A Midnight Masquerade~Pt 2

The sound of ticking forces me to pause.

“What the fuck is that?” I whisper shout to the man beside me, whipping my head to every corner of Rossis’ office. I’m usually calm in the worst of situations but nothing about that noise paired with the rossis’s reputation calms me.

“I thought my presence was useless?” He smirks, watching me dart around the room to locate the source of the noise, overturning papers and boxes.

“Fuck you’re irritating,” I scowl at him as he stands still with his arms folded, simply watching me instead of helping.

I scurry to every inch of the room trying to find the cause of the ticking noise. I still when the noise abruptly stops.

“Well that can’t be good,” he comments, with raised brows in mock fear. Loving my panic far too much.

We stand there together in silence, waiting.

Panic arises in me when the sound begins again, only this time it is quicker, harsher.

“Aaron, come on. At least fucking help me search,” I shout, furious with his incompetence.

His eyes widen fractionally, his expression sobering, “say that again,” he demands.

I huff a dry humourless laugh, perplexed at his meaning.

”What? your name? You freak, Aaron seriously I don’t have time for this, neither do you. We don’t know what that noise means.” I plead, my voice uneven. I hate not knowing, I always need constant control. Of everything.

“I think I just came. Fuck. That voice.” He sinks his teeth into his lower lip, groaning.

This man is certified insane, how is he taking more of an interest in my voice than a possible fucking bomb?

I blink at him, shortly distracted from my panic.

I didn’t expect him to be so, _vocal_, about his feelings.

“I’ll say it again If you help me locate that noise,” I offer, desperate.

_I know_, but Come on, I could get blown up here.

He sharpens immediately, Surprising me with his subservience.

He looks thoroughly through just about every nook and cranny, searching in spots I hadn’t.

If he wasn’t so irritating I’d be impressed.

“And this,” He holds out a short black circular device, with a red blinking dot placed dead centre of it. “Is why you need me.” His smug expression sits neatly on his sculpted face.

“We dismantled these in the first year of training, it’s just a standard sensor device. It will only alert its owner after thirty seconds, so we’re good,” he breezes out, apparently passionate about the subject. The thought that he was possibly a tech geek, an amusing one.

“Mm, you’ve proved yourself useful I suppose. Nice work. Why are you on this one, this mission? Please, just be honest.”

I can’t trust him immediately, I can’t be foolish, like that.

He appears amused with my question.

“I’m here solely to ensure the mission goes well, ask your chief. I don’t want credit. I also don’t play dirty. Well, between working hours.” A smirk tugs on his lips.

His words sting a little, did chief think I wasn’t able to complete this independently? I mean I know I took a long break but fuck. This was a kick in the tits. I come out on top every time in training. I worked damn hard to get to where I am today. Which part of that says incapable?

“Wow. Well for the record, I’m good at my fucking job, okay? God, how dare he have me babysat. I don’t need you overseeing me. You’re here because my chief is a fucking moron.” I spit, indirectly to Aaron.

“I’ve seen your rankings, Valentina. You’re skilled, it’s merely a precaution. These people.”He closes his eyes momentarily, inhaling deeply. Why would this affect him? He doesn’t know what went down, does he?

“Well, you already know. It would be foolish to send anyone in alone, especially in this fucking den of vipers.” He looks sombre, I have an urge to ask how much he knows.

“I guess there’s no point getting hung up on it, I’m here to do a job, and that’s all. You, you do whatever you want.” I huff.

“You naughty girl, we might have ten minutes,” he winks, to which I can’t help but laugh at his ridiculousness.

No. Fuck. He is not likeable.

“Nah you’re definitely a five-minute man.” I snort

“Mm I like a challenge, my face is very comfortable,” he replies, smooth as anything.

My head spins a little with these quick responses of his.

I’m not equipped for such a smart mouth, well smart in the sense he was quick. This imbecile displays very little emotional intelligence.

His brain resides south, above the knee, below the belt.

I just need to block him out. I can do that, right?

“I don’t even have a response,” I shake my head in disbelief at his sharp comebacks.

His eyes flicker with satisfaction, to have me speechless is quite a feat to be fair.

I won’t give in to him though.

“Just behave, alright? Say whatever but don’t distract me.” I order him, a little more flustered than I thought.

“I’m distracting you?” He asks, stepping a foot closer.

His scent invades my lungs, there’s a manliness to it. It’s rough and heady.

I take a step back, hating the way my blood heats at something so simple.

Fuck have some restraint, Valentina.

I don’t understand what’s wrong with me. Was it the lack of social interaction from these last few months of isolation? Im not usually affected this easily.

I take a breath, before speaking.

“Yes, by being a sleazy dick, now if you don’t mind I have work to do,” I say, hard and blunt.

