going to jet around, dance, gamble, and seduce handsome men."
"Well, why don't you start with me?" he grinned. "Seriously though, Sully, I need you. I know you'd be good at seducing handsome men, but you'd get bored with the other in a week."
We had a few ground rules to go over. I wouldn't work for the government, the military or the police agencies. If he had private businesses that needed our services, I would do that. There are too many complications working for "official" agencies and they tend to target people that are guilty of doing nothing other than pissing them off. I went to work for him three years ago and then I was running my own operations all over the world. Like I said, this one was going to be fun. I walked up to Julian Blake and extended my hand. "I'm Sullivan Adams," I said.
He looked shocked but he made a quick recovery. "I expected you to be ... taller and ... more masculine," he grinned and his hand swallowed mine.
I laughed. "Well, yeah, most clients do. Fortunately, most of the bad guys do, too. Do you have a problem with me not being 'more masculine'?"
"Maybe," he said. "It has nothing to do with you being a woman, it has to do with whether you can do the job your company is being paid for."
"Well, I guess you'll find out, won't you," I said. "But then, if the shit hits the fan and I can't handle it, one or both of us is likely to be dead, aren't we?"
"I plan to live forever," he said.
"Yeah, that's my plan, too," I said. "So far, it's been working out. I'll tell you what, Blake; you look like a big, strong guy. You want to go out to the parking lot and take a shot at me?"
He looked me over. It was a little embarrassing. "I think you could take me on the dance floor or in a foot race, or maybe climbing," he said. "But yeah, I'll take that shot in the parking lot."
I hadn't expected that and I was pleasantly surprised. Most men, the decent ones anyway, wouldn't dream of hitting a woman. That's a mistake. If a woman is attacking you, she's given up any consideration for gentleness. My advice is to put her down if you can.
We grabbed his three bags and made our way out to my car. I don't suppose he expected that either. I didn't tell him which one was mine; I just took him over to a corner that wasn't covered by the security cameras.
I dropped his bag. "Give it your best shot," I said.
He grinned and dropped the bags. "Don't whine now," he said, "this was your idea."
"Bring it," I gestured.
He started forward and I pointed at the ground at his feet. He glanced down and never saw me draw the .40 ACP from the thigh holster under my blue dress. When he looked up, he was dead. He stopped in his tracks. "Well, that's certainly a game changer," he said.
"Yeah, I thought you'd see it that way." I holstered the weapon. "Julian, trust me; you don't want to do this. I'm very good at my job."
He was too busy looking at my thigh as I put the gun up to answer for a minute. I liked him looking. When I dropped the hem line down he cleared his throat. "I'm sorry I doubted you," he said. "Plainly there's more to you than meets the eye. I kind of liked what met the eye, though," there was a stupid looking grin on his face. "I think you're right about being good at your job. I apologize. I won't do it again." He stuck out his hand.
I took it and damned if he didn't try to reel me in! My hand was on his throat before he could move and I squeezed enough to make him gag before releasing him. He laughed and wiped his eyes. We picked up the bags and I unlocked the doors. When he heard the trunk pop open, he got a huge smile on his face. "Somehow, it fits," he said.
"It," is my 2007 Dodge Charger Super Bee. It's the Detonator Yellow and Flat Black. I've modified it extensively. I'm a hot rod girl. Dad loved the muscle cars and I kind of inherited that love. I swapped the engine out for a 6.4-liter hemi the year after I got it. It was making over 500 horsepower out of the crate. It's over 700 now. I put a supercharger on it last year. The supercharger is a 145 cubic inch twin-screw IHI unit with integrated charge coolers, and makes 11.6 psi of boost. I love pulling up next to the Mustang owners and just erasing them at the stoplights.
By way of comparison, the Shelby GT500 is a supercharged 5.4-liter engine making 500 horsepower. Don't let people fool you, that legendary Shelby GT1000 is a fake. It never made more than 800 horsepower; it isn't street legal and never was. It also cost over $150,000 to build. I'm into my Super Bee for just a little over $60,000. The Camaros are in the same class as the Mustangs and neither is on the same planet as the Super Bee.
