Catching the Thief Ch. 04bykitten101©
Max stood disheveled and dusted in rosemary, contemplating some of the worst spaghetti bolognese in the world. She was wondering whether it would affect her pay if anyone actually died from her cooking. It had been sprung on her that everyone took a night to cook, with no exceptions. Despite her assurances that there would be food poisoning, she had not been able to get out of it. Grey had found her a recipe for spag bol and had told her it was 'the easiest thing in the world to cook' and that 'no one could get it wrong'. He was about to eat his words.
In the week following her arrival at the house she had gone to Jess for help finding clothes and been emphatically turned away - Jess did not enjoy shopping although Grey had leapt at the chance to spend a little of Gabriel's money. She'd brought more clothes than she'd ever owned before, along with some fun new toys including a new set of her beloved lock picks. Max had fallen into a routine in the house, mostly avoiding Gabriel, and spending vast amounts of time in the forest.
Being a city slicker her whole life meant that she had missed out on the whole outdoors experience, and was now making up for lost time. She climbed trees, explored tunnels, hunted animals (although she had yet to kill anything), and ran like a crazy thing through all the trees. She was pretty sure she looked like a big dope, but she really didn't care. She fully intended to be back in the city before the end of the month - although for some reason she had not told Gabriel to go ahead on replacing her apartment.
"Cheese makes everything taste better." She decided.
She would cover everything in cheese, it would cover up the overcooked pasta, and the odd burnt minty taste in the sauce. She wasn't entirely sure how the mint got in there but had decided it was somewhere between dropping the entire box of dried rosemary onto her head, and realizing there shouldn't have been any eggs involved in the pasta sauce (everything was a bit fuzzy in-between those points.)
Serving it up on the table she noticed everyone looked as perplexed as she felt by the meal. Except for Gabriel. He was looking at her like he wanted to lick her clean and then eat her. At that thought she felt her knees go a little weak. She distracted herself by passing out plates.
"Why does it smell minty?" Michael asked uneasily.
Max sighed. "I really don't know. I did warn you..."
She probably didn't help matters by only grabbing a tiny portion of pasta and mince, and covering the entire concoction in cheese. The others followed her lead, Grey and Gabriel optimistically opting for a slightly larger portion. The meal was as bad as it smelt, and no one ate much - Christina only took a small mouthful of the minty sauce before excusing herself to 'find something edible'.
Looking around the faces at the table (most were trying valiantly to suppress their amusement) she grinned.
"Please don't eat it.. Its awful. How about banana splits? I'm good at those... No mint..."
"Ok!" Jess exclaimed immediately clearing her plate.
Gabriel, Michael, and Grey looked relieved, and they all followed her to the kitchen, dumping the plates of uneaten food in the bucket for the compost heap.
"Kitten I really didn't think you were serious about how terrible you are at cooking. I'm more than happy to give you a few lessons." Gabriel grinned suggestively at her.
"Ah, no. How about we don't. What if I just didn't cook? I can do the dishes every night - I don't mind." Max reasoned - there was no need to spend more time with Gabriel than she needed to.
"Nope we have a system... Everyone cooks." Grey piped up looking pleased with himself.
Max privately thought the system sucked, and was likely to get someone killed. She kept that to herself as she made desert for everyone.
Jess, Grey and Michael took a seat at the breakfast bar, and she sat up on the bench facing them to eat her ice cream. To her annoyance Gabriel leaned against the counter next to her, his hip resting against her leg. She stubbornly refused to move, or even acknowledge the heat seeping from his body into her leg.
As they ate Gabriel informed them about his cousin Rider and the woman under his protection - Alexia Devon. Alexia was a member of the royal family, but was declared illegitimate when her mother was found out having an affair with a Theris. The Theris family had lead and almost won an uprising against the council and Devon's, and now Alexia was at risk of being culled with the rest of them. Rider and Alexia would be coming to stay at the house in an attempt to keep her away from the council - although no one was sure if she was actually a target yet.
One by one the others left the kitchen, but for some perverse reason Max stuck around. She told herself that she was just going to finish her ice cream, but even she didn't believe that.
