Captivated – Story 2 in the Unbreakable series
Disclaimer: Characters belong to the writers & producers of Hawaii Five-0. My own characters belong to me :-)
Author's Note: If you haven't read Justified, this story picks up the next morning after the conclusion of that story. You'll be much happier if you read Justified first. I've been working on this for quite some time, and I could very much use comments and feedback! The more feedback I get, the faster I will post the chapters. Thanks to all who comment!
The light cool fog hung low on the early morning pavement, giving the road an ethereal look. Dr. Julia Abbott was out for her morning run as she followed her daily routine without fail. It was a little chilly that morning, making Julia wish she'd worn her running fleece. She picked up her pace a little to compensate. As her feet pounded the pavement, she thought about sitting on the beach with Steve the night before while watching her son Andy play in the sand with Grace. Replaying the evening, she kept feeling Steve's soft, sweet kiss. Her heart was racing, but not from her run. A shiver went through her body as she thought of his gentle touch, the soft caresses, and the words he whispered to her. "It's all worth it," he'd said. Did he mean she was worth it? Julia bristled with the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty. She was out of her league on this one. Julia was an analyst and a scholar; for her, things had always been black and white. She didn't know what to think. She mentally went down the list of the things she did know. She knew she felt drawn to Steve in an inexplicable way. She also knew that she had feelings about him that she'd never felt about any man before, at least any man since her late husband, Peter. She had a sense that Steve felt the same way about her, but what he meant by being "worth it," well, that had her puzzled. She shook her head in frustration, hoping that her morning run would help her clarify the confusing events and emotions of the past week.
Julia wasn't used to analyzing men, their thoughts, or even thoughts in general. She wasn't the sort of woman who thought all men wanted her; rather, she was a bit embarrassed by the attention that her looks brought her. In her experience, she'd found that sooner or later, most men would drop their kindness act and either move on to someone else or make a pass at her. She had categories and classifications that she'd developed over the years that took care of most situations. For men, they usually fell into one of four categories. Either they were a. nice guys wanting sex, b. immature idiots wanting sex, c. married and/or gay (and sometimes wanting sex), or d. married to their jobs but wanting sex. When she had first met Danny and Steve she lumped both of them into the last category, while Chin was married and didn't hit on her, putting him solidly in category c. But Julia had quickly realized that while Steve was attracted to her (and probably wanted sex), he was also surprisingly sweet, gentle, and thoughtful. He didn't seem to fit into any of her categories.
She glanced at her watch. 7:30. Time to turn it around and start to head back. She recalled Steve's kisses earlier in the week - first, at the overlook, and then later that night in the stairwell of the Warrens' hotel. Her cheeks flushed at the memory of his lips on hers, their bodies pressed urgently up against each other. She'd hoped that Danny hadn't been looking through the window of the stairwell. The situation was rather embarrassing as it was. But still, both times, Steve had pulled back. He wasn't hesitant, no, that wasn't it, Julia decided. He was… gentlemanly. But it was something more than that. She sensed from his response that he was seriously attracted to her, yet still he held his passion back. It was puzzling. And that too, didn't fit into any of her categories.
Julia tried to figure out what he was doing, as the music on her iPhone changed to a more up-tempo beat. But try as she might, every time she thought of Steve, she was diverted by the thought of his broad shoulders, his incredibly tight abs, his goofy smile and oh, his kisses. Julia felt a familiar warmth stir in her body. I've got to stop this, she thought. It's distracting me from thinking about anything else. Still, she found herself smiling as she stepped up her pace again, turning the corner for the last sprint home. Settling into a groove again, her music was interrupted by a call. She clicked the button on her headphones to accept it.
"Julia, hey, it's Steve. How are you?"
Julia smiled inwardly, and flushed a bit. Rather ironic timing. "I'm well, thanks. I take it from the traffic noise that I'm on speaker, you're driving, and I'm guessing you're not alone?"