It has a nice big trunk and Julian's bags fit in just fine. We started for his hotel and he outlined the plan he had in mind. A competing firm had a design his company wanted. They knew it was derivative from some things they had patents on and wanted the design so they could prove patent infringements. They had hired Adams Security to get that design. John had paid one of the key employees to smuggle it out and he'd fallen off the map. He wasn't answering phone calls and they wanted the design or the money back. They preferred the design and our contract with Julian's company demanded that. I got him checked in and figured out the details. It took me three days. I put it together and it was time to move.
The hallway was very dimly lit and there were children's toys scattered around along with various kinds of trash. In my three-inch heels, it was very difficult to navigate. My target didn't seem to be as nervous as he should have been. He was a little naive for a guy in his position. Of course, he didn't realize his position. It was perilous in the extreme but I was trying not to give off any vibes.
I had picked him up at the nightclub he frequented without much trouble. Unless a guy is really a racist or gay, I usually don't have any trouble with that. My boobs are just big enough to show some nice cleavage when I want them to without getting in my way and if I wiggle it at a guy, he usually starts drooling. Even the racists don't seem to mind getting a shot at a black girl like me. Maybe they just want to humiliate me, but that's okay too, for my purposes. My biggest asset is my face. The body and the hair make the total package. People tell me I'm beautiful. I don't see myself like that; I'm just me. I've always looked like this. I'm a little more buff now than when I was in school, but I haven't changed much. I have this huge mop of unruly curls that I can just towel dry and fluff up and people want to touch it.
The black dress I had on was sleeveless and had big armholes so that you could see flashes of my breasts when I moved. Timothy Jenkins had been seeing that all night. It inspired him enough to ask me if we could go back to my place after he bought me enough drinks to float a battleship. I'm a big girl and I'm nearly immune to alcohol. Still, the plant behind the booth got a lethal dose if it was real. In my heels, I was at least four inches taller than he was. He was losing a little hair and had a bit of a paunch, not the best condition for what was going to happen to him. I don't judge people on their physical appearance, unless they're trying to pick me up. Of course, he had something altogether different in mind than I did. Not the best condition for that either.
I unlocked the door and pulled him inside. No one saw us, and no one would say anything even if they did. I pushed him up against the wall and lit him up with my hottest kiss. He groaned as I rubbed against him, then every bit of breath he had blew out in an explosive grunt as my right knee crushed his balls. I let him crumple to the floor and went to get my equipment. He was making a high-pitched keening sound for a couple of minutes. At least he didn't puke. I dragged him over to the chair I had selected and fastened him in with plastic zip ties and duct tape. He was beginning to recover and he knew what was happening now. The mouth on the man was very amusing. Every third word was "nigger bitch," and it made me laugh. I put a couple of pieces of duct tape over that hole and shut him up. If he only knew how many times I'd heard that down through the years, he'd realize how little it bothered me.
I knelt in front of him and slapped him a couple of times to get his attention. "You owe some people," I said. "I'm the collector." I got out my piercing needles. When I opened his shirt, his eyes were bugging out like they were on stalks. After I pierced his nipple, he screamed into the tape but he was still a little defiant, even after I put in the ring. This might be a little hard to explain to his wife. Yeah, he was married and I hate a cheater. The defiance went away after I did his belly button and put the chain in, joining the two rings. When I opened his pants, he squirmed like a worm on a hot sidewalk and screamed into his tape. It seemed like he wanted to say something.
I took off the tape and he forgot my skin color and relationship to female dogs. "Please," he begged. "I'll give them their money back."
I took hold of his new chain and he gave a little shriek when I tugged on it. "The people I work for don't want the money, they want the design you promised them," I said.
"I couldn't get it," he whined. "I haven't been able to get it out."
"So you're telling me you won't be able to deliver what you promised?" I asked.
"No, I just need more time," he pleaded.
"You haven't been returning my associates' phone calls," I mentioned.
"I'm sorry, I was afraid because I didn't have anything," he sobbed.
"Okay, I'll give you two days," I told him. "If you don't deliver by eight o'clock PM on Friday, I'll be back. I won't be back to play nice like this time, Mr. Jenkins. I'll make you wish you were dead and you'll never see me coming, do you understand? Do you think you're going to deliver what you promised?"
"Yes, yes, I'll find a way," he said. "I'll call as soon as I have it."
