Originally written for a writing challenge on insanejournal. The prompt: "an unguarded moment"


She didn't storm out in a huff. Of that, at least, she could be proud.

Eve had tried to articulate her points to the best of her ability. Yet she sat back and groaned once the arguing began. Every other meeting had dissolved into arguments and Eve had learned what to expect: harsh words, threats of violence, and her every entreaty for peace met with even more harsh words. She didn't like sitting back and watching them fight but there was little that she could do to stop them. So she rose from the table, grabbed her coat, and walked out of the room. She heard the rustling of feet as she walked down the hall but she refused to look back. It was only after she gave instructions to the elevator operator that she looked up to see Luck Gandor's quizzical expression before her. She shrugged as the door closed between them. Once the elevator began moving, she let out a deep breath. She felt as if she had been holding it in for much too long.

She ignored the rolling storm clouds once she hit the street, choosing instead to pull her collar up to her chin and focus her eyes on the ground. She didn't want to accidentally make eye contact with anyone and have to face their unspoken sympathy. But as the rain began to sprinkle the street, she felt foreign eyes settle on her uncovered head. She knew that she was more recognizable since the Genoards had begun formal negotiations with the Gandor family. Would she be recognized? Could she be safe?

Yet she continued on. She mulled over her situation as she strolled: how could she ensure that the merger of families would go off as they all had initially planned? Her frustration with it mounted as the rain began to pick up. She would not have realized how far the weather had deteriorated had the rain not begun to cloud her vision. When she finally looked up, she realized that those few who carried umbrellas were the only ones who populated the sidewalks. She slicked by a lock of sopping hair from her forehead as she scanned the darkened streets. She was nearly as alone as she had wanted to be. But the weather indicated that she couldn't stay that way for too much longer.

Cautiously, Eve ran down the sidewalk as her eyes searched for a place to sit out the worst of the storm. It was only by chance that she noticed the alley. She knew that it wouldn't be an ideal hiding spot but it would have to do. Eve crept deep into the alley until she found a place that was relatively dry. She leaned up against the wall and began to wring out the hem of her dress, glancing up and down the stretch as she did so. It was not as dreary as she had expected but it was still dirty and reeked of something that wasn't quite safe. She looked back toward the street and sighed. The storm showed no signs of letting up.

And so she crouched there, her knees held close to her chin, and waited. Instead of evaporating, her frustrations only mounted, compounding on the stale cold the swept over her body. Why couldn't they listen to her? While the Gandors obviously ran a tight organization, her brother had little to show for his years of thuggery. Were it not for her exceptional reputation – let alone her years of effort to ease his temper – the Gandors would not have considered assisting them with their debts. But the old rivalries had reared their heads and Eve soon found that he could not control himself. She was beginning to resent her brother, even though she hated herself each time such thoughts popped into her head. She was all that stood between them both and complete ruin. Why couldn't he just shut up and let her do the talking?

It was only the sound of a sudden rustle in the distance that snapped her from her thoughts and sent her to her feet. She reached into one her inner coat pockets and stroked the outline of her small revolver. Thankfully, it wasn't wet. It had been part of her inheritance from her grandfather but it had only been within the last three years that she had gotten any practice with it. She hoped that her relative inexperience would not show should she have to use it. With hand still at the pocket, she swung around to meet the noise and stopped with a start. It seemed that she wouldn't need the gun after all. "Luck?"

Dripping wet and still carrying a perplexed look, he merely stared at her. It took a moment for him to finally speak, saying, "I think we should do back to the office."

Eve removed her hand from inside her coat and then wrapped her arms across her chest. She took a step back and said, "I will not go back while they're still that way. I cannot listen to anymore nonsense today."

"The meeting is over," he explained. Luck took a tentative step forward. When it appeared that she would not back up further into the alley, he quickened his stride. "You're drenched. You're obviously freezing. Now, I have a car. It will only take a moment and then you'll back inside - dry and safe."

Eve didn't budge. Luck continued on with his hand outstretched. When he came within grasp, Eve reached out and grabbed the hand. She tugged gently at his arm and he moved forward listlessly. She tugged a bit harder and he cleared the distance between them. They just stood there for a moment. Eve was torn. She wanted to be cautious but she could not deny that he had followed her for such a long distance and in such terrible conditions. And there he remained as the rain poured down: silent, steadfast, and, as she suddenly realized, warm. Part of her knew that she might regret her next action but she found that she could not stop herself. Eve slipped to the tips of her toes and, with care, planted the faintest of kisses on his chin. She felt his arm slide around her waist and she reached up further, kissing his lips.

Quite suddenly, she felt her feet leave the ground. She wrapped her free arm around his shoulder and her lips around his, yearning and hungry. He returned her kisses with equal fervor once her back hit the wall. They stood there, mouth probing mouth, as her hands gripped at his drenched shoulders. He pulled back suddenly, whispering through gritted teeth, "We need to go."

"Not yet, please," she murmured. She nuzzled his neck, letting her lips trail languidly to his collar. How she wanted to let her tongue lap up the free water from his skin. But a sudden sting of propriety infiltrated her mind and she remembered that they were exploring each other in front of potential prying eyes. "I think we she go now," she said, ragged.

Carefully, he eased her body to the ground. Eve kept eye contact as she let her arms fall to her sides. She moved out ahead of him but felt a sudden shock when his hand moved over the small of her back. They walked quickly to the waiting car. She took her seat in the passenger's side but not before plucking the neatly folded towel from the seat. She rubbed at her hair as he started the car. "Do you think of everything?" she asked slyly.

"No always," he said, his faint smile returning. With that, they drove off.