Chapter 4

Authors Note: This Chapter has been revised.

Suddenly through the corner of her eye, a man with dark hair caught Emeralds attention. He came up next to her quickly causing her to look away from Serena and lower the gun.

"Shields!" Emerald gasped.

"Emerald!" he said in a panicked voice grabbing the gun out of her hands. He looked angrily into her eyes, "what do you think you're doing? What the hell is wrong with you? Why were you going to shoot her?"

Darien had originally gone to the Powers Corp. building to have it out with Diamond but when he saw Serena exit through the double doors he became distracted. That's when he saw Emerald trailing her not far behind. He had a bad feeling and made it his priority to follow the pair. Turns out his suspicions had been correct.

Emerald looked from his concerned face to Serena's disappearing form. A knowing smile crossed her lips.

"Enough with the fifty questions, don't tell me you've fallen for that blond little goody two shoes too?"

"This is better than I thought," she said amused.

He looked at her quizzically.

"You and Powers never seize to amaze me. For men who hate the guts out of one anther you both sure have a lot in common," She told him.

Darien looked to the direction Serena had left in for a second time and turned back to Emerald.

"Don't ever compare me to that unfeeling, cold hearted, Bastard again! Now tell me why were you about to shoot that woman? What did she ever do to you Emerald?" he asked annoyed.

"Correction, you mean unfeeling to all except ONE. By the way, since when did you care about the death of some random chick?" She told him with inquisitiveness as she lifted one of her brows.

"What?" He asked angrily as he grabbed her shoulders slightly and looked her straight in the eyes.

He watched as Emeralds wide Cheshire cat grin encompassed her entire face. Her eyes drifted towards where Serena once stood and to him this was her indicating the 'one' she was referring to.

"You're lying. Get out of here Emerald and go home." he said letting her go and giving a little chuckle.

He started walking away from the red headed woman in disbelief.

"Am I?" She called out to him as a statement, rather than a question.

'Nothing was making sense anymore,' he thought to himself as he rushed to catch up with Serena.

Emerald couldn't help but shake her head as she watched him retreat.

'They can go to hell for all I care. I'm tired of these fuckers. If they want that inexperienced little girl then they can have her. I'll find a way to make Powers pay for his neglect of me. Just wait, he'll be sorry.' She told herself sulking. Emerald turned away from where the two had disappeared and began heading back in the direction of her vehicle that resided in the Powers Corp. parking garage.


Serena just wanted the privacy of being alone for a couple minutes but she had ended up walking for more than an hour. Turning into a deserted alley she hugged herself and crouched low to the ground. She thought on everything that had happened that day and in the past week. Serena had been put in danger more than once but for some reason she couldn't break the feeling that now after losing her job she'd be in more danger than ever. One minute she was getting along well enough with her boss and then the next she was fired from her job.

She bowed her head and began to let the tears fall freely. When Darien had finally caught up with her it was her quiet sobs that gave her location away. He turned a sharp left and saw her huddled in what looked like an uncomfortable position. Her skirt was hiked up to her upper thigh and her jacket was unbuttoned and hanging open revealing a tad bit of cleavage. He walked over to her unnoticed until he leaned down and swooped her up into his arms.

Frightened at first she looked up at the face of the man holding her and waited for the tears to stop blurring her eyesight. After clearing them away she saw that it was him, Mr. Tall dark and handsome himself.

"Darien?" she squeaked out in a teary voice. "What are you doing here?"

"Come on," he told her, "let's get out of here. It's not safe for you to be in a place like this looking as beautiful as you do."

She smiled up at him and carefully wiped the remainder of the tears away trying not to mess up her mascara.

"All right," she agreed nodding her head as he put her down on her heeled feet and let her walk beside him.

He placed an arm around her shoulder to shield her from the cold draft and whatever other predator they may encounter along the way. She shied away from him at first not sure if she felt comfortable enough being so close to this man who was still a stranger to her.

'How did he even find me?' She wondered. 'Has he been following me this whole time?

Serena realized she was too drained and upset to worry about those answers at the moment. She was used to being alone; she lived alone since her parents had passed and when her younger brother Sammy had joined the military. Sammy went overseas a couple years ago but kept in touch, making sure to visit her every so often, but he was a lifer so she just got used to the idea that she would always be by herself. The feeling of comfort Darien offered her in this moment just felt too good to reject. It was much needed, even if she wasn't entirely sure what the intentions behind it were.

The couple could be seen through the snapping of a camera lens from atop a far off roof. The photographer stopped taking shots when the pair moved out of view. Pulling out a cell phone he began to dial in a number. After pressing send he only had to hear one dial tone before it was connected to the person on the other line.

"Boss, you're not going to believe this. Once that slut Emerald and Miss Tuskino made it outside the building Shields began tailing them. He just walked up to Miss Tuskino and it appears she knows him but they don't look very familiar with one another. I'll get you the voice recordings from her phone and we'll listen back to their conversation. I've got some stills for you as well. Boss?" Carmelo called into the phone.

The line was quiet for a moment, "Get them to me now," Diamond finally said irritated but feeling anxious.

'Was he wrong about this woman? Had she been undercover these past two days? Was she working for that piece of shit shields this whole time?' He speculated.

Diamond couldn't understand what Serena Tuskino was doing with Darien Shields but he wasn't going to allow himself to play into some sort of trap. He'll figure out Shield's little plan and then find a way to spin it back on him.

"Yes boss, right away, " Carmelo told him.

On that note both men hung up, ending the conversation.


Diamond pulled opened his laptop and began typing a coded email to the arms dealer about increasing their shipment. Upon sending it he looked down and saw the now cold cup of Vanilla Coffee that Serena had gotten for him earlier that morning still sitting half full on his desk. He couldn't help but stare at the cup and recall her smiling face. He stood up grabbing it roughly and threw it across the room. It hit the wall of windows, leaving splatters and droplets of coffee cascading down the glass.

'What the hell is wrong with me?' he vented to himself combing his fist through his hair.

Serena arriving late had irritated him, but her kind gesture of the coffee, in combination with how sexy she looked upon walking in made him forget his anger. Her determination to stay on even when the fear was evident in her eyes gained her his respect. Touching her hand alone had made him wanton.

'Damn it,' he yelled angrily at himself.

Emerald had seen everything and read him like a book, while at the same time fucking it all up for him. He hadn't expected Serena to go against him and defy him the way she had. Normally that sort of thing exasperated him to no end but when Serena had done it he couldn't help but admire her fearlessness.

Most Women were scared of his lifestyle and intimidated by his reputation, it was rare that someone as sheltered as Serena would stand up to him. She didn't even flinch when he ordered her to stay. She had rejected his attempt at keeping her close and safe under him twice in one day.

'No doubt Emerald had been there when the guard told Serena I wanted her to return to my office.' He thought feeling sure of himself.

What Emerald might be concocting had Diamond concerned for the blondes' wellbeing. Just seeing the looming glare Emerald gave Serena upon leaving his office had him knowing she wasn't going to let the blond walk away unscathed. But now that Serena had been spotted with Shields he felt not only deceived but he was also worried about harm coming from more than just Emeralds direction. Diamond got up and walked towards Serena's office. He opened the door, leaned against the frame and glanced over to all of the personal effects Serena had left behind. Her sweet looming scent wafted through his nostrils in the wake of her absence.

He pulled out his cell and dialed Sapphire downstairs, "I need you to send me up a new assistant."

Sapphire sighed deeply and agreed, "Anything else?" Sapphire asked.

"Males only! Understand?!" Diamond said waiting for a response but he only received a playful chuckle.

"I see", Sapphire told him.

The last thing Diamond cared to do was share his newfound woman troubles with his younger brother. The elevator binged behind him turning his attention away from the desolate office. It was Carmelo, here to report.

"In my office", Diamond called over his shoulder to the man in all black not far behind him.

Once in the office Diamond picked the stray coffee cup up off the floor and threw it in the trash bin next to his desk.

He sat down and Carmelo handed him a manila envelope. Turning in his chair with his back to the desk he faced the great city and slowly took the photos out. He could hear Carmelo setting up the speaker behind him, connecting it to a laptop. Diamond looked down at the photos. First one was of Emerald not far behind Serena pulling a small handgun out of her bag. This gave Diamond a feeling of dread and wrath.