"Are you sure you don't want a chain connecting your dick to your belly button?" I asked. "I have a really nice one and a good dick ring."
"No! Please don't hurt me anymore," he begged.
"Okay, I'm going to let you go now," I told him. "You aren't going to get stupid on me, are you?"
"No, please I'll get the design," he said.
I cut one hand loose and handed him the cutters. I drew my .40 ACP out of my thigh holster and backed away ten feet while he cut himself loose. He looked at me and I motioned to the door with the .40. He practically ran out the door. It was a shame; I really did have a nice chain.
It was just after midnight so I went back to the club. I talked to a couple of bartenders so that they would remember me being there all night. I had talked to them earlier and I gave them nice tips. I went to the door and handed the valet my card. I could hear him coming before I saw my car. I called Julian and he asked me how it went.
"Did you get the design or the money?" he asked.
"No, I wanted him to give it to you," I said.
"Do you think he will?" he asked.
"He seemed to consider it carefully," I said. "He acquired some new jewelry." I had told him my plan.
He laughed. "I like the way you work, Sullivan. Why don't you just go to work for us?"
I laughed. "You can't afford me, dude. If you have another contract, give John a call. Now it's just a matter of sitting on you for a few days."
"Sitting on me?" he asked. "Really? That sounds like fun."
"Making sure nothing happens to you that you might not survive," I said.
I got him set up in the house of a friend that was away on vacation and we spent the next 18 hours waiting. I didn't really think he was in any danger but he seemed on edge. Twice he asked me if I wanted to get something to eat, but we just got delivery.
"This is a professional situation, not a date," I told him.
"When the professional situation is over will you go on a date with me?" he asked.
I laughed. "I don't know, Julian. We'll see what happens. When we're clear, make me an offer I can't refuse."
Mr. Jenkins called at four PM, hours short of his deadline. I set up a meet at a cheap hotel and took Julian over to look the situation over. I had him in the room waiting when Jenkins showed up. He knocked on the door and I opened it. He had a briefcase with him and I checked it out. It had designs and a couple of DVDs in it. I patted him down and took him through the connecting door into the next room where Julian was waiting.
He checked out the documents and went through the DVDs while Jenkins sat in a chair.
"This is it," Julian closed his laptop. "We're done."
"Not quite," I said. I turned to Jenkins. "Open your shirt," I told him.
"What? Why?" he gobbled.
"You made me chase you," I said. "Now open your shirt!"
He reluctantly opened the buttons and, wouldn't you know it, his chain was missing. His rings were still there and it looked like he hadn't found a way to open them. I got him a new chain out of my purse. This was a nice stainless steel one that he was going to have trouble getting rid of. I attached it and gave it a little tug. He winced. I guess he was a little sore.
"I'll be checking back," I told him. "If the chain is gone, we're going to do that little dick to belly button thing."
He seemed to be in a hurry so I let him go. I had no intention of ever seeing him again, but he shouldn't have played hard to get. Julian seemed to enjoy our little interaction and he closed the briefcase.
"What now?" he asked.
"Now we shake hands and you go back to wherever you came from," I said.
"I'm going on a vacation," he said. "When was the last time you had one?"
"It's been a while," I laughed. "Are you inviting me to go on vacation with you?"
"Sure," he said. "I have to warn you that my son will be with us."
That did surprise me. I hadn't known he had a son. "Okay, if you let me pick the place, we'll have some fun."
I made some phone calls and gave him the arrangements. I drove him to the airport and watched until he boarded.
I went home and got a good night's sleep. That little bit of work gave me a fat bank balance. Well, fatter anyway; I was doing okay before. I decided I deserved a little vacation. A little fun on the beach sounded nice so I hopped on the flight I had booked for St Vincent and the Grenadines. I had a little villa booked on Palm Island and it was everything I hoped it would be.
It was about two in the afternoon when I got settled in and I decided to go down and relax in the sun. I took my book, sunscreen, and a couple of towels in my bag, some beer and water in a small cooler and walked about 200 yards down to the water. I was one of three people in sight. There were a man and a little boy playing down the beach a ways. It was Julian, and what must have been his son. I left them alone but I noticed that the boy was really little and really cute.
