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History Between Us

By linkthehero

Replies: 57 / 258 days ago

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Eli froze when he heard the door creek and Tatum's voice coming from inside the bathroom. It wasn't as if he was shy about the circumstanced, he just couldn't believe this was something she was willingly doing. That, and he wouldn't let himself think of what this level of comfort could mean for them.

"Um," he started after her usual myriad of questions. "It was a spur of the moment lie I had to tell to get us this room," he said, defending himself, though not unkindly. "She was going to put us upstairs and there would be no way to escape easily. It was the first thing I thought of." He poked his head out of the shower curtains and looked at her. "And it's not like she's going to see you. Her job is in the office. Motels aren't fancy. They don't give a shit. Besides, you're not going to open the door for anyone and they wouldn't come in when someone is staying here."

He ducked his head back inside. He was about to apologize for making the plans without her, despite the fact he had no idea he would have to, but then it was as if she realized where she was. He heard her mumble an apology and left, but not before running into the door.

He hurried his shower along and stepped out soon after. He realized in his haste to rinse the day off, he hadn't brought in spare clothes. Considering what she had just done, he counted this as payback. He wrapped the towel around his waste and made his way into the room to grab his things.

"Look, I'm sorry for not running it by your first," he said, going through his clothes. "But I couldn't exactly put everything on pause to run out to the car to ask if it was alright with you. Sometimes I'm going to have to lie to make sure you're safe. It's for [i your] safety. And it's my job to know how to protect you. So please, just let me do it. We'll be out of here tomorrow and you won't have to worry about the cover story."

He returned to the bathroom, but the kept the door open so he could hear her as he pulled on his sweats to sleep in.
[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 The drive seemed to take a lot longer than she wanted. She was getting more and more hungry, and she was getting bored as well. The silence wasn't too bad, it was comfortable really. Something she wasn't expecting at the time. When they finally pulled off to get a bite to eat, she let out a small breath she had been holding. She waited until he was back in the car before running in herself to use the restroom. It had been a long drive, and she had been holding it for awhile, and was glad they finally stopped.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 When they were back on the road, the car smelling of food she was happy. She slipped the shoulder belt behind her head, and made herself more comfortable as she ate. She bounced one of her legs lightly as she looked back out the window. She wanted nothing more than to capture the beauty of the country side she was seeing. Any other time she would be out of the car, snapping pictures and taking selfies. She smirked at the thought now, they were pointless now. At least for the time being anyway.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 When she was finished eating she threw the trash into the bag, and took Eli's and did the same. She didn't know what to really talk about, and she had the feeling he wasn't in the mood for chit chat either, so she kept her mouth shut. She watched as the sunset, and he finally pulled into a motel's parking lot. It looked a bit run down, but taken care of. She looked towards him and nodded lightly knowing to stay put. She kept the doors locked as she watched him run inside. She watched the two inside a small smile on her lips.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 The older woman reminded her so much of her grandmother, that it broke her heart. She wanted nothing more than to go inside and hug the woman tightly. As the thought passed over her mind, Eli was coming back out. She unlocked the doors for him and stayed in the shadows the best she could. She didn't know who was watching, or if anyone was really around. As he spoke about them being married her jaw dropped. What surprised her more was that he said she was pregnant as well.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 Before she could stay anything he was out of the car and heading towards the hotel room. She hurried and followed behind him. She closed the door behind her, saw the Queen bed and sighed inwardly. She kicked off her shoes and sat on the edge of the bed, simply testing it out first. She then turned towards him and narrowed her eyes a bit. She crossed her arms when he walked into the bathroom. She was still trying to wrap her mind around what he told her in the car. She didn't have a ring, and she sure as hell didn't look pregnant.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 That's when she heard the male yell out and her heart slammed against her chest, then he called out about cold showers. She stood and walked into the bathroom and placed herself on the toilet. [#cc6699 "That's karma for not planning this whole marriage thing out with me first, along with being pregnant as well. Did you tell the old lady how far along I was? What if she comes around and you aren't here? Plus if you want to act like a married couple then we might as well plan shit out"] she muttered.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 She was more annoyed that he did all of this on his own. She did want to make the woman believe them, because in the morning it would be a little harder to hide her in the car. That and her stomach was flat as well. She sat there listening to the water running before she realized what she was doing. She turned a bright shade of red and hurried to her feet. [#cc6699 "I'm sorry"] she stammered as she hurried out of the bathroom. In her haste she hit her elbow on the door jab.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 [#cc6699 "Shit.."] she muttered rubbing her elbow as she hurried and closed the door behind her. She was still blushing when she was in the bedroom. Her elbow was throbbing a bit with how hard she had hit it. Then again that had been her own fault. She shouldn't have gone in there with him. Then again a part of her knew what she was doing. She still felt a bit flustered with the whole thing. She sat on the edge of the bed, and waited for the male to finish his shower before talking about anything else.]]
Eli heard her out and nodded. H could understand her hesitancy. She had been through a lot and the last thing he wanted was for any more unnecessary stress to be put on her. He glanced over at Tatum as he drove.

