Chap 9



Looks like a long chappie but it had to sneak in a lil Zoi and Ami side story, so not as much Jed and Raye as I'd like...

This is mostly a set up for some good stuff to come!!


"This isn't going to work." Jed said with a frown. He turned to Raye for confirmation. "Right?"

She nodded in relief, glad they were on the same page. "I agree. Sorry, Mr. Rowenstein."

"This is the sixth place I've shown you two." Mike Rowenstein complained. "Mr. Hino was very specific about what type of townhouse you would be getting. Something in the city, great for entertaining, close to work."

"Yes, well we've changed our minds about what we want." Jed informed him in a firm voice that clearly said he was making this decision, not Mr. Hino.

With a frown Rowenstein studied the determined man before him. "We'll have to clear it with him of course, since he's paying for it." He reminded them curtly.

"Understood." Jed answered with a shrug. He had a feeling Ren Hino would go along with anything they suggested at the moment, since he was so pleased with the turn of events, what with their wedding date being pushed up and all.

Ignoring the mutterings of the man before him, Jed turned to glance down at his fiancé. "You alright?" He asked solicitously.

She nodded and stretched discreetly. "Just a little tired from looking at all those pretentious townhouses."

He chuckled. "I didn't know a townhouse could be pretentious."

Raye nudged him with her elbow. "You know what I mean."

"Yeah, I do." He agreed softly. And he did. They had been sharing a strange affinity since that kiss in the limo earlier. Almost as if their relationship was real. It helped that Rowenstein was a real jackass, and that two of them had united against him, snickering as his snide remarks behind his back and rolling their eyes at each other when he wasn't looking.

"We appreciate your time sir," Raye began, speaking up for the both of them. "But we have in mind what we're looking for. Perhaps we can try again another day?"

The two turned the leave the vacant living room of the latest monstrosity he was showing them, when the solicitor stopped them, holding out a hand. "Not so fast, I still have one more place to show you." He said, his tone insistent.

Jed sighed in exasperation, but Raye quickly spoke up. "All right, but this will be the last one, if you don't mind. I'm feeling rather tired." She excused herself as she turned, plucking at Jed's sleeve to get him to follow her. The sooner they moved this along, the better.

"Fine." Jed gave in reluctantly and trailed behind her, not realizing how easily he went along with her, how easily she 'handled' him, and he let her.

"Excellent." Rowenstein glowered back, speaking tensely. The two men definitely did not like one another.

The trio trooped out of the empty townhouse and headed for the parking lot where the limo waited. Climbing in, Rowenstein gave the driver the next address and the three were off.


"Thaddeus Nicholson."




"Umm…Ulysses Grant?"

"No! Ulysses Grant Houston? Then his initials would be Ugh!"


"Ami!" Zoi barked in exasperation. "We are not naming our son Albert! That's practically guaranteeing he'll get beat up!"

Ami colored in embarrassment. Secretly she had been hoping her husband would go for the name Albert. Albert Einstein; the greatest thinker of the 20th century, a genius of epic proportions, the man was a legend! What a tribute to his greatness to name the future president of the country after him? But the way Zoi was acting, he made it sound like such a geeky name…

"We'll discuss it more later." She said softly, hoping to give him time to reconsider. "Come on in the kitchen, it's time to eat. I think you like tonight's meal, its roast duck!" Happily she leapt up from the seat she had been occupying next to his wheelchair pushed up to his desk. With a peck on his cheek she left to go put the food on the table.

Zoi paled at the thought of another inedible dinner. He loved his wife more than anyone and would do anything for her including eating tasteless overcooked meat and soggy, undercooked vegetables. She was nesting, part of the pregnancy process. He had studied up on what to expect when he had first discovered he was going to be a father. The books had been informative but hadn't prepared him at all for the realities. She needed to do this and nothing he said could deter her.

But in the meantime, he was suffering. Zoi had taken to stashing snacks around the house. In the desk of his home office, out in the garage where he had a couple of projects he was working on and in the drawer of his nightstand in their bedroom he had planted slim jims and tasty cakes to get him through the worst of the hunger pangs.

