Hello, M Rating. In this chapter, you are well deserved. Rough sex ahead, people.
Selina proved to be an indifferent navigator preferring to prop her bare feet on the dash, fiddle with the radio stations, and watch the scenery leaving the maps and the driving to Bruce. He had no complaints though since he liked being behind the wheel. The rural roads were narrow and riddled with potholes, the drivers either speed demons or Sunday drivers. Driving in Jamaica reminded him of driving in Laos, you had to be alert at all times because you never knew what was around the corner; goats, cows or a couple of guys who believed that the middle of the road was a great place to conduct a conversation.
While they waited for the two men to finish their traffic stopping talk, he suggested a hike to the scenic waterfalls Selina had mentioned before. The hike would exacerbate his already throbbing knee but since when did pain stop him from doing anything? She gave him a 'you've got to be kidding me' look indicating she was onto him and his problematic knee. In the interest of keeping to their unspoken agreement, she told him hiking was not her idea of fun at all which wasn't entirely untrue. Apparently her interest in nature ended at the road, seeing the mountains and the lush greenery from the Jeep seemed to suit her fine.
She did, however, love exploring the small villages and towns they came across as they slowly worked their way back along the coast, spending their afternoons finding crowded marketplaces, wandering around to see what was for sale and was to eat. For Bruce, bland prison gruel was not a distant memory and he relished the spicy flavors of Jamaican street food. He was the far more adventurous eater, bringing her lunches from dilapidated trucks or from someone cooking over a fiery barrel.
They sat on an old bench in a crowded part of a small town that Bruce couldn't remember the name engaging in two of Selina's favorite pastimes: people watching and eating. The meal he had bought from a food truck parked in an alley was spread out between them.
"That kid's about to pick that guy's pocket," Selina observed before taking a drink of her Ting soda. "Let's see if he gets away with it. I bet he does."
Bruce looked up then set down his beverage in alarm. He wished she was wrong about the kid with the sweet face but the child who couldn't be older than ten had that caginess to him, that wary bravado that he'd seen on many a face before a crime was committed. Don't do it, kid, Bruce silently pleaded, hating the feeling of helplessness. In many ways it was such a minor thing, a plucking of a wallet but he, like Selina, knew that children on this path rarely detoured out of a life of crime.
The kid almost made a clean getaway except the pickpocketee hollered for the police who were closer than expected. The officers raced after the little thief as he darted through the crowd heading in Bruce and Selina's direction. The kid dashed by and just as the police approached them, Selina jumped up, assuming the role of a ditzy tourist. Wailing about a stolen bracelet, she gestured wildly in the opposite direction the kid had run. The police looked skeptical until she loudly cried, "There he is!" prompting them to give chase. The kid made his escape never knowing he got saved by a better thief than he'd ever hope to be.
"Told ya he'd get away," she said with a smirk as she sat back down.
"Today maybe." Bruce rose and gathered the remainder of their lunch, tossing it into a trash can. His pleasure in the flavorful food was gone.
"We should go," he said walking toward their Jeep. The police had realized the futility of the chase and returned to the scene to locate the victims.
Selina plucked the keys from his hand getting in the driver's seat with a look that dared him to unseat her. She started the Jeep but instead of driving off like he really wanted her to, she let the Jeep idle.
"You think he'd be better off getting nabbed? Getting taught a lesson?"
"I'm not thinking that." He looked at the passenger side mirror seeing the officers searching the vicinity of the bench they just vacated. "Would you just go?"
"You don't know anything about that kid."
"Neither do you." Bruce suspected that, if necessary, Selina would carry her charade all the way to the police station but he had zero interest in getting involved with the authorities. "Selina, drive. Now."
As she sped away, she continued with the conversation that he wanted to be over. "I know him better than you do."
"Yeah, maybe. But just because a person has money doesn't mean he deserves to get robbed." He pointed to the right, indicating the direction to drive. "He's on vacation and now his wallet is gone with credit cards, ID, along with whatever bits of his life he kept in there. Did he deserve that?"
"So you have more sympathy for the tourist than the kid who needs to eat?"
"Not really." He needed to get out of this conversation with her but couldn't resist adding: "I do know that that kid's off to a bad start."
"Maybe it's his only start," she said quietly but she mercifully let the conversation end there.
They didn't talk as they wound their way up the coast. Selina drove skillfully but a tad too recklessly for his taste. At one particularly exasperating point, she answered a phone call, chatting with a friend as she swiftly passed cars on the narrow road with one hand casually resting on the steering wheel and the other one alternately holding the phone and gesturing. She threw him a quick look and he understood she knew he didn't approve and didn't care. He exercised his iron clad control to prevent himself from throwing the phone out of the Jeep. Later, when she abruptly stopped at a roadside fruit stand, he slid into the driver's seat as she bought them something to eat.