"What do you mean by the fact she's under Rider's protection?" Max asked, intrigued by the phrase and wanting to know what Rider and Alexia's relationship was. If nothing else she was nosy.
Gabriel dropped his plate into the dishwasher and did the same for hers. "He was acting in a sort of a bodyguard/ older brother role with her I think. Although they never really got along and her main bodyguard was looking after them both. It sounds like Jeremy has had to return to the court in Aruba to try keep her hidden on that end, and Rider has taken over main bodyguard duties here in Dartmouth.
"I'll bet he's having loads of fun too. Alexia doesn't listen to anybody except Jeremy, and she's got one hell of a temper... She could give me a run for my money in a fight - she's not as strong but she's crafty. And Rider's just as stroppy when it comes to her."
Gabriel frowned for a second remembering his phone call with Rider. "Actually he's always had a bit of a thing for her, but I don't think..."
He shrugged "Nah. Would you like to come for a run with me?"
Max paused in the middle of sliding off the bench. Being alone with the big bad and sexy cat wasn't the best idea. Probably.
Gabriel raised an eyebrow at her and slid his tee shirt over his head. "The forest is beautiful this time of night..."
That decided it for her, it hadn't occurred to her to play in the forest at night... Living in the city had had its effect on her obviously. She followed Gabriel to the main back door and dropped her clothes in a pile on the deck, changing quickly before he could turn to see her nakedness. For some reason she was feeling a little shy about her body with him.
She waited while he slipped out of his pants and shifted to his cat form in front of her. He was bigger, with those same intense eyes, graceful strong body, and inky hair. Instead of setting off immediately, he explored her in her cat form, crowding her, circling her, taking in her scent, even lapping at her face, and rubbing his large side down hers - absorbing the feel of her and taking on her scent. She tried to evade him, but in the end gave in to the insistent large cat.
Once Gabriel had memorized her he led her into the woods. She was gorgeous as a cat. He'd seen her on that first day crouched above the street and playing in the woods from a distance but had given her her space - despite his curiosity.
He ran fast, leading her to his favorite spot, a big gnarled tree, with giant dinner-table wide branches and soft mossy carpeting that draped into a small pond. Max smelt the air around them, enjoying the heavily scented blossoms from the ancient looking tree.
Gabriel also lifted his nose to the air, and catching the scent of a rabbit he bounded off to the left to retrieve it. Max watched as he brought the frantic rabbit out of the bushes by the scruff of its neck. Gabriel pinned it with a massive paw and was about to bite down when she interrupt him with a panicked noise. Dancing from foot to foot, unsure of whether to intervene she shook her head at him.
Gabriel looked at her for a second before slowly releasing the rabbit. He watched longingly as it bounded away, back into the bush. Max was relieved, and gave him a quick brush with her nose against his cheek before going to play with the water in the pond.
Gabriel changed back into his human form, ignoring the cold, and sprawled on the moss. "I hope you're planning on replacing that bunny with something. Dinner wasn't all that filling and I was hoping for something more nutritious than ice cream this evening."
Max looked up quickly from where she was sitting, trailing her front paws in the pool. Her eyes widened and he saw her pupils dilate before she dropped her muzzle back down to the pool. He could swear she was blushing.
"Feeling shy kitten?" Gabriel chuckled before turning his attention to the stars.
Max narrowed her eyes at him. She rose from the pool's edge and went to sit beside him, dropping her head down to rest on her paws. Despite all the sugar she'd eaten for tea she was feeling tired. Probably an aftershock of her disastrous attempt at cooking. Her ears dropped a little as she contemplated what her next effort was going to be. Hopefully nothing too dangerous. No chicken. She should probably stay away from meat entirely.
Gabriel took advantage of her nearness and gently stroked her forehead. He ran his fingers through the fur behind her ears and then down across her muscled shoulders and smooth back. She stiffened the first few times he did it, and then relaxed into his fingers working all kinds of goodness against her itchy spots. It became a little harder to hold her leopard form. She slipped back into her human one, luxuriating in the feel of her muscles stretching out until she lay on her stomach next to him, her head on her folded arms in front of her.