He worked from home and during the day when she was gone, he would fix himself meals in the kitchen specially equipped for his handicap. But at night when she came home insisting she would cook, he did his best to grin and bear it.

"Zoi, are you coming?" Her sweet voice floated down the hall towards him.

"On my way." He called back and maneuvered himself around and towards the doorway.

As he wheeled down the wide hall towards the kitchen, he glanced up at the pictures that lined the walls. Pictures of her family and friends, a single picture of his brother Jed, and of his and Ami's wedding.

Their relationship was a miracle to him. A year and a half ago, he'd been a street thug with no knowledge of her, hadn't met her yet, hadn't known how much his life was going to change.

The gang members that formed his family had been his whole life. Love was a joke in their estimation and he had thought much the same, never spending very long with any one woman. Theft and carjacking provided food, liquor and cigarettes, but mostly it was a struggle to make ends meet. He did what he could to make sure his 'family' had the necessities, and especially his little brother Jed, though Jed had always been quick to point out he could take care of himself.

Then Ren Hino had changed their life. In one shattering moment, a minor turf war was revealed for the ambush it was when their attackers had pulled out lead pipes, knives and guns. It had been a horrific bloodbath.

"Zoi, what about family names?" Ami called from the kitchen, continuing the discussion he thought she had tabled. "Do you have any names that have been in your family for generations or something?

He wheeled himself into the kitchen. "No, no family names." He answered shortly. "Need any help setting the table?"

She didn't seem to notice his reticence at her question and smiled warmly over at him. "Could you get napkins please?"

Family names, he mused as he did as she asked. What did Ami mean? Like Chauncey or Frederick or some such shit? He grimaced at her unintentional reminder of their social differences. Her family was wealthy, a quietly important pillar in the community, many of them doctors. He and his brother didn't even know who their mother was, and hadn't seen their old man in years. Houston wasn't even their real last name, but a name chosen a year and a half ago, to hide their real identities.

"Tah Dah!" Ami chimed and he pulled himself from his private thoughts to stare. She was holding a large white ceramic platter that was almost as big as she was, with a comically small, but juicy looking bird in the middle, surrounded by baby potatoes and sprigs of artistically arranged greens.

He felt the hard tug of love on his heart as he studied her proud expression. She was amazing, he thought lovingly. A brilliant doctor, but with surprisingly little self confidence about her looks and personality, she humbled him with her sweetness and gentleness. He hadn't known it, but she was exactly what he needed in his chaotic life.

"It looks great honey," He said with a grin. "But don't you think using the thanksgiving platter for one little duck is a bit of overkill?"

She sniffed daintily, ignoring his observation, and he knew he had to tread lightly. His normally self effacing wife was in the grip of unpredictable hormones and even the slightest criticism, however mild could upset her.

"It looks delicious, I can't wait." He added hurriedly and was rewarded with a serene, almost Madonna like smile. Man, he was such a sap, he realized wryly. Love did that to you.

Ami said a small prayer of thanks for the food and began carving up the duck with surgical precision. Zoi's mouth was watering. Perhaps this time she had gotten it right. The food smelled incredible and was a beautifully bronzed color. The enticing aroma of meaty spices drifted up to tease his senses and he couldn't wait for that first delectable bite.

She served his food to him first, then placed a slice of roast duck with a couple small potatoes on her own plate, then sat and gestured to him. "You first." She told him, anticipating his pleasure at her cooking.

Bravely he took a deep breath and carefully sliced a mouthful, forking it and bringing it to his mouth. It looked good… it smelled good… With a 'what the hell' attitude of a soldier going into a battle he knew he might lose, he took a bite.

…And forced himself not to gag.

With iron like will power, he mustered a smile and chewed enthusiastically. "Mmmm…!" He added for affect.