'Damn it! Why didn't she listen to me and come back when I told her to!?' he scolded silently to himself.

He stopped for a minute to look at the blond not too far ahead of the red headed witch. Serena's hair had been blown by the wind mid still while her arms hugged the short sleeve blazer to herself in attempt to keep warm from the nipping wind. He caressed her form on the photograph with the tips of his fingers and then trailed them back to Emerald. He crumpled the photo throwing it to the waste bin and turned his focus back on the stack.

Looking down again he saw Serena farther off and Shields coming in next to Emerald. He flipped to the next shot, the gun was away now and Shields facing Emerald.

Next Shot: both of them looking in the direction Serena had disappeared in.

Next Shot: Darien looking angry holding the shoulders of a smiling Emerald.

Next Shot: Darien heading towards Serena and Emerald walks away in the opposite direction.

He wasn't enthused to see two people he hated conversing with one another like they knew each other so damn well, but he was relieved it allowed Serena to get away unharmed.

Next Shot: Sheilds coming upon Serena. Then it was just a shot of Shields and then one of Sheilds peering around a corner. The next shot made Diamond clench his fists. This beautiful strong woman crouched in the filthy alleyway crying. He closed his eyes when the sound of her voice entered his ears through the speakers on his desk.

Carmelo sat down in one of the empty chairs residing in front of Diamonds desk and listened closely to the conversation. The sound itself was of good quality but because the phone was in her pocket the transmission came out a little fuzzy every now and then.

"That will be all for now," Diamond said turning towards Carmelo and waving him off.

Carmelo looked to Diamond confused for a moment but then stood up and followed the order. Diamond waited for his goon to let himself out and listened to the sound of the door close. He could hear Serena sniffing and Diamond turned so that his chair faced the door. He dumped the rest of the photos down on the desk and slid over the picture of Serena crying as Sheilds stood over her. She seemed completely unaware.

Next Shot: Darien had picked Serena up, they were mid lift and she looked up at Darien confused.

Her voice flowed through the speaker defeated and soft, "What are you doing here?"

Serena acknowledging Darien gave Diamond the proof of her involvement with him. He shook his head irate and shut his eyes trying to rub the stress out of them. He looked back down as the scene played out in front of him in the form of photos.

Next shot: She put one arm around Shields neck to steady herself the way she had done with Diamond the night prior. The familiarity in comparison to the memory troubled him but it was not by any means an intimate embrace Diamond thought taking notice that she looked more uncomfortable than anything else.

Next shot: A close up of Serena with her hair flowing in the wind while her skin appears chilled and translucent. Diamond also observed her shortening skirt, discerning that it was way too high for his liking in the presence of Darien.

Her also noticed that Serena's' breasts were hiked up in her blouse giving Sheilds an eyeful. He determined this just by the angle he was looking from. Her bright beautiful eyes were hooded by long, thick lashes and her plush lips were pouted in confusion. Shields was looking down at her in his arms with a cocky smile on his face. One of his hands residing near her breast at her side while the other remained on her bare thigh. Diamond saw red and heard the unmistakable voice of his enemy filter through the room.

"Come on," Darien had told her, "let's get out of here. It's not safe for you to be in a place like this looking as beautiful as you do."

The next picture was of her smiling shyly up at him. Diamond shoved most previously seen photos into the trash except for the sexy one of her with her skirt hiked up and her cleavage present, along with two that had been left unseen. He stood up and heard a quiet clack of heeled feet touching the cement ground through the speaker. He looked back at the photos and she was back on her feet trying to maintain balance by holding onto Sheilds arm.

"All right" she said with a hint of relief in her voice.

Next Shot: She's pulling her skirt down as shields lust filled eyes look down her blouse.

Last Shot: Sheilds had a distressed look on his face while draping an arm over her shoulder.

The nature of the gesture came across as extremely protective. Their footsteps were all that was heard. Diamond got up and poured himself the tallest tumbler of scotch he had drunken in a while. He flipped a switch on the wall causing wide thick blinds to descend from the ceiling and conceal the entire window. When they had hit the floor he pressed another switch and Darkness began to filter slowly through the room as the blinds folded and closed.

He stopped when the room was completely immersed in darkness and went over to sit back in his chair. He leaned back and put his feet up. Taking a deep swig from the glass he closed his eyes and listened intently. Some cars honked and he heard the sound of cars driving by but the pair remained quiet until Shields broke the silence.

"What could make a temptress such as yourself so distressed?" Darien asked her with humor in his voice.

"I'm not a temptress!" she declared clearly with annoyance.

It made Diamond smile. The girl had spunk.

"What's the matter doll? Tell me what's got you down." Darien had said rephrasing his prior question.

Their steps seized.

"It's none of your business," she told him. Diamond smiled again.

"That's right baby, don't let this fool steam roll you." Diamond said aloud to the recording.

"You're tough; we get it, drop the act and tell me what the hell happened." Darien exclaimed irritated. "Why were you crying? Did something happen at work? Did your boss try to take advantage of you?"

Diamond took another long gulp of the burning liquid. A slap was heard that made Diamond pause mid sip.

"What the hell was that for?!" Darien yelled at her.

"Watch how you speak to me, How dare you insinuate such things, Show some respect" she ordered to the fuming man.

"I'll show you respect" he barked, pulling her into what sounded like a quiet secluded area.

She gasped, "Let go of me!" She ordered him.

"Listen Serenity I'm only trying to help you, you've stupidly put yourself in a lot of trouble. You have no idea who you're working for and what you're up against! Diamond Powers is a not someone to protect, he's a killer."

"Stop it!" She yelled at him with pain in her voice.

"He's a criminal!" Sheilds continued, "I can help you break free of him." Darien said sounding concerned.

Diamond was furious; he would never stand a chance with this woman now. He got up and poured himself another glass.

"He may be all of those things you've said but he's been nothing but kind towards me. That's what I'm going off of, my own experience. I won't be told who I can trust by a man I don't even know." she said back defiantly.

"You're a fool!" he yelled to her.

Diamond was stunned that this woman was ignoring Sheilds valid warnings, for her own self-righteous beliefs. He couldn't believe anyone could be so incredibly loyal, especially after being fired. Even to him someone she had only met two days prior. It would be a lie, if he said it didn't make him want to bend her over his desk right now and completely possess her body and soul. He gulped down the remainder of the drink and poured another.

"Your right, you don't know me, or anything about me. After the car incident when all of the shooting took place I tried to distance myself from you for your own safety but that didn't stop me from thinking about you. Here you were this beautiful goddess going out of your way to try and save me, someone you didn't even know. What was I supposed to do? It's not something I'm used to or that I could so easily forget.

I find myself drawn to you and I can't for the hell of me figure out why. Then I hear that you're risking your life for a heartless demon. It's maddening."

All of this new information made Diamond confused but very aware. This woman that he become comfortable with and was aroused by was the same woman that by coincidence had thwarted his efforts to take down Shields. She was there that day on the deserted wooded road and had also risked herself to help Sheilds. He laughed like only a drunken man could. Life always had a way of connecting everything and it had somehow given her more purpose.

"I can't just sit back and watch people get hurt. I have to help whenever I can, no matter how scared I am or how dangerous the situation is." Her voice started to shake and she continued after a choked sob, "It's the right thing to do."

She sniffed and then the taps of her shoes could be heard walking again with Darien's louder steps heard fallowing soon after, attempting to keep pace with hers.

"Come with me; let me show you something," Sheilds told her, "Will you do that for me, please?" Darien asked nicely.

She must have silently agreed or nodded at him because Sheilds followed up with, "thank you, come on, this way."

Diamond was beyond any complete idea of what he was going to do about his assistant predicament. He drank the last of his fourth glass and heard the conversation line go flat.

He pulled out his phone and called Carmello, "Where's the rest of the feed?"

"They went into his residence; the building is electronically blocked off. While he is fully capable of using a personal server to do his own business the bug we placed in her phone is completely immobile until she comes back out of his building," Carmello informed him.

'Probably the doing of Shields, Overcautious little shit isn't he?' Diamond thought not surprised, Sheilds was always very cleaver.

"Get Jack to the curb of that building, tell him that when Miss Tuskino comes outside he needs to pick her up and bring her back here to me," Diamond ordered.

"All right boss. Anything else?" Carmello asked.

