tagRomanceBy Night, My Love

By Night, My Love


Chapter One

note: both mcs are over 18 and this story builds up to them having sex so stay tuned :).

"Nice night, huh?"

Garret Butler pushed off from the fender of his car and saw a woman sauntering over to him. All he could see of her in the starless night was the muted gleam of the slanted zipper on her leather jacket and wild, wind tossed curls streaming behind her like a blue-black banner. She walked over to him, popped herself over on his fender and grinned at him. He noticed she was carrying a battered and half gone leather bag that looked a size too big for her.

"Nice car," she said, rubbing her pale hands on the black metal.

He frowned at the twenty-something girl, probably on vacation from college or something.

"Get off my car," he growled, turning back to the roiling sea. He was in no mood to deal with anyone tonight.

"Ah, grumpy, are we? Hell, you should have said so." He heard some crunching and clattering noises and figured she was going through her bag. A moment later, a silver flask was thrust under his nose.

He looked down at it to the girl sitting next to him, a gamine smile still on her face. He took the proffered flask, still keeping eye contact with the girl and took a swig of the drink.

Vodka. Straight up, no watered down shit.

He swallowed down the whole flask, welcoming the burn down his throat and the sudden roiling of his stomach. This was the first thing in three days that his stomach ad housed.

"Whoa, man, that was my whole stash."

"Sorry. I'll buy you a bottle," Garret grunted, handing the cheap tin flask back to her.

"Thanks. But I meant you must be having a pretty shitty night. I can barely take a sip and that shit burns my throat!" He looked over at her and thought he could see a grimace. The night was too dark to tell. He grunted again and turned back to the sea, seeing nothing.

"Sooooooo, whatcha doing here, all alone at night? Thinking to dump a body?" she asked, swinging her legs back and forth like a child.

Garret rubbed the bridge of his nose, feeling a pounding headache come on.

"Don't you have somewhere to be?" he asked, irritated beyond hell.

"Sure I do." Damn, she just sounded so chipper.

"Well, can I take you there?" he gritted out through his clenched teeth. In this day and age, she really shouldn't be offering a complete stranger a ride nor should he have taken even a sip of her drink. But he seemed to be making a whole shitload of mistake this year, so a few more were nothing compared to the ones that had destroyed his life. at this point, if the girl turned out to be a serial killer, it would actually fix all his problems.

"Nah, it would be redundant." She leaned back until she was lying over the car and stacked her hands behind her head, crossing her feet at the ankles. It looked like she was settling in for a long stay.

"Why?" he asked before he could stop himself. He had already figured out the girl was playing with him but he somehow found himself willing to play the game. Boredom, maybe? Who the fuck knew?

"Well, see there's this brooding guy down by the beach leaning on a really hot Bugatti, looking lost and sad. I'm making it my job to make him feel better."

"I never asked you to help," he stared down at the girl ominously but she had closed her eyes. Didn't the girl know better? Here she was chatting up a complete stranger, just as you please.

"Who said I was talking about you? Your just the brooding guy down by the beach leaning on a really hot Bugatti, looking lost and sad and murderous. I'm just passing my time with you until the other non-murderous guy comes around. Im afraid if I try to help you, you'll bite my head off." He could just hear the laughter in her voice.

He sighed and sat on his car again, too tired to scare her off. It had been the irst time in weeks that he had actually forgotten what had happened. If it was because he was angry at a girl, so be it.

"you never answered my question. Im getting a little nervous here, thinking there really is a body in the trunk of your car," she gave a nervous laugh, patting the hood of the car.

"if you think im a murderer, why the hell are you talking to me?" the question came out with the bite he had intended for it to have.

"Maybe im hopin' to squeeze out a few pennies outta you for blackmail."

"I could just kill you, you know. I don't think anyone is really gonna blame me if they knew you," he said sarcastically. He was expecting anoher smart aleck reply but an oppressing silnce filled the void. He looked at her to see her face was averted from him, one of her hands curled into a fist under her breast.

"Christ, look, im sorry. I didn't mean that. I've just had a really bad ... week," he finished lamely. That was the understatement of the year. He heard a sniffle and quietly cursed himself.

