tagRomanceShackled Ch. 09

Shackled Ch. 09


Emma had never considered herself to be a princess or a girly girl, but their tip toeing trip down the back alley was enough to make her want to scream 'eeewwww!' She was more than happy when they made it into the main streets again.

"Yeah, I'm pretty hungry too." She admitted, pushing her hair back and studying him as he seemed to struggle with some internal decision. She was about to ask him what was the matter when he finally spoke.

"Mmkay." Who was she to argue? Again, Hansen had pulled her through this far and was giving her the tools to put her plan into action. "Let me help with the bags at least. I can pull my own weight." She suggested and when he just shrugged, she took some groceries off his hands and followed close as they began to move again.

Her mind began to wander, thinking of Simon and the others. Would they truly be willing to work with her and put an end to the threat? She had to believe they would or pulling it off solo was going to be a real bitch. Well, not quite solo. She had Liam, she reminded herself and while he was definitely rough around the edge, there was definitely an ooey gooey center to the man. Of course, he would never admit that and she would never repeat that thought out loud.

"Do you get headaches often?" She asked casually, wanting to get to know more about him.


As they started walking, Emma offered to take the bag of groceries from him. He shifted it to his other hand and gave it to her. It meant letting go of her hand for a moment and it made him feel odd. He'd become used to it in his. He decided it was best not to hold her hand for now. The street was getting a little busier as people started to leave work. Not that what most people did now could be classed as 'work'. It was mostly running administration for the government. The real work was done somewhere else, where few people saw what was happening. More people on the street meant it would be easier to avoid SPF's if they saw them, but on the other hand, they would be harder to spot in the first place. Leaving one hand free might be prudent.

They walked in silence for a little while before she spoke.

He smiled to himself.

Of course.

He kept walking. He certainly wasn't going to tell her about the voices in his head. He definitely wasn't going to tell her when they'd started. That was for another time, if ever.

Tell her the truth.

Enjoy yourself, fucker, you're going to have a rest.

Go ahead. You know what happens when you do that.

It's no worse than you. Laura will get rid of you.


"Oh, in my previous work, I had a few close scrapes," he said. "I got knocked about a little. That's all. Now I sometimes get headaches that are a little stronger than most. I need something and then I'll be fine."

He turned to look at her as they walked down the street. She was intelligent and eventually she would know he had a problem. He would have to stop talking back to the voices. He'd done that already and she would start to think he was unstable.

It wasn't that he couldn't feel. He could feel. Jess and Cassie proved that. And Carl and Bonnie and Laura and Mrs. Chan.... Even Emma. But they had done things to him. Unspeakable things. He was an asset once. Now he was a liability. A liability that they wanted to destroy. Wished they had never created. He wished his life had turned out differently. Maybe not even been born.

You're getting maudlin, Hansen.

I'm fine.


He really needed to get to the doc....

They got to the curb and paused. He knew he'd gone quiet again and Emma would be wondering if she'd asked something wrong, but he didn't really want to talk.

I need to get to the doc....

They waited for a break in the traffic of the public transport vehicles and crossed. They walked a further twenty metres up the street and there was a sign for a medical clinic. It was a government clinic. They all were now.

They stood a little away from the entrance and Hansen took out his comms unit.

Need it now. Head fucked.

He pressed send and waited for a minute. His comms unit announced a message.

Up. Now.

He wondered what Emma would be thinking. They were walking around meeting all these shadowy characters, each with different skills, and each just as dangerous as each other. She had been introduced to a whole new world. A world that was fighting against the world she lived in, the world she came from and knew.

Hansen eschewed the elevators and led her to an opening next to them. They climbed up the stairs to the first floor of the clinic and then rejoined the foyer and walked into the main entrance of some consulting rooms.

A woman in a white coat approached the doors, ushered them through and then locked the door. When she turned around, she looked at Emma with an expressionless face. Hansen nodded and she noticeably relaxed. Even with an expressionless face, the woman was beautiful. She was beautiful in a totally glamorous way, not the natural, endearing attractiveness of Emma.

Dr. Laura Black had short blond hair, was nearly as tall as Hansen and her pale skin was perfect.

