A Cloak of Lies Ch. 02bySweetWitch©
"At least you didn't use the F-bomb this time," Niko returned with a scornful sneer. He pulled himself off her, kneeling on the floor until she could sit up before joining her on the seat. "When did you start using that kind of language?"
"I learned to use it after you 'died', asshole," she spat, pushing herself as far from him as possible.
"I thought maybe it was one of your boyfriends who taught you." Niko glared at her, still tasting her on his tongue and wanting more. Knowing that she had been with others, though, repulsed him, making him all the angrier for wanting her.
"No, Niko. I learned from the best. In fact I married his ass and then he just - poof - disappeared. And now, you're back. Lucky me." She turned her head, looking into the night before turning to face him again. "How could you do this to me, to us? Remember you asked if I lied when I told you that I loved you? I never lied, but you did. Take me back home. I can't stand to look at you."
"Well, sweet-pants," he said with exaggerated slowness, as if speaking to a small child. "I would, but right now your house is just crawling with bad guys, and they're all carrying great big guns. They're real guns, too, that go bang when the bad guys pull the trigger."
His sarcasm was not lost on her. Even in the gloom of the car interior, he could see the angry scowl on her face. He waited for the inevitable furious retort he knew she was formulating, only to be surprised by her next words.
"You're lying," she said softly, her voice barely audible. "Why would anyone want to hurt me?"
Niko brought his hand up to scoop the thick, black hair from his eyes. Dropping both hands to his knees he slouched forward, his head dipping as he muttered his response, "They want to get to me. They want to use you to force me into the open. These people will stop at nothing, Camille."
"You're not making sense. Why are they after you?"
"It's because of the line of work I'm in. They've been trying to get to me for some time. Somehow they found out about you." He couldn't face her, couldn't look at the anger and the fear he knew would be there.
"Let me get this straight," she breathed, "You ran out on me, got into something dangerous and illegal, then came back because what you do is about to get me murdered." She stopped to take a breath. "Then you beat me up and kidnapped me so that you could tell me all this bullshit and I'm supposed to thank my big, strong, dead, husband for saving little, bitty, helpless me. Do I have that about right? Did I miss anything?"
"Camille..." he tried to say, before she cut him off.
"You bastard," she hissed. "Don't speak to me. I was finally getting my life on track and you come waltzing back here, bringing your mess with you, expecting me to be happy that you're ruining my life again."
"Yeah. I see how you were getting your life back," he growled. "You had it stuck to your face on the front porch. Who is he?"
"None of your business."
"Who is he, Camille? All I have to do is make a phone call to find out. I make another phone call and the IRS confiscates his possessions and federal agents take his freedom. Who is he?" Niko's voice was low and soft, with an underlying current of malice.
"He's my fiancé, Niko. He's the man I'm going to marry, now that you're dead," she replied, just as softly.
Laying a hand on her thigh, his long fingers spanning the width, he squeezed gently, pulling on it, trying to open her legs. "Was he good? Did he make you feel the way I do? Does he know where all those sweet spots are that make you sing?"
"You think that matters to me? What matters is that he's here. He's not going to fake his death and abandon me with broken dreams and creditors at my door."
Her words stung his pride more than he cared to admit. "It's seems you managed, though, didn't you? You still have a roof over your head and a man at your beck and call. Yeah, you managed just fine. You must have spread your legs for a couple of rich guys to help you pay off the debt. Is that what happened? Did you whore yourself out to the highest bidder?"
As soon as the words left his mouth, he had reason to regret them. She's crazed, he thought as he found himself fending off another attack, this time from her fists and feet as they flailed out, striking blows that caused real pain. It seemed to him that he was fighting off Guanyin, the Buddha who dispenses mercy. Unlike that deity of Buddhist teachings whose many arms were held out in compassion, Camille's surplus arms were assailing him from all directions. The only thing his arms were good for was to protect his head as he was propelled off the seat to land with a thud on the hard floorboard of the car.
"Jesus Christ! " he bellowed, his voice muffled by his arms.