When she returned, he was adjusting the seat and mirrors. "You shouldn't talk on your phone and drive," he said.
"I don't think that's illegal here."
He almost rolled his eyes. "Just because it's not illegal doesn't mean you should do it."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." She sat in the passenger seat, handing him two mangoes to hold while she dug through her leather satchel. She flicked open a switchblade, then took one of the mangoes, cutting it for them to eat. With the blade in the same hand, she offered him a juicy slice which he did not take. "Never leave home without it," she explained before taking a bite of the mango.
"Of course," he said dully, feeling his anger rise at the way she was baiting him. He nodded to himself then asked the question that he was afraid to ask but since the day had pretty much already gone to hell he decided to go for it. "You don't have a gun in there, do you?"
"That wouldn't help with the fruit!"
His look was not amused.
"No gun," she said in a way meant to convey that she was lying.
But she wasn't, she was just trying to provoke him. And up to now, he hadn't minded her provocations since they centered on exploring and breaking sexual boundaries, pushing him to do things he never thought he would do. They conquered each other in the physical sense, but physical was okay. He knew physical; he had devoted a great deal of his life honing his body into a weapon, how to hurt, how to maim, how to cut through the defenses of adversaries, how to exploit weakness.
As she ate, she watched him from behind her dark sunglasses, waiting for his reaction. Like him, she wore a ball cap low on her head mainly to keep her hair from blowing wildly in the topless Jeep. She looked like a completely different person from the one he'd met in Gotham. Very little makeup, loose, casual clothes that showed lots of skin, her long hair in an untidy pony tail that fell through the opening at the back of the hat. So very different from the thief in the sleek, skin-tight, black outfit that he would never forget.
His eyes traveled from her bare feet up to her legs, her skirt was short, so short that he could see the black of her underwear at the apex of her thighs. Her cotton top was loose and low, the curve of naked breast peeked at him from the side and he became momentarily transfixed as he watched the movement of her as her chest rose and fell. Unlike his, her breathing was measured and calm.
He grasped her bicep, his fingers holding her arm tightly as he pulled her to him. She displayed no surprise at his abrupt movement. Her placid, controlled response angered him. With his other hand, he grabbed the blade from her hand, snapping it closed before tossing it on the Jeep floor.
The set of her mouth was angry but her lips were juicy from the fruit and he was fraught with tension, emotions he kept bottled up simmered, threatening to bubble to the surface. The sound of a gate crashing closed echoed in his mind and he kissed her roughly, tasting the mango on her tongue. She remained passive, allowing him to invade her mouth. He tightened his grip on her arm needing a response from her but she refused to give it. He drew back from her more angry than before. Her expression was inscrutable but he could see the pulse throbbing on her neck and knew she wasn't as unaffected as she wanted him to think.
The Jeep was far too exposed and he took a moment to regain control as he glanced around their surroundings before remembering they had passed something like a town a few miles back. Town would be a generous word for the cluster of colorful buildings that was a mix of a grocery store, bar, and other small buildings but there was something resembling a house for rent along the beach. At this point, he didn't care about the amenities only that it was close and secluded. He waited in the Jeep, his fingers impatiently tapping the steering wheel while Selina spoke to the owners of the house that actually turned out to be something more like a shack, painted bright turquoise, but ideally located on a lonely stretch of beach.
He walked inside the house ahead of her. The first thing he saw was a sturdy dresser. Slamming the door behind her, he grasped her about the waist and unceremoniously plopped her on the dresser before taking off their hats and sunglasses. The room, bright with afternoon sunlight that the gauzy curtains could not contain, was hot and humid. The air, heavy with heat, was charged with expectation.
Bruce reached under her skirt, roughly sliding off her panties then spread her knees. They looked at each other with their naked eyes and all he could see in hers was cool assessment with hints of challenge and judgment. He unzipped his fly, his gaze on her was hard as he waited for the slightest indication that she wanted this to go another way.
But her head tilted upward in defiance. "Go ahead," she said, her voice low. "Do it."
He grasped her hips, scooting her to the edge of the dresser and without checking to see if she was ready for him, he thrust into her, biting back a groan at her searing wetness. He pulled her closer to the edge of the dresser needing deeper penetration. They didn't kiss, their hands not following the customary patterns of exploration and pleasure giving. Her hands were flat on the dresser, keeping her steady. His hands went under her knees, holding her in place as he forcefully thrust into her, again and again. Something fell off the dresser, crashing and breaking on the floor.