"No. That will be all for now." Diamond informed him hanging up.

Diamond headed to the door in his office that led to a private full bathroom. He had felt aroused by the beautiful blond since that morning when she had walked in and he needed to unload all his pent up frustration. He knew there was no point in calling a prostitute to his office; no other woman would fully be able to satisfy him. He only wanted her, desired her, she was the only one who would have the power to release him of his infatuation towards her. Serena was far from attainable at the moment so a series of cold showers would have to do for now.


Serena followed Darien's lead and it had landed them at a soaring apartment building. Two bulky men in suits stood on either side of the entrance. They opened the doors in time with one another and ushered the pair forward. Darien guided her past them, and nodded in appreciation. The lobby was a massively grand place with very little commotion. Upon entering they came face to face with a large and tall standing desk with a man sitting behind a computer.

To the left of them was a swanky bar with some large flat screens lining the walls and tables set out for dining. To the right in the far back lived the elevators and stairway. He waved to the gentlemen at the front desk and led her towards to elevators; which didn't take long for it to arrive. Once on the elevator he pressed PH for penthouse and off they went.

Once they hit their designated floor he took out a key and placed it in the latch next to the PH button. After turning it the doors opened revealing a small space with two more doors. One door had a sign on it that read; 'stairs' across it and another was a simple white with a fancy knob and several locks. He unlocked each one and they walked into the apartment. It had a massively high ceiling and the exterior wall was nothing but glass.

The Natural light was phenomenal and it woke Serena from her saddened fog. She cautiously entered the apartment, slowly taking it all in.

"You live here?" She asked as she walked over to the wall of windows overlooking the city.

He watched her closely and examined her appearance. Her long, loose curls flowed behind her as she walked. The curves of her body were accentuated by the tightness of her matching cream suit set. Her long slender but still muscular legs flexed with every step. She touched the dark velvet curtain that hung draped at one corner of the room and took in a deep soothing breath.

"It's spectacular!" She said smiling in his direction.

He took a mental picture of her. Gentle, lush, soft, translucent, she was something to behold.

"Let me get you a drink" he said walking over to his own personal bar.

After quickly mixing up a concoction he handed it to her.

She inspected it closely before looking to him, "what is this? "She asked taking the glass from his hand.

"Try it," he said, "It's a girly drink, you'll like it."

Serena sniffed it and scrunched her nose, "I don't usually drink, and I don't think I should."

He poured himself a glass of dark amber liquor. "Suit yourself, I definitely need a drink. I just figured you might need one too considering all of the stress you seem to be under. Do whatever you please. Cheers!" He said raising his glass in her direction.

It was true that he believed the drink would cause her to relax but he also knew alcohol was the easiest trick in the book to get information out of someone.

He swallowed half of it in one gulp and made a funny face. This made her smile, "what are YOU drinking?" She asked jokingly," it looks delicious."

"Delicious isn't the word I've heard used to describe whiskey." He told her.

His calm careless demeanor made her feel more at ease.

She looked back down at her own drink, 'I really could use a good mind numbing right now', Serena thought taking a tiny sip. It actually tasted quite good.

"It's Sweet" she said taking a longer sip this time.

"Glad you like it", he said disinterested pouring himself another glass but swallow it down in three parts this time.

He let out an exasperated breath. She continued to take long even sips, finishing her drink quickly. She held the empty glass and continued to walk along the window taking in the whole city, admiring the view.

"More?" he asked inquiring to the glass in her hand that she was holding up against herself.

"No, well maybe, it couldn't hurt right?" She giggled and he smiled at her.

She didn't feel any difference after the one drink so figured a second couldn't hurt. While Darien was busy mixing Serena another more full drink this time, she started wandering around the living space and inspecting the entire decor and the few photographs that were out.

"Is this your family?" she asked holding up a large framed photo, jam packed full of people.

He came up behind Serena and handed her the drink. She was a surprised to see her drink suddenly appear in front of her but then took it with her free hand and thanked him. Darien leaned over her and covered the hand she was using to hold the frame with his own and angled it up so that he had a better view. She didn't seem to be bothered by their proximity. He then began pointing to people in the photograph with his free hand.

"These are all my brothers." He said pointing out all four men, "We're all part of the organization. All the women in the photo are my brothers wives or potential significant others. All except for Rei of course ", he told her pointing to a raven haired beauty; "She's my sister."

He released Serena and moved across the room to a door which he was in the middle of unlocking. She took a long sip from her drink and looked at the photograph once more. Serena smiled down at Darien's bright exuberant expression before putting the frame back on the shelf gently.

"It's nice to see you smile, you look almost normal here." She said with bit of humor.

He turned to her and gave her a warning glance.

"Not much to smile about these days." He said aloud from the other room in search of something.

She finished the remainder of her drink and put the empty glass atop the bar. That's when she spotted the new age record player. She lifted the dust lid and placed the needle gently on the vinyl that was currently in the player but it didn't move. After looking the machine over she found the power button on the front facing right hand corner and pressed it. All of a sudden the apartment filled with a beautiful enchanting melody. It was loud at first but then she giggled and embraced the surround sound.

Closing her eyes she allowed herself to drown in the harmony it brought her. She began to sway along with the slow tune.

"Would you like to dance?" he asked her with amusement.

She opened her eyes startled; Serena hadn't heard Darien approach her. The once cool room quickly grew increasingly warm and she took her blazer off. She walked it over to the sitting area and folded it over the back of a chair, leaving her in only the blush colored silk tank, tight form fitting pencil skirt and tall heels.

"I don't really know how to." She admitted sheepishly, blushing into her hand trying to hide a smile.

This new information enlightened him. "Come here," he growled softly cocking his head to the side.

He held out one of his hands and waited for her to take it, he urged her with a gesture. She walked the expanse of the room only seeing his hand as the endpoint. She took it and he slowly intertwined his fingers within hers causing Serena to look up at him.

He angled her elbow trapped her arm behind her back. This made her laugh causing him to smile down at her. He was beginning to enjoy her light heart just as much as she was appreciating his playful manner. Darien brought her other hand up to clutch his shoulder. Doing so allowed her to remain steady and him to lead.

With her buzz getting heavier she laughed and looked up at him smiling.

"What is it?" he asked with humor in his voice.

"Everything seems funnier for some reason." She told him.

He gave a brief chuckle and smiled enough that his dimple made an appearance.

'It felt good to unwind, even if it was alcoholically induced', he thought.

Darien observing Serena carefully he tried to figure out what it was that made this woman incredibly resilient. He corrected their positions putting both of her hands back in place with one on his shoulder and the other under his own resting against his chest. Darien's other hand resided on her lower back. He used it to bring her closer to him. She looked up at him apprehensively.

"What should I do now?" she asked.

He smiled and held her closer to him, "Just follow my lead all right."

She smiled kindly and nodded.

"We're going to move with the music slowly left to right." He told her.

She looked down and followed his feet with her eyes. He stepped to the left a little and she shadowed his transfer. Then he stepped to the right and she trailed again.

"There you go, perfect! You're a natural," he told her softly.

She clenched his shoulder briefly to show her appreciation. They side stepped repeatedly for a few minutes and she smiled feeling like she had accomplished something wonderful. He smiled back at her and pressed a gentle kiss to her temple. Shocking even himself that such affection would come forth so naturally.

"You're doing beautifully." He told her.

"Thank you," she said resting her head up against his shoulder.

She began feeling confident with this new slow dance and closed her eyes to fully feel and move with the music. Darien felt Serena put some of her weight against him so he made more of an effort to hold her closer to help steady her. The song came to a close and the needle slowly came off the vinyl on its own. She opened her sleepy eyes and smiled up at him. They stood there looking at one another for a long minute and then Darien initiated the parting of their bodies. He felt himself falling into to this dream she was creating for him. He had to put a stop to it, Darien was on a mission and needed to stay focused.

"That was so much fun" She told him with enthusiasm.

He went over and pressed the power button on record player before heading over to the bar again. He felt like he was losing his high and poured himself another drink. Seeing her empty glass he asked her if she wanted another as well.

"Less mix more alcohol this time," She told him in response as she sat down on the empty sofa.