She took Hansen into her arms and hugged him close. "I haven't seen you for weeks," she said, obviously glad to see him.

"I've been....busy."

She laughed. "You were last night. I saw the news stream. Now let me guess, Carl and yourself were out for some fun?"

"I wouldn't say fun," he said, "but yes, it was Carl and I." He paused for a moment. "And Emma," he said nodding to her.

Dr. Black hadn't let him go yet. She gave him another kiss on the cheek, a little too long for his liking in front of Emma, but then she let him go and stepped back.

She extended her hand to Emma.

"I'm Laura Black, Emma, nice to meet you," she said. "So you're why Liam hasn't called me in weeks?" she said smiling, but with no warmth.

Hansen looked at Emma. He knew her head must be spinning by now, but the look was the same she'd had a few times today.

You can trust her.


Emma felt as though she could buy that explanation, but as he fell completely silent after, she began to worry. There had to be more to the story or maybe she had pushed too hard. Once again Liam was pulling her through some loops. He seemed to know all sort of people in 'high places' or in his case, low places.

The glamorous doctor took her completely off guard. What sort of doctor looked like that? As if she'd just stepped off the pages of some glam magazine. She watched her hugging on Liam, her lips against his skin, her tall long body pressing close. For an instant she felt a sharp pang of jealousy and looked away, clenching her teeth.

Slowly bending at the waist, Emma unburdened herself of the grocery bags and wiped her hands on her jeans. It didn't matter who Liam kissed, he wasn't hers. They weren't romantically involved, he was shackled to her against his will and compared to Dr. Glamor Girl, she looked tiny and mousy.

Glamor girl extending a perfectly manicured hand. After glancing over at Liam, she took the woman's hand, although both of them clearly not thrilled with the exchange. Still, Emma managed to smile oh so sweetly. "I can't take all the credit. We only met a day ago...the rest of the time has nothing to do with me."

Dr. Glamor pulled her hand away, giving her a look that told her she was unconvinced and Emma almost laughed. Was the Barbie Doll jealous? Crazy broad. Still, it gave her a little thrill. "Liam is just helping get out of some, well trouble. Apparently he's good at doing such things."

Her eyes sparkled as she looked up at him and crossed her arms under her breasts and leaned against an exam table. "I could wait outside if you'd like....would ah...that help, you two...catch up?" She asked, raising her brows questioningly. "I really don't mind."


They shook hands, but Hansen could tell they hadn't got off to a good start.


Laura nodded. She knew he was good at 'such things'.

Emma sat back against a table and looked at him. She had her arms folded as she spoke.

Hansen looked at her.

She couldn't be.

Her eyebrows were raised.

She was!

He almost laughed out loud, but held it in. She was jealous. Come to think of it, so was Laura.

Shit. Over me?

"Um, that won't be necessary," he said quickly. "Dr. Black knows what I need."

Laura slowly turned around and opened the door to another room. While she was in there, Hansen looked around. At the ceiling. At the floor. At the open door. Anywhere but Emma. He felt like a naughty boy.

I haven't done anything wrong.


Laura came back with a small plastic bottle. The bottle was unlabeled and small enough to fit in the palm of her hand. She gave Hansen the bottle and looked at him seriously.

"Only one a day," she said. "Promise me, Liam."

He promised. "Ok."

"There's enough in there for a few weeks so that you don't have to come back for a while, but you have to stop after a week. When you need more call me and I'll let you know when you can take more."

He nodded.

Yeah, right.

He looked at Emma. She would know these weren't ordinary pills, but at least she didn't know what they actually were. The pills were Palazonol. They were used in the control of mentally unstable patients. People with personality disorders, violent tendencies, self harm and a host of other problems were prescribed them if they were too difficult to handle.

Only he and Laura knew why he took them.

And she wasn't saying.

To anyone.

"Right," he said. "We have to go."

"So short a visit, Liam," said Laura. "When you have time...."

"I sure will, doc," he said. "I'll call you again soon. Promise" He held up his hand with his thumb up.

Laura glanced at Emma and then back to him with a sceptical look on her face.

