Love On the Run Pt. 02bymadam_noe©
© Nora Quick 2013
Jessie sat down to rest. It was too dark to see her watch, the sky was dim with a new moon. She'd walked for hours, starting before nightfall, and she was exhausted but forced herself onward to Argentina. She'd simply told Julian she had to go to the bathroom and he fell back asleep. She grabbed her bag and some food, water, and the hair dye, and started running.
She'd make it to Argentina and find a way to contact the DEA, have them send somebody else to bring her back. Preferably a large, matronly woman with permanent garlic breath.
It was dark, but she hadn't heard anything, and it would be a good time to stop and do her hair. She was by a small lake, and it would suffice. She combed the strands, peeled off her shirt, and put the dye in. She had a small mirror and lighter to guide her, but could only hope she'd gotten all the strands coated.
For timing she sang the same song over and over again, Sam Cooke's "You Send Me," the same song Julian had sung so often in the shower. It took her just under three minutes to get through, so she sang it seven times.
At last it was time and she dunked her head in the lake, trying to work it all out. This would be so much easier in the light, with another person. With Julian. She lost herself to the memory of his long, strong fingers running through her hair, massaging her scalp.
Such sensual intimacy...that was what she had truly been missing in life on the run. Somehow, despite everything, it came so easily with Julian. Something about him was always settling. Perhaps it was his confidence, his graceful manner. With him, she felt safe. Well, safe from assassins, but her heart felt at risk. She would rather go mano y mano with three of Diego's men at the same time than let it be known she was in the throes of a girlish crush.
She came up, feeling it was all out of her hair. Someone grabbed her from behind and Jessie didn't think, just grabbed the arm attached to the hand on her shoulder and flipped her attacker into the water.
Too late she realized it was Julian, just as he splashed into the water cursing a blue streak.
Concern for him overrode her anxiety and Jessie dashed into the water, grabbing him as he sputtered. Instead of letting her help him up, he pulled her down into the water with him, grabbed her in a bear hug, and rolled.
She sputtered, and then was dragged to her feet, pressed against him.
She felt rather than saw him smile slowly in the near-pitch blackness. "It was time for a bath, but not what I assumed."
She couldn't think of anything to say, so she settled for glaring up at him through her wet hair, wondering if he could tell. He let go of one of her arms to smooth it back. "You have to get that conditioner in or you might lose all this."
Still she could say nothing.
"I know you're scared but, babe, you're safer with me than alone. Let's get the damn conditioner in, change into dry clothes, and cross the border before the sun comes up. Just let me get you somewhere safe, we'll call the agency, and if you find my company so distasteful I can leave you with my friend. I warn you, he's nowhere nearly as nice a guy as me."
She shoved back, but damn it, he was right. She was being childish. It was all just so much to take in. How did she know he could keep her safe? She should be worrying about that, and not about what this big gallug made her feel.
"Damn it," she said at last and stalked out to the shore to grab the conditioner. Without a second thought she began peeling her clothes off to dry. It was most important the bra dry, since her money was sewed in there, as well as her pants with the smaller bills.
Naked, she grabbed the conditioner and turned away from him, working it in. "Time five minutes."
The only reply was the thumping slap of his wet clothes hitting the ground. She turned slowly, praying it was too dark to see much, but no, her eyes had adjusted to see bare details and there he was, a pagan god in the water, and happy to see her. His anger held his body rigid, muscle sharply defined, but his manner was calm, his temper under immense control. The combined effect was devastating.
"Really?" she asked God, looking skyward. Of course she had a feeling the Heavenly Father was laughing at her. "Just time it, no funny business," she said to the earthbound god.
"Good night for a swim. This lake is clean, anyway. I'll be back."
He turned and dove into the lake, swimming out. She wrung out their clothes and hung them to dry, but the summer night air was humid and it seemed fruitless.
"Five minutes!" Julian called, treading water, thirty feet out.
Grumbling she walked into the lake to above her waist and laid back, floating, letting the water pull the conditioner from her hair. She heard him swimming towards her and Jessie fought the rapid beat of her heart. Somehow this had become a game of one-upmanship, and who was she kidding? She couldn't beat Julian at any game, not when she didn't know the rules nor the prize.
