A/N: Um, so I just wanted to say that you're all basically amazing. I left a couple love notes to people who were kind of particularly amazing. Also, many apologies for the last chapter which had brutal typos and just… non-editing things going on with it. I was extremely intoxicated whilst writing that, hence getting confused with Cillian Murphy in Batman Begins and Cillian Murphy in Red Eye. I was like… wait… psychologist? When I re-read it. But then it gave me a couple ideas of how to develop his character further, which is really what I'm playing with most right now. Guys, let me know if this starts becoming a romantic comedy on accident. I just can't help it, I'm not so good at the action/adventure but I don't want it to be stupid or cliché. Okay, that's all from me. I'm going sally forth and write you all some sober words.
Lisa followed Jackson down the hallway towards the room where his 'associates' were staying. She stayed a few paces behind him and contemplated running in the opposite direction towards the elevators. The thought was immediately replaced by a rather gruesome image of Jackson sighing heavily and then pulling out the gun and shooting her easily. She hadn't given much thought as to how to get out of her predicament yet. As far as she could tell, she wasn't in any immediate danger with Jackson, although she wasn't particularly sure why. He seemed more nervous about her being around this time. Lisa suspected Jackson would have preferred never to see her again after the way things had ended with them. For some reason, this offended her.
Jackson glanced back at Lisa as they stood outside the door to room 803. He pursed his lips and looked at her much like one would look at a spoiled child. "I'd like you to agree to understand how precarious this situation is." He said smoothly.
Lisa just nodded, tottering a little bit in her high heels under his gaze.
"Lisa?" he said, reaching out to turn her face towards his.
She simply looked at him with what she hoped was a certain degree of loathing. "Alright."
"Good," he said, twisting her face a bit more in his direction. "And although I still don't trust you at all, please promise me you won't do anything stupid. It's for your good as well as mine."
"Yes." She mumbled, casting her eyes away from him.
Jackson nodded and let go of her. He pulled a room key out of his pocket but hesitated before putting it into the lock. "Er, here." He offered her his hand awkwardly and sent her a warning look. Lisa held his hand, completely bewildered as they walked into the room.
Her eyes widened as she took in the three men standing around a brunette teenage girl who was bound to a large chair next to the window. Two of the men wore cheap dark suits and had the look of complete idiocy about them. They were both holding half eaten Subway sandwiches and appeared engrossed in an argument that included a lot of gesturing to the girl. The third man stuck out in a dark blue polo shirt, expensive looking jeans and polished athletic shoes. He had highly styled blonde hair and looked from Lisa to Jackson with raised eyebrows.
Jackson inwardly groaned. If Bradley was incompetent and annoying, Dean O'Riley made him look like a saint. He was John O'Riley's son, a complete and utter waste of space as far as Jackson was concerned. Dean was more interested in looking the white gangster part than actually doing any good for his Father. For the most part, Dean ran around making empty threats and saying 'When my father hears about this!' He and Jackson had always had a tense relationship, but Jackson had always been in good favor with the client so Dean couldn't do much aside from act superior.
"Who's this, Banks?" asked Bradley, looking pointedly at Lisa. She felt a slight chill run over her skin at the way they all looked at her. Appraisingly, but also clearly very irked at her presence. Annoying people with guns wasn't exactly what Lisa considered to be a good idea. She hated Jackson for bringing her in there for a moment and fought the urge to step closer to him as the lesser of two evils. Jackson pulled her closer any way and Lisa froze up at the oddly protective gesture, suddenly very frightened of the other men.
"Constance, my girlfriend." Jackson said shortly, not even looking at the man who had addressed him. He was staring at the blonde man in the polo shirt and stepped away from Lisa momentarily to shake his hand. "Hello Dean." It came out smoothly and relaxed although when he stepped back towards her, Lisa could feel the tension in his arms.
"Hi James," said Dean. "My Father wanted an update on how things were going." He gave Lisa a charming smile. "Hello Constance, you changed your hair?"
Lisa touched her hair absentmindedly. "Yeah," she murmured distractedly. "I was tired of the red." She added.
Dean smirked at her and she returned with a simpering smile. "Well, you look smashing as always." He winked at her and Lisa found herself shrinking back towards Jackson. Lesser of two evils, she reminded herself.
"How come you never told us you were bringing her up here?" asked the other suited man.
Jackson didn't respond, he was still staring at Dean and had pulled Lisa so close to his side that she was now holding onto his elbow with her free hand.