I relaxed for a minute with my eyes closed and then I got my book out and started to read. I heard the sand crunching and a shadow moved over me. It was the little boy. I looked up at him through my Ray-Bans and he was even cuter than I thought. He had honey-blonde hair, golden skin and huge blue eyes. There were a few freckles sprinkled across his little nose and he was absolutely adorable. He looked like he was about four or five.
"Whacha readen'," he asked. Even his little husky voice was adorable.
"Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles, by Jesús Huerta de Soto," I told him.
"Is it good?" he asked. "What's it about?"
"It's about money, sweetheart," I said. "What's your name?"
"Merlin," he said. "What's yours?"
"It's Sullivan," I told him.
"Are you going swimming? Wanna go with me and Daddy?" he asked.
"Merle," I heard his father call. He walked down to where we were. "I see you've met Merlin," he told me. "Merlin, did you introduce yourself?"
"She's going swimming with us!" Merlin told him.
He raised one eyebrow at me in question. I laughed. "We just decided that," I told him.
"Merlin, did she really say that?" he asked.
"Well, no, but I could tell she wanted to," he said. "Her name is Sullivan. Isn't she beautiful, Daddy?"
He blushed. The man was a giant as I looked up at him. I had forgotten how big he was. He was at least six four and he had huge arms and a huge chest. His mop of curly brown hair nearly matched mine. He had a dark olive complexion and I remembered I had thought he was very good looking. "Yes, she is, but maybe she doesn't want us to bother her," he said. "I'm sorry, you don't have to go swimming. Let's let Sullivan read her book and not bother her."
"He's not bothering me," I told him. "We were talking about economics."
He glanced at the cover of my book. "Are you an Austrian Economist?" he looked at me with surprise.
"No, I'm just a working girl," I laughed. "I'm interested in those ideas, though. When I grow up, I want to teach economics at a University somewhere. We were going swimming though. Let me put on some sunblock and we'll go."
"You need sunblock?" Merlin asked.
I laughed again. "You mean on account of I'm black?" I asked. "Yes, honey, black people burn and tan too. I'd be so black you couldn't see anything but my smile at night if I didn't use sunblock."
He nodded and I stood up and took off my wrap. I heard his father draw in his breath. I grinned up at him. "So, let's go swimming."
He tore his eyes away from my boobs. "Sorry, um, okay," he said. "You don't have to go swimming with us, Sullivan."
"No, you seem like good company," I said. "Is your wife here?"
"Mommy didn't come," Merlin said. "She did something bad and we haven't seen her for a long time."
I looked at Julian. "It's a long, boring, painful story," he said.
"Well, I don't know you well enough to listen to long, boring, painful stories. Let's go swimming."
The water was warm and gorgeous, blue and beautiful and we had a blast. Julian was a great big, happy teddy bear and Merlin was charming. They were obviously in love with each other and he rode Julian, and me, around like horses. We found pretty shells and Julian found Merlin a hermit crab that he wanted to keep. I had heard of keeping them for pets but I didn't know if this was the right kind. They moved their stuff over by mine and Merlin shared some chocolate he had in their cooler with me. The sun was beginning to set and I was getting hungry when we parted. Merlin hugged me like I was his best friend. I gave Julian a hug, too, and started up the path. I heard a little boy shout and Merlin was running up the path after me. He threw himself on me and told me he loved me. He wanted to know if I would be at the beach the next day.
I told him that I had planned to go shopping and he looked sad. On the spur of the moment, I asked him if he would like to go with me. His face lit up like the sun and he jumped up and down and celebrated.
"Really, Sullivan? I could really go?"
"Yeah, honey, it'd be fun," I said.
"Let me go ask Daddy," he said. He ran off down the path and came back with Julian.
"Sullivan, don't let him bug you into doing things you don't want to do," he said. "He thinks all he has to do is smile and people will do anything he wants them to do. I guess he has some reason since he has me wrapped around his finger like that," he grinned ruefully. "Do you really want him to go with you?"
"Sure, why not?" I asked. "You can go too if you want to, Julian."