There was a few minutes of silence, and he actually wanted her incessant chatter back to break through the noise of the waves and the ocassional passing car.

"I'll forgive you if you tell me what your doing here," a small voise said.

"Trying to forget," he said as quietly as possible. He heard more rustling and caught the glint of silver from the corner of his eye. She had wrapped a firefighter blanket around herself, her shaking hands cluching at the fluttering thing. He sighed. The least he could do after she had given hima drink was take her to whatever place she called home. There was no way this little ragamuffin went to school. She was probably homeless and or out of a job, crashing at friend's places for the night.

"Get in the car. There's heated seats." He clicked open the car and walked to the driver's side. She didn't need to be told twice; she jumped into the passenger side and cranked up the heater. Garret felt thousands of tiny needles thawing at his face. The mutted golden lights of the car illuminated his unwanted guest and he took the time to see her more cleary. He had to admit he was just a little curious about a girl-woman who felt safe enough to approach a stranger and get into his car.

If he had to guess her age, he would have pegged her to be about 21, maybe 22. She had a straight, bold nose and a jutting, stubborn chin with slanted wide eyes and lightly arched brows. It was kept from being too masculine by her slightly rounded face that looked a bit gaunt. The most feminine thing about her was her pouty red lips. He couldn't quite put his finger to it, but she looked ...old. Like she had seen all that the jaded world had to offer but had come out unscathed.

"My, my, aren't you that handsome bloke," she said with a winsome smile and a gleam in her eye.

Garret ignored her, starting up the car.

"Put on your seatbelt. I'm going to take you anywhere you want and you're going to leave me alone." He could just feel her mouth opening in protest but he neatly cut her off. "no negotiations or I'm just going to push you out of my car while its moving." That shut her up.

He pulled into the freeway, and gunning his car to over 90, since the freeway was pretty much deserted. It didn't take long until he reached the Ventura highway, where the fastest car was going at 15.

"Well, where can I take you?" he repeated himself again, inching along the highway. Why the hell did everyone get out at two in the morning?

"You know you owe me a bottle of Vodka right?" she began fiddling with the entertainment console, turning on to a rock station.

"I'll give you a hundred bucks," he said, already pulling out his wallet with one hand.

"Nope, can't do that. I'm not twenty one yet." It had to be his imagination but she said that with just a bit too much glee. He was a little surprised she was so young, she looked older. He sighed and switched lanes to get out into downtown.

"What is a twenty year old girl doing with vodka, anyway?" he groused, looking for a 24 hour liquor store. He was getting into the more grimier parts of Los Angeles. There were bums sleeping outside of graffitied stores and the faraway sounds of sirens. With his luck, he'd pick up a bum and a bullet shot this night, too.

"Ha, I bet you were hitting hard alcohol by the time you hit puberty! And, anyway, that wasn't mine. I was holding it for a friend of mine. You can drop me at her place after you get me my drink."

"Fine," he said absently still looking for a store.

A few blocks, he saw the flicker of a neon sign and pulled up in front. There was a battered open sign and he sighed in relief. He got out, warning her. "Stay in the car."

He pushed open the door to the store, cringing at the loud sound of the bell announcing his arrival. The store clerk eyes him with suspicion, his beady eyes following his every movement. Garret laughed quietly to himself. He bet the older man wasn't used to seeing a man dressed like him in this neighborhood. He was wearing a trench coat over his Armani suit and five thousand dollar loafers and he just bet the man was either wondering what he was hiding in his coat of how much her could get for the coat. He headed over to the liquor display, bypassing the food section. He was suddenly reminded of the girl's gaunt cheeks and sighed in defeat. Grabbing a small shopping cart, he began loading it with fattening junk food, cursing himself to hell and back for taking on another basket case

Rhea O'Hara fiddled with the radio station, finding nothing that suited her current state of mind. It finally hit on a soft rock station, playing Never Let Me Go by Florence and the Machine. She smiled softly and leaned her head back against the heated, leather seats. She looked down and rubbed the butter soft leather, marveling at the texture. It sure was softer than her jacket. The car smelled expensive and she knew a bit about cars. This probably would hit the two million mark.