She felt his hands in her hair and her eyes jerked open.
"Relax, we did this before. You know, it's hard to tell in the dark, but I think this color suits you. Still, I like your natural color best."
"It's normally straight. I permed it." She wasn't sure why she said that other than the need to chatter and make noise to cover her nerves.
He smiled down at her. "You did a good job, I didn't recognize you, and I got real up close and personal."
She could only blush.
"We need to get moving. As much as I want to take you up on what you're offering, even if you don't seem to realize it, we need to go under the cover of darkness, and we have just one hour left. It will be close."
"What about our clothes?"
"Wear the dress. Everything else, I'll bury. No time."
He helped her up and they walked out of the lake. He was right, but something deep inside her seemed to frown that she hadn't given into need and kissed him, seduced him. She had more important things to think of than her baser needs, but around Julian she could think of nothing else, it seemed.
She put on her damp bra, the dress, and sandals, pulled the damp money from her jeans pocket and stuffed it in her bag. He took her wet clothes and his and disappeared with his bag, naked into the trees. After ten minutes he came out dressed in fresh clothes, bag in hand, wet clothes gone.
"We'll cross the border and I'll get us a room to sleep. At dinner time we'll eat and call my contact, figure out a safe way to cross Argentina to get to Buenos Aires. Almost there, babe."
She fell into step, mind torn in two. She should be more worried about the future, surviving Diego's men, and all the changes that would come if her life on the run was truly over. Instead, all she could worry about was how relieved she was that Julian had found her.
She'd spent ten years on her own with no white knight swooping in to save her. Jessie had always found it foolish, that desire other women held to be rescued. With that relief came a kernel of worry, that perhaps she was not the woman she thought. In a decade of worry, travel, and hiding, all Jessie had to depend on was herself. If she lost who she was, she lost everything. No matter how tempting it was to give in and fade away, she couldn't do it.
The only thing she knew for sure was that Julian Vasquez was going to be a hard man to get over. Maybe even impossible.
Once over the border there were no real towns. She watched this time as Julian stole a car, though he left a note in the space with some information on it. "Where we'll leave the car, and notice I'll send someone out to get them soon if they don't have a friend," he explained at her raised eyebrow.
With a shrug she got in. They drove to for over an hour to get to Trevelin, a Welsh-settled town of decent size. They drove through, checked it out, then went and dumped the car by the highway and walked back in.
After he secured a room they bought food from a little café and brought it to their room, and she showered while he ate then they switched. Exhausted, they fell asleep quickly, and this time she didn't fight him when he pulled her into his arms.
She'd woken in bed alone, and for a moment there was panic until she saw Julian was out on the balcony, on his phone. He wore only pants slung low on his hips, his hair wild and loose. She'd dreamed of him as she'd first seen him, thinking him a mercenary on the hunt, a disposable man. Then she dreamed of him in the woods, washing the conditioner from her hair, but this time he'd taken what she'd so badly wanted to give him.
She woke aroused, and snuck off to the bathroom to do the necessary and brush her teeth. Hopeful he would soon join her she combed her hair and then returned to the bed, but he was still speaking. He glanced at her as she emerged from the bathroom and gave her a signal that he'd be a moment.
A sudden wicked urge gripped her. Jessie was still warm from the dream and if he'd be too long, she would start without him. Closing her eyes she stroked her hands over her breasts and wished it was his touch. He was so strong, but always so gentle with her, even as he was fierce.
Unable to wait she plunged two fingers between her wet nether lips and began to stroke, fast. Caught up in the certain charge to climax, she barely even noticed when Julian closed the balcony door.
Damn it, was all he could think. There she lay, pale and beautiful. Her breasts, sweet handfuls, heaved with her harsh breath as she gripped the sheet with one balled fist, her other hand stroking. Instantly he was hard, the urge to run to her, rip his pants off, and plunge deep inside almost overwhelming. He nearly whimpered, thinking of that, sweet, tight cunt gripping his cock with no barrier between them.
"Jessie," he growled out, flinching. He'd known from their first kiss she was the kind of woman a man had to be careful with, take his time, savor, enjoy, tease, and he would get everything he wanted and more. She was turning out to be the kind of woman a man couldn't get enough of, and he had no desire to become addicted.
