Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Author's note: This is a one shot, set in an unspecified time after the events of the movie. Rating for sexuality. A huge thanks to First Noelle, my beta, who has been a tremendous help to me during the process. You're the best!

"Middle Ground"

When I heard you got engaged, I was furious.

I went to a club that night, trying to still myself with beats and booze and writhing flesh, but the project was doomed from the start. I hated myself and I hated you, all the way from the first drink to the last, from the first pair of hips grinding beneath my own to the last tingling taste of salty skin. My analytical nature is both my greatest accomplishment and my greatest affliction. I'm not the kind to just let go when something needs fixing.

So here's my problem.

I don't love you (what's love, anyway), but I crave you like an addict does his drug. It's an urge, an ache, a constant battle, and it's been this way ever since I first laid eye and hand on that scar on your chest. They can try, but believe me, no one will ever understand you like I do. You weren't merely telling a lie to the world; your entire life was a thick web of deceit to cover up its secret center. Your resolute committal to that scam back then fascinates me endlessly. It feels familiar.

When I began my observation of you, I was a little surprised at your loner existence. Smart, pretty, a good job – by all means, you should have been dating a guy with numerals in his name or at least fighting them off with a stick. At the time, I didn't think much of it, though; it was only when we met and I caught the first glimpse of that green flicker hidden so well behind averted eyes that I grew suspicious. You had me fooled real well, I'll give you that, but then again … we both set out on our adventure as different people, didn't we?

As soon as I was fit to do so after the events at your dad's house, I resumed keeping tabs on you. You had started to venture into dating and bachelor number four seemed to stick. Life is strange. I believe the use of the term "rebound guy" is in order. I'm preppy, he's rugged. I'm light, he's dark. I'm a criminal, he's a cop. A gentle giant of a man, destined to save and protect from the day he was born. Honestly, Leese, do you really not see how you're pulling the wool over your own eyes all over again? The night you finally took him home, I was sitting in a car across the street, simply hurting to maim the bastard. My scars were still fresh, I had just been released from my company's care (those medics were actually my people. That's how I escaped - I know you ponder that every so often.) and with every light that you turned off in your house, they started itching more. To this day I'm amazed I didn't act on my impulse. I guess I understood how you didn't want to let go of the first decent guy you had met in a long time; God knows your screening process so far hadn't been up to par. I wanted to give you a chance to see that while things might go well on the surface, most people can't handle the darkness in another one's heart. Like yours, for example, no matter how you're trying to justify yourself. I was there, remember? I saw the look in your eyes, radiating the thrill of the hunt, and don't ever dare to deny it, least of all to me.

I underestimated you. I really shouldn't, but I can't help smiling to myself when my thoughts travel back to the beginning. You were promising to be an easy ride, a people pleaser as you put it so well. Maybe it was a big step for you, but I knew you'd join me at the TexMex. A great start, wasn't it? My alarm bells went off at your easy little lie, anyway. If only I had been aware back then, things might have gone differently, smoothly. Yes, you were pretty and funny, but so are a lot of girls. Yes, you were surprisingly resistant later on, but so were a lot of my marks. Didn't help them much, take my word for it. What I couldn't figure out was … where the hell did it suddenly come from? By all standards, you were the classic good girl and that very fact sparked curiosity in me, because in my line of work, you don't get to meet many people like that. Imagine my frustration when you turned out to be a major hassle. I played every card I had, but not only did you see me in our little game of poker, you fucking raised me an effort every single time. All the way to the bathroom incident.

I get chills up my spine when I think about us in that airplane bathroom. More out of instinct than anything else, I decided to invade your precious personal space as much as I possibly could. Stuck-up little bitch will cave in - that was my conviction and I have to confess, it also felt nice. Like a present, I wanted to unwrap you of your resilience and enjoy the control. Immediately, the good girl resurfaced, the eternal woman who believes a man's redemption is the path to happiness. It was fun to counter that proposal with a bit of bad boy. Okay, so my finger did get caught in your neckline and happened to pull it down a little, sue me if you will. Either way, I was sentenced to life.