"Um, yeah. Are you okay? You sound a little breathless."
"That's because I'm finishing up my morning run. Get your mind out of the gutter, McGarrett." Julia said, playfully, as she heard Danny's distinctive laugh in the background. And this is why I think most men are obsessed with sex, she thought wryly. "Since I'm on speaker with the two of you, and you're probably driving Danny's car, it's safe to assume that this isn't a social call?"
"No, not really. I have a small favor to ask."
Julia chuckled knowingly as she slowed her pace coming up to her house, "I'm almost home now. How far away are you?"
"About fifteen?" he said, hopefully.
"Come on over. I'll see you in a bit" she said, disconnecting the call and returning to her music. Well, that was romantic. Not. Damn.
Steve and Danny pulled up to Julia's house in the Camaro. They'd seen her house a few nights ago when Steve had driven Julia home after they'd finished the Warren case, but during the daytime her house looked more imposing. The front of the house was discreetly hidden from the road by a series of large white stucco walls and a wrought-iron gate that opened automatically for them before Steven even pushed the buzzer button. Looking up, he saw a series of cameras – some obvious, others carefully tucked away. The gate closed quietly behind them. Steve parked the car and grabbed a gym bag out of the back seat.
"Nice house," Danny commented dryly. "She takes her security rather seriously, I take it."
Steve noticed the separate entrance to the courtyard and the well-placed lighting. As they reached the outer courtyard, he heard the door unlatch. They walked up to the keyless front door. On the left side of the entrance, there was a computerized keypad and a tiny embedded camera at eye level. Biometric scans, random-access keypads, heat-sensitive cameras discreetly hidden - not something you see every day on a residential property, he thought. He pushed a doorbell that he assumed was probably unnecessary. Given what he'd seen already, he was certain that someone had been watching them since they first pulled up to the outer gate.
"Hi! Come on in. You must be Commander McGarrett and Detective Williams. I'm Allison, Andy's nanny. Julia's in the back yard, finishing her workout. Why don't you follow me?"
Danny grinned at the tall attractive redhead dressed in short jean cutoffs and a tank top, figuring she was about 25 years old. Damn, how come Gracie never had a nanny like her?
Allison took them through the hallway to a large kitchen and family room that opened out to the back lanai through a set of French doors. Just as she pointed to out to a spot in the yard near the gently lapping waves, Andy came racing into the room in his Superman pajamas, his cape billowing behind him. He grabbed the legs of Danny and Steve, shouting "Danno! Mando Steve!"
Danny rolled his eyes at yet another repeat of his 'beloved' nickname, and laughed at Steve's new nickname. "'Mando Steve,' huh? Maybe I can start calling you 'Mando' whenever you annoy me."
Steve shot Danny a sharp look before bending down to see Andy. "Hey buddy, how goes it?"
"Mando Steve, Danno, YOU STAY HERE. Stay here!" Andy turned to run off.
Allison looked at the two officers and laughed. "I'd recommend you stay here. He means business. He's rarely bossy but he must have something he wants to show you. He would be really crushed if he came back and you weren't here." She started to clear the breakfast table dishes, still grinning at Andy's antics and their effect on the two men.
Andy ran back into the room, carrying a large dinosaur. "Dis is T-Rex. Watch!" Andy pushed a button and T-Rex roared, which Andy thought was the funniest thing in the world. Steve laughed at the antics of the little superhero, who proceeded to run back into the other room, chased by a giggling Allison and shouting the lyrics to "Dinosaur Train!"
Steve turned to Danny, who was sporting a huge grin. "What?" Steve asked.
"Nothing. I just find it rather entertaining that Super SEAL is put into his place by a three year-old wearing Superman pajamas and carrying a T-Rex."
"This from a man who turns to jello whenever anyone mentions his daughter's name."
"The point is, 'Mando Steve,' she's my daughter. This little guy, you've known him for what, a day, and already he has you wrapped around his finger."