Still, Julian regretted nothing in his life more than the next words he had to say. "We have to go, now."
"Come, join me," she husked out, a beautiful blend of innocent need and master seductress.
He saw an opportunity to take charge of the situation back from her and took it. Crossing to the bed, Julian knelt and pulled her hand free from her pussy. It was wet with her juices and he brought those fingers to his lips and licked them delicately. Her taste was musky, subtle, and addicting. He held her eyes and thoroughly enjoyed the blush that rose as his tongue worked.
"When we get five minutes to ourselves not on the move I promise to finish this, but we have a narrow window to meet my contact and we have a long way to go. I'm going to take a quick cold shower and get dressed, I suggest you be dressed and ready when I come out."
With that, he left her, and held his composure until he reached the bathroom. Leaning against the closed door he squeezed his eyes shut and said a rapid payer from his misbegotten youth. She'd be the death of him. She was a witness, the key to taking down one of the most evil crooked empires on earth, and all he wanted to do was chain her to a bed and fuck her until she couldn't walk a straight line.
His friend would make sure she got to the DEA. Once they reached Buenos Aires he'd hand her over, knowing she was safe, and then never see her again until George had fully debriefed her back in Miami. But, by God, before he let her go, there would be one last time between them and he would make sure she never forgot him.
Now, if only he could figure out why it felt so important to ensure than, perhaps he'd be free of her.
They'd stolen another car on the outskirts of Trevelin, and began immediately to drive northeast with the Patagonias in the rearview mirror. It was a twenty hour drive and they had twenty-four to get to Julian's contact before the man was due to leave.
"Why is it so important for you to get Diego?" Jessie asked when their dinner was long gone and silence had reigned too long. Finally he'd let her drive and he'd attempted sleep but it seemed evasive and he'd been staring out at the black of night for a long while.
"Isn't it enough he's responsible for thousands of deaths, every year?"
Her eyebrows raised. "I was expecting to hear some story about a partner being killed."
Julian smiled softly. "My last partner, Johnson, is a real asshole. I don't wish him death, but if one of Diego's men winged him in the leg I wouldn't complain."
"So what, you're just the big boy scout after the bad guy?"
"It may come as a surprise to hear this from a DEA agent, but I do think all drugs should be legal. Let people rot their brains if they want. But we don't live in that world, and until we do, drugs flood the streets and attract crime. There's no such thing as a philanthropist drug dealer at any level, but Diego is the worst of the worst.
"They say he kills people just for fun, and I know for a fact he likes to hire men who feel the same way. I read the file on your step-father, and he seemed the type."
She was silent at that, staring out the windshield. He'd come too close to a previously disclosed no-no topic of discussion, so she grimaced, hoping he'd take the hint.
He chose not to back down. "It's because of people like you I do this. Christ, you were just an innocent teenager and you got caught up in all this. I hate the thought of any innocent victims. I'm not kidding myself, if we put Diego away someone else will come and take his place, but it'll take a month or two. And for that month or two there will be thousands of lives saved."
She glanced at him and saw he was serious, determined. "You really mean that."
"I do. I joined up hoping for travel, excitement. When I got assigned to Miami maybe I even dreamed I'd be Crockett or Tubbs. But after a few months on the job I saw one too many dead bodies, one too many junkies, and something snapped. I started caring, and then I cared too much."
She let that simmer for a moment, then she couldn't help but ask. "What happened?"
He sighed, and for a moment she thought he wouldn't answer, but then he looked out the window and began his story. "It was my last assignment in the field. There was a dealer, real bad guy. He liked to collect debts by removing body parts with machetes. Sampled too much of his product and began to do it whether or not the customers paid on time.
"His overlords liked this, it got people paying early, more than asked. So he moved up, got a few guys under him, only he picked real psychos. The hospitals started filling up with strung-out junkies bleeding out.
"We couldn't get close, nobody would talk. I went undercover and saw some bad things. Took me six months to get close, but not close enough. Then we got a break. He had a sideline running women, and he beat one of them one too many times. She came to me for help and I took a chance, let her know I was DEA.