He was ambivalent, I could tell. I suppose he must have been worried about Merlin going off with me. We'd hadn't known each other very long and I'm sure I wouldn't have let him go off with me. I would take very good care of him but he couldn't know that. He probably didn't enjoy shopping; he was a man, after all. The Daddy part of him won and he agreed to meet me at a coffee shop I had noticed at ten in the morning. Merlin pulled my face down for a kiss and scampered away. Julian thanked me and followed at a more sedate pace. His size didn't lend itself to scampering.
I was sitting in the coffee shop drinking a triple espresso when Julian and Merlin arrived. He got a cup of regular coffee and bought Merlin a hot cocoa. We all had a muffin and the shopping expedition began. We walked and window-shopped, going in when we saw something interesting. The local women made these really cool white cotton dresses with intricate embroidery on them. I bought four of them and a cool t-shirt for Merlin that matched one of the dresses. When I got it for him, he said we'd be twins. Julian didn't want me to buy it but I insisted. We nibbled on street food to keep the hunger pains away and when we were through shopping, Julian asked me if I would like to go clean up and come back for dinner. I wanted to very badly. I was in love with Merlin and Julian was having quite an effect on me, too. Did I mention that the man was huge? He was carefree and happy and just a ton of fun to be around. I'm not usually attracted to white men, and I suspect he wasn't very attracted to a lot of black women.
I hate to indict my own culture but a lot of black women have an attitude. They're notorious cheaters and there's very little shame in that for them. They aren't looked down on for that. If you have a fat ass and one guy dumps you for cheating, there's always the guy down the street that's happy to get a piece of that. It's a scourge in our culture. There was some shadow in Julian's past that I suspected had something to do with Merlin's mother. That would make him very wary of me and I couldn't blame him. I'm not like that, but he couldn't know that. I actually like nice guys. Bunches of my girlfriends down through the years have told me, "I'd never date him, he's too nice."
That's just so much bullshit. I want a guy that's going to treat me like shit? Not this girl! Julian was certainly one of those nice guys. He was so in love with his son and that just made him nearly irresistible to me, plus, he was very good looking, and huge! I felt tiny beside him. I'm nearly six feet tall, almost 140 pounds and he made me feel petite. I decided I liked that feeling. I needed to find out what that story was about Merlin's mother. He wasn't wearing a wedding band but I could see the deformation of his finger that showed he had in the recent past.
I wore one of my new dresses and sandals to dinner. To my delight, Merlin had his shirt on too, with shorts and a cute pair of orange flip-flops. He tucked his little hand in mine and we were twins. That's what he said and I accepted that we were, not identical, but definitely twins. Julian looked very nice too with khaki shorts and a black polo. I was naked under that thin cotton and he couldn't keep his eyes off me. You could see the dark impression of my nipples under that thin material and they were so hard they ached when I saw him looking. I hadn't been with a man in a while and he was all man. That thing with Merlin's mother still bothered me though and I wasn't about to get involved with a married man. I needed to know what was going on.
The restaurant was a fresh seafood place and the food was delicious. We tried a lot of different appetizers and it was all awesome. Julian and I drank beer and I felt very relaxed, just a little mellow. I could tell he was too and I thought I'd probe a little.
I asked Merlin if he went to school. He said he was going to kindergarten starting that fall and that Julian was going to be his teacher. I was surprised.
"You're a kindergarten teacher?" I asked him.
He laughed. "No, just for Merlin. I'm actually a football coach, American football. We live in Mexico City right now and there isn't much call for American football coaches. I'm working as a private contractor for the company that hired you."
"Why is an American football coach living in Mexico City?" I asked.
A shadow passed across his face. "Are you sure you want to hear this?" he asked.
"If you don't mind telling me," I said.
"I don't mind," he said. "I really like you, Sullivan. I've never met anyone quite like you before."
"Me, too," Merlin piped up. "I love Sullivan, Daddy."
"Thank you, baby, I love you too," I hugged him.
"Do you want to come back to our place?" Julian asked. "This is kind of a long story and personal. I'd just as soon not tell it here. Merlin is going to get tired pretty soon and I could just put him to bed when he does."
That sounded like a good plan and we walked back to their villa. It was on the same plan as mine. Merlin put on his pajamas and we sat on the sofa, Merlin between us with his head in my lap and his feet in Julian's. We each had a beer and he started telling me about Merlin's mother.