"Things are going smoothly, Dean. I'm seeing Mathew Polaski at the bank tomorrow and I believe he'll be ready for the drop on Friday. There's a meeting with Detective Cramer of New York," he said this rather dryly, as if it were an inside joke that made the other three men chuckle slightly. "I think he just wants confirmation, I'm taking Andrews…" Jackson trailed off for a moment and Lisa saw him glance at her out of the corner of his eye. "Andrews and McCarther have been trailing the Carlton's for the past two days. They tell me they're rather upset but holding on and we shouldn't have to worry about any acts of righteousness."
Dean nodded resolutely and pulled out his cell phone. "Sounds good, James." He said, typing in what appeared to be a text message as he talked. "There is one thing though…" He looked up suddenly and jerked his head in the direction of Lisa.
"She's not in on this, why did you bring her up here?"
Jackson couldn't help the sneer that graced his face. He opened his mouth to retort but Lisa spoke first.
"I—I just flew in from Paris to surprise—James." She said, her voice faltering only slightly as she said his name. "I didn't realize he was working—I'm sorry." She offered Dean what she hoped was a rather appealing apologetic look. It made her feel ill to think about what she was doing. She hated the idea of being a weak woman latched onto a man's arm. She hoped the real Constance didn't act like this. She suspected if she was with Jackson it was highly unlikely that she was one of those weak flimsy women.
It worked though, because Dean started grinning crookedly at Lisa and shrugged. "Keep her with you James. She doesn't leave your side until Saturday morning, just in case she gets any ideas."
"She's trustworthy," Jackson said, almost lazily.
"Okay," Dean was still typing on his cell phone and it rang loudly, a shrill buzzing trance ring tone that made Lisa and Jackson cringe simultaneously. He smiled at Lisa apologetically. "I'm sorry, I have to take this. It was lovely to see you again Constance—" And with that Dean O'Riley left the room in a flurry of spoiled little Daddy's boy glory.
Jackson released his grip on Lisa and when she looked up at him, clearly confused he rolled his eyes and mumbled. "Tell you later."
Bradley tossed the rest of his sandwhich in the trash can near the desk and set about lighting a cigarette. "So," he said conversationally, leering at Lisa. She couldn't do much to get away from this guy's eyes, and Jackson was no longer acting over protective so Lisa chose to look at Anna. The girl looked awful, she had black rings under her eyes and had streaks of black mascara down her face from where she had been crying. Her eyes were puffy, her hair a bit frizzy, her face rather blank as she leaned back in the chair, clearly defeated.
Lisa felt sympathy go out to the girl and she immediately wanted nothing more than to grab Anna and run for the door. This is why I hate him, he's a monster. Lisa told herself, taking another step away from Jackson towards Anna.
"You didn't introduce us," Bradley said, taking a long drag off his cigarette.
Jackson ground his teeth, he could see Lisa watching Anna and he didn't like the looks of it. He knew first hand that when Lisa got self righteous and humanitarian she became very hard to work with. He jerked her wrist and pulled her back to him, winding an arm around her throat possessively. To the others it looked loving and kind, but Lisa only felt the dull weight of his arm pressing against her throat.
Anna sent her a strange look.
"Constance this is Bradley, Quinn and Anna," Jackson drawled, pointing to each person in the room.
"Nice to meet you," she said with false cheer and Jackson loosened his grip on her a bit, as if to remind her that playing along with the game made things easier on herself.
"What do you do, Miss. Constance?" Quinn asked. Lisa immediately found him creepy, but in a rather pathetic teenage boy way.
"I—er model" she said, tripping over the words.
"You're a bit short for a model," Anna suddenly said, and Lisa turned to stare at her fellow kidnapee in surprise.
"I'm sorry," Lisa shrugged, suddenly feeling less inclined to help her.
"Must pay well if you're living in Paris," Quinn continued, almost talking to himself. He pushed some stiff blonde hair off his forehead. "You do those big fancy fashion shows, then? Like with Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klumm?"
Lisa hesitated and then nodded resolutely. "Yeah—yes, sure." She mumbled glibly.
"You ever do Victoria's Secrets?" Bradley asked, grinning at her with his dirty teeth.