"Mmm. I'm sure," she said softly.

He picked up the case and looked at Emma so that she could get the groceries.

"You're certainly packing today, Liam," said Laura referring to the weapons he was carrying. Surely Emma would start to get suspicious as to how all these people were so good at clearly seeing what he went to such lengths to conceal. "Surely," she smiled seductively, "you weren't afraid of me?"

"Er, no," he said, "they wouldn't be enough to stop you."

He smiled as he thought about her.... There was still something between them, but he pushed it out of his mind.

At least she's useful. She's your type. Not like the scientist.

Say what you like. As soon as I get home, you're gone.

We'll see.

"Well, better go," he said, walking over and giving her a light peck on the cheek. Laura turned her face and also gave him a quick brush on his lips with hers. "Er, um I have to cook dinner. We're eating in tonight."

She nodded. Then she looked to Emma.

"Bye," she said with no emotion, not even offering her hand.

They started to walk to the door when Laura said something softly.

"Maybe you can cook me dinner some time."

She looked wistful, even a little sad.

"You've never cooked me dinner."

Hansen could feel himself blushing as he opened the door and let Emma out.

"Sure thing, doc," he said over his shoulder as the door closed. "Sure thing."


Emma's ears perked up a little. Apparently this was not your run of the mill headache medicine. So obviously, headaches weren't his only problem. She felt a twinge of remorse for feeling guilty about Laura. She obviously cared about Liam, even if it did seem to make him feel a little uncomfortable. Maybe it was just because she was there, invading their personal time. But she had offered, hadn't she?

Glancing away, she studying her scuffed shoes for a little while. Liam was making fast tracks to get out of there. Picking up the groceries, she gave Laura a curt nod and followed him out, catching the tall blondes wistful thoughts. She said nothing until they were out of there.

He turned them into the direction of 'home' or so she was hoping. With all the places they had been, to Emma it was impossible to distinguish where the hell they were at. She wasn't used to all this traveling about the city. The silence between them was deafening. She wanted to talk, to ask questions, to poke about and get some info, but was too afraid to piss him off.

"You certainly have a lot of friends, Liam." She stated casually, her stomach clenching with hunger. "I'm getting a whole new view of city."

Not going to talk about Dr. Glamor, she told herself. Not...gonna...do...it. He owed her no explanations. "So what are you cooking tonight? Or shall i do the honors? Either way, I am starving." She yammered on, noticing the dimming light of the day turning into dusk. "I hope those pills work. I hate to have our local hero be down and out. I certainly hate it when my head starts pounding. Makes for a crap day all around."


They were walking back towards his place. He didn't have to rush now, so they could do it at a more leisurely pace, although they still needed to keep a look out for SPF's. He had been surprised that the SPF's were thin on the ground, but most of his movements in the past few months had been at night, so it was possible they had focused their attention on that time.

He felt relieved to walk beside Emma without having to explain something or introduce her to something new. It gave him some quiet and he liked that. The hazy sun was just starting to go down. Then she spoke.

Of course.

She was angling for information, but trying to be casual. He knew that at some stage, she would want to know about these people, how he knew them and why would they be so willing to help him in what was obviously going to be a dangerous situation.

"I do," he said.

That was it. He could explain later, when they ate. He was enjoying the silence between them.

You had been.

Hey, you're back. Not for long. I've got the Palazonol.

It won't work.

We'll see....

It wasn't the most romantic way to describe it, but he was getting used to her. She really was a good sport and she had coped so far with everything that had been thrown at her.

And she was attractive. Not in a Laura Black way. Shit, no one was that attractive....or dangerous. But she was beautiful and she was smart. He needed smart right now because he was invested in this. Emma didn't know, but he would be doing this with or without her and he would much prefer it to be with her. Soon they'd be back at his place and they could work out what to do next. The surveillance cameras at Jimmy's had been bugging him and he couldn't quite put his finger on it. He would, though.


She could talk, that was for sure. He guessed she wasn't any worse than anyone else, it was just that he hadn't been accustomed to so much communication.

Since Jess.

She was talking again....

He turned to her as they walked. He was tempted to say that his head would stop pounding if she would stop talking, but he thought that might be rude.