Serena crossed her legs and leaned back against the pillows. He came over soon after and handed her the drink. She took a sip and made the fussiest face Darien had ever seen, he couldn't help but laugh. He sat down next to her and turned on the big television screen. The volume was set very low but it was audible enough to hear.

They both turned their focus to the screen and listened quietly as the reporter gave the day's headlines. His phone beeped and he pulled it out of his back pocket. It was a text message from George one of his 'eyes in the sky'.

"Babysitter is on the block." Serena read aloud.

He was too distracted by the text message to notice she had gotten up and walked behind the sofa to where he was sitting. He pulled his phone out of her view and she wrapped her arms around both of his shoulders.

"Do you have children?" she asked resting her chin on his shoulder.

He pulled his head away just enough for her to see the expression on his face.

He was bothered by her curiosity, "no, I don't, are you always this nosey?" he asked putting the phone back in his pocket.

She withdrew her arms from him and just laughed. She came back around and sat on the sofa next to him crossing her legs again. Knowing Diamonds men were outside waiting for her made him feel more apprehensive about her leaving. Turning to look at Serena he couldn't help but notice how exhausted she appeared. Serena reached for her glass and began throwing back her third drink like a shot. He made a mental note that this should be her last for the next couple hours. As soon as she downed the last drop she felt an overwhelming sense of warmth surround her. She un-tucked her silk blouse from her skirt and started fanning herself.

Darien saw this and addressed her problem; "I'll put the air on" he told her getting up to handle it.

The sound of the air conditioner came on and it kicked in flooding the room immediately, but she continued to feel warm. Her face was flush and a tad bit of perspiration started to show on her upper lip.

"Are you all right Serena?" he asked her concerned. "I'll get you some water," he told her getting up again to fetch some.

He came back swiftly with a glass of cold clear liquid in his hand. She stood up and starting walking towards him to meeting him halfway. Suddenly she had a change of thought and turned in the other direction down the hallway.

"Are you looking for something in particular?" he asked suspiciously to her retreating form.

She turned to look at him; this is when he noticed her fully dilated pupils.

"A restroom, I was hoping to change." She told him looking down at her outfit.

He smiled big and it made her smile back in return.

"Were you now?" He told her with cynicism. "What were you planning on changing into?"

She leaned against the wall and waited for him to approach. He put one of his forearms above her head alongside the wall and leaned slightly over her form.

Serena looked up into his eyes disoriented, "Right now I'm not quite sure of the answer to that question, but a second ago I was pretty sure I did," she told him timidly.

He used his free hand to cup her chin and tilted it upwards to give him better access to view her stunning features.

"I'll find you something more comfortable to wear while you take care of your lady business in the bathroom." He said letting go of her chin and handing her the glass. "But first, let me see you take a few sips of this," he instructed her.

She took the glass from him and looked into his eyes. Bringing it up to her mouth she watched him observe her lips as she pressed them softly against the glass. Tilting her head back, Serena closed her eyes and slowly drank up everything to his liking. With every gulp he had watched her throat rise and fall wishing he could feel the skin of her throat against his lips. He leaned forward a little craving the taste of her but when she pulled the cup away from her mouth he fought against it. She handed the empty glass back to him and gave him a defiant glare.

Playfully she asked, "Are you happy?"

"If you are," He answered cynically.

She threw him a large smile and headed down the hallway. He watched as her hips swayed with every step.

'Damn, what a piece of pure perfection.' He thought groaning

Abruptly He heard his home phone ring and it broke him of his trance. He went to answer it.

"What now?" He said aloud irritated.

It was from Malachite, "where are you?! I've been needing to talk to you, it's urgent!"

"What is it?" Darien asked.

"Darien, I've been calling your office all day. Where have you been?" Malachite scolded.

Darien did what he did best, avoidance, "What's the problem?"

"Are you drunk?!" Malachite asked irate. "It's barely 1 o'clock. What's wrong with you?"

"What the bloody hell do you want!?" Darien shot back.

Malachite jumped back on subject and brought Darien up to speed, "Powers has had two men on my Wife all day. I can't believe this filthy Bastard would stoop this low."

Darien knew Diamond was ruthless but he'd no idea the guy had no ethics or code of conduct either. His thoughts immediately went to the blond in the other room.

'Serena can't be around Diamond anymore, I won't allow it. He's far more dangerous than I had ever anticipated.' Darien thought to himself silently.

"We'll handle this tomorrow" Darien voiced into the phone, "I'm in the middle of something."

"Fine," Malachite answered back sorely before ending the call.

Darien heard a thud come from across the apartment and rushed to the hall bathroom. She wasn't in there. He then headed to the master bathroom and found Serena on her knees with her hair all cascading to one side. Clad in only a bra and underwear, she picked cleaning bottles up off the floor. He tried to distract himself from the eyeful she was giving him and focused his attention instead to the mess on the floor in front of him.

In one corner of the bathroom her skirt could be found lying in a pile with her shirt and stilettos not that much farther away.

"Did you feel like doing a little cleaning while you were in here?" He asked in a joking manner.

She laughed continuing to pick up the contents of a basket full of household cleaners that somehow had accidently gotten knocked over.

'The maid must have forgotten to put the basket away again.' he thought rolling his eyes.

He kneeled down and started throwing bottles into the basket.

"Leave everything I'll take care of it," He told her but she continued to help him until there was nothing left.

Darien got up and grabbed her from around the waist. He then hoisted her over his shoulder as he carried her out of the bathroom.

"Hey!" She yelled laughing.

He lightly slapped her bottom, "Back to business Serenity," he told her dropping her down lightly onto the bed.

He walked into his closet and pulled out some random articles of clothing.

"Here are a couple things for you to choose from," he told her tossing them onto the bed.

He turned to leave the room but she quickly reached out and grabbed his arm pulling him back towards her. The action took him off guard and he lost his footing, causing them both to tumble backwards onto the bed. She arched and threw her head back as she laughed, exposing her slender neck and her large mounds of cleavage to him openly. He gazed upon them and then let his eyes travel downward to her flat stomach and long toned legs.

'Could she be any more perfect?' he thought gliding his fingers softly along her abdomen absentmindedly.

Serena caught his wandering hand and used it to gain control over him. She bent it backwards and twisted it triggering him to bend in discomfort, she seized that opportunity to push Darien over and get on top of him. He lay against the mattress now, shocked that somehow this blond goddess had gotten the upper hand. With her legs straddling him she softly pushed her hands up his chest until her face hovered above his. Her bright blue eyes looked deeply into his dark ones. His hands found a place at her hips and he rested them there tenderly.

"You're very handsome," Serena told him sensually as she caressed his cheek.

He didn't dare stop her; he had been craving her touch ever since their last encounter and he never wanted it to end. He shut his eyes relishing in the feel of her skin and the sweet scent of her body. She little by little glided her hand delicately down the length of his neck. Darien rotated his head to the side giving her free access to explore. She curled her finger inside the neckline of his shirt and saw the beginning of a tattoo. She leaned over and peered at the curving ink. Her dangling hair tickled the skin on his neck which and caused him to chuckle. He pushed her away a bit, opening his eyes now he looked tired and ravenous.

"Is that writing on your chest or a picture?" she asked curiously while tilting her head to one side.

"It's a name," he told her quietly as he reached up and began rubbing one of her silky curls between his fingers.

"Someone you love?" she asked with genuine curiosity.

He chuckled gently, "No, it's the name of my organization."

"What type of organization is it?"

"I'm beginning to think drinking isn't a good idea for you. Asking a lot of questions could get you into a lot of trouble sweetheart." He told her looking up at her nearly naked form.

Serena smiled at his cleaver side step and looked at him the way a parent would look at their mischievous child. At this moment all he felt was the sheer lust he had for her.

"Your too much fun", she told him sarcastically not commenting on the statement he had just made.

He reached up to push back some strands of her hair and tucked what he could behind her ear.

He found it in him to finally speak what was on his mind, "Serenity, I don't know what to do about you. I find you irresistibly stunning." He reached up and caressed her cheek now." Your intelligence and humor are compelling me to want to be near you, but I'm worried you'll be caught seen with me and that danger would come to you."

"Darien," she said stretching her body along his like a kitten, sliding her hands up his chest to his shoulders and looking him strait in the eyes. "I'm already near you. VERY, VERY near you!" she said sensually with her lips almost an inch from his.