"I met Staci in college at a party," he said. "We were both pretty high and she wound up going home with me. She passed out in the car on the way back to my place and nothing really happened. She slept on the couch and she was still there when I left for class in the morning. When I got out of class between ten and one she was in the shower. I made lunch and she ate with me. I don't know if it was love at first sight or not but for me it was certainly lust."
Merlin was asleep and I just petted him, marveling at the beauty of this little elf with his head in my lap. Julian smiled down at him. "He's gorgeous," I said.
"I know, right? He looks just like his Mom. We dated for about six months and she told me she was pregnant. We both partied a lot and that was a big change for both of us. I knew I had to settle down and I got a job after school. Staci kept going to school too and we got married two months before Merle was born. I fell in love with him the minute I saw him. Staci started acting strange about Merlin a couple of months after he was born. She started leaving him with sitters when I wasn't home and I found out she was partying again. She was doing drugs and drinking. She was breastfeeding our son and doing that, Sullivan."
"Jesus Christ," I exclaimed. "What did you do?"
"I had a fit," he said. "She denied everything, of course, and it took me a month to get the evidence it was true. She was sleeping around with different guys and partying hard. When I confronted her with pictures and video, she just became this evil bitch. She told me I didn't own her and she wasn't going to "miss out on life" because of a stupid brat. That stupid brat was a beautiful, three-month-old baby, Sullivan. I told her to leave and stay the hell away from Merlin and me. She left but she tried to snatch Merlin about a week later. She showed up one evening and just took him from the sitter. It was lucky I just happened to pull up in the driveway as she was coming out of the house."
"What did she say?" I asked.
"Well, she said I was a jealous prick and that she was Merlin's mother. She was filing for divorce and she was going to get custody of Merlin. I went to see a lawyer and showed him my evidence. By that time, I was out of school and working as the Defensive line coach of the football team where I had been playing. We had a big, long court battle and I got custody because of her drug use. Staci had two supervised visits a month and after two years, they would revisit the case. For some reason, Staci hated my guts after that. She and her boyfriend of the moment did stupid things like break windows in my car; flatten my tires, just junk like that. They even poured a bag of concrete in my hot tub once."
"She sounds like a maniac," I said. "How did you not see this before?"
"I have no idea," he said. "Anyway, after the two years were up we went back to court. Staci and her attorney had all this line about how she'd cleaned up, she was ready to be a responsible mother and she had been in treatment to get her drug problem fixed. This was a different judge and she bought it, hook, line and sinker. She said she was going to give us joint custody with Staci as the primary care giver. I would get to visit twice a week, I would get two weekends a month and alternate holidays. You should have seen the smirk on Staci's face. I pretty much saw it coming and I was ready. I went home, cashed out everything I had, called my athletic director to resign and got on a plane with Merlin for Mexico City. We've never been back. When I met you there it was the first time I'd been in the states since we left. It made me as nervous as hell."
"That's quite a story, Julian," I said. "Are you going to hide out in Mexico the rest of your life?"
"I don't know what else to do," he said. "I'm sure as hell not going to let Staci get her evil claws on Merlin. What would you do?"
"I'd eliminate her as a threat," I said.
"Does that mean, 'kill'her?" he asked.
"Do you want her dead?" I asked.
"No! I don't think I want that. I just want her to go away. I want to get back to coaching football, living a normal life like everyone else without looking over my shoulder all the time."
"Well, there are other ways," I told him. "You could get evidence that she's still an unfit mother, you could get some dirt on the judge, you could set your ex up so that she goes to jail; there are dozens of things you could do."
He looked at me and I could tell he was kind of shocked. "I don't know how to do any of that," he said. "I don't even know how to start. It sounds expensive, too. I barely scraped enough money together to bring Merle here for this vacation. I'd have to hire investigators or something."
"Julian, you don't know me very well," I said. "I know you have no reason to trust me, but I can help you if you want me to."
"How?" he asked. "Jesus, Sullivan, you're a beautiful young woman and I can tell you're really smart, but you're a security contractor. You're not James Bond. You're a college student too, right?"
"Yes, I am taking classes," I told him. "I'm working on my PhD in economics. I don't think I want to tell you very much about this, Julian, but James Bond was a pussy. You're a big, strong guy. We've danced this dance before. You want to go a couple of rounds with me?"
