He'd said they were following him.
That worried me.
If they were following him, they were probably following me. I left Diego's apartment and took the Charger on a wild, careening ride through the streets of Miami on my way back to the loft. It didn't feel like anyone was following me, at least not by car, but that didn't mean I was safe. The last thing I wanted to do right now was to lead whoever had come after Diego right back to Mom's house where Sean and Fi were recuperating in the living room and Mom and Sam were likely sipping beers while they kept an eye on them.
I pulled into the driveway and chained and locked the fence behind me. The loft was stiflingly humid, but I wouldn't be here long. I laid a duffle bag out on the bed and filled it with some fresh clothes and "supplies." I set the lights on a timer, went out to the balcony to lower the bag down to the ground and followed it swiftly. By the back entrance to the club I spotted Oleg's BMW. A few deft movements and I was inside and on my way.
I made a mental note to pay Oleg back somehow in the near future.
I took my time getting back to Mom's house. I felt more secure now, but this was not the time to take any chances. It was after dark when I finally made it home. I parked one street over and picked my way through dark yards. When I stepped through the kitchen door Sam had a gun trained on me. It fell to his side and a look of relief washed over his face when he saw it was me.
"Mikey," He sounded tired. "Sorry about that."
"Not a problem," I assured him. I was happy to see he was taking this as seriously as I was. "Everything okay here?"
I set my bag down and Sam pushed a sandwich in my direction.
"Yeah. It's been quiet. Your mom went to lie down and our patients in there just woke up from a long nap. I was just getting them something to drink."
I eyed the two beers on the counter warily.
"Don't worry, those are for me."
I raised my eyebrows at him but didn't say anything. Sam just gave me a half grin and pulled two glasses out of the cabinet. I could hear whispering in the living room, but I couldn't make it out. Sam filled the glasses with some kind of fruit juice blend and added a straw to each one.
I took half of the sandwich and followed Sam into the living room. Fiona was off the couch and leaning over her brother as they conspired.
"Fi!" I chastised with the tone of my voice.
"I'm fine, Michael," she stretched my name out longer than she needed to. She turned towards me with a glare that told me she was feeling quite a bit better. Her skin still looked too transparent to me, but I knew that Fiona's definition of fine was a little bit more open to interpretation than mine was.
"You shouldn't be up," I told her in a low voice. I wrapped my arm gently around her waist to let her know I was concerned, not mad. She laid her head lightly on my shoulder.
Sean beamed up at us and Sam handed him a glass. He nodded thanks to Sam, took a long sip and swallowed slowly. Sam pushed the other glass into Fi's grip.
"Sorry, Michael," Sean said. "I was just catching Fiona up on some of the news from home. Wasn't much time earlier for gossip." He smiled brightly and reached out to grip Fiona's fingers, their hands swung back and forth lightly.
I smiled. It was nice to see Fi with her family. Somehow, she made more sense in the context of her relatives. It reminded me more of the Fiona Glenanne I first fell in love with. "It's okay," I assured him. "How do you feel?"
"I've been better, but I'll be alright. I'll be out of your hair soon."
I made a gesture indicating he needn't worry about that. "Do you need anything for the pain right now?" I asked, absentmindedly stroking Fi's hair as she leaned against me.
"No, no," he assured me. "You mother has taken good care of me in that regard."
I looked over at Sam with some concern. Sam just shrugged.
Fiona was suddenly pressing against me harder and I gripped her tightly to steady her. I'd forgotten her earlier experiences for a moment. "Hey," I breathed in concern. "Come on and lie back down."
My stomach fluttered as she just nodded her pale face and allowed me to guide her back across the room to the couch. Sean lay on his side, watching his sister's movements carefully. Sam disappeared to take their glasses back to the kitchen.
I smoothed her long hair away from her face and pulled a blanket up over her. She closed her eyes lightly but the corners of her lips pulled up slightly. "You need to rest," I whispered down at her as I pulled the bandage back to check the wound on her arm. It looked as good as could be expected.
"Mmm," she responded in agreement, not opening her eyes.
Sam returned with two yogurts and handed me one. He took the other one over to Sean.
"Here, Fi," I pushed a spoonful of yogurt towards her. She sat up a little and grudgingly accepted it.
"I can feed myself, Michael," she complained.
"I know you can," I stated flatly, but made no move to hand over the spoon. I ate a spoonful of it myself before feeding her again.
Sam and Sean were trying to make it seem like they weren't watching us.
I looked across the room at Sam who was on his second beer now. "Diego's dead," I told him. Fiona looked up at me with alarm. Sam just whistled under his breath.
"How'd that happen?" Sam asked.