Her head fell back a little but her heavy eyes remained on his and he was satisfied to finally see the smallest of reactions from her. She was quieter than usual, biting her lip to suppress her sounds of pleasure. He was louder than usual as he repeatedly slammed deep inside her. With each thrust, the pain in his knee, the ache in his back increased but the pain mixed with pleasure inflamed him further.
When his knee was on the verge of giving out, he lifted her, his back throbbing in protest. They were both slick with sweat but he held her against him so as not to break contact until he dropped her onto the bed. She lay before him, completely open, her skirt pushed up against her hips, her loose cotton top falling over her shoulders to reveal the generous swell of her breasts. As he removed the rest of his clothes, he gave her a slight indication to strip. When she was naked, he spread her legs then took hold of her thighs pulling her to him. His hands went to her wrists, holding them high over her head, stretching her body out. Her back arched, her breasts luring him.
Without releasing her, he dipped his head taking a taut nipple in his mouth, biting down on the smooth nub. Moaning softly, she writhed under him, her hips nudging his, wanting him inside her. When he didn't obey, she pushed against his hands in a vain attempt to seize control. Using his superior strength to keep her under him, he thrust inside her. His strokes were powerful and she soon abandoned all pretense of control or standoffishness, egging him on with her angry, heavy eyes and huskily whispered pleas of harder and faster. Her eyes only closing as she came with a sharp cry.
His hands slid from her wrists to her hands, clutching them tightly when the ache in his knee intensified. The pain must have shown on his face which she wrongly interpreted as weakness and moved to flip their positions. He held fast to her hands, his ironclad grip holding her down which heightened her anger and he was not surprised to realize he wanted that for he was angry at her for a few things, too.
Her breasts, sweaty with the heat and exertion, brushed his chest, her nipples burning him. He lowered his upper body onto hers, both for the feel of her skin against his and because his back couldn't take that angle any longer.
She came again, quietly as if she didn't want him to know but he did. Knew all her signs, from the way her eyes lost focus and her tongue licked her upper lip to how her hips moved against his. He increased his pace, nearing his own climax and when he came, his hands let go of hers and his head fell to her neck as the throes of his release overtook him.
He turned his face into her neck, trying to calm his breathing and heartbeat but she pushed him off of her and hopped off the bed. The bathroom door closed and he heard the sound of the shower running. After a few minutes, the shower stopped and he heard her curse before the door burst open. Wearing only a towel, she went outside then quickly returned holding her satchel. She tossed the towel on the floor and put on her running clothes. Holding her running shoes, she left without saying anything.
She usually ran in the mornings telling him, "I like to run. It clears my head." Selina didn't jog like normal people but broke out in a full run maintaining the pace. When he commented on it, she shrugged and offered a breezy, "You never know when you're gonna be chased." Her exercise normally lasted about an hour but he figured today she required more clearing of the mind and estimated that she'd be gone closer to two.
The heat of the room was starting to get to him so he limped to the windows that faced the small porch, opening them to let in a warm beach breeze. Picking up the towel Selina had discarded earlier, he wrapped it around his waist and went to get the rest of their things from the Jeep. After putting on his swimming suit he headed for the beach which he hoped would be cooler than the stifling room.
He stretched out on the hot sand, dozing a little until his back demanded a different position. Sitting up, he stared at the waves for awhile before getting up and wading out in the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The water was pleasingly cool. He splashed the salty water over his torso before diving in. With the waves crashing over his head, his used his strong arms to swim further from the shoreline.
He was still swimming by the time she returned. She sat on the towel he had left at the edge of the water until he started to swim to her then she waded in the shallow surf to meet him.
"You're salty and sandy," she said.
He nodded, "I'm also starving."
She smiled, nodding in agreement.
The bar up the road served food and the few patrons sitting about were welcoming of new people as tourists didn't often visit their neck of the woods. Bruce enjoyed the fresh Wahoo caught by the man that sat next to them. After Bruce bought him a beer, the man happily provided them with a long and unbelievable story of his battle to catch the very fish they were eating. After their meal, Selina had a few beers but didn't get drunk. And when she leaned over and kissed his cheek, he knew she was going to leave him.
The next day it rained. The Jeep, parked safely under a lean to, had no roof and the torrential rains prevented any adventurous driving. Knowing they would be cooped up together in a small space for most of the day, they were extra polite, each making an effort to recapture the mood of the previous week. But the damage was done, doors that had been cracked opened wider. Their lovemaking was different, more wild, the adopted personas they formed for themselves withering away.