"We put her in a safe house, but sometimes the hardest part of watching witnesses in my line of work is keeping them in one place. She, like so many, wanted out to get a fix. Stupid me, I held the line for so long when she wanted me, begged me, to go out and get her fix.
"After two months of her bitching, I did. I left my partner Johnson in charge. He'd been undercover too, before me, got pulled off. I suspected Johnson had been using, but he hid it well. Meanwhile, this dealer was looking for any opening he could.
"My boss warned me not to leave the post until the relief team came, but I couldn't take it anymore. My cover was blown so I couldn't go to any of the contacts I'd made in my time undercover. So it took me a good three hours to score. Can you imagine that? I've been an agent for five goddamn years and it took me three hours to score some crack. For that alone I should have been sentenced to desk duty."
She chuckled along with him, though she found it strangely admirable it had taken him that long. In fact, despite the dark world he lived in, Julian seemed usually upbeat, disaffected by the grime and dirt.
"So what happened?"
"If you leave two junkies alone, unsupervised, what do you think?"
"I really don't know. When my stepfather did conducted his business I did my best not to be around." She left it at that. Jimmy had used as well as dealt, that's how her mom got into drugs. She knew better than anyone but didn't want to think about it.
"She begged him for drugs, and the bastard knew she'd been a whore and promised her some smack if she blew him. He got rough, and she got scared. Unfortunately that night his dealer wasn't delivering, so he went out, leaving her alone. After what happened, that was class-A stupid."
Jessie groaned, suspecting what was coming.
"She ran off and picked up a tail her pimp had sent. Somehow she lost him, but after he called the man we were after, Gomez. He found her as she was coming back, blitzed out of her mind on angel dust. Bad drug, that, it turns people into supervillans.
"She saw him coming up on her with that machete and ran back to the safe house. He pursued her and for some goddamned reason in her mind, she thought it was true love. Of course, she waited until after she screamed for Johnson, who wasn't there. I was just getting back when I heard the scream so I drew my gun.
"He saw me, and he was armed, and charged. I got off a shot to disarm him, and he dropped the machete. However, his girlfriend, my witness, went mad. Johnson came back to the scene and I told him to secure Gomez. He was high too and the damned fool shot our witness. He got her square in the chest and she was dead, real fast.
"In the confusion Gomez got away, went underground. We lost the dealer, we lost our witness, and the sheer amount of paperwork was a nightmare. Johnson's suspended pending review and rehab and I got stuck sorting through archives. It could have been worse, I'm the one who directly disobeyed orders and let it all happen."
"Sounds to me like you had to babysit two junkies who did what they are wont to do, and got blamed for it."
He made no reply and she drove on in silence, glancing at the map they'd found in the glove box already marked with highlighter leading the way to the big city. At long last she slid a look to him and Julian was out cold.
He'd pulled his hair back into a ponytail leaving the clean lines of his face stark. He was a good man, she was coming to realize that, but he had secrets. He'd only mentioned his childhood in brief and she knew there was darkness there, and she began to wonder at it.
Like him she covered pain with a sunny disposition, or at least she tried. No matter what job she took, no matter how hot and dirty it was she was friendly to her coworkers and told jokes whenever able. In ten years she'd never let go of hope, no matter how sad she got, no matter how tough things were.
But what would happen if they began to share their dark beginnings? Would he be disgusted to know that by the third hit man she'd killed, Jessie hadn't lost a wink of sleep that night? And what about those dark things he'd seen and done in his time in the Rangers?
Mercenaries were a dime a dozen in South America. She'd met many, shared beers, made contacts, and often found new IDs through them. She knew what they did during their time in special forces and it wasn't pretty. What if, like so many, Julian wasn't really a good guy, but just a good actor? She would have said the DEA wouldn't have hired a psycho, but after the story about Johnson she could only wonder.
Damn it, the worry didn't diminish her desire for one moment, but it did increase her wariness. Jessie cursed herself. She was all torn up, worrying about the wrong things. She should be worried more about this money, trying to figure out where Jimmy would have hidden five million dollars. Also, what else could be with the money Diego was willing to sacrifice so many men to find? She should be wondering how the DEA could protect her, not if Julian was a truly good person.