She landed on top of him, further wedging his large body between the seats, still pounding out her rage on his head. He managed to latch on to one of her wrists while wrapping his powerful legs around her kicking limbs, leaving only one of her hands free to inflict more damage. She struck out with her claws, aiming for his eyes, shrieking curses that would make a sailor blush.
Her claws sank into his arm when he brought it up to protect his eyes. "What the fu..." The back of her hand colliding with his mouth silenced the curse on his lips. A feral growl rumbled up from his chest, emerging as an enraged howl. He bucked upward, throwing them both onto the seat with him on top. With a vicious yank he got control of both her arms, slamming them to the upholstery, pinning her feet with his legs.
He held her down, panting with exertion, resting his forehead against hers. Warm, sticky blood oozed from his wounded arm, as well as his mouth and the fingers she had bitten earlier. It was with some regret that he realized, belatedly, what a hellcat his wife had become.
As his breathing slowed, he could feel her struggling to get enough oxygen into her own lungs beneath his weight. "I'm going to let you up, Camille. I suggest you try to control yourself."
"Go to hell," she rasped out, each word on its own breath of air.
"Dammit, woman. Are you trying to get us both killed? We have to get out of here before someone sees us."
"Like I care," she ground out hoarsely.
"You will care, when they pull you out of here and beat you to death."
Camille began to struggle again, wriggling helplessly under his large frame, grunting painfully as he pressed down harder against her.
"Stop, God damn it," he hissed into her face. "Just stop. Fighting me isn't getting you anywhere and it's wearing us both out."
Puffing against his weight, she collapsed against the seat, letting her muscles fall lax. If looks could kill, hers would certainly be drawing blood. Niko took a deep breath, saying a silent prayer to Rita of Cascia, the patron saint of victims of spousal abuse and opened his mouth to speak.
"I'm going to let you up," he wheezed. "Don't go off again."
He slowly eased himself up, relaxing his hold, but keeping his hand on her just in case. Sitting up slowly, he wedged himself between her legs, dragging her up with him. His fingers gripped her shoulders as he watched her face for any sign of renewed attack.
Uncertain of her next move, Niko carefully brought one hand to his wounded mouth, fingering the split lip. "Jesus," he hissed. "Are you crazy?"
"If I am then it's your fault. Get your hand off me. Get away from me. I can't stand to have you touch me."
"Coulda fooled me," he grimaced. "Seemed to me like you wanted me to handle you, the way you threw yourself at me."
Camille rolled her eyes, snorting disdainfully. "As if..." she muttered patronizingly. "I was trying to kill you, genius."
"Really? You don't say." Niko continued to inspect his wounds, wondering where all that enraged violence had come from in her. She had always been a pacifist.
"What gives you the right to come back here and judge me?" she demanded. "You left, Niko. What I do and who I do it with are none of your business."
"I didn't leave, Camille."
"Oh, and next I suppose you're going to tell me that you really did die and have been miraculously resurrected, coming to claim what you think is rightfully yours." She folded her arms across her breasts, leaning away from him and turning to stare at the front of the car.
"In a manner of speaking, yes."
"In a manner of speak..." she started, curling her lips back, sneering contemptuously. "Would you mind explaining that?"
"Sure, I'd love to," he snorted. "But right now we're kinda in a hurry."
"I'm not going anywhere with you," Camille stated as she reached for the door handle.
She already had the door open before Niko stopped her, pulling her back inside with the door slamming shut. Before she could start fighting again, he grabbed both her wrists, pulled them behind her to hold fast in one of his big hands as he straddled her legs, pressing her against the back of the seat with his body. Their faces were inches apart, fiery currents of electricity bridging the gap between their eyes.
"Do you have a death wish?" he demanded. "The people looking for me aren't your neighborhood garden variety street thugs, dummy. They're hired mercenaries, trained killers who will do whatever they need to do to get what they want. They'll torture you and they'll kill you."
"You think that scares me?" she screamed into his face. "You have no idea the hell I went through after you disappeared. Damn you, Niko. Damn you for what you did to me." Taking a deep breath, her head falling back on the top of the seat she whispered, "Don't you get it? I already died. You killed me when you left."
