Chapter One: Beneath a Moonless Sky

The golden star rises over the sleepless city, waking the sleeping citizens to start their day. Rays of light creeps into a small room where a man sleeps quietly, lighting up the dark room. An alarm rings, filling the room with the annoying buzzer. Without opening his eyes, his hand feels around for the snooze button until he found it. His hand rubs his tired eyes as he yawns. Opening his eyes, he sits up and looks at the clock. Groaning, he pulls the sheets off of him and forces himself out of the comfortable bed. Walking over to the dresser, he grabs a clean pair of boxers before walking into the bathroom to wash up. He turned the light on, immediately regretting it. After his eyes adjusted to the light, he stood in front of the sink and looking into the mirror. His thick jet black hair was messy from sleeping while his intense blue eyes looked tired. He fixed this messy hair and splashed sold water on his sun kissed skin. After washing up, he went back into his bedroom to get dressed before heading out to the small living room. Turning on the light, he jumped when he saw someone sitting on the couch.

"Are you trying to scare me?" He asked his friend. Nick simply shook his head and sipped his D&D coffee before handing him a latte.

"Good afternoon to you too." He smiled. "What is the plan for today, Erik?" He asked Erik. "There's a pretty big art piece that worth a few thousand."

"Another piece to add to my collection?" He sipped his latte. "If you can get some information about it, I'll see if it's worth it. Either way, the FBI will have another field day." Nick chuckled.

"Well you're in their Most Wanted, think number five on their list. They have been after you for a few years now; you would think they would have already gotten you."

"FBI aren't that smart." Nick nodded. "Well get more information on it and call me later. I'm heading over to grab some lunch with Alex." He grabbed his keys and walked out the door. Once he got outside, he headed over to the subway to head into the city of New York.

Once in the city, he looked at his phone for the address of the café where he was going to meet Alex. Getting the address, he called for a taxi and headed to the café. After pulling up, he got out and headed into the café to see Alex sitting at a table with two cups of coffee all ready. Walking up to the table, he sat down on the chair.

"So I hear you're looking for stealing the new painting at the art museum." He chuckled. "Really Erik, it's not worth that much."

"Maybe not to you. You live in a fancy apartment with a view of the city while I live in the Bronx. Your fiancée can afford nice things while I have to steal for money."

"Yes that's true, but you do have a lot of money so why are you living in that small ugly apartment?" Alex asked.

"Hey it's not ugly and because I like it, it's small and perfect for me. Although Nick likes to spend several nights there too, but he takes the couch." Alex shook her head. "What did you want to tell me?" He asked.

"FBI talked to me the other day." Now she had his attention. "They asked about you and if I knew anything. They aren't happy that you've managed to not get caught."

"Well I can't make everyone happy." Alex rested a hand on his. He noticed the worry look in her eyes.

"Erik I'm trying to warn you. They aren't going to give up until you're behind bars. You'd be surprised what the FBI can do, especially to wanted criminals." He smiled at her.

"Don't worry Alex." He stood up and placed a kiss on her cheek. "I'll see you." He left the café and stood on the street, looking around for a taxi. As he waited for a cab to approach, he noticed someone across the street looking at him. His eyes moved and meet with a pair of dark brown eyes, belonging to a woman.

Her hair was curled to perfection, painted with dark chocolate locks that hung down pass her shoulders. Her cream color skin was flawless; bring out her dark eyes and lips. She wore a black leather jacket with skinny jeans and black knee-high leather boots with two buckles. Her red lips curled up slightly into a small smile as she looked at him. Her body was slim, but had curves. She quickly looked away as he saw a slight blush coming to her cheeks. Smiling, he kept watching her as she walked into a clothing store behind her. Forgetting the cab, he ran across the street and into the clothing store. He noticed it was woman's store and felt out of place. Looking around, he found her looking at dresses. Quietly, he walked up next to her and pretended to browse like her.

