Tengoko: Hi there, everybody. Sorry for taking such a huge amount of time before updating the final chapter. I've been so busy with all my projects lately, I haven't even had time to work on my novel. But, it's here now, and with summer fast approaching, I hope that updating my other stories and getting the second part to A Turk series will be more expedient.
That said, I would like to take a moment to express my deep saddness for the events that took place at Virginia Tech. I cannot believe that something like this could happen. I am a college student, and up until recently, I never could have thought that the campus I am on could be anything other than safe. Something like this just shatters everything that we had assumed in the past. I am deeply upset that this has happened, and I cannot begin to express how sorry I am for the family and friends of the victims. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them and with all those who have been shaken by this act of violence.
Rated M for language and violence
Chapter 24: The Plot Thickens
She couldn't look away. The horrendous blemish that now scarred her left breast was so blatantly present and so obviously ugly that she just couldn't bring herself to look anywhere else. For a moment, she entertained the idea of lifting her white towel higher over her breasts so that the mark would be hidden, but instead, she lowered the cloth and gently ran her fingers over the soft scar.
Her fingertips were dry now, but the rest of her skin was kissed with drops of water that lingered from the shower she'd just taken. Her hair was dripping water onto her shoulders, and from there, the water slowly streamed down, slowing a little over her collar bone, and then speeding up to drip over the curve of her breast before being caught by the fibers of her towel.
Everybody told her that the wound had healed rather nicely. The stitches had been removed only a week before and her scar was now just a mass of discolored skin that would perhaps diminish but never completely disappear. It appeared to be in the shape of a distorted star, due to the fact that the blade had twisted and gnarled her skin, but it could have been a lot worse.
She stepped closer to the mirror to examine it more closely. There really was no reason for doing this. She'd stared at it every night before going to bed. She could describe every detail of the scar and envisioned it before closing her eyes. It just was to hideous to put out of her mind.
Before that thought could really tear at her, though, she heard the sound of her front door opening followed by the softer sound of keys being thrown onto her coffee table. She was actually rather surprised. Reno usually didn't come over until later when she was already asleep. Ever since the suspension of the Turks, they've been off doing private missions for Tseng that 'were in no way affiliated with Shin-Ra' (at least that's what they were telling Reeve).
Reno's footsteps grew closer, and she quickly toweled off her damp skin before pulling on her robe. By the time he'd opened the bathroom door, she'd already tied her belt and was reaching for the comb to brush her hair.
He looked exhausted and a little irritated, but the moment his eyes met hers, his mouth crept into a boyish smile and all signs of frustration dissipated. He leaned casually against the doorpost and crossed his arms as he took in the sight of her. Pretending to be oblivious of the affectionate stare he was throwing her way, she continued to comb through her silken, blonde strands.
"How was work?" she asked, setting the comb down and reaching for her toothbrush.
"I wasn't at work today, baby. Remember? I'm on suspension. I was just enjoying a little… outing… with Rude and Tseng. Nothing more, nothing less." He chuckled as she rolled her eyes dismissively. "How was your day?"
"Boring," she confessed, applying toothpaste to the bristles. "I miss being at work. And, if you were here more I don't think it would be too bad. But, I just have to wait until Tseng or Rufus think it's all right for me to return to work, I suppose."
"You know that if I could, I would be here with you every minute, Laney."
She could only nod at his comment. The toothbrush in her mouth served as an effective inhibitor for speech, but Reno waited patiently for her to finish. She placed her toothbrush back in the holder when she was done and then turned to face him. "The minutes that you are not here only make the minutes that you are even more special."
Reno's smile faded as soon as those words left her lips. His eyes darkened a shade and he pushed himself out of his casual stance and quickly closed the distance between the two of them. In a matter of seconds, he took her into his arms, pressed his lips to hers, and engaged her in a passionate kiss that simply took her breath away. The kiss was only broken when Reno decided his lips were needed elsewhere, and Elena had no reservations about lifting her chin to give him better access to her neck.
Her arms held him close to her as his lips nipped at the skin on her throat. His breath, which was now quick and heavy, tickled her, causing her to giggle which, for the moment, seemed to bring Reno back to reality.
"How did I do it?" he asked himself as he stared down at her.
"Do what?" she pressed.
"How did I go all those years without realizing how incredibly beautiful you are?"
That was exactly what she needed to hear right now. Especially after staring at her scar for so long. Elated, she pulled him back into a heated kiss. He was surprised by her passion but had no qualms about the kiss itself. In fact, he seemed very disappointed when the kiss ended.
"I take it I won't be sleeping tonight?" he said knowingly, holding her closer.
"You may be able to…" she began. "But I wouldn't put money on it."
His delighted laughter echoed in the bathroom. "I suppose I'll have to do my best then to keep up with you tonight, love."