But first, let's get back to our hero, bachelor number four, who will no longer be a bachelor this time tomorrow. Hoyt Jefferson O'Reilly (someone should have monitored mom's drug intake during childbirth) is a nice man – pretty much the only thing anyone ever seems to be able to say about him. You are no exception to that rule, I noticed. After what papers usually like to refer to as "a whirlwind romance", he proposed to you during a moonlight stroll through one of the city's parks. How romantic. I doubt he has a clue who he was actually proposing to. My blood boils when I look at that new character you're portraying. No longer at the Lux, you now hold a safe, quiet job at the local bank, you dress even more conservatively, you hardly ever drink – never vodka - and you smile less than that. I once broke into your therapist's office and checked out his notes on you. They confirmed all my suspicions. Whatever happened between us, I left my mark on you, I changed you, and you fear that change. You fear yourself and what you are capable of. You fear the sheer taste of possibility and so you bury it deep down in the ultimate suburban dream. Don't be a coward, Leese. We both know you're not happy and I'm here to show you.

I changed you and I have to say you did the same to me. Your skin was cold to the touch and I focused my gaze on you, comprehending the nature of your demons. Lesser women – and I've had my share of those – would have crumbled, but not you. You were scared and desperate and marred for life, but somehow you had found a way past the panic and put up a good fight, a smart fight. Congratulations. Only a lesser man – and I'm sure you've had your share of those – wouldn't have appreciated the sentiment. For the longest split second in the history of the world, I wanted to break down the barrier between us and just be. I sensed a familiar soul, another person restricted to a construct of lies by their own volition. We were bound to different oaths, but here was a chance to look beyond that and I wanted nothing more than to finally see the real you. You would have been safe with me and thus, I would have been safe with you, even if just for a moment. I guess that's all people like us can ask for. Oh, and the scars on my body? Living proof that in typical Lisa Reisert fashion, you managed to screw it all up.

In a way, I'm glad you told me that blatant lie, so arrogant in its obviousness. It brought the spotlight back where it belonged … onto the job. Thanks for that. My remarks were hurtful on purpose and we returned to our seats without further ado (at least that's what I was led to believe). You made the call and each of us was left to our own thoughts after that. I felt like a rodeo rider trying to stay on a fucking bronco, emotions bucking under me. How do I express those sentiments without sounding pathetic? Did I admire you? Love you? Feel guilty? Maybe a little, I'm not certain, but I do know that I wanted you, secrets and everything. Your final deceit, pretending to let me in after all, sent me over the brink into a rage that didn't stop burning until I was seeping it out together with my blood in the end. Tell me that through all your fear you didn't feel the slightest bit excited about turning the tables around. Tell me that and I'll laugh in your face. But tell me the truth and in turn I'll admit that you have started something I can't deal with. I can't fill these holes you have quite literally left in my body. It's the same with you, isn't it? It's what drives you to the mundane. We are not cut out for the mundane, Leese, not after what we went through together.

So now I'm standing in front of your house. Your fiancé – hell, I hate saying that - is on duty tonight and I'm sure he's very busy. In fact, I know he is. The night before your wedding and he puts his work above you … the last person to make that mistake is living to regret it, let me assure you. I take out my spare key, punch in the security code and enter your house by the front door. There's no need to pretend anymore, you have detected me from the window. I hear a drawer being slammed shut.