"She won't pry. She never has before," he told her. Devi was good at what she did. Great, even. And in order to be great, she also had to be discreet. He had gone to her many times before for help and she never asked about his missions. She never once asked for more than he gave. [i In more ways than one,] he thought to himself, knowing this visit would be rather different. Especially now that he had Tatum tagging along.

The silence returned to the car, but it wasn't awkward by any means. Over the past couple days they had grown used to each other's constant presence. Tatum shifted beside him and he kept his eyes on the road as she spoke again. He nodded at her question.

"Next town we hit, we'll get some food," he assured her. After her next words he couldn't keep the small grin from coming to his lips. In such a short amount of time what used to annoy him about Tatum now just seemed charming. "I'm sure that can be arranged," he added, offering her a warm glance. They were on the run for their lives and she was worried about smelly clothing. When they first met he might have grown irritated with the demand, but she wasn't demanding, she was [i asking]. And now he just found it cute of all things. After another long silence, he thought aloud. "We'll probably need to find a motel tonight."

The day stretched on. For what seemed like a hundred miles there was not a town in sight. Eventually, one came upon them in the late morning and he took the off ramp hastily. He was starving and he needed to piss.

They easily got back into the road trip groove and by nightfall he was looking for the most strategic motel. He didn't want a town too small: it would be obvious they would hide there. The more people the better. But he didn't want a town in the middle of several thoroughfares. Eventually he found one that suited him and he pulled in to the circle drive slowly. The neon sign above the door said [i vacancy] and was flickering off and on, so who really knew.

For a moment he didn't move. He just looked into the window at the woman behind the counter. She was well into her 80s and was knitting. He leaned across Tatum to look at the doors and the cars, gauging how many occupants might be here. He always liked to be prepared.

"Stay here," he said before pulling away from her. "I don't want anyone to see you up close. Not even granny in there." He opened his door and stepped out into the cool night. It wasn't as cool as the mountains, but a cold front must have pushed in. He locked the doors before he jogged up to the door.

The old woman looked up from her pearling and smiled at him. "Hello there," she said and then hacked. Smoker's cough. "Can I help you?"

"My wife and I need a room. Just for the night," he said without skipping a beat. Lying was not an issue for him. He'd had to become an expert in order do his work.

The old lady- her name tag read Gladys- looked outside the window and squinted through her glasses, trying to see the woman he spoke of. He assumed she was the gossiping sort. Unless Durham was hiring seniors now. She obviously couldn't see all that well, anyway, and looked back to him. "Course, dear." She stood up and started to grab the key nearest her. 15.

"Can we take 3 please?" he interrupted her movements and she shot a curious glance back to him. "She's pregnant. Stairs are hard for her right now."

"Oh, my, of course," she said with a smile and had to reach a little farther than her old bones would have liked. "Your first one?" she asked. She was moving at a grueling pace and she handed him a clipboard for his information.

"Yeah," he said, giving her a winning smile. "We're scared shitless." Any onlooker would have bought his story in an instant. His eyes actually shone with excitement over the prospect of having a baby. He quickly signed a random name.

"You're going to love it. It'll be hard work, but you'll get there. Children are little miracles."

Eli smiled and handed the clipboard back. "Thank you so much, Gladys. Have a good night."

She was charmed beyond belief and went back to happily knitting as he headed back out to the car. He had kept it and Tatum in his peripheral the entire time he had been inside.