He tried looking deep into her eyes in search of her sober self. Once he felt himself make contact and connect with her he grabbed her face stilling her and changed his tone to a much more serious one, "I can't be near you Serena it's not safe, yet I can't stop myself from thinking about you. I don't want the life me and Diamond Powers live to scathe you. Do you understand?"

He paused and she felt as if he were looking deep into her soul.

"What a passionate man you are, maybe you should stop worrying so much about Mr. Powers and show me how irresistible I am," she told him placing her hands over his on her cheeks and lowering them.

She felt herself taking the situation too far, but she didn't care. All her inhibitions were thrown out the window at this point and she found herself just as drawn to him as he was to her.

"Believe me doll I want to know what your lips and body feel like crushed up against mine in the heat of desire but I'm a dangerous man and I'm definitely not the one for you," He told her with fire in his eyes and warning in his voice.

With that said he wrapped his arms around her body and hugged her to him for a brief moment. Using his upper body strength he lifted them both up into a sitting position.

Serena now sat comfortably in Darien's lap, she squeezed his legs between her own and cupped his face in her hands this time. He hugged her waist closer to him and held her gaze.

"You said you wanted to feel my lips and body pressed up against yours, it looks like you got one of the two." She said arching into him.

He groaned at the sudden awakening of his nether regions meeting hers.

With his cheeks still cupped in her hands she whispered in a soft sultry voice, "Let's make it two out of two".

His eyes opened wider in disbelief at her suggestion but before he registered what was about to happen her lips melded tenderly against his own causing Darien's whole body to became lax. Her lips were sweet like honey and plump, in comparison to his own. He found them Smooth and silky, gentle and inviting. Darien looked at the closed eyes of beautiful creature doing this to him and wondered how much of this was originated due to the alcohol. He took one of the hands he had wrapped around her and used it to cradle the back of her neck.

'Damn!' He thought pressing her closer to himself and deepening the kiss.

Precipitously Serena withdrew her lips from his. He allowed her to disconnect but deep down he wasn't ready for her to. Her eyes remained closed and she pressed her forehead gently against his. He could hear her labored breathing and felt as her heart raced against his chest.

"That was amazing!" She breathed out so quietly it was barely audible.

She was warm but he could feel the coolness of the room rolling over her body in the form of chills. Serena shivered; separating from him she hugged herself.

She giggled and commented on the temperature change, "It's getting chilly in here", she told him.

Darien leaned over and grabbed the light knit, grey long thermal hoodie top from the stack of clothes he dumped on the bed prior.

"Put this on", he told her dropping it into her lap and getting up from the bed.

She did as he said and put it over her head, subsequently pulling her hands through the arms. She stood up and let it fall down her body, it stopped mid-thigh. She pulled on a pair of matching grey drawstring pajama bottoms she saw in the pile and walked over to the mirror tying them as she went. Serena looked herself over and pulled her hair along with her necklace through the neckline. She took note of how baggy and unappealing it looked but she had to admit it did make her feel warm and it was very comfortable.

The AC shut off overhead catching her attention. At that moment Serena turned around and realized she was alone. She walked out into the living room in search of Darien but didn't see him. She started wandering around when she stumbled upon a room where the door was agape and looked in slowly. There he was in this average sized room sitting at a hefty desk staring at three large computer screens.

She knocked on the open door, "can I come in?" She asked shyly.

He looked over his shoulder and let out a deep agitated sigh.

"Yes, that's fine", he told her.

She walked over to where he was sitting and looked up at the screen.

"That's Jack!" She said surprised pointing to the screen. "Why is he on there?" She asked nervously clutching the pendant of the necklace she was wearing.

Serena turning to him concerned for her now ex driver. Darien got up and pulled the chair out, turning it he motioned for her to sit down.

"Sit down", he told her sternly.

She did as was told. Darien turned the chair with her in it and moved it closer to the desk. He hovered over her right shoulder and rested his arm on the back of the chair. He used the mouse curser to offer her explanations and to best direct her eyes.

"Your Jack's full name is Jackwell Bainbridge he's a trained killer Serena." Darien told her as he pulled up a background spreadsheet on the man in question.

It showed his work history and his estimated number of kills. She gasped when she saw the number.

"He's so kind; I can't see him…," she paused upset, "doing this."

He opened another box on the screen; it was a close up, real time video of Jacks face concentrating on something.

"This video is live." He told her before zooming out to show the area surrounding the vehicle Jack sat in.

She stumbled on her words, "That's,… this is where we are now, here in your apartment. He's outside?" She looked at him now worried.

"Why is he here?" She asked confused.

"We're confident it has to do with you." He answered her with a serious tone.

"We?" She asked shrinking back into the chair.

"My informants, they track my team to keep us and our families safe." He reached over again and clicked open a new box.

Ten pictures popped up corner to corner every new picture covering the last.

"Oh my gosh!" She said covering her mouth. The last picture on the screen was of Emerald pulling the gun out of her purse. "Was she going to shoot me?" She asked tears threatening to fall from her eyes.

"Yes." He told her flatly.

"Your informants took these?" she asked.

"No," he said low, "One of Powers men did."

"How did you get them?" She asked angrily.

He looked up at the plain white wall and answered her, "the camera used to take the photographs was put through a wireless printer. The informants received them from that."

"Why am I being followed?" She asked looking up at Darien. He remained detached from the situation and continued staring at the wall answering her truthfully.

"Diamond doesn't trust anyone; everyone and anyone could be a problem. This includes you; you're currently the one person closest to him besides his business partner. You've seen who comes in and out of his office. You've overseen all of his emails, transactions, everything! You're his biggest liability as of this moment. He's tracking you for his own sense of security."

"Is that why he tried to kill me?" She asked quietly.

He smiled, "No, that was just Emerald trying to get what she wants. She saw you as a hindrance to her relationship with Diamond."

"Why is that funny?" She asked standing up definitely.

"It's amusing to me that she thinks you're the only one Diamond would want and is sticking his dick into but I can obviously see what his attraction to you would be and why she would think that." He said chuckling now and putting a big smirk on his face.

"How dare you!" She said angrily up at him.

"Come on sweetheart, you can't possibly be this naive. Just look at you", he said.

Serena went to slap him but before she did he grabbed her wrist and jerked her up against him, trapping her around the waist.

"Uhhn" she winced at the impact.

The force of their bodies meeting each other caused her breath to expel and it hurt her a little. He looked down at her chest then back up to her eyes.

Her breathing became heavy causing her chest to heave up and down against his own.

"You're every man's wet dream Serena. I can only imagine the things he must have in mind to do with you every time he glanced at you and this incredible body." He let his hand slip over her cloth covered bottom and gave it a little squeeze.

That was enough groping for her. She put her hands on his chest and attempted to push away from him.

"Let me go" she pleaded.

He grabbed her shoulders now.

"Look at me" he told her.

She tried to push off of him again refusing to give in.

"Look at me!" He shouted now. She looked up at him startled. "I'm not going to say this again, stay away from Diamond. You think the way I'm acting towards you now is bad just wait and see how he treats you. Women much stronger and bolder than you have walked away from him tattered and mangled before."

He finally released her and she just stood there looking at him with tears ready to spill. She sharply turned and abruptly left the room. He was mounted there looking out the door where she had retreated from. The air might be off but he still felt a chill run up his spine. Darien heard the clanking of glass and knew Serena was resolute about the fact that she was ready for another drink.

'I guess the truth wasn't sobering enough for her, the dame wants to pound alcohol does she?' He smiled thinking to himself. He went to sit back down in the office chair.

"I'll let her get fucked up for now. I have too much shit to do. Bigger fish need to be fried today." He said aloud to no one in particular.

He took a gulp of his own glass he had served himself on his way into his office prior to Serena walking in.

'She thinks today was bad, just wait until she feels that headache tomorrow,' He thought laughing to himself.


He must have been sitting there going through phone messages, emails and files for two hours before finally deciding to look up at the clock.

'That will do for today.' He told himself and walked out of the dark office and into the sunset lit living area.

As he entered the living space he heard laughing in the back room and wondered what the little minx was up to. The closer he got to the bedroom the louder the noise of heavy running water became. Walking into the master bathroom the mystery was solved. The enormous tub had been filled with water and there were bubbles flowing over the side. He rushed over and turned off the faucet.

