A/N: Hey everyone! I'm back after an extended hiatus. Now that I have more time, I decided to continue this story. Thank you to Dead-Poetic-Slumber, betty-boo, BelhavenOnTap and dragonzfire718 for reviewing and thank you for reading!
"Mo Chuisle" means "my darling" or "my pulse" in Irish Gaelic. Also, I will try to update my other fics. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this next installment! Cheers! xx IFHD
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Chapter 2: Explanations
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This city's saving grace
But whoever knows, nobody knows
Why he'd roll the eyes back
Why he'd roll those eyes, those heartless eyes
Well I won't pretend to lie
Once more protect my blinded sight
For I came from a fish you mock the place where I exist and live.
That world is calling
So I'm crawling back to sea
Against the surge of waves that
Held us in that ancient grip beneath
Retreat to safer waters
Still learning what chaos kills
But whoever cares, nobody cares like you
Why we'd abandon time, just shut the door
Why we'd go to the wall, claim less is more
This city's saving grace
But whoever knows, nobody knows
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Murphy was careful not to attract any attention to their vehicle as they cruised through the almost deserted streets at normal speed. Instinctively feeling Catriona's eyes boring upon him, his sapphire orbs flickered momentarily to her form, which was dimly-lit by the passing streetlights. She seemed to be in considerable torment, her expression a mélange of confusion, anger and, of what he could minutely discern, fear. He actually admired her for possessing the metaphorical balls to jump into a vehicle with a complete stranger. Then again, he mused, if he were running away from people bent on drilling several bullets into his body, he would also have jumped into the first automobile in sight and raced out of the scene as soon as he could – stranger present with him or not.
"Can you really not hear me or are you just blatantly ignoring me?"
Catriona's sharp tone was enough to finally bring Murphy back from his reverie. Blinking twice as he rethought the query, he questioned in return, "Wha'?"
Fighting to keep her somewhat collected composure, Catriona restrained a snarl as she repeated through clenched teeth, "I asked who sent you."
Murphy, if it were possible, looked even more puzzled. Brows knitting as he alternated his attention to and from the road and the seething woman beside him, he answered in a semi-jest, "I sent meself. That is, if I count?"
Damn any semblance of composure! When the Irishman followed up his reply with a vexatious little smirk, Catriona wasn't able to hide the sound of irritation that rumbled through her throat. She then voiced her thoughts, though it did not seem that she was directing her speech to Murphy. "If you're not going to kill me, then I can only assume that one of my father's CIA or FBI associates sent you to protect me from whoever was trying to turn me into a cheese grater." Her lower lip quivered at the flashback of her near-death experience. Feeling her entire body trembling, she then turned her entire form away from the Irishman, signalling her disinterest in further conversation.
Murphy's sudden irritation stemmed more from the tension between them rather than the silence. "It doesn't matter who I am or who sent me. Wha' matters is tha' yer not a feckin' cheese grater an' tha' ye'll live ta see another day." The Irishman didn't even seem to mind his sudden insensitivity as he continued with, "An' before ye decide ta give me tha silent treatment, at least thank me fer riskin' me own arse ta save yers. I'd greatly appreciate tha'."
Catriona didn't take the bait. Finding her voice once more, she didn't bother to turn to face Murphy as she spat, "Now what? Are you going to take me to your hideout and hold me for ransom? Or do you have something else up your pea coat sleeve?"
Murphy allowed frustration to overcome him as he snapped without restraint, "'ow many times do I 'ave ta tell ye tha' I ain't gonna 'urt ye? Jesus fuckin' Christ, ye think tha' I'm lyin' 'bout tha' or somethin'? 'Cause keepin' up an act is too much effort, an' God knows tha' I've already got enough shit on me 'ands ta…"
"Then take me off yer bloody, shit-filled hands and bring me to my father!" Catriona viciously snapped, effectively halting Murphy's rambling speech. Receiving no response from the Irishman after a few moments, her cerulean eyes deepened in colour as a flash of anger passed within them. "Well, what are you waiting for? Take me to my father!"
Clenching his jaw in order to mask any and all frustration, Murphy simply replied with, "I can't do that, love."
A sound of disbelief escaped Catriona's lips. "If you care so much about my well-being, then…"
The cat caught Catriona's biting tongue as Murphy's assertion reverberated through her. Slowly closing her agape mouth, she twisted her head away from his form and attempted to focus on the brightly-lit coast of Boston Harbour instead. Surprise, rather than a punctured ego, served to silence her: why had she felt a sudden constriction of her heart when he had proclaimed that he didn't care for her?
So much for fairy tale heroes.
Murphy then heaved a sigh, feeling as though he desperately needed to placate this woman. Trying to rebuild the bridge that he had severely nuked with two, mere syllables, he explained, "I'm only following some plans, alright? There's a lot more goin' on 'ere than ye know at tha moment, so if ye can just keep yerself from jumpin' outta this car, things will become clearer once we explain everythin'."
Catriona found that there was no need of her to jump out of a moving vehicle, for just as Murphy finished his sentence, the car jerked to a complete stop. Thoroughly surveying her new surroundings, she was alarmed to realize that she had never been to this part of South Boston before. These modest-sized homes seemed to be in a secluded area, flanked by dozens of pine trees and surrounded by wired fences.