He opened the car door again and drove them just a little ways down to door number 3. It was the most strategic spot for a getaway since the exit to the parking lot was right in front of them. He backed the car into the parking spot as that would save them time as well.

Finally, with a yawn, he got out and grabbed their bags. "You're my wife," he said to her as they moved towards the door. "And you're pregnant."

He opened the door and the familiar musty smell of old motel greeted him. There was one Queen sized bed in the middle of the wall with two lamps on either side. The TV hung on the wall opposite. A small desk sat in the corner. Just like every other motel room he had stayed in.

He tossed his bag onto the bed before turning to secure the door with both bolts, but he also propped the chair up under the handle. He had learned you could never be too safe. He made sure there were no gaps in the curtains before heading for the bathroom. "I'm going to rinse off," he told her and pulled his shirt off over his head before he closed himself in the bathroom. He didn't have to remind her to stay in the room. He knew she understood the importance of it all now.

He stripped and stepped into the shower and was greeting with ice cold water. "Fuck!" he shouted in surprise, realizing only a moment later that Tatum might have heard him. He didn't want her thinking anything was truly wrong, so he added, "I hope you like cold fucking showers," in a grumpy shout.
[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 Tatum took the water bottle he offered her and took the cap off. She then took a sip and nodded lightly. She wasn't going to push the issue. If he didn't want to talk about what was going on right away, she wouldn't pressure him to do so. She was trying to better herself in that aspect, and she was kind of glad they had that little talk by the waterfall. That seemed to change everything for them. They seemed to be on better terms, and she wondered how long that would last. She then turned her eyes out the window.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 As she sat there watching the trees pass by, he finally spoke about his friend. She turned her attention back to the male and nodded lightly as she gripped the water bottle a little bit tighter. [#cc6699 "That's fine with me. As long as I don't get grilled again about what's going on, or why someone put this hit out on me, I'll be okay and I'll play nice"] she promised. She wasn't meaning to sound like a bitch, but she's been through so much that she didn't want someone else grilling her about this.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 The silence then washed over them once more, and she pulled one of her legs up towards her chest, trying to get as comfortable as she could. [#cc6699 "Do you think we can stop and get something to eat? I'm not saying right now, but when you feel like we are far enough away. Being given fifteen minutes isn't a lot of time to really eat anything either"] she said lightly. She knew she would end up getting more and more hungry as the day wore on, and she didn't know how long they would be on the road for.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 [#cc6699 "Also, do you think we could do a little clothes shopping as well? When we get to wherever we are going. I could give you my size and you and your friend could go, and I'll stay wherever you want me to stay. Because soon we will both run out of clean clothes, and if we aren't able to get to a washer and dryer, then they are going to get smelly and fast"] she said lightly. She wasn't meaning to hound him, just trying to state a fact is all.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 She then fell silent as she turned her eyes back to the window. She leaned her head back and watched the scene change before her. Soon they were back on the main road, and she wanted nothing more than to go back into the mountains. Away from everything that was happening. Away from this nightmare she was now living in. She felt tears sting her eyes as she bit the inside of her cheek trying to keep herself in check. She felt like a small child all over again. She wanted her mother badly just then.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 She knew that wasn't going to be happening any time soon, but a girl could dream. She placed the closed water bottle on the seat beside herself, as she wrapped her arms around her bent leg. She didn't say anything else the rest of the ride. She kept to her thoughts, wishing there was some other way to distract herself from them. She rested her chin on her knee, not turning towards the other the rest of the way. She didn't want him to see how weak she was just then, and she hated herself for it.]]
Eli couldn't help the small smile from coming to his face as he listened to Tatum attempt to get herself ready. He knew fifteen minutes wasn't a lot of time, but he wanted her to be ready in case they really had to move in such little time. As much as he hoped, he knew it wouldn't always be slow mornings and nice walks to lakes.

As he was giving her the space to gather her things, he was hauling his own out to the car. Everything was packed up except for Tatum's things just as she came outside and he helped her load her bag into the trunk.

"To a friend's," Eli replied, not unkindly. He turned back to the house and after pacing through it one last time, he verified that everything was exactly how they had found it. Or at least close to. If the owner's really hadn't visited in so long, they wouldn't notice a coaster out of place.