Her face was beaming and she bent to fork up a piece to taste and mercifully taking her attention off him. He relaxed his shoulders, not realizing he had stiffened them defensively. Damn but this was the worst of it yet! His stomach growled in confusion, he was hungry but this meal was almost inedible!

Ami chewed delicately and made a moue of consideration. "Hmm, I'm not sure I got the spices quite right." She said with a tilt of her head. "What do you think?"

Those soft, beautiful blue eyes were looking at him expectantly and he found himself answering with no forethought. "It's perfect baby, just like you." He said warmly.

Ami blushed and had trouble meeting his eyes. He shook his head chuckling, causing her to lift her gaze to his.

"What?" She asked with a puzzled smile.

"It's just you. You're so amazing. Here we are married for over a year, we've made a child together and I love the fact that I can still make you blush." Zoi began warming up to his favorite topic; her. He loved to sing her praises to her, much to Ami's eternal embarrassment.

As he reached across the table to hold her hand and gaze into those big baby blues, he was struck again at how lucky he was to have found her. They didn't belong together, and it was plain for everyone to see they were as different as night and day. But they had refused to listen to anyone who tried to separate them and they were now happily living the dream.

Zoi stroked his thumb over the smooth back of her hand. "Do you remember the first time I saw you?" He murmured enticingly, shoving his plate to the side. "You were so damn beautiful; you made me ache with it."

Ami blushed yet again. "I was so unprofessional but I just couldn't remain detached with you. You were the handsomest man I'd ever seen." She confessed lovingly.

Could it really only have been a year and a half ago that they'd met one another?

Zoi had been unconscious in the hospital, hooked up to tubes and I.V.'s and had been out cold for a couple days, when he had begun to regain consciousness from the most unlikely stimulation; The gentle feel of fingertips brushing his hair back from his forehead.

He'd slowly opened his eyes, all the while feeling the disorienting grogginess that spoke of pills and pain numbing drugs. Confusion held him silent as the pretty woman with the blue black hair, who hadn't yet noticed he was awake, continued to feather back his bangs from his face, a reverent look in her eyes.

"That feels nice." He croaked his voice hoarse from disuse.

"Oh!" She gasped in shock, quickly stepping away and clutching the chart she held in her other hand to her chest. "You're awake!"

"Yeah. Where the hell am I?" Zoi asked calmly. He had a pretty good idea where he was but needed confirmation.

"Sinai Hospital." She answered him, her eyes wide in her face.

"Are you a nurse?" He asked, studying her tiny form. She was so petite; she was probably a third of his size.

She shook her head emphatically and gestured vaguely to the coat she wore, then pointed to the nametag that had been hidden by the chart she clutched. "I'm a doctor. Dr. Mizuno. I've been treating you since you arrived Mr. Houston."

"Houseton?" He murmured with a frown. That wasn't his name…

"Yes, your brother gave us your information when you arri-"

"Jed? He's ok?" Zoi demanded vague memories of what had happened surfacing as he tried to push himself up and finding to his shock he was too weak to get out of the bed. He collapsed back onto the mattress as the sweet doctor rushed closer to try to restrain him and to reattach I.V.'s that had come lose.

"He's fine Mr. Houseton." Dr. Mizuno had assured him, more worried about her patient. "Please be careful, you're not fully healed yet and I wouldn't want you to cause yourself more pain."

He laid back motionlessly while she fussed over him, all the while studying her. "You're too beautiful to be a doctor." He told her in no uncertain terms. "Doctors are a bunch of old pricks who make up things that are wrong with you so they can charge you an arm and a leg for unnecessary surgery."

"But you…you're so pretty and delicate." He breathed almost to himself. "You should be at home wearing some expensive new dress and lots of jewelry, waiting for your husband to come home so he can take you out to a five star restaurant or something."

It was probably a sexist comment but the drugs seemed to have loosened his tongue. It was the only explanation as to why he was talking so openly to a woman who was so far out of his league.

But the pretty doctor seemed enraptured by what he was saying. He was large and rough and his way of speaking bordered on insulting as he singlehandedly trashed her profession while insinuating she was better suited to be the 'little woman' who stayed idly home waiting for a rich husband to return.