Then unexpectedly the lights in room went off. Naturally you'd think the room would be covered in darkness but the bathroom was instead illuminated by dozens of flickering candles and a setting sun glowing in from the wall of windows. Every candle he probably possessed in the apartment was in here he surmised. It was a sight to see for sure. Serena giggled and walked up behind him, she slid her arms around his waist and rested her head on his back.

"You've been busy." Darien said mordantly.

Serena twisted herself around his waist so that she stood in front of him now and then looked up to face him.

"Isn't it beautiful?" she asked him smiling as she brought her arms up around his neck.

Her breath about knocked him out. She suddenly began to slide down his body. He quickly grasped her and helped get her back on her feet.

"I was going to ask you how you're still managing to stand, but I can see that's an unnecessary inquiry to make now," he told her.

"Ha!" she laughed out pulling away from him.

He gave her stability the benefit of the doubt and let her go.

"What did you drink?" he asked her curiously with one brow raised.

She pointed to the half empty bottles scattered on the floor in a pile next to the sink and giggled. He whisked over there and picked one of them up.

"This was an unopened bottle of scotch! Have you lost your mind?! Oh honey, forget pain you're going to wish you were never born. First rule of drinking doll, don't mix your alcohol," he told her shaking his head side to side.

She just started laughing and held the counter to steady herself.

"I want to hear wonderful again" she exclaimed to him looking wistful.

"Wonderful?" He asked confused.

"The music," She said closing her eyes and humming softly as she swayed.

He looked at her for a minute unsure whether to permit this request and then she opened her eyes and just smiled at him and he knew he was a goner.

He took a deep exasperated breath.

"Don't move," he said annoyed hastening out of the room.

Upon his return the soft strings of a violin began to sound through a speaker located on the wall. She swooned at the romantic tone of the music and embraced him. She faced him and wrapped her arms up around his neck.

"Isn't it magical?" she said excited.

He held her gently; she got giddy and did a couple bounces against him.

"Glad to see your mood picked up." He told her cynically.

She just laughed at his comment and turned around. She held her arms straight up.

"Well?" She asked.

He was confused.

"Yes?" He asked unsure what it was she wanted for him to do.

"Help me take off my clothes." She told him.

He turned around immediately ready to leave the room, but she grabbed him before he could.

"Are you kidding me with this?!" He asked anxiously down at her.

She clutched his shirt, leaned into him and laughed.

Locking her eyes on his she asked, "What's the matter? Never seen a girl naked before?"

It was his turn to laugh. She let go of him and started pulling the top she had on up off her stomach. Taunting him she stopped just below her bra covered chest. She put her arms straight up in the air again to signal for him to finish. This time he took the bait and slowly pulled it over her head. Her hair and necklace were the last to come out of the now removed shirt, they dropped down onto her bare skin.

"Dance with me," Serena said in a deep manly voice trying not to laugh at her own attempt to imitate him from their earlier experience.

She held her hand out for him to take.

"Oh, it's going to be lots of mockery tonight is it?" he asked clasping her outstretched hand in his and pulling her other around his neck.

He traced his finger down her spine and ended at the small of her back. He then splayed out his hand and pulled her closer to him.

He began slowly moving side to side, talking her through the steps and guiding her just as he had earlier.

"Left, right, left", he whispered looking her directly in the eyes.

"Oh, I don't need that," she told him putting her finger to his lips while still moving in time with him.

He looked confused, "what do you mean?" he asked.

"I've been told I'm a natural," She said beaming her big smile up at him.

He understood the comment now and started to laugh.

She traced her fingers across his cheek and gripped his chin, "I love this," she told him.

He thought she meant her newfound dance moves but then she finished with," Your smile, its beautiful" and it made everything stop for him.

'She's beyond drunk', he tried to remind himself but at this point it didn't matter, she was making him feel things he had never felt before and he couldn't pull himself away. He was drawn to her and they continued moving slowly with the music.

"Are you ready for this?" he asked moving her body into place before letting her wind out into a twirl.

He swung her back against him and she laughed into his chest, he laughed too. She stood still now and held the lapels of his shirt sliding her hands along the edges of its collar. She leisurely slipped a button outside one of its loops.

"One down, three to go", she said lightly touching each button as if she were counting them.

"That's dangerous territory angel," he told her stopping her hands from loosening anymore buttons.

She pouted, sticking her lips out at him. She looked down at her waist and tugged on the string that held her pants in place. It untied the knot she had placed there and they soon fell to the floor.

"hmnn that's not fair," she purred continuing to pout," here you are all dressed up and I'm practically naked. We're going swimming remember?"

He smiled down at her mischievous antics and looked over at the tub.

"Then I should go put on my swim trunks," he told her with humor in his voice.

She laughed at his facetiousness and brought herself against his chest again. Without him noticing she pulled another button out of its loop hole.

"Two" she whispered triggering him to look down.

"What a sneaky like thing you are", he said snatching her up off the floor and walking her over to the tub.

She just laughed as he twirled her. Her joy was contagious, he thought putting her back down onto her feet. He helped her sit at the edge of the tub. After steadying her he stood up and began to finish unbuttoning his own shirt. He watched her eyes following his hands as they descended down revealing more and more skin. Her eyes and facial expression almost immediately became heavy with desire.

"Is this what you want?" He asked her sliding the shirt off of his shoulders teasingly.

She nodded her head slowly as if in a trance unable to speak. Then he went to do his trouser button and stopped to scratch his head.

Darien then looked up to face her, "I seem to have forgotten how to do this."

She seemed convinced for a second that he was serious but after seeing the humor in his eyes she began to laugh at her own naivety. She lost her balance mid laugh and began falling backwards into the tub.

"Crap!" Darien said leaping in after her. Water splashed over the side as he hoisted her bubble covered body up in the tub.

She just continued laughing and held tight to his forearms in an attempt to steady herself.

"Haha..." he started laughing at her clumsiness.

"I have to admit," he told her, "I'm impressed".

"Really?" She asked, "by what? My many talents of persuasion?" She asked winking at him.

He shook his head no, "Actually, I'm impressed that you didn't flood my neighbor's apartment below me and catch this building on fire with all of these candles you lit drunk off that sweet bottom of yours."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him to her. She began laughing non-stop and he couldn't help but join along. He hadn't drunk nearly as much as Serena but he felt as if he were right there on cloud nine with her.

"Stop teasing me or I'm going to start to think you're not kidding." She told him poking his chest and playing with the hair at the nape of his neck.

He laughed more jovial this time, "I'm not kidding!" He said matter of fact whilst shaking his head side to side.

She laughed harder and slipped down into the water. He hoisted her up again, "Now I know why you shouldn't be drinking, your cut off should be at three drinks," he told her worried, "You're not someone who should be allowed left to their own devices."

She shook her head in disagreement and kneeled down in the tub concealing all of her body except her neck up.

"It feels amazing in here!" She said closing her eyes.

He used this opportunity to pull off his soaked trousers and threw them just outside of the bathtub onto the tile floor. He picked the reclining side of the tub closest to Serena and laid back resting his arms by stretching them out onto the rim. He leaned his head back for a minute on the cushion that resided there and closed his eyes. He pressed a button on the wall and could feel the jets on his back and feet go on.

It was calming, 'I wonder why I never thought to do this before,' he asked himself. 'Come in here and recline in a hot bath after a long day.'

It was too quiet and he wasn't alone he reminded himself. Opening his eyes he was looking at Serena cupping bubbles and blowing them out of the tub. He watched them fall on the floor and pop. She turned to look at him, cocked her head to the side and smiled.

"You're too cute", he told her leaning forward.

He slid forward and moved to be closer to her. Still crouched in the water she turned to face him.

"I was right in thinking you're not use to being so close to women wasn't I?," she asked, "Don't worry honey, I don't bite," She told him in a sultry tone.

He couldn't control the smile that spread across his face due to her naivety, 'If only she knew', he told himself.

She came up from the water a slight bit, revealing both her shoulders. Slowly she slid the straps of her bra off and tossed it to the side to meet his pants lying on the floor. Her chest remained concealed by the bubbles but that didn't stop Darien's groin from growing in length due to the exposure.

Darien raised an eyebrow at her, "Aren't you forgetting something?" He asked.

She pulled a soaked pair of panties up from the water to match the now missing bra.