Gabriel didn't stop touching her. He ran his fingers over her scalp and played with the hair that rested on her back, tickling her bare shoulders with the ends of it. He ran the pad of his finger down he centre of her back and over the swell of her arse.
Max's eyes sprung open and she tensed beside him again. "Taking advantage are we?"
"It depends, do you want to be taken advantage of?" Gabriel enquired lazily.
Thoughts of her next attempt at cooking abandoned her. Suddenly she was burning hot and aroused.
She twisted to her side to look up at Gabriel. His eyes bored down into hers and his fingers lazily drew patterns across her hip drawing closer to the apex of her thighs. She drew in a stuttering breath. Gabriel slipped his fingers lower, toying with her inside thigh.
She caught sight of his straining cock. How could I say no to that? She wondered licking her lips, and rolling over to her back and exposing herself to Gabriel's interested gaze.
"I'm giving you the advantage." She moaned as Gabriel's index finger gave up on her thigh and plunged unto her pussy.
Gabriel moaned as her walls gripped his finger. "I'm not going to be gentle kitten. Last chance to pull out."
In answer Max twisted herself to reach his lap. Her fingers inched around the base of his cock and she slowly lowered her mouth onto him, scraping her teeth a little over his head. She didn't want him to be gentle.
Gabriel thrust upwards into the warmth of her mouth a few times before hauling Max off him. He set her on her hands and knees before him and roughly thrust three fingers into her. Max squealed and arched her back trying to ease off his hand as her vagina spasmed around him.
"No you don't" Gabriel wrapped his free arm around her stomach and hips, roughly thrusting his fingers back in as far as they could go. She spasmed around him again and her breath came faster. She was close.
Withdrawing his fingers Gabriel teased her entrance with the head of his cock. When they could both stand it no longer he took a firm grip on her hips and haled her back onto himself, growling as her juices wet is balls.
Their coupling was rough and painful, Gabriel took revenge on her for the fear she had made him feel and the desire he felt for her. Max was lost in her own world as he hauled her again and again back onto his cock, she was close to coming but couldn't go over the edge. She wanted more.
"Gabriel, please, more..."
He shifted above her, and released her hips. One hand snaked under her and began painfully slapping and pinching her clit. All the muscles in Max's body tensed as she held herself still underneath him. Gabriel's hips moved frantically against her, his cock slammed deeper than it had been before causing a ripple of pain. He pulsed as he came inside her, and he twisted her clit cruelly. Her orgasm ripped painfully out of her, and she screamed with how good it felt.
They laid sprawled across the mossy carpet side by side and talked about random things that came to mind. Max avoided talking about the real world and Gabriel followed her lead.
"What do you think flying is like?" Gabriel asked drowsily running his fingers over her palm.
"Probably a bit like swimming. But less work. I don't think birds have the sense of smell or hearing we have.. and I don't think I'd give that up. What use is being able to fly if you can't smell how clean the air is?" Max asked.
"I met a hawk changer once. She said that she could taste the air running across her body. Apparently its the most amazing feeling. You're right though. I don't think I'd give up any of this just to see the stars closer."
Later they made love slow and gentle. Gabriel whispered that he loved her as she shattered around him and Max tried her hardest to believe him.
The next morning Max slipped out from under his arm and headed back into the house. Gabriel watched her go wistfully, but didn't chase after her like he wanted to.
Max spent a few hours in Greys office talking about depressing things and generally getting in the way. He put up with her moping around on his sofa until mid morning, when he sent her off on errands for him. First up was tracking down Christina - much harder than Max had anticipated.
"Hey Jess, Grey is looking for Christina, have you seen her at all?" Max asked popping her head around the door of the garage.
Jess looked up from underneath the bonnet of the car, a bit annoyed to be disturbed. "She usually stays pretty close to her room in the mornings."
Turning back to the house Max gave a low grumble. It wasn't like she wanted to have another encounter with the house's resident ice bitch anyway.
Outside Christina's door she took a breath to centre herself. She was willing to bet the other cat was not a morning person. Raising her hand to knock she realised the door was partially open, so she tapped it the rest of the way with her elbow.
Max froze in the doorway, not quite believing what she was seeing.