He stepped back outside and let Tatum lock the place back up. He got the car started as she placed the key back into it's hiding spot. And then she was there beside him again. He held out a water bottle for her for the road and took a sip of his own.

He couldn't remember when things had become so friendly between the two of them. His mind went back to the day they had gone to the lake and knew that had been the start of it. That was the moment they had started to figure each other out. She had even given him not one, but two kisses on the cheek, which he was still very confused about. If he let him sink into this fiction much farther he might start to forget that he had originally been the one contracted to kill Tatum in the first place.

He reminded himself often that she had been the reason he had seen the light. She was the sole reason he had broken away and turned again Durham and his people. He could kill corrupt, capitalist, arms-dealing businessmen all day. But a girl with absolutely no file? He couldn't do that.

To break him away from his thoughts as he pulled back onto the main road, he decided to finally answer Tatum's question in detail now. He hadn't meant to be so vague. "I have a friend. She's loyal to me." He didn't elaborate on this. What he meant was she wouldn't go running to Durham to give him away if they went to her for help. But that would take explaining more than he would like to about his past.

The truth was that her parents were looking more and more suspicious as his research continued, but all proof had been buried.

"I can usually find whatever I'm looking for in those databases, but someone is covering their tracks." He watched the road and eyed the few cars they passed. "I need some help. I'm much better at shooting at things than I am with computers. She knows I'm coming, so we get in, she hacks a few things for me, then we get out. And then I'll be able to see everything I need to in order to find out who wants you dead and why."

He looked over at Tatum as he spoke, making sure she understood the plan. "Is that okay?" he asked softly. He was running this show, but he promised himself- and Tatum- that he was done pulling her around without explanation.
[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 Ever since their little hike, things seemed to have changed a little bit. He wasn't as tough on her, and he seemed more gentle towards her as well. It was kind of strange but she didn't feel like she had to hide away as much now. She had made it a point to cook the meals, so that way they would still have something hot to eat at night. While she was curled up on the couch, and she knew that he was distracted with his search she looked and watched him. Something about the way he looked melted her heart.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 She had to admit to herself, he was handsome and she sure did enjoy watching him. The way his jaw moved ever so slightly. The way he focused on the screen before him. She knew he would tell her if he came across anything, and that's all she had asked for. She smiled to herself as she lowered her eyes back to her book. After awhile she stood and carried the book with her into the kitchen and made them both something to eat. When it was done, she carried his plate out to him.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 She didn't really say anything as she placed it down in front of him. She wanted nothing more than to reach out and touch his cheek gently. It wouldn't be right. She was kicking herself for even thinking about it. [#cc6699 "Try not to stay up too late okay?"] she said softly. She pretty much told herself [i fuck it] and leaned down kissing his cheek again. She then retreated back to the kitchen to clean up, and then retire to her bedroom. Things were more relaxed now, and she knew not to get too comfortable with it.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 [center [b [i Two Days Later.]]]]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 A small groan passed through the woman's lips when she heard the male's voice. She slowly peeked out from the covers and looked towards the door. [#cc6699 "Alright.. I'll be ready.."] she said lightly. It wasn't much time, but at least she would keep to her word for sure. When he left to go and pack his things she slowly rolled out of bed, found her notebook and opened it to a new page. She took a minute or two to write down what's happened.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 She then packed it up with the rest of her things. She then changed into a pair of jean shorts, and a light blue tank-top. It was going to be pretty hot, and she didn't want to die while being in the car. She then grabbed her things, made sure nothing was left behind and wondered if she could contact her friend to let him know they had been there. Or if they were just leaving everything the way they found it. At least she made the bed before walking out of the room.]]