"Went over the side of his balcony," I told them, insinuating that I was sure it was more than just an accident. "He had just called me. He said he didn't know who to trust anymore, even at the agency…said they were following him."
I fed Fi another spoonful and Sam took a big swig from his beer. Sean just watched the three of us quietly.
"You make sure you weren't followed here?" Sam asked gravely.
We were all quiet for a moment.
"Mikey, you know this isn't exactly the most secure location…" Sam's voice trailed off.
"Yeah. I know. Can you…?"
"Of course, Mike. I'll have a place by tomorrow morning."
"Thanks," I told him quietly as he left the room to start making his calls.
I looked across the room at Sean and he seemed to be nodding off again. I looked down at Fi. I could tell she was stubbornly fighting sleep as she watched me.
"This couch can't be that comfortable…" I brushed my fingertips over her brow, subconsciously trying to smooth the worry out of her forehead.
"I'm okay," she whispered.
"Let's get you into my old room," I ignored her previous statement.
She started to push herself up with her uninjured arm, but I stood up quickly and gathered her in my arms, taking care not to disturb her wound. Her eyes looked up at me with a hint of amusement at my display of delicate concern. She sighed though and said nothing, letting her head rest against my chest. I carried her carefully down the hall and laid her gently on my old bed.
"Stay," I commanded quietly.
I disappeared to retrieve my duffle from where I'd left it in the kitchen. When I got back she was laying on her good side scratching at the edge of the bandage.
"Leave it," I told her, shutting the door behind me softly.
She sighed again.
I opened the bag and pulled out one of my old dress shirts. She smiled at me in a way that made my stomach flutter in a different way. She reached down and undid her shorts. I helped her pull them off then carefully pulled her shirt over her head. She looked beautiful like that, in nothing but her underwear, stretched out on the bed…but now was not the time. I helped her get her arms through the sleeves of the shirt and buttoned a few of the buttons in the front. She looked like she was drowning all over again in the pinstriped fabric, but this time it was much less terrifying. I helped roll up the sleeves so we could see her hands again. I couldn't help gazing at her for a few breaths.
"I know," I pulled myself back to the moment.
I helped her to her feet and guided her over to the bathroom. I let her relieve herself while I found the toothbrush I'd grabbed from the loft. When I walked back over, she was leaning heavily against the sink, hair tucked over her shoulder, as she splashed water on her face with one hand. I grabbed a towel and leaned her against my side to dry her off. I held her tight with one arm while I put some toothpaste on the toothbrush for her. She shifted to stand in front of me, facing the sink, and I wrapped my arms tightly around her stomach to hold her steady against my chest. She smiled at my reflection in the mirror as she brushed.
I examined the two of us there in the glass. I looked tired. The little lines around my eyes were starting to show. Fi looked beautiful. I didn't understand how she managed to glow after a day like the one she'd had. She fit so perfectly against me. How did I ever think it would be possible to fight this…this thing we have?
I loosened my grip a bit so she could lean over and spit, holding her hair back for her. She turned around in my arms and leaned against me, her breath lightly brushing my bicep. Her hair smelled like an odd mixture of sea water and jasmine.
"Come on," I whispered and pulled her back over to the bed.
She looked so fragile buried under the comforter. I kicked off my shoes and slid into the bed beside her. She shimmied closer to me and I saw her grimace slightly as she moved her injured arm too quickly. I pressed my lips to her forehead and brushed my fingers through her hair. "Hey, careful," I murmured against her skin.
"Michael…I…" her voice was barely audible. "I'm sorry, Michael."
I pulled my head back to look at her. "What?"
"I'm sorry…I…if I hadn't tried to leave-"
"Fi," I held her face and looked at her sternly. "I'm the one who should be apologizing." I closed my eyes briefly. "You were right. I wasn't paying attention." Her hand slid up my arm slowly. "I should have listened to you when you told me you didn't trust Strickler. I just…"
"I know," she breathed. "It's okay."
I held her gaze for a long minute then pressed my forehead against hers. "I'm sorry Fi…for everything."
She just smiled at me and I couldn't hold it back any longer. I kissed her softly at first. I heard her sigh and felt her bring the full length of her body in contact with mine. My fingers wove through the hair at the back of her head and I pressed my lips against hers harder now, putting the stress that had held me tightly wound all day to good use. One of her legs slipped over mine as she tried to burrow into me tighter than humanly possible.
"Fi…I…" I whispered into the kiss. "I…"
"I know," she told me breathlessly. "Me, too."
I was panting and then I was sobbing. I held her against me and buried us deeper under the comforter. I prayed she was the only one who could hear me. We both dozed off eventually and I had the most beautiful dream…a dream where the world was just me and Fiona. Just the two of us and none of the problems that I knew would return when the sun came back up in a few short hours.