The quivering of her body shook him to his core. Her eyes shone brightly with unshed tears in the light of the half moon that illuminated the back window of the car. She looked utterly defeated, offering no more resistance, staring at the top of the car. Breathing in quick gasps, her lips trembled, bringing back memories of times past when he had held her this close. She had been soft and willing in those days, giving him more pleasure and joy than he'd ever thought possible.
Without realizing what he was doing, Niko lowered his head, brushing her mouth tenderly with his own. He kissed her a second time bringing his right hand up from where he'd been clutching her shoulder, caressing her cheek with the tips of his fingers. She sighed, melting against him, returning his kiss until he released her wrists. His left hand came up to tangle in the mass of tousled blond hair that crowned her head.
He raised his head, looked at the contours of her face in the silvery moonlight. This was the face of the woman he remembered, soft and alluring, her long lashes nestled against her cheeks, her lips yielding and ready for his kiss. When her lashes fluttered open to return his gaze, her eyes were darkened with passion, a color close to midnight with the radiance of moonbeams reflected in their depths.
"I've missed holding you, Camille," he breathed as he lowered his head again.
"You're a shit, Niko."
The rage returned, her eyes flashing blue fire as she pulled her arms free from behind her, digging her claws into his chest. The tenderness was gone from this kiss, filling them both with heated desire. He snatched the hem of her blouse up, roughly burrowing his fingers under her bra until he was squeezing and pulling at the flesh underneath.
Camille pulled her mouth free, baring her teeth in a vicious grimace. "You should be horse whipped for what you did to me."
Her nails carved furrows in his scalp as she seized his hair, dragging his head down for another kiss. She ground her mouth against his, sinking her teeth into his injured lower lip. Niko howled in response, throwing her down against the seat and covering her with his body.
The taste of her skin was driving him wild. Her scent, her warmth, even her anger were driving him onward as he trailed his tongue over her throat. His senses were filled with the woman who writhed beneath him.
Her hands found their way under his shirt to clutch at the lean muscles of his back. She hesitated only a moment when her fingers brushed against the cold steel of his handgun. Her curiosity was soon lost under his touch. Dragging her blouse up, he slid his palms over the satiny skin along her ribs to her lace-covered breasts. Her nipples were hard, poking through the lace to graze his fingertips.
The sound that came from her throat was more a growl of anger than of pleasure, but it spurred him on all the same. Clasping her hips, he ground against her, the hardness behind his zipper connecting with her pelvic bone. She pulled open the top of his shirt so that her teeth could nip and her tongue could taste the flesh of his chest.
He worked furiously at her waistband to open her slacks, get his hand inside between her legs. She pushed against his hand when he found her wet and ready, murmuring her hatred of him. Groaning hoarsely as he explored the drenched silkiness of her sex, his free hand went to his belt. It was too difficult to open his fly with their bodies pressed together. He rose up, pulling his hand free of her, fumbling at the zipper, cursing loudly.
Camille took the opportunity to thrash out with her feet, to throw him backward against the far door. A cruel smile curled her lips at the sound of his pained grunt and the look of surprise on his face. She pulled herself up, kicking off her slacks to bare the lower half of her body.
His heart raced at the sight of her naked sex with its golden curls and pale flesh. It had been too long since he had felt her luscious body against his. He reached for his trousers again, tearing at the zipper, freeing the hard shaft behind it.
Camille crawled along the seat, her eyes boring into his as she settled over him, straddling his thighs. The musk of her arousal filled the car and his senses. No other woman had ever had this effect on him; no other woman was as beautiful to his eyes.
He grasped her hips, lifted her body over the hardness that throbbed for her. She growled again as the head of his shaft breached her opening, seeming to find entrance into her sheath all but impossible. Her fingers stole under his shirt, hiking it up as her nails tore at his flesh. She screamed, pushing her weight down, forcing him into her body in one desperate motion.
He was buried deep within her at last, the soft flesh around his unyielding phallus throbbed tightly with a life of its own. She rode him, taking out her anger on his body, growling at him. His staff rammed unmercifully into her flesh until her head banged against the roof of the car, causing her to grunt loudly.