He watches me, making a show of it. He’s trying to work me out. Being flustered isn’t in my nature, so why on earth is this stranger making me believe it is?

“It’s funny, I was told you were an excellent liar. I’m disappointed.

What is it they say in body language class? Dilated pupils? Apples of the cheeks become rosy. Slight sheen on the forehead.”

He closes the space between us, suffocating me with that treacherous scent, fuck you hormones.

His eyes flicker to my chest.

”Increased pulse. That’s some deep breathing you’re doing there Valentina,” he states, his voice rough. His tone accusing.

I consider his words, why am I breathing so heavily? And I’m hot, mid July hot. God this is not good.

Pull yourself together Val. You’re better than this.

I’m not giving in. I will not have a man ruin my mission.

“Okay, you’ve officially lost your mind. You know nothing, just stop talking.” I urge, verbally putting my foot down.

He gives a knowing smile, allowing me to have the final word, but really, he had it.

“So what’s the plan, baby?” he asks, his voice now gentle, a vast difference from thirty seconds ago.

God, he makes this difficult.

“Well, I’ve done the hard part. I thought it would be much harder to get up here. I’d assume there would be guards outside the door not just a lock.” I mutter, now slightly worried that I didn’t considered that before.

Am I really that rusty?

“Oh yeah, there were. They got taken care of,” he states offering nothing else.

“Fuck why did I not think of this before,” I say, more to myself.

Shock floods me when a calloused hand strokes my jaw, ”Valentina look at me.” He instructs, his tone serious, something in it calls to me to listen. ”I saw what you did to Mr Morgenstern, Clifton, in the hallway. You didn’t hesitate to put him down. You’re a fucking badass, you shouldn’t doubt yourself it’s pointless. Some things are out of our control. Had you seen the guards I took out, I’m certain you would’ve handled it swiftly and efficiently. This isn’t pity, it’s recognition. You’ve seen horrific things, you wouldn’t be blamed if you retired, but you understand how much those girls need to be avenged. You’re fucking incredible, don’t you dare forget it.” His eyes hold such an intensity, that it becomes difficult to hold his gaze. My jaw burns in the absence of his hand.

He read my personal file.

The intimacy of that knowledge makes his physical presence all the more intense.

What the fuck do I even say to that? Thankyou? Except, that doesn’t feel enough.

“Oh, I didn’t know you knew about what happened. You’re right yeah, that’s why I'm doing this. For them. I’m not good at emotional shit, okay? But thank you, Aaron.” I nod, appreciative of his words.

He steps back, as though he shocked himself with his sudden outburst of praise.

“You’re welcome. Now, let’s hear about that plan,” he says, a little cold for my liking. But I can’t begin to focus on pathetic things like that.

I have a mission, that is my only priority.

“I’ve researched this place thoroughly, the stupid prick thinks he’s so smart. I’ve memorised the blueprint, to put it simply he’s built passages inside his walls. It’ll be a little intricate getting through each wall but I’m confident I have sufficient time to do it, so, you coming?” I ask, amped and ready to swap these fucking codes and leave this version of hell.

I turn to move but stop in my tracks when he gives me a look that knocks the breath from my body.

“You’re so fucking admirable Valentina, do you know that? You don’t even need me, anyone. You're capable and beyond skilled. You’ve got my blood hot. If not today, or tomorrow or the next day. I will wait. I want nothing more than to have my head between your thighs. I don’t want anything, I don’t care about me. I just want to give you everything, all of it. That smart fucking mouth, the way you took Clifton down. I’ve never wanted to have my arm broken more in my life,” he breathes heavily, his chest rises and falls so quickly I worry he might have a stroke.

His gaze is heavy, consumed with lust. The greenish-blue tint swallowed up by his enlarged pupils. The sight stirs my stomach.

I match his breathing, his desperation for me. This is past an act now. He doesn’t need to put this on, he shouldn’t be saying this. But fuck do I want him to carry on.

This is so wrong, I shouldn’t feel aroused on a job. Where is my self-restraint?

“Aaron, stop talking. I can’t-“

“Can’t what, can’t do this? Like I said, I’ll wait. But fuck if you said yes right now I wouldn’t hesitate to shove you on that desk, and devour you right this minute. I’ve done my research you know. These walls.” He begins to walk toward me, not stopping until my back reaches the desk he just spoke of.

“They’re soundproof,” he states.

I put my hand on his chest, unsure of whether I was pushing him away or simply needing to touch him.

“Aaron.” I breathe, not knowing what else to say. I know right from wrong. I swear I do.

But his presence currently had me questioning whether that was true. How could a person's words affect another, so much?

He hasn’t touched me and my skin is on fire.

“Valentina,” he responds, also unable to find words for the electricity sitting between us.

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