"Nope", she told him, tossing them to the side, "I got those too."

They both laughed, him more nervously than anything else. Darien went back to the safer part of the tub to try to relax himself. Unfortunately for him Serena was unaware of his plan to keep himself separate from her and she began crawling over to him, skimming her body along his leisurely. He closed his legs to keep his member at bay but kept his arms relaxed resting them back on top of the rim. His eyes followed hers until she was an inch away from him. Serena moved herself to sit in Darien's lap and leaned her body up against his. Serena rested her forearms and hands against his chest in an attempt to keep her body submerged in order to maintain warm.

"Are you comfortable?" She whispered to him.

"Yes" he said quietly in a trance.

They both stayed silent just examining one another. Serena reached out and traced the prevalent scar on his arm where he had been shot.

"Does it hurt?" she asked him.

"No," he said flatly looking only at her.

Serena's eyes remained trained on his tattoo. She traced it softly with one of her fingers. He watched her expression change from happiness to sadness. He thought she was upset by his injury until she finally spoke.

"I was fired today," She said quietly not wanting to meet his eyes.

Serena nestled herself into his chest and turned her head so that her ear was alongside his heart. The sound of its beat soothed her. She closed her eyes and began telling him what had taken place earlier in Diamonds office. Darien smiled at the thought of Emerald being tossed out on her rear but then became very serious with a determination to protect Serena from Diamond. He pushed her hair away from her face with one hand and began continually sliding water up the bareness of her back to warm her.

He felt like a king, guarding his most precious treasure. Her petite body was wrapped in his arms safe and secure. He felt torn by everything that had taken place that day. He was glad to be there to prevent Emerald from harming Serena but now one of Diamonds top men were sitting outside ready to snatch her up the second she set a foot outside. Diamond probably thought Serena had gone to his enemy to reveal all of his deepest secrets yet here this girl was barely bringing up his name.

'She's too loyal for her own good,' he thought.

She detached herself from him and turned around in the tub. He sat up now looking at her bare back hunched over. She crossed her arms over her chest and hugged herself in embarrassment.

"I'm sorry; you're probably used to a much more stimulating conversation and I'm just a downer right now, I should go." She said starting to stand.

He got up fast and turned her so that she faced him again. He grabbed hold of her wrists and looked down into her eyes with his nose almost touching hers.

"You're not going anywhere tonight. He's out there waiting for you and I'm not just going to let him have you." She looked into his eyes astonished.

She was surprised he seemed to care so much but it confused her as to why.

"I don't understand", she told him with tears beginning to fall from the corners of her eyes.

"Why is this happening to me? I'm just a normal person who lives a quiet life and then I try to help someone and I get shot at and then I help someone else and I'm getting shot at again! Now these trained killers are waiting for me outside of this beautiful high rise apartment. I'm naked and one of the most attractive men I've ever met doesn't even want to look at me. I'm just so incredibly confused," She told him feeling awful.

He pulled her close to him and hugged her tight. Serena was surprised by the impulsive affection but this was what she wanted. She responded by wrapping her arms around his neck and fed into the comfort. He was harder than he had ever been in his life. It didn't matter that he had his briefs as a barrier, his awakening was very prevalent.

Darien lifted Serena up and wrapped her legs around his waist; he wanted her to feel his arousal on her behalf. She inattentively straightened herself against him and a look of shocked spread across her face. She was made speechless by the instant growth she felt in his pants. Darien smiled, he was amused by her innocent expression and slowly lowered them both back into the bath. As he sat them down his hold on her remained strong.

He groaned in pleasure, "does that feel like I don't want you?" He told her rubbing himself up against her.

"No," she said softly locked into his gaze.

Darien slid the back of his hand leisurely along her jaw, gently gliding his fingers little by little across her silky smooth skin. He lightly grabbed her chin and held it up into place so that he may see all of her beautiful features. Using his thumb Darien swiped transversely across her bottom lip causing them to part. Serena stayed very still, transfixed by Darien's caress. The warm steam of the water wafted upwards and created a sauna like atmosphere.

The darkness of the room with all the flickering candles and the soft medley playing over the speakers all grabbed hold of her and sent her into a magical romantic dreamlike state that she wished would never end. Gripping her chin slightly Darien turned her head to one side and moved her hair so that her neck was exposed to him. He beheld her submissive form and lost his sense of rational. He pressed a kiss to her temple and breathed in her succulent scent. Darien then slid his tongue lengthways across the arch of her ear and then down to her lobe.

Even with the large diamond stud there he took what skin he could and tugged gently on it with his teeth. This elicited a soft groan from the striking woman in his arms. She shuttered causing the nipples of her breasts to become hard against his chest. He tilted her body backwards and began placing moist kisses along her neck. He savored in her skin which tasted both salty and sweet, a perfect combination of the two.

"Mnnnn…sweetheart, you taste so good," he rumbled out between kisses.

Her chest was exposed to him now and he sighed deeply with desire and let his tongue run from her jaw to the tip of her breast.

"Darieeen," she moaned so quietly it was barely audible.

He took her nipple softly in his mouth and suckled it. She groaned and clutched his arms tightly.

"Uhhnnn…"

He purposely licked slow circles around her areolas until she vigorously writhed against him. He brought her upper body slowly back up against his own and began pressing deep gentle kisses plush to her lips. His eyebrows knit themselves in heated restraint. Serena had been bracing herself by holding tightly to Darien's shoulders but she now released them and instead wrapped them loosely around his neck. With his hand splayed on her back he used the tips of his fingers to massage up and down her spine.

Darien brought his other hand down to cup her butt cheeks. He rubbed around each one possessively and then gently lifted her just enough to get his hand between her thighs. Stealth fully he made his way to her nether region and slowly began sliding his fingers up and down the smoothness of her folds. Serena shuddered in pleasure. She clenched and held him closer to herself. Pressing her cheek alongside his, she shut her eyes and moaned at the pleasure his actions caused.

"Mnnnn….auuhh." She moaned.

He loved the feel of her soft cheeks rubbing up against the roughness of his five o'clock shadow.

"Feel that?" He asked her with dark intent.

He slid his fingers slowly against her tulip again, eliciting another moan.

Breathing out a "yes," she nodded her head.

The edge of her teeth lightly grazed his neck.

"Your body is precious Serena and very sensitive," He told her continuing to slide his finger back and forth at a more rapid pace, over her clit.

This caused her to open her jaw on his shoulder in anticipation. He urged the spreading of her legs and delicately slid his finger to her entrance and then suddenly stopped. She was breathing heavily now.

"Are you all right sweetheart?" he asked trying to see her face.

She nodded yes and he continued to slide it into her slowly now until he touched something that caused her a pinching pain.

"Uhhhhnnn..." she winced biting his shoulder and clenching him tightly.

"Feel that?" He asked rubbing his finger against it quickly.

"Uuuhnnnnn..." she cried out.

"See how sensitive you are?" She didn't answer so he rubbed it again.

"Nnnnn" she groaned in pain as she buried her face in his neck now trying to pull herself free of his hand.

He slowly withdrew his fingers and pressed her body more tightly against his own.

He tilted her face so that he could look into her eyes.

"I have wanted to devour you from the moment I saw you that first time in my car. Right now you can feel how badly I want to have you." He emphasized this by pressing his erection against her.

"I've had a lot of women. I used them for sex and they used me right back, but you're precious Serenity," he told her rubbing his thumb across her cheek.

"You should never be one of many. Your perfection from the top of this beautiful intelligent head of yours", he said cupping her cheeks, "to the bottom of these flawless feet," He told her as he slid his hands down her back, around her rear and across her legs.

She shivered again causing her breasts to perk up at him. He smiled and pressed her to himself so that he could feel them again.

"You're untouched and pure. Your beautiful seal is unbroken and I don't want to hurt you or tarnish that. I already know I put you at risk just by bringing you here but I can't imagine harm coming to you because of your association with me," he expressed with concern.

Her eyes looked back at his hazy and tired.

He smiled now and kissed her forehead, "It's a lot to take in, this life isn't for everyone especially on a bar full of alcohol, so let's just sit back and relax tonight and we'll figure the rest out tomorrow. Will you consent to that?" He asked trying to get her to understand that he did care for her.

She nodded to him and agreed, "Okay."