Since when did you care about rude?

Since now.

You never used to. Must be love.



"Yes, I get severe pain in my head," he said, happy that she thought that. "Laura can get those for me." He winked and patted his coat pocket. "The special stuff, you know?"

He hoped that would keep her happy for a while. He had to take one tonight and he was worried about her staying with him. Unfortunately, there were no other options. He thought that tonight might be a good night for a few drinks and a talk. She might go to sleep earlier with a good meal and drinks under her belt. He would expect that she'd feel tired after all the walking they'd done. Yes, that's what they'd do, have a nice night in and try and get her to sleep. He had to take the Palazonol.

He felt better now that he had it in his pocket. Relief wasn't far away. Just the thought of it there made him feel better. He slowed a little and turned to her.

"Ok, Emma Hopson, I'll take you up on the cooking if you like," he said. "Seeing you don't do socks, you may as well do something."

He shifted the case to his other hand and reached down absentmindedly to grab her hand.

"No pressure at all, Irish," he said, "but I'll tell you after trying dinner whether you're worth keeping around or not."

He laughed and they kept walking.

I could get used to this.



She laughed along with him. He'd like her cooking...even if he didn't admit it. It was actually once thing she enjoyed doing. One got tired of fast food and even though she lived alone, she enjoyed a good meal. Maybe she was a bit of a foodie. All she knew was she enjoyed food and was terribly cranky when hungry. However, Liam was making her smile despite the hunger pains that plagued her belly. The pastries had long since warn off and they hadn't bothered with lunch. She was going to have to start packing them food to take on their trips around the city. He was a machine.

Well...not a complete machine. He was in pain. But not the sort of pain he was trying to convince her of. This went deeper and he was trying his damnedest not to show it.

"I suppose those are fair terms." She responded and shot him a cheeky grin, her eyes sparkling. She wouldn't push and prod...much. Not unless she felt he needed her to or put them in danger. But she was curious. She wanted to know about all these people at the very least.

The image of Dr. Glamor flashed in her memory and she stuffed her away, feeling mildly irritated. Yep she got them for him...she was sure that's not all she got for him. She inwardly sighed mentally shook herself. Quit being a bitch. It doesn't matter what she does for him.

She was more than glad to reach his place again and this time wasn't so worried about traipsing through abandoned buildings. She blew out a sigh of relief when the steel door shut behind them. "Home sweet home." She sighed dramatically and giggled, kicking off her shoes before taking the groceries to the kitchen. Time to cook.


Emma agreed to cook. He didn't mind. He was a good cook, but was liable to be a little more utilitarian, using food as an energy source rather than something that was to be enjoyed and savored.

Like her.

Fuck off, mate. As soon as I can get her to sleep, you're gone.

They shut the door behind them. He dropped the case on the floor and she put the groceries from Mrs. Chan on the kitchen bench. It felt good to be back. He needed to think and plan. He wanted to hurt them. Emma didn't realise it yet, but her plight gave him an excuse, a reason to go after the fuckers again. He'd kept his head down for a while, but now he was recharged. He wanted to cause them pain.

She kicked her shoes off and the scene was almost domestic. Her looked at her small feet and they looked, well....cute. He'd forgotten what that was like, to share space with someone. Sure, she talked a lot, but it was a small price to pay for her banter and companionship. He'd almost forgotten about the shackles. There'd been no need for them to be apart so it hadn't crossed his mind, but at some stage, that had to be handled. Fifty meters wasn't enough room for what he wanted to do. Also, that would be too close for her and he didn't want her in that sort of danger.

"I don't know what Mrs. Chan put in there for us, but I'm sure it'll be good," he said. "Feel free to make whatever you like. In the meantime, I'm having a beer. Like one?"

Without waiting for her answer, he walked over to the fridge and pulled one out for himself and one for her. If she didn't want it, then it wouldn't be a problem for him to have it. Shit, two beers were like an entrée for him.

He took his assorted weaponry from his person and put them neatly at one end of the bench. He pulled up a stool on the opposite side of the bench, opened his beer and then sat there to watch her prepare the meal.

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