The car pretty much reflected the aura of the man who owned it. Sleek, elegant, and sexy as all hell get out. He looked a fucking European model, for god's sake. He had wicked green eyes, silky chocolate air, and a pretty damn hot body that the layers of his clothing couldn't hide.

She gave a small, soft laugh as she thought about her audaciousness. She had gone up to him, brazen as you please, and intruded on his brooding. She had been walking along the beach, wondering where the hell she was going to sleep for the night. It had been her plan to crash at Krysta's but the buses had stopped working before she remembered to get on one.

When she had seen a lone figure standing against a black car, very much like a romantic figure in one of her romance novels, except there it would be a pirate or a dissolute duke instead of a jaded, rich boy, she hadn't been able to help herself. As soon as he she opened her mouth, she had been teasing and cajoling him. She was surprised he hadn't left her on the beach and now instead he was buying her alcohol and hopefully some food. Hell, she should have asked him for food; he might seem put off at her but he was also strangely accommodating.

There was tapping at her window and she turned with a smile. He probably forgot his keys and she could play a little bit with him. But her eyes widened and her breath hitched somewhere in the vicinity of her chest when she saw the big gun pointed at her from the other side of the window. The hooded man motioned for her to get out and she shook her head frantically. He slammed the butt of the gun against the window, making her jump in her seat. She sent up a prayer when the window glass didn't even crack.

He kept banging on the window, getting more violent, even going to jiggle the door handle. He was yelling at her in Spanish, and for once Rhea was glad she had never paid attention to high school Spanish. She saw a figure getting out of the store and she screamed to let him know he was in danger. She saw him drop a paper bag and come at the hooded man just as the man turned and the gun went off.

She screamed again and pushed open her door, trying to throw the man off his balance. the hooded man went at her rich boy with the gun but her rich boy knew how to fight. He threw a wickd uppercut, ten when the guy was doubled over, he brought his knees up to the hooded man's groin. But the guy still had his gun, which she saw him point at her rich boy. she kicked out at his hand and the gun went off, but it still hit her rich boy. he grunted, clutching at his upper arm. Rhea jumped from her seat right onto the back the hooded man, putting him in a choke hold.

He scratched at her hands and when that didn't work, he reched behind him to grab a hank of her, pulling at the strands cruelly. Rhea bit his ear, almost gagging at the dirt and grim sticky with sweat and spit it out. He reared back, slamming her back against the car, her head hitting hard against the tob as the front mirror jabbed into her spine. She felt something sticky slide down her skull as she slid to the ground, her limbs having gone slack.

Her rich boy had recovered enough and now he was holding a white bottle, which he promptly bashed in the hoodie wearing guy. The guy went down without a sound, crumbling to the street and becoming as much of the dirt that littered the rest of the dim street. Her rich boy walked over to her, favoring his left shoulder and helped her up.

"You okay?" he asked hoarsely, leaning past her to open her side of the door.

For once, his mystery girl could only nod, rendered mute by her would be assailant. From the half hour he knew her, he knew it was a bad sign if she got quiet. She was about to get back in the car when he stopped her by grabbing her arm. He made a quick clinical examination of her, through which she remained stoic. She winced a few times when he passed over some tender spots with his hands, but he didn't think she had any broken bones. He reached up to tilt her face to the yellow streetlights murky glow and saw a trickle of blood on the side of her neck, matting her hair there. He gingerly reached behind her head and found a lump the size of a small fist and a break of the skin.

"Can you see me clearly?" he asked, worring she might have a concussion.

She shook her head, but then brought up her hands to braket her haed and squeeze her eyes in pain. "No, no, I'm fine. I just need to get away from here and sit down."

Garret nodded and gently guided her into her seat. He looked back at the bag of food he had gotten for her and quickly retrieved it, looking both ways down the street. He didn't intend to get mugged on top of all this, too. He rounded on his car and quickly got in, throwing the bag into the back seat. He shot out of the downtown area, searing for the freeway enterance. He was being being overcautious but she might have a serious concussion or hemeraging and bleeding and then he really would have a body to dump in the ocean, he thought with a rare smile. He looked over to his companion, wondering if she was going to ask about his sudden smile after what had happened and share in his humor.