Instead she was charmed and awed. Men who looked like Zoi didn't look twice at boring brainiacs like her. And they certainly didn't call her beautiful!

"Well, um thank you Mr. Houston. I think." She finally spoke up. "But I can assure you I am your physician." She smiled her most professional smile

He laughed at her insistence. "You look like a kid playing dress up." He told her, some of his natural cockiness returning.

Her gasp of outrage was cut off as the door opened and a blond nurse walked in. Well, swaggered in really. She was tall, attractive, voluptuous and she knew it, flaunting her figure as she crossed to his bedside. "Well, well. So our sleeping beauty awakes." Her voice was heavy with invitation. Apparently she'd been keeping an eye on him as well while he was unconscious. She met his hard gaze. "We had bets on what color your eyes were. Guess I won." She added with a wink.

Zoi glanced away from the obvious woman back towards the petite doctor. She seemed to be withdrawing into herself, moving back away from the bed and the nurse had not bothered to acknowledge her.

"Where are you going?" He asked her huskily, ignoring the nurse entirely.

She blinked in confusion, thinking she had been forgotten. "I-"

"Oh, Dr. Minuzo." She nurse spoke, feigning surprise. "I didn't see you there."

"Yes well." She cleared her throat in slight embarrassment, and straightened her shoulders. "The patient seems to be doing better Nurse Keller, but you might want to increase his amino dopamine levels from 20 to 40 kg for now. I'm afraid he may be feeling an increase in pain now that he's awake."

"Of course doctor." The blond answered in her most professional tones, then turned her face to wink conspiratorially at Zoi. "We wouldn't want our hottest patient to suffer, would we-"

"When are you coming back?" Zoi demanded of his doctor, frustrated with the buxom nurse. She was pretty in an obvious way, but there was something about the little black haired woman that called to his soul. He frowned at how stupid that sounded. Must be the drugs, he mused, even as he pressed her for an answer.

"I-" She was stunned, thinking that once Zoi had realized the nurse was interested, he would no longer care whether she was in the room or not, much less when she would be returning, other than to check on his vitals.

"Please." He asked in a low, insistent voice, and Ami melted.

"I-" She felt the eyes of the nurse on them both, could almost feel her disbelief at being ignored. Ami moved to stand by his bed and the nurse moved back, pretending to check his I.V. bags and making notes on the chart at the foot of his bed, but really eavesdropping shamelessly. Ami dropped her voice to almost a whisper. "I have a couple other patients to check in on, and then I'll be back." She promised.

She would need to anyway, to discuss his recovery and treatment with him, and she had yet to tell him about the extent of his injuries, and the loss of the use of his legs. But he needed to rest for now.

He reached up and grasped the ends of a strand of her hair and gave a playful tug. "Promise?" He asked with a faint grin.

Ami was finding it difficult to breathe. "Mr. Houston," She began, but he interrupted her.

"Zoi." He corrected her softly.

She hesitated, then relented. "Zoi." She repeated softly, and for a moment the two simply gazed at one another, lost in a moment that never should have happened but was inexorably binding them together.

Ami found herself forgetting their audience and reaching out, she again brushed his hair back from his forehead as she had done dozens of times since he'd been admitted. Even unconscious, he'd been achingly handsome and she'd felt something she couldn't explain when she looked at him. More than just an attractive man, she'd felt curiosity at his street clothes-the scarred leather jacket, torn jeans and heavy shitkickers had her wondering what sort of man he was. She'd been drawn to him in a way she could not understand.

Was there such a thing as soul mates, she'd wondered. She'd scoffed silently at her own thoughts. Even if she was, there was no way that this man; this incredibly beautiful, manly, seemingly invisible man could be hers.

"Don't go." He'd begged her softly, forgetting that he wasn't the kind of man who had ever begged before.

"I...ok.." She'd astonished herself by agreeing.

The two had been inseparable ever since.

There had been obstacles in their relationship of course, and it hadn't been easy for the two.