The following day, the rain poured even heavier. In the afternoon, they sat out on the porch that presented a wonderful view of the ocean. Bruce sat on a cheap plastic chair, his foot propped on an upturned bucket to stretch out his knee, looking at his laptop to see what was going on in Gotham and with Wayne Enterprises. Selina never asked what was happening in Gotham. As far as he could see, she didn't exhibit the slightest bit of curiosity about the city. Or maybe, she got her information from whatever friends called her. She wasn't as solitary as he thought she would be. Maybe just the thief part of her liked to work alone. She didn't offer any information about the sporadic calls or texts and while he was very curious, he had chosen not to ask thinking it best to not ask questions when you were unsure about the answers.
Selina reclined against the porch post, her bare legs stretched out on the wide wood railing. She was quiet but seemed restless. He watched her watching the rain wondering when she was going to tell him she was leaving.
She looked down at her phone, her brow furrowed. She put it away but then it vibrated again, she darted a quick look at him. He didn't like what he read in her expression and since they weren't being quite so polite anymore he didn't hesitate to ask.
"A job offer," she replied.
That was not what he expected to hear. "You're kidding, right?"
"And why would you assume it's illegal?"
"And what do you do that isn't?" He closed the laptop and set it on the small table next to his chair. "I didn't give you that program so you could continue committing crimes and erasing them."
"You're assuming I'll get caught. I won't."
"So says every thief in prison," he said, sharply.
"Not everyone has millions of dollars socked away," she retorted, glaring at him.
He was quiet for a few moments before he replied: "You could do something else."
She laughed, ruefully. "Like what? Get a job? I don't like people telling me what to do." She gave him a significant look warning him to back off.
He shook his head. "You're unbelievable, Selina."
She looked out over the rainy ocean. "I'm realistic, Bruce."
"You're throwing away your fresh start," he said as he lifted his foot off the bucket, wincing a little at the strain on his knee. "A fresh start that you went to considerable lengths to secure."
"I don't need you to tell me how to live my life," she said not taking her eyes off the view of the ocean.
"I'm pointing out truths you need to face."
"Really?" She swung her legs around to hang off the railing, facing him. "How about I point out some truths you need to face?"
"Truths like why you choose to live in perpetual pain? I mean, if I was loaded like you, the first thing I would've done is get my goddamned broken bones fixed properly."
"I don't have any broken bones," he said, hating the defensive tone in his voice.
"I think you like being in pain. So you can always be reminded of—"
"Selina…" he interrupted not liking the direction she was going.
"And what does Alfred think of this?" She asked, trying to get him to look her in the eyes but he looked away: she had touched another nerve. She was really good at that.
"Oh, no," she said, shock and disbelief apparent in her voice. "He thinks you're dead? How could you do that to that old man?"
He fixed a look on her that would shut up most ordinary people and even some extraordinary ones. But not her. She smelled weakness and like any good criminal exploited it.
"What'd he do that was so bad you're willing to let him think you're dead?"
At that, he rose and he didn't say anything to her but fixed her look as he passed her to leave the porch. In her look, he read anger and surprised disappointment.
"I would never let someone who loved me think I was dead," she said to him as he walked away. "That's worse than stealing rich people's trinkets."
When he returned, it was late and she was already in bed but not asleep. Without touching, he lay beside her thinking that this really was the only way for this thing between them to end but sometime in the night he'd slung an arm around her probably to keep her from sneaking off and leaving him forever. He noticed that she didn't shrug him off.
They both faced the small nightstand on her side of the bed. Bruce was floating between sleep and wakefulness, his senses perceiving the light of the dawn, when he heard the vibration of her phone against the side table. When she didn't waken, he shook her gently, thinking that for someone to call at this early hour, it must be important.
She took the phone and he saw who the caller was: Gotham County Detention Center.
"Shit." She muttered softly before getting out of bed. "Hello?" she said as she walked outside onto the porch. Bruce didn't have to strain too hard to hear her conversation, the night was still and the windows to the porch open.
"Oh, Christ." She said, sounding disgusted. "Now what?….Yeah? I didn't know they locked you up for a week for sleeping in the park…What'd you do, Jimmy?"
She paced the length of the small porch, back and forth. "You know what, don't tell me….What do you mean? You haven't seen me since last summer…No, not Christmas...No, I'm not wrong. Remember the thing that happened in Gotham where no one could get out? That's where I was… I can't…No really, I can't. I'm about a thousand miles away from where you think I am."
She held the phone away from her ear, looked up at the ceiling as if in prayer.