[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Noto+Sans][noto+sans [size12 [#cc6699 "Where are we going?"] she asked as she opened the door and slipped out into the chilly morning air. That's the joy of being in the mountains, it wasn't too hot. She shivered slightly as she helped load the car. She then slipped into the passenger seat and put her seatbelt on. Her stomach growled a bit, and wondered if they would stop for something to eat. She wasn't in the mood to ask, so she would wait a little bit longer before bringing it up. She would need coffee as well later on down the road. For now she was set.]]
They returned to the cabin in silence. They had said all they needed to say, apparently. Eli was honestly thankful because he wasn’t sure how much longer he was willing to stay out here. She claimed they were safe and that hardly anyone knew this place existed, but Durham’s people were hunters and they did not give up so easily. They would eventually come across this place in their research, he knew. All it took was a little digging to find out she had a friend who had a cabin. Just because they weren’t in contact anymore didn’t mean there weren’t traces of conversation hidden around the internet for them to find. They would have to move within the next couple of days.

When they entered the cabin again he locked everything back up, double checking the security. Tatum disappeared for a moment and returned after she had changed into something comfortable. She mentioned food and he nodded. It was apparently decided that when they were hunkered down like this, she would be making the food when it wasn’t something as simple as sandwiches. He gave her a small smile and nodded as he lowered himself to the couch and pulled his laptop out from the confines of his bag where he left it.

This laptop looked different than the average macbook. It was somewhat bulky, but lightweight, and had a long antenna. This high tech piece of equipment let him work off the grid from anywhere. He figured he might as well continue his research. There was no sense in delaying further.

He glanced up to see that Tatum had curled her legs up under her on the adjacent couch, her nose in a book. He looked back down at his laptop and began his work.

For two days he worked. It was not as simple as finding proof. He had a hunch, but these people were rich and had their secrets buried so deep that not even his systems could pick them up easily enough. Money was wired under false pretenses. Dates of events had to be changed. They had to have the money to pay off whoever they could, however they could.

He thought about telling Tatum about his suspicions, but he didn’t want to worry her unnecessarily. He had said he would tell her when he knew the truth and right now he was just chasing ghosts.

Eli woke up the following day and started to pack his things. It was time they left. He walked down the hall and tapped on Tatum’s door. When there was no answer, he opened the door a crack to make sure she hadn’t been carried away in the night. She was still there, sleeping soundly.

“Tatum,” he said softly, as not to frighten her awake. “It’s time to go. I want to move out of here in fifteen minutes, okay?”

Somehow in the past two days they had managed to form a kind of strained friendship. Whatever it really was, it was not the same relationship they had when they had first met. That walk in the woods had really changed something for them, and Eli, while still uneasy dealing with people, was glad for it.

He left to go finish packing up his things and went to the kitchen to grab all the food that would travel with them. There wasn’t much left, but they would pick up more soon.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 Tatum slowly made her way through the trees and back to the cabin. When the cabin was in view she slowed down a bit. Her mind was racing wondering if she had made the right choice. Would he think less of her if she changed her mind? She wasn't about to do that to herself though either. She wanted to know, and she had to commit to that. She wrapped her arms around herself as she made her way up the steps and back into the cabin. She slowly made her way to her bedroom and shut the door behind her.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 The walk had done a lot to clear her mind, and she had seen a side of Eli that she hadn't seen before. He had been so gentle with her, that it kind of took her off guard. She wouldn't mind seeing that side of him more often. She sighed lightly as she walked away from the door. She might as well make herself comfortable since they were stuck here for awhile. She changed into a pair of sweats, and a tank top before grabbing a book and slipped her boots onto her feet.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 She then slipped back out of the room and into the living room. [#cc6699 "When you get hungry let me know, and I'll whip something up for you"] she said lightly to the male. She might as well try and take a small load off his shoulders. She knew she hadn't been the easiest person to deal with, and he also wasn't the easiest person either. But she was willing to work on it, as long as he was. She walked over to the couch and sat down pulling her legs up under her. She took a breath and let it out slowly.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 Her whole world changed in the span of days, and she felt lost and alone. Her parents didn't know where she was. Would they be looking for her? Or were they glad to finally be rid of her? She didn't understand why she was thinking like that, but she couldn't help it. She looked towards the male watching his movements. Since their little talk by the waterfall she didn't feel like she had to walk on eggshells around him, at least for the time being she didn't fell like it.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 She was curious about his line of work, but she would save that for a later time. She turned her eyes to the book in her lap and opened it, and started where she had left off. This was the only thing that would be keeping her sane at the moment. The silence wasn't awkward like it had been at first. For a small change she felt comfortable, and that was a really odd feeling.]]
Eli was reminded just how much Tatum thought aloud in the moments that followed, yet he listened to every word she said, his hand remaining on her arm as a sort of comfort. When she mentioned being stronger than he thought she was, he nodded.