Before she could protest, Niko had her turned, on her hands and knees, so that he could bend over her back, taking her from behind. He heard her cry out when he entered her roughly, felt her buck back against him. There was no way that he would be able to hold out long. His fingers reached under her, between her legs, finding that hard little knot of pleasure and massaging it.
Camille began to shudder, her muscles tightening around him as he lunged deeper. She threw back her head, crying out in heated sobs as she was swept away on the waves of release. A moment later he drove into her, holding there as he spilled his seed deep within her. Her body gave way, collapsing under his and dragging him down with her.
Her breaths came in short gasps under his weight as she turned her head to the side. "I hate you, Niko. I hate you for abandoning me and I hate you for coming back."
Pulling the hair back from her eyes, Niko kissed the side of her head, his heart growing heavy. "I know, agapi. I know."
He pushed himself off her with reluctance. The smile on his face was one of remorseful self-condemnation. As he opened the door and stepped onto the rutted dirt of the cornfield to adjust his clothing, he wondered how things in his life had gotten so out of hand. There was no going back to the time when she had smiled at him with love burning in her eyes. All that was left was to try to keep her safe until the current danger could be resolved.
Camille still had not moved on the back seat when he climbed behind the wheel. One glance over his shoulder told him that she still lay, half-naked and shivering, where he'd left her.
"You'd better get dressed," he told her, but still, she didn't move.
It wasn't until he pulled out of the cornfield and back onto the highway that she sat up, reaching a shaky hand for her clothing. He watched in the mirror as she reared back in the seat, pulling her underwear and then her slacks over her long legs before adjusting her bra and re-buttoning her blouse. She found her tennis shoes on the floor where Olan had tossed them earlier, slipped her feet in and tied them with jerking movements.
Her head turned to stare out the window into the dim moonlight, refusing to meet his gaze reflected in the mirror. There was nothing in the car but cruel silence and the tension of antipathy, the emotion emanating from her as assuredly as the pain it hid. With a sigh he focused his attention on the road ahead and the situation at hand.
He would need to find someplace safe to hide during the bright hours of daylight and a different vehicle for the next leg of their journey. It was going to be a long and tiring trip with the angry woman who was once his loving wife, but he was determined to make her feel that love for him again, to see that light burning in her eyes. First, however, he had to keep her alive and well away from the forces that would use her to get to him.
It seemed as though they had been on the road for hours before he pulled off State Highway 164 onto a narrow gravel road. It was pocked with chuckholes and ruts, the car lurching and pitching as it moved along at a slow pace. One look in the mirror told Niko that Camille was curious, surveying her surroundings with interest. She refused to ask him any questions, though. She had not said a word since the incident in the cornfield. The silent treatment was getting old fast. He had spoken to her several times along the way, trying to elicit some reaction. His overtures were met with the same stony silence and no acknowledgement. If she wanted silence then that's what she would have, he decided. He wouldn't volunteer anything to her.
The car pulled to a stop along an overgrown strip of dried mud and gravel. Niko shut off the headlamps, plunging them into the dark void of night. The moon had set, marking the approach of day that would leave them vulnerable to those that hunted them as game. Time was running short and they still needed someplace to hide themselves. He worked fast, ordering her to stay in the car as he pulled a flashlight from the glove box and stepped into the darkness.
Stumbling and nearly falling over the deadfall of branches underfoot, he searched with the beam of the small light until he found what he was looking for, a large pile of brush. The brush concealed the form of a green Ford Taurus, placed there for just such an emergency. He and Olan had several such vehicles stashed throughout the country, as well as caches of money and other necessities. A man on the run has to be prepared for whatever this way of life would hold.
It didn't take long to clear away the brush and find the key hidden in the undercarriage of the car. He climbed inside and tried the engine, breathing a sigh of relief when it fired on the second try. Leaving the motor running he returned to the Impala to check on Camille. She was still sitting in the back seat, her arms folded across her chest, her eyes staring blindly ahead.
He opened the trunk lid, removed his gear and stowed it in the other car. In the back of the Taurus he found a small gun, a few hundred dollars in cash and a small box of supplies in the hidden compartment just above the spare tire. He had everything required to see them on their way. Now all he needed was the cooperation of his wife to get her into the new car so that he could dispose of the old.