They'd had to deal with his denial and then eventual acceptance of his handicap, his painfully slow rehabilitation, the rigid objection of her family and his own constant worries about his past affecting their present and future if she ever found out the truth about him. But both had loved one another so much that in the end they hadn't been able to hold out against their desire to be together.

Now as Zoi sat across from her, holding her hands and reminiscing he was more determined that nothing from his past would harm her or tear them apart.

Ami blushed, a pretty becoming pink. "I still can't believe you fell in love with me." She told him with a shy smile.

"How could I not?" He asked almost arrogantly. "You're the best thing that ever happened to me. Dunno why you would want to tie yourself to a cripple and if I had any strength I'd leave you and let you find someone better."

"Zoi-" She protested, shocked.

"But I could never leave you Ami. You're my whole world. You and our son." He murmured as he stroked his thumbs over her hands, his gaze intense.

Bravely, her eyes held his. "Promise?" She asked softly.

He squeezed her fingers tightly, his rough hands covering her smaller, smoother ones. "Cross my heart." He replied reverently.


The limo drove smoothly down a back road, just on the outskirts of the city. Large oak trees lined the road and quaint little houses dotted the side of each street. Raye watched the scenery with interest, pleased that this seemed to be more of what she and Jed seemed to have in mind.

"We're almost there." Rowenstein commented, sitting at the other window seat, Jed in the middle between them. "Just have to cut through here, only ten more minutes. The condo's we're about to see are a great area for up and coming young couples, just minutes from the beltway." He bragged.

Ugh, sounded like more pretentiousness, Raye thought, making a face out the window where he couldn't see.

The limo turned a corner and Raye straightened up, stared for a moment then gasped loudly. "Stop! Stop the car!" She pleaded urgently.

Confused the other two men craned their necks to see what she was looking at. Frantically Raye tried to get the drivers attention, forgetting he couldn't hear them with the privacy screen pulled closed between the front and back seat.

Jed, reacting quickly, reached up to the console over his head and pressed the intercom. As soon as the driver answered, he instructed him to stop and pull the car over.

The car had barely pulled up to the curb when Raye was thrusting the door open, not waiting for the chauffer to let her out, and was scrambling excitedly out of the car. She turned back to the occupants. "Come on Jed!" She exclaimed in excitement.

Curious he scooted out and followed at a leisurely pace, hands in his pockets and he and glad for his suit jacket in the chill stirring in the air as he watched Raye racing ahead. She crossed the street and stood on the sidewalk, frantically motioning for him to hurry. With a glance down both directions of the street, he crossed to her but she took off again as he neared and then disappeared behind a tall wooden privacy fence that lined the street.

"What the…" He ducked behind to follow, forgetting about their solicitor, not bothering to see if he was behind them.

Rounding the fence, he stopped dead in his tracks as Raye stood before him, arms outstretched and smiling expectantly. "Look Jed!"

Bemused, he walked past her, taking in the view she had glimpsed as they drove by and seeing what she had seen at just a glance.

"It's perfect." He murmured under his breath.

"Isn't it?" She agreed, twirling in delight. "Jed, it's uncanny. It's almost exactly what we said we were looking for!"

He nodded, still in a slight state of shock. It was exactly what they had discussed. The area was large, full of several mighty oaks and two tiny but bright orange Japanese maple trees, yellow- gold leaves beginning to coat the ground as fall was swinging into gear.

Large, spacious and private, the back yard stretched out before them, and a dark house-single story house stood alone in the distance, conveying privacy and quiet brick architecture.

"Look, look!" She said, reaching out to grab his hand, pulling him along. He followed her as she led him to a small wooden bridge. "It's a little pond!" She exclaimed happily. "Can you imagine it full of koi fish Jed? Maybe a couple of banners here, a small stone statue there…What do you think?"

He could imagine it all too easily; a crisp fall day, Raye out in the back yard, her quiver of arrows leaning against one tree, while a target was attached firmly to another. She was standing on the bridge, a piece of bread in her hand as she fed the fish and laughed at the local goose that had taken up residence in their yard, honking at her rudely hoping for some food.

