|10| BACK TO LIFE |:| (***Unedited Draft***)

“I can say this is the first time I’ve ever walked in on someone watching me on the tele.”

Jason’s insides turned upside right when he met familiar blue eyes. His chest tightened to see her curls arranged in a simple updo on top of her head. She was gorgeous in her natural state.

“Why do you do it?”

She frowned. “Do what?”

“All the hair and make-up and stuff? You’re so pretty just like you are now.”

She smiled her honey-colored cheeks flushed with color. “Why do you put on your uniform when you’re on active duty? It gets you in the mind set for work. People understand what role you’re in. To play my part in this elaborate play that is my life, I do the same thing.” She exhaled. “The hair, the makeup, the high octane display of fun and prestige. Is all apart of the show.”

“Should I be expecting a camera crew following you in here?” He looked over her shoulder.

She laughed. “Not today. It’s just me. I have the poperotsy following around my decoy.”

He raised his eyebrows. “People really do that?”

“Oh, yeah.” She leaned on the foot of the bed and crossed her arms. “It’s the only way I get any time to myself. It’s strange because I don’t actually think of myself as a celebrity, but I suppose I have all their problems.”

“Yeah, including all the money.”

She smirked. “Yes, money buys me peace sometimes like today.” She scanned him head to toe making him very aware of her presence and his and the fact that they were alone. “I heard you’ll be released today.”

“Yep,” He tossed his legs over the edge of the bed with a wince. “Took me three years to get this damn thing so I could walk on my own. Now I’m back to this shit.” He said retrieving the cane next to his bed.

“That’s on me isn’t it?”

He frowned over at her. “Not even in the slightest. How were you to know your agent slash uncle was a homicidal prick with family problems oozing out his ass?”

She laughed. “Either way, I can’t help but feel responsible.”

He hobbled over to her and cupped her cheek before pulling her to his chest. She linked her arms around his middle. “I missed you.”

He chuckled kissing her hair. “It’s only been a couple weeks.”

“I know. Jade and Blake are great. I mean my shit is locked down, but--” She pulled away from him but still held tight to his waist. “There’s nothing like that disapproving scowl to let me know when I’m crossing the line.”

He rubbed her cheek with his thumb. “You’re so young.”

Her pretty eyebrows pulled together. “Jason--”

He covered her lips with his thumb. “You’re young and vibrant. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”

“But I’m--”

He silenced her again with a digit over her soft giving lips. His chest clenched recalling having her all to himself away from the world, expectations, war, and her father. As much as he wanted to forgo the man’s words they were true. “Thank you for coming to see me.”

Her eyebrows quarked before her gaze fell to their feet. His hands slipped in her curls from the nape of her neck as she held him tight to her.

She smirked up at him. “I need you to head my security.”

“I’m not going to work for you.”

She frowned up at him with a tempting pout. “Fair enough. Help me find some good people then?”

He nodded. “I can do that. I’m retiring again and I’m staying here this time.”

“You saying you don’t want to see me any more?” There was humor, but sincerity in her pretty eyes.

“I was meant to keep you safe by figuring out who was trying to kill you. I cleared your name, got the feds off your back thanks to your father--”

He winced when she pulled away from him. “My father?”

Shit

He nodded keeping his cool. “He basically saved my life in that alley. Adrian would have killed me otherwise.”

She pulled away and crossed her arms over her chest. “He doesn’t like you.”

“He didn’t have to save my life.”

She turned on him rage in her eyes along with the liquid that hovered there. “He doesn’t do anything unless for a reason. He wanted you indebted to him.”

“I’m not--”

“You are! That’s why you’re pulling away. Distancing yourself.” She started pacing. “He knew the message would be more potent coming from you.” She ripped her hand from his light grasp.

“Ianca--”

“No!” She growled pulling her fingers into her puff of curls. “This isn’t fair! He always tried to control things even when an ocean away. I’m tired of it!”

“Ianca.” He grabbed her up in his arms so she couldn’t get away and held her there against his body. He was leaning on the bed his cane abandoned somewhere behind him. He had both arms wrapped around the little spit fire. “I’m not scared of your father, but he’s right. I’m broken--”

“We all are.” She pulled away. “In someway. Damaged, wracked with burden, with darkness. Soldiers in our own wars that we fight every day.”

“Why are you fighting this so hard?”

She shrugged and leaned into him. “Because You saved me.”

“Ianca--”

“Do you want to know why I chose you that first night at my club? Do you want to know why I wanted you close?”

He wondered true, but so focused on his mission he let the wonder slip into the shadows. “I do.”

“I saw an escape. For a while I’d felt like a gerbil in a wheel, but I didn’t know how to get out. If I came to you to  escape this rat race with no cameras, no cell reception, no social media crap, would you turn me away?”

He rubbed his thumbs over her furrowed brows smoothing them out then shook his head. “No. I wouldn’t.”

The corner of her mouth lifted. “May I have your word on that?”

He nodded. “On my honor as a ranking officer in the Marine corp of the greatest nation in the world.”

THE END

|:|A/N|:|

Cue the band!!

So what do you think? Should they be a couple or is her life too much for him?

Who was your favorite character?

This is Book 3 in The Few the Proud Series and there are more stories in this set coming. In the mean time check out some of my other works.

Sinnful is my newest full length novel. An interratial biker romance. Check out the "prequel(s)" Lacey's Sinn and One Night of Sinn currently FREE in my Story Nook!

Drop a comment let me know what you think. I will be doing random giveaways to those of you who comment here on my website. The more you comment the more chances you get to win!! Want to keep up on what's coming? Follow me on Instagram & subscribe to my email list called Little Black Box!

LOVE

-ALEX

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