"You mean like, fight?" he asked. He laughed. "No, I don't think I want to fight with you, Sullivan. Maybe dance, but not fight."
"Are you afraid?" I asked.
He chuckled. "Yes, I'm afraid I'd hurt you."
I looked up at him. "Call me Livie," I said.
"Livie?" he asked.
I shot my right hand out and chopped him in the throat before sinking my fingers in on each side of his laryngeal prominence. He choked and gagged and his hand shot to my wrist, trying to pull my hand away. I hung on and he quickly realized he would have to injure himself or hurt me to get my grip loose. He looked over at me in a little panic and his eyes were leaking.
"Never call me Livie," I said, releasing his throat. That was the second time he'd felt that hold.
He coughed around for a few seconds, trying not to disturb Merlin. "Jesus Christ," he finally managed to gasp out. "What the hell is wrong with you, Sullivan? What was that?"
"I could have killed you, Julian. If you got your hands on me or got me on the ground, you could probably beat me. You probably have me by over a hundred pounds and I think you're much stronger than I am. I couldn't let that happen so you would never get your hands on me. Put Merlin in bed, I want to show you something."
"You do it," he said.
"Why me?" I asked.
"Are you afraid?" He grinned at me.
I guess I was a little bit. This was new territory for me. I had never really been around children that much. I slipped my left arm under his neck and my right one under him around his knees. He was as light as a feather. I felt something stir in my heart as I held that precious baby. I carried him in and tucked him in bed. Julian followed and watched, lounging against the doorway. I tucked a wisp of honey-blonde hair behind his ear and kissed that little angel face.
When I turned, my eyes were moist and Julian had the most interesting look on his face. It was a little wistful and kind of hungry. It scared me. He turned and walked back into the living room. I gave one more long look at Merlin and then followed him.
He was standing in the middle of the room. "What did you want to show me?" he asked.
I was barefooted and I stood in front of him. I pulled the hem of my dress up around my thighs and slowly raised my right foot, extending it up without touching him. I pivoted on my left anchor until my right foot was high enough to rest on top of his shoulder next to his left cheek. "I can kick higher than that," I said.
He reached up with both hands and his fingers met around my calf. He slowly slid them downward until his fingers were caressing the skin of my thigh. I shivered and my pussy flooded.
"God, you're beautiful, Sullivan," he said quietly. "So flexible, so silky, so smart and gentle, but so dangerous and deadly, where did you come from?"
I took his hands away from my thigh and slowly brought my foot back to the floor, letting my dress relax. "It's a long, boring, painful story," I told him. "Are you sure you want to hear it?"
"I think I have time," he smiled at me and I melted some more. He took a step forward and picked me up just like I had Merlin. I could feel the power of those huge muscles and I shivered a little. Like I said, I'm a big girl but he handled me like a baby. He carried me back to the sofa and held me on his lap, one thick arm cradling me. He handed me my beer and took a swig of his.
"My father adopted me when I was about Merlin's age," I began. "He was a security contractor working for a huge company that contracted to the UN and the US Military. He quit and started teaching school after he got me. Someday I'll tell you about that, but I was raised around the guys that worked with him. I kind of became a mascot. They all looked out for me and I was like their daughter, too. When I started growing up I became more like a little sister. I started going to training camps when I was little. They let me train with them when they weren't doing dangerous things. I started doing more and more as I got older. By the time I was eighteen I was as good as the best of them. I'm not as strong as you are, but I'm stronger than most men that don't weight train religiously. I'm lighter boned and not quite as fast as elite men, but I would suspect that I'm faster than you are. You might surprise me. You probably have a quick first move from playing football. I'm a private contractor. I do investigative work, debt collection, troubleshooting, that sort of thing. I won't work for governments, but I do private stuff. Say the word and I'll make your problems go away."
"I don't want you to hurt anyone," he said.
"Why not?" I asked. "Do you think the only kind of pain is physical? How much pain has that little boy in there had because his mother didn't want to 'miss out on life?' How much pain are you in, Julian? That little boy doesn't deserve to be a fugitive, hiding out in Mexico City. He's going to be a star if he wants to be. You need to resolve it."
"Why don't you like to be called Livie?" he asked.