You wait for me in the living room, gun cocked at my dark figure in the hall. Good girl. I step into the light and for a second, breath leaves me. After so many months, you finally see me, you know I'm here, and it's just how I imagined it. You are trembling, but your eyes are ablaze with anger and pride. (I'm willing to bet my life that you haven't called the police.) I raise my hands and tilt my head. This is your moment, you set the pace. You ask me what I want and I answer that I want you. Why do I want you? Oh Leese, do you have a lifetime? I give you the short version, watching your face go from pale to flushed and back again, from open sarcasm to incredulity to shameful acknowledgment. Finally, we're on the same page and I can't stand to wait any longer. I cross the distance between us in measured strides and reach for the gun. There's a hint of a struggle and I manage to keep my cool even though your mere presence makes me shiver with impatience. Come on, Leese, no more games. How can I make you understand that I'm not here to hurt you? I must have said that out loud, because your eyes are searching me out and I guess you found something you can trust. You sigh and rub your forehead, pretenses dropped like a dead weight. My hands are resting on your shoulders and I move my mouth towards yours, but it's up to you to meet me. This is your own personal deal with the devil - you seal it with a kiss and then you're mine.

When we connect, my blood catches on fire. Yet all I allow myself to do is to linger softly, tongue teasing you in an open invitation to dance. Breathless murmur. Steal me away from myself, you whisper, free me. It makes me smile – your wish is my command. Casting all restraint aside, I pull you close and let the fever take over with a low moan of triumph. My lips crash down on yours and coax them apart recklessly, arms snaking around your body to mold it to my own. Even if I live to be a hundred years – which isn't very likely – I'll never forget that moment. Finally, we can just be, all else forgotten in these few dark hours of the night. You cling to me as if for dear life and I press you against the wall, hungry for taste and touch. I lose track of time, feeling only the flame being passed back and forth between the two of us, fingers roaming, gripping, lacing. You are my drug and I need more. Stepping back, I take you by the waist and wink at you, slowly pulling you towards the bedroom. Of course I know where it is. You blush and grow stiff for a second, but then you shoot me a quick, conspiratorial glance that threatens to drive me over the edge.

We enter the bedroom and pure desire sends a flash of lightening through my veins. I grab you and we stumble onto the bed, mattress breaking our fall. Chuckling at how my weight drove the breath out of you, we look at each other and I bend down to kiss you once more. Your tongue meets mine eagerly until you sigh into my mouth and draw away, slowly crawling backwards. I follow, still above you, and we move in perfect harmony while our eyes are locked, mine no doubt displaying the greed that is fogging my thoughts. (You're mine.) You come to rest on the pillow and deliberately, I lower myself down, sinking into those green orbs that remind me so much of a moor at dusk. Throughout the centuries, people have died in them if not careful enough. Who knows, I might, too. The sensation of your skin under my lips scatters all reason and the next few hours pass in a haze of entwined limbs, air thick with scent and sound. We go slow, we go fast, we are in turn tender and violent, changing from hunter to prey on the whim of a touch. And for that fleeting moment in the end when each of us dies our little death, we are truly ourselves.

My fiancé should be home soon – number one on the hit list of sentences I never thought I'd hear from you, Leese, not under these circumstances. I chuckle softly, granting myself one last second of rest before I get up and quickly get dressed. I barely spare a glimpse in your direction; we've had our break, now it's back to the real world. I need to focus and so do you. You put on the shirt that I peeled you out of not too long ago and take a big sip from the water bottle on your nightstand. There is no goodbye kiss and no last exchange of longing words. There is, however, the fact that I hesitate in the doorframe with my back to you and the creak of your headboard when you sit upright. A stupid little melody – you have received a text message - yanks us free and propels me forward.

I hear a car approach and decide to leave through the backyard, passing your bedroom window on the way. You stand there, one hand pressed against the glass as if to reach out to me. Exhaling slowly, I look at you, my lips parting into a slight smile all on their own. Footsteps on the gravel. (Your precious fiancé.) I could kill him easily, God knows I want to, but somehow, I can't bring myself to do it, not tonight. You shrug, I shrug and then I see you giggle, shaking your head in obvious disbelief at yourself and still naked from the waist down.

I turn away and leave. Oh Leese. It seems as if I'm not such a bad guy anymore and you not such a good girl. Maybe one day, we can meet in the middle.