Her head was lolled to one side, her breathing shallow. He opened his mouth to call out for her to wake up but he realized he didn't even know her name. he couldn't just call out "hey, girl, yah, you there on my seat, wake up so I know your not gonna die on me,". He drove just a bit faster, grateful to see that the traffic had cleared out a bit. He hit fifty and he got to the Kaiser hospital in fifteen minutes. He pulled the street and thankfully found parking almost in front of the emergency enterance. He parked and reached out to the girl, shaking her shoulder gently.

"Hey, c'mon, wake up. We're here, you need to wake up. Hey," he dipped his head slightly to see her wide eyes flutter open, her unfocused brown eyes coming to rest on him in confusion. She blinked a few more ties until the confusion cleared and she gave him a sleepy smile.

"How long was I out?" she asked, stretching and yawning as if she was just waking from a nap. She winced when she must have pulled a bruised muscle. She gingerly reached behind, feeling around for her head wound. When she brought them back in front of her faces, her fingers were dark with blood.

"About twenty minutes. I've brought you to my hospital. I'll take you into the emergency room, c'mon," he was already reaching for the door handle when she rached out desperately to hold him back. She winced at the sudden movement but she kept her death grip on him.

"No! Please, I can't go in there. Please, I-I just can't. I'm fine, I swear, I just need a place to sleep." He raised an eyebrow at her. "Look, I'll leave you alone, I promise. Just-just take me to my friend Krystas place. She's having a party so she won't mind if I crash at her place. Please. I swear this is the last thing I'll ask of you. Please!" she looked frantic, her eyes wide with fear.

He wondered why she didn't want to go into a hospital. It would give him peace of mind to know that she wasn't bleeding more inside but he didn't want to cause her more distress either. He sighed and put his seatbelt back on.

"Are you sure? Your head injury could be pretty bad," he warned, starting up his car.

She gave a bitter laugh. "Trust me, I know serious head wounds. This is a mere scrath-Oh, my god!" she screamed, turning to him and tugging off his trench coat. "Your, wound. We have to take you to the hospital!"

Garret finally allowed himself to laugh, a genuine, amused laugh.

"As you said, it was just a scratch. It just grazed the skin. I've had worst."

She laughed and he was disturbed to feel a tightening in his stomach. It was low and sultry, something he sould not be associating with her.

"You've been shot at so much have you, that you can classify gun wound?" she inquired, not just a little bit curious. He decided to indulge her.

"My father is an avid hunter and he first took me out to hunt I was eleven. Needless to say, I was more interested in chasing the turkey than shooting it. A stray shot and I was laid up in bed for a month with a pretty cool cast on my arm," he have her a humorless smile and she smiled uneasily back at him, not knowing whether to share in the amusement of the story to sympathize with his obvious hurt.

He drove a few blocks down Sunset until he realized he had no idea where he was taking her.

"Give me your friend's address." she quietly took out her phone and showed him an address in Van Nuys. He nodded for her to put the phone away.

"You don't need it anymore? Do you know how to get there?" She looked at him curiously.

"I have an eidetic memory. I'll find my way, don't worry." He saw her nod from the corner of his eyes.

She settled into her seat with a dejected sigh and curled up into a small ball. He frowned, wondering why the hell he was feeling guilty. He turned up the heat just a bit and entered into the freeway again, heading towards her friends house. It took him about forty five minutes to find her friends house. It was a typical suburban house but it was easy to find. The noise pollution could be heard for miles, not to mention the eye sore the kids had turned the place into. People were littered all over the place, crushed cups all over the place. He got out and sniffed the air, catching the faint odor of pot and he wrinkled his face in disgust. He saw some frat boys surrounding a few girls doing a strip dance right on the front lawn. Hell, it looked like all the girls were in skimpy clothing, while the guys wore the minimum amount of clothes that just fell into the line of decency. He looked at the slumberous face of his unwanted guest. It was pale and wan, gaunt with the lack of food. She would not be finding the rest she needed in that place, nor food or care.

He got back into his car before he could change his mind. He hit the freeway for what felt like the umpteenth time and got off near Broadway were he stopped before a the Gramercy Hotel. He snapped at the red uniformed valet to grab the groceries that he had gotten while another took the keys of his car from him and gestured for the boy to follow him. He hefted the mystery girl in his arms and swept into the main lobby.

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