"You're either pretending to browse or thinking of buying something for your girlfriend." She said without looking at him. Her voice was so angelic. He chuckled and turned to face her.

"You would believe if I said for girlfriend?" He asked. She stopped and looked him with her dark eyes.

"I would, but you followed me into this store and I doubt you would have if you had a girlfriend."

"You're good." She smiled. "I'm…Luke Butler." He held out his hand.

"Christine Destler." They shook hands. "So Luke Butler, are you from New York?" She asked after releasing his hand.

"Lived here all my life, how about you?" He asked her.

"I'm live with my parents in Seattle."

"What brings you to New York?"

"My father is a big fan of art and wanted to see the new artwork so he got us tickets for it. We saw it last night and it was pretty, I'm not a huge fan of art. But he loves it and always talks about it."

"I'm a fan of art as well."

"Then you and him would get along very well, although don't mention a certain name in front of him."

"What name would that be?" He asked, wanting to know.

"I think the name is Caffery, apparently he's an art theft and has been stealing artwork for years. But father hates him, keeps saying he should riot in jail." He swallowed hard.

"Well I'm sure the FBI is on it." She nodded. "Would you like to grab dinner with me tonight?"

"Asking me out, are we?" He chuckled and smiled. "I'm free after six." She quickly gave him the address of the hotel before heading out of the store. Erik smiled and watched her as she walked down the busy street. Finally hailing his taxi, he headed back to his apartment. His mind continued to think about her and couldn't wait for dinner with her.

Walking into his apartment, Nick was sitting at the dining room table. Erik rolled his eyes, seeing him eating some of his food. Walking over, he sat down next to him as Nick continued to eat.

"You have an apartment, you do know that?" He asked his friend.

"I know that, but I got more information on that artwork. It's easy to take, security isn't that tight. We can do it tonight and make the Sunday paper."

"Sorry but I can't." Nick raised an eyebrow at him.

"And why's that?" He asked.

"I'm having dinner with a girl I just met, I'm picking her up around six and we're heading to this little place I know that has great food."

"Let me get this straight; you're going to skip taking this new artwork to have dinner with a girl who you just met this morning." Erik nodded. "Wow I'm actually getting passed over by a girl."

"Was bound to happen soon."

"Just don't tell her that you're Erik Caffery since I'm sure she's heard of you. Who hasn't heard of you?" He asked. Erik knew not to answer it. "Have fun on this date."

"Thanks man." Erik looked at the clock, seeing he had five hours till his dinner with Christine. He had no idea what he was going to do before then. He thought he clean up his apartment, thinking he'd invite her over after dinner. The apartment cleaning took three hours so he figured start getting ready. First he showered and then grabbed his nice shirt and jeans. After he was ready, he kicked Nick out and decided to head out to her hotel. Coming up to the hotel and her room, he knocked on the door. The door opened to find her standing there in a fitted cocktail dress with heels to match. Her hair was pulled half back with a simple necklace surrounding her neck. His mouth went dry at the sight of her.

"You're early, good thing I'm already." Her eyes scanned him. "You look very nice." She said with a smile.

"Thank you. You look beautiful." Her cheeks blushed as she smiled. "Shall we?" He held out his hand which she accepted. They walked out of the hotel and onto the street. "Now don't even ask where we're eating because it's a surprise and I'm not telling." She pouted her mouth.

"Please…" She batted her eye lashes. He had to admit, she was very good. He shook his head, but kept his smile. "Fine then." She gave up and continued to walk down the street. Soon they came up ton Italian restaurant called Benito One and went inside. They were seated in a booth and waited for their waiter. "So an Italian place? You must be a guy who loves romance." She said as she looked at the menu.

"Well I guess you could say that, but I've wanted to go here ever since I was little."

"Why not before?" She asked.

"Couldn't find the right girl to go with." She smiled and continued to look at their menus. After both ordered their drinks and food, they decided to get to know each other. "So tell me about yourself." He thought for a moment, trying to figure out what he could tell without saying too much.