Gabriel was draped over Christina, his eyes glassy. They were both still wearing clothes - thank god - but it looked like it wouldn't be long before that changed given the way Christina was pawing at him. Gabriel began to lower his head to meet Christina's lips when he caught sight of the figure in the doorway. He froze, then levered himself off the bed and off Christina.
Max turned and fled, ignoring Gabriel's roar as he realised what she had seen. She raced through the house pausing for a second at the stairway. Did she want to go to her room or the forest? If anything she was a creature of habit, and the forest seemed too big for her today. She went to her room.
Once curled up in her armchair she allowed herself to think. She wanted Gabriel. And not just for sex. Well. Fuck. When the hell had that happened? And what the hell had happened to Gabriel's whole 'I'll wait for you' thing? Max decided that her first instincts were right. Gabriel wanted sex. That's what he'd wait for, and having got what he wanted he clearly felt free in moving on to the next piece of ass.
"Even if the next piece of ass happens to be a major ice princess bitch."
Max pictured the two of them together - they did make a pretty couple. She resisted the urge to shred the arm of the chair. Destroying Gabriel's property would only make her feel a little better. Telling him she was moving out and he needed to make good on his promise to buy her an apartment however would make her feel much better.
And he needed to buy he an apartment because he got her old one blown up. That was what she should probably be focusing on here. Mooning over Gabriel nearly got her killed last time.
Max decided to go for a walk - if she was going back to the city then she should use the forest while it was still available to her. She uncurled from the couch and headed out. Jess passed her on the stairs and gave her a quizzical look.
"Well I found my motivation to go back to the city. And I'm going for a walk." Max said continuing down the stairs.
"Whoa there pony. Why are you moving out? We love having you here." Jess grabbed her arm and stopped Max in her tracks.
"I fell for him. I don't know how but I did. And it would be best for everyone - everyone being me - if I get the hell away from him." Max said.
Jess's eyebrows raised as she took in her friends' body language. She unclipped her tool belt and slung it over the banister.
"I'll come for a walk. So why is falling for him a bad thing? You two would go well together. Plus he's hot. Plus he wants you."
Max rolled her eyes and decided to spill the whole story. By the time she was done they were wandering on one of the running tracks Gabriel insisted on maintaining through the forest. Max came to a stop beside a big pine tree looking up into the branches speculatively.
"I can't believe that rat went for the ice bitch." Jess fumed.
"You know I've never tried climbing a tree as a human before." Max said, wanting a change of subject.
Jess snorted. "I've never climbed a tree before. Foxes stay on the ground. Where all the food is."
Max turned to her with wide eyes. "You're kidding?! Well we have to do it now."
10 minutes later they were both sitting a couple of meters off the ground - Max easily leaning back against the main trunk of the tree, and Jess with an uneasy hold on two thick branches either side of her.
"This is not fun. I don't think I like heights. And I scraped my knee. And what do we do now that we're up here?" Jess asked shifting nervously.
"You close your eyes and get comfortable - maybe let go of one of those branches for a start - and smell the air. Its awesome up here - like a map, and it gets clearer the higher you go. Trees are my new favorite place for a nap because no one can sneak up on you without making a heck of a lot of noise." Max explained taking a deep breath in.
Jess tried it experimentally and admitted it wasn't too bad. "Although I might not take a nap."
Max closed her eyes and drifted into a cat nap/ daydream about Gabriel. He leaned across her and softly trailed his fingertips across her cheek. She watched his slow grin warm his face until it met his dark eyes. Hair draped around his face and she reached up to tug a strand of it.
"You mind if Christina joins us Kitten?"
She stared up at him shocked for a second before yelling. "Yes I mind you arse!"
She opened her eyes and swiped a hand full of claws into the air before realising that she was in a tree. She desperately tried to correct her balance but it was far too late. Max slipped off the branch and had time for one shriek before landing painfully on her back in a pile of pine needles.
Above her Jess nearly fell off her branch she was laughing so hard.
"Well that was elegant." Max grumbled.
She sat up and was instantly on her guard. She could swear she'd heard a noise above Jess's racket. She scanned the area and launched herself onto her feet. Jess had managed to get control of her giggles above and was looking around too.