A shout sounded and she turned and laughed as a child, their son ran up to her demanding a piece of bread so he could feed the fish as well. And then a vision of Jed himself, still wearing his suit, having just come home from the office and in his arms, a tiny little girl, with long jet black hair so like her mother's snuggled in his arms, chattering to him gaily about her busy day helping mommy around the house.

Jed caught his breath, leaning heavily on the bridge and staring sightlessly into the empty pond, his heart pounding hard, because damn it all, he wanted that fantasy…suddenly realized he wanted it all-desperately.

"Jed?" Raye asked in concern, touching his arm hesitantly. "Are you alright?"

"Fine." He answered quickly but pulled away, needing some space between them. His head was racing. What about his plans? He couldn't abandon them, needed to make Ren pay for what he had done. His brother, his family deserved justice.

But could he exact his revenge and still keep Raye by his side?

"Jed." She pulled his attention to her, looking up at him, her eyes were pleading. "This is the place, I can feel it. Away from my father's influence, away from the city. We can have our own lives here."

Her use of the word 'lives' instead of 'life' reminded him that she intended to live separately from him, and that he had intended the same. Different bedrooms, different worlds. Now he was beginning to think that maybe, just maybe he wanted more.

And he was surprised to discover that he didn't want to disappoint her, found it almost impossible to say no to her when she was looking at him like that, like her happiness depended on him.

He smiled, and it was sexy, almost devastating. "Let's go talk to Rowenstein." He suggested, and Raye struggled to catch her breath in reaction. She nodded, unable to say anything, but instead following meekly behind.

She listened to the low timber of his voice as he told the solicitor of their intent, and wondered how she ever could have thought him a mild, boring, sexless being. When she'd first met him and agreed to the engagement, she'd thought of him as a non-entity. There was no way she could think that any longer.

The beginnings of desire stirred within her, it had been simmering beneath the surface all day, and that kiss in the limo had ignited something between them. She'd never been with a man before, and had never had time for dating, so the whole dynamic between men and women were a bit of a mystery to her. But she found herself yearning to know more.

What would Jed do, she wondered, if she were to reach out for him, stretch up and kiss him, much the way he had kissed her earlier? She wanted to touch him, to feel his solid muscled torso under her fingertips, to have the weight of him looming over her, with no barriers between them.

Just the thought of it made her blush madly, and she wondered where her modesty had gone. She wasn't the kind to chase after men, more often than not they chased after her so that she pretended disdain and disinterest to get rid of them, when in reality she was nervous around them.

But Jed was different. She reacted to him, and she wanted more from him. Perhaps, if they lived together then over time he might begin to see her as more than a stepping stone to help his career within her father's organization and see her as a woman in her own right.

'In Time', she thought with a sigh. That sounds so far away. She hoped she could be patient.

Jed returned to her side, wearing a cocky grin. "Don't worry princess, it might take a little convincing but I think we can get the place."

But his grin faded at the look on her face. "Raye? What's wrong?" He asked softly, so that Rowenstein couldn't hear.

She realized she'd been staring at him with frustrated longing in her eyes and blinked, trying to hide her emotions, swimming so close to the surface. Swallowing hard, she tried for a smile. "Nothing!" She lied brightly, and unconvincingly. "Ready to go back?"

"Are you two ready to go?" Rowenstein called, echoing Raye's own comment.

"In a minute." Jed muttered without turning around, then addressed her again. "Tell me Raye. What was that look for? You can tell me, talk to me. Are you having doubts about the house?"

"I…" She was stunned to feel tears forming in her eyes, rimming her dark lashes. Embarrassment warred with need. Suddenly she was desperate to be alone with him, in the dark being held while he kissed her senseless. The strength of her need terrified her.

"Mr. Houseton? Ms. Hino?" His voice more demanding, Rowenstein raised his voice.