"Well my parents died when I was young so I've had to live on my own for a while. When I turned seventeen, I became a…a…"

"A what?" She asked.

"A male stripper." Her eyes widen. "I danced for a few years until I decided to quit, but made a lot of money."

"I can't picture you as a stripper, but I won't judge you on that."

"Thank you. So now I collect art pieces and work for a friend of mine."

"Sounds interesting."

"You have no idea. So tell me about you."

"Well I'm currently a senior in college, majoring in Criminal Justice. I would love to become an FBI agent in a couple of years. Maybe go into white collar."

"Oh…" He started to get nervous. "…white collar crime?" She nodded. "That's interesting." Remain calm, just change the subject, his mind told him.

"Well I'm not a huge fan of art, probably because I'm not the most artistic like my father. He has a few pieces of his own, but one was stolen a few months ago."

"I'm guessing by Caffery." She nodded. "I've heard he's stolen several pieces."

"Yeah father isn't a fan of him, but what can he do? The FBI haven't been able to catch in years."

"Well maybe they need to find out his weakness and then use that against him. Every man has a weakness, whether it's the art or a woman he loves, he'd do anything for that or them."

"You should like you know him."

"I've also had a few pieces stolen from him, well by my company that I work for. So I know what your father feels, but I can assure you that the FBI is doing their best to find him." He said, not knowing about a van parked outside the restaurant. Three FBI agents sat inside the van, listening in on the conversation.

"Who is this girl?" One of them asked. "Peter, find out who she is." Peter nodded and started looking her up. A few minutes went by when he got a result.

"Name is Christine Destler, lives with her father in Seattle. She goes to Seattle University, majoring in Criminal Justice. No criminal record, file is clean. Oh says here that her father reported stolen artwork, suspect is Erik Caffery." Peter informed his boss.

"Well looks like this girl could be the weakness mister 'Luke' was talking about. Keep that file on hand; we may need it in a few years." He ordered before continuing to listen to their conversation. The conversation was cut short when their food arrived.

"You ordered pasta with sauce and meatballs? Seriously?" She teased him.

"Hey I can be romantic if I want to and I want to right now." She smiled and took a fork full of pasta. He grabbed her fork before she could put the food in her mouth. Setting her fork down, he took his and filled it with pasta. She smiled and ate the pasta. Pushing his plate closer to the middle, they began to share the pasta. After finishing his pasta, they started her plate until it was over. Once their wine glasses were empty, Erik decided to invite back to his place for some dessert which she agreed to. They left the restaurant and grabbed a taxi to head over to Bronx.

Entering his place, she looked around the small apartment while he grabbed some ice cream and two bowls. Once he got the ice cream, they sat down on the couch and started eating the ice cream. Putting her legs on his lap, she leaned closer to him to say something when the door flew up. They both looked to see who it was and Erik rolled his eyes.

"You must be Christine." The stranger walked up to the couch while Erik glared at him. Christine looked at Erik, wondering how he knew him.

"Christine this is…Mozzie." He quickly came up with a name.

"Pleased to meet you Mozzie, even though that's not your real name." Christine greeted him.

"Wow she's good." Nick said. "I'm sorry to interrupt the date, but Alex is outside the door wanting to talk to you."

"Who's Alex?" Christine asked, looking at Erik.

"A friend who's engaged to some guy." He answered her. "Why does she want to see me?"

"I don't know, but I think it has something to do with the B-I-F."

"What's that?" Christine asked again.

"Nothing serious, tell her that it can wait till later."

"She won't like that."

"Too bad, I'm with Christine now and she'll have to wait." Nick nodded and left. "Sorry about that, work stuff."

"It's ok, so Alex works with you?" Erik nodded. "What does the FBI want?" He stared at her. "My mother was an art theft too and had certain codes for certain people like the FBI, so spill Luke."