"You've proven as much already," he admitted to her and finally dropped his hand. He thought that was that, but she had more to say. He put his hands in his pockets and let her speak her mind. He had asked, after all.

As she worked it all out, he found himself looking over her features. She reminded him of a rabbit with her platinum hair and soft features. But he had seen she didn't scare like one. She had more guts than he had given her credit for this entire time, and he owed her an apology.

Just as he was about to say so, she was instead [i thanking] him. A wave of guilt crashed over him. If only she knew that he used to work for the people that were tasked with with her assassination. He reminded himself that he wasn't a part of that any more, but it didn't change the fact that she would surely feel differently about him. He was a killer, too.

"I'm not giving up on you," he said softly. "And I'm sorry for ever giving you that impression," was all he could say in response. "I'll tell you everything I find."

His dark thoughts were ripped away when she reached to plant a kiss on his cheek. He blinked and turned to look at her, his brows lowered in confusion. She didn't give him any time to think about it because she was off again and he was left wondering what the hell had just happened. He realized his mouth was open, so he shut it before following after her.

He would not admit to himself that he enjoyed that kiss...
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 Right as she was about to turn around and walk off she felt the male's hand on her arm holding her in place. She turned her head and looked towards him. She was about to speak when he started speaking instead. She stood there listening to what he was saying. She kept her mouth shut for a moment as she let his words sink in. Did she really want to know what he found? Could she handle the pain she knew it would cause her? Did he really think she was that weak of a person?]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 She honestly felt at a loss at the moment. She chewed on the inside of her cheek a moment before she finally found the courage to speak. [#cc6699 "No I'm not sure I want to know what you find, but at the same time I do because I want to know who would do this to me. Who would want me dead? If it is someone in my family yes it will hurt like hell, and I will need some time to process it, and somehow grieve in my own way. I don't want you keeping me in the day either"]]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 [#cc6699 "I have a right to know, at least that's how I feel about it. If you think not telling me would protect me, then you are wrong. I'm a lot stronger than you think I am. I can handle it, just in my own way"] she whispered. Just thinking about all of this was already tearing her up inside. Was it someone close to her? Someone she really cared about? Was she really worth the money for the kill? She slowly turned her eyes away from the male before her, fighting the urge to cry.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 Yes everything was fucked up, and her whole world was already crumbling around her. What could cause more damage? She took a breath and spoke once more. [#cc6699 "I mean I won't make you tell me [i everything] you find, because I understand if you can't. But I would at least like to know a little bit. Just don't be surprised if I close off and don't open up to you, or talk to you, or want to be around you, but that's something I have to work on myself with myself."]]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 [#cc6699 "Just don't give up on me quite yet.. I've surprised you so far haven't I? Just trust me, at least a little bit? You are putting your life on hold for mine. Which I'm really glad you have, and I don't think I have thanked you enough for that. So again, thank you for everything you have done so far for me"] she said lightly. She took a step forward and stood on her tip toes and kissed his cheek lightly. Something that wasn't normal for her, but felt like he deserved it. He was after all protecting her.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 She lowered herself back down to her feet and cocked her head to the side. [#cc6699 "Let's go before you start worrying about something else"] she said with a small teasing note in her voice. She had seen a softer side to him, and the feeling of his hand on her arm was sending shivers up and down her spine. She wouldn't mind feeling those once more. She just hoped he wouldn't be so cold towards her anymore. She would treat him the same way, and be more gentle like he had just been with her. She wasn't the only one suffering right now.]]
Eli smiled ever so slightly at her jest and then they were off through a small path in the trees. He glanced back at the cabin, nervous to leave his things, but he reminded himself he used to leave them in his car in the city and this was much safer than that. When he returned his gaze forward he saw that she was looking back at him. And just like that her eyes were gona and her boots picked up their pace. His long stride had no trouble keeping up.

While they walked he made a mental checklist of all the suspects he needed to look up. Past boyfriends of Tatum's, ex- best friends. Even her parents. To put a hit on someone through Eli's organization- or rather [i ex]-organization- one had to have certain ties the average civilian didn't have. And money. Lot's and lots of money. But just because someone didn't seem thebpart didn't mean it wasn't them. He had to dig up dirt on everyone who knew her.