Jackson tightened his arm around Lisa, making it hard for her to breathe and she tried to discreetly pry him off but he didn't seem to realize he was doing it. "No—I'm not--- no Victoria's Secret." she said and finally tried a different tactic to get Jackson off of her. "Love, what time are we going to meet the Detective?" she asked, twisting around to stare up at him. The blue eyes stared back down at her, almost disembodied from his face at that angle. He was frowning at her, clearly very confused. "Oh—ah, at one." He said.
"You should be going then, Banks." Said Quinn, seriously. "Almost twelve-thirty now."
"Yes, thank you for that Quinn," Jackson said, his face belying the dislike he had for the other man. "We'll see you later, then."
And with that Lisa and Jackson left the hotel room, arms still entwined until they got out the door and Jackson pulled himself away from her far quicker than might have been necessary. "You're good at lying." He told her, sending her a crooked, amused grin.
"You already knew that," she said, contemptuously. "So are you."
Jackson shook his head. "No, I'm not. I'm good at manipulating people, there's a difference."
Lisa raised her eyebrows and planted her hands on her hips. "Are you manipulating me right now?"
Jackson laughed. "To do what?"
"I don't know," she shrugged "In general are you manipulating me? Like in there, you nearly choked me to death. And when you tell me about Constance—was that to make me like you more? To trust you? Because I honestly do not trust you as far as I can throw you, Jackson. I never will."
He sighed and shook his head at her. "I'm not manipulating you on purpose, Lise. But you—now, if only you'd use those little white lies for better things."
"Like killing people?" she snapped.
Jackson's eyes darkened and for a moment she felt bad for saying it. "No, but you'd make one good—manager." He said the word so slickly and slowly that as he said it Lisa had a vision of her in Jackson's place. She being the one to stalk him for eight weeks, slam him around bathroom walls, head butt him, hold his family hostage. Etc. It sounded like he flew around a lot, saw a lot of different cities, dated hot models living in Paris. Was Jackson's life glamorous? She couldn't tell. Perhaps it was. There had to be some incentive behind doing this line of work, she supposed the main reason was money.
Lisa wondered what if he really like his life, odd as it was.
"What?" she asked
She glanced over at him, he had led them over to the elevator and was pressing the down button. Jackson had a broad smirk on his face as he watched her.
"I'm manipulating you again."
AN: Right-o. hope that didn't suck. I'd feel really really bad if it did. Next time: more back-story for Jackson, more pretending to be the girlfriend, some sleeping… really exciting stuff, I promise.
playnirvana24 Well, I'm an American and I live in London for half the year so I end up saying stupid think like bollix and loo and I just end up confusing people. I think I stopped spelling color 'colour' while I was writing this, and have decidedly avoided using 'programme', 'centre', and 'aeroplane'.
Clair Hall: OMG! THANKS! Your review just made me smile so I wanted to tell you you're basically, like, amazing. Anytime people say I'm better than everyone else, I tend to like those people more. No, no, just kidding, I don't feel like that but thank you for the kind words and I love puppies and easily breakable things.
the super nuggetI know you reviewed 2 and basically correctly predicted the wall slamming in an elevator and such, but I wanted to say thanks anyway because you got the point of the story smack on. How do feel about more Jackson-shoving-lisa-into-walls? I think it could become a central part of the story.
The Nth Degree: Confetti! I'm glad you liked the Jackson's personal life bit. A lot of people liked that and I'm kind of surprised. I mean, he must have one right? So there's going to bee oodles more of that. Can you guess what Jackson gets at Starbucks?
SpadesJade: Yeah, I'm kind of tired of the whole revenge thing. I thought about it and I was like, yeah, I can see him going all crazy and trying to kill her or rape her or whatever—but then, the guy's not all bad, is he? I mean, he's a very rational person through the whole first half of the movie except for when she does things to really piss him off and then it's like, crazy-wall-slamming Jackson (even thought that's hot). But I think he has his limits and I think being nearly killed by a woman who he very clearly has an emotional attachment to in one way or another would make him take a step back and go, whoa there Jackson. Buuuut then again I've been daydreaming about this all day instead of concentrating on work so I could be over-analyzing. But anyway thank you muchly for giving me such a nice little review. I like Lisa and Jackson to banter too. They're both rather feisty, aren't they?
And thank you to everyone else who reviewed, I would have liked to say something to all of you because I love you all for being so nice to me but then I thought, well, I could post it now or I could post it a half an hour from now when I finish….hmmmm…let me know what you kids think of this wee chapter here.
One, two, three, go. XXXXXXX