"Since when did we start keeping each other informed about our lives?...Yeah, I'm sure. Isn't there a time limit on jail phone calls?"
"Well, fuck you, too! I hope you get the shit beat out of you every day you're there!"
He heard the phone get thrown on the floor of the porch. When she didn't return, he followed her out, concerned about what he heard in her voice. Angry toughness had been there but he also detected something else: the vulnerability she kept tightly concealed. He wanted to know who called, who this Jimmy was that seemed to upset her.
She sat on one of the cheap plastic chairs, her head bowed down and her hands nervously smoothing back her hair.
"Problem?" He asked.
"Same old, same old." She sounded tired and not from being up at dawn.
He sat on the chair next to hers. "Who was that?"
"Jimmy," she said, then she darted a glance at him, her eyes holding something that almost looked like shame. "My father."
His jealousy evaporated replaced by guilt over his relief.
"Too bad the clean slate can't erase me from more than databases," she said as she stared mournfully toward the ocean.
"What did he do?"
"Who knows? He specializes in doing nothing. You've never met a man who works so hard to get out of working. He's a classic bum, mostly harmless just pathologically lazy. Usually the cops just drop his passed out ass at his house but sometimes people can talk him into doing stupid things. This is probably one of those times."
"What about your mother?"
"My mother? We haven't talked in over a decade." She straightened in her chair, her face taking on a considering expression. "Well, that's not true. A few years back she did call when her trucker boyfriend abandoned her in South Dakota or someplace like that. She needed money." She shook her head in disgust. "I don't know why I don't change my number."
He knew why she didn't change her number and by the look on her face, she knew, too, even if she didn't like the truth of it. Their eyes met and Bruce saw no traces of her usual defenses and guises in her.
She sighed. "Are we in the same time zone as Gotham?"
"Yes," he answered.
She pointed to the spot where she'd thrown the phone. He picked it up and handed it to her.
"I'm such an idiot," she said to him as she pushed buttons on her phone. "Hey, V. Call me when you get this. Jimmy's at County. I have some cash hidden so you can bail him out. Don't worry about calling me right back, he can sit there for awhile. Thank you. And tell Kev to give you a hug from me."
She made another phone call, presumably to a lawyer and by the sound of the message she left, the lawyer was only barely not a criminal himself.
"Well, that's all I can do for the poor bastard." She crossed her arms then gave him a quick, cautious glance before excusing herself to go for a run.
The day promised to be bright and rain free. Bruce beckoned to the kids playing soccer next door, giving them ten bucks and a promise for twenty more if they'd find him a bag of ice for his knee.
He powered up the laptop deciding to research medical clinics. There was an exclusive, very private clinic in Switzerland that probably catered to third world dictators but in addition to discretion the clinic specialized in cutting edge medical procedures. Two to three months recovery time with the tab topping a couple million was what it would cost him. The timing was good; Alfred took his annual vacation in the late summer so there was that additional incentive. Within the hour, the details were settled. The false name he provided would not be checked as long as the money appeared in the clinic's bank account.
Selina returned with a resigned but determined look on her face. He found he was not worried.
"I think it's time I go," she said.
"Home." She leaned against the railing, keeping a safe distance from him. "Since the cops aren't after me life should be easier."
That was the last thing he wanted for her. He could see her returning to Gotham and her old life swallowing her again.
"Is it because of your father?"
"Not really. Partly, I suppose. I seem to have become a slave to burdens that I've forced upon myself. And now I'm feeling guilty, like I'm abandoning my responsibilities."
He stood up, leaning against the rail next to her. "I think I know a little something about that."
"I suppose you do."
"What do you want, Selina?"
"I want to run away."
"I thought you did."
She shook her head. "It was stupid of me to think I could just leave and be a different person."
"It's not stupid, you're just scared." It was difficult shedding the persona you wanted to be seen, difficult to be yourself even if you weren't quite sure who that was.
She didn't argue that point. He took her hand, pulling her a little closer to him.
"What will you do now?" She asked.
"I'm going to Switzerland."
She made a face, "Switzerland? All I know about that place is they have banks and knives. And chocolate."
"They also have a premier medical facility with some interesting experimental procedures." He looked down at their entwined hands, feeling exposed.
He looked up at her, holding her gaze before he said, "I want you to come with me."
She smiled. "Why? You need help with sponge baths?"
"Something like that."
"Is this your new way of fighting crime?"
"Hopefully this will be less painful." He kissed her lightly before resting his forehead on hers. "Come with me," he said softly.
ETA A/N: this is the end of this story but I do have another in the works. Thank you for reading!