She smiled slyly before pulling out of his embrace and walking towards the door. He stared after her and his eyes widened as soon as she dropped the robe to her feet. The sight of her never failed to excite him, even if he had seen her like this before. He already felt himself begin to stir and his desire for her was beginning to overwhelm him.
"It looks like you are already behind." She walked further into the bedroom, leaving him alone to anticipate what was to come later. It didn't take long for him to follow her and find out. In the end, he didn't really mind missing out on his much needed sleep. For there was something that he needed much more. Much more than food, much more than water, much more than air. He needed her. And she in turn needed him.
They fell asleep just as the sun began to rise. They held each other lovingly. "I love you," was said softly by both of them. But, they didn't need to say it for it to be known. It was in the way that they held each other. In the way that they looked at each other. The love was obvious. But, it always felt nice to hear it anyway.
It was still dark out. The sun was only now beginning to cast it's rays of light onto the otherwise darkened sky. There weren't many people walking the streets yet. Not many children out playing with one another. It was a typical morning in Midgar. Only, she wouldn't know this. She was usually home at the hour.
She stood alone beneath a lamp post, a deep purple cloak was hiding the better portion of her face, but her long, raven-black hair whipped about in the wind from underneath the silky material. She trembled in the cold, early morning air, but it was not the temperature that had her shivering.
She rubbed her hands together before crossing her arms across her chest. It was a few moments later that she heard the distant sound of footsteps. They were getting closer, and while she knew who was coming, or who should be coming at least, it did nothing to calm the nerves that were going haywire in her stomach.
"Why did you call me here?" her voice snapped. It sounded strange, as though she was not used to being this unpleasant. "Listen, this had better be quick. I have to get back home to our son."
"This will not take long, Lavinia," said a man who had at last stepped out of the shadows and into view. At that, she lowered her cloak and stared at him hard with her gray, stormy eyes. "There is a matter that must be discussed."
"I will not do you anymore favors," she snarled. "I have done all that I am going to do. I will play no part in your underhanded schemes any longer. Maybe that life was okay before our son was born. But it's not anymore. I have to look out for Hunter. I can't afford to put him in the kind of environment that will come if I let you back into my life. It's one thing to get yourself killed, but when it involves him, it's a totally different issue."
He chuckled as he lit a cigarette and put it to his lips. "I have not come to debate the terms of our divorce, Lavinia. I have accepted long ago that I have lost you. And, I have also accepted that Hunter is out of my grasp. However, your talents are too great to ignore."
"I have long been out of your sort of work, Walter," she said, turning her back to him.
"You will be out of my sort of work when I tell you that you are," he chuckled. "It is only through my financial help that you have been able to clothe our son and put food in his stomach. Do you honestly think that the job you have now, that being a seamstress will be enough to keep a roof over his head?"
She paused for a moment and then turned back slowly. Her mouth opened a fraction before she balled her hands into a fist. "Are you threatening me with my own son?"
"Just for this last time, I need your help. Then I will be out of your life forever. That is, personally speaking. I will continue to send you gil and whatever means you need until you get back onto your feet. Look, Lavinia… I don't see how you have any other choice."
She looked down at her feet and closed her eyes. She couldn't help but agree with him. Her fare was meager at best, and there would be no way she could pay the rent for the house she was living in on just her salary alone. If it was just her that they were talking about, she wouldn't be so concerned, but she couldn't let her Hunter live out on the streets. He was just a little boy.
"What do you need me to do?" she asked miserably.
"I need you to help me get rid of the Turks."
She shook her head at first. That man that she'd just met, Rude, he was a Turk. Though she didn't know him all that well yet, she did not want to ruin things by going against him and his organization. "Why do you want me to do that?"
"They killed my brother, Lavinia." His voice was so bitter, as it should be for somebody suffering from a loss. But, there was hatred in his eyes. This was purely a mission of vengeance, nothing like the underhanded dealings he usually made with the street urchins and mob peons. And, unlike the other times, in this case, he was going after the big boys, so to speak.
"Havre is dead?"
"Yes. And the Turks will pay dearly for it." His laughter was chilling. Lavinia had serious doubts about this one. An ill feeling settled deep in her stomach. She gripped the tiger's eye jewel that hung from a chain around her neck and began to walk away. "Remember, my dear," Walter called after her. "If you change your mind, I will make sure that your son's chances of survival will drop dramatically."
That sealed it. She had no choice but to help him.
Tengoko: Well, there it is. A Turk in Trouble finally finished. I hope you have all enjoyed reading it, and hope that this cliff-hanger will inspire you to read the next part of the series: A Turk in Doubt. Thank you all for the feedback, and please review. I really love hearing from you guys.