"I noticed you grinned when he called you 'Danno,' and I think you liked his dinosaur."
"I have to admit, he is rather cute, and I am a sucker for little kids, especially in Superman jammies. That said, Steven, I find it rather interesting that you are so easily turned into a softie, particularly given that kids have never really been your thing."
"What do you mean, kids aren't my thing?" Steve said in mock surprise. "I like kids. Kids like me. Gracie likes me."
"Grace likes everyone. And need I remind you of the time you terrified that kid on the elevator at the Hilton when you kept using your gun to hit the elevator floor button? Let's just say I wouldn't recommend you give up your day job to become a babysitter anytime soon."
Steve ignored Danny's comment and opened the door to the lanai, stepping out into the warm sunlight. He squinted as he raised his hand up to shield his eyes from the light. Sure enough, down by the water, he could make out a figure that rather resembled Julia. As they came closer, he saw that she was doing reverse crunches on a pull-up bar. Damn, he thought, his breath hitching as he took a moment to admire her carefully toned body. Julia was wearing short running shorts that accented her muscular legs and a cropped running top that showed off her defined abs and trim arms. She was facing away from them as they watched her continue to pull her legs up parallel to the ground and then lower them slowly, toes pointed, her form perfectly aligned. His eyes lingered as he gazed at her body and the slight sheen of sweat across her shoulders and torso.
Suddenly, she stopped and swung for a moment on the chin-up bar before dropping to the ground. Taking her iPhone out of her pocket to turn off her music, she turned around, put her hands on her hips, and smiled at the two men.
"Enjoying the view?" she said, pointedly.
"Yeah, uh, I mean, it's very…expansive. No, um, not expansive, it's uh…" Danny stumbled over himself while Steve kept a straight face.
"I'll give you a hint, Danny. There is no good way to answer that question." Julia laughed, her eyes narrowing in jest. She knew they had been checking her out. One of the perks of the job, she thought, as she grabbed a small towel and chugged down her water bottle. "Come on, let's head up to the house, since I know this isn't a social call." She slid a quick look over to Steve, catching his eye as they walked back. He looks rather fine himself this morning, she noted as he ran his fingers briefly through his hair. I wish those were my fingers, reaching up, giving his hair a tug. She shook her head, unsuccessfully trying to get the indelible image out of her thoughts.
Steve tried to discreetly check her out, but it was clear she knew he was staring at her. It wasn't often he saw a body like Julia's, particularly on a woman who'd had a child. He assessed the lean, taut muscles on her body, particularly her toned arms, her firm glutes, and her runner's legs. He imagined what those legs would feel like wrapped around him and had to take a deep breath to refocus on why they were there. Steady, Steve. This isn't the time or the place, especially with Danny here. He quickly stepped up to open the door for Julia, her eyes sparkling as she thanked him.
"Do you mind if I grab a quick juice? I haven't eaten and my blood sugar's a little low. Do you guys want anything, coffee, juice, water?" Julia asked, dropping her towel and her iPhone on the bar chair by the counter and putting her water bottle by the sink.
Steve watched her rummage through the refrigerator, pulling out some cucumbers, kale, parsley, spinach and a pile of carrots. "No, thanks, we're all set," he said, a bit confused. Her concoction looked more like a salad or rabbit food than a juice.
Julia proceeded to throw the veggies into a large juicer and put the cover on, grinding it and then pouring the pulpy green mess into a large glass. Beaming, she looked at Steve and Danny, who both looked a little pale. "Sure you don't want some?" she asked, raising a brow as she chugged the green lumpy concoction. She looked intently at the gym bag, which Steve had set on the kitchen table. "I assume that's not malasadas or breakfast," she said, chuckling. She was pretty high on endorphins right about now, which combined with her running ruminations about last night and Steve checking her out in the back yard was making her more than a little frisky.
"Nope, but I think you'll like them regardless," Steve smiled flirtatiously. "Take a peek."