She jerked back in surprise as the passenger door flew open. She had been so immersed in the scrutiny of her whereabouts that she had not even noticed that Murphy had exited the car. He stood before her, slightly bending as he peered into the vehicle. "It's only fittin' tha' I invite ye ta me 'ome after I broke inta yers." The lightness in his tone, he hoped, would serve to end the hostile mood between them. "Let's get inside before someone sees us."
It was only when Catriona fully stepped out of the car that Murphy became entirely conscious of what she was wearing – or, rather, not wearing. Hoping to be discreet, he intently eyed her from head to toe, taking in every inch of her tall, athletic frame and the red, satin nightgown that adorned it. The low-cut dress seemed to perfectly hug her curvaceous hips, stopping mid-thigh, and leaving just enough to the imagination. As Murphy's close inspection of his new 'guest' halted at her eyes, it was clear that she knew exactly what he was doing. To his bewilderment, she didn't seem too upset by it.
As they swiftly entered the house, it was Catriona's turn to scrutinize the man before her. Despite his gruff demeanour and adamantine exterior, she could sense compassion emanating from his being. Though, what puzzled her was the fatigue and dullness that his eyes exhibited. In truth, albeit being tall, dark-haired, and quite handsome, there seemed to be an aura of melancholy around him that she couldn't help but notice. Why he suddenly piqued her interest, she had no idea. But what she did know was that she lost her concentration when he disrobed in front of her.
Now standing in front of her in a simple white tank top and jeans, Murphy mussed his cropped hair before turning his attention back to her. Giving her body another once-over, he questioned almost inaudibly, "Ye want somethin' else ta wear o'er tha..." he briefly paused, pursing his lips into a thin line, "...lingerie?"
Crossing her arms over her chest in an attempt to simultaneously cover herself as well as elicit some heat, Catriona threw him a curt nod of acceptance. "That'd be nice, thank you."
While rummaging through his closet in order to retrieve something warm, a small smirk tugged at Murphy's lips at his subtle victory. "Tha's tha first time ye've thanked me." He let out a friendly scoff, twisting his head in order to face her, "Tha' wasn't so hard, now was it?"
"Giving someone credit that they're due isn't difficult for me," Catriona retorted testily with a tilt of her head. "But when I don't even know who I'm giving that credit to, I'd rather retract that thanks."
"Ye already know me name," the Irishman pointed out as he sauntered back towards her form with a long sweater in hand.
"And what's in a name?" Catriona countered, raising her head in order to meet his gaze, "For all I know, that may not even be your true identity."
Murphy consciously ignored her statement. His attention was quickly drawn to a black and blue mark upon Catriona's collarbone. He tossed the sweater aside. Wincing, he didn't think twice about placing his calloused fingers upon the bruise, wondering if he had been responsible for it. He noticed Catriona recoil at the contact of his fingers upon her skin and slowly withdrew his hand. With a slight wince, he questioned in a whisper, "Does it hurt?"
"No." She quickly replied. "Your hands are just cold." And you make me nervous as hell, Catriona finished inwardly as she was unable to keep his penetrating gaze any longer.
It wasn't long before Catriona felt a cold compress upon the skin of the bruise. Hissing at the sudden change in temperature, she looked down to realize that Murphy had obtained a first aid kit and was busily administering her remedy. Surveying him curiously, he seemed to be an expert on bandaging wounds and general healing practices; it made her wonder if he was some kind of paramedic, or even doctor. Feeling the tips of his fingers grazing upon her exposed skin as he changed the position of the compress, Catriona was surprised to find that she didn't seem to mind their proximity. Feeling the pangs of nervousness ebb away at their prolonged contact, she mustered enough courage to coil her delicate fingers upon his wrist as she declared, "You know, sooner or later you're going to have to tell me who you really are."
Raising his brows, Murphy declined his head, his face mere inches from hers. "I'm just a person who needs ta keep tha Mayor's daughter from bein' killed." His lips then curled into a frown, softened eyes scrutinizing the contours of Catriona's face. "Other than tha', nothin' else is o' any importance."
The sudden click of an opening door severed the silence between them. Simultaneously looking up, they perceived Connor staggering into the living room with numerous bags slung all around his dirtied body. Heaving his belongings onto the couch, the blonde Irishman peered upwards at them, momentarily finding their closeness of interest. Then, quick to shake his curiosity from his consciousness, he stated bluntly, "We killed tha whole lot o' 'em." Connor saw Catriona gulp at this information, though didn't hesitate to continue, "I checked tha perimeters for backup. No signs o' any." He busied himself with removing his pea coat and rummaging through his backpacks. "Don't think any o' us were being followed, but I covered our tracks just tha same." Looking up at his accomplice, then to Catriona alternately, he proclaimed with certainty, "Tha whole city's gonna be lookin' fer 'er. After they see tha mess tha's left in 'er 'ouse, they'll conclude tha' she's been kidnapped..."
Catriona took a few steps towards Connor, face contorted with perturbation. "Who were those men that were sent to kill me?" When neither of the Irishmen bothered to answer her query, she rephrased the question with much more force this time, "Who were the men that you both killed?"
It was Murphy who answered from behind her:
"Those men were gonna frame us fer yer murder."
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A/N: Ooh, even *I* like where this is going! Haha! Hope you all enjoyed this one! Till next time. xx IFHD