"I said just a minute!" Jed barked, and turned to shoot the man a deadly look, before turning back to Raye and blocking the other man out. "Tell me, what is it?" He ordered, reaching out to grasp her forearms, pulling her to him.

"I…can't!" She choked out, then confused him further by launching herself into his confused embrace and sliding her arms around his neck, pulling him down to her, kissing him in tearful frustration.

Her eyes were closed as she tightened her hold on him, but his were open, watching her in confusion. He pulled back abruptly, staring down at her. "Raye?"

"Jed, I-" A watery hiccup interrupted her, stopping her though she wasn't sure what she would have said anyway. How did she explain the turmoil rolling through her, and tell him of the realization that she wanted him, and was beginning to think she wanted to keep him, maybe forever.

"Hush." He said softly and gently swiped a thumb across her cheek to wipe away an errant tear. "You're just emotional right now. Let's get back, get rid of Rowensein and then we'll go somewhere quiet and talk. You can tell me what's wrong." His voice had a note of determination in it, that she wouldn't avoid their talk and would tell him.

"No." She whispered, then closed her eyes and gathered her courage. "I'll tell you now." Swallowing hard, she blurted; "I want to be with you Jed."

His hand fell away from her face in shock.

"What?" He whispered, not believing what he was hearing. Sure, they'd kissed a few times; he knew there was attraction budding between them. But this was completely different. "Raye, do you know what you're saying?" She was still rather young and he wondered if she really understood that she was propositioning him.

She nodded bravely, pulling her sleeve down over her hand and swiping it across her cheek. She didn't feel very sexy or desirable at the moment, just incredibly vulnerable. "I'm saying I want you Jed." She said, determination firming her chin and lighting her eyes with a fiery element. "Take me back to your place."

"Raye, you're upset, you don't know what you're saying." He ground out, becoming furious with her for offering herself to him, and furious with himself for even considering it.

"Yes I do!" She shot back, sounding more like a petulant child than a woman trying to entice her fiancé to sleep with her.

"You'd go to bed with a stranger?" He mocked, trying to make her see sense. "Because that's what I am to you Raye. You don't know the first thing about me."

She looked up into his handsome features, lined in anger, and realized he was right. She didn't know this man at all. The Jed she thought she knew was tame and bland and had no personality. The man before her was fierce, almost dangerous. "You're right, I don't know the real you." She admitted, then stepped closer. Linking her arms around his neck, she tugged him close and was gratified when he lowered himself near her though it was clear he was reluctant. "But I want to." She added softly as she reached up to kiss him.

"Raye." He muttered, then with a groan, he gave in and began kissing her back with an intensity that rocked her senses. His mouth ravaged hers, his tongue slipping into battle with hers and she willingly fought back, desperate for the sensations he was igniting in her.

Behind them, Rowenstein cleared his throat noisily. "I hate to interrupt but I insist we return, I have pressing matters at the office I need to get back to."

The couple parted, ignoring him, staring deep into each other's eyes, trying to see what the other was thinking. Finally Jed came to a decision, as much as he needed to get revenge on Ren Hino, he wanted Raye very much and though he knew it was dangerous to get involved with her on an intimate level, knowing he might have to hurt her, he couldn't deny himself.

"Raye." He said huskily, feeling a burning in his gut at the look of desire in her eyes, her lashes still damp with residual tears and her mouth soft from his kisses. "I dont think this is a good idea."

"Please." She whispered shamelessly.

He closed his eyes, his expression pained and she was afraid he would refuse. But when he opened his eyes and saw the plea in hers, he gave in. "Come back with me to my place, Raye."

She nodded, eyes solemn and he bent to kiss her once more, both of them with their eyes open as they measured each other, knowing they were taking a big step and getting ready to change the nature of their relationship irreversibly.

"Let's go." He commanded, and taking her hand, they turned to head back to the limo, ignoring Rowenstein's blustering.


Will Jed be able to tell Raye about his past? Will they come together or be wrenched apart? Will secrets be revealed?? Looking for a steamy chappie-coming soon!