She covered her chest as best she could and stood up with him.

"I'm tired, I'm going to go home and go to bed." She told him.

He stepped out of the tub smiling and wondered whether she had heard anything he'd just said. He grabbed a towel and draped it over her shoulders. She took it and enfolded it around herself as he lifted her out of the tub and back onto her feet. Moving from her, Darien flipped on the light and grabbed a towel for himself. After wiping away all the moisture from his body he pulled the cork from the tub and blew out all of the candles. Darien then led Serena into the bedroom and handed her a thin cotton undershirt.

"I don't keep women's undergarments lying around but you won't need any, it gets warm around here at night," he told her.

She dried her body with the towel and pumped a little pile of lotion that she saw on the dresser into her hand. She sat on the edge of the bed and began rubbing it all over her naked body. Not wanting to get himself going again Darien took this opportunity to walk into the closet and change out of his wet briefs. He pulled on some black cotton pajama pants and a white tank undershirt.

Darien walked back into the bedroom to see that Serena had put on the shirt he had suggested but as she was putting on the shorts she began to fall over.

"Whoa," Darien let out before rushing over and catching her mid-fall.

He cradled her head and looked down at her.

"What did you eat today?" He asked her curiously as he felt his own stomach growl.

"I'm not hungry", she told him looking away while trying to stand on her own again.

"That's not what I asked," he told her.

"I haven't had much of an appetite today, so I didn't eat anything. I did have some coffee this morning. I think." She told him unsure.

With that said Darien scooped her up and brought her into the living room to sit her down comfortably on the couch. He propped up some pillows behind her and left to get her a glass of water.

"Drink this!" He ordered.

She gave him a funny look but then took the cup from him. He saw that she was having trouble clutching the glass so he helped her by holding the cup along with her.

"I'm sorry, I don't usually keep food in my apartment, I'm more of a take-out kind of guy. What would you like to eat? I'll order for you whatever you want." He said. She just shook her head 'no', he noticed that she was becoming more incoherent.

"Drink more water," he told her.

He picked up the phone and called one of his workers.

"I need some soup and tomato juice, Tylenol and an ice pack. Get me some women's undergarments as well," he looked over to Serena's body and gave the guy on the other line some measurements. "That will be all." Darien said hanging up the phone.

He went over and sat back down next to her. She was steadily falling asleep and wanted to lie down, but he insisted that she sit up. Wrapping an arm around her waist he allowed her to rest her head on his shoulder. Serena placed one of her hands on his back and relaxed the other flat against his chest right after leaning into him.

"What do you do for work mystery man?" She whispered with her eyes closed and her fingers gently rubbing his abdomen.

He stayed silent for a moment contemplating what a more direct answer to that question would be. Her hand slowly fell into his lap as she began drifting to sleep. He took her hand into his own and shook her awake. Serena opened her eyes and began playing methodically with his hand. He let her move her fingers into and out of his rhythmically, he found it was oddly enough, soothing.

"I'm a hunter Serena, I set my sights on a target and I do whatever it takes to acquire it. Once I have it, it's MINE," he said in a low domineering tone.

The room remained silent and her caress on his skin had ceased. He thought at first it was what he had said that caused her to stop but when he looked down he saw that Serena had fallen asleep again. He smiled down at her and shook his head. There was no point in beating a dead horse so he let her be and allowed himself to lay his head back to get some rest of his own.


She was still contently sleeping half an hour later when he received a call to his cell. He grabbed it out of his pocket and looked at the screen it was his lackey alerting him that his requests had arrived.

"I'll be right back," he said quietly pulling himself free of her, "stay here," he ordered.

She was starting to drift off to sleep again when the sound of the door shutting startled her awake. He had left and locked the door. Serena sat up and looked at the area around her. She was alone. She leaned forward and grabbed the glass of water that was sitting on the coffee table in front of her. When all of its contents were gone she attempted to stand. Serena used everything in her path to help stabilize herself.

"Darien?" She called out, "Darien?"

"Why did he just leave me here? I need to go home," she said.

She went in search of her clothes but realized they were wet when she went to pick them up off of the bathroom floor, so she just left them there.

"I can't wear this out there." She said lifting the shirt she was wearing up over her head.

Serena went into his closet and started sifting through his business attire. All of it was mostly white ironed collared work shirts. She grabbed the one that felt the most worn as if it had been washed many times before and pulled it off of the hanger. She drew her arms through the sleeves and clasped a few of the buttons down the front. She pulled the shorts off and went commando. Walking back into the bathroom she fluffed her hair with her fingers and glanced into the mirror.

"The higher the hair, the closer to God." she joked as she teased it with one of his combs she found in a drawer.

She saw her stilettos in the reflection of the mirror and turned around, but not before spritzing herself with a dash of Darien's Cologne she saw just sitting on the counter.

"Mnnnn...he even smells sexy" she said smiling.

Grabbing her heels up off the floor Serena walked into the living room and sat down. She was eventually able to put both of her shoes on and tried to train her legs to stand. Soon as she was able to she made her way to the door.

At first Serena tried turning the knob only to realize that it was locked. She jiggled it again and again but still nothing. Then she took minute to focus closely on the knob, trying to configure what the best solution to her dilemma would be.

"Duh...the lock!" she said out loud with laughter.

She twisted each one and was finally able to turn the knob, the door opened to her delight.

"Bingo!" She said aloud and pressed the button for the elevator.

It took a minute but it arrived promptly and binged open. She got in just before the door closed. Serena liked how she didn't have to press any buttons, the elevator automatically began descending to the main floor.

"Pretty snazzy place he's got here!" She said impressed.

As soon as the elevator opened she saw the lobby desk and walked as skillfully as she could towards it.

"Serena!" She heard Darien shout to her.

She swiftly turned in the direction of his voice and saw him hastily rush towards her with a troubled look on his face. But before he could reach her a tall man in a suit intercepted them.

"Miss Tuskino, I need to speak with you privately," the stranger said.

He opening his suit jacket just enough to show her the gun strapped to his side. It was a demonstration to clarify the seriousness of the situation.

She didn't hesitate, "Where?" She asked startled trying to hold herself up against the desk.

He pointed to the elevator, "There!"

She looked to him and then to Darien who was now standing between her and the stranger holding a gun out of her view aimed at the tall man's stomach. Darien wasn't alone, there was another man with him about the same age wearing casual attire and he stood to the side of the dangerous newcomer also with his gun in hand.

"Let's take this little conversation to the elevator Mr. Shields", the large man announced. Without caring that he had two guns trained on him, the guy turned in the direction of the elevator.

Serena looked to Darien for some guidance, unsure as to what was going on.

"He had a gun, did you see that he had a gun?" Serena whispered to Darien.

Shaking his head in dismay he ushered her forward and gestured for her to follow after them all. Once inside they hit a random floor button. The doors closed and they began to ascend floors. The facing wall of the elevator was made of all windows allowing them a view of outside. Serena watched as things on the ground became smaller and smaller.

Once they had made it halfway up the building the gunman swiftly hit the stop button this alarmed the group and they clicked off their safety's. The oversized man continued to ignore them and slowly pulled out a cell phone to dial a number. He then spoke clearly into the receiver.

"I'm standing here with her sir. Yes sir," Said the tall man putting it on speakerphone.

He held out the phone so that it faced Serena while Darien and his partner stood protectively in front of her. Both men looked menacingly over to him while they held their guns steady, ready to shoot at any second.

"Who is it?!" Darien demanded.

"It's for Miss Tuskino," The man responded harshly.

Serena pushed swiftly passed the two men and grabbed the phone. Darien was taken off guard by her careless action and wasn't given the chance to hold her back. He rolled his eyes and shook his head at her foolishness. Darien turned to look at the goon, the man only smiled back mockingly which caused Darien to roll his eyes again. Inwardly he vowed to chain her to the couch the next time he needed to leave the apartment. If she hadn't left he would be here trying to protect her from whatever this was.

'Why do women always have to be more trouble than their worth?' he thought.

"Miss Tuskino?" the voice questioned loudly through the speaker.

She looked at everyone unsure whether or not to respond. Darien's nod of approval gave her the green light.

"Hello? Who is this?" she asked shakily with confusion in her voice.

"Don't tell me you've forgotten already? This is your boss, Diamond Powers. "