It wasn't too much longer before they broke through the treeline and into the clearing. Eli had heard the waterfall before he saw it and it was much larger than than he imagined. It spilled into a large body of water that then pooled and began a new course through the woods.

He only nodded at her question, still taking in the view. He leaned down and touched the water, thinking about how long it had been since he had been swimming in a lake. Probably his childhood, before his parents were killed and Durham found him full of an anger and rage he promised to teach him to control. Eventually that bit him in the ass.

There was a long silence between them when they both were simply just taking in their surroundings. And then Tatum spoke again. He stood, listening, knowing she wasn't simply demanding he tell her things. Her tone was different than he had ever heard it before. He sighed softly and looked out at the water again. He didn't answer he right away. She seemed to take his silence as his reply and continued and shook his head at her apology.

She turned, no doubt to head back to the cabin. He took her arm in his hand to stop her, gentler than he had ever grabbed her before. She could easily have slipped away if she wanted to.

"Listen," he said softly. "You might not like whatever I find." His eyes met hers, earnest. Honest. "If there is anything that would hurt you so bad you wouldn't recover from it, would you really want to know?" He let that question hover in the air for a second before continuing. "Whoever did this to you has to be someone close. Someone you even love. Are you sure you can handle that kind of pain?"

It was not a mocking question. Rather one that stemmed from the rare kindness he showed. He needed her answer before he would agree to tell her anything he found out. He wasn't sure he could participate in causing her pain otherwise. His eyes moved between her own, waiting.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 The female knew he wouldn't want to agree to the hike right away, and was surprised when he did agree to it. She looked towards him and took the water bottle he handed her. [#cc6699 "It'll take a good thirty minutes tops. Maybe an hour, depending on how fast you can keep up"] she said with a small teasing note in her voice. It wasn't like her to really tease people, but right now she needed it. She didn't want him thinking she was a spoiled brat. She knew he didn't like her in the first place.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 She then started walking ahead of him heading into the trees. She also didn't fully understand why he was so harsh with her either. She understood she had a bounty on her head, but she didn't know why. She was just glad he was willing to work on things with her. She looked over her shoulder at him and picked up the pace a little bit. She turned back around and slid the water bottle into her back pocket as she walked. It was up a small hill. About ten minutes later she broke out of the trees into a clearing.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 She was surprised she had remembered where this place was. She bit her lip lightly as she looked over towards the man. [#cc6699 "What do you think? Beautiful isn't it?"] she asked as she looked towards the waterfall once more. She moved over to the edge slowly and looked down. She wondered if she could escape long enough from the male to come swimming later on. She knew it wouldn't happen, but a girl could dream once in a while though. She looked down into the water below and took a breath.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 The sight before her was picture perfect. She wanted nothing more than to snap some pictures, but knew it wouldn't happen. At least she was able to see it in person though. She pulled the water bottle out of the back pocket of her jeans and twisted the cap off and took a sip. She then turned and faced Eli. She wanted to bombard him with more questions, but changed her mind about it. She let the silence wash over them as she took in the beauty around her instead. [#cc6699 "It's peaceful here.."] she said softly.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 In a different time she would have come out here just to escape everyone around her. Right now she understood she couldn't spend a lot of time alone here. She sighed lightly as she looked towards him once more. [#cc6699 "If you find anything out, will you tell me? I want to know as much as you do why there's a hit out for me.."] she finally admitted. She wanted to know why her own father would do this to her. Why anyone would do this to her in the first place. It wasn't like she was something special or anything.]]

[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather][merriweather [size12 [#cc6699 "I'm sorry for being such a pain in the ass too. Thank you for coming out here with me. We both needed the fresh air before being locked back up in that cabin.."] she breathed out. She wanted nothing more than to stay here for hours on end. She had made a promise to go right back to the cabin though. She took one last look at the water below, along with the waterfall and then turned and headed back towards the cabin. She wasn't in the mood to piss the male off.]]
After he had finished changing, Eli emerged into the living room to organize his things. He really needed to take out his laptop and do some digging on Tatum and to see why there was even a hit on her head in the first place. Before he could pull it from his bag, though, he heard her speak behind him and he turned quickly to catch her watching him.

