A/N: Stand alone one shot that is not set in any particular universe.

A 30 minute Ranger's other woman challenge response challenge to myself

Smoke Screen

Ranger POV

The strip club was quiet at just past midnight on a Wednesday, and I sat in a booth at the back of the room in a dark corner. There was a bottle blonde on stage at the moment gyrating to some heavy techno beat, and the few punters in the place besides me were all but glued to the edge of the stage as they watched her lithe body move to the music.

A waitress brought me over another vodka, popped her hand on her hip and tossed her long hair over her shoulder. "Can I get you anything else, Sir?"

I shook my head and she flounced off across the room on her stupidly high spike-heeled fuck-me boots. The music faded out and the dancer left the stage to be replaced with a brunette this time, in a skimpy cheerleading outfit. Her stage name was Candy, but when the place closed she was called Catherine. I smiled slightly as I watched her familiar routine; she really knew how to work the crowd.

I caught movement to my right and looked over. One of the club's bouncers was heading my way. Tonight, Darius was working the door. He stood over 6'6" tall, hailed from Jamaica, and had dark brown dreadlocks that nearly reached his ass. Anthony would be jealous of them, that was for sure.

He sat down at my table, bumped fists with me, and then we both sat back to watch Candy strut her stuff.

"She's damn good," Darius commented.

I nodded. "Seems to get better every time I come here."

"Not seen you here for a while, bro. You been busy?" he asked.

"Been out of the country," I offered.

Darius smiled. "I won't ask.

"And I won't tell," I said with a grin. "You shutting at 2AM?"

"Yeah, same as usual. Why, you looking for a bit of action?" he said with a knowing smile.

"Maybe."

"I'm sure we can come to some arrangement," Darius said as he slid out of the booth and went back to work.


My Turbo was parked in the dimly lit alley by the back door at 2.05AM. Most of the girls had left for the night, only Catherine remained. She wandered out of the building, lit a cigarette and then walked around to the driver's side. She tapped on the glass with her long red nails and I powered down the window to talk to her.

"Hey Ranger," she said with a genuine smile.

I smiled back and nodded.

"So, you waiting on someone?" Catherine asked, a hint of a smirk curling at the corner of her lips.

"Maybe," I replied.

"Looking for someone to show you a good time, baby?" she whispered huskily.

I laughed. "You know I am."

The passenger door clicked open and Darius slid in next to me.

Catherine mock pouted. "Shame it's not gonna be me, honey. If you ever decide to switch teams, you just let me know."

"You'll be the first on my list," I assured her.

She shook her head. "Well that's some consolation, I suppose. Night guys."

I watched her walk down the alley in her jeans and an old sweater, before she turned left and out towards the main strip.

Darius slid his warm hand up my leg and squeezed. "Hey."

I looked over at him and placed my hand on top of his. "Hey back."

He leant across the console, placed his free hand on my cheek and kissed me gently. I kissed him back slowly, savoring the taste of him. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally broke apart. "Your place?" I asked quietly.

"That sounds like a plan to me, man. I missed you, you know."

I powered the window back up, turned the engine over and glanced at him. "I missed you too; I wish you lived closer."

"Newark's not that far. You know that you are welcome to stay over any time you want."

I nodded. "I know, and thank you, but you know what my schedule is like."

"Crazy."

"Very. But I can give you my undivided attention until lunchtime. How's that sound?"

Darius' hand moved back to my leg. His ran his fingers up the seam of my jeans until he reached my crotch, and then settled his hand over the growing bulge that was pressed against my fly. "I really like the sound of that."

The End