"Damn you are good." She smiled and waited. "Ok since we had a few pieces go missing, they have been looking into everything and Alex has not the best record so she's just worried." He explained, hoping she would believe him.

"I believe you."

"You know I'm lying?"

"Criminal Justice major and mom was a theft, you'd be surprised what I know. So whatever it is that you're hiding is your secret and I won't ask you what it is."

"Thank you." He paused for a moment before talking again. "You're different from the others."

"Is that a good thing?" She asked.

"A very good thing makes this night more special." Her cheeks blushed again. A strand of hair fell onto her face. He leaned in and brushed the strand off her face. Leaning in farther, he closed his eyes. She followed as their lips gently touched. Feeling bolder, he cupped her face with his hands as the kiss slowly deepened. Her mouth opened to let his tongue enter. Their tongues fussed as his hands rested on her hips, pulling her closer to him till she was straddling his lap. She could feel him hardening under her as she slowly surrendered to him. Pulling away from her lips, he started kissing her neck. "Trust me?" She only could nod. Quickly, he stood up and began to walk towards his bedroom. "Hold on." Her legs wrapped tightly around his waist as he walked through the doorway. Gently setting her down on the bed, he walked over to close the door and lock it. Turning back around, he noticed that she was standing up. Coming over to her, their lips met again as her hands began to unbutton his shirt and slide it off his broad shoulders. Breaking the kiss, she gazed over his form. Smiling, her hands rested on his pants before unbuckling his belt. He helped her remove his pants and shoes till he was standing only in his boxers. She turned around and pushed away her hair to reveal the zipper of her dress. She could feel the dress loosening around her till the fabric pooled around her feet. His hands quickly removed the bra until she was left in her panties.

Turning around, he picked her and carried her over to the bed. He gently laid her on the soft sheets and removed the last of his clothing. Her eyes admired his body as he joined her on the bed. Kissing her passionately on the lips, his knee parted her legs to settle between them. Moving away from her lips, he began to leave a trail of kisses from her neck down to the fabric of her underwear. Taking the fabric with his teeth, he pulled it off of her and tossed it to the floor. His body covered hers as he pressed himself against her. He could see the nerves in her eyes.

"You can still say no."

"Then I'd be making a mistake." He smiled and kissed her lips. He slowly moved inside of her, breaking her virgin walls. Gasping in pain, she put her hands on his chest. He could see the pain in her eyes as she tried to overcome it. He felt her stretch to fit him. "It hurts." A tear formed in her eye.

"Only for a moment." She nodded, wanting the pain to go away. Once fully inside, he slowly began to move again, thrusting gently. She felt the pain subside with a new feeling taking its place. Wrapping her legs around him, she encouraged him to go on.

"Harder…" His pace quicken at her command. With every thrust their bodies became one. He could feel himself tensing, ready for his release. Her walls tighten around him as she approached hers. With one thrust, the room filled with their cries. Tired and spent, he collapsed onto her. Her hands wrapped around him as their bodies tried to calm. He could feel her heart beating rapidly inside her chest. He quickly rolled off of her and covered their sweaty bodies with a blanket. Pulling her into his arms, her head headed on his chest. Her breathing relaxed as sleep came to her, along with him.

Erik woke the next morning to light beaming through the window. Groaning, he looked at the clock and noticed it was almost eight in the morning. His mind refreshed him of the night's events and a smile came to his face. Turning his head, he saw the bed was empty next to him. Sitting up, he looked around the room but she was nowhere to be found. Climbing out of bed, he grabbed a pair of boxers and headed out of the room. Searching the apartment, he couldn't find her anywhere. About to give up, he noticed a letter on the dining room table. Opening it, he knew it was from her:

Thank you for last night, it was amazing

And I'm sorry I didn't wake you before I left.

Father booked an early flight and I didn't want to wake you so early;

You looked so peacefully sleeping there.

I hope someday we can see each other again

Until then,