A hike? She was wanted dead, and now Elijah was as well for aiding her. They were so far up Shit Creek and yet she wanted to take a nice little [i stroll?]

"Yeah, alright," he said, surprising himself. "I won't argue." Perhaps she deserved a moment of respite, anyway. Perhaps they both did. And after his good night's sleep, he was feeling up for it. He was no longer groggy and tired, which made him angrier than usual.

He watched her leave, no doubt to get herself ready, and he used the time to tug on his boots and grab a couple bottles of water. He wasn't sure why he was going along with this, but he had no excuse not to. They were in the middle of nowhere. She would be with him. At least she wasn't sneaking off to find this waterfall on her own.

Soon he was following her outside and he found her around the back of the cabin. He held one of the bottles out to her. "We shouldn't take too long," he told her softly. "I want to start digging up anything I can when I get back." Then he held out his arm. "Alright trailblazer, lead the way."
[font "times new roman" As the two of them were talking, she was feeling ore and more comfortable around him. That was a really strange feeling, but at the same time she was enjoying it. When he mentioned not really wanting a family that kind of threw her off. What man didn't want to start a family? She could understand the line of work, or at least whatever he did. She was curious as to what it was, but she wasn't going to push him to tell her either. That wasn't like her in the least. He would come to her and tell her when he was ready.]

[font "times new roman" When he excused himself to go and change she was left alone. She looked out the window over the sink and bit her lower lip lightly. She wrapped her arms around herself and sighed. She hated being so cooped up. She wanted to go out and explore. Maybe that's what they both needed. To go out for a nice hike or something. She then turned and walked out of the kitchen and back into the living room where he was. She leaned against the door jab watching him with silent eyes for a moment.]

[font "times new roman" She cleared her throat just then and spoke [#cc6699 "I think you and I need to go for a hike. There's no other cabins around, and you and I are pretty much the only ones here, so no one will be able to follow us. There's this really pretty waterfall I want to show you. I at least want to get out of this cabin for a little bit. We have both been cooped up, and I'm not going to take no for an answer on this one"] she said in a stern voice.]

[font "times new roman" He had been telling her what to do for the longest time, that it was time she took charge at least for a moment. She then made her way to the bedroom and found some suitable hiking boots. Even if they were a bit big on her, she didn't care. She then pulled her hair into a ponytail, and gathered up some hiking things. When she was done she made her way back into the living room to see if he was ready or not. [#cc6699 "I'll be outside"] was all she said.]

[font "times new roman" She walked over to the front door and opened it and walked out. The cool morning air hit her skin and she let out a small sigh. It felt like she was home. She could get used to this that's for damn sure. She walked down the front steps and rounded the cabin towards the back. The sound of the birds chirping helped her relax a little bit. She was working on not being so stubborn, and she had to trust this male if she wanted to survive. She stood there looking into the woods waiting for the male to join her.]
Elijah considered her question for a long moment. And how she hadn't really seen him as the reading type. Then he shrugged. "A little bit of everything, really," he told her. "Whatever I can get my hands on when I'm on the move. There's not a whole lot to do when I'm on the job, hunkered down in my car. So I read."

He sensed the air change a bit when he told her how old he was after this, but it didn't last long. Perhaps he imagined it. And suddenly she was talking about cake mix and making his birthday up to him. Just as he was about to refuse this special treatment, she interrupted him. It was obvious she was not the kind to take no for an answer. He couldn't help but hold his hands up in surrender.

There was a short moment of silence. The pancakes were gone and he was thinking about getting up to get changed when she spoke again. His blue eyes glanced up to hers. He smirked a little. "I wish I fucking knew," he said, a little softly. "I doubt I'd have a family even if I wasn't in this line of work, though. Can't really imagine myself as a family man but maybe that's a personal thing." He started to gather up the dishes. He wanted to avoid the topic of 'his line of work' for as long as possible.

After rinsing their plates off, he used changing as an excuse to escape her gaze. He didn't know what it was about her, but he felt like she might be able to see right through him.
Eli Turner / linkthehero / 217d ago